June 2003 Archives

Bringing the price down

I wrote earlier that the government were going to open talks with the music industry with the objective of bringing the prices for original CDs down. It was believed that a reduction in prices will make original CDs more attractive to the consumer, thus assisting in the war against creative media piracy by removing the demand for pirated products.

Would you buy an original CD by a well-known local artist for RM10?

Would you buy an original, autographed CD by a well-known local artist for RM15?

I still believe now as i did when i first wrote about the topic, that this is a fool's errand. The music industry and copyright owners have no reason to agree, and the authorities don't really have any means to force them to. If the authorities control the prices of such products to a level where the average consumer will buy it, you'll see either one or both of two things happening:

# The record labels will refuse to sell such low prices. This will see them either terminate operations here, or take the issue to the courts (where there will most likely win - how can you rightfully control the prices of a luxury item that music CDs are?).
# It will become next to impossible for new talent to break into the market. Record labels will not risk investing for untested talent when their potential margins from sales have been seriously eroded.

Explanations

[To a fellow Malaysian blogger]

I've been asked the question "What is a blog?" so many times, both offline and online and in print. I needed to have an answer, not just because people asked, but because i needed to understand it myself. I looked hard on the Internet for a suitable definition, looked around at bloggers who have been around for a long time, looked around at what existed before the word "blog" was ever even mentioned. The answer i finally settled on, even back then when i first spoke about it in public, was certainly an answer that i knew would provide two separate outcomes:

# Many existing bloggers would disagree, some, very much so.
# For many others, expecially newer bloggers, it would act as a guide and provide a direction, in case they needed one.

There almost always is a positive and negative reaction in such decisions. I weighed both very carefully, and settled on my current course of action with a clear conscience.

I've never said to anyone, in any forum, that a blog isn't a personal journal, or diary (in fact, i would argue that 95% of blogs are the personal thoughts of an individual in an online format) . I've never said either that a blog must be about a particular topic, subject or matter. I've also never said that a blog can't be what you want it to be. All i have said is that the content should be presented in a particular manner so as to adopt the features of a blog. What are those features? I've publicly voiced my opinion for the answer to that question numerous times, as you know. That's all. I've never said that my opinion is better than anyone else's nor have i said that i think all other definitions of what a blog is was wrong.

PPS Update

Project Petaling Street has found a new home, a more permanent one (it was residing on my server before). You can find it at http://www.petalingstreet.org - would welcome some feedback about how well or poorly the response speeds are from the new server.

UPDATE: There are still some resolution issues involving the domain name and the webserver. Connection may still be unstable for another day or two. Thanks for your patience.

The BETA testers have been informed of their selection. At final count, there are 28 of them. The list of testers can be found below. Thanks to all for your welcome participation and support. I look forward to working with you all.

The BETA test will begin tonight; just a few more applications to put into place to make things work. Please check the site often if you're interested in monitoring its progress.

Evolutions

Project Petaling Street will be undergoing some major changes in the next week or so - among other things, i'm moving it to a new web host. Therefore, it may act strangely for a while. Thanks to all for your patience as PPS undergoes a much needed upgrading process.

UPDATE: The old PPS can still be reached here. This link will remain live until issues surrounding the new site can be resolved. Shouldn't be more than a day or two.

FeedDemon

Wouldn't it be cool if you read RSS feeds just like the way you would read a newspaper? Open the newspaper and read all the latest info from a list of your favourite websites.

If you ever wanted to be able to do this, try out FeedDemon, a desktop client that works pretty well. Need a list of popular RSS feeds to populate your virtual newspaper? Check out the Top 100 Most-Subscribed-To RSS Feeds.

Shit happens

Much has been written about the murder of Canny Ong. The death of an innocent lady under such violent circumstances has proven to have a significant impact for the powers-that-be and the average woman on the street. The predictable responses, the "Stop the Violence" campaigns, the striking of fear in the hearts of women everywhere.

It took the death of a woman to achieve this. Depending on how long our memories are, her death would not have been in vain.

Grumpy girl & an ant

This is a BRILLIANT comic strip! A conversation between a grumpy girl and an ant about the definition of a weblog.

Hahahahahaahah!

A quick review

24 hours since i got the Palm Zire 71. What do i think of it? Excellent, though not perfect. The following is a quick list of what i like about it:

  • The bundled software - everything you need to make the Z71 an instant productivity and entertainment tool. Of particular value is the excellent VersaMail; i was checking and writing email with great ease - the Zire connects blissfully well with my Nokia 6610. Maxis 9.6kb WAP connection allows me to download and send email (and browse websites too); surprisingly fast for such an archaic connection speed.
  • Sending SMS via the Palm! Oh pure joy!
  • The screen, i tell you, is to die for! Its even better that what the reviews described it to be. The very BEST screen i've seen on ANY PDA.
  • Graffiti 2 is a major upgrade from the old one. Damned if i know why there was such a bruhaha about it when it was first launched.
  • The "joystick button" is quite useful - taking a bit of time to get used to it, but i reckon it'll probably make the stylus obsolete for simple tasks such as scrolling and reading. Much more handy than the Sony Jog Dials that i've tested on the Clies.
  • MP3 sounds good: clear and rich, better than the iPaq PPCs but not as good as the Clies which manage to produce slightly more satisfying audio

A new toy is born

Sudah dapat gaji, pergi beli Palm Zire 71. Blew a hole the size of RM1099 (+RM289 for 256MB SD memory card). Ouch! (pleasurable pain).

Thanks to everyone for your feedback and advice leading up to this purchasing decision.

Pics below.

Weblog Business Strategies 2003

This is required reading for anyone interested in the future direction of blogs on the Internet.

Transcripts from the Weblog Business Strategies Conference 2003.

Of particular interest from the conference is Business Weblogs - Blogging for Fun and Profit. Also, don't miss the conference blog.

And once you're done there, drop by Jupiter Research Weblogs - the stuff written by their analysts (including Jupiter Media's CEO) in blog format is absolutely amazing.

The price of creative digital media

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday that the prices of VCDs, CDs, DVDs and computer software will fall under the Price Control Act. Just like the price of rice and raw chicken, Malaysia will be the first country in the world to place a definitive price of digital creative media. The logic is that if the prices of original media drops, this will help the government in the battle against piracy. Demand for pirated goods will drop with the affordability of originals.

Dying

Dying is not something that most of us look forward to. Death is something that is generally feared, something that we generally try to avoid, and something that is generally left unspoken about until someone actually dies. I wonder why this is? Death is unavoidable, final and permanent. Perhaps that's why we don't talk about it; there probably isn't another event in the human life-cycle that shares those characteristics.

Religion attempts to prepare us for death. It tells us that death is not the end but a beginning.

Islam, Christianity and Judaism: there is life after death, in a different form, in a different reality.

Some other religions such as Buddhism tell us that death is a process of rebirth. We never really "die".

Regardless of the religion you subscribe to (for the atheists, perhaps this book can help), the message is that death is not something that should be feared. I take comfort in that fact, understanding the end of life on this earth is not an end of being.

