Tharum's blog musings from Cambodia

This is an unedited interview I gave to Matt Surrusco of The Cambodia Daily.

Matt Surrusco: What accounts for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wide reach and popularity on Facebook?
In term of content strategy, I don’t think there is anything new. Before long there was national TV coverage for the mass audience. Back in the old days, there were visits to the rural areas, talking to farmers and doing harvesting with them. But unlike TV, Facebook is a multi-stream of content delivery, reception, viral distribution. Now Facebook is a grand platform for the country leader to get the message out in a more personalized, engaging way. Now, in addition to these activities that are being exposed on the Facebook Page, there are captured moments from the backyard and the bedroom. The other reason is for the Prime Minister’s digital media team to go for which medium first: Facebook first or TV first, or online news source first.

Matt Surrusco: In what ways is he (or his social media team) effectively using the platform? What features of Facebook help the prime minister gain followers and interactions?
Breaking news, personal stories (photos and videos), critical opinions are probably some of most popular piece of content people love to consume and spread wider.

Matt Surrusco: How does Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook page shape the public’s perception of him?
The PM’s Facebook Page is the most effective tool to stay closer to the people in a more personal way. Much more than TV, radio, and newspaper. It enables people to feel that we’re, after all, humans. People from all walks of life to interact with the top leader of Cambodia in way that we couldn’t in a long time. It allows Cambodians to feel closer to the nation leader not by watching him and his family members, including his grandchildren, not on TV (one way), but by scrolling on our mobile phone (a personal device we live and breathe with every minute).

Matt Surrusco: What are the societal and political pros and cons of Prime Minister Hun Sen engaging and sharing information with Cambodians on Facebook? (in terms of interactions between citizens and political leaders, starting conversations about political issues)
More information, more informed citizens. Also, with the growing number of Cambodians are joining Facebook everyday, using the medium as a social listening tool could be very powerful.
When all are genuine and honest, talking truth to power, we’re on a path to a more total transparent society than we have ever experienced.

You can read the complete news article here online:
Among World Leaders, PM’s Facebook 2nd for Engagement (The Cambodia Daily)
by Matt Surrusco | February 22, 2017

Also: Cambodia leaders rev up Facebook rivalry as popularity soars (AP)

If you’re currently looking for an Internet Provider for either your home, office, or business, this is the guide for you. There are nearly 20 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Cambodia. These ISPs are based in Phnom Penh with branches in major provinces like Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Although there are many ISPs operating in Cambodia, but only a few of them own and operate the most advanced optic networks covering 25 Cambodian provinces. These ISPs have a variety of options you can choose: from Wireless, to ADSL to Fiber Optic line.

SINET: Cambodia’s fastest Internet Provider or Google Fiber of Cambodia

SINET provides an Internet connection speed of up to 150Mbps for both download and upload. Believe it or not, this is the highest speed Internet bandwidth you can have from this provider. According to the Hurricane Electric Network, which ranks all global Networks by country, “SINET is by far the number one most connected network in Cambodia.” Here’s the list of the Cambodia’s international networks as appeared Hurricane Electric Database.

I’ve started using SINET’s Internet connection since August 2016. I subscribed to Fiber Edge plan for my home/shop/office. I paid Fiber Edge (10Mbps) for $400 per year. No installation fee. Right after the installation, I bought a WiFi router, TP-LINK 940N, for about $25. This is a reasonably price router recommended by the ISP. It’s really a good router for a small family home.

Things I like about this SINET, which branded itself as a dedicated Internet provider (there are not many in Cambodia):

Dedicated Internet: I’ve got the fiber connection all for my home/office. This is the huge difference from having a shared Internet link (with my neighbor). The download/upload speed is really good. Dedicated Internet access means that the specified amount of bandwidth sold has been carved out and dedicated for your use.
Quick fix. Whenever I encountered any issues with my internet, the support staff have helped fix them in just a day, not a week like my previous ISP. This is a big plus when I need the connection for Skype calls at home or working to meet my deadline, rather going to the cafe.
If you run a small business or want to have a high speed/quality Internet for home, apartment or office, I’d recommend SINET. In addition to their 24/7 support, their staff are well-trained and responsive.

