Monday, November 24, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus

w00t! I received my iPhone 6+ last Friday, by chance. The iPhone 6+ is very much in demand and both the 64GB and 128GB model is out of stock. It was by pure luck that I was able to get the 64GB Space Grey - both the memory and colour are my target, so I didn't even have to compromise at all. Pretty excited about this.

What I want to cover today and which caused me to post in this blog is a underrated feature of the iPhone 6 which is called Display Zoom.

The main reason I am buying iPhone 6, and many of my friends/colleagues are hunting for one, is because of the screen size. And the reason we love big size is because we are all of middle age and our eye sight are not as good as before. So, we think that the iPhone 6 size will help us see better; bigger fonts, bigger interfaces, etc.

So I was really surprise when setting up the iPhone, and the setup wizard actually asked me if I wanted to set it up with Standard View or Zoom View. I went with Standard and after the setup was completed, I was surprised to see that the iPhone 6+ did not give me a bigger size view. The font is equally small like in 5S. I see more content, yes, but the font size is the same. Facebook, Twitter, Mails, etc are all the same - more content but I needed to squint my eyes to read or pinch to see better.

Then I remember Display Zoom and I read it up a bit:

John Gruber:
In zoomed mode, the 6 Plus acts like a virtual iPhone 6 (non-Plus) display, albeit running at @3x instead of @2x retina resolution: 2001 × 1125 (virtual) pixels. Divide by 3 (because it’s running at @3x), and you get: 667 × 375 points.

In zoomed mode, the regular iPhone 6 acts like a virtual iPhone 5(S) display: 1136 × 640 pixels, 568 × 320 points.
and this

In short, zoomed mode makes each iPhone show the same UI as the standard mode of the next smaller iPhone, scaled up to fill its bigger display. It’s a great solution for anyone who wants a bigger iPhone to show larger content instead of more content. On the iPhone 6, zoomed mode looks a little fuzzy to my eyes. Not bad at all, just a little fuzzy. It should be unnoticeable to anyone whose vision is such that they’d want to use this feature. On the iPhone 6 Plus, it looks nearly perfect. I’m not sure I detect any fuzziness at all. Using the downsampling technique that allows the 1920 × 1080 display to masquerade as a 2208 × 1242 display in standard mode, in zoomed mode, the 401 PPI density and @3x retina graphics allow it to just work, and look nearly perfect, masquerading as a 2001 × 1125 display.

THIS IS WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR, without any compromise. The iPhone 6 Plus but displaying just like iPhone 6!

And the experience was just a total wow for me!!! Display Zoom is so different from Standard View and is much more pleasing to the eyes. Sure, there are some content sacrifice, but for someone coming from a 5S, getting big font and iPhone 6 content is a huge improvement. I'd imagine if you are using a iPhone 6 and getting a zoomed 5S content, it may not be a big deal to you, because that would be like using a zoomed 5S but for a 6 Plus user, I get best of both worlds - a lot more content compare to 5S and yet bigger font!

And in case you are wondering, Display Zoom is not found under Accessibility - the settings is in Display & Brightness - so it looks Apple is not positioning it as a accessibility but main feature of the phone.

Thumbs!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Incompetence

That's the word in the mouth of everyone in regards to Malaysia and how we handled the MH370 disappearance. The authorities are incompetence to lead such an important search. They have been led through wild goose chase - forged passports, searching in South China Seas, searching in Straits of Melaka, transponder being switched off one by one. What is going on?

And then there's the haze issue. We are so badly shrouded by this poisonous smoke that it's a wonder people don't drop dead.

And water rationing.

What the hell is going on?

It's like the worst ever to be a Malaysians, to live in Malaysia. And it is so embarrassing when we are under the scrutiny of the world.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Flight MH370 Disappearance

I really cannot wrap my mind around how a plane could disappeared. If my crappy iPhone could pin point my location with such accuracy, how can we lose a plane in this modern interconnected technological world? What about the famous aircraft black box? And aren't all plane designed to float in water, that's why the passengers are trained to wear the lifejacket and to show you the exit so you could slide your way down to safety. This would gives you the impression that if something happened to a plane, the sea is the preferred way to land vs a jungle.

