Thursday, April 29, 2010

Schedule for school

Just a reminder for myself.

March
  • 02: CS5322 Quiz 1
  • 03: CS4236 Project deadline
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 15: CS5322 choose research topic
April
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 1
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 2
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 2
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2
  • 15: CS5322 Project
  • 27: CS4236 Exam
  • 28: CS5258 Exam
  • 29: CS5322 Project Presentation
  • 30: CS5322 Assignment 2 (10%)
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam (50%)

Exam period still have a presentation and assignment to juggle. CS5322 is giving me a lot of headache.

Strikethrough means I am done with it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

STI off 1.5%, ‘Run first, think later’, says analyst

Written by The Edge
Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:44
Pullback in Singapore shares fails to generate bargain-hunting as investors unsure how Europe’s sovereign debt problems will pan out following Standard & Poor’s rating downgrades, says Dow Jones.

The STI down 1.5% at 2,947.02 midday, barely above last week’s low of 2,943, which still stands as immediate support. All FTSE ST sub-indexes remain negative, with market breadth at six decliners for every gainer.

“What we saw yesterday on the news of Greece’s downgrade is a sudden shift from risk appetite to risk aversion. Akin to someone shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded cinema, it provokes a ‘run first, think later’ reaction,” says Phillip Securities analyst Phua Ming-Weii.

On brighter note, volume light at 906.9 million shares, suggesting selling pressure contained. Rig builders, Singapore Exchange (S68.SG), Fraser & Neave (F99.SG), Jardine group lead decline among blue chips.

Google Android will prevail over Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry

An interview by the New York Times with Google’s Andy Rubin on the topic of Android revealed that the coming Android 2.2 will come with full support of Adobe Flash. This is after Adobe decided to ditch Flash for the iPhone and concentrate on Android. Rubin predictably said that the Android platform was taking off because it was open to many manufacturers running many different architectures. He also predicted the sales of Android phones to exceed the sales of proprietary systems like Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry, and of which I concur with.

Yesterday, mobile ad network AdMob, published a mobile metrics report for the month of March in U.S. showing Android web traffic exceeds all other smartphones, including Apple's iPhone. The potential for Google Android to be the dominant force in smartphone is real, especially with its openess concept. Photoshop is now available on Android, Android is able to run on Apple's iPhone, and now full Flash support on Android, what else can stop Google's Android from dominating?

At the end of the New York Times' interview, the interviewer joked with Rubin that his press relations colleague, who was in the room, wanted to confess that he had left a prototype Android phone at a local bar. Mr Rubin's reply was as such
I’d be happy if that happened and someone wrote about it,” Mr. Rubin said. “With openness comes less secrets.
I wonder what will happen or had happened to the poor guy who lost Apple's iPhone 4.0 prototype phone in a pub weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Forum on the topic of "Profitable Group - is it credible?"

No personal comments. Read for yourself.

Profitable Group - is it credible?
http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php?t=2463256&page=22

Investor Alert List
http://www.moneysense.gov.sg/check_our_list/Consumer_Portal_IAL.html#t

Android ad traffic overtook iPhone traffic in the U.S. for the month of March

Go Android GO!!!

AdMob: Android Passes iPhone Web Traffic In U.S. [via]

Alien Invasion: Why Stephen Hawking is Wrong

When one of the highest regarded cosmologist cum physicists - Stephen Hawking speaks, we should take heed. Sir Stephen Hawking talked about the possibility of alien invasion.

If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.

He is also certain that alien life exists in other parts of the universe and uses a mathematical basis for his assumptions.

To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.

So, just how true is his statement on the existence and nature of extraterrestrial life?

Sir Stephen Hawking, whom I used to read about during my secondary school days, is one of my most respected scientist.

Alien Invasion: Why Stephen Hawking is Wrong [via]

不得了的行程

五月的第二个星期将会是个不得了的星期。这是因为我将会有一个不得了的行程。

我的不得了的行程

Singapore → Sutera Harbour Resort → Singapore → Hong Kong → Taipei → Hong Kong → Singapore

Sutera Harbour Resort 真漂亮!

New fare policy is fairer, says transport council

Even though some commuters may find that they do not benefit from distance fares immediately, the travel patterns of all commuters may change over time as people change their homes and places of work and new MRT lines are built. The new fare structure will therefore benefit all commuters as they will have greater travel options that include transfer journeys when their travel patterns change in future.

The transport council seems to suggest we change homes like change clothes. I wonder how far is the 'future' as mentioned by the transport council.

New fare policy is fairer, says transport council [via]

Google Earth integrated into Google Maps

Now you can navigate the world's terrain, great cities' buildings, and your neighborhood's restaurants in 3D, without having to install a hefty separate application. Google Earth has arrived in Maps in a new "Earth" view, and its pretty great. What is needed now is just a Google Earth plugin.

Earth View in Google Maps


Earthly pleasures come to Maps [via]

Singapore government takes on Al Jazeera for misreporting on homelessness cases after the latter was axed

The Singapore government takes on Al Jazeera for misreporting on homelessness cases after Al Jazeera was dropped from SingTel Mio TV (paid-TV) from April 1.

The reason cited by the Singapore government for dropping Al Jazeera was due to low subscription, despite many speculating Al Jazeera's many unflattering stories about Singapore could be the real reason. Al Jazeera had made stories about prostitution and homelessness in Singapore.

Purely coincidental? It is up to the public to decide.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cats that fall from higher than 7 stories get fewer injuries than those that fall from lower levels

Cats that fall from higher than 7 stories get fewer injuries than those that fall from lower levels. How true is that statement?

Read on here for the details.

Embed of MP3 files is NOT working

It is noticed that MP3 embedded on my blog is not working. I hope this is a temporary problem. If the problem still persist for the next few days, necessary correction will be done.

How To Overcome Market Fear

The Motley Fool published a podcast on the topic "How To Overcome Market Fear".

红星大奖十大最受欢迎女艺人符合我的期望

今年红星大奖十大女艺人似乎都符合我的期望。

我期待的女艺人有刘芷绚,瑞恩和赖怡伶都领奖。今年向云姐还再次领奖,真厉害!

红星大奖十大最受欢迎女艺人 [via]

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1.5 Million Facebook Accounts for Sale in Web Forum, VeriSign Reports

VeriSign iDefense, which uncovered a cyber-crook on an electronic fraud forum selling 1.5 million Facebook accounts at a price of $25 per 1,000 accounts with 10 contacts or less. For accounts with more than 10 friends the going rate was $45 per 1,000.

We as users of Facebook signed up for accounts for free but yet crooks can use these free accounts for a profit. This shows just how valuable data-mining on private information is.

1.5 Million Facebook Accounts for Sale in Web Forum, VeriSign Reports [via]

Goldman knew it profited from mortgage crisis

When the value of the CDO plunged shortly after it was issued, Paulson walked away with $1 billion, while investors lost the same amount, the SEC said.

Goldman knew it profited from mortgage crisis [via]

Olivia Ong 王儷婷 -- I Told You Lately

非常动听。

Friday, April 23, 2010

Top Ten Mistakes Seniors Make With Their Finances

Below are a ten mistakes that older investors and savers tend to make
  1. Underestimating Your Life Expectancy
  2. Underestimating Health Care Costs
  3. Not Having An Updated Will
  4. Having An Outdated Estate Plan
  5. Getting The Wrong Advice
  6. Focusing On The Wrong Goals
  7. Underestimating The Impact of Inflation
  8. Not Taking Advantage Of Senior Discounts
  9. Misunderstanding Medicare
  10. Making Important Decisions At The Wrong Time

Top Ten Mistakes Seniors Make With Their Finances [via]

My last flight

Today is my 15th and the last flight on a Fokker 50 aircraft. Maybe the god knew of it and deliberately set things up to make the flight unique and different from my previous 14 flights.

