Posted by: mting | 21st June, 2009

History

Everything is a history. Today when I lunched with my colleagues at an Ocean Park cafe, there they hanged an old Hong Kong Ren-Li-Che (人力車) on the wall. Though it is odd of hanging it on the wall, but anways, this Ren-Li-Che is a history.

Everyone is a history. From a baby, to a child, an adolescent, an adult then a senior… We left our history to people around us. Even an unforunate aborted child, who does not have chance to see the world, gives ‘feelings’ to their parents. Everything we do, we are asking the people around us to remember our history.

One month before my father passed away, he gave me my 5-years-old homework: “My Book”. This little “My book”, with a history of 23-year-old, got my handwriting on it, with me outlining my small hand, and telling the world where did I live, what was my weight, etc. I have no ideas how I did it. And at the same time, I was happy to know that “I like to eat” since I was five. 

I appreciated so much that my father has kept it for me. Then I found out that every birthday card and father’s day card have been kept by him at an iron biscuit box. I have forgotten that I loved sending cards to my parents. I thought they would have thrown him away. But they kept every single of it. How much do they treasure us?

Today I went to Oddone’s home for dinner and to share our wedding photos. During the visit, Oddone’s mother showed me the notes and writing by the child Oddone. The papers are yellow, and the writings are unfamiliar. The familiar thing to me is the organised way of presenting the data. And from the notes, I know why the Oddone is the ddone.  I flipped the notebook carefully, to see how the child Oddone wrote his notes. While I was flipping it, it seems that the child Oddone is writing them at the dining table in front of me.

I asked Oddone’s mother, “Could I bring them to US?”. 

“Oddone knows they are here at home. When he wants them back, he will come and get them!” Oddone’s mother smiled and put them back at their cupboard.

Deep inside from my heart, I know that one day we will keep the notes, and hope that we can pass them to our children, then our children pass them to our grand-children, together with my “My book”.

It’s how the history passed on…

(A blog which is too sentimenal — Probably it is the Father’s Day)

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Posted by: mting | 17th June, 2009

Our first month

Oddones got married on May 17, 2009, which was just a month ago!

After our honeymoon at Maldives, PK went back to california, and MT stayed in HK. It means that 25% of time after our wedding day was staying together, and 75% we are apart.

The past three weeks was not easy. 牽腸掛肚,一天不見如隔三秋.

Though  H1N1 is getting more popular in California, how can I not come to see him?

Happy one month celebration for ourselves! Thanks for waking up early everyday to ichat with me. Thanks 🙂

Posted by: P. K. | 24th September, 2008

This is journalism

A mainland Chinese depositor, holding a bag and identifying himself as Mr. Zhang, said he had withdrawn HK$1 million. “I came down from mainland China this morning to get some money out of my account,” Mr. Zhang said outside the bank’s headquarters, with a line of depositors stretching around the block.

“I wasn’t aware of the news Bank of East Asia is in trouble, I just wanted to get some money out. I came to get around HK$40,000, but when I realized the situation with the bank, I got HK$400,000.” Asked why he had just lowered the amount of money he claimed was in the bag, Mr. Zhang said: “I don’t want to get robbed.”

— Amy Or and Jeffrey Ng, Bank of East Asia Depositors Queue for Funds after Rumors, WSJ.com.

Now this is journalism. Applause goes to the journalist who asked the follow-up question and the editor who allowed this exchange to go with the story.

Posted by: mting | 20th September, 2008

Wrap up for this week

Good stuffs:

  • Heard a very confident speech from John Mack at the townhall
  • Do not need to worry of seeking another job up to this moment
  • Reassured that when I started to fear, it will be the time to buy

Bad stuffs:

  • Unhealthily busy
  • No-eye-see Portfolio keeps dropping
  • Lehman and AIG clashed
Posted by: P. K. | 5th August, 2008

Yahoo! Boss Q&A

Some random samples from Yahoo! Boss Q&A (via TechCrunch):

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/base/python_lib/versions/1/google/appengine/ext/webapp/__init__.py", line 499, in __call__
handler.get(*groups)
File "/base/data/home/apps/bossy/1.28/main.py", line 80, in get
page = do_www(query)
File "/base/data/home/apps/bossy/1.28/main.py", line 66, in do_www
phrase = wwwsearch(query)
File "/base/data/home/apps/bossy/1.28/wwwqa.py", line 60, in wwwsearch
return sorted(pc.iteritems(), key=itemgetter(1), reverse=True)[0][0]
IndexError: list index out of range

Posted by: P. K. | 28th July, 2008

Modern punctuation

If you are annoyed by the mob’s comma, you’ll be equally amused by a new punctuation mark I’ve found today.

Hyphen-hyphen-greater-than.

Or, put it symbolically, this: -->. See this for a sample usage.

I know — emoticons (like \m/, your ass) have become well-accepted as a new form of of expressing oneself in the digital age. I use them liberally. But, at least, while emoticons take on the form of punctuation marks (as in semi-colon-hyphen-P), at least no one would mistake them as functioning as punctuation marks (except, well, in the ambiguous cases where a 😀 is used to end a sentence or, as in the following case, a bracket is ended with a :)).

But this one — the hyphen-hyphen-greater-than (or what should I call it? Implies? Element selection through pointer operator? Close comment, HTML style?) — is clearly used to link up to clauses. It functions like a dash, but seems to mean more — it seems to imply an “implies” relationship between the two clauses. And I don’t know whether this added meaning makes it a great addition to our formal language, or a sad one.

I wonder what’s the next addition to our punctuation world from the geek world. How about /* I am running out of steam here! */ the comment operator /* */ to add spices to a sentence? Or using the assignment operator (=) to substitute the various forms of “be”? In any case, I just wish that we’d never get infected by the practice of ending sentences with a semi-colon;

Posted by: P. K. | 18th July, 2008

Mob’s comma

Having recently re-read Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, it just doesn’t feel right when I read the following excerpt printed on the Twinings Classics Earl Grey Tea packing:

… Legend has it, that my ancestor, the second Earl Grey, was presented with this exquisite recipe by an envoy on his return from China.

the sixth Earl Grey (sd.)

A mob’s comma? From the sixth Earl Grey no less?! Give me a break.

Posted by: P. K. | 18th June, 2008

New strategy by tele-marketers: “random” calls

I have never been sympathetic to tele-marketers who call my mobile who sell products or try to trick me into “gifts” which come with expensive commitments — my mobile is for personal conversation, not for spam-dialing. Not least by people whom I don’t know and who may have probably obtained my mobile number through some fishy means at the first place.

Among the first thing I say after the listening to the opening sentences of the tele-marketer and having satisfied myself that this is a tele-marketer, not someone I have reason to listen to, speaking is to ask how did the tele-market get my personal information. This would have caused some nervous moments to some tele-marketers; there follows some incoherent mumblings or even, in some rare occasions, hang-ups from the other side.

But not any more. For at least three consecutive tele-marketer calls when I asked this question I got a steady and firm answer that they are calling numbers “by random”. One well-prepared and enthusiastic tele-marketer even kindly explained to me how he would go on to place the next call by incrementing my mobile number by one, then by two, and so forth.

I don’t believe one bit of this. Hongkong phone numbers are 8-digit numbers. Even if we factor in the fact that mobile numbers only start with either 9 or 6, this still leaves 20 million number in the pool for “randomising”. There are, in total, 3,870,000 phone numbers in Hongkong (by the way, I got this figure quickly from EditGrid’s latest remote data function — simply create a new spreadsheet and then key in the formula =cia_factbook("telephones","HK") in a cell and you’ll get this figure as well). Let’s say half of them are mobile numbers. This means a less than 10% chance of getting through to a registered number. Is this really a sustainable way to run promotion campaigns? Especially in these days of rampant CRM techniques?

But the problem is, I have no way to disprove of this notion. I can’t tell it in the face of the telemarketer that it’s a lie. I’d then have to retort to a formal rejection of the call and asking politely to take my phone number off their list.

It’s a lowly strategy — but it works for the tele-marketer. And what can you say when even the Zurich Insurance Group scoops this low?

Perhaps it’s time for me to print out a copy of the anti-tele-marketing counter-script and practice it here in Hongkong.

Posted by: P. K. | 28th May, 2008

AdWords vanity?

If you happen to be a namesake to someone as famous as Emily Chang, will you buy yourself the top spot on Google’s search result through AdWords?

Googling Emily Chang

Considering that this site does not have any AdSense or any other advertisements, how would you explain this? A vanity AdWords bid?

An excellent debate is going on at Robert Scoble’s blog. It’s started by an email from a professional copywriter named Bob Bly as thus:

As a Fast Company subscriber, I occasionally read, with much bewilderment, your column.

What bewilders me is why you are excited about the things you write about.

I am not being facetious but ask the question respectfully — and I hope you might write a column to answer it.

I can’t understand why anyone would bother with or get excited about all the Internet and electronic stuff you talk about.

It seems to me that all these things — Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, Flickr — are a thundering bore and an utter waste of time.

I don’t have any of it — for that matter, I don’t own a Blackberry, iPod, wireless laptop, or even a cell phone — and I get along fine without them.

In fact, I’d say my productivity is greatly enhanced by not fooling with all these useless gadgets or reading the endless blather on social networking sites.

Can you help an old guy from the old school understand what he’s missing?

P.S. Your column is well written and there are obviously a legion of people who get all this stuff. I’d like to see if I could become one of them or at least understand what all the fuss is about.

It triggers a lengthy response from Scoble which is interesting in its own right. But what’s more interesting is that, odd may his email sound to you, Bob Bly is not your average Internet dummy. He has a website. He operates a newsletter. He blogs, posts frequently, has a pretty respectable following, and engages with his readers through comments. You may even subscribe to his blog through RSS or PageFlakes. And one of his businesses nowadays is to do consulting work on e-marketing and landing page. He makes between US$4,000 and US$10,000 a week from his business. Alright, it’s odd that he doesn’t have a mobile phone, but at least he does write emails. In short, Bly is no n00b — far from it, he’s perhaps more Internet savvy than I am.

That’s why I think Scoble has gotten it wrong in his reply — what Bly has asked is not your granny asking what’s the use of the Internet, or William Gladstone asking Michael Faraday what’s the practical value of electricity. Rather, the crux of Bly’s question is this: can an Internet practitioner perfect his/her job without using (or wasting time on) social networks? And this sounds like a perfectly sensible question to ask, which deserves respect and not trivialising.

And my take on this debate is this. While the Twitters and the FriendFeeds of this world (and, about a year before, the Flickrs and the Diggs) have become the daily bread and butter of some parts of Silicon Valley, it’s still far from being quintessential to the majority of the world who do reasonably well on the Internet. How many Twitter users are there, when compared with the world Internet population? It’s as well that those who write and blog and make influence in the tech world write more about those tools dearest to them, but it’s time to reflect whether these stories justify their amount of coverage. After all, we do not expect more stories on MacBooks simply because more than 50% of bloggers use a MacBook, great as they are. Otherwise, the tech world media risks writing for the mythical audience of 53,651 and not for the many.

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