Long Lines for Avatar 3D IMAX

I was in the Raffles City today, and saw the long lines for Avatar 3D IMAX in the Peace Theater.

Peace Theater is the only cinema with IMAX in Shanghai that shows Avatar. There is another IMAX cinema in the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, but they would rather keep showing the 3D Moon Walker and other tech movie, despite the fact that IMAX is in huge demand in Shanghai because of Avatar.

That line is at least 10 times longer than the line before a train ticket window near my home. The line starts from outside the box office, winds all the way around the Raffles tower, and winds back to the box office. It may be 200 meters long. I took some photos in my mobile phone and will upload tomorrow. It is just AMAZING!

My question is, why recently, there are more and more things like this: So many people line up for something. The train tickets (every year), and now, a film ticket!

Started to Walk

Walking in Shanghai is a nice experience. I started to walk to everywhere whenever time allows – following Vince’s leads and best practices of loosing weight by walking.

I have gave up exercise for too long, since I broke my ankle. Hope to have some time to make up the time lost.

In Shanghai, and with my current walking pattern, I can use Google Maps on my mobile phone to search the driving path from point A to point B, and get the distance. Multiple the distance in km by 10 is the actual number of minutes for me to get there.

Trend Against Semantic Web

Semantic web is one of the hottest trend in 2009 and should continue to be so in 2010 (like in this article: Top 5 Web Trends of 2009.) We talked about this during the dinner time with Gao Xiang of Hubs1, and other great guys.

I personally don’t see huge potential of semantic web.

X.400 vs SMTP email address

If you compare the two implementation of email address,

X.400 representation:

G=Harald;S=Alvestrand;O=Uninett;P=Uninett;A=;C=no

SMTP address:

Harald.Alvestrand@delab.sintef.no

The later is better, I think. The first one is very semantic, and contains organized, structured information, like the country (C), the organization (O), private management domain Name (P), Surname (S), Given Name (G), but is that all that important for human even computer to understand that?

Human is not Semantic

Basically, as Gao Xiang pointed it out, human beings are not semantic. They love to dance, to drink, to sing, but don’t like to act as machines. Machines like semantic. It should be the machines moving toward human, not the other way.

Look at this “Semantic way” of representing an EMAIL address:

Attribute Type Abbreviation Label

(where necessary)

Given Name Given name G

Initial Initials I

Surname Surname S

Generation Qualifier Generation Q

Common Name Common Name CN

Organization Organization O

Organizational Unit 1 Org.Unit.1 OU1

Organizational Unit 2 Org.Unit.2 OU2

Organizational Unit 3 Org.Unit.3 OU3

Organizational Unit 4 Org.Unit.4 OU4

Private Management Domain Name PRMD P

Administration Management Domain Name ADMD A

Country Country C

Physical Delivery Personal Name PD-person PD-PN

Extension of Postal O/R Address

Components PD-ext.address PD-EA

Extension of Physical Delivery Address

Components PD-ext.delivery PD-ED

Physical Delivery Office Number PD-office number PD-OFN

Physical Delivery Office Name PD-office PD-OF

Physical Delivery Organization Name PD-organization PD-O

Street Address PD-street PD-S

Unformatted Postal Address PD-address PD-A1

PD-A2

(there are individual labels for PD-A3

each line of the address) PD-A4

PD-A5

PD-A6

Unique Postal Name PD-unique PD-U

Local Postal Attributes PD-local PD-L

Postal Restante Address PD-restante PD-R

Post Office Box Address PD-box PD-B

Postal Code PD-code PD-PC

Physical Delivery Service Name PD-service PD-SN

Physical Delivery Country Name PD-country PD-C

X.121 Network Address X.121 X.121

E.163/E.164 Network Address ISDN ISDN

PSAP Network Address PSAP PSAP

User Agent Numeric ID N-ID N-ID

Terminal Identifier T-ID T-ID

Terminal Type T-TY T-TY

Domain Defined Attribute DDA:

DDA:

I am so happy that the collective wisdom of Internet age didn’t adopt this form, and used the current somebody@example.com type of system.

Notes on Harvard Justice Course Part 3/4

Quote from the section 3, part I of Justice – What is the right thing to do.

Taxation = Taking of Earnings

Taking of Earnings = Forced Labor

Forced Labor = Slavery (You are not longer the 100% owner of your own life – taxation means the state is a part owner, or a share holder of you).

Slavery = Against Principle of Self possession (we are the owner of the individual person – wholly)

Even laws to prevent us from hurting ourselves (like helm requirement and safe belt laws) are unjustified.

Fire Fighter’s Case

The example of the Arkansas Fire Corporation is interesting and inspiring – they only put off fire of the houses of its yearly subscriber, or only to make sure the fire does not spread to its subscribers. They get to the house with full equipment of a non-subscriber, and see the house to burn before them, only to make sure it does not hurt its subscriber’s house. The CEO said, he has no any choice to break the rule.

