Isaac and Joy are currently on a road trip with me in Japan. We discuss things on the long drives.
Someone sent me this note allegedly written by someone affected by the recent move by the authorities to ban PMDs from footpaths, a ban that was announced on 4th November 2019 and was effective the next day. It was announced by Minister Lam PMD Min.
The issue of PMDs is a polarizing one, with some calling for a ban, others calling for regulation but not ban, and yet others calling for the authorities to maintain the status quo.
I got my youngest to read the post below out loud. And then my two kids and I had a discussion about it during our long drive, covering topics like:
1. Should PMDs have been allowed in the first place without infrastructure and legislation?
2. Was the PMD issue handled with the right wisdom and speed?
3. The impact the ban has had on livelihoods.
4. The impact PMDs has had on pedestrian safety.
5. The importance of personal financial responsibility.
6. What is the Locus of Control? (People who develop an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for their own success. Those with an external locus of control believe that external forces, like luck, determine their outcomes.)
7. Should the government help those impacted by this ban and if so, how can it help mitigate things?
8. What other options are there for food delivery employees?
9. Who should take the blame for this fiasco? The government? The errant users? The retailers who imported these devices? The companies who encouraged the use of these devices in their food delivery business?
10. The tradeoffs between working in a job that pays less but has more stability, and working in a job that pays more but has less certainty.
11. The viability, benefits, and risks of the gig economy.
12. The tradeoff between having CPF and not having it.
13. The cost of housing.
I had a good discussion with my teens on this matter. I trust there will be many views here too. Keep it respectful please. Thanks.
“I am an ITE graduate who previously work in office job, it paid me $2,200 every month, no 13th month, no bonus, 3 days MC.
Since Grabfood come along, with my trusty PMD, I earn $3,500 every month.
Now overnight, my PMD is illegal and I cannot use it for daily work.
With my $3,500 salary, I thought it was good time to start family, I can provide for my baby. Combine with my wife $2000 salary, we buy $250,000 BTO in CCK.
Now my income suddenly become zero, if I go back old job, it drop by $1,300 every month, I have baby that need diaper, need milk powder, need infant care, now my expense is more than my income.
Govt ask me to buy certified UL2272 PMD, I support and follow.
Govt ask me be careful while riding on the footpath, I careful. Never hit anyone or get into argument before in my 2 year as PMD rider.
Govt tell me to register PMD, I register.
Govt ask me to have stable proper job, I found one.
Govt ask me to have children, I agree and have kid.
I do everything you ask me to, but you still ban me from doing my job, a good job that pay me well. Now my children childcare fee how? Now their daily expense how? Overnight my salary cut by 30%, how can I be a good father to raise my children responsibly?
I want to be good citizen and help the country by being employ and by having children.
I want to help my country, but now my country don't want to help me.
Tell me what I should do now? With one speech now my income drop so much, if I am irresponsible rider, u penalty me I nothing to say. I am safe delivery rider but I pay price for those YP black sheep.
How I face my wife now, how I tell my children I cannot bring them go out enjoy some family excursion?
Sad to be a loyal Singaporean. I want to be loyal but there is no care for me.
Written by: M Siva, Grabfood PMD rider since 2018”
Say hello to the new Apple AirPods Pro. I have been waiting for you, little ones. I loved the portability of my AirPods but I missed having Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). I also liked having a tighter seal in my earphones and the AirPods had a more open design. Now the AirPods Pro address these two issues with ANC using two microphones (outward-facing and inward-facing), canceling out the environment for me.
Apple also touts Adaptive EQ for the AirPods Pro, to deliver better sound. I shall test that too. The AirPods were ok, but lacked the sound fidelity of more expensive wireless earphones like the Sennheiser Momentum TW (great sound but bulky case).
That Pro label on the AirPods Pro had better live up to its name. My cursory listening so far on the AirPods Pro (I am rocking Summer Walker’s new album currently) shows promise.
I also like the ability to switch from Active Noise Cancellation to Transparency mode with one click of the new capacitive force sensor' in the new shorter stem. The Transparency mode lets the outside sound in, and sounds very natural.
Battery life is four and a half hours with Active Noise Cancellation on, and five hours without ANC or Transparency on. All day battery life with the case to charge it, just like the AirPods 2.
It also comes with three sizes of tips to fit different ears and a Ear Tip Fit Test to let you know if you are using the right size of tip. I ended up with the Medium size. The seal feels good too. I wonder how the AirPods Pro sound with third-party Comply foam tips with them. I shall look for some when they become available.
Also fun to test will be sharing music with Audio Sharing mode: two AirPods or AirPods Pro listening to one device. Nice.
