Bits + Bytes : A Miscellany of Technology

This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 15, 2021 - March 21, 2021.
Bits + Bytes : A Miscellany of Technology
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WHILE YOU WERE WORKING 
(from home)

Dynabook launches world’s lightest convertible 13-inch laptop/tablet specially equipped for WFH

Dynabook Singapore Pte Ltd has announced the availability of its Intel Evo-certified Portégé X30W-J. Weighing just 989g, it claims to be the world’s lightest 13-inch convertible with 11th-gen Intel core processors.

It has 16 hours of battery life and a quick-charge function to get the battery back up to 40% capacity in 30 minutes. Its “instant on” capabilities allows for a rapid wake time of under one second through facial and fingerprint biometric activation.

Being a convertible, it can also easily become a tablet to capture written ideas, when paired with Windows Ink Workspace and an optional AES stylus pen. And when using the pen, the keyboard is automatically disabled to avoid accidental keystrokes.

“The Portégé X30W-J is a great example of our shared philosophies with Intel for providing users with everything professionals need for uninterrupted productivity, creativity and collaboration,” says Dynabook Singapore’s product strategy for mobile computing solutions, devices and IoT general manager Wong Wai Meng.

With video conferencing seeing an unprecedented increase in recent months, the device is well-equipped for dispersed teams. It boasts high-quality sound with harman/kardon speakers and Dolby Atmos for sound enhancement, as well as noise-cancelling dual microphones. The webcam and a further 8MP world-facing webcam with anti-reflection coating also help to deliver an unrivalled audio/video experience.

The 2-in-1 laptop combines the tools needed to meet the demands of mobile working in a highly portable footprint. It combines Dynabook’s proprietary BIOS, encryption, as well as face and fingerprint authentication to ensure data is protected from increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals. A webcam shutter and security lock slot also provide further privacy options.

The Portégé X30W-J is available in Malaysia. For more information, visit http://asia.dynabook.com

NEWS

CIIF and LeadWomen shine light on diversity and women leadership

The Chartered Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals (CIIF) is teaming up with LeadWomen Sdn Bhd to create a platform for important conversations to help create safe and inclusive workplaces. 

CIIF, a professional body for qualified practitioners in the Islamic finance industry, and LeadWomen, a social enterprise focused on increasing the number of women in senior leadership roles in Corporate Malaysia, organised their first brainstorming roundtable session on women leadership and diversity.

Among the high-profile attendees were CIIF members from various financial institutions and related organisations, including heads of corporate strategy, CEOs and country heads, as well as partners of advisory firms. 

“Women are still chronically underfunded in comparison to male founders even though they are at the command of start-ups. As we examine to understand why women aren’t making bigger leadership strides, both in corporations and in the small business sector, it has a great deal to do with women not having diverse enough networks to support their advancement,” says CIIF CEO Dr Azura Othman.

“Employing the term ‘women and diversity issues’ to address the uneven playing field can give visibility to the particular difficulties faced by a specific group of people, as opposed to other groups. While these rights fall under human rights, using specificity to define them brings visibility to a population whose voice has been silenced,” adds Anne Abraham, executive co-founder of the Malaysian Chapter of 30% Club, a global business campaign lobbying for increased representation of women on the boards of Malaysian public limited companies.

myTukar launches apprentice programme

The used-car e-commerce platform, myTukar Sdn Bhd, has launched the myTukar Apprentice Programme in collaboration with Malaysia’s leading automotive college, TOC Automotive College (TOC), in March. 

With four intakes in a year, the apprentice programme is expected to produce 100 to 120 successful apprentices every year. Upon completing the three-month Automotive Assistant Technician Course at TOC, the apprentices will continue with a nine-month internship at myTukar and also inspection centres under CARRO Group, a Singapore-based Southeast Asian technology-enabled automotive marketplace. 

During the internship, apprentices will receive a monthly allowance of RM1,200. Successful apprentices are guaranteed a career within myTukar in Malaysia and even regional roles within CARRO Group at a minimum salary of RM1,800. The next intake is in April.

