Archive | January 2011

The Case For The Almost-Extinct Music Album

In the old days which are too recent for us to say they were ‘the old days’, you could only get your favorite music by listening to the radio, or buying a music product, whether it was a vinyl, cassette or CD). So, either you could wait all day for your favorite song to be played on the radio (or join a song request show), or you could spend some cash to buy a music product.

This music product, in the music industry, is known as a physical music product; as it is music kept and delivered in a physical thing (as opposed to digital music product, which would be basically a computer file).

The music industry – which would be the record labels, the recording companies, the distribution companies, and the music retail companies – exerted almost total control on channels of music consumption. They would plan what would be released on the radio and when, and make sure that by the time that the song is popular, the finished physical product would be ready in music retail stores for people to buy. Needless to say, this method created a lot of wealth for the music industry.

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Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream

Sent from my BlackBerry®

To Be Fair, The Jacket (And Pants) Weren’t White

So one day I was at a wedding; a friend came wearing a suit jacket with the sleeves rolled up.

I said, “Hey, what is this, your Sonny Crockett look?”

His friend said, “Oh, is he one of those new pop artists?”

Man Of Faith or Man Of Violence?

When many people who are supposedly more knowledgeable in Islam yell on top of their lungs to get rid of a certain sect, or to get rid of a church from a certain neighborhood, and to provide support to the Palestinian state above support for local needs… the Palestinian government issues condolences to the Egyptian government because of the church bombings; where President Mahmoud Abbas says that the attack’s goal was to destabilize the kinship in Egypt and incite hatred between Moslems and Christians.

Maybe these people need to sort our their priorities, like for instance, concentrate in enhancing faith instead of inciting hate. Yelling, pushing, shoving in the name of religion does not make you a holy man.

UPDATE: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conveys Christmas greetings to the Pope and world leaders who celebrate Christmas through an official letter, and prays for Christians to have a year full of health, success, happiness and prosperity. He also wishes that 2011 becomes a year of peace where increased empathy and understanding will occur between people of different faiths.


The Irrelevance Of Widely-Adopted Ideologies When Competing With Greed

Vietnam is, and will remain for probably some time, an outwardly Communist country. But for many of us who were doctrined in school back in the day, we wouldn’t recognize it as a Communist country as it somehow does not follow the stereotypical model printed in our brains of what a Communist country is like. But perhaps this is because, it’s not really a Communist country any more, only that the ruling – and only – party is Communist.

Supposedly under the Communist doctrine, all land is belongs to the state and thus nobody owns private land. This obviously isn’t the case. Private enterprise (and trade) is not allowed under Communism, but this isn’t the case either. And the more controversial – yet mistaken – aspect of Communism, its atheism, may be more similar to Western secularism – where the state does not interfere with religious affairs. A minority of Vietnamese still go to church or the mosque, a majority pray at some sort of temple or provide offerings to the gods. And Communism, becomes more like a doctrine or principle for the ruling party.

I can’t even find reference to atheism on the Wikipedia entry.

And what has this done for Vietnam? The country is stable, growth is steady, development is planned (albeit slightly chaotically), people have jobs, people have enough to eat, and they’re catching up with the rest of South East Asia (and even, I dare say, actually pulling ahead from the pack in some fields).

Does this have anything to do with Communism? Nope, I don’t think so. It definitely does not have anything to do with the religions that the Vietnamese believe in, either.

But it has a lot to do with a smart and firm leadership of the country. Whatever principle, doctrine or religion you follow – as perfect or imperfect as they can be – it comes down to the people leading the country to make a difference. Evil and greed can overcome anyone in power, whatever path they claim to follow.

I am not saying what is bad or good, I am just saying that there are more pressing things we need to think about rather than a war of ideology.


Flame on!

Why Vietnam needs bigger traffic jams to boost its mobile ‘net

Having lived in Jakarta for most of my career, the legendary commute with the obligatory traffic jams made me turn to mobile internet for many of my personal and work needs, like email, Twitter, news browsing, and traffic info services like Infoll and Lewatmana. This is one of the reasons mobile internet has surged in Jakarta, and is only pushed higher by cheaper data rates, addiction to social networks and location-based services (which are only relevant on mobile-internet enabled devices).

Then, what happens in a city where the commute (and traffic) is not so bad, and you can get a WiFi connection virtually at any coffee shop, restaurant or mall in the city?

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