Monday, January 31, 2011

Google overtakes Nokia to become top smartphone platform maker

Google, after having leapfrogged Apple iOS in U.S. mobile OS market share few months back and topped adoption in U.S. smartphone market, giant Google has once again scored good grades. Google's Android has now passed up Nokia's Symbian to take the top spot among smartphone platforms, ending Nokia's 10 year reign on top of the global smartphone industry, according to research firm - Canalys. It was reported that 32.9 million handsets running a Google platform, which includes Android, OMS and Tapas, were sold last quarter, enough to topple Nokia's Symbian, which had sales of 31 million, from the number one place. Apple came in third with 16.2 million iPhones sold.


Google overtakes Nokia as top smartphone platform maker [via]

Dr Mahathir criticizes MM Lee's comments on Muslims

As reported on the TheMalaysianInsider

I am not surprised by his statement because to him (Lee) religion is not important. For him the end justifies the means, so if he wants racial integration in Singapore, he won’t let Islam stand in the way of his goals. He has no respect for religion and the sensitivities of other people.

The tiff between the two former leaders Dr Mahathir and MM Lee Kwan Yew never seem to end.

Dr M: Kuan Yew has no respect for religion [via]

洪榮宏《一支小雨伞》

To describe Singapore's weather

Sunday, January 30, 2011

刘德华《新少林寺》电影主题曲《悟》

《悟》
演唱: 刘德华
作词: 刘德华 作曲: 赵钦 制作: 李安修 + 陈德建


无量心 生福报 无极限
无极限 生息息 爱相连
为何君视而不见
规矩定方圆
悟性 悟觉 悟空 心甘情愿

放下 颠倒梦想 放下云烟
放下 空欲色 放下悬念
多一物 却添了 太多危险
少一物 贪嗔痴 会少一点

若是缘 再苦味也是甜
若无缘 藏爱 在心田
尘世 藕断还丝连
回首一瞬间
种颗善因 陪你走好每一天

唯有 心无挂碍 成就大愿
唯有 心无故 妙不可言
算天算地 算尽了 从前
算不出 生死 会在哪一天

勿生恨 点化虚空的眼
勿生怨 欢喜 不遥远
缠绕 欲望的思念
善恶一瞬间
心怀忏悔 陪你走好每一天

再牢的谎言
却逃不过天眼
明日之前 心流离更远
浮云霎那间
障眼 人心渐离间
集苦连连 不断的出现

无量心 生福报 无极限
无极限 生息息 爱相连
凡人却视而不见
规矩定方圆
悟性 悟觉 悟空 心甘情愿

简简单单 陪你走好每一天

PM Lee disagrees with his dad MM Lee's perspective on the Muslims

In Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew latest book launch, he made several comments on the Muslims and had resulted in hot debate and disagreement among the Singapore community.

Yesterday, Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, tried hard to defend Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yee's recent negative comments on the Muslim community in Singapore. Yaacob urges Singaporeans to put MM Lee's comments about the Muslim community into perspective despite disagreeing with MM Lee.

Today, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong finally responded to his father MM Lee's comments. In short, PM Lee disagreed with his father's comments.

But my own perspectives on how things are in Singapore based on my interaction with the Malay community, the mosque and religious leaders and the grassroots leaders, is not quite the same as MM's.

Okay, PM Lee is the first to publicly disagree with Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew. Would this regain some votes given our PM has come out to clear the air among the Malay community?

Muslims have done much to strengthen integration, says PM Lee [via]

Minister Dr Yaacob tried hard to defend MM Lee's comments on Muslims

Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, tried hard to defend Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yee's recent negative comments on the Muslim community in Singapore. Yaacob urges Singaporeans to put MM Lee's comments about the Muslim community into perspective.

The Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), which comprises mainly elite Muslims, had raised its concerns over MM Lee's latest comments and demanded clarification over what does it mean when MM Lee said Muslims in Singapore are distinct and not easy to integrate. Another high profile Muslim community, Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), had raised similar concerns.

AMP's Official Response to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's Comments in Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going [via]
1. The Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) deeply regrets certain comments made by Minister Mentor (MM) Mr Lee Kuan Yew in his book Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going. These comments are in relation to the practice of Islam by the Malay-Muslim community (MMC) where MM Lee had urged the MMC to be less strict in their practice of Islam in order to facilitate integration, and in relation to the issue of gaps between the MMC and other communities in Singapore, where MM Lee opined that the MMC will never catch up with the other communities. We note that these views of MM Lee are not new. It is not clear why MM Lee has chosen to repeat them at this point.

2. However, because these views come from MM, and are repeated in print, it is important for the community to set its rejoinders. We do not agree with MM's views. In our view, MM’s comments have hurt the community and are potentially divisive.

3. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong for any community in Singapore in being distinct, for it to carry out its religious practices, or in asserting its identity. Islam enjoins Muslims to integrate within the broader Singapore community. It is not mutually exclusive for a good Muslim to be a good Singaporean. In fact, a good Muslim is duty bound, in Islam, to be a good Singaporean.

4. Many other religious communities practise their rituals. There is nothing wrong with this. Further, many ethnic communities assert their identities. Again, there is nothing wrong in this. For example, the state-promoted policy of SAP schools (where it could be argued that students do not have the same opportunity to mingle with other communities) manifests the assertion of the Chinese identity. The Speak Mandarin campaign is yet another example of the assertion of Chinese identity. The MMC has accepted these assertions of identities as part and parcel of living in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious community. Just like other Singaporeans, we celebrate diversity of beliefs and practices. It is therefore perplexing to see the Malay/Muslim community as being unfairly singled out for reasons which we cannot fathom.

5. ]It is unusual for MM to conclude that Muslims have not integrated based on his sporadic observations of eating practices of Muslims. Many Muslims have no qualms sharing tables with their non-Muslim friends and colleagues. Muslims are obliged to observe certain dietary restrictions, inasmuch as people subscribing to other religions (e.g. Buddhists or Hindus who do not consume certain types of foods) or others having dietary restrictions (vegetarians, vegans). It is a stretch and disingenuous to suggest that Muslims are against or less likely to integrate primarily on account of our dietary restrictions or eating habits.

6. Ironically, MM's comments, which had purported to touch on integration, could be potentially divisive. MM’s comments create the misperception that the MMC is against or disinterested in integration, which is untrue and unfounded. It tends to perpetuate this misperception for younger Singaporeans in particular, who may take his views, as the first Prime Minister of Singapore, as the truth. These misperceptions could hinder integration going forward.

7. Apart from the issue of the practice of Islam, MM had also commented that the Malay/Muslim community will never catch up with other communities in Singapore. Again, this is regrettable. To state this in print is effectively condemning the MMC as a lagging and marginalised community, even in the longer term.

8. MM's comments also raise questions as to whether they reflect the thinking of other political leaders. Does this thinking (relating to the misperception of Muslims being disinterested in integration, or that the MMC will never catch up with other communities) affect, directly or indirectly, other government policies? If this is not the case, then the State should clarify this. Otherwise, the perception will be that the comments expressed by MM Lee, as a core member of the Cabinet, reflects the official position of the Government.

Issued by: Board of Directors, AMP

MUIS's Response to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's Comments in Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going [via]
Islam no barrier to integration: Muis

THE highest authority on Muslim affairs said yesterday that the teachings of Islam do not hinder Muslims from integrating fully into Singapore society.

In fact, the true teachings of Islam obligate believers to live harmoniously in a multi-religious and multi-racial society, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said.

The statement on its website was in response to questions from the public about whether Islamic practices were a barrier to the integration of Muslims in Singapore's plural society.

These questions were prompted by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's comments in the book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going, that Muslims in Singapore tend to be 'distinct and separate'.

Muis said the Muslim community here is deeply aware that Islam's teachings exhort believers to live together harmoniously in a plural society like Singapore's.

'An ethos in the Singapore Muslim identity elucidates clearly that a good Muslim who is true to his religion, is also one who is a good citizen,' it said.

Mr Lee's comments have drawn reactions from Muslims here and overseas.

In the book, Mr Lee, when asked to assess the progress of multi-racialism in Singapore, said: 'I have to speak candidly to be of value, but I do not want to offend the Muslim community.

'I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came, and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration - friends, intermarriages and so on, Indians with Chinese, Chinese with Indians - than Muslims. That's the result of the surge from the Arab states.'

He added: 'I would say, today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam.' He also said: 'I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate.'

His remarks have been criticised by some leaders, officials and readers in Malaysia and Indonesia after they were reported in local newspapers.

Muslims and other Singaporeans have also written to The Straits Times Forum page on the issue.

Muis said yesterday the Muslim community has always played a role in national development:

'The integration process is readily accepted by the Muslim community as an integral part of the nation's development and progress, which is a shared aspiration of every Singaporean.

'This can be seen through the active participation of Muslims in mainstream society and also through the various multi-racial and multi-religious activities, be they at the individual or at the institution levels.'

Muis said that Muslim Singaporeans' commitment to integration is motivated by two factors:

First, by the aspiration to live up to the country's tenets, as laid out in the pledge to live 'as one united people, regardless of language, race and religion'.

Second, by the teachings of Islam, which obligate Muslims to live harmoniously with those of other races and religions.

'This is reaffirmed by the teachings of Prophet Muhammad through the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) and his life journey,' the statement said.

It recalled that in 2005, Muis launched the Singapore Muslim Identity project to bring home the point that Muslims can stay true to their religion comfortably while being active citizens in a secular, multi-racial state.

'The fact is, this set of ethos has been an integral part and practice of the Singapore Muslim community for many years. It has been well-received by the Singapore Muslim community because it is not a new construct in the Islamic faith. It is in fact derived from the tenets of the religion.'

Muis added that it was confident that this better understanding of the true teachings of Islam has led Singaporean Muslims to take a progressive outlook and become very much part of the mainstream.

Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim must know it is not prudent to offend and upset MM Lee, AMP and MUIS. What a dilemma!

The global debt clock - An interactive overview of government debt across the planet

The Economist has an interesting page that provides us with an interactive overview of government debt across the planet. Every second, someone in the world takes on more debt and so, the global debt clock just keeps increasing.

At present, the total debt stands at

Total global debt - Minutes before the time of this article was written
Comparing national debt of United States and Singapore,

National debt of United States and Singapore
It seems to imply Singapore's public debt and debt per person is a LOT higher than United States'. However, public debt must be looked at in the context of both domestic and foreign debt. U.S.'s national debt is mostly foreign held by foreign counterparts like China, Japan, etc, even including Singapore. In comparison, Singapore's national debt is mostly made of CPF - the national savings scheme/fund for retirement, i.e. domestic. On the international debt market, Singapore is a net creditor. Singapore Treasury does not need to issue bonds to raise money; it issues bonds to sustain and smoothen the bond markets. On the contrary, U.S. Treasury issues bonds because they really need the money to rollover.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Seven things you should never do on Facebook

There are some things that you should never do on social networking site, Facebook.

  1. Never settle for the default settings
  2. Never agree to have yourself listed on search engines
  3. Never put your address and phone number on Facebook
  4. Never let apps lie dormant
  5. Never let your mum see your tagged photos
  6. Never give out your date of birth
  7. Never broadcast that you’re going on holiday

The default security and privacy settings on Facebook is bad enough and could just expose yourself to the many NEVERs listed above.

Read more on  "Seven things you should never do on Facebook" on Yahoo! now.

Facebook "overvalued"? Potential bubble forming in the technology sector?

Read on here:

But the Bloomberg Global Poll conducted Jan. 21-24 shows investors disagree with Goldman Sachs' assessment that Facebook is worth more than Web pioneers such as Yahoo and eBay, even though Facebook surpassed Yahoo in October as the third most visited website in the world. And investors are concerned it shows a bubble may be forming in the technology sector.

Sim Lim salesman sacked for cursing

A video of a salesman at Sim Lim Square swearing and using vulgarities at a customer has gone viral on the Internet when the customer asked for a price breakdown of his friend's purchases, after they suspected that he was overcharged. The customer was a 25 year old Chinese native Chen Tao. But in a twist of events, the boss of the shop revealed a picture of Chen behaving inappropriately towards the staff too, even climbing the glass display case in a threatening manner.

