Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Do you need the .com?

Conventional wisdom says you need to have the .com in a domain name. Nowadays its backed by the fact that you have the .com easily available on your mobile phone’s popup keyboard as well.

But lately I’ve seen some quality sites launch and they don’t have the .com’s to go with it. AppleWorld.Today. Fusion.net. In the past, let’s not forger <re/code> from the AllThingsD folk at Wall Street Journal (also, .net). You’ve always had John Gruber’s Daring Fireball in the .net-namespace.

So maybe you don’t need the .com and you’ll do just fine.

It’s interesting to travel to places like Iceland where its common to see domains with .is. They’re happy using their country code top level domains (TLDs). It parts of Barcelona, its quite common to see .cat. 

Here, and defending your trademarks

I read: Nokia threatens London start-up over ‘HERE”.

It’s all about Lowdownapp (I’ve not heard about it before this), made by David J Senior & crew. I think the crux of the problem is that they have also released an app called HERE and Nokia is obviously pissed because of HERE Maps.

Apparently Nokia has spent USD$12m on creating the HERE brand and are now defending it.

I’m not surprised this startup hadn’t heard of it. I’m also not surprised that unless you’ve used a Windows phone, you’ve probably not heard about HERE Maps either. There was a release of HERE Maps on iOS, but I’m sure it never got the attention that Apple Maps or Google Maps got (I’m including Apple here because laugh as much as you want, being a default, really helps).

A few months back, I spoke to an entrepreneur doing indoor mapping, and mentioned to him that Google Maps is starting to encroach on that space as possible competition (he knew that). I then said that the best indoor maps I’d seen so far had come from HERE Maps. He had never heard about it, and he’s deep into mobile and mapping. 

It’s a sad fact of life that $12m is money not well spent, because no one at the moment really cares about the Windows phone platform; so if that is your app showcase, you’ve screwed the pooch. To make matters worse, you can’t even find HERE Maps on the Apple App Store today (it was pulled down in 2013, but apparently will make a comeback in early 2015). It is still available as a beta in the Android Play Store. I liked this thread between Benedict Evans and David Senior, because while its clear that Nokia does have a trademark, and its clear to Benedict Evans since he watches this market, its definitely unclear to the masses that Nokia has anything to do with Here.

Should all startups perform a trademark search before naming their companies? I’m not sure — its already hard to get a good name with domain/social media presence these days. Plus its time consuming (not to mention costly) to do a trademark search in multiple jurisdictions that you care about (or maybe you can use a service like this?). Not something the average startup wants to spend costs on.

Heck, even established companies like Microsoft end up doing a rename of SkyDrive to OneDrive to please BSkyB. So it’s not a startup rookie mistake either.

What happens next is likely that the folks at Lowdownapp will rename their Here app; the functionality I’m guessing will remain the same, it will just be called something different. Do I like it? Absolutely not. However as a bonus, it looks like the app only launched in Dec 2014 so maybe it will be easier giving in to this battle.

Samsung should learn to take care of their customers

My first Samsung mobile phone was a Samsung Galaxy S3. I still use it as my roaming phone, though mainly all it does now is serve as a device that I plug into a battery pack and let it act as a tethered modem.

The main reason is that its slow. Its old. The software on it is outdated. Keep in mind this was a phone released in May 2012 (I must have gotten it in June 2012). The equivalent iPhone that came out in 2012? The iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 still runs iOS 8 without issue. Samsung is notoriously delayed when it comes to updating software; in fact they rather you buy a new device. No, the average user isn’t going to go around hackery to get the latest Android on it.

So when I see articles like Samsung profits down as smartphone division feels squeeze, I can only chuckle. Knocking off iPhone was a good model, but then you see Xiaomi come into play and do the same thing at 1/3 or 1/4th the price. Updating software – Xiaomi does it every Friday. Samsung requires you to heavily pray for an update, or pay to get a new phone. 

High-end smartphones in Malaysia cost an average of RM2,000. You can buy a computer at this price. Computers typically have a 3-year warranty, and get software updates for 3-5 years. Mobile phones come with a meagre 1-year warranty, if you buy it on plan, it is a 2-year lock-in, and by the time your lock-in is over, you’re buying the next phone (very unlike a computer, eh?). This is why its smart that Apple does iOS updates for years on end (I reckon they focus on 4 generations at any given time).

It’s also interesting to watch the secondhand market. See what last year’s model of an iPhone sells versus a Samsung. 

Samsung needs innovation. It needs leadership. It needs to learn to be more open. 

Will I buy another Samsung phone based on my S3 experience? No. Have I seen any Samsung Note users migrate to the Apple iPhone 6+ yet? No. But again, it is still early days in 2015.

exploring art

One of my goals in 2015 & going forward is to diversify my interests from just the IT industry. One of those categories that I think I’m quite interested in, is art

Lately I’ve been taking meetings with folk, typically on a day, and since November 2014 to now, I’ve done 3 of these (so an average of one a month). Just this week, I met with a Malaysian art appraiser and it garnered very interesting conversation. For me, I think art must be affordable. The art world seems stuffy, and in Malaysia, gallery owners are artifically inflating prices. I expect more people to want to collect art like they may collect a watch or aspire to buy a car — you start with a Swatch, graduate to a Timex and then buy your Tag Heuer (or you start driving a Myvi, graduate to a Vios, then buy yourself a Civic, and then a Camry, and then a C Class Mercedes).

Anyway, to think about it, last year I picked up a Thierry Noir, caught Ai Weiwei in Berlin, went around Siem Reap looking at art and purchasing a piece from a local artist, and I made my first purchase from a Malaysian photographer, Keng Leong. I myself took part in an exhibition called Web To Wall, back in 2006, when I was a much more active photographer. It’s only taking a decade to come together ;-)

In December 2014, it didn’t help that there were some really interesting stories I read about two very fascinating characters. The New Yorker had a profile of Hans Ulrich Obrist — The Art of Conversation. The other was the New York Times doing a profile of Stefan Simchowitz — The Art World’s Patron Saint.

This made me want to read and dig deeper about these two very interesting characters. And the multitude of articles are truly inspiring. 

So here’s looking forward to seeing what I do to achieve this goal this year and in the future.

IRC is back

IRC never really went away. If you are a participant in the opensource world, there’s a good chance you’ve fired up an IRC client to connect to your project channel (eg. #maria) to chat with people involved with the project.

Slack is becoming really popular, and from what I can tell, it looks very much like IRC. I tried Kik again, when I read Hashtags as Social Networks. This is IRC — with a channel limit (50 users). The twist is that its mobile, since you’re quite happily doing this kind of chat on your mobile phone.

Netflix & streaming from overseas

New 37" LCDIt is disappointing reading that Netflix is cracking down on VPN and proxy “pirates”. This is how odd the movie industry has it when it comes to thinking about licensing — after all, people are subscribing to Netflix for $8.99 and then getting onto a VPN service like Unotelly from anywhere between $4.95-$7.95/mo.

Effectively due to the movie industry’s idiotic practices, foreign viewers are already willing to pay almost double in “taxes” to the VPN provider.

Where will these people turn to when Netflix stops streaming them movies? Torrents. Who loses when those offering to pay use torrents? The movie industry. 

Update: Why Netflix won’t block VPN users – it has too many of them. Apparently the numbers are in excess of 30 million subscribers.


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