Why Telegram is better than Whatsapp

Some while back, I was so in love with Whatsapp to the point that I created a video exalting it, and it remains one of my more popular video on youtube.

Telegram Instant Messaging

I still use Whatsapp since a lot of my contacts still use it, but I feel that once you’ve start using Telegram, you’ll never look back.

Telegram Instant Messaging

Initially, I used Telegram mainly to communicate with my faction members since you could have up to 200 contacts in a group. But it’s fast becoming something that I use with my friends and family members – it’s a lot more convenient.

Search function

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you could start searching for your friends. Friends already on your SIM card who are using Telegram would automatically added to your list, but on top of that, there is a global search function on Telegram. You search for a name or a username and start chatting with them. There is no need to have their phone numbers. You could also block people that you’re not familiar with, if needed.

Telegram Instant Messaging

At first glance, the interface looks very similar to WhatsApp, but you’ll soon see subtle differences :

You can use it on various platforms

Android? iPhone? Windows Phones?  No problem. It could also be installed in PCs Macs and Linux and even a web browser for when you’re using a guest computer.

Telegram Instant Messaging

Having Telegram on the PC is great for me since I type a lot faster on the computer than on the phone.

You can send voice notes, photos, videos, and files of all types

If it can be digitised, it can be sent through Telegram. I’ve sent various types of files including pdf, and it’s not a big issue as the file is stored on the cloud and can be opened at any time, when I’m at the computer.

You can have secure conversations

For privacy reasons, you can have a secret chat with another person. This conversation can only be sent and read on your smartphone.  There, none of the messages you send will be stored on the server and none of them can be forwarded to another party.

Telegram Instant Messaging

At any time you wish, the messages can be destroyed at any time. And you’ll know if the other party makes a screenshot of the conversation.

You could tag people

This is a function where you could tag someone via replies, mentions and hashtags in a conversation.

Telegram Instant Messaging

The person will see a notification on their phone. I find this useful when I’m in a large group where I might miss seeing an important message without this function.

You could share location

On top of telling your friends where you are, you could up the ante and share your position with your friends. Here, they could open the link to see a map of where you are and how far away they are. On the PC, it opens up to Google Maps. For me this is handy when you want to meet a friend in a place where you’re not familiar with.

Telegram Instant Messaging

On top of that, you could also share the position of a facility of up to 500 metres away from where you are – a pizzeria, a pharmacy, or any notable spots.

Everything is stored in the cloud.

Which means that you have access to chat history and whatever media in the group that you’re in. Regardless if you changed phones or computers, the data stays with you and you can look back and read the happy memories whenever you like.

And it’s all free!

No need to pay a dollar a year, there isn’t even any ads. Telegram is a breath of fresh air and is open source app funded by a generous Pavel Durov.

Telegram Instant Messaging

This is the founder for Telegram and he is 30 years old. Oh my.

Last thoughts 

At this point of time, it seems that WhatsApp is playing catch up with Telegram and updated themselves to also include position as well as to have a web version.

But I personally think that Telegram is a dynamic team and are able to think up of new ideas on updating and improving their app. At the moment for example, they’ve included “sticker packs” as well as bots. I find them cute when used in moderation.

Telegram Instant Messaging

Since I’ve used Telegram, I’ve enjoyed it so much that when I’m forced to used other chat programs, I keep wondering to myself, “Why do I have to go back to using that again?”

I look forward to seeing what new things Telegram will bring :-)

Heatwave in Rome

rinaz.net Toon Heatwave in Rome

It has been uncomfortably hot here in Rome that I dare not leave the house especially during noon unless it’s absolutely necessary. The sun is especially piercing, and sucks all the moisture out of you in minutes. Which is dangerous especially since were in the middle of the fasting month right now.

The positive side out of this is, my laundry dries out faster I guess.

The McVeggie Burger in Italy

Cart and I I don’t normally go to McDonalds. There are a lot of things that we can’t eat there. But on a fateful evening not too long ago, the pizza al taglio joint where we wanted to go to was closed, so we had no other choice but to drop by the only place which was still open where we had a pleasant surprise.

In lieu of the opening of the Expo in Milan, the Mcdonalds in Italy has created several menus inspired by various places in the world. So far they have the McAngus Bacon to represent Argentina, The McLobster to represent Canada and the McVeggie to represent India.

We tried the McVeggie Burger, which looks like this :

rinaz.net McDonalds McVeggie Italy

The buns are probably the same soft buns used for their fillet-o-fish, the patties are made of a combination of potatoes, broccoli, peas, carrots and corn. It’s topped with rocket leaves, a slice of provola affumicata, a slice of tomato as well as a type of red pesto sauce.

I actually like the entire combination. And I find it very tasty. The rocket leaves gives it a hint of peppery taste, there is the sweetness of the tomato, the creaminess of the cheese and the tanginess of the sauce.

Watch the video advert here :

Unfortunately, despite how tasty it is, I don’t think that it’ll last for too long. Vegetarian food aren’t very popular with a lot of people in Italy. Also at 7.50 euro, it’s quite a costly meal, so I guess we’ll just enjoy it till it lasts.

Or we could just make home made chickpea burgers.

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Achievement Unlocked!

Hi everyone!

