live from China::Hong Kong S.A.R. (中国::香港特別行政區)

Excited: OS X Lion

2011-07-22, on 20:59 | In computer science | 2 Comments | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

The feature list of Mac OS X Lion sounds really good to me. When it was released some days ago, I got so excited that I wanted to get it right away. But I had to hold off until the weekend! As it is Friday evening right now, I got right on it, paid the lousy $30 and am downloading right now. This is gonna be an even more exciting weekend. Kozzi and his Lion are gonna have a dance! 😎

To Google+ or Not To Google+?

2011-07-14, on 18:25 | In computer science | 1 Comment | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

After having been invited by like 20 friends to Google+ and every time I tried, the Google+ website said: “New submissions are not accepted at the moment.” or “Submissions closed.” or something like that — I nearly gave up. Today, I gave it another shot, clicked the join link and actually got in there. It made me feel “special” somehow because I finally got in and now have a Google+ account. That was probably intended by Google anyway (a common method used by invitation only conferences, member clubs, conferences to raise the awareness of something usually ordinary). The disappointing at the sign up process though, was this one:

Especially the “You either share your photos or you stay the **** out of Google+” mentality is surprising. Well, I think I don’t have any photos in Picasa, so I didn’t have a problem with allowing that 🙂

You can find me here: Kozen on Google+

The Day The Awning Collapsed

2011-06-23, on 09:35 | In in hong kong | 3 Comments | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

… was yesterday. Cass and I were out all day and I came back first; at around 11:30pm from Squash. I noticed the apartment was really dark and I quick saw that the awning on our terrace collapsed.

This is what happened: A couple of months ago Hong Kong’s Buildings Department (BD) started cracking down on illegal structures all over Hong Kong. For about 6 years our landlord received mail from the buildings department on a regular basis about the awning on our terrace. Yes, they might not have had a permit to build it, but the awning was a proper construction; made out of solid wood poles and nice half-transparent roof. Well, the BD’s standpoint was: illegal, tear down, now! So with their crack down initiative, they actually sent our landlord a court order to dismantle the awning which of course, they did. Right, and a fine of HK$ 50,000 (€4.480).

Having that paid, the landlord stalled in install a retractable awning – which does not require a permit, but is quite costly. Koz being Koz, was sending nasty emails to our landlord tell him (or better their secretary / property manager) to freakin’ install something there. If Koz rents an apartment with terrace and awning, he is entitled to that. If there is no awning, I was about to deduct a flat 25% from the rent (for those $2,500 (€224) Cass and I could fly to Phuket and back over a weekend). Well, that threat had helped and they fairly quick (for Chinese measures) in putting something up. This is how it looked like yesterday morning:

From an engineering point of view, this installation was – how to say – terrifying. It rained a bit before and therefore water piled up in there. I couldn’t even open the terrace door properly because it would hit the awning. Side note: our landlord owns around 100 properties in the Sheung Wan area in Hong Kong, two antiquities galleries on Hong Kong’s Hollywood Rd. and one in New York’s SoHo. So you could get the impression that they know at least a bit about business especially with their experience in managing and running 100 properties in HK. This is their website btw: Dragon Culture. It is a small family ran business and I assume all family members are multi-millionaires. Yet, every single time Chinese people (no matter they are behind the communist walls or here in Hong Kong) do something – even if they did it a hundred times before – the result looks like they did that for the very first time in their life. It is always the very cheapest way in doing things. Quality does not matter, sustainability does not matter, environmental protection does not matter, the only thing that matter is money: “Make it cheap or cheaper and quick, now.”

So yeah, back to the topic: It was raining the whole day yesterday and when I came back home that awesome awning “construction” they built the day before, collapsed. Another example of wasted time, resources, nerves and money.

I couldn’t bother with it at all, so I went to sleep. Who cares that it crashed onto my clothes hanging outside drying; who cares that caused by the collapse (and the 1 cm gaps in between each terrace door) water was leaking into the apartment right till under the coffee table. I sent a rather nasty email to our landlord again this morning which Cass commented: “Wah you are so sarcastic!” Yeah well, I doubt our landlord is ever gonna ‘get’ that.

To be continued …

P.S.: The result of the Buildings Department’s crackdown on illegal structures, made ours a lot more insecure. Well done.

Stocked up the library

2011-06-17, on 20:21 | In work | No Comments | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

The first Amazon order arrived and now I can actually start reading programming books. No worries, I got some interesting ones marketing books as well 🙂

P.S.: I hope that lifts us out of the “dummy” category.

Dragon Boat Racing in Discovery Bay

2011-06-07, on 09:39 | In in hong kong | 1 Comment | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

Yesterday was the dragon boat festival in Hong Kong — public holiday too. So for the first time in years I managed to attend the races in Discovery Bay which is only of many competitions taking place in Hong Kong.

The news reported that it was one of the hottest days in the year and it definitely felt like that! It was completely impossible to stay in the sun. With some showers in between it cooled down for 5 minutes and then heat was back on. I don’t remember who actually won the races, but it looked like a lot of exercise for all the participants. It is probably not that easy to paddle a boat at full speed in a non-rowing manner.

