The MOF Tender Briefing in Putrajaya

My brother is sitting in a classroom half across the globe in Boston, USA and is chatting with me using Gmail Chat while I’m writing this post. I wish I was in his place. 3 years ago, I brought him into the previous company I joined just to accompany me since I was the only employee in that company and was feeling lonely. I then brought in a few other guys and girls into the company before I sent them off because I was planning to leave as well. It was then my brother’s turn to bring me into his company and I’m now doing what I’ve been doing all along, serving the most important department in the company in doing marketing and bringing in sales.

Anyway, being in the sales and marketing department is not so bad after all. I get the chance to go to places I’ve never think of going. For example, yesterday I went to a tender briefing at one of the most powerful Ministry in Malaysia, The Ministry of Finance (MOF). The tender briefing was to invite vendors and developers to come out with a proposal to develop an asset management system for them to use. It was kind of a surprise to find out that a lot of the government agencies especially one of the most powerful ministry of all, doesn’t have an asset management system. Well, who said adopting new technology is easy right?

The Ministry of Finance building located in Putrajaya is quite awesome. Check the picture I took outside of the MOF building:

The Malaysia Ministry of Finance Building in Putrajaya

Inside the building host hundreds of government department offices mainly related to the financial segment. The area they have is pretty huge. If you’ve ever went to offices in KL, in Putrajaya, you’ll have so much space that you might get tired just from walking to the bathroom. That is of course if you are not used to walk around and just drive around a lot. I know this because I used to drive around a lot instead of walking which I should be doing for a healthy living.

Back to the tender briefing. This is a screenshot of the theater inside the MOF building:

The MOF Theater Hall

The facility is not so bad. Unfortunately, my company decided not to proceed with this opportunity because of some issues concerning the right of the source code and licensing. It is however a good opportunity if your company is a web-based PHP developer since the government is really interested to adopt the web-based open source kind of application. The tender will be closed on the 3rd of December so if you are a developer and can create the asset management module that they have specify in their tender document, you should better hurry up and team up with companies who had attend the tender briefing. My company welcomes that as well.

It was a great experience getting this opportunity to go to places I never would have think of being. However, I still wish I was in Boston, USA. Maybe I should work hard assisting and getting more accounts for my company. Then they’ll send me off somewhere. That’s a great plan, don’t you think so? Hehe..

A New Way of Internet Protection

I just love the concept of virtualization. It’s like doing something dangerous but in a contained and controlled environment where it is basically safe. Before this, I’ve seen how a big corporate IT department utilizes VM Ware for their server virtualization, tried Virtual PC on my own computer and the latest, Virtual Private Server. If you’ve seen movies such as The Matrix or the 13th Floor or you’ve played Second Life, you might understand the concept of it. If might provoke some radical idea of how you live your life but I think it is natural of a human being to fantasize about something that they don’t have.

I found this free application a couple of weeks ago. It’s called SafeSpace. So, how does this virtual application works? Well, a picture describes a thousand words:

How SafeSpace Works

If you can’t understand the figure above, let me just brief you a little bit. See that red box surrounding the registry, file system and application. SafeSpace actually creates some kind of layer on top of what your windows system have. Basically it’s like a protective layer that protects you from getting something harmful. If that layer gets an infection, you just tossed away that layer and you’ll have a new one. Sounds like a condom to me. Anyway, based on my experience, my Internet Explorer version 6 has been hijacked by numerous toolbars that suddenly appears out of nowhere. There was one time, my Internet Explorer 6 just went unusable because it got corrupted by these malware stuff. In fact, even before I installed SafeSpace on my system, there was a pop up box that keeps on appearing whenever I launch IE6. I tried cleaning up my registry and boot up applications but it was still showing up. Luckily, after I’ve installed SafeSpace, that pop up kind of dissapear. My problem was solved.

There is however one issue that was quite significant. The installation of SafeSpace caused my boot up to become longer. I had to wait almost 5 minutes before I can launch any other of my other application. Then there is this annoying coloured box surrounding the application which I don’t like. Since I’m using Firefox for my browser and normally Firefox doesn’t get hijack like IE6, I removed Firefox from the default setting of SafeSpace where it includes every Instant Messenger and browser that you have. From what I heard, this application is still buggy so it’s not really recommended if you are the kind of person who just use a computer for basic need. Oh, there is one more issue concerning SafeSpace. When I tried to insert attachments in my e-mails, the files just went corrupted. Most probably because of the layer filtering the files you are trying to put in.

