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Shetland Wool Week | Shetland Wool Week is a world renowned celebration of Britain's most northerly native sheep, the Shetland textile industry and the rural farming community on these islands Welcome to our November blog which seems to have come around all too soon. As has been the case of seemingly every other month this year, life continues to remain predictably unpredictable around the world, with many of us back in lockdown or adjusting to the ever-changing rules and regulations during this challenging time. While the freedom of spontaneity currently eludes us, it seems like the most meaningful way forward is to embrace a spirit of acceptance and the hope that 'this too shall pass'. In Shetland the short days and long nights have started to set in and at times it is tempting to retreat and close the doors, but now, more than ever, it seems essential to continue to reach out, stay connected, and keep moving. We've been reading various articles on the 'Art of Wintering' which address the 'fallow periods of life' when it's important for us to indulge in a bit of repair time. So we're stockpiling the freezer, building up the wool reserves, noting down books to be read, researching festive recipes, and trying to continue the daily routine of getting outside and absorbing as much natural light as possible. This can be a challenge when there's a force 9 'blowing a hoolie', but it's exhilarating and life-affirming - and there is always the calm after the storm to look forward to. Photos by Alex Mazurov Shetland Wool Week online 2020 has in many ways forced us to approach things differently, to rapidly adapt and learn new skills. We were delighted to bring you a Shetland Wool Week of sorts this year virtually. It put many of us beyond our comfort zones and it was difficult to know whether we would be able to meaningfully capture the excitement, personality and breadth of SWW. But what was achieved was in many ways a true reflection of the ethos of the festival, with so many people generously stepping forward to offer their time, share skills and talk with passion about Shetland and give a taste of what happens during a typical Wool Week. It was a busy nine days for us to deliver it all digitally but it was an honour to share such rich content. Thanks for joining us, and here are just some of the comments we received: Thank you so much for the programme you put forward. It was great. High quality and you managed a real Wool Week flavour to it. So very inspiring! I learned many new things from this video, thank you so much. This was lovely. Really enjoyed learning the history and seeing the creativity involved. It is inspirational to even those of us who live far away today. What a gift you all bring. I was at Wool Week last year and had such a great experience. I've knit the Katie's Kep with all the beautiful yarns that I brought home from your beautiful islands. I've always wanted to go to the Shetland Wool Week and this fabulous video has confirmed my feelings that Shetland is truly a knitter's paradise. For someone way on the other side of the world who hasn't been more than 30 miles from home since March, your efforts to bring Wool Week to us is such a gift and appreciated more that you can imagine. Thank you so very much. Watch here If you were unable to join us much of the content is still available to view via our Shetland Amenity Trust YouTube channel and also on our Instagram IGTV. So whether you're looking for tips on how to create the perfect thumb; hints on how to simplify grafting, observations on Fair Isle knitting; or thoughts on what makes the native Shetland sheep wool so very special; there is something for everyone, with lots of Shetland scenery, chat and good humour thrown in too. Shetland Wool Week Annual 2020 Image on the right by @ullstugan Straight on the back of Shetland Wool Week we were busy fulfilling orders of the SWW Annual 2020. Thank you to all of you who have bought it so far, and for those patiently waiting for their copy. We are on top of all our orders, so if you would like to buy one (more!) for yourself or as a festive gift, now is the time! The Annual is £21 and can be bought here. Filled with original knitwear (and weaving) designs and features, it's packed with inspiration and is a beautiful collector's item too. It has been so gratifying to see it in your hands and already projects are beginning to come off the wires which we are sharing via our social media. Check out our blog too for more images of works in progress and finished projects. Remember to share your knitting projects with us too using #shetlandwoolweekannual2020 and the name of the design. Images from top: Jolene Clark in her Radiant Star Cowl by Ella Gordon; a blue Peerie Leaves Jumper (Ella Gordon Designs) knit by Sarah Moran of @didyoumakeityourself; @vonpoppie rocking her Da Skaw Beret by Angela Irvine; and Marta of @mrsdaftspaniel in her colourful Mirknen Dags designed by Elizabeth Johnston. Be inspired by the Shetland Wool Week Annual knitwear designers Watch: Many of the designers also recorded us a short video introducing themselves, explaining the inspiration behind their piece and also a few tips along the way. You can watch them on our SWW Instagram IGTV and Shetland Amenity Trust YouTube channel. Hear from Donna Smith; Rachel Hunter; Terri Malcolmson; Emma Geddes; Alison Rendall, Elizabeth Johnston; Ella Gordon Our Shetland Wool Week Annual technical editor Steph Boardman has also written a really helpful post on Alyssa Malcolmson's 'Bosie Gloves', which are featured in the Annual. Steph casts her analytical eyes over the design, and takes a closer look at some of the smaller details as well as offering alternative colours inspiration. Acts of Kindness – A Peerie Hansel fae Hame (A little gift from home) Throughout this year, we have seen many acts of kindness, from people helping their neighbours, collecting shopping and prescriptions, or simply by reaching out and keeping in touch. As an island community one group of people in our thoughts during lockdown has been our young people who have travelled off island to study at university. For many this has been their first time away from home. When our colleagues at the Shetland Museum learnt that around 400 Shetland students on the mainland were unable to travel home, they decided to set up a community project to express its support by sending a peerie 'hansel' (gift) from home. The idea for the appeal was inspired by a Fair Isle jumper on display in the Shetland Museum galleries. The much loved and well-worn jumper was a comforting reminder of home for its owner, a WW2 soldier, whilst he was away from Shetland. A local appeal was set up asking for donations of knitted hats, scarves, gloves, socks or a headband which would be passed on to students nominated by families or friends. The result was an impressive array of hand knitted items made with love. There are some beauties there and we are a teensy bit envious of the recipient. They are now all packed up with a few extra Shetland treats ready to make their journey south. A huge thank you to everyone involved and for restoring our faith in the kindness of others. NEW PATTERN: Katie's Cowl We have also launched another woolly project of our own. Wilma Malcolmson has created a final pattern as part of her 'Katie's' series. It has been unusual for our SWW patron not to have attended a physical event, but Wilma has been working away behind the scenes on this new pattern, amongst many other projects, just in time for the colder season. We've already shared her wonderful Katie's Kep and Fingerless Gloves; and now we bring you her Katie's Cowl just in time for winter. The pattern features three different colourways from Jamieson's of Shetland; Jamieson and Smith; and Uradale Yarns. It's a lovely size that's very versatile and adds a stylish extra layer during the chillier months. The pattern is available to buy for £5 as a digital copy from our online shop, so no postal charges or long wait this time! All proceeds will go back into the event. BUY HERE Shetland Place Names A vast quantity of local Shetland names are preserved in a strong oral tradition. In 2001, Shetland Amenity Trust recognised the importance of recording these before they were lost forever. Eileen Brooke Freeman has been posting weekly place names posts throughout the year which provide vital clues about the environment, history, geography, and the people who lived in Shetland in the past and how they used the land. Painstakingly researched with plenty of images, it's a fascinating series. One of particular interest is on sheep-related place names. Here Eileen talks about the dialect words associated with sheep and wool and particularly the place-names that reflect where sheep grazed, rested or were caaed (rounded up). Lambs and sheep appear frequently too – think of 'Sheep Craig or Sheep's Rock' on Fair Isle, which rises to 132 metres and adjoins Fair Isle by a steep but impassable rocky ridge. Check out the blog post and view some stunning black and white photography from the Shetland photographic archive too. #Wovember Something else we have been following with interest is the #wovember photo campaign on Instagram, led by @unravelfestival. It's been fascinating to see so many references to Shetland Wool Week and Shetland Wool, too. Check out @janettebudge; @shetlandhandspun; @emilycpoleson who have been keeping up with their daily posts or follow #wovember for more insights into the multifaceted world of wool. The contributions are often personal and thought provoking and evoke great emotion, especially when reading of the 'comforting balm' and 'joy' that knitting and wool brings to so many. What a wonderful community to be part of.
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I.T. as I see IT | Marcel's Suggestions, Opinions, and Visions for Technology Technology breakthroughs will give AI access to much more data than it ever has before, marking the beginning of an AI lifecycle that will span 50-75 years. Cyber Security solutions with machine learning features (AI) will become the norm. Big Data scientists employed by larger online vendors and social media sites will perfect methods to use data collected from social media as a way to improve revenue streams. IoT will expand into health care and disrupt traditional healthcare methods for diagnosing, testing, and monitoring patients. These disruptive technologies will come in many forms, including pills, miniature monitoring devices, wearable devices, smart clothing, and implants. Personal assistants, such as Amazon's Alexa will expand beyond the home while keeping you connected to everything in your home. New smart home appliances will become the norm. Until now, only certain models of home appliances were able to connect to the internet, however we should see most new models coming out this year and, in the future, to offer smart home technology capabilities. Smart appliances still have a way to go before they compete with the likes of Bissell vacuum cleaners. Image recognition technology will be introduced into many schools as a way to prevent a would-be Active Shooter from completing his/her objectives. Chatbots will expand into the fast food industry, reducing the employees required to operate a restaurant, and eliminating many jobs for those who work in this industry. Traditional help desk solutions for IT will eliminate almost all front-line calls by using chatbots and self-service portals with advanced searching capabilities along with AI technology 5G will become the new standard for mobile devices. This may include 5G Aktien (5G shares) becoming something sought after in the stock market as it takes off and becomes part of everyday life. Many households will also have made the switch to fiber internet like the packages offered on EATEL in order to access high-speed broadband in the home. We will see most car manufacturers announce new electric car offerings in an effort to compete with Tesla. This, in turn, will mean more business for any company providing EV charging units. Remember how the iPhone changed the cell phone? We will see Tesla's competitors realize that Tesla's car is the car of the future, making Tesla's impact to the automobile market similar to the iPhone's impact on the cell phone market 10 years ago. Advancements made in image recognition technology will introduce a new line of apps that will recognize when someone is telling the truth or telling a lie with much greater accuracy, which could open the door for a reliable lie detector app for the phone. A tool that will be helpful to law enforcement, yet problematic for many families. -Something many people might coin as the "Cheater Detector"
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Mobile World | Bulk Whatsapp Marketing Malaysia Mobile World is a leading Asian mobile technology portal. We have readers from Malaysia and Singapore. Mobile World Magazine is published monthly. Interactive websites and mobile communities add to the print presence. We now branched out to mobile, mobile TV site and is experimenting with a mobile version too. MobileWorld is all about the mobile lifestyle. We cover stuff like mobile phones, smartphones, mobile marketing, mobile gadgets and everything else to do with the mobile industry. The Future May Not Be Wireless For the last 10 years or so, wireless technologies have been the darlings of the communications industry – and rightfully so. Wired technologies have struggled to bring services to the whole world. Wireless technologies on the other hand seem unstoppable; there are more than 4 billion mobile phone users in the world today and their reach is truly global. But in a twist of poetic justice, it looks to be time for wired technologies to lord it over their wireless counterparts. The reason for this is the explosion of data consumption by internet users. There is an unbelievable amount of data being consumed these days by users accessing media rich sites like YouTube, Flickr and Facebook. One statistic will put this all into perspective: every minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Data consumption rates have naturally been crashing through the roof. Cisco estimates in a study that the average data consumed per household is 11.4 GB per month. That’s global figures, mind you, which includes countries with slow first generation Internet infrastructure. Now mobile Internet usage is booming and that is sure to add even more strain to the networks. Wireless service providers are beginning to realize that they will not be able to provide the bandwidth that will be required going forward in the short to medium term. The wireless spectrum has limits and there are limits to how much one can cram frequencies with data. This is why mobile users have connectivity problems. When mobile users access the Internet from the same base station, they are sharing the bandwidth available and as more and more users connect to the Internet, the speed slows and at times, there are outages. So wired technologies like Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) have to come to the fore. They will be able to cope with the demand for today’s data hungry applications and tomorrow’s cloud computing. Now you understand why the High Speed Broadband (HSBB) is crucial to this country (and also why it is long overdue). I am not saying that mobile operators will go away – far from that. Mobile lifestyle is a megatrend and that will continue. It’s just that the realization has come that mobile won’t be able to meet all the demand and the better strategy may be for it to provide truly mobile Internet access; leaving the job of providing main Internet usage to its wired counterpart. There’s going to be another consequence to this boom in data consumption that consumers won’t like. The days of unlimited access – in wireless for sure and probably in wired – will come to an end. The world has been lucky because a lot of infrastructure was laid during the dotcom boom days and the glut kept prices very low. Those days are coming to an end and be prepared to pay for data usage like you pay for electricity. Maxis has already put in place its wireless/wired strategy. The idea is that in the future, one company will provide Internet access per se to a consumer. At home or the office, that access will be over wire and when on the move it will be wireless. It will be a single account–multi technologies package. The other mobile operators will have to have similar strategies. TM of course is nicely placed in this area. It can combine with Celcom to provide a complete package. So don’t just cut your wires just yet. They will be vital to your Internet experience very soon. Motorola launches Android smartphone DEFY Motorola has launched the Motorola DEFY, an Android smartphone that is water and scratch resistant, as well as dust proof. That is especially true for the 3.7-inch touchscreen made from Corning Gorilla Glass which can resist impact and scratch damage. The phone also has CrystalTalk PLUS that cuts down noise with two microphones which filter out background noise and amplify the voice. The installed browser supports Flash video, and the 5-megapixel camera shoots with flash, digital zoom and auto focus. The phone uses DEFY or Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) to stream, store and share content with devices like HDTVs, game consoles and PCs. DEFY can also be a 3G mobile hotspot to connect up to five WiFi enabled devices. As for music, the phone can display a song's lyrics using Connected Music Player, which can also discover, stream and identify music from the phone. The Motorola DEFY will be selling for RM1,599 before this Christmas but you can get it for RM999 with Maxis Value Plus plans and a data bundle. Samsung to launch four more phones in by year end Samsung Electronics will launch four more phones in Malaysia, Colin Hew, its assistant manager for Services & Solutions, Mobile Phones, told an informal media gathering at Starbucks, Bangsar Village II in Kuala Lumpur on 15 December. They are the Wave 533 2G phone, the Wave 723 3G phone, the Ch@t 322 dual-SIM 2G phone and the single-SIM Ch@t 335 with WiFi. Both Ch@t devices have a QWERTY keyboard below its screen in BlackBerry-style, while the Wave 533's QWERTY keyboard slides out sideways. Wave is Samsung's name for its bada OS phones and with these two new models, Samsung would have launched a total of four Wave phones this year. The other two are the first Samsung Wave (S8500) announced in February and the Wave 575 announced in October. Both are already available in Malaysia. Galaxy are its Android phones, while Omnia are its Windows phones. “So far we have sold over one million bada OS phones as of July,” said Hew. Samsung intends its open sourced bada OS to provide smartphone features on feature phones at affordable prices. The two Ch@t devices run Samsung's proprietary firmware. A premium device, the Wave 723 has a unique leather flap which protects its screen. It's a 900/2,100 MHz 3G/HSDPA and a quadband GSM/ GPRS/EDGE phone, with a 3.2in WQVGA TFT-LCD touchscreen, TouchWiz 3.0 UI, A-GPS, WiFi b, g & n, 5MP auto-focus camera with LED flash with smile-shot, panorama shot, geo-tagging and image editor, Dolfin 2.0 browser with multi-touch zoom and accepts a microSD card of up to 32GB and has a 1,200 mAh battery. Measuring 109.5 x 53.9 x 11.8mm, the 723 retails at RM939. Besides its slide-out QWERTY keyboard, the Wave 533 is slightly less well appointed with a 3.2MP camera without flash and accepts up to 16GB microSD card but otherwise shares the same features as the 723. The Wave 533 is slightly bigger at 109.5 x 55 x 15.15mm and retails for RM699. Meanwhile, the Ch@t 322 has a `1.3MP camera, 2.2in TFT display, measures 109.5 x 60 x 12.3mm, weighs 95g and is priced at RM449, while the Ch@t 335 has a 2.4in QVGA display, a 2MP camera, measures 111.2 x 61.2 x 11.9mm, weighs 100g and retails for RM359. Both have an optical Trackpad. These basic models still are Samsung's biggest earners and these Ch@t phones are aimed at teenagers and those in their early 20s. As to whether prices of Android phones having drooped below the RM1,000 mark competing with its bada OS handsets, Hew said that just as with netbooks which all cost more or less the same now, Samsung is banking on its physical and software features to sell. Apps the way forward While Samsung phones already come integrated with Twitter and Facebook apps, it actively works with apps developers, including big boys such as Gameloft, Electronic Arts (EA) and location-based navigation app provider Route 66 to provide apps on its phones and it splits the revenue 70:30 in the developers' favour, which is straight revenue, since buyers pay the Samsung Apps store by credit card, with no revenue to operators. “Apps is the way forward,” said Hew. “The popular ones are games, social networking apps or even trivial apps such as Hit my Boss, where users take a picture of their boss, put it in an avatar and punch it, or one where the screen apparently cracks when you touch it.” The Samsung Apps store began carrying paid apps since September, with prices ranging from around RM4 to RM40. Currently 80% of apps on the App store are free apps. However, Malaysia isn't the best market for developers to make money, since while Malaysians download around 100,000 per month from the Samsung App store, which is the second highest; they mostly are free apps, while more Singaporeans are willing to pay for apps, so Malaysian developers should look overseas if they want to make money from apps. High Priced High Speed Broadband The topic of the moment has got to be HSBB. It is certainly telling of the state of our broadband today that the arrival of what we are going to call high speed broadband for the next few years has generatedso much buzz. I, of course, welcome Unifi, the brand name of Telekom Malaysia’s fibre optic offering. If everything goes well, our office area will have this service before the end of the year and we do plan to sign up for it. But it is important that we – as with all Malaysians – do not get too caught up in the hype and in the process, overlook several key points. First, the pricing is high. We’re already paying very high prices for Streamyx and now, we’re being asked to pay RM149 for 5 Mbps, RM199 for 10 Mbps and RM249 for 20 Mbps for home packages. Business packages are even crazier. Only the 5 Mbps package priced at RM199 is barely affordable to average sized businesses.The RM599 package for 10 Mbps and RM899 for 20 Mbps, I believe, could only be afforded by public listed companies. The smallest businesses will have to stick to Streamyx, the way I see it. For comparison, Singaporeans pay about S per month for 10 Mbps and a bit more that S for 15 Mbps. Don’t even try to explain this off by pointing to exchange rates. The fact is that Singaporeans earn dollar for dollar the same as us, meaning that an executive who earns RM1800 in Malaysia would earn SG00 if he worked in Singapore. That makes our high speed broadband three times more expensive than Singapore! Malaysian blogger Ariff Shah lamented on his blog that broadband in Russia is cheap too, at RM50 for 5 Mbps and RM73 for 10 Mbps Malaysians badly need low-cost high-speed broadband. Already faced with mounting costs of almost all items, average Malaysian consumers will be crippled with these package prices. If no action is taken to reduce prices, HSBB will, I fear, be taken up only by the wellheeled.That will just widen the digital divide and go counter against the government’s aspirations of equal access for all Malaysians. Beyond pricing, another area to keep in mind is the speeds being offered. While 10 Megs up and 10 Megs down will be incredibly fast to consumers long surviving on 500 Kbps down and 100 Kbps up, how are we going to compete when Singapore introduces their Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN) which will offer speeds up to 1GB and beyond. 1GB, if I can stress, is another way of writing 1000 Mbps, a hundred times faster than our 10 Mbps. Singapore’s communications services regulator IDA says on its website that “As early as 2010, users will be able to enjoy a myriad of services delivered over Singapore’s ultra-high speed Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN)”. Frightening? I hope so because we need to redouble our efforts to bring ultra high-speed networks to Malaysia and at the same time, I do apologise for not talking about wireless this month but this topic is too important to be ignored. Broadband affects everyone these days. Time For Free Voice Calls? It’s a cliché often repeated by mobile industry followers; that voice would one day become a commodity and even possibly free. I’ve been hearing such statements for years now and it hasn’t happened yet. Phone bill has remained relatively stable all this while and I don’t expect to wake up any day soon to learn that my service provider has made all calls free. It would be a dream come true but there’s no way that Maxis, Celcom, DiGi or UMobile will do this anytime soon. Not unless they want to commit suicide. Right to this day, most of their revenues (and profits) come from voice calls. But that long awaited moment, widely predicted by many industry followers worldwide, may not be too far way. Tectonic shifts taking place in the mobile industry are heralding the days when voice will become a commodity. It may be completely free or almost free. Consider the evidence. Last year, UK’s mobile operator, 3 UK announced that its subscribers would be able to make unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls and messages ‘forever’. All they needed was a compatible handset and a SIM card. The calls are truly free and users do not even need to pay data charges for making these calls. Then, earlier this year, US operator, Verizon Wireless partnered with Skype to bring free Skype-to-Skype calls to its subscribers. Their only condition: these subscribers need to have a data plan. I had been expecting something like this. Competition (and price pressures) has become very fierce, especially in areas where mobile penetration have reached 100%. Mobile operators need to do something drastic if they want to shake up the incumbents. Of course, I just told you that most of their profits come from voice. So won’t they be killing themselves? I think not. For proof, let’s examine some financial data. ARPU stands for Average Revenue Per User. Financial analysts look at three ARPU figures when evaluating the performance of these companies. These are Postpaid ARPU, which is what an operator would be collecting monthly from an average postpaid subscriber, prepaid ARPU, which is the monthly revenue from a prepaid user and blended ARPU, which is the amount that an average subscriber pays monthly to the operator, when all subscribers are lumped together. The idea, of course, is to maintain or grow ARPU figures. In Malaysia, postpaid ARPU is around RM107 for Maxis, RM101 for Celcom and RM84 for DiGi. Prepaid ARPU is RM40 for Maxis, RM41 for Celcom and RM50 for DiGi. Blended ARPU, to me, is the most revealing because it shows how much an average subscriber – when both prepaid and postpaid customers are added together – pays per month. The big three Malaysian mobile operators receive on average, give or take one Ringgit, RM55 for every subscriber on their records. Here’s where it gets interesting. By getting RM55 per month from a mobile subscriber, our three telcos have been wildly profitable. Maxis, for instance, made more than RM2 billion in profits in 2009. We all know, of course, that the current battle is about mobile internet. Telcos want their subscribers to take up data plans on top of their voice plans. Early adopters and power users might do that but the average subscriber is going to balk at paying higher mobile phone bills. An average postpaid user is already paying RM100 per month on phone calls. Now telcos want him to take up a data plan that will add RM50 to RM100 per month to his bill. That’s going to raise his bill by at least 50%. Well, I think that many users are not going to let their bills go up by that much. The only way to get them to take up data plans would be to sweeten the deal by bringing down their voice bills. Imagine a scenario where a telco announces a RM150 plan that consists of unlimited data, local calls and text messages. Such an offer would immediately attract a lot of consumers as they would save money on calls and SMSes. Telcos will benefit because they will now be getting RM150 a month from that consumer, which is higher than the RM100 they are making from an average postpaid user today. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? I’ll even go out on a limb and predict that we will see something like this in Malaysia by 2012 latest. Don’t bet against me; I predicted an iPad-like device years before Steve Job came up with it. Dig up old copies of MW and you’ll see that prediction. Little Birds Beat News Sites This Sunday, We joined what must have been the majority of Malaysians in following the results of the Hulu Selangor by-election. The whole day long, I sought out reports of how the polling was going on. After 5 pm, I eagerly consumed every report that I found which shared updates of unofficial vote counts as they trickled into the counting station. As I did that I was reminded of that magical night of March 8, 2008 when I did the same thing albeit on a much larger scale. I was struck then by how much things have changed since then. No, I’m not referring to the voter swing that took place in Hulu Selangor; this is a technology magazine, remember? I’m referring to the way I obtained my information this time around compared to last time around. To get the General Elections results two years ago, I set up a scratch command centre that consisted of two PCs and a mobile phone. Since internet traffic was at a peak then, most of the sites that had the latest information were pretty much inaccessible. I opened up multiple tabs of sites like Malaysiakini each one pointing to different mirror sites. I also pointed my browser towards many other sites. That way, I ensured that I got updates from one page even if the others crashed. It was chaotic and the internet connection barely held steady that day. Those websites coupled with lots of text messages received from friends all over Malaysia ensured that I knew relatively early that a political tsunami had struck the nation. This time around, it was completely different. We did not go online on my PC. Thanks to TM, my Streamyx was down for most of the day. But even if it was working, I wasn’t really planning on using it except as a backup. My updates this time around came solely through my mobile phone and not even one of the updates came as a text message. Neither did I access Malaysiakini or the Malaysian Insider on my mobile the way I did back in 2008. I occasionally went to those sites mainly to keep up with other breaking news. But my election updates were exclusively delivered over Twitter. Not only did I get vote updates in almost real time, Twitter did not crash because it is designed to bear heavy traffic. This, I realized, was a perfect example of a trend I have spoken a lot about over the last few years. As mobile wireless broadband becomes increasingly prevalent, people will move away from PCs and do more and more stuff on mobile devices – even things that may seem at this point in time as better done on a personal computer. Getting election results on my phone was a perfect example of this. Without a mobile device, it would have been easy to conclude that a PC was the better alternative but in actual use, the Twitter-Mobile combination proved better. The other interesting point you may have noticed is that the apps changed as I moved this task onto my mobile. I moved from blogs and news sites to Twitter simply because it was the best tool. The lesson here is that innovation will always ensure that new technologies will rise and eclipse current dominant technologies. As a user, I was simply delighted that Twitter made it very easy and enjoyable. From a developer perspective, the implications are enormous. We’re still doing a lot of stuff on PCs. People who figure out how to move those tasks onto mobile devices stand to win big in the next few years. Or developers could just focus on improving existing solutions. For instance, there’s no way I will place any bets on how I will be accessing the results of the next General Elections. By next year, something completely different may emerge which could eclipse Twitter. Isn’t mobile technology wonderful? Youtube Music is a Boomer When I was doing my degree in IT, I sort of developed a sense of how would you call it, affection for all things Unix. Partially because the university that I was in did pretty much everything in Unix. From the first thing you saw in the computer labs, right down to the assignments that you were given, there was no way to escape from it, unless you were one of those die-hards who believed that Windows was the be-all, end-all. As a home user, it seemed to fulfill quite a bit of my daily needs, with the exception of perhaps, games. Nevertheless, it was the overall style of Unix that kind of drew me to using it as often as I could. Minimalist programs, one separate application for every function, and the fact that since it’s so different from the rest of the world, protection from your non-nerdish friends snooping around on your PC because they don’t know how to use the damn command-line. Unless you’re into Ubuntu, which I don’t really have a liking for. But it is because of these factors that have caused me to turn cynical, especially towards programs that seem to suck your computer’s resources, rather than utilizing them properly. Programs such as Youtube Music and Ovi, which in my opinion, do a lot more harm than good. At least, if you tend to use your memory and/or CPU from frugally. Sure, they’re full of functions and features, enough to keep you interested for as long as possible. But there were times when I wondered if I really needed all these extra bells and whistles. I just installed Youtube Music, and by the powers of Greyskull, it ticks off at 93MB. Ovi is hardly any better, which is quite bemusing really, especially when all you intend for is the syncing of your mobile phone. I start to sneer whenever an installation file starts off at more than 75MB in size. Chances are that they’re probably going to expand in excesses of 200MB or so. And let’s not forget that each time some of these applications are started up, they end up using every resource possible. So much so that if you try to multi-task, you’re going to end up being more than a little frustrated. That’s as big as some OSes go, seriously. Now, I can understand if it was a graphics rendering thingy, or a proper sound editing tool, because most everyone knows that they need all the power and memory that they can get. But a program that lists the music in your iPod, plays them, uploads them from your computer? Sure, it has the additional stuff like podcasts, radio and yada yada, but you can’t help but feel overwhelmed at times by some of these things. Especially if you don’t use them, now or in the future. Of course, Linux distributions aren’t without their own forms of bloatware. I’ve seen my fair share of bumbling programs; stuff that should have been revamped totally, or just coded by someone else altogether. Firefox falls into this category especially. Once a fast and light piece of work, it’s now so big and unwieldly, that it should probably audition as a stunt double for a Boomer. And I don’t mean the Grace Park kind too. Some of you are going to argue that with the way things are going for computers, worrying about application sizes shouldn’t be a problem. With Moore’s Law in place, today’s computer powerhouses should be as fast as tomorrow’s calculators. But does that mean that tomorrow’s music players should take the same amount of resources as a graphics renderer today would? If so, I’m a little worried. Note: Sure, I don’t use Unix as much as I used to. In fact, I actually use Windows 7 a lot these days. Largely because my primary computer happens to be a netbook, to which supporting drivers tend to be at times, insufficient. And I’m also too lazy to install a Linux system on my netbook. Talk about whinging, eh? But then again, I want to play games without worrying about how to get it working on Wine. Spam, spam, glorious spam It was said in Sun Tzu’s Art of War that knowing is half the battle won. Although it has to be said that there may be times when you can happen to know a bit too much. "Sun-Tzu. Bad-ass." source: realestateradiousa.com As much as we’d like to believe that we’re more advanced or intelligent than our Middle-Age/Iron-Age counterparts, it has to be said that we’re no more human than they were. And that means we’re finite, limited to a certain amount of physical (or in this case, mental) capacity. Some have even coined up a term for it, calling it information overload. "Paper Mountain. Lady not included." source: acit.lbcc.edu I couldn’t agree more, although it’s not surprising, given the world that we live in. Never in human history has the power of the media been at the fingertips of the receiver, where a viewer can expect to tune into Al-Jazeera over satellite television, open up his Twitter or Facebook and have a little banter with his friends. And that’s not taking into account other sources, such as newspapers, SMSes, and if you’re old enough to remember them, pagers. "The future!" source: inetengineers.com Not a problem for me, considering that I don’t follow that many people, and that I tend to choose my information sources, rather than have them come to me on a plate. Nevertheless, there may be some of you who happen to have taken in more than you expected. Of course, the other way to go about it is to just remain aloof and practice a form of selective reading/information-gathering. It’s actually a lot easier than it seems, unless you have a sentimental attachment to those that you follow. 1) Have a ‘no info’ periods where you’ll ignore or close your mail client/Twitter/Facebook/whatever. 2) Categorize your information into groups. Make lists, mail folders. 3) Unfollow people who don’t really matter. Yes, it may seem like you’re shutting them out of your lives, but you could do without all the clutter. 4) Cut back on your podcasts or news stories. Decide on a few high-quality blogs or websites instead of the whole lot, and then let the rest go. 5) Don’t feel pressured to reply to every single tweet/FB-note that you receive. Read, and then move on. Reply only if you have to. "Unless you're of course, some sort of troller." source: redwing.hutman.net (Flame Warriors by Mike Reed) For those of you who find hard to deal with your information overload, there are some tools, such as TwitCleaner. Which kind of helps, if you’ve got more than a few people on your Twitter lists. Mobile Operating System Woes I have difficulty comprehending this. I get developers complaining all the time about why there are so many mobile operating systems. They say it’s difficult to code for so many operating systems. It makes their job harder and they cannot reach all mobile users easily as they have to create different versions of their apps for each operating system. Some users too, aren’t exactly ecstatic about the bewildering options that face them when they hunt for a new phone. One told me that he dreads having to learn how to use an unfamiliar phone, which is why he has happily stuck to his trusty old three year old device. I can understand where both of these sentiments are coming from but I have to say that I don’t agree with them. In fact, I strongly believe that consumers and yes, developers too, should celebrate the many operating systems that are flourishing now.Any economist will tell you that we are witnessing competition in action. And as we all learnt in our Commerce classes in secondary schools or MBA sessions ,competition is good for the consumers. Apple IOS and Samsung Android are the future Think about it, if Apple did not decide to come up with the iPhone, we would all still be carrying Nokia Nseries phones or BlackBerry devices. Believe it or not, Nokia launched the Nseries in 2005. A full five years later, that series is still around. Only when it felt the heat did Nokia awake from its slumber and work at coming up with better devices. Google’s roll out of the Android operating system is keeping Apple on its feet. The reason why we are seeing rapid launches of new iPhone models is because Apple can see Android looming in its rearview mirror (some say it’s even overtaken Apple but that’s a topic for another day). With the smartphone side of the business exploding like no one’s business, even behemoths like Microsoft is reentering the market. Whether Windows Mobile 7 will cut it or not is immaterial. The point is that all this competition is benefiting us users like crazy. We get amazing mobile devices at very competitive prices. Developers too should be prostrating themselves before every single mobile operating system. The way I look at it, the more shops I have available to sell my products, the better it is. Apple’s App Store is notoriously difficult to gain access to. Developers have to wait months to get apps approved and if their app is rejected, Apple does not tell them why. Plus it is terribly crowded, which means that apps will find it hard to get noticed. Along comes Android Marketplace and now developers have a brand new, less crowded (at least for now) store to sell their apps. There’s also the fact that each operating system reaches unique segments of users. A developer who only develops iPhone apps will never be able to reach users who don’t like Apple products. Or take Samsung’s operating system, bada. By the end of this year, I fully expect to see bada powered smartphones selling for around RM500. At that price range, millions of people all across the world who would never be able to afford an iPhone will be able to enter the smartphone owners club. So I say, let us all rejoice that we have so many operating systems to choose from. Consumers get to choose from so many car brands, soft drink makers and television manufacturers, so why should the mobile phone industry be any different? Got anything to share about the mobile industry in general and the Malaysian mobile scene in particular? We’d love to hear from you.