Sunday, February 28, 2010

New lifestyle on trial

Hope new 早一点点睡 + 早多一些些起床 lifestyle will work out well.

Prudent use of CPF monies on housing

Interesting short video clip on "Prudent use of CPF monies on housing".

F.I.R.飛兒樂團 -- 向日葵盛開的夏天

What do Singaporeans think of this year's Budget?


Some "help" missing from this year's budget is there is no Ang Baos and personal income tax rebate. This year's budget is designed more towards improving businesses and productivity.

Forced to read and read just to understand project requirements

To even get myself started on one of my projects, I had to read 4 research papers, 1 reference site, 1 lecture note from my school (National University of Singapore) and 1 lecture note downloaded from University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science website.

Hopefully with that, I need no further readings to complete my project.

Research Papers
Reference Sites
Lecture Notes (External)

My schedule for school

March
  • 02: CS5322 Quiz 1
  • 03: CS4236 Project deadline
  • 05: CS5322 choose research topic
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline
April
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 1
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 2
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2
  • 15: CS5322 Project deadline
  • XX: CS4236 Assignment 2 deadline
  • XX: CS5322 Assignment 2 deadline
  • 27: CS4236 Exam
  • 28: CS5258 Exam
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam
Strikethrough means I am done with it. Am current working on CS4236 Assignment 1 (reading project specification for 2 hours still left me confused).

Hopefully still manageable.

Frozen Waterfall in Estonia

Driving directions to NUS

This illustrates shortest (in terms of km) route can also be the cheapest (avoid all toll for weekdays).

Driving directions from Sengkang West Avenue to National University of Singapore (NUS).

Why did you become an Engineer?

No matter what discipline of engineer are you, be it Software Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Electronics Engineer, Mechanical Engineer or Product Engineer, it is very likely that money factor is not going to be the carrot.

Why did you become an Engineer? [via]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Decided on a Project Day for Sunday

Yes. I have decided to make tomorow's Sunday to be a Project Day.

Venue: Somewhere with air-con running at full blast to cool my brain.

Buffett's $50 million credit card blunder

No one, including Warren Buffett, is always correct.

Buffett's $50 million credit card blunder [via]

Singapore Polytechnic new Hilltop Library


Hilltop Library - Exterior

Hilltop Haven - 2nd floor for interaction, relxation & coffee in cafe

I speculate the name is Hilltop since it is located near the Business Faculty, up on top of a hill (students call it the 峨嵋山).

Above 2 photos were grabbed from here.

Olivia Ong 超級星光大道

太舒服了。

Heaven

Ain't no sunshine

Consider to start participating in Experts-Exchange once again

To keep up with the latest. I will need it soon.

Facebook Glitch Sends E-Mails to Wrong Users

It is reported that several Facebook email messages were sent to the wrong recipients due to a coding glitch. This unintended incident happened on Wednesday.

As websites get more and more complicated, it seems like frequency of hearing privacy issues being implicated gets higher too. Is that a direct correlation?

Facebook Glitch Sends E-Mails to Wrong Users [via]

Yearning for a getaway

Need both 闲 and 钱 before it even materialize.

Friday, February 26, 2010

真有趣!

真有趣
  • 今朝有酒今朝醉,明日愁来明日忧。
  • 人生得意须尽欢,莫使金樽空对月。

Appreciated for Integrity and Goodwill attitude

3 years of integrity, mutual goodwill relationship, give-and-take attitude appreciated. Good to know that I am trusted :)

These are my life principles and I shall centre around them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Security Threat Against 'Smart Phone' Users, Researchers Show

Maybe we should just bring ourselves to a meeting for security sake. LOL!

New Security Threat Against 'Smart Phone' Users, Researchers Show [via]

Olivia Ong -- Sometimes when we touch

Angelic piece of voice.

做人难,做好人更加难啊

同意吗?

SMRT Corporation stock chart


Am pleased with SMRT Corporation stable and steady growing share price performance thus far, especially February 2010. This is in reverse to many other blue chips for February.

Gmail graduates 6 features incl 'Search Autocomplete' but retires 5 others

Gmail Labs made an announcement that six features from the Labs have graduated while retiring five others.

Graduating:
  1. Search Autocomplete
  2. Go To Label
  3. Forgotten Attachment Detector
  4. YouTube Previews
  5. Custom Label Colors
  6. Vacation Dates
Retiring:
  1. Muzzle
  2. Fixed Width Font
  3. Email Addict
  4. Location in Signature
  5. Random Signature
These decisions to graduate and retire were made based mainly on usage, and users' feedback.

Gmail Labs graduation and retirement [via]

Greek alphabets

Αα    Alpha
Ββ    Beta    
Γγ    Gamma    
Δδ    Delta    
Εε    Epsilon    
Ζζ    Zeta    
Ηη    Eta    
Θθ    Theta    
Ιι    Iota    
Κκ    Kappa    
Λλ    Lambda    
Μμ    Mu    
Νν    Nu
Ξξ    Xi
Οο    Omicron
Ππ    Pi
Ρρ    Rho
Σσς   Sigma
Ττ    Tau
Υυ    Upsilon
Φφ    Phi
Χχ    Chi
Ψψ    Psi
Ωω    Omega

More factorization algorithms

More Mathematical headaches for me to self-learn.

Serious threat to the web in Italy

From Google Official Blog:
Serious threat to the web in Italy
2/24/2010 01:57:00 AM

In late 2006, students at a school in Turin, Italy filmed and then uploaded a video to Google Video that showed them bullying an autistic schoolmate. The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police. We also worked with the local police to help identify the person responsible for uploading it and she was subsequently sentenced to 10 months community service by a court in Turin, as were several other classmates who were also involved. In these rare but unpleasant cases, that's where our involvement would normally end.

But in this instance, a public prosecutor in Milan decided to indict four Google employees —David Drummond, Arvind Desikan, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes (who left the company in 2008). The charges brought against them were criminal defamation and a failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. To be clear, none of the four Googlers charged had anything to do with this video. They did not appear in it, film it, upload it or review it. None of them know the people involved or were even aware of the video's existence until after it was removed.

Nevertheless, a judge in Milan today convicted 3 of the 4 defendants — David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes — for failure to comply with the Italian privacy code. All 4 were found not guilty of criminal defamation. In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload. We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question. Throughout this long process, they have displayed admirable grace and fortitude. It is outrageous that they have been subjected to a trial at all.

But we are deeply troubled by this conviction for another equally important reason. It attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built. Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming. European Union law was drafted specifically to give hosting providers a safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its existence. The belief, rightly in our opinion, was that a notice and take down regime of this kind would help creativity flourish and support free speech while protecting personal privacy. If that principle is swept aside and sites like Blogger, YouTube and indeed every social network and any community bulletin board, are held responsible for vetting every single piece of content that is uploaded to them — every piece of text, every photo, every file, every video — then the Web as we know it will cease to exist, and many of the economic, social, political and technological benefits it brings could disappear.

These are important points of principle, which is why we and our employees will vigorously appeal this decision.

Posted by Matt Sucherman, VP and Deputy General Counsel - Europe, Middle East and Africa

Simply loving Singapore Polytechnic campus

I just simply love Singapore Polytechnic campus - tables, benches, lockers, canteen, laboratories, library, cafeteria and the lecturers.

I shall give lecturing a try once I am ready for the challenge.

I WILL!

Purchase: Asset or Expense?


