Rahil

Category Archives for: temp

Book-shops and Learning

26 June 2016

[aka Re-visiting the Eslite Book-store]

Back to the place I began reading, for a day, before I leave Taipei, and leave reading again.

I now see why this book-store was so conducive before: the selection is amazing. A normal, rather large library in itself is of almost no organizational use. It’s good for the purpose of research, as it can provide written source sources, but that’s it. It doesn’t offer a general education in any way. It’s a mess of information, like the Internet, except more out-dated and disorganized (physical organization hits it’s limit compared to searchable digital organization). The book-store, though sufficiently large for any human, just provides a a few shelves for world history or Western philosophy. The selection top notch: top publishers, highly regarded, highly readable, organizations of knowledge: A Little History of the World, Sapiens, What is Cultural History?, Social Class in the 21st Century (Pelican) – that’s what I’ve got next to me at the moment.

This kind of organization, a well-selected library is quite a different experience from Wikipedia too. Wikipedia doesn’t organize information in the way that people can. People can organize the same information into infinite ways and mediums. For Wikipedia, though not restricted, the format is quite standard. If I look at the history of the world article, it’s likely chronologically and spatially ordered somewhat, leading to separate histories of each country. The small topics chosen by Harari in Sapiens to describe the history of the world through ideas like science and empire of the industrial-research-technology complex just doesn’t fit Wikipedia’s format. The mapping of knowledge, the gaining of wisdom, seems entirely dependent on the way information is organized. That is, after all, what artists do: manipulate information (via material [non-digital and digital]).

This better explains my first experience with books here. I found the Western Philosophy section and the readings must have organized my mind because the selection was so damn good. I [can only] imagine few people [in the world] that [may have] began reading with Bacon, Montaigne, Wittgenstein, Russell, in that order. Perhaps western philosophy initially lead me in the wrong directions; it being merely an intellectual history, but it was a start.

Now, I feel I can peruse the entire library, though I still choose to stick to culture (cultural theory and maybe cultural history) and those finer gems: highly readable, uniquely organized writings. But I don’t feel there’s much use. [Written] Organization is for the weak. Its detail will always be lossy and of low-quality. It’s best to stay skeptic: all written history is false and all philosophy is bullshit. Now, with only a map, go out and consume and alter the world!

Leave a comment | Categories: Applied Philosophy, Art, Communication, Epistemology, Experience, Humanities, Literature, Media, Philosophy, Philosophy of Education, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Literature, Uncategorized

Philosophy of Music

09 June 2016

[this is a drafty mess transcribed from paper. Really need some kind of bluetooth flexible keyboard to use with a smartphone…]

page 0

[todo: Taiwan culture and streets, clingy relationships, social world of locality]

page 1

I finally got some cheap, yet amazingly good, headphones. Listening to them reminds me of a past time of my life — programming for capital in VA [Virginia, USA], commuting to college, doing chore-like work at home (repetitive organizing on the computer); Now I’m able to see that the way I survived the suburbs is because I abused music.

Using technology is not normal. It is much slower to communicate through technology than it is to simply talk — within one’s head, out loud, or through writing. Technology distracts thinking and communicating.
.
Music interrupts, blocks thinking and communicating. To blog, for instance, I may need to connect to the internet, charge my digital device. Looking at my blog may distract further, directing thought toward design — trying to make it more readable, increasing interaction. It [technology] distracts from the content, from the act of writing, the act of thought expression.
.
Music blocks thinking. It’s the only way to act, it seems. To take an action that is not communication nor survival, one must drug onelsef with more ot push one’s body to act.

With more, people organize, over-organize, over-work, over-accumulate capital. They forget to talk. Asia talks; America works. In Taiwan, reading is common (though likely passively), a common way to communicate. In America, new arts are created to communicate which all require more work (game-making!) to communicate the message compared to human language. Why not just communicate via human language? (Maybe music blocks people from expressing through human language.)
.
It also may block thought of the environment. It helps people focus on something — media, art, material, “work”, but rarely does it lead to talking to people nearby, to thinking about how the environemnt came to be, history, others, social problems, etc. It is a mind-altering drug, one that inhibits verbal expression.

page 2?

I believe I was at a point of only acting to communicate. I didn’t do anything else. I’d talk to the people around me, then, to books, then run out of energy and collapse, partly because my body had become fail, partly because capitalism doesn’t allow that kind of life of mind. It prefers a life of bodily action, of movement of commodity. The movement of commodity is the opposite of the movement of meanings (communication). It is detestable, a chore, it provokes humans to abuse music; whereas communication is enjoyable, not requiring music.

