My New Phone – OnePlus 5 8GB RAM/128GB Storage

Around the time I posted my thoughts on the iPhone-X I finally decided on a Chinese phone like the post hinted after a few hiccups with sellers in China. I’ve searched for several weeks and almost bought a Xiaomi (there are so many to choose from) but I felt the OnePlus 5 even though it has increased in cost was the best value. One big issue with a lot of other Chinese phones is if you look at the bands or frequency of LTE, they often only support only 1 or 2 common bands in North America. This is a big problem of course and phones like the OnePlus tend to support the same or more bands than phones from our local market. However Xiaomi is making phones like the M1 which are not as high spec’d but with most of the same bands so things are changing, but still many other Chinese phones are lagging in terms of LTE bands and this should be a big factor if you check the bands supported do not match with your local carrier.

Why did I choose the OnePlus 5?
The specs are high and so is the value with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space even though some have complained that the value is not as great as previous models I still consider it a smart buy at $540 USD (I originally purchased it for $519.99 but it turned out to be a bait and switch scam-more on that later). The camera is also great on this phone and it is another alternative for capturing business and family moments on the go when I don’t have a dedicated camera with me.

In short it’s basically a quality, flagship, superphone at a reasonable price. There’s no need to pay more for less such as Google’s Pixel2 with only 4GB of RAM for $899 USD. Samsung S8 was on my list but not so much after a string of quality issues and my previous Note not working as well as I expected (I will say for its time the camera was fantastic though).

I think this is a fantastic business phone and nothing out there really beats it. I could spend more but why bother when the OnePlus offers top end specs and reliability?

What factors made me almost not-choose it?
Not having a SD card slot and removable battery are some things I really tend to stay away from. Either of those issues made it hard for me to Choose the OnePlus5 I do hope they will change this in future models.

Why haven’t I reviewed the phone more?
I’m still waiting for it, I wasted several days after buying it on sale at GeekBuying.com only to be told I had to pay $25 more (essentially they didn’t honor their own sale price) and it took time to get a refund from them. Apparently they do this a lot after searching about the same issue. I then purchased from another place called GearBest at a higher price $539.99.

The most difficult thing about this phone has been dealing with the companies in China. Some of the most recommended sellers based on internet forums/blogs which I suspect some of the praise is not authentic suggest “GeekBuying” and “GearBest”. Part of this motivation is of course because they have affiliate programs but there are slew of complaints similar or worse than mine. Customer service at these sorts of companies is usually not helpful when they’ve made a mistake or they’re asking you for more money.

I wanted to buy from OnePlus.net directly but they won’t allow Canadians to pay in USD (because this works out to be cheaper at the moment) and they didn’t seem to understand why someone would want to pay in a different currency. Their system forces you to pay by only the currency of the shipping destination.

Has anyone else bought a OnePlus or other Chinese phone and can you recommend more trustworthy, honest and reliable sellers in China? Please let me know in the comments section.

I’ll have the full review once I have the phone but shipping has been a bit slower than I expected from Singapore Post (normally it is much quicker).

Why Don’t I/We Use RHEL Red Hat Enterprise Linux Instead of Centos?

This a question one of our good client’s asked me one day and I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for this one, it’s something we’ve never put active thought in but was rather a matter of instinct. While we do use various OS’s for different platforms including our own in-house Linux, Cloud, Hosting Control Panel, applications and clients including BSD based OS’s such as FreeBSD, this is something we’ve never been asked.

RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) has been a clear leader since the early days of providing a standardized, mission critical platform for business applications in the Linux/Unix environment. It was actually my first Linux install back when I was in highschool and I’ve personally maintained Unix/Linux systems for over 16 years now. In that time I have found the strengths and weaknesses of RHEL in terms of our business and clients. However, the Centos project is a legal clone of RHEL with the only difference being artwork and the name Centos it functions identically as RHEL and is completely Open Source.

Since our team of experts does everything in-house we don’t really on Vendor support, it means when something is going on with a server we can solve the problem on our own very quickly with our own team. We don’t have the need to call a third party and ask how-to fix the problem and in fact it’s quicker for us to just do it ourselves whereas I’ve learned many organizations heavily rely on this type of third-party support. The goal with my ventures has always been that our teams should be self-sufficient for both security and efficiency.

