October 6th, 2005

World of Warcraft Economy

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wow-epic-mount.jpgLet me introduce my World of Warcraft character. As you can see, I just spend 1000 gold pieces (900 after discount) on an Epic Mount (the mechnical bird) which allows me to travel twice as fast. 1000 gps is really a lot of money which tooks me several months to accumlate so I am pretty proud of my bird. (no pun intended :-)

How much is 1000 gps? Well, according to Game USD, a site that keeps track of online game currency “exchange rate” to USD, based on transaction on ebay and other site like IGE, 1 gp = 0.1 USD. In other words, I actually just spend 100USD on this virtual bird!

The fact there exists a mechanism for me to convert my WoW gold pieces in real cash and vice versa via the likes of IGE (they buy/sell games currency and probably making a decent profit) has far more implications then the 100USD I spend on my bird – like money laundering or currency control. I know a 14 years old kid who has more then 5,000gps…and I am pretty certain he does not have 500 USD in his saving bank account. (Does that makes WoW a bank?)

Or how about thief? Can you report to the police if someone steal your sword? What if the sword is worth 8000gps (some do) which is nearly 800USD? Apparently, someone in China did but the police shoove him off…and he went back and killed his friend who stole his sword (and sold it). Yes, thats a real story that happen a few months ago.
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October 3rd, 2005

Neustar and .GPRS

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Ever since Neustar announced they signed a deal with GSMA to oversea global database for the mobile operators last week (see also Washington Post), there are many debates about the deal online.

“Neustar, a company that should certainly know better, has announced that they’re going to create a .gprs TLD to serve the mobile phone industry This, of course, requires creation of a private root zone, against the very strong warnings in RFC 2826” said Steven Bellovin.

To the more supportive John Levine: “This isn’t quite as stupid as it seems. The GSM industry needs some way to maintain its roaming user database, the database is getting considerably more complicated with 3G features, and it looks to me like they made a reasonable decision to use DNS over IP to implement it rather than inventing yet another proprietary distributed database.”

Even Paul Vixie who has been one of the most vocal opponents of alt. root chipped in, albeit in a slightly positive tone to many people surprise: “oh and one more thing. a small technical matter, insignificant next to the democracy-related points you raised. neustar isn’t doing anything wrong– the “root” they’ll operate will only be seen by GPRS cell towers, not by end-user handsets.”

Let’s start by clarifying what Neustar is doing1: they are providing a global distributed database for SIP URLs, especially for mobile operators who have implemented IMS (which is essentially modified SIP) using DNS technology. Specifically a variation of ENUM known as Infrastructure ENUM2 that differs from (User) ENUM in its policies: the numbers are delegated to carriers & operators and not end-users . The controversial is that they are using a new TLD called .GRPS using their own alt. root server and many people jumped at the word new TLD and “alt. root”.
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May 3rd, 2005

Assumption: Bandwidth + CPU = 0


On DSL Prime (via Canarie)

In a decision that is changing the future of the internet, Google has told employees to move forward on the assumption that bandwidth and server costs will rapidly approach zero. That’s a revolutionary development, whose importance is being evaluated on Wall Street and in the press in several articles you’ll read next week.

Now, that’s a powerful assumption: Bandwidth + CPU = 0. Go imaging what you can do with that…I could think of a lot (yea! unlimited porn!) but I love to hear what others have to say on this also.

March 26th, 2005

Singnet IPv6 Trial

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I just discovered Singnet is offering IPv6 Trial to its ATM or Lease Line customers. And they also have a very cute IPv6 test modeled after the famous dancing turtle @

March 18th, 2005

The Long Tail

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xjqxz-cover.jpgI notice a trend lately : I seldom watch movies or TV. I get my dose of mass media movies from my longhaul flight (SingaporeAir has great collection on their movies-on-demand). I dont watch TV because I lost interest in Mediacorp programming and more importantly, I found something that suit my need – Internet.

I can find lots of exotics shows which I can’t find in Singapore at all. The latest show I got from the Internet is a series called 仙剑奇侠传, a China-made show which as far as I know, not sold in any stores in Singapore. Neither do I have very high hopes Mediacorp will show this over the air. But you can buy it here.

It was adapted from a Taiwanese game which I love in the early 90s. And of course, the main actress 刘亦菲 is incredibly beautiful. Last I heard, she is filming 神雕侠侣, oh boy!


The problem is most thinks china-made show are lousy. Ha!1 But there is a demand for such show outside China too but they are tiny, really tiny until you aggregate them together.

long-tail-curve.jpgThis is preciesly the Long Tail phenomenal Chris Anderson talks about today. Before Internet, there is almost no way I can get these shows at all. It would be interesting to see how people going to make money out of all these long tails.

And almost every industry have a long tail – What’s your long tail?

1 Okay, I agree there are rooms for improvement but heck, who watch 流星花园 because of F4 acting skills?

Footnote: I remember arguing with a friend in 2000 that Korean shows is going to be big (after seeing what they have in Korea from my frequent trip there). No one believe me then because the rage back then is Japanese shows. Today, I say, watch out for China made shows.

March 13th, 2005

Innovation in DNS business

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[ This entry is also on CircleID. ]

One thing that amazed me about the ICANN community is the creativeness in finding new business models. I am not even talking about new technology like Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), the number of business models created from the vanilla DNS (actually just .com) are just mind boggling.

ICANN was formed in 1999 and introduced the concept of registries and registrars model to the DNS business. With that, we witness the rise of, an IPO darling in the dotcom days, in the early 2000s and subsequently overtaken by the ultra-cheap high-volume reseller model of GoDaddy. We also see new registries like .info and .biz and several others that didn’t do so well.

There are also after-market (aka ebay) for domain names like afternic and registry outsourcing, DNS hosting, Dynamic DNS etc.

That’s about what most outsiders know of DNS business models, mostly revolved around the registry-registrar-reseller model. But there are really more and I shall discuss two not-so-well-known but interesting models below.
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March 7th, 2005

Internet Performance


internet-performance-dec03.jpgGot this interesting report (via Ran Atkinson) on performance of Internet. Academic paper but have lots of interesting information about quality of the network (packet loses, ping times, rount trip time etc) from US to various part of the world.

Bottomline: Internet Performance is improving a lot since 2001. :-)

Internet performance is improving each year with packet losses typically improving by 40-50% per year and Round Trip Times (RTTs) by 10-20% and, for some regions such as S. E. Europe, even more. Geosynchronous satellite connections are still important to countries with poor telecommunications infrastructure. In general for HEP countries satellite links are being replaced with land-line links with improved performance (in particular for RTT).

February 23rd, 2005

Yahoo! BB got 16M IP address


Just discovered that Yahoo! BB just got a /8 (formerly known as Class A) IP address allocation from APNIC on 8th Feb 2005. /8 in layman terms is equivalent to over 16M IP addresses – one of the largest IP allocation block we have seen. Wow!

February 22nd, 2005

APDIP Internet Governance Panel @ APRICOT


I was at a panel on Internet Governance organized by APDIP. The show goes to Geoff Hutson, who gave the most eloquent impromptu speech1 I have heard. Unfortunate for me, I didn’t really prepared much before I was up on the panel; Instead, I was busy scribbling some talking points while the other speakers takes their turn.

Anyway, I was speaking about the definitions of Internet Governance : that so far, all the proposed made are either too engineering-centric or too political-centric, the first is not easily understood and the latter has a habit of saying a lot about nothing. And there is a debate if it there is any sense to talk about the “governance” since Internet is more about “coordination”. But regardless of the choice of words, everyone wants a piece of the action.

Particularly, there is also a percepted “center of power” in US – percepted but because the reality is that the real “power” is distributed across the Net among various groups who are collobrating and working together. For example, it isn’t clear who “control” IP address allocation to the end-users: is it ICANN, IANA, RIRs or ISPs? The reality is that all of them are and neither of them is.

Very often, I was also asked if I am for ICANN or am I for ITU; First, a wrong question because it isn’t a war between ICANN and ITU – both their function in the governance/coordination of Internet – and Internet Governance is bigger then ICANN. My position on Internet Governance is that it covers any issues which relates to proper function of Internet but it does not mean we need government regulation on all of them.

Speaking of government, there is also a general concern that government or regulation are bad. Yes, we should reject bad regulation – regulation that tries to protect certain groups or monopolies, regulation that hurts competitions and discourage innovation – but we should embrace regulations that remove impendence to adoption of new technology, that encourage competitions etc. Likewise, for government involvement – the question is how to we direct them to doing good things and less of trying to fix things that does not need to be fixed.

1 I believe transcript will be available later.

February 21st, 2005

Kyoto Day 1

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Have breakfast at Suguru Yamaguchi. I know him when he is still a “young” professor many years ago but now, he is the IT Security Advisor to the Japan Cabinet and Prime Minister. Wow very important person now! Anyway, have a little discussion with him on privacy and asked him to hook up with Joi.

Gave out SIP phones in the morning and wandering excitably around the hall talking to people about their phones. In fact, we run out of phones by noon time, and APRICOT haven’t even started. Another great news is we got US (thanks Jeff and Libretel) and SE (thanks to Jakob) gateway up in addition to CN, TW and SG. We got so much interest that we going to do an impromptu BoF tomorrow.

Got Joi to speak about blogging at APNG (phew, wiggled out of that :-) and really enjoy his talk!

Banged into Steve Crocker and have lunch with him. Then Toru Takahashi, Randy Bush and Geoff Hutson joined us. While Steve is showing me his file collobration tool, Randy is knocking me to get the SIP phone working with his Asterisk.

Just finish listening to Jun Murai keynote and sitting at APNG to get a bit of peace and quiet…Need to spend the next few hours doing my keynote on Thrusday on VoIP.

Oh yea, the famous Bert was spotted in APRICOT. But I think he spent too much time in the toilet. ha ha!