Movie Review: Blood Diamond

Poster
My Rating: 4Stars

This evening I saw the movie “Blood Diamond” at UA Cinema, Time Square, Causeway Bay.

This movie was not originally on my Must See Movies list, but after running into a friend and he gave the move rave review, that led me to revisit the possibility of watching this movie in the theater.

At first when I saw the preview and heard Leonardo DiCaprio‘s accent I don’t know whether I can belief him to be a South African. When I watched the movie I was able to forget totally that he was an American.

The movie appears to give a very true portrayal of the racial conflict in Sierra Leone. Of course, I would not know since I was not actually there during the 1990’s.

Hopefully this movie will cause people to be more conscientious of the source of the diamonds they purchase, and the possible atrocity associated with the mining of the diamonds.

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

Family Tree

Geni

To all who are related to me directly or indirectly, please find our latest family tree at Geni.Com.

Please help correct any mistakes and to add to the tree to make it as complete as possible.

For everyone else, you can create your own tree on Geni.

Review: Present Surprise

DinTaiFung

I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit the original “Ding Tai Fung” (???) restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan. This is located at No. 194 (corner of Yunkang Street), Xinyi Road Sec. 2, Taipei, Taiwan (+886.02.2321.8928). Its hours of operation are:

  • Mon ~ Fri 10:00~21:00
  • Sat & Public holiday 09:00~21:00

The specialty of this restaurant is Shanghainese food. There is one in Hong Kong: 3F Cailan Delicacy, Huangpu Garden, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, but even without comparing it to the original one in Taipei it is not one of the better Shanghainese restaurants in Hong Kong.

So I was delighted to find the food to be exceptional and the restaurant extremely efficient. When I arrived at 17:30 local time there was already a large crowd congregation outside the restaurant. Since I was looking forward to try the original restaurant I was willing to wait. The hostesses at the entrance greeting visitors were extremely friendly and professional at the same time. The kind you would expect at five stars hotels and definitely not from a busy restaurant. Definitely not the kind you find at any Hong Kong restaurants even five and six stars hotels.

The wait was reasonably short given the amount of people waiting and the continue arrival of tourist buses; dropping off 10 – 20 tourists at a time. All visitors are encouraged to choose from their menu while they wait outside. The hostesses would come around periodically to see if they can assist with orders and to collect completed orders.

When I was seated at one of table on the third floor among; just one of the four stores available, the process seems even more production-line like. Immediately the first dish arrives and then the subsequent dishes progressively arrive at the table. Within 33 minutes I was filled with great food, relaxed a bit and departed by paying the bill back on the ground floor.

The service throughout my 33 minutes was exceptional, with the servers anticipating my needs at every occasions while every tables on the floor was packed.

I absolutely did not expect the type of service I received and to top it off with great food, this is definitely a restaurant I recommend to anyone who visits Taipei, Taiwan.

Price: $$$
Taste: 4Stars

My Next Phone

After hearing Steve Jobs’ keynote at Apple’s MacWorld 2007 in San Francisco I am drooling over the new iPhone. I was so happy to see the Multi-Touch interface demonstrated. As I was very impressed with the original
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l29zW4_W5E]
Unfortunately, I live in Hong Kong and Apple is releasing the iPhone in the US with Cingular in June of this year, and not making available in Asia until 2008.

If you’ve read my previous post, you will see my list of features for my dream mobile phone. I guess I will have to settle with a Nokia E61 for now, as it has 9 out of the 10 features in my list. Then upgrade to an Apple iPhone in 2008.

This may be fine, as I most likely do not want to owe a revision 1.0 of the product and at the moment Apple’s iPhone currently has all 11 features but does not have UMTS yet, which Steve Jobs already hinted that it will.

My Ultimate Phone 2007

In anticipation of Steve Jobs’ keynote at the MacWorld San Francisco tomorrow Jan. 9, 09:00 – 11:00 PST, I like to share the features of my ultimate phone to have. This is a list that I had be composing for some time and building upon.

Here are the features in reverse priority: (with 1 being the lowest priority)

  1. at least 2M – 3M pixels camera with digital zoom and true flash
  2. QWERTY keyboard or an easy and intuitive method of entering large quantity of text (ie. Email bodies, etc.)
  3. supports WiFi (802.11b/g/n) and upgradeable to WiMAX (802.16e)
  4. at least dual mode: UMTS (3G or WCDMA) and GSM, support with the standard tri-band UMTS (850/1900/2100MHz) and quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz)
  5. supports GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA and upgradeable to 7.2 Mbps HSDPA
  6. minimum display size of 2.8″ with a pixel dimensions of 320 x 240 pixels at 32bit colours
  7. 12mm or less thickness
  8. supports POP, IMAP, SMTP protocols and Blackberry Connect
  9. full Standards (W3C) compliant web browser that supports Javascript and FLASH
  10. standard PIM applications: Address Book (including multiple phone numbers, email addresses, and web address, Photo ID would be nice), Calendar
  11. synchronization with Apple’s iLife suite (iCal, Address Book, Mail, etc.) via Apple’s iSync software

The ultimate and most desirable feature would be “to have the Apple user experience in its interface”.

Will Steve Jobs make my dream come true on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007? We will just have to wait and see.

Potential Lost

According the to an analysis by a reporter at Washington Post over 77.8% or 284 days in 2006 Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) users on the Microsoft Windows OS platform was vulnerable to malware and exploits, which were designed to steal personal data off users’ computers.

In comparison FireFox browser was only vulnerable for 9 days in 2006 or 2.5% of the time.

Microsoft claims that IE7 is much more secure but when it released in November 2007, exploits and malwares were immediately available.

SANS Institute has a chart that list all currently unpatched Microsoft vulnerabilities.

So, if you want to be secure, move away from using Microsoft products. At least until Microsoft gets their act together.

BTW: this is not news as security vulnerabilities had existed in various Microsoft products for many years. The difference is that most technical people, who are not blindly sold by Microsoft marketing, had realized this for years.

The Big To Do List

Repost from: my “satellite” blog at Vox.Com

What’s on your “do before I die” list?

Submitted by Caroline.

This is a question I had heard brought up many times, but has yet to think of an answer… until now.

I think I will list my top 10 “Do Before I Die” items in reverse priority (10 being the most desired):

  1. Go bungee jumping
  2. Go for a luxury African Safari
  3. Go skydiving
  4. Get my Level 4 sailing certification and then purchase and live on a sailboat
  5. Get certified for scuba diving (Rescue level)
  6. Get my private pilot license
  7. Get my motorcycle license and purchase a Harley Davidson
  8. Go alpine skiing in the Swiss Alps
  9. Visit Mount Everest (again)
  10. Obit around the Earth either on a spacecraft or space station

I figure I have just a little less than 20 years to accomplish all this. Not that I expect to live another 20 more years. It is just that many of these items have ages limitations.

Puff Puff in My Face

Everywhere I go in the past few weeks I find myself walking into walls of smoke.

Today being the third day in Hong Kong’s smoking ban, and the air quality on the streets of Hong Kong appear to have worsen.

May be it is because there are more smokers that are now force to smoke outside, polluting the air we, non-smokers, breath more than it already is.

Has this smoking ban been implemented correctly? Unlike many other countries and cities that imposed similar laws, Hong Kong is much more populated and polluted than other cities. Should the government extend the ban to public streets? Since the ground pollution on majority of the streets of Hong Kong are already very bad.

Pervasive Technologies

Real dog meeting a robot dog
While at Starbucks I over heard an elderly couple speaking to another elderly gentleman about staying in touch while living in Shenzhen using email, Flickr and blog.