The Sweet Spot
On software, engineering leadership, and anything shiny.

Liveblogging from: the Stacks

I have friends who run a cost-benefit analysis on every decision. And they’re always measuring things up against Time. Freakin, Endless, Time. I think I’m one of them, too. May it never be so.

I remember why I’ve never liked the stacks: these chairs are pretty much the least ergonomic chairs ever built, on par with medieval torture devices.

I remember why I’ve missed the stacks: being here makes me feel smarter. And how time somehow seems to stands still, but that might be the artificial lighting and the fact I’m fifty feet underground.

There was a study done a long time ago where a woman volunteered to live underground for like a month. And they measured her sleep cycles, and it went wack by about a week (can anybody name this study or correct me if I’m wrong?). I always wondered what kind of music you’d listen to if you were underground for that long. And if she ever figured out how to work a Rubik’s cube. Being underground for that long seems like a good way to determine cube optimization strategies.

Oh, essay. The closer I get to the end, the harder it gets to write. 9 pages down, three to go and I’ll either finish in one hour or in six.

Edit: it was six.

Taiwan Roundup

So I’m writing the first part of my International Media paper on the structures of the media systems in Taiwan. Just wanted to share with you what I’ve been coming across in my research so far:

Here’s a aggregate blog of many of the main English blogs on/in Taiwan.

Interestingly enough, many of the high-visibility English political blogs have heavy DPP rhetoric where many of my 1.5-gen Taiwanese friends at school and back home lean blue. It’ll be interesting to discover where native Taiwanese political pundits/bloggers lean.

A photo blogger posts photos from the perspective of a foreigner in Taiwan.

Portnoy Zheng, a Taiwanese graduate student keeps a blog (this is his lesser-updated English blog) on Taiwanese media with a particular Web emphasis.

I am also following another interesting conversation regarding Taiwanese bloggers–the complaint that the English and Taiwanese blog communities are largely independent of one another. Michael Turton describes the need to unify the two realms:

For me the major challenge is going to be bringing the Chinese-language and English language blogospheres together, because they have much to say to one another, and because Taiwanese bloggers need to get more recognition.

Scott Sommers largely agrees in his post, but more interesting is the meta section of his entry where there is a lively debate on who needs to take the first step: English- or Chinese-speaking bloggers. One commenter proposes considering the hegemonic properties of Western values:

In my opinion, if English readers can answer these two questions, then maybe they might understand.
1. Why is it one can not export American-styled democracy anywhere, no matter how good the intention?
2. Why is it certain missionaries, churches, or faiths are more accepted then others; even when their messages are the same?

Portnoy Zheng (previously mentioned), believes the problem is less about hegemony than it is about language:

It is nothing about English hegemony; it is about how to communicate
effectively,how to break the language divide, and how to enhance our
understanding of our neighbors.

Interestingly enough, there is a movement towards an Open Source Translation Project which is calling for volunteers to translate Chinese blogs (not limited to TW) to English and vice versa. The implications here could be enormous, not just for Taiwanese blogs but for the Chinese web audience as well.

Finally, Tony Chung is a composer, songwriter and pop singer in Taiwan. He also happens to be from San Jose. He also happens to run a tech blog and a Web 2.0 podcast show, recently covered by tech blogger, Robert Scoble. Not to mention he also was ASB president my sophomore year in high school. Go check him out and support him. Best to you, Tony (er, Tone?).

AND I need to get back to work (yunno, actually writing).

eXtreme Editing

I realized today (with a grin) that I wasn’t editing my essay as much as I was refactoring it.

Sensations I


GTD-izing my Thunderbird client, and other productivity things

Do any fellow geeks out there follow any GettingThingsDone (GTD) practices?

(I’m trying to get my life organized�a futile attempt before the sledgehammer of school and responsibilities drops. Organized as in… prioritizing, managing time, et cetera.) A couple things I’ve done:

  • GTD-ized my Thunderbird client (heck, I never knew labels could be so useful) and it seems to really help keep my mind on track when I field emails (I receive twenty to forty non-spam messages a day). The basic principle is to tag (label) your mail the instant it shows up in your inbox with its priority status. Then you run back through your mail and attack each piece according to its priority.

  • I’m syncing my Palm V to Yahoo Calendar. Using the Yahoo Widgets Day Planner widget as an interface, I’m basically able to access my calendar information anywhere, whether I have the Palm or not. I’m still debating whether this is useful because the sync is less-than-accurate and well, nothing beats pencil and paper (a la the Hipster PDA. Has anybody used it? What were your experiences?)

Sorry, that was a quick break from our regularly scheduled programming. Geek, out.