Archive for the ‘Malaysia’ Category

Malaysian postcode database

I’ve been thinking about simplifying e-commerce checkouts in Malaysia.

At bare minimum you need:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone
  • Street address
  • Postcode

State can be derived from Postcode. Country can be set as default, with the option to change it to something else (so a pull-down).

I found MalaysiaPostcode as a useful database. It looks like scraped data from POS Malaysia Location Finder.

Chromebooks in Malaysia via YES4G

The Chromebooks have arrived in Malaysia: The World’s First Samsung 4G Chromebook. They come with WiFi and a WiMaX chip so you connect to YES4G (up to 20Mbps speed on this network). They retail for RM1,299 (USD$419) or RM988 (USD$318) with a 24-month contract that costs RM88 with 3.5GB of data transfer (exceed the quota and you get free data usage at a reduced speed).

In the USA, the Samsung Chromebook with 3G retails for USD$329 while the Samsung Chromebook WiFi retails for USD$249.

I’m not sure why YTL has jacked up the price so much. There is no way that a WiMaX chip costs so much more compared to the 3G chip. There is already a $80 premium in the USA to get 3G (something you can use on any network – Maxis, DiGi, Celcom, etc.). Why does the WiMaX chip cost $90 more than the 3G model (total for the privilege of WiMaX: USD$170 – RM527!). Keep in mind that this extra means you only are mobile where the YES4G network is available (which is not everywhere, compared to the 3G networks in Malaysia).

Next up: LTE is here. Speeds exceed 20Mbps easily. Maxis and Celcom are already providing devices, including portable WiFi hotspots (MiFi devices). You can also tether your devices easily.

To add: there is likely a new Samsung Chrombook in the works. If it can keep the same price point and get a lot more power, it could be very interesting. The current Chromebook went on sale at Amazon in October 2012 (so some 7+ months ago). A refresh is definitely around the corner, though that shouldn’t stop anyone from buying one (it certainly won’t stop me).

My verdict? Buy a Chromebook with WiFi only. WiFi is everywhere these days. I don’t think the premium for connecting to the YES network makes sense. Real problem? These devices aren’t sold outright in Malaysia in any official capacity which I see as a problem.

Update: With 100GB free “cloud storage”, and only 16GB local storage, one would presume that you would use the cloud a lot for things. Music and videos will have to be streamed. Can you live with 3.5GB of data transfer (this is uploads and downloads)? Will you ever really get to use your Google Drive to its potential?

Thinking international

My favorite view. Don't listen to CNN, Seoul is awesome“The market is so small you have to think international” – Mattias Miksche, CEO, Stardoll (TWIST#343).

Sweden has like 9 million people. They don’t think they need to “go global”. They start thinking global. The local market is too small. It’s not like the USA.

I’ve said the same thing about Malaysia (and Singapore) before: why are you building locally if you’re a web-shop? Build, test, prove yourself, but make sure you’re global. 28 million people separated by different language needs will ensure you don’t have much larger than the population of Sweden when it comes to launching a product. 

So don’t think about going global after a year. Think about being global from day one.

Najib government/1Malaysia tech report card

Malaysian flag at UVUAs Malaysia goes to the polls tomorrow, I thought I’d go back and look at what tech goodness has been achieved by the Najib government after the 12th general elections.

  1. 1Malaysia Email project (myemail) awarded to Tricubes (delisted from stock exchange) to provide email to every Malaysian. I wroteabout it and was relatively bullish. Failure
  2. 1Malaysia laptops at RM990 (link). More than 800,000 disbursed. Never sold to end users by the looks of it. Using the Intel Atom processor, the netbook market is mostly dead now. Mixed (though I haven’t found a student talk about their happiness with this).
  3. 1Malaysia Pad for RM999 (when similar tablets cost around RM300). Awarded to MalTechPro (website seems to have disappeared – Failure.
  4. 1Malaysia Messenger (1MM) via MalTechPro. To compete with BlackBerry Messenger/Whatsapp. Failure.
  5. Tried to pass a Computing Professional Bill 2011 and elect a Board of Computing Professionals. Didn’t succeed (good), on the backburner now (not so good). Semi-failure
  6. Deep packet inspection leading to Internet filtering and the spread of a document that contains FinSpy (which is still under investigation as to whom benefits). Failure.
  7. World class broadband infrastructure – we did see the arrival of fibre, so Unifi, Maxis, etc. can provide faster broadband. Success.
  8. LTE is kind of here. Surprisingly Puncak Semangat has received spectrum. Company linked to Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary (business kingpin). Reminds me a lot of the 3G spectrum debacle, where DiGi didn’t get any so offered EDGE for a very long time; they however did enrich TDC to get the spectrum. Failure.
  9. Prepaid phones don’t have any GST like postpaid phones. This is due to demographic reasons. There is nothing 1Malaysia about it here. Failure.
  10. RM200 smartphone rebates. If my speculation is that it’s for spectrum recycling, it’s not entirely a failure, but getting a RM200 rebate on a phone that costs more than a basic 3G phone (i.e. no more than RM500) is absurd. Failure.

Did I miss anything?

If the elections are won by BN, it looks like there are promises of laptops for everyone. These seem to be Chromebooks, via 1BestariNet (interesting article to read). So there’s some tech to look forward to post-GE13 if Najib forms government.

Update (Sun  5 May 2013 01:39:07 MYT): Tekong informs that the poor in rural/urban areas will soon enjoy half an hour of Internet usage for free, via all telcos and ISPs because a study conducted shows people only use 15-30 minutes of access per day. This can be good to bridge the digital divide, though it looks like its something that only comes post-GE13. Too early to rate yet.

Updates on Malaysian censorship/filtering

With mouths wide openMore updates on Internet censorship in Malaysia (follow up from yesterday, As elections nears, Malaysia filters the Internet).

  1. MCMC denies that there are access restrictions, claiming high traffic is what slows sites down. Sheikh Raffie Abd Rahman, the strategic communications chief needs to realise that he’s dealing with people smarter than he is, so this kind of bullshit isn’t going to work.
  2. Brian Ritchie made an infographic on helping people bypass the censorship. Should be good for most end users.
  3. Khairil Yusof from the Sinar project made a simple Python app to help you see if your connection is being filtered. This requires you to have a Python interpreter.
  4. An anonymous source pointed me to For Their Eyes Only. The report is chilling. Do a search for Malaysia (it’s a long PDF, I’ve not been able to read it all). It is covered in TMI and Avoid this file: SENARAI CADANGAN CALON PRU KE-13 MENGIKUT NEGERI.doc. If you’ve opened it, you’ve got FinSpy. This was brought up before by TMI via the NYT, however MCMC ended up investigating TMI over this.

In other news, it’s World Press Freedom Day. Remember that access is equally as important as freedom of expression. 

When hackers gather

I just stumbled upon nushackers (formerly linuxNUS). Here are a group of people from the National University of Singapore, who organise weekly talks (Friday Hacks), as well as workshops (hackerschool).

I’m totally inspired by what’s happening, it kind of reminds me of the CSSE Student Club I was a part of back at my alma mater. The extension to that was GAUNIX, in where we controlled a machine supported by the university and gave folk shell access.

Great things happen when hackers meet up with each other. And here I’m referring to the hackers, not just the idea folk/business people. Just people playing around with new things, tinkering, sharing about new technology, building stuff. 

There used to be MyOSS meetups in Malaysia. Now there is WebCampKL, but this is a meld of people who are not exactly hackers.

I reckon this is what’s missing in the Malaysian space – it needs to be fixed.