Sunday, January 22, 2006

Darker Days in China as Sun Gets Dimmer

Interesting story about smog in China. It must be all the coal they're still burning to boil water and make steam to heat buildings during winter. Probably don't have to do smog check every two years on their cars as well.


Smog is blocking sunlight in China and making much of the country significantly darker than it was half a century ago.

Using nearly 500 instruments spread throughout the country that record the amount of sunlight reaching the ground, researchers found that solar radiation has decreased by about 2 percent per decade since 1954.

The country is roughly 10 percent darker on average than it was 50 years ago.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

World Impact Winter 2006

Last weekend I volunteered to help out at the World Impact Winter 2006 retreat. World Impact is an organization that reaches out to inner city kids and this retreat was a chance for these kids to get away from their everyday environment. Even though I've live in large cities my whole life (Taipei, Toronto, Los Angeles), the only experience with the "inner city" was attending USC. Even then, I avoided the surrounding neighborhoods. The retreat went from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon; I only stayed until Sunday night since I had to work Monday. The camp was called The Oaks and was located about 40 minutes north of Magic Mountain. The first part of the drive was fine, however when we got off the exit, there was 23 miles of twisty mountain roads to drive, and it was raining pretty heavily on the way up.

I guess a couple of people on the NewSong worship team has helped out in the past but this time they wanted some production people to come along. The auditorium we were in was really nice with lots of new equipment. I think the hall only seats about 250 people but they had 10 2400 watt QSC amplifiers driving 4 subwoofers and 8 other speakers... crazy! Their sound board was a Midas Venice, the exact one we have at NewSong NOC so that was good. I ended up being the video guy since another sound tech from NewSong Irvine took care of sound. The other two people on the production team worked the lights and did lyrics/graphics. I think all of us brought our laptops so we had five computers on this little table and we used all of them. We ended up working the entire weekend since there were programs in the morning and the evening along with practice times. Sunday night was the craziest. First we had to set up for the worship team. Then during a 20 minute break, we had to tear down the entire setup and replace it with the remaining program which was Stomp, two rap groups, and a high school punk band. Two things I remember the most: me fanning the smoke coming out of the fog machine we rented, and the high school band's bass player asking me over and over whether "they" will hear him out there. I kept reminding him that we had 10,000 watts across 4 subwoofers; people down in LA will hear him!

Overall, it was a fairly positive experience. The accomodations were pretty nice as well. I brought a sleeping bag expecting the worst but didn't need to use it. The food was not too good but typical for camp. It got really cold at night; my car was covered with ice when I left Sunday night at 11pm. I think the kids had fun as well and many accepted Christ during Sunday night's service. Since they used my computer to run photo slide shows, I have a lot of pictures on the computer. I'll post some below before I delete them off my PC.


Quitters never win, winners never quit,
But those who never win and never quit are idiots.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Video iPod

Wow, the iPod just arrived at work. I placed the order Saturday morning and Apple managed to engrave it and ship from Shanghai to Irvine in 3 days.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Just found out today that I got promoted to Senior Manager. With all the job rotations recently (I lost both my staff), I guess everyone was thinking that they needed to rotate to be promoted.

Not sure how much money (if any) is involved right away since we have our annual review in a couple of months. Regardless, I bought myself a video iPod (black 30GB) to celebrate. I have 13GB of MP3's in my iTunes already.

Song with highest play count: Dancing Queen by ABBA :)

Friday, January 6, 2006

Microsoft Shuts Down Chinese Blog

By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jan 6, 1:47 PM ET

Microsoft Corp. has shut down the Internet journal of a Chinese blogger that discussed politically sensitive issues, including a recent strike at a Beijing newspaper.

The action came amid criticism by free-speech activists of foreign technology companies that help the communist government enforce censorship or silence dissent in order to be allowed into China's market.

Microsoft's Web log-hosting service shut down the blog at the Chinese government's request, said Brooke Richardson, group product manager with Microsoft's MSN online division at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Although Beijing has supported Internet use for education and business, it fiercely polices content. Filters block objectionable foreign Web sites and regulations ban subversive and pornographic content and require service providers to enforce censorship rules.

"When we operate in markets around the world, we have to ensure that our service complies with global laws as well as local laws and norms," Richardson said.

Richardson said the blog was shut down Dec. 30 or Dec. 31 for violating Microsoft's code of conduct, which states that users must be in compliance with local laws in the country in which the user is based.

The blog, written under the pen name An Ti by Zhao Jing, who works for the Beijing bureau of The New York Times as a research assistant, touched on sensitive topics such as China's relations with Taiwan. Last week, he used the blog to crusade on behalf of a Beijing newspaper.

Reporters at the Beijing News, a daily known for its aggressive reporting, staged an informal one-day strike after their chief editor was removed from his post. The editor's removal and the strike attracted comments on Chinese online bulletin boards, which censors then erased.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Texas 41 - USC 38

My boss's office door the day after the game... obviously he's a USC fan. The box of tissue is a nice touch.