Latest Technology Tidbits 2

LaterPay enters the US market with its media payment technology

Dated: 11 August 2017

Read More: LaterPay brings its media payment technology to the US

Summary:

Media companies will now gain access through LaterPay to a new form of business model that will allow them to monetize various pieces of content or getting users to buy a pass to their sites for a limited period of time.

It does sounds a lot like micropayment. When it comes to the internet, micropayment as a model tends to fall flat. Cosmin Ene, LaterPay’s founder and CEO, said that their technology is suppose to make the payment process as frictionless as possible. No payment information is needed when readers buy their first piece of content. It’s only when the bill reaches $5 that the users would need to pay up.

LaterPay raised an additional 5 million euros, bringing the total funds to 20 million euros, in as part of their United States expansion.

Author’s Take:

I personally never quite liked ads because they ruin the experience of a site and it’s can be full of malware. Thus I use a ad-blocker. I also don’t subscribe to news sites because there are free sources. I know that authors and journalists need to make money too. Hmm…I think this might change my stance.

Microsoft Surface products no longer recommended by Consumer Report due to reliability issues

Dated: 10 August 2017

Read More: Don’t buy these 4 Windows laptops if you care about reliability, says Consumer Reports

Additional Reference (if any): Microsoft Surface Laptops and Tablets Not Recommended by Consumer Reports

Summary:

Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that tests and rates products across multiple categories has officially removed the “recommended” designation from four Microsoft laptops. They are also not recommending other products in the Surface lineup because of the poor predicted reliability.

Reliability of a given product was determined by survey of Consumer Reports subscribers and other recent studies, according to the press release. From the data collection, the organization estimated that 25% of Microsoft laptops and tablets will encounter some problem within two years of ownership.

The press release stated, this is not to say that other brands do not have issues but the difference in how unreliable Microsoft devices were was “statistically significant”.

Microsoft offered their counter statement in an email to COnsumer Reports, “Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability. We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

Author’s Take:

I did own a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 once and I didn’t use it long enough to experience any significant problem. I personally like the experience provided by the product but I do see people commenting on forums about how their devices were not working properly.

Now is a good time to upgrade that iPad of yours

Dated: 7 August 2017

Read More: Finally, there’s a good reason to upgrade your iPad

Summary:

It’s challenging for Apple to convince users who already own an iPad to buy a newer version. The existing iPads can already do many things users wanted to do such as watching videos, surfing the web, reading news, etc.

The new iPads are just not compelling enough for these kind of users. However, with iOS 11, that situation may just change.

For photographers, they will now be able to edit photos much easier on iOS 11 for iPad with the new updated Photos app. They will now be able to edit a photo with just a few sliders. The app now also allows trimming of Live Photos so that you get to keep parts that you want, and allow you to special effects to the Live Photos.

Advanced photographers who wants more power can look into using the recently updated Adobe Lightroom for iOS, which comes with support for Apple Pencil, 3D Touch Support, and nearly all the features from the desktop version.

Author’s Take:

So with iOS 11, the “Pro” moniker of the iPad finally starts to make some sense. I personally own a iPad Pro 9.7 and I find that I use it from time to time to do creative work like drawing, or writing. With the Logitech Create keyboard for iPad, the overall footprint is small enough for me to bring it with me anywhere to do my journals and various writing projects. All the apps that I need are there and I didn’t need to bringing my MacBook out. The Apple Pencil is intuitive to use and I take notes with it.

Daily Journal – Aug 9, 2017

This is my 125th journal.

Today is Singapore’s birthday. We are celebrating National Day today and it is a public holiday.

I woke up several times to use the toilet and that was pretty disruptive to my sleep. Blame it on my water intake the night before. But still, I think it was a pretty good sleep cause I dreamt a lot. Like a lot. I personally like dreams when I sleep because it shows me that my brain learnt or absorbed quite a lot of stuff during my day and it’s processing those information during my sleep.

