Archive for category Miscellaneous

Military Terminology from Band of Brothers

Band of Brothers [6 Discs] [DVD].jpegThe other week I just finished watching the World War II-based mini series Band of Brothers. It’s a great show with a good story and lots of action and even sparked an interest in me to learn more about the War. This recent Time magazine article is what inspired me to watch this show.

As I started watching the first episode, I realized I knew nothing about military terminology. Many times, the soldiers would call each other by their rank, but since I didn’t know the terms, I had no idea who was the leader of whom and who outranked whom. Eventually I got a feel for the terms, but it took a few episodes. To make it easier for anyone else out there in my situation, here are the ranks mentioned in the show that I caught, from highest ranking to lowest:

  1. Colonel
  2. Major
  3. Captain
  4. Lieutenant
  5. Sergeant Major
  6. Sergeant
  7. Corporal
  8. Private

Quick tip: throughout the movie, you can see each person’s rank by the symbol on his helmet.

The other military terminology that I was illiterate to was the unit of each military squad: how many per unit, and what was the hierarchy? Same as before, here’s what I eventually figured out, from smallest to largest:

  1. Squad (9 – 13)
  2. Platoon (20 – 42)
  3. Company (70 – 200)
  4. Battalion (300 – 1,300)
  5. Regiment (3,000 – 5,000)
  6. Division (10,000 – 15,000)

The Wikipedia pages have a much more detailed list of ranks and units, which is partly how I figured out the above list!

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Hot day in LA

Super hot day in socal today! Unfortunately the rest of the week doesn’t look as good. :(


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Hello x4

Yet again, I have to say Hello World on my blog… fourth time now?

For a few weeks, my blog here has been showing:


After researching the problem, it looks like the database was completely emptied out. Perhaps a hack, or perhaps a misconfiguration. In any case, 4 years of blogs gone. :(

As I look for old backups to restore my old posts, I took the opportunity to move my blog from the previous incompetent web host to a brand new host.

So, Hello World x4 with more security, hopefully. :)

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Mobile Blogging while waiting in the car

Just sitting here in the car so thought I would try out mobile WordPress for the iPhone.

Here’s the view from my location:


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See what life changing emails do to you? After hitting the pause button on my blog for the last few months, I’ve decided it’s time to hit play again. :)

So what’s new? Here’s some of the things that I’ve been working on these past few months which I’ll be posting about:

  • Moving from California to Taiwan to Utah.
  • Setting up an IT infrastructure from scratch.
  • Setting up an IT infrastructure on the cheap (being a start up after all…).
  • Life in a start up.

And of course, I’m typing this post on a brand new computer. :)

More to come!

[Image from]

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The Power of 13KB

image originally from Amazing how a few bytes* can change a person’s life.

A couple of weeks ago, a colleague of mine from the states emailed me about an opportunity to join him in starting up a company. Now how many times in a lifetime does this happen? On the one hand, I’m having the time of my life in a foreign country achieving some of my personal goals. On the other hand, I now have an opportunity to do something big for my career. Which do I choose? Why are choices in life so hard?!? :?

So after receiving the email and taking a week to decide, I finally came to the decision to work with my friend.

And this is why there hasn’t been any updates lately. I spent my last remaining days in Taiwan as a nomad traveling around the country trying to soak up as much as possible. I then traveled to Thailand to explore a totally foreign country. Finally, I said my farewells to all my family and new friends here in Taiwan before catching a plane back to the states arriving only a few days ago.

And, sorry to sound cheesy, but now that I’m back home, I can fully appreciate what the experience of living outside of your own country bestows. Reflecting upon my lifestyle at home, I no longer take for granted my every day life compared to the daily life of others in other (less fortunate) countries. I also feel much better having accomplished (even though partly) some of my goals that I’ve set out to accomplish 4 months ago in taking my trip.

I will miss what I left behind, but the future is brimming with opportunity. The twists in life are sure unpredictable. Whether advancing my career or achieving personal goals is more important, I don’t know, but having made my decision, I will pursue it with utmost passion and hope for the best. :D


* OK, so Outlook says the email is 13 KB, but ignoring the overhead and the included previous email, the email is actually 1.3 KB.

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Happy Birthday to Me

birthday-cake Normally I ignore my birthdays. When I was younger, I wanted to get older. Now that I’m older, I want to be younger. Sigh.. will we ever be happy in life?

Well this has been a significant year to me because of the recent changes in my life. If you’ve seen any of my past entries, you might have read about a small trip I took to Taiwan. Lately I’ve been experiencing a personality change as well (upcoming in a future post). Collectively, all these experiences have changed me in the last few months making me look forward toward the next year with eager anticipation. I haven’t felt this way in a long time so I wanted to mark this occasion here.

So what’s the lesson I learned? The adage of the day is “change is good” in your life. If you feel like you’re in a rut, do something different. It will make you feel a lot better.

