Google Drive vs Dropbox, and of the Babelian Library

http://qz.com/78488/if-google-drive-had-launched-in-2006-dropbox-wouldnt-be-a-4-billion-company-today/

If Google Drive had launched in 2006, Dropbox wouldn’t be a $4 billion company today
By Justin Rosenstein, Co-Founder of Asana

I led the development of an early fully-working version of Google Drive, but failed to ship it under some pretty crazy circumstances. In the process, I learned about the importance of clear, confident communication. Here’s my story.

In 2004, when I was 20, I left college early to join Google. Google was pre-IPO, and on the excited lips of every computer science student I knew. So when I got the job, I was elated.

Larry Page was one of my idols. The more I got to know him, the more I admired him. Larry is brilliant. Freakishly brilliant. A true visionary. Every time he hears an idea, he pushes back: why can’t we do it bigger? bolder? more encompassing? I think the only reason he doesn’t receive the kind of hero-worship that you saw of Steve Jobs is that he lacks the ego and showmanship.

I was asked to product manage an exciting skunk works project. We code-named it Platypus, but it was clear what we wanted to call it when it launched: Gdrive. After a couple years, we had a product that synced your files across your computers, let you share them with others, and worked on Windows, Mac, Linux, and the Web. This thing was so useful it was amazing.

But when I brought it to Larry, he said he didn’t want to launch it. He wanted a more unified Google, and didn’t want Gdrive to ship until it did a bunch of other things like integrate deeply into Google Docs. There were a number of reasons, both technical and organizational, that those integrations were extremely difficult — including the fact that the Google Docs team understandably didn’t want to complicate their product with folder hierarchies at all!

[…]

Of course, maybe I still wouldn’t have convinced him, but, in hindsight, I think I just didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t have enough confidence I was right. I also didn’t have the organizational capital to influence the Google Docs team, and so when Dustin asked me in 2007 to join Facebook, I left Google without completing the project. Google eventually launched an integrated Gdrive five years later, but by then file-sharing competitor Dropbox had already risen to 50M users.

My failure to convince Larry Page helped make Dropbox a $4 billion company.

There was so much gossip and buzz from beta Gdrive users some years back about just when Gdrive will officially launch and integrate with Goggle Docs. Now we have the insider’s account of just what happened.

But I can certainly understand the Google Docs team’s concern:
“the Google Docs team understandably didn’t want to complicate their product with folder hierarchies at all!”

My own struggle with my personal ‘babel database’ project over the last twenty years (on and off) had been focused on exactly that, controlling and flattening folder hierarchies which would otherwise grow unrestrained and overwhelm even the most sophisticated and robust of database structures. Hence my early realization in my youth that it is all about the Index: a robust and simple system of classifying and indexing multiple data (points and format) that is resistant to overgrowth and complexity.
https://dustysojourner.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/000-100-filing-systems_indexes_databases-for-the-creative-logical-efficient/
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But of course, we must never forget that in the end, it all comes to nought. Or Everything.

babel_library_borges_hexagons_possibilities

babel_library_borges_hexagons_all_possibilities

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Library_of_Babel

Plot summary

Borges’s narrator describes how his universe consists of an enormous expanse of interlocking hexagonal rooms, each of which contains the bare necessities for human survival—and four walls of bookshelves. Though the order and content of the books is random and apparently completely meaningless, the inhabitants believe that the books contain every possible ordering of just a few basic characters (23 letters, spaces and punctuation marks). Though the majority of the books in this universe are pure gibberish, the library also must contain, somewhere, every coherent book ever written, or that might ever be written, and every possible permutation or slightly erroneous version of every one of those books. The narrator notes that the library must contain all useful information, including predictions of the future, biographies of any person, and translations of every book in all languages. Conversely, for many of the texts some language could be devised that would make it readable with any of a vast number of different contents.

Despite — indeed, because of — this glut of information, all books are totally useless to the reader, leaving the librarians in a state of suicidal despair.

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雾锁南洋 Fog-shrouded Nanyang (The Awakening)

雾锁南洋 Fog-shrouded Nanyang (The Awakening):

雾锁南洋-新加坡电视剧-雾锁南洋主题歌
唱:孙振福
词:梁立人/木子 曲:蓝兆庞

人世间曾有多少离合悲欢
生命中曾有几许无奈沧桑
雾起在南方 雾落在南方
朝阳可曾藏心坎

过去的记忆你是否已经遗忘
祖先的流离可曾使你惆怅
雾起在南方 雾落在南方
重重迷雾锁南洋

望远方天水茫茫
浓雾中何处是家乡
向远方冲过险滩
浓雾散见我新家乡

过去的记忆世代不可遗忘
祖先的流离使我生命更坚强
雾起在南方 雾落在南方
重重迷雾锁南洋

带希望努力垦荒 带理想开拓新家乡
用希望换取希望 用理想创造新理想

充满信心向前望
不必迷惘 黑暗到了尽头
就会出现曙光
雾起在南方 雾落在南方
朝阳一出迷雾消

Fog-shrouded Nanyang (The Awakening)

