Sunday, December 31, 2006

Lawrence Lessig talk

One of my favorite blogger Lawrence Lessig on Free, and Difference beween culture and code.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Just a quick post here. Currently in Perth now, visiting Tammy's relatives. They're really nice folks, espeically her Gong Gong and Po Po. We'd hang out here for another week or so before heading out for a 2-week vacation on the east coast (Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Great Barrier Reef). The only thing to complain is the heat here! 37 degree celcius the other day!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Street-singing before getting busted!

As mentioned in an earlier post, this is how I was singing "American Pie" half-way in Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco when this cop came to have a chat with me :( He's a pretty nice guy though.

Perpetual Blues Machine

One of my favorite Keb Mo number.

Before you accuse me & Hey Hey

Eric Clapton Medley.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A New Chapter (Part 1)

This is a blog post that I've dreaded and at the same time looked forward to write for some time now. Basically, my time in America is finally coming to an end. In a few days time I'd be back in good o' Singapore, sweating through my shirts and digesting a plethora of Singaporean "makan" again. But before I go, I think it's a good time now to look back and reflect on the past 4.5 years of my life in America; for closure, for nostalgic reasons, I want to write down my thoughts now, before my memories start failing me and the sense of being here, in the "land of the free" eludes me when I return to my "comfort zone".

I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous when I stepped on the Detroit-bound plane 4 years ago. I was leaving a lot of things behind that I deeply cherish; I was leaving my parents, my 2 brothers, my friends and the girl of my life. In some ways I also felt that I was leaving behind my passion for music, for just a few months before departure I opted to forgo a shot to make it in the music industry and decided to stick with my overseas scholarship. I was definitely leaving a lot behind, but I longed for a "bigger" experience, a chance to "feel" a way of life that's vastly different from the one I was used to. At hindsight, many of my perceptions about America (blame it on Hollywood!) were distorted and reflected little of the truth, but it was a very different experience nevertheless, and I feel really blessed that I was given the opportunity to do it.

A note I wrote upon my first arrival in Ann Arbor. This piece of paper would eventually be pasted in front of my desk for the next 4.5 years.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Final days of street-singing (in US)

As my departure date draw closer, me and Tammy begin our frantic attempt to try out or do whatever we haven't done yet here in the Bay Area. For Tammy, it was about visiting more museums, checking out restaurants in the City or go on another Forever 21 spree. For me, it was street-singing. I'd write another long post to sum up my experience here in US in a day or 2, but for now, let's just say that I'd really miss street-singing in Berkeley (or SF).

The weather's been real shitty the past week, so I was really praying for the rain to stop at least for a day or 2. In the end, the rain did stop yesterday, so I ended up singing for almost 5 hours straight yesterday at the Berkeley BART station. It was really cold and at times I thought it was really going to rain. But somehow the weather held through and I actually got $70+ at the end of the day (my best day so far)!

It was a really satisfying time. Gotta play all my old favorites, plus a couple of Damien Rice and Keb Mo that I just picked up last week. Marcel, Chen Lu, Shong all dropped by to watch for a while. One of my favorite lecturer here at UC Berkeley, Bernt Wahl, also saw me and decided to join in for a few songs. A couple of passers-by also came up to me for a chat. 2 Jazz musicians asked me for a jamming session; a 40+ year-old Chinese lady danced to the Blues song "You can love yourself", a few gals came up to me to request for "Jamming", "One Love" etc (all Bob Marley numbers) but when I asked them if they know "No Woman No Cry" they gave me a blank face! I also saw Kathy, the first person I gotta know when I first started street-singing a year ago. It was a great feeling, singing my heart out in the center of Berkeley, once the enclave of the 60's youth movement (and hence Dylan and all the good stuff). The favorite moment came when I started singing "Dark side of the road". As a matter of fact I seldom do my own compositions while street-singing, but this guy came up to me and asked for an original, so I did the one I knew best. To my surprise I was really into the song, so much so that I closed my eyes throughout the song. When I'm finally done with the song, I opened my eyes to see this crowd of people who have gathered around me and gave me a round of applause. To find a pair of appreciative ears is just so much more rewarding than getting a few bucks, especially when it's for my own song.

In any case, I was all fired up and ready to go for another day of street-singing today. The weather couldn't have been better and I knew this is probably gonna be my last chance to do this in the States before I ship my equipment back to Singapore. Anyway, I always have this dream of street-singing at Fisherman's Wharf. Me and Tammy saw this street-singer belting out at this spot in Pier 39 when we were here 3 years ago and that image kinda stuck to my head. So I was really hoping to do just that before I leave. Unfortunately it was not to be.

