Sunday, February 25, 2007

ATM on Windows gets "PAINT"

Came across this on Digg toay. Evidently, this girl came across this ATM that runs Windows and starts using the PAINT app. haha..nice!

Internet (as in 1993)

"...there's a revolution going on...called "Internet"..."

Will it blend? (Light Sticks)

These guys have blended diamonds, football etc before, but I always felt that it's kinda lame, until this video :)

Philips: Drag & Draw Technology

I've seen some similar demo from MIT, but this one is pretty cool too!

Red Flag Demonstration


我为你哭 (Wo Wei Ni Ku)

This is a song I wrote for Tammy many years ago. Those were very different times I guess. Anyways, the sunset pictures were taken in Indian Rock (Berkeley) while the street-singing pics were taken in Fisherman's Wharf and Berkeley BART Station. Enjoy~



像时间过 像河水流

我也在为你哭 我为你哭

我对你情浓 你却无动于衷
我对你情痴 悲伤更痛
我对你情重 却无法令你感动

Did you know?

Came across Ben's new post on this. A thought-provoking clip, but I must confess that I didn't bother to check through all the stats here. Carl Fisch did try to provide some source info on his slides here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another great presentation~

This one is taken from the Identity 2.0 conference. Pretty engaging...though I'd say it only works for a very specific audience for a specific topic. In this case, Dick did a great job.

Lessig's brilliant presentation on copyright

I wish I've seen it earlier, but late is better than never. Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, gives one of the most effective presentation I've seen. In my opinion a must-see!

Microsoft Design Competition

For those who love design and technology, this site would be the last site you wanna visit if you have tons of "real work" to finish...thanks Ben for pointing this out~

"Finger mouse"...

Crazy hole in city!

Saw this on Digg today. Wonder how it happened!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs

Awesome! haha! Why didn't I know about this earlier!

A Disciplined Approach to Creativity

Well, not exactly my own original recipe in that there are definitely no "unique" or "special" techniques that I use. In fact, most of the points I'd mention in this post could probably be found in most self-help books on creativity or innovation. In fact, I picked up most of these pointers from a 3-day creativity workshop I attended a few years ago (which is by far the most useful and inspiring "formal education" I've ever had my whole life!). And I'm by no means a great thinker or expert on the subject of creativity, but I'd say I'm definitely a disciplined practitioner of generating ideas. I've actually been asked several times in the past by friends who were curious to know how I dream up so many whacky ideas; and since I've been answering similar questions in my many rounds of interviews recently, I thought it'd be a good time to share how I treat the business of generating ideas.

1. No idea is ever a silly idea
This is possibly the single most important point. It has to become a core belief system that constantly permeates one's state of mind, that every idea is worthy. Indeed, most of my best ideas originate from something that seem utterly silly. How about a 5-year renewable marriage system? A dustbin as a valuable real estate property? A bus with no seats? All these seem pretty silly at first, but if you really sit down and do a thorough PNI (Positive, Negative, Interesting) analysis, you'd often come to a different opinion. What's even more powerful about a silly idea is that it often can lead you to a great idea! I often find that a silly idea might lead to another silly one, and then another silly one, but for some reasons they lead you to a truly out-of-the-box idea. So never treat an idea lightly, regardless of how silly it appears.

2. Always, always record down an idea
Because you treat every idea as worthy and that most ideas can be just a fleeting thought or observation, you have to be really disciplined about recording them down. I have a long list of thoughts from my day-dreaming or interesting observations I make while on the bus or talking to people; and I really make a conscious effort to capture that moment, before it leaves me. Write it down, record a quick voicemail or send yourself a brief email... whatever it is, just don't lose it! You can always revisit these ideas later (and often times you'd only realize their significance much later!), but record them now before they leave you!

3. Creativity almost always equals copying
If you really think about it, almost every ideas are just an interesting combination of laws of nature. It's just how we apply these laws of nature in different scenarios that make them seem "creative". Take the wheels for instance. Long before the invention of bicycles people have realized that wheels make for good transportation. So strictly speaking, you can't really say that the first bicycles are truly original ideas; all they've done is have 2 wheels instead of 3 or 4 wheels, and yet it's such an innovative breakthrough! So don't be shy about copying, I bet almost every "innovative" ideas you could think of come from someone else who's been practicing them in a different setting.

4. Go for breadth, even at the expense of depth
And the previous point lead very well to this one. Because creativity is largely about copying, or more accurately connecting old ideas from a different field and apply it in an interesting way in another setting, it certainly helps for one to be exposed to as many fields as possible. So comes the eternal question of breadth vs depth. Which one's more important? For the case of creativity, I believe that breadth is way more important than depth. You know how the famous chinese proverb go: 旁观者清,当局者迷 (=> outsiders see things clearer than insiders). It's basically talking about breadth, about how ideas from a different field can offer a new perspective, or "breakthrough". So my advice would be, read widely! It's easier than ever to do so now with RSS syndication. I'm currently subscribed to over 200 RSS feeds covering tech news, politics, gadgets, japan, china, india, R&D, investment etc. If I'm not aware of the benefits of breadth, I'd probably spend all my time reading the tech news...but it really helps in generating ideas if you are disciplined in making sure that you're exposed to multiple fields or angles.

5. Never be afraid to day-dream, ALOUD!
This one might be hard for some to do, but it comes quite natural to me, mainly because I'm pretty thick-skinned! hee :) Point is that it's often much more productive if you can day-dream aloud; in other words bounce your ideas with others; and in my case I pretty much share my ideas with anyone who's willing to listen. Some might have hesitation in sharing what they think is the next Big Thing. In my opinion, no one can have a rightful claim to a particular idea, unless they really invest their energy and time to act on it. So to me I have no qualms sharing them with others, and the benefits always outweigh the possible loss of "first-mover advantage". Chances are your ideas are not as new or not as revolutionary as you thought they are (and I always fall into this trap..hee), and your friends will be your best source of research, critic. Again, 旁观者清,当局者迷.

6. Just do it, if not share it!
The last point here isn't really about creativity, but rather about what one does with his/her creativity. An idea remains a thought experiment if it's not implemented. And I always feel this strong sense of indebtedness to my ideas, that if I don't have the time/resources to act on them, I shall share them with as many people as possible so that hopefully someone might be more suitable to fully realize the potential of the idea.

Once again, I ain't no expert. But I'd just like to share how I approach creativity and how I think there's actually a disciplined way of practicing idea-generation (I try my best to have at least one new idea a week). I'd just finish this post with one of my all-time fav quote (since my sec school days):

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the universe." - Albeit Einstein

Dream on folks!

Manga saves life!

I always believe that comics or graphic novels deserve much more recognition than they do in society. Sure, there're blockbusters based on superheroes and fansubs around the world working diligently to translate the anime once they come out in Japan; but to some folks, comics remain to be an inferior form of medium, capable only for the occasional amusements.

On the contrary, (well, i've gotta confess that i've always been a big comics fan), I think comic is a powerful medium, that shapes culture. Just as Hollywood has been the main engine for exporting American influence, Japan has done an incredible job asserting its influence through its decades of development in comics.

So I read with great interest when I came across Anil Dash's article on how Japanese troops in Iraq are using famous Japanese charaters (like Captain Tsubasa) to "break the ice". And apparently it's working!

Captain Tsubasa: Let's play some Iraq!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

This is horrible!

Tammy just sent me this video. I love sashimi...but I think that this chef really pushes it too far (you'd have to watch to the end of the clip). Perhaps I should post more "cruelty against animals" clips here to raise awareness.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Old footage of Patrick

A few years ago, I was helping my youngest bro, Patrick, with his interview with RI, one of the more "prestigious" high school in Singapore in order for him to be considered for direct admission into the school (for my American friends: this is a good example of the "seriousness" some families treat education here in Singapore, even at the primary school level). Anyhow, it was really funny watching this. I'm not sure if this interview practice helped him at all, but he's now into his 3rd year in RI, kicking asses in Math (while getting owned in biology, or so I heard). Anyway, I'm really proud of my bro...think he'd go on to much greater things in life....but for now, let's have a gd laugh :)