What I am truly happy about is I can now get true-wireless earphones in a small package. I love being able to slip my AirPods into my jeans and these AirPods Pros are not much larger. Same thickness, just slightly wider. Other True Wireless earphones in the market are usually too big and bulky to carry in the pocket with their case. Let alone True Wireless earphones with ANC.
The AirPods Pro retail for S$379 and will be available from the 30th of October, 2019. By comparison, the Sony WF-1000XM3 noise-cancelling earbuds cost around S$349, so this seems to be the price point for this class of wireless noise-cancelling buds.
I am so gonna test this these buds in my upcoming trip to Japan. I may not need to pack the larger noise-cancelling headphones in future.
19 hours. That was how far I flew to see the new Sonos Move speaker.
That was the longest non-stop flight I ever have ever taken too. Why did I fly so far? Because the launch of the Sonos Move speaker was in New York City and this was the fastest way to get there from Singapore. I was apprehensive at first, worried that my tender butt would not be able to take it but thankfully, it was a pleasant journey on this Singapore Airlines flight sitting in Premium Economy. Next time, perhaps I can try the Business Class on SQ21 (hint hint, SQ).
I stayed at the High Line, a hipster part of NYC, and spent a nice few days exploring the city. I even saw Taylor Swift coming out of an event in her car. I joined the screaming fans on the road.
But of course, I was not here (just) for fun. I was here to see the new portable speaker from Sonos.
For years, many have asked Sonos, “Eh, when are you going to make a Bluetooth speaker ah?”
As a Sonos user myself, and a worshipper in the Temple of Sonos wifi-connected Speakers (I have more Sonos speakers in my home than Christian, who is the boss of the brand in Singapore), I have also wondered the same thing. Sure, it was nice to have wireless speakers in my home, including a wireless home theatre setup. But what if I wanted to take a Sonos speaker outside? To the park? To a party? To my patio?
Ok, limpeh lives in an HDB flat, so limpeh has no patio. Just the common corridor. But you get the idea.
Enter the Sonos Move.
This baby can connect to your Sonos home network via wifi, just like any Sonos product. BUT IT ALSO DOES BLUETOOTH.
I know, I know. You are thinking, “Eh, brown. There are a gazillion Bluetooth speakers out there leh.”
True, but none of them are Sonos. You don’t get the benefits of a wireless system of networked speakers with those other Bluetooth speakers. And also, most of them sound very dinky.
The Sonos Move is not one of those small speakers you pop into your handbag or backpack to go to your chalet or your beach holiday though. This beefy speaker is happier on a road trip or blasting tunes in the garden or park.
Sound is crisp and clear, even outdoors, thanks to the design of the speakers to ensure you don’t lose the high-end where there are no walls to keep sound in. The tweeter inside is downward-firing, designed so that you have even dispersion, indoors or outdoors. Vocals and bass come out strong with the built-in mid-woofer. The speaker drivers benefit from the power of two Class-D digital amplifiers.
The Move is also waterproof, dust-proof, drop-resistant and tough as nails. I know, because I saw the abuse the Sonos folks put the Move through in their tests and research. You don’t want to drop this on your foot though. It is somewhat heavy. The handle they designed for the Move was created to address this heft. You can tell Sonos spent a LOT of time on the handle design because I was lifting it quite easily and I am no Arnold Schwarzenegger.
With the Move get the easy Sonos setup. You also get Apple Airplay 2 support, like all the current models, and Voice Control via Alexa and Google Assistant. Wifi and Bluetooth is switchable with a push of a button behind the Move. And you can pair two Moves in a Stereo Pair, but only over Wifi and not when in Bluetooth mode.
Battery life is 10 hours away from the charger, which is this ring the Move sits on. It is an elegant charging solution. You can also charge the Move via its USB-C port. When the lithium-ion battery inside the Move no longer holds a charge (after an estimated three years or 900 charges, according to Sonos), Sonos will also do a battery swap for a fee. That is very reassuring, in this world of electronic devices where the device dies with the death of a battery.
Another cool feature is Auto Trueplay. This allows the Move to figure out where it is in your room or outdoors, and adapt the sound to the environment. If you plonk them on a shelf, for example, it will optimise the sound from that spot. If you lug it outdoors, it will sense that and give you the right sound for that. The automatic EQ of Auto Trueplay only works in Wifi mode though.
What is lacking in the Move? You can’t pair them a home cinema surrounds. Pity, because I can imagine them being used as a handy pair of surrounds as and when I need to watch a movie with a Sonos Beam as my TV speaker. You also can’t pair the Move with a Sonos Sub. Sorry, bass heads.
