Diamonds In My Chain Gold

Random thought post? Sure. I haven’t done one of these in a while.

It’s interesting watching how my nephews are growing up. I’m happy that the elder one is generally obedient and very patient with his younger brother. I don’t know why, patience is one of those traits you don’t see in every kid. Hopefully his younger brother will follow in his footsteps. He’s definitely not patient right now. However, they are both extremely loving and caring towards their younger sister, so that’s a good sign. Crankiness seems to be a common factor if you try engaging with them after they wake up. They need a couple of hours to warm up it seems.

Today’s kids are the TV – or screen – generation. At least based on my observation. Not that there’s anything wrong, it’s just how times have evolved. Like back in my days, it was action figures and army men. TV only became a hobby much later in life. Nowadays, we have access to so many more displays – everywhere we go we either have a TV, smartphone, tablet or laptop. Back then, all we had was the living room TV and the shared family computer. Even I’m a TV kid now – these days I fall asleep watching Twitch streams or YouTube videos, and it’s all by my own volition. I bring my phone into the toilet to Reddit while I take a shit. I listen to podcasts from my phone while I’m driving. I read articles or watch videos while eating if I’m by myself.

Now that I own a smartwatch, I can’t imagine spending money on a non-smart one. It’s crazy. A few years ago I would’ve said that was a ridiculous thought. Then again, it’s not like I was much of a watch person to begin with. But now that I’ve experienced life with one, I don’t think I could resort to regular watches. My phone already tells the time, why would I need something that only does the same thing? Also, the fact that I can change my watch face to match whatever I’m wearing (not that I do it very often) means I have a watch to suit every occasion.

Even with access to every kind of music imaginable, these days I still find myself going back to the same old artists – Post Malone, Joji, Rich Brian, Higher Brothers, Dance Gavin Dance, Emery and Tilian are my jam right now. I guess I’m a creature of habit. Every time I hear songs from them played in random locations like cafes and clubs, it puts a smile on my face. I get so hyped for no reason. I used to feel the same way back then when there wasn’t internet streaming music. It’s amazing how the way I react hasn’t changed.

Vaping is more enjoyable when you have a good coil and good juice. It can definitely replace cigarettes. Not that I’ve been looking to do that – it’s just something I noticed. Snus are still great. I make sure I have some with me all the time.

I think I am easily influenced – at least by people I like. I don’t think I’m a trendsetter. Not that it matters, but quite a number of things I’m into now are directly because of my friends.

Dabbing for photographs is very cringeworthy.

Unironically, I’m a Pewdiepie fan. I enjoy watching his videos. He deserves his success.

Better Call Saul’s next season can’t come soon enough. I’ll have to settle for Riverdale in the meantime.

Having a beard hides your double chin. Then again, maybe I should work on losing weight instead. I have been watching my diet again though. Went for a health check up the other day and was told by the doctor that my BMI was a bit high. Fair enough, I thought, since I had let my diet loose for a while.

My laptop is still under repair, which kinda sucks. On the bright side, I still have been able to complete my work using a tablet – great because it takes a lot of weight off my shoulders when I walk around with my backpack. Typing on the screen is still terrible but I’ve got some great portable keyboards which rectifies this issue. Battery life on this tablet is also insane – I love how I don’t have to worry about keeping it charged.

Animal Bus is officially in the works. Stay tuned for updates 🙂

Tofu HHKB vs Tokyo60 showdown

Tofu HHKB
Tofu HHKB

Having received my Tofu HHKB kit yesterday and already having a Tokyo60 in my possession, I felt that I was in a unique position to offer my viewpoints comparing both of the keyboards since they are similar in terms of features and price.

After assembling my Tofu HHKB and flashing my layout on it, which was a pretty straightforward process since I built the Tokyo60 almost a month ago, I gave it a test run and starting typing out my thoughts about both keyboards. First it started off as a few paragraphs, then I realized I had a lot more to say than I initially thought. As I wrote more, I decided to just put the information down as a table (see below). Also, please forgive my terrible photography skills as I’m not a photographer and I don’t have a decent camera – regardless, you can just browse Reddit to see much better pictures of the keyboards.

