Monday, January 19, 2015

Malaysia's First Online Science Shop -!

Wow, has it been 4 months since I last posted?

Time flies. Been too busy with some personal projects and recently found a new job so I kinda left this blog for awhile.

Anyway, I'm back!

Today, I'm going into introduce to you Malaysia's first online science equipment e-commerce store, aptly named as (and very easy to remember too).

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Fujifilm X30, X100T, XT1 Graphite, XF50-140 f2.8 and XF56 f1.2 APD Malaysia Launch (phew!)

The Invitation

One thing I like about being a Fujifilm photographer is that I get to attend their product launches. The last one was the launch of the X-T1 and two weeks ago I got this special invite in my mail box. I immediately signed up as I just had to try their new XF 50-140mm f2.8 lens, but the event start time was rather odd, at 5pm.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My XiaoMi Redmi 1S Review

The Excitement

I was in my office, minding my own business and ready for lunch, when suddenly I heard my colleague screaming a loud "YES!!! I GOT IT!!!". She was about 24, bubbly and at that moment... really excited.


Oh no, I mused, not another one of those crazy XiaoMi purchase. There has been an air of excitement going around my office the past month with a couple of colleague of mine had gotten hold of some phone called the Mi3 earlier on. They boasted about how cheap the price was and how it blows the Samsung Galaxy S5 out of the water. But I really couldn't tell why they wanted a "China" phone so much, and this is partly because I am loyal Apple fan. But my many colleagues' enthusiasm really got me wondering: is the XiaoMi really that great?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Updating to iOS 8 on iPad Mini Retina

It's that time of the year again! Yes, Apple finally released the iOS 8 update to the mass consumers. I did my update on the very first day it launched and will do a quick share a bit of my experience here. :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Top 10 FREE Mac Hacks and Tips for Newbies and All!

Macs are simply awesome. On the outside, they are beautiful to behold and to hold. On the inside, you have Mac OS and free annual OS updates which actually improves the experience.

As much as I love my Macbooks to bits, there are just times where you simply wonder why can't Macs be like Windows. Often the answers are right under our nose (i.e. it's built into Mac but we never knew!) and other times, you need some help. Whether you are a Mac newbie or a relatively seasoned user, I hope are my top 10 tips and hacks that I use daily will benefit you. And the best part? They are 100% free.

Cheap Macbook Air USB Ethernet LAN Hub Review

Macbook On A Budget: Episode 1

Welcome to my latest series, exploring how you can stretch your wallet after you have sold your kidney for the latest Mac. 

One thing you will notice sorely lacking when you buy your Macbook Air, is that there is no Ethernet aka LAN port. It's all great, if you don't need it, but when you are in the office fighting for WiFi connectivity with 50 other colleagues, this can be a lifesaver. There are two options for you to add an Ethernet port to your Macbook Air, either through USB or through the Thunderbolt port. Both will set you USD29 if you are to buy an original Apple accessory. 

Let me now show you how you can get not just an Ethernet port, but another extra three USB ports for 6 times cheaper!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Apple Watch and My Humble Opinion

Today two of my all time favorite companies released a load of new products: Apple and Fujifilm. And Apple revealed their Apple Watch.

When I first saw their 10 minute ad narrated by Jony Ive, I have to say I was mesmerized. I never thought I would ever want a "smartwatch". Digital watches are so 1990 and I have not had a digital watch since I was 12. When Samsung and others started with their smartwatch trend, I had not a tinge of desire for them. So what makes Apple's so appealing to me? After the morning hype, I decided to objectively think about the reason behind this.

The Boy Inside

Remember I said I last worn a digital watch when I was 12? That was when the Casio calculator watches were the coolest watches on earth too, but something my parents would never buy for me. Deep down, buried deep inside of me, there must be this desire to own the ultimate digital watch, but has never surfaced until I saw the Apple Watch.

Ah the classic

The Build Up

Jony Ive said, Switzerland is f***ed just a few days before the launch. Saying it's a big claim is an understatement. And the publicity about how Apple are snapping up watch and fashion industry leaders to work for their "secret" project simply means that they are willing to spend top dollar to hire people who knows the industry inside and out to design something not just an appliance, but as a fashion statement too. This leads to a lot of credibility subconsciously, telling me that what they will release is not just a digital watch, but a highly fashionable one too.

Not just popular for Mont Blanc

The Brand

A watch is highly personal. You wear it everyday, almost all the time. When we choose a watch, a brand plays a very high importance whether you know it or not. A Swiss watch would be the best, or if on a budget, perhaps a Japanese brand. But it's just strange to put a brand that made your fridge and washing machine on your wrist. Apple on the other hand has always been a premium brand, which is synonymous to beautiful designs and innovative products. The experience of buying a Macbook from an Apple Store is simply a different class, and I foresee that the Apple Watches will only be sold in the branded stores and specially trained sales representatives on how to sell watches and not just gadgets.

Do you want to wear this on your wrist?

The Buckles and Straps

Oh, the buckles and straps. A watch is incomplete without it's buckle and strap. And Apple took that and really gave the widest ranges available and with seriously nice designs too. What more, they are going to make both a male and female sized versions of the watch.

