🎥 Ajoomma

We accidentally watched the movie before it even opened, and well, Ajoomma is a good film.

It is paced and written smartly. It is believable and yet, out there enough so that it catches your interest. It is a short movie, and doesn’t take much of you. It is bright and happy, and it is a very likable movie. Auntie Lim would remind many Singaporeans of their mother, and we know where the story eventually goes, but you’re still drawn in, rooting for Auntie Lim, Jung Su, and Kwon Woo. Even the son has a story to tell. (Call me old, but given the subplot, I am surprised the rating is a NC16.)

I find myself watching fewer and fewer movies over the years, and Covid meant a quieter movie industry in more recent years. But if you need a movie to get back into the movie-going mood, this is a good candidate.

Maybe we will learn to appreciate our families more, tolerate differences more. It is certainly not a movie for cynics. I really appreciated the theme of kindness that came out of the Auntie Lim/ Jung Su story, especially when it shows you how compassion sometimes doesn’t help. 💀 (Really, the best move would have been to stay put, or go back to the last place you lost whoever.) (And oh, I didn’t see it as a romance subplot, oops.)

Links from the past weeks

  • Japan’s jazz coffee bars transcend global barriers.
    On the day that it was announced Japan will soon allow tourists back into the country, a flurry of links about Japan were sent around. We Singaporeans seem to have a mad love for this country. But yes, that image of us in a dark room in Tokyo, sipping black coffee and listening to music… I can’t wait to go back to Japan.


  • Apparently, being wowed is good for you.
    I do like looking at trees, and my phone contains too many photos of “oh I like this big tree” without me being able to recognise its species, but hey, now I know for sure looking at trees is good for me.


  • I have not been keeping track, but there are now many new switches on the market.

    Having used a TKL for many years, my current favourite is a 75% Vortex 3. And why did I end up buying a Varmilo Minilo? Was it for the skin-like texture? Or the Iris switches touted to have a superior typing experience? Why did I end up with a 65% keyboard that does not have the Home and End buttons that I rely on?


  • ‘There’s endless choice, but you’re not listening’: fans quitting Spotify to save their love of music
    This is of course a very familiar feeling, and I too am guilty of passive listening, and taking too utilitarian an approach when I set music to an experience (e.g. for work; for running), instead of what we used to enjoy: music for the sake of music.

    And so I cancelled my Spotify subscription, bought a few albums off Bandcamp, and consoled myself with this page asking whether ripping CD collections to FLAC is worth it. I also popped some CDs into the Denon, and then smiled when I realised I have quite a number of CDs already ripped using iTunes. Apple doesn’t play that well with high quality audio, and some things don’t change, so you need advice on how to play hi-res music on your iPhone.


  • I remembered being pissed off about the way the knotting appeared on a badminton racket that was restrung by a company that offered delivery services and confirmed my bias by reading this forum thread on badmintoncentral. I will be sending my rackets to the shop I like in the east, even though it is a little troublesome and I will have to collect the rackets some days later when they are ready. Racket re-stringing is always such an exercise.

📖 This is How They Tell Me The World Ends

“In the United States, though, convenience was everything; it still is. We were plugging anything we could into the internet, at a rate of 127 devices a second. We had bought into Silicon Valley’s promise of a frictionless society. There wasn’t a single area of our lives that wasn’t touched by the web. We could now control our entire lives, economy, and grid via a remote web control. And we had never paused to think that, along the way, we were creating the world’s largest attack surface.”


Nicole Perlroth
This is How They Tell Me The World Ends

//

Zero-day exploits, passwords, airgap systems, multi-factor authentication, attacks on the grid, spies, a market for cyber weapons… the arms race all over again.

The book induces a breathlessness, an anxiety that you do not let overwhelm you because you know we are all screwed. Because you know that some things have already bolted out the door, the likely outcome already set in motion many years ago, when the world was a more naive place. This is a sobering read, and my helpless self proceeded to pat my password manager, change some old passwords, and set up multi-factor authentication for more accounts.

Highly recommended.

