Sunday Aug 03, 2008

Chinese Ambitions

China’s Ambition Soars to High-Tech Industry: "President Hu Jintao hinted at China’s vaulting ambitions during a meeting of China’s scientific elite last June at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he called on scientists to challenge other countries in high technology. "We are ready for a fight," he said, "to control the scientific high ground and earn a seat on the world’s high technology board. We will make some serious efforts to strengthen our nation’s competence."-- NY Times.

Cool. More competition. Should be good for the West. Right? That competition should be good for Japan as well. Rhetorically, though, this article is interesting. I never hear the Japanese talk this way. Americans are bold rhetorically, and the Chinese are demonstrating that they are as well. Not the Japanese, though. I wonder. Is aggressive rhetoric a necessary ingredient for innovation and growth? 

Monday Jul 28, 2008

Japanese or Chinese?

Ok, what language is more difficult to learn for western adults -- Japanese or Chinese? The consensus seems to be that Japanese grammar is more difficult than Chinese grammar, but Chinese pronunciation is more difficult than Japanese pronunciation. I would agree. Now, can you imagine a language that combines the most difficult aspects of Japanese and Chinese and includes the complexity of their character-based writing systems? I still think telepathy is the way to go.

Tuesday Jul 15, 2008

Koppel on China

A great conversation here between Charlie rose and Ted Koppel talking about China. Looking forward to viewing Koppel's new program.

Sunday Jul 06, 2008

Energy Efficiency and Economic Opportunity

Japan sees a chance to promote its energy-frugal ways: "According to the International Energy Agency, based in Paris, Japan consumed half as much energy per dollar worth of economic activity as the European Union or the United States, and one-eighth as much as China and India in 2005. While the country is known for green products like hybrid cars, most of its efficiency gains have been in less eye-catching areas, for example, in manufacturing ... Japan's strides in efficiency are clearest in heavy industries like steel, which are the nation's biggest consumers of power." -- International Herald Tribune

Seems that high oil prices are offering the Japanese new markets around the world for their technologies. China seems particularly interested. For obvious reasons.

Thursday Jul 03, 2008

Building Community Big in China

If you want get a feel for the China OpenSolaris community building operations, check out John Jiang's mail to advocacy-discuss a few minutes ago -- [advocacy-discuss] Community Building Efforts in China -- 365 Days, 122 Events, 19600 Attendees. "One event every 3 days, with an average number of 160 attendees," John says, for a total of about 20,000 people. That's not bad, especially when you realize that the people he's talking about practically jump out of their skin to talk to you and to learn what's going on in OpenSolaris around the world. And it's not just OpenSolaris. You'll see from John's mail that NetBeans, Studio, MySQL, and Java are mixed right in, which is cool to see since we want to connect existing communities as well as build new ones. The excitement is utterly palpable in China. If you haven't been there, get on a plane and go. Trust me. You will be surprised to see the changes that have taken place over the last few years there.

[Oh, and sorry, our Jive forums really messed up John's mail (I'm not surprised at all). He had a nice grid outlining all the events. The initial text is enough to give you an idea, but to see the tables go to his blog.]

Sunday Jun 08, 2008

Koreans Going After English

Some South Korean parents are so motivated to get their kids into English classes that they are willing to split up their families to do it -- For English Studies, Koreans Say Goodbye to Dad. That's just very sad. The Korean government has stated that it will start addressing the problem by hiring more English teachers. I also didn't know that there are now more than 103,000 South Korean students in the United States -- the highest population of foreign students in the country.

English Required

Every time I read an article about how Japan wants to make Tokyo competitive as global financial center, the issue of the obvious lack of English language skills here comes up. Every time. Here it is again -- Japan increases push for Tokyo as finance centre. I doubt China will make this mistake. China's economy is emerging now during a time of globalization, whereas Japan's emerged prior to globalization.

Wednesday May 21, 2008

Beijing: Linux, OpenSolaris, OpenOffice

Some images here from Robert Sohigian and Fiona Duan at the special joint meeting of the OpenSolaris community and the Linux community to hear the latest from the OpenOffice community. Expect to see this more and more activities like this as the communities get together to share ideas and collaborate.

Update: See Robert's blog on this.

Tuesday May 13, 2008

Community Collaboration in Beijing

Check this out --  Beijing OpenSolaris User Group 16th Meeting (May 20th, 2008). The Beijing OpenSolaris User Group is doing a joint meeting with the Beijing Linux User Group to hear a preso from Louis Suarez-Potts on OpenOffice. Cool. Nice to see the communities collaborating more and more like this.

Monday May 12, 2008

Japan Inside China

Very interesting. A little Japanese inside China -- [i18n-discuss] Solaris Teacher Training and Sun University Tour- Dalian. Next time I visit China, I have to spend some time in Dalian to explore this China-Japan connection. I first read about this in a Tom Friedman column, but it's not talked about that much here in Japan. Gotta check it out.

Sunday May 11, 2008

Immigration a Key to Innovation

Great article in Newsweek from Fareed Zakaria -- The Rise of the Rest -- about how large chunks of the world are dramatically improving and growing significantly in an era of ever reducing violence. Finally. A positive view of globalization, and one distinctly lacking all the fear about the US falling to second class (or even third class) economic status (which is nothing more than propaganda). The gloom-and-doomers and isolationists in the US are an obviously and obnoxiously vocal minority, and they will miss this positive view because it's actually based on embracing the entire world with that nasty word -- immigration. Zakaria says that "the potential for a new burst of American productivity depends not on our education system or R&D spending, but on our immigration policies. If these people are allowed and encouraged to stay, then innovation will happen here. If they leave, they'll take it with them." 

Avoiding Competition

You catch that Fortune article -- You have 7 years to learn Mandarin -- about China surpassing the United States economically in seven years? Whether it's seven years or fifty doesn't really matter, I suppose, since people will be arguing about how to measure this for a while. And the measurements themselves are changing, it seems. How convenient. Whatever. I think it's cool either way because it offers new opportunities, and that´s what I´m after. In fact, aside from the word freedom, I can´t think of another word that describes Americans better than the word opportunity. Can you?

But Fortune seems defensive. We are supposed to "worry" about this, and we are told that American individuals "can avoid competition with Chinese workers by doing place-based work, which ranges in value from highly skilled (emergency-room surgery) to menial (pouring concrete). But the many people who do information-based work, which is most subject to competition, will have to get dramatically better to be worth what they cost. For government leaders: Improve U.S. education above all."

The first part of that paragraph is ridiculous. You can't "avoid competition" in a global economy, and I´m not "worrying" at all. Why not embrace the change as an opportunity? In fact, wouldn't be cool to live in China for a bit to check all this out first hand? Wouldn´t it be cool to learn some Chinese and interact with Chinese from their perspective for a while? I don´t see very many people in the US thinking this way about the rise of China (and India, for that matter, and some other emerging markets around the world, too). In fact, Sin-Yaw Wang has it right when he comments about the Fortune piece: "The new generation of business leaders, now in their 20s or 40s, must learn to do business in China and with Chinese. 7 years is not that long to master a language, especially when one is not even trying." I agree. And I´m reading this view (the not trying bit) over and over again. It´s defensive. Oh, well. I suppose that´s an opportunity for those who see it differently, right?

Thursday May 08, 2008

OpenSolaris 2008.05 Opens in China

Nice to see OpenSolaris 2008.05 already moving in China. Two blogs from Sun's Qingye John Jiang: OpenSolaris 2008.05 in Retrospect (see Chinese version here) and Photos from the Installfest (in Chinese and English). If you are familiar with the OpenSolaris activities in China, you know that it has been an utterly amazing year there -- especially on universities. But now that Indiana is out there as a product, I have a feeling that the China OpenSolaris community is going to actually increase its growth rate. Also, the OpenSolaris community in China is now directly interacting with the community in the U.S., Europe, and India and people all over the are noticing this development. A quote from John's blog: "20 years ago, there were less than 50 universities in China that had a computer science department, while this number exceeds 800 in 2008."

Thursday May 01, 2008

Crazy English in China

Fascinating piece about this guy Li Yang teaching "Crazy English" to huge crowds of people in China. His technique is rather unique, but I can see how it may have significant benefits for anyone learning another language as an adult. The larger language issue in China, though, is illustrated by this utterly amazing quote from the article: "Linguists estimate the number of Chinese now studying or speaking English at between two hundred million and three hundred and fifty million, a figure that’s on the order of the population of the United States." Just think about that. Just think about how that changes things in the future with language barriers beginning to melt away and what means for global communications and global economics. Also, Ampontan has a detailed analysis of the article that's well worth reading and adds some interesting context from Japan.

Monday Apr 14, 2008

New OpenSolaris Images from China

I can't keep up with all this stuff, so I just point to whatever I can when I can. Check out Fiona Duan's flickr photostream for some new images of various OpenSolaris events at Chinese universities. Lots of Beijing OpenSolaris User Group activity, too. Great to see the community thriving in China.

Friday Feb 22, 2008

Campus Ambassadors in Japan

It was great to meet the three Campus Ambassadors in Japan yesterday -- Heejoung Park, Takahiro Machino, Hiroya Susuki. I'm going to be getting more involved with various education programs around OpenSolaris in China, India, and Japan. Should be fun. I've been on OpenSolaris for four years, and I've worked on many aspects of the project. But working with students is the most rewarding by far. Looking forward to doing more in this area.

Wednesday Feb 13, 2008

New Advocacy Core Contributors from China

Great to have two new Core Contributors from China in the Advocacy CG -- Joey Guo and John Jiang -- here and here. We need more Core Contributors leading user groups and other community development programs in emerging markets, and we also need to connect those leaders back to the main community. We are making progress.

Thursday Feb 07, 2008

China in Japan

I had a lovely dinner tonight with Akira and Ayako from the Sun Japan office and Sin-Yaw Wang and his wife, I-Woan Lee, from China. Sin-Yaw, who is a vice president in engineering and site lead for Sun China ERI, was visiting today to meet with the engineering teams in Tokyo. Great day. Amazing dinner.


Friday Feb 01, 2008

New OpenSolaris Curriculum in India

[ug-bosug] Introductory OpenSolaris Curriculum: Here is an OpenSolaris student curriculum just emerging from training sessions in India a few weeks ago. What's cool is that although the material is specifically written and compiled for Indian students, there is actually a connection to documentation written by professors in China. 

Sun Growing in Asia

Sun Micro's Asia brightens amid U.S. gloom: Sun is growing -- and hiring -- in rapidly expanding markets in Asia.


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