thoughts on Technology and Movie updates

I just realized I haven’t ranted about what I’ve been ranting to people in real life about for months so.. here goes

2016 Macbook Pro:
if its anything that proves that Apple has turned from a formerly innovative company to a company that just cares about making money here it is.
-$300 more than previous generation
-only 2 USBC ports on 13 inch, and 4 USBC ports on 15 inch. No HDMI, No SD, No USBA. I realize that USBC is way of the future but cmon.. at least be like other manufacturers and have a mix of both USBA and USBC! nope now we have to carry dongles for everything…
-no extension cable for adapter anymore
-no bootup sound anymore
-no glowing mac logo anymore
-no MagSafe anymore
-touchbar is a gimmick
-new butterfly keyboard still doesn’t feel good to type on

.. all this to make the Macbook Pro thinner. WHY? thats the goal of the consumer Macbook or Macbook AIR, not the Pro model! The Pro model is supposedly to have more ports and features and be for professionals.. as it is the new Macbook Pro is simply an upgraded Macbook Air Retina.

Apple watch / Air Pods:
-Yeah Apple Watch and smartwatches in general still look stupid. But hey I’m a traditional watch geek so I’m conservative like that.. I don’t want to have more things to charge
-Air Pods look like Qtips and you couldn’t pay me enough to wear them

2017 iPhone X:
-first off, I still hate that Apple enlarged their phones with the iPhone 6 and got rid of the headphone jack in iPhone 7. So many things still require a 3.5mm connection for example DACs, audiophile headphones and old cars only have aux jack. You could lose the dongle when carrying it around, and bluetooth is still something else you have to pair and charge all the time. A hassle. And you can’t listen to music and charge at same time with the dongle.
-its $1k. I mean cmon.. Essential Phone, Razer Phone, Oneplus 5T, Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 / XL, those are all great options for way less
-Wireless charging is a gimmick. Its not really wireless. You just put it on a pad, which actually decreases the usability since you can’t use it while it’s charging.
-no TouchID. There’s no doubt that TouchID is faster and more convenient than Face unlock + swipe. One is one action the other is two.

Ok so thats my tech gripes now onto the movies…

Star Wars The Last Jedi:
The one movie I really have to complain about this year is Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi. This much anticipated movie got GREAT reviews from critics but polarizing reviews amongst fans. For me, I really didn’t like this movie. I liked the action and visuals and sounds those were all great, but the actual storyline and the way they treated the characters especially the ones from the original trilogy, really made me angry.

So first off, I don’t like Force Awakens either. I thought it was a poor rehash of a New Hope and I thought that Rey is a Mary Sue character who became too powerful too fast. I thought that Rogue One was a pretty decent movie in comparison.. very original plot and well executed.
Now Last Jedi is even worse than Force Awakens. It basically took a lot of pre-established points from the Force Awakens and threw them away. Also, the storyline is messy and incoherent. A lot of new characters introduced were just thrown away. Here are just a few grievances:

-Luke Skywalker fundamentally changes his character. The Luke that thought that Vader was redeemable somehow thought that his nephew Ben Solo was worth killing, if only for a moment.
-Luke dies a hermit instead of going out in a blaze of glory. I felt this was in poor taste and disrespectful to Luke.
-There’s no one on one lightsaber battles at all.
-Snoke and Rey are random beings who are randomly powerful without explanation. This makes even less sense when we consider how Rey was built up in the Force Awakens.
-Leia floats back to the ship and no one says a thing.
-Prank call at the beginning went on for too long.
-Rose falls in love with Finn in less than 12 hours. They both should have died when their speeders crashed.
-The codebreaker they were supposed to get is in a brief scene but never mentioned again.
-The replacement codebreaker is never seen or heard from again either.
Captain phasma is useless.
-They went to canto bight to free some animals basically.
-Apparently gravity exists in space.
-Luke milks some space aliens for some reason.
-Luke throws away his dads lightsaber without even blinking.
-Luke never reacts to Hans death.
-Porgs are completely useless.
-Rey went down a dark hole and.. nothing happens.
-Kylo ren has a brief moment where he could become good but then goes back to bad again.
-Leia is never killed off even tho Carrie is dead.
-Admiral Ackbar dies off screen while a new character we see for 10 min gets sacrificed instead.

