Notebook that fits nicely in your pocket

How could it be possible? For those who have been very aware of the latest development in the computer industry.  You probably have known that SONY Singapore has announced the the launch of their latest notebook in town this week – VAIO P “Pocket style PC”. The new VAIO P “Pocket style PC” is an 8-inch full-featured notebook PC fitted into a pocket size that’s less than 20mm thin and is about the size of a business envelope.   

When I first hold on to VAIO P, it feels like you are mantling with a toy. It is very light (weighs 594g with a solid-state drive and 620g with a hard disk drive) for a notebook and can be comfortably handled with a single hand. Ladies will love this device as it can be easily slip into a handbag while they are out for shopping.

Despite its small size, performance has not been compromised. Although it is run on Microsoft VISTA, I am surprised that most of the applications have been able to load relatively fast. Anyway, XP is still available in the market if you are not used to VISTA.

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The design of the keyboard is pretty good given its small size. I appreciate that Sony has recognized the importance of typing experience. Extension of the keyboard to the edges of the chassis and maximizing of typing space do help men with big fingers like mine. However, it appears that the screen looks significantly shorter and smaller than the keyboard. It does not look visually appealing to people like me who have been used to working on normal-size laptop.  

It does not come to me as a surprise when VAIO P has connectivity features such as built-in wireless LAN 802.11b/g/Draft n webcam. The interesting application is the Instant Mode that directly launches into Sony’s Xross Media Bar interface for quick boot up and access to music, video, photos and the Web. We tried to quick boot the system on the spot and it took about 30-40s to launch Instant Mode; probably due to the operation system installed in the device.

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The VAIO P is almost as powerful as a normal-size laptop. Since it is run on Window VISTA, it supports other software. Additionally, there is also a windows arrangement utility preinstalled for easy organising of all open documents or websites, all with a single touch. The disappointment is short battery life of 3 hours (bundled battery). It is certainly not enough if you carry this device out for a whole day. 

The new VAIO P is available in 4 different colours – Black, Green, Red and White and will be priced from S$1,299

For press release and specification of this product, please go here

know amazing business ideas in NTU!!

08 CreativeLab_logoGlobal market slumped like a freefall but innovation will never stop. Entrepreneurs will continue to innovate and invent interesting products and services. Give yourself a chance to indulge in the air of entrepreneurism at NTU Business Plan Competition(NTU BPC) this coming Friday, 9 Jan 2009.

NTU BPC – 08CreativeLab is a campus-wide competition very much in line with Singapore’s effort to promote and develop a strong technology entrepreneurship environment leading to a vibrant and thriving sector of high growth technology-oriented companies. Spearheaded by Nanyang Technopreneurship Center (NTC) and designed to encourage the growth of entrepreneurship through education and competition, NTU BPC provides a platform in which participants present new innovative business concepts to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, business leaders and angel investors.

Through the various learning initiatives and training engagements with business communities, participants are strongly encouraged to go beyond “paper play” and to start up ventures based on their business plans.

This year’s competition which began in May attracted a total of 294 NTU students or 67 teams. During the first round of judging, we narrowed this down to 18 teams. 8 teams from the Semi Final have advanced into the Grand Final of 08CreativeLab.

Our judges from the preliminary and semi-final rounds have short-listed 8 finalist-teams for this Grand Final, where each team is expected to perform an elevator pitch on their business, followed by a venture capital fair where each team will set up a booth to showcase their business idea to be evaluated by a panel of distinguished judges consisting of venture capitalists, business angels, successful entrepreneurs, eminent corporate business leaders, intellectual property owners, solicitors, government officials, and etc.

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The winning teams will be awarded with over S$23,000 cash prizes; possibilities to raise capital funding; and others including digital equipments and shopping vouchers, etc.  Supporting this event, we have supporting partners such as Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (SVCA), Technology Transfer Network (TTN) and Lloyd Wise.

NTC would like to invite you to the Grand Finale of NTU Business Plan Competition 2008 on 9th of January 2009.

Interested parties, please register yourself here

MacBook Air’s fatal wireless flaw – Are there?

I extracted this article from CNET. The aurthor is critising the wireless function of MacBook Air. I couldn’t say whatever mentioned in the article is wrong. However, it is overly reacting to the features. If you want to have 3G surfing, you can always get a wireless dongle modem. Space is critical in a thin laptop like Macbook Air? There is a limitation in the hardware design.

 

I believe in future, we can expect to see more features in a next generation of MacBook Air which I am pretty sure 3G will be included. 

 

 

“Apple’s MacBook Air doesn’t live up to its wireless promise.

To quote an Apple tagline, “without wires, you’re free to go anywhere.” But the wireless part of the “air” double entendre fails to deliver. (The other half its light-as-air weight: here it does deliver.)

