Wednesday, November 21, 2007

it's out!

the michelin red guide for tokyo's out! now tokyo has became the most star-studded city with all the restaurants reviewed given at least one star. all together 8 restaurants were awarded three stars (more than new york), 25 with two, and 117 with one.

with the new releases of tokyo, las vegas and los angeles guides in november, joel robuchon overtook alain ducasse and gordon ramsay as the chef with most michelin stars. he won 10 in this week alone (2 3-stars for joel robuchon in vegas and tokyo, 2 2-stars for l'atelier in vegas and tokyo, plus one star for tokyo's l'table). ramsay's tokyo outpost at conrad failed to get a star this time, and alain ducasse's new york restaurant was dropped from the guide this year because of its relocation.

personally, i added 4 stars to my restaurant list - spago(2) and matsuhisa(1) in los angeles and nobu(1) in las vegas. michelin also confirmed that there will be an additional guide for an asian city next year - could that be hong kong? we probably will find out in around spring time.

oh full list for tokyo can be found here, if you are interested.

Friday, November 16, 2007

stay tuned

france's esteemed michelin guide next week launches its first edition outside the Western world in Tokyo, where the project has stirred intense interest but also concerns about eurocentrism.

the michelin reviewers, who can make or break chefs in europe, have an intimidating task in Tokyo, which has at least 160,000 restaurants, more than any other city in the world.

the tokyo version of the famous red book will be unveiled on monday and published in both japanese and english. sixty-five per cent of the restaurants covered serve japanese cuisine, with most of the rest french, said jean-luc naret, the global director of michelin guides...

(from the strait times, singapore, november 15 2007)

More details can be found here:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

unified communications

it all sounds very rosy of what unified communications can bring - at least that's what tech firms such as microsoft, cisco or nortel are trying to tell us: with a click of the mouse you can connect to a colleague whether one's on the road or in office, a voice mail message left on your office extension will be delivered to you by email instantly and retrievable from your pda; instant messaging is no longer for casual chit-chat with friends but for serious interactive business collaborations across nations without long-distance charges; and you can control your schedule, set up meetings, retrieve contact information... all by "talking" to a voice-enabled communications server, from anywhere and in any way you like. But my question is, is it what we need, or are we ready for it?

my arguments against this come two-fold. first, a major problem we are currently facing is information overload and further convergence in communications means is unlikely to solve this, if not aggrevate the problem. how many of us already got hooked on blackberry, as well as your mobile phone, pda, laptop etc etc. these days more often than not we are receiving repeating or non-necessary information through redundant means, instead of not able to be reached and contacted - just look at your blackberry, how many of those emails really did require immediate attention and how many can wait til next day in office? now we know how the stock market does every day through email alert, sms alert, multiple websites and financial news channels, words of mouth, tv screen on the street... is that even necessary?

without a true universal access solution - under which each individual should only have a single "identifier" (which will replace email address, phone number, msn messenger handle, etc) and possibly one single device which can perform multiple functions - we are still in the world of too many numbers, too many devices and too much information to be digested and processed. before that can happen, i don't see much point or value of any further convergence of widely-used communication means.

second, further convergence based on the current ip network will probably leave us more vulnerable to any unexpected breakdown and create a single point of failure as we are trying to put more eggs in the same basket. remember the tsunami that severed the cross-pacific internet connection between hk and usa and led us into a virual blackout for a couple of weeks? just think what would be like if telephone services were affected at the same time as well - which would have been real if phone is exclusively based on voip network. thank god it doesn't, at least for now. currently, as we have experienced in the last episode, we don't have a satisfactory solution to this yet, by having an alternative and viable path for our ip-based network infrastructure.

so my answer to the original question i raised is - yes, we do need it, but probably not now. there are still further study and research needed to bring about the optimal level of connectivity and information richness for individual. advancements need to be made in our network infrastructure, software applications, implementation road-map and business value proposition in order to make a convincing case for business to make such investment and adapt such technology.

some of the features available today (for example, integration between voice mail and email) do provide convenience in some ways, esp for people constantly on the road, but to get to the level of perfect unified communications and connectivity - as the vendors depicted - we still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the best $18 can buy

and yes that's hongkong dollar we are talking about. fyi, this is the special promotion at m at the fringe for their 18th anniversary, til November 18. wow time flies. can't believe m's already 18 years old!

Monday, November 12, 2007


did i mention i really hate exams? and it certainly didn't help change this feeling as recently i have to sit in three tough ones within a short period of time. anyway, to my surprise and miraculously, somehow the results turned out to be much more okay than i expected. not exactly with flying colors but at least presentable, but i know i am not the one that made that happened. oh well, finally i can breath a sigh of relief now - cuz failing in any of those would mean i have to go through that hell once again.

arhhh... now i can't wait til next spring when i am done with my master's program. maybe i should start planning where to go for golf after that. next year for sure i will keep on playing through the scorching heat in summer (as my type of redemption). and 6 weeks before christmas!