Monday, June 30, 2008

Walt Blacconiere (Oct 2, 1956 - Mar 4, 2007)

One of our summer interns from last year started work today at Broadcom. He got his MBA degree last month from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington. I thought about asking him whether he had Prof. Blacconiere for any accounting classes since I remember that Walt went to Indiana after being denied tenure at USC in 1994. A quick search on the Internet turned up this PDF file. Walt had passed away last March from pancreatic cancer.

"Debit = Left; Credit = Right"

I was fortunate enough to have Walt as my MBA core accounting teacher at USC in 1993. I wanted to be a high-tech consultant so the last thing I wanted to learn was accounting. The typical stereotype was that accounting is boring (Intermediate Accounting was boring) but Walt made the classes exciting. Each lecture had a special theme and since you could be cold-called at any moment, a lot of us actually spent time reading the course material before class. It's been close to 15 years since my intro accounting class but I still recall some of his crazy antics. One lecture was titled "Accounting Vices" which was basically about accounting fraud (backdating stock options?!). He had us bring "vices" such as junk food, cigarettes, alcohol, and something else. A student (ex-football player from Cal) brought in a blender and was making margaritas at the back of the class. Here is someone else's blog post about Walt; I can relate to all his class descriptions.

However, during the summer of 1994, we found out that Walt was denied tenure at USC. I think the reason given was that he did not publish enough. I think everyone realizes that you need to publish papers at a research university but it seemed to us that there was not enough consideration for teaching excellence. A lot of students complained to the administration but to no avail. Walt won many teaching awards at USC and continued to win many more at IU. In my 8 years of college, Walt was probably the best professor I ever had. Henry Samueli was pretty good too but at least I understood the accounting course material; digital signal processing, not too much.



OMG! I'm watching Wipeout on and it's hilarious. It's a total ripoff of Takeshi's Castle/MXC; I used to watch MXC all the time when I had SpikeTV on cable. All they're missing are the goofy costumes. It does look very physical though so it's pretty easy to guess who will be eliminated first.

Since this is America, I'm wondering if someone gets hurt on the show, whether they'll sue even though I'm sure they had to sign a bunch of waivers.


Ha ha, Wipeout is followed by I Survived A Japanese Game Show. Too bad it's more of a reality show; I'll need to fast-forward to get to the actual contest segments. It seems that part of the show will exploit cultural ignorances; the first episode has the contestents being yelled at for not taking their shoes off indoors. There is also a "mama-san" at the house where they are living; I thought that was only for massage parlors and special KTV bars. Of course, there are no Asian contestants on the show but at least the host is Japanese-American.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Peak Season Airfare

I was checking airfare from LAX to CTU on Cathay Pacific's website for this September. If I travel during the week of the 15th, round-trip airfare will be ~$2400. If I travel a week later, then the price drops to ~$1200. Other than an arbitrary definition of "peak" season, nothing changes from one week to another to warrant a 50% price drop. I also didn't expect the difference to be so much... I wonder if they have any passengers during the last week of peak season.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Slow USB Drive

Hmm. I just copied a 700MB AVI file (Hitman, the movie) from my notebook HDD to both an external 250GB HDD via USB and a Sandisk Cruzer 4GB USB drive. To my surprise, the USB drive was much slower. I didn't time each file transfer but it was about 4x slower to copy to the USB drive vs. the external HDD. I wonder if the solid-state drives now being offered in computers are any faster than a fast HDD.


I just checked and the external PC drive is a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA drive. Wow, I guess the 7200RPM drives are fast. Too bad the internal drives in my Mac mini and VAIO are 5400RPM drives.


I also checked the other external drive attached to my Mac and it's also a Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 drive but twice the capacity at 500GB. I got lucky on both purchases since neither one listed what was inside when I bought them; could have been stuck with slower 5400RPM or 4200RPM drives.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Camera

I'm thinking of getting a new camera. My current camera is a Panasonic DMC-TZ3 which is a point-and-shoot with 7.2MP and a 10x zoom. I also have a 2.0MP Sony U-20 and a old Canon T-50 35mm film camera. The TZ3 takes pretty good pictures but I've wanted to get a digital SLR ever since I bought the Sony A100 for my dad.

