Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gmail 2.0 Going to Be a Hit With Features

Google's Gmail 2.0 is going to be loaded with new features
  1. More storage
  2. IMAP support
  3. Colors for labels
  4. Detaching messages from a conversation
  5. Jabber transports to communicate with other IM
  6. New contact manager
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/10/google-to-connect-to-other-im-networks.html

To suggest a feature for Gmail, you can go to below link.
http://mail.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=suggest

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Standard Chartered's e$aver Accounts Interest Rates Drop Again

Standard Chartered's e$aver Accounts interest rates is to drop again for the 3rd time since its launch.

On the first day of its launch, interest rate for deposit balance below $50K was at 1.88% before falling to 1.50%. In the latest announcement, interest rate for deposit balance below $50K will be further reduced to 1.20% p.a.

FYI, Standard Chartered's e$aver Savings Accounts still remain one of the best saving plans in Singapore.

There's actually another savings account in Singapore that offers a higher interest rate - MayBank's iSAVvy Savings Account. Since its launch, interest rate for deposit above $5K to below $50K was at 2.38%. This interest rate was reduced to 2.08% before reducing further to the current 1.68%. I forsee it to fall again soon but should stay above Standard Chartered's e$aver.

2 Times Lucky

I have been 2 times lucky on the stock market.

On 28th August 2007, I bought "iShares MSCI India ETF" shares at the price of US$6.65 per share. On 16 October 2007, I sold off all the shares at the price of US$9.05 (intra-day high) per share just before India's market took a downturn the very next trading day all the way down to US$8.15 on 22 October 2007. Today, after 14 days I sold off the shares, the closing price is now US$9.35 (down -3.6%). Even though the current price is higher than my sold price, it doesn't matter.

On 8th October 2007, I bought "China Hongxing Sports Limited" shares at the price of S$1.16 per share. On 29 October 2007, I sold off all the shares at the price of S$1.42 (close price) per share for profit taking. Today, just 1 day I sold off the shares, the closing price has dropped to S$1.32 (down -7%). This stock is going downturn.

Gmail's New Version Launching In Batches Now

Since its launch on year 2004 April's Fool, Gmail remains rather stagnant with no significant upgrades.

Finally Gmail is launching its version 2.0 now in batches. There are several new features including their new contact manager. You access the new contact manager from http://mail.google.com/mail/contacts/ui/ContactManager?js=RAW even if you don't have the new version of Gmail. Once the new version is rolled out to you, you will be able to access all new features from your Gmail itself.

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/10/gmails-new-version-is-now-available.html

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thank Whoever Who Have Visited My Blog

I would like to thank all who have visited my blog.

Some statistics to date by Google Analytics,
  • 371 unique visitors have visited my site
  • Visitors come from 44 different countries

Thanks for the support.

ERP Rates Up Again

Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) rates are going up again for the third time this year.

The goverment claimed that the introduction of the many previous ERP charges were to keep traffic congestion on expressways (particularly the CTE) in check. Despite many unhappiness and grievances by the public, the Singapore goverment still carry on with the move. After 3 ERP hikes in just 1 year and many additional ERP gantries installed, traffic on CTE never once see improvement.

This time round, yet another round of ERP hike will be introduced plus extra ERP gantries to be installed again. This latest hike comes just days after the opening of the new Kallang-Payar Lebar Expressway (KPE) Tunnel. I believe this new KPE will in some way ease CTE's traffic conditions and I see this round of ERP hike unnecessary! Is the hike meant to finance the construction of the new expensive KPE? Since the reason for ERP hike (as acclaimed by the Singapore goverment) is to control traffic, then does this mean ERP charges will be reduced if CTE's traffic is improved? I really doubt so! Everything goes up will never come down.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/308462/1/.html

Saturday, October 27, 2007

All newborn Singaporeans to be offered MediShield coverage from Dec

From December, all newborn Singaporeans and Permanent Residents will be offered MediShield coverage. For newborns and youths, premium is at S$30 per year and will be deducted from the father's Medisave account. If there are insufficient funds, then it will be deducted from the mother's Medisave account.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/308130/1/.html

Finally Own Keppel Corp Blue Chip

I finally bought my first blue chip after investing in the stock market since August 2007. I proudly own 1000 shares belonging to Keppel Corporation. I bought it at the price of S$14.40.

