Hong Kong

06 Jan 2007

Hong Kong consultation on copyright changes.

Response to Copyright Changes consultation document:

Please Have a look through my response, (I'm not an qualified activist, or an English major - so you probably want to improve it) but please do respond if you live in Hong Kong. It's already a bad enough police state, without these idiots letting this kind of legislation loose.

To co_review@citb.gov.hk

Introduction:

The whole premise of this document is outrageous, it reads like a music industry wish-list, and follows on from a previous consultancy document that was rejected before. Basically trying to force a similar attitude without care or compassion for citizens of Hong Kong.

It Completely ignores fair use and consumer rights issues, which have already been seriously damaged by the current legislation, and are railroaded in favor of helping the antiquated business models of copyright monopolies. A particularly bad example of collusion between government and business over consumer rights.


Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

09 Sep 2005

crap job offers.....

As an aside to that one, a good friend of mine (not in the IT field), just had the funniest offer of a job. They turned up to sign the contract because the owner had refused to fax it over to review. After reading through it, they saw the last page... that went something like this

I agree to leave my mobile phone on after work and during weekends, and to answer it immediatly if called. I also agree to check my phone messages every two hours when not at work.

This was for a professional job (nothing to do with critical systems or life support). In the end my friend left saying he would sign the contract, if they aggreed to remove that and a few other weird clauses.. The owner never called back. Well sometimes you are not dissapointed to not hear from morons like that..

Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

09 Sep 2005

More Jobs in Hong Kong (Hardware Engineer)

A good friend of mine is also looking for staff, this one is a full time position in a small company based in Wanchai.

The company specializes in selling second hand routers / computers and other IT components

Requirements:

  • reasonable english, good cantonese
  • enjoy variety of work
  • work independantly
  • self organizing / able to priorize work
  • interested in all areas of IT
  • configuring / refurbishingCISCO's, SUNS and PC equiptment (exact experience not required but prefered)
  • on-site work (lots of variety)
  • customer supportfor email services
  • Ideally suited to graduates.

Not a bad job if you want to get into telco's eventually.... email maren at hk dot com if you are interested.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

18 Aug 2005

Looking for Linux-arm developer in Hong Kong

If you know anyone in Hong Kong with linux C experience, and a bit of exposure to the ARM platform (not totally essentail), who is looking for either full time, or a short term contract, feel free to contact me alan at akbkhome dot com.

This is a 3 month initial contract, probably extending into a full time job. Mainly to help me out on a new project.
Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

15 May 2005

Hong Kong housing..

Hell seems nicer than the eternal hunt for reasonable housing at an affordable price. Last week we went up to Island resort, (about 45minutes from the center of Hong Kong CBD, which may prove to be too far..) to look at flats. For a change, we saw something that looked really good (incredible sea view, nice clubhouse/pool etc.), the meager ~1011sqft, actually looked like that figure. Unlike Sam Wan Towers (south side of Hong Kong Island), that says it was ~1000sqft, but looked alot more like 7-800.

The big trouble comes from cost..., for these tiny apartments, which we could just about squeeze everyone in, along with 10 years worth of collected crap. We would have to fork out HK$7 million dollars (or pretty close to US$1million).. Well, like most people we are not rolling cash, so morgageing that kind of property works out at around HK$25-30,0000/month (US$3-4000), leaving out the issue that interest rates may rise soon, pushing that monthly figure even higher. (which was already over budget!)

So this weekend we sat down with an estate agent near our current house. and informed him of our requirements....

Cluesticks for estate agents
  • Dont tell us how difficult our requirements are and how crap the properties are going to be.
  • Dont tell us, we must buy now as the market is going up.. (and dont bother arguing/discussing with the us, if we dont believe you) Do you think we take advice from someone who has a vested interest in saying that? It's just downright annoying
  • Dont tell us about the area, if we already live there!
  • When we say that we have certain requirements, dont ignore them... even so you can show us round places..
  • If we found prices on the internet for properties, listed them out and asked to see them, even though they may be wrong!, show us the buildings we wanted to see...!!! (just let us know that on your books they are for XXX)
I actually asked my wife to avoid speaking cantonese to the agent to see if the blabbered on so much in english.. They do, and apparently it's the same rubbish.!

Anyone living in a civilized country (definatly not asia's world shoebox), would have been amazed at the flats we where dragged round to. Swinging cat's would be a miracle, and the fact the only view from your living room window is your neighbours bathroom, is classed as 'open view', does make you wonder if there's more to life...

It was not all bad, I did see one I liked, but let's just say my better half did not approve of the idea of renovating it.. (at least we could see the sea from the lounge.)

It will be interesting to see where all this is going, as for the first time in 10years, we actually have a budget for this, just have no idea if property prices are in a mini-bubble at present, or is just holding steady prior to the climb....

Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

04 Dec 2004

The Torture of Christmas draws near

Well, It's not that bad, but these days, adding new methods to DBDO is being overridden by trips to toy shops and shopping centers.

As a born again child, I always have fun picking toys for my kids, while it is a little more difficult these days (forget toy-r-us, they generally on cater for brain dead 5 year olds or less.). We managed to hunt down a few toys that actually might entertain more more than 5 minutes, and excercise a little bit of that brain juice.

I've also been toying with going through a linux install with my oldest son, and in combination buying myself a new motherboard, and giving him the old one to build his own computer, we might find something to play with :)

But back to those shopping trips, the question this year has been 'real tree or fake', While the nice authentic smelling, and extremely messy, real ones have been shipped down from warmer climates in previous years, a sense of "been there done it" is creaping in. So we have been looking at the plastic versions.

The latest versions freshly produced across the border in China, include fibre optic leaves/branches, which supprisingly look quite elegant. However, in a sense of how to masacre Christmas they include 8 polymophic tunes, or enought to drive you to burn the thing at the end of Christmas. Sometimes it's a shame that we end up getting the offshoots of what American consumers expect for Christmas.

ah well hohoho, and lets get back to work :)
Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

16 Oct 2004

Are banks really that safe?

This week saw an amazing jump forward in internet banking security in Hong Kong, HSBC's security rating jumped from bungling idoits to have trained chimpanzees. Kind of reminds me of Microsofts attitude to security. Features first, until something starts going wrong.

HSBC Hong Kong, probably overflowing with compaints from people who had been caught out with phishing attacks, and transfered their life savings to some nice guy in nigeria. Finally put a stop to transfers outside of registered accounts..

I had quite a long conversation 6 months ago, when I though It might be quite usefull to monitor my bank account on-line.

"So can I sign up for a read only account?"
"Sorry we dont offer that facility..."

Well duh, yeah, they only offered the "give your money to compete strangers" type of facility..

Of course it's pretty damn obvious that to do internet banking properly, any kind of transaction should be confirmed via SMS or simple automated phone calls.. But since the banks only wanted to say 'we have internet banking', rather than actually doing it properly. We end up with a plug and prey banking system.

I bumped into an 'unnamed source' involved with IT at HSBC, while he didnt know much about the internet farce there, he did reveal something even worse.

HSBC HQ in London have decided to go with Windows XP for their next generation ATM's. Well, in kind of nice to know that hong kong hasnt got a monopoly on stupid decisisions.. They did have a few redeaming facts, it was being written in Java.. (I bet it would quicker/simpler/more reliable in PHP/Python.. - but suit's and smart IT dont always go together).. And they did retain the option to use Linux. (although their major suppliers appear to have been slacking on delivering that option)..

Maybe it's time to start moving the savings to a safer bank.. like sticking it under my mattress :)


Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

04 May 2004

Does money make you dumber?

The fall out from last weeks NPC decision to go backwards in democratic development brought out some astounding statements from some of the richest developers in Hong Kong.

After Gordon Wu (Hopewell holdings) got his mega hotel thrown out of the planning board, in a PR disaster, he went on the radio, slamming those damn enviromentalists for preventing him making shit loads more money. But later in the week we had a better foot in mouth example by the Head of New World development.

In trying to justify what is widely seen here as as stupid decision, he announced that turning Hong Kong into a democracy would bring it closer to being a socialist society like North Korea or Vietnam. Then he suggested that all those horrible democrats should move to one of those lovely democratic? countries. On the face of it, this has got to be one of the most stupidest comments ever. However what is hiding behind the reality, is something even worse.

Most of the supporters of last weeks decision are the people who gain the most from the status quo here. The biggest property developers have considerable influence in goverment policy here, and their major push is to restrict land supply, which has a knock on effect of inflating house prices. Ah, you think, Basically this whole rallying cry against democracy is really a money making scheme, to suck money out of the poor suckers who need somewhere to live, to add a few more mercedes to their driveways..

What they totally fail to realize is that democracy here is extremely unlikely to bring in massive socialism, with the goverment spending all it's money on paying people to sit around and do nothing. It just prevents rather rude self centered idiots like them from making the rest of Hong Kong suffer in tiny appartments.

Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

07 Apr 2004

2014 A Day At The Hong Kong Ministry of Truth

Implementing 1984 thanks to the 'Smart?' ID cards.

Looking for some interesting reading. - I wrote this article for a local magazine, While it's a parody of George Orwell's clasic novel. The responses are actually quotes from a Letter I recieved from the Hong Kong goverment in their pathetic attempt to justify this gross misuse of power......
Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()

04 Oct 2003

SARS report, holiday, and HK backgrounder

SARS - our expert accountability avoiders
This weeks focus in Hong Kong was around the 'experts' report on SARS, or better known as 'avoid blame by employing outsiders who have no idea what goes on here'. The fact they failed to critazise the goverment for spotting the bleeding obvious (hong kong has always been a hotbed for desieses, and bad spelling) so why on earth did they have any idea that something like this was coming. In the end it just left that classic feeling in Hong Kong, that the goverment hasn't got half a clue, and is panicing from one crisis to another.

It puts a good perspective on the crazy goings on back home in the UK and in the US (like where are those weapons), where at least when a leader is caught lying to the public, there is some hope that they can get thrown out.

This weeks Chinese National Day
Where most people basically couldnt care less.. - another hoilday, go to the beach (which was very nice) or clean graves. Illustrated by the pathetic television shots of semi-empty audiences for major street processions. Hell, it only looked busy when they went past Causeway Bay, and that was due to the fact that people got interupted bargin hunting..

And the ongoing mess of our economy
Hong Kong people cheered when they returned to the motherland, but they all prefer a free, booming economy rather than a disasterous one caused by an old guard chinese appointed cronies, who rather than let the economy bounce, are managing to stagnate it (read no land sales), just to make sure the tycoons dont loose to much on their property investments...


Posted by Alan Knowles in Hong Kong | Add / View Comments()
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