I also wish the battery life was more than 10 hours. But you can charge it with a compatible USB-C charger when away from it’s charging ring.
The size and weight of the Move can also be a hindrance, I feel. You can pack a Move in your hand-carry to fly (the battery inside meets airline requirements) but it isn’t something you will do very often unless you really really want to blast your music in the hotel room with the power of the Move. I suspect it is more of a speaker you throw in the car for a road trip, than a speaker you carry on a plane.
There is also the price. It is… brace yourselves… S$729.00. This is not a cheap Bluetooth speaker you can buy from the discount bin of a computer store. But you do get an excellent speaker that sounds, and is physically, robust. And plays nice with the rest of the Sono eco-system. That may be enough reason to get one.
And hey, think of how fun it will be to carry it into the bathroom with you when you shower.
Kim Huat tells you his taxi stories and the new features in the ComfortDelGro Taxi Booking App. There is a contest too!
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We finally get the T2 sequel we deserve. Terminator: Dark Fate is the easily best sequel after Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I know, the bar is low. But it was a really fun ride.
When it wasn’t trying too hard to be emo and drama, the movie really rocked. The action set pieces were spot on. Some of the CG was a little weak in small places, like one or two face-transformations but it was not Gemini Man level bad.
And wow. Linda Hamilton really stole the show. So glad she is back. She spent a year with no carbs and full exercise to get back in shape for this and it shows. I want to look like this kind of Merdeka Generation.
Maybe it is me getting older and grumpier but I totally connected with the cranky badassery that Sarah Connor brought to the table.
The new Terminator Rev-9 looks sufficiently dangerous. You could say he is twice the man the others were.
Arnold is back this time too. He has appeared in the other sequels before but I like this version of him. He brings a quiet strength to the movie and has some of the funniest lines. This is Swarzenegger’s best outing since T2.
Mackenzie Davis was also a delight to watch. Her lean, statuesque figure was a nice contrast to the brute force of the Rev-9 when they fought. Grace was a good name for her. I also liked the subtle details like the surgical lines on her body.
As for the other post-T2 sequels, let’s call them Terminator Legends. As far as I am concerned, Dark Fate is the true Terminator 3. Let’s forget the other sequels existed.
Is Terminator: Dark Fate better than Terminator 2? No. That is a difficult movie to follow. But Dark Fate holds its own.
Oh, James Cameron, welcome back. We missed you. Please do the real Aliens sequel too. Thanks.
We were waiting to see what Joaquin Phoenix was going to do with the Joker movie, and he did not disappoint. Joaquin Phoenix acted the HECK out of this one.
In fact, the movie is held together by his performance.
However, I am not sure if I like the movie. I can't decide, like my friend Gwee. One the one hand, it is a powerful piece of drama. On the other hand, it is a dark and depressing tale. If you are looking for a superhero/supervillain movie, this ain't it. And it is even out-darks The Dark Knight.
I am also not sure if I liked the movie's treatment of mental illness.
Will I watch this again? I don't think so. It made me sad. I could not put on a happy face.
Gemini Man was an average and predictable action film with some horrible CG scenes. Especially the ones with "young" Will Smith. So jarring, the CG.
It is Superman-in-Justice-League-no-moustache-mouth bad. In 3D at 120 frames-per-second (fps) and 4K resolution, the flaws are even more obvious. It is like watching a bad TV movie.
Will Smith plays an assassin who is targeted by his employers, by a younger version of himself. End of story. You can see the entire plot from a mile away. And he did not even have an interesting sidekick. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays some agent who helps him along the way. zzzzz. At least his pilot buddy, Benedict Wong, was a bit more interesting.
Killers who were marked to be killed is not a new plot idea. RED did it. But RED did it with style and humour. And the cast was top class. So it can't be the idea that made this movie suck.
Why, Lee Ang? Why? First Hulk, now this. Why cannot do a good action movie?
You know what are the warning signs? When you see a list of Chinese companies at the start of the movie as the funders. Like Pacific Rim 2. Then you better get ready to be disappointed.
Also annoying was the overly obvious Coca-Cola product placement. The movie kept showing Will Smith drinking it. Oi, we know lah. He drinks Coke. Ok.
Now I am worried about Bad Boys For Life. I like Will Smith leh, but why another stinker like Gemini Man? Sigh.
#SignsYouAreGettingOld You woke up to pee last night but fell off the bed. While falling, your little toe got caught on the strap of the backpack on the floor. You broke your fall but sprained the little toe.
Waking up at night to pee is now an extreme sport.
[Photo taken in Night Mode with an iPhone 11 Pro Max.]