Comic Review: Lando, Star Wars, and the new Canon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I wanted to break the silence by posting my review of Lando #1 of the new Star Wars comics. It was originally posted on comiXology’s tumblr.

A comiXologist recommends:
LANDO #1

by: Douglas Hwang

Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, Star Wars fans have been wondering how their beloved franchise would change. Then in 2014, it was announced that previous Expanded Universe stories would fall into the Legends banner and not be included in the official canon. This was a major change to the Star Wars universe as we knew it (Emperor Thrawn? Mara Jade?). But, as we’ve learned this year, they have a lot planned for the franchise aside from the new movie, Episode VII Force Awakens. With a new cartoon series, numerous new books, many new movies planned (Anthology Series) and many new comics, the new canon has been streamlined and put together in a cohesive way that was never done before.

As the Princess LEIA mini-series of 5 comics came to an end a few weeks back, a new 5-part mini-series appears and we learn more about fan favorite Lando Calrissian in the new LANDO Marvel series. From Episode V and VI, we know that Lando was the previous owner of the Millennium Falcon before Han Solo and the Baron Administator of Cloud City. But how does he get to where he is? How does he obtain the Millennium Falcon? Will we even get to those questions in this comic series? Well, in this first issue we learn that he smuggles something big…and maybe out of his league.

To learn more about the new Star Wars canon I would also recommend the new Marvel STAR WARSseries based in the canon between Episodes 3 and 4, the new DARTH VADER series which interweaves the new Star Wars comic series in Vader’s point of view, and also the Kanan series where we learn more about the backstory from one of the protagonists from the new Star Wars Rebels cartoon series.

It’s been fun ride for Star Wars fans, but we’ve quickly come to learn that the Force is strong this calendar year. Can’t wait for the movie in December.

[READ LANDO #1 ON COMIXOLOGY]

DOUGLAS HWANG is a Product Manager at Comixology, lives in Brooklyn and is crazy about Star Wars, Portland Trail Blazers, and the great outdoors.

Book Review: Console Wars. The Battle that Defined Me, and the rest of my Generation

Thinking back to my childhood, there are only a select few number of things that really really stick out. For me, many of my memories was playing video games. I can definitively say, it helped shaped who I am (in both good ways and bad ways). Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation written by Blake Harris, and audiobook narrated by Fred Berman is a great read that covers the back story, main decisions and the key players that helped bring the video game industry alive.

The book talks of the marketing decisions beyond the awesome commercials such as this and this. How marketing was used to split people/children into Sega people and Nintendo people. It mentions the various innovations that changed the video game industry as we know now.  Just to list a few:

  • Sonic Tuesday, the idea of treating video games like movies and doing a major marketing releases of them.
  • The video game rating system
  • E3

More than the story, another reason why I liked the book so much, was that it was a story about the team, the people, and how they worked together. About David beating Goliath (the uprising vs the entrenched), about doing crazy unconventional things, about creating everlasting bonds with one another. It’s a team (the Sega team) that anyone would love to be on, a team that I would love to be on. In the whole startup age, as much as we care about perks and sky-high valuations, often the deepest work satisfaction comes from the team that you go to battle with, the work that you do together, and the relationships that come from it.

A few things that stood out to me about the team.

  • Everlasting friendships. They often worked with one another in various capacities after Sega
  • The leader – who cared about his team almost more than the work itself
  • Why it was fun – taking risks, working hard, making an impact. The most fulfilling work is often not the work with the most work/life balance work.

I for one, was a Sega person. And, perhaps that already reveals a lot about me already.

Book Review: Dreamland – Learning to Cat Nap

Finished this book on sleep. Written by David Randall, audiobook narrated by Andy Capole, Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep

Dreamland talks about the science of sleep, and shares a lot of super interesting stories. It’s entertaining learning about all the odd things that happen to people. But for takeaways, there’s some straightforward advice to improve one’s sleep, and thus improve one’s life.

Here are my takaways:

  • Sleep more = better life
  • More connected to circadian rhythm = better sleep
    • sleep when dark, wake up with sun
  • Better diet = better sleep
  • Regular exercise = better sleep
  • Not looking at your computer/TV/LCD screens before sleeping = better sleep
  • Less alcohol/caffeine before sleeping = better sleep
  • If you have sleep apnea, you can do a few things to help
    • If overweight, lose weight
    • Talk to a doctor – potentially use a mask

Book Review: Everything and Everything: The Everything Store

I just finished the Everything Store by Brad Stone and it’s a fantastic read (or you can listen to it via audiobook).  It details the beginnings of Amazon, how Jeff Bezos came to be, and the imagination of how the future may be continuously disrupted. It’s a terrific story not about how Amazon necessarily disrupts industries, but how the future will inevitably disrupt industries and why companies must not keep to the past, but continue disrupting themselves to have a place in the future (it reminds me a lot from the recent TED interview with Larry Page).  For anyone in tech, and/or anyone with aspirations to build a company/change the world, this book will help inspire that.

