Keep this private will you?

Privacy settings, Circles, blocking, invitations, custom publications, tethered and hidden links—if you’re reading this right now, you have successfully made it past some of the items on the list.  The evolution of the social media experience has always been the creation of a more “tailored” networking experience for the end user.  When first conceived, social networking sites like Facebook or Friendster had little customizable privacy options, half a decade on and the options are aplenty.  Yet to some, the current set of privacy tools is just not enough, which then begs the question, with all these viewing restrictions that one may impose on others (usually without their knowledge), how social is social media?—and are all these measures counterproductive to the social networking ideal?


Defined as the sharing of opinions, insights, experiences and other perspectives with one another, social media herald an age of interconnectedness unlike anything humanity has ever seen before.  This model worked well and consequently sent the world into a social media frenzy where everyone and everything vied to be on it.  But as it turns out, while ideals looks ripe on paper it doesn’t exactly play out as rosily in reality.  People began to realize that they’ve got some very nosey neighbors in their backyard, and or that adding their boss wasn’t such as good idea, or that the “nice” old man who lives in the southern county is actually a pedophilic stalker.  Such malicious and voyeuristic attempts on the social networking market prompted the authorities into action.


In 2010, after much egging, Facebook reworked their privacy settings to allow you to post discrete messages and discriminate against who you want to have viewing your content specifics.  In 2011, Goggle launched social media site Google+, allowed for greater discrimination in the forms of Circles.  Social networking got a whole lot safer—and a whole lot more tedious (well not that tedious, but you know what I mean).  With now sharing muddled in a web of constraints and buttons, the ideal of sharing is not longer the same as what it was back when the first social media sites first took flight.  Therefore, in some sense, heightened privacy settings do work counterproductive to the social media paragon.


But that’s not say the increased control over the posting and viewing options are bad, they’re good in fact and in many cases a mandatory option over what is humanity’s failing as a humanistic society.  Ill conceivings condoned though the lack of action against it, has to be mitigated by security and privacy settings on media platforms like the one in mention.  And this is the principle reason why counterproductive measures to the ideal social media state are necessary.


The Blogging Dead

Blogging in the traditional sense—measured chucks of text obstinate in the opinions of the writer and presented in reverse chronological order usually at a dedicated blog site (very much like this one), is a dying form of online self expression and infotainment.  Blogging is a dying art.  Stephanie Schwab of the Social Media explorer noted that the good old honest blogger is being buried six feet under a cistern of nondescript baloney and blatant advertising.   What happened to the traditional blogs that we grew up reading and loving?

I’m not being paid to advertise AMC’s The Walking Dead but hey, this picture does go nicely with my subject doesn’t it?

Blogging, quintessential web 2.0, characterized by linking, tagging, searching, authoring and whatnot, is struggling to find its feet in a period of transition, from 2.0 to 3.0.  Amidst a new wave of trendier alternatives such as the micro-blogs of Twitter and the social media sites, traditional blogging is at risk of becoming obsolete and being quickly condemned to the annals of history.  I would say that this has become increasingly observable in the internet practices of both friends and family—do you personally know more people who blog than before?  I know I don’t.  The fever has passed, its heyday is no more and the pop has fizzled out—this supported in findings by Information Today Europe, who astutely put that the use of blogs has sharply declined by an astounding 13% in 2010 alone, and I fear the figures aren’t any more cheerful this year.

So what have become of bloggers?  Well many have reinvented themselves as micro-bloggers and social media updatists, occasionally they do hop back into the blogosphere to give the good old dame a good scratch on the back, but they hurry off quickly leaving the old mutt to wallow in his depressingly dated hound pound.   But most of the traditional bloggers of today are money grabbing advertorialists, writing reviews and drumming support for commercial causes with the intention of making a fast buck (Schwab, 2012).

Just as how Friendster kicked the bucket (or at least I bet they wished they did) when web 1.0 was thrown out to sea in favor of web 2.0, it is only expected in the natural scheme of things that marquee features of the outgoing web version go down with the sinking ship, unless they can reinvent themselves.

The concept of blogging itself is far from dead, but the tradition blogs that we made stereotypes of back in the early 2000s is getting there pretty quickly.  But I’m cool with that.


