Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Predictions for 2014

Looking back of some older predictions that I made before, most of them surely didn’t come true, but some did. It is not really for another one reference, but for my leisure at a later time with a time stamp. Here are mine for 2014 with no particular order:

No iTV from Apple – Apple probably has prototypes for few years, but it won’t release this product until it can get a breakthrough from negotiation with the content providers. I doubt Tim Cook will ever be able to achieve that as long as he runs the company, though he is a terrific successor of late Steve Jobs. So, no iTV for this year is for sure.

iWatch will be released in 2H – it will be an important product for Apple, it will be called iWatch, though time-telling is only 1% of its functions. Just like iPhone doesn’t treat calling as its core function. For my further thoughts on this product, please see my earlier post.

Sandra Bullock or Cate Blanche will win the best actress at Academy Award – I rarely go movie these days and Gravity is few of them that I saw this year. Sandra is doing a great job in that movie and I’m sure she will be nominated. I didn’t see Woody Allen’s movie, but Cate has been an actress that I like for years. Well, this prediction is just a prediction that won’t do no harm.

Japan and China will have a minor military encounter in mid this year – with the build-up, the misunderstanding and the gung-ho of young bloods on both sides. It’s gonna happen, though it won’t be a war but it will surely affect the economy of both sides in a short run. Time for someone to make money in the market.

Miami Heat will go 3peat in Jun – I like many other teams, like Rocket, Pacer, Clippers, etc, but nobody gonna beat an experienced, well-oiled, healthy, superstar-studded team with Lebron at his prime. 

Thai King, Fidel Castro, die – with Mandela and Margaret Thatcher gone this year, there are only few old rulers left alive, this prediction is by no mean against the supporters of these people with utmost respect, but people get old and heaven time does come. I don’t know if it will come true, but famous old people die every year and 2014 won’t be an exception. 

Russia will extend Edward Snowden’s visa for another year – Putin has not figured out what to do with him yet, so just to annoy Obama, Snowden will stay for another year.

Brazil will win World Cup this year – can’t beat a great home team.

North Korea will try to loosen its tie with China – the alternative will be approaching the U.S. and try to mimic what Pakistan or Burma have done.

Curved glass smartphones will bomb – a technical breakthrough doesn’t translate to commercial success, a simple dumb idea to meet non-existing need. 

That's all for 2013, happy new year 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Making Changes

Overall, I don’t quite like my experience in 2013, am glad that it’s almost over. On the other hand, as I mentioned before, the numbers on the calendar doesn’t mean a thing to me unless there is actual change being made somewhere…starting from myself.

There are so many things that happened to me this year. Fews are good, most of them are so so, and some of them are pretty bad. I dug holes and I can’t get myself out easily. Certain shit happened, would those be my faults? I don’t know but I’m taking the consequence which could last years. Things are just not easy these days….

There are many things that I would like to do and should do, but I’m sometimes just helpless. I think I should do better and squeeze some times to get things done. I really need to change on many fronts: my work, finance, parenting, relationship, habits, knowledge, health, etc. Any of those things could take me a lot to make it better, let alone with such a list?!

For being a logical person myself, though I’m not a total science geek, I always proud of myself for being to look at things from a logical way and able to brush emotion away. However, this year I think I’m getting more spiritual than before. Sometimes, I even pray when I’m alone or before I need some psychological support, even for few seconds of it. We are human after all, so powerful and yet weak. 

If people ask me if I’m better today than a year ago, I would definitely say ‘no’. Of course, based on the half-glass theory, I shouldn’t look that way. But, I can’t objectively say I’m better. Of course again, it is so easy to look at other’s bright sides and get envy. Or, it is so easy to pick the bad things on turf and get upset about it. That’s not logical at all, but it could be a driver to motivate myself to make things better. Turning envy and sorrow and other negative powers to do positive things is a way to go. 

