Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Obama!

I slept at 2am today. It didn’t seem that tiring to stay up this late to watch the Inauguration compared to the 8 dreadful years of the Bush administration. It is a different air that we breathe today. It really isn’t just about skin colour and race. It’s really us, I think, that have changed.

Obama may be the leader of the movement, but because leaders were chosen in this instance by many, many other people,  we have this monumental shift in our bearings and our standing so much so that the old era is almost unrecognisable, well as least to me. Who outside America isn’t rooting for America now? And what a huge difference this is compared to the years of wasted goodwill from the rest of the world.
I introduced Obama in three English classes today. Slavery, Lincoln, , Civil War, Segregation, Parks, Civil Rights, Dr King; and the intertwining of Obama’s story. 40 years after King’s death, someone had the audacity of hope to run, and win the general elections, someone who also believes in the same dream, that one day we’ll be judged not by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character. Obama demonstrated that in the general election. The campaign was masterful, classy, intelligent, competent. It was Presidential.

So where do we go from here? And I don't mean just Americans, but people all over the world. I think it means that we have to change, if we haven’t already. We have to see the world through new eyes, to find new ways of solving our problems. We shall be hopeful. We will tell our kids that anything is possible, for just today, a Black man became President, and thus his Blackness became less relevant. It's his character and competance that is more important. And I think we have plenty of that in President Obama. Yes we can!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Return of Palm


A few hours ago, Palm, Inc. unveiled the newest ‘smartphone’, the Palm Pre. After years of stagnation on the ‘features’ front, it looks like they’ve finally got their act together!

Palm is my favourite technology company. Its history has been one fraught with near-death experiences, and after so many quarters of losing money, I think someone decided ‘enough is enough!’ It’s time for the philosophy of Palm to once again produce a device so well thought out that it changes, again, the relationship between man and machine/gadget.

In Version 1.0 of the Palm story, we have characters like Jeff Hawkins who envisioned an operating system so refined that they have a whole set of philosophy marketed as the Zen of Palm. This Zen (interesting stuff, really!) is something that holds fans of Palm together and something that urges them not to abandon the platform even as newer and more ‘advanced’ phones appeared in the marketplace. Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen a ‘datebook’ application implemented in current phones/devices as well as Palm’s version which appeared over 10 years ago, and is still being found in the latest models. Hopefully this Zen does not go away in Version 2.0; and I suspect that it won't.

Version 2.0 has interesting characters too. Irish rocker Bono is co-founder of Elevation Partners that recently pumped US100 million into Palm in this uncertain economic climate. They obviously sensed that something else is quite certain, the awesomeness of the new OS. Palm and Apple also shares a close partnership of some sort, and not just their shared focus on the user-interface experience of their products. I remember that many at Version 1.0 of Palm came from Apple. In Version 2.0, the person who headed the iPod division, Jon Rubinstein, left Apple and joined Palm as Chairman. For years people have speculated what would happen if Steve Jobs really decided to buy over Palm. I think it’s safe to say that what we have in Version 2.0 equals, or exceeds, what Steve would have done.

Anyway, the details of the new Palm pre are here and here. I can’t wait to get my hands on the SDK and redo some of my old but simple applications. Will we see the ‘good old days’ again? Palm’s stock just rose 35% in a day. I think that’s our early answer! More discussion at the Singapore Palm Users’ Group.


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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! / Pandan Reservoir

My resolution is to start the new year off on the right foot, so I went to Pandan Reservoir this morning and jogged 6km. The reservoir is the world’s most picturesque and largest bodies of  fresh water that is shaped like an elephant’s nose. You really need to be there to experience it. It’s around 2km in length. The phenomenon of high and low tides is not observable here, for some unexplainable reason. There are few trees lining the running route, so it’s advisable to go jogging in the early morning or late evening.

Details of the jog is found here. More pictures (not mine) are found here.pandan