Wonderh should your purchase be recorded as an asset or an expense? A decision tree by Harvard helps us make this accounting entry decision.

ecareers.sg portal to allow students to make informed career choices

Students of Primary 5 and 6 can now make informed choices of their career aspirations. The Ministry of Education (MOE) has launched an interactive web-based Education and Career Guidance (ECG) portal for primary schools.

Using ecareers.sg, students can explore information on various industries through colourful illustrations, personalised 'Avatars' and by playing interactive games.

I wonder how the portal would look like after logon (I can't since I am not P5/6).

Education & career portal aids primary schoolers to choose life-path [via]

Enjoyed lunch in Singapore Polytechnic

Met up with my that most respected polytechnic lecturer for the second time this year for lunch and this time round, I had my 9 years ago all-time favourite Pig's organ soup from Food Court 6. After 9 years, the price of their soup still remains unchanged at $2.00! Their ever so-popular fried chicken rice and western food stalls shall be my next target.

Unlike previous visits whereby I went around visiting other lecturers, I visited the new 1-month old Hilltop library beside T22. This new library that comes with a cafeteria and comfortable sofa is built to replace the old BizIT library located near MLT18.

Indeed a nostalgic homecoming for me whenever I visit Singapore Polytechnic.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Parkway Holdings chart


Both MA (14d, 25d) and MACD indicators, together with a tightening Bollinger Band, are showing positive trend for Parkway Holdings.

I am pleased with the counter thus far. Remain vested.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Parkway Holdings post profit jump of 29% for FY2009

Parkway Holdings, Asia’s biggest hospital operator by sales, posted fourth-quarter net income of $24.8 million and profit after tax and minority interests (PATMI) for the year grew by 29% to $117.9 million.

The Board has resumed dividend payments by declaring a final tax exempt one-tier dividend of 1.15 cents per ordinary share.

Parkway Holdings closed at S$2.930, higher by $0.070 or 2.447%.

Prepare for high inflation

A perspective on inflation.

Prepare for high inflation [via]

5 more Buzz tips: post by email, follow the Buzz team, and more

5 more Buzz tips are published on the Official Gmail Blog:
  1. Post by email
  2. Prevent your boring chat status messages from being posted to Buzz
  3. Look for the yellow line to see what's new
  4. Link to a post
  5. Follow the Buzz team in Google Buzz
This is in addition to an earlier post.

5 more Buzz tips: post by email, follow the Buzz team, and more [via]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Koh Brothers Reports Net Profit of S$10.7 mil for FY2009

Koh Brothers Reports Net Profit of S$10.7 mil for FY2009
  • Revenue climbs 55% to S$333.8 million on the back of improved performance from the Group’s Real Estate and Construction & Building Materials divisions
  • Excluding exceptional items, Group net profit jumps 347% to S$12.1 million
  • Proposes first and final dividend of 0.3 cent per ordinary share
  • Healthy order book of over S$485 million for Construction and Building Materials division
Come to think of the meagre 61% lower dividend for FY2009 as compared to FY2008 makes me sigh. However, looking on the brighter side of the story, the decline is largely due to an exceptional gain of S$25.0 million in FY2008, which arose from gain on disposal of Changi Hotel and acquisition of a subsidiary’s shares from a minority interest. These exceptional events was not repeated in FY2009. Excluding the exceptional items, the Group’s net profit attributable to shareholders for FY2009 would have increased by S$9.4 million or 347% to S$12.1 million.

Nice chat with an acquaintance

I had a nice chat with an acquaintance after my today's lecture. He is an external student from NTU.

Throughout the journey from NUS to Outram Park, we talked on topic relating to the education system in Singapore. One interesting finding is NTU actually offers a programme on Singlish (Singapore Slang English) Linguistics. I wonder what is the passing criteria for that programme.

Birthday problem

In a group of at least 23 randomly chosen people, there is more than 50% probability that some pair of them will have the same birthday.

Birthday problem [via]

Nomination of Insurance Nominees

The Insurance Nomination Law, which came into effect on 1 September under the Insurance Act, gives policyholders two options when nominating a beneficiary or beneficiaries under their life or, accident and health insurance policy.

Under the new law, policyholders of policies that are effected on their own lives and which pay a death benefit can choose from two options: Make a trust nomination, or a revocable nomination.

With a trust nomination, the policyholder relinquishes all rights to the policy, and can only regain it with the consent of all nominees.

With a revocable nomination, the policyholder retains the ability to unilaterally change, add or remove nominees.

To know the details, simply read Your Guide to the Nomination of Insurance Nominees 2009 (English) or (Chinese).

Referring to the English guide, page number 12 explains what ought/should be done on existing policies.

A picture's worth a thousand (translated) words

Do check out Google Goggles too.

Google Goggles is a visual search app for Android phones. Instead of using words, take a picture of an object with your camera phone: we attempt to recognize the object, and return relevant search results. Goggles also provides information about businesses near you by displaying their names directly in the camera preview.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

把握当下

凡事自有安排,顺其自然,把握当下,喜乐自在。 At times, we need to understand that chances come only once - grab hold of it, seize the moment and take action.

Singapore Budget Day on 22 February 2010 3:30pm


Minister for Finance, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, will deliver the FY2010 Budget Statement in Parliament on Monday, 22 February 2010 at 3.30pm.

Singapore government response to "The Economist: The stingy nanny"

Read on below for a response by the Singapore government to an article published on The Economist: The stingy nanny.
Singapore government response
Feb 17th 2010
From Economist.com

SIR — I refer to your article “The stingy nanny” of Feb 13th.

Each society has to decide for itself the appropriate balance between unconditional welfare and self-reliance. Singapore has concluded that we cannot afford European-style state welfare, not because of dogma, but because our circumstances are different. We face competition from some of the most vibrant economies in the world, we have no hinterland or natural resources of our own to fall back on, and our future depends on being a dynamic and self-reliant people who strive our utmost to excel and create wealth for ourselves, our families and our society. Each generation must earn and save enough for its entire life cycle.

Our approach is based on time-tested values of hard work, self-reliance, family responsibility and community support for those in need. While we avoid over-generous welfare handouts, we have substantial state subsidies for education, health care and public housing. These are major investments that uplift the skills, promote the health and increase the assets of all Singaporeans. The result has been high growth, low unemployment, high savings and the highest home-ownership rates in the world.

No society has ever succeeded in totally eradicating poverty, nor in eliminating inequality of incomes, not even Communist systems. A generous welfare state, despite its theoretical attractiveness, is not a panacea. Singapore’s system is by no means perfect, but it has produced real results for the vast majority of Singaporeans, and enabled even the poor to live with dignity and hope. The burden of proof is on its critics to demonstrate that their proposals will in fact work, and improve on what Singapore has achieved, given our socio-cultural fabric and economic circumstances.

Michael Eng Cheng Teo
High Commissioner for Singapore
London

Mathematical Symbols

OMG!!! I am seeing them once again in my lecture notes!!!

= ≠ < > ≤ ≥ ∝ + - × · ÷ ⁄ ± √ ∣ ∤ : ! ~ ≈ ◅ ▻ ⋈ ∴ ∵ ⇒ → ⇔ ↔ ⊕ ∀ ∃ ≡ { , } ∅ ∈ ⊆ ⊂ ∪ ∩ → ↦ ℕ ℤ ℤn ℤp ℚ ℝ ℂ O ∞ ∑ ∫ Δ δ π σ

Partial Order

A relation "≤" is a partial order on a set S if it has:
  1. Reflexivity: a ≤ a ∀ a ∈ S.

