Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why Communities changed everything for Google+

A month ago, Google+ was a site left untouched, apart from sharing some family photos with family members. Today, I spend 5 times more time on Google+ compared to Facebook. And here's why.


Google+ introduced Communities a short while ago, and it changed everything. Before, as a G+ user, I roamed in a white void of nothingness. There was no "friends" to share stuff with, because heck, no one but real geeks paid any attention to G+ after the initial "invite-only" fad. I knew there're people out there, but without an initiative, I had no reason to reach out to any of them. Communities changed all this. I was able to search on topics that interest me, from the uninspiring tech topics such as Android to actual interests such as coffee and primal diet. I was able to post on each communities different threads, and I would be getting constructive responses because the people reading them would have the same interest as me.

Here's an example, I posted a photo of a box of disposable drip coffee on both Facebook and G+'s Coffee community. On Facebook, I got the usual "cool", "what's this?" from friends and maybe friends of friends. On G+, I invoked fellow coffee lovers who provided me with actual useful insights as to how to best use this box of coffee. 

Another example, I joined this Vibram Five Fingers community, which was very new and got all but 6 members. Even with very limited action in this community, I was able to discover an online store that was doing some big discounts on VFFs. 

I think to sum it up, G+ Communities provided a channel for much deeper discussions whereas Facebook comments are either all too shallow or flame wars. 

I spend a lot of time on G+ everyday now that I have joined a good dozen or so communities. I have learned a lot in topics that interests me, and I strongly believe this is a much better use of time than browsing people's pet photos or commenting on their status of how life sucks.

I urge all of you who have given up on Google+ to give it another shot, purely in playing around with Communities. I promise that you'll be pleasantly surprised in how much an addition of one simple feature can help you learn so much more. 

(btw I don't work for Google and I get nothing for promoting their service. But I do get great gratification by knowing more people are taking advantage of this and therefore getting to learn more about stuff that they care to learn about.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My way of eating less meat

Lots of people talk about eating less meat, be it for a healthier life, religious reasons, or simply trying to reduce animal cruelty. But it's very hard to actually do it for someone who lives in a metropolitan, especially Hong Kong. (Hey did you know that HK ranks *drumroll* FIRST in the world in per capita meat consumption, and is 33% higher than the great US of A?) There's this whole Green Monday movement which is obviously great in trying to reduce total meat consumption by 1/7. But the problem for me is, being a guy with a family, it's very hard to go home and expect everyone else to eat veggie with me. So here's what I think is an alternative, except it's an alternative that's even better:

No meat until sunset.

My rationale is this: it's normally not very hard for a person to go meatless during breakfast. Cereals, yogurts, or just a plain coffee is a great morning starter. For someone like me, who also does intermittent fasting (no food for 16 hours intervals), this is a non issue (since I don't eat anything with calories for breakfast anyways). For lunch, a working person would either eat alone or with friends. The hard part is to find the food, and ample online resources can cater for that. If that's sorted out, eating vegetarian for lunch is pretty easy. At most cuisines there're vegetarian dishes and unless it's Chinese, most have very little sharing going on so there's no issue with causing disturbance for others. I've never had anyone question my food of choice because a four-cheese pizza or a mushroom risotto are perfectly normal food in a meat-eater's eyes.

And for dinner, meat is allowed. That'll dodge a lot of inevitable debates during family dinners. It'll also make dining out easier.

So to wrap it up, this method is clearly not as good as going 100% vegetarian but it's a good middle point, and I see it an improvement versus Green Monday since mathematically I'm getting 3.5 days meat-free (or 2.5 days even if I only do Mondays to Fridays)!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Apple Inc, from an investment perspective

Short Apple. That's my short of the decade. This ain't gonna pay off in 3 months or even a year, but given that Blogger doesn't go down in 10 years, I'm pretty sure this post will look very good by then.

Which is crazy. AAPL trades at $587 today, and the company is posting a $44 eps, making its PE2012 13.3x. Given that it's usually a bad bad idea to short anything 13x historical PE, let alone a tech stock, this is a pretty whacked trade. Let's say Apple posts zero growth in the upcoming year, it's still trading at forward PE2013E 13.3x. fuck. looks like shorting it is dumb. 

But what about in 10 years? Given my firm belief that Apple has seen its peak and its innovation died with Steve Jobs, I'd say this company is going down the shithole and it's just a matter of time. It has its huge cash pile now, but one day it'll burn out. When iPad 10 looks exactly like the 9.7" brick we see today, and when iPhone 10 continues to play behind the curve, that cash will burn out. 

