Thursday, February 23, 2006

Takin' Out the Trash

It was with some trepidation tonight that I took out the trash. Considering how long it took me to find the officially sanctioned garbage bags, hell, considering the fact that there are officially sanctioned garbage bags, I had reason to be a little nervous. Luckily everything went smoothly. There were plenty of other folks streaming over to the 3 garbage trucks and numerous trash bins spread out a block or so away from my apartment, so it was easy to just follow along. Just as I had been informed, today they were collecting plastic bottles, metal cans, and styrofoam along with the general trash we were all carrying in our blue Taipei City trash bags.

The waste collection system in Taiwan is an interesting case study in public policy. Taiwan, being an island, doesn't have an abundance of space for landfills, a fact that is further complicated by the high population density. The government's solution is to tax waste disposal(and thus creation) by requiring collected trash to be placed in official garbage bags. These bags are relatively expensive, but are only necessary for nonrecyclables. Recyclables can just be dumped into the appropriate bins. This system encourages both recycling and reuse and appears to be pretty effective.

One slightly annoying side effect of this legislation is that there are very few public trash bins in Taipei, and those that do exist are very small. It is annoying to have to cart around all your trash, but it is a necessary measure to prevent people from 'cheating' by dumping all their trash into public bins.


Taipei Game Show -- Pictures

Since I was too lazy to take my own...

Here's one guy's babe focused photoset.

Kotaku's coverage.

Sheesh, I wish I had some pictures of the games.

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A Pirate's Tale

Man, I've never been so happy to have windows on my computer. I bought it, with no OS installed, about three days ago. I refused to pay $100 for Windows and just assumed Fedora Core 4 would install easily. That was not the case and FC4 was the only OS I had brought with me. I spent about two days trying to find a Linux version with a 2.6.14 or higher kernel that would install from floppies. Debian is about the only distro left that supports this installation method and they are too damn conservative to have released any floppy install images using the 2.6 kernel.

During this time I was also looking for software pirates. I mean, they had to be here, right? Hell! This is Asia for God sakes! I wandered around the GuangHua computer shopping district for hours. I hung out around the exits and tried to look suspicious. I explored every nook and cranny. I took unlabeled staircases and walked down back alleys. My problem was that I did all of these things with the Sun still hanging overhead. In Taipei, it turns out, software pirates only come out at night.

I remembered this guy who approached me one evening on my way back to the hostel and tried to sell me binoculars...or porn...or I guess both. He had a bluish grey hatchback with peeling paint backed into a side street. Standing by the open hatch, he accosted passers by with binoculars in hand and an array of cheap porn on display from the inside of his hatchback. Tonight, it was about 7:30 PM and I headed straight to where I saw that guy. If he didn't have a pirated copy of Windows XP, he must know someone who did. And I was right. He didn't have it but he know who did. And he was right down the street. After a little bargaining, and with exactly six fewer 100NT bills in my wallet, I walked outta there with the English version of Windows XP Professional SP2 in my expansive coat pocket.


Taipei Impressions

Well, I've been in Taipei for just over a week now and am starting to get settled in. If I had to describe Taipei in one word, it would be "busy". There are people everywhere, and they are all doing stuff: like fixing the sidewalk, or performing maintenance on escalators, or pushing trolleys loaded with boxes to their shops, or handing out fliers, or selling food from sidewalk stands, etc. It's pretty crazy.

The MRT(subway and train system in Taipei) and trendier areas feel like Japan. There are other places that feel like a city on the Mainland, slightly dirty and chaotic. Occassionaly the city even reminds me of Bangkok. So far, I appreciate the variety.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gaming Life in China

IGN has a new column(IGN Insiders only) on gaming in China, similar to their long-running Gaming Life in Japan column. Unfortunately, at least in this first article, the writing is pretty typical IGN. At least it will bring some deserved attention to Chinese gaming. And even if the verbal content is terrible, there should be plenty of nice pictures of ogle, including the obligatory babes section. It just wouldn't be IGN without it.

And by the way, the spotlight of the inaugural Chinese babes section is the Taiwanese pop group SHE.