Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And this is why I read TechCrunch. And this is how I know I'm in China

There are several reasons I love reading TechCrunch for all my web/tech news.
  1. Breaking news.  They seem to be often the first to break a significant story.  And if they're not, they're very on the ball to catch up.
  2. Great roster of internationally-focused writers.  Whether it's guest authors from other continents, international beat reporters like Sarah Lacy, or diversity-conscious academics like Vivek Wadhwa, there's great content that's open-minded, insightful, and always strutting to their own tune.
  3. Overall, despite all the haters and accusations of bias (which sometimes admittedly does come out), I usually find the content quite fair and level-headed.
And then every now and then, someone writes a piece that is completely awesome in its points.  Wow.  This one coming from the writer who is perhaps the most vilified of all the staff.  Well written.  I have nothing to add to it, and it made me realize the limitations of my own brain.  I should have been able to think of everything that was written there, but I didn't.  Read it, it's well written.

Well, want to write lots of posts, but no time.  So here's another list of various things that make me go "hmm" in China.  :)

5.  I bought a wardrobe/closet today.  It's a steel frame covered by a cloth exterior.  I've never seen that in Canada.  And it cost only 69RMB.  That's crazy.  Maybe I should go buy one more.  You can never have too many closets when you want to protect your clothing from the nasties on the floor, right?  Right?

4.  The air here is full of static electricity or something.  There's nothing else to explain how all the hairs on my body can feel all prickly.  At first, I thought it was bugs crawling on me, and then I realized there were no bugs.  It's such a weird sensation.

3.  Did I mention this one already?  The sidewalks can double as parking lots, so you have cars and people walking on the same sidewalks.  Really, I think it's wrong to term them sidewalks; rather, they're just parking lots on which people happen to walk.  But parking lots are usually squarish or rectangularish, no?  These things are long and narrow, and separate from the roads, so they carry a lot more people than they do cars per minute.  Who has right of way?

2.  I can download all the music I want for free legally through Google Music.  But you have to be located in Shenzhen, China for this to work.  Yeah, like, seriously.  I just downloaded U2's Best of 1990-2000 album.  I am now listening to Beautiful Day.  You can listen to music streaming straight from the website as well, if you wish.  But since I have an 8mb ADSL pipe, it downloads blazing fast.  Might as well get the MP3s to put on my MP3 player.  If this isn't proof of the music industry's inability to hold on to its old model of making money, I don't know what is.  The music labels are being forced to innovate in the face of disruptive change that is chipping away at their power.  And hopefully, this will allow artists to thrive in the long run, as the power of traditional music labels diminishes such that those same labels are forced to work within new realities.  Will other nations also see similar innovation in the music industry?  We're seeing some interesting things like Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes, but it seems you need a very special consumer demographic, national legal framework, and market environment to be able to force something like unlimited advertising-based downloads to be agreeable to the labels.  The question is... is it sustainable?

1.  My mom made a comment while visiting.  It's easy to clean the floor here.  You do it with your feet.  Just walk around barefoot, and your feet will pick up all sorts of dust.  Then you hold your feet over the garbage can to rub all the dust and whatever else off.  This is when you haven't swept the floor for a few days.  I guess she saw me cleaning my feet over the garbage can a lot.


  1. upon a brief skim, techcrunch also seems more business-y too.
    gizmodo is more fun/nerdy 8^D

    steel frame closet? any pictures? is it very sturdy? is it heavy?

    static air......maybe the air is just really dry?

  2. i second on the photos! but i want to see how the sidewalks look like & the floor before & after shots.