Archive | August 2011

What Will Usher In The Tablet’s Coming Of Age?

TEMPO/Dasril Roszandi

Echoing Techcrunch’s post that was trying to convince HP to make more TouchPads at an approximate $100 price, I totally concur with the fact that a tablet, whatever brand it may be, will be gobbled up by the masses currently not able to buy an iPad. Because something like this has happened before, in Indonesia.

A few years ago, RIM’s BlackBerry was the talk of the town in Jakarta – it seemed that the BlackBerry had became the device of choice among the Jakarta elite (and shortly to follow, other cities), and virtually making the BlackBerry a status symbol. As the story goes, BlackBerry’s meteoric rise in mindshare (but not really marketshare) was due to the almost viral spread of BlackBerry Messenger usage – despite the existence of Yahoo! Messenger as a cross-platform chat service. The so-called “in crowd” would be chatting via BlackBerry, causing first the flood of grey-market BBs into Indonesia, and a gradual change from the corporate-esque image of BB users, to the “mainstream”, and introduction of cheap, prepaid BlackBerry service.

Read More…

Absurdity Of The Day – Church Cannot Be Built On Street With Islamic Name

So the elected Mr. Diani Budiarto is still defying the constitutional court order to leave GKI Yasmin, Bogor alone, and now saying that churches can’t be built on roads with Islamic names. This is the same guy who married a 19-year-old not too long ago, as his 4th wife.



And Just Like That, The Post-PC Era Is Really Here.

Once again, during the span of the last few hours, the tech scene (kind of) dominates the headlines again. HP, a longtime stalwart of the PC business (and personally, a trusted PC brand) is planning to sell off their PC business. Also most notable, they’re killing off WebOS devices (although it will be interesting to see what they will do with it next). I won’t even bother to link to the various news sources; all tech blogs are churning out article by article about the news, their analysis and so forth. Check out the newsfeed here.

What is interesting to look at, though, that like IBM 6 years before them, they let go of their hardware PC business. A previously fat-margin area has turned into slimmer pickings, due to advances in technology that brought down manufacturing prices, and enabled more players to enter the market with cheaper products. According to Wikipedia, HP is not a small company – 324,000 employees (in 2010), for instance, so their decision to move away from consumer PC is no small feat, either. And following IBM, they will be maintaining their enterprise businesses.

So the 21st century has seen 2 PC giants letting go of their hardware past, while a notably very 21st century internet company actually bought a hardware company. Interesting, right? Who’s to say that Google won’t buy HP’s PC business as well, however unlikely it is?

But here’s what we can see already – the post-PC era is definitely here. Naysayers will be silent from this day on. Perhaps HP has stopped making WebOS devices, but it has not let go of WebOS. No way in hell it would.

Bus Schedule for Phu My Hung – Dong Khoi Shuttle Bus, Ho Chi Minh City

So, there’s a shuttle bus that goes around Phu My Hung, District 7, HCMC and drops everyone at Dong Khoi in District 1, HCMC (and vice versa). Currently the ticket price is 15,000 VND, making it a better option than a taxi (which might cost around 120,000 VND one way). I have adapted the map found on the Phu My Hung website so it is slightly more readable. (Click the image for a larger version)

Here’s a handy timetable also, if the picture confuses you. The times below are the departure times from each stop.

Route 1 (Area H)   Route 2 (Area H)
Phu My Hung (Sky Garden Cafe) Dong Khoi   Phu My Hung (My Khanh) Dong Khoi
07:00 07:30   07:00 07:45
08:00 08:30   08:15 09:00
09:00 09:30   09:30 10:15
10:00 10:30   11:30 12:15
11:00 11:30   14:15 15:00
12:00 12:30   15:30 16:15
13:00 13:30   17:00 17:40
14:00 14:30   18:30 19:15
15:00 15:30   20:30 21:30
16:00 16:30      
17:00 17:30      
17:30 18:00 (only on weekdays)

18:00 18:30      
19:00 19:30      
20:00 20:30      
21:00 21:30      

Thoughts On Independence Day

Just wanted to say this… I’m glad, that despite the inability of the government, the so-called representatives, and the political elite to talk and think about only themselves, national sentiment is at a high and it’s cool again to love your countrynation. We have learned that we ourselves can bring the nation to new heights despite the shameful mess that is Indonesian politics and leadership.

The power, is truly with the people now, to build this nation further. We are Indonesians and we will persevere – we survived hundreds of years of occupation, we fought back invaders after our declaration of independence, and now we are fighting back for independence from corruption and the simple lackluster performance of the executive and legislative.


The Wars On Intellectual Property Rights – To What End?

In one of the largest acquisitions – ever – in world history, Google buys Motorla Mobility for USD 12,5 billion. Now that’s a lot of chilli sauce. I will not get into the details as there are probably already a record number of articles out since the press release until today, reporting, analyzing, cross-analyzing, and so on. You can grab a news feed here.

