Main Criterion to Buy a Gadget/Service/Apps/…

There’re tons of things coming up everyday in this fast-growing technology world, and customers like me have tons of choices when it comes to buying any kind of stuff. Then what is my standard of it to help me avoid lots of bad things out there on the market?

Needless to say, when you are facing some choices or alternatives in a specific type of service, for example, a GTD app on your smartphone, typically on the iOS platform you’ll see OmniFocus 2, 2Do, Wunderlist and so on. The choice of mine is OmniGroup’s OmniFocus 2, an easily made decision for me. The reason why I chose this app/service is because the company and history behind this app. OmniGroup has been a excellent and consistent developer for both MacOS and iOS platform for over 10 years, and I have no reason to choose other apps when I know I can get a steady service from a more trustworthy company in my eyes. When you buy an app, you are not only buying the service now but also the service in the future, since nobody is hoping to get an app that will be taken down from the App Store or discontinued by the developer. For instance, when the app Ember from Realmac was discontinued, a lot of customers were whining about the developer without giving enough efforts to loyal customers, with a fact that this was an expensive and professional app. If people spend $60 in an app but only get 1 year of use, then it is totally unacceptable, making the developer’s other apps lose trust from customers.

To take this discussion further, for instance, what if you want to buy a car? The first thing you need to consider is the company and history behind the brand, again. Take Volkswagen as an example, the diesel car scandal truly has made some customers distrust this company anymore, but the history behind this brand has still enabled itself to attract new customers worldwide. Another example being Samsung, we all know what happened to its 2016 flagship smartphone Note 7, but somehow its strong background and good history have together helped make a comeback this year with the new S8. It seems like I am persuading people to buy "old-fashioned" stuff instead of trying new things, but actually I am not. I am, too, a guy who likes to try new things, for example, I went to grab a Nintendo Switch before I can’t:

If we also want to touch on the criterion on buying/trying new things, it is also easy to tell: Also buy those things that have overwhelming positive comments and reviews. Sadly Nintendo Switch is one of those great things, so before I hop on the flight back to China where I can’t get one as easily as I do here, I decided to grab one from Amazon last week when it was available. Okay, well, perhaps I slapped on my face regarding to what I have said in my last article, but NS is so damn good! Another good exercise for my standard lol!

Especially in the tech world, things like kickstarter or beta projects from some companies are selling concepts or ideas only to customers. Things being purchased might not be worthy of owning. If you are a tired customers like me, buy things that have been well tested and are from a well-known company. If you want to try something new, buy things that have almost one-sided positive image. Any final words…? Yes, please avoid flying with United Airways, it is just not a reliable company.

Buying a Nintendo Switch?

The first two weeks since the launch of Nintendo Switch has been unprecedented, with Switch already being the most popular game consoles that have ever been created by Nintendo. I, as well, am quite tempted to get a Switch despite of its rarity at this point, but there’s also a voice inside of my heart telling me to be calmed down.

The blockbuster, Zelda: The Breath of The Wild, is a 10/10 game according to various game-reviewing websites. It is quite amazing in details and controls, and for sure is an awesome game to play, locking in the best game of the year award. However, this game has also pushed the console powerhouse to the limit, depicted by quite a lot of people, so I can easily assume that more power-consuming games, such as the upcoming FIFA and NBA 2K18, will not be as amazing as their PC/PS/XBOX versions. Nintendo is not famous for the video quality of its games, but for its fun instead, so it makes sense by limiting Switch’s resolution to 720p regardless of the current trend in pursuing pure horsepower.

After all, apart from Zelda, there’s no other single game that is quite convincing for gamers to buy. It’s not because of the lack of performance of Nintendo Switch but the lack of third party games that makes it not quite worth buying right now, unless you are a Nintendo fanboy. I do appreciate what Nintendo is offering on this platform, and I also believe Switch will be one of the best consoles in the future, but I will choose to wait for several months to see how the other games and companies are planning to follow up on this platform. Wii U has been a disaster in third party titles, and making itself uncompetitive to a lot of gamers. The mainstream type of gamers, as it is displayed, is the one who play PC/PS/XBOX titles around the world. If Nintendo is going to make Switch a worldwide phenomena, it still has to prove it.

Seriously, I am going to get a Switch someday, but not now, not near.

The Twitch Generation

I hate to say, that about two months ago, I was one of the group who claimed that people who love live streaming shows are idiots. I sincerely apologized for my mistake, because if that is true, I am the biggest idiot since now I am one of them.

Strangely enough, the live streaming platform is, sort of, lead by asian platforms. I know Twitch is probably the most well known in America, but after browsing through nearly all contents available, I have to say, asian countries are the kings nowadays, especially in South korea and China. On Twitch, live game streaming is the mainstream, and so is true for Korea and China. However, asian streaming platforms do so much better in other miscellaneous contents such as karaoke, pretty girls, eating, outdoors, and so on. YOU NAME IT.

