Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Maps Traffic

Current traffic from Apple Maps on iPad2:

and Google Maps (web):

I think the Google version is easier to understand visually. I really don't like the dashes on the Apple version since it's hard to tell the difference between moderate and heavy traffic.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mountain Lion on MBA

Can resist... must update software...

I just finished updating my MBA to Mountain Lion (10.8.2) at work. I started the update (4GB download) then found out that I left the power adapter at home. I had ~3.5 hours remaining so I thought it should be safe.

The update appears to have installed correctly and everything still works. It even appeared to fix the crappy wifi connection problem at work. We'll see if it's better at home too.

When I bought my Mac mini several years ago, there was no Broadcom parts inside; Apple must have been rotating suppliers. The 2012 MBA has lots of Broadcom parts:

- Bluetooth
- USB (BCM20702)
- Wi-Fi (BCM43xx)

Too bad I'm not working there anymore... not that 3 chips will help much. From the Bluetooth connection data, both my iPhone4 and iPad2 contains a Broadcom Bluetooth chip while the external mouse has an Infinion chip.


Well, it looks like the wifi problem was software. After upgrading to Mountain Lion yesterday, I was able to connect to work wifi within 5 seconds. With 10.7.4 and 10.7.5, it would take multiple attempts and errors to connect.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

iOS6 Update (Why Apple Sucks)

Sigh... I updated my iPad2 with iOS6 this morning. I knew about the "new" Maps app from Apple replacing Google Maps but I was surprised to find that YouTube is also missing. Other than email, Google Maps and YouTube are the two apps I use the most on my iPad and now they're both gone... and I got nothing in return from iOS6.

After the "no Flash on iOS devices" crap, I should have zero expectations from Apple but this is pretty lame. You can't find Google Maps nor YouTube on in the iTunes apps store so I'm stuck with the crappy Apple Maps and using YouTube on Safari Chrome. Again, I love Apple hardware and operating system but hate Apple management. Why can't I have Adobe Flash instead of nothing? Why can't I run Siri on my iPhone4 and iPad2? Slow is better than nothing. :(

P.S. Yes, I know why. Apple wants to sell more hardware. I wish they'd just say it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Apple System Updates

All three of my Apple devices need a system update. The brand new MacBook Air still has OS X 10.7.4, and both my iPhone4 and iPad2 are running iOS 5. I did receive a code for a free Mountain Lion update but online reviews have been mixed, even for version 10.8.2. As for iOS 6, I heard that Apple was a bit premature with replacing Google Maps with its own version. I use Google Maps a lot so I'm going to hold off updating my iOS devices.

When I was young, I would jump on any and all system updates. Now that I have experiencing with bricking (is that a word?) several computers and other equipment, none which are jail-broken, I'm hesitant about updating right away. I don't have the time (or energy) to spend days rebuilding a system due to update malfunctions.

I think I'll go drink a few beers and try the OS X 10.8 update.


Heh. Right after I posted the above and quit out of Chrome, I see an Apple software update notice window pop up, asking me to download Lion 10.7.5 (1.23 GB) and a firmware update. Right down the system is downloading the update software. I seriously hope the firmware update won't brick my new MBA. Maybe I'll hold off on Mountain Lion...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shuttle Endeavour

Since work is near LAX, we got a pretty good view of Shuttle Endeavour's piggyback flight. Marketing told us that the Shuttle would flyby anywhere from 11:30am to 12:30pm so a bunch of us headed out to the parking lot across the street. It was really hot but it seemed everyone was outside trying to catch a glimpse.

The first pass was pretty far away. I think it was headed to the California Science Center and downtown LA.

It then looped around back towards LAX but still pretty far away.

After flying over Orange County, including Disneyland, the shuttle carrier did a really close flyby over our work building. Not sure if it was planned since we're one of the potential replacements for flying NASA astronauts... it was pretty awesome.

Closer shot without the two chase planes.

I gave my point-and-shoot camera to a co-worker who was allowed on the roof of our building.

After the close flyby, the shuttle carrier looped around LAX and lined up for final approach and landing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Prophet" Manasseh Jordan

I got a spam call earlier from 800-318-3684. I get a lot of spam calls so I didn't answer but surprisingly, the caller left a voice message. The message was from a Manasseh Jordan and basically he wanted me to call back (at another 800 number) to join his prayer circle. Wow, God works in mysterious ways! I've been a Christian for 20+ years and I've never got a call like this before.

