Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Bravery of Ang Lee

Ang Lee (李安) is an amazing man. He is, of course, a famous director of some very good films, but what sets him apart in my mind is how incredibly diverse his filmography is.

Starting out with the so-called "Father Knows Best" trilogy, you could be forgiven to conclude that the time that he'll be a director of Asian-themed movies, perhaps expanding into the Asian-American experience at most. But since then, he's brought us into the worlds of Jane Austen, white suburban America, the American Civil War, martial arts, superheroes, gay cowboys, WWII China, the sixties, and an Indian boy. You may not actually like all of his movies, but you really must admire the courage behind his attempts.

For Ang Lee was not a trust fund baby who could just tinker. He is the son of an educator, failed college entrance exams twice, and had to rely on his wife's income while he was starting out. Once he's tasted some success, it would've been so tempting to just keep churning out the films that got him there. The pressure, for example, to shoot a prequel or sequel to Crouching Tiger was surely incredible, especially since the novel it was adapted from was the fourth of five books. Instead he chose to work on Hulk, which a normal person would've thought was a bridge too far, but his response to that failure was to venture into Brokeback Mountain!

It's as if he could not see his prior experience, or the color of his skin, as limitations to what he could try. He was over 50 when he directed Brokeback, so apparently age isn't a problem either.

I aspire to having this kind of courage.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fat Lady Singing

Opera just announced that they are abandoning their own web rendering engine in favor of WebKit. This is yet another example of the effects that free-beer software projects sponsored by large companies can have on smaller players. To be frank, they lasted longer than I thought they would, but in the end the efficiencies of software monoculture wins again. Opera might survive just by building a better browser on top of WebKit than everybody else, but I doubt it. I think Free-beer software paid for by Apple devices and Google advertising has claimed another victim.

Saturday, February 9, 2013




首先,「愛用國貨」的出發點就是一個問題。hTC 手機用的是 Android 軟體,主要是美國 Google 公司寫的,手機裡的各種零件多半是許多國家研發生產的。從網上拆機圖片中,看得出電池是中國生產,認得出的晶片有韓國三星和海力士、美國高通和 Synaptics 等公司出品。究竟什麼叫做國貨?真的仔細去檢查,iPhone 用的台灣零件是多是少還不一定呢。裕隆集團後來解釋嚴鼓勵員工多愛用國貨,想必覺得這出發點並沒錯。






『我某日在酒後說出這些話,非常後悔。第一,hTC 的手機固然好用,許多外商廠牌的手機裡面也個有許多台灣人的貢獻,本不該說只有 hTC 算是「國貨」。第二,這些話會脫口而出,真是喝太多了,以後會交代身邊的人提醒,不會再喝這麼醉。最重要的,用什麼手機是個人的自由,既不關愛國,更輪不到我來批評什麼,批評也絕不該用粗口。這裡謹對讓這些話所傷害到的人致以歉意,也對身為一個公眾人物造成壞榜樣抱歉。』