Mini Laptop for a fashionista!

1 05 2010


HP Mini 1104NR by Vivienne Tam

Sometime back we saw the strikingly red hot HP Mini 1104NR designed by Vivienne Tam. Seeing the success of a laptop designed for fashion-forward people, Vivienne Tam and HP has collaborated once again to give us the….


..tada! HP Mini 210!

When I first saw pics of this, I went “I GOTTA GET THIS FOR MY MUM!”. Never mind the specs. The design itself is definitely a fashion statement and eye catcher when roaming down the street or sitting in a cafe. It is perfect for those who want something really light, basic but yet fashionable at the same time. I know, a Macbook grabs attention too but not the same kind of attention this designer product will be getting especially for fashion-forward girls (and no girl in high heels and a pretty handbag would want to lug a heavy Macbook around with all that shopping!!).

When Amelia from Waggener Edstrom approached me with the opportunity to participate in the blogger’s competition, I just had to take up the opportunity right away. With Mother’s Day around the corner, this laptop will definitely be the perfect addition to her wardrobe of digital gadgets, except the difference will be this is one digital gadget that is designed to look fashionable as opposed to geeky. πŸ™‚

In this competition, we were asked to create a fashion spread showing how we would match the stunning HP Mini 210 with our wardrobe. I spent a few nights thinking what wardrobe would look best with it… I thought Western, English Vintage, high fashion bla bla bla.. and even things like Korean and Japanese fashion! However, these are so common and has probably been matched with at the Vivienne Tam fashion show in New York. I was looking for something different that would be elegant and yet not grab the attention away from the digital clutch.

Finally, I decided to go with a traditional cultural approach.. one that merges old cultural traditions with modern technology. Why do I think this is sexy? Traditional dresses like the Kimono and Cheongsam are very elegant. When you wear them, people think classy. The identities represented by them are very clear, communicating not only design but also culture and values with them. When you wear traditional clothes to dinners, matched with a modern evening handbag/clutch, people don’t think “backward” or “outdated”. They see it as fashionable, bringing attention to first the person donning the costume, and then to the object in her hands.

Now, what if we replaced the handbag with a digital clutch like the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam. The equation changes to one being someone different, fashion-forward and in the know of not only fashion but technology as well, without the geeky/nerdy label to it. The digital clutch will arouse curiosity, garnering not only attention but also forming new social connections making it a device convenient for the socialites. What more, these traditional costumes usually play host to simple motifs of nature like flowers and butterflies, making it the perfect complement to the elegance and grace of the butterfly design on the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam.

And finally, here’s my entry.. something little I put together to show my concept.. the fashion spread showing how the different cheongsam and kimono designs, in combination with the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam, will accentuate the elegance and grace of the fashion-forward fashionista. πŸ™‚


Designed in A4 size so you can print it out for easier reading

So you have it! My take on what would grab the right attention when paired with the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam. What about you? What would you pair the device it? How different would you have done it? πŸ˜€





WE, FYP, Startup and Halo :D

12 08 2009

Alright! After one month+ of not writing, I’m sure I need to give you guys an explanation for my disappearance on what I’ve been up to. To avoid this article becoming length and boring, I’ll do very very quick point forms.

1) Internship at Waggener Edstrom ends

I spent my term break interning at Waggener Edstrom’s Studio D where I was doing mostly Social Media Marketing and Digital PR. For those of you who are unfamiliar with buzz words, it is planning and conceptualizing digital campaigns for clients to tell the right stories and experiences to the customers. In more simple terms, I have a license to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter all day long πŸ˜€

It was a very interesting experience for me because my life activities have been turned over. What do I mean by turned over?

In the past:
During work: Code and develop stuff
After work: Read up on marketing strategies, plan campaigns and brainstorm creative ideas for own projects

At WE:
During work: Read up on marketing strategies, plan campaigns and brainstorm of creative ideas for clients
After work: Code and build my own fun stuff πŸ˜€

…and I have to admit I really like the switch in environment. A great company that knows how to recognize and value great talents πŸ™‚

Would really like to thank Melvin for pulling me into the company and exposing me to the PR industry.


The Studio D team and Jen Houston during her visit to WE Singapore
For more personal pictures with the team, check my Facebook ^_~

 

2) Final Year Project and Startup
It is official now! After a few weeks of indecisiveness and running through various phases of paperwork, I will be working on my own proposed Final Year Project at NUS. I know it is quite a huge risk to take but I believe it is worth a try.

Although the focus still needs refinement, it’ll be about measuring the diffusion of “Word of Mouth” marketing both quantitative and qualitatively on Social Networks. My team and I will be building a youth retail site with an environment that would trigger “Word of Mouth” marketing (hopefully). We will then measure the flow of information about products/brands from one user to another and how recipients act on this information. The platforms we plan to integrate with the site are Facebook and Twitter. This retail site will also be the startup I’m currently working on.

Will update as more things are finalized ^_~.
 

3) Halo Session with HP’s CTO – Phil McKinney
This Friday I’ll be waking up in the wee hours of the morning (okay its not that bad! just really early for a morning person like me) to attend a video conference at HP’s office with HP’s CTO, Phil McKinney. It will be a roundtable discussion using HP’s Halo technology .

I’m really excited about this event as the topic we will be discussing is Natural User Interfaces! What is Natural User Interfaces (NUI)? In short, it is interfaces that are easy to learn through experience. To put it simply, they are interfaces designed so well that you don’t have to read the manual to learn how to use the device. Unfortunately the only experience I have with NUI is my little, amateur-ish, out of the garage interactive kitchen table. Would be really interesting to hear how the pros go about the innovation process. πŸ˜€

Alright that’s about it! Feel free to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, drop comment if there are any questions you would like me to ask during the discussion with Phil. I know some of you are real experts in this area judging from the e-mails I got on the touch table in the past.

Have a good half week! ^_~





Samsung Unpacked: The Samsung Jet

19 06 2009

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The huge Samsung Unpacked Billboard on Orchard Road

This week I was invited to the regional launch of the latest addition to the Samsung family – the Samsung Jet! It was a very classy (and purple) event that was sleek and funky at the same time. The decorations, venue, execution and FOOD was utterly superb! I believe Samsung spent a HUGE fortune on this event especially with it being held concurrently in Dubai and London.

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My only picture of the interior (sorry was too obsessed with phone) – Media Registration Counter

The event was held at the Changi Exhibition Centre which as DK says, is out in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully they provided us with a shuttle service from City Hall to the venue, else I’d have given up trying to get my forgetful self there.

The presentation was truly a class of its own having the presenter interact with the projected animations rather than pressing clicks / mouse buttons to go through traditional presentation slides. I’m not sure what technology was used for the presentation but it really came across as holographic. The presenter looked like he was interacting with a semi-holographic projection making the whole event look very 3D and interactive.

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My only decent presentation shot. As flash was not allowed, I couldn’t get any clear shots of the projected holographics 😦

Ok enough with the boring stuff.. lets get to the phone. The phone has a LOT of cool nifty features but these are the ones that caught my attention (and which I would probably use the most).

The Samsung Jet

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#1 The Technology – Speed
Samsung calls the Jet a phone that is smarter than a smartphone. The phone is designed to solve all the problems we hate about using smartphones, namely the SPEED. It comes with a 800Mhz processor which is actually a LOT for a tiny device, making it possible to multi-task numerous programs and watch high quality DVD videos without any lag.

One of their Korean executives gave me a demo of the phone loading 4 web pages in the background, running a game and then watching a movie. All ran concurrently without ANY lag. The response is extremely fast too, no more frustration from waiting 3 seconds before the phone responds to a press. Don’t believe me? Watch a video Claudia took of the video playing in action on the phone here… now only if the screen was bigger.
 

