Good Yogurt

I have been trying Straus Organic Yogurt these days, and I would like to give a shout out for them. The texture is  amazing, especially when compared to the generic brands out there. I usually get the plain one, which has no artificial ingredients whatsoever. It tastes sour, which is what real plain yogurt tastes like. I then add to it sliced bananas, granola, nuts and/or other blended fruits. To top it off with some natural sweetness, I sometimes add agave nectar to it. I tried honey, but that was too thick and ruined the yogurt's texture. It's just so much more fresh, so much more enjoyable and much less worrisome when we add the extra ingredients ourselves.  =D

Talking about phones...don't anger your instructor

This is a funny one. Must watch.  She speaks Thai here, but keep watching even if you don't understand.

How to remove bloatware for Android phones

With CyanogenMod installed, you can remove bloatware (e.g. Amazon MP3, GenieWidget, etc) and free up resources on your phone.  It's very simple.

Complete instructions on how to root and install cyanogenmod on a T-Mobile myTouch 3G

If you have one of these devices, you already know they are limited to Android 1.6 Donut and cannot be upgraded to Android 2.2 Froyo as of yet.  This problem can be addressed by rooting and installing CyanogenMod, as explained below.

Firstly, why should you root your phone and install cyanogenmod?
  • you can always unroot, the bootloader is left unlocked, so your warranty should still be valid
  • enable multi-touch, a shame they don't have it on Android 1.6 and below
  • install apps on SD card, saving system memory
  • install Android 2.2 Froyo for free, broadening your phone's functionality and available apps
  • install Adobe PDF viewer for free, the fastest and best PDF for Android so far
  • auto update apps
  • tether to your computer for Internet access
  • better customization and screen functionality
  • faster phone (or slower depending on what you do to it)
  • remove bloatware (e.g. Amazon MP3 store, GenieWidget, etc.)
  • remotely log in to your phone via SSH
  • system restore

Free cloud storage, backup and sync website

I synchronize my data across multiple devices (e.g. office desktop, laptop, mobile device) across multiple platforms (e.g. Linux, Windows, Mac) with SugarSync.  The cool thing about SugarSync is that I can access the files on their cloud with my Android-based phone.  I can also share files and folders with people by creating public links.  A good way to share large amounts of data.

It's freemiumware, meaning that they give 2 GB free to start off with and enjoy their services, and if you want more, which you probably will, you can pay for more storage.  If you sign up with this invite, you and I can get an extra 500 MB for free.  And then if you subscribe to a 30 GB or larger plan, you and I can get 10 GB free.  It's their way of promoting their services.

Note that DropBox is another popular option, though I haven't tried it myself.

Free US phone number, Free calls with Verizon and others

Just in case you haven't heard, Google Voice is now open to the public.  It used to be invite-only, but as of June 22, that has changed.  You can choose your free US phone number, and you are not restricted to the area code where you live.  Free text messaging, free voicemail transcriptions, free forwarding of text messages and voicemail transcriptions to your email, and much more.  Have several of your phones ring at the same time when someone calls your GVoice number, or specify which ones will ring during which certain times of the day.  Switch phones during a conversation.  Conference calls.  Call recording.  Much more can be found here.

If you use Verizon or any other provider that offers the "Friends and Family" unlimited minutes plans, you can use Google Voice to your advantage.  Let's say you can pick up to 10 numbers to put onto the list.  Adding the Google Voice number on this list would allow you to make and recieve free calls if you route them through Google Voice.  If you make outgoing calls through the Google Voice number (basically calling Google Voice) and then also get all incoming calls through the Google Voice number, you won't ever have to use any minutes.

Contact Me

If you need to contact me in private, you may send an email to simplemrturtle[at]

Film recommendation - HOME

This is a great documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand to learn more about the current condition of the world we live in. It is well-made and absolutely free. Just about every scene was shot from a helicopter by a high definition camera suspended in a gyro-stabilized sphere. Other languages and subtitles are available through YouTube.  Italian, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, etc. is all there.

Who is Innovalight?

If you are like me and wonder what Innovalight really does, this posting should help.

International Asian movies and dramas, free and easy download

I just found some websites--Let's Look and Asian Direct Movies--that contain a collection of international movies from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, etc.  Previews, trailers, synopsis, etc. are all there.  The best part is that the files are downloadable from Megaupload, which has very fast download speeds up to 5MB/second.  There are also English subtitles provided.

It's quite convenient, especially when you have the urge to take an entertaining two hour break without having to leave the home to find the movie.  Download two or three links in 10 minutes, and you've got yourself a movie.

My favorite international movies happen to come from Korea.  They have their own burgeoning film industry there, and they make good films.  In fact, Hollywood has bought the rights to many of these films and remade (or will remake) them for the Western audience, though you may not have noticed.  Below is a recommendation list:

Indonesian baby on 40 cigarettes a day

I have to say this is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen.

This baby smokes like he's a boss. And then there's the gun at the end.

Free Amazon Prime Membership (1 Year) for Students

Amazon Prime is a membership program that gives you and your family unlimited fast shipping, such as FREE Two-Day shipping and One-day shipping for $3.99 per item on all eligible purchases for an annual membership fee of $79.   As a student, you can get for FREE for one year.  All you need is a school email address.  The signup page is:

Healthcare bill -- who wins, who loses

Stanford's Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, associate professor of medicine and health economist, on the healthcare bill of the Obama administration

Question prescriptions from doctors

I highly recommend to do so.  As far as I can recall, I have never taken any medication beyond the required vaccines and shots.  I think my health is decent, so I have always wondered why others need to take so much medication.  Maybe it's just orders from the doctors.  Below is an excerpt from a pharmaceutical sales representative recently summarizing his work:

Why solar cells are sometimes blue

Amount of pesticides in produce

Published in 2006 by the Environmental Working Group, reproduced below is a list ranking the amount of pesticides used in common produce.   I don't think it matters whether my avocado is organic.  On the other extreme, I choose organic apples, peaches, celery and strawberries when possible.

