Sunday, August 31, 2008

Singapore First Olympic Medallist Tan Howe Liang Receives S$10,000

Singapore's very own first Olympic medallist Tan Howe Liang receives S$10,000 after 48 years from that fateful memorable day. This sounds like a back-dated cheque to me. If Singapore did not manage to win silver medal in Beijing Olympics 2008, I wonder if Mr Tan will ever receive this $10K cheque.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/372915/1/.html

Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta 2 Reviews

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/08/internet-explorer-8-beta-2-ie-looks.html

Friday, August 29, 2008

Majority Recently Listed IPOs Not Performing

Majority of all recently listed IPOs closed closed below their debut prices. Many companies have shelved plans to get their companies listed in view of current market sentiments.

Below is a list of 30 recent IPOs listed on the Singapore Exchange in reverse chronological order. All except 3 are trading above waters at least at this point in time and they are China FirbreTech Ltd, Old Chang Kee Ltd and Wee Hur Holdings Ltd.
Company      Current$ IPO$   %Chg
Qualitas - 0.250 - (Pending Listing)
Hai Leck 0.225 0.260 -13.46
Qian Feng 0.145 0.200 -27.50
Tritech 0.150 0.200 -25.00
Artivision 0.120 0.200 -40.00
ZhguoPengjie 0.155 0.230 -32.61
KencanaAgri 0.235 0.305 -22.95
Heng Long 0.285 0.340 -16.18
Healthway 0.120 0.360 -66.67
ChinaFibreT 0.270 0.210 28.57
Mencast 0.230 0.280 -17.86
CombineWill 0.135 0.230 -41.30
SinoConst 0.190 0.390 -51.28
Indiabulls 0.580 1.000 -42.00
ChinaTaisan 0.185 0.240 -22.92
HISAKA 0.200 0.230 -13.04
ChinaZaino 0.415 0.600 -30.83
ChinaEratat 0.175 0.300 -41.67
Joyas 0.230 0.290 -20.69
Li Heng 0.535 0.800 -33.12
Roxy-Pacific 0.220 0.300 -26.67
Samko 0.350 0.550 -36.36
Yongmao 0.325 0.350 -7.14
CentraLand 0.495 0.500 -1.00
Wee Hur 0.255 0.250 2.00
Afor 0.205 0.330 -37.88
OldChangK 0.210 0.200 5.00
UtdOAus 0.150 0.380 -60.53
JES 0.225 0.670 -66.42
KTL Global 0.265 0.280 -5.36

Different Types of Software Testing

Static black-box testing involves examination the specification and looking for problems before they get written into the software.

Dynamic black-box testing involves testing the software without knowing how it works.

Static white-box testing involves examining the details of the written code through formal reviews and inspections.

Dynamic white-box testing involves testing the software when you can see how it works and basing your tests on that information.

12 Sly Web Tricks That Put You in Control

The PC World published an article on "12 Sly Web Tricks That Put You in Control". The tricks unveiled are useful but some people may find some overdone.

12 Sly Web Tricks That Put You in Control
http://www.pcworld.com/article/150141/slytricks.html

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta 2 Release And Its Features

Microsoft has just released Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta 2 for public download.

Download Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta 2
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/beta/worldwide-sites.aspx

LifeHacker has an article on the new IE 8.0 Beta 2 upcoming features.

Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta 2 New Features
http://lifehacker.com/5042941/internet-explorer-8-beta-2s-familiar-new-features

SQL Server 2008: Table-valued parameters (New Feature)

http://www.simple-talk.com/community/blogs/andras/archive/2008/08/27/69298.aspx

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Study Details Before Buying Endowment Policies

When buying endowment policies, it is best to make sure you get decent returns. Is it guaranteed? Make sure the guaranteed portion is higher than the amount paid t us far. A benefit illustration can paint a rousy picture but in practice, some companies can not keep to their projection and end up giving less.

Watch out for new policies coming up especially those ones heavily marketed and promoted to be the one and only best. There is no free lunch.

Standard Chartered's e$aver Accounts Interest Rates Now At 0.5%

Standard Chartered's e$aver Accounts interest rates is now 0.5% down from 0.78% for deposits less than S$50,000. It is their number 6th drop since its launch.

MayBank's iSavvy account interest rate offering still remain constant at 0.88%.

My previous post on e$aver and iSavvy
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2008/04/maybank-isavvy-savings-account-interest.html

The Paper Airplane Guy In Singapore

Mr John Collins, renowned as The Paper Airplane Guy is now in Singapore from the USA to conduct his popular workshop from 23 to 29 August 08 at Science Centre. DSO National Laboratories and Science Centre Singapore jointly organized a competition - Singapore Amazing Flying Machine Competition 2009 and invite all students to create flying machines that can fly faster, higher and further.

The above YouTube video shows a demo by John Collins on his paper airplane creations.

Singapore Amazing Flying Machine Competition 2009
http://www.safmc.com.sg/

Google Suggest Now On Google Homepage

Google Suggest is going to graduate from Google Labs and is now going to migrate to Google Search.

However, this new integration of Google Suggest is only available to the main Google home meaning to say, it is still not available on your localized Google page. To access the main Google page, go to http://www.google.com/ncr. Once you have visited http://www.google.com/ncr, Google will force you to http://www.google.com/ by default instead of your localized Google home.

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/08/google-suggest-enabled-by-default.html

Singapore's Manufacturing Output Down 21.9% in July

Yet another dismal economic news, Singapore's manufacturing output is down 21.9% in July. This is going to cause a further drop in Singapore dollar.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/371735/1/.html

Monday, August 25, 2008

9th U.S. Bank, The Columbian Bank and Trust Company, Declared Closed

On August 22, 2008, The Columbian Bank and Trust Company, Topeka, KS was closed by the Kansas Office of the State Bank Commissioner and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver.

The Columbian Bank and Trust Company is the number 9th bank to close after the sub-prime crisis started.

Announcement from FDIC
http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/columbian.html

Increase LINQ Query Performance On Large Datasets

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/magazine/cc721610.aspx

Singapore CPI Up 6.5% In Jul 2008 Y-O-Y

Today, the Singapore government announced GDP (Gross Domestic Product) up 2.1% in 2Q2008 while CPI (Consumer Price Index) up 6.5% in Jul 2008. The CPI for Jul 2008 increased by 1.2% over Jun 2008 due mainly to higher costs of housing and food.

Singapore Department of Statistics Press Release
http://www.singstat.gov.sg/news/news/cpijul2008.pdf

Singapore to Keep Currency Policy Unchanged

According to Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang, the Singapore government will continue to keep its current policy of keeping Singapore dollar strong despite of the now apparent weaker GDP growth and poorer manufacturing data. This policy is set to stay at least until the Singapore government next meeting on October for a round of monetary policy review.

Singapore has since from October 2007, being using SNEER (Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate) instead of interest rate to appreciate Singapore dollar gradually.

Today, the Singapore government announced GDP (Gross Domestic Product) up 2.1% in 2Q2008 while CPI (Consumer Price Index) up 6.5% in Jul 2008. The CPI for Jul 2008 increased by 1.2% over Jun 2008 due mainly to higher costs of housing and food.

Singapore Department of Statistics Press Release
http://www.singstat.gov.sg/news/news/cpijul2008.pdf

Ministers Should Taste Public Transport Experience

Few days ago, Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, took the lead in trying out their public transport during rush hour. After a trip on monorail train, he admitted and agreed with the citizens that travelling using public transport was not a pleasant one. He commented late trains and overcrowded trains being the 2 more serious flaws.

I thought Badawi's initiative in taking up this "challenge" and courage to criticize public transport system is a worthy one. I hope the Singapore government can do likewise to have a feel themselves. A trip down to taking public transport should be kept low profile and please do not bring an entourage of body guards or ministers along. Bringing an entourage can end up they clearing the crowd ahead before the minister step into a train. This will make the original intent meaningless.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Singapore Li Jiawei Mentioned 中国人

In a previous interview by CCTV.com, Singapore table tennis paddler but Beijing born Li Jiawei mentioned 中国人 (Chinese from China) instead of 华人 (Chinese). Is this an identity crisis or just a mere identity mixed-up?

Interview on Baidu.com
http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kz=426895254

Identity Crisis??
http://fireopal82.blogspot.com/2008/08/identity-crisis.html

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mozilla Firefox TraceMonkey: JavaScript Lightspeed

Mozilla CTO, Brendan, is pleased to announce the launch of TraceMonkey, an evolution of Firefox's SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine for Firefox 3.1 that uses a new kind of Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler to boost JS performance by an order of magnitude or more.

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roadmap/archives/2008/08/tracemonkey_javascript_lightsp.html

Temasek's Holdings Assets Grew 13%

TEMASEK Holdings's assets grew 13 per cent to $185 billion in its latest financial year, despite a turbulent period for equity markets. You may also be interested in an earlier post made by myself.

Temasek assets grow to $185b
http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2BNews/Story/STIStory_270588.html

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Microsoft Photosynth Goes Live

Looks interesting and I shall try it one day.

Microsoft Photosynth
http://photosynth.net/default.aspx

Microsoft Photosynth Goes Live
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2328541,00.asp

One Quarter of Beijing Olympics Table Tennis Players Are China Born

Few days ago, I voiced my displeasure against using foreign talent to represent a foreign country in a sports event. ALL paddlers representing Singapore in this year's Olympics are from China. This trend is being seen in many other countries e.g. United States, Germany, Australia, e.t.c. It is an interesting phenomenon.

From Red Sports, 25% of all table tennis players at Beijing Olympics are from China but are representing their new country. Some like Gao Jun, who won silver for China in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics, emigrated to the USA and am now playing for USA.

Currently, all table tennis players who got into the women's semi finals at Beijing Olympics are born in China (3 representing China and 1 for Singapore). One thing I am certain is no matter what, all of these medalists (gold, silver or bronze) will be able to understand the China's national anthem should China win eventually.

Women (29 China-born athletes out of 78 singles players or 37%)

Australia
Lay Jian Fang
Miao Miao
Sang Stephanie Xu

Austria
Liu Jia
Li Qiangbing

Canada
Zhang Mo
Judy Long

Congo
Yang Fen

Dominican Republic
Qian Lian
Wu Xue

France
Xian Yi Fang

Germany
Wu Jiaduo

Italy
Tan Monfardini Wenling

Korea
Dang Ye Seo

Luxembourg
Ni Xia Lian

Netherlands
Li Jie
Li Jiao

Poland
Li Qian
Xu Jie

Singapore
Feng Tianwei
Li Jia Wei
Wang Yue Gu

Spain
Shen Yanfei
Zhu Fang

Turkey
Hu Melek

United States
Wang Chen
Gao Jun
Jacqueline Lee
Crystal Wang

Men (11 China-born athletes out of 77 singles players or 14%)

Argentina
Liu Song

Austria
Chen Weixing

Canada
Zhang Peng

Croatia
Tan Ruiwu

Dominican Republic
Lin Ju

Singapore
Gao Ning
Yang Zi

Spain
He Zhi Wen

Turkey
Zeng Cem

Ukraine
Kou Lei

United States
David Zhuang

The Chinese sporting diaspora: one-quarter of all table tennis players at Beijing Olympics are from China
http://redsports.sg/2008/08/16/china-diaspora-table-tennis/

Singapore Paddler Gao Ning Crashes Out in Just 24 Minutes

Singapore's foreign import from China, Gao Ning, has crashed out of the Beijing Olympics in a fashionable way. Not only did he lost his third round match against Croatia's Tan Ruiwu in just 24 minutes. Croatia's Tan Ruiwu. From past history, Gao Ning should be the favourite to win the match but he lose it too easily partly could be due to him taking up the challenge alone without any coach with him. This is a shame to Singapore! The video footage showing Gao Ning in tears during post match interview and he leaving the event alone really brings shame to us. Where are those coaches?

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/370476/1/.html

American Airlines First to Offer Onboard WiFi Service

American Airlines today became the first airline to offer onboard WiFi service for its fliers. As expected from previous reports, the Aircell Gogo service will be available for passengers willing to pay the $12.95 surcharge for flights that are more than three hours in length.

American Airlines Officially Rolls Out In-flight WiFi
http://www.dailytech.com/American+Airlines+Officially+Rolls+Out+Inflight+WiFi/article12727.htm

Temasek Holdings Assets Worth S$185 Billion

As reported by the Temasek Holdings, its assets now total S$185 Billion. It could have been more if they have not lost billions in Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Barclays Capital, Australand, ABC Learning Centre, etc.

Singapore's Temasek says assets worth US$131 Billion
http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSSIN5476820080821

Rumours Abound in Singapore Concerning Temasek Loss
http://www.reuters.com/article/blogBurst/investing?type=hotStocksNews&w1=B7ovpm21IaDoL40ZFnNfGe&w2=B7pJeHult9GszE37UXlSpmUm&src=blogBurst_investingNews&bbPostId=CzD9fkH5tiJ3DB4cgYqCx58KXB2txf8iHbT0mBDTVaxgHUPLM&bbParentWidgetId=B7gSUbux1hpbz8uOa7TWsLnV

Is Singapore Losing Its Investment Acumen?
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2008/07/is-singapore-losing-its-investment.html

Chinese Seems to be Everywhere for Table Tennis

It seems to me Chinese are dominating the table tennis events in this Beijing Olympics 2008. For Team Singapore, all players both male and female are all Chinese originating from China. Likewise, many countries like U.S.A and Croatia are also fielding Chinese for their national team. I am not sure their roots and I shall not assume they are from China.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

.NET Reflector Acquired By Red Gate

Red Gate has recently acquired .NET Reflector and they will continue to maintain a free version for the benefit of the community.

.NET Reflector enables you to easily view, navigate, and search through the class hierarchies of .NET assemblies even if you don't have the code for them. With it, you can decompile and analyse .NET assemblies in C#, Visual Basic and IL.

The question now is how to obfuscate your assemblies? I have heard ways on how to obfuscate your code and perhaps I may talk more on obfuscation next time if time permits.

.NET Reflector
http://www.red-gate.com/products/reflector/

Aussie Central Bank Signals Early Interest Rates Cut

The Aussie Central Bank has voiced necessity to cut key interest rates early to counter economic slowdown. With that, the Australian dollar is set for a steeper fall after an already falling Aussie dollar. See how the Aussie dollar has performed for the past few months. In case many are also interested in the Kiwi dollars, I have included its performance as well.

Australian Dollar Against US Dollar
http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?amt=1&to=USD&from=AUD

Australian Dollar Against Singapore Dollar
http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?amt=1&from=AUD&to=SGD

New Zealand Dollar Against US Dollar
http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?amt=1&to=USD&from=NZD

New Zealand Dollar Against Singapore Dollar
http://sg.finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?amt=1&from=NZD&to=SGD

Risk of deeper Australian slowdown: central bank
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5guwXk77ZM16V-1mEQGyAbxFzLE_w

Monday, August 18, 2008

China's Sensation Liu Xiang Limped Out of Olympics

I was watching Liu Xiang line up for his first ever heats run in his pet atheletics event - 110m hurdles this morning around 11.30am. I was expecting a close battle among Liu Xiang and his peers with the fact that he just returned from an injury and had no sufficient runs before the games. As everyone in the canteen was anticipating an exciting run from Liu Xiang, he limped out and gave up the Olympics after a false start. I like the rest, was stunned and equally confused at what was going on until Liu Xiang removed his race stickers off his left leg.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jamesreynolds/2008/08/liu_xiang_out.html

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hai Leck Holdings Limited

Hai Leck Holdings Limited is offering 85,000,000 new shares at $0.26 each of which 4,500,000 shares will be by way of public offer and the rest by placement. The IPO opens from will close on 26 Aug 2008 12 noon. Hai Leck shares will start trading on 28 Aug 2008 9am.

Established in the early 1970s, Hai Leck Holdings Limited is an integrated service provider of scaffolding, corrosion prevention and insulation works mainly for the oil & gas and petrochemical industries. With an established track record of approximately 30 years, the Group has a strong customer base comprising various oil and gas and petrochemical companies with activities primarily conducted on Jurong Island. It is also the resident authorised contractor for maintenance works for oil majors.

Its competitors are not doing very well in current times and I am not sure how Hai Leck will fare. Of the last 30 IPOs launched in the Singapore Exchange, only 5 counters manage to survive and trade above IPO price.

Fingers crossed.

Protect Your Kids Online Using Open DNS

I thought this method is pretty good to restrict internet web surfing in a D.I.Y. fashion.

Protect Your Kids Online Using Open DNS
http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticgeek/2008/08/07/protect-your-kids-online-with-any-os-using-open-dns/

Trading for a Living

I quote a small little excerpt from Dr Alexander Elder's book - Trading for a Living below. Dr Alexander Elder is a professional stock trader living in New York and has written several books to share his views on trading.

"Many losers think that they would be successful if they could trade a bigger account. All losers get knocked out of the game by a string of losses or a single abysmally bad trade. Often, after the amateur is sold out, the market reverses and moves in the direction he expected. The loser is ready to kick either himself or his broker: Had he survived another week, he might have made a small fortune!

Losers take this reversal as a confirmation of their method. They earn, save, or borrow enough money to open another small account. The story repeats: The loser gets wiped out, the market reverses and "proves" the loser right, but only too late - he has been sold out again. That's when the fantasy is born:"If only i had a bigger account, i could have stayed in the market a little longer and won."

Some losers raise money from relatives and friends by showing them a paper track record. It seems to prove that they would have won big, if only they had had more money to work with. But if they raise more money, they lose that, too - it is as if the market were laughing at them!

A loser is not undercapitalized - his mind is underdeveloped. A loser can destroy a big account almost as quickly as a small one. He overtrades, and his money management is sloppy. He takes risks that are too big, whatever the size of his account. No matter how good his system is, a streak of bad trades is sure to put him out of business." - Trading for a Living

More Cars Means More ERP

Singapore Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, gave his reply on the ERP issues faced by many Singaporeans:

"When ERP was increased, we also reduced road tax and improved public transport. As a result, many more Singaporeans can now own cars. With more cars on the road, we need to increase ERP to keep traffic flowing."

http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_269100.html

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Singapore Table Tennis Women's Team Reaches Olympics Final

Singapore table tennis women's team finally reaches the Olympics final. This "feat" guarantees Singapore a medal of at least a silver and end Singapore's 48 years wait of a Olympics medal in any sporting event.

Am I as a Singaporean proud of this achievement? My answer is NO! The ENTIRE team makes up of sportswomen born in China but made Singapore citizens so they can represent Singapore. Few days back, Singapore swimmer, Tao Li, having finished 5th in a swimming event, was praised by the Singapore President. Tao Li was said go have made her fellow countrymen proud. Fellow countrymen? Tao Li herself was born in China and so fellow countrymen refers to China or Singapore?

The way things are running in Singapore disappoints me. I feel if there are no quality in our atheletics, so be it. The initiative to start our first Sports School is commendable and our Singapore born young men and women should be put more emphasis. To rely on foreign imports is just too much.

Google Android Phone Rumoured Out On Sep 17

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Google/?p=1118

Google Adsense Opens Up for Feeds

http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/08/google-tests-adsense-for-feeds.html

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Facebook Stands Atop Social Networking World

According to TechNewsWorld, Facebook has overtaken MySpace as the top global social network. Facebook now has 132 million unique visitors and that is an increase of 153%. MySpace ranks second at the behind Facebook at 113 million visitors while Hi5 grew its global audience 100 percent to land at 56 million unique visitors.

http://www.technewsworld.com/story/web20/64154.html

CPF Ordinary Account Interest Rate Stays at 2.5%

The Board will continue to pay 2.50% interest per annum for members' CPF savings in their OA from 1 October 2008 to 31 December 2008.

CPF Ordinary Account Interest Rate From 1 October 2008 To 31 December 2008
http://mycpf.cpf.gov.sg/CPF/News/News-Release/N_13Aug2008.htm

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Singapore 2Q 2008 Trade Performance and Outlook for 2008

Highlights
  • Singapore’s total trade rose by 17 per cent to reach $243 billion in 2Q 2008. The growth in total trade was mainly driven by a 67 per cent increase in oil trade, which brings the total trade growth in 1H 2008 to 17 per cent.
  • NODX fell by 5.5 per cent in 2Q 2008 due to lower electronic and non-electronic NODX. Of the top ten NODX markets, the US, the EU 27 and Thailand made the highest contributions to the NODX decrease. NODX contracted by 2.4 per cent in 1H 2008 due to a decrease in electronic domestic exports.
  • On the other hand, NORX increased by 7.3 per cent in 2Q 2008 because of higher electronic and non-electronic NORX. This brought NORX growth in 1H 2008 to 6.2 per cent.
  • The projected total trade growth in 2008 has been revised up to between 9.0 and 11 per cent from the previous forecast of 6.0 to 8.0 per cent while NODX growth is expected to be -4.0 to -2.0 per cent, down from the earlier projection of 2.0 to 4.0 per cent.
http://www.iesingapore.gov.sg/wps/portal/PressRelease?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/My+Portal/Main/Press+Room/Press+Releases/2008/Review+of+2Q+2008+Trade+Performance

Creating Online Forms Easier With Google

It is now even easier to create online web forms with Google Docs now.

Easier Way to Create Forms in Google Docs
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/08/easier-way-to-create-forms-in-google.html

Few months back, I made a post on creating forms using Google Docs. That's the "old" way of doing things.

Creating Contact Us Form Using Google Docs
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2008/05/creating-contact-us-form-using-google.html

Monday, August 11, 2008

Google Page Creator Service Discontinued

Google has decided to discontinue Google Page Creator service by end of this year. Google has shifted their focus to Google Sites instead. I have not really do a hands-on on Google Sites but I heard it is more advanced and definitely not going to be user-friendly for amateur users. If I am correct, embedding of JavaScript scripts is not supported at the moment. I do hope this basic web capability will be supported before Page Creator retires.

Google Announces:

We are no longer accepting new sign-ups for Page Creator because we have shifted our focus to developing Google Sites, which offers many of the capabilities of Page Creator along with new features like site-level navigation, site-level headers, control over who can see and edit your site, and rich embeddings like calendars, videos, and Google docs.

If you are currently a Page Creator user, you can continue to use Page Creator and your pages will automatically be transitioned to Google Sites later this year. We are committed to making this transition as smooth and easy as possible, and we will post more details as we get closer to the transition time. You can also manually move your web pages from Page Creator to Google Sites or other service providers at any time.

Google Page Creator Announcement
http://pages.google.com/-/about.html

Aurora Browser 4 Parts Video Released

The Mozilla Foundation has unveiled Aurora, a totally new concept on the future of web browsing. Adaptive Path, a San Francisco-based design firm that is developing Aurora for Mozilla Labs, have released the four-parts video.

Aurora (Part 1)


Aurora (Part 2)


Aurora (Part 3)


Aurora (Part 4)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Comments on National Day 2008 Message (Chinese) By DPM Wong

As raised in an earlier post, I have commented on government's decision in assigning Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng as the speaker for this year's National Day Message 2008 (Chinese). I must say Mr Wong's fluency in Chinese has improved quite a bit as compared to last year's, however, his English accent is still very strong. I definitely prefer listening to someone else.

Singapore Growth Revised to 4% - 5% From National Day Message 2008

From the National Day Message 2008, the Singapore government has revised growth to 4% - 5% from an earlier estimates of 4% - 6%.

For the whole year, we expect growth to be between 4 and 5%.

Full National Day Message 2008 (English Text)
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/nationalday/message_english.htm

Full National Day Message 2008 (English Video)
Quality: Low | High

Comparison of Movie Ticket Prices Soon

I shall be making a post on the prices of movie tickets in Singapore early next week. I will make reference from Golden Village Multiplex Pte Ltd, Cathay Cineplexes Pte Ltd, Shaw Theatres Pte Ltd and Eng Wah Organisation Limited.

Confucius Was First Programmer - Rectification of Names

When writing a software, programmers are strongly advised to give appropriate names for variables so that the name itself tells its essence. This is an important feature of communicative programming style with the code communicating itself without the need for comments, explanations, apologies, and so forth. Any programmer taking over the piece of code will be able to read and comprehend it.

If you don't know, Confucius, a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, once emphasised the importance of names. Confucius's teachings - 'Rectification of Names' thought us names must be meaningful. Confucius was the first programmer!

Confucius’ Rectification of Names

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan


That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

http://agilemanifesto.org/

Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice

Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (Short Version)

PREAMBLE

The short version of the code summarizes aspirations at a high level of the abstraction; the clauses that are included in the full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals. Without the aspirations, the details can become legalistic and tedious; without the details, the aspirations can become high sounding but empty; together, the aspirations and the details form a cohesive code.

Software engineers shall commit themselves to making the analysis, specification, design, development, testing and maintenance of software a beneficial and respected profession. In accordance with their commitment to the health, safety and welfare of the public, software engineers shall adhere to the following Eight Principles:
  1. PUBLIC - Software engineers shall act consistently with the public interest.

  2. CLIENT AND EMPLOYER - Software engineers shall act in a manner that is in the best interests of their client and employer consistent with the public interest.

  3. PRODUCT - Software engineers shall ensure that their products and related modifications meet the highest professional standards possible.

  4. JUDGMENT - Software engineers shall maintain integrity and independence in their professional judgment.

  5. MANAGEMENT - Software engineering managers and leaders shall subscribe to and promote an ethical approach to the management of software development and maintenance.

  6. PROFESSION - Software engineers shall advance the integrity and reputation of the profession consistent with the public interest.

  7. COLLEAGUES - Software engineers shall be fair to and supportive of their colleagues.

  8. SELF - Software engineers shall participate in lifelong learning regarding the practice of their profession and shall promote an ethical approach to the practice of the profession.
Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (Short Version)
http://www.acm.org/about/se-code#short

Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (Full Version)
http://www.acm.org/about/se-code#full

Please take note of the clause:

This Code may be published without permission as long as it is not changed in any way and it carries the copyright notice. Copyright (c) 1999 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Watch the Olympics Online

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Watch_the_Olympics_Online

Mozilla Looking Into New Aurora Browser For New Generation of Browsers

The Mozilla Foundation has unveiled Aurora, a totally new concept on the future of web browsing. Adaptive Path, a San Francisco-based design firm that is developing Aurora for Mozilla Labs, will release the video in four parts.

Below are the first 2 parts. I shall release the next 2 parts once they are out.

Aurora (Part 1)


Aurora (Part 2)

http://lifehacker.com/399880/aurora-concept-video-proposes-the-future-of-the-web

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Is Customer Feedback Survey Useless?

Is customer feedback survey useless? Has it lost its original intention?

A "Customer Feedback Survey" is often used when a project completes or a master contract expires. Customers are to fill in a customer feedback survey form to indicate how satisfied are they on a project outcome. A rating scale is usually used, for example, rating of 1 indicates "Poor" and a 5 indicates "Excellent".

This system may seem to be quite effective, however, there lies a very serious defect. Problem arises when customers start giving majority rating of 5 for good which is lower than excellent. This realistically exists when the relationship between the customer and the provider is good. Another different customer may give a rating of 4.5 to reflect excellent. See the catch? I personally feel a score of 4.5 out of 5 is already in the excellent band, however, he may end up in a lower band due to another customer giving 5 for a mere "Good". In real world, the guy giving a rating of 4.5 may end up getting a "scolding". Who knows all will give 5 the next time!

Back to my questions on the effectiveness of "Customer Feedback Survey", I have actually given my answers above.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Google Launches Insights

http://lifehacker.com/399946/google-launches-insights

"Velocity" in Software Engineering Context

"Velocity" is like "ideal engineering time". It is the total time you can spend each day on the project, minus breaks, pep talks, and other irrelevancies. For example, if we normally work on a project six hours a day, and two hours disappear somewhere, the velocity is 0.75.

Friendster Wins $20 Million, Google Exec as CEO

Another Google executive, Richard Kimber, former regional managing director of South Asia at Google, has jumped ship for the world of social networking, Friendster.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2327275,00.asp

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

SGX Monthly Volume Shrinks Sharply

On July 2008, the volume and value traded on Singapore Exchange (SGX) shrank sharply down to 24.2 billions units and $29.6 billion respectively.

'Two words to describe the low volumes: risk aversion,' said UOB-Kay Hian analyst K Ajith. 'Basically there's little confidence in the market right now,' he noted.

Above table and quote are from the Business Times, 05 Aug 08.

.NET DirectoryInfo.GetFiles() Method Unexpected Behaviour On 3-Letter Extension

According to an article from the MSDN, DirectoryInfo.GetFiles() method will give unexpected behaviour on 3-letter extensions. I quote Microsoft as below:

When using the asterisk wildcard character in a searchPattern (for example, "*.txt"), the matching behavior varies depending on the length of the specified file extension. A searchPattern with a file extension of exactly three characters returns files with an extension of three or more characters, where the first three characters match the file extension specified in the searchPattern. A searchPattern with a file extension of one, two, or more than three characters returns only files with extensions of exactly that length that match the file extension specified in the searchPattern. When using the question mark wildcard character, this method returns only files that match the specified file extension. For example, given two files in a directory, "file1.txt" and "file1.txtother", a search pattern of "file?.txt" returns only the first file, while a search pattern of "file*.txt" returns both files.

The following list shows the behavior of different lengths for the searchPattern parameter:
  • "*.abc" returns files having an extension of .abc, .abcd, .abcde, .abcdef, and so on.
  • "*.abcd" returns only files having an extension of .abcd.
  • "*.abcde" returns only files having an extension of .abcde.
  • "*.abcdef" returns only files having an extension of .abcdef. 

Because this method checks against file names with both the 8.3 file name format and the long file name format, a search pattern similar to "*1*.txt" may return unexpected file names. For example, using a search pattern of "*1*.txt" will return "longfilename.txt" because the equivalent 8.3 file name format would be "longf~1.txt".
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143327.aspx

WikiTaxi - Offline Wikipedia Wherever You Go

Did you ever want to take Wikipedia with you while you are offline? Call on WikiTaxi: It is a portable application that delivers the Wikipedia of your choice to wherever you go.

# Simple English (simplewiki), small download, less than 25 MB, excellent for your first WikiTaxi import and testing.

# English (enwiki), huge download, more than 3.5 GB.

WikiTaxi
http://wikitaxi.org/delphi/doku.php/products/wikitaxi/index

Monday, August 04, 2008

Windows Vista Performance and Tuning Guide By Microsoft

Microsoft has released a Windows Vista Performance Tuning Guide as a 14 paged PDF and XPS file that can be downloaded for free.

Windows Vista Performance and Tuning Guide
http://www.ghacks.net/2008/08/01/windows-vista-performance-and-tuning-guide/

Windows Vista Performance and Tuning Guide By Microsoft
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=ab377598-a637-432c-a3c8-1607ab629201&displaylang=en&tm#filelist

Aussie and Kiwi Dollar

The Aussie dollar had peaked and that interest rates would come down because mortgage delinquencies are at a 12-year high.

