Another example of how Google makes tough subjects like finance a whole lot of fun to understand. This animation describes some of Google Finance's newest features. Narrated by Vivi Costache, it reminds me of South Park, yet emphasises the key selling points of the service -- bravo!
Michael Hughes has created an amazing series of his travel photos on Flickr. He holds up souvenirs and postcards precisely over the real-life scene and photographs it with the right perspective. The result -- something really clever that looks surreal almost all the time.
Captured over lunch at DELIcious, a cozy little restaurant over at Bangsar Village. Thanks of course to Chin Geh and me for spotting it first ;) The photo above was snapped with her Sony Ericsson mobile phone, and depicts a silhouette of the door signage against a solid wall on a sunny day. Thanks, Tsu Lin!
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.
This means that it is possible to spy using mobile phones, even when they are turned off. Here's a link to a promoter of Nokia spy phones -- Endoacustica.com -- amazing spying capabilities, don't you think so?
We are all living on the edge, so be cautious of everything around you.
Geni indicates your progress in completing your profile by displaying it in a large percentage format, e.g. -- Your profile is 30% complete.
Profiles are usually lengthy and cumbersome, but this seems to be a simple way to incentivise users to complete it. I like how they've gone the extra mile to tell me how I can complete it faster, with breakdowns of what they consider to be important sections.
Geni lets you create a family tree through our fun simple interface. When you add a relative's email address, he or she will be invited to join your tree. That relative can then add other relatives, and so on. Your tree will continue to grow as relatives invite other relatives.
Your family tree is kept private at all times, and is only accessible by those within the tree. It's extremely viral, as it sends an email to every new family member. There's no complicated registration process; just the basics of a family tree in a neat Flash app.
I've spent the past hour adding my immediate family members, and those on my father's side. I've just realised that I hardly know much about my mother's side of the family. I'm addicted to it now, and hope that others in my family will continue to update the tree.
My hunch is that the technology seen here will explode on to the mainstream soon as it simplifies the method of creating a structured network to show how everyone is related. We could possibly replicate this to many different social circles, especially those where the types of members are easily defined and constricted to a set. Expect to see lots of new innovations centred around Geni soon. I sense a commercial API on the horizons, despite the privacy concerns.
History has much to offer, and Dr. Martin Luther King was one of the greatest speakers of the last millennium. I just watched his speech delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Stay tuned, as the last 5 minutes of his speech is packed with lots of passion.
Here's a memorable quote:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
Better known as the Amazon EC2. Somehow I missed the coverage about this innovation back in August 2006. In my opinion, it's a revolutionary product.
This amplifies the fact that the cost of building a web-driven business is dropping significantly. It makes more sense now to bet on reliable services built to scale and be readily available 24x7 -- $72 for a workhorse server is value for money.
Excerpt from Techcrunch:
Amazon Web Services are readying their latest service called EC2 which will allow users to setup and run servers and computing capacity in the cloud. Users of the service can setup a server instance which is hosted with Amazon, and then access and use the servers they setup just like any other. With EC2 there would no longer be a requirement to source and setup physical hardware and the virtual server instances are charged back to the user based on the CPU, storage and bandwidth usage.
The pricing of EC2 is 10 cents per instance hour (which comes to $72 per month for a server that is always available), 20 cents per GB of bandwidth and 15 cents per GB of storage (storage is with S3). Compared to traditional server providers such as ev1servers this may not be priced low enough (especially the bandwidth cost, considering most hosting providers include 2000GB or more of bandwidth) but it may prove to be a good solution for some users.
Now all we need is a robust geographical spread of such facilities to cater for customers outside of North America. With the recent Asian Internet crisis, it is imperative that businesses aim to cater towards their local / regional target markets first.
I like how Flikzor has added some fun to the private beta application process. Everytime you hit http://flikzor.com, you will see a counter indicating the number of passes left. That's a nice spin, even if it's trivial. Here are some screenshots of the application process that leads to a registration page.
I've registered and explored the range of features in the beta -- they've got some good stuff brewing. I haven't been able to publish my personal video greeting yet, as the playback seems to be timing out frequently. Will post one of their widgets once this issue is resolved.
I just completed watching the keynote address by Steve Jobs at MacWorld 2007. Just under 2 hours long, with a performance by John Mayer. All throughout you'll hear several exclamations of "Isn't this/it incredible?"
It certainly is.
It's not just the upcoming iPhone, but Steve's magnetic and charismatic presentation -- he's an excellent speaker, and an entertaining marketeer.
I've always followed the webcast of the MacWorld keynote, especially since I find Steve Jobs to be one of the best presenters around. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll have to wait till Thursday, 10AM (MYT, GMT +8), as Apple will only be providing a delayed webcast this year. (I wonder why)
In a statement released this morning, Apple confirmed that it will webcast the keynote -- but doesn't plan to do so until 6:00 PM Pacific Time Tuesday, nine full hours after Jobs' keynote is scheduled to begin. An Apple spokesman contacted by MacCentral was unable to provide any further details about the reason for the delayed Webcast.
Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that's frickin' thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the sensor when it's close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth with EDR and A2DP, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quadband GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate.
If you hold a Maybank2u.Premier account, formerly known as the i-Account, then here's a handy tip in case you need to retrieve your old statements. Best part? You can retrieve all your statements from 2004, without paying any of the ridiculous banking fees.
Before we get any further, let's recap the basic features of this account:
Statements are only made available through the Internet (known as e-Statements)
At any point in time, you will have access to the latest 3 statements
In the event you require older statements, you would have to request for printed copies, charged at RM10, and an additional RM1 for every printed page
2) Go to: eStatement > Maybank2u.Premier Statement
3) View the source for this page. Note that Maybank2u.com uses HTML frames; this means that you have to view the source of the frame in focus. On a PC with Firefox 2.0, right-click on the main area (Enquiry), and choose: This Frame > View Frame Source. You should see something similar to the following:
4) Press Ctrl+F (Find). Look for BV_SessionID. Copy the "value" in to a temporary text file, e.g.: @@@@0759140826.1167939086@@@@
5) Press Ctrl+F (Find). Look for BV_EngineID. Copy the "value" in to a temporary text file, e.g.: ccfkaddjkmflgmjcflgcehfdfkgdgij.0
6) Press Ctrl+F (Find). Look for accountNo. Copy the "value" in to a temporary text file, e.g.: 514281143501
7) Open a new tab in Firefox (Ctrl+T)
8) Copy and paste the following URL into your address bar, replacing the REPLACEME's with the values copied from above:
9) The pasted URL contains a date at the end of the string. The example above will retrieve the statement for December 2006 (31/12/06). To retrieve the statement for October 2005, just change this date to 31/10/05 signifying the end of the month. For June 2004, enter 30/06/04.
10) Press Enter, and you should see your statement.
Did it work for you? For help just drop me an email: emailme at praveenrajan dot com
I've been able to retrieve all statements from May 2004 onwards. This was when Maybank2u switched their statement cycle to the end of the month. Prior to May 2004, it was processed on the 15th of every month.
Your Maybank2u.com session expires after 5 minutes -- when prompted, don't forget to click OK to remain online
Why Maybank2u, why? So, why does Maybank2u block us from retrieving statements older than 3 months? Is it a way to generate peripheral revenue? Or is this due to a system limitation (e.g. extensive processing tasks)? I doubt that it is in relation to the latter, as Internet-banking sites should be built to handle massive processing tasks.
Considering that the current system produces statements from May 2004, why not make this historical data available to every Maybank2u.Premier account holder? It's a useful enhancement. Besides, no other Internet-banking service in town offers such extensive historical data (for now).
I recently subscribed to the TED Blog, and I would encourage you to do the same to keep in touch with profound ideas in Technology, Entertainment and Design.
The talk by Sir Ken Robinson is one to note. He delivers an entertaining and moving presentation about the state of the education system and how it should be rethought to nurture creativity. The following video was recorded at TEDTalks held in February 2006 (duration: 20m)
A few points worth highlighting, from the talk:
Kids will take a chance -- they're not frightened of being wrong
If you're not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original
Creativity is about creating original ideas that have value
Picaso: all children are born artists
And here's a humorous injection I enjoyed:
If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him -- is he still wrong?
Apparently Qatar has a single ISP, Qtel, with a single IP address shared by the entire country. Wikipedia has blocked that IP address for anonymous edits,...
A single IP address shared by the entire country? Wow. Read the thread of comments, as it includes a reply from Jimbo Wales of Wikipedia clarifying the situation. Jimbo Wales is the co-founder of Wikipedia.
Motives may be economic. About 2.5 million people live in the UAE, 1.6 million are non-nationals. There are more phones than people: 1.1 million land lines (operated by Etisalat) and 2.9 million mobile. Etisalat has a monopoly on telephony.
We're lucky that Malaysia is free from government-initiated censorship regulations. Let's hope it stays that way for the benefit of the new economy.