Friday, November 27, 2009

First time Mac user - Macbook Pro 13" with 4GB RAM

I just got the new Macbook Pro 13" with 4GB of RAM a day ago. Before I decided to buy the Macbook Pro, I did hours and hours of research on the internet to see if I would be comfortable with the Mac. The primary reason was the fact that I have never used a Mac before and have used Windows all my life. Hence, I was reasonably worried about how many of my day to day activities would be carried out with the Mac.

We live in a world where a laptop has become a necessity and is no more a luxury. I lived without a laptop for about two weeks and I felt handicapped. When I needed to create proposals or forecasts, I tried to do it with a pencil, paper and a calculator - But nowhere does it come close to Microsoft Excel or Word for giving us all of the functionality - to delete and correct to begin with. I even wonder how our previous generation did business with typewriters!

I decided to write this post and follow it up with a number of posts to help new adopters of the Mac understand how the Mac can complement their daily life and the hurdles they would initially face when they migrate to Mac OS from Windows.

One of the advantages (or disadvantages) that happened was that I got the Macbook Pro on Wednedsay -  a day before three of my final presentations/exams in school on Thursday. I went to school that evening and was forced to start working. No time to experiment.... no time to learn! I decided to take up the challenge and not install a parallel Windows OS or any Microsoft related software. This would ensure that I first give Mac the chance to prove itself to me.

To start with, I must tell you that I was absolutely AMAZED when I opened the box and powered up the computer. It took about 20 seconds to come to life - all ready to go! That was an eye-opener to me! My old Dell would take about 3 minutes to just boot up. And here was this computer coming right out of the box and all set to go in less than 30 seconds!

The track pad will take some time to get used to, but it is pretty intuitive. I'm comfortable now with the left click (click on trackpad with one finger) and right click (click on trackpad with two fingers). I however am still not comfortable with using three fingers on the trackpad (to Scroll left and right) and four fingers (To reveal the desktop or show you all the applications that you are running). I find it very difficult with the four fingers as I'm not used to any such gesture on the laptop. Other features of the trackpad are very similar to the iPhone (I've been using an iPhone 3G for the past ten months) like the pinch and twist features for pictures. The same gestures work on this trackpad too.

The first thing I did on the Macbook was to open Photo Booth and take some pictures. That was fun as we could use the Webcam to take many different kind of pictures guided by templates available in the application. The next thing I did was set up my business Mail on the native Mailbox application (The Stamp icon on the dock). I was determined to use all the capabilities before even considering Outlook. The setup process was very easy. Signatures work here unlike Thunderbird where it is difficult to insert a signature into your mails. I have still not been able to find an option to receive a "Read Receipt" from a mail (If anyone knows of this feature in the Mac Mail application, please do let me know). Other than that, it seems pretty easy to use and is fast. Calendar invites from Outlook are understood by this Mail app and it can be setup to automatically add any invites to iCal (the native Calendar application on the Mac)

Safari is super-fast! I was using Google Chrome earlier in my Windows Vista based system and would swear by the unbelievable speed of Chrome. But Safari still has an edge over Chrome and I must say that it is the fastest browser I have ever used.

The battery life is something you should experience. There's not enough I can thank Apple for giving us such a powerful battery! I needed to charge my Dell every hour before the battery gave up on me. The Macbook Pro stays full of life comfortably for about 5 hours at the very least (They guarantee 7 hours, but I haven't seen anything close to 7, but 5 hours is awesome enough for me).

I still haven't learnt all that needs to be learnt when it comes to the File structure (Windows Explorer) - called Finder in Mac. But that's probably because I have put away the transfer of data from my External hard drive to the Mac for the weekend when I will have more time to explore the Mac.

The iChat application is so easy to setup and responds very well (Google Chat and AIM can be added here).

Before I forget, the two finger scrolling (Use two fingers on the trackpad to scroll up and down) is really cool and helpful. Saves going to the scroll bar anymore.

I installed iWork (Mac's version of Office) on my system and had to start working on creating a Presentation on Keynote (Mac's version of Powerpoint). I have to admit that it did take me some time getting adjusted to the way things work there... But the templates and the transitions that are available are amazing! The presentation did take me like 4 hours to complete (Would have taken me two hours on my MS Office) but this is because this was the first time I was working on the Software and on a Mac. But the output was like ten times better than what I would have got from Office! So, I'm satisfied and am learning quickly. There are so many templates available on Keynote and this makes life simpler! People, take note that pptx format doesn't really open well as yet with Keynote for me (My friend told me that there is a software to fix this) but I still haven't installed anything! Also, I could share the Keynote presentation with other people saving it as a Presentation (Powerpoint recognizable) but it removed many of the design elements. I couldn't save as pdf initially. I however did run an update last night : Which is very easy to do. Go to the Apple logo on the top-right corner of the screen and just click on Software update. It lists all possible updates for the computer (Includes OS and applications). This feature is really cool. I ran a full update and now when I open Keynote, I see that I have the option to export the presentation into so many different formats. So that solves that problem.

You have to use (Command + C) here instead of Control C. That took me a little while to get used to but am not comfortable with that.

Well that's it for now! Just my second day with the new Macbook Pro. Am doing well so far and have still not installed a parallel windows. Will keep you all updated with how life goes with the Macbook. Keep following this blog or follow me on twitter at for updates.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Logos and Symbols in Branding

I have had this wonderful opportunity of being able to understand in real time what I learn in my Branding classes. My engagement with Management Systems (Asia) which is a Business Publication focussing on Management Systems and Business Excellence. The magazine is now about 8 months old and we have been working towards building a Brand from scratch. Over time, we now have good recognition in the Philippines apart from Singapore where the magazine is headquartered.

