Journal #166 – Becoming, Being A Software Developer, and Moving On

When I was younger, like around 15, I didn’t know what I want to do like everybody else. Then a friend of mine started talking about making video games as a career because back then we were spending lot of our free time playing video games.

I remembered becoming inspired, deciding that I want to be a game developer. I started working towards that goal. So I studied hard for my GCE O Level examination and managed to pass all my subjects.

My greatest fear back then was failing mathematics. I have always been doing very poorly on that subject. And so I was decently surprised I passed it.

Then I went to choose a polytechnic because that was the fastest formal route that I could see to becoming a game developer.

So I went to applied for a course known back then as Diploma in Digital Entertainment & Technology. But I couldn’t get in with my GCE O level scores. I got chosen for the course under my second option, Diploma in Information Technology. That course had a final year specialisation in game development.

So I spent the next two years and a half learning about software design, Java programming (Standard and Enterprise), and UI design before taking the game development specialisation in the last semester.

I didn’t do too shabby but my results could have been better. I was genuinely surprised that I scored a Distinction for the course module on Computer Graphics as it was a math-heavy subject.

After getting my Diploma, I applied for University and got into Computer Science at Nanyang Technological University. After finishing my two years of conscription service, I went to work at my former internship company on a full-time basis before converting to freelancing for them.

It was during that time I went to develop my first ever internal product.

When my university program started, I studied more mathematics, algorithms, networking stuff, and software engineering. I went for specialization in high-performance computing by taking three modules in my final year relating to parallel computing, simulation and modeling, system architecture. My final year project was also related to high-performance computing in the form of me doing sparse-matrix benchmarking for Intel Xeon Phi, Nvidia Kepler GPU, and Intel Xeon CPU and comparing their result.

Why I chose High-performance computing? The reason was simple.

During the years while I was serving my nation, I actually participated in World Community Grid and Folding@Home. I was inspired by the use of supercomputing to solve world’s problem. I wanted to see if I can have a career out of it.

After graduating with a Honours Degree in Engineering (Computer Science), I couldn’t find a decent job related to supercomputing. Singapore is too small to be supporting a supercomputing community or industry. So in terms of job, I went searching for software development.

I landed at a software house focusing on developing workflow products. That is my second exposure to a “product” development. After that, in my second year at the company, I requested to be involved in maintaining a payment gateway, also the company’s own product.

However, I did left the company for another because the company violated one of my personal value: Integrity.

I decided to try some kind of consulting work and during my product development days, I was also involved in the development of authentication and authorization application. I saw some potential there to grow in and besides I was interested in security. And so, I went to see if I can do some work there.

Now, if you have been reading my journals from around March 2017 until July 2017, you will see me talking about my days at this company. While I was there, I suffered verbal abuse from my boss, which ultimately led me into depression. This depression, gastric-issues, constant insomnia since Feb of 2017, and comments from my boss and manager led me to make the final decision to quit. My mental and physical health just isn’t worth it. It was also then that I thought maybe I want to go back to software development, specifically product development. But first, I needed a break.

So I went and spent the whole of August doing new things. I signed up for a drone piloting course and an art course. Since I also needed some money, I went back to do work with my client. They had some new issues needing my attention.

In the meantime, I did some self-actualization work and re-evaluate what I want to do in my life. That was how I determined that I actually wanted to do more writing, less management, less big-picture, and less running around.

So I did more writing.

Then I came to realize I no longer have that strong passion in technology or software development anymore. But it was too late as I had signed the employment contract with my current company. I couldn’t back out of it without penalty. So I went to work, struggled for a week to adapt to corporate environment. I kept telling myself too that what I have now is just simply a job to pay the bills. Yesterday’s meeting that I had with my project team also revealed something about my level of disenagement. I didn’t talk a lot and did my best to push away stuff.

Last but not least, I also made the decision that this job will be the last full-time software development job I will be taking on. I’m trying to save up enough money so that I can have a do-over. It’s time for a career change. I do have a client whom I do freelance work with and I shall continue to work with them until the end of life for the software that I’m maintaining for them. That shall be the supplementary income that I will use to speed up the building up of my savings.

So what’s next for me?

