Whispers In A Dream

Ennio Morricone was a renowned composer of movie and classical music. Two of his most memorable movie scores were for The Mission and La Califfa ('The Lady Caliph'). Morricone later teamed up with singer-songwriter Hayley Westenra to pen lyrics for both scores resulting in Whispers in a Dream and La Califfa which are showcased in the above videos. [The La Califfa video is a remix featuring the first half of the song, try watching it with the lyrics below. Here's the original score.]

You look down at all you see
Throw your broken words at me
A flower fair a whisper in the air
Your heart is blind to all that I see

You say love is like the tide
Nothing lasts for all of time
But I believe that love is here with me
And for eternity

Face Mask Startups

Face Mask Startups
  • LEAF - Clear N99 mask
  • UVMask - Ultraviolet irradiated mask
  • AIRism - Uniqlo's cool & dry mask a big hit with shoppers
  • Donut Robotics - Mask doubles as a smartphone microphone
  • Mizuno - Mask made from (swimsuit like) soft-stretch tricot
  • Ao Air - Futuristic, dual-intake, powered mask
  • BioVYZR - Full-face, powered mask and shield
  • Good For You - Hand-made, reusable, sustainable masks

Face Mask Tests
[Not technical or health advice] Below is a summarised version of an earlier face mask testing post. This is an informal guide for your further research only. Masks that do not pass some of the tests are not necessarily defective. Check with qualified sources or health authorities for proper information.
  1. Fire The middle ply is inflammable (the other 2 plies too)
  2. Water The mask holds water (on both sides)
  3. Electrostatic The mask picks up small pieces of paper
  4. Blow The wearer of the mask cannot blow out a lighter flame
  5. Droplets Front (blue) side of the mask repels water, the back absorbs
  6. Breathing Wearer does not feel dizzy after wearing for a few minutes
  7. Seal When breathing, the surface of the mask rise and fall visibly
  8. Tear The middle layer is hard to tear, not like paper
  9. Bands Stretch the bands a few times, they should not tear off easily
  10. Box Ideally shrink wrapped, states manufacturer, importer, expiry date

Tokyo 2021

Major Events
Planning for big events requires long lead times. Event organisers have to decide even now whether to proceed with their 2021 editions:
  • CES - To go ahead with a smaller show, augmented by digital
  • Barcelona - MWC: expressions of interest invited
  • Geneva - GMS: cancelled, may return in 2022
  • Frankfurt - IAA: Munich wins bid to replace Frankfurt
  • Tokyo - Olympics: under debate but hopeful
  • Rotterdam - Eurovision: gets the green light
  • Hannover - Hannover Messe: planned
  • Cannes - Cannes Lions: planned
  • Dubai - Expo 2020 ðŸ † Expo 2021
Big trade fairs can't be easily virtualized as buyers need to kick the tyres. Find out how trade exhibitions can proceed in an online discussion on July 7th.

Smart City
How cities can be smart with bugzilla at the gate?
  • Operationally, using IoT (eg. wearable trackers) is one way. To be explored in an online meet on July 22nd.
  • Strategically, it could involve, say, staggering work hours. In addition to 9-5, have 8-4 and 10-6 as well. Theoretically and instantly, public transport will have 3 times more capacity, peak traffic 3 times less congested and lunching out 3 times less crowded.

DooWop Kinetic

Doo Wop
Another characteristic of doo wop music is a foot (or finger) tapping beat which is easy to dance to. In this second part of our two part [part one] mini Doo Wop Festival, we showcase three doo wop dance videos. Here's to hoping H2 2020 is better than H1.

Pretty Pretty Girl
Marge Champion performs a sparking ballet + cabaret dance to the music of Pretty Pretty Girl. The scene is from the movie Everything I Have Is Yours (1962). The music is not the original soundtrack but a latter day remix which matches the dance very well.

Runaround Sue
Zumba instructor Asia Adamek and friends do what looks like an impromptu Zumba dance at a beauty accessory shop to the music of Runaround Sue. Sitting for too long while working at the office or home? Get off the chair, follow the dance, and partake in the refreshing benefits of exercise. [ Longer dances: Oh Diana | Mr Postman | Twist Again ]

Allez Allez Allez
Liverpool's new supporters' anthem is Allez Allez Allez ('come on, come on, come on'). Sounds vaguely doo wop? It is indeed doo wop: the melody follows a doop wop chord progression. The song itself is derived from L'estate Sta Finendo. And there you have it. English football club, French song title, Italian song and American doo wop. Congrats to Liverpool for winning the championship this season.

Tourism in the News

Examples of measures taken by various countries to boost tourism:
  • AU - Closed till 2021
  • CH - Promotes staycations by residents
  • CN - Pre-bookings for better crowd management
  • EU - Open to tourists from 18 selected countries
  • GR - Offers cheaper flights
  • HK - Holiday at home campaign
  • ID - No more buffets
  • IN - Credit note refunds for cancellations
  • JP - Recreates tourist experience at home
  • KR - Makeovers for domestic tourists
  • MY - Pivot to domestic tourism
  • SG - Bilateral green bubble travel
  • TH - Targets high end tourists vs mass tourism
  • TR - Promotes 'safest destination' branding
  • UK - Big increase in bookings 

Mobile Retail

What would a new economy be like? We explore some possibilities.

Over time, grocery retail has evolved:
  • Open air markets
  • Grocers (shops)
  • Big supermarkets
  • Decentralised chain grocers
  • Online shopping & delivery

Mobile Retail
There is one more model: the mobile grocer
  • The shop is based off a bike, van or truck
  • The shop comes to the customer vs customer goes to the shop
  • It is decentralised stores taken one step further
  • Was once popular in the Far East (until big supermarts emerged)
  • This article says GroceryNeighbour is the first such in the world
  • This is correct in the sense GN is innovatively paired with an app
  • App: routes, arrival times, specialty orders, stock availability etc
  • Solves: ecommerce inaccessibility or tedium, underserved suburbs or communities, venturing out while bugzilla is around

  • Western mobile grocers have an aisle for all weather shopping
  • Eastern ones save on the aisle & have outward facing shelves
  • For bug fighting, non-enclosed space is better, or pre-order for pickup or drop-off

DooWop Festival

Doo Wop info
  • Doo Wop is a style of group singing featuring light instrumentation and simple melodies.
  • The defining characteristics are an underlying cheerfulness and playfulness, doo wop backing vocals and silky delivery.
  • The doo wop vocals served as an alternative to instrumentation when the pioneers of the style did not have instruments.
  • Unlike contemporary acapella where the vocals resemble musical instruments, doo wop is a more natural harmonisation based on words or syllables, like 'doo wop' or 'shoo bee doo'.
  • The style, which started in the mid 50s in the US and popular till the early 60s, faded away when electrical guitars and organs entered the pop music scene giving rise to rock, metal etc.
  • To celebrate this 'forgotten' genre, we have having a mini Doo Wop Festival over two posts [2nd post]. As the Fest is about a musical style and not nostalgia, the featured music videos are modern covers selected for the art.

  • In the first video, Italian singer Sayaka Alessandra performs a cover of Dream Lover. The TikTok style of the video harks back to the early days of YouTube (presently, YT favours polished TV-like content). YouTube is coming up with a TikTok challenger, hopefully it does not lose sight of longer amateur vids like this one.
  • The second video sees Nashville group Mason Grace performing In The Still of The Night. [The song has the distinction of being the only song to have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times, by the same artist (Five Satins) with the same version each time. In the Still of the Night is one of two songs that may lay claim to being the origin of the term doo wop.]
  • The third video shows German girl band Fishing For Compliments ‎(haha) covering Teenager in Love. Unlike other covers of this song, the singers are actual teenagers. Though sung hip-hop style, the performance retains the essentials of doo wop: cheerful, playful and a doo wop backing.

Fiverr: The Shift

Fiverr, a marketplace for freelancers, will be hosting a virtual summit on July 9th, 2020 [vid | tix] featuring workshops, discussions, networking & resources for building and optimizing online businesses. Speakers include:

Dernière Danse

Bugzilla Returns
Lockdown over, freedom at last? Not quite, this could just be a temporary reprieve. Bugzilla has reemerged in some countries and is still on a rampage in others. Therefore, further vigilance and diligence are required. To save jobs, to not get sent home again, first and foremost, stay alert, mask up and social distance. Don't let your guard down and be swiped by bugzilla and econozilla.

Dernière Danse
Above is a prescient apocalyptic-ish 2013 music video of French singer Indila performing Dernière Danse ('last dance'). The second scene shows Indila being thrown out by her landlady, presaging articles and posts we have read of businesses owners being currently subjected to the same or similar. When the economy is doing well, property owners might have other renters lined up, but does this still hold at the present juncture? Perhaps, a shelter protocol would be useful, which is fair to all parties and which promotes revitalisation, so that folks and businesses don't get turfed out in the middle of a storm.

Apple Virtual

We thought Apple would push the envelope on virtual events at WWDC and so it did on the first day:
  • Produced, pre-recorded keynote (for a HD experience)
  • Slightly muted graphics and audio to not jar the senses
  • And to make it look like a keynote and not an ad
  • Multitude of presenters and settings to keep it fast paced
  • Brief recap of each day [recap, keynote]

A pick of forthcoming talks (the banner image will be replaced by a video):
  • tvOS - Operating system for the television
  • Intelligent Design - Get ready for what the user wants to do next
  • CarPlay - Integrate the car with charging, parking and ordering
  • CarKeys - Digital car keys: key sharing, key management
  • HealthKit - Framework for third party health apps and fitness data
  • CountingSteps - Counting steps as a health and mobility metric
  • ARQuickLook - 3D shopping with integrated ApplePay

Green Food Startups

Due to issues with meat processing [1 2 3], alt meat is getting some attention. Meat might also be pricier in the future if better practices and environmental costs are factored in by green regulations [4 5]. With alt-meat, one could get the chew, taste & protein of meat, without the meat. Sample startups [6 7 8]:
  • Pepsi Baicaowei - Plant-based smoked sausages
  • Daiz - Use germinated beans for natural, meaty umami
  • Just - Modular egg made from mung beans and turmeric
  • Karana - Alt meat from the stringy texture of jackfruit
  • ZeroMeat - Ham, sausages, patties and cheese from soy
  • Greenwise - Fillets and cold cuts from soy, gluten & olive oil
  • Tempeh - Protein blocks from beans, legumes, nuts, grains, seeds
  • MushLabs - Alt meat from fermentation of shrooms & sidestreams
  • MM - Hot dogs from carrot, onion, sunflower seeds, red seadweed
  • Vegetari - Crunchy fried shitake mushrooms and seaweed crisps
  • Seamore - Bacon from seaweed
  • MeatlessFarm - Alt meat from plants grown in farms
  • Plantcraft - Pepperoni from bananas, linseed, peas, herbs & spices
  • CheeseQueen - Cheese from fermented cashew nuts
  • MeetJack - Rendang from jackfruit chunks

F&B Advances

Businesses in a post-bug (and buggy) world, how some eateries adapted:
  • Brand An upmarket restaurant makes YouTube chef videos that keep patrons in touch and looking forward to its re-opening.
  • Shifts A budget eatery switched from evening dining to whole day, with the proprietor himself waiting on tables.
  • Re-engineering A geeky, young top chef deconstructs and reconstructs in detail how fine dining can be done with delivery. [In the local context, hotpot joints have been hitting this.]
  • E-Kopitiam Instead of having stalls deal with delivery individually, a kopitiam (a restaurant that is made up of a multitude of food stalls, like a mini food court) has gone into marketing the stalls under an integrated umbrella.
  • Food Truck After being turfed out from a roadside location, a budget eatery switched to mobility. Now, it can go where customers are or where there is space for its customers to dine (eg. by teaming up with a sleepy restaurant).

Flashpoint Tourism

A sample of startups from SOSV (Jun 17), ScaleX (Jun 25) and PitchSEL (Jun 30):

Latest Startups

A pick of startups from our in tray:
  • Rapyd - Fintech as a service
  • Picnic - Food production automation
  • Neetera - Sub-terahertz, contactless health screening
  • Spatial - Make your room your computer monitor
  • Voom - On demand activity insurance
  • Carta - Equity management system
  • Solidia - Green concrete
  • Envoy - Touchless office
  • Propel - Electronic social security and EBT
  • Kudan - Artificial perception and SLAM
  • Wayve - Waymo's European cousin
  • WeRide - Self driving map, perception, fleet
  • Blade - Boutique urban air mobility

Somewhere Out There

WFH with the kids? Try some duets or acapellas with them. Like in the above renditions: Mat & Savanna Shaw with Somewhere Out There, Haeun Jang & dad with Canon (soft cropped, it's a one hour loop) and Petter Hollens' tribute with You Raise Me Up.

Mid Summer

In a snap, half a year is done. Midsummer digital events:

SAS Global Forum June 16 info New
  • NatureServe & Biodiversity - SAS
  • Beehive Monitoring using IoT - SAS
  • Detecting Deforestation - IIASA
  • Reversing The Tax System - HMRC

HP Discover June 24 info New

Adobe 99U June 17 info New

Spark+AI Summit June 24-26 info New

Open Source Summit June 29 - July 2 info New
  • Artificial Intelligence vs Common Sense - Siemens
  • CRM: Community Relationship Management - Bitergia
  • Intelligent Open Source - Uber
  • The Trusted Firmware Project - Arm

Cannes Lions June 22-25 info podcast topics

Apple WWDC June 22-26 info guesstimate topics
  • Arm over Intel
  • Apple Health OS info
  • Apple TV+ Series v1 v2
  • HomePod 2 Speakers

SAP Sapphire June 16-19 info
  • Collaborate & Innovate in Times of Change - OMV
  • Intersection of Change and Technology - Uvex
  • Turn Challenges into Opportunities - Porsche
  • Give Customers The Freedom to Choose - AGCO

VentureBeat Transform July 15-17 info
  • From Mobile-First to AI-First - Intuit
  • Can We Trust Machines To Be Fair - Google
  • It Takes a Village to Implement AI - LinkedIn
  • How We Invested Early and Big in AI & ML - Chase

New Architecture

Some possible trends in Architecture in response to the new normal:

  • Balcony garden - Herbs, greens, 'good for mental health'
  • Study - WFH work space for adults and/or children
  • Flat roofs - For extra bit of sun, exercise and gardening
  • Ventilated - Fresher air through vents, fans, extractors

  • Powered natural ventilation - Bug fighting, lower carbon
  • Al fresco - Green shaded outdoor dining, meeting spaces
  • Open mall - Open air and naturally lit concourses
  • Fusion - Interweaving of office and residential spaces

New Architecture

Experimental Conference

Content Delivery Network
  • A content delivery network (CDN) distributes content to servers around the world so that content is located closer to where audiences are.
  • Eg if a person in UK creates a web page about Scottish Wildcats and if that page is popular in NZ, a CDN will cache that page in NZ.
  • As a result, when the page is read, the contents (text, images etc) won't have to travel all the way from UK to NZ.