Remember the ship I wrote about a couple of days ago? I think it paid us a visit at Discovery Bay as well:

Not all ships are equal

2011-06-03, on 16:50 | In in hong kong | 1 Comment | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

Who finds the ship that doesn’t quite fit in?

Deutsch: Wer findet das Schiff, was nicht so richtig hier rein passt?

How long do you need to get to your office?

2011-05-31, on 07:39 | In in hong kong | 2 Comments | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

Hong Kong is a nice place with lots of offices and most of those are cramped up on Hong Kong Island, often around the Central area. Therefore, a lot of people are rushing onto HK Island day after day, from the outlying islands, Kowloon the dark side or some even from Macau or China Mainland.

As we recently moved office, I finally got my direct sea harbour view and (coincidentally) got the office closer to my apartment. 🙂 For some reason, I woke up 5:45 this morning and could not go back to sleep again. I guess my usual sleeping pattern of around 7 hours worked last night too as I went to bed quite early. It was quite a weird feeling to walk through the streets of HK with barely any people out there. I passed may be 100 people on my walk and that is a crazy low number for a walk of a little less than 1 km. I even stopped by an ATM to get some cash and then continued walking.

At fluffy 24ºC and 57% humidity it took me pretty much exactly 8 minutes and 45 seconds door to door from home to the office (including the ATM stop).

How long do you need to get to work?

Buddha’s Birthday on Cheung Chau: Bun Mountains, Heat and Thousands of People

2011-05-11, on 21:38 | In in hong kong | 1 Comment | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

It felt like every single person out of Hong Kong’s population of around 7,000,000 came to that little island. Yet, nobody was able to tell me how old Buddha would have been if he still lived. On top of this it was so hot on Cheung Chau Island (30+ºC, 95% humidity) that I had to jump into the first half-decent looking store and buy an original Chinese cowboy hat! Looks cool, huh?

The picture on the right was taken quite a while after the parade which we attended from a spectator’s position. I took a couple of short clips of some of the attractions of the parade and so I also took some minutes just now and experimented with Apple’s iMovie app. Check out the short(!) 7 minute cut of the parade:

After the parade we walked around a bit and found the “bun mountain” 包山 which is being climbed up by people during the Cheung Chau Bun Festival 包山節 or Cheung Chau Da Jiu Festival 長洲太平清醮 which “is a traditional Chinese festival on the island of Cheung Chau in Hong Kong. Being held annually, and with therefore the most public exposure, it is by far the most famous of such Da Jiu festivals, with Jiu (醮) being a Taoist sacrificial ceremony. Such events are held by mostly rural communities in Hong Kong, either annually or at a set interval of years ranging all the way up to once every 60 years (i.e. the same year in the Chinese astrological calendar).” Source: Wikipedia

Because Cheung Chau is such a small Island, there are no cars allowed. In fact, there aren’t even buses and I haven’t seen motorbikes neither. The authorities, firefighters and police though, need their cars and therefore, they drive around in mini-versions which looks pretty funny I have to say. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the firefighter quad bike – that one looked really cool!

Later that day we wanted to go back home to Hong Kong Island and the only way to do so is to catch a ferry. Even though New World First Ferry had additional ferries operating, there were far way too many people on Cheung Chau and queue for the ferry was incredibly long! So we decided to stop at the next local Döner Kebab place and try their “Turkish Pizza” (which was good) and their “Kebab Roll” (which was crap). After one and a half hour of waiting we thought there might be less people now and tried to find the end of the line. Turned out we had to walk 1 km to find that one!!! Check out the map:

Source: Google Maps

Summary: It is good to see it – once. No need to go there next year 🙂

Hong Kong Central Tram Jam

2011-05-07, on 23:23 | In in hong kong | No Comments | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

It doesn’t happen very often, but from time to time there is a tram jam in Hong Kong. For those of you who don’t know the Hong Kong Tram (called “Ding Ding” by locals because it ‘ding dings’ all the time to scare away all those jaywalkers); it is probably the oldest public transport system in Hong Kong which commenced operation back in 1904. With a fare of just $2 (US$0.26, €0.18) the tram provides the cheapest way to get from Hong Kong Islands most western station Kennedy Town to the most eastern station Shau Kei Wan in just under two hours (taxi 15 minutes).

Anyway, a couple of days ago I went home by tram and luckily I was traveling towards the right direction (west). Eastern bound trams got stuck for ages in Central due to some incident which I didn’t really see – I just noticed an ambulance standing in the middle of the road and blocking everything. Anyways, here are some photos from that day:

Creativity with Colored Pencils at Work

2011-05-06, on 17:59 | In work | 1 Comment | Dieser Artikel in Deutsch

I felt a bit like back in Kindergarten where I was encouraged to draw lots of funny pictures with pencils and crayons. (Yes, socialist Eastern Germany had colored pencils too!) Today I could really leverage from those years of experience and bring in all my creativity to colorize some squares on a sheet of paper. One of the most important questions these days had to be answered: What color pattern will the new office floor have? Nearly everyone participated and a couple of minutes later we had some funky sketches flying around:

Yes, at a workplace where nearly everything is done digitally there is still space for some ‘offline’ work.

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