Second chance

What if we all have two New Year’s eve celebrations ? Two New Year family dinner gatherings ? Two New Year public holidays and two chances to write up the resolution list ? Of course, two chances to start all over … I like it !!

Happy Chinese New Year, the year of ox !!

Let’s give the world a reboot and a second chance.


Installing Windows 7 beta in Macbook

One of the beauty of using virtual machine software (like VMware) is you can install a new system without affecting the existing ones. So in my Macbook with an XP VM installed, the followings are the steps for installing a Windows 7 beta in the Macbook:

  1. Download the Windows 7 beta ISO file from Microsoft website, the version I downloaded was Windows 7 beta 64 bit.
  2. The ISO file is quite big (3.15 GB) … somehow I failed the download with Firefox in my Macbook. I therefore upgraded the Firefox to version 3.0.5 first, and then the download was ok (it took an hour or two).
  3. Start the VMware, create a new VM, and select “Windows Server 2008 64 bit” as the version. I also did not choose the “Use Easy Install” option as I am not sure VMware can cope with the new Windows 7 or not.
  4. The software will then install the new OS from the ISO file. When asked for Upgrade or Install a new system, I picked the latter one.
  5. The install was smooth and completed in around 30 minutes. I then wrap up the task with installation of VMware tools.
  6. That’s it !! And what others said were true – Windows 7 beta is better than Vista and as fast as the XP.
  7. Following is the picture of running XP, Windows 7 and OSX at the same time … Cool !!

User Experience : Keypad

I am puzzled with one question for years … have you ever wondered “Why calculator and phone number layouts differ ?”. Check your desk calculator and desktop / mobile phone to find out; or here are two pictures:

As you can see, the calculator keypads start from 7, 8 and 9, line up from upper left corner. The phone number keypads, however, start from 1, 2 and 3, also line up from upper left corner. So the question Рwhy the difference ?

I searched, searched and searched again … finally found the plausible answer to that.

Decades ago in last century, the first calculators were actually resembled old cash registers. Those cash registers had columns of keys numbering 9 on top down to 0 on the bottom. The next column had another set of keys with 90 on top and 10 on the bottom, the next row to the right had 900 on top, 100 on the bottom, and so on. As you can see from the pictures of an old cash register below.


Therefore, it is logical to design a hand-held calculators with the number 9 on the top row, and 0 in the bottom row. Well then, the next question – “why did we place 7-8-9 in the top row, instead of 9-8-7 ?” Sorry, I don’t have the answer, so please leave your comments if you know.

For the phone … there are two theories. One is about the rotary phones – before the touch-tone phone, of course, rotary dials were the rule. This theory states that the touch-tone key pad was designed to mimic the rotary dial with the “1” on top and the 7-8-9 on the bottom; as in the following picture.

Another theory is that the design is from Human Factors Engineering Studies in Bell Laboratories. See below for the layout designs in the study. And turned out the one with 1-2-3 on top role was the selected design.

To me both are good answers, don’t you think ?

How to ruin a perfect Saturday ?

  1. 09:58 – Surfed to
  2. 10:00 – Selected “Hong Kong Sevens 2009”
  3. 10:01 – Waiting …
  4. 10:05 – waiting …
  5. 10:10 – “System Busy” message
  6. 10:11 – Go to Step 2
  7. 11:11 – Go to step 2 for the 100th times
  8. 12:11 – Go to step 2 for the 200th times
  9. 12:19 – Finally, jumped into the “Seat Availability” page
  10. 12:20 – “Seats Unavailable” message
  11. 12:21 – All sold out ? #%^@&*$^$# … What a system ?!

What a way to ruin a perfect Saturday ?