Julian Beever in Town

I'll try to snap what he's drawing at Raffles City. This guy does amazing stuff. Check this one out:


(via Alphabet Isle)

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Finish the Game


Remember, Remember the 25th of September!

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Vista: 40 million licenses sold in 100 days

In just over a month Vista has picked up a larger installed base than any other competing OS (read: Linux and Mac OSX)! In short, the fastest selling OS in history. Direct from the horse's mouth:

We have been amazed by the response to Vista and what has happened in the last 100 days. So, in the first five weeks of shipping Vista, we have matched the installed base of any other operating system provider.

Ofcourse, Mac fanatics aren't going to be content with that. MacDailyNews was so frustrated, they started searching for any reason they could use to account for this sales spike, including:

MacDailyNews Take: The last "major" release of Windows was in October 2001. Fewer computers were being sold to sheep in 2001. Hence, as more boxes are being sold today with Vista pre-loaded, more copies of Vista are being "sold." As if people knew or were "choosing" what they were buying.

Ok, so even with the brand value Apple has made in the past couple of years, it's still not a part of our conscious buying habits? I wonder if Microsoft can say the same thing about the Apple iPod. Adrian Kingsley asks the right questions:

If Vista is such a failure, why is it selling so well? If the Mac platform is so good, why aren’t sales better?

Questions? Answers?

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Clinton pwns FOX

Heh! Sorry for the geek speak but there's no better way to describe this. Back in 1992, our school Principal ran an informal vote for the two competing US Presidential candidates (believe it!). Almost every student indicated a vote for Bill Clinton. I'd say that was simply because of perception. He's one of the best speakers out there and you can see how well he articulates in the face of intense criticism and bias in the following video:

None of the current crop of Presidential candidates hold a candle to him.

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Dang, I've grown up!

25 signs YOU've grown up:


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War and inspiration

Interesting social experiment by an Iraqi artist:

The paintball project

I hope he publishes the data from his study e.g. shots by time of day, shots by region etc.

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UGC and media companies

I almost missed this in the rubble from last month:

User-Generated Content Is Top Threat to Media and Entertainment Industry, Accenture Survey Finds (link)

For sure, although some disruptions are in order. We need a stable business model and content licensing that doesn't invoke the wrath of RIAA and others on every little loophole. The good thing is that the music industry is starting to understand the implications:

Faxon, of EMI Music Publishing, said the music industry is moving “from a sales model to a consumer consumption model or participation model, where its economics are predicated on the use patterns of consumers as opposed to the purchase patterns. In essence the commercial roles of music companies will be more as facilitators for bringing music and the rights that support them in to the market place, as opposed to being originators of the content itself.”

The disruptions I'm talking about are obvious. There is a ton of content out there but access is still not suitable for mass consumption. Some company has to break the the PC to living room barrier for content published over the Internet. The devices are there, the interface isn't.

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Gray areas in Mars mission

The tough questions are coming. NASA has to set policy for some very difficult issues in preparation for its mission to Mars. Check out the coverage here. Regarding sex:

Sex is not mentioned in the document and has long been almost a taboo topic at NASA. Williams said the question of sex in space is not a matter of crew health but a behavioral issue that will have to be taken up by others at NASA.

Umm, and they'll also be looking into sexual preferences? How about pregnancies? I know it's a long-shot but they have to be prepared for such situations in trips lasting 3 years or more. On death:

But on other topics -- such as steps for disposing of the dead and cutting off an astronaut's medical care if he or she cannot survive -- the document merely says these are issues for which NASA needs a policy.

This will be a thorny issue to tackle. You could set any number of policies but the emotional state of the astronauts will eventually determine the outcome for medical care. And finally:

Already, NASA is considering genetic screening in choosing crews on the long-duration missions. That is now prohibited.

You've got to be kidding me. I believe Gattaca is already upon us.

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Jumping the Shark with Web 2.0

Too many established companies and startups are toiling around with design metaphors that instantly grant them access to the 'prestigious' Web 2.0 club. The problem with creating slick Web user interfaces is not to know when enough is enough. When performance degrades as a result of all those flashy icons etc, the user experience goes down dramatically to the point where the site becomes completely useless. Check out this BBC article on Jakob Nielsen's response to usability issues in the world of Web 2.0.

Usability is not the only issue. Charlie O'Donnell has compiled a list of 10 reasons why Web 2.0 sucks. One of his points rings true to heart:

Web 2.0 is a conversational vacuum. I'll prove it. Unless you live in the Valley, walk outside your door and try to find a Twitter user... You've got six hours. Go. Trust me, we're talking to ourselves. (Don't get me wrong... I really like Twitter... We just need to remind ourselves about how close to the edge we all are out here.)

It's a fair bet that the majority of bloggers or blog readers live on the leading edge of technology. In my circle of friends, most of whom are high technology professionals, there are very few who know about RSS, let alone subscribe to any feeds. We need to remedy this problem. This is not an exclusionary medium.

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How's your Poker face?

Hee Hee! I'm not sure if successfully ogling you best bud's sister produces this kinda reaction:


Anyway, see if you can beat my time of "20 seconds remaining" while you ogle away. Should be quite easy. Other classics:

Don't Dance Dance Revolution (link)

Grins & Needles (link)

Don't Be A Tear Jerk (link)

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Zwok and the goat

The European arm of Sony's been busy with controversial marketing campaigns and free online flash games. Here, check out for yourself:

God of War Goatse Vid (link)

Time Waster: Zwok (link)

Can't say much about their marketing campaigns. This was a closed door event, unlike their usual shenanigans. You have to play Zwok though: simple and very addictive.

