Sunday, May 31, 2009

Twitter account suspended

For any reason, or just because I was hacked, my Twitter account was suspended this night because of suspicious activities. I saw that there were 5000 updates, so it looks like a spammer from russia or so hit me. I wam waiting now for response from twitter, after I reset my password I issued a ticket. A friend from the Netherlands has the same problem, and twitter is while I am writing this down for a while, so maybe it's a serious attack.
Until I am back on twitter, enjob my facebook status, my blog or my friendfeed

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blue head lizard

Blue head lizard
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
No idea what kind of lizard this is, but I like thehead turning blue when there is some threat or danger.. we have some of them arround our home.-

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Notes from Barcamp Bangkok 3

Two session I joined where I was taking some notes:
About presentations:

- slide is a reference point, it visually stimulates your audience.

- pictures can tell a story

- rule of thirds for pictures

- use movies

- find images that show emotions

- use small 6px font as some keywords for you in the left bottom

And another session about MANAGING THAI STAFF

- language barrier is always there
- lack of technical qualification ->training needed
- fluctuation of staff

- pooling task and pooling people
- stop putting people into specific tasks
- solution: bring all staff and task together in a big group

we train them all in once
we pool all related to using english together

same level in hierachy makes communication easier

if one leaves, the other still have the knowledge

Friday, May 22, 2009

Advice for retalis shops in Vietnam: Promote your language

I just remembered here in the Starbucks in Bangkok what is a main difference between retails shops in Thailand an Vietnam: It's the greeting and the Goodbye.
In Vietnam, everybody says "Hello" or "Good morning" when a foreigner steps in, and "Goodbye", "See you later" (??) or "ByeBye".

In Bangkok your are greeted in Thai with a nice ""Sawatdee Khrab" and if you leave they may say "sawatdee".

While Thais in the bigger cities are able to have a english conversation between Sawatdee Khrab and sawatdee, Vietnamese retail staff is just the opposite.

So my advice: Every tourist and even foreigner business people may know the Vietnamese word for Hello and thank you, maybe Goodbye as well. They love it to hear something they may understand.

And it's makes the Vietnamese language more popular in other countries :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Hacker Hour H3

Happy Hacker Hour H3
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
Yesterday I joined the H3 Happy Hacker hour again at Quan Nuong Toi Restaurant. The roof top is a nice place and the food is great, like mostly in Vietnam.
So what is Happy Hacker Hour? It's a informal gathering of geeks and people who are interested in INternet business. It's not really a hacker meeting, actually I dod not see one single laptop yesterday (but of course the small gear, iphones and so on).
What I really like is to meet people I see rarely during my work hours. A talk with David is always a pleasure, and I was happy to meet Yen the first time, a very nice lady who speaks fluently German.
Rick is always cool, so is Dan. Huy showed up for some time, and even chip made it. I will meet both again in Bangkok for Barcamp3. For the first time I met two guys who were already familiar to me, thanks to twitter. @kennedypj and @etienne are both really nice guys, and good to have them here in Saigon. Ok enough expats, @ducban came with his lovely lady, @vinapay also, as well as some new guys I haven' met before and as usual, I forgot their names.
It's networking as it's best, these H3 Happy Hacker Hours, and thanks to @anhhung for organising again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We don't have this in Vietnam

As I am working in the IT business, I often wondered why certain technology is not used here. Especially when it comes to websites. When I ask people why they don't use news technologies to design a website, they often answer "we don't have this in Vietnam".

Which is just not true: Since the Internet age information is available all over the world. Even people in China know about using < div > instead of < table >, and I know people in Myanmar aware of the fact that a ticker on a website is a No.

But I still see a lot of really bad professional websites. What's the reason?

Thesis 1: Most of the technology knowledge came by Vietnamese people from overseas. They brought heir knowledge, started companies some years ago and didn't learn more.

Thesis 2: Like most books in school also books about web technology are old and outdated. People learn knowledge from the 90ies.

Thesis 3: As long as it works it's ok. Like the lack of quality in other sectors, people don't care so much about a good and well designed website.

Anyway, there may be more reasons, but for sure the excuse "We don't have it" is just too simple. Designguides a free in the internet, blogs about technology are in place since years, even conferences like barcamps are available. so it leeds to

Thesis 4: It's just an excuse, nothing more.

Too close this blog post with the godfather of podcasting and conspiracy, Adam Curry:

There Are No Secrets, Only Information You Don't Yet Have

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Collaboration, mis-use of Powerpoint, changing behavior in the internet age

Just a few days ago I invited the CEO of a software company to share a google document with me. This company already uses the Google apps for their email account, so I thought they might be familiar with it. But they are not. I got a email with a word document (without any tracked changes) back and the excuse "sorry, I am not familiar with Google documents and so I copied it in word".

So, if software companies cannot use Google documents, who else? It's not that Google is complicated. It's that word is just working fine, and people don't want to change. Most users don't see the great advantage of collaboration. They might be because you just want to be on the safe side: Send a document by email and your work is done (for now). Shall other now review it.

What most companies don't understand and see: Collaboration is the only way to work more efficient and faster. You can fire people like crazy to safe cost, but the work still has to be done. So you need to change your behavior, they way you work together.

Some advise, above all for my Asian friends:
If you want to create something, like a proposal, architecture draft, whatever, and you call for a meeting, then give up hierarchy: The only thing a boss should do in a meeting is taking care that people stay with the topics. Don't try to lead the discussion when it comes to ideas. Don't hide information (like someone did in a meeting where he called the client by skype chat and did not invite the others oin the meeting for a conference chat).

If several people need to work on a document, save time while working together like you do in google docs. You can not only save time, you can discuss issues faster and better and you still have an overview about recent changes.

Content first: Sometimes people start with the template first, crwating chapters, formatting them, drawing graphs. Bullshit: Text first, make up then.

And: Powerpoint is for presentation, Word is for reading. But most people still use Powerpoint as a kind of landscape word format.

Last but not least: Never send Powerpoint presentations to clients if the animations aren't reatelly important. Send a pdf and its find. Clients are bored about time wasting animations with flying bullets and text that drops down for no reason.

Thx for reading. Amen.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Newspapers or online? Or better: Spending time or not

Just read this twitterfeed by @Thubom:
I still like reading hard copy newspapers than online ones. Oh, How old fashioned I am :)

She is actually right. I bet most people still like a hard copies. It's still the best and easiest way to overview a large number of news at the same time. And: The average article provides you better and deeper information.

The reason why everyone calls the Internet the next newspaper is not paper, and it's not the content. It's the lack of time we spend to read news. Since the Internet provides us not only politics and gossips, but also our mail and social network messages at the same time, we are overwhelmed by information.

We just don't spend enough time on one topic. We are always busy, we are running out of time, instead of prioritizing our time. I am pretty sure everyone has time enough to read a newspaper on the weekend. And I am pretty sure nobody reads the same amount of articles online that he would read offline. Just because our attention span is getting shorter and shorter.

Sidenote: To be invisible, just move very slowly on a busy street. People cannot recognize slowliness anymore :-) Ok, kidding.

Hanoi hosts National Tourism Year 2010

The government has designated the capital city to host the National Tourism Year 2010.

It has also asked the Hanoi municipal authorities and the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to connect the tourism year’s activities to the capital’s long awaited celebration of its 1,000th anniversary.

The National Tourism Year was initiated in 2003 by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Each year a province or city is chosen to host the program which promotes the tourism potentials of a specific region to international visitors.
(via Chao-Vietnam)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A trip to Can Tho by speed boat

On the way back to HCMC

We wanted to avoid the traffic during the holidays, so we decided to take the so called speed boat to Can Tho. It's run by Thanh Nhan Company, has 46 seats and even a toilet on board. You get 0,33 ml of drinking water and a towel. The estimated time is 3.15 hours. That's the theory.

The way to Can Tho took 4,5 hours. The seats are very narrow, it's not comfortable. The toilet is basic, and because the back of the boat is packed with people, hard to step into the cabin. Even if the text on the ticket says that "foul smelling products" are not allowed, we saw the captain bringing durian with him (which has a horrible smell).
The boat has life jackets on board, under the seat. For those who are without a seat there are more life jackets at the back. However they will not reach them in case of emergency.

The way to Can Tho was a long trip, but acceptable. The way back wasn't even this. Our seats were double booked we and a british couple had tickes for the same seat numbers. They gave us other seats then.

The boat was totally overpacked. At least 70 people were on board, sitting in the aisle. When a British passenger wanted to make a picture as a proof, a Vietnamse passenger tried to block him (as he did block me)
A passenger stopped me to make a picture

After nearly 2 hours the boat stopped out of a sudden. We were running out of fuel. Because we were heavier then calculated we did use more fuel - and couldn't make it till the gasstation. A Captains failure. We waited 45 minutes until a small boat provided us with some Diesel, enough to go to the next gas station.
Getting fuel

The trip took 5 hours in total. No way to reach the toilet. In case of emergency most of the people would be trapped. There is just a small door in the front, and one, but blocked by people and their belongings. From the point of safty, it is dangerous to take the boat. Especially when there is heavy rain and the captain is without any clear view, but still speeding.

There were some accidents recently on the Mekong, and people died. Companies like Thanh Nhan don't follow safety standards, They violate Vietnamese law. I hope authorities will investigate this and take measures.

Oh and this facts are excactly the reason why foreign tourist don't come back to Vietnam. They may do a trip like this once as adventure, but never twice. The lack of infrastructure is still the biggest obstacle for the Vietnam tourism.