Category Archives : Featured

Articles or stories to be featured.


Shift, Part 1 (NaNoWriMo 2013) 1

After saying that I was going to do it for the past couple of years, this year I decided to give the National Novel Writing Month a go. Not only am I going to try, but I’m going to go for the brass ring: 50,000 words by month’s end.

Yes, it’s day 4 and I’ve just passed 5000 words so I’m a little behind. Thank you for your concern.

Anyway, I thought that I would post what amounts to the first 10% of the NaNoWriMo exercise here to get some early feedback. Please remember that this is very, very much a first draft. After I complete the novel at (hopefully) the end of November I will take the time and go back through for edits, grammar corrections, and so on. Right now I could use comments on how I’m fleshing out the protagonist and what little setup there’s been thus far. You can leave any comments, constructive criticisms, and suggestions at the end of this post.

Thanks in advance for your time!

Shift.Icon

wpid-Photo-Jul-6-2013-219-PM.jpg

Waiao Beach, Yilan, Taiwan

Surfing has become a very popular sport in Taiwan over recent years and it should be. Ethnically-speaking, shared genetic, language, dietary, and cultural characteristics have led anthropologists to classify some Taiwanese aboriginal groups as progenitors of the Polynesian family, the fathers of the sport. Geographically, Taiwan is a Pacific Ocean island group with a lot of coastline facing the waves.

And beaches like Waiao.


Ramune Soda Factory, Miaoli, Taiwan 1

The last stop on my recent trip through Miaoli County, Taiwan was at the Ramune Soda Factory in Tangluo Township. Those who have been to the riverside markets at either Tamsui or Xindien will better know Ramune soda as marble soda due to odd shape of the bottles neck and the free-floating marble that will lodge in the neck keeping spills from happening when the bottle turns upside down. While the inventor of the distinctive marble-neck bottle was British Hiram Codd, Ramune itself is bottled and distributed by a Japanese company and is considered traditionally Japanese. In fact, ramune is a Japanese-phonetic translation of lemonade as the original beverage was a British-imported lemon-lime soft drink and the distinct bottle design became associated with that flavor.

Taiwan being a country with historical Japanese influence, Taiwanese consider Ramune to be a local drink and there is even a local bottling factory and that factory has a public-tour face.

wpid-Photo-Jun-20-2013-458-PM.jpg

wpid-Photo-Jun-13-2013-554-PM.jpg

Taiyen Museum, Tongxing, Miaoli County, Taiwan

Youve spent some time soaking your feet at the outside Taiyen Ocean Foot Spa and the hot and humid Taiwanese summer weather is starting to get to you. You need to get out of the sun and get in to some artificial lighting and air conditioning quick. It should also serve to keep the kids busy. Well my touring friend, youre in luck.

Contained within the same factory campus as the Taiyen, only a few yards from the spa area, is the Taiyen Museum. Its a small building dedicated primarily to the history and products of the Taiyen company but it also goes into the methods and technology behind how they (used to) collect and refine salt from the nearby ocean.


Taiyen Ocean Foot Spa, Tongxing, Miaoli County, Taiwan 2

Famous locally for its salt products (every kitchen in Taiwan has their short, red cans of salt with the tiny spoon), Taiyen has recently put a public-facing front on its salt electrolysis and packaging factory in Tongxing Township, Miaoli County. Such a move by a local factory is not a new one and in fact is becoming the norm as the increased choice brought by globalization has forced local companies to Innovate new ways to engage local customers and keep their brands in the minds of Taiwanese. This practice has also spread into foreign companies that manufacture in Taiwan, such as Japanese piano-maker Kawai. There have been some civic implementations of this concept as well, such as the Taipei Water Park that hides one of the cities largest water pumping stations at its center.

wpid-Photo-Jun-3-2013-458-PM.jpg

wpid-Photo-May-25-2013-347-PM.jpg

Continued Taipei MRT Construction 1

The Taipei MRT system is continuing its rapid expansion, from additional lines in the city to arms that reach far into the Taipei County cities now known as New Taipei. Beyond the obvious benefits of reducing auto traffic, creating job opportunities, reducing street-level pollution, and increasing city-dwellers ability to quickly reach different areas of the city and beyond there have been a number of secondary benefits that have come from the citys investment.


The First Maker Faire in Taipei 2

The first Maker Faire in Taipei (well, in Taiwan really) happened at Huashan park this past weekend, May 18-19. Entry was free for all-comers and it was awesome. As one would expect, there were plenty of robots wandering around and there were even robot boxing events. There were also plenty of demonstrations of Rasberry Pi and Arduino-based projects (along with a number of Arduino clones, my favorite being Motoduino which was apparently created by a maker fan of those Hello Moto mobile phone commercials).

wpid-Photo-May-21-2013-629-PM.jpg