iPad Pro display issues

This morning as I woke up and started using the iPad to read today’s news, I noticed a peculiar green line running across the display of my new iPad Pro. I have been very happy with my purchase so far and been using it with great satisfaction. For some odd reason I did not have the usual buyer’s remorse when buying an expensive device. Probably because I used the sales proceeds of my MacBook Pro to get the iPad Pro. It may sound like a downgrade since the MBP can do so much more, but for me I really want to explore what I can potentially do with the iPad Pro outside of the traditional keypad and trackpad set up.

Every aspect about the new iPad Pro just screams quality. Then, this issue cropped up. It was annoying. I don’t know how it appeared or why it suddenly appeared or what caused this razor thin green line to appear on the display. You can have a look below.

Can you see it? It runs right smack in the middle!

So I spent a better part of my Sunday afternoon (which could have been spent on something more productive by the way) trying to contact Apple support and see if I could schedule an appointment with the support staff at Apple Store. The good news is that chatting online with the support staff was incredible. He were responsive and patient, and he fully understood what the issue was. The bad news is that I have to go down to the Apple Store and make the exchange. The even more bad news is that the appointments were full and then if you walk in without an appointment, you might be queued and had to wait for a couple of hours to be served. Hours wasted.

But it had to be done. And so I did. I went down and waited patiently till my turn came and then told the staff the problem. The problem was straightforward; hardware issue, needed the entire device to be replaced, meaning a 1-to-1 exchange. And considering that this is a newly launch product, and that I gotten the product mere days ago, most likely it will be exchange with a brand new set.

But then again, alas since this is so new, they don’t have readily available stocks for them to make the exchange, and so they had to put one up on order, which according to them, will take 3 days at least, after which, I can head down and perform the exchange anytime after that.

I won’t be heading down during the weekdays, even after work this week as I had to focus on my presentation for my course. The last activity before graduation. So I will be doing it during the weekend.

But the funny thing is: The thin green line isn’t persistent. It goes on and off intermittently. And now after hours of using it I don’t see the green line anymore. So I am starting to wonder if I may have jumped the gun and declared my device defective a little too early. Is there such a thing as letting your electronic device ‘warm up to your touch’, and ‘season’ you device and making sure to use it thoroughly for a couple of weeks before declaring it useless?

I hope the exchange process is smooth and painless. Although I have backed up my data on this iPad to iCloud, but the thought of waiting for the apps to download and logging into my credentials on all the apps seems… a little troublesome. Not to mention downloading all my content stored within the app once again. And I hope I don’t get a refurbished piece. I know its only fair to get a refurbished set, when I am giving up my own used set for the exchange, but I just got this device brand new. And this thing just came out a week ago. So, a brand new set would be great. Just sayin’!

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London bound!

Our trip to Morocco (three of my colleagues and good friends, including myself) is starting to take shape. We have started to enquirer about desert tours and started finding cheap tickets to Morocco. Past couple of weeks, we have been trying to find out what is the cheapest (but not necessarily the slowest or most inconvenient) way to reach Morocco by air.

There aren’t any direct flights from Singapore to Morocco. There are connecting flights served by Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, British Airways, but most of them were quite pricey, although they can be convenient.

So today we managed to snag a great deal (what I think is a great deal) which coincided with Singles Day. 11.11 Sale is everywhere and Malaysia Airlines was one of those airlines offering air tickets with an additional 11% on certain routes. Singapore to London was one of them. Previously, we were eying their flights as it was the cheapest for London bound flights. It was around S$900 all in return flight from Singapore to London. Now with the 11.11 Sale, it was offering tickets for S$795. That is super cheap. So cheap, that I immediately coordinated with all of my colleagues to get the tickets before 11.11 sale is over. It’s not a direct flight, but one of the fastest. Singapore to KL, with a short stopover, and then on to London direct from KL. And all for S$795!!

Now that we have our outbound and inbound flights settle, we still need to book the tickets from London to Morocco and back before heading back to Singapore.

This is my second major holiday after booking my NYC trip in March 2019!

Getting pretty excited over this trip!

Rami Malek’s performance in Bohemian Rhapsody is astounding.

I always knew Rami Malek was special when he acted as Eliot in Mr Robot. There was something about him that truly made him shine as an actor. That intense, vibe you get when you observe him.

