What is Docker? (And good luck finding out.)

Here’s an example of how technical people still can’t explain things:

I search for “What is Docker”, and I even get to the “What is Docker?” page on the official website:

what-is-docker1

But as you can see, I still don’t get a straight answer.

This page tells me what Docker allows me to do … and what Docker containers are… (but I still need to know what Docker is first).

Hint: The correct answer will begin with “Docker is” and then give a simple, high-level statement of what Docker actually is.

Such as: Docker is a virtualization environment for Linux which allows … blah blah.

I’m not even sure if that’s correct, BTW, because the official website can’t even manage to explain to me what the hell Docker is on its “What is Docker?” page.

Oh, and yeah, they should really hire a designer to fix that site.

Update: Well, apparently the people at Amazon know how to communicate a little better than the Docker folks themselves. Here it is:

amz-what-is-docker3

They even got the “Docker is … ” bit right. How about that.

Some Things That Will Be Obsolete in 5 Years

Just 20 years ago, the world was a completely different place. And in 20 years, it’s going to be completely different than it is today. Everything’s gonna change. Lifestyles, standards of living. It’s already in progress. We just don’t always see it that way.

Think about it: can you imagine a time before YouTube? That’s just ONE service that’s changed the way we learn, share, entertain and, in some cases, make a living.

And there are several things which just haven’t had the time to change yet. Nowadays, a lot of these are things which most people see as “just the norm”. They’re absolutely ridiculous, but we’ve just come to accept them, frustrations and all. But advances in modern technology make many of these not only unnecessary, but antiquated and downright obsolete. Within 5 years, 10 at most, I think we’ll see all or most of these completely disrupted:

1. Services that require login/account creation

Like this:

chordify1

Nobody wants to sign up for your damn service. They just want the service. “Free” is an illusion, which people are catching on to. It’s so that you can have “users”, and have emails to spam so that you can promote some paid product. Plus, the smart people who sign up for your service will use a fake email address so they won’t get spammed. The less-resourceful will just get pissed off that you start spamming them (legal or not). It’s a no-win situation.

However, some people would gladly pay a few cents to use your service ONE TIME. Since most of these online services are digital, a single one-time use really doesn’t justify more than a few cents anyway. Put in some data, run it through a proprietary algorithm, spit out some different data. Charge a nominal fee each time.

With the traditional payment systems, paying a few cents would be a nightmare. You’d have to sign up, and hand over your credit card information for ONLY A FEW CENTS?! That’s nuts. Plus, credit card payments are a hassle online, since you have to fill out your personal information every time, and 1/2 the time they fail authorisation if you’re traveling or just because.

But now, with modern cryptography and micro-payments possible (e.g. using Bitcoin and Dash), this is entirely possible. Within a few years, this will be the norm for online payments.

2. Email/password to login

This is way overdue.

We’ll see at least one cryptographic global identity system (maybe a few) come to light. People shouldn’t have to manage a different identity with every service they use. They also want control over their own data, which a global ID system will allow. Of course, if it’s not completely decentralised and distributed, it’s not gonna work. It will also have to be lightly collateralised (to prevent spam/sybil attacks and discourage bad actors) and incentivised (ensure plenty of nodes for constant uptime).

Microsoft is trying to partner with companies on this, but I have a feeling that this effort will end up like all of Microsoft’s others. They’ll somehow manage to screw it up and it’ll fall flat on its face.

I look forward to the completely open-source alternative which is in no way affiliated with Microsoft.

3. Tons of BS paperwork

Hospital visits. Apartment applications. Work applications. DMV registration.

It’s all the same info anyway. Your name, birthdate, sex, physical address, phone number… most of that doesn’t change, and it can be updated on an ID blockchain if it ever does. And encrypted so that you can give that out to only entities that need to know (like the above).

Anyway, most of the time, the info on these papers are entered into a computer and the completed forms are then shredded. What a waste.

Goodbye, useless paperwork.

