yahoo! widgets! whee!

Don’t you just love Yahoo! Widgets? Formerly known as Konfabulator before Yahoo! acquired Konfabulator developer Pixoria last year, these quirky little apps for your desktop are quite fun to use.

Right now I’m using Picture Frame to show Sam’s Flickr pics, Honda Fit Top Video to display Yahoo! Music’s top 10 music videos, Ultimate 80’s Net Radio, the YouTube Widget, and, just for kicks, the Master Chief Victory Dance, LOL!

Head on over to the Yahoo! Widgets page to find out more about these quirky apps and download the Yahoo! Widget Engine for Windows or Mac OS X. Apart from the Widgets Yahoo! has created, you can check out thousands of user-generated ones at the Yahoo! Widgets Gallery.

Microsoft has its own version called Gadgets for Windows Vista, while Apple has Dashboard. Of course, you can also find other widgets or windows skinning software, such as Stardock’s DesktopX and Shellscape Software’s Kapsules.

signal to noise

Are we too connected? Here’s an excerpt from my INQ7 Infotech @Play column piece:

I’M sure many of you have felt this way. Maybe you’ve been antsy because you haven’t been able to connect to the Internet while traveling, and find yourself wondering if you’ve missed any important e-mail. If no one has called you up on your mobile phone or you haven’t received an SMS, you might check your phone to see if it’s broken or if you’re in a dead spot.

Welcome to the digital age and a new set of anxieties, where we might actually be ending up too connected to each other and the flow of information.




asian smes have money to spend on it, say experts

Yes, sometimes SMEs really don’t have money, but even when they do they might not be making IT spending a priority.

Here’s an excerpt from my INQ7 Infotech article:

PULAI DESARU BEACH, Malaysia –Think small and medium enterprises (SMEs) don’t have the budget for information and communications technology solutions? Not so, says Anthony Lim, managing director for Asia Pacific of web application security firm Watchfire Corp. Sometimes it’s not a question of lack of money, but of not making IT a priority.

Lim recounted an amusing anecdote of how he was recently in China to try to get an SME client to purchase a firewall solution. He pointed out that many owners of SMEs actually have the money to spend on luxury items such as flashy cars, watches, jewelry and, yes, the unofficial Asian business SOP of having karaoke sessions with clients, whether potential or existing ones.

cosplay away!

I featured Pinoy Cosplay on my CNET Asia tech blog. Check it out. 

Congratulations to CNET Asia for winning two awards at the first MediaConnect Asia Technology Journalist Awards. CNET Asia won for Best Technology Media Website, while CNET Asia’s Philip Wong won for Best Product Reviewer.

Congratulations also to Leung Wai-Leng of Straits Times’ Digital Life (Singapore) for winning as Best Gaming Journalist. Wai-Leng won an Xbox 360 and 7 Xbox 360 titles, woo-hoo!

The awards night was held on July 21 at the Pulai Desaru Beach in Malaysia, as part of the ITJourno Asia Forum 2006.

Kudos to all the finalists in the Best Gaming Journalist category. All four finalists, by the way, are members of the Asian Gaming Journalists Association, including Alex Villafania of (Philippines), Jaczie Lo of GameAxis (Philippines) and Blake Hoo of GameAxis Malaysia.

Congratulations too to AGJA members John Nieves of Gadgets (Philippines) and my fellow CNET Asia tech blogger Vishnu Mahmud of Jakarta Post. John was one of the finalists in the Best Product Reviewer category, while Vishnu was a finalist in the Best Consumer Technology Journalist category.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Technology Media Website
Winner: CNET Asia

Best Technology Industry Title
Winner: South China Morning Post

Best Business Technology Title
Winner: MIS Asia

Best Consumer Technology Title
Highly Commended: Malaysia & PC Magazine Singapore

Best Technology Industry Journalist
Winner: Jennifer Tan, Reuters

Best Business Technology Journalist
Winner: Stefan Hammond, Computerworld Hong Kong
Highly Commended: Stuart Biggs, South China Morning Post

Best Consumer Technology Journalist
Winner: David Wilson, South China Morning Post

Best Product Reviewer
Winner: Philip Wong, CNET Asia
Highly Commended: Farihan Bahrin, Tech3c

Best Gaming Journalist
Winner: Leung Wai-Leng, The Straits Times, Digital Life

coming zune: microsoft’s ipod killer

Yup, it’s true — remember that iPod killer we’ve been hearing rumors about for some time now?

Well, Microsoft has confirmed that it will try to go toe to toe with Apple’s iPod by releasing Zune. They’ve come up with a teaser site and a Zune Insider blog. You could get more info from this story posted at CNET Asia.

Assuming it’s not just vaporware, I’m hoping that Zune will give the iPod a run for its money and maybe even kick its ass. The key here would be for Zune to deliver on the promise of community building and seamless integration of content from PCs, mobile phones and the Xbox 360.

If Zune could build a music community that will be to online music what Xbox Live is to online games, then Apple will all the more have to heed the call to open up iTunes to other devices and start getting more revenue from its online music store instead of relying on sales of the iPod hardware.

The future is in the network, not the hardware, as Sony might painfully learn by not investing early on in an online gaming network, stubbornly introducing one proprietary technology after another (the memory stick, UMD, Blu-ray) and betting the farm on the super-expensive PlayStation 3.

Heck, with Xbox Live becoming a viral network that will link together gamers on the Xbox 360, PC and mobile platforms, the day may come when Microsoft will give away the console for free just to hook the world on Live.

So yup, in these arenas, Apple and Sony have won the early battles, but the unlikely underdog may ultimately win the war. Because it’s not just about the music or the games, but the whole digital lifestyle.

“seize bull by the horns,” cios urged

Check out my story on the changing role of CIOs.

PULAI DESARU BEACH, Malaysia — Now that more companies are recognizing the changing role of information and communications technology within the organization, the chief information officer must step up and become more of a leader.

This was stressed by Karl Verhulst, Director of Marketing for Asia South of CA (the company was formerly known as Computer Associates but has officially renamed iself to simply CA), as he stressed that CIOs are no longer called upon to manage internal IT operations, but also to enable new business revenues through strategic allocation of tech resources for the company and its partners.

itjournoasia forum 2006

I’m now in Pulai Desaru Beach in Malaysia for ITJourno Asia Forum 2006 organized by MediaConnect Asia.

We arrived in Singapore last night and took the ferry this morning. Over 40 journalists from across the region are covering this event, which presents the latest trends and issues in technology.

I was also one of the speakers, kicking off the Enjoy segment of the forum this afternoon with a presentation on the gaming industry and the Asian Gaming Journalists Association. Right-click here to download a copy of my PowerPoint presentation (2.43MB).

I’m also one of the judges in the Best Gaming Journalist category of the first MediaConnect Asia Tech Journalist Awards, which is sponsored by Vignette.

We already submitted the scores. Good luck to all the finalists. I’m proud to say that all four finalists for Best Gaming Journalist are AGJA members: Leung Wai-Leng of Straits Times’ Digital Life (Singapore), Blake Hoo of GameAxis Malaysia, Jaczie Lo of GameAxis (Philippines), and Alex Villafania of (Philippines).

The winners will be announced tomorrow night.