I like this place, like the smell of roasted coffee beans, like the fragrance that left in your mouth after a sip, that you will never find in Starbucks regardless how expansive a flavor you order, like the hippie-ish feeling of the room and the people, like the bright, yellow, tin ceiling tiles, like the girls working behind the counter who always carry an atmosphere of both warmth and an aloofness, a sense of, cool, a sense of "this is my life style, I do what I do, and leave me alone", like the girl dyed her hair in this, I don't even know what color that is, greenish, thing, that can only be categorized as a poor dye job, yet, it fits this room perfectly well.

    A slow, nothing-to-do Friday afternoon, right before the Memorial Day weekend. It feels actually rather strange that the holiday is for such a serious matter — for life and death, for freedom and your country, for dream of the people, for protecting your family and many millions more... and then, here I am, sitting in this, I don't want to call it a coffee shop, because the stereotype of coffee shop these days have been mapped to this, static, industrial, no ceiling, steel beams, black paint, kind of image, that, was exciting when you saw it for the first time, but quickly become boring and fake, because the people who sit in it, don't fit the scene!

    Not here. Everyone walking into the door fits this place, almost perfectly — mid-age guy who just walked in with jeans, sneakers, a bit of hair, backpack, looking to spend some time, and no idea what he does, and the students hovering around with their laptops and pretend-being-busy study groups, and a few here and there who can only be called a step above homeless, yet, they only projected leisure, that sense of luxury of not being bothered by time, by any agenda, just sits there... how wonderful! That's life, a life of its own, full of, diversity, laziness, a flow, like the smell in this air, like the faint background music which I have no idea what it is playing or sounding even, mixed with the humming noise of the roaster that happily rotating its way... isn't this a picture you can see now? I hope so, because it is an image I wish you could see, someday, and if only you could also sit here, with or without me, because, my dear, you fit this place, perfectly, as cool as you have always been, as cool as you are, as cool as you will always be. You will like it, here.

    Huawei, and technology

    Now, talk about this recent news of Huawei. Guannan responded with questions and some of his thoughts. I really enjoy communicating with him so to learn what he thinks, and to just witness that he shows interests in this, because, out of all these years, I know this is the most important trait one can find in a person — a strong sense of curiosity, an active mind, and an independent mind. The contents of opinion don't really matter much at all ← there are always differences, one view vs. another, and that's the beauty of it. Even though my line of work is aiming to unify things into some standard ways of doing. Yet, probably because of that, I'm even more sensitive and often eager to hear and to see different views, to hear different thoughts, and to engage a debate/discussion who so, and why not. To me, it's a checkpoint they provide to validate my thoughts and logics, and to help a mental rehearsal so I can see how well my conclusion stands to the test of challenge, and how really clear I can explain them, and maybe even to convince them, if my view really carries merits — it's always good that mine gets shot down by a deeper analysis and a deeper thinking, because that, like someone's awesome POC, shows me another possibility I have yet to come up with, and I think as long as someone has figured it out, I shall be able to, and take it even further, with my mind.

    The entire Huawei story in recent news are, in my view, nothing but a fiasco. The Chinese media again sound the drum of national interest and bully of the western powers, and this is nothing short of being a war, if only without exchanging bullets, but plenty greeting-to-your-mom flying across. I don't know what Huawei has as so called backups. A story says its OS is based on an opensource version of the Android, and these phone makers are not stranger to bundling Playstore together with their own off-shoot OS because they don't come w/ Google support natively. So this explains quite well how Huawei can survive this shock and boost national confidence once more, especially if it spins the story to be that "I have seen this coming years ago, and I am so prepared that I can fight, and win, anytime." ← how well this fits the current national sentiments!

    But you see, this is the exact danger that I will argue to watch out for. I wish Huawei will fail the battle just like ZTE did, so it doesn't propel this smoking curtain of China's confidence in technology (well, technology is a big word, so let me limit myself to things I know &mdas; cloud using Openstack or container, quick prototyping using any programming language, networking design to separate management traffic from data traffic.. sounds pretty boring, right? But that's exactly my point, engineering, and technology, should be boring, because they are sooo detailed, and hard, that it's not fun to put them together at all, because 99.99999% of the time, they don't work as you want them to be!).

    China has seen waves of hypes that created unicorns, mass fans, elites who BS without even knowing a thing of technology, and a blind belief that "yes we can, because we dream". If you have ever tried to write a line of code, or to learn a topic (think of your school days), or a sports as hobby, you know that unless you have experienced pain, frustration, upset, disappointment of yourself (and many others), countless time wanting to give it up, nights and days of losing motivation and wondering whether you made the wrong choice, staring at a wall feeling completly clueless what this god-damn thing doesn't work (but it worked yesterday!!), then, honestly, you know nothing about engineering, nothing about technology, nothing about how all these seemingly so common things — chips, OS, any programming language, or library, or any stack that runs, at all, is put together.

    So really, wishing to win a battle is easy, wishing to defeat Google is easy, doing so is, hard, really really hard. If Huawei's agenda is still based on an open source Android, I bet it will not only fail, but doesn't solve the problem at all. Not only it won't work, to tink of it, isn't it even more humiliating that you are now using an unsupported version of thing, like a left over, or a cutting edge lab, that you are either becoming a guinea pig to be tried out with the latest experiment, or always a few commits/versions behind!? How is this going to be a good thing!?

    Further, I admire that Huawei has been preparing for this moment for a while, which, is a practical thinking. Miro always wants to replicate a open source so we control our own destiny, and I totally agree. Same for any knowledge, I always want to learn and understand even if the domain is not part of my job at all, because only after I have an overall understanding of these things could I now make changes to my design and code with well-thought-about confidence what it will impact — this, is the job of engineering, and should be, for all of us.

    I don't doubt Huawei will fulfill its statement of continuing to support its customers, because it said nothing about the level of support and the quality of their service ← the entire 1.4 billion customers have been living without Google, any of the western news channel or app, and are perfectly, happy. Thus, it's not surprising they will continue to be that way, without Google, without app store, without Android even. Nothing wrong about that.

    What is wrong, is that they are being shut not only from possibilities, but from knowing these possibilities! What is the important to make a customer happy!? Options! So their customer will not be happy, by this definition, because they will lose, options, not gaining more.

    Further, being kept from these technologies don't bring energy to create new, more awesome ones! That is a wishful thinking, but has never played out in history ← aren't there plenty example in this country's history, even very recent ones, that shutting doors will only make us weaker, not stronger! It's like raising kids &mdmash; you can either keep him in a bubble in a bacteria free environment, or let him get sick young and even put the same virus called immunization into his vein, so that he can grow up healthy.

    Same principle applies to technology. The only code that is good, is the one that has been looked at by many many pairs of eyes, has been deployed to many many use cases, and likely have a long bug list — it's a good sign! The unicorns in China that dominates that market, but fooling the entire 1.4 billion users that they are perfect, is neither perfect, nor good, and stands no chance when there is competition, and I mean competition of technology, not $$. Yes I know, they have a lot of money. But looking at any of the failed giants, they all had deep pocket, a lot of money, a large team of talents, but they fail in a matter of months, because they failed in technology race.

    Huawei is fine, and can be fine. It will only start to fail, if itself is believing the lie it is feeding the public. And for the upcoming uproar of chips and operating systems, see my other one.

    — by Feng Xia


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