Sunday, January 30, 2011

Helium -- where junk content is valued and real content is rejected for "lack of quality"

Image representing Helium as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseFollowing is my personal experience on Helium  ( ) Your experience can and will vary.

A long while back (several years ago) I joined a variety of places where you supposedly write things to make money (sort of freelancing). At the time, I thought Helium was interesting as it has a mutual rating community. Multiple people write articles about a single topic, then you are randomly asked to rate the articles (which is better of the two given).

So I wrote a few.

Then I realized the raters are all bigots.

They don't actually rate the articles based on quality. They just rate that they "like".

I wrote an article on "abandoneware". Legally, there is no such thing. Morally there is no such thing either. There is no such thing as "squatter's rights" to intellectual property. The #1 article claims "unsupported software" is considered "abandoneware". Others actually claimed a moral right to abandoneware as long as no harm can be proven. As predicted, my article ended at the bottom of the heap, even though I believe it is the most technically accurate of the 6 articles on that topic. That was in 2007.

So I abandoned the place.

In 2010, I was busted a scam called TVI Express, and I found a lot of writers were singing praises about TVI Express on Helium. So I gathered up all the facts I got, put in proper citations to actual news articles, and explained it's a scam, by citing all the inconsistencies, all the lies the distributors told, compared the structures to all the laws, and so on, and declared it a scam.  (I'll reproduce the article below)

The article was rejected for "LOW QUALITY" that does not meet Helium's standards.


At least the #1 article is a "scam busting" one from Shawn Cornett of ExpertMLMReview. #2 and others are singing praises of TVI Express, and that's just bull****.

So there you go: I think Helium is a community of bigots, based on my experience. Its raters are not rating for quality. Of course, I may be bigoted as well. That's why this is a RANT. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More embarrassment on Chinese News TV

Image representing Gizmodo as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseChinese News CCTV 13 allegedly played a footage of the Chinese J-10 fighter conducting an exercise on 23-JAN-2011 and destroyed a drone. However, sharp-eyed bloggers caught the footage of the explosion as being lifted out of the American movie Top Gun, even though it only last all but 2 seconds.

The news quickly went viral, and was even picked up in the US by sites such as Gizmodo, which is then picked up by other newspapers around the world. 

Turns out the news is even more interesting. I searched on ToDou, the Chinese Youtube clone, and found a "promo tape" from the fighter maker CAIC#1, which shows the same sequence: missile firing, then the 2 seconds of things blowing up, at 3:07 mark.

So we have two levels of fakery here.

1) CCTV13 was showing STOCK footage, not real missile test footage with no attribution

2) The "stock footage" from the plane manufacturer contained a few seconds pirated from Top Gun

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Mannatech and their fanatical following

Science icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.Image via WikipediaI have no idea whether their products do any good (and in my own opinion, they do not) but that's not relevant. I've been getting into a bit of discussion with a Mr. David Maddern, who, thus far, has demonstrated a willingness to defend Mannatech, even when all evidence is against him. Instead, he finds some other excuses to continue the defenses.

By my count, Mr. Maddern had won ZERO rounds in our two months of verbal sparring. He had barely edged a tie in 2 rounds, but lost 12 rounds. So that's a complete disaster.

The discussion can be found at

Here's a tally of each conversation, and sort of a "tally". I am KC, and he's DM

DM: Makes wild claims of 46% commission payout and such

KC: Calls for proof

DM: Throws out Mannatech website as "proof", names MTEX stock symbol

KC: Finds stock symbol completely unimpressive, massive losses

DM: Starts blabbing about "Mannatech is NOT sugar pill", cites some unproven explanation about cell science

DM: Claims Mannatech is losing money because it's donating vitamins for third world nutritional relief

KC: Calls DM's explanation "pseudo-science", explains "dip" in stock price occured LONG before nutritional relief announcement

DM: Replies with "you don't understand us / our science", blabs more about glyconutrients

Stock and general info round goes to KC, DM abandons the field

Monday, January 24, 2011

Is there a political message in the song chosen by Lang Lang for the Whitehouse dinner?

