December 5th, 2010

Stuck in Miami

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Miss my connecting flight due to snow delay in Chicago, I am now stuck in Miami waiting for the next day flight to Cartagena.

Come to think about it, this is the first time I am in Miami. The weather is wonderful, a sharp contrast to the Beijing freezing wind and Chicago snow. But heck, I am in no mood to do anything else after 20 hours on 2 hops of planes, 3 hours in the queue trying to get my next flight. Bath and sleep…and hope I get to Cartagena tomorrow.

July 25th, 2010

Made-in-China Software

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There are many peaks of been a geek in China. One of which is to access to whole set of Made-in-China software that has no equivalence in the English speaking world.

I was reformating my old Acer to run Windows 7.

The first thing I setup my Windows 7 is not to run Windows Updates but to install a software called 360. This software is a god-sent for people still running on Windows (I am on Mac most of my time now). It does several things:

1. It detect and recommend what Windows patches you need, and once you confirmed, automatically download (via P2P of cos) and install the patches. It runs constantly in the background and only pop-up when there is a new patches available.

This feature alone outstrip what it is offered by Windows Update. In fact, this is the reason I installed 360 first before anything else, because it do a much better job.

2. It scan and monitors your PC configuration and make recommendation to optimize the PC and once you confirm, it does it automatically for you. It does simple things like checking for what temporary files scattered across your harddisk, what program you can stop running so it speed up your startup time etc.

3. It scan for malwares and if you like, it also has a free anti-software. I cannot compare this to other commercial anti-virus but it is good enough for me.

4. It has a software management, that recommends software you should download. It also it has an extremely powerful uninstaller (much better than what is offered Windows again) that it scan and delete all the left-over files and registries entries on your computer so you know you totally get rid of it.

After I setup my new Win7, I found out I have lost my driver discs. Normally, this means I will have to head over to Acer, look through a whole set of links to find the relevant drivers, download them and install them one by one.

Instead, there is another Chinese software I use DriveTheLife. What it does is that it automatically detect your hardware, the missing drivers, makes recommendation for you and with a click, it downloads, install and reboot for you. It save me hours of sitting in front of the computer to setup the drivers. btw, it continues to run and monitor updates for you if you like to keep it around.

There are hundreds of these small software like this, not available in English, no equivalent in the English world, that makes me really happy sometimes I am a Chinese speaking geeks.

July 16th, 2010

“.中国”已于7月12日写入根服务器

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I have been trying to keep a low profile since coming to China. In my early years in China, a 老前辈 had advised me that if I want to be successful in China, I must learn to 低调做人,高调做事.

Anyway, to cut the long story short, I finally bent and accepted my first Chinese (video) interview, on the request of an old friend. I spend a morning at 光明网 a couple of days ago and did an hour long video interview. We spoke on many things and I don’t think I can remember every detail. Neither have they release the video yet.

But I was quite surprised when they picked one of the things I said and put out as a news report. And more surprisingly, that is also picked up by others and now making rounds in Chinese news wire. I didn’t know about it until friend emailed me.

Anyway, the news is about that the IDN ccTLD for China “.中国” is now activated in the root and therefore fully functional. The only mistake is that the article said it happens on 12th July when actually this was done on 9th July.

I didn’t know if the mistake is mine (I think so) so I have to wait for them to release the edited video interview.

April 24th, 2010

.中国 and .台湾

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Finally after months of hard work from many people, in front and behind the scene, the ICANN board finally resolved:

* Therefore, it is RESOLVED, (2010.04.22.10), that CNNIC be notified that the .中国 (xn--fiqs8S) and .中國 (xn--fiqz9S) IDN ccTLD request has completed the Fast Track String Evaluation and that they may enter the String Delegation step in the Fast Track Process, using the standard IANA ccTLD delegation function, and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of CNNIC’s detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.

* Therefore, it is RESOLVED, (2010.04.22.11), that TWNIC be notified that .台灣 (xn--kpry57d) and .台湾 (xn--kprw13d) IDN ccTLD request has completed the Fast Track String Evaluation and that they may enter the String Delegation step in the Fast Track Process, using the standard IANA ccTLD delegation function, and that delegation is contingent on completion of the IANA process criteria and publication of TWNIC’s detailed Implementation Plan to be finalized in consultation with ICANN.

Cheers!!!!

February 20th, 2010

Making sense of Sino-US relationship

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US strategy towards China has been particularly confusing to many people. It is strange that the two major economic power of the world today would taunt each another in so many different issues. This UK Guardian article nicely summarized the situation.

This dysfunctional, agitating approach to Sino-US negotiations and communications only continues to erode the relationship between the two countries, which has already been weakened recently as a result of US comments over internet censorship and the sale of arms to Taiwan. This should not become the normal way for the two nations to engage, particularly when it comes to bilateral issues.

One obvious difference between US and China is the ‘Culture Differences’. ‘Culture differences’ is often used to explain the disagreement but seldom really understood. The background and construct of the political system between the two country couldn’t be greater, that leads to misunderstanding and mistrust.

Let me give two examples:

Read the rest of this entry »

December 20th, 2009

Shanzhai Macbook Air

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It has been a while since I blog since moving to China. So asked my friends in Taiwan when I was there last weekend and I explained the two reasons:

(1) I am still trying to figure out what part of my work in China can I blog and which I can’t. Even the fact that I met so-and-so may not be something I can put on the blog up here – culture differences.

(2) I have only been in China in-and-out for 10 years and really stayed here for a year plus. The longer I stayed in China, the less I seem to know about it. I don’t like to blog about China as-if I am an expert. There are enough “China expert-bloggers” to fill that need.

Anyway, this shanzhai Macbook Air is what I bring me back for a min. It is too good not to blog about it.

img_0135 img_0137

It is one of the best “shanzhai” machine I seen in China. Except for the white plastic casing, the moulding is exactly like an Macbook Air – I can use my Macbook keyboard protector and it fits perfectly. The packaging looks and feels like from Apple. There is even a remote control which actually works pretty well!

The specs is decent – N280 Atom 1.6Ghz, Intel 945M, 2GB RAM, 320GB harddisk, 4 cell batteries, win7 – what you expect from a standard netbook.

July 20th, 2009

JET Open Letter to ICANN

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Rod Beckstrom
President and Chief Executive Officer
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601

Cc: Tina Dam
Director, IDN Program
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601

Dear Mr. Beckstrom,

In July 2000, CNNIC, JPNIC (now JPRS), KRNIC (now part of NIDA) and TWNIC jointly established Joint Engineering Team (JET) to develop and implement IDN technology. JET is responsible for drafting RFC 3743 that is commonly known as JET Guidelines for Chinese, Japanese and Korean IDN.

1) IDN Variant Problem. On 27th March 2003, ICANN Board endorsed the “Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names” 1 with the following:

3. In implementing the IDN standards, top-level domain registries will (a) associate each registered internationalized domain name with one language or set of languages, (b) employ language-specific registration and administration rules that are documented and publicly available, such as the reservation of all domain names with equivalent character variants in the languages associated with the registered domain name, and, (c) where the registry finds that the registration and administration rules for a given language would benefit from a character variants table, allow registrations in that language only when an appropriate table is available.


Read the rest of this entry »

June 22nd, 2009

Lunch with Lee Felsenstein

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Lee Felsenstein and his wife Lena.

Meet them last year in Bay Area via Nick Palevsky. They are in Sydney to give a talk on OLPC and I am here for ICANN.

May 31st, 2009

Fixing North Korea Mess

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Asia politic is something close to me that I followed quite closely although not something I often blog about.

Yesterday, I tweet: *doh* When would US clueless hardliner learn how to deal with #China? RT @CNBCtopStories: Knocking Down the China Myth http://bit.ly/bda3m.

I am not surprised that Tony Fratto, ex-Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for the Bush Administration would take a hardliner view on China. He is absolutely right that China did not buy US debt out of altruism and it is in China self interest to continue to do so.

For those interested, one should read the excellent article by Paul Krugman China Dollar Trap.

But what he is wrong is the attitude with the assumption that US is in the position of strength in the negotiation. Squandered by the 8 years of Bush administration, in global goodwill as well as economy strength, US has to come to terms with the new reality.

Still, people in Washington continue to believe that US has the power to command or the very least, to bend China to her will, as we witness in the latest saga with the North Korea.

Washington’s think tanks are concerned with North Korea’s nuclear missile test, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates “raised the idea of a tougher approach toward North Korea’s recent nuclear test … including the prospect of building up United States military forces in the region should six-nation diplomatic talks with North Korea fail” (JS: ST reported Gates does not plan to build up American troops in the region…Hmm…)

At the same time, they are appealing publicly (and privately) that China should do more in the saga, and it is not in the interest for China and US and China must stand up to North Korea togther.

Promfret got it absolutely right that when he say “First, there’s a silly assumption in Washington that our interests (no nukes in North Korea) are the same as China’s. But they’re not. China’s first interest in North Korea is making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. China’s second interest? Making sure the Kim regime doesn’t collapse. From Beijing’s perspective, nukes in North Korea rank somewhere around 10th.”

Asian mentality on society values stability above anything else. I quote Kishore Mahbubani “An imperfect government that commits some human rights violations is better then no government, in many societies”.

China emphasis of Harmonious society is a broader reflection of that philosophy. Western interpret that as working towards a better society of equality, freedom and prosperity. Chinese understood it as tolerance for imperfection in society and when inequality occurs, look at the cup half-filled not half-empty.

North Korea having nukes? Okay, bad idea but chances that North Korea will unleash it in China is next to zero. A unstable North Korea is far more dangerous to China. A known devil is better than an unknown friend.

So Washington’s think tank who really think China will do anything to step into the affair right now is just dreaming in their ivory tower. And as I noted early, US is no longer in the position of strength to bend China to its will.

China needs US as much as US needs China, economically. One is a producer, one is a buyer. One is a lender, and the other is a debtor. The two economy is tightly coupled and therefore, one yield to the other not because of differences in power but in the mutual interest of both party.

US may have greater military power over China as a whole. But with a war in middle east, and a mess-up economy, China know US cannot sustain a (cold) war in the Far East. US “threats” of greater US military presence is at best laughable.

Japan, who is traditionally US ally in this region, is also mindful of China rising power is also evaluating their position. Japan is honestly concerned over North Korea but unfortunately has little clot in the matter beyond making motherhood statements.

It is left to South Korea who feel the immediate threat to flex its military muscle with US support. North Korea immediately responded that South is nearly an act of war.

Perhaps that’s what Washington has in mind all along. Not exactly what I like to see but perhaps that’s what it takes to bring China to do something.

* Also read the excellent article by Eric Anderson.

May 30th, 2009

The never ending Aware saga

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Ever since the EGM of Aware voted out the ex-new Exco early this month, the same conservative groups have being eager to point fingers at people whom they thought were responsible for them being voted out.

First, they complaint that TheOnlineCitizen and similar sites coverage was biased to the extend of being anti-Christian. Then they go after Siew Kum Hong blaming him being impartial, pro-gay and worst, hinting he is corrupted. Siew has to take action to stop the nonsense. The latest is going after Straits Times claiming they are biased in their coverage.

What is truly sad is in all these, they have not sit down and reflect what did they go wrong.

Instead, its ST fault for uncovering the story in the first place (don’t they get a hint when we didn’t respond to any of their interview!?). If not, no one would know we taken over Aware and everything would be fine. Its TOC fault for extensive coverage and gathering voters to the EGM to vote us out, using anti-christian sentiment. Its Siew fault interfere with the EGM, or else we would have legal backing to hold on even we lose the vote of no confidence.

If you are doing something that cannot be said in open, it is good idea to evaluate what you are doing. If what you are doing angers people enough to spend 2 hours to queue up and 8 hours to vote you out, then its good idea to think over what you have done wrong. Christians are embarrassed by the saga not because of the coverage of ST or TOC but by the action of a few extreme fundamentalists.

Conservatives are free to believe in what they believe in and lead the life they choose. But they have no rights to impose that ideology to the rest of us.

I share the same sentiment as A. Prof Koo and I quote “Intolerance, not the economic crisis, poses the biggest threat to Singapore.”

Singapore recovery depends on everyone in Singapore working together, regardless of race, language or religion, regardless where a native Singaporean, PR or foreigner. Everyone is in a little boat called Singapore. Differences in opinions are okay but at some stage, one should say “We agree to disagree” and move on.