The turning point when the software becomes not so convenient to its users

Have you had the same experience as me? When you fall in love a piece of software, you use it daily and it becomes part of your life. Then, after a ‘better’ or ‘faster’ upgrade, you find your loving relations with the software broken, the software is no longer so comfortable to use and you start looking for alternatives. Typical in this world, isn’t it? This happens when the software development team focuses more on maximizing the profits instead of benefits of the software itself. It is a sad turning point and inevitable entropy in software version number escalation process.


Microsoft answers forum, why being so de trop?

Occasionally my online searches lead me to, and the style of answers by the Microsoft agents or moderators are so wordy. They typically follow this format, as a result of their ‘training’, I guess:

Greet users: Hello, username,
Greet again: Welcome to Blah, Blah, Blah,
Ask for clarification: Can you provide more information on ….? | I understand your have questions about …
Provide an answer: Only at this point, they start answering the question, after wasting a lot of web page spaces and user’s time with redundancies
Closing the message: We look forward to your reply…

Why not provide users with the solutions and answers? This whole formalities and unnecessary complexities of answering questions Microsoft style is so palaverous. Just provide the answer in a straightforward way, for Windows 7’s sake!


A nice list of movies for those who are searching for the meaning of life

After I searched the Japanese movie Zen (2009), recommended a list of movies that includes Zen. I found quite a few good movies in this list which should be inspiring for an adult lost in life.
Here is the list


Strange Chinese accent in the Japanese movie Zen (2009)

The Japanese movie Zen (2009) directed by Banmei Takahashi tells a story about Dogen Zenji (道元禅师) who traveled to China to study Zen, especially under the mentorship of Rujing (如净禅师). I started started watching the movie and at about 4″10′ from the beginning, the supposedly Chinese monk in the movie speaks Chinese with a very strange accent — or rather, with heavy interference of Japanese pronunciation. It seems that the person acting as a Chinese monk is indeed a Japanese actor.
I just hopes that when they are Chinese roles in the movie, it is better to have native speakers perform it or let a native speak do the dubbing, otherwise, it sounds really weird and incomprehensible to the native Chinese speakers. This happened to quite a few English movies as well.


Optimistic Buddhist?

The common view is that Buddhism is inherently pessimistic as all human’s are subject to the cycle of birth, aging, illness and death. It also seems to me that after being dealt with heavy blows in their lives, people tend to be religious and some became a Buddhist who holds a pessimistic view toward life. I wonder if there is such thing as an optimistic Buddhist? The one that sees life wisely, with great intuitive capacity and gleefully live the life without too many entanglement of consumerism and inner troubles. I raise this question because I am often times pessimistic, yet I am aware that many teachings of Buddhism are true and full of wisdom. Maybe I am just oblivious to the bright side of Buddhist philosophy? Or to further this reflection, Buddhism is neither optimistic or pessimistic, but subjectively objective? In other words, it is neutral?


A big shout-out to RamNode

As a long time customer of RamNode, I need to write a post and express my appreciation of its service.

Today, while reinstalling WordPress on this VPS, I found that it was no longer easy to install it on a VPS with 128MB. I opened a ticket on RamNode’s platform to request upgrading memory to 256MB, and within minutes, the memory is bumped up free of charge for me and the ticket is also replied promptly saying the upgrade is both free and permanent.

The way RamNode treats its client is awesome, and I am an extremely happy that my small blog is being hosted on its VPS.

As a side note, previously I used Tuxlite to install WordPress with no hassle. Now it no longer support recent Linux distributions. What a pity. I tried my luck with services such as and didn’t work, despite the OS version meets their requirements.

Tried some automated script on GitHub, I’d say that pothi/wordpress-nginx worked with some success, although it still requires users to install WordPress manually. WordOps threw a few error messages about starting MySQl, however, after rerun the simple and elegant installation process, it worked! I will use WordOps again to reinstall and play with its functions such as Let’s Encrypt and caching.


Subterfuge disguised in assertiveness or bluffing

Some people think subterfuge disguised in assertiveness or bluffing is a key to good business, when in fact research demonstrates that ultimately such an attitude undermines success. The reason is very simple, because when their mind is filled with tricks and ruses, there is no space for them to experience a more fulfilling and rewarding life. By telling only a half-truth or using convoluted treatise to disguise their true intentions, these people hope to take advantage of other people while forgetting the consequences of their action may override or negate the benefits they hope to get.

