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Diary, July 2010

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Perelman rejects price

Today, it was announced by the Clay Mathematics Institute that Grigori Perelman informed them that he has decided not to accept the one milion dollar price. Other sources (for example on Yahoo) mention that Perelman declared: "To put it short, the main reason is my disagreement with the organized mathematical community. I don't like their decisions, I consider them unjust." He also stated that his contribution to solving the Poncairé Conjecture is no greater than that of Richard Hamilton.

Friday, July 2, 2010

40,000 security cameras

In the past days, we had some trouble with contacting my family-in-law in Urumqi, but this morning, it worked without problems. Since the riots last summer, communication (telephone and internet) where blocked for a long time. But in the past months it worked. Maybe that there was a temporary block now that the day approaches that the biggest riots occured a year ago. Today, I read that the Chinese government has installed about 40,000 high-definition surveillance cameras in the city. The news item also states that people from outside the city must get a temporary residence card. I wonder whether that also applies to us, when we travel there this summer. I have made some inquiries.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Creating DVD's

This weekend, I set myself the goal to create some DVD's from our home movies to bring with us on our trip to China. So far, I have not been very succesfull. One problem is that some weeks ago we discovered that the power supply of our Acer AL1913 TFT monitor is broken. I tried to find a replacement power supply, but they are hard to find, because the use a non-standard plug, and they cost around sixty Euro. This resulted in switching our Samsung SyncMaster 223BW between lixia and johan computers many times.

It did not take mucht time to locate the firewire cable to connect our Sony Handicam DV video camere. But then I discovered that johan does not have a firewire connector. Then I had to move some files from lixia to johan to make room to record the new files. Moving the files, and verifying that they did not contain any mistakes, took a long time. Recording the tapes on the hard disk using Pinnacle Studio 9.4, went rather smooth and took about three hours time. I also spend some time searching for one of the tapes, but in the end I had recorded the contents of four tapes (one with only about 10 minutes of video) on the hard disk of lixia.

This morning, I started creating the first VCD (Video-CD), which took about two ours, only to discover that I had forgotten that the the DVD-writer had broken down some years ago. (The reason, I want to create a VCD disk, is because in 2006 this was still the default video format used in China. Most VCD player could also read DVD disk, but only if they are encoded with a rather low and constant bitrate. I do not now whether my family-in-law already have a real DVD player.) I decided to move the AVI files from lixia to johan (but did not verify the result), and try to create the DVD's on that machine. First, I wanted to use Windows Movie Maker only to discover that it cannot create DVD's. I downloaded some freeware program, including DVD Flick. I tried to create a Video-CD. For this, I first used Studio 9 on lixia to create an AVI file of about 50 minutes, which should fit. But DVD Flick told me that it was too big and did not fit on the disk. I was surprised about this, because Studio 9 said that it could put 70 minutes on a single VCD disk. I discovered that the reason for this is that VCD disk use a bitrate of 1150 Kb/s and the lowest (standard) rate that DVD Flick will encode is 2 Mb/s. DVD Flick has an option to use lower bitrates, but I was not sure whether it would generate a 'pure' VCD disk, or just a DVD disk on a 700 Mbyte CD-ROM disk. I had already spend some time searching for the original Studio 9 installation DVD's but could not find them. Then I remembered where they could be, and I indeed found the two paper covers, but in the one that sould have had the setup, contained a disk with the handwritten text "Part. Logic". I searched the internet and found this download of a Studio 9.3 trial version, hoping that it would work with the license key mentioned on of the paper cover. Meanwhile, I was using DVD Flick to create a true DVD, only to discover after about two hours, that I had not marked the burn option, and that nothing was burned on the disk. I could not find a way to let DVD Flick burn a DVD from the image that it had created. So, I simply started it again, and then installed Studio 9, which requires a reboot for completion. Earlier this evening, I already took the 52x52x24 CD-writer from the ester and installed it as a second CD/DVD drive in lixia, in case I cannot use Studio 9 on johan. At the moment, I haven't tested it, because the monitor is currently attached to johan.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Last shopping