It’s simple really. But not easy.

I will be transiting to becoming a full-time writer of sort. But what kind of content that I want to be writing, I’m not sure yet. Maybe I will give journalism a go. The type of fictional and non-fictional writing that I have been doing so far shall continue. As for job, I will take on some kind of part-time employment and see how it turns out.

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Journal #165 – Pet Peeves, Maybe OCD

Why do I write this?

Because my mom moved my MacBook, caused the power adapter to disconnect (luckily it wasn’t powered otherwise, a short-circuit could happen), and moved the mice.

I get that she needs to wipe my computer desk and I should be the one wiping.

But…

For some reason, she don’t get that I hate people touching my stuff, especially my electronic devices. It’s so obvious that I always get extremely upset over such incidents.

This is one of my pet peeves. I somehow don’t think it’s any different from OCD. People suffering from OCD have certain extreme preference for certain order, certain color, etc.

It is also rude when no permission was asked. And I feel an overwhelming sense of dread. Every electronic that I buy or own are not cheap. They are usually top-of-the-line at that time, and I used my own money to buy them. I take especially good care of my devices. So I can’t help but feel that there is always a very good chance an accident will happen and I end up needing to replace the item and worse, lose all my data.

Now, I also apply this carefulness when I handle other people stuff but I will still ask permission if I want to manipulate or touch something. But I can’t say the same for others.

My family, especially parents, are traditional asian type. Therefore, they don’t get the need for certain boundaries. I guess the only way to reduce my anxiety level is: I shall just either keep my electronic device in some locked cabinet in my room or bring it with me to work (even though I don’t need it there. Use of your own computing device is not allowed at my current workplace). Practicality vs preventing anxiety attack… I rather go with the latter.

Of course Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help but I don’t see it affecting my quality of life. It didn’t reach that stage where it’s affecting my relationship with other people because my friends and colleagues do ask permission and vice versa.

Only when it comes to my parents this issue comes up.

I have other pet peeves too.

I get upset when I’m touched, even accidentally, by strangers. And sometimes even by friends.

I get really upset when something that I owned is damaged or ruined due to negligence or indifference during handling.

I find it extremely disgusting if I have to share my used utensils with other people or when people used their used utensils to grab food for me. So either use the service utensils or I grab it myself.

I hate it when people are making weird stupid noises in cinemas.

I think that’s all that I could think of.

What are your pet peeves?

Journal #164 – Minimalism, Gratitude, Patience, and 5% More

Singaporeans sure complain alot; I complain a lot. We all are miserable.

Let me be clear. I don’t know of the minute details that led them to complain a lot but I assume it has to do with them NOT doing the following:

  1. Simplifying their lives
  2. Be grateful for what they already have
  3. Have patience for things to happen
  4. Applying 5% more effort, more time, to achieve what they want.

Of course, you may get upset and ask: how I can assume that? You may just say: I am not you or him or her. I am stupid. I haven’t experienced enough.

The list goes on.

I do question myself: Am I right or wrong with my assumption?

All I can say is, I don’t know. But what do I know? I drew my current conclusion through my observations thus far. And I do know I am like that too. I didn’t simplify my life. I wasn’t grateful for what I already have. I wasn’t patient enough to wait for things. I didn’t apply 5% more effort, or more time on whatever I want to achieve.

It made me unhappy. It made me FUCKING MISERABLE!

Now?

I simplified my life when it comes to material goods and owning things. Having access is more important. I buy only when I truly need it, and after I have asked myself several questions and answered them.

It doesn’t mean I am not affected by advertisement and the emotions associated with getting new things. I personally love getting gadgets. In the past, I got new phones, MP3 players, Discmans, etc., just because I want them. And at this stage of my life, I love Apple’s products and wanted to get the latest and greatest (iPhone X, I am looking at you). I am afterall like you, a human too. However, I applied 5% more effort to change my mindset (I am a lazy person and enjoy things status quo, so it’s a struggle everyday) and accept the feelings I have, then I moved on.

Simplification also come into play on what I have to say next. There is one thing in Singapore that always grind parents’ gears. I am not a parent nor do I foresee myself getting married anytime soon. So I don’t know what is it like. But I see it everywhere and I do know what it brings. It brings unhappiness. It makes everybody in the circle fucking miserable. I see it in every parent’s face.

What is it? Education.

Parents in Singapore always compare with their friends and colleagues when it comes to their kids’ educations. They fret over the school their kids go to, how much tuition their kids should get, etc.

Why they do it?

They have good intention behind it. All parents want their kids to have a better life than they did. They applied their worldview of having more money and climbing the corporate ladder as having a better life.

But it has gotten to a point where it becomes fucking excessive, especially when it comes to tuition or expectations parents have of their kids. It put pressure on both ends, no doubt. Parents, wanting the best for their kids, send them to the best school and tuition centers, spending out thousands of dollars every month. It strained their finances, creating unhappiness. Kids have more homework, less play. They suffer from unnecessary anxiety. As kids, they tend to suffer more because they are unable to articulate out. They internalized it as just went “because my parent blah blah blah…, I have to do it.” When they fail, they blame themselves. That leads to the increasing number of children committing suicide. When that happens, parents will be putting the blame on themselves. If they have more than one child, the other children in the household will also suffer.

So my question is: Is it fucking worth it?

And that question applies to your finances, and your family’s happiness and wellbeing.

That lead me to gratitude. I have also applied gratefulness whenever I am aware of it. There are times when emotions run high, I forget about it or didn’t realize it. I am grateful that I am alive, have a family, and friends. I am grateful that my parents allowed me to explore what I like and dislike. I am grateful that I am not living in poverty and had a decent education. I am grateful that I had and have decent jobs (though I don’t like my current one, it just pays the bills), so that I can have some stability in life.

I have also tried to be more patient. I am an extremely impatient person. I like to see results the moment I applied some action. It is still a work in progress. But over time, I have learned to take it slow and enjoy the process. Just like right now. I applied patience to my writing. In the past, all I thought about was wanting to be maybe a New York bestseller or at least be the best science-fiction novelist from Singapore. And I couldn’t wait to get there. Now I know it’s not easy. And it will never be. It takes patience and hard work.

Both gratitude and patience can go hand-in-hand too. It applies to my family and friends. I am also grateful for the fact that Singapore has a decent, working public transport that can get me to most places and try to be patient when there is a train fault. No need for random outburst or public display of unhappiness. If you can’t wait any longer, accept the situation, move on, and find an alternative.

If you studied and applied stoicism, even at the bare minimum, you will be able to understand what I am talking about.

But most Singaporeans will just complain. I don’t think they have that patience anymore. I also don’t think they have the gratitude anymore. They are always looking for greener grass without wanting to do anything about it. Or they just blame the politicians. I know I do. But it doesn’t change anything. Now I know that. You can vote out the politician at the next election cycle but the real problem is YOU.

Has always been you.

I have come to acknowledge and realize that politicians deal with big picture. They have a grand plan of how to make Singapore a better place. Someone has to do that so that we as nation has a direction. It is up to us to implement. But have we been implementing? We may have but is it enough?

That lead me to the part on 5% more. 5% more effort. 5% more time.

The loudest Singapore complainers are who I assume to be lazy. You can get all defensive with that all you want or lie to me or make up some excuses. I don’t care. At the end, you could be lying to yourself to make yourself feel good and then continue to feel fucking miserable. So start asking yourself, what have I been doing and finding an answer to that.

From what I have observed, these people are NOT spending 5% more effort and time to be on the ground, focusing on making changes to their immediate environment or to themselves. Instead, they rather spend the energy and time doing something as meaningless as complaining.

It’s just noise really. No meaningful actions.

I’m pretty sure even entrepreneurs also say that complaining does nothing. Only by doing, you see result.

And what do I mean by doing? Here are some examples:

 

If you are a rail engineer, put in 5% more effort (even if you are not fucking paid for it), when it comes to train maintenance. How much is 5%? I don’t know the actual amount for you. For me, as a Software Engineer, 5% more simply could mean running an additional unit test on a piece of function before pushing out that piece of code.

 

If you are a parent, put in 5% more time to instill patience in your kids so that they grow up to be patient to wait for things to happen. You see, impatience is a major contributing factor to quality problem at the end. People just want result or get something done and over with at the snap of a finger. So they cut corners instead of spending 5% more effort, 5% more time or even both to deliver quality. Technology these days has made us even more impatient. We get instant dopamine rush or gratification from our smart phones. Instant notifications. Instant news. Instant feedbacks. So much so that we forgot what is it like to wait.

 

You see, if we on the ground didn’t even do things properly within our immediate environment or with ourselves, be fucking patient with the process, be grateful for what we have already achieved, how the fuck can we effect changes at other places.

For me, minimalism was hard. Gratitude was, and sometimes, is hard. Patience is hard. But I applied the same 5% more mindset to them. The end result is. I’m happier than I was. I’m less miserable than I was.

So I hope you can see that, it all starts with us, as an individual. I’m good now. Are you?

Journal #163 – Writing Fiction

It’s had been more than three years since I last wrote any decent fiction. Life has taken over. Full-time work has sucked most of my creative energy out.

Yes, I have writing my journal for six months now, and that means I can easily start writing non-fiction anytime if I put my mind to it. However, writing fiction is a whole different thing. It requires formulation of a decent story, creation of characters, the setting and tell it in an interesting way.

I’d admit I was struggling when I wrote New Rising. I only started writing that story earlier this week on Tuesday and I couldn’t get into the writing flow. My story wasn’t well thought out either. By the time I publish it, I couldn’t finish it.

But I still published it even it’s half done because I made a promise to publishing one short story on the 15th of every month. It’s also all about putting it out there no matter how good or bad you think it is. And it’s also all about the process of getting started and trying. If I didn’t try, I would have failed.

And now it’s all about maintaining that momentum. I will need to keep practicing writing fiction and non-fiction. Consistency when it comes to putting out at least one short story every month is also equally important.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Short Story #1 – New Rising

The air dried and cold with constant heavy snow that went on the four days. Everything is covered under a thick layer of snow. The negative thirty temperatures forced everyone to stay in their home, surrounded by family members and whatever heating apparatus they could get their hands on. No one could go anywhere unless they want to risk freezing to death or face something worse.

No one knew how long such weather would last, just like no one knew anything about the previous weathers. It had been that way for as far as anyone knew. The last weather report was nearly two hundred years ago. Attempts at predicting the weather by the shamans, the wiseman, or whoever wise enough and trusted by the tribes, were partially a success. They helped the rest of their respective tribes to prepare for weather extremes. Correct predictions were recorded for future references.

The Huntsman Tribe was a tribe that took pride of their conscientious record keeping and used that to prepare well for the winter.

Tar’Kari was the wiseman for the Huntsman Tribe. The tribe had approximately three hundred members including women and children. Their homes, in the form of animal skin-based tents mixed with ancient technology and materials, dotted the land in a rough circle. Surrounding the village was a mix of nature and metal skeleton of what was formerly Banso City, a once bustling city with nearly two million people before a major cataclysmic event wiped it out.

Compared to wisemen from other tribes, Tar’Kari knew a lot more about the old world, their technology, and way of life. His tribe wasn’t crippled by superstitions rampant in other tribes and his tribal leaders were adamant about knowing more about the old world. They all could agree that knowing more about the world was important to their survival; so he was always out exploring, collecting, and studying.

A week ago, he came across an unexplored cave ten kilometers east of his tribe’s home during one of his hiking trip. Knowing it could take him several weeks to map the whole cave by himself, he went back to his tribal leaders and asked for help. He presented his case and after half a week long deliberation, the leaders finally agreed to an expedition with Tar’Kari leading it. Joining him were fifteen specialists drawn from his tribe.

Over the next few days, the tribal communal areas saw an increased amount of activities as the selected specialists packed their bags with supplies. Their families and friends had joined in to help.

The expedition team left the village and came upon the vast forest separating the village and cave. The winter had made sure the trees no longer had any leaves left and the ground thick with snow. As the team trekked across the forest, they left behind a trail of footprints, each several centimeter deep.

On the second day of their journey, the weather became harsher. Winds were blaring through the barren forest accompanied by eerie howls. The wind brought heavy snow, slowing the team progress down and reducing their visions to just an half an arm length. They had to setup camp and wait out the snow.

The winds reduced in intensity the next day. The team set off again reaching the cave by late afternoon.

The entrance of the cave was a rough hexagon, stretching to five meters at its widest and tallest. There was a light breeze and it carried a slight hint of berry. Compared to the air outside the cave, the breeze was warm.

The team made their way in, taking notes of what they came across and were careful not to destroy anything. Several meters in, they came upon a large, mostly empty hall. Voices echoed easily in this place. By now, the excitement amongst the team members were nearly uncontainable but Tar’Kari knew that it was best the team settle down and rest up. They would continue with the rest of the exploration They setup their respective tents and prepared dinner.

After dinner, most of the expedition team members went to bed. Tar’Kari on the hand was excited and anxious to discover what lies beyond the great hall. He couldn’t sleep. With some gears and basic supplies in tow, he set off deeper into the cave by himself.

[To be Continued]

Journal # 162 – Friday Movie Night

Another week’s gone. Weekend is here. For some reason, despite me hating my job, I manage to be productive enough to deliver a function for the project that involve WCF, Authentication, and WPF.

Other than working, I actually spent most of my working hours chatting with my colleagues, doing job searches, looking for courses, and chatting on Facebook with my friends.

At around 1800hrs, I left office and made my way to Jem to meet my friend for movie.

I’m writing this part of the journal while sitting in the cinema. Earlier, I went to have dinner first at Xing Wang Cafe, ordered their speciality fried rice, a piece of pork chop, and a glass of iced honey lemon drink. While I was eating, my friend went to collect the movie ticket for the movie call Innocent Curse at 1900hrs.

That’s all for now.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

10 Tech News Roundup #4

Here are 10 tech news that I found interesting.

The wireless chargers at Starbucks will get updated to support iPhone X and 8 – Yes, you should be able to charge your new iPhone X or iPhone 8 at Starbucks. Techcrunch

DARPA Pledges Another $300 Million for Post-Moore’s Readiness – Yesterday, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched a giant funding effort to ensure the United States can sustain the pace of electronic innovation vital to both a flourishing economy and a secure military. HPCWire

The iPhone X’s Face ID could be a troubling harbinger of what’s to come – The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your face is almost certainly the door to your wallet. Oh, and also the last vestiges of your privacy. Mashable

An Apple executive just revealed tasty new details about Face ID we didn’t know – Apple’s iPhone X is here, and with it comes a new controversial features: Face ID. Mashable

WhatsApp’s unsend feature will soon let users delete shameful messages – Thanks to the numerous messaging apps available today, communicating with each other has never been easier. Techspot

Facebook Messenger Day hits 70M daily users as the app reaches 1.3B monthlies – Facebook has finally revealed how its Snapchat Stories clone is doing, though it’s not seeing the same explosive growth as Instagram or WhatApp’s version Techcrunch

Apple is turning a design quirk into the iPhone X’s defining feature – Draw me an iPhone. The lines may be squiggly, the rounded corners imperfect, but almost everyone you pose this challenge to will present you with the shape of a rectangle containing another rectangle sat atop a circle. The Verge

Ad industry attacks Safari’s effort to protect your privacy – When Safari 11 arrives on iPhones and Macs later this month, Apple’s browser will come with a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention that makes it harder for advertisers and publishers to track what you do online. CNET

Singapore public organisation faced state-sponsored cyberattack last year: CSA – SINGAPORE: An unidentified public organisation in Singapore faced a foreign “state-sponsored” cyberattack late last year, according to a report released by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) on Thursday (Sep 15).
Channel NewsAsia

Singtel launches unlimited data mobile plans – SINGAPORE: Singtel on Friday (Sep 15) launched mobile plans offering unlimited data, two weeks after rivals StarHub and M1 unveiled similar plans catering to data-hungry consumers.
Channel NewsAsia

Journal #161 – Balance Pragmatism and Idealism

Life would be so much better if everything is actually ideal, meaning you get what you want when you want and how you want it. But life isn’t full of ideal situations. So there are times when you actually need to be practical, pragmatic in your approach to life.

For me, I am someone who want to be able to do whatever whenever I feel like it. I will be excited to want to try and do something without much thoughts into how I might achieve it. That’s me being idealistic.

For example, I wanted to be a full-time writer and having a part-time job.

At first, I will be willing to quit my full time job at the slightest of discomfort or unhappiness. But after a few days, the emotions died down and then I start to realize it was a stupid plan. The me who craves stability and safety took over and be the one driving all my actions. Plans will be put in place.

I kept the desire to to be a full-time writer as a long term goal but there has to be a decent plan to achieve certain level of competency and freedom especially in areas such as financial before I can quit my full-time job. I also need to decide what kind of full-time writing I want to do. I do know I enjoy fiction writing but is it enough? What are the other things that I could try? I ask myself questions like: Do I want to be a technical writer? Do I want to be a journalist? If I am a journalist, what would I like to cover? How good are my research skills?

Turns out I don’t have any decent answer for any of the above questions. There are also questions when when it comes to part-time job.

I also start to think about what I want to be doing? Am I willing to do something I know I will feel extremely stressful doing? Like customer service?

I also didn’t quite have a decent answer.

Other than finding answers to those questions, I also recognize that if I don’t work as a journalist or a technical writer, how would I know if I like it or not. Yet, companies in Singapore requires someone with at least 1 year of experience doing such writing before even considering you and not all of them has internship positions.

So how do I achieve competency?

A possible way would be to undergo a formal education so that I get some sort of certification. I actually went to search for courses and found some. However they need money. Money that I don’t have right now. Yes, I do have some emergency funds but that doesn’t mean I want to spend them for such thing. This is how I decided that my current full time job is really the best way for me to acquire those funds. Only after I reached a certain level of competency, would I go and do a proper career change.

There is a parallel way that I’m taking. This way is all about me showing up consistently and keep doing whatever I am doing now. That means, I will put daily journal up. But I know that isn’t enough. I know I need to start churning out more and more content. But what kind of content other than my journal that I should be putting out? I thought of fictional content like short story is a good start.

The funny thing is, I forgotten that I had already made a plan to show up consistently over the past two weeks. My emotions were in turmoil and I was trying to adapt to working in a corporate environment. I have in fact put on my calendar that I will publish one short story every month on the 15th last month.

Well, the 15th is fast approaching and honestly, I haven even thought of a decent story to write and the deadline that I set for myself is fast approaching. But I will figure out something.

If you someone like me who is always moved or affected by emotions, learn not to take any drastic action just yet. Wait it out and see if you will figure out a decent plan. You really just had to work through the shit and getting your hands dirty before you can get what you want.

I hope this can be of a great help.

Journal #160 – New Apple Products

On 12 September 2017 (13 September @ 0100hrs, Singapore time), Apple hosted a keynote event at the Steve Jobs Theater in the Apple Park Campus.

I actually stayed up from 0100hrs to 0330hrs Singapore to watch the whole event live on my MacBook Pro.

At that event, they announced new products spanning four product categories: Apple Retail Store, Apple TV, iPhone and Apple Watch.

For Apple retail store, SVP for retail, Angela, announced that many stores will be upgraded to become lifestyle centers or town plazas in various part of the world for people to gather. New concept designs will also be introduced and implemented at the stores with around 100 planned by the end of the year. She also promoted the Today at Apple events, and the stores will be increasing number of seats, improving the audio, and 50,000 beacons will be installed at 400 stores across 30 countries. If you are wondering about what I mean by beacons, you can read more here.

WatchOS 4 was next to be announced and it features new watch faces, and existing functionalities are expanded. One such functionality is the heart rate monitor. It will be better at detecting issues such as atrial filtration, a potential deadly condition. Activity tracking is also improved to allow better switching of workouts, can download gym equipment data. Apple Music on the watch is also getting an upgrade, featuring automatic recommendations, multiple playlists, and a better UI.

Remember the rumor about LTE-enabled Watch? Turns out it’s true. Apple announced Watch series 3. The LTE-enabled watch is now able to handle phone calls, and stream music without the need for the iPhone. Other upgrades include ability to connect to the AirPods to listen to music. Instead of using an actual SIM card, the Watch uses e-SIM.

