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Messaging on iOS

Messages on iOSI love Messages on iOS. It is a quick and reliable way of texting my friends. It is integrated tightly into iOS, so it is super convenient to use. It allows me to contact all my friends, unlike 3rd party applications where I can only contact my friends on that platform. Best of all, it syncs across my iPhone, iPad and Mac, so I am not limited to texting on a single device.

However, despite all its virtues, one thing really irks me – that iMessages threads on iOS are not organized by contacts. As iMessage can use both phone numbers and email addresses as iMessage IDs, I end up with multiple conversation threads with the same contact when a change in iMessage ID occurs e.g. from the phone number to the iCloud email address (different iMessage IDs, but belonging to the same contact). This is confusing and disrupts the fluidity of the conversation, especially after a long conversation has already been established. (Of course, this does not happen when I use standard SMS to text my non-iPhone friends as SMSes can only be sent and received using phone numbers)

The same problem does not exist in the OS X version of Messages, which organizes conversation threads by contacts – messages sent by different iMessage IDs are grouped together under one thread as long as the IDs all belong to the same contact. I feel that this is a much more elegant solution.

So if there is one thing I wish for in future versions of iOS, it is for Messages on iOS to organize message threads by contacts rather than iMessage IDs (or at least give us the option to choose). In the meantime, I hope my friends will take the trouble to configure their iMessage settings correctly.

To configure your iMessages settings and save your OCD friends the annoyance of having multiple iMessage threads on their iOS devices:

  1. Open the Settings App
  2. Go to Messages → Send and Receive
  3. Take note of/change the iMessage ID under “Start New Conversations From”
  4. Review the iMessage ID every time you switch SIM cards, restore your device or migrate to a new device

Your friends will thank you for it.

A new look

I decided it was high time to refresh the look on this website as I thought the previous theme looks dated (also, I was having great difficulty figuring out how to integrate my Instagram feed elegantly on the previous theme).

The current theme is WordPress’s Twenty Fifteen theme (the default theme for new WordPress installations now). I like how the theme places emphasis on my content and its fluidity across different screen sizes. However, I was not perfectly happy with the default font choices – I opted for Open Sans for text and Bree Serif for headings instead.

I also cleaned up the formatting of some of my older posts so that they would look nice on the new theme. It was interesting to look back at some of the stuff that I wrote (and the photos that I posted) and realize how much I have grown over the past few years.

Beneath the hood, I have also made adjustments to (hopefully) speed up the loading times.

I hope you like the new site!

iPhone Photography

So I recently took a 1 month long trip to Taiwan and, for the first time, I traveled without my DSLR (a Nikon D7000). It was a difficult decision to make, but in the end, the convenience of not having to lug a DSLR around won (not to mention the fact that I was running out of luggage space to pack any accessories). And I must admit that I did not regret it at all – in fact I found it enlightening to not travel around with a heavy camera slinged around my neck and taking extra care not to knock it against anything.

As smartphone companies cram better and better camera sensors (read: not megapixels), the balance has tilted in favor of photography using smartphones and mobile devices (including, god forbid, tablets). While I am not going out so far as to claim that this spells the end of professional photography, there are certain benefits of using a mobile device as a photography instrument. I myself am an avid Apple fan, so the points I make below are most relevant to fellow iPhone users, though they generally apply to all smartphone users.
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