Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Project Ara and Phonebloks

Phonebloks, a concept phone that is built from detachable bloks that allows a user to switch out components as and when they want, looks set to become a reality. In what Motorola calls Project Ara, the advanced Technology and Products group is working with Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens on an "endoskeleton (endo) and modules" with a timeline to a Module Developer's Kit (MDK) release by the end of 2013.

If it works out it will probably be the most significant innovation for mobile phones this century. Hakkens has described his design as a "phone worth keeping" -- with the ability to upgrade piece by piece and (hopefully) never experience obsolescence again. As new and better bloks are developed you simply swap out the component blok on your phone for the new one. And if you don't need a camera on your phone then you could use a bigger battery blok to take up the space and so on.

It means that as there are new developments in the industry you no longer need to change your whole phone, instead you just change or upgrade the related blok. And if companies get behind this development it means you will have a much wider choice of what components you want to use making your phone truely personal.

Motorola says it was already working on what it’s calling Project Ara when it bumped into Hakkens. Project Ara is designed to be a “free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones,” says Motorola.

“We want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software,” writes Motorola, adding that it’s goal is “to give you the power to decide what your phone does, how it looks, where and what it’s made of, how much it costs, and how long you’ll keep it.”

For more information you can follow Phonebloks online and join the growing community of over 381 million people world wide who think that this is an awesome idea!

Sunday, October 06, 2013


One of Singapore's biggest independent churches has been ordered by the Government to compensate a female church worker fired because of her alleged adulterous relationship.

She complained to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in September 2012. In August 2013, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin decided she was "dismissed without sufficient cause". He ordered the church to compensate the woman's salary and maternity benefits of $7,000.

The ministry said that it looked into the complaint and found that the woman was "dismissed without sufficient cause within six months of her delivery date" and that the church did not give her the salary and maternity benefits she was entitled to under the Employment Act.

Recently it would appear that the church in question has told The Straits Times that it plans to file papers on Wednesday seeking a High Court judicial review of Mr Tan's decision. A judicial review is when an applicant takes a public authority to court to seek redress of a particular decision over which the applicant feels aggrieved.

The church says it wants the case reviewed as it believes Mr Tan acted unconstitutionally in interfering with how the church manages its own affairs. And forgive me if I laugh out loud at this point.

While the church in question can hire and fire who it wants and for whatever reason it wants it does not have the right to do so in a way that over rules any secular laws that protect an individual. And the day when a church has the effrontery to challenge a secular law is a very black day indeed.

While everyone is free to follow the religion of their choice, no religion should ever think that it is above the law or that it has the right to influence any secular law or policy. As a religion do what you are there to do, nurture the souls of your congregation and do so in quiet humility and modesty.