November 23, 2009

So i really went in the end! Despite knowing that none of my classmates will turn up, i decided to go for BarCamp after some persuasion from Sean that his classmates won’t eat me up. I was behaving like a paranoid kid on tiresome Friday night. To go or not to go? i couldn’t decide.

After 1/2 hr of trying to convince me that i should come and its okay to tag along

Sean: “Okay, Why do you want to go?”

Me: “I find it interesting, and i wna learn . . . “

Sean: “Yes, then you must come! or else you’ll surely regret”

Thank God (and Sean) i went.

I don’t know when was the last time i had to wake up at 6am on a Saturday morning but it was commendable that i could make it there with my eyes barely open the entire time.

Venue was at IDA which i thought was rather small but that will do.  i really think that the small holding area has its advantage too. it forces people to interact because with such close proximity and invasion of personal space you cant possibly avoid any form of eye contact or room for conversation! Isn’t this one major point of Barcamp? Meeting new people and engaging in interesting coversations.

Despite us being early, the place was already quite crowded by the time we reach. And i must say, it was quite intimidating for all of us. We were surrounded by prominent people from the social media scene. Famous bloggers, twitters and basically people who are passionate about social media.

Oh. And we were easily recognized and famously known as “Sp Students” and “Ping Kwa’s Students” by people from BarCamp. hehehe

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From barcamp.org:

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants who are the main actors of the event.

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Everyone was moving around the room and socializing regardless of age and colour. I really like the idea of Barcamp and the whole concept of sharing because it brings learning to a whole new level. At Barcamp, everyone is a presenter and everyone has a right to speak.

There were 6 rooms with different talks and discussion topics going on at the same time and you are fee to leave the rooms if it doesn’t interest you! Free slots allows people to vote for their desired topics proposed by other presenters.

Some of the discussions i attended:

How to pose like a korean star?

Albeit it being one of the most random discussions, it is quite interesting and both the presenter and photographer are humorous people. He showed us this website which has 28 poses that are most commonly used by Koreans. And i thought it was pretty true. Those poses are basically common in Asia and throughout the entire presentation, Sean couldn’t resist himself doing those poses.

Pictorial evidences

Colin Pang the photographer.

All pictures coutesy of Colin Pang

Some of my favorite sessions are:

Be broke and change the world by Dwight Turner

it was a really inspiring session with him talking about how he quitted his job a few years ago to be professionally broke and the experiences he had helping other people with no cash and sponsors backing him up. He used technology, particularly Twitter to organise Tweetups – a simple gathering to eat on the streets and to raise donations of any amount. A great idea of using his tehnological skills for a good cause. You can read about their projects from http://www.insearchofsanuk.com/. Am really touched by their spirit of giving and how selfless people can be, dedicating their life and hardwork to the community and people who needs help.

A smiliar one from Zi Qi

How travel can help you learn about yourself by Zi Qi

An inspiring session about his trip to vietnam Hanoi to help people. The process of getting cheated, learning a new language, making friends, teaching and making a different to his own life and to the lives of the people in Hanoi.

Read about his trip! http://ziqitravelblog.wordpress.com/

The world seems to be a better place and after all these talks, i have a strong urge to help people :D haha. I’m still waiting for my Units Cambodia Mission Trip to come true one day!

The future of travel/How to live the Discovery Channel Travel and Living life – Adrianna Tan

Very nice presentation about herself, her adventures  and some traveling tips! She said travelling is the common denominator for almost everyone and i have to agree. One brave ladyyyyyy.

Read about her adventures! http://popagandhi.com/

Some other interesting speakings are @metacole , who has a great sense of humor and Chris who shared some good films with us

It was really a fruitful trip and i learned a lot from all the sharing sessions. Met many interesting people and i hope we can all keep in touch through Twitter!

Oh! The boys had their own sharing session as well. It was really impromptu but nevertheless, good effort for a first time!

A sharing session about what bored people do online. Mega sharing of sites that i thought was a pretty good idea! They just needed more time to plan and prepare and it’ll be great!

A compilation of the sites!

Our new toy Poken! A token given by IDA/barcamp for filling up a survey  from a link posted on Twitter. Everything is so technology and social media. hahaha. And Poken is a business card for the future. We had tremendous amount of fun poking each other.

My dear classmates, look what you’ve missed out :P

From the book lover

November 22, 2009

Off i go with my favourite David and Goliath Tee and navy blue shorts. I’m in my most casual outfit but it doesn’t matter. Its a spur-of-the-moment decision anyway. I stepped into the cafe and did my usual – inhaled.The bitter sweet aroma of coffee gush into my nose, waking up all my senses.

“One tall Toffee Nut Frap, with….”

“Without whipped cream” he scribbled on a tall sized cup before i could react.

The attendant smiled as me, we’ve exchanged countless of  “you’re-here-again” and greetings through our eyes for countless of years. John is the stranger who knows me best, i conclude.

I collected my drink and walked towards my favourite window seat. Carefully, i pulled out my Sunday times and “Things I Want My Daughters To Know”. I run my fingers across the spine and the book cover. Perfect.

“you have to make sure that my books are not crumpled, torn, have doggy ears, folds or ugly lines on the spine when they come back to me”. This is what i will say to someone who wants to borrow my books. I’m a book lover in every sense, for the content and the physical.

Why the love for books? Why not go digital? Download those books and read them online. People say books and newspapers will become obsolete in the near future because everything that can go digital will be digitized.

I beg to differ

Maybe books and papers will become less popular at the rate our technology is improving.

With my presentation on the future of journalism, i discovered many things that i didnt know previously.

Many news organizations are shutting down and others, have succumbed to social media and digital platforms in order to not lose out in this competitive playground.

The media landscape is changing and we are welcoming this paperless era of journalism called Social Journalism, which empowers everyone with the ability to produce and share content, challenging the influence of traditional journalists.

Facebook has given us a platform to connect and to discuss news.

Twitter has overtaken traditional media as a platform for breaking news, and has allowed us to receive real time updates of news and news events in bite sized format

Flickr gives us a virtual space to upload pictures of events that has taken place

Youtube – a community of moving visuals that allows audio and visuals – a direct challenge to tele news.

The Mumbai terrorist attacks proved the importance of social media in such situations. We should really stop seeing social media as a threat to traditional medium but look at the usefulness of it in times of crisis and how is has improved the timeliness of new and the interactivity among audiences.

In such instances when where the event afects a large number of people and is highly dispersed, it is difficult and almost impossible for news organizations to keep track of every development or to publish news that are timely enough for people who are affected. But the real-time feature of social media tools has the power to do so. It is incredible that during the attack, people tweet and blog about the help needed in hospitals, and provided numbers to people who are eager to check whether their family members in mumbai are affected.

News organizations can also benefit from social media by allowing people to verify the accountability of information going around and use the video footages, photos, and information posted by people illustrate their reports.

Human beings have changed with the evolution of technology. Rather than allowing the mainstream media to feed us information like passive consumers, people rather get involved in discussions with people all around the world and provide their own point of view.

One point that i didn’t have a chance to make during my presentation was that, although social media tools are great sources for story ideas, but no news story should be solely sourced through social media alone. While social media provides a platform for discussions and real time updates of news events, mainstream media serves as an important tool for verification of information that is going around. We need timely information but we can never sacrifice the accuracy of information for that. Therefore, we need the mainstream media and the new social media platforms to work together to provide better quality and timely news for audiences and to give everyone a platform to participate and bring journalism to a whole new level.

So what im trying to say is, we still need traiditonal news organizations around so newspapers will never cease to exist :)

As for books. . When the classmates were presenting on the future of books i was highly disturbed when they mentioned how books will become obsolete and we’ll rely on book readers to download ebooks and read from a portable screen that we carry around.

My first question was: How will authors earn their living?

If i didnt remember wrongly, they replied saying they will earn from the money we spend downloading e-books online. No publishers to act as middlemen, hence the lower cost. And i think another advantage they said.. was that we can cut down lesser trees. But seriously, no matter how advance technology is or how serious the problem of global warming is, i don’t see us using electronic toilet paper to wipe our butts in 5 years time. Some things just cannot be replaced.

My second question was: What about the problem of piracy? I consider any form of creative works that can be digitized to be a victim of piracy because digital content can be copied, reproduced and be downloaded illegally by consumers behind their computers.

Music is a live example of piracy going out of control and by making all books digital, we are creating a major problem for another industry and the people who depend on it for survival.

Anyway, E-books have been around for quite some time and has pretty much stayed the same so in my humble opinion, will pretty much stay the same for quite some time.

Recently, i read an article about this author who switched from physically writing to using a typewriter when it became popular in his era. After the change, he himself and his avid readers felt that his style of writing changed. He lost some essence in writing that he had before he was given the type writer. Technology changes the way we think and we write. Which explains why i always prefer my pen and paper.

And that applies to books as well. You can give me the best e-book reader device but it won’t satisfy the emotional part of reading. Reading from a book allows us to engage in deep thinking and gives us sense of inner peace and tranquility. Reading from a book is emotional and it evokes feelings. When you can physically feel the paper, it makes a difference. Technology brings us convenience, not pleasure.

Nothing beats a good book and a cuppa.

November 17, 2009

Finally did my #nct seminar today (can’t help. the three alphabets look naked without the hash tag)

Surprisingly, i quite like the topic that i presented on.

1. Globalization 3.0

2. Technology is making us stupid

It was a torture when i first started reading The World is Flat. A tad too wordy and complex for my liking. What bothers me most is that i got stuck. After reading the first chapter again and again, i still didn’t understand why the world is flat.

Why?

Globalization 1.0 and 2.0 were led primarily by the American and European individual and businesses but globalization 3.0- the present, empowered individuals with the ability the compete on a global level and on a common ground. With technology advancement and the rising popularity of blogs and  digital content, everyone can be a journalist. (just like what all of us are doing: tweeting, blogging etc). Technology gives everyone a platform to express themselves, allows us to be heard and to hear from others living at the other end. We create content and we consume them. Unlike the past, we are no longer represented by MNCs or our countries. We represented ourselves as individuals.

Technology brings convenience and allows us to do a lot more than before. However, technology today threatens the survival of human beings because we are living on the flat world platform where everyone can connect with everyone through the internet. Which also means that everything that can be digitised can be outsourced to somewhere with cheaper resources/labour and smarter people.

India is one of the largest outsourcing market and one of the most commonly outsourced job is the job of the call operator. Next time when you call up a service hotline, pay attention to the accent because you may be speaking to a service staff from the other side of the globe, maybe India. And these call operators from India work for big American brands which have decided to cut cost. The standard of living India is less than 1/5 of that in western countries. So paying them $200 is as good as paying an American $1000. You get the drift.

To the people in India, an outsourced call operator job pays them well, and is considered one of the better jobs they can get in India. With other privileges like vacations and health benefits without having to sacrifice their culture, roots and family. . . why not? Its a win-win situation for big companies and their outsourced employees.However, people like us are losing out in this situation. Singapore like many countries around the world are still recovering from the recent economic tsunami that has caused many people to lose their jobs. If you are heading a company and your company’s turnover rate is pathetic, what would you do to cut cost? What else? Fire the workers and outsource the jobs. . because the amount of money you are paying one employee can feed 5 employees at another country where people are hungrier.

This is a major threat that we cannot overlook. I like the way Thomas L. Friedman put it in his book The World is Flat. ” You cannot export a haircut. But we are close to exporting a haircut, the appointment part. What kind of haircut do you want? Whch Barber do you want? All those things can and will be done by a call centre far away”

You can outsource someone to do the powerpoint slides that you need for Monday’s meeting. Your can outsource someone to kill mushrooms and help you level up for Maple Story. You can outsource people to do data entry work. . .

You can be outsourced as well.

Which means to say that in the more than competitive society today, we need to be really good at what we are good at, be unique and be irreplaceable to our companies.

Be different or be replaced.

2. Technology is making us stupid

I semi-agree on the title because we are really over reliant on technology. Calculator? Lift? Washing Machine? Internet? In short, our life revolves around technology and we can no longer live without it. Our brain is programmed in such a way that we automatically turn to technology to complete a task/ to do something that we have the ability to do on our own, with our brain.We forgot that we can think, we forgot that we once lived without technology (maybe not our generation) and we forgot that our brain needs some exercise as well.

The Ctrl and F button are evil. They make us lazy, and they are part of the reasons why our brain is lacking some proper exercise. We sub-consciously Ctrl F when we read articles online and when we need to look for specific information on the net. We skim through pages, reading 2 out of 5 lines because we only want to read the gist of the long article. We only want to read what we need to read, not the additional information.

I myself find it difficult to read long paragraphs from the screen because its simply tiring and time consuming. My concentration starts to drift after . . the most, 1 page. And before i know, i’ll be checking out my friend’s latest photos on Facebook or busy doing quizze. There are simply too many things happening on my mini screen for me to stay focused. . and with the convenience of the evil buttons, it is simply impossible.I guess the internet has exposed the world to a lot more information, and with internet, we are reading more and in a way, reading lesser than before. More in terms of variety of information but lesser in terms of depth. We skip and miss out a lot of information when we search for key words using the evil buttons.

Thats not all. With the over reliance on the internet, we become submissive to information that we consume, taking whatever we see on the net as the gospel truth. How often do you actually both to verify the information that you get from the net? What happens if one day, search engines like Google can be bought? What if the information that it provides can be altered to the advantage of the owner? What will happen to us passive, submissive users?

Everytime we type something on the Google search bar, Google collects the information and using the data collected, refine the algorithm with in turn controls the way we search for and consume information. After the number of scary google videos we’ve watched, i believe there’s no doubt that Google is working towards being an external brain of human beings, or the hard drive of the entire world, containing information about everything under the sun, including data of individuals like us.

Isn’t that scary?

November 8, 2009

HAHA. Kudos to Mitch for playing along with me. For this you deserve the title of SP Social Media Boy.

FYI Mitch is our SP Campus Radio DJ aka Mr sexyvoice.

Me: Mitch, can i take a picture of your shirt

Mitch: Sure. . *unbutton his vest

I took the first picture on the left, without his face

Debra: why do you wna take such pictures *raise eyebrow

Me: oh. long story. its for one of our module. . Nct. . .

so to prevent the world from thinking that im interested in Mitch’s body…

Me: Mitch, do you wna your face to appear on Twitter

Mitch: wha Twitter. . okok

HAHAHA

and here you go.

November 7, 2009

On Wednesday morning we had a guest lecturer Pat law from Ogilvy to talk to us about social media! Although we had to exit our dreamland an hour earlier, i guess everyone would agree that its all worth it!

I didnt know there are so many different kinds of search engines available. . . i didnt know we can find out how influential a person is on Twitter/ their domain.

And I really didn’t know how overexposed we are online that our personal particulars like our home address can be revealed if we are not careful. Not to mention, with the help of blogsearch engines, the things that you say online are made more accessible to the public.

So be responsible before you pen anything down on the WWW because you’ll never know when all the private / password protected settings will screw up big time. . . maybe someone somewhere out there is secretly monitoring your behaviour online :D

So anyway, other than Pat’s interesting lecture, i enjoyed Anna, Shirah, Rica and Tella’s nct presentation as well! Although i had a hard time abosrbing any information since the nose was dripping like a loose tap, but really appreciate them demostrating how useful google reader is. And after so long i finally understood what RSS Feeds are for. :)

Learned a good lot of useful stuffs from nct and i really feel that this module should come before our fyp since it requires us to do extensive research about our topic.

i think Gmail should start sending emails to remind users that they have this function called “Google Reader” because i believe a whole lot of gmail users know Jack abot it. Imagine the amount of time saved if everyone uses Google Reader to track and organise information.

i like!

please pray that i don’t die in my own pool of mucus when i talk about Globalization. *sniffff.

November 7, 2009

Mr Fever, Cough, Flu and Sore throat visited me on Wednesday and refused to get lost hence resulted in me losing many blog and twitter hours. :( not to mention the coutless amount of panadol tablets i took and the number of trees i killed. FYI, my nose is like a tap. No you wont understand unless you have sinus. So dont laugh at my tissuebox /wrist

AND BRING YOUR OWN TISSUE LAH. YOU HAVE THE FACE TO ASK SOMEONE SO ILL FOR TISSUE? ITS LIKE ASKING A BEGGER FOR MONEY.

how can you deprive someone of something they need most at that point of time.

the box was empty before i reached home. Mummy was very worried because this is the first time i had fever on and off for 3/4 days. Mummy said its because i always use computer. Mummy said its Social Media’s fault. HAHA.

Friday after #nct class i saw #oneworlddaycuteboy HAHAHAHA. Life is all worth while

October 31, 2009

When i watched minority report i was in awe of the technology advancement displayed throughout the show. Advertisements that are specifically targeted at you and talks to you as you walk along the streets. The use of eye sensor to replace all identification purposes and Cereal boxes that starts to sing every time you pick them up.

The movie was film in 2002 and now watching it in 2009, i still think. . No. this will never happen. . . .

Can’t imagine if everything in that movie was true. Every country will have a Pre-crime department that deals with to-be criminals. But something very important came to my mind as i was watching the movie. Many times, especially during intense situations, people make decisions differently [which means, they react differently from what they thought they would do]. And by making a decision. It includes the decision to do and not to do something.

Take the first crime scene in Minority Report for example. The Pre-crime department forsee that the man would kill his wife and her affair. But what if, in reality, the man really wanted to kill them but at that very moment (yes when he was witnessing them making out on THEIR bed), for whatever reason, he decides to back out? People change their decisions in a split second. Can the system detect that as well?

How much of the future can they foresee? And how bullet proof  can the system be?

Since human beings created the pre-crime system, I’m quite sure someone out there will find ways to conquer it. Or more accurately, people will engage in less attention seeking methods to hurt the people they want to hurt. Say. . torture? Or planning a perfect murder case so that it looks exactly like an accident instead of a murder?

What I’m trying to say is, i think all of us have already witnessed the convenience that technology has brought to our lives. But what about the consequences of such luxury?

And after watching a video on augmented reality, i realised the rah rah technology days are not far ahead.

Using your mobile phone to see the world and you’ll be presented with all the information that you need to know. The best restaurants around the corner, ratings and reviews for books and products and even information about people you meet. I remember very clearly that we were taught since young, to not judge people. But how can we not judge when the information comes so readily? When technology does all the judgment?

But i cant deny that this tool is super cool as well. The convenience that it brings to people and the amount of time saved from getting information from other sources manually.

Will human beings become more and more lazy as a result? Is technology making us stupid?

I guess at the rate the world is changing, we either have to keep coming up with smarter things like these or we can just wait for technology to outsmart us one day.

robot

October 29, 2009

Facebook to launch memorial profiles
TODAY (Singapore)
TDAYSG
AM & PM
30
English
(c) 2009. MediaCorp Press Ltd.

Facebook is to give people the option to “memorialise” the profile pages of friends and relatives who have died.

The site has invited family members to report when one of its users had died, to enable it to remove sensitive information such as updates and contacts.

Facebook will require proof of death in the form of an obituary or newspaper cutting. Once the profile has been transformed into a tribute page, only confirmed friends and family will be able to view it and leave remembrance posts on the message wall.

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sometimes. . especially in situations like this. i really wonder if people are trying too hard to use social media to do everything. nothing wrong that people are doing this in memory of their loved ones but . . is this really appropriate and necessary? :/

Technology

October 19, 2009

I’ve been trying my very best, since 4PM (with dinner & Tv breaks in between) to find a WordPress theme that i truly love so that I can happily embrace WordPress and not do it just for the sake of doing it. I need to love it to do it. So i thought the first thing i should do is to beautify this boring page by adding some colours but hey, after hours and hours of typing “WordPress themes” in my search bar, i ended up with this theme. This brown theme from the very limited 77 default blog themes provided by WordPress.

I’m not complaining. Brown is really my favourite colour, and i learned during today’s PP tutorial that it signifies earthiness, steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness and dependability.  .  . . definitely something that shouts ME.

Depressing much, i could have done this in less than 2 minutes

But. . . i happily downloaded 6 satisfactory looking themes to find out that i don’t really know how to put them into the template . . .

Just 4 days back, i started my own Tumblr because i really like the way posts can be presented in little rectangular boxes. After hopping from blogger to Xanga to Livejournal, i was quite determined to stay put at Tumblr for quite some time. Why? because i was quite disgusted with myself when i registered for a Tumblr account. Hate the idea of leaving footprints all over the net.

Hence, my first Tumblr entry goes like this:

16th Oct

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Technology

This is scary. My friend once told me its scary to leave your footprints all over the net. Joining every single social networking site is really … we had Friendster for the longest time ever until Facebook came out. then we had twitter and now tumblr. Hi technology, you are scaring me but i’m following you.

School is starting in two days and i haven’t had a crazy day of exciting lined up events since i don’t know when. don’t get me wrong, i had fun this holiday and its probably the most well-spent holiday of my life so far :) will tresure the next two days!

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And the lesson we had today proved everything. This social media disease has become increasingly important. . . but i hate to admit that maybe that is part of the reason why I’ve shamelessly succumbed to Tumblr, leaving Xanga, which has served me well for the past few years.

Today, i added WordPress to my collection of blogs/social networking sites. The detestable feeling i had when i clicked on the “Sign Up” button was terrifying…. more footprints on the net.

Not to mention, while i was busy searching for the ideal theme that doesn’t exist, my TweetDeck notifications pops up so frequently that i lost count/track of whats going on in that little tweet circle of mine. (40<) Overwhelmed and sadly, irritated by all the information/ messages i cannot trace.

Before today, everything was done in the name of fun.  After today, i will make everything fun for myself. And i hate to admit that Twitter is becoming more interesting than i thought (minus the massive amount of information i am getting)

But before i hit the sack and enter a dreamland without technologies (i insist), i have to announce something which i’m extremely proud of. . .

I don’t have a MySpace account, YET.

Hi technology, you are scaring me but i’m following you.

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