Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Next iPhone

I'm going to buy the next iPhone, period! Being an Apple fan and a long time spectator of Apple news, I actually think that the iPhone 'next' to the upcoming one would actually be a more revolutionary product than the upcoming one. Of course, I've no proof, it is all my 'informed' guess.

Well, why I'm gonna buy the upcoming iPhone? My 3GS is on its last leg, battery is surprisingly ok, cuz I plug it at work and sync it on my PC every night, so power wise it is fine. However, the cracking case is a bit annoying and the screen actually is really getting old, it goes dim every now and then. After skipping 4S and even 5, I think it outlast longer than I had expected. However, the killing factor is gonna be iOS7 which will not support 3GS. I'm still using the latest version of iOS, though many features are not applicable to me, obviously without the front camera, Siri, facetime, etc, I still get security update and other things like notification center in my last upgrade. But, with the tremendous change in iOS7, I don't want to be opted out completely with this upgrade. So, a new phone is needed. Also, given my extent of usage, in spite of other high priority expenses at home, the purchase of a new iPhone would still deem to be justified.

Based on all the rumors about the next iPhone, I think the most believable outcome will be: same form factor, upgraded cameras, A7 inside, fingerprint recognition, iOS7 compatible, no NFC, black and white iPhone. It will be called iPhone 5S, S will stand for 'Security' with fingerprint recognition as the key selling-point. The cheaper version of iPhone 5C will come out, C will stand for color, though black and white will still be available among iPhone 5C which should have mostly the same spec as iPhone 5 except one key feature which is something I would just guess!

For me the iPhone 5S would be good enough and be a major major upgrade for me iPhone usage experience. However, why I guess iPhone 6 would be better is because I think it would have a bigger screen size, regardless it's gonna be 4.3", 4.7', or 5". It would be a more interesting selling-point to existing iPhone users. I know there is a sea of Android phones out there has those sizes or bigger, but they are Androids. That's why I'm actually a bit tempt to get a hand of a Nexus 7 tablet just for the sake of tasting what Android is all about without leaving iOS camp. Well, it is just a tempt, based on my busy schedule, I doubt that I would have the luxury time to play with another gadget, so it may just a thought. Actually, I doubt Nexus 7 will be the end product of Android tablet. The killer one will be the one that is in Motorola's shop currently cooking by Google. That's gonna be the one that will go head on with iPad in 2014 and onwards. Wait and see if my guess is gonna be correct!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Be a good parent

Theories sometimes are hard to be practically use in the real world. I have my beliefs in what count as a good parent. In fact, I know what kind of parent I want to be, but in reality, I would say I've not been able to do what I want to be so far. It is not that I've not tried, but I fail quite often. To step back and analyze it, when I do and say certain things with a good intention, the recipient end may not view it the same as I do. So, the expected results never come and my emotion kicked in. It is not their fault, cuz how can I remember what I thought when I was five or six years old? Even two six years old kids don't behave the same way, he is my son, but he doesn't think like me. So, communication is really an art that takes a lot of time to practice.

I just need to be more patient and keep my temper down, since being too emotional goes against the person what I want to be. My wife every now and then would say what if we are not parents, how our life would be different. I always reply to her that there is no 'what if' in my dictionary. I'm mature enough to understand that being a parent is my choice with no regret. There are certainly both plus and minus for every decision. I still think that being a parent gives me more to cherish than the opposite. I'm happy to be a father, though it is not easy.

My dream is to be my sons' personal guide, their lives' companion that they are willing to share their thoughts to me and seek my opinions actively. That's much more advanced than simply being a friend or an old-fashioned father figure that you fear/respect. That's not something that can be done easily, a lot of cultivations are needed. I need to observable, approachable, knowledgeable, caring, and patient. I still have so much to learn..... 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pacific Rim

Better be late than never, I went to see this movie weeks ago but never got the time to talk about it. Just try to be brief and clear about what I think of this movie:

Good Parts:
CG, robotic design, site selection of fights between robots and monsters.

Decent Parts:
Characters and acting - there are many actors, they are provided enough to do, but not enough to shine. Acting demand is not great, but the characters are not too boring.
Script - not great, understandable, logical within its own universe, smooth, not much dragging.
Cutting - understandable, smooth.

Bad parts:
Nothing too specific, just doesn't give me a feeling to see it again.

This movie clearly pay homage to Japanese robotic animations. I think the movie somehow lacks 'something', I 'm not sure exactly what it is....Surely, I love to see those robots and monsters duel them out and smash, bang, bang, etc...but I think the story, the premise, or the characters are all good, but not great enough to make audience care and hang on them to really bump our 'blood' to strike our fists in the air when the monsters were killed, a bit worse than Transformers, I think.

However, just for fun and don't mind leave my brain outside the entrance of the cinema, for entertainment value wise, this movie does do its job. I would give a B.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Digital Surveillance

Talk about the hottest international news in this year so far, the Snowden case is second to none. I’m very surprise there is not been a reported interest in making his case into a major Hollywood movie yet. Anyway, I’m not too interest in dissecting his motive or strategy of disclosure. Instead, I just wanna talk about the issue of surveillance.  

