Malaysia and the Journey to Silicon Jungle

Jack Ma opens Malaysia’s ‘digital free trade zone’ with an eye to Southeast Asia’s ecommerce boom

When writing about tech startups in South East Asia, most of the global press tend to focus their attention on Singapore, the financial capital of the region. But we might be seeing the media spend more ink on Malaysia, thanks to a range of new initiatives in the country’s latest budget. The 2018 budget allocated 1 billion RM specifically for investment in the regions tech startups.

The influx of government funding is not the only thing reinvigoration Malaysia’s startup economy. Other factors have combined to help invigorate the scene in Malaysia. The streamlining of government systems and procedures. New developmental initiatives and ample outreach from organisations like the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), and MaGIC, one of the largest locally based incubators in the South-East Asia region. These are just some of the reasons it’s become extremely convenient and profitable for entrepreneurs to set-up, grow and scale from Malaysia.

Recently the MDEC introduced the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP). An initiative backed by the Malaysian government which aims to attract international entrepreneurs and help them establish their start-ups in Malaysia. Thanks to then adoption of the Malaysia evisa for travellers, it’s become easy for anyone to apply from anywhere in the world. The MTEP gives out passes of one or five years to both new and established startups.

The Malaysian ecosystem is built right for global tech startups too. Located within the heart of ASEAN, it acts as a gateway for expanding reach into the South East Asian market. Malaysia also functions as a good test market, it’s larger than Singapore, and has three different national demographics, Chinese, Indian and Malay/Indonesian, which can help give a good sense of potential markets. It also is home to Cyberjaya, the smart startup capital that is encouraging developers of smart technology to roadtest their products in a real city. Smart traffic lights, electric vehicles, and digital signage and the ability to link them all together in one city is a compelling invitation.

The country’s startup culture has also been leading the way when it comes to embracing youth and women. Malaysia has a reputation for young talent, with the increased level of education from millennials, there are ample fresh, young minds eager to get onboard with a project. Malaysia also boasts some of the most successful Asian business women. Entrepreneurs like Sasha Tan, Vivy Yusof and Neelofa have paved the way for the next cohort of women in tech, resulting in a higher number of girls getting involved with launching startups, especially when compared to the numbers we see in Western accelerators.

Thanks to the recent budget announcement highlighting the government’s commitment to the industry, it’s clear Malaysia has reaffirmed its position as a regional hub for tech startups, and a centre for innovation and growth within the South East Asian start-up scene. Malaysia already had the talent, ideas and expertise. Now with the added incentives for venture capitalists to invest they’ve got everything they need to develop the new silicon jungle.

5 Programming Languages that Every ITB Comp Sci Student Needs to Learn

The world has been taken over and consumed by data. This data includes anything and everything that leaves a digital footprint on the internet. But, in order to learn anything from this, it needs to be analyzed. Data analysis is no longer a new and upcoming field, but is still a big trend with no end to growth in sight. Before data can be understood, it needs to be analyzed, and the right classes provide opportunities for comprehension. Here is a list of the top 5 Programs that are used for Information Technology Courses that should be taken for understanding data analysis.

#1 – Python

Python is at the top of this list for two reasons. First, it is easy to learn and once a basic grasp has been garnered on it, the print ‘Hello World’ will feel like it is in the distant past. Second, this is the programming language that is almost like math; understood fundamentally by programmers around the world. It is easy to use, and can lead to great things like employment or software manipulation.

#2 – Javascript

Javascript is different than Java. This can be used to build simple applications and security can be built into it. Another important feature of Javascript is that it keeps running, even after access to WIFI/Internet has been turned off. This is handy when cell services run out, but access to online data is still necessary. Knowing how to write Javascript is a tool that can have long term benefits.