Going back to the short trade, and why it's dumb. It's only dumb if a short squeeze is in the coming, meaning the short will incur huge fucking loss before seeing the light of day, and meaning that there will be a better time to short in the future. But what exactly is gonna push this company forward from this point on? Tim Cook is great at doing what he does which is pennypinching, which is great for the bottomline today, but he's made all the possible wrong decisions in terms of innovation. (yes taking the DVD off the iMac to make it slimmer is one of them. The man clearly doesn't know Blurays still sells pretty well.) My belief is that Apple has lost it, and if I am right, then there's nothing on earth that can push its stock price higher, from this point on. 

So, maybe the time is now and maybe one just needs to bite the bullet and short a 13x PE tech stock. But hey, at least borrow will cost you next to nothing.

Footnote: i'm not even gonna promote this post on Twitter or Facebook cuz I don't need to start a flame war. If you somehow came across it and read it, thank you. If you want to comment, please make it constructive. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises: John Blake

SPOILER ALERT: pls stop reading if you haven't seen Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.

Now that you've been warned, we can start. Just to put it out there, this isn't a movie review. I just want to write to hopefully start a discussion on Joseph Gordon-Lewitt's character. His name is John Blake, and by the end of the movie we would learn that he has a middle name "Robin". It's natural to assume he's Christopher Nolan's version of Batman's unpopular sidekick, even though his name is not Tim Drake or Dick Grayson. My real question is, will Nolan take this any further? Nolan has said he won't be doing more Batman movies, and Christian Bale also said this is his last time acting as the Dark Knight. But what about a movie centered around Robin? (Guys, don't roll your eyes just yet.) Nolan has been able to develop a solid backstory on John Blake, and JGL's acting in The Dark Knight Rises has shown he's up for the task of leading a movie. Can this be the one time for Robin? Can he actually be both cool and the center of attention? I would love to hear what the internet has to say about this.

From a business angle, this also makes a lot of sense. It will be hard for Warner Bros to just let such a profit-making franchise die. To reboot it in even the distant future will be suicidal as the Nolan trilogy has impacted so much on the franchise and Nolan has put such a large footprint on Batman as a character. The only way to continue raking in the money is to develop a side-story, and Robin seems like a natural fit.

On a slightly longer shot, maybe Nolan will let John Blake be Nightwing, which is obviously ultra-cool. Except I think Nightwing isn't as well known by the mass public and it may not be as good a fit for Warner Bros business wise.

What do you think? Discuss!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Quick Account in Modern Day Instant Messaging

Just like all things tech, instant messaging has evolved a lot since the early days of the internet. This is to quickly summarize what has gone down in the past decade or so in terms of messaging one another. Spoiler: login-required protocols are out, login-free protocols are the way to go.

This is probably the most ancient IM. Each user account is assigned a "number" according to their initial registration and users are required to log in every time. The idea of alphanumerical username was too advanced.

Email service providers entered the IM market with MSN quickly taking over as the most predominant IM service globally. (With the exception of the US which preferred AIM slightly more.) Each user account is represented by an alphanumerical username which is just your @hotmail address.

Facebook Message/Chat
Facebook made a breakthrough in the IM world with their integrated messaging service. It started with Facebook Message, and then Chat was introduced. Eventually, these two are combined as one and became Facebook Messenger as we know it today. This is still login-required but with most people permanently logged into their Facebook account on their desktop and mobile, the actual action of logging in became obsolete.

A not-so-popular service which has the benefit of being integrated into Android phones and GMail. Once again, it's still login-required but most people are permanently logged in anyways.

More a VoIP service but there's an IM aspect to it. I wouldn't say it's very popular but some people depend on it. Login is required.

And finally in comes the truly login-free IM service. This type of IM links to a cellphone number and no login/password is required. The obvious requisite is for the messaging party to know each other's phone number.

I would think that most people use FB and Whatsapp the most today with GTalk here and there. Let's revisit this post in say 3-5 years time and I'm sure things will be very, very different.

Monday, May 14, 2012

APPT Cebu 2012

There're some memories one would hate to forget, and APPT Cebu is one of them. The poker was there but the essence of the joy was in the trip itself. I would hate to one day (probably soon) lose memory of all the details of this amazing trip, so here, I've decided to use my blog in its more original purpose, a diary.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The flight to Cebu takes off at 8:50am and is set to land at 11:30am. I took the bus (!) to the airport at 7:30am and got there at 8am. I already checked in online and even got my boarding pass sent to my phone as a QR Code and I had no check-in luggage so 50 minutes is more than sufficient to get from the airport entrance to the gate. I had literally no cash on me, but lining up at ATM isn't my thing. I'd rather get cash off ppl I know when I get to Cebu. I ended up finding an empty ATM near Gate 40 and I used it. After getting cash I walked to my gate and saw that my flight was delayed by 30 minutes. Since I'm flying business I naturally walked into the Business Class Lounge and sipped coffee. When the time comes I walked back to my gate and boarded the flight.