So, Happy Birthday to Me! :)

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The Failure of WGA and Vista, Part 2

Well, as luck would have it, the failed WGA check happened to me again today. My expensive heavy laptop just became yet another paper weight. I’m typing this on my 1 hour limited desktop session while I move all my files over to my external hard drive to back up.

I’m tired of this crap coming from Microsoft. This is how they treat us paying customers while all those who download the illegal copies of Vista can use their computers fine.. I have FREAKIN 4 COPIES OF YOUR STUPID VISTA OS (actually, 5 counting this Asus laptop which came with Vista) for Christ sake! Well enough is enough. One can only take so much. This is going to be the end of Vista for me. Once I backup all my files, I’m going to complete wipe my machine and reinstall XP for gaming purposes. I’m going to make Ubuntu my main system now. If I’m forced to use it, I’m confident that I’ll learn how to use it in no time. I might even consider looking at a Mac laptop in the future! *shudder*

Microsoft, I’ve been a big fanboy of your products since I started taking interest in computers back during the DOS 6.2 days. Ask anyone who knew me when I was younger, they would tell you how I would religiously promote your products. Heck I even made a career out of your technology. But your latest blunders have really made me reconsider my past decisions and this WGA crap has really let me down. As if it matters, but you just lost a faithful customer along with everyone who I have contact with. I will never recommend your products again.

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San Francisco/Bay Area Traffic Tips

sf traffic Now that I’ve moved out of the Bay Area, I thought I’d make a contribution to everyone living there by revealing my traffic tips. :)

I-80 Eastbound

From the bay bridge all the way to University Ave in Berkeley is always jammed. If you can take the carpool lane, take it. Otherwise you’ll just have to stick with it. You can try taking Frontage Rd to the west of the freeway, but that is not recommended during rush hour as everyone who commutes knows about that road.

Once I-80 splits with I-580, you should be able to drive normal speed until you reach Cutting Blvd. Since the freeway now has a few up hill bumps, for some reason everyone slows down here. The freeway is typically jammed from here all the way past the Freeway 4 juncture.

I-80 Westbound

From the Carquienez Bridge, up to the 80/580 merger point is usually smooth sailing unless there’s an accident. However from the merger point to the bay bridge, is where hell starts. This is where traffic starts every work day around 3:00 pm up until around 7:30 pm. Usually you won’t find any accidents. Instead the traffic is caused by the traffic of the 80/880 San Francisco traffic. You may hear this part of the freeway called “The Maze”.

If you continue into San Francisco, expect the downtown area to be always jammed. For some reason there’s always construction going on as well so expect certain exits to be closed off. Once you get out of the downtown area, then it’s usually OK.

I-880 Southbound/Northbound

During traffic hours, you’ll find the point where 980/880 meet is where traffic starts, and typically ends around High Street. Then everything slows down once again when you reach the Coliseum up to the the 238 freeway area. After that it’s mostly OK with brief periods of slow downs when you reach one of the bridges. Once you get down to the Milpitas area, then expect the traffic to slow down once again for people wanting to get on the 237.

I-580 Eastbound

This free is mostly free from traffic except around the Maze area. The San Rafael bridge area up to the 580/80 junction is mostly traffic free unless for the rare accident. From there to the bay bridge, expect things to slow down as always (usually even weekends). Past the maze, it’s typically smooth sailing. Occasionally there’s traffic once you past I-680, but that’s usually only during traffic hours.

I-580 Westbound

This is similar to I-580 Eastbound where the majority is traffic free except during traffic hours around the Maze area. Refer to the I-80 Eastbound details.


If you happen to be on 580 and want to get on the 880, you’ll have to take the very short I-238. Why this is even an interstate freeway is beyond me, but that’s what it’s called. Going west towards 880 is a nightmare with there always being a ton of cars. The right lane is the only lane that goes onto 880 south, with the left lane going 880 north. For some reason, everyone always wants to go south so the right lane is always jammed with the left lane mostly free. As you might expect, lots of people take advantage of this and take the left lane in hopes of cutting someone off on the right lane. Expect this if you’re driving on the right lane.


Well these are some of my observations of the freeways that I frequently travel on. General tips (which may or may not apply to other cities) I’ve learned are:

  • When the traffic comes to a halt, the right side lanes are usually faster than the left hand. Just be careful of people coming on and off the freeway.
  • Constantly changing lanes is usually more risky than it’s worth. Just stay in a single lane and don’t worry about it.
  • While driving a truck for my move, I realized that driving slowly is actually better than always trying to match the fast traffic. Let the idiots who drive fast go on their way while you stay in your own world. The only thing with driving slow is make sure you stick to the right lanes and let the fast drivers pass on the left side. There’s nothing worse than having some idiot tailgate you with a foot clearance because he wants to pass you.
  • Use a GPS. If you don’t have one, go buy one now! Most people think a GPS is only useful when you go to an unknown area. While that is true, I’ve found a GPS is quite useful for daily use too. For example, a GPS can tell you how much time is left on your trip (estimate of course), tell you your elevation, and some can even track your trip which you can then export to another program for further analysis (ie. Google Earth).

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