I am personally very excited about the LTE-version because it will allow me to go for workouts and listen to music without bringing my iPhone 7 plus out.

Apple TV now finally supports both HDR and 4K with its A10X processor. As part of the announcement, Apple also announced the expansion of the TV app for countries like Canada and Australia to include local television programs. Last but not least, 4K Contents from Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix will be included.

The biggest announcement was actually about the iPhones. Apple first announced iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus that use glass for phones’ bodies with color-matched, aerospace-grade aluminum band, featured True Tone display, and HDR. The cameras are also specially calibrated for augmented reality. The portrait mode is also upgraded with new lighting capabilities. The phones also come with better stereo speakers, and wireless charging. To power these phones, they use the new A11 Bionic processor with Apple designed 3-core GPU, Neural Engine for machine learning purpose and the M11 motion co-processor. These phones will be available for pre-order on 15 September at 1501pm GMT8 with iPhone 8 starting at SG$1148 and iPhone 8 Plus starting at SG$1308.

After that, Apple also announced the more “advanced”, more expensive iPhone X to mark the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone. As the rumors indicated, home button has been removed, uses Face ID instead of Touch ID, and rely more on 3D touch and gestures for most of the interaction with the phone. iPhone X also featured Super Retina display with HDR using OLED screen. The iPhone X also featured a wider display at 5.8 inches. SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, demoed how easy it is to use the iPhone X with iOS 11. Face ID is also demonstrated to be very fast. The phone will be available for pre-order from 1501hrs GMT8 with the phone starting at SG$1648.

Personally, I don’t see the need for me to buy the new iPhones because my current ones can serve me rather well for a foreseeable future. That’s the minimalist me talking and a part of me however desire to own the iPhone x.

10 Science News Roundup #4

Here are 10 science news that I find interesting and important to take note.

USA threatened by more frequent flooding – The East Coast of the United States is threatened by more frequent flooding in the future. Science Daily

How openings in Antarctic sea ice affect worldwide climate – In 1974, images acquired from NOAA satellites revealed a puzzling phenomenon: a 250,000 square kilometer opening in the winter sea ice in the Weddell Sea, south of South America. Science Daily

Looking stressed can help keep the peace – Scratching is more than an itch — when it is sparked by stress, it appears to reduce aggression from others and lessen the chance of conflict. Science Daily

The sun’s strongest flare in 11 years might help explain a solar paradox – A series of rapid-fire solar flares is providing the first chance to test a new theory of why the sun releases its biggest outbursts when its activity is ramping down. Science News

Brain chemical lost in Parkinson’s may contribute to its own demise – The brain chemical missing in Parkinson’s disease may have a hand in its own death. Science News

A Monster ‘Fatberg’ The Size of 20 Elephants Is Clogging London’s Sewer Right Now – Those ‘flushable’ wipes sure are a gross problem. Combined with nappies (diapers), condoms, tampons and congealed fat, they can stick together to form a gargantuan ‘fatberg’, like the one currently clogging up a section of London’s sewers. Science Alert

Uncontacted Tribe in The Amazon Reportedly Massacred by Illegal Gold Miners – Prosecutors in Brazil are investigating reports that illegal gold miners allegedly massacred up to 10 members of a remote, uncontacted tribe in the Brazilian Amazon. Science Alert

Lost Spanish Town Emerges From A Reservoir During A Drought – A drought has caused the ruins of a lost Spanish town to emerge out of the waters that usually cover it, revealing the remains of the old town as it stood when it was abandoned decades ago. IFLScience

Scientist Slams Climate Change Deniers In Brilliant Viral Post – The overwhelming consensus on climate change in the scientific community is that it’s real, and it’s man-made. The most commonly-cited figure is that 97.1 percent of scientific studies support the view that climate change is caused by humans. IFLScience

Scientists Just Added a Shocking 20 New Branches to The Tree of Life – Scientists have identified the genomes of close to 8,000 microorganisms from samples taken out in the field – and around a third of them are distinct from any life forms known to science, adding a crazy 20 new branches to our tree of microscopic life. Science Alert