Tuesday 16 June 2015

Windows 8.1 on Parallels

For running some specific I needed a newer version of Windows than XP. The software would be running on my Mac Book Pro using Parallels as Virtual Machine.

With even Microsoft having their online store, this would be an easy one I thought. Get on http://www.microsoftstore.com.hk/ order Windows 8.1, pay, download, install and run.

Ah well, nearly that is then. Select, pay and download worked easy and fast. Then the installation. Creating a specific Windows virtual machine was obviously an easy one. The next step was installing the Windows OS. The version would allow for a clean install. Unfortunately the approach Microsoft had in mind was a different one than most people had in mind.

Rather than providing an ISO file, allowing to mount it as a drive to get Parallels to install from it Microsoft in all their wisdom decided to offer an .exe file. For this to work you would need a running Windows version. No issues here as XP was running. Ah well, nearly since the file requires at least Windows 7 and if you want 8 to run in 64bit mode it can only be installed if started from a 64bit edition.

So basically one need to have a modern version Windows even if you want to do a full clean install. That was slightly different than planned for. Now the search begins, where to find a proper workable ISO file for download. In other words - time to get creative on the web and see what we can find.

After a little research - google brought me http://getintopc.com/softwares/operating-systems/download-windows-8-pro/ The site links to 2 different ISO files that once downloaded can be used to run a quick install. With the 64bit version installed, the downloaded exe installation file could be kickstarted and a proper installation done.

Before that there were a few small hurdles to be tackled though. When starting the first installation the next message popped up on the screen:

Windows cannot find the Microsoft Software License Terms. Make sure the installation sources are valid and restart the installation.

Luckily it was an easy fix. Un-tick express installation at the start of the process and continue as per http://kb.parallels.com/en/114652

Another way to get the installation going is described at http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-CLEAN-Install-Windows-8-directly-from-Hard-/ though requires a few additional tricks and still needs a modern windows version installed.

Monday 1 December 2014

Gobal Startup Battle - Hong Kong Startups Can use YOUR support

Recently we had another edition of Startup Weekend Hong Kong! With lots of good ideas coming out...

Now.. a few of them are going into the Global Startup Battle and they need YOUR help by voting for them. A few years ago we had AfterShip crushing the competition by the support of Hong Kong.

So do take a look at the next ventures and vooooooteeeee

Tofu Pay - Modern Payment options for online commerce in Asia!

C FU - where is the handyman, locksmith or plumber when you need one!

My Grandma Can Skype - Simple communication tools to bring your grandma into the 21st Century!

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Kickstarters visiting China - Passing Through Hong Kon

I do like sites like KickStarter and IndieGogo. Projects on there vary from just raw enthusiasm to well thought through projects.

With regards to hardware related projects, they often have one thing in common: outsource production to China. After their campaigns are funded, they often travel over China to work with manufacturers and vendors to bring their ideas to reality.

Many don't seem to realise that in other countries things run well lets say differently. It often surprises me how much learning does not get transferred. Learning with regards to challenges on communication, understanding the way business is conducted, other cultural aspects and the fact that often small orders have low priority for big manufacturers. This besides the normal learnings that come with developing new products.

A number of times I tried to hook with visiting teams to share some insights. Easy, as most of them fly to Hong Kong and then travel to Shenzhen. The easy part is that I live close to the airport, so no issue to pop over for a coffee or so.

One team was curious to hear some insights - though had a tight schedule. As they were writing about their learnings through their updates I decided to hook them up with a friend of mine who is based in Shenzhen. The team is producing Spor, solar powered chargers (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spor/spor-solar-battery-chargers-usb-cables-and-accesso)

I got them hooked up with +Michael Michelini  who is the founder of SocialAgent.me and has spend a fair bit of time in China. He knows Shenzhen very well and as a startup founder is always willing to spend some time helping others.

He met up with the team and they created a podcast out of the conversation, which can be found here at Mike his blog Global From Asia. Listen and Enjoy hearing about the journey of a kickstart project!

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Sun Set over Hong Kong Airport

Another nice sunset today triggered the idea to take a timelapse shot. The view is from my balcony, over Tung Chung then Hong Kong International Airport and in the back you can see China.

Air pollution levels have been not too bad in the last few weeks. Providing us with lots of blue skies and amazing far away views. Throughout the year the views are blocked either by haze caused by pollution or just water damp. However when it opens up, some spectacular views can be seen. Lots of mountains and other things. Unfortunately Macau can't be seen from our place.

Pollution levels were low in most places in territory as can be seen below. The graphic is taken from a site maintained by the University of Hong Kong (The Hedley Index) and keeps track of pollution and its impact on the society. (http://hedleyindex.sph.hku.hk/)


Sunday 22 September 2013

Hong Kong gearing up for Super Typhoon Usagi

2013-09-21 16.45.28

Hong Kong is starting to gear up for (super) typhoon Usagi. People have gone out shopping to stock up on food in case the so called T8 signal will be hoisted.

