Saturday, December 29, 2007

Photos of Naples and Pompeii

Christmas break was great. I took 4 days off and just relax at home.
And I got some time to revisit my Italy trip photos that I haven't sorted out to post on Picasaweb.

So here they are, Naples and Pompeii.
I only stayed one night in Naples, in order to go to Pompeii. I reached Naples just before dark. Found my way to my hostel. It was a hostel with character. The receptionist are friendly and helpful. She told me where to get the best pizza in town. :) And it was indeed the best I ever had.
But Naples is not good at night. I went to the pizza place called Sorbillo. I ordered a pizza and took it away wanting to find a nearby plaza to sit down and watch people. After 3 minutes walk I still haven't found anything like a plaza, but some chair at the side of the road, so I thought probably I just sit here will do, before the pizza gets cold. So I did. Before I took a first bite of my Margaretta, a guy who's walking his dog walked past and started talking to me in Italian. And eventually he had some English words that I understand, they are - "dangerous here, go home"!!

Then I was a bit scared. I took the pizza and walked back from where I came from. I got back to the pizza place and asked for a place to sit down. (they only have 4 tables). They graciously let me in. I half the Margaretta. It was great! And I ordered another pizza and ate half of it.
The journey back to the hostel is tiptoeing. I found all the bigger, more well-lit road to take and eventually made it back there safely. The Sydney couple I met in my room had started to worry about me. :P

The next morning, breakfast was included. And I had lots of nutella on my bread.

2007_09_17 Naples

I checked out after the filling breakfast and make my way to Pompeii. The ruin is huge. One full day to explore it is definitely worth it. For some unknown reason, the gate wasn't open until about 1 hour late. It was not a bad thing for me as I had all my luggages with me. I found the little shop up the road from the entrance which Lonely Planet mentioned to put my luggage. The young chap there is nice and helpful. I was worried that my laptop will not be safe but I have no choice but to trust the book and him. And it turns out that he is good so I let him keep the change from the storage fee.

Before the door open, there was a guy with a guide tag who was telling people where to go and what was happening. And he said he would get me the 10 euro ticket faster than everyone (so I don't have to queue) and be the guide for 1hour+ for an extra 10 euro. He only took down my name and I don't have to pay until he got me ticket. I thought it was alright so I joint.

The statistics is that 3 million people visited Pompeii every year, so it's about 10 thousand people a day!! So when the gate opened after everyone has been waiting for more than an hour, people rushed in like prison break. It was such a huge chaos there that I could not find that guy. So I paid another guy 20 euros to get in and to join his tour. He gave me a ticket and asked me to wait close to the entrance after I got in. So I got in and waited for him. And I couldn't remember that guys name or how he looked like (Italian all look alike, haha), and eventually the first guy showed up again. So I followed him with an unclear conscience.

The guide showed us to several of the main attractions inside and gave a good explanation of things. When the tour finished, I thought it was unfair to the guide that I followed him but didn't pay him (as I paid another guide and couldn't find him). So I told him and paid him the 10 euro he deserved and felt I did the right thing.
After the tour, I walked to the visitor center to get a map and a guide book (free) to walk around more myself. The map and the guidebook are very detailed but it's not given to you when you get the ticket. So make sure you ask for it if you're going there.

It is a big place. I did not cover everything but was happy with it. And now hit the photos.
2007_09_18 Pompeii

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How I met your Mother theme song

I really like the CBS sitcom "How I met your Mother", so today I decided to play the theme song with my guitar. I did some search on internet for its chord and found that its name is "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids but had no luck with the chords. So I cracked it myself and here is the guitar chord. Sounds pretty like it.

C C#
A C#m F#m A D F#m Bm E


C C#


A C#m F#m A

D F#m Bm E


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yahoo!! Opps, no, I mean Happy^Googleplex (read: happy to the googolplex)!

Yes, we won. We're one of the top 3 finalists in the Google 3D campus competition (Aus/NZ). Hard work was rewarded. :D

Here's what they said in the email:

After much debate and deliberation by our SketchUp competition judges... you have been named one of the "Build Your Campus in 3D" Google SketchUp finalists! Congratulations!!! The judges were truly impressed and we all want to thank you for your hard work and dedication to delivering such a high-quality product.

As one of three finalist teams, you are invited to the all expenses paid on-site trip in February. You will visit our Google Sydney office, listen to a technical talk, and enjoy free time and planned activities, so plan to have a great time! The date is yet to be finalized, but we are shooting for either Friday, February 8th or Friday, February 22nd (depending on when our SketchUp resources are available for a technical talk). I will reach out again to confirm participation and follow-up with travel details.

Now I have a slight problem, I have planned to go back to Malaysia for Chinese New Year which is on 7 Feb, and stayed till end of Feb to help Peter with his Matlab Course in Spore and KL (although that was canceled). I hope eventually the date will be on 22 Feb then I will come back earlier from Malaysia.

Anyhow, it's bloody exciting. Google, here I come.

Update 19/12:
  • 3 Finalists: UWA, University of Melbourne (2 teams)
    • The winner will be announced during the on-site event in February
    • Finalists will visit our Sydney office and enjoy a technical talk, office tour, food in Google's world-famous cafeterias, and planned activities in Sydney
  • 33 teams officially registered for the competition,

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Toyata Robot plays violin

From Reuters

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on China Central TV

陆克文总理中央台访问 (November 24, 2007)

Man! I'm impressed! 陆克文's Mandarin is so good! The Chinese journalist Xiaorui is rather snobbish looking though...

Monday, December 03, 2007

African fractals on TED

I stumbled upon this great talk on TED.
Ron Eglash on African fractals.

Try this Cornrow fractal with 250 iterations, 2% starting dilation, 75% translation, 20 degree rotation and 102% dilation.