Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

100th post - Opening Christmas presents

Yesterday night was the very successful second annual Text 100 Malaysia Christmas party. Congrats to Eevon and Libby for making it such a blast (so now I don't have to do the chicken dance right?)

Anyway, this is my 100th post on this blog and I wanted to post about something special. So, what could be more special than presents? I'll post the first part here.


About 4:30 p.m. yesterday, we were all kinda too gatal already and wanted to open our presents. Vicky could be seen crouching by the Christmas tree and shaking each present to see if she could get a clue on what's inside. So, giving into the gatalness we went ahead and opened the presents way too early. To my delight, I got some great, really relevant stuff!

First Present:
This one is from Mei Ling... looks big and hard. Also, shaped suspiciously like a photo album...which.... ta-da! it was...

Some random white baby

It's a really cool, high quality photo album that can last for 200 years! From Wilhelm Imaging Research. Don't play play ok?

High quality photo album

2. Second Present
This present really surprised everyone. It was from Lee and he took a lot of effort to make each of us a really personalised fridge magnet --> containing all the phrases we most often use in the office and a short description of what the word means, plus even a Queerometer rating!

For example, Mandy got "O! K!" because that's how she always responds when people pass her stuff to do and Mei Ling got her infamous "This is not acceptable!". Guess what was mine?

Magnet in Front

3. Third Present
After all the excitement over Lee's present, the next present was a bit mysterious. Shaped like a box, it's really hard to tell what was inside:

What's in the box?

Guess? It was on my Christmas wishlist and so I did get 2 bottles of Listerine! Wah... to which Corina promptly responded "Can I please have my box back?"


4. Fourth and last present
From beatrice, something that felt like a T-Shirt...but...turned out to be...Gym Shorts! Also on my Christmas Wishlist. Now I can be more fit and healthy because I can go Gym more often.

Me new Gym pants

Of course, we opened more presents later at the dinner, but I'll save that for part 2. LoL!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Commitment - or lack of...

I tell you the most "bodoh" thing about Malaysian managers, regardless of industry, that starts in
school is this oft-misunderstood concept of "commitment". Long and short, it really really rails me when people, especially your boss or team leader, throws it around like some sort of business mantra.

Yesterday I was sitting down with [name censored to protect the innocent] and just chatting about his / her [gender censored to protect the innocent] recent review with his / her boss. He / She scored top marks in all categories - he / she was efficient, quick to complete tasks assigned, consistent in delivering quality work and overall a great worker.

So, just as he / she was about to chalk it up as a great appraisal, the boss suddenly stops to say: "There's just one thing we're concerned about..."


"Well, you've not been staying back much since we hired you. You know, like putting in the extra hours. Not much commitment from you... If you want to get promoted to [position censored to protect the innocent] we would like to see you stay back more often."

Now, this is when he / she has been staying back whenever required. Coming in to work on public holidays. Working on two Saturdays a month. The list goes on.

"Why do you say I lack commitment?"

"Well, colleague A stays back later than you and ..."

And comparisons are a good benchmark of a person's quality and commitment? I don't get it. So in this frame of understanding, people who stay back late and come in every weekend are the best workers in the office? Couldn't they just be slow, or worse, sucker-uppers who've bought in to the whole culture of first in-last out "meritocracy"?

I think on the overall managers need to understand the concept of a good worker better. Or even the concept of work. You hire a person to do a specific job laid down in the contract. That person does that job - it is a job well done. You don't expect more and you certainly don't penalise people for not doing more than what's written on their job scope.

If people have done more, thank them for it, don't compare with someone else perceived as doing even more and tell them they aren't doing enough.

And what's this about "commitment"? Commitment is about doing for your company what you said you'd do for it in your contract. Commitment is being responsible enough to deliver on what you're being paid for on time, in good quality. Commitment is finding efficient ways to do things so it's delivered faster.

Commitment IS NOT staying back late or coming in on weekends unnecessarily just to "show" the boss you're "committed."

