Are we getting “Smarter”?

Nowadays, everything seems to be getting “smarter”… Smart home, Smart phone, Smart TV… getting stuff connected to internet and create an app to control them seems to be on the rage and the new standard of defining “smart”… add in a few AI, Big Data, IoT and you have a full package to market it.

But with all these “smart” devices flooding into our lives, are we really getting smarter? Is our lives really improved? It reminds me of a few instances when I visited a couple of my friends’ home. Walking into the room, my friend will proudly show me his trick by using voice command to turn on the light or air-conditioner.

“Ok Google, turn on the lights.”
From the moment we step into the room, to my friend finished his command, to Google finally understood it and get the lights on… it took like 5-10 seconds? If I were to walk in the room and press the physical switch, it would take me probably… 1-2 seconds?

“But… it’s cool!”
“This is the future! Voice command and hands free!”
“I don’t want to be left behind! I must be at the forefront of technology!”

Sadly, a lot of people just don’t seems to understand what they are getting themselves into. To me, I don’t see a point of wasting 10 seconds to replace a task that can be done in 1 second. It just doesn’t add up, why automate something that’s already been so efficient to begin with?

Now, that’s not to say I’m against the idea of… say a smart home. In fact I find that there are quite a lot of advantages (and disadvantages) of having everything connected to the internet. You can turn on or off appliances at home remotely, monitor power consumption, understand and study your usage behaviour or pattern, group several devices together and control them at once under scene mode… just to name a few of the good and meaningful things that you can and should be doing with your smart home.

Collecting data, providing insights and control in improving life, automation… these are genuine reasons for us to celebrate “smart” devices, but to turn on a switch in front of you with voice instead of your hand? Oh please… Okay, I might be pissing people with this post. I’m not trying to make fun of anybody. If you want to be cool, want to be ahead of times, then invest a little more time into doing some of the things that really harvest the best of technology.

We all can get a little “smarter” with all the smart devices around us, but we still need to take the effort to do so. Having the devices alone will not be enough, we still need to think, understand and extract the best of them, just like how we have been living our lives in the pre-smart era.

A new chapter

Finally settled down after moving into new place. Previously I was renting a room and stay with my wife. However, as we changed our job and to reduce travel time to work, we decided to shift out and rented a small apartment. Nothing fancy, just a small unit with one bedroom, a kitchen, a toilet and a living room.

Shifting from our old place over proved to be a challenge. We thought it would be easy to move from a room, but still there were a lot of stuffs that we need to pack and move. In the end, we decided to engage a mover to carry some of the bulky furniture for us.

I also spent a few days cleaning and tidying the place. During this time, it strikes me with a feeling that as if I’m owning my first home. Technically speaking it is, though it was rented instead of bought. But come to think of it, the first time I stayed in my “own house” was back in Dubai, during my job posting there for a year.

Back then, I rented a studio apartment and stayed alone, but I didn’t felt as much of a sentiment as this time around, probably because I just checked in the place with my clothings and that’s about it, every other things were all inclusive and provided. This time, however, despite the unit itself was furnished, but there are still some essential items such as cooking utensils, cookware etc. that needs to be taken care off. Hence, it gave me a little sense of “building my own home”.

When will I be owning my true “first home”? Hopefully it will be in the near future. Let’s see how things unfold. Till then.

Moving…

Yes, I am moving. Not moving this website though, but I am moving from my current rental room and shifting to a new place. Rented whole unit instead of just a room, hopefully this will be a change worthwhile of the investment, at least now it’s a little closer to “living in my own house”. 

When will I be buying my own house? Probably few years down the road, but not so soon. For now, I hope that this change will improve my quality of life a little. Now I can restart my cooking habits, yes I do cook, although they may not taste great. There’s more freedom in inviting friends to come and have a drink or a small gathering, and there’s more freedom and privacy for me and my wife as well.

It’s a little sad leaving the current place, I had stayed here for the past 6 years, and I really enjoyed the environment and neighbourhood. However, as both me and my wife have changed our job, it will be more convenient to move to the new place to cut down some travelling time.

There are still a lot of things that need to be tidied up, hopefully we’ll be able to settle down soon. Also need to get used to the neighbourhood and hopefully I can make myself comfortable here. Looking forward for the days to come, till then.

《风格是一种商机》增田宗昭

蔦屋,如果你不知道,它是一间生活时尚店,有卖书本,文具,一些生活时尚用品等。可能你会联想到马来西亚和新加坡的大众书局,但是两者完全是不一样的档次的。蔦屋始于日本,在台湾有它们的分店,所以到台北时难得可以走入几家蔦屋,走走看看,然后买了几本书。而这一本书就当然是在蔦屋买的。

这本书是蔦屋的创办人所写,里面包含了一些蔦屋的历史,背后的商业动机与抉择,还有就是从书店转型成为融入社会的生活时尚店的一些点滴。书本当中有许多增田先生对于行商的经历与教诲,读着从中也获益不浅。

另外,由于之前读了《书店不死》一书有提到像蔦屋这样的书店并不能称得上是书店一说,读了这本书之后,也许我找到了我的答案。蔦屋和其他书店追求的目标,可以说是彻底的不一样。“书店”想把店长的思想与心意,透过书本传达出去。但是蔦屋由始至终的目标就只是创造出一个融入当地社会的店面,让人们在这里感到舒服,让人们会想要再次光临。所以书店卖的是书的温暖,但是蔦屋卖的却是空间的温暖。

在台北走访了几间蔦屋,它们有许多相似的地方,但却也巧妙的有各自不一样的地方。这跟其他连锁书店(像是紀伊国屋之类的)相比则多了一份特色。这也许与蔦屋那“融入当地社会”的执着有关系吧!

