[Shad] 6-29: they are here!

It’s 11:18pm, and the first night with the Shad here is thankfully quiet. Only a few people wanted to stay up, and the number was well below the critical point such that these people find little point in staying up. That would change soon enough I expect.

My right leg is grass-burned already from one of the random games that we played in the afternoon, and the biting pain and throbbing heat are quiet annoying.

The Shads arrived in batches on shuttle vans driven by Dev and Martin after they were herded by Steve at the airport. My focus shifted quickly from fellow staffs (when we set up the welcome table and things) to the arriving Shads (after they gathered into a familiar, still a little awkward group). Learning a few names quickly, but I still haven’t met some of the Shads yet. That can be fixed soon enough.

We did our “biotile” introductions this evening after dinner. A biotile is a 15cm x 15cm piece of something flat that represents you. Here’s mine:

And I’m sure readers of this blog will know almost everything on this biotile. 🙂

The biotiles from the Shads were expectedly amazing again. We’ve put them up on a wall in the unit lounge (oh, we’re staying in Kwak this year), making an impressive display of this year’s group.

Went to the Rose Garden for sunset, watching the Shads mingled somewhat hesitantly in a beautiful setting with Martin playing soothing guitar was simply great.

Today was pretty laid back and kinky (cuz people don’t know each other well yet), but I’m sure we will switch into high gear in no time.

Note to self: I need to take more pictures! Although taking pictures makes me feel I’m an observer and not a participant, I should still take some pictures to help keep the memories alive. But this may conflict with my role as a PA, especially if I take pictures with the Shads in them. Hm.

Note to my friends who supported me in Relay for Life: I’m looking for open spots where I can squeeze in some video editing time, so please be patient with them vids 🙂

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[Shad] 6-28: the only quiet night?

After a fulfilling AYCE dinner with the whole family at 仁和, I finally moved into Totem Park (for the 3rd time) for Shad Valley. Last time I PAed Shad, my room was way down the hall away from the action, so this year I was gonna ask for a room closer to the house lounge.

But when I got to the staff office, Darren said apologetically (or slyly?) that he has already switched his room with mine — and Dev added she hoped I had ear plugs. Turned out as soon as Darren realized his room was the closest to the house lounge, he switched it with what was supposed to be my room — at the end of the hall.

Back up a bit. I did Shad in 2006 where I’ve met most of the staff I’ll be working with again this year: Martin – our boss – is still very “politically incorrect” and opinionated and “does not care what anyone think of him”, Dev – our real boss – is still bossy and sarcastic as ever, Jill is still organized and on top of everything, and I haven’t seen Ken yet. The above quotations about Martin are quoted from Steve, a 6’5″ buff guy who is surprisingly unintimidating once I got to know him a little (and helped him move from his beautiful Marince Drive Residence) (“Here’s a case with wheels — and you’re gonna carry that heavy one which doesn’t”). Eleanor was a Shad in Carleton and she’s just graduating from MIT into Stanford, and I just realized she’s the only staff who is completely new to the UBC program. Lynn is a biol 140 prof, and she’s very kind and gentle. Darren is our math and engineering guy who was the director of Shad UBC who trained Martin, and he is at least as humorous and unorthodox as Martin.

The above all worked for Shad last year except for Eleanor. Mackenzie is one very special staff this year because she was a Shad at UBC in 2004 – the year I PAed. It would be really interesting to see how she acts as a staff member, which is supposed to be mentors for the Shads.

After a long staff meeting, Mac, Eleanor, Darren and I went into the 26 degree blazing sun to set up 7 tents that were more complicated than any sleeping tent I had to set up. “Don’t get cooked before the program starts… there is plenty of opportunity later,” I said.

Went to One More for a Japanese dinner, which would be the best dinner in a while to come, and helped Steve move. Played a game of Hive with Eleanor. Dev said it would only take 15 mins to play a game, but we gave up playing after 1 hour of struggle. The game is really fun. I think I’ll get it later (from 4th and Macdonald).

