Yunyao's blog

Review for "Virtual Cat Toys HD Catnip Collection"

As many of friends, I recently acquired a HP Touchpad largely due to its low price. I don't really need a tablet, as I am sitting in front of computes almost all the time. My original plan was to turn it into an interactive cat toy, at least sometimes, so I can keep the two cats entertained while I am working.

Unfortunately, I could only find one game designed for the cats "The Catnip Collection". According to its website, it "is a variety of toys that will amuse and challenge your cat and its human".

The reviews seem pretty decent (4 out 5).

https://developer.palm.com/appredirect/?packageid=com.wtflolomgbbq.haxe.vct

Planning a Dream Trip to Italy the Easy Way

Huahai and I have just returned from our first trip together to Italy. The trip itself was wonderful and unforgeable. However, it usually took a lot of planning for such an extensive trip, unless you hire someone else to do it for you or join a tour group.

We usually enjoy traveling at our own pace and explore the area; therefore, we (basically myself) always do our own travel planning. Unfortunately, as a very busy professional, I do not really have much time to do the planning. (Can you believe someone have actually spent half a year to plan a two-week's trip to Italy and produce a travel plan with 90 pages?)

Best CSV Reader/Writer?

My colleague has highly recommended to me the following CSV reader/writer: http://supercsv.sourceforge.net/

I am yet to test it out, so I will need to come back provide my review. But just put a pointer here, since this tool is not realy easy to find without the right keywords.

Quick Fix: Windows XP Crashes with Blue Screen with Video Content

For some reason, my main working machine, a Windows XP desktop, recently  started to crash a lot followed by the blue screen of death. The error message output at the blue screen does not seem to be helpful.

***STOP: 0x0000008E (0xE0000001, 0xBA490925, 0xA880D820, 0x00000000)
***watchdog.sys - Address BA490925, base at BA90000, Date stamp 480254ab

NetFlix Is Splitting Into Two!?

It has turned out that Netflix has abandoned the plan, finally.

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When Huahai told me the news late last night that NetFlix is splitting into two, my first reaction was that he must be reading from Onion! After all, based all what have learned from the business school classes and information economics classes, it makes perfect sense to provide bundled services, especially when it comes to information product.

However, the news is definitely true, as further confirmed by the following letter that I received this morning.

netflix letter

Easy Tuna Birthday Cake for the Cats

I was looking for buying birthday cakes for the cats' birthday. Surprisingly, although it is very easy to find dog bakeries, there seems no existence of a single cat bakery. Luckily, a single Google search online brought up many birthday cake recipes for the cats. I picked one simple recipe with my cats' favorite food --- tuna.

So here is the tuna birthday cake for the cats, decorated with shrimp with catnip garnish.

tuna cake

It looks very nice, but most importantly, it was an instant hit. The cats jumped on to the dinning table as soon as I put the cakes on it.

Resources to Get Rid of Lawn the Frugal Way (Phrase I)

We are getting rid of our front lawn --- to save water and money!

A landscape designer helped us did the design to convert our front yard from an old deteriorating classic English garden into a vibrant modern garden full of native plants.

Given our shoe-string budget, we plan to do most of the work ourselves. However, since both of us work full time, it will be a while before we can actually start the project, but being a person who loves to plan,  I have started collecting resources to do the project frugal way already!

Before and After --- Master Bathroom Remodeling

The old master bathroom is dark and ugly, with only one sink and w/o tub.

                 master bathroom (before) master bathroom (before)

Gift Buying Guide for Your Family and Friends in China

China is a fast-changing country. Not surprisingly, the list of popular gifts for Chinese family, relatives and friends keeps on changing as well.  When I return to China, I always do some extensive research to gather an updated shopping list of gifts to buy. Here is a summary based on various gift-giving guides and online forum postings for my recent trip to China.

1. Parents/Elderly Relatives

* Vitamin Supplements

* Wisconsin Ginseng

Health-related gifts have been always appreciated in China. Even though the same product may be available in China, items bought oversea are considered as of higher quality.

2. Women

* Skin Care/Cosmetics

Most Western brands sold in department store such as Clinique, Estee Lauder and Lancome are very much adored by Chinese women. However, if you happen to get any free gift with purchase, don't gift that alone. Many people know that you get it for free, so it would be very insulting if you just give the free gift as a gift.

* Jewelry

3 Time-Saving Tools for Busy Professionals

As a busy professional, I am consistently looking for ways to save time. Below are 3 time-saving tools that I have found most useful.

1. Chore Buster

With two busy professionals in the same household, dividing chores around the house can be tricky. Dividing chores in a fixed way is one solution. But one can quickly get bored of doing the same thing everyday.

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