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.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Operating System evolution: next up, Windows 7?

Recently, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer used the D conference to preview Windows 7 (the next OS after Vista). Have a look:

I feel like I'm a little bit more qualified to talk about operating systems now that I have an Eee that runs Ubuntu. After living thru six iterations of Windows (3.1, 95, 98, ME, XP and now Vista), Ubuntu was pretty much a schooling in terms of the philosophy of operating systems.

The thing I love about Ubuntu is that almost everything outside the core kernel (the central bit of code runs the system), everything else is a component. You can choose between GNOME, KDE or XFCE depending on what you like to see on your desktop. You can add a "dock" a la Mac OS, or a sidebar a la Windows Vista. You can choose to have multiple virtual desktops, or not. You can customise your OS to be as lean or as bloated as your want it.

And this is only in terms of the interface.

On the flipside, the problem with Vista was probably that it was designed in a time where the emphasis was on pretty graphics, and cool, clickable "things" on your desktop. 98, ME and XP before it was about integrating functionality (like tying Internet Explorer to your operating system) and making everything one bloated piece of work. The worst thing is, since everything is so integrated, you could turn off some stuff, but you could never really make it run as lean as a Linux machine.

So imagine how interesting it is for me to read that Mr. Gates and Mr. Ballmer are now claiming that Windows 7 will be lighter, faster, and more componentized.

More componentized you say? Like, I could pick and choose the bits and pieces of OS I'd like to have installed?
Is Microsoft finally seeing the errors of it's bloatware ways and going the way of the open source community?

From the video, I'm not so sure. Still, at least it looks like we'll get to choose between a Touch version and a non-touch one. Too bad I'm not a fan of finger-printing my screen.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There be Bloggers

We all pay lip-service to it: bloggers are people of all sorts. Yet somehow, in the glitz and glamour of generating traffic, attending big events, raking in money and becoming celebrities in our own right, the picture we often get when we mention the word "blogger" is that of this star celebrity.

Yesterday's humbling Happy Moments event was a jerk back to earth for me. Often, communications people get caught up with a blogosphere that's only made up of popular reads. Yet sharing the table with some of the bloggers who came made me think: "these are just very regular people."

The Lim Family

Mr. Lim and family were at the event because his daughter Jasmine, made it to the top ten with her blog post. Sitting down with the family was interesting because I discovered that Jasmine and her sister Jennifer, were both BRATS. So we chatted a bit about journalism and communication, with Mr. Lim being quite interested in my job. Of course, in turn, I was really interested in Mr. Lim's big camera and mentioned more than once - you should start a photo blog too!

Tham Wai Hon and family 2

Tham Wai Hon showed up with his family and really cute baby boy. He'd shot a video of his baby and posted up on his blog. It was really interesting meeting this family as they reminded me of the sort of family gatherings I get to experience with my own and somehow, with your family around, it feels like blogging is much less glamourous.

Tham Wai Hon and family

I've got a couple more photos to add to the event, some people were just good friends, others, though considered "famous" were tremendously down to earth.

In the end, bloggers are just people. Different people with different lives.

Addendum: Why was I at this Happy event? I helped organise it.

Cool bloggers

Friend bloggers

KY and Kim

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The "Guess what am I coming as?" game

Coming up this week is... Camp Transformation 2008: BigGER Camp.

That's right, about 150 young people and I will be heading down to Port Dickson for five days and four nights in what looks to be a very, very packed programme. Still, I look forward to this to be a good time of spiritual refreshment.

What's more, I've recently started constructing my costume and hope to finish it by tomorrow night. The theme's Sci-Fi night, but I doubt anyone would be able to guess what I'm coming as. Anyone? Clue: I've scrapped the Anakin Skywalker idea. And see below:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Commute and compute

Is this you?

Do you whip out your mobile as soon as you get on public transport and start fiddling? What do you actually do?

1. Check SMSes (only to realise you just checked 3 minutes ago and there's nothing new).
2. Flip thru pictures you've already viewed like a hundred times.
3. Press random buttons, having nothing really to do.
4. Play a quick game of Snake only to quit halfway because you're getting down the bus.
5. Check email?

Do you also whip out your mobile when you're queueing for movie tickets? Do you whip out your mobile when you're waiting for your dental appointment? Do you whip out your mobile when waiting for a concert to start? Do you whip out your mobile when having dinner with your -in-laws and there's no interesting conversation going on?

