Have Your Own Voice

What is the best style?

The best style is to have your own style, and not copy them. The best crafters learn the technique behind the style, they don’t copy them.

Copying can only lead us to progress so much. We are shaped by external influences, by the things we read, people we meet, and the images we are exposed to. It’s through these things that our taste and style are refined over time.

You listen to what your inner voice is telling you, and you shouldn’t give too much damn about what others are saying. 

That being said, it doesn’t mean you turn a deaf ear to everything else. Open your eyes on what others have to say, but form your own opinion. Having your own judgement is more important than taking the blind advise of opinion leaders. 

Because, the only person that truly knows yourself is you.

My Best Piece Of Investment For The iPhone

…is a sheet of screen protector.

Yes, you read it correctly. Not the fancy, colourful case, not the yet-again another productivity app, and certainly not one of those minimalistic writing app filling up the market.

To understand why I made the decision to apply this piece of glass over the screen, we need to go back in time and replay the scene.

It was September last year, and the iPhone started shipping worldwide. I lined up like the rest of the world did, got my iPhone, my first iPhone to be precise and went home happy. Couple of weeks later, I got out of my car and for reasons I couldn’t explain, the phone got flung out and landed screen first on the car park.

I walked over, picked it up and this was the moment of emotional roller coaster. The bad thing? The screen cracked. The good thing? It’s still in working condition. I’m disgusted at my carelessness, but grateful that the phone could still be used. To be sure, I made a few calls to be certain of that.

Anyway, I went to get the phone changed and this time round I want to make sure the phone has ample protection. After researching, I zeroed in on this screen protector, and what an investment it turned out to be.

The Glas.t Premium Tampered Glass

First off, Glas.T by Spigen is made of glass, not some run-of-the-mill cheap plastic. What different does that make? In short, it’s basically the only screen protector you need before you change your phone. The slightly longer version? Comparing plastic built and glass, the gorgeous output of the retina screen is never compromised, you still retain the wonderful screen reproduction. I haven’t move on to the topic of durability which leads us to…

The Drop Test

I have since dropped the phone many times, not intentional by any means, often screen first down onto the hard concrete ground. Each time that happened, my heart skipped a beat, literally. The traumatic experience of the screen cracked replayed many times over and the memory is still fresh in my mind. Thankfully, it has held up well and there’s no visible cracks or anything, just a hairline scratch on the top left hand corner.

Many screen protectors add a level of plastic sheet over the generous screen, and the difference with one with a cheap screen protector and one that’s naked is strikingly obvious. And the feel as your fingers slide over the screen is noticeably different, and over time, the friction increases and the action of gliding your fingers around the screen becomes less of a pleasure.

Glass.T doesn’t have this issue. It doesn’t compromise on the screen quality and it’s remarkably smooth to touch. If you are one that likes the feel and touch of the naked screen, you would be glad to hear the glass.t has almost the same feel and touch.


The Glass.T is not without any cons though. The level of protection it provides comes at a price, the price of a thicker screen. The added height means dust are prone to being trapped in and around the edges. It also makes the home button much harder to depress, but this little issue can easily be resolved if you stick a cool looking sticker on top of it.

To sum it up

It comes with a hefty price tag. It’s not meant for everyone. If you are the sort that handles phone clumsily, prone to dropping and raining constant abuse at it, glas.t should be on your radar. Above everything else, if you want the best protection for the gorgeous screen, this is definitely right on top with the best.

Discovering New Apps

Discovering apps are fun. Discovering apps which you didn’t know could aid you in your life is even better.

Be it helping you to stay organised, be more productive or just trying out new apps because of the novelty value, we each have an agenda for doing what we are doing.

Blame the newly acquired Mac

Ever since I got the Macbook Pro two months back, I have been hooked on loading the apps into the little computer. I have never been a software person, I was never into things which promised to make me a more organised person through better management and stuffs like that.

But, once I started using it, the world of apps and software opened up on me like a little child opening to a door filled with teddy bears. Likewise, I embrace it with an open mind and willingness to learn what and how they can enhance my workflow.

