Saturday March 05

Pledge of the Mac Advocate

I have been using Macs for nearly a decade and a half. So I have met many different kinds of Mac users in the course of that time. I don't think there is such a thing as a casual Mac user. By the choice that we make, we are forced into the position of having to defend our choice in some way or other (although we don't necessarily have to promote it). As such, Mac users are split into two different camps: Mac Advocates and Mac Fanatics. And I think I fall in the former category.

A Mac Advocate sees a Mac as a means to an end. A Mac Fanatic sees the Mac as an ends in itself. Mac Fanatics have boundless energy and are useful in building momentum in Mac advocacy. But because of their innate lack of respect for others, they come off too strongly and obnoxiously and alienate tamer Mac users.

The reason why I bring this up is because of the number of Mac Fanatics that have invaded my local Mac User Group forums. They have both dismissed me and have attacked me with no logic or reason. I think it is a shame because the forum administrators will not do anything about them and so I don't think I will visit it again.

So I want you to know that just because I use a Mac doesn't mean that I have pledged my life to Apple. I want you to know that I am reasonable and I am conscientiously selective. And so as a Mac Advocate, I make these promises:

  1. I will respect the choices of others as I want them to respect my own choice.
  2. I will not claim an elite status simply because of my product choice.
  3. I will not believe that any Apple official or any product of Apple is infallible.
  4. I will not dismiss better choices or more available choices in products if they are more suitable even if Apple has a similar product.
  5. I will not bore the crap out of other people with endless diatribe about the benefits of using a Mac.
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PHP Markdown

PHP Markdown code (converts text to HTML using PHP) that can be used to replace Textile.

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Friday March 04

India's secret army of online ad 'clickers'

Google is in so much trouble now. Although their name hasn't come up yet, they may soon be tied to a controversy in online advertising the online advertising industry. Indians are being hired to click on online ads.,curpg-1.cms

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The New York public library is offering its collection of thousands of historically important images free for download and personal use.

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Why computers never have a "B" drive?

A very interesting answer to a puzzling bar quiz question. The hard disk is drive C and the floppy is drive A. But where is drive B?

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When you need that p*rn and can't get to your computer, then what you need is Fapfone. P*rn on your mobile. Great, that's what we need: guys on crowded peak hour trains with boners.

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A statistics counter that logs all out-going links that people have clicked on your site. All you do is sign up and add a single-line javascript to your website.

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Thursday March 03 - Bad business blog from Motorola

A successful business blog basically needs three things:

  1. A clearly defined and well understood target audience
  2. Relevant reasons to the target audience to keep returning
  3. Marketing plan to reach the target audience

Pure common sense that applies to virtually any marketing plan. Which is why the complete and utter failure of is a testimony to absolute cluelessness.

Bad Business BlogBad business blog

The blog, sponsored by Motorola (with the logo clearly endorsing it in the blog's masthead), showcases four "dynamic individuals" (four real life bloggers) who will supposedly to attract other "dynamic individuals" to the site. Oh and by the way, they use the Motorola MPx camera phone. The content of their blogging isn't at all exciting or demonstrative of their dynamism. I would have thought that I'd see a lot more photos on the site since it is a camera phone they are using, but out of every five or so entries, only one is a photo. And the photos are generic shots of cars, food and other still life. Hardly "dynamic" stuff.

As for the writing, the average entry from each blogger appears at the rate of about two or three per week. They're rarely over 100 words and read like inane Livejournal entries about what they did during the day but with one difference. Each entry either has a photo taken with the MPx or has a very forced reference to the camera phone. For example in January, one of the bloggers posted a quote by Alan Kay about inventing, oh and by the way, the MPx is so inventive! Tada! A business blog of this nature that seeks to promote a product relies solely on its credibility as an opinion-former. But this blog has about as much credibility as Attila the Hun has of being a dove.