#2 The Dolfin Browser

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The Dolfin Browser is one of the reasons why the Jet runs so smoothly when browsing the Internet. It is created by Samsung specially for their phones, making it possible to view 5 websites and switch between them without any lag. When I was trying it out, I could load multiple web pages including Facebook and flip among them without any problem. Not too sure whether JavaScript is a problem but DK said it has some bugs with Flash.

One last note on the browser: According to the website it is able to handle multiple downloads smoothly but I wasn’t able to test it due to Starhub’s slow 3G..
 

#3 One Finger Zoom

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One Finger Zoom

Samsung went one step further and created a new convention for zooming photos and web pages by using only one finger. This way you can zoom in and out of photos and web pages using just one finger, maintaining your hand stance like how you would while SMSing. To get into and out of the zoom mode, you just have to hold your thumb on the screen for a little while, the zoom meter appears and you slide your finger up or down to zoom in and out. Took me just about 4 seconds to get used to it. I have to admit it is much more convenient than the 2 finger zooming convention which all smart phones are happily replicating today.
 

#4 The User Interface!

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Dynamic User Interface

For starters, I’m VERY glad they created an interface of their own.. Windows Mobile is getting a little weak for smartphones in terms of performance. The image above shows the core interface with a little “tool box” on the left with links to applications, and a set of core functions in the bottom menu. What I really like is that you can hide the tool box at anytime to increase the amount of space to play with in the main area. Also, as this is a dynamic interface, you can drag and drop widgets from the toolbox onto the main area like a computer desktop. You can add new widgets as well when you download more applications.

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The interface with the tool box hidden, BlueTooth and music player widgets

Before I end off, there is ONE FINAL feature which I totally love, lacking from all other smartphones I’ve experienced. It is the TASK manager. You know how sometimes you may have multiple apps running in the background, thought you closed them but they’re STILL RUNNING, wasting your precious battery power? Samsung added a cool nifty feature where you can easily access the task manager and close running applications. All you have to do is hold the cube button down and the task manager will show up in a very easy to use interface.

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The super easy to use Task Manager

 

#5 Keyboard
Sorry there is ONE MORE feature I MUST highlight which is the keyboard. As usual, they are using a Qwerty keyboard that has keys smaller than your fingers. I hate the iPhone for not having a keypad interface as a keyboard. The Samsung Jet has both but when I tried their Qwerty keyboard, I was in total amazement. I could type VERY fast without much care and I had very little spelling errors. What’s happening here? Instead of detecting one key at a time, the keyboard detects a few (2-3 I believe) based on the area of your finger. Based on the combination of keys you typed in and the central area your finger touches the keyboard, it intelligently guesses the word you are trying to type and inputs it. Typing on it was so convenient I found myself typing web addresses more with the Qwerty than the Keypad. I have no idea why this is not highlighted on their website even though it is a big plus point.
 

Conclusion
On the overall, I really like the phone as it fixes almost everything I hate about smartphones – speed, small keyboard keys, invisible running applications, etc. It is definitely a smartphone, that is smarter than a smartphone. My only qualms with it is the User Interface.. it is very well designed… you can see that a lot of thought has been put into it especially in fixing major user interaction issues that are common in smartphones. However, I feel that there are some minor adjustments that could be done to make the phone even more thumb-friendly. And no, I’m not saying the iPhone’s interface is better.. the Jet beats the iPhone in terms of both technology and UI design. It is just that in a general sense, the UI design is not perfect yet.

And before I forget, app junkies will suffer from deprivation as there will probably not be less apps available for the Samsung Jet
 

Other random pictures from the event

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Lucky draw machine.. I didn’t win! DK and Preetam did though 😦

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One of the many never-ending reception snacks

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My dinner menu

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The Starter – Poached Boston Lobster, Cauliflower and Truffle Puree, White Asparagus and Shellfish Sauce

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Main Course – Pan Seared Sea Bass, Steamed Wa Wa Cabbage, Buttered Fondant Potato, Ginger Sauce

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Dessert – Tahitian Vanilla and Manjari Chocolate Mousse, Crunchy Praline and Passion Fruit Ice Cream
 

Resources you might want to check out:
Official Samsung Unpacked webpage
Official Samsung Jet webpage (lots of useful information on the phone)
Unboxing the Samsung Jet





BlogOut 2009: Making Sense of the Social Media Landscape

19 02 2009

Hey guys! BlogOut is back and this time with a blast featuring top speakers like Jon Yongfook, Joel Postman and Melvin Yuan. This time we have something for both big corporate boys, individual bloggers and even non-bloggers!