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Widening Income gap

Read this a while back:

A RECENT analysis of United States income tax data revealed that the income gap in the country is widening...But even that understates the shift that has taken place. Though almost everyone in the top 10 per cent saw their incomes rise in 2005, the top 1 per cent saw their incomes rise the most. They earned 21.8 per cent of total income in 2005, compared to 19.8 per cent in 2004. And among the top 1 per cent, the top tenth of a per cent (0.1), reporting an average income of US$5.6 million, gained the most; and the top one-hundredth of a per cent (0.01), reporting an average income of US$25.7 million, gained even more.

The same's happening in most other developed nations, including Singapore. The problem is that the market determines these effects based on the demand for skillsets. Here, calculate your own demand in the marketplace through this Income Percentile for Singapore:

Income Percentile

When your're done with that, check out Paul Graham's interesting essay on income gaps. This should help you come to terms with your evaluation above.

(via AsiaOne)

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Karachi bleeds

Signs:

Midnight tactic or Construction work? (link)
Karachi University's bus hijacked (link)

Effects:

Reporting live for KMB: MQM workers attack AAJ TV (link)
Karachi violence death toll rises to 18, President calls emergency meeting (link)

Meanwhile, this is what's gonna go down in the capital: Musharraf Delivers Key Address at PML Rally in Islamabad Today (link). I'm really speechless! In a war between the radical Islamists and the uneducated opportunists of the country, a city lies in ruins. So far, wih the death toll at 18, it's safe to say that humanity was murdered 18 times over in Karachi today.

Update: 37 dead as riots continue (link)

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Microsoft's profits in perspective

It takes Microsoft:

2 weeks to exceed Apple's quarterly net income of $770 million
18 days to exceed Google's quarterly net income of $1 billion
10 weeks to exceed Wal-Mart's quarterly net income of $3.9 billion

Even if Microsoft's a dying horse, it's going to take a long long long time for this horse to buckle, let alone die. You don't create an industry and just disappear. Now, influence and fear is another thing. More on that later.

(via The VAR Guy)

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Slow down people!

Incidentally, when I read this, I was listening to 'Out of Time' by Blur. Remember the lyrics:

And you've been so busy lately that you haven't found the time
To open up your mind
And watch the world spinning gently out of time

Not surprising at all. What do they say: we spend our youth chasing money and then all of our money chasing youth? In the work-home-work routine, do people really take the time to gaze around? Anyway, I'm going to slow things down a bit in my life. If there's any competition at all, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

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Nokia's budget handset

Congratulations to Nokia on selling over 200 million of these:

That's the Nokia 1100. Yup, that's my handset in the picture above. I was told that this phone was made exclusively for the third world markets of Asia. No doubt these are also the overpopulated markets in the continent with crazy mobile growth rates. But that's only part of the reason why the Nokia 1100 has become the world's top-selling consumer electronics product. This phone is sturdy as hell with a very stable and lightning quick OS (boots up in less than 10s). In short, perfect for the purpose it was built for. I wonder how much profit they made on these devices.

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The City of Lights

I was born and raised in Karachi, the "City of Lights". If you live in Karachi long enough, you develop the ability to completely blank out the worst the city has to offer. Reading this article, I'm jolted back to reality. To an outsider, all of this might seem a bit over the top. The reality is, it's all pretty much true even if the author never researched his stuff. This much, I could've told you about the city: that really is the history and the current state. The funny part is, I'm still in love with the place. I still cling on to the hope that someone somewhere in the government will finally decide to give Karachi what it's due. I guess hope trumps all.

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Interesting numbers

Quick, what's so special about the number 23? It forms the birthday paradox: the probability that two people have the same birthday, in a random selection of 23 people, is greater than 50%. Interestingly, the probability is greater than 99% in a group of 60 or more people! You can find more unique facts about numbers at this excellent page: Zoo of Numbers. Bonus: here're some Vampire Numbers for you. Happy digging!

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Epitaph of the Cricket World Cup 2007

The Cricket World Cup is finally over and what a pathetic tournament it was. I'm not saying this because India and Pakistan were bumped out in the first round by minnows. They deserved that knock and it's only going to do them good in the long haul. I feel it was lackluster simply from an organizational perspective. The fans have indicated as much. In the tournament finale, the last few overs were played out in almost complete darkness. This happened when play was resumed after the Australians had already began their victory celebrations. Check out Cricinfo's bulletin on the final match for more details. Based on the management failure during this period, there are rumblings that Malcolm Speed may face a no-confidence motion. So much for a 'gentleman's' game! For an abridged version on the disappointment that was this tournament, check out this article. Excerpt:
In the end, it will be a tournament that will be remembered for the bad, ugly and terrible. A horrible death, under-performances, resignations, sackings, and retirements kept us busy. The legacy of this vast and meaningless World Cup will be despair and emptiness. It couldn't have ended sooner.

Not to take anything away from Australia though. They have demonstrated that they're leagues ahead of any other cricketing nation out there. I wonder what it would like to be an Australian fan knowing that your team could only fail against the most challenging and determined of opponents. They have given a lot to this game and it's only now that we'll start seeing some of their brilliance rub-off on the other teams. Interestingly though, based on the matches played during the last couple of weeks, I would bet even money that the so called minnows of cricket are learning from the professionalism Australia brings to the game. Bangladesh being a notable example: the triumph of team strength against only superstar performers. Pakistan and India would do well to create 'teams' based on the same model. For a more detailed analysis, check out this interesting (albeit loooong) article on cricket in the sub-continent, its past, present and future.

I should also bid farewell to the cricketing giants that will never grace the ODI fields again. Inzamam, Lara, McGrath and Fleming will be remembered as heroes and I'm disappointed that their careers came to an end at this juncture. Finally, I hope they nail Woolmer's murder investigation. If anything good should come out of this tournament, it should be justice to the legacy of the lone-ranger in the Pakistani camp.

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