His role and portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody absolutely blew me away. He practically lives and breathes Freddie Mercury while producing this film. The intensity in his effort to get the role right was just sheer inspirational. I am very sure that it was definitely not an easy role for Rami Malek to take on in his entire career in acting.

The movie was good, not the best biopic I have seen. The pacing was good with a good amount of humour mixed in. But the highlight of the movie was not about Freddie Mercury himself, but the entire ensemble of cast playing their roles to breathe life to Freddie Mercury and his struggles from nobody to international fame. And along the way, classic hits from Queen was played, lifting the entire film up, ratcheting up the wow factor in terms of visuals and sound. To listen to his classics on the big screen, with huge speakers in the cinema was a sweet auditory experience.

The film is at times sad, in him coming to terms on his sexuality, his inner demons against the band, his ego and addiction to fame. But at its heart, it is his music that transcended everything else. At the end of the day, it is about how his music inspired a generation (or two) of people around the world to deal with loss, regret, to celebrate life, to learn to how love and even forgive.

If Rami Malek doesn’t get a Best Actor Award at the Oscars, then I simply don’t know who will.

Fans of Queen must definitely head to the cinemas and check this film out.

Stashaway, a Roboadvisor: My impressions so far

So after a few years of working, I finally saved money in the bank, that is equivalent to a year’s worth of salary. Whatever extra I have saved is now in Stashaway. Stashaway is one of a few Roboadvisor that have set up shop in Singapore. It is regulated by MAS and what it does is that it uses algorithms to make investment decisions on your behalf. The algorithm is tweaked based on the risk appetite which will then decide the allocation of equities and bonds. The higher the risk appetite, the greater the potential returns. But also, the greater the loss, should the economy undergo a recession.

I have been using Stashaway as my main investment vehicle for the extra money that I have saved. It makes little sense to put so much money in the bank that offers you so little in terms of interest rates, that the money you save in the bank are actually shrinking after taking annual inflation into account. With that being said, it also does not make sense to invest all your money saved in equities and bonds in case you need cash immediately and as an emergency. Having some form of financial liquidity is essential.

Stashaway invests my money in a basket of ETFs or exchange traded funds, which are essential a group of stocks that is bundled into a single index. Thus in buying an ETF, you are essentially buying a group of stocks. This hedges your bets in the performance of the stocks, so that you are not heavily exposed to the extreme volatility and risk when it comes to buying single stocks. Prices go up and down according to market movements. So the ETFs that Stashaway has invested in are usually stocks from S&P index, European firms, emerging markets like China. For bonds, they are usually US treasuries and a portion of gold.

So far I have been getting small amounts of dividends from these ETFs which is enough to cover the management fee in using their services. The service fee is 0.8% of the total amount invested, charged at an annual basis.

What I really like about Stashaway is how easy it is to open an account and make regular contributions to your account. You don’t have to choose the ETFs yourself to make the investments. The algorithm developed by the team in Stashaway will decide it for you. While some may prefer the flexibility to choose ETFs based on their investment preferences, Roboadvisors take that out of the equation and makes investment simple and painless.

Stashaway also has a beautiful mobile app that is available on iOS and android phones that gives you a quick and visually appealing way to check on your investments, the allocation of equities and bonds and how much returns you have made based on your investments. Stashaway also provides a quick and simple way to make withdrawals if you ever need the money for something else. In other words, the money is not locked in and you have total flexibility to deposit and withdraw coupled with great transparency in how the money is invested.

I think Stashaway is a great option for busy people who wants to get into the business of investing and make their money grow over time, without being too bogged down with the technical financial jargons and decision making in investing in the right instruments based on your needs. I am definitely continuing to use their services and we will see how they perform over the coming years. Meanwhile, I have been making regular contributions to my account under Stashaway. In time, it will be my second signification repository of cash savings that allows me to grow my faster and get better returns that the traditional banks.

I got the iPad Pro! (And saying goodbye to my MacBook Pro)

Today, I took a major leap. I took the plunge and went ahead in buying the brand new iPad Pro. I bought the 11 inch, space grey, 256GB model from Challenger along with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio. I am planning to use this device as my main mobile device. I have already sold my MacBook Pro 13 inch model from 2017 on Carousell for about the same price as the iPad. So it wasn’t really a loss. Although the Smart Keyboard is crazy expensive, but it is essential in ensuring that I remain productive while using the iPad Pro. All in all, I just had to top up just a couple hundred dollars. I don’t see myself using the MBP much, since I have already completed my study. The motive behind getting the iPad Pro is mainly getting a portable device more suited for content consumption and perhaps inspiring me to be creative, now that I have already graduated. I may have plans to get an Apple Pencil to perhaps one day learn how to draw using the iPad.

