Presentation Woes

In Summer’10, I was assigned an elective module- MUS266. Everyone had to come up with an individual presentation to share with the class, and we could present on anything and everything- as long as it was related to music.

Truth be told, given the free reign we had over what to present, I had no idea what to present on. Or rather, I was clueless with regards to HOW I was going to present my presentation. I didn’t want slides; that was too, in my humble opinion, perfunctory and uninteresting. I could exhibit a musical talent, but I had (sadly) none to speak of. What was I to do then?

Then I thought, Ah!

I could create my own video to share with the class!

And so I embarked on my video-making journey with Windows Movie Maker. I must admit though, it was a lot harder than I had thought it would be. Although I had a simple concept in mind, it was pretty tough for me to execute it. I ran into a couple of technical errors and compatibility issues; I was very lucky to have a friend to guide me along. 🙂

Through that experience, I have learnt to better appreciate every video I watch. It may be really easy for viewers like me to simply click on a video and enjoy its content, but it surely isn’t as easy to create it.

For now.. do check out the fruits of my (really hard) labor! 🙂


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A Need to Engage

Humans have always thrived on communication; today’s socially-tuned customers are a more vocal bunch than ever. And regardless whether they’re communicating via email, on social media or via other mediums, they expect to be heard and responded to. Quickly.

The way customers used Facebook and Twitter to shout down the Gap’s new logo in 2010 is just one dramatic example of the impact today’s newly-empowered social consumers can have on a business.

For businesses, vocal consumers have proved to be both a challenge and an opportunity. It means you know exactly what customers are saying about you — both positive and negative comments. You can’t keep them mum, but these comments can, however, provide invaluable insight into what’s working and what’s not working with your product or service. Businesses should, therefore, participate in the dialogue with consumers and begin to use customer feedback to make informed business decisions.

Businesses that do not listen to their customers are missing out on a priceless opportunity to see their business through their customers’ eyes — and to use that intelligence to improve the overall customer experience.

A precious reservoir of raw, unfiltered business intelligence is yours for the taking, only if you’re willing to listen.

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Journalism: Reborn

At a recent conference, The New York Times‘ publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., expressed that eventually, he expects the “Gray Lady” to cease as a physical newspaper.

As of the end of 2010, more people have gotten their news from the Internet, rather than from traditional newspapers. Indeed, much of the news that we consume today is made aware to us through online mediums. Or rather, we have begun to seek them through online resources. It’s not surprisingly, really, considering how the Internet, and the subsequent social media phenomenon, has become such an integral part of our lives. We blog, tweet, write on Facebook walls; news as it is, has been redefined. We want it quick. We seek the layman’s point of view. In sharing our thoughts and latest discoveries, we have all, unknowingly, become creators of news ourselves.

Does it spell the end for professional journalism, then?


Traditional media is more important than ever.

Traditional newsrooms are still the most efficient sources of news production today. Thanks to a tested (although sometimes dysfunctional) mode of operations, most are able to deliver quality reporting on a predictable basis. Few full online news teams have been able to achieve this. Despite all the buzz about online news being efficient and viral, there would be little to Tweet and discuss online, if not for traditional media.

However, the concept of journalism today needs to be refined.

Journalism isn’t dead. What it needs, is a new business model. A better business model. A whole new experience incorporating social media. Free for consumers, paid by advertisers. A model that not only embraces social media, but allows for vigorous participation and contribution by the laymen. A collaborative framework, if you’d like. A full fledged tablet newspaper.

As Kevin Rose, founder of, would imagine it:

“If I’m reading something, I want to see where my friend left off, or I want to be able to leave a voice annotation around a chapter so if a friend stumbles upon that chapter they can listen to what my thoughts were around that area. I want rich media incorporated into my literature. I want the ability to go out and look up instantly on Wikipedia what something means or see pictures or video around that. That doesn’t exist today.”

Nothing’s for sure today, but the possibilities tomorrow are endless.

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Obama tweets… “Yes we can!”

Any politician worth his salt today should be fully aware of, and be able to harness the power of the internet to strengthen his or her political campaigns.

U.S.’s President Barack Obama is one famous and successful example. This man of charisma wowed and moved people worldwide; he did so through his effective use of social media in a bid to connect with his voters and win over his detractors.

Following Barack Obama’s successful use of social networking, British parties have redoubled their rush on to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. A few engaged Minister of Parliaments use such sites not only to broadcast their views but also to listen to their constituents. Locally, there’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr George Yeo, who uses Facebook and has a blog.

However, here’s the flip side: too much political effort online simply mimics traditional marketing-driven campaigning – treating voters as little more than shoppers, and policies as slickly packaged products. The overlooked lesson of Obama’s campaign is that it treated voters as citizens with active roles in a democratic society rather than passive consumers swayed by party marketing.

Some politicians fail to realize that it is a different arena in the virtual world.  Therefore, therein lies the need for politicians to carefully consider their game online, and how best to make it work for them.

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3x +4y =… wait, let me check my tutorial online.

Ever felt lost during a mathematics/statistics lecture?

Ever felt like you couldn’t cope, that your lecturer must’ve been speaking in Greek?

Ever felt like asking your lecturer to repeat just once more, but was too shy to ask?

I know I have.

So you think you’d have to spend hours in the library playing catch-up, right?

With the growth of multimedia on the internet, the answer is thankfully, no.

A simple search of “free math lessons online” gets you this:

and then there is always trusty Youtube:

Thousands of free resources designed to help, and all for free.

