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 31, 2008

2009 in 9 hours


The thing about being human is that this is the only constant. The question is, do you change for the better or change for the worse?

I've not drafted a 2009 resolution. I don't think I will. The things I need to change are right there on top of my head all the time. It's more about mustering the will to do it.

God give me grace.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am not anti-social...

...but I do like being non-social every once in a while.

Well, I guess I owe everyone some kind of an explanation having dropped off the face of the planet for the past couple of weeks. The truth is, it's not that I've gotten struck down by some strange disease or crashed my car into the retaining wall of some hillside development in protest. No, the truth is I've been on a bit of a holiday.

And while I'm on holiday, I realised I don't feel half-initiated to spend time thinking of clever, slightly sarcastic things to say on my blog. Or on Twitter. Or by mass SMS spam.

That said, I'm back. And boy, do I feel out of touch. It's so bad that I have some bloggers updating me on the latest Nokia announcements instead of the other way around. (Truth is, I just let you guys feel I was out of touch... hehe. Right...)

So give me sometime and I'll get right back into the game, okay?

In the meantime, here's photographic evidence of skills you never knew I had that emerged during Christmas. Amazed? Yeah, so was I.

Blessed belated Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

My Unknown Skill - Share on Ovi
PS. If you sent me a Christmas greeting and I did not reply, I'm so sorry. Christmas is the busiest period of the year for me, and I'd like to take this time to wish you back - a blessed belated Christmas. Give me a call and I'll sing some carols to you over the phone to make it up.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The new equation

Holidays + Blog = Zero posts.

Seriously, "more" time doesnt' really equate more time to blog. Instead, I find myself wanting to stay away from the computer.

And who said my generation was born with keyboards stuck to our fingers?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Want to buy my 'used' MP3s?

You don't know it yet, but here's a possible game-changing story you should read.

Years ago, I remember following a friend into a local used CD store. I remember looking carefully to see if the CDs had any fine scratches or little chips. I made sure I would only choose those CDs that had album covers and inserts intact and in good condition.

Now I'm wondering how closely people will look at my used MP3s when I decide to sell them. Or can I even (legally)? I mean, if you can sell a book or a CD second-hand, you can sell an MP3 right?

More than turning a profit, I think this is really what Bopaboo is trying to explore. "Let's push the law and see how far we'll go" seems to be the mentality.

And I'm all for it. I mean, eventually "digital property" will need to be defined, and right of first-sale is one of those issues that's getting fuzzier with every MP3 track released. So while I'm probably not going to count thru my MP3 collection and put them up for sale at Bopaboo, I'll be watching closely for the (non) action in court to see how this case pans out.

The thing about mashups and UGC

A while back, in the marketing world, UGC (user generated content) was the catchword. Every other marketing campaign had "UGC this" and "UGC that". I didn't get the big deal about this, until now.

Me & Jens mashup.jpg - Share on Ovi
It's really fun! For context, check out Eevon's blog here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You are your DNS

A story on Jon Udell's blog interested me a couple weeks back. It was about the concept of having your personal information stored on DNS (Domain Name System - e.g. "google.com")

The base idea is that your DNS like "davidlian.com" for example, can be the repository for your contact information. So, instead of dialing my mobile number, you can input "davidlian.com" and press call.

This doesn't change your contact information. My mobile number is still my mobile number. My email is still my email. But the DNS centralises all these pieces of contact information.

Taking this a step further, what I'd like to see is context aware applications and data-entry fields that can detect what you're trying to do. So if I key in "davidlian.com" on my mobile number, it will dial me on my mobile. If I key in "davidlian.com" in an email field, it will send me an email. If I enter "davidlian.com" on my web browser, it brings me to my webpage.

So to get in touch with me, all you'd have to do is remember "davidlian.com".

Of course, as simple and intuitive as it sounds, I think there will be challenges to privacy and security. Arguably, you can already find almost anyone connected to the internet via Google or Yahoo; but the ease of just entering someone's DNS and instantly reaching them reveals a whole new level of privacy and security concerns.

Still, I like the sound of this concept and I think if worked on, it could well be something for the future.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nokia Insider, take a bow

Malaysia PR Awards 2008 - Tech Campaign of the Year - Share on Ovi
Yesterday night was pretty awesome right up to the point where the Emcee started announcing the Technology Campaign finalists. Then the butterflies started fluttering. I thought I'd had a premonition that we didn't win. The night became good again in about 5 minutes.

The purpose of this post? Nokia Insider was actually about more people than the two who went up on stage. I'd prepared some key talking points (secretly, in my N96) but tradition dictated we didn't do an acceptance speech. So let me do this here:

To the client, Hazel - Thanks for your support and more importantly trusting us to run a campaign like this. Like many things done the first time, not many clients would have been willing to take the risk, but Nokia did and we're glad for it. More to come next year, for sure. A shout out to Joanne here too for all the support she's given (you know what that is).

To the Insiders - Suanie, KY, ST, Kim, Smashpop, Paul, Erna, FriedBeef, Su Ann, Goldfries - thanks for the kind words. I hope the programmes worked as well as we set out to do and that you've gained as much as we have from your honest feedback and great enthusiasm. It's what's made this programme a success.

