Category Archives: Personal

Want! Notion Ink ADAM tablet

Android tablet with Qi display technology? I want one so bad…

http://www.notionink.in/ who makes the Adam tablet:

Pixel Qi was something I first read about in an IEEE newsletter, and it gives you a display that’s usable in daylight, and that shows color.

Android support means extensibility and fast startup. DivX support and the like.

Oh please Santa – bring me one for christmas!

How to Become Norwegian: part 83

Skiing is something that Norwegians claim to enjoy and be experts at, without actually putting it into practice. The story that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet is just a cruel myth put about by nurses to explain the screams coming from the maternity ward. Most Norwegians will instead get skis at an early age and go through basic ski training – learning how not to fall over while standing still, how to get up and down a hill without taking your skis off. I did mine back when I was six or seven. 

Anyway, my darling wife got a chance to learn how to ski through the University in Oslo. A theory course explained the basics (pointy end forward, wax on the bottom of the ski, etc). This weekend and next are the practical courses.

Fay's first steps on skis

We went out into the cold snowy day/dusk on Saturday and made our way to Sognsvann (even the T-bane has problems in the cold). The skis were freshly waxed (with green swix suitable for the –10C weather) and the backpack stuffed with chocolate, thermoses, blankets, sandwiches and oranges. We were ready!

Pay attention, class

The instructors first got everyone to practice walking and gliding with the skis. This wasn’t too exciting, so after an hour of  wandering back and forth in the wind, they switched to a game of freeze-tag: run the monsters coming to tag you

 Tag! You're frozen!  Freezing Frozen Fay

After a vigorous hour of freeze-tag, it was time for a very cold lunch, and then it was on to the going-up-and-down portion of practice.

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Fay was understandably sceptical to the idea of sliding down a slippery slope on two planks. She was set on going home, but after a look at the slope, she decided she had to try it once, and once down, she wanted to go again. And again.  Falling down in the snow was not so bad as she first feared.

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The wind picked up and started whipping up flurries of snow around the students. After an hour of fishbone-steps up and squatting down the hill we were more than ready for a warm subway car.

When we got back to the T-bane stop, the sign said “28 minutes” to the next train – but luckily it was off by about 18 minutes. The chocolate disappeared on the trip home.  My toes defrosted. 

Today the weather is nicer (the sun is shining through a thin cloud cover) but the temperature is around –17C, so no skiing lessons today. Another factor is that the unexpected exercise on the slopes has caused Fay’s many major muscle groups to complain about the harsh treatment they got yesterday. But the forecast for next weekend looks good. I’m sure we’ll be back outside with the skis on.

Fay’s view of the whole thing can be read over on her blog (in Mandarin – Google translate or the Babelfish is your friend).

Snowman on the balcony

It has snowed a lot while we were away. The weather is cold and clear and beautiful.

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Fay wanted a snowman, so we built one using the fine powder snow that has collected on our little balcony.

It is really too cold to build a proper snowman – the snow crystals does not sinter into lumps when it is so cold and dry – so it became more of a snow-pile than a snow-man.

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Finally the pile was high enough, and a small snow-lump on top served as a head. Fay carefully placed jellybeans for the eyes and nose:

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  Voilà! Casper the snow-man/monster. With a bit of left-over christmas wrapping he got a bit of hair too…

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Very stylish, don’t you think?

Here is one we saw in Behai Park in Beijing earlier…

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He has a a stick pipe and arms. More of a proper snowman than our snow-mountain.

Queen of East and West Badaling



Queen of East and West Badaling, originally uploaded by xt1.

Fay gave me the great wall for Christmas. We took a taxi out to Badaling and walked up the shorter eastern section first. In december we had the wall practically to ourselves. Lovely and not too cold in the sunshine. After finishing the trip down to the bottom, we chose to attack the steep western section instead of going back to the taxi. The wind picked up, the sun was hidden by the ridgeline. Thus began a long climb up, one watchtower at a time. ‘This one will be the highest! This time for sure!’ only for another set of stairs to appear around the corner. Finally we reached the summit. The view is pretty impressive.

Now i just hope i can walk tomorrow.

King and Queen of the Great Wall – we are even more impressed by Stephen Robert’s achievements, having tasted a bit for ourselves.