NYTimes: Apple iPhone, Once a Status Symbol in China, Loses Its Luster

Apple iPhone, Once a Status Symbol in China, Loses Its Luster http://nyti.ms/1VChAbY

“I like Apple a lot,” she said. “I use an Apple computer. But in recent years, especially after I tried my friends’ Android phones, I realized that the brand has lost a bit of its charm.”

My daughter the writer

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My daughter is taking up writing and publishing her stories publicly on WattPad.  Her current series is based on the seven sins and she is trying to take on seven different writing styles.

Give it a try and support her efforts in putting her writing out there :)  You will have to sign up for WattPad to read the entire story, give it a read and like or comment on it :)

‘Happy birthday’ is a very dark but engaging story from the first person and present time perspective


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‘Good to be queen‘ is a 3rd person, almost fair tale like voice.


link: What makes a good engineering culture? : The Effective Engineer

From Edmond Lau’s The Effective Engineer blog

1. Optimize for iteration speed.

Quick iteration speed increases work motivation and excitement. Infrastructural and bureaucratic barriers to deploying code and launching features are some of the most common and frustrating reasons that engineers cite during interviews for why they’re leaving their current companies.

Read the rest of the 9 things that a team can do to build a good engineering culture: What makes a good engineering culture?

Be the 1%, contribute instead of just consume

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(The photo is from a customer of my restaurant I Privé)

We all love to take advantage of user contributed reviews such as Yelp, Amazon, Airbnb.  They give us another trustworthy dimension to decide whether we want to go to a particular restaurant, buy that bluetooth headphone or rent that vacation apartment.

Based on owning a restaurant with over 3,000 guests who make reservations over the last year, possibly another 9,000 guest who walk into our restaurant and also looking at the 190+ Yelp reviews I Privé have received over the last year, I have a rough guess that only 1% of people contribute to the reviews we all value so much.   I have another theory that 20% of those 1% contribute 80% of the content, this has yet to be proven.  I’ll have to dig more into public data available elsewhere.

Why is the percentage of content contributors to consumer so low?

  1. In order to contribute to something like Yelp, you have to create an account, most people do not see the value to create the account.  Hence the first hurdle.  This does not apply to Amazon. See #2
  2. If you are on Amazon and buy a item you don’t really want others to know about, you may be worry about privacy issue if you write a review, so you would not bother.
  3. Let’s say you buy an item like a bluetooth headset like I like did, you don’t see the value of writing a review that already has 1,900 reviews, so you also do not contribute.
  4. Writing a review takes time, most people don’t want to take the time, it’s that simple.  It’s simply easier to consume and not write, almost like a writer’s block.  Hey these other reviewer are so funny, if I wanted to be as funny as them, I have to come up with something witty.  Maybe next time
  5. If I buy a bluetooth headset, and if I take time to write a review would it help another human being make more money to feed his family or pay his employee?  I think this is what review sites needs to do better.  Show consumers why a single review is helpful to the other humans receiving that review and also the humans reading the reviews.  If you love a restaurant, writing a negative review will help the owners improve or a great review will boost their believe they are doing the right thing.  If you write a review and 5,000 people read it, is that worth writing?

Until review sites can work on showing the value of your review, I encourage you to join the 1% and contribute a review today to your favorite restaurant, a great Airbnb, a loved gadget or a great book you bought.

(I contribute to Yelp here)

If you want true privacy, do not use your mobile phone

tony in China 1975

(The photo is of my sister and I in China 1975)

I was listening to Leo Laporte’s Tech Guy podcast and he was commenting on the FBI vs Apple case about unlocking an iPhone used by the the shooters.

He was pointing out the following misconceptions in the popular press. Inspired by his comments about all the privacy fallacies,  I wanted to point out what you need to do in order to have true privacy.

If you have iCloud turned on, where it syncs your email, photos, text messages, Apple will hand over the information to the FBI, much like the phone company will turn over phone right records.  The shooter’s phone had a 1 month old backup to iCloud.

turn off iCloud

Apple and Microsoft have a backdoor to your phone if you have auto update turned on. The auto update can completely replace the software and security on your phone.

turn off auto update

Everyone has a GPS, camera, phone with cell signals in their pocket with all their emails and documents synced. The government can track anyone who has a cell phone.

turn off GPS, cover the camera with tape, turn off cell. Buy a disposable phone with cash

The 4 digit code to unlock your phone is not secure,  but it is very convenient.

change it to 16 digits

Fingerprint readers are also not that hard for FBI to hack.

turn off finger print reader

If you use Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Box, Dropbox, Evernote,  even if your data is encrypted,  they have private keys that can unlock your data and the FBI can force them to unlock. When you send an email, the receiver has your email content.

do not use hosted email. do not send any emails to anyone

If you use Google Maps, it knows where you go, how long you stay in one place,  and it is able to know if you are in a restaurant,  any local businesses and can guess where your home and work place is based on hour of day.

delete Google Maps, turn off GPS

Now you have a more secure phone, that does nothing and impossible to use :)  But you are more secure and you have more privacy.


Tony Tam