#3 & #4 – HTML/CSS

HTML/CSS are the nuts and bolts of a website. It contains all the information on how the site looks and behaves. These two coding styles are important to know and take as courses because if a hacker takes over a site, the fundamental structure of the page can be changed. As a programmer, it is essential to know what it looked like previous and where changes may have occurred and is a must when it comes to selecting computer programming courses.

#5 – SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a major player when it comes to data analysis. This is because it is an easy language that allows the user to create the outcome that is desired. For example. If a person wanted to know the weather in a southern state on a particular date, it would simply need to be written into the forms in a statement where the computer is told what to select, from which column and ‘where’ the information is located. It is a computer program that when the course is master, can lead to increased income due to its desirability.

These 5 programming languages have the ability to alter the perceptions of how information is utilized and analyzed, but the learning begins in the classroom. Whether online or in person, continuing education or academic refreshing, there is no limit to what is or can be learnt from the Information Technology sector. That is why these 5 programs are at the top of our list.

5 apps that can help you enjoy card games without putting any money on the line

Word has it that playing cards have been around since the 9th century. It’s possibly the most convenient yet fun form of gaming that ever existed, and it works pretty much anywhere and everywhere. While some of those games, like Lapalingo, have been associated with gambling, there are actually plenty of other appealing and more immersive card games you can play without placing bets — and all the better because they can now be played on your smartphone, with virtually anyone.

Evil Apples

This game is all about humor. Ranked #1 in Word & Card Games in the U.S., Evil Apples is inspired by the party game Cards Against Humanity. Each round, one player gets to ask a question from a black card, and players pit against each other with the funniest answer on their white cards. The player with the black card then chooses the funniest answer. Players can play with strangers or share their game through SMS, Twitter or Facebook for friends to join. This free app even has an in-game chat.

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens claims to be the most funded game in Kickstarter history. Quirky and fun, the game is now available as an app and can be played with 2-5 players — with local players or strangers. Described as the “highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette,” this simple game features adorable illustrations by The Oatmeal. This game costs $1.99 on the Apple App Store.

Clash Royale

For those who enjoy higher stakes and a more competitive atmosphere, Supercell’s sequel to the top grossing mobile game Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, is a digital card game that combines two of the most popular genres in gaming: collectible card games and real-time multiplayer online battle arena. This game allows players to duel, form a clan to share cards and build a battle community. When players win battles, they are awarded the opponent’s trophies, moving them up the global rank. Clash Royale is free to download and play.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

This fast-paced strategy card game released by Blizzard is massively popular. For a virtual collectible card game, its core rules are easy to understand. Players build a deck, collect cards, and battle each other in casual, ranked, and arena games, or practice against AIs in the game’s adventure mode. Each card represents playable heroes and spells. Like other Blizzard games, the animations are top notch. Hearthstone is free to download on PC, Mac, phones, and tablets.

The Elder Scrolls®: Legends™ – Heroes of Skyrim

This highly anticipated strategy card game is based on the world of The Elder Scrolls, a series of action role-playing fantasy games developed by Bethesda Game Studios. It features fan-favorite characters from Skyrim, with many game modes available. Players can play alone and earn new cards, create their own card decks, battle AI or play against online opponents. This game is free to download and play.

How You Should Decide on a Website Builder

With the internet being a significant disrupter in business, it has nearly become a requirement to have an internet presence on social media and websites. There are several advantages to using a website over social media. A website allows complete control over design and content lending credibility to your business, organization, or personal brand. Some businesses have centred their business model around helping individuals and organisations set up professional websites without the skills needed to code. These services can produce a well-designed, mobile-capable site with minimal technical knowledge. A small business owner can even set it up as a sales channel. For those with limited technical knowledge, it is important to choose a good website builder. Here are some features to look out for when deciding which website builder to use.

Domain registration:

Your website will need an address for hosting the website. The website builder should be able to register a unique domain for you, or at the very least provide a web address using the provider’s domain.

Pre-made templates:

Not sure how to get started? If you’re unsure about how to get started with building a website, some website builders offer a quick-start by choosing from a selection of templates for your site. They may also offer specifically targeted templates based on your site’s purpose. Some website builders, such as Squarespace, Strikingly, and uKit, restrict object placement in areas that will make your site unappealing, which can be an advantage if design is not a forte of yours.

Mobile adaptability

The surge in the use of mobile devices means that many will browse your page on their phones. It makes sense that the web page design should be responsive to fit on a mobile screen. Some search engines also require that the site is mobile-friendly. Some website builders automatically translate your page into a mobile friendly design, whilst others may not.

 

Photos and galleries

Photos and galleries can make a website stand out. In the modern day, it is rare to see a website that does not have imagery. Some providers can even let you touch up images with basic editing tools such as resizing, repositioning, cropping and adjusting brightness. In some cases they provide Instagram-like filters. Photo gallery options can vary widely. Features can range from a whole gallery of styles for your online galleries, while others are limited to basic image-gallery options.

 

Making money from the site

Some services offer some ability to sell items from your site. At the very least, a Paypal button can be provided. Those in the e-commerce business should look at options that allow you to integrate dedicated web shopping cart services such as Shopify. More advanced options found in some builders allows you to process credit card payments and add cart and checkout pages. If you want to push the use of your website further, some providers allow for product promotions, email marketing, and even inventory and shipping tools.

Reviews

With the wide range of website builders, it may be hard to narrow it down. Generally it might be a good idea to find out what others think. Reading the experiences of others can be a great help in narrowing down your search. For example, this review on the sitebuilder website builder can provide some helpful context in relation to features, pros, and cons.

Designing a Small Website on a Budget? Here’s how you can do it…

Websites are single-handedly one of the most important aspects to a business in today’s world. People today expect websites to be intuitive and look clean and professional. 75% of web users have said they judge a company’s credibility based on the design of their website. If your website looks messy or like it was made in the ‘90s, you’ll quickly lose the trust of your visitors.

Set your goals

What do you want to accomplish with your website? If you have an online store, your goals will probably include selling a certain number of items. If your business is a blog, your interactivity with your audience will be different than if you ran an ecommerce store. Not all websites have the same goals and your website design has to be based on what you want the website to accomplish. Defining your goals clearly therefore must be your first step.

Establish your budget

Have an idea of what you’re willing to spend on your website before you get started. Your budget will influence what’s possible, so you want to be able to keep your plans realistic based on what you’re willing to spend. Before you get to the point of designing the website, you will need to choose website hosting and a domain name, so factor those costs in as well. If you can afford to hire a web design professional, this might already be included in the cost of their services so do your research before you jump into anything.

Consider hiring a professional

If this is within your budget, then finding the right web designer to implement your website for you is the best way to go. Small business website design offer a number of affordable services tailored to small businesses. Handing the project over to an experienced professional will make your life easier.

Explore alternative options

If you’re just starting out and hiring a professional is not within your means, it’s not the end of the world. There are two other affordable options you could consider exploring:

Doing it yourself

This step will require a good amount of time and some self-education, but with the help of website builders and templates, most people can design a website on their own. You can find free website builders if your budget requires, but you’ll have a much easier time if you’re able to invest at least a little bit into purchasing a more sophisticated and easier-to-use one.

Hire a student

Even with the help of design tools that make it easier, designing a website on your own is a big job that requires a lot of learning. While hiring a student will cost more than doing the job yourself, it will save you a lot of time and effort, may result in a better product, and will cost less than hiring a professional. While some web design students may be willing to work for free to build their portfolio, offering to pay will encourage better work and make the student more likely to work with you to get a website just right if the first version doesn’t satisfy.