Lang LangCover of Lang LangLang Lang is an acknowledged master of the piano in the current generation, and his invitation to Whitehouse to perform for Obama and Hu at the state dinner was no surprise.

What was surprising is the song chosen.

Chinese communist propaganda war poster during...Image via WikipediaThe song is called "My Motherland"  (literally: Wo-Di-Zhu-Guo, or "my ancestral nation"). While it is a Chinese patriotic song, it is also the main theme for "Battle on Shangganling Mountain," about a communist "People's Volunteer Army" defeating U.S. military "jackals" in a Korean War battle.

While there is no literal mention of the war, "jackals" (i.e. invaders) will be met with "guns". Remember, Chinese literature and songs are filled with symbolisms.

I can think of a dozen more songs that does not have this contextual problems.

Perhaps Lang Lang was completely unaware of the contextual problem, but it is unlikely everybody else is also completely unaware as well.

So who decided to keep quiet?
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cultural Baggage and Entrepreneurship... continued

AdroitAlien and I have a little discussion on Cultural Baggage and Entrepreneurship... This is his reply where we were discussion on China, labor, and more. He wrote:
If you were talking about cheap labor in general, how exactly is that exploiting? More to the point, who are we to decide if their labor standards are unfit? And if they are unfit, who is to blame? Do you see my point here? Even if we replace the "child labor" with "cheap labor", my previous point would still be valid. Supply and demand works in favor of demand. If there is a surplus of demand, people will find a way to fill(Supply) it. If there is a surplus of supply, demand falls(Unless they are commodities). It is the US that is the main source of these products. We are the demand.
Well, the point was not about "cheap labor", but rather exploitation of cheap labor is not really entrepreneurship. Any one in business knows "buy low sell high". It doesn't take an entrepreneur to see that. Real entrepreneur creates new products, exploits new market niches, creates new service, and so on.

I don't believe the GDP and annual growth is fiction and I don't expect anyone with the ability to critically think to believe that. I've been following Nielsen for a while now and I am constantly reminded of Asia's growth.

They do market research with measurable data to back it up. I have no affiliation with them.
China's GDP is widely believed be fiction. Just search "China real GDP" and you'll find plenty of economists doubting the numbers released by China. One economist is quoted as saying that the published figures on how much freight is moved doesn't correlate with the GDP figures. Local governments are know to inflate their figures to make themselves look good. China's GDP is a POLITICAL figure, not an economical one, so its reliability is low. The fact that China's Consumer Price Index has jumped to over 5% just in 2010 should tell you their GDP is actually due to INFLATION instead of actual growth.

As far as their banks controlling inflation, how is that different from the Federal Reserve's tactics of printing money[digitally]? Our system isn't even audited(yet). Congressman Ron Paul is pushing for an audit as we speak.
China's Central Bank has FORCEABLY ALIGNED thei Yuan (RenMinBi) to the dollar, refusing to budge even a few pennies. It is only late in 2010 that they allowed a TINY rise in exchange rate, and that was huge news. However, it did not prevent their CPI from taking a sharp rise, and real estate market going into a bubble. They are trying to manage the bubble, hoping it doesn't go KABOOM.

The approach is one of indirect control, vs. one of direct control. VERY different.
If Foxconn is a Taiwanese company, isn't that still Asian? A contractor often times outsource work. This is nothing new. They're still working for Apple. And when you say cheap labor, you're saying it like it's a bad thing. Very strange coming from a pro-business article. And this relates with my point on the prison industrial complex here in the US. Even if we conclude it to be a bad thing, we are doing the same. Why hire workers for $10 an hour when we can outsource the work to prisoners for 65 cents an hour?
The point actually is the "innovation" is NOT in China, but rather, in the US or elsewhere. Chinese companies are NOT known for their entrepreneurship and innovative spirit. China is known for being a copycat, producer of cheap clones, and for industries, a lot of industrial spies. It's not about whether the innovator is Asian or not.

Okay, I'll give you that. Sure, they have plants in the US and Mexico. Does that justify them kicking our butts in our own country? When nationalistic American say "Support America, buy American." Will, you raise your hand and make a point to support Toyota for having plants in America?
Then the point of "protect American jobs" goes away, doesn't it, if these "foreign" cars are actually built in the US? Boycotting them would be pointless. In fact, every new car sold in the US actually has a label that explains where the vehicle is assembled, and how much of the parts used were imported.

I'll humor you again. If the Japanese auto makers are getting "bailouts" for decades, who is to blame? The car makers for getting the bailouts or our governments for giving them? BTW, I don't consider loans "bailouts" no matter how low the interest rates are. A loan is a loan.
It wasn't blame. It was simply very different circumstances.  Besides, the "bailout" in the US is a loan. US paid a lot of money to become part owners of GM, and the money WILL be paid back when the shares are sold later. Chrysler's version is a little different, but basically they sold a big chunk of themselves to Fiat. 
So the difference between a business and a job is measured in time? If so how much?
The original quote is "if you have a business in which you spend most of your time, what you have is a job".

The point is that a business is supposed to generate PASSIVE income... that it makes money without your personal involvement. It's okay to be self-employed, but then, self-employed just means job, except you are your own boss. It's not really entrepreneurship.

I don't want to turn this into a east vs West or China vs the world thing. I know Japan, Taiwan, Korea, etc are all part of the eastern culture. I just don't buy into the hate. Recently, China has limit the amount of precious materials, like Lithium, for export and they've been getting bad press for it. I say, how is that different from what we did to Cuba? This is not a debate on Eastern business culture = bad, Wester = good. I am taking no sides. I am here to say, "The pot calling the kettle."
It's NOT hate. it's simply DIFFERENCE. You have to unlearn part of the upbringing about conformity and all that (that's in the original Hub article). It wasn't really about east vs. west economic war, but more of an IDEA or CULTURE conflict.

Btw, just to clarify a few things. Morally, I do not support the child labor in China or anywhere but I do understand it. Also, innovation goes well with efficiency. Whether or not we agree with it, China and other parts of the world have made electronic good cheaper for us, the consumers. They are an industrialization country right now. We can't expect them to innovate as well as Japan or the US.
And if they ever want to become a "first-world country" they need to actually innovate instead of copy. Japan did that. 
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Monday, January 17, 2011

High Capacity Magazine Ban Should be Reinstated

Compact Glock 19 in 9x19mm Parabellum.Image via WikipediaThe debate on high-capacity magazine for a handgun reignited after the Tucson shooting of 2011, when a Congresswoman was shot through the head and six others died, and over a dozen more injured. The shooter used a Glock 19 with a 33-round high-capacity magazine. He had at least one more but he didn't get a chance to use it.

Keep in mind that a normal Glock 19, a compact version of Glock 17, has a 15 round magazine (with 9x19mm parabellum rounds). So 33 round mag is more than twice the capacity.

Real shooters disdain hi-cap mags because:

1) they disturbs the balance of the gun.

In general, you want the gun to be FRONT heavy, to help you control the tendency for the gun to "nose up" after a shot due to the way barrel is located relative to the arm. A hi-cap mag adds more weight to the REAR of the gun.

2) they are far less reliable

US military tested in 2004 their version of hi-cap mag, called C-mags, for their M-4's / M-16's, and found them to be unreliable.

The reason is simple: the spring inside does NOT give constant pressure. By the time you got down to last few rounds the pressure exerted is far less, but if you load it all the way down it may just feed too hard and cause a jam. In fact, most shooters even underload normal factory mags by a round or two to make sure they can feed properly when used.

3) hi-cap mags serve no legitimate purpose other than to engage high number of targets with minimal training

A pistol is a short-range weapon (25-50 yards effective range, probably even less). If you have THAT many enemies that close, that requires 33 round mags, you are already ****ed, gun not withstanding.