TOC’s role in the programme comprises developing and delivering course modules, enrolling students, interviewing, shortlisting and monitoring students, facilitating apprentices’ placement and managing their performance during the internship. 

PEOPLE MOVES

Aiza Azreen Ahmad is MDEC’s new chief digital business officer

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has appointed Aiza Azreen Ahmad as its chief digital business officer. A member of the MDEC operating coutncil, she will be responsible for steering the digital adoption ecosystem in the areas of e-commerce, business digital adoption and data ecosystem development, as well as the digital infrastructure departments.

She brings more than 20 years of international working experience across multiple industries in strategy development and execution of large-scale business transformation. Previously, she held leadership positions at Pertama Digital, Axiata Digital Services, Axiata eCode, Bank Rakyat, Sime Darby Group, Media Prima and AmBank. During her time at these companies, she pioneered Malaysia’s cashless ecosystem with Boost eWallet, deployed frontier technologies, innovated on operating models, commercialised businesses through mergers and acquisitions, worked on venture building and collaborated with strategic partners.

Tim Castle is Foursquare’s new regional head of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong

Global location technology platform Foursquare has appointed Tim Castle as regional head of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. In this new role, he will be responsible for furthering the expansion of Foursquare across Southeast Asia.

Castle’s career has spanned multiple regional hubs in the media industry across the UK and Australia. He was head of sales at Playground XYZ, a marketing technology company, where he was responsible for expanding the company’s products into new markets in Asia. In earlier years, he also led new business initiatives at Group M and AOL (later Verizon Media). Castle’s appointment in Asia follows Foursquare’s recent rebranding and a series of strategic moves over the last two years, including the acquisition of Placed in 2019 and the merger with Factual in 2020.

Foursquare is the leading independent location technology company, powered by its deep understanding of how people move throughout the world. Foursquare’s platform includes Attribution, Audience, Proximity, Places, Pilgrim SDK and Visits. It is also the industry’s first and only accredited company for location data from the Media Rating Council (MRC), a US-based non-profit organisation that manages accreditation for media research and rating purposes. 

Singapore is moving full speed ahead in its adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), with Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung saying in parliament recently that there is a net carbon positive impact in switching from gas guzzlers to EVs. The city state has pledged S$30 million over the next five years to EV-related initiatives. 

It has come a long way since Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk tweeted in 2018 that the island was “unwelcome” and “not supportive” of EVs.

Malaysia, in the meantime, is still testing out the technology. High-tech start-up eMooVit has been conducting open-road testing since the launch of MyAV, which was established by the Ministry of Transport to oversee the testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in Malaysia, and is working with Futurise Malaysia and other authorities to launch more AV test beds. 

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

Singapore is moving full speed ahead in its adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), with Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung saying in parliament recently that there is a net carbon positive impact in switching from gas guzzlers to EVs. The city state has pledged S$30 million over the next five years to EV-related initiatives. 

It has come a long way since Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk tweeted in 2018 that the island was “unwelcome” and “not supportive” of EVs.

Malaysia, in the meantime, is still testing out the technology. High-tech start-up eMooVit has been conducting open-road testing since the launch of MyAV, which was established by the Ministry of Transport to oversee the testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in Malaysia, and is working with Futurise Malaysia and other authorities to launch more AV test beds. 

DIGITIONARY

Data spillage

When Clubhouse — the immensely popular invitation-only audio-chat social networking app for the iPhone — saw some of its content being streamed to multiple chatrooms recently, the online community was divided on whether it was a data breach or ad data spillage.

The app allows users to participate in public and private audio chatrooms, saying that the content has to be experienced live and is not recorded.

Many reported it as a data breach until some experts came online to clarify. Australian cyber security researcher Robert Potter, who built The Washington Post’s cyber security operations centre, pointed out that a data breach is deliberate and usually carried out by someone hacking into a system to steal data.

Data spillage, on the other hand, is an incident where confidential information is released into an environment that is not authorised to have access to the information, which is what happened with Clubhouse.

