Tuesday 11 July 2023

The Spirit of iPod is Dead on iPhone

 I was reminded of the nostalgic feeling of using an iPod when I watched a YouTuber (DankPods) customizing his iPod classic for wireless charging.

The iPod experience

iPod doesn't have internet access, which means you are limited to the music you have stored on it. However, this limitation brings a unique feeling – you become intimately familiar with all the music on your device. There's something special about waking up the iPod and being greeted by the hundreds of familiar album arts, quickly navigating to the one that perfectly match your mood.

In the past, my preferred method was to select an entire album and listen to it from start to finish. This allowed me to fully immerse myself in the artist's perspective on love and life, and experience the emotional journey they intended through the arrangement of songs. It was on my iPods that I discovered music with the most profound impact on me.

Apple Music

Currently, I own an iPhone SE2 with ample storage of 128GB, so I had tried to use it as an iPod. However, the official music app doesn't seems to encourage such usage anymore. Open Apple Music, I'm greeted with the latest trending music or music I might like. For a person who likes old songs, I cannot remember how many times I disliked its recommendations.

What's even more frustrating is that Apple has all the songs available on the cloud and they could create an better iPod-like experience without the cumbersome syncing process through iTunes.

It's funny to witness Apple remove the spirit of the iPod, which was once invented and celebrated by Apple itself. At the same time, it make me realized how music has became an purely entertainment for me. Music exist only for me to alleviate boredom or as a background "STUDY LO-FI BACKGROUND MUSIC". It no longer feels personal, and as a result, music has significantly lost its impact on my emotions and perspective on life.

More about my iPods

Throughout the years, I have owned several iPods. It all started with a blue Shuffle, the one before voiceover came out, which was a gift from my sister during my high school years. Later on, I purchased a second-hand Nano 3, followed by a second-hand Nano 5. Finally, I acquired an iPod classic, the last generation of its kind. Each of these iPods held a special place in my heart and accompanied me through different stages of my life.

I vividly recall the weird emotions I experienced when I heard Steve Jobs' passing while listening to music on my iPod. Although I wouldn't consider myself a religious Apple user, there was an undeniable impact his products had on my life.

A few years ago, I attempted to replicate the feeling of "own my music" by purchasing a Sony MP3 player, the NW-A20. However, it didn't quite provide the same experience. The user interface and controls were less intuitive compared to the iPod.

Monday 10 July 2023

Something New in My Life #1

I have recently encountered several new experiences in my life, and I feel compelled to jot them down.

I present at an academic meeting for the first time

Public speaking has never been my strong suit, and even in small meetings and interviews, I always get nervous and my voice trembles. So, this was a really big deal for me.

I sang an entire song in front of other people for the first time

I loves music but I'm not a good singer at all. This time, when my friends were encouraging and showed genuine interest, I actually enjoyed it a lot.

I tried soju/소주 (Korean alcohol) for the first time

To be honest, my first impression of Korean alcohol wasn't great. During my first few months in Korea, I tried some random alcohol my girlfriend bought from a nearby store. Even though I only took a sip, it gave me a terrible headache. However, this time I drank quite a lot of 소주 and woke up feeling fine. It didn't have a strong ethanol or bitter taste but was surprisingly smooth.

Fun fact: In Chinese, when we describe alcohol that is easy to swallow, we use the term "顺口" which directly translates to "smooth in the mouth."

Saturday 10 June 2023

Disable Laptop Touch Pad in PowerShell

Why do I need this script?

If you hate your laptop's touchpad like I do, high chances are you have a crappy "HID-compliant touch pad" like me. I got them on two of my Dell laptop. But don't worry, here is how to disable it through a simple script.

1.Simply run `Set-ExecutionPliicy Unrestricted` in PowerShell as Administrator

2.Download this script and righ lick to run in powershell.

3.Run it again if your touchpad is back to live.

If the script doesn't work for you

1.Find your touchpad's device name in Device Manager. It's normally listed under "Human Interface Devices"

2.Change the "$DeviceName" in the first line of the script.

3.Right click the script and "Run with PowerShell".

Why don't use "Scheduled Task" to run this script on system boot?

My touch pad "revives" after the system wakes from sleep, and I have to manually enable and disable it again. This script is more convenient.

Besides, sometimes I have to use the touchpad when I'm outside, and the reviving "feature" can be convenient.

I Left Grammarly for ChatGPT

A few months ago, I realized that ChatGPT had a much better ability to polish my English writing, and since then, I haven't opened Grammarly even once. If one day ChatGPT replaces Grammarly, I will be happy.

To my knowledge, many students and researchers in China who are non-native English speakers rely on Grammarly to find grammar errors and improve their writing. However, the price is about $30 per month or $12 if paid annually. What it provides seems very limited nowadays compared to ChatGPT. Besides, I dislike that they never offer any kind of education discount despite their huge student user base.

Many people, myself included, are praising ChatGPT. It is excellent in many ways and deserves this praise, but I think it's more like the existing solutions are too bad, which makes ChatGPT seem so great.

After Failing the CSC Scholarship

Recently, I applied for the Chinese Government Scholarship and unfortunately, I did not make the cut. While my family and friends are trying to comfort me and see it as a failure, I am actually relieved.

The application process was long and the waiting period was even longer. But now that I didn't get the scholarship, I can see it as a blessing in disguise. One of the requirements of the scholarship is a two-year service period back in China after graduation. While this may seem like a small price to pay for a fully-funded scholarship, it would have tied me down to a specific career path and location for at least two years.

Now that I am not bound by the scholarship, I am free to explore my options and choose a career path that truly aligns with my interests and passions. I can also choose to work in any location without any restrictions.

So, to all the scholarship applicants out there who didn't make the cut, don't give up. Keep pushing forward and trust that everything happens for a reason. Who knows, maybe your failure will lead you to even greater success in the future.

Another ChatGPT UI

I finally finished writing my react based ChatGPT UI. It's purely frontend, this mean I don't need Docker or Vercel or any other similar service to use it, instead only a static file server is enough.

While it is a simple piece of software, it is a significant accomplishment for me. After almost a decade, I have finally picked up JavaScript again and created a small piece of software! You can access the code on GitHub (you will need a API key from OpenAI).

I have attempted to relearn JavaScript (mainly the new frameworks) numerous times in the past, but I often found myself falling into the "tutorial hell." Whenever I encountered even the slightest problem, I would start Googling "xxx sucks" or "xxx alternative." Unfortunately, I would frequently come across individuals promoting a new framework as the ultimate solution, claiming that it was "much better than xxx."

When I'm about to switch to a different framework again, I stumbled upon a YouTube video discussing common mistakes programmers make, including falling into the dreaded "tutorial hell." This made me realize that I had been stuck in a cycle of constantly following tutorials without truly understanding the concepts behind them. In an effort to break free from this cycle, I made the decision to stick with React and resist the temptation to switch frameworks yet again. Although I faced numerous challenges with JavaScript, React, and MUI, I persevered and pushed through.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Writing Blog in English as a Chinese

I’m most comfortable writing in Chinese, but there are not many Chinese people still read on websites. Nowadays, it’s all about the A-P-P (how many Chinese pronounce “app”).

So that’s it, I’m starting an English blog.

Writing an English blog has always been attractive and frightening for me. I know how to write the words and sentences, but I have struggled with making my content easily understandable to others. Moreover, there have been instances when I found it difficult to comprehend my own words after a certain period of time, much like computer code written by me.

I will use ChatGPT to find errors in my writing and make it easier to understand.