Go DIGG!!!!

It was an insane day on Digg. The front page on Digg has been completely taken over by posts regarding the code to break the restrictive protection of HD-DVD. Every post! It’s an act of defiance by the people of Digg against the restrictions placed by industry interest groups. It’s also a representation of democracy on the internet. Power to the people!

Digg top 10

There is apparently more story to this. As can be seen from the following public letter by Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, Digg received warnings from lawyers to remove the posts. But, Rose has decided to go down fighting.

The founders of Digg did something I feel totally worth blogging about today. I feel proud to belong to the community on Digg.

by Kevin Rose at 9pm, May 1st, 2007 in Digg Website
Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…

In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Digg on,

Kevin

Indonesia

I had just returned from a trip to Indonesia. This was meant to be a business trip visiting one of our factories. I had the opportunity to witness the chaos of Jakarta. Indonesia had suffered tremendously from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which sent its currency to plunge in value 5 fold. From the people that I had spoken to, the past few years saw many companies going bankrupt, and had put my company’s local factory in much hardship also.

Traffic

My impression of Jakarta is an endless traffic jam. From the number of new motor bikes on the streets, I think this country is in recovery. However, its lack of infrastructure, such as roads, is limiting its development (and this is pretty much the same scenario with other SE Asian countries like Phillipines). I hear that corruption in governmental posts used to be rampant, is reducing, but is still not good enough. To make things worse, the somewhat xenophobic and anti-Chinese sentiment in this country is scaring potential investors away. So, it’s stuck in a slow pace of advance, which the rest of Asia (especially China, India, and now Vietnam) marches on.

Kuta

I took the weekend off to go to Bali. Its serenity is in stark contrast to Jakarta’s chaos. The beaches are one of the best that I had set foot on. In my opinion, the waves are just perfect to surf in; not too big, not too small. The rainforests are natural, and the people are friendly. However, Kuta, where I stayed in, was way too commercialised. Surf clothing stores lined the streets. Australians with very little clothing on walk around drunk, with a beer bottle in their hand, singing rugby war cries. I hope tourism, the hand that feeds this place, doesn’t slowly exploit its beauty to death.

Kecak dance

I hate to say this, but I hope the bombing was a wake up call to the foreigners to be more sensitive to local cultures.

My gallery is here:

CODA by Panic

I am not easily impressed by pieces of software. It’s just too easy to write user-unfriendly software such that they are more abundant than they should be. My most recent excitements include Google Earth, which satisfies your inner desire to peek into other people’s backyard, and Parallels, which lets you emulate hell in heaven (no I mean run windows on Mac).

My latest infatuation is Coda by Panic, a long time Mac development company. Coda is a beefed-up text editor that lets you develop your software (mainly web site software) in style. Its interface is incredibly smoothly delicious, and about 10 times better than the industrial standard of Dreamweaver. I am seriously considering switching over. Oh, let’s not forget the price of Coda is $79 USD! Man, I hope the Dreamweaver developers are peeing in their pants, because they need to pick up their act soon.

There are a few features that I would love to see in Coda though. Panic, please add in a “collapse lines” feature that could be found in Dreamweaver 8. The same goes for CSS editing. Being able to collapse a few CSS items into folders and groups is a very neat way or organising them. You may pick up a few clues from CSSEdit from MacRabbit, which is another delicious app. Oh, speak of delicious, readers, you should check out Delicious Library by Delicious Monster for another totally sweeet app (yes, that’s 3 e’s).

Home Co-gen

The factories that my company operates have a few power/steam co-generation units. They range from 7 stories tall to the size of a whole building block.

Honda and Climate Energy has announced that they have released a micro cogen unit. I suspect that it doesn’t reach economy of scale… But if it works, and it saves energy, then it’s good for us.

Cogen unit

From Treehuggers.

Blogging from Guang Dong

I am now in China. I am here for a business meeting.

Chinese Suburbia

I caught an afternoon flight from Taiwan to Hong Kong, and then caught a boat from HK to China. The town I am in is called Hu Men or Tiger-gate (虎門), in Dong Guan, Guang Dong. It’s just like any other city in SE China. Busy, with no character. It’s raining outside, with lots of fog. There is a martial arts competition going on on TV, and they wear really bad costumes. It almost feels like I am in a bad film noir set in China.