After that I started up my MacBook and went about redoing the payment for my AWS account. Amazon sent me an email saying that the payment was successful.

You know what, I think I will keep the AWS account because I think I can play with it when I get enough work to earn enough to pay for it.

Then I went on to prepare the Latest Science Tidbits #2.

After that I watched Shooter (TV Series, Season 2) and some YouTube videos. I will be meeting my friend later for dinner tonight at 1730hrs.

We went to Tanjong Pagar to eat Bak Kut Teh.


After that we went to Holland Village to have some drinks at Starker.


Managed to finish the 2L drink. I did used the chance to talk about some ideas that I have but not easy to implement because of cultural, and resource issues and the solutions to those issues have yet been thoroughly thought out.

Also, during our chat, my friend reminded me of something. Different people has different kind of thing that makes them happy. Some is family. Some is money. Some is watch. Some is reaching certain purchase goal.

For me, I came to realize that my true happiness stems from stress-free environment. And please don’t say everyone loves to be stress-free because I know that’s not true. Some people are happy when they encounter challenges in their lives or work because they get to solve a problem.

So in order to to achieve stress-free I need to work for it. That means I need to put in the effort to get the things, create whatever plans, and implement whatever steps necessary.

To illustrate what I am talking about, I will pick inconvenience. It is a major stressor in my view. That’s why I went to get Apple products and enter the ecosystem. It has a lower inconvenience rate than Windows machine. I choose to eat at restaurants because I don’t like to deal with the chaotic scenes, or the inconvenience of looking for a seat and then queueing for my food in coffee shops and hawker centers. That’s also why I went with minimalism especially when it comes to clothes and material possession. The act of choosing what to wear is an inconvenience to me.

But that also means that I need a certain kind of income that will allow me to do what I have mentioned. Apple products don’t come cheap. Restaurants don’t come cheap. But that doesn’t mean I need to work 24/7 for the kind of money I’m looking for. Because with me adhering to minimalism, I already stop myself from buying unnecessary stuff that don’t add value to my life which in turn ncrease my happiness in any way.

Ok, back to what happened in my life. At around 2130, we are contemplating if want to go home earlier or continue drinking. After more drinking and talking, at around 2220hrs, we decided to call it a day and go home. My friend’s wife was with us and she looked bored. Not very nice to stay on. Beside, they both need to work while I don’t. Unless…well…I choose to go to my client’s office.

Boarded the train at Holland Village, then the west-bound train, and I managed to reach home at around 2319.

I don’t have anything else to update. So I think that’s all for now.

Here I conclude my journal for today.

Technology Tidbits #1

Rumor: Next Apple Watch won’t need an iPhone for data

Dated: 5 August 2017

Read More: Apple Plans to Release a Cellular-Capable Watch to Break iPhone Ties

Summary:

According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, who has been pretty spot on in the past, Apple is planning to release a version of its smartwatch that can connect directly to cellular network later this year. Apple is already in talks with carriers in the U.S and Europe about offering the cellular version.

Intel Corp. reportedly will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch and that is consider a big win for the chipmaker as it has been trying very hard to get its chips into Apple mobile devices. Qualcomm has been the primary modem supplier for Apple gadgets but then the two of them are currently in a bitter legal dispute.

Author’s Take:

I personally like the way Apple Watch is paired with iPhone but then consumers want convenience. Therefore having an untethered watch where users can just go to the gym or do workout without carrying a phone is just better. But I am concerned with the security, privacy, and battery life.

Stories are for news and not social in the eyes of Google and Facebook

Dated: 5 August 2017

Read More: Google and Facebook envision Stories for news, not social

Summary:

There has been signs that suggest both Facebook and Google believe that snapchat’s Stories slideshow format could work for sharing news. Snapchat has offered Discover channels for publishers since 2015 but it is limited in its appeal and reach due to the small audience and mobile-only format.

