Archive for May, 2008

Beer

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

I think I feel like having a beer.  Maybe two or three.  I could probably go for a full on drunken stupor to be truthful, but a couple of beers would suffice.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks.  It’s friday evening and I’m leaving work and I still have a ton of stuff waiting for me on Monday.  Beer: yeah, I’ve earned it.

Beer.  It’s what’s for dinner.

Mutant Shrimp

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

I have no idea what these are really called in English and I certainly can’t remember what they’re called in Cantonese.  But they are edible and available in the seafood and wet markets in Hong Kong.  Here they are for your amusement.  Mutant shrimp.

Mutant Shrimp

Probably a bad thing

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

I… I am weak.  I’ve reactivated my World of Warcraft account.  After almost a year of not playing, I finally got drawn back in.  Well, Yoshi had a lot to do with that.  He’s evil like that.  He’s such an enabler.  And now I’m trying to get Muse to re-activate her account.  *sigh*

I know I make it sound bad but its really not.  It’s just what seems to be expected when someone admits that they are getting back into an online game that they used to play.  I don’t see it as a weakness or an evil in the least.  It’s just a game.  It can be a bit addictive at times and it certainly is a time sink, but it’s really no worse than spending hours playing “casual” games from PopCap or Reflexive.  I would just as easily spend 3 hours playing Peggle as I would Warcraft.

Anyway, if you are playing WoW and are on the Lothar server, leave a comment with your character name and I’ll see if I can find you.  However, if you play one of those evil, under-handed Alliance then I may have to try and hurt you.  Fair warning.

The mobile web

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I just attended a luncheon regarding the rising opportunities in the online mobile phone markets and it was pretty interesting.  I found out the the average youth user in China sends an average of 100 text messages a day.  That’s just sending!  Considering I’d never sent a text message in my life prior to coming to Hong Kong, that just seems inconceivable to me.

However, the focus of the presentation was about the youth market and how it’s affecting and shaping the mobile web.  Basically the premise is that the kids today are deciding and driving the technology and services available on mobile devices and us old folks will just get whatever they decide on.  Lucky us.  The 2 second attention span generation has come to power.

Supposedly, 50 Cent and young Japanese girls have something in common.  They are doing something called Lifecasting.  They basically wear their phones around their necks and let it record constantly throughout their day and it auto transmits these images or video to an online accessible site.  Personally, I’m not sure how I would feel about this but I guess it would keep Fiddy from doing illegal activities since he’d be broadcasting whatever he’s doing to the world.  The japanese girls will probably get flooded with dirty old men though.  But maybe that’s what they’re going for.

It sounds like more and more content on mobile devices will be branded as well.  Just like you can’t have a college bowl game without some companies name and logo plastered all over it.  Just like you can’t play certain video games without seeing billboards in the games advertising everything from soft drinks to cars.  Now your mobile content will also be branded.  Considering the size of the screens, I hope that you can still see what you were looking for with all those logos.

Of course since this meeting I’ve been thinking about the possibilities of making this site and A Little Scary more mobile friendly.  I found this WordPress Mobile Plugin that looks like it makes your site mobile phone compatible and thought I might give it a try.  If anyone out there has any opinions on the matter, please leave them in the comments.

My computer is broke. Nuh-uh!

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Dealing with technical support at the best of times can be difficult.  Dealing with tech support in Hong Kong can be absolutely infuriating.  The DVD-RW drive in my Dell XPS M1710 computer has been slowly dying for months but Friday it decided to give up completely.  This is a pretty fast PC but it would take six hours to burn 1GB of data to a DVD because it reset every two seconds.  Now it won’t even read a disk.

In a nutshell, here’s how the conversation went:
“My computer’s broke.”
“No it’s not, that’s normal.”

Yes tech support in Hong Kong will regularly flat out lie to try and keep from actually sending someone to fix something.  It’s not just Dell or even computers.  Getting service in Hong Kong is painful.

Actually the Dell Optiplex support line is pretty good and they speak English.  When you call the Dell XPS support line, you get transferred to Mainland China somewhere and they don’t speak English.  Knowing this, I had an admin make the call for me and warned her that they may not even speak guangdong hua (Cantonese).

Sure enough, the first person to answer speaks putong hua (Mandarin) only.  Luckily most of the local staff in my office are at least able to handle most conversations in Mandarin but they still get mixed up sometimes.  Oddly enough, the tech must not have liked the admin’s knowledge of his language because he hung up on her.  So she called back and luckily this time she got someone who speaks Cantonese.  Mind you, this is a Hong Kong phone number we’re dialing.

Instead of going through all the details of what happened, I’ll just give you the excuses that were translated to me.  There may have been more that I didn’t hear or understand.

  • “Has Windows been re-installed?” – This insinuated that it’s not the drive but that Windows is the problem and needs to be re-installed.  No.
  • When the call was made I had a burned copy of Symantec AV in the drive.  He told the admin that “there was just an incompatibility in the way that the burned disk had been created.”  So he told her she needed to put in a CD provided by Dell and if it worked then it wasn’t their problem.
  • So I put in the XPS Drivers and Utilities Disk.  Standing near the PC you can hear the drive spin and reset over and over and over.  I told her to tell him about that noise.  He responded with: “That’s normal.”
  • When the Dell CD didn’t come up, he had her try another Dell CD because it must be a problem with that CD.  We entered another one which made the same sounds and didn’t work.  He told her “the drivers weren’t loaded” even though we told him it’s been working for almost two years.  He had her check Device Manager and sure enough there was no Exclamation Point marking a problem.
  • When I told her to tell him it took six hours to burn 1GB of data to a DVD-R, he started questioning the software we were using and blamed it on that.  He told her then that “the software you use is just not updated.”  By this point I was well beyond pissed and glad he couldn’t understand what I was saying on speakerphone.

The admin started getting confrontational with him at that point because he was wasting our time.  We had spent 30 minutes on the phone at that point.  Finally he relented and told us someone would contact us tomorrow to replace the drive.

Of course I thanked the admin since I’ve made similar calls before and they were just as painful except neither person understood the other.  Imagine trying to convey “video card” to someone who only speaks Mandarin and you only speak English.  Painful.