Turn On Tomorrow

25 Apr

This is all happening too quickly. Words just aren’t sufficient to describe this information age marvel, nor will they do this justice. The Internet has become so prevalent, it is impossible to shun away from it. Electronic giants around the world are rapidly integrating the Internet into every physical object imaginable. This ranges from mobile objects like cell phones and laptops to the less mobile appliances such as televisions and even, the refrigerator. Clearly, this revolution isn’t just a phase. Tomorrow only gets easier.

Isn’t it amazing what Man can do? So where is the Internet going henceforth? Or rather, where else can it go?

It’s time to cave in to temptation and embrace change, even my Grandma is doing it. (She is a proud owner of a brand new set of Sony Bravia Internet TV!)

“Tomorrow will bring us closer, even when we’re apart. Tomorrow’s world is being shaped today.”   –Samsung

I for Indispensible

24 Apr

The iPhone can only get more useful and not less. Up until I had myself an iPhone this Chinese New Year, I was skeptical and considerably bias toward the countless amount of praises I was hearing from my close friends, all of which were iZombie converts way ahead of me.

As I dig deeper into its many uses with guidance from my clan of iZombies, my iPhone constantly evolves from just an accessory to an object of utmost convenience that I now, cannot imagine life without.

Not typically an early adopter when it comes to computers and techy gadgets, I have to confess that I’m the type of girl who only makes use of the very basic functions of advanced technology and nothing more if not taught or needed. As with my Macbook, I’m only most familiar with the applications that Apple has pre-configured on my dock. Not without a doubt, this mentality extends to my phone. So whenever I’m around friends who are fellow iPhone users, I usually learn something new about the phone. (This learning will most likely not see an end)

Have you heard of “Internet Tethering”?

In short, to engage in “Internet tethering” is to use your iPhone to provide an Internet connection for your laptop or PC in situations whereby public Wi-Fi is unavailable. It’s rather like mobile broadband, except that instead of plugging in a dongle, you connect your iPhone to your laptop using Bluetooth or a USB cable. “Internet tethering” only works with the 3G-based iPhones, and you have to have a monthly data plan subscription from one of your local phone operators.

With an iPhone, the Internet is only a touch away! This function is too useful to be overlooked. I can’t believe I had not the slightest clue about its existence till last Thursday when I was at Spinelli at The Heeren, which wasn’t classified as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Ignorance is definitely not bliss in this case. If not for being caught in the situation of needing to connect to the Internet on my Mac for urgent purposes, I probably wouldn’t have known about this function till way later, or maybe never even.

What else have I been missing out on, really?

Citizen Journalism for Dummies 101

24 Apr

Are you a closet journalist?

If you are, it’s time to loose that skin and get to work because, a whole new phenomenon has arrived.

Prepare yourself by registering for an account on sites that will enhance your citizen journalism experience. My suggestion is to get yourself an account on certain popular local and international news sites, YouTube (for video uploading), Flickr or Photobucket (for photo uploading), on a blogging platform (WordPress, Blogspot, Livejournal) and a couple of social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Friendster) before embarking on your journey. This is to ensure that when a juicy, newsworthy story is staring you in the face, you lose no time in capturing and reporting it. I’m assuming that you are already familiar with the crucial concept of time in this industry. If you aren’t, make a tattoo of this:

Old news is stale news.

Thereafter, gather your equipment and put yourself out there! For starters, you wouldn’t need anything dramatic as yet, just a notepad, a couple of pens and a cell phone with a camera. Though of course, if you have the resources, feel free to bag your video camera, DSLR and laptop because as you equip yourself with technology, convenience accompanies.

It’s still perfectly fine to set off with the basics if you’re tight on resources, as you need to keep in mind, that even if you empty your pockets for the best equipment aid, it is not going to help you get your story out if you don’t keep your eyes and mind wide open. “The perfect image, a wickedly edited video clip or state of the art laptop is not what citizen journalism is all about nor can it replace your single, most important advantage – local knowledge.”     —NowPublic.com

Start small; don’t be over ambitious by making a hullabaloo over a molehill. Even though there may the abundance of freedom on the Internet, it is a good idea to start with what you are most familiar with and know best. That could be your neighborhood, profession, or social networks that you belong to. Alternatively, you could start commenting on what you are most passionate about no matter where it takes place.

Unlike traditional journalism, writing as a citizen journalist is not always necessary. A video with you speaking to camera is just as effective as an article and also allows those who do not feel comfortable with the written word to produce insightful reports that can be shared with others.

Another point to note is that, it is important for you to distinguish between an opinion and a fact. More often than not, budding citizen journalists present their ideas on a story as fact and seem to assume that others will share the same view. To have your story impact readers, it is best to adopt a dispassionate stance. Otherwise, your impassionate accounts may come across as a rant and lose all credibility.

Last but not least, garner the right coverage by attracting readers’ attention through interesting contents, linking and tagging people, using RSS, posting widely and regularly, building credibility and simply being sociable!

Avoir du plaisir! (Have fun!)

An Integration of High Street Fashion and Multimedia

24 Apr

Luxury and high street fashion labels aren’t just setting trends on catwalks and streets around the world anymore. These labels seek to maximize their influence in every possible way, now even molding and challenging the infinite possibilities of the web to their benefit. Even though fashion may be a cultural phenomenon, it is important to note that fashion isn’t just limited to the designer and consumer. Fashion also accommodates a number of other creative professions such as photography, make-up, hairdressing and web designs.

This post will provide you with an insight on an aspect that is often taken for granted when designing a website for a fashion brand; the appropriate level of interactivity required to present a stylish and sophisticated website that not only meets the fashion industry’s standard but most importantly, engage a viewer.

As the use of multimedia on the web is so rife nowadays it has become impossible to pinpoint its boundaries and capabilities, designers are embracing and taking advantage of the latest tools and techniques to allow visitors to “touch” their products and deliver exciting experiences. Incorporating entertaining baits onto their websites such as live-action previews of apparel, webcam functionality, connecting and sharing via popular social networking sites (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) and even 3-D viewing mode, becoming an online shopaholic is easier than ever.

Let’s take a look at a couple of my favourite successes!

French Connection, a UK-based retail chain, made it both to headlines and history in October last year, with the launch of the world’s first webshop on YouTube, YouTique by French Connection.

In which, stylist Louise Roe, guides viewers through the latest collection with YouTube annotations directing interested shoppers through to the brand’s e-commerce site, for every single thing that you see in each video.

Interesting and very useful, isn’t it?

Another high street favourite is H&M, leading the way when it comes to engaging with its customers online. It’s 6.7 million and counting Facebook fans are treated to a host of multimedia exclusives and the page’s Social Media Room pulls in user-generated H&M-related material from all over the web. This includes blog posts and Lookbook.nu images. H&M has also used its YouTube channel to release a number of teaser videos.

Now how can we leave Burberry out of this? Saving the best for the last, this luxury fashion house keeps its 5.8 million Facebook fans entertained with exclusive images and video content, as well as ‘Burberry Acoustic‘ musical performances by up-and-coming artists.

Besides Facebook, Burberry also takes full advantage of its Twitter and YouTube platforms. The brand live-streamed its Spring Collection 2011 fashion show, screening it at a number of flagship stores around the world. iPads were even handed out to customers, allowing them to browse or buy the collection during the show through the custom-built app.

A Dog’s Nightmare

23 Apr

I’ve had a Mac for over a year now, and ever since I brought it home and explored the list of applications that accompanied my purchase, I have been aware of the existence of iMovie. But acknowledging it’s presence is only one of those things, by actually acknowledging it’s presence and taking time to understand it, is another.

iMovie in short, is a movie editing application that is part of the iLife suite of digital lifestyle applications that allows Apple Macintosh users to create movies from a number of different sources including digital video cameras, DV-encoded files, and pictures.

So finally a year on into owning my Mac, I decided to try my hand at something new this week!

It is nothing fancy, but the experience has taught me to edit video clips, insert texts, create a proper entrance and exit to the video, and to include background music for the video. Prior to this, I was totally clueless on video making and how iMovie worked. In addition, as I had wanted to be a little more ‘experimental’ and to learn independently through ‘trial and error’, I ignored the introductory tutorial that had appeared as I opened the application for the first time. This decision no doubt, caused me three times the amount of time a person who had watched the tutorial would take, to edit a clip of this size.

The process taken was worth it though, as I can now say that:

I’m an iMovie survivor!

The video that I’m about to screen is of Sandy, my 8 year old English Cocker Spaniel, having a nightmare. The clip is an impromptu one that I had taken some time ago while I was studying at my dining table and she was sleeping not too far off. The quality of the video isn’t that clear though, as my cellphone was the only gadget within reach beside my laptop, and I wasn’t able to get to my bedroom without interrupting her sleep.

Here goes…

Political or Politikill?

23 Apr

There is no better time than this to write about Internet and politics as the days lead up to Singapore’s General Elections 2011.

There used to be prohibitions and strict rules governing the use of the net for electoral campaigns and advertising during the lead up to elections. But evidently, Singapore has recognized the political potentials of the Internet and has since adopted a different take on this stand as we embrace rapid changes in the world of technology. To take such a step in trusting the net though, is risky as the Internet can either propel you up or bring you down so low you lose sight of what was initially being strived for.