We first went to Embarcadero, where we were supposed to catch a street-car to Fisherman's Wharf. Now they always have a farmer's market at the Ferry Building on weekend and there was a pretty good crowd. I got abit tempted and started looking for a spot to play. Unfortunately most of the "audible space" were already occupied by other street-performers, but I still ended up finding this really sweet spot. There ain't alot of passers-by traffic but the acoustic is soooo good (as I'm essentially facing a the formidable Ferry Building). I started with my usual "throat-warmer" Street of London. The sound echoing back to me was so magical; I told myself I'm gonna have a great time even if there's no one listening. Well, turns out the security guards were listening and they came to talk to me after that first song and that was all I had at the Ferry building.

Feeling slightly dejected, I decided to try my luck at Fisherman's Wharf, thinking "maybe I was really meant to sing there today". Found a decent spot and started setting my gear again. The sound pales in comparison to Ferry Building but there's surely alot more passers-by. At some point I started singing a Chinese song "我願意" and before I knew it, I was surrounded by a group of very curious tourists from China, who first filled up my money box with their dollar notes, before posing shots beside me and looking over my lyrics paper. Then there's this dude with his huge lizard just chilling on the bench across me the whole time while I was playing. I think he enjoyed my music, though he's probably a street performer in his own right, given that he and his cold-blooded companion attracts a bigger crowd than me for the most part. Anyway, just when I thought I was settling in and getting into the mood, a cop turned up and that was the end of it.

After this second time of "rejection", I was feeling kinda discouraged after finding most of the other "public parts" of the Wharf also occupied by other street performers. So that was the end of my street-singing career (at least for a long while). While I can't say that it ended on a high note, I was really glad that Tammy was with me the whole time when I felt dejected by the cops. She helped me with carrying all my "parang parang" and took the pictures below.

Looking back, I realized that for the whole day, I only truly enjoyed that "Street of London" song that I sang in front of the Ferry Building. And what was I thinking at that instant? Instead of getting immersed in that moment, I was busy thinking about what a great time I'd had for the rest of the afternoon and what other songs I should sing. Well, so I guess I've "missed" that magical moment. There's this saying "the gift is the presence". That really reminds me to live my life to the max, soaking in each day at a time. After all, I might very well miss out the best part if I keep planning for the next big thing....a rude awakening indeed.

Setting up behind the Ferry Building.

Singing for...sea gulls?

Finding "my" spot in Fisherman's Wharf, before running into the law...sian~

Dude with his lizard. He was sitting across me the whole time while I was playing. He seemed to really enjoy the music, though he and his unique companion certainly draws a bigger crowd than me for the most part.

Fisherman's Wharf...I hope to be back, and when I do I hope to do it right. A full 4-hour street-singing marathon is what I have in mind. Hopeful....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Brilliant goal!

Superb goal by Matthew Taylor!

Do you know who I am?

another funny ad!

Best beer ad ever!

hahahhaha! nice!

Time Travel (by thought)

Relativity to the extreme~ pretty neat clip on how our brain do a slight backward projection of time!

Blower's Daughter

One more Damien Rice cover :) Tammy's getting really annoyed with me practising his songs the whole day :p


Another Damien Rice cover. Enjoy~

Win a million, with style!

Millionaire With Style - video powered by Metacafe
Wow...this guy's awesome! Deserves the $1m man!

Must Watch! Super amazing bird!

Crazy Birds Island :p - video powered by Metacafe
This is just sooo amazing! I hope that these species may never go extinct!

Vision of Future (AT&T 1993 ad)

If AT&T has been that visionary, they wouldn't be regarded so as the 100-pound slow-moving giant now. Pretty amazing ad thou, considering it was made in 1993.

Words of wisdom (from a homeless guy)

A pretty amazing clip of a homeless guy talking 38-min non-stop of some semi-philosophical stuff...some parts are really funny, while there are some moments that I think this guy really has got alot in his head....judge for yourself~

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Master Presentation

I'm putting up the slides and video of my master presentation on "Localized Growth of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes". This also means the end of my graduate life~

Slides part 1

Slides part 2

The presentation video. It's great to look at your own presentation footage. There's indeed alot to improve in terms of my public speaking skills...

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Professor

A Damien Rice cover. Love this song!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fungus eats man's face

Warning: this video is pretty graphic. I recommend watching my earlier post on "Attack of the fungi" for some context. In any case, I really admire the wife's strength and love for her husband.

Swiss Fondue!

Marcel, a great guy from Switzerland, recently joined our lab and is now currently working on the same CNT project with me and Takeshi. Well, what do you do when you have a Swiss friend? Ask him to make you some Fondue! And that's exactly what we've done a few weeks ago~ we ended the night playing this really interesting kind of Swiss poker game...the whole deck only has 36 cards, the number only starts from 6 to 10, and the kings/jacks/queens all take on swiss names that now eludes me...too bad we didn't take pictures of those cards...

Tammy (as always) striking a pose for the camera...


more cheese..

fondue in-the-making.

(on the left) Marcel, the master himself...

mindy: how do you eat this???
takeshi: ask Ryoman!
Ryoman: aaaabiiiaamuuu!! (translates to "put some of those yummy stuff on my plate now!!" in baby language)

yummy!!! trust me, this is really good stuff!

As explained by the master himself...

the whole gang...getting pretty crowded here (in our tiny apartment)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Intel & Symantec CEO talk

One positive thing about studying in a school like Berkeley is that big-shot CEOs will just occasionally drop by. Just a few weeks back I went to one with Adobe CEO, Bruce Chizen, where he talked about the new Apollo project, FLEX and the acquisition of Macromedia. Last week, I went to another one with Marcel; this time hosted by the PBS program called "CEO Exchange", which have Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, and Symantec CEO, John Thomson, moderated by CNN's Jeff Greenfield.

There were a few interesting things that I learned:

1. Since this is a televised program, we were made to "laugh" and "appear engaged" so that they can use the footage for later on. One of the cameraman even asked me if I could remove my cap so it'd look better on TV. Then there were these "pre-assigned" questions which selected "audience members" got to ask. They allowed a few other questions from the floor towards the end, but all these "staged attempts" make me very interested to find out about how all these would look eventually in the real program when it aired.

2. Jeff Greenfield was a great moderator, and not surprisingly so given his credential. Obviously, the ability to keep the audience engaged and the interviewee focused, always asking the questions which the audience themselves wanna ask; these are skills that are obviously the fruit of his many years of experience working in the press. And I wonder if the new wave of blog-based citizen-journalism will be able to provide the depth and breadth of learning experience to produce more reporters of similar caliber.

3. I bet John Thomson, being an African American, is always being asked questions related to his ethnicity. No exception today. My impression of him is that he's a very confident and articulate, and I really like the face that he makes an effort to "unwind" once in a while (hunting, fishing in Alaska) and he doesn't carry any mobile devices with him. When asked "wouldn't you worry about the company", he replied "my job as a leader is to build a team that is able to keep the company going strong. If I can't even leave my job for a few hours, i know i haven't done my job as the leader of the company"

4. Paul Otellini came across as a soft-spoken person initially, but he might be a hard boss to work with. When asked "when was the last time you get pissed at work?", he answered "this morning". He went on to say that he was initially put off by a suggestion from a subordinate, but he eventually email back saying that he now thinks there's something to that suggestion. He also bought on stage a couple of devices to showcase what next-generation Intel chips can do. I'm particularly interested in their efforts in the Intel Health department, as well as their "Viiv" initiative which aims to make the connection between TV and the PC much more easy than it is today.

All in all, it was an interesting talk, and at some point inspiring. I've always leaned more towards the gungho lets-do-it-ourselves entrepreneurial kind of approach, so it's kinda refreshing to see that you can get a pretty rewarding experience as well doing this "corporate" thing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cingular's terms of service

You really can't do much with a Terms of Service contract like this!

"Prohibited and Permissible Uses: Data Service sessions may be conducted only for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) corporate intranet access (including access to corporate email, customer relationship management, sales force automation, and field service automation applications). Prohibited uses include, but are not limited to, using Services: (i) with server devices or with host computer applications, including, without limitation, Web camera posts or broadcasts, continuous jpeg file transfers, automatic data feeds, telemetry applications, automated functions or any other ?machine-to-machine applications; (ii) as substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections; (iii) for Voice over IP; (iv) in conjunction with WWAN or other applications or devices which aggregate usage from multiple sources prior to transmission; (V) Using the Services for any activity that adversely affects the ability of other people or systems to use either the Services or other parties' Internet-based resources including, but not limited to excessive consumption of network or system resources (whether intentional or unintentional) and "denial of service" (DoS) attacks against another network host or individual user; or (vi) Interference with or disruption of other network users, network services or network equipment. except for CONTENT formatted in accordance with cingular’s CONTENT standards, Unlimited plans cannot be used for uploading, downloading or streaming of video content (e.g. movies, TV), music or games. Furthermore, unlimited plans (except for DataConnect and Blackberry Tethered) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/PDA-to-computer accessories, Bluetooth® or any other wireless technology) to laptops, PCs, or other equipment for any purpose. Service is not intended to provide full-time connections, and the Service may be discontinued after a significant period of inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage. Cingular reserves the right to (i) limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny Service and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts its network or service levels and (ii) protect its network from harm, which may impact legitimate data flows. You may not send solicitations to Cingular subscribers without their consent. You may not use the Services other than as intended by Cingular and applicable law. Plans are for individual, non-commercial use only and are not for resale. Security: CINGULAR DOES NOT GUARANTEE SECURITY. Data encryption is available with some, but not all, Services sold by Cingular. If you use your device to access company email or information, it is your responsibility to ensure your use complies with your company’s internal IT and security procedures. "

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Great Interview with Baidu CEO

Can't embed here, but here's the link.

