Thursday, December 27
The entire world is shocked again, this time, two days after X'mas celebrations by Christians and the larger part of the Western world, or a day after "Boxing Day" (which many of us remembered sadly as the day a tsunami perished lives of 200,000 people in South Asia just three years ago).
This time, dozens of people were killed in another sickening chaos and terror act of a few, in an attack that also took the life of a prominent political figure of Pakistan whose name is synonymous to Women in Power and Courage (Under Fire). She knew it very well that she put her own life and the lives of many others at stake by returning to Pakistan, but for her, it's something that has to be done, and returned to the homeland she did two months ago after eight years living in exile. Immediately, there was an attempt on her life during her homecoming parade killing 140 people, but she managed to narrowly escaped uninjured.
Today, when most part of the world are welcoming better progress for Pakistan as the nation nears its election time, another attack was reported, first on how Bhutto again might have escaped uninjured just two hours ago, but an hour later on he she was confirmedly killed at the age of 54 either before or during the explosion by a suicide bomber. It's the news of the hour and the day, with new report sposted in news media all over the world, by the dozens every minute, accumulating 1000 online news posts by 11pm (MYT - about two hour after the attack) and adding another 500 in the next 30 minutes, half of which are duplicates.
It's a shocking, and sad day for Pakistan, and for peace-loving people all over the world! A hearty condolence to the families and friends of Benazir Bhutto and the people of Pakistan... May Pakistan sees its peaceful days and years soon.
Bhutto's LAST WAVE:
Wednesday, December 26
p/s: .NET names are also on sale for RM19.99/year (save RM10 per name/year for up to ten years total, instantly!) until 27 DEC 2007 (NO quantity limits! And for RM29.50 for .com names, who is your daddy now? ;) Get them quick before this YEAR-END MEGA SALE offer ends!
UPDATE (28 DEC 2007): We're glad to announce that due to popular demands, we've extended the .INFO and .IN first-year promotional rate (as low as RM8.88) until a to-be-announce date. The SALE for .MOBI and .NET however has ended, and normal retail prices (still rock-bottom low) have been reflescted at the website.NEWS FLASH: To celebrate the upcoming New Year 2008, we've started a CRAZY SALE for .com, and .org: Just RM28.88/year, with no minimum years (for up to ten years allowed by ICANN) or quantity limit!! This offer will expire on at 2pm, Wednesday, 2 JAN 2008... Stock 'em up for the new year!!
Saturday, December 22
[Well, Xmas & New Year's Day is coming up soon, so, it's more Happy Holidays afterwards for the rest of this month...]
This "Happy" (or "h>ppy") I stumbled upon after seeing a Google Adsense banner being displayed on my one of websites...
I'm a DiGi loyal user (for nearly three years now, since first switching to it from Maxis/Celcom back in January 2005, after having being demo-ed its GPRS Edge connectivity by the CEO himself, on Mr Morten Lundal's phone at Gurney Plaza -- hehe, how many people can say that they were sold the telco service by Mr CEO of a BIG3 Telco!), but I only found about this new product from DiGi today, although it has been soft-launched earlier this month on 7 DEC 2007 supposedly, according to a underground announcement on Lowyat.net forum. The domain itself was first registered just two days earlier, on 5 DEC 2007 -- THAT has gotta to one of the fastest product/brand launches by a corporation!! And cool brand name too I must say...
Hmm... Did Wind Koh of Hebat Interactive just made tons of money off this domain he previously owned? (This "You don't know Wind?" gentleman who proudly blogged about his recent marriage with Zoyee Lee (another fellow Friendster 'otai') in August 2007, happens to be one of the earliest local domainers having snapped many of cool Malaysia-centric names in his portfolio including merdeka.com, play.com.my and x.com.my)
A further google digging points me to this active discussion at Lowyat.net - http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/586224 (these guys are quick!). And Bernama had indeed reported about it back on 7 DEC 2007: "Digi's Happy To Tap New Market In Prepaid Services" and Utusan Malaysia picked up the story a day later with its Malay language reports: "DiGi ceburi pasaran mudah alih caj rendah" (translation: "DiGi enters low-cost mobile market") and "Lebih gembira dengan Happy" (meaning "happier with Happy").
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 (Bernama) -- DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd today launched Happy, calling it the country's first no-frills prepaid mobile service to tap a new niche market.
Happy was created based on findings that for 90 percent of Malaysian consumers, calls and short messaging service (SMS) were the services most widely used, DiGi said.
Its chief executive officer Morten Lundal said the market trend was rapidly changing, from the situation of three players in the market to many players.
"You will also see this in Europe and globally. We don't mind to be just adding to that market dynamics and introduced Happy to take market share in that new marketplace," Lundal said.
"So, Happy is an insurance to compete in the smaller and emerging markets that people have overlooked from before," he said.
Lundal said Happy marked an experiment by DiGi to tap the new niche market, competing in the marketplace as a separate mobile service.
"There will be several new players in Malaysia and going forward, Happy is an excellent instrument for DiGi to compete with them," he said.
According to Lundal, Happy will not affect DiGi in terms of market share as the company's products are targeted at broader and different markets.
He said Happy was the brainchild of four "rebels" in DiGi who took about six to eight weeks to develop the service.
It will come under these people operating as a separate team but still under DiGi and using the mobile operator's nationwide backbone to roll out the service, he added.
Happy offers a simple plan that enables customers to make call and send SMS to any network for one sen per second up to 99 sen and 10 sen per SMS.
The starter pack is priced from RM5 per pack and available at participating Giant hypermarkets. Customers can also order it online at the www.happy.com.my website.
Finally, TM (parent of Celcom) gets a good and bold competition for its iTalk! All the best DiGi!!
[in addition to the rather less popular options from TIME, RedTone, NasionCom etc -- I wonder if Maxis has a comparable product in the market or coming up soon...]
BTW, I was commenting earlier on Dr Irfan Khairi's blog on how Malaysia corporations don't seem to 'happy' to join in the world in corporate social responsibilities (CSR) as clearly observed during the 3-day Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) Event on the Future (GK3) which was hosted by the Malaysia-based secretariat for the second time in Malaysia in seven years (the last one was in the year 2000) -- Besides TM (which got in last minute but lacked any major presentation as its corporate booth), MIMOS (running a decent booth, and also represented by its former CEO, Tengku Datuk Dr Mohd Azzman Shariffadee) and KTAK (represented majorly only by its minister, the 'lighter-moments' Dato Seri Dr Lim Kheng Yaik), no other major Malaysia-based corporations (i.e. 'Berhad' publicly listed companies) were well represented in this Malaysia-hosted congregation of nearly 2000 individuals from 150+ countries representing NGOs and other ICT/media-centric business leaders like Intel, Microsoft, Nokia-Siemens, Alcatel, AlJazeera, BBC etc.
When asked by Rinalia Rahim, the Chair of GK3 Working Committee during a Ministerial panel session, Dr Lim responded with and acknowledgment on his ministry do realize the implementation problems on the many existing government policies and added his usual humor, "... an old man like me has to come to events like this, when there are so many agencies already set up to take up these tasks..."
DiGi on the other hand, although did not make an obvious representation, was actually represented by its major shareholding company, Telenor, through Grameen Phone of Bangladesh (also majorly owned by Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank, winner of a Nobel Peace Price in 2006).
And now that DiGi has just donated some 200 cattle for Eid al-Adha 'qurban', perhaps I'll stick longer with DiGi although this company is still charging me arms and legs (same old rates) for SMSes at 15-cent per message to other networks through its DiGi Business plan I signed up long time ago -- almost switch to another telco/mobile broadband provider up to having filled the entire form, but canceled last minute when told that 3.5G/HSDPA service is after all not yet available in my Penang town -- thought Maxis and Celcom advertised aggressively on how they've covered the entire Penang!! Oh well, maybe I'll wait until Number Portability arrives in Malaysia. Until then, it's Happy DiGi still...
Friday, December 21
You are by far the SUPREME NERD GOD!!!
Well, I know I'm a nerd (and proud of it), but I'd like to think that I'm not the nerdiest of people. And looks like I'm right: 2% other people who took the test are nerdier than me!
It's good to know though that being a nerd is not longer as bad as in the 70s (as portrayed in 80s and older movies) and earlier when these individuals constantly get laughed at all the time: Einstein, Newton, Stephen Hawkings etc. to name a few of today's big names in science. Today, some of the richest people, both seniors and freshies are some of the nerdiests: William H Gates III (one of the biggest philantropists out there too, and one-time TIME Person of the Year, side-by-side with U2's Bono not too long ago), the Googleaires pair, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, the two Yahoo!s, Linux's Torvalds, Apple's Steves (Jobs is now the biggest individual shareholder of Disney!) and many more today's cool and filthy rich guys especially those in the ICT/computer industries.
Heck, last year, TIME even named 'YOU' (nerds who came up with user-generated content on YouTube and millions other websites.) as its 2006 Persons of the Year...
Wanna be rich and cool?
Be a nerd (and entrepreneurial)!
(See, even the people behind nerdtests.net are making good money themselves by coming up with cool gift items: tshirts, stuffed bears, caps etc.)
Thursday, December 20
"... we sacrifice animals during al-Adha beginning after this khutbah and until the third day of Eid al-Adha, from 10 until 13 ZULHIJJAH 1428H (20-23dec07), to symbolize sacrificing negative animal instincts and acts that may have stained or will continuously stain us throughout the year (greedy, murderous, lazy etc), and embrace human aspects more: helping and caring of others, offer food for the needy of the community, offer friendship with all human beings etc and be humble - thankful through zikr and prayers, e.g. joining takbeer sessions etc."
Here's the second half of the 30-minute khutbah (speech) at al-Mokhtar Mosque (Masjid Daerah Barat Daya), Balik Pulau, Penang:
[this took hours to upload via TM Streamyx Narrowband]
Just like the concept of Web 2.0, think more of others, and share more, instead of doing everything for oneself...
Eid Mubarak to all Muslims!
Wednesday, December 19
What: Carnival / Holiday
When: Today, December 19 at 7:30pm until Saturday maghrib.
Where: The whole world
Enjoy the festive holiday and good food... As usual, hop to your Muslim friends house for all day open houses everywhere in Malaysia...
Tuesday, December 18
Here's the promo/informational poster from MCA ICT Resource Centre for the event later this morning:
Sunday, December 16
The answer is Penang (or its "cities")!
As you might have known, since 2005, several zones in Penang Island and Seberang Perai had been gazetted as Penang Cyber Cities (PCC) by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDEC), as the first of its kind outside of Klang Valley (CyberJaya, KLCC, Technology Park etc).... [And I get to brag about it being my home town as well as my birth origin!]
Surprisingly though because neither Pulau Pinang (Penang Island) nor any of the towns in this world-famous travel destination are officially a "city" by administration or municipal governance, i.e. managed/maintained by Municipal Council of Pulau Pinang (MPPP) instead of a city council ("Majlis Bandaraya" in Malay language).
On the other hand, "Georgetown" or "Tanjung" as the capital of Penang is affectionately known for by the locals not to long ago had also been occassionally called "Bandaraya" (literally meaning "city") as showcased on several road signs, names of structures etc. (e.g. "Stadium Bandaraya"). In fact, Georgetown had been a city for a few decades since before Merdeka until around the 70s, when MPPP and MPSP (for Seberang Perai/Province Wellesley) were established by the state government for the task of municipal development. Such names and road signs had though continued to stay around until early 2000s when they were starting to be changed to "Georgetown" instead of "Pulau Pinang" or "Bandaraya", for instance, on road directional signs near the Penang Bridge.
Skipping the name sakes or "city vs. town status" for Penang, let's see what speedtest.net revealed in its latest broadband speed results:-
From the chart above, Penang clearly leads way ahead in terms of average Internet download speed at nearly 3-MBps -- more than double what average users in Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan (WP) are getting. Surprising eh? Not so... After all, despite the number of broadband users leading in Selangor (home of Cyberjaya town and the cities of Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya) and WP Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, there are more large multinational manufacturing companies in Penang, exceeding 200 in the towns of Bayan Lepas, Batu Maung and Prai etc. There are also many more high rises (buildings with ten or more floors) in Penang than in Kuala Lumpur etc, making Penang a top-25 "city" vs. KL ~ top-80 in the world in terms of the number of high rises. Such availability of high rises has made Penang a perfect candidate for fiber optic-backed wireless service which companies like PenangFon (subsidiary of MetroFon) had starting to take advantage of over the past couple years for instance.
Again, from chart above, a "cities" comparison shows that Penang towns dominate 60% of the top-10 ranking for Internet downstream speed in Malaysia, including for #1 until #5. Likewise, Penang also dominate the average upstream speed for its users similar to the downstream pattern.
Not just that, a Penang-based company/connectivity also ranks #1 in Asia, ahead of providers in Japan for instance. However, as I've noted in my previous blog during my brief visit to Tokyo, Japan clearly leads in average Internet connectivity speed surpassing 11Mbps, more than twice Internet users are getting in Singapore, the second fastest country in Asia in terms of Internet connectivity, with Hong Kong and Korea trailing closely behind -- All top-10 regions in Asia in terms of Internet speed are also in Japan (which is also fastest country in the world in terms of Internet connectivity speed, far ahead at more than twice the download speed compared to Singapore, France, Germany and the US at the bottom four in the top-10 global rank)!
Oh well, back to reality in Malaysia, it seems that it's not bad after all to be stucked in Penang all these years instead of following the steps of many who have migrated to Klang Valley in pursuit of better things that MSC is supposed to offer. However, as I've neither live in a high-rise nor in a city-like town (eg. Bayan Lepas, Gelugor, Georgetown etc.) any longer, I still have to settle with a ~1-Mbps downstream connectivity that TM Streamyx is offering at present.
It's worth to note that except for Penang which has superb fiber-optic choices, particularly for use by those big MNCs, Klang Valley and other areas of Malaysia are depending on DSL (mostly by TM, largest Government-Linked Telco), mobile broadband (200Kbps - 3.6Mbps for GPRS Edge or 3G-3.5G/HSDPA), iBurst (eg. Izzi etc), WiMAX etc.
At present, I still haven't migrated to 3.5G since I still haven't had the time to visit Celcom or Maxis to get them to bring me HSDPA in Balik Pulau without me having to ditch my cool DiGi vanity phone number (that phonetically spells both my name and commercial company brand!) -- still am waiting for the Number Portability scheme to reach the mobile scenes in Malaysia. And Streamyx at RM98/month (including the ridiculous service cut double penalty - only by TM, the monopolistic Telco of Malaysia.) is all I got besides the decent DiGi Edge that charges me as much as RM149/month -- Worse if compared to regions in North America, Europe, East Asia Pacific and Australasia, but not too bad if compared to elsewhere including South America and Africa.
This ends my sporadic spur of the moment rambling (and usual critiques) on the state of broadband in Malaysia.
I know, I know, I still owe you guys my good readers, comprehensive coverages from my back-to-back full week of ICT-centric social networking and learning experience through the events of Sifoo-Microsoft, PIKOM PC Fair (both in Penang and KLCC), ICT for Development (i4D) Film Festival, World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF3), Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) Event on the Future (GK3), MiRC Penang ICT Week (including the Arabian Night at Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel), ICT Penang Meet @ DPMMPP etc. But I still have more networking to go thru during remaining of this week including TechBiz Penang meet @ PSDC, and miscellaneous MiRC Penang ICT Week events on Monday and Tuesday -- It seems that I had so little time to write when having to meet so many people from all corners of the world (I must have shaken hands and/or exchanged smiles/name cards with over 100 individuals from 50+ different nations, from students/young social entrepreneurs up to ministers of respective countries in the course of a single week), starting with conferences every early morning to gala dinners every evening. But, am anxiously waiting for Eid and Xmas 5-day holiday during which I'll hopefully have more time to write: blogs, business plans, company financial accounts etc. (unless of course if I were to take another vacation away from home).
Saturday, December 8
I first registered in its forum back in 2003, but this will be my first time meeting fellow Sifoorians or the group's activities (Hmm.. I missed the chix buffet!! Hehe, but 'been to Hartz's before... and banyak gak awek cun yer dlm design community!). Am not much of a designer though, but I marvel at the beautiful artworks these geniuses come up with all these years...
The highlights of the event has got to be Microsoft's bold entrance to endear with the creative community with its Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF, formerly code-named "Avalon") and Microsoft Silverlight (Hmm.. I didn't get to check that one somehow during Web 2.0 Tokyo because Microsoft's demo hall was quite exclusive from the rest of the expo vendors, but friend Rico must know much about this after some good photo snaps with them Jap ala-F1 girls). Microsoft's Rohan Thomas will showcase what Microsoft has in store for graphic professionals and amateurs, including MS Expression Studio (a successor to MS Frontpage, written using WPF itself) I suppose.
MICROSTATUS: It's 5 o'clock in the morning, and I'm blogging this after a brief power nap. Looks like I have to start packing as my flight is just two hours from now, and the Penang International Airport is some 30 minutes from my house after brazing some sloppy hills (Urgh, can't someone bring a mini airport here to Balik Pulau??). Will land at Subang airport the first time in twelve years -- the last time I was there was in 1995 during a short holiday from the United States, after which I've been touchdowning at KLIA-Sepang (and LCCT-Sepang) after all flights both international and domestic for Kuala Lumpur were moved to there. (Why, oh why, was AirAsia refused access to Subang, but when the government-owned Malaysia Airline wants the old airport for its Firefly, the new low-cost subsidiary, the approval seemed no-brainer?)
To fellow Sifoorians, see you guys at Microsoft-KLCC today!
* "sifoo" or "sifu" in Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) means "teacher", and supposedly popularized in Chinese "kungfu" movies since back in the 80s with popular China/Hong Kong actors including Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
Monday, December 3
Pesta Penang yang kali ini dirasmikan oleh Perdana Menteri Malaysia, Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi pada hari Sabtu yang lalu (1 DEC 2007 - serentak dengan perasmian Pesta Merakyatkan Seni Budaya di Padang Kota) menjanjikan pelbagai program menarik yang dirancangkan untuk sepanjang bulan Disember 2007.
Memandangkan pihak Tourism Penang tidak (boleh) melayan permintaan saya melalui telefon untuk 'flyer' versi digital, dibawah ini hanyalah hasil imbasan untuk kertas yang digumpalkan bersama-sama surat lain dalam peti surat rumah saya hari ini (download dari slideshare.net untuk versi PDF):-
[UPDATE (6pm): Tourism Penang bagaimanapun membalas emel saya beberapa jam kemudian dan menyertakan versi PDF yang lebih baik kualitinya. Terima kasih Siti Hanisah!]
Ini pula ialah lirik untuk lagu promosi Pesta hujung tahun Pulau Pinang yang diadakan setiap tahun:
(pasai pa ni? pesta kat mana? bila, bila? dah start dah ka? la awat hang tak habaq!!)
Kalau naik feri kena masuk ikut jeti
Kalau ramai kawan kena masuk ikut jambatan
Jumpa hidung mancung bukan semua pelancong
Combi anak tanjung, anak mami dok Jelutong!
Pulau Pinang menanti
Batu Feringgi, Padang Kota,
Naik beca pusing KOMTAR!
Pakat mai sini...
Pulau Pinang satu destinasi
Tengok pulau, Tanjung Tokong,
Pesta Penang Sungai Nibong!
Selamat datang ke Pulau Pinang!
And I happened to be at each of these, plus two other wedding reception ceremonies during the short span of two days and two nights, so it was food, music, long walk and people watching for me all weekend long! While Pesta Ekspo and PMS managed to pull tens of thousands of people each day, PC Fair with 118 participating vendors (the 2nd largest PC expo in Malaysia after next week's in Kuala Lumpur, I think!) was able to garner 100,000+ people in a single day seamingly, at least from my observation on Sunday, its final MEGA SALE day. Check out this snap of heads there, cramping like clogged pipe (psst... captured using the very camera just purchased there just minutes earlier):
And aargh.... I just found out that the tablet notebook I bought less than two months ago has been replaced with an upgraded model (with slightly better Athlon CPU), and this new model retails for the same price plus all the same goodies (an extra 6-cell battery and an optical mouse). How fast these tech items you bought get devalued! With my good thumbs up, my good friend ended up buying eight pieces of this upgraded model for his staff, spending some well over RM20,000 in one place. I on the other hand kept my spending minimal to no more than RM1,000 because I was reserving for more purchases at PC Fair KL next week...
Talking about gadget buying, I must express how disappointed I am with e-commerce (online mail order) in Malaysia. While I used to get items delivered within the same week or much faster back in the US, the 3.5G phone I ordered nearly two months ago (from two separate vendors that have been approved by credit card companies of Ambank, MBF and EON Bank) still hasn't arrive, and both vendors seem too lazy to acknowledge much of the delivery status to me either via phone or email -- I ended up canceling on of the two orders and requested an item change with the other, but this vendor still failed to deliver within the five-day promise. (TIME TO CANCEL THAT ORDER and head to a local shop today!) Oh well, I also first learned at Penang PC Fair after long conversation with Celcom and Maxis vendors that after all the brouhahas I've heard about Maxis and Celcom now delivering 3.5G/HSDPA, it turns out that the service hasn't even reach Penang (or reach out of Klang Valley), bummer!
C'mon local telcos: Only 15% or so of Malaysia's population live in Klang Valley!!
Can't wait to get my hand on a 3.5G unit soon though, so I can start testing the service first-hand, now that I'm about to ditch TMNET Streamyx after a full-year of bad experience as it nears its 1-year contract expiration. Besides, I'm also thinking to ditch Digi for either Celcom or Maxis considering that after nearly two years with Digi Business, I can't believe the company's still (OVER)charging me for SMSes at 15-cent per outbound text message to other providers (while SMSes now cost for 1-cent or less each with most other plans and with other mobile providers)! But perhaps I should wait for Number Portability to arrive in Malaysia, supposedly sometime in 2008, so I can keep my vanity phone number (one that spells both my own personal name and one of my company's brand name)...
Now that the weekend with its back-to-back parties ended, it's time to shift back to work starting tomorrow morning, finishing up procrastinated stuff and gearing up for business meetings here in Penang and Kuala Lumpur before I continue with a full week of 'outstationing' in KL next week, for more and more events of course - Sif00-Microsoft Meet, KL PC Fair (about double in size or larger compared to Penang's!), i4D Film Festival, World Electronic Media Forum (WEMF3) and the Global Knowledge Event on the Future (GK3).
Then, it's back to Penang for MiRC ICT Week, and I'm already in the mood for a long Eid & Christmas holidays right afterwards -- gotta start to plan my holiday's travel now!
So how was your weekend my good reader? Feeling adventurous? Join me in KL next week!
- ► 2009 (18)
- ► 2008 (35)
- Benazir Bhutto: 1953-2007
- ADVERTORIAL: Two more days for RM 8.88 .INFO!
- Happy DiGi!
- I am a supreme nerd!!!
- Eid Adha teaches us sacrifice, thankfulness and ca...
- Eid-ul Adha Mubarak (1428H) to all Muslims...
- I.T. is BIZ: Are Malaysian SMEs ready for e-Commer...
- Which 'city' is the BROADBAND CAPITAL of Malaysia?...
- Sifoos of Design congregrate in KL
- Pesta Penang 2007 - Pakat mai sini!
- Seas of people all over Penang...
- ▼ December (11)