The New Zealand dollar was described as the Asia-Pacific most vulnerable currency as interest rates were cut for the first time in five years


The Straits Times, 29 Jul 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Do Not Forget Your Debit Cards If You Have Them

Do not forget you are still holding onto debit cards if you have them. I am warning you because they come with annual fee charges as well like credit cards. This is especially important for credit cards users because very likely, their debit cards must have left at home somewhere long forgotten. Their existence may even have been forgotten. Annual charges may even have taken into effect without you knowing it unless you update your passbook or view transactions using internet banking.

A possible solution is to terminate your existing debit cards.

Yahoo! Received 85% Vote in its Favour On AGM

On last Friday's annual general meeting, Yahoo! received 85% vote in Jerry Yang's favour. This vote is particularly important because it represents shareholders' vote of confidence towards CEO Jerry Yang's decision to not sell Yahoo! to rival Microsoft.

Yahoo board wins solid shareholder backing in vote
http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSN0151894020080803

National Day Rally 2008 Speakers

Like last year, this year's National Day Rally speakers are expected. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be the speaker for the English part while Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng will represent the Chinese part. I thought the ministers should have learnt their lesson and get someone fluent enough or at least able to pronounce Chinese well to replace DPM Wong. This is a national speech on national TV and perhaps watched internationally as well.

The ministers do not seem to have learnt their lesson.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Yet Another U.S. Bank Closes - 'First Priority Bank, Bradenton, FL'

On August 1, 2008, First Priority Bank, Bradenton, FL was closed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver. No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed.On August 1, 2008, First Priority Bank, Bradenton, FL was closed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver. No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed.

All insured non-brokered deposit accounts have been transferred to SunTrust Bank based in Atlanta, Georgia ("assuming institution") and will be available immediately. Your bank will re-open on Monday during regular business hours at the former First Priority Bank main office and branch locations.

As announced by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/firstprioritybank.html

First Priority becomes eighth bank failure this year
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/floridas-first-priority-becomes-eighth/story.aspx?guid=%7B58B4CD0A-E519-42C3-BAE3-EB1E73C00FE3%7D&dist=

Bank failures to surge in coming years
http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/bank-failures-surge-credit-crunch/story.aspx?guid=%7B2FCA4A0C%2D227D%2D48FE%2DB42C%2D8DDF75D838DA%7D

FCC No to Comcast Slowing Down BitTorrent Transfer Rate

Comcast, the largest cable company in the U.S., had claimed that BitTorrent traffic consumed a disproportionate amount of its network's bandwidth, degrading the Internet access of other customers. To 'fix' this, Comcast had installed equipment that slowed down, not block -- file transfers using BitTorrent. This move led public advocacy groups Free Press and Public Knowledge to file a complaint against the network provider, a complaint that the Federal Communications Commission upheld against Comcast.

http://www.techtree.com/India/News/Back_Off_the_Internet_--_FCC_to_Comcast/551-91750-643.html

McCain Campaign Ad Mocks Obama as The One

"Barack Obama may be 'The One' but is he ready to lead?" asked the narrator, rounding off the ad.

The ad played into the evolving McCain campaign narrative that Obama may be a talented orator and popular abroad, but is not yet ready to lead the United States in a time of war.

The latest McCain video was released as a furore raged over the previous McCain attack ad, which compared Obama to troubled popular culture divas Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and mocked his global celebrity.

McCain mocks 'anointed' Obama in new broadside
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/364457/1/.htmlh

Local Transport Operators Submit Face Adjustments Application Again

It is the same old story and I am sort of anticipate such move. Every August, we see local transport operators submitting applications for fare adjustments. When you see the word adjustments, it can only mean UP and not down. These going for-profit so-called public transport operators listed on stock market are answerable to shareholders and their yearly exercise does not seem to care much on the pockets of the citizens.

No wonder transport component is usually one of the main contributing factor to the now every high Consumer Price Index (CPI).

SBS Transit, SMRT submit applications for fare adjustments
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/364326/1/.html

Land Banking - Read This First

Before anyone pump in huge money on Land Banking, I suggest you to read the below link first. The debate as to the profitability or the prudence in Land Banking investment are left to the experts and not on me.

Some of the Land Banking companies I heard of are Profitable Plots Company Ltd, Walton Internation Group Inc and Royal Siam Trust Company.

Property Scam
http://www.propertyscam.org.uk/

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