After Googling the 800 number, I found the website for "Prophet" Manasseh. There's actually not much hard information on the site. Here's his bio:
Once affectionately referred to as the "Young Prophet" by peers and congregations nationwide, now best known as Prophet Manasseh Jordan began ministering at the tender age of eight and carries with him the quintessence of hope, healing and restoration that is bestowed upon the lives of those he touches.

Over the next several years, he knew then that God had a much BIGGER plan for his life. So he went through extensive and intensive training under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, for the express purpose of understanding the prophetic office and ministry. This training has enabled him to move in the realm of accurate prophetic ministry.

Ministering at eight years old... yeah, right. Also, extensive AND intensive training by the Holy Spirit? What does that mean? Is that equal to a M.Div from a seminary? Looking around the website, there are lots of opportunity to buy stuff or become a "partner" for $30 to $500 per month. More telling, there is no entry for Manasseh Jordan Ministries at Charity Navigator. Other similar organizations are listed, such as Billy Graham Evangelical Association, Far East Broadcasting Corporation, Haven Ministries, etc.

Researching further, it seems our "young prophet" was associated with Benny Hinn and Paul Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network fame (or infamy).

Well, that's all I need to know about this false prophet. Like the rest of the "ministers" around him, all they do is take money from people and promising "blessings" for them in return. I'm pretty sure this is not in the Bible.

Cyber Attacks

I got an email from the information security guy at work saying that we've been experiencing a lot of cyber attacks on our network, and that we need to change our network login password.

This was then followed 3 minutes later by a reply-all from our CEO suggesting that a state actor is possibly behind the attacks. Hmm... China? Russia? North Korea?


I used to complain that there are not enough K-pop concerts in the US, now it seems like there are too many! :)

I just found out about another "local" K-pop concert at Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine on Oct 13. It seems to be more than just a concert, i.e., there are lots of other side events. However, there are only 5 artists/groups so far, and most are boy bands. Looking at the list, I only know about 4Minute and G.NA (Canadian!) so I probably won't go.

I'm still hoping that the "postponed" SBS Super Concert will still be held sometime this year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Amazon Sales Tax

Since my new MacBook Air does not have an Ethernet port, and I can't use the wifi at work (without installing a certificate that I can't get without the certificate), I decided to buy a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter. It cost $29 on Apple Store, Amazon, and at a local store, MacMall. If this was pre-Amazon tax days, I may have ordered it from Amazon, even though it's >$3 in taxes. However, without the sales tax advantage, I decided to stop by the local store after work and buy it there.

I also saw the same MBA model for less at MacMall ($1424). However, if you add sales tax, my Amazon purchase was still cheaper in total at $1463.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Microsoft Outlook 2011

Since I have Office 2011 for Mac, and Microsoft replaced Entourage with Outlook, I wanted to link to my Hotmail account using Outlook, like I do on my Windows 7 desktop. Without reading too closely, I put in my Hotmail credentials and Outlook proceeded to download 2800+ email messages... I need to clean out my inbox. However, the account was configured to POP3 instead of IMAP so all the messages came into the inbox, without any folders. Crap. I researched online and found out that Hotmail doesn't really support IMAP, and Office 2010 (Windows 7) uses a connector software to provide IMAP-like connections.

Of course, that piece of important software is not available on OS X. Why? Who knows. Not enough Mac users bitching at Microsoft? Whatever the case, I'm now back to using a browser to access my email. Lame.


I'm now installing Diablo III on the MBA (MacBook Air). D3 works well on my desktop since I have a Radion 6870 video card. The MBA only has an Intel HD4000 with 384MB of video RAM.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Apple 3-Piece Set

Freshman Wants Apple Three-Piece Set for College, Her Claim that Inability to Buy Will Embarrass Her Leaves Her Mother in Tears

Since the middle of August, freshmen have been arriving at universities one after another for registration. Quite a few of them have been acquiring “equipment” for their upcoming college life. At a store in Beijing Zhongguancun, this scene occurred: A girl insisted on buying an iPhone4s, iPad3, and Macbook “Apple 3-Piece Set”, and they had to be with high configuration/specifications. The girl said, “if you don’t buy me these, just go ahead and let me lose face in college”. Her mother was in tears because she couldn’t afford them.

