WWDC24, Part 7

July 22, 2024

WWDC24 brought massive OS releases. It's impossible and not our intention to cover all aspects of it. To conclude the series, we talk about philosophy, which is what, I believe, separates Apple and Google apart.

The different takes on personalization provide a clue. Apple develops technologies that grow with users, while Google throws whatever technology they have at users, hoping they would appreciate Google's might.

For Google, it's AI first, not AI that serves humanity.

Certainly, Google has its fans, but I appreciate Apple's approach more. The iPad is a tablet extremely useful for any age, while Google tablets are not intuitive enough for toddlers.

Google's defense is that people use computers because of search. See?

While elitist tendencies have more grip on Apple these days, Apple is still much more considerate for ordinary users, which is why I believe the DMA coup is utterly disastrous. The reader may consult my book in progress.

Looking forward, our hope is that Google will pay more attention to good design, while Apple will abandon elitist attitude. There are much more people out there who appreciate Apple products that are not John Gruber. And Google really needs to rework Search AI Overview. So, that's for WWDC24!

WWDC24, Part 6

July 18, 2024

USA government forced Apple to support RCS in iOS 18. At first glance, it's good news, but as everything concerning modern digital technology politics, there is significant drawback doing so.

Unsurprisingly, RCS is terribly insecure. Considering politicians considered requiring backdoors in digital communication, RCS is merely a logical consequence.

Clearly, there are better ways to regulate messaging apps. Government may demand a open standard for secure messaging, or simply give people a choice to use Google messaging in iOS, but inline with DMA coup, everything is Apple's fault.

We can say Apple is too complacent regarding politics. However, the fault is politicians' ignorance of digital technology, and in some cases, malicious exploitation. Now people have no choice but to accept the presence of insecure RCS.

Does the problem of green bubbles warrant compromising users' communication security? Or should we develop a secure open standard? I'm sure the latter is superior, but people must wake up to the understanding of political manipulation and start to demand truly considerate regulations.

WWDC24, Part 5

July 11, 2024

Apple showcased code generation in WWDC24. At basic level, it's very useful and time-saving. Students can now quickly complete school programming projects by tapping into its power. However, as wisdom suggests, subtleties are of tremendous importance when we use it for real.

A primary issue is algorithms. As everybody knows, there are countless algorithms all performing the same or similar tasks. How did Apple Intelligence decide which algorithm to use? Should it be the fastest? Or use the least memory? Or parallel? We believe it will be much more helpful if Apple Intelligence can handle algorithmic subtleties.

Another consideration is refactoring. We wish to write good code, by some standard of good. Can Apple Intelligence comply with the standard and produce coherent organization? Whether it's new code or re-organizing existing code, can it be generated in a specific style?

One of the most challenging tasks in programming is debugging. Can Apple Intelligence examine code and compare with function description to identify bugs in code? This feature is very hard to implement, as code generators can check outputs rigorously to improve until no bugs exist, if the feature is present.

Before these issues are resolved, the world still needs plenty of traditional programmers, whose judgment is paramount to successful development. But, suppose Apple Intelligence matures one day. Imagine how much effort can be automated and time freed for really difficult and profound production decisions. We shall see.

WWDC24, Part 4

July 7, 2024

VisionOS 2 addressed several past issues, including keyboards and precision. The solution is that you just use ordinary keyboards. It's workable, but clearly few people carry keyboards around inspecting a building, so the use cases are limited. Perhaps speech to text can help.

Since I never used Vision Pro, speculation is all I offer.

Some people are disappointed that Vision Pro is more of a enterprise product, rather than a household wonder. Spatial computing is at very early stage, so nobody really knows where the future goes. Nonetheless, interesting apps like plant identification for gardening may merge both enterprise and household needs.

As for connecting people, Persona may be less attractive than straightforward message exchange. I can live with social networks without expressions on a avatar. Content matters more, it seems. Two people on Vision Pro can readily view/manipulate and communicate about 3D models, which is already impressive.

Finally, our major speculation is that pro apps can make or break Vision Pro as a high-end product. It requires sophistication to justify beyond personal entertainment. What are the pro apps? Well, perhaps virtual architecture for the LHC, much more informative Maps augmenting the surroundings, or material gallery for industrial deisgn may serve as a guide.

WWDC24, Part 3

July 4, 2024

Apple Books is a app that served me since Day 1. It hosts important materials for study and research. Although it has been indispensable, its development was very much a drag. Apple announced Books is accessible by Apple Intelligence in WWDC24. I hope it's a good restart.

We must face the fact that Apple Books faced regulatory retaliation in USA. Lawsuits might have made Apple reluctant to develop the app. That said, here we enumerate some basic objectives that should be improved.

File management in Apple Books is a mess. It not only eats up my iPad storage, but refuses to free up space after local copies are removed. I was forced to reinstall the app. The UI for categorization is not good, either.

Thumbnails for books can not be enlarged, which results in users guessing the content of research papers. I simply don't know which PDF document is the right paper by browsing the bookshelf. Search doesn't help. Most search functionality is useless.

To be realistic, there is incentive for Apple to keep stuff back to allow a prosperous app ecosystem, but Apple Books really is backward. There are thousands of professional features that can be added to a research app, but Apple Books only needs to get the basics right.

As I have no idea how deep Apple Intelligence is able to improve Books, it remains to be seen if reading can be made more pleasant with features such as summary. However, the app definitely needs to progress, not to mention to offer advantages compared with printed books.

WWDC24, Part 2

June 27, 2024

There are numerous details we will talk about later, but today, I wish to use the opportunity to address a very narrow view of research and product development that came from the academia. Some academics draw a sharp line between research and product development, claiming the latter isn't the former, and in some cases, even regard industries as applied academia.

These people don't know about IC, which was both outstanding research and innovative product development.

Take a step further. People may watch Jensen Huang's keynote and get a picture how GPUs can accelerate AI and sciences, similar to LHC. That is, products can serve as great research tools.

Not only so, the invention of the iPhone not only employed sciences, but itself became a object of serious study, the origin of countless research papers.

By now, the reader should see a highly productive relationship between product development and research, academia and industries. It's foolish to denigrate the scientific potential of product development. It's arrogant to regard industries simply as applied academia.

To offer a little connection between WWDC24 and Jensen Huang's keynote, we speculate that many AI appliances can readily employ the iPhone and Private Cloud Compute to accomplish sophisticated tasks without designing a new machinery from ground up, like signal processing in music production, or medical devices. It's a rich research area.

The reason why industries are often overlooked has something to do with private information, as industrial secrets don't appear on published papers. Another reason is that industrial synthesis is often misunderstood as nothing new.

We wish to build a healthy relationship between product development and research, academia and industries, that don't belittle one another. WWDC24 showcased Apple's innovation in privacy plus AI. It's clearly brilliant product development as well as the beginning of future research. Don't be fooled by vanity.

WWDC24, Part 1

June 22, 2024

I haven't finished watching the videos yet, so here are the first impressions. Given the expectations prior to WWDC24 and Apple's AI weakness, it's clear that Apple should deliver basic stuff with superior privacy first.

Inline with our suggestions for intelligent app interoperability with personal focus under algorithmic privacy, Apple did roll out pretty solid basic stuff. Still, it's very important to evaluate Apple's implementation, as many rivals like Google botched the game.

For some insight, we may compare Apple and Google's takes on personalization. Google did personalized chatbot. Apple used personal context to deliver relevant information across apps. The distinction is significant. In our opinion, Google really squandered its leadership.

On the other hand, Jensen Huang's outlook for AI is very different from Apple's. While many commentators may argue which company is right, we believe both of them have their valid cases. It all boils down to the fact that Apple focused on consumers, NVIDIA on industries.

Before we dive deeper, it's useful to remind people that AI is still in experimental stage. Therefore, the performances are hardly conclusive. We will see long and winding road ahead, so please be patient. At present, we can fully appreciate considerate incremental updates.

Economic Nationalism

June 6, 2024

We will soon talk about WWDC24 and Jensen Huang's keynote in Taiwan, but here is a reminder that Jensen Huang definitely knows better than Taiwan government, so he offered to develop AI in Taiwan with USA support, rather than Taiwan economic nationalism. Our suggestion is working out!

Google Search AI Overview

May 29, 2024

It's characteristic of Google not to take our caution seriously. Now they released what Paul Krugman called worse than useless. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Clusters of Thoughts

May 25, 2024

At some point, it became clear that both Stephen Wolfram and John Gruber needed to be seriously examined. They represent schools of thought popular to followers and serve as their guardians. Wolfram is the advocate for computational reductionism, while Gruber is the archbishop of everything Apple.

Wolfram literally trashed geometric complexity with his declaration that dimension doesn't matter in complexity theory, which can be found in numerous official sources. His treatment of geometry lacks the understanding of a working mathematician.

A knot can be represented in a 3D grid, but on a 1D Turing machine, the knot inevitably loses adjacency connectedness. Wolfram's defense is that adjacency can be recorded symbolically like pointers. Therefore, connectedness is restored! Ask anybody whether they wanted to be disassembled onto a Turing machine tape and to stay connected symbolically.

More seriously, if Wolfram figured out how to explain geometry with computation, he should be able to explain the fine strucutre constant. But, clearly he avoided the supremely important open problem in physics, and moved on to a theory of everything more ambitious than string theory. In Wolfram's theory, Trump's victory was simply a computational consequence of some simple origin of the universe.

As for Gruber, it's understandable there has to be a evangelist defending Apple. But Gruber tried to be the evangelist on everything Apple. As Gruber gave ground in DMA and antitrust issues, virtually there is no prominent voice to shape popular opinion in favor of considerate design for ordinary people, rather than power users. Meta has Yann LeCun, and Apple has John Gruber.

I know it's harsh, but Gruber's Apple priority list is telling, which says Apple serves Apple first. Users and developers are not on the first tier. It's monopoly-style speak, not something you hear from a innovative company. But, clearly Gruber doesn't care to prove Apple is in oligopoly position, rather than monopoly position. That is to say, if someone strongly influenced by Gruber decided Apple is a monopoly in lawsuit, don't be surprised.

We didn't elaborate on Wolfram's theory of biological evolution or Gruber's defense of Apple's AI backwardness, not because they are unimportant to discuss, but because those takes can not be taken seriously. It's enough to shed light on the general characteristics of their fallacies. It's more satisfactory to consider relative complexity than computational reductionism, and to consider the benefit for humanity than Apple leaks.

Created Life

May 19, 2024

While it's likely that current life on Earth descended from natural selection, we suspect life can be created, and thus biological evolution in its current form is a incomplete theory. It's taboo for biologists to discuss alternatives to natural selection, but the possibility is there.

Tales of the Digital Revolution

May 15, 2024

I'm writing a book about the digital revolution for laymen. Considering original materials may soon be independently discovered, the book (PDF) in progress is posted here, so that accusations of plagiarism can get lost.

Hypothesis Tests

May 12, 2024

Hypothesis tests are logically unsound, but under suitable conditions, errors may be controlled. However, these conditions, like i.i.d., are often difficult to verify in practice, and thus naive application of hypothesis tests may result in gigantic errors. We have already said this countless times. A simple test for i.i.d. Bernoulli can be fraudulent if i.i.d. isn't checked, because other combinations of random variables may also result in the same distribution. Beware!

ChatGPT Uses

May 6, 2024

As a emerging technology, AI has its hits and misses. ChatGPT has been criticized for various errors. While there is no defense for its failures, we do find some good uses. Here we discuss how to use ChatGPT to find out whether a media figure is a crook.

