The technical gastronome

30 Jan 2020 / 10:19 H.

ANYONE in the entertainment and lifestyle industry worth their salt would know the name Vernon Chan, thanks to his renowned, eponymous tech blog.

A veteran of the tech scene, Chan’s balanced and journalistic view on gadgets, software and other aspects of the industry made his work stand out.

We met up at Strangers at 47, a place in Section 17, Petaling Jaya which Chan himself recommended. “My brother introduced me to this place,” he said.

Its specialty is pancakes, as well as crepes ranging from savoury to sweet, and in combinations that are out of the ordinary. “My brother knows that I have a weakness for pancakes and crepes,” he added.

“I’m going to have beef!” Chan then exclaimed, and ordered a Not Your Local Beef crepe from the menu, which described it as served with chargrilled Australian striploin steak, olives, sweet potato fries, sour cream mayo slaw, and tomato relish. “I’ll have it medium rare,” he added.

He recommended either the BBC (Big Breakfast Crepe), or the Nasi Lemak Crepe. The latter is exactly how you would imagine it; a savoury crepe with fragrant rice, house-made sambal, crispy rempah chicken, cucumber, fried small anchovies, roasted peanuts, and a runny side up egg. Chan said it is “good”.

Because it was breakfast for me, I ordered the BBC. What came on the plate was a wholemeal crepe, chicken sausage, smoked chicken ham, butter sauteed portobello and spinach, golden hash brown, a runny sunny side up egg, caramelised onions, and baked beans.

With our food at the table, we began talking about our favourite subject, tech. “Tech has always kept me busy. It has been quite an exciting Q1. Because of CES in January, there is a lot of new stuff. I’m still catching up. There has also been a couple of launches just before Chinese New Year as well,” said Chan.

He started his site in 2004 as a personal blog talking about design, technology and everything in between.

The blog has evolved into a website about his genuine love for technology, gaming, automotive and all things fun.

Because of his experience in the industry, I asked him about the tech news scene in Malaysia.

“It is hard to say how much trust people have in local tech media,” he explained. “Personally, I can only talk about SoyaCincau (another popular tech site incorporated with under digital publishing organisation Mind Blow Sdn Bhd).

“They know their stuff, and they come from a journalist’s point of view. They are honest and talent-based.

“That is very hard to find, especially online nowadays. It doesn’t help when you apply social media to the equation where it is littered with fake news and inaccuracies. And where news can be bought.”

He added: “For SoyaCincau, the team knows where it is coming from; it is from wanting to inform the reader to make the best decisions based on facts. Yes, everyone has an opinion and you are going to have a preference on what you like. But facts and balance are essential.”

He explains that recommending bad products as good could seriously damage a media outlet’s reputation and credibility. “It also doesn’t help when there is sponsored content but [they] don’t declare it as advertisement”.

Chan continued: “The narrative this year is going to be 5G. It is the government’s push as well. All the telcos have to do it. You can see it with Langkawi being a testbed for the technology.

“5G is mainly a term, a new generation of technology that will open up more possibilities, connectivity will be better, the connection will be faster. There are two types of 5G implementation. One, 5G NSA (Non-Standalone) is backwards compatible with 4G and works with the 4G infrastructure.

“The other which is all 5G will give you the full benefit like ultra low latency.”

But, as with all new technologies, Chan cautioned that 5G has its limitations.

“Range could be a problem. Higher frequency means higher throughput (speeds), but less coverage. Again, this depends on the frequencies used in the implementation,” he added.

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