Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NYT: Tracking the $700B Bailout. Nice that funds are going to writedowns and not recapitalization.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Get Into #London Theatre" promotion. Prebook discount tickets #travel

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Travel Notes: London Jan/Feb 07

Trip Diary (retrospective notes): London, January/February, 2007

UA954 SFO 612P - LHR 2/1/07 1240P
10h 28m
5368 miles
Fare SECATAZ $446.93
Seat 25C

HSBC ATM @ LHR Term 3 using HSBC card withdraw £50
Oyster top up £20 at TFL Travel Info Center

Thu, 2/1/07
Barkston Gardens Hotel
34 Barkston Gardens, SW5 (Mo. Earl's Court)
Hotwire $65 + 13.21 = $78.21
free wireless; old hotel, but ok

The Earl's Court area is farther west from where I normally stay in London and it was an interesting neighborhood. Too far to go for most of the tourist stuff I like.

Possible theatre:
  • Pinter's People
  • 12th Night
  • 39 Steps
  • Don Juan in Soho
  • History Boys - Wyndham's CC Road/St Martin's Court
  • Bash - Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall
Bash by Leil Labute, Trafalgar Studios £22.50

Dinner @ Masala Zone, Earl's Court

Fri, 2/2/07
Holiday Inn London-Regent's Park
Carburton St/Bolsover St W1W (Mo. Great Portland St)
Hotwire $39 + $13.68 = $52.68! I remember trying different combinations of dates and lucking out with this low rate. Too bad it meant moving each night, though the good part is that I was able to sample several hotels new to me. Hotel was being painted on interior, but smell wasn't significant in the room

Pret a Manger lunch £4.74

Walked Hampsted Heath in the afternoon. I used the Pathfinder Guide In and Around London Walks, which I got at Stanford's on a previous trip, as a guide.

TKTS: 12th Night @ Old Vic £20

Zizzi, 33 Charlotte St £18.20

Sat, 2/3/07
Hilton London Olympia
380 Kensington High St W14 (Mo. High Street Kensington and a bus ride west)
Hotwire $104 + 7.15 = $111.15

Grande Latte £2.15 Coffee Republic Tottenham Court Rd

Masala Zone beer £2.75 + grand thali £9.45 + £1.22 service = £13.42
9 Marshall St W1

Easy Internet cafe £2

TKTS: 39 Steps @ Criterion £22

Sun, 2/4/07
Novotel London Euston
Priceline 4* Bid $75; total $95.90
5 minutes walk from Euston; repeat Priceline "win"

Walked over to North Sea Fish, but closed (Sunday, duh)

Malabar Junction lunch; £4.99 by the British Museum

Covent Garden scenes:

Pizza Express dinner; Euston Rd £18.55 Yeah, boring, but convenient.

Mon, 2/5/07
Signed up at LHR for Iris Recognition Immigration System too bad it expires 4 Feb 09

Travel Notes: Singapore-Malaysia Jan 07

Trip Diary (retrospective notes): Singapore-Malaysia, January, 2007
1/17/07; 1/18/07
United 837 SFO-NRT-SIN; Wed, Jan 17 1129A- Thu, Jan 18 330P
connecting to UA 803 SIN-NRT-SFO; Thu, Jan 18 530P - 1159P

SFO-NRT upgraded to C using 1K SWU, 5124 miles, seat 25F
NRT-SIN C, 3324 miles, seat 24G
B 747; Fare Class WXPRO10; $836.7

Cheap airport shuttle a bust, as usual, since it wasn't leaving until 130A,though I checked the time anyway for due diligence, then joined the fairly long taxi queue.

Not much point to taking the airport shuttle unless it leaving almost immediately and there aren't many people on it.  In my experience the airport shuttle almost invariably lets me off last.  At least once the shuttle came very close to my hotel and passed on.  It's not that less expensive than the taxi (and never worth it if traveling with someone).  The MRT is cheap to the airport, but takes forever, and isn't an option after about 11PM.
Never paid attention before, but it's 18KM from SIN to Hotel 81 Bugis according to the receipt. Room rate $89 x 2 days for a windowless, aircon room. Clean and secure, if basic, with one of the full flood bathrooms without a separate shower stall.  Non-squat, western toilet.  The room was away from the lift so less noisy than some rooms.  For whatever reason this Hotel 81 branch doesn't get the short time hotel crowd like the Palace in Geylang.  I made the reservation online directly. 
Of course, the driver didn't know where the hotel was, so directed to Shaw Towers and then the 1/2 block from there. I had found on a previous trip that directing to the Intercontinental is a bust since he has to make a U turn.  I don't know why I try to avoid the Singapore taxis.  They're pretty honest.