Why Technology is the Key to Helping ESL Students Speak English

The arrival of digital technologies in Indonesia’s education sector has given students tremendous help in learning the English language. Programmes, student services and many other aspects of the learning experience for students have been greatly enhanced due to these innovations. Take E-learning for example, which has become a buzz in the industry, and for good reason. Although it has its limitations, online learning provides millions of Indonesian students with the opportunity to learn regardless of geography and allow those who need flexibility and a student-centered learning environment. This will help those who live in remote areas and underdeveloped parts of Indonesia where access to English learning centers is lacking such as Jambi, Papua, or Kalimantan and increase their chance of pursuing further education at the best institutions abroad in the United States or Europe. Many in these rural or district areas where there is a shortage of English teachers put themselves at a disadvantage when they establish their own study circles without any formal support.

E-learning also allows for students to complete courses at their own pace. Most universities in the country now have online programs available, allowing those with full-time jobs access to accredited academic programs and learn the English language from qualified teachers. These programs teach students to become more fluent in English by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with subtitles and assigning them to various assignments such as writing a book report and essays. In addition, there are plenty of educational websites and online learning platforms that exist to support students. English learners can use Quizlet as a memorization tool to strengthen their vocabulary and grammar topics like gender or verb conugation. The website is based on the flash card method, giving users sets of digital cards that they can create and organize. Students also have access to a huge archive of sets under different topics. When it comes to mobile apps, more than 350 are listed on the Apple App Store alone. One of the most popular free language-learning apps is DuoLingo, which uses text, pictures, and audio to help students learn and practice a language. The sections increase in difficulty and helps users build on their vocabulary and sentence structure. Memrise is another app which functions similarly, while apps like Busuu teaches users with interactive courses coupled with a social network of native speakers.

With the vastness of the language learning industry, these language-learning startups and technology will continue to adapt and thrive. Language schools in Indonesia can apply these online, digital and mobile technologies in ways that will be most helpful and beneficial to students. By supporting more independent and personalised learning for students, technology holds great promise in increasing the English proficiency and literacy in Indonesia—a valuable asset that will help more Indonesian students internationalize themselves and participate in global opportunities.

Four Main Factors Every New Website Owner Needs to Consider

In today’s digital age, making money online often comes with the requirement of having your own website. Whether you’re starting off in a new career as a freelancer, making money through affiliate marketing or starting your own online business, your website is central to your online presence and should be made a top priority.

Your website will help you to develop and maintain your online reputation, and give your customers a central port of call to visit when they need to get in touch. However, since it’s hard to find a business today that’s not in some way online, there are some things to keep in mind to help you achieve success.

#1. Search Engine Optimisation

You could have the most amazing website in the world, but if it is not optimised for search, then your target audience is going to have a difficult time finding it. Search engine optimisation involves a range of strategies to make your website appear higher in the results page of Google and other search engines. However, be aware that without the right knowledge and experience, it can be easy for a novice to mess SEO up and cause unnecessary issues for a website. So, if you have little experience and would rather dedicate your time to growing your business, you can outsource this work to a reputable digital agency UAE.

#2. Web Hosting

When you start a business website, the hosting service that you select is perhaps one of the most important decisions that you are going to make. Choosing the right web hosting provider will help ensure that your website performs well; cheaper, low-quality hosting services often lead to slow page speed, downtime, and other issues that will frustrate your visitors and lead to a bad business reputation. When you choose a web hosting service, it’s important to choose a company that offers 24/7 customer support; this will allow you to get in touch to have any issues dealt with as soon as they arise, rather than having to wait until opening hours and risk losing business.

#3. Mobile-Friendliness

Regardless of the type of business that you are starting, one of the most important aspects of your website is how mobile friendly it is. As smartphones and tablets rise in popularity, more and more people are using these devices to browse the web, instead of the traditional desktop or laptop PC. Failing to provide your visitors with a mobile-friendly experience on your site will not only frustrate them, it will also be picked up by Google, who could knock your website down the rankings as a result. A responsive design that works well on any type of device is the best choice for any website.

#4. Layout and Design

Lastly, when putting together your business website, you should consider how your users will find the layout and design. Aim to provide a simple to understand and easy to use interface that includes a clear navigation system and a search tool for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for quickly. Minimal designs are also a good choice as they are less distracting and allow customers to get straight to the point.

 

Simple Web Design Tips for Ecommerce Websites

Ecommerce web design should have a strong focus on user experience. Everything, from aesthetics to components, should aim to make navigation and shopping easy for visitors. The site should be speedy and uncomplicated to ensure high conversion and retention rates. Most of these qualities should be taken into consideration during the website design process. Here are several rather simple tips that will help you design a highly effective ecommerce website:

Use a Minimalist Theme

One of the first things to do during the web design and development process is picking out a theme. For ecommerce websites, it’s highly recommended to choose a theme optimised for online shopping, rather than getting a generic theme. Minimalist themes are also highly recommended. Not only do minimalist themes simplify the browsing experience for potential customers, minimalist sites also load faster. To ensure that your ecommerce site has a high retention rate and lower bounce rate, choose the best minimalist theme available with the CMS you use.

Offer Filter Options

Online shoppers highly prefer to refine their options on websites. If you go to Amazon.com, there’s an entire bar on the left of the site dedicated for letting customers refine their options by brand, price, colour, size and so on. Likewise, your site should also offer similar options. Create categories to make browsing easy. For example, if your site sells shoes, you can create categories in advance for women’s shoes, men’s, kids, oversize, costume, and so on. This improves the user experience on the site and directly offers features that online shoppers actually need.

Place Search Bar on Top

The search bar for the site should be prominent and very visible. Place it on top of the page above the fold where customers can easily see it. Design it in a manner that enables customers to conduct a search as soon as they visit the homepage. Do not include text in the search bar that customers have to manually delete. Keep the box empty and ready for typing. You can take inspiration from how search bars are designed and placed on sites like Amazon and eBay.

Keep Pages Clean

The pages on your website, especially the product pages, must be kept clean. Clean here means free of unnecessary ads, popups, text and other distractions. Never, ever promote ads on your shopping site. If there are deals or discounts you need to promote, show them on the homepage in an unobtrusive manner. Clean pages are crucial for driving conversions. You won’t compel visitors to buy anything by constantly distracting them.

Indicate Low or Out of Stock Items Clearly

If an item is out of stock at the moment, or is only available in a limited quantity, indicate it clearly on the product pages and in product descriptions. You can use a contrasting text colour, like red, to make sure customers see the information. Otherwise, your site will only attract complaints and overall ratings will go down.

Use Top-Quality Images

Use the best quality images as much as possible, particularly for products. Images add great visual appeal for the site only if each can be loaded onto any screen without distortions. For products, use multiple images showing the product from different angles. The customers must have a good understanding of what they buy to keep satisfaction rates high.

Use the above tips to ensure that your ecommerce site is as appealing as possible to all potential customers.

 

Tips for Designing the Ultimate App for Your Business

The best way to reach the stunningly growing mobile market is to design an amazing mobile app. Most companies are now aware of the dos and don’ts of web design. However, many are still new to the world of app design.

App development is significantly different from web designing. You will need a specialist app designer for your expansion efforts, as a web developer cannot normally code for apps. In case you are developing the app in-house or with a partner, here are several useful tips to follow:

Responsiveness Should be a Priority

Responsiveness generally refers to a website or software’s compatibility on a wide variety of devices. Keep in mind that there are different types of smartphones available on the market with widely varying screen sizes. Your app should be easily visible and navigable on all screens regardless of the size. Therefore, pay close attention to how the app is displayed. It’s one of the crucial aspects that determine the success of an app.

Keep the Design Simple

Remember, you are designing an app, not a website. The design should be simple enough to fit the capabilities provided by a phone. Make clickable buttons and links large so they are easy to tap with a finger. Do not fit numerous components onto one display page of the app. Make use of tabs. The overall design should be very easy to navigate even when the user is travelling or walking.

Design Should be Accessible

It’s equally important to make the design accessible to all age and capability groups. Keep text large, so users with eye trouble don’t find it hard to read the text. Do not use colour coded buttons or a system that a colour-blind person will not be able to use. Do your best to make the design accessible to everyone.

Make the App OS-Specific

Obviously, you will have to make the app compatible with Andoid, iOS, and other operating systems. However, mere compatibility is not enough. Users dedicated to these operating systems expect certain advantages associated with those systems. For example, an Apple user might want a sleek looking app, while an Android user might prefer more functionality. Research other OS-specific apps. See what the apps do to remain popular with a user group of a certain OS.

No Pop-Ups

It is possible to insert pop-up window links and so on to an app, but don’t. It will give your app less credibility. Your users will tire out and seek a better app that doesn’t annoy them with redirects. Keep the app as clean as possible.

Security is Paramount

If you have read the tech news lately, you’d know that hacking and identity theft are serious problems. Most devices are hacked via emailed links and apps that users otherwise would trust. You must make sure that your app is as secure as possible. You can’t risk even a minute security threat, especially if your customers provide financial transaction data through the app. You must safeguard the app with the latest security protocols. Minimise or completely eliminate third-party material. Routinely test the app for security issues.

The above tips should help you design a killer app for your business. Don’t hesitate to make use of the special capabilities only smartphones offer, like constant connection. You should also routinely collect customer feedback to improve the overall design.

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Want to read more about mobile marketing strategy? See https://www.urbanairship.com/blog/building-your-first-mobile-marketing-strategy

Already bored of my writing and want to play games instead? See Friv games.

Four Things All Small Businesses Should Be Doing to Protect Their Data

Data back-ups and safety are hugely important for businesses. With an ever-increasing number of new files being created every single day, the need for secure data storage solutions has never been greater. As your business continues to generate more information, can you really afford to lose it all?

Terrible things can happen to a small business due to data loss; a bad reputation, lost customers, or even worse are all common results when this situation occurs. So, as a small business owner, what can you do to keep your business data secure and prevent this from happening? Here are our top four tips.

Tip #1. Schedule Backups:

Since many small businesses are creating some new form of data almost every day, the need for regular backups is so important. Making sure to schedule a monthly, weekly or even a daily backup of your files ensures that your extra storage is always kept up to date.

Imagine how terrible you’d feel if your work laptop were to break, only for you to realise that the backup you thought you’d had is actually months out of date? Make sure that doesn’t happen by scheduling an automatic backup on a regular basis. If it’s too late for that now, don’t worry – Technetics Data is a hard disk recovery service which can help.

Tip #2. Use Cloud Solutions:

Today, everybody is using the Cloud for data storage, and for very good reason! When you back up all your data to the cloud, not only will you be able to share files with your team and collaborate better, you can also access your documents, videos, pictures, spreadsheets, slideshows and more from any device with an internet connection simply by logging in.

Using the Cloud means that even if your laptop is thrown out of the window of a 50-storey building, your data will remain safe and intact online.

Tip #3. Have a Recovery Plan:

Although some data can only be recovered by a trained professional, it’s imperative for all businesses to have a data recovery plan set up for if the worst should happen.

Once you’ve set up your data recovery plan, you should then test it out regularly; this gives you a chance to find any faults and put them right before you need to use it for real.

Tip #4. Protect Your System:

It goes without saying that your business should be using whatever resources available to protect the system from viruses, malicious malware, and cybercriminals. Making a daily endeavour to ensure that your security system is up to date will not only lessen your risk of a cyberattack, it’ll protect your important files from being damaged, lost, or worse!

Most importantly, it’s vital to always check your system before you install any new software or applications. Whilst doing this, create backup files of any information you can’t afford to lose. Additionally, when installing a new program onto any of your business devices, ensure you have a reputable antivirus program ready to scan for any potential risks.