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Comment Re:Training Your Competition (Score 4, Insightful) 108 108

First off, I've been living and working in China for 11 years, even founded my own software company and ran for 6 years, before merging with another company. So I'll comment on this one.

You took a very simplistic view.

An IT industry can not be built overnight, it took many generations to build up the experiences, the talent pool, the mind set, the mentality that people had on software (A lot of Chinese people, especially those in the power to make decision on IT purchase, have a very different mind set on software/service values), etc, etc. I've been here for over a decade now, although there's been some progress in software engineering here, mainly in the few big Internet companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, etc, there's not much progress. Enterprise software? Frankly, due to the mentality toward the values of software/services, there's not much changes over the decade. The local software companies in the field are extremely small, compared to the western giants such as IBM, HP, SAP, Oracle, etc. The enterprise software, and that includes systems acquired by government, is dominated by these foreign companies. They took the big profit, and leave the hard work to the locals to slave over. This situation is stupid to all parties. Very stupid of the government, especially to let this kind of shit happen over two decades without doing the proper thing. Very stupid of the foreign companies, as they could have made their life easier and made the cake larger. Very stupid of the local companies, as they are slaving to death, as most projects are losing money for them. And as a matter of fact, a lot of the local IT people, the smarter ones besides that, are giving up on a career in IT, they make more money selling pancakes and without the stress and overtime.

Second of all, if these foreign companies are not trying to share, they will fight over a cake that will never grow. Look, none of the Internet biggies, the fastest growing sector, are buying anything from them. Their markets are in the enterprise software (and government sector). And these markets are not growing, and if you look seriously into the numbers, these companies are making their money by selling hardware and to a certain extent, software licenses, which are quite small as compared to the hardware portion. And software licenses are getting smaller still, as more and more open source softwares are made available. And selling services? Haha, don't make me laugh. Service is money-losing on all fronts. As the policies changed, if these foreign companies are not trying to change, their cake gets smaller and smaller, and their profit will be significantly squeezed, as they would have to sell via local distributors.

Thirdly, even if they share, you are not going to think that they will share their crown jewel, are you? They will probably just play the games to comply, to make sure their cake is still there. These companies are exploiting like crazy, without actually investing much here. They have a very strong sale department, and very small tech support, nothing technically challenging. The technical works they do here? Could be done by any code monkey in any country.

Fourthly, you might want to look at other industries, such as the car industry, for example. They had shared something, but look at how much more they have earned back? Just take a look at the chinese branch of GM, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, etc. They only share the parts that they do not have the competitive edge, or are on the edge of losing it, and still keep the core technologies. They think long term. In 15 years, the car market became the largest one in the world. Sure, they have now more and stronger local competitors, but so what? Their cake is so much bigger, they made so much money than before. Try to imagine the enterprise software market, if you can. If we can make it like the car market, this is going to be gigantic. I can tell you that most Chinese firms, even the big ones, have very little IT deployment.

Anyway, my point is, it is stupid for a company, especially a technology company, to invest only in sales team and hope to stay profitable forever in the market. Sure, it's a global economy, but services are local. You are trying to sell technology and services, you gotta be local. You gotta to think more long term than that.

Comment Please read the book before commenting (Score 5, Insightful) 187 187

It's unfortunate that a good sci-fi book and a good hard sci-fi writer appears on Slashdot, and the discussion turns around PRC propaganda, anti-Chinese sentiment, bad communism, eviltotalitarian government, etc, etc, just because the author is from China? You might want to read the book first before commenting, you might be surprised. It might even open your eyes to a whole new world from your stereotypical veil.

A couple of people here had already read the book, and given a pretty insightful comment, kudo to them. I read the whole series, in Chinese, last year, in one week, and I couldn't give a better comment.

The Three Body Problem is a serie of 3 books, involving science, philosophy, religion, world conflict, environment, culture, love, etc. If you like the Clarke's Space Odessey and the Rama series, and the Asimov's Foundation series, and the Herbert's Dune series, you would like these books as well. The books leave you with a lot of issues to ponder upon, from a humanity, as a whole, perspective. Theses issues are not specific to one people or one culture.

Please put down your stereotypical glasses and forget for a moment that the author is Chinese, and read the book just like you would do any other book. You might enjoy it a lot more.