Please people, if you're a boss, get a hold on what commitment is.

PS. let me clarify I'm not snarking my office - I love Text 100 just the way it is. FYI, I go home generally when I have done my work for the day, and by PR standards, is Pretty Early. (Oh, say, 7 - 7:30 pm?) :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bruised bum weekend

This weekend was filled with aching legs, leech bites and bruises.

For the first time in about 3 months we went mountain biking again. We were all pretty happy before setting off on the trails as seen in the picture below. We were going to have a go at "Dream" (the name of the trail) at FRIM.

Biking on Dream Trail

After pedalling in past the gates and towards the trail proper, we stopped for another pic. Still looking very gung-ho and ready forthe challenge.


15 minutes into the trail, Jason turns back and looks at me and says: "You hyper-ventilating?"

"Uh...*breathe* breathe* ... no, not really... *breathe* *breathe*"

"Okay, if you're hyper-ventilating, better stop, take off your helmet and catch your breath for a bit okay?"

"Uh... *breathe* *breathe* okay."

About 5 minutes after that I fell of my bike. Heh... guess I'm just not as fit as I thought I am.

Biking on Dream Trail

Got back up and continued down the trail again. This is me, still looking cheerful. I *attempted* some basic Mountain Biking maneuvres - Jason and Yuke Bin - were teaching me since they were basically the gurus of the group, but fell down a couple of times. Can't take a bend yet or do a switch-back. Can't even pedal off a ramp and land properly (resulting in me getting stuck half-way up the ramp and falling off my bike again).

But we persevered through the entire course (about 2 hours of biking) and the reward was a high-speed chase down tar roads to get back out ot the main entrance. There's nothing like having the wind in your hair, going at top speed and knowing that you're not likely to get knocked down by a car. It's just simply joy.

The rest of the day actually deserves a part two in itself so I'll setup a second post later when I get around to it.

Biking on Dream Trail

Friday, December 14, 2007

Embrace the Robot

You know how some people say someday robots are gonna take over the world?

Well, that day looks like it's going to come sooner rather than later. I was just listening to a three-day-old episode of Buzz-Out-Loud this morning and a story that Tom was covering regarding Asimo, Honda's favourite little robot caught my eye - ear.

Robots serving drinks
Enter the robo-waiter

I checked out the news-sites and whilst they seem to be gushing about the fact robots can do bar-tending (this is not new guys, it was announced in 2006 that they could do bartending), I noticed a phrase that just caught my attention:

Honda said it has developed a system to link its robots together so they can share information about where each one is and what each is doing.

Basically the major development is that Honda's advanced these robots to such a stage where they can be aware of each other and work together. Now if this doesn't seem like an improvement, think about this - years ago, we had robots who could do some very specific stuff - set goals like, washing plates, guarding a perimeter. But they each had their own individual code that made them do it as individuals. The robot has to accomplish what its made to accomplish by itself.

What Honda's done is taken these robots to the next level - so what if its just getting two robots to work together and serve drinks. What we're talking about is not just artificial intelligence, its AI for collaboration.

Think about the military implications, if you could programme one robot in the beginning to just shoot at the enemy, and you had several robots -they'd all be shooting at the enemy, but without tactics or cohesion. It's like eleven individuals playing football.

But if you got the robots working together - tactical algorithms that allow robots to duck in and out of fire, football team tactics so we could have robo-soccer, robot nurses etc. Wow, what a future!

I guess it boils down to something that's been really exclusively a very human mantra - teamwork. That has always been what humans have been able to do that robots could not. That's how we did amazing stuff like build the Pyramids without any amazing technology.

But check out what Honda is saying - robots can have teamwork too. They can soon relate to each other and share information. They can know what other robots are doing and coordinate themselves to assist those other robots.

So, what's going to happen next? I, Robot?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back on Twitter... Coz it's on my N95

A couple of months ago, I gave up on Twitter and joined Jaiku because of a cool S60 app that Jaiku had that meant I could post updates whereever I was from my Nokia N95.

