10 Tech tips you didn’t know about

Tech columnist David Pogue shares 10 simple, clever tips for computer, web, smartphone and camera users. And yes, you may know a few of these already — but there’s probably at least one you don’t. Some however, didn’t work for me, like the double-space on my Samsung s3 just gave me a –double space.

Why is Malaysia trailing Singapore, Taiwan, Korea

A lot of people ask why Malaysian has fallen behind countries like Korea, Taiwan or Singapore in terms of our economic development. The answer most politicians give is corruption–but there’s hardly any data to suggest that’s a big issue–at most corruption can account for the ‘loss of income’. There’s no guarantee that the money we saved by eliminating corruption would be spent wisely on good projects, there’s no guarantee we’d be where Korea, Taiwan or Singapore is even if we had no corruption. Do you think there’s corruption in Kelantan, yet they seem to be trailing behind everyone in terms of development? Low corruption is not a guarantee of good education.

So what do Singapore, Korea and Taiwan have in common, that may explain their leap-frogging us economically?

They have great people–now don’t get me wrong, Malaysians are great people–but we’re not good at science, or maths, or engineering–or anything technical for that matter.

The two things that Singapore, Korea and Taiwan have in common are high scoring TIMSS students and top notch quality universities in their borders.

Firstly, they score extremely high on the TIMSS for Science and Maths. Their high-school students, kick our high school students ASS!

Secondly they have world class universities in their borders. In fact Singapore have two prime Universities (NUS and Nanyang) both of which feature in the Top 10 Universities in Asia–in fact they’re the Top 50 schools for engineering in the WORLD!! Korea and Taiwan have entire swaths of world ranking universities within their borders, which translates to a lower expenditure on education for high performing students and their scholarship sponsors, but also high quality fresh graduates rolling out into the job market every year.

In comparison, Malaysia has just one University in the top 100 Universities in World (UKM is ranked 87) and we rank at the BOTTOM third in the TIMSS for Science and Maths. So basically at some point it becomes garbage in, garbage out–how do you expect to grow a world class University when you’re sending the bottom 3rd of the world to study in that University.

And that’s my problem with Pakatan’s free tertiary education–if you give away crap for free–it’s still crap! However, my biggest gripe is still with Barisan, because it’s on their watch that we experience such a sharp decline in our education standards–particular during the time of TSMY tenure as education minister.

What makes matters worse is that we’re slowly trailing Thailand, not just in TIMSS but in our university rankings as well, yet no politician has made this the cornerstone of their campaign, no single politician thinks that the future of our country is more important than lower car prices, Rosmah’s ring or the virtues of a caretaker government. This is the future of Malaysia–and no one seems to be bothered.

Malaysiakini twitter account hacked

 

In what appears to be an escalating amount of cyber-attacks on the online web portal, Malaysiakini reported that they’re twitter account has been hacked by a group calling itself Sarkas-Siber.

Malaysiakini now follows in the footsteps of other notable newspapers who’ve had they’re twitter account hacked, hopefully twitters recent announcement for two-factor authentication may help reduce the high number of hacks the social network faces on a regular basis.

The news of the hack comes hot on the heels of a Malaysiakini article claiming local ISP’s are blocking access to their websites. Although I doubt the claim, there’s no debating that Malaysiakini is coming under a lot of flak these days, being the main online news portal in Malaysia and quite possibly the only one that reports on opposition news.

Let’s hope they manage to stay up over the GE weekend.

F-Secure hackathon result

F-Secure Hackathon Malaysia Winner
F-Secure recently had a Hackathon in Malaysia, with the grand prize being a dinner with Miko Hyppönen. Miko is sort of like the Mick Jagger of Computer Security, Miko also  made international news in 2011, when he tracked down and visited the authors of the first PC virus in history, Brain.A. Hyppönen produced a documentary of the event. The documentary was published on YouTube.

The winner of the Hackathon was Tan Kok Boon (pic) who stole the spotlight with his groundbreaking application which allows users to monitor and prevent threats using F-Secure’s World Map Interface. Tan won the award for ‘ The Most Innovative Application’ and the award for ‘The Best Overall Performance’. Also notice from the picture, what device was the winner of the Hackathon using to code? It’s a MAC!

Which just goes to show, the OS of your laptop is almost irrelevant now–and pretty soon the OS of your phone will go the same way. Continue reading

Government Network used to download porn : Privacy is dead

Just how private are your searches…turns out they aren’t private at all.

