My Favorite Steve Jobs Moment

steve jobs portrait

Yesterday was an end of an era as Steve Jobs stepped down from Apple as CEO.  Steve is known for many things – Revolutionizing mobile phones, creating amazing portable music devices, coming up with sexy computers, and giving some of the most compelling presentations you’ve ever seen.

My favorite Steve Jobs moment however has little to do with technology.  It is a commencement speech he did back in 2005.  Although I’ve watched it several times, it never fails to resonate with me every time I listen to it. Here are some great snippets from the speech:

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

 

Watch the video.  No matter where you are in life, I’m sure if will speak to you.  The full transcript is also available online.

As for me I’ll Stay Hungry. I’ll Stay Foolish.

Thank you Steve for everything.  It’s been a blast.

How to Get a Google Music Invite [Closed Beta]

google music

Hey – Google’s new awesome cloud music service is out on closed beta!  It syncs to the cloud so all your music is synchronized across all devices.  It supports both online streaming and offline listening in a very seamless manner.  Create instant play mixes across your whole music selection whenever you want.  That, any many more cool features. 

Chris from the Google Music team does a much better job of explaining it in this video, than I ever will.

Sound good? 

Well it’s currently a closed beta but I have 5 super-exclusive invites to giveaway.  Please note that it’s only open to US based users.

Enough talk – are you going to give them away or what?

Yes – just fulfill this simple criteria:

1. ‘Like’ my facebook fanpage (If you have already liked the page just proceed to step 2)

2. Drop a comment on this blog post saying you want an invite.

At the end of this week, I’ll randomly pick 5 lucky people to get an invite to this closed beta.

Go ahead, join my facebook page and drop a comment :)

UPDATE: 16/8/2011: And the randomly selected people who walk away with a cool and exclusive Google Music Invite are:

1. Scot Merrick
2. Havilson
3. Zeffri
4. Gladys
5. vhick

Congrats to the lucky ones, and to those who participated and didn’t win – thanks for supporting this giveaway. Your participation means a lot to me.

I Can Haz Friedbeef YouTube Music Video!

I’m not usually a fan of blatant PR gimmicks, but PayPal’s latest effort is so incredibly cheesy – it’s hard for me to ignore.  They put together a boyband, wrote a song about one of my blog posts, and even made an MTV on YouTube. 

 

So thumbs up to PayPal for trying.  I appreciate the PR gesture :)

Please watch the video, and if you like it – share it around – and visit their YouTube channel – where they have more songs about other bloggers.  Also, all the songs sound the same (which makes it more cheesy).

Why You May Want to Wait for the HP TouchPad Before Buying an iPad 2

 touchpad

So I got to see the HP TouchPad in action sometime back in February, and actually played with it for all of 30 seconds before the lady doing the demo realized that I had my grubby hands on it and politely pulled it away.  From my brief time with the device, and the very extensive controlled demos by the presenters – here are my initial thoughts on what I really liked about the TouchPad which HP has just announced will be launched in June

I have never been a big fan of the old Palm Pre phones.  Always felt that the phones were much too small, especially when trying to handle all the touch gestures the palm interface demanded in order to use the phone.  The new Pre 3 is a step in the right direction with decent 3.6 inch displaybut the TouchPad however – that’s a different ballgame all-together. 

So why on earth would you ever consider holding out for an iPad 2?   Here’s a few reasons why:

1. You want grouped multi-tasking

Because all smartphones these days handle multi-tasking pretty decently, but handling anything more than a few apps is often a clunky user experience.  
WebOS on the other hand, groups together related apps running in the background. 

How is this useful? 

On other platforms multi tasking is focused on helping you switch between apps quickly, not so much between tasks. 
Some tasks require you to switch between related apps, For example – to calculate expenses you may want to switch between a calculator, notepad, and email app.
On WebOS, because apps are grouped together, you can quickly switch between groups of related apps all at once without hunting around.

Here’s a video which shows you this feature or ˜stacks’ as Palm people call it (Tip: Forward to halfway through the video to see most of the action)

2. You want a wireless charging

touchstone

Because there’s no more plugging in wires.  Just place it on the dock, and it charges/syncs. 

I don’t think I need to say more.

3. You want an adjustable sized keyboard

palm keyboard

Because not all fingers are the same size.  For me, the keyboard is perhaps the most important aspect of any smart device (aside from touchscreen sensitivity), and perhaps one of the most difficult for manufacturers to get right.  Making the on-screen keyboard adjustable really helps eliminate the compromise many keyboards make to get it to a one-size-fits all setup.

4. You don’t want to launch apps

just type

Because you want to just type and go.

A feature called ˜Just Type/Quick Actions’ in webOS 2.0 will allow you to do things in apps, without ever having to launch the app.  Doing things like search, compose email, set alarms, create calendar appointments, Facebook status updates, send text messages, update your blog etc.  from anywhere on your phone without having to open an app and wait for it to load.

How useful this turns out to be though, lies in the hands of developers who build need ˜Quick Actions’ plugins for this to take off.

5. You Want Decent Speakers

beats

Because the iPad 2 has mono speakers.  (Why Apple, why?)

while the TouchPad comes with HP Beats Audio and stereo speakers.  This setup possibly makes it the best audio system you will get for ANY tablet.