As a consequence Hong Kong will sort of shut down. Transport like the MTR and buses will still be operating thought many shops and offices will start closing down. Good thing is...that apparently cinema's stay open! So might be a good time to check out some of the movies at iMax theatre in my neighbourhood.

Depending on the area different measures will be taken. As can be seen from the picture on the left, the typhoon coincides with a very high tide. Well, it was Mid autumn festival which is linked to the so called Autumnal Equinox. In short, this is when the moon is close to the earth.  The expected strong winds, including with the high tides creates a major risk for flooding in certain lower areas of the territory.

Residents in the Tai Po and other areas have been preparing by setting up barriers and bringing electrical and other precious goods to higher grounds.

An interesting observation in front of my house was the total absence of boats. There are a few major construction projects going on related to the Macau - Zhuhai - Hong Kong bridge. Normally this is full of activities of boats shuttling between the work areas and Lantau. As you can see on the total left and right pictures below, no boats or other activity can be spotted. Interesting observation is the total absence of boats, which probably are moved to Typhoon shelters in the neighbourhood.

The same would count for the construction site, although they are excused as it is Sunday. They have been rigging their site to prevent stuff flying around. With that some of the cranes have been put in the right mode so they can withstand the wind.

2013-09-22 12.13.49 2013-09-22 12.13.552013-09-22 12.14.02 

One decision that will impact many travellers is flight operations at Hong Kong Airport. Flight operations will be impacted and travellers might want to check in with their airlines or travel support. It looks like Hong Kong airport is filling up nicely at this time.. so bring those snacks, ebooks and other stuff to keep busy :).

Hong Kong International Airport Usagi Announcement

Lets see where Usagi will take us over the next 48hrs.

update 15:45 local time: Looks like the airport has mainly Cathay Pacific flights ready to go and clear the airport.

Monday 26 August 2013

Reef Check with IAHD

picture by IAHD.ORG.HK

Last Saturday it was time to support another session of diving with the International Association of Hand in Hand divers Hong Kong. An enthusiastic group of divers that goes out exploring the waters of Hong Kong a few times a year. The interesting thing about the group is that a number of people in the group have some sort of a handicap. Whether this is visual, or physical they do come out to have a good time underwater - fully inline with IAHD motto “Embrace Challenge Together”.

This trip had a conservation team, the guys signed up to participate in a reef check organised by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong Government. A full fledged survey where designated areas get checked for the quantity and quality of corals, vertebrates and other underwater life. The area underwater gets "boxed" in, and teams will monitor the for them important things. Whether it is fish, corals or other underwater life. After the day, data gets submitted and will be centrally processed by the AFCD people so they can keep an eye on what is going on.

On the monitoring side, certain teams also did a Coral Watch session. Using a few provided tools, coral watch does allow a health check of corals. It uses a colour chart to compare the darkest and lightest colours of particular corals in order to determine the impact of coral bleaching. After the day the data gets submitted on the coral watch website so they can keep a global eye on what is happening to reefs.

I did change the objective of the first dive a little. Some of the people I was diving with had not been in the water for a few months, and did need a little time to be properly buoyant under water again. Especially as the area we were diving was a little challenging as there was surge, it was shallow and the visibility was crap.

The second dive of the day had as theme "Dive against Debris", a project AWARE support initiative to clear our seas from rubbish. It is also a global initiative where dive teams all over the world gear up to remove the rubbish. The guys that were diving with me and myself picked up a teapot, lots of fishing line, some cans and other fishing related objects.

It always surprises me the amount of rubbish we come across at spots that are frequented by (diving)boats.

All together a very rewarding day!

Monday 12 August 2013

Made with Love in Hong Kong - WeAreHKTech.com


Recently I became a curator for the WeAreHKTech list, an overview of Hong Kong born and bred tech startups. A key challenge faced is a lack of understanding that Hong Kong has a thriving startup scene. Agree, there has not been a facebook, linkedin or instagram as of yet. Though the list currently has over 200 startups.

When checking out some of the startups I came across Perpetu a previous Hong Kong Startup Weekend participant. This team was in the 1st official edition and is still going strong.

A nice initiative they took can be seen on the picture above. In the "little details" section they included a line of text showing their birthplace -->

Made with ♡ in HK

A brilliant initiative which, if more startups would use this little gesture could show the world that there is a growing startup scene here capable of delivering nice startups to the world.

So, if you are a Hong Kong startup - do include the little line and drop me a message via @marcelekkel and we make sure it gets mentioned!

Tuesday 6 August 2013

My first 500px POPULAR photo

Windows by Marcel Ekkel on 500px.com
Windows by Marcel Ekkel

Today I uploaded a few of my pictures at 500px. A website dedicated to photography. When started it became a major competitor for flickr.com. Anyways, the picture above is a picture I shot when walking around in Central, Hong Kong. The photo was shot using an iphone 3GS so nothing advanced there.

