八月 2007


這是我幾個月前在 Jay Leno Show 上看過的,今天公司裡有人傳 email 把這個影片分享給大家,超可愛的!~

 

廣告

在上海2個月了,手機總共用了70人民幣(含月費)。That’s 70 / 7.5 = 9.3 US Dollars.  沒錯,我兩個月手機費用總共用不到10美金。每天都送簡訊,打電話,兩個月,加月費,less than 10 bucks, that’s 4+ dollars per month.

對於美國手機費用不熟的人,這或許不算甚麼。但是對於使用美國昂貴且落後的手機通訊 3、4 年的我來說,這個數字真的很震驚。請跟美國手機費用比較,家中3隻手機,總共一個月80美金,平均一人26美金一個月。但是3個人包含的分鐘數是700分鐘,家中老媽不太打手機,保守估計100分鐘一個月,剩下跟老弟分600分鐘,一人300分鐘。聽起來好像蠻多的,但是請考慮下列幾項問題:

  1. 美國採取雙向收費,接電話也算你分鐘。300分鐘其實你接電話也在扣除分鐘數,很快就會用完。
  2. 美國簡訊也採取雙向付費,而且不包含在月費。接受簡訊一封0.1美金 = 3.3 台幣 = 0.75 人民幣。要是哪個人送你簡訊,你一收到就是0.1美金,所以誰敢送簡訊都會被罵。
  3. 美國要是分鐘數用完,多打一分鐘電話(或多接一分鐘電話,雙向收費…)為0.45 美金 = 14.85 台幣 = 3.3 人民幣。
  4. 辦新號碼的時候,必須簽合約一年(T-mobile) 或兩年(AT&T, Verizon)。合約沒到之前若要換電訊公司,請繳違約金 275 美金 = 9075台幣 = 2062 人民幣。

但是公平起見,美國也是有很多好處的,例如:

  1. 晚上9點後接通免費。週末接通也免費
  2. 月費超過50美金的「套餐」,網內互打24小時免費
  3. Voicemail是免費包含的。不需要另外加錢
  4. 美國全國內無漫遊費。

但是這就造成很多問題,例如:

  1. 因為網內互打免費,所以如果朋友都是某家電訊公司,你基於經濟考慮,只能跟著朋友一起用同家公司,即使他的月費比其他公司高。
  2. 也正是因為想要有網內互打免費,你必須要用月費超過50美金的「套餐」,否則就不能享受網內互打免費。
  3. 即使你公司的訊號覆蓋率其差無比 (Sprint),你因為合約的關係,你硬是不換公司。別人打電話給你你從來接不到,因為你宿舍沒訊號。
  4. 你從來不送簡訊,也拒絕收簡訊,因為接簡訊要錢又貴。美國人是不送簡訊的,甚麼事情都打電話。
  5. 你要是平時打的電話多,或是接的電話多,或是朋友都不是你的電信公司,一到月底你就必須節約使用,或是拒接電話。有多少人msn暱稱一道月底就是「請晚上9點後再打電話給我」或是「沒分鐘了,請不要打給我,我也不會接電話」。搞的很多人一道月底就消失,找也找不到人,因為都不接電話。

跟上海比較時,上海很多優點非常明顯,例如:

  1. 單項收費,接聽免費(不管是國內還是國際),撥打電話一分鐘 0.13 人民幣 = 0.559 台幣 = 0.017 美金(比skype打電話還便宜)。我的通話費用還算貴的,因為我是預付卡。假設使用「套餐」的話,一分鐘0.10人民幣。
  2. 簡訊接收免費,送簡訊一則 0.10 人民幣 = 0.43 台幣 = 0.013美金。 簡訊送到網外的話要0.15人民幣,但是因為大部份的人都用中國移動,that’s not a big problem.
  3. 月費16人民幣 = 68台幣 = 2.1美金。但是不含分鐘數。

比起美國雖然沒有週末免費,網內互打免費等好處,但是接聽免費,接簡訊免費,打電話便宜,月費便宜。結果就是2個月用不到10美金。兩個月在美國要26*2=52美金。5到6倍。我在美國工作的薪水是大陸的3到4倍,所以以購買力而言,上海仍然勝出。美國這種收費架構造成了手機落後的下場。美國人一般對手機的要求也偏低,因為沒看過多好看的手機。所有的最新手機在美國都買不到,跟電信公司買的手機還要被加鎖,假設你有天願意付那275美金的違約金換電信公司,你還要買新的手機,因為原先的手機不接受其他電信公司的sim卡。

Text messaging is better than calling because:

 – You have time to think what you want to say.