The Lost and Found

An artist’s impression of the interwebnet, I think

The World Wide Web is a fantastic place to be at—it’s free (depends on the site you’re visiting actually), it’s easily assessable (depending on where you are really), it’s a good source of information (got to what’s reliable and what’s not though) and it’s a good platform to voice ideas, opinions, vent frustration or put out a laugh (but you should pick your channels correctly because the wrong words at the wrong time and place can land you in a cell).  Now that’s established, let us establish some cool little known facts shall we?

On any given day in the world that is the internet:

–          532 million statuses are updated

–          250 million photos are uploaded

–          22 million hours of TV and movie are watched on Netflix

–          864,000 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube

–          More than 35 million apps are downloaded

–          More iPhones are sold than people are born

[Figures pulled from COM 125 notes by Abel Choy]

Hmm, there are more iPhone are sold than there are people born every day.  Wait—what for real?  That’s amazing—ly hard to believe.  Maybe that’s because I’m an iGnoramus because I’m not much of an iPhone fan but honestly speaking from a sales standpoint it’s not sustainable!  To have phone sales exceed the 367,123 births a day (true on average in 2011—thank you Wikipedia) every single day since; man you’ve got to be making numbers up.  But thy name is not Thomas, and so I decided to ask Google if this was ever true.  And as I seek I found that what I was told was true- BUT only for 98 days at the start of 2012—hardly a daily occurrence (not like you needed Sherlock to point that out).

And this has reminded me of another established, albeit easily forgotten fact about the internet, and that is the net updates itself so rapidly and instantaneously that the value and utility of information within it erodes fairly quickly, so much so that interesting facts like the iPhone nugget can become obsolete perhaps a little too soon, and not to mention misleading too, if not taken in context.

The World Wide Web is a fantastic place to be at—there are cool facts to be had (obsolete and current), it provides me with the tools to clear my doubts (Google and Wikipedia) and it provides me with the channels to broadcast my findings (WordPress).  A reestablished fact, to say the least.  So there you have it folks, and thanks for reading (:

If you wish to read more about the iPhone versus daily global birth rate you may head down to the resource link below.

Resource links:,r:36,s:106,i:213

Do zombies exist?

The answer my friend is—no.  Not the flesh eating, blood thirsty ones at least.  Those are the work of fiction and they exist only in video games, comic books, good television serials (subjective) and in my grandmother’s imagination (not true).  So what does that make Bruce Willis? —wait, he’s alive?  Oops I’m sorry, false alarm there.

When's the apple's fallen from the tree is it still alive?

Now Steve Jobs has been in the news lately, even after his death.  With pieces celebrating his achievements, contributions to Apple, the debate surrounding the cause of his death, and many many more.  The latest page  turner to be pumped out by the press catches the former leader of Apple in one of his more malevolent egos.  “I am going to destroy Android” quotes The Straits Times of Jobs in an article which
details the man’s hatred for his competitor’s phone operating system.

mmmm..... Apple

Perhaps the late Steve Jobs had the right to feel aggrieved because not only did Android “borrow” a fair bit of ideas from Apple’s brainchild, the iPhone, they were in direct competition with Apple’s hottest selling product.  Mr. Stevie J wasn’t much of a
sharer, he certainly didn’t not climb to the top of the Apple tree by sharing
ideas or profits, so Mr. J’s acrimonious comments there should come as little
surprise.  However to add insult to injury, Android did overtake Apple as the most popular OS worldwide and the entire affair, in the eyes of the deceased Mr. Jobs, did appear to stem from a blatant internal betrayal.  You may read the entire article on Yahoo News, I’ll provide the link below.

More apples for you

The fact however, that an OS can exert so much influence and challenge hardware developers like Apple, flies in the face of the electronic colonialism  concept, which under the theory of cultural imperialism states that whoever controls the hardware controls the software.  This while true under most circumstances, like how Apple controls applications or app development, or in game consoles where Sony dictates the
games and firmwares for the Playstation, does not hold true always.   And
exception to the rule usually causes death.  IBM fell in the late 1990s when it became a slave to Microsoft’s operating systems, and now the dominance of Apple is undermined with the proliferation of the Android system.

Apple's 1990s brand of computers

I don’t know if this is true but it seems that exceptions to the norm above quite always began with both parties engaging in a fruitful symbiotic relationship.  In economic terms, if  would mean that both products were considered complementary good to one
another; that is, software to hardware and vice versa.  So well, if you’re able to spot the trend and you’ve done your math, as did I, you will realize that Android (assuming it
will successful eat up the Apple) will fall, subsequently and in due time, to (drum
roll) Motorola.  Yes, shocking aint it.  And thy new product everyone will be carrying
around will be called…

Not Apple, but nice try

That’s for us to find out. (:


You would agree

Hi I am retsarepus and this is my blog superaster.  If you haven’t yet realized, retsarepus is superaster spelt backwards, pretty clever huh.
Hur hur hur… No it isn’t lamer.


The date’s the 11th of October 2011.  Mother Nature had a bit too many drinks last
night because Bukit Timah was wet wet wet.  Communications class started at 8.30am and I was late.  I wasn’t late because of the rain.  I was late because my alarm clock only woke me up at 8.  And the rain made it worse.

So I was quizzed, very briefly, on my late coming, though I doubt a brief quiz can be considered a quiz anymore.  And I was enlightened to the broader truth about myself.
My perspective of time is monochromic (gasp!).  It means I have a sequential view of
time.  Time is like a commodity that can be used up and it moves along a straight line, i.e. point A to B, yaddah yaddah.   It didn’t come much of a shocker actually, in essence it’s saying I’m not much of a multitasker.

I can’t fix my coffee, watch the news, mop up a spill while replying an email on two phones, flipping through the papers and getting dressed at the same time.  I know some can—freaks.  I operate like an iPhone on OS version 3.1.2, or the Windows phone, prior to Mango.  Yes, kinda sad.

Speaking of Apple, the late Steve Jobs was quite the polychromatic personality.  Bright man, optimistic, charismatic and was quite the visionary.  He often ran several projects at one time whilst juggling keynote speeches at events as well as his perennial health issues.  He was a family man too and kudos to him for that.  He passed away earlier this month, 5th October, bless his soul.  Now iSuppose, iWill never be much like Steve due to our differing perceptions in time orientation but iCan try.  I’m trying right there.

It may seem I’m mocking the work of this great man but honestly iAm not.  iAm paying him homage.  iHate iRreverence.  Word.


The CNN U.S. ran an article on his death a couple of weeks back which revealed that Job’s creative vision was shaped by his experiences in India and his escapades when indulging in psychedelic drugs.  iDont know, may iShould do that too.  What do you think?

CNN article:

Photo courtesy of

A culture of hooliganism

“I have never lived closer to danger, but have never felt safer.  I have never felt more confident, and people can spot it from a mile away.”

-Matt Bucker, played by Elijah Wood in Green Street Hooligans
(2005), on his affiliation with football “gang”.

The beautiful game has been so often marred by hooliganism
all throughout its illustrious history.  This is more so the case in Europe, particularly Britain, where the footballing culture is so heavily intertwined with gangs (colloquially known as firms) and thuggery.  The prevalence of which was highlighted in
the 2005 film, Green Street Hooligans, starring Elijah Wood.  Although the presence of these brutish organizations have diminished greatly over the last 10 or so years, given heavier involvement of the law in footballing affairs, pockets of these unruly bunch still persist in the dark crevices that envelope the heart of football.

Prior to the mammoth showdown on the 15th September 2011 between Manchester United and Liverpool at Anfield, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has warned the visiting Red Devil fans to cut their ill antics or risk forfeiting more tickets to catch away games.   Encounters of the two most supported English teams in the world have always been less than amiable, especially between the fans.  In the article carried by The Straits Times titled “Behave or risk more away ticket cuts, Fergie tells fans”,
8th Oct 2011, states that United away games ticket ration have suffered last season presumably due to the shenanigans by visiting fans.  Already the Guardian has reported that the usual allocation of 3,000 tickets to the visiting team has been slashed to paltry
1,960 for Man Utd fans in a stadium which will seat almost 50,000.

Unsporting behavior and often violent by fans has always been
a cause for concern for local authorities.  The cause for the “gang” culture here is not surprising if you understand the English way of life.  Donald Klopf defines culture as “the part of the environment made by humans”.  The Brits are immensely proud of their
football (a sport they created) and most are brought up supporting a particular
team whom they will later learn to cry, then “die” for.  Insulting a person’s team can be akin to affronting his or her religion thus the traditional Englishman is very willing to draw blood if he finds his team to be inappropriately taken.

Throughout the years the authorities have been trying to subdue
hooliganism but this has proved very tough in a sport where the heart often
rules the head.  Measures have been taken to repress such behavior and one such is the imposing of ticket penalties to clubs.  However, I feel such penalties are
unfair to the majority of the fans as it’s usually only a small portion of the
population that are out to stir trouble.  While most fans go out to support their team, hooligans go out with the intention of causing grievous hurt to their rivals even before anyone has kicked the ball.  These are the people that should be banned from travelling with the team and its supporters.  This unruly bunch, who in the principle of
collectivity (as opposed to individualism), operate much like a gang or disorganized
syndicate, are the blokes responsible for turning an entertaining afternoon at
the games into a dance with death peppered with rampaging riots.

“You don’t run, not when you’re with us.  You stand your ground and fight!”

-Pete Hunham, played by Charlie Hunnam, on Matt Bucker
(Elijah Wood) prior to his first football brawl.

Now I am a big football fan, and for those who are unsure of
who Manchester United and Liverpool are—well to put it simply, Manchester
United has been the reigning champions of English football for the last 20
years while Liverpool is the deluded old war veteran who keeps going on about
his good old days back in his prime.  I want to be watching football games for a long time and the last thing I’d want is for travelling fans to be disallowed at cheering on their team away from home.  I’m sure the feistiness and the provocation of
the whole match-day affair to be exciting but the line has to be drawn when
antics get disruptive and violent.  Hopefully the bad eggs can be removed from the basket before the  basket is done away with completely.


Photos courtesy of

Let’s talk about sex

“Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex”

“let’s talk about sex” by Salt ‘n’ Pepa, 1991

Don’t you just love that song?  Catchy isn’t it?  Well I don’t like it.  It’s distasteful and it doesn’t make any sense.  Maybe you haven’t heard it, in  that case—you have missed much.  I guess  it’s a tad catchy but I won’t push it.

Earlier this week the local paper, The Straits Times, ran an article that submitted that many youths these days do not use contraception when having sex.  The attention getter postulated that “over 40% (aged) between 15 and 24 years old didn’t use
contraception with new partner: Poll”.  Now I don’t find that statement startling one bit, do you?  Given the age group I am going to work on the premise that these findings are of premarital sex and I don’t think you will disagree with that.

The survey was conducted on over 6000 youths over 26 different countries (which include the likes of Australia, Egypt, Indonesia and Singapore, just to name a few) in line with World Contraception Day, which was on Sunday, 25th September.  Now
it’s not stated but I am going to assume that most of the sexual encounters
subscribed in the poll are with friends (primarily girlfriends or boyfriends) and not
with hookers because as far as I am concerned, only dimwits forgo the usage of contraception when visiting the whore house (May I have a prostitute vouch for this please?).

While I am not surprised by the tall figure in the poll, I do see it as a potential societal and health problem.  To then tackle the problem one has to
identify the roots.  Some people attribute the sexual liberalness to a change in times and I believe that is about right.  In reference to Knapp’s
relationship development model which illustrates the stages in which a couple
comes together and later drifts apart, it has become glaringly obvious that the
act of sexual intercourse has moved earlier up the “coming together” phase than
it was before.


A quick poll of anyone’s parents and it’s quite safe to say
that consummation, for people born in the 1960s or earlier, only occurred after
the bonding stage, at which, marriage may or may not have taken place,
depending on the circumstances.  However it would seem now that this is no longer the case.  I may go so far as to say that, the first stage, the initiating stage, where partners work to create a favorable initial impression, may already set the tone and mood for a sexual encounter with the other party.  Take for example Uncle Barney at the bar, true story.

Premarital sex now, is not a product of love (was it ever?—perhaps
it was but I don’t know but the new movie Friends with Benefits seem to suggest otherwise), but a mean to quench one’s sexual desires.  This notion is seconded by a write up on the Washingtonpost which asserted that young people don’t use condoms because they think it will make sex less pleasurable.

Having said that, I would find the solution as proposed in the article a futile, idealistic attempt to rectify one of the fastest growing societal problems.   The extract read, “countries need to focus more on sex education in schools.”  I’m pretty sure youths of today are aware of the availability and “benefits” of contraception, the problem lies in the lack of control over ones sexual desires.

<I inserted a very colorful picture of two people having
sex but WordPress removed it, therefore, insert imagination.>

So while some countries advocate the proliferation of contraceptive
material and others propose the greater raising of awareness of contraception and
proper usage, I suggest the education of controlling ones sexual wants instead—aka
abstinence.  Now I know some of you might think that as crazy talk, but if you do disagree, save your unhappy words and sex off!