Category Archives: China

Beating a dead horse

民建聯主席馬力剛剛去世,因為馬力直譯成英文就是 “horse power”,這樣讓我聯想起一句英文諺語 “beating a dead horse”。這句諺語的意思是指不要為一些已經討論完畢或已下結論的議題再拿出來討論,或者是喋喋不休的討論一個不能改變的事情。現就馬力早前的“無恥”言論舉一例子:

“Every sane person knows that protesters had been killed during the June 4th Tiananmen crackdown, even the party has shut their mouth about this incident, telling the public that no one was killed is just beating a dead horse.”

這次馬真的是死了。

Google Calendar SMS Alert Comes to China

google-calendar-sms.png

Now Google Calendar users in China can finally enjoy the same SMS alert service as in other countries. Although they mentions China Unicom as the only mobile provider to be supported, I have no problem in registering the service and receiving alerts even I’m a China Mobile subscriber. This alert service is very handy to everyone, as Google Calendar will send you SMS to your mobile phone whenever an event is going to begin.

An interesting tidbit is, they sent the verification code to my mobile phone via HUTCHISON_HK, where HUTCHISON is one of the mobile service providers in Hong Kong. It seems that Google choose neither China Mobile nor China Unicom, the two major mobile providers in China, as their partners.

Combining Google Maps and Google Ditu

Ditu (地圖, 地图) means map in Chinese. China has long been missing from the global Google Maps. Zooming into the China border, only patches of grey blocks are shown, occasionally with blue lines here and there indicating rivers and lakes, and worst of all, maps are just unavailable after you have drilled down deep enough.

Usually this doesn’t pose any problems as Google China serves China maps (and only China maps) at Google 地图, which provides all the functionalities of the global Google Maps website, sans satellite images. This is annoying nevertheless, it’d be the best if users can see maps of China seamlessly when they’re viewing maps.google.com, without jumping out from maps.google.com and then type in another URL just to view some data that’s still backwardly regarded by the Chinese authority as confidential and sensitive.

“Hybrid” mode for China maps is another feature that would be handy to Chinese users. Satellites images are already available but just not being shown on ditu.google.com. Since hybrid mode requires a special layer of map tiles, specially they have a transparent background so that the satellite images can show through underneath the maps, without post-processing map data provided by Mapabc this is not achievable. By Google’s terms of usage of the map data, processing the maps and then re-distribute is not legal. We can only use some freely redistributable map data such as from www.openstreetmap.org.

Hooking up maps.google.com with maps from Google China is not difficult, actually that’s much easier than I thought because Google Maps API already have the mechanism to add a new map type for showing custom map data. My proof-of-concept is shown below, press the “Ditu” button at the top right hand corner and you’ll see maps delivered from ditu.google.com.



Ideally, this “mashup” should best be implemented using the new Google Mapplets, this will give users the best user experience as they only need to add a mapplet and then Google China maps will be embedded to the map window automatically, users are not required to go to this page. But since Google Mapplets doesn’t support adding new map types due to security concerns, this currently is not an option. Frankly, I don’t see there’s any security concerns by supporting new map types.

Don’t be surprised if you notice that the satellite images do not align with the Google China maps, because Google China intentionally shifted the latter to please the Chinese authority. Did it say that the maps are regarded as national security?

因循守舊 -《死亡筆記》在大陸遭封殺

Death note is banned

曾於去年在香港風靡一時的《死亡筆記》電影,其漫畫及周邊商品(估計是盜版居多)已被大陸的“掃黃打非工作小組辦公室”以危害未成年人的心智發展為由列為違例品,一律遭到取締。以下是兩篇較有代表性的報導,我已把重點改成粗體:


湖北省“扫黄打非”工作小组办公室:全国“扫黄打非”工作小组办公室25日下午发出紧急通知,要求各地“扫黄打非”部门从5月28日至6月3日迅即开展为期一周的查缴《死亡笔记》等恐怖类印刷品专项行动,依法严厉查处制售此类有害读物的单位和个人,净化儿童出版物市场环境,为未成年人创造良好的成长环境,让广大少年儿童欢度一个健康愉快的“六一”儿童节。

这是全国“扫黄打非”办继4月份两次下发查缴通知后,第三次就查缴《死亡笔记》等恐怖类非法出版物作出的紧急通知。全国“扫黄打非”办25日的紧急通知指出,非法出版物《死亡笔记》中包含了神秘主义、死亡、报复等诸多感情因素,这些黑色感情将对孩子幼小心灵产生非常大的负面影响,严重影响孩子的人格发育。

近期,《死亡笔记》等恐怖类非法出版物在中小学校园有泛滥之势,严重影响了青少年的身心健康。各地有关部门要切实加强对此次专项行动的组织领导,将查缴《死亡笔记》等恐怖类印刷品作为“扫黄打非”工作的一项重要内容加以部署,务求标本兼治,措施到位,狠抓落实,取得成效。该出版物主要讲述死神掉落人间的一本笔记本被人类拾到,人类如果在这本笔记上记下某人的名字,那么被记名者就会离奇死亡的故事。未成年人阅读后,对谁不满,就采用在《DEATH NOTE》(译名:死亡笔记)上记下他人的名字诅咒其死亡的方式发泄。该出版物内容封建、迷信且充满血腥与暴力,严重危害未成年人的身心健康。

该省“扫黄打非”工作小组办公室日前已发出紧急通知,要求各地区、各有关部门加大市场检查力度,一经发现《死亡笔记》,及时予以坚决收缴、封堵,并追根溯源,严防其滋长蔓延。全省各地正集中力量开展全面清查行动,坚决铲除这类文化垃圾,确保青少年健康成长有利环境,进一步净化湖南省出版物市场,以迎接党的十七大召开。


CCTV.com消息(新闻30分):全国“扫黄打非”工作小组办公室日前两次发出查缴《死亡笔记》等恐怖类非法出版物的通知。但记者在各地文具玩具批发市场发现依然有《死亡笔记》相关产品在公开销售。

《死亡笔记》是日本一部连载漫画,后来被改编为动画片和电影,故事讲述主人公意外捡到了死神遗落在人间的“死亡笔记”,只要在上面写下想要杀死的人的名字,就会变成现实。

记者在广州文具玩具批发市场暗访时发现,《死亡笔记》等恐怖暴力漫画的玩具、饰物和贴纸等依然在售卖。很多小学生都知道《死亡笔记》这本漫画。

在辽宁沈阳市一家动漫店,与《死亡笔记》动画片中一模一样的笔记本和羽毛笔明码标价,向中小学生销售。

动漫产品店销售人员:学生有一部分,80%吧。

但也有学生对此很反感。

学生:虽然说大家不相信这种迷信的事件,但是总觉得一看到你自己的名字出现在上面或者别人的名字出现在上面,会觉得特别反感。

专家认为,这种笔记本会给孩子的人格和生命价值观带来严重的负面影响。

儿童教育心理学专家 杨军:孩子正在学习中,他们本身就不怎么会处理人与人之间的矛盾,如果通过这种方式使得孩子们不能用正常的手段处理人与人之间的关系,久而久之会产生暴力或者极端的举动。


大陸政府對於刊物所持的家長式尺度不足為奇,特別是政治敏感的審查更是嚴苛,相比之下,對於近期香港的中大學生報情色版與淫審處事件絕對能夠體現香港言論及出版自由的可貴。雖然我認為淫審處現行的審查制度不公平,有必要修改,但至少現在的情況是,如果你不服裁決還有上訴機制。而在我們的祖國連出版一本貌似死亡筆記的普通筆記本也要被拉人封艇,這是使用筆記本的兒童價值觀有問題還是掃黃打非辦的這幫成年人有問題?他們就這麼幼稚的認為只要不允許販賣這些筆記本,學生與學生之間就沒有矛盾了嗎?沖突就可以化解了嗎?這樣就可以營造一個和諧社會嗎?荒謬至極。

絕對的權力終究會使人腐化,這是《死亡筆記》裡的命題。夜月神從殺死無辜的L替身一刻開始沉淪下去,最後變得連親人朋友也得要為自己賠命,這是當軟弱的人類獲得權力之後,逐漸暴露的陰暗面。漫畫以一本虛構的死亡筆記作為主軸,展現一個本來就活生生存在著的殘酷世界,很現實,很沉重,青少年的確未必能承受得起,但是把它列為非法只是逃避和不負責任的做法。

這次《死亡筆記》無辜的成為掃黃打非辦用來繳功的犧牲品,被利用為政治工具,我覺得它們的人格心靈很扭曲,絕對存在著問題,很想知道它們是不是在成長的過程當中看過像《死亡筆記》的“不良刊物”,所以受到了嚴重創傷。

Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 Release Talk

Last night I gave a short presentation at Beijing Linux User Group (BLUG) on the Debian project and the new Etch release. As Roy Chan had given a talk about the new release in the Hong Kong Debian Etch release party, I asked for his permission to use his slides for this talk, and he happily agreed. I made some modifications to his slides and cut out the part about Linux introduction, you can find the presentation slides in OpenOffice.org 2 format here, PDF version here. In the meeting Darren mentioned the idea of using peer-to-peer technology in apt, so that users don’t need to set any repositories in the configuration, this is a very good idea, and coincidentally there is a Google Summer of Code project on this topic.