Categories
General

Why appearance matters in Korea, NBA HOF, removing the headphone jack

I want to talk about several recent topics that have occured recently. In my video blogs I’ve already talked about stuff like why I think Hollywood discriminates against Asians, why I don’t like present day feminism, why I like Korean girls more than Chinese girls, why I support banning guns, why the media is biased towards Westerners, etc
Today I have a few topics I want to talk about…

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Why Appearance matters in Korea

Firstly, I’ve lived in Korea almost 2 years now, and I will leave Korea end of this year. At that time I will talk about my experiences here and why I decided to leave, but I want to talk about something I hinted at in my video of what makes Korea so special and unique. Its not just Korea seems to have a lot more couples on the street than other countries, probably the first thing a foreigner notices when they visit Korea is how everyone is always dressed up. The girls more so than the guys usually, but Koreans are known for caring a lot about appearance much more than any other Asian or other nationality in general. How did it come to be this way? Why don’t Americans or Chinese care about appearance as much?

This is more speculation than actual research because I’m not writing a thesis here, but I think the reason is because Korea is a really small and competitive country. When everyone graduates university at a high level, and everyone is Korean, one of the only ways to differentiate yourself is appearance. And that has lead to present day Korea where Korean girls get pressure to get plastic surgery, just to find a boyfriend or get a job, or anything. Because Korea doesn’t have any laws against a company discriminating based on appearance, this has led to competition to become prettier and prettier. And when everyone else is pretty, its a peer pressure affect that causes other people to feel that they should become pretty as well.

China has not gone through the same thing because its a bigger country, more diverse, and was totally communist at one point. Because of those reasons, Chinese people have become more accepting of different appearances, and its not as important because one of the good things that came out of communism is that old Confucian society where women were treated far below men, was erased and replaced by a society where the women worked, dressed the same as men, and treated exactly the same as men. This is the gender equality that all the progressives talk about these days, its essentially done by communism.

As for America, appearance used to be important back in the 1940s and 1950s when men were definitely higher than women and everyone wore suits, dresses, hats, etc for going outside. In those days everyone was dressed up outside. The counter culture revolution of the 1960s basically changed the US into a society where everyone dresses differently and people became more accepting of different appearances. That’s why you hardly ever see people dress up when they go outside in the USA anymore.

In Korea now, its still a patriarchal society, the men still have power (despite the fact that the Korean president is a woman it doesn’t mean sexism is gone), they have the highest gender wage gap out of all OECD countries, and its not uncommon to see the average Korean girl holding onto her boyfriends arms wearing a nice dress or skirt, high heels and fully dressed up while the guy is only wearing casual jeans or shorts. There’s a huge gender disparity here.

Now I actually think caring about appearance is important. I’m not saying people should go out and get plastic surgery, but when people care about the aesthetics of everything in their world from their phones (oh its slimmer!), their computers (wow rose gold!), architecture (eiffel tower, chrysler building, golden gate bridge), paintings (Mona Lisa), etc how can everyone care about aesthetics of everything in the world BUT when people care about other people’s appearance in the Western world, it is considered “shallow”?? In Korea, its totally normal to say oh you should put on more makeup, or you should dress a little better, which in our Western world would be considered sexist comments. But its the total opposite in our world, where even calling someone pretty can be considered offensive, and people are told not to care about others appearance because it is “shallow”? But why? I realize that personality is important, it definitely is, but humans have eyes, and we care about how everything else looks, why is it so bad to care about how other humans look as well? I think that caring about your own looks or other people’s looks is totally normal, as long as its not the ONLY thing you care about. If it is, then that can be considered shallow or superficial but like me, I care about both appearance and personality and I think both are really important in our daily lives. This is one of the things I like about Korea, is that they care about appearance, and I feel that every other country doesn’t care about appearance enough because they want to pretend that somehow we have eyes for everything else but not for other humans. Makes no sense.

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Yao Ming, Shaq and Iverson get into the Hall of Fame

This years NBA hall of fame class is headlined by Yao Ming, Shaq and Iverson. A lot of people have expressed that Yao Ming, didn’t belong in the Hall of fame, but they don’t realize that Yao Ming caused 1.3b people to get involved in basketball, that its the BASKETBALL hall of fame not the NBA hall of fame (the same reason why Arvydas Sabonis got in), and that he was actually a decent player that was All NBA 2nd team a bunch of times. He averaged 19/9/1.5/2 over his career, and if you compare to Alonzo Mourning who people agree is a HOFer, he averaged 17/8.5/1/3 over his career, so Yao’s stats are comparable to Mournings.