What Rafe Needleman of CNET says in his article, however, caught my attention:

The accumulation of patent portfolios into a smaller number of bigger players, which themselves are locked in a deadly standoff, has the real potential to slow down the pace of innovation. Which is precisely the opposite reason the patent system was created.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, the current pace of technological advances and the multitude of ways one can enjoy music (read: entertainment) is already calling for some sort of reform of copyright and/or copyright enforcement. Instead of limiting the consumer experience to what copyright law dictates is applicable for some sort of revenue calculation to benefit the copyright holder, shouldn’t it be more flexible? Perhaps we all should sign up for Creative Commons, instead of locking our copyrighted work to companies who simply need to limit entertainment channels for better control of profits?

The escalation of patent wars in the past few weeks, currently climaxing with the H-Bomb Google decided to drop on their partners (and harried news editors), shows something else is wrong with the current state of IPR. As Mr. Needleman pointed out and going on a tangent on that, IPR was basically set up so credit is where credit is due, whoever creates or invents can benefit from their work, encouraging more innovation, and creators/inventors/innovators everywhere are encouraged to work more with the comfort of knowing that their work will be worthwhile.

Now IPR has become an offensive weapon: RIAA lawsuits; Apple blocking Samsung tablets; the sordid case of Intellectual Ventures and the like. The merit-based system that IPR is based on, basically bit itself in the ass because patents (and copyright) can be bought and sold, enabling those with the most money to get whatever IPR they want. Currently IPR is at a premium, which is a boon to the IPR industry, but at what cost to the average consumer? Do these IPR weapon silos actually push innovation or inhibit it? These large companies are buying up giant stores of patents to protect themselves from litigation – but what about what comes next?

Hey, I don’t even know how many patents, belonging to how many parties, are inside the whole package of hardware and software of my smartphone. I assume that all parties are paid with a royalty scheme. Which is good, and the way it should be.

But will these patent wars stop us from getting the best technology we want or need?

Indonesians Working Abroad – Why or Why Not?

Well, here’s another theory why “not many” Indonesians work and stay abroad:

The fact is, there are a lot of Indonesians abroad. A LOT. Working and living abroad. They’re just not that visible, because:

  1. Indonesians tend to adapt themselves to the local traditions of wherever they work and live, at least in public.
  2. Indonesians do bring their culture abroad, but usually for their own consumption; i.e. food. Even in Singapore, which arguably has a lot of Indonesians living and visiting, there is only a handful of authentic Indonesian restaurants.
  3. By the numbers, there are not many Indonesians abroad compared to people from other countries, i.e. India, China, and Vietnam.

There’s also the real issue of job competition. In a world economy teetering on recession, not many jobs are available – for anyone – in Europe or North America, the usual “dream location” for overseas work. A language barrier stands between many and a job in other Asian countries, because many otherwise qualified people may not have the necessary English-speaking or local-language skills to work effectively. Also, for many, the simple fact that the local culture is totally different from what they are used to, living is often impractical or uncomfortable.

These many factors, compounded by the fact that most Indonesians would be reluctant to leave their extended families behind, has probably prevented many people from trying their luck abroad.

Let me share my experience on living abroad, if I may: Read More…

Video Piracy and Copyright Enforcement Reform

As part of my job, I have been scouring the Internet looking for illegal uploads of movies produced and released by my company. It seems that here in Vietnam at least, there is a dominant video streaming model done by these illegal movie sites:
– register a Vietnamese-market oriented domain on an overseas registrar and hosting;
– upload the movies to YouTube, 4shared, Dailymotion and many other similar sites, sometimes using private accounts with private links;
– make a landing page for the movie with all the links to the clips uploaded to the various video/storage services, sometimes using a proprietary Flash player based on JWPlayer;
– place a disclaimer on every page that the site does not host the content, thus the site is fully legal;
– sell ads on the page.

This is just wrong.

I’m all for the reform of copyright enforcement, but I still support the basic concept that the copyright holder should have some say on any exploitation of their content, and receive a share of any money made from it. A more flexible, liberal concept of copyright and copyright enforcement, should still benefit the creator.

How do we reform copyright law? I don’t have any details yet, but perhaps more flexible controls for use, reuse and derivatives; positive enforcement i.e. making it attractive for people/businesses to support copyright… But this is something that needs a lot of thought and discussion, and perhaps needs an enormous reworking of the copyright concept. Perhaps abolishing copyright ownership altogether? Who knows. The shorter-term solution is innovating the business models and the customer experiences, but still, in my opinion, these kinds of websites need to go. File-sharing is one thing, but making money of somebody else’s work – without permission and any revenue share – is downright wrong.