Category Archives: Digital

好靚但好悶的 iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5iPhone 5 真係好靚!那超薄厚度、那斜角磨沙鋁邊、那玻璃金屬雙拼、那剛合適的掌闊,合起來簡直是一件完美的藝術品!iPhone 5 那匠心的細節使三星銀河S三相比之下只似是一個膠波板糖。

但 iPhone 5 同時這卻又是一件悶透的產品。設計方向仍是與 iPhone 4(s) 同出一轍(而且早已有劇透),科技上已慢過 Android/Samsung 一代,一半的賣點是在 iOS 6 上,但卻又不是新鮮事。

聽起上來很矛盾,但有跡可尋。早期的 iPhone 是一件創新和前瞻的產品,是智能手機唯一之選。但到了今時今日,隨著市場的普及,iPhone 已變成眾多智能手機中最標準甚至最傳統的型號。iPhone 5 算是悶靚,但 LV Gucci Prada 何嘗不是嗎?Classy 不是因為機身鑲鑽或鍍金,而是那外在手感、內在作業環境加上那流暢的用家體驗(UX),讓你肯定它那超然的質素。那質素不再來自大幅的創新,而是來自體貼的 fine detail,是 Evolution 與 Revolution 之別。

問題甚至是,如果我是蘋果,我甚或會說除非我找到一個石破天驚的大躍進(如可摺顯示屏、體溫充電……),否則我反而不會為了改款而改款,因為原本 iPhone 4 的設計已很不錯,因循相近的設計在品牌上可一脈相承,在用家體驗上又極易上手。在生意角度來看我要保持/提升的是用家體驗而不是科技 buzz words。不容許換電池、沒有 NFC、不支持 Flash、甚或要今代才可直接經 3G 用 FaceTalk 等等,都是嘗試從用家體驗來看,拿走風險,找尋功能、穩定性和簡約化之間的最大公因數。

結果,早年支持 iPhone 的科技革命家現在會繼續支持 Android,因為那是 innovation test bed 所在。想考慮智能手機但想追求低一格價位的也可在眾多 Android 機中找到自己所愛。但還有一大個市場要追求穩定性、肯定性、高質、易上手等 layman tick boxes,iPhone 5 絕對仍有競爭力。

在生態鍊角度看,只要 iPhone 5 繼續穩定大賣,加上其他 iOS 產品的滲透率(不要忘記 iPhone 4 在美國現在跟 plan 出已是免費了!),iOS 仍是寫新 App 的首選,配件商仍會以蘋果產品為主打,電訊商仍會用 iPhone 5 做頭版廣告。加上今次蘋果頭炮分銷的國家/地區/電訊商的比以前都廣,iPhone 5 仍不會敗。蘋果只是再進一步由以前的曲高和寡、小眾、創新的產品變為更平易近人、大眾、貼身的生活工具品牌。悶靚,但體貼。

Hotmail 昇華成為 Outlook.com

全世界最多用戶*的 Hotmail 已死,但不是永別,而是昇華成為 Outlook.com 重生。

最搶眼的是那疑似 Gmail 的簡潔版面設計。又或者公平的說,是外觀上更 Win8 化。不過更偉大的是延伸 Office 365、SkyDrive 和 Azure 於雲端上拓展版圖之努力。

Outlook.com

Outlook.com

功能嘛?能收發電郵便是好 app,所以版面愈簡單愈好,因為夠快夠易用。不過,對於我來說這最實際的優點是相比於我的 Y!Mail,Gmail 和舊 Hotmail,這個 Inbox 仍未被 spam(不論是真 spam 或是無聊 newsletter)污染,不似得其他幾個變成亂亂葬崗。而且也有Mobile 版。雖然未有 app,但登入後可見到 mobile optimized 的版面設計。

Outlook.com 推出後即時已有過百萬人登記。有幾多人是舊 Hotmail 人想試玩但又忘掉舊密碼而因此要重新登記就不得不知,但好處是在微軟角度可以靠這 Rebranding 激活那些沉睡用家,而在用家角度卻可以起碼拿到一個 @outlook.com 字尾的電郵地址。噢,你仍在用 Hotmail 但都想霸個 @outlook.com 電郵嗎?你可以像我一樣在新 Outlook.com 的 setting tab 上選「More mail settings / Create a Outlook alias 」便可。

相信你已估到我的 Outlook alias 是甚麼,但暫時請不要到那裡找我,因為我想享受一多一會那罕有的 empty inbox 的感覺。

*據 Google 說 Gmail 最近期的數字是爬過了 Hotmail 頭,但他們沒有將只用來登記 Android 的戶口數目分開,所以很難用這最新的資料來作比較。

平行宇宙

VMWare很久未有在這裡寫字。太多東西想寫,但太少時間。腦子不停在想,但手跟不上,打得不夠快。

要快,便要用純英文寫。經過多年特訓,我打英文像駕車游水走路一樣成了生理反射,不用看也不用想,像流水。(而且英文有 auto spell check correction 嘛!)

寫歸寫,手指流出的雖是英文,對答也是英文,但要去想出「到肉」的新點子,腦袋其實仍是用純中文去想。沒有國民教育,不用洗腦,我也知我是中國人。或者這是香港人的特質:課本是英文,試卷是英文,但老師用中文教,學生用中文想,然後用英文記下答案。工事用英文做報告打電郵還可,但寫內心世界便總是詞不達意,去不到那應到的深情境界。當我本來的境界已很低時,再向下走便很難看。

要打中文嗎?但我的倉頡仍停留在「五色學倉頡」的程度,拼音又只有我聽得懂,手寫更因字太衰而白字頻頻。手指在拖累腦袋,直至崩潰,然後放棄。

為了讓自己可以忘掉這語言障礙,用中文我手寫我心,我要在我的 MBP 上的 VM 多加一個中文環境,好讓我唯一懂用的縱橫輸入法可以有個立腳之地。私伙的 MAC OS X,公司的英文 Win7 和只用來打中文的 WinXP 像三個平行宇宙並肩存在。我便可以用兩只手指於 Magic Mouse 上掃來掃去,在這幾個宇宙間遊走。

我期望可以從此多想多寫。尤其過了這麼久,慣性讀者們都流走了,故隨心亂寫也不會冒犯太多人,可以放心自說自話。

Chrome for iOS

I have been using Chrome since day one (well, honestly, since day three, 4/Sept/2008).

At that time I (correctly) predicted that Google would flood the world in the mobile space. Three and a half years later, Android + Chrome conquer almost 60% of the smartphone world. Interestingly at that time I named his rivals as MS IE, Firefox and Safari, now it seems that the browsers game is not even the battleground anymore at all.

Anyway, a few days ago Google has launched Chrome on iOS. After the trial, I would say even though it is not as strategically important as how Chrome was for the desktop world at the previous age, but still it is a sticky product because the UX is smarter and neater (than Mobile Safari) (I never a big fan of Opera so I won’t compare with it).

Chrome on iPad offers Siri-liked voice search function (previously already on the Google iOS app), that’s cool, but not exciting. Syncing everything everywhere is handy, especially it remember which devices I have surfed that location with, that’s really cool.

I have put my Safari inactive and surf with Chrome on my iPhones and iPads from today onwards. No turning back.

Number One Concern in Blogging Today: Mobile

Original article posted on here.

If you still care about blogging (and I have just shown I do), what would be the number one concern that you should have? The answer is easy: make sure that your blog is mobile optimized.

This should not be any news to anybody anyway. This is one of the main reasons why Microblogging (Twitter and Weibo) and Miniblogging (light-weighted Tumblr) flourished recently in the first place. Traditional blogs are too heavy to be social, mobile and instant enough.

Anyway, my blog traffic has around 35% viewed by mobile devices for the last 30 days, and the trend is increasing rapidly recently. Out of all my Facebook referrals, more than half of them are from m.facebook, indicating that mobile+social is a big thing and if our landing page (the article page on the blog, for this instance) is not mobile optimized, we are doomed.

On the other hand, I got only a few percent of visitors coming from mobile search. And that’s normal, given that my blog is not that location-search relevant unlike retails or tourist attractions.

So, what I have done to make mine mobile? For my Blogger.com site, I have simply use the mobile template that provided by Google. I have tried the Dynamic Views on my iPhone, and found that although it is mobile compatible as the Mosaic screen would adjust the number of columns based on the width of the screen, the loading time is way too long for a normal 3G connection to download and render. For my WordPress site, I have employed a plugin to enable a mobile theme when loaded in a mobile device.