" Confronted with charges of copyright violations from many major record companies, Baidu, the biggest Chinese search engine in the world, is ... all » facing great challenges in terms of business strategies and practices. In this exclusive interview, Robin Li, the founder and CEO of Baidu, tells us his ambition and strategies to pull Baidu out of current difficulties."

Google Video (now with Caption)

Don't think this is speech-to-text yet..but still pretty cool. Great talk too, "All Marketers are liars" by Seth Godin speaking at Google.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Brilliant goals!

Superb Totti volley!

Nakamura's freekick!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

The TED conference is an annual meeting of great minds. I first came across it after watching Han Rosling's fascinating talk on data (which I blogged here). I highly recommend everyone to check out their blogs and their video feeds of the presentations given by some of the speakers. Here're two great clips.

RC Jumbo Jet

I wish I have one too!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Al-Jazeera International (English)

I was disappointed to learn that Al-Jazeera International didn't manage to secure any programming deals with the major cable/satellite providers in US.

Massachusetts School of Law on the book "Al-Jazeera"

Official launch video.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Iraq: the hidden story

This is by far the most honest attempt, that i've seen, by a western media agency to give the audience a sense of what's really happening to the ordinary Iraqis. It is a great pity that I have yet seen any of the major networks here in US put out a program of such integrity (this documentary is done by Channel 4, a UK channel). Anyway, a must-watch and a great reminder again of how extremely fortunate I am to be where I am now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

变形金刚 圣斗士片头版

This is brilliant man!!!! Another superb mash-up! Just compare with the original below.

The original 片头版

Brilliant mash-up

This is a brilliant example of mash-up; the combination of materials from different sources to create something entirely different. Will this be considered violating the "synchronization right" of the movie, as well as the copyright of the game. It is a fine line, one that I hope the law will tilt the side in favor of these mash-up artists, because I think there's incredible value in what they're creating here.

Cute animation

Urban Ninja & Chinese internet

Since I'm taking a "management of technology in China" class, I've been finding out alot more about the internet space in China. From what I can tell, the competition there is incredible. For every Facebook and Youtube you'd have over 100+ exact copycats in China. But this intense level of competition also means that there's a lot of new innovation; it's no longer the case of just merely copying what the web2.0 start-ups here in Silicon Valley have done. I'd be watching the Chinese internet space much more closely from now on (just finished picking up and subscribing to a dozen chinese blogs). Meanwhile, enjoy this clip I came across while surfing through this YouTube-Chinese clone.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


For those of you who, like me, only think about "聖闘士星矢" when you're young, you'd definitely appreciate what this dude tried to do...he's soooo into the mood man!! hahaha!

Brain Machine Interface

My buddy Takeshi is a brain-interface probing electrode naturally he pointed me to these 2 amazing videos. I've also read about how some researchers can hook up electrode to a mouse's brain and direct whether it goes forward or turn right or turn left (supposedly used for emergency scenario to search for survivors under wrecks.) Pretty amazing stuff!

Brain-controlled wheelchair

Brain-remotely-controlled artificial hand

Thoughts on "NS stint may hinder job prospect for S'poreans"

I read with great interest the ongoing discussions online regarding this post on Straits Times forum titled "NS stint may hinder job prospects for S'poreans". Some discussions can be found here:

AsiaOne Forum

Singapore Media Watch

First of all, I'd say that the 2.5 years spent in NS are some of my most productive and creative years. "Achieving" a higher rank certainly helps as the level of responsibility associated with the rank brings an equal exposure to opportunity for learning about my own weaknesses, learning how to be a follower and a leader, learning how to think under stressful conditions and all those good things. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I might be in the minority. Most of my peers have the worst things to say about the experience in the military, and it's easy to see why.

Just throw in a "lower" rank (a CPL vs a CPT) and a "lower" serving status (NSF/NSmen vs regulars/professional), you'd suddenly find yourself being treated as "expendables" without the ability to think. Granted, in a regimental setting, an order is an order and all good soldier should be taught/trained to execute on what he/she was being told to do. This is how order can be maintained under the chaotic nature of real combat. But under the context of a peace-time armed force and that fact that bulk of the force comes from "civilian" soldiers, there's much more that the SAF can do to ensure that the time the "civilian" solders have sacrificed for the interest of the nation's self-defence is not wasted.

