My Experience of Using Merahputih.id

Indonesia free email service Merahputih.id is the one and only free service of its kind available so far to support Indonesians’ communication and productivity. [Photo credit: Merahputih.id]
CONSIDERING the creepy dominance of Gmail in Indonesian market, at the same time I too cannot deny my dependence on this webmail service. I have owned and actively used my Gmail account since 2009 and there must be countless data I have stored in it. The service has really made my digital life easier and more comfortable.

But far before using Gmail, I had used Plaza Mail [correct me if I am wrong] in my college days. And the experience was — as far as my memory served right — quite good, if not extraordinary. Somehow I no longer used my Plaza account, partly because I have forgotten the password and do not bother to try recovering it.

In short, I truly miss that sort of free email service built by fellow Indonesians or Indonesian company. Why? Because if your nation can build its own products, why do not you support it by using them? Using our own digital products also supports our digital industry growth. I have been so sick of seeing Indonesian treated as a mere market. With resources this big, I think we could have been bigger than what we are now. Also, using our own digital products save us from negative impacts of data misuse done by foreign parties. If anything bad happens, suing service providers in our own jurisdiction is more plausible than doing so to overseas service providers such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc. Of course other reasons [like what is pointed out by Marsya Nabila of Dailysocial.id here] make sense as well but my own motive is mostly nationalism.

So when I discovered Merahputih.id on the 15th of April 2018 [amidst Facebook-Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal], I was so delighted I ‘jumped into the wagon’ right away.

The interface is clean and smooth and minimalist. There is much to complain about. [Photo credit: My own screengrab]
Having used the service for roughly a month, I can tell you it is AWESOME as the substitute of Gmail. At first I thought I can totally migrate to my Merahputih.id and close my Gmail account but then I decided to still let it active for a while to allow people who know nothing about my shift reach me through my Gmail. Now I have been less and less on my Gmail, which is good.

The bright side of this service is that it offers you 50 GB inbox capacity [compared to Gmail’s 15 GB]. As generous as it can be, it is also secure. IP Network Solusindo [the company offering this email service] claims it has applied the latest encryption algorithms. And what I like best is that all of its servers and tier-3 data centers are located in Indonesia.

One of points of improvement that I have in mind is that the service should also try to allow users to see the inbox or currently opened or read email when they are typing a new email or reply. Just like Gmail does. What I see now is the service leads you to a separate webpage dedicated solely to typing a new email and attaching files. This way, it is impossible to take a glance at a previous email you want to use as a reference. You may open it on another tab but that would be impractical.

As for mobile use, I found no difficulty in setting up my Merahputih.id email account in my iPhone. It is seamless to say the least.

Aside from MP [Merah Putih]  Mail, the company also offers MP Boks which I assume functions as your Dropbox. It allows you to automatically upload images from gadgets, automatically back up your contact, and enjoy free 2 GB storage. But too bad it is only available for Android-powered gadgets. As an iPhone user, I have no option other than wait for the launch on Apple Store.

In the near future, the company plans to  enrich their service portfolio by launching a group chat service, social media/ forum, news portal, IPTV, marketplace, to collaboration messenger.  So it could be like what is Kakaotalk to Koreans or WeChat to Chinese.

I myself have huge expectation that this service will proliferate anytime soon so this nation is no longer overly dependent on foreign services. (*/)

 

How to Get the New Generation of Journalists TOTALLY SCREWED

Technology is never guilty. But still most people claim it’s a double-edged sword. I crack a smile. These people are mostly as f*cked up as the problem they’re talking about.

As ridiculous as it may sound, we might need to recall how all this mess in journalism currently is blamed on the surge of information technology. To me, it sounds like a fool trying to blame his own foolishness. Human race is just looking for a scapegoat, naturally. Because technology can’t avenge! Or at least talk to the creator back.

No one can rephrase the whole chaos in journalism industry any better like Jason Calacanis, a media entrepreneur cum seasoned journalist, does. And yes, nowadays journalism is also a field of industry. Like any other industries, it must generate profits, which at times sacrifices its then-highly-valued principles.

Here’s what I can sum up from Calacanis’ thought about the mess that the fresh, newer generation of journalists have to work and live with.

First of all, to screw new journalists’ work ethics and lives in general, you as an employer have to put too much pressure on these budding journos. Put the pressure with no mercy AT ALL.

Calacanis points out that more than 75% of the new generation of journalists out there are under pressure. Geez, he’s wrong in that almost all journalists are always under pressure, so are the churnalists (you know what churnalism means, I suppose). Pressure free is almost always impossible, except if a journalist writes for sheer fun. Yet, I agree with his idea that new journalists are now even more and more miserable under the inhumane demand of their employers.

“We know that a simple headline, factually correct, factually stated, accurate, does NOT drive traffic. But deception, lying, playing with words, bending the truth raises the number of tweets. What’s the impact on active journalism? Is this sending us in the wrong direction?!!” he questioned.

Another thing to make these new journalists screwed is leave them work days and nights without mentors. By mentors, I mean people who have the know-how, real experiences and time and resources to share with these poor young journalists.

Next, once they have no appropriate mentors, you can also strip them off their editorial assistance. That means they’re allowed to publish whatever they want to publish without any substantial copy editing done and rigorous fact checking the way old school journalists used to do.

Also, you have to push them. Like really really PUSH them to publish MORE content FASTER than their predecessors and at the same time remind them of maintaining VERY HIGH quality standard of journalism. Calacanis said they all are “a recipe for disaster”.

That way, if our new journalists make mistakes, offend people, or spread bogus news all over the world, they have no choice but take the blame.

That said, a mini apocalypse is on the way. To say the least, maybe democracy is falling apart.

But who cares?

(Image credit: Wikimedia)

Au Revoir, Android (On How Uncool Android Has Become)

‎Having an Android handset has never been a disappointment like this. As more and more people have Android phones on earth, one thing you must know is that you should be ready if your handset turns obsoletely unupgradable within 1-2 years of use. Yes, it costs us cheap as hell but if you don’t want to have a pricey smartphone that will end up too soon in a landfill, or even worse, left unused in the drawer though actually still it can function, you’d better find any other alternatives. Such as Apple’s iPhone. Ahem…

I know BlackBerry sucks when it comes to apps, ecosystem, and so on, but admit it, even if you think it sucks a lot, the security is much better. That’s why Obama doesn’t use Android or iPhone. Because the security of BlackBerry is better! How come? Thanks to the much fewer apps it provides on BlackBerry World! A security expert says the more apps a platform has, the higher the security risk means. Within an app, comes also a bunch of security flaws that are maybe exploited by hackers.

Android is way too unsecure for sure. Look at the uncurated, unfiltered Google Play, which is filled with fake applications for anyone to download. As Nathaniel Mott of Pando Daily puts it some days ago, “Android can sometimes seem like a no-win product for Google, especially where security is concerned.” And I can hardly believe how ignorant Google is to the cyber safety of older Android handsets owners. They pretty much don’t care.

Mott says again:

“The company can either assert more control over the platform and risk the alienation of its manufacturing partners, or it can leave things alone and receive criticism when security vulnerabilities aren’t fixed in a timely manner — if they’re ever fixed at all. This problem is highlighted by Google’sinability to fix several security vulnerabilities in the WebView component included with versions of the platform before the release of Android 4.4 “KitKat” in October 2013. As the company’s engineers told the developer of the Metasploit Project after he emailed them about the newly-discovered vulnerabilities: If the affected version [of WebView] is before 4.4, we generally do not develop the patches ourselves, but welcome patches with the report for consideration. Other than notifying OEMs, we will not be able to take action on any report that is affecting versions before 4.4 that are not accompanied with a patch. It’s not that Google doesn’t want to fix the vulnerability — it’s that Android was designed in such a way that it can’t fix the problem itself. Manufacturers have to develop their own fixes, or decide to send Google’s updates to their devices because they’re responsible for the software installed on their smartphones. (Carriers also have some input.) The only problem? Manufacturers often stop sending updates to older devices after a certain period of time because they’re focused on newer products. That has hurt consumers in the past, like when Google revealed thatpeople using older Android devices will remain vulnerable to the infamous Heartbleed bug until manufacturers release a fix. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that many manufacturers never update older devices to more recent versions of Android. After all, if they can’t be bothered to release security updates, why go through the trouble of working on a much larger Android update? So even though Google is working on this issue, it will be years before consumers benefit. Google is trying to do the right thing, but it made a mistake when it sacrificed control over Android for the sake of market share. Now its customers are paying the price, and because its name is attached to Android despite its lack of say over how manufacturers use the platform, it could face backlash for the perception of it not caring about consumers.‎” (Nathaniel Mott)

I ditched my Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2 months ago. Not that it defuncted or started to fall apart, but I just develop a new interest in iPhone. The Nexus 2 and iPhone 4S don’t differ much but one thing I notice is the fact that you are less likely to find a malware, or crapware on App Store. And I have a BlackBerry for a blogging and writing purpose (this is the thing I am writing this very blog post on). So I don’t quite care about the apps on my BlackBerry Q5. As long as it can work well to blog and draft my news articles on the go, why should I download crappy apps?

MacBook Air vs Ultrabook: Which Wins?

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The professor’s brand new MacBook Air is on the left and my Samsung ultrabook is on the right. Which one wins?

Well, maybe I don’t have to compare them. It’s simply unfair to compare two products placed in different  market segments. Yet, if I really really have to do it, I’ll choose Samsung ultrabook over the MacBook Air.

First of all, Samsung ultrabooks are priced more reasonably. For a sleek, robust personal portable computer like this, I can expect it to last for at least 5 years to come. Sounds too long? Samsung is really well known for its quality. I once saw a relic, bulky, rather cumbersome laptop my Korean neighbor had had and used for like 6-7 years. The battery sucked but the charger still worked relatively well. But that’s quite normal when you have an old PC that old. In the meantime, the professor told me before she pruchased the MacBook Air, she also used MacBook for her entire mobile computing and it lasted 6-7 years. She blamed it all on the intermittent power cuts and surcharges in India, where she resides with her 83-year-old mother. “The hard disk got burned down in some way,”she told us. So with a much lower price tag, you actually can enjoy the similar ruggedness of the MacBook Air in a Samsung ultrabook. Isn’t it fantastically great for price conscious consumers like me?

Second of all, it’s Asian. The brand is no doubt Asian. The Samsung product is made in Asia, if it isn’t in South Korea. The one I have was made in China. Plus, I am an Asian. So, what would suit me better?  It seems subjective and fanatic, but wait, I guess that’s what being an Apple fanboy is all about right? I can be a Samsung fanboy as well to make this even.

Third of all, let’s avoid consumerism. Why so? Because it’s the Samsung ultrabook that I have right here, right now. Even if I want to trade the ultrabook with the MacBook Air, I need to spend more money. What I want is I buy a product, whether it be MacBook or something else, with good reason, instead of buying it on a whim.

@EECCHI Raises Energy Efficiency Awareness through Video Challenge Contest

In Indonesia, energy efficieny issue is one of the most prominent, urgent ones to deal with. Having more than 240 million people thoughout its vast archipelago, Indonesia is facing a serious threat in terms of energy resources. The country has a lot of potential renewable energy resources, but it takes much time to fully develop the technology necessary for meeting the increasingly soaring demand of energy. That brings us to the significance of energy efficiency.

According to WorldEnergy.org, energy efficiency (in particular electricity use)  offers two benefits:

  • Supply more consumers with the same electricity production capacity, which is often the main constraint in many countries of Africa and Asia.
  • Slow down the electricity demand growth, and reduce the investment needed for the expansion of the electricity sector; this is especially important in countries with high growth of the electricity demand, such as China and many South East Asian countries.

Bringing this in mind, Indonesian Government represented by Direktorat Energi Baru Terbarukan dan Konservasi Energi (Energy Conservation and Renewable New Energy Directorate) , Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral (The Ministry of  Mineral Resources and Energy) in collaboration with Danish Government formed an initiative called  ” Energy Efficiency and Conservation Clearing House Indonesia” (EECCHI).

On last Saturday (14/7/2012) in Es Teler 77 Restaurant on Aditywarman Jakarta, EECCHI launched an activity to support efficiency energy campaign in households and schools named “Home and School Energy Champion 2012”. The contest are planned to take place in 6 months (March- August 2012). The contest involves 9 schools in Jakarta and more than 200 households in Jakarta and the greater area. The most energy efficient school and household from March to August 2012 will be rewarded. And the energy efficiency efforts apllied should not compromise the convenience and productivity of the participants.

Besides the main energy efficiency competition, the students of 9 schools involved in Home and School Energy Champion (HSEC) 2012 will also take part in a series of monthly challenges. The monthly challenges comprises 6 contests and have been held since Marh 2012. Every month there is a new challenge to offer. In March 2012, the committee challenged students to draw the best energy-efficiency-themed pictures. The next were jingle writing competition and radio ads challenge, both in April and May 2012 respectively. In its fourth month, EECCHI held Video-Making Challenge with “Energy Efficiency to Save Future Generation” as the theme.

In the video challenge, the students were requested to make videos relevant to the theme with duration not longer than 5 minutes. To help participants in producing the best videos, Danny Ambarita (a cinematographer of Cinemaworks) taught them how to produce a proper video in a brief seminar on Video Production.

The schools participating in the competition were Madania School, SMP Al Muslim, Global Jaya International School, dan Santa Laurensia.  There were 19 videos received, all of which were produced by students aged from 13 to 16 years young.

The assessment was based on the 5 main factors: : (1) Creativity; (2) Attractiveness; (3) Data Validity; (4) Production; and (5) Relevance to Energy Efficiency and Energy Awareness.

The jury were:

Mogens Krighaar (Pakar Efisiensi Energi dan Team Leader EINCOPS)

Danny Ambarita (Sinematografer Cinemaworkz)

Bryan Stone (Produser Cinemaworkz)

There were 10 best videos chosen and uploaded on YouTube, with the winner getting the most likes on Enrgy Champion Facebook page.  And here are the winners:

Favorite winners

Video titled “Man in the Mirror” by Shula Soegih Arto and Katya W. (Global Jaya International School)

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions winners were picked based on Creativity, Data Validity, Production, Attractiveness, and Relevance to Energy Efficiency and Energy Awareness.

Honorable Mentions went to:

  • “It’s Time” by Anon (Arlene Keshia, Herdarudewi Prabandari, Sasqia Faadillah Andikoputri from Madania School)
  • “Man in the Mirror” by Energirls (Katya Syafitri, Shula Adinka from Global Jaya International  School)

Second Runner-up (entitled to IDR 2 M)

Video “Explanation on Energy Efficiency” by The Wingman Calls ( I.G.N Taksu Wijaya, Randy Steven, and Bintang Berbudi from Madania School)

First Runner-up (entitled to IDR 4 M)

Video “Save Energy, Save Money, Save the Future” by The N3 Cubic Production (Najla Sekariyanti, Hana Fairuzia, and Nabila Rudiono from  Global Jaya International School)

Winner (entitled to IDR 6 M)

Video “The Future on Our Fingertips” by Future Engineers ( Jovanka Gusman, Maisha Rachmat, Nia Sarinastiti, and Sekar Sanding from Madania School)