Now that my new Apple MacBook Air has arrived, I've caught up to a Chinese college freshman. Hmm... my iPhone is a work phone so it's not really even mine.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Change From Within

Global Times
Beijing government has announced that for the first time, it is allowing foreigners to apply for positions as government officials.
Both foreigners and overseas Chinese are welcome to apply for a government talent program, which is designed to attract overseas scholars and entrepreneurs for seven special positions in the Beijing government, the Global Times confirmed with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources Tuesday.

"It's the first time that we've decided to recruit senior managers and specialized talents from overseas to work for the government. It doesn't matter if you are Chinese or not," the bureau's media officer, surnamed Cui, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

If the candidate can meet the requirements, he or she can apply. Successful applicants will be employed as assistants to senior officials or as the director of some major projects.

If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.

Wow, a whole whopping 7 positions. Still is this an opportunity to work within the party and reform from within? Laowais can apply?!
Despite this, the job information is only posted in the Chinese language on the HR bureau's website, and on, a site that recruits people from overseas for jobs in China.

That's okay. I know enough Mandarin to get by. My first job out of engineering school was at a Chinese-owned company where I had to learn technical terms in Chinese. I think I'd be perfect for auditing government agencies and SOE (state-owned enterprises) for corruption. 17 years of budgeting and financial analysis should qualify me...
Chinese candidates for official positions should undergo a background "political check," which includes looking at the records of parents or grandparents.

Dang it. That KMT family history is not going to help. Maybe by "foreigners" they mean North Koreans or Cubans.

Chinese Mafia, Part 83472946

Beijing Cream

Remember, it's People's Republic of China

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

46 Slaves

Look, a website that calculates how many "slaves" work for me... and most of them are in China. If I'm going to oppress people through forced labor, I may as well do it to my "own" people.

Slavery Footprint

This is beyond stupid, and a waste of taxpayer money: the website is sponsored by the State Department. The site says the average person has 38 slaves; I got dinged for my 10 computers. There are about 200+ million adults in the U.S. If each one has 38 slaves working for them, then there are 7.6 billion slaves worldwide supporting the American lifestyle.

Wait, there are only 7.0 billion people on earth? Let's not let facts get in the way of progressive feel-good propaganda crap. If you are going to use incendiary rhetoric such as equating "owning slaves" to consumerism, you'd better get your story straight. Like the comment above for China. There are closer to 250 million migrant workers and the majority do not work in illegal coal mines or brick kilns. Most probably work in factories like Foxconn; is that considered "forced labor"?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Must have been a busy week at the Chinese Consulate


Corvallis Gazette-Times
Mural draws fire from China

Citing “strong resentment from the local Chinese community,” the Chinese government has asked the city of Corvallis to force a Taiwanese-American businessman to remove a mural advocating independence for Taiwan and Tibet from his downtown building.

But city leaders say the mural violates no laws and its political message is protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Taiwanese artist Chao Tsung-song painted the 10-foot-by-100-foot mural last month on the side of the old Corvallis MicroTechnology building at Southwest Fourth Street and Jefferson Avenue. The work was commissioned by property owner David Lin, who is renovating the space for a restaurant and has rechristened the building Tibet House.

In vivid colors, the painting depicts riot police beating Tibetan demonstrators, Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule and images of Taiwan as a bulwark of freedom.

In a letter dated Aug. 8, the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco formally complained to Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning about the mural’s content and asked for her help in having it removed.

“There is only one China in the world,” the letter reads in part, “and both Tibet and Taiwan are parts of China.”

Seriously?! China sent two people to middle-of-nowhere Oregon to complain about a mural? Even better...
The letter goes on to note the strong economic and cultural ties between China and Oregon and suggests that Corvallis would benefit from cooperating with the consulate’s request.

Sounds a lot like the mafia, no?

Bill Ruehle Book, Part 2

Still reading... I just finished chapter 4 of Bill Ruehle's book.

A few comments:

As Bill mentions in his book, he is a very private person. Not sure how this affects his personal life, but he was pretty distant at work, at least to the peons in Finance. I'm certain that he didn't know who I was, and I don't remember ever talking to him personally. For many years, I organized an annual Finace event at Del Mar racetrack; each year I would send an invite to Bill but he never attended... heck, he never even replied to my invites. The general impression was that Bill only focused on investor relatons and left day-to-day Finance management to the coproate controller.

