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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Dual Meaning URL's

I couldn't resist...the following posting was made in a news group (GeoExpat.com) and it is just too funny. Look closely at the URL and how it could be construed...
People should make time to think of suitable and appropriate domain names for their business. The following domains are real (and work safe - click on them and find out!)...

Firstly there is Who Represents a database for agencies to the rich and famous:

Second is the Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views (this has now been changed with a hyphen, but the address still works):

Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island:

Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder:

And last but not least, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales :

Let these be a lesson to us all!!
If you don't get it, look again!


BBC Arabic Television Service

According to The NY Times, “the BBC Arabic Television Service is to broadcast 12 hours a day across the Middle East, beginning in 2007, and will be free to anyone with a satellite or cable connection. It will make the BBC the only ‘tri-media international news provider offering Arabic news and current affairs on television, radio and online,’ BBC said in a news release.”

I think this is good news. The BBC will be competing directly with al-Jazeera and will hopefully continue to provide less biased media. "Most people in the Arab world are very clear that, despite being funded by the UK taxpayer, they see the BBC as an independent broadcasting force and have done for over 60 years," said World Service director, Nigel Chapman. With this move, more of the Middle East will be able to get more honest news and not propaganda disguised as news. Of course, this assumes we in the West and East are ready to hear things that we used to dismiss as al-Jazeera propaganda and is now something we must consider no matter how painful.

At the same time, al-Jazeera is preparing to launch an English language version. I honestly think that will be interesting but, unfortunately, many people with not filter what they hear with other sources and, since it is on TV, will believe everything they read. Oh well, guess that is just a risk of free media.


Scary Side(sky)walk!

This is a proposed skywalk sidewalk at the Grand Canyon in the United States. Yes, I confirmed this is real and is under construction and scheduled to open January 1, 2006 at a cost of $30 million. Can you imagine walking on this? It sticks out over the canyon wall about 70 feet and is 4000 ft above the Colorado River - that is 3/4 of a mile or 1220 meters!

It is built with more than a million pounds of steel beams and includes dampeners that minimize the structure's vibration. In fact, “enabling it to withstand the weight of 71 fully loaded Boeing 747 airplanes (more that 71 million pounds)”, withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake 50 miles away, and withstand winds in excess of 100 mph. Of course, it also has a glass bottom and sides - four inches thick - so you can hang out with 120 of your friends 4000 feet above the ground on a piece of glass.

While I would not have a problem with this (I do stupid stuff all the time), I know many people with a fear of heights that would make this an ultimate challenge for them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


BUSTED for Sharing

Any of you Hong Kongers that thought sharing files in Hong Kong might be safer then in the US or other countries think again. I have not even heard of another such case where a "small time" file sharer got busted in another country. It is common for the courts to go after the "big guys" but this guy had a whopping 3 movies he was sharing...

Hong Kong court convicts file-sharer

Oct 25, 2005
Telecom Asia Daily

(Japan Economic Newswire via NewsEdge) A Hong Kong court set a precedent by convicting a BitTorrent file-sharing software user of copyright infringement.

Chan Nai-ming, 38, was convicted on three charges of copyright infringement at the Tuen Mun Magistrates' Court for using the peer-to-peer software to share three movies with dozens of users on the Internet.

Copies of Hollywood films "Daredevil," "Red Planet" and "Miss Congeniality" were found on the defendant's home computer during a customs raid in January.

Magistrate Colin Mackintosh said in his judgment that Chan had the intention to distribute the files, and that even though he did not profit from the sharing, his act violated copyrights and caused financial loss to the movies' owners.

Chan will be sentenced Nov. 7 so that the judge can have time to decide an appropriate sentence for what was described as a "complicated" case.

The maximum penalty for copyright infringement under Hong Kong law is four years imprisonment and a HK$50,000 ($6,400) fine for each infringing article.

Commerce, Industry and Technology Secretary John Tsang welcomed the judgment, saying it "means a lot to Hong Kong" and "should have a big deterring effect on copyright infringement."

The customs department said it will continue combating file-sharing, bolstered by the case.

The movie and music industries were also pleased with the judgment but said the law against downloading is still too lenient.

© 2005 Japan Economic News

© 2005 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

Link to Reference

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Space...is there any?

Personal space is an interesting concept in crowded places like Hong Kong and China's big cities. I am sure this is the same in cities like London, but I haven't spent enough time there to know. Anyway, when I first came to Hong Kong I found it difficult to even walk down the sidewalk. I always felt like I was having to dodge people, move away from people, etc. It was exhausting!!

In a couple weeks, walking down the street just became naturally easier and now I don't even think about avoiding people and such - it just happens. However, I sometimes still am stressed out by the lack of personal space. When in line for the subway, an elevator, anything, people will literally be pushing or leaning against you - even if you cannot possibly move any further. If you leave any room between you and what they are trying to get to, people will walk right in front of you. Even when exiting an elevator it is not uncommon for those wanting on the lift to push there way on, while you are trying to make room by getting off the lift.

That all said, there is another interesting aspect of personal space. Today (and other times) I was sitting down for lunch in a small sandwich shop. In the US, if there was not an open table, you would just wait for one. However, in Hong Kong, there is not really the concept of an open table, just an open seat. So, for example, today I sat with another gentleman at a 2 foot diameter table. Then, when he left, another young man and woman sat with me at the table. There the 3 of us were eating together and having no idea who the other person was. It is kinda strange to be looking at someone less then 2 feet away you don't know while eating a sandwich. I actually don't mind this, in fact I like that I don't have to wait for a table and I find it interesting.


Smurfs to Teach About War?!

Okay, this is just crazy. If not for the fact this is being used to educate children, I would find this picture hilarious! I don't have kids, but it doesn't seem right that Unicef is taking a friendly, happy, fun, cartoon - the Smurfs - and turning them into these poor blue folks getting bombed to teach about war. There is often more to war then some imperial force bombing the poor Smurfs (or other society).

Yes, war sucks. Sometimes it is necessary, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes (often) there are atrocities - some intentional, some unfortunate side effects. But come on. I mean look at the poor Smurf crushed by the rock on the bottom right. Also, isn't it interesting they are not shooting back or shown as soldiers. Good way to brainwash children that any force bombing is obviously just attacking poor innocent people. If Unicef is using this as a parody of war, then kids are going to replace the image of Smurfs with themselves and it will have a similar effect to showing the real thing - nice - more trauma...

In this photo of a poster provided by Unicef on Tuesday Oct. 11, 2005, the cartoon Smurfs and their village are seen being bombed by airplanes. The recent advertising campaign by Unicef, both in print and on television, is intended to teach schoolchildren about the horrors of war. The title in French at left bottom reads 'Don't let war destroy the world of children'. (AP Photo/Unicef/IMPS/Peyo)

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