July 29, 2023

Brain Dump July 29, 2023

I couldn’t think of neither a title, nor a topic. All I have are thoughts going around my head. Different topics like AI, global warming, personal finance, choosing the right hotels. I think I am just going to select just some of the thoughts that I think are cool and just do a brain dump. I think I might do this weekly... or monthly.

Braindump: The act or an instance of comprehensively and uncritically expressing and recording one's thoughts and ideas

Choosing hotels in Asia

Use Agoda. Most hotels will have free cancellations and some won’t even charge till like one or two weeks before you are scheduled to stay.

BUT WAIT. Don’t book just yet. Read the reviews. I look at reviews on Agoda and sort them by Newest or Most Recent. I think it takes more effort to put in a review on platforms like Agoda vs Google. So you can be sure these are authentic and not just review for the sake of reviews. I try to pay it forward by adding my reviews. If I can help someone, why not.

Reviews for a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Then I do the same on Booking.com and then later on Google Maps. Putting reviews on Maps is very very easy and most people seem to do it a lot. You are getting more accurate information. You will have enough data to make an informed decisions.

A trick I learned when booking hotels in Phuket, Thailand is to open the location of the hotel in Maps in Satellite view and then Street view. You want to get a hotel that is within a walkable distance to convenience stores like 7Eleven, and the main road, and close to places you will want to go, like the beach.

Pick a place that has some foot traffic. You will feel safer when walking at night. We went for the Anona Beachfront Phuket Resort in Patong. Best hotel ever. It is near EVERYTHING and we had the best time ever.

Compressing Images

Figma is pretty awesome when it comes what you can design and how fast you can do it… BUT it's not great at compressing images. Those files can easily reach 1MB or bigger.

Let's say a frame for an iPhone design when exported as a PNG could be around 1.5MB. When we export our frames to be used for promotional materials or case studies, those are for the web.

Heh. Nice.

Larger file sizes = longer loading times. Then, I discovered TinyPNG and it has served me well the past few years. Look at that file size after compression. The quality and resolution of the image is still intact. I would also sometimes replace some of the frames on my Figma board with these resized images, especially for things like case study card graphics.

Compressing videos - Easier than you think

As I have personally experienced, South Asian weddings tend to have multiple events. That means a lot of photos and especially a lot of videos. From what I have seen, most of the photographers and videographer don’t believe in compression. The photos that get delivered are around 5MB which is way too big. Videos are worse, as you can see below.

I was not going to upload 5GB to YouTube.

A three minute video should not be 600MB. I have pirated enough movies as a kid to know that.

Oh you recognize the traffic cone? If not, it’s VLC. It is THE BEST media player that you need to have on your machine. I have been using it since 2011 and only recently discovered the ability to COMPRESS VIDEOS.

First, don’t open the video in VLC, but open the VLC program. Then navigate to Convert/Save. If you are playing the file you want to convert, it won't show up so you have to add that file, select a profile, and hit start. Saved me so much time because I wasn't going to download another program to compress them.

Easy as 1-2-3

That's all folks. I hope to share more nuggets of information in the coming weeks... or months.

Hi, I'm Nabil

I'm a Houston-based Product Designer. I enjoy working on new problems, doing my research, and trying my best to understand the concerns of the business so I can help them grow their business through design.

Photo of Nabil holding a Zoro doll