Best Pizza in the World

pizza剛與內子撐檯腳,去了一家被選為 “Best Pizza 2013″ 的意大利舖。Pizza 果然了得,皮既薄且好煙韌彈牙,有汁但又唔太濕,果然名不虛傳!

好吃的 Pizza 通常都不會太浮誇。芝心批泰味蝦北京填鴨等創新風格從不是我的口味。我只愛傳統茄醬芝士面,薄韌底。其實只要個底做得好,餡料愈平實愈好,愈顯得出廚子的功力。

有時做菜和做人一樣,基本功做得不好,靠餡料裝飾也沒用。但往往大家都誤以為那些餡料是主角而忘了事實的本質,或者以多一點嘩眾取寵的元素可以蓋過本質的不足。結果,花了太多精神時間將自己聚焦於表象上,本體卻不堪一擊。

我也自己試過在家做 Pizza,不過未試過真的見得人。吃 Pizza 還是上館子吃吧!怎樣做我也做不出那批底,因為不是我的本行,怎樣也發酵不出一件「好底」。

(the photo was an old pizza I told 88 weeks ago. Not related to this “Best Pizza 2013″. Just here to attract readership.)

Yahoo! New Look on Mobile

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced the new Yahoo! welcome page yesterday (this may jump to other page based on your locale setting).

To understand the change this time, let’s look at it from the good old days of the Yahoo! Directory age.

From top left we have the first directory created by Jerry and Dave, and then later on became the most familiar page of my year (I still remember how I tried to submit my little GeoCities page page onto the Yahoo! directory), and then evolved into the maze-like landscape full of landmines (ad banners). It was so unusable, because we simply don’t want to start from what Yahoo! wants to tell us anymore, but rather from what we want to seek from Yahoo!

And that’s when Google came in and crushed Yahoo!.

Yahoo_BeginningYahoo_OldYahoo_BeforeYahoo_Mobile

Imagine all these screens on mobile devices. They are either unreadable or are diverted to an uglier m.yahoo mobile site for some local adaptation, which sometimes is an even worse experience. Or, for the US main site, they simply forward the traffic to the App download page (as shown in the last image above), and that experience is not united and streamlined either.

For this reason, I haven’t come in to Yahoo! page for a long time. Not just because I simply can’t find anything from that massive page anymore, but also because I don’t even start from that directory.  To be honest, Google.com is not my Homepage either, because I simply don’t start from any page any longer. All I do now is start (desktop or mobile/tablet ~ which is more than half of the time) with a search term at the Chrome bar and land on the search results directly, or click on referral links from emails, Facebook links or Tweets.

Yahoo_New

With this angle, I understand the rationale behind the Yahoo! repaint of their Welcome Page. It is not a big upgrade, but it fundamentally changes a few crucial items:

  1. It focuses very much on the newsfeed as the core real estate space and search, prominent search bar at the top . News and Search are the two main reasons that  users visit Yahoo! So now they cut the clutter and make it a bit more obvious to deliver on this objective upfront, and that’s great!
  2. Since Mobile and Tablet access will soon (or has already, at least for me) surpassed desktop access, their Responsive Design rather than a stripped down version of the m.yahoo site is the way to go, and that’s great too.
  3. They allow users to login with their Facebook ID or Yahoo account. Yahoo! is never in the Social space, and it makes sense to “outsource” this effort to the greatest social platform.

I still don’t have a winning verdict on Yahoo! and Mayer, but looking at how they are addressing mobile use  (news can be read on full-featured www.yahoo.com on Smartphone rather than a stripped down m.yahoo version), I am looking forward to seeing the next outcome of this continuous improvement initiative.

The Road Not Taken

Road_Not_Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

Thank You My Friend

This is not a hard story. In fact, this is not even a story.

This is actually a statement to declare that I (we) got a friend. A True Friend.

Don’t get me wrong when you read this (I mean you, yes, you). I am not saying that I have actually been ignoring this point until now. The reason why I only blog about it out loud now purely because my blog-pipeline has been way too long, and is not moving. In order to move this card to the front, I have to deliberately drag you from the “Next” column to the “Writing” column today.

On my draft, I was going to point out all the special things that you accidentally or mysteriously matching me or my wife’s respectively, or all the tricky theories that only you have the wisdom and patient to understand, or even all the secrets that only 3 of us in this world is holding.

But I guess I won’t.

