Wednesday, March 11, 2015

More Beijing Photos

Two of my hobbies - besides collecting key cards - are travel and photography. I enjoy taking the photos, but I don't always get around to doing the post-trip processing (i.e. selecting, editing, posting, and writing about them) that I'd like to do.

The work that funds these hobbies often sucks up the time that I need to fully delve into them. For instance, I selected, edited, and posted the photos from the first trip to Asia last year, but I never got around to writing about them. You can see those photos here, herehere, herehere, herehere, herehere, here, and here. On the other hand, I haven't even gotten around to the photos from the other two trips to Asia last year.

But I'm on top of it this time with Beijing! I've already posted photos and written about Beijing Olympic Park.

In addition, just last night I completed working on the photos from the Beijing trip. If you want to see those photos but you're in a rush (or can't be bothered clicking through photo after photo after photo), you can see a video I made of them below.

(Click Full Screen button to enlarge)

Alternatively, if you want to see the same photos but you want to see them bigger and at higher resolution and without the cheesy royalty-free music, you can see them here.

Hope you enjoy them.

BTW... For all the other photos that I've posted but never gotten around to writing about, you can see them here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beijing Olympic Park

I took on a photography project last week in Beijing. Given the large crowds of people in Beijing, I knew that time-lapse photography would be fun to create and watch.

One essential piece of equipment for creating time-lapse photography is something to keep the camera pointed in the direction you want and to keep it very still. Ordinarily that  piece of equipment would be a tripod. I rarely even use one at home, and I never travel with one.

I was forced to improvise. I had some success using a few 1 yuan coins to prop up the camera at the desired angle. Unfortunately it was a bit breezy, and the wind kept knocking over the camera. I rummaged through my backpack to find something better suited for the task. Ultimately I found that propping up the camera against a water bottle worked exceptionally well.

One thing that I like about not using a tripod in this video was that it forced me to shoot from the ground. I think the shooting from ground level make this video more interesting looking that shooting from 3-5' off the ground.

The other thing about shooting from ground level is that doing so drew a lot of attention from the people around me - or should I say behind me. You can't see it in the video, but the whole time I was shooting, there were half a dozen to up to twenty people standing behind me (and behind the camera) watching inquisitively. Alas none of the people are likely to see the video any time soon. The video is hosted on YouTube, YouTube is owned by Google, and Google is one of the main targets of the GFC.

The cold breezy night and crawling around on the ground reminded me of the efforts required to get the Chinny shot years ago. The big difference in this case was that I wasn't crawling around in penguin poop. :-)

On the way home from the airport, I saw about a half dozen billboards for the iPhone 6. Each featured a striking photo scaled up to billboard proportions. Underneath the photos the caption read "Shot with iPhone 6". [ BTW... I think it sounds totally pretentious the way apple never uses the articles "the" or "an" in front of the word "iPhone". ]

I assume the point of the ad campaign is - at least in part - to tout the high resolution of the iPhone 6 camera. The photos did, indeed, look mighty impressive. But there was one thing that quickly jumped out at me about the photos in the ad campaign: they're all daytime shots.

I love the versatility and portability of shooting with an iPhone. One thing that almost always disappoints me about the iPhone, however, is its poor performance in low light conditions. More often than not, I find any nighttime shots I take to be far less than stellar.

Given the poor low light capabilities of the iPhone, I'm rather pleased with how well this video turned out.

BTW... The video was shot on an iPhone 4S. Thinking of upgrading today. Happy Birthday to me. :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Proof Positive - I am the Best!!!

It's about time I started getting credit for just how awesome I am!

( Apologies to the writer of this poster. His/her/their English is much better than my Mandarin. )

Monday, March 2, 2015


Why am I in Beijing this week, you ask? I'm teamed up with a co-worker. Our job is to evaluate instructor candidates. As you might imagine, the language barrier can be a bit of a challenge, but that's how I approach it - it's a challenge.

That's "challenge" as in "good", not "challenge" as in "bad".

I've taken it upon myself to learn some Chinese Simplified characters. But as you can see from my notes below, I've been teaching myself a very small subset of Chinese Simplified... Let's call it "vChinese".

(Click to enlarge)

Why did I write "long" as the character for "hypervisor"? I've been transcribing the characters from slides that the instructor candidates are projecting onto a screen. Unlike me, they don't hang out on a slide blabbing on and on for 20+ minutes. I don't want to bust their groove and say, "Hey can you go back a slide? I'm not done clumsily transcribing yet."

