Thursday, December 29, 2005

A modern civilization

Yesterday I stay in school all day to have research collaboration, that is, looking at a figure I drew several months ago trying to recall what it means.

Today afternoon I walk to the Peak. In East Midlands it is exactly what the name suggests: a piece of flatland, with no mountains, no other interesting landscapes. Hong Kong, on the other hand, is a very strange place where there are so many tall buildings while at the same time there are mountains, seas, and everything else. Looking at all those buildings from the peak, I heard a tourist saying, "a modern civilization".

Thursday, December 22, 2005

return from ISAAC

Today in the morning we have the flight back to HK.

Other than the "tour" and the weather, this ISAAC is generally well-organized. In particular, the hotel has free wireless Internet access (although there are many sites you can't go in mainland). The hotel staff can understand my standard of putonghua (!) and their general English level is quite good: at least better than some of the speakers in the conference, I believe.

Back to HK I relax in the bright sunshine that I didn't have for several months. Even in this day with the shortest daytime of the year, the sun is much brighter than that in UK. (Can I really call that thing in UK "sun", when it only hangs at 30 degrees above horizon even at noon?)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

ISAAC day 3

今天大清早便要俾talk。我還以為咁早冇人聽,點知越講越多人。後來我才知道另外一個做同一problem的人 (而我們的paper cite了他們的 result) 竟然在場。幸好我的拉布戰術成功,冇時間俾人問嘢。



Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ISAAC day 2

我不是得閑無事回香港的,而是要去 ISAAC.



行程的第一站,各團友就被安排往某咖啡廠「參觀」及購買手信。之後我對明年將主辦 AAIM 之潘博士說,可安排團友到位於紅磡的金至尊買金,貢獻香港經濟。




回程時王太再發表理論,指這些節目唔係幾好,「雖然天涯海角只係兩舊石頭,但都係呢到景點,第二到冇得睇」,眾人大表同意。王太又表示此行也有好處,就是「得到人生經驗, 以後冇咁易俾人揾笨」。

晚上的 BBQ,我也不想多提,除了有表演以走音 (?) 的民族樂器 (?) 奏出「有隻雀仔跌落水」...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

back to Hong Kong


不知是因為我搭BA/CX終於夠多,還是訂票時擺了 DR. 出來,還是我靚仔了,我竟然被 upgrade...


Thursday, December 15, 2005

light bulbs and electricity

Another light bulb blows itself, the second one within two weeks. Added to the fact that the auto-switch-off "feature" of the electric shower seems coming earlier and earlier, I really suspect there's something wrong with the electricity in this flat...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I better stay away from ebay for some time, after spending a ridiculous amount of money buying "hard plastic" (which is my favourite toy)...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

phone line problem seemingly resolved

Last week the phone line problem re-appeared, and the biggest problem is that I can't get online. This time I found a neighbor to phone me to "trigger" the phone line to work. This happened for two consecutive nights and she must be very unhappy about that. After I reported to BT (British Telecom, not bit-torrent) now it appears to be working properly, and in any case I (finally) got a mobile to "kick" the phone line should the problem comes back again.

And it is good to know that, while many neighbors here are old people, the one closest to me is a young pretty gal...

Monday, November 28, 2005


The worst is finally here. Snow. This is the first time I see snow falling. While students generally look very excited, skiing (with normal shoes) around and throwing snowballs to each other, I really hate this weather...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I'm not updating here recently; for one I'm very busy, for another I have no Internet connection at home yet...

Meanwhile I'm looking at the photos of this site. It's so good that someone takes a picture of everything in HK... This is the train station just outside my Ma On Shan home, and this is where I live before I move to MOS...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The new flat

There are of course "features" of the flat that you only discover after you move in:

1) A phone line is set up last Friday, and it was working properly. Then the next day it didn't work, giving no dialling tone when you pick up the phone. However if you try to call that number (and no one picks up the phone) it appears normal - you hear ringing tone. Then I asked a colleague to phone me, I pick up the phone, it works, and immediately after I put down the phone and pick it up again, the dialling tone magically appears! And now I can make calls...

2) Apart from the fact that everything in the bathroom is operated by cords hanging from the ceiling, which I was well informed, the electric shower automatically triggers the fuse after a certain (small) number of minutes, so it helps you save water, save electricity, and save time. What a wonderful "feature"...

First lecture

I had my first lecture on this Monday. Actually, two lectures, separated by an hour. It went not too well but also not too badly - I just keep on talking and talking, and there's very few interruptions from students, at least much fewer than a first-year class I have seen. Maybe it's really too boring so in the second lecture a significant number of people did not appear. (No, there must be other reasons, like they didn't appear after getting the lecture notes...)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Will be moving...

Assuming everything works out, this will be my last night in Opal Court.

Opal Court is certainly very good: in a very convenient location to university, city centre, rail station, ... everything. And you have a nice view of the city in 14/F when everything else is only two or three storeys high. A bit noisy since it is just beside the railway and a fire station, but I don't mind that. Also a lot of fun to have earthquake experience, like watching the lamp swinging, when wind blows... It would be good if I can stay there indefinitely. But I have to move to somewhere in a worse location, less secure, and, well, more expensive...

However, moving to some place without Internet (yet) is perhaps good for a lecturer who have a lot of work to do, like setting examination paper before he starts teaching...

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Lots of fireworks today (actually, starting a week earlier or so), which I can view clearly from my room window.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

some photos

Now, if you care to view, here they are. I hope I'm going to continually add more...

Monday, October 31, 2005

flats going away even more quickly

All flats that I'm interested in are gone within 3 days after I viewed them. Or before I view them. Except one that no one takes. So I'm trying my luck on this rather insecure flat - everyone can freely walk to the front door, and that's the only door you have to break to get in... even worse than public housing estates in Hong Kong which have 鐵閘. And in a place with this crime rate...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

weather, buildings, and toys

(1) I've all heard about it. These days I have a chance of really seeing how bad the weather in UK could be... strong winds, raining all out of sudden, ...

(2) 英國D樓係咪紙紥的... D 牆除了薄至可聽見隔離講嘢外, 仲滲水的...

(3) I like Argos! They are having a sale on (one item of) my favorite toy! Saves me quite a lot of money even comparing with the price at HK... So, finally, this huge box is sitting in front of me...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

flats are going away quickly

Tuesday: there is a flat for renting that seems too good to be true.
Thursday: after viewing it I think it is just so-so.
Friday: it's gone!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Italy trip (3)

Visiting Siena and Pisa.
I should have been leaving early on the day after my talk. For some reason difficult to explain here, I'm forced to stay one more night. I stayed in Siena for a night. The hotel again want to get hold of my passport, at least for 10 minutes, the reason being that they need it for registration. This time my face must look real bad (on top of the usual bad, that is) and they make a photocopyinstead.

In the next day, before going to the Pisa airport, I managed to squeeze just enough time to go to the leaning tower of Pisa, only to discover later that - yes, again - the flight is delayed.

[to be continued]

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Italy trip (2)

The talks.
My talk does not attract a lot of people, as expected (within there I'm considered very "practical"). I was told that in the last session of the first day there are only 7 people in the room. Obviously there are more people than that in my talk.

Some of the talks I understand describe results that seem too good to appear in this conference...

Questions in Dinners.
Pretty much the same set of people are in my table every meal, and they discuss these questions.

(1) 100 ants are placed at different positions along a 1-metre-long rod. At time 0 they all move, in either left or right direction, with a speed of 1 meter per minute. An ant reaching either ends of the rod simply falls off, while if two ants meet, they immediately reverse direction and continue moving with the same speed. When will all ants fall off (with the adversarial, i.e. worst starting configuration)?

I haven't heard about this before, and the solution is so trivial that makes anyone needing to think about it appear so stupid. I barely manage to figure it out while the solution is being spoken out...

[to be continued]

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Italy trip (1)

I fly from Gatwick to Pisa, and I change trains at King's Cross again, this time walking along those streets where you see on TV several months ago.

I could have saved the department some money since Ryanair had offered free flight tickets from Stansted to Pisa, but perhaps I'm a few days late and it's all sold out. Well actually there were some left at awkward times which you have to sleep in airport, etc...

Looking out of the plane window and watch a sea of bubble clouds is always fun. And I can look at the Alps, this time the real thing rather than on Google Earth.

I need a train from Pisa to Siena, with a change in Empoli. The trains are such that it doesn't have any announcement of what is the current/next station, and even you look out of the window it is not always easy to see which station this is.

ICTCS this year is held in Siena, Italy. Or more precisely, somewhere near Siena. My department head's description is probably the most accurate: "fancy ex-monastery in Tuscany". Basically, it is in a "certosa", some university accommodation for conference by the Universita di Siena, converted from a several-hundred-year-old ex-monastery. It is in a mountain area where you don't see anything other than grass within visible distance, and it takes at least a 20 minute drive to somewhere else that is a bit more interesting.

The conference organizers are well aware of this trouble, and someone (that is, one of the organizers himself) drive people from the train station to the certosa.

I don't appreciate old buildings. In particular, it looks rather like a ghost house at night.
The worst thing they do is to keep my passport while I stay there. I don't see any reason they want to do this, and I don't feel safe without my passport. (OK, I have another one...) The reason that they keep it will become clear when you read on...

Obviously, at such places you can't expect people to find food themselves. The conference therefore arrange all meals for you. I have to say the food quality is reasonably good... And we have wine made by Universita di Siena. So we know what universities in Italy do. Hmm...

[to be continued]

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I'm back

I mean, I come back from Italy. That's certainly not a very nice trip - perhaps its only purpose is to give me a home feeling to Leicester. There are dozens of important stuff waiting me to be done so I will only write about the trip later.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

accommodation, and where to buy things

I am currently living in a student hall called Opal Court. I am in the better rooms where basically it is like a hotel room with a shared kitchen.

While I was checking in for that I met a student from Hong Kong - we stared at each other for quite a while before she finally whispered "香港黎架?". She said she's from HKU software engineering and she recognises me. I suppose that means she's not my student. I didn't recognize her, though. We ended the conversation with the very "hong for" sentence "let's contact later" when we don't really have contacts of each other. So, 尋人啓事: if anyone knows how to contact her please tell me.

In Tuesday afternoon I got out to walk around. I've heard about Queen's Road which is not far away from the university, and there are some cheap stores. There are also some lettings agencies, but I didn't go inside them yet. I don't really know when I should start finding accommodation... I don't have much time, they booked Opal Court for 2 months for me, and next week I will be out to Italy for a conference...

In Wednesday after school Shengxiang got me to a Chinese grocery store, not far away from where I'm currently living. Actually I heard about it and know where it is, but didn't have the time to really go there. My only worry about it was removed when I know that the shop owners speak Cantonese... I bought some rice, 出前一丁 and other things...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The first few days

My arrival date collide with the start of the term, with tons of students doing their registration. And as a result things didn't work out very smoothly for me.

Office. Supposingly I have an office, but they have problems with replacing furnitures and such. I am therefore working in an RA office with some other people.

Computers. Machines here are always Win/Linux dual boot and have severe restrictions on what you can do on the machines. Some people here probably use a lot of Linux, their Windows partitions are not working properly without being noticed. For example, my PC in the RA office misses some DLLs (?) and you have to use a trick (?) of executing arbitrary programs out of a blank blue screen, in order to do something useful. It is not stable anyway.

Networks. It's probably the machine problem, but the network is extremely slow for doing things like logging in. They forces everyone to use Outlook, and syncronizing things to the network hangs up those problematic PCs for some time. Now that they give me a new PC (in an office without a table, that is) things are getting better. Getting my laptop onto the Internet should be simple, but the person responsible for this is too busy dealing with student registrations, so I only get this done in the second day. Now I have the buggy PC and my laptop in the RA room, and there are two network sockets, but only one of them works, so only one of the machines can be online at one time...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

still alive

Just to say that I'm still alive.

As you can expect, I don't have much time to write things here. I'll update some bits whenever possible, probably in some random order; so don't just read the newest blog entry.

Saturday, October 01, 2005




予吾師:劣徒過往研究馬虎苟且,不求甚解,且資質愚魯,致無甚所出。"very proud of you" 云云,愧不敢當。今後當改此等陋習,以求不負所望。另城大ck,養余數月,無 paper 以報,實使吾無地自容。


「今夕吾驅淪異土 他朝君體也相同 」

眾靚女 (請自行對號入座),吾本應追之逐之,但我始終未盡全力;可惜即將在各一方,於今有心無力矣。


Thursday, September 29, 2005

countdown 72 hours

我真係一個白痴... 連 pack 兩箱野都唔識... 甚至黐膠紙都唔掂...
Anyway, 今朝已經寄咗出去...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

countdown 134 hours

Looking at the piles of stuff in CityU and at home...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

work permit

So my work permit has fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally arrived. Let's see whether there are problems when getting it to the consulate general...

They are also announcing the new lecturers. I must emphasize that it is NOT the case that they recruited three people out of the four interviewees I mentioned before... The other two lecturers are from a later round of recruitment.

Friday, September 16, 2005

CityU canteen

各位同學,開學已經兩星期了,你地唔係咁勤力日日返學下話... 俾個寛敞少少o既 canteen 我食下飯好唔好呢... 你地仲後生,來日方長... 我時日無多了...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster

I like the Flying Spaghetti Monster "religion". Actually, not that much, but given the fact that Intelligent Design seems to get its way into "science" education under the Bush administration, there seem no other, more logical ways to protest it. (For those who don't know, Intelligent Design is some pseudoscience that is created with the hope of blurring the line between rigorous scientific process and religious faith, and a eventual goal of replacing Darwinian theory of evolution.)

I still like the made-in-Hong-Kong 田雞真神教會 more. (Warning: part of that site is very offensive to some people and actually unfair to the religion it is criticizing; however, there are some good points.)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

恐怖分子闖廸士尼 米奇老鼠大開殺戒

[本報訊] 一批恐怖分子於昨日闖入香港廸士尼樂園,挾持大批遊客。警方接報後派出大批飛虎隊到場,應樂園職員要求,極速換去制服,戴上米奇老鼠面具,與恐怖分子駁 火,最後將恐怖分子全數殺死。數名兒童被持鎗米奇老鼠嚇怕,事後表示不會再喜歡米奇老鼠,改為支持 Hello kitty...

Friday, September 09, 2005


唉, 又係你:

近 年 來 在 下 所 推 斷 的 事 十 有 九 中 , 唯 一 不 中 的 是 曾 斷 言 曾 蔭 權 不 可 能 當 特 首 , 現 在 證 明 在 下 是 錯 了 。 不 過 在 下 仍 認 為 錯 不 在 我 , 而 是 因 為 當 中 必 定 有 難 以 為 人 所 知 的 內 幕 , 很 可 能 , 曾 蔭 權 回 歸 前 已 投 靠 中 國 , 成 為 中 國 政 府 安 排 在 港 府 的 線 人 , 否 則 , 他 是 不 可 能 當 上 特 首 的 。

曾 蔭 權 當 上 香 港 的 特 首 絕 對 是 一 件 好 事 , 因 為 他 的 確 能 幹 , 如 果 他 是 共 產 黨 的 線 人 則 更 好 , 這 可 以 保 證 香 港 的 治 權 不 會 落 在 不 愛 國 的 人 手 上 , 他 出 過 這 樣 大 的 力 , 更 應 該 好 好 酬 謝 他 。

不 過 無 論 如 何 , 愛 國 的 左 派 人 士 應 該 視 他 如 自 己 人 。 毛 主 席 也 曾 說 過 : 「 我 們 應 該 相 信 黨 , 我 們 應 該 相 信 群 眾 。 」 曾 蔭 權 是 黨 選 出 來 的 , 他 絕 不 會 是 港 英 餘 孽 相 信 我 的 判 斷 吧 !

(梁立人, 東方日報 03/09/2005)

拿, 又泄露國家機密啦...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Student Lab Policy

鬼佬真係唔同, 明文規定可以打機:

The playing of computer games will only be tolerated:

  • if the lab is NOT booked for a formal lab session;
  • does not deprive another students of access to a machine to undertake private study;
  • if you do not disturb other students working in lab

Monday, September 05, 2005


1. 開學。 不原來有咁多學生架咩...

2. 係通往又一城的隧道內, 一班被玩的freshman在做一些低能動作, 被一名幼稚園女生恥笑。與此同時, 一名就走的職員慘遭攝入鏡頭...

3. 各位同學, 課室在五樓, 唔好係六樓頭岳岳...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New staff in CityU CS

Go to the CityU CS academic staff list page and you can see some new staff there. They are very easy to recognize, just those without pictures...

Well, this is not entirely correct. Except that the Instructor I seems to be new (who comes from HKU), the two assistant professors are relocated from the department of computer engineering and information technology, which is going to "fold up". It was splitted from EE and CS departments some years ago, but then they decided it is better to revert to the original state. (Of course, this is a much bigger change than renaming a department and then renaming it back again.)

Monday, August 29, 2005

The highest efficiency

對於英國人的辦事效率, 我早有所聞, 不過都係親自體驗下好...

1x-JUL: we will shortly begin preparing the paperwork to apply for your workpermit
2x-AUG (經催促後): The application will be processed shortly (即係唔問佢係唔會apply...)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


我啱啱睇過佢地以往嘅 departmental meeting minutes, 睇完都好驚吓... 包括收生情況, league table position, 財政狀況以及教職員流失率等, 都俾我想像中嚴重... 點算呢...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Cable TV on KCR

OK, so we have TV everywhere, now on KCR also. But could they make sure they are working properly? For the second time I'm forced to listen to two channels superimposed (actually the same recorded programme but unsynchronized). I think I'm basically a macroscopic object and not like to be in two quantum states at the same time...

Monday, August 15, 2005


Today I go to the British consulate to collect my renewed passport (using 5% of the time to get it and 95% of the time queueing outside just to get in). Then I go to the HSBC headquarter to open a UK bank account. Actually, I never go up there before; and I am wondering, if only I had joined this company many years ago, I will not be here opening this account...

The process is fine, except that (i) it seems that every customer service officer in HSBC sells insurance, and (ii) she casually asked a question which I have been asked a thousand times and still unable to answer, namely "for how long will you be working there?".

I would really like to know an answer to that question.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Google Earth

呢個就係我屋企個景了(即係將前面D 樓壓扁左之後)... 遲D 冇得睇了... 唉...

I like to use google earth to fly slowly above HK. It is beautiful - thanks Google. Maybe they could add a bit more controls to make it a real flight simulator.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

the link is going to disappear

If you care to read, the blog entries about the UK trip is now finalized. I thought I would add a lot more, but things seem not very interesting by now, so this is only a slight update.

And, for those who insist to go through my CS homepage to here (yes I know someone is wasting an extra click every day): you better bookmark this page now, as the link on CS homepage to here would gradually fade out and eventually completely disappear. It is a randomized link with a certain probability of appearing, and this probability will be decreasing...

Friday, July 22, 2005


A professor and his three students A, B, C (in descending order of age) are having lunch to be paid by B, supposingly to "celebrate" B finding a job. Somehow the conversation includes something like:

C: 我比B 教過的
B: 我都比A 教過的
Prof: 而家D 學生越黎越渣
A,B,C: ...

where am I going?

So... what do all these mean? Will I be teaching in a second Iraq?

Friday, July 15, 2005

no title

So, it's done. After a week's struggle - you probably don't understand. A move for someone who never left HK any longer than 2 weeks. A decision that certainly affects my career, possibly whether I can chase girls, and perhaps where I will live in the rest of my life. I don't know why I do it, I don't know whether it is good to do it. But anyway, it's done. The first one to leave HK for permanent academic jobs while remaining single in the theory group, as far as I know. An embarassing dishonour.

You know what this story tells you, right?

Monday, July 11, 2005


恭喜霍會長成功乞得唔之咩項目主辨權... 真係令我無面見人...

Friday, July 08, 2005

King's Cross St. Pancras

Exactly one month ago, at the same morning rush hour, I was in this station on my way to Leicester... and it is the location having the largest number of people killed in this attack. (Is that a warning that I should not go? ...)

Last year I was in Paris and two months after I left, the roof of a terminal of Charles de Gaulle airport collapsed... For people's lives, perhaps I should not go to anywhere else...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005






Saturday, July 02, 2005


So we finally have our 新特首. And could all those people on TV stop keep on saying the word when talking about this 新特首 ? Yeah I know they interpret the law again to say this is a 新特首 , not 新任特首 ... but can't you just skip the ? Isn't 新特首 fine? Or 新嘅特首 is also fine, right?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Anyone still want to do algorithms?

Job finding can be particularly frustrating when you know that universities in Hong Kong do recruit people, but only those doing databases like him and him...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Every country needs CS faculty...

I better take back my words around two weeks before. I hope what I heard is not true: well, a visiting/guest is finally moving to T... anyway, not a country I'd like to go. (You don't have the European Champions League Final at the same country every year, do you?) But it seems he has some connections over there before.

What makes me more worried is with his "background", the "shine" he got is still not enough to allow him to stay here (?). As for his ability, on one hand he has been PC member for some conferences; on the other hand you can know how "good" his teaching is by googling...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

UK trip day 4

This is supposed to be a free travel day, but actually not much is done. First, a 3-hour train from Liverpool back to London occupies the whole morning. Before going to the airport, I have only around 2 - 3 hours in London. I only go around Westminster, the Big Ben, and the London eye. This is a Saturday and there is a lot of people everywhere. I could have gone to a bit more places, but the admin people of the underground decided to close two lines on weekends, which are exactly those that passes through some tourist attractions. Another line is having "severe delay".
I end up travelling along almost the same path returning to the starting point. Then I reach the airport only to know that the flight is delayed by an hour...

Friday, June 10, 2005

UK trip day 3

In the morning I took a 2-hour train to Liverpool. It needed a change, and the first train was small and crowded, but the second train was fine. When I arrived, Prudence was already waiting me at the train station. She took me to have the famous "fish and chips" as lunch. According to what she said, that is a better one around there and I find it acceptable, too!

We walked up to the campus. Her office is situated in the same floor as some radioactive laboratories. And the building has a real lot of doors - every now and then you open a door and get into a very small closed area with three other doors at the three other sides...

And the talk itself. There are exactly five people including Prudence in the audience. That's good, as I didn't have even a bit of preparation for it. And one of them made the important observation that the "motivation" of the research has absolutely nothing to do with the scheduling problem being studied!

After the talk we walk around the city, in particular going to the Liverpool football club souvenir shop. And it is exactly on this day that the UEFA announced that Liverpool can defend their European Champion title. See I bring good luck here, shouldn't they give me some free souvenirs?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

UK trip day 2

This is the day of formal interview. In the morning it is the talk. There are a total of 4 candidates, and they do it in alphabetical order of surnames. Still, having a surname starting F, I'm the third one to give the talk.

The talk itself is not too bad; at least this is what I think. They do it in a lecture theatre, which is not something I expected. Around 10 - 20 people there. They ask quite a number of questions, some of which I'm not entirely clear as to their relevance, like "where do you do this research"...

They take us to lunch in a staff restaurant. As usual, I don't speak in lunch...

In the afternoon there is a formal interview. Interview panel 有五個人:chair 的是個比美國國防部長拉姆斯菲爾德面口稍為好一點的 pro-vice-chancellor. 一個是 CS dept head, 另一個也是 CS faculty staff, 一早見過的。還有貌似聯合國秘書長安南的 law department professor, 與及貌似愛恩斯坦的一位 structural biologist. 至於 interview 的慘況就不要提了... 正當我 nervous 得答非所問,張口結舌之際,我眼尾望到阿秘書小姐係到向我扮鬼臉... 之後似乎答得好左dd...

After the interview I go back to the city centre... and like many other places in Europe, shops close at exactly 5 pm. At 6 pm or so I'm buying food from a KFC which, well, is only semi-operating... Along the way I also heard some Cantonese for the first time here...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

UK trip day 1

[So I've finally come back from UK. I have very limited internet access over there and hence not blogging; but to make it more clear what's going on, let's pretend I'm writing this every day during the trip... (12/6/05)]

I arrive London early in the morning. Since I'm not the one to pay, an expensive airline is chosen. But expensive is not always the same as good: the flight is the coldest I have ever taken, one of the toilet is closed for repair, my screen is basically not functioning, etc.

Anyway, after that I took the underground and then a 75-minute train to Leicester. I had a short walk around the city centre for a while, before going to the university in the afternoon to visit the faculty "informally". It's really sunny over there and I feel it even hotter than Hong Kong...

As reported in this page there are lots of Indians there. Not much Chinese in the city, but quite some Chinese students in the campus, although the campus is within walking distance to the city centre. The first four Chinese characters that I see in the city is 專業剪髮 ...

I meet with four faculty staff and a PhD student, all in the Algorithms and Complexity group. Perhaps the most important observation is that one of them has a wife from mainland China, another has a Taiwanese wife, yet another has some connections with Chinese that I don't remember...

Friday, June 03, 2005

free trip (2)

For several years I've been trying to hide myself from the truth. Now that a free trip is really put in front of me, I'm finally forced to think seriously about the cruel reality of the world. Am I really prepared to go away??? Why can't I be like some people who seem to hang around as visiting or guests forever?

Anyway. I'll be going here first, and afterwards have a visit to Prudence.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sir X X memorial scholarship

Today I phoned the Sir X X memorial fund council dealing with some trouble of a scholarship I got many years ago. At the end when I finally mentioned my name, she said she has "a bit of impression" about my name. Gee... how could that happen??

BTW, I still keep a booklet issued by them listing all the scholarship recipients of that year. Apart from some funny names, there are actually two of my girl students / classmates in HKU. They were still in high school by then; and they probably don't remember this anyway.

Monday, May 30, 2005

pyfung @ FMO

I suppose there is someone called P. Y. Fung in the FMO (Facilities and Management Office) in CityU; I'm constantly receiving emails asking this pyfung to reserve a car park [slot], close [lock] the door of a certain room, or send a security guard to somewhere...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

free trip

While my boss is not (yet) successful in kicking me over the Pacific Ocean, I am accidentally kicking myself the other way round, across the Asia and mainland Europe to an island. While a free trip is fine, it would be a huge trouble of thinking whether to accept it if they give me an offer. But their ad is the first one that I've ever seen that asks for people doing online algorithms...

Yesterday I have dinner with some LG101 colleagues. They discovered a "rule" that theory group PhD graduates will go overseas if get married, and will stay in Hong Kong if remain single. There are exceptions to this on one side, but not the other side. Now I'm worrying...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


I'm typing this post while inhaling pesticide...

The CS general office is under renovation and caused our office to have no electricity for the long weekend. When I come back today, I am told that they discovered there is a 蜈蚣 in our office, and pesticide is therefore applied to this room last night. As you can expect, this room is now full of the smell of pesticide...

Ar yeah, this office is shared with five other people, all from mainland. Back in HKU I also remember seeing a lot of "interesting" creatures in Haking Wong building. Hmm...

Monday, May 16, 2005



Saturday, May 07, 2005

so these are Hong Kong students

The HKCEE English exam this year included an article from a forum about comics, as a kind-of proofreading question. And our HK students, after the frustration of the exam, have too much idle time and dig out that article from the web, and then fxck the original author of the article. Oh well. This incident clearly demonstrates the English level of our students:

(1) An article as simple as this can be considered "very difficult" by the students.

(2) From their fxcking and other responses in the forum you can know not only their reading ability but also writing. Next year the HKCEE can simply use these responses as proofreading questions.

(3) So the difficulty of the exam declined that much after 10 years or so. Perhaps they should look at the exam papers of my time. (btw, when can they stop calling it "pass paper"?)

After lots of fxcking, people then complain the HKEAA of "stealing" the paper and infringing copyright. Guys, does that make any difference to your marks, even if it is true?

Next they go on to complain "it is not the author's fault, but the HKEAA" of (i) choosing a passage from a Dutch; (ii) choosing an informal passage; and (iii) the style of the questions changed. Well, if you can't handle informal passages I don't think you can handle articles from the Times magazine or the like, you'll only "die faster". And actually if I were the HKEAA I will change the style of the questions every year to make sure you learn the basics of the language and not "tips" from "tuition kings". Good job, HKEAA!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


[本報訊] 由於愛國乃最大道理,其他所有道理都要讓路,因此人大第2904次釋法決定:東隧必須加價,市民亦必須繼續使用,以讓國家企業賺大錢,從而間接資助國家買更多飛機大炮,反對者即屬違法。

Monday, April 25, 2005


究竟係賣x 粉嘅惡D定係阿爺惡D呢:



Monday, April 18, 2005

WMSCI 2005

I first know of this incident from a local Chinese newspaper. Well, fantastic! I can now write as many paper as I want. Something that most interests me:

(1) The response of the conference organizer (btw, why is it always the same person?): Oh he must be an expert in the theory of peer review. He quotes so many journal articles to support accepting "non-reviewed" papers. Even more, when authors asked for rejection reasons, he also cites so many literature to support him not providing reviewer comments. This sets the standard so high; I suppose I can never be a conference organizer if I need so much knowledge about this.

(2) Although I can generate as many papers as I wish, I probably couldn't get them into this prestigious conference, because as stated in their conference website:
Acceptance decisions related to the submitted papers will be based on their respective content review and/or on the respective author’s CV.
Given that I have such a poor CV, I must have no hope of getting them accepted.

(3) Could someone tell me whether the "get me off the fxxking mailing list" paper is accepted or not?

(4) They accepted 2904 papers last year. Wow! Can I also know how many papers are submitted?

(5) I generated several papers for myself. One is titled "Internet considered harmful", and another cites my own "paper" co-authored with D. Johnson (D S Johnson?) titled "Contrasting IPv6 and vacuum tubes"...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

google talk looks very interesting in first sight, but very often it only gives "did did did did DID..." or simply stucks somewhere.
For someone, be sure to try it with "obsession with xxxxxx".
I've also tried "bill gates is"...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

homepage visitors, yet again

I only realize by now that people from countries as diverse as Singapore, Spain, Austria etc. looked into my page about research. But more interestingly, the "403 Forbidden" page has a new usage (other than cheating people away): someone googled "forbidden" and landed on my page...

Monday, April 04, 2005

CityU (2): the office and the PC

Now the office. I'm in a room with 5 other people. This office is designed by a genius, with a 3-feet-in-diameter "pillar" (I hope this is the right word, you know how bad my English is) standing right inside the (small) room, and it is right behind me.
Beside it is a pile of unused "Legend" PCs, monitors, etc. I thought I'm in the department of computer recycling. But one thing I like is that it is very difficult for others to look at my screen.

And the PC. Actually they have plenty of PCs around, just that my boss has some PCs of his own (project grant??) and somehow his students can't dig it out without using several hours. And the network card is so special that it can't be automatically detected and used. The technical support gives me another network card. By the way, while they put almost all departments in the same building, they put the CS technical staff in another building.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

CityU (1): the job

Ok, so I have finally got a PC and a network connection, and I can write something here. Um... when should I start?

The very first question: why am I here? That's because my old boss want to kick me out, and in order to kick me out quickly he has to find another place to put me in. I am staying here for maybe a short period of time only, depending on whether my boss succeeds in kicking me over the Pacific Ocean... or maybe not.

Originally, my job title here is "research fellow". But in the very last day before I took up the job they realized I have not obtained my PhD yet, and they immediately demoted me to be a "senior research assistant". (Yep, I think so, but I'm not really sure...)

Friday, April 01, 2005

April 1

This is not an April Fool's joke, and I'm now working in City University of Hong Kong.

There are too many "interesting" things happening these days, but I may have to write about them only in the coming days.

This is because this "computer" science department is too busy preparing April Fool's jokes, and can give me a computer only by 5pm in my first day, and then I still cannot get it to the web. So this post is made in my home computer, my first network connection today. And I cannot do my usual office-hour activities like watching stock prices and deleting junk mail...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

worst thesis

So I didn't post for 2 weeks. That's because I'm writing the thesis. Definitely the worst thesis I have ever written. So don't bother me for 2 more days...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I am, once again, reviewing papers for COCOON. This year, we have a record-breaking ~300 submissions. We all know Kunming is a beautiful place, but I never know people really like it so much. Fortunately I didn't submit anything there. On the other hand, there is another theory conference that is extending its deadline for a week...

Sunday, March 13, 2005


[03年3月] 香港爆發沙士,德福花園QTUNG五座有人感染

[05年2月] 大埔林村許願樹折斷,董生隨即辭職

[05年3月] 董生成為國家領導人,華東華中隨即暴風雪 :
南京下大雪一夜跌20度,千名兒童發燒感冒入院 ;
上海氣溫驟降十七度,並下起暴雨,刮起八級強風 ;
武漢市下了十多年來最大的一場雪 ;
雲南怒江暴風雪,十五死十失蹤 ;
江西五十五個縣市出現積雪 ;
台灣中部及北部地區都在攝氏六至八度,今天部份山區會下雪 ;

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


幄帳無人用岳飛 - 梁立人

太陽報 08/03/2005





[*] 你轉軚都轉得好快喎...


曾蔭權無緣當特首 - 梁立人

太陽報 (26/02/2005)






[1] 不你咁坦白承認特首係要聽指揮的? "若曾蔭權不聽指揮,必然
也會得到人民支持", 你真係一針見血呀!
[2] 既然"英國特工的策反工作可以做到新華社高官頭上", 咁一樣
可以做到"愛國人士"身上, 不單止
前港英政府高官喎... 咁邊個做
[3] 請問你而家仲受唔受注?
[4] 不原來有"中國的臥底"...國家機密喎...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Tung in Wikipedia

How come people can update things so quickly even when it is not officially announced yet?

And how come even resignation can be so 議而不決?

And why all HK people are so calm and there is no celebration?

Friday, February 25, 2005


恭喜恭喜 ! (雖然過左咁多日先記得講)「麥兜菠蘿油王子」獲香港電影評論學會 「最佳電影 」獎 !

Thursday, February 24, 2005


So when can we stop having this either cold or humid (inclusive-or) weather?

Monday, February 21, 2005

homepage visitors again

I now believe there are strong connections among HKU people in US: people from 3 different universities in US visit my updated page within half an hour...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

mahjong at Chinese new year


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

conference spam

Many of us have received a lot of (almost) spams for conference call for papers and participations, and it is very interesting that someone responded by submitting such kind of "paper" (see also this blog entry).

By the way, I'm receiving maybe the 4th cfp from COCOON. Every time the bulk of their email is not the cfp but the 400+ recipient on the mailing list. You have to scroll down 150 lines if you really want to look at the cfp. I never know COCOON is approaching the status of some Multi-conferences...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


After making the fine decision of rejecting my SODA submissions for two consecutive years, this year they accepted two papers citing my rejected papers, including a 2-page paper that cites both rejected papers.

Hmm, anyone recruit people by counting citations?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


I just bought a second-hand lego mindstorms Robotics Invention System 1.5. Not the newest version 2.0 but the difference is not that significant. This comes at a fairly low price, particularly when considering that the previous owner didn't play with it much; bricks are like new and some are even in their sealed bags. The RCX (the microprocessor) works, although I didn't have time to test it fully yet.

So at last I can say I'm not playing, collecting, or "frying" lego, but doing research in robotics. Except the same old problem - no time...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

journal paper bug?

No, not exactly a bug.
In a journal paper written some time ago, I used an operation supported in someone else's data structure to perform a particular operation in my problem. It turns out that the particular operation of the data structure is not exactly the thing I want for my problem... but, fortunately, when you look at it closely, you can actually use other operations supported by the data structure to do exactly the thing that I want, in the same running time. So if someone questions me about this, I can say I only skipped a lot of details...

Friday, January 28, 2005

homepage visitors

I have been looking at who's watching my homepage, and well, recently:
  • One of my coauthors was googling his name (in a non-English google), and then visit my homepage. But he stops at the formal page.
  • Someone visit my homepage at... 9 am??

Thursday, January 20, 2005



* * *

拿,我知你係到架,做 mud 唔出聲?默哀?犯法架!唔係?咁仲唔雞咁腳走?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

who moved my thesis

A few days ago the newspaper reported a PhD candidate committed suicide because "he lost his thesis". I should probably keep my thesis in a safe place, and make more backups...

Actually, a copy of my MPhil thesis should be in the department library (CB313), but it has disappeared for quite some time (1 year?)...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

no post...

No post for a while... I'm quite busy recently, revising journal papers. They either get stuck in referees' hands forever, or they all come back together.

The editor of the journal which I mentioned in the previous post emailed me again, pushing me to submit a revision quickly "to ensure a fast turnaround time". Shouldn't it be me saying this?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

2 years

So, a paper submitted to a journal two years ago is finally accepted. But now I've completely forgotten the stuff and I'm puzzling at some of my own proofs that ain't questioned by the referees. After thinking for a while, I believe the proof still works, well, "in principle"...

Monday, January 03, 2005

19" LCD monitor

After some broadcast-email "discussion" within the department, we get the new 19" LCD monitors today.

A bigger monitor reduces the number of scrolls required when viewing large-size high-resolution girl photos, therefore reducing the amount of time spent on these things in office (assuming the number of photos to be viewed remains constant). Hence, this increases our research productivity...