Making Light of Things

March 2007 Archives


Sitting here in an empty room a million miles away from you, I realise that I like time alone, but I do not like to be alone. I do not like to be away from you.

I miss you.

Musings from a Plane

View from the window of the planeThere is no doubt that direct flights are more convenient as they have no stopovers. You get on the plane, you get off the plane, and you’re there. You don’t have to traverse unfamiliar airports, many of which have signages in languages you can’t read; or spoken in accents you can’t decipher. But what I’ve come to realise on my first non-stop flight is this: they call it a long-haul flight because you’re in for the long-haul.

Every plane ride is a roll of the die. You may be seated next to that leggy blonde cheerleader or the yokozuna who makes Hurley from Lost look like an anorexic teen. With direct flights, one roll is all you got. If you’re fortunate enough to be seated beside the three toddler tenors trying to outdo each other, congratulations, you have 20 hours to go.

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My first post from the inside of the Apple Store, 5th Avenue, New York.

Apple Store, 5th Ave, New York

I’m here!

Update: We always talk about the cult of mac, but I didn’t realise they actually have altars you kneel at.

Mac devotees kneeling in front of Macbooks


Logomaid decides to rip off Simplebits’ logo. Hilarity ensues.

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Dearest Faith,

it has dawned on me that you are not the same woman I married almost 4 years ago, or the same girl I fell in love with when I was 11. Things have changed since then.

We have changed.

We’re the parents of a precocious 2 year old girl whom we both love dearly. We have our own home, do our own laundry, pay our own bills, establish our own routines. You always beam the most wondrous smile whenever I come home - whether from work or a ball game. Over the last few years you’ve patiently loved me while I dealt with my hyper-thyroidism; you supported me while I tried my hand at starting and growing my own business and guided me gently as I took up the responsibilities of being a new father.

You’re not the girl I fell in love with - you’ve far exceeded every romantic notion I’ve ever conjured of what married life with you would be like. You’ve blossomed into such a beautiful soul I often find myself overwhelmed by the privilege of being your husband and sharing your life.

Thank you for loving me.

Here Comes the Flood

Students at Singapore Robo Grand PrixWhen I spoke at Opera Software’s Web Standards Conference, I started with “it is a good time to be a geek”.

And it is. Where we were once unpopular and cast as social misfits, many of us shape the world our children will grow up in. The beauty of this is that it doesn’t take many geeks to change the world. Small groups like 37 Signals are making web applications used by tens of thousands around the world. Websites like Digg start off as merely ideas made alive on the digital canvas by single individuals, then somehow changing the way we all read, learn and look at the world around us.

The traditional frameworks - businesses, governments - need to understand that the control they once had over information is now largely defunct. They stand at a crossroads of either coming clean or engaging in tainting the waters with misinformation, re-establishing the old methods of communication as authoritative.

Wow is the new Yawn

Took half a day’s leave to spend time with Faith on her birthday. I didn’t have anything special planned, so we had ourselves a nice sandwich lunch before dropping by the IT show to take a look-see.

Vista at Singapore IT ShowMicrosoft was there promoting Vista, and to put it quite bluntly, doing a terrible job at it. What Microsoft needs to understand is that operating systems aren’t very exciting. The general populace does not care if you now have 128-bit encryption over the old 64-bit. We just want our operating systems to work. The guy at the booth seemed was banging home the fact that Vista came with 24/7 online support.

“A group of mechanics are on call with every purchase of a Bentley”. Woohoo.

Steve Jobs on the other hand, has it nailed down. Rather than promising you the “wow”, his presentations traditionally end with Steve saying, “just one more thing”, and he produces something that blows everyone’s mind.

Rather than selling the customer an attribute of the product, Apple does a fine job of concentrating on what the customer can do with the new product. It’s about applications, not operating systems. What can I now do that I couldn’t do before? That’s the important question, because that’s what would make me cool. And that’s what people would pay for.

Analytics on the Cheap

Six Free Stats Packages for the Startup or Small-Business Owner.

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Best Buy Sucks

So you go to your local Best Buy, ready to fork out $1200 for that gigantic high-definition television set you saw advertised on their website. You’ve done your research, and Best Buy’s deal is the lowest on the market by a good $200. You walk up to the salesperson and happily proclaim, “$1200 for the television please!”.

“But maam, the sale ended 3 days ago.”

“That can’t be right, I just checked it this morning.”

“Let’s go to one of the internet terminals we have to verify.”

He brings you to one of the many computers in the store connected to the internet and pulls up the webpage. Sure enough, the sale has ended, and the television now costs $1450.

Since you’re already there and have wasted enough of the young man’s time, you end up buying the television. It’s close enough to market price anyway.

Now Best Buy has admitted to having a secret website which is different from the one it puts up on the internet. It looks exactly the same, except for the prices. This website is used by its sales guys to show you that you are mistaken; that the sale has ended.

That you were the idiot who didn’t clear your cache / read the small print / hit refresh.

I used to love Best Buy, but the knife stuck in my back really itches.

A Level Results

A thousand paths were carved tonight. Some intended, some unintended. Many thousands still hang in the air, uncertain of where the winds may bring them.

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