So train us hard, but give us room to exercise our own analytical skills, regardless of rank. Take those 2 years and 3-4 weeks/year of reservist training, but make sure that it will indeed be an enriching experience for all involved. There are many military-style mini-courses overseas that target business executives who want to advance their teamwork or leadership skills; so clearly there is some benefit in this sort of training. Why can't we look forward to our annual reservist training as a time to meet up with old friends and as a time for personal enrichment? I know for a fact that the SAF is working hard to achieve this (as I was a reservists trainer during my NSF days and I'd seen first-hand some of the measures that my unit was implementing to create a fulfilling experience for the reservists), but clearly this is not an easy task at all as it requires a big shift in mentality of everyone involved.

As for the effect of NS on job prospects, I can definitely see the source of hesitation for a firm to recruit a NSmen. Unfortunately, this inherent conflict will never go away so long as our Armed Forces is primarily a civilian-based one. Should we shorten the service duration? Or even go so far to abolish the civilian model and adopt a purely professional SAF (as some of the blogs suggest)? These are questions that require an in-depth analysis, something that I wouldn't dare to offer an opinion without sufficient evidence and data to back up. I have high hopes though that MINDEF will be flexible enough (as shown by their decision to shorten NSF service to 2 years a few years ago) that they will not dismiss these suggestions being discussed and proposed. Nevetheless, I do believe that there's much that SAF can and should do in the meantime; which is to place the "personal enrichment" of individual soldier as one of its topmost priority.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Best (flash) site ever!

Wow! I can't say that I'm a big fan of sites that are overly flash-based. But in this case (a Vodafone site that hints at what our near digital future will look like), the richness of different forms of media (text, images, video, animation etc) really shows off the power of Flash! I'm SUPER IMPRESSED!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A new way to multiply~ Super amazing!

Easy Mental Multiplication Trick - video powered by Metacafe
wow..still trying to figure out the "theory" behind this...Patrick, did they teach you this in ur Math class before?

Amazing explosion!

Saw this a year ago....really really scary~

Monday, November 13, 2006

Age Discrimination

After reading through Derek's now famous blog post and hundreds of comments, it got me thinking alot about age discrimination. One of the readers commented:

"I am just over 50. I lost my job arround 50. There is no job available for the last few years searching despite my extensive experience/qualification. Some recruiters even told me I should retire and asked why should I bother to find a job. When I was around 30/40, I was always headhunted for well-paid jobs. But, now there is hardly any call from headhunters...It seems my skill/experience was highly sought in past years whereas it has suddenly become useless in recent years. Why?.."

It is something my dad has been grappling with for the past few years. There is simply no job security once you reach a certain age. It used to be when you hit 50 you'd be in trouble looking for a new job...but it seems that now even at 40 you might have a problem. And this is not an isolated phenomenon in Singapore. Is this really age discrimination or just survival-of-the-fittest? hmm....

Singapore's elitism

Only found out about the Wee Shu Min (think farmer vs scholar) saga today.

This "elitism" in Singapore is something I felt very strongly when I first migrated to Singapore from Hong Kong. I've always been good with exams so I know the system works in my favor. But I was very frustrated with the streaming system which, in my opinion, really affected my younger brother's potential (I shalln't go into the details, suffice to say that I'm not impressed with this arrangement at all). It always baffles me that streaming starts at such an early stage, and the mobility between the "top" and "lower" class is so low. Essentially, if you screw up early (in schools' exams), you don't really have a very high chance to recover later on.

However, I can't place the blame squarely on Singapore's streaming system. It is also this prevailing, overarching assumption in the society that success can only be obtained through better formal education. Compared that to Hong Kong, where there's also some form of streaming (though somewhat less rigid), the pressure is not so much for the kids to perform in schools. There're just so many counter-examples (in HK) of entrepreneurs who don't have a "proper" education yet go on to become admirable figures in the business or political sector. There's this belief that a well-regarded education path need not be the only way to go. This is something that I felt was missing when I first settled down in Singapore. It's always "Do well in your studies, or else..... (insert bad words here)). On the other hand, Hong Kong's education system has a host of its own problems as well and frankly speaking, there's a lot to admire about Singapore education system and I really feel that MOE is now taking some innovative approached toward the right direction (ie. more creativity in classroom etc).

In any case, I'm very aware of my status as an "overseas scholar" and the kinds of assumptions/stereotypes/privileges that're associated with it (especially since I went to a neighborhood school). As I return to Singapore in a month's time, I think that I really have to make an effort to get in tuned with the concerns/perceptions/world-view of the heartlanders. Not to say that I have to totally unlearn my 4 years exposure to John Stewart and the likes, but there's truly a myriad of going-ons in Singapore that I've missed out in the past 4 years, and I fully intend to catch up on lost times when I'm back home (finally).