The transaction from Windows to Mac has been seamless. As a Windows user for close to two decades, I’m surprised to admit I haven’t been missing out on Windows too much. I used to be a hardware geek, and over-clocking has always been a habit and passion for me. Guess I’m passed that phase now. What really intrigue and interest me is the overall design that perfectly balances aesthetic and performance.

Never mind the common fruit phone i’m using. Never mind being called a pretender by non-Mac users. As the fact goes, I’m enjoying using the Mac platform than I ever did on Windows/ Android.

If I have to pinpoint what exactly convinced me to make the above statement, I’d have to highlight how refined most apps are on iOS and Mac platform. Maybe in a couple of years, Android could catch up in terms of what they can offer. As for the desktop scene, Microsoft are on a downward spiral really.

Getting used to Paying

I guess the biggest challenge before me is the number of occasion i have to pay for software and applications. Maybe I’m consistency spoilt by free wares and getting alternatives for paid software. On the topic of paying for applications, services and software, I’m right on top of that. I believe to truly support developers that have came up with things we deemed worthy, we need to let our feedbacks and pocket do the talking. Improve the system via feedbacks, support the developers by throwing money their way. Only through this route can we ensure that the developers know their work are being appreciated and may they continue to refine and roll out better versions in the future.

For Mac, this usually mean forking out a sizeable amount of money. The prices sure aren’t cheap, and the high barrier to entry probably deter and weed out those freebies seekers. I’m glad I tried some of first-class apps out, for they are absolutely wonderful and delightful to use. Now, I value them more of an investment than an expenses.

I will continue to uncover new apps and services, discover new indie developers and finding the app that fits right into my flow work is a wonderful experience.

Well, it’s no coincidence my pocket feels lighter these days. Maybe it will be even lighter in the future.

What an Amaz-ing Resume

As we move away from the traditional resume of old, many different formats of resume are slowly gaining acceptance as a form of expression and differentiation from the competition. 

Then, this guy from France decides to take resume making into the next level. More than taking a cue from Amazon, it’s a smart and quirky duplicate, with witty descriptions all over the place.

More than just raising a few eye brows, I expect him to be getting flooded with calls and emails from companies and curious on-lookers.

P.S.: at the bottom of the site is the quote “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”
To me, it’s a funny spoof of Amazon. There’s nothing malicious in the intent. The guy probably got what he wanted, and Amazon gathers more publicity.

(via swissmiss)

Do Without Stop. Don’t Go Back

I always wonder what it feels like to do something, create something and make something without the fear of the end product turning out to be bad.

The only thing holding me back from doing something new is the fear of it being not good enough. I would constantly go back to my work, edit, and eventually I find them not good enough to publish.

And rinse and repeat. I’d put off writing, creating for this very reason. I often wonder how it feels like to liberate myself from this burden.

The only way I can find out is to try it out. By experiencing what it is, I hope I’m freeing myself from the weight on my shoulder.

I find myself to be able to write better on a blank sheet of paper. I just don’t know why, but the motion of holding a pen, and putting words to paper is such a serene and calming feel. Words are able to flow, sentences are more structured, and most importantly, I feel good doing it. I don’t go back and edit them, even if there’s typo mistakes or anything. I just write, and write.

This is what it turned out to be. I chose my words a little more deliberately, my thoughts are a little more concise and this entire post was created without any form of editing. 

So, this is how it turned out to be.

A job done, a ghost put to rest.

Hit And Miss On Microsoft’s Products

Instead of the traditional approach of charging users for a one-time purchase, Microsoft will be introducing a subscription model in the form of Microsoft 365 Home Premium, costing $99.99 for an annual subscription for up to 5 devices. 

The new offering includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications; works across up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs; and comes with extra SkyDrive storage and Skype calling — all for US$99.99 for an annual subscription, the equivalent of US$8.34 per month.

Smart move I believe.

They know their grip on Office’s suite of products are loosening, and this trend is set to continue. To facilitate adoption across different devices in the household, in comes the new model.

The student deal is even better – $79.99 for a four-year subscription, that’s equivalent to $20 a year. It’s a no-brainier really. Locking in students and familiarizing them with MS’ products would go a long way in retaining the share of the shrinking pie.

Having said that, I believe Microsoft is probably forgoing sizable share of the iOS crowd by not developing an app for that market.