 – You don’t have to respond immediately, you can respond when you feel like it.

 – You can let your anger rest and then respond politely.

 – It has more immediacy than instant messaging, since it is on your phone and you carry your phone all the time

 – It cost less when you only want to say something simple.

Yet with all its advantages, sometimes I am still confused because you can easily misjudge a person’s real intent.  Human’s yearning for conversation and interaction is facilitated by technology, yet perhaps it is technology itself that moves us even further away from each other?

iPhoto 08 has just been released, incorporating the concept of events to organize your photos.  As I mark each event after upgrading to iPhoto 08, I am drawn into a world of memory.  From the earliest photos dating back to the beginning of the new millennium, to recent photos that were just taken a couple weeks ago, I find myself traversing my past.

As I watch these past photos, I cannot help but feel a sense of sadness.  Looking at myself so long ago, I am amazed at the transformation.  Yet when I regain my orientation of time, only 7 years have gone by.  Seven!  How many seven years do one have in their life?  Yet these past 7 years have felt like 70 years.

To think that, only merely 2 years ago, I was interning at Rockwell.  It feels that happened in another life when I remember it today.  My 21st birthday marked the day I grew up and could never turn back.  The things I saw, the things I felt, the things I understood, all of which defines me now.  I never wanted to grow up so fast, yet I stepped into the world and the world wouldn’t let me go back.  The effects of those seven months in Rockwell is still lasting, and I realize now that I am still trying to recover from its wake.  Only 2 years ago?!  My god.

Then I began to see past photos with friends that are no longer friends anymore.  All the people I saw in that photo, each relationship destroyed almost completely.  The decay is so great that I have not met a lot of them since, and most of which even if we met we would not acknowledge each other.  That was only 18 months ago.  The people that have come and gone, I cannot help but reflect and wonder why things have turned out this way.

I so want to blame America for this phenomenon, it was the loneliness God Damn It!  Yet now I am not sure it is entirely because of the loneliness.  Perhaps it was my lack of faith in people, and I lost that completely 2 years ago.  I am angry at my situation, why I had to endure this when no one else had to or cared to even understand it.  People were indifferent, or actually, they didn’t understand.  Their life was good, they were nice people, but they couldn’t understand why the hell I was so angry.  Some concluded I was just crazy, some felt sorry for me, but most just didn’t really understand. 

I so wanted to blame them, so wanted to be angry at them, so wanted to be venting my frustrations at them just so I wouldn’t explode.  Yet now I cannot find the strength to do that anymore.  I just look at the photos and I sigh in disbelief.  How could I have done the things I’ve done?  How could I have thought the way I did?  Unbelievable, simply speechless.

Looking at each trip I took, each year occurring the same theme, just different people.  After which, none of them is part of my life anymore.  From the December of 2005 to March of 2007.  15 months.  15!  So many things have happened in those 15 months, I must have gained more friends than I had in middle school.  And in those 15 months, I’ve lost just as many friends.

I write this now, exasperated, shocked, and full of remorse.  My friends tease me as being an old man.  Well, perhaps it’s because it’s true.  For a 23 year old, I behave like a man full of regret and bad memories. 

My world changed in 1999, and for 3 years I had no memory.  High school was a fast 3 years with, well, nothing worthy to note.  Then came 2002, when I came to China for the first time in my life.  That experience impacted me so greatly it changed my life forever.  The questions that were raised during that trip shook the very foundations of my core belief. 

From 2002 to 2003 I remained the same person, but with more and more questions.  2003 I went back the China and again felt myself doubting at everything I believed with evermore suspicion.  Why do I feel so different when I am with Chinese?  Why do I feel this sickening sense of sadness when I leave?  Like I found something good and am forced to leave it because I no longer belong anymore.  Do I belong?  Why do people say my Chinese is very good when they should be saying my English is good?  Why do people treat me differently, when in fact I feel part of them?

Then came 2004, I went to China and, after a chain of events, almost got myself published in major newspaper and tabloid magazines.  I think of that memory and tears of shame linger in my eyes.  The mistakes that were made, but worse yet, the publicity and spotlight that was generated from that mistake.  Fortunately I remained anonymous, yet I lost friends, good friends.  People sometimes can be unforgiving when they do not understand, and in my case, I did not have the benefit of being understood.  The way that everyone handled it was completely out of line.  My eager parents that did not show enough discretion in the spotlight, my dad that thought the whole thing a proud thing to declare to the world, my friends who saw everything so clearly but could not convey those concerns to me calmly.  And myself, for making the biggest mistake of not listening to any of them and going ahead and making the wrong decision.  When people mention the event, I insist that it was a good thing for me, that I learned a lot from my mistakes.  Yet deep inside I ache at the very thought of remembering.  I do not want to remember that great mistake that was worsened by the almost celebrity-like media coverage.  It was plain craziness. I’m only 20, I’m just a kid.

Then came 2005, Those seven months in Rockwell that for the first time made me worry for my health.  I was getting my blood examined, with my liver going to hell, blood pressure hit marks that 50 year olds experience, severe acne that destroyed my face along with my self esteem, and heartburn so bad that the doctor warned I had to keep it in control or I would develop ulcers.  All the while puzzling the doctor because he couldn’t find anything wrong that would cause those symptoms.  For the first time I realized this would have been the life I would be living if I graduated and stayed in America.  I hated the life, I was scared.  I was so scared that, now I think back, something inside me changed.  I became cynical, I became mortified of loneliness and I began to hate my personality.

At the summer of 2005 I went to China for a trip, made a friend in about 2 weeks, and at the end of the trip, lost it.  I began school with the determination to make a lot friends.  So I went to events I never would have gone, I did things I never would have done.  I made a lot of friends, friends that really never were my type, yet I convinced myself that if I didn’t change nothing would change (such is the American way, no?).  In 3 months so much was occurring that I began to believe that I was heading the right direction.  Yet in December of 2005 it was clear that things began to go out of control.  I lost a good friend that have not spoke to me since.  In its aftermath, I continued to switch among friends that had I been in Taiwan, I would never even have talked to them.  By the beginning of summer vacation in 2006, merely 6 months, I lost almost the entire group of friends.  The few that remain in friendly terms now only greet me cordially when we meet on the street.

The summer of 2006 marked the beginning of my relationship with NI.  At the same time new friends were arriving from Taiwan that seemed to happen so long ago.  NI was a great company but I still felt that sickening sense of not belonging to them.  I couldn’t really relate or identify with my co-workers, even though they are great people.  When they asked me to stay full time, my heart sank.  I did not wish for them to give me that choice, I wanted it to end in friendly terms without me having to turn down a great offer because of my own personal problems.  I ended the internship with NI at December and went to Taiwan having to decide my future.  I had 2 months to decide if I wanted to take the offer.

In December of 2006, I arrived in Taiwan and went to Macau for a conference.  Again those familiar feelings of doubt and questions revisited me.  This time though, I was not stable enough to receive them.  I became more and more frustrated and desperate.  In my desperation I almost repeated the same mistake I made in 2004.  It was the same situation, same spotlight, same dad, same everything.  Fortunately nothing really happened, no mistakes to grieve over.

I returned to Columbus in January of 2007, class began and for about 4 weeks nothing really happened.  Then I started to make new friends again.  And with almost mirror images, the same craziness happened.  I wonder if America has the power to make people repeat mistakes over and over again with its everlasting loneliness?  I hurt people, I know, but I am just beginning to realize how much.  For the next 6 months the same thing happened, and by summer of 2007 (yes, June, 2 months ago), I felt like I’ve relived 2006, with just different people.  So many episodes of reoccurring themes it feels like a bad soup opera.

Perhaps the only good thing that came out of 2007 was me turning down the full time offer from NI, and then having them ask me if I wanted to come to Shanghai.  June 20th, I arrived in Shanghai, June 25 I began work.  And a new life.

For 4 weeks I have never felt so normal.  A new beginning.  This time it doesn’t feel like I am making the same mistake I made for so many years.  It feels that even when my internship ends in September and I go back to Columbus for 3 months, my friends here will still be here, and will continue to be my good friends.  That is something I have never felt for a long long time.  I no longer have to pretend to be someone I’m not, and with my original personality of being quiet, I can make friends.  Friends that I can relate and identify with. 

I now look back, I truly feel old.  So many mistakes, so many lessons.  I feel so tired from the experience, and I feel so ashamed.  Things that felt so real and necessary back then, now are impossible to imagine.  I hope to redeem myself here in Shanghai and let my friends see the real me.  However, the real me includes this dreary past.  It’s been 2 years that I’ve acted out of my way just so I wouldn’t feel like crap in America.  Those 2 years have felt like an eternity.  I find myself sometimes telling my new friends about these things and to be honest, it freaks them out.  That is the reason for me blocking them from my blog.  They will not understand what I’ve been through, and I do not want them to view me as a lunatic.  That is not the real me, that is not the me now.  See me for what I am now, what I am like during work, during commute, during the weekends. 

I do not wish to mention this past to my friends, yet there are a few days I found myself still lingering in the past and acting all weird again.  I hope I have not scared my new friends away, so far it doesn’t seem that way.  However, I am determined to close that chapter in my life and begin a new one.  One that doesn’t include me going crazy, being all angry and hurting people all the time.  I want to be normal again, I want my friends to like me and want to hang out with me.  So far, it seems to be that way.  I want to have good things to share, and as my time in Shanghai lengthens, it surely will be that way.  Right now everything I share is plain frightening, and I don’t want to be this way.  I hope I don’t have to linger in my past anymore, and that this blog will be the last of such topics.

To mom and dad, you truly misjudged the magnitude of the impact coming to America.  It didn’t help that I hid most of my thoughts inside and never told you about it.  When things really turned bad and I began to tell you my thoughts, it was already too late.  Coming to America is not a dream, it was a nightmare.  It has changed my, as well as our family, forever.  My English, my grades, my scholarship, my internships and my salary, none of which is worthy of mentioning in my opinion.  True, you are proud that your son has achieved so much (in your mind, not to me), but to me it is evidence of my nightmare.  To gain all that, I’ve been through so much pain and constantly felt like I am someone who does not belong.  The outside is pretty, but the inside is a mess.  I will gladly trade all of this to undo what I’ve done to other people and feel normal again.  High school was 3 years of nothing when my friends have so much good stuff to remember.  College was 5 years of hell and towards the latter 2 years so much evil was done by me.  I hear my friends talk about their happy 4 years in college, what they did with their friends and the funny things that happened and I ache in pain.  What do I have in my 5 years of college life?  The fun things I did with my friends?  Hell, I don’t have much friends anymore.  The good experiences of being with a group of people you like and developing deep friendships?  I don’t have that.  My friends, most of them, are no longer my friends.  Please compare that to your happy college lives that you talk about so often, and you will realize that your son do not enjoy college one bit.  Who the hell cares about my English or grades?  Would you be willing to trade all your college experiences just so you can speak english a bit better than others?  Just so you can proudly display your American college degree to others?  I bet the answer is:  you have never thought about it, didn’t have the choice in the first place. 

Well, I had that choice.  I am glad that you have come to understand how my decision now is something necessary for me to maintain a sane mind.  I am thankful you did not deny me the chance to come to Shanghai as so many other parents in the same situation would have done.  I know you still worry about my career and how much money I can save working here.  My true answer is this, I don’t really care!  Feeling normal is my biggest asset.  Your son never had any great aspirations, your second son might have a better chance.  Let me be the quiet son who just wants a normal life. 

I am happy that you have not objected much over my decision to come to Shanghai.  I will be returning to Shanghai in 2008, and I hope by the time Shanghai celebrates the World Expo in 2010, I will be such a different person that I will be surrounded by happiness.  2000 – 2007 will only be a vague memory in the past.

Hell of a long post, I hope the combination of English and its length will deter people from reading it Wink

以前唸書的時候,總是對自己的英文能力沒多大重視。在美國實習的時候,也覺得自己中文能力根本沒多大用處,大家都是講英文,我會英文,也跟別的美國人沒兩樣。我會中文,也沒人用中文溝通,有甚麼用?寫程式都是英文,沒有中文,是不需要語言能力的。

來上海之後,我卻發現我的語言能力竟然成為我的極大優勢。寫程式的時候需要做 Research,我都去 google,出來的網站也都是英文。轉頭看看同事,每個都在百度上找資料,出來的網站都是中文。我同事盡可能的找中文網站,因為「看英文比較吃力」。但是常常中文網站的訊息並不如英文網站廣泛,而技術性質的英文網站又比中文網站多太多了。對我來說,看中文反而吃力,要習慣各種奇怪的專有名詞的翻譯(鼠標…硬盤..可移植性,封裝,儤露接口….甚麼東西…),看英文反而輕鬆自在。常常找資訊,我就比同事們快而且準確。我的英文能力,原本根本就視為理所當然,現在反而覺得是一大優勢。

反過來看中文,原本覺得在上海反正大家都是講中文,我反正會中文也沒甚麼了不起的。但是一工作之後,上海常常要跟美國總部通訊息。常常又長又臭的技術文檔,或是美國人一些口語敘述概念,常常造成上海這邊諸多困擾。 The rabbit hole is deep 是甚麼意思?! 這個引用 Alice in Wonderland 的口語,中國人根本就聽不懂,可是我卻會心一笑。看同事充滿問號的表情,我就用中文跟他解釋這到底是甚麼意思,有時候拿出中文相似的詞句來解釋。看他們豁然開朗的樣子,我又意識到自己的優勢。拿美國人來說(或是普通的 ABC),他聽得懂美國的口語,但是他怎麼知道要怎麼用中文解釋?我的中文能力,反而成為我在英文中文之間的橋樑,能夠迅速的在兩個文化穿梭,這點我發現並不是很多人能夠做到,能做到的也不一定能像我這般輕鬆。

文化語言是一回事,技術上,我也發現自己跟中國同事不一樣的地方。我因為去年很幸運的在一個很特別的組工作,學到了很多雜七雜八的東西。組上開發程式,被我戲稱為「合體金剛」。既是用傳統的 C++ ,還用艱深難懂的 COM 。但是 C++ 只佔據了 50% 的 code,另外的 40% 反而是用 NI 自己開發的「圖像」程式語言 G Code (LabVIEW),雖然這個是 NI 公司裡面常常需要用到的,在組上卻意外的佔用了 40% (很多)的 code,裡面程式之複雜,是我剛剛開始學怎麼寫LabVIEW的時候非常頭痛的一點。剩下的  10% 用到了最新的 C#.NET 以及 .NET Framework,是以後未來開發程式的主流。

我在這個「合體金剛」上開發了快9個月,LabVIEW code 寫的得心應手(雖然這並不是我想要的結果…我恨LabVIEW!),同事看到我的程式都說好複雜,但是寫得很規矩,很漂亮,我卻覺得這個其實並沒有很難,我看過複雜10倍的程式…我去年在德州還用上了 .NET Framework的東西來開發,用到了 C#, Managed C++/CLI, 還有傳統的 C++ COM。其實這些東西是我比較喜歡的技術,可是因為需求,大部份還是LabVIEW為主。但是雖然如此,我仍然是用到了這些技術,學了很多東西,而且寫出一些很酷的功能,我自己有時候都很強烈懷疑這個真的是我寫出來的東西嗎?

比起其他同事,我可能C++沒有他們強,但是我的知識比他們廣。我寫 LabVIEW 寫的比他們快,而且漂亮,他們 C++ 很強,但是 C# 很多東西就沒聽過或沒用過。來上海工作後,我發現自己其實並不是一個 Software Programmer,我比較像 Software Synthesizer,把一大堆技術聯合起來使用,但是其實對每一個個體技術了解並不是那麼深。這點讓我想起現在在微軟工作的老闆跟我說的一句話,「博學,但是不要精深,因為5年後,你又要學新的東西」。

在上海…我覺得我特別的地方,最強的優勢,就是一個 synthesizer。我語言文化上能夠輕鬆的 synthesize,當兩地文化語言的快速道路,能夠迅速的在兩個世界中轉換。技術上,我的技術知識比較博,但不精深,但是在現在的「合體金剛」裡面卻正好符合他們的胃口。能夠在 C++, C#, .NET Framework, 還有討厭的 LabVIEW 中穿梭,是一個讓我覺得很過癮的事情~

在美國,我只是個會講中文的 Software Programmer,技術上沒有美國人強,語言文化上也沒有任何特殊有用的地方。但是在上海,我是個 synthesizer,是個能夠跟同事解釋美國語言文化以及技術的人。在中國,我才能夠發揮我真正的長處!