October 2004 Archives

Hong Kong Rail Fares


The letters page in the South China Morning Post is usually good for cranks and general weirdness. Unfortunately, the newpaper refuses to keep its letters online more than one day, so they are completely unlinkable, even if you are a subscriber.

On Thursday, there was this classic letter from a lady (I think, based on the name) from Tsim Sha Tsui:

In Hong Kong, railway fares are based on the property values of the station that you patronise. So you have to be ready to pay a premium to use the new KCRC facilities in Tsim Sha Tsui.

An MTR ride from Tsim Sha Tsui to Causeway Bay is shorter than one to Sheung Wan. But you pay $2 more, or 22.22 per cent extra, for the privilege to exit from Causeway Bay, where property prices are higher than in Sheung Wan. If everyone has accepted this for many years, why are they discontented now with the KCRC fares to the new East Tsim Sha Tsui station? It is highly unlikely that KCRC will be able to recoup the construction cost, anyway.


It is, of course, in reference to the recent opening of the East Tsim Sha Tsui (ETS) station. The fare from ETS to Hung Hom is HK$ 3.9 and for such a short journey, some people have complained. If you look at East Rail Fare Table, you can see that this is HK$ 0.70 more than the journey from hung Hom to MongKok. Truly a princely premium.

However, going back to Ms. Daswani's letter, fares on Hong Kong's heavy rail systems (MTR and KCR) are generally distance based with some premiums based on crossing certain barriers. The trams, with their HK$2.00 flat fare are an exception, and not really applicable.

There are premiums based on crossing the boundary (i.e. going to Lo Wu and soon to be Lok Ma Chau), and crossing the harbour. The boundary crossing premium is about HK$15.00 and the harbour crossing premium is about HK$6.00.

When looking at the cost of a particular fare, you also have to bear in mind any alternative routes. For the new ETS station, it now offers a route from Kowloon Tong to Tsim Sha Tsui in direct competition with the MTR route. The KCR route costs HK$5.60 for that journey, while the MTR costs HK$5.60 as well. It seems obvious, therefore, that the KCRC fare is correct, allowing users to determine if the time savings from the shorter route will affect their route choice.

To suggest that the fares are based on the property values of the destination station is completely ludicrous. If that were true, you'd pay twice as much to go to Central and Causeway bay, and the MTR would probably have to give you money to go to Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong!

Happy Birthday Internet!


From this article we learn that the Internet is 35 years old today.

Who knew, 35 years ago, that their grand project to make all information accessible at the touch of a button would lead to people being able to read blether like this? Magic, really.

760,000 Lockerbie Bombings


760,000 Lockerie Bombings. That's what the incompetent and illegal US invasion of Iraq has unleashed upon the world by allowing the looting of 380 tons of high explosive from Baghdad. Still, as long as the Oil Ministry was secure, everything was ok, no? If not, why did they try and cover it up for 18 months?

More Links:

Why 760,000 Lockerbie Bombings? That's becuase just one pound of high explosives can take out a jet aircraft. The amount of high explosive stolen from Baghdad was 380 tons, or 760,000 pounds.

Worst. President. Ever.

Creationists in TVB?


Problems with kernels

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For some reason, I can't get kernels to work. Not just kernels I've compiled myself, but also the stock redhat kernels in the Fedora Core 2 updates. The problem lies in the networking. Everything else seems ok, but I can't get the network card to work. I keep getting the message below:

Oct 17 10:45:01 gizmo kernel: eth0: RealTek RTL8139 at 0xe000, 00:e0:4c:10:20:ce, IRQ 11
Oct 17 10:45:01 gizmo kernel: ip_tables: (C) 2000-2002 Netfilter core team
Oct 17 10:45:01 gizmo kernel: eth0: link up, 100Mbps, full-duplex, lpa 0x45E1
Oct 17 10:44:57 gizmo sysctl: net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 1
Oct 17 10:44:57 gizmo sysctl: kernel.sysrq = 0
Oct 17 10:44:57 gizmo sysctl: kernel.core_uses_pid = 1
Oct 17 10:44:57 gizmo sysctl: kernel.shmmax = 134217728
Oct 17 10:44:57 gizmo sysctl: net.ipv4.tcp_ecn = 0
Oct 17 10:44:57 gizmo network: Setting network parameters:  succeeded
Oct 17 10:44:57 gizmo network: Bringing up loopback interface:  succeeded
Oct 17 10:45:09 gizmo kernel: NETDEV WATCHDOG: eth0: transmit timed out
Oct 17 10:45:09 gizmo kernel: eth0: link up, 100Mbps, full-duplex, lpa 0x45E1
Oct 17 10:45:33 gizmo kernel: NETDEV WATCHDOG: eth0: transmit timed out
Oct 17 10:45:33 gizmo kernel: eth0: link up, 100Mbps, full-duplex, lpa 0x45E1
Oct 17 10:45:45 gizmo kernel: NETDEV WATCHDOG: eth0: transmit timed out
Oct 17 10:45:45 gizmo kernel: eth0: link up, 100Mbps, full-duplex, lpa 0x45E1

