Friday, December 30, 2011


by Malcom Gladwell

Outliers are expressed in this book as people who are successful in business, born into the right race at the right time and the right place.

Now to me, the idea of being an outlier is inherently crazy. Being in the chinese culture (which incidentally is covered in this book), I had a long standing idea that success cannot be waited on and through hard work up the ranks will somehow yield success. That part might never change unfortunately because of my upbringing.

The Part One (titled Opportunity) of the book however, provided me with some insights that while yes you cannot change the race, place, time where you are born. You can get definitely get yourself or your children ready for the opportunity when it (if) comes by. Summarized below:

1. To bred a sportsman, have a child whose birthdate is as close to the eligibility date as possible.
2. Show the child that one part of hardwork equals one part of success, the idea of putting in effort means getting some form of return. This becomes a achievement cycle, on how success breeds basically more success.
3. Teach the child to learn numbers in a language that processes numbers fast and have a rigid structured number system (an inherent Asian advantage). The faster they process numbers, the more they can remember said numbers.
4. Even if the child is clever, without the right (encouraging) environment to grow up in, it would be a wash.

The chapter I was most interested in is the idea of "concerted cultivation". I initially had problems with grasping what exactly concerted cultivation meant. At first I understood it as needing to expose the child to anything and everything that the parent could get their hands on. I thought that it was a contradiction with the 10,000 hours theory proposed earlier in the book. (The author says it as the amount of time it takes to be excellent at a said task) I posed the question: "how it could be possible for a child to get exposure to everything and also get 10,000 hrs into a single task?"

Turns out I just understood the idea while re-reading over the chapter. I believe the important part of concerted cultivation isn't exposing the children. It was to teach the children to exert themselves in the society. This sense of "entitlement" as expressed in the book. Simply put, it's confidence.

The rest would be just compromise then, perhaps there is not a huge overlap between people who are doing everything at once and people who spend 10,000 hrs into a single task. I do believe though, in that overlap, a person would at least be well off, if not immensely successful.

Part Two (titled Legacy) deals with things are mostly not in our control. How each different culture operates and how it affects being an outlier. This is where the programming of each of our cultures affect an individual.

Having an ancestry from hunters in the Scottish regions means people can kill each other in the name of honor 400 years later (1800s) in Southern United States.
Having coming from cultivating the rice paddies in China means the Chinese believe "一份耕耘一份收获" (direct translation to: "one sowing of seeds equals one harvest", or in the current generation "hardwork equals reward")
Being from a culture where seniority structures are deeply enforced means a estranged way of communication with a superior can cause serious problems in a cockpit.

These advantages/disadvantages are things we can't change. What we can do is realize the said advantages and exploit (used here in the nicest of terms) them further, while alleviating the disadvantages.


One thing I would hope that anyone that reads this book not take away from, is that the idea of complacency. Just because you feel you're not born into a "right" family, you're not of the "right" culture, did not get the "right" education, means you can just give up and supposedly "let nature run its course".

Yes I concede that being an outlier means you will be successful in business faster or easier, but what the book also says is that having the right attitude and the right skills will make one better off than its peers.

You won't be too far away from the crowd, but... wouldn't you be an "outlier" as well then?

Thursday, December 29, 2011



相聚分散的地方, 就算人不在, 思念总是在空气中蔓延. 喝喝咖啡, 手机一人一个.

自己也一直飞来飞去, 可能是为什么我喜欢Up in the Air这部电影吧.

家是哪里我自己也不是分的很清楚了. They say "Home is where the heart is". They're probably right.

我和很多朋友都说我能什么时候回来, 定了个时间. 就到2天前还是这么在说, 但是, 现在的我不知道了. 妈妈这次很需要我, 有很多的考量.

说别的, 人总是在理性与感性之间徘徊. 这次我也是对号入座了, 我该说的和我想说的就在理性与感性之间徘徊. 有些事情, 不敢奢求.


是时候离开了, 这里有好多我留恋的人, 但是这次我也只能这样了.

就像我堂妹说的: Timing is everything.


Sunday, November 20, 2011




If 4 months ago, someone told me the current me would be reading books, running regularly, playing fitness games instead of actual games and doing something I thought I would never do again I would've told him he was crazy.

Yet here I am, after a whirlwind of everything, I did all of the above.