I did like the fact that there are no people or cars just buildings. Making it black and white put a good emphasis on the lines.

Shortly after uploading it, likes, loves and comments started rolling in. And after a while I received a nice email that it achieved the popular status. The email looked like the picture below.


It is a nice feeling :) so well done for 500px

Monday 5 August 2013

AcceleratorHK mentoring and Demo day coming up!

For people that are keeping track of me on FourSquare, a check in at The GoodLab regularly appeared. The majority of times it was to visit participants in Cohort 2 of Hong Kongs only accelerator program, called indeed AcceleratorHK. A program setup by Steve Forte and Paul Orlando to help early stage startups moving towards the right direction.

This cohort has six teams in it, and they could not be more different. Participants do come from many corners of the globe to maximise what Hong Kong has to offer. (By the way, there are a few interesting programs available for if you are considering Hong Kong as a base.. check out Invest Hong Kong their venture program here).  Their offerings are varied as well, which we will see in a bit.

Anyway, most of my efforts went into mentoring around strategy, how to make it all happen and a little on business models and presentation. I love doing that sort of stuff as the passion and energy that comes out of it is brilliant. Many startups do have this good vibe to make stuff happen without major red tape to be dealt with. A change often takes a short time to be implemented. On the other side, that makes it easy to really get caught in the trap of being tactical without having a clear view where you are going.

A key focus area during the program is on customer development as described by Steve Blank. Followed by tools and techniques around the Lean Startup approach. Seeing people being surprised that for the begin of the program NOTHING will be coded, no development will take place other than understanding if there is a problem and a market that are interesting enough to work on.

As a mentor I love to ask questions to get the teams to look at their work from a different angle and free themselves from their fixed thinking patterns. A number of participants in the cohort have been "brainwashed" during their time in the corporate world, and it is exiting to see the change in behaviour with them. Then there are fresh-grads or people with limited working experience that are showing some good progress.

Teams that are currently in the accelerator program are:

  • Taking the pain out of trip planning - Captain Planner
  • Converting customers to advertisers - Dood Here
  • Bringing mum and pap shops to the next level - Gyaan Tel
  • Securing your Online Currencies Offline - Ice Vault
  • Rocking the 2nd Screen space - So Fly
  • Real food by real people for real people - Very Bite 

Anyway, all their hard work, learning, successes and other experiences are being rounded up soon for their demo day. This is where they will showcase where they are and where they will be going. A short presentation will be followed by time to interact with the teams to learn more about what they have to offer.

The schedule for Demo Day (next Tuesday 13 August) is as follows:

  • 18:15-19:00: Registration and networking. Free beer and pizza at the Good Lab's Kitchen.
  • 19:00-20:15: Demo Day!!! Welcome by AcceleratorHK and then 6 startups present. At the Good Lab's theatre. If you come late then there should be an overflow room with a live stream. 
  • 20:15-22:30: Networking: visit the 6 startups at their booths spread about the entire good lab and get free drinks and other goodies. You can use at least two of the startups live production apps during the networking and sign up for the other's betas. Meet other startup people, engineers, investors, and the like. 
  • 23:00-----> Afterparty! At Zinc in LKF. 30-32 D'aguilar St

See you there! Please register so the team knows how much beer and pizza to buy.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Startup Weekend Autumn 2013 edition team set up

It has been a few months since we had a successful spring edition of Startup Weekend in Hong Kong. Successful because there was a good number of attendees, a brilliant venue (m21.hk), good interest and support from the Hong Kong startup community, interest and active participation by the Hong Kong Government's CIO department.

And where would we have been without the fantastic support of sponsors by helping us with cash to buy food and cover some other costs as well as prizes for some of the winning teams. Interesting to see was that some startups and even teams that were born at Startup Weekend contributed to the event.

All this put together by a bunch of selfless volunteers that have a soft spot for beginning or potential entrepreneurs. Planning an event like this takes around 3 months during which the teams look for sponsors, venue, mentors and judges and work on the operations for the weekend. And of course a fair bit of time goes into marketing to potential participants. We have been blessed with a good network of supporters and supporting organisations that do spread the love

Last week we kicked off the preparations for the upcoming editions. It is really good to see the energy and enthusiasm with which the volunteers are running around building the next event. The event is expected to take place in the last weekend of October or first weekend of November. This would allow the winning team to participate in the Global Startup Battle.

For now the team is looking for a venue that can host 100-120 people working on teams. In order for them to work they would need wifi and sufficient electricity plugs. Sponsors for food, t-shirts and prizes and important as well.. mentors and judges! 

Drop me an email if you have any suggestions for those.

As everyone has a day job (whether this work or studying), it is often a virtual team approach. In order to keep things moving we use a number of tools.

ASANA - task management
EVERNOTE - sharing of information
GOOGLE DRIVE and DOCS - keeping track of documents and
DROPBOX - to share files amongst the team

I am excited and curious what the team can pull off this round..so far we have gone better and better.