Comment Per capita tariff (Score 1) 322 322

How about a tariff on a per capita basis? Especially if we can tax on the amount of resources consumed per person per year. If the cost is not tied to each individual's life style, some people in some countries would continue burning through their huge SUV, while asking everyone else to live a caveman's life.

Comment so much negativity (Score 5, Insightful) 139 139

WTF? Where is the geek spirit in this /. crowd? When a manufacturer releases a phone with battery soldered, everyone's complaining. When a laptop manufacturer releases a laptop that you can't upgrade, complaining again. Now that people are putting effort to allow you to custom your mobile device till your heart bleeds, you are complaining again.

I had enough of phones that I have to throw away because of one very small, and not even the most important, component went bad, and I can't do anything. And it's not worth repairing coz the repair cost is almost as high, or even higher, than buying a new phone. What a fucking waste of resources.

Give me this modular design anyday. I've been waiting for someone to do this for laptop and mobile phone for a decade. Can't come soon enough.

Just release the design, release the interface, make it so open that anyone on the planet can manufacture components without huge license cost, and let the market decide. I'm sure there will a lot of entrepreneurial folks who will set up shop to assemble this into a nice package for your customization. Just like the PC era. Bring it on. There will be a lot of new applications. Talk about wearables? Wait till you have all these components that you can assemble the way you like it.

Comment Did this in 2005 (Score 2) 90 90

Did something like this in 2005, with the data encrypted on the client side using the user's public key. The key pair is in a hardware USB token.

We also did something with this scheme for an electronic patient record project. Each doctor was issued a USB key with his/her own key pair, and when the doctor submitted any prescription to the system, the data were signed with his key, and the operation was logged into a central log database, each log record is linked to some previous log records in a Merkle tree so that we could detect if a log record has been tampered with or removed.

However, cryptography is hard to get right in applications, and clients are not willing to pay for it. Se stopped doing this after a while.

Comment It's a game (Score 1) 226 226

It's a game played by the Indian government. Nokia's handset division is to be sold to Microsoft, which has a ton of cash on hand. It's a game worth playing, as Nokia has no way of packing their bag and getting out tomorrow, so does Microsoft. Microsoft wants that handset division as part of its strategy, and the liability can be worked out by Nokia/Microsoft to transfer to Microsoft, which will then work out a deal with the government, which will promise to sweeten via some kind of tax break on the condition that Microsoft invest more in the country. At the end, they will make a join release, saying that each one has made a score, it is good for the consumer, for the shareholders, for the country, for Jesus, for Buhda, for Ganesha, for Annapurna, for Hanuman, and whatever deity you've got. Everyone would be happy, and it would be the end of the story.

It's the same kind of game governments play all over the world.

Comment Re:ridiculous... (Score 1) 495 495

I never tried to convince anyone to save the planet. My arguments have always been it's good for your health, and it saves you a tons of money too. But when people have a "dream", they don't give a shit about other things, they "need" to fullfill their dream first, which is to live the american life.

Comment Re:ridiculous... (Score 5, Insightful) 495 495

Per capita wise, we probably should start with the USA. If the Americans eat less meat, drive less and consume less resources, I'm sure that's going to have a very positive impact on their health too, not just the environment of this planet.

Unfortunately, the american lifestyle is a model that most Chinese dream of right now. So this trend is a terrible one. But what do you expect people in other countries to do, when the Americans export their movies in which people are living in big houses, with gigantic backyard, and there are more cars than persons in a family, have a fun life with a lot of meat (fill in your favorite resources)? When people in other countries have the means, they will want the same thing. And they emulate. This is totally normal. That means, in China, people also want a big house, at least a car, or preferably, one car per person, and all the comfort in life that the Americans have been enjoying for so long.

I gave up driving 10 years ago, my wife and I each have a bike. We ride or take the public transit, set a quota on our own diet, watch closely our AC and heater to just have a minimum of comfort. We watch our carbon footprint carefully. But when we try to convince other people to at least try to do something, people think we are idiots. The planet belongs to everyone, if the Americans/Europeans can enjoy the resources, why can't we?

It would interesting if there was some kind of quota system on all countries in the world, based on the population size. And it would be even more interesting if we can control it at the individual level. You want to enjoy more resources? Pay for it. That money will go to those who have left over. So the rich people can have all the shit they want, as long as they pay for it.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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