Jan 2006

Nettwerk Records vs RIAA

Canadia’s largest independent record label is litigating against the RIAA on behalf of consumers: schweet. (I personally like Nettwerk since they’re the home of some of my favourite artists: Sarah McLachlan, Dido, and the Barenaked Ladies.)


Linux.conf.au, Day 6 (Saturday)

Ah, the last day of LCA: it’s been a killer week, and definitely one of the best technical conferences I’ve ever been to. Personally, I think this ties with Linux.conf.au in Adelaide and Brisbane as the best LCA yet: I didn’t find the talks as invigorating this year, but the social side of things have been the best ever, with action typically going well past midnight every night. It’s finally started to take its toll on me, though: I left early tonight to both do some private hacking, and to catch up on that “sleep” thing that I’ve been missing out on for the past week.

Thankfully, the last day of the conference wasn’t too hectic: a late start, a keynote, one talk, followed by some best-of talks, a panel and the conference wrap-up. Of course, even though there was a late start, I still got up early since I wanted to get a ton of personal work out of the way, and I’m glad to say that I had enough time to do both that and have the usual leet-bix breakfast at Pia and Jeff’s again. Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote — which I thought would be rather controversial or about Ubuntu vs Debian — turned out to be completely not about Ubuntu vs Debian, and was excellent. Mark was pushing the whole notion of distributed revision control systems as the future of the entire open source movement, and possibly even computing in general. I do agree with Mark: distributed revision control is an incredibly powerful tool, and it has enough potential to change the whole underlying way that entire operating systems are constructed.

The only thing that soured Mark’s keynote was a barrage of incredibly irritating comments in question time, initiated by people in the audience who seemed to want a microphone for themselves. You always get these kind of morons at conferences: those folks that can ramble on at length about some completely unrelated topic in an attempt to show their supposed intellectual superiority, and who think that anything they can think of is important and worth nothing. Of course, in Alanic fashion, they just end up looking like idiots rather than looking intelligent, and unfortunately also waste everyone else’s time. These are the same dropkicks who consistently interrupt the speaker in a talk to offer “helpful hints” and “advice”; I had one such mongrel in the svk talk yesterday which nearly prompted me to show my skillz of an artist and exclaim “Let the speaker get on with his talk you stupid f***!”. There’s nothing quite like a super-enthusiastic babbling dumbass. Anyway.

The rest of the day wasn’t such a headspin as the past few days: we had a shaving session held at the same time as the lunch BBQ. Explanation: at last night’s auction, numerous silly people, such as Jeff Waugh, Greg ‘Groggy’ Lehey, Dave Miller and Rusty Russell, volunteered to have various bits of hair shaved off them if the bidding reached a certain price. Of course, with the UNSW cartel reaching a bid of $10000, we hit that price, and so it was decided that the shaving would be done in public, today, at lunchtime. I tell you: Rusty without a moustache is just weird. He’s, like, totally not the same guy. Jeff, Greg, and Dave all look the same, but Rusty… he could even, like, pick up chicks and stuff now. Brr!

The rest of the day was spent socialising with the other geeks and attending the panel, prizes and conference close. That was all a pretty standard affair, apart from the very sad fact that I lost my favourite silver long-sleeve Banana Republic jumper some time that afternoon. (Weeps with the moon.) Oh well, I guess that’s an excuse to do a little more shopping the next time I hit the USA…

MySQL were holding drinks that night at the Captain Cook tavern, but unfortunately I didn’t attend them since I was sadly looking around for my jumper. (Weeps with the moon yet again, this time with violin music in the background.) So, I joined Erik, Matt, Shane, Jaq, Ashley and a few other folks at none-other-than The Terrace for dinner again. I tell you: a mixed grill of lamb, chicken, pork and beef on hot rocks doesn’t get boring, and neither does a Barmaid full of beer. By this time, the five hours of sleep that I’d been getting per day really hit me, so I retired at about 9 o’clock to head back home and sleep.

So it’s been an excellent wind-down to one of the most awesome conferences I’ve been to. Next year’s Linux.conf.au organisers will have to work hard to top this one, but from (very) early indications, that prospect looks promising already. Thanks to all the organisers who made it such a educational, inspiring event to attend, and all my friends there who made it a serious boatload of fun!

