FRQ - This or That, Chinese, Artima Buzz, Quick Hack, etc

Well. I know I know. The Friday Random Quickies was missing for a week, but last week I was exhausted. However, I did managed to gather some links, but at the end I posted the wrong file! So anyway, here are some of links I've collected through out the week.

Blogs

Beside Friday Five, I just found another service that you can use to save your time and populate your blog when there is nothing to write - This or That. Is writing short answers too difficult on Friday nights? How about just picking one out of two on Tuesday? Here's a sample of the questions for this week, and of course my answers.

  1. Strawberries or blueberries? Strawberries.
  2. "Legally Blonde 2" or "Terminator 3"? Haven't seen either.
  3. Hamburgers or hot dogs? Hamburgers.
  4. Boating or hiking? Hiking.
  5. Suntan lotion or sunblock? What?!
  6. "Big Brother" or "The Amazing Race"? I don't watch TV.
  7. Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffett? Huh?!
  8. Grow your own produce or buy from supermarket/greengrocer/farm stand? Buy from the market.
  9. Drive with car windows/top down, or with air-conditioning on? Air-conditioning.
  10. Go away for vacation, or stay at home? Stay at home.

Yup. Pretty boring questions. I might as well do the Friday Five for this week as well.

  1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it? Yes. His name is Jack, and he has gong through 6 year's primary school with me in Taiwan.
  2. Are you still in touch with this person? Sometimes. He is on MSN every now and then.
  3. Do you have a current close friend? Yes!
  4. How did you become friends with this person? She married me! Yup. That's Vivian.
  5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why? I have quite a few friends in Taiwan, some from my high school in Oz, some from my uni days, and other friends from FOCUS but have since left Australia. But I am not the kind of person excelled at maintaining relationships. I would like to know what has been happening to them since we were parted, but rarely I have time. Too many things to do. Gotta move on...

Have a read John Pasden's story on who is Chinese - it is very interesting. Are you a Chinese? What makes you a Chinese? It also makes me think that whether my children growing up in Australia who does not speak fluent Mandarin can be called a Chinese. John is a young American teaching English in China, and his site provides some insight on the side of China that we don't usually get through the media.

A couple of people wrote in this week about their experience with beta testing the TypePad:

It seems to be pretty good in general. But I think there is a NDA somewhere saying that beta tester cannot reveal too much information...

Humour

Mandarin

BBC News - Chinese 'take more brainpower'. Researchers in UK have discovered that speaking Mandarin requires more brainpower than speaking English. It requires the speaker to use both side of the brain, instead of just one side as in English speaking. It is due to Mandarin uses different intonation of the same word to mean different things. If Mandarin is hard to learn, I'll say Cantonese is "impossible"!! for me, anyway...

Programming

Even wondering how to write a computing program to iterate and print out the lyrics of 99 bottles of beer? Here's how you can do it in 517 programming languages. You can write in Perl in 2 lines!

  $b=sub{(99_-@_-$_||No)." bottles of beer on the walln"};
  warn map{&$b.substr(&$b,0,18)."nTake one down, pass it aroundn".&$b(0).$/}0..98

And you achieve the same level of obfuscation in Python as well!

  a,t="n%s bottles of beer on the wall","nTake one down, pass it around"
  for d in range(99,0,-1):print(a%d*2)[:-12]+t+a%(d-1 or'No')

And for this week, I am addicted to the Artima Technology Buzz! It is basically a directory of software development related blog sites, and then everything just aggregated into one single RSS, so you can read the latest about people's thoughts on C#, J2EE or Python! It is very cool, and I am already subscribed to four or five channels. Doh. It is going to take up a bit of reading time every day...

From Slice of Py, we saw that Apple has actually not overlooked Python. In Guido's 2.3b2 release email, he mentioned that Python might provide some essential functionality to Panther, the up-coming Mac OS 10.3. Personally, I found it is quite easy to develop Python apps on Mac OS X. With Python 2.2 shipped by default in the current Mac OS 10.2, and a POSIX-like environment, a lot of scripts just work out of box...

And finally, I found this discussion on Slashdot very interesting: "Quick 'n Dirty" vs. "Correct and Proper"? It indeed is a challenge that a developer faces everyday. Personally I feel quite disturbed by quick 'n dirty solutions to a programming problem. There aren't many things that can stress me, but being late to appointment/meeting is one, and ugly code is another! I tried to remind myself that spending too much time building temporary things is plain foolish. But sometimes I just want to pounch right into the monitor when I see yet another ugly hack. Aarrggh!

Webmastery

Are you helping the disabled? asked The Register. It says that it is probably unlawful to discriminate against a disabled person for a website operator. I think I have just became a self-conscious criminal.

Talking about being a criminal, what has happened to the defacement competition that boasts a 500Mb online storage reward? Here's some of the reports:

Hmm. That's about it. Either I did not really look hard enough, or they actually did not make much impact. At least my sites have been spared :)

Marketing has always been important to web masters, and the very idea of SEO is to let the search engines to do the marketing for you. What about the church websites? Dean Peters argued from Romans 10:13-15 that it is biblically correct to market your church website!

Windoze

A list of Windows 2000SP4 fixes. Not sure about the "Confidential Article" at the top of the page...