Recently, Costco started carrying the Nikon D60. I've read many reviews and it seems to be a very good entry-level camera. The Costco package has the body, a 18-55mm lens, a 55-200mm lens, a 1GB SD card, and a carrying case for $825. However, Amazon has just the camera and the 18-55mm lens for $615. I think I'll probably get it at Amazon since I can save ~$60 on sales tax and get a 70-300mm Sigma zoom lens later. The 1GB SD card is not that useful anyway and a 4GB SDHC Class 6 card is only $18.

I'm still deciding whether to buy a new video game console (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) or just keep my PS2.

Taiwan Show

I'm watching a show about Taiwan on (Discovery) HD Theater. It seems to be various video segments on different locales and attractions during the last Lunar New Year (year of the rat). The last video showed thousands of people in motorcycle helmets, looking to get hit by fireworks for good luck. This is followed by other segments on paper lanterns, temples, pottery, etc. So far, I've never heard of any of the places they've shown yet... :(

Oh, they're showing a segment on Jiaofen. I've been there before! Now they're talking about Taipei 101 and CKS Memorial Hall. Hmm, they're still calling it by it's original name and mentioned CKS even though it was filmed only several months ago. They also showed a shot of the new high-speed bullet train; trips from Taipei to Tainan only takes one hour. The last time I took that trip, it was close to six hours by bus.

During the show, they interview several people. Though some spoke Mandarin or Taiwanese, a lot of people spoke English. They sometimes have subtitles for people speaking English, I guess letting us know what they're trying to say. They interviewed the governor of Taipei County; he speaks pretty good English so no subtitles.


Growing up in large cities (Taipei, Toronto, Los Angeles), I've never experienced hunger before. There's always enough money and restaurants/stores to get food. However, for the past 4 days, I've eaten pretty much nothing. Long story short, my leg is still hurting and my doctor gave me a prescription for vicodin. One of the side effects is vomiting and that's what happened Tuesday morning. Like I mentioned when I got sick in China, the last time I threw up was back in 1986 so this is not a normal experience for me. Since then, I've had a bowl of porridge and a package of instant noodle. I was going to stop taking the painkiller but I wimped out; my leg was hurting too much.

I've been feeling nauseous for a few days. Not sure if it's from the drugs or from not eating (no eat = no puke). If this is what hunger feels like, I can't imagine feeling like this everyday. :(

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Log-in Again?!

I've been trying to work from home today. Even with a fast connection, it takes forever to attach files to an email since Outlook has to download the file from the server to the local computer, then upload the entire email back to the Exchange server before the message can be sent. My cable modem connection has been messed up since Sunday so it's even worse than normal. So to avoid sending megabyte files back and forth, I'm using Web Access for Outlook on our Citrix server. To do this however, it means I have to log into my computer (Windows XP), connect to work via VPN, log into the Citrix server, log into, then finally log into the Exchange server via the web. Once I'm logged all the way in (5 times), to attach and send emails is actually pretty quick.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

BBC Article
The mother of a dissident Chinese web journalist who vanished last week says he has been taken into police custody.

Huang Qi had not been seen or heard from since he was bundled into a car in Chengdu, the capital of the quake-hit province of Sichuan, last Tuesday.

It is thought Mr Huang may have been detained for posting an article about an academic held for criticising the government's response to the quake.

Mr Huang finished a five-year jail term for subversion in 2005.

Boy, I'm so glad that I'm not a citizen of PRC. I would probably be in a jail cell next to this guy for criticizing the communist government. How can one claim that there's rule of law in China when he gets 5 years in jail for posting articles about 6/4 while corruption is rampant.

I've been talking to my friend who is attending college in Chengdu. Even though she is studying business administration, she has to take a class on "Mao's Thoughts." Unlike most other college classes however, you're not allowed to question anything in the textbooks, much less tell everyone you think Mao was insane (my opinion). How do you learn anything if you're not allowed to discuss and disagree, unless the purpose is not education but indoctrination. Any system, whether political or religious, where you cannot question the orthodoxy, is corrupt. The U.S. political system is far from perfect, but we're allowed--even encouraged--to criticize and to participate to make it better. In China, that just gets you thrown in jail.