P.S. For those of you that know of Andrew Tridgell, he was quoted in the Otago Daily Times (that most excellent of newspapers) as being a Jim Carrey lookalike. Truly awesome.



I have the weirdest things in my .zshrc file sometimes…

~ % which -a makex0r
makex0r: aliased to make

Linux.conf.au, Day 5 (Friday)

Ah, a good start to the day: I got up nice and early so I didn’t have to rush through the morning routine, and joined a few other geeks at Pia and Jeff’s apartment for breakfast. After downing our daily intake of leet-bix, we went with high expectations to Damian Conway’s keynote, titled “Sex and Violence: Technical and Social Lessons from the Perl 6 Development Process”. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Damian’s a brilliant speaker, and today was the best talk I’ve seen that he’s given. Not too many public speakers I know can take pokes at everyone from Guido van Rossum to type theorists and get laughs from the people he’s paying out, weave in slides featuring S&M pictures and Web pages from What Would Satan Do, give good, practical advice to people managing any sort of project, and inspire the audience about Perl 6, all at the same time.

Along with Gus, I was lucky enough to have a good chat to Damian afterward about the interaction between the Perl and Haskell communities, the awesomeness of the amazing Audrey Tang, and thank him for taking Perl 6 in what I consider to be the right direction. One of the greatest things about these conferences, and Linux.conf.au in particular, is that you do get to rub shoulders with the best and brightest in the world.

(Warning to my non-geek friends: geek content in this paragraph!) The rest of the day turned out to be the most educational one so far: Conway’s keynote taught me many useful things about project management, and I learnt plenty from the other talks too. For revision control geeks who somehow missed svk on their radar: go check it out. All I have to say about it is that you can work in a distributed manner (e.g. offline) with any existing Subversion repository, in a very simple, darcs-like way. Very nice indeed. Van Jacobson’s talk about optimising the networking stack in the kernel actually drew a standing ovation from the crowd, and he proved that he’s still a networking God after 20 years: he had some incredible tables and graphs to show just how well he managed to optimise networking performance on Linux. (I was quite amused how their optimisations made 10Gb Ethernet peak out at 4.3Gb/sec because that was the peak limit of DDR333 RAM…) Interestingly enough, Shane and Jaq pointed out that the guys at the Gelato project at the University of New South Wales have been researching and advocating this approach for years, except that they did their research on that evil M thing that’s so hated in the Linux community (“microkernel”). Not to discredit Van Jacobson in the least, but it’d be nice to see the KEG, NICTA and Gelato guys get some due credit for their work too!

So, after yet another afternoon of more fun geekness, it was time for the LCA conference dinner. This year’s affair was pretty standard for an LCA dinner: that is to say, very good, with lots of drinking, plenty of socialising and chatting, and, of course, an auction. This year, they auctioned off the the John Lions book on the annotated source code for the AT&T Unix Version 6 kernel, autographed by some of the most renown UNIX hackers in history: Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, Marshall Kirk McKusick, Eric Allman, Peter Salus, Linus Torvalds, Van Jacobson, and all the speakers and conference organisers for LCA 2006. I am proud to say that thanks to the great generosity of the students, lecturers and alumni at the University of New South Wales, UNSW won the bid for the book. As such, the Lions book will return to the shining halls of UNSW in its rightful resting place, where John Lions lectured and inspired so many students for so many years. Kudos to all those who contributed in the bid for this piece of history, and thanks to Benno and John for organising it!

That wrapped up the night quite nicely for me and set me in a hell of a good mood for the rest of the evening. Thankfully, I decided that I had quite enough drinking for the evening (you know, since I actually had to pay for my drinks that night), and that more than four hours of sleep before another full day on Saturday might be an idea…


Linux.conf.au, Day 4 (Thursday)

After the big night last night courtesy of Google, I woke up more-or-less on time this morning with no hangover, which was a bit of a small surprise considering I’ve never quite drunk that much before. (Whoo!) I didn’t quite early enough to make it to Jeff and Pia’s place for breakfast before heading off to the keynote, but I made up for that by grabbing a rather nice ham and cheese roll a bit later in the morning.

(Warning: geek content in this paragraph.) Dave Miller’s keynote was pretty good, and thankfully I understood a lot more in his talk today than his original TCP zero-copy talk at CALU in 1999 (gee, my technical knowledge has increased a bit in the past seven years — who would’ve thought?). The other talks that day didn’t set me off too much, with the exception of Rusty Russell’s talk on talloc. Here’s my take on talloc: if you absolutely have to use that portable assembly language named C, think of talloc as a gift from God. Memory management with talloc still isn’t completely painless, but it makes it nearly as nice to use as if you were coding in Objective-C with Cocoa, or in modern C++ (using references everywhere so you don’t have to new/delete everything). At any rate, it’s a hell of a lot better than using malloc/free. If you use C, use it: you will be much happier.

Since Rising Sun were kind enough to send me as a professional this year, that also meant I got to go to the professional delegates’ networking session (a.k.a. dinner). OK, if that was the professional delegates’ networking session that I attended, I’d love to see an unprofessional delegates’ networking session, because we had a riot of a time. The presence of the boisterous Aussies in combination with Australia Day led to quite an awesome night indeed: our dinner was held at the beautiful Larnach Castle in Dunedin, with yet more free beer and wine for the entire night. This, of course, led to plenty of singing and more singing on the bus back home, with even our beloved Linux Australia Vice President, Pia Waugh, quite energetically (and somewhat drunkenly) joining in our Australia Day celebrations.

So, chalk up another damn good day at Linux.conf.au — so far, it’s been four out of four (or five out of five if you count Sunday night, which I do). I’m a lucky man to be here!


Linux.conf.au 2006, Day 3 (Wednesday)

Right, it’s definitely shaping up to be one of those kind of weeks. I finally managed to catch some sleep this morning by missing the morning tutorials: considering I had a huge three and a half hours of sleep last night, about 6 hours the night before, and no sleep on the night before I flew off to New Zealand, I think it was about time to let my poor body recover for a while. I normally feel rather seedy and tired (in that unproductive-tired way) when I wake up at midday, but it was all good today.

So, I got my lazy ass over to the conference (O, the hardship of 5 minutes’ walk through beautiful university grounds) and actually managed to see all the talks that day, huzzah. Andrew Tridgell’s talk on Samba 4 absolutely rocked as you’d expect, even if you, like me, weren’t interested in Samba 4 at all. Being able to write Javascript to script server-related Windows RPC calls is crazy enough, but remotely editing a Windows’s machine’s registry via an AJAX-style interface in your Web browser was something else. Oh yes, and my little tip about inverting your screen to make it more readable also really saves your battery life: I was easily getting over 3 hours of battery out of my 3-year-old Powerbook. The temperature today’s a bit more like what the forecasts predicted, too: much cooler, being around 14℃ in the morning and night, and around 22℃ in the afternoon. I’m glad I brought along some long-sleeve tops!

Of course, it was after the conference proper when the fun started. Google were holding a round of drinks for conference delegates at night at the Bennu bar in Dunedin, so of course a lot of people came along to try to completely empty out the bar. It was meant to go from 9-10 only (so hurry up and get completely plastered in an hour) but it turns out that offering only beer for free makes a tab go a long way, so we were all still drinking courtesy of Google well past midnight. I managed to get several rounds of free vodka shots off the Google folks too, so overall, I didn’t do too badly considering I’m a Cadbury’s boy: four beers and three vodka shots left me in quite the happy mood when we left there some time after midnight. It was, again, damn good to catch up and socialise with everyone, and even more so when free beer’s offered! It’s a good week to be in Dunedin indeed :).


Linux.conf.au 2006, Day 2 (Tuesday)

One interesting rule of thumb that Damian Conway mentioned in his presentation skills session is that, on average, it takes 8 hours of preparation per one hour of talking. I initially raised by eyebrows at this figure, but it turns out that Damian’s likely right (as usual): I ended staying up until around 4:30am to finish off our slides, and got up rather excruciatingly at 8am to grab breakfast at Jeff and Pia’s again. For those interested: Weet-bix + three pancakes (although I made a token attempt to be too polite to have their lovely pancakes, since I’d already had the weet-bix…). Ah yes, and the excellent Otago Daily Times’s front page story today was about how all the poor Dunedin citizens were all pasty-white thanks to a lack of sun this summer at the beach. I read this as a very nice excuse to slap pictures of three hot chicks in two-pieces on the front page of the paper.

I actually decided to skip the morning talks that day to work on the slides, so I ended up holing myself up in the (lovely) apartment until around 12. Yes, I think Damian’s 8 hours of preparation was correct indeed: Anthony and I probably spent around 10 hours of prep in total, though I’m fairly type A when it comes to making sure all the details are nailed down right.

