szekaryin

What’s next?

10 years ago, people predicted that we would have flying vehicles and floating malls just like in The Jetsons.

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Although we have yet to reach that kind of level on technology, I do believe that we are progressing.

Like a friend once said, the Internet will not die, unless we kill it. It used to be that the computer was the focal point, right now, the focus is on the Internet. The computer is now one of the many available mediums.

The Internet took on a life of its own. It can be anything right now, it could become anything in the future.

If you’d ask me what I think about a virtual optical glasses years ago, I would have laughed the idea off. But right now, Google invented it.

I can’t tell you what the internet will become. Because we could be the Internet.

Journalist, who are they?

Before this tech-savvy generation, I can safely tell you that journalists are the people you see on the news and the people who writes reports for the newspaper. Right now, it is difficult to tell who journalists really are.

Of course, those on the television and newspapers are still journalists, but there are more now. With the advent of camera phones and suitable platforms, we have all become journalists. A word was coined, to describe “journalists” like us — citizen journalism.

Singapore’s very own, STOMP, is one such platform where citizens can take photos, write reports and publish it. It is exactly what citizens are encouraged to do.

At first the idea was really novel, and the benefits filled a long list. With this new platform, we get first-hand information, photos, videos, any media that can help document the incident or event. More importantly, we get real time publishing and updates. STOMP could be a good thing. For example:

We get first hand reports, at the point when the incident happens like in the above picture.

We can also provide information that is otherwise unattainable because reporters cannot get into the train as shown above.

We also get to film footage that would have otherwise be unavailable when the reporter eventually gets to the scene.

What we filmed can also become evidence for further investigation.

To aid this new journalism method, STOMP developed mobile applications for smart phones to encourage on-the-spot publishing.

This application made it so easy for anyone to generate content. So easy that what could be a good thing, turned out to be a catastrophe (to me, at least).

Very soon, the novelty wore off. People are still generating content for this online “newspaper” but they became whiny. This is what I mean by whiny.

64 pages of whiny “reports” like these. We know that it is very wrong for these people to hog seats, be inconsiderate, and all but these posts are being generated so often that STOMP gave it its own category: Ugly Commuters.

Like I said, STOMP could be a good thing, but Singaporeans are turning STOMP into a complain forum. This not only tarnishes the value of citizen journalism, but caused the whole idea of citizen journalism to backfire. Singaporeans should be more discerning when it comes to “reporting” something. We should learn to differentiate what is important and what is just plain whining in order for citizen journalism to be useful.

Week 8: Bugs

To be honest, I don’t know much about viruses and malware.

See, in all my life, my dad has been the one taking care of all these things. You know, Norton Antivirus etc. I only knew that when you buy a computer, there are 2 other things you will definitely need. Microsoft Office and Norton Antivirus.

I knew that computers get sick, but I don’t know why or how. Then as I grew older, school introduced me to cheeky boys. Cheeky boys who well, you know, surfed the web and watched… stuff. They were the one who I learnt what trojans are.

Then, came year 2000. All the talks about Y2K and stuff. The Millennium bug, as they call it.

Up until this point, all I knew was that computer viruses kills the computer. I didn’t know which viruses did what. Obviously, I didn’t think it was all that important, so I didn’t bother to find out.

Soon enough, I got my very own laptop and I didn’t need to care about viruses, nor did I need any antivirus software. Can you guess why?

Oh yeah.

I got a Macbook Pro. 🙂

So, I have never gotten attacked by any worms or viruses. I never needed to spend extra for antivirus softwares.

Here’s what I learnt in class.

Virus is a programming code that enters your computer system stealthily to corrupt or destroy your data.

The trojan I mentioned earlier? If viruses have personality, boy is this trojan a hypocrite. It disguises as a benign application, it can claim to be an antivirus, but in fact, it introduces viruses to your computer. See what hypocrites trojans are?

To conclude, I thought I’d share with you why Mac users need not worry about viruses.

See, Macintosh and all other PCs are quite different. If they were people, they would be people from different regions of the world. They speak a different language.

As for the majority of the viruses out there, their targets are mostly for PCs. Why, you ask. From what I understand, most businesses use PCs for their day-to-day operations and these businesses are mostly the targets of the people who writes viruses. More than that, most of the population use a PC, so it does make more sense to code a virus that attacks more people.

So a PC’s virus to a Macintosh would be like… playing the lute to a cow.

Of course, there are bound to be some viruses that attack the Macintosh but in the 23 years I’ve walked this earth, I’ve yet to  hear a mac user being attacked by any viruses.