But recently due to feedback we received saying that keeping the "Asia" as part of the LOGO of the magazine could limit our market to Asia. So, a debate started on whether the "Asia" should be brought out separately from the logo - like Management Systems and then "Asian edition". The argument for this was that Management Systems primarily comes from the Western countries and not from Asia. The other argument was that Management Systems may have to be tweaked for Asia, and the whole world is looking towards Asia as the next phase in the Global growth story - China and India are being looked at as the possible new powers in the world. We are seeing a power shift and Asia does excite people across the globe.

The argument continued and the organization decided to keep the Asia but not as part of the logo as that would let us be flexible at a later stage of our growth. So we embarked on a new journey to discover a logo that would best embody the attributes of the product and still ensure visibility keeping some of the physical attributes of the previous logo.

All of this has complimented by learning in my Brand Equity Classes at the Asian Institute of Management .

By the way, Management Systems (Asia) is one of the only Management Systems magazine that has an online replica of its print magazine in a very interactive and user friendly interface. Take a look at Management Systems (Asia) eMag .  You can read the whole magazine online for free on just registering.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twilight: New Moon... Now Really?

Hell... I went for this movie with so much of expectation... Not that I was in love with the previous Twilight flick... But that sure as hell was a decent movie and got me to look at Vampires in a whole new light... I've never been the kind to go for movies with Vampires etc... But the previous Twilight movie was pretty decent..

The New Moon really did keep me looking at my watch every 15 minutes wondering if it was time for the movie to get over... But when it did, I was like "Now Really"! Very abrupt end to the movie and leaves the viewer wondering if that's how the movie should have ended. I agree that there are more to come... but still...there could have been a better ending.

There were a number of good scenes though... The "fight sequences" have been done very well with a good background score. The style quotient of the "Vampires" have been taken to a whole new level.

Some of the scenes just drag on and on and make you wonder whether the director wanted to put you to sleep! An all-out chick flick with bare bodied hunks running around the place in the guise of were-wolfs! A must watch for all the "Vampire crazy" gals out there and the romantic guys who wanna keep their gal friends happy! For the others, I would suggest you read the story online and wait for the next in the saga (Which I hear is much better - the book is supposed to be better).... For me, I wouldn't give up on the series as yet and will wait for the next episode before I walk away from the "Twilight"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Final Run

Well its down to the last ten days... The last stretch... The home run... Call it what you may... But its really beginning to sink down really hard inside me that my life in Makati is going to change in just a little while...My MBA at the Asian Institute of Management ( is now almost done.... At one end, I am glad to be done so that I can get back to working seriously and getting down to some serious travel. But on the other hand, I'm going to have to say goodbye to so many of the good friends I've made over the past 16 months.  And these months have flown past... I still remember so very clearly the first day - The day I arrived to Manila... not knowing a single soul... Opening a new chapter in my life.... Meeting people... The formation of the friends' circle... Our first few parties outside... The first few quizzes... The first few "Cold Calls" in Larry Tan's (LOB Professor)  class... the first few parties by the pool side... the first few kareoke songs we heard the Filipinos sing by the poolside, the first Marketing projects... the CAN groups... the first few days in the dorm... And what not... And after all these months.... I wonder when it went on from the first to the second and on and on! It all feels so close... so near....But its now getting down to the last few things with some of the best friends and best people I have met in life...

I know its strong to call it the last... But well, life will change and things will go on... And at this stage, its so weird that every few days I seem to be getting an invitation to some friend's wedding or the other... The times have changed... I feel like I've actually aged... gone into a new phase of my life... Most of my friends now are older than me.... Most of the people I interact are much older than me...

Well as always, nothing better to do at such moments than listen to Guns N Roses! He he... did it when I left school... Did it when I left engineering college... When I left Infosys.... When I left HCL... When I left India... and now... When I have to say Goodbye yet one more time....

And once again, I hope I have made the right decision and things are going to go just fine for me... Did take a lot of thinking from my side despite what many of my friends think - To stay back here in this country... I believe that my future is going to start from the Philippines and other South East Asian countries.... So now I need to travel and meet as many new people as possible... To a new phase in my life.... I dedicate this phase to all my friends over the past 25 years of my life.....

Monday, November 02, 2009

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer - One of the best movies I have seem in recent times. Nothing larger than life in this movie and everything is so realistic that most of us would be able to relate to a "Summer" (Summer's the name of the girl in the movie) in our lives. The attention to detail which brings out the small things in life that make such a big difference really kept me very engaged. Small things such as Summer not holding his hand when he gives it out and then the expressions on their faces.... These are things that for sure each and every one of us would have experienced some time in our lives...... The small indicators we look for... the strong beliefs we have inside of us that the person we are is for sure the ONE!

The movie also plays frames from different times not being chronologically in order... Which reminds me of Mani Ratnam's Alaipayuthe (Tamil movie director) which also showed shots from different portions in time and then brought the story together. Even here, they show different days in the 500 days which actually turns out to be very humorous and also gets us very involved in the story line.

Watch 500 days of Summer and you will realize that there are so many more possibilities to life.... Don't lose hope on love... but remember that there are many FISH in the sea! And finally, one of the best lines in the movie..... "You were not wrong, You were just wrong about me"!