Category Archives: Taiwan

Review of the 1st Generation Apple TV

I just got my Apple TV, and after spending some time with it, I found it is an anti-climatic gift, but will offer long term enjoyment.  I know many people recommend hacking the Apple TV to have many other functions, but I opted for the smaller model since I already have a Mac Mini set up in the bedroom with a Drobo to store all of my music, movies and TV shows.

Setup unfortunately was not as easy as it is with most Apple devices.I found that there is a incompatibility with iTunes 8.1.1 where the Apple TV will only show up if i turn off iTunes sharing.  Additionally I am having problems connecting the Apple TV to my Airport Extreme 802.11n router, and had to instead connect it to my slower Airport Express router.

Although the Airport Express is much slower, I found that all my shows and photos finished syncing by the next morning.  This is great, and the Apple TV will stay in constant contact with iTunes to sync the latest shows and movies I download.  Should you get one?  This depends on your budget.  For most people, I would actually recommend the Mac Mini over the Apple TV, since you can connect external storage to the Mini without hacking the device.  The Apple TV is really for people who already have a PC / Mac that they use to download movies and music on to and they are looking to extend the connection to the TV.  It not the perfect solution for everyone, but it  turned out to fill a need for me.


Lets Play with Bricksmith!

Years ago I had a service station Lego set that I just loved. This, allong with a whole Lego town was accidentally destroyed one night when I was very sick and had to run to the bathroom (running though the town like Godzilla).  It would have been impossible to re-build since I had none of the instrunction manuals and the internet wasn’t arround.

I still look back fondly at this one set in particular and decided it was time for me to re-build it – but this time in BrickSmith.  This was my result –  I am very happy with it and I never have to worry about losing the pieces again.

Lentil Soup

Tonight we made a lentil soup that I improvised on. Below is the recipe.

Lentil Soup

  • 1 1/2 c. lentils
  • 4 cans (8 cups) chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb bacon (6-8 strips)
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 T. chicken seasoning
  • Pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon at the bottom of a large stock pot until crisp. Remove the bacon, placing it on a paper towel and save the drippings in a heat resistant container. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, pepper, chicken seasoning and 3 tablespoons of bacon drippings and cook until the celery and onions are wilted. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and lentils. Simmer for 45 minutes until the lentils are tender.

When done, remove 1/3 – 1/2 and puree in a food processor / blender until smooth and add back to add a creamy texture to the soup. Crumble the bacon on top, stir and serve.

New bunny

So Steven and I went to the pet store to get a new bunny. She/he doesn’t have a name yet, but it is very curious and playful.

Strange “tip” from

My blog is currently hosted on  One of the nice features is that they offer you occasional tips on how you can improve your service.  I however received a cryptic message from them today.

WordPress tip: You have uploaded 16,777,216 TB of files, exceeding your quota by 16,777,216 TB. Consider deleting some files to free up more space, or purchasing a space upgrade so you can upload more.

I didn’t know that I have been such a prolific writer!

Want a little “Liquid Brown”

This past week Steven went to the emergency room twice and a lung specialist once. Unfortunately the two times he went to the emergency room the doctors said “oh you just have a cold” when it turns out that the lung specialist saw pneumonia on the very same lung x-rays. Coincidentally, the very same emergency room staff said I had an enlarged heart when all I had was bronchitis.

When Steven got home and showed me his medicine, I started laughing. I suggested he gets something with codine to help his cough, however they also have cough medicine with opium (the source of codine) in Taiwan. I looked at the brand name of the medicine and get this – it is called “Liquid Brown Mixture (with Opium)”. He asked me why I was laughing, and I said “The name – it is so funny” but he protested because he said it was an accurate name.

You need to remember that this is the same logic that was applied to our pet bunny when he chose the name Brownie – she is brown indeed.

Fire seen from the 19th floor of my office

After I got into work and began checking email, I began to hear a lot of fire engines outside. I got up to the window and saw that a home across the street was ablaze and went back to my desk to grab my camera.

It was amazing how fast the building became an inferno and how ineffective the fire department was at putting the fire out.  Overall most buildings in Taipei are made of concrete, so this is not an ordinary occurrence because this was obviously a wooden structure.