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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Commemorating Earth Hour during Green Drinks

This evening, I joined a few fellow volunteers from ECO Singapore to commemorate the first-ever Earth Hour. We trooped down to the office of Yolk, which was also the venue for the monthly Green Drinks session. We arrived at 7pm and were disappointed to find out that the food we were promised to partake in consisted only of free drinks. Nonetheless, I helped myself to a beer.

Earth Hour is a grassroots effort (i.e. no official governmental support) encouraging people of the world to turn off unneeded lights (and other electrical devices) for one hour from 8pm. The idea, if I got it correctly, was that our minute individual contributions would add up to an enormous savings in terms of greenhouse pollution.

Green Drinks, on the other hand, is a monthly networking session to bring together like-minded individuals. For tonight, it was held in conjunction with Earth Hour and also the launch of the second edition of Harboiled Magazine, an online magazine on social causes, which are not necessarily about the environment (though this issue was dedicated to that topic). Apparently, it's the brainchild of local digital agency, Yolk, which office was also the venue for Green Drinks.

I chatted with a few people (okay, I mostly listened to others) and was also interviewed later for MediaCorp Radio's NewsRadio 93.8. Questions included what I thought about Earth Hour and why it was such a relevant cause.

His most critical question was probably about why there was no apparent support by government or businesses, unlike in Sydney where the city was in darkness for an hour. My response, which I thought was the most sensible explanation, was that this was a grassroots effort that depended entirely on whether people wanted to make the effort or not. My implication was that Singaporeans still have a long way to go, and we require baby steps that can be agonizingly slow.

By 10pm, most of us were tired and hungry, so we left the party. Overall, I thought that this Green Drinks session wasn't as successful as expected. I suppose the free drinks and relationship of the attendees to Yolk also affected the outcome. As a fellow volunteer said, most people were there either to drink free beer or pick up chicks. Hopefully, subsequent Green Drinks will have better results.


Social Media Breakfast at Frujch

Early this morning, I went for something called the "Social Media Breakfast". It was held at Frujch at Singapore Management University. It was scheduled to start at 9am, so I courteously showed up (relatively) on time. Of course, the bulk of the attendees turned up half an hour later. I shouldn't be surprised.

I met a couple of familiar faces, but also some new ones too. Also reacquainted myself with one other person whom I had met on a professional setting previously (and reconnected through Facebook just a few days ago). We had a good time chatting about Internet usage across the region. Fascinating and insightful stuff!

Breakfast turned out to be brunch, and consisted of sandwiches, lemon-orange squash and some cakes. Some of the others also played air hockey and pool, but I spent my time chatting and checking out some sites.

The weird thing of the event -- to me anyway -- was that we were given small stickers with which we could "tag" others. It worked the same way that online tagging does, except that this was in the physical world and we had to write the tags in pen! I didn't tag anyone, but was tagged twice.

I don't know if this will become a regular affair or was a school project for SMU's "Social Media" course. I think such networking events are good practices, but require organisation and location.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Charting Britney Spears' song, "Sometimes"

What Britney Spears does

What Britney Spears wants

What Britney Spears needs

Just toying around with Google Chart.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Need $30 sponsor for Yebber party

I got the invitation to Yebber's first anniversary party in my email. "Oh cool," I thought, "they still remember me in spite of my inactivity." I clicked through to the site and proceeded to sign up.

Then, wait a minute, what was that about "payment mode"? And "payment reference"? Aha, the registration form was at the bottom of a longer page. I scrolled up gingerly. Alas, the party costs $30 per person!

Smart of Yebber! First you pay your members some money for their reviews. Now you take back the money for the party! It's a classic winner-take-all situation!

"Please pay me to celebrate my birthday with me." Hmm... I've heard jokes like that, but never really seen it happen in real life. I guess there's always a first time for everything.

So, err, as much as I'd like to attend, you know, because I figure the same circle of friends will be there too, I can't see the logic in paying to celebrate someone else's party. Even National Day Parade tickets are free.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Beijing Olympics web site blatantly copies game!

There are a few things that the mainland Chinese are good for. Inventing rockets. Exploring the world.

And piracy.

(Oh yeah, and hacking super-secure computer networks.)

Take the latest case. As noted by Slashdot, the official Beijing Olympics website features a game that's a blatant rip-off of another game. Compare "Fuwa Fights the Winter Clouds" with The Pencil Farm's "Snow Day". Check out the screen shots:
Fuwa Fights the Winter Clouds
Fuwa Fights the Winter Clouds screenshot
Snow Day
Snow Day screenshot

I've played both for a bit and the game play is exactly the same! Only the graphics and scoreboard are different. And Beijing Olympics lets you pick different characters.

*Sigh* One billion people and this is the best that they could come up with? I guess that's what happens when you repress people with an iron fist.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Aye-aye - the ugliest creature in the world is endangered

When I showed the picture of the aye-aye to a few people, they all responded similarly: "Ewww!" Which is a pity because I think the little critter is quite a remarkable creature, especially after I learned more about it.

To me, its most fascinating trait is its middle finger. No, I don't mean that it goes around "flippin' the bird" at other animals. Rather, it's the way its finger has evolved into a tool to help it get food. Monkeys are known to use sticks to prod at tree trunks to dig bugs out. Some birds also use twigs to extract juicy fruit to eat.

Similarly, the aye-aye uses a tool to pull worms out of tree trunks... except that it doesn't need any twigs or other implements. It just uses its scrawny but long finger! Who needs twigs? Watch it in action!

Unfortunately, this creature from Madagascar faces extinction because of the ignorant human population. According to this Slate article on saving animals from extinction, it notes that the locals kill it on sight because they regard it as a bad omen.

Is it still possible to save the aye-aye and other ugly animals from man?