Beyond the time and space


We are living in a world with 3-dimensional space: width, height, and length. A point is zero dimension; a line is one dimension with length property; a rectangle is two dimensions with width and height properties; a cube is 3D with width, height, and length properties.

So, how is the fourth dimension? Normally, we will use time for fourth dimension. Why?
Now, if there is a point, with coordinate (x,y). Since it is a point, there is no length, width, or height, thus it is zero dimension. If the point is moving according to axis-y gradually with constant speed, and we record the point with time (t), then we plot the point into a graph, it will become a line as the right side of the image above. Therefore, zero dimension becomes one dimension.

Then, if there is a straight line, as the image above, and the straight line will move according to axis-y, and we record it with time (t), then we plot it again, we will produce a graph like the right side of the above image. Then, we can see that a line becomes a quadrilateral object which is 2D.

Next, if there is a 2D object, namely rectangle. We are using the same method as the above examples, record the position of the rectangle with time (t), then we try to plot it. As a result, we will produce something like the right side of the above image, which is something look like cube. From here, we can see that, the properties are width, height, and time. If we plot the time property into graph, it will just like the length property. That is why, the 2D becomes 3D by adding the time.

From all the examples above, we can find that, the time can be used as an additional dimension not only to the 3D world, but zero dimension, 1D, and 2D. Therefore, if we use a 3D object, and we record it, then we plot it into a graph, then we will produce a 4D object. However, since we are living in 3D world, we cannot understand how a 4D world look it, thus we cannot represent the 4D object visually.

However, if we really want to know how does it look like, we can try to use FFmpeg (software) to convert a movie into a sequence of image files. Then, we try to use an image browser to see the thumbnails of all the image files in one glance. Yes, this is how we can see everything in a glance despise the time.

Now, let us think about, how does the God, who is beyond the time and space, see each one of us?

Arch Linux Thunderbird export CSV encoding problem


I tried to synchronise my Thunderbird address book with GMail manually. So, I need to export the contacts  into CSV format. However, there is encoding problem after exporting to CSV, because my contacts contian Chinese characters. The text file has encoding error if viewed by Gedit. I tried to import it from GMail, these errors still exist.

To solve it, I use the command-line to run Thunderbird with:

env LANG=en_US.utf8 thunderbird

This solves the problem after I tried to export the contacts to CSV format again. Actually, the Arch Linux is already set the locale (in /etc/rc.conf) as en_US.UTF-8.

Arch Linux and network printer


Actually I never tried to use Linux to print anything before. This is because of the driver problem. It is difficult to get appropriate printer driver for Linux.

Today, I tried to use Arch Linux to install a network printer. The printer is Fuji Xerox Document Centre. Firstly, I installed all the printer packages for Arch Linux based on the wiki. Then, I tried to add the printer using gnome-control-center. However, I cannot add any printer with gnome-control-center, it is GNOME3. So, I tried to find the other solution from Internet to add printer.

From what I get, the other users normally use CUPS web interface (http://localhost:631) to manage the printers. Yes, I feel that it is the best way to manage the printers. However, I need to use root to manage the printer.

So, after (1) installing the printer driver packages, (2) starting CUPS daemon, then (3) using the web interface, I can get the network printer name when adding the printer. From there, I need to find the appropriate driver. To select Fuji Xerorx driver, I need to look for it from “xerox”, not from “fuji” something. But, in Fuji Xerox, I cannot find any driver name exactly same as the model, so I just simply choose “Xerox Document Centre 400 – CUPS+Gutenprint”. Then I test it by printing something.

Yes, it works.

A math problem 6/2(1+2)


Today, I read the newspaper, and found that there were a lot of people discussing this questions. You can read it from Yahoo! Answer. And there are a lot of people answering this expression equal to 9:

6/2(1+2) = 9

I really don’t understand the possibility of answering it as 9. Some of them said based on PEMDAS, it must be 9; also other said based on distributive property, it is 1.

My answer is 1, and it is impossible to be 9. If using variables for the value inside the parenthesis, then we will get

6/2(a+b)
= 6/(2a + 2b)
= 6/(2(1) + 2(2))
= 6/(2 + 4)
= 6/6
= 1

The above is the distributive property.

This is exactly same as 6/-1(3), which should read as 6/(-1(3)), but not (6/-1)(3).

