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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Self-regulation of bloggers? part 3

At the end of last year, I wrote my $0.02 on the need for self-regulation among local bloggers (part 1 and part 2). Today, I read in the papers that Malaysian bloggers have formed the National Alliance of Bloggers of Malaysia, or "All-Blogs". Apparently, it's in response to the crackdown on bloggers there who were allegedly defamatory towards the government.

Among the organisation's activities are:
  • conduct training on basic journalistic ethics, writing skills and defamation and sedition laws on fabrication and plagiarism
  • open up dialogue with the government
Oh, and there's an annual membership fee: RM20 ($S8.80).

I think it'll be interesting to see how All-Blogs fares. There might be something there for Singaporean bloggers to learn about.


"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - free!

This is amazing! One of my all-time favourite movies is available for free viewing. It's a dramatised recount of the relationship between two computer giants, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. How much geekier can it get?

Update (4 May 2007): Oops, looks like the video has been removed!

I first watched it on TV back in the U.S. back in 2000 (I think). I even bought the VHS tape when it was being sold by the video rental store! I've since watched it so many times that I can almost recall the entire dialogue. Fearing that I was wearing the tape out, I looked for the DVD in Singapore, but couldn't seem to find it, or if I did, I didn't have enough money to get it.

And now, someone puts it up for free viewing. I wonder if the producers were behind it. And if so, I wonder what their motives are. But that's of little concern to me. As long as it's available, I can share a great movie for free... and legally (presumably)!


Monday, April 23, 2007

Miss Singapore Universe 2007 winner - Jessica Tan

Christabel Campbell (2nd runner-up), Jessica Tan (Miss Singapore Universe 2007), Joey Feng (1st runner-up)

Evidently, I've been hanging out with the wrong crowds. Whereas the pundits whom I had referred to had predicted the winner of the Miss Singapore Universe 2007 title incorrectly, pundits everywhere else were spot-on. This just goes to show: there is wisdom in the crowd, but you need to identify that crowd correctly.

I caught bits of the show and have to agree that Jessica Tan was the only stand-out beauty. Yeah yeah, people rant and rave about the question-and-answer section. But it's not called a beauty pageant for nothing. It's no coincidence that she won the Miss Body Beautiful title as well.

Notice that there's no Miss Intelligent subsidiary prize.

On the bus, I watched her interview in the morning news show. She remarked that it had been her childhood dream to participate in the Miss Universe pageant. She also said that she was on the big side when she was young, so the dream always seemed so far off.

Key takeaway: slim = beautiful = winner.

So now she's off to Mexico City for the big show. Yeesh, I hope she's not overwhelmed by the pollution there.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Miss Singapore Universe 2007 preview

So it's that time of the year again, when Singapore, or rather, MediaCorp chooses a woman to represent the country at a prestigious global pageant.

Not that I'm complaining, of course... except for MediaCorp's role, but that's how capitalism, commercialism and consumerism go in this country.

For the past two years, I've made my predictions for potential winners, and I've rarely succeeded at being a prophet. The closest was last year, when I predicted Genecia Luo as the winner. She came in as second runner-up (and later winning the Miss Singapore International title).

So this year, I'm gonna sit it out. No predictions from me. Instead, I'll just highlight four of the girls:

Eunice Chizuko Ng
Eunice Chizuko Ng
Yup, a Japanese-Chinese, but I doubt many Singaporeans would want her to represent the country. There's still an overall bad impression towards "foreign talent" here, no offence to her. Obviously, she can't be a foreigner if she's participating in the pageant, but that's how discriminating locals are towards anyone who's foreign-sounding.

Carol Chin / Jessica Tan
Carol Chin Jessica Tan
Last year, Carol Cheong won supposedly because of her two "assets". If history repeats itself, either of these two women could win by a huge margin. (Ah, okay, bad pun.)

Christabel Campbell
Christabel Campbell
Out of the 18, lots of people seem to agree that she should win. To quote, the others simply CMI.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nokia swag - card reader

Nokia card reader

Nokia card reader
Hehe, my first swag!

I opened the silver-coloured box and took out a slim, metallic object. "What's this?" I asked.

My colleague replied, "It's a card reader."

When he said that, the first thought that came to my mind was of a name card reader. So, while turning the object over and around, I responded without thinking, "What do I need a card reader for?"

My colleague was kind enough not to laugh at me. "It's for reading your memory cards."

Even before he had said it, I knew what kind of card reader it was. And here I was looking for a slot to slide name cards in! What a forehead-slapping moment!

But then, my question was valid. I hardly use memory cards nowadays. When transferring files, I use a thumb drive (free from my company). And my primary camera is now Keta i, my camera phone, which I use Bluetooth for transferring photos.

So indeed, what do I need a card reader for??

This swag was made possible by Nokia. It came with two albums by Greyskull, a Texan rock band, and Pete Teo, a Malaysian folk singer. I suppose this package is a reward for our pulling off its "Nseries Presents" campaign successfully (which was the reason for the party I didn't attend).


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Google goodness and DoubleClick

So, Google, the search and advertising powerhouse, bought DoubleClick, an ad-trafficking and reporting tool. I guess it was something to be expected. It was either Google or Microsoft anyway.

As a user of DoubleClick, I hope that Google's engineers can infuse it with some Web 2.0 goodness. Because the latter's user interface really needs a serious overhaul.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Offence to leave car engine idling

(Reproduced from Today.)
Letter from Tan Quee Hong
Acting Director, Pollution Control Department,
National Environment Agency

We refer to the letter, "Idling and stifling" (March 3) by Mr Tan Siok Ha.

It is an offence under the Environmental Pollution Control (Vehicular Emissions) Regulations to leave an engine idling unnecessarily when a vehicle is stationary for reasons other than traffic conditions. Leaving the engine idling unnecessarily is an inconsiderate act that causes pollution and wastes fuel. Motorists should turn off their engines when their vehicles are stationary for a period of time. The National Environment Agency (NEA) will take enforcement action against vehicles with idling engines without good reason.

We thank Mr Tan for his feedback. Mr Tan may wish to provide details on cases of idling vehicles through the NEA 24-hour Call Centre on 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) to facilitate our follow up enforcement action.
Looks like a lot of taxi and commercial vehicle drivers are gonna be contributing to the government coffers soon...


Thursday, April 05, 2007

I should be at a party

I was supposed to go to Nokia's "You Make It Reel" party this evening, since I was part of the team in my agency that worked on the website. I was looking forward to a relaxing evening before the long weekend. And mingling (a.k.a. networking) with a few folks too.

Alas, more pressing, erm, "matters" came up that left me unable to attend. *sigh* By the time I was free, the party should've been over. Anyway, I was in no mood to attend the after-party party anyway.


Monday, April 02, 2007

No kidding

So, April Fool's has come and gone. And this year, I didn't pull a prank here. I've just been so busy with work that I didn't bother to come up with one.

Anyway, there were lots of April Fool's gags on the Internet. So much so that pretty much every netizen would expect a gag on this day. Maybe April Fool's should be moved to April 2 or 3.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

"The Phantom of the Opera"

The Phantom of the Opera
Long story short: I watched "The Phantom of the Opera" tonight. It was 2.5 hours of good theatre and music with the usual bunch of bloggers (hey, do you guys still blog anyway?) and my colleague (because we had extra tickets) (actually, they had extra tickets (due to a ticketing system foul-up), so that's how I ended up joining them).

I've known the music since my secondary school days because my sister had a tape recording. I even bought one of the songs (forgot which one though!) from iTunes. However, I've never had a chance to see the musical acted out, not even when it became a Hollywood movie.

So this was my "virgin" screening of the musical, and I must say that I enjoyed it a lot. While I thought that the lead actress' ("Christine") voice sounded quite soft (or maybe it's just my hearing), it was the lead actor ("Phantom") who really stood out. His voice was strong, powerful, and his character was both flawed and honourable.

And, of course, because he had the whole "Casablanca" "give-up-the-love-of-his-life" ending. Tragic love stories always get to me.