The wonderful people at Torrentfreak did an amazing piece of investigative journalism today. Upset over the passing of CISPA, they decided to do an internet check on how active the House of Representatives were–on bit torrent. It turns out with a couple of IP addresses, and some elbow grease you can pretty much find out how active a certain IP range is on bit-torrent or even on searching porn!!

So using the same techniques that Torrentfreak used, and applying them to the Malaysian e-Government official service provider “Government Integrated Telecommunication Network  (GITN)“,  your friendly neighbourhood Tech Evangelist manage to find some pretty interesting results!

The GITN is owned by Telekom Malaysia and is dubbed the “official network provider for the e-Government” in Malaysia–so let’s see what the official network for the e-government was being used for?

First off, someone was using the GITN network to download torrents–not exactly surprising, but judging by the variety of torrents (everything from Dark Skies to Naruto to Discovery Channel documentaries) it looks like more than one person was doing the downloading.

Torrent Activity on the Government Network

Also equally interesting was that someone used the GITN network to download porn. I’m no expert, but I’m thinking Gangbanged.XXX isn’t really a discovery channel documentary. Continue reading

Pitchin.my Crowdfunding success in Teach a Child to Read

A couple of months back, I wrote a short post about a Malaysian project that was successfully funded on kickstarter. Today, I can proudly say that Malaysians continue to surprise me in untold ways.

Pitchin.my is the Malaysian kickstarter, and recently it saw a successful funding of a project on it’s website–that literally brought tears to my eyes. The project entitled “Sponsor a Child to Read” was done by an English teacher from a rural school in Negeri Sembilan with a small-ish goal to raise a relatively small-ish USD3000 to provide books to 30 students with low literacy level from SMK Teriang Hilir. Let me tell you, there’s nothing small-ish about teaching 30 students.

Liew Suet Li, the English teacher who started the project, goes on to elaborate that: Continue reading

Datuk Maglin Dennis D’cruz in Klang : The non-updating Minister

So it’s official. Datuk Maglin D’Cruz will compete in N.48 Kota Alam Shah in Klang. Sadly this is true.

I never liked Datuk Maglin, he’s the Deputy Information Communications and Culture Minister that was looking at ways to ‘control’ social media. I won’t go much further as to why this is a bad idea–but it just goes to show how in touch Datuk Maglin is on the social media.

To put things into perspective, Datuk Maglin only setup a blog for his assault on the DUN seat yesterday. You heard that right, we had a Deputy Minister of Information Communications, that only started to blog–yesterday!! That’s not as worrying as the fact, that his facebook page wasn’t updated since October 2011.

How do you qualify to be a DEPUTY MINISTER in INFORMATION COMMUNICATIONS–when you don’t have  a proper blog or properly maintain your Facebook page?

Things get more strange–because Datuk Maglin appears to have 2 websites–one which is his blog for the N.49 seat (which started only yesterday), and another at mdcruz.my. I mention mdcruz.my, simply because that website is still wishing visitors happy new year–for 2012 (pic below)!! Needless to say as of today, there is no mention of Datuk Maglin competing in N.48 Kota Alam Shah on Datuk Maglins official website. The website appears to be last updated more than a year ago.

If Datuk Maglin can’t even update his own bloody website and facebook page, while he was Deputy Minister of Information Communications–that doesn’t really speak volumes of his ability now does it?

Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz

Maxis announces LTE support for iPhone 5

iPhone 5 no LTE support from Maxis Malaysia

Maxis announced that their network now supports LTE on the iPhone 5, which is a bit strange to me. Initially the MCMC announced that the telcos awarded the LTE frequencies were given band 7 of the spectrum–which wasn’t compatible with the iPhone 5.

However, something must have changed, SoyaCincau recently reported that:

…Back then, LTE in Malaysia was only available on one spectrum, the 2600MHz (band 7) spectrum, which is not compatible with the iPhone 5 and the new iPad. Early on, there were talks about repurposing the existing 1800MHz spectrum currently used for GSM to support LTE and while telcos confirmed that 1800MHz will eventually be used for LTE, both regulators and operators didn’t provide much information on when and how it will happen.