Plus, those platforms even have ambitions to enter the entertainment market, by which I mean, they try to cooperate with TV stations, so so co-op shows can be broadcasted on TVs, making more and more people realizing "Oh, this platform has nice shows!"

The lengeday hot pot of Korea, eating LIVE!

Continue reading

After all this time, has iPads been “Pro”?

Approximately 1.5 years ago, Tim Cook announced the "best ever" iPad that Apple has ever made — the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. Up until now, this gigantic piece of glass is still the most relentless powerhouse among all IOS devices and even in the all tables market. Recently I have listened to quite a lot of podcasts of Canvas and Mac Power Users in the Relay FM programs, and I sort of find out the unsatisfying fact to all Apple fanboys that iPad is far from a PC replacement, and it is due to the software instead of the hardware of it.

Around two years ago, the IOS 9 has marked a huge improvement in IOS productivity field, by adding the share button and some iPad-only features like split screen. Continue reading

The Grand Tour – Legends never die

About three weeks ago, I bumped into a video on Youtube, and it was about one of the three original hosts and probably the most important one, Kai Man Wong, from DigitalRev TV which is a Youtube channel that talks about trends and trips for cameras and based in Hong Kong, has officially announced his leave from the channel. It was a destroying news for the fans, following Alamby’s leave (another original host) about three to four years ago.

Kai, who is a great host in the area of cameras, once lead in the production and script writing of the channel, was mysteriously headed back to Britain about one year ago, and since then I have sensed the potentials of his leave, sooner or later. What surprised me, though, is not his leave, because I have already skipped a lot of the videos of that channel since without him the shows from the channels just don’t look complete. What surprised me is, soon after his announcement, the cameraman of the channel, Lok, also announced his decision to leave.
Continue reading

Last Automation done in Time-series class

For a long time, I’ve been a huge fan in automation, and it drives me to start my journey in coding. Honestly speaking, coding is never rooted in my heart and I only see it as a tool of mine to help my automated life, so I strongly recommend people who have passions in automating their lives to learn a bit of coding, no matter it is Javascript, Python, Java or C# or any other equivalent scripting language.

Going back to the topic, this fall is my last semester in my Master of Business Analytics program in USC, and the core tool being used in this program is R. Since I am taking one very interesting time-series analysis course taught by Professor Gabrys, I have thought about whether to write an article to talk about it, as well as wrapping up my study in USC. Now it is the chance for me, because I just summed up the basic ARIMA analysis in R, with the procedure taught again and again by my professor. This is an automated function that can help users to come up with candidate ARIMA models for the dataset.

For people who have no background in time-series data analysis or in ARIMA process, it might be a bit overwhelming for you at the beginning. It requires the basic understanding in time-series data analyzing process. This function, in which I mimicked how my professor emphasizes time and time again in class, will provide users with another way to explore potential good ARIMA models, despite of the fact that R has a lot of automated functions that do it all without giving the users much information.

The code, and the detailed manual are up on my Github. This perhaps is going to be my last share in automation as a USC student, and I have been always proud to be a Trojan.

Automation, on the other hand, is the very initial purpose of my blog, and one thing I have learned in my final days on campus is, automation, AKA, computer programs, shall never replace human minds. instead, we as humans, should learn how to use machines to enhance the capabilities and overcome the shortcomings of our brains — period.

How Longer Can APPs Still Survive?

Let’s get to the thing straight: are you still using a lot of apps like what you once did when smartphones were just created? For app-lovers, the answer might be yes, or even more, but how about for average users?

I completely deleted apps such as Instagram, Facebook because I no more need them to be always at hands and when I do need them, their web version "apps" are good enough to play with. These are two biggest contributing reasons why I think mobile apps are dying. Think about the times when you install 100 apps on the phone, but rarely use any of them because you are installing apps just because you love apps, not because you need them.


Continue reading

Thoughts on Apple

Apple is still the Apple, but, the question is, really?

I’ve been such a long time and die heart fan of Apple products that I have literally ever missed any product Apple has made, and they are all awesome, until the launch of Apple Watch, well, series 1.

To be honest, Apple Watch is still the best overall smart watch on the market, just like its big brother – iPhone. When it is initially released, I couldn’t help buying one because it is so cool and advanced, despite of the lack of cellular signal and GPS module, I still enjoyed quite a bit of time using it.

However, eventually not long after, I stopped using it, not because it’s not cool, like I said, it is still the best, but a lot of other factors are implying this is not going to revolutionize the market. A good smart watch should be something unprecedented. Remember when people first saw an iPhone or iPad, we just didn’t realize there’s a way like that to improve life quality. For all the possibilities, iPhone and iPad filled them perfectly and even provided users with more functionalities.

