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San Francisco, USA

 

Substitute Ingredients In The Food By Air - Profit!

"With prices for cocoa, sugar and other commodities soaring, candy makers are finding a simple ingredient - air - can help pump up profits. Air bubbles make sweets creamier and easier on the waistline, while bulking up the candy and adding little cost." - sfgate.

Selling air for profit, how brilliant! By the way, aerated chocolate actually taste quite good :)

2011.02.27 [] - comments

 

SFUSD Language Assessment

As part of the San Francisco school application process, Tatchee need to take a language assessment test. His home language is Cantonese. He has picked up English from pre-school fairly well. The test takes about 15 to 30 minutes for grade K and grade 1. We've arrived at the SFUSD enrollment center on time and was promptly taken in.

The teacher fetch the children into a room with parents wait outside. If your child has separation anxiety you should take extra care. This is what I fear because Tatchee tend to be very quiet in a new environment. So I avoid the stressful word "test" and instead I told him we are going for a story time with teachers to make him feel at ease. I imagine this will be a fair description of what they are actually doing. It worked.

The test has completed in 15 minutes. He did well in both Chinese and English. The teacher go over the assessment with us and spent a little time to brief us on the language programs available. We look forward for the enrollment result on March 21st.

2011.02.26 [] - comments

 

Facebook OAuth Authentication Flow

I was trying to follow the Facebook OAuth documentation. I finally have it figured out. There are three parties and multiple steps involved. I have created a diagram to show the flow (the server-side flow).

Facebook OAuth Authentication Flow

This is a condensed version of Facebook's documentation of the steps required.

  1. Redirect the user to Facebook's OAuth Dialog /dialog/oauth?app_id.
    1. User authentication - If the user is not logged in, they are prompted to enter their credentials.
    2. App authorization - After the user is successfully authenticated, the OAuth Dialog will prompt the user to authorize the app.
  2. After the app is authorized, the OAuth Dialog will redirect (via HTTP 302) the user's browser to the URL you passed in the redirect_uri parameter with an authorization code.
  3. App authentication - In order to authenticate your app, you must pass the authorization code and your app secret to the Graph API token endpoint /oauth/access_token?app_id&secret&code. If your app is successfully authenticated and the authorization code from the user is valid, the authorization server will return the access token.

If you got a "Error validating verification code" in step 3, note that the redirect_uri should be the same as in step 1. See the issue on StackOverflow.

2011.02.19 [] - comments

 

Malcolm Gladwell - Way Overrated

Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator

It is fun to play with the The Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator made by Cory and Brett, a parody of new book titles that could be written by the popular author Malcolm Gladwell :-O

I think Malcolm Gladwell is way overrated, and this is before his recent spat with the tech community when he downplays significance of social media. I've decided his works are low in substance after reading his most popular title The Tipping Point. He is a journalist, not a scientist. He is good at writing riveting stories to enliven the dry sociology theories. But it becomes ridiculous when he goes too far and starts to synthesize his own theory. It is time for someone to make fun of him!

2011.02.09 [] - comments

 

Twitter to Move to Mid-Market -- Win-Win!

A few weeks ago San Francisco Business times first reported that Twitter is looking for a bigger office and is considering to move to the former walmart.com building in Brisbane. This set off some panic reaction in the city to try to "OMG we have to keep Twitter in San Francisco!!!" They are so afraid to lose an iconic native San Francisco company that they are rumored to give Twitter what else but a tax break.

I think it is a really bad idea to give a particular company tax break just because they blackmail to move out. But first of all, Twitter cannot be serious about moving to Brisbane. The office is isolated. Transit is limited and the location is too far for daily biking. Even Caltrain is closing their South San Francisco station, reduce the transit option to nearly nil. If they move, San Francisco recruiters will spare no time to poach for disgruntled employees, easily bringing them back to the burgeoning tech scene in SOMA. The prospect of this move is so remote that I think San Francisco Business Times and some leaders really jumped the gun on this.

But the report from San Francisco Chronicle today about a possible tax break plan to lure Twitter to Mid Market gets my thumbs up. I still don't think Twitter deserves a tax break. But a tax incentive targeted for revitalization of a part of downtown make very good sense. If the city is successful in bringing groups such as ACT theater, Burning Man and Twitter to Mid-Market, it will go a long way to pull in the catalyst for revitalization. The tax break can be justified by the economic growth it induced. I also think the edginess of Mid-market fit Twitter's profile better than a suburban office park.

Still I hope any tax incentive will be only for short term. Twitter is a resourceful company. They should have figured that the city payroll tax is not a major part of their expense. For this small price, San Francisco provide them great number of talents that will be difficult to find elsewhere. Be a good corporate citizen, pay you due, make the city a better place. You will be rewarded many times over.

P.S. More coverage from BeyondChron, Tax break is for new hire only. Good job superviosr Jane Kim, David Chiu, and Mayor Lee. Seems like the new city government is functioning.

2011.02.08 [] - comments

 

Walking on Water

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize; a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle. — Thich Nhat Hanh

2011.02.05 [] - comments

 

Web Design Update

HTML4.01 logo

This website, designed a non-designer that is myself, hasn't have much update since its inception. The earliest 2003 version on wayback machine look very similar to the version today. The HTML still uses a table based layout. So I find it very fitting to show the HTML 4.01 transitional badge here, which I don't even know if it is compliant. (Logo credit Chris Bishop)

Finally I put in a new banner to replace the bright red text only banner. I makes me feel good a bit. The picture is the road that leads to the amazing Point Reyes National Seashore.

2011.02.01 comments

 

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