Who"s davidlian?

My photo
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.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Sleeping like a Chipster chip? Here's how...

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a potato chip? To have your skin rub against metallic-plastic foil wrapper? Well, I think I might have just found out.

It all began with the challenge from NuffNang Malaysia to member bloggers to post the 1) picture with the most Chipster packs in it 2) Quirkiest post 3) Best pajamas ever.

I realised I could probably not afford to buy enough Chipster packs to challenge anyone in that category, or be quirky enough to win the Wii.... so.... last category left - make the best darn pajamas there is.

After spying what the competition had to offer, it made natural sense to do what they didn't do (see, there's a strategy to this) and do it better. So, I spied and I spied and then... *aha* "Potato Chips have to sleep too, don't they?"

So I went to the store and bought ablout 16 Chipster Large packs. Couldn't find one single flavour, so had to go mix and match.

Went home and started doing:


First step was to cut out all the Chipster packs VERY CAREFULLY and keep the foil wrapper intact. Then, once all the foils had been cut:


You have to dump all the Chipsters into TupperWares. Wife and I actually tried to makan the Chipsters on the spot, and failed. You can't imagine the amount of Chipsters 16 packets hold. Lydia says: "I think can keep till next Chinese New Year." On to the next step:


Each Chipster foil had to be scrubbed clean. Otherwise, it'll be super oily and definitely not something you'd want to soak your skin in. *Health Tip* I read somewhere that too much direct contact with salt is bad for your skin. Once it's clean, you can move on to:


Putting the pieces together: this step requires a plan. Which I did. In my head. Serious! Anyway, this step by step is starting to put me to sleep so I guess I'll jump right to the end. Ta- Da!


Some glam pics of myself posing:

Front - Who's the REAL Chipster man now?

Back - I am too sexy, too sexy for my...

The Sleep Test

After spending the night in Chipster Wrappers, like a potato chip, this test subject can confirm that Chipsters-made pajamas are indeed snug and warm, best for climates. I guess that's how those potato chips are kept so crispy!



Last, but not least:

My wife, Lydia, would like to thank Chipster for organising this contest as she now has 16 bags to go through. She has one request, though, as her eyes light up when I mention the NuffNang Chipster Pajama Party ("Will there be lot's of Chipster to eat?") - can she tag along for the party? Here's her pic, on my blog:


Please say yes! :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Coming Soon...


Guess what? Check back tomorrow night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

When virtual and real collide...

There was a story recently on the BBC news about scientists who predict that computers the size of blood-cells will be here by 2033 leading to "fully immersive virtual realities." Lead inventor Ray Kurzweil predicted "Virtual will compete with reality."

That, Mr. Kurzweil, is already happening in Malaysia. Check out Jeff Ooi's post:

On Page A14 of Guang Ming Daily (Feb 27, evening edition), my opponent whipped all bloggers in a broad sweep by stating that "bloggers hide behind computers and live in a virtual world".
I laughed out loud at this comment.

There are more people than just bloggers who "live in a virtual world." Today, virtual is real.

Many, many, many, people live in the immersive virtual world of emails, websites, blogs and forum. You talk to people you don't know IRL (in real life) who have funny names like "CyborgBoy" or "Haxxergurl." You chat with colleagues from halfway across the world whom you've never met except on Instant Messaging and email.

You make use of this virtual world to share, communicate, transmit, discuss and interact. But you know that this virtual world is just a conduit, because unless you fancy talking to a bot, these are still real people you are interacting with.

The reason why social networks like Facebook and MySpace are so popular is in fact, because you are really connecting and making friends with real, breathing, living people.

Sure, there are bloggers or virtual personalities who prefer to remain anonymous, but there are just as many who prefer to merge their real-world identity with their online presence. Jeff Ooi is a prime example - his mobile number is listed on his blog for goodness sake. I wouldn't call that hiding.

The truth of the matter is, especially for the industry I work in, the virtual and the real are colliding. We don't need to wait for another 25 years and for micro-computers to be injected into our blood. Identities are unifying.