  2. Antisymmetry: a ≤ b and b ≤ a ⇒ a = b.

  3. Transitivity: a ≤ b and b ≤ c ⇒ a ≤ c.
Re-learning Mathematics. More to come :(

It's a New Day for Credit Cards

Is that going to be a New Day for most cities including Singapore?

It's a New Day for Credit Cards [via]

Valentine's Day movie is great

VERY VERY short review from me.

Funniest scene: When Taylor Swift was doing that 5 6 7 8 cheer-leading move. But I thought Taylor Swift should stay singing and not act. Acting is just not her strength.

Most romantic scene: When the old lady (forgot her name), wearing red, did a bollywood, and went to look for her husband in the cemetery. I vote for this for its hilarious element in it too.

MM Lee said property prices went DOWN last year!

Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew made a comment that property prices actually went down last year at a Lunar New Year dinner held at Tanjong Pagar GRC. His comment really scared me!

Isn't he aware of the ever increasing property prices in Singapore? Scary.
“Let me tell you what happens when we slow down too much. You get the reverse spiral. Low growth, maybe even zero growth. Last year we had minus two per cent. Prices go down, property prices go down, incomes go down, you can't refurbish your houses, no new SERS, no upgrading and the country goes down.”

MM Lee warns of dangers of slow growth if productivity does not increase [via]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Is it fair for S'poreans and PRs to pay a S$100 casino levy at RWS?

I think it is not fair for Singaporeans and PRs to pay a $100 casino levy to enter RWS. It is ridiculous if you were to see how Malaysia's Genting and Macau casinos are operating. It is really a joke when foreign workers and maids in Singapore are able to visit and enjoy the experience but not us.

People in Malaysia and Macau must be laughing at us. Indeed laughable.

Managing super packed schedule

February
  • 17: Testing
  • 18: Flight trial
  • 19: Flight trial
  • 22-26: Internal Software Acceptance Test
March
  • 02: CS5322 Quiz 1
  • 03: CS4236 Project deadline
  • 05: CS5322 choose research topic
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline
  • XX: Software Acceptance Test
  • XX: Lab Acceptance Test
  • XX: Ground Acceptance Test
  • XX: Software Management Committee
  • XX: 3 flight trials
  • XX: Conduct user training
April
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2
  • 15: CS5322 Project deadline
  • XX: CS4236 Assignment 2 deadline
  • XX: CS5258 Project deadline
  • XX: CS5322 Assignment 2 deadline
  • 27: CS4236 Exam
  • 28: CS5258 Exam
  • XX: Software Management Committee
  • XX: 2 flight trials
  • XX: Conduct user training
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam
The above does not include my 2nd project at work because its schedule is still very much unknown.

Managing them systematically is very important and I hope I won't lose control over it. Still manageable.

Questions set were really too difficult

I really wonder what was in my mind when I set those 50 odd POA MCQs a week ago. Today, I actually had a hard time doing them myself for the second time since last week. Those questions require one's mind to be clear without distractions. They "boomerang" and almost overran myself.

My goodness!

AIA A$ Wealth Accumulator – Up to 4.7% Interest per year

Once Again, AIA is offering the highest guaranteed interest up to 4.7% per year. This product is a 4.5 year non-participating Endowment plan.

The guaranteed yields are as follows:
Single Premium Amount (A$)
  • $10,000 – $29,000 : 4.50% p.a.
  • $30,000 – $74,000 : 4.60% p.a.
  • $75,000 and above : 4.70% p.a.
However, the catch is this product is based in Australian dollars (A$) and hence the maturity amount will also be paid in Aussie dollars. This product is suitable for those who are aware of the risk involved in currency fluctuation and of course especially geared towards those who have long term plan to live or study in Australia.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bank Lodgements VS Credit Transfers

What is the difference between Bank Lodgements and Credit Transfers?

Credit Transfer: Refers to a payment mode in which an amount of money (credit) is transferred directly from one account to another, in the same or different bank.

Then what is Bank Lodgement?

If the lodgement is brought forward to the branch of the same branch as the account to be credited, then it is a Bank Lodgement. If it is brought to another branch or bank, other than the account-holding branch, for transmission to the account-holding branch, then it is a Credit Transfer.

However, it looks like Credit Transfer is often used loosely for all.

Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation

Though it is a year 2006 article, I find an article "Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation" by the Harvard Business School is still applicable to current times.

Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation [via]

Microsoft on Google Apps

Microsoft posted some videos on YouTube that discuss the disadvantages of using Google Apps in an organization, while recommending businesses to try Microsoft's solutions.

Microsoft on Google Apps [via]

Rules on getting into Resort World Sentosa casino

Dear RWS Casino guests, we have heard your feedback and are striving to iron out our operational kinks.

To ensure that you have no undue problems getting into our casino, please note some of the rules and regulations.

The dress code is Smart Casual. Persons in singlets and slippers will not be allowed in. If in doubt, dress as if you were attending your wedding dinner. :)

Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents are required by the Singapore government to purchase an entry levy prior to entering the casino. A day levy costs S$100 and an annual levy costs S$2,000. They can be purchased from casino levy counters just outside the RWS Casino or via our website, www.rwsentosa.com .

For foreigners, please bring along a photo ID for verification. For more details, please check http://bit.ly/FAQlevy .

For those interested in becoming Resorts World Card members, please visit our membership counters. These are available both inside and outside the casino and in the Forum. Holders of Resorts World / Genting membership cards from other countries, please also visit the counters to activate your cards.

RWS is committed to the prevention of problem and underage gambling. If you would like to know more, please check http://bit.ly/RWSresgam .

Lastly, we wish all a Happy Lunar New Year and a pleasant visit to RWS!

Official Gmail Blog: 5 Buzz tips

Google recently released 5 tips on usage of Buzz.
  1. Format your posts.
  2. View a summary of your own Buzz activity at
    www.google.com/dashboard.
  3. Use an @reply to send a post directly to someone's inbox.
  4. Try keyboard shortcuts to fly through buzz.
  5. Mute posts so they don't get sent to your inbox.
Official Gmail Blog: 5 Buzz tips [via]

Local class action complaint suit filed against Google Buzz over privacy

The number of news related to Google Buzz is getting really HOT since its launch.

Local class action complaint filed over Google Buzz [via]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gmail launches new Buzz Settings Page to allow total disabling


Google has updated Gmail to include a new "Buzz" tab under the "Settings" page, where you can remove Buzz from your inbox, delete Buzz altogether, or to hide from the public whom you are following and being followed by from your Google Profile. Do note that it is set to show to public by default.

ST Engineering posts 27% rise in 4Q09 net profit

ST Engineering, world's largest aircraft repair firm, posted 27% rise n 4Q09 net profit as compared to 4Q08.

For FY2009, the Electronics and Marine sectors reported higher turnover, the Aerospace sector had comparable turnover, while the Land Systems sector had lower turnover as compared to FY2008. The higher turnover in the Electronics sector is largely attributable to milestone completions of several projects including MRT projects in Singapore, Taiwan, Guangzhou and Bangkok, the Integrated Resort project, software system and simulator projects as well as sales of satellite communications products. The Marine sector recorded higher shipbuilding turnover due to favourable sales mix in both the Singapore and US operations.