I ended up having an energy bar and a Coke for lunch (sorry about that mum!) and managed to catch the end of Conrad’s talk on CMMLWiki when I got back, as well as watch parts of Keith Packard’s hilarious talk on Linux-powered rockets (complete with pictures of rockets hitting the earth at 800KM/h, and stories of their failed recovery of a CompactFlash card inside said rocket…).

I’m glad to report that I think our talk went pretty well: we had around 30 people attending, and Anthony and I got to chat afterwards with some people who were pretty interested in the stuff we were doing. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a videotape of it some time in the future, and I can place it here as a contribution to embarrassing myself more.

Since the talk was over, we decided that having some dinner was in order soon. No-one had any plans, so I made an executive decision to meet up at the Terrace at 7 o’clock, and the 4 or 5 folks who decided to go there grew to 8, then 10, then about 18. Hooray for lots of company! I had a most excellent mixed grill on hot rocks and more Speights beer for dinner, and enjoyed the merry company of all the other geeks until around midnight. Catching up with everyone here is truly great; since I’ve moved over to using a Mac as my main platform, I’m not so involved with the Linux community these days, and I forget from time to time how awesome everyone is (both from a social standpoint, and just how damn good these people are at what they do).

P.S. Linus is here, for those fanboys who are interested. The more amusing thing is that he’s really sunburnt. For the serious geeks, Van Jacobson (yep, that Van Jacobson) is also giving a talk. You can bet I’ll be attending that one.


Linux.conf.au, Day 1 (Monday)

I’ve had not a bad start to the day at all. Anthony and I went to Jeff and Pia’s apartment — a whole 30 steps away from our apartment, them being directly below us in the building — for an excellent bacon and eggs breakfast this morning. The Otago Daily Times newspaper is also an excellent contributor to a good start for the day, where the front page features stories such as Mexico’s guns for computers program. I look forward to what’ll be on the front page of that paper tomorrow.

So, after breakfast, I trundled along to a three-hour talk by Doctor Damian Conway about presentation skills, which I’m happy to say was very worthwhile. Damian’s one of the best presenters I know of in the Linux community (rivalling Andrew Tridgell), and an opportunity to take some presentation skills from somebody who’s damn good at it wasn’t one I was going to pass up. I ended up taking away 3 pages of notes from it; let’s see how many of those points I can apply to our talk tomorrow!

The rest of the afternoon was spent at the Digital Arts miniconf, which had some very cool sessions, though I was pretty familiar with both Annodex and Flumotion since I was one of the Annodex developers at my previous job, and was part of the team maintaining Flumotion servers at Linux.conf.au last year. The weather’s been ranging between quite cool in the morning (~15℃) to reasonably hot in the afternoon, being around 28℃ right now (although I think today’s hotness is an anomaly) — I’m hoping that tomorrow’s a bit cooler!

The Digital Arts miniconf organisers also were holding a jam that night at the Arc Café (whose name will no doubt amuse those of you who are involved with any Ogg/Vorbis/Theora discussions on the xiph.org mailing lists), so Anthony and I rocked along to that. Lo and behold, a lot of people turned up that I knew — Conrad, Silvia, Erik, Horms, Shane, Hal, Gus, John, Jaq, with about 40 people in total. I got to meet and socialise with a lot of new folks, too, and had three or four beers of Tui’s (not to be confused with Tooheys, which is much, much worse). There was some rocking psytrance-style electronica being played on the big PA system there, which set the mood quite well for the night. It makes me wish I’d finished the DJ mix I’ve been working on for the past week or two, so I’d have a chance to play it on the big speakers there too. Ahh well, now’s the time to set a goal to have a mix of mine played at next year’s LCA digital arts mash-up!

Anthony and I ended up heading back a little early at around 11:30pm to work on our talk (mind you, 11:30 over here is only 9:30 Sydney time). Conrad and Silvia (who were organising the Digital Arts miniconf) confirmed with us pretty much today we’d be giving a talk at the Digital Arts conference tomorrow on the use of Linux at Rising Sun Pictures, so we thought we’d actually try to make it half-decent and actually prepare for it :).