4. Movies which require you to watch 20 minutes of ads and trailers, as well as threats to throw you in jail.

How long did they actually think people would stand for that? By the way, here’s the pro-piracy argument summed up in one graphic:

GxzeV

Now, I’m not advocating piracy. I AM advocating that media companies begin to:

a. Charge much less for media
b. Distribute on some global decentralised filesystem, like IPFS or MaidSafe, but:
c. Make it somehow incentivised so that each purchase will send the media company the nominal fee (say, $2-3 for a movie), then get a link to the volume on the IPFS.

Yeah, $2 – $3 sounds about right. Ditto for an MP3 album. It’s that or nothing (b/c most people will just want to pirate it instead), so get ready to adjust.

5. Physical distribution of any digital media (DVDs, music)

See above. There’s literally no good reason to own physical media anymore*, as DVDs and CDs scratch and break. But a digital version can be kept without worry about destruction, and taken anywhere and watched/played at any time. Most people just digitise their CDs anyway, and DVDs if they’re savvy enough.

*except vinyl

The reason that most of these are on-track to becoming reality isn’t so much that there’s now a better way, but that… people are tired of the crap in general. It’s a trend. They’re tired of being lied to by politicians, government and media, and they’re tired of being screwed over by large corporations.

If for no other reason than that, things will change, because it’s now possible and we’re all tired of the status quo.

6. Credit Ratings Agencies

I’m talking about Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Also known as the “big three” consumer credit bureaus.

Credit scores themselves will always exist, as long as credit does (although FICO may not). People need a way to evaluate risk of lending to someone / an organisation.

By the way, this is one of the biggest shams in existence today.

In the current system, your credit can be totally destroyed by someone you’ve never met or seen, and there’s almost nothing you can do about it.

If you want to refute an entry on “your” credit report, you have to nicely petition the agency (one of the big three listed above) and hope that they don’t flatly push the “reject” button as they scan through the list. But they probably will. Then you have to get a lawyer and prove in court that it was a false (mistaken or fraudulent) entry. THEN, only under a court order, will the consumer credit agency actually remove the item from your report.

The one big power that the big three have over the entire (at least in the US) population is that they control the data, and the algorithms. People have no control over their own data!

Of course there are some people that claim to be able to fix credit via certain “hacks” and knowledge of the system… but we shouldn’t have to deal with any of that in the first place.

So… how to fix it? Blockchain tech. Use a credit system with a nominal fee for entry/id creation, or the previously mentioned “ID blockchain”.

Then the consumer authorises a company to add entries on a set basis (e.g. monthly, weekly, daily, unlimited) and only for a fixed amount of time. (E.g. if an apartment lease is for 12 months, then I will authorise my apartment landlord only 12 credit entries, one per month, for a year.

If I renew the lease to stay for another year, I can also renew the landlord’s authorisation to write to my credit report. (That can even be put into the terms of the lease.)

Credit entries are stored on the blockchain in an encrypted format so that only lenders that are authorised (by the consumer) can see them. But, consumer can’t pick & choose which entries they get to see. That defeats the point. Consumer can either allow ALL or NONE.

Credit scores are calculated through the entries and credit information much as they are today. With one exception: the algorithms are open & available to all. Release the algorithms!

This enables lenders to choose which algorithm to use and what to optimise for.

Want to skew toward paying on time? Go for it. There’s an algo for that.

Don’t care about mortgage payments? Ignore them! Sky’s the limit.

By the way, the “big three” consumer credit bureaus that I mentioned above are scared to death of this.

If the system that I’ve just described actually sees the light of day and develops some traction, it’s game over for them. They just lost billions of dollars in bullshit fees and the ability to ruin others’ lives. BTW, it’s this current system which enables identity theft and fraud in the first place.

What I’ve described is a system which enables people (and companies) to take control of their own credit reports and data, and enables lenders to establish their own criteria instead of just accepting FICO and/or whatever random algorithm the big three decided to dream up.

And why shouldn’t businesses be able to use this system too? As long as the requisite identity fee is paid (prevent spam/sybil attacks), this could be used by any entity at all. The algorithms can be chosen differently based on if it’s a business or a consumer.

This is all accomplished not through declared “rules” of how the system “should” work, but through cryptography, and in particular, a cryptographic key/identity system.

Laws of man can be changed arbitrarily. The only laws that really matter are the ones that this universe is based on: The laws of physics, and of mathematics.

