Possibly My Last Mac

A few weeks ago, my shiny new MacBook Air arrived at my home, and I opened it with anticipation. I was very happy with my previous white MacBook that I bought in 2008, and decided to take a step forward with Mac OS. At the same time, I jumped from Mac OS 10.5 to 10.8. I maxed out my CPU with an i7 processor, and apart from occasionally getting a little warm, I’m pretty satisfied with the hardware. However, it’s software and interface differences that really irk me:

  • There is now an inconsistency between various pieces of software, some allowing Cmd-D to not save a document, while some don’t. It is a keyboard shortcut that others in the Mac OS ecosystem have grown used to, as they were others who complained about it online too.
  • There are now superfluous interface changes making the calendar look like a paper calendar, and the address book look like an actual book. However, functionality has dropped.
  • When I select a day in Calendar, it is no longer highlighted. This might be more of a bug, albeit a simple thing.
  • In Contacts, I used to easily do a search for “+84″ to find all my contacts who have a Vietnam contact number. Sadly, the search feature doesn’t take into account the ‘+’ sign anymore.
  • Mail has become more sophisticated, IMHO. I hope the new features will prove useful over time.
  • Having to be identified when wanting to update core software, and with an increasing number of apps only being delivered through the App Store, it is really quite annoying.

Overall, I’m still satisfied with it, though it didn’t meet my expectations. Let’s continue to watch where this ship goes without Jobs at its helm.

If I had to choose again at that point in time with the additional information that I have now, I would still choose a MacBook Air. But it’s unlikely that I will request for a MacBook Air for my work machine.

Lessons Learned From Having a Phone Stolen

Today, my phone was stolen out of my hand by someone on a motorbike while I was walking along a small lane in Ho Chi Minh City. It was definitely painful on multiple levels—self esteem, data theft, financial loss. I also pondered about what may be running through that young lad’s mind, and what drives him to engage in such an activity? Was he financially motivated, or driven by the adrenaline rush?

While I’m thankful that the financial loss is the least of them all, I realized that having a battle plan would make such events easier to deal with.

Pre-theft:

  • Set up (automated) backups, whether in the cloud, on your computer, or in your brain. For me, I sync my contacts and calendar with my computer.
  • Register the phone number. This will ensure that you can obtain back the same phone number you used to have, saving you from having to update all your contacts of your new number.
  • Take an inventory of what’s on the phone, know what you’ve got.
  • To take it further, there are “find my phone” apps and full disk encryption that I could have employed. I would have considered looking into one of those solutions with which I could brick my phone by sending it a specially crafted SMS.

Post-theft:

  • Step one: stay calm. No matter what the impact of the loss, stay calm. It is not the end of the world.
  • If you have a “find my phone” app installed, try to see if you can access your phone and brick it.
  • Inform your service provider of the loss, and request for a replacement SIM card.
  • Once an alternative line of communication has been set up, inform key people about the loss.
  • Reset passwords for apps that you have on the phone. For me, this included terminating my Gmail sessions too.

When done, go out, buy yourself a new phone, restore your data, and pick up the pieces where you left off. The world has not stopped, and neither should you let such an event devastate you.