Google's SearchMash Is Flash Enabled

This search engine by Google is fantastic. Simply start typing and focus will be set on the search box automatically. Hit ENTER and search will be activated. Hit ESC and the original search criteria will be restored. After search results are returned, you can use arrow keys to navigate between the results and page preview of will be displayed at right pane. Hit ENTER key to go to link.

Thumbs Up!

SearchMash with Flash
http://www.searchmash.com/flash/

My previous post on SearchMash
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/search?q=searchmash

Friday, October 26, 2007

Microsoft Win Facebook Stake Against Google

Microsoft win this time round for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook.

Why Facebook Snubbed Google for Microsoft
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2207345,00.asp

Previous Post
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2007/10/duel-between-microsoft-and-google-over.html

MayBank Has Replied

MayBank has replied to my earlier complaint email with an acceptable explanation. According to the one who replied, she said I am one of the privileged customers picked for the special promotion. So the officer whom I talked to a day ago was ignorant of it. I suggested to MayBank to keep remarks somewhere for individual customers so different customer officers will have an idea of what has happened previously.

My suggestion is noted.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Maybank Statement Mismatch

I applied for Maybank Subaru Platinum MasterCard more than a month ago after someone from Maybank called me up to offer me the card. From the Maybank's customer service officer, I will be presented a $30 worth of cash credited into my card account within 2-3 weeks after my very first transaction. The transaction can be of any amount. I was enticed by this offer and thus applied for the card.

Few weeks ago, I made my first transaction using the newly applied Maybank credit card. Few days ago, credit card bill for Maybank was mailed to me but I saw no $30 cash credited to my account.

This morning, I made a call to Maybank's customer service and was told that the privilege is only applicable for customers who have also applied for an additional Maybank product like their credit line, housing loan, etc. I resigned to my fate for having being cheated by the sales people more than a month ago. Back home this evening, I received a sealed letter from Maybank congratulating me that I will be getting my $30 worth of cash which will be credited to my credit card account. I still managed to get the privilege after all.

Questions to Maybank - Is there a miscommunication somewhere among the customer service officers? Why aren't all customer service officers trained and have equal knowlege of Maybank's products? This is even more shocking considered the fact that the officer who attended to me this morning actually spent almost 1 hour to double confirm her findings before reverting back to me through phone again.

This is very disappointing. I am sending this post to Maybank.

Duel Between Microsoft and Google Over Facebook Stake

Another battle between the 2 technology giants - Microsoft and Google. This time, it's over a stake in Facebook.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2206036,00.asp

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Merrill Lynch Reports Loss on $8.4 Billion Writedown

Bad news and more bad news... Citigroup (Drop more than 50%), Bank of America (Drop more than 30%), etc... Now we have Merrill Lynch.

Third-quarter revenue fell 94 percent to $577 million, as losses in Merrill's fixed-income division overshadowed gains from underwriting stocks and providing merger advice.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=axuWCcMYMdA0

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen Crowned Formula One Champion

Just in case you are unaware, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen Crowned Formula One Champion. This season is the closest season with only 1 point separating first and second.

http://www.formula1.com/results/driver/
http://www.formula1.com/results/team/
http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2007/10/7017.html
http://www.latimes.com/sports/motorracing/la-sp-motors23oct23,1,5266221.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-autoracing

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fewer Postings Expected From Now Till November

I will be making less postings to my blog because my schedule is rather packed. Between this period, I will just scan through news articles and will only read in details on selected ones.

Looking Forward to Next Public Holiday

So near but yet so far.

China blocks Google sites during congress

Local access to Google Inc.'s Chinese Web site was disrupted during an important meeting of the country's Communist Party leadership this week, leading to an accusation that service was purposely disabled by the government.

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/china-blocks-google-sites-during/story.aspx?guid=%7B844FDEEF-9571-46E2-B790-B570F3DC3BA2%7D

Offline Blogger

I have only tried Windows Live Writer before but not the other one (Blog.gears) as mentioned in below link.

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/10/offline-blogger.html

Google Lights Out San Francisco

Google users in the San Francisco Bay Area will notice today that Google has "turned the lights out" on the Google.com homepage as a gesture to raise awareness of a citywide energy conservation event called Lights Out San Francisco.

Google Lights Out San Francisco
http://www.google.com/lightsoutsf/

Lights Out San Francisco
http://www.lightsoutsf.org/

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SG Marathon 2007 Job Lobang (Still Open)

Vacancies are still available once again.

Anyone interested in working as a "Water Boy" for this coming SG Marathon 2007 Event? It's on 2 Dec 2007 from 12am to approximately 12pm. Basic job scope is to mix "100 Plus" isotonic drinks (cordial + water + ice) at selected water points and enusre cups are filled so marathon runners can take them and go.

Those interested please drop me a comment. You can also bring your friends along with you. Please note that only males are allowed.

Previous Posting
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2007/10/sg-marathon-2007-job-lobang.html

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

SGX - 43.7% Falls On 16 Oct 2007

Bad news around the financial world resulted in 43.7% of stocks fall in SGX on 16 Oct 2007. I managed to sell off 1 for profit taking.

Summary
43.7% Fall
13.1% Rise
43.2% Unchanged

Extracted from SGX

Finally Got My Doughnut

After so many months, I managed to have my first bite on the popular doughnuts from The Donut Factory. I bought it from Suntec City. Yummy! I am gonna have them again very soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Verify Email Address

This free service to verify the validity of an email address not only check for the format of email addresses, it even goes to the extent in verifying the existence of email addresses.

http://verify-email.org/

Saturday, October 13, 2007

SG Marathon 2007 Job Lobang

Firstly, I would like to thank Yong Kiat for pointing out the wrong in date as posted below. I have corrected it to be 2 Dec 2007. Anyway, all vacancies have been filled vacancies still OPEN.

Anyone interested in working as a "Water Boy / Girl" for this coming SG Marathon 2007 Event? It's on 12 Dec 2007 2 Dec 2007 from 12am to approximately 12pm. Basic job scope is to mix "100 Plus" isotonic drinks (cordial + water + ice) at selected water points and enusre cups are filled so marathon runners can take them and go.

Those interested please drop me a comment. You can also bring your friends along with you.

Oracle Offers to Buy BEA Systems for US$6.7 Billion

Oracle has offered to buy its struggling rival, BEA Systems, for $6.7 billion in its latest shot aimed at SAP, another industry leader in the business software battle.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/12/business/oracle.php

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Business Excellence Awards

Singapore has just announced the Year 2007 award winners for The Business Excellence Awards. The Business Excellence Awards recognise organisations for their successful pursuit of business excellence.

Singapore Quality Award (SQA)

Recipients - Conrad Centennial Singapore, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Technologies Engineering

The SQA is the pinnacle award for organisations with outstanding business management capabilities. With the Prime Minister as its patron, the Singapore Quality Award (SQA) is the most prestigious award to recognise organisations for the highest standards of business excellence. The award is presented to organisations which have demonstrated outstanding management capabilities and delivered superior performance or results. Just 3 organisations are awarded SQA this year - Conrad Centennial Singapore, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Technologies Engineering.

Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation

Recipients - Singapore Police Force and Singapore Technologies Engineering

This award is presented the first time. Past Singapore Quality Award winners can apply for the SQA with Special Commendation at least five years after winning the SQA. This award recognises past SQA winners for scaling greater heights of business excellence and for demonstrating global leadership in key business areas. Past Singapore Quality Award (SQA) winners ST Engineering and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) received the SQA with Special Commendation Award, which is being given out for the first time. Only ST Engineering and SPF are awarded SQA more than once. Both organisations were awarded SQA in year 2002.

