During the SARS crisis in Hong Kong, a housing estate called Amoy Gardens suffered a disproportionately higher number of fatalities than other facilities in the city. Scientists were baffled as to how the disease was spreading, as people on different floors and eventually different units were all coming down with the SARS virus without ever being in direct contact with one another. As they sought out a variety of solutions, eventually they discovered the problem lay on the floor of the bathrooms.
Many bathrooms in Hong Kong (and even the USA) have a floor drain: a small drain embedded in the floor to allow runoff water to drain off quickly. In the old days, a person could dump and entire bucket of water of the floor and swish it down the drain, quickly soaking and washing the floor in one fell swoop. Over time though people used mops to clean and started not to soak the floors with water.
Why did this matter? Because the floor drain in the bathrooms is a standard P-trap drain that relies on a standing amount of water in the drain to prevent smells and critters coming back into the bathroom. Without a regular soaking of the floor drain, the traps dried out and the pipes were directly exposed to the building sewers (i.e. the toilet runoff). When people would close the door and turn on the fan in the bathroom, it created a negative pressure that sucked up the virus from the sewage pipes of infected neighbors (who were incontinent) and into the bathrooms of healthy residents, thus spreading SARS through the Amoy Gardens housing project.
I must confess when I first read this in an after-action review of the SARS crisis, I immediately went around filling every drain with a bucket of water. Even today the Hong Kong government’s official coronavirus prevention guide calls on flooding these drains regularly.
If you want to read more check out these sites and remember to keep your drains flooded.
The French street artist INVADER has come to Hong Kong several times, but this last month he came ‘officially’ as part of an organized show at the PMQ gallery. There his works hung on well lit walls with tour guides and a gift shop, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t busy again on the streets of the city.
INVADER launched a new wave of art on the city streets, and my kids took an immediate liking to finding every single one of them. The other day we did a city hike through the streets of Sheung Wan and managed to locate about 7 of the 20 or so new works with several more now on the agenda for our next hike.
As if that wasn’t enough, the kids are now trying to recreate as many Invader works as possible, along with a few original designs of their own. Arsenal man was a big favorite, and the boys are already asking how I can attach it to the wall. Thankfully they don’t know what grout yet, so we’ll make do with something a little less permanent.
[caption id="attachment_4677" align="alignright" width="2448"] Arsenal Man in tiles.[/caption]
I created a Google Doc with a location list of all INVADER work in Hong Kong that is still visible, but haven’t gotten around to finishing the map just yet. Feel free to take a look and follow the invasion around the city.]]>
iPad 2 arrived today in Hong Kong. Well mine at least…
[caption id="attachment_3334" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Someone's little hands are already trying to take my new toy."][/caption]
My mom bought it in her hometown in South Carolina. She went to a Best Buy about three hours after it went on sale. I pressed her and pressed her to go earlier but she replied “the people in this podunk town are too poor to buy anything”. Guess what? she was right. She walked into the store, back to the iPad section, and was second in line behind a guy who walked in just before her. The clerks told her earlier they had a long line, but she timed it just right to get there when no one was around.
Fast forward a week and a few and it has arrived in Hong Kong. The post office made me go fetch and now I’m back starting the rather time consuming task of moving over all my stuff to the new device.
First quandary was how to set it up–either as a “new iPad” or “restore from the backup of the old one”. I wasn’t quite sure so I went with the restore option, though in retrospect (i.e. the 20 minutes it took to do the restore) I discovered I could probably do it either way, syncing the apps and whatnot later on.
First impressions is that it’s quite a bit thinner than the older one. The ‘scuba suit’ cover that was on the older version folds back and makes the entire iPad 1 look quite a bit ‘fatter’ than it really is. I’m still impressed when I see one of the originals without a cover (which is rare) as it looks so much smaller than mine which is wrapped in the Apple black latex.
I got the ‘smart’ cover (black leather) that I’ll be setting up as soon as the sync is done (god it takes awhile). The new screen, sans fingerprint smudges and cracker crumbs and whatever else a year of use has puts on it, looks gorgeous. Of course it is basically the same as the old one, but it’s clean.
I’m not going to sell the old one. While that’s normally my standard procedure as I’ve sold every iPhone I’ve ever owned right after buying a new one, this iPad had the secondary market take a hit with Apple’s price reduction, and we actually have a need for it in the house. The wife can’t use my computer usually as this room is too tiny, but she needs access to her email and celebrity gossip sites so iPad 1 becomes “hers” along with one of the boys, and iPad 2 is mine with the other kid.
So, let’s see…time to start the sync…and…
Apps transferring…(giving kids a bath)
Now to the music…(made a sandwich)
Now the pictures…(browsing the Internet)
and a bunch of other stuff for about an hour and a half now….
Some hints for your first install:
Do a backup of your existing iPad before you start this process.
Nuke any podcasts / videos / songs you don’t want to sync (saves time)
I sync’d 2000 photos faster than 1,100 songs, fwiw
Consider doing your first sync overnight when you don’t have to sit and watch the slow process.
Ok, now to play with it. The magnetic screen cover works as advertised. Open it and it comes on, close it and close it and it shuts down. I’ve already noticed that I’m still hitting the power button to turn things off rather than just close the screen. Old habits will take a bit to slow down.
The home screen now has two new icons. One is Photobooth, which you can use if you are feeling like self portraits with the rather grainy camera. The other is Facetime, which I’ve yet to check out.
I showed the wife and let her hold both of them. “The new one is heavier” she wrongly observed (iPad 2 is .2lbs lighter). It definitely is thinner. You can feel that holding it. It also feels ‘faster’. Some apps like Flipboard were really loading quite quickly, and I look forward to playing Infinity Blade later today.
But now for the most important test: how much gloating can I do with this? I’ll be heading over to a few of my haunts today to be “that guy” who has the newest toy. Feel free to call me a jerk later if you see me.]]>
I was up in Sham Shui Po today, looking to buy an Android tablet. The reason I didn’t buy one was kind of interesting.
Sham Shui Po is basically Shenzhen’s outlet in Hong Kong. The Golden Computer arcade is a collection of “China Generic” computers and parts, and you can pick up pretty much anything technically related from the iPad down to things like cables, iPhone cases, and other tiny computer parts (what we referred to as the “pocket lint of the tech industry”). In the street markets around there you have dead ducks hanging from a hook next to a hook full of HDMI cables. It’s pretty wild.
I’m not really in the market for another tablet, but if I saw one I liked I was ready to shell out to buy an Android tablet primarily for some projects I’m working on. But I’d have to see the right one before I’d buy as I wasn’t out to just get any Android tablet–I wanted the best I could buy (and one that I could eventually run Honeycomb on safely). So what did I see?
There were dozens, and not a single one was even remotely worth buying, let alone being an iPad killer. They were brands I had barely heard of, and, of course, the dozens of China generics still selling themselves based solely on the ‘specs’ of the hardware rather than the overall experience. In the end I just couldn’t justify buying one of these things that would likely become a coaster in the next few months when something better came along.
I keep hearing that Android will due to the iPad/iPhone (iOS) what Microsoft did to Apple.
Do you really think so?
People tend to forget that Microsoft did not succeed because there were dozens of computer makers pushing it. There were several competing OS standards back during that time all of which could have become “the standard” if they had the ace up their sleeve. IBM. Microsoft got their biggest boost because IBM was using it.
At the time, IBM was the be all, end all of computers. No one would go wrong buying an IBM system and when they introduced their PC it was by far the market leader in the enterprise purchases. Commodore and Compaq and HP and Dell and all the assorted others were but a mere sideshow to the big boy on the block that was giving Microsoft cachet into the tech industry. Within 3 years, IBM PCs were nearly 50% of the computer industry, and their use of the Microsoft OS went along for the ride. It wasn’t necessarily Windows that beat Apple, it was the IBM-compatible that beat Apple back then.
So who is Android’s IBM? What company out there today making Android tablets is the “big boy”–the flagship for the fleet of Android tablets that are going to be coming out? Is there any hardware company that could possibly get to 50% of the tablet market share? Nokia? (nope). Dell? Wait and see. HP? Samsung? Anyone? Bueller?
Who is the 800 lb gorilla in the room this time? Apple, to be honest.
What would have happened in the early 1980s if IBM had launched the IBM PC with their own (licensable) operating system? If IBM was selling machines with an OS that they were licensing to clone manufacturers, do you really think Microsoft would have stood a chance? They would have just been some company that made a few BASIC games and then went poof.
Apple, of course, is not licensing out there iOS behind the tablet, and this may prove problematic one day, but Android is not being used by any company that is a “MUST HAVE” in the technology industry either. There is no IBM tablet on the horizon, and the best of the best of the best that you see today (Samsungs, HP) are being dwarfed, by an order of magnitude, by sales of new iPads and holdouts waiting for iPad2.
So next time you hear tale of Apple’s demise due to the power of Android don’t necessarily think history is about to repeat itself again.
Ok, I love Hong Kong cop films, so it probably helps. I’m also able to sort out Asian faces better than most idiots who just say ‘they all look alike’, which definitely helped because this movie is part Hong Kong police fare part Buddhist personality play. I also love Johnnie To movies so watching this was quite a treat.
The Mad Detective is a Hong Kong police officer blessed/cursed with the ability to see a criminal (or anyone’s) inner personality. In doing so he basically go insane and drops out of the force, until called back to help in the disappearance of a Hong Kong police officer and his gun (a cop losing his gun in HK is a very big deal). As he looks at possible suspects and partners, he ’sees’ (and you see) the personality inside–be it the stern taskmasker, the lazy loaf, the thug, or the brains (always played by smartly dressed hot women I should add). For those easily distracted in movies, this will throw them for an absolute loop, but once you make this realization that each time you are looking at someone they can be someone else the film takes on this really interesting dimension.
This is one of the tightest written Hong Kong cop movies I’ve seen in a long time. No random characters or scenes that obviously suffered from excessive editing (i.e. no continuity in the plot). The film has been released on DVD by Blockbusters as part of their new move into foreign films.
Like I said, if you can track multiple characters (personalities) this is really a pretty entertaining film. Definitely kept me interested as the plot twisted and turned making you feel like a lost child at times.