Friday, December 14, 2007

witnessing a new record

According to this, I have just witnessed the longest-ever frame of snooker on TV last night by Marco Fu and Mark Selby (btw... this Mark Selby is from Leicester). My god, it is almost as long as a football match. Unlike some other very long frames which are very scrappy and boring, this one is actually of a very high quality and requires a lot of mental strength, just to watch it...

Friday, November 23, 2007

There can be no excuses

"There can be no excuses", said McClaren for so many times. Indeed, someone else threw such a lifeline at you and if you still lose, you can't blame anyone else. I don't know where to start writing about all these; in fact I am usually reluctant to write too much since it often appears that what can be said have already been said, in a better way. But since they won't play for quite a while, here is still something.

Formation. 4-5-1? (or 4-3-3, it doesn't matter) It has been proved so many times that England can only play 4-4-2. If someone is injured, just replace with someone else of the same position; don't mess with the formation to squeeze your star players in. But we all know this is exactly the thing that McClaren (and Eriksson) does. Comes to my mind again is the old joke that if McClaren has 11 star goalkeepers then he will put 11 goalkeepers in the starting lineup. (Or maybe this is a good idea, just for this match...)

Starting lineup. I actually think using SWP and putting Beckham on the bench is the right thing. Not too many people dare to recall Beckham just to put him on the bench. I think he is good enough as a substitute but perhaps not good enough to start.

Then the match started, and McClaren was holding an umbrella. At that moment, I knew it certainly isn't right, but I couldn't put it in words, until newspapers and others have now done. He isn't even prepared to get his hair wet? Afraid that fans throw objects at him?

After 7 or 8 minutes we have this, Scott Carson. You can't really blame him too much, he is so inexperienced, and it is this McClaren who put him out all of a sudden. I agree we should let go of Robinson, much earlier in fact, but I think James is a better choice. At least, he is used to these embarassing errors and will not be too shakened by them. Carson on the other hand is visibly shakened for the entire first half.

Wayne Bridge. No words are enough to describe how awful that is. Keep attacker onside for the second goal. Slow, slow, slow. Numerous errors. The other defenders ain't too much better either.

Tactics, if there is any. Peter Crouch alone up front, with everyone aiming the ball at his head. Again, it has been proven so many times that it does not work. It looks like nobody noticed he has two feet. Using Crouch is not that bad an idea, despite he is constantly being criticized. Alright, he is not a world-class striker - he will probably never be - but he can do something different. (Like bending the body and strike at unusual angles...) That is, as long as you pass the ball on the pitch. The next thing that happens after someone kicks the ball high up the air to his head is that they lose possession. You can blame the pitch, but Croatia is playing at the same pitch and they are passing the ball around.

The half-time substitutions are understandable - not much else he could do by that time.

Then somehow, they cheated a very soft penalty. The slightest shirt pull and Defoe fell down dramatically. Anyway, now back in the game, huh?

Next the Beckham-Crouch goal; this is more like it. I told you before, Peter Crouch has two feet. (And the ball is towards his chest, not his head.) Everyone says "see, Beckham is so important". Ok, you're right, but only because the other midfielders are so underperformed. Gerrard for example has been performing rather poorly for quite a while.

Then you lose one more goal, and then here comes Darren Bent. At that point there were completely no tactics - how are the three forwards supposed to do? Just randomly runs around and hope that something happens?

The next day, sacking of McClaren. Of course this is the right thing to do. But he is fired by the same set of people who recruited him, which from day 1 everyone knows that this is not the first choice. Why no one ever ask the people in the FA to take responsibility and resign?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


果然不出所料,本人 (喺香港) 住嗰區,由於少了本人關鍵一票,喺今次區議會選舉中正式淪陷... 講吓啫,差成幾百票咁多。唔輸先奇,上屆只係 "fu look" 而已,人地 N 咁多年前,已混入業主立案法團做主席了,咁深謀遠慮,你跟本唔係嗰皮。人地仲有無限金錢屈機,政府偏袒,傳媒支持 (公信力第一??),所以長線我係好悲觀的...


Euro'08 Qualifying

Poor Scotland. They played very well and could have qualified in any other group. Like the one where you need to rely on Isreal to beat Russia in order to have any hope...

