Hui's Blog

Monday, July 04, 2005

Something well said

Forwarded by my friend Grant, something well said:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;
whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives
valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the
great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy
cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high
achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while
daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and
timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

- Teddy Roosevelt, Sorbonne, 1910

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Dan's Moving to the 6th Floor

I believe I just figured out that one of the best uses of the blog space is to document the people I met and worked with, those who impressed, touched, helped and influenced me in one way or the other. I've seen a great many blogs publishing interesting thoughts from talented individuals. However, very few times a blogger talks about someone else or the ideas they learned from others. I am seriously wondering whether we are entering a new era of egotism or just because egotists blog the most...

Yes, I should switch to the main topic. It's all about Dan, my officemate who's gonna move to a new room at the 6th floor. Dan is our technical writer. And without a doubt, I like his writings a lot, even his emails are just way better written than anyone of us.

I've always been a language lover since I was kid. I remembered one of the first English learning programs on TV in the 80's at China is called "Follow me", a British show that we imported. I watched it and never quite enjoyed it because, I guess, the dull plot and lackluster characters. However, I recalled there's another show made by our own people which really caught up the heat and won the hearts of kids, coz it's a mix of cartoon and true man shows. And it had a nice companion booklet full of images that I really loved. Most other English shows made by our Chinese are insults to TV programs, they usually went like this: "where's the banana?” And then an actor who's real occupation is a high school English teacher, would show up and grab the banana for the girl/boy whoever asked the question, “here you are.” Then there's this huge pure blue screen with one word "banana" in the middle. Of course, a side voice would creep in pronouncing it three times. okay, you got the idea... then a few years later during my high school, Chinese have obviously improved the relationship with the US and we imported the American show known as the "Family Album USA". It was much better acted and had attractive characters and plots. I watched every episodes.

Until today, I am still an apprentice of the English language. My adviser at grad school had helped me a lot. I still remembered how many the's he added and how many words he axed for me in my papers. Wise is the only word I would use to describe him. After having started at Amazon for a few months, I went back to visit him at his San Francisco studio, he talked about the studies he did for the government on software industry and his model on software product flow. He seemed to have a thoughtful answer for anything, long before you ever ask.

Dan is another person who helped to correct me in my writings. I guess he would most probably frown at my blogs, coz there must be errors caused by my incompetence than mere sloppiness. One thing is for sure, I'll bug him more later even though it means I have to go two floors down ;-). To end this entry, I'd like to put down his recommended books before I forget: "On writing well" and "Bugs in Writings". I'll ask him more about the reasons he dislikes "The Elements of Style" and his opinions on Stephen King's "On Writing", which I took time to read a couple of years ago.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Chi's farewell weekend

Chi, an Amazon DBA, a Stanford graduate, a bright and cheerful Chinese young man would leave our Seattle friends for Macao, his home town in China. He is so happy to go back to start a new chapter of his life, it seemed he had waited for this day for a long time.

Macao used to be a Portuguese colony which returned to China in 1999, a city famous for its gambling industry. But it's a beautiful city as well. Chi's a talented guy and he'll make a difference there for sure.

As a gift, I gave Chi a Stanford University license frame; he'll love it when he drives in Macao. Next time when I visit Macao, Chi promised a guided tour and great food!

Sunday, May 30, 2004

The biggest crime ever happened to me

This morning I moved out of Harbor Steps. Last night I took one last look at the sea with myriads of lights floating over it. It's quite a great view. My old Nissan Sentra got stuffed with all my belongings - a huge suitcase and several other bags.

I parked my car a bit past 9:40am at the parking lot in front of Lowe's and went into the TRB building for the Developer Boot Camp. Around 4:10pm I got out of TRB and went back to my car, trying to head to my new apt at Bellevue. The trunk is broken, the lock's being screwed with a blatant dent on the side of the key hole. I opened up and found all my belongings gone except a couple of shoes, some bottled water and a bag of leftover fruits from my refrigerator. This is really unbelievable, it's being committed at the best time for a theft - when I had all the stuff inside it. For some reason, maybe a bit tired, maybe so incredibly mature, maybe a bit retarded at the moment, I was not feeling that outraged, rather more surprised I would say. A Japanese American stepped out of his car and expressed his sympathy after knowing the happening. I appreciate that, man! I then called the police to report the crime - which with high probability won't do any good.

I later realized I had put my fairly new laptop in the suitcase, which is loaded with all the school work and personal info. Besides the best and newest collection of clothes I had, quite a bunch of books are gone too. Especially regretful is the Trump's How to Get Rich book I received from my friend Li as a farewell gift. I am only half-way through it. I guess now I can only make half-a-millionaire.

I wish no other terrible incidents will happen in the foreseeable future, especially my vigilance is elevated to an unprecedented level.

Monday, May 24, 2004

a new car

I read a book "The Insider's Guide on Buying a New or User Car" by Burke Leon & Stephanie Leon. The author Burke is a engineer scientist type of guy who got out of job thus started to take it seriously buying a new car. The book's fairly readable and seems to offer good advice. However, after I bought my car, I realized the dynamics of negotiation could not be captured by simple rules; you have to practice it in reality to be a better negotiator. Some notes to share:

Part I.
Your trade-in:
- a good price through a dealership would be wholesale minus $300.
- tell the saleperson it's very important you get a very best price for your trade-in and after that the rest of the sale will go easily; tell them you need a good price for trade-in also to afford a down payment. Later, when moving on to the new car, tell the salesperson the only important thing to you is a good price on the new car. The salesperson is trapped and does not want to risk losing the sale at this point.

Going to the showroom - what and whom to bring
- a distractor - someone who can interrupt the salesperson's practiced presentation and take them off guard.
- a yellow pad, two types of pens: verbal agreement is less effective as written ones; ask sp to confirm and prevents him to confuse you.
- results of homework: the prices worked out prior to the showroom.
- a calculator
- interest and payment tables: verify the monthly payment.
- payment and financing verification from your lender: done before going to the dealer.
- Proof of insurance.
- A clean car: remove everything except essential documents in the glove compartment.
- All the keys to the car.
- The title of your trade-in (?): not a salvage title.
- Service records.
- Wear comfortable, presentable clothes.
- Attitude: treat me right or I am out of here; I will not be messed with. Don't be emotional, be a little unpredictable and cool. Not to gush about the car. Be neutral.
- Keep a certain distance to the sp and don't let him believe you like him.

Total image:
- dress well, look prosperous.
- come with trade-in clean, empty and read to be traded.
- say "I want to buy a car today" several times.
- play a bit dumb at the beginning a seize control later.
- Say "this deal is just not good enougn" but don't tell him why.
- when you are near an agreement, say "No" just one more time and see whether something else might happen.

Jian's visit

I sent Jian off the airport today, we had pretty good time talking about the future of knowledge exchange and touring around Seattle area. He liked the area being so green but felt the downtown night-life less exciting compared with San Francisco.

We test drove the Acura TSX on Saturday and not sure whether I will buy it. I also took Jian to Lamplighter Park at Bellevue, the apt complex I'm gonna to move in. The place is quite beautiful.