I think Shaq is definitely a top 5 center of all time, but people overrate his dominance. The thing is Shaq never had an equal during his time. His prime is around 2000-2005 and around that time, the best centers, Ewing, Hakeem and Robinson were all retiring or past their primes. The second best center of the 2000s, Dwight Howard and maybe Yao Ming, weren’t even in their primes yet. I would say Shaq got lucky that his era wasn’t that competitive at the center position. Kareem for example, had to deal with Wilt, Moses, Willis, Cowens, Unseld, Thurmond, Gilmore, Lanier, Walton, Parish, and later in his career Hakeem and Ewing as well. If people want to ding Wilt’s career for weak competition, they should ding Shaq’s career for weak competition.

As for Iverson, yeah I think he’s overrated, but I can understand why he’s so popular. He’s definitely one of them most inefficient shooting guards, only 42% FG which is worse than Kobe’s at 45% or John Havlicek at 44% and both of those guys shot a lot as well. So by stats you can say wow Iverson was terrible and missed a lot. But because people related to his style, his swagger, his attitude, his height, and his heart they really supported him because he was a small dude and that always makes him an underdog. That’s why even though ESPN rated him #48 best player of all time, I put him a bit higher at #30, because I can understand why he missed a lot of his shots, but that doesn’t make him necessarily a terrible player, it just means he’s not the greatest shooter.

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I don’t like 4K and high resolution displays

Why are people obsessed with the ppi of a display when 20 years ago they had a 640×480 screen on a CRT monitor and nobody was complaining back then? Wasn’t DVD considered good picture quality back then? Its only 480p now. People’s eyes didn’t get any better as time goes on.
Now because of Apple introducing the iPhone 4 with Retina display, (and Macbook with Retina) everything has super high resolution now. And now I have to read reviews where they give laptops a “minus” because they “only” have a 1080p display, a display that was basically high definition TV before is now “low resolution”. Incredible.
The larger the display the more battery it sucks up. now you might think this is offset by the bigger battery but that is in reality not the case. Thats why smaller phones get better battery life. try comparing the iPhone SE to iPhone 6 for example.
Most of the media that we have, Facebook pictures, and YouTube video, are always compressed. on a 4K screen on high res screen you would have to either get 4K stream or get the original pictures from a friend somehow, else the resulting quality on a high res screen is going to look like crap.
Why don’t people care about audio as much? so everyone is a videophile but being an audiophile is a small part of the audience? why? if people can tell the difference between a Full HD TV and a 4K TV why can’t they tell the difference between mp3s and flacs? Why give your eyes such good treatment but not your ears? thats why I care so much about my headphones, speakers, portable amps, DACs, high res audio files and stuff, but not many people seem to care about it.

This leads to my next topic….
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Apple got rid of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. All chaos ensues.

There are two camps divided on this issue, one side supports Apple’s decision and says that wireless is the future and the 3.5mm is an old legacy standard,and the other side says 3.5mm can never be replaced.
What do you think my decision would be, knowing that I’m an audiophile and musician? Well of course I’m gonna say the 3.5mm headphone or AUX jack should not go away, at least not right now.

There are several reasons why wireless cannot replace the headphone jack:

1. Wireless has inherent latency issues, and anyone who’s used Ethernet over Wifi knows that wired is always faster and transmits data much faster than wireless. Because of this inherent advantage and the fact that we listen to digital music, wireless can never sound as good as wired. So wired headphones will always sound better than a wireless headphone at the same price point.

2. Wireless headphones have to be recharged. The Apple Airpods last 5 hours. That’s actually not a lot of you go on a lot of trips and travel a lot. That might be the time it takes on a train from one city to another. I actually spend 11 hours in a bus going from Bosnia to Serbia so I know thats not enough. Having to always charge something is a hassle. And wired has infinite battery life obviously.

3. Because its wireless, they cannot add any external headphone amplifier or DAC or noise cancellation to the audio chain unless they build it onto the headphone itself, which will decrease the battery life. I know lightning headphones or USB-C headphones can have these things built in as well, but those don’t have the same wide compatibility as a traditional headphone with a 3.5mm connection. Also, I still have not seen a wireless planar magnetic headphones or high impedance headphone, if that is possible to make one wireless at all.

4. Musicians, Engineers, Audiophiles etc we have too many legacy audio or musical equipment like a hifi stereo system, mixers, record players etc that just don’t work with wireless or even old laptops and devices. Because of this huge incompatibility issue, Bluetooth will never be as widespread as wired. Furthermore, people in 3rd world countries are not going to give up their cheap wired headphones for wireless ones anytime soon.