And the freekick which gives Italy the last-minute goal - it is completely ridiculous.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007



我都唔知香港幾時開始變成咁樣。點解用 press for 咁客氣? 施壓有乜唔啱?我十分贊成的。杯葛也冇咩大不了... 其實施壓,促請,游說,實際上都冇乜分別,不外乎都係威迫與利誘而已... 唔通真係「曉以大義」咩?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Snooker grand prix 2007

Congratulations to Marco Fu for his (finally) first ranking tournament title!

Still, his playing can at times be rather embarassing to watch. Last year someone in the audience shouted "it's like watching paint dry" when both players keep on missing balls. It's not too different from that in the semi-final two days ago, against a rather unheard-of opponent. Yesterday's match with O'Sullivan was completely different. It looks like he really need to play against the top players to play well...

And this completes the football - rugby - racing - snooker disaster week for British sports.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ig, Excel and Ricoh

The Ig nobel prize is out again. (So it's another year already!) Bizzare things seem to happen more often around this time, from Excel believing 65535 = 100000 to quantum mechanics in a printer ad...

The Excel issue is rather puzzling to me. We all know about 65535 but why would it become a nice number in base 10? Btw, you would expect people who post on the MSDN blog know what they are saying, but there are a few who apparently do not know what floating point numbers are...

The quantum mechanics ad is even more weird. Ok you like some deep-science-sounding stuff, but that particular quotation, or anything remotely similar to it, is not something you can find in a common quantum mechanics textbook. Do the ad producers actually know about Scott Aaronson and his lectures?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Scheduling algorithms for procrastinators

This is the exact wording of the first paragraph of a journal paper:
We are writing this sentence two days before the deadline. Unfortunately that sentence (and this one) are among the first that we have written. How could we have delayed so much when we have known about this deadline for months? The purpose of this paper is to explain why we have waited until the last moment to write this paper.

Thursday, October 04, 2007



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

On a funny thing

I am a member of a certain thing, and just looking at the location of that thing you can already expect to receive quite funny things. If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's perfect; you are not supposed to understand this. Obvious ethics do not allow me to say anything. I have effectively reduced my workload by 20% by picking a couple of things that anyone can make the required decision within 5 seconds. But they are so interesting you will keep on looking at them. Are there anyone out there who want to have some revision with their A-Maths? Actually, there is a tragic part of the story, so I shouldn't make fun of it. But still, A Maths is A Maths (or maybe Pure Maths at most); things should go to places appropriate for them.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

They're not using Windows, are they?

不 過 , 據 田 小 姐 所 指 , 機 器 屏 幕 確 曾 如 賭 場 方 面 指 突 然 變 了 藍 色 , 但 卻 有 一 列 英 文 字 。 她 雖 不 懂 英 文 , 但 其 友 人 看 過 後 , 指 字 句 大 意 是 「 中 了 獎 , 但 金 額 超 出 上 限 , 請 聯 絡 職 員 」 , 下 方 則 印 像 中 出 現 「 42,900,000 」 ( 她 前 晚 稱 是 $40,000,000 ) 的 銀 碼 , 該 畫 面 在 賭 場 技 術 人 員 第 一 次 開 機 後 , 畫 面 上 顯 示 的 字 句 便 變 了 , 且 銀 碼 亦 消 失 了 。
Blue screen... 32-bit address?... 超 出 上 限 (overflow)? Umm...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More bad luck and a complexity question

Given that the number of page hits of this blog is proportional to the amount of bad luck described here, perhaps I could continue. Alright, not that bad. When I went back to my home in UK, immediately when I tried to switch on the light, the bulb blew and also catching the circuit breaker. Ok, at least that wasn't a fuse so I only need to switch the circuit breaker on again. I have become well prepared with this, and torches and so on are always ready.

The notebook finally had Windows reinstalled and things are almost alright now. The DVD drive isn't too willing to read discs (yet another different problem!), but I could bear with that.

So far so bad. Let's switch to a different topic. I have been wondering about a very important complexity question arising in airports. What is the time complexity T(N) of a group of N people to check-in at the airport check-in desks? Surely it is super-linear, but how bad is it? It always look like it takes forever for a group of 5 or so people to check-in...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bad luck series 5: Computer problems

When I was back in HK, I tried to repair the notebook. As soon as I put the plug of the power adapter into the socket, the fuse blew. After messing around for some time, I found another fuse from an unused plug, so I swapped the fuses. Then it worked.

Ordinary methods did not work (safe mode, recovery console). At the end I realized registry editor can actually edit "other" registries (e.g. on a different harddisk). The login problem was then fixed.

