Friday, September 26, 2008

Combining My Worlds

Yesterday turned out to be quite a special day for me. I wasn't too thrilled about celebrating another birthday (that's for sure), but being surrounded with people who care for me reminded me of what birthdays should really be about. It's about taking the time to appreciate your friends and loved ones that have stood by you throughout the years, and not about covering up gray hairs and wrinkles --- not that I have any of course! I'm Asian, I'm supposed to look 16 FOREVER!

As we get older, developing new friendships become more difficult because we are so stubborn and can't be bothered with people who don't "get" us. We are exposed to so many people with different values and backgrounds, especially in New York City, a city notorious for being filled with "rude" people. You can only imagine how nervous I was when I left San Diego, land of the "laid back beach bums who are always tan and happy."

Nineteen months after leaving my hometown, I celebrated my birthday yesterday with old and new friends from different circles. Most people are apprehensive about combining their worlds (different circle of friends), but I was confident that my friends would all get along, which was definitely the case last night. From high school friends, former colleagues and friends of friends to running partners and friends I met while studying in Singapore (7 years ago)--- they all showed up with smiles, hugs and kisses! It was the perfect evening and I simply couldn't ask for more. Actually, there was one very special person that was MIA, but he will be flying into NYC in a few hours. I guess I can always photoshop him into the photos. Thanks for the beautiful flowers Nick!

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who showed up last night at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in NYC, Mexican Radio. Your compliments about my new do was greatly appreciated! I love you ALL very much...until next year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meet "Jing" and "Cha" = Great Firewall of China

Ahhhh! The Chinese government never ceases to amuse me!

Meet "Jing" and "Cha", China's Internet Police named after the two characters that make up the Chinese word for "police". The cartoon image pops up on computer screens when "criminal activity" takes place on the Internet.

Sounds like a good idea, except when criminal activity doesn't only include fraudulent activity, but also includes freedom of speech. China is best known for censorship and arresting journalists for posting blogs that challenge the political status quo. Microsoft, Yahoo and MSN have all agreed to pull blogs that "disrupt social stability."

All I can say is thank goodness my family left the country decades ago!

Internet Explorer vs Firefox vs Google Chrome

Have you ever asked yourself why you use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Netscape? I've been using Internet Explorer since high school, not realizing that there were other options. IE was the browser set up on computers at my high school, university, workplaces, laptops, and even the internet cafes I've visited worldwide, so I didn't even think twice about considering the other browsers out there.

After all the pitter-patter about Google Chrome, I decided to check out what the buzz was all about. For those who haven't explored it yet, I recommend you check it out here. Google Chrome is definitely SEXY, but has a few kinks it needs to work out before I convert. Here are the top three features I liked about Chrome:

1. It's super-duper fast! I can have 20 tabs open simultaneously and it doesn't effect the speed of my Internet - tre cool!

2. Incognito mode, aka "Porn" mode, gives you the freedom to browse ANY site without ever saving your history. Not that I would ever use it...but I'm sure this is one of the more popular features :-)

3. It keeps a snap shot of nine of my most visited sites on the main page for easy access! Convenient for impatient people like me. Yay!

So what's the takeaway from this experience? The most important thing I learned from investing a few hours researching browsers is that there are so many options that I never knew existed (or cared to learn about). We sometimes get sucked into using one thing simply because it's what's there. After exploring browser options, I decided to go with Firefox (for now)! It appears to be the browser of choice among my tech savvy friends and industry experts.

Read more about the browser battle in the NetworkWorld article.

Here's a fun video of a woman asking people Firefox vs. Internet Explorer!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tina Fey is awesome!

I finally watched the SNL skit with Tiny Fey mocking Sarah Palin. What a hoot! She does such a phenomenal job capturing her essence. My favorite part is when she tries to tell her joke about the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull and the Clinton character keeps interrupting with the punch line!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Johnny Jet in Curacao for Carnival 2007

Johnny Jet, travel writer/blogger, visited our office last week and shared some of his wildest travel adventures. He forwarded this video of his trip to Curacao and it totally made me want to go back to the island (sorry I had to use the word 'totally' --- I'm from San Diego, what did you expect?).

Watch the video!!! It looks like he stayed at The Curacao Marriott Beach Resort (one of my current accounts) and explored the entire island. Notice the colorful Dutch-inspired architecture, the clear blue waters, the treehouse (you can actually book it), the diverse ethnic cuisine, and the Kuru Hulanda Museum.

Johnny's Carnival costume is a hoot! I want to go back soon, but I should probably learn how to swim first so that I can become a PADI Certified Scuba Diver. Baby steps, baby steps...

Click here to read about his trip to Curacao.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pulling the Plug on Youmail?

It's almost been a month since I've been using Youmail and I have to admit, it didn't meet my expectations.


* Personalization: You can select different pre-recorded greetings for each person on your contact list


* Retrieval: After hearing a message using Youmail, you can't listen to the message again (I couldn't figure out how to listen to saved messages)

* Transcription quality: Although I understand it's not a human transcribing my voicemails, the texts that I received that 'attempt' to transcribe my messages were useless, i.e. "Hi funny you know what I'm like oh I had never heard your.." Ehhh???

* Ads: You will receive ads via text!!!

* Contacts: You have to manually add contacts from your phone to Youmail's Web site, unless you have them saved in your Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail accounts.

So...I guess it's goodbye Youmail.

Juan: thanks for introducing me to this technology! I'm always up for checking out new things.

Stay tuned...once my computer is fixed (I somehow managed to become infected with the sasser virus in the form of the lsass.exe type -- whatever that means!), I will explore Google Chrome...