I’ve been staying calm for too long and become too wooden to make necessary change. It’s always much harder to motivate myself to make change. But now, I can see smoke from not too farther down, I don’t want to rush change when my ass is burned, so I better get my butt going on my schedule on a bit more planned way. 

I need help for my change, or I would say I need cooperation to make my change successful. Surely, the help should come from my wife. Aiming to turn her negative powers to positive use would be a great challenge, but when it works, I will really work! It is a difficult, but worth trying. 

I know what I’ve said so far are vague. This post is actually more for myself than for others. Others would be different.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela

May you rest in peace!
 - the passing of a great man in the world history.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Extract from 練乙錚

「沒有獨立精神的人,就不會深切地關懷國事。人人沒有獨立之心,專想依賴他人,那麽全國就都是些依賴他人的人,沒有人來負責。……依賴別人的人一定怕人; 怕人的人一定阿諛諂媚人。若常常怕人和諂媚人,逐漸成了習慣,他的臉皮就同鐵一樣厚。對於可耻的事也不知羞耻,應當與人講理的時候也不敢講理,見人只知道 屈服。一見上面的人,就說不出一點道理;叫他站就站;叫他舞就舞。那種柔順的樣子,就像家裏所餵的瘦狗,真可以說是毫無氣節和不知羞耻之極。……只要有愛 國心,則無論官民都應該首先謀求自身的獨立,行有餘力,再幫助他人獨立。父兄教導子弟獨立;老師勉勵學生獨立;士農工商全都應當獨立,進而保衞國家。總 之,政府與其束縛人民而獨自操心國事,實不如解放人民而與人民同甘共苦。……人人獨立,國家就能獨立。」 - 福澤諭吉(1835-1901年)

練乙錚 ----信報      2013年12月5日

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mixed Feelings

Can't believe it is already December!

So much shit happened in the past few months. Sometimes, I don't know if it is because I'm too lazy or busy to update this blog. Be honest with you, I love my blog! I don't care if the trend of blogging will ever end, but I found blogging to be a way of self-reflection. It lets me to think and present it out in a more organized way. Yes, there are ups and downs in terms of the quality of the content. Also, forgive my grammatical mistakes and all that. I miss the older days when I've more time to blog, like 7-10 postings a month. That was the good old days. I can't believe I can squeeze few minutes to blog today. Just need to thank the BIG GUY up there!....

Just a few bullets of thoughts that I wanna share:

1. I'm really exhausted, but at work front and home front. I need to recharge, but just haven't got a groove to do that. Thank God my body is holding up, but mentally, I'm not too far away from being a zombie. Just move along with the flow and too tired to think much. Don't plan anything ahead more than a week. Almost get drown in duties and errands. Need help, but too tired to ask for......just SUCKS!

2. Love my boys, but both have issues. The older one has the character issue. Too dependent, lazy, and self-center. Need time to cultivate rather than spanking. Time? is just a rarity in my schedule. I sometimes regret for what I said or did. Tough to be a good dad! The younger one has the development issue. Take triple the effort to get a third of the result, if I'm lucky! It can't depend on me, but I'm really the one would make a bigger difference. Exhausted on scheduling, physical and mental front. But damned! his smile just melts me! The end of the day, I'm his dad! Nothing can change that! Just hanging there.....

3. I pray with my mind more than any time in last few years. Perhaps, I just feel powerless to see results that I wanna see. I even hopped into a church that I'd never been before, just kneel there for 15 minutes and prayed! I've a strange belief in terms of God or whatever you call IT. Anyway, I sometimes just need guidance and support, or moments for myself to regather my strength, mind to move on. I love science and God. They have no conflict in my head. I cherish the relationship between God and myself, don't care much about HIS mortal fans and fan clubs.

4. I love my wife, except when she has temper. Thanks for her support. To deal with my 2 boys and maids, can't do (well) without her!

