Decidedly urban couple who quit their jobs and successfully backpacked their way through Asia for a year. They met Buddha, drank baijiu and learned to master the squat toilet. Now appearing in a new life as ex-pats in Singapore.

tech
Singapore Tech Scene

Singapore Tech Scene

Singapore was a trip, only a week long, but a fun city.  And Steve is right, it is Adult Disneyland thanks to its countless fun attractions –  from the giant sling shots launching crowds of people into the air, to the man-made lake with a moving cable around the top pulling kneeboarders around and over jumps.  This is a place to spend it if you’ve got it.

All of this will set you back a handful of Andrew Jacksons though, as the fun is built and priced for all the foreign born execs and their families.

We learned that a full 20% of the population are foregners living in Singapore for work – that number includes western execs to daylabors and migrant workers who come from as close as neighboring Malaysia or as far as India.

But Singapore shouldn’t put all its eggs in the multi-national corporate market when it has such an interesting domestic tech startup scene hatching…

Singapore Geeks

HackerSpace.sg

I heard Singapore had a bit of a tech startup scene so Kristine and I went to check out a local co-working space, HackerSpace.  There is an active and bright startup community in Singapore, more so then in other cities I’ve seen so far in Asia.  At just about a year old, HackerSpace has definitely been a major contributor to the local startup community.  I met up with one founder for dinner, Vin Nair of Smartloans.sg, a successful LendingTree for Singapore.  After dinner, we met up with some other startup folks for drinks – showing that the community is not all just work, but play as well.  I met half a dozen fellow geeks for coffee, and though introduced separately, each knew of the other people I was meeting with and what they were working on.

However, while attending a talk for a university entrepreneurs group – the question was thrown out by Danny Tan of foound.com: “How many of you have an idea for a business to start?” and nobody raised their hand!  On the follow-up question “You’re part of an entrepreneur club and you don’t have any business ideas?” one student raised their hand to say “but we need more experience first” – a complete 180′ from what you would overhear at Stanford.  Following up on that mentality, two people mentioned to me that many young startups fear sharing their ideas, going as far as to require NDA’s from potential investors during a pitch – young startups like to stay in ‘stealth mode.’

Over coffee with Jason Ong (who runs the local Ruby meetup) we discussed the startup mentality in Silicon Valley vs. Singapore. Toying on the notion of how to kickstart the ‘free flowing’ of ideas, I mentioned Super Happy Dev House (SHDH) = A party in which geeks get together to build fun software/services in one day and show them off at night.  A SHDH encourages people to work together, then share and present their ideas to a crowd of fellow geek enthusiasts.  From this conversation, we decided to wortk together on hosting the first ever Super Happy Dev House in Singapore – in fact, the first ever in the whole continent of Asia!

Mini First Aid Kit for Backpackers

Just put together a mini first-aid kit that should cover what we need.

  • Athletic Sports Tape, 9m – Can be cut for small band-aids or large sprains.  And as Tim Ferris points out, it’s a life saver and doubles as duck tape (though I’ll be bringing that along as well)
  • Sterile Pads – can be used with the sports tape for homemade band-aids or gushing wounds.
  • Band-Aids – So you don’t have to go ghetto with sports tape and tissues.
  • Ibuprofen – For hangovers, headaches, and general pains
  • Neosporin Antibiotic, max strength
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) – great for allergies, minor colds, or falling asleep on overnight trains/planes
  • Clartin – generic versions for my allergies
  • Dental Floss, 200yrds – Unobvious uses include sewing or tying something together.
  • Large Nail Clippers – cause we’ll be living the fancy high life :p
  • ChapStick – I went medicated
  • Gold Bond – For all over, from your feet to ‘down there’.  I went extra strength medicated.
  • Meds:
    • Malaria Medication – Doxycycline, daily, 2 days before, 28 days after
    • Anti-Diarrhea Medication – Azithromycin

Updated in new sporty plastic box.  Now to find some Pepto Bismol…

Backpacking with an OSX netbook laptop

Netbooks are pretty small and light laptops and fit well tucked away into a backpack.

We went with an Asus 1000HE for a few reasons:

  1. I can install Mac OSX on it, and this chart shows that there is support for all components. (Here’s a few helpful Hackintosh sites)
  2. It’s not ‘too’ tiny, the keyboard is a nice size
  3. It has a long battery life and great specs
  4. It has ethernet (that was why we went with this over an ipad, which would just be an ibrick in most countries)
  5. It’s cheap, I bought a used one for $200 off of ebay

Other items to note:

  1. There’s no DVD player, so assuming we want to watch some local flics, I also purchased a cheap portable dvd player/writer.
  2. I’m also bringing my iphone 3g that I will use as a mini computer on the go (no phone) – And I plan to turn it into a HitchHiker’s guide with offline wikipedia.

Full directions here

It took a bit of physical labor, 2 computers, an external HD enclosure, and a few hours waiting, drinking beer and watching cartoons to get Mac OSX installed, but there was no way I’m going back to Windows.  Once you go mac, you never go back.