Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekly Address: Milestones on the Economy and the Recovery Act

While there is nothing to celebrate until job numbers turn around, the President cites the recent dramatic turnaround in gross domestic product as a sign of better things to come. He also applauds the fact that the Recovery Act has now created or saved more than a million jobs.

Updated Full Google Twitter Accounts

Full list of Twitter accounts from Google Inc. can be found here.

Is going to court one method to monetize for Facebook?

UPDATE on Thursday, Oct. 29: Today, a San Jose, Calif. court awarded Facebook $711 million in damages against Sanford Wallace, one of the spammers who accessed people's accounts without their permission and sent phony Wall posts and messages. While we don't expect to receive the vast majority of the award, we hope that this will act as a continued deterrent against these criminals. Most notably, the judge referred Wallace to the U.S. Attorney's Office with a request that Wallace be prosecuted for criminal contempt, which means that in addition to the judgment, he now faces possible jail time. This is another important victory in our fight against spam. We will continue to pursue damages against other spammers.

The Fight Goes On [via]

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review on Experts-Exchange

Exchanging of the Experts

This morning, I want to examine another site useful to both PC and Mac users called Experts-exchange.com. This web site helps experts find their answers by connecting them with other experts in their and others’ industries. For those who want a quick answer, or just do not care to interact with other people, they can use the knowledge database of 2.6 million solutions from various experts. For those who want the most up to date answer, they can ask their question, which will receive an answer from one of their 50,000 experts. Most of the time those answers come only an hour after the question. For those who cannot wait for that possibility of an answer in less than an hour, they can sign up under one of the various plans and receive an answer within 30 minutes. For those, who enjoy the hunt, they can explore the various categories for the solutions themselves. Experts-exchange.com offers every expert a way to search for and come to the answer they desire.

For those who need answers to questions regarding Microsoft, they can search under applications, development, hardware, internet protocols, MS forefront-ISA, OS, or server applications sections. For those who need an answer to an Apple issue, Experts-exchange.com offers solutions in five categories: Hardware, networking, operating system, programming, and software. Again, in my opinion, while the Apple section of the website does not offer the plethora of solutions, that is because they are not needed. Also, since Apples can run MS Office, some of the answers in the MS section apply to Macs.

For those who do not have a computer specific question, there is also an internet section that includes answers in nine categories: Anti Spam, Anti spyware, Anti-virus, chat/IM, E-mail clients, File sharing, New net users, search engines, web browsers, web development, web servers, and web trends/stats. Beyond that, Experts-exchange.com also offers answers to questions regarding gamers, digital living, virus and spyware, hardware, software, ITPro, and Developer. Just to the right of the developer section, almost unnoticeable, there are two yellow arrows with the word ‘more’ below them. 'More' includes answers to questions about storage, OS, Database, Security, programming, web development, networking, and even a section for 'other.' In each section, below the categories, Experts-exchange.com lists the top articles; and on the right, they list the top experts.

For those who want to read through random articles; though, don’t want to take the time to filter them, they can read random articles in the Articles section. There, experts can search through articles, filter them into one of several categories, or write an article. Of course, for those who want to write an article, they must first have a membership and be an expert in their field. Beyond all of the answers, for those who feel a bit overwhelmed by Experts-exchange.com, there are video tutorials (It is written in Xhtml or javascript, so I can't blue link it, but it's above the search bar on the right). The video tutorials section includes welcome, getting started, searching for solutions, asking a question, and contributing to the site videos. And after users become familiar with the basic search functions, there are advanced search functions that give them more search control.

All in all, Experts-exchange.com gives the experts the ability to interact and exchange ideas with other experts within and outside of their fields. Come back next week for my next review of a great site that will make your life easier. For more great ways on how to make your life easier using technology, visit me at SEO Bridges.

Written by SEO Bridges [via]

Complaint lodged against my iOCBC Securities broker Matthew Chua

I wonder if it's because I don't trade with iOCBC Securities that I am being treated this way!




Dear Sir/Mdm,

I am writing to lodge an official complaint against my broker, Matthew Chua.

Many times, I have attempted to reach my broker but then he never attempted to reply me. The only time he replied was after I mentioned I was terribly irritated by his poor service and had consideration doing something against his inaction. Amazingly, he replied almost importantly. After he replied, I demanded an explanation and apology from him but he failed to reply again, till now!

I hereby wish the below investigation to be carried out
  1. Check with the IT infrastructure team and verify if my emails were really lost.
  2. Or was it due to Matthew's unprofessional act?
  3. DEMAND a formal apology and explanation from Matthew.
  4. Have him changed.
  5. An answer from the management team on the action(s) to be taken for this matter.
I seek a detailed investigation from you. BTW, I am very utterly disappointed with Matthew Chua and iOCBC Securities as a whole.

Regards
Loh Hon Chun (MR)
Acc: XXXXXXX
Tel: +65 XXXX XXXX

The below is the conversation between Matthew and myself.


From: Loh Hon Chun (xxx@xxx.com)
To: matthewchua@ocbcsec.com
Date: Tuesday, 20 October 2009 1:59:04
Subject: Re: iOCBC Update Particulars

Hi Matthew,

I do have some questions for you and I hope to have an answer from you.

I am unable to accept that my first 2 emails to you were "lost", discarded, or ignored. I seek an explanation (realistic one) from you.


I thought this matter could have been resolved should you had humbly apologised when you miraculously received my third email and replied very promptly on 19 Oct 2009 2.09pm.


I need YOU to shed some light in how iOCBC mail server miraculously able to get my third email, seemingly and abviously harsher in contents, delivered to you. Perhaps your IT Technical support team can assist you and give me some pointers so I can perform better as a IT guy myself.


Looking at the email you sent earlier on 19 Oct 2009 2:09pm, in what way(s) do you think you could have done or paraphrased to make it more reader-friendly, better appreciated and service-oriented. Off my mind, I am able to come out with 2 possible better alternatives in handling my case. I do hope you can give me yours tomorrow, provided you receive my this email.
I shall end with a "thanks anyway". I awaits your reply.

Regards
Hon Chun

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: "matthewchua@ocbcsec.com"
To: xxx@xxx.com
Sent: Monday, 19 October 2009 2:09:10
Subject: iOCBC Update Particulars

Hi Hon Chun,

I did not receive your previous 2 emails dated 8 Oct and 14 Oct.

Attached is the update of particulars form which you need to sign and post back to us at:

Attn: Matthew Chua
OCBC Securities Pte Ltd
18 Church Street
#01-00 OCBC Centre South
Singapore 049479


Regards,
Matthew Chua
Tel: 65362966/65362216
Fax: 64380847

----- Forwarded by Matthew Chua Ching Yong/Dealer/OSPLTR on 19/10/2009 14:01 -----
Loh Hon Chun
19/10/2009 12:39
To matthewchua@ocbcsec.com
cc

Subject Re: iOCBC Update Particulars


Dear Sir,

I called iOCBC hotline and learnt that you still exist. So, I am expecting you to revert to me once you see my email. Your ignorance irritates me.

