Interesting discoveries #07

Time flies when I’m busy. It seems like April’s here and it’s a rude awakening for me. I’ve met interesting people lately, some from the Singapore Humanism Society and also from one of the frontend developers kinda meetup.

1. Google Whatsapp

Rumor has it that Google’s acquiring Whatsapp. Had a quick conversation over this this evening and it’s a sensible choice for Google. Even if it is 1 billion. Google has not been fast enough to jump into messaging and the other companies are taking over. LINE and WeChat has been especially popular in Asia and Google’s probably finding this hard to ignore. If Google does get Whatsapp, I can imagine improvements to it. I love to watch for SMS integration in this, especially for the iPhone.

2. ChannelNewsAsia has a new design

Woah new design. It definitely a great improvement. The new site takes some getting used to but this is a great step forward. They are a couple of jarring mistakes, more on the choice of colors and there’s some awkward color decisions. I do not think the trend graph is sensible too. Love the bigger images and larger text.

3. Mad Men

I’m watching Mad Men this month and advertising is such an interesting industry. I thank Grace for getting me to watch this. If you’re looking for some drama to watch, this is something.

4. On web design in general

Web design has evolved so fast that tools can’t keep up. I find that designers are painstakingly using Photoshop to work on their designs and there’s no way Photoshop can express responsive layouts. Designers can probably imagine how the layout would change in their minds but it’s too tedious to create mockups. In the bigger design houses, some designers got their hands dirty and do HTML and CSS to just design directly. I think that has to be the way at some point of time. The web designer title is evolving. I see this as an interim though, perhaps tools will catch up and allow designers to express web designs better. Seriously designing a whole website in Photoshop or InDesign is making lesser sense these days. (Note: I’m a web user interface developer.)

5. Grunt.js

Grunt.js is such a joy to use, I’ve been automating some LESS.js and minification tasks at work and it’s making me happier leaving these highly repeatable task to this wonderful tool. I’m starting to use this more efficiently and have introduced this to my colleagues at Tremor Video as well. It’s a slightly different workflow as what we are doing but definitely worthy of further exploration.

6. My best 50 bucks spent

I’ve been bring the phone charger and adapter back and forth for months. One day I bought a set to keep it at home and have my existing set at work. The new adapter at home charges both my Apple iPhone 5 as well as the Amazon Kindle together. I now have one less thing to think about when going home from work. That freed me to think about under things and I swear this reduces my overall stress. Consider getting yourself a set of these too.

7. The curse of credit cards

The curse is to watch out for payments. I’ve been scalded once, OCBC charged me 60 dollars for late payment for 20 bucks. That upset me. I have 8 credit cards today and I only use 2 regularly. I know what to do. I’m just waiting for the time I can cancel without a penalty. I recommend everyone to have as little credits cards as possible. Forget about the dinner discounts, they’re limiting your dinner choices anyway.

8. Roger Ebert, RIP

Roger Ebert died at age 70 after battle with cancer (Sun Times). Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago. He’s one of the best writers I admire. Have a look at this article that’s not movie related.

The credit card that is also a token

The new Standard Chartered Bank credit card is clever. It combines the token device with the credit card. I received mine not long ago and took some pictures of it. I haven’t got the time to post it until now. It’s not much thicker than a normal credit card too. I like you to observe that the credit card numbers are not raised too. How they manage to squeeze a token device into this card is wonder.

Standard Chartered Bank bonus saver card side view

This is the top view, you can sign your transactions through this device.

Standard Chartered Bank bonus saver card top view

This is just new to me, very sensible design. Great ideas enabled by great engineering.

Reported sick today

For today and tomorrow — as I predicted — I will be sick. I am down with a bad flu and a sore throat. I don’t even have my laptop with me and most of my stuff are in there.

I’ve been wanting to do some stuff lately:

  1. Buy HTC Desire HD
  2. Renew my fixed internet subscription
  3. Get the Citibank credit card with the SMRT logo
  4. Buy some new shirts and socks.

Since I saw the HTC Desire HD phone last month, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on it.

To strip or not to strip

This is Miss Singapore World 2009. Not the personality most would hope for. Some Singaporeans are calling for a title to be stripped.

Miss Singapore World 2009 – Miss Ris Low

[via CNNGo]

I know someone who speaks English this way. She sounded like someone trying (and failed) to put on a foreign English accent. She would probably fare better if the contest is in Chinese. Still she does speak with confidence that impresses me – real loud and booms. Regarding stripping her title due to bad English, there is little point to that. This is a contest of confidence and style, never really need much up there (the head!).

However, a recent development may end her pageant dreams:

Ris Low: I was young, I didn’t think

Miss Singapore World 2009 Ris Low Yi Min was sentenced in May to 24 months of supervised probation after being convicted of credit card fraud.

‘I’m sad and disappointed,’ she told The New Paper over the phone.

‘I don’t know who leaked this information about me. Now I may have to give up my dream (of participating in an international pageant).’

The Miss World website states that pageant contestants must not have been charged or convicted in any court of law in any country.

Ris said she had used the credit cards fraudulently in ‘a moment of folly’.

According to court documents, Ris spent more than $2,400 on at least three credit cards on at least four separate occasions in April and May last year.

Among the items she bought were a $698 Samsung handphone and two gold anklets worth $980 in all.

She also visited Equinox, an upscale restaurant at Swissotel the Stamford, twice within the same week – spending almost $400 on food and drinks each time. (Source: Diva Asia)

Leave her alone? Well… Probably not this time.