Saturday, September 20, 2008

The website says = English(英語) + .com(網際網路) + .tw(台灣)
which translates back to English(English) + .com(Internet) + .tw(Taiwan)

This really opens my eyes. I've never known that .com stands for the Internet. I always thought that .com was intended for commercial use. This is really a self disgracing irony.

Archive of the website in question.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I don't want Chien-Ming Wang to be "Light of Taiwan"

No, I don't want to be beaten by thousands of fans. In fact, I have great respect for people who have talents and work hard to earn their places. I'm not saying that against Chien-Ming Wang. I am against the second half "Light of Taiwan". Accepting this kind of saying is acceptance of the following two statements:
  1. Major League Baseball of North America is better than the Chinese Professional Baseball League
  2. Taiwanese participation in MLB is rare
Although the statements are true as it stands now, repeated use of the honorary title is the acceptance of the current state. It means that people are content with the current state. If the Taiwanese as a people have ambition of progress and improvement, they would try to negate the second statement first. Taiwanese now can be seen in many industries in the States, engineer, doctors, businesspeople. We don't call these people "Light of Taiwan". After the second statement becomes invalid, ambitious Taiwanese would invalidate the first statement. When both statements are false, nobody would call Chien-Ming Wang "Light of Taiwan". On the contrary, Americans would call any American professional athlete who work in Taiwan "Light of America". This is the status Taiwanese should seek.

Friday, June 27, 2008

2008 food price inflation

"清之味" (roughly translates to "light flavor") sandwich from Nikomart, made from the best and nutritious ingredients!
清之味 (roughly translates to light flavor) sandwich from Nikomart, made from the best and nutritious ingredients!

And it really costs NT¥10 (US$0.33, €0.21 at the time of writing) only! (regular: NT¥15)
And it really costs NT¥10 only! (regular: NT¥15)

The interior ........................ seems a little .........
The interior ........................ seems a little .........

WTF? WTH is this? Pig food?
WTF? WTH is this? Pig food?

See also

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The two-party politics in the Republic of China

It's not because of legislative violence, negotiations fail,
It's because negotiations fail, legislators fight so that they have an excuse.

The two parties don't earn support by doing something good,
They screw up something, and then manage to place the blame on the other party.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shouting in Japanese at restaurants

What is the reason that waiters and waitresses greet customers by shouting in Japanese at Japanese restaurants in Taipei? This phenomenon transcends food types, whether it's fondue or rice and dish. Taipei has the most diverse restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. But do you hear people shouting in Portuguese at a Brazilian barbeque, in Italian at an Italian pasta shop, in Cantonese at a dim sum restaurant, in English at McDonalds' or T.G.I.Fridays? For whatever reason, this is an unsymmetry.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Region coding for video or game

I've wanted to complain about this long time ago. DVD, Blu-ray, or console game region coding is wrong.

I'm no economist, but there's one thing I remember from my economics class in college. "If a certain product can be used globally (e.g. medicine), and there are forces that prohibit the import/export of such product, then the following are the results compared to a completely free market.
  • Consumers are hurt
  • Producers gain extra benefit
  • If we combine the utility (happiness) of consumers and producers, the total utility is still less than that of a free market"
If you argue that medicine should be highly regulated, I can't deny that. But movies? Why can't a German buy an American movie while visiting the U.S., and bring the movie back and watch it at home? Or a South African wants to send a gift to someone in India? Region coding is just a scheme artificially created by big corporations to maximize profits. One key ingredient of profit maximization is price discrimination. Price discrimination is a blatant violation of consumers' right. Why is it that a customer is forced to buy a product from his/her region when and if there's a substitute that is close enough and cheaper from another region? If a customer is willing to pay for extra shipping cost and wait for extra shipping delay, who are we to take away his/her right to buy from other places? Yes, I know most things are priced differently everywhere. "Price discrimination" is more than "different prices". It's "difference price + you can't buy from other places". It is that I'm against.

Protection against piracy they say? How does this artificial barrier increase the difficulty for someone in region 1 to copy a region 1 disk, where the clone is also region 1? In practice, a simple PC nowadays can make region-free copies from a single-region disk! Region coding does not make piracy more difficult.

Some people would say "what's wrong with a company trying to make money? Isn't it their primary purpose?" Even so, companies are still members of this society. There are morals and laws to be followed. Everybody would agree that false advertisement is wrong, therefore laws are made so. Region coding is also wrong. The inability to watch/play something from another region is not a result of some natural economic or technological difficulty (e.g. shipping cost, or a DVD can't be read by a CD-ROM). The difficulty is intentionally created by people. The artificial barrier benefits a small number of corporations, at a greater cost for the consumers. This "rob from the poor, give to the rich". This can't be right. Furthermore, what pisses me off the most is the fact that I hear this kind of argument from consumers themselves! Why are you defending the other side while economists already prove that it's bad for the society?

Video and game region coding
  • costs more to the consumers than benefits to the producers (the society as a whole incurs loss)
  • does not prevent piracy
  • is a scheme cooked up by big corporation no other than profit maximization

See also

Sunday, March 09, 2008

What would you do when you …?

Do you often hear expressions such as
  • "What would you do when you go to college?"
  • "What would you do when you work?"
  • "What would you do when you have a boy/girlfriend?"
  • "What would you do when you serve in the military?"
  • "What would you do when you are married?"
? Many people use this kind of expression to persuade another to change some current habits. Why do I have to make daily decisions now based on some future scenario? If my options are fewer in the future, I will adapt then. Why can't I utilize the larger number of options that I have now? This reminds me of someone I knew when I lived in a dorm. He doesn't want to clean up the room because "rich people hire housekeepers to do the clean up". The problem was he did not have any housekeeper at the time. If you persuade me with reasons such as health, hygiene, knowledge, frugality, or any the good morals, I'm willing to listen. But "What would you do when you …?" is not a convincing argument.

Monday, February 25, 2008

SNG unit report

When you watch news on Taiwanese TV channels, do you often hear "John Du, SGN (satellite news gathering) unit report" or "Jane Du satellite report from Washington"? What I'm going to discuss is not the content of news because everyone knows just how bad it is. I'd like to discuss something technical, something applicable everywhere in the world.

As an audience, I don't care how the pictures are transmitted to my TV. What I care about are location and time. They usually show the location, although the precision is not completely satisfactory. Time is just as important as location. Since news is called "news", then they have the duty of showing how new the news is. Some SNG pictures are live, and then get recycled during the next hour, and over and over again. So what if they tell me it's SNG? I'd rather see time stamps that include full date and with the precision of minute. This is a very simple technology, yet it provides vital information. Many news reports involve A saying something, then B responding to A, and then C saying something. In this case, the ordering is very important. In addition, news shown in late night or early morning are usually rerun. And the news may include video recorded even earlier, possibly ranged from 4 to 20 hours ago. At this time, they must show two time stamps, anchor's time and the video's time. Furthermore, people who watch news at this time during the day usually don't have the sense of time. Showing time stamps help these people come to sense. And pictures captured in another time zone must include local time and the time in major broadcasting area.

Some people might think nobody would care about this, except geeks like me. But do you not see reporters' names included in news articles, printed and televised alike? Most of these people are not famous. Why? This is a form of responsible journalism. Showing time stamps is also a form of responsible journalism, as a proof of not falsifying the sequence of events, or misleading the audience.


Mumbai, India
Picture in local time5:30 PM 2/25/2008
Picture in Taipei time8:00 PM 2/25/2008
Anchor's time9:13 PM 2/25/2008
Now1:13 AM 2/26/2008
(not lotto numbers)

See also (all in Chinese)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Edison Chen sex photo incident — Part 2

Many people have criticized the police for this incident, such as "everyone has seen it. What good is arresting a person or two" or unfair prioritization just because the victims are celebrities. About the first criticism, I have to criticize the criticizer. If spreading the photos in public is illegal, spreading them privately is legal, then the police were merely doing their job. They can go only as far as where the evidence is. The second criticism is understandable, but it's not excusable at the end of the day.

The following is that I have to criticize against the police. They've arrested some John Doe here and there. If spreading these photos publicly is illegal, then the first suspect that should be arrested is the newspaper or magazine that publishes the photos! So what if the important parts are censored, cropped, or covered by text? Selective prioritization is minor; Selective arrestment is no better than a bully!

See also

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kosovo declaration of independence

If you land here to read about Kosovo's act, then this is not the best place. I apologize in advance. I am no expert of Balkans' politics, but I do know that this event is important enough to be on the headline. It is between 1:19 AM and 3:37 AM on 2/18/2008 in Taipei (6:19 PM to 8:37 PM 2/17 in Kosovo, 12:19 PM to 2:37 PM 2/17 in New York) when I compose this blog post. Let's take a look at the front pages of news media inside and outside Taiwan.

BBC News
Kosovo declares independence

Financial Times
Kosovo declares independence from Serbia

People's Daily
科索沃 = Kosovo, 独立 = independence

Kosovo declares independence

Le Monde
Le Kosovo est désormais un Etat indépendant et souverain

Yomiuri Shimbun
コソボ = Kosovo, 独立 = independence

In Taiwan
United Daily News
陳冠希 傳割腕逼婚
陳冠希 = Edison Chen

China Times
洪奇昌回憶六一二 駁「抓耙仔」指控
A political gossip related to the presidential election

Liberty Times
【重大】直升機從天而降 警方用手銬查扣
Unregistered helicopter "handcuffed"

Apple Daily
年薪1.27億 建仔「已是贏家」
建仔 = 王建民 = Chien-Ming Wang

18天環台苦行拼入聯 扁躍躍欲試
入聯 = to join the UN

阿公店喝霸王酒 老翁脫光衣服抵酒錢
An old man (grandpa) spent a night in a night club with no money at all. He had to strip and leave all clothes as collateral.


Just a "real time" news ticker. No sign of Kosovo.

Eastern Television
網路最夯歌 陳冠希大支嗎?
陳冠希 = Edison Chen

Era News
酒醉男毆母 持刀咆哮與警對峙
Drunk man hit mom

Formosa TV News
/ 應用程式中發生伺服器錯誤
錯誤 = error

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Edison Chen sex photo incident — Part 1

      Edison Chen
      Cecilia Cheung
      Gillian Chung
      Bobo Chan
      Hong Kong Discuss Forum
The Edison Chen sex photo incident has drawn massive media attention recently. Google Trends shows a huge increase of searches for the parties involved (right). I didn't want to comment on this issue because it is just a gossip by its very nature, a big gossip. But there is one thing I can't stand and must say. Edison Chen and some of the other celebrities have publicly apologize. What is there to apologize? These people are victims of a criminal activity! The person who spreads these images and videos without permission should apologize. If you can tell me how that two (or more) consenting adults taking sex photo is illegal or unethical, I will shut up forever. Chen was also pulled from a new movie as a result of this incident. He is a victim too. Why should anyone take away his employment opportunity? If somebody stole your privacy, and your boss fired you because of it, what would you think?

This makes me remember another thing. A student was raped, and the school expelled the student in the name of "damaging the school's reputation". This is preposterous. These examples expose a distorted belief in this society. That is if a criminal activity involves sex, then the victim is also questionable.

These celebrities don't need to apologize. They have done nothing wrong. They should be angry and condemn. This incident is in the same class as leaked private financial or medical records.

See also

Friday, January 18, 2008


I think the translation of the Taiwanese currency should be "yuan", not "dollar". The symbol should be ¥ and not $.

Why is "圓" (yuan) sometimes translated as "dollar" (e.g. Hong Kong dollar), "dollar" translated as "圓" (United States dollar in Chinese)? It is not without reasons. In late 19th century and early 20th century, the world was divided into a handful of monetary regions. The dollar, peso, yuan, won, yen regions can be considered as one because one of such unit was defined as approximately 27 grams of 90% pure silver. These countries gradually became unable to sustain silver standard or gold standard, and abandoned the standards around World War I. But the names of the currency units remained unchanged, for the most part. It was a chaotic period between 1911–1949 in Mainland China in terms of monetary history. Warlords were everywhere, and new banknotes were issued almost every year. When the character "圓" was printed on the front side, sometimes English translation with "yuan" was printed on the back, sometimes with "dollar". Yuan was more frequent than dollar. Therefore, I've proven that 圓 = yuan = dollar.

yuan ↑ ↓dollar

Then why do I still advocate the use of yuan? Right now the currency unit of Mainland China, South Korea, and Japan are all cognates of the character 圓 (yuan). And they are respectively transliterated as "yuan", "won", and "yen", spelled as they are spoken. The fact that Hong Kong's 圓 is translated as dollar is because it was a British colony. However, Macau's 圓 is not translated yuan or dollar. It is "pataca" because pataca is the Portuguese word for peso. Taiwan was never colonized by an English speaking country in modern time. There is no reason to use the word "dollar". So we should use "yuan".

In addition, English has almost never been printed on banknotes since the issuance of the Taiwanese (old) "dollar" in 1946. But the first two series of the new Taiwanese "dollar" after 1949, the vertical series, had English translation with "YUAN" on the back. What else can be more official than banknotes? So my proposal is not without precedent.

If we were to use "yuan", then the symbol should be ¥.

Unfortunately, the ROC government in Taiwan, in recent decades, disregards the precedent of yuan. English documents and web pages use "dollar". Even the folder of the 1999 commemorative banknote for the 50th anniversary of the issuance of the new Taiwanese "dollar/yuan" had the word "dollar". This also exposes the ignorance of standardization in the Taiwanese society.

Taiwanese yuan, TW¥.