Why 35mm Camera Again ?

It’s obvious at first glance, “digital film” is cheaper. And of course, using a digital camera (DC) is a trendy thing. But then why you wanna go back to non-digital film ? Just imagine …

… imagine the following.

In the digital photography world, the “photo-taking cycle” is point, shoot, switch to play mode, check the photo, zoom in to see the photo details, if no good – switch to shooting mode and repeat the whole cycle.

And in the traditional photography world, the “photo-taking cycle” is point, shoot, find the next interesting target, repeat the whole cycle.

Now, for the “photo-sharing cycle”. In the digital world, you plug in the cables to your TV or switch on your PC, insert the CF, SD, MS (if you do know which is which), view the photo … or in the traditional photography world – pass the album around.

No no, I own a very nice digital camera (Canon G1), but hey, I went back to my trusty Ricoh GR-1, with no regret.

Day Trips …

Hmmm … wanted to create a daytrip module for the CMS we are using, but obviously will take a loooong time. Anyway, created a “News Topics” just to cover this first so that you can post some news here, but there are some rules …

First, try to include the following information – Day number, place visited, transportation mode, budget, where to stay etc. Those information is crucial, and you can also include tips and tricks as well. Every news can include multiple days of trip.

That’s about it for a start. Enjoy and share with us your special daytrips !!

eCommerce Tale

Try to be a bit light-hearted.

The other day I read the Next Magazine and found that there is one website to sell movie tickets – with no service charge. That website sells tickets of cinemas JP, SilverCord and two others. I think, ahhhh, finally a website to sell tickets for cinemas other than UA and Broadway. I therefore jotted down the web site name.

The web site is Movie Super.

I started off my trusty Fujitsu notebook computer the same night. Running with XP, it booted up in no time, and fired up the Internet Explorer. Typed in the URL, and I was immediately greeted with Internet 500 Server Error. I changed my hat from consumer to IT people then, and clicked the refresh button. Ahhh, the homepage of the web site showed. Obviously, one of their servers was down I thought. I then changed my hat again, back to dump consumer.

I first found that there were two big advertisements on the screen, for the movies “Signs” and “Gold Member”. I thought, hmmm, it’s the right “movie” site. I then scan around the page and found links to buy DVD, VCD, books. And there were links to cinema information, new movies etc. But, hey, there was no link to buy movie tickets … I scanned again all these links, no, no links to buy tickets. OK, I then did it for the third time, and this time I scan the pages including the banner ads (yes, I surf Internet with my mind to ignore ALL banner ads). Ah, I found it, the “Buy ticket now” animated button was placed just besides the top banner ad. How “smart” they were, they put the most important button besides a banner ad – and animated like a banner ad.

Naturally, I clicked the “Buy tickets now” button, another window popped up and what, a site with all English. Yes, a Chinese homepage, jumped to an English web page. Anyway, “I can live with that”, I thought. I spotted the “Buy your tickets Now” link immediately and clicked it. 5, 10, 15 seconds gone. Nothing. Another 5 seconds passed, ooops … Cannot find server or DNS error. OK, IT mind came into play again, clicked the refresh button.

Finally, a screen to ask me to select cinema, movie. I then selected my favorite cinema, JP. This time was quick, and the system asked me to select “Film”. What ? “Movie” in previous page, and this page was “film”. Nevermind, all I needed was to buy tickets.

I then picked the “film” (Signs), and then the date and time. Finally, another screen with a graphical view of the cinema – the system was smart enough to select the best two seats for me, nice (IT mind came into place, it gotta be a Java applet, I thought). It also showed a timer on screen, warning me that I had another 4 minutes to complete the transaction … 03:59, 03:58. The clock was ticking.

OK, I decided to pick the selected two seats, clicked “Next” button to continue the process, clicked the “Purchase Now” button. Clock was ticking.