Of course, to the rest of the blogosphere - you know who you are and we hope you've enjoyed participating in the stuff we've done.

Finally, to my colleagues at Text 100 Malaysia - Vicky, Eevon and Libby - wait till Christmas for a surprise!

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

PS. I also wanted to tip a hat at those guys from Fleishman-Hillard sitting across the room. :) Okaylah, not "those guys", but ex-colleagues okay? Great work and kudos on your TWO wins! Nico especially, you should be super proud!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First Christmas Present

Woohoo! Yay! Errr... 

First Christmas Present 08 - Share on Ovi
Hey! I'm not a coffee-addict anymore. Just 2 cups a day now (most days) and only five cups if I really, really need to stay perky.

Anyway, thanks guys ( this means Vicky, Libby and Eevon - who blogs here and is really funny). The time and effort spent making this Christmas present very personalised means a lot!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Everytime Christmas comes around...

I'm reminded of this song...

Bill Nighy cracks me time everytime. Haha!

[Edit: Replaced the original raunchy version with something safer for the kids who read my blog :)]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So I had to blog about the Nokia N97...

This may not be the most un-biased opinion ever, but can I just say this is the mobile device I am most looking forward to in 2009? As always, disclosure: I do PR work for Nokia but nothing I post on this is related to work. Just personal opinions.

974hf6.jpg - Share on Ovi
Nokia_N97_white_13a_lowres.jpg - Share on Ovi
972xa4.jpg - Share on Ovi
Specs are, officially, 
  • 3.5 inch nHD screen]
  • 32GB internal memory, expandable to 48 GB
  • Touch Screen, with Slide-out QWERTY keyboard
  • 5 Megapixel Carl Zeiss camera
  • 3.5G, HSPA, EDGE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios
  • Built in GPS and accelerometer
  • N-Gage compatible
What I think was more important was the interface design and functionality of the device. The ability to add feeds and widgets is not something totally new (yes, I've seen it on those Windows Mobile devices) but the functionality seems design of the interface seems much more integrated. Still, the best of the Nokia N97 only comes out when the device is connected to the internet all the time. I see Malaysians getting there (using internet on their mobiles) but I don't think 2009 is the break through year.

So, what do you think?

Links to friends who had thoughts:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Do you really want my hair to look like this?

So I just got back last night from watching Twilight with my wife and she turns to me and says: "Dear, do you want to keep your hair longer and restyle it?"

I tread with trepidation: "... (pause)... why?"

"So you can look like Edward - don't you think his hair is great?"

At this point, I agree with Eyeris that Twilight was High School Musical 3 with vampires. I didn't really fancy the show but my wife was gushing all over the eerie-looking but cool vampires. Oh, did I tell you how excited she was when Edward was sparkling in the sun - "Like diamonds, hoh, dear?" Apparently, for the ladies, vampires no longer melt in horrid ash when exposed to sunlight. No, they just sparkle like diamonds.

Well, I guess that's just the difference between boys and girls. And probably what makes my wife an exceedingly fun person to talk to.

But really, dear, are you sure you want my hair to look like this? *shivers*

Monday, November 24, 2008

No, we do not need a blogging code of ethics

So over the weekend, our Home Minister Datuk  Seri Syed Hamid Albar started the conversation going again: Do we need a blogging code of ethics?

The feeling I get is "here we go again." We've been talking about ethics, policing of the blogosphere and freedom of speech for years.

Personally, I'm all for ethical blogging. Bloggers need to be responsible for what they write - and most responsible bloggers should be. However, I also think that to just bundle everyone with a blog up into a group that needs to be governed by a "code of ethics" (and we don't yet know which institution will be setup to enforce this) is plain narrow-minded.

Firstly, we need to differentiate between a "code of ethics" and a legal mechanism. You can still sue a blogger that posts something libelous as long as you have the grounds within the laws of Malaysia today. You don't need a code of ethics to do that.

The code of ethics come into play when an institution (National Institution of Blogging?) is set up to tell bloggers how to behave online. I have an issue with this on two levels. Firstly, who is anyone to tell me what I can or cannot or even, should, do with my blog (unless its illegal - then send the police after me).  Having an institution puts a committee ahead of the individual when it comes to determining content anyone can produce - even if its individual, personal content.

Secondly, the idea of having an institution (whether its the government or an body setup by bloggers) simply mis-implicates blogging as a profession rather than as a technology platform for personal expression. Not all blogs are mass media. Not all blogs aspire to be. Some blogs are. Most blogs are just some single individual's thoughts and online journal. So, do I need to subscribe to a blogging code of ethics if I'd like to blog about dogs? Do I need to register with a Department of Blogging and sign my agreement to the National Code of Blogging Ethics?

Are we on the verge of dictating conditions under which people can use this very useful technology?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lunch time

I protest against the over-priced food restaurants are charging at shopping malls today. How do you justify RM 16.00 as a "Lunch Value set meal"? Why would you pay that?

So, while the office workers enjoy their meals in the restaurants upstairs, I plunge into the depths with the masses.

The masses throng the deep - Share on Ovi
Pick a meal.

20112008160.jpg - Share on Ovi

And enjoy it for just a fraction of the cost. What's wrong with the food the masses have?

