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A short discussion on Taiwan's amateur radio Skype chat today reminded me (Thanks, Rob! Btw, I was serious with that suggestion...) that I need to embarrass people from time to time. Not just any people of course, but those who deserve it, because unfortunately this is often the only way to achieve change here in Taiwan. You have to "hurt the feelings" of people in charge, or they will just go on as it pleases them. Feelings can be more important than laws on this island. An example:

About 16 years ago a lot of youngsters were racing through Taizhong on their scooters. To be honest, that had happened before, and is is still happening these days, and not just in Taizhong. The police usually sits back and lets them race, hurt people etc. Why should the police get involved? They might get hurt in the process...

Besides, it is much more pleasant to sit inside, drink some tea and chat with friends. 16 years ago however, the gangs in Taizhong overdid it. IIRC they even killed people, and especially they raced every night on predictable tracks, one of them being the Double-Ten Road. They were so predictable that local media started to wait for them and shoot photos for a few exciting stories.

Then national media came down from Taibei, including TV. You could just stand on the bridge across Double-Ten Road near the station and wait a while - your "prey" would surely come. That caused a bit of "concern" among legislators, because a few more people started asking a bit louder why media can photograph and even film those gangs, but the police seems unable to catch them. However, that was "concern" only.

Embarrassment set in when international media started publishing this. Now the world was shaking their heads in disbelief. (Believe it though, it's true...) That was when suddenly the police was able to set up a trap and catch the whole gang. After they did, the police threw all the scooters together and even smashed them. After all, they had to show that they were upholding the law - by breaking it. Even in Taiwan the police is not allowed to destroy people's property at their convenience. But what is a law...

OK, that was an old story, here is a new one: Amateur radio is in pretty bad shape in Taiwan. There are not many radio amateurs left now I have to admit, but an important reason for this is to find in the laws and regulations governing amateur radio. The number of radio amateurs can also hardly be the main reason for the current situation, because it had also been like this when there were more of us. So what is wrong?

One thing that is rotten in the state of Taiwan is frequency use. Oh, there are rules and regulations, of course, and one thing you learn in/for the exam is that lots of those are "according to and based on international rules and regulations". That is even true - in theory.

Amateur radio is regulated globally by the IARU. They however can only use frequency contingents allocated by the ITU . Electromagnetic waves do not care for political borders, so things need to be coordinated internationally. So the IARU creates band plans for the three ITU regions on this planet. Sorry, the band plan for region 3 (where Taiwan is located) is a rather poorly written and formatted Word document, but if we have a look at region 1, you can see that the 2m band (144-146MHz) is "used throughout the world".

The 2m band is also exclusively for amateur radio, unlike 70cm (430MHz), where amateur radio not only has to share, but is often secondary. Even the NCC, Taiwan's national regulation body, acknowledges this . (Word file, better look here ) You can also have a look at this PDF (page 25). Nice theory, right?

In practice however, things are very different. Down here in Gaoxiong you will hardly ever hear a radio amateur on that band. What you will hear are coach and lorry drivers, taxis, hospitals etc. Does the NCC do anything about it? No, too inconvenient.

There is even an official emergency frequency on 145.00MHz. This itself would not be bad, if it was done properly. Japan has an emergency and call frequency there. That means people will often call on that frequency and then move to another one after they established contact to another station. It also means that many people are listening, so in case of an emergency there will be people hearing you on that frequency. It is however an amateur radio emergency frequency, used by radio amateurs.

Not so in Taiwan. Here you will find hospitals on that frequency. No joke. They even do regular equipment tests. So, Taiwan is officially violating its own laws, and nobody cares about it. But it gets better: I was climbing again today on a hill near my place. And again I was listening into 2m when I was up there. Right on 145.00MHz I heard a taxi company issuing orders to their fleet. (Taxi has btw an official slot allocated at 139MHz .) 

So, not only do official institutions (Department of Health ) violate national laws and the national regulation body (NCC) does not care, they do not even care when those violations get violated. The only people with bad cards here are radio amateurs, because they can be fined about US$3000 if they do anything not allowed by the pretty restrictive (and often ridiculous or meaningless) rules. Just read BX2ABT's adventures , the entry for 2011-02-16 for example. (Sorry, he is using a rather simple CMS, no direct link to that entry possible.) Legal radio amateurs are the only ones who have to obey those rules, everyone else is happily doing whatever illegal activity they are pursuing.

Now, if you would like to support us, read this, have a laugh or shake your head and tell others how third-worldish some things are in Taiwan. What we here in Taiwan say does not mean much to them, but when the world laughs about them, the people in charge may get uncomfortable enough to finally do something.

How about some Bach? Some "special" Bach... It is no secret that almost anything that emits a sound, especially one where you can alter the pitch, qualifies as some kind of "instrument". But many instruments are also suited for certain kinds of music, meaning that you can play some kinds of music easier than others on them.

Bach's favourite instrument was the organ, and he has always been very demanding on it. If you try to play Bach with other instruments, you may run into problems - especially on "slow" instruments. Had I not seen the video, I would not have believed it possible, but this amazing person is playing Bach's toccata and fugue in D minor on - wine glasses...

Im Auswärtigen Amt muß es wohl zuviel Geld geben. Entweder waren die Steuereinnahmen diesmal überdurchschnittlich gut oder aber man hat von woanders her ein wenig an "Zuschüssen" bekommen, denn plötzlich will man von offener, freier und kostenloser Software auf Windows umstellen .

Wer es nicht mitbekommen hat: Nicht nur Kommunen haben entdeckt, daß man mit offener und freier Software, die sich an offenen Standards ausrichtet und keine Lizenzgebühren verursacht, eine Menge Geld sparen kann - und das nicht nur einfach bei der Anschaffung, sondern vor allem auch im Betrieb. Aber das war ja zu SPD-Zeiten, und unter Schwarzgeld muß man anscheinend nicht mehr sparen - ist ja eh nicht das eigene Geld.

Ziemlich frustrierend ist dabei die hanebüchene Begründung: U.a. wäre der Aufwand zur Erstellung von Drucker-  und Scannertreibern zu teuer gewesen. Oweh... Also, vor zehn Jahren mag es noch nicht so viele Billigdrucker gegeben haben, die man direkt unter Linux nutzen konnte, aber wer heute noch Probleme hat, muß sich schon ein ausgefallenes Stück Schrott besorgt haben. Postscript war z.B. noch nie ein Problem. Außerdem: Was einmal von Linux unterstützt wird, bleibt unterstützt. Das ist nicht wie bei Windows, wo der Hersteller dann keine Lust hat, für die neue Version einen Treiber für ältere Drucker und vor allem Scanner zu schreiben - sollen die Leute sich zum neuen Windows gefälligst ein neues gerät kaufen!

Absoluter Marketingsprech ist auch, daß man zu "standardisierten proprietären Client-Lösungen" wechseln will. Was bitteschön ist an Windows "standardisiert", wenn es sich irgendwie umgehen läßt? Standards werden von FOSS unterstützt, Microsoft&Co machen ihr Geld meist damit, daß sie proprietär sind, nicht standardisiert. Die beiden Worte im gleichen Satz zu verwenden...

Untermauert werden diese Aussagen diesmal durch das Fehlen jedweder Zahlen. Also nicht mal Fantastillionen wie bei dem "Riesengeschäft mit Kinderpornographie", sondern ganz schlicht und ergreifend - nix. Na, mal sehen, was der Bundesrechnungshof dazu zu sagen hat. Wobei... Hatte das jemals Folgen für die Verursacher unnötiger Kosten? Wohl eher nicht...

Many people have developed (or at least think they have) methods to learn a language very quickly. OK, here are a few simple Chinese phrases that you can learn in a few minutes...

OK, it's actually a bit more like Cantonese, but I am sure you will be understood... 

Had a bad day? Have some Pink Floyd!

 

Had a very bad day? Have a whole lot of Pink Floyd!

 

Compared to ZL8X this is tricky indeed. So far only a few BV stations seem to have worked VP8ORK, and I must admit that I have not even heard them so far with my antenna. Originally, a number of hams here from Gaoxiong had planned to go to Kending, to Taiwan's southern tip, to try and get VP8ORK from a temporary station with better antennas there, but unfortunately, that trip was cancelled. So I guess I just go on listening very carefully and equally unsuccessfully for Orkney Islands...

不知道你有沒有發現在埃及目前剛可能有一個革命的開始 。30年後埃及人真受不了他們總統,學突尼西亞 盡量把他脫掉。且跟突尼西亞一樣總統盡量控制資訊,把網際網路切掉 ,關掉。不過,埃及人好像不會那麼快放棄:他們現在讓電話BBS復活

啊,對了:中國政府在重要網站上好像過濾跟埃及有關的文章 。是不是有人擔心?

No, it isn't. But fans of Michael Caine know this phrase. Right along "not many people know this", almost everyone trying to imitate Michael Caine will use that phrase. I am sure you have seen Michael Caine on the screen, but did you also know how many people have imitated him? Let us start a small selection with the master himself: Michael Caine doing Michael Caine...

These two are pretty good...

Peter Sellers has imitated a lot of people, but he is not doing so well with Michael Caine.

Here you have a lot of "Michael Caine" - and others. (Mick Jagger is good...)

There is even a guy imitating Michael Caine imitating Christopher Walken - and he is good !

Some of the imitators refer to Michael Caine's early fame as Harry Palmer, something you should have seen if you like Michael Caine.

The first film of the Harry Palmer series (The Ipcress Files) even resulted in a song dedicated to him by Madness.

...and now I can finally close a few tabs in Chrome...

剛幾天前看到新聞 說拉脫維亞政府現在要求所有國家單位必須接受ODF格式 的文件。他們不是第一個國家,但在台灣大部分的人還是沒有聽過什麼是ODF 。其實,大部分“會Word”的人根本不知道他們按那個磁片的小圖像的時候到底存什麼格式,對他們而言都是“Word檔”。如果他們發現“Word檔”有多少種類,他們可能嚇倒…

為什麼這個新聞重要?因為慢慢地各國政府了解他們要跟居民溝通好像不能要求他們每一個人必須買一個指定的軟體才能寄文件到某個辦事處。如果這樣要求,政府原則上幫那家公司賺死 - 因為居民沒有選擇,必須買(或違法使用)這個軟體。在台灣可能還要等多幾年政府跟老百姓才會注意到這件事,但我希望我還看得到。

其實,我從來不太了解為什麼這裡大家一定要用最新的微軟Office版本。在歐洲現在還有人用Word5.5(DOS版!)寫完整的書。如果你注意一下自己寫文件的時候用到哪一些項目,你也許會發現連RTF格式 就夠 - 所以十幾年前的軟體可能夠用。你不相信?讓我猜一下:你寫字,做一點“格式化”(有用到段落樣式嗎?放心,我沒有期待…),可能插入表格跟圖片。算“專業”的人可能還會用到一些參數,但平常不會超過日期、頁碼跟自己的名字。(”什麼是‘參數’…?“)

告訴你一個好消息:這些都十幾年前的軟體已經有辦法做,而RTF有辦法包含這些資訊。而現在我想問一個可惡的問題:每一個文書處理軟體會有辦法讀跟存RTF。那麼,如果你是“會Word”的人,你知不知道用Word怎麼存RTF檔…?