Monthly Archive for December, 2007

hackers are the evil lord descendants

Two unfor­tu­nate bud­dies got sen­tenced 20 years of jail time for hack­ing into com­puter net­works to change their grades. That’s a freak­ing long period of time. So much for the effort of chang­ing the grades to get a better career. They’re prob­a­bly like 40 when they get out of jail!

While that may be effec­tive in set­ting an exam­ple to people who want to do naughty things at school. That’s pretty absurd when you com­pare it to the fact that a con­vict of credit card fraud serves a mere 13 years. It’s really funny at times look­ing at how the feds do things. On one hand, they esti­mate a $3 bil­lion fraud credit card trans­ac­tions annu­ally. On the other hand, they some­how deter­mined that chang­ing some let­ters in the grade report is much more evil than steal­ing real stuffs with money.

I must say the reason for this absur­dity is the large pro­por­tion of old, stag­nant fags at the “upper level” of the soci­ety (who define laws). They prob­a­bly think hack­ers are mys­ti­cal evil min­ions who can per­form black magic unex­plain­able to them. While the truth is it requires MUCH more prac­tice and a MUCH steeper learn­ing curve to learn to hack. In a sense, the hack­ers got more pun­ish­ment for for paying more efforts. Woot.

the end for the movie industry?

Let’s start off with some screen­shots of the latest cutting-​edge game Crysis. You know our tech­nol­ogy is really pretty advanced when you see this kind of graph­ics in a com­puter video game:



The fact that it is the cap­tured from within a com­puter game means that the com­puter can render about 30 images like this per second! That’s a pretty shock­ing number if you asked me.

The not so obvi­ous rev­e­la­tion is prob­a­bly that com­puter graph­ics are going to replace tra­di­tional cin­e­matog­ra­phy. Take the 2nd screen­shot above as an exam­ple. To pro­duce a flam­ing scene with wreck­ages lying around on a sink­ing ship deck requires prob­a­bly mil­lions of dol­lars, which mul­ti­plies if there are some unfor­tu­nate NGs. I didn’t even bother to men­tion the imprac­ti­cal­ity (impos­si­bil­ity?) to pro­duce the robotic spider in the middle of the screen with­out the aid of CG tech­nol­ogy. The final prod­uct is prob­a­bly sev­eral min­utes on screen of a movie that is not guar­an­teed to have a pos­i­tive return.

Now, com­pare that with the com­puter graph­ics ver­sion, which is what is seen in the above screen­shot. It would take a team of tal­ented com­puter graphic design­ers a week or two to pro­duce, bun­dled with infi­nite number of free NGs, fine-​tunable details such as how the smokes should behave, cam­eras at impos­si­ble angles, etc. All better with a lower cost.

This is not nec­es­sar­ily the end for the movie indus­try as the title sug­gested, as the cur­rent tech­nol­ogy for characters’ actual acting such as facial expres­sions, little body lan­guages still can’t quite match their human coun­ter­parts. Nev­er­the­less, I cannot see a single reason why the so called big-​production shouldn’t get real and embrace com­puter graph­ics for their totally unnec­es­sary spend­ing on those extrav­a­gant seconds-​long shots.

That may be very harsh and prob­a­bly down­right insult to people who’ve con­tributed their lives to the arts of cin­e­matog­ra­phy. But then again, this is a very real fact and the tech­nol­ogy is prob­a­bly going to blow today’s in the coming years. How will you guys in the movie indus­try cope with this? I can only say “let’s see what happens”.

how to convert ideas into actions?

Are you a talker or a doer? Being the right role means a huge dif­fer­ence between suc­cess and fail­ure in almost any call­ings. And you guessed what the right role is, the doer.

So how can we trans­form from the super­flu­ous talker to the prac­ti­cal, suc­cess­ful doer? That is easier said than done, and it cer­tainly doesn’t just involve the mere talk­ing about it. Becom­ing a doer in itself requires action, not just talking.