 

 

NYC $Bike-onomics

I’ve now been riding my bike in New York city for a little over 6 months , well over the entire humid summer, nice fall, and part of the polar vortex winter. Commuting to work in NYC is a very scary daily adventure. In the morning, I’m dodging massive trucks delivering fish in Chinatown, and in the early evening, I’m dodging seamless.com delivery people biking the WRONG way with motorized bicycles. It makes me appreciate being alive every day.

Outside of the risk of dying…I’ll share some of thoughts on what’s the monetary cost/benefit analysis of riding my bike in NY (versus walking, subway, and taxi).

Benefits:

To start off, what does it cost to ride the subway? List price: one-way is $2.50 per ride, but since we get an additional 5%  when purchasing $5 or more, the true cost of a subway ride is closer to $2.38.

NOTE: Since I ride my bike to and from work at least once/week, the monthly pass won’t apply to me (based on my calculation, it would take around 10-11 trips a week to make up for the cost of the monthly).

If I average more than once/week roundtrip over the year, say 60, then for the year I will have saved:

~$2.38 * 2 * 60 = $285.60 for the year.

On top of saving money, having a  bike enables you to do some events that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. Hence, its value is a non-zero health/social benefit. Examples include: going on a long-bike ride on the weekend with friends, riding events like the NYC Century and 5 Boro Bike Tour.

Let’s amount this value to $200/year – the rough equivalent would be renting a (nice) bike for these weekends/events.

  • The total benefit is  ~$250 (subway savings) + $200 (event enabler) = $450/year
  • Non-financial benefits: exercise, social/event enabler, enjoying the city, getting some hipster cred

Costs

Taking a look at entry level road bikes at REI, we can estimate to a bike costing say $900. For all the accessories (clips, pedals, shoes, lights, etc…), let’s conservatively guess a cool additional $300 investment.  Then, annual maintenance for tires, cleanings, things that break, new clothes, say $100/year (Mint blog suggests, ~$25-$60/month).

  • Starting capital: $900 (bike) + $300 (accessories) = $1200
  • Annual maintenance $100/year – $720/year (NOTE: I find $720/year absurd, even taking into account bike theft risk)
  • Non-financial: Annoyance of having to take care of it, store it, the worry of making sure it doesn’t get stolen, fear of death (i.e. getting hit by a car/taxi/seamless.com delivery person)

Citbike

In NYC, one must also take into account Citbike, the bike-share program. It costs $100/year for a membership, and again, acting as a replacement for subway or taxi rides, it’ll be $2.38/trip savings.  So you’ll need to do about 42 subway replacement rides to get your value out of it.

Myself, I don’t use a Citibike to bike to work,  it’s too heavy/slow/not as enjoyable, nor to any “events.” I just use it to substitute for the subway, taxi, or cabbing.

Summary:

Just buying a bike for commuting in NYC, may or may not financially work out depending on how much you’re spending on maintenance (and of course the bike). If my maintenance is on the lower of end of things (which is what I guess), I’ll probably pay back my investment in about 4 years considering depreciation. The non-financial benefits, for me, are pretty big and helps me to enjoy the city a bit more.

For Citibike, I’ve already gotten the full-value in the 8 months I’ve used it, I’ve easily logged over 50 rides on it. Those rides aren’t always subway replacements, some are taxi, and some are walking replacements (i.e. it just saves time).

As for time savings, it’s a wash. The subway isn’t always faster than riding into work (for me). On average it is by a few minutes, but I find the variance going to and from work much larger.

Mt. Rainier: The Pinnacle of Seattle

Mt. Rainier. The largest mountain in the Pacific Northwest. In the two years I lived in Seattle, it looked over me, laughed at me, and dared me. The last week before I left Seattle to go to grad school, I finally summited that beast. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done my life, and one more thing I get to cross off my bucket list.

Here’s a bunch of pictures I recently discovered going through my old stuff.

 

Shanghai Summer – An Expo of Heat and Mass Humanity

I recently stumbled upon a bunch of pictures from my 2010 summer internship at Apple.

That summer, spent half my summer in Shanghai. Aside from working a lot! I had to chance to be in China (my first time) during the World Expo.

Here are some  pictures from that experience:

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An Engineer MBA Exploring Sports, Technology, and Life