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Comment: Re:Mandarin vs. Spanish (Score 4, Interesting) 150

by diakka (#48606997) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

If you're having trouble with pinyin, and since you already seem to prefer traditional characters, then just use bopomofo/zhuyin fuhao. Once you learn one pronunciation system well, it's trivial to learn the other because the sounds they represent are the same, all you have to do is link them up in your mind. I personally used pinyin for many years, but using an Anki deck, I learned zhuyin fuhao in a matter of days after I moved to Taipei.

Learning Chinese is a loooooooooong road. For the casual language learner, I'd say your best ROI on your time is going to be with Spanish. But then again, it all depends on what you're motivated to learn, because motivation is the worst thing to waste. I will say however, that if your motivation is even remotely to raise your value in the eyes of Chinese girls, don't bother, because of the girls that date westerners, given the choice between fluent Chinese and six pack abs, they'll choose the abs about 90% of the time.

Comment: Re:Magic Pill - Self Discipline (Score 5, Insightful) 153

by diakka (#48579323) Attached to: "Fat-Burning Pill" Inches Closer To Reality

While I agree with most of what you said, the message has a callousness that will likely cause it to fall on deaf ears. Also, to imply that it's easy or simple just to eat less or control your appetite is a bit condescending to those who have a difficult time with this. Most people lack an awareness about their appetite and take a very reactive approach to satisfying their hunger. But the truth of the matter is that sugar and carbohydrates can rule us with the fierceness of a drug or alcohol addiction. I myself have never had a trouble knowing when to stop drinking, but others, due to genetics, can't have just one.

Once I finally started to treat sugar as a drug addiction, I finally started having the success at controlling my weight. I'm currently 60lbs lighter than my peak and have a six pack for the first time in my life at 39. Now that I know how to do it, it's easy, but figuring it out and changing my habits was not.

So while I do sympathize with overweight people who struggle with controlling their appetite, I do find the fatalistic attitude that many overweight people have adopted to be quite annoying, and potentially harmful to others around them.

Comment: Re:To speak Chinese is not to know China (Score 1) 217

by diakka (#48218913) Attached to: Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

It's common for foreigners to go on game shows and speak a little Chinese. For some reason, this is very entertaining to some of the locals, but I never opted to do anything like this during my stay in China as I felt it was like being a performing monkey, and somewhat degrading.

However, in this case, I think that in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, it's more than just being a performing monkey. I think this effort might serve to increase awareness of our attempts to show that Americans and other western nations are very willing to expand their horizons and venture into other cultures. His Chinese might be intermediate level at best, but I hope he continues to make progress, as it's a long and arduous path, and given that he's the CEO of Facebook, it's amazing that he's making progress at all.

And one day when his Chinese is truly fluent and Facebook is still blocked in China, then the take of the way at the end of the day from all this effort might simply be that coopreration with mainland Chinese is not worth the effort. China needs to go a long way to prove to the world that it's not a zero-sum culture.

Comment: Re:Funny (Score 1) 261

by diakka (#47982941) Attached to: Obama Presses China On Global Warming

Yes, the west is so decadent in our consumption.
And surely the selfless Chinese themselves bear no responsibility for not pricing in the damage to their environment in the price of their goods. It is the west's evil desire to consume that is the source of environmental damage and child exploitation in China. How could you even think that China themselves should bear responsibility? The Chinese are morally superior and have no desire to consume. You can be sure that if the Chinese were as rich as Westerners, they would NEVER be so wasteful. Destroying their environment and enslaving their children are just what they view as minor sacrifices in order to basque in the knowledge that they make us Westerners happy. The selfish west is completely to blame for China's ails.

In all seriousness, I suppose we could do something, impose tariffs, or boycott Chinese goods to discourage purchasing of certain products, and I think we do this already to protect certain industries, but I would think that the more you do it, the more you risk an escalating trade war. And even if you did, I doubt that many Chinese would really be in support of it.

