Archive for February, 2005

Date: February 28th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Cu1 – Coarse, Rough, Vulgar, Rude

粗心 – Cu1 Xin1 – Rough Heart — Careless

Date: February 27th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Mo1 – Touch, Stroke

According to travelphrases.info, the four most important things for a traveler to know how to say are:

Where is my room?
Where is the beach?
Where is the bar?
Don’t touch me there!

So here they are in Mandarin Chinese, and 306 other languages.

(via)

Date: February 26th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Qie2 – Eggplant

茄子 – Qie2 Zi5 – Eggplant

Tonight Jenny made Chicken and Eggplant Vindaloo! The things she comes up with never cease to amaze me.

Date: February 25th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Rui4 – Lucky

瑞典 – Rui4 Dian3 – Sweden

蕪菁 – Wu2 Jing1 – Weed Leek — Turnip (but a different word for Turnip than before)

瑞典蕪菁 – Rui4 Dian3 Wu2 Jing1 – Swedish Turnip — Rutabaga

People of Earth, I give you: The Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute.

What? You need more mind-boggling links? How about this handy dandy Chinese/English root vegetables cheat sheet?

Date: February 24th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Tong2 – Like, Same, Similar, Together

This is a really common word used in tons of expressions. Here’s an interesting one: 同志 – Tong2 Zhi4 – Same Will — Comrade. But in Taiwan, this has another slang meaning: Homosexual.

Date: February 23rd, 2005
Cate: Geekism

XScreenSaver + Boing = PURE AWESOME

Now I regret not getting XWindows set up on my Linux machine. XScreenSaver now has a “Boing” mode!

I couldn’t believe it when, in 2005, installing the very latest version of Debian, I was confronted with the exact same screen telling me to enter vertical blank timeouts or whatever insane stuff it needs to know to get video to work that I was confronted with back in 1995 the last time I installed Linux. Back then I figured the arcane numbers out, I don’t know how. This time I said “Yeah… no”, hit CTRL-C, and have been satisifed with text mode. Until now!

Date: February 23rd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
4 msgs

– Mai4 – Wheat

大麥 – Da4 Mai4 – Big Wheat — Barley

麥當勞 – Mai4 Dang1 Lao2 – McDonald’s

Date: February 22nd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Nao4 – Slush, Mud

There was a – Dun4 (Dun1 in China) – Ton of slush piled at the end of our driveway today.

Date: February 22nd, 2005
Cate: Regular

ROBOT WISDOM LIVES!

robot wisdom is back after being offline for over a year!

First spotted by Andy Baio.

Date: February 21st, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Juan3 – Roll, Curl

煎蛋捲 – Jian1 Dan4 Juan3 – Fried Egg Roll — Omelette

宇宙 – Yu3 Zhou4 – Universe, Cosmos

宇宙煎蛋捲 – Yu3 Zhou4 Jian1 Dan4 Juan3 – Cosmic Omelet

Date: February 20th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Xi1 – Knee

It was all crushing knees and – Zhou3 – Elbows to the skull in Ong-Bak, which we saw today. It’s actually a few years old, but is playing in theaters in the US now. Tony Jaa rules!

Date: February 19th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Liu2 – Pomegranate

手榴彈 – Shou3 Liu2 Dan4 – Hand Pomegranate Bullet — Hand Grenade

I didn’t know that even in English Grenade is from Pomegranate.

Date: February 18th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Duo3 – Hide

躲避 – Duo3 Bi4 – Hide Avoid — Avoid, Dodge

躲避球 – Duo3 Bi4 Qiu2 – Dodge Ball — Dodgeball

Date: February 17th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
3 msgs

– Wen2 – Hear, Smell

新聞 – Xin1 Wen2 – New Hear — News

newsinchinese.com has very cool technology! Mouse over a word of phrase and it is translated into pinyin and English. Two things that I consider drawbacks: 1) the site is written in Simplified Chinese, 2) it is based on a feed from Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official news agency.

(via)

Date: February 15th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Qi2 (in China, Qi1) – Expect, Phase

期盼 – Qi2 Pan4 – Expect Hope — Anticipate, Look Forward To

I asked Jenny what today’s word should be. After thinking for a very long time, she said 期盼! I said OK, but asked why? She said “because of your birthday present!” I guess this means I’m getting something reallly good this year!

