Monday, July 23, 2007

Concrete scarcity: a blessing in disguise

Concrete has become scarce and expensive in Singapore, since Indonesia started blocking sand exports to the little city state. If you compare Singapore's brand new skyscrapers with the old ones, I'm not sure whether that's a curse, or a blessing.

And by the way, the quality you can get out of your Nokia N95's camera on a bright, sunny day is impressive...

High-tech endangers low-tech

Seen at Singapore General Hospital. Acupuncture is a venerable, 5000 years old medical technology; mobile phones a 50 year old communications tool.

One wonders in what way handphones pose dangers for 'sensitive' acupuncture equipment. Have today's needles become electronic gadgets, coming a long way from the Bronze Age's sharpened stones? Or do loud conversations interfere with the serene atmosphere in which the needles are being applied?

Acupuncture is from Venus, handphones are from Mars.

Commercial email getting more threatening?

Guess those Webroot guys are used to dealing with spammers and other vermin. Bit of a cruel way to treat your customers, though. Wouldn't "Your subscription has expired" sound a bit more friendly, and less lethal?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sunset over the East Coast...

... and Moonrise over Suntec City:
You see too few of these pictures around. It leads one to believe that Singaporeans value their own cityscape too little. The fact that the Government has to put pressure on developers to build landmark buildings speaks volumes. And yes, we are starting to cherish our conservation bungalows and shophouses, but they're still being razed and mutilated by the dozen.

Thirty years from now, the next generation will start to regret what happened even today.

Fortunately the tide has turned. Too slow, as always, but already visible in places, such as Blair Road, the street where I live.

Hopefully, as the old becomes scarce, we'll start to cherish the new as well.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Relaxing Singapore

This is new. By this I don't mean the picture, taken at One15, the new yacht club and marina at Sentosa, but the title of this post. Singapore has made it, it's not only about living to work any more. We now work to live. But Singapore wouldn't be Singapore if 'working to live' would not be made into a business itself. So now we build marinas, casinos, and resorts. By the dozen.

Bustling Singapore

The old and the new. But looks deceive. Capital Tower looks new, Ann Siang Hill's shophouses in the foreground old. Reality is, Capital Tower is occupied by old-style financial institutions. Ann Siang Hill is the home of up-and-coming interactive advertising agencies, and internet startups.

Booming Singapore

Palm trees and building cranes.

The Age of the Internet has arrived. Books have become decorations

Remember books? You know, the stuff we used to read when they still had paper? Well, they've completely done up the new food court at Suntec with them. How quaint.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Do Not Disturb

Interesting post from Jan Chipchase on Future Perfect. Hutch in India apparently offers a blanket opt out for sending commercial text messages through to your phone.

Jan frets about the 72 hours before the block will be in place, and the unspecified time it will take for Hutch's marketing clients to comply.

If Hutch gets this right (that's a big if), client compliance should not be a problem. Mobile providers, after all, are known for 'keeping the keys to the Kingdom', allowing their customers access only to those bits of cyberspace they make money off, and generally blocking the kind of progress we've seen on the wider Internet. But that should work both ways.

The flip side of the medal is the provider's responsibility to shield their customers from unwanted communications. Either accept that responsibility, or take you hands off the whole thing and let your subscribers roam freely across the Web.

Unfortunately this logic does not appeal to telcos, judging by their initial reactions in last year's mTouche scandal in Singapore.