This evening, I went into the city for some last shopping before we leave to China. It won't be the very last shopping, because I still have to buy a new camera now that Annabel is bringing the Canon A530 with her. I looked at many shop for an orange shirt. Finally, I bought one at V&D. On the front is has a blue lion and the number 14, which at this moment is the number of Demy de Zeeuw. Just before nine o'clock, I went back to bookshop De Slegte and, at 20:58:06, I bought the book Plato and the Platypus Walked into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein for € 5.99. After I finish reading it, I will give it as a present to my nephew. And I will probably do the same with the shirt.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Picture of Go game

Today, I recieved the picture shown on the right. It gives the current state of a game of Go that I am currently playing with a colleague at work. We play about two or three moves per week. The board is standing in a conference room.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8

Today, Li-Xia and did our last shopping before our trip to China. Most of our time we spend at Media Markt because I could not make up my mind with respect to which camera I should buy. In the end, I decided for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8. At 15:20:46, I bought this camera for € 235,00 from Media Markt.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creating DVD's (part 2)

I thought that I have everything thought out well, but it turned out I was wrong. The trial version of Studio 9 needed some kind of activation to create DVD's, and although it stated that the activation was free, it somehow did not work. I am afraid it is simply no longer working. I tried moving the DVD writer from johan to lixia but in the process something went wrong, maybe when I activated the CD-burner I had taken from ester. In the end lixia would no longer start up anymore. During the start of Windows the computer would simply reset. After many hours of trying all kinds of options, I resorted to creating VCD's. The rest of the day, I spend organizing things for tomorrow when we leave for China.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Today, Li-Xia and I leave for China. In Düsseldorf we discover that we are not the only ones flying to Amsterdam as the start of a trip to Asia. Almost the whole plane, a Embraer EMB 145 from AirFrance/KML with the call sign PH-EZF is filled with people. (Picture.) I guess that if it where not so much cheaper to start you trip from Düsseldorf the plane would be less than half full. Just three minutes into the flight, around 18:46, I saw a rainbow from the window. When I took a picture, it was already getting faint.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Xinhua International City of Books

Yesterday evening, we arrived in Urumqi. This afternoon, at 18:37, I walked to Xinhua International City of Books and stayed there till almost eight o'clock. (In Urunqi they are using Beijing time, but because Urumqi is about two time zones to the West, you should substract two ours to get the solar time.) I walked through the whole shop. I get the feeling that the shop has become smaller. It seems that they closed down the top floor and that more floor space is used by shops that are not selling books. I came across some book about TRIZ, a method for innovation developed by some Russian scientists. When working at the university from 1994 till 1997, I shared the room with someone who is an expert in TRIZ. I did not find books about Go. I asked a lady for directions. She said they only had them in Chinese, and I told her that that was no problem. I had a look at them. I think I will buy some, because they are so cheap. I also asked the lady for some English books. They only had a few, mainly English literature from the nineteenth century. Before, I already had found some German and French books. I haven't found the mathematics section. They had a lot of computer science books.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Plato and a Platypus

This morning, I finished reading the book Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar... (Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes) (ISBN:9780810914933) by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. I started reading this book on July 8 when I bought it from bookshop De Slegte for € 5,99 as a present for my Chinese nephew Xuan-Xuan. I enjoyed reading the book very much and not in the first place because of all the jokes it contains, because of how the authors explain the various philisophical concepts. The book has a lot of humor (even the glossary is a joy to read), but the humor always serves the purpose of the book. In this regard, the book is much better than the book Pooh and the Philosopher, which I read last year.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Anaïs Nin

