Friday, June 30, 2006

Can it ever be even acceptable?

When I first heard that they were making a live-action movie of Transformers, the first thing that came to my mind was Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. "Oh man, it's gonna be horrible!" I thought. "They're going to ruin millions of child imaginations and memories!" I guess we'll find out.



P.S. Authenticity of this trailer has been unverified.

edit: Daniel has explained that the mars vehicle in the trailer is actually the Mars Rover, not the Beagle, leading him to believe that the teaser is fake.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bang, bang!

I was sitting in the kitchen working on my laptop to prepare an app for a demo tomorrow. Suddenly, I heard explosions from the direction of the fridge!

Oh no! They're on to me! They've planted plastic explosives to take me out! They'll never take me alive!!!

Diving to one side, I took cover behind a counter and prepared my mouse for a counterattack, Jet Li style. While the explosions continued, I thanked my employer for not giving me a wireless mouse. Bang! Bang! Bang!!! Bide your time, be patient, young grasshopper. Your time will come.

The explosions stopped and I lept from my hiding place to challenge my aggressors! But there was nothing....

The explosions came from a can of Diet Coke that had somehow frozen and exploded from the pressure. The inside of the fridge was a mess. And I couldn't find my digital camera. /sob

Lesson learned: Assassination attempts using cans of Diet Coke in refrigerators have a low probability of success. But still, don't try this at home, kids.

PakG1 lives another day.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Eastern Me-ism culture

This is part of an e-mail sent to me from a friend who is visiting her relatives in Hong Kong and China. I thought this portion was particularly interesting. I received her permission to publish this.
It is sometimes frightening to consider the me-ism here in North America, always what I think, what I want to do, what I like, how I feel -- really "it's all about me". People in Asia comment on how individual we people are in North America, that we do not focus enough on community. Yet it is equally striking to pick out the me-ism characteristics in this comtemporary asian culture.

Here, I have noticed that the world is my garbage pit ( I can throw garbage anywhere because someone is bound to sweep it up); it is my spitbowl ( I can spit anywhere as I please irrespective of the sanitary conditions); it is my washroom (more so for the men and the kids). I have seen how unrelational this so-called community based society is. You put on a nice face when you see each other and then later speak ill behind their backs (because this is my mouth). If you have a little more money than others, you think you are deemed more "cultured" and can do whatever you please irrespective of consideration for others.

I cannot but help think that even though the western culture is very individualistic, we still have a sense of our responsibilty as a citizen, whether as a global citizen or local. We think for ourselves, but do we not also ask ourselves that how can we as an individual contribute to the betterment of our society, our environment, our country, our world, etc?

One incident really hit it home for me. My grandma and I went to this theme/ family/ nature park with my aunt (in China) and her two kids (4 years old boy and 6 years old girl). We found a bench to sit down and rest. My aunt offered me a bottle of drink and some crackers. I finished the drink and the crackers and as a "good citizen", I thought I will keep hold of my garbage until I see a garbage can. So I stuffed the wrappers and my tissue into the bottle so consolidate my garbage. The 4 year old cousin looks at me and says "How dare you!", grabs the bottle from me (because you can return it for money), takes the garbage out and throws the plastic wrapper and the used tissue in the bushes right infront of him. First instinct inside wanted to say "How dare you!" back to him for littering. But what is a 4 year old to know about not littering when his parents do that all the time?
That's something I really haven't thought of before.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In case you didn't know already...

The Scobleizer has left Microsoft. He is joining a podcast startup. It's funny, he's like one of those characters that have achieved superstar status to be larger than their employer. This feels like when Linus Torvalds went to work for Transmeta.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I found the word I was looking for

Web 2.0 is being used these days as a platitude. Now why couldn't I remember that word beforehand?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What I don't like about Web 2.0

Web 2.0 makes so much sense. I really like the concept, and its implications on how it can affect organizations. However, the term has hit controversies for stupid reasons, and I am not entirely sure that I ever liked the momentum that the term gained in the first place.

