Further extending thingstodosingapore.com

Today after having google friends connect crashed on me, I finally decided to start working on facebook connect and extending thingstodosingapore.com to support the facebook connect api as well. Well here goes nothing. Fingers crossed.

Parting with a comrade

I finally managed to obtain for Alena her the tourist visa to get into Singapore early this week. She happily booked her air ticket this time around.

And then we had our quarrels again two days ago, as usual… This time I was too tired to call her up. I guess we both went missing for the whole of yesterday. I thought she wouldn’t even bother calling me back again. Guess she did, she texted me today while I was working in the office. I was mentally prepared to just let her go her way after that prior quarrel actually. I was feeling so drained after all these days, somethings got to give. And she seemed the heaviest load I had to deal with at the moment. The temptation to chuck her out like a jettison is there all the time and she really isn’t helping out.

Reading her mind, it seems her first two messages were once again attempts meant to provoke me to anger. I answered indifferently. There were more important things at hand to settle, like my clients! She said she cancelled her air tickets to Singapore with both her parents’ approval.

And thus we went through the process of going down and up the J curve again. This time round due to her lack of control over her emotions she messed up in the most terrible way possible. Firstly, she got angry and made a rash decision, then she was unsure where she should go should we really part,thereafter she was starting to feel lost, she has no idea anymore what to do with her life, finally the doubts creeped in and she got her funds with the air line office making the booking of another airline ticket to Singapore very unlikely even if she decided to change her mind.

“What do you want me to do?” I texted exasperated, not really looking forward to part with my hard earned cash from my previous few projects just to amend another one of her stupid mistakes. These cash could be used for better things.

“Well, I don’t know but never mind.” she replied.

I could imagine the look of being totally lost on her face at the moment we spoke. I saw that countless times, I absolutely hate that look, spending all my effort to just guide her along, protecting her from herself, most especially her stupidity.

I sat then on the sofa looking out the window, I was utterly upset. All would have been fined had she not attempted to contact me again after our quarrel. I would have moved double speed ahead with my life with just the right level of buoyancy and flexibility to keep me afloat for a long long time. Now once again I am stuck with this situation with her.

Anabel my friend from Shanghai, having seen Alena once during our dinner event together, has been warning me all along to dump her. Alena would only be a load in the long run and not a contribution to any of my endeavours. In fact it would have been hard if not impossible for her to find a mate of good calibre for herself with criterias such as hers back in China.

“She makes a bad choice for a mate, even if you don’t think for yourself. Think for your parents and future kids” those were her exact words. Though the words sounded harsh, Anabel’s intent was kind. She came from a back ground that was almost like Alena’s but the difference was Anabel was 3 years younger, with pure perservrance she managed to establish a career for herself and is comfortably married with into a well to do family.

But each time I thought about doing that, I could not help but recall that utterly lost and hopeless look on Alena’s face that I chanced to observe the one fateful day when she walked alone in the streets unaware of my presence. She tries hard in life but had no idea what the hell she was doing wrong no matter the amount of teaching she received. The recollection of that scene still pains me and brings me close to tears just thinking of it. I never ever want that look on her face ever again if I ever could help it.

So many girls I have dated, and so many of them I have parted without worries, they were strong smart and intelligent. Alena oh Alena, I find it hard to ever part with her without the assurance that she is in the safe hands of another. Failing to do so, it would have felt as though I have abandoned a comrade in the battle field just to save my own skin. How dishonourable is that. Such a thought just leaves a foul taste in my mouth.

PHP set to be the disruptive innovation in the ERP arena

Cited from WikiPedia ;

“A disruptive technology or disruptive innovation is an innovation that improves a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by being lower priced or designed for a different set of consumers.

Disruptive innovations can be broadly classified into low-end and new-market disruptive innovations. A new-market disruptive innovation is often aimed at non-consumption (i.e., consumers who would not have used the products already on the market), whereas a lower-end disruptive innovation is aimed at mainstream customers for whom price is more important than quality.

Disruptive technologies are particularly threatening to the leaders of an existing market, because they are competition coming from an unexpected direction. A disruptive technology can come to dominate an existing market by either filling a role in a new market that the older technology could not fill (as cheaper, lower capacity but smaller-sized flash memory is doing for personal data storage in the 2000s) or by successively moving up-market through performance improvements until finally displacing the market incumbents (as digital photography has largely replaced film photography).”

Currently when talking about large scale corporate used systems in the commercial arena, the first thing that comes to mind is either Java Enterprise Systems from Sun MicroSystems or Share Point from Microsoft Systems.

While the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySql, Php) has been the main market technology used by SMEs and web hosting server, no big firms thus far has yet been braved enough to take the next big step into to the new frontier which is often the large scale extensive use of this open source technology.

Cited from my interview session with a developer from National Computer Systems the number biggest IT company in Singapore

“Yes it is the truth, no big companies has yet attempted to launch PHP as a platform for large scale enterprise use. However as soon as one of the big boys in the market does so the rest will soon follow.”