This morning, I finally finished reading Dagboek 1931-1934 (Diary 1931-1934) and Incest by Anaïs Nin, which are both based on her diaries. Incest is that later version that covers the second half of Dagboek 1931-1934. The first half is covered by Henry and June, which I finished reading on September 9 last year. I started reading Dagboek 1931-1934 on August 1, 2009, after I bought it from bookshop De Slegte the day before for just € 3. I started reading in Incest on October 7, 2009 after I bought it from someone through the internet for € 5, I believe. It took me so long to finish the books because I have been comparing them in detail and marking all the parts that they have in common. But I felt that at some point the two versions differ so much that they almost appear like different books. The image one gets from Incest is that Anaïs Nin was searching for peace and fullfilment but did not find it in the many relationships that she got involved to during this periode, maybe even the opposite.

Xinhua International City of Books

This afternoon I went to the bookshop for a second time, and stayed there from 17:25 till 19:08. At 17:59 I found some Dutch instructions on the back of the box of the "Red Storm" game. At 18:28 I found volumes two and three of "The Art of Computer Programming" by Donald E. Knuth for 109 Yuan each. It looks like that these editions are exactly the same as the American editions except for the covers which contain some Chinese texts. It would not surprise me if these are perfectly legal editions, as it seems that Knuth is not so much bothered by copyrights. I expect that the printing cost in China are just much lower. I also wrote down the titles of two Go books.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Xinhua International City of Books

Today, Li-Xia and I went to the bookshop. For her was it the first time this summer, for me already the third time. We stayed there from 15:50 till 17:12. I showed her around the shop. At first I could not find the "Red Storm" game, but later I did find it at a different place. I also showed her the "TRIZ" and the "Art of Programming" books. In they toy section we where being bugged by some servants. They have various Rubik cubes. I found a book with maps from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg (ISBN:9787503153129) for 20¥. And I bought the book "GuLi DuiJu Ji" (ISBN:9787807058533) with the Go games of Gu Li, a strong Chinese Go player for 66  Yuan. I bought these books at 17:00:13. When I wanted to pay with a 100¥ bill from 1990, it was refused. Luckily, I did have two 50¥ bills that were accepted.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Letter to Anaïs Nin

Early this afternoon, I finished reading Doe wat ge wilt; Brieven aan Anaïs Nin (Letter to Anaïs Nin) by Henry Miller, in which I started reading on November 27, 2009, after I bought it the day before from bookshop De Slegte for € 6,50. This is the Dutch translation by John Vandenbergh (who also added more notes) from the English edition made by Gunther Stuhlmann. I bought the book to relate it with the diaries of Anaïs Nin. From this it became clear that this book does not contain all the letter Henry Miller wrote to her. Also the use of "(...)" implies that Stuhlman left out some parts. One wonder which parts he left out. Only the first half of the book overlaps with the diaries I have read so far. I found the letters in the first half rather psychological and philosophical. The letter in the second half deal with the travels of Miller through Europe (just before the start of WWII) and through America (during and after WWII). I found these much more enjoyable to read than those in the first half of the book.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Horrible Tango

Today, I finish reading the novel Horrible Tango bij Jan Wolkers, in which I started reading on July 6 after I bought it from someone through the internet. I got the idea to read this book, after I read Jan Wolkers Dagboek 1967 (Jan Wolkers' diary of 1967). The novel is written in 1967 and based on events that happed during the summer. It is a rather chaotic book in which fantasy and reality flow into each other. In this novel, Wolkers links the events of that summer with events from his early teenage years. The story is not told in chronological order, and also the chronology of the story does not seem to match the chronology of the true events the story is based on. It seems as he has mixed everything a bit, but that does not make it less interesting. It is possible that some events that occur in the story. but are not not mentioned in the diary, did happen in reality. However, I think that some of the events are based on fantasy rather than reality. The parts of the novel that are portraited as fantasy are often rather bizar and gruwelsome. I think this is a typical Wolkers novel. Although I do not adhere to the life style of Wolkers, I still find the raw manner in which he descrbes his most intimate and primitive emotions and drives, quite interesting. I do not know why I am often drawn to artist that live such a different, often very hedonistic life style. Maybe it is because they seem to live in such an intense way.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Alan Libert

This morning, Li-Xia, Xiao-Zhong (her brother), and I went to the historical museum here in Urumqi. There I accidently met with Alan Libert from the University of Newcastle in Australia. He is a lingust studying, beside other things, Turkish languages. I always had thought that Uyghur and Turkish were like dialect of the same language, but he told me that he thought that they where further apart, and that speakers of both languages could probably not understand each other. He had visited the Netherlands, the universities at Groningen and Leiden. He also knew Afrikaans and thus understood Dutch a little. When we left, he said: "Totzien", which is Dutch for "see you". It was nice meeting him.

Monday, July 26, 2010


This evening, I finished reading the book Vita, the biography of Vita Sackville-West written by Victoria Glendinning. I read the first chapter on the night of February 10 of this year, when I could not fall asleep. Then I continued reading the book this holiday in China. I bought the book on Saturday, October 18, 2008, mainly because I needed a fourth book for a four for 10 Euro deal and because it was a biography. While reading the book, I discovered it was again a book about an artist, a writter, with an abnormal style. Although she was happily married with her husband and they clearly loved each other very deeply, they both had homosexual relationships with others, she more than her husband. Nevertheless, I found it an interesting book to read. The book is well written and reads with ease.

Monday, July 27, 2010

The Red Book

This afternoon, Li-Xia and I went to the Xinhua International City of Books. We arrive at 18:46 and looked around, but I was not really in the mood for buying books. Part three of Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming was sold, and I did not feel that part two was interesting enough. I did have a look at the Go books, but again, non of the books felt interesting enough to buy. At 19:52:29, I bought two Chinese Tin Tin albums printed by China Children's Press & Publication Group about the trip to the moon (ISBN:9787500794479 and 9787500794486) for 12¥ each, and also a Megaminx, regular dodecahedron 'Rubik' cube, made by China Qun Jia for 38¥. At 19:59:16, I bought a new edition of the famous Red Book with the statements of Mao (ISBN:9787010083117) for 30¥ just before we left the shop.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Three Go books

Around 11:54, Li-Xia and I made a walk in the neighbourhood, I also took some pictures of the Xinhua International City of Books. (One of the pictures.) Around 12:20 we went into the bookshop and looked around a little. Finally, I decided to buy three Go books, which cost 114¥ together. One of the books contains the games of a famous Chinese Go player (ISBN:9787807059905) and costed 66¥. The other two books contain Go exercises (ISBN:9787811001112 and 9787811001129) and costed 24¥ each. According to the ticket, I bought the books at 13:08:32. We left for home at 13:11.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Black Swan Green

Today, I finished reading Dertien (meaning thirteen), the Dutch translation of Black Swam Green by David Mitchell, which I started reading last Monday. I bought the book on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 14:04:23 as one of three books for five Euro from bookshop De Slegte. The book is about the thirteen year old Jason. The first part of the book I found a little hard to get throught, maybe also because some chapters end very abruptly, like some part of the story was accidently left out. But about half way, I really started to enjoy this book. I think at some place Jason is too smart for his age, while at other places being to naief. Every chapter is almost a story on its own. I felt that some chapters had a little too much coincidential events to be realistic. What I did like is that the book is set in 1982 and contains many references to events and items of that time, which brought back many sweet memories from my own youth. Everything together, I think this quite an enjoyable book to read.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Meta Maths

This morning, it was the first time that I went to bookshop De Slegte. First, I looked among the new books downstairs. Next, I went upstairs to look at the newly arrived second hand books. When I skimmed throught them, I came across Meta Maths: The Quest for Omega by Gregory Chaitin. At 11:44:03, I bought the book for € 9.95. In the afternoon, I started reading the book.

This months interesting links

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