The stall in limelight is Compact Electronics, Sim Lim Square.

Watch the drama on RazorTV.

MM Lee - "Hard Truths" on Cross Racial Marriages

Okay, netizens are beginning to start commenting on Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew's comment on cross racial marriages in this new book - "Hard Truths". Many of these comments were negative.

MM Lee - "Hard Truths" on Cross Racial Marriages (taken from TOC)

Hey, c'mon! Such mindset of feeling uncomfortable seeing own sons and daughters marrying someone else of different race is common in Asia among the elderly, including MM Lee himself.

I don't agree with all of the statements made by LKY in his book but for this, I have to agree. That's the hard truth and many just do not wish to accept it, trying to think objectively for just one moment but the real truth is, their subjective mindsets will eventually takeover. We still pretty much live in a world whereby we do really care how others judge us.

Egypt turn off Internet switch

Every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world.

Globally Reachable Egyptian Networks (Jan 2011) by Renesys
Withdrawn Egyptian Prefixes (Jan 2011) by Renesys

Live Updates on Egypt by Reuters

Follow Reuters' coverage as a wave of unrest grips Egypt over President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

http://live.reuters.com/Event/Unrest_in_Egypt

iFAST: Top Markets For 2010: So Who Won The Race?

The following are compiled by the iFAST Research Team.

Market Performance

iFAST: Top Performing Funds For 2010

The following are compiled by the iFAST Research Team.

Top Equity Funds for 2010

Top Bond Funds for 2010

Bottom Performing Funds for 2010

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today is Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day
January 28, 2011 marks Data Privacy Day. Looking from the list of sponsors and the participating organisations, we see familiar names like Intel, Microsoft, Google, Visa, and so on.

But wait, where is Apple?

NTUC Income's reassurance to me they still value co-operative spirit

NTUC Income's reassurance:

Thanks for the post.

NTUC Income remains committed to our social purpose to do good for our customers and the community. But in order to be able to do good, we must do well in our business.

We continue to act as the price moderator in the industry, offering some of the most competitive life, health, general insurance products. We also offer low-priced, high-protection plans exclusively for NTUC members and unions.

Last year, in view of our excellent business results, we were able to pay a total bonus of $415.5m to our participating life insurance policyholders. We also pledged to contribute 1% of our operating profits to OrangeAid, our CSR fund set up to benefit children and youths.

Besides making significant contributions to the Moral Home for Disabled, the Singapore Children's Society and the Assumption Pathway School, we launched the NTUC Income Family Micro Insurance Scheme aimed to benefit 13,000 low-income households with children. We pledged $0.5m over 3 years in support of this scheme. Our annual contribution to the labour movement includes our $1m towards the U Care Fund in aid of low wage workers and their families.

We will continue to step up on our Do Good efforts. We must therefore continue to do well.

Hope this clarifies. Have a great day!

IFAST's Key Investment Ideas For 2011

Here are iFAST's forecasts of the key investment themes for 2011.

Web Based Instant Messenger (IM)

Instant Messenger for multiple platforms

eBuddy (AIM, Facebook, GTalk, ICQ, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo!)
http://www.ebuddy.com/

ILoveIM (AIM, GTalk, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo!)
http://www.iloveim.com/

Imo.im (AIM, Facebook, GTalk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, MySpace, Skype, Yahoo!)
https://imo.im/

KoolIM (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, GTalk, ICQ, MSN, Xfire, Yahoo!)
http://www.koolim.com/

Meebo (AIM, Facebook, GTalk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, MySpace, myYearbook, Yahoo!)
http://www.meebo.com/

MessengerFX (AIM, GTalk, MSN, Yahoo!)
http://www.messengerfx.com/

Imo.im - Great alternative for web & mobile Instant Messaging service with desktop chat notification

imo.im

Imo.im is like Meebo, eBuddy, ILoveIM, and any other Instant Messaging webapps. These IM webapps can allow you to log into Skype, GChat, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and other services, all at once. What's so special about the new Imo.im is its simplistic layout, Chrome desktop notifications, and its ability to run on mobile devices.

One shortcoming of this service is the missing of "Sign in as Invisible" mode. Invisible mode can only be activated after signing in.

Imo.im is available on iPhone, iPad, Android and of course the desktop Internet. Watch the following demonstration on iPad:


Imo.im Offers Desktop Chat Notifications for Any IM Service [via]

Gmail comes with desktop notifications for emails and chat messages

If you are using Google Chrome, it is now possible to receive desktop notifications which display pop-ups whenever a chat message or new email arrives.

To turn them on, click on the Settings link in the top right corner of Gmail and scroll down to the "Desktop Notifications" section. If you just want to get notified about chat messages, or if you use Priority Inbox and only want to get notifications for important messages, or get notified on any incoming new mails, you can customize your settings from there too.

NOTE: This functionality is currently only available on Google Chrome.

Desktop notifications for emails and chat messages [via]

Facebook experimenting with social captchas

From a blog post on Facebook, Facebook is experimenting using photos of your friends as captcha in replace to traditional captcha.

Traditional captcha

When we say traditional captcha, we refer to the out-of-focus string of words shown to users that must then be typed correctly onto a textbox to prove you are a human being and not a computer trying to game the system.

Social captcha (work in progress)
Social captcha is the currently being experimented new captcha by Facebook.

In my opinion, this idea may sounds great, however, I see several obstacles ahead. What happens if the photo shown is a group photo? What happens if your friend uses photos that belong to a cartoon character or someone else's e.g. an idol? Does this mean those who have added strangers as friends will have to start removing them and be more "careful" in the future?

Refreshing captcha again and again until we spot a recognized photo is going to be annoying.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Facebook Finally Adds HTTPS Support

Facebook has finally added the ability to access the site via a HTTP Secure (HTTPS) connection on mobile and anywhere even on desktop, which should drastically increase security for users. Currently, you can access Facebook securely by typing in https before the web address, but it doesn't work everywhere on the site. This feature can be enabled from the Account Settings page.