If joy comes from the creation of communication, then the creation of commoidity requires a kind of drug to make-up for the lack of enjoyment. It is ideal to creat ecommodity whilst creating communicationl but that isn’t always possible (though, technology helps immensely here, with eBook listening, audio-recording, telephones, etc.). Eventually, either from habit of work, habit of listening to music, one nearly forgets to communicate. That’s frightening, because that’s the difference between a person who expresses and one that doesn’t, the difference between a free mind and a restricted mind. [A free person and restricted person {slave}?] America is full of restricted minds. Asia is full of free minds.

The West prioritizes media, the communication through mediums. The East prioritizes [direct] communication, even in it’s simply a conversation with a friend. There is much widsom in the people as opposed to media. It doesn’t distribute well, but it’s a healthy lifestyle. The West begins with (Plato and) Aristotle. The East relies on the oral world which retains the culture. Culture is not distributed through media; It is through human interaction, direct communication. That is opposite of the culture industry of America. [todo: should continue*****].

[todo: epistemology of music]

[todo: action and music]

Without music I only act toward survival and communication — the socio-political expressions. Music allows me to live unsocially. It gives energy without people. I needed people during my time in Asia. I was dependent on people. I strived to do everything with people [todo: need anchor to Taiwan section]. I tried to socio-politically cooperate to strive toward ideals (civic, social, design). I didn’t work, I just communicated.

page 3?

America has been running on music at least since slaves worked to their own creative folk tunes; Now, white brokers on Wall street work while listening to hip-hop. Maybe the creation of music is skewed toward the working class because they need it to get by, influenced and inspired by it, mimic the creation of it, listening to raps about wage-labor whilst laboring for wage. I sure did — through game, film, and fine arts / new media. That expression, anti-capitalism in America is perhaps the strongest emotion in American culture, perhaps even more-so than love (all forms of it). And it [the creation capitalism-influenced art] probably has not been broken since capitalism has existed.

last page?

That is why the East lacks art through mediums — most is expression through oral communication, then to written communication, then lastly to other mediums. The history of the complex part of Eastern art is perhaps solely literature. It is because America listens to music that they [tend to] communicate through mediums.

digression: How is communication prioritized? I guess that’s left to attention. Communication is just information.

empty page with title

[todo: American culture and music -> media]

an older page

Music is awful. It blocks thinking. Gives energy, for physical exercise, but actions are not thought of, just taken. It blocks thinking before taking an action. The decision-making phase is skipped. Is this action? Is this life? How can such mindlessness be? How wild the affects of music are.

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Applied Philosophy, Communication, Drafts, Experience, Filmmaking, Health, Humanities, Media, Metaphysics, Music, Personal, Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Music, Philosophy of Technology, Semiotics, Social Philosophy, temp, Thoughts

Love and Equality

11 February 2016

12/2
Played with, or was played by a girl. What should I have done different? Should I have left her alone to talk with her friends through Facebook? Bring her water, ask if everything is okay, then leave? Yeah, probably. She would have been fine. Now there’s the possibility I messed with our friendly relationship. We’ll see tomorrow.

Turns out I really suck at foreplay. Or, I have at least a little self-control, and decided not to do anything, which translates into being stuck, three-quarters-in-control one-quarter-play, allowing her to touch my face, never going beyond, and me only touching to hold her back. I could have at least practiced some play, at least show that I can play, so that she’d back off.

Perhaps my non-commitment in life shows in relationships, and even in foreplay. I stay reserved, stoic, romantic. It’s probably appears very unromantic.

If I had money, was just traveling, would it be the same? No. I really wouldn’t care for the person as much. I’d be interested in work, critical theory, helping people. I was caught (stuck) with this girl, because I really like her. I could have played much better if I didn’t have my financial constraints.

By I like her I mean she’s a good person. Good, being that undefinable adjective used by Plato. She’s good in the greatest sense of that word, and that’s worth being around. Sometimes the rationality is just that simple. It’s worth being around good people, and helping them.

The reason she’s stuck here is because of financial constraints. A seemingly male domination. When I saw what her boyfriend said, which he had previously and equally disgustingly said to his sister, I was as appalled as when I saw what my dad said to his servants in India. This feeling is almost the source [of driving force] of my life.

She’s much better, enjoys creativity, work, and fun; Her freedom is constrained. I adapted and socialized so much since I’ve been in Yilan, appreciating their simple and cheap lifestyle. Perhaps it’s the critical part of me that attracts me. Knight helps a slave, to increase he freedom of another person. A simple rationality, despite my philosophic recent past. There’s a potential that is lost, in her, in humans alike. And it is simply constrained by systems, economic or social, no different. It is unequal.

God, she is the most beautiful girl I’ve met (maybe exaggerrated by current feelings). She has it all.

The critical part is interesting though. How can a human be stuck with another human, without some kind of relationship, and when that relationship is dominant on one side, isn’t it effectively inequality? When does it become dominant?* Did it start with domination? Don’t males play male-dominating dating games with girls? What does an equal relationship look like? Aren’t friends equals? Hence the difficulty of friends in relationships.

Is it as simple as treating animals? Training females (and other slaves) like pets?

Females can get jobs, so why not break and go with old friends, take a break, work elsewhere when one needs money.

In this case, there is a long relationship, something that I do not have experience of, so very likely, I cannot empirically understand.

I guess I will keep escaping inequality, and conversely, keep striving for equality.

Perhaps this is why artists create so many things about love: because they get a strong feeling and have the desire to express it. My love seems to be more like Plato’s, which I haven’t read, but simply, a love for those undefinable traits: equality, freedom, good.

I don’t need a romantic (in the normative sense) human relationship to evoke that feeling, I’ve get enough of that from my nomadic lifestyle.
But it’s nice to know that romantic human relationships can evoke that feeling.

Leave a comment | Categories: Uncategorized

The City is More

08 January 2016

Neighborhood in City: Adds more complex[?] community, more political* (decision-making at a higher level), larger problems, more complex problems, more distraction, more diversity? (not really, for Taiwan), more shared economy, more people (can use media), more social? (more shallow?), less materially creative. – a thought during my three months in Taipei

Leave a comment | Categories: Uncategorized

Possible Next Moves

11 December 2015

Possible next moves:
*. Secure a dwelling
– Taiwan it too effing hot during the summer, and too rainy during the winter. Housing is terrible in cities. Hostels are usually enuogh, but even they often lack a kitchen, or a the ability to host events. This can’t be skipped anymore.
– 1. test out the tent
— Is a tent good enough? Probably! But then it’s still missing electricity, wi-fi, ability to cook cheaply, ability to store cold things, and generally, regulate body temperature. Maybe the proximity of a / ability to have a cold shower (during the summer) is enough though? It’s worth trying, to be closer to nature; to begin with nothing, only accumulating enough to survive, selecting everything for a minimal lifestyle. Rainy days may become even more depressing. Can easily move to another place! — Think of that! Can simply move along the mountain or small towns, or even in people’s farms or backyards.
— As for consistently meeting people, if I were to use a tent, then I would rely on a public place, which means I would have to rely on the politics of that place. Perhaps it should be a very public place — a temple, public square, etc. as opposed to a closed space.
– 2. hostel vs personal place
— a hostel provides amenities (hopfully has a kitchen!) and a stream of diverse people.
— A personal place can double as a public place enabling me to freely host events in it, invite people, etc. It also enables accumulation of assets (opposes shared amenities), which may further decrease cost-of-living (rice cooker, tea leaves and containers for storing tea, etc.). To make-up for the lack of diverse people, CouchSurfing, AirBnB, and event-making is almost required for a normative, physical social life.
— both are rather immobile, though if I keep it minimal, it may be easy to move around places.

*. Make money. :(
– x/1. try grants toward civics
— very limited for individuals. Maybe fit civil projects under an existing organization, then apply.
— long-term limit to movement, and therefore nomadic ideas
– x/2. try scholarship for master’s in urban planning in a school in an urban area to buy time
— apply in late December to March
— also limits movement long-term
I wasted time with the above two. Skip to abuse capitalism. Fuck people, politics, and their institutions.
– 3. last resort: independently sell commodities (teach, rent, tea, crafts, short games, short films), as opposed to freelance design and programming, to buy time. Or, exploit capitalism and select more lucrative gigs (ghostwrite college applications for Asian students)
— selling Chai was successful, but limited by the town’s social limits. Maybe can sell illegally in Taipei? Maybe hit up a freelance gig in a target city.
– 4. give into the devil that is global capitalism and move to an affluent country and do social or labor work: farming in New Zealand and Australia (doubles as travel, can circle the islands via scooter), social work in New York or cities with sunny weather
– 5. give into the devil of past and remotely work while having more meaningful work within my locality. Hopefully remotely work for tools for organizing, self-education, and civic technology

1. Scooter or walk around Taiwan
— stop by civic organizations along the way
— write letters to organizations and people to incite action or take action
— focus actions toward impact, avoid non-practical fine art and philosophy
— try this with a tent at first. If that’s too demanding, then maybe have to first secure a dwelling to begin with a healthy body, then try this again until I am fit enough.
2. Create a social space, use hostel and street stall financial models for income. Create technology to the benefit of the people and their organizations.
x/3. Build a house in nature for myself, with very cheap land rent, to distance self from society’s problems. Use the experience to build minimalist shelters in the future (and maybe even minimalist gear).
— Past societies have done since time immemorial, maybe better to just use camping gear more often while traveling around Taiwan and other nearby countries.
— I think what I meant by the first line is: there is no point of using time for basic needs, when I could spend less time doing high-wage work, then spending the rest of the time toward my interests.
— It’s possible to live a simple life anywhere, it just requires more discipline against the convenience of contemporary culture of larger cities. Maybe temporarily hiding out at nearby small town is enough. One adapts to live simply, eating grains and vitamin, and living ascetically.
— Still, the point of experiencing the feeling of being entirely self-sufficient in nature exists.
— A middle way may be to live on 蘭嶼 (Orchid Island) for a period of time, initially living simply with a tent, water filter, and grains, but progressing toward self-sufficiency.
x/4. Teach in the most progressive and/or lenient environment.
— Maybe simply running periodic workshops from a public space is enough. Avoid teaching what global capitalism wants (English), brain drain into higher institutions, and exclusive progressive primary education. Education is free.
— I’ve become less interested since I’ve written this, favoring self-education through technology and exploration, likely because I’ve recently been hitting the e-books.
— Also, simply having a public space is providing an education, through an educational environment
5. Learn everything there is about Taiwan by constantly traveling and talking to people. Also reading a history book or two about it. Could start Humans of Taiwan for this again, using it as a platform to create a reality for the nation. Could extend to nearby countries to compare.
— Could try recording performances like Vincent Moon, or documenting human problems like Foucault
— I don’t think there’s much to capture that hasn’t been captured. It’s more about my perspective, like Humans of Taiwan, or Chris Marker film essays. It’s seeing the the world through my eyes, seeing cultural problems, what people do, and so on.
*. Always travel. Friends in cities and universities. Personal selection of Silk Road from Yunnan to Netherlands to Ireland. Central and South America.
*. Always think about design and technology, social organizing, civic engagement, and decision-making in general, to where it changes reality.
*. Can think of film and games too?

Leave a comment | Categories: Life, Personal, Self-assessment, temp

Travel: Tips, Resources, and a Checklist

01 February 2013

Introduction

This post is an ongoing list of travel tips, resources, and a pre-travel checklist. It was written because a friend asked for some tips and my response turned out to be very long, so long that I felt the effort belonged to a more permanent, more public place, like this blog.

Obligatory disclaimer: somethings written here are subjective and it’s up to you to extract whatever you can from it. Actually, you should just stop researching and just go!

Checklist

I hate packing, but gladly, very little is necessary.

smartphone – It’s nearly everything one needs to travel. It’s a map, (Google maps), a compass, an internet browser, a camera, a video camera, a hotspot, an alarm clock, an e-book reader, and more.
check passport expiration date
check visa
limit bag weight to 20kg check-in and 7kg carry-on
call or use internet to inform debit and credit card companies of travels so that they do not block the card upon foreign transactions
check driver’s license expiration date
check international driver’s license expiration date
download and install everything you need (internet is going to suck)
composition book
notes application
inform embassy of travels through Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP)
– it sends current news through e-mail about the areas you are travelling to
otc stomach medicine (Pepto-Bismal)
mosquito spray
sun screen
become an EU citizen
– able to live and work in 28 countries?

Pro-tips

Pros only.

Don’t reserve accommodation.
Don’t buy ongoing or return flights. Kinda risky? Can buy a “ghost” ticket.
Don’t bring more than one backpack and daypack.

Visas

Oh if only every country handled this the same. Some countries have weird stipulations: Thailand allows 30 days by air, but only 15 by land. Also, make sure the visa is stamped upon entry and exit. Laos duped me; Luckily, I didn’t have any cash to give them and they let me out.

Travel.State.Gov – for U.S. citizens, choose country, check the entry / exit requirements section
Visa requirements for United States citizens Wikipedia article – easy to view, but may not be updated

Country specific:
Taiwan – a post that explains how ARCs, work permits, and visas work

Working holiday visas:
Wikipedia article
– US does not participate in this
– “There are opportunities for US citizens to work in Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea under similar bilateral programs, however.”

Transportation

Air Travel

I used a combination of Kayak and Skyscanner. Skyscanner will find some funky cheap domestic flights that Kayak will miss. If the trip is short you may not need to book in advance to get a good rate. Flights through small airlines can be surprisingly cheap, like $20 flights to the Philippines through Cebu Pacific from nearby countries. I should give Hipmunk another try.

Motorcycle

I’d recommend riding a bike anywhere road conditions are somewhat decent. Motorcycles are the best form of transportation. No need to follow bus and train schedules, not limited to the developed towns public transportation goes; Swerve into random villages; Few things feel better than being on a motorcycle. If you can, buy a bike, make an overland trip, and sell it at the end.

Make sure to get an international driver’s permit with a motorcycle stamp. It could be helpful to just get one without a motorcycle license. I was able to rent motorcycles throughout SE Asia with just a normal vehicle driver’s license, and sometimes just a passport.

Accommodation

I used hostelbookers and hostelworld for more popular places. I never had to reserve a hostel, even during travelling season. Great hostels can make a huge difference. It could mean having helpful and knowledgable staff members, meeting interesting travelers, integrating with local people, having a lower chance of items being stolen. Hostels are an experience of their own. I’ve had really memorable times in them.

hostelbookers – no fee for reservation, more technical user interface
hostelworld – charges fee for reservation, better user interface
tripadvisor – more than just hostels
hostels – just hostels, really

Couchsurfing

Although it can serve as accommodation, it’s about meeting people and culture exchange, therefore it deserves it’s own category.

I couchsurfed a few times in Taiwan and loved it. I usually don’t feel like planning anything and want to wander about. Living through someone else is one the laziest and thus my favorite way to travel. It just requires some time ahead to communicate and set dates. If you have the time to plan, I highly recommend it.

Work

Oh so much to do. Just choose and go!

Volunteering and Work Exchange

I highly recommend this too. Travelling too fast is detrimental to social life, unless you’re able to control yourself and Skype with friends and family at home frequently. Living in one place, developing relationships. It’s just good.

I also didn’t want to tie myself to an ESL gig for 6 months or a year, so instead I found an English teaching position on helpx for two weeks, which turned into two months.

Both sites are about the same. You can see helpx posts without paying. Workaway requires you to pay before seeing.

helpx
workaway

WWOOF – limited to organic farming

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Teaching English is a financially safe and logistically easy way to live in another country. A lot of people do this. Although safe and easy, it’s a real job that takes time and effort, 30-40+ hours a week. I believe you should try to do what you want. Be bold. Never compromise for financial safety.

Wikipedia article

Communication

The cheapest route is to just use an online service. If people need to contact you on demand, get a local or international SIM card, which should have free incoming calls. Of course, a GSM phone is needed.

Google Voice – voice over IP service. I ported my number to it before travelling, but I believe they give out free numbers too. My number is from the US, so I am able to use it to call US to US for free. Costs $20 to port my number. It worked with Verizon. About $0.02/minute to mobile devices in other countries. [todo: can I call my Google Voice number from a foreign phone, and relay a call?]
Talkatone – an iPhone app to make calls through Google Voice
Skype – free voice over IP service including video and instant messaging
Facetime – also free voice over IP service including video?
Prepaid SIM cards – can be really cheap, has free incoming call
Taiwan
– Thailand
– DTAC – $20 per month for unlimited 3G data which I heavily tethered. It was amazing.
International SIM cards – World SIM, OneSimCard, TravelSim. I haven’t tried these, but it seems enticing for an all-in-one solution.
– India
– Airtel – I bought the 3GB then unlimited plan, tethered it a few times, and still haven’t used it up. It’s fast. I don’t know how slow it will become once I use up the 3GB.

Finance

I’m broke. You probably shouldn’t listen to me here.

Purchases

Use a credit card without foreign transaction fees when possible. If not, use cash. Avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) — When a merchant asks to convert to your currency, say no, charge in the current currency you’re purchasing from.

Visa and mastercard exchange rates are much lower than banks, and much much lower than airports and hotels. 0.15% to 1.00% according to Visa’s website.

Credit card rewards programs are gibberish. I calculated that a 2% cash-back card trumps most travel cards, and it’s more convenient.

Withdrawals

Check the foreign transaction fee on your debit or ATM cards. Call your company, ask them if they can waive it during your trip. If not, try to get one without a fee. It’s usually 1%, 2%, 3%, or $5. Smaller banks have better rates.

Currency exchange rates:
Google
Visa
MasterCard

Vaccinations

Call your physician and use health insurance. Call your local public health department and use health insurance. Travel clinics should be the last choice, as they are the most expensive and often do not use health insurance.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention country list – contains routine and regional recommended vaccinations

Antimalarials

For long-term, the intake any antimalarials will likely display side effects. Taking none and avoiding mosquito bites seems like the best option. It’s not worth the side effects or money. It’s possibly overblown by overly cautious Westerners and drug companies. Besides, it’s curable.

For short-term, Atovaquone / Proguanil seems like the best option. Can use Cholorquine in areas where mosquitos are not resistant to it.

I’m not sure if it’s okay to change medicine.

Chloroquine:
Cheap. Low side effects, and family uses it without problems. Resisted in many areas.

Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone, Malanil):
Expensive ($4/daily pill). Low side effects. Difficult to find in non-industrialized countries.

Doxycycline:
Cheap. Tetracyclines are a general antibiotic which works against several diseases. Might be causing me digestion problems.

Mefloquine:
Kinda scary to me, as it has psychological and neurological side effects. The local doctor prescribed me this, but I’ll likely cancel it.

references:
www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/drugs.html
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimalarial_medication
www.doctortravel.ca/index.php?page=malaria
wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/india.htm

My experience:
I took one before going to North Thailand, and I don’t recommend it. I don’t think it’s worth, in side effects and cost, taking any anti-malarial for long-term travelling.

I started taking Doxycycline once I knew I was going to bike through northwest Thailand. The medicine had few side effects and was noted as a helpful general antibiotic. It was causing indigestion and heartburn by the time I got to India. I think it was also screwing up my taste.

My family take Choloquine, and they say that they never had problems with it. It didn’t make sense to take that medicine either as the mosquitos in India are resistant to it.

Travel Resources

There’s a lot of guides, but remember to use it as just that: a guide. Choose your own path.

Wikitravel – This is an amazing resource, and it’s free
Travel.State.Gov – Important stuff
Triposo – I met someone who travelled with just this. It’s only for iOS and Android. I believe it gathers information from free sources like Wikitravel.
tripadvisor – I never used this
Lonely Planet – I used a book for Laos, it’s extremely convenient. The real book is far more convenient than the PDF versions. I think they’re worth it.
UNESCO World Heritage list
random guide books found at hostel book exchange bookcases
hostel staff
travelers
local people
no one

scraps, don’t look!

– house sitting
– trustedhousesitters (free)
– mindmyhouse ($20 annual)
– housecarers
– US only
– housekeeper’s gazette

– temporary housing and cultural exchange
– Couchsurfing
– BeWelcome
– Servas
– UN supported, oldest
– meh
– GlobalFreeloaders
– Hospitality Network
– Tripping

– Resources:
gizmodo.com/5830251/how-to-couchsurf-and-not-get-killed

– work exchange
– Help Exchange (helpx), Workaway
– help and host
– no results for the countries I’m interested in
www.moreofit.com/similar-to/www.workaway.info/Top_10_Sites_Like_Workaway/
– Caretaker’s Gazzette
– seems US heavy, and tourist parts of the carribean and central america
– work4travel
– seems tourist heavy

– farming
– WWOOF
www.organicvolunteers.com
– Grow Food

– organization list
www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/volunteer/index.shtml

– job/organization search engine
– idealist
– great source of organizations
– anyworkanywhere
– weak database

– organizations
– rotary
– a club, very cult personality ish
– interexchange
-http://www.interexchange.org/working-abroad/teaching-program/opportunities-available
– found through idealist
www.nvda-asiapacific.org
– seems nice, mostly rural development
nice1.sakura.ne.jp/e/wc_japan_e/wcj_e.html

– ESL in Asia
tealit – Taiwan
esldewey – Taiwan
eslcafe – mostly Asia
Jet Programme – Japan
a lot more links
– http://www.esljobfeed.com ?
– http://www.eslemployment.com ?

– conclusion:
– Large chain schools have mixed reviews, as expected. It’s best to move first, find locations nearby, check it out yourself, then compare and decide. Don’t plan the whole thing before going.

– resources:
– http://www.keepingpaceinjapan.com/2010/01/better-know-language-school-gaba.html
– GABA is bad, try berlitz

comparison of ESL teaching in countries:
– http://eslteacherinkorea.blogspot.com/2010/05/korea-vs-taiwan-vs-japan-vs-hong-kong.html
– http://busyteacher.org/4791-top-5-countries-with-best-esl-salaries.html
– http://www.teflasia.com
– http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/esl/articles/bestplacesteachenglishasia.shtml

order: Taiwan == Korea > Japan. HK?

– housing
www.jobmonkey.com/teaching/asia/html/short_stay.html
– cheap places to stay in japan
www.tli.com.tw/EN/student_service/student_service.asp?ID=5

– other sites
– escape artist
– trashy site and content

banking:

– PayPal supports many countries including Taiwan, Korea, and Japan
– need to apply for a Taiwanese bank to store money in
– withdrawing from Taiwanese bank uses a poor exchange rate
– for large amounts, use wire transfer
– visa and mastercard exchange rates are much lower than banks, and much much lower than airports and hotels. .15 to 1% according to Visa’s website.
– be aware of credit card benefits
www.mastercard.us/card-benefits.html
usa.visa.com/personal/visa-signature/benefits/index.jsp

withdraw:
– my Wells Fargo debit card has a $5 flat fee, upto $2000 daily limit on ATM card, and ATM owner/operator may have seperate fee
– use at any visa or or any of the interbank networks on the back of the card — plus (visa), cirrus (mastercard), nyce (u.s. only), start (u.s. only)
– ATM locator, visa.via.infonow.net/locator/global/ResultsDisplayAction.do?uid=X574124-1343592848-ac130103
– ATM card with 1% fee, usually a small limit
– credit unions and small banks, large banks often charge more
– some online banks reimburse the visa/MC fee, or charge nothing

– do not use credit cards for cash advance
– my Capital One card has a “3% of cash advance; not less than $10”, but the 25% interest charge begins immediately, there is no grace period
– okay if you can pay it off the next day, might be good for small amounts

deposit:
– ask employer to pay through paypal, online banking, or direct deposit to US bank
– get Taiwanese bank and use wire transfer

accomodation:
hostel club
– not popular enough

Aggregate websites
www.hostelz.com
– aggregates top four sites
– do not need to book through hostels to write a review
– don’t see all of the reviews…?
Travellerspoint
– aggregates both

volunteering:
www.transitionsabroad.com/
– great articles
www.goworldtravel.com/volunteer-vacations-travel/
– organization list
www.nvda-asiapacific.org/5photoAlbum.html
– seems nice
HandsOn – more for people with jobs that want to fit volunteering during their off-times
Red Cross – medical would be interesting!

Leave a comment | Categories: Specific Guides, Travel

Replacing a Hard Disk Drive with Mac OS X and Boot Camp

13 March 2012

I wanted to install Unity to create a 3D game I thought of for EGP but I can’t because I don’t have enough space on my Boot Camp partition! The feeling of being blocked from the things you want to do is awful.

I have MacBook Pro (13″ early 2011, Model Number: A1278) with 196GB allocated to the Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) partition and 42GB allocated to the Windows 7 partition. Bad idea, as I’ve found I use Windows 95% of the time now. After a searching a little on Google it seems there is no recommended (reliable and popular) way to re-size the partition, instead I must re-install the Boot Camp partition.

While researching I thought this would be a good time to finally upgrade to a solid-state drive and do everything at once.

After little research I’ve decided to choose the Samsung 830 over the Crucial m4 and Intel 510 (all 256GB versions) based on the few MacRumors threads I read. I calculated my Windows install (applications, but no media) takes the full 37.9GB with 4GB virtual memory, and my Mac OS X install takes around 80GB (or was it 60?*). I don’t want to run into this problem of low space again, so I decided on the larger 256GB drives. From what I gather the Samsung 830 controller is newer/better, compatible with Mac OS X, and can update the firmware from within Boot Camp. Normally I’d choose Intel so I don’t have to worry about reliability, but I did not see any price or performance competitive options from Intel. Besides, I loves me some Samsung.

Upon reading the current Best SSDs For The Money article by Tom’s Hardware I stumbled upon a neat solution which allows you to install a second hard disk drive in the optical bay. MacRumor users found a cheap alternative form Amazon. I’m thinking about ordering one and placing my hard disk drive in there.

Just thinking ahead of a good video editing system, I could store the original footage on the hard disk (HFS+) and edit on the SSD. My current external hard drive uses NTFS and I use a NTFS driver (NTFS-3G or Paragon, I don’t remember) to read it from Mac OS X. I remembered reading something about the exFAT file system. That sounded like the perfect file system for external drives, but after a little research it wasn’t. I’ll have to do some more reading.

I’ll update this post early next month with my results. It might even be separated into two posts, resizing and buying a SSD.

UPDATE:
Success. I was able to clone my Mac and Windows installations. For the most part I followed this well-written guide. It was an overall smooth process.

Here’s a tiny list of hurdles I went through:

Before I began I uninstalled NTFS for Mac driver. I’m not sure if this was necessary.

2. Follow the wizard to create a BootCamp partition. This partition does not need to be the same size as your old Boot Camp partition. When Boot Camp Assistant asks you to insert a Windows install disk quit Boot Camp Assistant. Your partition is created.

During this step, when I clicked install in WinClone, it would ask for a Windows disk without creating a partition. I had to insert my Windows 7 disk for it to partition. After that, my PC restarted and booted from the Windows CD. From here I selected the Boot Camp partition and selected format (after clicking advanced options). I don’t think this did anything though. I then quit the setup, restarted the PC, held options to boot into Mac, and continued to recover the image from WinClone.

8. Turn on your Mac holding down the Option key on the keyboard. You should see your Boot Camp partition as a boot option, (it’s probably labeled “Windows”). Select it to boot into Windows.

The first time I tried to boot into Windows the PC displayed a blank black screen with a Windows mouse cursor. I had to hard power off. The next boot worked perfectly.

After I was done I was able to use Samsung Magician software to update the solid-state drive’s firmware within Boot Camp. I used the Windows update option, as opposed to creating a bootable CD or USB.

I also checked to see if disk defragmenter was turned off in Windows as it is not needed for solid-state drives.

Finally, Mac OS X feels as nimble as Window 7. As I had guessed, the hard drive was the bottleneck. The good old Core 2 Duo lives another day. Also, it’s nice not to have to move files around to compensate for the lack of space. So worth the time.

Other Resources:
guides.macrumors.com/Extend/Resize_Boot_Camp_Partition
forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1056464
forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1177020&page=19
www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-review-benchmark,3115-6.html

Leave a comment | Categories: Specific Guides | Tags: ,

Fixing Err-3 on a 1998 Acura Integra Car Stereo

12 March 2012

It’s wonderful what you can do with Google.

My sister told me her car stereo wasn’t working. I checked it and found that it displayed Err-3. After a little Googling I discovered this is part of the anti-theft system and must have triggered after the battery had recently died.

Here are the steps to reset the anti-theft system:

  1. Check if your car has a sticker with a code written on it. Here’s a video that shows possible locations. If you find the code, skip to step 5.
  2. Pull out the stereo to obtain the device serial number and keep it pulled out.
  3. Write down the serial number so that you don’t have to remove the stereo again
  4. Get the code by supplying the serial number, VIN, and other information. Try this website. If that doesn’t work, call a dealership, ask for parts and services, and tell them you need the code. If they don’t give the code or try to charge you, try another dealership.
  5. If you came from step 1, disconnect the car battery, wait 30 seconds, and reconnect. If not, disconnect the power cable from the car stereo, wait 30 seconds, and reconnect.
  6. Enter the code
  7. Celebrate

Other Resources:
honda-tech.com/showpost.php?p=33226689&postcount=5

Leave a comment | Categories: Specific Guides | Tags: , , ,

Buying a Professional Video Camera

18 February 2012

is a nightmare.

There’s far too many choices. Do I get a consumer camcorder, a prosumer camcorder, a DSLR with video capabilities, or a real professional film camera? Well, the consumer camcorders have the consumer look, prosumer camcorders produce the same quality but have more buttons, DSLRs are missing features to consider it as a video camera, and a real film camera costs $7000.

A “pro” would say. Buy a real film camera. If you don’t have the money but know that film is what you want to do in life, save up for a real film camera.

A smart person will tell you to film with whatever you have. If the camera is limiting your abilities, buy whatever is within your budget.

If I could turn back time I’d buy a $600 TM-900 and start shooting; Then buy things as I need them.

That didn’t happen. I over-researched, spending more time reading when I could have been shooting. I ended up with a $1150 Panasonic DMC-GH2 with the 14-140mm lens. Although I don’t regret my purchase I do regret the time wasted.

Hm, now I’m unsure if I should provide the research I did as it may enable a reader to continue researching.

Might be updated soon!

Update!:
11/28/2014
Even though that Panasonic was the gem of DSLR / mirror-less film-making, it sucked as a film camera. The stabilization made it impossible for any sort of recording while walking. The camera itself was large. The camera would eat up battery and memory cards.

I sold it and bought a Panasonic v750. USB-powered and steadicam-like stabilization. If only I had bought the camcorder two years ago.

Leave a comment | Categories: Filmmaking, Specific Guides | Tags: ,

← Older posts