Archive for June 2009

You have been Rick-Rolled. Rick Astley is not dead

Argh, this is a stupid hoax. Apparently, someone tried to be funny and posted a fake Associated Press article on iReport claiming that Rick Astley is dead. iReport, for those who don’t know, is a citizen journalism site by CNN. This isn’t the first time someone posted fake celebrities death stories on iReport. Last year, someone posted on iReport claiming that Steve Job had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. This news causes Apple shares to fall quite a bit until someone debunk the rumors.

By LIZ SIDOTI
The Associated Press
Monday, June 30, 2009 1:07 AM

Berlin – Best known for his 80′s pop hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Singer / Songwriter Rick Astley has passed away at age 43. Astley’s body was found at the Angleterre Hotel in Berlin, after an ambulance responded to a 112 call from his bedroom. In this call Astley reported chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea,

Paramedics found Astley unconscious in his hotel room. He was rushed to Charité hospital and pronounced dead at 12:32 am, June 30th. The cause of death is unconfirmed.

Astley was in the middle of a concert tour that would end in late August of 2009. He was to return to the United Kingdom at that time.

© 2009 The Associated Press

A few website picked up the story and commented that they doubt its authenticity. Many people beginning tweeting about it. Some of them think that Rick Astley is really dead while others doubt it is true. Then the funny thing happen. Malaysia’s The Star published the news on their website, citing reference from AP. Several twitterers from Malaysia saw the article and begin tweeting about it. After all, if it appears on traditional media, it should be true, right? Wrong.

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Everyone is talking about it until the word “Rick Astley” became the top trending word on Twitter. When I saw the news on The Star, my first reaction was to check twitter and google for more reference. Most of the tweets are pointing to iReport or The Star. The source of the news is from AP, yet I couldn’t find the article on AP’s website. Something isn’t right here. Then someone by the nick Khasrod commented on the iReport article:

1. Monday, June 30.
2. Rick Astley left Berlin about a week ago, his last show was in Norway and he was to head from there to Denmark. Not sure why he would be in Germany again.
3. He is not on tour according to his website, he has a total of one show scheduled for all of July.
4. The original iReport about this was removed from the website.

I see no reason to give this story any credit right now.

Haha, even the date is wrong. That is confirm a hoax. Rick Astley is not dead.

Which brings me back to a point that I mentioned during the recent Open Room. New Media is a self aggregating medium that will correct itself. If someone post a fake news, it will be debunked by the rest of the community. That is the beauty of new media.

Rick Astley is not dead. He is alive. Whoever started this rumour is sick. Now I wonder what will his reaction be when he wakes up in the morning and discovered people saying that he is dead. Oh well, you guys have just been Rick-Rolled.

Official statement from Rick Astley’s website:

Rick is Alive and Well
Contrary to reports in the press today, Rick is alive and well and looking forward to his concert in Tivoli Gardens in Denmark later this week.
The rumour hit the press earlier this morning, with Rick reported to have been found in hotel room in Berlin.

Support Gazetting Lim Bo Seng’s grave as a National Monument

Today is the 65th Death Anniversary of local war hero Mr Lim Bo Seng. I guess most of us read about Mr Lim Bo Seng during History lesson in Secondary School.

During World War II, he help setup Force 136 to to gather military intelligence about the Japanese in preparations for British’s invasion of Malaya and Singapore. He was captured by the Japanese in March 1944 and was tortured while being imprisoned. But he refused to reveal anything to the Japanese. He died in the early morning of June 29, 1944.

After the war, his remains were brought back to Singapore and buried at a hill in MacRitchie Reservoir. Recently, his family approached the National Heritage Board to gazette Lim Bo Seng’s grave as a national monument. Someone wrote to Mypaper recently and said that Mr Lim’s grave is a in a deplorable state. It’s pretty sad to see the grave of a national hero in such a state.

I hope the authorities would gazette his grave as a national monument. I’ve blog about this topic previously that we don’t have a culture of honouring our heroes. I hope more can be done to recognise the contributions of our heroes. A facebook group has been setup recently. Please join to support gazetting Lim Bo Seng’s grave as a national monument. He has done so much for our country, we can only show our gratitude thru this little gesture.

Honour our hero.

PS: I found an interview with Mr Tan Chong Tee, Mr Lim’s friend and colleague. He spoke about how Mr Lim suffered while being imprisoned by the Japanese.