It reminds me that only a society where strange things happens everyday, is a society that has self-improving internal driven force.

Dilemma

Needing something is different than deserving something.

Need is one thing, and deserve is another.

Even for victims of earthquake, they need house, they need food, but they don’t deserve it. Ops. Seems very wrong.

The next question: Is it justified for the father to steal bread for his starving children? Is it justified to rob a store of drugs, to save his child’s life?

How about “use persons” for the aggregated sum of happiness of others?

If I am the 100% of owner of myself, do I have the right to give this ownership to another person? To become a slavery? Can one gives UP his natural right, like life, and property?

John Locke thinks the rights that naturally comes with human kind is unalienable, just like non-transferable air-line tickets. It is just for this person and cannot be transferred to another. It in one sense, makes the right less “owned”, but in another sense, make it more profound.

Private Property

John Locke says, we are the owner of our labor, so the fruit of the labor is the private property, so does anything that is mixed, or joined with the labor. If someone enclose a land from the common, it is his private land. If someone cultivate a land, that is also his private land. Because those things are mixed with his labor.

That implies that we can turn something from unowned to ours with our label.

Human laws is legitimate only when it respect the natural rights of life, liberty and property.

OK. That is all for today. I have paused at 27th minutes of this video .

My Favorate Road – Xingguo Road

I love to walk on small and quiet roads like Wukang Road and Xingguo Road.

There is something special in this area: you can walk besides other people’s window!

That is unique compared to the current “Residential Area” design. That made us feel that we are still in a small town, not in city.

The road is quiet – no wonder a shop on this road cost just 1/6 of resident house on this road.

The road is newly renovated for the Expo. Although it costs much more than it should be (completely replaced every tile even though the old tilescan still be used), it is nice after everything is new.

It is a single way road for cars (direction: south to north). Not noisy.

There are nice historical buildings along the roads. Not very famous – those kind of villa still occupied by local residence. It makes you feel you are in a community – a nice one.

How to Access Twitter and Facebook in China

I setup my connection to Twitter and Facebook via SSH tunnel again. When the original tools to access Twitter, and Facebook failed, I just lost interest to setup proxy. Now, I am back and just accepted the 109 Facebook friend request. (My rule: Accept everyone in jianshuo@Facebook, but be very selective on Kaixin001.com. Here is how I did it.

The process is pretty straight forward, but it is not free.

First, you need to have an account with any web hosting service provider that supports SSH. My list:

bluehost.com (Cheaper: 6.95 USD/month)

mediatemple.net (More expensive, $20/month)

There are many other very cheap hosting services. The only thing you need to check with them is, whether they allow SSH (Secure Shell) access.

Then you need a tool called PUTTY (download for free)

Double click PUTTY to run it, and enter the server name (your host service provider will give you, typically your domain name) into “Host Name (or IP address)” field under the default Session tab. Keep all the rest unchanged, like port 22, and Connection type as SSH.

On the left Category pan, expand SSH under Connection and click Tunnels.

Under “Add New Forward port:”, enter 7070 into Source Port, and select Dynamic for Destination. Keep the rest unchanged, and click Add. You will see D7070 appear under forward ports.

Then click Open to start the SSH session. You will be promoted to enter your user name and password (given by your service provider). When you are at the command line, the SSH Tunnel is established.

Then you need to setup your browser to use this proxy. Let me just talk about Firefox. IE is similar.

Open Firefox, click Options under Tools menu. The Options dialog appears.

Click Advanced button (on the right most of the pane), and select Network tab.

Click “Settings…” button under Connection section. The Connection Setting dialog appears.

Select “Manual Proxy Configuration” radio box. The input boxes under that become available to enter.

Enter “127.0.0.1″ without quotation mark into SOCKS Host: field, and 7070 into Port field. NOTE: IMPORTANT Please make sure only enter into the Socks Host field, and keep all the rest fields empty.

Keep Socks v5 selected (unchanged), and click OK three times to close the configuration dialogs.

Now, you should try to enter “google.com” into address bar. You should be able to visit all the sites that you CAN access without proxy, like Google.com, www.sina.com.cn, or 163.com. However, you still cannot access Facebook.com, Youtube.com, Twitter.com. This is because the DNS record was hacked and changed. A small trick will help.

In Firefox, enter “about:config” into the address bar (Yes, it is a strange URL, just in the location where you typically would enter http://….) After click “I’ll be careful. I promise” button, you will see a long list of configuration options started with Filter input box.

Enter “network.proxy.socks_remote_dns” (without quotation marks) into the Filter input box, and you will see a line with network.proxy.socks_remote_dns as Preference Name appears. Double click it so the Value field changes from False to True (and you will also notice the line becomes bold).