Well, today I discovered a cool little Java app that runs on my N95 just as well and allows me to do essentially what the Jaiku app did and more! Add that to the fact that I have more friends and followers on Twitter (a grand total of 6) than I have on Jaiku, making the switch was a no-brainer.

The app name? Twibble!

All I had to do was surf over to http://www.twibble.de/ , download the app, install it, key in my user details and pronto - Twitter on my Nokia N95. I'm guessing it'll work with just about any S60 device out there.


Twibble lets you post your Twitters (they call it 'tweets' for some reason) via internet (3G, WiFi, whatever) or using Twitters' own proprietary SMS method. Even better, it's location aware and if you got GPS built-in to your device, Twibble will let you post your location too.

Haven't had any problems with Twibble in the 20 minutes I've fiddled with it and I really think it's a cool little app. If you've grown tired with Jaiku (coz it doesn't sync properly!) then try out Twibble and switch back to Twitter for a change. :)

Them Crazy Japanese Game Shows

KY Shared this. I thought it was so good, I had to go put it up here. Those Japanese gameshow writers really know how to make good games, no?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rant: TM Net's customer service (actually TM also)

I've been sickly these past few days and yesterday I stayed at home mainly to sleep because I haven't been getting enough of dreamtime. But of course, you can't sleep the whole day and like it or not, about 11:30 a.m. my eye popped open and light flooded in.

Anyway, after taking care of "the-stuff-you-do-when-you-wake-up" and having lunch, I boot up my PC to go online for a bit.

Remember my last couple of posts - first complaining about a dead internet connection, then about James telling me it's been fixed, sort of? Well, I got to put it to test. And I can unequivocally say that the problem HAS NOT BEEN FIXED.

Sites took ages to load up - playing Utopia was a pain. Can't surf Amazon or eBay properly even. AND, the dodgy line kept dropping calls.

So, what's the problem? It's a dodgy line. When the lightning struck, it took out the phone connection that connects to my modem. So we swapped that connection with the other phone lines running in the house and it works in this crippled sort of way.

What's MY problem? We called TM Net AND TM to fix the problem and all the could do is keep telling us over the phone that on their side everything was working. We spelt it out to them that the phone line is probably fried or a port was fried, and they said "check your modem."

Come on, we just bought a new modem and a new router. I even went to the trouble of borrowing Kelvin's modem to try it out - it works in his house, not in mine.

We asked if a technician could come over and check our wiring - we don't mind paying for the technician - and they said "it's not our job." Pfeh! Then who does the wiring and connecting of phone lines to your house when you first move in? why are we paying the line rental charges for? I get it if it isn't a free service, but still, who can normal citizens turn to when faced with a problem like this?

Anyway, it's been one and a half weeks since the lightning struck and I don't reckon we'll be getting a stable internet connection soon. Our gameplan? Call TM and TM Net and harrass the customer service people till we get someone to come over and have a look at the rig.

I guess that's how customer service works with them - don't answer till you've been harassed X number of times.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Brother just messaged me:

Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:

Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
fix alread
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
davidlian thinks you should get Happy says:
how it fixed?
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
I did what u said
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
but I change a bit
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
I took the modem
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
go to mummy's room
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
connect the modem to the top
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
DSL lighted
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
but couldn't connect
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
called TMNet
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
did some DNS changes
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
can connect
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
so it means that the wall port in our family room something wrong
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
he said that TM doesn't support this
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
and anyway
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
it is most unlikely that the lightning strike was the one that caused the port to have problems
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
davidlian thinks you should get Happy says:
yeah i know
davidlian thinks you should get Happy says:
so how?
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
dunno la
davidlian thinks you should get Happy says:
haha... lol
davidlian thinks you should get Happy says:
good lah
davidlian thinks you should get Happy says:
fast or not?
davidlian thinks you should get Happy says:
or still buggy?
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
normal speed
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
the DSL dials almost immediately
Darth Razor (James Lian) - YAY! NO! says:
means that all this while it has been our wall port's problem

It's great to have worked around our Streamyx problem. No thanks to the lazy Streamyx people who wouldn't even come and check it out for us. Sigh. What about the much less technical people with no aptitude for a workaround like this?

