Making Light of Things

January 2008 Archives


Choices, Not Last Resorts

There’s been quite a bit of buzz regarding a school Principal telling some 27 students to go to ITE, instead of taking their ‘O’ Levels.

Standard disclaimers. I work at the Ministry of Education as resident codemonkey, but am writing this out of a personal capacity because it reflects my personal journey.

I’m not in a position to say what the Principal did was right or wrong - I’ve read enough of our newspapers to know that their writing is sometimes meant to evoke emotion. We do not know what “detailed N-Level grades” the Principal showed. The more tempestuous among us would like to imagine the Principal flashed individual names and grades, which I too feel might be over the top. The alternative is that the Principal gave a breakdown of the collective grades of the 27 by subject. That would be offering “detailed N-Level grades”, but I doubt many would insist that it would have been as hurting as the former.

I think I’m the only executive in my division who didn’t go to a junior college. Much as I’d like to change history, it wasn’t because I chose to go to a polytechnic. It was a last resort.

Continue reading Choices, Not Last Resorts »

Apple Inc. becomes the Dark Side

We sold ourselves to the underdog. Then when the dog grew up, it bit us.

I was one of the early adopters who purchased the iPod Touch. I didn’t really need one - I already had an older iPod Video.

The iPod touch was the first time I felt shortchanged from the get-go. Apple always had this wonderful glow about them - their products would deliver the best technology had to offer in a sleek beautiful package. The iPod Touch could have been so much more, but Apple chose to cripple many features, delivering a merely passable product. I held on to the hope future software updates from Apple would fully realise the iPod Touch’s potential. I jailbroke my iPod Touch once and experienced the fullness of a real programmable device in my hand. I chose to update the firmware, disabling all the amazing 3rd party applications I had installed because I foolishly believed that Apple would eventually come through and outshine anything these 3rd party developers could produce.

I believed in the altruistic front Apple put up. I believed Steve Jobs when he said he was forced to incorporate DRM into all mp3s sold on iTunes because the record labels dictated so. I knew full well that the inclusion of DRM also locked us all into only using iPods for our music. But iPods would be the best players the technological world could possibly offer, right?

So forgive me if I was terribly upset last night when Steve Jobs announced some new enhancements for my iPod Touch. I’d get five new applications: email, stocks, google maps, notes and weather. They’re not mind-blowing by any standards. I’d have expected Microsoft to wow me more. The best part was that Apple expected iPod Touch owners to shell out $20 to have them installed, while anyone who bought a new iPod Touch would have them for free. Microsoft added functionality to their Zune product line for free. Hell has frozen over.

We were penalised for jumping in early. Exactly what Apple did when they made early adopters of the iPhone pay $200 more than customers who bought it 2 months after it was launched.

It doesn’t pay to be a Mac zealot. It doesn’t pay to believe in Apple, or any corporation. We all knew corporations exist solely to make money, but we hoped our Apple would be different.

Now we know better than to blindly believe. Apple will no longer enjoy the benefit of the doubt - it will have to earn our dollars the hard way.

Singapore Idol

Anne turns to Faith and says, “I like it when you say ‘I love You, God’”.

“I love You, God”.

Anne then turns to me.

“Say ‘I love You God’,” she implores.

“I love You, God.”

It was such an apt reminder from a little child; the simplest of phrases carrying the most complex expression the human heart can muster unto the most infinite and intimate Creator.

Anne looks at me with those clear eyes.

“Pray”, she says.

I ask to hold her hand so that we can all pray together.

“No. Cannot pray now. God is going away.” She pulls up her blanket, wears it like a toga and walks off.

I think she just conned us all. We spend the next few minutes laughing our heads off while trying to explain how she cannot play-pretend to be God.

Digging It

I’ll admit it. I initially thought Kina Grannis, the girl who became huge after she wrote and performed a song about Digg was just a one-time flash in the pan.

Her latest song on Youtube rocks. Ok, I’m a sucker for country-style lyrics and smooth falsettos. Kina’s sincerity and her deft use of social media has me just a little spellbound.

I might just be a Kina Grannis fan.

Week 2

It’s the first Monday of the year, so here’s Anne with a song expressing your work blues.

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