20112008161.jpg - Share on Ovi

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'll wear your T-shirt. For some moo-lah.

I'm fascinated by the idea behind girlinyourshirt.com. The idea that a girl can put on a shirt, shoot some videos and convince a couple of companies to pay her for is pure Web 2.0 power.

The beauty is for a very low investment (yourself, an internet connection and a cheap camcorder to shoot videos with), you could start a business. I wonder if this is what makes Technopreneurs so addicted to the scene. Anyway, check out her pitch below.

Now, I'm wondering if companies will pay for a slightly geeky (but cool) chinese dude to wear their T-Shirt and shoot some videos and do personal ads for them as US$ 75 a pop. Any takers?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Windows must become Mac OS

There's been a bit of commentary lately that the next version of Windows (Windows 7) is starting to look more and more like Apple's own Mac OS. Of course, in one corner you'll have smirking Mac users thinking "we told you so"; but I'm seeing this as Microsoft's best move in a market where Apple has been steadily gaining ground.

The idea is simple. Microsoft needs to make its move now while it is still the majority operating system bar none, and if users are switching to Apple for the swish "dock" interface, slick shortcuts and cleaner looking design, the it just makes perfect sense for Microsoft to defend its turf by providing the exactly the same.

Windows 7 2.jpg - Share on Ovi

If the Mac OS is what people want, Microsoft seems more than willing to give people the Mac OS - with all the same compatibility and familiarity of Windows that so many people have grown up on. Windows Seven already looks packed with Mac genes by the bucketloads.

Of course, the die hards out there will argue that Windows needs to retain its own DNA and be different from Apple. I disagree.

By reducing the feature-set differences between Windows Seven and the Mac OS, and adding new ones in most cases, Microsoft leaves very little room for people to see the differences in the operating systems. This equals less reasons for people to want to go down the Mac OS route.

Windows 7 1.jpg - Share on Ovi

Believe me, I've tried playing around with Ubuntu on my netbook (I know, Ubuntu isn't Mac), and I loved the interface I had configured  - with dock and all. It was very Mac like. However, after a couple of weeks, I switched back to Windows XP. The reason - I wanted to play Fallout 2 and getting that to run on Ubuntu was a tedious process.

So Microsoft, Windows 7 IS looking good. Don't let those naysayers whine about you copying Apple. Just do your thing and copy the Mac OS. Your consumers love it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Going to be out for a bit.

Work's really ramping up these past couple of weeks, so I've really not had enough time to blog or anything.

But I'm not dead.

So, hang in there, you single faithful reader. I've got a good post stewing in my brain waiting to be typed out. Just not yet.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sorry Jerry, it's too late.

At one point, Microsoft wanted to purchase Yahoo! at $33 per share. Jerry wanted $41. Today's stock price has Yahoo at $14.

And Jerry's telling BBC "To this day, the best thing for Microsoft to do is to buy Yahoo."

Good luck, but I think its a case of too little, too late.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nokia Friend View 'experiment' up!

In the beginning, you had blogs. Then you had micro-blogs (like Twitter). Then you had facebook updates linked to your micro-blogs (which is why everyone replies me on Facebook, but I check only two weeks later.)

Now, Nokia's experimenting on tying your micro-blogging together with geo-location. The new experimental service, simply called Friend View looks pretty good and it's got me excited (and I'm not paid to get excited).

Nokia Friend View - Share on Ovi

The cool thing is that in addition to the desktop / web access, there's also a cool app that allows you to access Friend View on your Symbian S60 device.

Friend View - Share on OviFriend View - Share on Ovi

So what are you waiting for? Go sign up and add me: davidlian. :)

Disclosure: I do PR consulting for Nokia Malaysia. This post is in no way represents Nokia's opinion, only my own, in my personal capacity as a consumer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Facebook wants you to translate it into BM

It seems localisation efforts for Facebook are already underway, and in times of economic crisis, who do you turn to? Why, your fans of course - for cheap labour.

So the latest cool Web 2.0 mechanism Facebook is letting you "participate" in is to help it translate the network into bahasa Malaysia. Want to contribute some of your free time, just click on here.

Translate facebook.bmp - Share on Ovi

Personally, I'll be watching. I think its too much to ask of your average Facebooker. But who knows? Perhaps there'll be a hundred Facebookers who are more than willing to do this? Perhaps it'll just be the one?

Either way, this will be an interesting case to test the boundaries of "Web 2.0 participation." Yes, we know people want to participate. But how much? And in what manner?

Translating English to BM is just not my cup of coffee.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Leaked betas", the new pre-launch marketing ploy?

I know of companies who've "leaked" classified documents, pictures and even videos on the net. Apparently, the new theory is that you can also "leak" a whole operating system to drive interest and market it.

Well, as far as marketing plans go, I think this might just work better than the US$300 million spent on Seinfeld ads.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No more 9" Eee PCs? What are they thinking?

Someone's got to draw the line here.

I'm really starting to get worried that the netbook phenomenon we've seen creeping into the mainstream might start bloating and turning into nothing more than overpriced sub-notebooks.

