Asian American Commercial Watch: Day in the Life with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

If you own a high-end Android smartphone, it most likely has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Recently, Qualcomm announced their latest and greatest, the Snapdragon 845, and highlights some of the benefits in their corporate video (okay, so not really a broadcasted television commercial):

“Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 845 processor is about to transform flagship mobile devices. New architectures will deliver immersive AR and artificial intelligence. VR meetings and 360-degree video over LTE will revolutionize collaboration, while voice interaction means personal assistance will always be on the ready. UHD premium capture will make colors pop like never before, not to mention beyond-all-day battery life will let you work, share, and explore as long as you want. See what other standout features are coming.”

The corporate video shows an Asian American woman utilizing her Snapdragon powered devices throughout the day, including video chatting with her husband in a VR meeting (which I don’t think is going to be mainstream in the near future …)


National Science Foundation Funds Extensive Research Survey on Asian Americans

TaekuLee_2014-750The National Science Foundation has decided to fund an extensive research survey on Asian Americans.  The survey project, lead by Political Science Professor Karthick Ramakrishnan of UC Riverside, Law Professor Taeku Lee of UC Berkeley (shown here), Sociology Professor Jennifer Lee of UC Irvine, and American Studies Professor Janelle Wong of the University of Maryland, will expand on the National Asian American Survey.  This study aims to differentiate its data from other surveys by getting statistically significant samples from each of the six largest Asian American ethnic groups, with at least 400 interviews from each group, conducted in at least 11 languages.  Along with attitudes on various subjects, data on finance, health, and other areas will be collected.

I was curious as to how these professors got a grant from the National Science Foundation, an organization that I usually associate with technology and not political science.  Their grant award summary argues that since Asian Americans make a disproportionately large number of skilled STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer, and Mathematics) workers, understanding them and the barriers facing them will be critical to ensuring the economic competitiveness of the United States.  I think that is a valid argument, and it is gratifying to see the award as a recognition of the impact of Asian Americans.

The project will produce a dataset for public release in June 2017.

ICYMI: SVVR 2016 – Virtual Reality (VR) in China

I work in Silicon Valley and in the “tech” industry and one of the hottest topics this past year, especially with the commercial release of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive in April, is Virtual Reality.


I happened to attend the 3rd  annual Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) Conference & Expo in San Jose, California this past April and attended a few sessions. One of a lot of interest to me was a session on “VR in China,” presented by iResearch.


The main takeaway I got was that VR for China would still predominately be a smartphone phenomena – in the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR sense – plugging in your existing smartphone into a headset. People already have phones, and the high end VR systems are just too expensive for your average American consumer, let alone your average Chinese consumer.

If you’re interested in VR, the other panels I was able to attend were the press conferenceVR for Every Website presented by Google, and Project Beyond Workshop presented by Samsung.


60 Minutes Hacks Congressman Ted Lieu’s Lent iPhone

The other night, CBS News’s 60 Minutes did a segment on cell phone security (or the lack thereof), titled “Hacking Your Phone”:

“We wanted to see whether Nohl’s group could actually do what they claimed — so we sent an off-the-shelf iPhone from 60 Minutes in New York to Representative Ted Lieu, a [Taiwanese American] congressman from California. He has a computer science degree from Stanford [’91] and is a member of the House committee that oversees information technology. He agreed to use our phone to talk to his staff knowing they would be hacked and they were. All we gave Nohl, was the number of the 60 Minutes iPhone that we lent the congressman.”


I’ve blogged about Congressman Lieu in the past and have met him a few times. Lieu has both a computer science and law degree, and thus often interviewed during the whole Apple vs. FBI iPhone encryption legal battle. Congressman Liu has been a strong defendant on privacy and encryption for individual and against any “backdoors.”

A group of professional hackers demonstrate how they can access Lieu’s phone calls, location and even turn on the phone’s camera and view remotely. Pretty frightening…

You can watch the entire 60 Minutes segment below:

Make you kind of think who is listening to you on your phone or watching you via your phone’s camera … pretty scary.

Jeremy Lin’s TAG Heuer Connected Watch

Working in Silicon Valley and as part of my job, I’ve checked out and played around with a few smartwatches. Personally, I can’t say that I’m a big fan of them – having to charge an extra device, and most of the watches are a bit bulky and not very stylish (there’s a reason why I love my Skagen watch – thin and stylish).

However, what is interesting is that traditional premium watch manufacturers are launching their own lines of smartwatches – no doubt for fear of being disrupted, as well as trying to capture the youth market that have abandoned or never having bought or worn a watch. TAg Heuer apparent has announced a line of TAG Heuer Connected watched based on Android Wear “designed in collaboration with athletes” – including Jeremy Lin:


SAR8A80.FT6045-2015-Jeremy-Lin-white-background-1200x1903“Just a few days ago at the Consumer Electronics Show (C.E.S.) in Las Vegas, Tag Heuer showed off its newest Connected watches – designed in collaboration with athletes Tom Brady (quarterback for the New England Patriots football team), Jeremy Lin (professional basketball star) and Giancarlo Stanton (professional baseball star with the Miami Marlins MLB team). The watches represent the first “personalized” dials for the TAG Heuer Connected watch that was just unveiled to the world late in 2015. … The TAG Heuer Connected watch, created with Intel Inside and powered by Android Wear™, is a 46mm watch crafted in the Carrera style in titanium with an option of black or bright-colored rubber straps. Its retail price is $1,500.”

I like the design of the Jeremy Lin watch, but I’m not willing to spend $1,500 on any watch – smart or not. I wonder what kind of volumes these watches will sell?

Also, the thing with smartwatches is that new versions will be coming out every year or so, with new features, etc. In my opinion, a watch needs to be “timeless.” And beyond tell time, the number one feature that needs to be improved for a smart watch is battery life …

Asian American Commercial Watch: Annabelle & IBM Watson on Life Experience

When I saw this IBM TV commercial about Watson (“… a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data.”), Annabelle reminded me of my niece – who is a few years younger, but fortunately never has had cancer:

8Asians_AACW_Annabelle_IBM Watson“IBM Watson is helping doctors identify cancer treatments to outthink cancer, one patient at a time. Learn more at

In the commercial, Annabelle is about to turn seven, and says she can eat cake now – because last year, she couldn’t because she was sick with cancer. IBM Watson explains to Annabelle that it can help doctors identify cancer treatments.

If you know the history of IBM, “Think” is an early motto of the company coined by Thomas John Watson Sr. who served as the chairman and CEO of IBM from 1914 to 1956. So it’s quite interesting to see that IBM is playing with that motto with “Outthink.”


The Today Show: Love with Food’s Aihui Ong – After divorce, woman turns love of food into booming business

I met Aihui Ong, Founder & CEO of Love with Food (“Snack Smart. Do Good.”), a subscription box snack business at some Silicon Valley networking event probably back in 2011 when she was first starting her business. I’ve always had a fascination with Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew, so I’m always interested in meeting Singaporeans, and have kept in touch with Ong by bumping into her at various Silicon Valley events or seeing her on Facebook.

The other day, I saw Ong post on Facebook that while in New York City for a food show, she was on The Today Show being interviewed about her experience being an entrepreneur, telling her journey:

Today_Show_Love_with_Food_Aihui_Ong“In the second in a series of segments revealing the secrets of successful women, TODAY contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager spotlights entrepreneur Aihui Ong, who discovered a passion for food as she traveled the world following her divorce, and turned that love into a successful monthly subscription snack service.”

I recently saw Ong a few months ago when she had an office party and got to sample a few snacks. When you get a chance, check out and see if Love with Food is something for you – they offer “Home Box” subscriptions plans starting at $7.99/month and “Office Box” subscriptions starting at $249/month.

Seeing Ong start from nothing, to raising $2 million in funding and growing her business to over $5 million in revenue is great to see, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.



Asian American Commercial Watch: Microsoft Cloud & Empowering Cancer Research

Professor_Wu_Feng_Microsoft_CloudA lot of people today still don’t know that Microsoft has a large “cloud” business, and with a series of commercials, Microsoft is trying to change that perception. In this commercial, Microsoft highlights Virginia Tech computer science Professor Wu Feng’s work utilizing Microsoft Cloud to sequence and analyze the genome of a cancer. I’m really optimistic that with increasing computational power, a lot of genetic based illness can be solved and treated in my lifetime.

Asian American Commercial Watch: Best Buy’s “Upgrade Your Tech With Windows”

Just like ‘Fresh Off The Boat,’ it’s always nice to see an Asian American family being viewed on television. In this particular case, a young couple with a recent newborn looking to purchase a new Windows-based 2-in-1 laptop. We see in the commercial all the usefulness of a 2-in-1 flexible laptop / tablet convertible for busy parents raising a child. I really like these family commercials because any Asian American family is able to convey any American family situation.


As I have probably mentioned many times before, I think one of my all time favorite Asian American Commercial Watch commercials is the Target one which I termed the ‘All American Family ad’. That family highlighted in the commercial could have been casted for ‘Fresh Off The Boat.’ I’m trying to think if there have been any other Asian American families highlighted in any commercials lately, but can’t think of any…

EDITOR’S NOTE FROM JOZ: The “Dad” in this commercial is actor Tim Chiou

Mini-Review of ‘The Interview’ & How Randall Park became Kim Jong-Un

the_interview_movie_posterUnless you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of the events of the past month or so, alleged North Korean hackers hacked Sony’s computer networks – threatening to do more damage beyond releasing leaked emails and copies of unreleased hack, unless Sony blocked the release of comedy The Interview about an assassination plot of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, to be released on Christmas day. “North Korean” hackers then hinted that there would be terrorist attacks at movie theaters in the U.S. The major theater chains, concerned about violence and any related liability, decided not to release The Interview. Obama chimed in his thoughts at an end-of-the-year press conference, and a few days later Sony capitulated, saying that Sony would make the film available online (via Google Play & YouTube, and other outlets on Dec. 24th, the day before the theatrical release) as well as independent theaters willing to make the film available.

Continue reading “Mini-Review of ‘The Interview’ & How Randall Park became Kim Jong-Un”

8Asians Founder Ernie Hsiung Named to Miami Herald’s “20 Under 40” List

8A-2014-11-Ernie-Hsiung-MiamiHeraldCongrats to 8Asians Founder, Ernie Hsiung for being recognized for his work in Miami to facilitate civic engagement through technology.

From Miami Herald:

Ernie Hsiung is on a mission to build Miami’s tech community by creating networking opportunities for software developers and programmers. Hsiung admits that when he first moved to the area from San Francisco, he experienced culture shock. Miami was a less mature tech community than he had come from, but he felt the city had potential.

To help raise the tech community profile, he started Code for Miami, “a civic hacking brigade” of volunteer developers, community leaders and concerned citizens that meets Monday nights at the LAB Miami in Wynwood. Code for Miami has been working with the governments of Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and surrounding municipalities to help improve the way local governments and community organizations use the web.

Just this month, Hsiung learned that he landed a Code for America fellowship, a 10-month opportunity to work intensely with a municipality to see how technology can address its needs. Fellows work in one of seven municipalities; Miami-Dade County is on the list. Hsiung will learn later this month where he’ll be assigned. For the following 10 months, he will commute between San Francisco and his assigned city. Post-fellowship, he plans to return to Miami to continue helping South Florida build a better community through technology.

From Hsiung: “I want to bridge the gap between technology and being a better Miamian. The idea is to teach people about technology with the hope that they will use it to be more civically engaged citizens and build great things.”

Even though Ernie has moved on from 8Asians, I am glad he is taking his talents and putting them to good use elsewhere.


What’s An Asian Name Worth? At least US$2600 if you are named Sam Sung!

samsungcardCarrying an Asian name would seem to be a liability in the many countries – actress Chloe Bennet says that changing her Asian last name resulted in her getting more acting work.

Former Apple Employee Sam Sung thought his old business card, which showed the humorous juxtaposition of a “Sam Sung” working at Apple, might be worth something. So when he put it up for bid on eBay (with proceeds going to the charity Children’s Wish), he’s received offers over US$2600! It’s good to see that an Asian name is indeed worth something!

Sam Sung is currently working as a headhunter in the Vancouver area. Bidding on the business card ended on August 15, 2014.