Monday, December 25, 2006

Windows Vista Sample Music

Bringing you... Windows Vista Sample Music. They are a total of 11 files (in WMA format), across a spectrum of different genres. Get them here.

(Thanks to Pak for this.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

HanWorks Research wishes all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

(Image source: Wikipedia)

2006 has been an exciting year on the technological front. Chances are, 2007 will be an even more promising year for the technology market. Since our inception, HanWorks Research has accumulated over 350 posts. We will like to take the opportunity during this holiday season to reach out to our readers. If you have any feedback on HanWorks Research or suggestions on how we can improve things in the coming year, please drop us an email or a comment.

Many thanks, and have a wonderful holiday!

New Adobe Icons Sucks

Above, you can see the new Adobe icons, and the overwhelming opinion is that the icons sucks.
1. Having 2 letters (looks like a periodic table?) as an icon does not bring out the idea of what the application represents. Just by looking at the new Adobe Icons, how on earth am I suppose to know what is AE, Sb or En? They are meaningless.
2. Adobe has always pushed itself to be at the forefront of graphics design. Its kind of ironic and sad that the new icons do not reflect Adobe's vision.
3. What about non-english users? Chinese users are going to have a hard time deciphering which applications those icons represent. With a staggering 29 two-lettered symbols to familiarise with on the "wheel-o-icons", one is going to have a hard time.
4. Iconography should transcend culture and language. The "wheel-o-icons" appear to be "generated." The icons seem to be created by a programmer rather than a graphic designer.

Adobe should really do something, even the new Microsoft Office 2007 icons are intuitive.

Anyway check out Adobe Kuler, which allows you to explore colours. You can search, create and share colour themes online. Launch it now.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jajah - Free calls

Jajah is another VoIP service, except that its different from Skype.

Jajah Web connects existing traditional landline or mobile phones with calls that are set up via Jajah's Web site. Callers type in their own number and their desired destination number in a Web form. The Jajah service first rings the caller. After the caller picks up the phone the destination number is then dialled and the connection is established.

Jajah claims that their service works with any standard web browser. It does not require a broadband connection, but it is necessary to have internet access to originate the call.

(Source: Wikipedia)


Currently, one can go to their website for a trial. The trial lasts for only 5 minutes per originating phone number.

One can also sign up for the service for free and a certain credit will be automatically given. Registered users also enjoy Free Global Calling.

JAJAH Free Global Calling allows you to make free local and international phone calls. It applies to land line and mobile calls to and within: the United States, Canada, China, Hong Kong and Singapore; and it applies to landline calls to and within Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and most other European nations.

It applies when both call participants are registered and active JAJAH users. In countries where free phone calls are not available, or if someone is calling a non-JAJAH member, calls are subject to JAJAH’s regular low rates.

The free service depends on users paying for other Jajah services and it depends on people using JAJAH in a “fair and reasonable” way. Of course, there are several conditions for the call to be free (Read this page). Another point to take note is that Jajah is giving free calls for any registered user to any landlines in the world on 25 Dec 2006. So I realised that one way to 'make active' your account for 2 weeks will be to use register and call someone on Christmas day for free.

Anyway some clarifications (on how Jajah works) from the forums:
Technically speaking, when you initiate a call through JAJAH, from the phone company's perspective it is like you are accepting an incoming call. Normally phone companies do not charge for incoming calls, but if you normally pay for incoming calls, the same will apply with JAJAH. The payment for the calls initiated by JAJAH is done separately from your regular phone bill directly to JAJAH.

Also if you are outside your mobile provider’s coverage, certain fees, called “roaming fees” will apply. This additional charge is by your cellular carrier and it is paid to him, and not to JAJAH

The one BIG advantage of Jajah to other VoIP services like Skype is that it would be possible to use it even with a slow dial-up connection (which is too slow for voip).

See also: Interview with Roman Scharf, CEO of Jajah

Friday, December 15, 2006

Flickr Photo of the Day: White Menorah

White Menorah, originally uploaded by oskay
A DIY mini-LED menorah for hanukkah. These are "regular" size, 5 mm diameter LEDs; they take up a lot more room than that tiny chip does.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Of Beer and Diapers

Urban legend has it that a large supermarket chain "did an analysis of customers' buying habits and found a statistically significant correlation between purchases of beer and purchases of nappies (diapers in the US). "
It was theorized that the reason for this was that fathers were stopping off at Wal-Mart to buy nappies for their babies, and since they could no longer go down to the pub as often, would buy beer as well. As a result of this finding, the supermarket chain is alleged to have the nappies next to the beer, resulting in increased sales of both.
This urban legend has grown to become one of the most famous exemplar of the usage of data mining. (Anyway, correlation does not imply causality!)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Adobe Reader 8 Debuts

Adobe has released Adobe Reader 8, which sprouts an entirely new interface and a slightly faster start up time. Scrolling is a lot smoother and comfortable as well. Still, the reader eats up more than 50 MB of memory when in use, as compared 8 MB for Foxit Reader, which starts up blazingly fast. (So if you have not done so, download Foxit Reader and give it a spin.)

Anyway, the PDF file in the above screenshot is the presentation "The State of the Internet", presented by Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley at the recent Web 2.0 Conference.

And if you are bored you can always take a look at funny videos.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Subservient Chicken

The Subservient Chicken is an example of viral marketing by Burger King. You can make the man (dress in a weird chicken outfit) do lots of stuff. Commands you may want to try: Walk, Sleep, Laugh, Smoke, Burger, Sing, Pray, Fly, etc [The videos are pre-recorded.]

Its a laughing stock. Crap videos, but great chicken.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Recommended Reading

Once in a while, an good book pops by. Once in blue moon, I put up a list of recommended reading (the last time I officially did this was a year ago). Thus, below is my list of recommended reading. Here goes...

1. The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture (by John Battelle)
Its an insightful book, dedicated not only to Google, but also the past, present and future of Internet search.

2.The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (by Thomas L. Friedman)
I recently profiled this book.

3. Freakonomics (by Steven Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner)
This book is rather "old", but not everyone has read it!

4. To Cut a Long Story Short (by Jeffrey Archer)
Jeffrey Archer is the master of short stories. This new instalment contains a few "true stories" written in the entertaining Archer style.

5. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (by Chris Anderson)
I have yet to get my hands on this book, but the Amazon reviews have been promising.

I have tried to put together a list of books from different genres. Most of these books are inter-disciplinary, but all of them have one thing in common - they are not boring (at least to me), thought-provoking and shouldn't be too hard to follow (think "Smart words, interesting ideas").

Others (these are available online):
1. - I recently chanced upon this site. There are a couple of manifestos that are worth reading, such as The Talent Myth, How to be Creative and One-Minute Site. (Keep on exploring!)
2. Free Culture (by Lawrence Lessig)