Tokyo60
Tokyo60

For context, I own an HHKB Pro 2 (my first and only Topre board) that I use very often. Since adapting to the layout, I’ve programmed it on all my keyboards since I really enjoy it. When the opportunity to get a custom HHKB that didn’t need any soldering, I jumped on it – which was how I joined the Tokyo60 round 1 group buy. A few months after that, KBDFans (great online store btw) decided to release a HHKB version of its Tofu keyboard I hopped on that preorder as well. Now I own two hotswappable HHKB keyboards.

Tofu HHKB rear
Tofu HHKB rear

Tokyo60 rear
Tokyo60 rear

I love how the Tofu HHKB looks – its minimalist approach with its sleek edges and sharp corners really tickles my fancy. The shiny brass weight at the back really ties it all together, giving a little bit of spice to an otherwise reserved design. I think it looks much better than the Tokyo60 – not that it is a bad-looking board in the first place, it’s just very generic and subdued if you put them side by side. I know quite a lot of people complained about the gaps on the Tokyo 60 since they weren’t representative of the render but I honestly don’t mind them at all. Sure, it sucks that there are ways for your food to get into your keyboard, but honestly – you shouldn’t be eating at your keyboard in the first place.

Tokyo60 gaps
Tokyo60 gaps

Tofu HHKB gaps
Tofu HHKB gaps

However, when it comes to almost everything else, I think the Tokyo60 has the Tofu HHKB beat. I’m not sure if I received a bad Tofu HHKB PCB (but based on some Reddit comments that I’ve read, I wasn’t the only one) – I had a few loose Kailh sockets that I had to fix in place with some electrical tape (hopefully they hold out and I don’t have to resort to resoldering them in the future). This really affected how I felt about the keyboard – it was like receiving a substandard product. I’m not sure if it’s due to the alignment of the plate/PCB but inserting switches to the sockets was also a bitch to do – I had quite a number of bent legs despite be trying to insert the switches as carefully as possible. I only bent about 5 switch legs when inserting them into the Tokyo60. Also, when I was removing keycaps from the Tofu HHKB, most of the time, the switches would come out with the keycap. This could be due to extra tight keycaps, a tight switch stem, or issues with the tolerances for the switch sockets.


Tofu HHKB PCB

UPDATE 7th October 2018: after speaking to a KBDFans rep, they mentioned that they’ll be sending me a new PCB, so I’ll be updating my review once I’ve received it!

Update 29th October 2018: received my replacement PCB today, assembled the keyboard with no issues – no sockets coming loose and not many issues with bent pins (only bent 3 switches this time around). Everything is working as expected, so the only complaint I have with the PCB is that it is uglier than one for the Tokyo60 (which may or may not be a valid complaint for other people – I’m not bothered by it).

Both keyboards come with underglow RGB support and no way to show the lights. Tokyo60 addresses this with the round 2 extras but I have no idea if KBDFans will be doing anything about it in the future. Also, even though you don’t see the PCB when the keyboard is assembled, I appreciate the design put into the one of the Tokyo60 – it looks great, while the HHKB Tofu PCB I received was plain white with no design at all.

Here’s how the underglow looks like at the moment – essentially useless since there’s no way to see it clearly unless you look in between your keycaps at a certain angle. This will also probably vary depending on the keycaps you have installed.


Tofu HHKB underglow


Tokyo60 underglow

Programming both boards was straightforward (if you’ve used QMK before) so I had no issues there. The weight on the Tofu HHKB also works as a slider that allows you to choose which USB C port you’d like to use (or you can remove it for a lighter board and access to both ports). However, the keyboard didn’t come with a USB C cable which was a minor annoyance, while the Tokyo60 had a mini USB cable bundled with it.

 Tokyo60Tofu HHKB
PriceUSD 159.99USD 159.00
AppearanceGood, nothing to shout about - a standard-looking custom MX HHKB.Great, sleek design with sharp corners. In my opinion, a very sexy design, especially with the shiny weight at the back.
Build qualityGood, solid case, no issues fitting together. No issues when removing keycaps. Good, solid case, no issues fitting together. Weight gives it additional sturdiness. Not sure if it's due to the size of the sockets or the tightness of my keycaps, but removing keycaps pulls the switch out together as well.
PCBIn terms of design, it looks great, Kailh sockets work well without any issues.Plain looking PCB (not that it matters), but my PCB had issues with 3 of the Kailh sockets being loose (one of them even popped out during assembly). It uses holtites for the switches around the USB ports - which may or may not be an issue for some people (I don't have a problem with it).

