• Free Airport Wi-Fi? ---- Don't Count on It in Europe (Update on 08/25/2013)

    Posted on: Fri, 10/26/2012 - 19:28 By: yunyao

    I was traveling in Europe last week. While I enjoyed the history, culture and food very much, I was not a big fan of the airports. Like many people, I would like to stay connected most of the time, at least be able to access my emails and the Web from time to time (say every 2-3 hours). Unfortunately, passing through the following three airports in Europe is almost like returning back to stone age, in  terms of connectivities.

  • High Resolution Image for Pdflatex

    Posted on: Thu, 08/09/2012 - 21:31 By: yunyao

    While preparing the camera-ready version for our CIKM demo, my colleagues and I found that the screenshot included in our paper appeared to be fairly blurry in the pdf version, even though the original .jpg file looks fine.

    I searched online to try to find the solutions. After a few trials and errors, adding the following two lines into the beginning of the latex files (before \begin{document}) did the trick.


    \divide\pdfpxdimen by 300

  • Screen Saver Option Disabled on Windows 7/XP

    Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2012 - 18:07 By: yunyao

    For unknown reason, my machines would suddenly disable their screen saver options (e.g. with the "on resume, display log on screen" check box grayed out). Whenever this happens, it would trigger the security alert and I will get a warning from the IT department to fix the issue.

    I am tired of having to hunting down the answer every time and therefore I am recording it here.

    The following method is what usually works for me.

    1. Go to "Start" type in "regedit"

    2. Go to

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Control Panel\Desktop]

    Delete the "ScreenSaverIsSecure" value.

  • Machine Learning That Matters

    Posted on: Thu, 07/26/2012 - 22:20 By: yunyao

    I happen to come across this excellent article from this year's ICML on Machine Learning that Matters. I encourage everyone, especially computer science Ph.D students, to read it.

    As an industrial researcher who draws a lot of job satisfaction by making both scientific and practical impact, I completely agree with the author on that we need to work on research "that matters",  not just for machine learning. Many of the challenges outlined by the author are applicable to many other areas in computer science as well. 

  • Baby Cloth Shoe - First Attempt

    Posted on: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 01:50 By: yunyao

    As a busy computer scientist, I don't really get to exercise my inner Martha too much. But I did somehow manage to make my first ever attempt on sewing projects --- baby cloth shoes (as gift for my niece).

    Here is the result --- I added the handmade pompom for extra cuteness. :)

    baby cloth shoe

    baby cloth shoe

    The detailed steps can be found from the following link


  • Cat Photography with iPhone 4s

    Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2012 - 02:19 By: yunyao

    It has been a while since Yunyao got her iPhone 4s, which is known for its "superb" camera --- "8MP camera with all-new optics also shoots 1080p HD video". 8MP on a cell phone sounds really impressive, does it? Maybe she finally can leave her big heavy Pentax for a while?

    So she tested its performance with her favoriate model: Mayori.

    First, let's test it under natural light setting:

    "What's up?"


    "I am sad ..."

    "I am really really sad"

  • Review for Canine Cat Scratcher

    Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2012 - 06:18 By: yunyao

    Updated on 09/10/2013: It's now only 295 USD, with 100 USD discount!


    As a cat and modern design lover, I am always looking for cat items pleasant for both the cats and my aesthetic standard. I had my eye on the canine scratcher for a while, but its over 1000 USD price tag made it out of reach. However, recently, I found that it now costs "only" 395 USD. I pulled the trigger w/o too much hestitation since I need to buy the cats a holiday present anyway. However, I was still a little nervious at the purchase, as it would be a huge bummer if the cats don't like it. But I really love the design and can totally see how it fit with the rest of the house w/o screaming "cat furniture".

  • Best Chocolate Places in Manhattan

    Posted on: Sun, 11/13/2011 - 21:02 By: yunyao

    I recently stayed in Manhattan for a few days during a business trip. My colleague and I were looking for places to buy some special chocolate to bring back home. We asked a few locals New Yorker as well as consulted the web for recommendations. Here are the list of stores we collected.

    We only have 3 hours to spend in the city. So we went to La Maison Du Chocola store in the Rockefelle Center, the store closest to our hotel.

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