Besides, real shooters, can drop mag, reload, and restart shooting in less than a second. They don't need hi-cap mags. If they don't have time to reload, they usually use a second gun, i.e. a "backup piece" instead. Or else they pack something better, like a submachine gun.

The only conceivable reason to have high-cap mags are, to me

1) Someone wants to prove he has a bigger gun than _____

2) Someone plans to shoot a LOT of targets with minimal training.

And that is what happened in Tucson: someone decided to shoot a lot of targets with minimal training.

Real trained shooters don't need or even WANT hi-cap mags. There are no legitimate use for them. Thus, they should be banned. And they WERE banned, until the "Assault Weapon Ban" expired in 2004.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cultural Baggage and Entrepreneurship, leading to debate on economy and cultural strengths

Recently I posted a hub about how your cultural upbringing can be "baggage" when it comes to entrepreneurship.

The conversation went from the topic and quickly devolved into comparing the eastern vs. western economies. :D

Read the hub and feel free to comment on the economy.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Test post

This is a test post from the Blogaway mobile client.

The picture is a candidate for cnet's LOLCAR feature...  a Cavalier with too many stick-ons.

Should You Buy Verizon's iPhone 4 if it is released 11-JAN-11?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseGizmodo says no, and I would tend to agree.

Look, iPhone 4 is a very good phone, no doubt about that. It has a few problems here and there, but it's not something that will seriously affect adoption. It is a nice piece of tech, and it has that "want it now" factor that Apple products tend to possess in spades. So making it available to more people sure wouldn't hurt Apple.

However, it is not something that everybody MUST have. It is for geeks and wannabe geeks to look "cool". Android phones can do the same functions as good or better. Apps are catching up. And with over a dozen manufacturers making Android phones from the cheapest to now dual-core phones there is a full range to choose from.

Let's put it this way: iPhone 4 is a like a BMW: very nice sedans, but not for everybody. Android phones now comes in every form factor and features that basically ranges from the SmartKar to Rolls Royce and everything in between. You have old resistive screen 400x320 screen Android 1.6 phones all the way up to just announced dual-core 1 GHz CPU 1 GB RAM monster phones with LTE connectivity.

Even with phones similar to the iPhone 4 you have the Droid Incredible, Droid X, Samsung Galaxy S (various versions), plus other phones from HTC, LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, and soon, Huawei, Pantech, and other phonemakers. We can debate all day whether they are as good as iPhone or not, but they are definitely aimed at the same market segment. They are the Audis and Cadillacs as opposed to BMWs.

Furthermore, you know Apple will be coming out with iPhone 5 in June. So is there any particular reason to buy an iPhone 4 now, and be locked into a 2-year contract with Verizon? Do you really need an iPhone THIS bad?

If it has LTE, then sure, "iPhone 4G" instead of just iPhone 4, then it would be worth considering.

Pure CDMA regular 3G iphone 4? Not really.

World phone (i.e. CDMA/GSM hybrid phone)? Not really. That basically just means you *can* move it back to AT&T if you wish. Verizon won't like the idea at all, since you know hackers will jailbreak this and immediately unlock the GSM even if it's locked down at factory.

Here's MY prediction: tomorrow's phone will be iPhone 4C (for CDMA), a bit reminiscent of Apple IIc. It will NOT have LTE.

The new iPhone, i.e. iPhone 5 coming in June 2011, will be iPhone 5, and it will come in regular 5 and 5C versions, and THOSE will have more features... The GSM version will be HSPA+ compatible (i.e. will reach "4G speeds"), and the CDMA/EVDO version will be LTE compatible.

The reason for this is Apple will be later making a GSM version with LTE to be compatible with AT&T's upcoming LTE network. That'll be the Apple iPhone 5S. But that won't come until 2012, which is when AT&T says their LTE rollout will start.

Oh well, let's see what happens tomorrow.

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