Monthly Archive for May, 2007

Photos: What happened at Geek Terminal’s Launch Party

Geek Terminal Launch Party

Everyone loves party pictures don’t they? Continue reading ‘Photos: What happened at Geek Terminal’s Launch Party’

LIVE Video: Geek Terminal Official Launch Party

If you can’t decide whether to come down, at least you can see what’s happening first. Feel free to Direct Message me via Twitter if you wish to issue me commands.

Examples of twitters I’ve received include: “Climb up the bar counter and dance” from DK and “Buy Everything” from Lucian. Please people, if you’re sending me instructions, make it count.

In related news, business opportunities for this live video feed have started to come in. At the Geek Terminal launch party, an online marketing guy was interested in running ads alongside my videos, while another guy wanted to pay me to provide a live feed for some business event.

I think I might need to hire someone to write a custom videocasting webapp just for me to do this properly. The free videocasting services out there have one problem or another. If anyone’s interested to take this on, please let me know. We’ll work something out.

Update 1: Operator11 gives me limited airtime. Might switch to Ustream.tv on my sidebar.
Update 2: Party’s now over. Total of thirty-five people watched this video live.
Update 3: Most of us showed off our Hitchoo cards. Everyone kept talking about it!
Update 4: Can’t hear us talking? I realized the wrong microphone was selected. Doh!

Watch what Kevin did at the museums…

Since International Museum Day ’07 ended this Sunday, I check out the Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of SIngapore to see what’s going on there. Watch as I chat up young kids and hot chicks, check out the artsy museum activities and learn more about the hardcore volunteer groups they have at the musuems!

This video is dedicated to the hardworking bloggers over at Yesterday.sg

Hitchoo’s in the mail!

Hitchoo in the mail

Don’t know about the rest of you, but I signed up yesterday and I got my Hitchoo cards today. That was quick! You get an introduction letter and 8 free cards to start off with.

Now the thing is… will I have the guts to pass these cards along? Or even get to use them at all? Heck, I like DK’s idea: To pass my cards to friends, who could then pass them on to potential people they think I’d like. Think of it as a Hitchoo mod which adds a peer-to-peer social recommendation element to getting dates!

What’s Hitchoo? How about dinner with Yinghan Hu…

hitchoo founder:  Yinghan Hu

Remember the sob tale of how I had no guts to talk to that lady in the bus? If only I had met Yinghan sooner…

Even though I saw so many new faces at BlogOut, his stood out the most. Yinghan was seated at our “Citizen Journalism” table where I had everyone first introduce themselves. The minute he presented himself and what he did, the entire group became glued to what he had to say. Yinghan had given up a comfy investment career to pursue his dream of making people happy. How? As inspired by the movie Hitch, he wanted to bring couples together. Bring in a new twist to an old idea and shazamHitchoo was born (oooh!).

hitchoo card (back)hitchoo card (back)
The front and back of the Hitchoo cards… it’s what I call “the missing link” to hooking up!

While he had explained in theory on how his service worked back at BlogOut, I was intrigued by how it would work in real life. Coincidentally, he contacted me today and asked if I wanted to do dinner. Since I was spending my day at the downtown museums recording videos for my blog (last day of International Museum Day 2007!), I offered to meet him at City Hall at 7pm.

At the basement of Raffles City, we chatted as we dined at Ding Tai Fang, then moved onto Ben & Jerry’s for dessert. Life seemed serendipitous around him as the cute girl serving us was exceptionally cheery and extremely helpful, especially to two confused souls trying to pick our flavors for the evening. Under normal circumstance, I’d have thought to myself, she’s cute, paid, and walked off thinking how a loser will always be a loser. Under Yinghan’s Hitchoo-powered circumstance, he whipped out his wallet, took out the familiar brown card and in a genuine manner, told her “you made my day” as he gave her the card.

She was flattered.

I watched from a distance, not wanting to make it seem like I was in it as a joke. I felt like I was in a movie, in a perfect scene, where whipping out my camera would have ruined it entirely. Just my luck, my wearable Archos cam was sent to France for repairs (charging unit busted). Regardless of that, I was pretty amazed. The girl didn’t seem to think that he was trying to be weird with her, which was the point. The brown card he gave seemed to be the missing link someone like me would need. I had asked Yinghan earlier why someone would be motivated to give a hitchoo card instead of a regular name card, to which he responded with two rationales: privacy and mystique (not mutually exclusive).

First of all, privacy is very important in the dating game. Giving a regular name card entails giving away where you work and your contact information. While guys might not think twice about this, the loss of privacy would be more challenging if a girl were interested in a guy. Note that the hitchoo cards contain very brief information, simply the Hitchoo URL, username and passkey, which is a unique code for each and every person you meet. It also expires after a while to protect your identity in case the card gets passed around (e.g. graffiti-ed on toilet walls). After logging in with the card’s details, the card receiver can then look up the profile which the giver has shared, and can then choose to contact him or her if they were interested. In relation to this, I also thought of another reason, that is sometimes your profession might put you in a particular stereotype which may be unattractive at first glance. Perhaps this allows users to sort of glance a few pages of a book first, instead of solely relying on the cover. As an added bonus, Yinghan indicated how he has plans for Hitchoo to check registered users with local agencies as a safeguard to their members (e.g. using Singaporean I/C to check married status, criminal records, etc).

Second of all, the mystique he referred to was something I call “game-like”. Understanding user motivations and the significance of self-discovery, the chances of getting attention returned to the card giver would likely be higher if some non-invasive form of investigation were involved. For instance, a regular name card might contain your name and cellphone number. For someone to learn more about you, a certain level of commitment would need to be staked. He or she would likely have to call or email you, which might be a risk not worth taking since the receiving party would have to inadvertently trade their contact information, without giving a chance to know the interested party first. Using the Hitchoo system, entering the username and passkey would feel like your given exclusive access to this person’s life. I think it would be as interesting as redeeming a mystery prize, where the unique passkey entices you to complete the puzzle. This totally leaks elements of performance art and of ARG, or Alternate Reality Games, as introduced to me by Christy Dena at AoIR ’06.

I’ve actually captured a video of Yinghan explaining “how Hitchoo works” from BlogOut, but I’ll share this in about two weeks. I’m planning to shoot and edit in some “behind the scenes” action from his office, where he’ll introduce his talented team members. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, hitchoo.com has started to allow registrations where you’ll receive eight cards to begin with. Apparently, these Hitchoo cards are expensive to produce.

Update: Drat! For some reason, commenting was closed. Thanks to MrBig, I’ve reopened the floodgates. Tell me what you think of Hitchoo, especially you’re so single.

theorycast.23 :: SoonR, not later, on your cellphone

theorycast23_soonr

theorycast.23 :: SoonR, not later, on your cellphone
Show Guest: Ian Loe • Location: BigO cafe @ Wheelock Place

Ian Loe’s a friend who works as a security and governance consultant at IBM. When I caught up with him in Singapore, he started raving about how great this cellphone webapp called SoonR was. Since I carry a camera as my standard sidearm, I had him demo SoonR on his Nokia E65 and his Dopod 838 Pro. Remotely connecting to his Mac back at home, he shows us how SoonR allows him to lookup his photo collection via the Internet on his cellphone. It seems easy enough, but the best part: There’s nothing to install on your phone!

BTW: Do you prefer having an animated video preview or the Youtube player in this blog post?

Five things I hate about BlogOut 2007…

BlogOut 2007 @ Geek Terminal (Postcard)
See my entire set of funky photos from BlogOut 2007…

UPDATE: Woot! ValleyWag liked this post so much, they featured it! That’s a leg up for the Singaporean Web 2.0 scene! :)

Having lived most of my blogging life in suburban Buffalo (Western New York), I realized that one downside of being in a city such as Singapore is that I’ve got too much to blog about. If it’s not meetups, it’s conferences, interviews, and just miscellaneous nonsense I get myself into in our urban jungle. Heck, I haven’t even had time to rant about recent issues in the media (i.e. UNSW’s closure isn’t our govt’s fault). I was about to share a long drawn out post on everything that happened at BlogOut, but I think it has already been covered in depth by others. So instead, here are five things I hate about BlogOut 2007:
Continue reading ‘Five things I hate about BlogOut 2007…’

In case I get asked about my strange backpack tonight…

How to never forget anything...

UPDATE: Here’s a new video demonstrating how to I’d never forget…

At BlogOut, if you see a person in black wearing a strange backpack with cameras and listening devices sticking out, don’t be alarmed. I’m merely saving my experience into a hard drive. While one camera records (actually this camera is temporarily down since I blew my portable DVR’s battery), the other is streaming video live from my backpack (i.e. Justin.tv).

Here’s a quick rundown on my sousveillance backpack, which serves as:
1. a lifecasting device
2. visual experience / memory archive (i.e. TiVo my life)
3. performance art on public vs. private spaces (i.e. challenges notions of privacy)
4. a way of hijacking a public space without leaving physical residual (e.g. virtual ownership)

Do note that this is work-in-progress, but I’m willing to share my current rational and build process here. Researcher Dan Li prompted me to a related article in the New Yorker. Your thoughts and suggestions would be awesome.

Remember: I’m broadcasting from 6.30pm onwards. You can watch the show here, and Direct Message me via Twitter to hit me on my cellphone while I’m on.

Video: Pre-BlogOut Preparations @ Geek Terminal

Here’s a quick 7min video showing folks from The Digital Movement (TDM) preparing for BlogOut at Geek Terminal.

Even the Geek Terminal staff were busy preparing huge LCD screens for tomorrow’s blogger event, which has since exceeded the 100 attendee registration mark. In the video, you’ll hear Genie, a Singaporean chinese singer / blogger, talking to Su Yuen, a TDM member over Skype. Seated not far from me were TDM members having a discussion about tomorrow.

Incidentally, this was broadcasting live from my second wearable camera mounted on my left shoulder. I’ll be webcasting BlogOut live from 6.30pm onwards (Singapore time), so either hit play on the Ustream.tv widget on my blog sidebar, or go to my show’s URL address.

BTW: Since it’ll be a live video feed, I’ve setup Direct Messages on Twitter to go straight to my cellphone. You’ll be able to tell me anything, from fixing the video feed if it goes down, to guiding me to a chick in the corner of the video. I’ll be remote controlled… :D

Meeting Minister Lee Boon Yang @ International Museum Day

Having been to the museum roundtable session for Singapore’s International Museum Day 2007 activities (aka IMD2007), it was only natural that I checked out the launch which took place last Friday.

Held at the beautifully revitalized National Museum, I met old friends, made new acquaintances and even shook the hand of Minister of Information, Communications and The Arts (MICA), Dr. Lee Boon Yang! Just watch the short video above.

International Museum Day 2007 @ National Museum - 15 I was quite surprised at the high level of reception our museums have for bloggers such as myself. National Heritage Board’s (NHB) sharp-dressing CEO, Michael Koh (left), as well as Corporate Communications Director and friend, Walter Lim (right), introduced me to Dr. Lee just as he arrived at the museum. Through the event, they also kept me informed of what was going on, and I took it upon myself to reiterate key points so I could report accurately.

About meeting Dr. Lee Boon Yang… at first I felt a little embarrassed by the amount of gadgets weaved onto my sousveillance backpack, but I think it got the message across: Individuals today can become media entities on their own. Referring to the myriad of online personalities / celebrities, anyone with enough charisma, tech-savvy, and business sense, can rival the attention which only media conglomerates previously enjoyed. Has this happened in Singapore? Sure… MrBrown’s a good example, with his daily podcasts and other online shows.

While the event was to officially start IMD2007 activities throughout the island, something subtle was introduced at the launch as well. Called SGCOOL, this new heritage web site’s name is actually short for Singapore Collections Online. As Michael Koh mentioned, about 6,000 different artifacts were either photographed or scanned, then shared online for the public viewing. Apparently this would act as a sampler of the kind of artifacts our museums hold, in a bid to attract more visitors to our museums. Besides becoming a useful search engine for historians, some suggestions on its growth included giving the public the ability to purchase high quality prints.

Incidentally, Walter told me that they are planning to have a contest for SGCOOL soon, where they’ll have participants use images from the site to “curate” their own galleries. Apparently prizes include a Nintendo Wii! Michael made it a point that this is the first version of such a site, and the National Heritage Board welcomes suggestions on how it could be further improved.

sgcool

What’s interesting about SGCOOL is that it mirrored something I was involved with back in the University at Buffalo. Over at the Educational Technology Center (ETC) where I worked, we were involved in coding and archiving gallery databases for various works, including architecture (See Rudy Bruner Award Digital Archive), digitized research / instructional tools (See UBdigit) and even Pulp detective novel covers. Perhaps SGCOOL could take some cues from there, but top on my list would be to provide higher resolution images since the “detailed view” still looks very much like thumbnails.

Rudy Bruner

Finally, a highlight of the event included tour bus rides by three tour operators each launching new services of their own. There was Luxury Tours, City Tours with the double-decker Fun Vee Bus, and DuckTours with their amazing monster Rhino Bus. You know which I preferred by now obviously… the Rhino bus was designed in Singapore and looked more like a spaceship from the inside (as seen below).

International Museum Day 2007 @ National Museum - 48International Museum Day 2007 @ National Museum - 49

Together with panoramic windscreens, theater style ascending seats, a multi-language system with “Kiddo” language for young ones, and a projection screen for detailed historical presentations, I wish I could buy this Rhino bus to live in (see external view). Look out for these new tours in the next two months.

Before you go, here are all the photos taken that day. You can also see this list of IMD2007 activities happening this week onwards.