Friday, November 30, 2007

Computer Network is cool

I used to think computer network is a boring subject back in my EE years.
But recently the perception has changed for me, the networking itself is boring, but what it makes available is really cool.
And this The Hack of the year which I stumbled upon prompted this post.
And I watched Die hard 4 recently, it's hackers too. So much actions. I throughly enjoyed it. And the hacker Mat Farrell kind of look like Nick. (follow the links to compare for yourself. Ahem!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is democracy really the best type of governance for South East Asia

Al Jazeera’s People & Power program

Is democracy really the best type of governance for South East Asia? People & Power investigate in a compelling discussion with four prominent Asians.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Photos of Venice, Bardi, Florence and Pisa

I have put up the photos of Venice for awhile, didn't remember to post it up here.

2007_09_14 Venice

After Venice, I checked out of the nice hotel and started my backpacker travel again. First stop was to went North a bit to meet up with Alessandro. Alessandro came to UWA as an visiting researcher in 2005 and we had some great time together.
He has been back to Italy for awhile and was working at University of Bologna which is 40 mins train ride from Modena. However, we met up at Fidenza which is a bit more North as he planned to drive me to Bardi to see a castle. It's nice catching up with old friend.
2007_09_15 Bardi Castle with Alessandro

After the castle trip, I took a train South to Florence. It was nice to have Alessandro do the talking to get my train ticket.

Florence was my favorite place in Italy. It's so historical, artistic, grand and stylish. I was amazed by the sight of the Duomo when I came across it on my first night. And the city is beautiful at night. Old buildings with very big doors, full length windows showing the latest fashion, well lit plaza with grand gate. I'm just in awe.

Two days in Florence is just enough to know what is available. I want to come back one day. And I met some students from California State Polytechnic University, they were in Italy for the Formula SAE competition, building a car and race it with other universities in the world. When I told them I'm from UWA, they burst out their admiration on UWA Motorsports team. I was quite happy about that.
2007_09_15-17 Florence

I took a short train ride from Florence to Pisa to see the famous leaning tower. It was a rainy day and I was trapped in the rained and had to buy an umbrella at an ultra ripped off price. Anyhow, the leaning tower is cool. And I met a nice Taiwanese girl Han ZhenHui. She asked me to take some photos for her, and she helped me took some also. Then we went off doing other things and met again at the train station. She was reading a travel guide full of pictures written in Japanese (so much cooler than Lonely Planet) and planned to go to another small town call San Giorgnenanmitmkajdsj?@#$. I chatted with her and then decided to tag along since she had it all planned. Eventually we didn't get to the place since there was no bus coming back after we reached the train station that we had to change to bus. So anyhow, we decided to go to a restaurant and eat. The pizza was good!

Coming back to Florence it was after 9pm, and I was still thinking about the pig besides a market that I saw in the morning while I followed a guided tour. The legend is that you touch the the pig then you'll return to Florence one day. Then she accompanied me to fulfilled the Pig quest. And here's her blog in Chinese - Han*Han's A Story.

And here are the photos in Pisa.
2007_09_16 Pisa

Thursday, November 15, 2007

UWA on 3D campus collections

Seems like only 2 campuses had the collection properly done, just us UWA and Melbourne U by someone name Wei Wei.

Where are other schools?

Check it out.
Build Your Campus in 3D Competition (Australia and New Zealand) Collection

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Birthday to me

It was my birthday on Wednesday. I'm 28.

This year birthday came a bit unexpected. I was busy with things and suddenly I realised my birthday was approaching in less than a week's time. I went to get myself a portable hard drive on Saturday as I've been thinking about it for awhile. My internal hard drive is giving me a bit of problem and I didn't have enough storage space to empty it and give it a good formating. I suspect the file index table is the problem as I can copy a file to the drive and read it, but once I move the file within the drive, it will not be accessible anymore... Anyhow.

My lovely housemates Yeeting and David got me a chocolate mud cake at slightly before midnight. It was a surprise. Yeeting and I were watching our new found pastime How I met your Mother in my room while David was studying for exam. And half way through the show David suddenly came in, turned off my light (and I thought "thanks, that'll make the cinematic experience better") with the cake. :D
It was very nice. And I haven't had mud cake for a long time.

It took us 4 shots to get the cake into the photo, haha!

Stayed up late that night and Liangliang called me at 2am+ as she got the daylight saving the other way round. Haha!

I didn't go to lab as testified by Shih Ching on the day. Had a bit of Birthday blue thinking about my life, uncertainty and work after PhD.
In the evening I went for a cycle along Matilda Bay. Fantastically refreshing.

Then I decided to have Stuzzico pizza at East Perth. So David and I drove there at 6:30pm and found it's closed by 6pm. Bugger! Then I remember there's another branch on Hay Street closer to the city, so we went there and found out that they are close too.
Disappointed, we walked about that restaurant area and found the Love and Care Cafe which often caters for Malaysian event. So I decided to give it a try. We had Mee Goreng (fantastic, spicy, the sauce is great. 5/5), Mee Soto (Ok, rice cube a bit tasteless, 3/5) and a Nasi Goreng L&C (fantastic, fluffy rice, 5/5) and air bundung with cincao.
The serving of food is quite small, so two of us easily finished the three mains. It was very satisfying.

Then at about 8pm, Rina, Shih Ching, Jason, Lilian and later Alex came with a homemade cake by Rina. Rina called me and let me know she'd come but I didn't think about what to expect. So it was a crowd and a cake I didn't expect. Thank you so much.

Green tea icecream cake with my name in chocolate. :D~

I thought this shot is really cool - two different shirts about PhD and me caring about nothing but the cake.

The cake is really delicious with full flavour of green tea. If you want to taste it, check this website for Rina's new venture - cookies2sushi.
To my nerdy brain, the name sounds like a program that takes cookies and chucks out sushi. Ooo... look at the inside of the cake.

Thanks everyone who send me blessings through sms, msn, phone, email, physical gifts, transferred hug, and telepathy thoughts.

p/s: I went to Stuzzico again today to nail the pizza I missed. The rocket/salmon pizza is absolutely awesome! Highly recommended. Best pizza outside of Italy I had. I'll try the prosciutto pizza and panini next time.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

PSA quiz night photos

Some photos on PSA quiz night last Friday

Our CSSE team - Tone, Jason, Rina, me, Shih Ching, Bob, John and Minh

The CSSE team 2

Broadway Pizza was great!

The Wong

The pretzel coaster that spoke my feeling

We won the Australian citizen test.

That was a lot of wine.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

PSA quiz night last Friday

We went to Quiz night organised by the Postgraduate Students Association (PSA) last Friday. There were two teams from CSSE, and one of them emerged to take the second place (tied). Fun!

Read PSA Quiz Night and Tied for Second on Shih Ching's blog.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

UWA in 3D

It has been a crazy week for me preparing an entry for the Google 3D campus competition (Aus/NZ). We decided to put a team together since we already have a team interested in modelling UWA in 3D. But modelling for Google Earth is a bit different because of the bandwidth and complexity constraint. So there are some considerable effort put in to make the models smaller in size and lesser in geometry. Most of the models are simply an empty shell with texture. anything that cannot be seen are to be taken out.
We applied some good tricks like using transparent texture to replace complex fences or row of pillars. Taking a snapshot of a complex windows structure of the model and replace the geometry with the snapshot works very well too.

The entry closed on 31 Oct 2007 midnight EST. And we hit the submit button at 9:35pm WST on Chris's laptop in his office down in G.(don't know which number, there has been some office shuffling recently). The historical moment was witnessed by Chris, Minh, Jonathan and myself. Chris has been a long captain in the team followed by me as the lead 3D modeller. Minh joint in couple of weeks ago and did some incredible work, and Jonathan came in like couple of days ago and did a great job with the business school, though a bit intensive on the geometry.
Others on the team includes Jayjay who initiated the whole UWA in 3D idea, Michael my fellow 3D modeller, Evgeni the quiet achiever, Bradley who did it the proper architect way, and John who took many great shots for the texturing.
Many other not on the 3D campus team gave us tremendous help to, thanks go to Louisa for keeping us informed on what is going on with ourselves, Leondro, David, Juan, Ashley, Ryan and Jeff for various help.

The madness was on Tuesday, me and Minh worked through the night in the lab to finish up as many models as possible. I started in the afternoon of 30/10 at about 2:30pm and persevered until 9:30pm of 31/10. About 30 hours of modelling. Wickedly fun! I heard Minh did longer!
Anyhow that night I hit my bed at 12:30am and recharged for two night worth of sleep until 4:30pm. Mad!!

Check the models out on 3D warehouse. You can see them either in Sketchup or Google Earth, both need installation. If you don't want to install a big software, use this 6MB SketchUp Viewer.
If you already have Google Earth installed, this 3D Warehouse network link will put a link to 3D model in Google Earth.

Several must see are:

Winthrop Hall


And unbelievably detailed Engineering buildings and Architecture.

Also check out the very clean Octagon Building and spiral staircase at Reid Library.