Many said that the pilot have enough time to broadcast an emergency message but none came. So it suggest a sudden incident - an explosion perhaps? Or someone murdered the pilots and crash the plane.. if it is the former, is it because of our Malaysian substandard again?

From CNBC:
Arnold Barnett, a longtime Massachusetts Institute of Technology specialist in aviation safety statistics, said that prior to the disappearance of Saturday's flight, Malaysia Airlines had suffered two fatal crashes, in 1977 and 1995. Based on his estimate that Malaysia Airlines operates roughly 120,000 flights a year, he calculated that the airline's safety record was consistent with other fairly prosperous, middle-income countries but had not yet reached the better safety record of airlines based in the world's richest countries.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Haze, Hazy, Volcano Ash, Whatever...

I bitched about Haze back in 2005. This is the post.

Since then, we have been getting haze every year.

Today is no different.






WHAT EVER!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I would never quit if I were Flappy Bird developer..

As an avid gamer for 3 decades, I have always dreamed of making games. Back in the 1988, my friend and I wanted to make a game. We built a website in anticipate to promote the game (that was before blogs were popular) but we didn't really have the energy, passion and technical know how to write a game. At one point, 2 years after iPhone was released and many people are making money writing apps, we wanted to tap on that platform to write games. I bought a Mac with the main intention of studying iOS programming. Last year Dec, we even planned to take a week off and take a iOS programming course.

So, it is with envy that I see successes of Flappy Bird, a game so simple, it boggles the mind on how it became so popular. And the natural thoughts of the developer quitting despite potentially making US$50,000/day is that he must be insane.. or weak. If I had $50K a day, I would shut off internet and go to the beach sipping premium coffee.. or I would buy a bungalow in Cameron Highlands and live there.. or I would migrate the family to Sydney Habour and enjoy the Pacific Ocean, oblivious to the internet I shut off.

This article, from a developer I respected a lot, gave me pause though:

"Suppose one day I get one insult too many, I go nuts and quit or freak out. Here's what people will say about me: What a weakling. What a wimp. What an idiot. Why does he care? Why doesn't he just turn the social media off? Why can't he be tough and awesome like me? Screw that guy.

All this, of course, from people who have never experienced being in even remotely the same position."



Life is not easy!

The incredible rise and fall of Flappy Bird

Over the past two months, a phenomenon happened in the mobile app world. A game came out of nowhere and took the world by storm (it has 50 million downloads and there are 16 million tweets about it!). And it is not a AAA game. It is made by one person, one developer from Vietnam. The game is called Flappy Bird.

This is a very simple game but it was very addictive - because of its simplicity and yet difficult to play, it became the game people are obsessed to beat, or be better than their friends. Many people have a love-hate relationship with it. They hated the game but they can't do without it. That sounds like drug - could this be the formula to build a mobile app?

The developer told  TechCrunch in an interview: "I don't know how my games can be so popular. Most of my players are kids in schools. I would like to thanks them for playing my game and sharing it to other people."

This is the issue with mobile games these days - so many of these addictive games are targetted at kids in school. It is something that I need to think and discuss in another day as I have kids on my own and what can we do to stop them from getting addiction to games (I can't believe I said that!)

Flappy Bird's rise in the iOS and Google Play Store was so momentous and exponential that many people criticize the developer of using dirty tricks to promote the game, such as paying marketing agency or running malicious bots to leave fake reviews and ratings to the App Store (read here for one dissection of the app's rise in the App Store.).

This game is free but it is ad-supported. One estimate said that revenue from the ad would be around $50K/day. That's a lot of money for one person to make.. especially if you are in Hanoi.

The developer claimed that he didn't do any promotion, nor did he do any illegal attempt to push the app up the charts. But the criticism onto him, all the death threats of internet, the negative emails and tweets that kept on bombarding his account - and I think it is mainly due to internet getting jealous of his achievement - was so intense that he decided to pull the game off the App Store. When Forbes managed to track him down, he told the interviewer that the game was too addictive to the world and he has to pull it. BTW, he was late to the interview because he was asked to have an audience with the deputy prime minister of Viet Nam (can you imagine the popularity of this phenomenon?)