This morning I went to the store to check out the new iPad Pro. They also had the 12.9 inch version. Both sizes were fantastic looking. I had a pretty hard time choosing between those two. I love sheer size of the 12.9 inch version. Everything is big and immersive, especially when you surf websites filled with beautiful pictures and typography. You feel so much closer to the content that you just don’t get it while using a traditional PC or a notebook. But after comparing both sizes, I had to be practical. The 11 inch is a more suited for someone who carries their iPad along wherever they go. While the weight of the 12.9 inch is not heavy, the 11 inch is definitely more compact.

The keyboard was important for me. It should not be too small for me to type on. I was pleasantly surprised that the key distance between the keys for the 11 inch version was not too near to each other. The overall size is perfect for typing. That seals the deal as I needed both portability, and keyboard ease of us. If it were otherwise, I would have gone for the 12.9 inch version. Plus, its cheaper overall without compromising on performance. Both model carry the same A12X bionic chip, with equally long battery life and identical screen quality and PPI density.

I was glad that the store had available stock for the type and model that I wanted. I plunked down $1688 at the counter and I went straight home to set my iPad up. Setting up was easy, as I set it up as a new device.

The first thing I noticed when I switched on the iPad was how gorgeous the screen is. Apple increased the screen size from 10.5 inch in the previous version to 11 inch by extending the screen to the edge. Though not as extreme as the iPhone X’s screen edge goes, the bezels are noticeably smaller. The curve round edges makes the whole device really slick and refined. It is incredibly thin as well.

Next up was playing music. My god the speakers are a world apart from other mobile devices currently out there. Four stereo speakers, two on each side, the bass is deeper and low frequency sounds just reverberates through the chassis of the iPad. Stereo separation is now better than ever, even on the 11 inch version. It is now a joy to watch and listen on this device. Apple has really done a terrific job in the sound department for the new iPad Pro.

This is the first time actually having an iPad Pro, and the 120 hz screen makes every visual animation smooth and silky. Coupled with an incredibly power processor, snapping between apps is fast and fluid, which makes the fast refresh rate screen really shine.

The Smart Keyboard Folio that I bought together with the iPad was surprisingly comfortable and

tactile. I wasn’t initially a fan of the overall build quality of the keyboard, since the keys are covered in a cloth-like fabric, but the tactile feedback is surprising tight and key travel is better than I expected. The size is perfect, without having any issues pressing the wrong button at the wrong places. I was a little hesitant about getting the 11 inch version precisely because of the overall keyboard size. But after trying out at Challenger store, I was convinced and remained convinced that despite looking small, the size of the keyboard makes it comfortable to type on. The experience of typing on the bigger keyboard attached to the 12.9 inch model offers little differences. You simply have to stretch your fingers a little bit more to reach the keys. It’s still a comfortable keyboard. Anyone with larger hands or longer fingers will appreciate the extra space afforded by the 12.9 inch version.

I haven’t had the chance to test out the camera, but no doubt, it will be as good as the latest iPhones out there right now.

So these are some of my first impressions about the new iPad Pro. I am very excited to explore what I can potentially do with the device in the near future. This iPad Pro is very powerful and no doubt it will last me for a very long time. I am very optimistic about the long battery life that Apple has touted it to be. I will look forward in using this device for hours on end, watching movies, Netflix, YouTube, typing documents and just surfing the web.

As for AppleCare+ I have 60 days to decide before getting one. At this point of time, I am leaning toward getting AppleCare+ for the iPad Pro. I will be using this device for a long time to come and the accidental repair cost (up to 2 instances) costs $68, instead of a potential out-of- warranty repair cost of $888. I think the cost of the AppleCare+ is $168, which is relatively cheap as compared to one that covers accidental damages for the iPhone X series of phones.

I will be giving additional updates as I go along, using this device.

Jinxed

I have often believed that my house is jinxed. Whenever I express interest in replacing an old device, gadget or home appliance, and start to look for the next available option on the market, somehow, by ways that cannot be explained, the old and current item would start to break down. It is as if, these appliances and gadget around the house somehow have eyes and ears and know when they are getting replaced. Armed with that knowledge, they would revolt and protest, either by refusing to work or not work as optimally as it should.

