Ditch Windows NOW!

How much time have you spent upgrading to Windows 10?

How much time have you spent watching the progress bar on Windows Update?

Really? Do you love watching the progress bar that much?

Don’t just accept that crap.

Ditch Windows!

This morning I have spent over 2 hours trying to upgrade to Windows 10. That’s 2 hours of my life that I won’t get back. A pointless waste of time.

And why? Who knows? (it might be because I’m an idiot)

I used to just accept it as a fact that I would have to figure out how to upgrade stuff. But isn’t that what Microsoft should be doing? I’m just a pleb with a computer. Perhaps it’s my geeky tendencies, but no more.

No more Windows for me!

I’ve been using a Chromebook since the start of 2015 and love it to bits. It cost next to nothing (NT$10,500 or about US$350), does what I want it to do and does it well.

How long have I spent looking at the progress bar in Chrome OS?

None, zip, zilch.

When there’s an update, it downloads in the background a small little icon appears in the bottom indicating that a restart is needed. Bliss.

This tendency to accept crap from software also applied when I used Ubuntu. Yay, it’s free, but I spent hours figuring out bugs and compatibility issues. Hours that I should have spent doing something useful. (NOTE to self: stop undervaluing your time)

Perhaps Apple fans have known this for years (I have no idea, but it sure looks that way), but now non-Apple chaps can have the same.

Get a Chromebook. You’ll never look back.

Dear HTC

Dear HTC

I was so excited when we first met.

As I held you in my hand your One X curves made me feel good.

And you were a spritely little chap.

It seemed as all would go well.

And I was proud of you.

But I was sorely disappointed.

Let me count the ways.

Your photos sucked. I’m not a pro, nor will I ever be. But not being able to take a picture that is fully in focus, even when I hold you gently like a newborn baby or hold you tight like you’re going to run you just can’t do it. It seems so obvious.

In focus pictures. Duh. But nope. Eesh.

You’re greedy. All that space you said. You can take a whole lot of photos and videos you said. But alas you gave me too much. No space left for apps you said. What’s going on there? No space for more apps? Are you kidding? So sad.

Your camera module looks snazzy and all. But the glass of the damn thing touches the surface when placed down. Ridiculous. So slowly over time, besides not taking in focus pictures, they now have a mist moving slowly northward.

A USB port on the side? Sigh. Well, no chance of charging in my pocket then (okay, with difficulty, I have big pockets), or attaching any devices.  And a headphone jack at the top. Hmm, I’ll forgive you, but not too smart.

A recessed front camera might have seemed smart to someone. But they weren’t too smart then. How do you clean it? I’ve gotten a little tired of fishing for earbuds to get that sucker clean. Ooops, I forgot that that camera can’t take a clear picture anyway. Why bother?

I saw your fruity competitor and thought I’d give you a chance. I made my vote and went against the crowd and I was wrong.

You failed on so many levels to really understand me. You tried to convince me with flash and numbers. But your promises were hollow. And your creators showed that they were completely out of touch with what I really wanted or needed.

But your Korean brothers have stepped into the fold.

Samsung has pushed back and they appear to be quite safely on par with the big red fruit. Yay!

So I’m bidding you farewell.

I wanted to support you.

National pride perhaps.

But you let me down.

I wish it weren’t so, but there you go. I have been hurt and the damage is done.

I’m switching sides.

Farewell my Taiwanese friend, perhaps we’ll make up in the future, but I see little hope.

I wish you all the best.

To the future,

Steroids vs Training

I only have a handful of exercise, fitness type sites that I read, and this is from one of them.

In the article analysing Steroids and Training it turns out that you can build more strength with steroids alone than with training alone. Yep, gains with steroids while doing absolutely no exercise. Yikes!

That’s really something that needs to sink in (and it’s mentioned throughout the article). Without any training whatsoever, and with only very small doses of anabolics, it’s possible to outgain someone busting their butt training and being super careful about their diet.

Those 120kg+ chaps. Impossible without steroids.

