Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Possibilities



There was a time, when I would mention what kind of influence one can have on the society as an entrepreneur or an early employee of a value-creating startup - and then, people would say all I really wanted is money...

... and it's both right and wrong. It's hard to argue with these people, but simply getting rich was never my dream. My dream, is this:


I dream of enjoying sushi in a sushi bar when I'm 230 years old.

And I'd be talking with the chef about everything that happened in the past. I'd have 200 years to learn Japanese by then. That, or Babel Fish would've happened.

"Little startup companies were all the rage here 200 years ago, you see the Bay over there? That used to be where they made {X}... and it's the reason why we have {Y} and {Z} today."

"Oh yeah? I founded two of those startups there back then, but they all went belly up. I was so dumb."

"Heh. I was making electric cars there back then..."

"And they thought going 0 to 60mph in 3 seconds was cool? Booo!"

(a few sushi later)

"When I was 30 years old, I thought the industrial revolution was amazing..."

"Yeah, and then it happened again, twice."

"And all it did was putting up sushi bars in space."

"All those techniques for raising and cutting fish in space weren't invented in one day, you know."


... and the fish, tastes as good as, you know, the good old days.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Greed


About a year and a few months ago, I had plenty of arguments with two people on this word. It resulted in massive value destruction by people who're convinced they're right. To this day, I still find it shocking that people with sound minds can somehow conclude that destroying a company devoted to producing value, devoted to exploring a different path of survival for our own generation, can somehow be morally correct. It is wrong, even if your family has to suffer for it to continue, let alone small excuses.

But because of what? One of its cofounders likes playing Gordon Gekko and argues that "(a certain kind of) Greed is Good"? That it's better to be frighteningly aggressive than to be safe? That the primary objective of meeting with investors should be to bring that feeling of fright to their minds; that there are more things between Heaven and Hell, than are dreamt of in their philosophies?

What would I, a genuinely poor person who used to live next to leaking sewage in a beaten down district in Hong Kong, have become if I were to play safe?



It all happened, because greed, is a hated word. Dante's Inferno says, the 4th layer of Hell is there for greedy men. Just pick your popular religion - any one of them - and greed is condemned in its scriptures.

But what would have happened to the world, if people weren't greedy for more stable sources of food?

What would have happened to the world, if people weren't greedy for a more favorable form of government?

What would have happened to the world, if people weren't greedy for sounds that were pleasing to their ears, for visions that were pleasing to their eyes, for tastes that were pleasing to their tongues and their stomach?

That world, would be a sad, sad, world. A world without fried potation skins, without cheesecakes, or medium rare steak. A world without balsamic vinegar, or lemonade, or cheese, or ham. A world without colors, a world without Les Miserables. A world without the operatic singing methods and story writers that enables the feeble voice of a single human to penetrate the minds of thousands of audience. A world without the knowledge of how big the Universe is; of how many different species of animals and plants can live together in a coral reef; and why every living existence, no matter how feeble and dumb, are important to us.



Perhaps because of modern society - a lot of people have forgotten, that we humans, in a lot of ways, are losers the day we're born. Our eyesights are nothing compared to eagles, our sense of smell is thousands of times worse than dogs. We're slow, and we're weak. The only thing that nature has left us with, is the ability to imagine and want for more.

We used that to beat the fuck out of reality and make the impossibles somehow become possible - and that ability does you no good if a lion were to hunt you down. If there's one more thing besides our intellect that places us above the lion, it's perhaps our persistence - some people simply don't know when to give up their greed. And that's good - because theses people know, no matter how ugly or condemned that attribute is, it is part of them, and part of everyone.

If someone were to argue that human nature leads us to Hell, then it's Hell that's is wrong, not human nature.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

甚麼也沒有

某八十後甚麼也沒有。

 街上的林寶堅尼,某八十後只能奢望可以行近一點拍拍照。卻不知克羅地亞的八十後正在埋頭製造一千匹馬力的電動跑車。 

某八十後夢想三十歲前可以供樓。地球另一面某人三十歲時買的,是俄羅斯的洲際彈道導彈。 

地球另一面的某人買了洲際彈道導彈之後,開了三間公司。然後窮得連租都交不起,要寄居朋友的家,面臨破產。他的浪漫,是將沒可能變成現實,所以由沒可能開始。

某八十後也想浪漫,卻沒有女朋友。 

某八十後甚麼也沒有。

Facebook 上每天看著甚麼的人幹了甚麼的事,某八十後只能概嘆,「這些機會不是我的」。

 某八十後曾幻想過,可以像古惑仔裏的鄭伊建那樣,「我唔妥你,我可以逗你;我唔鍾意你,我可以 dup 你;o靚仔你啤咩呀?出黎隻揪丫!」可惜某八十後一不夠帥,二沒急才,三沒膽量打人。

