March 2008


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I read through 土摩托’s 经度之战 last year even though it’s pretty badly written, even though he’s a journalist for the best Chinese magazine. He’s a lot better at blogging about his own stuff. What kept me going was the actual events, and my enslavement to RSS.

The other day I was wandering in a bookstore and caught sight of Galileo’s Daughter, and the cover has a line “Author of Longitude” below the author. I got Longitude from the library and found it’s almost equally badly written. Yet I think I may buy the illustrated version just to see the amazing time machines.grasshopper escapement

The book was just too dull and dry, so it became apparent why Tumotor’s sucks too, as his may be more than based on the book. Maybe it’s a bad joke of imitating John Harrison’s notorious writing.

Here’s a comparison of the two, of which I’m sure any XYS veteran will cry foul at a glance.

In all, four of the five warships were lost. Only two men washed ashore alive. One of them was Sir Clowdisley himself, … as soon as the admiral collapsed on dry sand, a local woman combing the beach purportedly found his body and fell in love with the emerald ring on his finger. Between her desire and his depletion, she handily murdered him for it. Three decades later, on her deathbed, this same woman confessed the crime to her clergyman, producing the ring as proof of her guilt and contrition.

就这样,在短短的几分钟内,整个舰队的5艘战船沉没了4艘,1600多名水手被淹死。只有两人奋力游到了岸上,其中一人就是肖维尔爵士本人。可是,就在他精疲力竭地躺在沙滩上休息时,一个贪婪的妇女发现了他。为了得到他手指上的那枚绿宝石戒指,她残忍地杀死了肖维尔爵士。30年后,这位妇女临终前向牧师坦白了自己犯下的罪恶,并拿出那枚戒指做为证据。

If I were to write the book, I would start it with this story since it’s so dramatic and movie-like.

Except that I won’t, since it may be totally a folklore, together with the story of hanging the sailor who suggested they’re heading for a wrong direction, according to this site of a purported historian. Of course, neither Sobel nor Tumotor did or should research into this tale extensively, since it’s just a footnote to their main story, yet it damages the credibility of the main story.

中国是矛盾社会,化解不了,先等一会,胡搞几年,照样不行,将就一下,等不及了,再胡搞几年,也就习以为常了。

From moogee. Should be counted as the 25th (or 26th, depending on how you count it) History.

From Coding Horror, one of my recent favorites, on the La Crosse Technology BC-900 AlphaPower battery charger, which I bought a year ago:

I spent several hours after I got it plugging various batteries in it, trying different modes, and watching it work. I’m not sure what the exact definition of geek is, but I think “enjoys recharging batteries” has to be very high on that list.

I didn’t think I’m truly geeky, but according to Coding Horror’s definition, I am one. If I had time I would watch the charger just like him.

Another secret that I’ve enjoyed over the years: watching Defrag at work. I like the pre-XP Defrag better, because it shows disk blocks in different colors as defrag goes on, a bit like this nice freeware. The XP interface is cleaner, but watching little lines getting shuffled is less interesting.

From bash.org:

The problem with being Democrat is that if you vote for Obama, you’re sexist. And if you vote for Hilary, you’re racist. It’s easy being a Republican. No matter what you’re retarded.

I think I have a perfect solution for the Democrats.

Let Obama run as Hilary’s vice president, with Hilary’s promise NOT to seek re-election, and endorse him for 2012.

Hilary is 61, so it’s reasonable not to have her stay in the White House (if she gets here in the first place) till she’s almost 70.

Obama is only 47, same age as Bill Clinton’s first election. 4 years isn’t too long a time for him, and it’ll earn him enough “experiences” to do the real job for hopefully another 8 years.

This way, the Democrats can be pretty sure to take the White House for at least 12 years.

Mindmeters mentioned an old piece by Graham, which I must have read then. Lately I was forced to deal with my previous company again, and it reminded me to make this check list. Bold items apply. Start counting!

  1. 孤家寡人 (Single Founder)
  2. 缺少地利 (Bad Location)
    “Even in New York the number of startups per capita is probably a 20th of what it is in Silicon Valley.” So NYC is closer to bad than good location.
  3. 领域偏狭 (Marginal Niche)
  4. 拾人牙慧 (Derivative Idea)
  5. 固执己见 (Obstinacy)
  6. 遇人不淑 (Hiring Bad Programmers)
  7. 平台不当 (Choosing the Wrong Platform)
  8. 发布迟缓 (Slowness in Launching)
  9. 发布过早 (Launching Too Early)
  10. 无的放矢 (Having No Specific User in Mind)
  11. 资金太少 (Raising Too Little Money)
  12. 花销无度 (Spending Too Much)
  13. 资金太多 (Raising Too Much Money)
  14. 资方制肘 (Poor Investor Management)
  15. 牺牲用户 (Sacrificing Users to (Supposed) Profit)
  16. 自命清高 (Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty)
  17. 内部争斗 (Fights Between Founders)
  18. 三心二意 (A Half-Hearted Effort)

I changed some translations to keep the 4-character rhyme. Isn’t Chinese great for this?

Graham didn’t say how many strikes are considered out, but 10 out of 18 is a surety in any measure, I suppose.