First, the duration of the flight, excluding taxiing, is a record - 5.9 hours. The duration could have brought me to Taiwan or Australia.

Second, due to some unknown reason, only one runway in Changi was left operational. For this reason, taxiing and queuing up for take-off already took me a good long 40 odd minutes.

Third, I spot two food menu that I had never tried before. They are "Black pepper chicken western set" and "Chinese Szechuan chicken set". Yummy!

Can I exchange my flights hours for the 15 flights for KrisFlyer miles? Fat hope!

iTag tracks and finds lost Android phone

Google Android application iTag is a FREE service to locate and protect your lost or stolen phone. Some of its cool features include view your cell phone’s location, make it ring from the website, lock the keys, back up your data, delete the information on the phone and MORE!

The limitation of iTag is that it restricts only to the U.S.

Features
  • Track your Android cell phone on map.
  • Make a call to your phone remotely.
  • Take a backup, lock the keys, delete data of your phone remotely.
  • Free to download.
  • View the location of your friends and send SMS to those who are using the same app (approval is required).
  • View new SIM number inserted on your cell.

iTag In Action

iTag Can Track And Find Lost Android Phone [via]

Google Android running on an iPhone

A group of hackers that develop software to jailbreak iPhone have managed to install Google Android on Apple's iPhone.

Android running on iPhone

Adobe ditching flash for the iPhone and concentrates on Android

Read on.

Adobe Ditching Flash for the iPhone [via]

Mapletree Logistics Trust DPU for 1Q up 2%

Mapletree Logistics Trust distributable per unit (DPU) is up by 2% for 1Q 2010 as compared to 1Q 2009. Available DPU is at S$1.50 cents.

Certainly a dividend yield stock :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mother tongue weighting in PSLE could be cut

Singapore's Education Minister Ng Eng Hen says his ministry is studying whether it is educationally sound for mother tongue language performance to count for so much at the Primary 6 PSLE level. Since the Mother Tongue language now carries equal weight as the other three, then why is Singapore finding it to be too much?

'The worry is whether it could exclude someone from progressing in his educational pathway even if he did well in other subjects,' said Dr Ng in an interview with The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao.

If the reason for lowering the weighting is due to many not doing well in the language, then this is really disappointing of Dr Ng. Instead of lowering the weighting, students should be encouraged and motivated to do better in the language. If one day students do not do well in English, does this mean weighting of English language would be lowered as well?

Let's not be quitters!

MT weighting could be cut [via]

Planned trip

真兴奋!!!

SGSIN → HKHKG → TWTPE → HKHKG → SGSIN

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New distance-based fare system will see public transport fares to go down by 2.5% from Jul 3

Bus and train fares will be reduced by 2.5 per cent from July 3 when the Public Transport Council (PTC) introduces a new distance-based fare system.

Summary on the changes
  • Fares will be reduced by 2.5% from 3 July 2010
  • The 15-month fare discount of 3% will end on 2 July 2010
  • No more transfer rebates

For more information on the distance fares, please refer to the Public Transport Council website (http://www.ptc.gov.sg) and click on the red "Fare revision" tab on the front page.

An interesting study by the PTC titled "Instituting Fare Regulation" reveals a rather bemusing fact.


Believe it or not, PTC claims the real monthly expenditure on transport actually drop for the past few years.

Public transport fares to go down by 2.5% from Jul 3 [via]

Google Search Using Virtual Keyboard

Google Search released a new virtual keyboard for certain languages that require special characters e.g. Russian.

Virtual Keyboard [via]

Find it crappy to receive 3 certificates for a short 5 days course

WOW! I actually received 3 certificates for attending a short 5-days course! CRAP! Can't they just consolidate and give one single certificate and assign a more professional name.

The 3 crappy certificates (having crappy long description) I received are:
  1. APPLY SKILLS IN OBJECT ORIENTED DESIGN
  2. DEVELOP HIGH-LEVEL OBJECT-ORIENTED CLASS SPECIFICATIONS
  3. DETERMINE AND APPLY APPROPRIATE DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGIES
I know you (Institute of Systems Science, NUS) can do better.

Monday, April 19, 2010

林俊杰、孙燕姿、阿杜、蔡健雅 《感动每一刻》

上海世博新加坡馆主题曲《感动每一刻》,林俊杰、孙燕姿、阿杜、蔡健雅合唱。含有新加坡的味道。

In addition to earlier post on "Uncertain trading week ahead"

To add onto my earlier post on the topic of "Uncertain trading week ahead", we should not forget the current European skies standstill due to the Icelandic volcanic eruption. The Iceland volcano ash cloud, costing the airline industry US$200 million per day, could just push the European airliners to the brink. Other airliners could see their balance sheets affected after several flights to and fro Europe cancelled. Airliners have also been providing daily monetary aids and not since vowed not charging carry-baggage fees for passengers travelling to and fro Europe. A total of 63,000 flights were cancelled since last Thursday.

The current Europe sky shutdown is the longest and widest since World War 2.

Uncertain trading week ahead

With Goldman Sachs being charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud in connection with the creation of complex financial products that were sold in the market. Shares of Goldman Sachs plunged more than 10 percent in just the first half-hour of trading after the suit was announced last Friday morning. They closed down 13 percent, at US$160.70, wiping away more than US$10 billion of the company’s market value. It is suspected that Goldman Sachs, despite knowing the flaw in the structured financial products that resulted investors to lose money, continued selling and marketing the product to the general public. Could Goldman Sachs' case be the tip of the iceberg, signalling the start of Wall Street's legal troubles stemming from the subprime meltdown? Other investment banks may be investigated to determine if they were also involved in creating similar products.

From tomorrow onwards and weeks to come, many companies will be releasing their quarterly financial results. This should add onto the already jittery stock market, especially the financial banks' sector.

S.E.C. Accuses Goldman of Fraud in Housing Deal [via]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

View the Icelandic volcano on Google Earth

View the Icelandic volcanic ash plume that's shut down western Europe's airspace on Google Earth at http://bit.ly/beGeYU

Schedule for School

Just a reminder for myself.

March
  • 02: CS5322 Quiz 1
  • 03: CS4236 Project deadline
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 15: CS5322 choose research topic
April
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 1
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 2
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 2
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2
  • 15: CS5322 Project
  • 27: CS4236 Exam (0%)
  • 28: CS5258 Exam (0%)
  • 30: CS5322 Assignment 2 (10%)
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam (0%)
Hope to start on CS5322 Assignment 2 and prep for exam.

Strikethrough means I am done with it.

My Research Paper - Comparison between 2 models of K-Anonymity: Incognito and Mondrian

TOPIC

Comparison between 2 models of K-Anonymity: Incognito and Mondrian

ABSTRACT

Often organizations publish microdata for purposes such as public health and demographic research. Although attributes that could identify the individuals such as names and IDs are removed, by combining information (such as Zipcode and Birthdays) within different database, these individuals could still be identified through “Joining Attacks” – Combining 2 different database by cross-linking the similar information.

K-Anonymity has been proposed as a mechanism for protecting privacy by generalizing or suppressing certain portion of the released microdata. There had been several models of K-Anonymity since, each release attempts to improve the previous version’s weaknesses. In this paper, we will compare 2 models of K-Anonymity, namely Incognito (full-domain generalization) and Mondrian (multidimensional model), in terms of their effectiveness as well as their performance.

GENERAL TERMS

Algorithms, Experimentation, Theory

KEYWORDS

K-Anonymity, Incognito, Mondrian

REFERENCES

[1] Kristen LeFevre, David J. DeWitt, Raghu Ramakrishnan, 2005. Incognito: Efficient FullDomain KAnonymity. University of Wisconsin, Madison. http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/dbms/Data/Courses/CS632/Papers/incognito.pdf
[2] Kristen LeFevre, David J. DeWitt, Raghu Ramakrishnan, 2006. Mondrian Multidimensional K-Anonymity. University of Wisconsin, Madison.
http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/dbms/Data/Courses/CS632/Papers/kanon-lefevre-icde06.pdf
[3] C. Blake and C. Merz. UCI repository of machine learning databases, 1998.
[4] Wikipedia Authors, Visual Basic for Applications, Wikipedia, Retrieved on 6 April 2010.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_for_Applications
[5] Wolfram Research Inc, Box-Muller Transformation, Wolfram MathWorld, Retrieved on 6 April 2010.
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Box-MullerTransformation.html
[6] R. Bayardo and R. Agrawal. Data privacy through optimal k-anonymization. In ICDE, 2005.
[7] L. Sweeney. K-Anonimity: A model for protecting privacy, International Journal on Uncertainty, Fuzziness, and Knowledge-based Systems, 10(5):557-570, 2002

Just hate it

I just hate it.
  • Hate it for not able to put in my best when I really wish to
  • Hate it when I have to put in effort for doing something that not that meaningful.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

非常抱歉

真的非常抱歉啊。我已尽量不拿年假或病假了。

非常抱歉,因为我不得不拿年假。Though I know I really shouldn't have taken any in this current peak period, especially when I am really needed at work, I am left with little choice.

Teach me how. Project V needs me to be at Changi and Project W needs me to be in a container. Both projects are at their peak, taking the opportunity to clear some milestones before I leave. OMG! Lord, teach me how can I do split and be physically present at both sites.

No time for exam, 1 last assignment, documentation. I do not even have the time to do my clearance! OMG!

Will I have the courage to apply leave to prep for my exams?

Google Cloud Print - Printing over the web

Yet another innovation by Google - Google Cloud Print. The only problem right now is that no printer supports Google Cloud Print. Google will need to encourage manufacturers to support Cloud Print before printing over their Chrome OS is going to happen.

Microsoft Fix it Center guides your through common problems

Microsoft Fix it Center is a beta troubleshooting program that helps solve common Windows issues. I certainly do not wish to try this program unless the program is provably good enough to be talk about.

If anyone has tried it out, do share with us.

Microsoft Fix it Center Online
http://fixitcenter.support.microsoft.com/Portal/

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gmail allows "Drag and Drop" attachments onto messages

Google Gmail now allows "drag and drop" attachments when composing email messages. This is made possible because of the latest HTML 5.0. For now, only browsers that support HTML 5.0 like Mozilla Firefox 3.6+ or Google Chrome 4+ will have this new cool feature.


This new method of adding attachments by dragging the files from your favourite file manager, e.g. Windows Explorer, to Gmail will show you a drop zone where you need to place the files.

Drag and drop attachments onto messages [via]

Famous Hacker Calls Windows More Secure than Mac

Read on.

Marc Maiffret--the quick rise of a teen hacker (Q&A) [via]

SMRT target price raised to $2.50 by UBS, keeps ‘buy’ call

Past 1 year performance for SMRT Corp (S53.SI)

UBS has raised SMRT’s (S53.SG) target price to $2.50 from $2.15, based on discounted cashflow model, to reflect higher rail ridership with second phase of Singapore Circle Line opening from April 17 and more people turning to public transport as cost of vehicle ownership escalates, according to Dow Jones.

The broker expects Circle Line’s daily ridership to increase to 211,000 commuters from 38,000 currently when new stations open, which also expected to boost rental, advertising revenue.

UBS adds that Singapore government’s move to cut number of vehicle certificates of entitlement will aid SMRT as public transport becomes more attractively priced vs private modes of transport.

Keeps “buy” call. Shares +0.5% at $2.17.

SMRT target price raised to $2.50 by UBS, keeps ‘buy’ call [via]

11 new stations of Circle Line to operate from April 17, fare savings of up to 41%

Good news to commuters of Singapore, and of course to SMRT shareholders like myself. Since July last year, about the time when the first 5 stations of the Circle Line were opened, SMRT share price has risen more than 23%.


11 new stations of Circle Line to operate from April 17, fare savings of up to 41% [via]

Bet is placed

Can I wake up before 5am tomorrow and win myself an ice cream feast? I shall tweet once I am awake!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Really tired

Reach home after 10pm from Monday to Wednesday because of lectures; reach home after 10pm from Thursday to Friday because of work.

In school, the stupid Tuesday lecturer scheduled 2nd assignment deadline and presentation during the exam week. And tomorrow is deadline for his group project. Very inhumane!

At work, from now onwards till May 7, I still have lots of work remaining for me. Write user manual, course outline to train external users, ground acceptance test, flight trials, conduct training for external users, write handover documents, and many more. I cannot believe the 5 days of external user training is to be conducted from May 3 to 7, which happens to be my last week. I have a strong feeling that it is going to be tough for me to do clearance.

I have 22 pending claims (transport, meal, snack and flight trial) yet to be reimbursed! More to come.

I have put up a "DO NOT DISTURB" sign near my working area in the lab. Please observe it strictly.

China Minzhong Food Corp Ltd

Newly listed China Minzhong Food Corp Ltd (K2N.SI) closed 6.67% lower to close at S$1.12 on its debut trading day. The opening share price was S$1.20.

Its company website is not up yet (still under construction.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New bedtime stories while travelling

Hope I won't fall asleep reading them while travelling. I need them for my CS5322 Assignment 2. SICKENING!
  1. M. Terrovitis, N. Mamoulis, and P. Kalnis. Privacy-preserving anonymization of set-valued data. PVLDB, 1(1):115–125, 2008.
    [public, acm]
  2. Y. He and J. F. Naughton. Anonymization of set-valued data via top-down, local generalization. PVLDB, 2(1):934–945, 2009.
    [public, acm]

What Does Gearing Ratio Mean?

A general term describing a financial ratio that compares some form of owner's equity (or capital) to borrowed funds. Gearing is a measure of financial leverage, demonstrating the degree to which a firm's activities are funded by owner's funds versus creditor's funds.

What Does Gearing Ratio Mean? [via]

Why Life Insurance Is Not an Investment?

The following article mentioned we should not buy life insurance as an investment.

Why Life Insurance Is Not an Investment [via]

Singapore shares end near 2-year high on surge in 1Q GDP

Singapore shares ended near a two-year high Wednesday, boosted by better-than-expected first quarter economic data. This is so despite a tightening of monetary.

The Straits Times Index (STI) ended at 3,019.74 today.

Asian stocks end higher; Singapore jumps on strong GDP [via]

Singapore GDP up 13.1% for first quarter 2010

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced that Singapore's GDP expanded strongly by 13.1% on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2010. The MTI expects the Singapore economy to grow by 7.0 to 9.0 per cent in 2010. The manufacturing sector performed the strongest for the quarter.

MTI Revises 2010 Growth Forecast to 7.0 to 9.0 Per Cent [via]

Should I renew my PMI membership?

My Project Management Institute (PMI) membership is expiring soon.

Mr. XYZ PMP,

Your PMI membership expires on 30 June, 2010.
Should I pay an additional US$119 for the 1-year renewal?

Where to look for "Cash and cash equivalents" in financial reports?

If you wish to view the "Cash and cash equivalents at end of a financial year" of a company, you should be looking at the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows. The "Cash and bank balances" as recorded on the Balance Sheets may be different.

Taking Koh Brothers' FY2009 annual report as an example,

Balance Sheets
Cash and bank balances 42,974

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
Cash and cash equivalents at end of a financial year 40,852

The reason for the difference is because "Cash and bank balances" may include restricted cash and bank overdrafts.
Cash and bank balances 42,974
Restricted cash         (750)
Bank overdrafts       (1,372)
                      _______
                       40,852

How well does your browser support HTML5?

