Monthly Archive for September, 2005

iTunes 5.0 on Sony PSP

iTunes PSP

Someone got word from someone else that he had iTunes 5 for Sony PSP. Someone then posted photos of iTunes running on the PSP (no video?) and slowly but surely, someone then told Chris Barr about it and now everyone, including me, knows.

Oh, you didn’t know? :P

Hell, iTunes 5 on the Sony PSP even reads UMDs (see first pic), downloads podcasts, let’s you buy music from the iTunes music store, and even runs visualizations while the music plays.

Bullshit?
You tell me after looking at the rest of the photos.

Useful collaborative work spaces

JotSpot Live

Otterman just blogged about how he uses SubEthaEdit with another mac user to collaborate on the tedious task of taking minutes during a meeting. This fascinating and powerful tool for Mac OS X users runs on Rendezvous. He noted that users don’t need an intenet connection, just another mac user in the room. Simply put, it easily allow you to share a document and while user type away, the changes appear in real time. It’s like a spontaneous wiki.

As Dr. Halavais noted long ago, it’s Mac only. Not to be outdone, Otterman noted that PC users now have something close to SubEthaEdit called Gobby. It’s a free collaborative editor that also runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux and other Unix-like platforms. He adds that it’s not as great as SubEthaEdit, but its a start.

JotSpot Live Screenshot

Over at the Download Squad today, I found JotSpot Live. From the makers of the JotSpot wiki service, JotSpot Live is a real-time collaborative note-taking environment. Think of it as SubEthaEdit or Gobby for the web, or Writely for note-taking. You can see the changes others are making in real-time, and drag-and-drop sections to rearrange them. As the Download Squad noted, the free version is limited as you only get to create 5 pages per month. You get 15 pages per month for $5, or unlimited pages for $20.

Aside: At the rate of cool web services being introduced, we’ll soon have no need for software on our computers… just a web browser. Already an entire Office suite is available for use online… just check out ThinkFree Office 3.

Straits Times bashes bloggers again!

Media vs Bloggers

How I felt in the recent course of events in the Singapore blogosphere:

Bloggers facing Sedition for racial descrimination = an Itch
Bloggers facing Libel from many angry school teachers = a Rash
Bloggers being prejudiced in the Press by someone who clearly has no idea what blogs are about = a bloody Chickenpox Outbreak

Just because I live outside Singapore doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pain… sure I only got to hear about it after reading everyone else’s blogs so consider this a delayed but pissed reaction. The Op-Ed piece which Carl Skadian wrote in the Straits Times really takes the cake. For a good idea of what he wrote about, read what these three local blogosphere superheroes said: Jeff Yen’s “I Love Op-Eds II (The One About pr0n)“, a massive “local press bashing blogs” overview by Huichieh Loy entitled “It’s official now: blogs are worse than porn” and a really smooth “Open Letter to Carl Skadian” by Elia Diodati.

What’s with the press bashing blogs? While the blogosphere is still fairly new in Singapore compared to the U.S., there’s still no reason for traditional media, especially the press, to feel threatened enough to publish this piece of crap which completely lacks fundamental understanding that blogs tend to go beyond the self-serving needs of individuals. It’s the closest thing to e-democracy today and it’s some local bloggers who are able to demonstrate the equalizing powers blogs have over mass media.

It’s ironic that the Straits Times editors can publish articles that are obviously biased and lacking in proper research to be justified for print. Definitely “Not News Fit For Print”!

Today’s Links: Blogging without Fear

Blog Safety

Axel Brun: Raw notes from ProdUser workshop

Axel Bruns @ UB

Met Axel Bruns from the University of Queensland. Sorry was so busy I couldn’t do a videocast of it. Here are some raw notes which I doubt will be useful to anyone since it was a pretty abstract discussion we had about the producer/consumer process chain. Anyhow, the notes are after the jump… Continue reading ‘Axel Brun: Raw notes from ProdUser workshop’

What makes an idea viral?

You’ve probably heard of viral marketing by now… it’s the kind of thing that made Hotmail as popular as it is today. It starts with an idea, but ever thought of what makes some ideas more viral than others?

Here are some pointers from Seth Godin, author of the free ebook and paperback entitled “Unleashing the Idea Virus“:

For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received.

No one “sends” an idea unless:
a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

No one “gets” an idea unless:
a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

This explains why online ideas, like some memes, spread so fast but why they’re often shallow. For more, see Seth Godin’s blog

One less thing for kids to blog about…

From the Straits Times (thanks to Mr Wang) and in the wake of a series of sedition charges, here’s a recent article (partial) showing how Singapore has yet to come to grasp with blogging as just another medium. Since blogging is a fairly new thing to the rest of Singapore, we are witnessing traditional systems adapt to it, other rather, adapting it to fit the system. Wondering if there will ever be a mutual change…

Straits Times, Sept 27, 2005
Schools act against students for ‘flaming’ teachers on blogs
By Sandra Davie and Liaw Wy-Cin

FREE speech may be the buzzword on the Internet – but libel is unacceptable everywhere.

The message has been sent out loud and clear, with five junior college students being punished for posting offensive remarks about two teachers and a vice-principal online. The students, all girls, were made to remove the remarks from their Internet diaries, or blogs, and suspended for three days last month. Their parents were also informed.

The case is not an isolated one. Of the 31 secondary schools and junior colleges contacted, 18 said they were seeing more such incidents as the number of bloggers surges. Seven secondary schools and two JCs have asked bloggers who criticise or insult their teachers online – ‘flaming’ in Internet jargon – to remove the offending remarks. One such remark referred to a secondary school teacher as a ‘prude’ for disciplining a student for wearing a too-short skirt. ‘Frustrated old spinster. Can’t stand to see attractive girls,’ the blog read.

Tanglin Secondary science and PE teacher Tham Kin Loong said: ‘I’ve had vulgarities hurled against me, my parents and my whole family in some students’ blogs.’

The 33-year-old added: ‘Most of them do not realise the legal implications of what they are writing in such a public domain.’

If teachers wish to prosecute, they may have legal grounds to do so.

Singapore Teachers’ Union general secretary Swithun Lowe said the union is ready to back any teacher who wants to take legal action. It has offered legal help to a few members, but they did ‘not want to affect the prospects of their young students’.

Lawyers say students can be sued for defamation, even if a teacher is not named. ‘As long as someone is able to identify the teacher, and it is an untrue statement that affects his reputation or livelihood, then the student is liable,’ said Ms Doris Chia of Harry Elias and Partners.

An injunction can be taken to get the student to remove the blog and issue an apology, she added.

But none of the schools contacted by The Straits Times has banned blogging. Rather, many English and General Paper teachers encourage it to improve students’ language and writing skills.

First, the Internet was “bad” because it promoted porn and whatnot, now blogging is “bad” because it promoted racial discrimination and offensive school kids. What’s next?

It seems obvious that the Internet “favor” the American way of life, which promotes freedom of speech and the open marketplace of ideas. As for Singapore, it looks like while the government seeks to promote different views for the survival of our national future, citizens will have to be more careful with what they say, especially online since it is a “policed” domain in as well. In other word, please don’t think too differently. Open criticisms have started to become a national past-time & crime.

If you’re wondering what’s with the image on the right, Reuters UK published their story as Singapore Schools Punish Cheeky Student Bloggers… oh how cute. Don’t be so cheeky next time har!

UPDATE: OK, I’ve had it with blogs being the all-time legal scapegoat in Singapore. Here are some constructive thoughts… instead of punishing students and telling them what’s wrong, tell them the RIGHT way to do it. We all have our memories of quirky teachers and principals, so it’s a pretty universal thing. Why not teach them to write their views in a more light hearted context as part of their English class… in fact teach them the safer way to blog (e.g. learn to write fairly). Come on Singapore, I’m sick of the dollars and cents mentality that’s like a disease back home… put some sense into it and see that we need to move on, not hold back. You got to give people a way out that’s good for you and good for them!

BlogWorkShop01: Sharing my shownotes…

When I ran my blog workshop last Friday for my friends, I knew I had to go through the usual technical aspects of identifying key components of a blog (blog posts, permalinks, comments, trackbacks, rss feeds, etc), setting up of a blog, as well as some key HTML tips such as hyperlinking and displaying images. However, I find that it would only make more sense if I saved that for later and instead focused on the softer, social aspects of blogging where I attempted to answer harder questions as to why people blog (good for persuading people to blog), how A-list bloggers write differently for blogs, as well as the bloggers’ etiquette which included verifying and crediting sources.

With the above mentioned in mind, I started the blog workshop with a description of our state of the world wide web, noting that the Internet redefines itself every time someone comes up with a new service that adds, improves, or even disrupts existing ones. With the advent of blogs, RSS feeds, AJAX-powered services such as Gmail, we live in an era where the web no is longer only about static presentations and web surfing, but of social interaction, especially for producing collaborative content. In other words, the web has turned from read only to read & write web. This new web environment is known as Web 2.0 and this is a buzz word you’re going to hear quite a lot. To illustrate the concept of Web 2.0 better, here’s Tim O’Reilly’s “Web 2.0 Meme Map“.

This was the result of a “What is Web 2.0?” brainstorming session at FOO Camp 2005 and it roughly showcases the services ecology of web 2.0. Likewise, it’s useful to know the origin of the term (via Wikipedia: Web 2.0):

The term was coined by Dale Dougherty of O’Reilly Media brainstorming with Craig Cline of MediaLive to develop ideas for a conference that they could jointly host. Dougherty suggested that the web was in a renaissance, with changing rules and evolving business models. Dougherty gave examples — “DoubleClick was Web 1.0; Google AdSense is Web 2.0. Ofoto is Web 1.0; Flickr is Web 2.0.” — rather than definitions, and recruited John Battelle for a business perspective, and O’Reilly Media, Battelle, and MediaLive launched the first Web 2.0 Conference in October 2004. The second annual conference will be held in October 2005.

All said and done, I shared with my friends Piaras Kelly’s 12 tips on writing content for your blog before diving into the how-tos for blogging and flickr-ing. Also touched on RSS feeds, podcasting and videocasting.

Do share with me whatever else you feel is important when introducing the world of blogging to the uninitiated.

Related Link:
WEB 2.0: The social web explained
“It’s A Whole New Web” is a great Business Week article on our new socially-oriented world wide web. Think Blogger, Del.icio.us, Technorati, Flickr, Gmail, etc.

Coming soon: Reviews of Axel Brun’s “Produser Workshop” this Wednesday at the North Campus, Center for the Arts.

Kevin Sez: Read Haro Singapore!

Like Elia Diodati, I don’t have time to write colorful blog posts everyday… there’s also just no way I can compete with those who blog a gazillion times a day. With that, I remind myself that blogging isn’t a competition and there are no prizes nor a finish line…. it’s a long, sometimes lonely journey. If someone does come along to leave a nice comment, consider that a bonus. So since there are no real rules to blogging, short posts work for me. You’ll never know when you’ll strike a chord with someone (e.g. a romantic librarian) even with a tidbit you quickly posted right before bedtime.

With that I go back to what the point of this post… to recommend reading Halo Singapore! Why?

If you’re looking for a shining example that showcases the ideal reasons to blog, Haro Singapore talks about things from an eye-witness level, maintains a conversational tone in writing, and best of all is unique in content since it talks about the quirky, unseen side of Singapore.

Contrast that to my blog, where I can go anywhere from a Mac guru, to an informatics researcher wannabe, to a politically-incorrect Singaporean. I believe that the lack of focus on my blog is a bad bad thing since everyone LOVE blogs to be well-designed, organized and purpose-oriented so it’s easy for them to read.

Anyhow, before I digress even further into the depths of thought, go read Halo Singapore! where his latest discoveries include flooding at Wista Atria and FaLunGong sightings in Singapore.

BlogWorkShop01: The Read/Write Web

Tonight I’ll be facilitating my first open blogging workshop (simply called BlogWorkShop01) with Singaporeans over here in Buffalo. It’ll be at 8pm at my Triads apartment. While response has been positive (having gotten enough RSVPs), I will have to be careful how I teach it. People new to blogs may be technically proficient such as when setting up blogs, uploading images, and linking, but I feel lack strong footing in the fundamental areas of blogging, such as why we blog, writing for blogs and blog etiquette (trackbacks, crediting sources).

As attendees will be coming with different levels of blogging experience, I worry about satisfying people’s expectations. In any case, I plan to cover the following:

Blogging Workshop (2hr power session)
– State of the Web (Talk about the social state of internet: Web 2.0)
– Why blog? (motivations)

– What’s a blog?
— Setting up a blog (Blogspot or WordPress?)
— Linking web sites, text & images (basic HTML)
— Writing effectively on blogs (Being attractive & succinct)

– Flickr (social photography)
— Setting up Flickr
— Uploading methods
— Tagging (What, Why, How)
— Linking images to blogs

Given enough time:
– Reading hundreds of web sites no time (RSS feeds)
– Listening to Podcasts (iTunes makes it easy)

There’s too much to talk about. For now, I recommend reading about blogs and what makes them unique from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog