Thomas L. Friendman, who always tells it like how it is, explains the complexity underlying the latest middle eastern issues in his typical layman manner:
How could it not be? In Libya, we have to figure out whether to help rebels we do not know topple a terrible dictator we do not like, while at the same time we turn a blind eye to a monarch whom we do like in Bahrain, who has violently suppressed people we also like — Bahraini democrats — because these people we like have in their ranks people we don’t like: pro-Iranian Shiite hard-liners.
“The Android apps won’t work directly into the app player. The developer, not the user, will need to “quickly and easily” port their apps to run on the tablet OS, according to RIM. The same developer will also need to repackage, code sign and submit their apps to the Blackberry App World for approval.”—Jean-Louis Gassée, straightening out on the misleading message about Playbook’s support for Android app.
I posted this in my other blog, which nobody reads, nearly a year ago. Now, a full year has passed. As I reflect on this passing year, I find that my state of mind is hardly better than the year before. Frequently, I am troubled by the fear for the uncertain future and worried about various pieces of life that are falling out of their places. I know a lot of my friends are in the same boat: those who are reaching a junction of their life where the choices facing them are just too big and overwhelming, or those who are trying to pick up the pieces and try to figure out how everything fits again. I guess the following story is for those who struggles in life, and hopefully this lifts your spirits as it did to mine:
In the toughest of time, we often forget about the privileges for having the things we already have and blindly dwell on the things that we don’t. I was reminded of that today when I was lining up to wait for my coffee.
Stuck in an usual lengthy line at school’s Tim Horton, I saw that in distance there was a blind young lady walking past with her guide dog. It appeared that the guide dog was inexperienced, throwing her into this deep confusion by guiding her straight into the labyrinth of the Tim Horton’s lines. She knocked her way through the line filled with students. Everyone in the line tried to clear out of the way for her. And as someone who are taught that staring is rude, I tried to pay no mind to this episode and proceeded with my wait in the back of the line. A while after, when I finally got my coffee and left the building, I notice the same girl on the street asking for direction to a nearby lecture hall, without any coffee or doughnuts.
On my walk back to my lab, a shockwave sent through my body. Here I was, worried to death about most trivial things about school, about whether my project to fall through, about whether the courses are too hard, and about whether I can handle another day of this, and in contrast, this young lady, who doesn’t even have the basic ability to see and have to literally stumble to her lectures, chose to brave her circumstances in the name of learning and pursuit of higher knowledge. Her courage reminded me that the opportunity and the ability to learn is a privilege, God-given, and I should not for one moment take it for granted.
It was one of those moments in my life that didn’t even last one minute, but its effect on me stays for a life time.
If You Are a Pastor, then I am the President of United States
So lately I have been trying to sell my camera on Craiglist/Kijiji and have been running into a fair share of attempt to scam me. Just thought it would be funny to share it here for the posterity. And what is with the “because I claim to be a paster, that makes me honest”!?
It starts off with a reply to my Craiglist/Kijiji posting, (notice how he never mentioned about the product and had to ask for the price even though it was posted, sounds like our friend im”Pastor” here is computer) :
I am interested in the item, I want to buy the item you displayed. Please send an email asap to me with your firm price so that i will pay for it. Thanks.
Me: Yeah the camera and everything listed is $400. Where are you located?
Thanks for your Quick Response to my mail. Am happy to hear your item is still available and the price is okay for me. l live in New York and l would have love to arrange for the pick up but l traveled out of the State for a pastoral Visit to our New church program. l will appreciate your effort if only you will do me a favor to buy your item.l will pay through PayPal or you provide me with your details for money order. I want this item for my son’s Birthday gift He stays with his mummy who is a Pastor on a missionary work and l want to buy the item, ship directly to the destination where they are living and I will include the shipping tax of the item for you.
Please specify any of the above mode of payment that will suit you.
God bless you.
Me: Sure! That is great. But sorry. I deal with in person only. Have a nice day.
I didn’t bother changing his name because it’s probably not real anyway. This is actually not the first instance of this. I will post another “Pastor’s” request another day.
*Update: I did remove the name as someone pointed out perhaps the scammer used a stolen identity. Poor guy!*
Let’s make an assumption that iPad will handle a significant chunk of the internet web browsing in 2011‡. That is one significant chunk of the Internet that would be shunned from the content made with Adobe Flash. As the iPad moves into the mind of the consumers as a main stream device, this will force the content producers to deliver their content in ways that does not depend on Flash. Why now? It seems that for the past year the quarrel between the Flash vs. non-Flash content has settled down as people from both camps carry on with their own merry ways. The reason this discussion has been able to hide under the radar was because the main device that dominates the user of the non-Flash camps are phones. Beside the video playback, no one expects the Flash experience as we know it on PC to translate to the mobile device. Take iPhone for example, it is still a phone. So if your parents pick up an iPhone and fail to load a flash-based site, they would likely shrug it off because a phone was never supposed to reproduce the Internet browsing experience completely.
But here comes iPad, with the form factor characterized by the screen real estate and the touch interface, its core competency is to browse Internet. Now your parents pick up the device and once again fail to load the content, they now realize they drop half a grand on a product that only serves half of its purpose. It is like buying a toaster that only toasts bagel and not bread. Now that this shortcoming directly impacts the core value of the product, they are at a fork road:
Ditch the iPad, go back to a device that support flash.
Keep the iPad, and visit the alternative website or software (i.e. app) that is non-Flash.
I am sure every single one of the 15 million iPad users were put to this decision, and the fact that iPad 2 has been projected to grow the market even more suggests to me that people has been making their decision in favour of their iPad. While iPad is great, the reason for that may have less to do with iPad’s merit but more to do with the inability of its competitors to produce a tablet device that delivers reasonable performance for viewing Flash-based content.
It is been more than a year since something was promised about the true mobile Flash experience, and yet, after 2 generations of iPad have been released, this remains to be a hallow promise on spec sheet and slides. Surely I believe the technology will finally iron out the kinks and wrinkles and be a strong addition to any tablet that support it, but they probably miss their window to cause a mass abandonment of iPad.
I don’t know what will happen in 2012 and on, but it looks like in 2011, iPad would be the de facto tablet computer that would likely attract enough user to reach a critical mass to cause the content provider to hit the switch or provide similar services via mobile apps. As a result, the allure of the eventual Flash support in a tablet device will begin to fade. In addition, The idea of Flash being espoused as a necessary part of the Internet will be proven weakened.
By the end of this year, another 30~40 million people would face the exact same question that I posed earlier. If it is the previous 15 million users that precede them give us any indication, the odds are stacked against Flash.
‡Having already sold 15million iPad, and with the strong signal that the iPad 2 and iPad together could sell somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30~40 million devices, it is safe to say by the end of the year, we should have about 50+ million iPad users floating around. That is not a bad assumption given that that is about 10% of Facebook user count and about slightly shy of a third of Twitter community.
Abdel, a doctor in the town of Misrata, Libya, about 200km east of Tripoli, tells BBC World television that Gaddafi loyalists have been moving the bodies of people killed in clashes between rebels and government forces to sites that have been bombed by the coalition to make it appear they have died in the strikes.
The latest trick in the bag from Gadaffi force. The issue of civilian casualties in Libya resulted from the actions of the international force would inflict great tension between the coalition forces and those countries who abstained, and between the west and the Arab League. So this definitely makes sense given its past record of disregarding humanity and its civilian safety.
So the controversy about the video posted by a UCLA student has reached an epic proportion – even New York Times has pick up on it. In the video, she has made numerous comments about Asian culture with some very, very poor taste. I particularly didn’t like how she describes a group of Asian as a “hordes of Asian” and criticize us for keeping a close-knitted family connection, which I think is a virtue of the Asian culture that I am proud of.
Sure enough, because it is a white person who is making a mockery about another race, it is considered racist.
Granted, the way she posted her unfiltered thought on the Internet is totally absurd and reflected a total lack of judgement on her part. And evidently she badly needs some sensitivity training for her own sake. Stupid, silly, and totally self-unaware are labels that she has totally earned, but a racist – i think we gotta think about this one more carefully.
Yes, I admit that from time to time I also hurl racist accusation at my friends - “you are such a racist!?”. And yes, I use the term lightly, but privately, because the humour was appropriate among my circle of friends. In general, “Oh that was so racist” becomes a phrase that crept into our vernacular because for many of us, the concept is light enough that we can joke about it. It is a reflection of our fortunate reality in which we did not have to be exposed to real crime of racial discrimination. It is something of the past, and it is something we can reflect on with a sense of humour. Imagine one of your family members were sent into a concentration camp because their race, then the term “racist” would probably take on a more serious tone.
The problem is this: some people cannot tell the difference between a humorous use of the word and a serious accusatory labelling of calling someone a racist. Base on which interpretation one choose to take, the reaction is extremely different and can become highly combustible.
I believe most of us when we saw that video will go for interpretation no. 1. We laugh about it and shrug it off. But there are some people who will actually opt for interpretation no. 2. These are the people who believe that the girl is actually a hateful person who deserves a full personal vendetta to be paid by every yellow skin people in the world. They launch campaigns, they slander, and they rally for hateful actions.
I once heard a word used by President Obama in an interview - victimology. This word strikes a cord in my mind and is described by the John McWhorter, the person who coined the term back in 2000, as such:
[One] can pass [one’s self] as a victim disproportionately to what their experience is. The reason one might do that is because there is a sense that alienation for its own sake is kind of a [way to achieve] higher awareness.
In my opinion, this is what is happening here. By pouring anguish into the supposedly silly commentary, we deliberately make ourselves into the victim and magnify our misfortune in unreasonable way. Through that feeling of indignation, we justify and accept people’s retaliatory action. But at the end, it was us who is acting hateful and spiteful, and it was us who is exhibiting all the violent behaviour of a true racist. So we really have to be careful with these provocations. New York Times said it the most adequately:
[don’t] fall into the same kind of behavior they’re condemning.
I guess I am being a little serious about this whole thing. But what I really want to say is, just laugh it off and enjoy all the humour at her expense, but leave the poor girl alone.
Looks like the evil will prevail as the we the west watch on with frustration. With an UN resolution likely to come at the end of this week or early next week, it may be the case that there will be nothing to save and no rebel government to support by the time this happen. The violent dictator and his atrocious army are trying to close out the battle at this very minute and the rebel forces, fragilely supported by inexperienced and under-equipped youths, are in a precarious predicament and will likely pay for their cause with their own lives.
It is a sad world right now, distraught by both natural disaster and human tragedy at such grande scale. May God show some mercy on these people.
Not trying to suggest that we should not observe the devastation that has spread through Japan with somberness and sympathy, it is a worthwhile to learn about some of the economic aftershocks that may be rolling their way, and use that as an learning opportunity for many of the rest developed world that may be threatened by the similar natural disaster.
I’m estimating that at least 60% of iPad buyers will get one. Based on an estimate of 36 million iPads sold in 2011 and an average price of $48 (70% polyurethane and 30% leather mix), the total revenue for Smart Covers will top $1 billion this year.
And he went to state:
That means that the Smart Cover will add 4% to sales and 9% to gross profits
I wonder by how much of the Microsoft’s gross profit did Microsoft Mouse improve.
I have been using this app on my iPhone for a while. It is an app that allows you to share moments in forms of picture, text, location, and video with others. Although it sounds like every other social network out there, a caveat about this app set it apart – the app only allows you to have 50 friends. Implication: the network is meant to be shared by the closest of friends and families. It solves the problem of separating the people who appreciate your sharing from the people that are likely to be annoyed by it.
It looks like the latest update is giving the app a face lift to compete with Instagram with the support of photo filters, and also allow the app to share its content to Facebook to reach one’s wider network.
Following its last update to enable chat, I have got to say the Path team has been putting out a series of very strong updates. Keep up the good work!
As Path grows and helps more people be themselves and share life with close friends and family, we try to continue to pursue our vision of the personal network. With Path 1.5 you can connect with more of your close friends and family than ever before and express yourself in more personal ways on…
As the world flocks to Internet for free and open information and communication, a group of people are working against the struggle to get the even the most basic information in and out of most “closed society” in the world – North Korea. Here is a story about they did it.
From an article on the stereotypes surrounding your choice of email domain name:
Career advice books and websites encourage job seekers to use not only their own names in an email address, but to choose domains wisely. Unless you have a custom domain connected to an elite alma mater or a professional website that hiring managers will find irresistible, Gmail is preferred.
I am sitting here in Starbucks right now. The atmosphere is right and their music has a lot to do it with. There is a few consumer companies with a musical identity. I can think of only Apple, with its association to Dylan and now Beatle. Starbucks also has one, not sure if it is done consciously. But I think it can be better exploited.
To start, it would be nice to stream that their ambient playlist when you are in the store via their app. Or offer some sort of iTune play list.
So when I am here, I can put my head phone on and shut out the people: just me, the music, and Starbucks. Wouldn’t that be nice…
Using my iPhone has come to the screeching stop this morning. the culprit: the notification system.
Yes ever since I have installed a number of social app on my iPhone, i think my phone has reach a critical breaking point of operability as the notification messages took over my UI.
That does two things, a. Bring my current foreground task to a completely screeching stop, and b. The notification has served no purpose at all because I could not retain any information delivered by the notification, especially after being rudely intruded. So the time and the train of thought lost to the interruption becomes a complete sunk cost in productivity.
Kk Apple, for a company that boasts its UI, you need to make this no 1 priority. Your competitor is gloating at you for your poor handle at this aspect, rightfully so.
I do not have a particular design in mind, but a couple of design principles you need to consider.
Users is entitled the control to the notification, “on the fly”. Kinda like alarm clock, you can snooze it to gain a freedom of concentration and or turn it off completely, with ease. Like the snooze button, the UI should have elements to facilate that action, rather than burying it deep in the setup menu.
History of Notification. The worst interruption is something you cannot do anything about. It’s like one of those “what the hell do you want me to do about it moment?” well, if I can’t keep track of the notification that just came in, “WTF can I do about it”
Honestly, you don’t need an ergonomic expert to do a 2 month case study to figure that out. Just ask any users.
“…I think there is room in the brain for faith, even if we know what each molecule of the brain is doing…,there is always going to be the mystery of spirituality that is going to live on within us… for the value and the importance of these experiences, someone has to answer for themselves…”—Neurologist Kevin Nelson, during an interview on CBC talk show, “Current”
Say what you want about Kayne West. He is brilliant at marketing.
I was listening to his latest album today and wondering to myself why every track sounds so vivid and the notes just stuck to my head so spontaneously. Every single song was like “WOW, this is some crazy stuff.” While he produces some top notch quality stuff, I was never so impressible with his music, so that every track just wash over my psyche like torrents strike me as somewhat surprising.
Then I remember, “Ahhh, that 30 minute music video that I watched on my iPhone.”
Our memory has always worked a little better with context. Especially with music, some of the music that I can still rolled off my tougue was the sound track associated with the soap opera I watched. (In Taiwan, every soap opera begins and ends with a sound track, and I can still regurgitate all the songs in every single drama I watched.) Simply because there is so much context, i.e. visual, plot, the characters, the provoked emotion, and other mental feedback, that surround the song, our brain hardwires the music to all these context and in response to the musical stimulus, automatically generate a rich response. The music is literally stuck in our head.
So while Kanye West latest music video is devoid of true theme and meaning, it is a visual concoction of all neuro-cues to trigger a response in the subconscious level within its audiences: flippant choice of colors, large explosions and rolling smoke fumes, the overwhelmingly beautiful ballad choreography are just a few of many visual psychodelic treats. And while you are tuning in his video, you have opened up your brain for construction of Kanye West exclusive jukebox.
To end, I will have to quote from the movie “Take Him to Greek”, that I have just been “mind-f*ed”. Crazy…
- a comment by RIM’s representative when asked about Playbook’s battery life (source link).
How can this be? Power performance is a system-wide design criteria that should be considered at every stage of the design and it seems that RIM is treating this as an after thought. Now I am really curious to see whether the Playbook can hit even hit 7hr.
Just watched Inside Job, a documentary on the 2008 financial melt down. A question pops into my head, “Are the Wall Street villainized? Or they are truly the villain?” Surely the documentary raised enough points to make all of us wonder about it.
But somehow, I think the thing that is scarier is not the question whether they are the villains that perpetrates the crisis, but that the public already have decided that they are and yet feel they could not do anything about it. Just look to how powerless Obama administration and himself are as they struggle against the control of these wall streets super power, what faith and hope do people have left?