These people often act as mirrors that let us see ourselves more clearly and may show us blind spots in our character. Anyone who relies on subterfuge travels a road to personal disappointment when the truth wins out in my view.

So how do people who single-mindedly want to profiteer reflect our blind spots? I mean that sometimes we don’t see ourselves and our tendencies. Others can help us see these as interact and react to them. Rather than reckoning other people’s bad behavior as punishment or bad karma for something we may or may not have done, these people’s bad behavior may allow us to see ourselves in a different way than we have previously.

Encounters with such people are good opportunities for us to learn and grow. Also, maybe, these people will encounter other people that make them learn life lessons sooner or later.


Do not directly connect to your VPS using OpenVPN

The traffic that goes through a direct OpenVPN connection can be easily detected by the Firewall, and it will not take long before the IP address of the VPS is blocked. The traffic must be masqueraded via another layer of obfuscation. But if the Firewall decides to block the full ranges of IP addresses of a VPS provider, it can easily do so, thus categorically making any means of obfuscation useless.

I am no networking expert, but I will jut propose a wild idea here: perhaps the Syncthing protocol can be used as non-centralised proxies for web traffic, because I find its relaying servers very efficient in circumventing firewalls.


Experience with BuyVM and Ramnode

As you may be aware, this blog runs on the VPS from Ramnode. My experience with Ramnode has been very positive, because the uptime of the instances are quite good (I have one instance that has over 200 days of uptime) and the system is very stable. The connect is also very fast from the mainland China. Either connecting from providers such as China Telecom or China Mobile, the download speed can peak at about 10MB/s via a SSL tunnel. If an instance expires, that will not affect other running instances, and only the VPS with an unpaid notice will be suspended. Often times, I don’t want to use a VPS instance any more, or the IP was blocked by GFW, so I will simply let it expire but keep ordering new ones from Ramnode. Right now I have ordered over 17 orders of VPS from Ramnode over the past few years and I even recommended it to other people.

This is unlike BuyVM is very strict with unpaid instances — even you do not want to use one of the VPSs any more, an unpaid instance will affect all the running instances (this is at least what I experienced when I was their unwanted client). All the invoices must be paid in full or otherwise, they don’t want to do business with me.

If you reside in China and need a VPS, I highly recommend Ramnode and especially the servers hosted in Seattle. For BuyVM, I don’t know if they are still in business, but my experience with them was very negative.

Life Misc

Why is it so difficult contact RFI Chinese and send them a feedback?

I enjoyed listening to the Chinese language program les grands penseurs Français (法国思想长廊) by 赵越胜。The program is a great introduction to French thinkers because it is concise, clear and well-structured. However, when I want to listen to all the previous episodes from the very first one, I found that the only way to do it is visiting their website and click on dozens of program pages to download the mp3 files one by one. This is time consuming, error-prone and frustrating.

Why not use a podcast app instead? Because I cannot find the complete list of all the podcasts of this program, and only the latest ones are available for download. I also checked the RFI Chinese website, and the feed subscription on it is not complete.

Is this due to the restrictions of the feed mechanism or just a stingily misconfigured setting of the number of feeds for subscription? I don’t know, but I want to get the complete podcast of this program and listen from the very beginning and it is not easy to do so. Also, RFI Chinese uploaded the wrong file for the episode called 卢梭与伏尔泰, because the mp3 file on the website feed is Asia_weekly_09-12-17_SEM49.mp3, which is not about les grands penseurs Français.

And I took my time to send a feedback through the contact form on RFI’s website. However, after I clicked ‘send’, I saw a circle spinning and spinning forever, and my message to RFI Chinese failed to go through.

Then I thought maybe I can send them a private message via twitter, however, I was prompted by twitter that @RFI_Cn was not following me so I couldn’t send them a message. No, I am giving RFI a international long distance call to send my feedback and suggestions.

As a last resort, I thought I should post my frustrations here on my blog, because if RFI Chinese cares about their listener’s feedback, they should fix their website contact form or simply leave an email address.

If RFI Chinese read this post, please kindly contact me at thinkweird (replace with@symbol)