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Must have got a bad flu – lost my voice since early Sunday morning (or late Saturday night?) and still haven’t recovered. Well, recovered a bit, not my voice, but sore throat is mostly gone and don’t feel dizzy anymore. I should be glad that I didn’t lose my voice during my long teaching day on Saturday. Thank God!

But I do have to teach today. How?

A marker and a whiteboard.

One good thing for teaching violin is I get to use a big room in the studio, which also means I can use the whiteboard. So the first thing I did today after arriving at the studio was grab two markers and wrote on the whiteboard:

“I’ve lost my voice. I’ll write instead."

The first student was brought in by her mom. Her mom saw it immediately and told her daughter to behave herself. The mom also told me that the 10-year-old girl was really too busy with school work this week and so she didn’t practise as much. Throughout the 45 minutes, I basically done all my “talking" with the marker and the whiteboard. The girl didn’t give me any trouble. I usually had to yell a couple times in her lesson.

The second student … got a fever and so was absent. Really appreciate the 30-minute break. The third one never gave me any trouble – he’s a 15-year-old (14? 15? 16?) boy not going for any exam but playing the piano as… just playing. The easiest 30 minutes of the day.

Then came a 10-11-year-old girl who never practice much. She, too, was coughing and was even coughing worse than me. She could be quite  a headache to any teacher who takes teaching seriously. And I am this kind of teacher. She’s not without talent but she’s pretty lazy. I need to kick her at least trice to make her play one scale normally. Today? I just wrote “A major, slurred bow" on the whiteboard. And there was A major, slurred bow. Not without mistake but she played it almost immediately and corrected her mistakes very quickly!

The Primary 1 young boy is a very nice boy. Never gave me headache except his little fingers being a bit too soft and wriggly or completely flat like sausages on the piano. His lesson ran fast like usual. I always have fun in teaching him.

The last one is always a headache. In fact, he wasn’t my student but my colleague’s. He got transferred to me partly because his mom and my colleague couldn’t get along (they’re like Martian VS Human, simply can’t communicate), and partly because my colleague thought this boy was really too much a headache for him. So, when the mom asked if her son could get another teacher, my colleague enthusiastically passed him over. The boy isn’t too naughty. He’s just like a normal 7 to 8-year-old boy: he likes exploring the room; he likes poking around with his bow; he likes talking about the silly things happened in school… so on and so forth. If his mom doesn’t mind her son spending half the lesson on doing non-violin stuff, that’s fine. But his mom does mind it… a lot. So, it’s the teacher’s job to discipline this young boy. But then, this young boy gets really negative if you get tough on him. He’d simply retreat to the corner of the room and refuse to come out. My colleague would get really aggravated but for me, it’s time for my “a spoon of sugar, a spoon of poo" practice (alright, this is purely Cantonese 一啖砂糖一啖屎). This didn’t happen today. Since I couldn’t talk, I used the whiteboard and body language in his lesson. He couldn’t play the G# on D string right? I drew diagrams on the white board explaining the difference between G and G#, and the relationship between G# and A. He played something wrong? I raise up my hand to stop him. If I did this on any normal day, he’d just ignore me. He wanted to talk back? I coughed… very hard. (Hmm… I wasn’t pretending but the timing was just right LOL.) After playing for 40 minutes and there were only 5 minutes left, he said,

“I am very tired!"

This actually happens quite often. Usually, he wouldn’t pick up the violin again before I win the fight of staring. (Right, he stares at me, I stare at him. Whoever relents first is the loser. He’s ALWAYS the loser, of course.) Today? With my really really broken voice, I said,

‘I’m sick; I’ve been teaching for hours; and I haven’t said “I’m tired" yet. So, you are tired?’

His response? He immediately picked up his violin and played that Gavotte by Lully one more time. LOL

This only works on the days when I’m sick.

And this only works if the teacher has a good relationship with the students.

Maybe I should intentionally lose my voice every now and then LOL

[UPDATE: THIS DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE. However, Hans, one of the commenters below, has found a workaround:

Ok, there is a workaround for the issue I have described above.

You have to follow the relevant steps on the hard road here:


1. creat a standard Workflow *not* an iCal event
2. save it as app and remember it’s location
3. crate a new event in iCal and select as notification the app you have just created via automator

So you have all the time you need.

Hope this helps! And if you have other ways to make things easier, please feel free to leave a comment below.]


As OS X updates over time, some functions don’t work the same anymore. Some commenters have provided solutions in the comment section. Make sure you check them out if things don’t happen the way as described in the post.
Found an easier way to schedule mail on Mac to send it later at a specific time I want by using Automator iCal Alarm.

When you open Automator, it immediately asks you to choose what you’re trying to build:

Building an iCal Alarm will automatically set a new event in iCal with the alarm action set to be whatever you design in the Automator.

So I want to send an email at maybe 9am tomorrow morning, I can open Automator and build an iCal Alarm like this:

  1. Get Specified Finder Items
  2. New Mail Message (type your mail here – leave recipient blank if you’re sending group mail and add the two extra steps below)
  3. Send Outgoing Messages
  4. Save

You may skip step 1 if there’s NO attachment. You can also send group mail (with/without individual salutation) at a later time by adding these steps between steps 2 & 3 above:

  1. Find Address Book Items (find Groups)
  2. Group Mailer (check “add greetings" for individual salutation)

Then in iCal, you’ll see a new event set at the time you hit “save":

Then edit the date and time of the event and the alarm time to whenever you need it.


However, from experience, attachment doesn’t work for Group Mailer. So, if you wish to send a mail with attachment to a big bunch of people, stick to the 4-step solution. The only drawback is it can’t take group name as recipient, i.e., all email addresses are disclosed. If you wish to keep mailing list confidential, you’ll need to add your group to Bcc list.

You may also set the alarm to be repeated periodically and have the same mail sent to the same recipient(s), say, every month. This would be really handy to someone who needs to send out reminders periodically.

I’m still working on getting Apple Mail to send all drafts at once so that I can incorporate Serial Mail and Apple Mail and Automator. The problem is Apple Mail seems to be incapable of sending more than one mail at the same time. It can send 100+ emails consecutively very quickly (like really immediately one after an other) but just not when you “select all" in drafts box then hit “send" in file menu (or shift+command+D).

(Updated review on note-taking apps for iPhone and iPad here.)

I have both Momo and Awesome Notes on my iPhone. You may find it a bit weird that I keep two note-taking apps on my phone at the same time but in fact, they serve different purposes.

I’m a private music teacher and I keep teaching notes / records. For this purpose, I go with Momo for three reasons:

  1. tagging system – a huge advantage for people who takes loads of notes everyday. The way I use it is I tag notes with my students’ names so that I can have a good view of notes I’ve taken in one particular student’s lesson so far in one single list.  The folder system in Awesome Notes doesn’t really work for this purpose. If I wanna do this is Awesome Notes, I’ll need, maybe, 20 folders – way too many for Awesome Note’s home screen. And even if I wanna go with folder system, there’s “Favorite tags and Smart tags" in Momo that I may include several tags in a “smart tag" and that “smart tag" will become a folder-like thing.
  2. Calendar – users may pick a day in calendar view to see notes taken on a particular day. The date with notes are highlighted so user may see if there’s note on a particular date.
  3. “preview" – it shows up to 2-3 lines of each note on the list so that I don’t need to open the note to know what’s inside. Very handy when I just wanna have a peep of what I taught the student previously.

For Awesome Notes, I use it for some totally different purposes:

  1. Todo list – I may choose to add “todo" as a tag in Momo but then there’s no icon badge and no due date to be set. In Awesome Notes, I can set due date very easily (pretty good user interface, really) and I can actually check it off when it’s done. I can also put todos in different folders to mark their categories, say “home", “work"…etc.
  2. Sermon notes – Right, I can take sermon notes in Momo as well… but Awesome Notes has some much prettier / funnier background theme. I do need something more fancy to keep my incentive (!) on taking Sermon Notes… I used to take sermon notes in Momo before I bought Awesome Notes.

Here’s a simple comparison between the two apps:

[Update: Awesome Note is only 3.99 and it has calendar view now.Date and time are also adjustable. It doesn’t have bullet point yet. Momo has it though.]

(I found an easier way… see this post)

I wanted to send groups mails with individual salutation at a scheduled date and time. There’re several free scripts / apps out there to do this. I’ve tried probably all of them but none really worked (I’m running on Snow Leopard).

There’re paid apps to do this but then I don’t wanna pay. (Yes, I proudly admit I’m cheap in this sense.)

Ok, if I only wanted the individual salutation part, Serial Mail is a good one and it’s free. It doesn’t only support names as placeholders but also other fields in the Address Book. It’s also got an iPhone app! One very good news for iPhone user as the built in mail app in iPhone doesn’t support group mail.

So… what to do?

After many trials and errors, my final solution is “Automator + iCal".

There’s this built-in app in Mac called “Automator". Honestly, I didn’t have a clue what it is for the first two or three years I switched to Mac. I don’t use it that frequently until very recently. Anyway, to the steps:

To send GROUP EMAILS WITH INDIVIDUAL SALUTATION with Automator immediately:

  1. Launch Automator: New workflow
  2. Mail: New Mail Message (add by drag and drop) – For group mail, leave “To:", “Cc:" and “Bcc:" blank. Do fill in the Subject line, write your mail in “Message", choose account if you have multiple accounts set up. NO ATTACHMENT. If you want individual salutation, don’t write “Dear xxx" at the beginning of your mail.)
  3. Contacts: Find Address Book Groups – Find people / groups and define it
  4. Mail: Group Mailer – check “Add Greeting" if you want to have individual salutation. Otherwise, uncheck it.)
  5. Mail: Send Outgoing Messages

If you want to send your mails immediately, click “Run" on the top right corner. But if you want to send your group mail later at a specific date and time… go on with the following steps:

  1. Save as application (remember where you’ve saved it. You’ll need its path soon.)
  2. Open iCal and set up a new event at the time you want you mail to be sent
  3. Set alarm -> open file -> choose the application you’ve just saved two steps ago
  4. Done

If you don’t want the new event to stick in your calendar, add the following steps after step 5:

  1. Find iCal Events (Find events, All of the following are true, Title is “title of your new event"…)
  2. Delete iCal Events

But it’s probably easier to just delete it from calendar afterwards 😛

What about if you just want to SCHEDULE ONE SINGLE EMAIL?

  1. Launch Automator: New workflow
  2. Mail: New Mail Message (add by drag and drop) – Type your recipients’ email address in “To:", “Cc:" and “Bcc:" as needed. No auto-fill here. You may click the vCard icon on the right to choose recipients from Address Book. Before hitting “Done", remember to hit “To" after choosing. Do fill in the Subject line or it’ll ., Write your mail in “Message", choose account if you have multiple accounts set up. NO ATTACHMENT.)
  3. Send Outgoing Messages
  4. Save as application (remember where you’ve saved it. You’ll need its path soon.)
  5. Open iCal and set up a new event at the time you want you mail to be sent
  6. Set alarm -> open file -> choose the application you’ve just saved two steps ago
  7. Done

Important notes:

* It’s VERY IMPORTANT to save your workflow as APPLICATION in scheduled email. If you save it as workflow, it’ll only call out the workflow without running it, which means… it won’t do anything.

* NO ATTACHMENT: Someone said here that we may add attachment to group mailer in Automator but it never worked for me. And even if it works, it won’t work with scheduled mail anyways – it requires manual input when mails are being generated. My workaround is to upload the file to a server / website, then paste the link in the mail body. The “New Mail Message" in Automator does recognize URL so if your recipients can see HTML mail, they should be able to just click and see your file.

至於這些跟標題"冇碳用"有什麼關係? 印幾百張紙的途中,就發現冇炭用,即是炭粉不夠,印出來的顏色不均勻。於是要每印十張就停一停,打開機蓋,拿出炭粉盒,搖搖搖,放回炭粉盒,再印。終於印好幾百張紙。不過,部份人士將有幸收到碳粉不均勻的印刷品。已經為此丟了二十張紙,還能用的還是寄了,反正這些"部份人士"早已知道內容,把信寄出也不過是要滿足MnA條件,大家看得到就看,看不到就自己去電郵信箱找個softcopy來看吧!
還要記得去買碳粉盒… 否則下次真的冇碳用!

Two weeks ago, a student’s mom called me and said her husband wants to stop their daughter’s piano lesson. I said, “ok, give me a call if you want to resume the lessons."

That’s just a “standard" response. I didn’t even ask her why. 