Next day when I put the plug in again, it again blew. I bought some new fuses but it still didn't work. And it turned out that the power adapter itself was out of order...

I have repaired some problems of the notebook (at least, I can now control network connections), through modifying many things in the registry. It looks like it is not virus or similar, but some disk or file system error which leaves tens or hundreds of registry errors scattered around, one for each problem.

I hope this is the end of the series...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bad luck series 4: Hotel

After some time, the airline arranged a coach to take us to the hotel. Then all the people queued up all the way to the outside the hotel waiting for check in. People driving on the road was looking astonishingly at us; in at least one instance the driver actually wanted to shout and ask us what happened. (What would you think if you see a hundred or so people queueing up outside a hotel in Nathan Road, say?) To their credit, the hotel staff gave free cold drinks and ice lollies to those at the end of the queue (which includes me, of course), after we had queued for, erh, half an hour?

I thought I had enough of Calgary and decided to hide myself inside the room for the whole evening. They gave me a very large room - actually an entire "flat" with 2 bedrooms, kitchen, etc... probably because these are the rooms which won't usually be booked.

And then I discovered they have wireless Internet. So I used it happily. Until...

Next morning I wanted to check email before setting off to the airport again. I was surprised that the XP welcome screen becomes the classic Win2k login screen. And then I was immediately logged out after logging in. I thought I won't be able to fix it until I got back to get some tools...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bad luck series 3: Flight delay

After the "fun day on your own" the day of departure finally arrived. If not for that fun day, I could have left earlier and all the following will not happen...

Anyway, I was picked up by an airport shuttle. The driver asked me which airline I was flying with. "Thomas Cook airline", I replied. You know, those budget airlines. He said, "They are not flying today! You have to wait till tomorrow". I was puzzled but then he laughed.

I arrived the airport and while there's a bunch of people around the check-in counter, no one is really checking in. Finally I asked a member of staff. He replied, with his nose pointing to the other side, that we would be delayed "for a while". At that point I was already fully prepared for a 24-hour delay. Although I couldn't quite understand how the driver knows that at least 5 hours before departure.

Eventually we were informed of a "mechanical problem" which they had "successfully" identified, and we "only" need to wait for the parts. You see, typical budget airline problem. We were then promised overnight hotel stay and breakfast, etc. My next flight to Hong Kong is no more than 48 hours after I return UK; should they delay more then I better go from Gatwick to Heathrow directly...

My bad luck didn't stop here and actually, it affected other people as well. While I was sitting in the airport, a man sitting back-to-back with me fell to ground suddenly as if he had a heart attack. After a few minutes he woke up and appeared ok, though.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bad luck series 2: The conference

Actually, what happened in the conference isn't bad luck, but for continuity we will keep the same title. These are just complaints, although I am not the only one to make them.

The first thing is that I must have submitted to the wrong conference. I didn't notice that Banff is another national park (after Yellowstone in 2003). It all felt like a family retreat. In a very expensive hotel/conference location. There were no air conditioning in your room at over 30 degrees Celsius. Some people paid 120 canadian dollars for an extra banquet ticket which actually is nothing more than a common buffet. And so on. (By the way, they had a "game" or lottery during the banquet, which (1) is a bit too silly to describe here, and (2) no one understood it at first, and (3) no prize was given out at the end as if it never happened.)

But the real interesting thing is this. Usually in these conferences the organizers will arrange some tours or things like that. This time, they listed a "conference fun day" in the programme. A whole day in the middle of the conference without talks, but they never mentioned what it really is. Last time the experience in Sanya was already very "memorable". This time you simply can't complain about the tours, because there was nothing as such. It is a "fun day on your own". And no one told us so (well, until you ask). Come on, people who want to have fun at the national park can choose to stay behind by themselves after the conference. Why on earth do you want to put it in the middle of the conference? Haven't we wasted enough money already?

Coming up: What would you feel if this happens to you? While you are taking a shuttle to the airport, 5 hours before the flight departure time, the driver of the shuttle semi-jokingly tells you that your airline is not flying today...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bad luck series 1: Calgary

Now then, perhaps I can finally write what's happening from the beginning...

I went to COCOON'07, this time in Banff, Canada near Calgary. For various reasons I was forced to arrive one day earlier and stayed in Calgary. On the flight I somehow managed to lose a still-usable HK mobile SIM card... (I just couldn't understand why I brought that to Canada and took that out on the plane...)

Anyway, in Calgary. Not knowing what to do, I went to the Calgary tower, which has a glass floor observation deck. It is not as impressive as it sounds, though. Well, in fact, I think they could do some cleaning to the glass...

I also went to the Calgary stampede. I am not interested in these things, but since it happens to be in this time of the year, I went in. I didn't watch the rodeo stuff and therefore effectively just "walked around"...

Light at the end of the tunnel??

The problem with my notebook is the immediate-logout problem. In theory you only need to change one or two entries in the registry to fix it. However you need to get to regedit first... Using the remaining battery on the notebook, I boot it using another harddisk, and fix the registry on the original harddisk.

Then I bought a new power adaptor for the notebook. I don't know they are that expensive; perhaps I should actually buy a new notebook instead (the current one is rather old anyway). With power supply, I can finally run the machine a bit longer. Although I can now log in, it still has numerous mysterious behaviour, such as disappeared recycle bin, disappeared control panel items, missing filetype-application associations etc. It looks like somehow it is not reading from / writing to the registry even when you ask it to.

But I can tolerate this, as long as it is stablized. Moreover, I get wireless access from my neighbor... Actually I can't stop it even if I wanted to, because anything about network connections in the control panel (or anywhere else) disappeared... It looks like there is no fix without reinstalling everything, which I would only do later...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Could it be worse?

Health problems. Lost mobile phone SIM card. Flight delay of 24 hours. Notebook got a virus and cannot boot. Fuse in power adaptor of notebook blown. Then the adaptor itself. I don't even know where to start blogging all these. Maybe not until I get some reasonably-working computers. I mean, this one I am using in the office is populated with 7 viruses and has some other strange problems...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

terrorists in arithmetic progression

Forget about the years for the moment:

30/6 Glasgow airport
7/7 London (tube and bus)
14/7 ?
21/7 London (failed)

What happens in 14/7? Nothing important except that I will be flying...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Scaling down the marks?

For the other modules I gave in the past, the problem of exam marking is to give out as much marks as possible. This time however, the cryptography module has an average that is so so high and we almost have to scale it down. Although, at the end, it was not done. I really don't know why the marks are so high. (Can I just say my teaching is very good?) I don't think the exam paper is too simple. If the same paper is given to the batch of students last year, I'm pretty sure the situation would be entirely different...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

annoying project reports

I was reading the pile of project reports, and I'm getting more and more annoyed about their English. Perhaps as a non-native speaker myself I shouldn't complain, but they are just... almost disgusting. Unlike many HK students who write things overly formally, sometimes to the point of being ridiculous, the most common situation here is they write in a very chatty way - not complete sentences, going on and on without even a comma when it should have 3 full stops, wrong spellings of similarly-sounding words, etc. These are the relatively better ones. The worst ones are simply incomprehensible. I believe many of them are, although not ethnic-British, born and educated in UK. How they survived the exam system I don't really understand. Does GCSE test any writing skills?

Speaking of the projects, some of them are just way too weak. It is as if the students only spent half a day doing it. They have "successfully" implemented things like a seat booking system for a football stadium allowing you to book the same seat (for the same match) an infinite number of times, or a webshots-like photo sharing system where the owner/uploader is the only person who can view the photos, etc. In fact, the front webpage of the project is a template with words like "put your company name here" and "this is some dummy text"...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

What you can do in ten months

We have been experiencing a severe shortage of secretarial support for some time. As if that's not enough, two of the secretaries somehow coordinated themselves into getting pregnant at roughly the same time. So they are off for ten months of maternity leave. Ten months!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Ok, I finally gave up my insistence on not using msn. Perhaps I've been asked just once too often about this. In case you care to know, the email is a gmail account. The rest should be pretty obvious.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

new home

This new place appears to be better than I thought. However, as regular readers of this blog will know, I am quite negative and only look at bad things. The main problem is with the shower heater. Ok it doesn't "burn" the fuse this time (I mean, hasn't). But the product of rate of water flow and the temperature of water is a constant, which is not a problem by itself, but this constant is just too small...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


So I finished moving house, and came off the days without Internet at home a bit sooner than I thought!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Snooker championship 2007

Time runs so quickly and it is another snooker championship already. Not unexpectedly, Marco Fu loses pretty quickly. Whenever you have any expectations on him, he will not perform. In fact, his mistakes are sometimes so embarassing to watch.

It is the second time that I watched a O'Sullivan-Ding match. This Ding Jun-hui simply doesn't look like wanting to win. Whenever a few frames behind, he will behave like this so that, like some school students, he can subconsciously give himself the excuse "it's not my standard too low, it's only I choose not to perform".

