Oracle buys Sun

Not like we didn’t see this one. Congrats to Credit Suisse, who was the sole manager on the sell side.

Oracle to Acquire Sun for $7.4 Billion – Mac Rumors

The big industry news on Monday was the announcement that Oracle Corporation would acquire Sun Microsystems for approximately $7.4 billion. The acquisition would bring Sun controlled technologies such as Java, MySQL and Sun’s workstations under the control of Oracle. The New York Times points out that Oracle sees Sun as a “software gem, skillful in computer design and ripe for cost-cutting.”

iTunes App Store without a credit card

I thought that you needed a prepaid card to get the free apps. I’m sorry I bought the $15 itunes card now. Here is how to do it if you just want free apps on your iPhone. Boy is it complicated!

Create an iTunes App Store account without a credit card

Create an iTunes App Store account without a credit card

1. If you already have an account, choose Store > Sign Out.
2. Pick your country from the pop-up menu at the bottom of the iTunes Store homepage.
3. If your country also has an iTunes Store, you’ll need to navigate to the App Store by clicking on the “App Store” link from the menu on the left. If not, proceed to step 4.
4. Important: Before proceeding to the next step you must purchase a free application by clicking ‘Get App’.
5. Click create new account.
6. Click Continue.
7. You’ll need to read and agree to the iTunes terms and conditions, make sure you check the box next to where it says “I have read and agree to the iTunes Terms and Conditions.” Click Continue.
8. Enter in your email address, create your password, continue to create and answer your security question, then enter your birthday. Click Continue.
9. Select None as the payment option.
10. Continue to fill out the required name and address fields.
11. You’ll then see a screen that says ‘Verify your Account’. Click Done and then check your email for a verification email from “iTunes Store.”
12. Open the mail, and click on the phobos link enclosed in the email to activate your account.
13. Once you click on the link, iTunes should then prompt you to sign in with your account name and password.
14. You’ll then see a “Congratulations” screen. Click Done to be taken to the App Store home page.

Darn it, bought too soon, big screen Kindle is coming

I hope they also make it a touch screen and simplify the user
AppleInsider | Amazon to introduce “big screen” Kindle device this week

New York Times cited people briefed on Amazon’s plans as saying the retailer was gearing up to introduce “a larger version of its Kindle wireless device tailored for displaying newspapers, magazines and perhaps textbooks

Nuforce 8 vs. Shure er210 vs Brookstone Pro plug

I lost my beloved etymotic 4s on the plane. Maybe I should buy them again. These sealed isolation things are great but in buying $40-150 ones I’ve found the biggest variable is a good seal:

1. Brookstone Pro Plug. $40 so inexpensive. Fit is not really sealed bit they r just so bassy. Not recommended.

2. Nuforce 8. $70. Supposed to be amazing. I tried with the stock earplugs and can’t get a good seal. Recommendation is to buy a $15 set of super pro plugs. Ill try that but that puts it a pretty high price point like the Etymotic 6i. They r more balanced than the Brookstone. So not recommended with stock plugs. Will see with the add-one.

3. Shure Se-210. Widely distributed. Sound ok and better fit than Nuforce. At $120 I wouldn’t say they r much better than the $90 etymotic 6i

4. Etymotic 4s. Although only a single driver the main thing is that they really fit well. Thy have foam plugs that r as tight as soundplugs. Sounds is remarkable at $180

Mac File compare and sync

Now that I keep music and new photos on my local machine, I also need to sync these files up to a server. Thats because I’m constantly changing things. So looking for something as good as beyond compare on Windows. Looked before, but never found anything. Google search for mac os x directory compare led me to:

Smart Synchronize


Trying them both now…both are slow

Lost headphones mean new phones

I haven’t posted in a while because somehow the lastest scribefire no longer likes to post to my WordPress. So I’m back to using the web interface.

Anyway, since I lost my Etymotic ER-4Ss, I seem to have ended up with two sets of Shure SE-210 (lost one of these!), bought a $40 pair of Bridgestone’s that I just hate. So what’s the state of the art now, so recommendations from <a href=””></a>, <a href=””></a> and <a href=””></a>.

