Saturday, May 29, 2010

Is this real?

Is this real or Hong Kong's version of Joshua Bell playing Bach's Chaconne in the subway experiment?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bypassing the Great China Firewall

A friend of mine who is working in Shanghai seems to have unrestricted access to the Internet. Curious about it, I ask him how come he is able to update his Facebook and read Apple Daily while he is in Shanghai.  "The wall is for those who voluntarily submit to it.  Many kids in the bigger cities have their ways to bypass it."  He sends me this link which offers a number of ways to bypass the wall: As the freebies are not very reliable, he and his colleagues are using a paid service called Strong VPN, which allows them to surf the web freely for something like US$7 a month.

I am totally ignorant to Swedish Sami culture.  Thanks to Jonna Wibelius and Internet, I am able to enjoy the lovely music of Sofia Jannok.  Keep the Internet free and unrestricted.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where have the boys gone?

Was reading the blog of Sally Anderson (founder of Hong Kong Dog Rescue) over the weekend.  1st of May was a big day for Hong Kong Dog Rescue - it was time they had to leave their kennel in Pokfulam and move to their new home in Tai Po.  The big move was filmed and you can watch it on Youtube.  I couldn't help wondering while watching the video:  How come most of the volunteers are girls?  Where have the boy gone?

This book, "Why Boys Fail: "Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind" got mentioned in the Hong Kong Economic Journal.  Out of curiosity I downloaded a sample from Kindle Store.  Don't like it.  It reads amateurish and contains mostly second-hand information.  Looking for something better to read I found Peg Tyre's "The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must do".  There are a few things in the book that are new to me.  For instance, I never realised that it could be a political issue as such - some "pro-boys" measures are simply perceived as "anti-girls" and strongly opposed by the feminist groups and parents of the high achieving girls.  The whole system, as pointed out by the author, does seem unfair to the boys.  When boys are treated as girls at homes and judged as girls at schools, how can boys not be defective girls?  It is a good read and I recommend it to all parents (not just parents of boys).

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A New World

When I had the Kindle in my hands for the first time, I fell in live with it instantly.  As a new convert, I let my wife and daughter try it.  Big mistake.  They privatised it on their first try.  It's true that the Kindle is very limited and capable of only one thing.  But it does what it is supposed to do, and does it really well.  It doesn't look like a book but it feels like one in your hands as you actually use it.  Retiring to the couch with a kindle is as relaxing as reading a book with a bottle of beer and a wide-brimmed straw hat under the sun.  It's the user experience that counts and the Kindle passes with flying colour in that area.  A friend of mine got a Kindle DX for her mother as a present.  She thought it was a crazy and useless gadget but, after trying it for 15 minutes, she was a joyous woman.  After all, having given up reading for over a decade because of failing eyesight, she can now swim in the sea of books.  It's a whole new world for her. 

When the iPad came out many said the iPad was a stupid idea (some still do).   It can't multi-task, it doesn't have Flash and it doesn't exactly do anything a laptop can't do.  But the iPad, like the Kindle, are supposed to be used when you don't need all those serious stuff.  Who need a powerful device that can do serious word-processing, photo-shopping, and multi-tasking when they are enjoying a glass of wine or a bottle of beer in the couch?  If you are supposed to do some serious work, go back to your desk and concentrate on your work.  Forget about Youtube, Flash movies and all the stupid resources-demanding games.   The beauty of the iPad lies in its simplicity and its Do-Not-Bother-Me-with-That attitude.  It breaks away from the the more powerful the better cycle.  Lovely.  Even a 100-year-old computer illiterate can learn to use it.  I have proof.


Monday, May 03, 2010

Metro Vocal Group

Not only have these happy gweilos made Hong Kong their base, they are singing Cantonese pop too.

Glass Bottle Recycling

Here in Hong Kong you can find recycling facilities for papers, plastic bottles, dated appliances... but nothing for glass bottles.  The costs of recycling, as it were and was often said, prohibitively high.  Glad to read from today's papers that the Hong Chi Association (a non-profit making organisation to help people with intellectual disabilities) is going to launch a glass bottle recycling campaign.  The only bad news is that they only have one collection point on the island side in stage one, which is far from where I live.  Details here.
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