It seems as though the audience is the client herself -- and she obviously likes seeing the name of her phone on the internet every few days. Or maybe they are confused who their audience is: in the blog's terms and conditions, it ironically states that the target is the general public who are over the age of 13, and citizens of the United States or Canada. Apart from that, the content seems to be targeting an evasive kind of audience -- the kind who would enjoy flippant remarks and irrelevant chatter. Or maybe they don't have an audience at all if the number of comments left in the last month of the blog is any indication: a big fat zero.

Since they didn't do any above-the-line advertising, the marketing plan seems to be tied to generating buzz among other Malaysian bloggers. A search using finds only seven links to motoblog from five sources and three of them are either the bloggers themselves on their own personal blogs or the freelance webdesigner who made it. A search using Google's link: operator finds the total of ONE link from one of the bloggers' personal blogs. In the three months that motoblog was active (it was closed in late January with no reason given), it seemed no one was interested in talking about it. So much for the buzz! I think Motorola was relying on the profile of two of the bloggers who had previously gained the reputation of being among the more likeable ones in Malaysia to generate buzz simply because of their involvement in the project. But the two of them put so little effort into the motoblog, their personalities which made their own blogs popular failed to come through. And a search on their own blogs reveals that only one of them had mentioned motoblog and only ONCE. You'd think that Motorola or its web design agency was at least savvy enough to make the bloggers sign a promotion contract.

If the blog's authors behaved less like corporate automatons and more like people with personalities and likeability, the blog might have given people more reason to visit it and entice more people to return. As it is, the experiment lasted three months and cost the client RM20,000 in my estimation, most of which went to the freelance web designer who created the website and the web design agency's commission. And the client got nothing out of it except bad press and a "We don't get the internet" reputation.

So I hope Netinfinium, the web design company that has the Motorola account doesn't lose the account just because of this experiment with the four bloggers (althought part of me thinks they deserve to) and I hope everyone learns a lesson. Bloggers cannot carry a business blog alone. Content is king and marketing is queen. If you have crap content, no one will recommend the blog and no one will return.

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This was going to happen sooner or later: Friendster On Your Mobile Phone. Requires a WAP-enabled phone to use this service. Sony Ericsson still not supported, but Nokia WAP phones are.

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Fudforum is a lovely collaboration software in PHP and Mysql that's presented as a forum but with file attachments feature built in.

Comment [0] on FUDforum Viewed 106 times

Wednesday March 02

SwitchProxy Tool for Mozilla

This is really handy. You can switch proxies on Firefox so that it will effectively make your surfing anonymous. I'm using it myself. There are several lists of free proxies on the internet. It's just a matter of finding one that can work with your ISP and doesn't slow down your browsing. So in case you are in Malaysia and I decide to ban Malaysians again, you can still surf here easily.

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A CMS meant for an academic journal -- allows editors (and even authors) to enter citation details and upload the pdf version. I think it even has pdf viewing from the website.

Comment [0] on Hyperjournal Viewed 88 times

Tuesday March 01 is a wannabe that's licensed for the Malaysian mobile phone service providers. The business plan is simple: maximise the use of the MMS service of the local service providers thereby increasing revenue from the charges for each MMS. But one thing missing from it (which is on textamerica) is RSS feeds for each blogger. RSS feeds allow the building of the community and the usefulness of

RSS feeds can be used to:

  1. Create a list of the most popular (and most viewed) photos
  2. Create a list of the most recent uploaded photos
  3. Create a list of photos from each blogger
  4. Create a list of random photos from recent uploads

Kind of like meets textamerica. With RSS, lifelogger could allow people to display their recent photos on their blog, just like textamerica does. And let's not forget how the link backs to the main site will benefit it in terms of its Pagerank.

RSS feeds are very simple to implement and I'm surprised lifelogger hasn't done it already since the engine is obviously based on easymoblog, the open source moblog software in PHP. And easymoblog already has the basis for these feeds built into the CMS. I think the silliest thing of all is the CMS developers had to actually expend resources taking the RSS parsing code out! could easily trump the other popular moblog site,, on this because flickr hasn't implemented these RSS feeds yet.

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I'm an online brand planner and SEO specialist in Malaysia. XHTML, CSS and PHP hacker. for branding and content planning and execution, offline and online. I'm also available for speaking and writing engagements.

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