The story of 1

A "Monty Python" version of the number "1"...pretty funny, and interesting. Here's an interesting note: Arabic numerals (1,2,3...) we use today actually originates from India!

Stop-motion video

One of the better stop-motion videos I've watched.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Times they're a-changing

I'm a big Dylan fan...this one is a classic!

Sorry you're sick

A Ted Hawkins cover. I really can't do his voice justice. A great street-singer with a truly amazing voice, Ted Hawkins is among my all-time fav (though hardly known). I discovered his music almost 8 years ago when I was ramdomly listening to CDs on display in a Borders store...a great find.

Blogger screw-up?

I was introducing my new friend from Switzerland about blogger and he promptly went ahead to open a new account (in German), only to find that there's no button to submit his signup form!

The signup page (in English) with the orange "continue" button

Where's the "continue/submit" button?

For Tammy

"For Tammy"...a song I wrote :)


One of my all-time fav~ The lyrics is just perfect!

Great documentary on Iraq

This is what I'd call professional journalism. Not the usual hyperbole hear-say you get from the major networks here. Came across it in one of the posts on the "Healing Iraq" blog. Or go straight to the video here.

From the Information Clearing House site:
" 'Iraq: The Lost Generation' (is a documentary that) opens a window onto the hidden world of Iraqi youth, revealing the brutalisation and psychological trauma of living under military occupation. It reveals how the people with whom the future of Iraq rests, are reacting with anger, aggression and, in some cases, violence."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

9/11 Commision Report in Comics

Pictures speak a thousand words. In this case,

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Check if you're tone deaf~

Come across this site today...rather challenging actually.

I got 86.1% (=> "excellent musical capabilities")

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Discovering new music (again)!

I remembered when I first came to USA, one of my best memories during freshman year was all the new music that's thrown at me by my roommate Luke and next-door music-fanatic Henry. That was a great year of music education for me as I expanded my music horizon, and provided inspiration as I started writing songs at a higher frequency again. Sadly, once I move out of dorm (or even when I became a RA for my final year), somehow this music discovery sort of came to a dead end.

Well, internet to the rescue! I've been testing two web-based radio services ( and Pandora) for a while now...and the experience is really fun (and free too)! Both uses some kind of recommendation mechanisms to feed you song after song. For instance, if you create a station called "Bob Marley Station", you'd be treated to all sorts of Bob Marley or Bob Marley-like raggae songs.

Pandora actually hires professional musicians to listen to individual tracks and rate them according a matrix of 400+ qualities (such as rhythm, tone, pitch etc) and based on that feed you the songs. takes a much more social approach (rather evident from their another-social-networking-site look) and uses collective wisdom to give you the songs. I'd say that the experience on Pandora so far seems more coherent, in that when I setup a Bob Marley stations I really get songs that are really close to Bob Marley style, whereas on I started listening to some Jack Johnson number after setting up a "Norah Jones" station. In any case, both are still excellent way to discover new music and I'm loving it! Have a feeling I'm gonna start writing songs again~

PS: We actually had the founder of Pandora come to talk to us during my "Telecom" class last night. A great insight into how an enterpreneur really rough out thro the thick and thin (almost 7 years, been thro the bubble burst and many nights sleepin on friends' couch, 300+ pitches to VCs, many delayed paychecks to employees before finally getting to 4 million registered users...) Inspiring!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hitomi wo tojite (guitar)

Since this song's been in my head for the past week, I know I have to get it out somehow...and here's the end-product. (My first time doing Japanese cover, pardon my bad diction~)

My public Google Reader feed~

Last time I checked, I've subscribed to 103 RSS feeds on my Google Reader. Most of the stuff I read are technology-related, but I also throw in a mix of blogs covering product design, finance, media, politics, china, japan, environmental awareness etc. Recently I also started using the "share" function in my Google Reader. Essentially, everytime I come across a great article I'd mark it as "share" and you'd be able to access these specific articles here!

Hope you'd also find these articles interesting~

Good night, and good luck

"Good Night, and Good Luck" turned out to be everything I expected it to be and more. Great acting, great lines and the interface with actual footage of Senator McCarthy gives the film a sense of realism you seldom get from a Hollywood movie. The subject matter is also more relevant than ever...

I especially love this last line from Edward Murrow:
"To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. Good night, and good luck."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hitomi wo tojite

A better MTV of my current fav song!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

世界の中心で、愛をさ けぶ

This movie is on my top 100 movie list. Realized someone actually put up the full movie on YouTube (broken into 28 parts thou). Too bad it doesn't have subtitle, so you gotta know abit of 日本語 to understand.

