Monthly Archive for August, 2008

StartupSchwag #11: Wearing my FriendFeed t-shirt

StartupSchwag #11

Ripped open my StartupSchwag #11 yesterday, which contained an awesome FriendFeed t-shirt (it’s a keeper!), some stickers from Twiddla, Shoutlet, PeekYou,,,, as well as a pretty useless flyer for a fan-drive music site, (come on… get more creative!).

Last month, my StartupSchwag #10 included 1 of 50 pieces of Zivity t-shirts (uber-exclusive!), which I eventually bartered with MixieMoxie for a revealing theorycast interview.

Why I Google instead of using the library…

The reason why I go online instead of the library...

I found this new library addition, aptly titled “Access Denied“, from the UB Library homepage.

Figuring that it’d be useful for my dissertation, I got the book location by taking down the Library of Congress classification code (Thx to Alex & Bridget, that’s NOT the dewey decimal!), went to bookshelf on 3rd floor, but I ended up not finding it.

Went back to office, got on my Mac, messaged ublibrarian10 on AIM, gave all the details, and the response was to check new additions shelf.

At lunch time, I went down to reference librarian desk, and asked where the new additions shelf was. The shelf was located near the elevator, and after five minutes of perusing the short shelf, I still couldn’t find it.

Throughout this time, the book still showed as available online. How I couldn’t find it, as strategically as I possibly could, showed the downright failure of locating physical objects even in an archival environment.

I think it’s time we built some form of in-building pseudo GPS using the Library of Congress classification system (in place of latitude/longitude co-ordinates) and RFID technology for real-time book location. Gezzz…

UPDATE: Singapore librarian blogger, RamblingLibrarian, shares his thoughts on my story, sharing his thoughts on problem areas as well as strengths of our UB library.

Democratic National Convention 2008: I did it my way…

Stewart & Colbert ’08 ? on

I’m so outta style. Meantime, you can catch all the action at They’ve even got live streaming HD video so you’ll feel as if you’re right there.

MrBrown rolls deep with

Pimping his spanking new Nokia n96, Singapore’s “non-political” blogger MrBrown now rolls deep with Qik. You can find him at, while I’m at Since being inspired by PM Lee’s use of Qik at his National Day rally, MrBrown has also documented his bike ride shortcut to work.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Qik because it is literally quick! No more recording on camera, transferring to computer, then uploading to Youtube… all you need is a cameraphone with 3G or WiFi. Easy enough that even the Prime Minister could do it.

For those of us with iPhones, simply jailbreak it and download Qik through Cydia under the Multimedia section. In one fell sweep, Qik solves the problem of the lack of video recording on the iPhone, since we’re now able to record and broadcast live on Qik servers.

World’s first anti-theft app for iPhone (video)

BAK2u, maker of anti-theft software for Macs, Windows, and most mobile phone platforms, is almost done with their world’s first anti-theft iPhone (& iPod touch) app called PhoneBAK.

Founder Paddy Tan (whom I’ve interviewed before) explained that they are just down to a few more features then it all depends on the iTunes App Store approval process before it’ll be available for download. Not sure on pricing yet.

As seen from the video, the anti-theft app will protect your iPhone with a password, lock away confidential information, and alert you via email as to its physical location using the iPhone’s GPS and Google Map. Not sure how the iPod touch will achieve this, perhaps through listing nearby wifi access points.

So far it looks pretty functional and given the investment most of us have made for our iPhone, this looks to be a must-have app. You can sign up with their mailing list to keep in touch.

UPEK’s “Eikon to Go” Biometric USB stick for Mac

Eikon to go (front)Eikon to go (back)
Click to see enlarged photos…

Found this neat USB stick at the Apple Store yesterday. Looked online for more info, but all I could find was the previous, less portable, USB biometric scanner dongle. If you’ve ever been clamoring for a simple yet secure way of logging into your Mac, this might be the way to go.

As you can see, the top cover slides open to reveal the finger scanner. With the Eikon Digital Privacy Manager, you can use it to log into your Mac, return from sleep or screensaver lock, perform fast user switching, unlock your system keychain, authenticate secure preference modifications and probably software installations.

Retails for around US$49.95, and here’s the related press release from UPEK’s web site.

Qik showcased by Singaporean Prime Minister at National Day Rally

In his National Day Rally 2008 Speech today, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong explained how his Singapore government has been, and will continue to, interact with citizens through new media on the Internet.

Among significant developments in new media and local politics (which I hope to talk in-depth later), a highlight included the Singaporean Prime Minister demonstrating the power of Qik by filming his audience. Qik lets anyone stream live video while being captured on compatible cellphones (e.g. Nokia n95, iPhone 3G, plus many more).

Being a social cyborg, I’m a huge fan of this video service. I’ve previously used Qik to stream and share my local high school address on using Wikipedia in academia, in hopes of teaching young students how to use online resources responsibly (as opposed to plagiarism).

It’s disruptive technologies like these that give citizens an immensely emotive voice in expressing themselves online, be it for reporting on critical events or sharing the everyday trivialities that make up our social fabric.

I first got wind about the Prime Minister using Qik two days ago via Qik co-founder Bhaskar Roy. If you’re interested in seeing the actual footage streamed by the Prime Minister, here it is on Qik. There seems to be no sound though.

Credit goes to Channel NewsAsia for sharing the National Day Rally footage online so that those of us living internationally can participate online, as the Prime Minister has subtly hinted.

Aside: Plenty of issues were raised at the NDR, but I’m less concerned about the baby-making portion of his speech. Winning Olympic medals for the first time in 48 years is pretty cool.

theorycast.46 :: Stripped & Teased on

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In this episode of theorycast, I chat with Zivity model MixieMoxie to learn from her experience participating in this alternative social network. I also aim to understand the user motivations and economics behind Zivity, as well as their earlier competitor,

In essence, is pretty darn refreshing; they take the alternative softcore subculture (i.e. NSFW), mix in eBay-like crowdsourcing, and pay royalty to their contributors, namely models and photographers.

Zivity subscribers pay $10 a month, and every vote they cast on their favorite models / photographers, is worth $1. Instead of a flat royalty fee, it works out to be a recurring amount. Eighty percent of the proceeds then goes back to these sexy contributors.

Several high profile venture capitalists seem to believe in Zivity’s business model so much, that they’ve invested a second round funding of $7m. Founded by Scott Banister and his wife Cyan, the story behind Zivity is equally inspirational. To see life behind the scenes at Zivity, check out this short documentary (nsfw).

Bonus Contest: As a treat for theorycast viewers, I have three exclusive invites to Just drop a comment on how successful you think will be. I’ll award the best responses by this Sat, 11pm EST. Please note that since Zivity features nudity, invites will only be given to folks who are over 21.

Photos + Videos // DEFCON: Adventures in Hackerdom

DEFCON16 mosaic
Click to see entire DEFCON photo set: Skip Day 0 and head to Day 1 and 2!

Here’s the complete leak of photos and videos I’ve shot from DEFCON 16 in Las Vegas over the weekend.

Firstly, you won’t even begin to imagine what I had to go through to take these. Chased by DEFCON goons twice, and nearly kicked out once, I’ve to say that the only reason why I could do this was because of the mutual respect I had for the DEFCON goons. Flea, one of the bigger security honchos at DEFCON, told me about the “rules of engagement” and advised me to get a Press Badge. It’s really to play fair with attendees, some of whom may prefer to participate quietly. In truth I would love to simply sign on as Press, but for the past three days I was there, I couldn’t locate the person in charge. Since then, I would ask for permission from anyone before taking their picture, most of whom obliged.

As a safety measure, I’ve liquified faces and removed photos with sensitive information (like the Hacker CTF competition). After all, this is the real deal with hackers coming in from all over the world. Criminals, researchers, government agents, it doesn’t matter; Anonymity is king in DEFCON, unless you’re pwned on one of the world’s most hostile networks… then all your base are belong to us.

Rather than embargo my media until I write elaborately about my incredible experience there (in an upcoming blog post), I’ll just share whatever I’ve got first while they’re fresh. I’ll dive into the details over the next few blog posts as there’s just way too much to cover in one swift motion.

Think of this as watching the DVD extras before watching the actual DVD feature; an alternative way of sense-making the actual story. The Youtube video widget below is an interactive playlist, just let it play continuously, or roll your mouse over the video to pick a clip.

Heading for DEFCON 16 in Vegas… here’s what I’m packing!

After a poke from my friend Shady, I decided to book a last minute flight to join him in Las Vegas for DEFCON 16.

It’s going to be an eye-opener for me, with everything hackable under the sun put to the test; from botwars to lockpicking contests, warballooning (airborne surveillance baby!) to Spot the Fed, Phreaking to Eee PC mods, the list goes on.

I’m bringing my gear of course… and as you’ll see in the video, I’m packing really packing some heat! I’ll be reporting whatever I find interesting (might mean everything!) so stay tuned to this travelogue.

BTW: Here’s an exclusive look at this year’s hackable DEFCON conference badge It’s pure art.