As I’ve written in the past, I like the Air. I got one in February as soon as it was available at retail and have been pleased with the performance, screen, keyboard, build, and, until recently, the battery life (which has dwindled to under an hour). Of course, the head-turning aluminum aesthetics is also a major appeal to many people.

That said, after a spurt of trips including a 10-day stay on the East Coast and a few treks to Los Angeles, the Air’s wireless shortcomings have become painfully clear. In a word (or two), no 3G.

Now, before I get slammed, let me say that I fully realize that I’m not the first person to reach this conclusion so I’m not claiming any unique epiphany. There were a number of observers citingthis paradox way back in January. Some frustrated users even attempted hacks to shoehorn a 3G modem into the Air. The point is: because of the price and the way it’s marketed, 3G should be built in.

But the full brunt of not having 3G hit me on Friday when I made a trip to Qualcomm to get briefed on a new version of the Snapdragon applications processor (more on this in another post). Sitting there in the nerve center of one of greatest wireless companies in the world, I couldn’t get a wireless connection. Everyone else in the room had 3G connections of one kind or another. The Air instantly became the proverbial doorstop (or paper weight–choose your simile, or maybe it’s more apropos to say it was a dinosaur.)

It didn’t take much prodding from me to get the Qualcomm product manager to point out this fatal flaw.

This came after weeks of not being able to use the Air in many situations when I desperately needed a wireless connection. For instance, not all LA airports have reliable Wi-Fi connections. The John Wayne Airport in Orange County being one example. And when I was on the East Coast, one sprawling place I stayed at for several nights had Wi-Fi only in one inconveniently situated area that was inaccessible at night.

In these situations, the Air is nothing more than a slab of beautifully sculpted aluminum.

Hewlett-Packard Compaq 2510p (L) and MacBook Air.  The HP comes with a built-in WWAN option, the Air does not. 

Hewlett-Packard Compaq 2510p (L) and MacBook Air. The HP comes with a built-in WWAN option, the Air does not.

(Credit: Brooke Crothers)

Which brings me to the cult of Steve Jobs. Apple was brilliant enough to deliver a groundbreaking design like the Air but why wasn’t it savvy enough to build in 3G?

Before I get slammed again, let me throw out some reasons (excuses) why Apple didn’t build in 3G, based on reports I’ve read and my own observations. Apple didn’t like the fact that 3G modems often made the user commit to one service provider, i.e., Verizon or Sprint or Vodafone. Or, it believed that if users wanted 3G, they could simply plug in a USB 3G modem.

I have serious problems with both of those reasons. Particularly when you’re paying typically more than $1,800 (or $2,500, depending on the model) for a notebook billed as a wireless wonder (for Apple ad copy on why the Air is such a wonderful wireless laptop, just cruise over to Apple’s MBA page.) And I have even more of a problem when ultrathin Netbooks are coming with 3G at one-third (and potentially a tiny fraction of) the cost of the Air.

For comparison, let’s look at another Valley company, Hewlett-Packard. HP has been selling WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network) modems in its business laptops for at least two years (and probably longer). The HP-Compaq NC6400 laptop introduced about two years ago was offered from day one with WWAN built in.

Granted, the choice of carriers at first was limited but look at HP’s offerings today. Models (including those in the EliteBook line) are offered with Qualcomm’s Gobi modem. Gobi obviates the need to have unique radios for each carrier. Gobi supports Verizon, Sprint, and others in one device.

Where was Gobi when Apple refreshed the MacBooks in October? I’m sure Apple has plenty of excuses (for example, not enough space in the Air’s ultrathin design).

But Apple should have had 3G from the beginning and certainly in the October refresh. In today’s 3G world, continuing to call it the MacBook Air brings another meaning to the double entendre: lightness of weight with a touch of advertising hot air.

Additional comments:
The point is not that a user can potentially add an external WWAN modem (though even that’s not necessarily easy to do), the point is that the Air should come with 3G capability built in considering how the computer is marketed.

Originally posted at Nanotech – The Circuits Blog “

Updates from TAWA and TND

Hi guys! Sorry for not updating The Neo Dimension (TND) for some time.

Recently, I was helping The Young Businessman as a guest blogger. The latest blog post that I have written for The Young Businessman is “Should Entrepreneurs Venture in Recession-Resistant Industry”

Also, I was being interviewed by Chasing The Storm on the entrepreneurship experience with Technopreneurs’ Association of Wireless Applications (TAWA). Questions are well thought and to a certain extend, it is a public’s impression of TAWA.

Will update you guys more about the latest development of TAWA.

Venture capital improves corporate governance

COMPANIES receiving venture capital backing are generally better at corporate governance when they list on the stock exchange than those that have not gone down the venture capital path, according to a study by the Australian School of Business.

Based on 11 years of research by Associate Professor Jo-Ann Suchard in association with the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, the study examined corporate governance at companies that had gone through an initial public offering.

It finds that listed companies with VC-backed boards have more independent directors and a higher percentage of independent directors with industry experience than non-VC companies that have gone to an IPO.

“It is established in international markets that venture capitalists add value through various types of activities beyond just giving money,” Suchard says.

Her research shows VC-backed firms have more independent directors. “These were not just non-executives, but directors who didn’t have any prior or existing relationship with the company, so they weren’t lawyers or bankers or accountants who had a prior working relationship,” she says.

Suchard says VCs use their networks to bring in specialist independent directors to help run companies, and therefore provide better corporate governance, which should help protect shareholder interests and contribute to better performance over time.

Luceille Outhred, chief executive of South Australian technology innovation group Digislide Holdings, says having VC backing has definitely helped her company achieve stronger corporate governance.

“We’ve gone through seed capital raising and angel raising, and each time we’ve gone through a different stage, as a natural consequence of the business growing but also as a necessity for raising additional capital at a higher level, our policies and procedures have tightened up,” she says.

“We always had a goal of listing on the ASX or the New York Stock Exchange, or Nasdaq, so we have constantly been upgrading our policies and our procedures, both operational and governance.


“Digislide has received about $12 million in venture capital funding and we would be in a position to lodge with ASIC for an ASX-listed company if we choose to do so, because all our policies are at the highest level and the implementation is at the highest level.”

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, chief executive of the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, says VC-backed companies are used to working with a board, whereas many other companies that list for the first time have not previously done so.

“A lot of companies think they don’t need a board in the earlier stages of being a company and so people are just not used to having a board,” Woodthorpe says.

“It is difficult, however, finding independent directors, particularly people who are interested in working with smaller technology companies, which are perceived as having higher risk.”

Ivan Kaye, director of BSI Australia, which provides venture capital funding through its Australian Distributed Incubator arm, says a condition of putting money into a company is that they move towards having the right structures in place.

“There are generally independent or non-executive board members put on by the VC.

“As a result of that, the shift from a private company to listing is smaller than with a company that hasn’t had VC backing.”

Mike Hershorn, director of Four Hats Capital, manager of the Nanyang Innovation Fund, says one of the first things to improve in the field of corporate governance is a company’s financial reporting.

“That’s really the first step, because if the board doesn’t have accurate financial reports it can’t work well to improve the company.”

VENTURE FORTH
* Companies with venture capital backing tend to have better corporate governance

* Independent directors have a stronger presence on the board

* The right governance structures are often a condition of VC funding

* Better governance brings better financial reporting

Source: The Australian, 28 Nov 2008

Coffee with 3 entrepreneurs at Geek Terminal

 

It is a beautiful Wednesday morning. Shen has invited Jeremy, Ridzuan and me for a coffee session at Geek Terminal. Each and every one of us chatted about anything under the sun. The most surprising thing we got to know from Jeremy is that Nokia had involved in many businesses in Finland. Nokia is a giant conglomerate someone like TATA in India. They used to sell car tires specifically designed for winter. (They had already sold their tires businesses. See link here)

 

So who are these entrepreneurs?

 

1. Shen, Founder/ Managing Director of Jorbb.com

 

Jorbb.com is Singapore’s newest site created expressly for non-executive jobs, for individuals seeking freelance, contract, part-time and casual employment. 

This innovative and uniquely interactive portal enables its users to not only post their resumes, but also photos, slideshows and video profiles.

 

Website: http://Jorbb.com

 


 

2. Jeremy, Managing Director of Metaversum Asia Pte Ltd (Singapore)

 

Metaversum develops and operates the 3D online world Twinity. This visionary project mashes up the real with the virtual world. Members of the Twinity community enrich and expand their lives by integrating their real life into the virtual world. Twinity is set to launch this summer and is currently in private beta. Founded in July 2006, Metaversum is financed by leading venture capital firms and has offices in Berlin and Kiev.

 

Company Website: http://www.metaversum.com/

Twinity website: http://www.twinity.com/en

 

 

 

3. Ridzuan Ashim, co-founder of Widgeous

Officially incorporated in early 2008 by 2 individuals, Widgeous is in the business of creating a web technology-based solution for solving the problem of having too many isolated channels of communication. Keeping to philosophy of keeping things simple, the company has built a platform which allows people to keep a centralised repository of their contact information. With that, others who wish the contact the individual can now do so simply by specifying the individual’s Widgeous ID. Widgeous then helps to decide the most efficient method for delivering the message.

The platform is also an open platform that allows application developers to build applications that fully utilize their cross-channel capabilities.

Website: http://widgeo.us/

 

 


 

 

 (From Left) Neo, Jeremy, Shen, Ridzuan 

Sponsored Review: Feel the air of entrepreneurialism!

Feel lost in the job market? Lack of motivation? I believe these are some emotional struggles among young Singaporean. However in the midst of poor market condition, there always exist an opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs usually emerge during bad weather. Why not get yourself de-stressed and feel the air of entrepreneurialism with Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008?

Global Entrepreneurship Week (The Week) lasts from 17 to 23 Nov 2008. It is a celebration of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. The Week will bring together millions of young people across the globe through online and local activities and encourage them to think innovatively and unleash their ideas.

This is not an “All Talk, No Action” event. M.Y. FBI Holiday Camp, targeted at children (age 10-12), will required participants to think of creative ideas to sell their craft on 22nd November as a closing for the camp. All profits will go to a charity benefiting children which will be selected by the participants themselves.

Besides business educations for the young children, Youths-4 Charity Flea market is targeted at youths from Secondary Schools and ITE with a focus on social entrepreneurship. Youths-4 Charity Flea market is a competition. Each team will be required to produce items/ crafts for sale on the flea market. To make the competition more realistic, rental and interest will be imposed.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008 is organised by ACE and NUS Enterprise. The sponsored review is provided by BLOG2u (http://blog2u.sg). If you wish to find out more information of the event, please visit the official site: http://www.entrepreneurshipweeksg.org

Recycle your unwanted IT Products with HP Green Campaign

Guys, 

HP (Stock quote: HPQ) is organizing a recycling campaign this coming Saturday. If you have old and unwanted HP products, you can head down to HP Booth at Yu Hua Village to trade with a new ones under terms and conditions. This initiaitve is spearheaded by National Environment Agency.  

Date: 15 November, Saturday 

Venue: Blk 252, Yu Hua Village@ Jurong East Area (Main Site) 

Time: 11am – 7pm 

For details: Please visit the HP website here or NEA website here

 

Can we drive “armored-vehicle” on the road?!

 

If you are an entrepreneur or business developer, you are constantly fighting for sales otherwise you will lose out in this highly-competitive market. Time is everything! As a sales person or entrepreneur (especially those at the early stage of startup), you need to be highly efficient even on the move!

 

Meeting your clients is like engaging a fire fight. You need weapons and transportation for wars. Your products are your bullets and your car should be like your armor vehicle. Besides transportation capabilities, armor-vehicles have fighting and communication capabilities. Question here, “besides transportation, what else can our car do?”

 

I am sure all of us agree that car is a liability. Why? Simply because we do not see much of owning a car except for the ERP (for those who don’t understand, it is the acronym of Electronic Road Pricing), car loans, petrol charges and road taxes. We need to look at uses or applications of car beyond transportation.

 

I come across the term “Mobile Office”. One of the examples is to convert your vehicle into a mobile place. I believe this is the area that can be further explored. In fact Volkswagen (Stock Quotes: VOW.DE) has the concept of such car. Below are some of the photos of Volkswagen T6.  

 


 


 


 

The T6 model has won the “Best Lifestyle Interior” in the Interior Motives Award 2008. (Source: Car Body Design)

 

I am using this example only to prove my point that we need more applications on wheels. In fact, I believe that the design of the concept car can be further developed to suit the needs of the mass (especially entrepreneurs who might not have an office to work since office rental can be quite expensive).  Sounds hard? But it is not very hard for the technicians to change or modify your car parts. If you watch MTV channel, there is a TV program called “Pimp My Ride” that actually helps to “renovate” your car.

 

 

Enough of Wonderland! Let’s get back to reality. In Singapore, we have seen car loves spend ten thousands of dollars just on installing lighting and car audio system. I am sure there is a demand of office usages on cars. But, Can we have such car modification in Singapore? Bear in mind, you might be installing additional battery (approval from LTA – Land Transport Authority ) to power up your equipments such as communication devices which might transmit wireless signal (approval from IDA – Infocomm Development Authority).  Things are not going to be that simple. I believe there are more factors to consider.

 

I am very willing to hear more. Please drop your comments.

 

Giant Dog Spotted in Singapore

I can’t believe in my eyes! I haven’t seen such a big dog in my life. I was recommended by my sister to go shopping at U Petgamart, a warehouse-concept pet store.  When i walked into the store, this dalmatian look-alike was lying on the floor. When it stood up, its head is about my chest level! (guys, I am about 1.78m tall)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This shot is not well-taken!


It is a Dog Life?! from Neodimension on Comiqs

 

 


It is a dog life! from Neodimension on Comiqs

 

 

 


It’s a Dog Life! from Neodimension on Comiqs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a lot of pet stuff over at U Petmamart. It is located at Pasir Ris Farmway 1.