Monday, May 31, 2004

[HK Politics] The Washington Post reports that former President Jiang Zemin may be behind the recent hard line anti-democracy stance taken by the Communists against Hong Kong:

"China's former president, Jiang Zemin, is strengthening his hold on power by promoting a hard-line approach toward Hong Kong and Taiwan, making it more difficult for the country's new leaders to consider concessions on either issue ... Jiang and his allies are trying to preserve economic benefits for their power base in the Shanghai region ... Jiang also held a series of meetings with local officials, academics and businessmen in Shenzhen, located just across the border from Hong Kong, to discuss growing demands for direct elections ... Jiang outlined a firm response by Beijing and referred to a statement by Deng that 'patriots must form the main body' of Hong Kong's leaders ...'They're afraid of democracy in Hong Kong,' said a person who met with Jiang in Guangdong. 'They're afraid if people in the mainland see that Hong Kong can elect its own leaders, they will begin to ask why they can't do the same.'"

June 4 March

Associated Press

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Gandhi

Just watched Gandhi. Great movie about a great human being. I would recommend this movie to anyone. His ideas and actions are just as relevant today.

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, always." -Mahatma Gandhi

Official Mahatma Gandhi eArchive & Reference Library
Would Non-Violence Work Against Hitler?
The World After 9/11 By Arun Gandhi

Friday, May 28, 2004

[HK Politics] SCMP- Allen Lee testifies before Legco panel about the pressure he faced to quit as political radio talk-show host.

Partial transcript
Archived audio of testimony

[Blogging] NYT- Addicted to Blogging (via Buzzworthy): "Never have so many people written so much to be read by so few".

CBS Poll (via Drudge):

Kerry 49%
Bush 41%

Kerry/McCain 53%
Bush/Cheney 39%

Kerry/Edwards 50%
Bush/Cheney 40%

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Roger Ebert's Cannes photo album.

XML Icon: Yay or Nay?

Dave Walker has a rant against the orange XML icon (via Scobleizer): "Bright orange screams “click me”, right? What happens if the user clicks it? ... Feed autodiscovery is the only thing that makes sense."

This is a good point. The average user who doesn't know what it is and doesn't have a news aggregator installed will click on it and get an undesired result. For me, I use a combination of autodiscovery and dragging xml links from the browser to the aggregator. When I'm looking for the site feed link, an XML icon does help it to stand out. However, it'd be fine if people would standardize on the location. Then, I wouldn't have to hunt everywhere for it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

USA Today examines 17 battleground states

Retired General Anthony Zinni- Ten Crucial Mistakes the U.S. Made In Iraq (via Washington Monthly). See also Zinni's 60 Minutes interview.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" won the Palme d'Or. Maggie Cheung won Best Actress but "2046" came up short. Others gave "2046" enthusiastic raves but Roger Ebert called it "a colossal failure ... [It] is the kind of film you build a tortured defense for, lest you seem uncool."

Check out the reviews of "Fahrenheit 9/11" by Ebert and the NY Times



A VC writes about using traditional stock chart analysis to interpret the trends of Bush's approval ratings.

NYT- Bush's Reading List: "The book is 'The One Year Bible,' which offers scriptural passages for each day of the year. Mr. Bush goes through it in even-numbered years and sometimes seems to put the readings to use, according to 'The Bushes,' a new book by Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, and his wife, Rochelle. They note how the president's choice of words, like 'evildoer,' and even some of his decisions seem to correlate with readings of the day."

Moving Day

This blog is now known as Daily Interest.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Blogger now has free photoblogging.

Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh is the guy who unearthed and exposed many of the details of the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal. Eric Alterman calls him "the greatest investigative reporter in the history of this country". Here are some links:


  • The Gray Zone- His latest piece in the New Yorker.

  • The Hersh Alternative- 2001 Washington Post Magazine profile by Bob Thompson. Alterman says that this is "not only the best profile of Hersh ever to appear, but one of the best magazine profiles of anyone I’ve ever read anywhere. If I taught this kind of thing, I would teach this piece."

  • From My Lai to Abu Ghraib- Recent profile in the New York Times

  • 2003 Commencement Address at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

ESPN's Bill Simmons' Ramblings: "I just keep seeing Robert Horry quietly slipping into Jerry Buss' office this week, as Buss hands him a whopping check and says, 'You did good, you did real good.'"

Former UN weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter gives his analysis of whether the sarin shell recently used in an Iraqi attack was part of a secret weapons cache (via Washington Monthly).

Friday, May 21, 2004

Jennifer Rice writes about the danger of being all things to all people: "Trying to be all things to all people is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to attracting and keeping customers. Choosing a target market is tough. It means eliminating entire groups of people from your messages. But without focus, you risk a bland, diluted message that means nothing to anyone."

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Buy a limited edition Xbox Box!

Syndicate This Site

Some thoughts on RSS ... News aggregators have added a new dimension to the way I obtain information. Blogs have exploded within the last two years. There are so many great weblogs and writers out there, it's hard to keep track.

1. News aggregators are the new bookmarks. If you have a blog, you must have a RSS/XML/Atom feed. If you don't have a site feed, unless your site is really exceptional, chances are, I won't remember your site address and return. If you have a site feed, I can add it to my news aggregator and read it along with everything else.

2. Place the site feed link in a prominent location. Right now, there doesn't appear to be a consensus on the best place to put it. Left column, right column, top, bottom, middle ... it's hard to find sometimes. The orange XML button is an excellent idea. Right now, I'm leaning towards placing the site feed link at the top of the page, where it can be seen immediately. I find it less convenient when it's placed at the end of the left or right sidebar, where it's usually in the middle of a page and you have to scroll up and down and look for it.

By the way, you can add my site feed right here.

CSI: New York

I watched CSI: Miami for the first time in a long time. What intrigued me was that it was a preview of CSI: New York. Apparently it interested others too because they scored their highest ratings ever.

Gary Sinise is the lead in CSI: NY. Looks good. There's definitely a gritty "New York feel" to it. There's a deliberate contrast from Miami. Cold colors and a darker set. Emphasis on the underbelly of the city. I especially liked the fly-by shots of city landmarks. This was a good choice for their third expansion. If CSI had started in NY instead of Las Vegas, it would have been just another NY cop show. By setting it in Vegas, it did something different, established itself as a brand and now people want to see the CSI franchise's take on New York. Also has a chance of revitalizing their entire franchise. People might start to watch the original CSI and Miami more again.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Randy Johnson became the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game.

Financial Times reports that PCCW are in talks to sell fixed-line operator HKT to China Netcom. According to the article, HKT accounted for 70% of PCCW's revenues last year. If they sell it off, what is PCCW left with?

Jon Stewart's commencement address at William and Mary (via corrente):
"So how do you know what is the right path to choose to get the result that you desire? And the honest answer is this. You won’t. And accepting that greatly eases the anxiety of your life experience.

I was not exceptional here, and am not now. I was mediocre here ... When I left William and Mary I was shell-shocked. Because when you’re in college it’s very clear what you have to do to succeed ... But the unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing about your life, is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective. The paths are infinite and the results uncertain. And it can be maddening to those that go here, especially here, because your strength has always been achievement. So if there’s any real advice I can give you it’s this.

College is something you complete. Life is something you experience. So don’t worry about your grade, or the results or success. Success is defined in myriad ways, and you will find it, and people will no longer be grading you, but it will come from your own internal sense of decency which I imagine, after going through the program here, is quite strong…although I’m sure downloading illegal files…but, nah, that’s a different story.

Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. And let the chips fall where they may."

Serious Study of Virtual Game Economies (via Slashdot).

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Wordpress is the New Movable Type

Movable Type, former darling of the blogging elite has generated a negative response from a group of very vocal users due to their new pricing structure. WordPress is emerging as the free (GPL) alternative. If the MT folk don't appease these irate users, people are going to migrate away from MT just as they once did from Blogger.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

James Gosling- The world needs more crazy people:
"Most real innovation is done by crazy people doing crazy things. The keys are:
* Learn all you can before you go adventuring.
* Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
* Only make new mistakes.
* Keep your eyes open.
* Don't just look straight ahead: develop your peripheral vision.
* It's the things that go in unexpected directions are the most important."

Saturday, May 15, 2004

The RSS Weblog has an interview with the creator of Sharpreader, my news aggregator of choice (via Scobleizer): "It’s very easy to subscribe to more feeds than you can actively follow and be left with thousands of unread messages ... RSS is not about history; it’s about what’s going on now. If you haven’t read something after a couple of weeks, chances are, you never will."

NYT- Kerry-McCain talk is back: "The enthusiasm of Democrats for Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, is so high that even some who have been mentioned as possible Kerry running mates ... are spinning scenarios about a "unity government," effectively giving Mr. Kerry a green light to reach across the political aisle and extend an offer."

Friday, May 14, 2004

WP- Numbers, History Bode Ill For Bush: "Bush's approval rating in the Gallup poll fell to 46 percent this week -- the lowest in his presidency by that organization's measures. Fifty-one percent said they disapprove -- the first time in his presidency that a bare majority registered disapproval of the way Bush is doing his job ... In Gallup's surveys, no president since World War II has won reelection after falling below 50 percent approval at this point in an election year ... At this point in the race, strategists in both parties said, a president's approval rating may be a clearer and more reliable measure of where the contest stands than head-to-head matchups with the other party's candidate. They say the public first makes a judgment about the incumbent and then looks more seriously at the challenger."

Microsoft Office Home Style+ generates cartoon versions of faces from photos (via Better Living Through Software).

Spam My Gmail Account: "How long does it take to fill up 1 Gig of storage with spam? How well do Gmail's junk filters work? Let's find out!" (via Scripting News)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Register- Nintendo DS: more communicator than console?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

NYT- Reports of Prisoner Abuse in Afghanistan: "A former Afghan police colonel gave a graphic account in an interview this week of being subjected to beating, kicking, sleep deprivation, taunts and sexual abuse during about 40 days he spent in American custody in Afghanistan last summer. He also said he had been repeatedly photographed, often while naked."

The Washington Post has a long profile on John McCain. What happened to all the Kerry-McCain talk?

Survivor All-Stars (Spoiler)

This season's Survivor has been interesting because the contestants already knew each other and were friends before the show. Once again, the person flying under the radar, "riding the coattails" as it were, won. Boston Rob, the power player and strategist, who lied and betrayed almost every alliance he made, finished second.

What was surprising was the depth of the feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness expressed by the jurors at the final tribal council. Many took it extremely personally, perhaps because it was friends betraying friends, but those same people did it to others earlier in the game and I have no doubt would have done it again had they been given the chance. The truth is, Survivor is just a game. Those that see it as a game will be able to put aside all feelings and emotions in pursuit of that goal by deceiving others.

In the end though, Rob deserved to win. He dominated the immunity challenges, not only the physical ones, but also the mental ones. He out-thought and out-strategized everyone else. His only weakness was failing to break his alliances tactfully and keep those jurors on his side.

Rob's result of finishing second shows that you need to do it without making everybody angry at you. You can get away with one or perhaps two people that you betray in order to reach the final stage but you simply cannot betray everyone. If you play as Amber or Sandra did in Survivor Pearl Islands and choose the right alliance, you can reach the final and have someone else take the brunt of the negative feelings of the jurors.

Slate: Krispy Kreme's Atkins Excuse.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Great article by Peter Galbraith in NY Review of Books- How to Get Out of Iraq (via John Robb): "President Bush, notorious for his lack of curiosity, seems never to have asked even the most basic question: "What happens when we actually get to Baghdad?" The failure to answer this question at the start set back US efforts in Iraq in such a way that the US has not recovered and may never do so."

The earlier average IQ by state and political voting chart may have been a hoax. More from iSteve (via Wonkette).

Boing Boing: Sony's entertainment business is killing its electronics business

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Choosing The Right Power Supply (FiringSquad)
Recommended Power Supply Units (Silent PC Review)

Reuters now has RSS feeds (via Scripting News).

Friday, May 07, 2004

Thomas Friedman: "It's no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom 'Friends' right now. They're the only friends we have, and even they're leaving."

AP: "U.S. soldiers who detained an elderly Iraqi woman last year placed a harness on her, made her crawl on all fours and rode her like a donkey.

This is as shocking and sickening as the latest photos including one showing a man on a leash. Another photo in the series shows several men lying naked on the floor in the middle of the prison and the non-chalant attitude of the soldiers around them.

There are growing calls today for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign over this scandal.

Reaction of Professor Philip Zimbardo (Stanford Prison Experiment) to torture in Iraq. Excerpts:


"In the current situation, we must not allow the politicians and pentagon to dismiss the seriousness of what happened with the usual dispositional analysis of a few bad apples in a good barrel. Bush said it should not reflect on the good nature of all Americans or our military.

Wrong. The situational analysis says the barrel of war is filled with vinegar that will transform good cucumbers into sour pickles and will always do it to make the majority of good people, men and women, into perpetrators of evil, where there is:
anonymity-deindividuation, dehumanization, secrecy, diffusion of responsibility, social modeling, big power differentials, frustration, feelings of revenge,obedience to authority, lack of supervision that conveys a sense of permissiveness.

...

The ubiquitous causal force in all this is the Evil of War, and the cover story of "National Security," and now the exaggerated fears of terrorism that have been induced by ten "credible" terror alarms is transforming our nation into a culture of victims and our soldiers into brutal abusers of other human beings.

This one incident of waton, repeated, dehumanized abuse of innocent Iraqi civilian detainees will haunt the objectives of the Bush administration of bringing any semblance of US- style democracy to the Middle East -- it will now not happen. It is not Americans at our worst, it is human nature succumbing to the power of evil situational forces. The horror is that our soldiers should never have been put in
harm's way to be killed, maimed, and now to have to function in situations that enabled them to behave in ways that are a perversion of the perfection of our humanity. The rush to this pre-emptive war was based on lies, false assumptions and political and economic objectives that had nothing to do with WMD, terrorism, or enhancing our national security.

WAR IS INDEED HELL, AND THIS AGGRESSIVE, NEEDLESS WAR IS HELL ON EARTH THAT WILL HAVE LONG-LASTING NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES AT HOME AND ABROAD. ONE SLIM HOPE IS SOME IMPROVEMENT AFTER THE NOV. ELECTIONS IF THE CURRENT WAR-MONGERING ADMINISTRATION IS DEFEATED. BUT THE CURRENT NATIONAL INERTIA IS AMAZING TO ME, ESPECIALLY AMONG OUR PASSIVE
UNCONCERNED STUDENTS."

Thursday, May 06, 2004

NYT - When One Man's Video Art Is Another's Copyright Crime

Funniest TV comedies

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Friends, Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond

This cost $104 million?

Slate has analysis of Bush's interviews on Arab TV.

Wired: "Social networking, online community activism and blogs have started a 'revolution of the ants'"

NYT- How to Vote for Both Nader and Kerry:

"When [Ralph Nader] petitions to get on the ballot in each state, he must name his own slate of electors. While he is free to nominate a distinctive slate of names, he can also propose the very same names that appear on the Kerry slate.

If he does, he will provide voters with a new degree of freedom. On Election Day, they will see a line on the ballot designating Ralph Nader's electors. But if voters choose the Nader line, they won't be wasting their ballot on a candidate with little chance of winning. Since Mr. Nader's slate would be the same as Mr. Kerry's, his voters would be providing additional support for the electors selected by the Democrats. If the Nader-Kerry total is a majority in any state, the victorious electors would be free to vote for Mr. Kerry.

This plan is consistent with the original understanding of the founders. When they created the Electoral College, they did not anticipate the rise of the party system; they expected voters to select community leaders who would make their own judgments when casting their ballots for the presidency. In designating Kerry electors rather than insisting on his own slate, Mr. Nader would be giving new meaning to this tradition that refused to view electors as simply vehicles of a candidate's will. In effect, he would be enabling his supporters to rank their choices: Mr. Nader first, Mr. Kerry second."

LATimes - Accuracy of Lasik Surgery is Affected By Humidity: "Walter found that during drier months, he tended to over-correct, leaving patients a bit farsighted. In humid months, he tended to under-correct, leaving them still slightly nearsighted ... Writing in the April issue of the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Walter reported that indoor humidity was the strongest influence on the need for redos: For every 10% increase in operating room humidity, he found that nine of every 100 patients required another Lasik procedure. Outdoor humidity in the two weeks before surgery, and to a lesser degree outdoor temperatures, also affected results."

Harbourfest

Watched the HK Harbourfest TV special. Some aspects of the original event definitely could have been handled better. Public funds could have been put to better use, the organization and PR definitely could have been handled better. However, the overall intentions were good and the core idea of a music festival is great. If they could do something like that annually without use of public funds, maybe in the old Kai Tak site so you have the city skyline and harbor in the background, that would be amazing.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

News Aggregators

I recently rediscovered the usefulness of news aggregators. I tried them before, wasn't impressed and didn't really see the need for it. The impetus for giving it another shot was keeping track of new software releases. Instead of manually checking the site to see if there were any updates, I wanted something that could check it for me and alert me to new changes. When I saw that Sharpreader could show a system tray pop-up alert a la MSN Messenger, I was intrigued.

Once you start using it and start adding RSS/XML feeds for your favorite sites, you'll be hooked. Having used it for a few days, I can safely say that a good news aggregator will change the way you "surf the web". I currently spend about 70% of my reading time in the news aggregator and only 30% using the regular browser.

NYT- Disney Prevents Distribution of Michael Moore's New Film: "The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush ... The film, 'Fahrenheit 911,' links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis — including the family of Osama bin Laden — and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Average IQ by state and how they voted in 2000 (via LeanLeft).

Cloudscapes- Awesome photos of clouds.

Google's "Winner's Curse" (via BoingBoing): "In its registration statement Google links the dangers of the winner's curse to speculation that its share auction might attract a "lower level of participation by professional long-term investors." What Google is essentially saying is that whereas sophisticated investors understand the winners curse and will factor it into their bid, unsophisticated investors might not. If these naive investors end up dominating Google stock auction then Google shares will initially trade for more than their worth, but when professionals take over the day-to-day trading of Google the stock will quickly fall to its true value, punishing all investors ignorant of the winner's curse."

NYT profile on Kleiner Perkin's investment in Google: "'What we do at Kleiner Perkins,' Mr. Doerr said, 'is we look for a fundamental and important technology breakthrough that will address a large, unserved market need.'"

Money Magazine: Lessons from Warren Buffett (via Evan Williams).

Monday, May 03, 2004

BBC: Warren Buffett supports John Kerry.

War Liberal has a photo of Michael Jackson.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

When I read about the abuse of prisoners in Iraq by US and UK soldiers, I immediately thought of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Great post on this at Blue Junkie (via Pacific Views).

Emily Lau: HK's fight for democracy rages on

NYT- The Pizza Parlor Prodigy: "It was just one of many recent curious moments for Mr. Haimovitz, who was once a major cello prodigy accustomed to playing in the elite halls of Europe and America. Now 33, he has chosen an alternative world, traveling the nation to perform in country and folk cafes, jazz spots and nightclubs: places where Budweiser flows freely and Beethoven does not."

NYT: Designing a Brighter Future for the Gap