Those are just few grievances. This movie has all the action and cast but it doesn’t do the right things with them… thankfully I did watch a much better sci-fi sequel a month before (Blade Runner 2049) so not all my childhood scifi franchises were destroyed

Let’s talk watches

So, a lot of people might know me as the guy who geeks out about laptops, computers, electronics, guitars and such. But some people might not know that I’m also a geek about watches as well. I’ve always liked mechanical watches, in particular, because I’m at heart an engineer and the engineering that goes into something so small and precise is quite fascinating.

I like established Swiss and Japanese brands of course, but I care more about the style of the watch itself. I don’t like sporty looking watches, or chronographs, or watches with too much going on in them. Some complications I do like are date (a must have IMO), day (nice to have), moonphase (looks cool and nice to have), heartbeat (looks cool and nice to have), dual time zone functionality (useful for travelers), tourbillion (useless but looks very cool). I think those are all great looking or useful complications.

After doing a lot of research I can separate different watch brands into the following tiers:

Really cheap (<$100)
Timex
Casio
Swatch

Mainstream / Affordable ($100-$1000)
Seiko
Citizen
Bulova
Orient

Entry level luxury ($1000-$5000)
Longines
Tag Heur
Frederique Constant
Oris
Grand Seiko
Raymond Weil
Hamilton
Ulysse Nardin
Sinn
Maurice Lacroix
Montblanc
Tissot
Tudor

Mid level luxury ($5000-$50k)
Rolex
Omega
Cartier
Breitling
Hublot
Jaeger LeCoultre
IWC
Panerai

High level luxury ($50k+)
Patek Phillipe
Vacheron Constantin
Audermars Piguet
Breguet
Blancpain
A lange & Sohne

So because I am not the type of guy to buy something *super* expensive (my dream car actually is only a Genesis G80 which is entry level luxury car), the watches that I go for are also just ‘entry level’ luxury brands.

My previous daily driver dress watch was an affordable Orient Sun and Moon ($300~)

Orient Sun and Moon
Orient Sun and Moon

It was a solid mechanical watch, and Orient is well known for making really good value mechanical watches for the price, and also producing their own movements in house which is impressive.

However, since I just recently got myself a couple ring for my girlfriend (>$1k), I thought it appropriate to up the watches that I wore as well. I went for two luxury watches this time, because both of these watches serve different purposes. My budget was $5k for both watches put together. I liked watches with ‘simple’ looking complications and having a very clean style. After doing a lot of research I settled on these two:

Oris Greenwich Mean Time
Oris Greenwich Mean Time

The Oris Limited Edition Greenwich Meantime ($2000) is a nice watch to use both as a daily driver sporty looking watch, and as a travel watch. I especially liked the subdial showing a second time zone. Since I travel between Korea/Canada/US very often its useful to have this feature. Also note the steel bracelet and date window and power reserve complication here. Oris makes great quality mechanical watches so this is the one I picked.

Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase
Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase

The second watch I picked as a dress watch, is the Frederique Constant Classic Moonphase ($2700). This one was more expensive due to the watch being an in house movement by FC themselves. I looked at a bunch of other cheaper options but I just couldn’t get over how beautiful this watch was. Rose gold plating (I know, not real rose gold but cmon look at the price), beautiful subdial for the date, moonphase complication and alligator strap just won me over. FC are also known for making great value mechanical watches especially when they use their own in house movements and not outsourced ETA movements.