That’s all for the good stuff. Now for the big hoo-hah. 

On the 64GB Surface Pro, only 23GB is available for use. The rest, well, they are already reserved for the operating system and built-in applications. Imagine the public outrage, opening up the device and realizing that they have lost 64% of the storage involuntarily to the system imposed by Microsoft.

According to the spokesperson, we can recover the space.

Users will be able to free up additional storage space by creating a backup bootable USB and deleting the recovery partition.

It’s irrelevant  It’s not the job of a paying customer to clean up the mess. That’s a big deal, because not everyone is savvy enough to know this before committing to the purchase.

To put it blatantly, it’s deceptive.

When I buy something, I want it to work as advertised. I don’t want a nasty surprise waiting for me in the form of 41gig, out of 64gig have already been reserved for something I have no control over.

That’s two end of the scale, a promising looking service being overshadowed by negative coverage and controversy.

The Future Of SimpleNote

A scan around the community will reveal the deep relationship many people have with SimpleNote. Lately, it has ran into problems with syncing and data losses. Some stayed on, in hope that it’s a one off bug. But these things persisted, and some left…reluctantly.

It’s like a strained relationship you want to salvage, but has no control over. It has served you admiralty well in the past, but the ever present glitches here and there mean you can’t fully trust it the way you used to.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, it seems. It got acquired by Automattic, creator of WordPress. From their initial statement, they’re big fans of SimpleNote as well.

You know how sometimes, the services you love just disappear when they’re bought by someone else? Or they wither and die a slow and painful death? Not the case here. We made sure of that.

I’m cautiously optimistic, but also realistic enough not to pin too much hope. With that, let’s look back and reflect what made SimpleNote part of our essential workflow.


Today I feel like a jilted lover stalking their ex. I continue to check the developer discussion board and see many repeat complaints about bad syncing and data corruption….While tags and fast full-text searching are wonderful features of Simplenote, in the end data integrity wins the day.

Shawn Blanc:

Simplenote is invaluable to me because of the notes it holds. But a great app encourages regular use the same way a crummy app discourages it. And I can think of no higher priority for finding a great app than when looking for the one which will hold my digital brain.

Because of the syncing problems and apparent lost of documents, Shawn went on a wild goose chase in search for Simplenote/ nvALT replacement. He explored many capable alternatives, but in the end, he went a full circle back to the the original combo.

And the following three raving reviews:
Why i love SimpleNote – Still
All you need is SimpleNote
Splendid app called SimpleNote

Svbtle Is Marching On


Just a quick update: we’ve recently raised a round of financing from great investors like SV Angel, CrunchFund, Betaworks, and more (including, previously, Y Combinator). Now we have the resources and absolute focus that will allow us to build not only a great collection of people, but also a new kind of media destination that approaches journalism differently–maybe we could call it the future of journalism, but we’re not entirely sure what that is yet, exactly.

I’m not sure if they are going to open up to the public in the future. Right now, it’s an exclusive platform where renowned personalities are invited to blog in.

Many have claimed they are going to define the future of journalism, but i’m more interested in how are they going to monetize the site.

At the very beginning, when questioned about this, he replied.

Dustin Curtis:

If the Svbtle Network works as well as I hope, there is nothing stopping me from building an exclusive ad network similar to The Deck. I haven’t really thought about it, but that would almost definitely be the best way to monetize this platform.

Having an exclusive ad network will give Svbtle control. Given the history of Dustin in building something for absolute control, it could be a real possibility.

Because Svbtle has a network of established and well known bloggers using the platform, the perceived credibility they have is very much at the pinnacle.

With the funding, they are going to hire developers to improvement the platform, copyeditors to curate and edit the content. With the way it’s going, it’s not a surprise if they implement it as a subscription model for its content. It may never reach mainstream popularity, but i’m pretty sure a sizable percentage of the readers on Svbtle are willing to pay for this service.

A Workflowy Review

Everything can be a list.

From our daily groceries shopping to writing a new chapter on your latest novel, everyone and everything can benefit from having a list.
But the problem with most note-taking software and app is this – they often have redundant features that most of us don’t need, don’t want, or hardly use them. Most of these force you into a structure-like interface. The rationale of taking note is of course to take the task out of our mind, so we can focus on other things. Organizing can come later.