Media figures won't label themselves as crooks. At first try, one might expect ChatGPT to check logic and facts to reveal them as such, but ChatGPT is too polite to offend these propagandists.

Instead, one interrogate ChatGPT regarding media figures' historical records, and find out when ChatGPT gets apologetic. As ChatGPT says something like there is a difference between ideas and perception of reality or something bullshit, one knows the media figure is a crook.

It may very well not be ChatGPT's most powerful uses, but the ability of AI to parse through huge amount of records is worth something. Considering there are too many crooks in the media, naive people can use ChatGPT to defend themselves against propaganda. We will discuss more as technology advances.

Smart Glasses

April 29, 2024

In the heated debate for AI-powered gadgets, some claimed the superiority of AR smart glasses over the iPhone. We believe smart glasses UI is for very specific population, while iPhone UI is for the masses. Therefore, smart glasses are not going to be iPhone killer, not even in 10 years.

Complexity in Algebraic Geometry

April 28, 2024

While it's obvious how relative complexity can apply to gadgets or physics, it's very much a research topic for algebraic geometry. Our sense is that since a partial order system is a category, it should find suitable place in abstract algebraic geometry in the form of categories. I'm working on it, and welcome suggestions for a non-trivial theory.

Humane AI Pin

April 16, 2024

There is a fashion trend in media to root for iPhone killers, iPad killers, Mac killers, etc. Humane bought into it, and developed AI Pin, without reading our protest that not every technology is Internet Explorer.

Then, Humane repurposed AI Pin as a convenient wearable, but we already have the Apple Watch. Certainly, Humane can use some good judgment.

TV and Family Computer

April 15, 2024

Steve Jobs once imagined TV integrated with iCloud under a simple user interface is what TV needed. Since then, most people still view watching movies as the primary purpose of TV. It's very difficult to envisage TV otherwise. It seems hopelessly dumb.

Home automation came. TV became a hub for appliances, but the whole idea is still dumb. What's the problem?

We believe the issue lies with the lack of efforts to build TV as a family computer. It's not just about games, but relationships with people/families.

TV can be home telephone, can help family shopping, can facilitate holiday travel planning, can watch your back while you are not at home. It's just nobody is developing for it.

With proper UI, we may organize a party event on TV, contact all participants, arrange party-time entertainment music, so on and so forth. The advantage of TV is the natural family connection, rather than being solely a personal computing device.

As Apple released Vision Pro, TV's status as the superior home entertainment gadget is utterly shattered. Without family computing, will it be shadowed indefinitely?

Complexity Theory

April 13, 2024

Our goal is to produce a complexity theory that properly addresses the role played by computation, statistics, and geometry. It's not a trivial task. As a first step, a outline of relative complexity is provided here to generalize Turing machines, so that computational complexity becomes a special case.

We postulate that complexity depends on what cognitive instrument is at work. A task that appears complex to a Turing machine may not be complex to a probability process at all. A task that can not be performed by a machinery is called too complex with respect to it. We always speak of complexity with respect to a machinery.

Machineries may be put into a partial order system according to what tasks they can perform. So, we can say that a Turing machine with a stochastic register is more complex than the Turing machine part, because there are tasks beyond computation.

Logical depth can be put into this picture by considering performing computation on a Turing machine within certain number of steps. Kolmogorov complexity can be put into this picture by considering what output a Turing machine can generate given certain length of input.

This theory can handle the following important case. Theories with different geometrical structures may be Turing equivalent, but some are chiral, while others are not. If we make the distinction between these machineries, we may say chirality is too complex for a simple universal non-chiral cellular automaton.

This amounts to the fact that Wolfram's classification of processes into computational machineries with equivalent computational power is too crude. They tell no difference between chiral and non-chiral theories.

Furthermore, we define easy as simple to do, hard as complex to do. A icon simple to recognize may be complex to produce, which reflects the more vague experience that simplicity isn't always easy to achieve. Clearly, we need more dimension theory to account for it in our complexity theory.

All the essential materials here are put forward in a form or another long ago. Since recently there is renewed public interest in complexity theory, we say it again so that the topic may be more broadly understood and confusion may be avoided. We are tired of unnecessary and unjust damages from public misunderstanding.


April 12, 2024

It might appear that our complexity theory contradicts with the result that probability offers no better efficiency than usual Turing machine programs. Here we discuss how such contradiction doesn't arise.

The result is for problems that can be solved by Turing machines, which is quite limited. A Turing machine can not generate a sequence with Kolmogorov complexity O(n), while a probability process can. No contradiction occurs because we are not talking about a computable problem.

More generally, suppose a person throws a fair coin. Without observation, we can compute the probability 1/2, but for a observer, certainty can be achieved. That is, observation provides information beyond computation. This is one of the most common uses of probability, rather than enhancing the efficiency of algorithms.

Therefore, there is a role for probability in complexity theory, contrary to Wolfram's claims. It's just that we are not talking about fast algorithms. Hope this post offers some clarity for laymen, because the damage from confusion can be huge.


April 4, 2024

Recently, the Biden administration announced huge boost for No. 1 market monopoly, Microsoft, by pursuing antitrust agenda against Apple. Perhaps they really hate Steve Jobs. We will see.

Sheaf Cohomology on Finite Topological Spaces

April 2, 2024

Here we postulate that the sheaf cohomology of the constant sheaf on finite topological spaces resembling simplicial complexes can be computed via Leray's theorem. The key is to show that a simplex has no cohomology, which could be proved via flasque sheaves and short exact sequences. Thus, the sheaf cohomology of these spaces can be related to the usual algebraic topology of simplicial complexes.

Apple's Developer Cloud

March 11, 2024

There are many approaches to AI. Apple probably will release GenAI similar to ChatGPT, Firefly, Gemini, etc. The difference is that Google and Microsoft have infrastructure products for customers to build AI themselves, while Apple's developer cloud is pretty weak.

In our opinion, ChatGPT won't dramatically boost productivity, but making a wide array of AI products available will. It's better to have differentiation based on expertise, rather than relying on a chatbot. Hospitals might buy AI products without using ChatGPT.

Currently, Microsoft and Google have the advantage of possessing tools for hospitals and medical companies to build AI on their own infrastructure. It's wise for Apple to follow suit, as far as productivity is concerned.

More generally, Apple can pay more attention to developer cloud that will enable a complete solution with AI integration. Backend is messy, but if Microsoft and Google deliver, Apple can only sell interface devices, a pity.

If Apple decides to limit its own scope, a interface device to AI is fine, but then the company risks being sidelined, not to mention the benefits a unified scheme for mobile, cloud, and AI can provide. The question is whether Apple is willing to empower developers, or merely rely on Microsoft and Google to do the job.

VR Postcards

March 10, 2024

It's Yana Rumyantseva's birthday today. She is the best artist I've ever seen in my limited time. I lost her information long ago. This is a post remembering her.

It's clear that GenAI may produce artwork for a flat panel, as well as Apple Vision Pro. Since generating VR postcards by hand isn't easy, it's logical to ask AI for help. We believe AI will deliver.

Postcards can include AR elements to resemble a physical postcard. Then the viewer can launch into a whole new VR world to see its contents. It can be amazing postcard experience.

The main challenge is the authoring environment. Macs can not do VR, while Vision Pro is awkward for postcard edits. Perhaps it's best to have a set of professionally designed templates to choose from.

Most probably, people record spatial videos on iPhone or Vision Pro, and add them to well-designed templates together with a message. Then let AI generate a world view for background.

Yana Rumyantseva's taste is more like a elf. She might not like the technology presented here, but anyway, it would be good to have a chance to send her VR postcards. Wish her a happy birthday.

UI Certainty and AI

March 5, 2024

There are attempts to kill apps with AI. While AI is transformational, these attempts likely misunderstood what apps are. Apps are not just bunch of code to be executed, but a user interface to humans.

The problem with typical AI user interface is that it lacks certainty. I used Calendar and Notes to schedule tasks everyday, and there is no problem with UI, but if I needed to ask AI to set and view tasks, let alone organization, I would be pretty pissed off.

It's simply much easier to just tap and launch apps to manage tasks than asking AI.

In our view, AI isn't a user interface to replace apps, but a infrastructure project to support apps. Imagine generating VR postcards with AI and view them on Apple Vision Pro. It's awkward to ask AI to check postcards, but a postcard icon will do fine.

In other words, AI makes apps more powerful. We can use AI to decorate videos, which is tremendous improvement to video editing, all within video editing apps. We believe this is proper use of AI, rather than going without apps, because there are other operations within apps that are much easier without AI.

Of course, people might disagree, but the point is that markets will be our final judgment. We will see if AI kills apps or empowers them.

Window to the World

February 24, 2024

The iPad has been a powerful gadget turning people into couch potato. For some, it's a depressing fact and they lost faith in the gadget. For us, it's also a depressing fact, but we believe it reflects people's inappropriate use of technology.

The problem is that it's relatively easy to watch movies on iPad, rather than to use it as a enlightenment. The iPad can be a window to the world, but people have to know how.

Here we take a simple example of coffee. Search can provide information on coffee shops, beans, and flavors. Maps can provide guide to nearby cafe. Social networks let users join coffee lovers around the world to learn and grow.

Similar uses can be applied to gardening, algebraic geometry, economics, or whatever. The point is to resist the temptation of degeneration. We need to have a school class teaching how to properly use gadgets, or risk turning future generations into couch potato.

Geometry and Complexity

February 16, 2024

We elucidated how computational thinking drops topological structures before, but didn't emphasize its significance. One of the most important implication is related to the Standard Model. There are computational models with imposed symmetry that can not handle chirality. These models can be made Turing-complete, and thus capable of performing all computations. Therefore, we are forced to accept that the ability to handle chirality has to do with symmetries, rather than computation. That is, geometry affects complexity, in addition to computation. Wolfram's attempt to reduce complexity to computation is unsound.


February 10, 2024

Democrats' attitude toward digital technologies has been contradictory. They worry about Apple's power over the App Store, while Krugman declared the Internet a disappointment. As everybody knows, the App Store is built upon the Internet, so Democrats are saying Apple's App Store is too powerful, but the Internet sucks. If it sounds ridiculous, you are not alone.

Imagine a world without the Internet. Instead of Googling through papers, we rely on limited paper records in local library. Instead of building AI in the cloud, we run AI locally so it can not take over the world. Instead of communicating with loved ones via FaceTime, we see distant loves only once or twice per year. What a wonderful world!

This wonderful world is what Krugman would suggest because the Internet sucks. It sucks so much so that the iPhone should not exist, since it's a breakthrough Internet communicator. I'm sure there are still environments that can fulfill Krugman's utopia. Let Democrats follow their economics sage.

Trump raised considerable political capital through the Internet. It must leave Democrats with the wisdom that the Internet should be suppressed, like some other countries did. The tragedy is that there are very few who don't buy Trump and are trying to remedy the Internet through digital civilization, instead of restricting the technology.

We don't know if Trump will prevail, but Democrats' utopia with Krugman's foundation is the best antithesis to the Silicon Valley. If USA undermined the Valley, other inferior countries would take up the opportunities to go ahead and innovate. It's a great industrial policy doing the rest of the world great favor. So why not?

Vision Pro Spatial Navigation

February 3, 2024

Apple Vision Pro is clearly a first generation product, groundbreaking and remarkably limited. Some limitations, like isolation and weight, might take much time to overcome, but others, like what we are going to talk about, may be overcome soon with great benefits.

Although Apple deprecated VR in favor of AR in the introduction of spatial computing, there is actually a VR issue in Vision Pro: spatial navigation. In AR, one simply places apps around in front of the physical background. In VR, it becomes necessary to navigate the 3D landscape, sans physicals.

We believe it's beneficial to do VR justice in spatial computing. Gestures allowing users to move around in 3D landscape can enable numerous apps, like gaming and model evaluation. There is no need for keyboard in this case, and it can help Vision Pro go beyond watching videos.

The use for gaming is obvious, so we talk about model evaluation here. When designing machines and houses, there is often the need to look inside and inspect. On Macs and touch devices, this can be cumbersome. However, with proper spatial navigation, Vision Pro can be put to great productive use, sans keyboard.

Whether VR is worth it is subject to Apple's decisions, but we feel it can make the product much better. Like the Apple Pencil, some controllers may help along with gestures. It's important not to judge Vision Pro by revenue and profit in any time soon, but good VR already has a niche base. Worth a try.

CarPlay Privacy

January 31, 2024

Privacy is a central concern for Apple. While there are numerous compromises, there is no doubt that Apple takes privacy seriously. Here we wish to raise a small issue regarding CarPlay that may be improved.

The problem is the absence of a CarPlay toggle to enable/disable CarPlay. It's imaginable that when people give control of their car to another person, they don't necessarily want to transfer the control and information of their iPhones.

Recently, I went to car maintenance and felt uncomfortable for mechanics to have access to my iPhone via CarPlay. All I wished for is a CarPlay toggle in iOS.

Certainly, this is a small request, but it can do a lot of favor in addition to battery saving. Of course, these days everybody is talking about Apple Vision Pro, and we will take a look at the gadget soon.

CarPlay Toggle

January 25, 2024

Apple CarPlay is a nice feature as I listen to music while driving alone. However, it drains battery and there is no MagSafe charger for iPhone SE. Therefore, I really appreciate Apple can place a CarPlay toggle in iOS to enable/disable CarPlay so that battery life is under control.

Rising Tide

December 30, 2023

2023 is almost over. 2024 is almost here. Famous people, like Bill Gates, have already published their outlook for the next year. Therefore, we feel it's appropriate to look into the future, but this time, the remaining 21st century.

For learned people, 20th century is undoubtedly the century of physics. Not only does the subject deliver unprecedented breakthroughs into the workings of fields, but can be regarded as the pinnacle of human intellect.

Unfortunately, the brightest moment so far for physics has already passed. In the near future, there exists experimental barriers to understanding high energy phenomena. Wise men desperately search for new outlets for their own creativity.

Judging from the developments of early 21st century, it's easy to see the supposed glory of finance was totally misleading, and the Silicon Valley proved to be the new home for creatives. The question is whether the on-going digital revolution will rival the achievements of 20th century physics.

The digital revolution enjoyed widespread support not seen in physics. From academia to markets, far more talented people joined the adventure than physics ever had. While physics Nobel pretty much summarized the advancements in the field, the digital revolution is too great for even the Turing Award to capture.

The existence of iPhone isn't predicted by physics, as it's independent of the Standard Model. Revolutionaries in the digital age aren't merely carrying out derivations from physics. The barrier to entry is comparatively low for computer industries. Everybody can have their try.

It's not unreasonable to speculate the 21st century will be the century of the digital revolution.

However, the digital revolution was largely advanced by practitioners and scattered theorists. While the future is bright, there is a need to employ the physics model of comprehensive theory-practice collaboration. It's unwise to rely on historical accidents to advance the field. Our complexity study and proposal for a unified scheme for mobile, cloud, and AI are a first try.

From my personal perspective, it's also critical to build a digital library of algorithms at spectrum-dev. As computers become more and more popular, they should not appear as black boxes to determined learners.

Future-gazing is remarkably difficult. That's why there is a place for science fiction to explore ideas. But, by engaging in real speculation, the reward is far greater. Although we possess limited foresight, the practice of sticking one's neck out may sharpen our senses as well as provide valuable hypotheses to be confirmed or refuted. Happy New Year!

Hostility from Apple Elite

December 23, 2023

It's Christmas weekend, a good time for reflection. Despite AI underdevelopment, Apple's record has been impressive. A related scene is the rise of Apple elite. One can easily spot them, for their purpose is to predict Apple's trajectory, rather than proposing something beneficial to humanity.

There would be no problem if Apple elite restrained themselves to their purpose. However, Apple elite often exhibits unpleasant traits that trash disadvantaged people. It's similar to class warfare. Apple elite reserves Apple to themselves, but we feel it's better if Apple can benefit humanity.

There are plenty of attacks from Apple elite. When we revealed the nature of mobile gadgets as a tool for modern surveillance, Apple elite proudly denounced the possibility and regarded the issue largely as a Google defect. But, Daring Fireball has already published several pieces on phone surveillance, and it's not Google-specific.

Advanced readers may wish to consult the book, Underground Empire, for more information. The presence of surveillance control from Washington alike predates mobile gadgets. It's a superpower, as Krugman's introductory article on Foreign Affairs demonstrated. Apple elite is more naive than a regular Krugman reader.

Another Apple elite attack is focused on our formulation of a unified scheme for mobile, cloud, and AI. They think it's un-Apple. However, as our purpose is to benefit humanity rather than to predict what Apple's plan is, we feel it's of minimal importance whether Apple, Google, Microsoft, or whoever delivers such benefits.

Here we make clear the benefits of such a unified scheme. Take postcards for example. Mobile makes sending and receiving HTML5 postcards in Messages easy. Cloud keeps large files, like video, on demand and maintains history. AI helps text and image generation for postcard content. They work seamlessly together, but Apple elite wish to tear it apart.

The case can not be more obvious if we consider books. Mobile makes reading books enjoyable. Cloud keeps library and syncs across devices. AI helps readers dig deeper into content. The transformational power of such a unified scheme can improve our civilization at large. Yet, it's un-Apple for Apple elite.

Wish you all a Merry Christmas. For those disadvantaged, we feel your pain and hope the new year will be better. For Apple elite, may we ask a favor that people should be treated well? We live in a complex world that appreciates simple UI, and our collective future is full of challenges. We need all the blessings. Do not divide the world into haves and have-nots.

AI on Small Screens

December 17, 2023

Although it's obvious for devices like the Apple Watch that AI is critical, how to do it right is extremely challenging. A aspect is the small screen size that requires condensed information.

On the iPad, ChatGPT's full response can be easily presented and scrolled through. On the Apple Watch, however, there is no such screen real estate. Speech doesn't seem like a universal replacement for screen. Thus, a much more concise response method is needed.

Perhaps it will involve a chain of interactions, with each step gathering small pieces of information, like finding restaurants nearby, then showing open hours, then providing map location, and so on.

Of course, Apple Watch already does a bunch of AI, like double tap, crash detection, fitness, etc. The point is, for ChatGPT-like apps to work, there has to be a revolutionary response method suitable for small screens.


December 9, 2023

I miss postcards. It's a subtle way of deliberate communication with personal style. Social networks killed postcards with real-time interaction and video, but the format feels markedly postmodern, not a continuation of the postcard tradition.

There is no doubt we can not bring back traditional postcards at scale, but we can make live social communication more deliberate with personal style.

Collage apps are a good start. However, more interactivity and dynamic content are much needed for expression. The problem is social networks don't allow HTML5 freedom, but limit the style with default boxes.

I'm not sure whether Apple is bold enough to allow HTML5 freedom in Messages app, but it can be much more than Live Stickers. The disadvantage of Mail is lack of social organization, and digital postcards are best presented with social networks.

These are little things, but they can express lots of love. The cynical drive in Silicon Valley has done away with many such subtleties. However, if we don't want to become Microsoft, some taste has to be restored.

Artwork Review

December 8, 2023

When Apple launched the Freeform app, the default scenario is probably brainstorming, but we find other uses plausible, namely, artwork review. We haven't tried it, but feel that in the simple case of a commissioned image, Freeform app can serve as a great feedback tool between artists/designers and clients.

Artists/designers typically create images in professional apps like Photoshop. Usually, clients don't have these apps. The conventional process is to get feedback via email or social networking. There are clearly huge disadvantages like lack of annotation, organization, and real-time participation.

All of these drawbacks can be solved via Freeform artwork review process. However, Freeform isn't designed for this specific purpose, it's imaginable that improvements can be made to address the artist/designer-client relationship. For example, can messaging be integrated?

Take a step further and consider review process in general. It's desirable that images, videos, sounds and so on can all be presented in suitable form for review, like at which time a frame needs a edit, or what instrument needs to stand out more. At minimum, there should be a timeline.

We think of this use because we consistently used the iPad for artwork reviews, and find Freeform can be a great addition. App interoperability likely will help the entire workflow instead of doing everything in Freeform. We know it's unintended use, but remain hopeful something can be done with it.

App Collaboration

December 5, 2023

When collaboration is desirable, people are tempted to use such app functionalities. The easiest way is to co-edit a document on the cloud. Recently, Apple introduced co-editing of local documents via native apps. Security concerns aside, there are actually cases where app collaboration is undesirable.

In my experience, a important consequence of writing one's own article is a consistent tone. App collaboration can easily turn a document into dissonance. In such cases, traditional review process often works better than arbitrarily adding others' contribution.

It's easy to imagine app collaboration may thrive where personal style doesn't matter much, like code. Git is a very successful example, but it takes monster merges to truly deliver benefits, not to mention the complexity of modifying histories. Can apps like Pages implement such features for workplace?

We are not against app collaboration, but do think it takes good design to work well. Perhaps it's prudent to start with the Reminders app. A shared list of Reminders can be used to organize family activities like holiday parties. It's much less complex than office documents, so let's see.

Time Machine

December 2, 2023

The biggest reason I used Apple products isn't that they are fancy and shiny. It's because they are considerate. A great example is Time Machine, used for automatic backup. But, as cloud popularity grows, people gradually forget Time Machine.

That is, until they need it.

As Apple ID can be stolen, cloud storage is not safe. It's recommended that people also keep local copies of their machines.

For Macs, it can be done, but to backup iCloud Drive, files still need to be downloaded first. There is no automatic backup for cloud files. It's understandable that cloud storage may be too large for local backup, but automatic should at least be a option.

For iDevices, there is only despair. Although restoring from local backups might not be a good idea for iDevices, there should be a mechanism for maintaining local backups for files. Some files are simply too precious.

One may argue that Apple's focus is elsewhere. However, being considerate can really make a difference. Hope there will soon be a way to secure access to files, in case Apple ID is stolen.

Interface to Knowledge

November 30, 2023

Recently, there are numerous people referring to GenAI as a interface to knowledge. It's clearly untrue, but there is more to the issue than occassional nonsense from GenAI. It has to do with the distinction between knowledge and wisdom.

By knowledge we mean statements that can be rigorously proven to be true. It might sound very broad, but the truth is that we don't even know whether usual axiomatic systems for natural numbers are consistent, and therefore can not even regard arithmetic deductions strictly as knowledge.

Nonetheless, we use these axiomatic systems. This is wisdom, which is much harder to define, but in practice works. With this distinction, it soon becomes clear that knowledge engines are very limited.

We've talked about limitations of knowledge engines, or interfaces to knowledge before. Here we point out that knowledge engines are unsound even for knowledge production.