The plus point of SafeSpace is that it prevents your internet browser from being hijacked and most of all it’s FREE (for personal use of course). Some screenshots of SafeSpace in use:

SafeSpace Layer on my browser
My SafeSpace Screenshot

Visit SafeSpace from Artificial Dynamics for more information.

Webmaster Gathering 17th Nov07 @ KL Sentral

Yesterday, there was a gathering for Malaysian webmasters at Starbucks, KL Sentral. I happened to know about it 2 weeks earlier from one of my RSS subscription but didn’t really consider on attending it. It was a last minute call a few days before the event when I decided to join the gathering. I don’t really have anyone I know personally but that is the point of having a gathering, to get to know people around your community up, close and personally.

So, my journey started with hopping on to the KTM Komuter after I’ve parked my car at Sentul KTM Komuter station free parking space (fingers crossed in hope of last year’s daylight thieving doesn’t repeat). At first I wanted to drive to KL Sentral but then I heard of someone telling me of the high parking fees over there, I guess I’d better off paying RM2 (getting there and back) for the trip. I got to KL Sentral and saw a good amount of crowd already there networking and getting coffee for themselves.

Webmaster Networking and Coffee Session

Check out the guy in the green shirt, that’s LiewCF, a full time Malaysia tech blogger. I stalked him last year at eBay Explained 2006. Didn’t talked to him last time but this time I did said ‘hi’ and introduced myself to him. The first guy I greeted when I got to the gathering was Sumardi, the CakePHP guy who did the CakePHP presentation during the PHP Meet Up 3.0. I then got myself a cup of coffee and strike a conversation with Menj, he is so taller than me. I hang out for a while with a couple of other guys. Then it’s show time!

LimCS- MC/Webmaster.com Moderator

The MC was LimCS, the Webmaster Malaysia forum moderator or is it Administrator? Mmm..Anyway, he did a great job of facilitating the event while the Exabyte team who was the sponsor of the event supported him all the way. The Exabyte team took a flight and came all the way from Penang just for the event. I think they did an awesome marketing strategy since Webmasters are the one who will splurge their money for webhosting and internet stuff. A picture of the boss of Exabytes giving some introductory speech:

Exabyte’s Boss

Moving on to the presentation, the first presentation was done by a mysterious guess only known to be a Googler. Apparently, he is Hanson Toh (read more about him here).

Country Consultant Malaysia, Google Inc.

His presentation was all about Google. I like the part where he told about the 80 – 20 principal that Google enforce their employees to adopt. A lot of Google’s product are inspired during the 20% of the time spent on personal project. I wonder how that can be applied for other non web industries? Some latest news from Hanson Toh was Google Map for Malaysia is progressively on its way to be ready and Blogger is going to be available in Malay language. Other than that, he shared his experience of traveling to the Google HQ and how work is done at Google. By the way, he said he is the only person in Malaysia currently employed by Google. The wonders of working remotely nowadays.

Mr Drupal: Najib

After all the crowd being fascinated by Google stuff, it’s time to learn new webmastering stuff. Najib from SuccessIdeaWeb enthusiastically presented all about a Content Management System called Drupal. Najib is an electrical engineer by profession but he does webmaster stuff outside of his office hour based on my conversation with him. I remembered there was a time I’ve played around with Drupal but it seems too complicated to me so my journey with Drupal ended there. Now that Najib showed about the beauty of using Drupal for a portal site, I think it’s time to play around with Drupal for my next personal project. Najib also said that eventhough he gave up on Joomla a couple of years ago, he still uses Joomla for a few of his websites. I was quite impressed with the lists of big commercial websites that is developed using Drupal. It is another good open source CMS software to try out. Join the Drupal Malaysia Group if you are interested to be part of Drupal’s family.

Next presenter is a well known Malaysian Internet Marketer. He is:

Gobala Krishnan giving his presentation


Gobala Krishnan
is someone I really have respect when it comes to the internet marketing circle. There is one more person who also earn the same respect, Kidino who is also Gobala Krishnan’s buddy which I kind of shy away from him a couple of months back after he approached me for a network marketing business. Although I had a few bad experiences with doing internet marketing and network marketing, I blame myself for each failures I’ve endured. Anyway, I’ve already found my own way of making money online (I can’t disclose it yet), I still value the information the internet marketing circle teaches. Anyway, Gobala gave such an inspiring insight of how online entrepreneurs life is all about and the lesson I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what your job is, you will always have choice and personal development is what you should be focusing on.

