Google Cloud Platform

It’s been three years since my last post on this blog. While I have been busy – studying for another degree – but still applying what I’ve learned from the teaching in the “Diamond Cutter” book by Michael Roach. During the time, my partner left me but my relationship with my son has improved. He is now back in the university to study for his first degree in International Business.  The thing is he now becomes more aware for what he needs in life in order to be successful and independent, or at least to move towards that direction.

After I finished my last degree, in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, I thought I was too tired to get onto another studying program.  So I decided to take a break from studying and devote most of my time in developing my businesses.  But then again, one can never really not learn new things as days go by.  So I went back to enrol for a Spanish course to just have fun.

Well, as it happens, it would not be enough for my reconstituted brain activities so I start look to find any Apps to help me streamline my corporate management solutions business.  I could not find one that would be of significant usefulness for my liking.  So I thought about developing an application on my own.

I have studied computer programming in my college days, and thought about doing a double major in Computer Science then, but running short of funds and missing my family I had to finish my study and graduate.  So I returned home to find myself highly in demand for the overseas education my parents have provided me and embarked on a 30 years journey down the financial industry avenue.

To cut the long story short, I was not tech-engaged for over 30 years, and since my last activities on a terminal a lot has changed.  So in order to launch my tech application I have to learn about new things that has been developed since my basic skills learned from 30 years ago.

This is going to be a blog to the journey down the road of my experience in the journey of new tech adventure for me.

Look to learn new things, it will take time. But as I find out it’s not that difficult, as it seems everything is available online.  No, they are not all for free!  I started buying several books online from the Amazon.  In the Kindle version, as I didn’t want to wait for the  shipping delivery from the post, which will have taken several weeks and time is a scarce commodity for an old geek.

The Kindle ebooks were essential for my to catch up on the most recent trend in computing and web hosting.  The latest thinking in cloud computing, in OS language and in search engine.  After watching about a dozen Youtube videos about installing virtual machine and Linux OS in the VM, I started to contemplate whether to subscribe to a VPS hosting provider or go into a cloud platform.

Now I didn’t know what providers are there who offer the cloud platform and how it works.  It all seemed very difficult to access for my.  I have spent the better part of the last two weeks reading up about this and surfing their provider websites to get an idea of which ones should I choose.

Then in the last two days, I just came upon the Google Cloud Platform and after watch a collection of videos on Youtube (including the Thought Sumo and Red Guerrilla and others too numerous to name) to find that the GCP is so easy to use.  Plus the GCP also give the new use 60 days of free trial and $300 of free credit to try their service.  Of course the pricing for the follow on use is also very competitive vs other providers like Amazon and Azure, so it a no-brainer for me.

The sign-up took about 2 minutes for my Virtual Assistant and of course I have to have my credit card ready to identify that there is a real person behind the virtual world.   And “Bang!” I am launch to the real world of a new tech business.

This is my journey down the tech start-up cloud space, and you are welcome to follow my journey.



Farrow Fare for Chinese Tourists in Macau

The lobby of Grand Lisboa is fast becoming the farrow fare of Macau for the Chinese tourists from mainland.

There isn’t a minute that you can not see any Chinese tourists snaping pictures in front of the scores of art and craft displays in the lobby. “You will have to come back after 2 am if you want to chance a clear lobby,” said Eugenia Ip, PR Manager of Grand Lisboa.

The Chinese tourists visiting the Grand Lisboa did not stand still as they would in the other hotels dotted around the gambling capital of China. They move from one dsiplay to another taking pictures of themselves with the many art objects.

I guess this is the real spirit of being a tourist. It shows that I was really there!

I would venture to say that Dr Ho have proved that he is the king of marketing, once again. By drawing so many Chinese tourists to come and snap their pictures and taking them back to show their cousins back in the villages. This is probably the best virual marketing exercise besides the virtual world.

If you want to see the spectacle of snappy Chinese tourists, you know where to go.


It was the whole week I have been trying to build a local environment for my mobile office, i.e. my laptop. I have referenced several books and looked in the Central Library and Kowloon Library.

Firstly, I followed the directions from Blog Design Solutions by Andy Budd et al. With the book in hand, it took me about an hour to install the Apache2 on my hard disk.

It seemed to be working as the green light was on, so I proceed to intall the PHP following the same direction. It didn’t take too long, only about another 10 minutes.

Then, I need to change the conf and ini files in order to make Apache working with PHP. This is where I was stuck. Dispite many trials it just did not seem to work.

Frustrated, I gave up trying after 4 hours and went to the Central Library in search for a better solution. Which is where I find Beginning PHP 5.3 by Matt Doyle.

I have not heard of WAMP, MAMP and LAMP (respectively the Windows, Mac and Linux version of integrated server set up with Apache, MySQL and PHP) until I read the first few pages of his book. Holy mackeral! You mean I have spent 6 hours today trying to set up my localhost in no avail and there is a one-stop-shop for that?

Armed with the book I went home. First of all, because I was to busywith setting up the server I didn’t even have lunch. So food for the soul is not as important as food for the body. After dinner, I sat down to follow the procedures on the book.

WAMP Bam! Within ten minutes, the WAMP Server on my Windows7 is up.

Thank you, Matt Doyle. Now I now what it means by ‘from here to eternity.’ It’s only ten minutes away if you find the right source.


Cactus Flowers Opens at Night

This gallery contains 1 photos.

I was surprised the first time I see this beautiful flower. It only opens at night and then its closes in the morning and dies.



“The Changing Palates of Chinese Connoisseurs”

After many century of baijiu toasting by the poets and revelers, drinking ritual in China has endowed with a new and indispensable role in social networking, according to Lin Jifu, professor of folklore at the Minzu University of China.
In the past, baijiu was the main alcohol served when Chinese are having celebrations, whether in the restaurants or at home. However, baiju is really a drink to go with food and drinking it alone would quickly intoxicate you. So, more and more, the younger consumers are switching to grape wines because it is viewed as sophisticated and healthy.
Nowadays, wine drinking can mean different thing for different people. For the nouveau riche, drinking and collecting wine is becoming the item of display, showing off their rising social status.
Wine bars proliferates in Shanghai where young professionals congregates after work to enjoy a bottle of the celebrated vintage. “There is a growing market for wine drinking in China in all dimensions and the trend of sophisticated consumption is part of it,” said Dominique Heriard-Dubreuil, chairwoman of Vinexpo Overseas.
Even in the countryside, “the symbol of good luck and happiness in the Chinese culture” has propelled red wine to be the preferred drink to be served in wedding banquets, said Wu Jianhua, head of the Shanghai Drinks Association.
To capture shares of the lucrative Chinese market, winemaker in Chateau Laffite Rothschild ships its 2008 vintage in bottles etched with an auspicious number “eight” in red, designed by Chinese artist Xu Lei.
Symbolism aside, red wine is also considered good for general health with many Chinese women wine drinkers talking about the benefit to their skin. A Vinexpo survey showed that 72 percent of Chinese women wine drinkers believed wine drinking is elegant and reflection of a healthy lifestyle.
Chinese wine drinkers do not generally like the acidity and tannins in red wine, preferring the lighter, less tannins, and fresher taste of white wine. In order to master the Chinese palate, some winemakers begin producing red wine with reduced level of tannins and acidity.
With 85 percent of wine and spirits consumed over a meal, according to Wu, how would the ascending connoisseurs choose between the wine and their favorite Chinese cuisine?
The spicy food from Sichuen will over power the delicate flavor of oak and tannins in red wine. “Don’t abuse” the spicy dish with a red, wrote Ch’ng Poh Tiong in his book “108 Great Chinese Dishes Paired”, instead “charm it with a medium-sweet white.” In general a lighter wine with less tannins would be more suitable to hot and spicy food. So try a bottle of “Demi-Sec Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.” They may work well with the sugar and spice in these dishes. However, if your heart is set on a red, Ch’ng suggests “a soft Shiraz, Zinfandel or Pinotage,” which can bring out its fruitiness to counter the heat.
Fastest Growing Consumer Trend
China is already the number one consumer of wine in Asia, imbibing over 899 million bottles in 2008 and is set to reach 1.26 billion bottles by 2013, predicted IWSR (International Wine and Spirit Research). However, in global standard it is still in its infancy with a per capital consumption of only 0.4 liters a year comparing with 50 liters for French, 25 liters for Australian and 15 liters for the Americans, according to AT Kearney the market research company. In 2010, CITADE (China International Alcoholic Drinks Industry Exhibition) had predicted that wine consumption would rise in dramatic speed in the next few years.
The State-owned China Resources expected red wine consumption would grow by 20 percent in the next five years. To Satisfy the growing thirst of Chinese connoisseurs the winemakers in China are looking to invest in more growing regions inside and outside of China.
The Hong Kong listed Dynasty Fine Wine is looking at vineyard acquisitions in France and Australia. The lack of suitable wine growing regions in China as well as different harvesting seasons has prompted the company to seek acquisitions abroad.
Hong Kong as a Wine Trading Hub
After Hong Kong’s return to China, the former colony became the gateway to selling grape wine to China. Although most of the wine consumed in China remains domestic the growth of import has been remarkable, growing more than 390 percent between 2005 and 2009.
Robert Cooper of the Enoteca Group of restaurants believes that Hong Kong is the big driving force for the wine culture in China.
Already, big auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby have established Hong Kong as the bastion for their fine wine auctions in Asia. With more than $15 million worth of French wine going under the hammer in 2010 Hong Kong has overtaken New York and London as the number one center for fine wine. The decision by the Hong Kong government to abolish the wine tax in 2008 has been a major driving force attracting buyers and sellers.
However, the atmosphere of the new market is decidedly different from the Europe and U.S. David Elswood of Christie’s said the attitude of the Chinese buyers are “I bought them, I drank them, I want some more”.