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Tech Zone 24 – Just another WordPress site While browsing the internet I came accross an amazing article from Semrush that I would like to share with you. If you enjoy this article then you can visit the original article using the link to the bottom of this page. You’ve heard people telling you that you need to write in-depth content because that’s what Google wants. And it’s true… the average page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains 1,890 words. But you already know that. The question is, should you be writing 2,000-word articles? 5,000? Or maybe even go crazy and create ultimate guides that are 30,000 words? What’s funny is, I have done it all. I’ve even tested out adding custom images and illustrations to these in-depth articles to see if that helps. And of course, I tested if having one super long page with tens of thousands of words or having multiple pages with 4,000 or 5,000 words is better. So, what do you think? How in-depth should your content be? Well, let’s first look at my first marketing blog, Quick Sprout. Short articles don’t rank well With Quick Sprout, it started off just like any normal blog. I would write 500 to 1,000-word blog posts and Google loved me. Just look at my traffic during January 2011. As you can see, I had a whopping 67,038 unique visitors. That’s not too bad. Even with the content being short, it did fairly well on Google over the years. But over time, more marketing blogs started to pop up, competition increased, and I had no choice but to write more detailed content. I started writing posts that were anywhere from 1,000 to a few thousand words. When I started to do that, I was able to rapidly grow my traffic from 67,038 to 115,759 in one year. That’s a 72.67% increase in traffic in just 1 year. It was one of my best years, and all I had to do was write longer content. So naturally, I kept up with the trend and continually focused on longer content. But as the competition kept increasing, my traffic started to stagnate, even though I was producing in-depth content. Here are my traffic stats for November 2012 on Quick Sprout. I understand that Thanksgiving takes place in November, hence traffic wasn’t as high as it could be. But still, there really wasn’t any growth from January to November of 2012. In other words, writing in-depth content that was a few thousand words max wasn’t working out. So what next? Well, my traffic had plateaued. I had to figure something else out. Writing longer, more in-depth content had helped me before… so I thought, why not try the 10x formula. I decided to create content 10 times longer, better, and more in-depth than everyone else. I was going to the extreme because I knew it would reduce the chance of others copying me. Plus, I was hoping that you would love it as a reader. So, on January 24, 2013, I released my first in-depth guide. It was called The Advanced Guide to SEO. It was so in-depth that it could have been a book. Literally! Heck, some say it was even better than a book as I paid someone for custom illustration work. Now let’s look at the traffic stats for January 2013 when I published the guide. As you can see my traffic really started to climb again. I went from 112,681 visitors in November to 244,923 visitors in January. Within 2 months I grew my traffic by 117%. That’s crazy!!!! The only difference: I was creating content that was so in-depth that no one else dared to copy to me (at that time). Sure, some tried and a few were able to create some great content, but it wasn’t like hundreds of competing in-depth guides were coming out each year. Not even close! Now, when I published the guide I broke it down into multiple chapters like a book because when I tested out making it one long page, it loaded so slow that the user experience was terrible. Nonetheless, the strategy was effective. So what did I do next? I created 12 in-depth guides I partnered up with other marketers and created over 280,000 words of marketing content. I picked every major subject… from online marketing to landing pages to growth hacking. I did whatever I could to generate the most traffic within the digital marketing space. It took a lot of time and money to create all 12 of these guides, but it was worth it. By January of 2014, my traffic had reached all-time highs. I was generating 378,434 visitors a month. That’s a lot for a personal blog on marketing. Heck, that’s a lot for any blog. In other words, writing 10x content that was super in-depth worked really well. Even when I stopped producing guides, my traffic, continually rose. Here’s my traffic in January 2015: And here’s January 2016 for Quick Sprout: But over time something happened. My traffic didn’t keep growing. And it didn’t stay flat either… it started to drop. In 2017, my traffic dropped for the first time. It went from 518,068 monthly visitors to 451,485. It wasn’t a huge drop, but it was a drop. And in 2018 my traffic dropped even more: I saw a huge drop in 2018. Traffic went down to just 297,251 monthly visitors. And sure, part of that is because I shifted my focus to NeilPatel.com, which has become the main place I blog now. But it’s largely that I learned something new when building up NeilPatel.com. Longer isn’t always better Similar to Quick Sprout, I have in-depth guides on NeilPatel.com. I have guides on online marketing, SEO, Google ads, Facebook ads, and the list goes on and on. If you happened to click on any of the guides above you’ll notice that they are drastically different than the ones on Quick Sprout. Here are the main differences: No fancy design – I found with the Quick Sprout experience, people love the fancy designs, but over time content gets old and outdated. To update content when there are so many custom