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A future where everything becomes a computer is as creepy as you feared

(Image: Doug Chayka for The New York Times)

 

 

More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk.

 

No one really believed them, so few tried to stop them. Then before anyone realised it, the deed was done: Just about everyone had a Windows machine, and governments were left scrambling to figure out how to put Microsoft’s monopoly back in the bottle.

 

This sort of thing happens again and again in the tech industry. Audacious founders set their sights on something hilariously out of reach — Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect everyone — and the very unlikeliness of their plans insulates them from scrutiny. By the time the rest of us catch up to their effects on society, it’s often too late to do much about them.

 

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Google to bring Pixel 3 smartphones to Singapore in November

 

SINGAPORE: Google on Wednesday (Oct 10) announced it will bring both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones to Singapore for the first time from Nov 1.

 

The latest flagship products by the tech giant will be sold via telcos Singtel and StarHub and on Google's own online store. Last year's edition was sold exclusively through Singtel, and only the Pixel 2 XL was brought in. 

 

The 5.5-inch Pixel 3 will be priced from S$1,249 while the larger 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL will be priced from S$1,399. They will be available in three colours - Just Black, Clearly White and a new colour Not Pink. 

 

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Adobe makes it easier to share and edit PDFs in Acrobat DC

 

The humble PDF file has been around for 25 years, and in that time, not much has changed. Making edits on a PDF can still be a pain, and most popular apps offer few solutions. But that could soon change for the better.

 

Today, Adobe is unveiling an all-new version of Acrobat DC that makes it easier for people to create, share, and interact with PDFs across devices. The update is built around a central document hub that includes files saved to the Adobe Cloud across several different apps.

 

As part of the big update, Acrobat Pro is also coming to Android and iOS for the first time. The experience is nearly identical to the desktop version of the app, with support for swapping images, updating text, and formatting the document.

 

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Taiwan vies to become Asian Silicon Valley

The iStaging app allows you to move virtual furniture around with a touch. (Photo: Chao Fang-hao)

 

TAIWAN: iStaging was named one of Taiwan's top 10 coolest and most promising technology start-ups by the government in March.

Founded eight years ago, the software company is a developer of augmented and virtual reality technologies. iStaging made a name for itself with an app that captures and creates a 360-degree virtual reality view of property and products on a mobile phone.
 
iStaging Taiwan general manager Rene Fang told Channel NewsAsia that virtual reality content has become very effective in terms of space communication, and at a much lower cost compared to hardware facilities. 


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Go Ahead, Move My Cheese!

 

 

So much has already been written about Mid-Career Displacement: Staying-Relevant, Losing-a-Job, Finding-a-Job, Unlearning-Old-Skills, Learning-New-Skills...the list goes on. So for a change, let’s talk about Attitude-and-Response, as well as the importance of Being-Prepared.

 

As I write this, I’m reminded of the classic business fable: “Who Moved My Cheese?” written 20 years ago in 1998 by Dr Spencer Johnson. In the book, two mice – Sniff and Scurry – and two little people – Hem and Haw – lived in a maze together. While the mice were simple-minded creatures, the little people liked to plan and for everything to be structured and predictable. They all lived off cheese found at Cheese Station C until one day when they discovered that the cheese is no longer there.

 

DON’T WAIT FOR THE CHEESE TO COME BACK

Sniff and Scurry quickly moved on – venturing to other parts of the maze and soon found a new source of cheese at Cheese Station N. On the other hand, Hem and Haw, upon discovering that the cheese is gone, were angry and annoyed. They had counted on the cheese supply to be constant and were unprepared for this day.

 

The story then continues with how Hem and Haw responded differently to the situation. While Hem deliberated, Haw decided that he cannot stay still and soon ventured out into the maze and eventually arrived at Cheese Station N

– learning many lessons along the way. Not forgetting his friend, Haw left a trail for Hem to follow by writing down what he had learnt on walls in the maze. The story has a happy ending with Haw hearing familiar footsteps approaching Cheese Station N one day. Perhaps Hem has also found his way here, finally!

 

Though simple, this book is profound in its simplicity – and has lessons for many of us as we venture through life.

 

CHECK THE CHEESE, MONITOR CHANGES

Face it – the employer-employee relationship is a commercial one. For every dollar the employer pays, the organisation expects no less than a dollar of value. As an employee, it is our job to deliver at least $1.10 of value for every dollar we’re paid. If you’re not doing that – you are at risk.

 

Someone once told me that anyone who claims to be underpaid is “talking nonsense”. He went on to explain how that is not possible over a period of time. He said this: You can only be underpaid if someone else had offered you a better package (salary, work content, prospects, etc). Then what are you still doing at the current company? If you don’t move, you are silly!

 

On the other hand, if you’re overpaid, the company will soon find out. So you either take on more responsibility or up your productivity to make up for the pay difference.

If either (or both) of these doesn’t happen – it’ll only be a matter of time before you see the writing on the wall – very different from the helpful messages Haw left for Hem to find his way.

 

The lesson here: It’s not possible to be underpaid or overpaid for an extended period of time because the employer-employee relationship leans towards equilibrium with a slight bias in the employer’s favour. Therefore, you’ll do well to evaluate your contributions regularly and to check that your cheese (your value) is still there and fresh!

 

 

BE READY TO FIND NEW CHEESE – ALWAYS

And staying relevant should go beyond just focusing on the work at hand. We live in a world where technology, techniques and desired outcomes are constantly changing. Keeping up is not good enough – do you know what your peers are up to, and what else is happening outside of your domain, company and industry? Are you investing time and effort in continuous learning and upgrading; what about business networking (such as those that SCS organises)? If you’re not actively participating in industry events, getting to know peers in the industry, and even headhunters, then it’s time to change – pronto.

 

The best stress test however is to ask yourself the tough question: What is your Plan B if something unexpected – like losing your job – happens? Although the natural response would be to find a new job, it is the younger professionals with more general job roles who are likelier to land a new position compared to mature professionals who are much more specialised and usually “more expensive”. So how?

 

Before that happens, I suggest you do regular checks of your skills inventory and competencies. You’re likely to have gathered lots of good experience (and battle scars!) to be of value to someone, some organisation.

 

If you can find new employment, congratulations! If you can’t, remember that your cheese has just been moved and there’s new cheese out there...and it’s likely to be different!

 

See you at Cheese Station N!