Thursday, November 23, 2006

Niagara Falls

I've been in Canada since Sunday and it's mostly been visiting with relatives so far. This morning, my parents and I drove to Niagara Falls; I haven't been there since we left Canada 21+ years ago. I used to think it was really far from Toronto but it's only about an hour away. I guess once you get used to living in LA, anything within an hour driving is relatively close. Niagara Falls looks the same although there are a lot more highrise hotels and a couple casinos. It was sunny but still pretty cold and wet from the mist. If you go during the middle of winter, there is a coat of ice on everything from the mist.

Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the border. There was a double rainbow but it was hard to capture the second one with the camera.

The smaller American Falls along with Rainbow Bridge. The border runs down the middle of the Niagara River.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I bought a Garmin StreetPilot c320 for my mom. She asked me to buy her a GPS unit so if she wants to drive somewhere without my dad, she won't get lost. I ended up buying the c320 since it looked like it was easy to use and it was pretty cheap at The standard unit comes with only 128MB SD card which allows you to load maps for a couple of states. I ended up also buying a 2GB SD card for $40 which allows you to load all of U.S. and Canada and it was less expensive than buying the c330 which has all the maps preloaded on an internal HDD.

I've been testing it for the past few days since I'm going to bring it with me to Canada later today. The unit worked well except for the voice directions. For some reason, it would not say the words "left" and "miles" which meant instructions like "in 6 _ turn _ then turn right." I called Garmin tech support and it turned out that the c320 I bought had Audio v2.50 when the current release was 2.40. They weren't sure how that happened but I was able to "update" the firmware to the older version and now it seems fine. I heard they have a unit that supports East Asian languages but I couldn't find it anywhere. 左! 右!

I also have Microsoft's Streets & Trips with GPS Locator. That works pretty well too except I have to lug around a notebook computer since the GPS antenna plugs into a USB port. Definitely not as convenient as a portable unit. There is an option to download maps and buy a GPS antenna adapter for a Windows CE device but I may as well go buy another Garmin unit. I'm thinking something like this but I hardly ever get lost and I have 4 devices that play MP3s already: iPod 30GB, mobiBLU 1GB, Treo 128MB (stolen from the c320 above), and a RIO MP300 64MB.

Maybe I should save my money and get a Nintendo Wii instead. First U.S. units went on sale three hours ago.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Democrats sweep into power in House

Uh oh. We'd better figure out this stock option reprice thing and restate financials before the end of the year. I need to exercise options/sell stock before the Democrats raise taxes... :(

Friday, November 3, 2006

The PN Junction Diode

My friend Leon called me and asked if I still had textbooks from UCLA days, specifically a series of thin blue books we used in semiconductor physics (I thought it was EE121A but some of the classes are different now). I gave away almost all my engineering textbooks a few years ago but I knew I kept The PN Junction Diode, which was volume 2 of the series. I thought I had to dig in some boxes for it, but I found the book on my one and only bookshelf at home. The ASUCLA Student's Store price tag says $12.75; sells the same book (2nd Edition) currently for $25.80. I flipped through a couple of pages and none of it looks familiar anymore... there are lots of integrals and differential equations.

I think the only other engineering textbook I have left is Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits by Gray & Meyer. It's sitting on my bookshelf at work in case I need it to impress engineers that walk into my office. It was the textbook for EE115D with Dr. Asad Abidi; I think I failed that class but he was nice enough to give me a "C" and let me graduate. It's always a bad sign when a lot of your TA's are in taking the same class as you.


My co-worker just came back from lunch with his wife (pregnant with 2nd kid) and his 1+ year old son just puked all over him and inside the car. He also recently had his work computer stolen, lost a new Blackberry phone, and hit/killed a puppy on the way home from work this week. His comment was, "Can my life get any worse right now?!" or something to that effect.

Of course it can... everything is relative.