The highlight, is there are two categories of in-ear designs at $100-150 which are Shure SE210, E2c and E3c, Etymotic ER6i, Ultra-ears 5 pro and JVC Marshmallow/JVC aircushion. Then at $180-200 have the Etymotic Er-4P, Klipsch Image X-10, Denon C700, JAYS q-JAYS, Shure SE310 and E4c. Here are the recommendations:

Etymotic ER-4P. These are still viewed as the best single driver headphones. About $180 street these days. I found them super comfortable, but reviews say they are a little lacking. If you want throwaways, or near throwaways, the $80 ER-6i is a good choice.

Ultimate Ears 700. These are what are called dual driver so are smaller and easier to make sound good. They have a $230 street, so if you can find the Jays Q-Jays which are also dual driver, get them.

Jays Q-Jays launched in 2007 were the first really affordable and great sounding headphones. Better than the Etymotic ER-4P. They are just hard to find. They are truly small. Amazon Z-shops has them for $189, but they are hard to find.

Shure SE530. These are triple drivers and probably the best sounding period these days. But cost is $250 street, so don’t lose them! They are $330 street, so expensive.

The forums are buzzing about “<a href=””>Nuforce NE 7m</a> which cost $50 and sound great. Amazing! You need different tips to fit it in and the comply 400. The Nuforce Ne-8 is just $60 and also have lousy tips, so need something else. Wow. <a href=””></a> says the NE-8 seems to be more Etymotic-like with better treble and midrange while maintaining a decent soundstage while on the other hand, the NE-7M is more Shure-like with good bass and a warm sound.

nLyrics, iTunes, iChat, gTalk, Friendfeed, Twitter, Facebook, Tongfamily run amuck

No, I haven’t lost my mind, but had to share since I’ve had about 10 people ask me what’s going on. Sorry about all the random entries in friendfeed, twitter, facebook and For the geeks, read on. Here is the chain:

  1. nLyrics is this great plug in for getting lyrics to songs kareoke style (don’t ask!)
  2. Listen to iTunes while typing away and you get your lyrics embedded
  3. Tell iChat to listen to iTunes and post iChat status which is the artist, album and title so your chat buddies can see what you are listening to
  4. iChat notifies Gtalk of the status messages and Gtalk treats them like regular IM
  5. Play with friendfeed and turn on Gtalk status notifications become friendfeed messages. Oops. So now every song you play every 3 minutes is getting posted to
  6. Also tell friendfeed to post everything it sees to and now suddenly every song update appears on twitter too
  7. Tell twitter to publish everything it does into facebook and now your facebook friends are wondering WTF
  8. Tell wordpress’s twitter plugin to look for all twits and put them on your blog
  9. Have real humans actually reading twitter, facebook, friendfeed or your blog and send you nasty WTF are you doing anyway, have you lost your mind
  10. Rinse and repeat as needed. I’m going to bed!

Survival Phrases

is an easy site for learning simple phrases so you aren’t a complete alien when traveling. Here are some for Japanese:

English Greetings Japanese Greetings:
Hi! Yaa. *1   やあ。
Good morning! Ohayou gozaimasu.   おはようございます。
Good evening! Konbanw   こんばんは。
Welcome! (to greet someone) Youkoso irasshai mashita.   ようこそいらっしゃいました。
How are you? Ogenki desuka?   お元気ですか?
I’m fine, thanks! Watashi wa genki desu. Arigato!   わたしは元気です。ありがとう。
And you? Anatawa?   あなたは?
Good/ So-So. Genki desu. / maa-maa desu.   元気です。/ まあまあです。
Thank you (very much)! Arigatou! *2   ありがとう!
You’re welcome! (for “thank you”) Dou itashi mashite.   どういたしまして。
I missed you so much! Samishi katta desu. *3   さみしかったです。
What’s new? Saikin dou desuka?   最近どうですか?
Nothing much Kawari nai desu.   変わりないです。
Good night! Oyasumi nasai.   おやすみなさい。
See you later! Mata atode aimashou!   またあとで会いましょう!
Good bye! Sayonara!   さようなら!