Talk­ers don’t real­ize the fact that ideas are worth dime a dozen. Let’s face it, no matter how good your idea might be, there’s a pretty good chance that some­body else on this very pop­u­lated planet have thought of it before. Then, why haven’t you seen it before? That’s because nobody else has exe­cuted it. Talk­ing about how great your idea is will not make the idea exe­cute itself. In fact, the mere talk­ing about it and at the same time imag­in­ing how it would turned out suc­cess­ful is just mental mas­tur­ba­tion. That feels good because all you need is invest is vir­tu­ally no energy and you can get the feel­ing of suc­cess from within. Have been talk­ing about losing that extra pound for years and still haven’t suc­ceeded? Then there’s a good chance you’ve been talk­ing too much and doing too little.

Listed below is my to-​do list for get­ting out of the “talk zone”:

1. Solid sched­ule of actions

I delib­er­ately avoided the word “plan” in the title because that’s just another talk word. A sched­ule is dif­fer­ent from a plan in that it has a def­i­nite time of exe­cu­tion included. So instead of “I’m going to learn to play the guitar” you say “I will prac­tice play­ing the guitar from 7 – 9 pm every Wednes­day, Friday and Sunday”. Treat your sched­ule with respect as you would if it was an exam­i­na­tion ses­sion. Don’t aban­don it for your friends’ party.

2. Vivid vision of your goal

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remem­ber. I do and I understand.” – Con­fu­cius. From the ancient wisdom of China we can see that the next step to “remembering” your cre­ative ideas is to “see” it. This can be achieved by writ­ing them down in big let­ters where you’ll see them every day, to draw­ing pic­tures of you per­form­ing your actions and hang them in places such as the toilet, bed­room ceil­ing so you will remem­ber to do your actions. Living in this age and soci­ety full of dis­trac­tions it is all too easy to forget about our goals, or dreams even. Ready to get out for a jog and then you see the pre­lude of a drama show on TV? You’d prob­a­bly decide you can “relax today” and watch that show which serves you no true pur­pose. Counter that with your own “shows” by stick­ing vivid reminders of what you want to do.

3. Start small, but realistic

One thing most talk­ers do in common is they’ll describe in every detail how their plans will work out in the ideal sit­u­a­tion. While those ideas might the­o­ret­i­cally very viable, they’re worth 0 when the talk­ers have major trou­bles get­ting their butts to per­form the sim­plest actions, let alone their “marvelous plans”. Many talk­ers might have tried to become a doer but failed, all because they faced fail­ures right after they started. Start­ing small but real­is­tic means gath­er­ing momen­tum for your plans. For exam­ple, instead of saying “I’ll start study­ing for 2 hours every day start­ing tomorrow” and feel­ing mis­er­able in the middle to finally giving up 45 min­utes in, settle at “I’ll study for 30 min­utes a day start­ing tomorrow” and cel­e­brate your vic­to­ries. Before you know it, you’ll find your­self enjoy­ing a 3 hour study fest!

Enough talk­ing, I’m gotta get my ass moving to do some­thing. Think about the plans you’ve been thinking/talking about and haven’t been really doing and start becom­ing a doer right now!

so people really had too much time…

So do I for find­ing this out…


so this is the most prominent career?

I was study­ing for the account­ing exam tomor­row and got too bored so I did some Inter­net surf­ing. A random search revealed the fact in the US, the aver­age accoun­tant makes about $40,000 a year and the aver­age pro­gram­mer makes about $50,000 a year, which is as much as 25% more than that of accoun­tant (data from At the same time, Hong Kong stu­dents are com­pet­ing so hard for the busi­ness degrees or pro­fes­sional account­ing degrees. I can only say it is a living proof that people will always follow the hype no matter what his­tory has taught us. People seem to have for­got­ten all about the IT bubble when almost every new born mil­lion­aire was doing IT businesses.

OK so people have free­dom of choices and maybe the folks at ACCA and friends aren’t talk­ing their asses off when making state­ments such as “accounting will be the most promi­nent and in-​demand indus­try for years to come”. Let’s talk about the real con­tents involved. In my entire text­book Hos­pi­tal­ity Finan­cial Account­ing, the typ­i­cal day-to-day job of an accoun­tant seems to be draw­ing tables (jour­nals as the call them) like this:

Date Account title and Expla­na­tion Ref. Debit Credit
Sept. 5 Mer­chan­dise Inven­tory   1,500  
  Accounts Payable     1,500
8 Accounts Payable   200  
  Mer­chan­dise Inven­tory     200

I have noth­ing against this kind of tables really, but what bugs me is that this is the gist of an Uni­ver­sity course. Frankly, a 10 year old can learn to do these kinds of tables given proper edu­ca­tion and some time to learn. Why do ter­tiary edu­ca­tion stu­dents bother with these labor paper work? What’s more, I don’t see a single reason why this kinds of things are not done by com­puter, but paid employees.

With that said, let’s com­pare the ordi­nary “output” of the ordi­nary pro­gram­mer: public void mirror() { mirror(root); } private void mirror(Node node) { if (node != null) { // do the sub-trees mirror(node.left); mirror(node.right);

    // swap the left/right pointers
    Node temp = node.left;
    node.left = node.right;
    node.right = temp;


Alright this is not a pro­gram­mer vs accoun­tant topic but the mere fact that a 10 year old kid is not likely to be able to com­pre­hend the above code right away makes pro­gram­ming imme­di­ately looks more “professional” than “professional accounting”. And for your infor­ma­tion, the smartest com­puter pro­gram in the world prob­a­bly cannot pro­duce any code like the above level (which is already not very complicated).

All that aside, as of writ­ing of this post, I am a busi­ness stu­dent who is likely to be doing the table stuff in the future. But this has got me think­ing, how can some­one pos­si­bly love this kind of works? If not, then I’m going into deep trou­ble: spend­ing life doing things I don’t like.

In my opin­ions, why have people grown to pursue boring jobs like account­ing instead of more fun work like design and sci­ence? This is soci­ety at work guys. The soci­ety, either your family, tele­vi­sion adver­tise­ments have made us not want to adven­ture. Now that seem rea­son­able that most people will want to pursue the safest career out there, “the career that is to stay in-​demand for the years to com”. Think about it, is the very same reason you are pur­su­ing your “career” (if you have any def­i­nite one), or are you really pur­su­ing your dream?

Enough com­plaint, time to go back to my study for the account­ing exam tomorrow…

embrace the traditional grip

I have been a matched grip player and believed it was ergonom­i­cally supe­rior than the out­dated tra­di­tional grip. Not until I tried play­ing tra­di­tional grip out of bore­dom and real­ized I could actu­ally roll faster than I was using matched grip, and that was I couldn’t even hold the stick prop­erly with traditional!OK, that may not be the most objec­tive com­ments there are, but one thing is for cer­tain: Tra­di­tional grip looks so much cooler than the matched grip. As JoJo Mayer put it in Secret Weapons for the Modern Drum­mer, you totally look like you know what you are doing with the tra­di­tional grip. Obvi­ously, when a kid picks up a pair of drum sticks he’s gonna hold it like this:

a kid using matched grip

One thing matched grip play­ers have against the tra­di­tional grip is that it is not the “natural” way the human body is built. Well, that may be true, but then again the human body isn’t built for the pur­pose of sit­ting in front of box machines for more than 6 hours every day, which prob­a­bly covers the major­ity of an urban pop­u­la­tion. Besides, the tra­di­tional grip enables you to do cool tricks like this, try that with matched!

rock ‘n’ roll

Yo! What’s up guys! This is the very first post of my bril­liant blog. I’ve been want­ing to create a blog for myself just that I can share my bizarre com­ments towards real­ity as well as improv­ing my writ­ing skills. As Woody Allen said: “80% of suc­cess is just show­ing up”, so I’ve done my fair share for my goals by open­ing this blog and writ­ing this first post. Stay tuned guys, more are to come soon!