Thank you

歌曲: 情非得已 - 庾澄庆

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Steve Jobs

Part 1
Written 15th October 2011 - 6 days after Jobs left

I always respected Steve Jobs, for the way he pursued perfection. How he left, came back and brought a company from the brink of failing back to the current leader of digital entertainment and devices.

That was until I saw "Pirates of the Silicon Valley". My friend who was an Apple diehard showed it to me, he told me to see it for the brilliance of Jobs. It was a great film sure, but one thing caught my eye.

During the development of the Apple Lisa, Steve was seen in the parking lot arguing with a woman, about things relating as I remembered about their daughter. I thought maybe the film amped it up a little, adding this fictional scene just for dramatic effect to show Jobs' persistence and pursue for perfection. But, alas, apparently this did happen. Looking over the Wikipedia page for his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, Steve Jobs denied paternity, even going as far as to declare infertile in court. Seriously, how badly does he want to get out of it?

Yes he was a visionary for a generation, the 3rd apple that revolutionized the world, leaving behind his legacy for all to enjoy. I'm not complaining, I certainly felt his vision through all the Apple products I go through.
Yet, what about his personal legacy?
When this wave of mourning passes, who will be there to remember him?
Will the millions of people including me who wrote Facebook posts about him remember him 20 years down the road?
Will the Apple fanboys remember their great spiritual leader/founder or just be concerned about the next product the company is going to push out?
Seriously, how many people are already upset at Apple for the iPhone 4S?

These thoughts has been running through my head for a bit now, even before Jobs passed on. Then I read this article, which the title heading I was... well, just shaking my head: "Steve Jobs agreed to biography so his children could know him better" I asked myself this question, do I have to write a book just so I could pass on my values and views of the world to my own children? That to me, is ridiculous, as a parent, you should be there personally to teach your children, to nurture them, letting them know you through conversations, actions.

Yes in a sense by not being there for his children, he helped create a company, took it to greater heights than ever before. But... at what cost? Was it all worth it?

I'm very interested in this book, and which is why I'm going to write Part 2 after I finished reading the biography.


Part 2
Written 19th - 20th November 2011

I've finished the book.

But let's not talk about the book first, let's talk about this generation of people. This generation is like the internet, the internet as I've learnt in this world, is fast, and unforgiving.

General consensus for people on the internet about Apple right now:
- iPhone 4S does not have great battery life.
- iOS 5 drains a lot of battery.
- Siri doesn't cater to all accents.
- Where is iPhone 5?
- Where is iPad 3?

All of them are so craving for the next in-thing from Apple.
Who still remembers that the Apple founder has passed on?

Now let's get back to the book.

From a structural standpoint, the author splits them into distinct chapters, chapters that deals with the founding of the company, the creation of Apple II, the ousting of Jobs from Apple, the founding of NeXT, the creation of iPod so on and so forth. This is interspersed with chapters about his life, his social life, his relationships with specific people.

The first part of the book mainly deals with his early life at Apple, which, as much as the author tries to keep it in line, constantly deviates from the chapter heading. This seems to stem from the rebellious streak of Jobs at Apple too.

The second part deals with after the ousting and subsequent return to Apple. These chapters are I assume people would find most interesting about. The creation of the new Macs, the iPod, the iTunes store, the iPhone then the iPad, iCloud and so on and so forth.

It was as if the author was caught in the reality distortion field in the first place. No, not during the composition of the book, but I certainly felt he was compelled by Jobs' charm to write a book about him. This, along with the fact that the author has written biographies of Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, makes Jobs feel like he's reached a plateau of greats.

This pattern is repeated throughout the book, the desire of not for money, but more for the fame, for the recognition (or what the lay-man calls "ego boost"). Requesting more stock options at Apple, Disney/Pixar, Sony with the iTunes store etc.

You will notice that what saved Jobs after being ousted by Apple was not NeXT, but Pixar. Pixar essentially helped to calm Jobs' attitude and nature down to an "accepted" level. The way he dealt with Disney with Pixar, how he envisioned Pixar as a brand that should exist outside Disney. He applied the same principles after he was back at Apple.

Frankly, I think it would suck to work with/under/above the guy. But I admire what he's done, or what he had to do to get what he wanted through. I liked more of the other ancillary characters, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Lee Clow, Jonathan Ive, Ron Johnson. Other than Gates, theses are people who Jobs handpicked, people who are able to do what he wanted them to do well. That's what's special about Jobs, instead of having the skills, his skill was able to find the right people with the right skills. With those people, he was able to successfully start and later, turn Apple around.

