John

Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

One (wo)man’s trash…

In South Of The Border on December 31, 2007 at 2:49 am

wacky news from singapore

Our Star reports that an 18-YEAR-OLD student in Singapore is openly selling worn-cum-unwashed thongs, panties and bras via online, reported China Press.

According to the daily, the student posted pictures of her lingerie with price tags in her blog. The blog also has pictures of her wearing thongs.

A pair of panties costs S$30 while a bra goes for $50. Pictures of the student (not showing her face) in underwear are also available at $10 each.

The student, known as Pamela, said the sale was to help finance her studies.

Pamela said she did not meet up with her clients and provide “extra” service other than selling them the used items.

She said all items purchased were immediately sealed in plastic bags and posted.

Business has been brisk for the past month as Pamela had sold four pairs of G-strings and a few pictures of her in thongs.

Currently, the unsold undergarments posted in her blog include eight G-strings and four bras.

Wasn’t there an urban legend that vending machines existed in Japan that sold this kinda stuff? Anyways, here’s an alternate link in the singapore press with pics

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Western Digital protects you from yourself

In Geek Stuff on December 30, 2007 at 3:19 am

my gondor will not be breached

BoingBoing brought this little gem to my attention. Western Digital’s new 1TB MY Book World Edition Network Attached Storage (“NAS”) devices come with many nifty features: its network attached (duh!); its a whole terabyte; its got a built-in backup utility; its got gigabit ethernet; it can be accessed over the Internet AND it also prevents access to your own media files!

Such initiative by the company to protect you from accidentally sharing your media files over the Intrawebitubes and inadvertently becoming an Internet Pirate! Clap Clap Clap Clap. From their support page:

Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the following file types cannot be shared by different users using WD Anywhere Access. [list not included in this blog post]

If these file types are on a share on the WD My Book World Edition system and another user accesses the share, these file will not be displayed for sharing. Any other file types can be shared using WD Anywhere Access.

“Unverifiable media license authentication” ? Wow. And what exactly isn’t on that list? Whats the point of having a storage if you cannot access your own files? Also, if you don’t store media files on it, why would you ever need 1 TB?

Right now from what I understand, its only the 1TB WD MyBooks that have been “enhanced” with the WD Anywhere Access security feature. Thanks, but no thanks WD. I don’t think I will be getting anything.

New wheels for Bean

In Automobiles, TV on December 28, 2007 at 5:47 pm
Based on this report actor Rowan Atkinson has bought one of the world’s fastest cars this New Year – a Morgan Aeromax.

The 52-year-old actor, who already has a collection of luxury motors including Aston Martins, purchased the British-made Morgan Aeromax for 110,000 pounds.The limited edition Aeromax races from 0-60MPH in less than five seconds and has a top speed of 170mph.

With a Batmobile-style gull-wing boot and a 20-inch alloy wheels, the car also has a stunning 4.4 litre V8 engine.

Morgan, a company based in Worcestershire has made only 100 of the exclusive cars, and the Bean star has already booked one for himself.

An insider revealed that all the cars have already been snapped up.

“It’s a good job Rowan got in quick because they have all been snapped up. It’s a great investment because the cars can only rocket in value. Obviously Mr Bean’s no fool really,” The Sun quoted the insider, as saying.

Morgan Aeromax is one of the fastest accelerating cars in Europe and can hit 170mph with 0-60mph dash in 4.5 seconds.

Its still no proton

Magazines In A Perfect Bind

In magazines on December 28, 2007 at 9:50 am

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(Pic courtesy of cubemb at deviantart)

Among the depressing stories of the year has to be the growing disenchantment with magazines, and David Hepworth’s latest column in the Guardian pretty much sums it up: “I talked to a number of people at the helms of household-name titles who were watching their sales base erode and having to fight harder for advertising in what is becoming, for everyone but the phone company, a small-portions world.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. It was always thought that the magazine industry would be more robust than the newspapers because the latter was competing directly with the internet due to its speed of news delivery. But despite year-on-year profits in 2007 rising up by 5.6%, there’s a huge question mark about how sustainable magazines, new ones especially, are as a business. From my own observations, the internet has caused a cultural shift in the way we consume media: 1) Our attention span for the long-form article has been cut short (digital media is inherently made for those with ADD), and that 2) We want–hell, we expect–stories to be free, so who wants to shell out money for something they can get online? Read the rest of this entry »

SG Gov: Don’t post your sex videos online

In South Of The Border on December 28, 2007 at 7:36 am

wacky news from singapore

A Singaporean man recently uploaded a video of his session with a prostitute onto his blog, says a report in the Shin Min Daily News.

Using his camera phone, he filmed his entire session with a prostitute he patronized in Geylang and then uploaded it onto the web.

According to reports, this video was uploaded to five websites, including sites containing other pornographic content. And so far it has scored as many as 20,000 hits.

One lawyer whom Shin Min spoke to warn(sic) that uploading, distributing or selling pornographic material online is against the law, and guilty parties can face up to three years in jail, a fine, or both.

Apologies in advance to all readers as I still haven’t been able to find the vid. Pics or it didn’t happen etc. etc.
In any case, I wonder how they could possibly identify every Singaporean that breaks this law?

Pakistan’ Benazir Bhutto killed by suicide bomber

In News on December 27, 2007 at 3:54 pm

At the time of submitting – news coming in that Benazir Bhutto has been killed by suicide bomber. At least 10 other people also killed at the same time.

read more | digg story

Android Phone For Real?

In Geek Stuff, News on December 27, 2007 at 2:19 pm

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(pic sourced from Gizmodo, link below)

Despite persistent rumours that that there’s no such thing as a G-Phone, Gizmodo snapped this picture of a “prototype” model in the wild, and now APCMag predicts the Android is gonna be unveiled when the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona kicks off on February 11th. It’s a sketchy prediction at best, just wanting to grab headlines. You probably still won’t see anything resembling a G-Phone (just the OS) on Feb 11 (but journos will still stubbornly ask whenwhenwhenwhen?), but still it’ll be interesting to see how the Open Handset Alliance-created OS will look like. Too many cooks in the kitchen, or utopian concept come true? This from APCMag

You can bet that if Google’s handset partners lift the covers on their Android phones during the Mobile World Congress expo, which kicks off on February 11th in Barcelona – or if Google itself trots out a flock of phones to impress this annual powerhouse gathering of the global mobile industry (the company has booked two stands on the expo floor) – that these will be shiny snazzy models endowed with a very high ‘cool’ factor.

uh-oh. What Will Paris Do?

In Celebrity on December 27, 2007 at 1:52 pm

At least she skips inheritance tax

It’s every heiress’s nightmare come true: Paris Hilton’s rich granddaddy donates 97% of his wealth to charity. I feel kinda sorry for the girl actually, but now she’s got every reason to push on for a follow-up pop album. Let’s just hope she doesn’t try too hard and do a typical sophomoric “rebel-this-is-the-real-me” rock album.

U.S. hotel heiress Paris Hilton’s potential inheritance dramatically diminished after her grandfather Barron Hilton announced plans on Wednesday to donate 97 percent of his $2.3 billion (1.16 billion pounds) fortune to charity.

That wealth includes $1.2 billion Barron Hilton stands to earn from both the recent sale of Hilton Hotels Corp. — started by his father Conrad in 1919 when he bought a small hotel in Cisco, Texas — and pending sale of the world’s biggest casino company, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

WTF: M’sian referee pulls out gun at footie match

In News on December 26, 2007 at 3:13 pm

I see you trippin, muthafucka

(Picture courtesy of Victorward at sxc)

Gawd. It’s official: our country is no different than those crazy-assed Colombian leagues.

A MALAYSIAN referee took out his gun and fired warning shots in the air after a local soccer match turned unruly following the suspension of a player, according to a local newspaper report.

The referee, who was also a policeman, ran to his patrol car to get his gun after players mobbed him for showing the red-card to one of them, the New Straits Times said.

What a way to end Visit Malaysia Year. w00t!

More Predictions for 2008!

In News, Online on December 26, 2007 at 9:21 am

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(Picture courtesy of blackfantastix on deviantart)

Gotta love these prediction articles. Check out “2008 Web Predictions” from readwriteweb.com, with some choice ones including:

— 2008 will be slow and cautious, with the first half dominated by recession or fear of recession. (fear of the bubble bursting will come in towards mid-year I feel)

— Microsoft will become more aggresive and buy many popular companies at once (remember Ballmer’s quote). Candidates include SixApart, Technorati. (no doubt, a contributor to the fear of the bubble bursting thanks to it overvaluing its takeovers)

–Google will really start looking vulnerable in 2008. While the ‘one trick pony’ comment by Steve Ballmer drew sarcastic responses, this will begin to look prophetic. While they’ll maintain market share in the search industry, the lack of traction in any other of their other initiatives will start to cause frustration. Plus, they will increasingly be perceived as the ‘evil’ company in many of these new initiatives. (Nah. People will still love Google, mostly because Microsoft sucks. It’s a lesser of two evils, so to speak.)

–Facebook will release a browser. (like, srsly? is there a point, seeing that there’s Flock?)

–Privacy will be a growing concern in the mainstream, but ultimately people won’t really take any action and for the most part, things won’t change. Some companies and groups (think Mozilla) will push for better privacy controls for users, while others (think Facebook) will continue to push the envelope and continue down a slippery slope. Users will eventually push back, but I am hesitant to say that proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back” will come in 2008. (Totally agree–privacy is a big issue this year with Google and Facebook, and will be next year as marketers try to harness social data for their own use. I wonder how Facebook’s gonna turn a profit?)

You Know Your Website’s Made It When…

In Online, Videos on December 26, 2007 at 8:09 am

Three girls make a song about your website and post it on YouTube. Congrats Digg!

Are you A New Media Douchebag?

In Videos on December 26, 2007 at 6:53 am

Nope, I’m not one. But I’m getting there.

Six Months after Facebook. Am I Bored Yet?

In Online on December 26, 2007 at 4:09 am

Courtesy of Björn Rixman

So, it’s been about six months or more since I’ve hopped onto the Facebook wagon, and after giving it back-to-back press about it in KLue’s Hype and 101, I gotta say that Lance Ulanoff’s prediction for 2008 (I love all this year-end doomsayer columns… they’re so controversial for the sake of being controversial.) that Facebook will “blow up” next year isn’t all that incendiary as it sounds like. “I’ve gone off Facebook,” said Sandeep over a few beers last night (no, he wasn’t toasted), and the increasing voice of dissent is increasing. I’ve started to go off Facebook too over the past month, and there are days when I all I do is just clear the invites to add Vampires, Zombies, Jetman, and other various rubbish apps. I like to keep things simple.

John Dvorak, in his usual cynicism, wrote about how Facebook and Social Networking in general stinks

What has been overlooked in the entire social-networking scheme is that at its core, it’s not social networking but marketing. In fact, the entire MySpace scene is devoted mostly to selling music and keeping people up-to-date with their fav indie band. Sometimes events, such as a rave or a house party, can be announced on MySpace, although the real winner is still the indie band. Most parties are done with IM lists.

I was thinking about this the other day on the way to the Junkyard sale in Bangsar last weekend, and while I do agree that Social Networking, while starting off as a cool way of keeping in touch with friends, can eventually become a marketing tool for events, parties, merchandise, etc. Hell, marketing is in its genes. Read the rest of this entry »

There’s Money To Be Made?!

In Online on December 5, 2007 at 3:01 am

The dream for every internet star wannabe.

Picked up this interesting link yesterday from Digg, which screamed out the headline “Ask A Ninja earns 1Million Dollars a year!” Of course, having heard a whole load of talks from former-Apple marketing-turned-VC dude Guy “Art of The Start” Kawasaki (awesome speaker–check out this talk on the rules of innovation) and thinking of new media ideas while in the showers, headlines like these just lift the spirits up. Yep, advertising on the new media platform is getting ripe and internet success stories like Askaninja do occur, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. While Kent Nichols and Doug Sarine earn “about $100,000 a month in ad revenue and income from merchandising and licensing,” says the article, you’ve gotta get 500,000 views a month to give up your day job. Of course, seeing how weak our Ringgit is, I’d be happy to earn about 1% of what askaninja takes.

askninja.png

A reality check, though. Like most other mediums where the ground is fertile and free, there’s a whole crapload of internet wannabe stars and startups, so don’t get all too psyched up about making a million bucks. To get that sort of audience, the content has to–firstly–engage the audience directly (mahalo daily, diggnation and askaninja all share this in common), be globally skewed, unique, short, updated ON TIME (although, in askaninja’s case, he’s got the core audience already, so coming out irregularly is all right). The medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan said, and for the medium of the Net, those are the ground rules. one thing’s for sure– it’s not making a “TV show, but for the Web.”

It’s hard work to make a video podcast–even a simple ten-minute show like Webbnation can take a whole day to make from start to finish, so I’m under no illusions that being a videoblog star is easy. Check out this old podcast interviewing the askaninja duo when they were just burgeoning stars, talking about the working process behind the million-dollar vidcast (or vlog, video blog, whatever). And then there’s the problem of getting who gets to sell your ads–as far as I know, the Malaysian market is still very nascent, with Nuffnang and Advertlets being the primary blog advertising channels I know, but they’re some way off from being Federated Media.

But then again, if you think about it, there’s no better time to start planning a New Media venture now for next year. Broadband penetration is up, blogs are becoming a major source of a wired person’s media diet, and Facebook (the great marketing tool) is pretty much the first page you visit before Google. Askaninja is just one shining star that shines brightest among the millions of other videoblogs and blogshows; that news may be inspiring or despairing, depending on how you look at it. I’m an optimist.

Esquire Rocks My World

In magazines, Personal on December 2, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Well, after much dilly dallying and general procrastination, I’ve decided to start blogging again. Not sure if I’ll ever update it regularly, but hell, I’ll give it a shot and this time, I promise myself not to watch the number of hits I get like a obsessive compulsive sufferer (then again, it could be just me, but why is it that everytime I’m downloading something, I’m compelled to watch the percentage rising?!).

But I gotta say, getting on Twitter has aroused the blog bug in me again, and my new life as a PR man has certainly created this little vacuum in me that needs to write stuff other than contact reports, filling in RSVPs, speeches and news releases. Not that they’re boring in itself–cranking out a speech from thin air within the space of a few hours will give anyone a kick of the adrenaline. People keep asking me what’s it like to be on the “dark side” of journalism (more on that statement later on) and I’ll just say that PR certainly needs a person to be organised and have their priorities right, and get shit done before the sun sets.

Magazine life revolves around the same monthly deadlines, and I’ve kinda grown accustomed to the monthly cycle–the mad rush, 4am closing mornings, the 3pm sauntering in the following morning, the deadness of the week after closing. It’s different to have daily deadlines, send out invites and make loads of follow-up calls–kinda reminds me of the early days of KLue, when we used to work on fortnightly deadlines. It’s strange, I’ve often thought to myself, that at 28 I’m working in an environment where I feel like I’m 24 and working on my first job. And yes, the past week has been the absolute shitters–silly mistakes that I’ll chalk it down to inexperience, but I’ve survived my first month in PR with my pride relatively intact.

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Back to magazine news: last Friday, I stumbled onto a little shop in Centrepoint 1-Utama, and finally laid my eyes on the new Esquire UK, edited by Jeremy Langmead, who was poached from Wallpaper*. And what a work of genius it is–if you want further evidence of what a talented editor can do if he’s given free reign to salvage an ailing magazine, go no further than the new Esquire. They’ve taken a radical change, their covers harking back to the day when Playboy was at its peak in the 60s and 70s; clean stark covers, simple fonts, a sexy girl, and understated style. No shouting out “100 ways to please your woman!” or “12 Summer Sex Tips That Really Work!”.

It was enough for me to shell out RM32 to get the December issue, and the contents, I’m glad to say, reflects the image overhaul in getting back to the early Playboy era, and closer to what GQ is; roping in good writers, emphasizing on the journalism by laying it out in an almost newspaper-like format. Not unlike GQ, they’ve bunched inside their columnists in a section bordering the features, and the cool thing about it is that Mr. Langmead printed it on a rough grade of paper rather than the usual gloss paper–it’s certainly lends the magazine a gritty, tabloid feel. It’s magazines like these that make me ache to get back into the magazine world, and I’m rooting for Esquire UK to get back on track.

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Music to tune into: “Girls Who Play Guitars” by Maximo Park. Makes me think back to the days when all I wanted to do was open a pub and play the music the gang likes.