Will you enable it at the cost of slower surfing experience? I think we should for the security.

Facebook Finally Adds HTTPS Support [via]

Download your Facebook information

Some may not know that social networking site Facebook actually does provide us with a tool to download a copy of your information, including your photos and videos, posts on your wall, all of your messages, your friend list and other content you have shared on your profile as a compressed zip file.

The feature is available as a link on the Account Settings page

FAQ on Download Your Information [via]

Facebook Places and Facebook Deals to launch in Singapore soon

Facebook Places and Facebook Deals will be launched in Singapore some time this week. Stay tuned for more information from Facebook's coming press releases.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poor yield on Vivo-life

For education purposes on Vivo-life, follow here.

Bank of Moscow Singapore bonds to yield 4.375%

Russia's Bank of Moscow set yield guidance at around 4.375% for an upcoming two-year bond denominated in Singapore dollars to raise as much as 200 million dollars. ING and UBS as joint bookrunners and joint lead managers for the issue.

In comparison to some of the earlier bonds sold in Singapore, Singapore’s CapitaMalls Asia, a unit of Southeast Asia’s biggest developer, sold 125 million dollars of debt due 2014 on Jan 21 with a coupon rate of 2.15%. Standard Chartered Plc's 220 million dollars of bonds maturing 2013 had a coupon rate of 2.22% when sold in July.

This bond issue looks rather attractive given its higher interest yield in a shorter maturity period. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Moody's Investors Service had cut BOM's debt from Baa2 to Baa3, the lowest within investment grade quality. It also tagged a negative outlook, citing the ongoing sale of Moscow's stake in the bank. Another credit rating company Fitch said it expects to assign a BBB- rating on the new notes, with a "rating watch negative" tag. In September, Fitch had placed Bank of Moscow's long-term ratings on a negative watch, citing a "risk of deterioration in the relationship between the bank and its majority owner, the City of Moscow (State). State ownership of a financial institution is often regarded as a positive factor for bondholders, given a higher likelihood of government support in the event of financial problems.

Bank Of Moscow Tapping Singapore Debt Market Amid Downgrade [via]

Watch out for asset bubbles, warns IMF

The Business Times
Author: Anthony Rowley
26/1/2011

THE danger of stock market bubbles or debt crises occurring in some leading Asian and other emerging economies - including those of India and China - is rising, the IMF warned yesterday.

The International Monetary Fund's latest Global Financial Stability Report also sounded strong warnings about the state of the global financial system in general.

This, it said, is in part caused by the uneven 'two-speed recovery' in the global economy causing private capital to flow out of advanced economies into emerging economies at a pace which they cannot easily absorb.

While equity valuations in many emerging markets are still within historical ranges, 'hot spots' are appearing in markets such as Hong Kong, India and Peru, the report said.

Retail flows into debt and equity mutual funds in these and other markets could provoke 'asset price bubbles'.

At the same time, private debt levels in some Asian and Latin American economies - such as those of Brazil, Chile, China, India and South Korea - are now approaching the peaks they reached before and after the Asian financial crisis, the IMF said.

This 'could signal an increase in risk', the report suggested, while cautioning financial authorities in these countries to 'remain vigilant'.

Debt quality is meanwhile deteriorating as debt levels pile up in emerging markets.

'A symptom of large capital inflows is that lower-rated entities gain greater market access to debt, lowering the average quality of assets held by investors,' the IMF said.

In a report characterised by stronger language than usual, the Washington-based lending institution noted that 'four years after the onset of the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression, global financial stability is still not assured'.

'Significant policy challenges remain to be addressed. Balance sheet restructuring is incomplete and proceeding slowly (while financial) leverage is still high,' it added.

In a separate World Economic Outlook Update, the IMF said that global economic output is expected to expand by 4.5 per cent in 2011 - a quarter of a percentage point higher than forecast three months ago - owing to stronger than expected consumption in the US and Japan.

'Signs are increasing that private consumption - which fell sharply during the crisis - is starting to gain a foothold in major economies (while) growth in emerging and developing economies remain robust.'

The IMF forecasts that output across advanced economies as a whole will expand by 2.5 per cent in 2011 and 2012 while in emerging and developing economies it is forecast to expand by 6.5 per cent in both years.

This 'two-track global recovery - with advanced countries growing much more slowly than the rest of the world - continues to pose policy challenges'.

Sluggish growth and weak fiscal positions in advanced economies has raised financial market sensitivities to debt sustainability risks, the IMF said. This, combined with accommodative monetary policies and low interest rates is causing money to pour out of the advanced economies.

These hot money flows 'are being driven by carry trades in which investors hope to profit from interest rate differentials and expectations of exchange rate appreciation', the IMF said while forecasting that interest rate differentials and carry trade activity are likely to rise.

'This suggests a vulnerability to reversals in response to, for instance, an unexpected rise in advanced country interests rates, a shift in growth prospects in emerging market countries, or a rise in risk aversion.'

Policy actions are needed to ensure that financial restructuring and balance sheet repair is undertaken by both banks and governments and that regulatory reforms move forward, the IMF said.

'The time purchased with the extraordinary support measures of the past few years is running out.'

All countries 'with outsize debt levels - inside and outside the euro area - must make further medium-term, ambitious and credible progress on fiscal consolidation strategies, together with better public debt management', the report added.

MM Lee's comments - Stoke a sense of unhappiness among Muslims?

In Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew latest book launch, he said

I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam.

I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration — friends, intermarriages and so on.

I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate, calling on the community to be less strict on Islamic observances.

Lee Kuan Yew urges Muslims to 'be less strict' [via]

MM Lee's comments - Discriminatory or realistic remarks at individuals who are less paper qualified?

People get educated, the bright ones rise, they marry equally well-educated spouses. The result is their children are likely to be smarter than the children of those who are gardeners.

It's a fact of life. You get a good mare, you don't want a dud stallion to breed with your good mare. You get a poor foal.

Lee Kuan Yew urges Muslims to 'be less strict' [via]

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

AOL subscribers overpaying $300 a year

According to an ex-AOL employee, Ken Auletta, most of AOL's subscribers are paying $25 a month for a dial-up fee, not realizing their cable or DSL plans already enable them to log onto the Internet while still retaining their AOL email address. Most of such overpaying users are elderlies. $25 a month would amount to a total of $300 a year.

According to an AOL filing with the Security and Exchange Commission, 43 percent of AOL's revenue in the quarter ending September 30—$563.5 million—comes from its 4.1 million subscribers.

That's 3,075,000 subscribers paying an extra $300 a year for dial-up service. If Auletta's source is correct, this means AOL is collecting nearly $1 billion a year from consumers who aren't questioning their bills.

I still recall an earlier post made in 2009 by myself on how difficult it was to cancel an AOL account. That was hilarious! For entertainment, I shall re-post here.


75% of AOL Subscribers Don't Need to Pay [via]

Google Chrome new extension "Keep My Opt-Outs" - opt out from ad tracking cookies

Google has announced a new Chrome extension on its Public Policy blog that enables you to opt out permanently from ad tracking cookies.

Keep My Opt-Outs is an extension for users who aren’t comfortable with personalization of the ads they see on the web. It’s a one-step, persistent opt-out of personalized advertising and related data tracking performed by companies adopting the industry privacy standards for online advertising.

Note: It's available as an extension for download in Chrome.

Google revamped Weather searching for mobile is now more informative

Google has revamped and redesigned its result page when you search for "Weather". It is now smart enough to return you the current weather condition in your location. On top of that, it comes with a new slider bar, when moved, will show a forecast of the next 12 hours' weather condition.

As you do this, keep an eye on the temperature, wind speed and humidity and see how all these conditions are expected to trend across the day. You may also notice that the background color changes throughout the day.

Weather on your mobile phone, now with added fun [via]

Print on the go from Gmail using Google Cloud Print

Sounds interesting and useful to me. Hopefully future printer of mine will support Google cloud printing.

Let’s say you need to print an important email attachment on your way to work so that it’s waiting for you when you walk in the door. With Gmail for mobile and Google Cloud Print — a service that allows printing from any app on any device, OS or browser without the need to install drivers — you can.

Print from your phone with Gmail for mobile and Google Cloud Print [via]

What has happened to Qantas?

A mishap yet again?!?!?!

Oxygen masks deployed in Qantas mid-air scare [via]

Thaipusam: Atmosphere in Singapore vs Malaysia

Defiant Singaporeans ignore policemen and continue making noises as a form of celebrating Thaipusam.


Malaysians carried on with their once-a-year Thaipusam celebration without police intervention.


Should events like Malay weddings, lion dances, or even funerals in void decks be banned? Banning devotees not making noises in a religious celebration or tradition is neither racial nor religious harmonious to me.

Related reads:

Orchard Road road-raising of 10cm 8% completed; 8% = 8 millimetres?

To avoid a repeat of once in 50 years flooding in Orchard Road [1, 2, 3], the National water agency PUB has put in place a three-stages road-raising works along the 1.4 kilometre stretch.

  1. kerbs along the roads have to be raised
  2. roads have to be raised by 10 centimetres
  3. roads will be layered by another 20 centimetres in height

According to Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim,

Road-raising - we've done only about eight per cent

Two interpretations to that 8% progress on road-raising:

  1. 8% of the entire stretch completed
  2. 8% in height of the 10 centimetres or 8 millimetres raised and completed

So, is which?

Road-raising works at Orchard Road 8% completed [via]

Monday, January 24, 2011

BODMAS and PEMDAS

In Mathematics, the sequence and order of operations given a problem sum full of different operators is important.

BODMAS or PEMAS can help us in remembering the right way of doing things.
BODMAS = Brackets Order Division Multiplication Addition Subtraction
PEMDAS = Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally
Applying BODMAS or PEMAS, we know we have to evaluate a Mathematical expression in the following sequence - in order of decreasing precedence:

BODMAS; PEMAS
  1. Brackets; Parenthesis
  2. Order; Exponents
  3. Division / Multiplication; Multiplication / Division
  4. Addition / Subtraction; Addition / Subtraction
Hope it helps :)

Budget 2011 to be delivered on Feb 18

The Budget 2011 statement will be delivered by Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in Parliament on February 18, Friday.

A "live" webcast of the delivery of the Budget Statement will be available at the Singapore Budget website at http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg.

Members of the public can visit the Singapore Budget website to subscribe to the Budget Statement mailing list to receive the Budget Statement via email after it has been delivered. This free service will be available for subscription from 26 January 2011 till 2.00pm on 18 February 2011.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Google Reader is back on Google's navigation bar

Just a day or two back, Google Reader was removed from Google's navigation bar and replacing it was Picasa Web Albums. On that day, a tweet on Google Reader revealed the removal of Google Reader was accidental and will be restored.

Google Navigation Bar

As promised by the Google's team, Reader is indeed reinstated and is back on the navigation bar (at least for now).

Creative answer to a mid-term Chemistry question from University of Washington

A very creative answer demonstrating true application of science.

As quoted from a Facebook note:

The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term exam. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well...

Here is the "Bonus Question" on the exam: "Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?"

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added. This gives two possibilities:
  1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

  2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa (a girlfriend of mine during my Freshman year) that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you", and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."

THIS STUDENT RECEIVED THE ONLY "A."

Income inequality in the U.S.

An insightful article by The Economist

In 2007 the income share of the richest percentile reached a staggering 18.3%. The last time America was such an unequal place was in 1929, when the equivalent figure was 18.4%.

The beautiful and the damned [via]

Selina's wedding to go ahead on Apr 1

Selina's wedding is set to go ahead as planned on Apr 1. Selina, a member of the Taiwanese popular girls group S.H.E. was discharged few days ago though have not fully recovered, did look to be in good shape to me.

POSB Invest Yield Series 11 advertised as 6.88% total payout

Singapore local bank, POSB Bank, is currently running a structured deposit investment product - POSB Invest Yield Series 11. Dr Money wrote a couple of articles on his definition of structured products [12].

POSB Invest Yield Series 11 advertisement
Looking at the advertised banner, I admit being misled into thinking the investment yield payout can be as high as 6.88% p.a (p.a. was formed in my mind almost immediately but of course I was wrong). 6.88% is definitely going to be a stark contrast against the meagre low 0.1% p.a. interest rate offered POSB Savings deposit. For your information, UOB Bank has a "Grow your savings the easy way" banner plus a "Attractive interest rates" on its website for their "proud" 0.1% p.a. savings deposit interest.
UOB proud 0.1% p.a. interest labelled as Attractive - LOL

Back to POSB Invest Yield Series 11 topic, their payout table in the 4 years 11 months tenure is as follows:

POSB Invest Yield Series 11 payout table

A more careful look on the table would have revealed the per annum payout would definitely be less than 1.8% (too lazy to calculate actual p.a.). The as-advertised 6.88% is just a primary school summation of all the 4 years 11 months p.a. percentages. Is this misleading and confusing? Definitely YES but POSB Bank is not violating banking laws since the p.a. is excluded from the advertising banner. Are they flouting ethical practices? I shall leave the answer to you yourself.

With such low interest rates returns, non-guaranteed interest rates return since the issuer can always terminate the tenure should the risk becomes high, and a lock-in period of almost 5 years, why not just invest on government bonds for a higher interest rate?

Some history on structured products

On 12 Feb 2010, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) lifted ban on sale of structured notes on DBS Bank, and the Singapore branches of Malayan Banking Bhd. and Royal Bank of Scotland. On 24 August 2010, the MAS lifted ban on CIMB Securities (Singapore) Pte Ltd, DMG & Partners Securities Pte Ltd, Kim Eng Securities Pte Ltd, OCBC Securities Pte Ltd, Phillip Securities Pte Ltd and UOB Kay Hian Pte Ltd.

Why the ban in the first place? This is after the disputes between many investors of failed structured products, unable to get back the returns that were being promised. Some of such notorious structured investment products were Lehman Minibonds, DBS High Notes, Morgan Stanley Pinnacle Notes and the Merill Lynch Jubilee Notes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keith Olbermann exits MSNBC: 'Just too much for me'


Read more here.

Google Reader accidentally removed from Google's navigation bar

Google Navigation Bar
Google made a small change to the navigation bar used for its non-search services: the link to Google Reader was moved to the "more" drop-down, while the link to Picasa Web Albums was brought back to the main bar.

Google Reader's tweet
Later in the day, a tweet on Google Reader revealed the removal of Google Reader was accidental and will be restored.

I wonder why Google has yet to release a customizable page for us to set the links to show. The decision of the missing feature must be a business decision.

Google looking to improving search quality and reducing webspam

Blog post by Google's Principal Engineer, Matt Cutts, mentioned Google's constant effort in improving search quality and reducing webspam. Webspam is defined as junk you see in search results when websites try to cheat their way into higher positions in search results or otherwise violate search engine quality guidelines.

As “pure webspam” has decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to “content farms,” which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites. Nonetheless, we hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content. We take pride in Google search and strive to make each and every search perfect. The fact is that we’re not perfect, and combined with users’ skyrocketing expectations of Google, these imperfections get magnified in perception. However, we can and should do better.

Google search and search engine spam [via]

Friday, January 21, 2011

Larry Page to take over Google's new CEO position

Eric Schmidt announced today that one of Google's co-founder Larry Page will become Google's new CEO. Prior to joining Google in 2001, Schmidt was once CTO of Sun Microsystems and CEO of Novell. He also had a Ph.D. in computer science. Schmidt was hired by Google's founder Larry Page and Segrey Brin to help them fill in the missing experience in running a business. Now, after 10 years, the founders decided they are ready to take on the reins of the CEO.

A note from Schmidt:

Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google’s Chief Executive Officer. In this new role I know he will merge Google’s technology and business vision brilliantly. I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better! Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead.

Sergey has decided to devote his time and energy to strategic projects, in particular working on new products. His title will be Co-Founder. He’s an innovator and entrepreneur to the core, and this role suits him perfectly.

As Executive Chairman, I will focus wherever I can add the greatest value: externally, on the deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership that are increasingly important given Google’s global reach; and internally as an advisor to Larry and Sergey.

Here's an interesting excerpt from Google's 2004 SEC filling:

We run Google as a triumvirate. Sergey and I have worked closely together for the last eight years, five at Google. Eric, our CEO, joined Google three years ago. The three of us run the company collaboratively with Sergey and me as Presidents. The structure is unconventional, but we have worked successfully in this way.

To facilitate timely decisions, Eric, Sergey and I meet daily to update each other on the business and to focus our collaborative thinking on the most important and immediate issues. Decisions are often made by one of us, with the others being briefed later. This works because we have tremendous trust and respect for each other and we generally think alike. Because of our intense long term working relationship, we can often predict differences of opinion among the three of us. We know that when we disagree, the correct decision is far from obvious. For important decisions, we discuss the issue with a larger team appropriate to the task. Differences are resolved through discussion and analysis and by reaching consensus. Eric, Sergey and I run the company without any significant internal conflict, but with healthy debate. As different topics come up, we often delegate decision-making responsibility to one of us.

We hired Eric as a more experienced complement to Sergey and me to help us run the business. Eric was CTO of Sun Microsystems. He was also CEO of Novell and has a Ph.D. in computer science, a very unusual and important combination for Google given our scientific and technical culture. This partnership among the three of us has worked very well and we expect it to continue. The shared judgments and extra energy available from all three of us has significantly benefited Google.

Eric has the legal responsibilities of the CEO and focuses on management of our vice presidents and the sales organization. Sergey focuses on engineering and business deals. I focus on engineering and product management.

An update from the Chairman [via]

5 Traits of Great Stocks

Needless to explain further, these 5 traits indicate great stocks!

  1. Sustainable competitive advantage
  2. Diverse customer base
  3. Pricing power
  4. Significant recurring revenue
  5. Expanding free cash flow

HP's Palm WebOS Tablets

New information has emerged on HP's "Topaz" and "Opal" WebOS tablets, which will now apparently include a sizeable amount of cloud storage and the ability to transfer documents by "tapping".
HP's "Topaz" and "Opal"
The two tablets: the 9-inch Topaz and a 7-inch model codnamed Opal - a lineup that fits nicely into Palm's "Something big, Something small, Something beyond" tagline for its upcoming February 9th event.