Here are more details:
Blogout! ’09 aims to help make sense of the social media landscape in Singapore. It is an event to celebrate bloggers’ independent voices, emergent forms of social, web technology, to create change for their organizations, communities and society. Register now!

There’s something for everyone at Blogout! this year. If you are an executive or business owner who wants to see how social media can work for your organization, you definitely do not want to miss Day 1 (Corporate Track) where we feature some of the best speakers and practitioners in the social media scene. Here’s a sneak peak of our programme:

– See what other corporations around the world have done right and wrong
– Enough of the buzz. Get the real deal of what social media strategy will work for your company
– Maximize the effects and potentials of your social media strategy
– and more..

For Day 2 (Open Track), we welcome everyone (bloggers and non-bloggers alike) to join us for a fun-filled day of learning and sharing. Topic includes “Turning your Blog into a Business”, “WordPress as a Blogging Tool” and more!
 

Details..details.. details…
Date: 6 – 7 March 2009, Friday and Saturday

Time:
Day 1 – Corporate Track (6 March 2009)
10.30am – 5.30pm
Fee : $120

Day 2 – Open Track (7 March 2009)
10.30am – 5.00pm
Fee: Free

Register here now!

Venue:
8Q, SAM – 8 Queen Street, Singapore 188535 (Google Map)
 

Key Speakers

Jon Yongfook

Yongfook is an award-winning web producer, a blogger (of 10 years!), a proponent of permission-based marketing and a big believer in metrics-based approaches to solving online business problems. A programmer-designer-marketer living in Tokyo. He specialises in usability, platform development and online marketing. He’s the creator of open source lifestream software Sweetcron and the recipe sharing website Open Source Food (now known as Nibbledish), which was acquired by Tsavo Media in January 2009. He helps companies improve user experience, to increase conversions and revenue, assist companies reach new markets, and building online applications to solve a business or communication problem.
 


Joel Postman

Joel Postman is senior partner and chief enterprise social business strategist for Intridea, a Washington, D.C. based developer of Web 2.0 applications including the popular microblogging platform Present.ly. His background includes a decade of Fortune 500 corporate communications leadership, four years as the speechwriter to the CEO of Sun Microsystems, and experience in print and broadcast news. He is the author of SocialCorp: Social Media Goes Corporate, published December 2008. Joel lives with his family in the Santa Cruz Mountains. To the extent that he could be said to have grown up. He did so in the Silicon Valley, and first lived there before the discovery of silicon. He is also an experienced Zamboni driver.
 


Melvin Yuan

Director, Digital Strategies Group (Asia) at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide. He’s a co-founder of Scoopasia.com and member of the Social Media Collective and The Digital Movement (Singapore). He is dedicated to helping PR practitioners understand the new world that we live in and to bridge the gap between the wired-world business objectives of today and the traditional PR methods that we’ve been used to.





NUS “Facebook” module info session

8 11 2008

Hey guys! Remember all the hype and talk about the new NUS Facebook module(Formal name is CS3216: Software Developing on Evolving Platforms)? Good news is that this module is going to be offered again next semester and applications for it are now open (I’m a tutor for it this time yay! ^_~). We’re going to be having an information session on it coming Monday (10 Nov 2008) to answer all your burning questions about the module, requirements it can fulfill, workload, projects, share our experience, etc so do drop by if you’re interested in finding out more. I wrote an article about my experience with the module but coming semester, I heard that things will be quite different in the sense that we will not only be developing apps for the Facebook platform but also on Microsoft WPF/Silverlight. More info in the mailer below:

———-||———-

Have you dreamed about building your very own cool Facebook app? Here’s your chance to do it!

