Circle of Brains

I am sure almost everyone knows the term “The Rich Get Richer”.


What about “The Smart Get Smarter”? Not a very common term is it?


I have come to realize that smart people normally are surrounded by a group of other smart people. Take for example the world of Macromedia, also known as Adobe now. The industry experts normally know others that are also experts, and they constantly exchange information among one another.


There are a couple of times where I sent emails to some of the experts out there, and got no response. People might be busy, but I feel that being an unknown might also take a big part in me not getting any response.


So in an attempt to get into that “Circle of Brains”, Aaron Smith, my office mate, and I have been geeking out a lot lately. Check out Aaron’s blog for cool stuff.


BTW, Aaron was born from the ashes of metal.


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Using FlashVars in Flex 2

Jumping from Flash to Flex for the first time can be quite confusing.


A big part of it is the structure difference between Flash and Flex, as such, even stuff like using FlashVars that Flash Developer use on a daily basis can be quite a challenge when using Flex.


Here, I am going to share a very basic code of how to use FlashVars in Flex.


I hope somebody will find it useful.


Click here to download.


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Speech Recognition

Last night I finally got the time to play around with speech recognition, and would like to share my experience here.


Speech recognition, as you know, is not something new. While it is used a lot to build phone based application - the sometimes annoying robotic phone operator -, there are not so much web based or desktop based applications.


From my personal point of view, there are two major issues that might play a big part in why speech recognition is not so popular for web based, or desktop application.


Reason 1: Reliability

Speech recognition engine only understand words if you say it in a certain way or in a certain pace. You say it too fast, it might not understand you. You talk with an accent, it might not understand you. Note: I was actually almost screaming last night trying to get the program I wrote, before it finally understand me. (You can actually teach the machine to recognize more voices)


Reason 2: Customer base

Most computers these days have a mouse and keyboard. Microphone, however, might not be as common.


In spite of the shortcomings, however, I still find it very cool and has lots of potential to do great stuff. I am sure future advancement in the field will only help it further. One of the advancement that I noticed the most is in the way the engine sounds now. In the past, they sound totally like a robot, and now it actually sound more like a person. is an example of a site that utilizes speech recognition technology.

Windows Vista will actually implement speech recognition to allow user to do certain task by saying it, which I am sure will help boost the field.


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I have not been writing for a while because I have been screwed with projects.


However, somebody pointed me to The FWA website last week, and one of the projects where I spent most of my time doing was in it.

Here is a snapshot of the site with the project I was involved in, circled in red.


The FWA Jetta Configurator Snapshot


It is such a great feeling that people actually like the project.


Many shell scripts, JSFL, Photoshop scripts, and other automation techniques later, it is still by far the most time consuming project I have ever been involved in.


Kudos to everyone involved.


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“Unafraid A Thousand See, Afraid One Knows”

Sometime last week, I read this interesting biographies about famous hackers, which remind me of a Chinese idiom that my teacher taught me many years ago.
The idiom reads like this, “Bu Pa Qian Ren Kan, Zhi Pa Yi Ren Zhi”, which means “Unafraid A Thousand See, Afraid One Knows”.


The idiom is true not only in everyday life, but also in the computer world, in that when somebody knows a weakness on a program or system, you should be afraid because he/she can manipulate it in ways that are sometimes unimaginable.


I guess the moral of the story is, “security is not something to be overlooked or taken for granted.”


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