From LXDE to Xfce on Arch Linux


The best feature I like about Arch Linux is that it can be freely customized. Previously, I was using LXDE on Arch Linux. Then I found some problem that when I want to change the desktop background mode, LXDE will be restarted immediately. This problem causes me fail to boot properly when I am upgrading the kernel. As a result, I need to downgrade the kernel to the previous one in order to boot properly.

Therefore, I tried to use Xfce, which is also a lightweight desktop environment. Unlike LXDE, Xfce does not has any display manager. So, I choose GDM, which is able to work with Xfce. Now, everything works fine. Good.

KOEI Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the real world


I like to play KOEI’s game, especially Romance of the Three Kingdoms (San Goku Shi). It is related to the real world management.

When playing the game, we need to first build a kingdom. Then, the player should found that, if the kingdom has only one character (officer), the kingdom can do nothing, because each character can do only one task (or limited tasks) for each month. Even the character has maximum status values: intelligence 100, war 100, politic 100, charisma 100, though the character is useful, the kingdom itself is useless. Thus, the player needs to recruit more officers to work for the kingdom.

For recruiting the officers, there is a problem. It is difficult to recruit good officer. Because some of the good officer is already work for other kingdom. Simply recruiting any officer also has a problem, especially there are some useless officers. Recruiting these useless officers does not help much in a small kingdom. This is because they cannot work for the kingdom, they cannot contribute anything. Yet, the kingdom need to pay for the officers every month.

To increase the income of a kingdom, the kingdom must have lands, then the officers need to develop the land for economic growth to earn money seasonally; or to develop the land for farming to increase the food supply for every year. Therefore, in order to make a kingdom strong, the kingdom must develop to get the income. Yet, the features of the land is also important, because some of the lands are not fertile. This is exactly same as the real world, that is why some of the country are rich of resources, yet the other not.

One of the feature of San Goku Shi I like is the compatibility value of each character. This is a hidden value, one can only see it with the character editor in Power-up Kit. The value range is from 0 to 149. When the two characters has the compatibility values which are close, they are easily to get together, and 0 is close to 149 as a cycle. So, Cao Cao is 25, Liu Bei is 75, and Sun Quan is 125. Their innate enemies are the value Yuan Shao (almost 100), Dong Zhuo (almost 0), and Liu Biao (almost 50). Therefore, a kingdom will always has a group of people which has similar compatibility value. This is exactly same as the real world, that is why people are normally divided into groups with the similar characteristic.

Therefore, a kingdom, not only needs the lands for the resource, good officers to work, and also the opportunities. They are important factors: 天(时)、地(利)、人(合).  With these factors, the player can build a strong kingdom.

我喜欢玩“光荣”的游戏,尤其是“三国志”。“三国志”和现世的管理系统是息息相关的。

游戏开始时,我们首先需要建立自己的势力。玩家必定发现,若新势力只有一位武将,那个势力几乎一无所能,因为每个武将每月只能做一件工作或有限的工作。纵然武将的各项能力全满,也对势力无济于事。因此,玩家必须录用更多的武将。

关于录用武将,也并非易事。因为优秀的武将,早已为其他势力效劳了。随便录用武将,尤其是那些一无是处的武将,对势力也没有贡献。因为这类的武将,办事不利,而且还要发薪资给这些武将。

要增加势力的收入,土地是必须的。玩家可利用武将来发展商业等等,提高每季的收入;或是发展农业,提高军粮的收入。因此,若要让势力变强,就必须增加势力的收入。并且,土地的发展度是必须的。因为有些地方非常难发展,尤其是那些小都市。人口不够,不能增兵,等等。这和现世是一样的,有些国家天然资源富裕,而一些落后。

“三国志”里,有一项特点是我非常喜欢的,就是武将的“相性”。这是隐藏的数值,使用“威力加强版”才能看到这数值。数值是从0到149。当两位武将的相性值接近,那么两个武将就容易接近。曹操的相性是25,刘备75,孙权125。他们的天敌是袁绍(大约100),董卓(大约0),刘表(大约50)。因此,势力总是会把武将归类,所谓物以类聚,人以群分。正如现世一样。

因此,一个势力,必须有丰富的地方资源,优秀的武将,还有把握时机。这正是重要的因素:天时、地利、人和。藉着这些因素,玩家才能建立强盛的势力。