What he says can indeed be explained via the use of institutional theory. Assume a big company after going through a normative processes decides to adopt PHP on a large scale basis and successfully does so, others companies compelled by mimetic processes will follow along too.

Also due to the fact that this company might be a dominant supplier or client of other companies, they might via coercive forces be forced to adopt the same technology.

Another company CBS an MNC advertising firm which I went for interview the yesterday does has indeed developed a large scale system based on PHP with built in extensive workflow controls.

As commented by Senior Manager e-marketing for Sanofi Aventis Mr Bernard Grellier

“We are now looking at building sites that can be rapid, easily deployable, with low investment cost and discardable. That is why PHP might be a viable solution for this arena as compared to solutions from other vendors.”

So what is it that is preventing from big companies from hoping on to the PHP bandwagon?

Accountability is Key!

Big firms have a need for stability more so than small firms. They require that a party be accountable for technical support should an adopted technology malfunction during operations.

This is not simply possible when dealing with open source technology. What revolves around PHP is a community of people and not a single firm. In the event of a malfunction problem, the adoptee has no one to turn to for the solution.

However the day might not be long before big firms has a finger to point to.

Microsoft seeing the potential of tapping on the PHP community is already in the process of adopting it as a viable technology and attempting to scale it up. The day might not be long before big firms start seeing PHP as a viable technology for their operations as well thereby displacing mainstream technologies used in large scale corporate environments.

Market intelligence

There are many ways to do market research but some of the best ways to know what companies outside are doing is to either ask them for a quote of a potential product or attempt to get hired.

Thus I did the latter, attempting to get hired. Apparently after heading to so many companies for interviews, it dawns on me that I am heading in the right path after all for the past two years. The social media market is now ripe for the picking.

Big companies are in the process of jumping on to the band wagon. While the smaller ones are already there occupying the various niches.

social Media apparently is here to stay

Lunch Experiment Backfired

Today mom cooked glutinous rice for lunch. Recalling that glutinous rice is hard to digest because of the high amount of oil content in it, this idea occured to me. I saw a pile of lemon on the dining table. Thus I halved cut one of them into and proceeded to squeeze one half onto my rice.

Thinking that resulting dish should be quite yummy, I hurriedly shoved a spoon into my mouth. I was definitely in for a surprise. The whole taste was off. Ewwww….. The saltish taste of the rice did not go well with the overwhelmingly sour taste of the lemon. In fact they did not blend at all.

Not wanting to waste the food. I shoved the rest of the dish down my throat doing my best not to taste anything. Well at least I got for myself a healthy if not tasty meal today.

Haka (KA MATE! KA MATE! KA ORA! KA ORA! …)

Seems like a tough year, this one.

Things were pretty messy for me this year. I don’t know whether it is good or whether it is bad.

I managed to get myself involved in a good paying IT project at the beginning of the year for two months for a pharmaceutical firm. The pay I ‘ve got would have been enough to get me to Europe and start the next leg of my journey downwards to Africa.

However, I got myself involved with a girl the second day I got back to Singapore. Ouch! I was having a lot of dilemma deciding between her and my dreams all these while. I couldn’t just leave her and pursue dreams of my own, it would have been too selfish. But having her around requires that I provide a certain level of security and comfort, which she wouldn’t have been able to provide herself in this city. She is from the rural areas. It was pretty stressful financially for me. We sometimes quarrel over these things as well, when her wants are too much for me to provide.

So what happened next was that I got myself involved with another project which was even more lucrative but involved a certain amount of risk.

That one blew up in my face. My client became illiquid and I had no choice but to pay up the team of staffs I hired for the project from my own pocket which pretty much amounts to what I have earned from my previous one.

So basically it got me nicely back to square one all over again. Now I am half decided between looking for a full time job which would be highly torturous or hanging on with my existing group of clients. The income I get is about the same either way.

However considering the fact that my girlfriend would be getting back to Singapore soon and I would need to rent a house, pay for both our daily expense until she gets work(if she does), plus giving allowances to my parents, it is a lot of stress for some one who is incomes is irregular.

Then again if I do indeed get myself a full time job, the salary I do get would be just enough for all these expenses I I listed above, nothing more to finance my dreams. It is really like becoming a wage slave.

My heart is divided. I am still stuck with this question everyday. Having sleepless nights still. Constantly I pray for a possible path to open up before me or for death to come swiftly…

Google Map Api revisited

Today after much thoughts, I finally revisited the Google map api. I must admit previous attempts to understand the API has been cryptic.

How come it was such that I could easily pickup PHP, javascript, JSP, ASP or HTML while not the Google API? I reflected long and hard on my experiences dealing with the Google Map API and these other languages.

Aha!! Eureka! I finally arrived at the conclusion. I have been using the wrong approach along while working with the Google Map API.

While dealing with prior languages I always have a strong objective in mind; aka specific functions and features I want to implement in certain ways and methods.

With the Google Map API though I had no idea in mind what I wanted to do with nor what I wanted to achieve working.

Analogically speaking , with prior languages I was basically finding the vocabulary I needed from a dictionary to help make a sentence when I have to, while with my prior attempt at the Google Map I was attempting to memorize the whole dictionary without understanding a single thing about.

Buzzer!

Wrong move. The brain does work like a super storage system that is compartmentalized from A to Z, it is more like a whole network of nodes with multiple links between. Our brain works best when we can work information into logically coherent structures. Something which the mind map does.

How did I bring myself to commit such a stupid mistake when in the first place I knew about this problem. Then when thrown into a new and alien environment it is natural that we attempt at establishing some point of reference to help us get our bearings right, so what better way then is there than to flip randomly through the dictionary and get something random as a base to start from. The real mistake was attempting to memorize the stuff. Our brains can on the average only handle up to 7 variables simultaneously, so leave the variable tracking to the computers!!!

Why not use our brains for something more value adding such as things in the realms of erudition or creativity?

Network effects on the internet.

I bought myself the book the long tail by Chris Anderson the other day and started experimenting with the web all over again this time using the paradigm he presented in his book.

I was amazed suddenly how powerful the web could be again. These past few days I am slowly beginning to realize the power of blogs, something which I relegate to the realms of pointless online diaries and gossips.

Big news agencies broadcast news that is important to a broad base of people in various categories. Due to the economic restrictions of traditional news agency structure, what they can provide is but information that is broad and lack depth to the general audience. This is because as they drill down into more detailed levels, it gradually becomes less profitable for them to provide these information, due to the decreasing level of viewership. Information that warrants more detailed and indepth report are normally Black Swan events (unforeseeable but high impact occurances, eg. Obama becomes president, H1N1 flu comes into existence).

So in summary what we get on the news is meant for the general public but does not always serve specific needs. This is the economics of the top down approach.

We next look at blogs. Blogging is fast becoming a prevalent phenomena. The network effect of blogs (aka linking between blogs via rss) means that one can easily navigate from one blog of one topic to similiar blog of the same topic. This is similiar to what one does when watching one video on youttube and navigating to the next video that is closely related to the current one.

While Google search engine is good in the fact that it allows the retrieval of information that is highly relevant to certain keywords, the limitation of Google mainly resides with the users. Some topics are just too hard to define in words. It is hard to summarize some topics into specific keywords. This thus has to do with the problem of filters.

The problem with Google search is semi alleviated by the network elements found on social networks where likes tend to link together and are found in closer proximity than unlikes. (Traditionally known as birds of the same feather flock together.)

Of course we should not forget to take into consideration the piles of crap and garbage found on some blogs. But wait, what some perceives as garbage are usually perceive as treasure by others.

So in short do not dismiss the relevance of blogs on the internet.

Here is the relationship that I have thought about:

YouTube is to video, as is
Facebook is to Friends, as is
Blog is to information

The future it seems is fast becoming dominanted by network effects. Like it or not it is here to stay.

Google wave, the stanford model works, Serendipity

Seems like Google is coming up with a new web 2.0 platform again, this time specifically targeted at communications online.

It works pretty much like the winword document in the gmail except that this time you could also rewind time and see what was actually being written or edited at specific time intervals.

A video goes on to show that this algorithm has been originally been an area of academic research for the past 10 years before finally being commercialized in the form of Google Wave recently.

Seems like the Stanford model is working very nicely over in the States. What started as research in academies upon maturity gets rolled out commercially as spin offs.

The advantage that Google has is that fact that the whole company started out via this model as well. They are experienced in this.

In Singapore we do have something like this, but it seems owing to the general risk aversive culture of the place, this model is not taking off as well. Hey look, even my dad and mom has been nagging at me to get a stable job instead of constantly going through this process of trail and error that is inherent in technological ventures.

But hey no way am I going to call it quits that easily. I am still surviving so far am I not?

The other thing also is the lack of funding for start ups. Ironically, while lots of funds have been put in place to support start ups, fund managers are not really willing to seed start ups unless they are really confidant that their business model will be commercially viable.

Who’s to be sure anyway? Half of the really cool technologies around that were thought to have the potential to make a big bang when they hit the market never really did when they finally did arrive. Others that were thought to be flops magically succeeded at becoming dominant features on the internet without much explanation.

It is like choosing to play safe in an arena where the way to success contradicts the idea of playing safe. Hence most of these public funds get squandered off by companies who are good with paperwork to do stuff that is not aligned with the main objectives for the existence of these funds. The model is just not working.

Face it, success usually requires a certain amount of serendipity and the thing is such a thing is usually hard to predict. Mostly we are in the hands of God. It is like a leap of faith.

Kudos to that.