Okaythanksbye.

Week 10: The winning formula.

A government depends on its people to vote for them. For years, political parties garnered their votes via the traditional mediums such as the television, radio and newspaper. It was successful, the messages were communicated across perfectly.

All was good, until a certain group of voters rise up. These people changed the way political parties campaigned. These were also the group of people that the political parties must get through to. These, are the new voters. The young people. The people who cares less about politics. How then, can political parties campaign? Of course, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. The tech-savvy generation needs a tech savvy campaign.

This is a formula I’ve come up with, and it sure seems to me that these formulae work.

It wasn’t only Singapore, Barack Obama also made use of social media to campaign during his time.

See, the reason why social media works is because social media knows no boundaries. For campaigners, the most important benefit would be that it costs almost nothing. The wide reach that social media encompasses has made it the best propaganda machine.

To be fair, even working adults are leaning towards social media. This, is the power of the internet, for political campaigning, and honestly, for everything else too.

Week 7: Make a Video

And so I did (well, I recycled. So bite me). 😀

Week 6: E-what?

My mom use to nag at me every time I’m on the computer, begging me to quit wasting my time and do something productive instead.

What she didn’t know was that I was actually learning something. Well, neither did I. It just did not seem like learning, you know? All she saw was her daughter sitting in front of the computer, and watching videos. Well, that was all I did. YouTube. Clicking and typing and watching. It seemed too easy.

Looking back, I sure did learn plenty! I learnt how to do my own nails, instead of spending about $40 at the nail place. It wasn’t professional, lines were crooked, the skin around my nails all have polish on them, my left hand refuses to paint as nicely as my right, but I like it. I like that I did it myself, an I like that people compliment them and then praise me for a job well done. See, they aren’t all that bad, right?
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As I got older, my computer skills got better. So I thought to myself, why not learn how to edit photos? And so I did. I learnt how to use photoshop, at least the basics of superimposing pictures onto on another. Step by step, I followed exactly what the guy in the video said. And I did it, I successfully superimposed my boyfriend and I, in the forest. Again, it is not professional, the edges are not smooth and it was poorly done. But hey, I learnt it and pull it off within minutes of watching the video. See, it’s not too shabby, is it?
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So I painted my nails, photoshopped myself in the forest. What’s next?

I found this guy on YouTube. He taught me plenty, he taught me how to cook. Oh yes, you read it right. I tried cooking, not the how to flip a pancake cooking, but elaborate food like potato chowder and shepherd’s pie. I would show you pictures, but I dug into the food so fast, it was finished before I knew it. On the account of you being so patronising, I’ll sell my guy out. Here’s the video of the chowder he taught me to make:

So tell me guys, have you learnt anything online?

Week 5: Let’s start a business together.

Want to make extra money? Want a job that is flexible? Read on!

We’ve all heard of eBay, Amazon, F21 and ASOS. The big names of what is today’s most popular online shopping sites. How can we start something that is smaller in scale, something that is what we call a one-man basement “company”?

As a student, I didn’t have enough to spend (well, we all didn’t, huh?). I kept thinking about how I could earn extra cash, while staying in school and that’s when my business mind lit a lightbulb in my brain.

Blogshop.

What is it?

My definition: An online shop, hosted on free blog sites, selling everything and anything.

In my time, blogshops were hosted on free blog sites such as livejournal and blogger. Advertisements were free, simply tag your link and what you sell on other people’s blog or blogshops.

Now, blogshops can be hosted anywhere with the advent of social media. Facebook is one very common and convenient site for blogshops.

What you need to consider:

1. Decide what you want to sell

Things that people normally sell ranges from accessories, apparels, quirky gift ideas to baked goods.

2. (A) cheap source(s) of wholesaler(s)

Source for a wholesaler, because they sell items in bulk and often at a much cheaper price. Here are a few that I’ve heard about: Taobao, Cityplaza in the East, Bangkok, Daiso, and Peninsula Plaza. Basically, you just need to develop a keen eye for good and cheap things that you can profit from selling.

3. Some computer skills.

Learn the basics of HTML, at least. You need to spruce up your site to attract customers, and more importantly, to leave a good impression. It would be good if you know how to edit photos, headers/banners. These skills are very easy to pick up, you just need to be interested. You can try Youtube for videos and tutorials.

4. Some photography skills.

It doesn’t matter how good your stuff is, if you cannot portray it nicely to customers. You need a decent camera, a clean and simple background, decent lighting and correct angle. Take a thousand photos of the same thing if you must, choose the one that represents the item best in real life. Remember, no sloppy photos.