It is not enough just for the platform to be mobile optimized. The content matters too. When it comes down to content, “mobile optimized” means “concise”, “location relevant” and “time critical”. I believe this is where “blogging” is falling apart. Blogging is not 100% mobile if we look at the nature of the meaningful contents. We could optimized for the audience who come to us via mobile, but we can’t entertain the needs of the vast majority on the mobile traffic. If we want a happy ending, we could either limit ourselves to the concise and immediate world, or leave the detail world untapped and use social media as the mobile outpost to guide us towards the real content. With that in mind, all we need is a good landing page that optimized for mobile devices and mobile referral (for example, the article shown directly via Twitter, Flipboard, Facebook and LinkedIn mobile apps).

I am good. I am mobile optimized. At least my mind does. The rest will follow.

第一百四十二天:Legoland Idea Book 6000 (1980)

Lego City Police Station聖誕老人今年送了孩子夢寐以求的 Lego 74985681(大與小差館)。整天 Christmas Day 與半天 Boxing Day 我們也是待在家玩兵捉賊。他倆很快便從玩這遊戲當兒各自流露出他們自己的性格:Jacob 故事內的角色永遠是黑白分明,而且站得整整齊齊。而於 Chester 的版本中,那兩位差人卻往往會成為階下囚,被賊仔反鎖在監倉中!哈哈!

Lego Knight這勾起了我很多兒時之回憶。我有幸於小時候便已接觸 Lego。但那時的模式很不同。我們有一大桶 Lego bricks,要砌的東西也偏向隨意和簡約,不會有太多整件啤出來的硬件。例如牆身、車頭蓋、路牌、單車甚至小狗也是逐件砌出來而不是像現在那樣一大塊原件提供給我們。那時像真度沒有那麼高(像是 low-res 的圖畫),但幻想和創意的空間就闊得多了!

Lego Idea Book 6000當年其中一個我最喜愛的產品是這本編號 6000 的 Idea Book,出版於 1980。裡面透過 Mary 和 Bill 的生活故事去一步步教大家如何去創建出一個 Lego 的家、市集、太空站以及古代城堡。很強的故事性,可以當漫畫般一版一版的看,但又有清楚的砌法說明,可以如這些玩家般將故事內出現過的物件逐件砌出來。我多年來放在檯頭有個擺設就是跟這本書教出來的一隻戰馬(如上圖)。

但現在,那桶 Lego 早已不知去向,那本書也不知流落到哪。唯一仍在我身邊的就只有這隻戰馬和坐在上面的老將軍。那天到 Amazon 嘗試找這回本 Idea Book,原來三十多年後已炒到 US$499,變了一件奇貨!可幸也找到一本由有心人 scan 來的 PDF 版本(上面的標價卻是 $1.99 呢,漲價了 250 倍!)。如大家有興趣,請往這裡試閱(共 13.4MB)。不用謝!

I am all alone with iMessage @iOS 5.0

I am all alone.

I mean, in the iMessage world.

Some might say iMessage could be the WhatsApp killer.

I would say, without friends on the list, I could only iMessaging to my own self. Useless on my iPhone. At least for now.

Anyone out there also brave enough to have iOS 5.0 installed on his/her iDevices? Please iMessage me, so that I know I am not alone. Find me at mail@ngszehin.net or any email that you could link me with.

On the other hand, I must say it has a great [Note: not great anymore] some value on my iPad. Now I could send normal SMS (before I could find someone that I could iSMS with) directly from my iPad with the Messages (between non-iOS 5.0 dude, I have to take away the “i”, for now) [Note: I have to take away the whole SMS thing for now, because after the testing I found out that basically it works only with iMessage but not normal SMS].

Well, I have (sort of) signed the NDA, so I should speak less. Nonetheless, I could let you have a sneak peak of the shots I have done without me saying too much: The notification center function is cool. The camera button is convenient but I am sticking with Instagram. iCloud is not working coz I haven’t set it up yet. Reading List could be a good function but I haven’t appreciate it too much yet coz it is not always working. Reminders is clean, but if it is not syncing with the one on my iPad or the cloud, it becomes useless to me and I would stick back to my pretty TeuxDeux.