Bill also writes about his family in the book, including his current wife, Julie (Bahadori). He didn't hide the fact that she worked for him at Broadcom though he says that their relationship was strictly professional. However, I've heard from many ex-Broadcom employees that she wasn't exactly a model of professionalism at work.

Anyway, this doesn't mean he was guilty of anything. It's his book so he gets to tell his side of the story.

Sleeping Dogs

I've been playing this game for the past few days. It's basically Grand Theft Auto set in Hong Kong with the twist that you are an undercover cop... kinda like a video game version of Infernal Affairs. There is a lot of cussing in English and Cantonese; every time you bump into someone while running or driving, I hear 有冇搞錯, which means are you kidding?

Overall, the game is pretty good but it tries to out-GTA the original game. There are lots of gratuitous violence, blood and gore, and much more sexual innuendo than GTA. The graphics on the PC version is very detailed. On some cars, you can see vented disc brakes and painted calipers. Lots of CGI cleavages too.

Few things that suck. First is the controls on a PC using keyboard and mouse. It's obviously designed as a console game first so it's hard to control, especially while driving. I ordered a Logitech gamepad a few days ago so I'll continue when it arrives. Another problem is that Hong Kong drives on the wrong side of the road. I keep forgetting when driving fast in-game, which leads to a lot of crashes. Unlike GTA, you are penalized if you crash into stuff while on a mission.

Finally, the voice acting is excellent. They casted real Asians (Kelly Hu, Lucy Liu, Edison Chen, James Hong) instead of a bunch of white people, but some of the HK English accents are too much. :)


Friday, September 7, 2012

Error 3006

My friend told me that Blizzard was allowing people to download a trial copy of Diablo 3. I bought every Blizzard game so far, except for World of Warcraft, including the original Diablo and Diablo 2 + expansion. I've read all the reviews of Diablo 3 on Amazon with disappointment; I wanted this game to be good, dang it!

After downloading >8GB of stuff and installing the trial version, I had trouble logging into my account (worked for Starcraft 2). After clearing that up, I waited and waited and waited... and got error 3006. I anticipate getting error 37 next.

"I have to walk the car..."

Bill Ruehle Book

I saw on Facebook today that Bill Ruehle, former CFO of Broadcom, wrote a book about his personal experience with the SEC "backdating" investigation. For ~7 years, from 2000 through 2006 (when Bill "retired"), I worked in Finance at Broadcom. Even though I was a Senior Manager by mid-2006, there were always two layers of additional management so I didn't work with Bill directly. Anyway, I bought the Kindle version of the book on Amazon for $10; it should be an interesting read.

Coincidentally, when I reported to my one and only jury duty experience (Orange County Court), Bill Ruehle was on trial as the defendant in Federal court next door. During the voir dire portion of my jury duty, the judge asked me if I knew Bill (I remember he pronounced his last name like "rules") and I admitted that I worked "for" him for 7 years.


I'm only halfway through the 2nd chapter and I've already learned stuff I didn't know after working 11 1/2 years at Broadcom. I do agree with Bill that the entire SEC/DOJ investigation was a total waste of time and money. As a taxpayer and Broadcom employee/shareholder, I paid for both sides of this fiasco. Not sure what it cost the government (read: tax money) to pursue the case but Broadcom easily spend tens of millions, maybe even a hundred million dollars defending its executives.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Recent Power Usage

Can you tell when we took our vacation?

Another New Computer

It's like an addiction... I almost bought a Mac Air several times during the past year but was able to resist the urge. Anyway, I just ordered the 13.3" Mac Air with the 256GB SSD. This means I'll restore my ASUS netbook back to WinXP since it's not too stable running OSX 10.6.

I originally wanted to buy a Macbook Pro since I was planning to connect by Tascam DAW via Firewire. A co-worker told me that I can get a Firewire adapter for the Thunderbolt port but then I would have to use the internal display. I think that's an acceptable sacrifice to save 50% on weight.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ban Profits!

Ugh, what is wrong with these people?! No profits means no corporations and no jobs... do these retarded Democrats think we can all work for the government?!

California Sales Tax

Amazon is going to start collecting state sales tax for California starting Sept 15. Hmm... I think it's a good time to buy that Macbook I always wanted.