A final dividend of 10.28 cents per share, consisting of an Ordinary Dividend of 4.00 cents per share and a Special Dividend of 6.28 cents per share is being proposed. Together with the interim Ordinary Dividend of 3.00 cents per share paid in September 2009, the total dividend of 13.28 cents translates to a yield of 4.72%, computed using the average closing share price of the last trading day of 2009 and 2008.

ST Engineering continued to strengthen its order book in 2009 and ended the year with a healthy order book of $10.3b, of which about $3.7b is expected to be delivered in 2010.

ST Engineering (Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd) is an integrated engineering group providing solutions and services in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors. Head-quartered in Singapore, the Group reported revenues of $5.55b in FY2009 and ranks among the largest companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. ST Engineering has more than 20,000 employees worldwide, and over 100 subsidiaries and associated companies in 24 countries and 42 cities.

How to disable Google Buzz completely?

Exactly one week ago, I posted a tip on Disabling Google Buzz. It talked on disabling Buzz through merely removing it from showing in Gmail.

Google recently added a new option to disable Google Buzz integration in Gmail and delete your Google profile and Buzz posts. It will also disconnect any connected sites and unfollow you from anyone you are following. This unfollowing process will also unfollow you from the ones you follow in Google Reader, which is rather unnecessary.

To find the new option, go to the profile editing page, scroll to the bottom of the page and select "Delete profile and disable Google Buzz completely".

劉德華 -- 每次醒來

One of my favourite 劉德華 and K-song.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hope to have bird's eye view on RWS tomorrow

My flight for tomorrow is expected to land after 2100hr. Hopefully, I will have a panoramic bird's eye view of Resort World Sentosa (RWS).

真期待!

What is "organ" in Chinese?

Musical instrument organ in Chinese is called 风琴.

Learn something today.

Which Social Network Is Right For You?

An article on LifeHacker attempts to compare popular social networking sites, namely Facebook, Twitter and Google Buzz, to help us make a decision which social network is right for us.

Which Social Network Is Right For You? [via]

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cheaper Toyota cars to come?

Cheaper Toyota cars to come? Very likely in the U.S. and European countries, but Asia too? Hope so.

Toyota gives dealers an olive branch: Promises ad campaign [via]

2 days of Nintendo Wii

2 days of Nintendo Wii and no work makes me feel even more tiring. I do not know why. Games like Super Mario Bro, Wii Sports, and classic SEGA games like Shadow Dancer and Bare Knuckles loaded on emulator can be addictive. Can't believe the game console is just in my house but I have never really played it before this Chinese New Year festive season.

I better get back to work and stop touching the controller.

Two studies show ICT aids the teaching of Chinese language

The proliferation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage in teaching is sowing the seeds of hard work put in by both the implementers and educators. No doubt, Information Technology (IT) is getting very closely knitted to our everyday learning process.

As always, Chinese idioms (成语) is very much a “我不认识它它不认识我”affair.

Two studies show ICT aids the teaching of Chinese language [via]

Windows Phone 7 (Totally Reinvented)

Microsoft finally come out with a new Windows Mobile version 7.0 for mobile phones. This new operating system is a total revamped, built from scratch and cocomes with a completely new user interface for touchscreen. It is obvious that Microsoft is trying to attempt to beat the likes of Apple's iPhone stronghold and the new emerging Google's Nexus One.

NOTE: The name of the new operating system is Windows Mobile 7 Windows Phone 7. Looks like they have decided to drop the word Mobile.

The new Windows Phone operating system looks pretty snazzy.

Demo: Phones for a “Life in Motion”

See how Windows® Phone 7 Series reorganizes the phone, Web and applications to deliver a mobile experience that will help make the most of customers’ busy lives.


Is Microsoft too late in the party? I think so.

Wrong buy on Neptune Orient Lines (NOL)

It is getting clearer that my buy on Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) is a wrong and expensive one after all. In just one month, the stock has since fallen 11 per cent.

What has resulted in the drop? Fundamentals have shown the shipping industry though recovering, the possibility of shipping companies like NOL seeing red in the first half of 2010 is still real.


Last Thursday, NOL announced larger-than-expected FY2009 losses of US$741 million ($1 billion) on the back of a 30 per cent drop in revenue to US$6.52 billion. It is anticipated that the downward pressure on freight rates, owing to the oversupply of tonnage, is likely to weigh on NOL's profitability. This still-gloomy trend will affect other shipping companies too. Due to overall losses, no distribution is announced for FY2009.

Let's hope FY2010 will be a better year for the shipping industry. Looking on the brighter side, the rest of my old and new holdings still remain relatively healthy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

王菲《传奇》令我不禁沉浸其中

王菲复出演唱歌曲《传奇》令我不禁沉浸其中。她的歌声真是百听不厌啊。

她真的还是很行!真棒!Voice of a celestial being!
王菲《传奇》歌词

词:左右曲:李键

只是因为在人群中多看了你一眼
再也没能忘掉你容颜
梦想着偶然能有一天再相见
从此我开始孤单思念
想你时你在天边
想你时你在眼前
想你时你在脑海
想你时你在心田

宁愿相信我们前世有约
今生的爱情故事不会再改变
宁愿用这一生等你发现
我一直在你身旁
从未走远

只因为在人群中多看了你一眼
再也没能忘掉你容颜
梦想着偶然能有一天再相见
从此我开始孤单思念
想你时你在天边
想你时你在眼前
想你时你在脑海
想你时你在心田

宁愿相信我们前世有约
今生的爱情故事不会再改变
宁愿用这一生等你发现
我一直在你身边
从未走远

只是因为在人群中多看了你一眼

The Economist - Welfare in Singapore: The stingy nanny

I was browsing The Economist when I happen to come across an article on welfare in Singapore. An article like the below will never ever going to be published in local Singapore.
The stingy nanny
Feb 13th 2010 | SINGAPORE
From Economist.com

The city-state stays strict with the needy

FOND of having the last word, Singapore's government can nevertheless be flexible. Who would have thought it would be building casinos? But one policy that shows no sign of reversing is Singapore’s antipathy towards public welfare. The state’s attitude can be simply put: being poor here is your own fault. Citizens are obliged to save for the future, rely on their families and not expect any handouts from the government unless they hit rock bottom. The emphasis on family extends into old age: retired parents can sue children who fail to support them. In government circles “welfare” remains a dirty word, cousin to sloth and waste. Singapore may be a nanny state, but it is by no means an indulgent nanny.

The aftershock of a deep recession, which pushed unemployment among citizens up to 4.1% in September—high for Singapore—has not altered the popular belief that the dole is bad for society. The casinos, which open on February 14th, have already helped reduce unemployment, which by December had fallen back to 3%, seasonally adjusted.

The government does run a handful of schemes directed at some of the needy, from low-income students to the unassisted elderly. But these benefits are rigorously means-tested and granted only sparingly. The most destitute citizens’ families may apply for public assistance; only 3,000 currently qualify. Laid-off workers receive no automatic benefits. Instead they are sorted into “workfare” and training schemes.

Applicants complain that the process of seeking help is made tiresome and humiliating. Indeed that could be the point, supposing it deters free-riders. Officials take a dim view of European-style welfare systems, which are said to beget laziness. The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), which administers the various schemes, says theirs are designed as a “springboard” to self-reliance. Getting people back to work takes priority over relieving any temporary drop in income. In a fiscal stimulus unveiled a year ago in response to the financial crisis, S$5.1 billion ($3.6 billion) was allocated for employment measures, including grants to companies to retain staff. Those who remain out of work can join a government training scheme; by December, 169,000 unemployed workers had done so.

Many Singaporeans are wedded to their jobs and look askance at idleness of any kind. The government is leery of generous handouts, fearing they might undercut the work ethic while burdening taxpayers. But the thinness of the safety net also reflects a widespread article of faith, recited and reinforced over the years. Even among the social workers who work in hard-hit communities there is surprisingly little frustration at the meagreness of the handouts on offer or at the lengthy application process. One explains that Singapore needs to weed out undeserving claimants and shakes his head at the potential cost of a comprehensive welfare service. Yet in his next breath he mentions a number of local families who have been forced to sleep rough since mortgage lenders foreclosed on their flats.

Nobody doubts that wealthy Singapore could be more generous. In 2008 the World Bank rated it the third richest country in the world, in terms of GDP per head at purchasing-power parity. And the idea that its Big-Brotherly government might be outfoxed by conniving welfare queens seems odd. When a visiting news crew filmed an elderly woman scavenging in Chinatown and bemoaning her homelessness, the government promptly identified her as a miserly flat-owner who did not need to beg. Indeed, acute poverty is hard to spot in Singapore. Public housing is in good shape; no slums are allowed to fester. Soup kitchens do exist, but foreign labourers are often first in line.

But Singapore still faces the challenge of rising inequality in a society that is also rapidly ageing. By 2030, says MCYS, one in five Singaporeans will be over 65 (UBS, whose largest shareholder is Singapore’s sovereign-wealth fund, has estimated the date at 2020). Incomes have stagnated or even fallen at the bottom of the spectrum, as the rich pull further ahead of the middle classes. Long-term unemployment among middle-aged professionals, who do not qualify for workfare, is on the rise, says Leong Sze Hian, a financial expert and blogger.

Native resentment is also growing against the influx of migrant workers: 35% of the workforce of 3m is now foreign. It is often cheaper for companies to import semi-skilled and unskilled workers—there were 680,000 at last count—than to hire locals, who require pension contributions. Official reassurances that migrants create growth do not convince those competing for scarce jobs. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father and still its "minister mentor" has maintained that ambitious migrants help to keep citizens on their toes. In an interview given to National Geographic last July he said that if native Singaporeans lag behind “hungry” foreigners because “the spurs are not stuck on [their] hinds”, that is not the state’s problem to solve.

This nascent backlash may eventually soften the anti-welfare tone set by Mr Lee. The Economic Society of Singapore (ESS)—not exactly a radical cell—recently proposed to a government committee that it should build a more robust safety net, starting with unemployment insurance. This would promote social stability and help muster public support for Singapore’s open-door migration policies, it argues. Properly designed, such measures would not create disincentives to work and thrift. “While self-reliance is a good principle in general, it may be neither efficient nor just if taken to extremes,” noted the ESS.

A 2-for-1 Google Doodle today

A 2-for-1 Google Doodle today, marking Winter Olympics + Valentine's Day. COOL!

1 project down ?!

It seems the core of my 2% project is completed except for some final aesthetic finishing on the presentation slides.

COOL!

New Framework for Nomination of Insurance Nominees takes effect September 1, 2009

The Insurance Nomination Law, which came into effect on 1 September under the Insurance Act, gives policyholders two options when nominating a beneficiary or beneficiaries under their life or, accident and health insurance policy.

Under the new law, policyholders of policies that are effected on their own lives and which pay a death benefit can choose from two options: Make a trust nomination, or a revocable nomination.

With a trust nomination, the policyholder relinquishes all rights to the policy, and can only regain it with the consent of all nominees.

With a revocable nomination, the policyholder retains the ability to unilaterally change, add or remove nominees.

But then what's the default option? I shall seek an answer to it by end of this week.

From the Life Insurance Association, Singapore website:
  • LIA Media Release (7 Sep 09) [via]
  • Your Guide to the Nomination of Insurance Nominees 2009 (English) [via]
  • Your Guide to the Nomination of Insurance Nominees 2009 (Chinese) [via]
  • Insurance (Nomination of Beneficiaries) Regulations 2009 [via]

【2010央视春晚 1080HD】10 - 传奇 Legend / 王菲 Wang Fei

她还行!Crystal clear and definitely naturally dolby stereo.

2010央视虎年春晚 小虎队串烧《再聚首》

They seem to be struggling on high notes.
吴奇隆 still look quite the same!

Third-hand smoke also bad for you

Nicotine residues will stick to a smoker's skin and clothing, and these residues follow a smoker back into the community he or she mixes with and get spread everywhere. The biggest risk is to young children.

The only socially responsible solution not to risk people around you from second-hand or third-hand smoke is really to kick out the habit of smoking.

Third-hand smoke also bad for you: study [via]

Sunday, February 14, 2010

HAPPY

Taylor Swift -- Today was a fairytale

Movie Valentine's Day song. NICE!!!

Taylor Swift -- You Belong With Me

Taylor Swift -- Love Story

I know I posted Taylor Swift's -- Love Story MV before but then it is just too good and I really must post it here again!


My review on the restaurants I visited for Chinese New Year

The below are the restaurants I visited either for lunch or dinner for Chinese New Year.

Paradise Inn at City Square Mall (Lunch)

Overall rating for the 268++ set lunch is unsatisfactory for 2 reasons.

Except for yu sheng and dessert, all the other dishes were served in the wrong sequence. For example, fried rice was served as the second dish instead of being the one before dessert. Herbal soup was served as the last item before dessert OMG!

Quality of food is another disappointment. Broccoli was served with only broccoli, meaning to say, items in the dish is just broccoli with salt. Most of their dishes were too salty for me.

Ingredients used and quality of food do not justify the 268++ price tag.

Hooters at Clarke Quay (Lunch)

The only reason why I was there having western food for Chinese New Year is because that's a company event.

Overall rating is unsatisfactory for 1 reason.

I think any restaurant selling pork loin, chicken chop and fish dory will be able to serve anything more decent than Hooters. The pork loin I had tasted like some below average 菜贩 pork chop.

Soup Restaurant at DFS Scottswalk (Dinner)

Overall rating for the 268++ set lunch is good.

金银双捞 San Yu & Salmon Yu Sheng. Many times better than Paradise Inn's. More salmon and less ginger, waitress better trained to wish us with greetings.

延年益寿 Double Boiled Waisan & Ginseng Roots w Chicken Soup. Really 够味 and equally served unlike Paradise Inn's.

三星拌月 Samsui Chicken Triple Treasure Platter. This dish is not the same as the usual Samsui Chicken served on normal days. Other than the signature Samsui Chicken, it came with pork ribs, prawns and some seafood. NICE!

包您高升 Braised Abalone w Sea Cucumber & Thick Mushroom. As the name suggest, abalone, sea cucumber and thick mushroom. The serving is not reasonable.

年年有余 Steamed Uncle Lapan. Really fresh steamed fish.

花开富贵 Fried Broccoli with Fresh Scallop. Soup Restaurant served broccoli with fresh scallop unlike Paradise Inn's broccoli with salt!

丰衣足食 Reunion Fried Rice w Crab Meat, Scallop and Prawn. This is part of their usual dish if I am not wrong. Yummy and filling.

金碧辉煌 Tofu Prawn. This dish is really special. Tofu and tiger prawns with bean and prawn paste. The sauce looks a lot like Chilli crab's. NICE!

路路通财 Crispy Fried NZ Venison. Instead of spring onion with deer meat, they crispy fried it instead. What an unique way to serve deer meat.

Worth the money :) Hungry ...

Weekly Address: Pay As You Go

How DarkMarket is taken down by FBI?

Pledge to finish my 1st task after my 2 full days of rest by today.
03 March 2010 : CS4236 Project deadline
It is basically a "waste-time" project, considering this is a 2% weightage, 20 minutes presentation on any security-related topic. For this, I decided to do a "story-telling" style on the topic of "How DarkMarket is taken down by FBI?".

The lecturer has promised us as long as we do something, 2% is guaranteed.

A simple introduction to Dark Market.
http://www.fbi.gov/page2/oct08/darkmarket_102008.html

Real-Life Sleeping Beauty Tells Tale

Rare disorder causes teen girl to sleep for as long as 13 days!

12 Google Buzz Tips

Find some rather useful tips on Google Buzz.
  1. Send direct messages
  2. Disable email notifications
  3. Add more connected sites
  4. Link to a Google Buzz message
  5. Quickly open Google Buzz
  6. Hide Google Buzz's counter
  7. Subscribe to a Google Buzz account in a feed reader
  8. Find public Google Buzz messages
  9. Save searches
  10. View Google Buzz photos in a slideshow
  11. Add rich text messages
  12. Google Buzz on a map
Google Buzz Tips [via]

祝贺大家新年快乐

祝贺大家新年快乐!
虎年行大运,虎你发大财!

新的一年,新的开始,新的希望,新的环境。

Distribution Reinvestment Plan (DRP)

Distribution Reinvestment Plan (DRP) is the new term I learnt today. DRP provides the option to elect to receive new units (DRP Units) in lieu of the cash amount of any distributions (cash dividends), declared in respect of all holdings of units which are deposited with Central Depository Pte Limited (CDP).

Only when you manage your own investment will you gain new knowledge.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Managing super packed schedule

February
  • 17: Testing
  • 18: Flight trial
  • 19: Flight trial
  • 22-26: Internal Software Acceptance Test
March
  • 02: CS5322 Quiz 1
  • 03: CS4236 Project deadline
  • 05: CS5322 choose research topic
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline
  • XX: Software Acceptance Test
  • XX: Lab Acceptance Test
  • XX: Ground Acceptance Test
  • XX: Software Management Committee
  • XX: 3 flight trials
  • XX: Conduct user training
April
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2
  • 15: CS5322 Project deadline
  • XX: CS4236 Assignment 2 deadline
  • XX: CS5258 Project deadline
  • XX: CS5322 Assignment 2 deadline
  • 27: CS4236 Exam
  • 28: CS5258 Exam
  • XX: Software Management Committee
  • XX: 2 flight trials
  • XX: Conduct user training
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam
The above does not include my 2nd project at work because its schedule is still very much unknown.

Managing them systematically is very important and I hope I won't lose control over it. Still manageable.

The Real Scandal Behind the Toyota Recall

The Real Scandal Behind the Toyota Recall
Business Week
February 11, 2010, 4:39PM EST

Fuzzy findings, media manipulation, and tort lawyers scare the public and destroy millions in shareholder and resale value, writes Ed Wallace

By Ed Wallace

Following my own advice to go to the source, I called a few respected local Toyota (TM) dealers in the Dallas area to ask a simple question: "In the past 10 years, how many Toyotas have come into your service department with the complaint of unintended acceleration?"

The answer I got again and again? "None."

And they would remember: For new-car dealers across America, unintended acceleration is the most serious complaint a customer can make. Not because the situation exists as represented but because, as any auto industry insider knows, this condition can invoke a media firestorm whether it happened or not.

The newest story is that Toyota products are falling in resale value as a result of this issue. If true, this proves that our ability to remember widely reported, identical automotive complaints from the past goes down our collective memory hole intact.

Ask anyone who dealt in luxury cars what happened when the Audi 5000 unintended acceleration case panicked drivers in the mid-1980s. Owners of those vehicles rushed into competing dealerships trying to unload their automobiles, but retail sales for used Audis, already poor, had dropped off to nothing. Even wholesalers wouldn't buy them because they couldn't resell them. Audi dealers didn't want them. A typical bid for a one- or two-year-old Audi 5000 that originally sold for close to $30,000 often came in at $3,500.

Now, that's a serious hit to resale value.

A TRIP DOWN AUDI MEMORY LANE

What's ominous is that the Audi 5000 case seems to have set the example for how stories concerning serious defects in automobiles would be covered in the future.

Yes, there were people on TV (and in newspaper articles) who swore that their Audis, too, had become possessed and uncontrollable, and there's little doubt that they sincerely believed what they said. That does not alter the fact they were mistaken: In time, our government painstakingly tested every "possessed car," and no causative defect was ever found.

The Audi case seems to have foreshadowed a scenario occurring now with Toyota. This from Peter Huber's book, Galileo's Revenge, Junk Science in the Courtroom:

"The Audis, like other new cars, had come packed with sophisticated electronics to maintain idle, to regulate emissions, and to operate cruise controls. Never before had car engines been built around such sophisticated computers. So from the beginning, the car's electronics were numbered among the lead suspects. And after the accident, the brakes are always found to be functioning just fine. Always."

Sound familiar?

In the 60 Minutes piece on Audis' unintended acceleration that put this story over the top, they brought in William Rosenbluth to prove that Audis were defective on camera. As 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley said, "We took a car that had already been involved in two sudden-acceleration incidents and, without his foot on the gas pedals, showed it could do this." Again from the book, Junk Science: "… and 30 million viewers saw it with their own eyes." What they saw was the gas pedal apparently moving under its own power.

But what the viewers didn't see was also revealed in Walter Olson's column, "It Didn't Start with Dateline NBC:" Off camera, they had drilled a hole in the vehicle's transmission and pumped extreme high-pressure air into it, which had the effect of moving the gas pedal down without the driver pressing it.

The audience and all of America came to believe that this Audi with two black marks against it was possessed. In reality, it was rigged.

As you'd expect, an Audi official appeared on that broadcast. He said his company had investigated these incidents and could find nothing wrong with their vehicles. Nobody believed him. There was a tidal wave of calls for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 200,000 Audis, and massive engineering studies were done. Turns out the Audi official had been correct: The cars did not have any known defect.

Contrast that with Toyota's admission that it examined complaints on this issue, did find a problem with gas pedals made by CTS, and came up with a solution. As for the Toyotas' electronics, like the Audis', the company can find no issue at all. It should also be noted that Toyota looked into the complaints covering brakes on its hybrid electric Prius. While no real problem was found, Toyota did issue a recall to update the computer codes.

And just for the record: Many antilock brake systems feel as if they are skipping or failing to take hold quickly when engaged suddenly on bumpy roads.

FIRESTONE'S FIRESTORM

In some ways this case is little different from the Ford-Firestone fiasco of a decade ago. When Lea Thompson with Dateline NBC lifted up a Firestone tire's torn and separated tread for the camera, few viewers noticed that particular tire had almost no tread left. Old tires without treads often fail.