It's not ECN, which is explicitly switched off in by sysctl.conf Anyone got any ideas?

UPDATE: I've sorted it out. Set noapic on the command line in /etc/grub.conf, and set 'Plug and Play OS' to 'No' in the BIOS.

Outrageous Cheese


Max Raabe unt Das Palast Orchestra ist sehr gut! For your recommended daily helping of cheesey covers, you should check out wo ist Max Raabe and Monday Mix Tape at Trout Fishing in South Wisconsin.

Via: Paul Frankenstein.

G400, X.org, Dualhead


To get dual head working on a G400 with Fedora Core 2 and X.org, you need to do the following.

  • download the latest linux drivers in source form from www.matrox.com
  • install the src RPM for x.org.
  • unpack the matrox drivers and copy the mgaHALlib.a file to /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES
  • modify the xorg SPEC file as per this posting: Note that I didn't change the version number of x.org, but instead added "_mga" to it and I had better success.
  • follow the other steps above; i.e. recompile the RPM and update your installed version with rpm -Fvh ...
  • download the binary linux drivers from Matrox and install them. I had already done this, so I knew that the libraries were all in the right places.
  • Restart X

That should do it, assuming that you have a properly setup xorg.conf, of course.

Fedora Core 2 should come with a warning: Serious Geeking required to get this to work.

Oh, and if you're using PostgresQL for anything, make sure that you have a dump of your database using pg_dump first, before you find yourself trying to uninstall postgres at 1 AM and reinstall the older version so that your website and spam filtering systems actually work.

Honestly, if it is known that a paritcular upgrade will require backing out of that upgrade so that you can make the requisite backups to complete the update, I think that the installer should abort with a message telling you that you'll have to dump your databases using pg_dump before upgrading rather than giving you a cryptic error message at boot and leaving you to figure it out yourself. Hunting around for the previous OS install disks so that you can install the older package so that your entire production systems still work is not a great deal of fun. Especially not at 1 AM.

Bush's Resume


Sith Mind Tricks

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Sith Mind Tricks

Darth Cheney attempts to use his Sith powers to control young Jedi Edwards. (Picture snarfed from dailykos.com.)

UPDATE: This picture is displaying oddly, and <br /> doesn't help, so I need to add more text to make it look better.

I noticed on the TVB news tonight that they repeated a few of the RNC talking points, especially the 'first they were for the war, then against it', line, which is a misrepresentation of what really happened. Also, they showed a selection of clips which made John Edwards look bad, and then quoted Fox News to show that he only had a narrow lead. Now, it's no surprise that the American news channels are completely partisan — they're largely owned by conservative corporations after all — but I'd've expected better things from the Hong Kong news corps. While the local news corps are shamelessly partisan, they are usually so in favour of China, not necessarily the American Right. Perhaps they couldn't be bothered interpreting — or even fact-checking — the canned reports they buy from the wire agencies.

TVB Oddities

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Lieberman Cheney Vice-Presidential Debate

I'm sure I just saw a trailer on TVB, one of the four terrestrial TV channels available in Hong Kong, for the upcoming Vice-Presidential debate between Dick Cheney and Lieberman. Um, that was like, four years ago. Try and keep up with current events guys!

UPDATE: Picture added! This was taken with my el-cheapo digital camera from the TV screen, so the quality is terrible, but you should be able to see what's going on.

Funny Clip


A Funny Look at the recent Republican convention. Via Daily Kos.

Update: There's a comment by the author of the clip here. Via The Sideshow.

Another Update: I'm trying the Trackback thing to invisible elevators just to see if it works.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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