The chapters on iPhone and iPad are short, mostly talking about facts one Google search away, and not a lot of the technical details. I bet Apple has things under their sleeves that the author was not allowed to write. Personality takes a back seat here, and focuses on the product.

Problems with App store guidelines are briefly mentioned, the antenna problem with the iPhone (dubbed "Antenna-gate") is an interesting look at what happens when the design takes a misstep, and how arrogant Apple (or more accurately Jobs) had become at that period.


Of course, while all the above was interesting. I wasn't particularly interested in them. I came for something else, I wanted to know how he handled his personal life.

Truth is, to me, he didn't. As with his skills in running the company, he picked a great wife (Laurene Powell).
Excerpt from the book:
"I'm very lucky, because you just don't know what you're getting into when you get married," he said. "You just have an intuitive feeling about things. I couldn't have done better, because not only is Laurene smart and beautiful, she's turned out to be a really good person." ... ... He also reflected on how selfish and demanding he could be. "Laurene had to deal with all that, and also with me being sick," he said. "I know that living with me is not a bowl of cherries."

While tensions with his first daughter Lisa is very much intact, he made good with the rest of his kids. He was especially proud of his (and only) son, Reed. Reading the book you can see it, the pride he felt of his son succeeding in school, helping with Jobs' cancer treatments. The other two younger daughters had their mom for support. Lisa however, was much older, missed much of that boat unfortunately, having to grow up under the early, more violatile Jobs.

By the end though, and nearing his passing, he realized that family was important enough to reconcile with. That was possibly the time where he realized he didn't have time to share his stories with his kids, and commissioned the author to write this book.

Its easy to see I was taken aback, if not outright angered, by the comment back in Part 1 about how this book "was going to let his kids know him better". Over the course of reading this book, I realized he knew he didn't have much time left. Somehow I also felt that maybe he was more comfortable  acknowledging his weaknesses to a stranger than telling it to his kids directly.
Well, something about his ego. That quote, presented in its entirety here, means much more:
"I wanted my kids to know me," he said. "I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did. Also, when I got sick, I realized other people would write about me if I died, and they wouldn't know anything. They'd get it all wrong. So I wanted to make sure someone heard what I had to say."

This book would be special, and the only "Apple" product that Jobs did not actively participate in (during his tenure at Apple of course).
He had never, in two years, asked anything about what I was putting into the book or what conclusions I had drawn. But now he looked at me and said, "I know there will be a lot in your book I won't like." It was more a question than a statement, and when he stared at me for a response, I nodded, smiled, and said I was sure that would be true. "That's good," he said. "Then it won't seem like an in-house book. I won't read it for a while, because I don't want to get mad. Maybe I will read it in a year-if I'm still around." By then, his eyes were closed and his energy gone, so I quietly took my leave.

The last chapter was well... aptly titled: "Legacy". I would read it just for the author's own opinion on Jobs. At the same time, the author fits in some material that wasn't applicable in the other chapters.

There are two things that represented Jobs and why I think he is so successful (edit: success in work). First is his innate ability to focus on whatever he's doing at that current time and (unfortunately sometimes) defocus everything else. Second is his intuition for everything design related, what worked and what didn't. He left much if not all of his legacy to Apple, new campus, new CEO, a booming mobile market. This also meant that he didn't leave much for his kids, which I believe is what this book was meant to do.

At the heart of it all, Jobs was a extremely successful entrepreneur, but he was a crappy relationship handler. He realizes it at the tailgate of his time, and tries his best to redeem himself, repairing burnt bridges in the best way he can.

And hey, everyone could use a little redemption sometimes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Playlist: Coldplay Essentials (Update)

Coldplay's new album Mylo Xyloto came out not long ago.

You guys can refer to my previous post for the playlist I constructed before M.X.

I'm limiting the number of songs to around my previous length, so some songs are culled, and some songs are added in.

Coldplay Essentials
1. Shiver
2. Yellow
3. In My Place
4. The Scientist
5. Clocks
6. Speed of Sound
7. X&Y
8. Swallowed in the Sea
9. Viva La Vida
10. Violet Hill
11. Strawberry Swing
Mylo Xyloto
12. [Mylo Xyloto] + Hurts Like Heaven*
13. Paradise

* Mylo Xyloto leads right smack into Hurts Like Heaven, and makes Hurts Like Heaven jarring to listen to on its own, I have no idea why it is split up into two separate tracks in the first place.