5. My gadget live is bearable. My iPhone 5s helped me a lot, it entertains me and help me run my errands. My desktop at home is having problem accessing the net via wi-fi. Don't know how to fix it! My iPad serves me well. Though the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina is very tempting. But, after the big purchase of the top line 5s. I don't see the need to upgrade. Funny thing about my home is that, our TV in the living barely get turn on these days, I guess no more than 2 hours a week! In the old days, at least I will watch news on the tube. Now, I just rely on my phone and iPad for news. Also, TV is not good for my son, I trade TV time for reading time with my younger son. So, the home is kind quiet except for my sons' screaming or yelling every now and then.

6. My sons have homeworks, but some of them are for parents indeed! What the hell is going on these days?

7. Happy that my older son got a merit on his Grade 2 piano lesson. It costs a lot, but I've no regret! Hopefully, he will thank me when he got older....

8. I really become a simple man with simple needs and wishes. If I can have one afternoon for myself, by myself, just chill, maybe having a big glasses of fruit juice, sitting comfortably and read a book/ebook with some nice trip hop music as background. That would be a fantastic afternoon for me. How simple is that?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

iPhone 5s

Finally, I upgrade my iPhone experience with a ‘space-grey’ 64G iPhone 5s. It is freaking expensive, but I have no regret doing that. Considering my upgrade is from a 3GS! With retina display, Siri, thinner body, the A7/M7 combo and surprisingly good the fingerprint recognization tech. It is just a great product! Using my fingerprints to unlock the phone is not just so cool, but very convenient! I’m sure Apple is gonna do more with this technology down the road. Also, with 64G, I’ve more room to take photos and movie clips. The slo-mo is cool, but I don’t use it that much. Siri is cool, but I rarely use it, perhaps I don’t like to talk to my phone much. But I think I will do more research to see what Siri is capable of. Also, I grab the official Apple case as well, all black leather with some kind of ‘soft cushioning’ inside, it is costly but given my wish to use it for next few years. I hope it is worthy. Lastly, one of the main reason why I do this upgrade is because of iOS7. It is a nice upgrade as well. Like the new settings in Photo, Camera, etc. Except the notification center is something that I’ve not yet comfortable with. There is still plenty hidden gems to be dug out when I have time. Anyway, it is an excellent purchase for me given my limited time to do anything else and the extent of usage that I have on my phone. I love my 5s!


Having post anything for a while. Actually, I do have quite few things that I wanna share. Perhaps, I’m just make a few bullet posts about them.

It is better to be late than never. I saw this movie last month with my wife while we could squeeze out a late evening out on our own. She didn’t enjoy it that much but thanks for accommodating my taste. I like that movie very much. These are few thoughts that I have about that movie.

- Sandra Bullock is gonna be nominated in Acadamy Award next year. She leads the movie from beginning to end. A very engaging experience because of her acting.

- Agreed wtih Jim Cameron, it is the best space movie ever.

- Wish I saw it on iMax, but 3D is a must. 

- People criticize the simplicity of the script, but I think it is the simplicity that really make this movies more focus. If they add some flash back on earth and all that, it will ruin the movie.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My early iWatch predictions

Apple product speculation has become a constant topic among bloggers and tech news reporter since the late Steve Jobs resurrected Apple from death bed to become the trail blazer in tech. With the release of iPhone 5s/5c just over, speculation of iPhone 6 would be a bit too early, and that for iPad 5/iPad mini 2 becomes boring (gold color, flat back, thinner bezel,  lighter weight, same battery life, A7/M7, 64 bit, retina display, etc), I think speculation of iWatch is more interesting. 

We all know that Apple is making a watch. So far, only very peripheral info has been leaked to the public, 3 dimensions of screen are under testing and bended OLED screen is a possibility, also, it will have many sensors, a more firmly belief based on the implementation of M7 in 5s. Other than the above, all the rest are more about who are hired and a 100 person team was formed for this product. 