Centos being Open Source is a huge advantage for us, we can customize and redistribute OS’s and deploy them on servers without having to touch a button or connect to monitor or KVM (yes I do realize RHEL can be installed headless/kickstart but not in the way we deploy our custom OS images-possibly for another blog). The only con with Centos is that there is a small delay in updates since it depends on the upstream source which is RHEL but this is a minor issue and all major updates are done to Centos almost instantly.

To conclude, my hats off to Linus Torvalds for inventing the Linux Kernel, the RHEL team and especially the CentOS team and I hope this explains why CentOS for my company’s is the best fit for our needs at the moment.

2017 and Beyond The Future of Cryptocurrency and Government Financial Regulations

Governments, banks and other large entities have all been murmuring, talking and hinting what the future of cryptocurrency could be or specifically the block chain. They all agree “blockchain” is good, there is no one against it but there has been a lot of confusion about the internet thinking this is equates to government and corporate backing of decentralized cryptocurrencies. I believe this couldn’t be the truth, in fact there have been lots of issues for companies exchanging cyrptocurrency for cold hard cash being unable to wire etc.

The excuse you hear from the big players are concern over fraud, money laundering, etc.. all of which happens in the current fiat monetary system. The true issue behind all the fuss is simply that these decentralized cryptocurrencies allow unhindered free trade around the world regardless of which country you are citizen of and where you are, no one can sanction you or freeze your assets in cryptocurrency. Further, it is of course a huge threat to the current financial system and governments around the world who depend on third party “reserve” banks to print their money. It’s bad news for their monopoly on finance and business transactions worldwide.

Bitcoin Exchanges in China are being shutdown: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/09/14/china-orders-bitcoin-exchanges-shut-down-report-says/665209001/
Russia says Bitcoin is illegal: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-bitcoin/russian-authorities-say-bitcoin-illegal-idUSBREA1806620140209
Bitfinex sued Wells Fargo for blocking their wires: https://bravenewcoin.com/news/wells-fargo-sued-for-suspending-bitfinex-wire-transfers/
US SEC says they want to regulate coins: https://themerkle.com/sec-may-be-looking-for-ways-to-regulate-the-cryptocurrency-ico-market/
JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon calls Bitcoin a fraud: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-12/jpmorgan-s-ceo-says-he-d-fire-traders-who-bet-on-fraud-bitcoin

The part in China is most significant because the action in China has coincided with drops in value of the major currencies, as well as Chinese users doing a lot of mining and trading in crytocurrency.

When we take some examples above, this is the general consensus among bankers and government worldwide. They all like blockchain and want to make their own currencies that they control and centralize, but they are certainly against the decentralized ones and as new banking, taxation and other government intervention roles out surrounding cryptocurrency it will be very interesting to see where things head.

I personally think the decentralized currency will always exist and it can and will coincide with other mainstream offerings from banks and governments. There will be a place for both just as cash from other countries is traded for other items whether gold, silver or even electronics and oil. Trade will continue but through a different method of settlement and transfer.

One thing is for sure until we see how things break in terms of government regulations and how their own cryptocurrency’s play out, the value of the original decentralized currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherum et al will have wild fluctuations as people react to news that threatens these currencies the same way people would read the news about Greece’s debt and haircut on the bonds they sold. In fact many watch the crypto market including the ICO (Initial Coin Offerings) and note they do seem to function as any other traditional market would in terms of news and advancements.

I believe we are seeing a financial revolution, all currency will soon be crypto and physical cash before we know it may all be stop being used.
The only question is how fast does it all happen and how does the difference between centralized banks and decentralized crypto users play out?

Decentralized Search Engines to Rival Google Based on Blockchain from Bitclave

I haven’t covered it in my blog here but many know the blockchain technology made popular by Bitcoin has other possibilities such as sharing data, files etc and one of the latest manifestations is the “Bitclave” project. The website doesn’t detail some of these things but here is what I gather and I apologize if it’s not 100%, but here is what I break it down as:

#1) Bitclave is a decentralized search engine based on blockchain technology.
#2) Bitclave has CAT which is it’s own cryptocurrency based off the same blockchain meant to be used as currency.
#3) Bitclave is unique in that unlike the current big search engines, they will not be freely selling your information to benefit unknown third parties.
#4) Bitclave is not only a decentralized search engine and currency but it also rewards you for engaging in particular offers if you want to buy a car or house, for engaging with particular companies and offers (even if you don’t buy) you are rewarded with some CAT currency.
#5) Your information is under your control and completely private so you can choose when and how to sell it for big money potentially to third parties.

I’m going to go into some of the pros and cons that I see.
Pros.
First and foremost this is an exciting project on its own due to the decentralized aspect of the search engine. It takes it one step further by giving the user control over their private search/marketing data and even lets them directly and profit in ways that are under their control.

It will also revolutionize business potentially if things are done this way under a mutual benefit between business and user. In fact if executed properly it could end or significantly change the internet business and search model as it exists now with the big engines and social sites.

Cons

However, the Bitclave team would still largely retain certain controls just as developers of any blockchain do which makes some aspects only as trustworthy as the team is capable and trustworthy for.

It is theoretically possible that the business model above could turn biased in a somewhat similar way that the mega search engines have done things, where the rules are constantly changing for the benefit of a few. However, this is not a likely thing in the near future since Bitclave needs to prove itself and gain trust to both users and business.

Another big concern, which is still a concern for the mega engines is how would spam, hateful, defamatory and other harmful material be handled? It is great to be free and decentralized but there needs to be some legal or other mechanism to prevent abuse of such a powerful search engine. It’s definitely worth checking out to see how things play out.

Conclusion
I am very excited about this project, it is more commercialized than I expected and could not be considered entirely open source or community based but I’m OK with it as long as it is executed as envisioned it will have a massive and positive impact on the internet which benefits the majority.

Good luck to the Bitclave team they could be making serious history in both blockchain, search and online commerce!

The Future Is Powered By Kinetics and Thermal Power Generation

Kinetics

I came across this newly developed product called Pavegen. With that said what they do is remarkable, they take every day activity with their product which in simple terms creates energy by people walking on special tiles they have created (sorry to simplify it really is much more than that) but in laymans terms it is very exciting. Imagine the green and power efficient applications nearly everywhere, especially in crowded city centers and areas things like lights and even buildings could be powered by this technology.

The one thing that will be critical is how they are able to store the and redeploy the energy generated from walking on these special tiles. If this product makes it to market I think it will revolutionize how we view and use power. It will also offer the possibility of completely “off the grid” power systems so long as there are enough people to create energy, combine that with solar and wind power and begin storing it en-mass and the possibilities are endless and most importantly brighter and greener for everywhere with the possibility of generating your own electricity (at least in part) and hopefully paying less for it.

Thermal
There is also another company called Thermax which claims to generate power through heat from industrial gases. I wonder if the same application could be used for datacenters where we all know datacenters use massive amounts of power and also generate incredible amounts of heat. What if at least a percentage of this heat could be capture and turned into recyclable energy?

iPhone-X 10 Thoughts and Personal Business Review

I thought I’d put my thoughts down trying to keep up with all the new phones and technologies and put it in perspective and keep it relative for business/professional use, security, practicality and value first.

I will admit iPhone-X is exciting in terms of new features it is groundbreaking and what Apple needed at this point in time!

Apple iPhone-X’s key new features (to me)

AR (Augmented Reality)
Yes another “Reality” based feature, augmented reality has huge capabilities both practical and impractical. For example it is cool that you can literally use this phone as a ruler and drag it across the floor to do so. However would I do this if I owned one of these? No, how often would you use this feature and would you use a high-end phone in this manner? However, as some point out, it remains to be seen the adoption rate of this technology. For me it comes down to practical use and at this moment there is not a whole lot of it out there aside from gaming and social apps. If there are new groundbreaking apps that can be used practically everyday that don’t have any other efficient method then AR will take off, however if not, AR may just go the way of the old 3D Virtually Reality console by Nintendo. I personally think AR will take off but it simply depends on how long until practical apps come out. So far most of what I’m seeing is not a game changer in terms of “this AR app does something I could never possibly do without AR technology”.

Facial Recognition
Sorry but this doesn’t interest me and also scares me at the same time! Facial recognition technology is nothing new but rather new to the phone unlocking world. However is this a good idea? I don’t think so, under duress or even if you are injured or incapacitated someone can take your face and unlock your phone or use your finger for the fingerprint reader. Passwords in this aspect on their own may be safer if it is complex, secure and no one knows it.