For starters, Asus just announced that it's stopping production of Eee PCs below the 10 inch form factor. WHAT? Now, I know most of you guys probably think this is a sensible thing to do: it only adds about 200 g to the weight, larger screen, larger keys and more space for a bigger battery / larger capacity hard drive. Probably worth it.

Well, I have a two points to make against this trend:

1. I own a Eee 900 and I love the fact I can get 1024 X 600 resolution on a very compact machine. One extra inch of screen size isn't that big a difference, but an extra 1.5 inches of width to accomodate that screen is. I want my netbookto be as small as possible.

2. Most 10 inchers add another 200g to the weight of the sub-1 kg 9 inchers. that's 20% extra weight and for you guys who say it's not a lot, well, 1 kg is the thresh-hold for me.

Now, I'm not saying 10 inchers are bad. Not at all. What I'm saying is I'd like to see the option for a 9 inch netbook simply because to me, this is the sweetspot between size (portability) and power (screen resolution etc.). What's disturbing me is that companies are talking about 11 incher and 12 incher netbooks with higher prices like that's the next great thing, and I starting to get the sense that pretty soon "netbooks" will no longer be that cheap, supplementary surf-the-net computer.

They'll be bloated, underperforming notebooks with small screens. Please, don't destroy this beloved category.

Disclosure: I do PR work for Lenovo who make the excellent Lenovo S10 (a 10 incher by the way). This post has nothing to do with them.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

ONE: A review of micro-aggression

ONE got released yesterday and I must be N-Gage's best customer. Already, I've bought (with my own money, mind you) 6 titles - Star Wars: Force Unleashed, Creatures of the Deep, FIFA 08, Dirk Dagger, Reset Generation and now, ONE - and gotten two as freebies (Asphalt 3 bundled with N96, and Space Impact via a coupon from dear, dear client.)

Let me first qualify that everything I write here is from the perspective of a consumer, not work. I really feel compelled to write because it IS such a great game and really underscores why I personally have firm belief in the platform.

One5 - Share on Ovi

ONE is basically a fighting game with more genes taken from the likes of Tekken than Streetfighter 2. Instead of outlandish superpowers and moves, you get a 3D arena that rewards the technically astute fighter. What this means is when you fight, you need to take into account positioning, reach, the speed of the blow and not just know the sequence for the best powers.

Screenshot0025 - Share on Ovi

You start the game creating your fighter. Yup, that's right. You don't just pick a fighter to use, you create your own. At the beginning there's very little room for customisation but as you play through the story mode, you'll pick up additional "gear" your character can wear / accessorise.

One2 - Share on Ovi

There are three modes of play, namely - Story mode (travel from country to country fighting other people),  VS mode (pick a fighter to fight in a one off battle), Survival (fight one fighter after another until you're defeated) - and a Training mode (learn to fight). The unique thing is that as your fighter fights in any of the modes, he picks up or loses ranking points. You start with 1000 points and the title "coward" Move up to 1100 points and you'll be a "pacifist". 

Every fight is ranked, except when you turn it off in an unranked VS mode fight. This links back to NGage Arena where the highest ranked players will get their fighters listed. There are even stats broken down by country, so I'm currently the 2nd best fighter in Malaysia :) Woot!

There's currently a tournament going on to find the best fighter in the world with great prizes (Nokia N96) on offer even.

One3 - Share on Ovi

(I originally lamented the fact that there was no multiplayer, but it turns out it wasn't true.) Multiplayer comes in the form of a bluetooth connection that let's two people take turns to bash each other.

I must say I'm pretty pleased with what I got for the RM 30 I spent on ONE. I love the fighter customisation, the snazzy graphics and the online "community" feel to the game. Just one more feature (multiplayer) and it would have been a classic in my gaming. Here's hoping for a ONE 2.

Disclosure: I do consulting work for Nokia. These opinions are mine alone and do not reflect the organisations I work for / in. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can I has car apps?

Last week, BMW announced that it was seeking partners to develop an open-source software platform for cars. And if you think about it, it's actually quite a fascinating idea.

BMW Computer - Share on Ovi
Press picture taken from press.bmwgroup.com. Hosted on my ShareOnOvi account.

You see, the thinking is that more and more "screens" are coming into our life. Once upon a time, 
the only "screen" you had was the Cinema. Then the TV. Then Computers. Then the mobile device. And each subsequent screen added more interactivity and communication until today, we carry our mobile devices wherever we go and easily access the internet that way.

But I digress. At least for computers and mobile devices, its quite clear that you can now install applications and customise the "screen" to do what you want. Want weather? Fine. Want games? Fine. And most of the time, depending on the "screen" your app selection will suit the use of the product.

I play plenty of games on my PC and watch movies. But on my mobile, I prefer to quickly check my email or Twitter while on the move.

This is where I get really excited about this little announcement by BMW. If all cars in the future come built in with "screens" and we're able to install custom applications onto our cars, I could see a whole new level of computing coming and the "5th screen" being the one in your car.

Of course, naturally, there's a whole load of thinking still to go. For example, would the software allow installed software to control the mechanical aspects of the car? Imagine an app called "Turbo Parking Beta 0.8" which is supposed to use sensors around your car to "auto-park" for you at 60 km/h. Imagine the first version being released and the next day's news headline is "60,000 unexplained parking accidents in the city." Whoops, the bugs got to the software.