Remember the first time you signed up for a Hotmail account? Then your first Geocities account? If you're like me, you used different sign-in names. In stark contrast, people are now using the same identity again and again online - I'm davidlian on most sites and forums I participate in - and with more and more relevance to their original identities.

Movements like the OpenID initiative are going to unify our identities even more creating a stronger association with our "real-world" alter egoes. You going to need to be authentic online as much as you're authentic offline.

That's what I'd want my MP to be.

EDIT* Nigelsia had a great pic to illustrate this post, stolen shamelessly off someone's Flickr:

Virtual Real

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Elections Brand Plagiarism

There's a sub-culture in urban states (like the US and even here in Kuala Lumpur) called "Brand Plagiarism or Logo Culture" where you take the logo of a known brand and turn it into your own message.

Some brand-guardians think this is flattery, others are mortified by such butchery of their brands.

I'm just wondering how Celcom is feeling right now:

Pas Territory

Was driving past this yesterday night. They even used the bird symbol! LoL!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Worth Surfing: malaysiavotes.com

For all of you interested in following the Malaysian Elections through an independent news site that's not biased to either side, you really should check out www.malaysiavotes.com.

My votes

The people running this site were journalists from The Edge and an ex-colleague of mine (who happened to be their colleagues in The Edge) has vouched for them. Personally, I've worked with at least one of them in the past (part of my job) and they are credible, intelligent and decent people so I'd vouch for them too.

Hooray for Online Journalism!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Social Networks shrinking - what are people using them for anyway?

Just a little while ago, the cross-section of the technology and marketing world was abuzz (and probably still is) with the idea of social networking and the possibilities to reach consumers in new ways with products and services.


The first chinks in the armour are starting to appear. Yesterday, the Guardian published a story citing Nielsen figures on a decline of 5% in UK Facebook users. Similarly, MySpace also saw a 5% drop.

Now, 5% doesn't seem to be too much but if you put it against the context of all the furore that's been going on around Facebook applications, forced invites and the (belated) measures Facebook are taking to respond, the message is starkingly clear - it's time for social networks to clean up their act, literally.

People don't want to receive spam from hundreds of different applications just because they have a couple of hundred friends who have vastly different interests and perhaps a few shared ones.

Facebook was appealing because it could let friends connect in groups of shared interests of play games they both had an interest in playing. It started to get painful when there were too many friends each trying to "recruit" you into playing their game. (I get about 12 vampire bites a day).

So, the final word in Social Networking (at least for now) seems to be "Niche." Personally, I think Facebook has the potential to be precisely that by allowing people of similar interests (Groups) to connect with one another whilst making it simple to ignore and clear the clutter of the myriad of other stuff that doesn't interest them.

I've asked a couple of friends about what they do on Facebook and while initially Vampires and Zombies were all the rage, the excitement has died down and it's become a really practical communication tool for these people. For most of them, it's about sharing pictures, posting comments, dropping personal messages and being a part of a group with similar interests. And of course, the odd app or two should still be there.

Niche doesn't have to mean a social network that's just built around one purpose (look at the very successful LinkedIn). Instead, I think it's going to mean more and more the sort of flexible network that will let you carve your own space and find your own niche without having to drown in mass messaging.

Facebook's clean up act could mean just that.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just installed: Firefox Beta 3

I'm a sucker for Beta software. Just can't resist installing the latest and (unready?) versions of software I use. So I went ahead and installed FireFox 3 Beta 3 yesterday. and it looks like this:

FF3 01

First impressions: Visually, there doesn't seem to be much difference in the way FireFox 3 looks and feels compared to FireFox 2. That said, FireFox has always looked fine. What's more important is that Beta 3 seems stable and hasn't crashed on me yet even though I had like seventeen different windows and tabs open!

FF3 03

Function-wise, I like some of the new 'smart' functions FireFox 3 incorporates (thus far, there may be more):

Smart Bookmarks

FF3 02

Auto-bookmarking isn't really a new feature - FireFox 2 had it and virtually every browser built since the Netscape era has a handy tool called 'History' that'll let you re-visit your previously visited pages. Smart Bookmarking takes this a step further, letting your auto-bookmarks be organised by the "most visited pages" and even tags. Tags works just like online social bookmarking services like del.icio.us, but allows you to attach tags to your bookmarks offline so you can easily search for previously bookmarked resources on any given topic. Real useful for doing research!

Revised Download feature

FF3 04

The biggest improvement for me here is the inclusion of a search function to help you locate those pesky files you've downloaded from the internet. If you do a lot of downloading, and have trouble finding files after that, this is just the right tonic for you.

These are the two major functions, for now that make FireFox 3 look like an evolutionary internet browser as opposed to a revolutionary one. Personally, I had hoped for more Web 2.0 functionality (incorporating OpenID?) like Flock but, I guess you could argue that just as much could be done with the extensions supported by FireFox.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Malaysia's very own Internet Elections portal

So, what sort of change does the Internet bring to elections? Would it affect Malaysia? We'll know in a couple of weeks, I guess.

There was a really good article from ReadWriteWeb I read that characterised how the Internet would change the nature of electoral campaigning and allow candidates to get closer, more directly engaged, with their audiences. Case in point:

  • Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and the other US candidates all have Facebook profiles & groups.
  • YouTube partnered CNN to host presidential debates on its Video Service.
  • At least Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton have blogs. Many more campaign workers have blogs.
But that's not all. Just run a Yahoo! search and you'll find countless forums, blogs and sites that support discussion and debate on the US Elections.

Well, the good news is, us Malaysians aren't too far behind. Beyond the political bloggers / watchers in our country, I'd like to point out that leading Bahasa Melayu daily Harian Metro has launched its own elections site entitled, aptly, "PilihanRaya 2008."

Harian Metro's Pilihan Raya 2008 site.

What really surprises me with this site is the functionality built in. You can not only get the latest news and information for the General Elections, but also vote in the on-going poll, or add your own comment.

Comments are on the left side of the screen.

I cannot stress how important a factor it is to allow people to comment. What's an election if we don't allow people to debate? The simple ability to comment makes this platform more than just a web-site. It'd be interesting to see the discussions (and... uh... moderation?) that'll go on on the site.

This is pretty ground-breaking stuff, especially coming from an established newspaper. I'm personally wondering if we'll see a similar site from NST the next couple of days to cover off the English-speaking audience.

Meanwhile, kudos to Harian Metro and its online team. Exciting stuff.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You Tube Videocracy: The event no press were invited to

... which made them want in even more.

Funny play on the human psyche this - we want the things we can't get even more, but to go cover a press event? Granted it was an excellent event by an excellent brand and some key announcements were made. Some journo even tried to sneak in and was promptly thrown out.

Well, the news didn't stay quiet for more than 24 hours thanks to Ian Schafer who promptly posted his notes up on his blog.

Personally, it wasn't so much the news that excited me (what's active sharing anyway?) but the manner in which YouTube pulled this event of. It's got me thinking, if we organised a big event here in Malaysia, and "neglected" to invite the press, but made sure we invited loads of industry people (marketing folks, handphone dealers etc.), would that make it even more desireable for press to drop by and cover it.

Something tells me it won't. Ah... the mysteries of life.

Here's a quick video I found of what the event looked like:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Welcome to the World of Kitty-Craft

People say playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG) games is a form of escapism. Back in the day, I used to "escape" daily into the (virtual) form of a raging Orc (green, Incredible Hulk-like thing) in World of Warcraft that goes by the name of ThrokTok ("me SMASH!").

Hello Kitty online

Now, though, people can choose the wonderful alternative of choosing to be a cat-with-no-mouth and prance around a cartoon world for escape in Hello Kitty Online. Yeap, NOW. It's open for beta just a couple of days ago, and lucky folks can sign up for a chance to be a cat by simply submitting their email here.

Once in the world, players (according to the site) can choose to roam the streets of "the Flower Kingdom", London, Tokyo, Moscow or Paris. You can not only build your own character, but build your "dream house", "cultivate your own farm" and create "guilds", according to the site.

So if you "escapist" dream has been to start your own megalomanical "flower-selling" empire, this is your chance! Be the first to get into the beta and start your very own flower-selling guild. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Obligatory Valentines Post

I love Lydia a lot and in this, our 7th year together, we get to celebrate our Valentines Day in a simple way for the first time as a married couple.

Just to share a picture of us eating at Carl's Jr:

Valentines Dinner 08

And... not to forget, the best Valentine's gift ever (for now):

My Valentines gift!

Just a quick short post to say "Thanks dear, love you forever!" Always will.

A Nokia phone that's nothing new

I'm so proud of Nokia (disclosure: one of my clients) today... this is the stuff I used to dream about as a kid - to take something from all the trash in my house and actually make something of it.

This phone's called the 'Remade', simply because it's made out of 100% recyclable or renewable materials. I spent a good while looking at the pictures to try and figure out where the recycled parts came from. You could almost see the aluminum that's similar to what you find in canned drinks, and I've read that the plastics come off recycled plastic bottles. Really interesting.

Anyway, read Jan Chipchase's blog post to get a better picture on the social idea behind Remade. He's got some interesting pictures of a gentlemen "remaking" the phone.

Bill Gates quits Facebook, should you too?

Bill Gates

Just a couple of months after splashing US$ 240 million on Facebook shares, Bill Gates has decided to abandon his personal Facebook account.

The reason? 8,000 friend requests a day and no way to bulk accept, set "limited profile" and "Skip this step" all of them at one go. If you take (internet connection speed-permitting) 10 seconds to add one friend, Bill'll spend nearly a day (22.22 hours) just to accept those 8,000 friends. And there's plenty more where that came from, you can be sure.

We've probably come to a cross-roads, then, as far as social networking is concerned. With MSNBC reporting Myspace users are spending 14% less time on the social network this month, it seems social networks as we know it now need a drastic re-design to keep people on them.

I'm sure some interface re-designing will help, but I also think we're ready for the next big social network after Friendster, MySpace and Facebook have all had their day.

I'm wishing Social Network 3.0 will be an open platform that's seamless across all my devices (meaning PDA, mobile device, desktop and laptop). Something that's a bit of Microsoft Outlook mashed up with Facebook where with a single update to my contacts in Outlook whilst at work, I can easily sync up with that same address book at home and on my N95.

I know this sounds a bit like Open Social, but I think it should go beyond the web and onto the applications you use everyday (Thunderbird, this could be a great opp to one-up Microsoft!). It's kind of how Flock integrates the web-browser with Facebook, Flickr and all your favourite Social Networking sites, only with a much, much higher level of integration.

Next, it'd be great if I could easily arrange people into groups, so only contacts I actually know will show up on my phonebook or email list whilst the "rest of the world" "friends" are kept on a "social only" page - on my desktop, laptop, PDA and mobile device. Perhaps make a work version and "life" version of virtual desktops to suit the time so different views appear at different times and switching is seamless at the click of a button.

Finally, can we just have ONE social network for everyone to be on? Or at least, have OpenID and Open Social succeed to the extent where we can be on different networks, but I'll have all the same connections to my friends regardless of social network, offline client, or platform (desktop, laptop, mobile device).

So, maybe this is why Microsoft splashed US$240 million for...So Facebook could integrate with MS Outlook? It's possible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why deny Parliament dissolution?

Read this:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has just announced the dissolution of Parliament at 12:34pm at the Prime Minister's Department in Putrajaya. The announcement paves the way for the 12th general elections.

I'm not much of a political watcher, but I've got a different sort of question here. What's the PR strategy behind denying that you're going to call for elections in the newspapers (read this)? I'm not understanding why people need to be sneaky about things like this for what - couple of hours headstart in preparing for campaigning? Won't being direct, forthcoming and truthful make a bigger impact?

Here's how you RSS...

I was having a conversation with some friends a while back, and naturally, being geeks, we talked tech. Somewhere in the conversation, the question came up: "What's RSS? How do you use it?"

To this, I got to use the classic blogger-liner: "I'll post that up. Read my blog."

Which explains why I'm typing this down right now.

RSS basically stands for Really Simple Syndication. What's commonly referred to as RSS today is a collection of formats (RSS 2.0 being the most popular) for "feeds" to enable easy-publishing of content like blog posts, videos, photo updates, podcasts etc. etc.

You can then read an RSS feed with RSS readers like the one built into FireFox, Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft Outlook or use online readers like Google Reader or Bloglines.

How RSS works is basically like this: say you're really, really interested in reading my blog (!), and instead of having to go type and click www.davidlian.com every morning for your morning fix, you wanted an easier way to access it. All you have to do is click on my RSS feed icons that look like these:

Then, copy the URL of the page that comes up (which should look like this):

And paste it into your reader. I use Bloglines so my RSS subscriptions look like this:

So now, every time I post something new on www.davidlian.com, the headline and summary of that post will be delivered instantly to your RSS reader via my feed. You don't have to surf over to my blog to check for new posts, just turn on your RSS reader and wait for the new stuff to come in.

Okay, so that's my really simple guide to RSS for everyone who's asked me. It's actually more complicated than this, but I could go on and on.

Monday, February 11, 2008

To Microsoft: forget Yahoo! and buy Motorola's handset division

This post is inspired by this post. See this cartoon.

So Yahoo decides to play wait-and-see with Microsoft, rejecting the initial offer and waiting for US$40 per share. Meantime, the Redmond money men must be calculating if that amount of money is worth spending for a company with so many similar technology assets.

Here, I present, another acquisition option: Motorola! Well, it's handset division.

Moto's all but hinted that they've thrown in the towel in the mobile phone industry and are "exploring ways" to accelerate the recovery of its handset business. Most analysts are reading this as "please buy us out."

And so the names have been spun around - LG could chomp and instantly make itself number 3 in this market. So could Samsung or even Huawei. My take is... what about Microsoft?

Sure, Microsoft can make great devices. Witness the XBOX 360 and all the Microsoft Mice and Keyboards. But it can just as easily flop (Zune?). Purchasing Motorola would give MS a leg into the mobile space and put it smack dab into the centre of the convergence space - internet + computers + mobile.


The one thing that Motorola has consistently been unable to get right has been its operating system. In fact, personally, I think the best Moto phones are those that ship with Windows Mobile 6, which (surprise surprise), is a Microsoft product.

Services is the other thing that Motorola haven't really communicated a gameplan on. Microsoft does services. Doesn't take a genius to put two-and-two together.

The only problem would be integrating a hardware division into Microsoft. But, it's not like this something that Microsoft hasn't gone and done before. Moto's handphone division could still continue operating independently whilst integration could take a step by step process.

The bottomline is, MS has money to spend. Yahoo's probably a fair acquisition. But, in my books, Motorola's handset business looks prime.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Latest Paint Jobs: Saint Celestine & Brother Captain Davion

Besides visiting people and disseminating Ang Pows, I spent my Chinese New Year painting some. Actually, these two have been projects for about three weeks now and it's just that I got some time during Chinese New Year to put the finishing touches to them.

Here they are... together with some self-written fluff (backgrounds).

Saint Celestine
She's the living icon of the Sisters of Battle and the Ordo Hereticus. A repentia (think crazy suicidal woman) that met her death in battle but miraculously came back to life. In gaming terms, she's an overcosted special character that gets to come back to life as long as she keeps passing leadership tests.

Painting-wise, I used thhe standard three-layer technique (basecoat, Highlight 1 and Highlight 2), together with Chestnut Ink for the Burnished Gold armor and a Flesh Wash for the fleshy bits. The most challenging part was making the fiery effect of the sword, which I still haven't mastered, and adding gloss varnish to the Lava streams on the base so as to create the "wet" effect.

Saint Celestine - Front

Saint Celestine - Back

Brother-Captain Davion
This is your standard Grey Knight Hero model, remodeled with a Psycannon instead of the standard storm-bolter. I needed an avatar on the field of battle and so I made him Davion (a derivative of my name lah). Haven't come up with a fluff story for him yet.

I love static grass, and all my Grey Knights are based with liberal amounts of Static Grass because it contrasts great with the mechanical looking grey-steel armour. Best thing I love about painting grey knights is the liberal amount of inking and drawing I get to do with my felt tip pen. All the icons are hand drawn, as is his insignia.

Grey Knight Davion - Front

Grey Knight Davion - Back

That's it for this update! Let me know what you think?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happiness is...

... when boss tells you that you can go home at 2 p.m. for Chinese New Year!
Happy - Happy Moments Happy Chinese New Year everyone!


Ps. Technically, I can't win. But I just wanted to post a Happy Moment anyway. :) LoLz!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What are the chances...

...of finding yourself talked about in a funky site you've never known about? Check the below out.
As I was just going through my traffic analysis, I found that a couple of people were directed to my Happy Event post through this story. Firstly, it looks like a great site dedicated to Hula Hooping, but for them to pick up that Happy Blogger event we had last week and post a story about it? Short of an inside job (so who did it?), I'm simply amazed at how stories get around the internet.

I'm surprised they even used Jason's face as the lead picture...hmmm....did you have anything to do with this?

Microsoft / Yahoo - it's about the users

The Micro-hoo deal has been talked to death, but it does raise an interesting point on the direction that these big tech companies are heading at the moment, which is perhaps indicative of the overall trend.

Every big tech company seems to be converging into a space that's going to be about software + hardware + internet + search + advertising. And advertising seems to be the most important area for all these companies - Microsoft, Yahoo, Google (yes, throw in Apple and Nokia too) to get their act together.

Gone are the days when Microsoft was all about DOS or Windows. Today, think XBOX and the Windows Live services. Similarly Google isn't just search anymore, but nifty tricksy apps like Google Maps and Google Apps. We've not yet seen hardware from Google, but it's ANDROID project seems like a nod in that direction. Don't forget that Nokia has bought NavTEQ, launched OVI and is readying N-Gage whilst Apple's iTunes is still going places and .mac still survives.

Detractors have said that Microsoft already have its share of web products and buying Yahoo would create conflict and confusion. Yet, the Microsoft-Yahoo deal sounds like perfect sense to me. Because whilst techology, products and company assets are the big and obvious factors (see other deals), this deal highlights an asset that's often overlooked and which is painfully important - users.

Yes, it's obvious that Microsoft have loads of competing products in the same space as Yahoo - think Yahoo! Messenger vs. the Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail vs. Yahoo!Mail, Yahoo! 360 vs. Windows Live Spaces (does anyone use this anymore?) and the loads of other social networking tools and net apps available.

But the real dealmaker behind this deal is not the apps or services or technology (though there might be some of that in there somewhere), it's the user-base that Yahoo! has amassed that's making this deal so attractive.

A cursory web-trawl didn't help me find any numbers for this but anectdotally, virtually everyone I speak to has used a Yahoo! service at one point or another and most are still actively using them.

But won't users jump ship post acquisition?

Granted, users can even jump ship pre-acquisition. Or just about whenever. But the fact that Yahoo! has maintained a relatively steady visibility and user-base (even after Google's Meteoric rise, and let's face it, Yahoo apps aren't half-bad), indicates to me that users will more likely stay (especially if I've got all my lovely photos uploaded on my Flickr pro account).

Also the trend towards open social networks, means users are more and more looking or interoperability from the networks, services and apps they use and probably won't mind the merging of competing Microsoft - Yahoo services into one app (like finally collapsing Hotmail into Yahoo! Mail.)
Why users, though?
Because users translate into revenue in terms of an advertising sense, and that's really what its about isn't it, really?

I think the Microsoft-Yahoo! deal will shed more light on what the future will become (on the convergence track) and how deals are made. If technology was the Number 1 asset previously, it's time for companies to take stock and look at how they can acquire users instead of just technology.