The perpetuation of myth

If you repeat a lie often enough, eventually people will believe it:

U.S. Press Perpetuates Taiwan Myths :: AO (Nod to Steph for the link)

The question is not China’s legal claim over Taiwan. The question is, when will the people of Taiwan get the same right to self-determination as any other sovereign nation with a democratically elected government? Is Taiwan destined to suffer forever under foreign rule?

With all the recent hype lately on the mainland visits of Taiwan’s opposition party leaders Lien Chan and James Soong, the tide seemed to be inevitable that the PRC would have finally found a way to influence the Taiwanese voters. But now that the election has yielded a majority in Taiwan’s National Assembly for the pro-independence DPP, perhaps this has backfired? Democracy is perhaps Taiwan’s best defense against aggression from the mainland — all that pomp and rhetoric they handed to the unification camp in an attempt to isolate Chen Shui-Bian and the DPP may have in fact served more to isolate the anti-Taiwanese KMT and PFP parties instead.

Music education in Sausalito…

I am so for this:

Computer program key in teaching music to kids / Sausalito composer, software company unite to bring lessons to school

Using a smaller keyboard of 49 keys — instead of the usual 88 — plugged into a computer monitor, the 18 students progress at their own pace through 30-minute lessons twice a week — enough, Arden said, to give them the benefits shown to accrue from music training.

Those benefits include improvements in spatial-temporal reasoning, pattern recognition and other skills crucial to learning math and science concepts, according to studies at McGill University in Montreal, Auburn University in Alabama, UCLA and others reported in journals such as Nature and Early Childhood Research Quarterly.”My goal is not just that they get some exposure to music, but that they get some musical skills,” Arden said. “And also some sparks, some joy from this.”

I’m a strong beleiver in music education. From years and years of being involved in music programs for kids, I’ve seen very strong beneficial aspects of how music training can shape a young mind. From developing strong mental aptitude for learning mathematics, all the way down to just giving a kid something to do after school, music training can make the difference.

And I definitley want this program in my kid’s Kindergarten… 😉

Tiger Weekend

I’ve upgraded three machines this weekend to Tiger. Starting with my niece Amy’s eMac, Yingwen’s iBook, and finally my PowerBook late last night. My mom and my grandfather both have new iMacs, so I suspect they’ll have me come over and upgrade their machines if they don’t figure out how to do it themselves.

The tricky one is going to be our old Tangerine iMac, which lacks a DVD drive. I’m currently trying a couple of things off the network…


First thing I had to play around with is Safari RSS. Can’t we just call this Safari 2.0? Anyway, the feed autodiscovery and aggregation features are actually pretty nice. Simple and effective, and I’m able to scan through the feed quickly thanks to the search feature and the ability to expand and contract posts. I’ve heard many prefer their NetNewsWire to the new Safari features, and that’s cool. For me, I actually think I’m digging Safari a bit more. The only thing I wish was that there was an easy and obvious way to add custom stylesheets.


I’m also looking forward to playing around with multi-party iChat video conferences. Most of my immediate family members now have iSight cams and newer Macs, so we could really have some fun with this. The video and audio features of iChat are some of my favorite features of Mac OS X, so the ability to have more than one person on the line at the same time is gravy.

Speed and Storage

I noted on all three machines so far that performance seems much snappier. This was most impressive on the eMac, which was running 10.2 and has only 256 MB RAM. The iBook also seemed to have a slight delay in accessing some functions of the UI for the first time in a session, which appears to be gone now.

Since my PowerBook is really tight on disk space, I trashed a bunch of unnecessary hog applications and opted not to install certain printer drivers. I kept the Gimp, Epson, and HP drivers, while leaving out the rest of the lot, and that saved me about half a gig of disk space. Trashing Civilization III freed up another 700 MB, and a few remaining unused apps and unnecessary document files allowed me to purge a few more hundred megs.

I need a new hard drive.


I’m pretty impressed with Spotlight so far. Search results were quite fast when I ran my first search for “Double Bass” and it returned 158 items instantly. The one thing that bugs me is that the Spotlight results window is bundled with the Finder process, so I can’t Command+Tab to it directly. When I do that to get to the Finder, always a Finder window appears on top and not the Spotlight results, even if that was the last window in focus. And worse, Command + ~ doesn’t let me cycle to the Spotlight results window either. This is lame.

But on the other hand, I do appreciate the common look and feel between the Spotlight results window and the interface that Safari creates when viewing a feed. That was a nice touch.

Searching in a Finder window doesn’t seem as snappy as Spotlight, and I don’t understand why that would be, but the results are really a lot easier to parse than before. It categorizes results and shows previews of images. Well done. I stumbled across the feature that turns a directory of images into a slideshow. That was pretty slick looking, but I wish it was a bit more obvious to find.


What a lot of eye candy, eh? Dragging a new widget off the dock makes a trippy splashy thingy. I guess that’ll sell some machines…

I do find it a convenience already, to be able to hit F12 and see some helpful metadata about my world. I can’t wait to see what the community comes up with. Building these things appears to be very web-developer friendly, using CSS and JavaScript, so that might be fun to play around with sometime.


The keyboard layout menu and input method plugin has changed for Traditional Chinese. It’s icon in the menu bar is now a bit more obvious, showing a character for the input method selected (Hanin=ʺ, Cangjie=, and so on), and the menu options are simplified. The preferences are now in English on my English-based system, which helps me out quite a bit in figuring out which things to select. I imagine on a Chinese OS, this would all remain in Chinese.

That First Impression Thing

This is all I have time to note in my first 24 hours with el Tigre. My overall first impression of Tiger is that it is a definite performance improvement on all the machines involved, upgrading was a snap, and the new features are very cool.