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, April 30, 2009

Necessary Geek Gear: BlueTooth Headsets FTW

I'm an avid podcast listener because I like getting information as I walk around. But for the longest time, one of my biggest gripes has been about the long wires of my headphones getting stuck on "stuff" as I walk past them.

Door handles. Railings. Spiny, sticking-out, stuff. Hooks. Hangers. Get the wire snatched onto any one of the them things and you're in for something ugly.

So I had a simple mission. Get rid of the wires. And I started asking around my geek friends for some leads to the best kind of bluetooth headsets, and Erna kindly loaned me her Sony DR-BT21G (see dodgy picture below)

The Sony DR-BT21G - Share on Ovi

After 4 hours of podcast listening, I'm calling bluetooth headsets a must-have for absent-minded podcast listeners like me. However, there are some niggles with the Sony pair.

  • I like the look and packaging. For starters, it's a sleek little bundle that folds up nicely when you aren't using it. The colour appeals to me and the button layout makes sense.
  • The fit is snug, and while these aren't buds like that Motorola S9, I don't feel like they are about to fall off either. Also, the rounded earpieces rest very comfortably against my ear.
  • Sound-quality is about average. But if you're an audiophile in the first place, you'd be wired up. For podcast listening, I find A2DP adequate and clear enough. I did experience some wierd skipping though, but only when the phone is in my pants pocket so I'm wondering if its more a function of where I put the phone. I'll need to do more extensive testing to figure out.
  • There's a built-in Mic too on the Sony DR-BT21G so it can field calls no problemo which I think is a huge bonus. Plus the Mic fits in nicely with the headphones and still sounds fine (to my wife, at least) means I look like I'm just wearing a headset.
Overall, I'm pretty pleased. Now to find out what I've got to give up (hopefully not my arms of legs) to Erna in order to keep the headset. Edit: It's mine now. We worked out a deal. Muahahahahahaha!!!!! Thanks Erna!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Twitter bursts to life in Malaysia?

Did anyone else notice the sudden spike of Malaysian activity on Twitter in these past 2 months?

I've been on the service nearly more than a year and I think I must've seen double the activity on Twitter in just this very short period of time. And I don't think it's just down to Ashton Kutcher vs CNN. Or Oprah.

Last month, there was KL Tweetup [pictures -thanks bytebot / videos - thanks CarolynChan]. And in the space of the month, at least one more KL Tweetup and a couple more smaller tweetupKLs have happened. Then there was yesterday's #twtkl initiated by AvrilChan. Nineteen people showed up to an event that was organised in the space of 40 hours (more or less).

So have we reached a critical mass? The point where the numbers add up and there's enough people for us to follow, and are local enough for us to relate to and discuss locally relevant topics? As much as the preaching goes around that the world is global, there's no doubt with Social Networks local plays a bigger role.

You join a network because your closest friends are on it. That's why Friendster is / was big in Southeast Asia but not the world.

I'm finding Twitter takes on a whole new dimension when you can discuss Malaysian things with Malaysian people. I'm loving the fact that I can ask a totally Malaysian question and get 10 or so responses from Malaysians in a jiffy.

So here's the deal, if you're Malaysian and you're on Twitter, add me (at @davidlian) and I'll follow you back too, ok? Promise.*

PS. I'm also thinking of collating and setting up some sort of directory of Malaysian Tweeters. What do you think? Too invasive of privacy? We could have it as opt-in. Feedback? Edit: Thanks to @derekw. Just use WeFollow.

*Please note, above deal does not apply to people who have "success, money, business owner, network marketing, financial freedom" in their twitter profiles.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There's definitely a science to this...

I notice a sequence to technology adoption in my household. First, I discover something cool and start using it. I don't evangelise it to my family, but somehow, a couple of months down the road, my brothers start using it.

Like Facebook. I know its hit the mainstream when my father asks me "hey, what is this Facebook thing and how can I use it? My friend says he's sending me pictures on Facebook?"

I also know that this is the point most early adopters start to jump ship. Like me.

So here, may I present you the "GeeWhiz, Social Networks!" curve, roughly indicative observational learnings of social networks. You may also have come to the same conclusion, but remember, I drew this curve first. :)
GeeWhiz Curve.jpg - Share on Ovi
(click for bigger picture. Not on the text. On the picture of course.)

Joking aside, there's something to be learnt here. And though I have not the time nor the will to write a thesis, I think there's really something to be investigated here. Till next time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Friendster vs Facebook: who's winning in Malaysia?

For project on some work I was doing, I gathered some armchair research on Friendster vs Facebook in Malaysia and here's the interesting data:

Friendster No 1 in Malaysia (Oct 2008)
User comment points out that while Friendster is No.1 in terms of numbers (accounts), Facebook is in Google’s top 10 key word search in Malaysia. Friendster does not make the top 10 list.

Friendster press release

Alexaholic Rankings (current, updated real-time)
This ranks the traffic websites get from Malaysia. Note that Facebook is the 5th most visited page ahead of Friendster (only No. 7). This has changed much from the 2008 news release from Friendster which was in the Top 5 most popular sites. Facebook has overtaken them in these past 6 months.

Of course, Alexa is anything but accurate in Malaysia, but still...if Friendster used to go around telling people they were top 5 on Alexa, it's news that right now, they aren't.

Facebook Increasingly popular in Malaysia (31 March 2009)
This story in March reveals Facebook receiving a 14% sustained growth in Malaysia month-on-month. This means, in Feb 2008 Facebook received 500k visitors, but in February 2009 it received 2.4 million. That’s monumental growth.

Friendster is, by number of accounts, the biggest but it’s trending down in terms of activity (measured by traffic). A quick dip-stick survey on Twitter reveals that most significant online people in Malaysia prefer using Facebook over Friendster.

Replies I got from the Tweet: Which do you prefer Facebook or Friendster? Why? #malaysia (to poll only Malaysian users)

nigelais @davidlian Facebook cause I deleted my Friendster account a long time ago.

mikefoong @davidlian facebook, its cleaner, easier to manage and expandable #malaysia

kellster @davidlian: facebook. i prefer the layout and the security of it :)

ShaolinTiger @nigelais @davidlian I deleted Friendster account too, it was lame and is even lamer now Facebook rocks! Myspace is for musicians #malaysia

thechannelc @mikefoong @davidlian facebook is fast losing it's appeal. I find I'm only there to play word twist to help me sleep. #malaysia (does not have Friendster)

lokgotz @davidlian facebook. Friendster too many annoying strangers... #malaysia

hantu @davidlian re: your question, I have a Facebook account, but I'm not active; I recently deleted my Friendster, clutter/ads issues.

HillaryChan Facebook, but I should probably be more busy on Friendster too. A lot of my girls from my alma mater are active there. @davidlian #malaysia

saimatkong @davidlian facebook, friendster tak da orang guna liao macam...

On another tack, I've got the sneaking suspicion that Twitter might end up the winner pretty soon. People clued into tech are now almost all on Twitter and people like my dad are now getting on Facebook. Obviously there's a bell-curve somewhere that

Personally, I love the simplicity of Twitter and how it lets me connect as meaningfully as possible, with as little effort as possible (140 characters FTW!). Facebook's recent revamp to make itself more like Twitter ("What's on your mind?" sounds too similar to "What are you doing?") seems aimed at driving meaningful connections more than zombie bites and that might just keep them in the running. And in my humble opinion, that's what social connections will turn out to be: simple ways to drive meaningful connections (data, picture, text - whatever is meaningful to you).

The winning social network, I feel, will need to give people the right balance of meaningful information, whilst avoiding information overload. Oh, and it also has to be free.

Apology accepted.

The Malay Mail published an apology for taking without prior information or permission blog posts from ShaolinTiger and myself. I'd like to say here that they did the right thing in apologising and I hope that this little incident in some (small) way contributes to a more professional relationship between blogs and the broader media industry.

Cyberspot Apr 13.jpg - Share on Ovi

For my part, I've no problems with people taking my stuff, quoting me or using content found on my site. I'd just like to be asked first. So there, that's the policy. If you need to take more than three paragraphs from my blog, please ask me. If you want to just quote me here and there, I really don't mind as it's fair use - just credit me properly. After all, we live in the age and culture of sharing don't we?

Monday, April 6, 2009

The post about Barcamp KL 2009

Spent Saturday morning at Barcamp KL 2009 and though I only spent half a day, listening to four sessions, I have to say, it was probably the most fun conference I've attended. Way better than the one I attended last year. Kudos Daniel Tan and Daniel Cerventus!

Quickly, off the top of my head, just the top things I loved about barcamp:
1. Meeting other geeks!
2. The talks - some hilarious, some insightful, some flame-worthy and all a great deal of "time well spent".
3. Breakfast! *note to organising team: The hearty breakfast was absolutely smashing!
4. Debates: Along with meeting people, the inevitable sharing of views and debating was enlightening. Truly, some of Malaysia's best tech minds attend barcamp.
5. The fact that you can be you, and everyone's a peer: I missed the dance lessons, but hey, not all conferences have to be stuffy.

For more BarcampKL 2009 coverage:

Here's an excellent video by TheBackpackr which captures the essence of Barcamp KL 2009:

If you want to catch up on all the tweets that were made at BarcampKL, click thru here.

I also guested @mikefoong's TheITChannel Podcast to share my experience at Barcamp, check that out here.

Bytebot's presentation and associated blog posting on: Behind the scenes: Advertising and PR, Bloggers and Integrity: Making Money, While Being Honest

Random videos of talks and happenings by TheChannelC on Qik.

Reports on Barcamp KL 2009 I've found:
Bernard Leong.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The PM's exclusive content: Marketing the wrong thing?

There was a story that ran in The Star today where our PM encouraged the people to check his blog regularly for 'exclusive content.'

I've got a question. What does our dear PM mean when he say's 'exclusive content'?

Is he talking about some exclusive wallpapers featuring himself? Behind-the-scenes videos? 'The making of' videos? What 'exclusive content'?

He says its exclusive content on coming events. Okay, so it sounds like its actually useful information. That's more troubling.

The issue here is: is it right for the nation's leader to have exclusive content just for the 59% of Malaysians on the internet - and even then, only the few - who may be visiting his website?

Shouldn't he be sending the message out to all Malaysians through as many channels as possible?

No, I don't believe 'exclusive content' is for the PM. I also don't believe a new logo will actually add any 'fresh perspectives' (read here).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Can you contribute others' posts?

Yesterday, the Malay Mail published both ShaolinTiger and my posts about "PR and bloggers" side by side in a contrapuntal article entitled "Battle for the Internet mind". Shaolintiger posted about this on his blog, attracting many replies screaming plagiarism, copyright-infringement or the like.

Battleforinternetminds.jpg - Share on Ovi

Technically, it isn't plagiarism, because its attributed to us. It's possibly copyright infringement, because we weren't asked or informed. But here's a slight loophole, that I've had at the back of my mind thinking:

The whole page is framed as a reader-contributed page where the Malay Mail asks readers to send in links to anything interesting they've seen on the Net. So technically, it isn't the Malay Mail that's willfully taking and publishing blogposts, right? Readers contributed them.

I'm not a lawyer, so I'm really asking an open question about the legality of this?

Personally, I wouldn't even have needed to be asked permission (permission is over-rated). But it'd have been nice to just get an email from The Malay Mail telling me:

"Hi David, we loved your post on this and this, so we're going to run it in tomorrow's newspaper. Thought we'd let you know. Oh, and don't worry about running out to get a copy, we'll send you a complimentary copy."

It doesn't hurt to be nice, you know?

On another note, in today's connected society, is the culture of taking and re-purposing something that's become a norm? I can embed any YouTube video I want without asking the person who posted the video in the first place. Can the Malay Mail 'embed' my blog into their newspaper too?

I guess that's another discussion altogether.

New MALAYSIAN tech podcast for my ears...

I've confessed previously what a big fan of podcasting I am. In fact, podcasts have replaced the radio completely for me.

What I've been looking forward to though is for a truly local tech podcast to break through and set the ball rolling in Malaysia. Murmurings at KLTweetup seemed to indicate that more than one large tech personality in Malaysia was looking into it and then on Monday, I discovered TheITChannel.

Podcast - Share on Ovi

Hosted by @mikefoong and @andrewkjs (and supposedly, in future episodes @thechannelc) of Twitter fame, the inaugral episode covers Earth Hour, Maxis iPhone launch and DiGi's Broadband launch - all from a really local tech-head viewpoint. It's a great listen and the hosts are suitably Malaysian (not at all pretentious with western accents). I think it'll stay on my podcast list for a while.

Meantime, I'm also looking forward to ByteBot's podcast when that comes around. It's starting to looks like it's going to be the year Malaysian podcasting takes off.