Enjoyed a quiet night’s sleep in a room that’s pretty much identical to the one I had in 2006. In a few hours the Shads would arrive, and things would switch into high gear instantly, but for now, they are just names on the doors, quiet and peaceful.

Relay for Life – Kaman’s clip

Kaman is very special because she’s the first friend I had when I immigrated to Canada in late grade 9. In fact, she’s the only friend whom I’m still in touch with in the first high school that I went to – Richmond High – even though I was there for only 3 months.

There was this one day, I was eating in the cafeteria by myself, and a guy went up and started singing. A big crowd of people gathered around him in the cafeteria – a clearly popular guy. Sitting outside the rim of people, I was probably the direct opposite of what he was. I thought: wow, he could really sing! And he wrote a wonderful song!

Until a few months later, I realized it was Hero by Enrique Iglesias. That was how fresh-off-the-boat I was.

And it’s very special to have a friend when I was that out of place. Thank you, K-man! 🙂

機械救世主

I have to stop working on this at some point… I’ve been spending way too many hours on this short story XD
希望能被LeMook看上, 大家如果有建議歡迎指教!

***

我緊張地全身發抖,我身下的她也呼吸混亂而急促。我一面愛撫她的身體,一面笨拙地想脫下長褲的束縛;第一次的無限興奮淹沒了我的五官,麻痺了我的思緒。

就在此時房間燈光大開,音響高分貝播放金屬搖滾!我嚇得大叫一聲,跌到床下。廣播器傳出清楚的警告:「世界人口飽和,所有未經核准的性行為一律禁止。請立刻停止違規舉動。」

我錯愕地躺在地上看她胡亂穿好衣服,奪門而出。

※

好友阿義聽我說完,狂笑不已。

「你是原始人還是白癡啊?」阿義擦擦眼角。「就算你不看新聞,性教育也有教啊!哈哈哈……當時幹嘛不把房間的通訊器關掉?那樣會更精彩!」

關通訊器是重罪,再多精蟲充腦我也不會那麼粗心。

「我把所有洗腦的課都翹了。」我不悅。「不是只要戴保險套就好?現在我們要……還得經過甚麼天殺的核准?」

「對啊,好像是因為避孕措施不夠力,最近政策改了,變成只有擁有優良世界公民(Excellent Global Citizen)資格的夫婦才可以合法爽快。」

優良世界公民是碳足印低於世界標準、人類貢獻綜合評分優異的那批善類。這些人不會造成世界汙染又對全體人類有正面貢獻,如果每個人都像他們一樣奴性,世界將會太平。

「我不可能拿到EGC啊!光我還在喝這個就沒希望了。」我吸了一大口冰涼的可樂。飲料工廠正隨著「垃圾工業代謝方案」,與皮革製衣、食品加工等產業一起逐步被關閉,要買一杯可樂越來越難。他們沒有一次把這些「垃圾工業」關閉是因為將人力轉移到自然食物、區域農業、環保研究等產業需要時間。有人甚至吵著要順勢將畜牧業全面關閉,人類集體素食。到那時候我一定會發瘋。

「你當然沒希望。」阿義降低聲音,「如果你真的想嘿咻的話,我聽說內地還有一座山上沒有被監視,最近還吸引了一波不小的人潮咧。」

「真的嗎?」我興奮。可是在我計劃好露營逍遙遊之前,一則「警方破獲飛沙峽谷山區集體姦淫案」的新聞將我徹底打敗。被抓的可憐年輕男女?全部強行結紮。

※

這種完全漠視人權的極端手段,什麼強悍的政權做得出來?連專制政府也沒這個引起全民反抗的膽量,極權的軍政府和鞏固的宗教領袖也都沒有攻占世界的能力。

現今的世界主宰超越了「政府」一詞的定義:三年前,一個強大的網路公司成功滲透了各強國的軍警網路,隨即宣布占領它早已掌握的世界金融、民生、交通、醫療、傳媒等各大系統。計畫閃電般地成功之後,細瘦蒼白、戴著眼鏡的總指揮,在各大媒體發表了一段演說:

「如各位朋友所知,我們正面臨滅絕的危險。氣候變化、物種滅絕、資源短缺、糧食不足、人口爆炸、貧富差距、戰爭不斷等等,都足以摧毀人類文明。這些問題根深蒂固,不是零星分散的環保組織能夠承擔的。

「要解決世界問題,必須統一管理全人類。但是有個最根本的問題:人類是動物,而動物要生存就必須自私,要繁衍就必須飢渴地掠奪資源。由這種不完美的動物成立的政府,必然加倍地貪婪無厭。所以管理人類的系統不能由人類來主宰。

「人類動物的本質和突飛猛進的大腦是不能夠同時在地球上永續生存的。沒有控制,就戒不掉貪婪;不戒掉貪婪,人類就沒有希望。為了保護地球資源,維持人類文明永續發展,我在此正式宣布 “Mechanical Messiah ──機械救世主計畫” 的實施。

總指揮說到這裡,露出滿足的笑容。

「此刻,Messiah已經控制了絕大部分的科技。它是世上最強大的經算函數,控制全世界的CPU之後將算出人類一舉一動對永續經營的好處與壞處,做出最客觀的判斷和裁決。它也是世上最強大的法院和執法者,因為它無私、全知、又全能,必定會依照運算結果執行對我們最有利的措施。」

他又補充:「不用害怕,也請勿反抗。我們不是恐怖份子,我們圖的是全人類的幸福。我們也不是可以攻破的組織,因為銷毀救世主的唯一方法是破壞所有科技,而現代武器已經被它掌控。也不用想召集電腦精英反抗我們,因為所有的電腦都已經被佔領。有能力的駭客如果不是早已站在我們這邊,至少也不會與我們為敵。

「因為我們是Google。」

※

接下來的三年內,救世主一步步控制人類的生活。它計算出奢侈車種對人類只有傷害,所以在半年內回收了八成悍馬;又算出昆蟲的營養對飼料的比值高出傳統牲畜很多,所以養殖場被迫棄養牛羊豬,改養蝗蟲、蜘蛛;長途運輸蔬果的貨輪也都被迫停駛,超市裡只看得到當地的農產品。

「不然你以為Google長期存取所有人的信件和網路活動紀錄幹嘛?」阿義每次都這麼說。「還不是為了徹底了解進而控制人類的一舉一動。這我早就看出來囉!想不到世界上最強的nerds齊聚十年,就足以征服世界。只可惜Google不是軍隊,不然就不會死傷這麼慘重。」

在機械救世主實施之後引發大暴動,零星武裝份子炸毀Google的多數廠址,沒被仇殺的高層幹部也在短時間內被特種部隊逮捕。為什麼全能的救世主會讓這樣的事情發生?有人說它當時還沒完全設立,有人則認為救世主計算出Google的毀滅有利於安撫世界的民心。很諷刺的,Google成為救世主的第一個犧牲品。摧毀Google之後,侵占全世界30億台電腦上的救世主完全不受影響,面對無法擊敗的敵人,人們很快就屈服了。

「其實也不錯啦,你看,世界上所有的軍火工廠已經全數停擺,聽說再過幾年就沒有足夠的子彈可以維持戰爭了。」一個朋友說。

另一個朋友也接口:「還有,交通失事率也大幅下降,因為車子開不快、駕駛喝酒就沒法發動引擎, Hondayota在開發的新車甚至會全自動電腦控制,到時候因交通傷亡的人數應該會變成零。」

「藥物濫用、婚前性行為等也都被控制得很好啊,」第三個朋友說。

我終於忍不住:「你們都是狗啊?生活沒有一點自由哪還叫做人類?」

阿義快速跟他們說我那晚的糗事,他們聽完笑成一團,全部以為我賀爾蒙沖頭,沒人理我提倡的人類自由。這些救世主支持者,一定快要加入「機械走狗」的行列了;救世主掌權之後不久,竟然有人響應,說這是拯救地球的偉大計劃,甚至為虎作倀,到科技落後的地方替救世主執行任務。一開始這些走狗是那些嬉皮、環保瘋、和容易被鼓動的大學生,但是各國政府和財團發覺救世主勢不可擋以後,也紛紛靠攏。