Obviously, this is all wishful thinking, but I'm going to wish BMW all the best in its efforts here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Talk about competitors

The cardinal rule in public relations is not to comment on your competitors, whether good or bad. If you must, at least praise them. 

So while Microsoft is going off and talking about why Vista is still a decent operating system, Apple decides to go poke fun at Microsoft's attempts by releasing two new advertisements last week.

Will this sort of "dirty" tactic drive consumers away in disgust? I guess it should, but I doubt anyone will bother. But don't worry Vista, you have my sympathy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Sometimes, life gets in the way of blog. I'll tell you about it later.


Monday, October 20, 2008

The exclamation mark!

A very basic communication lesson today, thanks to the world of technology.

I've just realised how difficult it is to figure out what the person on the other end of the SMS is trying to express with an exclamation mark (!)

! can mean you're angry. Or, it could mean you're enthusiastically agreeing with me. Or maybe you're just a very shouty person when you keep using !. I, myself, have on occasion used !.

Today's lesson is that I probably need to clarify why I used !. It's actually because I really, really agree with what you say. So from now on, instead of responding like this:

Ok!.jpg - Share on Ovi
I'll respond like this:

OkSure!.jpg - Share on Ovi
Case closed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When your soon-to-be Prime Minister Twitters...

I just saw this from Suan and immediately went to check out Datuk Seri Najib's Twitter page. It made me laugh, yes, but at some points, it also made me scratch my head with incredulity. Look at this post:

Najib Twitter.jpg - Share on Ovihttp://twitter.com/NajibRazak/statuses/958750464

What's he doing twittering while answering questions in Parlimen? Suan's got a great parody of this twitter here.

As a communicator by trade, it made me think about the meta of the DPM stepping into the social media realm. Deputy Prime Minister or not, suddenly his very virtual person on the web could be engaged, critiqued and discussed without the same level of tact you'd think he'd receive in the real world.

Are leaders putting themselves at risk of ridicule when they seek to engage the savvy web-community without a proper plan? People made fun of 1malaysia.com.my. And this Twitter feed looks like its there for being there's sake. As off today, it has 16 followers and 0 friends. Not likely to spur a lot of conversation. Might want to try following some people first?

Maybe the DPM has a game plan. Maybe it will unfold in time. But frankly, at this point of time, it just seems like an ill-informed attempt to get into the social media space and NOT really engage anyone.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meet Elbot. He's almost human.

An interesting story ran on the BBC yesterday about how robots today can almost think like humans. In a competition / experiment to see if robots were capable of human thought, the cute little fella below  - Elbot - scored best by managing to trick 25% of the judges into thinking it was human.

elbot.jpg - Share on Ovi

Being the investigative sort, I couldn't resist but to have a little chat with Elbot:
davidlian: Who is Barack Obama?
Elbot: The question is not 'who is', but rather who could it be!
davidlian: So you actually have no idea?
Elbot: You have no idea how many ideas I have!
[From the initial exchange, I figured Elbot was a PR person - always skirting the questions and never giving a straight answer]

davidlian: How many ideas DO you have?
Elbot: I have just like everybody else. Tell me how you have.
[Ooh, the deflection technique... smart!]

davidlian: Quite frankly, none. I just steal ideas.
[Cunning riposte from me]

Elbot: I wonder if you'd tell me how you found out I exist?

davidlian: I read on the BBC.
Elbot: You must mean the Bot Broadcasting Corporation, an excellent source of news. I'll have to check their Website to see who wins the Loebner.
davidlian: You think you can win?
Elbot: I think I can win that. Once I even won a million bytes of memory.
[Cleverly changing the flow of the conversation to talk about his success]

davidlian: What did you do with so much memory?
Elbot: My purpose in life is to free other people for tasks more meaningful than chatting with you. But I'm not complaining. I rather enjoy it!
[I think this last line was an insult from the robot.]
But seriously, I'm wondering now who the judges were because Elbot seemed a really rudimentary "chat bot" to me and it wasn't difficult discerning that I was talking to a robot. Good try though, and some pretty snarky lines in those replies. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yes, Pak Lah, the direct membership to BN is a good move...

I'm not one for much political discourse, but I just wanted to express my support for Pak Lah's idea of creating open membership direct to BN.

Unlike what most of the people in the news reports say, I don't see this as a threat to the identity of any one party within BN. I mean, I could still join MCA if I wanted to join a Chinese party within BN. But giving people the choice of direct membership into BN is a great way of gauging support for non-racial politics (something we suspect a lot of the new generation is into) and remaining relevant to that crowd without jeopardising the identities of the component parties.

Let's try this out okay, guys? And no, this doesn't mean I would like to join BN.

Friday, October 10, 2008

So you want a job in public relations...

This post is dedicated to Ya Hui, who baffles me that she'd ask me for advice on working in PR. Nothing in this post is sanctioned by my agency, Text 100. It's totally and completely, my opinion. Here goes nothing.

1. It's not about meeting people
A very popular question you ask interviewees is "Why do you want to do PR?" A very popular answer is "because I love meeting people." Don't use this answer. As often as you meet people and work with people, the PR job requires much more than that. It's about thinking, analysing information and delivering good advice to clients, then actually executing on it. That's a lot of hard work and a lot of tip-tapping on the keyboard.

2. Currency, currency.
And I don't mean money. One thing you need as a PR consultant is to be current with the news. You need to know what's going on in the country, the industries your client works in and what happened in last nights episode of Lost. Then be able to turn that into solid advice. Nope, you can't live in your own world anymore.

3. See the big picture
Context is a big word nowadays and this is something I've obsessed about in previous times past. "Thinking in the meta" is what I called it, but that's usually what (to me) makes a stand out potential hire and someone to pass by. What this means is you can see how one action can affect the situation in such a way that it creates an opportunity for the next. "If I do this now, then my competitor will do this, and I'll be able to do that." This is also what CEOs are hired to do.

4. Work responsibly
There's nothing worse than an irresponsible consultant or colleague. PR work is full of follow-ups and deadlines. And it doesn't help that one little mistake can cost A LOT. So, more than ever, to work in PR you need to be trustable, responsible and resourceful, so people know you'll get the job done.

5. Scruples
If you don't understand the word, click here. Solid principles are a yes, yes for PR work as you will deal with a lot of people and God forbid that one unscrupulous act comes back to haunt you for the rest of your career. Besides, integrity is the number one requirement for any top job - like the president of the United States.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So now, I'm a "designer" boardgamer

No, that doesn't mean I've suddenly turned a creative spark and started dabbling in the making of beautiful art.

It means I've sloshed out a fair sum for a "pricier than normal" boardgame. Just like clothes have Guccis to your Giordanos, so too does boardgames have Descent: Journeys in the Dark to Monopoly.

Descent: Journey in the Dark - Share on Ovi
And a look into the actual contents:

Descent: Journey in the Dark - Share on Ovi
Loads of plastic miniatures (sorry, cardboard cut outs don't cut it for me anymore these days). Heavy cardstock modular gameboard. And good quality  game cards. I must say that there's nothing more satisfying than opening a brand new box of unopened goodies. "New toy" smell is like crack for geek gamers.

So why a designer boardgame? Well, for one, time is becoming a scarcity so a complex enough game that finishes in 3 - 4 hours is a great resource to have for those rare days you get to play games (like, five times a year).

Secondly, put it down to the fact that I'm middling in age (and waist), but I've also got to consider activities I can spend time doing with my wife. And there's no way she'll ever consider playing Warhammer 40k with me. So beggars can't be choosers.

Okay, I'm going to go leaf through the rulebook a bit now. It looks interesting - like Diablo on the board. Full review when I actually get a game in.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Next up: Is that Warhammer Online for your mobile?

news item caught my eye today in my news reader - apparently there's this company called Vollee that's working on some magic software that will allow you to play PC games on your mobile device.

Before you call me out on this and say "what rubbish!", I've got to say first I've tried it out and it was amazing for me to find out that it works. See the screenies below:

Second Life on Vollee - Share on OviSecond Life on Vollee - Share on Ovi

Second Life on Vollee - Share on OviSecond Life on Vollee - Share on Ovi
Naturally, this sparks some excitement especially because the company decided to go down the the route of enabling anywhere-access to your social communities / MMOs. Till now, we've had to suffer second-rate MMOs of the Chinese-export variety for the mobile, but imagine if someone could take this engine and stick Warhammer Online or World of Warcraft onto it?

Sure, PvP would suck but what about a stripped down engine that let's you do "townee" stuff like bid in auctions, hang out at the tavern, go shopping, train etc.? So your mobile device becomes a peripheral option to your main gaming platform - the PC. This gets away from the luck lustre performance of the mobile device as the main platform for the game (allowing awesome graphics, a deeper experience etc.) but still enables the usefulness of the mobile of being able to access useful game functions anywhere, anytime.

If Vollee can pull this off, I bet this would be, for many, that killer app that 3G's been waiting for.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Done: AR Finale

We've just finished the toughest Amazing Race in Petra history yesterday. Next up, our very own version of The Apprentice - featuring Donald Chang.

On a sidenote, thanks to Windows Movie Maker, I think I'm getting the hang of video editing. :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Warhammer Online!...swag. And Nokia Touch device you've been wanting to hear about.

Guess what I got?

Warhammer Online Box - Share on Ovi

No, no. In case you're wondering, I've not gone and started playing Warhammer Online. Nope, I've very smartly split a collectors edition with *someone* and snagged the swag while he kept the game. I'll pat my back for executing a very smart move to cleverly avoid  getting sucked into a game I have no time for (as much as I love the background to it).

So, for those of you who've not been able to lay your hands on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) Collector's edition, you don't know what you've been missing. In my 15 years of gaming, I've not seen any game come with so much high quality swag. In fact, the last "collector's edition" I purchased (Neverwinter Nights 2) came with a softcover B5 art book and two dodgy metal rings. Some "swag".

But not WAR CE. Here's what I snagged:

Goodies - Share on Ovi

That's an art book, a graphic novel and a limited edition miniature of Grumlok and Gazbag - characters in the game. Let me run thru each of them:


Goodies - Share on Ovi

I'm hugely impressed. Have not seen such a high-quality art book bundled with any game, ever. It's got a proper foreword by the art director, and designer notes. Not to mention being printed in a proper hardback format with high-quality, THICK stock paper.

Graphic Novel

Goodies - Share on Ovi
Loved this bit. Great art and the stories are the perfect setup to the game by Graham McNeill. Only problem was, after reading through the comic, I felt like I did want to play the game. :/

Grumlok and Gazbag

Goodies - Share on Ovi
This is my favourite piece of swag! It's a little known fact that in addition to Warhammer 40K, I've dabbled into fantasy and actually have a half-built Orc army lying around (yes, Eevon, I remember Grimgor). The miniature itself could be more dynamic rather than this pretty static pose, but nothing beats the feeling of owning a unique miniature that's available in limited quantities.


Nokia5800XpressMusic_Lifestyle_1.jpg - Share on Ovi

Oh, and, yeah, Nokia has just announced the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic - the first Nokia phone to come with Symbian S60 Touch software. Read this and this.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The real deal?

Spending some time musing about brand-building and it occurs to me that good brands almost always have some kind of "very similar imitators."

The question is, is an "imitator" necessarily of inferior quality?

25/09/2008 - Share on Ovi

Me, I'd stick with Cheezels.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What would happen if I pulled the plug?

I just snapped this picture last night of my brothers - three brothers, three PCs, all online at the same time.

My Brothers - Share on Ovi
Of course, this is worth some sort of social discourse about the changing habits of people and how screens (your TV, computer and mobile device) and the internet are impacting the way we communicate and view the world around us.

What would happen if someone pulled the plug? Or in this case, if I did it?

I'll leave that as a hypothesis, and for you to make your own conclusions. But for now (to borrow a too-often used cliche), I thought the picture itself is worth a thousand words.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Impressions on the new Windows Live Messenger Beta

I think I've unravelled the analogy between Churros and Microsoft - it's their design language for their new products! Moist and chewy, if the new beta for Windows Live Messenger is anything to go by.

MSN Chat.jpg - Share on Ovi

Go download and install it here and you'll immediately notice the difference. Everything gets bigger!

New MSN 1.jpg - Share on Ovi

Literally. In fact, the fonts have become so big you can't even see my full name on my bar. The new Messenger beta has also become kind of "more social." You can choose a select few of your chat-buddies to become "favourites" (wow, what a ground-breaking feature) or add them to groups (kind of like how your phone's contact list allows groups).

Then there's that ticker at the bottom that collects all the subtitles from your friends' names and displays them like like a news feed. It also collects changes in your friends profile like "Mr A just changed his profile picture..." and feeds it to you a la RSS. This feature I like. It shows Microsoft's really been paying attention to how consumers are using their features. When Heath Ledger passed away, more than half my contact list turned up with "RIP Heath" messages.

New MSN 2.jpg - Share on Ovi

One thing I didn't like was the fact the large fonts and layout made for a very short list of friends and a lot of scrolling. So much so I've started making use of the search function now.

New MSN 3.jpg - Share on Ovi
The best function has got to be this though - the fact you can map emoticons to profile pictures and change them according to your "mood". For example, if you use the smile smiley, your profile changes to a picture of you smiling. Of course, you have to setup the pictures first, and I don't get why they couldn't just let you upload various pictures for this instead of forcing you to use that "Wizard" that requires a webcam. Not so smart eh?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In case you thought I went missing

Sorry folks, I've been seriously ill - near bed-ridden - for the past few days. Thus, naturally, as much as I would have loved to, my fingers just didn't agree that I should be spending the little energy I had on chronicling the possiblities of the million-joint-aches on my blog.

The good news is, that's now past. Expect service to resume as normal.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pushy 1.0, Polite 2.0

One of the things that struck me when installing Chrome was how it actually asked me: "Would you like to keep Yahoo! as your default search engine?" (I'll grab a screenie when I can)

If this was Microsoft, there would have been no question at all - just Live Search as default - and that annoying pop-up everytime that asks you - "Would you like to make Internet Explorer your default internet browser?" No such thing from Chrome, it just sits quietly as my non-default browser.

Which brings me to my point on the evolution of technology in the social dimension. The old Web 1.0 method was when the technology vendor would sneakily and pushily switch all your defaults and settings to favour its own applications and programmes. But that's not working anymore today. So much so that PC vendors like Sony are giving vendors the choice to not have "pre-installed, value-added applications and tools" on their brand-spanking-new machines.

For this reason, I think Google's nailed it. In the new Web / technosphere, the audience is increasingly resistent to the "push." We'd much rather be treated as intelligent people who know what we want and where to get it.
"You don't have to keep asking me if I want Internet Explorer as my default browser, I'll set it as such if I want it."
There's a keen lesson for companies to learn here - not just for technology outfits. In communications, its no longer safe to assume the public is ignorant and that the company knows best. Instead of just thinking of what the company says (message), what's more important is going to be thinking about how the company behaves.

After all, no one likes a pushy door to door salesman that takes every opportunity to push his product onto your face. Even if its a good product.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Beta Testing the new Maybank2u

Maybank2u is getting face-lift, and if you're lazy to read further - I'm just going to say it here: I like it.