You can and should read about the rise and fall of Flappy Bird in this mashable article to get the whole story from beginning till the end.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Exodus

CNY is round the corner. But the mood is not as bright and happy as befit a New Year. What to do, this year of 2014 is a year where we will see price hike in many things. Life is going to be hard. Business is slow. The feeling is worse than 17 years ago when we had a recession in '97. 17 years ago .. that means instead of progressing towards a developed country of 2020, we are regressing. We are going back to Ice Age. Our neighbours (apart from Thailand, who is now kinda sick due to their state of emergency) are progressing well: Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, etc.

Many more people are contemplating migration.

Even more brain drain.

The sentiment in the office is not that good either. With so many expense cut worthy of Edward Scissorhand, this company I am with has devolved into something worse than a Chinaman company.

All in all, a gloomy year.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Life in Malaysia

I have lived in Malaysia all my life - 40 years of it. We are all bracing ourselves for a tough 2014 - electricity tariff is increasing, so is toll rate, petrol, sugar, GST is coming .. all these are bound to create a lot of hardship for the citizens. It's almost like we are going backward, back to the olden days when life is hard for everybody.

But the strange thing is, we are seeing a lot more foreigners in our country. We are importing a lot more skilled workers. Talent Corp is getting Malaysians from abroad to come back to work for the country.

I often wondered why skilled foreigners and Malaysians want to return here to work? Is it the opportunities .. or is it the weather.. or is it because Malaysia sounded exotic and how often does one get opportunities to work in Asia and experience the culture?

A word of advice - the country is generally safe but there are many petty snatch thieves around. I'd think that things could get worse in 2014 when life is hard. One mistake Malaysia did was the influx of unskilled workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nepal. But on the other hand, somebody has to clean the toilets. If Malaysians don't want to do it, then we need these unskilled workers. But then our problem is that there are just too many of them. You can't go into a restaurant these days and speak English or Bahasa or Cantonese and be understood. It is that bad. At times I wonder if I am in a foreign land.

But the snatch thieves are generally not by these foreign workers! It is by the same Malaysians who refused to do these odd jobs. We have jobs they refused. The jobs is taken by other people, so they resort to violence. What's happening?

This is one reason I thought minimum wages is important and it was successfully implemented in other country. But minimum wage will cause products to be more expensive because labour is expensive. And if things are more expensive, living expenses increase and Malaysia will not be attractive to other investors and therefore the jobs opportunities dwindles.

It's not easy to run the country.

It's not easy to live in a country run by someone who can't lead.

Have a good 2014!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Ringgit is in Google+

So I have now created a Google+ profile. Follow me there. The problem is, I am more active in Twitter than Google+ so I am not sure the point of the profile yet. And I wonder if every blog post I made appear in the G+, if it does that will be great. We will see how it goes.

9 Level of Consciousness

In our practice, we believe that when you are in rhythm with the Universe, things will go smoothly for you and you will meet people who will do the right things for you. It's very much what feng shui will teach you. When things are aligned, your life will go smoothly. So, if you can just employ a feng shui master to fix up your house, why do you need to spend hours chanting and meditating?

A friend once asked - if I am a very positive person, such that I truly believe that I can do things, do I still need religion? Sometimes, you see CEO of big companies. They are very positive guys. They can do big things and make lots of money. Do they need religion?

Another friend was reading the very popular book "The Secret" which says that when you focused your mind on the positive things, on things you want, you are harnessing the environment around you to move along that path you are focusing and thus you get the stuff you wished for.

So why do people need to then spend hours chanting and meditating when you can change your life for just a RM5000 feng shui master .. or buy The Secret book for RM70 or attend a motivational course for RM1000?

First and foremost - Buddhism doesn't cost you a sen.

Secondly, those motivational courses, feng shui master etc doesn't last long. One week after a motivational course and feeling extremely motivated and positive, you tend to slacken and drop back to your old habits. You need to sustain that. How do you sustain that? Chanting and making a vow in your spiritual practice is a first step to do so.

But what if you are the CEO and you have this strong determination and you can maintain and sustain your positive attitude?

That's where the 3rd point comes in. A little bit of fundamental first. In Buddhism, we believe that human have 9 consciousness. The first 5 are what we know: sight, hearing, touching, smell and taste. What you see affect how you think. What you hear affect your mood, etc.

