Archive for November, 2007
Technically, because I’m a New Zealander and we don’t tend to torture people (mainly out of laziness), I don’t have a subscription. But Amnesty International’s Unsubscribe Me campaign is one thing I’m willing to subscribe to.
According to Boing Boing, the actor in this short film was put in a stress position for six hours to authentically replicate the trauma of this CIA-approved interrogation tactic.
In 10 years time, the world will look back on the Bush Administration and ask, ‘Why?’.
Until I met Hong Kong, I was a skinny bugger. Soon after arriving here from Canada (I’m a Kiwi, but I studied in Ontario for year), I had a suit made in Bangkok. After a year of a mostly vegetarian diet, everyday walking, loads of sunflower seeds, and drinking according to Canadian standards, I didn’t have much blubber to show. That wasn’t very good thinking, because if there’s anywhere one could use a bit of extra insulation, it’s Canada in winter. My waist was 31 inches, according to my Bangkok tailor.
And then I came to Hong Kong, where temperatures regularly shoot above 30 degrees Celsius and humidity levels creep close to 100 percent. Not an ideal place to carry around some extra tyres. In Hong Kong, I started drinking, stopped walking so much, and indulged in regular curries and irresistable braised pork. Eighteen months later, I’ve gone from a 31-inch waist to 35 inches. With change.
I blame most of that on beer. I’m now at the age where the beer blubber just ain’t gonna disappear without a bit of work. I’m also at a point in my life where I can’t be bothered doing that work… If only there were a way to lose weight while reading the internet.
So, I have to compromise. I’m going to start eating healthier — you know, oat bars, fruit, and shit like that — and I’m going to take the stairs whenever possible. I can’t stop drinking just yet, because of the season (which has an unfortunate tendency to drag on all year in Hong Kong), but I’ll tone it down. Early next year, I’ll do another month off the turps, just to get me heading in the right direction.
You see, I think these things work in cycles that sometimes become to set-in to reverse. At the moment I’m clearly in a enjoy-fatty-foods/exercise-lite cycle. I need to turn that round and get in the habit of eating well again, and perhaps even doing something active.
Yeah, I know you all care.
If it weren’t for Robert Smith, no-one would be visiting this blog.
If it weren’t for a few glasses of wine, and, okay, a bottle of Tsingtao, I wouldn’t be updating it.
My enthusiasm towards the blog has waned of late, but not because of any great shift in mindset. Recently, I have been preoccupied with other matters to an unusual extent. And when I get home and sit down in front of my computer, I haven’t been compelled to write more.
Some hot news, though. I have quit my job as a reporter on Asia’s digital marketing industry, and soon I will be taking up a way cooler job that excites me no end. I’d love to tell y’all about it, but it’s too early days yet for the secret shroud to be lifted, so you’ll just have to wait another couple of months. Suffice to say, the job is right up two of my alleys, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I also hope it can help make a difference.
In other news, my favourite hobby horse, Asia Sentinel, has been making more web-based bounds of late, including the addition of video, a mobile access point, hot new icons, and a pleasingly tweaked interfaced. Congrats to computer-dweller Andrew James for that.
And the Amazon Kindle: do I want one? Well, yes, I certainly wouldn’t mind giving one a spin at the beach. Between this, Amazon Unbox, the actually-revolutionary book-sale strategy, and DRM-free music, I’m starting to think that Amazon might be a quiet giant of the internet — not as sexy or titillating as Google, but a quiet achiever with seriously useful applications.
… right after I finish my next game of Scrabulous.
Unlike the easily excitable folks in Marketingland — a mythical place of which I’m a day-time observer — the newly announced Facebook Ads do not excite me. Ads delivered according to user profile data? Information fed to my mini-feed about what my friends are buying/eating/fondling? Branded pages (that actually already existed) with widgets that allow me to show my love for their businesses?
This is what’s going to justify Facebook’s US$15 billion valuation?
As soon as I start getting notes in my feed telling me “Steve has just bought a toothpick from eBay”, or, “48 of your friends have bought studded butt-plugs from Wal-Mart”, I’m getting the hell off Facebook. Already, I find basically no reason to use it. If it weren’t for Scrabulous, I would have left already.
I can’t be bothered uploading my photos to it, the novelty of the wall has completely worn off (not that it was ever really there), and I’m through with catching up with old friends. They’re old friends for a reason.
(Just kidding, Englebert.)
I’ve said it before: Facebook is over-hyped. Now I can say it’s massively over-valued.
Like a contact recently said to me, “It’s a nightclub. Hot one night, empty the next night”.
Just as I was increasingly becoming frustrated about having to plan my life around a ferry schedule, and as I yearned for a flat that doesn’t have a blocked sink and an anorexic kitchen, Lamma turned on a fine weekend to convince me I am in the right place for now.
Sunday was Lamma Funday, which was really just Funafternoon/evening for me. Beer, beach, and bands — hard to go wrong with that recipe. Entertainingly, the evening ended at Spicy Island, where an expat from off-island started a vocal dispute over a chapati. One of the locals tried to have him voted off the island, and he responded by calling us all “white trash”. We all had to agree that was an accurate description, and so the disagreement ended amicably.
Some photos of the pretty day.
Revellers on the beach as the sun dips.
Pretty sure this kid was on acid.
Lamma’s famous chimney stacks in romantic lighting.
The inimitable Transnoodle, in fine form.
I’ve been thinking about Twitter a lot recently — wondering if it’s any bloody good. It has certainly been receiving a lot of hype from some key people — Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel, Marshall Kirkpatrick — though they’re all techies.
For those who don’t know: Twitter is a microblogging service that particularly targets mobile but can also be viewed on your computer. It lets you post brief messages such as “Just took a dump — wiping”, to a network, or to the general public.
Beyond a test post, I have never used Twitter. I recently signed up but soon realised I didn’t want a stream of messages inundating my mobile phone and computer by the minute, and that I don’t feel the need to share brief and frequent messages to the masses.
Others do. Scoble in particular has been rabbiting on about how wonderful it is, particularly because it was such a grand source of information soon after the earthquake in northern California on Wednesday night. The information rolled in immediately, ‘reported’ by people around the region who apparently described the effects of the quake where they were. The government website, Scoble pointed out, didn’t have information about the quake up until minutes later.
All well and good. But let’s take a look at an example of some of the earthquake intelligence that rolled in via Brian McNitt’s Twitter stream.
Hardly enlightening stuff. Meanwhile, while the the government department laboured for tedious minutes to upload its information, it did provide very detailed and useful data, such as exact times, co-ordinates, depths, an indication of potential damage, and maps.
Scoble argued that Twitter could be a saviour in disaster situations by being able to quickly transmit information to mobile devices at crucial speed. Except, that is, if the mobile phone network happens to be down, or your phone isn’t working, or you can’t reach your phone because your arms are trapped under rubble…
And there’s the flotsam. As one astute commenter on Scoble’s blog said, “As long as people have to sift between ‘having a sandwich at Panera’ and ‘help help I’m stuck under a bus’, the system just isn’t going to help save lives.”
Scoble, who has a remarkably thin skin, quickly retorted: “Sifting through all the ‘what do you have for lunch’ stuff is VERY EASY and can be done WITHIN MINUTES.” But isn’t the chief advantage of Twitter that it would save those minutes in the first place?
My suspicion is that Twitter actually isn’t very useful at all. Okay, so tech bloggers who want to beat the pack might find it a useful source of news leads. But that’s hardly a huge crowd. And in disaster scenarios, will people really be turning to Twitter, or might they be more inclined to use the mobile’s quaint voice function in what could be their last moments?
For people who get kicks out of sharing short, inane messages, Twitter will be a fun way of keeping in touch with friends, family, and respected others. It might even be thought of as a toy. Trying to force it to fit a label any grander than that is, at least at this stage, a bit much.