Almost unreported during the media coverage of that event were the easily available consumer warnings on the Goodyear Tire Web site. Anyone who went there could easily find Goodyear's (GT) explicit warning: If you drove on Goodyear tires that were seriously underinflated, the exact same thing would happen to you. Goodyear's accompanying photo showed a chronically underinflated tire's abnormally worn edges, where the resulting tread separation would start.

Firestone, on the other hand, admitted finding a small batch of tires from its Decatur (Ill.) factory that were substandard. But even that did not slow this story down; the media countered and claimed to have found faulty Firestone tires built at other plants.

There was a problem with that rush to judgment: NHTSA's database contained a corrupt sort command. I know, because I found it and reported it to NHTSA. It turned out that on their Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, if one clicked on the lower tab showing accidents tabulated according to where the tires were built, it juxtaposed the data—which then showed faulty tires being built in one plant when in reality those tires had been manufactured elsewhere.

That glitch also transposed all sorts of data about accidents reported. As an example, remember the story in which a Ford Expedition with only 800 miles and Wilderness tires on it rolled over? It never happened—except in NHTSA's database.

Still, that was an honest mistake. NHTSA corrected it within minutes and informed the media of the correction on its Web site. That was also the week the Ford-Firestone story went away.

ANOTHER OVERSTATED CASE

Shortly after the Ford-Firestone story left the headlines came the story of the exploding Crown Victorias. A number of incidents happened in North Texas (and across the nation) in which that car's gas tanks exploded when rear-ended by speeding drivers. Those stories certainly got broad and intense coverage, as did the chilling videos of the aftermath. We lost several respected police officers to such fires during traffic stops, and the City of Dallas considered suing Ford Motor (F) for failing to build a safer car.

One video, created by a law firm working on these cases and given to TV stations, showed a static Crown Vic being plowed into at a high rate of speed and bursting into flames. But against that film, Ford brought scientific evidence that the Crown Vic didn't just meet federal standards for rear-end collisions; it exceeded them. In fact, for this type of collision, the Crown Vic was substantially more robust than most vehicles of its class.

All of those exploding gas tanks did actually turn out to have one thing in common: Every individual who hit those Crown Victorias, often drunk in the middle of the night, was going uncommonly fast. In some cases the estimated impact speed exceeded 80 miles an hour. No car, not even a $120,000 Mercedes S Class, can stand up to that much kinetic energy.

In 2003, Texas finally passed a law to cut down on this particular problem. When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the shoulder, drivers must either move over one lane or slow to 20 miles an hour less than the posted limit as they pass the emergency vehicle. That law is widely ignored today. Of course, drunks driving in the middle of the night aren't generally demonstrating mastery of the law.

THE AUTO INDUSTRY HALL OF SHAME

Automotive history should have a Hall of Infamy for scandals like this next one—the 1988 story involving Consumer Reports. The magazine's "investigation" of rollover problems it "found" while reviewing the Suzuki Samurai focused intense media coverage on a nonevent, destroying not just a vehicle but nearly its manufacturer.

Consumer Reports' raw video and its test drivers' reports were released in the mid-1990s when Suzuki (SZKMF) sued Consumers Union. According to that evidence, at CU's test track on Apr. 20, 1988, driver Kevin Sheehan took the Suzuki Samurai through its paces 16 times, some runs going in excess of 50 miles an hour, without ever once lifting the vehicle's wheels off the ground. Sheehan wrote in his notes: "Easy to control … Never felt it would tip over."

At that point, driver Richard Small took over and performed 21 runs, at least one at 55 miles an hour, and rated the vehicle "5 plus. No real problems."

That day Editorial Director Irwin Landau and Technical Director David Pittle were present at the track. And according to the lawsuit, one eyewitness claimed to have heard Landau tell Sheehan, "If you can't find someone to roll this car, I will."

David Pittle took the wheel himself nine times and managed to lift the wheels off the ground once. CU then changed the course setup—and would still have trouble getting the Samurai to show a propensity to roll. Somehow that became a nonissue: Consumer Reports proceeded to warn the American public that this was one very dangerous vehicle.

Sales of the Suzuki Samurai fell from 83,314 units to just 5,031 after the Consumer Reports story ran; Suzuki suffered serious damages from the exposé. But the public never heard the worst: When it sued because Consumer Reports continued to disparage the company, Suzuki made copies of actual CU testing video available to the media, so reporters could see just how duplicitous those tests were. Nothing changed.

CU demanded that NHTSA recall those vehicles as inherently unsafe, and NHTSA refused to do so. As a NHTSA spokesperson told me at the time, virtually every year since NHTSA's creation, Consumer Reports has demanded that a vehicle be recalled (because CU testing showed it unsafe). Yet as of that date NHTSA had done so not once. And this is a government agency that loves to recall cars.

In 2004, Suzuki and CU agreed to drop the lawsuit, declaring mutual respect for each other. But neither side backed down from their previous position. NHTSA still refused to recall the Suzuki, because it met all government standards.

THE SCORECARD

So what's the net effect of this situation? First, we no longer let our logic be steered by engineering and science. Instead, we seem to be letting courtroom-worthy theatrics sway our emotions. It's not the true facts of the case that win the day, but whoever can sway the public's mind the best.

These stories are not to be confused with legitimate automotive safety recalls, which happen on a regular basis.

Ignored in all of this is the financial damage done, ostensibly in the name of protecting the public. The unfortunate owners who'd already bought these unjustly maligned vehicles took serious losses on their resale value. But the harm these ill-researched stories do to car owners, like the havoc they wreak on automakers, never makes the news.

Neither do the final, vindicating facts—at least, not loud enough to overcome the initial bad impression.

To this day the public believes there might have been a problem with the Audi 5000, but it's not true. They believe the Suzuki Samurai rolled over easily, and that's not true either. They think Ford built an unsafe Crown Victoria, when all evidence shows that the other driver's extreme high-speed impact was actually to blame. Firestone is remembered as the world's worst manufacturer of tires, but that was far from the truth: In the vast majority of Firestones' tread-loss incidents, the culprits were old tires, improper inflation, and driving too fast in hot weather. Exactly the conditions that cause all tires to lose their treads.

The Audi official who said his company had investigated those complaints and found nothing was telling the truth. So was Ford when it maintained that Crown Vics could actually take a worse rear-end impact than virtually any other car on the road. Suzuki officials' pleas that their Samurai was incredibly stable fell on deaf ears—but it was.

Today, no one remembers any of that.

Now it's Toyota's turn. They investigated the complaints, found a number of small problems and said that's the only problems they could find, and moved relatively fast to fix those issues. The only way Toyota could be in trouble now is if, in a Nixonian moment, it was discovered that they'd lied or covered up another defect. The likelihood of that happening is low.

ABOUT THAT DROP IN RESALE VALUE

Oh, and about that drop in Toyotas' resale value? According to the National Auto Research Black Book, which covers prices of vehicles sold at regional wholesale auctions each week, a one-year-old Toyota Camry CE dropped $100 in value from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8. And it had dropped $400 in average value from the Jan. 11 book.

However, looking at a one-year-old base model Honda (HMC) Accord coupe in the same book, we find it too dropped $100 in value from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8, and $500—or $100 more than the Camry—from the Jan. 11 book. So the Honda Accord's reputation is intact, but it actually dropped more in value during this period. For what it's worth, the Nissan (NSANY) Altima seems to have gained a couple hundred dollars in value over the past month.

As they too often do, the media took a so-called expert's word on what was happening to Toyota's wholesale prices. Looking up such things as the real-world wholesale auction figures seems to disprove the expert's position.

Then again, most recalled Toyotas are not being sold at auction right now until the updates are done. Two weeks from now when they can be auctioned again, we might have a different story.

Ed Wallace is a recipient of the the Gerald R. Loeb Award for business journalism, given by the G. and R. Loeb Foundation, and is a member of the American Historical Society. His column leads the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's "Sunday Drive" section. He reviews new cars every Friday morning at 7:15 on Fox Four's Good Day, contributes articles to BusinessWeek Online, and hosts the top-rated talk show Wheels Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 570 KLIF.

Singapore ranked 53rd most liveable city while Vancouver retained top spot

In an annual survey by the The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which compared 140 cities worldwide, Vancouver has again topped a list of the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. It is to note that seven of the top ten cities are in Canada and Australia. Auckland, New Zealand, ranked 10th. From the same survey, Singapore is ranked 53rd most liveable city.

No wonder countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand remain the top destinations for migration.

Cities in Canada and Australia are most liveable in the world [via]
S'pore - 53rd most liveable [via]
Winter Olympics host, Vancouver, ranked world's most liveable city [via]

How to follow, unfollow or block in Google Buzz?

It finally looks like Google finally make it easier for us to follow, unfollow and block people in Google Buzz.

MUST check it out and make sure your settings are set correctly. [via]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A really really nice contractor

I have never seen such a nice contractor before. Too tired to elaborate. In short, he sent people down to do up some new enhancements but insisted not to be paid. He even went down to my place regularly to visit my mother and many times, brought CNY goodies plus lunch!

I wish him and his wife happily ever after.

How to remove Buzz email notifications from Gmail Inbox?

If you do not wish Google Buzz social notifications, count as emails and appear automatically in your Gmail inbox, you can try creating a filter and then redirect/archive it right away, skipping the inbox.

A filter for Has the words label:buzz is to be created and action Skip the Inbox (Archive it) is to be created to make the filtering happen.

Disabling Google Buzz

If you wish to disable Google Buzz from your Gmail, there is an easy to do it.

To disable and remove Buzz completely from Gmail, you can click on the "turn off buzz" located somewhere near the bottom.

Disabling Buzz
http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=171460

UBS stake may be worth 70% less as GIC converts

Singapore sovereign wealth fund, Government Investment Corp (GIC), will convert 11 billion Swiss francs ($14.54 billion) worth of UBS notes into shares next month at a price that may erode the value of its stake in the Swiss bank by 70%.

So far, I haven't heard of good news from Singapore's two sovereign wealth fund - GIC and the Temasek Holdings.

UBS stake may be worth 70% less as GIC converts [via]

Official ACM SIG Proceedings Templates

Just in case someone wishes to write a formal survey/paper, one may consider to adhering to the ACM conference format.

Official ACM SIG Proceedings Templates
http://www.acm.org/sigs/publications/proceedings-templates

我对昨天的感触

昨天,我亲眼目睹一位同班同学(A)向另一位同学(B)说了一句话。
A: How's your working schedule like?

B: Still quite manageable.

A: Mine is really hectic. Furthermore, my the other module sucks! My group mate basically don't care everything and end up I have to do most of everything. I hope you will understand that I may not be able to put in 100% effort for this module. But of course I will do my best.

B: Sure. Let's work hard together.
我真的不晓得他说的每一句话是不是真的。但我知道的是他上一个学期也是这样更我说。今年我学聪明了!在他问我要不要组成一组之前,我已经已有了一组了。哈哈哈!

我认为当良心不小心被私心给吞没时,真的很领人失望灰心。I hate those selfish free rider! My philosophy is one can be slow but then one must not be lazy and take others for granted.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wireless@SG offers auto log-in feature

Free wireless internet access at hotspots around Singapore will now be easier with a new Wireless@SG automatic log-in feature.

A new feature called Seamless and Secure Access (SSA) enables an “always on” experience to users as their devices will automatically connect and log into the Wireless@SG network when entering a hotspot. The automatic service requires a new Wireless@SG Connect software that has to be downloaded and installed on Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices or notebooks.

This may sound convenient, however, I do have reservation over the security aspect. With this new “always on” feature, your Wireless@SG account may come under threat and abuse if you ever lost your mobile device. Unless some mitigation measure is incorporated, the success of such implementation may be questioned.

Faster and Easier Access To Wireless@SG [via]

Medisave for Approved Overseas Hospitalisation

From 1 March 2010, Singapore residents will be able to use their Medisave to help pay for their hospitalisation overseas under certain conditions.

The scheme will start off with two providers: Health Management International (HMI) and Parkway Holdings Pte Ltd.
  1. HMI has set up its local Medisave-accredited referral centre at its Balestier Clinic and Health Screening Centre. It will work with its two overseas subsidiaries: Regency Specialist Hospital in Johor Bahru and Makhota Medical Centre in Malacca.
  2. Parkway Holdings has set up a Medisave-accredited referral centre at East Shore Hospital. It will partner 9 hospitals under the Pantai group in different states of Malaysia, as well as the Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur. 
Medisave for Approved Overseas Hospitalisation [via]

Introducing Google Buzz

Google today announced a new service, Google Buzz, that automatically brings social networking into Gmail and the rest of the Google-sphere.

Google Buzz

Buzz for mobile


Currently social services supported include:
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Picasa Web
  • YouTube
  • Blogger
  • Any feed connected to your Google profile
Google Buzz
http://www.google.com/buzz

Buzz for mobile
http://www.google.com/intl/en/mobile/buzz/

Google is still currently rolling out Buzz to all Gmail users in phases.

張學友 -- 两个最爱

遙遠的她

真情流露

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Finally got my PMP original certificate shipped from the U.S.

After a month since I passed my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification examination, the true original certificate finally reached me today!

I thought the package looks rather prestigious, professional and sincere, unlike my earlier international professional Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certificate. Looks like the Project Management Institute (PMI) has done a better job than Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

Other than the PMP certificate, the package includes a credential name card and a lapel pin. It is noted that every single document in the package is printed using the environmentally friendly soy ink. Cool!

Yeah! I shall make a trip down to my HR tomorrow and get it endorsed for another $x incentive :)

Tomorrow could be the day

Tomorrow, instead of Thursday, could be the day! Hope so.

Trial on CNY week

I really do not understand why flight trials are scheduled on CNY week!
难道他们真的要我们新年来上班不可吗?!

真的不明白,搞不通。

張學友 -- 找對你

Monday, February 08, 2010

Owl City -- Fireflies


As recommended by a friend. Am beginning to like this song after listening to it the second, third, umpteen time.

Goojje, A Google copycat


Goojje.com, a copycat of Google.com, is now causing a stir in intellectual rights issue, resulting in the real Google Inc in coming out saying Goojje.com is in no way affiliate to Google.

A lawsuit may follow.

Uncle Poh Curry Mixed Rice and Porridge + Peep at Fei Sao Niang Dou Foo stall


Their curry chicken is so so good!

Notice the stall Fei Sao Niang Dou Foo beside it? I used to have their really nice yong tau foo almost everyday more than 2 years ago. I really miss their yong tau foo. MUST visit it one day.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Happy for my younger brother

He won 4D, though not a huge amount, it just shows 好人有好报. I can sense he has changed for the better :)

Am happy for him.

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