Oh yeah, and New Zealand TV seems to be filled with bizarre saucy phone sex advertisements at night… like, all the time. As in, they’ll be the entire regiment of advertising on the night. Coupled with the New Zealand accent (“cæll now!”), it was just plain weird.

So I’m predicting a bit of a late night tonight to prep for the talk tomorrow: we don’t want to have a bored audience, after all…


Linux.conf.au 2006, Day 0 (Sunday)

Wow. I was already looking forward to Linux.conf.au in New Zealand this year, but it’s even better than I expected, and it hasn’t even started yet.

Dunedin, the host city on New Zealand’s south island, is incredibly picturesque (I’ve taken a few photos of it for those interested) with beautiful mountains and glittering lakes for a backdrop, and lovely wooden architecture that reminisces of the wooden-style buildings that are characteristic of the types of snow houses in Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain.

Oh, and in honour of being in New Zealand right now and to blend in with the locals, I am replacing all a’s with ae’s. After all, a thing that you put stuff into is a bæg according to New Zealanders, not a bag.

I ræn into plenty of friends from the Linux community æt Sydney æirport thæt mæde the trip there quite enjoyæble indeed: Jæmie Wilkinson, Conræd Pærker, Silviæ Pfeiffer, Shæne Stephens, Mætt Pælmer, Ændrew Cowie ænd Erik de Castro Lopo. Of course, we æll decided to stopover æt the bær æt Christchurch æirport while we were wæiting for our connecting flight from there to Dunedin, ænd hæd our first tæste of New Zeælænd beer. I tried æ Speights, which I’m glæd to sæy is excellent. It’s not quite my fævourite beer (thæt privilege still belongs to Bluetongue), but it’s certæinly up there with the better ones I’ve tried. Those who know me mæy be surprised to know thæt I hæd five beers todæy ænd wæs still stænding æt the end of it (ænd I even mænæged to remæin reæsonæbly diplomætic; sorry for disæppointing you on thæt front, Seæn!).

Our little residence in Dunedin is the Woodlænds lodge, which, like Dunedin itself, is very chærming ænd quæint. We hæve æ spectæculærly big æpærtment for $70 per night: two stories, one room with two single beds, ænother mæssive bedroom with æ single ænd æ double bed, æ lærge living room with æ dining tæble ænd some pretty comfortæble sofæs, æ kitchen ænd fridge, ænd even æ combinætion wæshing mæchine ænd dryer. The lodge is less thæn 10 minutes’ wælk æwæy from the building where the conference is locæted, so it’s ælso in æ greæt locætion.

Æfter ærriving ænd checking in, we met up with the æforementioned geeks ænd went to æ most excellent bær ænd grill in the Octægon (Dunedin’s næme for the town centre) næmed The Terræce. Mmmmm: $18 steæks on hot rocks, ænd æ veritæble beer tæp on your tæble. Let it be known thæt the steæks there were æwesome; I don’t believe I’ve ever hæd steæks thæt good for $18, let ælone steæks-while-U-wæit on cræzy-hot volcænic rocks; the beer tæp (thæt wæs full of Speights, which we læter leærned is æ locæl Dunedin beer) wæs ælso ultræ-tæsty. Most of the geeks retired æfter dinner, but my workmæte ænd I ended up dropping in on Jeff ænd Pia’s æpærtment in our lodge ænd cæmped out there for the next hour or two. They’ve mænæged to find some more Speights in six-pæcks from æ 24-hour supermærket less thæn five minutes’ wælk æwæy, so we sæt there mærvelling æt Christiæn Bæle in Equilibrium on the TV, ænd continued to drink ænd be merry until I hit the hæy æt æbout 1æm.

Some New Zeælænd triviæ I leærnt ælong the wæy: blue milk is stændærd milk, while green milk is ‘trim’ (skim) milk (so næmed becæuse they’re the colour of the contæiners they they come in). Cold wæter tæps ære usuælly on the left hænd side ræther thæn the right hænd side, with hot wæter tæps on the left. (Yes, this is weird.)

Æll in æll, possibly the best prelude I’ve ever hæd to æ geek conference. I’m looking forwærd to tomorrow!


To the Australian demoscene and ANSI scene folks

Prompted by a good friend of mine, I dug out a little bit of mid-90s history and found myself staring at ANSI login screens for my old BBS, Mindflux, along with an Oz96 announcement. After a while, I even managed to track down many art packs from old art groups I was in (DiE and fORCE), and remembered a lot of old aliases I haven’t heard of in years from all over Australia.