I truly believe that people in the Chinese government and those that join the communist party are in it for themselves, i.e., wealth and power. In China, any dissent on any topic is seen as a challenge to the political elite and must be censored and repressed immediately. How ironic. Of course, politicians in the U.S. are probably looking out for number one as well, but at least I can criticize them and vote them out of office.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vista Incompatibility

First casualty of Windows Vista: Star Wars Battlefront II. I tried using the WinXP compatibility option but it still keeps crashing. Maybe it's the crappy Intel video on the new computer; it kept warning me about missing "TnL" or something.

OTOH, I installed Quicken Deluxe 2002 and it seems to be working. I'm going to try Diablo II next.


I just tried Age of Empires III and it also gave me a compatibility warning. I ran it anyway and it was really slow, especially the 3D screen refresh. It didn't run that fast on my Dell and it had a 256MB nVidia graphics chip. At this point, I'm not sure if it's Vista or the built in Intel X3100 video chip. I wonder if MAME32 (arcade emulator) will run? At least I can play Ms. Pacman.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Broadband" Internet Connection

Something happened to my Internet connection at home this morning. I'm supposed to have ~10Mbps cable modem access and I've run network speed tests in the past that shows >9Mbps. However, my connection has slowed to a crawl and even drops out occasionally. It feels like I've been transported back to the days of the 56k modem, waiting hours to download anything.

I thought it was the new computer and Windows Vista but I brought it to work this afternoon and it connected fine; I'm not sure what type of Internet connection we have at work but it's off the chart on every speed test I tried. I'm even having problems connecting to the work VPN from home. It looks like I may have to update some slides for tomorrow which means I have to drive into work again, third time this weekend. I don't really mind but when I go in, I hear the air conditioning kick in on my floor. I hope it doesn't end up cooling the entire floor or building just for me.

Friday, June 13, 2008


My new computer was delivered to work today. I've been pretty happy with it so far except for all the extra pre-installed software that I don't want. I ended up uninstalling trial versions of Microsoft Office 2007 and Adobe Acrobat 8.0 Professional along with Microsoft Works. I also got rid of a spyware blocker that doesn't work with Vista and Norton 360. In it's place, I installed Norton Anti-Virus from work that allows for unlimited updates.

Vista is okay so far. Applications are crashing at about the same rate as WinXP and I spent the first couple of hours dealing with patches and updates. Looking at the labels on the box, the computer was made in China, shipped to a Sony warehouse in Carson (California), shipped to warehouse in Lexington (Kentucky), then shipped to my work in Irvine (California). Too bad I can't collect frequent flyer miles on the computer. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I've never paid too much attention on house valuations on Some of the numbers they come up with seemed unrelated to reality. I looked up my old house today and the Zestimate® is $928,500.

The dark blue line is supposed to represent the value of the house and the light blue & orange lines represent ZIP 92821 and the city of Brea respectively. The round $ symbol is where we sold the house for $646,000 in May-06.

1. Not sure what accounts for the crazy spike in prices at the far right of the chart but it's probably not correct.

2. The house across the street is for sale and listed at $539,900. The current owner bought it in Feb-08 for $530,000 so there's not much change. I checked out the house before and the interior is nicer than my old house; the floorplan and size is identical. The value is $1,011,000 or about double the list price. Crazy!

3. From the ZIP and city averages, it appears that we sold at the peak. The new owners are ~$125,000 underwater on their purchase. :(

Jumping Ship

Our new VP of Accounting (and my prior boss for 6 years) is leaving to become CFO at Mindspeed. He was recently promoted to the VP position but I guess the CFO title is too hard to resist. Mindspeed is actually a competitor and was one of the many companies spun out from Conexant. They're not doing too well... losing money since at least 2005 and they just announced a 1-5 reverse split, probably trying to avoid being delisted from NASDAQ.

Since I worked for him for so long, some co-workers think that he'll try to get me to go with him to Mindspeed. I'm not sure I want to give up my ~4 weeks of vacation each year and accumulated stock options and RSU's. Maybe if he makes me the Director of PowerPoint Presentations I'll reconsider... :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

iPhone 2.0

Announced today at Apple WWDC in San Diego. The release date will be July 11 and will finally have 3G network support plus GPS and a bunch of other stuff. I think I want one... my mom can have my RAZR V3. Whether I really get one or not will depend on the 3G speed and what service plans AT&T offers with the phone. I can probably give up my iPod too since I never fill the 30GB anyway.

Both black and white models

$299 for 16GB and $199 for 8GB. That's $12.50 per GB... pretty cheap!

Hmm, Apple's website is loading really slow. I think there's probably a bit of interest out there for the iPhone. What's weird is that the iPod touch is still selling for $299 for the 8GB model. Those prices probably need to come down.

NewSong NOC Worship/Sermon

The worship set and sermon from last week (6/1/08) is posted online. I think this is the first time that I'm seen playing bass on a video. It's also the first time I played without hiding behind a music stand; I still stare at my fingers too much though.

There are two songs at the beginning, a special song (Dare You To Move by Switchfoot) right at the end of the sermon (29:45), and a few more at the end (45:50).

Speaker: Alex Wu
Vocalist/Acoustic Guitar: Tom Choe
Female Vocalist: Carolyn Kim
Vocalist/Electric Guitar: Josh Chang
Keyboard/Acoustic Guitar: Dave Martyn
Drums: Benedict Choi
Bass: me

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chinese Culture

One of the few HD cable channels I get is HD Theater and they have a series on festivals of the world. Right now, they're showing the mid-autumn festival in Hong Kong. In addition to talking about the festival and moon cakes, they also introduce elements of Chinese culture. The narrator will say "The Chinese believe..." or "The Chinese do this because..." but I found that much of it was foreign to me. Maybe because I grew up in North America and most of the stuff has to do with superstition and how to ward evil spirits.

I get this feeling when I'm in China too. Even though I speak and understand Chinese (mostly), I'm still pretty Americanized when it comes to culture and world view. I think it would be easier if I looked like a laowai since expectations would be much lower. Instead, because I look like everyone else, local people think I'm retarded or something when I can't understand what they say or do something culturally different. This is especially worse in Chengdu since most locals will speak in Sichuanese to me first. Maybe I need a t-shirt that with 老外 (foreigner) or 美国人 (American) printed on it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New Computer

I just bought another computer this afternoon. However, I have an excuse: I'm giving my Dell "laptop" to my dad. He's currently using Shirley's old Compaq 1722 laptop; it's running really slow and he's looking for a replacement since he's spending a lot of time on digital photography and audio recording. I was also thinking of getting a smaller laptop since the 17" models are not really portable. Lately, I've been carrying around my work computer (Dell D410) on both PMI and personal trips which is probably not good.

I ended up buying a Sony VAIO CR420 from It's not the latest model (CR490) but it was $100 cheaper and buying through Amazon means no sales tax! The only differences appear to be the CPU (2.1GHz vs. 2.4GHz) and the sound chip.

OK, I admit it. I bought it for the nice shiny blue cover.

I just went to to grab these pictures. It seems I managed to get the last unit sold by Amazon. The price is now $1,139 ($40 more) and sold by a third party which usually means no free shipping.

My Dell Inspiron 1705 is only 18 months old and because I wanted to play games on it, I loaded it up with upgrades when I bought it. It has an Intel T5600 (Dual Core, 1.83GHz, 667MHz FSB, 2MB cache, 65nm process) and a nVidia 256MB graphics card that cost $200 extra. The new computer has an Intel T8100 (Dual Core, 2.1GHz, 800MHz FSB, 3MB cache, 45nm process) and 3GB of RAM but only the on-board Intel X3100 video chip. I thought it would run cooler than my Dell since it's manufactured with 45nm technology but both CPU's are using ~35 watts of power. The Sony CR series has a 14.1" LCD so it should be significantly lighter and smaller than what I have now.

The one bad thing with the new computer is that it's running Windows Vista. :(

Official Olympic Cheer

BBC Article
Beijing Olympic chiefs are introducing an official cheer for patriotic spectators to spur on Team China at the Games, Chinese media reports.

The authoritative, four-part Olympic cheer, accompanied by detailed instructions, will be promoted on TV, in schools and with a poster campaign.

It involves clapping twice, giving the thumbs-up, clapping twice more and then punching the air with both arms.

The cheer is accompanied by chants of "Olympics", "Let's go" and "China".

The Beijing Olympic Organising Committee has hired 30 cheering squads who will show spectators how it is done at Games stadia, reports Xinhua state media.

'Civilized cheering'

A committee official said the simple chants and gestures were designed to help spectators cheer for their favourite athletes in a smooth, civilized manner.

