Macau

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I always had interest in visiting Macau, some friends lived there and my interest was fuelled by their stories of growing up in this culture clash. I took a ferry from Hong Kong that took about one hour. It was a pleasant journey even though I’m not good on boats. Macau has a different feel from Hong Kong, it’s not as dense but it feels a bit more disorganised.

The mix of old Portuguese colonial architecture and the hap-hazardish contemporary architecture is nothing but jarring, which makes Macau unique but off-putting at times.  Most streets still maintain their Portuguese names but they are no longer used by the locals which makes things interesting when you’re trying to get somewhere.

Dinning in Macau was a challenging but rewarding experience. English is widely spoken in touristic areas but in restaurants not so much. Most tourists in Macau come from mainland China which means most places are catered towards that crowd. It happened more than once to walk into a restaurant and sit whenever there was room and be handed a menu in Chinese. I still ate amazing things, even though the staff was never very friendly they always took care of us.

And then there’s the overwhelming mix of casinos and shopping malls. Casinos are not my cup of tea but I had to check it out. The atmosphere was heavy, stressful and not very welcoming and I couldn’t wait to get out, but I did do some shopping, it’s kind of impossible not to in places like that.

 

Hong Kong

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Back in August I started another summer trip around Southeast Asia (mostly Indonesia) but actually began the trip by spending two days in Hong Kong, which was on my top places to go for a long time.

We stayed in a small room in Kowloon, the peninsula to the north of Hong Kong that is a riddled with neon and window shoppers. The streets are packed with people, even at night, and this is where you find the most interesting shops and places to eat.

I love most Asian food and Hong Kong delivers on the highest note. Most restaurants are very laid back and you can sit whenever there’s room. You pick your food from a menu with check boxes and the food (and the bill) arrives quickly after that. Dim sum was to die for and I ate it all the time, even though it’s considered breakfast food.

From Kowloon you get a great view in to Hong Kong and every night there’s a light show, called the Symphony of Lights, that I found a bit underwhelming.  The view was great though.

On the next day we ventured on to the very organised and efficient Mass Transit Railway and then took a ferry in to the Honk Kong island. Like in Kowloon there’s a lot of shopping to do, but this side of Hong Kong it’s all about the skyscrapers, malls with upscale brands and expensive restaurants. We did find a place with traditional Cantonese cuisine that was packed with business people and had a very interesting meal.

After wandering around for a while we went up to the highest point, very originally called the Peak, to take a glimpse of the city landscape. It is quite the view.

On the end of trip we flew back into Hong Kong and I had the chance to take a few window photos. Hong Kong is nothing but impressive.

Handoff is driving me nuts

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I love ubiquity in web products. I dream of a future where anything from books, photos, websites, movies, music are at the reach of our thumbs in any device. A world of non-existing physical hard-drives, a world where we don’t have to worry about backing up content in a myriad of different services. We are starting to get there with cloud services and content streaming, and recently handoff by Apple, but we are not quite there yet.

Using iMessage has been a pleasure since day one, having the ability to answer text messages in any (Apple) device  is quite convenient, and now even SMSs come through to all devices. It’s a bliss!

The continuity feature in Safari is also something I’m quite pleased with. Just today I was looking for a recipe on my laptop and once I found it I picked up my iPad and headed to kitchen to make it happen. I can’t wait for other app developers to implement this.

Now handoff in incoming voice calls is a completely different story and I’m amazed how unpolished it is. This is my problem: when someone calls me all my devices start ringing at once. It’s quite convenient to be able to take the call in the device that is closest, but if I silence the call in one device the others just keep on ringing until the caller gives up or the call goes to voice mail. Now, I’m not someone who gets a lot of calls in a day, but I get enough for it to really start getting on my nerves. If an undesired call isn’t bad enough, having to listen to two or devices ringing at once makes it even worse.
Right now Apple only allows you to enable or disable handoff, there’s nothing else you can do with it:

There’s a lot that can be done here, choosing which features you want to enable seems like no brainer to start.
There’s a bunch of things I would like to see in the future, here are a few:

  • Unlocking your Mac/iPad by proximity to the iPhone
  • Seamlessly transfer playing music/movies from one device to the other
  • Keeping context between devices by bringing the last app used on one device to the next, if applicable

I know that one day everything will transition seamlessly between devices, or even better, there will be no devices, just screens that follow us around. One step at a time.

Cabo

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On my very first Automattic meetup I went to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico for a few days to meet my team, get some projects going and indulge on some delicious food and margaritas!
We stayed at a house in Pedrigal that had a bunch of rooms across three levels, a great living/dinning/kitchen area, a play room and pool that we used extensively.

We took a cruise on a pirate ship (harrr!) that sailed around Cabo so we could enjoy the amazing sunset and a very exquisite pirate show.

During the day we worked and ate at the house in Pedrigal, but at night we hit downtown for some margaritas and delicious Mexican cuisine.

We also went zip linning on Wild Canyon on what looked like the longest and scariest zip lines ever. My heart was pounding on the first one, but by the second zip line I was flying through it! Too bad I have no pictures of it, but I will definitely remember this for a long time.

The week went flying by and I had a great experience in Mexico. Can’t wait for the next meetup!