甚至連宗教人士也開始提倡:人們應該以從前相信上帝的態度相信救世主,因為它其實跟上帝並無兩樣,甚至比眼睜睜地看人類自相殘殺、破壞地球的上帝友善;上帝不管人類死活,但救世主卻為了造福人類而存在。

※

我受不了了。亞洲、非洲、南美洲應該還有很多不受機械控制的人,因為貧乏的資源不可能製造出足夠的機器;所以他們應該是自由的。我要逃離這裡,去找尋自由的國度。說「應該」是因為我們和這些地方的聯繫已經被切斷,不知道是救世主阻撓還是對方刻意隔絕科技滲透,所以沒人知道他們的現狀。總之,我必須一試。

計畫很簡單,從溫哥華飛到聖地亞哥,再想辦法避開救世主穿過邊界進入墨西哥。一趟不可能的旅途,因為目的地而成為必然可能:自由。

※

想不到在我還沒踏上旅途之前,美國政府在救世主的指令下,接納了一批墨西哥來的難民(救世主一定是計算出他們的故事對控制人類有正面影響才會讓他們進來的)。原來,墨西哥與新世界隔絕之後,物資很快就耗竭了。經過頑強抵抗,他們破壞了所有電腦儀器之後,人民因為飢荒、暴動、疾病等,減少了大半,已經進入了無政府狀態。倖存的難民就算當低等奴隸也願意開放國境,重新接納科技與秩序,以避免民族滅亡的危機。

原來,人類早在工業革命就已經放棄了自主的力量。

我突然領悟到:任由工業發展將地球推向死亡的我們,是沒資格談人權、談自由的。而機械救世主是人類在被大自然淘汰以前的懺悔、自責,也是我們的最後希望。

將可樂瓶壓扁,放進街角的回收桶裡,今生最後一罐。三年來我第一次開心地笑了。

Relay for Life – 全身而退 (updated)

從7pm到7am的耐力/體能/聲帶訓練, 活著回來了。

12小時錄掉2.8Gb的記憶體,100分鐘的影片,用掉2.5顆電池,回來睡到中午12點。

然後想要先濃縮成一個5分鐘的短片, 結果發現我整個五音不全啊!完全不想把影片貼出來,咱們當作沒這回事好不好?

是誰讓我做這種自毀形象的事情!?

老媽明明就有機會阻止我的自殘舉動,但是她竟然保持支持態度!直到今天早上她載我回家的時候,才說我是憨慇仔。

不過我看著龐大的親朋好友支持群,讓我募到了$850的捐款!可見有很多很多人要看我自high出糗~!!!

100分鐘濃縮成5分鐘的短片不是簡單小事,做了兩小時還沒做完。先上來報個平安。

UPDATE: the abridged edition of my Relay for Life mission.

How to find out How to make Facebook apps

In my shower today (if you don’t know me well enough to know that most of my creative juices run in the shower, well, they do), I suddenly realized I don’t know how to make Facebook apps, and if there is one thing that I wish I could do, it would be making Facebook apps.

So here is the How-to guide to finding enough good How-to guides that would lead me to making my own Facebook apps.

1. Google “how to make facebook apps

I thought about ending this tutorial there, which would be pretty humourous. But then I’m actually interested in the Facebook platform.

2. Poke around

and find out what schools like Stanford are doing with there staggering tuition money:

Virtual Marketing Blog

Only 100 students enrolled? There must only be 50 computer science major in Stanford. Them and 50 commerce kids.

3. Don’t forget to read the blogs

And you can find some dude’s blog about making Facebook apps. Too bad this guy already took the spotlight in the blogosphere; if this post of mine came just a year earlier, I could have been cashing in theoretical dollars.

Keebler/Blog

No matter, let’s see what Keebler has for us.

