Friday, March 25, 2011

I need a break

I’ve been very tired in these 2 days. I didn’t know why at first. Is it because I didn’t sleep enough? Or too busy at work? Yesterday was Thursday, but I felt like it was Friday. So, you can imagine how I feel today. I think I'm tired is a result of combo of factors.
  • Am I too busy at works? Well, I had busy days, but not to a point of exhaustion.
  • Am I sick or something? I don't think so. I think I've not worked out for a long time, that doesn't help.
  • Anything to do with my diet? well, actually I eat quite well recently, just too full sometimes. But, it is fine overall.
  • Have I got enough sleep? Well, that is a bit lacking, maybe I listen to podcast a bit too much, cuz I've been trying to catch up with some programs, just wanna clean up the backlog. However, coffee helps and I did do some catch up in bed to make up my needs.
  • Am I too stressful over things? Well, yes, to some extents, considering the recent and upcoming change on the home front. However, I think that's still manageable.
  • Am I bored? Hmm..... certainly not as vivid as many others. I've responsibilities to fulfill. I've jobs to do. Most things take time. I need to keep harmony at home. That takes effort. So, with the limited spare personal time that I have. My PC and iPhone entertain me. Is that enough? No, but I somehow just get use to it. Not trying to complain. Perhaps time is really the issue, that's why I decide to put off my desire of getting an iPad2 and get iPad3 next year instead. iPad3 will certainly better than iPad2, if I don't have time to enough iPad2, why I just wait till I may have more time next year to get a gadget that refresh every year.
Come to think of it....I suddenly realize a forgotten fact that I've not have a vacation for at least a year if not longer. I start my current job last May and it's been 10 months now. I can't recall when did I have vacation in my previous job. That means I've been working for months and months without a break to refresh myself, to rejuvenate, to recharge, to chill or whatever you call that. Maybe that's why...........
However, based on my current situation on home and work fronts, I don't think I will take time off till June. So, there's 2-3 more months to go!! Oh Shxx! I need a break!....................

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NBA 2011 predictions

I'm quite tired lately, both on the works and family sides. However, that hasn't stopped me from reading news, particularly my favorite topics...

NBA regular season is getting close. Based on my gut feeling, I would make following bold predictions, let's see if I'm right or wrong in few months.

Eastern Conference:
Celtics will beat Heat in 6 games
Bulls will beat Magic in 6 games
Celtics will beat Bulls in 7 games to go to the Final.

Western Conference:
Lakers will beat Mavericks in 5 games
Spurs will beat Thunder in 6 games
Spurs will beat Lakers in 7 games to go to the Final.

Celtics will beat Spurs in 6 games -> 1825!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fukushima 50

A team of workers said they would give their lives to save Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant from disaster. I definitely think that they are truly heroes. For god sake, they may die sooner than they suppose to be due to the potentially fatal levels of radiation that they are voluntarily exposing themselves to. They will be regarded as martyrs for sure.

They said that they are not afraid to die. It is easy to say, but really doing it is another thing. The 180 technicians have been nicknamed The Fukushima Fifty because they rotate shifts at the plant in teams of 50 in a desperate bid to cool overheating reactors.

They are the bravest of the brave and have put themselves before their country. And Tokyo radiology professor Keiichi Nakagawa said: “This is like suicide fighters in a war.” But, I disagree with that. Yes, they are Japanese, but they are not Kamikaze. Those fighter pilots crashed their planes to U.S. battleships in WWII gave their lives to a wrong cause. Though that was probably not what they believed then, they died for their country on the wrong path. However, Fukushima 50 are doing for the well-beings of not just their fellow citizens, but for the rest of us as well. Whether they succeed or not, we owe them to some extents for sure, and they absolutely deserve salute from the world.