Also, at this point, decide if you need pretty girls to model your clothes. You can ask a pretty friend for help.

5. A name

Think of a name for your shop. Something that rhymes, or something that is catchy so that it is easy for customers to mention and remember. Coin a word if you must, make it really simple and nice.

6. Social Media/free blog hosting site

Create an account on any of these sites with the name you came up with. Secure a domain name that you find appropriate. You can try FaceBook, Blogger, WordPress, Livejournal or even purchase a domain when it is on sale.

7. Email address

Create an account with any email providers, this is the email customers use to communicate with you. Placing of orders, confirmation, updates, anything of that sort.

8. A list of contacts

Establish a network and create a buzz for your blogshop. If you are on Facebook, you can tag or add friends of friends of friends. If you are on a blog hosting site, try to get as many email addresses as possible.

9. Decide if you want to invest, or conduct pre-orders

Most customers look for in-stocks, meaning you, as the shop owner must have existing stocks on hand. Customers are less willing to wait for items to arrive like in pre-orders nowadays. Pre-orders are preferred by shop owners because there is no need to provide any capital, the capital is provided by people who purchased the items.

Pre-orders will work, if the items you are selling are unique, in trend or if it is in demand. It will also work if you are buying in bulk from an online store, like Forever21 or Victoria’s Secret (you can earn via exchange rate, handling fees and postage).

10. Payment method

Bank Transfer: They will transfer you the funds, and provide you with reference number and transaction time

Cash-on-delivery: They will make payments on the delivery of their items

Visa/Master: They will make payments online via Visa/Master, you do need to figure out how to incorporate that into your site

Paypal: They can make payments via Paypal

* never divulge your bank account number on your website, give it to them in the email after they have confirmed their orders

11. Decide if you are willing to do meet-ups, cash-on-delivery, self-collection, delivery or mail.

Meet-ups: You meet your customer somewhere to pass them their item that they paid for prior to the meet-up, you may charge extra for places that are inconvenient to you

Cash-on-delivery: You meet your customer somewhere to pass them their item that they will pay for when you meet-up

Self-collection: Your customers collect their items that they paid for at your house

Delivery: You deliver the items to the designated address, you may charge extra for this service

Mail: You mail the paid items to your customers via regular/registered mail, you may charge extra for postage needs

Here are the more established blogshops in Singapore.

LoveBonito

OhSoFickle

EarlGreyParty

TracyEinny

Check out how their names are so catchy and classy, they all started out from livejournal and blogger, and as business got better, they moved on to buying their own domain. As of now, most of them have their own physical shopfront. Some of them are even hiring part-timers and models. That is how good their business is.

Okay, good luck guys.

Week 3: Social media and us.

I have to admit that social media plays a huge part in my life, and I can safely say the same for you. It has become such a huge part of our lives because our friends are using it, so much so that if we are not engaged, we lose updates from our friends.

What is the social media for me?
• the new “hangout” place
• the free private investigator
• the handy contact list
• the convenient news update
• the organised photo album
• the “on-demand” tv
• the hassle-free library

All the words in bold are probably why social media works for you too! In that it is new, free, handy, convenient, organised, on-demand and hassle-free.

I have possibly tried majority of the social media that have come and gone, or stayed. Here’s to name a few, in no particular order:
• Friendster (abandoned)
• Tumblr (forgotten about periodically)
• Stumbleupon (literally stumbled upon it)
• Twitter (active)
• Facebook (deleted then reactivated for my photos then ignored)
• MySpace (abandoned)
• YouTube (very much active)
• Flickr (abandoned)
• Hi5! (no idea what that does even now)
• Blogger (abandoned for WordPress)
• WordPress (well, this is WordPress)

This is not a complete list, my memory fails to serve me well at this point in time.

Although I must say that the novelty of such social media is starting to dwindle for me albeit the ridiculous amount of time I used to spend on each of these sites.

We all must have forgotten how is it like without such a high level of technology, how people used to interact and how much more we get out of face to face interactions.

In this time and age, I must admit that we all need social media. People are so busy, with work mostly, an whatever is left, is spent with family. Social media provides that communication that would have otherwise be eradicated because of time constraint.

So to prove that we still have it in us, the ability to depend on ourselves, to make time for the people who matter to us, I challenge you to go without social media, just for a week.

Week 1: The Internet before it was cool.

