August 2005

I’ve always liked 龙应台’s articles a lot. Straight forward, passionate yet logical, always meaningful and up-to-date. My parents mentioned this article when I called them last night, saying that 中国青年报 published this one and naturally got bombasted by the Party.

I thought I’ve got used to, like billions of Chinese seemingly have, the bleak reality of China, where almost everybody is content with blaming everything on 资本原始积累 and not doing anything about it, the best world-leading technology is Internet censorship, countless professors and “Ph.D. Mentors” are corrupted to the gene, numerous private coal pits collapse every week to make those workers and their families more misearable than they already are, all while the whole nation is mesmorized by the copy-cat “Super Girl” competition.

One thing that particularly struck me in her article is about personal freedom as the cornerstone of the struggle and accomplishment of the democracy movement in Taiwan. It has always been my naive and simplistic view that personal freedom is the one and only thing that matters in a modern society. Everything else follows. Democracy has lots of inherent problems, but as long as freedom is the ultimate goal and ruler, we can deal with them. This principle was actually told to me by Li Yang, whose pursuit of freedom ironically (or somewhat inevitably) led to God.

I was browsing the super-thick (1365 pages!) Europe history book we bought before our Italy trip. The beginning of its Renaissance chapter is quite interesting:

There is a strong sense of unreality about the Renaissance… It somehow contrived to be the most remarkable feature of the age and yet to be divorced from the main aspects of everyday political, social and cultural life. It was untypical and unrepresentative, yet immensely significant. Like the wonderful figures of Botticelli (manifested in Primavera and Venus Rising from the Waves)… its feet somehow did not touch the ground… The term Renaissance was a Latin calque for a Greek theological term used in the sense of ‘spiritual rebirth’ or ‘resurrection from the dead’. The essence of the Renaissance lay not in any sudden rediscovery of classical civilization but rather in the use which was made of classical models to test the authority underlying conventional taste and wisdom… The prime quality of the Renaissance has been defined as ‘independence of mind’. Its ideal was a person who, by mastering all branches of art the thought, need depend on no outside authority for the formation of knowledge, tastes, and beliefs. (bolded by me).

I think I’ve read something like this many times, maybe even in the most crooked high-school history textbook. But after all these years, and particularly traveling to the heart of Renaissance (Florence and Rome), it means something fresh. I was shocked to learn from Michelangelo’s biography that he constantly fought with the popes who sponsored his works, even fleeing for months or taking part in a revolt against the pope in Florence. Imagine that in China, any time in the history, present, or future: a gay artist who revolts against the emperor or the Chairman, living his life to the fullest extent possible without being in jail for one day, leaving his legacy for the whole world to worship till the end of time. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!


I responded to a Programmer/Software Applications Engineer position at Voyetra on Monster (I was stupid not to save/forward job description), and guess what–Carmine Bonanno, founder of Voyetra and president/CEO of VTB sent me an email saying that he wants to talk to me! Earlier I applied for a similar position at Voyetra and got no response at all. Gosh I hope I won’t blow this one!

Some top hits from Google:

Sound on Sound article about CAT and Voyetra 8:

Keyboard Magazine article about Voyetra 8, including how the name came about:

Kitten story with images and links

Dell doesn’t seem to use VTB any more, it’s all SB. Seems like Dell started using VTB Santa Cruz in 09/1998. This 02/01/2002 article talks about delay in VTB, which may be one reason. talks about Audigy 2 NX, but mentions a lot business info. Soundcard business is in steady decline due to integrated audio on mainboard. “Sound cards used to make up more than 70% of (Creative) sales, but it is now in the low 20s.” Media player is reported to have 68% sale, so 20% is about right. According to
Creative’s 2Q 2005 sales is up 51% at $300m (260% increase in mp3 player sale) but profit is at $31m loss. 20% is $60m, so annual would be $250m. Global PC shipment in 2005 is predicted to be about 200m. If 10% buys sound card, that’s 20m cards. At average $50 a card, that’s $1b annual market–seems to high since Creative’s market share is probably more than 50%. Joseph Migliozzi served as Chief Operating and Finance Officer & Corporate Director of Voyetra Turtle Beach, a $35 million manufacturer of consumer PC multimedia peripherals and software selling worldwide to OEM computer companies, retail stores, and e-tail directly to consumers. He led a turn-around restoring the company to health after a major acquisition. He re-engineered the organization and led the transformation from niche to mainstream consumer markets. He negotiated and managed contracts with PC OEM’s (i.e. Dell & Gateway) and reached preferred status at Dell, with of quality 500 DPPM, tracking to Six Sigma. He managed the selection and implementation of a state-of-the-art Sybase ERP system. (no mention when)

Finally made up my mind to read Tiger’s How I Play Golf. Finished the technical parts in two nights. I must have seen everything he talks about in Golf magazine, but it’s nice to have them all in one place. He doesn’t talk about everything, for example no tip how to hit draw/fade, but it’ll be years till I should start thinking about those things. here’re some basic tips for the basic shots.

  • Putting
    • Eyes on top of ball, a bit to the right
    • Same speed and swing distance back and forth
    • Green usually slopes down to water and up to mountain peak
  • Chipping
    • Lean towards target, ball back, hands ahead of the ball–all in all, hit down to get up
    • Return hands to address–no scooping
    • Green side rough: use lob wedge, hold firm, cock wrist
    • Fringe: use 3-wood, takeaway low
  • Sand
    • open stance, open clubface, ball forward off left heel, right hand dominates, don’t hit down–slice
    • clubhead enters sand at 3-inch before ball for low/long roll, 1-inch for high/short roll
    • Aim for flagstick top
    • Buried lie: open, lean left, enters 2-inch before, punch down
    • 30-yard explosion: a bit open, clubface square, enters 1-inch, almost full swing
    • Fairway bunker: long followthrough, use one club more, ball 1-inch back from usual
  • Variety
    • Pitch: open stance, open clubface, ball forward off left toe, backswing steep, clubface to sky in followthrough
    • 30-yard punch: ball back, square stance, backswing low and wide
    • Bump-n-run: same as above, ball farther back, less loft club
    • Flop: open stance, ball forward off left heel, wide feet,  little hip turn, hit ball with club toe to land it softly, only on a clean short grass lie
    • Low hook: wider stance, ball back of center, aim body line (feet/hip/should) to where the ball starts (to the right of target) and clubface to where the ball finishes, controll amount of hook by toe-in, low and wide swing
    • Cut: stance and clubface open, limit club release–keep club toe from turning to left
  • Iron
    • Sweep long iron, hit down on the rest
    • Chin up, wide backswing, start downswing slow, keep clubhead accelerating down the target line
    • Hit ball first, hit turf after ball leaves clubhead
    • Long and shallow divot like dollar-bill
    • Place ball back on bad lie
  • Fairway wood
    • Sweep back and through: level angle of approach
    • Left arm bend a bit
    • Impact looks like approach in terms of head, arm, head position
    • Chase the ball into distance by keeping clubhead low and fully extend right arm
  • Driver
    • Feet wider than shoulder
    • body tilted to right a bit
    • movement from down to up: shift weight to left leg, hip turn, then shoulders, with hip turn way ahead of shoulder
    • at impact right elbow directly in front of right hip
  • Slice
    • tee ball lower to curve less
    • forearm rotate too much during upswing
    • left wrist should be flat instead of pointing up
    • at top of swing clubface is parallel with left forearm instead of pointing toward ground
    • downswing too fast–out to in path