The gathering was just scheduled for 3 hours, so a lightning round is done for a Q & A session. I guess webmasters are shy people or they might have probably know all the answers, so there at first there was a silent moment when LimCS asked around for any questions eventhough there was Exabyte coupons being offered for both the person giving out the questions and answer. I recently bought a USD19/month Windows Virtual Private Server (VPS) from a US web company and the Remote Desktop Connection is rather slow. The VPS is currently being used for one of my automated money making project. So, I asked Exabytes if they provide Windows VPS since a local server connection would be much faster. Unfortunately, they only have Linux VPS server at the moment. If you want to know more about what I’m referring to, you can read about Virtuozzo here.

My RM50 Exabytes Coupon

I’m not sure if I’m going to use this RM50 from Exabytes coupon so soon. It has an expiry date of this 31 December 2007. I think I’m going to give it away if someone really need a discount for purchasing any Exabytes services or products. Drop me a line ok?

Alright, it’s snapshot time:

Galadriel was not distracted by the amount of food in front of herLimCS and Hanson Toh teasingZeo (blue shirt standing) asking Hanson Toh about issues concerning Google Calender
Goodies from Exabytes and Google

I also met a friend of mine, Azizi from high school during the gathering. The last time I met him was last year I guess but I didn’t had a chance to ask what does he do at that time. He’s now a Mac application developer for Legal-Bytes. I’m not a Mac user but I can see Mac has awesome GUI and probably are much more stable than Windows. I also had the chance to see for myself Zeo’s Macbook and learned a thing or two about the latest buzz in the Malaysian blog arena. The time spent during the networking session among webmasters after the event is priceless.

A list of other bloggers and individuals I’ve personally met (or maybe noticed):

  • Vangardx– Nice fella, read about his entry post about this event here.
  • Zamri Nanyan– He’s from Penang, a really nice guy.
  • Fayz– I just gave him a friendly smile at him, I think.
  • Edward– His blog entry about this event.
  • Ershadul Hoque– He seems a bit shy but I like what his company is doing.
  • Galadriel– A petite Malay lady. His blog entry about this event
  • Mr Kay- Nice to have talked to you dude.

That’s about it I guess. If I’ve met anyone which I didn’t mention about in this blog post, give me a shout on my comment box below, ok? I really should be hanging out at Webmaster Malaysia Forum more often and get to know more people over there. If I am not mistaken, I heard that Exabytes will invite all the webmasters who came in for the event an invitation to a private screening. I’m not really sure if it’s true or not but that is what I think I heard. If it is true, I am for sure will come for that one if I’m not occupied of course. ;-)

After 642-825 and 642-845, most of the students think of certifications like EX0-101 and in this order they need to do 642-552 as well as 70-294. They may skip 640-863 if they wish to save time.

Implementing Sugar CRM for Sales and Marketing Use

I guess being used of multi-jobs/multi-tasking for a company creates activities that is quite beneficial. As always, I’ve moved on to do something else already. This time it’s called Customer Relationship Management. You can read all about CRM at Wikipedia. I decided to learn about CRM after the event last 2 weeks, now that I got all the contact lists, I am left with questions such as:

  1. What should I do with all these leads?
  2. How am I going to manage it?
  3. What tools can I use to make my marketing and sales job more easier?
  4. Is there any ready to use FREE CRM web-based tool that I can install and use straight away without a steep learning curve?

Based on my experience, if you have a software whether it’s a windows-based or web-based, you don’t need to read all those thick books that explains stuff from A-Z and take weeks to understand about the subject. You just need to play around with it for a while, getting used to it and applying it. It’s just like playing Monopoly. So, after Googling around, I found out about SugarCRM. It’s basically a web-based package that has all my answers to the above questions. To add further convenience, the application has a free open source download package (same as Joomla) and the installation is easy (if you can install Joomla, you’ll definitely know how to install SugarCRM).

Two days after I’ve installed and putting in data into it, I’ve actually mastered almost 70% of it’s use. The only thing I need more is more data to build up my database. Here’s a screenshot of how my SugarCRM Dashboard looks like:

SugarCRM Dashboard Installed on My Web Server

I was surprised by this web-based CRM engine when looking at it under the hood. It has all the CSS and AJAX components which is really cool. You can change the colour of your theme instantly by selecting the colour tab at the above page. You can also set the size of your font and drag and drop the dashboard box. I was blown away with it’s features and capabilities.

Now, the next thing I need to learn is to try and find ways of how I can implement this system and train the staff to use this application in my company. Sometimes, I just can’t believe an IT company or even worse, a web-based application developer company that doesn’t use CRM to track their sales and marketing activities. At the moment, I am the only one that is using this system in the company. Oh well, I’ll give it some time for me to get used to this system and then I’ll show my boss about it.

I just love web-based tools! Especially FREE ONES! ;-)

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