The Ministry of Education is also arranging special training sessions in schools for the 800,000 students who are expected to attend the Games.

Li Ning, president of the Beijing Etiquette Institute, told the Beijing News that the cheer was in line with general international principles for cheering, while at the same time possessing characteristics of Chinese culture.

Is there anything in China that the communist government is willing to give up control? Are they going to toss Olympic fans into labor camps if they clap three times or flash an unofficial hand sign in the middle of the cheer? They probably formed a huge committee, including lots of official lunches/dinners, to come up with this smooth+civilized cheer, not to mention the "30 cheering squads" helping people to master the cheer.

There are a lot of people in China, and they all need jobs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Henry Nicholas Drug Indictment

LA Times Article
A federal grand jury has indicted Henry T. Nicholas III on fraud charges, according to documents unsealed today that also accuse the Orange County billionaire of supplying customers with prostitutes and drugs and slipping Ecstacy into the drinks of unwitting technology executives.

In a 21-count indictment, Nicholas and former Broadcom Corp. Chief Financial Officer William J. Ruehle were charged with backdating millions of stock options for five years to improperly reward employees of the Irvine computer chip maker Nicholas co-founded.

A second indictment naming only Nicholas accused him of maintaining homes and commercial properties in Orange County and Las Vegas for the "purpose of using and distributing controlled substances" he sometimes referred to as "party favors."

The article has links to PDF files of the actual indictments. I've only looked at the drug indictment; the backdating stuff is probably not as interesting.

Overt Act No. 17: In early 2000, in New Orleans, Louisiana, defendent NICHOLAS used MDMA (ecstacy) to spike the drink of a technology executive without the executive's knowledge.

Overt Act No. 49: In or around 2001, in the lobby of Broadcom's office in Irvine, California, defendant NICHOLAS directed a Broadcom employee to provide approximately $5,000 to $10,000 in cash to a drug courier in exchange for an envelope containing controlled substances.

Overt Act No. 50: In or around 2001, defendant NICHOLAS distributed and used controlled substances during a flight on a private plane between Orange County, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, causing marijuana smoke and fumes to enter the cockpit and requiring the pilot flying the plane to put on an oxygen mask.

Overt Act No. 56: On or about June 29, 2002, pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, which contractually prevented the Broadcom employee from speaking about defendant NICHOLAS's unlawful narcotics activities, Broadcom paid $1,000,000 to the Broadcom employee and the employee's attorney.

Wow, Nick was buying drugs in our office lobby. I'm a bit worried about #56 since it appears that Broadcom paid the $1M instead of Nick personally. I wonder who in finance at the time knew about the $1M payoff...

Boston, Going Home via Chicago

Yawn, got up this morning around 3am (Eastern Time Zone) to get ready to go back to Orange County. Since the T doesn’t start operating until 6am, I had to take a taxi to Logan Airport. The taxi was a brand new hybrid Camry and the fare was ~$20. Even at 5am, the airport was already packed full of people. Once again, I’m glad that I have AA elite status which lets me use the business class check-in, the short line at security checkpoints, and board the plane early.

Our plane just (Boeing 757) just arrived at the gate and people are exiting the plane. My flight is supposed to depart in 30 minutes; let’s see if AA can turnaround a plane in such a short time. I’m just glad I’m carrying all my luggage. There are lots of people in line at the gate counter; I hope this doesn’t mean the flight is full. The next flight to Orange County after my flight is in 2 hours. If they offer me money, maybe I’ll take it since this was a “free” ticket anyway.

I need to post this after I get back to the office. All of the 4 airports (SNA, SFO, BOS, ORD) on this trip offers wifi but none for free. I was going to pay $7 for access but decided to read a book instead.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Boston, Part 2

It's ~midnight in Boston and I'm sitting in the hotel lobby with my laptop. The Internet connection in my room expired so I came downstairs to use the free wifi available in the lobby (but not in the room); I was too cheap to pay another $10 since I'm checking out in about 4 hours. I got an email from my real boss (not Leon) to check numbers on some slides so I need to download some large Excel source files from our server and it's taking forever.

