April 16, 2008

The Million Blog List is a blogosphere experiment to see how long it will take for a million blogs to list themselves on the site (hence the name), granted the 70 million over blogs in existence today.

THE AMOEBA REPUBLIC is #408 on the list!

Get yours listed at

Meanwhile, another Wikipedia initiative is the Wiki Blog Directory, an open blog directory launched just 2 days ago, for the community to list their blogs on, in as many categories as is appropriate.

Get yours listed at

Get your blog listed today!

As it should be a well-known fact by now, service from popular online site has been interrupted following its parent company, Virtual Map’s loss to a government agency (specifically the Singapore Land Authority) in a court battle, in which the latter accused the firm for copyright infringement in its maps.

What greatly puzzles me is the amount of “room” for copyright infrigement there is in maps. The whole irony of it all lies in the fact that if the maps look different, then one of them is certainly inaccurate – aren’t maps supposed to be an accurate representation of the landscape and the landmarks of a particular place? How different are the maps expected to be. Green grass in SLA’s but blue in Virtual Map’s? Buildings to be shaded in a different colour? Different font size to be used? Different scale?

I am sorry that I sound bitter, but on behalf of fellow Singaporeans, I believe that, while not exactly 100% accurate, has proven its mettle in providing mostly reliable information on road directions, as well as an MRT & bus guide, all in a single site.

That, is precisely what is lacking in SLA’s StreetMap , which only provides a fundamental topographic view of a particular location and its surroundings, but not road directions on how to get there. Which inevitably means more hassle for the users at the end of the day as they’d still have to figure out how to get there.

In the interim, however, the website states that “ services will be interrupted for the next few days while we update our new maps and add more awesome online services.” so I shall hope that services will resume as per normal soon enough, and that the company will not decide to “quit the business here and focus (their) efforts elsewhere”, a possibility discussed on Friday’s mypaper.’s recently-concluded global survey on the influence of brands threw into light plenty of results which pretty much fall within expectations, but also several disparaging ones as well.


TThe Apple Logoaking the runaway lead is, of course without surprise, Apple. The brand has really revolutionized the entire globe and taken the First World by storm with its range of products from their MacBook laptops, to iPods to the iPhones. The brand in itself signifies a modernization of terms – the acrylic white surface characteristic of the brand clearly an indication of the purity of the brand, as well as a presentation of everything modern and futuristic. People literally wait with bated breaths for the overpriced new releases from the company. With its stylish range of products, especially the iPod, the popularity of the brand has grown somewhat exponentially over the past five years or so. From playing second fiddle to Microsoft in the computer market, Apple has found its own niche group, and has clearly used that to expand its reputation and attractiveness, and eventually, its market. Today, the brand signifies a societal status and style which people love to flaunt despite their very own complaints of its generally user-unfriendly features. Founder Steve Jobs really knows how to work his magic around the technological market.  The brand took the lead in 6/10 questions, such as “What brand would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party? Why?” and “What brand, if sent back 100 years, would have the biggest impact on the course of history? How?”.


Microsoft LogoMicrosoft, coming in second in terms of popularity results, has certainly lost its edge and avant-garde appeal to the masses in comparison to Apple. Perhaps as an effort to rebrand its model, the company released Windows Vista, which, in my humble opinion, has modernized the brand to a great extent yet to a rather lukewarm response on the market. I guess it’s probably time for Bill Gates to consider tweaking its marketing strategy a little such as to compete with Apple’s growing popularity.


Google LogoAlso performing well in the poll is leading search engine Google, the revolutionary search engine which has definitely replaced Yahoo as the primary search engine on the Internet. What makes Google tick is probably its simplicity. Visit its homepage, and you’re offered a simple website (certainly a Plain Jane in comparison to its other counterparts such as Yahoo or AltaVista) with merely a textbox and a search button on it, apart from a few other links. Also, the search engine has the ability to upkeep its stand on modern times, and its consumer-centric position really makes it a winner.


However, apart from these runaway organizations apparently taking a large contingency of votes, it was a no-show for various sectors as they perhaps are too commonplace to strike a lasting impression among consumers.


Firstly, the fashion and apparel industry. Despite the myriad of brands setting up stores worldwide following the onset of globalization, it does not really come as a surprise that something so commonplace – clothing – fail to make that large an impact on the poll. This is probably an after-effect of consumer saturation of the market – too many companies and brands crowding the market with similar items which result in a lack of prominence to the crowd. While the logos are certainly different, a Banana Republic shirt can most certainly be mistaken as something from, perhaps, Ben Sherman or Cortefiel. Likewise, Topman, River Island, Zara, FCUK et all also offer comparable items at comparable prices. So do Fossil, Swatch, Therefore, the marketing of the product takes on paramount importance today in leaving vivid impressions in the consumer base. The most successful, in my opinion, of all, actually charted – Nike – with its simplistic yet catchy logo and catchphrase “Just Do It!”. The brand has become synonymous with sports, and certainly is the market leader no matter how popular Adidas and Puma are becoming today. On the contrary, keeping up with the times is certainly important, and that is something stores like Asics have to do to maintain their relevance.


Next, the F&B industry performed rather poorly with the exception of McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Starbucks. These 3 stores are tittered around the globe and transcend languages and continents to reach out to the world. However, there were no signs of Burger King, Subway et al.


It is also somewhat surprising to note that amidst the dominance of Apple and Microsoft, essentially computer system brands, and online sites Google and Facebook, other technological brands did not fare as well. Handphone models such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola all fail to chart in any of the categories. What about technological companies such as Panasonic, Sharp, LG, Sony, Casio etc? Neither did Youtube, which revolutionalised an online video-sharing community, myspace, Blogger, from which the fad for blogging debuted, Skype, the popular global voice messaging and conferencing devise, or Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia with the communal touch.  


While the survey results may not prove to be conclusive, given that the poll size is small (approximately 2,000 in 107 different countries, which means an average of 20 people representing the tastes of a nation), they certainly can act as a milestone of the paradigm shift global trends have taken over the past few years, as well as a benchmark of better things to come in the future.


Definitely, Maybe opens in local screens on 10 Apr 08. This movie is a “new romantic comedy from the makers of Love, Actually and The Bridget Jones’ Diary“, and stars Ryan Reynolds, Rachel Weisz and Abigail Breslin. Read how this film fares with us!

The tiny kingdom of Bhutan was recently thrown into some unprecedented limelight as the nation held its inaugural democratic elections, marking a shift from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. The landlocked nation in the Himalayas sandwiched between India and Tibet is, perhaps, best-known for measuring happiness of its people via their very own Gross National Happiness (GNH) indicator. The concept of GNH claims to be based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other (Source: Wikipedia).

Only during the past decade has the nation begun opening its doors to the foreign world. It was only in 1999 did the country lift a national ban on television and the Internet. While it remains of interest to observe how a nation of people accustomed to a lifelihood of subsistence adapt to the alien notions of technology, cars, and cable, one thing remains clear – the impact of the introduction of technology will certainly pose a major setback on the country’s GNH scaling.

How do people in the First World, more often than not, hanker over a myriad of very much possibly redundant features so as to spice up their lives a little – earn more money, have more respite, for instance – only to end up filling their lives with more clutter and responsibilities they tend to shun or prioritise wrongly in the end?

This trend boils down, very much, to the mindset of First World people (myself included), transcripted by technology to believe that with technology, anything is very much possible, and the process of things is inevitably sped up. What results is a vicious cycle – people tend to take more things on their shoulders (and by ‘things’ it is not only the tangible items such as work; these also include the intangible such as relationships and responsibilities). We are no longer as satisfied nor gratified with our lives, as, perhaps, the old grandmother next door who spends her day collecting old newspapers and cardboards for sale to the recyling plants. How can we ever be truly happy this way?

Similarly, how will the Bhutanese be able to resist the onslaught of all these technological advances, what with the huge likelihood that the misuse of it (overusage of cars, violence on television, pornographic images on the Internet, which the nation is leaving uncensored) will lead to the erosion of traditional Bhutanese values which are so vital to their society? How quickly will the country develop, such that its people become more engulfed in their greed for success rather than the simplicities in life? What about brain drain – will its people want too much too fast and hanker over educational qualifications so much that they venture abroad and not wish to return to their very own nation where they grew up in, because it remains so rural?

It all remains a question which answer will be unravelled in the years to come.

Anyway, as a sidenote, I chanced upon this article “Life Coding: 9 Ways to Fight Feature Creep in Our Lives” on the blog “Zen Habits“. Feature Creep refers to the phenomenon where too much ‘software’ and ‘applications’ have been added to the programme that is your life, such that it becomes too overloaded for effective functioning. The article offers some tips on how the ways you can take to start uncluttering your life a little to ease up your misplaced, or even redundant, ‘responsibilities’ or addictions even. Certainly deserves a read.

How true do you think the following cartoon is?

Maybe you could try taking this one step further, out of the 9-to-5 context and watch how these 11-steps apply to the various aspects of your life as well, in terms of projects, assignments etc.

Any familiarities?

The 11-Step Guide to the Life of a Blue-Collared Worker

* Click to Enlarge (Source: