Ti Kan: Personal

Greetings, and thanks for visiting my web site. Here are some information about me that I hope you'll find interesting.

I was born in Taiwan and have lived in Singapore, Hong Kong and Hawaii. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Honolulu, I chose to major in Computer and Information Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz and California has been my home ever since.

I am currently self-employed as a consultant, but had formerly worked for Veritas Software, Lucent Technologies, Ascend Communications, Stratus Computer, Acer America, Altos Computer Systems and a special contract with Maico Hearing Instruments.

I have done many aspects of software development on the UNIX® operating system, including kernel, I/O drivers (SCSI disk, CD-ROM, tape and other peripherals), filesystems, utilities and special projects on fault-tolerance and continuous availability.

I enjoy working out at the gym (I am also a part-time fitness trainer), computer programming, web design, and have a myriad of hobbies and activities that makes me wish there were more hours in a day.

My main hobbies are audio, computers and cars. See my Audi Page about my cars, related photos and activities.

As for computers, I currently have thirteen of them in my lab's LAN, most of them running some flavor of UNIX or Linux operating systems, and several of them have multi-boot capability with multiple OSes on a single box. I use these systems for multimedia enjoyment, to develop and test free software for the community and to write web pages like this one. My Software Page has information about some of the multimedia applications that I have written.

I am big into hifi-audio and analog electronics. Although a software engineer by profession, I enjoy tinkering around with a soldering iron, multi-meter, oscilloscope and other test equipment. I have been designing and building my own high-end stereo equipment since I was in high school. The philosophy of minimalism in my latter designs have produced some of the purer sounding amplifiers around. I have also built many speaker systems. Some of these rival ultra-expensive commercial products, possessing excellent bandwidth, tonality, imagery and detail. The speaker building also involves a bit of woodworking which is enjoyable. The speaker-building have wound down somewhat in recent years, but I have found a renewed interest in building amplifiers and other components. Go to my Hi-fi Multimedia page to see details about my music systems.

I enjoy a wide variety of different music; classical (particular favorite is the baroque period), jazz of various forms, some new-age, progressive rock, synth pop and electronica. Being an audio guy, music is an integral part of my daily life. Browse My Music webapp for an almost complete list of my music collection.

I have a deep appreciation for the arts. When I was younger, I used to draw and paint, and have experimented with abstract designs and geometric shapes. I also found myself adept at graphic arts, poster and logo designs, as well as technical drawing. These days I do not produce art as much as I view and enjoy them, with occasional visits to the museums. See my Art Page for some examples of my work.

[Thelma & Louise] [Thelma] [Louise]
Thelma and Louise

In 1992 I adopted two kittens, Thelma and Louise, and they have been wonderful members of my household. Unfortunately, Thelma and Louise both passed away due to old age (they were 19 and 21 years old, respectively). I miss them a lot.

Whatever little time that's left is spent with family and friends, attending various events, going to the beach, eating ethnic foods, traveling, and plastic model building. I used to have a large assortment of models but have given most of them away. Now I only have a small collection of scale model Audis, and two spaceships (both Eagles, from Space: 1999, one is self-built from an Airfix kit, the other one is the 23" long prop replica from Product Enterprises).

Space 1999 Eagle My Eagle model Space 1999 DVD box set Tron 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999
  • Photo of my Airfix eagle model
  • The 16-DVD box set of the entire 48 episodes
  • Solar Sailer and Sark's Carrier in Tron
  • Space Station V in 2001: A Space Odyssey
Over the past few years I began collecting a small number of my my favorite films and shows on DVD and Blu-Ray. As you can see, I am into science fiction, and for some reason some of the films I like the most had relatively lackluster results at the box office.

Remember Gerry Anderson's Space: 1999, the science fiction TV series circa 1975-1977? When I was a kid in those days, it was my favorite TV show. While everyone seems to be into other sci-fi shows like Star Trek, there will always be a special place in my heart for Space: 1999. The entire 48 episodes of the show plus bonus content was released on sixteen DVDs. Needless to say, I have the entire box set. More recently the first season was remastered and released on Blu-Ray disc, and of course, I bought it (and the accompanying Oppo universal player and HDTV to match). The improved quality of the Blu-Ray edition is stunning, to say the least. The remastered second season Blue-Ray disc is now also released from Network UK, and is now a wonderful addition to my collection.

Another very cool film is Steve Lisberger's Tron. I have the 20th Anniversary Collectors Edition double DVD set, and the new Tron Legacy Blu-Ray (in a special collector's "identity disc" container with illumination and display stand). The latter is a 5-disc combo which includes the Blu-Ray 3D, Blu-Ray, DVD variants as well and the original Tron movie. The first set features a wealth of fascinating bonus material, including very detailed coverage about the making of this landmark film. There are extensive commentaries by the director, other staff, and the cast, as well as explanations on the computer graphics, animation, and other techniques used. It makes re-watching the film much more rewarding, knowing how much leading edge and painstaking work had gone into each and every frame. The bonus features in the Tron Legacy Blu-Ray is also excellent and shows how much 30 years of technology advancement could do. I prefer the original movie but there is no denying the sequel has its own place.

I am also a fan of Wendy Carlos, who composed and performed much of the music in the original Tron movie. She is an illustrous personality whose pioneering work in electronic music with Robert Moog (1931-2005) led to the development of some of the earliest synthesizers. In the filmscore for Tron, she combines the synthesized and the orchestral to create music that perfectly complements the film, dazzling the ear and mind today just as it did in 1982. At the Wendy Carlos' official website, she describes how the badly deteriorated original Tron soundtrack master tapes had to be literally baked for (temporary) restoration, digital re-archival and its 2002 re-release on CD. I recommend spending some quality time at her website. It's filled with fascinating reading and photos that must not be missed.

I also think that Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the ultimate sci-fi films of all time. It doesn't seem dated at all today, despite the fact that it was released in 1968. The minimal dialog, and the deliberately slow pace of the plot are an antithesis of modern films, especially in the sci-fi genre. I have the digitally restored and remastered DVD as well as the new Blu-Ray, and again the Blu-Ray is an awesome enhancement. The restoration work was superb, the picture quality is unbelievable for such an old film.

I always approach everything I do with great intensity. Perhaps it fits in with my current personal goal, which is to do all that I enjoy doing, right now. Life is short, so why wait?

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Last update: 17/08/22 02:04:38