2 Illusionist, 15 Illusion, 5 minutes, 1 record

I was invited by OMY to witness J C Sum and Magic Babe Ning attempt to break the world record for the most number of grand illusions performed in 5 minutes at Central last Saturday. The previous record was held by Dutch illusionist, Hans Klok who performed 10 illusion in 5 minutes. J C Sum and Magic Babe Ning broke the record by performing 15 illusion in 5 minutes.

Here is the video of their record breaking performance.

Congrats to J C Sum and Magic Babe Ning for breaking the record. Too bad I couldn’t stay longer for the group interaction with them.

Thanks to OMY for the invite.

PS: J C Sum and Magic Babe Ning will be attempting another mega illusion somewhere late August. It will involve teleporting something big. Not exactly sure what big object will it be. More info will be announced later.

Update: The official video can be found here.

Yahoo! Mobile

Yahoo! announced a new mobile site last week at CommunicAsia. I was one of the bloggers invited to the blogger session where we were given a demo of the new Yahoo! mobile site.

Some of you might know that Yahoo! have an App on iPhone. You can read news, check weather, check email, Yahoo! messenger, add bookmarks, RSS feeds etc etc etc. I bet all the non-iPhone users are jealous by now. But iPhone isn’t the only phone in the world. In order to reach out to more users, Yahoo! (same goes to other companies) need to extend their products to other platform like Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. But here is the problem, there are so many mobile phone operating system out there in the market, with more coming up every few months. Its difficult for Yahoo! (or any company) to support all the mobile operating system. So its either they develop an app for every mobile OS out there, or go web based. And that is why Yahoo! launched a web based mobile site, to reach out to more users.

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The Yahoo! mobile site is somewhat similar to the Yahoo! iPhone apps. The mobile site is positioned as a mobile phone starting point to the internet and is highly personalized. And there are a lot of stuff you can put on the Yahoo! mobile site. You can access your Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Hotmail from the mobile site. The widget will show you how many unread emails you have. You can also access Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Address Book and Yahoo! Calendar from the mobile site too.

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There is also Yahoo! oneSearch, Yahoo! news and Social Pulse. Social Pulse is like a Social Networking aggregator which integrate status updates from your Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flicker, Friendster etc etc. It’s pretty useful. You can see all your friend’s updates on one single page.

My favorite part about the Yahoo! Mobile site is the “My interest” section. Users can add and manage their favorite content from Weather, popular categories like news topic, RSS feeds, sport score, stocks and a lot more. This makes the Yahoo! Mobile very customizable and functional. And the best part of them all is that your setting is saved with your login id. Which means if you are using another device, all you need to do is to login and you can access your customized Yahoo! Mobile site. Pretty neat feature.

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I tried accessing the Yahoo! Mobile site from the 4 major mobile operating system, iPhone, BlackBerry, Symbian and Window Mobile. They all looks almost the same. Sadly, Yahoo! mobile is not supported on Android’s default browser. Strange. But there is a link for users to download a copy of Opera Mini which support Yahoo! Mobile.

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The Yahoo! mobile site can be accessed by more than 400 devices with a HTML-enabled browser. To take that claim to the test, I dig out my old Sony Ericsson K800i (Launched in July 2006) and tried accessing the Yahoo! mobile site. The just like Android, default browser on SE K800i does not support the new Yahoo! mobile site. But you can still view the site after downloading Opera Mini. Wow, I’m impressed.

Do check out Yahoo! Mobile on your mobile device.

Thanks to Sharon From XPR and Yahoo! for the invite.

How did Michael Jackson do the anti-gravity lean?

There is no doubt that Michael Jackson is one of the greatest dancer ever. Do you know that the Moonwalk was previously known as backslide? Michael Jackson popularised this move after performing it during his song “Billie Jean” at television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever on the 25 March, 1983.

There is a move in the song Smooth Criminal call the Anti-gravity lean which seems impossible to do. In this move, Michael Jackson with his dancer will lean forward beyond the centre of gravity. Initially when it was shown in the MTV, people thought that it was just some special effects. That was until he performed that move live during his concert. Here is a short snippet of the Anti-gravity lean.

In actual fact, they are wearing shoes with specially designed heel slot which allows them to hook on a hitch and lean forward. Michael Jackson even patented the system. Brilliant huh?