Friday, April 13, 2007

to view and be viewed

Yesterday a (continental-European?) couple viewed my flat. I don't know whether it is obviously too good or obviously too bad, but they spent less than 2 minutes here.

Today I viewed another flat, although I'm supposed to have committed to the one I mentioned last time. It is a brand new flat, the interior of which is furnished to the highest standards. What's more, the rent is exactly the same as my current one. On the down side, it is immediately next to a construction site, and the building (or group of buildings) itself is not completely finished, so you feel somewhat living in a construction site. But other people are apparently rather happy with it. This is also a bit too far from the university, which means extra travel costs. If not for this I would be very happy to take this...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Moving house?

My current tenancy contract is about to expire and I want to find some cheaper place to live. (Actually, the real problem is this. There are still some unexplained ways for them to possibly get in. And rumour is that they have the same problem two years before. Another rumour is that there was even wasps...) So I viewed a couple of flats.

The first one I viewed was a complete joke.

I was advised long ago that "the other side" of London road is not as safe. Wondering why just the other side makes a difference, I arrived and noticed that, just a few blocks off the road, it clearly is a poorer part of the city.

When I found the house, the first thing to notice is that the house next door had its windows smashed. For the flat itself, there was still someone living and was in a mess, but let's forget about it. When I walked into the bathroom the biggest surprise came: one of the walls was only halfly built. The other side of the wall opened to the next flat, which was then visible from outside the house. The landlord said this is "renovation" and "will be finished within days". Then why don't you just wait a few more days before letting people view it? It's a complete waste of my time. And the most bizarre thing is that, as mentioned above, there was still someone staying there, although he was going to leave in a few days... I just wondered, how on earth does he use the toilet these days?

The second flat I viewed is much more reasonable. Its on the busiest road, near the train station, and directly above a restaurant, and should be very noisy. Other than this, it looks a reasonable place, but certainly not as good as the one I am living. The furniture etc. are not as complete/good and I will need to spend some money. I am actually looking for something with smaller area but similar quality (comparing with my current one), but it looks like all available out there is similar area but poorer quality.

I have some psychological struggle to move to a clearly worse place. I need to keep on reminding myself, "imagine a hundred wasps all burst into your flat through the ceiling!"...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

LSD 2007

So I went to London again, this time for the LSD 2007...

(1) Obviously, you can't expect stringology people to be interested in online scheduling algorithms. Not much happened in the talk.

(2) It was announced that I made an important discovery. No, I didn't prove any important theorems. It was only about "discovering" a new toilet...

(3) We went to Chinatown again. Most stuff there are more expensive than those in here (the only problem here is that brands and choices are rather limited), but it turns out that instant noodles are cheaper.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Matchings, algorithms and problems

Some time ago I heard a presentation of a final year project. Somehow the student believed the project involves stable matchings. It is good that they attempt these things, and at first sight it appears to make sense. But when you think about it for a bit more you will realize that it actually does not make any sense to use stable matching in that problem. I won't go into the details here, but basically, the input arrives online rather than a batch, and only perhaps one side has preferences (and even that is arguable).

But this is not the point I want to make. The student did not understand the difference between a problem and the algorithms that solve the problem. His presentation showed a stable matching algorithm, but did not say anything about stable matching itself. So I asked, "So what is stable matching?" Then he showed that slide with the algorithm and is about to explain, when I interrupted and asked the matching itself, not the algorithm. He couldn't answer, and at the end said "a matching that everyone is happy". Other students there, even though they also don't know what a stable matching is, can at least appreciate that this answer cannot be correct.

And of course, he is not the only student with similar problems. Last year I had a project student whose project involve matching papers to referees, and the problem is to find a maximum matching. He just proceeded directly to invent some algorithm to find a "large" matching. I attempted to explain but he couldn't understand that there is a "maximum" matching independent of what algorithm you might what to use.

More recently, a student is doing a project on timetabling. I have nothing to do with his project, but anyway he came to ask me how to find the "optimal solution". I asked, "So what is the optimal solution you want to find?" and he wanted me to tell him what is the optimal solution. He has no idea of different "objective functions".

And I wonder, is all these because of me teaching too badly, or are they simply impossible to be understood by some people?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Almost an issue 3

Within less than 6 months I lost it again! Except this time I discover it within 10 minutes, so rushing back to the supermarket to get it back...

