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March 10, 2015

Telecom Asia contributor and raconteur Tony Poulos sits on a chair atop a table at a tapas bar in Barcelona. "Anyone NOT here for Mobile World Congress?" Poulos asks the crowd, rhetorically.

With a reported 93,000 attendees, MWC2015 bulged at the seams. Devices pinged with incessant press releases as vendors and operators pushed out press releases and invites. After spending the day barraged by technology, Poulos's monologue – an irreverent and very funny take on MWC – was a welcome respite. His format hasn't changed in centuries: a storyteller entertaining a group of like-minded... MORE

February 26, 2015

"In Greek mythology, Narcissus was ... known for his beauty [and] proud, in that he disdained those who loved him," says Wikipedia. "Nemesis (the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris) noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus drowned."

Narcissus would have loved the selfie-stick. You can't drown in a smartphone-image, but that doesn't mean the now-popular vehicle of self-... MORE

February 17, 2015

There are days in Hong Kong when it's hard to think of smartphones as something more than toys. MTR carriages house solitary commuters absorbed in crushing brightly colored candy-shaped icons. Others flip through electronic photo albums with multiple images of someone else's lunch.

Yet today's smartphones contain raw computing power that would stagger an electronic engineer from an earlier era. And of course, many use the computing and communicative abilities in their handhelds to read news, send/receive essential emails or other communication, edit photos or videos or other tasks... MORE

February 06, 2015

According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong politician Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee revealed yesterday that her bank account was "taken over" and about HK$500,000 (US$65,000).

The SCMP reported that the breach occurred when Ip opened an attachment on an email purportedly from MTR Corporation chairman Dr Raymond Chien Kuo-fung. "I thought a friend needed help so I opened the attachment at once. I guess that's when I fell into the trap," said Ip, adding that Chien emailed her hours later, saying his account had been hacked and advising her to change her password, according to the... MORE

February 02, 2015

Research firm Gartner typically offers annual predictions as mentioned in my blog-post "Predictions or science fiction?"  late last year. In January, a couple of switched-on Gartner VPs – Brian Prentice and Andrew Rowsell-Jones – came to Hong Kong to give journalists an in-person taste of the future.

Some of Gartner's predictions read like recommendations. For example, their contention that – by 2018 – over 30% of digital government projects will treat all their data as "open data": Gartner's recommendation for government CIOs: Apply "open by default" principles and open data... MORE

January 29, 2015

A watermark is a recognizable image or pattern in paper used to identify authenticity – according to Wikipedia, paper-watermarking was first introduced in Italy in 1282. There were attempts to hone motion picture watermarking in the 1990s, as the logistics of delivering 35mm prints across the globe are daunting. Ever hand-carried a six-reel feature film in this format? I have, and it's not fun.

The obvious solution: transfer digital files to cinemas across the globe, eliminating shipping costs and associated logistics. And the obvious problem: ensuring that the intended recipient (... MORE

January 27, 2015

The "computer" concept used to mean mainframes: giant machines kept in a special room guarded by technicians. Ordinary employees were given "dumb terminals": keyboard/monitor combinations with wires that plugged into the computer room and controlled access to the "big iron" beasts that crunched the numbers.

Nowadays, we all have computers in our pockets (with integral radio transmitters/receivers), even if their main purpose often seems to be crunching candy-icons instead than numbers or transmitting photos of self rather than business data. But IBM's latest offering uses a... MORE

January 08, 2015

Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), played the privacy card during her keynote at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In a speech titled "Privacy and the IoT: Navigating Policy Issues," Ramirez highlighted "three key challenges" that she feels "the IoT poses to consumer privacy."

The head of the US government body, founded a century ago to promote consumer protection and combat anticompetitive business practices, described her three areas of concern:

(1) ubiquitous data collection
(2) the potential for unexpected uses of... MORE