Two days ago, a lady called me when I was in lesson. I called her back later and turned out this lady is the neighbor of my another student. I met her at lift lobby around a year ago. She asked me something about piano lesson but I don’t remember what I told her. Anyway, she called me two days ago and asked if I have time to teach her daughter. She has been learning piano for some years and is doing quite good. In fact, her girl passed the grade 3 piano exam last year with distinction. But she wants to have teacher go to her place instead of sending her daughter to the studio, so she called me. 

And today I went to her place and had the very first lesson with her daughter – a lovely girl around 11-year-old I think. She’s quite talkative and I like talkative students. It’s hard to tell what the student is thinking if he/she doesn’t talk. She said I talk like her best friend’s sister. I think we can get along pretty well. 

A door is closed but another is opened… right in front of me. 

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

I have these two little girls who take lessons together back to back in studio. I use the ipod touch to keep teaching notes so I always have it at the corner of the piano. We were having lesson the other day as usual and somehow the older sister saw my ipod and got curious with it. She pressed on the home button and unlocked it. There, she saw the BibleXpress icon (I keep it at the dock for easy access) and exclaimed, “Oh! You have Jesus in your iPod!"

She pressed on that small icon and that lead her to Genesis 7 of The Message version. (Great that it’s got The Message version in the app – easier English and the kids can understand it relatively more easily.) Then she began to ask questions about Noah. Since she could swipe to go to previous and next chapter, it really gave me a chance to tell the two little girls the Noah story, which lead to questions about who God is, why God doesn’t like bad guys, what will happen to the bad guys, hell, how to avoid going to hell, Jesus, and the whole salvation scheme. They’ve heard about Jesus but didn’t quite know who he really is and why he is related to us. Now they know. They’ve even learned how to pray. That lesson went overtime but the two girls were really excited to hear about God.
God does show Himself through all things – may it be big or small.

The bee can finally sleep.

I’ve been working like a bee that doesn’t sleep for a whole week. The Society held an inauguration ceremony this evening and I had a lot of work to do prior to this event. And when I say a lot of work, it’s really A LOT OF WORK. And I find myself, though taking the post of a part-time secretary, working as secretary, webmaster, designer…etc. It’s written in my contract that my workload should be around 18 hours per week – well, it’s been way over that in the last two months. Actually, I probably didn’t really spend over 18 hours per week in average but it’s only because I worked extremely efficiently – using 18 hours like 36 hours. People who know me should know that when I say I worked extremely efficiently, it’s really fast. So…really like a bee. (Well, to say a bee’s life sounds better than a dog’s life – a bee’s life is way shorter, which means the heavy workload and busy schedule is only temporary unlike a dog’s life can be much longer.)

Anyway, finally the inauguration ceremony was held successfully. We had a wonderful Chinese meal at the hotel where we held the ceremony. The room was fine; the servers there were very polite and helpful; dishes were good. The only complain I have is that the ceiling is too low that you can’t really read the bottom part of the powerpoint projected on the screen.

Now that it’s over, I can finally say goodbye to the bee’s life. Back to human life, I’m travelling to Taipei again enjoying life!




Just registered as a IT manager for a google app (though I’m no IT manager at all but a potato powder secretary) and am trying to combine google app with the domain hosted at Bluehost. It involved creating user accounts (very easy – just a bit time consuming if you do not already have a list that go with the csv format that google wants), creating CNAME records (what the heck is this?), setting MX something (haven’t touched this part yet – no clue at all), and of course uploading the things I wanna “share" with the members.

The first time sucking procedure was to go through application forms and create an email account for each member at Bluehost (my domain server). And then it’s a less time consuming procedure to upload a csv that contains the info of these users to Google App. And then I had to sort of design a site that I want the members to see. Then came the CNAME part.

Google actually did write kinda thorough instructions for this but just doesn’t apply to Bluehost. But after searching on the internet for a while and read through many posts, I’ve tried it in a different way:

At Bluehost cpanel, go to Subdomains and create a new subdomain that you want your google site to be redirected to.

Still at Bluehost cpanel, go to Domain Redirect and set the subdomain to be redirected to the URL of your google site.

Then…it’s done!

Well, CNAME can be created if I go through live chat or file a ticket to Bluehost support. But how would a lazy person like me do that? As long as it kinda works, I’m settled with this.

Now that I’m done with creating users and mapping sites, next, I’ll try to work on the email thing.

六月 2020