Wait and wait, the clock was ticking -… no response yet -… blood pressure was going high up now. 03:00, 02:00, 01:00, 00:55, 00:54, 00:53 … 00:37. 00:27, 00:17 … I was prompted “You have 15 seconds left” … ooops, the program ended, saying “Your order is empty”. What’s it supposed to mean ? I tried the second time, and this time “cannot find server or DNS error”. I tried for the third time, … failed again, …I kinda getting sick of the ticking clock.

I forgot how many times I tried – finally, I went thru and this time a new pop-up – it invited me to trust a digital certificate …. What ?!

Changed my hat to a stubborn IT people, and I found the certificate was issued by Mr. Ken XXX, not Verisign, not Thawte and not HK Post. I clicked to see more details and found that the certificate already expired …- no security or what ….

Changed my hat back to a naïve customer – who cares !! I clicked OK and was greeted with the credit card number screen. It’s actually quite a relieve as finally I could buy something….

“Could you stop mingling with your computer ?” my wife shouted to me. Ooops, my first ever on-line shopping with this web site ended. Lots and lots of troubles, but hey, I don’t care and I would try it again definitely, as I really wanted to see the movie “Signs” in JP cinema .

Bangkok Sushi

Yes, the title is right – have gooood Japanese Sushi in Bangkok Thailand. It’s no doubt that Bangkok serves excellent Thai food, but if you want to have a change in your next visit to Bangkok, try Sushi.

The chefs in various Thai hotels in Bangkok cook very good Japanese food. In the Regent hotel, there is one very good Japanese restaurant Shintaro. I tried a few modern sushi there, as well as tempura and soba noodles. I also find their special drink – Shintaro Ice Tea very good. Well well, yummy food but at a fortune. Don’t miss it.

ShangHai Mania

It’s a surprise that there are so many people talk about traveling to ShangHai (China) recently – at least from people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

There are many reasons, though. First, The city is advancing in a unbelievably speed, it’s really quite an experience itself by seeing the rapid changes in all corners of the city. In addition, the Shanghainese food is really great. There are also quite a lot of trendy places just established. One is the Xin Tian Di – a place with a lot fashionable restaurants all under one roof – newly renovated houses.

So if you have the time, may be just a few days, visit Shanghai !!

#14

How’s your summer ? I have a pretty good one as I did some virtual traveling a week ago by picking up a dozen of traveling related books in the BookFair 2002. In that particular weekend, I traveled to Spain, Okinawa, Seoul, Greece and many other great places. Just wanna share a little secret with you all, I am dreaming that one day I will become a travel book collector � hmmm we will see.

If you do some serious travel planning, you would collect information, plan your itinerary and compare prices. You will probably ask a few friends, visit some travel agencies, browse a couple of travel web sites and buy a few travel magazines / books. And what you will probably notice is that there are tons of information in all kinds of media but never easy to sort out the details and get what you want, in a timely and accurate fashion.

These problems come down to one possible solution – Information Architecture. In other words, the knowledge of how to collect, sort-out, and present the information to the requesters, in a far better and intuitive way. Obviously, to master this skill, one needs to invest some precious time to study this school of knowledge …

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I bet you’re already bored by some of the updates, what about a quiz ?

You have an empty wine bottle. A 10-cents coin is placed inside the bottle and the cork is inserted in the neck of the bottle. Your job is to get the coin out without removing the cork or damaging the bottle.

How do you do it ?

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This month’s recommendation is “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How To Restore The Sanity” by Alan Cooper (the father of Visual Basic).

In this book, Alan tells you why an IT professional shall make users happier, improve the process by which the users get work done and make their work hours more effective. Just in the first chapter, he quoted some very interested examples such as why a computerized car has (wrongly) designed to behave like a computer but not a car ? Why a computerized alarm clock has (wrongly) designed to behave like a computer but not a clock ? Same goes to camera, airplane �To us, we have to ask ourselves why our data entry forms were (wrongly) designed to look like a computer form, but not a user friendly paper form.

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No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn.

~ Hal Borland ~