Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Apple Store Malaysia – accepts AMEX now

Where possible, the only card I use is my American Express charge card. Of course, recently, Maybank has upped the ante with an Amex card that provides TreatsPoints (and if you’re after air miles, they are better than the charge card membership rewards — go figure).AMEX on Orchard road

I especially like purchasing electronics with the Amex. Purchase protection, return guarantees, but the most important to me is the extended warranties (which cover mobile phones, but not computers!). So its great to see that a complaint that existed in early 2013, is now fixed. The Apple Store in Malaysia finally accepts Amex cards for purchases. This wasn’t true earlier this year (say March?). So a positive move.

In other news, I walked into a Machines store the other day and the only iPhone 6 they had for sale were the 16GB iPhone 6+’s. Everything else was sold out. I lamented that you could pick this up on the Apple online store, and it ships within 1-3 business days. Apparently Apple is making the lives of these resellers a little tougher by not releasing stock to them. Oh well.

Writing on my iOS devices

The last couple of blog posts have been written on my iPhone. Before that (and this) was composed on my iPad.

Sure, adding links seems to be quite difficult. Alt/Mac+Tab is generally quite handy when it comes to sitting by my laptop.

The new workflow feels very much like writing on Facebook. I just write. Let the words flow. It doesn’t matter where I am, I take it all like it’s being a status update. And then when I hit publish, I come back to it later on my laptop (the reality is that I sync it with MarsEdit and edit on the desktop client) to add relevant links.

This kind of method probably works well when I’m not doing a technical blog post, but something that resembles a status update or a story.

I still have to work out how to automatically post the posts to Twitter, and if possible post to Facebook as a status update (I recall that we could sync Notes back in the day, but that feature was removed). I’m thinking either the body makes it, or the first 2 paragraphs or I make use of excerpts wisely.

It’s not that writing on a laptop is a bad idea. It’s just that when I’m on my laptop, I’m usually online and have other work to do: emails, terminal, etc. I’ve used my iOS devices mainly for consumption of content (WSJ, NYT, FT, New Yorker, The Economist, Instapaper, Kindle, NewsBlur) — but with a lot of dead time, it’s not a bad device to also be a device to create, to some extent.

The WordPress apps are pretty good. They don’t handle images well, i.e. They don’t resize them to be sensible for web. Plus I very much like my images to also be on Flickr (I can live without that though). But posting 3MB photos in the main body just seems silly.

I’m sure I can eventually improve this workflow by posting items as a draft first, so they don’t reach the public till the links are added. It’s all an experiment, but I’m already liking the new additional ways to push content to this site.

Don’t ever buy a 16GB iPhone in 2014

I switched to the iPhone 4. Then the iPhone 5s. My logic was always to buy the smallest size available because I would probably change it up every year or two.

Let’s just say the attachment to the iPhone 4 “just working” made me afraid to change to anything new.

With the iPhone 5s, 16GB is just not enough space. Everyone I know whom has a small sized iPhone 5 or 5s complains. It’s truly surprising it’s still on the lineup for the iPhone 6/6+.

With retina apps, better quality photos & videos, media and just larger apps with bigger caches, 16GB is just too little to even enjoy a year of usage.

These devices should likely last 2 years in your pocket, and even with pushing media to the cloud (via Dropbox, etc) and deleting, to get the best experience get the 64GB unit to start with.

We are coming to an age when iPhones are like 1st gen MacBook Air’s. Storage size matters. Especially when you don’t have the option to expand via an SD card!

iPhone 6 Plus

I have been conflicted as to which iPhone to buy recently – the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus.

I’m in Hong Kong with a bunch of friends as we prepare to attend a wedding of a friend. With many people, plans tend to change even with the weather :) I now find myself stuck in a mall, while Sara & the rest shop. I wished I brought my iPad mini (retina).

This pretty much seals the deal for me. I’m getting a 64GB iPhone 6 Plus. Why not 128GB? Because of rumored problems.

Sure with the iPhone 5s I can send emails, which I’ve been quite successful in doing. I can read the FT & WSJ. But I could do with a bigger screen that is always on my person – something the iPad mini is too big for. Presumably that will still be my primary reading device, but it’s clear a bigger phone that is always on me has advantages for those moments in life that take you by surprise.

Now all I have to do is wait for my whirlwind trip to end, so I can migrate phones with ease. I’m always weary of upgrading, software even, while on the road.

Taxi prefers Square over regular credit card terminal

As I was getting from the airport to my hotel in Columbus, Ohio, I took a taxi. Upon disembarking, it was time to pay and I noticed a credit card device hanging at the back of the passenger seat (this seems to be more common in the USA these days thankfully). 

However, the driver told me not to swipe it there. He’d prefer to use Square as he would save on fees. So he plugged the Square dongle into his phone, swiped my card, I gave him his tip via the app, signed virtually, and the receipt automatically arrived via email.

A much better workflow for me (since I don’t have to deal with a paper receipt). But it got me thinking. Square charges a 2.75% fee up-front. This is by no means cheap. However it does guarantee the money in your bank account within a day or two.

I’m willing to bet that the device tethered to his cab might charge less (or close to equivalent?), but pay-out over a longer period of time. For whomever installed that device, they’re going to presume that no one uses the credit card terminal. This is the bonus of competition — the consumer isn’t affected (arguably, the consumer experience improved — it wasn’t too long ago that all taxis were cash-only affairs) and the driver wins.

Market share

What is the market share of BMW? Maybe 1 or 1.5%. But when one drives by, you either have one, or you wish you had one. Build products that people lust after; if you can do that, you don’t have to worry about market share. 

Paraphrasing Steve Jobs, via an episode of This Week in Startups.