In this world, how many reunions and farewells, joys and sorrows once passed
In this life, how much despair and vicissitudes can there be
The fog rises in the South, the fog fades in the South
Does the rising sun hide its pains deep within its farthest reaches

Have you already forgotten the memories of the past
Did our ancestors’ forced wanderings and perilous journeys (away from their homeland) ever made you sad and disconsolate
The fog rises in the South, the fog fades in the South
The thick and heavy fog (difficulties) shrouds over Nanyang (South Seas)

Gazing into the distance, the sky and waters (horizon) is endless
Just where is our homeland in this thick fog
Setting sight into the distance, charging past the perilous reefs and beaches
The thick fog disperses and I see my new homeland

The memories of the past must never be forgotten by latter generations
Our ancestors’ forced wanderings and perilous journeys strengthens my will and life
The fog rises in the South, the fog fades in the South
The thick and heavy fog shrouds over Nanyang

Bringing our hopes and determination as we open up this wilderness
Bringing our ideals as we develop our new homeland
Exchanging hopes for new aspirations
Creating new ambitions from old ideals

Looking ahead with full confidence
Despair no more, at the edge of the darkness
Shall appear the break of dawn
The fog rises in the South, the fog fades in the South
The appearance of the rising sun disperses the fog

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Awakening_(Singapore_TV)

The Awakening (Traditional Chinese: 霧鎖南洋, Simplified Chinese: 雾锁南洋) is a 1984 television drama series produced by Singapore Broadcasting Corporation to celebrate the nation’s 25th National Day celebrations. The series mainly covers the Chinese Singaporean experience in Singapore, from the first generation of Chinese immigrants, who arrived to a relatively undeveloped island, through the Japanese occupation periods, and to the Chinese Singaporeans at the present day (1984), who resides in a developed nation that is radically different from the land their ancestors arrived to.

There are two parts to the series, and two sections in each of the parts:

First Series

  • The Awakening: Eternity (霧鎖南洋之地久天長) covers the travails of Chinese Singaporeans, who came to Singapore as migrants from China in the early part of the 20th Century. The most famous characters are Ah Mei and Ah Shui (played by Xiang Yun and Huang Wenyong.)
  • The Awakening: Before the Dawn of the Lion City (霧鎖南洋之獅城拂曉/雾锁南洋之狮城拂晓) covers the Japanese occupation of Singapore.

Second Series

  • The Awakening: Through the Storm Together (霧鎖南洋之風雨同舟/雾锁南洋之风雨同舟) covers the years after the Japanese occupation, and the events that led to Singapore’s independence.
  • The Awakening: Dawn at the Equator (霧鎖南洋之赤道朝陽/雾锁南洋之赤道朝阳) covers the development of Singapore after its independence.

This was THE television drama series then, during my primary school years in the 80s. Everyone watched it and talked about it, from five year-olds newly born into the Tiger economy of 1980’s Singapore, to eighty-five year-olds who lived through much of the history and background covered by the drama series.

If not for the focus on just one racial group, it could had been used as material for our social studies and history classes. Actually, it was.
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huangwenyong_awakening

huangwenyong_awakening

Veteran MediaCorp actor Huang Wenyong has died
http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/veteran-mediacorp-actor-huang-wenyong-has-died-20130420

RIP ah shui…

一生所愛 The love of a lifetime

一生所愛 The Love of a Lifetime by 盧冠廷 莫文蔚:

一生所愛

從前現在過去再不來
紅紅落葉長埋塵土內
開始終結總是沒變改
天邊的你飄泊白雲外

苦海翻起愛浪
在世間難逃避命運
相親竟不可接近
或我應該相信是緣份

情人別後永遠再不來(消散的情緣〕
無言獨坐放眼塵世外〔願來日再聚〕
鮮花雖會凋謝〔只願〕
但會再開〔為你〕
一生所愛隱約〔守候〕
在白雲外(期待〕

苦海翻起愛浪
在世間難逃避命運
相親竟不可接近
或我應該相信是緣份

苦海翻起愛浪
在世間難逃避命運
相親竟不可接近
或我應該相信是緣份

The Love of a Lifetime

The Past-Present what came before, never to come again
Crimson fallen leaves long buried within the dust and earth
The Beginning Ending, always remaining unchanged
You are at the edge of the sky, floating beyond the white clouds

The Ocean of Suffering foments with waves of Love
In this world impossible to escape Fate
Entwined with love and tenderness, yet unable to embrace and hold each other close
Perhaps I ought to believe this is Destiny

The lover, upon farewell, never to return (a love and destiny that fades away)
Wordless, sitting alone, gazing beyond this dusty-sentient world (may we reunite in our next lives)
Fresh flowers may wither (wishing only)
But they shall bloom again (for you)
The love of a lifetime remains veiled (awaiting)
Beyond the white clouds (in expectation)

The Ocean of Suffering foments with waves of Love
In this world impossible to escape Fate
Entwined with love and tenderness, yet unable to embrace and hold each other close
Perhaps I ought to believe this is Destiny

The Ocean of Suffering foments with waves of Love
In this world impossible to escape Fate
Entwined with love and tenderness, yet unable to embrace and hold each other close
Perhaps I ought to believe this is Destiny

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(消散的情緣〕
(願來日再聚〕
(只願〕
〔為你〕
〔守候〕
(期待〕
(a love and destiny that fades away)
(may we reunite in our next lives)
(wishing only)
(for you)
(awaiting)
(in expectation)

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The most heart-breaking and plaintive movie theme song in HK film, from the epic two-part movies, A Chinese Odyssey I and II.

For those who dissed the two movies as just another of Stephen Chow’s madcap 無厘頭 Mo lei tau nonsensical comedies, as I did at that time in my youth, watch it again. Then again.
Stephen Chow may well be the greatest mad genius of them all.

For many, we watched A Chinese Odyssey I and II in our youth and laughed at them as comedies. Then, we grew up and discovered Love for ourselves and watched A Chinese Odyssey again, crying rivers of tears down our faces, and realized its a romantic tragedy. After more years have passed and through numerous hurts received and countless more dished out, and when the rose-tinted glasses have finally been lifted from our eyes, we watched it once more and this time, stoically see that it is all about Life.

Perhaps one day, the scales of this 苦海 suffering sentient world shall fall from our eyes and we can see what it truly is about – 苦谛 Dukkha Suffering.
The movies are like the 真经 True Scriptures themselves which Sun Wukong was travelling to the ends of the world to obtain in the first place.
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What faces did we used to wear in our past lives, or even within this present one? A lackadaisical but happy go lucky 至尊宝 Joker and/or a 盖世英雄 peerless warrior hero 孙悟空 Sun Wukong (Monkey King)?
Who are the 紫霞仙子 Zixia Immortal, 白晶晶 Bai Jing Jing, 春三十娘 Thirty Taels of Spring Blossom Lady, of my life?
Just what mark had she left in my heart?
Even if I have the 月光寶盒 Moon Ray Magic Box and could cross on the moon rays and travel back in time, what can I change? What would I change anyway?
I want to ride on my 七彩云 Seven-Coloured Rainbow Cloud and descend upon the scene like a 盖世英雄 peerless hero and sweep her off her feet and carry her away in my arms on the wind…
But, she is gone and I have already shackled and placed the 金箍圈 Gold Ring around my head.
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The creator/editor of the music video above, perhaps taking a leaf out of the movies’ themes of the Samsara Cycle and time travel, stitched together different scenes from the two movies overlaid onto the theme song repeated 3 times; giving rise to the beguiling questions: Just who met who first and where and most importantly, when and in what reincarnation? Did a fearless swashbuckling Sun Wukong@Joker meet Bai Jingjing first before Zixia, here in the present or back 500 years ago? Or did a time-travelling Joker@Sun Wukong meet Zixia first 500 years ago in front of 水濂洞 Waterfall Cave, before it was renamed 盘丝洞 Spider Web Cave?

And the curse and burden Sun Wukong has to bear, is that having been reincarnated from Sun Wukong to Joker, loved and lost Bai Jingjing, went back in time again and again in vain to save her, then went back in time 500 years to find a way to save and meet her, only to meet Zixia in front of 水濂洞 Waterfall Cave and receive the branding from her marking him as her man (truly!), have Zixia like a 飞蛾扑火-moth drawn to flame and fall in love with him, to meet and be reunited with the younger Bai Jingjing, and only at the point of his death and having his chest slashed open and his still-beating heart reveal that his one true love who left her tear and mark in his heart is actually Zixia, to be reincarnated back into Sun Wukong again and this time willingly lay down the fetters and emotional ties of the sentient world and place the Gold Ring around his head, to face Zixia no longer as the effusive Joker but as the Immortal Monkey King/Sun Wukong who has cut off all ties with the red-dusty world, deny her and her love again and again, then unable to save her and to watch her die, wanting to hold onto her but grasping her tighter makes the Gold Ring clench tighter still around his head, until he cannot help but let her go…

And at that point of utmost agony and pain, he screams – not just the cries of an immortal or man or monkey, but the plaintive ghoulish howls and shrieks of a million sentient beings and souls in the kalpa-aeons, past present and future: what every sentient being has been suffering in this sentient world/苦海 since aeons past.

But a little reprieve at the end. The Heavens take pity on Sun Wukong/Joker: gifting him with the images/mirages/silhouettes in the setting sun of Joker and Zixia standing atop the town gate. Under the guise of this pantomime, what he couldn’t say to Zixia before he can now declare boldly: I love you soooo much and shall never leave you. Once he had rejected and pushed her away, now he shall embrace her and kiss her and hold her close…if only for this moment.

And the biggest curse and burden Sun Wukong has to bear at the end, is that having gone through multiple reincarnations and loved and lost across different times and lives, he is forced to have to remember everything.

That is the most painful agony and burden of all.

愛你…一萬年 Love you…for ten thousand years

曾經有一份真誠的愛情擺在我的面前,但是我沒有珍惜,等到了失去的時候才後悔莫及。塵­世間最痛苦的事莫過於此。如果上天可以給我一個機會再來一次的話,我會跟那個女孩子說­我愛她!如果非要把這份愛加上一個期限,我希望是…一萬年。

Once, true love was placed before me, but I did not cherish it. And after it was lost to me, I could do nothing but regret. In this dusty sentient world there is no greater pain than this. If the heavens can give me a chance to do it all over again, I would tell that girl, I love her! If there be a need to put a time limit on this love, I wish it to be…ten thousand years.

原来那个女孩子,在我的心里面留下了一滴眼泪
What that girl left in my heart, was a single tear

金箍圈 Gold Headband

金箍圈_Gold Ring_headband

金箍圈_Gold Ring_headband

Lately, the 金箍圈 Gold Headband around my head 越縮越緊, shrinking and tightening ever more and more – the pain is killing me.

(…放不下,真的放不下 I just can’t let it go…)

Just what mark had she left in my heart?

Even if I have the 月(越)光寶盒 Moon Ray Magic Box and could cross on the moon rays and travel back in time, what can I change?
What would I change anyway?

I want to ride on my 七彩云 Seven-Coloured Rainbow Cloud and descend upon the scene like a 盖世英雄 peerless hero and sweep her off her feet and carry her away in my arms on the wind…

But, she is gone and I have already shackled and placed the 金箍圈 Gold Ring around my head.

夏日的嬷嬷茶 Summer Holiday

One of the magical movies from the magic years. Filmed at two of my favourite places, the streets and cafes of Malacca and the beaches of Redang Island.

The movie, 夏日的嬷嬷茶 Summer Holiday. Chinese title really translates as Summer’s MoreMore Tea (Movie female lead’s name is Summer, and the male lead, MoreMore Tea).

夏日的嬷嬷茶 Summer Holiday – Movie Trailer:

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The (male) theme song of the movie.
[How to translate this song title and unique chinese turn of phrase? Bountiful Bouquet of Beautiful Breakers?]
浪花一朵朵:

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The (female) theme song of the movie.
With scenes of the streets of Malacca, and of Summer/Sammi Cheng at the Malaccan artist Charles Cham’s orang-utan house and art gallery, and buying one of his T-shirts.
快乐不快乐 Happy or unhappy:

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This scene of MoreMore Tea/Richie Jen willingly playing the fool and like a broken record, playing and singing the song 快乐不快乐 Happy or unhappy over and over again to a broken-hearted Sammi. Awww…

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The happy beach party scene of Richie Jen and Ah Niu singing and serenading to their respective loves.

Sammi Cheng was absolutely gorgeous and glowing in this movie, but even then, I remember seeing the young teen model-turned-actress 王凯蒂 Katherine Wang for the first time and thinking she’s really pretty. And really thin. And spoke funny.
I think I saw her more recently in a drama series or something; she’s become older and even lovelier.

Guess I liked the movie then also because the male lead was supposed to be an acclaimed architect with a thriving NY practice who got on the cover of TIME magazine, but who spent four months of every year being a beach bum and running a beachfront inn. And the female lead was a once hotshot fund manager who lost her touch and ran into a string of losers – the tech stocks she was suckered into buying, the best friend and colleague who back-stabbed her, and a cheating boyfriend (with all three linked together, to her horror and dismay).

Sigh, have spent too many summers playing the fool and bumming on beaches all over Asia… Sadly, those happy times are behind me now.

快乐不快乐 没什么快不快乐
Happy or unhappy
Nothing to be happy or unhappy for