How to Watch Netflix and Hulu Outside of US

Netflix and Hulu are popular VOD (Video On Demand) services in the United States. Unfortunately it takes ages for these services to come to countries like Malaysia. Spotify took more than a year after it launched its services in the US in July 2011.

Luckily, with little bit of tweaks here and there, you can watch these US restricted services anywhere in the world. In this post, I will cover how this can be done. You don’t have to be technical person to do this.

1. Get a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

What this means is that, you connect to a server that is based in the US, and all your connections to sites like Netflix and Hulu and the internet in general will be treated as if your computer is located in the US. That is because, you will be connecting to internet via the US server and not directly from your own computer which has a Malaysian IP address for example.

Free vs Paid VPNs

There are a lot of free VPNs out there. However you need to be cautious when you are using these free services. Because you wouldn’t know if they are really secure and private as they claim to be. Or some of the services could be setup with a malicious intent – that is to steal people’s data. For this reason, while you are connected to VPN, never ever do online banking or check your emails or login to Facebook etc. Especially, when you are using the free services.

Another disadvantage of the free VPN services, since they are free, many people will be using them. Therefore, the connection might not be very stable as the bandwidth gets clogged and connection might get disconnected often. This will definitely spoil your Netflix experience.

Below we will cover three types of VPNs; Continue reading

Guestblog at Digitals.me

My friend Ganee has a new project called Digital SME. It’s an online magazine targeting SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Malaysia. The project is in Bahasa Malaysia. The project’s aim is to become a leading resources site for helping SMEs in the field of online marketing and advertising.

To support him in his initiative, I have guest blogged on the platform “Important tips to consider before setting up your company website“. Thanks for Ganee for his translation to BM.

If you are a startup or traditional SME in Malaysia that would like to learn more about online marketing, do check out Digital SME. And good luck to Ganee with his project!

Website: http://www.digitals.me

How to Backup All Your Instagram Photos

In light of the latest brouhaha over the Instagram Terms of Service, this might be a good time for you to back up all your Instagram photos. Just to be safe, you know!

Below I will address two ways to backup your Instagram pictures; 1 – your existing Instagram pictures and
2 – a way to auto-backup all your future Instagram pictures as well.

Backing up all your existing Instagram photos

Instaport is a great way to backup all your existing Instagram photos. It’s very simple to use, all you need to do is to connect using your instagram login and all your Instagram pictures will be zipped and ready for you to download.

Website: http://web2.instaport.me

How to auto backup all your future Instagram Pictures

Using two great tools, IFTTT and Dropbox, you can auto backup all your future Instagram photos to your Dropbox as they are posted by you in your Instagram account. I have previously blogged about ifttt here. Continue reading

Efficient Way to Consume Content on the Web

For the past few months this is how I consume the content on the web and mobile, I primarily use this method to read longer blog posts and articles. I also use it to save articles so that I can read them later.

What’s the current problem?

You would ask “what’s the current problem that it requires this kind of solution?”. Well, the current problem is that there are many great blogs and websites on the web that are simply difficult to read. This could be due to many reasons. Here are some of them:

  • using small font sizes for the content
  • using dark backgrounds behind the content
  • using difficult to read font-styles
  • blog layout is not user-friendly
  • too many ads on the blog
  • etc etc.

The Solution

Solution is a product called Readability that works with your web browsers, smartphones and tablets. Here is how it works.

1. You sign up for an account with Readability and drag the browser bookmarklets to your browser’s toolbar. Bookmarklet works with all the major web browsers. (You can also install Google Chrome extensions)

2. And when you are browsing the web and come across a good blog post or an article that you would like to read..

3. You just press the bookmarklet and it will send that particular page to your Readability account. Google Chrome extension gives you few options when you press the button; Read Now, Read Later, and Send to Kindle. Continue reading

Tweet links to your Delicious.com account

Problem

Often times I come across a great resource on the web and I want to bookmark it. I usually use Delicious.com to save and manage all my bookmarks. However, sometimes when I’m browsing the web via mobile, I can’t really save the links to my Delicious account, especially when I’m using a specific app, so normally I will do one of the following:

  1. Send the link to myself via email, so that I can bookmark it later when I check my mail on my notebook.
  2. Send to Readability app, if it’s something I want to read later.
  3. Tweet the link (if it is something that will benefit my twitter followers) so that I can favorite it and it will be thus bookmarked on my Favorites list. Yes, I use Twitter’s Favorites list as my bookmark page :) That’s why I suggested to @twitter to do something about it.

The Solution

Luckily there is a solution from Delicious’ side that they have introduced few months back. Basically what it does is that, it connects to your Twitter account via oAuth, and pulls all the tweets with hashtags #d. You can also select few other options, such as pulling all favorited tweets etc.

To set this up, login to your Delicious account and go to Settings > Continue reading

Education 3.0 – New Way of Learning [updated]

I really like the latest developments in the online education/learning field. Some of the startups are really creative and changing the traditional boring means to learn with more fun, gamified, self-learning online resources. On these sites, you will not only be able to learn, but also contribute to the community if you are good in certain subject fields. This is a great way to harness the benefits of crowdsourcing.

Below, you will find some of these websites:

Code Academy

Codecademy is an interactive and fun way to learn coding. By asking you to type set of words and answers to questions, it will involve you in a two-way communication. By the time you realize, you will be coding and understanding the concepts of object oriented programming. It also employs social elements to the site, so that you can learn together with your friends.

Website: http://www.codecademy.com

code academy

Khan Academy

Khan Academy has a huge collection of 2700+ free videos. And it’s a work of one man, Salman Khan. What started of as a casual online tutoring sessions for his relative’s kids, turned out to be one of the largest non-profit educational organizations in the world.

He has MBA from Harvard, he has three degrees from MIT: a BS in math and a BS and a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science. His website is mainly popular for his maths videos, which are easy to understand and appealing to school kids. You can read more on Khan’s story at the following sites; Money.CNN, Wired, and SiliconPrairieNews.

Website: http://www.khanacademy.org

khan academy

TreeHouse

Treehouse is a fairly new website that concentrates on providing instructional videos on Web Design, Web Development and iOS Development. As a part of its teaching method, it uses ‘badges’ similar to what FourSquare does, you will get a badge for answering questions correctly. Continue reading

IFTTT – Automate the obvious

Ifttt (if this then that) is one of my favorite online tools. It’s a free automation tool for popular online tools and services. It can do a lot of stuff, below screenshot should give you some ideas on what it can do. These are some of the ready ‘recipes’ that you can use right away.

ifttt if this then that

But you can also do a lot of custom recipes of your own. If you like Google Alerts you will love Ifttt, because it can do a lot more than Google Alerts.

Website: Ifttt.com

Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia #SVC2M

Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia” conference was a huge success, big thanks to the organizers Dash and Rebeca for bringing in Silicon Valley icons to Kuala Lumpur, namely; Jawed Khan of YouTube, Konstantin Guericke of LinkedIn, Jeff Hofman of Priceline.com, Jonas Kjelberg of Skype, to name a few (full list).

Failure is given, and it should be celebrated

Throughout the event, speakers and panellists have time and again reminded entrepreneurs that they have to take risks and prepared to fail, because they were told, for the first (few) startup(s) they were definitely going to fail.




As we know, failure is celebrated in Silicon Valley, but not so much in other parts of the world, especially in Asia. In most Asian countries failure is stigmatized, it’s especially true in Japan.

“From olden times, if you were defeated in battle you committed seppuku [ritual suicide by slicing the belly, also known as hara-kiri],” Mr Honda says. “That’s in our genes, so people don’t try if they think they might fail.”
Stigma of failure holds back Japan start-upsFT.com

For this reason, it’s not an easy feat for us Asians to take risks and celebrate our failures…

Failures == (Hopefully) Learn How to Launch Successful Startup?

For me the whole message of failures and embracing failures sounded a bit like, to put it very bluntly – “i don’t care what you do, just go and try and learn it by yourself. I don’t have time for this. Surely after few startups you will know how to launch successful startup/product“. Continue reading

Wikipedia’s Initial Idea and How it Evolved

Wikipedia as we know it today, with more than 3.7 million articles for english version alone, had a different idea and business model altogether in the beginning that many people may not know it now.

As the story goes.. In 1999, Jimmy Wales had an idea, he wanted to create a free encyclopedia to be written by experts and PhD holders, it was called Nupedia. He reasoned, only scholars, academics and experts in a particular field would be able to write such articles. It made sense, as scholarly articles needed a lot of referential data and research, not everyone would be able to write such articles. However, in its first year, his team of “experts” were able to write only a dozen articles. They were simply too slow. This was due to many reasons, most of the academics were too busy, it was difficult to convince them to write for Nupedia, research normally took few years..etc.

So, Jimmy Wales saw that it was not working, something had to be done. He came out with a new idea. He suggested to his team, why not make it in a way that anybody can create an article, others can edit it, etc… basically early years of crowdsourcing. But the editors of Nupedia and Advisory Board were not very supportive of the idea. For them it was the opposite of what they were doing at the moment. Non-academics, and uncontrolled editing and creation of articles, they thought, would jeopardize the credibility of the articles and company as a whole. They reasoned, there would be too much error in the articles, which would render the articles useless for any scholarly reference or research.

This new idea ended up separated into different project and was called “Wikipedia” (wiki – hawaiian for quick). Within a year, there were more than 20,000 articles in it. Clearly it was a success and it was working. As for the margin of error, it was 3.86% per article, compared to 2.92% for Encyclopedia Britannica according to 2005 research by journal Nature, which is acceptable. And usually these errors get corrected over time.

Eventually, Nupedia was shutdown in 2003, and it had only 23 articles at the time of closing. And as they say, the rest is a history…

Lesson to Startups and Entrepreneurs..

Sometimes the initial idea for your startup may not work out, and you might end up doing something totally different for your startup and its direction. And this phenomenon is actually very common in startups. As Jawed Karim of YouTube said in SVC2M event in Kuala Lumpur, their initial idea for youtube was “a dating site with videos“.

So, if your first version of your product (MVP) didn’t take off, don’t despair. Find out why it didn’t take off, get feedback from your potential customers/users on what they want, after that iterate and try again!

Note: If you want to read more about wikipedia story, check this Business Week article here

Please feel free to comment about your own experiences or of any companies that you know which changed their business model, direction, idea drastically from the original one.

Next Big Idea: Internet TV

If you are an entrepreneur or company that missed making big money from the dot com era, overall internet business after that, and missing the boat from mobile applications at the moment… then perhaps you should start getting prepared for the next big wave – Internet+TV.

Google is already into it as we all know it, they are trying to figure it out at the moment. But there are so many great products and services can be built for bringing internet to the TV. Just a food for thought!

google-tv.png