Breakfast (not included at Hotel 81) at Killiney Kopitiam around the corner on Purvis. S$4; I guess it was a version of nasi lemak, plus the toast and kaya, plus coffee.

Internet cafe on Stamford Rd. S$5.25 to find hotel in Malacca and KL, using Asiatravel, but ended up booking directly with the Hotel Puri's Singapore office by mobile phone.  I was looking for a hotel with character and wasn't particularly price sensitive, within reason.

I also considered the Baba House 

After seeing both the Hotel Puri and the Baba House, I think the Puri was the better choice.

Coffee 1.20 with the usual struggle to stay awake the first day.  Not at Starbucks!

Lunch 6.30 @ Bugis Junction foodcourt; "gourmet" claypot S$5 plus a drink

MTR to Lavender, then connecting bus after screwing around for a while trying to find offices for the VIP buses to Malacca and KL.  I should have noted their addresses first, but I thought there would be easy to find signs.  Nope.  Lavender bus "station" is basically a big parking lot with some small temporary type offices for selling tickets.  Nothing like a Malaysian or Thai bus station.

Bus ticket to Malacca $16 purschased for the next day @ 10A from Lavender bus station

I needed some RM and had wanted to check out Mustafa Centre in Little India anyway.  It was within walking distance, but a taxi seemed an ok choice.  Taxi $4 from Lavender station to Mustafa Centre. And almost stupidly lost my wallet in the taxi, but luckily the taxi couldn't move immediately because of a traffic jam and I retrieved my wallet from the back seat.  Duh.

Changed S$ to RM at the always entertaining Mustafa Centre

Dinner: Chicken noodles $3; beer $5 at the handy (and cheap) Seng Huat on North Bridge road

Internet $3

Haagan Dazs in front of the Hilton for old times' sake. 4.70 for a single waffle cone

Breakfast $4 at Killiney Kopitiam

Top up mobile $18 @ 7/11 using a SIM with S'pore number from a previous trip

Taxi to Lavender bus station $6.50

Bus to Malacca took 2nd/Tuas border crossing

Lunch along the road @ Ayer Hitam 1230P RM8

Malaysian SIM RM5 bought in the Malacca bus station

Taxi from Malacca bus station to Hotel Puri RM10!, going rate 15.  Beats me how I got this rate.  The driver may have been illegal.

Hotel Puri RM172.50, room 310, free wireless internet in lobby.  Rom was in the newer part of the hotel and was pretty charmless, though nice enough.

While in Malacca I did the usual tourist things, got lost at least once, and did a lot of walking.

Dinner at hotel RM15.  Walked all over the area of the hotel and saw many restaurants, but most would have been best with another person.  In the end, took the easy way out and had a quite dinner in the hotel's garden.
Day View

And at dinner.

Breakfast included at Hotel Puri, somewhat of a mob scene.

Walked around again while it was till fairly cool.  Got lost again.

Taxi to bus station RM 15.  I asked the hotel to call a taxi after waiting a while on the street.  It took forever to come after the call.  Next time I'd probably just try to flag one down on the street and wait longer.

Bus ticket to KL Puduraya station RM9.50, on Transnational; the largest (?) Malaysia carrier.  Of course, the bus didn't actually make it into the station because of usual jam outside the station.  Since it wasn't raining this was only somewhat inconvenient.  Finding the Swiss Inn was somewhat challenging.  I had through the Hotel Furama would be a good landmark, but it was closed.  Luckily someone pointed me in the right direction and I got there in 10 minutes walk from the bus station.

Swiss Inn RM108, superior room including breakfast, booked through Asiatravel, initially charged RM170, lesson learned: be sure to print travel agent confirmation! Room 530

Lunch chicken nasi RM5.50.  Don't remember where this was, but it must have been some informal restaurant.