As it turns out, the 1800MHz refarming is happening and Maxis is quick to stake its claim as the first operator in Malaysia to make band 3 LTE available to Malaysians

Based on my limited knowledge on this stuff, and a few conversation with some telco folks, this is actually quite common. The 1800MHz spectrum was given out long ago for non-4G use, and Maxis just quickly revamped their network to allow the iPhone 5 users to hop onto the LTE bandwagon–but in very selected places only. It remains to be seen, just how fast Maxis can roll out to the entire country, or even if they have plans to do this at all.

Digi and Celcom on the other hand seem to be taking their time–with the imminent launch of the next iPhone by the end of the year, and with no indication of which LTE band the next generation phones will support–it’s still a bit in the air at the moment if you ask me.

Also, I guess the MCMC are to busy trying to patrol the internet to worry about the LTE spectrum.

Anwar may have changed Malaysia, but Mark, Larry and Sergey changed the world

Mark Zuckerberg Larry Page Sergey Brin

If Pakatan win the next election, I would recommend that they award the title of Tan Sri or at least Dato’ to the following:

Larry Page and Sergey Brin:

Co-founders of Google, who own both the video sharing site Youtube, and the blogging service Blogger.com. Without these two free services the message from the opposition would not have reached so many Malaysians, so effectively in such a short time-span. 12 years ago, before broadband or Google, the opposition were forced to resort to pamphlets and flyers, most of which was ineffective and expensive. Without Larry and Sergey, the Opposition would have not technology to spread their message to the masses. Anwar and Co’ owe more to the technology of Sergey and Larry than any amount of funds they may have obtained from any other party (foreign or domestic)

Mark Zuckerberg:

Founder of Facebook, the de-facto social network for Malaysian. Facebook is so famous even my mother uses it–and I recently received a friend invite from my mother-in-law!!

Facebook allowed the youtube videos and blog post from various opposition parties to be spread from friend to friend, without Facebook videos wouldn’t have gone ‘viral’. Together Facebook and Google were instrumental in allowing the opposition a platform to preach their good news in 2008–in 2013 they might just allow them to form a new government. 

Matt Mullenweg & The WordPress Foundation:

Matt is the creator of the blogging platform (and service) WordPress.

WordPress runs the blogs of many NGOs and even politicians–except Khairys. Even Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s website runs on WordPress.

WordPress took the publishing of blogs, and made it into an open-source platform that anyone could use–and pretty soon everyone was using it. Without wordpress, blogs like Harris Ibrahim’s The People’s Parliament would not be possible (although he may have still launched ABU), in fact it remains to be seen how social activism would have evolved if WordPress hadn’t made it easier for social activist to blog.

Jack Dorsey

Co-founder of Twitter, the micro-blogging platform that took the world by storm. Twitter allowed for politicians like Lim Kit Siang and many others to ‘micro-blog’ while on the road. This meant they could spread their message without sitting behind a computer screen writing long articles, but write short ‘tweets’ that could be spread virally in seconds. It also meant, that for the first time Politicians could actively engage the public while on the go.

Without twitter 83k people wouldn’t be able to see where LKS was, or more than 1 million people wouldn’t be able to see where Najib was (Although some of those followers are suspect)

Post-humous award to Steve Jobs:

Steve Jobs may no longer be with us, but his legacy will remain with us forever. The iPhone–the worlds first truly ‘smart’ phone, allowed for people to connect on the go. Without the smartphone, twitter wouldn’t be possible and all the effects that twitter has had on our political landscape.

Conclusion

Anwar Ibrahim has changed the Malaysian political landscape–no doubt about it. Whether you support him or not, merely changes the fact on whether you accept it was good change or bad change, but everyone accepts that he’s changed it.

These guys however,–Larry, Sergey, Matt, Jack and Steve–they changed the world!

It’s quite clear if you want to change Malaysia, you’d want to join politics–but if you want to change the world–there’s only one place to be…Technology!!

Stay Tuned for part 2.

Malaysiakini goes free from 17th April for GE13

Got a note from Malaysiakini today, for all you stingy-porkers out there who read all the malaysiakini news reposted by various parties, but never really paid for the subscription–here’s some good news.

Malaysiakini will go free from 17th April onwards, to pave the way for MORE adverts (like we didn’t have enough) but also to allow Malaysiakini to respond to attacks more effectively. Having to cater to two customer models makes responding to DDOS attacks a bit harder–though I can’t imagine why.

It’s however good news all-around. Malaysiakini will extend the subscription if you were already paying, and if you never were a customer, you now have access to all the news from Malaysia no.1 Online News Portal. Continue reading