If you haven’t heard about and seen our latest Youtube sensation involving Miss Tin Pei Ling, the youngest running PAP candidate, you’re missing out on juicy controversy.

She is a fitting example of how the Internet is able to undermine authoritarian political controls and credibility. For her, Youtube is definitely the new “killer app”. Non-supporters have posted many videos and countless negative comments about Miss Tin after she was caught on camera, stomping her feet and losing her composure by exclaiming, “I don’t know what to say!”.

This has not been well stomached by many Singaporeans who feel that she is too young and immature to assume any official political role and make changing decisions. These people have been voicing their discontent actively by producing jeering videos originating from her candidate interview clips in which she was asked to speak about education and healthcare costs in Singapore.

From the responses garnered by the videos on Youtube, the effect of Internet on politics is notably as transformational as how the television was. This is especially so considering the effectiveness of Obama’s electoral campaign works over the Internet. Unfortunately for Miss Tin, it is going to take more than just good publicity from her constituency to rebuild her image.

P.S. I Love You (Really?)

16 Mar

No, you most likely wouldn’t want to see nor hear of anyone muttering these three life changing words to you, if you knew..

With the welcoming of a new century on our hands in 2000, the world was also welcoming a new century of computer bugs. These new-age bugs weren’t just the most destructive to our precious computers but also fanciful and full of trickery up their sleeve. It started with:

  • 2000: ILOVEYOU
  • 2001: Code Red
  • 2003: Blaster, Sobig.F and SQL Slammer
  • 2004: Bagle, MyDoom and Sasser

Aren’t these titles attractive?

Hold up on your answers because what you’re going to be presented with next will change the way you see them…

As the bugs take their fanciness up a notch, the damages they bring about also increases, almost ten fold a time in monetary terms. This could be interesting to some and extremely boring to others. But this information will serve beneficial when it comes to protecting yourself (and your computer) from viruses. I will let you in on just a couple of my favourites lest I overwhelm you with all these tech talk.

Also known as Loveletter and The Love Bug, the ILOVEYOU worm was a visual basic script with an ingenious and irresistible catch: the promise of love. In 2000, the ILOVEYOU worm was first detected in Hong Kong. This bug was transmitted via e-mail with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and an attachment, Love-Letter-For-You.TXT.vbs. which mailed itself to all Microsoft Outlook contacts.

The virus also took the liberty of overwriting music files, image files, and others with a copy of itself. More disturbingly, it searched out user identifications and passwords on infected machines and e-mailed them to its author. The estimated damage it brought along was 10 to 15 billion dollars!

Then Code Red unleashed itself in 2001, a particularly virulent bug because of its target: computers running Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS) web server. This worm was able to exploit a specific vulnerability in the IIS operating system. Code Red was also known as Bady and was designed for maximum damage. Upon infecting your computer, the website controlled by the affected server would display the message, “HELLO! Welcome to http://www.worm.com! Hacked By Chinese!”

Thereafter, the virus would actively seek other vulnerable servers and infect them. This would go on for approximately 20 days, then launching denial-of-service attacks on certain IP addresses, including the White House web server. In less than a week, this virus infected almost 400,000 servers, and it’s estimated that one million total computers were infected, with a monetary damage of 2.6 billion dollars.

Following Code Red came Sobig.F in 2003. Catchy and descriptive name for the worm if I may say. Living up to its name, Sobig.F made it to the computer viruses’ Hall of Fame by generating over 1 million copies of itself in its first 24 hours. The virus infected host computers via innocuously named e-mail attachments such as application.pif and thank_you.pif. When activated, this worm transmitted itself to e-mail addresses discovered on a host of local file types. The end result was massive amounts of Internet traffic and a damage of 5 to 10 billion dollars. Here’s how it looked like:

Lastly, meet MyDoom, which made its debut in 2004. This shockwave could be felt around the world as this worm spread at an unprecedented rate across the Internet via e-mail. The worm (a.k.a Norvarg) spread itself in a particularly devious manner by transmitting itself as an attachment in what appeared to be an e-mail error message containing the text “Mail Transaction Failed.” Clicking on the attachment spammed the worm to e-mail addresses found in address books. MyDoom also attempted to spread via the shared folders of users’ Kazaa peer-to-peer networking accounts. The replication was so successful that computer security experts have speculated that one in every 10 e-mail messages sent during the first hours of infection contained the virus. Victims met their doom as while at its peak, it slowed global Internet performance by 10% and web load times by up to 50%.

So dear Readers, if this hasn’t already gotten you thinking about installing protection for your computer in the form of firewalls or the like, just a gentle reminder: Precaution is better than Cure!