Links from the past week 

  • 8world: Tuesday Report – Trails Across Time: Thomson
    This is a video made by Mediacorp Singapore and it traces the developments in the Thomson area from the 1930s onwards, where there were once villages and plantations. The green spaces and reservoirs we know of now were once places where people lived, cultivated food, washed their clothes… The video includes a segment where an old gentleman draws a map of his village (he could still remember where each household was!). There is also a rendering of how a village looks like; I can still drag up a fuzzy image of my grandmother’s kampung house but it is such a distant memory.


  • Love, Happiness, and Time
    Is love/ happiness a thing/ a place? Or is it an event? This is worth a few minutes of your time.


  • The Apple Watch Ultra finally convinced me to leave Garmin behind
    Quite an unexpected title, but I guess this “good enough” and being part of the Apple ecosystem explains why there are people who would take the Apple Watch over a Garmin (or any other real sports watch).


  • What’s the Most Harmful Airport Book?
    What a good question, and what an interesting read. The #1 is a little unexpected, but the view expressed is quite valid. 🤔

📖 Happy-Go-Lucky 

“Throughout the worst of the pandemic I, like everyone, thought of the many things I’d failed to appreciate back when life was normal: oh, to be handed an actual restaurant menu; to stand so close to a stranger that you can read the banal text messages that are obviously more important to him than his toddler stumbling off the curb and out into traffic…”


David Sedaris
Happy-Go-Lucky

//

If anybody has the energy in this pandemic to write about this pandemic, it would be Sedaris. A collection of personal essays, you can expect the usual offbeat observations, sometimes drily expressed. He is always interesting and given the details he inserts, it makes me want to keep a journal, an audio record even, but perhaps I am meant to live my life more prosaically.

This is a wonderful record of the pandemic years. Everyone’s experience is of course different, but some of the broader themes are there, soothing to see in the written word.

//

“Too much free time, and too much time together. I’m normally away from Hugh between four and six months a year, and when the pandemic canceled the tours I had scheduled, I panicked. We were in New York at the time, so I sought out his old friend Carol. “What’s he really like?” I asked her. “I think I sort of knew once, but that was twenty-five years ago.””

Some notes on personal tech

  • Monterey on Mac OS allows you to use your iPhone apps on your Mac. If you have a M1 or M2 chip. I was excited until I realise our MBP is a 2018 baby.


  • I recently moved my to-do items/ reminders to Apple Reminders. There are now hashtags and the app has improved much over the years. (My last memory was of it in its skeuomorphic days.)

    I have been using the Things app since 2014, and had always wished for a larger font within the app. But even as I developed presbyopia, it remains unlikely that the app makers will ever allow a font size option to corrupt its (beautiful) UI. That gave me the chance to try different things I guess, and I was using Microsoft To Do for a while. It was decent and had desktop functionality but I didn’t like the daily email summary. The email option could not be turned off because the page that allowed this was a 404. Microsoft probably has too many pages to maintain. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


  • The Reeder app on Mac OS is gorgeous.

    I tried using Netnewswire, the OG RSS reader. I have fond memories of it and was curious about the relaunch in 2021. Alas, the world has moved on, even if I did not mind porting myself back to 2009.


  • I love how the iPhone 13 mini feels in hand. I appreciate its lightness when it is in my pocket. But it seems to be the last tiny phone standing. (It does not exist in the iPhone 14 (2022) lineup.)

    I did get a iPhone 11, to see if that would help with reading longer-form material but I found that for me, the 11 was too clunky, and for now, I want to see if I can leave the phone for the quick and easy (quick input of tasks and notes; quick browse of social media, and as little of it as possible). Related to this, I set myself up on a Mac again for the first time in years. I have not been at a personal computer for years. I miss that version of myself… who browses and reads longer-form things on the internet, writes a bit (to/ for myself) and burrows down rabbit holes here and there.

    (I was to be reading my books off a Kobo, but it died and therefore I am reading on my tiny phone but it is fine. And you can extract all your highlights via the Libby app.)