Saturday, February 16

Era of High Density optical media begins (The War has ended!)

Not to be mistaken with the HD-DVD format, today actually marks the day when Blu-Ray will thrive as the one format to rule them all... If you haven't heard, Toshiba finally raised the white flag, and is ditching HD-DVD production after the long battle with Blu-Ray camp led by Sony.

Read more here: Toshiba to give up on HD DVD, end format war (Reuters)

Among the latest contributors that delivered the coffin to DVD Forum camp (chaired by Toshiba) was the exclusive adoption of Blu-Ray by Wal-Mart and Netflix, two of the biggest DVD distribution outlets in the US -- retail and online rental respectively, through back-to-back announcements earlier this week.

IMO though, the single biggest contributing factor was Sony's push of Blu-Ray into its popular Playstation 3 not long ago, when Microsoft, the backer of Toshiba's HD-DVD failed to get people excited enough with its support for Xbox. Now that Toshiba has calling it quit, I wonder how Microsoft would respond amid its lost in pushing its HDi vs. Java BD-J software support -- What a beating I must say for having failed in its initial bold attempt to consolidate Yahoo! in its fight against Google.

I remember the 'old days' when I get to jump into DVD craze quite early more than ten years ago (around 1997) being a fan of rental service by Hollywood Video (formerly Video Watch, and later acquired into the now-troubled Movie Gallery) and Blockbuster, and naturally Netflix (in 1999, immediately when this online company introduced flat-rate rental) -- Malaysians took longer before adopting DVDs as I remember how VCDs were still overly popular some five years ago ~ 2003 when there weren't many low-cost DVD players or media in the local market yet. In fact, when I first bought my first DVD recorder (among world's first, single-layer dual-format) in 2002, that piece retails around RM 1,000 (about 10 times what the latest ones cost each today), and it only does 2.4x maximum for DVD+R and 1x for DVD-R/RW. And it took quite a number of years before the price for the blank media drops from about RM20 a piece down to RM0.50 today.

But then, back when a 20GB hard drive was decent, a 4.7GB DVD for backup purpose was great. Today however when the 160GB hard drive that my laptop sports keep being marked with 'red alert' by Vista when viewed under Windows Explorer, a 4.37GiB or 7.95GiB dual layer DVD media no longer seems ideal for backup purpose -- a complete hard drive backup would take at least four DVDs up to ten or more compared to 1-2 pieces five years back. And hard drives keep growing fast in size with the latest in the market reaching 1TB (1000GB) or larger, but DVD continued to be stuck at as little as under 1% in comparative size.

...all while we already have successors to the poor old DVD! But unlike DVD format war that was quickly ended back around 1995 (by similar culprits: Sony-Philips MMC vs. Toshiba SuperDensity which settled the other way round toward Toshiba & gang's specifications), the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray went on for nearly five years from 2003, with respective finalized versions for both formats since late 2006. The result for consumers: instead of the billion plus people who get to enjoy DVD today, only the few million people get to their hands on either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray all these years. And people like me only settled for a Lightscribe-capable feature as a good upgrade to our 16x DVD writers.

But cheers, that sad story is about to change... Soon, the players, the writers and the media will drop in prices, although it's not certain how long that would be before they can be really affordable for average Malaysians. The key driving factor would be the content, and before the 'major distribution channel' (psst!) start pushing Blu-Ray discs vs. the archaic DVD ones (on the streets...), I doubt people would start flocking to buy the players yet.

Check out: A search for "blu-ray" at eBay Malaysia only return a result from a single seller selling Spiderman 3 disc set for RM190+. There seems to be over 8,000 products from International sellers though. Time to start dropping by Lowyat and major electronic outlets now... Heck, maybe I should start dealing these stuff ;)

I personally am looking forward to buy a Blu-ray writer that can work ideally for backup purpose, but until the media price drops to around RM10 or less (long way to go, huh?), I'd have to take some time to consider... ;)

Feeling Blu yet? And will Apple come up with one soon, so I can start ditching my annoying Vista machines...?

Wednesday, February 6

Sesawang Dua Titik Sifar Untuk Perniagaan...

Our first major activity in creating awareness on Web 2.0 (for business) and promoting technopreurship here in Penang was a blast. Over 100 people showed up at the Penang Technopreneurship Dialogue & Web 2.0 Sharing Session 2008, held on last Friday, 1st of February at Level 4, Bayview Hotel, Georgetown. Thank you to MDeC for graciously stepping up with the effort of bringing the movers and shakers from the local scenes, flying them all the way from Kuala Lumpur, and sponsoring the entire event venue and food - good breakfast, lunch buffet and afternoon tea. And USM & PDC for hosting and making sure the event went through smoothly, particularly for the registration and making the guests (& speakers) all comfortable.

We were worried earlier that not many people would show up for an event so focussed on a single technological perspective, instead of the all-in-one ones (with sizable marketing budget) like earlier Penang i-Land 2004, Global Technopreneur Forum 2005 and Penang Technopreneur Forum 2007. But in a prior meeting, so convinced and upbeat I was, I bragged to folks from PDC, MDeC and USM how we'll be able to get the crowd quickly - "No worries - run, and they will follow!" Well, it took us much less than a full week, with the online registration opened to public from the Friday earlier, and the final three days of emailing, calling, and blogging about it from Monday to Wednesday to get people to sign up by ~30s per day -- A good exercise on the power of Web 2.0 I suppose... Now imagine if we had marketed it longer and wider, we'd definitely get hundreds of people to come and talk about the buzzy topic! (but then, the concern would be where would we squeeze these people and how to feed them ;)).

Is Malaysia ready? Is Malaysian businesses ready? Are Penangites ready to take advantage of Web 2.0 and positive trends in technopreneurial ventures to crunch in the numbers - the products and new companies? Take a look at the numbers... I started the sharing with my observation and hyping up the crowd. And I just had to showcase the "Bubble 2.0" video to the audience (amid some technical hickups - no ways to synchronize the play in three laptops at once):

Enjoy reviewing the slides:-

Azrul Hasni from Bill Adam (and formerly from Sun Jtrend) then explored the technicals and explained the buzzes surround Web 2.0, plus shared some of his experience on serving a CTO for a Web 2.0/Mobile 2.0-centric company which markets it products in the UK. Then came Kamal Fariz from Malaysian Ruby Brigade evangelizing the fresh platform which he sort of claimedwould take over the world including the local development scenes by storm. Kamal's presentation was a very light walkthrough on programming using Ruby, but still the crowd looks a bit dazed and fearful when codes start to pop up on the screen - codes that produced great looking photo albums. Khailee finally moved the eyes around as he explored his wild ride in technopreneurial ventures from joining a fast-moving startup post university days up to playing with ideas that bear fruits for his future ventures, perhaps independently (own company) as he had hinted. [though, he might actually end up sticking for a while with Mind Valley]

After a good lunch, (and Jumaat prayer for Muslims), we continued with a dialogue session with distinguished panelists - Colin Wong (Prosperati), Ashran Ghazi (New Entrepreneur Forum), Lilyana (Asia Stream Group), Rizal Alwani (Cradle) and Azrul Madisa. Many questions were thrown in, some were serious, some were downright entertaining, and some were the bits for further discussions. In all, the event was a good chance for the locals to network among themselves, as well as to network with folks coming all the way north from Sintok & Kangar, and south from Klang Valley.

I'll let Azrul & Kamal release their own presentation materials should you desire them - Ask them via email etc. For Khailee's stuff, hmm, did somebody videotaped the whole thing? Or just ask him to pop up at your future events, and he'll do the mumbo jumbo stuff all over again... ;)

And here are the snaps:-

Plus me with other speakers and dialog panelists:

And me with Colin:

BTW, if you've been to the event, but have yet to join in the crowdvine, it's never to late to share with us your profile and network with the rest of the crowd. The address for our dedicated crowdvine is:

And use the following link to subscribe to the blog posts:-

We'll keep you updated on subsequent events, information, materials upload etc. at that site.

p.s. The 1Mbps "broadband" from TM Streamyx is getting me under 300Kbps download today, during Chinese New Year holiday! No wonder, it's taking me ages to complete this single blog post... Big wonder how this "broadband provider" keep winning awards locally and overseas as the best this and that provider/telco....

Tuesday, February 5

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Have a good rest for all Pajamaworkers in Malaysia or everywhere that celebrates Chinese New Year Holidays! Happy & safe travel, and be prosperous...

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