It has been a while since I’ve been updating this blog. The reason why I’ve been away for so long is kind of silly, but I’m quite proud of my achievement . I’ve reached level 16 in Ingress.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

What is Ingress?

Ingress is a GPS based multiplayer game where the player control portals which is usually something of a cultural significance like a museum, or a historical monument.

To be honest it’s a dumb game, but it’s so much fun as you explore different places. It brings out the inner Lara Croft in me when I visit places that I never thought existed.

rinaz.net Ingress Guardian

It’s been about 15 months since I first started playing Ingress and at that time, I never thought that I’d ever reach level 8. But when I finally did, it was such a satisfying feeling that I could at last use level 8 items.  I thought to myself, “Now that I’m level 8, I’ll just take a break and relax”.

But I find myself enjoying the game and eventually I found myself at level 15. Wow, how on earth did that happen?

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

In ingress, you level up by gaining points but once you reach past level 8, you need to have enough points as well as medals.

Two of the easiest medals in the list to reach is the recharger, and the guardian. But there are always guardian hunters in Rome who break them on purpose when they are close to 10 days before the unlocking. Personally I despise this sort of gameplay, as it’s such a jerk thing to do where these players break only these particular portals even more so when it’s the same bunch of people.

rinaz.net Ingress Guardian

It used to be really hard to level up, but thanks to the new medals that ingress created not too long ago which made levelling up easier.

  • Trekker (For walking)
  • Sojourner (For daily hacks)
  • Engineer (For putting in mods)
  • Translator (For glyphing)
  • Illuminator (For fielding)
  • SpecOps (For completing missions)
  • Recruiter (For recruiting and levelling new agents)

With the trekker, I levelled up instantly from level 12 to 14 last December when I got the platinum so I thought that I’d try to grow that to an Onyx. But then the Translator medal came out shortly. I found out that I was good at doing glyphs and taking advantage of the frequent farm events which gives you more points,  in just two months I managed to get the onyx Translator, earning me a chance to reach the coveted level 16.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

This is my score at this pont of writing. Heh heh heh

But it was agent-stats which changed the game play dynamics for me. Agent stats is an extremely useful site that predicts when you’ll level up as well as the closest medals you could reach by calculating based on the way you play.

When I first used it earlier this year, it said that I’d reach level 16 in the middle of August. The next few days, after I uploaded my stats, it changed to the First of August, which would make a nice birthday present.  But the more I played and submitted, the shorter the prediction became and the more motivated I got.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

My game play is very simple – to keep my neighbourhood blue. It’s surprisingly easy to gain a significant amount of points by doing  only that :

  • Glyphing enemy portals
  • Destroying them
  • Full deploying resonators
  • Fielding

With about 12 portals within walking distance, you could potentially earn about 100k in a short amount of time.

Thanks to Agent stats, now that I visually see the progress that I’ve made, I think the way that I play has changed. When I first started playing, I was meek and didn’t want to attack too much as I didn’t want to upset anyone. But now I’m more diligent and aggressive. They attacked my neighbourhood? Good! Easy points for me. And then we’ll go break their portals as a revenge.

rinaz.net Ingress Guardian

I try not to depend too much on my powerbank and play till my phone runs out of juice which is a good 2 – 3 hours which to me is nice amount of time to play without being overly laborious. Doing something for too long, even something that I enjoy, is too much work and kills the joy for me.

So in a day I try to aim for 200K, which is a decent amount of points. Comparing to about a year ago, I’m surprised at the speed that a lot of agents are levelling up. I know a lady player who went from level 1 – 11 in 3 months! But things are different since when I started playing a year ago compared to now.

A year ago my neighbourhood looked like this :

rinaz.net ingress

It’s not that easy levelling up with just this few portals. 

And now it looks like this :

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

Earning a lot of points is literally just a stroll in the park for me.

The day when I reached 16

On the morning when I did my final 100k, I didn’t feel any different – it felt like any other normal day. But then the cheers started pouring in, from both faction and even from overseas was when I started to feel extremely motivated.

I did my regular rounds in the neighbourhood in the morning and then broke enemy portals on my way back home in the evening but stopped before my final few points before levelling up as I thought that it’ll be nice to do it live together with my faction members and share the happiness together.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

As we were farming, it took just one final glyph to reach the pinnacle. It was such a nice feeling seeing all the congratulations exploding all over. I think I’m the first female player in Rome to reach it, which was my primary source of motivation. Not too long ago, resistant agent ‘Fiuggi’ reached 16, making her the first female player in Italy – if I knew about earlier, I would have tweaked my goals to try to beat her … heh heh heh :-)

All in all, it was satisfying for me, especially that I did all that without a backpack account and without having to use any 3rd party software. I’m proof that it’s completely possible to play clean.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

And that’s my journey to level 16. A year ago, never did I imagine that I’d ever reach this level. But looking back, there are lots of things that I never thought that I’d do like leaving everything I know and migrating to Rome, learning to drive and completing the marathon.

rinaz.net Ingress level 16

It’s been such an experience this past year and I’ve met a lot of interesting people and made friends long the way. I’ve grown a lot since then and I’ll keep these precious memories.

And now that that’s done, I now have the time for blogging and creating my cartoons more regularly. I’ve been neglecting them for far too long!

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Diary of a Singaporean now living in Rome, Italy