I met a guy on the boat here, and we talked about his business. He runs a small clothing store, and he’s here picking up the latest fashion. This area in China is famous for its clothing manufacturing.

After the discussion, I had a new business idea.

The business idea involves a tailored-made clothing business (or maybe bespoke or custom-made fashion). I would set up a store and cute sales people to measure customers’ dimensions, send them to a design center with experienced tailors, and then the clothing specifications can be sent over the internet to factories based in China. A production line produces these tailored made items, before DHL’ing them to the customer.

Just another idea.

A novel approach to wind power

Here is a helium blimp that has an inbuilt wind turnbine power generator.

MARS is a lighter-than-air tethered wind turbine that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, generating electrical energy. This electrical energy is transferred down the 1000-foot tether for immediate use, or to a set of batteries for later use, or to the power grid. Helium sustains MARS and allows it to ascend to a higher altitude than traditional wind turbines. MARS captures the energy available in the 600 to 1000-foot low level and nocturnal jet streams that exist almost everywhere.

Magenn Power Air Rotor System

Interesting stuff. As stated on the page, its target market is as follows:

Developing nations where infrastructure is limited or non existent; off-grid combined wind and diesel solutions for island nations, farms, remote areas, cell towers, exploration equipment, backup power & water pumps for natural gas mines; rapid deployment diesel & wind solutions (to include airdrop) to disaster areas for power to emergency and medical equipment, water pumps; on-grid applications for farms, factories, remote communities; and wind farm deployments.

The Price Of A Wind/Solar Hybrid System

I went to an exhibition today, and found out the price of a wind/solar hybrid system. It’s about $5000 USD for a 300W/220V system.

It’s a small unit, with a solar panel, and a wind-turbine unit. It also has an inbult battery.

Vertical Farm

This is an interesting article on how scientists perceive we could build vertical farms in cities. The facility would use waste water to grow food crops in cities.

I wan to build a house with such facilities integrated.

Vertical Farm

Sarah McLachlan and my business idea.

I have recently developed a new business idea. This one is an amalgamation of charity, environemental protection, and socially responsible business.

A little background:

Thought no 1. On my journeys to Cambodia and Egypt, I witnessed rampant poverty. People had no source of electricity, or clean water. Children ran barefeet on dusty unpaved roads. In Cambodia, due to the lack of utility, people buy lead-acid batteries to power their houses, and charge them up at charging stations. The lack of clean water contributes to the death of many in the world today.

Poor children

Thought no 2. Many developed countries today are deeply addicted to fossil fuel. A lot of infrastructure has been built to support this addiction. This makes the change to alternative fuel difficult, because it’s easier to stick with the status quo, until it’s too late.

Thought no 3. Many countries in development seek an easy and well trodden path, taken by many more developed countries, to prosperity. I hear that in Myanmar, the government is banning the use of re-usable utensils in the street vendors, to thwart the spread of hepatitis B. The alternatives are polystyrene, PET and other disposable material. Taiwan went through a similar path long during its adolescent stages of development, but this choice generated huge environmental headaches that will have to be dealt with many year later. Since these developing nations have a new chance to make fresh choices in development, they should be given a chance to learn from these other countries, and make the right choice. More developed countries have a moral and practical duty to assist and ensure the people in the developing countries don’t make the same mistakes as they did.

So, the business idea is as follows:

Making modularized power systems consist of a power source and a power-utilization source.

The power source could be: solar/wind/hydrolic system.
The power utilization source could be a water purification unit, a charging station, hydrogen generator, etc.

This system should be small, and could be purchased via micro-loans and/or village fund. This would allow villages to solve these basic problems by themselves.

The funding of these units could also be backed by charities.

Here is a nice video clip from Sarah McLachlan, called World on Fire.

Employing vs Outsourcing

Recently I have been seriously thinking about getting a real programmer to complete the coding for Yabbyland. This is harder than it seems. There are relatively few PHP programmers in Taiwan, and those that do are not very experienced. Outsourcing my programming to someone in Taiwan seems quite difficult.

I had contemplated outsourcing to someone on the net, maybe on RentACoder or eLance. However, I hope to have a long term relationship with this programmer, and long distance relationship is difficult.

An alternative is to hire an internal employer, a programming staff. Here is an article on this issue.