It all costs as much as Hong Kong

Another good one from Travel Intelligence.
“From its early days as the capital of the Kuomintang Republic of China, it has become used to being the Gorgon of Asian cities. One look at it and one is turned into a grey block of four-storey concrete.”
“Taipei is a young keen city with a smudge on its face and dust on its shoes. It is heyday Manchester or Pittsburgh with newer, smaller Chinese bones. “

Read: Taipei – wish you weren’t here by Stuart Wolfendale


Thank God for ugly old motorcycles. I was leaving work this evening and realised that I didn’t have the keys to my old wreck of a Honda. I was in such a sorry state this morning that I left the keys in the ignition and my helmet on the seat – a ready made ticket to free transportation. It would be nice to say that this is a fine example of how honest people truly are but I know deep down that my bike is so terrible that no one would want it.

The Automatist Storytelling System

I am in the process of reading Michael Murtaugh’s Master Thesis “The Automatist Storytelling System” as it has some similarities to parts of the project I am preparing. He describes his thesis as “… an “editor in software” or “narrative engine” — a system that produces dynamic and responsive presentations from an extensible collection of keyword-annotated materials. Sequencing decisions are made on the basis of association, and the overall structure and meaning of an experience emerges from the interactions of individual material presentations. In this highly decentralized model, viewers are consistently integrated participants, who exert varying degrees of influence or control over the construction of the experience. The viewers’ role is considered primarily extradiegetic; viewers’ actions influence the process of the storytelling rather than altering actual events in the story world. By making both the viewing experience and authoring process variable and extensible, the Automatist Storytelling System supports new story forms such as the “Evolving Documentary.”

Reawakening the creative mind

“Australian scientists say they have created a “thinking cap” that will stimulate creative powers. Professor Allan Snyder and colleague Elaine Mulcahy say tests on 17 volunteers show their device can improve drawing skills within 15 minutes.”

I want one.

Read the BBC News report.

Physics and Psychophysics of music

Lately I have been slowly regaining interest in studying music again. After high school I studied in conservatories, colleges, and universities for over eight years. I gave up my stagnant performing career aspirations five years ago but had always hoped that perhaps I could start to write music or create sound for various new media products. Well I think this summer, if all goes as planned, may be the time to start.

In search for computer music and sound resources I came across Physics and Psychophysics of music. “An introductory course for students of music that covers what I consider is the necessary basic material needed for working in a recording or electronic music studio. ” “The course is divided into three broad topic areas: Basic principles of the physics of sound, the physiology of hearing, and
the psychophysics of hearing. ”

I haven’t read much yet but it looks promising.

Unraveling the mysteries of metadata and taxonomies

Christina Wodtke of Boxes and Arrows interviews Samantha Bailey (former Argonaut and current lead IA for Wachovia Corporation’s website) about Information Architecture, her dream process and the mysteries of metadata and taxonomies. View the article …

I like these pull quotes in the article, “I think good IAs (like many good librarians) are often generalists at heart-people who have a love of learning and a tendency to be interested in practically anything that comes their way.” and “Right now it’s a very thrilling time – we have a new medium and a new discipline, and a lot of work ahead of us teasing apart what it all means.” Hmm teasing apart.

IA & the Tube

Information Architecture & the London Underground: A metaphor for explaining IA.
“For some time now I have been searching for a good description of what information architecture is. Mostly I have found sites dedicated to ia that offer resource material but they don’t actually explain what it is. I have had people ask me what it is and I’ve been unable to give a decent description myself.”

Interesting way to define of information architecture – I have run into the same problem on numerous occaisions -and love using real world examples to state my case. Unfortunately metaphors are sometimes lost to second language users and my other language abilities certainly are not up to the task. Usually more precise but unfortunately less accurate language in bullet point is often used.

Peace is War

Wired magazine has in an unusual move published their latest issue both in print and on the web. Unusual in that they are owned by different companies and apparently have always had separate teams for web and print. With articles like Peace Is War by Bruce Sterling I’ll be sure to buy the latest issue on the newstand. I’ve long since given up on the website. I read this article a week or two ago but had no idea it was from the print version. Hats off to Acts of Volition for the tip.


Please excuse any display irregularities or outright disasters my Netscape and Mozilla using friends, I am finishing a “refurbishment” and have yet to flush out all the bugs.

Having taken far longer than could seem humanly possible, Kaliber10000 has come back online touting a “refurbishment”. After a year offline will anyone really care? I’m happy to see them back in all their tiny type pixel pushing glory.


I seem to be living in a world of soloists. People with their own personal agendas unable to see the greater music that is capable by working in concert with other people.

Years ago the Japanese showed the western world the power of their team based business environment. People working closely together toward a common goal. The west took up this model destroying office walls and erecting ugly uniform low walled cubicles. Flat management has been the mantra and it has seen success.

It now to seems to me that we have maintained the outward appearance of “businessized” team work, the ugly cubicle farms, and the homegeniety that it brings, without people actually thinking as one. There is a rebellion – the cubicles get higher walls, in the veiled excuse of wanting a place for plants, and we no longer talk as equals, people in different roles, playing different instruments directed by not a concertmaster but the vision of the composer. Taking and giving, leading and supporting done automatically without thought for oneself but for the idea of creating beauty, of creating something unique. Truly beautiful music is never created by a room full of soloists.

Taipei Sauna Oil Massage

My fourth most often requested search query is taipei sauna oil massage and since I have little knowledge about this particular topic let me please recommend you to check out the Carlton Spa here in Hsinchu where a friendly masseuse named Susan will stretch your body into submission.

Edit: perhaps the articles below might help.

Does anyone know of a GOOD massage therapist in the Taipei area?
Where can you find escorts in Taipei?
WCIF Massage Therapist
Non-Sexual…hotel delivery massage
Men’s spa in Taipei?

Lifes Embarrassing Moments

Yesterday seems to be a flash back to the past. In the not so distant past I was a terrible student. I lacked discipline and focused my energies on the learning that gave me the most pleasure. I worked hard then but seemed to have little regard for the consequences of my actions. Yesterday was a mid term for a silly little c programming class that I am taking as part of my graduate studies. I am sure that I failed. I am sure everyone else passed. Unlike in Canada, there is no comradery in my failure as all Taiwan students are completely professional in their studies. I don’t think anyone has ever done poorly. Of course I have certain challenges that make things more difficult and my study time seems to be nill but in the end, as many mothers would say, I have only myself to blame. My mother used to always tell me, “Its time to get your nose to the grind stone”. Rather painful analogy but I agree. It’s time to regain face.

King Canute

“Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey”.

So spoke King Canute the Great, the legend says, seated on his throne on the seashore, waves lapping round his feet. Canute had learned that his flattering courtiers claimed he was “So great, he could command the tides of the sea to go back”. Now Canute was not only a religious man, but also a clever politician. He knew his limitations – even if his courtiers did not – so he had his throne carried to the seashore and sat on it as the tide came in, commanding the waves to advance no further. When they didn’t, he had made his point that, though the deeds of kings might appear ‘great’ in the minds of men, they were as nothing in the face of God’s power.

Excerpt from

Wooing the Sandman

“Now blessings light on him that first invented sleep. . .’Tis the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap.”–Don Quixote de la Mancha.

“As Cervantes pointed out almost 400 years ago, sleep is a wonderful thing. Now if only we (I) could get more of it.” This weeks feature in Jugglezine called Wooing the Sandman comes at a rather appropriate time considering my sometimes herculan efforts to acquire some sleep.

Cities and Signs

“Of all the changes of language a traveler in distant lands must face, none equals that which awaits him in the city of Hypatia, because the change regards not words, but things.”

” I realized I had to free myself from the images which in the past had announced to me the things I sought: only then would I succeed in understanding the language of Hypatia.”

“True, also in Hypatia the day will come when my only desire will be to leave. I know I must not go down to the harbour then, but climb the citadel’s highest pinnacle and wait for a ship to go by up there. But will it bo by? There is no language without deceit.”

– Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino

Captain Nemo

The Phoenix 1000 is a 65-meter (213′) personal luxury submarine. As proposed, the submarine would constitute the single largest private undersea vehicle ever built, and arguably, the most significant personal transportation device of the 20th century.