 「
不管天邊風已起
只想依依看著你
夜闌人靜會否仍可希冀

經得起憂傷與悲
只因心中有著你
路遙長夜記憶從不捨棄

長街的身影穿過風雨有傲氣
曾一起出走不怕闖進了絕地
如霧如煙 全像遊戲

彷彿天和地在挑選我跟你
如像我亦重遇了生死
難道只好淌淚心痛告別你
無法讓我此際替代你


某八十後某日看著老舊的電影,哭了。 不是為了電影的情節,而是為了自己 - 只懂跟隨別人教的四仔主義的他,似乎比古惑仔更加不像一個人。

Friday, August 3, 2012

四仔

子曰:「四仔:屋仔、車仔、老婆仔、BB 仔。」

這是課堂裏某些老師經常提起的,但從來沒提過其實是甚麼子。可能是來自法國瑞士交界的那位希格斯玻色子說的。

某八十後有一晚,極無聊。他無聊得連愛情動作片也不想看,他看了 BBC 的紀實片。內容講述一隻烏龜是如何成長、求偶、交配、生龜蛋,和死去的。

某八十後不耐煩,看完生龜蛋之後睡了。

他看到希格斯玻色子。

希格斯玻色子說:「一開始有光,有光之後有我,有我之後有星,星爆左之後變石頭,石頭爆左隻龜出黎,死左幾萬億隻龜之後就爆左你出黎...」

「o下?」

「搞咁多野,你而家先同我講你只係比隻龜勁左 33%。今鑊陷家剷喇!仆你個臭街呀!柒到無朋友呀!回水呀!」


迎新營

小弟進大學那年玩過兩個迎新營,其中一個遊戲是這樣的:

首先,遊戲一開始,所有人都要帶上眼罩。

第二,所有知道答案的人都不可以用任何方式提示未知道答案的人。

參與這個遊戲的學生要做的,就是要除去身上的一件衣物,放在地上。至於是哪一件呢?學生要自己想。只有一件是對的。

 一開始,通常就有不少人除去外衣,手錶,鞋等不太重要的衣服。當然這些答案是錯的。但這些錯不會有提示,遊戲會繼續。

然後就會有人開始除衫。這時工作人員會提示這個遊戲並非低級趣味。

過了一會就會有人繼續除衫,甚至嘗試除褲,除底褲。這當然就要出手制止了。

正確答案是除眼罩。 除眼罩有兩大好處:第一,眼罩是正確答案,丟了眼罩不用再猜。第二,你可以笑嘗試除褲的人。

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Web Services in Python (Part 2) - Serving Static Files

The last Python web server wasn't that great - it only gives you a hello world. If you're smart, you may have already figured out how to do Comet with it with very little code - we'll go over that in the next post. But.. the server doesn't even serve JavaScript files yet!

Well, don't panic. In the land of Python, everything is just a few lines of code away.

I'll assume you already have the systems libraries from my last blog post installed from this point on. If you haven't.. here's the list of things you need to install into your Linux system.
# apt-get install libevent-2.0 libevent-dev python-dev python-virtualenv
So that's 1 line of code to set up the environment - if you haven't done it already.

Next, we'll setup the sandbox for the web server - it's not absolutely needed but it's good practice to sandbox web applications with virtualenv in Python. We'll also enter the sandbox to work inside it.
$ virtualenv myapp
$ cd myapp
$ . bin/activate
3 lines of code to initialize and enter the virtualenv sandbox - not absolutely required, but good for library hygiene.

Next, we'll install a few things to our sandbox.
$ pip install gevent gunicorn pyramid
If you've got the system libraries installed correctly, it should be fully automatic - it won't even ask you a single Y/N question.

Finally, we conjure up a web server and start it.
$ pcreate -s starter myapp
$ python myapp/setup.py install
$ gunicorn_paster -w8 -kgevent --keep-alive 60 myapp/production.ini
And... and... RUMBLE... It's alive!!! (gunicorn_paster listens on 0.0.0.0:6543 by default)


Look Ma! Zero lines of Python! And it's working already!

Looking under the hood - inside the myapp/myapp/static directory of the sandbox...

martin_kou@asgard:~/Development/pyramid/myapp$ ls -al myapp/static/
total 84K
drwxrwxr-x 2 martin_kou martin_kou 4.0K 2012-01-17 00:25 .
drwxrwxr-x 4 martin_kou martin_kou 4.0K 2012-01-17 00:28 ..
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou 1.4K 2012-01-17 00:25 favicon.ico
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou  333 2012-01-17 00:25 footerbg.png
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou  203 2012-01-17 00:25 headerbg.png
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou  758 2012-01-17 00:25 ie6.css
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou 2.8K 2012-01-17 00:25 middlebg.png
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou 4.3K 2012-01-17 00:25 pylons.css
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou  33K 2012-01-17 00:25 pyramid.png
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou 6.9K 2012-01-17 00:25 pyramid-small.png
-rw-rw-r-- 1 martin_kou martin_kou   49 2012-01-17 00:25 transparent.gif
.. and that's where you can put up your favorite JavaScript, CSS and HTML files. Have fun!