Strict vegan is unhealthy

I stopped eating chicken, pork, and beef three years ago after I saw Earthlings.  I still ate things that had simple or no nervous systems--milk, cheese, egg, seafood--so as to minimize the pain I inflict upon others.  Salmon was probably the biggest one.

That was going okay, and then I learned about how egg production results in the holocaust of male chicks.  Google "male chicks" and you will see what I mean.  I learned about how cows were injected with chemicals, confined to a cage, and forced to constantly lactate.  I learned about over fishing, mercury, PCBs, and other human-caused contaminants in seafood.  So one year ago I tried going strict vegan in an attempt to avoid it all.

As I felt great and didn't get sick once for the first two years, and since I kept reading everywhere about how meats caused this cancer and that cancer, I also thought it would be a healthy transition.


Antioxidants & Carcinogens

A quick Google search on "antioxidant rich foods" reveals a bunch of links listing foods such as
  • prunes
  • apples
  • berries
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • potatoes
  • beans
  • broccoli
  • etc

In search of a good deal on chocolate

organic vegan dark chocolate, that is.  For a 3.2 to 3.5 oz bar, I think $2.00 to $2.50 is a good deal.  My all time favorite is...

p or n-type wafer for silicon solar cells?

If you pay attention to the wafer polarity of silicon-based solar cells on the market, you will notice that they are mostly p-type.  The most common argument I have heard in classes and textbooks is that electrons have higher mobility than holes, so for the same minority carrier lifetime the electrons will diffuse farther, and thereby increasing collection efficiency.  A couple of renegade companies--Sanyo and SunPower--however, use n-type wafers.  Those two happen to manufacture the highest efficiency single junction silicon solar cells, so surely they are not out of their minds.  What's the real deal here?  (Note that this discussion is meant to be relevant to high-efficiency single crystal silicon solar cells.)

Why I don't work on healthcare, on medical devices or in big companies

Silicon Valley is very well-known to the outside world as an innovation hub. Integrated circuits, computers, the Internet, Web 2.0. There is also the highly lucrative medical device industry that doesn't seem to get as much attention from the outside observer. I have some experience in the field and will share my views a bit.

Sprouting germinating brown rice

In a previous posting, I briefly mentioned how sprouted or germinated whole grains are great.  Here, I'll tell you more about how I recommend doing it. 

How to grow green onions for free

There's a simple and easy trick for green onions

How to learn more about the world for 5 minutes a day

We probably all agree that in our globalized and levelized society, we should know more about what's going on in this world to make informed decisions.

How to get into a competitive college

Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, Stanford
How do you get into one of these schools?

US Census forms -- Do I have to do it?

Do you have to fill out the Census form?
United States citizens over 18 years old are required by law to fill out the Census form (see the end of this posting for specifics). This form is not available online. It must be completed by mail. If you haven't received the form or have lost it, you can call them 1-866-872-6868 (9am to 9pm, 7days/wk) to take your information or have them mail you the form. If the Census Bureau has not received your form by mail by April 2010, they will start sending Census takers to your household to nag you. Their schedule is here.

A fast and healthy breakfast

I often don't have much time to eat a conventional breakfast in the morning, since I like to get as much sleep as I can before the day's agenda begins. I've found that

How to download free textbooks online

I was searching for engineering textbooks one evening and noticed that there are a lot of free ebooks online.

How to safely download free software

I always wondered why my colleagues stop to pay for the big brand name antivirus programs such as Symantec when a better and less expensive (as in free) is just around the corner. One of my favorite sites to discuss, survey and safely download free software is

About Me -- Lifestyle

Play - I love basketball, hiking, jogging, swimming and watching funny moves.

Eat - Meat lover until I learned the truth on YouTube through documentary videos such as Earthlings. Became a vegetarian and a strict vegan. It didn't work out. More explanation here.  I try to buy and support organic food and products when it makes sense.

Sleep - 8 hours a day unless a project deadline, presentation the next morning or homework due.

Live - I live in an apartment in the Bay Area, in the heart of Silicon Valley. I climb up and down the stairs from my 9th floor home at least twice a day. It's good exercise and saves on elevator energy. Best of all, I don't have to pay to do it. For transportation, I walk, ride a bike, or take the bus whenever possible. If necessary, I use ZipCar. I used to own a car, and I guarantee you the parking, insurance, registration and maintenance is a pain in the behoozies. My life got so much simpler now that I don't have one. :D

Love - Family, nature, people, animals. I love you all. I have been dating a wonderful Ms. Turtle for several years now. She has been a great source of support and nurture for me. And no, she doesn't look like this. Hahaha, the picture is funny.

Learn - I am currently an electrical engineering graduate student pursuing photovoltaics research. I also enjoy studying history and languages other than English. Travelling has also been a great way for me to learn about other cultures and ideas, especially when I avoid the conventional "touristy stuff".

About Me -- Career

Advancing sustainable energy technology and sharing knowledge to benefit society are my two main career goals. For this reason, I am pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering to investigate low-cost solar cell design and fabrication.

Dr. Bronner's -- best soap ever

I started using a new soap today -- "Dr Bronner's magic soap", and it is amazing. It is all organic. It is all vegan. I can use it for my hair, my face, my body, my teeth, my laundry, my dishes,