The ending song in the movie is my current fav song! Been listening it non-stop~ If you watch the movie and find out what the lyrics can move you to tears...

"なくしたものを 越える強さを 君がくれたから

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mentos + Coke

These guys got the science of Mentos + Coke all figured out man!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tommy Emmanuel's guitar clips

Tammy introduced me to Tommy Emmanuel the other day. I almost cried after listening to this clip! That's the kind of sound that makes me fall in love with acoustic guitar...

And so it goes

Blisting fast...with lots of feel...this guy's awesome!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vote for me on YouTube!

So i put up a video of one of my songs for YouTube Underground, a contest for musicians. Do vote for me if you like the song! Vote here!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Microformats is the future of web!

They've been talking about building semantics into internet for the longest time. There's huge potential: imagine going to this blog post and just right click and hit "copy" and then go to your own blog and hit "paste" and then you ended up with this post automatically linked to your new blog post, with all the metadata such as submission dates, comments etc all fall into the right place!

Unfortunately, for efficient flow of structured flow of data (and ultimately achieve data portability) means alot of standardization, and none of that has gained any momentum till now.

See how gd ol' Bill explains it.

Or see it for yourself (Live Prototype).

Microsoft's CTO take on the idea.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Flexible Display!

This is what got me so excited with my undergrad research back in U-Michigan! It's a pity I didn't get to continue research in OLED (organic LED), it's such a cool technology man!

Based on OLED

More OLED..

This one is based on an alternative technology developed by E Ink that also makes flexible display possible! The future is sooo exciting man! Ok...I'm sounding like a total geek..

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Brilliant app!

Cant wait to test out the beta version! This app looks awesome!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cool kid drumming

I wish I could say I was as cool as this kid when I was 4 too...

Mind-blowing presentation ever!

I'm speechless after watching this. Absolutely mind-opener!

Go here for the actual application. This is truly mind-blowing!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Superb SONY ad!

I wish SONY products are really that cool in real life...

This one's filmed in San Francisco! 250,000 colored balls! I wonder how they clean up the mess afterwards..

This is even more messy! But brilliant!

See how they do it!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Who killed the electric car?

Conspiracy? Judge for yourself. 1.5 hr documentary about what happened to the rise and fall of electric car "revolution".

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thought-provoking animation

Saw this on Boing Boing today....definitely worth watching!

Monday, October 09, 2006


A Faye Wong cover...


I like making lists....and here's a list of things that's been keeping me from writing long blog posts:

1. writing thesis for my Master degree
2. Tons of financial reports and white papers to read for my Telecom class
3. Japanese hw, listening exercises, a few quiz per week...大変だ!
4. Lab experiments to get more results for my thesis..not lookin gd at all at the moment...

i wish my blog has this...

Not that anyone actually leaves comment on my blog...but just having this super AJAXified commenting system will be sweet! I hope the blogger folks implement something similar soon...or i might switch to Wordpress eventually...

More independent Iraq coverage

"Sadr Demonstration at the gates of the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad"

"For months on end, these seven independent photographers and filmmakers have worked exclusively in Iraq documenting US troops and Iraqi civilians, resistance fighters and child laborers, imprisoned women and incarcerated youths."

Link here.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Iraqi blogs

While America prides itself to be a country for freedom of speech...anyone who's lived here long enough will know that there're so many versions to a story that it's often hard to make an informed decision on the issues. In particular, the coverage of Iraq is often polarized or tainted with too much political fire powder. I'm surprised at the lack of coverage on what is actually happening to the normal Iraqis who have to deal with the "aftermath" everyday. You gotta love the internet though, if you have the will and time, there're gems to be found. So here're a few blogs written by Iraqis, a fresh persprctive from all the mind-numbing reports of attacks on American soldiers...

"A star from Mosul"
"A citizen of Mosul"
"Baghdad burning"

and this one's a Vlog!
"Alive in Baghdad"

Currently reading "The Long Tail"

One of the better read I've had in a while.."The Long Tail" provides a solid framework to modern day phenomena such as the decline of hits vs the rise of user-generated content. An easy yet insightful read, highly recommended, especially if you're interested in the web (though the concept applies to other areas too).

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Yup :) I won some competition on campus and got $300 for singing this Jay Zhou cover!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Love is good!

