Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Personal update, Apple vs Samsung, and Armstrongs

Home update
Had 2 weeks of "house arrest" as our housemaid went home for a visit. My wife and I did most of the houseworks and taking care of our two boys. Spending time with them was good, but it was very exhausted as well, with all the cooking, feeding, cuddling, diaper-changing, washing, bathing, playing, lecturing, monitoring, etc. Just didn't have time for anything else, that's why I didn't post anything in that period. I barely had time to use my iPad to view Facebook and few sites only. We were only able to manage to trip out as a family to do some slight window-shopping and go to a family photo section, not much else. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean that I lost touch with what's going on in the world, that's why I've something to say here.

Apple vs Samsung
The verdict is out and Apple won! Samsung is supposed to pay Apple more than a billion dollar, but as many news critics or columnists have said. That billion dollar is not the key as that's just jump change for either companies. What really matter is how this case would change the development of smartphone/tablet from now on. I agree that Samsung and the rest of Android phone makers will start to develop phones that would work around Apple's patents in the upcoming batch of phones. As that would take time, so the coming cycle of new phones/tablets would be slowed down a bit. That should give some breathing room to Apple given its current 1 year of product cycle. However, I just don't know how much Samsung, HTC, LG, and the rest can/will do for that work around, given that the core of their product is Google Android. If Google doesn't make the corresponding changes as well, that won't make no difference as most of phones/tablets these days are basically bricks with a large screen! It will be interested to see how Google will respond to that.

In addition, I don't agree that the case will benefit MS Window 8 phones/tablet. I just don't think that Android users will flop to MS camp for the hiccup in Android. I would say they will go back to Apple iOS camp instead. Cuz, to me, MS is whole different species. Also, I think we need to pay close attention to 2 other related issues. First is the progress of similar case in Europe, cuz the results could be different, also Android has a much bigger market there than in the US. Second is the next step of Apple, would it sue Google? I'm not sure if they would, if they both can sit down and talk though I doubt that would happen given Steve is gone and I'm not sure Tim Cook would have a coffee with Eric Schmitt at Starbucks. But, instead, I think Google will voluntary back-off a bit and change Android enough to stay away being sued by Apple. I think both companies would think that suing each other is not good publicity given both are American success stories.

According to wikipedia, "In June 2012, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officially charged Lance Armstrong with having used illicit performance enhancing drugs,based on blood samples from 2009 and 2010 as well as the testimony of other cyclists. Armstrong originally attempted to challenge this in the Texas Supreme Court, claiming that his right to due process was being violated and that USADA did not have jurisdiction over the case. On August 20, 2012, US District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the case. On August 23, 2012, Armstrong announced that he would not be fighting the USADA's charges.Later that day the USADA confirmed in a statement that Armstrong was banned for life and would be disqualified from any and all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 1, 1998, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points and prizes." 

I'm not cyclist myself, but I think that's just harsh to an athlete who had done so much to the sport and is now fighting cancer. Drugs can help if he did take it, but he still needed go through a lot of training and hardship to win. I just don't think it is right given his current condition. Just let go would be more humane I think.

Another Armstrong, Neil Armstrong, the first man left a footprint on the moon died last week at the age of 82. With all the controversy or conspiracy or secret related to the NASA related to the Apollo mission, I think they are recorded somewhere in some 'Dark files', but the personal experiences and thought related to those missions, except those being made public, certainly gone with Neil's death. Let this science and space legend and pioneer R.I.P.!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

London Olympics 2012

The Olympic game has already completed more than half overall. I’m not a big fan of sports, but I do like Olympics because it is still one of few regular global events that are uplifting and peaceful. I understand that it costs a lot to host an Olympic, that’s why only relatively rich country can run them, and they have to try their best to make money in whatever way they can. I don’t know how the book is run. I only know that Greece overspent and put itself in debt, China super spent and many stadiums are wasteland after 4 years. London is smart with money, so it should end up alright. Put aside the money stuff like the broadcast rights, ticket prices, official sponsor claims, etc, to me, the most interesting part about Olympics is the human aspects, particular the background stories of athletes. Cuz, they are the real stars, and should be the focus of the whole event.

I can’t recall the names of most athletes, cuz that’s not really the point. My general impression is that those American gold medalists as usual will make lots of endorsement money afterwards, on Wheaties box, Disneyland ads, etc. Chinese athletes have been trained through hell because of the extremely intensive internal competition and the unbearable burden of expectation from their 1.3 billion countrymen. So, they just have to win Gold, and would cry for getting Silver. That’s really sad! They have won a lot of medals so far, I appreciate their winning performance, but actually I would be more interesting to see the performance of athletes from other smaller countries regardless they won or not. Cuz, how often do we see those athletes perform? In spite of the convenience of internet which would suppose to make everything easily accessible anytime anywhere just few clicks of buttons away. In fact, how often do we really click those few buttons? That’s why TV broadcast can still play an important role in Olympics, some of us just a bit lazy or passive to seek out what’s interesting in the event. We honestly do like to be fed some times. Internet on the other hand can be a good supportive tool for us to seek more info on our own after we found something interesting on TV. I think this dual roles model in sport broadcast is very effective and will continue in years to come.

I also like the aspect of culture display in Olympics very much. You can see not just different races and ethnicities of people, but also learn a lot from their clothes and behaviors. I saw many not-known-to-be-very-racially-diverse countries have multi-racial teams representation, not just their athletes, but also the staff team of coach, trainers, and assistants. That has shown that talents matter and globalization has a large role in fierce competition. The athletes’ clothes are also fascinating, usually their color and design represents their countries somehow, traditionally would be in line with their national flag. Nonetheless, as most of them are sponsored by Adidas or Nike, looking at some old reels from past Olympics and compared them to the current one, you can clearly see the change in design in sportswear, particularly more about the cutting as well as the materials being used. You can see how technology is being integrated in the design to enhance performance, maybe just to gain 0.01 sec of advantage that would be a difference in breaking world record or with/without medals. For example, I caught a glimpse of the diving event this time which has shown many divers with some bandages across their backs and limbs, that is something that you wouldn’t see in past Olympics. Those special bandages are very prevalent this time. I wonder what their function is. To relieve pain? Tighten the muscle or else?

Also, the look of athletes nowadays is more interesting than before. Athletes from most developing countries do look very plain and simple, unless it is required, they don’t have much make-up, accessories, etc to tell them apart from one another.  However, many American and European athletes have tattoos, unique nail-paints, and wild haircut to display their own personality. That also shows that the countries that they represent value individualism and personal freedom highly. However, the best of all to me is to see the athletes’ outpour of emotion after their performance. That makes them human, not machines.

Last but not least, for being a dad, I could also use this chance to teach my son about Geography, races, sports, cultures and customs. So far, I don’t think I’ve done enough in that regards, but hopefully, I can make up some before the whole Game is over. Cuz, there are only so many four years in our lifetime.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

bad movie science

I forgot where I got this summary, but it is a nice start as a reference to tell what is fiction and what is reality.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Without the latest one from The Dark Knight Rises, but it is good enough for anyone interested.