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January 23, 2008

stock market….

Filed under: Economics — Fei @ 11:31 pm

The stock market is so volatile these days… and I have my own thoughts on its direction… although I know the market is unpredictable… any prediction is meant to be wrong… (and especially for an armature like me…) I just want to find a way to laugh at myself…

so here is how I’m going to laugh at myself… and maybe the day is tomorrow…

the stock last Tuesday is at the low side for the next couple of months… the reduction of the overnight interest rate will temporarily boost the market… however, the underline problem is not solved… the inflation may become more of an issue in the middle of the year… sub-prime mortgage will still be a risk… more defaults may be seen around May…. the stock may reach new lows around May to July period. The economy in the second half of the year depends on the spread of the recession. A recession is likely to occur… If the possible recession is limited to US, which means China, India and most part of Europe will still have mild growth, the US economy will go out of this dip close year end, or beginning of 2009. Bush’s 150B dollar tax rebate may see some effect in consumer spending around year end. If the recession is more wide spread… assuming the other countries will have a delay of a quarter to half a year… the economy won’t make turn until the second half of next year… overall, this recession may be just a light one… it’s impact to semiconductor industry may be mild to moderate… however, even after the recession, the US economy may not enjoy the same growth as the past few years… as the internal issues of the economy cannot be overshadowed and thus post a greater threat…

January 22, 2008

Googlepedia…

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 8:55 pm

Preamble: wrote this article a while ago… so it is not “news” any more…

Google just launched its googlepedia to compete with wikipedia… what is googlepedia? It is just like wikipedia with several notable differences: 1st, article authors are identified; 2nd, articles cannot be modified by others; 3rd, authors may make money out of their articles….

What a stupid idea… I first thought… the sale point of wikipedia is its impartial opinions…. and impartial opinions are due to anonymous contributions of the entire community… and now… how can the googlepedia ensure impartiality? obviously the articles will be biased… right?

However, at a second thought… I totally changed my mind… what a brilliant idea…

Wikipedia has its own problems, first of all… An article may be modified by parties of interests anonymously… though some technology can detect such actions, it only solves the problem from the surface…. Also, why people contribute? people want to spread the words… that’s the only reason for people to write to wikipedia… coz it’s anonymous… there are two other causes to write… be famous… and be rich… it’s a real, practical fact… unfortunately, wikipedia cannot use either of them… also because it’s anonymous… some wiki-like websites enforce named contributions… without much success… coz they only increase author’s responsibility… but not author’s motivation…

On the other hand… googlepedia can somewhat do better… people can still spread the words… names undersigned…. have more responsibility… and potentially can be more famous… and be richer… be impartial? well…. other people can comment on the articles… maybe that can partially solve the problem…

googlepedia is actually more similar to books…. both are named, both cannot be modified by other people… and both collect loyalty (kind of)… In that sense, google actually simplifies the procedure to publish books… simplifies the work of writing a book… coz even an article can be published… though it doesn’t come with a physical paper back… who reads books these days anyway?

google starts with some less conflicting areas such as science and technology… and invites some relatively well known people to write the articles… a great start move… let’s see how it works out…

January 13, 2008

What a brilliant strategy

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 10:28 pm

Some time ago, I made a connection at Los Angeles airport, having only two hours to catch the next flight with another airline at this foreign airport… Even though I checked the floor plan in advance, I felt quite nervous. Fortunately, my plane arrived on time.. so I rushed out of terminal 4 with my carry-ons, figuring out the way to terminal 2. That was quite a bit of walk… needed to cross half of the terminals… well… far it was… I had to start my first step…

When I walked half way there, I wanted to take a break… so I was kind of distracted, looking for a place to sit down… just at that moment, a voice came to my ears: do you have a question? I followed the sound, a man standing at the edge of the side walk, looking at me. Well, that’s really nice, I thought. Even though I knew my destination, it didn’t hurt to ask again… so I asked him the question, again. His answer confirmed my information. So I thanked him, started walking again. But he asked me at my back: may I just ask you one more question, just one more? Yeah, sure… he just helped me… I noticed that he held a folder in his hand, and he opened it towards me. well.. it was a flyer asking for donation. Would you donate some Christmas gifts for the children? damn… I was ambushed… I told myself… it was a trap from the very beginning… but at that time… what could I say? I gave him some cash even though it was against my rule: never donate in the street, because you never know whether the money will go to the right place.

Later I figured that the person was really smart… and the donation collection strategy was great…

No. 1, position, position, position. It is the number one rule in sales. He chooses airport, a place with a large throughput. He can meet lots of different people… at the same place… in a short time….