I submitted this clip to the "YouTube Underground" contest...enjoy~

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Indian Michael jackson?

hahahahhaa! OMG! hahaha!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Street-singing in Berkeley

Tammy was kind enough to help me take down about an hour's worth of footage of me street-singing at the Berkeley BART was rather early on a Sunday morning, so there aren't alot of's nice that way since the streets aint tat busy and I get to enjoy my own music more...:) there's something about street-singing that makes me feel completely free...i absolutely love the feeling...anyway, I was singing "Over the rainbow" and halfway thro the song I saw this little girl dancing with her mum along with the song...their smiles on their face totally make my day!

"Sound of silence"...possibly the best song ever written

"The Storm"..a Lloyd Spiegel cover

"Over the rainbow"...Isreal Kamakawiwo version...that's the one that the little girl dance to...


"Vincent" of my all-time top 10 song by Don McLean...

"Blowing in the wind"...

"Hallelujah"...Jeff Buckley version...

"Love is good" own song..hee


"Let it be" the Beatles..

"Your song" fav Elton John number..


"Feeling groovy"...ok..this one was sung at a different location...

"Wednesday morning 3 am"...Simon & Garfunkel cover..

"但我終於找到你"...probably my only cantonese orignal composition...written for Tammy many yrs ago..

"street of london"...i always start off my street-singing set with this song...totally a busking song..i love it!

"Sweet Mary"...listen to the's hmm...lets just sat it's got alot of subliminal meaning...

SF & Sausalito

Since Tammy got a much-deserved 10-day break, we took time to explore some of the adjacent after Napa, we took another day trip to Sausalito, a small town connected to SF by the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge...but we decided to take the boat route instead.. and a SF streetcar..

Tam and the SF Ferry Building, where we'd be taking the ferry to Sausalita..

the Bay Bridge..

as u can's pretty windy on the boat..

Sausalito has a mediterranean flair to it...lots of boats/yachts...and some nice art galleries..

This is surreal...a "stone stacking" artist...i still dunno how he does that!

another angle of these amazing stone stacks...

See for yourself how this guy did it...

We really like this painting...if not for the fact that it costs $8k...there're many art galleries in Sausalito, giving the town an artsy atmosphere..

I love the ocean...and always have this dream of owning my own feels great just walking among these nice yachts packed along the jetty...i'm definitely getting one of these someday...

After a few hours hanging out at Sausalito, we took a ferry back to SF and arrived at Fisherman's Wharf, where we're greeted by these famous sea lions...nobody really knows why they decided to chill out here since the SF earthquake some 20 yrs ago...whatever it is, it's neat to watch them taking a lazy afternoon nap...

Napa Valley

With all the free coupons for wine-tasting that Tammy gets from her hotel job, it's just a matter of time before we fully exploit me and my buddy, Takeshi's family went on this 1-day trip to see what's the big fuss about Napa Valley...

We headed straight to "Taylor's", a popular burger joint with reasonable prices. Just like Starbucks, they ask you for your name when you order your food and then they'd announce your name over their PA system so you can collect your food. So I told them my name is "Kintama", which means "Golden Balls/testicles" in Japanese...haha...we got a good laugh when they called for "Kintama" over the PA system..

ok...this has nothing to do with Napa...just a sweet bike parked outside "Taylor's"

Takeshi with the super-big van we rented...

At the entrance of the first vineyard we visited..this is one of the better looking one...

where they store the wine..

Me and Takeshi displaying our wine-appreciation "expertise", while Kuniko looks on at the back..

Tammy with her wine somehow tastes better...hee

not sure if we're allowed to do that..but hey...gotta take a picture with the vineyard when in Napa rite?

yeah...we refuse to grow up!


This house sure looks ordinary, but in it houses one of the most sought-after restaurant in the world (consistently ranked top 50 in world and USA)!

Tammy just had to take a picture with the "French Laundry" sign...she had many sleepless nights trying to make a reservation with this premium resturant while working in International SOS in singapore...

They even have their own garden...which will be used as infredient for their much fresher can can this get man!

one last pic of the great valley before we head home...i confess that i'm not much of a wine expert...but hey, it's free..and it's pretty damn good!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Tammy's Da Chef!

Another superb meal by my love Tammy :)

Wine first...

Menu of the day...

Bruchetta first..



Steak with chocolate sauce! that's a first!

ok...let's skip the fresh mint shake for today...too full!!! ごちそさま!

Facebook + Video = MySchoolTube

With some help from my buddy "YB", the site I've been working on over summer is now integrated with Facebook (ie, any Facebook user can now login to MySchoolTube using their existing Facebook account without registering separately with me). I hope this will lower the barrier to entry even further.

Anyway, check it out for yourself!

Monday, September 18, 2006

V for Vendetta

I think i'd have to adjust my Top 100 movie list after I saw this one a few days ago...totally mind-blowing and surprisingly relevant in the current debate of the Bush's administration's use of "torture".....this one is a MUST-WATCH!