I awaits your reply before I consider my next course of action.

Regards
Hon Chun

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Loh Hon Chun
To: matthewchua@ocbcsec.com
Sent: Wednesday, 14 October 2009 12:37:25
Subject: Fw: iOCBC Update Particulars

Dear Sir,

I am still waiting for a reply.

Regards
Hon Chun

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Loh Hon Chun
To: matthewchua@ocbcsec.com
Sent: Thursday, 8 October 2009 9:45:01
Subject: iOCBC Update Particulars

Dear Sir,

I am writing to ask how do I update my particulars?
I need to have my home address updated.

Name: Loh Hon Chun
NRIC: SXXXXXXXX
Account: XXXXXXX

Regards
Loh Hon Chun (MR)
+65 XXXX XXXX

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to set "Work Offline" for Outlook programatically

The show VBScript code snipppet will toggle between working "Offline" and "Online" for MS Outlook.

Set objOutlook = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
objOutlook.GetNamespace("MAPI").Folders.GetFirst.GetExplorer.CommandBars.FindControl(, 5613).Execute
Set objOutlook = Nothing

U.S. 3Q GDP up 3.5 percent

Data released today by the Commerce Department show that real GDP grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of the year. This is in stark contrast to the decline of 6.4 percent annual rate just two quarters ago.

On Today's GDP Numbers [via]

Google Maps Navigation for Android

Google just announced the next step for Google Maps for mobile: Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for Android 2.0 devices.

It's a dream owning Android phone! I want one!

Google Maps Navigation (Beta)

Here are seven features that are possible because Google Maps Navigation is connected to the Internet:
  1. The most recent map and business data
  2. Search in plain English
  3. Search by voice
  4. Traffic view
  5. Search along route
  6. Satellite view
  7. Street View
Announcing Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 [via]

Google launches Music Search

Google is rolling out their new Music Search capability across U.S. gradually. This OneBox is limited only to the U.S., probably because the music sites that partnered with Google can provide full previews only in the U.S.

The picture below shows the music partners with Google.



Google Music Search Feature


Making search more musical [via]

Funds sweat over new CPFIS criteria

Funds sweat over new CPFIS criteria

Business Times - 29 Oct 2009

Some 40% risk being struck off; top quartile ranking is sticking point

By GENEVIEVE CUA

(SINGAPORE) More than 40 per cent of the unit trusts and investment-linked insurance funds (ILPs) in the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) are at risk of being struck off the scheme if they do not fully comply with CPF's admission criteria by January 2011.

By far the most contentious among the criteria is the one requiring the funds to be ranked among the top quartile (the highest 25 per cent) of their global peer group.

This is the sticking point, as fund managers can and have stepped in to ensure compliance with the other criteria. For instance, some managers subsidise the expenses of smaller funds to ensure that their expense ratios do not exceed CPF's caps.

Top quartile is defined along quantitative and qualitative factors, where a fund registered for Singapore sale will be scored and ranked alongside its global peer based on Morningstar's database. Morningstar is the investment consultant for the CPFIS.

Among ILPs, CPF savings' share of a fund's assets could be as high as 70 per cent. Among unit trusts, the share ranges between 30 and 50 per cent. Hence, for some funds, failure to remain in the scheme would have major implications.

As at end-June, a total of $22.9 billion of CPF savings (Ordinary and Special Accounts) is invested in insurance policies and $6.3 billion in unit trusts.

BT understands that numerous funds are scheduled for re-evaluation by Morningstar over the next few months. Some have already made it to the approved list. But those are understood to be a minority so far as most funds are awaiting their turn in a long queue, or are waiting to be told the results.

Based on a list released earlier this year, a total of 147 funds need to be re-evaluated. There are a total of 346 unit trusts and ILPs in the CPFIS menu. The cost of re-evaluation is $5,900 per fund, which may or may not be charged to the fund.

Funds which fail to meet the criteria must cease to take in fresh CPF savings by January 2011. Managers must offer investors three options - to hold, redeem or switch for free to another fund that is fully compliant with the CPF rules. The free switch period is understood to be six months.

An alternative for funds that fail to meet the criteria is that managers could opt to have the fund sub-advised by a third-party manager which must have passed CPF's screen.

BT understands, however, that the idea of external management is unattractive to most managers. In any case, it may not be feasible for larger fund houses such as Fidelity, where the size of its CPF asset base is tiny relative to its offshore investor base.

A unit trust that contemplates a third-party manager may have to call for an extraordinary general meeting to vote on the matter.

The chief executive of a fund management firm said: 'The exercise is very subjective. I don't see how there can be a clear and objective way to measure top quartile ranking.'

He says his firm is not inclined to opt for third-party management, should any of the firm's funds fail to pass muster. 'What makes (the CPF and Morningstar) think a sub-adviser will do a better job?'

However, a source at another firm said: 'If we have to use an external manager, of course we will do it. . . Because if a fund is taken out of CPFIS, what happens to existing investors? They can't do top-ups and it becomes very confusing.'

The other three criteria are that the funds' total expense ratio must not exceed the median expense ratio of CPFIS funds in their respective risk class; their sales charge must not exceed 3 per cent; and they must have a three-year track record.

The admission criteria have been in place since 2006, but they have so far been enforced in stages to enable funds to make the transition.

Some of the largest and most established funds are slated for re-evaluation. These include Prudential's Prulink Singapore Managed Fund, which has more than $2.5 billion in assets as at end-June; and AIG's Acorns of Asia Fund with over $1.2 billion in total assets.

Prudential Assurance's chief marketing officer Tomas Urbanec said the insurer has 19 funds in the CPFIS scheme. Five are fully compliant and 14 await re-evaluation.

'As this is an industry-wide exercise which is ongoing, we would prefer to let CPF announce the final approved list when the exercise is completed.'

Morningstar's quantitative criteria for product inclusion in the CPFIS include performance and style consistency, management tenure - that is, funds with minimum manager changes are preferred; and expenses.

The qualitative analysis looks into a manager's history of success, organisational strength, investment process consistency, and asset size and growth. On the latter point, Morningstar looks into how performance has changed as assets grow.

Cost of Car Ownership in Singapore

I find some figures are overstated.

Cost of Car Ownership in Singapore [via]

Twitter added beta feature to organize people into list

On Oct 1, Twitter has announced that they are launching a new feature that allows friends to be organized and grouped into "Lists" soon. This should make the list of followers more neat.


