Boutique Store, Hypermarket and Farmer’s Market

When Microsoft first launched their Application Marketplace, the number of applications are so limited that you feel like entering a boutique shop selling or showcasing limited edition products.

After 3 years (or is it 4?), Apple (and their loyal fans) always like to boast about the high volume of applications available in their Appstore. The last I read they claimed to have 200,000 applications available for download. But in reality, how many of them are really useful, and how many of them would really catch your attention for a download? Apple Appstore therefore is like a big superstore or hypermarket, not just  because there’s a wide variety of products you can choose from, but more importantly you are either clueless what exactly you need, or you are just bored that you want to shop around.

Now Google had recently claimed that they have reached the milestone of 75000 apps in their Android market. With just 1/3 of what Apple Appstore has,  Android market is just like a farmer’s market (or in local context, a wet market), provides all the essential and necessity goods without the bells and whistles.  Android Market is just that for the current moment. But like a typical wet market, it’ll transform overtime, and I will not be surprised that Android Market becomes a “superstore” in near future.

So the point being? Application store in terms of application counts is no longer relevant anymore. What  matters more will be the quality of the applications available, and that is not just about the user interface, but also the functionalities the application provides. Strip away the useless apps in Apple Appstore for example, you probably only have 1/3 (I am being conservative here) of them that’s worthy for download and use. So keep an open mind (myself included), ask yourself what applications you need, and shop around to see which platform offers the best application that best meets your need, not how many you can download.

Week 39: My rant snippets

It has been a very bizarre and tiring week, to say the least.

It has been 3.5 years since I took my current job position. And it has been that long since I work under odd hours, having to engage my colleagues in all 3 regions across the globe. At times, I works round the clock, 4 hours in the morning at the office, rest for 2 hours before 3 hours of conference call with the Europeans  in the afternoon. The day unfortunately doesn’t end there. A couple of hours break in the evening before a series of long night calls till 2-3am. I do find that it has been more physically very demanding these days for me to attend the night calls. Few days ago, I attended 2 nights of meetings (from 11pm to 8am, for what’s worth), and I took two days to recuperate. I wonder how long can such insane routine last.

Over the weekend, my car refused to start. Initially suspected of a flat battery, it turned out that the likely cause is a fuel pump failure. It was a Sunday morning, so I had to have it towed to the workshop and by Monday, we shall know what and how much will be the damage.

The week ended with my favorite club, Liverpool, lost to a minor club, Blackpool at home. Seriously, this is really f**ked up, and I hope Roy gets the booting soon. There’s a good reason why he spent his 30 over years of managerial positions with lesser clubs and winning nothing. Resume does not lie, there is so much you can sweet coat it.

End of…

A fine line between constructive critique and demoralizing criticism

I blogged about how our Singapore boys lost to Haiti in the semi final of Youth Olympic Football game, a few days ago.

Young Lion Cubs celebrating their goal - taken by unknown reporter

Earlier this evening, I went down to Jalan Besar stadium, to witness an exhilarating 3rd/4th playoff match between Singapore and Montenegro. The boys had earlier beaten Montenegro during the group stage, so like the Haiti match, they walked onto the pitch as a favourite. But I believe they have learnt the lesson of humility by now, given how they remained focus this time round to give a convincing 4-1 win over Montenegro boys. Their opponents are physically stronger and taller than them, but the Young Lion Cubs were unfazed with their trademark slick passing and technical skills.

What rolled my eye this time round is not Montenegro team, not the match officials, and definitely not the fans that were present in the stadium, who were great by the way. It is how some of our fellow Singaporeans think about the game. and I hope they are just minorities.  Here are some excerpts from the Yahoo! YOG Blog

Just what are we celebrating? Where’s Germany? Spain? Holland? Korea? Japan? The cubs line up against Papua New Guinea, Montenegro, Haiti…are these power houses of soccer? I think not. Yet, they choke against Haiti.

Give yourselves a pat on the back, for Haiti lost 9-0 to Bolivia and yet you couldn’t contain them. It could’ve been a blessing in disguise. Had you triumphed over Haiti, who knows what sort of trashing awaits you against Bolivia?

Lets hope you keep your feet on the ground. This medal means nothing given that soccer-strong nations were noticably missing to begin with.

and then there’s another one

Anywhere, there is nothing to shout about. There are only six teams in the Youth Olympic and Bolivia is the only outstandinng team with their good technical passes. There are no Brazil, no Argentina, no England, no Italy, no Germany, no France, no Spain, no Holland, no Uruguay, no Mexico, no Portugal and even Asian giant Korea and Japan are no in the line up. If all these team are in the Youth Olympic, where would Singapore stand???

Having read some of the criticisms about Singapore Youth Olympic, to be honest, I was expecting cynics and pessimists to spoil the party. But I can’t help thinking that some of these comments are a tad too much to stomach, let alone to be digested by a team of spirited boys.  There seems to be a group of Singaporeans who would only complain and criticize at every opportunity they can find, and appear to gain joy just by doing so.