Date: February 15th, 2005
Cate: Regular
2 msgs

IE7?

Reported everywhere: Microsoft is working on IE 7.

Translation: Microsoft is working on XP SP 3.

Date: February 14th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ling2 – Spirit, Soul, Clever, Quick, Good

精靈 – Jing1 Ling2 – Essence Spirit — Elf

藍精靈 – Lan2 Jing1 Ling2 – Blue Elf — Smurf (and Smurf)

Date: February 14th, 2005
Cate: Geekism

Return of Jorn?

Jorn Barger, creator of robot wisdom, the first weblog, has returned? As a writer for The Register?

(via)

Date: February 14th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Gua4 – Trigram (for fortune telling)

卦包 – Gua4 Bao1 – Trigram Wrap?

Favorite food this New Year’s: 卦包 – Slices of pork, some sour vegetable, and crushed peanuts wrapped up in a special bun.

Favorite activity this New Year’s: Sledding!

Date: February 12th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Mei4 – Flatter, Charm

Word of the Day returns from a two day outage with a word that is supposedly one of the hardest to translate from English: Kitsch. This is the best I can find for Chinese: 媚俗 – Mei4 Su2 – Charm Vulgar — Kitsch

This word was brought on by a movie that I first thought was Campy, but then after reading the technical definitions decided was definitely Kitschy: Temptress of a Thousand Faces.

Date: February 10th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Gua3 – Few, Widowed

寡婦 – Gua3 Fu5 – Widowed Woman — Widow

For reasons I don’t completely completely don’t understand, there is no 立春 – Li4 Chun1 – Establish Spring — Start of Spring on the Chinese calendar this year. That makes this a “Widow’s Year”, during which it is very unlucky to get married.

Date: February 9th, 2005
Cate: Geekism

If you build it…

The reverse engineering of Google Maps begins.

(via)

Date: February 9th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Cha1- Insert

隨插即用 – Sui2 Cha1 Ji2 Yong4- Follow Insert Immediately Use — Plug and Play

It finally works, after trying every possible combination of BIOS and driver settings. The answer was to disable Plug and Play, and to use address 0×240, IRQ 3.

Date: February 8th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Cha4 – Fork, Branch

打岔 – Da3 Cha4 – Make Branch — Interrupt

What else could go wrong? First Linux made me care what kind of network card I have. You mean they’re different? That was already pretty amazing. Now it’s actually trying to make me care about IRQ numbers! Hopefully this insanity is because I’m trying to install with floppy disks on to an ancient computer.

Date: February 7th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Can3 – Tragic, Disastrous, Brutal, Merciless

慘敗 – Can3 Bai4 – Tragic Defeat — Fiasco

Today, for fun, I tried to install Linux on my old computer. A fiasco ensued! The first thing I tried was to download and burn a CD of Knoppix, just because I’ve heard so much about it on Slashdot. Using BitTorrent I was able to download it at superluminal speeds, and burning it was no problem. I hauled the old computer out of the closet, made some space for it, got it networked up, and tried to boot from the CD. Instead of a nice CD reading noise, the computer made some painful squeaking sounds, and then just booted into Windows. Did I screw up and somehow create a non-bootable CD? After a few tries, and trying to read some other CDs I figured out that the CD drive is completely broken! It can’t even play audio CDs anymore.

But that didn’t stop me. Another version of Linux, Debian, allows a network installation starting from just two floppy disks. I downloaded the required disk images, and tried to create bootable disks on my newer computer. I had a box of ~10 year old disks lying around, so I used those. First disk… “error writing sector”. Well, these disks are old. Second disk… “seek error”. That’s funny… third disk… fourth disk… fifth disk… all giving errors? Did I spill Coke all over these disks too or something? Finally, one of them got all the way through. I tried to boot the old computer with it… and it didn’t work! I tried with several more disks, even tried booting into DOS to see if that would work better, but they all failed. This disk drive couldn’t be… also broken? I used the network to copy one of the disk images to the older computer, and used Windows to write it to one of the disks that was failing. It worked the first time! And it booted up into the Debian installer! Amazing! A broken CD drive on one computer, and broken disk drive on the other! Anyway, now I had a way to proceed. I used the older computer to write disk two, and booted into the installer.

