Drive-Thru History: Ends of the Earth

I wish everyone a joyful Monday. I wish everyone in Hong Kong a peaceful Easter Monday holiday. It is great to watch some good videos while staying at home, isn’t it?

 

What is Drive-Thru History: Ends of the Earth?
TBN.org: Hosted by historian and filmmaker Dave Stotts, Drive Thru History: Ends of the Earth takes viewers on a twenty-episode, global trek to every corner of the earth, to show how God has used ordinary people throughout history to take His saving grace to every nation and people.

Fig1

Drive-Thru History: Ends of the Earth

Dave Stotts: the final chapter of our trilogy investigating the impacts Jesus life throughout the 2,000 years since and his salvations reach as the prophet Isaiah wrote the better part of 3,000 years ago to the ends of the earth.

 

Metropolitan Cathedral, Mexico City
I traveled to Mexico last May to join our partners to meet customers. I visited Mexico City and spend some time at Metropolitan Cathedral, the oldest and largest cathedral in Latin America. It is Amazing!

FIg2

Metropolitan Cathedral,  Mexico City

In Episode 5 Latin America, Dave explained how Christianity was introduced to the Aztec empire in the 16th Century, how Spanish turned Tenochtitlan into Mexico City, and how they destroyed Templo Mayor to make room for the new Metropolitan Cathedral.

 

Churches in Tokyo
It was an unprecedented quarter one. I spend some time in Tokyo and met some potential partners. I was fortunate at this difficult time.

I visited some churches in Tokyo on weekends. Most of them were closed to mitigate coronavirus spread. Nevertheless, it was a great experience to see them just from outside. They were peaceful and beautiful.

Fig3

Locations of some churches in Tokyo

From west to east:
1: St. Mary’s Cathedral Tokyo (Gokokuji Station, Yurakucho Line)
2: UCCJ Fujimicho Church (Iidabashi Station, Chuo Line)
3: St Paul International Lutheran Church, Tokyo (Iidabashi Station, Chuo Line)
4: UCCJ Kudan Church (Kudanshita Station, Shinjuku Line)
5: Catholic Kanda Church (Suidobashi Station, Chuo Line)
6: Holy Resurrection Cathedral (Ochanomizu Station, Chuo Line)
7: St. Paul – Catholic Asakusa Church (Akihabara Station, Chuo Line)

 

Picks of the Week
1.Drive-Thru History: the Gospels Episode 15-17
These three episodes cover the Trial, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection, of Jesus respectively. They are now available on Youtube for Free!

 

2.TBN mobile app
Trinity Broadcasting Network is the world’s largest religious network. The TBN app offers inspirational programming (such as the Drive-Thru History trilogy) through streaming and VOD.
iOS
Android

 

“But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Philippians 1:18 (NIV)


We’ve been working from home for 8-week

Good morning 29-Mar-2020.

It is a snowy and still Sunday morning. Good for some blue and sentimental music.

 

 

March: the world is slowing down
WHO (World Health Organization) finally announced on 12-March-2020 that the COVID-19 outbreak was a pandemic. Late is better than never?!

Governments and people around the world are trying to stay at home, to do social distancing, and to flatten the curve. Most of the focuses are on public health (discussion). Everything else is secondary. We see sales activities are slowing are down. Similar to other industries. Wildfire detection and prevention activities are not immune.

 

Online Meeting
Zoom becomes very popular recently. It becomes an everyday tool for those working or learning from home.

Online meeting was a hot business topic when Cisco Systems acquired WebEx at US$3.2 billion in the year 2007. Screen and video sharings improve communication effectiveness. 13-year later smartphone brings mobility and mass adoption to online meetings. Everyone can meet anyone anywhere. People adopt better tools to communicate. Late is better than never.

Why don’t we use free Skype to do online meetings?
-to sign up Skype is difficult
-to ask someone to share his Skype ID is very difficult
-to share your smartphone screen in realtime is impossible

A quick tip: set up your online meeting to “mute participants upon entry” by default. It helps everyone.

Zoom setup web interface

Zoom setup web interface

 

Cisco Webex setup app interface

Cisco Webex setup app interface

 

ReportFires
Thanks for all the user feedbacks to our new reportfires.RoboticsCats.com web app. We made some UI adjustments to make the app more intuitive. For example, the menu bar is now shown when starting the web app. We assume every user is the first-time user and we show directly and clearly what he/she can do with the app at the beginning. Avoid ambiguity and guessing.

reportfires.roboticsats.com

reportfires.roboticsats.com

 

Zoom and Cisco Webex mobile apps support screen sharing. We find Zoom a very good tool to demonstrate mobile app. We used it many times to show our new Insight Globe Mobile app and ReportFires web app.

One good lesson we learn from Zoom: hassle-free for the first-time user. ReportFires does not require sign up or registration.

 

Picks of the week
1.Podcast: Linear Digressions: Understanding Covid-19 transmission: what the data suggests about how the disease spreads

 

2.Gadget for home office: MICOE adjustable laptop stand

MICOE Adjustable Laptop Stand

MICOE Adjustable Laptop Stand

 

3.Music: “The End of the World” by Skeeter Davis

 

4.Book: 《世界末日與冷酷異境》
「為什麼太陽還繼續照耀?為什麼鳥兒還繼續歌唱?他們不知道嗎?世界已經結束。」

 


RoboticsCats ReportFires web app. February 2020.

Good morning 29-Feb-2020!

It is a sunny Saturday in Tokyo. Good for a walk and podcats in the morning and some nice coffee. Finally I can sit down to write a blog for myself. An hour of freedom and solitude.

Tokyo

Good morning sunshine!

 

What a February!

A month ago we had the Chinese New Holidays. Good time for family gatherings. A break from work to re-energize ourselves. What happened then was totally unexpected.

The RoboticsCats team did come back to work from the holidays. The major difference was we all worked from homes in February! All our colleagues work from their homes in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Taipei, and Tokyo.

A sunny Saturday

A sunny Saturday. Be happy, don’t worry.

 

#Wuhanvirus / #coronavirus / #COVID19

Whatever it is called, it reminds us of what happened in the year 2003.

In that spring of 2003, we found that we could do very little. Desperate. Hopeless.

Thank God the virus outbreak ended in the summer.

Thank those doctors and nurses risking their lives to protect the people in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is not a place. It is the people. Just like Asgard.

 

RoboticsCats ReportFires

“I am now in Tokyo, my latitude is 35.700 and longitude is 139.779 respectively.  I see some smoke about 3km away from my position in the southeast direction. Please send someone to check if there is a fire!”

We need precise and concise information in urgency. Not everyone can communicate that way verbally. Not everyone has Siri Jarvis.

RoboticsCats ReportFires is a crowdsourcing app to allow people to report and share wildfire location information. Wildfire risks are high for those living at WUI (Wildland-Urban-Interface). They will be very alert and try their best to protect their families and homes from wildfires. Besides purpose-built early fire detection robots, we believe people can help to report nearby fires to the authorities using common gadgets – smartphones. The authorities can make informed decisions and take timely actions. People need a tool to report fire locations easily. As easy as Google Maps.

The idea came when we submitted our proposal to CALFIRE last year. We implemented it this February. Design, development and UAT (User Acceptance Test) are all completed in the last four weeks! The time we saved form commuting to work allowed us to do more things! Thank our beta testers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Portugal, and Chile!

ReportFires will be launched coming Monday, 2-March-2020.

Every challenge brings out some good new things from human beings.

 

Web Application Firewall

ReportFires is a free web app. We need a WAF to protect it and to make it highly available and serviceable. Whenever and wherever.  A tool in need is a tool indeed!

I spend a few days doing some market researches. I picked StackPath WAF. I knew MaxCDN was a respectful competitor when I was working at EdgeCast a few years ago. MaxCDN is now part of StackPath. Their WAF is cost-effective and easy to use. The TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is important. We are a small start-up. I spend 15 minutes to implement and test it! Thank StackPath!

 

Pick of the week

Exponent podcast #180 – It’s been a Week

An episode dedicated to Mr. Clayton Christensen.

 

I wish everyone a joyful Saturday. Have a nice coffee too.

 


Don’t give your strange daughter your hard-drive password

The world is strange and dangerous. The Australian bushfires disaster is breath-taking! The country is very dry and hot. 10.3m hectares or 10,300,000 standard rugby fields are already burnt. 5500km away in Jakarta, an equivalent of 72,000 Olympic-size swimming pools came pouring down on Jakarta on New Year’s Eve.

 

The flooding in Jakarta last week is the worst over a decade. I was glad that we were able to make the trip, to meet our partners and teammates in Jakarta and to share our 2020 directions with them in person.

 

Team dinner, Jakarta, 8-Jan-2020

Team dinner, Jakarta, 8-Jan-2020

 
After a packed two-day Jakarta trip, I flew to Bangkok to join our partner to meet customers. We demonstrated how InsightFD early wildfire detection system works. We received and reviewed forest fire alerts from our robots hundreds to thousands of kilometers away from us. We’re thankful to get good customer feedback and suggestions during the meetings.

 

My demonstration tool is just an iPad.

 

We build our software interface with the latest web technology. It is easy to use. It is intuitive. People nowadays are accustomed to using browsers to share things with friends, to shop, and to manage their everyday lives! Why don’t manage wildfire detection? The last thing you want to do in an emergency is to install new software!

 

Insight Globe web-based management platform

Insight Globe web-based management platform

 

A fully packed and tense Bangkok trip. I needed some Thai massages to relax my tight shoulders!

 

I spend the Sat morning walking in Lumphini Park. A peaceful greeny place in the city. The air quality is better in the park, and many people run and do exercises in the area. It is a beautiful oasis in the polluted metropolitan city! Some people wear masks in Bangkok. No restriction.

I walked 2-hr in the park and listened to a 2-hr TWiT podcast. A good physical and mental exercise. Modern people love multitasking, however, most tasks are competing for attention and they usually reduce productivity. Walking and listening are a valuable combination which indeed can work together to produce better results!

 

Lumphini Park, Bangkok, 11-Jan-2020

Lumphini Park, Bangkok, 11-Jan-2020

 

We spend a lot of visual attention on sales presentations and pricing spreadsheets. Our eyes need more off-times. Thank God we can listen and learn.

 

It was a beautiful Saturday. It was a peaceful and mature election in Taiwan. The world is beautiful and peaceful if we listen and learn.

 

Pick of the weeks:

 

1.This Week in Tech podcast #752 – Don’t give your strange daughter your hard-drive password More Seam Than Bezel

CES Preview, 2020’s New Tech Laws, micro-targeting, and fun!

 

2.AirRead is an easy-to-use text-to-speech iOS app. Works in the background, good for multitaskers.

 

3.Perception Blind Massage in Bangkok, Thailand


Hiking Trails in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is famous for being the freest economy in the world1. She is the number three global financial centre2. The city is the fourth-most densely populated territory3.

Hong Kong is also one of the most popular travel destinations for international travelers. Why?
1.shopping center with no sales tax/VAT
2.six Apple Stores
2.very accessible location with most internationally connected airport
3.Disneyland
4.beautiful skyscrapers in central business district
4.hiking trails, country parks, and the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark

 

Hiking Trails

Forty percent of Hong Kong is designated as country parks for nature conservation, countryside recreation, and outdoor education. The country parks comprise scenic hills, woodlands, reservoirs, and coastline in all parts of Hong Kong. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) manages the 24 country parks in Hong Kong. These country parks attract more than 13 million visitors per year and embrace the eco-tour development in Hong Kong.

With steep landscape surrounded by boundless sea, there are many fabulous hiking trails in the country parks. The 100km MacLehose Trail is the longest one, and 2019 marks it’s 40th anniversary. The Dragon’s Back, one of the world’s best hiking trails is in Hong Kong!

The trails in Hong Kong are different from those advantageous and breath-taking trails in Nepal or China. Nevertheless, most of them are easy and good for the family!

 

Dragon's Back Trail in HK

Dragon’s Back Trail in HK

 

“With its unique proximity of the built environment to nature, Hong Kong’s countryside has become a cherished breath of fresh air for the city’s cramped residents.” reported by SCMP.com.

“A hike might reward with panoramic vistas of offshore islands. It could see you soothing your toes on a silk-sand beach or exploring traditional Hakka villages. You might spot birds and monkeys, water buffalo, even a wild boar, or stumble on a rustic seafood restaurant.” recommended by Lonely Planet.

 

Safety

Dry autumn and winter are good for hiking. Wildfires spread quickly uphill. It is difficult nowadays to staff traditional watchtower. How to protect hikers from wildfires? The HK government uses AI-based InsightFD early wildfire detection system to mitigate wildfire risk in the country parks. Three benefits:

    • Fast: AI detection algorithm can early detect flame as small as 2m2. It detects wildfires faster than the nearby citizen
    • Accurate: InsightFD patented technology can accurately locate the latitude, longitude, and altitude of fire detected.
    • Efficient: InsightFD robots work 24×7. Fire crews can remotely view and investigate potential wildfires reported by the public. All these help the fire crews to dispatch its resources more efficiently.

With this good and safe eco-tourism environment, more people participate in hiking activity. Exercise is good for health. It will help HK to keep the world number one in life expectancy4!

 

Picks Of The Week

3 reasons why being around pets can make you happier and healthier, inverse.com
An article about a study by University of Liverpool in October 2019. It shows pets can improve our lives.

Mochi Kitty Frog
Toy for cats.

Mochi Kitty Frog

Mochi Kitty Frog

 

References
1. 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation
2. The Global Financial Centers Index, Z/Yen Group
3. Population density, The World Bank
4. Japan trails Hong Kong in latest life expectancy rankings


Long Time No See!

How are you? Long time no see! [1]


New Things
I haven’t written any personal blogs for 20 months. I joined a technology company headquartered in Hong Kong, and I have been busy doing something new to me since March 2019:

  • I am selling a new product – AI-based early wildfire detection robot
  • I am selling to new customer segments – wildfire service organization, national parks, and forestry, etc.
  • I am selling to new geo markets: Indonesia, Australia, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, USA, and Canada, etc.
  • I am learning trees and forests…

And, I founded a new company Robotics Cats last August to focus on doing the things abovementioned more effectively and productively!


I Did Write Something
I have been working closely with the marketing team to develop content to better reach and communicate with our target customers. Here is a recent company blog post:
Has Environmental supports MoEF to reduce forest and land fires in Indonesia

An InsightFD early forest and land fire detection robot in Kalimantan

An InsightFD early forest and land fire detection robot in Kalimantan


We read and research a lot to write good content for our audience. Some information is very interesting but not used in our marketing materials. I would like to share it with you!

1. Supertrees: Brazil nut trees can make rains, Indonesia mangroves keep (a huge amount) of carbon underground, Congo Afrormosia supports biodiversity, VOX

2. The Best Places To Retire Abroad In 2020, Forbes
25 countries are recommended. Most of them are full of natural beauties such as forests and beaches. And yes, we are doing businesses in many of these countries!

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - GETTY IMAGES

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – GETTY IMAGES

3.17 Responsibilities of Non-Technical Founders in a Startup, Forbes
Business development, market research, marketing, prototyping, account management, customer service, hiring & training, fundraising, accounting & finance, legal work, cheerleading, testing, networking, customer development, sales, quality assurance, assessing risk & opportunity.
Very true!


Pick Of The Week
Are you looking for recommended app or gadget?

Here you are:
Lululeague Smartphone Stand Holder, amazon.co.jp
Pro: Light-weighted (41g), adjustable (360-degree), sturdy and durable, inexpensive (US$7.9)

Lululeague smartphone stand holder, amazon.co.jp

Lululeague smartphone stand holder, amazon.co.jp


Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoy it.


Reference:
1. Who first said ‘Long Time, No See’ and in which language? NPR


Android: Oreo vs iOS 12.2.6

I want to write some comparisons between Android and iOS before my next Smart Home article.

Truth be told. I don’t have much Android experience. I am not going to do a thorough comparison. I just compare three areas. That is. No big deal. Just three areas: OS support to old devices, OS stability, and text-to-speech capability.

1.I recently updated my ASUS Zenfone 3 to Oero (Android 8.0, the latest major version). ASUS Zenfone 3 was first launched in Jun 2016 with Marshmallow (Android 6.0). ASUS then released the OS updates of Nougat (Android 7.0) in Mar 2017 and Oreo in Feb 2018 respectively.

I used my Zenfone 3 on all these three difference Android versions. I found the smartphone became a bit faster and more stable with each newer OS! Amazing!! It just works!!!

 

2.Sometimes I am happier to use the US$240 ASUS Zenfone 3 (Snapdragon 625, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage) than the US$1260 Apple iPhone X (A11, 3GB RAM, 256GB storage)!

Well developed apps – Flipboard, twitter, Kindle, Netflix, etc – all run well on both iPhone X an Zenfone 3. Apps in general start faster and are more responsive on iPhone.

No matter how fast the iPhone X is, it is very frustrating when I unlock the iPhone X to make a quick phone call and find the springboard crashes!

Hey Siri Apple, please pay attention! You really have to fix the buggy iOS 12!

 

3.When I find the old Zenfone 3 is happier to use than the latest iPhone X? When I use AirPod. Listen to Flipboard. Listen to ebooks.

It doesn’t make sense that AirPod connects to Zenfone faster than to iPhone X!

I want to keep my neck straight and look at my phone less, especially when I am commuting. Hence I try to listen to Flipboard article rather than reading it. On iPhone X, I can use a Workflow share extension to text-to-speech a Flipboard article, but there are two drawbacks: there is no playback control other then stop, and the Workflow window will hide the Flipboard app (and I cannot read the article in case I want/need to). On Zenfone 3, I can use @Voice Aloud Reader share extension to activate the app to text-to-speech a Flipboard article. I have more playback controls and I can switch back to the Flipboard app.
Android-share-extension-voice

With the same healthy posture objective, I prefer listen to ebooks. Some ebooks and epub publications (e.g. ISC2 InfoSecurity Professional) support text-to-speech. I can use Speak Screen with iOS iBooks or Read Aloud with Google Play Books. However it is not easy to do Speak Screen gesture on iPhone X. Google ebook reader app is easier to use in this regard!
Google-Play-Books-Read-Aloud

Notes:
(a) I want to listen to radio news when I wake up. It is easy to set up radio as a morning alarm on Android: AutomateIt to launch Taiwan Radio at 7am everyday. Taiwan Radio supports thousands of radio stations around the world! It automatically plays/streams the last radio station. I cannot do similar thing on iPhone.
AutomateIt-TaiwanRadio

(b) I find the Oreo icon bar is better and shows more info by using smaller images.

(c) Both AutomateIt and MacroDroid offer free powerful automations. Free version of MacroDroid can do more complex tasks. For example I can flip the phone (turn the screen from upwards to downwards) to trigger some actions. I prefer AutomateIt because it provides unlimited rules and it uses less memory resources than MacroDroid:
MacroDroid-memory-usage

(d) I find some good podcasts recently:
HomeTech.fm
The Menu Bar
The iDeveloper