OQO, not okay?

The OQO – a product that was nothing more than vapourware like ages ago – is finally out. The verdict – judging from reviewers – is that perhaps Model 1 is a dud. Do we need to wait till Model 3 before they actually do user feedback?

Seems handy enough from the video though. I can imagine using it to load up on photos that I have taken with a Sony Cybershot when it maxes out, then handing it around at weddings for guests to view. Sadly, the display is only 800-by-480-pixels, doesn’t tilt and the HDD is only 20GByte.

The political cartoon

Fancy seeing some political cartoons? Cagle posts them all on one site. Site can be wretchedly slow sometimes, but it’s all there.

Who’s watching me?

When I’m in the shower, I’m afraid to wash my hair

Cause I might open my eyes and find someone standing there!

People say I’m crazy, just a little touch

But maybe showers remind me of “Psycho” too much

That’s why…

I always feel like somebody’s watching me

And I have no privacy, whoa-oa-oa

I always feel like somebody’s watching me

Who’s playing tricks on me?

-lyrics By Rockwell, background vocals Michael Jackson

Ever wondered who’s watching and linking to your blog/site? Here’s a new tool from Shanti Bradford the inventor of Popdex who just happens to be a guy and isn’t Indian.

Let’s see what happens with this button. Who Links Here

Last night my website saved my life…

Can a website save your life?

Apparently in the case of Australian journalist John Martinkus it can.

Excerpt from AP report in the BBC:

His executive producer at Australia’s SBS network, Mike Carey, said Google probably saved freelance journalist Martinkus.

“They Googled him and then went onto a web site – either his own or his book publisher’s web site, I don’t know which one – and saw that he was who he was, and that was instrumental in letting him go, I think, or swinging their decision,” he told AP news agency

Even terrorists use Google for background checks. Try typing your name and do some ego-surfing. See what pops up.

If you’re a journalist — like me — the results can be the basis of a website.

Then go here to read what Sreenath Sreenivasan suggests. And see what others have done.

Outsourcing the presidency

Sreenath Sreenivasan sent me this hilarious Flash cartoon.

Along with Jibjab.com and pioneering work by Mark Fiore, I think increasingly we will receive more news via Flash which seems to be the platform of choice for such political humour.

Can’t decide on Kerry or Bush? How about Amitabh “Dishoom” Bachchan?

Internet blackout possible?

In a 2003 interview with Vint Cerf, the co-creator of TCP/IP and father of Internet told me that

“it is reasonable and even prudent to assume that the Internet is vulnerable to a “take down”.

Now a professor at the Helsinki University of Technology, Hannu H Kari suggests that the Internet would collapse in 2006.

His premise is that “there are many bad people who want to create chaos on purpose” and that spam and viruses were the main culprits.

No, the sky isn’t falling. Perhaps Prof Kari is overstating the facts but his warning shouldn’t be taken lightly. I do believe that there is validity that a concerted distributed denial of service attack — for whatever malicious reason — can cause a net blackout. Then what? Will we get up again?

Shades of Y2, maybe? Maybe not…We will see.

Feeding off Blogdex

I spend way too much time on Blogdex. Blogdex is an MIT MediaLab creation that crawls blogs and rates the most linked links.

It’s my quick-fix news filter. I do not need to go elsewhere. I continually remain surprised at what goes up there.

Here for instance is a selection of ten stuff on today:

1. Making fun of George“you forgot Poland” Bush.

2. The sequel to JibJab’s This Land is Your Land animation.

3. How to switch off …and on any TV in the world.

4. Bush’s use of a child’s loss of her mother in 9/11 for some viral marketing.

5. William Shatner making an album with Ben Folds of Ben Folds Five.

6. A flatscreen TV that sent out an international distress signal and had his flat swarming with a contingent of local police, civil air patrol and search and rescue personnel.

7. A band called “Kings of Convenience”.

8. A reverse take on “What if George W. Bush had been elected president?”

9. What everyone doesn’t know about Mary Cheney.

10. How Bush actually believes he is God’s chosen one.

Go there, get hooked and don’t blame me for it.

Jon Stewart Crosses Crossfire Host

I love Jon Stewart. In the early days of the Internet, I used to go to Comedy Central on my turtle-slow 14.4 Kbps modem to painfully and patiently access the site just to watch the Daily Show.

Thank god ‘The Daily Show: Global Edition’ is now on Astro, the satellite cable service in Malaysia, even at an unearthly hour on CNN, which sometimes shunts his segment for supposedly more urgent news.

Stewart is the ultimate maverick — the comedic journalist, or the journalistic comedian. He beats Letterman and Leno because much of his style doesn’t seem contrived or set up, and even when it is — it’s funnier than most the old guys’ stuff.

He was on Crossfire swinging away recently over the stupid American press still believing they are objective when the whole world sits back and laughs. Is Jon Stewart the ONLY ONE in America who knows otherwise?

Here’s the excerpt:

“I watch your show every day, and it kills me. It’s so painful to watch,” Stewart added as it became apparent that the comedian was not joking. He went on to hammer the network, and the media in general, for its coverage of the presidential debates. Stewart said it was a disservice to viewers to immediately seek reaction from campaign insiders and presidential cheerleaders following the debates, noting that the debates’ famed “Spin Alley” should be called “Deception Lane.”

“The thing is, we need your help,” Stewart said. “Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations and we’re left out there to mow our lawns.”

While the audience seemed to be behind Stewart, Begala and Carlson were both taken aback. The hosts tried to feed Stewart set-up lines hoping to draw him into a more light-hearted shtick, but Stewart stayed on point and hammered away at the show, the hosts, and the state of political journalism. Carlson grew increasingly frustrated, at first noting that the segment wasn’t “funny,” and later verbally sparring with the comedian.

“You’re not very much fun,” Carlson said. “Do you like lecture people like this, or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture them; they’re not doing the right thing, that they’re missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?”

“If I think they are,” Stewart retorted.

The conversation reached its most heated moment when Carlson said to Stewart, “I do think you’re more fun on your show,” to which Stewart replied, “You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”

Great one Jon! I also got a kick reading your interview with Bill Moyers who I so respect for leading me to discover Joseph Campbell.

Excerpt from the Moyers-Stewart exchange:

MOYERS: I do not know whether you are practicing an old form of parody and satire.

STEWART: Uh-huh.

MOYERS: Or a new form of journalism.

STEWART: Well then that either speaks to the sad state of comedy or the sad state of news. I can’t figure out which one. I think, honestly, we’re practicing a new form of desperation. Where we just are so inundated with mixed messages from the media and from politicians that we’re just trying to sort it out for ourselves…..


STEWART: I think of myself as a comedian who has the pleasure of writing jokes about things that I actually care about. And that’s really it. You know, if I really wanted to enact social change… I have great respect for people who are in the front lines and the trenches of trying to enact social change. I am far lazier than that.

I am a tiny, neurotic man, standing in the back of the room throwing tomatoes at the chalk board. And that’s really it. And what we do is we come in in the morning and we go, “Did you see that thing last night? Aahh!” And then we spend the next 8 or 9 hours trying to take this and make it into something funny….

Surveys suggest that many Americans now get their news via late-night shows such as Stewart’s. He represents a new kind of journalism, the kind that expects you to respect your audience’s intelligence but make it entertaining as well. Thanks Jon for giving us journalists the heads up and showing us that we not only have to have a dick — but balls to go with it.

"The Incredibles" Take on Asia Tech Media

Last week, the good people at MediaConnect organised the ITJourno Asia Forum held at Nirwana Gardens Resort in Bintan Island, Indonesia.

In journalistic parlance some people in the biz would term the trip a “junket”.

jun·ket noun

1. A dessert made from flavored milk and rennet.

2. A party, banquet, or outing.

3. A trip or tour, especially:

-One taken by an official at public expense.

-One taken by a person who is the guest of a business or agency seeking favour or patronage.

Most “junkets” are single-vendor-sponsored and a great opportunity to meet the main players in a company in less formal settings.

Very often this involves No 2 definition above, but also some serious sit-down time in which the company pounds you with their spiel on their latest product, service or long term goals to justify the “expense” in No 3 definition. Sometimes, the places they take you might even provide No 1 definition.

But mostly, for the journos, it is about just networking and ‘earning’ a holiday after paying your dues writing on tech for so long. Whether you do file a story or not is up to you. Most editors, however, will grate on you if you do NOT produce something.

That said, the Bintan trip was intense. It was a multi-vendor-sponsored event which means every vendor wanted his/her time to talk to the press. There were five sessions with each session having four or five speakers.

After each session, there were “speed-date” sessions in which we reporters were broken up into four tables. The speakers were then rotated from table to table so they could be grilled individually.

As in speed-dating you may end up with a phone number and an email to follow-up on and who-knows maybe even a lifelong news source. I wonder if Woodward met his Deep Throat this way. Nah.

Those reporters still not satisfied with their “dates” could then organise one-on-ones and draw some more exclusive quotes for the readers of their publications.

Even lunch was time for two vendors to throw some more PowerPoint presentations at us while we waffled down on hotel food.

After the trip I ended up with:

This amount of name-cards:

And this amount of files:

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

You get the idea.

We tech journos always end up with loads of info. Almost all of it in geekspeak couched in marketing-hype wrapped up in product-pushing spiel. We have to make sense of it all and then regurgitate it into some kind of easily digestable form.

All said, I like the MediaConnect people who organised the event.

MediaConnect has taken the unforgiving role of trying to be the middle-man between the tech press and the vendors and their “I-don’t-have-a-clue-PR agencies”.

Everyone knows that PR agencies and Press get along like Shrek and Donkey. In the IT world, the relationship would have taken more than three sequels to resolve.

Luckily, now in MediaConnect we have a Princess Fiona. And you don’t have to meet the parents to get their approval.

First up let’s get to know the people behind MediaConnect:

Glen Darlene Phil

Victoria Jeremy Sara

My personal opinion of them can be expressed graphically. Click above photos to see them in their other guises. And click here to see the full team.

I am an easy reporter to please. I like the simple things. Like our name tags.

Note: The sked was on the opposite, so you wouldn’t forget what was going on.

I liked the bag which was lot more useful then those plasticky things you get that eventually broke from the weight of all the files, folders and souvenirs we usually get.

And it was easy to handle but – heck – tough to find at the baggage claims at the ferry and airport cos everyone had the same one.

Talking about souvenirs. There’s just one gripe I have.

Can anyone tell me why IT vendors so love Fat Ugly Pens (F-UPs) as giveaways?

Click to enlarge

In my experience most of these pens don’t work after three days (cue catcall)

What was really useful was the 1. USB drive from D-Link, 2. optical mouse from Agilent…

…and 3. this great looking clock/pen from Macromedia

Most times I never ever keep these things. I try to pass them to the same people walking around with all those vendor T-shirts we get.

I think MediaConnect also deserve all the kudos for pampering us journos by giving us individual rooms, first in Singapore, then in Bintan. Note, however, that some of us, this writer included, don’t function too well the next day, when all the partying starts the first night.

Partying, did you say partying?

Yes, people, IT journos can party too. Go here to see how crazy we can get.

Click on “Comment” below to reply to the above.

For now. Goodnight.


Link: “The Incredibles” trailers

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