/ December 19, 2016 / Comments Off on Cambodia: tech startups and coffee culture

Cambodia: tech startups and coffee culture

In May 1997 people in Cambodia could join the wider world through the Internet for the first time. Back then, the dial-up connection speed was 64Kbps, which allowed the Internet users to exchange email messages and surf web pages. Fast forward to 2016, you can subscribe to a dedicated 150Mbps fiber optic connection. In a country like Cambodia, once lagged behind nations in Southeast Asia, is now head to head with them in term of infrastructure, innovation, and technology. Today, videoconferencing, broadcast live video, or watching 4K video content on YouTube or Netflix are definitely possible with high quality connection.

Cambodian tech and startup community

The Internet penetration in Cambodia (a population of over 15 million) has increased rapidly (only 9% in 2015, 19% in 2016). From small businesses to large organisations, the backbone of their daily operation demands fast, yet reliable Internet connection. Here’s
an amazing map that shows the growing technology community in the heart of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital city. Internet Service Provider (ISP) like SINET partners with Impact Hub Phnom Penh, a global network of collaborators focused on making a positive impact in Cambodia, the latest business incubator TekHub, and SmallWorld where Cambodian entrepreneurs and digital nomads can connect with the large communities. The tech entrepreneurs are so enthusiastic to build their startups to market here and hopefully in Southeast Asia. In January 2017, a new startup accelerator and incubator will be opened in the heart of Phnom Penh. Trybe is going to be a place where people make, do, and share. A maker-space, a co-working space, startup focal point all in one. With these startup communities continue grow like mushrooms in rainy season, Phnom Penh is becoming a charming city of startups. A more premium class work space is just a few walks away from Wat Phnom: Rain Tree Development. “Nurturing entrepreneur spirits falls within our core values. We’ve been working with Impact Hub and Tekhub since the beginning,” Vireak Ouk, SINET’s Chief Operating Officer, told me recently.

Sipping coffee, thinking the web

Since 2011, Phnom Penh’s coffee culture has been growing rapidly and remarkably. To offer their customers the world class in-store experience, many of the coffee shops use dedicated Internet service to serve hundreds of customers with multiple devices each day. Some of these coffee stores are local coffee chain Brown Coffee and Bakery, Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf, and Joma Bakery Café.

There is much more to see happening in 2017 as Cambodian tech entrepreneurs are looking forward to a more growing number of mobile Internet users to tap into. Those co-working spaces and cafes with high speed Internet connections are the new, modern home offices for tinkerers and innovators to build the next big things in Cambodia.

/ December 11, 2016 / Comments Off on Fakebook for fake news: Fakebook

Fakebook for fake news: Fakebook

Facebook is set to launch a whole new social news site in 2017. The beta site is for invite only users. 

To get the invite, you have to:
know how to create/share fake news/information. 

This Facebook’s newest platform, to be open to all in January 2017, is called Fakebook. 

This is the first attempt to move those who spread fake content to another platform. By doing this, Facebook will have 110% no fake news on its world’s most popular social networking site. 

Like Facebook, anyone can pay to run sponsored fake advertisements on Fakebook.

#HumorousSunday

Ho to Tell Which News Is Fake

/ December 8, 2016 / Comments Off on Help Cambodian veteran journalist Saing Soenthrith

Help Cambodian veteran journalist Saing Soenthrith

Friends & foes of media & journalism, please chip in to help Cambodian veteran journalist Saing Soenthrith. Soenthrith has been with The Cambodia Daily for more than 20 years. Over the past 6 months, 76 people donated to the cause to the get the dialysis for his serious kidney problems. At the time of writing this post, 93% of $10,000 goal has been achieved.

/ December 6, 2016 / Comments Off on The Giving Week: Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit to the Rabbit School

The Giving Week: Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit to the Rabbit School

Starting December 12, The Giving Tree School will host the Giving Week with several initiatives and events to give back to children in need. My son, Tom, has been a kindergartner with the Giving Tree School for over a year.

I will be giving a set of Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit to the Rabbit School, selected by the Giving Tree School as one of the recipients of donation. If you’re interested in giving, please let me know. You can email me the items you want to donate to tharum at gmail dot com. Happy 2017! 

/ November 29, 2016 / Comments Off on How to remove your personal info from your iPhone

How to remove your personal info from your iPhone

In our digital age, much of our privacy is in our pocket. It’s in our personal gadgets.

Apple has it all: What to do before selling or giving away your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch! This is an important step to do before you decide selling your Apple idevice.

You can use these steps to remove your personal information from a device, even if you don’t have it anymore. This is very very important because there are a lot of personal content, including your Gmail and Facebook account you don’t others to have access to. This also applies to your other electronic gadgets and computers.