(Update 29th Oct: received the PCB today, assembled the board with no issues - no more problems with sockets falling out and only 3 pins bent this time around!)
Ease of assemblyNo instructions provided, but there were no issues here - very straightforward. No instructions provided, but there were no issues here - very straightforward.
PortsMini USB, left side.USB C (two ports) left and right.
UnderglowRGB underglow enabled on the PCB, but there's no way to see it. However, an acrylic base is scheduled for R2, so that issue will be rectified.RGB underglow enabled on the PCB, but there's no way to see it. No idea if there are plans for an acrylic base.
Included accessoriesMini USB cable, screws, GMK stabilizers.Two blank keycaps (not sure what they are for), brass weight, magnets for the weight, screws, stabilizers (not sure what brand they are but they came disassembled and they don't have any extra legs to clip).
FirmwareQMK.QMK.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my Tofu HHKB (I really wish the Kailh sockets were soldered on properly – hopefully they have better QC in the future) and would recommend it to anyone looking for a hotswap HHKB custom keyboard. It also has the added benefit of being in stock, while buying the Tokyo60 would mean waiting for it to go live on Massdrop (round 2 just ended). In terms of practicality, they’re both the same – just choose which keyboard you want based on its design.

Other notes:
The Tokyo60 does have more exciting colors, but you’re going to have to wait til next year to buy one.
The Tofu HHKB is available in a variety of colors, with mixed halves as well, but nothing as eye-catching as Akira Red, Rose Gold or Ink.

The Tofu HHKB is my first keyboard with Gateron Greens and I’m really digging them. They are definitely less tactile than Box Navy switches (on my Tokyo60), but with the added benefit of being not as loud. There’s still a satisfying click, especially with /dev/tty MT3 keycaps.

Speaking of keycaps, this is also the first time I’m using MT3 keycaps. I’m using the full-sculpt profile (row 1-5, no row 0 on HHKB) and they’re definitely reminiscent of SA keycaps. I now understand what all the reviews are talking about when they say that these caps cup your fingers. I’ll need to spend more time typing on them to form a stronger opinion but I’m liking it so far. While I’ve spotted some alignment issues (as is expected with dyesub keycaps), they’re not too glaring. My main issue is the text thickness of the characters on the number row – in my opinion they look a little too bold compared to the alphas.

Typing Tests:

Tofu HHKB
Gateron Green switches
/dev/tty MT3 keycaps


Tokyo60
Kailh BOX Navy switches
SA Control keycaps

As requested by a user from Reddit, I’ve taken some shots of the keyboards side by side so you can compare the differences between their heights/angles.

Transitioning: Tablet Life

I’m amazed at how far technology has come. I remember when I first got my iPad, I was struggling to do anything remotely productive on it. Sure, I was trying to type on the on-screen keyboard, but the fact that I couldn’t have multiple windows open, use decent copy/paste functions and cloud storage made it such a hassle to use. This was back in a time when transferring documents meant connecting my iPad to a computer and dragging files out from it. I decided not to ever use it for productivity and it turned into my gaming/video streaming device.

Fast forward about 8 years now, and I find myself using a tablet to do my work and holy shit, the experience is amazing. So much has changed since then. “Why am I not working on a laptop?” you ask. My laptop is currently at a service center for repairs (one of the USB ports isn’t functioning properly) so I needed another computer to work with (for when I’m outside or in the office). I decided to pick up an Android tablet (Galaxy Tab A10.5) as my backup computer – since I could use it to replace my dying Android tablet at home anyway. After spending the past 24 hours with it as my working machine – I think it could replace my work laptop instead.

I don’t want to spend paragraphs gushing about the device, so I’ll just summarize my thoughts on the device. The kind of work I do doesn’t require a very powerful device: a lot of word processing, the occasional spreadsheet or presentation, checking and responding to emails and research on the internet.

Why the tablet works for me:

  • Having multiple windows open on the tablet’s display is a breeze to do (you can have split screen apps and/or floating windows), with no noticeable slowdown or lag. I can easily have multiple documents open to work with at the same time.
  • I can easily plug in any of my keyboards to the tablet (via a USB A to USB C converter) to use with the tablet, and a lot of shortcut keys remain. Even better if your keyboard has mouse move commands as that lets you have an onscreen mouse so you never have to touch the tablet display if you don’t want to.
  • Long battery life – according to what I read, I think it should last 15 hours – which is plenty of time. Longer than a regular work day for me which means I don’t have to worry about charging it as long as I charge it to full before I leave the house.
  • Because Android/Google is awesome, I have all my Drive files easily accessible to me without having to do any additional settings. I just log in to Google and I’ve got everything I need.
  • The 10.5” display is more than sufficient for my tasks, and when I’m not working, it doubles up as a great video player.
  • All the apps that I use run smoothly on this machine. Don’t think I’ll be gaming with it anytime soon, but I doubt it’ll be a problem if I ever decide to game on it in the future.
  • It’s friggin light. Having to carry it around in my backpack feels wonderful compared to the laptop I was lugging around previously.

What sucks:

  • WhatsApp for some reason doesn’t allow you to run the app on multiple devices with the same phone number. I have to resort to using WhatsApp web on the tablet. It’s not the end of the world, but I don’t see why I need to rely on such workarounds – it’s 2018, everyone has multiple devices. Please implement support for it. Then again, this isn’t the tablet’s fault but I thought I’d bring it up anyway since I use WhatsApp a lot for work.
  • The screen is a fingerprint magnet – but it is only noticeable when it is off, so not really a big deal.

That ended up being longer than I thought. I’ve only spent 24 hours with this tablet, so this piece is only a first impression, I’m sure I’ll find additional things to say about it in the future. If anyone has any experience with the transition or has recommendations about must-have apps or tricks I need to know, feel free to chime in!

Two Bottles Left

It’s been five months since I started my Minoxidil journey, and I’m down to my last two bottles (I ordered a pack of six). Unfortunately, my beard growth hasn’t been as spectacular as I had hoped. In fact, it’s been miserable – it feels like the chemicals didn’t make a difference. I just don’t have any extra hair follicles where I want my beard to grow. However, it’s supposed to take at least six months for it to happen – so I’ve got at least one more month of applying that chemical on my face before I can officially conclude that this experiment was a failure, and I wasted money purchasing the six bottles of Minoxidil.

Other side effects I’ve noticed from using it – I now have a flaky chin – which is essentially dandruff on the opposite side of your head (LUL). I’ve been using moisturizing cream and washing my face with a moisturizing wash to alleviate the problem, but I guess it’s not going to go away until I stop using Minoxidil. I think my face also gets bloated when I use it, which gives me sleepy looking eyes and a fat face for the first few hours of the day and night (I apply 1 ml of it on my face twice a day). I also feel extra tired in the mornings, but I’m not sure if it’s due to the drug or my lack of sleep.

Fortunately I haven’t had anything serious like chest pains or difficulty breathing. My heartbeat is pretty fast – but it’s only something I noticed when I started wearing a smart watch. I’m not sure if it’s always been that high, and if it is – I don’t know if it’s because of the coffee or cigarettes I consume. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Haha.

I have also gained some weight over the past few months, though I think it’s likely due to my eating habits more than anything else. I have been trying out a lot of new places over the past few months.

I wish I had good news to report to everyone but unfortunately I don’t. Then again, maybe it’s going to take one more month. I’ll be using up the remaining two bottles before I come to a definite conclusion. Fingers crossed for some magic to happen!

Gig #112 & #113

I’m officially ending my brief hiatus this week! It’s actually been 8 months since my last gig. Not much to say other than I’ve got some new tunes prepared – hope to see you guys at the shows! <3

The Grind 22 Open Mic #42 [Facebook Event Page]
Date: 19th September 2018
Time: 8-10pm
Venue: Grind 22, Bangsar [Google Maps]

It’s a long road when you’re on your own – thankfully, rough tides are made smoother when we’re together at Grind 22. (That first bit was a Rambo reference.) 💪🏻

Join us for coffee, music, poetry and whatever else comes your way. It’s an unexpected treat every time. ☕️💬🎶⚡️🎙

We start at 8PM and end at 10PM on the dot. Sign up by dropping us a line at us@openmicmalaysia.org!