The new list could be a reflection of the changes that spaced these two blog posts. It has been a while since they've released an album, and its been a while I've looked at the list.

Though the lyrics, they are still a marvel.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sleeping Mix 可以睡着的歌

I've always had a on and off relationship with sleep.

Sometimes it comes easily, sometimes it like that philosophy article that you thought you understand but when the final rolls around you struggle to get it.

These days the problem isn't it, it's me. I'm having trouble finding time to sleep. I mean the daily routines of a internet savvy computer science graduate does take up copious amounts of time, and I'm caught between books, games, videos, programming and internet.

I remember periods in my university days where it was just things that was bothering me, making me unable to sleep. This is where these songs helped me.

I chose a mixture of english and chinese songs, well cause that's what I am, Bilingual. I tried to avoid drums lines or tracks with heavy bass, well, I found them to be the opposite of therapeutic. Tracks with piano lead-ins, and or mixed with acoustic guitar was what I was aiming for.

Maybe I find the female voice to be more soothing, but the mix contains only one and a half (group) male artist (though not one you would expect). Nevertheless, the vocals are what I would call.... drifty, angelic if you will.

Sleeping Mix
1. 牡丹江 - 南拳妈妈
2. Can I Wait - Jason Harwell
3. 宝贝(in the night) - 张悬
4. The Best Day - Taylor Swift
5. Like A Star - Corinne Bailey Rae
6. Singalongsong - 方大同
7. 时间停了 - 赵薇
8. 夏夜晚风 - 伍佰
9. 你在烦恼什么 - 苏打绿
Bonus Track: 10. 暗恋 - 陶喆

I recommend that the volume be turned down when listening. I also like to picture somewhere peaceful and relax my body into it.

Hope you guys like it! Get some sleep while you're at it now.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Random Blurt

1. A person can be motivated, can be pushed. But they cannot be told what they can do and what they cannot do. It is up to the person him/herself to find out.

2. I hate being sick. I should stop eating what my mum feeds me. Splitting headache and grumbling stomach ongoing.

3. A song in your iPod might not mean anything when you added it to the music library, but a few years down the road the song comes on and you feel exactly what the song is singing.

4. Macs are hard to use. I know, I'm typing this on a Mac now.

5. I can't believe how much I changed, even just 2 months ago. I am motivated.

6. To miss someone is _______

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Songs I like that you've never heard of 2.0

Same idea. 1 English, 一首中文

I was flipping through my iPhone for random songs that fit my mood on a particular day. I stumbled onto one song that had been in my music library for the longest time, most likely 10 years ago.

Even If - 2be3
I remember hearing it on MTV that one time and found it to be extremely good.
Be warned though, its a boy band, and yes, its a ballad.
Not a well known boy band outside of... well... France.

I'm going to spare the details of where this boy band ended up. The short story is that not long after the album "Excuse My French" which included this song was released in 2001, they disbanded.

Bummer, I thought they sang very well in English.

Even if the sun refuse to shine
Even if we lived in different times
Even if the ocean left the sea
There’ll be still you and me (you and me x2)

Ever since the start of time
You’ve had my love (ooh yeah)
Even before I knew your name
I knew your heart

But girl in the dark of the darkest night
I can see your face (yeah)
I always knew from the very start
I would find a way

Even if the sun refuse to shine
Even if we lived in different times
Even if the ocean left the sea
There’ll be still you and me (you and me x2)

Even if the world would disappear
Even if the clouds would shed no tears
Even if tonight was just a dream
There will still be you and me (you and me x2)

Yeah yeah yeah

You’ve always been and you always will be
The only one (ooh yeah)
Until forever the only girl(until forever)
I’ll ever know

In the cold of a winter’s chill
I’ll be there to warm your heart
Giving you all of me for all time
No matter what

Two hearts that belong together
From the very start
One love now and forever
Nothing can tear us apart



心中的花园 - 贺军翔
老实说唱的不怎么地. 但歌词不错. 如果找个高人翻唱会更好.




Previous entry on 2 songs you've never heard of

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something to think about...

在医疗中心的我, 看过许多许多病人的毛病.

轻微的是脚扭伤, 伤风感冒, 肌肉酸痛.
配一点药, 涂一些药膏就好了.

偶尔有个脊椎脱位, 应力性骨折(stress fracture), 肌肉拉伤较严重的.
顶多动个危险性较低的手术就能复原或减轻症兆的, 或者不去做那些刺激那部位的行动就好了.