It has to do with the difference between rational sciences and empirical sciences. For rational sciences, theory is knowledge. For empirical sciences, theory is speculation before being confirmed or falsified by evidences.

Knowledge engines can be quite useful for rational sciences, but in the production of empirical knowledge, speculation has to be integrated into the process, and much speculation is destined to be wrong. A interface to pure knowledge does not include speculation and may not be that useful for empirical sciences.

The desire to label GenAI as a interface to knowledge stems from the undisputed superiority of knowledge. As we have seen, it can be hugely misleading as well as counterproductive. There is no doubt we need information systems based on wisdom in addition to knowledge. Can we set our eyes beyond limited knowledge engines?

Digital Revolution

November 25, 2023

Predicting the future is hard. Wise men subject predictions to qualifications. A great example is Steve Jobs, who famously changes his mind upon circumstances. Here we talk about the opposite of Steve Jobs, a foolish universal prediction that the digital revolution is ending as of 2018.

Harvard Business Review has the fortune of publishing a article with a idiotic title that claims digital revolution will end. Of course it will end. Even idiots know that. But then the article reveals itself that the true thesis is that digital revolution is ending as of 2018. Ha!

With all the buzz coming out of Silicon Valley, the HBR article can not be more wrong. Therefore, it's beneficial to investigate the article's fallacies.

The article's misjudgment is based on fraudulent inference from three observations. First, Moore's Law is ending. Second, the existence of no-code platforms democratized tech. Third, gadgets appear stagnant in terms of functionalities.

The observations are not entirely true, but the gigantic mistake is to make the assertion that digital revolution is ending because of them. For digital revolution to end, all transformational technologies have to moderate, but the article clearly missed a great deal of technologies.

The difference between a wise man and a fool is to tell the value of such claims in real time. At least, a commoner should postpone judgment as history unfolds. While many scientists downplay the role of logic in arguments, it's obvious that they are destined to be forgotten. There is a Planck quote.


November 23, 2023

It can be phenomenal collaborating with great people. The problem is, of course, there are not that many great people. I've found collaboration can result in disasters for countless reasons, and tend to be more cautious. Apple can easily find talents, but I often need to fend off assholes. If positive externality is not within reach, then at least avoid negatives. Hope people find better judgment regarding collaboration.

Tim Cook's Philosophy

November 20, 2023

Tim Cook did a very well-presented interview with Dua Lipa. They discussed very important questions, and Tim Cook sincerely answered according to his beliefs. It's recommended to watch the interview.

Here we wish to add some points, not to argue with Tim Cook, but to provide another perspective.

The most important topic is, of course, climate. Although Apple did very well and Tim Cook can be proud of it, climate is unfortunately a global collective action problem, while Apple is a local solution. It's crucial to recognize we are running out of time and sound economic measures are needed to address climate if we want to avoid unpleasant outcomes.

And there is equality. The way Tim Cook used the word actually means alleviation, especially regarding poverty. His answer is remarkably first world thinking, which is suitable given his nationality, but third world countries probably need to build a sound economy along the way, which Tim Cook didn't emphasize.

The topic of education is controversial among learned people. Enlightenment is probably better than education, because we've seen many pedagogical disasters, like generative grammar scientists. The lesson is that education may teach bullshit and falsehoods. Enlightened students should avoid such education.

AI responsibility is a hot topic. While many people feel the need for regulation, the central problem is actually good regulation versus bad regulation, which most people ignore. To regulate AI is easy, but to do well is hard. For example, should self-driving cars protect driver first or pedestrians first?

As readers may notice, interview isn't the best place to deliberate on issues that matter. Perhaps Tim Cook just casually illustrated his views, but it's almost certain that refinements are required for soundness. We hope readers look deeper into the questions and arrive at better conclusions.

Taiwan AI Policy

November 19, 2023

Economic nationalism dominated policy thinking in Taiwan. Presidential candidates wanted to pour national resources into national AI private/public corporations/startups in the hope that they will be the next TSMC. Are they credible?

The most unconvincing part of their agenda is that they never find any key person capable of such AI feat.

It is therefore our suggestion that instead of economic nationalism, Taiwan should welcome Silicon Valley giant corporations to develop AI at the island, rather than relying on its own limited expertise. Will politicians listen?


November 18, 2023

A common misunderstanding about optimization is to regard it as a business problem. Actually, optimization is a integral reformulation of differential evolution, commonly found in sciences. Under suitable conditions, the minimal action principle recovers mechanics. That is to say the Lagrangian method transformed Hamiltonian mechanics into a optimization problem!

The roots of the misunderstanding can be traced to the greedy method. Greedy method is a naive optimization procedure that finds locally optimal options and hopes they lead to globally optimal outcomes. Clearly, greedy method may fail for many problems. But the failure of a naive procedure does not imply that the whole idea of optimization is unsound.

Business people usually optimize according to the greedy method and fail. Unusual Titans see the whole picture and optimize globally and succeed. But optimization is not limited to business. It's a philosophy that leads to many intelligent applications, because it may be very hard to solve differential evolution, but relatively easy to find approximate minimum of the integral.

Typical academics have low opinion for optimization, for they think it's just incremental iteration. They can not be more wrong. Optimization is about the big picture, not merely local improvements. There are places where iterations may converge to optimal outcome, but generally optimization is a global problem.

Engineers may tackle optimization better than scientists, because in practice, experiments can give outcomes very hard to derive from theory. Engineers devise reliable experiments, while scientists compute in vain. In many cases, catching a ball through observation is better than solving fluid dynamics computationally.

It's impossible to do justice to optimization in a few paragraphs, but we believe there is much wisdom to be learned. Here, we postulate that AI can be made more intelligent if we understand more about optimization. There are people against intelligence, but we will see who wins.

The Turing Blessing

November 14, 2023

A argument against AI automation is the Turing Trap, which might as well be labeled as the Turing Blessing. We won't argue against the Turing Trap, since economists' words are highly speculative and uncertain, but offer some clarity in the debate.

Automation doesn't always cost jobs. It's easy to come up with examples like spreadsheet apps that automate calculations. Economists might shout that it's augmentation, but the reality is it's both automation and augmentation. Spreadsheet apps automate boring parts of the job so that time is freed for more productive work.

Linking automation with HLAI is highly spurious. Since no human beings can produce sophisticated semiconductor chips by hand, machine automation used by TSMC shouldn't be likened to HLAI. Automation doesn't always imitate human abilities.

It's good to have AI augmenting human work, but to use the assistant model is quite limited. If economists can only dream of AI assistants, but not AI accelerator physics, there is no doubt the analysis of AI augmentation is likely meh.

Most importantly, economists' speculative and often dubious assertions about AI should not guide AI policy. We've seen regulations based on computational complexity that may become hindrance rather than safety measures. AI is too important to leave to economists.

There is enormous amount of work to be done regarding AI and society. Here we merely clarify some points, but if even supposedly smart people get these points wrong, there is reason to put much money and effort in AI research so that we can make sure it benefits humanity.

Downstream Media

November 11, 2023

There is value and wisdom in Apple-related blogs, but they really need to get rid of the condescending attitude toward ordinary people. It doesn't require much intellect to appreciate Apple products, and the appearance of a Apple elite is not that attractive. Do not divide the world into haves and have-nots, wise men said so.

Multiway Systems

November 5, 2023

In Stephen Wolfram's original approach, he made no significant distinction between computation and multicomputation. We pointed out that while computable enumerations give Kolmogorov complexity log(n), multicomputation can give n, so that the result can be made consistent with standard quantum mechanics.

Wolfram updated his view later, but didn't make it clear that log(n) is not standard quantum mechanical prediction. Here we wish to emphasize that computation and multicomputation are different in terms of Kolmogorov complexity, even though they may be Turing equivalent.

There are serious consequences from the distinction, including explaining what's wrong with Wolfram's dubious early judgment that probabilistic AI isn't successful. We feel it's better to tell the public here.


November 4, 2023

Stephen Wolfram's radical ideas might be flawed, but they deserve examination. As noted before, the notion of complexity can not be satisfactorily explained by computation alone, contrary to Wolfram's claims.

Recently, Wolfram Physics Project tried to deduce the universe from computational thinking. While there are very dubious general claims, here we restrict ourselves to technical details to see how the build-up might be problematic.

The idea to build a discrete universe isn't new, as many scientists, like Penrose, have tried with some success. To this extent, Wolfram Physics Project is also successful, but the more aggressive claims that relate generative graph theory to computation are spurious.

In graph theory, the idea of connectedness is topological, whereas in computational representation of graphs, they are just symbols. It's like a lego house can be disassembled, but the topology isn't preserved. Although generative graphs and Turing machines can be Turing-equivalent, they are not topologically equivalent.

That is to say, computational thinking drops additional topological structures.

In fact, even in the setting of generative graph theory, the scale of the theory isn't derivable from Wolfram Physics Project, which may cause serious issues elucidated in our previous note. Hopefully, we will discuss other fallacies in this blog later.

Now and Then

November 3, 2023

The last Beatles song, Now and Then, is a reminder that love is in the little things and how technology can make it possible.


November 2, 2023

The most discussed topic of the Mac event is of course Shot on iPhone. Irony aside, the Mac update carried a few implications for consumers, beyond the performance of M3 series.

Touch Bar is officially gone. It's expected apps that support Touch Bar will drop development on the technology soon.

The entry-level laptop is now without question the MacBook Air, which is still very capable. For me, without a fan is a win.

If there is ever a need to go MacBook Pro, the M3 option is far less attractive than the M3 Pro and M3 Max. Choose wisely.

The performance of M3 Max is rivaling M2 Ultra, which is only available on desktops. It's a good time to go mobile.

The M3 iMac update is long overdue. While it's debatable whether all-in-one is still a popular option, iMacs remain convenient for businesses like hotels.

The event is short, but very focused. However, the maturity of the Mac means far less surprises. Can we architect benefits other than better chips?

Algebraic Topology with ChatGPT

October 31, 2023

Sheaf cohomology on finite topological spaces seems to be a interesting computational problem. I asked ChatGPT, and it suggested using differential forms, which is quite outlandish, as expected. Of course, why not try Wolfram|Alpha? Aha, it can not even correctly interpret the objective! Although Wolfram loved to advertise the superpower of Wolfram technologies, reality is far less pretty. Beware of crap propaganda!

Intelligence and Content Pool

October 27, 2023

Recently, there is concern that GenAI is squeezing content pools like Stack Overflow, which, in turn, might hurt the data sources used in GenAI. While the disequilibrium economics is clear, we believe both GenAI and content pools will find their own places in time, if managed properly.

What GenAI replaced is the part of content that's derivable from the pool. It's natural for content pools to take a hit upon the launch of GenAI. However, since new content isn't necessarily derivable from old content, GenAI won't kill well-managed content pools that value logically independent propositions.

A better outcome is that content pools host propositions not found in GenAI, and then GenAI learns from the content pool to update itself. It's advantageous that GenAI and content pools are integrated to maintain balance.

As everybody knows, better outcomes are not necessarily the result of market forces, contrary to standard economics. Therefore, the economic problem remains to address the concern mentioned at the beginning. There is hope, but we need to find a way.

Krugman in Bikini

October 22, 2023

Adobe Firefly has been fun to play with. However, it has moral principles that prohibit the generation of certain images. I tried the prompt, Krugman in Bikini, and it refused to output. Funny.