Random buckle I found online

The Brains

The Apple Watch must first appeal to the wearer that it is worthy of being put onto their wrist first. They did it by their brand value, but also by their action of hiring industry experts. They then made it very appealing physically, with the classical looking Digital Crown and the strap choices. While I'm not a rectangular face watch fan, I've seen many expensive watches of rectangular faces, so it's really a subjective thing here. A rectangular face allows better use of screen real estate, compared to a round one like the Moto 360. The final touch to why the watch appeals to me is really it's brains and what it does inside. The many choices of watch faces, the many sensors inside the watch for health monitoring, the vibrating function to subtly remind the wearers of notifications, the touch and pressure feature, the personal sharing of little gestures to your loved one, etc.

The many pretty faces. Like Mickey Mouse!

What Others Are Saying

As usual, there are loads of naysayers about the Apple Watch. Why would anyone need another device on their hand when their phone is always with them already. It's the same notifications anyway. Or, what's the battery life gonna be like. Or, it still needs to be tethered to your iPhone for it to work. And as history will tell you, they will still make boatloads of money and one day the person next to you will be wearing one. And then three years from now, you probably would too. Remember how people used to ask who needs an iPad?

Was all over the Facebook when iPad got launched. Guess who has the last laugh?

Why the Apple Watch is a game changer for Apple

Apple has always sought to take an important part of our lives and make it easier: Music. Computing. Mobile Phones. And they always do it by conquering the ecosystem first. Today, they are planning to take on your Payment and your Watch. Both have been around since forever, and their digital counterparts ahead of Apple too (does Google Wallet and Android Wear sound familiar?). And here's why I think they still did it:

1. The watch industry is a high-end market industry. A watch can cost as much as a car. Heck, it can cost as much as Ferrari. Even a super simple Swiss designed watch from Tissot would cost RM1000 (USD300). And at the same time, the watch is something that almost everyone has and need to have. A lot of people have more than one, for different occasions. By tapping into a lucrative market like this, Apple can sell their watches at USD300 or even USD500 and can still safely get a huge market. And the cost of making an Apple Watch is probably significantly lower than an iPhone, since there are fewer parts and components and materials required. This means really high margins.

A Franck Muller watch with it's signature rectangular-oval shape which most people can't afford

2. The smartphone industry is saturated. Yes the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will sell another boatload, BUT their market share is being severely taken up by the cheaper and comparable competition. Just take a look at XiaoMi. Their XiaoMi Redmi 1S selling at RM419 vs the iPhone 6 at around RM2800. Is it an unfair comparison? Not really. I've one Redmi 1S and I can say it can do almost anything the iPhone 6 can do. At 6 times cheaper, one can afford to change a phone every year for 6 years but with the iPhone, you really have to stay with it for at most 4 years. I did it with my iPhone 4 and it was great the first 2+ years, then it became quite unbearable as apps became more processor and memory intensive.

Nope, not the iPhone 6 Plus. It's the XiaoMi M4 which is 3 times cheaper.

By launching a watch that requires a user to also own an iPhone (iPhone 5 and above only mind you), means one has no choice but to get an iPhone to enjoy the Apple Watch. Simply put, it's a brilliant strategy for Apple to get you even more hooked into their ecosystem.

3. New form of App Store revenue. Having used both iOS and Android, I have to say the App Store apps win hands down in terms of quantity and quality. With the Apple Watch, I foresee a huge potential in new apps made specifically for the Apple Watch, and that really means even more money in the pipeline.

Potential reservations for me

Having said all of this, I do have some reservations before I buy the watch. Here are my list:

  • I'm already getting a lot of wireless radiation from my phones. Do I really want to put another bunch on my wrist?
  • I really don't like the thought of putting an expensive "Made in China" watch on my wrist. Of course, Apple will do it's best to hide this fact, but that's the plain truth. Call me old fashion, but Swiss made watches have a special appeal to them.
  • It's rectangular in shape, and I do prefer a round watch. May be it'll grow on me.
  • I need to buy an iPhone to use the watch. Getting both watch and phone will burn too big a hole in my pocket now.
  • I can't really think of a killer app for the watch just yet. Is it the health monitoring? The NFC (payments or other usages)? Other than those two, there are no real compelling reasons to own one, except probably it looks pretty with all the different faces and that Jony Ive wears one too.
  • Unknown battery life. While the charging is rather cool with the magnetic magsafe like thingy, we still don't know how long it would last. And it's pretty sad if I had to carry the charger everywhere I go. Ideally it should really go for at least 3 days before a charge but I doubt it.
Well, that's just my humble opinion and I'll probably be wearing the Apple Watch 3S one day.

UPDATE 12 Sept 2014:

After looking at the response of friends on Facebook, it seems like Apple has hit the target with the ladies, something that the other smartwatches were not able to do. Three lady friends who are non-tech savvy people are already asking their husbands for the Apple Watch their birthday/valentine's/anniversary/Christmas gifts. While the naysayers on the net are mostly (probably all) geeks, they are not the ultimate buyers of watches and especially not fashion. Notice how Apple calls their watch "Apple Watch" rather than iWatch or iTime or even iGear? Would a woman wear a gear on their wrist? I am not one and I wouldn't too. The Apple Watch is really positioned as firstly as a watch, and then only a "device". 
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