Category Archives: Tech

Convenient Technologies are Making Us Less Intelligent

Just when you think that some newfangled device is the best thing since sliced bread, you then find out that the awesome convenience you now rely on is actually making you less intelligent. This is called “Convenient Technology”. It turns out that human physiology is more complex than simply making some tool extremely convenient.

I contrast convenient technology to demanding technology:

Just what is a demanding technology? Three elements are defining: it is technology that takes time to master, whose usage is highly occupying, and whose operation includes some real risk of failure. By this measure, a piano is a demanding technology, as is a frying pan, a programming language, or a paintbrush. So-called convenience technologies, in contrast—like instant mashed potatoes or automatic transmissions—usually require little concentrated effort and yield predictable results.

Facial Recognition AI Applications: China vs USA

Facial recognition sunglasses used by Chinese police in Zhengzhou, Henan Province during Chinese New Year.

Facial recognition sunglasses used by Chinese police in Zhengzhou, Henan Province during Chinese New Year.

Facial recognition software has been used in China for quite a while. China has used facial recognition software to scan large gatherings of people in an effort to capture known criminals. The benefit to greater society outweighs all privacy concerns. In North America, we value our privacy and do not want the authorities to accumulate vast amounts of facial recognition data. North Americans believe we should be able to walk around in public and not be recorded for whatever purpose.

Google Translate Faux Pas error: My niece is not a prostitute

Google Translate error: My nephew and the prostitute came, should really be My nephew and niece came. GT substituted 侄女, zhinu or niece, for 妓女, jinu or prostitute.

Google Translate error: My nephew and the prostitute came, should really be My nephew and niece came. GT substituted 侄女, zhinu or niece, for 妓女, jinu or prostitute.

I love Google translate, as it helps me translate new words. I do not rely on it for most words or comprehension. Usually it is pretty good, but at times it really misses even the rough meaning. In this rare case, Google Translate changed the meaning to something completely bizarre. My niece is not a prostitute, Mr Google. She would smack you hard if she could find you.

Age Discrimination in China’s IT Industry

I have noticed a lot of different types of discrimination in China. Sometimes it is discrimination against foreigners, but usually against fellow Chinese. There is the rural/urban divide, men vs women, Xinjiang vs the CCP, etc. But sometimes there is discrimination based on age. The most predominant is against women over 30, the so called “leftover women”, which is a very derogatory term. This time it is age discrimination in the IT industry.

Major htaccess Error Causes Odd Apache Anomalies

For some odd reason my htaccess was banning some Bingbot and Yandexbot crawls, but there were others, such as University of Toronto, and I could not figure out why. I blamed my host provider, and I was incorrect. There was no other cache of IP blocks. It turned out to be, as usual, a user error. My user error.

Through the course of repeatedly bisecting my htaccess, I went through with my patient Big Weed, 12 times, until I isolated the errant code. It turned out to be syntactically correct but logically incorrect. As the syntax was fine, it passed my two htaccess syntax checkers. The error was, in CIDR format:

Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine: Repair

The Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine is a consumer grade serving machine. It stopped working due to an out of aligned spring. Photo 1 by Don Tai

The Oukei TW-2700-E1 Table Tennis Training Machine is a consumer grade serving machine. It stopped working due to an out of aligned spring. Photo 1 by Don Tai

My neighbour is hard working and has few hobbies. She loves table tennis but has no partner, so she bought a table tennis machine, which shoots balls at her. This machine, an Oukei TW-2700-E1, she loves, allows her to return balls without help from the family. It was unfortunate when the machine began jamming. I opted to fix the machine, and she was grateful to have it back in service. It turned out the fix was very simple, but rendered the machine unusable.

Mapquest Gives Developers Free SDK, in Exchange for Customer Data

Here is a deal that all smartphone developers should ignore. You receive free access to a new Mapquest SDK for Android and IOS, in exchange for all your customer’s data. This is a complete breach of user privacy.

I am sure that users of a smartphone app will not give Mapquest and their a third party tool, complete access to their data. Would smartphone developers actually disclose that all your data will be sent to Mapquest?


We’re extremely excited to announce the launch of our new Mobile Navigation SDK for Android and iOS applications. Our Mobile Navigation SDK is available to you for free, if you agree to a mutual flow of data sharing.*

QQ Ceasing operations in Europe, 2018 May 20

It looks like Tencent’s QQ International version will be ceasing operations in Europe, effective 2018 May 20. I am unsure why. I also do not know if this affects WeChat. Perhaps this is about Europe’s new privacy laws, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? I need to do more research. This is from a friend in China. it does look like Tencent’s QQ and Wechat will be pulled from the EU market.

We are sorry to announce that for operational needs from 20 May 2018 QQi will no longer be available in Europe.

China Store Owners Forced to use Government Routers

BiHu routers are government mandated in Qingdao, Xiamen, Chifeng China for any  company providing wifi services, including all retail stores, or the stores will get a heavy fine.

BiHu routers are government mandated in Qingdao, Xiamen, Chifeng China for any company providing wifi services, including all retail stores, or the stores will get a heavy fine.

We all find retail wifi hotspots convenient. You leave your smartphone wifi on, and as you walk to can roam between different retail wifi hotspots such as McDonalds or Starbucks. The Chinese government has locked down this internet access point just a little further, by forcing retail store owners that offer wifi to use a government sanctioned router, which they can monitor. Big Brother one ups again.