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.

Phone applications fatigue

I’m having a bit of fatigue on phone applications, especially those phone applications that work well as mere web applications. Some web sites would prompt you to get the iPhone version of their website. That just serves very little benefit to me as a consumer. In fact it breaks the flow of things! Worse, you keep having to upgrade it on your phones to get new features for an application that you probably use once a week. One day my phone might feature a whole directory of websites. Things have to change, people will realize the problems with this soon. And stop of the apps. Enough is enough.

iPhone 5 and its camera

From ValueWalk:

The theory is that the more devices the iPhone 5 can replace, the higher the utility of the device to consumers is, and the higher price they will pay. The iPhone 5 currently works as a phone, and for most customers as an mp3 player. It also serves to delay some of the time spent on personal computers for certain segments of the market.

A second benefit of the all-in-one model is that when consumers seek to update one function of their device, i.e. their camera, they have to replace the entire product, at full cost. The market model is a great one for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but the iPhone 5 has yet to replace cameras.

This is so true. I’m been thinking about that and when I get a new phone, I’m looking at all sorts of features that I do not need. I have a camera and the iPhone 5 one probably isn’t going to be better but I still get attracted to it anyway.

One day phone device makers will get away just with a significant update to a particular feature and everyone’s just going to get new phones. This is perhaps already happening.

Steve Wozniak talks on iPhone antenna and more

Steve Wozniak on iPhone antenna issues, Google taking over, and Steve Jobs. (via Jeremy or @echoz on Twitter)

Steve Wozniak talks iPhone problems, Apple, Google, Steve Jobs and youthful idealism

Always like Steve Wozniak. Seems like one of the nicest people in the tech industry. When placed next to Steve Jobs, he seemed extremely humble.

Gathering iPhone developers at Microsoft

It felt kinda funny so I just had to take a picture. I was at MobFest last week and Microsoft was the venue sponsor.

Why develop for iPhone in Microsoft

When Microsoft got their interns to talk about their projects, a few people stood up and leave. So basically they’re not there for Microsoft at all. It’s kinda sad and funny at the same time. I, too, wasn’t there for Microsoft products. I am working in the building next to them so we just walk over to check MobFest out. After MobFest, Arzhou, Raine and Uzyn had some supper (or dinner). And yesterday, I was at Microsoft Singapore again for RIAction and they had lots of Adobe stuff there. Google and Yahoo! was there too.

I think it is really generous for them to let competitor products step into the company. It requires a certain amount of openness and generosity to allow that to happen. I mean they could have rejected these things and no one would say that they are selfish. After all, it’s not in their commercial interest to host these sort of events. Sure they could sip in a bit of Microsoft talks here and there but they don’t really have to do that too. I don’t think the company deserved to be made a butt of jokes all the time.

Apple: iPhone ‘really fast’, UK regulators thinks otherwise

Responding to 17 people’s complaints that the Apple advertisement misled them on the speed of the Apple iPhone, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) determines that the “advertisement must not appear again in the same form”.

Apple made to drop iPhone advert

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints by 17 people who said the TV advert had misled them as to its speed.

Apple UK said it was comparing the 3G model with its 2G predecessor and its claims were “relative not absolute”.

The advert repeatedly stated that the phone was “really fast” and showed news pages and the Google maps service taking just fractions of a second to appear.

Text on the screen said: “Network performance will vary by location.”

After upholding the viewers’ complaints, the ASA said the advert must not appear again in the same form.

It said the advert was likely to lead viewers to believe that the device actually operated at or near to the speeds shown in the advert.

The watchdog concluded: “Because we understood that it did not, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.” (Source: BBC)

It’s not the first time advertisements mislead. Most do anyway. Just like blog titles. Meh.