Thursday, May 31
Soon when you realized that you're having too much fun or getting too distracted off work, and the bills are starting to pile up, it's back to business and work, even at home, and also at irregular hours, working some 12 hours more per day throughout morning, day, and past midnight too, and that means less time for 90+ minute in front of TV. This happens to me the past couple months. It's been a while since I last watch a marathon of the complete SmallVille Season 6 and Heroes inaugural season series. It's been a while since I last watched a full-feature films too except Spiderman 3 some two weeks ago (I almost never stop watching video podcasts, local TV streams, Joost and YouTube etc. though)
And it's been a while since I last watched a Malay (Malaysian-made) film too. There aren't that many good ones anyway, except maybe Yasmin Ahmad's Sepet (I haven't had a chance to catch up with her Gubra & Muksin featuring the full line up of Sharifah A* siblings though), and some old flixes from the 60s to 80s -- Since the early 90s, most of the Malay films were puking (too much cliches, not so funny jokes, not so scary stories/visuals, no so entertaining and the list goes on.)
Today though, I spent about two hours watching Qabil Khusry Qabil Igam, featuring all-star actors and actresses -- respectable and popular names like Dato Rahim Razali, Fauziah Nawi, Hans Isaac, Rusdi Ramli, Erra Fazira and Ziana Zain, all of whom carried their roles very well throughout the whole movie, playing both joyful characters at the beginning of the story and movingly sad characters towards the end of the movie. That said, I almost thought that the movie is just another comedic attempts, to be full of cliches when the director starts bring Indian Bollywood elements into it, you know the dancing, singing, cloth changing, romantic encounters etc. Reaching the middle of it, it's a sudden turn of the story. Well, let's just say that this is one of the movies that make your eyes wet, endlessly and painfully. Not like In the Name of the Father, Braveheart or Forrest Gump, but, more like a nice Shah Rukh Khan's -- it's nice however that QKQI needs only 125 minutes to deliver the story instead of 150 minutes or more for similar movies!
If you haven't watch this one, do check it out. It's full of positive message, reflecting on our societal issues and it's a good Romeo & Juliet type of love story.
Here's a plot review at Yahoo Movies (WARNING: link may contains spoilers): "Qabil Khushry Qabil Igam" is a tale about non-identical twins Khushry (Hans Issac) and Igam (Rusdi Ramli). Khushry loves his brother very much, sharing secrets, joys and also sad moments. However, a destructive indulgence by Igam brings havoc to the families the day before their joint wedding. Khushry's wedding goes on as planned, but Igam's bride, Karisma, has to spend the night alone at home - waiting for Igam to return."
Another movie for me to watch is perhaps Waris Jari Hantu (also starring Rusdi Ramli). Recommend it?
Tuesday, May 29
On the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 29 May, we celebrate the work of UNV volunteers as civilian peacekeepers for the past 15 years. These highly skilled and motivated professionals ensure the smooth operation of UN peacekeeping missions and create an enabling environment for sustainable development. (United Nations Volunteers, 2007)
Peacekeeping, as defined by the United Nations, is "a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace." Peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they may have signed. Such assistance comes in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. Accordingly UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Helmets because of their light blue helmets) can include soldiers, civilian police officers, and other civilian personnel. (Wikipedia, 2007)
International Day of UN Peacekeepers to be marked on 29 May. Demand for Blue Helmets at an all-time high
21 May 2007
United Nations -- The fifth annual International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers will be marked on 29 May at the Organization’s Headquarters in New York, as well as on peacekeeping missions and UN offices around the world.
This year’s commemorative ceremonies come at a time when the services of UN peacekeepers are in greater demand than ever. There are currently more than 100,000 peacekeepers from 115 countries serving in 18 operations on four continents, with additional deployments on the horizon.
“We hope this occasion will serve as a reminder of the invaluable work of our blue helmets who each day risk their lives trying to bring peace to conflict-torn societies,” said Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. “It should also underscore the importance of strengthening UN peacekeeping, with its solid record of promoting a return to stability, to foster even greater gains in the future, for the sake of the innocent victims whose lives have been ravaged by war.”
At United Nations Headquarters in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will oversee a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in honor of the more than 100 peacekeeping personnel who lost their lives – whether through attacks, illnesses or accidents – in 2006 in the service of peace. Mr. Ban, who took office in January, has proposed an ambitious reform and restructuring plan for the UN’s peacekeeping department aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Organisation to meet growing demands, and has already visited several peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East.
Also as part of the commemoration ceremonies, on 30 May, Dag Hammarskjold medals will be awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives last year serving in UN peacekeeping operations. The medals will be received by representatives of the respective Permanent Missions to be forwarded on to the next of kin. In a separate ceremony, Under Secretary-General Guehenno will award peacekeeping medals to the military and police officers currently serving in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at Headquarters.