But what was it that made us identify one application or approach as "Web 1.0" and another as "Web 2.0"? (The question is particularly urgent because the Web 2.0 meme has become so widespread that companies are now pasting it on as a marketing buzzword, with no real understanding of just what it means. The question is particularly difficult because many of those buzzword-addicted startups are definitely not Web 2.0, while some of the applications we identified as Web 2.0, like Napster and BitTorrent, are not even properly web applications!) We began trying to tease out the principles that are demonstrated in one way or another by the success stories of web 1.0 and by the most interesting of the new applications.
The bolded section is the problem. So you may conclude that my problem is not with Web 2.0 itself, but actually, how people misuse the term. However, no. Look deeper. Tim O'Reilly's excellent definition article on Web 2.0 is a great explanation of what Web 2.0 is. However, I would argue that unless you care to look deeply, Web 2.0 is too vague a term to actually differentiate itself. In fact, at first glance, it looks to me like it was created by a bunch of air-headed sociologists who wanted to try to sound intelligent about the implications of technology without understanding the underlying concepts. That happens too often, as it is.

I love how O'Reilly clarifies his stance on the genericization arguments, especially how he notes that current widespread use of the Web 2.0 term is outside the scope of the trademark (which in turn implies that the trademark still holds within its own scope). Using a classic Web 2.0 medium, we can see that his point holds true. Ironically, I wonder if actually Google, the poster boy company of Web 2.0, is in danger of being genericized:
For example, one risk factor which may lead to genericide is the use of a trademark as a verb, noun, plural or possessive, unless the mark itself is possessive or plural (eg. "Friendly's" restaurants).
Hehe, you know Google did make the dictionary as a verb, right? ;)

OK, so O'Reilly explains himself and his stance on Web 2.0. He explains the situation they are facing, how that situation arose, and what they are doing to resolve the situation. Yes, a lot of the world seems to be irrationally lashing out without understanding the entire situation.

But my question is...

Why does any of it matter? Seriously. Most of the people I've heard talk about Web 2.0 don't really understand it. And a lot of the people I know who actually work in this industry have never heard of it. Which is why the term is so stupid to me. It was taken by a mass of people who didn't know what they were talking about and showcased as the revolution that would fulfill the web's potential and overcome the pitfalls of the first dotcom era. And none of these brainless masses would have any idea how any of it actually worked; they think that Web 2.0 is some magic box that will transform cultures automatically. In the end, they just want to sound smart.

Stupid Conversation:
Web 2.0 Sociologist: Web 2.0 lets you communicate with everyone intimately in real conversations that let you build teamwork, find the special gems hidden in the long tail, and ensure transparency!
Guy on the Street: Whoah! How can I take advantage of that at my company??
Web 2.0 Sociologist: Well, just set up some blogs and a 6-degrees network, and you'll be set to go!
Guy on the Street: Cool! It's that easy?? So what do I have to do to set it up??
Web 2.0 Sociologist: Uh... I'm not sure. But don't worry, as soon as you have it set up, it'll work great. Just talk with a technical guy. I'm just a visionary, man. Don't let the idea man do the dirty work, the idea man has more important stuff to do!
Guy on the Street: No doubt! Wow, thanks!

Good Conversation:
Web 2.0 Developer: Well, I can make you a wiki that will let you easily maintain and transfer knowledge from project team to project team. This will improve your ability to solve problems as they arise because the project's information will be organized, well-documented, and easily searchable.
Guy on the Street: Wow, that sounds really good. My teams at work all have a really hard time trying to keep track of project information, especially for large projects! Is this one of those Web 2.0 things??
Web 2.0 Developer: Uh, what's Web 2.0?
Guy on the Street: Oh, never mind... well, I guess just set it up for us, and I'm sure our project success rates will go through the roof!
Web 2.0 Developer: Uh, well, you need to make sure that your people actually use it properly. Wikis do have their advantages, but any new technology can't solve problems on its own.
Guy on the Street: Dang, this really isn't Web 2.0 then. This really smart guy told me that Web 2.0 was really revolutionary and would have a huge impact.

I meet too many sociologists.

Quote of the Day

Notice that girls on fire in their faith make them that much more hotter? Just an observation...
~John Kim

I am The One

It's funny because I have a black trenchcoat and sunglasses.
You scored as Neo, the "One". Neo is the computer hacker-turned-Messiah of the Matrix. He leads a small group of human rebels against the technology that controls them. Neo doubts his ability to lead but doesn't want to disappoint his friends. His goal is for a world where all men know the Truth and are free from the bonds of the Matrix.

Neo, the "One"

83%
Batman, the Dark Knight

79%
The Amazing Spider-Man

71%
Lara Croft

71%
Indiana Jones

71%
Captain Jack Sparrow

63%
El Zorro

58%
James Bond, Agent 007

58%
Maximus

58%
William Wallace

50%
The Terminator

42%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
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