To “critics” who want to compare us with the likes of England, Brazil or Spain;

The fact is, we are a young nation. When England won their first (and only) world cup (in 1966 fwiw), we were just barely few days away from celebrating our first independence day. When we think Spain as a powerhouse today, think about the struggle and challenges they faced in the last few decades (up till 2008).

If the boys had the same mentality as some of these “critics”, i.e.there’s no powerhouse (and therefore there’s no pride in winning the tournament), where would they be today? They would probably just “go through the motion” with a half hearted belief,  and ended up crashing out at the group stage. They might then do all the self-pity consoling stuffs, giving all sort of reasons why they cannot win.

But I’m glad the boys did not, and  hold on to the positive mindset, which the party-poopers are clearly not capable of. That they managed to overcome the Haiti setback to have a convincing win against Montenegro tonight, is even more commendable.

My parting words to the Young Lion Cubs, never stop believing and dreaming, as long as you work hard for it. If they do, we should applaud them for their sacrifice and determination, no matter whether they are successful in the end or not at the international level.

Majulah Singapura!

Sportsmanship in Olympic

I watched the 1st Youth Olympic Football semi final yesterday night, where Singapore, my home country, faced Haiti, a team that was thrashed 9-0 by Bolivia in the group qualifying round. Naturally, Singapore was a favorite coming into the match.

As the saying goes, in football, anything can happen. And true enough, Singapore was stunned with a 2-0 defeat, thanks to a goalkeeping blunder, and a controversial penalty converted in the last minute of playing time.

Well, the Young cubs, as the Singapore boys are better known as, should hold their chin up despite the defeat, for they have come so far, and had proven their worth with the skills and grits they have displayed in their journey to the semi final. They had earlier beaten Zimbabwe 3-1 despite the latter boasting a prediction of 5-0 thrashing during a  pre-game interview.  They managed to overcome Montenegro 3-2  after falling from behind in the game, to eventually top the group.

Perhaps the young cubs are not used to the media attention that was showered on them, after their amazing run in the qualifying round. They struggled against a very physical team in Haiti, whom I rate to be even more physical than Montenegro.

Surely the credits have to be given to the Haiti team for their ability to take the opportunity where it counts,  taking advantage of the goal keeper mistake, and protect the slim 1 goal lead very well until the very last minute.

What I dislike, and do not want to give credit for, is the manner on how  they protect their lead. Every single touch on their players, always end up with the player falling on the field, grasping in pain only to get up when the medical team and their stretcher rushed to them. Of course, one can say this is part and parcel of the football practice today, with professional players like Ronaldo and Robben doing all sort of play diving acts on the fields. One cannot fault the kids, having these professional players as their idols, to follow suite.

But to do it on every other minute, is a tad too much. The Haiti goalkeeper even had the audacity to showboat while preparing for goal kick.  He was seen sarcastically clapping his hands when the Hungarian referee showed him a yellow card for time wasting.  In the spirit of Olympic, which is about friendship, solidarity and fair play, surely what the Haiti boys had done should not be condoned. But if the adults (in this case, the professional footballers) do not show a good role example, what can and should we expect boys that’s under 15 year of age to behave?

The team manager of Haiti brushed away any accusation of his team’s play-acting, claiming that they are just kids. However, I hope he would instill the right value to his boys in the dressing room, for its inconceivable to imagine these boys will grow up to be professional players only to resort to such dirty tricks to get their goals.

Long week

This week must be one of those long unforgettable weeks in my life.
We got a puppy Corgi last weekend, on the 9th May, and had thought that our weeks ahead will be filled with taking care of the puppy. How I wish it was just that, even if it meant cleaning the puppy’s poo twice a day.

On 11th May, Tuesday morning, dad suffered a stroke and he was in a daze sitting on the floor, presumably fell after the stroke took place. We called the ambulance, rushed him to the nearest hospital, and after hours of resuscitation and observations, he was finally put into the acute stroke unit ward for further treatment & observation. He went through a couple of scans, and doctors confirmed that he had a large stroke, damaging his front left hemisphere of his brain. Consequently, the ischemic stroke  had affected the mobility of his right body, and his speech ability.

We were worried, and at some point, frightened by the incident. Dad had always been very independent and self proclaimed to be healthy, so his stroke incident really took us by surprised. On hindsight, we could have taken some cue from some slowness in his actions & slurred speech over the last few days, but we had somewhat dismissed them thinking that its part of his aging process. So to some extent, I felt guilty of his current condition, and just pray and hope that he would recover well enough so that he can continue a normal life routine, albeit with some form of assistance like walking stick and such.
As anything, we have to look at things positively, and so I like to think that the incident has brought our family closer than before. Personally, I learnt to be even more appreciative of  people around me, and never take them from granted, especially with my  family members. May God bless him and wish him a speedy recovery …