The 6th consciousness is the conscious mind - meaning what are you thinking, your judgement, your perception of stuff. As stated in the above paragraph, what you see affect how you think; what you hear affect your mood. So if you have a positive mindset, meaning if you control your 6th consciousness, you can control how your eye view things, you can choose what you hear and you can control your reaction to something you taste or smell. This is the part the positive CEO can do.

The 7th consciousness is called the subconscious mind. You also know what this means. It means if we have the ability to control and command our subconscious, we can do wonderful things. People who can read while blindfolded have the ability to tap into their subconscious power. In Center Point, there is a school called Schida Method. They take children from 6 months to 7 years old to teach them the power of the right brain. To tap on the creative brain; to also tap on the power of the subconscious mind. I have seen children able to see through a thick cardboard card and call out the object or the colour of the object the teacher is holding. Some people get healed - because they are able to BELIEVE so strongly that their subconscious mind can tell the body to generate cells to heal themselves. Some people claimed they can travel through space to talk to someone else. This is the power of the subconscious mind.

You all heard it. There are many experience and testimonials. People witness this with their eyes. That guy who teach you about The Secret is actually teaching you the power of subconscious mind. Buddhism already talked about this 5000 years ago..

Now, what people didn't tell you is that there are two more consciousness - 8th and 9th. 8th being the karma consciousness. Karma is something we carry from past life and into future life. Karma bound people across generations. Some people have very good financial karma but bad relationship karma. They have issues with parents, spouses or can't make good friends. Some people has a lot of friends but cannot have long lasting and meaningful relationship for example marriage. Or some have children who are born disfigured. How do you change this karma that you carry? The Secret can't help you break the chain of bad karma. The positive thinking CEO can't break his health karma - do you remember the story of this young CEO of SAP who goes to gym every day - eat healthy, no smoke, no alcohol, but then died of heart attack at the age of 42? How do you break that karma that he has that he didn't realise even though he has a positive mindset?

My 4 year old already have OCD that I said it's part of the karma she carried from me (as I have some sort of OCD myself). I bet you her child in the future will have this karma unless we break this chain NOW.

This 8th consciousness is the one that people can't change - but in Buddhism, we believe we can change and break the karma chain in this lifetime i.e. no need to wait for next life. We can change this simply because of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

It is through chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo that you are able to tap on the 9th consciousness which is your inherent Buddhahood inside you and bring it forward. As your Buddha nature inside you start to surface, it changes all the 8 consciousness above it - it cleanses your karma, it nurtures your subconscious, it helps you change the way you think and the way you see/hear/taste life. It helps you be in rhythm with the Universe and have stuff around you work in rhythm with you. It creates that positively around you and therefore you attract all the positivity from environment towards you. You get better, your children is freed from the karma that bound you. You changed both yours and their lives and people around you.

This was taught 5000 years ago........

Imagine that.

Perks

Yesterday in Facebook, I posted a simple status update: "Thirsty, no paper cup to drink water". The post was in jest of my company removing paper cups in the guise of being environment friendly and asking us to bring our own cups. But I was surprised when one of my FB friends actually asked me to bring a cup. That statement made me wonder whether I have over-reacted? Perhaps this is a common thing among other companies out there.

But I wonder which company:
1. does not provide any stationaries - no pen, pencils, staplers, rulers, tape, etc. As a new employee, you have to bring these at your own cost
2. does not provide coffee/tea - you have to use your money on the vending machine they allocated
3. does not provide paper cup for water
4. at one time, decided not to include paper to dry your hands in the toilet and instead use toilet paper rolls to dry your hand.

If this sounds to you like I am working in a Chinaman company or a local Malaysia Sdn Bhd company -  I am not. I work for a US-multinational company.

Oh, maybe they pay very well .. so they cut some of these corners..

Let's see: I have worked 10+ years in this company. The biggest bonus I have ever received is 2 months - ONCE.

Increment for the past 3 years are around 2%.

I question why am I even staying put!

Economy is bad?

Have you noticed that it is very difficult to get home improvement work done these days? My roofing (pergola, to be exact) had some problem ...