Score for my Mozilla Firefox 3.6.3
Test your browser now at http://html5test.com/

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Plink Art - Recognise photo and return you description on it

Plink Art is an app for your mobile phone that lets you identify almost any work of art just by taking a photo of it. This small startup that the Google Android application has just been bought over by Google.
The coolest feature of Plink Art is instant art identification. Just snap a photo and if the painting is in our database our visual search system will recognize it and tell you all about it. Currently Plink knows about tens of thousands of famous paintings

Indeed innovative.

Introducing new Google Docs

Google Docs recently released major updates to its office suite, focusing on significantly improving document collaboration. On top of that, a new application called Google Drawing is now included.


All three applications - Doc, Spreadsheet and Drawing, now have Google Wave's like collaboration feature and a new commenting system. Real-time updates for multiple users' editing is now more interactive.

The upgrade, however, will also ditch Google Gears in favour of HTML 5 for offline functionality starting May 3. As a result, offline support will be temporarily removed for Docs starting May 3.

I am hoping HTML 5 to be introduced to Google Gmail soon. The current Google Gears for Gmail is lacking synchronization for Google Contacts and I am betting on HTML 5 to solve this.

The sounds of typing can be decoded, hence, be gentle

Simply by analysing audio recordings of keyboard clatter, computer scientists can now reconstruct an accurate transcript of what was typed—including passwords.
Loose clicks sink ships [via]

Google AdSense Link units revamped

Google Adsense has revamped its link units. If you are interested in becoming a beta user, fill up this interest form. I am signing up for it.
The new system is much smarter: it not only uses more sophisticated topic ranking algorithms but also continuously optimizes by learning which topics have the most appeal to the visitors of your site. The results are overwhelmingly positive -- topic quality, user response rate to topics and ads, and monetization metrics have all improved in significant, measurable ways.
Inside AdSense: Link units revamped [via]

My comment on the use of pompous and bombastic sentences

Was doing a quick search on the use of pompous English terms "onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance" and I found this.
...The words tumble so fast, enwrapped in alliteration, clogged with onomatopoeia, choked with assonance, bursting with bombast, snarled with metaphor, tangled with simile, submerged in verbiage that the bombarded audience (and reviewer at a critics' preview) missed about three out of every four...
Though the use of such bombastic words may make one sound poetic and of high intellect, everything will just go down the toilet bowl and choked without anyone comprehending them. There is really no point perpetuating elitism by justifying pomposity in the common language. In writing, I strongly feel one should restrain yourself and keep it lean, targeting the common public, especially if the objective is to reach out to the majority public. There's really no point throwing ammunition of torrential vocabulary to create an illusion of intellectual form over substance.

Such "meticulous" use of vocabulary reminds me of "highfalutin" and "astroturfing", used by the two Singapore's Lee's.

新加坡国手李佳薇回北京队娘家

佳薇已经和北京队正式签约,参加了莫斯科世乒赛后就将回京备战乒超联赛。

新加坡国手回北京队娘家 [via]

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can Android Overtake the iPhone?

PC Magazine
By: Tim Bajarin
04.12.2010


Five or six years ago, I had a number of meetings with some of the big PC manufacturers. I suggested they take a close like at Danger and the innovative interface used for the company's Hiptop handset. At the time, most cell phones had very simple e-mail interfaces. Very few even attempted to connect to the Internet. But Danger had a clear vision of what phone could become, creating what I would consider the granddaddy of today's smartphone interfaces.

By that point, it was becoming clear to some of us analysts that smartphones were actually small computers. If PC companies were going to stay ahead of the curve, they would have to add a handset to their line soon. At the time, I was very intrigued by Danger's interface. It was so well designed that it could be deployed on a TV, PC, smartphone, or just about any other digital device. Such a UI could help one of these companies deliver a similar experience across devices. And people would only have to learn to use the interface once.

Ironically, Microsoft ultimately purchased Danger. To date, the company has not employed this smart UI on any of its products. The genius behind Danger was a guy named Andy Rubin. He left the company before it was acquired by Microsoft, in order to begin working on a secret phone OS that would eventually get Google's attention. Google bought Rubin's small startup. The mobile OS eventually became Android, which, as you know, has since become the hottest OS in the smartphone space, having been adopted by dozens of handset vendors around the world.

I was reminded of Android's power while walking the CTIA show floor in Las Vegas. The show should have been called Android World. A good number of the handset companies I met with had some version of Android on their smartphones, and a number showed me new product behind the scenes that use the OS. I also saw at least five tablets (most behind the scenes) running Android that are set to come out in the next six months.

The most innovative products I saw at the show were based on Android. Take the Samsung Galaxy S, which runs the OS and sports a four inch AMOLED screen. It's the best screen that I have ever seen on a smartphone. Images on the phone are crisp and bright and are even clear out in the sunlight. Samsung won't say when it is coming to the US, but it could be one of the more important Android phones to launch this year.

The Motorola i1 is a new rugged and sleek push-to-talk handset that runs Android. At the press conference, Motorola let people play shuffleboard with the handset to show just how rugged it is. Kyocera also announced an Android handset—the ZIO. The phone has a beautiful 3.5 inch screen, 3.2 megapixel camera, and stereo Bluetooth. It will cost $250 unlocked.

If CTIA had a Best of Show award, it would have gone to Sprint's EVO 4G WiMax phone. The handset has a 4.3 inch screen, 1 GHz SnapDragon processor, 1GB of internal storage, WI-FI, HDMI out, and the ability to act as a WI-FI router for up to eight devices. It's a stunning phone that uses a version of Android that looks more like a Pocket PC OS than a cell phone OS.

Dell debuted the Mini-Tablet 5, the company's first Android tablet for the US. It has a five inch screen perfect for Web browsing. However, even though Dell says that the device will fit in your pocket, it's really not a smartphone. You wouldn't hold it up to year ear to talk. A Bluetooth headset makes more sense for conversations. The product is what I call a "tweener." It's not really a smartphone, and it's not really an iPad-like tablet. I'm not really sure who the audience will be on this one. On the other hand, the tablet has a really cool design and its light weight, compact design could be of interest to some users.

Android is steadily becoming the go-to OS for smartphones and tablets. It's even showing up on some set-top boxes and smart Blu-Ray players. But it's in the smartphone and tablet spaces that the mobile OS will have its greatest impact. Although Nokia and RIM were well represented and Microsoft and Palm each had booths at the show, most other major handset manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, and LG were in the Android camp. It's clear why many market research firms believe that Android will be the number one or two smartphone OS in the next two years.

It's also clear why Android is at the heart of the Apple/Google battle. Apple should be keeping at Windows Phone 7, sure, but it's Android that is likely to be the biggest threat to the iPhone OS in the near future. When Steve Jobs invited Google CEO Eric Schmidt to join Apple's board, he likely didn't expect Schmidt to go to school on Apple's strategy by launching its own iPhone challenger. No one Jobs is upset at Google.

Can Android Overtake the iPhone? [via]

劉若英《我不想念》

继《我们没有在一起》,刘若英新专辑《在一起》第二主打《我不想念》。

Logical deduction from being able to solve inequalities

I was reading my lecture notes a few moment ago and I thought the logical deduction of the fact that since we are able to solve inequalities, then it also means we can solve equalities and negation.

Suppose we are able to solve the below two inequalities,
  1. α ≤ r
  2. β ≥ r
then, we have
  • α ≤ r ≤ β

With that, we should be able to solve r = α since we know α ≤ r ≤ α

Hence,
  • r = α ≡ α ≤ r ≤ α

And,
  • α < r < β ≡ α + 1 ≤ r ≤ β - 1

And also,
  • α ≠ r ≡ (L < r < α) ∪ (α < r < R)

Shortcut key for Gmail message sneak peek

The shortcut key to activate Gmail message sneak peek is "h".

Shall research on Google Maps API after ...

Google Maps API is one of the area I am going to research on after my exams. It looks a lot more interesting and definitely am going to be much more engrossed than the ESRI ArcGIS suite I have been working on for the past three years.

Looking forward to my school vacation.

'This is It' DVD collecting dust too

A friend of mine bought me one 'This is It' DVD from Hong Kong and it is now on my study table collecting dust. I am lucky that dust settles only on the plastic cover and not the DVD cover itself since I am yet to unwrap it.

Comes in 2 DVDs make me wonder if they contain some special additions that are not shown in cinema. Hope so!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

劉若英 《我們沒有在一起》

Google Android phone left collecting dust

No time = Leaving Google Android phone at home collecting dust

Haven't even unwrapped the box! OMG!

Windows Live Messenger "You have 1 Invitation" Bug

Windows Live Messenger seems to have an annoying bug, indicating "You have 1 Invitation" but in fact there is really none.

A Microsoft MVP on Windows Live Messenger has confirmed in a forum that this is a known Windows Messenger bug and will be resolved in a later release. This is not a security flaw and so does not warrant a high enough priority.

Instead of waiting for a new release, the below method can be attempted to remove the annoying invitation alert.
  1. Close Windows Messenger (Make sure it is not running)
  2. Go to C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts. Note that it is required to have "hidden files and folders" shown to browse the above location.
  3. Remove everything in the aforementioned location
  4. Start Windows Messenger

DBS CEO, who joined in Nov, earned $3 mln in two months

The new chief executive of Singapore's DBS , who joined in November last year, received S$4.2 million ($3.02 million) in his first two months in the job as his pay package was boosted by bonus shares.
DBS CEO, who joined in Nov, earned $3 mln in two months [via]

What Will Apple's iAds Mean for You?

The below article has the answer to the following questions.

  1. What is iAd?
  2. How did iAd start?
  3. Do iAds require iPhone OS 4?
  4. So what is an iAd?
  5. Sounds good. What does an iAd look like?
  6. How will iAds be created?
  7. How will ad revenues be split?
  8. How many game developers will use iAds, and how many will use their own established ad networks?

What Will Apple's iAds Mean for You? [via]

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Windows Live Messenger Invitation Bug

Windows Live Messenger seems to have an annoying bug, indicating "You have 1 Invitation" but in fact there is really none.

A Microsoft MVP on Windows Live Messenger has confirmed in a forum that this is a known Windows Messenger bug and will be resolved in a later release. This is not a security flaw and so does not warrant a high enough priority.

Instead of waiting for a new release, the below method can be attempted to remove the annoying invitation alert.
  1. Close Windows Messenger (Make sure it is not running)
  2. Go to C:\Users\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts. Note that it is required to have "hidden files and folders" shown to browse the above location.
  3. Remove everything in the aforementioned location
  4. Start Windows Messenger

打工的六大守则

打工的六大守则
  1. 老板绝对不会错。
  2. 如果发现老板有错,一定是我们的错。
  3. 如果我们没看错,一定是因为我们的错,才让老板犯错。
  4. 如果是老板自己的错,只要老板不认错,老板就没有错。
  5. 如果老板不认错,我们还坚持是老板的错,那就是我们的错。
  6. 总之老板绝对不会有错,这句话绝对不会错。

以上这段话,请下属每日念六遍,以免犯错。

The sunflower photo album

The above photo, taken by Ms Kulsawadee, shows the sunflower photo album for her and Mr Sarawut. Both were from Somerset Lakepoint (Bangkok), a service residence by the Ascott. All sunflowers photos were taken at Lopburi, Thailand.

Nice!

Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew said Singaporeans are Champion Grumblers

An excerpt from the transcript of Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew's interview with Mark Jacobson from National Geographics on 6 July 2009 (For National Geographic Magazine Jan 2010 Edition)

Q: "Do you feel satisfied that that's moving along quite well? Or do you worry?"

Mr Lee: "I think for the next ten years, with this team in charge, it is going to be fine. Whether they will do well for the next 10-15 years depends on whether they get a younger team in place, well imbibed into the methods of the government, integrity, ability, and making decisions for the public good, and not for your personal benefit. That's all. It is difficult because it means sacrificing privacy and sacrificing pay. Now we solved the pay problem or semi-solved it by giving them 80 per cent of the average of six major salary earners."

Q: "Is that how you arrived at it?"

Mr Lee: "Yeah, but we are always lagging behind because whenever there's a downturn, we don’t give the rise. Whenever there's an upturn, the private sectors goes up, shoots up suddenly and we can't keep pace because the public says no, this is too much."

Q: "Well, when people are getting US$16 billion bonuses for bringing the country into the ground, it is hard to keep up."

Mr Lee: "I was once asked about the enormous, the best paid ministers in the world. I said you should look at the wives. The lowest-paid ministers have wives who are glittering with jewels and with big mansions."

Q: "So that means they are corrupt."

Mr Lee: "No, I didn’t say that."

Q: "That was pretty way to be said."

Mr Lee: "But it's true. So Singaporeans have to decide. Do you want to underpay a minister and you have the kind of shenanigans as you have in the British Parliament? You know they repair their homes in the country and in London and charge it to their account. Or you pay them a proper wage and said after that, look after everything. Nobody gets any special perks. That's your salary, you buy your car, you do what everything is yours. Official entertainment, you have got an expense account. Your secretary monitors it and audits channel clears it. So everything is above board and the public knows that. So whatever they grumble, they know that they are not being shortchanged."

Q: "There are grumbles but there are always grumbles."

Mr Lee: "There must be. Singaporeans are champion grumblers."

Q: "Thank you so much.

孔子诗经 -- 硕鼠

穷人被富裕又有权利的人剥削在几千年前就存在了。孔子在他的诗经上有一首诗《硕鼠》,讲明这点。

硕鼠

硕鼠硕鼠,无食我黍!
三岁贯女,莫我肯顾。
逝将去女,适彼乐土。
乐土乐土,爰得我所!
硕鼠硕鼠,无食我麦!
三岁贯女,莫我肯德。
逝将去女,适彼乐国。
乐国乐国,爰得我直!
硕鼠硕鼠,无食我苗!
三岁贯女,莫我肯劳。
逝将去女,适彼乐郊。
乐郊乐郊,谁之永号!

Big Rat

Big Rat O Big Rat, eat no more our millet!
Three years we have fed and kept you alive, yet not a care you shown us.
We swear that we’ll leave you, to look for that Paradise.
Paradise O Paradise, thereupon the only place we can stay!

Big Rat O Big Rat, eat no more our wheat!
Three years we have fattened you, yet no kindness you have given us.
We swear that we’ll leave you, to look for that Paradise on Earth.
Paradise on earth O Paradise on earth, thereupon the only place we can depend!

Big Rat O Big Rat, eat no more our seedling!
Three years we have nourished you, yet no gratitude from you we received.
We swear that we’ll leave you, thereupon to look for a happier plain.
Happier Plain O Happier Plain, where none will groan and whine!

Skyrocketing COE prices does not equate lower public transport fares

With COE prices skyrocketing, fewer people will be buying cars. And as more COEs expire and more people taking up public transport, quality of transport will definitely drop. Will public transport fares move southwards months or years to come? I do not think so.

Let's see what the Public Transport Council (PTC) has to say this coming June when the next reviewal of public transport fares arrives.

Apple's New iPhone OS 4 License Blocks Flash

Given Steve Job's reluctant to allow iPhone to support Adobe Flash fully, I do not understand why so many people are still so crazy for the phone.

