Thriller, unplugged

A Halloween classic – Thriller by Michael Jackson, but done…unplugged and done in a superb Web2.0 way.

Happy Halloween! 🙂

XDRTB or Extreme Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

A few days back, I blogged about 2007 TED Prize winner James Nachtwey and his wish to work with TED to tell a story that the world needs to know. Today, the story is revealed at xdrtb.org.

As the title of this entry says, XDRTB is a mutated form of Tuberculosis that is extremely drug-resistant and difficult to detect.

Similar in creation to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) but more extreme in its manifestation, it arises when common tuberculosis goes untreated or standard TB drugs are

misused…

Many people think of TB as a disease of the past, but in 2007 alone, TB killed 1.7 million people. That’s 4,660 deaths a day, or one death from TB every 20 seconds. TB is the leading killer of people with HIV: Individuals are able to live with HIV but are dying from TB. Without proper treatment, 90% of those living with HIV die within months of contracting TB.

TED and James Nachtwey worked together through James’ photographs to raise awareness of XDRTB.

Take a look at his photos that represent these varying strains. Learn more about TB, MDR-TB and XDR-TB, and learn how you can take action to stop this deadly disease.

Photos galore

SingTel Singapore GP - Fernando Alonso, Renault by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Fernando Alonso, Renault by macbiff, on Flickr

The photos are finally done. After sieving through couple of hundreds of shots taken at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, I finally managed to bring it down to a manageable 98 photos that covered three days of the race.

See it all here at Flickr

Here’s a few to whet your appetite.

SingTel Singapore GP - Kimi Räikkönen, Ferarri by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Kimi Räikkönen, Ferarri by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Samba Girl by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Samba Girl by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Track side by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Track side by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Happy Ushers by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Happy Ushers by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Up close & personal by macbiff, on Flickr
SingTel Singapore GP - Up close & personal by macbiff, on Flickr

One month and counting

Funny how life is. One month ago, we had our almost perfectly planned wedding washed out by passing rain which, decided to play havoc with us and stayed for exactly one and a half hour before moving on.

Till this day, as we strolled along East Coast Park under a very brightly lit full moon, we could almost taste the irony of it.

We joked about whether we should have held the wedding in October 14 instead. We wondered out loud how our perfect wedding would have been if the rain didn’t fall on that evening. We asked whether when we’ll stop joking about how exciting that night was.

Honestly, I think we won’t. One month has past and many many full moons in the future, we will still look back on September 14 2008 with great memories, of how much fun we had waiting for each of us in our own house in the morning, how we kissed un-glam-ly as I raised her veil, how we waved to another couple as they look at us in the cute topless Copen (thanks Steve!) while they sat in their cough*boring*cough wedding car sedan, how we went about getting ang paos as we serve tea, how we go about preparing for the lawn, how I try to keep the secret of the band from Yannie, how we worried as we heard the news about the rain, how worried we became as we waited for the missing tables to be done up, how we lovingly took our vows, how we happily walked down the aisle, how happy Yannie looks when she saw the surprise performance I kept from her, how happy we were when we watched the video made by our dear friends, how happy our parents were when we fumbled as we thanked them, and lastly, how happy we were as we looked at each other on our wedding day.

I think all the good and bad made our wedding something more special in our mind. A wedding we will never forget, as we count our blessings and look forward to more happy memories as husband and wife.

More photos will be uploaded as I find time…reservist training is tiring…especially the travelling.

OS-discrimination from LTA

Many of us use SingPass for most government-related web services, like filing taxes or logging into ns.sg to apply for Remedial Training. So far, on the Mac, I haven’t had much problems. This is more prevalent especially after OS X been around for almost 8 years. Even banks solved the issue of Mac-compatibility since 3 to 4 years back.

So to my surprised last week when I try to access LTA’s e-services via One Motoring on my Mac. I got a blank page. I tried it on Safari and Firefox and still got a blank page.

Needless to say, while starting up VMWare to try the site on Windows, I went to the One Motoring feedback and informed them of the problem.

This was the reply I received:

Dear Mr Jimmy Liew

LTA e-Services via SingPass

FEEDBACK NUMBER: 7xxxxx

We refer to your feedback on 05/10/2008.

e-Services@ONE.MOTORING is currently only compatible with Internet Explorer (IE) and Netscape on Windows Operating System (OS) Windows 2000 and above.

This is a deliberate design decision as compatibility between IE and Netscape on Windows OS, which is the most commonly used combination, would enable a majority of users to access e-Services@ONE.MOTORING.

Based on the current adoption rate of other non-IE and Netscape web browsers and non-Windows OS, we feel that it is still not cost-effective to make e-Services@ONE.MOTORING compatible with such browsers and OS.

Nevertheless, we are monitoring the adoption rate of alternative web browsers such as Safari, Mozilla, FireFox etc, and alternative OS such as Macintosh etc, and would consider making our e-Services@ONE.MOTORING accessible via these browsers and OS when there is sufficient demand.

We thank you for writing in.

Yours sincerely

(SIGNED IN LOTUS NOTES)

XXX XXX XXX

ASSISTANT MANAGER, VRL SERVICE DEVELOPMENT

VRL SERVICE DEVELOPMENT

VEHICLE SERVICES

(emphasis was mine)

I am quite disappointed to read such replies from companies who still hold the belief that Mac users are far and few between and shouldn’t be provided the services that Windows users received. That is just bullshit.

This is a deliberate design decision as compatibility between IE and Netscape on Windows OS, which is the most commonly used combination, would enable a majority of users to access e-Services@ONE.MOTORING.

Anyone and everyone who uses the internet will know that Netscape is DEAD! Yes IE is still dominant with Firefox second. Next is Safari at about 7% (according to wiki).

Based on the current adoption rate of other non-IE and Netscape web browsers and non-Windows OS, we feel that it is still not cost-effective to make e-Services@ONE.MOTORING compatible with such browsers and OS.

I wonder how archaic their planning and programming for them not to even consider cross-platform compatibility as one of their priorities. Yes the numbers of Mac users definitely are not comparable to Windows users but that doesn’t mean we should be deprived from accessing a government service.

If we were in the early 2000s when OS X was still in its infant stage, I can acknowledge their reasonings since Mac developers and cross-platform web programming were not as advanced as now. But after 8 years, almost all banks in Singapore have made it a point to provide cross-platform compatibility on their e-banking services. And so did many of the government services.

So I absolutely don’t agree on their lame-ass excuse to say that it is not cost-effective. Yes One Motoring is no longer managed by LTA and handled by Green Dot Internet Services (which is a subsidiary of Singapore Computer Systems), being a portal for government services, they should make it a priority to provide access to ALL users, regardless of the users’ operating system.

Nevertheless, we are monitoring the adoption rate of alternative web browsers such as Safari, Mozilla, FireFox etc, and alternative OS such as Macintosh etc, and would consider making our e-Services@ONE.MOTORING accessible via these browsers and OS when there is sufficient demand.

Look. Mac ownership in Singapore will never reach the volume that will be deemed sufficient by most commercial entities decision makers. But this is a government service. What happened to IDA’s iGov2010 policy “that delights customers and connects citizens through the use of infocomm technology”? Do I really need to wait till 2010 before I can access LTA’s e-services on my Mac?

Someone should knock some senses on these old-foggies that still think Windows is the only platform everyone wants to be using.

A story the world needs to know

And this story will be told by James Nachtwey with his photographs when they are revealed tomorrow, worldwide and on the InterWeb.

Who’s James Nachtwey?

James Nachtwey (born 1948) is an influential American photojournalist and war photographer who has been awarded the Overseas Press Club’s coveted Robert Capa Gold Medal an unprecedented 5 times. In 2003, he was injured by a grenade in an attack on his convoy while serving as a TIME contributing correspondent in Baghdad.

He was awarded one of three 2007 TEDPrize, where he received “one wish to change the world”.

“I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it, in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.”

First, watch his TEDPrize Wish video:

Come 3 October, check his TEDPrize page to see the “Story the world needs to know.