Movie Review: Penelope

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My Rating: 3Stars

This evening I saw the movie “Penelope” at UA Cinema, Time Square, Hong Kong.

I was presently surprised by this movie. I went into the movie thinking it was just going to be another lesson-learned movie. It did have the black-swan element to the movie that one would come to expect. The several twists in the story were nice touches to give it the unexpected elements.

I don’t normally enjoy this sort of movies; I am more of the action adventure, thriller kind of a guy.

The acting was fair, but I think the story has much to convince me to give it a 3 penguins rating. If you were looking for a light hearted entertainment for a present afternoon, then do give it a try. Of course, as my rating states, if you can rent it even better.

Rating Legend:
5Stars Not to be missed
4Stars Wait for the DVD
3Stars Buy from iTunes Store
2Stars Rent it on iTunes
1Stars Waste your time elsewhere

First of Hong Kong’s Carriers to Get the iPhone

3 HK LogoIt is reported that the first of Hong Kong’s mobile carriers: CSL (with two brands 1010 and One2Free), People (recently purchased by China Telecom), Sunday (recently purchased by PCCW), Smartone-Vodafone (with a partnership involving the mobile giant, Vodafone) and Hutchison Telcom’s Orange and 3. The latter is where Hutchison announced that they will resell the Apple iPhone later this year in Hong Kong and Macau.

Recently Apple shows signs of changing their business model for the iPhone partnerships with carriers. When Apple is predicted to make their announcement of the next generation iPhone, at the keynote speech of the WWDC, there will be multiple carriers selling iPhones for any given country.

With this in mind I am hoping the big brother of Smartone-Vodafone will be reselling the iPhone also.

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Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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My Rating: 2Stars

This evening I saw the movie “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” at Broadway Cinema, Cyberport, Hong Kong.

In two words, Simply disapointing. May be is it because I had high expectation going into the movie or I just love the Indiana Jones series of movies: “Raiders of the Lost Ark“, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade“.

It could also be because Harrison Ford is just too old for the character. They prepared us for more Indiana Jones movies to come by introducing the son of Indiana Jones, Mutt Williams (played by Shia LaBeouf).

There was rumors that this episode of the Indiana Jones series was delayed due to George Lucas not liking what the writers had came up with, so he re-wrote the entire movie. I think this is one of Lucas’ weakest creation, I wonder if the original version would have been better.

This version of the movie did not have enough, typical Indiana Jones action as one come to expect. The sword fight scene was very unbelievable and anticipated.

Rating Legend:
5Stars Not to be missed
4Stars Wait for the DVD
3Stars Buy from iTunes Store
2Stars Rent it if you can
1Stars Waste your time elsewhere

Truth About Plastics

Today the differences in plastic types, we encounter every day, were brought to my attention.

Plastic #1 Plastic #2 Plastic #3 Plastic #4 Plastic #5 Plastic #6 Plastic #7


Have you seen these symbols above? More details can be found on the Wikipedia page on plastics.

The above are the symbols devised by the Society of the Plastics Industry to mark plastic items we use for recycling purpose. As a consumer you can tell from the symbols whether a piece of plastic is recyclable or not.

So next time before you place that piece of plastic in the recycling bin you should check for these symbols.

Matter of Privacy

Confidential Yellow EnvelopToday there was a report that a staff of the Hong Kong Immigration department accidentally allowed a highly sensitive confidential document to be uploaded onto the P2P network, Foxy. Reportedly, the documented uploaded to the P2P network is a document that contains personal information of individuals who were refused entry into Hong Kong, including the reasons and factors that lead to Hong Kong Immigration department to make such ruling.

It is also reported that the reason this staff of the Hong Kong Immigration took this document home onto his computer, is because he is a new staff and wanted to take some cases home to study the associate procedures.

The Hong Kong Immigration claims that they had since removed this confidential document from the staff’s computer and from the Foxy P2P network. They also claim that the said document can no longer be found on the Internet.

As many of you know, anything uploaded to the Internet will most likely be on the Net forever. Depending on the desirability of the file it could spread like wild fire on the Net. Allegedly this file was named “Private xxxxxx.doc”, which is quite attractive to common users of P2P networks.

One thing going for the Hong Kong Immigration department, is that the Foxy P2P network is popular among Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China citizens. Therefore, even a file with the word “Private” on it, may not draw too much attention among these users.

What I don’t understand is how can something like this happen in a city like Hong Kong. In most cases, Hong Kong is a modern cosmopolitan financial hub. Unlike its homeland, China, does have human rights, free of speech, free press, privacy policies, etc.

The privacy polices in Hong Kong is very lacking. If something is not done soon there may be more cases of confidential information leaked in wild or worst, more prevalent identify thefts.

I found out today, that Privacy laws in Hong Kong is extremely deficient. Although, there are laws to protect personal privacy of every citizens of Hong Kong. There are no laws to hold employees of institutions that manage and handle individual private data/information.

Without this accountability resulted in situations like the one today with the staff of the Hong Kong Immigration department. It is only a few days ago another case of personal data was leaked at the Hong Kong Hospital Authority. Similar case also happened with the Police department.

It is not that Hong Kong government offices are that much more vulnerable than most western countries/cities. There are similar cases in the United States and United Kingdom, both involved respective law enforcement departments.

So what so different in Hong Kong, I believe is the lack of accountability for the front-line handlers of these personal data of individuals. I do believe that it is not the lack of education or awareness of these front-line handlers. These same individuals if it comes to their own personal data, I believe they would be most diligent.

I think it is time for Hong Kong government to revamp the privacy laws, to ensure all parties in the chain-of-handlers are held accountable for the protection of this information they are appointed to handle.

Precaution Censorship

Last evening (May 7) my hosting provider (HP) informed me that my site has been assigned a new IP address (May 7, 2008, 20:00). I then found out the IP address assigned is a dedicated IP for my site. This is so that my HP can isolate my site from the rest of the sites hosted by the server.

This all came about after I reported an issue with my ability to access services on my site/domain. As a result they pointed to my article on the Tibet issue and all other articles about China as the reason for their precautions.

They are worry that the China government’s firewall will block my site, hence, IP address. Causing all the sites and services on the said server to be block from access within the mainland China border. In directly, they also pointed out that I should have known better.

Not exactly sure if this is related, but my site and services since Thursday, May 8, 00:30 had been much faster than ever.

So if my sites is indeed blocked by the China government’s firewall, it will be unfortunate, and my friends in mainland China will have to go without the insights and articles I post to Vinko.Com, see all the photos I’ve taken in my photo albums, read the movie reviews before they go to the theatre, or shop at my online store, Vinko Treasures. But my site and services will be much faster.

Vodafone releasing iPhone Press Release

Vodafone logoThe reaction to the Vodafone announcement that it has strike a deal with Apple to release the iPhone in 10 countries: Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey, was a mix bag of haters, be-littler and fan-boy.

The iPhone arriving in Asia had been anticipated for some time. The latest is definitely good news for all the countries mentioned in the Vodafone press release.

As we all know, Vodafone has one of the largest worldwide mobile network, and has 3G coverage in many of them.

Whether Vodafone waited for the 3G version of the iPhone before signing the deal with Apple, no one really knows for sure accept the parties in these talks. Whether Apple will retire the 2.5G version of the iPhone is also a speculation.

No matter which country you’re in, there are consumers who are happy with the speed and capabilities of a 2.5G network iPhone, and there are ones who need and want to pay for a 3G network iPhone. Ironically, the only exception being the United States, as 3G coverage is not that prevalent in North America.

Critics; particularly the Americans, should step back and recognize that Apple is aiming at the global mobile phone market and not just United States.

As for the original rumors about the iPhone’s Asian launch, the stages are:
India –> Australia/New Zealand –> Taiwan –> Hong Kong –> China.

Personally living in Hong Kong, should make me feel like a second class citizen; in this case 3rd or even 4th. But I am not disappointed, because like the thousands of iPhone users in Hong Kong, we are happily using our jailbroken/unlocked iPhone on every local carrier network since June 2007. Like most early adopters, will continue to do so until the 3G network version comes out, which I will upgrade to… anyone likes to buy an used iPhone?

Do We Have It Backwards?

Being a technologist I have the following principal and believe:

One needs to give a great deal of effort into the development of a technology, if one wants to ensure a good, effortless, intuitive interface for the end-user.

So when they say a technology is a metaphor for a real life process, I expect a lot from this technology. Case in point, the Mac OS interface.

Kevin & Kell Comic Strip

Movie Review: Iron Man (2008)

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My Rating: 4Stars

This evening I saw the movie “Iron Man” at UA Cinema, Time Square, Hong Kong.

Presently surprised!

I am not sure it was the relatively low expectation I had for the movie or because it was good.

I had thought, that since it is the first time this comic book character, Iron Man, is made into a motion picture hero, the play-writes and director will have to spend a long time setting up the back story of the character, while serving up enough actions and story to keep the audience from falling behind. So the movie was going to be slow and boring.

This is definitely not the case. They balanced the above so well that you get just enough back story to understand and relates to the lead character, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and still enough twist and turn in the story to make you wanting more.

When I left the movie theater, that was exactly how I felt… I can’t wait for the sequel.

It has been a long time since Robert Downey Jr. been in the leading role of any movie. The most prominent role that I recall is in “U.S. Marshals (1998)” where he played the Special Agent John Royce opposite the actors Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes. I guess with Iron Man, Downey Jr. is announcing his return with a bang, as he had been busy. Later this year he will appear in another movie, “The Incredible Hulk (2008)”, staring Edward Norton

Rating Legend:
5Stars Not to be missed
4Stars Wait for the DVD
3Stars Buy from iTunes Store
2Stars Rent it if you can
1Stars Waste your time elsewhere