In 1995, Joseph Schorr and others authored one of my more favourite tech books — Macworld Mac Secrets, where he introduced a number of Web links — including CRAYON (Create Your Own Newspaper). I’ve never been able to really use that back in the day, but I did know that in 1999, I was happy with My Yahoo!, which, as a Swiss Wetterfrosch, allowed me to put the weather report where it mattered — top left hand of the customised news page. (It also allowed me to set a pale-ish grey as the background colour, which was easier on the eyes.)
We’re now about 20 years away from when I first got introduced to CRAYON. Whilst that never really worked, it is working when it comes to customised news on my smartphone. There are three ways, in fact, I got this working my end:
- following all the news sources I want on Twitter (easier said than done, really; I had to follow credible / verified accounts over “just about any old account”)
- downloading news apps to my iPhone (again, I was never a fan of the “unofficial aggregates”, which I found hard to really trust)
- following accounts on WeChat (here again, I had the tendency to trust verified accounts more) ▶
I’d like to keep today’s post a brief one — I’m a firm believer that rational, legal debate on the Internet is one of the best things ever invented — or at least made possible. Social media is one of those places where we all are sharing voices freely. I love it when people from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and all over the place come together over a great variety of things.
Social media, like I argued in my PhD dissertation, should be a place where there remains both order and freedom — and one doesn’t have to feed on the other. Whilst we should ban criminal content — much is the case in “the real world” — we should also allow rational, legal debate plenty of space and time. I’m not one for shutting down accounts just because I share a different point of view than you do. To me that’s something that sounds like Pyongyang. It just shouldn’t happen.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. This quote from Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often misattributed to Voltaire) forms the centrepiece of my views on social media. As long as it’s legit and rational, we should allow all comments people hold to be aired freely. The Internet and social media wants to be free. I say — let it be. ▶
As of late I’ve been the subject of a major debate regarding HSR on Sina Weibo. I won’t go into that in too much depth other than saying that I made a comment, which simply read:
It’s weird that some media with little better to do can give factual inaccuracies about Chinese high speed rail — and yet freak out when their editorial gets changed all of a sudden.
That on its own got more than “a few people” upset.
However, I’d like to clarify on that a little. ▶
I was just featured a few days ago on the Southern Weekly (in Chinese), after having taken part in Foursquare Day in Beijing, which incidentally took place on “4 squared” day (“4 squared” would mean the 16th day of April 2010). The usual hideout would, of course, be at Sanlitun Village.
I’m one of the more active users of Foursquare, and am usually the second most active in terms of mayorships. I’ve a lot of railway and Beijing Subway stations under my “mayorship” for the simple reason that driving simply makes no more sense these days (especially after they opened up Line 4 to the Beijing South Railway Station). I also own a few toll gates on Beijing expressways, just for when I make a more distant trip. ▶
When seven Mac revolutionaries started this thing called the Beijing Macintosh User Group about six years ago, one of the first thing we were dying for: an Apple Store. The US was getting them by the boatload, and one of those stores hit home pretty close — in Japan, that is.
This thing called the East China Sea was all that separated the People’s Republic from an Apple Store. (And, of course, Supreme Command it seemed — from 1 Infinite Loop.)
Back in the day, an Apple Store seemed a remote paradise. Then came the iPod. The iPhone. The whole Mac-shebang. BootCamp. YouNameIt.
Suddenly, the Mac became “something”.
It became a very big “something” on July 19, 2008, when the Apple Store was about to open in Sanlitun. Oh my God. The crowds. The overnight waiting. I was number six, but that meant nothing not being number one. What made the whole thing really worthwhile was not the mass tweeting, but to be part of Beijing Mac history with the Mac community. ▶