Monthly archives of “June 2012

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Samsung Microsoft Surface in Malaysia

This week I was attending a Project Delivery Conference in Putrajaya and was neglecting my blog a bit. The last post on the blog was more than a week ago, and that falls short of my target of 2-3 post a week. That being said, I do have some cool stuff that I’d thought you might be interested in.

Samsung Microsoft Surface

The first one is the awesome!! Samsung Microsoft surface device that was displayed. This thing was cool, it was an enourmous tablet with cooler features, check out the video below (filmed with my samsung galaxy S3), also forgive the sound quality and video angle (I’m not a professional you know). The first part of the demonstration is how he used the surface to compare 2 different laptops, by just merging their ’tiles’ together, after that a microsoft specific QR code format pops up that the user can scan and save on their smartphone for further viewing (without the need for the surface). The last part demonstrates how every pixel on the screen is also simultaneously a camera with the ability to pick up coded objects and display information about those objects. The surface was cool, but I really can’t think of practical applications other than the next Iron Man movie, and at a Rm40,000 price tag–it’s way beyond my budget.

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Is Dowloading a banned ebook illegal?

Let’s get straight to the point, the latest case where the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) is prosecuting a store manager is both disgusting and without merit. Not only is she just a Manager carrying out here duties–thereby making the bookstore liable instead of her, but the raid on the bookstore was carried out BEFORE the book was banned by the Home Ministry. So here in Malaysia, not only will the Government be able to persecute you in a guilty until proven innocent manner, but apparently government agencies can persecute for possession of a book before it is banned.

However, politics aside, let’s talk technology!!

What if I used Technology to bypass all government censorship. So instead of buying the book from Borders (or MPH, Popular or Kinokuniya for that matter), I simply download the Kindle version of the book online?

I did an online search, and indeed found that Amazon has a Kindle version of the book retailing for $11.99, if you already own a Kindle in Malaysia, then you can bypass all this drama and simply download the book to your Kindle. Of course, there are legal concerns with just downloading regular books from Amazon, much less banned books–so be warned!!

Now I wouldn’t recommend it and there are huge legal questions, but technically–it can done, and it can done easily. I’m start to finish in 5 minutes–it really is that easy.

My point isn’t that the book should or should not be banned, my point is that the ban can be circumvented with ease using technology. So how effective can any ban be, when most Malaysians have access to the internet?

On top of this is a very interesting question, Does a banning a physical book constitute internet censorship–probably not. However, does banning an electronic book constitute internet censorship? Of course you may say the law makes no distinction between and e-book and an actual physical book, but the law makes no distinction between and ebook and webpage either (they’re all considered publications), and if banning a webpage is obviously internet censorship, isn’t banning an ebook internet censorship as well?

The question I believe can be synthesized into Does Banning and ebook constitute censoring the internet? I don’t have the answer, but I believe there are 2 aspects:

1. The Traditional legal aspect as covered by the Printing and Publications act 1984.

2. The goverment promise as outline in the MSC Bill of Guarantees to not censor the internet.

If you’re a lawyer, I would love to hear your comments.

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Internet Privacy with TOR: Should the internet be anonymous

It’s an irony that while the internet was the first place you could create avatars and split personalities to impersonate others, it has now turned into a free for all buffet for private data. I previously shared on how the ads you see on facebook were inherently tied to the Google searches you perform, and how ad companies have probably gathered so much data on you that they can find out if you’re pregnant before even you do.

With that in mind, many people still have an antiquated concept of a fully private and anonymous internet, in fact in most cases its easier to track an internet connection than an actual physical person, and its actually quite possible that a confiscated computer from your home could prove your whereabouts for the last 2 years. Earlier this year, a 19 year old girl was strangled to death while she was asleep, her alleged killers were actual stupid enough to perform an internet search on “chemicals to passout a person,” “making people faint,” “ways to kill people in their sleep,” “how to suffocate someone” and “how to poison someone”. Needless to say, the evidence seems rock solid, and these dumb criminals would go behind bars.

On the other hand, some criminals aren’t so stupid. In fact, the FBI, Interpol and various other law enforcement agencies have entire departments looking and searching for online criminals who do everything from fake money Nigerian scams to trafficking child pornography on the internet. These guys have proven quite difficult to track because of something called TOR.

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10 Strange things about the ICANN Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD)

I wrote a very long time ago, about cool Top Level domains you could buy. For instance I wanted to buy the .TH top level domain so that my website could be . Unfortunately, I found out that the .TH domain name belongs to Thailand and they’ve pretty made it very difficult for a non-Thai to get a hold of their domain names. You’re probably also familiar with the .TV top level domain belonging to a private enterprise and the country of Tuvalu. Or the .FM top level domain used by most radio stations including Hitz.FM and Mix.FM, this domain belongs to the Federation of Micronesian Islands. However, as cool as Top Level Domains are, they’re pretty limited, the UN list out just 190 member nations, and all in all, we’re looking at no more than 250 Top Level Domains in existence. *my guess

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Watch Netflix, Hulu and even Euro2012 online from Malaysia

Malaysians have always been deprived of real-time video content online.

We’ve no access to Netflix or Hulu, we can’t watch the full episodes of the Jay Leno show online, we can’t watch the BBC replays of the football matches, we can’t even watch videos from TheOnion for crying out loud.

Why? because NBC, FOX, Netflix, Hulu, BBC and even the Onion restrict access to this content to users from only a certain part of the world (specifically America). Americans even get to watch Euro 2012 from ESPN–WHAT?

This an entire country where football is called soccer (ugh!), and they get watch it online?!!

Now, I’m not certain as to why the Studios and Channels would not like to share this content globally, while Americans (and only Americans) get access to this great content, the rest of us, specifically in Asia-Pacific are left in the lurch, waiting for our local Cable company to have it or we resort to torrents. However, what if I told you there was a way for you to access all the great content Americans get to watch online as well, and you could do it from the comfort of your own home.

Netflix cost just USD7.99 (roughly RM30), and full access to Hulu Plus for around the same price. In fact, Hulu is free if you can live with a little out-dated content and some adverts thrown in. If you’re wondering what Hulu and Netflix is, let me break it down to you based on their content.

Imagine paying just RM30 for full access to 8 seasons of Top Gear, 6 seasons of mythbusters, 5 seasons of “How I met your mother”, 7 seasons of Greys Anatomy, 6 volumes of Futurama, 2 seasons of white collar, 8 seasons of that 70’s show , 9 seasons of scrubs and 4 seasons of Heroes–and I’m not even done. On top of it, you have access to hundreds of movies including Iron Man 2, Thor, Kick Ass, The Expendables …even the older movies like Groundhog Day, Meet the Parents , Lost in Translation and if you really wanna go waaay back–GHOSTBUSTER!! (who you gonna call?)

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Netflix accounts for 32% of internet traffic : What it means for pirated content in Malaysia

Maternity leave has long been plaguing womens career, women would usually take an extended leave and risk falling behind their male counterparts. As an extension to this, employers were also hesitant to hire women (particularly pregnant women) since it meant a legally mandated leave of absence that their male colleagues would never take.

Governments have tried to stem this discrimination by passing various enactments preventing employers from discriminating against women and even providing incentives to employers to promote women within their organizations. These changes however–never really worked.

The Scandinavians found a rather cheeky solution to the problem–give men more paternity leave. By giving men as much maternity leave as women, the equality was easily set. Now employers would had no incentive to hire women over men, because men were as likely as women to take extended leave due to a birth of a child. It appears that the ‘standard’ way of trying to solve the problem wasn’t as effective as the less obvious method. Brilliant!

It’s distressing is that even though this method of addressing the inequality has proven so effective in Scandanavia, and there is so much evidence to support it, Malaysia and many other countries have chosen to continue pressing on the ineffective approaches legal enactments and incentives. Choosing instead to neglect the empirical evidence in favor of a more straightforward and less effective approach.

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Skali Cloud: A review ultra-scalable skali Cloud

A couple of months back, I wrote a small article about the Skali Cloud and how I liked the niche approach they took to cloud computing. Skali offers a very unique ultra-scalable instances that can be attached to physical machines of variable performances and storage space. In normal English, that just means you can actually the processor speed, amount of RAM and even storage space of your machine (ok that wasn’t ‘normal’ English).

In contrast, Amazon and every other cloud offering I know of, offer a specific number of machine types (usually 3 to 8) that come in fixed configurations with respect to processor speed, RAM and storage. The great thing about Skali is that if you have certain applications that would require high processing speed with minimum RAM, you can literally create a physical machine that fit your needs exactly. If you used Amazon for example, you’d have to acquire very large instance types on Amazon and usually pay a high premium for storage and memory that you really don’t need. Similarly for applications that don’t require high processing speed, but high amounts of memory instead could equally benefit from creating highly customized virtual machines to suit your performance needs.

A couple of weeks back, a commenter on my Skali cloud post and thanked me for the post, that commenter turned out to be Tengku Farith, the founder of Skali. So I wrote back requesting a small trial setup, and within a few days I manage to setup a trial account with Rm200 credit on the Skali cloud. (pretty awesome!) So I manage to wriggle a couple of hours to spend time toying around with the Skali cloud and here’s what I found: