The Network Revolution

Yet another revolution, from industrial revolution, to computer revolution.

And yet..... this is real.

Even though the internet has completely transform our life up till now, we still haven't seen "the real McCoy" yet.

We still have a somewhat half-ass attempt at connecting everything together - be it servers, mobile phones, cars and other gadgets. We still haven't found/implement a good network model.

But things are a-changing.

First, we're transitioning from voice atm network to VOIP packet network, which make every transaction data now. What that means is we can use an economy of scale to serve every one very cheap connection. Almost, free. Imagine unlimited call for $1 a month.

Second, We'll tag every device with an IP address. Right now, we only use this for computer client/server. We will fill every slot in IPv4 (256*4bit address), so we're moving on to IPv6. (enough to label every human on earth millions of time over)
Each device now has a "name" of its own, and it can start chatting. your bed can tell your light bulb to turn on because you just wake up, for example. Huge, huge amount of possibility here.

Third, social change. Imagine that being "connected" to the internet is your birthright. You don't need a fast connection, just a basic 3Mb/s is enough. Government can set up a nationwide network, just like roads and streetlights, to enable you to connect all the time, 24 hours. And you carry with you a supersmartphone, which is actually a minicomputer by then. Imagine what it can do for you and what you can do with it.
In fact, Finland has done just that. I expect other countries to follow suit in the next 10 years.

All of this will take about 20 years at most, so a majority of us will be able to benefit from it.

The future is going to be a hella exciting.

The Grand Theory of Human Mind

Or, my little model of human mind I just thought up myself during my train ride home -- without any evidence to support the model. (well, I haven't looked it up yet)

OK, my belief is that our mind has 2 parts: the conscious-logical mind, and the jungle-like pattern matching unconscious mind. These two are separated physically, but not in a clear cut way like left & right brain.

1st part is responsible for aceing the IQ test, doing math, and critical thinking. Anything that is reasoning and "careful" logical thinking. I stressed careful because that implies you have to be fully conscious when you are using this part of the brain. Most scientist-types are proficient in using it. As you can tell, it is most suitable for analyzing information and making "perfect" decision. The downside is time. You need to consider everything, slowly.
[Programmer talk: This is like a deterministic algorithm. Can find optimal conclusion, but computationally expensive]

2nd part, this one is interesting. It does pattern-matching for you without you knowing what's going on, hence operating (mostly) unconsciously. What you usually get is a "hunch". Ex: Something is off about this guy. I don't like him. This place is somehow odd, I'm not sure I wanna rent it. And many more example. The people who has the most advanced form of this part are the intuitive type -- usually women. They are great at guessing things, but they can't tell you why they "think" that way.

Most people downplay the importance of this 2nd part. It actually is another form of intelligence. Very useful for quite a few things -- Like interpersonal skills. Most salesperson use it to read the customer and react accordingly -- without knowing it themselves. It's fast, almost instant. The decision is good, but not the best. Mostly "good enough"
[Programmer talk: This is a heuristics part. Plenty fast and cheap. but might stuck in local maxima]

This is why scientists can't sell and salesmen can't do science! Their brains are completely different! (Well, to be more accurate, they only like to use one part of their brain and try to use it to solve every type of problems. When you're a hammer, everything you see is a nail.)

I'm a scientist type. Everyday, I try to approach the people-problem using the analytical part of my mind. I think I gain some insights, but it's usually too slow, and so DAMN tiring. With people, it's like solving 3 differential equations at the same time without knowing the variables. I can see the benefit of the "ituitive" brain, but I don't know how to use (or activate) it. I'll be researching more of this.

Hoo boy, I'm taking a brain dump here. It's hard to write something coherent when you're tired, and this is especially a hard concept to explain. Hope I can read it later and still gets it.

My iPod gone

My iPod got stolen today, during my evening walk back home. Damn the Bangkok thieves! I had my hands full today and left my iPod in my messenger bag. He probably saw my white headphone line disappeared into my bag -- pinpointing the device location.

I was a bit upset at my bad luck, but now I revel at how the thief's luck is equally bad. You see, my Ipod is an obsoleted 5-years ago model. He probably couldn't sell it through a 2nd hand market, or if he could the price would've been dismal. Plus, my songs are mainly in English and Japanese, which I presume is not his kind of music anyway.

So what he essentially stolen is a 5 years old hard drive. And what I got is --- an opportunity to buy a new iPod! (gotta pay for it though, hmm or is stealing a choice?)

Money vs Time (vs Quality of life)

Reddit, Being Frugal.

I've said it before on /r/Frugal and I'll say it again.

Being frugal is not about saving money. Not one bit. Being frugal is about saving TIME.

HOWEVER... when you think on the relation of time vs. money... you need to factor in something that many people leave out... how much TIME did it take you to EARN the money? You need to convert costs to time, not dollars. The oil change may cost you 35 dollars... but if it takes two hours to earn that money back then you may be losing in the long run.

We are frugal not because we want to save money. Money is essentially an infinite resource. If we spend what we have we can always make more. The catch is that we have to spend time to make money. Time is a very, very finite resource. Most of us will only get about 70 years worth, and if you're old enough to be living the frugal life you've probably already spent 20 or 30 years of it.

We are frugal because we want to avoid spending money and essentially eliminate the need to make more of it.

If you're frugal because you want to spend all of your time saving money so you can stockpile it then I think you have the wrong idea. I also think you have the wrong idea if you're being frugal so that you can build up enough money to buy "things". Or, maybe you want to retire young but you don't wanna look back and think that you wasted the best years of your life earning money so you can spend the most increasingly difficult years of your life saving money to leave behind. I certainly hope you aren't visiting /r/Frugal on a regular basis because you want to save up enough money to buy a great big house so you can spend time making money to fill it with more "things".

You can get money back. You can't get time back. But being frugal is about not being wasteful with money so that you don't have to spend time.

Another Sowell gem

If you could knock a little something into the heads of young liberals, what would it be?

I'd like to get them to think in terms of incentives and empirical evidence, and not in terms of goals and hopes. Over the years, I've reached the point where I can hardly bear to read the preamble of proposed legislation. I don't care what you think this thing is going to do. What I care about is: What are you rewarding, and what are you punishing? Because you're going to get more of what you're rewarding and less of what you're punishing. -- Thomas Sowell

Google wave developer = Viking Legend

I was just watching Google Wave keynote, and noticed that Lars Rasmussen, the creator, looks so much like Askeladd, the character from Vinland Saga manga.

Singapore all-age employment

I've intended to write this post a few weeks ago but completely forgotten about it.

I have visited Singapore a while back and had an interesting observation. It's about old people in Singapore. They're still working -- in their 80's and beyond. On menial job, which I think government reserved for old people.

I've specially experienced a strange but warming scene when I went in a local fastfood (near hotel) for a quick meal. I ordered a bowl of niku-don from a very young cashier. (probably 12-14 years old)
Then got served by a 25-something waiter. Then after a while, very old grandma came out from the back and went to stand at the front handling out discount flyers to teenagers. She is about 85 and has her back bent like a question mark.

First impression -- this is like a family business!

Second impression -- why doesn't grandma's son/daughter take care of her? Chinese has a culture of taking care of their parents.

From trying (and failing) to communicate with this grandma, I still found out that she likes this job. I still remembered her smile.

I tried to get every employees (12,25,85) to take a photo with me but they are too shy. Oh well.

That's it I think. No conclusion, no nothing. I just think it's a weird and want to share it.

Linux & Windows, general user statements

I spent 4 hours trying to get my broadcom wi-fi adapter working in ubuntu. When i finally got it installed, i could ping, but i could not browse. I gave up and re-installed vista and everything worked right off the bat. I dont even know why i am posting this. I guess i just want somebody to feel my pain.


The day when the banks die..

Closing levels of S&P 500 Index :

Bottom of Dotcom bubble burst
October 9, 2002 ===========> 777

CNBC's Jim Cramer's "This is Armageddon!" call
August 6, 2007 ============> 1468

All-Time closing high
October 9, 2007 ===========> 1565

Close of Beijing Games
August 25, 2008 ========> 1266

Lehman Bros. collapses
September 16, 2008 =========> 1214

CNBC's Jim Cramer appears on "Today Show"
October 6, 2008 ==========> 1057

U.S. Federal elections
November 4, 2008 =========> 1005

New Year's Day
January 1, 2009 =========> 903

Chinese (Lunar) New Year's
January 26, 2009 =========> 836

Feb '09 options expiration
February 20, 2009 ===========> 770

U.S. banking nationalization?
February 23, 2009 =========> ???

Oh, and also -- BAC is toast.

Ray-traced real-time games

The link above showed QuakeWar rewrite to use raytracing instead of rasterization for graphics. Impressive, impressive feats. Although right now the power of high-end PC can only maintain about 20-30fps for this game, I believe that in 3 years -- 2012 -- we will see the first "commercially viable" ray-traced 3D games.

Need to save up money right now...

Recession, Depression - 2009

With Recent Global Economics Downturn, many people are strugging to find a job. (or keep their old jobs) Many, many bad news are floating around the internet, and I can't help thinking about recent/coming college graduates who will definitely have to face a toughest job market in 30 years.

But this is also the time and you can prove once and for all -- what you are made of.

Just to remind myself: I still have roof over my head!

Starcraft Matches on youtube

For anyone who likes playing starcraft, and enjoy watching those Korean progamers slugging each other, I want to recommend Cholera's Youtube Channel. He is Commentating these videos in English and I would say he is a very, very good. How good is he? I would watch any sports he want to commentate on.

my octopus test animation

Massively arms jiggling!

Another year older

I've been making pizza today because it's a special day! Not much to blog, except I felt happy that quite a lot of people remember it.

"Outliers" comments on Reddit

Just want to copy/paste a snippet of good discussion on Reddit about the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.

The Question:

These things are interesting, including other types of "success" books like "Good to Great", but they all seem to fail in one respect. They only look at one side of the coin. Even the most statistically rigorous, multivariate analyses seem to only look at variables that are necessary, but not sufficient. Sure, all of the analyzed successes have these similar overlapping properties, but that doesn't make them useful properties. For example, they also all breathe, eat, and take a shit every day.

It's good when they go a step further and show a direct causal link from the property to the outcome, but even that isn't enough. How many people have done all of these things and still failed? These books imply that if you do these things then you'll be more successful. All lottery winners have the necessary property that they bought lottery tickets, and there is a direct causal link, but that doesn't make buying a lottery ticket a good plan to get rich.

How much of these successes are just random chance on top of those factors?

The Answer:

You'll never know. If you are trying to get hard data like that, you are going about it completely the wrong way. The causal links can never be proven, especially not when it comes to intentionality as opposed to the workings of a computer program, which is deterministic by definition.

Instead think about what brings you joy, and do that. It's that simple and you can't go wrong with that. The problem is that often it takes some courage to do what brings you joy rather than what brings you steady money. Or, another problem could be that you may not know what brings you joy. All this can be figured out though.

Every second you spend in joy and contentment is success. Whether or not you become famous or make big bucks or both is secondary. Live fully and face all the fears you have, starting with the scariest first. Forget about success and just do what is in front of you to do, and success will find you. You don't have to go looking for it.

What they don't tell you is that NONE of the successful people gave a damn about success. You think Tiger Woods would stop playing golf if he was told he could only be number 2 max? The successful people LOVE what they do and would do it no matter what. The Beatles would have played no matter what.

So making the right choice is easy -- ignore success and do what you love.

Every second you spend in joy and contentment is success - Wow, never thought about it that way..