For the record, "hypervisor" is 虚拟化 管理程序. Let's see you try to transcribe that on the fly.

Here for your edification – that's just a fancy word for "Brian I can barely read your block-capped English writing let alone your vChinese" – is a legible list of those words/characters:
lesson:  课 
storage:  存储 
network:  网络 
application:  应用 
physical:  物理 
virtual:  虚拟
virtualization:  虚拟化 
machine:  机 
architecture:  体系结构 
datastore:  数据存储 
private cloud:  私有云 
public cloud:  公有云 
hybrid cloud:  混合云 
availability:  可用性 
ESXi host:  ESXi 主机 
user name:  用户名 
password:  密码 
lab:  练习 
number:  号码 or 数量  (I haven't figured out the difference yet.)
file:  文件 
and:  和 
hypervisor:  虚拟化 管理程序 
synchronized:  同步
Datacenter: 数据中心
Cluster: 集群
Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN): 主机域名全称 
License key: 许可证密钥
System logs: 统日志
vMotion migration: 迁移??? 
vMotion: 迁移 (confirm)
Virtual machine port groups: 拟机端口组
Uplink ports: 上行链路端口
Virtual switch: 拟交换机
Physical switch: 物理交换机
Physical NIC: 物理网卡 
Virtual NIC: 拟网卡 
Cisco Discovery Protocol: Cisco 发现协议 (CDP)
Listen: 侦听
Broadcast: 广播
Listen and broadcast: 侦听和广播以及
Disabled: 禁用 Time: 时间
Outbound bandwidth: 出站带宽
Load balancing: 负载平衡
Source MAC Hash:  MAC 哈希
IP Hash: IP 哈希
Raw Device Mapping: 原始设备映
IP Address: IP 地址
Software: 软件 
Hardware: 硬件
Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP): 质询握手身份验证协议 (CHAP)
Driver: 驱动程序
Third-party Vendors: 第三方供
Most Recently Used (MRU): 最近使用
Fixed: 固定
Round Robin: 
Availability: 可用性 Scalability: 展性
Hard disks: 
Clone: 克隆
Snapshots: 快照
Powered off: 闭时???  闭???
Powered on: 开机 ???    动 ???
Boot options: 导选项
Yes: ???    是的???
Applicable: 适用Not applicable: 不适用
RAM: 内存
Compatible: 兼容的 
Destination: ???
Process: 进程???    流程???
Layer 2 network:  2 层网络
Prefix in front of number to turn cardinal (e.g. 1, 2, 3) to ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd):  
Operating System: 操作系  
Balloon driver: 内存释放驱动程序 (literally “memory release driver”)
 Balloon: 气球
Host-level SSD swap: 主机
Limit: 限制
Shares: 份
Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA)一内存访问
Hyperthreading: 超线
Load balancing: 负载平衡
Transparent Page Sharing (TPS): 透明共享
Memory Compression: 内存压缩
Swap file: 交文件
Available memory: 可用内存
NIC teaming: 网卡捆
Multipathing: 多路径
Traffic Shaping: 流量
Resource Pool: 源池
Selected: 选择Deselected: 取消选择
Task Manager: 任管理器
Error: 错误
Warning: 警告
Info: 信息
Verbose: 详细

And for my own reference...

1:  一
2:  二
3:  三
4:  四
5:  五
6:  六
7:  七
8:  八
9:  九
10:  十

Back in Beijing

I arrived in Beijing a couple nights ago. It is my first time back in about eight years. Much (a.k.a. most) of the Mandarin and Simplified Chinese I've picked up on previous trips has been unused for so long that I'm rusty - very rusty.

But it is slowly coming back to me. For instance, I think I've figured out this poster I encountered yesterday. I recognize the first two characters  北 and 京.

北 (bei) + 京 (jing) = 北京 (Beijing)

FYI...  北 = North and 京 = capital, so Beijing is the northern capital.

I'm also pretty certain that the characters 6 and 0 means 60. But don't quote me.

I think I understand the rest of the poster from context. From what I can tell, the poster says that piddly little firecrackers are not an acceptable way of celebrating CNY 2015.

Given the number of explosions I heard on the night I arrived, setting off fireworks anywhere, any size, and at any time is not only acceptable, it's apparently a requirement.

I've put some photos of my walk yesterday through parts of Beijing online. Enjoy. :-)