Basically walked around Chinatown for the day, not going further afield. 

Dinner Tang City food court chicken noodles + beer RM5 + RM7.40

Bus ticket back to Singapore RM30.50 1/22 @ 10:30A, Transnasional

Lunch RM4.50 on the road back to S'pore; causeway border crossing

Internet S$3

Dinner S4 + S5.40 t at some stall or food court

Taxi  from Hotel 81 Bugis to SIN S$18.45, 12.30 plus night differential 6.15
UA804 SIN-NRT 730A-255P
UA838 NRT-SFO 525P-920A

Notes and random jottings:
  • Most Singapore transport was by bus and MTR using an EZ Link card from a previous trip.
  • Used leftover S$ from previous trips and then hit an ATM using HSBC card by the City Hall/City Link passage.  HSBC  card didn't work in Malaysia, but I may have been trying it in a deposit only machine, now that I think about it.  It worked on a subsequent trip in Malaysia.
  • Jetstar to PNH: low cost carrier
  • Lantern Festival Taiwan. Did this reference come from a travel show I watched along the way?
  • Celtic Tides CD music must have been playing along the way

Friday, December 26, 2008

#Birdie offline #twitter client designed for intermittent/disrupted internet access
#China province/2nd tier city/Tibet maps English/Chinese #travel

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Strategies for buying domestic air tickets in #China #travel
#Flyertalk list of recommended #Shanghai #China restaurants #travel

Monday, December 22, 2008

#IBM consolidations: 128 CIOs-> 1; 155 #datacenter -> 5; 16K legacy apps-> 5K; current CIO comes from marketing/sales
#datacenter cost reported as approximately US$1300/sq ft and new build takes 18 months
#tool to group multiple URLs into one short URL. Useful for profiles such as #twitter

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Financial assets in toilet? 2008 might be good year to convert Trad IRA to Roth if AGI < $100K #tax
FAQ:High Performance FICON #IBM #storage #mainframe
CAIJING 2009 conference videos and session notes #China #business
Online #storage comparison chart
Data cleanup: Magic/Replace is a tool to make changes to all of the rows of a data table at once
Financial data visualized as sculpture: US stock market indexes; global GDP overlaid with derivatives volume

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Gao Xiqing, #China banker who oversees $200B of $2T US debt, interviewed by James Fallows, Atlantic
#Google Apps now includes standalone shared contacts manager, but only Premier edition allows including shared eternal contacts! Not good!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Most foreign investment in #Cambodia from 1994 in service sector, then industry, with agriculture and other trailing
Study of effects of recent political instability in #Thailand on hotel operators. Only thru mid-Dec

Thursday, December 18, 2008

#California is defining strategic corridors for high speed #network #infrastructure deployment, possibly using CalTrans right of way in part
SnapTell #iPhone app: Shazam like tagging of books, CDs, DVDs using camera; get back reviews, prices; uses machine image recognition
tn3270 #mainframe terminal emulation apps, free and pay, available for #iPhone (other emulation apps, too)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Telcordia publishes new GR-3108 Generic Requirements for Network Equipment in the Outside Plant
#Travel - Hertz Connect, car on demand for NYC, #London, #Paris

Monday, December 15, 2008

Government labs, universities, and financial traders major 40G / 100G markets with video <50% of demand
Account of walking between #Kathmandu #Nepal & #Tibet

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wikipedia list of common misconceptions

Friday, December 12, 2008

GaianDB: dynamic distributed federated database copes with failures or network topology changes. store locally, query anywhere

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are legacy admin apps (think payroll) and #ERP compatible with mapreduce? Simplifies #datacenter provisioning. Converge admin and "other"
What's value of enterprise #storage in a #hadoop world where servers & storage are expected to fail?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Google's Browser Security Handbook
Sri Lanka's budget airline, Mihin Lanka is to resume flights from December 21
Shanghai lady, after arguing about being towed, drives off in her car with tow truck attached
Understanding HP Lab’s #Twitter Research
Distributed computing manipulating terabytes of data with hardware/storage expected to fail using Linux & Hadoop
Optical transport equipment market forecast to decline nearly 10% in 2009
Is airline industry in #China in financial distress?
Enterprise storage and twitter