No. 2, strategy: if you want to get, you need to give first. He doesn’t ask for donation at first. In fact, at first sight no one can tell his real intention. Instead, he asks: do you have a question? It seems that he is a nice person offering to help (and he indeed is). It again goes back to rule No. 1, the position. At airport, lots of people are from other cities, or other countries. Many of them are not familiar with the place and in deed need help from locals. He first offers his help to other people, making them feel obliged to give something back in return. And then, he goes directly to rule No. 3.

No. 3, get to the point. After he offers help, he asks: can I ask one more question? Just one question, and that question directly ask for donation… no reasoning, no description… just ask for money… Most people will stop when he shows his intent to ask a question… because he has already offered help and the receiver would like to give something back… Remember, the receiver is in the mood of giving something back… so he catches the chance and ask for donation immediately… doesn’t give the other person a chance to jump out of the mood. Also, most people at the airport are in a hurry to catch planes. Nobody has the time to listen to long stories… the longer it takes the less the people is likely to give… it’s another reason to get to the point.

This strategy plays much better than the money for information trade… it is indeed very smart…

January 8, 2008

扬州小吃之孙氏排行榜

Filed under: 往事如风 — Fei @ 8:12 am

扬州小吃五花八门,我也有自己的喜好。其实那些小吃都吃了那么多年了,要说味道有多鲜美,也不竟然。这更多的只是我对儿时生活的美好回忆。。。

1. 扬州大煮干丝。这是扬州的一道名菜。干丝都是嫩嫩的,比美国那嚼不动的干丝强多了。里面配料很多,有小小的虾仁(比美国的salad shrimp还要小),新鲜的笋片,小菠菜,嫩鸡丝,等等。最主要的是,干丝要放在小鸡汤里煮,别的汤都不行。扬州菜做工精细,出了扬州就找不到了。我在美国还没有看见一家淮扬菜系的餐馆,可能和人工贵有关系吧。这道菜排名第一,主要是这菜以前很贵,买不起,就老是馋馋地想着它。

2. 油炸豆腐干。这是我在扬州经常吃的一个小吃。豆腐干要放在油锅里炸,等到豆腐干里炸得充满了气,鼓鼓的,就夹出来晾干。等到凉了以后要再放到油锅里回锅。这很重要,回锅的豆腐干才好吃。再次夹出来的时候豆腐干就不鼓了。这时候就把它剪成小块,加上作料,就好了。热热地吃最好。记得小时候经常买了吃,主要是便宜,七分钱一块。虽然只有七分钱,我也只有钱买一块。那买一块就不能剪成小块了,只能把豆腐干剪一个角,把作料灌到豆腐干的肚子里,再把豆腐干和剪下来的一小块一起给我。我就用手拿着豆腐干,先吸里面的作料,再一小口一小口的吃。那作料其实也就是兑了水的酱油。现在油炸豆腐干涨到了三毛钱一块(看来豆腐干还是很抗通货膨胀的,只涨了四倍),作料也丰富了。我也有钱买很多了,一买就是十块,虽然还是很好吃。。。可就是感觉不如买一块时的豆腐干了。。。其实这油炸豆腐干很不健康的,首先是油炸的,还不知道这用的是什么油,估计是什么地沟油 🙁 我也想过自己做,可豆腐干怎么炸都不鼓,只好作罢。。。

3.鸭血粉丝。这全名应该是镇江鸭血粉丝,不过我都是在扬州吃的,就把镇江两个字给省略了。鸭血粉丝,里面自然有鸭血,可我对鸭血不怎么感兴趣,主要是其他东西味道很好。记得小时候在离家不远处有一个新华书店,冬天里每天晚上在书店门口有一个游动的鸭血粉丝的小摊子。那时候每天晚上九点多钟爸爸就骑车带我到那小摊子去吃粉丝。粉丝五毛钱一碗,很是好吃。粉丝是山药粉丝,里面有两个半块豆腐干,两个小鹌鹑蛋,一点黄豆芽,绿叶菜,海带,鸭血,两片切得极薄的牛肉片。冬天里吃上这一碗热腾腾的粉丝,很是舒服。我叫爸爸一起吃,可爸爸觉得太贵,就看着我一个人吃 🙁 。。。后来也吃过很多粉丝,也自己做过粉丝,放了很多好吃的东西,也很喜欢吃,可就感觉比那时的粉丝差了些。在扬州正规店也买不到这种粉丝了。。。虽然在地摊上有时还看得见,可总觉得不是很卫生。。。就错过了。。

