Tuesday, July 13, 2010

back pain, stress, etc

A while ago, I had really bad back pain during sleep. Many symptoms and genetic factors led me to think that it could be Ankylosing Spondylitis. After consulting with the doctor, getting an X-ray, it turned out to be not AS (phew!), but I still have the back pain.

I'm happy to say, after several months of struggling with the pain, starting from last week I'm finally complete backpain-free! Since I started to have back pain, I have invested lots of time and money to make it better. A few things that I have done since then -- (1) buying a Tempur-Pedic bed, (2) seeing a physical therapist and doing the exercises he suggested, (3) ask ergonomics people at work to adjust my workspace, (4) start doing yoga, (5) start getting chair massages. And even before this I already have regular cardio exercising habits. So I kept doing that.

Basically I think all of these helped! Tempur-Pedic, surprisingly, helped on the first day it arrived. Right after the first night, I felt my back pain is much better. Before that, my back pain is like a burning sensation in my back, at about the second half in my sleep. When I started using Tempur-Pedic bed, it immediately improves it. My back pain still exists, but it becomes more like a stiffness and sore in the morning. Not so much that it would affect my sleep anymore. But, after the second nights and later, Tempur-Pedic bed basically just kept it that way, the back pain didn't completely go away.
Another common complaints of Tempur-Pedic (other than being expensive) that you'll find on the internet is that it retains heat. Yes it does. Sometimes it's a little too hot for me. But still, it does provide good back support.

What the physical therapist told me is to stretch my back muscles, and to strengthen my core muscles. A few exercise I particularly like is to use a tennis ball against the wall to massage the muscles next to the spine, and the prayer stretch (kinda like child's pose in yoga?) is good too. Some neck/back exercises are good too. I think the point is to take breaks during the day and actually spend time doing these stretches and exercises. It used to be impossible for me, because I just like to focus when I work. But now I have the back pain, it's actually a great reminder -- if you don't stretch, then prepare to wake up in the middle of the night and having burning pain in your back!!

Yoga is great too. I used to avoid doing it, because I simply don't have the patience for it. My favorite exercise classes are like step, kickboxing. I like things that's very active, and I used to go to yoga classes expecting that kind of level of activity. That's why I didn't get it and just didn't like doing it. But just this year, I took a "yoga 101" class at work. This time I go in knowing that it's supposed to be some kind of meditation and communicating with your body and mind. And I like it! I feel like I know more about how the muscles, joints work, and also learn very useful breathing techniques. I think it's very important to understand what yoga wants to achieve before trying it.

I also started going to chair massages at work. It helps me relaxes my back, shoulder and back, which are hard for me to relax myself. It seems to help so far! =)

It's like a journey, getting to know my muscles, how my body and mind works. =)

Monday, April 26, 2010

I've disabled commenting on this blog

The only comments I got seem to be spamming. I can delete them right away, but they're still annoying. So I've decided to disable it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

having fun with Scratch!

Recently my MAGIC mentee and I have been doing lots of fun Scratch programming. Currently our strategy is look for inspirations from other games, and build our own games in Scratch. Sometimes we also start from a game and do a "remix" of it.

This is one that we made within an hour last week:
Learn more about this project

It's fun to play! The original project is pretty cool, but doesn't really have a goal. We add the red doors as the transition points, and other fun elements in the game. It's a really good way to play with Scratch. And you won't feel bored getting stuck in a project for too long, because you can always switch to do projects you find exciting!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Interview at "Community Balance", KMVT

MAGIC got invited to a local TV show "Community Balance" a while ago. Here are the interview videos: part1, part2, part3, part4. I haven't actually watch them myself, but hopefully we successfully convey what MAGIC is. :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

hot shower

I love hot showers.

I was taking a shower yesterday. The hot water was just the right temperature for a chilly winter night. It suddenly occurred to me how great it is to have hot, clean, running water. It almost felt like I was wasting the precious resource. I take a hot shower every day of my life, and it never really occurred to me that people might not even have enough water, or clean water to drink.
Well I think I always kind of know about it in my mind, but it just never struck me like yesterday. Maybe it's because of the charity advertisement I saw on Hulu about water...

I'll look up the charity and think about it more.

(I'm also a huge fan of flush toilet!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Recently several things happened that are worth updating. First, I graduated from the CS PhD program. After 5 years at Stanford, I defended in July, turned in my thesis in August and were finally done with school! I'm quite happy, but also a little sad that I had to leave Stanford. It was a good place to be. :-)

And after that, I took a 5 week vacation back in Taiwan. Andrew also joined me for 2 weeks in Taiwan. We traveled quite a lot in Taiwan. Here are the pictures.

And then, I joined Google recently. :-)
But since it's very recently, I don't have much to say about that yet...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


前陣子不知道按到什麼, 我的相機(PowerShot A620)在某些模式的時候會忽然全黑(快門關起來的感覺). 在網路上找資料, 找到這篇, 但是症狀卻不完全相同:

於是我就把我的疑問post上去, 結果很快就得到回答了!! 原來...原來是我按到 DISPLAY 按鍵...嗚嗚,耍笨..但是真的很感謝他! 大推他的blog :-)