Most apps however, forces you to define the task, organize them, and tuck them nicely into a particular place. Maybe that’s the reason why people don’t stick to note taking app for long, it’s too rigid.

I have used several such apps in the past, in hope that i will be more productive and efficient. But none has stuck with me for the long haul. It’s either too complicated or cumbersome to maintain, and eventually i stopped using them altogether.

Then comes the change

workflowly 2

But all these thoughts change when i chanced upon workflowy some time back. It’s like a giant white depository to store all your thoughts, ideas, words. Anything. It’s so simple in concept, but so many other apps fail to execute properly. It’s clean, its typeface is easy on the eyes, and it’s extremely user-friendly. Register, sign-in, and start right away. Before you know it, your lists will be growing bigger and bigger. Of course, you can always delete or cross out completed items.

The beauty of this app is of course you will always turn to it when you have something to note down. Many apps failed to take off in this area – users download them, but eventually they will turn to other alternatives for their note taking. This is where workflowy execute it brilliantly and getting users to use their app for all their needs.

The app is available on the PC, iOS and Android. Make a list and it auto-saves your progress and synchronize automatically to the rest of your devices. The heavy footwork is being done in the background, so you can just focus on taking note. Right now, you need a net connection for it to work but the paid version promises to allow offline access in the future.

An app for everything

Fire up workflowy and you will be confronted by this giant white space. It can be daunting, nothing but white area enveloping your sight. But this is what makes it so powerful. You are deprived of all other distractions. No unnecessary due date crap, no title to fill in. Just you and your words. This is also what makes it so flexible. It doesn’t impose any restrictions on your list, so you are free to write and create list in any way you like. It’s a list in a list within a list. Take for example, you are writing on a new book. The main list is your book title, follow by the chapter’s name. Sub-list in your chapter’s name is your ideas, character’s development. All these can be further subdivided and move around as you go along.

In essence, workflowy is like a giant list, and you can create sub-list under it. Within this sub-list, you can have nested list and so on. You can further zoom into one of this list by clicking on the bullet point, after which you will be taken to a new page. Sublime.

What you can see from this app is a bird’s eye view of all the tasks you have written. You can organize them, prioritize them and execute them. You can zoom in to a particular task and add notes to the entry. It’s extremely functional, it’s very fluid and it’s great when you want to have an overview with regards to a particular task. Browse through them and you have an idea, and from there you know what’s missing.

Nothing is too small for a list. Your observations from watching the cartoon show with your kids could be the platform for future blog post. The contact number you have just gotten from your neighbor. Everything is part of a bigger thing. Every list is part of a bigger list. The possibilities are endless, i bet even with the same content, no 2 workflowy looks the same. You can tweak, organize them.

Some apps are targeted at specific audience. Some are better at project management tracking, some are good at reminding you to complete a particular task at a specific timing and date. All this have their places, but workflowy is like the jack of all trades. And this jack does everything competently. It can be as simple as you want it to be, or it can be a never ending tunnel. Everyone and anyone can benefit from it. You can easily master it, because the fact is, you just open the app up and input things.

Hash-tag and Sharing

Some of the neat features included are hash-tag #. It can be your GTD. Label them such as #Today, #Work, #Personal or #Important. Make a list that should be completed today and cross them off as you complete them. Nothing more satisfying than crossing tasks off your working list and knowing that there’s one less task to worry about. Sharing capability: You can share the list with the ones that you want. Say you are planning a picnic with your friends. Send them the list of items to bring on the day. You can choose to allow them to edit the list, or for just pure viewing. If you are ambitious enough, the cross platform sharing is ideal for virtual team collaborations too.

The normal version allows you to create up to 500 list per month. You can gain more space by having referrals or upgrading to their Pro version. Each referral gets you additional 250 items monthly. I’d rate myself as a moderate to heavy user and I create list for just about anything. With 750 items to play with monthly (thanks to a referral), I have yet to hit the limit.

Seriously, I have nothing but praise for workflowy. It’s understated, but words and already getting around. If you are already a workflowier, hello there. If you are sitting on the fence, get your feet down and try it out.

You might just be a advocate, like me.