4.豆腐花。豆腐花就是极嫩的豆腐。做豆腐花最重要的是水要软,不能太硬。这样做出来的豆腐花才能入口就化,没有一点粗糙的感觉。作料其实很简单,加一些盐,榨菜粒,一些葱花,不能放酱油。以前在扬州小摊上吃的就是就是这样。后来到了北京,吃什么北京的豆腐脑,发觉比豆腐还硬,放了酱油和一些黏糊糊的东西,一点也没有清淡爽口的感觉。在普林斯顿就没有吃过豆腐花了。到了加州后到处找豆腐花。可能是加州水太硬,做出来的豆腐花都糙糙的。虽然如此,我还是一次次找那失望的感觉。。。

5.盐水虾,油炸虾和水晶虾仁。我很喜欢吃虾,什么样的虾都好。最喜欢的是一种小河虾,很小,可以很容易用牙齿剥皮,大一点的虾反而不好了。虾其实怎么做都无所谓,小时吃得多的是盐水虾和油炸虾。虾要新鲜的活虾,这样虾肉才紧。死了的虾或快死的虾肉都是散的,就不好吃了。早先虾仁超贵,买不起。自己曾经买虾来挤虾仁,一斤虾才能挤出二两虾仁,才明白虾仁为什么那么贵了。后来虾仁便宜了,吃起来更简单,都不需要剥皮了,用勺子舀,一勺可以吃很多个。可吃起来简单,反而没有要剥皮的韵味了。。。

6.烫干丝。顾名思义,烫干丝就是热干丝加一些水。作料就是少许酱油麻油,最多加一些小虾米,上面放一片香菜做摆设。同煮干丝一样,干丝要嫩,而且显得更重要了。因为没有其他的配料了。。。

7.硝(肴)肉。硝肉全名也是镇江硝肉。我把镇江两字去掉,理由同上。很喜欢硝肉的味道,沾着醋吃更好。样子也是水晶剔透的。小时候婆婆还做硝肉,用的就是硝。后来听说硝有毒,就不用了,可味道总觉得差了一点。小时候硝肉也就是偶尔吃,婆婆生病后吃的次数就更少了。。。

8.油墩子。 油墩子也是油炸的。用一个铁勺子,上面糊上一些面粉,再放进萝卜丝或韭菜丝做馅,上面再糊一层面粉封上。放到油锅里炸成金黄色,就好了。小时候油墩子和油炸豆腐干是在一起卖的。豆腐干卖七分钱,油墩子卖一毛钱。后来不知怎么的,那些摊子只卖油炸豆腐干了。。。所以我吃油墩子的时间也不长,就排最后一名吧。

9.扬州包子。我其实并不喜欢下面三道扬州菜,不过它们挺有名的,就一并写出来吧。扬州包子是很出名的。很小巧,花样又多。我在扬州之外就没有吃过这么好吃的包子了。不过我从小不爱吃包子,就一直没有注意。。。直到我在外地吃了极其难吃的包子。。。现在对吃包子不怎么反感了。。。不过总体而言,也还不能说是喜欢吃。。。

10.扬州炒饭。扬州炒饭算是名声在外。说是扬州把扬州炒饭注册成了商标,别的地方就不能用扬州炒饭的名称了。就算在扬州,也只有三个地方可以用扬州炒饭的名称。别的饭店只能用扬州蛋炒饭作为名字了。其实注册商标也情有可原,扬州炒饭有二十多种原料,不同的餐馆用料不一样,把扬州炒饭的名声都败坏了,标准化一把也不是什么坏事。我以前不太喜欢吃扬州炒饭,觉得太油。现在吃扬州蛋炒饭也觉得不太精致,可能和不地道有关系。在扬州都吃不到扬州炒饭,更不用说在外地了。扬州没有在美国注册商标,美国的中餐馆还在用这个名字,不过做出来的饭我看了都想吐。。。。你们就别想吃正宗的扬州炒饭了。。。

11.粉蒸狮子头。首先声明,我从来不吃狮子头的,不过看看很多人对这菜有误解,我就说两句吧。很多人认为狮子头就是大肉团子,这是一个很大的误解。狮子头很像肉丸子,但其用料除了肉末之外还有好几种其他的原料,吃起来也比肉丸子更油,但肥而不腻。我从来不吃,也不记得是什么味道。不过外面餐馆把什么肉团子都称作狮子头,败坏扬州菜的名声,特此声明一下。

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