Cloudfare TV
  • One of the world's top CDN is Cloudfare.
  • Yesterday (June 8th, 2020), it launched a video service called Cloudfare TV (CTV, our acronym) which is intended to be a new kind of conference format. CTV is modelled in part on TV and MTV.
  • Its launch runs June 7-13 with talks like (see next section):

  • Healthier Tech for a Digitally Distracted World - Cloudfare
  • Kids & Tech: How To Keep Them Sane - Common Sense Media
  • The Risk of Internet Consolidation - Tim Berners-Lee, W3C
  • E-Stonia: The Future of E-Societies - Toomas lves, Estonia
  • What Lies Ahead for Cryptography - Dan Boneh, Stanford

  • Cloudfare notes that people attend live events because of keynotes, demos, tech meets and socials.
  • The cons are high expenditure, time away, accommodation, unhealthy food, 'being herded like cattle' (and lockdowns).
  • CTV is work-in-progress, kudos for trying something new.

Bluetooth Battalion

Bug Fighting
Vigilance is essential with the resumption of activities post-lockdown. How to fight the ninja bug? Pending vaccines and treatments, measures include:
  • Distancing, hygiene, protection
  • Contact tracing and testing
  • Treatment and rehabilitation
  • Policies and SOPs

Bluetooth Contact Tracing
For contact tracing, SG is proposing complementing its TraceTogether app with Bluetooth tokens (coin-like portable gadget). How might one of these work? As we speculate:
  • Must be brought along when going out
  • Has a serial number (registered to the user by the authorities)
  • Detects tokens and beacons which are in close proximity
  • Data logged: serial number of other device, date, time, duration
  • Data stored in memory, readable by authorities only
  • Beacons can be used to mark places (stations, restaurants etc)

Why Contact Tracing
  • To head off a second wave (or mutant bug 2.0)
  • To not enter further rounds of lockdowns which will be ruinous
  • To quickly identify potential bug sources and destinations
  • The data in a token is, conceptually, a line
  • The data of another token is another line
  • The intersection of two lines is a point, a possible source

What About Privacy
  • Data stays at the tokens
  • Only when there is probable cause, authorities will ask for the data
  • Folks are already being tracked by apps, cookies, telco towers, etc
  • Bluetooth tracking, as proposed, is less intrusive

  • Different from the wristbands used in HK, KR etc
  • Which are for the enforcement of self quarantine
  • Wristbands and tokens best suited for city states and cities
  • Harder to implement on a country basis

Indiegogo Gadgets

A browse of Indiegogo returns gadgets for WFH, masking up and home cooking:

Amazfit Smartwatch
The screen size of a smartwatch is limited because the flat panel needs to rest on a rounded wrist. Amazfit X Smartwatch overcomes this by using a curved AMOLED display that wraps round the wrist, providing more than double the normal vertical scroll space. Comes with a 7-day battery and a heart rate monitor. Great for pacing one's day. Price $170 and up.

AiT Smart Desk
The AiT Smart One is a desk that can be height adjusted for sitting or standing usage. It features a whiteboard-like surface which one can write on, great for ad hoc notes. Options include integrated Bluetooth speakers and an aromatherapy diffuser. Price: $500 and up. [Would be perfect if the desk could do three heights: cross-legged, seated and standing.]

LMP Mask
The surgical masks commonly used by the public are non-recyclable and non-degradable. Since the pandemic is world wide, millions of these masks could be going to the landfill everyday. LMP S2 Reusable Protective Face Mask features a reusable molded silicon body and a disposable FFP3 (one grade above N95) filter. Price: $33 and up. [An even greener mask could perhaps use a washable HEPA (N95 grade) filter.]

Misen Carbon
Most pans and woks in kitchenware and DIY stores are non-stick coated. The coating is easily scratched, burnt or damaged rendering the pan hazardous for further use and non-recyclable. Also, coated pans can't be used for wok hei (charred flavour) fiery sizzles like the ones seen at street kitchens. Pro chefs and restaurants use carbon steel pans like Misen Carbon Steel Pan which are naturally non-stick without chemicals. Price: $55 and up.