Or in Vietnamese, here are some phrases, but you have to understand pronunciation first, these are reasonable close to chinese (e.g., neutral tone 5, rising 2, falling 4, questioning is 3, but no long tone 1)

No tone ma ghost
Raising má mother
Falling mà ` that
Questioning ? tomb
Falling-raising mã ~ horse (literally)
Weighing . bine, burgeon

And they have lots more vowel sounds

a as in ‘father’
ã as a with longer pronounciation
â as a in ‘black’
ai as in ‘buy
ao as in ‘now
au as in ‘Australia’
âu as in ‘go
ay as in ‘day
ây as in  ‘David’
e as in ‘Claire’
ê as in ‘Café
i as in ‘see
ia as in ‘Asia
ie as in ‘yes’
o as in ‘door’
oa as in French ‘moi
oã as in ‘lack’
oai as in ‘why
oay as in ‘Uruguay
oe as in  ‘where
oi as in ‘choice’
ô as in  ‘Bordeaux’
ôi as in ‘toy
as in ‘teacher
like “er-ee
u as in ‘zoo
slightly like  “Mercury”
ua as in  ‘Ecuador’
between “oo” and “ah
uê as in ‘question’
ui like “oo-ee
uôi as in “way-ee
as in ‘queue
as in ‘queue
as in ‘queue-ee
as in ‘new
uy as u in French or ü in German
uya as French ‘culture
uyen as in ‘when’
uyu as in ‘new
y as in ‘see
ye as in ‘yen’
yeu as in ‘yeoman’

And consonants are like english except for

d like ‘z‘ as in ‘zero’
ð is the English  ‘d
gh like normal ‘g‘ as in ‘go’
gi like ‘y‘ in ‘yes’
kh like German ‘ch‘ as in ‘ich
nh like French ‘gn‘ in ‘champaigne’
ng, ngh as in ‘nguyen’
ph like  normal ‘f‘ as in ‘fur’
tr as in ‘try’
v sometime pronounced as ‘y‘ too
English Phrases Vietnamese Phrases
English Greetings Vietnamese Greetings:
Hi! chào
Good morning! chào buổi sáng
Good evening! chào buổi tối
Welcome! (to greet someone) Chào mừng bạn ( đã đến đây )!
How are you? bạn có khỏe không?, khỏe chứ?( informal )
I’m fine, thanks! Cám Æ¡n bạn tôi khỏe
And you? Bạn thì sao?
Good/ So-So. Tốt / cũng tàm tạm
Thank you (very much)! Cám ơn ( rất nhiều )
You’re welcome! (for “thank you”) Đừng ngại ( don’t mind asking for my help )
Hey! Friend! Này!, Ê!
I missed you so much! Tôi nhớ bạn lắm
What’s new? Có gì má»›i không?
Nothing much Không có gì nhiều
Good night! Chúc ngủ ngon!
See you later! Gặp lại sau nhé
Good bye! Tạm biệt
Asking for Help and Directions
I’m lost Tôi bị lạc
Can I help you? Tôi có thể giúp bạn điều gì?
Can you help me? Bạn giúp tôi đựơc không?
Where is the (bathroom/ pharmacy)? Phòng tắm ( nhà thuốc ) ở đâu?
Go straight! then turn left/ right! Đi thẳng, sau đó rẽ trái / phải
I’m looking for john. Tôi Ä‘ang tìm John.
One moment please! Làm ơn đợi một lát!
Hold on please! (phone) Xin giữ máy!
How much is this? Cái này giá bao nhiêu?
Excuse me …! (to ask for something) Xin lá»—i cho hỏi?
Excuse me! ( to pass by) Xin lỗi, làm ơn nhé!
Come with me! Đi với tôi

