Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The True Power of Twitter

May 6th, 2009 No comments

I was recently a victim (addict?) of Twitter. Nothing serious. Just joined really. I heard so much buzz about it and I had to see for myself what it was about.

Twitter Micro-Blogging

Twitter Micro-Blogging

Essentially, Twitter is like a GIANT chat room where everyone is talking asynchronously. But the chat room is very organized you see. You can follow people without commitment. They do not have to be “friends” with you like on MySpace or Facebook for you to see their syndication or news feeds on what they are doing.

One of the most powerful features of Twitter that has acquisition interest from Google, Apple, Facebook (Twitter declined Facebook’s offer. So Facebook rearranged their feeds to look like Twitter), is Twitter’s Search feature. You can search what people are chatting about and follow that topic, offer your help, or “cyberstalk” your favorite celebrities.

The other great power of Twitter is you can read and write (known as tweets) using mobile devices like the iPhone or just a cellphone. This is really the emerging Web 3.0 which takes Web 2.0 (widgets and content management) to mobile devices. So when I make a tweet on my iPhone, it shows up on my Twitter feeds to my followers. But it also shows up on this website in the right sidebar in the form of a widget appearing seamlessly integrated. This is Web 3.0: the integration of Internet, mobile devices, and cloud computing. Essentially, write once, publish to many different channels.

Yes. Twitter does seem a lot of hype. It is not for everyone. More for people with Attention Deficit Disorder. Now what was I saying? Oh yeah, it’s also fun to kill boring activities like waiting in line at the DMV for a half hour. It can be very addicting. I do have my habit under control though. I can stop whenever I want to.

There are many different Twitter apps for both the computer desktop and mobile devices.  Which Twitter apps do you use?

Follow me on Twitter @ Quang Ly.

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Jamie Foxx Stalker Arrested

April 7th, 2009 No comments
Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx was recently a victim of a non Law Abiding Citizen while shooting his film with Gerard Butler Center City Philadelphia. On March 22, a 48-year-old man allegedly broke into Foxx’s hotel room claiming to be Beyonce’s producer. Foxx overpowered the intruder and forced him out and shut the door. The man then escaped from the cops.

However, nine days after the incident, Foxx’s security staff saw the man and contacted police.  The alleged intruder is identified as Steven Taliver and has been charged with burglary, criminal threats, stalking, false imprisonment and harrassment according to TMZ. Can we add poor impersonation to the list?

Foxx commented on the incident to Access Hollywood, “I’m good now.”

“Sometimes you have to make sure every move you make in life is the right thing, and that you have people there to watch your back,” Foxx added.

The 41-year-old Academy Award-winning actor is in Philadelphia filming the crime thriller Law Abiding Citizen.

Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in Law Abiding Citizen

Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in Law Abiding Citizen

I was there on set that day and all I can remember was how freaking cold it was. The coffee turned to ice!

HEROES Ali Larter Escapes the Matrix

April 6th, 2009 No comments
Ali Larter Shape Magazine

Ali Larter Shape Magazine

My Delta Dreams song Escape The Matrix was listed in SHAPE Magazine on with Ali Larter (OBSESSED / HEROES / Final Destination actress) on the front cover. The song was part of a monthly work out playlist.

The funny story is that I did not even know about that until a fan sent me a MySpace message. She said she was on the treadmill while reading the magazine and had to do a double take.

What a better way to wake up in the morning and seeing your music in a magazine with Ali Larter on the cover eh?

The music playlist is listed on page 148 in March 2008 Issue. The music is part of a 30 Minute Work Out Playlist. Other artists include Arctic Monkeys, Bruce Springsteen, Shooter Jennings, Louis XIV, White Rabbits, and Stacie Rose.

Shape Ali Larter (OBSESSED HEROES)

Shape Ali Larter (OBSESSED HEROES) and Delta Dreams

Escape The Matrix was originally meant to be a mega mix of my songs from the Dream In Stereo album put to a dance and drum and bass beat. It features some melodies, vocal samples, and atmospheres from the other songs.

I recorded it using the software based sequencer Cubase VST and had several other songs opened at the same time. I was almost done with it when I accidentally overwrote the track with one of my old songs. I lost 4 days worth of work! I was never so disappointed in myself. I got back on the wagon and it took me just 2 days to redo everything.

The brightside is that the song ended up being used on 2 major films:

  • Searching For Paradise (HBO/Sundance) featuring Chris Noth (Mr. Big from Sex and the City / Law & Order) and Susan May Pratt (Drive Me Crazy) about a crazy girl obsessed with an actor. It was someone autobiographical according to the writer and director. You can hear it in the NYC subway and park scene.
  • Double Dare – a double-barreled, action-packed documentary about two Hollywood stuntwomen, Jeannie Epper and Zoe Bell. Jeannie, who refuses to retire at sixty-two, doubled for Wonder Woman in the 70’s, and Zoe landed the coveted job doubling Xena at the age of eighteen as well as Uma Thurman’s double in Kill Bill. You can hear it during an Award Ceremony scene with Zoe being drunk. I met both Jeanie and Zoe at the film screening in New York City and must say they were both very wonderful. Zoe has a larger than life personality and I remember asking her if she was ever interested in acting. She said she never thought about it. Next thing I know she is a lead in Quentin Tarrantino Death Proof. Jeanie was very nice and it a pleasure hearing her stories over drinks.

So the moral of the story is to NEVER GIVE UP on ANYTHING you BELIEVE in!  One thing leads to another and you just never know.

Ali Larter appears in OBSESSED thriller with Beyonce Knowles on April 24, 2009

BRANDING – What is in a Cybersquatted and Real name? Part 2

March 25th, 2009 1 comment
Quang at BET Urbanworld film screening for Lo

Quang Ly at BET Urbanworld film screening for Lo

This is the second part in my blog on dealing with my CyberSquatted name and why it’s so important to own your own domain name – especially if you’re an artist or involved with new media.

Why Should I Care About Obtaining
The reason is simple. I want to protect my brand and identity. Some security experts state that it is not a good idea to obtain a domain name with your first and last name in it since you’re publicizing some parts of your identity. My feeling on this is your name is public anyway. What’s important is the information in your WhoIs lookup which can indicate your real email, address, and phone number. WhoIs lists who the domain name belongs to, managed by, and contact information. When you register a domain name, you are asked to provide this information. If the domain is for a company, then the information should be public. However, if the domain is personal, then I highly suggest you protect it.

Branding: A simple concept, but very elusive to truly grasp.
The history of my music project is related to this story. I decided on my music project name Delta Dreams back when I was 16 years old. I felt strongly of the name as it was indicative of my musical vision. I collaborated with other singers (mostly female) and musicians at the time since I wasn’t a great singer nor could play all the instruments.  However, over the years, I did learn how to sing, play guitar, drums, and became more experienced with writing songs and production. I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with wonderful talent. However, I always found that they lacked the hunger to push and promote the music.  So I continued with Delta Dreams completely solo for several more years while releasing Before My Eyes and Selected Music for Films Vol1. Does a project name for a solo artist suitable? I think the answer really depends how far you want to take your art or passion and how much you plan on promoting.

Quang Ly Performing

Quang Ly Performing

In my case, I unexpectedly caught the acting the bug. The problem again now comes with promoting two different names: Delta Dreams and Quang Ly. A film that I work on cannot be credited as staring Delta Dreams. It just doesn’t make sense! I also had a hard time explaining to people all the things that I do and passionate about.  The problem that I had was that I lacked synergy! To be honest, I did not exactly know why I was so driven to obtain my domain. I just had a really strong gut feeling to do so. Once I did receive my name, I felt such strong creative energy flowing again.  I also didn’t expect to enjoy blogging that much! And of course, I understood the power of branding as a result rather than a cause!

Branding Is Synergy
Synergy is defined as “The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.” To promote myself as the Quang Ly brand, I can bring the film world to discover my music and the music world to discover my film projects. I can also introduce both sides to my hobby in photography. (I just bought the Nikon D90 DSLR camera and love it). Furthermore, I can also gather my different worlds together to promote social change such as charity that I’m involved in, politics, economics, or life in general. Not that I am an expert in any of those topics. But I would like to have the potential to do so in the future without being limited by a brand name.

The Anti-Brand
Here comes the challenge. There is the brand and then there is the anti-brand. Some names cannot simply cross over to other ventures because they have conflicting values. Here are some examples

  • NIKE and CONVERSE: Most people don’t realize this but Converse was bought Nike in 2003 for $305 million.  There are a lot of vegans, vegetarians, and hipsters who despise Nike because of their use of leather and rumored (a-hem) sweatshops. Nike exploits this ignorance by not confusing their customer’s values. By the way, Adidas owns Reebok.
  • KRAFT and ALTRIA (Phillip Morris): Kraft makes Oreos, Tang, cheese and other food products. It is actually owned by Atria (formerly name as Phillip Morris). Phillip Morris makes cigarrette brands like Marlboro, Parliament, and Virginia Slims. How do you think a mother would feel if she knew the cheese on her daughter’s sandwich was owned by a cigarratte company?

The Quang Ly Brand
I admit I only understood this concept of Branding and Anti-Branding once I got  For me, is really the ultimate platform and umbrella for all my passion, hobbies, and thoughts. It encompasses my YouTube channels, music on iTunes and Amazon MP3, Twitter, and the blog itself. Technology is changing so fast and difficult for people to keep up with. A good friend, David Abraham (who manages YouTube R&B Artist Redd Stylez) told me if you have a strong brand, you will supercede the changing of technology. People will find you. This is what I’m hoping to happen in the long term. Nothing happens over night. Furthermore, if you are an artist in the new media, it is important to have an official site to disperse authorized news and engagements.

This is Not Original
Branding a persona is not an original concept especially in the entertainment world. Examples include Will Smith and Jamie Foxx. Both are actors as well as artists.  They can leverage their passion in art and have it cross over to over mediums. Will Smith and his wife Jada Pincket Smith recently opened up a children’s school. I think this is a fabulous example of using branding for the greater good. Let’s not of course forget the amazing grace of Oprah! Donald Trump himself isn’t so much a  real estate mogul as much as he is a brand. Companies license the use of his name to put on their buildings, clothes, water, etc for a huge fee! Of course, all these people with strong brands do not have to reinvent the promotion wheel because all their ventures have synergy.

What I do find is that artists in the independent world have yet to understand this or perhaps I haven’t yet discovered enough of them. Maybe branding is not for them. Or maybe it’s a simple concept but very elusive to truly grasp.

Thank you for reading!
If you made it this far reading, I want to thank you. I tried to make it as brief as possible and it’s a bit of a read.

Quang Ly

What is in a Cybersquatted and Real name? Part 1

March 13th, 2009 1 comment

I purchased my domain name back in June of 2008 and it was quite an ordeal.  Here’s the story.

Part 1 – Cybersquatted
I have been wanting for the past 15 years and every now and then I would check it to see if it was available. It was due to expire April 15, 2008 at midnight. That night a few minutes after it was available, I went to purchase it right away. But it turns out, a bot already took it immediately. I was sooooooo pissed! These bots look up in domain directories like Network Solutions to see what are popular queried domain names for purchase and availability through Search and WhoIs.

The next day, I receive an email from Ken Palm <> (obviously a fake name) offering to sell my name back to me.  He was able to look me up and find my email address because I left a digital foot print when searching for but end up buying a different domain name like The offer was a ridiculous $750 for my own name that they snatched up. I then Googled Ken Palm and found a bunch of other people going through the same issue and how they were able to get their domain back. A week later I received another email from Ken but now the offer was $450. This kept going on for a few weeks until Mr. Palm finally said to give him my best offer. Keep in mind that the phone numbers listed were unavailable. The transactions would have to be done on an unauthorized website.

Through out this ordeal, I had one goal in mind which is to get my domain. After all, it is my full name. At one point, I was going to hire a lawyer to find out who runs these controversial and possibly illegal automated domain name systems.

My domain finally went into what appears to be a legitimate auction. I Googled the auction on other sites and it appeared that other people were able to obtain their domain names. So I put in a bid of $75. A few weeks later, I received an email from SnapNames (where it was auctioned) stating “Congratulations, you have acquired‏”. I said take that Ken Palm!

But wait, was Ken Palm actually doing me a favor?
I spoke to a representative of Network Solutions and he mentioned that the company used to deal with these auction houses but had a falling out. Network Solutions was also sued several times for similar types of operations so they outsourced it to other companies. Google Network Solutions lawsuits and you’ll see what I mean. According to the rep, these automated domain auctions actually prevent cybersquatting by keeping it out of the hands of hackers that snatch up domains without ever planning to use them. By putting it into an auction, the person who wins is usually the person it should really belong to. This begs the question, what if you should really own the domain name but can’t afford the price of the auction? I would recommend you contact a lawyer at this point because you would be SOL. Yeah, this whole domain name business is shady.