Congratulations! Now you should be able to enter “Facebook.com” into your browser, and starts to surf on the Internet without limitation.

Avatar

Just completed 3 hour journey of Avatar. Amazing. Some thoughts:

  • When to good words conflicts, which takes priority. When justice conflicts with the home country, Jack didn’t hesitate to betray his country – in this movie, betray his own race.

  • Wendy said: If I were Jack, I won’t be back too – how good it is to be the hero, and be strong. I said: That is why people love to play online game like WOW.

Google in China – Business Decision?

Google’s announcement risking to quit China is controversial in nature. Not only in China, but also in the States, even in the high-tech camp, Microsoft, and Yahoo! hold different opinions.In fact, it is people’s reaction to this news that shocks many people, in both camp. Let me add my observation by starting from the easiest question:

“Is Google’s announcement about its China operation a business decision, or not?”

The critics about Google’s action that occupied the dominating position in Chinese (government approved) media is, it is all about money, and Google is mixing business with politics… In short, Bad! Ugly!

The argument is about Google’s motivation to do it. As a basic rule, when we argue, we should not focus on the motivation, since it can never be proved. It leads the discussion to nowhere. I neither suspect their motivation to be “its high moral standard” nor “evil anti-China blah/blah/blah”.

(If you ask me to guess, as a Google fans, I think it is the first part, but… Ops! Can we change a topic because the debate about motivation is not productive).

If it were a pure business decision

If it were purely a business decision, what is the right thing for Google to do? Jun made a public statement that “It is the most stupid thing Google did in history, by giving up half of the world” (source). With all the due respect, I don’t agree.

Let me share the The Ford Pinto Case (via Michael Sandel’s presentation)

Ford Pinto Case

Ford, as a company, learned that a defective design in its Pinto’s fuel system can cause death in accidents. But the cost to replace all the 10+ million car parts is significantly higher than just let the accident happen, and pay the victim the money ($137 million versus the $49.5 million price tag put on the death, injury, and car damage). If we don’t value people’s life, the decision is pretty simple and straight forward. 137 is bigger than 49.5, isn’t it?

The result is obvious. When the cost/benefit analysis of Ford exposes to the public sight, Ford was under huge pressure, and was forced to change the design, and also, that case deeply impacted the history of safety regulation in the auto industry since then.

With this case, we can easily understand why a small risk in toys sold in IKEA that caused no injure or death needs to be corrected, at the cost of millions of such toys be recalled and changed. Now it is the legal requires and moral common sense that safety should be placed before any business interest.

Trust as an Assert

Continuing to discuss on the Ford’s case. The mistake they made… (well, who are we to judge that they made a mistake many years ago? Well. That is the one big step forward on the moral standard, or civilization by millions of people’s efforts, and, sorry, many people’s life).

The mistake they made… is to assign zero dollar value for people’s life in the cost/benefit analysis. The other mistake is, they didn’t assign the value of the brand image as a safe car into the equation.

Google’s Case as a Business Decision

Let’s get back to the Google’s case and do a similar cost/benefit analysis. On the benefit side, there are 600 million USD annual revenue, and potentially, 10x of it in 5 years. On the cost side, is the safety of its data (“Take it easy. No one get killed”. No! Reminder Yahoo!’s case about the two journalists who are still in jail?), and the universal principle of free information and speech.

Different people assign different value on the cost factor in the equation. Some put $0, and others put billions… The decision reflects the decision maker’s valuation of what many people valued very low. Can this action be converted into asserts of the company? Sure!

Hmmm… I mean “yes”, in places where people value freedom of speech, human rights, privacy, and integrate, not in other places.

Conclusion

Even if it were a pure business decision, I see value that makes perfect business sense. I am trying to take the chance to talk more about this in the series later, about the Chinese modern moral standards and the long history of ambiguity of the standard.

My Brain Does not Work Well

There is too much information for me to consume these days.

My brain does not work very well. There are many things I want to comment on but don’t know how to start, like the Google’s case, Baidu’s case, and the recent news happening to many companies.

I just feel I cannot find quiet time to sit down to think about all these. The busy hours at work and busy schedule seem to be pretty hard for me.

When I started a new blog entry, I just feel where to get started. I admit anyone’s attention and brain power is limited resource. I just didn’t, and was not able to pay as much attention to the city I am living – Shanghai – as many years ago, and cannot focus on my life (personal life) as much as before. Yifan is a big life changer, and the business world is another.

Any reader felt the change over the last few years? I just hope I would be as helpful as two or three years ago, and report what is happening in Shanghai as before, but … I am no longer a normal citizen who take bus, metro, and taxi to hang around this city any more…