Monthly Archive for May, 2007

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I know what you did this weekend…

It certainly wasn’t this… :P

UStream: Siva’s Blogging Presentation @ MDIS

As you all know, I’m into blogs, education and social activism, so today I trailed Siva once again who turned up as a guest speaker for a Communications class at the Management Development Institute Of Singapore (MDIS). Instead of bringing my wearable cam today, I tried something different…

If you actually visit my blog, you’d have noticed a strange widget on my sidebar with the words “UStream.tv“. Think of it as live webcasting for the rest of us. As long as you can get an internet connection (e.g. wired, wifi, EVDO), a web cam, and a computer with a web browser, you’re all set.

In my case, I had the convenience of using my “Ultimate Blogging Machine“, the Sony Vaio UX, which has two camera (front and back). Maintaining a wifi connection, I was actually broadcasting his class 4hrs ago, viewable from my blog sidebar (as announced via Twitter).

When the educator running the MDIS class said how amazing blogging is, I explained that it was getting more dramatic, especially in terms of speed. Think of it this way…

My Average Time to Publish…
Web sites (1 day / checking links, archiving old pages)
Blog Post (30 mins or so / depending on article)
Flickr (15min / I tag responsibly)
Twitter (2 min / I watch what I say)
UStream (1 min / Real-time as it happens!)

A few weeks back, Siva timed his interns from zero to having the first blog post up using Blogger.com and they clocked in at four minutes. Quite amazing starting from scratch, but even more amazing that the complexities of our online world have broken down that fast. It’s only a matter of time when both our physical and online worlds would be completely in sync, allowing you to traverse either terrains as if you’re already there.

Aside 1: You can check out Siva’s keynotes from his presentation via his blog.

Aside 2: I’ll be turning on my UStream video feed whenever I get the chance, so click that UStream.tv widget’s play button when you see a new image there.

Video: Crowdsourcing the Media @ Nexus 2007 (24th March 2007)

Crowdsourcing the Media @ Nexus 2007
Panelists: Kathy Teo (CNET Asia), Jennifer Lewis (STOMP), James Seng (Tomorrow.sg)
Moderator: Kevin Lim (me)

Thanks to Peter Du, we can now watch this Crowdsourcing conference panel in its entirety.

You can also watch the Second Life panel (which I was barely moderating) among the other videos on The Digital Movement’s blog. The Second Life panel featured Rina’s Relationships in Second Life, Alvin’s story on Lion City, and Aileen on doing business in SL. Second Life CTO, Cory Ondrejka, showed up a little later.

For details on both panels, take a look at my Post-Nexus 2007 Report.

Remember Chek Jawa with Siva @ Tanjong Katong Sec School

Tanjong Katong Sec School nature conservation talk with Siva and friends - 15
From left to right: TKSS teacher (?), Dionne, Grace, Siva, Eric, Ruoyu and Danliang. See the entire photo set…

Date: Friday, 11th May 2007 // Time: 0800-1430hrs // Location: TKSS & East Coast Road

Last Friday, I caught up with Siva and his nature conservation friends as they went to talk to students at Tanjong Katong Secondary School. When I arrived, the students were all watching “Remember Chek Jawa“, an independent film about how local volunteers helped saved a significant piece of Pulau Ubin from reclamation. They did so by contributing feedback to local government just before development of Chek Jawa, which eventually led to deferment of reclamation.

This was followed by Siva’s talk about marine life, threats and the International Coastal Cleanup which the Tanjong Katong Secondary School students would be embarking on.

After the presentation, I got to talk to film maker Eric Lim about “Remember Chek Jawa”. When I asked about his budget, I learned that it was a labor of love, since he used his own video camera and got friends to share advice on how he should edit his documentary. It’s a pity that the public hasn’t had a chance to see this… it’s quite an emotional video. You’ll see Singaporeans bonding together for a common cause, going through hardship traversing through mangrove swamps in the wee morning, then spending hours under the sun digging up segments of the low-tide beach for samples of marine life.

Given that it’s also a film where citizens actually managed to convince their government to change their plans, it felt like our very own version of “The Inconvenient Truth”. It was a silent protest, one where the action of many displayed love for our disappearing natural habitats. Hopefully some resolution could be made to screen this publicly, perhaps by sharing it via Google Video.

Besides Eric Lim, I also got to meet Siva’s new Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research interns, Danliang and Ruoyu. Take a look at their intern blog where you’ll see reports of what they’ve learned working under Siva. There were also nature volunteers, Grace Leng and Dionne Teo, both of whom also run CreativeKids Pte Ltd, where they develop creative learning programs for kids.

Aside: Siva’s working on International Museum Day 2007 activities for Raffles Museum. Check it out here…

9th May 2007 // 1900hr // Socio-Politics with Bernard Leong

1900hr9thMay2007: Getting Things Done with Bernard Leong
Click to see entire photo set…

Date: Wed, 9th May 2007 // Time: 1900-2230hrs // Location: East Coast & Clarke Quay

I don’t know what’s up with some of the folks I meet… they really love overworking themselves. Take Bernard Leong for instance: He has his foot in local socio-politics, as seen in his personal blog (simple.isthereason?), Singapore Angle as well as in local entrepreneurship as seen in SG Entrepreneurs. He’s must be the ultimate busybody (professionals call it networking) to know who’s who in the Singapore blogosphere, especially in the socio-political realm.

Having met him a few time, we finally set some of our plans in motion. We were both interested in improving our general way of life in Singapore, and as with my mantra, we take it from the grassroots. Thus, on Wednesday evening, I made my way to East Coast Road for a discussion at mrbrown’s studio.

Being my first time there since I returned to Singapore, it was pretty refreshing to see life at a more relaxing pace. Lots of old kopitiams (coffee shops) in shop houses, offering plenty of delicious delights, from Laksa to Lontong. Across from me was Katong Village, which reminded me of the Holland Village I frequent in my neighborhood.

While waiting for Bernard to arrive, I chanced upon an popular restaurant called Astons Specialities. There was a line out the door and checking out the menu, it looked to be a continental fare consisting of a wide selection of steaks. The attraction? Generous set-meal portions, comfortable settings, all at prices students could also afford.

Bernard finally arrived around 7.30pm, so we quickly made our way to the studio. After chatting about the project and taking notes, we bid our adieus to mrbrown and grabbed a cab headed towards Central mall, located near Clarke Quay. There, Bernard offered to buy me dinner, so I quickly picked an expensive place (just joking!). Since we both wanted Japanese, he had heard of an eatery called Waraku, so we headed there. True enough, Waraku was really packed even at 9pm, but we just had to wait about 15 minutes before getting a table.

The attraction this time? Just after we found our seats, a girl whom I could have easily mistaken as a student of mine, came close enough to me as if ask for my number. Thankfully all she wanted was our drink order… kind of bizarre since she was dressed more casually than the other waitresses (i.e. her skimpy black dress). Next up were the servings. The sashimi (my benchmark for good japanese) was served on a huge platter filled with ice, rendering the fish slices a little tiny in comparison. While it all looked impressive, the food itself to me wasn’t crazy good.

The crazy good moniker still belongs to Raku over at Holland Village… I was about to lose hope in finding decent raw fish in Singapore, yet this place set a new standard in my sea-faring appetite. Do note that I had the Raku dinner buffet, which was also at a “setting new standard” kind of pricing, so I’ve only gone once.

Anyway, as we sipped down our Calpis soda drinks (I used to buy the glass bottles from Isetan supermarket), we talked about what else we could do to further our socio-political scene. There’s plenty to talk about, but the general idea was that everything seemed too high brow for the masses. Heck, I told him that even some readers I’ve met have told me how they find it hard to understand my blog, let alone his. Thus a new idea was formed…

In an upcoming theorycast (my podcast series), stay tuned to our video called “Introduction to Socio-Political Blogs in Singapore”. Tapping on Bernard’s experience and my interest in promoting the grassroots, we complimented our conversation with a fine selection of blogs, meant for anyone interesting in getting started with politics online. Watch for it!

Excuse me, I’m barely a model…

The Haircut Adventure @ REDS - 2
Me just before my haircut. And yes, the title of this post is a play on a popular Bonny Hicks’ book.

Disclaimer: What you’re about to read is a break from my typical style of blogging. This is a tame version of how popular Singaporean blogger, Xiaxue, would write… with loads of photos… lots of triple periods… and improper grammar. Most importantly, this really happened just now…

I’m not certain how you would make of this. While some guys get all the attention, I feel as if I’d die unnoticed if a car were to hit me on a busy street (Eeerk! XP ). Thus, today was a miracle of sorts, at least to me.

Continue reading ‘Excuse me, I’m barely a model…’

Pimping to Bloggers: Sprint’s Samsung Upstage vs. LG’s Shine

Unboxing: Sprint's Samsung Upstage cellphone
See Sprint’s dual-sided Samsung Upstage “unboxing” photos…

While LG sent out their “Shine” phone to a few popular Singapore bloggers, Sprint sent out the Samsung “Upstage” phone to the rest of us (I guessed so back in March). Since I’m not currently in New York, my housemate Aaron helped perform the ever geeky “unboxing” photographic ceremony for me, as seen in this photo set.

Just a quickie: Sprint’s Samsung Upstage a uniquely designed cellphone which is ultra-slim and yet has displays on both faces (i.e. no real front nor back). Since Sprint was marketing it as a package, we got six-months of free phone and data services. I heard that this phone maintains a solid EVDO connection, which I could use for virtual presence projects.

Back to the real deal: Having chatted with local bloggers here, there’s something different about the way companies market their goods through bloggers. In the case of Singapore, LG sent out these shiny phones to bloggers “on loan” for three weeks, with a standard letter disclaiming that any damage would be borne by the blogger. Being easily scratched (it’s shiny!), this sounds a little risky to me. I didn’t have a look at the actual letter while I was with MrBrown, but its in contrast to the way I’ve reviewed gadgets in the States.

Having blogged product reviews before, I find that Americans tend to place a lot of faith in bloggers, giving products to bloggers and not making any demands at all. Sometimes this backfires, as in the controversial case of Microsoft & Edelman’s Ferarri laptop giveaway. Some argued that this didn’t work because the “product” was far too expensive (around US$2,200), which appeared more like a bribe to the A-list bloggers (I wouldn’t mind if I could still give an honest review). Others (like me) found the messaging and backtracking of statements more damaging to the credibility of the marketing exercise (i.e. “return it or give it away”?).

Most of the time though, the trust placed with bloggers does get reciprocated. Understanding that it is not up to marketers to control the message, an honest review (whether positive or negative) drives attention. Without this first step, there wouldn’t even be an attitudinal -> behavioral change process. Having asked my readers before, it’s interesting to see how my negative review wouldn’t deter interested buyers, but rather spur interest in “checking it out” for themselves. You might have often heard the saying “don’t trust the critics”, which is in fact not wrong per say, but something that playfully points out the higher order of media…

To explain, Bernard C. Cohen (1963) once said, “[t]he press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about“. Taking this gist of agenda-setting theory forward, I find that Bernard’s statement still applies to the role that the media today, whether mainstream or otherwise (e.g. blogs).

Granted, there’s really nothing wrong with companies loaning products for review to bloggers, as it’s sometimes common practice for mainstream media as well. However, there’s is an attributional difference which grants a possible advantage to giving away such items to those who run blogs: Persistence.

My take is that unlike most media forms which report in one point in time, blogs are more of a life stream where something that a blogger uses would persistently maintain it’s chronological presence throughout (i.e. not only when it is new). For instance, if I like a particular product and I use it all the time (e.g. my Sony M2 hybrid camera), residuals of its presence would be felt constantly: In my photos on my blog, via EXIF metadata on flickr, in the background when someone photographs me (better than product placement). The utility of a product would be in line with its presence, on me in person and in blog.

In eventuality, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to surmise that the media not longer refers to the blog, but to the blogger him or her self. In other words, we as individuals become the media, where blogs, phone conversations, television appearances, all become media extensions of the original media source. What is media? It’s always been organic anyway.

Aside: Watch how Hill & Knowlton pimps the LG Shine in UK… with the LG Shine Blog and a photo competition! No this isn’t an ad, as I’m wondering if Europeans do it differently too.

theorycast.22 :: My blogging cameo on Hi! tech (TV show)

theorycast.22 :: My blogging cameo on Hi! tech (TV show)
Show Guest: Me (argh!) • Location: Film Formations studio

Last month I mentioned how there was a children’s television series I was helping out, called Hi! tech. Episode two was about blogging so they had me cameo as the first guest on the show. This is just the segment where I appear, and it’s where I explain what blogging is, how to start one, the different kinds of blogs out there, how to “get popular”, as well as how to be safe while having fun online. We also talked about why we blog, but as with most television programmes, things get edited out due to time constraints.

Finally got to see mrbrown’s studio…

@ mrbrown's studio
As seen direct from my wearable cam, which mrbrown quickly admires. Sorry, no videos for privacy reasons.

So yesterday evening, I finally got to meet mrbrown.

How did it go?

I was actually there with Bernard for something else which we can’t talk about (wish I could). On the flip-side, this gave me the opportunity to meet mrbrown in person.

Brown first offered me his “golden” name card, asked me whether I was done with grad school, chatted about a particular hottie we both knew in person, and finally proceeded to show me around his impressive podcasting studio, which has grown in gadgetry since.

Located on the east side of Singapore, this studio was on an upper floor of an unassuming shophouse. Such was home to the creative minds behind popular podcasts such as The mrbrown show and See What Show.

Having worked with him before, Adrianna had earlier painted a pretty accurate picture of the place to me. It didn’t feel so much like an office, but more of a hangout filled with arcade machines, game consoles, pool tables, Star Wars toys and comic books… literally a geek’s dream workplace come true.

In our private conversation, I got to squeeze off questions I’ve always had for him, such as how he managed to pull this whole gig off. He took risks, worked creatively and was overall passionate about his audience. One thing’s for sure though, he knows how to live life. Before his DOTA and Battlefield 2 buddies hijacked him, I asked if he was living a second childhood. He thought yes at first, then he said, “I never really grew up”.

TikiBar TV: Kevin Rose cameo “diggs” at DRM

TikiBar TV cameo: Kevin Rose makes a "digg" at DRM future

I love videocasts… you’d find all sorts of shows you don’t find anywhere else. When I’ve got downtime, I head to the Podcast section of the iTunes Store to shop for more videocasts (free of course).

I was just checking in on my subscriptions when I saw that Tikibar TV had a new episode. I don’t know about you, but this has got to be the most geekest and funniest episode ever. If you’re a self-professed geek, you’ll soon discover a ton of geeky references in this latest episode of Tikibar TV, Blue Hawaiian.

Spoiler Alert!

Some references include:
1. Kevin Rose cameos and says DRM is the future (thus those numbers)
2. “Linux runs off of 2 primary ports, the usb port, and the Leo La-porte”
3. “The internet is run by a series of Linux machines run by the tiki god Ubuntu”

Just watch it already!