Anyway,这是一本不错的书。喜欢逛书店(尤其是蔦屋)的人就不要错过啦!

每个人的心中都有一首五月天

五月天的粉丝分为几种级别,最低级的算是“五迷”吧,在热血一点的算是“铁粉”,然后最高级别的是“骨灰粉”,其实就是那些从五月天出道就追随他们到现在的粉丝啦。那我算是什么粉呢?

认真想一想,我是何时开始认识这个乐团呢?当他们发行《五月天第一張創作專輯》时是1999年,那时的在我读初中一年级。老实说,我真的没什么印象我有认真听他们的歌。也许综艺节目上有看过他们的脸吧。但是,一直以来对他们的印象就是“五个很吵很白痴的大男孩”。真正对他们的歌曲产生印象的时候应该是他们的第三张专辑《人生海海》,那时候我并没有完整的听过他们整张专辑,但是记得在电台上听过《人生海海》这首歌,觉得旋律还不错。那段时期的我没什么钱买CD,而且那时候也没怎么追流行音乐,就只是家里有什么CD或卡带就拿来听,也不常听电台。

而真正让我开始留意他们的契机是《神的孩子都在跳舞》这张专辑。还记得我是在亲戚家发现这张CD,然后我就出于好奇的把整张专辑给听了。这张CD让我想起了“啊,还有五月天这个乐团。”,然后也让我对这乐团的印象开始改观。可能是因为随着年龄的增长和经验的累积,他们的词曲给了我不一样的感觉,至少能够让我觉得他们已经不再是“五个很吵很白痴的大男孩” 了(其实他们到现在都还是,哈哈)。这张专辑最打动我的就是《倔强》这首歌了。我想这首歌应该也会是许多人的最爱之一吧!那时候我也很喜欢《超人》这首歌,不过老实说,那时候的我也还不能算是他们的粉丝吧。

无论如何,从那时开始我会偶尔特别的去留意他们的歌曲。《为爱而生》这专辑也是在那亲戚家给听完的。不过,真正让我开始追随他们的转折点应该算是《後青春期的詩》这张专辑吧。那时候正好是大学时期,除了读书就是吃喝玩乐(笑),也有比较多的机会接触各种各样的流行音乐。这张专辑,不好意思的说,也是从朋友那里拷贝过来的(我还是一个穷光蛋啦)。那时候的感想,印象中是被他们的词给吸引吧?我一向以来都对文字比较敏感,所以词很重要,曲是其次。《突然好想你》,《你不是真正的快樂》和《我心中尚未崩壞的地方》是那时候我的最爱。

在大学时候遇上了一些五迷,唱卡拉OK时她们都会狂唱五月天的歌曲,所以我也渐渐的开始补完五月天的旧专辑,也开始发现许多旧歌其实也蛮好听,词也很不错。之后《第二人生》这张专辑更奠定了五月天在我心中的地位。若要说,我最喜欢的专辑,那就是他们的第九张专辑《自传》了。喜欢的歌其实也真的好多,不过最近在我脑海里挥之不去的,是那首《转眼》。无论是词还是曲,甚至是MV,都让我听到很有共鸣,都会让我留下眼泪。一直以来,五月天的歌并没有与我人生的某个时机对上, 像是失恋还是什么的。但是这首《转眼》却是来得很适时,最近生活的迷茫,感叹,似乎都被这首歌给道尽了。

听着他们的歌,那如诗般的词,每次却能够感染我,让我看到许多的画面。有人说五月天真正厉害的并不是他们的创作,而是他们的live。结果,在被某人的怂恿下,我出席了他们的演唱会。第一次看五月天的演唱会是《諾亞方舟世界巡迴演唱會》,说真的,那某人并没有骗我。他们的现场真的就是很不一样。后来也去看了《Just Rock It!就是世界巡迴演唱會》,但是去年的《人生無限公司巡迴演唱會》我就错过了。有一点遗憾,但是呢,人生也许需要一点的遗憾才会更美好吧。

不过,我还是买了这本《早上六点半遇见五月天-人生无限公司纪实》的书来看。翻看着这本书,看着别人的故事,为什么他们会喜欢上五月天,他们最喜欢哪一首歌,他们的感触等。看完这本书的感想是:好期待下一次与五月天的相遇,无论是新专辑也好,演唱会也好。五月天曾说过他们只要出十张专辑,这也许是他们开的一个玩笑,这也许是他们给自己设下的一个目标。无论如何,我希望能够继续听着他们的歌,就算哪天他们真的不再唱了,我还是会细细的回味着这些年来他们所创作的,那一首首的经典。

我相信每个人的心中都会有一首五月天,就算你不是他们的粉丝,五月天应该会有那么一首歌可以打动你的心。那来到最后,我到底算是“五迷”,“铁粉”,还是“骨灰粉”呢?称我为“铁粉”我会有一点不好意思,因为我知道许多比我更“铁”的人,所以我还是乖乖的做个“五迷”好了,就让我静静地躲在一个角落,挥舞着我那荧光棒,默默的为五月天加油吧。