illustrations is tough, which means you probably won’t update it as often as you should. This causes traffic to go down over time because people want to read up-to-date and relevant information. Shorter and to the point – I’ve found that you don’t need super in-depth content. The guides on NeilPatel.com rank in similar positions on Google and cap out at around 10,000 words. They are still in-depth, but I found that after 10,000 or so words there are diminishing returns. Now let’s look at the stats. Here’s the traffic to the advanced SEO guide on Quick Sprout over the last 30 days: Over 7,842 unique pageviews. There are tons of chapters and as you can see people are going through all of them. And now let’s look at the NeilPatel.com SEO guide: I spent a lot less time, energy, and money creating the guide on NeilPatel.com, yet it receives 17,442 unique pageviews per month, which is more than the Quick Sprout guide. That’s a 122% difference! But how is that possible? I know what you are thinking. Google wants people to create higher quality content that benefits people. So how is it that the NeilPatel.com one ranks higher. Is it because of backlinks? Well, the guide on Quick Sprout has 850 referring domains: And the NeilPatel.com has 831 referring domains: Plus, they have similar URL ratings and domain ratings according to Ahrefs so that can’t be it. So, what gives? Google is a machine. It doesn’t think with emotions, it uses logic. While we as a user look at the guide on Quick Sprout and think that it looks better and is more in-depth, Google focuses on the facts. See, Google doesn’t determine if one article is better than another by asking people for their opinion. Instead, they look at the data. For example, they can look at the following metrics: Time on site – which content piece has a better time on site? Bounce rate – which content piece has the lowest bounce rate? Back button – does the article solve all of the visitors’ questions and concerns? So much so they visitor doesn’t have to hit the back button and go back to Google to find another web page? And those are just a few things that Google looks at from their 200+ ranking factors. Because of this, I took a different approach to NeilPatel.com, which is why my traffic has continually gone up over time. Instead of using opinion and spending tons of energy creating content that I think is amazing, I decided to let Google guide me. With NeilPatel.com, my articles range from 2,000 to 3,000 words. I’ve tried articles with 5,000+ words, but there is no guarantee that the more in-depth content will generate more traffic or that users will love it. Now to clarify, I’m not trying to be lazy. Instead, I’m trying to create amazing content while being short and to the point. I want to be efficient with both my time and your time while still delivering immense value. Here’s the process I use to ensure I am not writing tons of content that people don’t want to read. Be data driven Because there is no guarantee that an article or blog post will do well, I focus on writing amazing content that is 2,000 to 3,000-words long. I stick within that region because it is short enough where you will read it and long enough that I can go in-depth enough to provide value. Once I release a handful of articles, I then look to see which ones you prefer based on social shares and search traffic. Now that I have a list of articles that are doing somewhat well, I log into Google Search Console and find those URLs. You can find a list of URLs within Google Search Console by clicking on “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics”. You’ll see a screen load that looks something like this: From there you’ll want to click on the “pages” button. You should be looking at a screen that looks similar to this: Find the pages that are gaining traction based on total search traffic and social shares and then click on them (you can input URLs into Shared Count to find out social sharing data). Once you click on the URL, you’ll want to select the “Queries” icon to see which search terms people are finding that article from. Now go back to your article and make it more in-depth. And when I say in-depth, I am not talking about word count like I used to focus on at Quick Sprout. Instead, I am talking depth… did the article cover everything that the user was looking for? If you can cover everything in 3,000 words then you are good. If not, you’ll have to make it longer. The way you do this is by seeing which search queries people are using to find your articles (like in the screenshot above). Keep in mind that people aren’t searching Google in a deliberate effort to land on your site… people use Google because they are looking for a solution to their problem. Think of those queries that Google Search Console is showing you as “questions” people have. If your article is in-depth enough to answer all of those questions, then you have done a good job. If not, you’ll have to go more in-depth. In essence, you are adding more words to your article, but you aren’t adding fluff. You’re not keyword stuffing either. You are simply making sure to cover all aspects of the subject within your article. This is how you write in-depth articles and not waste your time (or money) on word count. And that’s how I grew NeilPatel.com without writing too many unnecessary words. Conclusion If you are writing 10,000-word articles you are wasting your time. Heck, even articles over 5,000 words could be wasting your time if you are only going after as many words as possible and adding tons of fluff along the way. You don’t know what people want to read. You’re just taking a guess. The best approach is to write content that is amazing and within the 2,000 word to 3,000-word range. Once you publish the content, give it a few months and then look at search traffic as well as social sharing data to see what people love. Take those articles and invest more resources into making them better and ultimately more in-depth (in terms of quality and information, not word count). The last thing you want to do is write in-depth articles on subjects that very few people care about. Just look at the Advanced Guide to SEO on Quick Sprout… I made an obvious mistake. I made it super in-depth on “advanced SEO”. But when you search Google for the term “SEO” and you scroll to the bottom to see related queries you see this… People are looking for the basics of SEO, not advanced SEO information. In Conclusion If you would certainly such as to check out even more short articles on search engine optimization after that feel cost-free to search our various other articles. We have many more curated write-ups from semrush as well as I wish you delight in reading them. link to original source
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Arizona Jewish Life | Photo courtesy ABC 15. Before the pandemic stay-at-home orders became commonplace in our community, I didn't leave the house. The place that I consider my sanctuary, my home, became a place where I was unsure of my own safety. On the night of Jan. 25, 2020, Johnny Roman Garza, as part of a conspiracy planned with the neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen Division, glued a poster on my home's front bedroom window that depicted a figure in a skull mask holding a Molotov cocktail in front of a burning house. My name and address were on the bottom of the poster along with the threat, "Your actions have consequences. Our patience has its limits . . . You have been visited by your local Nazis." What followed after I found the poster was a blur of police, FBI agents and Homeland Security personnel descending on my property. There was only so much they could tell me about what was going on, only that I was one of many targets as a journalist connected with a Jewish publication. I agreed not to post or say anything to not interfere with the ongoing investigation. I had the FBI and Homeland Security phone numbers loaded in my phone – just in case. I also opened my mailbox with a stick for fear of explosives, and when my daughter had to travel for work and left her car at our house, I drove it before she came home – just in case "they" had done something to tamper with her vehicle, she would not be the one to find out. I laid awake at night wondering if the Molotov cocktail would become a real threat. We installed a security system, and every time the app on my phone would alert me of some movement from one of the cameras, my heart would skip a beat. I didn't leave the house unless accompanied by my husband. On Feb. 26, I breathed a sigh of relief when Garza and three others were arrested on "suspicion of organizing a campaign to threaten and intimidate journalists and activists" across four states. I was also confused as to why a young man of Mexican-American descent would find kindred spirits in a white-supremacist hate group. There was talk but little detail of a turbulent home life, and he admitted during his sentencing on Dec. 9 that he "looked elsewhere in a time of "darkness and isolation" and "fell in with the worst crowd I could have fallen into with." He also said that he and his family "count this experience as a blessing because if consequences had not come down on me the way they did, I would not have changed." During the sentencing, I was surprised to hear Garza's attorney, Seth Apfel, was Jewish. He had recommended that Garza take classes on Jewish history and culture and that through doing so, stated Garza has "made a complete and sincere change. Not just disavowed but embraced a new way of being. He has become an ally for the Jewish people." Apfel went on to say that it was "one of my proudest moments as an attorney." This experience has conjured up so many emotions. As time went on and my feelings of fear changed to anger and then to sadness. I admit when I was younger, I made some bad decisions, not to the extent of Garza's actions, but things that may have gotten me into trouble at the time. I also have children in their 20s and have seen from their classmates what can happen when children seek approval and belonging from the wrong group of people. On Dec. 9, Garza was sentenced to 16 months jail time and three years probation by U.S. District Judge John Coughenour in Seattle. Judge Coughenour says he believes Garza's remorse but that he felt he needed more than just the probation time that his lawyer recommended. He also made a statement on not just the aspect of the hate crime, but who specifically was targeted. "Referring to journalism and the press and media as 'fake news' enables people who are vulnerable to suggestions like this, very young people ... that this kind of conduct is appropriate," he said. As editor of two Jewish publications, I have interviewed victims of anti-Semitism and hate crimes. I have been a general target of anti-Semitic rhetoric and hateful comments, but nothing that targeted me so personally. Like many people who are not Jewish, I could never fully understand how it felt until now. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods opened his statement to the court on Wednesday with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quote, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." He also commented that many of the community members that Garza targeted have lost faith in that justice. Someone asked me if I was satisfied with Garza's sentence, and I honestly don't know. 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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.
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