I will now seriously consider not to use it in supermarkets, at least not in Sainsbury's.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Algorithms exam

At St. Valentine's day we had a dreadful meeting about the arbitrary manipulation of some numbers that are important to students (many of whom I don't know) in modules (many of which I don't care). I think it is now time to say something about the algorithms exam paper.

The exam paper has 6 questions and students answer 4. (I don't have any say about this.)

(1) I think I did an ok job of getting an average mark close to whatever number they want. You can easily estimate marks of students on different questions: if you want them to know how to answer, you must give them the exact same question beforehand, with only different numbers. This is the only way they know how to do something. Changing anything else would result in a very low mark.

(2) I included several straightforward (i.e. non-tricky) true/false questions, which are answered satisfactorily. (Never do tricky questions: the correct rate would be far lower than 50%).

(3) You might think that questions asking for simple counterexamples are easy, but they are not. I think this holds true for HK students as well.

(4) I believe no students can ever understand what "lower bound" means. Majority thinks "If the fastest known algorithm of a problem runs in O(n^2) time then the problem has a lower bound of Omega(n^2)" is a correct statement.

(5) There is only one dynamic programming question that you can expect people to do it correctly (and hence I put it in the exam paper) - working out longest common subsequences. They are fairly competent in filling in the tables, perhaps without knowing what they are actually doing.

(6) The divide and conquer question is a "difficult" one and as expected very few people do it. In an earlier assignment they did a question which has similar flavor - the standard maximum-sum contiguous subarray problem - and almost no one can get it correct. In fact, many do not even attempt to do it. It looks like if they decide that a question is difficult, they don't even bother to plagiarize - just leave it blank. I must say that I don't quite understand why they consider this very difficult, as I think this is a rather "natural" D&C problem - even when I first saw it in my first DAA assignment. Having said that, interestingly, a few actually accidentally discovered the linear-time algorithm.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

LAW 2007

I went to the London Algorithmic Workshop, held at King's College London a few days ago. The main purpose is to see people, and to have some feeling of being in a city. (I don't expect to understand things like counting runs in a string using automata and such; although there is a talk about my ex-boss and his student's previous work.)

For all sorts of reasons, the cost of going there had increased considerably from the original estimate.

One thing is that I ended up staying at a hotel. Finding a cheap hotel in central London is like 買大細, for you never know how bad it can be. There are always terrible comments on the web for whatever hotel you pick. At the end, I picked one which seem to have not-too-bad comments. When I arrived I was relieved - it was very small as expected, but tidy and clean. From outside, the room is like a storage room or so at a turn of the stairs, but as long as you shut yourself inside it feels alright. There is no toilet/bathroom inside - have to use the shared ones outside. Apparently, this is the default for cheap hotels.

The return trip coincided with the heaviest snow of UK in 10 years (or something like that). You look out of the train window and it is white everywhere. But while the weather was bad enough, the train was very accurately on time.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gaim Internet messenger

On the school linux computer I am using Gaim as the ICQ client (I don't have much choices). Somehow it doesn't look like they can block people not in your contact list. And so every day I receive dozens of authorization requests or even direct messages from Russians... and also, HK people. And this does not happen with my Windows ICQ (which is a very, very old version). I think no one uses ICQ anymore these days and perhaps they connect through other protocols when I use gaim...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chinese food at co-op

I don't really know when these all started but the co-op at the student union here start selling many Chinese food, including all varieties of instant noodles, vitasoy milk, and even 王老吉. I suspect this might be something one-off as I don't think the Chinese student population here is large enough to support it...

(PS. I know, I haven't blogged for some time. But I promise some interesting stuff are coming. Like a detailed analysis of the course evaluation. Only that it takes some time...)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Christmas holiday

Alright, I was back in HK once again. Somewhat too frequent is it, when there is no particular reason to go back...

At Heathrow, it is very fortunate that the plane could actually take off with all the fog. I looked out the window at the airport, saw a plane and couldn't saw the next one. Other than the fact that they had no personal TV, I was quite happy with the airline.

In HK I went to a hospital to visit someone. Also I witnessed the last day of Hardee's. I should say that I'm not a big fan of it. However apparently quite some people do, and lots of people were gathering inside or taking photos.

And about the earthquake, I didn't sense anything at all. At that time I was probably staring at a bunch of equations...

Finally. It was not 5am or so at Heathrow, but still there was absolutely no one whatsoever in the Customs, again. Next time I will bring some "white powder"...