If you still have your iOS device
You shouldn’t manually delete your contacts, calendars, reminders, documents, photo streams, or any other iCloud information while you’re signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID. This would delete your content from the iCloud servers and any of your devices signed in to iCloud.
On your device with iOS 10, make sure that you sign out of iCloud before you erase your device.

Follow these steps:
If you paired an Apple Watch with your iPhone, unpair your Apple Watch.
Back up your iOS device.
Tap Settings > iCloud. Scroll down and tap Sign Out. In iOS 7 or earlier, tap Delete Account.
Tap Sign Out again, then tap Delete from My iPhone and enter your password.
Go back to Settings and tap General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If you turned on Find My iPhone, you might need to enter your Apple ID and password.
If asked for your device passcode or Restrictions passcode, enter it. Then tap Erase [device].
Contact your carrier for help transferring service to a new owner. If you aren’t using a SIM card with your device, you can contact them to get help transferring service to the new owner.
When you erase your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, Find My iPhone and Activation Lock is turned off.

If you no longer have your iOS device
If the steps above weren’t completed and you no longer have your device, use these steps:
Ask the new owner to erase all content and settings using the above steps.
If you’re using iCloud and Find My iPhone on the device, sign in to iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app on another device, select the device, and click Erase. After the device has been erased, click Remove from Account.
If you can’t follow either of the above steps, change your Apple ID password. This won’t remove personal information that’s stored on your old device, but it will prevent the new owner from deleting your information from iCloud.
If you’re switching to a non-Apple phone, deregister iMessage.
If you’re using Apple Pay, you can remove your credit or debit cards at iCloud.com. Choose Settings to see which devices are using Apple Pay, then click the device. Next to Apple Pay, click Remove.

Learn more
Make a backup of your iOS device or restore from a backup.
Get help if your iOS device is lost or stolen.
Learn about Find My iPhone Activation Lock.
*When you tap Erase All Content and Settings, it completely erases your device, including any credit or debit cards you added for Apple Pay and any photos, contacts, music, or apps. It will also turn off iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, Game Center, and other services. Your content won’t be deleted from iCloud when you erase your device.
Last Modified: Oct 11, 2016

source: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201351

/ November 4, 2016 / Comments Off on TekHub: new co-working space for Cambodian tech startups

TekHub: new co-working space for Cambodian tech startups

The Cambodia Daily’s Hang Sokunthea quoted me in her latest about ‘Incubator Opens a New Home for Tech Startups.’

Bun Tharum, a tech blogger and communications specialist, said the hub provides a “great combination of hybrid resources where new and successful startups continue to grow organically.”
“TekHub might be an ideal place where tech startups can benefit the development and nonprofit sector as they tend to execute fast,” he said. “This is something you don’t find in the nonprofit DNA—to improve and iterate if something doesn’t really work.”

My complete email interview:
I think the new Tekhub is a strategic collaboration. The Asia Foundation, the Impact Hub, and internet provider SINET are all a great combination of hybrid resources where new and successful startups can continue to grow organically. Tekhub might be an ideal place where tech startups can benefit the development and non-profit sector as they tend to execute fast. This is something you don’t find in the non-profit DNA to improve and iterate if something doesn’t really work. Tech startups can be a catalyst of change in this regard to come up with tools and business models for this so called sustainable development.

A lot of startup founders usually start working on their ideas from their bedroom and cafe. But a place where a good group of skilled people can ideate and collaborate is a just starting point to create social impact.

Full news story: Incubator Opens a New Home for Tech Startups
BY HANG SOKUNTHEA | NOVEMBER 4, 2016

/ October 28, 2016 / Comments Off on Jammed by traffic in Phnom Penh?

Jammed by traffic in Phnom Penh?

The thing about traffic jam is everyone on the street is jammed. You move so slow as if a snail is walking on the snow. No matter what car you drive, either a Toyota Corolla (1980) or an UberX or a Tesla Model 3, you share the same street. There is an exception, though. A flying car! 

A friend, Chhor Veyhong, nicely put it here: Traffic Jam in Phnom Penh.

/ October 21, 2016 / Comments Off on Brown Coffee Roastey TK

Brown Coffee Roastey TK

Brown Coffee’s newest outlet in Tuol Kork district, a few minutes from my home…

Classic
Brown’s Sumatra blend for cold-brew