The prompt, Steve Jobs funeral, does pass the moral check. Adobe Firefly returned completely counter-factual images that might feel offensive. It's a wonder what the morals are.

It seems that one of the advantages of using Adobe Firefly is to quickly prepare illustrations for magazines. Although the results can be counter-factual, it may pass as artistic inspirations.

Alas, eventually people with sufficient resources or access can obtain images for Krugman in Bikini. So, beware of images.

Design and Fashion

October 21, 2023

Apple UI design isn't impeccable, but it's vastly better than rivals, which is why the lock screen on macOS Sonoma is worrisome. Not about wallpapers, but the organization of UI elements is alarming.

First, profile photograph is located at the bottom together with password box. Presumably, this gives a better view of the wallpaper. However, it does look a little bit eccentric.

Second, a very small icon for power button is on the top-right with a menu for selection. It used to take 1-click to power down a Mac. Now it takes 2-clicks. And the icon is quite obscure.

Third, it does seem that Apple is determined not to add widgets to the lock screen, or the sole focus on wallpaper and time is dubious. Information is deliberately left out to make space for a recurring theme.

People might argue the Sonoma lock screen is in fact quite fashionable, given Windows precedents. Our view is that sacrificing good design for fashion isn't worth it.

Logic in Sciences

October 20, 2023

To justify the reductionist agenda, Steven Weinberg used the arrows of explanation to try to reduce every science to physics. It's beneficial to give a logical analysis of such attempts, so that its prospects will follow. From logical point of view, the Standard Model can not predict whether Biden or Trump won the USA Presidential Election, because whoever won would be consistent with particle physics. Thus, logical analysis gives a negative answer to the initiative to reduce every science to physics. Moreover, by organizing scientific statements into logical chains, we may explore sciences beyond physics, which may lead to a unified approach to sciences.


October 16, 2023

Recently, I saw a X/Twitter post portraying academics as Jedi, and industries as Storm Troopers, and wondered whether they have ever met Sith Lords, who are often very wise, but just regard ordinary people as something to be exploited for profit.

The misunderstanding is a result of distinct wisdom structures. Academics publish wisdom to gain status. Industries reserve wisdom for themselves, because leaks are often harmful. Academics aren't necessarily more intelligent or wiser than industries, but simply more publicly visible.

Trust me. There are plenty of Jedi and Sith Lords in industries.

It's not just that academics are often detached from the real world, but there are very wise men who don't care about Nobel Prizes. Academics who thought industries are applied academia are terribly misguided.

I believe there is no need to name them.

Advantages of Digital Books

October 15, 2023

The preference for printed or digital books depends very much on taste and user experience. There is no need to argue with someone with a different opinion, but we document some advantages of digital books here, in case they aren't clear.

Printed books occupy much space. Digital books are much more economical. It's not merely convenience, but a decisive distinction that human wisdom may be better preserved in digital format. Most books aren't classics that deserve to be printed again and again, but offer valuable insights for the right person.

Printed books use index for search purpose. Digital books can be made fully searchable, including images and videos. It might sound small, but if we consider searching through huge volume of references, the digital format is much more practical and comprehensive.

Printed books can not be easily updated. Digital books can be revised in time to meet evolutionary pressure, like programming books. In a transformative period, there is no end to revisions. The digital format not only saves space, but also delivers to wider audiences on time.

For serious readers, the advantages of digital books can not be overlooked. During my graduate study, vast amount of materials are downloaded from the Internet, most of which can not afford to be printed. Hope people learn to appreciate it.

Challenges for Search Engines

October 10, 2023

Wolfram|Alpha fails as a general purpose replacement for Google. Its main critique of Google is a very general defect of all current search engines, that they do not output knowledge. While the conception of a knowledge engine is likely limited and flawed, it's true that Google has lots of problems.

Such sentiment is most obvious when we consider how many people want AI to replace Google. AI is still a very early stage technology. In its current form, it may generate bullshit, make up pseudofacts, and be utterly misleading. The main announcement from Google regarding AI for search is to summarize search results, not promising.

Privacy is another issue, often brought up by Apple fans. While it's not a critical flaw, and a privacy focused Google is not a much better Google, the user experience of search engines really needs a lift. Being asked to provide location on the web is very unpleasant.

If information is a proper goal for a search engine, Google must overcome the desire to favor business over substance. There are countless instances that a much lower ranked web site provided much better content than the site at the top. Google should value content accuracy with the help of AI instead of following human herding.

The solution to these problems is likely very complex, and by no means easy, but it's possible that a much better search engine with informative AI can drive out Google. The most apparent recent innovation in search engines is advertisement, which is telling. Let's see if someone succeeds where Wolfram|Alpha fails.

AI Strategies

October 6, 2023

Each Silicon Valley giant has its own AI strategy. For certain companies, it means more research and public participation. For others, it means more AI-integrated apps. It's not difficult to see the challenges.

Should it be one AI for many applications, or one AI for each application? Should it be general purpose AI with separate applications, or special purpose AI for specific applications?

It's possible that giant corporations settle these questions behind closed doors. While expert opinions are valuable, the matter with AI is that it's still rapidly evolving. How to choose wisely among strategies given limited resources?

Making mistakes in AI strategy may cost leadership and reputation, eventually with market response. It's a true test of wisdom. We will see which CEOs are wiser than others soon.

Privacy on Macs

September 30, 2023

Apple used to market the iPhone as a much more private and secure platform than Macs. Although it makes business sense as iPhone is much more popular, I find Apple's approach worrisome for Macs.

It has to do with setups.

Like most people, I don't have more than one smartphones. As a result, my iPhone is used for private matter, school, and work simultaneously. It never feels like a very private object for me, especially considering the need to show it to somebody else on occassion.

On the other hand, ideally I would employ a Mac exclusively for private matter, with a separate Apple ID. It's a computer I never have to show to the public. However, since it's less private and secure than the iPhone, the setup is flawed.

I wish there is a private mode on Macs, so that the setup can work. Furthermore, if Macs can be easily compromised and everything syncs under Apple ID, wouldn't it be a security hole for everything on iPhone as well?

Reading Images

September 29, 2023

AI has been successful in image classification. Although probably no one knows exactly how AI did its work, there is good reason to use it. Here, we propose a challenge for AI to read images in cultural context. AI can identify dogs and horses in Tarkovsky's films, but can it grasp their meaning? To be fair, it's a highly subjective matter, but there should be some interpretations that feel sound rather than bullshit. More generally, can we make a good poet out of AI?

The iPad

September 21, 2023

As readers probably know, we are great proponents of the iPad, even as the mainstream fails to see its value. Not only so, we figured the iPad can be embedded in a bigger scheme unifying mobile, cloud, and AI to deliver dramatic improvement to our civilization.

The problem with the iPad lies deep within Apple. Judging from recent developments of the device, Apple didn't quite know what it's headed to. That's why features came to iOS first, then iPadOS. We believe it's a terrible mistake. As post-iPhone era looms large, there is a need to treat each category on its own merits, rather than a shadow of the iPhone.

The iPad has been good for business use. Businessman can read newspaper and respond to queries via messaging simultaneously. Yet the claim that it's not a productivity powerhouse misdirects its usage. It's not meant for replacing Macs, but I'd rather comfortably reply to a query on the iPad, rather than sit idle in front of a Mac for hours.

The iPad has been good for learning and research. People no longer need to carry paper references, and with access to the cloud, can search for relevant content conveniently. Apple focused on Apple Pencil for notetaking. While valuable, its scope is quite limited. Apple has to take entire learning and research process into account, rather than provide piecemeal solutions.

The iPad has been good for exploring the world. From browsing the web to finding events to attend, the device is just right. However, profit motives behind social networks turned the device into a cesspool of misinformation and garbage. It's a serious question whether we can sort Facebook events by time. The problem lies with Facebook, not the iPad.

The considerations above are very general purpose, enough to establish the iPad as a daily gadget. Our fear is that Apple is growing more and more conventional and finally consumed by mainstream media. Steve Jobs wisely stated that Apple has only scratched the surface of the iPad. Hope Apple still remember.

Apple Watch and AI

September 15, 2023

The iPhone event has passed, and the upgrades Apple Watch received are solid. Here we won't repeat announced features, but give a perspective on the development of Apple Watch.

From the beginning, Apple Watch relied heavily on AI, especially biometrics. Double Tap is a nice improvement.

However, one wonders whether Apple has a thorough AI strategy. Hints on Siri capabilities seem to suggest that Apple is looking into conversational AI on Apple Watch. It's important, but does Apple already figure out how to implement features?

Since nobody outside knows the answer, we won't provide one. It's clear how conversational AI can be critical considering the small screen size of Apple Watch. The hard part is to do it well. Hope Apple will deliver.

TeX App Bundle

September 8, 2023

As everybody placed their focus on the upcoming iPhone event, I wish there is a standard TeX app bundle on Macs.

PRC Youth Unemployment

September 4, 2023

Unemployment has been a key element in socialist critique of capitalism. It's huge waste for PRC to allow high youth unemployment. True, measures like consumption vouchers are mediocre, but PRC government should not ignore the fact that cynical adversaries are happy to see PRC failures. With the wisdom of Keynes, PRC government can provide useful work for young people, like teaching in rural areas, or devise grand projects that will benefit all population, like building public digital libraries. Avoid avoidable misery.

Categorical View of Cohomology

September 3, 2023

A benefit of categorical view of cohomology is that given suitable equivalence of categories, cohomology is then automatically identical. There is no need to compute and compare cohomologies of algebraic varieties and those of corresponding schemes. Thus, the embedding of varieties into schemes is not only a enlargement, but preserves important algebraic structures.

The Value of Category Theory

August 26, 2023

One of the most poorly taught lessons in abstract algebra is category theory. It appears to be useless when introduced, and lacks motivation.

Here we provide a clue regarding the value of category theory. Abstract algebra can be roughly described as what can be said given relations between objects, without knowledge of the inner workings of these objects. Category theory gives such abstract algebra for relations described by morphisms.

Grothendieck's abelian category paper is a demonstration that cohomology can be defined from the structure of morphisms between objects, regardless of whether these objects are abelian groups, modules, or sheaves.

It remains a mystery why category theory works amazingly well in algebraic geometry, but lacks traction in other areas. Perhaps future study will reveal.

Post-iPhone Era

August 25, 2023

As the iPhone loses novelty, people began to speculate about post-iPhone era. There are a few serious proposals. One is AI, led by nVidia. Another is spatial computing, led by Apple. Our view is that these proposals are fragments of a scheme unifying mobile, cloud, and AI.

We have elaborated benefits of such a unified scheme, whose conceptual existence we elucidated long ago. Here we explain the superiority of the scheme compared with fragmented approaches proposed by nVidia and Apple.

The advocacy of AI largely surrounds its content generation capabilities, most of which are just bits of information. These bits are valuable, but without the mobile-cloud paradigm, their usefulness is limited. Mobile allows us to use AI anytime anywhere. Cloud allows us to use AI much more resourceful than the local model.

Spatial computing is exemplified by Apple Vision Pro. Although the headset will never replace the iPhone, spatial computing is likely a new frontier worth exploring. Apple's strategy is to shift some focus from the iPhone to this new frontier. The obvious future is integrating spatial computing into the unified scheme, rather than making Vision Pro the flagship product.

We didn't provide many details here, but the advantage of a scheme unifying mobile, cloud, and AI is undeniable. While Apple probably thought it's impossible to surpass the iPhone revolution, the reality likely will prove otherwise. The question is whether it will still be Apple.

Lebesgue Method in Finance

August 18, 2023

Here we propose a method of financial investment where the long-run trend of the asset is upward, but short-run fluctuations are problematic. It's named after Lebesgue, not related to measure theory, but rather, the idea of computing Lebesgue integral with partitions on the y-axis instead of x-axis.

To illustrate with a example, the asset can be taken as a good index fund. First, take a arbitrary entry point and choose a appropriate step size on asset price. Buy 1 unit at the entry point and 2n units if the price goes from n-1 times the step size lower to n times the step size lower. If the price goes to a step size higher than the entry point, reset the entry point.

It's a strategy to buy at low prices given fluctuations and uncertainty. Instead of buying at regular or random time intervals, we buy according to prices. Sales can be conducted similarly in reverse. We recommend this method as a good strategy for managing assets.

How to Read a Book with AI

August 12, 2023

The advancement of technology often begins with technical considerations, but successful consumer technologies are designed for humans. There is no doubt AI has been a technical achievement, but how to make AI into a consumer technology remains murky.

Other than obvious threats such as surveillance, there is another obstacle for mature AI consumer applications, that is, wisdom versus bullshit. It should act as a bicycle for our minds, but all too often, corporations opt for cognitive bombardment.

Here we propose a challenge for civilized AI, to help people on reading. Serious reading involves understanding, analysis, and synthesis. In each stage, AI can help with meaning, reference, and organization. It's plausible that well-designed AI can have significant positive impact on people's reading.

However, giant corporations are busy building personalized chatbots, rather than figuring out how to help people. The excuse is business, but we believe civilized AI will be better rewarded in the end. May wisdom prevail over bullshit.

A Bicycle for Our Minds

August 5, 2023

Today, we wish to raise a important question. From the age of Steve Jobs to Tim Cook, computers went from a bicycle for our minds to a device for mindless scrolling. What happened?

The answer is still unknown, but we will attempt to give a few sketches in future posts.

Wisdom Online

July 22, 2023

Blogs were a great platform for forming wisdom online. Records are kept. References are extensive. Arguments are well-formed. From small food blogs to economic debates, blogs carry the weight of ideas. The problem is blogs are in decline.

The decline of blogs is accompanied by the rise of social networks. At first glance, it's simply a shift in platform, but careful consideration reveals one serious concern. Social network posts are generally meant to be forgotten. Hot takes get tremendous visibility while tightly woven expositions are soon neglected.

People began to aim for constantly at top of their game, rather than to deliberate a sound perspective for the long-term. While many economists laugh at the possibility of social networks intensifying extremism, we believe the nature of social networks has much to do with the rise of Trump. It's just nobody wants to talk about it.

Therefore, the social network transformation has big impact on wisdom online. Can wisdom regularly fend off bullshit in hot takes? Can social network algorithms be made more reasonable given profit motives? Can people be trusted to validate social posts? The answers are unclear.


July 1, 2023

Isolation is a nasty issue in contemporary digital life. Arguably digital entertainment and other mechanisms have turned people into sorts of couch potato, with fewer close friends than before.

Digital transformation is inevitable. A natural question is to ask if isolation is inherent, or rather reflects our inappropriate use of digital technologies.

We believe isolation isn't inherent, and offer a case for consideration.

Recently, we began to plan a gathering to meet new friends. A topic is chosen, about graphic design. Keynote on Mac is used to prepare the presentation, with content from the web. A nice place to host the gathering is found on Google Maps. The event will be posted on social networks to seek participants.

Without Keynote and the web, the presentation wouldn't exist. Without Google Maps, it's hard to find a nice place for the gathering. Without social networks, people interested in the topic would have a difficult time discovering the event.

Digital technologies can connect people, but people have to overcome couch potato mentality to build meaningful relationships. The problem is proper use of digital technologies, not technology itself.

People can not be expected to discover proper use of digital technologies themselves. A approach similar to Apple's introduction of iLife is appropriate to teach people how not to be a slave of technology.

Our hope is that a digital civilisation will finally be built, so that technologies can be used for greater good. Governments, markets, and societies need to take the issue seriously, or the shadow of The Matrix will prevail.

WWDC23, Part 4

June 30, 2023

To us, the most prevalent question about OS is unanswered in WWDC23, of sideloading. Apple has made arguments around privacy and security to counter the sideloading regulation. Another point is worth mentioning. Sideloading prevents Apple from taking responsibility of apps on user's iDevices. Malicious content is user's own business. It's unfortunately a step backwards.

Back to WWDC23, the first thing we wish to talk about is content creation. Apple seems to follow the practice of providing users with the most capable tools for form, rather than substance. Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro are excellent editing tools, but users need to bring substance.

Compared with Google, which used AI to generate substance for user's prompts, Apple's approach is less controversial, but demands more creativity on user's side. It's imaginable that Apple appeals to creative pros, while Google aims at laymen.

Second, we wish to talk about personalization. This is a area where Apple truly beats Google. NameDrop, Journal, and Live Stickers help users express themselves, rather than talk to a personalized chatbot. It's not about the focus on AI, as Journal and Live Stickers both utilized it, but about uses of AI.

The Journal app is a example of the mobile-cloud paradigm, which allows users to take action whenever inspiration strikes. On the other hand, Google's personalized chatbot is likely a ramification rather than a feature.

Third, we wish to talk about business uses. As everybody knows, Apple's approach to business use is quite artisanal, with features here and there, but no coherent design. It's a pity, as iPad proves exceptional in handling business.

Google's generative AI approach to business, however, is likely to generate some controversies as well. We already know that ChatGPT makes up pseudofacts, and thus without rigorous checking, may result in disasters. The road to useful AI has begun, but there is still much to do before AI can serve us reasonably well.

Although there is much to talk about, we feel it's better to leave it to other blog posts, rather than try to squeeze into the WWDC23 series. WWDC23 may seem small without Vision Pro announcement, but it's really not the case, as Apple expressed its philosophy very clearly, albeit with some deficiencies. So, that's it for WWDC23.

WWDC23, Part 3

June 23, 2023

To appreciate OS features Apple announced at WWDC23, a comparison between Apple and Google is welcome. Apple and Google are not only market competitors, but proponents of very different philosophy.

Apple tends to help users create, connect, and entertain themselves, while Google uses its giant data system and AI to filter information, generate content, and form decisions.

As readers might have suspected, I used both approaches. To some extent, one might argue Apple or Google is better, but a more satisfactory way is to complement each other.

Apple devices generally offer better experiences, while Google cloud services give more detailed information.

Philosophical differences lead to different perspectives on AI. As Google used AI as writing aid, Apple provided Live Stickers for more animated communication. Usually, Google has better data, while Apple excels at graphics.

It's in this perspective we will provide a view of OS announcements at WWDC23, and compare them with Google I/O. Our view will not give a comprehensive list of features, but hopefully may spark some insights. More to come.


June 21, 2023

Steve Jobs famously described that focus is about saying no to numerous other good ideas. It requires that one picks carefully what to focus on. Often, people have no foresight what to focus on, but do have several good ideas. We feel sharing these out-of-focus ideas is a good thing.

As a researcher, my purpose is to study derived algebraic geometry as a continuation of complexity theory, and to build a digital library of algorithms at spectrum-dev. From time to time, other ideas came to me, but it's clear my limited time can not be allocated to them. Sharing them is good, because others might find their own inspired paths.

WWDC23, Part 2

June 11, 2023

The most important Mac announcement is of course the complete transition to Apple Silicon. Not so noticeable is the more finely meshed Mac lineup. There are much finer gradations for choosing a Mac than ever before, and each product is of meaningful differentiation.

13-inch MacBook Pro and M1 iMac are probably the weakest in the lineup. They still beat the competition, but certainly may benefit from reconsideration and upgrade. But, please resist the temptation of touchscreen Macs.

15-inch MacBook Air is amazingly capable at the price point. We expect many creative workflows to utilize the increased screen size and stay cost-effective.

Mac Studio and Mac Pro are built with excellent efficiency. They might not be the most powerful monster desktop computer, but definitely the most enjoyable. Apple didn't build specific gaming desktops, but gamers can be hugely rewarded buying these.

Mac announcement at WWDC23 is quite brief. There is not much marketing pitch involved. It would be nice if Apple web site can provide useful information for users in addition to technology overview, like use cases. So, this is for Macs. More to come.

WWDC23, Part 1

June 8, 2023

Apple Vision Pro is a dreamlike product. It's great to see Apple put much care into challenging headset issues. Although concerns remain, unpleasant headset characteristics have been ameliorated. We don't have access to the device, so impressions are the only thing we can offer.

Readers are encouraged to read Daring Fireball's account first. The role of AI biometrics, although Apple didn't mention it, is obviously present in Vision Pro's UI. The degree Apple mastered the technology is astounding, as Gruber mentioned no latency and no rendering instability along with excellent graphics.

Although VR pioneered immersive experiences, it's spatial computing that finally removed the barrier between computer graphics and outside world, in 3D. The technology harbors great applications, like real time AI analysis of objects, useful for museum navigation. Apple didn't mention much, but the prospect is clear.

For brevity, well-documented features are omitted here, but we raise some additional issues instead, so that one day the device may mature. Hope this serves readers.

First, there needs to be a solution to virtual keyboard. Physical keyboard allows users to type without looking. Touchscreens are typically small enough so that looking at virtual keyboard and content simultaneously is possible. With vast view offered by Vision Pro, however, using virtual keyboard while looking at distant content can be a real pain.

Second, the desire to replace Macs with Vision Pro might have to be curbed. Macs are based on precise cursor system for UI. Imprecise eye-tracking and gestures are no replacement, but a complementary feature. Use Macs to build architecture, and Vision Pro to evaluate.

Third, despite many criticisms of the separate battery, it's necessary to keep weight off user's head, but general ergonomics definitely can be improved further. Can it be a helmet? Can the battery be wearable? These considerations are crucial if activities that require agility, like gaming, demand quick motion with Vision Pro intact.

Overall, Apple Vision Pro is a very nice product with plausible use cases, and some issues. We didn't dig into the technology yet, and this is only Part 1 of WWDC23, so more to come if time permits.

Foundation for Mobile Gadgets

May 30, 2023

AI is taking over the news. Apple is curiously missing. While AI features in mobile gadgets have been long with us, there is a view that they are simply add-ons, rather than something essential. Digital Revolution isn't easy, and Apple should not be blamed for not seeing the foundational role of AI in mobile gadgets, but a little explanation helps.

As readers probably know, from the right start, we actually derived mobile gadgets from AI. The reason is that mobile gadgets are convenient interfaces to information. In a age of information deluge, it's inevitable that computers are required to process information for us, that is, AI.

People could imagine how shallow our mobile gadgets would be without AI. Pretty UI isn't replacement for lack of search, maps, and biometrics. To Tony Fadell, AI is the future of smartphones. To us, AI is at the heart of mobile gadgets from the beginning. Readers don't have to watch The Matrix to feel how essential AI is.

We wish to say it again that Apple should not be blamed for not seeing the essential role of AI, but a little change in perspective definitely will guide us through the dramatically transformative period ahead.

Parallel Computing and Automation

May 27, 2023

From the perspective of time complexity as n tends to infinity, parallel speedup is only a constant factor. It's not trivial, but pales before improvements over orders of n.

However, in practice, since n is typically bounded by a fixed number, the importance of parallel computing begins to emerge. If medical diagnosis can be processed 10 times faster, it might mean life or death.

