Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year greetings

Today, on the last day of the year, we are going to hear a lot of new year greetings. But really, if one compares one year with another, generally half the time things get better and half the time things get worse. The reason for this is that life is cyclical. There will always be ups and downs. The new year is not going to be any different from the current year, so there is really no reason to feel all excited over nothing.

One thing, however, is always going to go up. This is not just a load of hot air; prices of things are always going up. Most of the time the advent of a new year triggers many price increases. It is as if businesses sees it as a given right to set a higher price at the start of each new year. Mostly without any justification, but simply because it has become customary to do so.

In view of all the impending price increases, why is everyone ushering in the new year with glee instead of gloom? Or with fireworks instead of getting fired up? I love the old year. I was younger, my hair was fuller, and prices were lower. Nevertheless, Happy New Year to you.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Universal travel adaptor

When I saw going to the US earlier this year, it was really difficult to find an Aussie-to-US adaptor, except in some travel shops where they were ridiculously expensive. I managed to find this universal adaptor in Malaysia for RM17, less than a quarter of the price of an ordinary adaptor. I found it in an ordinary hardware store. Later that day, I found a large selection of universal adaptors in a departmental store in One Utama, but I still like this one best. Now, wouldn't it be perfect if it has a USB charger built in as well?

(The images show the two sides of the adaptor. One side shows all the pins fully extended. For Australia and US use, the pins can be turned at an angle)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Google Translate and the Tower of Babel

I recently received an email, written to me in English, but it was really meant for my mother who could only read Mandarin.

So I went to the Chrome Store and located the Google Translate app. It is installed as an extension on my Chrome browser. I opened up the said email and simply clicked on the translate extension. A menu bar appears on top of the screen and gives me the option to translate the page in any language at all. Changing the page to Chinese, I handed my notebook to my mother and she was able to read for herself. Apparently the translation is pretty accurate, judging by the fact that my mother didn't show any puzzled look. I am impressed!

Google Translate has just broken down the language barrier. If you don't consider this epic enough, you must read Genesis 11:1-9 (The Tower of Babel). God confused the language of man so that they could not complete building the tower. Have we just usurped God's action?