Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Applers, or the suckers

If you do not believe in paying for things you use or consume, you may stop reading here and instead spend your valuable time surfing piratebay and be a thief.

Before I got the Apple TV, media is shared using the 2TB WD  My book Live which acts as a media storage server plus backup location for the Time Machine. Media is then streamed to all the TVs in the house using the WD TV Live connected to the My Book Live server via the D-Link Powerline adapters. This system works very well and I was happy with it. Now, I can put all the music, movies and photos onto the server and stream them to any TV in the house.

The problem is I have to physically rip those music and movies, and transfer those files out to the server and also the photos and slideshows to the server. There is an additional layer of work but once done, it is perfect.

Then comes Apple TV and Airplay. Wow!

Now, I can use iTunes as before to get all the ripped music in, buy albums off the iTunes store and have the music up in the cloud using iTunes Match for a mere USD25 a year and have all those music in each and every IOS5 device I own plus the ability to play those music via my Denon 1911 AVR system which has Apple TV connected to it via HDMI, and see all the beautiful album artwork on TV if I wanted to. This is mega convenient. And it just works. And all those music is now available on the iPad, iPhone, iMac, Macbook Pro. Everywhere thanks to iTunes Match.

On the movie front, it is not as convenient as the music front. Unless you have an American iTunes account (i.e. residing in USA), many movies are not available but a lot of those recent big Hollywood movies are. So you can have the 1080p HD movie played on the TV for a mere RM15 and can be enjoyed in the comfort of the home any time you want. And if you have an American iTunes account, things get better and better. The library there is quite good. Want to check out what the big fuss this Fellini guy is all about? Search for Fellini and you can watch NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, AMARCORD, 8 1/2 and such. Want to check out all the Oscar Best movies throughout all these years? No problem, they are all there for you to watch. Want to check out Independent and Foreign Movies such as A SEPARATION? Many of those are there. Oh, you suddenly decided to be a fan of Woody Allen after watching MIDNIGHT IN PARIS? Hey, you can check out HUSBANDS AND WIVES or ANNIE HALL or MANHATTAN. They are all there. And affordable and reasonably priced.

And after you have purchased those contents they are available in every one of your device, so if you are bored, you can watch TAXI DRIVER on the iPad while on the road.

On the photo side, the cloud based photo stream is not as superb since you don’t have a cloud based album, just your photostream for photos taken via your iPhone, for example. You cannot have a photo album on the cloud and this is where Airplay comes in handy. My iMac is my base station and I use Aperture for all my photo needs, and I am not very demanding and I don’t need Photoshop. I can create photo albums, slideshows etc on Aperture and have them sync wireless to my iPhone or iPad and when I need to show the photos on the TV, I simply just need to use Airplay to mirror whatever that is on my iPad. Or I can leave my iMac on and have them stream from there. It just works wonderfully.

The thing is Apple makes it so convenient for you to acquire, manage and consume your preferred content and its Genius function can help you explore stuffs you might like and expand your horizon. Apple TV, Airplay, iCloud, iTunes Store and iTunes Match are just so superb and ecosystem that nothing comes even close from the competitors such as Samsung. Samsung now has some beautiful devices. The Galaxy S3 is beautiful but it is beautiful by itself and a few months down the line, it will feel old. Not so for Apple products. I still don’t feel my iPhone 4 to be old but the Samsung S2 is like a dinosaur. Perhaps it is just me.

Everyone is free to set up their own systems. But the Apple ecosystem works perfectly for me. Now I just need Netflix and Hulu Plus to be available in Malaysia.

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Strategy and stuffs like that

A lot has been written about strategy and shelves of books have been published on this subject, especially so on business strategy. When I sit in a “strategy” meeting, it always annoys me when the participants do not know what “strategy” actually means, and started talking about visions and missions and stuffs, drawing up huge balance scorecards that has like two dozen items on them, draw up a humongous budget that will quickly be irrelevant in 2 months’ time, and talking endlessly on big topics using big and bombastic words, chic and trendy words etc. Sometimes it becomes unbearable.

Unbearable because I know after all these talks, nothing will come out of it and all it has done is to create big bureaucratic procedures and multiple reporting and tracking mechanism that does not really solve the problem or tackle the issue. Everyone has a good holiday, good talking session, good food, etc. except for the shareholders and owners who actually put up money to pay their salaries and expenses.

Not that I am any expert in strategy but for me, strategy has to be clean, straightforward and easy to understand. The actual tactical and execution part of it can be and is usually messy and detailed oriented but the strategy itself must be clear and straightforward, framing the issue at hand and tackle it head on. There is no need for high level language and busy looking charts.

During the course of my working life and studies, I have read numerous books on strategy but the one that I find closest to what I am thinking is this book called GOOD STRATEGY/BAD STRATEGY by Richard Rumelt. It is such a delightful book to read and it gives me the same sense of urgency, no-nonsense way to tackle challenges at hand. Roll up your sleeves and find a way to punch the opponent with your maximum force hitting their weakest spot. A good read and I recommend it to anyone interested in strategy.

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