You cannot compare the removal of the headphone jack to the floppy disk drive or cassette drive and optical drive because those are storage formats and newer formats can always replace old formats and the newer formats were always strictly better than the older ones its replacing. The headphone jack is a way of enjoying audio, so removing that jack and saying you have to go wireless, is akin to removing the speakers from a phone, and saying, hey you have to use Bluetooth speakers now because having mono or stereo speakers is old and legacy.
And Yes I realize you can use a dongle with the new iPhone 7, but you can’t charge your phone at the same time, and you have to make sure not to lose the dongle on a trip else you’re screwed.

Categories
General Tech

10 tech things I’m nostalgic about

A lot has changed in 12 years. This year is 2014. I started My first website in 2002, 12 years ago. A lot of things have changed since then, technology wise and culture wise. But for me, I miss some things that we had back then but less common now. Here’s 10:

1) Phones with long battery life

Motorola RAZR
Motorola RAZR

Remember the candy bar phones? Remember flip phones and slider phones? The Motorola Razr? All those phones couldn’t play apps or games, and had a crappy web browser, camera, and texting interface sure, but – their batteries lasted a long time! I remember the old candy bar phones lasting weeks on end without having to charge. These days we all have to charge our smartphones at least once a day.
Also, remember cellphone charms?? That used to be the way to customize your phone. Now its turned to smartphone cases.

2) Payphones

very rare these days
very rare these days

Yeah, do you see any payphones anymore? No, because everyone has a smartphone now. But what if I lost my phone or ran out of battery? Well tough luck, because payphones are all gone now. They are ‘legacy’ artifacts.

3) Internet Chat rooms

The old Yahoo Chat rooms
The old Yahoo Chat rooms

Remember when people met random strangers in chat rooms powered by Java applets? Bots? People getting kicked? Meeting ~hottiebabe13~ or ~darksoul_12~ online? Well thats not common anymore, these days I don’t see any internet chat rooms anymore, its all just been replaced by social networks, which isn’t exactly the same. I did find some sites like sharedtalk and habbo hotel which brings me back, but most chat rooms have disappeared.

4) ICQ/MSN/AIM/IM clients

MSN messenger
MSN messenger back in the day

Who uses IM clients anymore? Now everyone just uses apps on their phone like Wechat, Whatsapp, Kakaotalk, SMS, etc or Skype/Facebook/Twitter. So when people ask me ‘hey what did you use to connect with people before Facebook?’ I’ll just say, yeah there was this “app” called MSN and I would just ask people for their MSN id… thats how we kept in contact back then. Ditto for ICQ and AIM.

5) PDAs / Pocket PCs / Palm / Blackberry

This was a PDA
This was a PDA

These are all grouped together, but anyways these are all ‘legacy’ technology. For you young people, PDAs were basically personal organizers that served as calendars/calculators/reminders/contacts and they kept track of all those things. They are basically the core functions of a smartphone. PDAs and Pocket PCs disappeared when smart phones came along, but I still remember using my Palm / Pocket PC to keep track of notes, and some even had some basic games on them! And yes Blackberry is dead, so it goes here too.

6) MP3 players (especially HDD based ones)

An HDD-based MP3 Player
An HDD-based MP3 Player

Yes Mp3 players! Remember back in the day when people carried two devices, an Mp3 player and a cellphone? Well they’re gone now! Yes some companies still sell basic Mp3 players, but most people just use their phone to listen to music now! I used to carry around a Creative Zen Vision M, and that thing stored 30 GBs, which was a lot. Now, umm my phone has 32GB but it needs that space for apps too. Some iRivers, Zunes, iPod classics and Creative Zens used to store up to 120GBs of music!

7) Physical Media (CDs, DVDs, Floppies)

Floppy disks
Floppy disks

Yes, everything from the 5.25″ floppy disks, 3.5″ floppies, zip drives, to 2x/4x/8x/24x/50x/100x CD-ROMs/CD-RWs/DVD-ROM/DVD-RWs drives, what happened to physical media? Yes I know it still exists, but less and less computers have optical drives now, and no tablets ever have them. More and more software and “apps” as its now being called, are being downloaded from the cloud now!! While thats not a bad thing, I still like being able to share my physical media with other people and knowing I have a backup somewhere. In fact PC makers don’t even ship OS backups unless you pay extra now. And no, no one I know owns a blu ray writer. Whatever happened to burning CD/DVDs and giving it to your friends? Remember MP3 CDs? Same thing happened to cassette mixtapes too… speaking of which…

8) VHS, Cassettes, Film Cameras

A VHS tape rewinder, a piece of 'legacy' tech
A VHS tape rewinder, a piece of ‘legacy’ tech

Do you know the biggest advantage of VCRs and Cassettes? The fact that you can record over them! I spent alot of my childhood recording my favorite shows and movies on my VHS and music onto cassette tapes, and now its obsolete technology. But you can’t do that these days! You can record to digital media sure, but you can’t record directly to a physical media anymore. Also, Film cameras… analog photography instead of digital photography. We tend to think of everything in megapixels, but back in the day we had to develop film in dark rooms, and the quality of that film is still much better than your average facebook photo.

Speaking of which, 2 trends I don’t like right now: having high megapixel cameras like 13MP+ where people take pictures that take up alot of space on their phone and then upload it to facebook where its compressed to a 100kb~ image. There’s no point. And having super high resolution displays (>240ppi) on your phone/tablet/laptop when most of the internet is not optimized for it, your retina cannot distinguish it, and will look horribly pixellated on the small screen. Thanks a lot to Steve Jobs and the iPhone 4 for starting that trend.

9) Old school LAN gaming and FPS gaming and 2D side scrollers

Blake Stone was one of my favorite DOS games
Blake Stone was one of my favorite DOS games

Remember those old DOS games? Some of them were quality games, like Commander Keen and Unreal Tournament and Duke Nukem, but these days you don’t find those types of games anymore. You find big budget 3D games like Call of Duty or Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto. I lament the simple days where a game would take hours and hours to beat like Prince of Persia or Dark Sun, or old school FPS deathmatch games like Quake III or UT, and the days where you could set up a LAN network and play Starcraft / Diablo II with your friends without an internet connection. There’s no LAN games anymore! What a pity. Now everything is online, and you have to make an account and have a good internet connection.

10) Graphic settings/cards, Sound cards & PC peripherals

A typical DOS game setup screen
A typical DOS game setup screen

These days people just use phones and tablets for gaming – but back in the 80s and 90s, gaming was all about the PC! When we ran a game, we had to first setup and configure the game. We would specify the graphic settings (often EGA, CGA or VGA), the sound card (usually Adlib or Sound blaster), number of channels and voices, and the peripherals (Keyboard, Joystick, Mouse and Gravis Gamepad). We don’t see much setup these days with games, just boot up and play, but no in those dark days we had to execute some bash scripts to run a game. But it was fun though, because who doesn’t enjoy playing Bio Menace or Jill of the Jungle on a Gravis Gamepad??

On that note, I also miss dedicated graphics on laptops! Whats up with that? My first notebook had a dedicated graphics card. Only Alienware and some high end notebooks have it now. 90% of consumer laptops come with integrated GPUs now. And how about PCMCIA/Express cards expansion ports for laptops? They made those laptops really expandable!

I also miss…

This was the most popular search engine before Google
Kids, This was the most popular search engine before Google

Old shrine sites. Pre-Google old messy search engine domains like Altavista, Dogpile, Hotbot and non-Google search sites. Yahoo! Geocities. Angelfire. Lycos. All those website builders. Guestbooks. Netscape Navigator. Windows XP. Xanga. Livejournal. Myspace. The golden age of Flash/Shockwave games (mid 2000s). It was a part of my youth 🙁 now its just Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter…

I don’t miss…

But overall we really accomplished alot in the past decade technology wise, and things I won’t miss include:

CRT TVs and Monitors
VCDs
Pagers
Answering machines
HD-DVDs
Dial-up internet
Modem jacks
Serial/Parallel ports
S-video ports
Firewire ports
notebooks with < 4 hrs of battery life (this used to be the norm until intel haswell came out) VGA ports (some notebooks still have them) 3.5mm audio jack (we still have them and I wish we can switch to TOSLINK ASAP) WAP browsers Composite connections Netbooks Compact Flash and MMC cards 4200rpm hard drives (and HDDs in general) slow a/b/g wireless wifi single core processors (before Intel Core Duo came out) resistive TFT touch screens (this was the norm for tablets and touch screens until the iPhone came out) 2G phones non built-in wireless wifi answering machines Poorly designed websites with flashing banners and animated gifs marquee, bgsound, blink and other obnoxious HTML tags Windows Vista Printers (and I still hate them) Forums (and I still hate them) Fax Machines Overhead projectors (I blame these with my loss of eyesight) Pay-per-view