People Excellence Award

Recipients - G2000 Apparel (S) Pte Ltd

The People Excellence (PE) Award is the highest accolade given to organisations for people excellence. The PE Award recognises organisations for excellence in developing their people for business success. G2000 Apparel (S) Pte Ltd is the winner for this award.

Innovation Excellence Award

Recipients - Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd

The Innovation Excellence Award is the highest accolade given to organisations for innovation excellence. The award recognises organisations for their outstanding innovation management capabilities. This year, Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd is the winner.

Service Excellence Award

Recipients - Conrad Centennial Singapore

The Service Excellence Award is the highest accolade given to organisations for service excellence. The award recognises organisations that have developed outstanding management capabilities to drive and sustain service excellence. Just one organisation, Conrad Centennial Singapore, is receiving the award this year.



More information on The Business Excellence can be found from SPRING Singapore.

http://www.spring.gov.sg/Content/ModulePage.aspx?group=nw&id=4f8dda4a-2286-44aa-bb90-35cbd5648d53

Microsoft Squashes Excel Multiply Bug

Microsoft has come out with a fix on "Excel 2007 Can't Multiply" bug.

Excel 2007 Can't Multiply
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2007/09/excel-2007-cant-multiply.html

Excel 2007 Can't Multiply - Fix
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2194391,00.asp

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The New ST Index Revisit

I attach a graphical illustration on the new ST Index. Just 26 out of the current 48 components remain.
Extract from The Business Times

Friday, October 05, 2007

Revamped STI starting constituents for 8 October 2007 (30 constituents)

The new components for STI is more or less predictable.

The New Straits Times Index (STI) Components

CAPITALAND
CAPITAMALL TRUST
CITY DEVELOPMENTS
COSCO CORP SINGAPORE
DBS GROUP HOLDINGS
FRASER AND NEAVE
GENTING INTERNATIONAL
HONG KONG LAND
JARDINE CYCLE & CARRIAGE
JARDINE STRATEGIC
KEPPEL CORP
KEPPEL LAND
NEPTUNE ORIENT LINES
NOBLE GROUP
OLAM INTERNATIONAL
OVERSEAS CHINESE BANKING
SEMBCORP INDUSTRIES
SEMBCORP MARINE
SIA ENGINEERING
SINGAPORE AIRLINES
SINGAPORE EXCHANGE
SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS
SINGAPORE TECHNOLOGIES ENGINEERING
SINGAPORE TELECOM
STARHUB
THAI BEVERAGE
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK
WILMAR INTERNATIONAL
YANGZIJIANG SHIPBLDG HLDGS
YANLORD LAND GROUP

http://info.sgx.com/webnewscentre.nsf/b9c790d0d5ba5d2548256dcf0049ce28/48256838002f07b14825736b003f8d7c

3 Days of Demo

From Wed (3 Oct) to Fri (5 Oct), I had my Software Acceptance Test (SWAT). It involved people from various goverment agencies to evaluate the system my project team had developed. This is not the final version but it still took us 3 days to complete the test.

First 2 days were my show. I had to go through all the individual test cases.

The first day was reserved to showing all the functionalities that were agreed upon on many previous user requirements sessions. Lucky there were no major problems except some minor MMI changes. There was this particular evaluator from XXXX agency who kept asking questions that did not add any value at all. One of the many stupid questions from him is "why must we set a restrict users from entering values outside 15-25 XX units". My answer to him is straight and simple - "Reason being the system engineer gave me this range and have told me with this range, output will be guaranteed and optimal. Anything outside this range cannot be guaranteed with well calibrated output". I thought this was such a small issue and I did not see this input restriction would in any way affect the software. If in any case the system engineer allow a wider or narrower range, I would just have to change the range check. It would not take me much effort in doing so. Couldn't he just understand and move on? Why debating over such a minute issue for hours! Even the end-users with no technical knowledge could understand.

On the second day of my demo, I was to conduct Full Load Test, Endurance Test, Reserve Requirement Test, and Free Play Test. All these 4 tests were conducted together in a span of 6 hours! I left the system running for the next 6 hours and incorporating full load scenario to see if system still performed normally. At regular intervals, available CPU and RAM usage readings were recorded to ensure there should have 50% available resource at any point in time. Concurrently, end-users were to start using and hands-on the system. They were also allowed to "crash" the system to test how well it could handle erroneous inputs. All went smoothly.