Reportedly, many bone marrow centers all over the First world are ready to help these folks. However, their fates in terms of medical reality are doomed. Hopefully, the medical world would be able to level their pain and their government would take care of their love ones, so they will rest in peace and received the highest honor and respect that they deserve.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Earthquake + Tsunami

I wanna blog about this topic for few days, just too many family errands to run putting me off from blogging till today. March 11, 2011 is recorded in world history as an important date given the earthquake of 8.9 magnitude scale took place in North-Eastern part of Japan and the tsunami as a result. Thanks for the advance in technology, we could all witness the horrific power of nature with our eyes. The images are just devastating and the damages are still unfolding.

To be fair, I love the concept that life is equal, but in fact, it isn’t in the world that we are living in. Looking back to other natural disasters, when I read news about earthquake hit Turkey or Iran with death toll in tens of thousand just few years back. In spite of images from TV, the impact to us was not that great. Coz, those places in rubbles were not too much different from before the earthquake hit. It is not true for sure, but the television image wasn’t helping much. Even for the big one that hit Sichuan few years back, kept aside the ethic feelings towards the victims, the damage of collapse building left us feeling sad, but anger was resulted upon reading the news that some teachers would escape while leaving behind the kids in classrooms, and the substandard building standards that kill so many innocents while the government buildings still stood with minimal damage. The South Asia tsunami that kills 200,000+ was also horrific. However, the television image was mainly focusing on beach resorts and islands. The visual impact was more a matter of aftermath and we could more or less rely on victims’ recount and imagine why horrible it was.

This time is different. First of all, it happens to a first world country with advance technology. The visual images are available almost real time with minimal delay. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube just made all the difference. Secondly, the scale is greater. Earthquake is huge in historic measure, and the power of tsunami….man….just make us speechless. When we see the black wave swam with cars, trucks, boats, ships and hit houses, highways, trains, and airport! The debris put things in scale, cuz we know how big those items and they just look so small from the sky. That made the damage of tsunami that much grand and terrible. In addition, the image of burning power plants, the spread of fire to engulf towns near by, swept by the burning debris, and the worst case scenario about the destruction of nuclear plants. God, that has made the whole saga much more devastating unprecedented.

Natural disasters happen everyday. The major reason that they got reported is when human beings are involved. Either they are perished or they survive in spite of odds. Survival stories are still emerging, I’m sure that will shed tears and joy. That was normal. What make this Japan disaster special are that there are so many different aspects that would not just affect Japanese but people all over the world for years to come.

On the economic side, besides the short term shocks to the stock market, what costs that would affect the economy rebuild? Would that drive commodity and raw material demands? How would insurance companies be affected? On social front, would they try to rebuild those towns? If so, how so? On the technology side? Would Japanese invent some fancy but ultra-efficient clean up machineries? How would the nuclear power meltdown affect the health, the economy rebuild, Japanese’s foods export, and future energy development? Also, would Naoto Kan be able to surge in its premiership as other world leaders in face of crisis? Also, how other countries learn from these disasters? Tons of studies can be done in those areas and more just come to think of it.

The most remarkable thing so far in this disaster is not new to me. I’m talking about Japanese people’s civility and graceful behavior. I knew that from the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Tens of thousands people died, but Japanese were so calm in such environment that put most people of other first world countries to shame. Unlike Japanese, other countries would deploy their natural guards to patrol the streets after this kind of disasters. The goal is to maintain order and safety of survivors as well as for those incoming rescue teams. Not in Japan, they are not needed. Rather than looting and fighting for supplies, Japanese help out their fellow men and women. Businesses and even gangsters would help the victims voluntarily, and people would naturally lie up for supplies. Nobody complains nothing! That happened in Kobe and now as well. Such wonderful civic behavior has been successfully implanted in the Japanese DNA. Such remarkable exhibition dwarfs people of most first world countries don’t need to even mention those arrogant and idiotic neighbors.

May the victims rest in peace, strength to the survivors and God blesses these wonderful people. I wish the nuclear radiation issue would be swept away without any long term harm. I’m confident that the Japanese people would rise again as before and congratulation again for being the Jewel of human for the rest of the world to learn and worship, in spite of such horrific happenings to their country.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

English Internet is still superior

Being a bilingual person who love spending time on the net, I think I would stand by my believe that sites with content in English are generally superior than those in Chinese. This is purely a subjective opinion without any scientific or systematic proof behind it. Nevertheless, my view is a result of years of observation and visits to sites in both English and Chinese worlds. Here are some of my views that contribution to my overall opinion on this topic.

I spent about 60% of my times in English sites, while the rest in both Traditional Chinese and Simplify Chinese sites.
Most of the sites that I visit frequently are blogs, search sites, web portals, forums, news sites, sites of specific topics, e.g. movies, web videos.
In spite of the huge population of Chinese netizens, reportedly with a current population of 450M, the development of internet is still largely driven by the West.

For English sites:
I found a greater variety of sites in English that cover wide range of unique topics, basically, nothing is off limit. What I find to be impressive is not just the depth of information of those topics, but the originality and design of those sites. I think that reflects the long history of individualism of the people and the freedom of information in West.
Many English sites have better or unique art design which matches the theme of those sites seamlessly. This observation does not just apply to those of large corporations, but to many sites of individuals as well.

As English is still the most ‘international’ language in the current world, many visitors of English sites are coming from places outside the English speaking countries. That can be reflected by the visitors’ comments and that give a more international community feel.

For Chinese sites:
I found Chinese sites design are generally subpar, if not terrible, comparing with those in English. First of all, many of the better ones are clearly ‘borrow’ from the English sites. E.g. Baidu vs Google in terms of simplicity. Many Chinese web portals are just clamed with ‘stuff’ all over the screens with annoying pop-up flesh ads. They are definitely not user-friendly in netvigation. It kinda remind me of comparing the store windows of Chinese department stores to the Western stores. You will see the store windows of the former are filled up with pottery, traveler bags, vases, blanket, toys, and everything as long as an inch of space looks to be available. In the contrary, the latter will only show a theme of simplistic artistic design with only few merchandizes. That analogy applies to the portal sites as well. I guess it is not about the language, but more about the culture and mentality of the people.

Also, the design and layout of major Chinese web portals/ sites of similar purposes are indistinguishable. You can’t tell which is which unless you look at the top left logo on the front page. Yes, that’s right, the logo is always at the top left of the screen. All topics are clammed on the same page, if there is not enough space to fit everything on one screen size, they still put everything there and may user to drag the page down, down and down till the bottom. All those sites just look the same. My impression is that the starter of the pack borrowed or came up with the first design, then other competitors just copy the shelf and populate with their own content. You can see examples of such in,, etc.

Of course there are better sites in the Chinese worlds, particularly those in traditional Chinese. I guess it is because of the level of information freedom in Taiwan and Hong Kong versus Mainland China. However, as the popular of the traditional Chinese world is much smaller than the simplified Chinese world, the relatively greater variety of topics in traditional Chinese sites do lack the ‘depth’ compared with those English counterparts. On top of that, many ‘experts’ or ‘specialists’ of specify topics are still mainly found in the English speaking world, thus the newest research results and information are still firstly reported in English sites. Those found in Chinese sites are still mostly second hand information as a result of translation. Bear in mind that many of the English information are written by the experts themselves. If the Chinese translation is done by the Chinese experts of the topics, the timing will still be late because they need to spend time on translation which is not their strength. If the translation is outsourced to translators, the turnaround may be quicker but the quality may not be the best due to special knowledge of the topic which is unfamiliar by most translators.

Of course, there is well-known paranoidic censorship in simplified Chinese world.

Therefore, in spite of the widely discussed money-making opportunities in the Chinese internet world due to the huge population of netizens there, I still see that as a much more separated world than the rest of English internet world which is more integrated. Yes, money can be made in the Chinese cyberspace, as I opine that many netizens that are living in that closely monitored internet do behave like schools of fish. In spite of the rising economic power of China, I think the baton of web development is still in the hand of the West, i.e. the English speaking community. The Chinese will continue to play the second fiddle for years to come.