Love at first sight

An original I wrote a few yrs ago. This time jamming with my youngest bro, Patrick~

My heart is pumping so fast oh yeah, oh yeah
My heart is aching so bad oh yeah oh yeah
My heart is burning with fire oh yeah oh yeah
My heart is aching with desire oh yeah oh yeah

Come on baby, come on

I'd climb the highest mountain for ya, for ya
I'd fight with a 6-foot brown bear for ya, for ya
Swim in a pool of piranhas for ya, for ya
I'd even do a full monty for ya, in front of my mum

All because of this funny feeling that i've got
All because of this funny thing they call love
Oooh this magical moment you've left me
You kept me jumping around, I wanna tell the whole world

Oh, oh, oh, oh It's love at first sight well I'm out of my mind
Oh, oh, oh, oh It's love at first sight well don't leave me behind
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh It's love at first sight if the moment is right
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh It's love at first sight oh baby let's spend the night

Gypsy MC (Jason Mraz cover)

I'd like to give a shout out to all the g-y-ps and
Individualize because I am an MC. I can because I care
Cause my family's there cause I, cause I
Cause I appreciate the mentality of music
Saving all my sentences unless of course I'm smoothly spoken
Quiet type the kind to watch out for
No man of the clan perpetrating the scam
Sure I'm the boy with the fallopian voice
Straight from the sleeve of any wizard of choice
I got the reason to be roamin' out the coverage area
Send me the bill if all my lovin' is scarin' ya

Dare you to dream the way that I believe
Got the skill to go commando in any fatigues
I got the best damn band in the music scene
Oh I can even flow solo or just let it be
Because of the love
Oh the self-realization is the ifs ands & buts
Cause you gotta know your name before you play-a the game
Keep a level-headed check on your health and stay sane
Address the tack on the track put the needle on the record and
Prepare for playback
Could I buy another vowel I need another clue
And I could also use a towel
And how goes the medium tempo
Slaying all the teachers like the class of '84
And down low you know that my fidelities low
And I would never hurt a fly with my flip-flops on
Got control
Even keep a clean toilet bowl
2000 flushes blue and it's still going strong
Do I do what I do for the sake of the song
Comin' through on the radio it's for you
This is proof my own story's a spoof
I'll always be a gypsy or forever be aloof
And if you never get to liking me it's okay too
Well you've made it this far so pay a toll at the booth
And move on
Yeah I got top score on Donkey Kong
Move on
Move on
Move-a-move-a-move-a-move-a move on

True or false? I can be a sensitive man
With sensible plans for the everyday woman
And I can keep you eating out the palm of my hand
Because the dope that we smoked was grown on my land
The words I burn they don't come from a can
The movie in my mind will be the winner at Cannes
So take your chance a plot of full or part-time romance
Clever as a bell don't measure up to whatever
Cause it don't matter how tall, how fat, or how small
The equal opportunity is open to all
The casting call the line forms down the hall
All you need is ID that shows that you're legal
But people with egos well you better not go
Cause you know I don't need those
And if there is a problem that I really oughta read
Post it on the web care of R-K-O-P
It's easy like me but a bit less the sleazy
Go heavy on the melody and add a little cheese
And if you can't stand the kitchen, get the hell out the heat
To meet with the geek all you need is a
Heart beat beat beat beat beat beat beat

And remember that fame
Fame is nothing more than loving someone
And that fortune is nothing more than loving what you do
Is nothing more than loving you

Well, I'm type A positive and just the way I like it
Right away I'm satisfied with my food before I try it
Can't deny it to save my life, I'm never lying
To brave this mic without the same thing twice
Is actually an act to staying up all night
With the mood just right
And the purchase of a flight from the west coast
To the northern lights
It's aurora borealis' company that I'm tight with
Despite all the things that you've heard
I'll admit that most is true and I'll be keeping my word
By doing double-duty on a search for new verbs
I report to work early to deliver the worm
With a back well covered by the buddies of ease
And no way in hell that I could ever catch a disease
And breaking all the codes on the latest machines
Well I'll even let you download me for free
I'm free
I'm free

Just remember that fame
Fame is nothing more than loving someone
And fortune is nothing more than loving what you do
And in the eyes of love
Love will overcome
Love will overcome
Well love
Will over
Over overcome
It's true
Cause look what you've done to me
To the gypsy


A Beyond cover.


