Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yellow Fever

A friend sent me this video from YouTube and it's so funny. I do agree that white girls are not attracted to Asian guys in general. How come? I'm not so sure. But I do feel that white girls care quite a lot about physical appearance (for example, buff guys). That well explains why most of the white guys have good figures :P

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Long Vacation - Close to You

My love of the song "Close to You" began with this scene in episode one of Long Vacation.

For those of you who didn't watch this drama: Sena and Minami was having an arguement and Minami left his apartment. Sena found that it was Minami's birthday and wanted her to come back and played this song to her.

This drama was more than 10 years ago and I'm still loving it. It's really romantic to play a song just for someone :)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My weblog on Google's first page?!

Something pretty exciting happened to me today: I found that my weblog is on Google's first page when I did a search with the keywords "alex weblog"!

Given that there're so many Alex's in the world, I was pretty amazed that my weblog is at no. 4 in the search result. Yeah Eric said that it's not really an interesting fact to be on the first page, but I'm still pretty motivated by this. I'll write more good posts and hope that you'll come back often! :)

The occasional downtime of my weblog

You may notice that my weblog is down from time to time recently (showing that "Not Found Error 404" page). I'm guessing that it has something to do with the conflict between Blogger and Google Apps for Your Domain and I'm working with Google support to solve the problem. Please bear with this for now and I'll update you guys once I got this fixed. Thanks!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 First Movement

This is my favorite part of the first movement of Rach 3. Ever since I watched Shine, I've fallen in love with this masterpiece. Anyone like it also? (*___* )

Monday, January 22, 2007

Office Ergonomics - Part II

In my previous post I shared with you guys some suggestions on how to improve your work environment. In this post I'm going to talk about why you and your boss want to make your work environment better.

Let's talk about why you want to make your work environment better. I guess you must have saw/heard of some survey that asks you to rank the priorities of several important aspects of one's life, such as:
  • Love
  • Family
  • Career
  • Friends
However, people often omit one very important aspect of one's life: health. If you're in the ages of early twenties (or younger), you probably take good health for granted. When I was still going to ELAC (the community college that I went to), I could played four games of DDR nonstop, all of the songs with a difficulty of at least 9 feet (the most difficult songs have a difficult of 10 feet). I always hanged out at the arcade until 1 or 2 am and went to some Hong Kong cafe for midnight snack with my friend. When I got home, it was usually 3 am something already.

Ask me to do it again now? No way. Although I still play DDR everyday, I realize that I probably can never play that many games in a row anymore (well, maybe unless I practice it as a full-time job, which I won't). When I see people going to night clubs at Friday nights, I really wonder why they've the strength to do that after a whole week's work. I'd rather go home and get some quality sleep.

Basically, I realized that I can't take good health as granted anymore. To have a healthy life, one needs to put some effort on it everyday and is determined to control his/her desires.

Love, family, career and friends are all essential to one's life, but they're not as important when you compare them with health. If you're sick and have to lie on the bed all day long, there aren't many things you can do. Besides, your loved ones will also be miserable because they've to look after you and watch your suffer (For that reason, I do think that hurting oneself is a selfish act, unless s/he doesn't have a family or friends or is hated by the whole world) That's exactly why you should have the best work environment you can possibly have, which affects a great part of your health.

Why would a boss give his/her employees the best working environment then? Yeah, all those ergonomics keyboard trays and chairs cost a LOT. The chair that the ergonomics office of UCLA recommended to me costs around $400, which is much more expensive than the ones you get from Staples or Office Depot. A good keyboard tray with an adjustable arm costs over $200 also, which is not cheap either. If I tell my previous bosses to buy all those stuff, they probably will think that I'm crazy and kick me out of the office.

As a long-time Google fan, I strongly believe that one of the keys of their success is providing the best environment they can afford to their employees. How many companies provide free food to their employees? Except those in the dining industry, I really can't think of any. The thing is, investing in a good work environment results in at least four advantages:
  1. Employees are happier
  2. Employees are healthier
  3. Because they're happy, the turnover rate is low
  4. Because they're healthy, they work more effectively
The problem of most bosses (especially Chinese bosses, sigh) is that they're very short-sighted and shallow. They see the immediate and obvious revenue generated by a sales guy when he closes a deal with a big customer, but they don't see the money he loses in training when people leave the company. They see how fast the new Pentium Core 2 Duo workstations run compared to the old ones, but they don't see that John becomes much more effective after he gets his ideal chair. If your boss would rather spend money on buying a brand new BMW M5 for himself instead of replacing your tortoise-like Pentium 3 machine (which costs a damn lot less), you can probably tell how smart he is.

One friend wondered why my supervisor would spend so much money on getting a good chair for me as I only worked there for four months. Wrong wrong wrong!!

You deserve the best work environment just because you're hired and you perform your job.

If only your old fat ass coworkers (who've worked in your company for over 20 years) got a good work environment, LEAVE. You don't have 20 years to waste :P

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Office Ergonomics - Part I

Recently I've done some research on office ergonomics and noticed there's quite a good deal of working habits that one should be aware of at work. I was quite surprised that I've been ignoring most of them in the past. Let me share some of them here and hope that they'll make your work life happier :)

(Disclaimer: I'm not an ergonomics expert so you're advised to seek opinions from the professionals if you're serious about it. In general, however, I believe my advice should be pretty useful :P)

Eyes, Neck
  • Your eye level should be aligned with or a little bit above the top of your monitor. As a result of that, your eyes gaze should be a little bit downward when you look at the screen.
  • The monitor should be an arm-length or a little more away from you. In other words, you should be able to just barely touch the screen when you stretch your whole arm.
  • You should tilt the monitor so that the screen doesn't have any glare coming from the light in your room. To better avoid the glare, the monitor should have a flat screen.
  • Blink more. People fail to do that when they're too concentrated on their work, but it'll dry your eyes and make them tired.
  • Your neck should be straight up but relaxed. If your chair has a neck rest you may lie against it when you're taking a rest. When you're working, however, you should be away from it.
  • If you need to type while you talk on the phone (like a technical support person), you should never cuddle the phone between your face and your shoulder. Instead, use a headset. Use a wireless one if you need to walk around to get stuff to answer your customer's questions.
Hands, Arms, Shoulders
  • Your shoulders should be relaxed. Your arms should be touching the sides of your body when you're typing. No, you shouldn't be resting your arms on the armrest of your chair when you're typing. You may use it as a pivot when you use your mouse though.
  • To make it possible for the armrest to be a pivot when you use your mouse, the armrest should be adjustable in width and height.
  • Your forearms should be around 100 degrees from your upper arms. That means they're a little bit below sea level.
  • Your fingers, wrists and forearms should be all aligned in a straight line. If you're bending your wrists upward it's not a correct posture.
  • The make the above statement possible, you will need a keyboard tray with an adjustable arm attached to the bottom of your desk like this one. Those horizontal sliding keyboard trays won't do the job.
  • Wrist rest is good for, as its name says, resting. When you're typing, your wrists shouldn't be touching the wrist rest. This will make you type faster and more accurate. (My personal experience!)
  • Your keyboard should be right in front of you. The letters "G" and "H" should be aligned with the middle of your chest.
  • This one is kind of obvious but quite some people can't do that: touch-type. If you can't do that I recommend a game called Typing of the Dead. This game greatly improved my typing posture, speed and accuracy :)
  • Learn more keyboard shortcuts to minimize the use of your mouse.
  • Your mouse should be as close to you as possible. You shouldn't need to stretch your arm to reach it. A good keyboard tray should have a turnable mousebridge that covers the ten-key pad (which you don't really use that often) and minimizes the distance between you and the mouse.
  • Move your whole arm when you move your mouse, don't twist your wrist. Your forearm and wrist should stay on a straight line. Bend your elbow if needed.
  • What if you need to use the ten-key pad all the time? If you can touch type, you can actually use the numbers in the first row of the keyboard instead of the ten-key pad. Experience tells me that using those numbers are just slightly slower than using the ten-key pad, especially if you need to type combinations of letters and numbers, in which case your right hand will need to move right and left if you use the ten-key pad.
Back, Hips, Feet
  • Your chair should have a comfortable lumbar support. (The thing that support your lower waist) Ideally, the lumbar support should be adjustable in height since the the position of the lower waist differ from one person to another.
  • You should be able to tilt the chair backrest and lock it at a certain angle. The angle between the chair backrest and the seat should be approximately 100 degrees so that you are leaning a little bit to the back.
  • The seat should be horizontal. The depth of the seat is good if there a one to two inches distance between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat.
  • Of course, the seat should be adjustable in height. The height of the seat is ideal if you can rest your feet horizontally on the ground.
Taking Breaks
  • Remember to take breaks. You should at least take a 30-second break every 30 minutes. Every hour you should stand up and walk around. Go use the restroom or get yourself some water. Do some stretching exercises, focus on those that move your body joints.
  • If you're very concentrated on your work, you will forget about time and taking breaks. So, there's software written for this purpose. Scirocco Take a Break is a very good and free software designed for this purpose.
Wow, that's such a big list there. I know you may say that I'm being unrealistic; why would there be any boss willing to spend all those money on providing such a perfect work environment to the employees? Well there is, my supervisor at UCLA is one example. I'll talk more about that in my next post, stay tuned :)

My Weblog is back!!

Because of some stupid mistake of mine (messing up the IP address of my domain when I played with it on GoDaddy), my weblog was down for a day and finally it's back. Thanks for your patience and coming back :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Yundi Li & Jay Chow Played Turkey March

Old video again. Yundi actually looks like Jay's girlfriend if you watch them from the back. Quite some years ago I listened to Yundi's performance once and it was amazing. Hope that he'll come to LA again sometimes in the future :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Best Resignation Letter

If you're going to quit you job, you better write a professional resignation letter so as not to burn any bridge. The following is the best resignation letter I've ever seen and I truly believe that if you follow its style and format you will greatly enhance your chances of receiving a good reference in the future:

Dear Mr. Baker,

As an employee of an institution of higher education, I have few very basic expectations. Chief among these is that my direct superiors have an intellect that ranges above the common ground squirrel. After your consistent and annoying harassment of my co-workers and me during our commission of duties, I can only surmise that you are one of the few true genetic wastes of our time.

Asking me, a network administrator, to explain every nuance of everything I do each time you happen to stroll into my office is not only a waste of time, but also a waste of precious oxygen. I was hired because I know how to network computer systems, and you were apparently hired to provide amusement to your employees, who watch you vainly attempt to understand the concept of "cut and paste" as it is explained to you for the hundredth time.

You will never understand computers. Something as incredibly simple as binary still gives you too many options. You will also never understand why people hate you, but I am going to try and explain it to you, even though I am sure this will be just as effective as telling you what an IP is. Your shiny new iMac has more personality than you ever will.

You wander around the building all day, shiftlessly seeking fault in others. You have a sharp dressed, useless look about you that may have worked for your interview, but now that you actually have responsibility, you pawn it off on overworked staff, hoping their talent will cover for your glaring ineptitude. In a world of managerial evolution, you are the blue-green algae that everyone else eats and laughs at. Managers like you are a sad proof of the Dilbert principle.

Seeing as this situation is unlikely to change without you getting a full frontal lobotomy reversal, I am forced to tender my resignation; however, I have a few parting thoughts:

  1. When someone calls you in reference to employment, it is illegal for you to give me a bad recommendation as I have consistently performed my duties and even more. The most you can say to hurt me is, "I prefer not to comment." To keep you honest, I will have friends randomly call you over the next couple of years, because I know you would be unable to do it on your own.

  2. I have all the passwords to every account on the system and I know every password you have used for the last five years. If you decide to get cute, I will publish your "Favorites," which I conveniently saved when you made me "back up" your useless files. I do believe that terms like "Lolita" are not viewed favorably by the university administrations.

  3. When you borrowed the digital camera to "take pictures of your mother's b-day," you neglected to mention that you were going to take nude pictures of yourself in the mirror. Then, like the techno-moron you are, you forgot to erase them. Suffice it to say, I have never seen such odd acts with a ketchup bottle. I assure you that those photos are being kept in safe places pending your authoring of a glowing letter of recommendation. (And, for once, would you please try to use spellcheck? I hate correcting your mistakes.)

I expect the letter of recommendation on my desk by 8:00 am tomorrow. One word of this to anybody and all of your twisted little repugnant obsessions will become public knowledge. Never f*ck with your systems administrator, Mr. Baker! They know what you do with all that free time!


David Blocker

Network Administrator

Yeah I know it was posted in many places before, it's just that it's still funny to read it again :)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Customized Domain Name

Many of you guys may have noticed this, I've got my blog a customized domain name:


I wanted to get alexblog.com or alexman.com but they were taken by some "Alex" already and surprisingly alexweblog.com wasn't taken yet so I decided to get it right away. Because of this, I changed the name of the blog from "Alex's Blog" to "Alex's Weblog" to match the domain name. Yeah, blog is actually an abbreviation of weblog, in case you don't know about it :P

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Beware of that Zorpia social network site!!

To whoever received an email from my Hotmail account asking you to join the Zorpia social network site, please ignore it and delete it right away. Somehow it grabbed my Hotmail address book and sent invitations to all my friends without my authorization. If you join the network the same thing will happen to you too. This damn Zorpia network site looks like an established company and I can't imagine they'll write script to do stuff like that. I already canceled my account over there. I would like to apologize to those who got annoyed by that email... (-___- )

Sunday, January 7, 2007

People don't like planning

One time I asked my friend whether he wanted to have dinner with me and another friend the next day and he said,

"Hmmm I'm not sure yet... How about you call me tomorrow and I'll tell you if I can join you guys?"

I was pretty upset and thought to myself: "How come people aren't even sure what they're doing tomorrow? Don't people make plans for their future?"

From my observation, most of them don't.

Work time still okay...

I believe the majority of people are pretty disciplined at their work times since they're forced to do so. To lots of people, they work because they've to make a living. They're not necessarily happy at work but they've to perform at a satisfactory level in order to keep their jobs. To do that, they've to go to work on time, do their duties, attend meetings, etc. It's more or less a disciplined and planned life at one's work place.

Personal time is a mess!

At people's personal time, however, things tend to be completely random. If you've used Evite or Google Calendar to invite people to join a meeting before, you'd notice that there're three options
  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe
The last option, "Maybe", which is many people's favorite, offers zero information.

How come? In Information Theory, you give the most information when you're absolutely right or wrong. If a dumbass always gives an incorrect answer to a True or False question, just by reversing his answers we'll get all the questions right. If you've a probability of 1/2 being right or wrong, however, you give zero information and you're more useless than that always-wrong dumbass :P

Although "Maybe" offers zero information, it is ironically a lot more useful than "Yes" and "No" because 9 out of 10 times people aren't sure about if they're going to make it to attend a certain event or not.

Not knowing the future isn't an excuse

"Hey dude, no one really knows what'll happen in the future. If you don't know the future, how can you plan for it?" You may say.

Well, if you do know the future, you don't need to plan for it right?? Everything will just happen according to what you know about the future then. We make plans exactly because we don't know about the future and want to prepare a series of actions that'll most likely render desired results. So, not knowing the future is an illegal excuse of not making plans.

People are LAZY...

Why don't people make plans then? One reason I can think of is that people are lazy. According to the Second Law of of Thermodynamics,
The entropy of an isolated system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.
What the law says is that nature tends to be chaotic, that is, approaching equilibrium as stated in the above statement (Note that entropy is a measure of randomness). In order to keep stuff in an organized manner, you need to apply external energy to the system, or, make some effort. If you don't tidy up your room from time to time, it's going to approach a mess sooner or later. Similarly, it takes effort to make one's personal life organized. People who are lazy would rather do stuff that makes them happy instantly (they've a hard time delaying gratification) instead of putting effort to organize their lives.

People want to keep their choices open

Another reason I can think of is that people like to keep their choices open until the last minute.

I'm not at that extreme, but I confess that I did something like that before. If you read this post that I wrote sometimes ago, I kept my church friend waiting for my decision until about 3 days before their event. But 3 days should be enough for them to change their plan and prepare stuff for one less person.

However, there're people who don't make up their minds until the morning of the event day, or, they simply forget to tell the event organizer whether they'll attend or not. They do that because there may be another event that is more fun but it's not confirmed yet. Or, girls keep guys who ask them out waiting since their dream guy may ask her out in the last minute. You got the idea.

A bad chained effect

Well, we do have our right to keep our choices open, but we should make up our decisions soon enough so that the event organizer (or that poor ugly guy who miraculously got the guts to ask you out) has enough time to change his/her plan.

Think about it, there's a chained effect of this irresponsible act. If you keep your friend waiting for your decision, your friend may then be forced to keep another friend waiting, and the chain goes on. What's the result of this? A waste of many people's valuable personal time.

Ditching people in the last minute!

And some people may just ditch you in the last minute. Unless there's a pretty strong reason for that (like being sick or family reasons or the evil boss asks you to add a new feature to his crappy software over the weekend), please try your best to avoid that. It really hurts your credibility in the long run (*___* )

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Eyes on me from Final Fantasy VIII

My favorite Final Fantasy video. Besides the beautiful graphics, I really like the song, which is performed by Faye Wong. Sometimes I feel that she has wasted her talent as she didn't really sing a lot of songs like Jacky Cheung did. It's really a pity... (O___O )

How do we read text?

Seen this quite a while ago but I think that it's a fun fact so I decided to post it here. See the text below and you'll understand :)

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Ad: Talent Search

Although not many people read my blog, my friend asked me to post an ad here for a talent search. The information is listed below:

Talent Search

For TV entertainment show on Major TV Station
  • Anchors (M/F)
  • Actor/Actress
  • Production Assistant
Bring head shot & resume

Date: 1/13/07 (Sat)
Time: 2:00pm
Place: Dot Media production/Color Entertainment
Address: 5118 Walnut Grove ave, San Gabriel, CA 91776

If you're interested in the entertainment industry, give it a try :)

Monday, January 1, 2007

College Saga - Episode 1

I don't really post this frequently but this video is just awesome. If you played RPG game like Final Fantasy before you should find this very funny. They got 4 episodes and you can watch the rest at in the following. Enjoy :)