An excerpt from the new iPhone OS 4 License says:
Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

This updated iPhone Developer Program License Agreement in the iPhone 4.0 SDK specifically prohibit the development of apps using "an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool," which would include Adobe's Flash, Sun's Java, or Microsoft's Silverlight/Mono.

This news is a blow to Adobe, which has been working furiously to develop its Flash to iPhone cross compiler as the key new feature for Flash Professional in Creative Suite 5 (CS5). The upcoming CS5 would allow the Flash Professional application to export existing Flash content into a native iPhone application package that could be legitimately sold in the iTunes App Store because it was no longer Flash, and therefore no longer needed any sort of external runtime to play. The new iPhone 4.0 SDK license is now even more restrictive and effectively prohibit the new Adobe CS5's add-on.

Apple's New iPhone OS 4 License Blocks Flash [via]

6 Breathtaking Scenic Drives in Asia

Looks good.

6 Breathtaking Scenic Drives in Asia [via]

Friday, April 09, 2010

S.H.E -- SHERO

Google Dictionary in action, English, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, and many others

A search on "dictionary" gave me the below:


It comes with audio pronunciation of the term, usage examples, and a list of web definitions. Definitely an excellent product of Google's.

Not only Google Dictionary provides definitions for English, it also provides for Chinese, French, German, Spanish, and many others. Google Translate is also integrated for some languages e.g. Chinese to English.

Google Dictionary
http://www.google.com/dictionary

Taiwanese Lin Yu Chun Sings Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"

So surreal!

What Company News Really Means

Apple iPhone VS Motorola Milestone Google Android

Motorola MILESTONE vs iPhone 3GS Comparison [via]

1 more assignment down!

Manage to complete CS4236 Assignment 2 today! One by one ...

Challenge for school

March
  • 02: CS5322 Quiz 1
  • 03: CS4236 Project deadline
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 15: CS5322 choose research topic
April
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 1
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 2
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 2
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2 (0%)
  • 15: CS5322 Project (30%)
  • 27: CS4236 Exam (0%)
  • 28: CS5258 Exam (0%)
  • 30: CS5322 Assignment 2 (0%)
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam

Working on CS5322 Project deadline and hopefully study for my CS5322 Quiz 2 at the same time.

Mild running nose ...

Strikethrough means I am done with it.

The Paradox

Web Browser Performance

What is blind voting?

Blind Voting is when one cast a vote for something without taking a look at it first.

It is hard to stop others from blind voting and such votes should be considered to be of equal importance as an informed vote. In other words, all votes are equal.

History of Religion

Here is a brief but interesting flash presentation of the "History of
Religion" in 90 seconds - Geographical Evolution.

http://www.mapsofwar.com/images/Religion.swf

Gmail Labs new features: Nested Hierarchical Labels and Message Sneak Peek

Google Gmail Labs has unveiled two highly requested features.

Nested Labels. It is now possible to nest labels within a label, forming a hierarchical organisation. This is similar to folders and subfolders but the key difference is the new Gmail labels allow an email to be tagged by more than one labels.

Message Sneak Preview. With this feature turned on, it would be possible to preview messages to get a glimpse on what they contain without opening them. Simply do a right click on the message from Inbox (message list).

Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Nested Labels and Message Sneak Peek [via]

All about the new coming Apple iPhone 4

Hope Apple will do something on the below:
  • User changeable battery
  • Better camera
  • Ability to install apps without going through AppStore
  • Easily customizable like Google Android
  • More well integrated social networking
Over priced and over hyped but the network effect is strong.

Apple iPhone OS 4: 10 Features We Didn't See [via]
Apple Adds Multitasking, iAd Platform to iPhone OS 4 [via]
Analysis: Apple Targets Rivals With iPhone OS 4.0 [via]

Why do Finland's schools get the best results?

In Finland, schools do not compete with one another and their philosophy basically surrounds trust. Teaching is a prestigious and recognised career in Finland and teachers are highly valued and regarded.

In a class, there will a second additional teacher who helps those who are weak in a particular subject. There is no such thing as streaming in Finland unlike Singapore and all pupils are all kept in the same classroom, regardless of their ability in that particular subject. From primary to secondary schooling, all students and teachers are together i.e. teachers and students know and understand one another and all grow together to avoid any potential disruption. No student is left behind.

The Finnish philosophy with education is that everyone has something to contribute and those who struggle in certain subjects should not be left behind.

The system's success is built on the idea of less can be more. There is an emphasis on relaxed schools, free from political prescriptions. This combination, they believe, means that no child is left behind.

Why do Finland's schools get the best results? [via]

Am Broke-er by $93.92

Kuishin Bo cost me $93.92 today! Shall switch to Savings Mode but is tough since there is a Manhill Restaurant in line. That's over $200 if I consider Wednesday's $115 at 自然酒楼 (Zi Yean) too.

China Minzhong Food Corporation Limited IPO

China Minzhong Food Corporation ("CFMC") launched its IPO by selling 119.602m new shares and 77.742m vendor share at $1.20 each. 9.867m shares will be available for the public while the rest will be through placement. The IPO will end on 13 April at 12 pm.

The company core business is in the area of vegetable processing based in China. Given the fact that GIC has invested and the business is a first of the kind to be listed locally in Singapore, the stock should be stable.

I should be going for this one and hopefully I can get it.

Former Citi's CEO Prince Charles Apologised

How can a CEO claim to be oblivious to the risk posed by collateralized debt obligations and just hope to get away with an apology when the presence of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act is in place?

Citi's Prince: I'm Sorry [via]

Thursday, April 08, 2010

iPad Cost Analysis Leaves Apple Plenty of Profits

Yet another reason why I just don't like Apple.

iSuppli estimated the total manufacturing cost of the 16-Gbyte Wi-Fi Apple iPad at $259.60, far less than the $499 Apple is charging for it. This is the result of iSuppli's value chain analysis on Apple iPad. Besides this, I do have another paid whitepaper, doing on value chain analysis on Apple's iPhone. The result is similar.

I just find Apple's products overpriced.

iPad Cost Analysis Leaves Apple Plenty of Profits [via]

乘搭瑞安廉价航空上厕所要收费

去年,爱尔兰廉价航空公司瑞安航空(Ryanair),宣布有意向实施上厕所向乘客收费的计划。当时,我以为他们一定会取消这项既可笑即无聊的计划。上厕所要负一英镑或1欧元?哈哈哈!

我错了.

乘搭瑞安廉价航空 上厕所要收费 [via]

Astroturfing in the air : 'Poison' pen letters hit Sengkang

Seems like Astroturfing is in the air!

Even before the date for the next General Election has been announced, a poison pen letter has surfaced in Sengkang.

Written on a piece of A4-size paper in both English and Mandarin, it has been stuffed into the letter boxes of residents there, apparently since last week.

In it, the anonymous author accuses the People's Action Party (PAP) of being responsible for the high cost of living and the 7-per-cent GST, among other complaints.
Poison pen letters hit Sengkang [via]

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Poorer by $115

Though I am poorer by $115 today after having given a farewell lunch treat to my colleagues, I felt good. The lunch was co-shared by a fellow colleague which means the cost of the lunch for a total of 19 people is $230. The Hong Kong style dim sum being served though good was still inferior as compared to Crystal Jade and those from Hong Kong.

I am going to be poorer by yet another $70++ for tomorrow's dinner buffet at Kuishin Bo.

How do you know this and that?

AA: Why GMG's share price is up for almost 100% for the past few days?
Me: They have a roadshow in Shanghai.

Me: Do you know Temasek Holdings is no longer the major shareholder of Cosco?
AA: How do you know?

If anyone would like to know more of what is happening in the world, be it business, politics or current affairs, follow news articles from overseas other than those from Singapore (not all). That is purely my own subjective remark. I find news published by the local media is either slightly outdated or selective.

I recommend the following news sites but not limited to:
  • Bloomberg
  • Financial Times
  • Economic Times
  • Google News
  • CNBC
  • Market Watch
  • New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Guardian

Roger Kirby: Rights of Asia Investors - Class action lawsuits against large financial institutions

Rights of Asia Investors


As investors turn to the courts for compensation in cases against large financial institutions, Roger Kirby, partner at Kirby-McInerney, speaks to CNBC's Martin Soong, Karen Tso & Sri Jegarajah, about what investors in Asia can do.

HDB advised Sheng Siong to consider before making rental adjustment

The HDB said they have advised Sheng Siong to consider before making any rental or tenancy adjustments. This is after Sheng Siong 30 per cent increase in rental of stalls in their recent bought over of wet markets in areas located in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Serangoon North.

HDB commented that Sheng Siong is a private company and thus has no rights to force them to do certain business decisions. I wonder what is the use of just merely say but then no action taken. HDB has also further assured vicinity's residents these wet markets will remain as wet markets and any conversion must come with their approval. Till date, approximately 10 per cent have decided not to carry on with their business due to the 30 per cent in rental fee, and should more leave, will Sheng Siong have a strong case to convert them into a new business setup?

After all, Sheng Siong is a private operator.

HDB assures residents of marketing needs; reminds Sheng Siong of wet market use [via]

Toyota's Dilemma: Pay record fine or Fight the government at the cost of more bad publicity

Pay record fine or Fight the government at the cost of more bad publicity? This is going to be one of the toughest dilemma Toyota is going to face. The company has an April 19 deadline to accept or contest the penalty, and if they choose to pay the fine, it is going to be a record US$16.4 million fine. Paying the fine could be could be cast as an admission of wrongdoing but to fight against the government can result in bad publicity and long trials. The proposed fine of US$16.4 million is the most the government could levy, but further penalties are possible under continuing federal investigations. It is to note that Toyota is already flooded with hundreds of private lawsuits.

What's Toyota next move?

Toyota faces legal dilemma as well as record fine [via]

时间不是很多

时间不是很多了啊。我看还是尽早把 CS4236 Assignment 2 搞好。只剩三天而已!

开始有一点点手忙脚乱了。

April
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 2 (10%)
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2 (0%)
  • 15: CS5322 Project (30%)
  • 27: CS4236 Exam (0%)
  • 28: CS5258 Exam (0%)
  • 30: CS5322 Assignment 2 (0%)
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam (0%)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Interesting media release by Noble Group in response to Peabody's bid for Macarthur

Noble Group (N21.SI) has issued an SGX statement creatively entitled It’s all very simple, making fun of Peabody’s tortuous case for buying Macarthur.

I found the media release interesting and is worth publishing here.

IT’S ALL VERY SIMPLE.

We at Noble read with interest Peabody's long and convoluted defense of their "indicative offer" for Macarthur.

Wow.

Their explanation of the merits of their deal went on for paragraph after paragraph and sure was hard to follow.

It reminds us a bit of Shakespeare in Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2,

"Peabody doth protest too much, methinks."

They went on and on and on, but in fact, it is quite simple:

1. Take their cash if you don't believe in the future of coal. Keep in mind, if they weren't buying it cheap, even at 14 bucks a share, they wouldn't be doing it. We believe that coal is in a once in a multi-decade bull run. So do Peabody, which is why they are trying to get you to give them a great coal operation for their rapidly depreciating dollars.

2. If you believe in coal for the long-term, and want to stay in a company that intends to develop into the largest independent coal producer in Australia, vote for the Gloucester-Macarthur merger on Monday, April 12.

It really is that simple.

Media Release by Noble Group [via]

Charged $3 for doing interbank fund transfer over the Internet

I was charged with a $3 admin fee for doing an interbank fund transfer of $200, from MayBank to POSB Bank, over the Internet. Either I am blind or the warning print was too fine for me. From what I know, this per transaction charge is determined only by the receiving end, which is POSB Bank for my case.

Since when have POSB Bank implemented this? I do not remember being charged when I did similar transaction months ago.

POSB interest = 0.125%
Admin fee per my transaction = 1.5%

"Perfect"

IBM survived due to focus on customer

What is as important or more important than quality of product is unsurprisingly "Focus on Customer" or "Quality of Service". IBM got it right in this area to be able to grow and survive for the past many years.

IBM survived due to focus on customer [via]

Calculate a Random Number from a Normal Distribution

Visual Basic 6.0 / VBA code to calculate random number from a normal distribution using Box-Muller Transformation method.


Function BoxMullerTransformation() As Double
    'Make use of BoxMullerTransformation to calculate a Random Number from a Normal Distribution
    'http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Box-MullerTransformation.html
    Randomize
    BoxMullerTransformation = Sqr(-2 * Log(Rnd)) * Sin(2 * PI() * Rnd)
End Function

Mathematics can be interesting :)

How to calculate PI value?

To find PI (π) value, we can actually compute the arctangent of a specified number 1 multiply by 4.

Suppose you are writing VBA macro, you may use the below function to get PI value.

Function PI() As Double
    PI = 4 * Atn(1)
End Function

NOTE: I assume your Math library does not have PI.

Monday, April 05, 2010

2 assignments down

Challenge for school

March
  • 02: CS5322 Quiz 1
  • 03: CS4236 Project deadline
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline
  • 15: CS5322 choose research topic
April
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 1
  • 05: CS5258 Assignment 2
  • 10: CS4236 Assignment 2
  • 13: CS5322 Quiz 2
  • 15: CS5322 Project
  • 27: CS4236 Exam
  • 28: CS5258 Exam
  • 30: CS5322 Assignment 2
May
  • 03: CS5322 Exam

Working on CS5322 Project deadline.

Strikethrough means I am done with it.

Global semiconductor sales up 56 pct in February

As expected, the global semiconductor is recovering in general :)

Global semiconductor sales up 56 pct in February [via]

Buffett's Berkshire is best-regarded US company

Berkshire Hathaway - the investment vehicle run by Warren Buffett, the so-called sage of Omaha - topped a list of the best-regarded US companies.

MOST ADMIRED: prior rank
  1. Berkshire Hathaway Inc 11
  2. Johnson & Johnson 1
  3. Google Inc 2
  4. 3M Co 9
  5. SC Johnson & Son Inc n/a
  6. Intel Corp n/a
  7. Microsoft Corp 7
  8. Coca-Cola Co 4
  9. Amazon.com Inc 6
  10. General Mills Inc 8

LEAST ADMIRED:
  1. Freddie Mac n/a
  2. American International Group Inc 1
  3. Fannie Mae n/a
  4. Citigroup Inc 6
  5. Goldman Sachs Group Inc n/a
  6. Chrysler 4
  7. General Motors 3
  8. JPMorgan Chase 12
  9. Bank of America Corp 14
  10. Delta Air Lines Inc n/a

n/a = Company not rank among 60 most visible U.S. companies in last edition of survey

Buffett's Berkshire is best-regarded US company [via]

Top 3 sites for discovering Android apps

Good to know.

Top 3 sites for discovering Android apps [via]

SMRT share price at ALL-time high

SMRT Corporation (S53.SI) closed 0.976% higher at S$2.07 today, just 3 cents shy of its all time high of S$2.10 set in early trade. This is with expectations of better earnings as ridership set to increase when second phase of Circle Line in Singapore opens end of next week.

How to Calculate a Random Number from a Normal Distribution?

The NORMINV(probability, mean, standard_dev) function in Microsoft Excel returns the value x such that, with probability p, a normal random variable with mean mu and standard deviation sigma takes on a value less than or equal to x. Using RAND() function that generates random probabilities between 0 and 1, we can use the NORMINV function to calculate a random number from a normal distribution, using this formula:

=NORMINV(RAND(), mean, standard_dev)

However, Jerry W. Lewis, a former Excel MVP and a professional statistician, commented that using NORMINV(RANDINV()...) to generate Normal variates is not recommended in Excel XP or earlier. Excel 2003 or later yields acceptable result.

Jerry recommends the Box-Muller Transformation method instead. Using Box-Muller Transformation approach to calculate a random number from a normal distribution, the formula in Excel would be

=SQRT(-2*LN(RAND()))*SIN(2*PI()*RAND())

Business Idea

Will it work?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

God Bless You

I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, though they die, yet shall they live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
-- John 11:25.26

May you be happy in heaven.

Excel Normal Distribution Formulas

=NORMDIST(x, mean, stdev, cumulative)

Returns the normal cumulative distribution for the specified mean and standard deviation.

=NORMSDIST(z)

Returns the standard normal cumulative distribution (has a mean of zero and a standard deviation of one)

=NORMSINV(p)

Returns the inverse of the standard normal cumulative distribution (has a mean of zero and a standard deviation of one)

Objectives of Secure and Fair Electronic Voting

First, only the eligible voters can vote and each voter can vote only once. The ballots of the eligible voters should be correctly accumulated in the tally. In addition, the ballot should be secret so that others cannot infer the intention of the voter. With ballot secrecy, the voter may feel free to express his or her intentions without fear of retribution. As the voted ballots lack physical protections such as the polling boxes in conventional voting methods, the results of the voting should be verifiable. Further, the voting cannot be disrupted by the voter regardless of whether or not he or she will be traced.

Al Jazeera English dropped from SingTel Mio TV from April 1st

From April 1, Al Jazeera English will be dropped from SingTel Mio TV with no reason given. For the past, Al Jazeera has hosted series of programs scrutinizing the socio-economic problems in Singapore, more than any other channels. In place of Al Jazeera, Russia Today, CCTV 9 (China) and Euronew are added.

What is the real reason for dropping Al Jazeera?

Al Jazeera English dropped from SingTel Mio TV from April 1st [via]

A tiring long weekend

The whole of Friday was spent working on CS5258 Assignment 2, reviewing an Information Security Policy, improving it, and writing a critique out of it. I am blessed to have two capable group members who are responsible and proactive enough to complete their given tasks, and sometimes doing more than required. Deadline of Apr 5 shouldn't be a problem at all.

On Saturday, most of my time was spent reading through and comparing a total of 5 research papers before finally selected the best for a literature review for my CS4236 Assignment 2. The next question is coming out with a decent practical solution to my problem - Secure Electronic Voting. This is an individual assignment due on Apr 10.

Time flies and today marks the last day of the long weekend. I better get started with my CS5322 Group Project else I will have nothing to show for this coming Tuesday's discussion. Time is equally tight for this and the deadline is less 2 weeks from now, which is Apr 15.

Other than the above 3 milestones, 1 quiz and 1 individual assignment, both for the sadistic CS5322 lecturer, await me.

Half a day left for me before I set off for my boss' baby girl 1-month event this evening.

Gmail on the iPad

Apple iPad was launched not long ago but then Google Gmail team is efficient enough to come out with a customized Gmail for iPad.


Gmail on the iPad [via]

Normal distribution

In probability theory and statistics, the normal distribution or Gaussian distribution is a continuous probability distribution that often gives a good description of data that cluster around the mean. The graph of the associated probability density function is bell-shaped, with a peak at the mean, and is known as the Gaussian function or bell curve.

Normal distribution [via]

More on 鄭秀文

全都好听! Not many can sing so well live.

我們的主題曲

爱的挽歌

执迷不悔

不拖不欠

亲密关系

值得

终身美丽

癡癡為你等

放不低

美麗的誤會

愛情萬歲

鄭秀文Sammi Cheng -- I Will Survive

Sammi Cheng singing "I Will Survive"!!! Real diva! Her vocal is still equally powerful!!! She will survive!!!

Sammi Cheng has begun a series of her world tour concert for her comeback! Her attitude on stage reminds me of MJ.

鄭秀文 -- 默契

The one-of-a-kind entertainer from Hong Kong is back.

Vow to improve my teaching method in this coming school vacation

就这样吧。。。

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Stacks of financial annual reports left untouched

Just when I commented receiving only one financial report in hardcopy format from Mapletree Logistics Trust, the rest arrived one after another.

So far, ST Engineering and CapitalMall Asia came in the form of a CD-ROM while Mapletree Logistics Trust, Cambridge Industrial Trust, Neptune Orient Lines and Parkway Holdings all came in as hardcopy and CD-ROM.

These financial reports remain piling on my table collecting dust.

Red shirts swarm shopping district

Tens of thousands of red-shirt protesters swarmed shopping district on Saturday, paralysing traffic and closing shopping malls, as they continued their campaign to force Prime Minister Abhisit to immediately dissolve the Parliament.

Large shopping malls affected in the area, including Central World, Gaysorn Plaza, Big C, Siam Centre and Siam Discovery, were forced to close.

Protesters swarm shopping district [via]

A critique of the Singapore Healthcare system

Another perspective of the Singapore Healthcare system.

A critique of the Singapore Healthcare system [via]

Improved comment collapsing for Google Buzz posts

Any Google Buzz post can turn into a lively discussion. Sometimes these conversations can gather lots of new comments very quickly, turning them into "skyscraper" posts that can dominate your entire screen, especially if you don't check Buzz for a few days. We've heard from many of you that these big posts can be a lot to skim over.

Today, we’re making some changes to how comments get collapsed in Google Buzz. In the past, old comments were sometimes collapsed, but new comments (posted since your last visit to the Buzz tab) were always expanded. Now, if there are enough of them, new comments may be collapsed as well.

Improved comment collapsing for Google Buzz posts [via]

'Red Shirt' blood had HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on Friday confirmed that some blood samples from the 'Red Shirt' activists, splashed as part of their blood-splashing activities last month, were contaminated with the HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses. There can be a possible outbreak of diseases.

I personally find this action socially unethical. Clean and healthy blood could have been put to better use like donating them to someone who is in need of a blood transfusion.

'Red Shirt' blood had HIV [via]

王菲 -- 光之翼

Foxit Reader new release to patch critical vulnerability

A few days ago, PDF researcher Didier Stevens announced a "feature" that it is possible to execute arbitrary code out of PDF files. This feature becomes a "security vulnerability" on Foxit Reader because there is no warning dialog when an embedded executable runs.

In response to this, Foxit quickly released Foxit Reader 3.2.1.0401 to show a warning dialog whenever an embedded executable is to run.

Download latest Foxit Reader at http://www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads/index.php now.

NOTE that Foxit Reader does not perform automatic update.

Fannie Mae delinquencies continues to mount despite all the government gimmicks and manipulation

Despite all the government gimmicks and manipulation, the level of delinquency at the two U.S. mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, continues to mount.

Ticking prime bomb: Fannie Mae delinquencies rise [via]

Friday, April 02, 2010

What makes a procession?

A group of five in whatever formation may not create the impression of a group 'in a compact body marching in close formation', but can nonetheless be a procession.

Acquittals overturned [via]

Singapore to raise electricity tariffs again from this April onwards

Despite continuing profit by the Singapore Power, the power generation companies and suppliers, electricity tariffs is to be raised again from this April onwards.

The Online Citizen, an online site based in Singapore, published an article with many questions, hoping to get answered so as to justify the increase in electricity tariffs.


Singapore was ranked second among 21 cities, after London, for raising electricity tariffs most, since 2005. This is something not to be proud of.

Why is the electricity tariff up again on 1 April, despite the decline in real wages last year, about 60,000 residents still unemployed as of December, and Singapore is just coming out of its worst recession?

Helping S’poreans save on electricity bills? [via]

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