My fav 陈百强 song.


More Alan Tam number...

The Climate Project...

If there's one course/conference I'd wanna go, it'd be a chance to get trained for Al Gore's presentation here!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

情義倆心知 (guitar)

An Alan Tam cover.

朋友 (guitar)

An Alan Tam cover.

愛是這樣甜 (guitar)

An Alan Tam cover.

爱在深秋 (guitar)

An Alan Tam cover.

Perth (Part 2)

Transcripts of PM's rally speech

I know it must be old news. nevertheless, I'm grateful someone took the time to transcribe the entire PM's rally speech last year. A great read, especially for someone like me who just recently got back and needs more than abit of re-education. I'm also pleased that the PM put alot of emphasis on the emergence of digital media and what it meant for public debate.

E27 Unconference

2 days ago I attended an "unconference" (what is this?) organized by E27, where I met up with lots of old friends (Weijin & Huahui (from skritch, my former acapella band), Kevin Lim (my fav Singaporean blogger at Thoery.IsTheReason), Jin Hian (my scholar senior), the NUSEA folks I got to meet in the Bay Area like Yang Bing & Prashant, Yong Quan (from my secondary sch days!), etc) and finally got to meet up face-to-face with some of the people whom I've made acquaintance with online (like Bjorn, Jason). I really enjoy the open format and feel really encouraged to find some many like-minded folks in Singapore who are also interested in the possibilities of internet and digital media. It felt great bouncing off ideas with all the folks there who are passionate about the next big thing on the net~ I was also really pleased to see that local entrepreneurs like Leonard at Tyler Project are getting some form of success (at least in the traditional sense of the word..and in some ways, that's what matters)...I really do think that these guys will go far~ Not forgetting the new folks I gotta know that evening (people like Kevin Lee (from Stanfurd..hee), Royston & Vinod (both co-founders of E27 Singapore), Ben Koe (the PR guy), Michael Cheng and Michael Lim (both veterans from the Web 1.0 days). It's a pity I didn't get to talk to as many people as I wish...cos there're obviously many smart guys out there that night; which is why I'm really looking forward to the next event! Btw, to the gd ppl at E27, thumbs up!

A picture snapped by Ivan Lian, a Yahoo guy...I think I was getting abit too emotional telling them my latest ideas...hee :)

Friday, February 16, 2007

I Am My Own VC!

The past 2 weeks or so (since the day I arrived in Singapore, for good this time round) has been a 24/7 soul-searching ride for me. Every second I'm bombarded by the excitement of getting married (Mar 17 for those who don't know yet :)) while I ponder on my career options. To be fair, I have no reasonable ground to complain since I am extremely fortunate to be given this wide spectrum of career choices (from infocomm to telco to real estate to private equity) based on a decision to opt for a scholarship that makes this possible; a decision which frankly speaking wasn't much of a calculated choice on my part at the time (they just happened to be the first one to offer me one!). In any case, I reckon I really have a fantastic opportunity to have a solid start, provided I make the right move now (with Jobs' words still ringing in my head).

While the prospects of a fulfilling corporate career look promising now, I am left with my ideas (a pretty long list too) sort of hanging in mid-air. Well, I think of myself as the "Idea Guy"; have always been one and I intend to keep it that way. So it saddens me that so many of my ideas remain what they are now; just ideas or potentials. I've worked on a couple of them in the past, 1 or 2 has flourished while more than a few have failed (at least in the traditional sense of the word). But there are still so many of them left undone, untested and unfinished; and I feel as if I'm "orphaning" them if I were to go the other path.

Then a thought slowly develop in mind in the past week:

I can be my own VC!

Back when I was a student I have lots of time so I could pull off projects that require lots of time commitment but not necessarily the capital side of things. Now that I'm gonna start working, judging from all my interviews and chats with friends who are already going through it, time will be a luxury I can barely afford, especially when I'm married. But what I'd have, hopefully, is $$$. So while others might invest their savings in stock or real estate, why can't I invest in my own ideas? I don't necessarily have to execute them, but if I could find others who are also passionate about the possibilities, there might be an opening for me to contribute, at least from a financing standpoint.

Anyway, this idea of investing my money into my ideas is pretty new to me (considering I never really have much money to begin with). But it does sound promising, and certainly a fairly attractive compromise at this point in my life. I think I owe these ideas my commitment, if I can't give it my time, I should at least throw some $$ at it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Perth Comic (Part 1)

Me and Tammy spent about 3 weeks with her relatives in Perth. While we didn't do anything "spectacular", it was great hanging out with her relatives, who are all super nice folks!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Ridiculous "breathing exercise"

Is this an act or for real??? hahahahhaha!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Climate Change (Please Read!)

Ever since watching Al Gore's "Inconvenience Truth", I've been thinking a lot more about global warming, or rather all the detrimental impact that we humans have on this planet and her ecosystem. Well, just a few days ago UN's International Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) released a report. To put it mildly, we'd be facing a pretty grim future. Much more extreme weather conditions, heat waves, drought, cyclones. The earth's average temperature will go up somewhere between 1+ to 5+ degrees. Sea level will continue to rise. Apparently, Sydney will be almost uninhabitable in 5 decades and Perth will be among the hottest cities on Earth. Great Barrier Reef will probably be gone in 30 years. The list goes on.

I'd urge anyone reading this post to take a look at the summary for policy maker or this excellent blog post by Tree Hugger. We ought to do something now, before it really becomes too late.

The Machine is using us?

A pretty cool video on how the web is "using" us...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A New Chapter (Part 2)

I actually meant to finish this post before I left America, but one thing led to another and now I found myself back in my home, here in Singapore, after a 5 weeks trip in Australia (hopefully I'd get to blog about that soon as well).

Now that I've been hanging around the house for the past few days, getting used to the weather, listening to (and trying to speak like) Singlish, adjusting to the crowds in MRT and shopping malls and setting up job interviews, I can't help but feel a bit out of place, and anxious. It feels almost like that last few days before I left Singapore for America, when I was nervous and excited about the new life overseas. This is indeed a new chapter of my life and I'm glad that the past 26 years have been time well-spent. But this new chapter is gonna be quite different from all the previous chapters; it used to be all about building up the potential, that's pretty much all I was trying to do. Study hard, get in a good school, build a solid foundation. But from now on, it'd be about meeting the potentials, or delivering on the "promises". I reckon this second half is gonna be a much tougher ride than the first half.

Thing is, I love day-dreaming, and I dream big. It's easy, however, to have over-sized ambitions when reality is still eons away. Yet when I look at the great men I truly admire (Steve Jobs for one), they've proven that a person can indeed achieve great things in his/her lifetime. So it is possible, these guys have done it before...I know I want to do great things; I want to play a significant role in making this world a better place to live in. But am I prepared? Will I settle for a comfortable living wage, or will I take on the risk necessary to go after my dreams?

Feeling abit disillusioned, I turned to YouTube for some inspiration and found this clip of Steve Jobs' speech at the 2005 Stanford graduation class. I've watched it before but now what he's saying really hits home for me, especially his story on "connecting the dots". Indeed I've painted many dots in the past 26 years. Some are in music, some are in sciences, some are in my travel experiences, others are in relationships. I know that I've been a very very lucky guy so far, I've been blessed with so many opportunities in the past. But can I connect these dots and make something great out of this "potential-realization" stage of my life? Well, I take comfort in what Steve said in his speech:

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever--because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference."

So I'd trust in all the dots that I've painted in the past, and that someday I'd connect them to make great contribution to this world. So, Michael, keep the dream alive man!