Archive for February 2009

New Media – The Next Frontier

It’s official. The government (Or rather PAP) will leverage on new media in the next General Election.

No surprise actually. There has already been talks about this for quite some time. Since the government invited Eric Schwartzman to give a talk on New Media to the Civil Servants last October, we all knew that they are not going to take the new media lightly. After all, this is the natural step to take. It would be foolish if PAP isn’t going the new media way. Look at how Obama make use of the new media during the presidential election.

It’s good that PAP is going to to leverage on the new media. I hope the opposition parties like WP and SDA are doing likewise. In the end, the one who is going to benefit is the voters. We will be able to access more information about the candidates that we are voting for. More places to voice out our opinions. The next election is going to be an exciting one. I hope my Jurong GRC won’t get walkover again. (Hello opposition party, you reading this?)

There are signs that the election is coming soon. Yawning Bread spotted a Channel News Asia page that says “General Election 2009” although the contents are from the 2006 election.

Looks like there might be a chance that we will have an early election. Time to get ready guys.

The Singtel Dream

And so, NTT, Macryu and I attended the HTC, Google and Singtel press conference last friday for the launch of the HTC Dream. Or should I say The Singtel Dream.

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There wasn’t much excitement (at least for us) about the phone since it was already launched elsewhere in the world. We also managed to play with the HTC Dream way before Singtel announced that they will be bringing in the device.

The more interesting part about the HTC Dream would be the localized applications. The SavyShopper application looks interesting. The SavyShopper allows you to scan the barcode of a product and will return you a list of places where the product is sold. Plus the pricing for you to compare prices. Pretty good, but we heard that big supermarket like NTUC Fairprice and Cold Storage aren’t using the application currently. So the only major supermarket chain now is Sheng Siong. We’ll see how it go.

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Another interesting application is the mioTV. It is no surprise that Singtel decided to bring mioTV to the HTC Dream. (But why didn’t they bring it to iPhone too?) It would be interesting to be able to watch mioTV while on the move. But my only 2 question is: Are we able to watch mioTV using 3G without any lag? How much will the data charges be if you watch a 1 hr movie?

The HTC Dream is available at all Hello Shop and Singtel authorized distributors. Pricing for HTC Dream (In SGD, 24mth contract, after $200 trade-in):
$238 with 3G iFlexi Lite plan ($39 per mth)
$138 with 3G Flexi plan ($56 per mth)
$38 with 3G Flexi Plus ($95 per mth)

Customers who sign up between 21 and 22 Feb will receive unlimited data download for 6 months. (Over already) Customer who sign up thereafter will receive unlimited download for 1 month.

Check out Tech65 live blog during the press conference.

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Many thanks to Ivy from Singtel and Gina from The Right Spin for inviting us to the press conference.

For the first time in Singapore history…

For the first time in Singapore history, the public transport fare actually went down. Woohoo!!!

Starting 1st April 2009, bus and train fares will be reduced by 2 cents. And no, this is not an April fools joke. They are really going to reduce the fares. And if I’m not wrong, this is the first time in history that the public transport fare has been adjusted downwards. In the past, public transport fare only goes up and never comes down. In fact, they virtually increase the public transport fare every single year. They say its because of the savings they got from this year budget.

The public transport operator also said that they will not request for a fare hike in Oct 2009.

Wow. This is history in the making. Nevermind that the public transport fare was increased by 4 cents back in Oct 2008. Nevermind that the fare hike for 2010 has been brought forward to July instead of October. Enjoy this while you can.

PS: There are rumors that this is a sign that elections is coming. Well, I don’t think it will be this soon. But I guess it will be early 2010, before the July fare hike. :)

Prada Phone by LG and Prada Link First look

Just got my hands on the Prada Phone by LG and Prada Link review unit. Woohoo!!! Been hoping to get the review unit ever since the launch.

Firstly, I must say that the packaging looks great. Super classy. Check out the photo.

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Let’s take a look at the Prada Phone first. Or some people call this the Prada 2.

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The Prada phone comes with a 3.0 inch multi-touch screen. The phone is pretty handy, 10.45 x 5.4 x 1.675 cm and weighs 130g. Comes with the standard stuff like 3.5G, bluetooth and WIFI. 60MB internal memory and a MicroSD slot for expansion. And a 5 megapixel camera with auto focus. The biggest different between the previous Prada Phone and the new Prada Phone is the qwerty keyboard. Pretty good for long SMS/emails.