7. Unequal pay based on location, etc.

This is ridiculous, but still happens regularly today. Example: One of the best javascript programmers lives in Singapore, so she doesn’t get paid as much as her San Francisco peers. Her company cites SF’s “high cost of living” as a reason she doesn’t get paid as much. (Singapore has a high cost of living also, so that argument’s codswallop).

Since the advent of Bitcoin, payments to anyone, anywhere in the world are easier than… well, a lot of things. And since intellect workers (like computer programmers and designers) don’t need to be physically present to work, a lot of them live wherever they want these days. So why is a person’s salary still based on location in many instances?

Summary

We’re tired of having our email addresses and passwords stolen in data breaches. Tired of have our emails spammed and badgered by corporate marketing departments.

Tired of being forced to choose between paying exorbitant fees or not buying anything at all. Tired of fat cat media moguls getting rich off our DVD/MP3 purchases while the artists themselves receive very little. There’s too much imbalance, and technology is on-track to correct all that.

A decentralised and distributed global technological revolution can’t be stopped. It’s a natural progression which has all led up to this very point.

It’s about time.

Precious

My baby passed away today. I’ve known her for the past 5 years (almost to the date). It seems like much longer than that. She was around 18 years old, and we’re not 100% sure of her exact age.

She was white with a bit of grey, mostly on her ears and face. And her tail was really beautiful, w/dark grey rings all the length of it.

She was a generally scared being, most likely from some early trauma or maybe a fight with a brother or sister at an early age. Precious, or “the princess” as we sometimes called her, was very selective of who she would approach, and only a few people were ever able to get close enough for comfort — her “inner circle.”

She spent most her life in the comfort and safety of her indoor palace, but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t like going outside. She loved being outside actually. Loved the breeze, the sound of birds singing… and of course eating grass.

You’ve prob’ly realised by now that my “baby” walked on four legs and was covered with fur.

Precious-20151007-01

When she didn’t get her way, she’d get cranky, which happened quite frequently. (There’s a reason she’s nicknamed “the princess”). She loved to play, and it usually ended up with her getting really pissed off, which was oh-so-cute in her adorable little kitten body.

And when it was time to love, she loved. We described her as a “lovey” kitty. Much more so than most kitties. She would give kisses when the mood struck, usually when she was lonely from being home alone all day, ready for bed, or right after just we’d just woken up. Oh, she was so happy in the mornings! Love & treats! She started eating wet food several times a day (her mom spoiled her so much). So much so, that if her treat was ever late in delivery, she’d start yelling for it.

Precious-20151007-02

She and her brother had a tolerate/hate relationship, where he mostly tolerated her, and she hated him. Haha! He was about 3x her size, and could probably throw her around… yet this older sister mostly managed to keep him in line… at least she kept him away from her.

But he was also a big, sweet younger brother. Sometimes he’d lay beside her on the bed and they would nap together, just inches from each other. She wouldn’t even know it!

Oh yeah! About 2.5 years before she passed, she developed cataracts & couldn’t see. Quickly went from seeing fully & clearly to completely blind. So that’s why brother was sometimes able to sneak naps together with her.

Of course this changed her, too. Her blindness actually caused her to get a lot more mellow & less scared, once she got used to it. “New people” weren’t so scary after that.

She also got a bit more cranky than before… but maybe that was her old age.

In her later years, when she’d had enough “play time”, she’d get angry and start growling… which only made us want to play some more (because she was such a cute angry kitty!)… so funny! Really funny coming from that little 6.5-pound kitten anyway…

She was such a big part of our family. The whole family loved her. (It would be impossible not to.) We’re sure going to miss her. I will always have her in my thoughts and memories. My sweet, Precious little kitten.

Precious-20151007-04

Review: Wiko Lenny 3 Smartphone

Wiko Lenny 3 — A Game Changer? Hardly.
Wiko Lenny 3 — A Game Changer? Hardly.

Update: Be sure and see my update below. Even more brickkery!