Pros
iOS is the most efficient and fastest performing mobile OS in my opinion with the best user experience. It is a very slick interface that works extremely well. Without iOS the iPhone would not be what it is. It definitely has a wow and latest and great factor without a doubt.

Cons
iOS is closed-source and suffers from more malware and security issues than Android. It lacks the customization features that Android does.
The all glass phone sure sounds cool but the possibility of any part of the chassis breaking or cracking is a big issue, still, Apple has probably done their homework on it and made it extremely strong but the prospect of dropping a glass phone is not nice to think about!

Conclusion
This phone comes at a premium price but doesn’t disappoint with features or specs but this is fairly standard today, all new flagship phones are more than adequate for most users so I never worry about specs. The above is simply based on what makes the phone different to me. The iPhone 3G/3GS to me was the most groundbreaking phone in its time and I had a 3GS (and still have it today) but I do not feel the iPhone 10 is the same level of groundbreaking because there was simply nothing like it back then and today it’s not quite the case. I wouldn’t buy one for my needs in terms of business I have more concerns about security.

Green Low-Power Alternative Computing Intel NUC Boxes

The key features of low power NUC boxes are that they are small,lightweight,portable,efficient and the low power means less heat and energy savings which all mean “Green Efficient Computing for the Environment”.  In addition consider that you could run these units without power on a UPS for a much longer period of time than most laptops or Desktop computers.  In an emergency or any issue with lack of power, these units will be first and foremost.

As a bit of continuation of my Green Computing talk these NUC boxes take it to the next level from Intel using low power laptop DDR3L SODIMM memory.  I recently bought a barebone Intel NUC J3455 Box for my wife and was impressed at the power usage (literally 10W to the wall at 110V!) and it is still a Quad-Core albeit with slightly lower CPU frequency of just 1.5Ghz but it works great for most functions.  I was able to upgrade it easily to 8GB of RAM (2x4GB), it has an SD card slot built-in, HDMI, VGA and 4 USB 3.0 ports and a 2.5″ SATA 3.0 port that I plugged a 256GB SSD into and installed Ubuntu/Linux Mint on.  It works quite well but there appear to be a few bugs and fidgeting required, for example the NIC cable came loose and it wouldn’t work until I replugged and rebooted it (actually the BIOS stopped showing the NIC at all so somehow it got disabled on its own and there was no option to rThe cheaper one on the left is bare-ones and e-enable or disable it in the BIOS).  You also have to disable the C-Step functions or the CPU doesn’t work properly.  In Linux it looks like there is a bug in the Intel Graphics driver for this model that sometimes causes the graphics/mdm to be restarted. Aside from the tinkering it is well worth the cost saving and works well and reliably.

One thing I will say I am a little surprised at is that the unit does get fairly hot if you are using it heavily and there is no fan in the Intel NUC which means things do get a bit hot (but nothing compared to a laptop).  It comes down to HDD, RAM and CPU being cramped into an incredibly small package.

The Vorke V1 J3160 is basically the same thing as above but does not have the 2 RAM slots (only a single).  However it is priced well and only uses 6W instead of 10W, quite the power savings!  I have purchased the unit below but have not had a chance to test it but I am hoping for the same or better results as the Intel J3455 unit above.  I love how this one comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD out of the box and includes Windows so it’s ready to go out of the box (many like me will just be installing Linux though).  It can serve as an excellent backup box (eg. plug it in somewhere else and hook up a bunch of large USB 3.0 HDDs and keep another copy of your data). Or in my case it could just be an excellent “stand-by” computer with a mirror of your current config “just in case” your main unit goes down you could get going instantly with the backup one.  One other feature I am hoping for in this unit is to see the BIOS is a little more stable and less buggy than Intel’s.  Finally I am hopeful the unit will run cooler due to the 6W CPU and built-in case fan which I think Intel may want to consider too.   Time will tell but I am looking forward to getting a chance to open and test the Vorke V1 and hope they will keep producing similar units.

Bitcoin’s Hard Fork of BCH Bitcoin Cash a milestone for cryptocurrency

The hard fork occurred on August 1st, 2017 with some nodes of the Bitcoin network implementing the “Segwit update”.  Although a lot of potential chaos could have happened, many in the industry called it correct that the most probable scenario is that the split would occur with the creation of BCH and Bitcoin users would not lose any coins and would be rewarded with an equal amount of BCH.  However, most exchanges and users were advised to backup their wallets and not do any transactions in the meantime.

Beyond this a lot of questions and issues need to be sorted out in the cryptocurrency world for things to stabilize and be universally accepted by businesses and individuals.  The key issues in my mind are “volatility”, “stability”, “security” and “regulation”. Really a serious issue with either of my three cores issues puts people and businesses at big risk although new updates and coins keep coming out with some promising the solution to these various issues.

Volatility

This is in reference to the extremely unpredictable nature of many currencies and Bitcoin is a core example with rapid swings.  Now people have often been warned that “don’t store your coins for the long-term” and this comes from the Bitcoin team itself as no one can be certain of the future of any coin at this moment.

Some have lamented that cash is the same, this is true but with the caveat that cash is backed by a government and central bank (all of who which do not really like cryptocurrency unless it is managed or under their control-more on regulations later).  Cash of course has had its issues whether run on banks, robberies, theft, fraud and other misuses of currency however cash is what most of us know and there is some safety and security in the “right cash” and at least often some predictability.

Take for example a record high of Bitcoin at the time in 2013 of approximately $1300 USD but sometime in 2015 trading was just at $267 USD.  The point here is that at this time cryptocurrency can be very volatile and unpredictable.  It can create chaos in everyday life for both business and individuals.  A risk that many businesses echo is the above scenario what if you accept payment based on USD in a cryptocurrency and the value plummets by 80% or some other high number suddenly?  It creates huge issues to say the least and time should address them but until there are more coins that have some consistency in their valuation without rapid descents there will be some reluctance.

Stability

There have been many instances on both the networks and exchanges for Bitcoin and Etherum where there are a ton of unconfirmed transactions.   I still have trouble understanding this but there are various numbers of “confirmations” before once can be comfortable they really have the currency that has been sent.  What if the network stops working or slows down creating massive fraud or inability to process transactions?

Fortunately there are new coins coming out which are instant that solve this issue but still there are many in the wild, common and highly valued that do not have these features.

There is also of course the concern that massive DDOS attacks could take out the network of a cryptocurrency or effectively shutting it down.

Security

The biggest threat is that there is the assumption that blockchain is secure and irreversible and it is impossible to play around in ways you shouldn’t.  However, this also relies on someone not finding a weakness or exploit against the blockchain, and what is more probable going forward is that an organization with massive computing power ultimately finds this and exploits this in various ways.

There are also other considerations such as people losing their coins to viruses or hackers, this has even happened to exchanges such as Coinbase executives.  One thing for sure is that it is not wise to leave your coins in an exchange if not for the risk that in the recent Bitcoin Fork the exchange refuses to give you the split/new currency.

Regulation

This is the biggest uncharted territory but governments and large financial institutions have made their position clear and my interpretation is that “we love blockchain” but “we hate that it is not under our control yet”.  This will have significant repercussions worldwide on how individuals and businesses deal with cryptocurrency.  Significant regulation and the introduction of state-run/central cryptocurrencies could potentially wipe out or make worthless some coins overnight. On another note it appears to be increasingly difficult to buy or sell out of the cryptocurrency markets with banks making it increasingly difficult for the coin exchanges to operate.

Conclusion

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have made it far beyond the naysayers and through many difficult and unpredictable times.  Ultimately I believe cryptocurrency will continue to evolve and improve but as with any tool there are always going to be some pitfalls and bottlenecks.

My Take On WannaCry

Reading media coverage of the WannaCry, ransomware attack has been excruciatingly frustrating because little to no information was offered on how infection happens and how to protect yourself.

This issue has been a bit frustrating and unhelpful as an IT professional and user if I didn’t find the right answers there is something seriously wrong.  I couldn’t find the important information in any of the mainstream articles so certainly a novice or amateur user would have no chance of protecting themselves.

How Did WannaCry Infect and Spread?

Long version here from Malwarebytes

One of the key ways is still the oldest “phishing” trick in the book, via e-mail which many users are tricked into opening infected attachments.  This was not readily available in media coverage and this simple warning or announcement could have prevented a lot of new infections.  I believe this is a key factor that has not been discussed since many networks will be behind NAT and external SMB services would be blocked, having users on the LAN install the worm is an easy way to get inside and spread the infection to areas that are hardened on the outside.

The more technical explanation there is an exploit called “ETERNALBLUE” which was a hacking tool leaked from the NSA which exploited a weakness in Microsoft’s implementation of SMB (Server Message Block/filesharing protocol).   This has been widely reported but the simple way to prevent automatic infection through this method has not.

Once infected the worm essentially scans your LAN and then the internet to spread the infection further which quickly multiplied the damage and scope of this attack.

How to protect yourself?

  1. First and foremost is to update your Microsoft Windows regardless of OS (whether you have XP, Vista, 7, 10, 12 or any Server) because all Microsoft versions are apparently impacted by MS17-010 ETERNALBLUE/WannaCry
  2. Disable SMB/Filesharing in Windows and if that is not possible at least use firewall settings to block SMB/filesharing/CIFS.
  3. If the above is not possible you should physically unplug any impacted machines from the network (it could be a simple as disabling all ports on your network/switch or even unplugging entire switches if possible).

Who is to blame?

There is plenty of blame to go around but currently a lot of it is coming from Microsoft who is blaming users for not patching and the NSA for hoarding these exploits and not notifying them or users beforehand.

In all fairness Microsoft did issue patches for even unsupported OS’s like Vista and XP on March 14th, 2017.

Many have mused that the NSA should have at last notified Microsoft the moment they realized their hacking tools were leaked.

At the end of the day the question is how could Microsoft have left open such a serious vulnerability for so long?  Was it an intentional backdoor and was it collaboration between Microsoft and the NSA or other third parties?

Some Can’t Patch

Some systems may be running on internal networks on their own LAN but were still infected so they wouldn’t be patched.  To make matters worse the chances are these would more likely be critical data and infrastructure that are impacted in this case.

Other machines are not managed properly or remotely and are deployed with internet access making them sitting ducks for these types of attacks.

There are also some who just don’t patch because the risk to impacting existing services is too great.  Although I would argue the risk is much higher to not patch and not upgrade or migrate your applications to a more secure platform if you get hit with ransomware like this.

These Issues Are Nothing New

With the Snowden revelations many have worried that US tech companies being forced to provide backdoor access to the NSA would be vulnerable should other hackers discovery the vulnerabilities or intentional backdoors on their own, or in this case when the tools and exploits were somehow leaked.

In the wider scope of things Microsoft has seen worms of this scale in the past, it’s nothing new.  There are no worldwide protocols for notifying users or defending against such worms and this will certainly become an increasingly problem with more and more devices online especially with IoT and so many devices that are connected that we don’t think about, and that don’t get patched or may not have an easy or automatic way of updating.

Why I Founded Techrich Corporation of Hong Kong, China

This is a question that I’ve been asked a lot considering that people ask if there is any duplication of overlap with compevo.  Techrich is an extension and complement to compevo and allows possibilities for our clients.

Being incorporated and based in Hong Kong allows us to provide more leverage and advantages and fills any gap that compevo may not have been able to fulfill.  In terms of data storage, security and connectivity Hong Kong cannot be beat.  It has the best of nearly all worlds.

Why Hong Kong?

This is the next, natural question that follows.  Hong Kong is economically, politically, and technically stable in terms of both IT infrastructure, ecosystem and most importantly its link to the outside world is fast and neutral.  Hong Kong itself is still the internet gateway to China, being directly connected to Mainland China.

Hong Kong is also has a large Big Data industry and demand due its reputation as a financial hub of the world which is a perfect ecosystem and fit for Techrich’s goals.

Contrary to some common belief, Hong Kong is not in the Asian Ring of Fire and is relatively free of any natural disasters, making it not only an ideal location on a world scale but perfect within Asia too.  Hong Kong does experience typhoons but they are rarely devastating and have little to no impact on IT or datacenter operations in Hong Kong. In fact Hong Kong’s power grid is known to be one of the most reliable and stable in the world.

In terms of internet routing Hong Kong is quite neutral with excellent connectivity to all of Asia, North America and Europe, but of particular importance is the capability of very low ping times into Mainland China that only Hong Kong can provide.