Take radiology for example. There are lots of independent images for processing. Do it sequentially is considerably slower than do it parallel. Wouldn't it be nice if AI can quickly run a analysis with multi-core GPU?

It's increasingly clear that parallel computing is going to be with us for very long time, but its benefits are not fully appreciated and therefore not deeply utilized. Hope the onset of AI will pave the way for fruition.

Taiwan Strategy in AI Race

May 20, 2023

After metaverse flop, Taiwan tried to establish itself as a AI island. Terry Gou placed sole emphasis on AI, after previously described our age as characterized by AI and 5G.

It's clear Taiwanese mostly don't know what they are talking about. More importantly, Taiwan's traditional focus on hardware actually points toward a future of AI backwardness, rather than leadership.

Of course, Taiwan can make new arrangements for AI, but I doubt the island's politicians are smart enough for the task, or its people wise enough to see the technical difficulties ahead.

UI Programming

May 19, 2023

There was a time when UI programming was best done with WYSIWYG. It's a paradigm where the viewport is fixed. Flash championed the era with versatile graphics tools.

When multi-screen reality arrived, the WYSIWYG paradigm faced enormous challenge. It's impractical to design for each dimension separately. Therefore, we see the rise of programmable UI, specifying UI with code directly.

It's pretty certain that fixed viewport is dead forever. Companies should invest in programmable UI.

However, modern app programming didn't adopt UI-logic separation, which caused a lot of confusion. There is a dated view that somehow UI should still be done visually to avoid excessive bugs.

We believe the right way forward is to infuse clarity into UI code. How to achieve this is a very open problem. Is it declarative programming? Is it a markup language? We don't know, but programmable UI is the future.


May 17, 2023

A bookmark I added today points to a strange URL. Is the computer hacked?

Doing Business on iPad

May 6, 2023

People have been skeptical of the iPad, thinking it's a entertainment channel, rather than a productivity tool. As a result, Apple's efforts on iPad emphasized productivity tools.

Here we provide another view. Doing business on iPad can be more important than productivity.

Traditionally, business communication involves phones and computers. Phones are not as versatile as computers, and computers are not as convenient as phones.

As you might have guessed, iPad doesn't have these drawbacks. Doing business on iPad is incredibly comfortable. In fact, we used iPad to recruit all our freelancers.

Receiving proposals, reviewing artworks, instant messaging all work effortlessly with or without Apple Pencil or keyboard.

It's a mystery why there are so few discussions about iPad for business. Is it due to feeling unprofessional?

Back to Office

May 1, 2023

Recently, we talked about music in the workplace and related applications, but didn't offer a use scenario. It's useful to consider a small studio.

At present, there are lots of separated devices, including hubs, telephones, music players, etc. Lack of integration is a problem. A missed office phone call doesn't show up on iPhone. There is no cloud-synced business contacts app. Meetings are recorded without automatic cloud note-taking.

In a small studio, a single device with touchscreen remote control can solve all the problems. More, meetings can be seamlessly scheduled on a unified work calendar with all attached files instantly available via AirPlay. Cloud functionalities easily let participants review previous meetings. Not to mention no clutter of office space.

Security cameras, firewalls, and VPN can all be suitably integrated. With simple UI, there is no better way to access the office remotely. It's up to serious business.

The list of features can go on and on. While it's entertaining to explore them, there is no replacement for a real product. We will return to the topic if anything relevant hits the market.

Deep Technical Design

April 29, 2023

There is a deep connection between design and technology at Apple that no other company can replicate. Design without technology can not accomplish serious feats, while technology without design is inhumane and waste.

A example is provided by MacBook Air. Apple tried to design a thinner MacBook Air with Intel CPU without much success. Then Apple Silicon finally made it feasible. A improved form accompanying M2 not only instilled beauty, but also delivered tremendous comfort.

Microsoft, lacking both design and technology, is no match. Windows laptops are bulkier and generate excessive heat. The reason why Microsoft survived is the dominance of Office and its slightly incompatible Mac version. If Office for Mac worked seamlessly with Windows counterparts, there would be far fewer Windows installations.

AI, Empiricism, and Judicial System

April 27, 2023

Since AI digests big data, the application to legal arsenal is of interest. There are numerous success stories we won't talk about, but instead focus on the nature of AI, its relationship with empiricism, and fundamental limitations of judicial decision-making.

Starting with the simplest feature of AI, it's a computer system analyzing data. Although it can do sophisticated rational deduction through computation, data is no replacement for evidence. The measurement of electron spin isn't electron itself. Lots of properties about the electron can not be deduced from spin measurement alone, that is, insufficient data.

The insufficiency of data imposes significant limitation on AI. It might draw conclusion based on past experiences and probability, but certainty from direct evidence can not be reached via computational means. Flaws are unavoidable. Thus, while it might be desirable to ask AI for the possibility of wrongdoing, a sound judicial system should be built upon evidence, rather than insufficient data.

The most valuable application of AI in the judicial system, from our point of view, is to transform a legal system vulnerable to human sentiments into a logical system so that errors may be corrected. Laws should be written as a axiomatic system with suitable logic.

To illustrate our point with a example, we examine catch-22 laws. Such laws are designed to frame people, no matter what people do. It exploits inconsistency in legal statements. AI can do extensive deduction so that such laws may be identified and fixed before any absurdity arises.

Better, a axiomatic legal system allows individuals to use AI to evaluate legal consequences, and to inform action. It's unreasonable to train everyone as a lawyer, or to consult lawyers for every action. AI can help humans navigate the legal landscape. Let's see if the law school is smart enough to carry out these innovations.

Music in the Workplace

April 21, 2023

The digital music revolution started by Apple is largely personal. As a result, music in the workplace faces some issues. Some choose radio. Some listen to YouTube. Those who use Apple Music might set up a business credit card on iDevices and give employees complete control over them, a elevation of access.

It's also desirable that a single subscription works company-wide. Complications like compatibility with corporate broadcast system may require new apps or device designs. All these considerations can be integrated to a general-purpose business device that takes care of meetings, telephone, networks, together with music.


April 17, 2023

The difference between a wizard and a fortune-teller is clairvoyance. Steve Jobs is a wizard. Taiwan politicians who bet on the metaverse are fortune-tellers.

To be fair, a good politician doesn't need to be a tech revolutionary, but then he/she should not set tech agenda, either.

It's already clear that Taiwan politicians are bozos.

UI: Simplicity and Certainty

April 12, 2023

Foolish media often overlook complexity. They thought complexity is undesirable and used Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, and Steve Jobs to indoctrinate the public. Fortunately, with the publication of his letters by the Steve Jobs Archive, we know for certain that Steve Jobs understood the power of complex technologies, but wanted the user interface to be simple so that common people may use it.

Simplicity isn't for simplicity's sake, but to make powerful complex technologies accessible.

Sometimes, simplicity in UI can not be achieved, but a more basic standard should be preserved, that of certainty. To put it simply, don't use small buttons for touch screens.

Uncertain UI results in confusion and mistakes. That's why Adobe use palettes to organize functionalities in Photoshop, rather than a bunch of windows. Good organization reduces uncertainty in UI.

Certainty is why the Save As box in Aqua is much better than Windows. In Aqua, the attached box tells clearly which window is being saved, while in Windows, the pop-up box leaves much for guess.

Simplicity is virtue, but certainty is basic justice.

VR Headsets

April 8, 2023

There is a lot of speculation about VR headsets, including claims that Apple might be its last savior. While the outcome is uncertain, pretty much everybody knows Apple is half-hearted in VR development, prioritizing AR. That's why we won't emphasize Apple's attempt here.

It's useful to clarify VR's market. Meta probably expected VR as a mass-market product, but at present, its uses have been largely for gaming. Like gaming PCs, it's a niche.

For VR to break into mass market, more features are needed. There is also a need to elucidate VR's nature. For example, it's very much like TVs, a stationary experience, rather than iPhones, a mobile experience. Content suitable for VR isn't hard to find, but the weight of the headset must be so light so that extended use won't cause harm.

To be honest, there are few indications that major corporations are doing VR right.

The major UI feature isn't simply point-and-click. It's that when a VR headset is put on, the user is isolated from the outside world. There are few gadgets like this, not iPhones, not iPads, and not TVs. Actually, I'm pretty hesitant to try VR just because of the isolation.

Although the problems mentioned here are obvious, I doubt any VR maker, including Apple, really cares. Therefore, I'm somewhat pessimistic about the success of near-term VR headsets. Maybe some pros will take it seriously in the future, but it seems reasonable not to be too excited for now.

Apple Watch Dead

April 6, 2023

My Apple Watch quickly ran out of its battery and refused to boot again today. It appears to be dead. It seems the right time to reflect on the lovely gadget.

From the beginning, Apple wisely emphasized notifications and fitness features on the Apple Watch. The main issue is the somewhat unsatisfactory battery life that compromised daily usage. I found my watch lasted a few hours per single charge, down from a whole day.

Meditation is a great feature, too. But the feature requires better execution. Since I meditate during walks, the Meditation app never worked for me. It should be enhanced with better app interoperability, especially considering people who record voice memos in the middle.

As always, Apple software is buggy, not limited to watchOS. It's usable, but really unpleasant. The link between Apple Watch and iPhone can be broken, for example. A complete reset follows.

AI isn't a strong suit for Apple, but we suspect it can help a lot. Scheduling reminders is one thing, but getting live information can really help if iPhone isn't immediately available, like wearing gloves. Isn't it nice if Apple Watch can tell you when a restaurant nearby opens?

Due to its nature, Apple Watch is much more restrictive than the iPhone. Its development requires deep understanding of human interaction. We believe there is much more to accomplish, but for brilliant craftsman.

Terry Gou's Presidential Bid, Part 1

April 5, 2023

Terry Gou outlined several points in his core agenda for President. He wanted to resolve conflicts between USA and PRC in order to keep peace in the Taiwan Strait. He also mentioned the importance of technology in a prosperous economy. Overall, his proposal is very reasonalbe, so we would like to help.

Policies of strategic importance, like industrial policy for the semiconductor industry, are indication that a politician has long-term vision for the island, but welfare of common people is what attracts voters. Here we talk about the latter.

Housing is a place most people in Taiwan want immediate improvement. The availability of affordable housing is urgent. Currently, Taiwan politicians tackle the issue with market crackdown (DPP) and public houses for rent (TPP). None of these approaches are appealing. It seems that a policy similar to Singapore housing program is called for.

There is also the problem of low wages. DPP tried to solve the problem with rising minimum wages, but that doesn't make economy much better. The situation is very complex. On the one hand, Taiwan industries should be steered toward high value-added sectors. On the other, labor bargaining power needs to be enhanced to capture the added value for commons. The easy path of financial liberalization does more harm than good.

No politician can win based on the merit of good policy agenda alone. But we feel Taiwan politics is already kind of shit that a good policy agenda may be very refreshing. If there is opportunity, we will talk more. At present, let's see how the events unfold.

Steve Jobs Book

April 1, 2023


Gadgets for Research

March 30, 2023

Apple gadgets have been instrumental in learning and research. More and more students are taking notes and doing homework on iPads. It's also vastly more convenient to pack all textbooks inside a tablet than printed books. However, Apple's innovation in learning and research seems quite stagnant, perhaps due to sole focus on education, exemplified by the Classroom app.