The presentation at the conference went fairly well today. I was a bit nervous since it's been 20+ years since my only Material Science class at UCLA. Thankfully, I didn't get any questions during the session although several people came to talk to me afterward. Risking my life, I went back to the food court at the Prudential Center to get dinner. There are lots of good restaurants but I didn't feel like spending $40 to eat by myself. Meals at the food court are not cheap; it's costing me about $10 with a soft drink. For RMB70, I can probably feed a family of 4 for a week.

Tomorrow is going to be another long travel day. My flight from Boston leaves at 6am so I have to get up at 4am (1am Pacific time). It's about 2.5 hours to Chicago and another 4 hours to John Wayne. Since I'm out of vacation days, I'm going straight from the airport back to work.


I'm in Boston attending the 2008 Tech Connect Summit for PMI. The conference is being held at Boston in the Hynes Convention Center. This is the third time I've been to Boston; coincidentally, last time we stayed at the Fairmont hotel right down the street. The convention center and hotel (Boston Sheraton) is located right next to the Prudential Center. Maybe I'm getting used to Asian hotels so I expected free Internet and free breakfast in the morning. No such luck... I'm paying additional $10/day for the Internet and they pointed me to Starbucks for breakfast. At least the room doesn't smell like cigarette smoke.

The Blue Line train at Airport Station. This station was fairly new but the trains were all old looking. As we got closer to downtown Boston, the stations got crappier.

Conference banner. I didn't get to see any of the Nanotech stuff since I was mostly interested in CleanTech.

Hotel room. I was on the corner of the 19th floor so there were windows all around.

View north towards the Charles River and Cambridge.

I'm also having no luck with traveling. My left foot/ankle is still messed up and the 5 hour red-eye flight made it swell up again. I arrived in Boston Tuesday morning and took the T (Boston's subway) to the hotel. Since it was rush hour, I was crammed into the subway car and almost missed my stop. I got to the hotel at 8:30am but I couldn't check in until 3pm so I went to the conference in my travel clothes: jeans and sandals. Most of the people were dressed up in suits so I felt pretty out of place. Finally, I ate dinner at the food court in the Prudential Center and got sick. Wait, am I back in China?

Back to the conference. The main reason why I'm here is to make a presentation to VCs and other investors about PMI. My 10 minute slot is today at ~6pm so I spent all night/this morning reorganizing our existing PPT slides. I'm a bit worried since people were asking very technical questions during yesterday's company presentations. I'm not sure if "Uh, I dunno... I'm just the finance guy" answer will be enough.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Made of Honor

I was checking out movie trailers on Apple's website when I ran across this. I haven't heard about this movie before and from the trailer, the plot is pretty predictable. The funny part is that one of my co-workers actually asked me to be her bridesmaid at her wedding in August. She is originally from Korea and she said that they don't have groomsmen and bridesmaids in Korean weddings. Since I'm one of her best friends and her sisters are not going to be able to make it to the wedding (they're both in Korea), she wanted me to be in the wedding party. I kindly declined... I said that I can be an usher, walk her mom during the wedding, and say a toast at the reception but I'm not going to stand next to her in a dress. :)

Slightly off-topic but I saw trailers for both Star Trek and Star Wars. This should be good: Star Trek without William Shatner and Star Wars without any actors at all (animated).

Sunday, June 1, 2008

DIY Air Conditioning

One problem (there are lots) with my apartment is that the only A/C unit is outside in the living room. Since I'm on the top floor, whenever it's warm and sunny out, the apartment gets really hot and there's no way to cool down the bedroom. It's really inconvienent since all my computes are in the bedroom. In the past, I just end up going into work for free A/C and drinks.

Anyway, last year, right at the end of summer, I bought a long dryer vent hose at Home Depot to try and redirect the cold air into my bedroom. Since it cooled down right after I bought it, I never tried to hook it up. Well, it got pretty hot today so I found the hose along with some masking tape, and ran it to my bedroom. It's working pretty well but makes it hard to sit on the couch.

It was the longest hose I could find. I thought about using PVC pipe but it would be rigid and probably much harder to set up.

At the other end, I have a small fan blowing the cold air into the bedroom. I think I'm losing air at both ends; I need to get some duct tape to make the seals better.

Arg, I just checked the weather in Chengdu and the high today is 96ºF. I'm so glad I'm not there right now; no amount of A/C rigging is going to help with temperatures like that plus 90%+ humidity.