Archive for September 2011

Finnair flies the Angry Birds to Singapore

The Angry Birds are in Singapore after what is said to be their longest continuous flight to date. Some say the Angry Birds are migratory birds and they flew to Singapore to escape the cold Finland weather. Others say the Angry Birds are here for the Singapore F1 race this coming weekend. I say, why do the Angry Birds need a reason to come to Singapore? Just come lah.

Besides, Finnair just launched a daily non-stop flights from Helsinki to Singapore recently. This is one of the fastest and shortest available route between Europe and Singapore for travelers and Angry Birds.

The Angry Birds flew to Singapore in style onboard Finnair’s customized Angry Birds plane complete with Angry Birds themed service and entertainment. During the flight from Helsinki to Singapore, 7 die-hard Angry Birds fans and passengers took part in the Angry Birds Asian Challenge for 4 hours over an altitude of 10,000 metres. There were 50 Samsung tablets onboard so that anyone on the flight could participate. And surprisingly, the winner isn’t one of the die-hard Angry Birds fans.

In the end, Finnair passenger Jani Uljas from Finland emerge winner of Finnair’s Angry Birds Asian Challenge with a high score of 62,110. From what I understand, the Angry Birds game that they were playing onboard the Finnair flight is an unreleased stage and the gravity is slightly different from the version that we are used to. (I might be wrong here.) I wonder if Rovio will release this version to the market.

Oh, and I must post this photo up. That’s me with the gigantic Red Bird. And I want it for Christmas. Pleaseeeeeee……

Google Plus Hangout On Air with will.i.am

Google Plus will be having their first showcase of Hangout On Air hosted by celebrity musician will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas. The Hangout On Air will happen at 9:00am 22 September 2011 Singapore time. (6:00pm 21 September on US Pacific time) To participate, go to will.i.am’s Google Plus profile page.

Not sure exactly what will will.i.am be doing at the Hangout On Air. Will he be singing? Or just “meet and greet” fans? We will find out soon.

Google Plus Hangout On Air is one of the many new features that Google is rolling out. It’s like Google Plus Hangout. (For the uninitiated, Hangout is a video chat service on Google plus which allows up to 10 partipant at one time) Except you can also have audience watching the conversation. This is great for live Podcast/Videocast. And it is exactly the thing I wished for when I was at Tech65.

Google Plus Hangout On Air is making me feel like doing podcasting/videocasting again. Anyone want to join in when the feature is out?

Google Plus is getting better and better each day. Still not good enough to completely replace any social network out there. But hang in there. This thing has huge potential. And its still in Beta (Like most Google products. Haha).

Facebook redesign, again

Facebook just did a redesign, again. And true to Facebook tradition, a lot of people will be grumbling about the new redesign.

There are basically 3 new main components to the new redesign. Friend List, News Feed and Ticker. Actually Facebook also added the Subscribe feature recently. More about that next time.

Personally, I don’t like the new redesigned Facebook page. But then, I always say this whenever Facebook did a redesign. Except maybe the last redesign. I really love the last design. I think it’s the best Facebook ever had.

But then, we just have to get used to it like all Facebook redesigns.

The Friend List is a feature that should have been on Facebook long time ago. It’s the same a Google Plus Circle. You group your friends in List and choose which list can see the stuff you post on Facebook. The problem now is classifying all my friends into different list. That is going to be something very tedious. Did that once a few months ago on Google Circle. Have to do it again now for Facebook. I wonder if Facebook allows us to import the Circles we created on Google Plus. Haha.

The update News Feed seems pretty alright. Still pretty much the same except the addition of Top Story. I don’t think I’ll use the Top Story feature often. But no harm having that feature there.

I don’t really like the Ticker. It’s disturbing to see real time updates from friends and knowing they can see real time updates of my activities on Facebook. Right now, we don’t know if there is any ways for us to turn off the Ticker or set who can see what activities on the Ticker. My guess is there is no setting and every single thing you do can be viewed by all your friends in real time on their Ticker. Now I’m going to think twice before I comment on something or even Like something on Facebook. This is sad.

I know, the Ticker is showing things that are previously already on Facebook. But I just don’t like the idea of making it so obvious to all my friends in real time. It’s just disturbing. I guess we just have to get used to it. (Or start migrating to Google Plus)

PS: If you really really hate the new Facebook redesign, go to your account setting and change the language to something else (Maybe English (UK) or even English (Pirate)). The new redesign is only applicable on English (US) language setting. But this is just a temporary workaround. I’m sure Facebook will roll out the new redesign to all the language soon.

Google Wallet: The future of payment is coming

I knew this day is coming when Google announced Nexus S with a NFC chip. But I’m still very excited when I read about Google Wallet.

In short, Google Wallet is a mobile app that replaces all the credit cards, coupons and eventually, loyalty and gift cards in your wallet. You can currently pay using Google Wallet anywhere in US where MasterCard PayPass is accepted. Google Wallet is currently available on Nexus S 4G and can only be tied to your Citi Mastercard or Google Prepaid Card for now. But Google will be supporting more phones and adding more Banks and Credit Cards in the near future. I can’t wait for Google Wallet to make its way to Singapore.

There might be people who say that it’s risky to make payment using your mobile phone. But actually it is much safer than using a Credit Card. You are required to key a pin number on your phone when making payment using Google Wallet. It is not possible to “steal your money wirelessly” because the Nexus S 4G contains a Secure Element chip that only authorized programs like Google Wallet, can access. And if you ever lose your phone, just contact the Credit Card company that you use for Google Wallet. For me, I would remote lock my phone first before calling the credit card companies.

Honestly, I can’t wait for Google Wallet to be accepted worldwide. Imagine leaving the house with just your Mobile Phone.

And there’s a lot of things that can be extended to Google Wallet. Imagine having your entire month’s expenditure stored in the cloud. No more receipts. Everything is stored digitally. Companies can send you specialized loyalty e-coupon which you can tie to your Google Wallet. This way, you will never forget to bring that coupon to redeem your discount. And imagine what developers can do if Google release API for Google Wallet. Maybe you can Facebook/Twitter/Google Plus the things you just purchased at the store.

And knowing Google, the Google wallet will most likely be cross platform and available on any smartphone as long as there is NFC. Which means we might see Google Wallet on BlackBerry. iPhone and Windows Phone 7 might get it too when they release NFC version phone.

Google Wallet is still at its infancy stage. There’s a lot of potential in it. But if everything goes right, this might become the Credit Card or Dollar Bill of the future.

Download Portal for free

OK, firstly I must apologise for blogging about this so late. Portal is now free to download on Steam. This offer ends on 20 September 2011 which is today. But I guess they are using US time, so you have more than 24 hours to download it for free.

Valve is giving away the game for free to encourage use of the game to teach principals of physics and critical thinking. It’s part of Steam’s “Learn with Portal” campaign. Check out their website for more info.

Using interactive tools like the Portal series to draw them in makes physics, math, logic, spatial reasoning, probability, and problem-solving interesting, cool, and fun which gets us one step closer to our goal—engaged, thoughtful kids!

The cake is not a lie. At least not this time. So hurry, go download and have fun.

PS: In case you are wondering why I blog about this so late, well, I’ve been playing the game over the weekend. And I’m proud to say that I’ve completed the game. Hee hee.