Today, I am included into the small group of twitters to try out this new feature. The main inconvenience with this new feature is that there is no way we can multi-select friends we followed to and move them to a list. We have to do it one at a time.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bid farewell to Geocities

For many like myself, especially those who started learning markup language (HTML) for the web in the 90s, we should have tried hosting our proud amateur web site on Geocities. This week, Yahoo!, the owner of Geocities, declared closure of Geocities for good.

I shall bid farewell to Geocities. My first hands-on on web will be with Geocities forever.

Impressed with today's loadmaster

I am completely impressed with today's loadmaster. I hope to elaborate more on today's flight if time permits and if I remember it days later.

The Google Story

A (very) quick look back at the Google story over the last 11 years. From Stanford to Mountain View and around the world, featuring many different products, starting with BackRub (Search) up to Google Wave, StreetView and Chrome.

Happy to see my stocks going up

Despite the many days of fall in stock market for the past few days, I am happy to see mine - Parkway Holdings, Mapletree Logistics and ST Engineering - going up!

Way to go!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Top 10 paradoxes of Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is definitely in a different league.

Top 10 paradoxes of Warren Buffett [via]

Hanging of a national flag other than Singapore's is punishable in Singapore

To all Singapore stayers, do note that it is against the law to hang a national flag that is not Singapore's. I thought that's pretty straightforward.

China flag hung on HDB flat: Punishable by law, say Police [via]

Man Utd loses to Liverpool

Before the kick off between Manchester United and Liverpool today, I predicted Liverpool is going to break the jinx of losing in this rivalry match, and they really did that in style! I am beginning to believe Chelsea is going to be the new champion for 2009/10 season.

Manchester United, please wake up!

Reds respond in style [via]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Invited for Google Wave

I am finally being invited for Google Wave after almost a month in the queue.


Okay, I have now 20 Google Wave invitations with me. Who wants to wave with me?

You may refer to my earlier post "Understanding What is Google Wave in Two Minutes" to learn more about Google Wave.

Facebook accounts for 25 percent of all page views in U.S.

According to new research from database firm Drake Direct, Facebook now accounts for 1 in every 4 or 25 percent of page views in the United States. This research is published by Perry, who is currently the Vice President of Drake Direct.

Google Vs. Facebook [via]

Flash Mob at Raffles Place - Mass Dance

I am both impressed and astounded just how open young Singaporeans have become. However, I wonder if they applied a permit for the mass gathering, since a gathering of more than 5 would mean illegal.

Well done young Singaporeans!

周杰倫 -- 蒲公英的约定

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mapletree Logistics Trust announced 3Q financial results

Mapletree Logistics announced its financial report for 3Q 2009. I must say it looks pretty healthy and strong. I owned shares of this company due to its relatively high dividend yield.

Steady 3Q 2009 results
  • Amount Distributable of S$29 million is 13% higher than in 3Q 2008
  • Improvement driven largely by 10% y-o-y increase in NPI to S$44 million
  • 3Q 2009 DPU of 1.48 cents maintained vs 1.48 cents in 2Q 2009
Stable tenant base ensures portfolio resilience
  • Approximately 80% of leases expiring in 2009 have been renewed or replaced
  • Sustained high portfolio occupancy above 97%
  • High quality tenancies, long leases and strong leasing covenants (e.g. ample security deposits, rental escalations, etc.)
  • Diversified tenant base
No balance sheet risk
  • No refinancing risk in 2009
  • Aggregate leverage stable at below 40%

Which Windows 7 is right for you?

The new operating system unveiled by Microsoft, Windows 7, comes in 4 editions - Starter, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate. Before you invest your money on Windows 7, it is important to know the differences among the many editions and make sure you don't get one that does not meet your needs.

CNET has a comprehensive article comparing the 4 editions of Windows 7.

Which Windows 7 is right for you? [via]

Windows 7 officially launched today

Microsoft has finally launched their official new operating system - Windows 7. The below short video gives a rather comprehensive tour on the new Windows 7.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

PSLE Maths Question with Workings

The below are some questions with workings asked in this year's 2009 PSLE Maths paper.

Question 1
The above figure is a square. The angle question answer above is 150 degrees. Because the bottom triangle is equilateral triangle. (draw a circular curve through all 3 lines and they become the radii of the incomplete circle otherwise known as the arc)
360 - 60 = 300 degree
300 degree / 4 = 75 degree
75 degree x 2 = 150 degree

Question 2

6 friends decided to rent computers from 2pm to 4.30pm. While 4 of them were playing, the other two would watch. If the cycle continues, and each of them played for equal number of minutes, how many minutes will each person get to play? Ans: 100 minutes

Question 3

Mei and Lin were in a bicycle race. Mei was travelling at a constant speed of 20km/hr and they both did not change their speed. When Lin completed half the race, Mei was 3.5km ahead. Mei completed the race at 10.45am. What time did Lin complete the race? Ans: 11.06am

Question 4

Sally baked some cookies to sell. 3/4 of them were chocolate cookies and the remaining were almond cookies. After she sold 5/6 of chocolate cookies and 210 almond cookies, she had 1/5 of the cookies left. How many cookies did she sell? Ans: 960

Question 5

Jim bought some chocolates and gave half of it to Ken. Ken bought some sweets and gave half of it to Jim. Jim ate 12 sweets and Ken ate 18 chocolates. The ratio of Jim's sweets to chocolates became 1 : 7 and the ratio of Ken's sweets to chocolates became 1:4. How many sweets did Ken buy?. Ans: 68 sweets

Question 6

Curry puff shop sells puffs at $0.80 each. Offer:Buy 3 get 4th half price. If customer has $50, how many puffs can he buy if he buys as many as he can. Ans: 71 puff

Question 7

String of 2 big balloons is 90cm
String of 5 small balloons is is 1.2m
If both strings are of the same length, there would be 105 more small balloons than the big balloons. How many balloons are there altogether? Ans: 345

Workings

Click to enlarge

Question 2, 3, 4


Question 5, 6, 7

A lesson in humility at the feet of the Chinese Premier

An interesting article on humility. I shall read it on the train tomorrow :)

A lesson in humility at the feet of the Chinese Premier [via]

Monday, October 19, 2009

CEOs Are From Venus; CIOs Are From Mars

Rather interesting. I got it printed and read on the bus back home today :)

CEOs Are From Venus; CIOs Are From Mars [via]

Cravings for crabs and IKEA's chicken wings

All of a sudden, I am having strong cravings for crabs and IKEA's chicken wings, at this wee-est hour.

Hmm...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunderland scored against Liverpool with help of a beach ball

Life's a beach for Sunderland. Sunderland scored a goal against Liverpool with the help of a beach ball. Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter branded the decision to allow Sunderland's winner against Liverpool as "absolutely amazing" for the goal should just not have stood. The laws of the game state that if there's an outside interference, the game has to be stopped. The soccer ball hit a beach ball and the beach ball completely deceived the Liverpool goalkeeper, resulting in the keeper going in the wrong direction. An outside influence is anything other than the 22 maximum players on the field and the referee. If it hits the referee and goes in, he's part of the game. If a spectator comes on the pitch and kicks the ball, the game must be stopped. Ironically, the beach ball was let in by a Liverpool fan.

The final score is Sunderland 1 Liverpool 0.

I am sorry that the embedded video showing the blunder is removed due to some legal issues.

Look at 2:00 mark for the beach ball goal.

XL is back in Dec!

Am getting quite excited that XL is soon to be back in Singapore from Hong Kong by end of Dec. It has been a long time since XL (Xiaoli), XM (Xiao Ming or myself) and etc get together. I promise to be a great host.

BTW, the reason for this regroup is made possible only because SL is getting married on 3 Jan 2010! Sorry to inform you that just invite me alone will do.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chimonology: We will agree to disagree

Some chimonology exhibited by the PAP.

Lift upgrading: We will agree to disagree [via]

Weekly Address: Taking the Insurance Companies on Down the Stretch

Excerpt from Obama's Weekly Address speech.

It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, "Take one of these, and call us in a decade." Well, not this time. The fact is, the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses, and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy – that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people. And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exception from our anti-trust laws, a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.

Now, I welcome a good debate. I welcome the chance to defend our proposals and to test our ideas in the fires of this democracy. But what I will not abide are those who would bend the truth – or break it – to score political points and stop our progress as a country. And what we all must oppose are the same old cynical Washington games that have been played for decades even as our problems have grown and our challenges have mounted.

Last November, the American people went to the polls in historic numbers and demanded change. They wanted a change in our policies; but they also sought a change in our politics: a politics that too often has fallen prey to the lobbyists and the special interests; that has fostered division and sustained the status quo. Passing health insurance reform is a great test of this proposition. Yes, it will make a profound and positive difference in the lives of the American people. But it also now represents something more: whether or not we as a nation are capable of tackling our toughest challenges, if we can serve the national interest despite the unrelenting efforts of the special interests; if we can still do big things in America.

I believe we can. I believe we will. And I urge every member of Congress to stand against the power plays and political ploys – and to stand up on behalf the American people who sent us to Washington to do their business.



Kudos to the Obama's Administration.

Team Hope - Singapore football team put together for the homeless

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0 now available for download

The FREE version of AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0 is now available for download at http://free.avg.com/ww-en/download?prd=afg#tba2. That is an upgrade from version 8.5.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Michael Jackson - This is It

Manage to squeeze 2 trainings after 2 were cancelled

After 2 of my trainings were cancelled prematurely due to work commitments and inefficiency of the HR, I manage to squeeze out 2 trainings in a day.
  1. Have my 2 to 6 Nov 2009 NICF Object Oriented Analysis & Design training rescheduled to 25 to 29 Jan 2010.

  2. Enrol myself into Leadership Foundation Course (LFC) Module 2 - Creating Winning Partnership, conducted by Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group, from 3 to 4 Dec 2009.
Hope they will not be cancelled again.

Dubai Support Fund Insufficient To Meet Debts

It is reported that Dubai needs to repay about $50 billion worth of debt over the next three years. It is not shocking to me after seeing them splurging money to build world's largest, tallest for almost everything. With oil now more than half its price 2 years ago, it is going to be tough.

S&P: Dubai Support Fund Insufficient To Meet Debts [via]

In a separate article published in PM Network August 2009 Volume 23, No. 8, article titled "DUBAI TAKES A DIVE?", I read the below.



Efficiency in the buying/selling, often mismatch, stock market

I suppose in any market, be it food market or stock market, pricing mismatch occurs everyday. That is why in every transaction, there is a seller who believe that the price is too high/low, and a buyer who believe the price is too low/high.

In an efficient market, the market returns is difficult to beat even with much effort trying to do so. Eg. Suppose Stock A generates a return of 50% over the past year, and an active investor tries to beat it. Stock A will be deemed as efficient if the investor finds it hard to generate a higher than 50% returns.

GIC could be in another multi-million to a billion dollar investment wipe out

One of the biggest, most high-profile deals of the commercial real-estate boom is in danger of imminent default, say people familiar with the matter, signalling the beginning of what is expected to be a wave of commercial-property failures.

Another big player in the restructuring talks could be Singapore's GIC. The fund owns a $575 million mezzanine loan backed by the property, according to people familiar with the matter. Also, GIC owns about $100 million to $200 million in equity, the people said.

Both investments might be wiped out unless GIC maneuvers to have more influence in the loan workout process, possibly by buying more senior debt. GIC declined to comment.

An Apartment Complex Teeters [via]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fed up with my HR!

Can you believe my HR actually started to apply for my training only today, more than a month since I submitted to them? Because of their incapability and inefficiency, my 2 to 6 Nov 2009 training is terminated.

In under two weeks, two of my planned trainings are cancelled. I am going to squeeze one in no matter what!

PTC impose "huge" fine on SBS Transit and SMRT for $500 and $200 respectively

The Public Transport Council’s (PTC’s) regular review of SBS Transit and SMRT buses operating performance showed that in the 6-month period from 1 December 2008 to 31 May 2009, there were general improvements in performance and bus operators had largely met the Quality of Service (QoS) standards set.

For their improved extraordinary performance, the PTC is imposing lesser financial penalties of $500 and $200 on SBS Transit and SMRT respectively. In the previous
period, SBS Transit and SMRT were fined $4,500 and $100 respectively. The unbelievable small fine imposed is real and not a joke. I can say the amount fined is insignificant to the two companies and I certainly do not think they will even give a damn.

Great job to the PTC for the extraordinary small impact fine (with sarcasm).

Bus operators’ Quality of Service (QoS) has improved for the 6-month period, Dec 08 to May 09 [via]

Bought EPure International shares

I managed to snap up EPure International shares for the second time as part of my mid to long term investment. I believe China will continue to be supportive in resources, water treatment and recycling businesses.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hope Lorenzo stock will stay or prosper

I learnt today that a friend actually bought Lorenzo stock without doing much study after getting some tips from colleague. It is said that the stock will rise further to S$0.18 per share. Today, Lorenzo ended higher by 21.739% to close at S$0.140.

I wouldn't and dare not comment on this particular stock since I have little knowledge of this company, except that it is a furniture making company. It's important to constantly remind myself not to be tempted and end up chasing stocks purely on market expectations.

What I can do now is to cross my fingers and hope the tip is accurate and Lorenzo stock value to stay or prosper near S$0.18 range.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for performance of Lorenzo's share price neither do I know the accuracy and the source of the "tip".

Learn more about Windows Phone (running Windows Mobile 6.5)

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/default.mspx?WT.mc_id=MSCOM_NDGP

Lim Swee Say has his say again

"We are now upturning the downturn. As we move forward, let us go on the offensive. So let us move towards a cheaper, better, faster Singapore economy." -- Labour chief Lim Swee Say

Twitter adds "Report as spam" feature

Twitter has added a new feature to report a user as spam. I believe the motivation in the new feature is an attempt to reduce the number of spammers and the many attempts of DDoS on Twitter.

Report as spam” button can be found under the Actions section of a profile’s sidebar. Once the user is "reported" as spam, Twitter's Trust and Safety team will verify and do the necessary actions. And any tweets from the user automatically be blocked from following or replying to you.

Help us nail spammers [via]

Got scolding from a scavenger for showing sympathy

I was at Holland Village hawker centre after school for my dinner when I saw a scavenger, in her seventies or eighties, walking around collecting aluminium drink cans and eating leftover food left behind by diners.

She sat just in front of me, at the same table as me, and finishing up the remaining Char Kway Teow left by someone else. Out of sympathy, I offered to buy her a plate of Char Kway Teow, but what I got in return from her was an extremely ungrateful snort and scolding. She then quickly walked away from my table.

真的是好心没好报。

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Busy last quarter

Papers, papers and more papers
Readings, readings and more readings
Writings, writings and more writings

20 Oct - CS5261 Assignment 2
20 Oct - CS5261 Term Paper draft
24 Oct - CS5212 Presentation Dry Run
28 Oct - Flight Trial
02 Nov - CS5212 Presentation
02 Nov - CS5212 Term Paper
10 Nov - CS5261 Term Paper
02 to 06 Nov - OOAD Training
09 to 13 Nov - Software Safety Training cancelled (possible) for GAT
24 to 26 Nov - Flight Trials
24 Nov - CS5261 Exam
28 Nov - CS5212 Exam

M1 got deal with Apple to bring iPhone to customers

M1 and Apple have reached an agreement to bring iPhone to customers in Singapore later this year. M1 looks forward to offering iPhone and a range of tailored service plans to customers in Singapore.

Press Statement from M1 [via]

AVG LinkScanner - Detects malicious links including shortened urls for FREE

LinkScanner, which AVG launched as a free product, performs real-time scanning of webpages as users browse and blocks those pages that may be malicious. AVG has now added a feature to its LinkScanner Web security product that scans shortened URLs too.

Download AVG LinkScanner
http://www.linkscanner.avg.com/

Some selected questions from PSLE 2009 Maths Examination Paper

WITH WORKINGS @
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2009/10/psle-maths-question-with-workings.html

The below are some questions asked in this year's 2009 PSLE Maths paper.

Question 1
The above figure is a square. The angle question answer above is 150 degrees. Because the bottom triangle is equilateral triangle. (draw a circular curve through all 3 lines and they become the radii of the incomplete circle otherwise known as the arc)
360 - 60 = 300 degree
300 degree / 4 = 75 degree
75 degree x 2 = 150 degree

Question 2

6 friends decided to rent computers from 2pm to 4.30pm. While 4 of them were playing, the other two would watch. If the cycle continues, and each of them played for equal number of minutes, how many minutes will each person get to play? Ans: 100 minutes

Question 3

Mei and Lin were in a bicycle race. Mei was travelling at a constant speed of 20km/hr and they both did not change their speed. When Lin completed half the race, Mei was 3.5km ahead. Mei completed the race at 10.45am. What time did Lin complete the race? Ans: 11.06am

Question 4

Sally baked some cookies to sell. 3/4 of them were chocolate cookies and the remaining were almond cookies. After she sold 5/6 of chocolate cookies and 210 almond cookies, she had 1/5 of the cookies left. How many cookies did she sell? Ans: 960

Question 5

Jim bought some chocolates and gave half of it to Ken. Ken bought some sweets and gave half of it to Jim. Jim ate 12 sweets and Ken ate 18 chocolates. The ratio of Jim's sweets to chocolates became 1 : 7 and the ratio of Ken's sweets to chocolates became 1:4. How many sweets did Ken buy?. Ans: 68 sweets

Question 6

Curry puff shop sells puffs at $0.80 each. Offer:Buy 3 get 4th half price. If customer has $50, how many puffs can he buy if he buys as many as he can. Ans: 71 puff

Question 7

String of 2 big balloons is 90cm
String of 5 small balloons is is 1.2m
If both strings are of the same length, there would be 105 more small balloons than the big balloons. How many balloons are there altogether? Ans: 345

I shall post the workings for the above questions soon when I got the time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Singapore 3Q GDP up 0.8%, overall GDP forecast revised upwards

Singapore has revised its 2009 GDP Growth forecast upwards to between -2.5% and -2.0% after 0.8% y-o-y increase in 3Q GDP. This upgrade in economic outlook is indeed good news.

2009 GDP Growth Forecast Revised to -2.5 to -2.0 Per Cent [via]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

3rd quarter results out from tomorrow onwards

I am betting on better than expected financial results for the new upcoming 3rd quarter results. The U.S. has already started theirs last week and this week, it's Singapore's turn. Giants Alcoa Inc, Intel Corp and IBM have done their deed by reporting better than expected earnings.

Trading resumes tomorrow

It's Monday soon again and so trading resumes tomorrow. It's time to start collecting trends.

President Obama Pushes for Financial Reform

The President pushes for one of the pillars of his new economic foundation: reforming our financial system to look out for consumers, not just banks.

I admire how the American's strong showing in protecting consumers. Obama openly pointed how consumers, even CPA certified, got "cheated" by the financial institutions' pages and pages of fine prints, unfair rates hikes, unfair dealings, etc.

Obama said
  • He do not want them to compete by figuring out how much they can fool ordinary Americans.

  • The Financial Consumer Protection Agency is not for big banks, financial firms, but for hardworking Americans.

Kudos to the Obama Administration.

How Brain Works

The below was posted by myself on 28 Jan 2007.

Brain is so complicated. Try out below:
  1. WITHOUT anyone watching you (they will think you are GOOFY.....) and while sitting where you are at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

  2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.
Continue making the 6 in the air.......
Your foot will change direction. It works every time.

Explanation from "Infinity08", Experts-Exchange member.

"Those two movements are very basic, but your brain is not accustomed to doing them together. It can't consciously do two different things at the same time : in this case clockwise and anti-clockwise movements of foot and hand ON THE SAME SIDE of the body.However, you can train yourself to do this correctly, by doing it so often that it becomes an unconscious action. When you start to think about it actively (consciously), it fails.

Compare it to learning to drive a car. Driving a car requires a lot of different actions executed at the same time : handling the pedals, steering wheel, gear shifter, while at the same time looking around and having a global view of traffic around you. When you start learning, you'll have a lot of difficulties doing any two of these actions at the same time (eg. steering while shifting gear etc.). After a while though, when you've driven around for a while, those actions become "second nature" to your brain, and you don't even realise that you're doing them (because they're handled by the unconscious).

I mentioned earlier that the foot and hand have to be at the same side of the body (right or left) for this to work (or better : fail). Try the same exercise with your left foot and right hand and it shouldn't be a problem. The reason for this is that the right part of your body is controlled by the left half of your brain, and vice versa."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

SingTel charges just S$23 for all EPL games on mio TV

SingTel unveiled on Saturday football fans need to pay just S$23 to watch the Barclays English Premier League (EPL) on SingTel mio TV starting next year. This pricing is 60 per cent lower than the current S$53 charged by StarHub.

However, do note that this S$23 subscription will only be for one season until May 2011, after which they will be reviewed. I am certain that review means price increase.

SingTel charges just S$23 for all EPL games on mio TV [via]

1,390 hits so far for past 7 days

It is kinda weird that the number of hits for the past 7 days is at 1,390. Weird? Yes, because it is unusually high.

The most popular post is Choosing a smart password.

My opinion on PRUinvestor guaranteed plus product

I got to know of Prudential's new product PRUinvestor guaranteed plus only recently.

From agents, it is said to be 1) 100% Capital Guaranteed at maturity, 2) 2.5% p.a. interest guaranteed (Total 13.14%), 3) able to accept both cash and SRS, 4) and telling people application date for such "cool" product is ending soon but that's not really the case. I do not like the way products are marketed by agents.

1. 100% Capital Guaranteed at maturity

It is not really 100% guaranteed if it is guaranteed upon 36 months.

2. Sometimes marketed as 13.14%

This is a common tactic to "fool" aunties and uncles who are unaware of the compounding effect.

3. Able to accept SRS

At the rate of 2.5% p.a., I would say investing SRS monies in such product does not make sense to me since the new CPF interest rate structure is close to 2.5% p.a. too. At least CPF is truly 100% capital guaranteed.

4. Publish application date to be earlier than actual

This tactic attempts to make consumers make rash decisions. By the way, this product is available till 13 November 2009.

Low Thia Khiang says PAP is playing politics together with HDB

Worker's Party Secretary General, Mr Low Thia Khiang, made a reply to HDB on the recent announcement on Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) in Hougang area. Mr Low condemned HDB's role, despite being a Statuary Board, it seemed to team with Singapore government People's Action Party (PAP) in playing politics.

I sort of agree with Mr Low that the Singapore government should have allowed Worker's Party to make the announcement instead of PAP. PAP's action may backfire.

No basis for MP not to announce life upgrading
Saturday, 10 October 2009

I refer to the HDB’s reply to Mr Muhammad Yusuf Osman’s letter on the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP ) in opposition wards published today, titled “Why grassroots advisers announce lift upgrading”.

The HDB deems it appropriate for the grassroots advisor to announce the LUP because “the adviser gathers input from residents, thereby ensuring that the programme’s plans meet residents’ needs”. The HDB further states that the adviser can propose changes based on residents’ feedback, and seek residents’ support.

On what basis does the HDB assume that the elected Member of Parliament, who has the support of the electorate in the constituency, is unable to do the same thing and is therefore not appropriate to play the same role as the adviser?

The HDB also said that the Town Councils have an in-depth knowledge of the schedule and status of the works in the estate and can co-ordinate other projects in the estate to minimize inconvenience to residents. Why is it, then, that elected opposition members, who are also chairmen of the Town Councils, are deemed less appropriate to announce and to manage the LUP?

Moreover, Town Councils are required to co-pay for the LUP whereas grassroots organizations are not. Why is the chairman of Town Council, the elected MP statutorily responsible for the management of the Town and who must decide to pay for the LUP, deemed to be inappropriate to play a leading role either in announcing the program or in the working committee?

In the concluding paragraph, HDB stated that they understood the advisers are ”working closely with the town council chairmen, that is, the respective Members of Parliament….” In other words, the role of the elected opposition Member of Parliament in this process is relegated to one which is administrative in nature, perhaps merely to authorize payment for the LUP from the Town Council funds to the HDB.

This is the manifestation of the government’s attitude towards elected opposition Members of Parliament, which is, that they are not representative of the constituency but the grassroots advisers are, despite the fact that the grassroots advisers, who were candidates of the People’s Action Party (PAP), were rejected by the voters at elections at Potong Pasir and Hougang.

I understand the LUP is essentially the government’s program although chairmen of opposition Town Councils have to agree to co-fund the program. I suppose the ruling party, the PAP, would want their potential candidates in the next election to claim credit for the LUP, although the money does not come from either the PAP or the grassroots organization. This is playing politics.

I am open and prepared to work with anyone from the government or its appointees for the benefit of my constituents. It does not matter what role I play or that I am seen to be cooperative with the government, so long as the will of the people at the election which returned me as their representative to Parliament is respected.

I feel compelled to respond to this issue because the justification given by the HDB for the role of advisers in opposition wards in LUP touches on the fundamental issue of respecting the will of the people expressed at elections. The elected representative in opposition wards in this instance is reduced to performing a municipal function as chairmen of Town Councils. This speaks so much of the respect of the ruling party for the will of the people expressed at General Elections and how mature we are as a democracy.

Low Thia Kiang

Member of Parliament for Hougang

9 October 2009

Webmaster’s note: This is the full version of the letter appearing in the Straits Times Forum on 10 Oct 2009.

“No basis for MP not to announce life upgrading” filed under WP Press Release [via]

Superman in Tiger Airways - An Apparent Marketing Attempt

Superman Finds an Easier Way to Fly - Part 1

Superman Finds an Easier Way to Fly - Part 2

'hongjun' in barcode

Code 128 barcode for "hongjun"

Obama honoured by Nobel Peace Prize

“I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.”

Printliminator Quickly, Easily Makes Any Page Printer Friendly

The Printliminator bookmarklet lets you selectively remove any element from a web page to make it printer friendly in just a few simple clicks.



Drag the Printliminator bookmarklet to your browser's bookmark toolbar, then just click it whenever you want to print a page but don't want to waste ink on extraneous ads and other page content. As you can see in the video, using the Printliminator bookmarklet to eliminate unwanted content is as simple as clicking on whatever you don't want. If all you actually want is one element on the page, just Alt+Click (or Opt+Click on OS X) that one element and everything but that will disappear. Other than that, there's not much to it. Click the Print icon once you've got things looking how you want, and you're good to go

I just tried Printliminator bookmarklet and it works just GREAT!

Printliminator Quickly, Easily Makes Any Page Printer Friendly [via]

Friday, October 09, 2009

Paradigms as physiological filters

“Our paradigms act as physiological filters - we see the world through our paradigms. This means that any data that exist in the real world that do not fit our paradigm will have a difficult time getting through our filters. The data that do fit our paradigm not only make it through the filter, but are concentrated by the filtering process. Therefore, what we actually perceive is dramatically determined by our paradigms. What may be perfectly visible, perfectly obvious, to persons with one paradigm, may be quite literally invisible to persons with a different paradigm.”

Any kind soul out there - simple design for my room?

Looking for kind soul out there who is willing to help do simple design for my room. Thanks!

OMG! Bidding for World Cup 2018/2022 has begun!

We are now currently still in the year 2009 but then the bid to host World 2018 and 2012 have already begun. The World Cup is held every 4 years but then bid to host the top football event happens every less than 4 years. At this rate, I guess when we are in year 2050 for World Cup 2050, it is possible that we may already have the list of countries hosting the event all the way till the next century.

Russia tables bid to be World Cup hosts [via]

Not chosen for Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum 2009

Just too bad that I did not manage to get myself a ticket to the coming Kent Ridge Ministerial Forum 2009.

Glad to see Parkway Holdings closing higher again

I am glad to see Parkway Holdings closing at S$2.320, higher by S$0.070 or 3.111% today. The stock opened at a price of S$2.02 last Monday, which means, an increase of 14.85% in just 5 days.

I MUST see this stock rise because this is the stock I recommended to a friend. Just too bad my friend sold off the stock too early in midweek, earning only approximately S$100 in the process. But I thought it is not too bad for a first timer.

Maldives is sinking

Maldives is sinking and getting drowned soon.

Sinking island's nationals seek new home (11 Nov 2008)
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/11/maldives.president/index.html

Maldives underwater cabinet meeting to highlight climate change (8 Oct 2009)
http://www.examiner.com/x-12720-DC-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2009m10d8-Maldives-underwater-cabinet-meeting-to-highlight-climate-change

Macworld 2007 - Steve Jobs Keynote Speech - IPHONE

Indeed excellent presentation skills exhibited by Steve Jobs.

Part 4 - Macworld 2007 - Steve Jobs Keynote Speech - IPHONE

Part 5 - Macworld 2007 - Steve Jobs Keynote Speech - IPHONE


Part 6 - Macworld 2007 - Steve Jobs Keynote Speech - IPHONE

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

Here we see Steve Jobs delivering his commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. In it he talks about getting fired from Apple in 1985, life & death. This is indeed a very inspiring speech to all Stanford graduates. Come to think of it, billionaires like Steve Jobs (Apple and Pixar), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Segrey Brin (Google) and Larry Page (Google) are all dropouts from colleges.

My professor wrote this:

"If you are not interested in, feel free to skip this, it won’t be in the exam. But, I really like this speech, which is among the best commencement speech in my opinion. This video could be far more important than the CS5261 to your life, depending on your career choice: if you choose a path full of uncertainty, this speech is enlightening. If you are a conservative person doing a stable job, his speech is less relevant."

A MUST WATCH VIDEO!

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wonder why SPH publish news without confirming its validity

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Business Times dated 8 Oct 2009 reported Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering)'s aerospace arm, Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (ST Aerospace), clinched a multi- million-dollar deal to install a new onboard automatic fire-suppression system (FSS) in planes operated by global logistics giant FedEx Corp. This news is not released on Singapore Exchange and makes me puzzled.

At the end of today's trading day, ST Engineering clarified that ST Aerospace is still in discussion with FedEx and that there is no contract signed. Nothing is yet to be confirmed.

I wonder if SPH did their due homework before publishing any news, especially when the news is sensitive like this.

Parkway Holdings second time buy

Manage to buy Parkway Holdings the second yesterday at near the lowest traded price of S$2.13, after having contra it on the same day. Current price for the stock is at S$2.22 S$2.25.

The current trend for Parkway Holdings is on the rising trend. :)

Cheating as defined in Singapore's Penal Code

Please take a deep breath before you read on for the definition of Cheating in Singapore's penal code. The definition is made up of very LONG sentences.

"Whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or intentionally induces the person so deceived to do or omit to do anything which he or she would not do or omit if he or she were not so deceived, and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to "cheat". For example, A cheats if he intentionally deceives Z into a belief that A means to repay any money that Z may lend to him when A does not intend to repay it, and thereby dishonestly induces Z to lend him money. Cheating is punished with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine, or both."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

iPhone LOL

Google's Barcode doodle decoded


If you were to visit Google homepage, you should spot Google with a new doodle - Barcode. It looks like the reason for the doodle is to celebrate the invention of barcodes 60 years ago.

If you were to upload the Google barcode doodle to onlinebarcodereader.com, the barcode will read "Google".

Will U.S. dollar finally lose its shine?

The U.S. dollar is currently in its fall after rumours mentioned the Gulf State, China and Russia are in discussion of dropping U.S. as the default trading currency with a new currency for oil. If this goes through, U.S. dollar is definitely going to lose its shine.

Will the fall in U.S. dollar going to result in currency conversion losses for shares, Unit Trusts, ETFs, etc. that are traded in the dollar?

Choosing a smart password

Google Gmail recently published an article to advice how to choose a "smart" password to avoid being hacked and abused. Just this week, there have been several cases of passwords being leaked and posted on the World Wide Web due to phishing. Affected passwords include those from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and AOL.

Internet users need to be educated to be IT-savvy and be on guard against potential attacks. Attacks based on social engineering look to be on the rise these days.

I summarise the article by Gmail below.

Problem 1: Re-using passwords across websites
Solution 1: Use unique passwords

Problem 2: Using common passwords or words found in the dictionary
Solution 2: Use a password with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols

Problem 3: Using passwords based on personal data
Solution 3: Create a password that's hard for others to guess

Problem 4: Writing down your password and storing it in an unsecured place
Solution 4: Keep your password reminders in a secret place that isn't easily visible

Problem 5: Recalling your password
Solution 5: Make sure your password recovery options are up-to-date and secure

Last year, I made a similar post on creating strong passwords. The advice was given by Microsoft.

Choosing a smart password [via]
How to Create Strong Passwords? [via]

刘力扬 & TANK -- 我就是这样

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Webmail like Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and Gmail had passwords leaked

The scale of a phishing attack originally thought to be directed and contained only at Hotmail is now spreaded to other service providers like Yahoo, AOL and Gmail.

Scam hits more e-mail accounts [via]

Dine and no pay experience for a dinner

Ever tried walking into a restaurant, had a banana split, and then walk out of the restaurant without seeing the bill? I did just that this evening!