Building on the success of CS3216 (Facebook@NUS) in AY2007/2008, we will be offering CS3216 again next Semester. CS3216 : Software Development on Evolving Platforms is a 4-MC cross-faculty course offered by the NUS School of Computing. To avoid timetable conflicts for students from other faculties and because we will be inviting external experts to give guest lectures, the lectures and seminars will be held on Monday evenings from 6.30 to 8.30 pm.

This module is not your traditional software engineering course. Inspired by The Last Lecture (or “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”), this course is your chance to start realising your dreams today. You will get the chance to show off your creativity to do something different. Be it online games, community service applications or industrial collaboration, you are free to build almost anything under the sun. Some of the cool applications created by students who took this course last semester include:

Farmwars : A brilliantly executed Facebook game that attracted 8,000 players in three months
My Music : A virtual piano that allows Facebook users to compose their favourite tunes.
Get Help! : A joint effort between the students and Sillicon Valley startup, Discoverio to develop an app for market research

See Farm Wars and My Music on local TV here.

Enrollment is open to students of all faculties and students will work in small inter-disciplinary teams to create their killer applications. Programming experience for non-SoC students is not a pre-requisite (since work will be done in teams) and we have had students from FASS, Business (including an MBA student) and Engineering in addition to SoC.

Assessment will be project-based and there will be no examination component. The course will begin with several lectures on the fundamentals of web development. Subsequently, students will work in teams to analyze and critique existing Facebook apps in a series of seminars. Compared to last semester, workload will be reduced and instead of only Facebook, there will be two semi-structured assignments: one on Facebook and one on Microsoft WPF/Silverlight focussing on hybrid apps supporting “disconnected” operation (Microsoft will be providing training and technical support for WPF/Silverlight). For the Final Project, students are free to propose anything they think is “cool” and they will not be limited to Facebook like last semester (though some form of network-based/web application is expected). Students are also welcome to use this opportunity to develop applications that have commercial potential or can be used as entries to Startup@Singapore.

Places for the course will be limited and some places will be reserved for non-SoC students. Also, like last semester, the places will not be assigned by CORS bidding. Instead, interested students are to submit a personal statement (with their matriculation number clearly stated) to cs3216-staff@googlegroups.com latest by 15 December 2008. Students will be informed by 26 December 2008 if they are offered a place in the upcoming offering of the new course (and students will automatically be pre-registered for CS3216 on CORS if their bid to take the class is successful).

The personal statement should address the following questions:

Why do you want to take the module?
Describe your background and explain how do you think you can contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of the module and to the team projects.
EITHER (i) Describe a cool Facebook app that you *really* want to build. Explain why you think your app is really cool; OR (ii) Describe a business/project that you want to start. Explain how you think taking CS3216 will help you.
Students should probably throw in a resume or portfolio of sorts if they feel that it would be helpful in demonstrating that they have what it takes to succeed in this course. Students who want to be considered for the class as designers should most definitely submit a portfolio of their artistic works as well.

To help students decide if they should sign up for the module, an information session will be held at 5 pm on 10 November 2008 (Monday) in Seminar Room 2 (COM1/204). Interested students are welcome to come learn more about the course. Do check out the module homepage at http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~cs3216 or check out last year’s course report at http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~cs3216/report-CS3216.pdf. Also, perhaps join the Course Facebook Group at: http://mit.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14275350327 and ask former students about the course?

This is your chance to let your imagination run wild and do something cool — and add “Facebook and Silverlight Developer” to your resume while you’re at it! πŸ™‚ Questions? Please send email to cs3216-staff@googlegroups.com.





The Future of Search

6 11 2008

2 weeks ago the TDM team and I organized a discussion panel hosting the world finalists of The Star Challenge, an international search engine competition focused on multimedia search. Each team had one representative on the panel, most of which consist of researchers in the field of media search.