Sunday, December 07, 2008

40G / 100G networks to mix Ethernet, Infiniband, and SONET
"If you only read on thing on #China this fall"
#China creative abilities and innovation as seen by Elliot Ng
Companies emerging to advise against unsafe goods procurement from #China

Saturday, December 06, 2008

One step to resolving the Preah Vihear dispute would be a public, transparent survey of the demarcation between #Cambodia and #Thailand
There may be value in differentiating twitter #isdown tweets between consumer rants and more "enterprise level" outage reports
Estimate of costs of #hydrogen #infrastructure in US
#Asia #travel Online express bus booking for #Singapore - #Malaysia but I generally just show up and get a seat

Friday, December 05, 2008

#Vietnam To Regulate Blogging
Best Nextag/Pricegrabber price with least exposure to hassle for #Nikon #D90, 18-200 lens, 12-24 lens, and SB-400 flash was #Amazon!
#China 20m migrants, typically from west to eastern, coastal cities out of work from 1/08 to 6/08

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Some discussion about FTTH Fiber to the Home
#China possible major loser as a result of crisis, even with large econ growth and foreign reserves?
#cloud computing versus #co-location
#datacenter #infrastructure Power Usage Effectiveness is generally 2.5 or 2 units in for 1 unit to servers/storage. Could be 1.6.
#datacenter #infrastructure Comparative electrical power cost in USA by state
anxious about a #CPUC Notice to Proceed (NTP) for a major, multi-jurisdiction Northern California fiber infrastructure network project
wish list: 1) #iPhone with easy swap SIM; 2) affordable pre-paid data plans for outside USA. Local numbers ok.
need to define California strategic corridors for #broadband deployment. Follow CalTrans? Which inter-city fiber providers besides #CalREN?
#datacenter What's the minimum outage that should be reflected in a SLA? @datacenter reports that Google says >10 minutes!
#datacenter very difficult to get vendor criteria for seismic, power, environmental, security, safety, etc. across all our 20 main sites
found out there's a two step process to using #Firefox #Geode geo locating add on with #FireEagle. 1)Pinpoint location; 2) update FireEagle
trying out #Firefox #Geode geolocating add-on at work site. Not sure of the privacy implications for this stuff
why would I want to use IBM's #Lotus #Bluehouse todo when #Jott is better integrated with #GCal, #twitter, and the rest of today's tools?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

With $1 of stimulus to spend on broadband *or* electric grid infrastructure, what % to each? Grid needs likely poorly understood.
thinking how much of a standardized installation process with customer and vendor involvement should go through the ticket/tracking system
#Datatcenter seismic criteria: Bldg type, construction type, soil profile, seismic coef (Cv/Ca), seismic source, seismic importance, zone
Need an industry standard measure of how a #datacenter meets seismic standards. Code compliance in year built/remodeled?
How important is electrostatic dissipation on a #datacenter floor?
Free tier for Amazon Simple DB
#Google #Maps disallowed an update because I was supposed to have made too many edits lately. Except this is 1st in days.
If #Google Notebook is killed, is #Evernote the best alternative? Need to export a *lot* of GNotebook content somehow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

NorCal #Datacenter Pulse meeting 17-18 Feb 08
Irritating that the #Java update 6.11 install package includes the dumb #Yahoo Toolbar as a default, checked option.
#Broadband coalition call for national (USA) broadband strategy AOL IM interface is down, so need to post through web [retro]
#Hertz at #LGB gives out #Priceline cars that run poorly, have manual windows/locks with s-l-o-w service
Got it! I'll go ahead and post that for you. Don't forget to vote for us in Mashable's 2008 Open Web Awards! You can vote once per day! -
Got it! I'll go ahead and post that for you. Don't forget to vote for us in Mashable's 2008 Open Web Awards! You can vote once per day! -
Got it! I'll go ahead and post that for you. Don't forget to vote for us in Mashable's 2008 Open Web Awards! You can vote once per day! -
#Hertz at #LGB gives out #Priceline cars that run poorly, have manual windows/locks with s-l-o-w service
Berkeley High meeting on academic change recommendations questions at

Monday, December 01, 2008

Micropayments used extensively in China; WSJ video
Twitpay: Twitter based micropayments with Paypal link