My condolences to the Shaari family for their loss. Al-Fatihah.

BETA Testers Flood

The call for BETA testers for Project Petaling Street v1.5 has gone much better than expected. To date, beta@aizuddindanian.com has received 98 confirmed applications and 26 inqueries about the test and what a BETA tester needs to do. Still 2 days before the deadline for applications. If you're interested to apply, please do so now.

The following are just some quick answers to some common questions:

  1. What are the responsibilities of a BETA tester?
    A BETA tester will be required to test the public submit feature for PPS. Currently all the content you see on PPS comes from the core members. The 20-odd BETA testers will be added to this pool of content providers. Basically, we need to see what happens when a large number of bloggers begin submitting content into PPS. Once the test is successfully completed, submission of content to PPS will be open to the Malaysian blogging public.
  2. What's in it for me?
    Credit. You will be given credit on PPS as a BETA tester and a link will be provided back to your blog. There might even be a little something in store for the tester that provides the most valuable feedback. ;)
  3. I use XXXXX blogging tool. Can i be a BETA tester?
    Yup. In fact, we want as diverse a mix of testers as possible. So the more obscure your blogging tool, the better your chances for a successful application. :)
  4. How long will the test last?
    Anywhere between 7 and 14 days. Any longer only if there happens to be a break down in the system.
  5. How will BETA testers communicate?
    An mailing list for the duration of the test will be set up for the testers to use.
  6. Does my blog have to be written in English?
    No. Any Malaysian language will do - English, BM, Chinese, Tamil, etc.
Got more questions? Email beta@aizuddindanian.com

Comments are on

Interesting to note that Jeff Ooi has turned comments back on for his blog. I wonder what led to the change of heart?

We're not alone

There's a funny thing about controversial laws: if a number of countries adopt the same law, then it becomes less controversial. Its almost as though there is some sort of herd mentality in international legislative circles. For example, when the US adopted the Patriot Act in the subsequent months to 9/11, we saw a predictable response from the legislators of Malaysia: the adoption of a similar law in the US (which also happens to be the biggest advocate of liberal democracy) makes laws such as the much-maligned Internal Security Act alright. It was almost funny to see the likes of Dr M and the rest falling over themselves as they raced to pat each other on the back for their foresight. Nevermind that the Patriot Act and the ISA have some subtle, yet significant differences.

Over the next few days, we'll probably see another fine example of the "legislative herd mentality" in action. Britain has just banned the use of mobile phones while driving. This is old news for Malaysian drivers; the passing of such laws in Malaysia happened with a degree of controversy some years back. While many countries have taken similar measures over the years, Britain's have received the widest press coverage.

Cue the herd.

INFOSOC Day 2

After much procrastination, Wifi at INFOSOC worked like a charm yesterday. As far as i could tell, all areas related to the conference was wired and connected. Better late than never! :)

The second day of the conference was when things really got going; the latest pics from Day 2 can be found in Visuals. A very large turnout witnessed the discussion of issues that were very relevant to the local technology scene - jobs in the tech sector, the value and place of open source in the Malaysian context, how "builders" and "movers" of the Malaysian tech industry were putting things in motion, how blogging can be used as a tool for self-expression and discovery. Anyone attending this conference would have enjoyed a very rich and enlightening experience, of that i have no doubt.


(from left to right) me, Dinesh, Najah, Rizal and Jeff

The session on blogging i participated in went very well. The turnout was larger than expected; initial projections predicted just a handful of attendees, in the end, we managed to pack a large hall. A quick hand-count showed that most had not heard of blogging prior to the session - i hope the presentations by Dinesh, Najah, Jeff and myself changed that. A full copy of all our presentations can be found below:

4 presentations: Blogging as a means of self-expression (1.23MB)

Will be returning this afternoon to KL. As a final note, i would like to express my most sincere gratitude and appreciation to the organisers of INFOSOC 2003 for the opportunity they have given me to be a part of it. They have worked tirelessly (exhaustively, by the looks of the faces of the people around me in the press and secretariat room) to make things happen, and i think the IT community of Malaysia do owe them a round of heartfelt applause. *applause, applause*

Disgusting!

A lot has been said about the quality of Malaysian journalism - while some has been very good, some leave a lot to be desired. The piece run by the NST today, "Medical attendant set ablaze in car after terror ride" has left a very bad taste in my mouth - its one thing to report the facts (nothing wrong with that), its another thing altogether to do it without the practice of common decency and sensitivity. Sharanjit Singh and Mohamad Yatim Latip did a pretty good job with the facts, but did they have to run along with the piece an image of the victim? No, they certainly didn't. The fact that they did smacks of sensationalism and borders on irresponsibility.


A completely unnecessary photo

Irresponsible because family and friends of the victim read the NST: seeing him so injured can only make a bad situation worse, emotionally and psychologically. Irresponsible because its needless - the story on its own was adequately descriptive. We often complain that the Malaysian press is not sufficiently "free". Could this is a case where it has been too free?

UPDATE: I've been informed that "NOTHING passes through without the editor okay-ing it" - in this case, that would be a Mr Abdullah Ahmad. Shame on you for allowing the photo to run! Shame, shame and triple shame!

UPDATE 2: Received an email from a friend saying: "A journalist friend (name withheld) called me earlier and asked if (today's 24/6/03) blogs by me, Jeff and Aiz was a 'coordinated attack' (sic) on mainstream press today. I told her, on my part, it was an 'attack' on public apathy and it was co-incidental. Maybe she read too much between the lines."

INFOSOC Day 1

Images from INFOSOC Day 1 can be "found in Visuals":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/archives/000566.html. Its been a blast so far, meeting loads of people, and soaking up the environment. The reach of "INFOSOC":http://www.nitc.org.my/infosoc/ this year is far further than i thought - we've got international delegates that are here to learn and share our ICT experiences. The highlight of the conference so far was dinner last night, not so much for the food (a quite abysmal 8 course Chinese dinner at The Renaissance, Melaka) or for the entertainment (those sitting near the speakers could sue for permanent ear drum damage), but for the company at my table. Mostly "PROMUDA":http://www.promuda.com/ people, we certainly made a spectacle of ourselves.

Rizal_Aiz_INFOSOC.jpg
Rizal and me, goofing around before dinner

The DPM, Pak Lah was supposed to officiate things last night, but as expected, he sent someone else in his stead, the venerable "Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment Dato' Seri Law Hieng Ding":http://www.moste.gov.my/.

Off to Melaka and INFOSOC

Hitting the road in a few minutes. Off to the historical city of Melaka, just about 2 hours drive south of KL. Will be there till Tuesday evening, will be making my presentation for INFOSOC on Monday, 2pm, Hotel Equatorial. Wish me luck; it promises to be a blast! Anyone in the neighbourhood is very welcome to drop by and laugh at me! :)

Anyone interested to follow the progress of the conference can check out the official INFOSOC "worksheet", http://conference.najahnasseri.org. Najah is hosting the site (once the conference is over, the content will be archived in the NITC website), the conference reporters will all have access to it, and all reports about the various sessions and panel discussions going on will be posted there. Been told that the Melaka state government has wired the Equatorial with WiFi - my IBM Thinkpad A31P will feel right home!