While the Dag Hammarskjold medals pay tribute to the sacrifice of those who died, the greatest monument to their contribution is a set of United Nations peacekeeping successes in 2006. These included helping the Democratic Republic of the Congo hold its first elections in 40 years; helping solidify peace and ensure justice in West Africa by transferring indicted war criminal and former Liberian President Charles Taylor to face charges for crimes committed in Sierra Leone; helping implement a major peace agreement in southern Sudan; and supporting elections and helping to establish the rule of law in Haiti by working with the national police to curb gang violence.
The year also saw a major European reengagement in UN peacekeeping as countries from the continent stepped forward to bolster the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, including by providing the UN’s first major naval force, to support a ceasefire in southern Lebanon following last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hizbollah.
In 2006, the UN undertook a series of efforts to increase the number of women serving in peacekeeping operations, including setting the stage for this year’s deployment of the first-ever all-female peacekeeping contingent: India’s formed police unit – with more than 100 female officers – now stationed in Liberia.
Of the more than 100 countries that provide uniformed peacekeepers to the United Nations, the largest contributors remain Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, which together provide more than 40 per cent of all blue berets. The cost of financing peacekeeping operations – more than $5 billion per annum -- is borne mainly by the European Union countries, Japan and the United States.
UN Peacekeepers Day was established in 2002 by a the General Assembly resolution designating 29 May – the date in 1948 when the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine – to pay tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
UN peacekeeping, built on almost 60 years of experience in the field, is widely acknowledged to be an indispensable tool for the international community in tackling the difficult issues of inter-State and, increasingly, intra-State conflicts. UN peacekeeping’s legitimacy and universality are unique, derived from its character as a collective security effort undertaken on behalf of a global organization comprising 192 Member States.
- Douglas Coffman, DPI, (212) 963-4481, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nick Birnback, DPKO, (917) 367-5044, email@example.com
SOURCE: UN.org, International Day for UN Peacekeepers. 2007
Selamat Hari Pasukan Pengaman PBB Antarabangsa!
Monday, May 28
I've been a broadband user for almost 15 years to-date, from the fast connection of 100 Mbps (in computer labs in the USA -- now some of these labs have 1 Gbps (1024 Mbps) and many residential houses have connections as fast as 30MBps) down to as slow as 384Kbps (maximum speed using Digi Edge GPRS on through a mobile phone, but only at hi-speed in certain locations like in Penang Island, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur etc).
Some of these connections are highly reliable, and some are not. TM Net Streamyx works okay for me supplying me well over 1Mbps download speed and over 300Kbps upload speed most of the times, but very slow connection to offshore sites, irritatingly as low as under 50Kbps (maximum PSTN non-broadband dial-up speed) at certain times.
Oh well, at least it's good (or bad?) to know that my home Internet connection is usually much better than the connection at some local MSC-status universities (I've publicly told Dato Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis about this irony at a recent global technopreneur seminar in Penang but he must have misheard/misunderstood me, and immediately dismissed my allegation as non-constructive -- it seems that MOSTI thinks that it's better to spend millions of ringgits each year to bring broadband to remote villages where not many people use the Internet anyway than to increase its annual budget significantly to give our dire higher learning institutions the best the world/MSC could offer, where at least 600,000 students are using or want to use the Internet actively each year -- He was putting his full bet on WiMAX instead which is still nowhere to be seen in Malaysia after two years now!!).*** [see notes below]
I've heard horror stories about Streamyx, but after using it for over three years now, I have little to complain except during very few incidents, and my continued disappointments on its billing policies and lack of decent customer support. But, what other good choices do we have here in Malaysia, especially when you live in areas not covered by hi-speed Digi Edge or 3G?
All thoughts considered, Streamyx is still one of the best choices for many, and TMNet has just announced speed bump to 4Mbps (and Metro.e for business for a speed up to 1Gbps) at a promotional monthly subscription fee of just RM188. If you are still delaying to get Streamyx for your home or office, keep in mind that present Super Duper offer which is practically the best ever, is ending soon on 31 MAY 2007. (Read on below -- and we wouldn't mind at all if you'd send the applications through us -- you'd get some surprise tokens of appreciations from us! Many already have!). More information at latest broadband offers at eStreamyx.com.
Press Release from TM Net:
CYBERJAYA, March 30, 2007 – As part of its ongoing efforts to increase the take-up of broadband Internet access in the country, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM ) introduced its new Streamyx Super Duper Deal - an extra value, all-in-one package to attract more consumers to adopt broadband. The offer is available for only two months from April 1 to May 31, 2007.
Puan Zainab Hashim, General Manager, Integrated Marketing, Malaysia Business of Telekom Malaysia Berhad , said “We have put together a convenient super value-packed package that will allow new subscribers to get online instantly to start experiencing the wealth of online information and entertainment as easily as possible. So in addition to 1.0Mbps Streamyx at a reduced monthly price, we have bundled in a number of our other online services and applications at ‘100% discount’.”
The Streamyx Super Duper Deal, which is being offered to all new subscribers who sign up between 1 April and 31 May 2007, has been designed as a complete “digital lifestyle” package, offering Streamyx broadband Internet access for only RM77 per month as well as a free ADSL modem, Voice-Over-Broadband (BB Phone) communications service and unlimited online games at no extra cost.
Puan Zainab said that TM was also addressing the growing interest in wireless broadband by including a 3-month free subscription to tmnet hotspot. She said, “There is clearly a demand to be online while on the go, outside the home or office, and right now the best solution is tmnet hotspot, which is Malaysia’s largest and most established wireless access network, offering broadband speeds at over 1,100 selected locations nationwide, including F&B outlets such as Pizza Hut, Secret Recipe and Burger King.”
She added that TM is responding to consumer concerns over threats from viruses, spam mail and pornography through the bundling of the Safe Surfing Solutions package, which includes security applications such as X-filter, Online Guard & Virus Shield & Anti-Spamming filters.
The features of Streamyx Super Duper Deal package include:
Puan Zainab said “In line with the national agenda in increasing broadband penetration, TM aims to get as many Malaysians online as possible, and now with the Streamyx Super Duper Deal they can do so with our extra-value package. I hope those who still have not subscribed to Streamyx will take advantage of this great offer and start experiencing the best of broadband today...
Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), a leading regional information and communications group, offers a comprehensive range of communication services and solutions in fixed-line, mobile, data and broadband. As one of the largest listed companies on Bursa Malaysia with an operating revenue of more than RM16 billion, TM is driven to deliver value to its stakeholders in a highly competitive environment.
The Group places emphasis on continuing customer service quality enhancements and innovations. Currently, with investments and operations in 13 countries around Asia and globally, TM is focused on sustainable growth in both the local and international markets.
On the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) front, the Group has always been a major corporate contributor towards responsible activities in the belief that these practices are a fundamental tenet of good corporate governance. The Group promotes 3 major platforms i.e. education, sports development and community/nation-building. Under education, TM has spent some RM800 million to develop Multimedia University with more than 20,000 students. TM has also provided scholarships to over 10,000 graduates pursuing academic programmes locally and overseas. On the sports front, TM is actively contributing towards the upliftment of football at all levels while under the community/nation-building platform, the Group contributes towards causes that bring value to the community and nation at large.
For further information on TM, visit www.tm.com.my
With plans as low as RM20/month serving either TM prepaid or postpaid line (new applications also accepted along with Streamyx application), at home or office. Unlike some other broadband providers, NO MONTHLY TRANSFER LIMITS !!
Enjoy unlimited access hours with plans starting RM66 (or just RM77 for 1Mbps Super Duper Special Offer below) and speed up to 2Mbps (for just RM188/mth).
It's not too good to be true. It's good and it's true. Just sign up between 1 April and 31 May 2007!
To check streamyx in your area send "STX fixed line number" via SMS** to 33535, for instance
i.e. Replace 048666769 with your TM fixed line number, either postpaid or prepaid line.
* Terms and conditions apply (see below). Speed is at best effort. Subject to service availability.
For details please contact us.
[** NOTE: Consider that millions of students at US colleges are getting 10 Mbps or better dedicated Internet connection from their dorm rooms, for at least fifteen years now! Wonder where the multi billion-dollar giants of Google and Yahoo came from? If you've guessed dorm rooms, you're right! If you've guessed the same for Microsoft and Dell, you're right too, except that they were driven to business because of the new trend for personal computers in college and there were no commercial Internet then. Need more examples of world-class ICT products from universities? How about Sun (who coined "network is the computer"), Cisco (the networking leader), Silicon Graphics (one of the earliest network-centric high-end workstations), Netscape (world's first commercial web browser which was bought by AOL), HP, Intel and the long list goes on. So, would anyone dare telling me again that universities are a second or third priority in Malaysia? I think, it's about time the Ministry of Higher Education and MeCD start slow talking with KTAK, MOSTI and MDeC! I'd like to point out our successes from local universities in the field of ICT arena, but I'm having a hard time... care to help me with some decent examples? How do I know that we're in deep trouble? Because I'm taking a "technopreneurship" Master course at a local university that seems to have almost zero sense of teaching ICT entrepreneurship besides the fact that the technologies and ICT cultures in the campus are extremely poor! Finance and management, yes, but entrepreneurship and innovations, think again... TM Net however, has since, been working with several higher learning or exclusive educational institutions in upgrading their Internet connection - i.e. at UNIMAS (8->34Mbps by June 2007), UUM (9Mbps -> 45Mbps in 2006), UTP (15Mbps for campus-wide Wi-Fi in 2007) and as many as 88 smart schools (512Kbps->4-Mbps, expected in 2007/2008) -- still, there's still much to be desired with regards to the speed bump to make it much higher, or it's just not enough during present era of Wi-Fi, YouTube and miscellaneous Web 2.0]
Saturday, May 26
Citrawarna 2007 in Putrajaya
Gendang Malaysia - Citrawarna 2001
Coverage by Globe Trotter TV series
Citrawarna USM 2007 - Selendang Puspasari
Citrawarna Finale Fireworks
Jalan-jalan Citrawarna 2006 in Kuala Lumpur (a slide show by a couple & friends with some cheesy moments towards the ending)
Malaysia's singing sensations, Mawi & Siti Nurhaliza in a Citrawarna Concert
Citrawarna 2006 launching in Kuala Lumpur
Behind-the-scene clips on Citrawarna USM 2005. Awesome work! Congratulations to the winning team from "Aman Damai" (literally means, "peaceful & harmony") residential college of Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang.
From Tourism Malaysia website:
Colours of Malaysia is a celebration of the sights, sounds and colours of Malaysia. This year’s celebration promises to be a truly memorable one.
The event will take place in the new city of Putrajaya with the stunning Palace of Justice as its backdrop celebrating the architecture and progress that has propelled Malaysia into the 21st Century.
The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Millions of Colours, Millions of Smiles’. The large-scale performance will bring together thousands of performers, musicians, puppeteers and dancers from all over Malaysia.
The spectacular celebration will showcase the wonderful diversity of Malaysian life and culture through traditional and contemporary dance, puppetry, live music, state-of-the-art lighting sound and PIGI projection.
The theatrical presentation in front of the Palace of Justice will be combined with a vibrant colourful parade along the central boulevard of Putrajaya. This wonderful celebration will culminate in a spectacular fireworks display.
Welcome to Colours of Malaysia 2007 and enjoy the “Millions of Colours and Millions of Smiles in Malaysia”.
Come join us in Malaysia, the Heart of Asia!
For all Malaysians, it's long school holidays again... Enjoy your "Cuti-Cuti Famili" Travel! (Psst: Did you know that tourism is a RM 36.2 B industry in Malaysia, last year? Your contributions matter!)
Spoil yourself with many more milions of words (and splashing colours):-
- Story and pictures by M. Maxine George (from Canada)
- Citrawarna USM 2007 in pictures
- Citrawarna 2006 in pictures from the Gallery of the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia
- Raptai Citrawarna 2007 in pictures by Rosli @ Flickr
- Google Search for Images
- Google Search for Videos: Colours of Malaysia / Citrawarna
- Other official videos from Tourism/Virtual Malaysia
- Mobile wallpapers and photos from VMCC 2007
Berjuta-juta warna-warni persona: citra warna, citra senyuman, citra keceriaan!
Friday, May 25
How do we know what people really are talking about, and acting like at present times? What's really hot and cool out there? Well, there are forums, and news sites that can feed us with overloads of information, but, nothing beats talking and reaching out to a real person, in person. That's why many homeworkers are fans of business meet-ups and events. One independent consultant by profession, whom I met in an IBM-sponsored seminar in Penang told me, "I'm a regular to these kind of events. This is what we consultants do during our free time."
I'm no stranger to conferences, seminars, expositions, workshops etc. too. One of the first business events I attended was the popular COMDEX in Chicago, back in 1998. When I returned to Malaysia, I became a regular to dozens of other events including the ones sponsored or organized by Microsoft, IBM, Sun, DPMM, Perda, MeCD, PNB, MDeC, YADIM and many others. Not only you get to listen to cool informative talks by great speakers, you'll also be able to collect cool books and plethora of giveaways made available at events like these -- Some prices (i.e. from lucky draws) even come with price tags like 5-6 digit, like a car or a high-end computer server! I wasn't extremely lucky, but I recently won a cool software worth over RM1,000 from Microsoft (beats going home, empty handed or with cheap toys, after spending some considerable money for petrol, tolls, phone/internet/fax, bus/air tickets, or even the registration fees for the particular event...)!
We at Pajamanation Malaysia like these informative and productive events so much, we'd like more and more people to join them too. At least, by keeping you up-to-date with news, happenings and event announcements around the country...
And beginning this month, May until August, especially during long school holidays (2nd-beginning today, and 3rd-beginning Aug 17, terms) happen to be the most popular period for business-related meet-ups and events. Among the interesting upcoming events for the next couple weeks are:-
- Ekspo Usahawan Bumiputera Pulau Pinang 2007 in Seberang Jaya on 31 MAY - 7 JUN 2007, organized/supported by PERDA and DPMMPP.
- Bookfest Malaysia 2007 @ KLCC (26may-3jun07) organized by Popular Book Co Sdn Bhd.
- EKNA, Enterprise Asia, Showcase Usahawan & A-Yes Convention 2007 @ PWTC (30may-3jun07) by among others, MeCD and DPMM
- SMIDEX 2007 @ Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (6-9jun07) by SMIDEC
- 1st Karnival ICT Kedah in Alor Star on 8-10 JUNE 2007, organized by Kedah ICT Sdn Bhd (a Kedah state govt subsidiary)
Talk about calendar and information-sharing, today, in partnership with Google, Pajamanation Malaysia is able to offer new services for pajama workers and home-based micropreneurs in Malaysia:-
- myPajamanation Portal/Start Page @ http://start.mypajamanation.com (with ala -MS Outlook bookmarks, to-do list and notes management tools)
- myPajamanation Calendar (also syndicated at this blog site)
- myPajamanation Mail (the same invitation-only Gmail with 2+ GB storage, and unlimited forwarding, POP and mobile/WAP access) -- get not one but several cool domains for your email address including @myPajamanation.com, @WoNoJo.com, @PajamaWorker.com and more.
- myPajamanation Documents & Spreadsheet Workgroup (collaborate online!)
- myPajamanation Web Page Creator @ http://web.mypajamanation.com
- myPajamanation Chat (text-chat or talk with PM community members!)
How to get access to these free services, and join our prestigious pajamaworking community?
Just write a comment for this post, and mention your Pajamanation.com user id. We'll then email you your login information to myPajamanation web portal. If you haven't registered with Pajamanation.com, go ahead and do it now. It's free to register by the way! Connect with 1,600+ other pajamaworkers in 80+ countries (from 400+ cities), worldwide today. (We're growing fast...)
Let's net-WORK! Together, Everyone Achieve More (That's TEAM!)...
Thursday, May 24
Among the eight newcomers to the list include Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir (a son of former Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed) "with wealth worth US$220 million" (ranked #28) and Singapore-based property (& Singapore F1) tycoon Ong Beng Seng... "with wealth of US$580 million." (#12).
This year's spotlight among others is on the fast-rising Datuk Anthony Fernandes (of the fresh Air Asia & Tune Money empire, "whose US$230 million wealth put him 24th in the list") -- Datuk Tony is scheduled to be a repeat guest speaker at SMIDEX 2007 to be held in the first week of June 2007.
The only two women who made it in this prestigious mogul male-dominated list are Raja Datuk Seri Eleena Raja Azlan Shah (new entry this year) , a Perak princess, a Barrister-at-Law and also among others, a Non Independent Non-Executive Director and the largest invididual shareholder of Gamuda, at number 25th in the list with US$228 million", and Puan Sri Chong Chook Yew "who occupies number 18th with US$320 million."
- Tan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien: US$7.6 billion (RM 25.8B);
- Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan: US$7.4 billion;
- Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong: US$4.3 billion;
- Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng: US$3.9 billion;
- Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow: US$3.5 billion;
- Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan: US$3 billion;
- Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary: US$2 billion;
- Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay: US$1.8 billion;
- Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King: US$1.2 billion; and,
- Tan Sri William Cheng Heng Jem: US$650 million (RM2.2B).
The riches keep getting richer, eh?
Remember that Bill Gates, currently world's richest person on earth for over 10 straight years now (but soon to be toppled by several contenders), recently said that "the next Bill Gates" (wealthiest man) would come from Asia!" The watch is on... (on Asian Dragons: China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia etc.)
Maybe, we should come up soon with a list of the wealthiest pajamapreneurs in the world including the exclusive list of Malaysians ;-) -- We already have several lists for instance, ranking the most influential bloggers, with some of these "little" individuals seemingly having more authority and popularity than corporations-funded web projects/media like TMNET BlueHyppo, NSTP Emedia, The Sun, RTM etc.
Wednesday, May 23
Such jaw-dropping valuation of a VoIP solutions company simply marked the era of VoIP providers like Vonage (NYSE: VG), DeltaThree/iConnectHere (NASDAQ: DDDC), Net2Phone (also a former darling of Wall Street!), Packet8 etc, becoming serious contenders in telecommunications industry that's presently dominated by PSTN providers like the telco giants of AT&T-Cingular (now branded as the "new AT&T"), NTT, Telefonica, MCI-Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Sprint-Nextel (and TM in Malaysia) etc, and celcos/mobile operators like China Mobile, Vodafone, T-Mobile (and Maxis, TM Celcom and Digi in Malaysia) etc.
What does this means for micropreneurs and pajamaworkers who could use some savings in telecommunications spending?
In 2006, average workers in Malaysia for instance spend 5% or more of their monthly salary income for phone-related services. That translates to RM30 to RM200 every month, either on traditional TM line, prepaid cards or mobile services. The amount would be even higher for individuals who make frequent long distance or international phone calls to reach family members or business associates offshore.
How about saving RM20-RM150 per month (RM200 - RM1500/year) by placing some of these calls using your broadband-connected PCs instead?
But can VoIP really let you call traditional phone numbers and mobile numbers, for less, or perhaps, for FREE? If you've used Instant Messaging software like Yahoo Messenger, MSN/Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, AOL/ICQ etc, you'd know that these solutions, including the famous Skype, would let you call completely free only to another PC, or to toll-free numbers in certain countries like the USA and Canada. For calls to traditional phone/mobile numbers, sometimes it would cost even higher than using your conventional mobile phone (My Digi business line for instance, costs me only 20-cent to call another Digi line, anywhere, at any time of the day)!
Then, you'd think that our best alternatives are perhaps VoIP solutions from local companies like TM Net, Nasioncom, Redtone, JARING, VoizTalk, Takalam etc, which let you dial Malaysia phone numbers at discounted rates. Not really! Many of the solutions from these companies are complicated, buggy and plain inconvenience especially when you'd try to obtain customer support at odd hours. TMNET's HyppTalk for instance, was almost useless when I tried it twice. (TM's other solution, iTalk prepaid card, however works fine -- I haven't tried iTalk mobile though).
Enter GizmoProject offering both desktop-based solutions and web-based dialer (called GizmoCall; and FREE SMS sending too thru GizmoSMS!)... For nearly a year now (since July 2006, during the time when GizmoProject already had well over half-a-million users), GizmoProject lets you call FREE to the following 60 countries (with well over a billion phone numbers; or at discounted rates to about 2.5 billion numbers, anywhere on earth!):-
BOTH LANDLINES AND MOBILES
- Hong Kong
- Puerto Rico
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United States
- US Virgin Islands
- Vatican City
- Czech Republic
- French Antilles
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
Is it really 100% FREE? Well, there are several requirements as posted at the Gizmo Project website:
"After 14 days or when your 40 free minutes are used up, users new to All Calls Free will need to follow the All Calls Free Active User Requirements to continue making free calls. All Calls Free active users can also receive up to 60 minutes of free calling per week! To learn more, view the All Calls Free Frequently Asked Questions"
So, what happened if I run out of credits but I still want to use it to make calls to a landline or mobile number in Malaysia? Do the rates like ~10-cent/minute to call landline numbers and ~20-cent/minute to mobile numbers sound like a good deal? You're in luck because those are some of the low rates that GizmoProject offers.
Other popular rates (in USD) are as listed below, i.e. as low as ~6.5-cent (in MYR) per minute for calls to USA:
|North America||Land | Mobile|
|United States||0.019 | 0.019|
|Canada||0.020 | 0.020|
|Mexico||0.094 | 0.319|
|Europe||Land | Mobile|
|United Kingdom||0.020 | 0.210|
|France||0.020 | 0.218|
|Germany||0.020 | 0.242|
|South America||Land | Mobile|
|Argentina||0.030 | 0.212|
|Brazil||0.051 | 0.202|
|Chile||0.029 | 0.26|
|Asia||Land | Mobile|
|India||0.146 | 0.174|
|Singapore||0.020 | 0.020|
|Hong Kong||0.020 | 0.020|
Read on the following announcement from GizmoProject (that first arrived in my email box four days ago), offering a really useful and money-saving communications tool for frugal pajamaworkers and micropreneurs.
Download the software and try it out, if you haven't:
The following additional notes below are based on my personal experience as a user for this tool (formerly called SIPphone) for about five years now:
The softphone: seems to work well all these years, although it crashes sometimes. It's free to download, and your additional costs are probably just a headsets (with microphone) or a microphone with a set of earphones.
The hardware solutions: I failed to get the SIPphone-configured Grandstream adapter I purchased for RM200+ some four years ago, after so many attempts. It's now in my museum of useless-but-cute gadgets. [I've also had a chance to use the Aztech-GloballVillage adapter that I purchase in early 2005 for about RM300 which also failed to work flawlessly -- sometimes it just doesn't receive calls made to it, or failed to offer good sound quality. Though the Aztech's let me use all the included call credits for about ten months before I retired the device -- better save some electrical juice if I'm not going to use it actively.]
I haven't had a chance to try the latest VoIP offerings from Aztech, Gizmoproject, Skype etc, but think I'll stick with softphone for now. After all, seems like not that many home users especially in Malaysia are into the hardware-based VoIP solutions as of yet. It'll be a waste to spend RM100s to have a system that almost nobody would ring up on regular basis. But if you do, try ringing me up at 1-747-66-888-99 (SIP/Gizmoproject userid: "o_nutty9").
Note however that the only one hardware solutions that works flawless for me since late last year is an adapter-based solution from Nasioncom which plugs to conventional TM phone line -- all long distance calls get routed through Nasioncom's and charged at discounted VoIP rates, and all local calls get routed to normal TM line and thus charged at minimal flat 4-cpm rate (minimum: 8-cent/minute). Every month, I get a thin TM bill (with monthly amount of no more than RM40), and a separate bill from Nasioncom, and the savings so far are great.
Tuesday, May 22
Read the following articles to learn more on how biodiversity is affecting us all (especially all Malaysians):
- Malaysia's call for Asia to strengthen biosafety on Monday, 21 MAY 2007 during Biosafety and Biosecurity Asia 2007 conference.
- From our Prime Minister in 2005 on reducing impact of natural disasters.
- An article in Harian Metro in 2006 entitled "Nilai alam bagai nyawa sendiri" (in Malay meaning "Value the earth as your own life")
- A news article in Utusan Malaysia on 10 MAY 2007 on our potential success in producing world's first synthetic blood. (in Malay)
- A study on Kinabalu park as published by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in cooperation with UNESCO's World Heritage Centre.
Selamat menyambut Hari Kepelbagaian Biologi Sejagat!
Read what others are saying abouts us:
- Léon Benjamin at WinningBySharing.net: Fractional Work. The next small thing? & a much earlier article entitled Fractional Work Debuts and; a follow-up review by David Wilcox at Designing for Civil Society: Fractional work and small slices of expertise
- Mark Fletcher at StartUpping.com: Keys to Outsourcing Success (Part 1)
- "djozi-bo" at her LiveJournal blog (in Russian)
- Audrey Golub at MilanIn Business Club
- Adamson Rust at TheInquire.net: Job site lets you work in your pajamas / Teletrabajo en pijama (Spanish)
- David Cohn at NewAssignment.net: Assignment Zero Reactions
- Matt Mower at Blogs.It
- Personal Development for Smart PeopleTM Forums
And it's presently bookmarked by 70 people at Del.icio.us.
Read more about "Freelancing on the Internet" at Wikipedia.
What do you think about it? How may we improve it to make it work for you? Help us, help you... (Thank you in advance!)
BTW, you're welcome to talk about Pajamanation, and let us know by commenting here... (get the words out of your review page).
Monday, May 21
May 21, 2007 10:02 AM
KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 (Bernama) -- "Be your own paymaster, decide how much is your salary, enjoy life and earn thousands...".
That is part of an advertisement, placed by a direct-selling company, in a local tabloid newspaper recently. The company is apparently looking for people to sell its merchandise.
Earn big money from direct selling? It is not that easy as 25-year-old Norimah Salim found out.
Early this year, the Perak-born university graduate went for a walk-in interview with a French-based direct-selling company located at Bangunan Pak Peng, Jalan Petaling here.
The firm sells children's hard-cover books based on Walt Disney cartoon characters.
After a brief but impressive talk with the firm's sales manager, Norimah's hopes of earning thousands of ringgit soared sky-high and she immediately accepted the offer of a marketing job with the firm.
MAKING COLD CALLS
After a week of training that gave her the impression of how easy to close a sale, Norimah hit the streets, making cold calls from door to door, either at office premises or residential units.
Norimah's first day of direct selling saw her hopes of earning a handsome paycheck plummeting by the hour. By end of the day, she failed to close any sale.
The rejections continued for the rest of the week, and her "big hope" finally sunk rock-bottom. Norimah did not turn up for work the next week and she did not even bother to resign from the job as there were no strings attached.
She went job seeking and fortunately, found employment as a clerk in another firm. The desk job only offered Norimah a three-figure salary but she was happy.
According to consumer activist Fatimah Mansor, a person must be thick-skinned if the individual wishes to do door-to-door direct selling.
The salesman should also be "mentally tough" when facing rejections.
"House-to-house direct selling is difficult. Most of the time, the owners are away at work and the occupants are only housemaids and their employers' children".
In Malaysia, canvassing at office premises are definite a 'no-no', unless the salesman has secured an appointment. But even this could also be cancelled at the last minute.
Many office premises here have a 'Salesmen Not Allowed' notice p rominently posted on the front door, she said.
Fatimah said Malaysians do not like to be disturbed, either at work or while relaxing at home. That is why sometimes they respond apprehesively if not negatively to some of the rather aggressive salesmen.
"Try selling them something while they are having meals or drinks at eateries or roadside stalls, the salesman will definitely be rejected outright," she said.
Fatimah said there are various types of rejections and excuses in direct selling.
If the individual who the salesman approached decided not to purchase the item offered, then it would be difficult to make this particular person change his or her mind.
"Unless the product is something unique and extraordinary, and cheap," said Fatimah.
Among the excuses given are -- "I have to ask my wife/husband first; I have a lot of items like that; I am not sure of the quality or just an outright Sorry, I do not have the time".
The ultimate excuse of which the salesman has no way to counteract would be "I do not have the money", said Fatimah.
She said Malaysians prefer to go to hypermarkets or the relevant shop or office in order to get what they need.
"If they wish to buy insurance, then they will go to or call up the respective insurance agency. For household goods, they can get the items at hypermarkets or department stores. If they want cars, they will go to showrooms".
The way some salesmen go about their work appears as if they are forcing the public to buy their wares or services. They are trained to be aggressive. Malaysians generally do not like this idea, said Fatimah.
Sabah-born David Chung, who is the sales manager of a company that produces exercise books and stationery, said direct-selling involves a lot sacrifices and hard work.
"The market here is saturated. You may have to travel out station in search of new clients and markets," he said.
Chung said when direct selling was still a novelty in the country,
it was very easy to sell toiletries, food supplements and detergents through direct selling.
"Malaysians also prefer to buy goods of known brands as they are not sure over the quality of new products," he said.
Chung said the business is getting tougher due to stiff competition nowdays, he is forced to rely on getting bulk orders instead of individual sales.
"Direct selling is also governed by the law. The numerous public complaints against unscrupulous direct sellers have compelled the authorities to come out with rules and regulations on this trade," he added.
Sunday, May 20
- Exposition and sales of products by local entrepreneurs
- Exposition of products from ASEAN countries
- Demonstration on products
- Workshops and seminar on entrepreneurship
- Business matching between entrepreneurs and potential suppliers/buyers.
- Showcase on machines, technologies and raw materials.
In addition, there will also be another exposition at PWTC during the same period: Malaysia Mega Property Showcase 2007
|Enterprise Asia Showcase Usahawan 2007 & EKNA 2007|
|Date||:||1st - 3rd June 2007|
|Venue||:||Tun Razak Hall 3 & 4|
|Organiser||:||Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia (DPMM) |
|Contact Person||:||Pn Nor Paridah Hanum|
|Tel||:||603 2096 2233/ 603 2095 2450|
|Malaysia Mega Property Showcase 2007|
|Date||:||1st - 3rd June 2007|
|Organiser||:||Exhibition Guide (M) Sdn Bhd|
|Contact Person||:||Mr Moey|
|Tel||:||603 9056 3323/012 3062 980|
Malaysian National News Agency
Enterprise Asia 2007 Targets 20,000 Visitors
May 07, 2007 16:24 PM
KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (Bernama) -- Enterprise Asia 2007, an international trade exhibition and conference, is targeting to receive 20,000 visitors during the event from June 1 to 3, up from 14,236 visitors last year.
The number of booths for the exhibition will be increased to 400 from 278 last year, said Nor Faridah Hanum, event manager of the Malay Chambers of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM), the organiser.
Local companies are expected to put up 250 booths while 150 booths will be set up by participating companies from overseas, including China, the Maldives and Canada, she said at a press briefing here today.
To be held at the Putra World Trade Centre here, Enterprise Asia 2007 is an international exposition for small and medium scale industries and enterprises from Malaysia and overseas to showcase their products, processes and services.
It will be divided into two major events -- the National Trade Exhibition by the DPMM and the Entrepreneur Showcase sponsored by the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry.
To be held concurrently is the First Asean Young Entrepreneurs Symposium, aimed at promoting smart partnerships among young entrepreneurs in the region.
Arrival,registration and check-in at Seri Pacific Hotel
8.00 pm Welcoming Dinner hosted by Young Chamber ( DMDPMMS)
DAY 2 : THURSDAY, 31st MAY 2007
7.00 am Breakfast with VIP
8.00 am Registration for 1st ASEAN Young Entrepreneur Symposium
9.00 am Remarks from 10 ASEAN countries representative
10.00 am Meeting toward formation of 1st A-YES Secretariat
11.30 am PAPER 1 : Keynote Speech by Tan Sri Rozali Ismail
12.15 pm PAPER 2 : Bussiness
1.00 pm Leaving KL to Putrajaya,Welcoming Lunch hosted by MECD
2.30 pm An Industrial Visit (Putrajaya Sightseeing / MDec /MPOB /PROTON / MARDI / KL Sightseeing )
8.00 pm SELANGOR NITE DINNER ,hosted by Selangor State Chief Minister
DAY 3 : FRIDAY,1st JUNE 2007
7.00 am Breakfast with VIP
8.00 am Official Launching of
12.30 pm Friendship Luncheon
2.30 pm PAPER 3 : Business Opportunitiesin ICT by MDeC
3.20 pm PAPER 4 : Halal Hub by HDC
4.15 pm PAPER 5 : Biotech Industries by MOSTI
8.00 pm A-YES GALA DINNER hosted by Minister of Entrepreneur & Co-pperative Development & Puncak Niaga
DAY 4 : SATURDAY, 2nd JUNE 2007
7.00 am Breakfast with VIP
9.00 am PAPER 6 : Franchise
10.00 am Conclusion Session and speech by 10 country representive
11.20 am Business Matching
12.30 pm Farewell Lunch hosted by DBKL Mayor
2.00 pm Check-out & transfer to KLIA
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