The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Etiquette mavens say the book on manners must be rewritten, literally, to take into
account new technologies and social media (AFP Photo/Ed Jones)

A 2012 survey by Intel found that in several countries, a majority said they were put
off by "oversharing" of pictures and personal information on the
internet and smartphones (AFP Photo/Nicolas Asfouri)

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Friday, July 18, 2014

MIT students make 3D-printed ice cream

If your ice cream could look like anything in the world, what would you choose? A new machine could 3D print your ice cream in 15 minutes, Samuel Gibbs, Thursday 17 July 2014

MIT student project proves that 3D printing ice cream is a tasty possibility.
Photograph: Kristine Bunker

Three students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have hacked together a 3D printer that can produce edible Mr Whippy-style ice cream in any shape.

Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker and David Donghyun Kim developed the contraption – a modified version of an existing 3D printer connected to a “soft serve” ice-cream machine – as part of a graduate project in MIT’s additive manufacturing department.

“First, we needed to print into a cooled environment so that the ice cream would hold its shape once printed,” the students explained to 3Ders. “We bought a small upright freezer which was large enough to both put the Solidoodle inside and allow for the full build volume we were aiming for.”

Liquid nitrogen cooling system

The students built a cooling system using liquid nitrogen to fix the ice cream in place as it was squirted out of the 3D printer’s nozzle into the desired shape. The instant cooling allowed the printer to build up the ice cream layers just as a traditional extrusion-based 3D printer squirts down layers of plastic.

The student's setup in the lab. Photograph: MIT

“The main reason we feel an ice cream 3D printer is an important addition to current additive manufacturing technology is that it interests children,” the MIT students explained.

The students had to balance the accuracy and printing resolution of the printer to enable interesting shapes and creations with the speed of printing, as no one wants to wait 30 minutes for their ice cream to appear.

“We imagine this technology being marketable in ice cream parlours such as Dairy Queen where customers can order an ice cream treat, wait 15 minutes, and see the shape they chose be created,” they said. “Of course last, and more importantly, we aim to enjoy the ice cream after successful printing.”

The proof-of-concept printer needs refinement before it is likely to see commercial duty, but the technology could appear in an ice cream truck near you soon, if the students or a third party decides to continue developing the system further.

For now, ice cream 3D printed into a star shape is entirely possible.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Microsoft to slash 18,000 jobs in deepest cuts in tech giant's history

Most of the job losses expected to come from firm's Nokia unit, which Microsoft acquired in April for $7.2bn, Jessica Glenza in New York, Thursday 17 July 2014

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined plans last week for a
'leaner' business. Photograph: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Microsoft will cut up to 18,000 jobs over the next year as it absorbs its newly acquired Nokia phone business, the company announced on Thursday.

The cuts amount to 14% of Microsoft's global workforce, and represent the deepest in the tech giant's 39-year history. They come five months into the tenure of chief executive officer Satya Nadella, who outlined plans for a "leaner" business in a public memo to employees last week.

Most of the positions come from Nokia, which Microsoft acquired in April for $7.2bn, pushing up Microsoft's headcount by 25%, to 127,000.

“My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible,” Nadella said in an open letter on Thursday.

Microsoft said about 12,500 professional and factory workers will be cut from Nokia's devices and services division. About 13,000 are expected to receive notifications in the next six months, Nadella said. All will receive severance pay; some will receive job placement services.

Nadella said the cuts represent the fact that Microsoft is starting to absorb Nokia into the larger organisation.

“It’s important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we are adding roles in certain other strategic areas,” said Nadella. He did not offer details about what new positions might be added. More details about the company’s realignment are expected Thursday afternoon and during a public earnings call on 22 July.

Israel and Hamas clash on social media

As in the field, Israel deploys superior strength and resources as both sides attack each other on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

The GuardianHarriet Sherwood, Wednesday 16 July 2014

The Israeli military's Twitter account provides dozens of updates a day on
military activities and also comments on Hamas's motives and actions.

The lethal military confrontation between Israel and Hamas is being mirrored in a bitter clash on the battlefield of social media.

Each side has taken to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to denounce the other, and to present accounts that are at best partial and often blatantly distorted.

The propaganda war between Israel and the Palestinians is not new, but this battle-round is being fought with unprecedented ferocity. And like the asymmetry in the military conflict, the strength and resources of the Israel social media troops outweigh those of Hamas and other Palestinian organisations.

The Israel Defence Forces has an official Twitter account (@IDFspokesperson) in English, with 292,000 followers, providing dozens of updates every day on military activities plus graphics, photographs and video. As well as data on air strikes and rocket launches, it also comments on Hamas's motives and actions, and posts "infographics", such as one purporting to show how Hamas uses Palestinian homes as military command centres and weapon storage facilities.

Before the World Cup final it asked followers to retweet its posts on the number of rockets fired from Gaza using the hashtags #WorldCup and #GERvsARG in order to maximise its reach.

The IDF is also active on YouTube and Facebook, and Israeli government ministries, officials and embassies have Twitter accounts.

In recent years Israel has recruited hundreds of students to assist in its hasbara, or public diplomacy campaign. These individuals – some of whom are paid – act openly and covertly, many engaging in below-the-line online discussion threads to promote Israel's interests.

At the start of the current conflict in Gaza students at the Interdisciplinary Centre, a private college in Herzliya, launched a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook, "Israel Under Fire".

According to its leader, Yarden Ben-Yosef, 27, more than 400 students have volunteered for the programme, running five Facebook pages in five languages (English, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and German). They run a website,, which posts in 21 languages and claims to contain only factual data – "there is no propaganda, no exaggeration, no lies".

"We counter Palestinian propaganda and explain the Israeli perspective," Ben-Yosef said. "Social media is another place where the war goes on. This is another way to tell our story."

He conceded that the students used pictures and data provided by the Israeli government, but insisted it had no say in how the group used such information. "This is part of the hasbara effort – we're working for the same goal, but we do it in our own way."

On the other side of the conflict, Hamas and other Palestinian organisations have used social media in the propaganda war. Hamas's military wing, al-Qassam, has increased its Twitter activity, posting in Arabic, English and Hebrew and using graphic and distressing pictures of injured children, funerals and the destruction of homes. It has 11,900 followers for its English posts (@qassamfeed).

It uses language such as "genocidal aggression", "resistance" and "martyrs", which may seem strong to westerners but is part of the daily discourse among Palestinians.

Hamas has also hacked Israeli television channels and Domino's Pizza's Facebook page to warn Israelis about its military intentions. Other organisations and individuals in Gaza have joined the campaign to win public support using the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack.

As well as the general public, both sides are aiming their barrages of information/propaganda at the mainstream media. The rise in live blogs covering events such as the conflict in Gaza has led to a greater reliance by journalists on social media for access to a steady stream of information in real time.

Related Articles:
Kryon Q&A

Question (2002): Dear Kryon, I am sure beings are watching very closely over Israel and the events happening now in this territory, and I believe they also take part and assist sometimes. I have the feeling that many miracles already happened and many lives were saved. However, I feel that we, Israelis, need more understanding and empathy from the rest of the world. The dreadful events of September 11 in the USA have shocked us and most of the world, yet we also have to cope with evil, hatred and terror for a very long period. It is getting worse from day to day.

So many innocent people were murdered. Our enemies send thousand of brainwashed young people to murder as many of us as possible. The propaganda is lying in the face of the world - on one hand they celebrate killings and continuous war, while on the other hand they complain that they are victims. Children are sent to fight against us and if some of them get killed our wounded they put the blame on us. How should we react at the moment? Until the light which people send can change the situation and we make the transition successfully, how should we react to the continuous killings - in the name of God, by Holy “Shaheeds” who for their killing “go straight to paradise”? At least we would find some comfort in being understood.

Our enemies spread their false propaganda and everyone listens only to them, while the continuous terror we have to cope with day by day is mostly being ignored by people who have only a very vague idea of the facts. Why do I have the feeling that what is really happening to us is of little interest to most of the world, but so many people are very quick to blame us for being the cause of unrest and terror in other countries? I would like to hear what is your answer to all this.
— A woman and mother from Jerusalem

Answer: My dear Israeli, you have struck the magic chord of the strings of the new consciousness. Indeed your description fits the frustration of the ages. The “unsolvable” problem also was supposed to provide the seeds for Armageddon… an energy which was provided to end the entire earth! What was needed all along, instead, was for the other parts of the world to “see” some of the truths behind the real battle, as we have stated within the first answer. This process has begun. It is slow, but it has begun.
It is not the process of a political coalition, but rather one of education and awareness.

How should you in Israel react? Just like you have for the past thousand years… with patience and endurance. But instead of patience without resolution, you now have something brewing that you never had before: The rest of the earth has had a profound insight as to what it feels like to have this energy at their doorstep. Gone are the days when you and your seeming enemies battle it out with the world turning its back, or not fully understanding the subtleties. Now the major powers of the planet must look at it closely and study the true roots of the issue, not the false ones.

We have said over and over… “As go the Jews, go earth.” Do you understand now? Do those reading this who are NOT in the Middle East understand now? Your problems are now Earth’s problems. You also share them with those on the other side of town [meaning the Palestinians]. They also wrench their hands in frustration, wondering what to do. Do you think other mothers in those areas wish their children to be filled with hate and die? No. As discussed, it is not a group consciousness that is forming, but many individual ones together. This means that there are many in what you call the “enemy” camp, who are beginning to think differently about everything that was impossible in the past to solve. What happens in the future where you live, is what will guide the entire planet.

Be peaceful with the fact that because of the new energy, the leaders will change and the structure will change. You may see the seeds of solution within your own lifetime as governments, schools, and even fundamentalist religions slowly understand that hatred is no longer the energy-hat will bring about the means of what they desire. Force will no longer equal peace... a very old consciousness since the beginning of mankind. It’s easy to die. It’s far harder to live in peace for a long time. This requires a wisdom that is just beginning to form. Let the children lead the way, for as they grow up you will see amazing changes… not like the ones you have seen over and over all your life. The ones who are being “trained to hate” by old energy adults are beginning to ask questions on their own, which may surprise you.

By the way… when the prophet Muhammad spoke of Martyrdom, it was wisdom offered in the context of consciousness of those who would sacrifice their lives on the battlefield of God… a battlefield where warriors fought for unity and for the God of the Abraham! Paradise was never promised to one who would willingly terminate themselves by their own hand. This latter concept came from men, not God.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Samsung suspends China supplier over child labour allegations

World's biggest smartphone maker suspends business ties with Dongguan Shinyang Electronics after China Labor Watch report,  Associated Press, Monday 14 July 2014

Samsung showroom in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/
Getty Images

Samsung has said it has suspended business ties with a Chinese supplier that allegedly hired children.

The South Korean company, which is the world's biggest smartphone maker, said in its blog on Monday that it had found possible evidence of child labour and illegal hiring at Dongguan Shinyang Electronics.

Samsung said last week it would urgently look into the Chinese supplier following a New-York-based watchdog's report that it had hired at least five children under the age of 16.

China Labor Watch said children as well as minors under 18 worked at Shinyang for three to six months to meet production targets during a period of high demand. The watchdog said the child workers were paid for 10 hours a day but worked 11 hours.

The report detailed 15 labour violations discovered during its undercover investigation. They included child labour, the absence of safety training, no overtime wages and no social insurance for temporary workers, who constituted at least 40% of 1,200 employees at the Chinese cellphone parts supplier for Samsung.

China Labor Watch's report came shortly after Samsung said its audit had found no child labour at hundreds of Chinese suppliers. Samsung began inspecting its Chinese suppliers after the watchdog raised the issue in 2012.

Samsung said it would permanently stop doing business with Shinyang if a Chinese investigation found evidence of child labour.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Instagram becomes latest victim of Chinese censorship

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-07-13

Instagram has been unavailable for download in China since July 10. (Internet photo)

After blocking Google and its services in China in June, China's internet censors blocked the popular networking app Line and Yahoo's photo-sharing platform Flickr on July 1, the day of massive democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong on the 17th anniversary of the territory's return to China. Instagram, the online photo and video sharing platform owned by Facebook, has now undergone a similar fate, reports Duowei, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.

Mainstream Android app stores removed Instagram on July 10, though it was still available on the Apple Store. Line is still downloadable, though its services have been rendered unusable.

Line and Flickr have not been informed of the reason behind the interruption to their services, nor do they know when they will be restored. Yahoo is aware of the issue and is investigating the problem, the company said in a statement. Te official website of Line meanwhile said it is working with the Chinese government to block banned keywords. A spokesperson for Line said it is necessary to "adjust to the customs of the Chinese market" — suggesting that it means to comply with the censorship of sensitive topics.

In an online post on July 9, it was claimed that the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China has ordered the removal of all overseas-based social networking services from Chinese app stores before a deadline on July 10. This has not been confirmed by state authorities nor by the media, however.

Beijing has tightened censorship of political discussion on the internet since the new Communist Party leadership was announced at the end of 2012 and there have been harsh punishments for internet users judged to have threatened domestic stability or criticized the government. The ongoing campaign against content deemed to be "rumors" and "pornography" has also had a chilling effect on online discourse.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Giant rollable TVs on the horizon, says LG

BBC News, 10 July 2014

The flexible screens are high resolution but paper-thin

Related Stories

LG has announced the release of two new paper-thin TV panels, with one that is so flexible it can be rolled into a 3cm diameter tube.

The company stated it is confident it will produce a 60in (152cm) Ultra HD rollable TV by 2017.

LG unveiled one of its first flexible TVs at CES - a global consumer electronics and technology trade show - earlier this year.

Experts say flexible screens could see TVs used in more creative ways.

The screens are so flexible, they can be rolled into tight cylinders

The new flexible panel has a resolution of 1,200x810, which is left undistorted even after it has been rolled into a 3cm cylinder.

LG says the flexibility was achieved thanks to using a backplane made of "high molecular substance-based polyimide film" instead of plastic.

The second panel is transparent and is said to greatly surpass earlier models, with the company boasting of a significant reduction in hazy images and a 30% increase in transmittance, which is responsible for the screen's transparent effect.

The company has claimed its new screens prove they are on track for much larger, Ultra HD-capable flexible screens in the near future, asserting they are "confident" they can deliver a 60in rollable panel by 2017.

The new transparent display has apparently reduced haze by "adopting
the company's transparent pixel design technology".

"Flexible screens are an exciting prospect. First off, they're far more durable than conventional screens, meaning that we can expect to see bigger, better screens in, for example, aeroplanes," said Stephen Graves, online deputy editor at

"They also create the potential for some completely new gadget designs. Imagine a 10in (25cm) iPad that you can fold out into a 16in (40cm) screen - effectively doubling up as a small desktop computer or TV monitor."

Jeremy White, product editor of Wired magazine said that these new screens would be ideal for retail or exhibition display.

"Being able to curve screens around complex retail display units or using the transparency to have the screen envelop the product itself on a stand would certainly be eye-catching.

"And of course this is all leading to flexible tablets as well, which will possibly be the most useful application of flexible screens to the average consumer."

Curved TVs, such as Samsung's latest 4K curved LED TV, are
becoming more common.

Evan Kypreos, editor of TrustedReviews, said that rollable TVs could be produced by 2017 but warned they'd cost far too much for the average consumer.

"If you've got the cash to splash then a rollable TV could create an experience similar to owning a projector, where you can easily hide away the screen when not in use, but without the noise and complexity of an actual projector.

"Instead of 60in-plus TV screens I think the more interesting application of this tech could be in wearables. Curved screen smartwatches with a whole wrist screen are an obvious example."

Earlier this year LG unveiled a 77in flexible 4K OLED TV with a controllable curve, however this is not yet available and it is not known when it is likely to go on sale.

These images produced by the researchers were 0.07mm across -
smaller than the width of human hair

Related Article:

Phantom tech firm worth billions, inexplicably

Yahoo – AFP,  Luc Olinga, 10 July 2014

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on
June 20, 2014 in New York City (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)

New York (AFP) - It has no assets, no revenues and no business plan to speak of. But a company called Cynk Technology has seen its value soar as high as $4.7 billion.

Wall Street analysts have been at loss to explain the spectacular 24,000 percent rise in Cynk, which trades on the lightly regulated over the counter (OTC) market.

While its share price and market value fell at the close of trade, the company unknown in the technology or financial communities for a time traded in the range of the value of firms such as Groupon, Pandora Media or Yelp.

"We must sadly conclude that the company is nothing but a fraud," said the financial news website Zero Hedge.

"And it is nothing short of a testament to just how broken this excuse for a market is that a company with no assets, no revenues, no website and one employee can go from zero value to nearly $5 billion in market cap in a few days."

The stock trading at six cents on June 16 inexplicable surged to $2.25 the next day, and rose to as high as $16 on Thursday, before slipping to around $14 at the close -- making its paper value still an eye-popping $4 billion or so.

The company avoided scrutiny until its disproportionate value drew the attention of Wall Street veterans.

The phone number listed on company documents was out of service.

Richard Green of the market analysis firm examined the company's regulatory filing, which indicated Cynk had no assets, no cash and an accumulated loss of $1.5 million.

Cynk calls itself a social network, based on its early incarnation as, which offered to put people in contact with celebrities like Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp for $50.

"The company is no more of a functional business than your average college student's entrepreneurial dream," Green said.

"There was no news or other recognizable event to explain such stock trading activity."

Analysts note that the market value is merely on paper, based on trades of a small number of shares.

"We want to stop short of directly calling Cynk Technology a 'scam operation,' as we have not yet been able to find a reason for the unusual trading, but it certainly has all the appearances of the typical 'pump and dump' scheme used to deceive ignorant investors into buying into 'the next social media' giant,'" Green added.

One concern is that certain "momentum" investors who use algorithms to trade can be attracted to the stock simply because of its rise.

"There is no rational explanation for yesterday's trading activity and the $4 billion market capitalization," Green said.

"In short, Cynk has 'stynk' written all over it and we think the best approach to this stock is to avoid it entirely."

Google admits to errors over Guardian 'right to be forgotten' link deletions

David Drummond, chief legal officer of internet search firm, says adjusting to EU rule on removing content is 'work in progress'

The Guardian, James Ball, Thursday 10 July 2014

Under a European court judgment Google may have to remove web links
 if it receives a complaint. Photograph: Michael Gottschalk/Photothek/
Getty Images

Google has acknowledged that it "incorrectly" removed links to several Guardian articles last month and then reinstated them after complaints from people citing the "right to be forgotten".

Following a European court ruling, Google is required to remove links to "inadequate, irrelevent or … excessive" information from its search results in EU countries if the person to which the web page relates places a complaint, subject to a public interest test. But in a comment piece in the Guardian, Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, acknowledged that the company, which opposes the ruling, was still working out the right way to implement the judgment, and had made some errors.

The Guardian was one of the first outlets to be notified that some of its content had been removed from some EU search results, receiving six notification that articles had been affected. Four of those articles were subsequently reinstated into search results by Google.

If complainants wish to challenge reinstatements they must do so through their country's information commissioner's office.

Drummond said Google disagreed with the ruling, but said the company respected "the court's authority" and was "doing its very best to comply quickly and responsibly".

He promised the public debate would affect how the company made its decisions on removing or reinstating content for the 250,000 requests it had received from more than 70,000 people.

"Of course, only two months in, our process is still very much a work in progress," he wrote. "It's why we incorrectly removed links to an article last week (since been reinstated). But the good news is that the ongoing, active, debate that's happening will inform the development of our principles, policies and practices, in particular about how to balance one person's right to privacy with another's right to know."

Drummond also announced that Google had set up an advisory council of experts to examine the "right to be forgotten" issue. Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder and internet campaigner, will sit on the panel, as will Le Monde's editorial director, Sylvie Kauffmann, and the UN special rapporteur Frank La  Rue.

The advisory council would take evidence from appropriate bodies and interest groups, as well as hold public meetings, Drummond said. It would produce a public report on some of the more difficult points concerning the "right to be forgotten", including issues about spent criminal convictions and victims of abuse, as well as the wider societal implications of the court's ruling.

Related Article:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Internet reshapes Chinese financial landscape

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-07-08

A payment made through a mobile payment service. (File photo/CNS)

From buying dinners through various apps to managing personal finances on smartphones, internet finance has permeated daily life in China.

Now, a report in the latest edition of Beijing-published Caijing Magazine has labeled internet finance an "overthrowing of tradition," backed by surging transactions online.

The value of transactions via online banking services reached 352.1 trillion yuan (US$57.1 trillion) in the first quarter of this year in China, up 7.8% from the previous quarter, the report said, citing data from Analysys, a provider of information services for China's internet market. The nation's top four state-owned commercial banks accounted for more than 70% of the market share.

Cell phone banking services saw even faster growth in the first quarter, with their value topping 5.5 trillion yuan (US$886 billion), up 23.1% quarter on quarter, the data showed. China Construction Bank, the country's second-largest lender, led in mobile banking transactions with a 33.6% market share, according to Analysys.

But the most eye-catching growth has come from mobile payment transactions via third-party payment platforms. Mobile payment services, offered by leaders such as Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's Tenpay, hit 1.63 trillion yuan (US$262 billion) in the first quarter, up 110.5% from the previous quarter, the data showed.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Indonesia’s Lasting Love for Mobile Phones

Jakarta Globe, Arman Dzidzovic, Jul 07, 2014

A man uses a cellphone as he sits in front of the Batavia Air office at
 Soekarno-Hatta International Airport outside Jakarta. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

It was all black with a sleek curve to match the shape of your face as you talked, and a smooth black cover which slid down to reveal a keypad to make a call. It felt so futuristic that it was used in the first Matrix film, tech writer Aulia Masna gleefully pointed out as he rehashed the memory of his first cellphone back in 1996, the Nokia 8110.

“The screen of the 8110 was tiny by today’s standards, but enough to show a single SMS without having to scroll too much,” Aulia said.

Telecommunication companies weathered a wobbly start due to rupiah inflation in the late ’90s, but few could have imagined the immense growth of the industry in Indonesia. The sector is about to hit its 20th birthday with three companies, Telkomsel, XL Axiata and Indosat, maintaining a stranglehold on one of the world’s biggest mobile phone and data markets.

Today, in the world’s fourth most populous nation, there are more active mobile subscriptions than people.

Connecting an archipelago

Ten years ago only two out of every 45 Indonesians had access to a fixed telephone, according to Redwing Asia. Although cellphones and mobile networks were available since the late ’80s, through the now defunct AMPS network, many Indonesians living in rural areas had few methods of quick communication available to them. Traditional letters and motorcycle couriers were still the primary form of communication in the villages of Indonesia.

One of the biggest hurdles phone companies had to overcome to connect the nation was Indonesia’s unique geography.

“The coverage requirements for operators in Indonesia are quite complex,” said Paul Hemming, director of Redwing Asia, a company that analyses the technology market in Asia. “There are over 17,000 islands, the nature of coverage is very different from a country like America. The cost of operation is therefore higher as well.”

Due to Indonesia’s late entrance into mobile telecommunications coupled with a complex geography, the industry skipped over an entire generation of landline phones that usually make up traditional networks.

Indonesian telecom companies found that laying down traditional copper telephone lines to connect islands was too costly, so the industry jumped straight to building mobile phone networks, Hemming said.

In a country where there are still only nine million fixed phone lines, mobile phone calls and SMS messaging are the dominant form of communication.

Amid the first years of SMS messaging, Indonesian farmers found it to be an indispensable tool for commerce. “They would compare prices at various markets over SMS and ship their goods to the market that would give them the best return. A trading community formed around messaging,” Hemming said.

Smartphone syndrome

The dawn of mobile connectivity that offered Internet access also brought the ascension of smartphones in Indonesian culture.

“As for the smartphone revolution, the answer is pretty easy: it was BlackBerry that kick-started the entire thing,” Aulia said. “The BlackBerry was the status symbol for the haves, never mind that they could only use it for voice calls and SMS due to the non-existence of BlackBerry data plans.”

BlackBerry, once a giant in the smartphone industry, has fallen on hard times as CEOs have departed and profits fall. After years of neglecting its overwhelming popularity in Indonesia, to the point where the Indonesian government threatened to levy sanctions after an outage that left Indonesian BlackBerry Messenger users fuming in 2013, Blackberry is looking to capitalize on its South Asian popularity.

The Jakarta, as it’s been nicknamed, officially the Z3, is the first ever smartphone targeted at the Indonesian market by a major mobile phone maker. Retailing at Rp 2.2 million ($185), the Jakarta phone is hoping to undercut the competition while capitalizing on its strong brand to help BlackBerry get back in the black. “It’s a last-ditch effort for BlackBerry,” Hemming said.

In laser-lit clubs where young Indonesians flock to flaunt their wealth, like the glitzy Dragonfly club in Jakarta, the gold-tinged iPhone 5S is the ultimate status symbol. The latest and greatest model of the iPhone costs more than twice the average monthly office worker’s salary.

“In the past a young adult starting to smoke was a symbol of adulthood; now owning a smartphone is more of a symbol than smoking,” Hemming said. “People will go to great lengths to get the latest and greatest smartphones, they make sacrifices in terms of clothing, cigarettes and transportation.”

Indonesians have even christened the smartphone phenomenon with it’s own slang: gengsi , a word that describes someone who needs to own the latest gadget at all costs and be able to flaunt it.

Social phenomenon

While the rise of smartphones in Indonesia has left some with an unsavory materialistic aftertaste, they have helped to boost the nation’s standing.

Jakarta is the world capital of Twitter — no other city is more active on the social media platform. The nation’s capital makes up 2.4 percent of Twitter’s entire traffic.

“We can see more opinions, the news is available to everyone now. It feels more open,” said Adi, a political science student at a recent presidential debate.

Twitter is one of the main sources of news for Adi, who works as an organizer for the Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla presidential campaign. Many students and young Indonesians like Adi learn about breaking political developments from Twitter, such as the controversy that followed presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto retweeting a campaign video by rocker Ahmad Dhani featuring Nazi symbolism.

Path, now part-owned by a local firm, is one of the biggest social networks in Indonesia. Combining aspects of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, over four million Indonesian users are on the network. But with so many photos, videos and statuses being shared through the application, Indonesia’s aging 3G networks are feeling the strain.

The latest 4G LTE coverage in Indonesia was finally launched last year by wireless Internet provider BOLT, but it has yet to bring relief to smartphone users as the service is only available in Jakarta and most users never achieve speeds higher than on 3G networks.

The nation’s appetite for social media has left many feeling disconnected from one another. Indonesians on average spend about nine hours a day viewing one or more screens like TVs, smartphones, computers and tablets. That’s the highest in the world, according to Redwing Asia.

“The discussion is what’s important,” said Adi of the new interconnectedness.

“It’s more important now because of the election but also because we never had a chance to do this before.”