I finally made use of my remaining last Swensens 'Outrageous Sundaes' ice cream voucher this evening. After having our dinner proper in Xin Wang restaurant, my friend and I walked into Swensens. We redeemed the voucher for a banana split, finished the dessert and then walked out.

Cool!

Contra Parkway Holdings

I just sell contra my Parkway Holdings shares at the price of S$2.17 today after having bought them at S$2.01 yesterday. I was in fact shocked that I could sell them today!

I may buy back soon if it falls again.

New content focus for my blog

I have decided to reduce the re-publishing of articles relating to business and finance. The main focus of my blog shall be on myself, technology and coffeeshop talk.

The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore


The above photo taken shows how it would look like from the top view of Singapore east coast. Fleets and more fleets of vessels, anchored without containers on board. That was exactly what I saw 2 weeks ago when I flew above Singapore! I thought Singapore seawaters is really that busy but then it seems not to be the case after all.

The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore [via]

Monday, October 05, 2009

What is Counterparty (CP)

What is CP in investment terms? This is a question posed by a friend who just purchased her first 1,000 shares. I was shocked to find POEMS actually displayed CP to investors. I thought CP should be transparent to investors and its significance is irrelevant.

So what is CP? We should really ignore CP (Counterparty) since it should be handled by the platform of a brokerage house (in this case POEMS). Some may see UBS Securities, OCBC Securities, or some other brokerage houses as the transaction's CP. In any transaction, there must be a pair of willing buyer and seller. If CP is UBS Securities, this means shares just owned was sold by a investor using UBS Securities platform. This piece of information is insignificant.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Photo of an Ice Berg

That's one of the many perils of our big ocean. There is no escape if a ship is to hit an ice berg.

Photo from [via]

Stock Pick - Parkway Holdings


I just picked Parkway Holdings as the next stock to purchase this coming Monday.

I am queuing at S$2.01, just 1 cents lower than Friday's closing price of S$2.02.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

All Experts-Exchange Questions Answered by me in a Single CHM Help File

Using a tool created by PaulHews, I compiled all of my 3,414 Experts-Exchange questions answered by myself as a chm help file. These questions come from a total of 189 zones (topic areas).

My Experts-Exchange profile, under member id hongjun, can be found at http://www.experts-exchange.com/M_237966.html

Download EEHelp_hongjun.chm now [8.82MB as of 3 Oct 2009].

Google Help Forum [Revamped]

Google has slowly moved most of the support groups to a new platform better suited for question answering.

The new platform is now found at http://www.google.com/support/forum/.

To ask a new question, you may go to http://www.google.com/support/forum/ask directly.

Gold tells you bubble hasn't popped yet

Gold tells you bubble hasn't popped yet
Business Times - 03 Oct 2009
By ALICE SCHROEDER

IF you owned stocks and gold and had to sell one, which would it be? The Standard & Poor's 500 Index has gained almost 60 per cent since its low on March 9. Gold is near a record price. I know a fair number of people who would keep the gold.

I've never been a gold bug myself. They get no respect. They are associated with survivalists, conspiracy theorists and nutcases. They are always looking for the hyperinflation that never comes. Gold bugs pay a premium over the metal price for gold and silver coins on the notion that they will need the currency, come the Apocalypse.

On the other hand, the relationship between gold and financial crises goes back centuries. In the aftermath of the credit-bubble bust, we confront a Moby Dick-size pile of leverage and the question of whether this is inflationary or deflationary. So it's worth considering what the price of gold may be telling us.

Leverage is a broad term that covers the complete history of finance, which all boils down essentially to the same structure: debt secured by assets. You give me a cow, I give you a piece of paper. Later innovations are simply variations of obligations secured by assets.

So a simple explanation of bubbles is that they form whenever someone creates a rationale to increase obligations too far beyond the level justified by the assets, regardless of the form of the asset or obligation. Consider tulip mania, which like all bubbles featured leverage; it was fuelled not just by ordinary debt, but by leveraged tulip options. When the end came, the government of Holland declined to bail out those who had mortgaged their houses and businesses to buy tulip bulbs, and the multiyear depression that followed ruined an otherwise sound economy.

Our recent real-estate bubble wasn't like tulip mania, in which the inflated asset had only a tenuous connection to the economy it came to dominate. The real-estate bubble swelled on the genuine beliefs among consumers about their future prospects and earnings. To be sure, some of those prospects and earnings were exaggerated to the point of fraud.

Thus the bubble burst when credit-card junkies had spent the last dollars they could justify, and the final peanut brain had been unearthed who could be persuaded to sign up for a negative-amortising mortgage.

Because this link, however slim, remained between people's prospects and earnings and the debt they could carry, real-estate prices even in hard-hit cities such as Las Vegas declined only by half. Stockmarket losses were similar. These numbers are reported as if they were staggering, but they are less so compared with many bubbles.

Some now blame consumers' disinclination to spend and get the economy going again on banks' newfound reluctance to lend. To the contrary, Americans are in the midst of a deflationary trend that is temporarily being masked by inventory restocking and free lunches like 'cash for clunkers'.

Consumers are done with borrowing. They will keep fuelling the deflation by going through their attics and garages to find stuff they can sell on eBay to raise cash. That's because consumers have figured out that it was all a big head-fake from the Federal Reserve. Real incomes haven't grown in years. Manufacturing and, increasingly, service jobs are still moving overseas. The Treasury is trying to pump the economy back to a high-water mark that was phony to begin with, and doing so in the face of a savings rate that is going up.

The Treasury will succeed in printing enough money to forestall severe deflation. Even so, dollars will keep flowing out of the US to other countries as the trade gap widens. Only when we start creating more jobs and higher earnings can this dynamic reverse.

The question is, when will that be? Enter the gold bugs. They aren't just betting on inflation, as is the conventional wisdom. Gold has a wicked history of being an unreliable inflation hedge. It has, though, at times been a haven against sudden currency depreciation.

In all the talk of inflation because the Treasury is printing so much money versus deflation because it may not print enough, there is one type of inflation that is rarely discussed. This is the mega-inflation caused by a sudden currency devaluation. Currency is like any financial innovation, an obligation secured by assets. When the obligation is perceived to have increased far beyond the level justifiable by the assets, which in this case make up a country's economy, a bubble has formed.

As in any bubble, those who recognise this need to act well in advance. Historically, governments have taken action to prevent currency flight when the owners of a severely overvalued medium of exchange start selling so much that it adds to the pressure on its price. They make private purchases of gold illegal, or tax the exchange of currency.

Right now, the American economy is worth less than the value implied by the market value of its obligations and gold bugs will tell you, privately, that this is why they are buyers. Might as well stock up, they say, before gold becomes a controlled substance.

I haven't, so far, but the temptation is rising by the day.

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