最后的那么几个... 在做化疗, 或者座着轮椅进来的, 或者本人来不了了.

这些我都ok, 因为我不认识他们. 没有与他们上过班, 吃过饭...

但是这次... 有点太近了.

I feel like JD in that Scrubs episode about Ben.
I hope its wrong, I want it to be wrong.

有时候想想, 会不会太扯了吧.


Song in the video: Guided by Voices - Hold On Hope

Monday, September 12, 2011


I don't understand, is everything so coincidental?

Today would mark 1 year that I'm here. Still have one more year to go.One more year.

Tomorrow, would be a day that, if gone well, would be one of the happiest days in this period.
If not well, that's what I'm preparing for now.

Today is also 中秋. Happy 中秋节! I talked to both of my parents, my grandma was... well, relatively healthy. I wished Chester happy 中秋, since we were on the same side of the globe for once.

Today is ... well, one of the days. It is nagging at me. I can't shake this feeling.
Got better after the walk... but ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

播放列表: 罗志祥

罗志祥一直是我比较喜欢的一个艺人. 不管是搞笑, 主持, 演习, 还是唱歌, 他样样都行。

从<达人SHOW>的那首"小丑鱼"开始听的... 到现在的<独一无二>, 有几首歌我觉得可以分享:

我把慢歌和快歌分成两个列表. 蓝色代表这首歌在哪个偶像剧出现过.

1. 小丑鱼
2. 自我催眠
3. 爱转角 <转角遇到爱>
4. 不懂我的心
5. 好朋友
6. 我不会唱歌
7. 最后的风度
8. 防盗锁
9. 搞笑
10. 假如你还在这里 <篮球火>
11. 习惯就好
12. 爱不单行 <海派甜心>
13. 为什么要在一起
14. 怕安静

在这里要特别推荐<防盗锁>, 没有成为主打, 我觉得挺可惜的.

1. 爱疯头 <海派甜心>
2. 爱的主场秀
3. 潮男正传
4. 个中强手 <篮球火>
5. 独一无二
6. 舞所遁形
7. 恋爱达人
8. 真命天子
Optional 9. 撑腰

这个列表就代表了在恋爱当中的快乐, 幸福的感觉. <撑腰>是不是关于爱情的, 而是友情的, 所以看个人喜好.

Hope you guys like it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Programs Essentials: Connectify

This program has been so helpful to me in this PSN downtime that I thought I should share it with others.

The gist is that this program is able to use the computer's wireless card to act as a wireless access point.

I don't even know how they did it. Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista & 7) currently only allows the creation of "ad hoc" networks, meaning temporary hotspots that only other computers programmed for "ad hoc" capabilities can see these networks and share internet/files via wireless.

This might have been fine and dandy if my PS3 could see this "ad hoc" network, but it can't.

What this program does is to broadcast your current connection from your physical LAN cable via your wireless card, turning your computer into an ACTUAL wireless access point. Amazing.

Go to the website, it explains places where it might be useful. Places like hotels which only provide free internet via a LAN cable, leaving wireless devices lonely.

How does it help me in this PSN crisis?

Well, I finally gotten fed up with Sony Japan for not turning up their servers (side note: why a asian server affect my Canadian PSN account is beyond me, only guess is that they IP lock countries currently assessing it)
I went forward and subscribed to a VPN which offered Canadian servers (OverPlay if you're interested). Unfortunately my router is exactly like the model they offer with Bell in Canada, and there was no way to program the VPN within the router. What I did was download their VPN software which worked to tunnel my traffic on my computer ... But how do I get the PS3 to go through the same thing...

I searched a bit online and found this youtube video:

I figured if the program can broadcast 3G internet to the PS3 via the computer, it should tunnel the VPN traffic as well. I was not disappointed.

Oh also, its also free.

Saturday, April 2, 2011



网络让许多人都变得疏远, 像隔着一层隔音玻璃, 或者对着墙壁说话


当一个人在一百公里以外, 在别的省市, 在地球的另一端

但是... 我在说我在听吗?



Saturday, January 1, 2011


Procrastination sets in. I wanted to write this sooner, but things or laziness always gets in the way.

2010 came and gone.

I graduated.

I moved back to a place I was familiar with. But it wasn't all that familiar in the end.

Life moves on. Still a lot more time left to go.

Oh, I have 微博 now.