6. You want unobtrusive push notifications

push notificatios

Because while the rest of the smartphone world (Palm/Android/BlackBerry) has figured out how to do unobtrusive push notifications, iOS is using the worst push notification system in the world.  It’s in your face, forces you to look at everything, and forces you to unlock the phone to dismiss the notification.

WebOS notifications on the touchpad however are unobtrusive, easily dismissible if you don’t want to attend to it right away, and provides a useful preview to boot, and is very well thought through. 

What could be improved on the TouchPad

  1. Really wished it would come with a rear camera.  If you’ve ever used a tablet for annotation, or tried taking photos of text/maps for use on a tablet you’d realize how truly important this is.  Hopefully we’ll see this in the next iteration. 
  2. Also, the very obvious hole they have is their distinct lack of apps.  Their porting platform, the WebOS PDK has been around for about a year.  On one hand you’ve got nice testimonials of companies porting over 9 games in 5 weeks.  On the other hand, the reality of the matter is that they have REALLY struggled to get publishers on board, and even the very new Windows Phone 7 Platform which is still extremely raw, has gotten further ahead of the game.
  3. Things are moving really slow in terms of product development and launch.  Bear in mind the iPad 2 will take some steam away from the TouchPad launch, and if Apple really shifts their launch cycle for the iPad to ship in time for Christmas, the TouchPad could get swallowed up by iPad 3.

I did talk to Steven MacArthur who’s the SVP of Apps and Services in HP about how slow everything has been moving, but his response was that it was early days in this market and he could afford to go slowly for now saying it did not matter in the grand scheme of things and long term strategy – citing how Apple and Android beat up the smartphone incumbents within a short period of time.  

Truth be told, I disagree with him on this one.  The iPhone was a ridiculously revolutionary device when it launched.  Android bridged the gap and opened up solid smartphone capabilities to a whole other range of manufacturers.

Palm’s devices however are at best incrementally better than existing systems, still has its shortcomings, and they will not license out their OS.  In short – the market will be much less forgiving.  Given that the Pre and Pre 2 hasn’t done spectacularly well so far, this should already be a warning flag.  Also, the unofficial price point is touted to be at the USD$499 point for the 16GB Wifi version which makes it on par with iPad 2 pricing, so it does not look to have an advantage there either.  Meanwhile I’m crossing my fingers that a 3G version will follow quickly.

Hands-on video

Here’s a full hands-on which was demo’ed in Shanghai. It gives a great look at the new WebOS devices which were launched including the TouchPad.

Video courtesy of Lowyat.tv

Conclusion

All that aside.  The TouchPad did seem like a really snappy device.  Interface looked well designed and slick.  More than anything it has bucketloads of potential especially when WebOS starts being integrated into ALL new HP computers starting from next year.  The tablet future certainly looks interesting doesn’t it?

3 Things ANY Blogger Can Do To Help Japan Disaster Relief

The damage is beyond terrible.  The lives lost irreplaceable.  The impact on Japan and the rest of the world, simply indescribable. 

Yet, you can make a choice.  Sit idly by, shake your head, and feel sorry for Japanor do something about it, and drive people to do more about it.  These are a few things I’ve put together which should help you do the latter as a blogger. 

1. Give and get others to give

tsunami

Just feeling terrible about the situation won’t really change much.  Put your money where your heart is and give.  Friedbeef’s Tech is going to be MATCHING whatever is given by YOU our readers until a USD500 limit. 

All you need to do is:

  1. Donate to any organization which is providing relief for the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
  2. Send in proof of the said donation to jamesyeang [at] gmail.com . 

All MY matched funds will will be going into Groupon Malaysia’s Red Crescent/Red Cross relief fund which in turn will be REMATCHED again.   So any funds you donate will be multiplied at least 3x.  So follow your heart and give!  *See update below*

Your local area should have their own fund, but you may also donate directly to the Red Cross via Google’s Crisis Relief page

After you’ve done it, blog about it, and use whatever influence you have as a blogger – big or small, to drive your readers to give more.

2. Embed a hellobar on your site

hellobar

A hellobar is a thin horizontal bar which comes up at the top of your blog and provides readers with a simple message.  In this case, we’re adapting it to support Japan relief.  It’s eye-catching, yet does not disrupt your theme, and it’s for a good cause.  That’s all the reasons you’ll ever need to install one. 

Mashable has an excellent set of simple instructions on how to do this in under 5 minutes.

3. Embed a simple tool to help others find and provide information about potential missing Japanese people

Basic communications are down, so Google has put together a Person Finder tool where anyone worried about the their loved ones can look them up by name, and others can submit information as well.  In short, it’s an adhoc database to connect people.  You’re also able able to embed the tool like what I’ve done for this post.

Hope some of these tools help you get started.  Even if you don’t have a blog, please do drive people facebook/twitter account to help so at least the people you know can be drawn to action, not just watch in horror as events continue to unfold.

Update 20/3/2011:

Campaign has ended, in conjunction with Groupon Malaysia reaching their matching limit of RM25,000. We have matched a grand total of USD$242 towards this cause. All proof matching has been sent to individual donors. Please continue to donate directly to Japanese disaster relief.