This, my friends, is no television. This is the coolest thing one can have at home back in the 90s. This was the beginning of my virtual life.

Before I was introduced to the internet, the only thing I remembered using the Hewlett-Packard (I liked pronouncing this when I was younger) PC for was these:

Hugo’s House of Horror

DK’s I Love Math!

Encarta’s trivia game, Mindmaze

Boy, was I a geek! Believe it or not, I have no recollections of what I did with the Internet when I was younger. I guess I was a late Internet user. The only memory I had of using the Internet was when I was in Secondary school. Back then there was no fiber-optics, webpages took forever to load, but I was satisfied. It is also important to note that I had developed an intense hatred for the telephone, because every time it rang, my internet connection died.

So, what was I using the Internet for?

http://www.lovecalculator.com

http://www.friendster.com

http://www.blogger.com

Msn Messenger

I practically lived on MSN. I would be sitting in front of the computer in my school uniform, and I would eat my meals there too. I would sit there until it was time to be dragged away. The most common words we’ll exchange was: “sorry, dced.” Which meant, “sorry, I was disconnected from the internet.” Which pretty much explains how crappy the connection was, but we weren’t complaining!

It was the new house phone, MSN messenger was the new way of communicating with my friends and cousins! My parents were very, very concerned, and this was why:-

Who I am chatting with:

Who my parents think I chat with:

I am not kidding, they kept warning me about the creepy children lovers on the Internet, begging me not to chat on MSN anymore despite me telling them that it is my friends I am chatting with!

The Internet has really evolved now that I think about it. There are so much more things you can do with the Internet right now as compared to the 90s. These are just some of the things we can do with the Internet today!

Just look at me now, I am blogging for education purposes! If I were to say I am using the computer for schoolwork 10 years back, my mother would be all-ready in this position,

waiting for me to get off the computer.

So tell me, what were your first memories of the Internet?

McDonalization, Cocacolonization and Starbuckalization(?)

What cripples a culture? Is it the idea of another culture dominating ours? Cultural imperialism is what many countries are defending against, but are we really successful?

With the presence of Mac Donalds, Coca Cola and Starbucks in most countries, I would dare say that cultural imperialism works, and it sure works well. In the video above, it is mentioned that you can find any of these three, if not all three of these American names in almost every country.

Quoting the video, “this examples of how even though cultures may be replaceable, the message is still the same”. This is true as seen from the different advertisements for Mac Donald’s in the different countries. The advertisements outside of America are fashioned in the similar way as the American media. In addition, McDonalds has been long characterized  as a symbol of cultural imperialism by anti-globalization activists, it has also been blamed for destroying local cuisines, cultivating unhealthy eating habits and promoting fast food diets around the world.

Mac Donald’s to invade space?

Coca Cola, a definite sign of cultural imperialism. Right after the Cold War, coca cola advertisements can be seen in communist countries such as China and the Soviet Union. The idea of coca cola and cold war is seemingly placed together because of the fact that American influence is still spreading despite the end of the Cold War. Such American influence is spread through the use of it’s products and advertising. Coca cola is just one of the many types of cultural imperialism that invades the world.

Clever puns that pokes at the irony of the presence of coca cola in Russia.

Moreover, the idea that coca cola harbors the capitalistic culture of America spreads with the product itself. The spread of coca cola to Asia also means the rampant spread of capitalism in Asia, in contrast to the Asian culture of frugality, such cultural imperialism undermines the values of the Asian culture.

The Starbucks outlet at the Forbidden City sparked off many angst Chinese. More than 500,000 Chinese firmly believed that this American store tramples the Chinese culture. These 500,000 Chinese signed an online petition to force Starbucks to close at the Forbidden City. Quoting China TV personality Rui Chenggang, stating that the shop’s presence “undermined the solemnity of the Forbidden City and trampled on Chinese culture”. According to CNN.com, “Kentucky Fried Chicken will be booted out of Beihai Park, another Imperial site in the city center, when its lease expires in 2002. And McDonald’s recently removed its golden arches from outlets by Tiananmen Square”.

China can be said to be one of the strongest standing protestors of American influence evident from the examples given above, but is China successful enough? There are still American brands in China, and most of all, China is one of the largest country that produces American products. Are all of China’s effort to boot out American influence futile?

We can safely say that America has taken the world by storm, the presence of it’s influence is everywhere. Besides Mcdonalization and Cocacolonization, other coined words that means American influence are Dallasification and Califonication.

I strongly believe that America has won the war in terms of its influence all over the world.