But what? For an Apple Watch, people expected GPS built in, LTE signal enabled, fast interaction, independency relative to cellphones. No, none of that has happen, and even some reasonable hopes are not realized. That’s why I know it is not a revolutionary product, because there’s a huge gap between user’s hope and the final product.
Continue reading

xmlrpc problem SOLVED!!

It is going to be a quick a small article, just to share about a tiny but prickly problem which I believe a lot of bloggers have encountered in their career, especially when they use a third-party blogging software to publish articles.

Okay…so the thing is, I wrote an new article recently and I wanted to publish it to my Chinese version blog, and as usual, I use Ulysses to type. Obviously, Ulysses just got a nice update with the feature of publishing to WordPress is supported now. Therefore, I said to myself, why not try it out this time, since I have already set up my custom blog account in it.

But it just wouldn’t make it. It kept giving me an error saying I input an invalid url. WHAT? “Man, I just got it right last time and what on earth is happening? You are ruining my mood to write!” After some initial search on Google, I still can’t figure out the problem, so I went to bed with the absolute confidence to resolve it tomorrow.

Now is the “tomorrow”, and I solved it, thanks to all kinds of search engines online, and my problem solver characteristic! At first, I was able to locate this problem to the file called “xmlrpc.php” because I realized I also have problem with the Jetpack plugin on WordPress, it shows “site inaccessible” all the time. The tricky thing is, a lot of related pages says if you can get a sentence like “xmlrpc.php only accepts POST and so on…”, you are all good with this file.

Dudes, it is NOT! I typed into the url like “www.suguswu.com/xmlrpc.php” and I can get the right thing, so I was seriously misdirected by some pages at first, only trying methods su ch as to set up a “.htaccess” file because I don’t have it even I selected to show hidden files. On Ulysses, and perhaps Byword, too, the error window gave me approximately zero helpful messages, and they have slowed down my pace quite a lot. Thankfully, I have another writing software called MWeb, and when I use it to validate my setting, it told me the error message like this:
Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 2.36.09 P
This is the right thing to do, and it came from a Chinese developer, a fact of which I was proud of. Based on the error message, it did tell me that the app can’t connect to the server, which is exactly what Ulysses and Byword are telling me. However, in the following messages, I found out it is still connected to the “xmlrpc.php” file, so the truth is, as long as you are using WordPress API, you are dealing with this file, no matter what error messages the apps are telling you. It is not the fault of code, nor the fault of WordPress, but the fault of the server providers, because they are blocking the request to “xmlrpc.php” file since it is an easy channel for attackers.
Continue reading

Tweet imitator by Python

Currently I am reaching the end of my summer internship, and the company is in the social media marketing area. Basically it has dozens of social media accounts that can be used to reply to real users’ tweets about a specific topic, let’s say, a sports event, and in the replies would the robots attach links that are connected to some websites with promotional offers. Therefore, it is a good way to enhance the website traffic and do advertisements because it is not as annoying as sending you spam emails or phone calls, but to do that, we need really really authentic and sound robot accounts.
Screen-Shot-2016-07-21-at-4.48.28-PM.pngThat’s when difficulties kicked in. For example on Twitter, during the summer, my teammate and I have tried manually operating several accounts, by tweeting out posts, retweeting and all the stuff that normal users would do. However, it soon became a nightmare to operate even just 2 accounts at the same time since I felt like a psycho all the time, splitting up my life into different segments.

That feeling sucked, and I decided to research on the behaviour of robot accounts that mimicked real users. It soon got rewarding because I realized all robots follow a pattern, in which there’s a particular topic, such as fashion, food, sports or politics. They all seem to have at least one very outstanding characteristic.

Alright, since they all follow patterns in what they are tweeting about, why can’t I automate the pattern. The thought is, for example, if I am a foodie, I would often tweet about foods, and I will follow a lot of foodies’ accounts. If that is the case, I can design a program that randomizes the tweeting by using A-Basket-Of-Users method. What the hell is that? Well, it is just like how the currency policy works, by monitoring a bunch of important sources actively, but eventually it will finalize on one specific tweet to send out.

Yeah, I know it also sucks if I don’t know what I am going to send out, because there should be a way to graphically show what’s the outcome of the process, so I made a user-interface-version of it.
IMG_4332.JPGI can type in the account name I want to imitate, and it will send out that tweet using my account. If the tweet is over 140 character limit, it can also automatically truncate out unneeded url links in the latter part. Each time I hit the “upgrade” button, it will generate a new randomized tweet from the queried user, so hopefully nobody finds out who I am imitating if the “basket” is big enough.

For the server version, I also added in the “retweet” function since it is the most-used feature for those robot accounts, as they always retweet what they like. A potential timer module can be added to run this program 24/7 but I was, to be honest, too lazy to do that LOL.

I put my code open-source on my Github, because it is too long to show here in my blog post, and I value readability very much. Also, thanks to sixohsix’s gorgeous twitter API module in python.

P.S. Every experiment comes with punishments.
JPEG-image-AF43E2786D29-1.jpeg