Archive for the ‘General’ Category

exploring art

One of my goals in 2015 & going forward is to diversify my interests from just the IT industry. One of those categories that I think I’m quite interested in, is art

Lately I’ve been taking meetings with folk, typically on a day, and since November 2014 to now, I’ve done 3 of these (so an average of one a month). Just this week, I met with a Malaysian art appraiser and it garnered very interesting conversation. For me, I think art must be affordable. The art world seems stuffy, and in Malaysia, gallery owners are artifically inflating prices. I expect more people to want to collect art like they may collect a watch or aspire to buy a car — you start with a Swatch, graduate to a Timex and then buy your Tag Heuer (or you start driving a Myvi, graduate to a Vios, then buy yourself a Civic, and then a Camry, and then a C Class Mercedes).

Anyway, to think about it, last year I picked up a Thierry Noir, caught Ai Weiwei in Berlin, went around Siem Reap looking at art and purchasing a piece from a local artist, and I made my first purchase from a Malaysian photographer, Keng Leong. I myself took part in an exhibition called Web To Wall, back in 2006, when I was a much more active photographer. It’s only taking a decade to come together ;-)

In December 2014, it didn’t help that there were some really interesting stories I read about two very fascinating characters. The New Yorker had a profile of Hans Ulrich Obrist — The Art of Conversation. The other was the New York Times doing a profile of Stefan Simchowitz — The Art World’s Patron Saint.

This made me want to read and dig deeper about these two very interesting characters. And the multitude of articles are truly inspiring. 

So here’s looking forward to seeing what I do to achieve this goal this year and in the future.

IRC is back

IRC never really went away. If you are a participant in the opensource world, there’s a good chance you’ve fired up an IRC client to connect to your project channel (eg. #maria) to chat with people involved with the project.

Slack is becoming really popular, and from what I can tell, it looks very much like IRC. I tried Kik again, when I read Hashtags as Social Networks. This is IRC — with a channel limit (50 users). The twist is that its mobile, since you’re quite happily doing this kind of chat on your mobile phone.

Netflix & streaming from overseas

New 37" LCDIt is disappointing reading that Netflix is cracking down on VPN and proxy “pirates”. This is how odd the movie industry has it when it comes to thinking about licensing — after all, people are subscribing to Netflix for $8.99 and then getting onto a VPN service like Unotelly from anywhere between $4.95-$7.95/mo.

Effectively due to the movie industry’s idiotic practices, foreign viewers are already willing to pay almost double in “taxes” to the VPN provider.

Where will these people turn to when Netflix stops streaming them movies? Torrents. Who loses when those offering to pay use torrents? The movie industry. 

Update: Why Netflix won’t block VPN users – it has too many of them. Apparently the numbers are in excess of 30 million subscribers.

Evernote notes not loading?

Today I got a shock when I looked at Evernote 6.0.5 on Mac – I had all of 2 notes and 3 notebooks. I logged onto the web interface and confirmed that everything was there. I looked at the local data directory and confirmed the database was there. Something was wrong with the software. 

Turns out this has happened since Evernote 6.0.1 — Evernote for Mac 6: Mac App Store Version – Notes Not Loading, Untitled Note or Slowness Issues.

The solution is to install the non-Mac App Store version. Which I did and it seems like all my notes are coming back. I’m glad this is the case, but can you imagine losing over 13,000 notes? As Evernote tries to be many different things (including having things like Work Chat — really?), it is clearly focusing a lot less on quality of their output. 

I have a little over a year left to “switch to the cloud”, and I’m nowhere close to it yet. 

Acting on ideas

I think it’s really important to write ideas everyday. In fact, it’s a new year — if you don’t already have a notebook and pen, get one. I personally rely on Evernote, a notebook (lately, I’m starting to think I might like the Evernote Moleskine notebooks – I’ve started with the Moleskine Evernote Business Notebook for meetings) and a pen. 

When you are set, don’t forget to read James Altucher: FAQ on how to become an Idea Machine. I particularly like the following:

I have an Idea. How do I get money for it?
You don’t. You have to implement it. You have to have other people who like it. You have to get money from customers who like it. You have to build up so that it can support yourself.

For my first business, I started it, got customers, got employees, had an office, and then, 18 months into it, I quit my fulltime job, and went to my startup fulltime.

That’s how business works in the real world.
We live in an entitled world now where people think ideas are enough now to get funding and make billions.

Go old school. Deliver proven value to others, charge money for it, get testimonials about how good your product is, and then you’ve widened the horizon of your decisions. That’s the path to success.

Bluetooth speakers

Back in 2012, we spent Christmas in London and when it came time to listen to some Christmas songs, we ended up using none other than the phone streaming music from Rdio. There was no external speaker or anything. It was just the four of us huddled together in a room. This experience was far from ideal.

Fast forward to 2015 and its worth noting things have changed. Today, hotels come with devices like the JBL Flip Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker by default. This is an improvement to the standard iPod docks that I’ve seen at most hotels because Bluetooth works with pretty much any phone/tablet.

At Christmas this year, we had a smaller party, and for the first time we used an iPad streaming music from Rdio to a Jawbone Mini Jambox. Audiophiles said it had good bass, but was missing a bit of treble. Keep in mind that the normal equipment is a Marantz CD Player, a Quad amplifier, and Harbeth speakers. At another property, the setup is similar, with a Tempest amplifier; and again we were impressed by the Jambox.

I don’t consider myself an audiophile by any stretch, but I do like to listen to music and am all the happier when I can hear it everywhere I am. Do I miss the quality of CDs? Nope. And I’m beginning to think more will listen to music the way I do so now.