They are:
Prof Wu Xihong (Team SHRC)
Prof Shinichi Sato (NII)
Neo Shi Yong (NUS) – Winner
Laurent Besacier (LIG)
Prof Thomas Huang (UIUC)

I’m going to try a new approach to writing about this event by writing what I found interesting about the discussion in point form. Hopefully the material here makes sense.
 

Visual search:
(includes both video and image)
– Problem faced in visual search is that unlike words, there is no grammar to connect things together. This is the biggest challenge facing image search at the moment until we find the “grammar”.

– Someone suggested using a bottom up approach like the DNA where you break it down into its bits of 1s and 0s to understand the content. Prof Huang says that this is harder than decoding a DNA as it is not that easy to understand the bits of 1s and 0s after it has been broken down. Sometimes these 1s and 0s mean nothing and are not unique representations of things.

– Current technologies store a huge database of certain images. Example given: Researcher stored and sorted thousands of pictures of celebrities in database gathered from Yahoo! News. Now if you put in a picture of a celebrity, the system will do a comparison and return results based on this database. The same approach can be applied to video search as well if there is enough data.

– Visual search on YouTube and Flickr rely on human tagging. A lot of times people have to provide data and systems build relationships among images via text around the data. Example: A computer knows that a picture of a smashed car is related to an accident based on the words on the page describing the accident. A more efficient system would be to enable computers to form an understanding of images and videos without relying on human tagging / text data around it.

– Example from audience: Son wants to find all videos of David Beckham playing soccer. It is a simple request but a complex task as the system has to understand what “playing soccer” means before producing the correct results.

– Another challenge is finding the context that these data are in. When looking for details about an image of a dress, the search would be better if there is information on what occasion the dress is for (e.g: a formal dinner, pool party, summer vacation).
 

Audio search:
– Audio recognition technologies are not that accurate yet. For humans, even if we don’t know the language we can still tell what language it is from the pattern of the sounds. Example: We don’t know Korean but can tell when a person is speaking Korean or not if we’ve heard some bits of Korean before. Computers at the moment are not able to do this. They need to be fed with lots of data about a language before being able to make the recognition.

– There is a lot of demand for this technology in American hospitals where patients speaking many different native languages come into the hospital. Doctors will be able to understand what they’re saying and translate it back into the patient’s native language.

– Example of another problem: Recording the sound of animals / insects and wanting to find out what creatures made those sounds and the reasons behind it. Computer is unable to tell the difference between a person screaming in joy and screaming in fear.
 

Conclusion:
I find the final end message by the panel really interesting. After all the talk about the technicalities and algorithms needed to make media search more intuitive and accurate for humans, the panel concluded that it all comes down to marketing and user experience that will determine how successful / popular a search engine will be. In other words, a good product isn’t really a good product unless the user is able to see and experience its goodness. πŸ˜€
 

Resources you might want to check out:
Jiin Joo’s thought of the panel
The Star Challenge





Code Xtreme Apps 2008!

20 07 2008

Code Xtreme Apps 2008

Update: RESULTS!!
31 July 2008
Still haven’t found the time to blog but I’ll just write this here. THe results are out!! And no, we did not get top 3 but…. we got the Merit Award! I’m really excited coz this is my first “coding” competition and getting shortlisted for the finals was already a great enough surprise for me but to win an award as well? Yay! ^___^ Thanks everyone for your support and believe in this person who used to hate coding. πŸ˜€ Promise to blog about my experience within the next few days ya!

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t been blogging for a loong while… been busy with both my internship and various activities including having just spent 24 hours of my weekend at Code Xtreme Apps 2008, a 24 hour coding competition. Still don’t really have time to blog but I just got some very exciting news I should share with you guys!!

My team got shortlisted for the Code Xtreme Apps finals!!!

Will promise to blog about my experience once I have more time. In the meantime, gotta go prepare for the final presentation! Wish me luck guys!! ^___^