On the third day, first half of the day was my colleague's show while the second half was more like 50-50 affair for us. Again, the XXXX irritating guy brought up his many problematic unnecessary questions again. He even argued over a statement my boss wrote on the Minutes of Meeting. My boss wrote - ".. shall revert on the cost/schedule, if any...". I thought it was a fair statement for both sides. There's a change request and it's an action item. Of course if the change is going to be effortless, demanding for additional money or timeframe would be unreasonable, and if the change is going to be an impact, then it's right for us to request for extra man-months. However, the XXXX guy just could not see the picture. We spent hours debating over this statement. He is a very stubborn person.

Oh ya, I almost forgot to mention the 3 days feast! In these 3 days, there were 2 tea breaks and lunch being catered for! Tea breaks were those standard style often seen provided by catering service. However, I would say the lunch being catered for were quite incredible. All the 3 lunches I had come with a 6 course package plus 1 additional huge plate of nicely cut fresh fruits. The 6 course package comprised of 1 whole fish, chicken, pork, prawns, beancurd and vegetable. Menu for the 3 days were all different. Lunches were not from catering service but rather, it's from our canteen so all dishes were all freshly cooked right out of the oven. Fresh fruits comprises of grapes, oranges, dragon fruits and kiwi. Really had a very filling lunch for the past 3 days.

Ok, back to reality.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

881 OST - 最后一口气



*Chinese lyrics

《最后一口气》
演唱:明珠姐妹

有病有痛真干苦
wu bin wu tia jin gan ko
Suffering from sickness and pain is so torturous,
出出入入四排埔
chu chu lip lip si pai po
Shuffling in and out of four-bounded walls [the hospital].
打针会落头发
pa zan eh lak tao mo
Injections cause the hair to fall,
吃药强要吐
jia yo kiong be tou
While the strong medicine induces nausea;
归日倒块眠床铺
gui jit dou teh min cheng po
Waiting for the end whilst bed-ridden.

求天公我来求佛祖
kiow ti gong gua lai kiow hu zuo
Begging the gods, and begging Buddha,
乎我好好来行路
hu gua ho ho lai kia lou
To let me go in peace.
叫父母您著来娶我
kiuo bei bu nin diu lai chua gua
Calling out to my parents, you must come and fetch me,
娶我甲您来作伴
chua gua ka nin lai zou pa
Fetching me to accompany you [in the afterlife].

今年只有四十外
kin ni zi wu si zap gua
I'm only 40 plus this year,
乎病甲我来折磨
hu bin jia gua lai zhe bua
Yet sickness comes to torture me.
死袜死 活袜活
si bue si wa bue wa
Wishing for death, but unable to die; wishing for life, yet unable to truly live.
剩半条命地啦拖
chun pua diao mia di lei tua
Left with half a life, being a burden to others.

Chorus x2

人生我已经看破
lin sieng gua yi geng kua pua
I have seen past this ephemerality called life.

881 OST - 一人一半 (One Half)

You may watch and listen to this nice song for a Singapore local production by Royston Tan, 881. It is a touching and insightful film on the ‘Getai’ scene in Singapore.


*Chinese lyrics

《一人一半》
演唱:伍加輝
改編詞:小寒 曲:伍加輝

一人一半 感情不散
一人一素故 感情才會久
時光累計 安靜的淚滴
一心去追 愛那么可貴

Chorus:
這樣的人 這樣地等
無非是等個回應眼神
為愛翻滾 不計傷痕
甘心為你一生都浮沉

這樣的人 別笑我蠢
傻傻的 心痛也不覺疼
就算天冷 就算殘忍
等你想起這沒用的人

一人一半 感情不散
已經找到愛 為何要離開

時光累計 安靜的淚滴
一心去追 愛那么可貴

Repeat Chorus*

一人一半 感情不散
已經找到愛 為何要離開
已經找到愛 為何先離開

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