1 • Zariq Syafiq
2 • Uncle Cocco
3 • Zhana + Syazman
4 • Hee Ian
5 • 2storeyheart
6 • Fathee

~

Open Mic Malaysia is the brainchild of Shaneil Devaser, frontman of The Endleaves. Established in 2012 and currently operating in Sabah, the Klang Valley and Penang, Open Mic Malaysia aims to create sustainable avenues for bedroom musicians, singer-songwriters and professional musicians to share their music and experiences with each other and the public, over evenings of wholesome indie goodness. In partnership with Ian Tai of The Propositions, Jaime Gunter of Volatile and Boy Sunny of Meteor Crates, Open Mic Malaysia aims to… Make Malaysia Great (for indie music) Again.


The Poolside Open Mic #56 ft. Kien Lim [Facebook Event Page]
Date: 20th September 2018
Time: 8-10.30pm
Venue: KL Journal Hotel [Google Maps]

The Poolside Open Mic is our 3rd longest running open mic night which happens every Thursday evening right on TOP of The KL Journal! Each installation features one of our finest musicians, with this one featuring…

***KIEN LIM***

Kien Lim is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, born in Brighton, United Kingdom, and residing in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. He likes words, loud guitars, and big drums.He released an EP entitled “The Red Room” in 2015 and gigs either as a solo artist or as a duo featuring electric guitar, drums, and voice.

Follow him: https://www.instagram.com/kienlimmusic/

***OPEN MIC***

#1 Zhana
#2 2storeyheart
#3 Hongman
#4 Ariff Jazzmi
#5 Helloluqman
#6 Hafizul & Yaaziq

To sign up for the open mic, email us@openmicmalaysia.org 😀

~

Open Mic Malaysia is the brainchild of Shaneil Devaser, frontman of The Endleaves. Established in 2012 and currently operating in Sabah, the Klang Valley and Penang, Open Mic Malaysia aims to create sustainable avenues for bedroom musicians, singer-songwriters and professional musicians to share their music and experiences with each other and the public, over evenings of wholesome indie goodness. In partnership with Ian Tai of The Propositions, Jaime Gunter of Volatile and Boy Sunny of Meteor Crates, Open Mic Malaysia aims to… Make Malaysia Great (for indie music) Again.

Destination: Gwangju

It’s been a while since I’ve traveled for work. It has been almost a year since I’ve stopped doing back-to-back traveling. This change of pace is welcome. Anyway, today’s flight was good. Didn’t end up landing five-years later, like the TV show Manifest. Am here to attend the Gwangju ACE Fair which begins tomorrow morning. In case you’re wondering, I’m not in Seoul – nowhere near, in fact. Not that it really matters since I won’t have much time to do touristy stuff. Also, I’ve never been to South Korea before, so I have nothing to compare this place with anyway. For what it’s worth, we seem to be in a very seedy/happening part of town. Tons of massage parlors, gambling dens and motels in the vicinity. On the plus side, there are tons of bars and restaurants around as well.

I didn’t manage to sleep for long on the plane today, so I watched a few movies. It didn’t help that the lady next to me kept flicking her long dreadlocks on my arm and went past the arm rest, invading my personal space. Also, she kept looking at photos of herself on her tablet. I have no idea why. Upon loading the movie selection list, I realized how much I took MAS for granted. Korea Air has such a limited selection of movies. Also, their captains make way too many announcements. I managed to watch: The Commuter (I was let down by the middle-end 5/10), Life of the Party (couldn’t even finish the film, 2/10), Fahrenheit 451 (interesting concept, though I thought it could have been executed better, 6/10 – will probably have to read the book or wiki it), Dude’s Manual (honestly, it’s not a very good film, but the actresses were gorgeous so I kept watching 4/10). Maybe on the flight back I’ll spend it sleeping instead.

