May 20th, 2007



Played a bit with Gapminder (via Loic ). A lot of very interesting countries data can be extracted from the tool, particularly compared country against country and over time.


May 17th, 2007

“Web site” baffles Internet terrorism trial judge


From Yahoo News:

“The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a Web site is,” he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.

Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms “Web site” and “forum.” An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: “I haven’t quite grasped the concepts.”

This scares me at so many level that I dunno where to begin…

May 15th, 2007

Exporting I.P.


The New Yorker has a great article about US Free Trade agreement and the IP provision (DMCA) that comes with it:

Why does the U.S. insist on these rules? Quite simply, American drug, software, and media companies are furious about the pirating of their products, and are eager to extend the monopolies that their patents and copyrights confer. These companies are the main advocates for such rules, and the big winners. The losers are often the citizens in developing countries, who find themselves subject to a Draconian I.P. regime that reduces access to new technologies.

More interesting, it cites the following:

History suggests that after a certain point tougher I.P. rules yield diminishing returns. Josh Lerner, a professor at Harvard Business School, looked at a hundred and fifty years of patenting, and found that strengthening patent laws had little effect on the number of innovations within a country. And, in the U.S., stronger patent protections for things like software have had little or no effect on the amount of innovation in the field. The benefits of stronger I.P. protection are even less convincing when it comes to copyright: there’s little evidence that writers and artists are made more productive or creative by the prospect of earning profits for seventy years after they die, and the historical record suggests only a tenuous connection between stronger I.P. laws and creative output.

Singapore is one of the first country to sign the free trade agreement with US and we also have our copyright laws changed, sad to say.

ps: Anyone has a source to the study made by John Lerner?

May 12th, 2007

Oh Jesus…Web 2.0


Haven’t joined #joiito for a while but this reminded me why it is so fun to hang out there

jseng: love what the lifehackers did :
ivan`: oh jesus
ivan`: i think that sums up web 2.0
jseng: haha

May 11th, 2007

More on SharedCopy and Thanks!


It was very exciting time for all of us at SharedCopy since we have being featured on the followings:





We even had a very cool screencast made by Demogirl.

Together with the the other bloggers, the usage of sharedcopy went up dramatically. While we know we had a nice niffy tool, we never expect the kind of reception we got from the community.

To all the bloggers out there, thanks for blogging about us. While we didn’t leave comments on every blogs, we certainly take your comments (both positive and negatives) seriously.

Choon keat has also given interviews at SG Entrepreneurs and Web SG for those who are interested.

May 8th, 2007



sharedcopy.JPGI have been working with Choonkeat on a “stealth” project for a few months now: SharedCopy. It is not exactly “stealth” because we open it for testing quietly a month ago to a few friends. Also quietly, we acquired users from the chinese and spanish (??) community. But yesterday, we got featured on Killer Startups so there goes the stealth mode.

What is SharedCopy?

It is an web application that allows you to annotate & markup any website, made a permanent copy of that page and then share it with your friends. Above all, we do it without any external program or browser plugins, just pure AJAX. :)

Check out this link to see how it works.

To me, it is some sort + tinyurl + annotation + google cache.

Instead of just sending links to people, I highlight the section I want them to read using sharedcopy and then send them the shorten URL.

If I am worried that a particular webpage or resource would disappear after I link to it on my blog, I save it as a sharedcopy the page and blog that (dated copy) instead. It ensure that the link will always work, showing what the page looks like at the time I blog it, which is kind of cool.

This also open up a can of worm because the same feature can be used to share paid content e.g. NYT… (ah, we worry about the legal issues later)

Like, you can see what I have shared and of cos, subscribe it.

For the geeks, we have APIs and some demo, like how to integrate it with Twitter and Basecamp.

We are pretty excited about the project. There are several feature request and there are a lot more we wanted to do on the site. In the meantime, please give it a try (registration is free) and let me know what you think :-)

May 6th, 2007

India $10 laptop


The latest news in India is that they are close to making $10 laptop.

Okay, they either made an incredible technology break through or this is up-one-man-ship gone too far. Already $100 laptop is stretching what we can do with currently technology but $10? Maybe in 20-30 years time.