Link again: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/anabolic-steroids-muscle-growth.html/

The Giver vs The Dutch

I read The Giver after I was given a copy of the book. It was a quick read, but I remember enjoying it a lot. The perspective on how life could be was quite thought provoking.

It got me thinking, but the main thing was the image of the world they were living in.

Bicycles in The Giver
Bicycles in The Giver

It was slightly disappointing when I saw the first trailer for the movie. It was less, “Wow” and more, “Huh?”.

As I thought about it I realized that the world in the movie is completely alien for a lot of people, and most especially for Americans.

The idea of a world not dominated by cars and a reliance on walking and bicycles as a way of life is foreign to the US. And, of course, this is a Hollywood movie.

But, that way of life already exists.

Bicycles in The Netherlands
Bicycles in The Netherlands

For the rest of the world, it is almost impossible to imagine this kind of life. But the magical world of The Giver exists already. It is only in American society where the powers that be give a great big thumbs up to humanity and simply kiss the ass of big, corporate interests.

For over 40 years, the Dutch have put bicycles, and pedestrians at the forefront for transport, given at least as much focus as motorized transport. The very young and very old have a form of transport that will not get them killed when they make small mistakes and they are not forced to be driven around because roads are unsafe.

Photo 1 source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/15/movies/the-giver-adapts-lois-lowrys-novel.html
Photo 2 source: http://getmorepeoplecycling.com/2013/02/11/commuting-cycling-revolution-in-the-workplace/

Why I won’t fly South African Airlines

I never fly on SAA. Unless there’s no other option I will not fly with them.

I’m in no way a regular traveller, and probably only take flights every two or three years. But even with that little experience I have been completely turned off from using my home country’s airline.

Two airlines

Between South Africa and Taiwan there are only two choices: Cathay Pacific and SAA. I’ve had a chance to fly both. On Cathay Pacific I was very happy with the service I received and everything was hunky dory. Unfortunately I got put on SAA on a return leg and boy did I get a shock at the difference in quality between the two.

There’s not too much between the airlines in the quality of their planes and and the like, and in fact SAA had better and newer equipment and the leg spacing was better. The Cathay Pacific plane was clearly aging and showed its age by simply not being very modern.

But that wasn’t the deciding factor.

Not by a long shot.


On a long haul flight you can really see how well the cabin staff handle themselves and even the least friendly Cathay Pacific crew member still had a smile on their face and would help when asked. On SAA it’s a whole different story. The cabin staff arguing with passengers and just giving attitude. Staff dealing with non-English passengers and getting annoyed with them for not understanding. From my perspective it was just rude. I tried to put this down to the other passengers being Chinese. There is a vast cultural difference there, but even my own stereotypes of how annoying Chinese tourists can be will not allow me to excuse those attitudes to them. I wouldn’t excuse myself either.

There are probably good staff, too. But one rotten apple spoils the bunch.

Of course there are annoying passengers. But giving lip doesn’t help anything and interrogating them or questioning their motives on any matter is just not on. Don’t look at someone who’s command of English is not fantastic and get annoyed. Deal with it. If you are on an international flight, isn’t that part of basics?

Shiny turd

I was reading the Sawubona magazine that is on offer on SAA airlines and saw an article about how proud they are of being awarded The Best Airline in Africa part of the Skyways award program (or something along those lines). I would liken this to having the shiniest turd in the shit contest. Be proud, but don’t be content. You’ve won because your airline was formerly government owned and benefits as part of the wealthiest country in Africa. The odds are stacked in your favor. Instead, compare to small airlines elsewhere in the world. There are small airlines around the world who could mop the floor when it comes to customer service.

So, on my next journey, Cathay Pacific was sold out on the day I wanted, so I just extended my holiday, rather than take SAA. It’s just not worth it.

SAA, you can do so much better. Over and out.

English Village Mobile Van Grand Opening

Last Tuesday, the 24th of June, 2014 was all a bustle with the grand opening of the Syuejia English Village Mobile Van. The video below (from the Mandarin Daily News here )

The opening was attended by the Mayor of Tainan, various members of the Tainan Ministry of Education and the teachers from the Shinjin and Boai English Villages.