As reported by Techcrunch earlier this week, Facebook Stories are currently being used by public figures to share Stories to their followers and not just friends.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is preparing to launch “Stamp”, which combines Snapchat’s Stories format with Google’s own Accelerated Mobile Pages. This will allow news outlet share slideshows of content that will appear in search results and also be hosted on a publisher’s website.

Author’s Take:

There’s just so many similar products for the purpose of sharing news. I guess whoever wins is the one with the largest audience unless the company messed up badly and screwed with its users.

AMD reveals Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 graphics card

Dated: 30 July 2017

Read More: AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 graphics cards revealed

AMD finally reveals the details of their Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 graphics card. Most of the high-level details of the Vega architecture were already known by the public for a while now but the actual implementation on the Radeon RX gaming cards remained a mystery.

Now, there will be two different GPU configuration spanning three products.

The Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid-cooled edition and Radeon RX Vega 64 (air-cooled) will both feature the fully enabled Vega 10 GPU, which has 4096 stream processors (64 compute units), 256 texturing units, 8GB of HBM2 RAM with a bandwidth of 484 GB/s, and 64 ROPs. Both of these cards will compete with the Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080.

The Radeon RX Vega 56 will be an interesting product. The Vega 10 GPU on the card will feature only 56 out of the 64 compute units (implied by its name), for a total of 3584 stream processors. Yet, it gets to keep all 64 ROPs despite shipping with only 224 texturing units enabled. Its lower memory clocks give a peak bandwidth of 410 GB/s. This card will compete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070.

Author’s Take

Personally, I will stay in the green camp and I just recently got a GTX 1080. Therefore, I don’t see the need to change card. For those who want to get a new gaming PC, the AMD Vega might be a good choice.

Daily Journal – May 27, 2017

This is my 62nd journal.

Today is the official opening of the first Apple Store in Singapore.

I met up with my friend at Jurong East MRT station at around 11am. Boarded the train and we made our way to Orchard Road. Once there, we joined the queue and it took about maybe 15 or 20 minutes before we are inside. Upon going in, we were greeted by excited staff who gave us high-fives.

We were given door gifts. The first is a t-shirt. Below is the image of the box. I haven’t open it yet as of writing this journal.

Then there is also a sticker.

That sticker, I’m gonna stick it on my MacBook Pro.

Once in, you can see that the stores has the futuristic vibe to it. Ignoring the crowd, the wood material on white furnishing looks great.

On the first level is where people get to try out the various products and the second level is simply a gathering space for people.

Well, I didn’t take a lot of photos but below are the couple that I did take on the second floor.

Oh, I love the trees in the store. It make the place look great. I don’t think there are any stores in Singapore that actually use actual trees.

See the massive screen there? There are chairs in front of it for people to sit in when they participate in Today at Apple events.

While at the Apple store, I went to buy a black Nike strap for my Apple Watch.

Then my friend and I made our way to Sushi Bar where I had Kaisen Chirashi Don. Basically, it’s a big bowl of rice with a mixture of Tamago eggs, scallops, and three slices of different kind of sashimi — Salmon, Tuna, Swordfish and Yellowtail. I personally prefer swordfish because of the texture. Then there is the generous amount of Salmon Roe. Sorry, no photo for this one.

Then we took a bus to the Art Science Museum at MBS where we bought tickets to the Human+ exhibition. It is about how we humans augment ourselves through the use of prosthetics, talked about how we interact with nature, how robots may make us feel and interact with us, the rise of automation and genetic modification.

There are some pictures that I took and here they are (not in any particular order):

And here is Nadine, a robot that knows how to interact with a human in a socially capable manner. It was developed by Nanyang Technological University.

After the visit to the museum, I bought a t-shirt and a notebook. Then we made our way to a Häagen-Dazs store located at the Esplanade where we had ice cream. I created my own ice cream dish — two scoops (Belgian Chocolate, Chocolate and Banana), one waffle, and powdered Oreo topping.

With that, we made our way home. Then after resting for a bit, I went for a run. For dinner I had Subway.

Here I conclude my journal for today.