*Saving my long rant for another post, it deserves one*

Streamyx is not equals to free illegal downloads buffet

So there was a report a couple of days, was this post on Lowyat.Net that basically warned off people using Bit Torrent to share and download illegal copies of movies, music or software, otherwise the government would be waiting just round the corner to slap them with an RM 250,000 to RM 500,000 fine. Let this be a warning, people.

Anyway, what really surprised me was the response by the readers. They (as in the general sense you get from reading the comments; not that every comment was like that) made it sound as if this would render the internet completely pointless - someone even said Streamyx would lose 50% of subscribers!

No guys, it doesn't. Are we trying to say that the whole point of Streamyx, broadband connections and unlimited packages (which get throttled anyhow) is for us to have access to pirated stuff in the comfort of our home? Come on, what's illegal offline is illegal online as well. That includes piracy.

Think the government can't track you? Don't be misled - I'm pretty sure the TMnet has logs of all the stuff you've downloaded, your emails, your photos, etc. etc. The only reason the government has not acted on all this evidence is because of the promised 'privacy' we get. But, don't think that they can't selectively start pressing charges with this evidence - and label it as a campaign to stamp out piracy. They could do this in an automated fashion - using algorithms to match bits passing through their servers to identify peer-to-peer traffic (that's what bit torrent is) and then pull this out and inspect the data transmitted.

You can get caught. You only don't because the Government has so far promised privacy to Malaysian internet users. Technically, we're perfectly capable of becoming like China where the Government overtly monitors your internet activity - it's not a matter of inability, its a matter of respectign the individuals privacy.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say the Government should invade our privacy and check us up all the time. I like my privacy. What I'm trying to say is that we need to do quid pro quo a bit here - don't do the piracy so the Government doesn't have to crack down on our privacy. Capiche?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy Post!

This is also the sorry post. So I've kept myself a bit busy and also a bit secretive over the past week simply because of this little Happy I was working on. So here goes:

Yow Looi: Here's what you've been waiting for - time to change line?
ST & Mack: Sorry I've been slow on Utopia, Internet at home dieded and I've been to busy on Happy to spend any office time workin' the thievery trade.
Jason & Group James: Sorry about yesterday night, I really want to help with Water World, but it's just bad timing, I guess.
Lydia: Thanks for being patient. Won't come home late every night of the week again ok? Promise.

So what was it that was happening? Today we launched Happy - Malaysia's first no-frills mobile service. Basically, what this means is that Happy's got really good rates. For both short and long calls - 1 sen per second up to a maximum of 99 sen. Happy is able to offer these rates because they don't sponsor mega events, celebrities etc. or spend money to develop frilly services like caller ringtones etc. - just offering the simple "calls and SMS" deal. So I think Dad will so love this deal.

Okay, not going to take too much time posting here. You can read yourself. Check out www.happy.com.my tomorrow once the site goes live at 12:01 AM.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

No Internet@home = sadness

Sorry. Kenot post long. Busy busy busy with work. Then when I go home, internet has been fried.

TM's taking its time to fix it - within the next 2 working days. *sigh*

Monday, December 3, 2007

Back from the Forest Reserve

So I found out that calling it the "jungle" might be a bit of an overstatement. Someone actually pointed out to me that Chongkak was actually more of a nature park or forest reserve. Not so wild and you're not likely to get eaten by wild animals.

But we encountered wild boar hoof prints I tell you! And a live snake! And some civet cat tracks. So, it was fairly dangerous lar...

Okay, that's besides the point. Actually we wanted to just go to a quiet nature like place, eat some carbon infested food and come back with our members learning a thing or two about maturity. Also, we learned how to control our bowels real well. I'll post up some pictures and a bit of commentary in a bit once I get some spare time, so watch this post.