TECH BOOKS

If Then by Jill Lepore

The Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilised politics and disordered knowledge — decades before Facebook, Google and Cambridge Analytica came into existence. Jill Lepore came across the company’s papers in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s archives and set out to tell this forgotten history, the long-lost back story to the methods, and the arrogance, of Silicon Valley.

Founded in 1959 by some of the nation’s leading social scientists, Simulmatics proposed to predict and manipulate the future by way of the computer simulation of human behaviour. In the summers, with their wives and children in tow, the company’s scientists met on the beach in Long Island under a geodesic, honeycombed dome, where they built a “People Machine” that aimed to model everything, from buying a dishwasher to counterinsurgency to casting a vote. 

Deploying their “People Machine” from New York, Washington, Cambridge and even Saigon, Simulmatics’ clients included the John F Kennedy presidential campaign, The New York Times, the Department of Defence, and dozens of major manufacturers. Simulmatics had a hand in everything from political races to the Vietnam War to the Johnson administration’s ill-fated attempt to predict race riots. 

The company’s collapse was almost as rapid as its ascent, a collapse that involved failed marriages, a suspicious death and bankruptcy. Exposed for false claims, and even accused of war crimes, it closed its doors in 1970 and all but vanished. 

The scientists of Simulmatics believed they had invented “the A-bomb of the social sciences”. They did not predict that it would take decades to detonate, like a long-buried grenade. But, in the early years of the 21st century, that bomb did detonate, creating a world in which corporations collect data and model behaviour and target messages about the most ordinary of decisions, leaving people all over the world, long before the global pandemic, crushed by feelings of helplessness. — Amazon

HACKATHON

Vynn Capital launches virtual hackathon

Vynn Capital, supported by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysian Global Innovation & Creative Centre (MaGIC), Fundnel and Malaysian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (MVCA), is organising a portfolio-focused virtual hackathon, #VynnHack. The hackathon is also a result of participation by Vynn Capital’s portfolio companies, namely Carsome, Dropee and Travelio.

The themes of #VynnHack are provided in the form of opportunities identified by the three companies, where the winners will be the individuals, teams or start-ups that are able to propose solutions that complement the said opportunities. Participants can be from any country within Southeast Asia.

Winners will have the opportunity to be hired by the companies or work on building the proposed solution or product together with the firms. On top of that, two of the winners will be picked by Vynn Capital to be placed under its mentorship programme. The winner will also be considered as a potential investee.

 For more information about #VynnHack, please visit Vynn Capital’s website or contact the firm at [email protected].

“The consumer is probably more impatient than they’ve ever been before, particularly since now they’ve had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home pretty much when they want them. I’m not sure there’s going back.”

Walt Disney Co CEO Bob Chapek

EDITOR’S MUST-HAVES

Qwerkywriter

As working from home has become a new reality for many, it is essential to create a space that is comfortable, functional and inspiring. Mechanical keyboard, Qwerkywriter, is one such tool that also adds aesthetics to such a space. 

Inspired by the mechanical keyboard, Qwerkywriter is a vintage-looking typewriter that comes with all the fittings of a modern keyboard, with support for the latest wired USB connection or Bluetooth wireless. The latest version of the keyboard can be connected to multiple wireless devices such as a mobile phone, tablet and laptop at the same time.

Qwerkywriter has dual-function scroll knobs; the left knob controls volume while the right one controls the mouse. 

A built-in integrated tablet stand can comfortably accommodate screens of up to 10.5 inches. It can accommodate most 12-inch tablets — including iPad Pro and Surface Pro — as long as they are less than -inch thick.

With improved battery life, the keyboard can last up to one month on a single charge, depending on usage. As it is meant to be a stationary desk accessory, Qwerkywriter is as heavy as some 

full-sized boards at just a little under 1.3kg.

The company has branched out into making accessories such as a Qwerkywriter carrying case, ergonomic wrist rest and even acrylic covers for keyboards when they are not in use. 

Available on www.qwerkywriter.com from US$289.99.