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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

So I ordered a new Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 from and received it yesterday. I was excited because I spend a lot of time in front of computer and typing, a good keyboard is helpful to reduce fatigue.

The keyboard looked nice and I couldn't wait longer before I plugged the keyboard in. To my surprise, Windows XP didn't recognize the keyboard. I thought to myself, no problem, it's a fancy keyboard, probably need some drivers to get it working. Little did I know I had to spend the next six hours or so figure out how to get it work and wouldn't find the solution till I almost gave up on it.

Eventually I found a solution and is described here

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Verizon V CAST Song ID

Once in a while you find some little things that improve things in your life in such an effective way that you wonder how you get by without such little things before.

The V Cast Song ID tool is an extra application you download directly to your phone from Verizon at no cost, the services this tool provides also cost you nothing. Using it is very simple, while you listen to a song you like but don't quite know the title or singer of the song, you run this little tool and let your phone listen to it for 10 seconds or so. It analyzes the song and find out these information for you. You can even set it up so that it will automatically email these information to you. This is very helpful for someone like me who sometimes has to try to remember some lyrics and try to google the lyrics just to find out which song it is.

If you use Verizon and has a compatible phone to use this service, check it out:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

On Religion

This guy spells out what I think about religion better than I can do.

Friday, January 11, 2008

French Press Coffee Makers

Best you can get: Frieling Stainless Steel French Press
Cost: ~$60

Frieling Stainless Steel French Press

I was never a big coffee drinker, but recently I started to drink coffee for various reasons. My mom drinks coffee daily and she always used the electric coffee dripping machines. Instead of buying another coffee maker like hers, I thought if I'm going to start this, I better know a bit more about making coffee. I did a little research on the web and it turns out French Press is probably the best way to make authentic coffee.

I'm the kind person who don't like to replace things. I consider everything I spend money on as an investment, the longer I can use them the better value they are. Now on to hunting the best French Press. Initially I like the glass ones because I can see what's going on inside and I felt they look more interesting. So out of these glass made ones I picked the most durable one by comparing their reviews and specs. Bonjour MAXIMUS 8 cups was my choice because it was made with metal on all the essential parts (I read Bodum had plastic parts on the press part). I bought 3 of them, 2 were holiday gifts for my mom and sister. I received mine first and was able to test it. A few problems with it:
  1. After four minutes of wait, the water went from hot to medium warm at best.
  2. The press part was too loose, it slides down to the bottom of the pot very easily without me using any pressure. It was challenging to keep it stay on top while the coffee is being made.
  3. Upon close inspection, the welding of the metal parts are not very well crafted. The four legs aren't evenly bent. It's not easy to notice, but it's a pretty glaring one once you notice it.
  4. After reading so many people break these glass pots, I start to think they might have a point even though I don't usually break things, why take a chance?
The only good thing about the Bonjour one is very little coffee residues pass through while pouring it out. The extra mesh filter did help a bit.

So I decided to return this Bonjour one and I essentially lost confidence in Bonjour's quality after finding all these faults. I returned the gifts I bought as well. I was considering getting a Bodum COLUMBIA thermo press, but the press action is actually partially rubber. I just don't like that idea. Finally I found this Frieling press and based on the other people's reviews I ordered this.

After receiving it, I closely inspected the whole thing. It is fairly well made. It is quite heavy, about 3.5 pounds.

The Pros:
  1. Everything is made with metal (stainless steel).
  2. The press action is fairly tight, no way this thing will slide down without you pressing it, it holds in place well.
  3. After four minutes, water is kept much warmer to hot (I make coffee for one, so there aren't a lot of hot water in there to begin with, the time I made two cup, the water was hot after 4 min)
The Con:
  1. There were more coffee residue passing through, I'm still trying to figure it out how, because this press is pretty tight and the mesh filter is quite fine as well. This is not a big complain.
  2. While the craft quality was better than the Bonjour one, and I'm quite certain that this is the best French Press on the market right now, you still can find tiny flaws on the welding of the handle as well as the smoothness of the pot (the polish finish is perfect, but the pot isn't perfectly round on certain regions, you can see it by check out the highlights at glazing angle. Not obvious unless you really look for it.) This is only on the outside, as far as i can tell the inside is quite circular.
One important point I want to make (and many coffee geeks would agree on this), you don't want to keep your coffee in pot much longer than 4 minutes. The main benefit of the double wall is to keep coffee hot during the first four minutes, anyone who complains that this press doesn't keep coffee warm longer than 30 minute or 2 hours or whatever, it doesn't make any sense. Much longer than four minutes the coffee will get too bitter.

So overall I think I'm settled with this for now since I can't find a better French Press than this one even if cost isn't an issue. I bought three of these and I'm fairly certain that my mom and sister will be satisfied with theirs. I made some of the best coffee I've ever drank since I got this. I'd recommend this to anyone looking to get a French Press. I would not settle for the other ones.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Price Is Right?

From Yahoo Answers:
Do women feel cheap if they do something sexual for money?

Reminds me of the couple in a bar where the man asks the woman if she'd have sex with him for a million dollars. She said "I guess so, sure.". Then he said he'd give her $10, to which she replied "what kind of woman do you think I am?" to which he stated, "we've already determined that, we're just haggling over price now."

The outcome is the same, only the price changes and with it, the woman's view of herself.
I certainly want to point out that same thing can be said for men. A more interesting question might be: What would you not do for money, if the price is right?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Too Little Time, Too Much To Do

A list of things I'm currently doing throughout the week (in no particular order):
  • working
  • sewing
  • piano practice
  • singing & voice training
  • computer gaming
  • workout
  • horse riding
  • cooking
  • swimming lessons
  • watching 24 & other shows
I'm also planning ski trips and camping in the coming weeks. Too much going on...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Handsome, Wealthy, Single, and Looking?

It appears that if you are a guy living in the west coast you are out of luck (see map below). Basically if you are over 25 and isn't in a relationship, there's something wrong with you (including yours truly). Why? There's probably never been a point in history where men and women can misunderstand each other in such a profound way. To many, it appears that love is no longer simple.

At Nola's, one of Danette Austin's friends, Katie (who wanted only her first name used), decided to test her theory that men just want to brag about how much they make. She pointed to a clean-cut, well-pressed young man of about her age, 26.

''Just watch,'' she said. ''I'm going over to that guy and in five minutes I'll tell you what he makes.''

Five minutes later, she was back. ''A hundred thou,'' she said with a shrug. ''In sales. He said he'll do a lot better next year.''

She didn't hear what the gentleman, Bob Cruz of San Jose, said about her afterward. ''A pure gold digger,'' Mr. Cruz summed up. ''Just like most of them.''
I find this very ironic and sad.