Well, with such limited info, that would give me more room to come up with my speculation of this product. These are my thoughts (not in any order):
  1.  It is not gonna be cheap – Apple always put a premium on first generation product. So, Apple wouldn’t care Samsung Galaxy Gear nor Pebbles. It would just ride on its brand and charge 3 to 4x of material cost of the watch.
  2.  Battery will be a key concern – I suspect that Apple will even make its battery if it could for the iWatch. Cuz, daily charging is not acceptable. I don’t care how many functions and how great those functions are if the battery is shitty. Without power, it is just a freaking damn bracelet. So, it may be charged by movement, solar light or whatnot, some kind of hybrid would not be a surprise.
  3.  It’s gonna be metallic look – metal commands premium price. Plastic version will come in future, but not in first generation. But, it will most likely be some kind of light weight, durable, scratch-proof tainted silver color metal that being used to make the belt and the shell for the watch. The challenging part would be to hold the glass screen to make it less likely to be scratched and somehow water proof.
  4.  It is supplementary as well as an independent product – the look would sell the product, but functionalities are as well be important, given it is Apple we are talking about. So, Apple would give a lot of thoughts on what this product means to its customers. Is it gonna a hi-tech watch? Or a supplement for iPhone and iPad? That should also tie to the form factor of the product as well. My thinking is that it is gonna be both, at least for the latest generation of iPhone/iPad. Also, iWatch, besides its form factor, should have one or two selling-points to be attractive enough for buyers who don’t have iPhone or iPad. For example, it make have one or two touch away from making an emergency call or providing some kind of alerts based on its embedded sensors in some occasions.
  5. Simplicity in outlook and UI – I think it is in line with most Apple’s products. It is not how many functions you can cram it in the product, but what functions to be left out in the selection process. Thus, I don’t see it have Facetime or video-recording function on iWatch. In fact, I think even camera will be left out. It will have a home button, an on-off switch, that’s all. May not have a volume button. Just a very simple design, touchscreen for sure. Retina display? Not in first gen.  I think the screen UI should be similar to the 6th gen iPod nano. So, Apple can leverage its App Store and avoid building something completely new. Except that there should be another category of apps that fit the screen size. The most important thing about the screen of the iWatch is not the material it will use to make it, but the screen size and shape. Once Apple sets it, it won’t be changed for years.
  6.  Functionality that tie to iPhone/iPad – the iWatch should have Wifi and Bluetooth. As said before, it can be a supplement to iPhone/iPad. As mentioned by some bloggers, it will have multiple sensors to feed data to iPhone/iPad. I think there are few areas that would the functionalities should cover.
a.       Motion control – movement of iWatch would be gest control to iPhone/iPad (maybe to Apple TV in future, somewhat like Wii control).
b.      Health/Sport monitor – sensing heartbeat/pulse/skin temperature with body movement for monitoring workout and provide alert.
c.       Extension of notification center – rather than pulling out the phone to see what’s going on, it will be shown on the iWatch. But, I doubt it will provide anything too complicate to be operated on the small screen for both functional and battery concern.
7.       The Leftouts – As I mentioned before, there will be functions that I personally doubt they would be included mostly out of battery concern, like camera, Siri, earphone jack, phone function, Facetime, etc.
These are just some preliminary thoughts. Let’s see how it turns out in 2014. I bet it will be out in the fall along with iPhone 6.

Monday, September 30, 2013

My liveliood these days (as of the last day of 3Q 2013)

For some reasons, I'm able to find few minutes to blog. Don't have one central theme to blog about today, but just a bunch of thoughts long or short want to share....

Being a husband with a full time job and two young boys that require respective attention and effort is tough. These days, I don't think or plan for anything long term anymore which is not supposed to be right. Man should plan! right? But, I'm just too tired! So many tedious things that need my time and efforts. There isn't much personal time or space once I got home. Sometimes, my wife would scold me for spending like half hour on doing my own stuff on Internet at net. Instead, I should do this or that, blah blah blah! She has her point IF I look from her perspective, but I won't! So, I just still my minutes here and there to satisfy my needs to look at things that interests me on the website, could be on Facebook, or news/commentary sites, etc. Come on, I just think spending more than 15 minutes to watch a longer YouTube video is a luxury for me. I can't recall when this happened that a thing that I can commit my full attention to at home without any disturbance don't last for more than 15 minutes on most cases. Is it sad or just me?

It is becoming a thing that I don't want to talk about much to anybody this day. A zombie in, zombie out thing if you know what I mean. Yes, I know that's not right again! But, shit happens and it is happening. I will do something about it in next few months, but it is under cruise control these days.

Love life
I love my wife as always, except when she gets cranky and goes crazy. That happens every now and then for combination of reasons which only partially known to me. Even though she is 'nice' enough to give me some 'so-called warning', but I still don't like it! Human emotion is not a volcano, it can be controlled, but she won't. I'm not sure if it is a woman thing or human thing for some individuals. But I guess I live with it and have to sleep with it. Other than that I do love my wife very much and appreciate her for doing or paying attention to things that I don't like to be involved. Thank God to create differently and I do believe the 'key-and-lock' theory to make things work! I still find my wife beautiful though I don't tell her that often and I should!

My older son is smart and does have potential to be very good and do great things. Certainly, he has many shortcomings as well. The biggest problems for him is to make him share his thoughts on why he does or doesn't do certain things. As usual, the best way to help someone is to make him self-realizes why he needs to improve and motivate him to self-motivate to improve. The ways to improve effectively are numerous. The problem is all inside his head. His homework are getting tougher, he is still very dependent on housemaids to do things for him. We still have not gauged the right level of punishment, tolerance of failure, and encouragement to make things work. Anyway, he is a work-in-progress case.

My younger son has his own problem. He is a bit behind in learning in few aspects. Glad that there is some signs of improvement since he changed to a full-day school that cultivate his independency. Feel bad for him that he stuck in a hole that has to climb out before he can compete with most kids. I still have strong  belief that he will catch up within 2 years, though my wife would like that to be much shorter. I'm more practical and realistic than her, but it is really a tough thing for our family to deal with on logistics and financial sides. Well, our sacrifice and burden are supported by his frequent innocent smile and improvement. At the end of the day, he is still our son!

Other activities
The general statement is all the same to most things - Not much! Time is allocated to kids activities, learning, etc. They basically blocked out many possibilities. We have not travelled far away for years. Short local trips happens may be once or twice a year (besides those school trips). We rarely go to movies. Shopping are primary kids related. As I mentioned before, I rarely can do things that takes time. I don't have time to read books but oddly I still download ebooks when I have chance, as my virtual hobby. I don't watch much TV neither, lately not even news! Most of the time, TV is on for Disney shows for my younger son as a reward for eating or else. Actually, since learning that TV in general is not good for him, we rare turn it on. My wife would yell out to turn it off once he gets close to the 42" screen in 2 feet. So, no TV for me.

My biggest entertainment is actually my iPhone, strangely for a self-proclaim music fan. I rarely listen to music these days! I still download them like crazy as an addicted virtual hobby. With a library of 300-400G, they are big enough for the rest of my life for sure. Nonetheless, I still download them even if I don't have the time to listen to them. Actually, I listen to podcast the most with my iPhone, basically on my traffic time or when I'm having lunch by myself. I listen to all sorts of topics that interested me these days: politics, tech, conspiracy, news, finance, etc. Given my broad range of interest, no wonder I constantly have a backlog to clear, before I can squeeze time for music. As such, I've just put an order to get myself the new iPhone. It costs $$$, but I think it is worthy as self-motivation gift given the usage time that I spend on this gadget and the value that it offers me. More about that in future blog once I got it in house.