Don’t Be a Smart Aleck

Don’t be a smart aleck…. at least in United Kingdom.

A man received a speeding ticket with a picture of him driving through a speed radar. So the man send the police a photo of the money for the speeding ticket. The police then send him a photo of handcuffs.

This shows that even the police has a sense of humor, but will have the last word.

Size of Toilet Paper Sheet


I am talking about those perforated sheets in a toilet roll.

Accept for the some communities within Africa, parts of the South Pacific islands and parts of China, most people around the world know what I am talking about.

It puzzles me as to why these perforated sheets are sized the way they are.

Whether you are male or female, I believe the standard size perforated sheet would not be large enough for any conceivable use. If no one would ever find these standard size large enough, then why are they perforated the way they do?

A typical manufacture would normally analyze the usage pattern of their end users and then improve on their products over time. As far as I my knowledge, I do not believe the toilet paper manufactures have ever exercised this practice.

Constant iteration is the bases for modern Customer Centric Designs and developments. Without constant iterations, these products and services will probably not satisfy the business requirements they are target to address.

The iterated user centric design will start with:

  1. the analysis of the target customers of their potential needs
  2. outline the goals of the business objectvies
  3. brainstorm and design solutions addressing these end user needs and business requirements
  4. development of the solutions
  5. through out the processes (4 – 5) constant verifications and analysis of the metrics measuring the satisfaction of requirements

Not only is this a good way to design, develop and refine a product or service. It is necessary for the rapid changing lifecycle of of today’s environment.

So if anyone works with product development at one of the large toilet paper manufacture; like Procter & Gamble, please help me shed some light on why toilet paper sheets are sized the way they are.

Some Popular Sayings

  • Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.
  • If everything is going your way, then you’re in the wrong lane.
  • If Barbie is so popular then why do we have to buy her friends?
  • I couldn’t repair your breaks so I made your horn louder.
  • For Sale: parachute, only used once, never opened, small stain.
  • Everyone have a photographic memory, some just don’t have film.
  • Join the army, visit exotic places, meet interesting people and kill them.
  • Never argue with a fool, people may not know the difference.
  • Jealousy is all the fun you think they have.
  • Cheer up! The worst is yet to come.
  • They say hard work never hurts anybody, but why take a chance.
  • Always borrow money from a pessimist, he never expects it back

Dismal Atttempts of Sony™


For some reason or another the once great company, Sony™, has made numerous errors in the past year that have drawn bad publicity to itself.

Could this have something to do with the change of leadership leaving the company for the first time in the hands of an outsider?

These taboos are:

  • Sony™ allowed Apple Computers to take over the portable music player market that Sony™ created, many years ago, with the invention of the Walkman® line of products
  • The Sony™ PSP® firmware upgrade v1.20 for some reason did not work for US versions of the PSP® for many months, while Japanese version of the PSP® did
  • Fail portable audio player that only plays Sony™ proprietary format ATRAC3. It is not until major uproar from the public that Sony™ portable audio players recently, few months ago, began supporting the more popular MP3 format
  • Sony™ made the White version of the Sony™ PSP® not 100% compatible with all PSP® games
  • Sony™ forcing everyone to buy movies on UMD media, which only the Sony™ PSP® plays (as of November 2005). This was not resolve until hackers were able to make movies playable via the Memory Stick Duo
  • Sony™ was upset with Apple Computers and did not want to release its content to iTunes Music Store Japan. So Apple went ahead with the launch without them and in 4 days became the most popular legal music download site in Japan. There were even Sony™ signed artists who did not agree with Sony™ decision, and started a group just to help artists list their song on iTunes Music Store Japan. In the end Sony™ backed down and decided to work with Apple Computers.

Now the most recent and most embarrassing decision was Sony BMG shipping a DRM (Digital Rights Management) software in its SACD (Super Audio CD), called XCP created by First 4 Internet Ltd..

In many cases these CDs are just marked as having better audio or additional free content. To identify if you have one of these Sony BMG CD, you need to look at the small print on the back of the CD jewel, it should say “”.

Normally these taboos only affected my Windows friends, but this time my Macintosh friends also need to be aware of this. Yes, the Mac OS X is included among all flavors of Windows (98SE, ME, 2000 SP4 and XP) OS (Operating System) that this DRM has installers for.

Why is all the concern you say? Well the fact that manufacture is putting DRM in media is a concern in itself, but I will not get into the debate of that in this submission.

What the XCP DRM does is to install itself onto the target computer system after the user places the Sony BMG audio CD into their computer. In most cases after the CD is placed into the system it will try to play it. When it does an EULA (End User License Agreement) is presented to the user. If the user refuses the license it quits and do not do anything, but you will not be able to read the audio CD from your computer.

If the user agrees to the software license the XCP DRM will be installed and then it hides all traces of Sony™ DRM software from the OS, making it impossible for any virus detector to find or to uninstall.

You may say, so far that’s no big deal, but what the XCP DRM has is what the software industry called “RootKit“. This RootKit in itself is not a virus per say, contrary to what NBC News is calling it, but I guess, as the saying goes, good news is not news, by calling this a Virus is becomes news.

To a layman, one may not be worry yet. Let me explain further or you can read more about RootKit yourself.

What the XCP RootKit is doing is “calling home” to Sony™ servers telling them which album and particularly which song you are listening to and when. You may say this is an invasion of privacy, but still no big deal. Well the fact that the XCP RootKit hides itself and all Sony&trade software from the OS is a big deal.

Any hacker can now relies on this XCP RootKit that Sony™ had forced its customer to install. In affect, Sony™ has created a Trojan opportunity for the hackers to do whatever they want with the malware and no Anti-Virus software will be able to locate it or even know of its presence.

Since the release of these Sony BMG CDs worldwide, there is already one virus created to take advantage of this Trojan opportunity; fortunately for my Macintosh friends, this is a Windows only virus. I will not point out the virus to avoid promoting it further than it deserves.

Here is a step by step documentation by Mark Russinovich, of the steps that Sony BMG makes you go through before allowing you to download the uninstaller.

Sony BMG has since recalled all the unsold CD with the XCP DRM and announced that they will “temporary” not ship any more CD with the XCP DRM software.

Although, government agencies from respective countries including Japan, Italy, UK and USA are going to start criminal investigation on Sony BMG.

There are already two famous law firms specialized in Class Action Sue who will be filing sues against Sony BMG.

The lesson to take away for my readers, do not install anything that a CD ask you to if you’re not sure what it is. Ask someone whom you trust to know what it is for.

As for Sony™, you really need to consider the advisors who are advising the management within the Sony™ empire. It seems like incompetence is not restricted to any one Sony™ company.

Go For It 10.4.3

Apple released “Mac OS X Update 10.4.3” on Halloween, October 31, 2005.

I had previously advised my Macintosh friends to hold off on upgrading their own Macs until I have tested it. Now I have ran it on my PowerBook 12″ for over a week without any problems I believe that it should be safe for my Macintosh friends to upgrade their respective systems.

NOTE: The following steps are the recommended steps to upgrade any Mac OS X versions. It is especially important given the number of fixes that this Apple update included.

  1. Backup all you important files. I had always advised everyone to make frequent backups. You will thank me when time comes to recover from one of those backups.
  2. Run Disk Utility (Location: <user folder>/Applications/Utilities/) and perform a Repair Permission on your boot hard drive
  3. Download Apple’s “Mac OS X Update 10.4.3 Combo” from Apple’s web site (it should be around 109MB in size)
  4. Restart your Mac in Safe mode. To do so, all you have to do is hold down the Shift key while restarting
  5. Mount the disk image (the .dmg file) of Mac OS X Update 10.4.3 Combo and then execute the update, following the instructions on the screen
  6. After the installer ask you to restart your Mac, run Disk Utility (Location: /Applications/Utilities/) again and perform a Repair Permission on your boot hard drive

You can keep up with all the issues that others may have with any Macintosh updates or Macintosh software by going to MacFixIt.


Numa Numa Phenomenon


There is a craze in the United States of what I am calling the “Numa Numa Phenomenon”.

It was started innocently by this regular guy, Gary Brolsma, who created a video of himself lip singing to the song “Dragostea Din Tei“. The phenomenon is the numerous parodies spreading around the Internet of what Gary had started.

You can check out a collection of these video parodies on YouTube.

Here’s a bit of background about the song, “Dragostea Din Tei”. It was originally released in 2003 by a Romanian group called “O-Zone” in Romania and then 2004 through out Europe. It became the best selling single of the year (2004) in Europe.

In Japan the song was remade, dub with Japanese and English words and re-released as “Maiahi”. Since its released, it is still on the Japanese Top 10 charts. A Flash version was made by Avex using the famous Japanese character Monā as the promotion video for the Maiahi CD. Although Avex refused to admit that their character was the actual Monā.

This song is so popular worldwide, artists from around the world have recorded their localized versions of the song. Including Italian, German, Spanish, Brazilian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Russian and Hebrew.

Of course with the release of Walt Disney Pictures’ “Chicken Little” in the United States, I am sure this song will break even more records (excuse the pun) as theatre releases happen around the world.

Movie Review: The Legend of Zorro


My Rating: 4Stars

This evening I went to see the movie “The Legend of Zorro” at Broadway Theater, Olympian City Plaza.

Antonio Banderas plays a perfect Zorro, as he did in 1998 with “The Mask of Zorro“. I am not sure whether it is because of the humor or Catherine Zeta-Jones that made this movie of Zorro more enjoyable. The cinematography of Martin Campbell also helped a lot. You can see Campbell’s James Bond style hinting through, as in Golden Eye“.

Overall, for the fans of Zorro this is another movie for the video library. For those who are introduced to Zorro for the first time, you get a more humble introduction to the character of Zorro.

Rating Legend:
5Stars Not to be missed
4Stars Wait for the DVD
3Stars Buy the VCD
2Stars Rent it if you can
1Stars Waste your time elsewhere

Movie Review: Doom


My Rating: 3Stars

This evening I went to see the movie “Doom” at Broadway Theater, Olympian City Plaza.

When I played the video game many years ago it always made me dizzy. I guess it was the First Person nature of the game. For some reason I get dizzy watching the movements on the screen.

So, when I saw in the trailer for this movie I was worry that watching the movie in theatre will make me sick to the stomach.

Fortunately, there was only a short scene where First Person camera angle was used.

I think if you like the game Doom you may enjoy this. If you have no idea what the video game Doom is like than you may think this is just another one of those “special forces going against incredible odds to save a bunch of people” type movie.

For one thing, I was surprise by The Rock’s character in the movie. Although, to tell you the truth I did had a idea near the beginning.

Rating Legend:
5Stars Not to be missed
4Stars Wait for the DVD
3Stars Buy the VCD
2Stars Rent it if you can
1Stars Waste your time elsewhere

Look Who’s Watching


Today I came across a photo of a smart design.

This is way better than the men’s washroom in Felix at the top of Peninsular Hotel, Hong Kong.

If anyone knows the exact location of this washroom please let me know.

Now I can think of a great version for the women bathroom. All I need to do is to convince someone to commission me to do it for them… any takers? I am serious, drop me a line.

I can really appreciate smart designs. Unfortunately, there are just not enough of them.