This was what exactly happened to me last night. I was in the market to sell my current MacBook Pro that I bought in June 2017. Now that I have completed my studies, I have little use of the laptop. So I decided to sell it and use the proceeds to get myself an iPad Pro (which I did today as of writing this. I am even writing this entry on my new iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio. First impressions on the iPad Pro coming up soon).

So I started listing my MBP on Carousell, which is like our local eBay. And sure enough within a couple of hours, I had an interested buyer. So as we finalise on the deal and where to meet and naturally, I would reset and reformat the MBP so that the new owner can set it up using his credentials and making it officially his. For some weird and unexplained reason, the whole process went haywire.

After wiping the SSD of my laptop, I could not reinstall the OS. I tried so hard looking for a solution to the problem that I gave up at 3am despite having to wake up early for work the next day. It was perplexing. What should have been a routine process or wiping the SSD clean and reinstalling the OS to a clean slate became a night of torture! And I was pressed for time because me and the buyer decided to meet the next day!

So I had no choice but to call Apple Support and secure an appointment with one of the authorised Apple Service Center. And because of that, I had to take an emergency half-day leave so that I can make it to the appointment in the afternoon in the hopes of rectifying the problem before meeting the buyer in the evening.

I was there for at the service center for close to three hours. Thankfully though it wasn’t a hardware issue and the staff was kind enough to waive the service fee because the problem was minor (although it did took a while to determine why the problem occured in the first place). I would have been devastated if I were forced to part my MacBook Pro at the service center to get the parts replaced and pay for the parts replaced when I was about to sell it off. My returns on the device would have been diminished severely, making the whole enterprise and money losing scheme (not that I made a profit anyway, the proceeds was just enough to cover the cost of the iPad that I purchased on the same day as the scheduled appointment).

So yeah, harrowing 48 hours of trying to get my MBP a clean slate so that I can sell it off to a buyer without incurring additional charges of parts replacements that would have better gone in funding for the iPad purchase.

In the end, everything turned out well. The problem was software, not hardware, it was fixed within hours and I still had time to head home, set up my new iPad Pro, have dinner before driving down to meet with the buyer.

Trying out the new Gutenberg.

To iPad or not to iPad? ~Unknown~

According to WordPress, the Gutenberg aims to create a more feature rich WordPress blog. Right now as I am seeing it, the user interface looks totally different, one that requires a little bit of getting used it. It actually reminded me of WIX web builder.

So back to the topic at hand: Should I get the new iPad Pro?

And if so?

What size should I get?

The 11 inch or the 12.9 inch? 

For the past couple of days, since the announcement of the new iPad, I have been contemplating on whether to sell my current 13 inch MacBook Pro. My studies have reached the end. I will no longer be attending classes or doing any assignments. I am even terminating my Office subscriptions. I am not sure if this is a wise decision, but my main motivating factor of selling my notebook is the possibility of doing interesting things and maybe pick up a skill or two while using the iPad. The versatility of the iPad, coupled with amazing apps, I could possibly pick up drawing skills, language skills or just about anything to improve myself and learn something. Now that I have more time, I’d like to explore that possibility. It’s a bold step, especially when I have grown so used to the Mac ecosystem with the MacBook Pro at its center. Will I use the iPad for years to come, or will it become a white elephant in the room?

The real possibility that iPad could just become a white elephant in the room. Unused, unloved, a waste of money in the end. 

To prevent that, I will need accessories. An Apple Smart Keyboard is important, as it will be my main portable device and it is a form of input that I’m quite familiar with. I am on the fence with the Apple Pencil, since I am not an artist. But then, not getting the Apple Pencil just defeats the purpose of getting the iPad. Didn’t I just tell myself, that the main purpose of the iPad is to improve myself by learning new skills? And isn’t drawing a skill that is legitimately made possible by the iPad?

And then there is the matter of size. 12.9 inch looks awesome and will feel just like home since I am so used to the 13 inch MacBook Pro. But bringing it out in the public will make me feel like an obnoxious person.
“Hey look at me! I got a giant iPad and I am using it to play Candy Crush!”

The 11 inch screen would be perfect to bring it out, but will it be a downgrade in terms of real screen estate and productivity? I still would very much like the extra screen to typing and writing stuff, hence the priority of getting the Smart Keyboard over the Apple Pencil. And all these accessories

cost money!