So yeah my total cost came to $4700, which was just under my $5k budget. I know this seems pretty expensive still but I think of it this way – a good quality mechanical swiss watch can actually last several lifetimes. I can pass it down to my kids in the future. When you think about how much I spent on electronics, laptops and guitars, then $4700 doesn’t actually seem as much as you think. Anyways, I’m happy with these two watches and hopefully they will last me many years to come.

2017: Year in Review

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays once again. And once again, I feel that 2017 has gone by way too fast lol. Perhaps its because I spent most of this year at home and not really going outside and meeting new people and making friends like I did when I lived in Korea..

Highlights
-Saved and invested a lot. Made back all my gambling losses (and then some!) with cryptocurrency this year. The rise of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies this year has been truly astounding and imo a once in a lifetime event. Doubled my net worth this year.
-Finally made a Korean gf! and one that has lasted so far, the longest out of all my relationships. My previous longest relationship lasted 2 months. This one has been 3 months and counting! Yes it is a long distance relationship. I got to visit her in Korea for Christmas, we unfortunately only got to spend 4 days together, but it was an amazing 4 days and I can’t wait until the next time I see her (which might not be until next May).
-Went back to Korea twice this year, both times to meet a girl…

Lowlights
-I could have made more with crypto-currency. A lot more. But who could have expected Bitcoin to rise up 900%+ this year, or Litecoin to go up 7000% or Ripple to gain 10000%? And so on and so forth.. heck investing in ANY top 10 crypto coin this year could have made you rich. I was too timid at the beginning of the year, didn’t hold long enough, and lost my chance at becoming a millionaire. Oh well.
-Absolute boring-ness this year. Didn’t go out much. Didn’t make many friends. Work was just so-so. I was quietly dying on the inside this whole year.
-Donald Trump. Yeah I hate him. In San Francisco, who doesn’t? I’m no liberal but even as a conservative I can’t stand the guy. Especially when he’s threatening North Korea (and by extension the safe being of South Korea) all the time!
-6 times going back and forth between Canada-US border to get my TN visa processed. 6 times getting harassed at the border and getting treated like a criminal! this is partly the reason why I don’t want to get a new US job.

Summary
2017 is a year that won’t go down as one of my more exciting years. This year was all about making money and saving money. Granted, I did do a lot of that. Due to the great performance of both the stock market and cryptocurrencies, I doubled my net worth this year. I also tried my best not to spend *as* much as last year. 2015 and 2016 I bought countless electronics and gadgets. I think this year I bought one new laptop (Thinkpad TP25), 2 new watches (Frederique Constant Moonphase and Orient Star GMT), and some phones (BlackBerry KeyOne, Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, Google Pixel 2) as well obviously games and stuff but those were the only things I bought at full retail price. Last year was far worse (I bought 3 new laptops in Dec 2016 alone!).

So yeah I know I have to do more. My best friend in SF is my idol; he not only made tons of gains by holding onto his Litecoin / Ripple holdings, but he’s always frugal and never buys anything unless he absolutely needs it. Would be nice to be like that.
Aside from that, not much else has happened this year. San Francisco is becoming a wasteland. More and more homeless people. Higher and higher prices. Less Koreans/Japanese/Taiwanese/Internationals in exchange for the only race that seems interested in staying here which are mainland Chinese. And some mainland Chinese are alright, but its no secret that I don’t get along with the majority of them. I find most of them pretentious, materialistic, and overly ignorant / prideful.

The main purpose of this year really, is to gear up for the monumental changes to my life that will happen next year. I’ve already prepared for it. At a certain point in time next year, I will sell my apartment, leave the USA, and finally after 7 years of living here, and the first time really ever in my life, give myself some freedom, with no obligation to study or work. No more TN visa hassles. Just meet my girlfriend (which I also have big plans for next year, if it all works out with her), travel to different countries, and settle back down in Canada. Big changes are happening next year, and partly the reason why 2017 *had* to be a boring, stable year is because this was a preparation year meant to save up money and gear up for next year. And in that sense, I felt that this year was a success.