Monday, April 30, 2007

share a sharing

another blog entry to share...

"... for what i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." philippians 4:11

i am just glad that she shared this message to others through her blog. hope this will have positive impact on many others - who knows, maybe some will start thinking differently about life because of this, and have their attitude changed from keep wishing and wanting more, to be content and thankful for what they already have. i, for one, will probably try think this way more often.

microsoft is dead?

recently there's been quite a buzz about a blog entry "microsoft is dead" written by paul graham, even prompting strong rebuttal from people within the microsoft organization.

in layman terms, basically paul's arguing that microsoft is dead (or as he clarified later, became irrelevent) because google and other web-based softwares (the so-called web 2.0) are going to take over microsoft's desktop software dominance - with the popularization of broadband internet and alternative os such as apple mac os served as stimulants.

well, i think paul partly has his points. nowadays people and companies no longer fear microsoft's dominance - at least they don't care as much. has anyone around started using vista yet? how about office 2007? zune? live search? or did anyone hear the "woos" and "wahs" of the new internet explorer 7? or windows mobile 6? or try showing this video clip to your i.t. guy at office to see if they will start jumping up and down, getting all excited?

these days, some of the web-based softwares are almost as good as the desktop ones - think about the new yahoo mail, or the editor i used to create this blog - a few years down the road we definitely will see more of those with leaps and bounds in functions, sophistication and speed, not less. if that is so, what will microsoft's role be?

but still, it's too early to call them dead, or even irrelevent, yet. well, some 12 years ago people made the same prediction when microsoft seemed to have missed the internet boat and the likes of netscape and yahoo were running the show. but they turned around miraculously, by whatever means. microsoft had the same adoption problem with windows xp in the beginning; yet nowadays it’s used in 80% of the world’s desktop computers. so this time i won’t be so sure.

true, the rise of google does sound an alarm for microsoft’s future, and that microsoft may never be a monopolistic power as they were in the 80s and 90s; but don’t call them off just yet. even if they are on a decline, don’t expect they will go away completely any time soon – just think novell. they are still sorta hanging around, isn’t it?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the world's fifty best

i know i did say please don't expect this blog to be a place full of restaurant reviews and travel-related stuff, but can't help but share with you the new world's best 50 restaurants ranking.

hongkong, the self-proclaimed gourmet paradise, failed to net even one on the list for 2 consecutive years already. of course, you may argue that the ranking's hugely biased - for example, how can uk has 7 restaurants in the top 50?

Monday, April 23, 2007

solo travel

last night some of my long-time friends came over for dinner and at one point, our topic turned to the idea of travelling alone.

once upon a time, i was a big supporter of solo travel. on a practical side, "soloing" enables you to do whatever you want, whenever you want - you probably see more and see deeper in a 2-day visit to a city by yourself than a week with friends and other travel companions. it's also a good training in going out of your personal shell to get to know other people and culture, to show courage in trying out new things and making decisions.

solo travel gave me a chance to really enjoy the momentary solitude, to dedicate time and feel good about yourself, to really have solid time to think, to reflect and to plan. some of my very important life decisions have been made while i am away travelling by myself. and ironically, that's also the time you can really put your relationships with other people in perspective and make you more appreciative of people you think and care about.

travelling alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you got to travel on budget, with a backpack, living in a hostel or eating at the street stall – as a matter of fact, my solo experience brought me to the theatre of dreams watching my favorite team, the hippest joint in town, a michelin-starred restaurant, and the luxury suite of a historical hotel, to name a few. being by yourself doesn't mean that you can't pamper yourself.

sure, solo travel can be intimidating or scary, but try it, and you will find this to be a liberating experience.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

the first 90 days

well this is one of the books that always found its way from my shelf to my desk time and time again - whenever i move on to a new job i will pick it up and read it all over again. and over the last few years, there were quite a few of such occasions.

it's always said that the first 90 days in any new position is going to make or break your tenure, and most often i found it quite right. and this is a book that gave you advice and insight on how to make that period a meaningful time to establish your position in the new company.

looking at my own, obviously there are a number of things that i wish they turned out otherwise, but i am just glad that i made it through with little scratches, given the circumstances i ran into. i am sure a few days from now i will hear from others (namely my boss, and probably my boss' boss too) what they think of my first 90 days. let's see what they have to say.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

comfort food

according to this wikipedia entry, "comfort food refers to any food or drink to which one habitually turns to temporary respite, security, or special reward", so i guess it's debatable in that sense to call our monday dinner something of "comfort food".

okay, the story is, last night we went to this posh restaurant with mr and mrs m to enjoy a special menu created and hosted by the very guy behind the restaurant, mr alain ducasse. for those not knowing who he is, well, he is, essentially, the "michelin star guy", as he's the restaurant owner/chef with the most michelin stars (including 3 3-star eateries in 3 different countries at one point)

however, no matter how much hype it has generated since its opening, spoon is a restaurant that never got on our fine-dining radar screen. part of the reasons is personally i was never too fond of these "off-shoot" restaurant chains created by big-name chefs or food celebrity, that included the likes of wolfgang puck cafes (worse than pizza hut!), roy's of roy yamaguchi (hawaiian cuisine is so cliche already) or vong of jean-georges vongerichten (thai fusion? come on!). The only exception i can think of is perhaps brasserie blanc by raymond blanc - or maybe i was just less particular back then when i visited them some years ago.

therefore i don't really have much expectation of anything particularly impressive - more a "been there, done that" experience or a "pilgrimage" or for "star-gazing" rather than for true culinary enjoyment; but it did turn out to be a pleasant surprise.

well, the food isn't something extremely special - a typical 7-course french affair. to me, the highlight is the foie gras "lucullus", which is light and refreshing, and the dessert he simply called "chocolat/framboise", essentially a chocolate mille-feuille with rasberries. simple but nicely done. the riesling sp├Ątlese from mosel that we picked went perfectly well with our foie gras, but then again, it's not like we had a chateau d'yquem or something. all together, the food and drink is well-rounded decent but not spectacular.

so i guess it's not the food that is particularly comforting, so then perhaps it's the ambiance? the company? nice view? the mood? the randomness of the occasion? low expectation? i am sure all of which and many more, little by little, contributed to what became an enjoyable and remarkable monday evening.

well 5 years from now, we may have forgotten what we ate that night or how the food tasted, but we will probably still remember this dinner and our brief encounter of "culinary nirvana"; or whenever we have foie gras we can still recall the one we had at spoon on THAT night; hence my own definition of comfort food.

details:
when? april 16 2007
where? spoon by alain ducasse
occasion? the namesake of the restaurant's in town
menu highlights? foie gras "lucullus" with toasted warm parisian brioche; chocolate/rasberry dessert
drinks? markus molitor riesling sp├Ątlese feinherb mosel-saar-ruwer wehlener klosterberg 2003

Sunday, April 15, 2007

in the beginning...

this is, hopefully, a journal about life, what i love, what i do, whom i met, what i see, what i feel, what i think, what i go through...

well, for those who know me, i do like to eat (a lot!) and travel around, but don't expect this to be full of restaurant review or pictures with all the good food around the world (although i am sure there will be some); i am also a professional geek, but don't expect this to be a corner with whitepapers of how i think the computer system architecture is going to evolve in 10 years' time, or product reviews of the latest technology and gadgets.

this is just going to be my own little window to the world. anything and everything goes here... and welcome in! ciao.