I had a terrible omelet on the plane for breakfast but that was made up by the delicious spicy beef soup meal I had after landing. Had spicy pork for dinner and that was good too. Looking forward to more meals in Korea! Coffee wasn’t impressive – it’s very light and watered down compared to how I like it. The weather today was pretty good – neither hot nor cold. Just the way I like it. According to the forecast, it’s going to be raining over the next few days, so I’m not looking forward to that.

Anyway, I’ve only spent half a day here, so I haven’t got much else to say for now. If you’re interested in the random photos I take, you can follow me on Instagram. Oh, this post was written on my Tokyo 60 – Box Navy switches are so damn loud, but man, they feel so good. This is definitely a board I won’t be bringing to work unless I replace the switches.

Shower Slippers are Aptly Named

So, over the weekend I decided to replace my 10-year-old+ flip-flops. No idea why it took me so long, but the soles of the footwear were coming off and they were already ugly as hell. I figured Saturday would have been a good time as any to get a new pair. Off I went to Mid Valley, braving the crowds and going from shop to shop, looking for a pair of nice flip-flops.

I don’t think I was very picky when it came to choosing my footwear, but there were a few criteria I had to meet:
– not hideous
– cheap enough to leave outside of my apartment (we’ve had a history of stolen flip-flops left on our welcome mat)
– no strap in between the big toe and the rest of the toes (I hate the feeling of something in between my toes)

That was it. Surprisingly, it was quite difficult finding something that matched my criteria without breaking the bank or in my size. It all came down to a pair of Nike flip-flops I found in Sports Direct. Other close contenders were some pricier Birkenstocks and Skechers footwear which I didn’t really feel like shelling out that much for.

Seeing how the Nikes were cheaper than Birkenstocks or Skechers and they felt comfortable enough, I decided to go with them. So, this is where I managed to ignore two warning signs: the flip-flops had a label on them “Kawa Shower“. I said to myself – what are the differences between shower slippers and regular flip-flops anyway? I always thought people wore regular flip-flops into bathrooms (but I have no idea why they did it – I guess it’s for people who don’t shower at home and the floor of the bathrooms they use are filthy? Like in public places? Beats me.)

Second warning sign: there were holes in the soles of the flip-flops – I didn’t think they mattered at all, beyond being able to drain away any sweat from my feet – which was a plus point in my mind. And in the event of rain, flip-flops weren’t going to protect my feet anyway.

After paying for them, I immediately put them on and threw away my old flip-flops. They were textured and a little grippy, but they were comfortable enough for me to walk around in them. Soon I forgot I was even wearing new flip-flops. All was good. I was happy about my purchase.

Fast forward to today, when I had to use a public restroom. I walked into a stall that had water all over the floor and without thinking, I took a step towards the toilet bowl. Immediately, I felt the filthy public toilet floor water rise up through the holes of my soles to the bottom of my feet. It was then I realized my mistake.

Right after I exited the toilet, I bought myself a new pair of flip-flops from Yubiso (only RM28, and they fit real well). I’m just glad the combined cost of the flip-flops didn’t exceed the Birkenstocks or Skechers but now I have a pair of flip-flops that I’ve only worn for a day and will probably never wear again – at least not to places where I’m expected to get my feet wet. I guess I now own a pair of holiday flip-flops.

Andvari

Maybe it wasn’t as wonderful as he thought it was in the first place. After all, memories always seemed brighter than he remembered. Was he even remembering them correctly?

He paused, took another drag on his cigarette. What if it was already falling apart in the first place? All it needed was a catalyst to give it a slight push. To make it all happen.

The problem is, he didn’t know. All he could do was speculate. From behind rose-tinted glasses, all he saw was a loving and wonderful story that took place over two years of his life.

Was this the way things were supposed to pan out? Nobody could give him an answer. The funny thing about the future is, it hasn’t been written until it happens. Sure, you can guess at what happens – but there’s no way to tell until it comes to pass.

It’s the same dilemma as thinking that you can go back to the past to change what happens in the future. How do you know what you do will make a difference? Who’s to say that you won’t end up in a situation that’s worst than the present? Short of drastic measures like murdering somebody (then again, you’d probably end up in prison instead of being celebrated a hero) – changing the past could drastically alter the outcome of your present life.