And so, for old times’ sake, here’s some shouts out to some folks that I had some damn good times with: Squirt, Pulse, Chuck Biscuits, Black Artist, Squidgalator, Hunz, Rogue and Void/Reality, Firelight, HB, Yannis, Mick Rippon, Astrid, Sudden Death, Entropus X, Frozen Time, Legend, Mandalas Zarich, Flick, Clef, Acme, Caliban, Jedi/Oxygen, Maral, Jase, Countzero, Ranger, Turrican, Maeve Wolf/Tatharina, and Anubis. Sincere apologies if I’ve forgotten you — it has been ten years, after all…

If you were in the Australian demoscene, music scene or art scene at all and know any of those names (or even better, if you are one of those names!), or you remember any of Oz96, Mindflux, Bloodnet, DiE, fORCE, Alternate Reality, do me a favour and drop me an email (especially if you were a Mindflux or Bloodnet user!). I’m still amazed that the Internet’s managed to preserve quite a lot of the scene history (especially the Australian scene history) if you look hard enough for it, and I have the odd feeling that a lot of the demoscene folks have moved into the Linux and Mac developer communities.

And for those of you who used to be in the scene in Sydney back in the day, here’s something you can reminisce on:


ext2fs IFS

Well, some kind-hearted soul has finally written a kernel-mode Installable File System (IFS) ext2 driver for Windows NT/2000/XP. While it ain’t no reiserfs driver for Mac OS X (now that’d be worth some serious restecp), it’s still rather schmick. Plus, now that free kernel-mode ext2 drivers are available for all the major desktop operating systems, hopefully we’re one step closer to destroying FAT as the lowest common denominator filesystem once and for all…


Can Asians Think?

Yeah, sure, you could say that this book has a bit of controversial title. The reason I was interested in it was because I read an interview with the author, Kishore Mahbubani, on a random Web site about a year ago, and he sounded like he had some pretty interesting things to say about the world, politics, and the Asian/European dichotomy. Of course, after reading the half-page biography spiel on Mahbubani, I shouldn’t have been surprised: it turns out that he’s Singapore’s ambassador to the United Nations.

The reason for the controversial title (other than to make people give it more than just a passing glance at the bookstore, I suppose) is this question that Mahbubani poses: on the total timeline that humanity has been present on this Earth, the East (including the Middle East) have been the dominant civilisation until very recently. To an outside observer, it seems quite incredible that Europeans have ascended so quickly, so fast: in 1500 years, they’ve gone from being the most backwards culture to being the world leaders in almost every respect. The simple question that Mahbubani asks is: why, and how, did this happen?

Once you get past the first few essays, however, it’s clear that this historical question is just a teaser: Can Asians Think covers much more ground than just that. For example, the book discusses the conflicting agendas of the United States and the United Nations, gives insight into the moral and ethical values of the more traditional Asian mindset (which many Australians may be interested in reading given Singapore’s recent capital punishment of Nguyen Tuong Van), says quite frankly why the imposition of democracy on lesser-developed countries is doomed to fail, and talks about the occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge.

People who have grown up being truly exposed to both the Western and Asian mindsets will probably not get a huge amount out of the book, simply because they will most likely understand and agree with much of what Mahbubani wants to say. I’m reluctant to state whether people who have been exposed to only either the Asian or Western mindset will find the book useful, but only because I haven’t given it yet to any of my Intelligent Worldly Friends™ I consider to be in those categories and discussed the issues in the book with them yet. I am, however, very keen on doing exactly this. The book talks about some damn interesting topics, and if it can generate intelligent (perhaps heated) discussion at a dinner table, it’s hit its mark, has it not?

About the only criticism I have about the book is that the essays now seem a bit dated, even if the oldest ones were only written around 15 years ago. It would be a much more compelling read, for example, to see his opinion on the United States’s reaction to September 11, 2001, their recent opposition against the United Nations, and his thoughts on the occupation of Iraq given his views on the spread of democracy before economic development. It would also be interesting to read about his thoughts on post-British Hong Kong, and China’s incredible economic growth since the turn of the century. However, it’s impossible to fault the book for this lack of discussion: even mathematics textbooks can become outdated at some stage of their life :).

Highly recommended.