The Cathay Pacific flight had the new business class with the solo seats and the 180 degrees reclinable backs. Awesome. Not so awesome was the delay. I was due to start playing Day 1b at 12:15pm, and it looked like my plane wouldn't touchdown until 12:30pm. When we eventually landed, I was the very first one thru the immigration, and I kept walking until I reached the casino. Yes, the casino is right across the street from the airport. I got there and started playing.

The day went past pretty fast as we only had to play 6 levels. I built my stack up to a nice 45k or so but on the last level of the day had to get it in on a Q-high flop with KK. A Chinese guy named "BoBo" went with his flush draw and didn't waste time as he peeled the 3rd spade right on the turn to put me drawing dead. GG. I walked around the casino floor until the reality that I was out of the tournament hit me. At that point, I had a choice between playing cash game or going to my hotel room at the Shangri'la Resort. I chose the latter and took a 15 minutes cab ride to the resort. I checked into my room and ordered a salad from room service. After eating, I tried to sleep but ended up watching UFC. By like 8pm I went down to the resort's Italian restaurant called "Acqua" and ate. I had a mozzarella and tomato salad. By around 9pm I walked over to the APPT Party which was held on the resort's beach. 

This is one awesome party with fireworks and a live band. The food was awesome took as they served this filipino suckling pig called "lechon". I had plenty of meat and I drank vodka+soda all night. Those things are actually pretty strong after a few. I remember exchanging whiskey shots with my friend Carter and talking to a whole lot of people. I also remember watching Robin and Raymond Wu do a grapple competition on the sand but I can't remember who won. The next day I was also told that I tore Celina's Pokerstars badge right off her bare arm which may or may not cause permanent damage. (I'm very sorry Celina.) After the party I went over to my buddy Ken's suite and drank more with him, Charles, Jay, Kenny, and Juicy. I think we played some sort of sit n go tournament in the room without any chips which I think I was the first to bust out lol. We went thru like 5 bottles of white wines and a lot of bim bip baps. (Tks a lot Ken.) The night ended when we were a bit out of control and Charles started throwing wine glasses out the verandah lol. I think Ken also threw a few. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

The next morning I woke up for breakfast at 9:30am because it's freeeee. And then I didn't have the mood to go back to sleep so I lied on the beach. I went out for a round of jetski which was amazingly fun. When I came back from it I ran into Charles, Ken, and Jay. We ended up lying on the beach more and drank these awesome mango smoothies. It's probably the best mango smoothie in the world. The guys wanted to rent a boat and go out to the sea but I opted out when I started to feel the sea sick just looking at the boat. So I went back to the room myself and napped. I thought I could sleep till 4pm as the PLO tournament that evening was at 7pm. I woke up at around 4pm and then went to the gym. I lifted weight and then ran for 30 minutes. I had a good sweat and went back to the room for a shower. After that, I went back to Acqua for my dinner. I ordered beef carpacio and a veal milanese. It's probably one of the better beef carpacio I've had but only because I like it raw and fleshy. Here they don't sear the beef at all and it's just good o' red. The veal was done okay except a bit oily. The best one is still at Cipriani's in Hong Kong. 

I finished dinner and took a cab back to the casino. I registered into the PLO slightly late and didn't waste time to blow off 25% of my stack. On the second level I got it in with a 5-card wrap and my opponent snapcalled with the top set. It's pretty close to 50/50 and I was very happy to have at least got it in good. However, the turn paired the board and I was left drawing dead immediately. I killed time at the casino floor and also got into some (very) shorthanded PLO cash game which didn't last too long before it broke. I walked around a bit more and eventually went for a drink with APPT President Danny McDonagh and the Pokerstars team. It was Danny's birthday the following day and there's no way I can pass on having a drink with the guy. A slight problem I had was I was very tired at the time and I ended up falling asleep in the bar lol. I left before they did and cabbed back to the resort and passed out.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The next morning I woke up at 11am and completely missed the free breakfast. I messaged my buddy Terrence and told him to meet me at the resort. We hung out on the beach for a while and also went for kayaking. This proved to be pretty boring fast as we were bounded to only inside the swimming area which is just a large rectangle. After we gave up on kayaking we went for another round of jetski. This time I went quite far and went overtime. Terrence came back even later than me as he got lost in the sea! After jetskiing we went for lunch at a Thai restaurant near the casino. There were 5 of us but we ordered like 8 people's portions. We finished most of it because Terrence and I could eat a lot. We were also eating quite fast as I had to play the NLH KO Event at 3pm. I walked into the tournament with a food coma and a slight heatstroke. Obviously the tournament didn't go well and I just jammed with JK and ran into AK because I could barely keep my head up. 

Somehow I felt a lot better after busting the tournament and got into this insane PLO cash game. The blinds were PHP100/200 which is around $2.5/5. Nearly every preflop was 4betted and every pot was near 100k pesos. It was really fun to gamble a bit and I came out up a little. After the game I went back to the resort to change into shoes because later in the night there's a Pokerstars party at a bar called Vudu which is in the Cebu city. I went and stayed there until around 3am. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The last day of my trip was also the first day which I didn't have any poker obligation. I woke up to Terrence's message where he asked if he could use the resort's gym. Obviously I said yes and I gained him access. Since I was too hungover to work out myself I went to the beach again. I ran into two (Mandarin speaking) girls from Hong Kong and we chatted a bit. When I was about to go fetch Terrence I ran into my friend Ken's gf Lydia (another Ken, he's also Pokerstars' photographer). She took my spot on the beach and I went to Acqua for lunch (where else). Apart from Terrence, there's also Celina, Fred, Daren, Dom, and Ted. We ate and chatted and it was really enjoyable to be seeing good friends at a nice relaxing resort. 

After lunch Fred, Celina, Dom, and I went back to the beach and we took the jetski for another ride. We decided to do a co-ed race so I paired up with Lydia. Celina was with Fred so Dom was solo. Lydia and I took turns driving the jetski and it was totally different being the passenger. It's a different kind of sensation I think, the risk of being thrown off and the idea of not being in control. 

A really funny incident during jetskiing: we were casually racing with me driving our jetski and Dom was driving his with Fred at the back (don't ask why). Somehow Dom lost control and both him and Fred fell into the water! Worse yet, their jetski was going straight at ours and it was so close to crashing. Fortunately, I was able to made a sharp turn to barely avoid the collision. These Pokerstars people are crazy!

We went back to the beach unscathed and soon it was time for me to go pack and leave for the airport. I took a cab with Lydia to the casino as I had a little time to spare and she had to go there anyways. And lucky I did, because after I got there I got a text on my phone that my flight is delayed by 45 minutes. (ty technology, or else I'd be stuck waiting at the airport doing nothing.) I killed time by roaming around the casino floor and also managed to grab food at the restaurant. 

When I went back to the airport it was 35 minutes to the new departing time. Somehow all the staffs acted as if I was really late. They even led me thru employees' paths and walked me right to the front of the line at the immigration counter. Amazing. 

Overall this is a trip filled with great memories and yes I would love to do this again and every year. I would really like to extend my appreciation to Pokerstars and APPT for making all this happen. This is the most fun I've had on a poker trip!

Friday, January 13, 2012


list of TCOOP 2012 events i'll play in. 17 total events. $2844.

03 19-Jan (Thu) 16:00 NL Hold'em [Knockout] $125.00 $9.00 $250,000 
04 19-Jan (Thu) 18:00 NL Hold'em $30.00 $3.00 $100,000 
06 20-Jan (Fri) 10:00 NL Hold'em [6-Max, Shootout] $50.00 $5.00 $100,000
09 21-Jan (Sat) 10:00 PL Omaha [Knockout] $51.00 $4.00 $100,000 
11 21-Jan (Sat) 14:00 NL Hold'em [Heads-Up] $100.00 $9.00 $150,000 
14 22-Jan (Sun) 08:30 NL Omaha Hi/Lo [6-Max, 2R1A] $50.00 $5.00 $50,000
20 23-Jan (Mon) 08:00 PL Omaha [6-Max, 1R1A] $50.00 $5.00 $100,000 
21 23-Jan (Mon) 10:00 NL Hold'em [4-Max] $40.00 $4.00 $150,000 
24 24-Jan (Tue) 12:00 PL Omaha Hi/Lo [6-Max] $100.00 $9.00 $50,000
34 26-Jan (Thu) 16:00 NL Hold'em [2x Chance] $200.00 $15.00 $400,000 
35 26-Jan (Thu) 18:00 PL Omaha [4-Max] $50.00 $5.00 $75,000 
36 27-Jan (Fri) 08:00 NL Hold'em [6-Max] $75.00 $7.00 $250,000 
37 27-Jan (Fri) 10:00 PL Omaha [6-Max, 2R1A] $50.00 $5.00 $100,000
40 28-Jan (Sat) 10:00 HORSE $100.00 $9.00 $25,000 
41 28-Jan (Sat) 12:00 PL Omaha [Heads-Up] $100.00 $9.00 $50,000
48 29-Jan (Sun) 13:30 8-Game $300.00 $20.00 $100,000 
49 29-Jan (Sun) 15:30 NL Hold'em Main Event $665.00 $35.00 $1,500,000