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How to Introduce Yourself
Do you speak (English/ Vietnamese)? Bạn có nói (tiếng Anh/ tiếng Việt) không?
Just a little. Chỉ một chút.
What’s your name? Bạn tên gì?
My name is … Tôi tên là…
Mr…/ Mrs.…/ Miss… Ông…/bà…/cô
Nice to meet you! Rất vui được gặp bạn.
You’re very kind! Bạn thật tốt!
Where are you from? Bạn từ đâu đến ( bạn quê ở đâu )?
I’m from (the U.S/ Vietnam) Tôi đến từ…
I’m (American) Tôi là người ( Mỹ,… )
Where do you live? Bạn sống ở đâu?
I live in (the U.S/ Vietnam) Tôi sống ở….
Did you like it here? Bạn thích nơi đây chứ?
Vietnam is a wonderful country …. là má»™t đất nÆ°á»›c tuyệt đẹp
What do you do for a living? Bạn làm gì để kiếm sống?
I work as a (translator/ businessman) Tôi làm ( phiên dịch viên / nhà kinh doanh ).
I like Vietnamese Tôi thích tiếng nÆ°á»›c…
I’ve been learning Vietnamese for 1 month Tôi đã học tiếng (… ) được 1 tháng.
Oh! That’s good! á»’! Tốt quá, giỏi quá!
How old are you? Bạn bao nhiêu tuổi?
I’m (twenty, thirty…) years old. Tôi 23 tuổi.
I have to go Tôi phải đi đây.
I will be right back! Tôi sẽ quay lại ngay.
Wish Someone Something
Good luck! Chúc may mắn
Happy birthday! Chúc mừng sinh nhật!
Happy new year! Chúc mừng năm mới!
Merry Christmas! Chúc giáng sinh vui vẻ!
Congratulations! Chúc mừng!
Enjoy! (for meals…) Ä‚n nào! ( only for meals )
I’d like to visit Vietnam one day Tôi thích đến Việt Nam má»™t ngày nào đó.
Say hi to John for me Gửi lời chào hộ tôi đến John.
Bless you (when sneezing) Chúa ban phước cho bạn.
Good night and sweet dreams! Chúc ngủ ngon và có những giấc mơ đẹp!
Solving a Misunderstanding
I’m Sorry! (if you don’t hear something) Xin lá»—i, nhắc lại được không?
Sorry (for a mistake) Xin lá»—i!
No Problem! Không sao.
Can You Say It Again? Bạn có thể nhắc lại được không?
Can You Speak Slowly? Bạn có thể nói chậm lại không?
Write It Down Please! Làm ơn viết nó ra!
I Don’t Understand! Tôi không hiểu.
I Don’t Know! Tôi không biết.
I Have No Idea. Tôi chẳng có ý kiến gì cả.
What’s That Called In Vietnamese? Cái đó gọi thể nào trong tiếng Việt?
What Does “gato” Mean In English? Lingua nghÄ©a là gì trong tiếng Anh?
How Do You Say “Please” In Vietnamese? Bạn nói Please thế nào trong tiếng Việt?
What Is This? Cài này là gì?
My Vietnamese is bad. Tên tiếng Việt của tôi xấu.
I need to practice my Vietnamese Tôi cần thực hành tiếng Việt.
Don’t worry! Đừng lo!
Vietnamese Expressions and Words
Good/ Bad/ So-So. Tốt / xấu / bình thường
Big/ Small Lớn / nhỏ
Today/ Now Hôm nay / bây giờ
Tomorrow/ Yesterday Ngày mai / hôm qua
Yes/ No Có, vâng, đúng vậy, ừ / không
Here you go! (when giving something) Của bạn đây.
Do you like it? Bạn thích nó chứ?
I really like it! Tôi thật sự thích nó.
I’m hungry/ thirsty. Tôi đói / khát
In The Morning/ Evening/ At Night. Vào buổi sáng / tối/ ban đêm
This/ That. Here/There Cái này / cái kia. Ở đây / ở đó
Me/ You. Him/ Her. Tôi / bạn. Anh ấy / cô ấy
Really! Thật sao?, Vậy à?
Look! Nhìn kìa!
Hurry up! Nhanh lên!
What? Where? Gì cơ? ở đâu?
What time is it? Mấy giờ rồi?
It’s 10 o’clock. 07:30pm. 10 giờ. 7 giờ 30 phút chiều
Give me this! Đưa cho tôi cái này!
I love you! Tôi yêu bạn!
I feel sick. Tôi cảm thấy mệt.
I need a doctor Tôi cần đến bác sĩ.
One, Two, Three Má»™t, hai, ba
Four, Five, Six Bốn, năm, sáu
Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten