Tokyo Trip and 787 Dreamliner Experience

I recently took a trip to Tokyo, and I want to share my experience of the trip, which hopefully can be of use to some people.

Google Map Directions

First, I will say that Google Map directions will get you to the vicinity of where you want to go without any problem. If you use the “by Public Transit” option, it will show you the correct routes to take and the correct station to get off.

However, there are two problems:

Continue reading

WinAntiVirus Attack

A couple of nights ago, my computer got afflicted with the WinAntiVirus malware.

It started out innocently enough: I was using Windows Media Center to watch TV, and I had IE open pointing to a portal site. As the TV program was about to end, I heard a couple of beeps. I didn’t think much of it at the time (actually by that time it was probably already too late). After the program ended, I closed Windows Media Center, and started noticing that the computer was really busy. A couple of minutes after that, I start seeing the following:

  • Popup windows, popup windows, and more popup windows.
  • A program called WinAntiVirus asking to see if it can install itself.
  • The computer remained extremely busy.

At this time, it was obvious that I got hit by the WinAntiVirus malware (isn’t it annoying that it disguises itself as a anti-virus software?) My first job was to figure out what I can do to get rid of it. So, I went to the search engine and found a couple of sites, all of them recommending elaborate steps for removing this trouble maker.

“There must be an easier way!” I thought… I am always leery about downloading more software and going into the registry, and then I remembered Windows XP has this System Restore function that would restore the system configuration to a previous time. So, I tried this route. Lo and behold, it worked!

In addition to that, I went into the Temp folder and got rid of all the files that were created after the system first became unstable. Hopefully these steps have saved my computer from this dreaded malware.

One thing that makes me wonder is how the malware got into my computer in the first place. I was not viewing any dubious web pages, and I haven’t opened any strange email attachments. Obviously figuring out what had happened is important because I want to be able to plug that hole so that this doesn’t happen in the future. A search on the internet, however, didn’t reveal anything. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please let me know!

Possible Phone Scam

Within this past week, I have received two phone calls that appear to be a scam. The characteristics of the calls are:

  • Automated message. The voice can be either male or female.
  • The message is very vague in terms of who the caller is and what the call is about.
  • The message asks you to call back an 800 number.

These calls appear to be scams. If you receive this type of call, do not call back. You have no idea what the other person on the other end is after.

Adsense testing with PHP

One advice people always give for webmasters in the Google Adsense program is to test ad placement, color scheme, etc. A common test is the A/B test. There are several articles talking about how to set up such a test using either Javascript or PHP, and they invariably involve the use of a random number generator to determine whether a visitor would fall under the control group or the test group. Even Google’s official Adsense blog talks about it.

Continue reading

Japanese Web Page Not Rendering in IE6

I had been working on some web pages in Japanese, and found some of the pages showed up blank in IE6. This was quite strange for a couple of reasons:

1. The same pages rendered ok in Firefox, Opera, and even IE7.

2. When I do a “view source”, I can see the full HTML code. So, IE6 can see the code, but it just refuses to render it at all.

I searched the internet to see if someone else has posted about this before, but to my chagrin, the answer was no (at least not in English). So, I decided to examine the page one element at a time. Eventually, I was able to narrow it down to the <title> tag:� When the title tag contained only single-byte characters, the page rendered ok; but if I add Japanese characters to the title, the page wouldn’t render.

As it turned out, the way to fix this is to leave a space between the last Japanese character and the closing title tag. It was surprising because I worked with other double-byte languages before, and had never seen this requirement. This was probably due to some Japanese-specific IE6 bug that got fixed in IE7.

Suggestions for Youtube Search

Youtube has grown tremendously in popularity, both in English-speaking countries as well as non-English-speaking countries. This is pretty amazing given that its interface is in English only. The site is pretty easy to navigate, and it has an amazing amount of content. Youtube’s search function, however, can use a bit of help. I have 3 suggestions:

1) Make sure the index and the actual content match up. It’s very frustrating to click on a video from the search result, only to find out that the video has been removed. If the video has been removed, don’t make it available as a search result.

2) In the search box, allow the user to specify how to sort. Right now, the default sort is relevance. This doesn’t work well for me, as I am always looking for the latest videos for certain keywords. As a result, I always need to go through one additional click to get the results I want.

3) Better yet, since I stay logged in to Youtube, they can ask for my default sort order and apply it whenever I do a search. To take it a step further, it would be great if they perform the search for me and display the newest videos that I want whenever I go to