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The thing I like most about the Prada Phone is that it works seamlessly with the Prada Link. The Prada Link is a watch that connects with the Prada Phone thru Bluetooth. It’s a very stylish digital watch. Check out the different view mode.

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The Prada Link can perform serveral features like reading SMS, Caller ID and rejecting calls. The interface is very simple and easy to use.

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I can’t review the Prada Phone and Prada Link for too long. It’s a hot item now and everyone is wanting to review it. So hang in there, will post a detailed review soon.

Many thanks to Gavin Foo from XPR and Sabrina for passing me the review unit.

Honour our heroes

It’s disheartening to read news article about someone injuring himself while saving another person and have to pay the medical bills.

Dutch Australian IT executive Filip Lou, 34, was in Singapore for a conference when he saved a European woman attempting suicide near the Esplanade. He cut his feet and hands in the process and was bought to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for bandage and tetanus injection. Then comes the disappointing part, he was asked to pay the $90 medical bills.

Hello, this person just risked his life to save another life. Instead of thanking him, the hospital wanted to charge him for his medical bills? Where is the compassion? Well, the good thing is that an unidentified man turned up at the hospital after the newspaper article and paid Mr Lou’s bill.

Why the rigid bureaucracy? Why isn’t there flexibility in the system? Have we become a materialistic society where money is more important than anything else in the world?

This person is a hero. OK, he isn’t a national hero but he risked his life to save a stranger. Shouldn’t we reward him instead of asking him to pay for his medical bills?

Who would dare to risk his/her life to save someone in the future? Shouldn’t we honour our heroes?

And if you look at the history of Singapore, we don’t really have a culture of honouring our heroes and those who have contributed a lot to Singapore. When was the last time a monument was built in honour of people who has contributed to Singapore? Or a road/school/park/hospital named after our hero? We rather come out with stupid names like Compassvale or Anchorvale than name them after people who has contributed to Singapore.

Most of the memorial in Singapore are for World War 2. It’s not that we don’t have any heroes after World War 2. It’s just that we don’t recognize their effort and contributions to Singapore.

Take Mr J.B. Jeyaretnam for example. He is the first opposition MP in Singapore. He contributed significantly to the political scene in Singapore. Yet no memorial for him when he passed away in Sept 08. OK, maybe because he is an opposition.

How about Mr S. Rajaratnam, one of the founding fathers of independent Singapore who wrote the pledge?

Or Mr Kuo Pao Kun who pioneered the Singapore theatre scene.

How about Mr Wee Kim Wee, 4th President of Singapore?

Or Mr Ong Teng Cheong, the 5th President of Singapore? He was the first (and only) elected president of Singapore. And before he became President, he was a Deputy Prime Minister and he pushed for the development of the MRT system. Without him, we might not have MRT and Singapore’s transport system will be in a mess. And we didn’t even give him a state funeral when he passed away back in Feb 2002.

I’m sure there are many more people who has contributed significantly to Singapore but I missed out their name. That is because we don’t honour them and their contributions.

OK, we did name a school after Mr Yusof Ishak and a bridge after Mr Benjamin Sheares. But surely there are a lot more people who has contributed significantly to Singapore and deserved a memorial to be remembered by our children.

It’s disheartening to see that we don’t give credits to those who have contributed to Singapore. Who is willing to step out and contribute to Singapore in the future? Look at America. Washington DC is full of memorials that honour their glorious dead. Daniel Webster Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial just to name a few.

It is even more disheartening when our “beloved” Health Minister Mr Khaw Boon Wan suggested sending the old to nursing home across the Causeway in Johor where it is much cheaper. LOOK, the senior citizens has contributed to Singapore one way or another. You don’t ask them to go Malaysia nursing home when they are old just because it is cheaper there. YOU MAKE IT CHEAPER HERE IN SINGAPORE IF YOU HAVE TO. These are our people. Take care of them when they are old. Its time for us to pay them back for the contributions they have made in Singapore.

Honour our heroes. No matter how big or small their contributions may be.