I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand when my Nexus 5 finally just gave out. The infamous Nexus 5 “power button issue” meant that I could not use it for more than 2 minutes without the phone just shutting down again, just immediately, as if the battery had been removed. Then my screen cracked when I was trying to get it to work. It cracked bad, so much that I couldn’t see anything even when I could get the damn phone to power up. So it was finally dead.

In the modern world where everything depends on 2-factor authentication (with a cellphone and either SMS or a smartphone app), it’s incredibly frustrating to go without a Smartphone. I won’t even get into the assumptive nonsense of requiring a phone number for just about anything these days. On to the review.

I shopped around for a couple weeks, because I really don’t like shopping and didn’t want to make a bad decision. I settled on the Wiko Lenny 3. I should state that my only experience with a smartphone before this one is with the Nexus 5, which I had for about 2 years.

The good?

It’s an Android smartphone and pretty modern, meaning I can get most (not all) of the apps I previously had on my Nexus 5. That’s about it.

The Bad

Slow. As. Molasses.

The damn thing is slow. Really slow. Like, imagine running your current computer on a x386 machine. Ok, even a Pentium.

It even comes installed with an app called “One Clean” just to kill off any background apps which are eating up RAM memory. Oh, it’s only got 1GB of RAM. I didn’t realise what a difference this would make, but apparently it’s huge (the Nexus 5 has 2GB).

Like, scrolling between screens takes 1/2 a second minimum. I want to emphasise minimum (see what I did there?). I’ve had it take 3 seconds to scroll to a different Desktop screen — just a simple swipe left or right.

Apps take seconds to open. Not fractions of a second, but multiple seconds. Like, I’ve had some take 5 – 7 seconds. It does get better after a reboot, but only a little.

Everything about the system lags all the time, e.g. when typing something on the keyboard, and you try and press a key but it’s still processing from the previous key, and just lags.

Doesn’t recognise swipes/touches well

This actually happens most of the time. I believe it’s directly related to the memory issue. I have to swipe/touch really slowly for it to even register. Otherwise it just gets lost or spotty, e.g. if I tried to draw a line, it would end up patchy, with spaces.

Example: When I use Pleco and try and draw out a Chinese character on the screen, it doesn’t always catch all the strokes. I mean, I’m pressing hard enough, but even just drawing a straight line will result in a broken line. It’s so frustrating.

Extremely Low Storage

It’s got 8GB storage. Ok, fine, I knew that when I bought it. My Nexus 5 had 32GB, and I hardly used most of that. And I filled the thing with videos and photos. But I’ve taken only 3 photos total with this Lenny 3, and installed very few apps (basic things like Google Keep, etc. which weren’t pre-installed, and things like Pleco and ChineseSkill). No Instagram, no Facebook app, none of that junk. Yet I’m at 6+ of out 8 GB already. It is expandable via MicroSD to 64GB though.

“Desktop” Icons

I can’t remove the default app icons from the “Desktop” screen (or whatever it’s called on a smartphone). On my Nexus 5, it was not a problem to remove the Desktop shortcuts, but that’s not possible at all on the Wiko. My solution was to move all the pre-installed junk to a single folder and so all that crapware just takes up one icon space instead of several screens’ worth of screen real-estate.

I’m also not able to create new icons onto the screen. On the Nexus, you open the apps folder, and drag the icon to create a new Desktop shortcut. Not how it works on a Wiko. You just don’t have the option.

Hardware design

USB charger/data port plugs in from the top. When you’re charging the phone while trying to use it also, it’s really frustrating having the cord protrude from the top of the phone. It gets in the way, feels and looks awkward.

The audio jack is on the top also, and this is the one thing about the Nexus 5 that I didn’t like, because it also has it on top. Bad design decisions.

Summary

The Wiko line looks nice, shiny, new, inexpensive. What’s not to love? Well, you heard it here first. Sorry Wiko, you’re not a “Game Changer” at all. You manufacture sub-par junk which barely functions.

You might say, well, the Lenny 3 is a low-budget model, and if I really wanted a great phone then I would have shelled out the bucks for a nicer one. And to that I would respond: How you do one thing, is how you do everything.

If Wiko didn’t want to be known for making junk phones, then this 1GB RAM model would never have been released. Don’t try and satisfy that lower price point, and instead focus on quality. But that’s not what happened, and the fact is, this company manufactures junk.

I’ll never in my life purchase another Wiko phone ever again, nor can I recommend it to anyone at all. Buy a new or used Nexus instead. The Nexus 5 has a power button issue, which I blame on LG, the manufacturer, so I’ll opt for the Nexus 6p or whatever newer model Google will release soon that’s not made by LG. But never a Wiko, never again.

One might even ask why I took the time to write this review? Well, when I was searching for information on Wiko phones and specifically the Lenny 3 model, I found nothing. Nothing to help guide me. So, hopefully this can help someone steer clear of an incredibly frustrating experience and save a little cash in the process.

Update: 2016-06-26

This phone is even more of a brick than I expected.

Every once in a while, it will just freeze up completely, and nothing works, short of opening the back and removing the battery. Yep, that’s right. About every 1.5 – 2 weeks or so it becomes a brick until you physically remove and re-install the battery. Not to mention that you have to have fingernails to claw the cover off, because apparently the hardware engineers didn’t anticipate that anyone would ever have to install a battery or a SIM card.

Obviously, this is really irritating if you’re doing something time-sensitive, like trying to take a photo.

I will repeat: DO NOT BUY THIS PHONE.

Saigon vs Chiang Mai (winner: CNX)

Chiang Mai, Thailand is one of my favourite places in the world. After arriving yesterday from Saigon, I immediately noticed the stark constast between the two places. Saigon is loud, crazy, bustling, dangerous, a concrete jungle. And hot. Really freaking hot.

Chiang Mai is less of all of that, in every category. It’s not too loud, a little less busy, not very dangerous, and instead of concrete jungle, it kinda feels like the city was built in an actual jungle. There’s trees, greenery, plenty of wats (Buddhist temples) just about everywhere you look. It does gets hot here, and it feels a bit more humid, but it’s worth the tradeoff, in my opinion.

I don’t ever want to go back to Saigon for a long, long time, if ever. This is my 3rd time in Chiang Mai, and I’m falling in love with the place all over again.

Today will be dedicated to finding an apartment and renting a motorbike. I got a horrible haircut in Saigon 2 days ago, so I’m also gonna have to get that fixed soon. (I look like Chet from the movie Weird Science. The only fix at this point is to get it all buzzed off.)

I’m also excited to see all the places that I loved to visit when I was last here 3.5 years ago. It’s really been too long between visits.

Some things have changed. May Kaidee’s is a favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurant that I sought out yesterday, and apparently they moved to a different location. There’s also a new mall which was built on the corner of Nimmanhamen and Huay Kaew Road. I still haven’t been able to check out all my old hangouts yet. A big surprise is seeing all the touristy places which cater to Chinese speakers. I’ve seen way more Chinese on signs and advertistments than I ever remember seeing in the past.

What’s really surprised me the most is that so much hasn’t changed. Kad Suan Kaew mall is still standing, and it still looks like a giant semi-abandoned warehouse. Aum vegetarian restaurant is still exactly where it was by Tae Phae Gate (eastern gate) of the old city, and they’re still serving the same fare (“The One” smoothie w/spirulina was a hit waaay back in 2012, and apparently still is). But now they have quinoa dishes too.

The Wawee coffee on Nimmanhaman Road is still there, as is the Starbucks just down the road and on the other side. But they now serve cold drinks in re-usable cups with a message to “go green”, and some suggested up-cycle ideas (e.g. make the cup into a planter). They still don’t have soy milk though. (Sigh. Some things *never* change.)

I’m most excited to go visit Pun Pun vegetarian restaurant (both locations), which is one of the best places I’ve ever eaten. Thai food really is the best food in the world. And Free Bird Cafe was another favorite, but less dependable. Are they even still around? Gotta find out.

It’s such a crazy juxtaposition, Saigon and Chiang Mai. If you can handle riding a motorbike in Saigon, then you’ll be totally fine in Chiang Mai. Really, you won’t have any problems at all, except maybe getting used to driving on the other side of the road. I don’t even think I could find kombucha in Saigon. I lived there for 3 months and can’t tell you where to get it (ok, I can tell you where you *might* find it). But here I can find it in several places, usually homemade.

Prices seem a bit lower here, for everyday things like bananas and coffee. The city is a bit nicer in general, amenities are higher quality. It’s much less dirty than Saigon. Maybe that’s not a fair comparison as Saigon is a much bigger city, but then again, I couldn’t find too many areas in Saigon where it was very clean, and I visited a lot of different places during my three months there.

The people seem friendlier here. I have a theory about the collective Vietnamese psyche in general, but I’ll save that for later. Truth be told, the food in Vietnam isn’t that great, and it’s really not healthy. They eat white rice most everywhere. If only they could make one small change, and use brown rice instead, I’d have eaten at the small cơm tấm places a lot more. But I don’t want the blood sugar spikes and low fiber content from eating pure white rice, versus brown.

CNX has more Westerners in general, is more touristy, and definitely has more of a health-conscious Western tourist subculture, at least in the old city area. It’s really nice.

In Saigon, I struggled to find any books in English, and when I did, the selection was scarce. There are plenty of book stores in CNX where I can find any type of book imaginable in English. Sure, of course they have Thai books. But they also have a nice selection of English books. (It’s equally easy to find English-language books in Bangkok.) It’s almost impossible in Vietnam. Things like this are what make it so difficult for me to imagine living in Vietnam full-time. Little things, which add up.

Ok, that’s it for now.

Success Habits

Some Sunset with Trees
Some Random Sunset that has Nothing to do with this Post

I started reading Robert Ringer’s Million Dollar Habits this afternoon and just got inspired to make a list of success habits myself, before even reading any of his own. Only one came to mind at the time I started writing, which was to rise early. Then the rest of this list just sorta… rolled out onto the page. But I think they’re good habits that compound, especially if one is consistent over several days or weeks. I tried to be practical, with pragmatic advice that anyone can implement immediately (and I myself need to start implementing my own advice, for most of these).

I’ll just leave with a Robert Ringer quote from the intro to the book:

Put in metaphorical terms, success is not a grand-slam home run. Rather, it’s a matter of consistently hitting singles and doubles day in and day out. The individual who makes it to the top concentrates on staying at bat and avoiding the big mistake. Then, when that perfect pitch comes across the plate, he hits it out of the park.

(Just to re-iterate, this is a list that I made up, not from Million Dollar Habits.)

  1. Rise early. Wake up at 5 AM.
  2. Make your bed first thing every morning. It gets you started taking action and instills good habits.
  3. Some physical exercise, every day. Yoga, bodyweight exercise, walking or light jogging to start. Maybe some weight and/or resistance training.
  4. Eat healthy. The less animals, the better. The closer to nature, the better (including raw foods). Treat your body like a temple.
  5. Just say no. To intoxicants, toxic things. Cigarettes, alcohol, greasy/fried food.
  6. Clean environment. No toxic people or unhealthy thoughts. Healthy mind = healthy life. Healthy music too. Don’t hurt your eardrums.
  7. Learn every day. Read books, learn languages. Use audio courses, self-study from books, even YouTube courses. Just learn something.
  8. Get 6-7 hours of healthy sleep each night. Be consistent with sleep habits.
  9. Produce meaningful work, and try and contribute to society. (Grow a garden. Make music. Prepare healthy meals. Help old ladies cross the street. Get paid for some of it. Do some for free.)
  10. Stop trying to look cool. You know if you are. This includes music, clothing… social choices. Worry about achieving the goal, not appearances.
  11. Take care of yourself. This means caring about yourself, and loving yourself. How can you love others if you can’t even love yourself?
  12. Don’t make excuses or rationalize. About 99% of the time, the phrase “I don’t have time” really means “It’s not a priority”. You do have time — that’s why you wake up at 5 AM, right?

Tonight I ordered a plate of fries…

French Fries... a.k.a. "NastySticks"
French Fries… a.k.a. “NastySticks”

… and I didn’t eat any of them. I couldn’t do it.

Initially I just thought, “Oh, it’s just a little unhealthy, not a big deal. And I miss Western food, so I can afford to eat this junk, just for now, while I’m here in Asia.” (That’s a convenient rationalization.) Anyway, I ordered them. $60 NTD, around $2 USD for a plate of comfort.

Then I heard them dunking the fries in the oil. Heard the sizzle and pops of the hot grease doing… whatever it does to raw starch.

And that’s the moment that I realized, “… oh shit. I just ordered a plate of acrylamide. Cancer. Fuck. Shit. Damn. Ass. Hell. What do I do? I just ordered this, I can’t not eat it, not now! Plus, the manager might think I’m being rude, and I definitely want to save face, I mean, this is Asia.

Then another realization. What the heck am I thinking? I’m literally risking cancer just to save face? And with people that just happen to work in this southern Taiwan city that I’ll never see again in my life? Well, once I put it that way, it’s a really simple decision.

And I can’t eat acrylamide. I can’t risk getting cancer just in order to save face, that’s ridiculous. If I’d have eaten that nasty, oily, greasy plate of fries, I’d’ve felt like a hypocrite. I mean, I’ve been going around telling people how specific starches in potatoes, when subjected to high heat becomes acrylamide, which is linked to cancer. Plus, they’re just unhealthy as just about anything.

Whenever I think hard about what I really want to do in life, it usually comes back around to a couple of things: 1) Science & innovation, and 2) a healthy Raw-vegan lifestyle. How could I actually consider coaching people to better health when I myself eat crap like French Fries? It just didn’t sit well with me.

So, all this went on in my head as I sat and stared at those crispy, oily, browned fried tuber sticks in front of me. They just looked… nasty. I broke one open, just looked at how the fibers fell apart. At how oily it was & how the whole thing had undergone some chemical reaction in that deep fryer that created some things which were really horrible for my body. I couldn’t eat them. So I just walked out of the restaurant.

It was a vegan restaurant, and I believe that’s a good thing for the world and for our health in general. But it wasn’t healthy vegan, and served one of the most unhealthy things imaginable. Honestly, now that I think about it, I’d rather be eating healthy baked salmon fillets than to eat those nastysticks. (Note: French fries shall forthwith be referred to as “NastySticks”). But I won’t do that, for ethical reasons.

That’s the thing with the raw vegan lifestyle — it’s mostly focused on health, and people who choose that diet and lifestyle seem to be a lot more educated about health and nutritional requirements than people who are just vegan, for whatever reasons.


Photo by Daniel Go

WordPress 4.4+ — How to Fix the Disappearing Admin Panel in the Post Editor

Well, the geniuses behind WordPress did it again. Enabled a change that Automattic thinks is the latest thing since sliced bread, and forced it upon the entire rest of the WordPress world.

This time, it’s in the form of a disappearing admin panel when you write posts. Apparently everything else is a “distraction”, and when writing, the only thing you should see is your little text box and nothing else. Well, fuck that. It’s annoying, and most of all, distracting! The distraction-free feature is actually distracting the hell out of me and I just want to write my post with a standard static screen with all my buttons and checkboxes that I’m used to.

Here’s how to fix it:

Step 1: Click the “Screen Options” at the top-right of the admin panel.
Step 2: Uncheck the “Enable Full-Height Editor and Distraction-Free Functionality” checkbox.

wp44-fix-post-editor

Institute Policies to Avoid Breaking Hard Rules

Policies and Procedures?

Today I had a conversation that went something like this:

Girl: “Hey, can I borrow your laptop?”

Me: “Hell no!” (jokingly, but not really joking)

Girl: “I’m working on something now, so I’m gonna need to borrow your laptop. This font size is just too small for what I’m working on.”

Me: “…”

I personally have a hard rule about my laptop: no one uses my laptop. For any reason, ever. That rule is slightly bendable for one person – my wife. And even then, she has her own account on my Macbook, she doesn’t log on using mine. Why?

Well, it’s a tech thing, and most really really techy computer people are probably just like me, but basically there’s a lot of data thats… well, private. Like, really private. Like, $xx,xxx worth of private. For example, private keys. My ssh keys are stored on my laptop, un-encrypted because I ssh all the time and don’t want to type in a password every time I log in to a server. (Yes, I know about ssh-agent).

More importantly, private keys for things like FinTech (e.g. Bitcoin, Dash). Now, those are encrypted on my laptop because even I’m not that stupid.

Also, content. My own content. My disk could crash. Maybe I didn’t back up some articles I’ve written, or photographs that I’ve taken, or videos that I’m working on. Projects, plans. Whatever. Sure, I’m responsible for backing that sh* up, but I’m also responsible for not letting someone else possibly screw up my data on my computer.

Even if I enabled the guest account on here, I’m not familiar with how to set up a disk quota. So, I can either risk letting this person that I hardly know fill up my disk and risk breaking my machine, or I can take time out of my day to learn how to set up a disk quota, which may or may not work or be a viable option. Neither of those things are acceptable to me.

So, I can either:

a. Look like a jerk when I have to tell this girl, “No, you cannot use my laptop… “, or:
b. Let policy take care of it. “No, sorry, I have a policy not to let anyone use my laptop because …”.

This accomplishes 2 things for me:

1. It frees me up from making a decision about it. Once it’s policy, even I have to abide by it. So, it’s just, no, sorry, because policy.

2. I don’t have to deal with the consequences of breaking my own semi-rule because I decided to not look like a jerk, even though I have good reasons not to lend out my Macbook. Basically, it helps me to not look like a jerk. Even tho I’m not one — it would appear, in the moment, as tho I am being “mean” to this girl or something.

These things don’t happen with a policy. Sorry, it’s stated beforehand. Rules are rules, policy can’t be broken.

Another example:

Last night I went with a group to a local gourmet market. Our host had a birthday the next day (today), so a couple of the guests wanted to make her something a special cake. After we got back, the girl who haphazardly purchased a lot of ingredients (of her own volition), realized that it cost her so much. So then she asked me and our other roommate if we’d go in on it together — to help re-imburse her. She ended up spending around $100 US, so that would be about $30 each.

When she asked us, we were put on-the-spot and I made a quick decision without having much time to think about it, and trying not to look like a bad person/jerk. So I told her that I’d chip in. I was upset about this for a while, but I’ve decided to pay it out of respect for our host (who doesn’t charge us anything to stay here).

But originally, that’s not something that I’d planned or budgeted for, so I really didn’t feel good about doing so. But if I’d had a policy which states that I can only spend money if I budget for it at least 2 weeks in advance, then I could have told her, oh, sorry, I have a strict budget policy. Even something like “my wife and I” have a strict policy about budgeting funds. I would not have had to make a split-second decision because all things like that are already decided beforehand.

Just like when eating — I don’t (knowingly) eat anything that’s not plant-based or mushrooms/yeast. Living with that hard rule is actually easy, because it’s one less decision that I have to make several times a day over the course of my life.

Least-Expensive Fruit Stands in Taipei

A Fruit Stand in the area of Dalongdong Temple, Taipei City
A Fruit Stand in the area of Dalongdong Temple, Taipei City

Being vegan who likes to eat raw whenever possible, I eat a lot of fruit.

Of course, Taipei doesn’t have too many raw food cafes (any?), but it does have a lot of fruit to offer. tropical fruits and the same “regular” fruits that we get at home (my favorite is dragonfruit — 火龍果).

But I can get expensive to eat a lot of fruit, and even in Taipei, fruits aren’t exactly cheap (not like in Thailand anyway). So I started to make a mental note of all the least-expensive places to buy fruit in Taipei. I don’t like to use the word “cheap”, because of connotations of low-quality, and the fruit is the same quality pretty much wherever you buy it here.

Here’s one just next to Longshan Temple:

https://goo.gl/maps/MdJRfuvPjd62

Address:
No. 1, Lane 224, Xichang St, Wanhua District
Taipei City, Taiwan 108

This one was the 2nd-lowest prices I’ve found. The lowest? Here, by the Dalongdong & Confucius temples:

https://goo.gl/maps/dndXBTXm7DC2

Address:
Lane 259, Dalong St, Datong District
Taipei City, Taiwan 103

To determine the expenses, I’ve used a simple test: the red dragonfruit test. The lower the price of red dragonfruit, the lower the price. Most of the fruit prices follow suit I believe, but the red dragon fruits (aka pitayas) I know for sure.