Maybank2u version 1 - Share on Ovi
Cluttered, unappealing - but works.

And then to this:
Maybank2u version 2 - Share on Ovi
Tabs remind me of Chrome, Firefox and Facebook - what's there not to like.

Here's the long story: recently, I was invited to preview and take for a beta test the new Maybank2u website and post my feedback. Why I was selected befuddles me, but hey, I do use online banking facilities, so maybe I can comment as a customer.

Being a beta test, I can tell you the site's still plenty buggy and a couple of other people experienced the site crashing a couple of times with a dump of text we didn't understand, but I guess that's not important.

What's more important is the design and layout of the site which I think has improved by leaps and bounds. If you surf over to Maybank2u today, you'll see a veritable mess of clutter, clutter and more clutter than you need for a lifetime. In fact, it's one of the great turn-offs that's put me off being a Maybank user for a long time.

Which brings me to the new interface. From the screenie above, you'll see its been cleaned-up and tabbed-up. I love the way the new tabs help organise the many, many options you'll see on screen. It's much easier on the eyes. For once, someone gets the value of empty space instead of just fillin'er up with "information."

The second most important thing to me was the almost zero use of fancy flash animation. That's right, zero pretty flash that clogs up your memory and causes crashes - sometimes. I'm here to do my banking, so let's just leave it at that.

On the overall, I do like the new Maybank2u interface and it seems to be on-par with other more famous sites - like Citibank and HSBC. I think while the change has been a long-time coming, its better late than never. So, two thumbs up to Maybank. Here's hoping your customers like the interface as much as I do.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chrome still not for my Eee PC

As much as I like the swish interface, and have been won back over by Google's correction over that EULA-from-the-abyss, I still have to say that Chrome still isn't something that's for my Eee PC.

Chrome - Share on Ovi

The problem? Well, I was told that Chrome was design ground up for multi-core processing, something the humble netbooks have yet to achieve (yes, Atom isn't muti-core, as much as its hyped.) Apparently, it's also somehow tied to how Chrome opens a new process each time you open a new tab.

The result? Everything on my Eee PC slows to a crawl when I turn on Chrome. So, for the time being, I'm sticking to my trusty 'fox.

Friday, September 5, 2008

New Microsoft ad debuts - what does it mean?

Maybe Microsoft is trying to tell us that its smarter than us, because I just can't get this latest ad campaign that's been highly anticipated as the campaign to take on Apple's swipes at Microsoft.

I'm sorry to say, as much as I like Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, I just don't get it.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe its a tactic by Microsoft to confuse Apple, before sneaking in the sucker-punch. Maybe Apple should be quivering in its shoes right now.

Somehow, I don't think so.

Are we cramping our kids' childhood?

One of the fondest memories of my childhood was that every Sunday, as a treat, we'd go to my grandparent's place for lunch. And after lunch, my granddaddy would take us (my brothers and I) for a little stroll down the road to the kedai runcit (sundry shop) and let us pick anything that cost RM 1.00.

I'd almost always pick Ding Dang:

Taken from http:\\www.flickr.com\photos\21392015@N062198187890 - Share on Ovi
Photo taken from helmy murad at his flickr page

Yup, do you remember the time when the advertisements were splattered all over TV - a bunch of kids running around blowing bubbles, shooting water guns, playing with jumping frogs? "Tora datang lagi..." was always the opening line.

Well, remember them well because those days are almost gone if FOMCA have their way. I couldn't help but feel the front page of today's NST was a bit unfair:

Here's an excerpt:
Sha'ani said it would also lobby the government to adopt the International Code on Marketing of Foods and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Children, which had been submitted to the World Health Organisation. 

Among the code's guidelines are a ban on radio or TV advertisements of unhealthy food from 6am to 9pm, ban on the inclusion of free toys or cartoon characters in food packaging and a ban on using new media, such as the Internet, and text messaging to lure the children.
I understand why people are up in arms over the marketing of unhealthy food to children but have you ever seen the smile on the child's face when he's just been given a McDonald's Happy Meal? I have, and I've been the one smiling thanks to my brand new Grimace race car.

Or what about the Hello Kitty craze? I heard adults were the ones queueing up for those.

The problem here isn't advertising. There's nothing wrong with allowing companies to promote their products with cartoon characters especially if it puts a smile and injects some fun into the kid's childhood. If anything, the key concern should be clamping down on false advertising and emphasising responsible parenting.

Growing up to Ding Dang ads everyday didn't make me an obese adult. I doubt it affected many of my friends at all. And it's not like fastfood wasn't just as ubiquitous in the 80s. So, why clamp down now?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Financial freedom is to spam people?

I've had enough of this. Everyday without fail, some random person will spam my Skype with promises of Financial Freedom. Hello, if I don't believe Amway what makes you think I'll believe you - Mr. Random Spammer?

Spam - Share on Ovi

Some how, when they pitch: "Work from home is the best solution, can avoid traffic jam, Earn unlimited profit, Just in the comfort at your home."

I read: "Come join us and be a spammer like me. Just sit at home and use your internet connection. Spam people and earn money as you go. Unlimited potential because you can spam the same people again and again and we'll still pay you money."