All posts by Jeremy

Mobilebackups.trash

CrashPlan.app somehow make its app folder not immutable, so that sometimes it causes problem when deleting it from Time Machine backups.

I am somehow having problem on El Capitan 10.11 beta that local Time Machine backups are taking all my spaces. So I disabled it but have problem emptying the trash. And it is CrashPlan.app.

This is the command to use:

> chflags noschg CrashPlan.app # this removes system immutable flag

> chflags nouchg CrashPlan.app # this removes the user immutable flag

In my case I used chflags -R noschg/nouchg .Mobilebackup.trash

Finally got my SSD space back.

On Marco and Apple Software Quality Decline

I saw the Marco blog post moments after it was published. I also saw it spreading like wildfire today: a lot of press coverage. I knew Marco wouldn’t be pleased with how it turned out. And he indeed wrote up another post to reflect on this. I was going to see what he said on Twitter but didn’t follow through the search. Twitter is too much for me nowadays.

My opinion is this.

Maybe he did use words too harsh, but overall he was correct. He spoke my mind. I immediately shared that post. I have also been complaining about it with friends for at least a year. I talked about this with people around me already a number of times. Not just me, other people chimed in too. Even Macdailynews posted an open letter about this (although it felt like they were riding on Marco’s back but I am sure they also completely agreed). The only problem was, Marco was too famous already. So the “Apple is doomed” sensationalism naturally built on top of it. If he is less famous it would have just stayed within the Apple enthusiastic circle.

But the positive thing is, after all these media attention, even though Marco doesn’t want to be associated with it, I think maybe Apple and Cook will finally pay attention to this big problem.

Asian Enrollment in US Elite Schools Throttled

eliteenrollment-large asians-large

 

It is no secrete that Asians are having a bamboo ceiling in the US. It starts early and persist into their careers. Elite schools in the US, aside from those in California (due to state law that banned consideration of race for college admission), seem to have artificially limited their Asian enrollment to about 15%. Recently, Harvard and U. North Carolina were sued for discriminating against Asians.

From this chart, it looks like even though Jewish Americans, also considered outperforming, are not really experiencing the same thing as Asians are experiencing. But historically, Jewish American were discriminated against. Asians may need to fight for their rights as Jewish Americans did. Jewish Americans are powerful force in the US academia. Perhaps that’s why nobody dare to say they need to limit them during admission. And most Jewish Americans are considered white. So perhaps it is the non-Jewish white Americans paying a price, or being less excellent. I don’t know what it is.

 

App developers have no special privileges

Daring Fireball: One Star Reviews Flood ‘Monument Valley’ Following Paid Expansion Release http://daringfireball.net/linked/2014/11/12/monument-valley

I don’t understand this mentality. I see this often: app developers complain that people don’t pay up. But what gives them the privilege to complain about this?

There are a lot of people doing great work & have family to support & they don’t get paid enough. There is no such thing as app developer privilege that allows app developers to be exempt from almost everybody’s desire to pay less for things, and not to get their money suckled.

People don’t pay for music. They pirate and stream. They go to YouTube. Musicians and workers in the music industry have families too. They do real work too. We scientists work more than most regular jobs, and we have families and ourselves to feed. Our work is more significant to humanity than these game developers. We don’t bitch nearly enough. Nor do we feel like we have such privilege that people must pay up!

苹果特色软件耀眼光芒一去不复返了。未来会怎样?

以前,苹果的软件和硬件都很有一套,但是整合的不够。那是那个时代的局限导致的。尽管如此,苹果总是制造出让人眼睛一亮的产品。我们就从Jobs回到苹果说起。彩色透明iMac,经典而又创新:别人都没有,抄都抄不像。

OS X来自NeXTStep,是个UNIX。这个优势给了苹果又是几年领先于微软的资本。但是微软基本上还是赶上来了。

OS X那时候是有很多独一无二的东西的。iLife:这个易用性,这个整合性,无人能比。那个时候,其他平台上根本没有可以媲美的照片管理软件,或简单易用但是还是很强大的业余音乐制作软件,或者能够轻松做出苹果级审美的iWeb网页制作软件,更不要说微软的MovieMaker和iMovie比起来就是小学生的作业。做音乐,玩摄影,做视频、家庭电影,还算是有点小资、文艺范儿的东西,远没有普及,那么你要是想做,想做的好,又不要太难,基本上Mac就是不二的选择了,不差钱的话。iTunes也是最好用的音乐管理软件,长期也是最佳的数码音乐购买平台。Aperture刚出来也是非常厉害的,鞭策了Adobe,不然也没有Lightroom了。.Mac和MobileMe的云同步,虽然不够全面,但是通讯录、书签等的同步,当时也是业界领先的。

现在呢?虽然iOS和OS X本来还算很优秀,但是苹果自带的软件已经越发缺乏光芒。iOS和OS X的最终在今年的整合,算是一步好棋,但是我们却快没有多少可以拿出来说,你要做这个那毫无疑问要选苹果了。唯一也许还能拿出来说的,让人吃惊的是,居然是一些网络服务:比如iMessage,FaceTime, iCloud Photostream (Photo library)。而网络服务除了这些产品的概念和易用性以及隐私保护很好以外,苹果网络服务的质量并不比其他公司好。

我们看看iLife:半死不活。iPhoto死了,新的还没出来,我们抢强烈怀疑发布Photos的时候,产品的功能可以覆盖iPhoto和Aperture的一切。iTunes,也许是为了继续做Windows版,感觉苹果已经把这个老的codebase玩不转了。虽然不时有小改进,但是真的臃肿,有些东西能感觉到有很重的历史包袱。Garageband虽然不错,但是毕竟是小众产品。其他自带软件,Mail虽然可以满足大多数人的需求,但也是bug不断。唯一算争气的也许是Safari,但是这个完全说明了苹果发力不均衡:只有苹果真的发力了的软件项目,才能做的好。

iWork就更说明问题了。iWork 09之后,到了13年才真的更新了:却丢掉了很多功能。虽然换来了网页版,OS X版和iOS版的兼容,却丢掉了很多功能满满加回来。有些功能可能永远丢失了吧。今天惊闻最新的iwork不能打开iWork 09版之前的iwork文件了。这是何等的坑爹?要不要对用户负责?我很多年前做的文件难道就要在不久的将来再也打不开了吗?用户还怎么对使用苹果的东西有长期支持的信心?而iwork虽然算是不错的Office软件,但是却没有以前苹果软件的光芒。Keynote以前甩了PowerPoint几条街,现在呢?感觉除了改改界面和风格,基本是原地踏步,苹果的精力都用开兼容自己不同平台,和支持OS和云的新变化去了,连自己的老文件格式都不兼容了,真是笑话。

我最近也遇到很多iCloud和iWork的bug。网络上的情绪也都是感叹苹果软件质量有严重下降,小毛病不断。我最近都用出Windows的感觉了。我还是要赞扬一下Yosemite的,OS X最近表现得比iOS好。

所以,目前的状况就是苹果特色软件的光芒不再。我只能希望苹果最近是在清理门户,洗牌之后也许能够走上正轨吧。但是我真乐观不起来。

有感很对大陆人对香港占中的批评

民主自由都是斗争才能获得,几乎无一例外。经济就算瘫痪几周又能如何?历史上任何重要改革和革命都是有短期代价的。难道国共内战不是破坏了稳定,导致经济停滞不前或倒退?所以这是FUD。一切要看长远利益和发展。

香港是中国少数或者唯一民众可以直接追求民主的地方,有较高的新闻自由和政治自由。这么多不享受民主的大陆人反对追求普选,不知是什么心理,斯德哥尔摩综合征吗?还是酸葡萄?大陆人无非是放弃自由换取可能做出有利自己决定的政府统治,这个政府做了很多好事,也做了很多坏事。但是政府根本是听不到屁民声音的,这难道是大陆人想要强加给所有中国人的吗?我只能说这很变态。

具体怎么选可以商量,但是必须由并不是民主选举产生的提名委员会来半数投票成为候选人,显然是非常不民主的。

希望这次能是全民的民主教育课。

Apple Watch

Gruber发布了他的想法

有些观点和我雷同。比如,显然Apple Watch $349的是Sport。他猜测的普通版(蓝宝石,不锈钢)高达$999。个人认为高了。我觉得应该会是在$499-$699之间。

Sport应该直接带运动型表带。普通版则可能是表带可选。基本款皮表带和运动表带可能免费。但是如果要其他的设计就要加钱了,类似Mac电脑的选配。比如,不锈钢表链需要外加$299。米兰锁链需要加$399。高端皮表带加$199。

18k金的Apple Watch,他猜测$4999,乃至$10,000都有可能。我觉得如果真的是实心的18k金外壳的话,那么肯定至少是$2000。如果真的是$5000的话,感觉苹果一年能卖出十万部就很了不起了。这是5亿美元的销售额。如果真的是$5000的话,我之前也想过,也许核心是可以升级的。否则用户怎么justify买一个手臂上的电脑,过两年就彻底失去前沿性?Gruber也猜测,如果不可以升级,那么苹果可能会给trade-in。花了这个价钱,那么用户肯定是期望很高的客服的,所以提供定制计算机部分升级,也不为过。本来也是设计的“computer on a chip”然后封装得很好。但是说实话如果销量跟不上的话,专门做这个定制升级模块,成本也是很高。可能卖$5000,升级内核部件需要$500以上:比买新的sport还贵,但是得提供贵宾式服务。

这个走的方向就有点奇特了。

Gruber认为苹果是否in trouble关键是Apple Watch的功能和软件到底如何。目前我们并不是很清楚它究竟可以干些什么,第三方软件支持到底怎么样,是否是真正的独立计算机,虽然需要iPhone来完成通信等功能。如果功能很局限,那么确实是很难一炮打响。不排除二代突飞猛进,但是如果是这样,买家又如何能够为第一代的18k金的Apple Watch买单呢?

是的,苹果的电脑是最好的个人电脑,苹果的手机是最好的手机,苹果的iPod是最好的MP3。苹果的iPad是最好的平板电脑。但是,苹果的Apple Watch到底会不会是最好的手表呢?如果不是,至少必须是最好的智能手表吧?

Corporate BS

It is no secrets that corporations write BS. Chase has sent me a couple of times notification that they are changing the credit card reward program:

We are making changes to the Ultimate RewardsSM program to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

What they really mean is that they are taking away some benefits of the reward program or make them of less value to their customers. It is the opposite of customer needs. It is 100% of their needs.

Social network

Marco brought this to my attention.

Yes I am fed up with the social networks of our time. Facebook continues to experiment on us, while collecting our behavior data for its own benefit: to maximize the time we spend on their; to show us things that it thinks we want to see; to hide things that it thinks we don’t want to see. Their ultimate goal is to make money. And there is a conflict of interest there. We are Facebook and Google’s product: they sell us to the advertisers. They have no moral baseline. If they are not-for-profit, the current scheme of things may be different. But I am optimistic that new things will arise.  Tent.io is a good idea but I don’t think it is ready yet. I hope in the future this blog and things can be integrated with tent, or something like that. In fact we can each afford to host our own site, and these sites can be connected with each other. We don’t have to sell ourselves to a single or a couple of companies.

WordPress is indeed much better than I first started using it. But my posts have gradually decreased over time. I do post often on Facebook and sometimes Twitter as well. But I never felt that I own my content. Facebook don’t even allow me to search my old posts. This annoys me greatly. Maybe they will bring this feature, but still, they own me on Facebook. I am going to strive to reduce my dependence on Facebook. If I want to talk about something, post something for my friends to see, I will try to post them here, and link on Facebook, until there is a better way for us to ping each other.

This reminds me of talking about how Apple could have changed social network with their iMessage platform. We know each other already, we have each other’s phone number. We can be automatically connected. Things can be shared. There does NOT need to be ads. No one need to collect our behavior in order to show us promotional materials. I would love to have that social network.

rant more! Ice bucket challenge

It is a meme it is a fad it is something celebrities opportunists grab! I am sorry to be negative but we have a lot more issues in this world that is worth this much attention.

Got to give it to the original people who came up with this though. And this is just another viral thing…. more than Harlem Shake….

Good for this rare disease. Good for those who got some attention. At this attention grabbing Internet era. This is inevitable but we have to stay calm and move on.

对疆独恐怖主义的相关看法:没有对话一切都是空的

我认为,中国疆独恐怖袭击的其中一个要点是缺乏民族之间的沟通。

类比美国,虽然种族矛盾可以说有跨越几个世纪的历史,并且至今没有能够完全解决问题,但是各个民族可以有自己的利益团体,为各个族裔争取平等和权力。怎么样实现民族平等,白人、黑人、拉丁裔、亚裔都可以参加公开的讨论,政客们可以辩论,哪怕是吵得不可开交,哪怕是有刑事案件激化矛盾,至少社会给了人们一个获得平权的可能,未来看似光明,虽然受压迫族裔了解斗争是长期的,坚持是必须的,舆论支持是重要的,没有舆论支持则需要积极运作争取别人的同情和支持来慢慢改变自己所处的困境。

然而,因为中国缺乏言论自由,媒体更缺乏多样观点和表述机会,因此民族问题也因此受到牵连,缺少了很多沟通化解矛盾的机会。 因为报道不多,所以我只能猜测,大多数情况下,少数民族是不太可能可以有和平的游行、抗议和示威。如果他们有这个意向,那么申请被否决,或被警察驱赶几乎是必然的。媒体也并不能采访和播放一些持有不同观点的少数民族群众。少数民族族裔也少有能上电视台讨论民族问题。问题虽然存在,但是回避、不准讨论,绝对不是决绝问题的方法和态度。

事实是,新疆恐怖主义袭击发生很多次,民族矛盾看似激化,但是我们汉族有多少机会能 够看到真实坦诚的对话?新疆维吾尔族有多少可以自由的谈他们的观点?如果汉族不知道普通维吾尔族怎么想,很多相关讨论和观点就几乎是空谈。我也要承认,这篇博文也缺乏一些民意基础。如果我要写美国种族矛盾,那么我至少有听过很多不同观点,听过很多采访,知道有很多被关押的黑人可以有他们自己的声音,虽然这些声音并不能和主流媒体比嗓门,但是多少是有渠道的,有记者是可以去关注和报道的。而且大学里也有很多学者研究这些问题,观点也更是“百花齐放”。

我们普通汉族群众没有和维吾尔族平等对话交流的机会,这本质上就是一种种族压迫:一来可能维吾尔族不敢说出他们内心的真实想 法;二来种族隔阂是如此之大,汉族和维族几乎很难成为朋友,也没有交流的渠道;三来政府没有做任何类似美国“多样化”的工作,也导致民族之间真实交流很少。所谓交流仅仅停留在央视的民族歌舞和主旋律报道。事实上,如果至少20%的维吾尔族认为他们受到压迫,在没有正当途径表达诉求的环境下,矛盾就会很难化解了。如果有正当渠道,我想中国的民族问题面貌将非常不同。

我的结论是,对话是非常重要的。应该允许小的“不和谐”,应该允许公开的讨论,哪怕是有主旋律引导的“有草稿”的讨论。应该给人民话语权。沟通和交流至关重要。哪怕是吵起来,上街了,只要是和平的,就应该是可以接受的。如果工作重点是压制,那么压力积蓄起来,爆发的成恐怖袭击的概率就会大很多。退一步,和平示威游行也确实是需要一个文化和教育基础。中国越长时间没有这些东西,那么和平示威游行就将越难。

删除了一些老的blogroll

很多人的博客已经荒废。我的博客即将10年。我写的不多了,因为现在要有观众都要社交网络。但是社交网络毕竟不是自己的,而是给别人挖去你个人信息用的,给商家给你发广告用的。

不过还是有几个博客还在有人写,我也很遗憾的没有经常追踪。我看我还是把别人的博客加到我的Feedly里面去吧。

美国前奥运会运动员谈奥运会如同《饥饿游戏》

美国前冬奥会运动员Samantha Retrosi在犹他州长大。11岁的时候被Verizon赞助的无舵雪橇协会选中培训,到意大利图灵奥运会出事。同项目甚至有运动员丧生。

美国不是举国体育。美国政府不资助运动员和奥运会项目。所有的经费来自企业赞助。举国体制下,政府资助运动员,运动员待遇可能并不比一些冷门项目运动员差。而美国运动员要签约,比如Samantha,因为Verizon是奥运赞助商,协会内签约运动员就不能随便去代言其他公司,并且必须在各种场合表示是Verizon使得他们能够“圆奥运梦”,“谢谢Verizon”。今日更传因为三星赞助奥运,美国运动员被要求不能展示苹果产品logo。三星给每个运动员发了手机。

Samantha给The Nation杂志撰文,从她个人经历和对奥运会的观察,表示奥运会和热门小说/电影《饥饿游戏》非常相似。“饥饿游戏”盛大的开幕式,是为了掩饰游戏的惨无人道。而奥运会开幕式也是有类似的作用和目的。奥运会运动员入场,人群欢呼,称赞他们挑战人类的极限。他们挥舞各国国旗,是各国的骄傲,是爱国主义教育的活教材。他们代表的,远超过自己和运动本身。

我且认为,这没有什么错误。但是,正如Samantha所说,奥运会已经被环球精英劫持为一种政治经济上的投资。

《饥饿游戏》里,每个被选中的选手,都可以说是祭物。因为除了一个人意外,每个人都会死去:为的是证明“首都”的绝对权力。奥运会运动员在一定程度上也是祭品。即使是在不是举国体育的美国,很多选手也是从小训练,职业运动员大都也要牺牲很多:和亲人在一起的时间,普通人的童年,教育,换来可能的荣耀,一身的伤痛,往往最后被遗忘。就好像美国的大兵,虽然每场体育赛事都会赞扬他们,但是美国的退伍军人生活大多困苦:他们小时候也是多出身贫寒,不得不参军换取工资和军队资助的学费。话题跑远,但是美国大兵近年来自杀率不断上涨,军队里性骚扰性侵犯泛滥,是不争的事实;看着好莱坞大片的我们,又怎能想象?

回到美国奥运队伍,一个主要的争议话题,就是企业赞助劫持了体育项目。在经济问题上,国际奥委会IOC也何尝不是经常被批评?所以整个奥运会体系,可以说都已经腐败。

我们做科学的,能出人头地的,不多,但是比起运动员,成功率可能还是要高一些的。如果你拿不到奥运奖牌,你就不能真的出人头地。有多少运动员是这样的宿命?我不知道具体的数字,但是比例应该是很高的。在一定程度上,他们更是祭品。

I was not allowed near any camera without giving a visual and verbal statement of thanks to Verizon for making all of my dreams come true.

Verizon已经停止了赞助美国无舵雪橇协会。此协会因为长期“忠于”Verizon,没有能拿到其他企业赞助。不少运动员加入了美军的“世界级运动员项目”以换得资助。是否感觉似曾相识?

现在办一次奥运会都是要上百亿美元的资金。当然,也就有相当的revenue,和相当可观的利润。企业赞助商,奥委会,也都各有法宝,可以赚到相当可观的金额。企业赞助商,当然是赚的是口碑,赚的是logo商标上镜率,是广告效益。而最后,全世界的运动员就成为了被剥削的工人。奥运会,按照中国教科书的说法,就是一个资本家运作的工厂,这个工厂还和其他财团有理不清的关系。奥运会固然精彩,但是或许是时候发声,让大家看清楚这场戏背后的主角到底是谁。

Samantha和其他一些客人做客Democracy Now!访谈,也是值得一看

剩女 家暴 婚姻法保护男性

这篇文章是常居中国的Leta Hong Fincher写的。她主要研究妇女问题。

基本上就是说越来越多的剩女在中国反抗婚姻,一方面是因为她们喜欢独生生活,另一方面是因为中国妇女权利难以得到保护。文章说,中国大约25%婚姻有家庭暴力,有些组织认为比例更高。如果你问一个妇女,你家里有没有家暴,她会说,“没有,当然没有”。如果你问,“你丈夫打过你吗?”那么答案常常是Yes。

中国法律定义家暴也比较含糊,法官基本不会判定是有家暴。

最后2011年婚姻法修改之后,认为离婚后,主要财产属于房产证上有名字的人。大约30%的房产证上有双方的名字。不过这个说回来,又是中国结婚往往要求男方有房的结果,所以这个法律也许是保护男方全资买房,离婚后丢掉一半吧?但事实上妇女权益也会因此受损,所以一定要求男方有房才结婚,是双刃剑。

一个北京女人告诉Leta:

“The institution of marriage basically benefits men, and when women are hurt, this institution doesn’t protect our rights. The most rational choice is to stay single.”

Nobody writes a blog any more.

Now that media, mainstream or independent, move to blogging; and individuals move to sharing on Facebook and Twitter and Weibo: Nobody writes blog any more!

I always wanted to post more to this blog, but in the end I didn’t. For these reasons:

– less audience; still have to link to Facebook to share.
– less convenient. Despite WordPress being open, the usability is not on par with other products.
– the gallery option is not powerful enough: Gallery3 integration, or NextGEN gallery are usable but not great.

So I am not sure the fate of this blog. I will try to post more…