Have you realised you whip out your mobile a lot?

Just musings from WCIT 2008... I kept seeing people whip out the most modern, evolved devices ever. I reckon lightning-fast reactions from hands-to-pocket will be the next evolution for mankind. Behaviour change means feeling for your mobile is going to be secondary.

For me, it's just my humble N95 that gets whipped out most of the time:
Me brand new N95. 5 MegaPixels goodness for Flickr from now on.

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's been great!

I've come to realise I'm not as young as I used to be. Sure, yesterday was the symbolic advancement of age, but the past four days have shown me this body isn't made to withstand this much bashing.

My mum said as much as the clock struck passed twelve and I became a year older.

Still, if there's one thing I've come to appreciate even more as I grow older is this concept called friends.

I had a great bash and just want to say a little something back.

Thanks to my family - I actually passed the birthday mark in my parent's room talking to my mother, something I have not done in years. It was great.

Thanks to Richard and Ka Fei for that wonderful Manchester United DVD. I've never got one of those for my birthday before.

Thanks to the amazing people who surprised me yesterday, you know who you are especially Suanie who nearly made me emo. Also special mention to my "cupcake gang" colleagues. It was really a passing mention people!

Thanks to my very nice clients who got me a Birthday card!

Thanks to everyone who sent me an SMS, Facebook message, email or MSN message. Too many to name, but each one equally dear.

Last, but not least, thanks to my wife who bought me the most awesome birthday present ever - an ASUS Eee PC which was brought down from Singapore by David Chieng (thanks Dave):

My Eee Pc!
It's really small, the miniature sitting on the Eee PC shows you the scale.

Who knew growing up would be so much fun?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Working in a mixed reality?

The lunch address at WCIT 2008 Day 2 was by far better than the rest of the morning.

This really smart chap from Fuji Xerox - Dr. Lawrence A. Rowe from the famed FX Palo Alto Laboratory - spoke about working in the "Mixed Reality World." Now, I know the discussion of Virtual Worlds is old and flogged to death, but one point that Dr. Rowe made gave me pause for some thought. Mixed Realities.

I love Twitter. I've made up with Facebook. I confide to my GMail. And carefully lug around my N95 and (now) Eee PC. And I'm not just me. There's a good number of people who are 'me' too. Some are colleagues whose late night drinking escapades I follow on Facebook. Some are friends, getting married and sharing the experience with Flickr. Then the clients, which pop up in my Inbox the whole day. My world is within my arms reach again; but the virtual isn't everything.

Mixed Realities. That's a great point. It's easy to get carried away with the Web 2.0 "bubble"(?) and think the future's gonna be about brains networked wirelessly. But it isn't and the challenge is always going to be "how do you tie back what's real to what's virtual?" At some point, you have to get real.

I liked an example Dr. Rowe used. In Second Life, there's a virtual Capitol Hill where you can attend lectures being actually made in the real Capitol. Real-time, real-life streaming. And I thought, that sounds really interesting - could we maybe have a Virtual Parliament that streams the real-life parliament?

The thinking is that we then need to examine where the virtual ends in each application. My job makes me really reliant on email, but there's a point when its handed-off to meeting real people and connecting in the real world. It's interesting because simple virtual realities like email means that you "virtually" meet a prospective customer via email before travelling half-way across the globe to seal the deal.

It's formulaic but different for each person. Your quotient for the mixed reality differs based on your work, your culture and who you are.

But further thinking, and advancements in technology could tip this formula. Would it, for example, be possible to hold an entire parliament sitting virtually in Second Life? Or maybe on a smaller scale, a press conference?

Whatever the case, the invasion of technology in our lives must make us think: "what's my reality again?" I can assure you, it's mixed.

Craig Barrett talks about Education and Technology

Posting a video that I took yesterday. Craig makes some really interesting comments, if you can look past the Intel Classmate plugs. Would have posted this earlier but made the mistake of recording it in High Quality on my N95 which resulted in a 212 MB file!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Holo-Bill a let down

We were promised a special appearance by Microsoft's Bill Gates at WCIT 2008 via special holographic appearance. Unfortunately, the fine print failed to mention the word 'Live.' Thus, we were treated to a corporate video shot in holo-technology with a canned speech from holo-Bill. Here are some stills only, video was a bit too dark:

Bill2 - Share on Ovi

Bill1 - Share on Ovi

Nevertheless, the audience was consoled with a somewhat updated video of Microsoft's Surface technology, which we are no doubt starting to see the point of. It looks like it'll make use of Near Field Communication (NFC) to transfer data and content from Surface to devices. Have a look:

WCIT 2008 - Day 1

Update 3:58 p.m.

Question of the day: at the panel of Wireless Broadband Revolution, someone asks "Do you think Aida's (wireless broadband) technology is the breakthrough technology of the century?"

Moderator: "What? True technology? Of course it's true technology! (Someone corrects him) Oh..."

Back to some actual observations from the sessions at WCIT 2008.

The first session immediately after lunch was a Keynote address on Digital Prosperity by Dr. Robert Atkinson from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The Dr. had some interesting data to share about the how developing countries (like ours) could grow ICT adoption. And the key takeaway was this - don't have tariffs for technology goods. Simple really. The regular reaction from a small, developing country is to set tariffs for various industries so that local players can be protected and the local industry thrives.

But Dr. Atkinson's perspective is amazingly sharp and cutting - technology is a different animal all together. Data points that the Dr. presented showed technology used increased 1.5% for each 1% reduction in price. Having technology, no matter from where, at the lowest price possible, increased the tech literacy of the population. The complementary side-effect was that with a more savvy population, transference of technology also grows and the number of knowledge workers increase.

So, I suppose our government is doing the right thing with 0% tariffs on computer and related products. But I guess the next step is to categorise more consumer electronics - PDAs, mobile phones, audio players, personal media players, screens etc. - as computer goods.

Does using a mobile phone help increase IT literacy? Yes. In the basest way, it at least introduces even the most tech illiterate person to the logic of menus and navigation. As computing moves mainstream, so too must we think of how to make consumer electronics more affordable.

Update 12:20 p.m.

Craig Barrett's talk struck a fine balance between being overt "marketing" and issues-based. The point that really stood out for me was when Craig said [I paraphrase]:

You can't solve everything with technology. In education, if given a choice between giving children a good teacher or a PC, you should always choose the teacher. A good teacher makes all the magic in the classroom.
Craig, you've got a good point there; and maybe one that our Malaysan Education Ministry should take to heart. At present, Malaysia is very interested in introducing ICT to the classroom but there's been quite little done to make sure that teaching quality is improving if aneccdotal evidence from my brothers and my own experience is anything to go by.

More after lunch break.

Update 10:45 a.m.

The PM's speech was pretty much what was expected - MSC, Malaysian Broadband plan etc. What I found interesting was his preamble - you can find the video here - where the PM makes mention that whenever he buys a gadget, he passes on the book (manual) to his son to learn how to use. Fast forward a couple of minutes later and he says Malaysia is committed to increase IT literacy in Malaysia. Ironic?

The next speaker, a Mr. James Poissant from WITSA, had some interesting points to make:
  • Global ICT spending to increae but growth to taper off.
  • The weak US Dollar will fuel ICT exports to emerging markets
  • From US$2.1 trillion in 2001, global ICT spending will grow to US$4.4 trillion in 2011 (7% oompound growth)
  • Communications tech dominates ICT spending with over 57% in 2007.
More updates as they happen.

Original Post

So I'm here early, as stipulated. Seated on the upper deck.

WCIT08 Day 1 - Share on Ovi

First impressions of WCIT? The papers weren't joking when they said this was big. I spotted crowds and crowds of people as I made my way up the Conference Centre. KLCC just wows me again and again, and I truly think we have a world class facility capable of hosting world class events.

However, our traditional Malaysian hospitality turned out to be a bit of a let down. Early as I was, I could not get a single cup of coffee. Makes me grouchy.

Right now, the opening ceremony has started with45 different kids lining up at the microphone on stage taking turns to say "welcome" in 45 different languages. And a song right after. Hmmm...

Okay, more updates later once the PM's given his address and the rest of the opening speeches.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Off to WCIT tomorrow!

Eee PC - checked. N95 - checked. Delegate tag - checked. I'm all ready to wake up tomorrow at an unearthly hour (for me, at least - 6:30 a.m.) to head down to KL Convention Centre for the start of the World Congress on Information Technology 2008 (WCIT 2008).

Things I'm particularly looking forward to:

  • Watch Holo-Bill Gates speak during the Microsoft Marquee session
  • Listening to Craig Barrett talk about a world powered by Technology (which it already is)
  • Listening to Vinton Cerf - the "Father of the Internet", ICANN Chairman and also Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, talk about the Internet in the 21st Century.
  • Listening to a panel of ministers speak about the future of the internet (I'd like to hear what they are thinking)
With my trusty new Eee PC and N95, I'll try to do some live blogging, twittering or even Qikking of the sessions over at WCIT 2008. So if you're interested in technology at all, hop along for the ride!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Let's start a conversation about Rakan Cyber.

This bit of today's page two story in the New Straits Times caught my attention:

[Besides that], said Ismail, a new arm called Rakan Cyber, would be added to the seven others in Rakan Muda soon.

One of the main reasons was to reach out to the new generation through cyberspace - a sphere in which the Barisan Nasional government has admitted it was lagging behind.

"A lot of blogs these days paint a negative picture. That's why we are coming up with these positive blogs," he said.
To counter blogs that are "negative" let's bring out some "positive" blogs?

In the age of the conversation, I can't just help but feel that these steps are anchored in the age where "media is propaganda."

Let's have a conversation. Your thoughts please?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Maps on Ovi

Client had another interesting video crossing blogs today. Personally, I'm impressed (nothing to do with me working on the account), this is just what I need when I'm planning a holiday in Australia :).

Proper stories here and here. What do you think?

Matt 6:21

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matt 6:21

Food for thought, what's the most important thing to you in this world? With the disasters happening thick and fast, first in Myanmar then China, Jason had a good point yesterday about re-considering really how we look at our lives.

Time to do what's really important?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Maps [check], GPS [check], Internet [check] this is what I'm gonna do in Brisbane.

This is awesome. I'm inspired. When I go to Gold Coast and Brisbane next month, this is what I'm going to do.


Okay, first off, Stavros is a fictional character Nokia created for this pretty (clever) online advertising campaign. But the technology is real. Yeap, you can download Nokia Sports Tracker, use the built in GPS on your N95 or N82, and send the routes you've walked and photos you've taken online. Perfect for chronicling your adventures. You can even create the map and embed it on your blog; check here.

So what I'm gonna do is try doing this whilst I'm in Aussie-land with the wife and see if it's really as simple as its made out to be. Hopefully, I'll come back with lots of pictures and interesting routes to try.

Jason, Robin, Ernest, interested in seeing if we can map a couple of mountain bike trails and post them online?

Of course, in case you didn't already know, in the interest of full disclosure, Nokia is one of my clients but I am not writing this post for anything remotely job-related.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So did you study blogging in Uni?


Read a funny story in the New Straits Times today about Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) might soon allow students to take blogging courses as part of their subjects.

Vice-chancellor Datuk Seri Prof Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah said something interesting, and I quote:

"Anyone can become a blogger now," he told reporters after a seminar here yesterday.

But this did not mean bloggers could write about anything, as they first needed to master several aspects of writing, such as language, ethics and accuracy of reporting.
Ibrahim said he supported any proposal to offer courses on blogging and that it was the most suitable time to do so.
I find this statement self-contradictory. First, Dr. Ibrahim is right by saying "Anyone can become a blogger now." That's absolutely right. Your plumber could be a blogger. Your mother could be a blogger. And don't be surprised if one day the pope starts a blog.

So if this is right, then why add requirements to becoming a bogger by saying that "they first needed to master several aspects of writing, such as language, ethics and accuracy of reporting?"

Does this mean if my English, Bahasa Melayu or Mandarin sucks I can't be a blogger?

Or if I don't hold on to the same "ethics" you subscribe to, I'm not credible (maybe in your eyes, not that of my fans)?

Or if I report on rumours and wild speculation, that I cannot be a credited as a blogger? Tell that to these guys - their blog is practically a rumour mill! And a very good one at that.

What does it mean to be a blogger? Some very enlightened people I listen to put it very well: blogging is just a publishing tool. Just like how anyone can write a book, anyone can blog.

Furthermore, not all bloggers are journalists. Some a diarists (they use the blog as their personal diary), some are story-tellers (ever read a blog that was pure fiction), some are commentators (they put forth their opinion on whatever subject they see fit), some are fanboys (they blog about their hobby, their pets etc) and very, very few bloggers will claim to be journalists.

Tom Merritt (links to episode 720 of Buzz Out Loud where comments were made) has a good solution for this. If a blogger wishes to be accorded the rights and pr0tection that's afforded journalists, then they must adhere to the same ethics and regulations that journalists adhere to.

If a blogger says, "hey, I'm not a journalist, just someone who writes!", then they are pretty much free to do what they want, but then they can't expect the protection journalists get (like the ability to "protect sources" even while subpeonaed).

One thing is clear though, this blanket definition of bloggers has to end. Not all bloggers are media. Certainly not some of our most famous political leaders (who have or recently started blogs).

(I mean, at least I won't consider those bloggers media).

Update: Thanks to the wonder of Twitter, some feedback with Twitter-people led me to this thought: Would being a degree-holding blogger entitle you to more money from blog-advertising?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blog is the new CV?

Lee just exclaimed as we were chatting about a potential hire: "Does he / she have a blog?"

He does have a point. And in fact, I'm sure it happens. So do potential bosses read your blogs like they do your CVs? If so, which becomes more important? And, how do you optimise your CV in order to be a more attractive hire?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Digital Music Revolution: Free music, richer artistes?

First off, I am not in any way involved in the music industry nor have I ever had any experience in it. Neither am I well-versed with music genres and am most likely to confuse hard rock with heavy metal. I'm just an armchair internet junkie who loves over-analyzing anecdotal information.

So in my last post, I blogged about Nine Inch Nails releasing their new album "The Slip" for free on the internet. What I glossed over due to lack of blogging time was that they made the downloads available in multiple formats including FLAC (CD quality) and High-Definition Wave files (super-high quality that only trained audiophiles can tell the difference of). It seems the digital music revolution might have just taken another step.

The point is this: for the first time, a top band has made available for free an entire album in a non-crippled way. Nope, it isn't just "high-quality" MP3 files you can download. It isn't just hte first nine tracks of a 36 track album. You aren't welcomed by a splash screen that tells you to pay as much as you want so you COULD get it for free, but you'd be kind of a jerk to. This is different. It's just "take our whole album, as high quality as you'd like, oh and take the PDF'ed album sleeve too" free.

If the old idea was to get the audience to download a (kinda) crappy MP3 album, fall in love with the song, then scoot out to get it in glorious CD format; the new idea is about just giving away music and hoping "we'll make money through shows, endorsements and support from the fans."

And it's not an unfounded idea. Enough coverage in the media has clearly demonstrated the fact that musicians make the bulk of their money from live appearances (concerts or otherwise).

So I'll posit this argument. My analysis is that the internet is now allowing artistes a freer hand in experimenting. Eyeris had a good point when he commented in my last post:

Giving it away for free just means that the band won't have to worry about irate fans banging their door down after paying RM40 for a completely crap album. haha.
Exactly what I meant about artists not having to worry about the "quality" of their songs anymore. Granted, that's a crude way to put it because artistes DO care and the DO have a reputation to uphold. What I meant was them no longer having to cater to the tastes of the masses simply because the digital medium allows them to cost-effectively put out much more material than before. All those tracks that used to end up on the cutting room floor can now end up in full collections online, given away for free!

What this then translates to (hopefully) a wider-fanbase that's sampled their music and bigger crowds when they go on tour. Could they then trade their amplified popularity for sponsorship or endorsement deals? Possibly. Will this make more of the better artistes richer? Hopefully.

Friday, May 9, 2008

More free music?

In case you haven't heard, Nine Inch Nails has done it again. Their latest album, The Slip is now available for download on the group's official website. Get it here.

Of course, when I exclaimed this aloud in my office, Eevon turned around and asked rather sarcastically: "do you even KNOW who Nine Inch Nails is?" To her great surprise, I did. Ever since they did the soundtrack for Quake (does anyone even remember this?)

My two cents on free music: I love it! Keep up the good work people.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I have super powers.


Since yesterday's post about Iron Man and how awesome the movie was, I got into a little discussion with a fellow PR consultant over MSN and we realised... PR people have superpowers too! Like:

1. Super Eyesight - (Granted I wear spectacles, but) PR people can and will churn through 13 newspapers daily within an hour, scanning for important client news with trained eyes that can spot BMW from BWM at a range of 2 - 3 feet away.

2. Subsonic and Selective Hearing powers - Needed for filtering out the background chatter from the real 'juicy' bits. Helps when you need to take notes of everything your client / client's boss says.

3. Iron Guts - May or may not come into use depending on whether you have booze clients or not. An ex-colleague used to tell me to drink one mug of beer a day to ensure I developed my Iron Gut. I failed. But if you have liquor clients, then you'd better make sure this superpower is very well developed.

4. Accelerated Healing - Like Wolverine, PR people can shake off the after-effects of a late, late night and be up for an early, early morning without aching bodies. Of course, on the occassion, this usually results in the said consultant going missing for a couple of days thereafter so use this power sparingly.

5. Flight / Super-speed - As with every service industry, every once in a while you make somebody angry - your client, some media, or some random bloke across the street. In these instances, it's pretty amazing to see how fast PR people can distance themselves from the aggro'ed character.

In the words of Nick Fury (right at the end of Iron Man, the Movie): "You think you're the only superhero in town?"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Iron Man: Did you see the subtitles?

Iron Man is GREAT! Yeap, I predicted this way back when the Iron Man suit made its debut at CES. If you haven't watched it yet, please feel free to watch it now and contribute to the more than US$ 100 million it's grossed already.

And while you're at it, pay attention to the hilarious Malay translation. There's this one scene when the character Stane tells Tony Stark (Iron Man's alter ego): "Tony, now we've got the board right where we want them..." (referring to intrigue with Stark Enterprises board of directors)

Our happy Malay translators helped subtitle this phrase: "Tony, sekarang kita sudah letak papan itu di mana kita mahukan." (Tony, we've put the plank where we want it.)

Context people, context! And Iron Man becomes Orang Besi?

Finally, yes, I'll confirm it's real. That final one minute of footage after you've waited through the seven minutes of credits when everyone's left the cinema? Yeap, it's real. You can probably find it on YouTube somewhere if you succumbed to peer pressure and left the cinema too. Although the link I found yesterday night seems to be down now.

I... quite proudly....despite Lydia's protests... made my wife stay back alone in that empty cinema to catch Samuel L. Jackson's appearance as Nick Fury! Which was awesome.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Random Nokia stuff

The client's keeping me busy with work, so I might as well post these here.

Firstly, in case you haven't heard already, there's a Nokia Independent Artists Club (IAC) gig happening this Saturday. Scroll down and click on the scans of the flyer for details. Given that I'm obviously no expert in the local music scene, I'm told that the acts are actually pretty good. So do drop by and have a listen.

Nokia IAC @ Zouk Front

Nokia IAC Live @ Zouk KL

Secondly, the smart people over at the Nokia global marketing team have come up with a fun aside to help us spend some more time in the office. It's actually a teaser for N-Gage , Nokia's new gaming platform / service. Go check it out by clicking this link: www.get-out-and-play.com.

Oh, and... the arkanoid clone is not the teaser, it's just to help you kill time while the flash animation loads. So play a while whilst you wait.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Say hello to the new Malay Mail

Were you Malay Mail readers welcomed by this new masthead today?

The Malay Mail relaunch

Just got back from the launch (or re-launch) of the Malay Mail - that well-loved tabloid with a 112-year history.

As background, in case you haven't heard, earlier this year, The Malay Mail was sold to publisher BluInc by the Media Prima Group. Tonight's event is the the second time the paper is reinventing itself in the space of two years, but I'm glad to report that under the hood, it's the same, familiar faces (with new notable additions) pushing the paper along.

The big change: The Malay Mail is going back to becoming that afternoon paper we all know and love. The key operating word being afternoon.

Getting to the venue, I was pretty impressed with the setup - a corridor muraled by previous editions of The Malay Mail. Sort of a mini-history lesson for me.

The Malay Mail relaunch

And the hall was packed with people:

The Malay Mail relaunch

But getting to the content of the evening, the person sitting next to me could not help but mention to me: "Why is Mr. Ibrahim mentioning "bloggers" and "internet" so much in his speech?" Actually, I couldn't help but notice that too. In my humble opinion, that's a good thing.

I sorta picked up that Mr. Ibrahim also talked about how The Malay Mail's heritage as an afternoon paper meant they were delivering people more current news than the rest of the market (remember reading yesterday's World Cup results off The Malay Mail because The Star didn't have any?) According to the man, The Malay Mail's emphasis on its online site to deliver current news was going to mirror this role it used to serve.

Flipping through the actual printed paper, the changes are quite apparent. There are quite a number of new columns - one even covers the blogosphere - from fairly opinionated people (I think I spied Amir Muhammad on the list). My favourite section - the complaints section - is back with two full pages. What's The Malay Mail, after all, without customer complaints?

Overall, I'm going to have to say that I'm slightly disappointed with the lack of lifestyle pages. Still, the focus on commentary and news is certainly welcome - if the paper can deliver on Mr. Ibrahim's promise to give us the "alternative opinion / viewpoint" that Malaysian readers today crave.

On a totally un-related matter, I also realised at the event that if you stick a huge enough logo anywhere, you can get people to camwhore in front of your logo. I'm just wondering if this is an idea that could be turned to a stunt:

The Malay Mail relaunch

On another TOTALLY unrelated matter, did I mention that the SWAG bag was stuffed with goodies. I think it puts some of us PR people to shame the sort of SWAG we give out. Here, have a look -the silver box is a 1GB USB drive:

The Malay Mail relaunch

Friday, May 2, 2008

Playing to the Tune of Green

Was catching up on Buzz Out Loud episodes from the past couple of days in the car just now when Molly Wood made an interesting comment that wasn't part of the actual story.

Commenting on the Crave blog's story on HDTracks, a new music service that allows downloads of full-CD quality, uncompressed digital music files, Molly said something about "this is green too."

Being the (savvy?) PR practitioner that I am, my ears pricked. How does green music sound as a catchphrase to you? Would you buy more digital music online if I told you you were helping save the earth?

You know, on a second thought, it's probably quite an obvious connection. But why hasn't this angle ever been picked up by the good folks of already established online music stores (which I'm sure you'll have no problems naming)?

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever read an article covering green music and how much greener digital music tracks are compared to pressing CDs. I'm sure there's still an effect on the environment (heat release and energy consumption from keeping servers switched on 24/7 etc.) but compared to running factories pressing CDs, I'm sure the numbers will show some savings.

What would the impact be if the whole world went digital? And not just for music, but for videos, games and other digitally distributed content as well? How much greener would we be? (Sounds like a theme for next year's Earth Day?)

So, yeah, a thought-provoking topic to think about and I'm actually hoping that someone picks this up and goes run a study.

In the meantime, go home and ask yourselves - is my music green?

Considering Ubuntu

I finally did it, on the night of Labour Day. And the whole process took approximately 53 minutes to complete. On my Dell Inspiron 8200 (yes, it's old).

Ubuntu Logo

As far as test runs and familiarisation projects go, this went fine. At least my great (now proven unfounded) fear of Linux is quelled. Really.

All I had to do was go download Ubuntu's latest distribution package (the 8.04 Hardy Heron), burn the .iso into a CD, pop the CD into the laptop and get it to boot, click install and Wah-Lah! it's done.

If you don't really want to destroy your Windows installation, you can even select a "try Ubuntu while keeping your current OS" option.

Really, I'd even consider this a simpler job than getting Windows (XP or Vista) installed.

Once installed, you don't even have to hunt for additional apps to install as the distribution comes with OpenOffice (think open-sourced Microsoft Office, well, StarOffice actually), FireFox, integrated Anti Virus and Firewall.

I think I've pretty much settled on installing Ubuntu on my Eee PC and will probably do a more in-depth review on that when I get it.

Meantime, if you've considering Linux for a long time but have been, like me, afraid of "complications", then I say "Fear no more", Ubuntu is really as simple as it gets.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tech Everywhere!

It's Labour Day today here in Malaysia and a good mate's wedding to boot. So, for a little cheer, here's a fun post with some pictures we took at Vincent's wedding (the rest were too embarassing to put up).

I call it: Tech Everywhere. And yes, that's me in an Afro.




In case you missed the point, see what comes out of the Afro.