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Running your own business feels like dodging trains

Subway Surfers by Kiloo

Subway Surfers by Kiloo

I’ve been playing a game on my iPad called Subway Surfers (it’s available for Android too). In the game you control an avatar running along the train track. You have to pick up trains, jump over barriers, and dodge trains! As you progress the speed increases so you’re almost flying past the tracks and trains. Sooner or later the inevitable happens – you smash headlong into a train.

It occurred to me today that running your own business feels like a lot like playing Subway Surfers. You’re constantly chasing your paycheck, you dodge problems after problem, but inevitably you smack into one. In the game, you can simply restart but in your business you’re going to waste time, lose money or worse – your reputation.

Moral of today’s random musing: Practice running your business, not Subway Surfers :D

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[VIDEO] Wingsuit flight through a small arch in a mountain

I’ve been very impressed with wingsuit jumpers (flyers?) but this is one of the more insane ones I’ve seen. Alexander Polli threads the needle through a small arch in the Montserrat mountains in Spain.

Comments Closed tells you the weather, beautifully

forecast-io is a web-based weather app that tells you the weather in a beautiful, easy to use interface. Every other weather website I use is clunky, slow and full of ugly ads – I’m looking at you Yahoo! Weather. Most weather websites will tell you what the weather is right now, but to see what it will be this afternoon it requires a few clicks and page loads to get there. With Forecast, you scroll down and click on Today and you’ll see the day’s hourly forecast laid out in an easy to understand bar graph. excels at being fast. It detects your location so you don’t have to type it in. It takes 1 click to view the day’s forecast. And it’s mobile too. Load it up on your mobile and it will prompt you to save it as a home screen app.

Photo Apr 05, 10 00 18 AM Photo Apr 05, 10 00 45 AM

My only quibble is that Forecast seems to have a lot of “Light Rain” reports when it’s only cloudy. Either that or it really does know when it’s just sprinkling outside. Either way, is now my go to app for checking the weather. It’s super useful for me to decide when to go running.

Try, you’ll love it.

Mobile scanner app showdown: Scanner Pro vs DocScanner


I’m making it a point to go paperless. Instead of keeping piles of dead trees lying around, I’ll convert them to digital scans and make them available to me through the cloud. The first step is converting my paper documents to digital format. For full page documents, a dedicated scanner is the best solution but for receipts, business cards and small slips of paper a mobile scanner app is better.

I tested 2 scanner applications for the iPhone – Scanner Pro by Readdle and DocScanner by Haave Oy. Scanner Pro is the market leader and costs $6.99 (iTunes link). Unfortunately, that app really sucked. Luckily I found a great replacement – DocScanner, $4.99 (iTunes link). Here is a quick review if you are looking for a good mobile scanner app too. Read More »

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Barefoot Running Debate: ‘Born to Run’ Author vs. Podiatrist

Since I started running I have noticed great debate about barefoot running. Is it good, is it bad? Will it stop injuries, will it cause injuries? It feels a little like a fad to me, but I bought a pair of Nike Free running shoes to get a feel of running with “less shoe” anyway. In any case, I thought this video presented all sides of the argument really well. I still think it’s a little nutty to go completely barefoot, but I think in principle it’s a good idea to strengthen the muscles in the foot.

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Animated Calvin and Hobbes

Animator Adam Brown made an animated comic from one of my favorite comics growing up, Calvin and Hobbes. Brings back memories of Miss Wormwood the teacher and Susie the clever girl. Makes me feel like buying Calvin and Hobbes box setMore details here.

Free isn’t always the best option

Many people (especially Malaysians) love free stuff. Free is good on your wallet but a lot of times there isn’t many other benefits.


Free stuff inevitably goes away. The latest casualty is Google Reader – there wasn’t a business model for it, and Google needed to direct it’s resources elsewhere so they canned it. Via the official Google Reader blog:

There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

Just adds on to my distrust of Google.

Free stuff by large organizations stifles innovation. Aldo Cortesi writes:

The truth is this: Google destroyed the RSS feed reader ecosystem with a subsidized product, stifling its competitors and killing innovation. It then neglected Google Reader itself for years, after it had effectively become the only player. Today it does further damage by buggering up the already beleaguered links between publishers and readers. It would have been better for the Internet if Reader had never been at all.

Free stuff turns you into a product to be sold to advertisers, since you’re not the customer. Bruce Schneier summarized our relationship with Facebook (it’s the same with Google):

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re Facebook’s customer, you’re not – you’re the product,” Schneier said. “Its customers are the advertisers.

I always find it strange that people would put up with annoying ads so that they can play games for free. If you like it and it provides value, pay the $0.99 for the game lah! If there are products and services that you use and like, please ensure their continuity by being a paying customer. Or donate if they are a non-profit organization like Wikipedia (donate here).

This is why I subscribe to Basecamp, Hootsuite Pro, Evernote Premium, Fastmail, Gravity Forms Developer License, and too many more to list. Maybe I’m very lucky to have the financial ability to pay for stuff I use, but I don’t smoke, don’t have a Starbucks or drinking habit, and try not to eat out that much. So next time you want to jailbreak your phone so you can install a $0.99 app, consider skipping the pack of smokes instead.

Evernote for Travel

Last night I shared some of my tips for using Evernote to plan a trip or vacation at the Kuala Lumpur Evernote user meetup. The meetup was held in conjunction with DiGi who are announcing some interesting collaborations with Evernote next week – you heard it here first :)

Embedded above are my slides from my session (Evernote for Travel on Scribd), and here is a recap of my talk. I made the majority of the slides by drawing them out with Penultimate. Since the app was acquired by Evernote and integrated into its database, I’ve found it useful to replace scraps of paper on my desk. The best thing is that my jottings, phone numbers, etc are searchable within Evernote now. Enough waffling, time to dive into travel tips for Evernote!


Every trip involves 1 thing – checklists. I avoid repetition as much as possible, so I save template checklists as notes in my Evernote Checklists notebook. In it I have packing lists which I modify for each trip, e.g. sometimes I need my passport, sometimes I don’t. Or you can create different checklist for different types of trips – short trip, overseas trip, or business trip. Also useful is a house prep list for things like stopping the newspaper, set lighting timers, etc. Evernote also allows you to insert checkboxes into your notes, which is very useful to see progress of your checklist at a glance. Read More »