Basically, there are three main areas inside Facebook that your application can play with:

  1. Facebook Canvas pages which let you embed your content on a page inside Facebook accessible from the left-navigation
  2. A Profile Box which sits on your profile page and is visible by all your friends
  3. Your news feed which appears on your profile page, and is visible by your friends on their home page

You can build a Facebook Application using just Canvas pages without ever touching the API. All you need are basic HTML skills and a server. Using the API requires some programming knowledge and the handling (and storing) of a session key on your side.

And he goes on to talk about the components of Facebook that the app can play with. Cool, but what do I do first? Do I download something?

And his mentioning of me needing a server is pretty unnerving. What if I don’t have a server? No server = no Facebook app? Let’s keep looking.

4. Take a deep breath and look at the official developer’s site

And you’ll find assurance in the well-positioned “Get Started” page that it’s easy!

But then I remember that WordPress said installing it is easy too, famously easy, even, but just take a look at the domain of my blog right now and you’ll know that I’ve failed at installing WordPress on my machine.

From their description, it does seem superbly easy. It wants you to “just add the Developer Application to your Facebook account. Then download the client library of your choice, open your favorite development environment, and you’re ready to go.”

Let’s see where I’m ready to go.

5. Add the Developer Application

I’m not expecting this step at all. I thought I would be required to download some programming language like Ruby on Rails or PHP, or some proprietary programming environment.

I dunno what this does in terms of my privacy (I have a natural dislike for application invitations, and so far I’ve only installed Who Has the Biggest Brain cuz I wanted to beat my brother (but couldn’t), and Texas Hold’em cuz I wanted to beat my friends (which I did)), but it certainly conveys an undeserved friendliness, as if creating a Facebook app is as easy and fun as playing a hand of poker.

6. Download the client library of your choice

Oh, so here is the PHP that I was expecting. By “your choice” I think they meant PHP 5, because I don’t see an alternative here.

As a comp sci major, perhaps I shouldn’t be paranoid by the lack of an installer executable… but I am!

I’m thouroughly confused by the content in this zip, as I am always confused by those open source projects that don’t come with an installer.

So I ran back to the cozy Facebook page that pretends everything is handy-dandy.

Here’s the content of ReadMe:

Welcome to the Facebook Platform!

You can just grab the libraries out of the client/ directory and start building
your own application.  It will probably be instructive, though, to first get
our sample application up and running so you can see exactly how the library is
meant to be used.

We’ve created an application called Footprints that utilizes a lot of Platform
functionality while remaining fairly simple.  If you don’t want to set it all
up you can still check out the code and see it in action by going to
http://apps.facebook.com/footprints/.

To get Footprints running on your own server, you’ll want to first open up the
“footprints/config.php” file and modify it with your mysql database
configuration.  Also, create the necessary table in your database as described
in the same file.

Next, go to http://www.facebook.com/developers/apps.php, where you’ll
register for an application.  In the account creation page, set up your
callback URL such that it is the directory on your web server that corresponds
to the footprints/ directory of this package (if you loaded the callback URL
directly, it would display this package’s index.php).  In the same page, you
may also want to register for a framed page URL.  You can also set up some
default FBML – ours is set as follows:
<fb:if-is-own-profile><br />Hi <fb:name uid=”profileowner”
firstnameonly=”true” useyou=”false”/>!  This is the default FBML as specified
in Footprints’ account configuration page.  This will get replaced the first
time you get stepped on.</fb:if-is-own-profile>

Finally, copy the API key and secret key from the developers account page into
your config.php file.  Now go to http://apps.facebook.com/<your-frame-url>/
and you should have Footprints up and running on your server!

NOTE: If you only have PHP4, we’ve built a modified version of the client
library to work with that.  Use the files inside the php4client directory
instead of client.  You’ll need to download simplexml44 and extract it into the
php4client/ directory to get it to work – you can get it at:
http://downloads.sourceforge.net/ister4framework/simplexml44-0_4_4.tar.gz

7. Give up take a indefinitely long break because you don’t have a server.