As everybody knows, learning/research is much deeper and wider than education. The iPad brings conveniences for sure, but we believe the fundamental feature should go beyond note-taking and digitization. While reading philosophy on the iPad in a Cafe is very enjoyable, that doesn't make a philosopher.

Conventional people would suggest the use of GenAI. It's a noble goal to make a Vulcan out of AI, but we are nowhere near it, and thus GenAI in its current form is insufficient.

Here we offer a small improvement based on mobile-cloud paradigm. It can serve as a superb organization tool for learning and research. Currently the scattered web doesn't offer organization comparable with the academia, so to learn deep stuff, one still rely on human connections.

The obvious fact that there is no digital library of algorithms, or mathematics, is indication that the full potential of the mobile-cloud paradigm hasn't been realized yet. One should be able to get reasonably deep with the guidance offered on the Internet, rather than relying on his/her own connections. It's democratization of wisdom.

While Generation Z love printed books, we believe full-scale digital apparatus can benefit humanity much more.

USA-PRC Technological Competition

March 12, 2023

Both USA and PRC realized the importance of owning pieces of critical technology to safeguard national autonomy. Computer industry is the current focus of political establishment on both sides. From semiconductor to AI, governments seek to direct national resources to aid development.

However, subsidies and monetary metric are often not enough. As seen before, governments could easily waste money on dubious ventures.

Since the matter is quite politically sensitive, we refrain from providing details, but point to the success of Apple chip design team as a clue. It's crucial to study which conditions made Apple a chip design powerhouse.

Technological leadership is hard. While money can be printed on demand, technology can not be developed in thin air. Both USA and PRC dropped any pretenses of free market approach. It remains to be seen which alternative is successful.

Leonardo da Vinci's Discovery

February 20, 2023

As we suspected, gravitation was discovered by Leonardo da Vinci. The only thing preventing him from a sound theory was mathematics. The experimental data permit unique solution (PDF) through a differential equation. History of modern physics is rewritten.

USA-PRC Competition

February 10, 2023

Imperial economists see USA-PRC compeition as a new Cold War. It's certainly a possibility. However, it could also be like Apple versus Google, where everybody has something to gain, rather than a Cold War.

Hope wisdom will prevail.

Limitations of Knowledge Engines

February 8, 2023

We talked about some limitations of knowledge engines before. There, a simplified model of knowledge engines is used, that of a interface to knowledge database.

Here we provide a generalized version, applicable to any reasonable knowledge engine.

Let's begin with a example. Recently, ChatGPT is very fashionable. We can find all sorts of information with Google Search. However, at present, the prime example of knowledge engine, Wolfram|Alpha, still returns absurd results for the term chatgpt. It's a town, not a piece of AI.

The reason why Wolfram|Alpha is so wrong can be explained by our previous blog post, but more generally, the deep reason is that knowledge engines exclude things outside of current knowledge, like uncertain future.

Uncertain future isn't current knowledge, but can be terribly important.

Therefore, we need information systems that help us explore possibilities, in addition to knowledge. We believe knowledge engines are useful, but not that useful. It needs to be extended to incorporate useful information beyond current knowledge.

Teaching Calculus

February 4, 2023

Fashionable textbooks teach calculus with scientific applications. While the appeal to problem-solving is valuable, we find that students often can not grasp the logical structure.

A alternative is to use logical/axiomatic approach to teach mathematical deduction, and separate mathematics from scientific applications. The advantage is conceptual clarity.

A example we used to demonstrate the power of calculus can serve as a test of comprehension. It's proving that the exponential function is a transcendental function.

A simple proof requires mathematical induction, differentiation, and division by the exponential function. The beauty of the deduction is that a algebraic property can be proven analytically with basic calculus.

Perhaps the logical/axiomatic approach will allow students to appreciate the deduction. The fashionable textbook approach doesn't quite fit. The example might tell the difference in understanding.

Tim Cook's Real Test

February 3, 2023

Unsurprisingly, USA government is planning to regulate Apple. So far, Apple's response has been advertisement and lobbying. The real test for Tim Cook is for Apple to provide better alternatives to regulatory retaliation and win. Most people bet on the USA government, so it's a real test for Tim Cook.

Digital Automation

January 26, 2023

In common people's experience, digital automation is not very impressive. The applications are cleaning houses, printing documents, completing financial transactions, etc. While the advancement of AI adds self-driving cars, article writing, and facial authentication to the portfolio, the general public still treat it as a novelty, rather than something critical.

Yet, facing a aging population, digital automation may be the best hope we have to maintain living standards without compromising on retirement age and welfare.

It's well-known that the elderly pose fiscal stress for the government. Social Security, healthcare, and other benefits are under scrutiny as the elderly population grows. While it's barbaric to slash spending and cut benefits, something has to give if the working population ratio shrinks and productivity remains the same.

Unimaginative governments indeed slash spending and cut benefits. It's stupid.

A much better way out is to invest in technologies that increase productivity, so that living standards can be maintained while the working population ratio shrinks. Digital automation is a excellent candidate for such industrial transformation. Although it's not as shiny as Apple, the adoption is critical if we want to keep human decency.

Policy makers need to carefully evaluate the economics of such transformation. Will public-private partnerships work better? Will globalisation help? Will new institutions be created to facilitate digital automation? History will judge whether we care about the elderly.

Theory and Practice

January 22, 2023

Physics is fortunate to have a number of really smart theorists that offer insights for experiments. It's not exaggeration that the 20th century is a century of physics.

Computer industry isn't that fortunate. Although there are brilliant theorists like Turing and Shannon, computer scientists made no efforts to piece everything together. It's no surprise that the iPhone, and mobile gadgets more generally, came as a result of inspiration and experimentation, rather than a theoretical prediction. We, at Glacier Studio, speculated about the form and function of mobile gadgets a few years before the launch of the iPhone, and only recently came up with a theory unifying mobile gadgets, cloud, and AI.

Wouldn't it be nice if the iPhone can be placed within a sound theory so that its future and significance can be properly handled? For example, many people believe that the iPhone phenomenon is about to end, while we believe that mobile gadgets constitute eternal innovations, just like emails. A sound theory would explain why smartphones aren't going away.

So far, our judgement is based on the observation that there are no better ideas than mobile gadgets, cloud, and AI working together. We believe it's sufficient, but a theory would make it much more satisfactory, so that Jack Ma's thesis that implants will replace smartphones can be put to rest.

Just like physics, the computer industry can be much better formed with similar theory-experiment methodology. All it takes is for brilliant people to join the conversation.

Complexity beyond Computation

January 14, 2023

Several months ago, we wrote a article about complexity beyond computation. Here is the PDF.

Apple Business Connect

January 13, 2023

Apple launched Apple Business Connect to facilitate business presence across apps, especially Maps. Taking a step further than Google, Apple allows more direct and informative interactions between businesses and their customers.

As a long-time Google Maps user, it always feels a bit annoying that restaurants can not post timely updates to inform customers about open hour changes. All we can see was a message indicating that holidays may affect business hours. It's second to useless. Hopefully, now with Apple Maps, the scenario can be gone.

Apple Business Connect is not just a Maps feature. We think it's a philosophical objection against the metaverse. Metaverse is not defined by virtual reality, but largely a business platform for virtual goods. While games are attractive, virtual real estate borders on frauds. Apple Business Connect, on the other hand, serves as a virtual interface for largely real goods and services. Our guess is that it will perform better than the metaverse.

People like doing real business virtually, but not virtual reality business. The reason is simple. Virtual reality goods are only a small fraction of the GDP. Perhaps Meta should reconsider its own economics.

From business perspective, Apple Business Connect might one day become as important as Google Ads. More and more people find goods and services on Maps, rather than search, especially for restaurants. If Maps can go far beyond Yellow Pages, it will be a welcome transformation.

Surveillance and Manipulation

January 6, 2023

Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed concerns over corporate and government surveillance activities. He worried that the feeling of being watched may drastically change individual behavior and therefore harm the society in a profound way. While this view is certainly true, it underestimates the damages of unscrupulous surveillance that enable further manipulation.

The situation is not new. PRC government long used surveillance and manipulation against its people. What's new is that USA seems to agree with the practice without significant resistance, which is monstrous.

If corporations or governments can arbitrarily block communication based on surveillance, the result is not merely changed behavior, but the onset of 1984. Individual's fate is no longer in his own hands, but the authority determines it. Freedom is no more. Dystopia ensues.

A major question is whether the Silicon Valley is sane enough to stop it.

Art and World Exploration

January 5, 2023

World exploration has been dominated by science. Quantum mechanics explained why atomic spectra can be discrete. General relativity explained why gravity has influence over time measurement. But in a sense, no satisfactory science has been found to explain the whole complexity of the world. The value of art is to capture the world when science fails. It can be our mysterious existence, or daring imagination.

The onset of modern gadgets provided unique opportunities for artists and common people to greatly expand their spiritual dimension. Random inspirations can be instantly recorded on mobile gadgets and preserved in the cloud. The organization is superb. Sharing is convenient. There is no better time to be a artist.

Yet, paradoxically, people often don't take advantage of mobile gadgets to enrich their spiritual life, but engage in banalities such as political conspiracy theories and extremism. Perhaps the search for belonging has lost its innocence. Can humanity be saved?

Cinema is a great example. Instead of popularizing Bresson and Tarkovsky, content distribution platforms systematically cultivated rubbish. Perhaps the cinema industry is craving for novelty, but in many ways, Bresson and Tarkovsky are much more innovative than Marvel, just like the Beatles. It's a tragedy.

The cynical manipulation of people's life has ruined many. From media distortion to outright censorship, art and world exploration are actually in decline in a age of unprecedented opportunities for spirituality. Evil rules.

Life is short. Modern cynicism intends to fill it with junk. Redemption is one of the most important questions of our time.

Mobile-Cloud Paradigm

December 30, 2022

In the Digital Revolution blog, we explained how the presence of cloud computing changed the mobile landscape. The sync functionality not only provides conviniences for users, but also results in market transformations that favor cross-platform synchronized apps. Here we explore some of the features and ramifications of the mobile-cloud paradigm.

Maps: Cloud side of the Maps app is a marvellous aggregation of map data. Naive people may think they are merely a list of locations, but the reality is that to keep Maps globally consistent and locally efficient is a technical achievement. Mobile not only gives users anytime anywhere access to Maps, but also makes feedback and marketing extremely useful. Just see how many discounts and gifts users may receive in a restaurant with a rating improvement campaign.

Social Networks: Cloud side of social networks, like that of Maps, aggregates information and use it to provide exploration, discovery, and connection. While forms are many, the online community really keeps families and friends closely together. Mobile allows users to interface between the outside world and the online identity. Inspiration is everywhere, and easily shared.

Filter Bubble: This is a significant ramification of the mobile-cloud paradigm, conducted with forced personalization. It introduced localization of global information. Without access to global structure, localization limits the scope of search and various other activities. Not only so, the mobile surveillance capability further endangers privacy. People's online activities become profiles that may be exploited.

The power of mobile-cloud paradigm is immense, as well as challenges. Although the academia concentrates its efforts on AI, we believe that the mobile-cloud paradigm is a comparably important research area that may unite AI with interfaces and infrastructure. Time will tell.

The Glacier Studio Blog Launch

December 25, 2022

Glacier Studio had two freezed blogs, On the World and Digital Revolution. These blogs are highly specialized in their content. As time goes on, we feel necessary to have a blog about general, as well as specialized, topics. Thus, this blog is established. Merry Christmas!