UPDATE: Arrived at the Hotel Equatorial. Room looks great, the view of Melaka old town is even better, but the promised WiFi access is almost non-existent. The organisers have got the access point set up but the signal is incredibly weak even when i'm less than 20 feet away. Baik tak payah lah kalau macam tu.

Calling BETA testers!!!

This is an open call for BETA testers for Project Petaling Street version 1.5.

Project Petaling Street (PPS) is a blog-tal that seeks to aggregate Malaysian content into a single space. Learn more about PPS by visiting the About PPS Page. Currently, PPS aggregates content from a limited number of Malaysian bloggers; we started with the core team submitting their content and that is what you see on PPS today.

This will change very soon. In line with the vision and objectives of PPS, it will begin accepting content from across the Malaysian blogosphere. The development team has been working hard to make this happen since the launch on 12 June 2003, and now we are ready to test the system. For the test to proceed, we will need a team of 20-30 BETA testers who will be willing to devote some time and effort into making it happen. All BETA testers will receive public credit for their contribution when the next version is launched sometime in mid-July.

We are looking for a cross-section of Malaysian bloggers (or non-Malaysians living in Malaysia are also invited to apply) to make up this team. When you email us your application to be a BETA tester, please include the following information:

  • Full name (real name please, no pseudonyms)
  • Email address
  • Your blog name
  • Your blog URL
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location (you can be a Malaysian living overseas, no problems)
  • What type of blogging tool you use? e.g. Movabletype, Blogger, LiveJournal
  • In a word or two, how would you describe the majority of the content of your blog e.g. current/affairs news, personal journal, technology
  • Approximately how long have you been blogging i.e. we want a cross section of new and long-time bloggers - the new version has some technical aspects that we want to make sure everyone of all levels of blogging experience and technical capability will be able to use
All appllications should be written to beta@aizuddindanian.com. The application closing date is 26 June 2003. Successful applicants will be informed 28 June 2003. BETA testing will commence 30 June 2003 and last for 7-14 days, depending on how long it takes to iron out all the bugs.

Thank you in advance for your applications and support for Project Petaling Street. We expect a large number of submissions for this test. Please understand that we won't be able to accomodate everyone for this round of testing and we sincerely apologize for any possible disappointment that may result from an unsuccessful application.

For further information related to PPS, join the Kota Raya egroup.

Turning the other cheek

There is a Bangladeshi saying: when someone slaps you, simply offer the other cheek. Sooner or later, he will tire.

Would you turn the other cheek?

Testing the Use of w.Bloggar

I've heard a lot about this offline blogging tool, w.bloggar. Finally, after giving it much thought, and having watched the development of this nifty app since it was version 1.0-something, i've bitten the bait and downloaded it, installed it and now i'm testing it out.

Some key benefits:

  1. Making numbered lists like this one is a breeze.
  2. Can blog even when i have no Internet access. Can save locally and publish later when access becomes available. Whole process is automatic.
  3. MT web interface allows for some basic WYSIWYG functions - w.bloggar allows all the functions that you can ever ask for. Its like the Microsoft Word for blogs.
  4. It does spell checking. So mstaks mistakes like these will become an increasing rarity. I hope.
  5. Unlike some other client-side blogging tools like Zempt, w.bloggar is a very capable file and image uploader. Again, all done client side.
  6. Bold is easy, italics is just as easy, underline couldn't be any easier, and font control is a piece of cake.
  7. I wonder whether posting images is just as easy? Yup looks like posting images is no biggie either for this little baby.
This is a really cool app, now in version 3.01. This will probably be my main blogging tool from now on. Just got to get the hang of it first - like driving a new car, i need to find out how well it handles, how it turns, and how long does it take to brake to a complete stop.

w.Bloggar works with most of the major blogging tools, including MT, Blogger (with Dano upgrade) and PostNuke.

The Sibu Series

I was away to Sibu, Sarawak a few days ago "for business":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/archives/000550.html. It was a good trip; never been there before. Was taken by the superb hospitality shown by the Sarawakian retail unit posted there, and was absolutely delighted by the culinary delights on offer. A dinner to Kasturi for authentic Sarawakian cuisine, including the to-die-for ohmae (raw fish marinated in onions and lime), was certainly the highlight of the trip.

Downtown Sibu, Sarawak
Downtown Sibu - a sample from the Sibu Series

Pics from the trip can be found in the "Sibu Series, posted on Visuals":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/archives/000558.html. This series is a bit different from previous one because all pics have been edited with "LOMO":http://www.lomo.com/ actions. I found the pics dull and uninspiring in their unedited form; i used the "LOMO actions for Photoshop":http://www.redscreen.net/photolog/fun.html to spruce them up a bit.

Its over

Malaysia's first media weblog, "Transitions":http://oonyeoh.blogspot.com/ by Oon Yeoh is closing. Below are some of his parting words, engraved here on the VOI for posterity:

bq. Well, folks, as they say: "All good things must come to an end". And so it is with the Transitions blog. That's right, this farewell message is my last update.

bq. So, why am I quitting? No, it has nothing to do with the Special Branch breathing down my neck (they've got much bigger fish to fry). Nor have I been paid a million bucks to shut up (how I wish!). And no, I've not done a "Farish Noor" and quit writing because of criticisms from Malaysiakini readers (if I were that sensitive, I would've quit writing in February).

bq. I'm afraid the actual reason is a lot more down to earth: I've taken up an exciting (it is to me, anyway) new journalism job with another media company. I'm not at liberty to reveal details right now but suffice to say, you definitely haven't heard the last from Oon Yeoh. To quote Arnold: "I'll be back" (albeit on a different platform).

Yes, i do hope we haven't heard the last of Oon - his voice is a valuable one that never fails to rise above the clutter. Good luck, and godspeed, dude.

(if you need to get in touch with him, email is a good alternative: oonyeoh@yahoo.com)

Definition of success

Most people with have their own definitions of success - some want money, others want fame, others just want to make others' life better and that is success enough for them. With this in mind, i happened to stumble across "this blogger's definition":http://www.howardsmusings.com/2003/06/19/seattle_bloggers_meetup.html about:

How to succeed as a blogger

The Kota Raya egroup

"Project Petaling Street":http://www.petalingstreet.org/ spawned the "Kota Raya e-group":http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kotaraya/, a wonderful idea by the equally cool "TV Smith":http://www.mycen.com.my/duasen/. There are currently 48 members there as of the time of this posting, and i reckon its growing steadily and gaining recognition slowly as a online meeting place for Malaysian bloggers.

All new additions to the e-group are encouraged to introduce themselves. Below is my introduction to the group.

INFOSOC looms

Just got back from Kuantan this evening - rushing all over the country has taken a toll on my creaking old bones. Somewhere in between of it all, i managed to get the slides done for "INFOSOC":www.nitc.org.my/infosoc/ where i'll be speaking in a panel (other panelists include "Jeff Ooi":http://www.jeffooi.com/, "Najah Nasseri":http://www.najahnasseri.org/ and "Dinesh Nair":http://www.alphaque.com/) on the topic "Blogging as a means of self-expression - building a strong foundation for journalism, community and personal development".

I'm posting my slides here (790kb Zip file) - if you're interested, take a look and let me know what you think. Feedback is very welcome.

If you're in neighbourhood of Melaka on 23rd-24th June 2003, why not drop by the Hotel Equatorial and listen in. The session i'm participating in will start at 2pm, 23rd June.

Obsessed

After making an offering to the PDA Gods, running around naked in my garden, staring at the heavens for a sign, scattering chicken bones in a bowl to discern the signs, peering at the bottom of my cup to read the tea leaves - after doing all of that and much much more than i can't publish in good conscience (children may be reading this), i've finally narrowed my search for the -Holy Grail-, errr, the PDA down to either of the following:

# "Clie PEG-SJ33/G":http://asia.cnet.com/reviews/handhelds/0,39001708,39114720,00.htm
# "Palm Zire 71":http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1040088,00.asp

The Palm has got a few major advantages: it was a stereo MP3 player (unlike the Tung|C or W), runs on "Palm OS 5.2":http://www.palminfocenter.com/view_story.asp?ID=4777, and has a camera + Secure Digital cards are cheaper than Memory Sticks. Its only major disadvantage against the Clie is that it only plays MP3s and not the ATRAC3 format. The ATRAC3 format would allow me to save up to 90 CD-quality songs on a 128MB MagicGate Memory Stick. The downside to this upside (do you think i've been thinking about this too much?) is that the Clie only has enough battery power to keep it going for 4-5 hours non-stop (the Zire has the same battery strength); 4-5 hours is no where near enough to play 90 songs at a go, so what's the point of being able to have that many songs available? Also, the ATRAC3 format can be "quite a hassle":http://it.asia1.com.sg/reviews/port/por001_20000524.html since it places restrictions on the way the encoded track is distributed and used.

Major football news

This is MAJOR news: David Beckham has agreed "to move to Real Madrid":http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,27-717461,00.html in a UK$25million deal. Gosh. That's a whole lot of moolah for a player whose ONLY forte is a wicked-bending free kick. Oh, ok - he's got a "pop star wife":http://www.atpictures.com/victoria/ and his name alone on your jersey will sell them like hotcakes. In a football world that is not only football anymore but about how many replica shirts and silly scarves you can sell - this is certainly "good business for Real Madrid":http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1094380,00.html, and Man United who will no longer have to put up with his exorbitant wages (UK$100,000 a WEEK) and the Beckham-media-circus.

One wonders how often he'll actually get to play in "a superstar team like Real Madrid":http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=28634 that already have Figo, Zidane, Macca, Makele powering their midfield.

Limited resources

Great minds think alike. Yet, fools of a feather flock together. How do you think i should spend RM2,000?

# Buy a "Clie PEG-SJ33/G":http://www.sonystyle.com.my/clie/app/sj33/index.jsp (RM988)
# Buy a "Palm Tungsten-C":http://palm.com/products/handhelds/tungsten-c/ (RM2,088)
# Buy a "Palm Tungsten-W":http://palm.com/products/handhelds/tungsten-w/ (RM2,288)

Away again

Will be away again for the next few days - today, i'll be in "Sibu, Sarawak":http://www.sibu.com.my/visitors_reference/ till tomorrow. Thursday i'll be in "Kuantan, Pahang":http://www.pahangtourism.com.my/aboutpahang/index.html. Saturday i'll be in Melaka for "INFOSOC":http://www.najahnasseri.org/archives/000296.html (damn, the slides, the SLIDES! i'll get them to you by today, naj! I'll email them from Sibu!!).

Upside: Travel means claims, means more money, means one step closer to "this baby":http://www.sonystyle.com.my/clie/app/sj33/index.jsp. Also, travel means can take loads of pics for more "Visuals":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/ series (thanks for all the emails that came in for the "last two series":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/archives/000548.html).

Downside: Can't blog too much while away sebab less time and uncertain Internet connection on the road.

Odds & Ends

A really brilliant new blog was added to the "Great Malaysian Blog List":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/blinks today: "Odds & Ends":http://www.odds-and-ends.net/photolog/ by Lim Zhi Xin. Taking a leaf out of "a.lifeuncommon.org":http://a.lifeuncommon.org/, he does it Malaysian-style with some "intelligently taken photos":http://odds-and-ends.net/archives/2003Jun15.html (check "this":http://odds-and-ends.net/archives/2003May14.html out too) and a pachant for mixing "written poetry and visual imagery":http://odds-and-ends.net/archives/2003May17.html.

Good stuff, and an ample example of a Malaysian photoblog if there ever was one.

Word of warning: some of the photos posted, while very well shot, are VERY large (>100kb). /wink,wink\ why-don't-you-use-"save as web"-in-Photoshop?

The African Email Scam

Just like you and perhaps millions of others, i've received "spam emails":http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/nospam.html from a Nigerian, an Ivory Coast-an and a Zambian. It can be quite irritating, but i've found some amusement in reading their broken-English appeals for "help" :

bq. DEAR SIR,

bq. PERMIT ME TO INFORM YOU OF MY DESIRE OF GOING INTO BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU. I GOT YOUR NAME AND CONTACT FROM THE IVOIRIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY. I PRAYED OVER IT AND SELECTED YOUR NAME AMOUNG OTHER NAMES...

bq. I AM MR DENIS WANKE, THE ONLY CHILD OF LATE MR AND MRS. PAUL WANKE, MY FATHER WAS A VERY WEALTHY COCOA MERCHANT BASED IN ABIDJAN, THE ECONOMIC CAPITAL OF IVORY COAST BEFORE HE WAS POISONED TO DEATH BY HIS BUSINESS ASSOCIATES ON ONE OF THEIR OUTING TO DISCUSS ON A BUSINESS....

bq. HE SECRETLY CALLED ME ON HIS BEDSIDE AND TOLD ME THAT HE HAS A SUM OF US$16,500,000 (SIXTEEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND, UNITED STATES DOLLARS) LEFT IN A SUSPENCE ACCOUNT IN LOCAL BANK HERE IN ABIDJAN, THAT HE USED MY NAME AS HIS ONLY SON FOR THE NEXT OF KIN IN DEPOSIT OF THE FUND.

Well, funny as this may be, its obviously a scam and a crime. Read a heroic account of a couple of guys "on a mission to get a picture of one":http://www.craigmcateer.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/mupesa.htm of these scammers. They succeeded. A truly excellent read. Very highly recommended if you've ever wondered where those annoying emails have been coming from.

Manic Monday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* Go naked and "scare a shark to death":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/06/13/offbeat.scared.shark.reut/index.html.
* The Spurs have "won the NBA Finals":http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/us_sport/2992722.stm.
* Why is Harry Potter "so damned addictive":http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/12/60minutes/main558428.shtml?
* Will Real Madrid "spend it on Beckham":http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,27-715359,00.html?
* Its been 50 years since "we figured out how humans work":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TRAVEL/DESTINATIONS/06/15/genome.show.ap/index.html.
* A BRILLIANT IDEA - use "iPods as portable DJs":http://boingboing.net/2003_06_01_archive.html#200422830.

Visuals Latest Photo Series

The "VOI Visuals":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/ has been updated with 2 new photo series, the "Kota Bharu series":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/archives/000541.html and the "Bridal Series":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/archives/000547.html.

"The first":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/archives/000541.html was taken during my recent trip to Kota Bharu. Its a rustic town with a lot of charm and humour. I am suitably taken by the sights and the people. Below is a sample of the Kota Bharu Series:

KB-Series-12.jpg
Gender segregated shopping check-outs

A good woman

The love of a good woman is a limited resource. From my own personal experience and perspective, a good woman is:

* A woman who has ambitions - "ambitions" means she wants to be more than what she is, she believes that life is not just a monotonous series of days - but an opportunity for self-improvement
* A woman who understand roles, responsibilities and priorities - a loving relationship between a man and a woman is more akin to a partnership than anything else; in any working partnership, there are roles, responsibilities and priorities - a proper combination of the three will lead to success. Division of labour in a family isn't discrimination or the exercise of pre-conceived notions.
* A woman who believes that compromise and reconciliation are the keys to solving problems - problems in a relationship always occur. The longevity of a relationship depends not on the avoidance of these problems, but the manner in which both parties react to them.

Subtle Saturday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* The world has lost a "true statesman of the silver screen":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/Movies/06/12/obit.peck/index.html.
* Drink some soup, be "great is bed":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/east/06/13/offbeat.viagra.food.hk/index.html.
* Not a good time to be a Muslim or Jew in the UK - "bleeding animals to death to be banned":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/06/13/britain.meat/index.html.
* Re-civilizing Iraq: "the first steps":http://www.forbes.com/markets/newswire/2003/06/13/rtr1000029.html.
* The "Mac IE is dead":http://news.com.com/2100-1045_3-1017126.html. Long live "Safari":http://www.apple.com/safari/.

Backing Myanmar

I swear its disturbing that Malaysia has refused to criticise Myanmar over the (re-)detention of Nobel Laureate "Aung San Suu Kyi":http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1998/08/98/burma/140955.stm. Compared to the military junta in Myanmar, the Malaysian government is an angel - but it still doesn't make sense why "we're backing them":http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2003/06/14/2003055205.

Aung San Suu Kyi
She's back in jail, damn

bq. Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, one of the staunchest allies of the generals, said he still believes that the junta should be persuaded rather than pressured into bringing change.

bq. "It is not very constructive if we keep on pressing people. Whenever they comply with something there is no reward; if they do something else, more pressure is applied. It is unproductive," he told reporters Thursday.

For goodness sake, the lady "won the Nobel prize":http://www.nobel.se/peace/laureates/1991/ ; "locking her up":http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/2967452.stm is like putting a target on your back and saying, "Shoot me". Supporting Myanmar or even adopting a conciliatary tone is certainly placing Malaysia in the same field of fire.

Predictably, the US will be "slapping sanctions":http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/EF14Ae02.html on Myanmar. Don't they know that sanctions don't work. It didn't work in Iraq, it doesn't work in North Korea, it certainly hasn't done much to democratise Cuba. Silly people, these Americans.

un-blogged

Flew to Kota Bharu yesterday morning. Made my presentation to a roomful of PETRONAS people. Came back late last night. Slept at 2am. Flying to Kota Kinabalu at 12.45pm today. Going to make the same presentation to a different group. Flying back tonight, 7.15pm flight. Hope to make it by 10pm to the blog-meet tonight:

Me, in the NST

I was featured in the NST on Thursday in Computimes in an article entitled "Sharing viewpoints via blogging".

View the article (137kb)

A response to Tim

Tim Yang, a founding member of PPS had these "unfortunate words":http://timyang.com/archive/2003_06_01_theedge_archive.php#95576181 to say about some of his fellow bloggers and "Project Petaling Street":http://www.petalingstreet.org/. The following is my response:

------------

Dear Tim,

I'm sorry you're still sore with me and the rest. Your latest posting shows your dissatisfaction very clearly. Even then, i want you to know that i really appreciate all you did for PPS - the offer of the server space, the offer to register the domain name, etc. Looking back at the spirit of cooperation we had, i suppose that's the reason why it hurt so much more to read the things you said; a lot of what you wrote is untrue - a quick examination of the "About PPS wiki":http://yat.ch/piki/?ProjectPetalingStreet disproves many of your assertions.

But its ok, i guess. We're all entitled to our opinions and i respect yours. Let us leave it at that and move on. Once again, thanks for all you've done, and if there is any way for me to repay some of the kindness you've shown me, and PPS, please do let me know.

Peace,
Aizuddin Danian

UPDATE: A less polite "response by Dinesh Nair":http://www.alphaque.com/article.php?sid=332 (he doesn't pull any punches, but he is absolutely right in his observations and analysis).

UPDATE: Oon Yeah, "our resident referree":http://www.oonyeoh.blogspot.com/2003_06_01_oonyeoh_archive.html#200417619.

UPDATE: Oooh, Jeff did a Dinesh, "just with fewer words":http://www.jeffooi.com/archives/000495.php.

LAUNCHING Project Petaling Street

I'm very happy to announce the launch of "Project Petaling Street":http://www.petalingstreet.org/.
Project Petaling Street (henceforth known as PPS) is a "blogtal" : a blog portal. In itself, it isn't a blog, but it acts as a portal that aggregates (i.e. mengumpulkan or brings together) the freshest and latest content from a cross-section of Malaysian made, Malaysian maintained blogs.

Weak Wednesday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* Beckham, Beckham... "GONE":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/06/10/britain.beckham.offer/index.html!
* Register a patent, "become a millionaire":http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/06/09/BU213833.DTL.
* Arresting a "decline in sexual health":http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0600uk/content_objectid=13055188_method=full_siteid=50082_headline=-Sexual-health-services-in-crisis-name_page.html?
* Begging for "larger boobs":http://www.giveboobs.com? The silly practice of "cyber-begging":http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,59165,00.html.

Sleep, the lack of

In an attempt to exercise my mind and blog, i've found that i seriously can't get it up today. Its like one of those absolutely lazy Sunday mornings when you know you need to go for a jog to burn off the excess calories you consumed the night before, but for one reason or another you just can't get out of bed.

But i know "why i'm lethargic today":http://ky.essortment.com/sleepdeprivatio_rloc.htm. "Project Petaling Street":http://www.alphaque.com/article.php?sid=328 has been consuming most of my non-working waking hours. And since i don't have much of that, i eat into my sleep time each night to compensate for the time i just must have to complete the project. Anyone who has experience this will know: 2-3 hours of sleep each night for 5 days in a row takes a "tremendous toll on the mind":http://edition.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/09/20/sleep.deprivation/.

PPS Teaser
A teaser of Project Petaling Street

Physically, i'm as fit as a fiddle. Don't feel weak or tired or anything like that. Looks like the body can function will little sleep, or perhaps it needs to be deprived a lot more before it begins breaking down. But the mind? I reckon, based on how slow mine is working, "it can't take too much punishment":http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2000_02_09_Sleep.html.

Or maybe its just me. Am i a wimp? Not enough sleep makes me a whimpering idiot. What does it do to you? How little sleep does it take to transform your mental skills into that of a 10 year old (discount this question if you actually are 10 years old)?

Tongue-kiss Tuesday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* Homo-phobes avoid this: "what they did":http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,11711,974220,00.html at the Tony Awards 2003.
* Bloomberg expects "stronger growth":http://www.iht.com/articles/99004.html. Let's get rich, people.
* First the Israelis say "they wanna go":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/06/09/mideast/index.html, then they say "they wanna stay":http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-2771279,00.html. * sigh *
* "Intelligence on Iraq" is "almost an oxymoron":http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32394-2003Jun8.html of epic proportions. Almost as large as "military intelligence".
* Bush's "current take":http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny-wowmd0610,0,5321263.story?coll=ny-worldnews-headlines on Iraqi WMD: "...Saddam Hussein at least had a "program" for such weapons". Depeer and deeper into the muck of lies.
* Why "hairless humans":http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2975914.stm are better.
* Solve "the problem":http://www.superliminal.com/cube/cube.htm that has (24!x32!)/2 x 16!/2 x 2^23 x (3!)^31 x 3 x (4!/2)^15 x 4 different possibilities.
* "V" is "back to the small-screen":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/TV/06/09/television.visitors.reut/index.html! OH YES! I LOVE THIS SHOW!
* The "end of the world":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/06/09/doom.predictions.reut/index.html. Our odds are at 50-50.

Faster, faster, faster

I have no idea why they bother: the speed limit on the North-South highway will be "raised to 120km/h as of July 2003":http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/41691/1/.html. The previous speed limit was 110km/h. All the bru-ha-hah for a "miserly 10km/h":http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/asia/story/0,4386,193846,00.html.

When the speed limit was 110pm/h, we had between 5-9 fatalities for every 10,000 vehicles ("1990-2000 stats":http://216.239.33.100/search?q=cache:lhZc-HOsch4J:www.kkr.gov.my/Bpj/Safety/quality.pdf+malaysian+death+road+statistics&hl=en&ie=UTF-8). That's pretty high i reckon: it means that every time you drive there is a 0.0005 - 0.0009% of dying on the road. Will a 10km/h increase lead to more deaths? This is a question lying on "Samy Vellu's conscience":http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/6/9/nation/mujuly&sec=nation.

The debate rages on: does "speed really kill":http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/05/national/main557123.shtml or are there "other reasons why drivers die on the road":http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/speedsci.html?

I wonder how many people die on the "Autobahn":http://www.german-way.com/german/autobahn.html, the famed German highway without speed limits.

Anything & Everything

Ok, i'll admit i haven't seen too many websites that focus exclusively on photography, much less a website that focuses exclusively on "lomography":http://www.griffin.demon.nl/lomo.htm. But, even with my un-trained eye, "Anything and Everything":http://120seconds.com/features/021025_lomo/website/index.html is a magnificent website that combines voice commentary (Flash based voice recordings) and some of the most imaginative LOMO-photos that i've yet to see on the web.

bq. The idea is simple, forget everything you've learned about photography, bring your camera everywhere you go and take pictures of your life as you live it. The emphasis is on having fun and capturing the moment. What began as little more than a low-tech approach to photography aas blossomed into a global photographic moment.

The last time i felt this way about a photo-site was when i first viewed "http://a.lifeuncommon.org":http://a.lifeuncommon.org/. Can someone get me a "LOMO":http://www.ecamerafilms.com/lomkomaut.html for my birthday?

A LOMO
Lomo Kompakt Automat

Hani's Honey is shutting down

It is with great sadness that i discovered that "Hani will be shutting down":http://hanishoney.pitas.com/#20030608 her "Shrine of Honesty of Sorts":http://hanishoney.pitas.com/ very soon. And while she says she will put something in its place, i think we all know that it won't be exactly the same. As for her reasons, she says:

bq. I find myself having slowly changed over the past few months, and I find that I don't really feel a need to continue a physical Shrine of Honesty of Sorts anymore. I guess it's because I'm telling less lies in my life.

Hani is the reason why i started blogging; her and the YCCians. Over a pot of hot soup one night, she introduced me to an experience that has shaped my non-working hours for the past 9 months. In that sense, she's the mother of invention; responsible for the "VOI":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/, the "GMBL":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/blinks/Great_Malaysian_Blog_List/, "Visuals":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/visuals/ and even the soon-to-be announced Project Petaling Street.

Thanks, Hani for the inspiration. I think i speak for many when i say our corner of the blogosphere will miss you. To send her your warmest wishes, please drop her an email at hanishoney@yahoo.com.

Movable Monday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* I think this is the first time "a chocolate won the French Open":http://www.iht.com/articles/98920.htm. Think "Rocher", the choc.
* Metallica is "alive with ANGER":http://www.suntimes.com/output/derogatis/cst-ftr-metal06.html.
* Is "Bluetooth dead":http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/0%2C14179%2C2913885%2C00.html?
* Gollum accepting his "MTV Movie Award":http://www.theonering.net/staticnews/1054890864.html. A MUST WATCH FOR ANY LOTR FAN! HILLARIOUS!
* No. 10 Downing Street is "coming apart":http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,973528,00.html. A senior minister makes an admission on the "dodgy dossier"
* Harry Potter and "the Crock of Gold":http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,972879,00.html. The fastest selling book of all-time?
* If you're pregnant, "don't eat potatoes":http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,6566117%255E421,00.html!

Peace broker

Its nice to know that Malaysia is doing it's bit to foster "peace and harmony":http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/abs_news_flash_article.asp?FlashOID=9240 in other countries.

bq. Malaysia remained committed to helping broker a political settlement between the Philippine government and the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) despite a flare-up of hostilities in the south, President Arroyo said Saturday.

On the surface of things, we make a pretty good peace broker. We've successfully stared the "Communist Insurgency":http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayan_Emergency in the face and got them to back down; we've kept a multi-racial developing country in one piece for nearly 50 years (look at "Yugoslavia":http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo_War and many countries in Africa - they haven't done as good a job); we've got relative peace and security, crime rates are low, the "economy is relatively stable":http://www.jdpa.com/businessservices/automotive/publications/powerreport/200301/0103_outp.htm and generally speaking the populace is content.

On the surface of things, we make an ideal advisor of how to keep a country in order. On the surface of things, the Philippines could use our help with the MILF, Indonesia could use our "help with Aceh":http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/from_our_own_correspondent/2969592.stm.

Porno in homes

Cracking down on copyright pirates is most certainly welcome; some may argue that its been too long in the coming. Allowing blatant copyright violations to occur on our shores creates a mental problem among Malaysians: its ok to steal. That's what pirated VCDs, DVDs, CDs are - acts of theft from their legitimate copyright owners.

While the manufacturers of these discs are at fault, the consumer is also at fault for creating the demand. The first half of the equation is being dealt with via "Ops Benteras":http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/6/5/nation/05vcd&sec=nation:

bq. KUALA LUMPUR: A massive operation to wipe out the sale, production and manufacture of pirated and pornographic VCDs was launched simultaneously last night in several parts of the Klang Valley.

bq. The raids, codenamed Ops Benteras and involving some 800 police personnel, saw the first strike against two outlets in Cheras, netting more than 200,000 pirated and pornographic VCDs.

bq. At press time, more than 40 teams comprising policemen from Bukit Aman and district headquarters were on the streets targeting entertainment outlets, street peddlers, video arcades and even drug haunts.

Its the second half of the equation, and how the government plans to tackle it that worries me. They plan "to come into our homes":http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/6/7/nation/odchor&sec=nation without a search warrant. Such a scenario "would be a disaster":http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/200306050034559.php. The threat against our privacy is in itself an infringement of privacy. And, worse yet, who is to say that such a mandate given to the police will not be abused for political gain, especially with the general elections just around the corner.

God saves the King

Our esteemed royal highness, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail, celebrated his "60th birthday yesterday":http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/6/8/nation/trooping&sec=nation.

The current King of Malaysia
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail

This particular King has been among "the quietest in recent memory":http://www.teennet.com.my/fakta2.html. The last one married "a young babe":http://agong.mmu.edu.my/agong/permaisuri.html and narry a day went by when the tabloids didn't write about about either of them, or speculated about the sexual lives.

A quiet king is an interesting change of pace. Really, kings only need to do a few things well: act royal, be royal, make a few "mindblowing comments":http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=19362 once in a while, and hand out those "wonderful awards":http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/6/8/nation/invest&sec=nation on their birthdays. And "get paid taxpayers money":http://members.tripod.com/~constantian/expense.html doing it. I wouldn't wish to be born a king; life is too uncomplicated.

If only...

...oh God! If only all car ads were like "this one from Honda":http://home.attbi.com/~bernhard36/honda-ad.html. I sat there mesmerized for the better part of 2 minutes in complete awe. Requires Flash installed on your browser.

Honda: "Isn't it nice when things just... work?" Excellent tagline!

Where was I last night?

I was in the company of some quite amazing people. Met up with a group of local bloggers at Phileo Damansara. It was fun, fun, fun. Project Petaling Street (hush, hush at this point, but not for long, i assure you) was just one of the many ideas that the group birthed. Read about the meeting (+ a nice pic of us) "in greater detail":http://www.jeffooi.com/archives/000474.php.

Living the ISA

While a great majority of Malaysians will never have to fear being detained under the "Internal Security Act (ISA)":http://www.web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA280062003, there is a lot of anger being directed to this oft-maligned law. Perhaps the anger is caused by the perceived injustice of the law; perhaps its because the existence of the law is intrinsically linked with all that is bad about Malaysian politics: corruption, cronyism and abuse of the rule of law.

And while i can respect this perspective, i can't help but notice how the ISA can be used to ensure national peace and security.

A simple (simplistic, perhaps) equation:

Troublemaker incites riots, public anger and civil disobedience. Troublemaker uses religion, race and economic disparities in society as his vehicle for protest. Troublemaker makes unprovable claims, defames and slanders our national leaders, all of whom are democractically elected.

To protect the nation, remove the troublemaker; bypass the judiciary (because a drawn out trial can just serve as a platform to further his cause) and throw him into jail. Memories and attention spans are particularly short. Out of sight, out of mind. He is soon forgetten by the majority.

Foolish Friday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* 2 Fast 2 Furious - "a review":http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21865-2003Jun5.html.
* Death for terrorists - "a stronger Patriot":http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21414-2003Jun5.html?nav=hptoc_n.
* 18 dead, scores wounded. "Death in Russia":http://www.guardian.co.uk/chechnya/Story/0,2763,971712,00.html.
* "A Cataclysmic Event for American Journalism":http://www.mediainfo.com/editorandpublisher/headlines/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1907657 - don't you just love the American penchant for hyperbole?
* Saddam is even "more interesting than Rambo":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/06/05/sprj.irq.saddam.video.reut/index.html.
* So long, farewell, "Serena Williams":http://www.dailytelegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/06/06/wtenis06.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/06/06/ixnewstop.html.

Tripping Thursday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* "Have cork, will bat":http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/04/entertainment/main557036.shtml. What's the beef Sosa?
* Not "a single death yesterday":http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=98536316-785B-479F-B8E4625A25952624. The worst is surely over?
* Passing the buck, the buck for war. President, Sec of Def... next stop? "A lowly aide":http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/05/international/worldspecial/05PENT.html?ex=1055390400&en=746b68919a515408&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE? (NY Times, requires registration)
* Hubba, hubba, a "new Miss Universe":http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=2879437!
* Hold hands in Ipoh, "pay a fine":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/southeast/06/04/offbeat.hand.holding.reut/index.html! OUTRAGEOUS!

A pat on the back

Over the years, Malaysia seems to have had a very unsual relationship with the United States. We need them more than they need us (the US is Malaysia's largest trading partner), and yet Dr Mahathir never misses an opportunity "to say or do something to antagonize them":http://www.khilafah.com/home/category.php?DocumentID=7315&TagID=2.

And the US acts very strangely too. They have this small little country in the middle of no-where that keeps on bitching about them, and yet when their President meets out Prime Minister, he acts "like Dr Mahathir is a good friend":http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/6/2/latest/12232Bushgreet&sec=latest AND "offers Malaysia a new preferential trade deal":http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=2873605.

International politics and relations is really beyond me. I don't understand it at all.

The Muse is In

"This lady":http://woodyloh.blogspot.com/ cracks me up. I've decided i like her a lot. But perhaps i'll need to compete with Dinesh Nair (of "Alphaque":http://www.alphaque.com/ fame) for her attention. The following is taken from "her latest, most provocative posting":http://woodyloh.blogspot.com/#95311754 :

bq. This blog is dedicated to Dinesh “I’ll F*** You” Nair and Aizuddin “Sexual Favours” Danian with the message:

bq. As we are in cyberspace, all I can offer is virtual sex. If both of you read it concurrently, then we would have managed a menage-a-troi in this pleasure sphere. Now read ‘em and make the one-eye Jack weep! Oh, don’t forget the tissues!

Oh yes. The Muse is most DEFINITELY in.

