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Hong Kong

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One minute snippets of life in Hong Kong, my new Youtube series

I took the kids out the other day for a photo walk, trying to teach them some principles of street photography by walking around the city and observing all there was to see.

“Take photos of the unusual, the fascinating, the unique, the strange, the weird. Whatever it is that catches your eye, try to take a picture of that”

So we walked through the wet market in Hong Kong, where fish lay on the boards before being cut, pieces of meat hang from dirty hooks cut by men with a cigarette behind their ear and a cleaver in their hands. Noodles are stacked high and stretched long as they are made in the shops and sent to restaurants nearby. Neon lights calling out for everything from foot massages to yummy bakery goods, which also filled the air with the sweet smell of freshly made treats.

And after nearly 20 minutes of this, my boys had yet to take a single picture.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “I said take a picture of the unique, the strange, the fascinating things you see on the street and here we are in the land of noodles and neon and you haven’t taken a single photo.”

“Well yeah dad, we see this everyday”….

It was then I realized my kids really do call Hong Kong their home.

But for me it is still rather unique. So I’ve decided to start some Youtube videos of the “everyday” that we see here in Hong Kong. My new set is in a playlist on Youtube called “One Minute Hong Kong”–one minute snapshots of life from the city I now call home.

Feel free to take a look.
[iframe src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PLNmehJDsxSj8pMCQ85SimnIZvCsfr53dl” width=”560″ height=”315″ ]

 

 

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Where to find the INVADER art in Hong Kong – 2015 Edition

IMG_2815The 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.IMG_2840IMG_2860 IMG_2815IMG_2825
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.

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Arsenal Man in tiles.

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.

Videos from the Apple Store Hong Kong Press Day

Spent the morning with the Apple fans and media checking out the new Apple Store in Hong Kong.  Basically it’s an Apple Store, but with a few tweaks here and there for the Asian market, such as a slightly different POS payment system, and more iPads on the floor than you’ll see pretty much at any other Apple Store.





My iPad 2 arrives in Hong Kong

The new iPad 2 arrived today in Hong Kong. Well mine at least…

Someone's little hands are already trying to take my new toy.

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….

We’re done.

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.

Why Android v. Apple isn’t like Microsoft vs. Apple

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.

Movie Review: The “Mad Detective” (Hong Kong)

Guns guns guns, but who shoots first?

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.