After booting with disk one, it asked me to insert disk two. First step, configure keyboard. Fine. Second step, repartition drive. Let’s delete the old partitions, create a swap disk, and allocate the rest to Linux. Warning, warning, warning! This will delete all your data, are you reallly reallly really sure! Yes yes yes, I’ve backed it up, I’m sure. Deleting… writing… checking… partition complete! Next step, install drivers. Insert disk three. Wait… what? Disk three? I THOUGHT I ONLY NEEDED TWO DISKS!??! Well, it turns out I chose the “wrong” versions of disks one and two to create, and to get my network card running, I needed some drivers from another disk. Oh well, I’ll just download the required disk and… wait… I can’t write it with the new computer, because the disk drive doesn’t work, and I can’t write it with the old computer, because by reformatting the hard drive I have turned it into a cinder block!

At this point I went out to the living room to tell Jenny what a fiasco this has become, and how the hardware is actually coordinating its efforts to thwart me. She said “wow, so is there anything you can do?” I told her not to worry, all I have to do is reinstall Windows on the old computer, and then I can use that to write disk three. I went back in to do exactly that, rummaged through a bunch of old junk to find the original copy of Windows, put the CD in the drive, and rebooted. The computer started up, tried to read the CD and instead made painful squeaking sounds… OH THAT’S RIGHT, THE CD DRIVE DOESN’T WORK!

My mind raced, and I quickly considered the more radical options: various schemes of transplanting drives from one computer to the other, or maybe I can get the source code to one of those disk image writing utilities and modify it so that it writes each disk block over and over and over until it comes out right… Luckily Jenny was calling me from the other room to come play with her, so I did the smart thing and gave up. Tomorrow I’ll use my work computer to write the disk images and then nothing more can go wrong.

Right?

Date: February 6th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Dan4 – Dawn

We went to a 元旦 – Yuan2 Dan4 – Primary Dawn — New Year’s Day, or Tết celebration with Toto today. There was a short ceremony featuring some offerings and candle and incense lighting, a lion dance, tons of food (favorite: sweet coconut rice), various people making speeches and telling jokes I didn’t understand, bingo, a raffle, and endless, endless, endless karaoke. As a side effect I learned about the two flags, the differnce between the Vietmanese and Chinese zodiacs (cat instead of rabbit), and while looking up stuff for this entry, a little more about Vietnamese writing systems.

Date: February 5th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jiao3 – Horn

角馬 – Jiao3 Ma3 – Horned Horse — Wildebeest, Gnu

Of course there is Gnu and then there is GNU (GNU in Chinese).

Date: February 4th, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ying1 – Sleet

And then there’s – Xian4 – Sleet.

Date: February 3rd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Suan4 – Calculate, Count

算盤 – Suan4 Pan2 – Calculate Plate — Abacus

Tonight: another movie that mentioned IRON ABACUS! And it had Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Wong Faye. Can it be bad? YES. Avoid 2046 at all costs.

Date: February 2nd, 2005
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Fen3 – Powder

For some reason, 粉紅 – Fen3 Hong2 – Powder Red — Pink

五香粉 – Wu3 Xiang1 Fen3 – Five Fragrance Powder — Five Spice

Date: February 2nd, 2005
Cate: Otherwhere
4 msgs

Crazy angry dancer

I found Robin Hunicke’s Tokyo Game Show 2004 pictures today. They’re great! It looks like her experience there was almost exactly like mine. I started looking through the rest of her pictures, and saw that she was in Tokyo in 2003 as well. Scrolling down the page a bit, I found something amazing… pictures of insane ripped tights dancing girl! We saw her too, when we went to Tokyo in 2002! I wonder who long she’s been there, doing her insane dance? Is she some sort of Shibuya fixture? We came upon her partway through her routine. She was throwing herself around, jumping in random directions and crashing into the ground. The pictures only begin to convey her self-destructive energy. Eventually, she collapsed in a pile. We watched a little longer, and she got up, and we noticed she was bleeding pretty badly from her knees. She bandaged herself up, then left quietly.

Date: February 1st, 2005
Cate: Meta
4 msgs

Objective comparison of Google, Yahoo, and MSN search

As of today, on Google I’m the 89th Steve. On Yahoo I’m the 81st Steve. On MSN I’m the 15th Steve.

Conclusion: MSN is the best search engine! Yahoo comes in second, and Google is the worst.