You might question, how are kids going to benefit from these resources when they are mostly non-interactive, one-way tutorials and videos? How is a student to ask a teacher to explain more succinctly? Indeed, online resources do have their drawbacks, but these shortcomings are not crippling.

There are benefits galore. For one, students get to pause, rewind and repeat these online videos/resources as they please, and they are even able to choose the format that they would like their lesson to be presented: be it textual, visual or audio form. With the internet, learning has also begun to traverse time and space. A student can log on at 3am (when I know many of you are still up!) and still be able to view a video on say, algebra. He or she no longer has to physically consult a teacher, and especially so for less complex questions. These advantages, through a student’s own customization, address the perennial issue of differing learning styles and needs of the individual.

What makes it even better is the fact these resources are free, with no compromise on quality. Any student with an internet connection is able to access them with little effort.

I am not of the view that such initiatives and technology should fully replace lecturers in the flesh. However, I am certain that these online multimedia resources will make a great complement.

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Wow, Fiona Xie’s sex tape? *CLICK!*

Recently, Facebook users have been tricked into clicking links that are supposed to lead one to a sex video featuring local celebrity Fiona Xie.

However, according to global IT security and data protection company Sophos, this is merely but a part of a ‘clickjacking’ scam currently spreading on the popular social networking site, following a series of similar scams involving Hollywood stars.

By its formal definition, Clickjacking is a malicious technique of tricking Web users into revealing confidential information or taking control of their computer while clicking on seemingly innocuous Web pages. A vulnerability across a variety of browsers and platforms, clickjacking takes the form of embedded code or script that can execute without the user’s knowledge, such as clicking on a button that appears to perform another function.

In other words, Clickjacking, or ‘likejacking’, scams get users to click on items on webpages without knowing what they are actually clicking on.

In the latest of such frauds, a seductive picture of Fiona Xie sitting in a bathtub is accompanied by a message reading:

“Fiona Xie. Is she REALLY as innocent as she looks?
Private sexual videos of famous Singapore celebrities here. Only enter if you are 18 years old and above.”

The scam misleads users into believing that one of their friends have ‘Liked’ the message and impels them to click further.

The click takes the browser to a webpage which then uses the clickjacking technique to fool users into unknowingly saying they ‘Like’ the page as well. Instead of finding any sex videos of Fiona Xie, people will find themselves having to complete a survey.

This is the reason for the scam, as the scammers make money for every survey completed. Victims may also be embarrassed, since their search for Fiona Xie’s sex video would be known to all their Facebook friends. It is also how the scam is perpetuated, with one hapless victim plugging the scam to his Facebook friends in hopes that they too will click on it and spread it to their contacts.

To avoid being ensnared by such scams, Facebook users are advised to review their wall posts with care before clicking anything. They should also check their recently-installed Facebook applications to avoid being victimised.

On the bright side, however, this link does not contain any malware or virus. Yet, imagine the harm such a seemingly innocuous click can do to your computer. It doesn’t take extreme brillance to come up something malicious to harm computers; all it takes is a keen understanding of human behaviour and psychology to almost make people do anything you want them to.

Almost amazing stuff, but definitely scary.

Is your computer protected today?

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I wonder what my neighbor is doing.. let me Google it.

google maps Google Maps on Android 2.0

I was bored and restless last night. So what I did was to log on to Google Maps on my Blackberry, and I started checking out random places all over the world.

Great Wall of China..

The Imperial Palace in Japan.. (I could see their lawn HAHA)

My own house..

You name it, Google Maps’ve got it.

I was in Sydney a couple of weeks back, so I checked out “Waterloo”, “University of Sydney”, “International House”.. basically the places that I’ve visited.

I found it so amazing that I could zoom in to such a great extent. From a tiny dot “Sydney” on the world map, I could zoom into a particular district, say “Surrey Hills” or “Bondi Junction” in a matter of clicks. There are even snapshots of the places available via a click. Imagine how useful is that for someone who has never been to the place but’d like to visit. Easy peasy.

Singapore was worse. I could hardly find Singapore on the world map. But I managed to zoom in until our tiny red dot appeared, and to the various districts. Even my own housing estate, and my school.

and this is just one of the very user-friendly and helpful Internet tools that Google has to offer. Imagine how the rest’d be like! Plus, I wonder how anymore useful these Internet tools can get in the future. Then again, nothing is impossible. (Not with Google at least, with so much $$$$ to spare and some amazing brains to boot!)

Like me, you thought internet tools like these were awesome, right?

Some would beg to differ.

Andrews Air Force Base: Satellite View

According to The Telegraph UK,  “terrorists attacking British bases in Basra are using aerial footage displayed by the Google Earth internet tool to pinpoint their attacks, say Army intelligence sources.”

Documents seized during raids on the homes of insurgents last week uncovered print-outs from photographs taken from Google. The satellite photographs show in detail the buildings inside the bases and vulnerable areas such as tented accommodation, lavatory blocks and where lightly armoured Land Rovers are parked.

These Internet tools have therefore sparked concerns for privacy and security issues.

With these internet tools, Google extends power to the layperson. We no longer have to be a specialist or professional in a particular field to be able to engage in the related activities. Enjoy astronomy? There’s Google Sky. Want to analyse trends? There’s Google Trends, and even Google Insights. Many things we couldn’t or found it difficult to do in the past are now possible with a few clicks.

How we choose to handle this power deviates into an entirely different issue altogether.

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