Life isn’t linear. If something happened differently in the past, chances are you’d be sent down a completely different road in the future. Think of all the little choices you made that seemed so small back then – not opening your mouth to say hello to your current best friend, deciding to stay at home instead of going out drinking, changing flight dates because it conflicted with another date, not dressing up or looking your best on your first date. Anything and everything would change the way life played out.

Sure, you mess up at times. Looking back, it’s hard to accept some of the worst mistakes you’ve ever made in life – but there’s no going back and changing things. You’ve made your move, now deal with the consequences. The most you can do is to continue living and not let history repeat itself. It sucks, it hurts, but hey – you live and you learn. At least you’ll still have those memories. Right?

He put out his cigarette, shut his journal, packed his things and put his backpack on. He entered a date into the time machine and stepped in. The door shut itself after him.

Hidden in his alcove, the watching tortoise shed a tear. Goodbye, it whispered into the darkness.

Curated Feeds

It’s been a while since the introduction of in popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. While I’ve always been a huge proponent of UI updates and redesigns, I was initially upset. I liked viewing stuff chronologically – it was something I was used to. However, after a while, I stopped bothering with trying to get my updates sorted chronologically, and just accepted that the algorithm knew what it was doing. So far, it’s been alright. I hardly check out updates in order anymore, since the more relevant posts do pop up on top.

But after a while, I discovered that I kept seeing posts about things I was interested in (let’s not forget the ads as well) – it was no longer showing me random stuff that I used to encounter. It has turned my feeds a little stale. Sure, it’s great to know that what I want to know is readily available – but what about all the things I never knew I wanted? It’s all buried under this circlejerk/echo chamber of a news feed. Don’t get me wrong – I like the fact that after months of me filtering my feed, Facebook now doesn’t show me things I don’t care about – but I now miss out on stuff that I might care about because I don’t know about them.

If I want to discover something new – I have to intentionally look for it – a harrowing task when I don’t know what I’m looking for in the first place. Imagine missing out on something revolutionary and life-changing because it wasn’t on your radar in the first place? You now have to rely on people you see to hopefully keep you abreast of whatever that is. I haven’t gone back to browsing my news feed chronologically (Facebook still offers the option but Twitter and Instragram removed the option unless you were viewing individual pages) – it was just something I realized not too long ago.

These days I get most of my updates from Reddit, fortunately I don’t think they have algorithms to tailor your front page according to your profile – you just get highly rated stuff from subreddits you’re subscribed to. Hopefully in the future we’ll get options to see the news however we like it – chronologically or curated. I think having the option is always a good thing. Imagine getting your email in a curated order, with no way to switch it back – that would be such an annoying feature.

The International 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to experience The International properly, and boy have I missed it. For those of you who aren’t already aware, I’m a huge fan of Dota 2. I’ve been vocal about it, writing about the topic in the past. Nothing in-depth of course, mainly because I don’t have the skill or knowledge to do so, and because it’ll mean nothing to most of you guys.

The International is something I have been looking forward to every year for the past 6 years now. Ever since I got hooked onto Dota 2 around its second year, I have been using up a whole stretch of leaves just to catch the matches live. Then I started working in Big Bad Wolf, and that wasn’t a possibility anymore since I would be out of the country during the same time every year (Bangkok) for our sales. Now that I’ve left that job and am no longer working super-long days, it’s nice being able to catch the matches live again. There’s something about watching an event unfold live that makes it so much better than watching replays, highlights and reading reports.

The story lines this year are good – we’ve got a lot of underdog tales, extremely competitive teams, a brand new venue, and all sorts of other antics that r/dota2 memelords will appreciate. I’m a VP fan this year but am also rooting for Liquid, Mineski and Winstrike to do well. I still rock VP’s hoodie when it gets cold – the orange and black is also a great combo (here’s to hoping they revert after TI8). Day one is over and day two starts in a few hours. Can’t wait to experience the remaining week of top-tier dota (and hopefully replicate some plays in my pub games lul). One day, when the stars align, and if Dota is still around, I hope to attend TI in person. I can only imagine how much fun it would be.

If you’re interested in catching the action, The International 2018 will be streamed on Twitch and Steam.TV.