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Showing posts from March 8, 2009

How Do People Accrue Wealth?

(Toyland: How can she get out? What if someone grab some toys and run away?  What if she has to answer the nature’s call?  These were all the questions on my mind when I walked past this street kiosk virtually surrounded by toys from top to bottom, right to left.  The lady was the only one working in the kiosk) Forbes has named Warren Buffett, the American investor guru, the world's richest man to unseat Bill Gates from the global throne of riches for 13 years. Buffett accrued his US$63,000,000,000 (£31bn) fortune over more than fifty years of mostly shrewd investing.How do the wealthy people accrue so much money?  Let me give you an example.I have a friend whose aunt operates a toy factory in China.  Her factory makes soft toys of cartoon characters as those shown in the photo.  Some ten years ago, it costed her US$5 to manufacture a big box of such soft toys.  When the toys are finally sold in the toy stores, the customers paid US$50 each.There are overheads to pay for sure.  Bu…

Chachangtang Again

(Alfresco Hong Kong Style: A local and his gweilo buddy are having an alfresco meal at a local chachangtang. They were talking in English in a fairly noticable voice, probably because it was a pretty quiet side street at a non-touristy local area. It was likely that the guys had toured around the neighbourbood by bikes)
Chachangtang (literally, "Tea Meal House") is a topic we discussed some months earlier here. My wild guess is that it evolved from copying the then new-style, up-market restaurants offering western haute-cuisine in the old days when Hong Kong was ruled by British colonial viceroies.
Chachangtangs to the common folks in Hong Kong are what cafes are to the French. The only difference is that chachangtangs have some of the world's most exotic and unhealthy foods which will certainly tickle your fancy simply by their names.
Si Mut Milk Tea


Si Mut is literally silk stockings. The name is originated from the rumour that the tea is prepared in a teapot with silk…

Aging on the Street

(Old Ladies, Small Talk: I have one of the customisable MY settings registered with ISO 200 with the manual focus at less than 1m, which is the ususal distance I have found in going close to a subject on the street. I turned on my GX200 to the setting and set the exposure combo when I was at some 5 metres away. At the right distance, I paused slightly and shot this scene. The short focal distance diffused the background a bit)The more pictures I have taken on the street (I'm very glad that I bought the GX200 which made this possible), the more I become aware of different faces. Young faces, old faces; pretty faces, not-so-flattering faces. People age. When aging happens, the result will not be seen for a good while, making the person less prepared for the aggregate traces appearing on the face at a certain old age seemingly at once.At best, we are the combination of some arranged bones and skeleton, a sheet of skin and a soul. The bones will turn fragile and the skin loose as the …

Architecture versus Building

(Tower of Crosses and Squares: This Bank of China Tower, a marvellous works by I.M. Pei, has intriguing geometric patterns which endear it to photographers. It is located in Central, near the HSBC Tower and Cheung Kong Building which is the headquarters building of Li Ka Shing. A tour in each of them, which will be best accompanied by a book on Hong Kong's buildings, will give you totally different feelings about how the architects treat the interiors)Not long ago, one of the founders of MVRDV, Winy Maas, commented that the architecture in Hong Kong was boring. The world renowed architect, Frank Gehry, also said that Hong Kong had lots of buildings which could be called architecture.I don't know on what grounds they arrived at such conclusions. Their opinions carry some truth in them for sure. But how much personal prejudice are there? So I approached the director of a renowed architecture firm, who is my mentor, for some insight. His answer was charged with bitterness, "…

Tips for Clearing a Lens

Once I took pictures on a windy beach with my Minolta SLR.  The havoc it did to the lens is shown above.  See?  The lens is smeared with greasy stains which cannot be removed.  It was retired permanently long ago for that reason but is perfectly well otherwise. Now, my GX200 is exposed to a higher risk of the same as I take pictures with it on the street daily.  So, I clear it regularly after use. Do you?
Lens Blower and Scotch Tape Usually, I use a lens blower to blow away the dust clustering the rims around the lens and a microfiber cloth to wipe the camera body.  For stubborn dusts, I use a tiny piece of the Scotch Removable Tape to stick them out.
Lens Cleaning Paper and Fluid Sometimes, fluid like raindrops get on the lens and leave stains which cannot be removed by wiping.  You may succeed in wiping the stains away if you apply force which you can't for the lens. This is when you may need the lens cleaning paper and cleaning fluid. There are several different brands but I think Kod…

Fujifilm F200exr Weird Noise!

The above video shows that the Fujifilm F200EXR gives out noise on Auto mode. Comments from some Fujifilm camera users can be summarised into this: the noise is normal. Although it is not sure whether they referred to the same serious noise as heard in the video, those users also heard nosie from their previous FinePix models when turned to Auto mode. If you're a F200exr user, check if you hear the same "normal" noise. This may give a new definition to what a noisy camera is. How about this: Noisy Camera with Great Noise-free High ISO Performance? Just kidding.

King of Chess

(King of Chess: This is an old trade. The man is lining up several chessboards on the street, each set up with some designed chess movements. The challengers can freely play with me and may win or lose money depending on how the results go. I took this photo behind the standers-by, and was evetually spotted by the man)I went to take some photos about chess after the post last Saturday on Chinese chess taken by Hugo.Anciently China had four traditional arts: music, painting, calligraphy, and strategy games. The second syllable of Xiangqi, "qi" (literally, chess) is the Chinese word for strategy games. The first syllable, "xiang" is the word for elephant. This spelling is Mandarin, in Cantonese the game is called Jeuhng Keih.Like Western chess, Chinese chess descends from the game of Chaturanga, from India. From India it spread throughout Asia and also to Medieval Euroupe. In China, the game reached its current form during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD).The Chinese c…

Heard about Eye-Fi?

Have you heard about the Eye-fi SD cards?  It was shown in CES 2008 and comes in four types and supports over 700 cameras of major brands (unfortunately, no Ricohs), but the note at the end of this post* should be read.  It is a cool idea for photographers regularly uploading photos to computers and blogs.  I have made a gist from the information provided in the official site.The Eye-Fi Card stores photos & videos like a normal memory card. When you turn your camera on within range of a configured Wi-Fi network, it wirelessly transfers your photos & videos. To your computer. Or to your favorite photo sharing web site. Or both.  There are four types of Eye-fi SD cards, namely:2GB HomeWireless JPEG photo uploads to computerWorks on over 700 SD and SDHC compatible cameras2GB ShareWebShare for upload to online sharing sites Wireless JPEG photo uploads to computer Works on over 700 SD and SDHC compatible cameras4GB Share VideoWebShare for upload to online sharing sitesWireless JPEG…