I am simply gonna tell you this: Thank You. Thank you for being the first (and perhaps the only ever) true friend that we have here in this part of the world; someone we can deeply trust without hesitation and exception, someone we can show our relax faces to, and someone who let us to be ourselves honestly and still achieve something great together. Someone who completes our circle. Thank you.

New Year Resolution on a Train

Now it is time to talk about my New Year Resolution. Obviously I am not in a hurry to make one. After all, this is Jan 6 already and I am still thinking.

Not that I am not a planning person. Or perhaps I am, just that I have a planning partner that drives our train.

Snow Train

Hmm… I used the term “train” instead of “car” or “ship”. Strange. There must be some hidden agenda behind this object. Well, I really don’t know. Does it mean that I see “lives” as a fixed route that all you could change is the speed (to the end)?

Perhaps. But in a way that explains how I don’t need to have a New Year Resolution after all. Perhaps we are not even the train drivers. Me and my partner are just some little train passengers who only have one decision to make: to stay on or get off, if and only if the train stops at that moment. A very passive and boring decision.

Hmm… now I know what’s my New Year Resolution for this year should be: Get off the train and start driving my own car!

Easy.

(photo courtesy: Santa Fe)

Stars

The End of the World

I am now looking at the stars. I am pretty sure that the same set of stars was shining last year (as shown in the pic), the year before or 100 years ago. In their life spans, it won’t make a slight difference anyway. In fact, try to look back a million years later, most of these stars should be still shining at almost the same spots.

For some reason some people in our human life spans are worrying about the end of the world. The end of which world? Perhaps only in our little world. Oh, our “civilization” is collapsing? No problem, another one will emerge and replace ours. The earth is still turning normally. Just us, like the dusts on the surface, got “renewed” and “updated”. That’s not the end of the world. That’s just the end of us. Exactly like how Dinosaurs ended last time. And seriously the world doesn’t really care.

Or perhaps we could treat it like the way of how Matrix had its Multi-revolutions. In a way every “the end of the world” is just the reboot of another never ending loop. I would love to have the reboot eventually, but perhaps not tooooo soon, coz I still haven’t finished enjoying this round of the reincarnation cycle.

Google Maps Reborn

Google Maps iPhoneGoogle Maps iPhone app has reborn in the iOS App Store on 12/12/12. It should have been a big thing but surprisingly not that many people is aware of it. Or at least Google didn’t make a big fuzz about it. Interestingly enough, when I search for “Google Maps” on App Store, it didn’t even pop up in the first two pages. Bad SEO by Google or doggie trick by Apple?

About the product, my user experience on this so far is very positive. It is a mobile product and its design is optimised for mobile. In a mobile scenario we usually want to achieve a very focus objective in a very short time frame. For this case, we are not a tourist trying to appreciate the scenery. Therefore, we don’t need the 3D world in Apple Maps. (I love to view it in toilet when I am bored — and when I have WiFi, but that’s about it.) Rather, we often want to get to an unknown place via the best route. Google strikes for the simplicity around this clear user goal and that’s how it is better: With Google, things always start with Search, and so the unknown is not a matter anymore. And for the best route, they use TomTom.

I have been using TomTom for driving direction. I get the same instruction here as TomTom and Apple Maps because after all it is all driven by TomTom anyway. However TomTom does have the advantage of having the maps and routes in App because it makes the calculation much faster (and cheaper because no 3G traffic is required).

However, perhaps these points don’t matter too much after all. In reality, for the past few days I have used Google Maps 5 times and TomTom 1 time as my GPS. As requested by Jacob, I have also tried to use Apple Maps for around 30 secs and then gave up. (By the way I have also downloaded iMelway by Melway and Here Maps by Nokia and only touched them once.) My verdict is easy: I am on the road, driving. I need to be at a place that I don’t know, and that’s why I need a map. If I know where I am and where I am going, most probably I don’t even need a map. The reason why I need a map in the first place is because I need to start from Search. That’s Google. From then on, that’s all down hill. And that’s how Google wins. Start with User Experience. Start with Why. Cheers.

Google Maps iOSGoogle Maps iOSApple MapsTomTom iPhone
(The first two screens are the direct pages after typing Melbourne Airport at the search box in Google Maps. The results also cross-referenced to any saved Maps I have created on desktop with the same Google account. Brilliant! The third screen is Apple Maps, and the last one is TomTom.)

五師兄字 — Because memories should live forever.

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