May 3rd, 2007

Intermud Communication Protocol


I was talking to a friend just now reminded me of a project I done a decade ago (96/97): Intermud Communication Protocol. So I decided to Google it and found:

Okay, this is scary. People still using this after all these years? And they actually kind enough to credit me. Thanks.

April 3rd, 2007

Twitter hack – Shoutbox on WordPress


mrbrown and me was discussing what we can do with twitter last week. We thought it would be cool to have a shoutbox on seewhatshow linked to twitter so anyone can instantly feedback how good or bad the show they are watching via their mobile phone.

I went to do some research and find a pretty nice AJAX shoutbox for WordPress. I was also pretty excited to learn Twitter is expanding their API but was very disappointed it is not available yet. Stuck, I am not one to give up so easily, I spend the whole today doing a hack.

The hack is actually quite obvious: Since Twitter send all private message to you via SMS or IM, the solution is to link your twitter to an Jabber account (e.g. GoogleTalk) and then write a Jabber client that will monitor the private message and process it.


Add yourself to then send a private message (“d sws your message”) and see it appears on the shoutbox. You can also do a semi-private message in the format of “@sws your message”.

(The problem is we need to add you to SWS’s friend before you can send private message. I suppose we an do another hack but how I wish there is an auto-add function in Twitter…)

Steve Poland talks about doing weather info service “d weather 14202”. I think there are many other interesting stuff you can do with this hack, more interesting then a shoutbox or weather service.

So I decided to release the source code to the blackbox. Go do some interesting stuff with it :-)

Update: doh, less than 24hour of doing this, twitter released a new set of APIs. It is probably more efficient to do this via the new API :P

March 28th, 2007

New Media Policy for Singapore

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cac-appreciation.JPGHosted by Dr. Lee Boon Yang, the appreciation lunch today marks the conclusion of the National Internet Advisory Committee and Community Advisory Committee under MDA. For my (little) contribution, I got a nice stationary for Chinese Calligraphy that my wife probably will put into good use.

Today also marks the beginning of two new committees: AIMS, Advisory Committee on Impact of New Media on Society (Ya, I dont know either…) and IMAC, Internet and Media Advisory Committee (Ya, its corny).

AIMS is the higher level committee that will look at New Media on all aspect on society. Their recommendations to MDA/MICA would have significant impact on New Media, including but not limited to the Singapore bloggers.

The Singapore blogosphere is surprisingly quiet about it. I was kind of expecting some knee-jerking reaction on how Singapore government is trying to control the New Media.

Anyway, let me repeat what I said during the Nexus 2007 panel over the weekend: “Singapore has a two-tier media regulation, one set of rules for the Traditional Media and a light-touch approach towards the New Media”.

The two-tier media regulation is worthy of mention because while the traditional media is subjected to a rigid licensing regulation, Internet content is a simple class license (See Internet Code of Practice) instead. Not many people knows that if you put up any content online, you are automatically licensed by MDA under this class license.

While one may argued that it is fundamentally wrong to even regulate media, it is a matter of opinions, varies from people to people and from times to times. But more importantly, a moot point because this is the reality in Singapore.

It is the light-touch towards Internet content that allows us to setup our own blogs, share our photos, make our own funny podcast and upload homemake video to Youtube. These are what most take for granted forgetting that we probably cant do any of these, not without prior permission from the Minister (yes, no kidding).

This is why I also said during Nexus panel : “The government understand the New Media more than the general public gives them credit for”.

Speaking to some of the members of AIMS during lunch, I get the idea that no one knows how it will developed. It is a huge effort with multiple moving pieces (changing technology, changing behavior and thus changing impacts) and even more possible actions, reactions as well as unintended consequences. Maybe the two-tier media policy will go. Maybe the various Media Acts will be changed/updated. Maybe the whole framework will be replace. No one knows.

But I do have confidence in the capability of the people involved in this, that they will strike a fine-balance in our ever changing Media landscape. As liberal and as light-touch as the general public can accept, no more no less.

And yes, the community comments will be very important. So start talking and even better, send emails and letters to them.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with MDA/MICA so everything I wrote here is my own personal views.