Tag Archives: English

The Power of Change

If I have to pick a day, I am going to pick today.

Today marks an important step of everything we do.

Today gives us the meaning of why we are here. We are here for a reason. We are here to move the world forward. We are moving the people in this world forward. We are walking with everybody with a particular insight in mind, and we want (at least some part of) the population to believe in us, to follow us and eventually advocate for us.

If some day we can look back and check those milestones, today would be one of them. Let’s celebrate (just for the fact that we have a milestone).

God (if any) bless us.

Reactivating the Beads

I have revisited my old post “Knowledge as the Connected Beads” last night and realised why my brain performance is deteriorating recently.

Sure I have so many things happening at the same time in my mind in the past couple of weeks / months, but that’s not new to me. I was able to deal with 7 exams for different subjects within a week full of midnight oil. I was also able to teach a new subject and deal with a new born baby at the same time without any sleep. Not to mention the effort of arranging the ultimate wedding day and the ultimate honeymoon in parallel back then and yet still had the extra energy to put the attention to reduce my weight for 30 lbs in 2 months (I know some might say losing weight should be the result of the other tasks automatically anyway…).

I know I was younger then, but I feel that there is something fundamentally different here.

Then I finally realised that the core reason is related to how I use my strength (or not). I am a person who need INPUT quite a lot to energize myself. I got all these output demand, and not enough time to do the input. As a result, my net knowledge flow is negative, and I feel dry about it.

Now it is time for me to read more books, attend more classes, go to more conferences, or set up more “antenna” to absorb information. The most effective antenna I have set up lately is Twitter. 140 chars. #Short and #sweet. Cheers.

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

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.)

The Dilemma of the Story of Change

I have changed.

This statement by itself means nothing. People / lives / world is always changing. What’s the point to state the obvious? Except if this is not the obvious. Except if this is a story worth telling.

But here’s the dilemma: when I am so busy changing the world or got changed by the world, how on earth I’d have the time to tell a meaningful story? If I could have the time to tell a good story, obviously I am not that busy changing.

So that time has gone. The change is over. Was over. I am clam now. So that’s why I am typing.