Comment: Interesting Strategy (Score 4, Informative) 225

by diakka (#47038257) Attached to: US To Charge Chinese Military Employees With Hacking

Surely they're not going to get any cooperation from the Chinese government on this, but by naming these individuals, they could be limiting the future career choices of those individuals. Want to work at a foreign compa ny? might be tough. Want to travel to the US or country that has extradition with the US? Better think twice about that. Even if you want to work at a local Chinese company, you might not be able to command as high of a salary if you can't get competing offers from foreign companies. A high percentage of well moneyed and educated individuals in China have plans to emigrate to foreign countries with the growing pains China has on the horizon, and some talented folks might be dissuaded from this career path. How this will play out in the real world is hard to say, but If the US didn't think it would have some effect, I don't think they'd do it.

Comment: Collusion (Score 1) 482

by diakka (#46892507) Attached to: Really, Why Are Smartphones Still Tied To Contracts?

Why is it that cell phone companies previously found it profitable only to sell phones on contracts, and now find it profitable to move slightly in the opposite direction?

Why were things so expensive before? I think it's simple: Collusion.
Previously, no cell phone company offered significant off contract savings for bringing your own device. This is all beginning to change with the advent of the iPhone and the drastic cost difference between high end phones and lower end Android devices along with cost negligible feature phones. The cell phone providers are beginning to see that there is benefit in differentiating themselves by offering non-contract discounts and so the benefits of colluding are decreasing. I believe there's still a lot of room for prices to fall.

Now, to the point of the savviness of consumers, offering long term payments and bundling are absolutely an effective way to obfuscate the cost of a product. Just take car sales for example: There are countless number of "payment buyers", when deciding how much to pay for the car, they think in terms of $xxx/mo. So it's only too easy for the greedy dealer to just up increase the loan amount, or interest rate on the loan to hide the real price. This is a real and effective sales tactic that is alive and well, and operates on basically the same principal since most consumers are programmed to think in terms of dollars per month. The average consumer is such a poor decision maker that it wasn't until recently with the changing cell phone landscape, that market forces were strong enough to make cracks in the united front of collusion by the major wireless providers.

Comment: Re:What a Joke (Score 2) 92

by diakka (#46272729) Attached to: Former Second Largest Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Has Shut Down

Well, not to be rude, but you're guess couldn't be more wrong. I never said that I hadn't heard of them, in fact, I have been aware of their existence for many years, but as far as I know, Red Flag never saw success anywhere near that of QQ or Baidu, and I almost never heard it mentioned among my Chinese Linux using associates, of which I have quite a few. Granted, none of them work in government, but still, unless I'm a statistical anomaly, it's pretty good evidence that my assessment of Red Flag as a joke is spot on.

But if I am wrong, I'd love to hear about any major deployments of Red Flag or any awesome contributions to FLOSS that could be attributed to them.

Comment: What a Joke (Score 0) 92

by diakka (#46272029) Attached to: Former Second Largest Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Has Shut Down

Red Flag always seemed to be a joke to me. I am not aware of anyone in my social circle that has used their products, much less put any Red Flag systems into production. Were any major software projects or code contributions even driven by Red Flag? Even the name Red Flag just sucks, it sounds like a Chinese nationalistic shanzhai version of Redhat. The marketing genius who came up with that one should just go jump off a building. Maybe black hole software would have been a better name, because that's where all their funding went.

Comment: Re:Paying off a subsidy that's already paid off (Score 2) 133

by diakka (#43683829) Attached to: Reps Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Legalize Mobile Device Unlocking

That is just the tip of the iceberg. The real benefit to the companies is not just the money they make from one individual customer, but by making contracts standard behavior, it makes the market less fluid and competitive. Customers can't easily switch to a slightly cheaper carrier before the contract is up, and so the carriers can continue to gouge the customers and keep profit margins from thinning out over time.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"