New look to blog

I did a quick revamp of the look and feel to my blog, this feels much lighter and simpler than the one before. Anyway the old one had a javascript exploit that landed me in hot soup and I was filtered off as having ‘badware’ from the site. Incidentally that site is also supported by Google so Google will flag this site as being bad if you search for it from Google. In addition, the new Firefox’s default security also flagged it as being an attack site and it was a double ouch.Lesson learnt — always be on the lookout for exploits if you’re running a site, even a personal blog.  


My blog was hacked!

Thanks to Robert, who gave me a quick heads-up, I managed to get the blog back up relatively quickly. I still have no idea how it was hacked and for what, since the hack was incomprehensible to me. I was probably not the end target since it just replaced my index page with a whole lot of Javascripts.

Anyway I guess it serves me right a bit because I’ve been neglecting my blog for a while. But no longer, the next blog entry will be on my new Ruby project — I’ve just created my first Ruby library and gemified it to boot. Watch for it!

Chinese English Dictionary application for OS X

It is my life long dream to learn enough Chinese to read the ‘Legend of the Condor Heroes’ or 射雕英雄传 in its original language and it was one of the main reasons why I wrote my Chinese English Dictionary application. Now that I’ve switched over to to an OS X machine I wanted to continue using it. Fortunately I used Java to write the software and a quick build using NetBeans created a suitable enough jar to run. Unfortunately it looked a bit ugly and I couldn’t start it up like a normal OS X application. After some Googling, I was pleasantly surprised that Apple bundles with a neat Jar Bundler that creates a nice OS X interface for the desktop application. I spiffed up the icons using Icon Composer (also bundled in) and created my first OS X desktop application. You can find both Jar Bundler and Icon Composer in /Developer/Applications/Java Tools under your main disk.

So for OS X users out there who wants a simple, easy to use and effective Chinese English Dictionary to be your companion while learning Chinese, you can download the full OS X application from here.

Spring time in Paris

I was in France last month, on my second honeymoon with my wife. We have been married for the last 10 years! It didn’t seem so long, but looking back at old photographs when we were still in school, and then pondering over these ones below made me really look at the collected creases in the mirror and how they reflected back on her face. Seeing how our lives intertwined and changed over the years made wonder how things would have been if I didn’t gather all my courage that one day 17 years ago and asked her to go out with me.


Anyway late spring is a great time in France, sunny weather yet not too hot to make you break out in sticky sweat. We went roaming around the countryside with Ying Chow and his Taiwanese friend, visting the beautiful Fountaine de Vacluse with its green wavy gushing spring and paper mill, the lavender fields Abbey of Senanque and the amazing wild poppy fields peppering the sides of the road as we rumbled merrily over the Provencal countryside in Ying Chow’s sturdy green Twingo.

Poppy field

Paris was a different matter altogether, with gray clouds and gloomy skies, but that was Paris, land of the Eiffel Tower and the Lourve the shopping malls of Hausmann Boulevard. We went roaming around by foot, taking in the sights and sounds of Paris and her monuments, strolling along Champs Elysees, drinking the marvelous French cafe and avoiding the jangling Eiffel Tower model touts.

Sacre Coeur Eiffel

JavaOne 2007, San Francisco, Day 2

This will be a short post. I’m tired, it’s almost 3am and I have another full day tomorrow (not to mention the After-Dark Bash, which I look forward to, since I’ve not been to one in the previous years). Today’s session for me have been filled with JavaCard related technical talks and one on software as a service (SaaS) with an experimental Sun project called Project Caroline.

Briefly, I learnt a great deal more on JavaCard 3 today. I attended 3 sessions on JavaCard and 2 of them are about JavaCard 3. It’s true — JavaCard 3 will have a servlet engine based on Servlet 2.4 and will be multi-threaded but it will require 32-bit microprocessors in the chip. Gemalto even has a pretty neat AJAX contact management servlet app running as a demo. This is a first glimpse of the architecture, as presented during a session by Joe Wei from the JavaCard team:


As you can see, it will have both ‘classic’ APDU protocol as well as the new ‘connected’ HTTP/S protocol stack. However there are lots of questions still unanswered.

I took my usual picture with Duke.


But the biggest surprise of the day was that I met Dennis. Yes, of all the people to bump into, it was him. He was here on a business trip and by chance he decided to drop into JavaOne as a pavillion visitor. But here he was. The first time I was in JavaOne was with Dennis 7 years ago and 7 years later here we are again, at the same place. Different, with the intervening years and both of us are much older and maybe wiser (?) and more experienced. We had dinner together at Mel’s Dine-In to reminisce on old times, of the heady days of past and the tumultuous days when the world crashed around us


Life is sometimes a funny thing.

A post from San Francisco

I’m in San Francisco now, for the JavaOne conference at Moscone Center and this is the third time I’ve been here. The first time was in 2000 with Dennis and his then girlfriend Soo Chen. The second time I came alone in 2003, like this time. Both times I had a busy side agenda and itinerary to meet up as many people as possible in the Valley. It was always rushed for meetings and missed conference sessions. This time round is more relaxed, I’m here just for the conference though I’m also meeting up with Watt this Friday since he has so kindly driven all the way from LA to meet up with me.

I spent the day roaming around the old places I’ve been to San Francisco the last two times. The last two times, my hotel was a bit far away from Moscone Center because of last minute arrangements; this time round Doreen arranged for me very much earlier and I had a nice hotel at Pickwick, which is just around the corner from Moscone. After collecting the conference passes and registering myself, I wandered around the area. Moscone Center is right at downtown San Francisco, near to Union Square and that was the first place I walked around.


Nothing much seem to have changed. The shops are almost exactly the same — Saks at Fifth Avenue, Macy’s Bloomingdale’s Nordstorm, Tiffany & Co, Macy’s, Niketown, Levis, Victoria’s Secret, Borders and so on.

I also took the famous cable car ride from Powell station up to Fisherman’s Wharf and walked around Pier 39, looking at the famous sea lions, peering over to Alcatraz and had the famous dungeness crab for dinner.


Nothing much has changed, which surprised me a bit though not a lot. Tomorrow is the conference proper. Let’s see how it goes. I hope it’ll be a good one this year.

Geek or what?

I had this moment of insight the other day when Pierre said to me something like, “You know you’re a geek when you have two laptops in front of you and you are using both of it at the same time.” My response at that point in time was something like, “Yeah, you should see me at home with 2 laptops and a desktop, with 3 more in their bags.” We shared a quick laugh over it but as I spring cleaned my desk at home, I realised that, wow, it’s true. If that’s the definition of a geek, I scored big time at it.

Vaibhav was telling me last week that he bought a 46″ Sony LCD TV, I presumed with his annual bonus, and saved the rest for a rainy day. I just realised that for me I blew my bonus at a spanking brand new 2.33 GHz 2GB Ram Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro and then a wireless Mighty Mouse to go with it.  I guess there’s no escaping it.

Thinking about it, I checked out the meaning of the word from Wikipedia and without really realising it, yes, oops I did it again.