With or without reference to the ‘Big Brother’ in George Orwell’s 1948 masterpiece 1984, information surveillance by government should not be news. Perhaps this Snowden case is just a more up-to-date reminder to the people living in current time when there are already so much information can be gathered openly on the internet, as an alert that most people just don’t think about all the implications behind.

The art of ‘spying’ exists in our human history for thousands of years. It is a matter of need or I should say a matter of survival or victory among conflicting interests, regardless they are countries, warlords, etc. Knowledge is power, knowledge before being put into testing, is a result of analysis of information, which is built on data collection. In the pre-digital age, espionage was a difficult art! It involves polished skills that only few people masters and they may also need to build connections, trusts, etc that took time and put the spy in harmful situations. That’s why it was not that widespread, and targets have to be very specific. However, in this day and age, most information are created, transferred and stored in digital form. It shouldn’t be surprise that they will be collected by interesting parties for whatever reason they have as long as they can get a hand on it. All the laws, regulations, morality or else that supposed to protect information from being gathered without owners’ consent are just bullshit! For people who are determined to collect information, they will only be limited by monetary and technological means. If they got paid, they can build as big as data centers they can, buy the biggest storages they can, they will just do it as long as it is technologically feasible. If it is done not by NSA, GCHQ, someone else will do it, that doesn’t really matter! Cuz all governments or groups, it is just too tempting to do it. Thus, there is no free lunch digitally, once you live online, your digital life is exposed and up for grabbed. 

So, what Snowden did is not gonna make any real difference eventually. Authority will lie as long as they could, they may claim to change but they won’t indeed for sure, and that’s the price we gotta pay for the convenience that we enjoy using the internet. So silly comments that I read online about defensing what the government did and somehow discredited Snowden’s claims, saying that it would be impossible for the government to handle that many information, such as voice call, as if they thought NSA is hiring a bunch of folks listening to scooped phone conversation around the clock 24/7. They are just naïve! They forgot that there are programs to convert those audio files into text. So, they can skirmish the text file by search if needed!

Honestly, it is also very silly to believe that authority is simply using their data collection for fighting terrorism. It is a just an excuse, protecting national interest? That’s closer, but controlling the human population is the ultimate goal. If I can make a guess, the ‘big brother’ is building a database of 7 billion. They collect all data they want regardless what they are, as long as it is technically feasible, they will just suck up all data available. What matter is to file them properly with the right ‘labels’, then store them in the storage base in Utah, Maryland, Colorado, etc. Then, they just analyze the data to put them into the proper ‘pigeon holes’ of 7 billion. Then, do search and found based on their needs at the time. So, we all are in this pool, nobody is gonna pick our file up and analyze us specifically unless something comes up. For example, 2 months ago, Snowden’s father or girlfriend would just be no different from us. Now by 24/7, I’m sure anyone that is 2 or 3 degrees of separation from the Snowden friends and family would be closely monitored just in case Mr. Snowden would attempt to communicate with them or whatever. So, they are ‘red’ and we are just ‘green’ on their radar. Certainly, the cost and effort for such massive data surveillance and subsequent operations are massive, their larger goal would be to do ‘things’ PROACTIVELY rather than simply reactive to what’s happening. So, that’s almost what the movie ‘Minority Report’ has shown, we will be treated base on what we ‘may’ do before we do it if ever.  That’s gonna be sh*tty!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Personal update for Jun 2013

There have been many things going on in my life that seek so much of my time and attention. I couldn’t help but have to scale back my blogging activities. However, I’ve never thought of giving it up. I wouldn’t care how popular FB or Twitter, etc. are, cuz each tool has its own advantages and blog surely does has its. Since I happen to be able to squeeze a bit time and do have few things that I wanna blog about. I may have just pulled them all out while I can.

On family side, my older son has just graduated from K school and will go to P school in coming fall. Time just flies. I would give a ‘B’ for his upbringing so far. There are still few things that I would say he is lacking. First of all, he is still behind in his ability to taking personal care of himself. Certain things that he should be able to do, he is still not very capable. On top of that, he has shown his laziness every now and then. He clearly knows what are right, but he just takes the easy, convenient, but wrong ways to do certain things. Besides that, there are still many things that I can think of (may separately blog it in details in future) that I should do to help him better but they have not been done. That would come to my shortcomings rather than his. So, I don’t wanna fully blame him for what he is now. He is still a kid and I’m largely responsible for what he can and can’t do so far.

There is an issue with my younger son. For being a 2 years old tot, he is identified to be behind in development after being checked, particularly in speech. Therapy sessions are scheduled and it is gonna be a very challenging process for our family to go through. But shit happens, my attitude is always to face the music and just suck it up, deal with it. Blaming anyone, including myself is not gonna help, so just have to look ahead and try to make things better. That’s all I can do. I think this issue kinda makes me think how much I’ve and have not changed in last two decades or so. When I was younger, I was much more pessimistic than I should be. Not that I’m a highly optimistic person now, but I think my ‘mental pendulum’ has definitely swung to the opposite side especially after I came a dad.  I guess it has a lot to do with the unchanged mindset that I’m still a relatively practical person with rationale over emotion. That always helps in problem solving.

There are also other things that have changed and gonna change in my family life as well, like home-moving and getting an additional helper. Those changes post challenges in both positive and negative ways to our family.  As above, just have to deal with them, what can I say? That's life!