The Newly Digital Project

I reckon this is a "brilliant use of blogging technology":http://kalsey.com/2003/05/newly_digital/.

bq. Newly Digital is an experimental writing project. I’ve asked 11 people to write about their early experiences with computing technology and post their essays on their weblogs. Some have written about their first computers or learning to program. Others wrote about their first experiences with the Internet or a budding computer technology. Some stories are short and some span several printed pages.

"The project":http://kalsey.com/2003/05/newly_digital/ is prime example of the power of blogs as a distributed publishing tool. Fantastic.

My participation in the project is the submission of an old blog posting of mine, "My first computer":http://www.aizuddindanian.com/voi/archives/000085.html.

The genius of childhood

As i read the amazing tale of a group of 10-year old kids "who took 7 years to reshoot":http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2003-05-30/screens_feature4.html "Raiders of the Lost Ark" shot-for-shot, "frame-for-frame":http://www.drafthouse.com/trailers/raiders.mov, i realized that they had done what so many of us cannot: they lived a dream.

(For those of you too young to remember, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was the first Indiana Jones movie, an instant classic)

When we're kids, we aim for great things. Personally, i wanted to be "King of the World" when i was 7 years old. My parents and my friends laughed at me and when they asked me how i was going to do it, i said i didn't know. Later, after giving it much thought, i decided that i would get really rich and buy countries. Once i owned enough countries, then i would declare myself "King".

Silly thoughts, i know, but its what i wanted to achieve in life from a perspective of a young boy. Perhaps its too late to be King, now that i'm 27 and not even a "Prince". But i still think about it sometimes, in that brief moment before sleep takes me each night, wondering what a crown would look like my head.

Wanton Wednesday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* "Salam Pax":http://www.dear_raed.blogspot.com/ makes his "debut appearance in the Guardian UK":http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,969950,00.html.
* When "only a dog gives you comfort":http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/06/03/national0151EDT0423.DTL, you know its time to end it.
* "Iraq Part Deux":http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/ap06-03-230730.asp?reg=EUROPE?
* I love you, i love you not. Which way will the "rose petals fall for MSN8":http://news.com.com/2100-1032_3-1012915.html?
* I'll bet lots of money you don't know "who is Atticus Finch":http://www.suntimes.com/output/entertainment/cst-ftr-hero04.html!
* And i thought Linux was free. Perhaps "not anymore":http://news.com.com/2100-1016_3-1012947.html.
* The Curse of the Red Planet. Will it "claim yet more victims":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/space/06/03/mars.curse.reut/index.html?
* Definitely "not a good time to have breasts":http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2955552.stm.

A man with muffins

What does it mean when a woman gives you not one, but TWO "muffins":http://www.dsuper.net/~zaz/muffin/muffin.html? :)

Perhaps she wants you to "make movies with them":http://www.muffinfilms.com/?

Muffins!
Pandan-flavoured muffins!

Twisted Tuesday

The Daily Sho(r)ts is a simple collection of links i've found interesting each day. They are sourced from websites i visit regularly e.g. CNN.com, Slashdot.org and Google News

* Now you see them, now you don't. The question is whether we ever saw them. The question is whether WMD stands for Weapons of Mass Destruction or "Weapons of Mass Disappearance":http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101030609-455828,00.html?cnn=yes.
* Wanna crawl the walls of KLCC like Spider-Man? "Here's how":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/06/02/offbeat.spiderman.reut/index.html.
* Using Kazaa, Gnutella, "eDonkey":http://www.edonkey.com/ or "BitTorrent":http://interviews.slashdot.org/interviews/03/05/28/1133252.shtml?tid=95? "Shame on you":http://news.com.com/2100-1026_3-1009742.html.
* I had no idea Malaysia had one of "these":http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=21072.
* Back to P2P: "get paid to share files":http://news.com.com/2100-1025_3-1011827.html?tag=fd_top!

Controlling a woman

Yes, it is a thrill: "controlling a woman in a video game":http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/fun.games/06/02/games.females/index.html ; the less clothes she's wearing, the more thrilling. A game is rated highly if the player actually has control over how much clothes she's wearing.

Laugh all you want, ladies (or deny it all you want, gentlemen) but video games that cater for the fantasies of men have been popular for a long, long time since the days of the original "Apple II version of Strip Poker":http://www.artworx.com/know.htm. And now, with bleeding-edge processor speeds and graphic chips, very, very little is being left to the imagination.

I worry for my kids. When "virtual reality":http://www-vrl.umich.edu/ becomes widely available, then nothing will be left to the imagination, eh?

3 of 6 are free

Under mounting pressure from "Britain, Japan and the Netherlands and a group of 40 Islamic scholars":http://www.brunei-online.com/bb/fri/may30w6.htm, Abdullah Badawi has signed "the release papers":http://www.tri-cityherald.com/24hour/world/story/904586p-6301395c.html of Saari Sungib, Tian Chua (vice president of KeAdilan) and Hishamuddin Rais (an independent filmmaker).

"Three have been released":http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/06/01/international1103EDT0455.DTL from their detainment under the "Internal Security Act (ISA)":http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/asia/malaysia-bck-0513.htm. "Three others":http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters06-01-072300.asp?reg=PACRIM, including Ezam Mohd Nor (president of Keadilan's youth movement), are still in the Kamunting prison camp.

UPDATE: Parti Keadilan Nasional (Keadilan) Youth head Mohamed Ezam Mohamed Noor has "also been released":http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2003/6/2/nation/jkisas&sec=nation.

When success means prejudice

Its a worrisome trait of the human psyche: when you see success in others, feel envy and prejudice. While this is not a definitive human trait, it certainly appears often enough to justify a general rule. I'm sure you've seen it happen:

* A friend does well in studies/business/etc. Immediately negative rumours are started about him. He sleeps around. He drinks/smokes/does drugs. He's a crony. He cheated his way to the top.
* A colleague gets promoted. You don't. You feel particularly peeved because he's the "new-boy" while you've been around for a while.
* He marries the woman you wanted. Slashing his tires suddenly looks like an interesting option.
* He hits the lottery. You post his phone number and home address in chatrooms with the invitation "I have a million bucks. Call me to get some."

Inter-racial envy follows the same pattern.

The Matrix Unplugged

The following is proof-positive that i didn't pay enough attention while watching The Matrix. Where do these people get these ideas? I thought i was watching a (pretty good) action flick?

bq. Huh? 2?

bq. Jamming a huge needle in the back of someone's skull will kill them.

bq. This is your brain...

bq. Speaking of which, does no one else have the problem with the blatant pro-drug message in these films? The idea that you can be transported to a magical wonderland where you have supernatural powers simply by inserting a needle into your skull?

bq. Is it any coincidence that "jacking" (injecting heroin directly into the brain using a nine-inch long skull needle) became all the rage with our teenagers after this film?

bq. - from "The Matrix: Rejected":http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/film/matrix50.html

Or even more interesting is the relationship some people have found between The Matrix and religion. Far out, man, far out.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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