This tablet is buttonless! Oh okay, HP Palm WebOS tablets come buttonless before Apple's.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

4 Reasons to Sell a Stock

The Motley Fool has its say on the factors to determine when to sell a stock:

  1. Valuation
  2. Fundamental change in the underlying business
  3. Challenges to your investing thesis
  4. Better places for your money

Selina出院感恩記者會

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Check what Facebook data is being shared and accessible to outside world

To check what Facebook data is being shared and accessible to outside world including those not on Facebook, try typing this URL into your Internet address bar.

http://graph.facebook.com/[USERNAME]

NOTE: Replace [USERNAME] with your user name (no spaces).

A run on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg yields the following result:

{
   "id": "68310606562",
   "name": "Mark Zuckerberg",
   "picture": "http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/hs443.snc4/50270_68310606562_2720435_s.jpg",
   "link": "http://www.facebook.com/markzuckerberg",
   "category": "Public figure",
   "website": "www.facebook.com",
   "username": "markzuckerberg",
   "personal_interests": "openness, making things that help people connect and share what's important to them, revolutions, information flow, minimalism\n\n\n",
   "likes": 2736148
}

For myself, I am sharing just these:

{
   "id": "XXXXXXXXX",
   "name": v,
   "first_name": "XXXXXXXXX",
   "last_name": "XXXXXXXXX",
   "link": "http://www.facebook.com/XXXXXXXXX",
   "gender": "XXXXXXXXX",
   "locale": "en_US"
}

Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa may list mega IPO in Singapore Exchange

Hong Kong billionaire tycoon Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa announced plans to spin off its Hong Kong and China port assets on Singapore Exchange. Should the IPO plan were to go through, it would be a massive US$6 billion ($7.7 billion), making it the biggest IPO in Singapore ever, eclipsing previous mega deals like SingTel, Global Logistics Properties and Mapletree Industrial Trust.

Hong Kong Exchange VS Singapore Exchange [via]
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing, the operator of Hong Kong’s bourse, has a market capitalization of US$25.6 billion and trades at 42.2 times profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Singapore Exchange has a market value of $7.1 billion and a price-earnings ratio of at 29.9, the data show.

“If you list in Hong Kong then you will be competing for capital with China Merchants and Cosco Pacific,” said Johnson Leung, an analyst at Tufton Oceanic Far East in Hong Kong. “If you list in Singapore there are no comparables.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1968 - Martin Luther King's Prophetic Last speech

A powerful speech by Martin Luther King.

In commemoration Martin Luther King - "I have a dream"

On every third Monday of January, we remember the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King was remembered for his nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in U.S. federal and state law.

The mention of King always reminds me of his famous speech - “I have a dream”.

Martin Luther King "I have a dream" speech in text extracted from American Rhetoric.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Steve Jobs Taking Leave of Absence From Apple

Apple's shares traded in Frankfurt (AAPL.F) fell 7.5 percent by 1438 GMT, while futures for the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.3 and 0.9 percent, respectively, after the company's CEO Steve Jobs said the company's board had granted him leave to concentrate on his health. His request for medical leave is almost certainly connected to the islet cell neuroendocrine cancer of the pancreas (a rare, survivable form) that he was treated for in 2004, and the consequent liver transplant he received in April 2009. The Wall Street is closed for trading on Monday to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

During Jobs' leave of absence, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will be responsible for day to day operations. Jobs will continue as CEO and will be involved in major strategic decisions for the company. When he made a similar announcement in 2009, the stock was briefly suspended after falling more than 10% in the hours after he announced his leave of absence.

Will Apple stock price fall more than 10% and get suspended on Wall Street once trading resumes on Tuesday?

Steve Jobs Taking Leave of Absence From Apple [via]

Monday, January 17, 2011

Better Music Video Results in Google Search

Taking a break? Find music videos from the artists you love with Google's improved music video search results.

People often come to Google to find music videos, and this week we improved our results so now when you’re searching for your favorite band or album, you’ll find popular clips organized in a new way. For example, search for [michael jackson] and you’ll find some of the King of Pop’s most famous videos, including clear text indicating the length of the video, the album and the year it was published

This week in search 1/14/2011 [via]

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Is it wise to terminate my insurance policies if I'm in financial difficulties?

Posted by Life Insurance Association of Singapore on 16/11/2009 here.

As a general rule, terminating a life insurance policy should be your last resort.

Buying a life insurance policy is a mid- to long-term financial commitment.

Should you terminate the policy in its early years, the cash value payable may be less than the total premiums you would have paid. In the case of whole life or endowment policies, the cash value is typically zero in the first two to three years, or at best only a small fraction of the premiums paid. In short, most of the money you've paid would not be returned. For investment-linked policies, the amount of cash value, if any, is determined by the prevailing value of the units into which your premiums had been invested.

The critical point to appreciate is that should something unfortunate happen to you after you have surrendered the policy, your loved ones can no longer receive the insurance payout IN FULL; this is what is referred to as the "insurance cover or insurance protection".

To help you tide over your current financial situation without having to lose that valuable insurance coverage, the following are possible options (they may differ depending on the insurance company and the type of policy taken up) which you may consider:

(1) If you hold a traditional endowment policy, you may activate the Automatic Premium Loan (APL) should your policy have cash values. This means that the premiums are deducted from your policy's cash values and you do not have to make premium payment for a period of time. However, please note that the insurance company will charge interest on this loan. This option should be considered as a temporary measure only. If you hold an investment-linked policy, you may take a premium holiday by temporarily stopping the premium payment for a period of time.

(2) You may reduce the policy cover, for a lower premium.

(3) You may remove supplementary benefits, for a lower premium. Before surrendering your policy, please consider your current health/medical status. If you subsequently wish to buy a policy again, and if by then you have developed a medical condition, be cautioned that the insurance company may

(1) decline your application, or (2) apply a loading (surcharge) on the premium, or (3) exclude you from being covered for certain specified illness or disability that are present. The specified illness or disability may have been covered under the previous policy you had surrendered.

Another consideration is that the cost of insurance cover goes up with age.

Even as a healthy person, you will need to pay higher premiums on account of increased age.

A decision to terminate a policy should not be taken lightly. We suggest that you discuss with your financial adviser or your insurance company on the different policy options available to help you out with your current financial situation.

Huge concrete blocks come crashing down at Gilstead Rd construction site


Watch the video too.

Huge concrete blocks come crashing down at Gilstead Rd construction site [via]

Hilarious marketing video by Rednano.sg during its heyday

Enjoy the following hilarious marketing video by Rednano.sg during its heyday, before the SPH affiliated Singapore search portal shutdown its operation on Dec 1, 2010.

Microsoft confirms Windows 7 SP1 RTM, released to OEMs today

Ready for Windows 7 SP1? The final version of Microsoft's first update pack for its Windows 7 operating system should be arriving soon for end users, as the company has indicated that the final build of SP1 is already in the hands of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

This is according to a post by a tech site.

Microsoft confirms Windows 7 SP1 RTM, released to OEMs today [via]

Rednano.sg shutdown operation

Rednano shutdown message
Just realised Rednano.sg, a subsidiary company under Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) behind the online and mobile enhanced directory service, has shutdown its operation since Dec 1, 2010. Since it’s inception, Rednano was a Singapore-centric search engine whose aim was to provide fast and accurate local search results. It has been compared with search engine giant Google and the former eventually surrendered and admitted defeat.

Rednano the search engine has now merged with ST701.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Quick Fix for the Validator SetFocusOnError Bug

The ASP.NET validators have this nice property called "SetFocusOnError" that is supposed to set the focus to the first control that failed validation. This all works great until your validator control is inside a naming container. A ASP.NET blogger, David Findley, has a solution to it by overriding the Validate method on a page.

C# version:

public override void Validate(string group)
{
    base.Validate(group);

    // find the first validator that failed
    foreach (IValidator validator in GetValidators(group))
    {
        if (validator is BaseValidator && !validator.IsValid)
        {
            BaseValidator bv = (BaseValidator)validator;

            // look up the control that failed validation
            Control target = bv.NamingContainer.FindControl(bv.ControlToValidate);

            // set the focus to it
            if (target != null)
            target.Focus();

            break;
        }
    }
}

C# 3.0 and higher using LINQ:

public override void Validate(string group)
{
    base.Validate(group);

    // get the first validator that failed
    var validator = GetValidators(group)
        .OfType()
        .FirstOrDefault(v => !v.IsValid);

    // set the focus to the control
    // that the validator targets
    if (validator != null)
    {
        Control target = validator.NamingContainer.FindControl(validator.ControlToValidate);

        if (target != null)
            target.Focus();
    }
}

Visual Basic 2008 (VB.NET):

Public Overrides Sub Validate(ByVal group As String)
    MyBase.Validate(group)

    'find the first validator that failed
    For Each validator As IValidator In GetValidators(group)
        If (validator.GetType() Is GetType(BaseValidator) AndAlso Not validator.IsValid) Then
            Dim bv As BaseValidator = CType(validator, BaseValidator)

            'look up the control that failed validation
            Dim target As Control = bv.NamingContainer.FindControl(bv.ControlToValidate)

            'set the focus to it
            If target IsNot Nothing Then
                target.Focus()
            End If

            Exit For
        End If
    Next
End Sub

A Quick Fix for the Validator SetFocusOnError Bug [via]

Announcing release of ASP.NET MVC 3, IIS Express, SQL CE 4, Web Farm Framework, Orchard, WebMatrix

Several new Web platform technologies now available in recent weeks. Visit Scott Guthrie's blog post for a good recap.

Or watch a video from the Channel9.

How does NUS Centralised Online Registration System (CORS) modules bidding system work?

How does NUS Centralised Online Registration System (CORS) modules bidding system works? The video below talked about just how confusing the CORS is.

No, your zodiac sign hasn't changed

So, we are wrong with the horoscopes after all. But wait! Some astrologers are saying there is no change to the zodiac signs.

Why no change?

That's because the tropical zodiac – which is fixed to seasons, and which Western astrology adheres to – differs from the sidereal zodiac – which is fixed to constellations and is followed more in the East, ...

Astrology is geocentric. It relates life on Earth to the Earth’s environment, and seasons are the most dramatic effect, which is why we use the tropical zodiac.


Two zodiacs?

Horoscope - New set of date ranges for 13 zodiac signs

New set of date ranges for the 12 13 zodiac signs
  1. Capricorn - Jan 20 to Feb 16
  2. Aquarius - Feb 16 to Mar 11
  3. Pisces - Mar 11 to Apr 18
  4. Aries - Apr 18 to May 13
  5. Taurus - May 13 to Jun 21
  6. Gemini - Jun 21 to Jul 20
  7. Cancer - Jul 20 to Aug 10
  8. Leo - Aug 10 to Sep 16
  9. Virgo - Sep 16 to Oct 30
  10. Libra - Oct 30 to Nov 23
  11. Scorpius - Nov 23 to Nov 29
  12. Ophiuchus - Nov 29 to Dec 17 (new zodiac sign)
  13. Sagittarius - Dec 17 to Jan 20

Why the change? Read more here.

Horoscope - What is your sign?

I woke up to the realisation that a scorpio I was is now no longer true. I am now a Libra! We are also used to knowing just the 12 horoscope signs but now, we have a 13th - Ophiucus. Apparently the Babylonians had an Ophiucus column in their daily horoscopes but it got dropped somewhere between their civilisation and ours. The unlucky 13th?

Robert Roy Britt, author for LiveScience, posted Why Your Horoscope for 2011 Is All Wrong:
Your zodiac sign — Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius or Pisces — was originally based on the constellation the sun was in the day you were born. Thing is, Earth wobbles, a phenomenon called precession.

Over the 2,500 years or so since the zodiac was established, your sign has moved about a month relative to the sun and stars. You're no longer what you think you are, and so if you're an astrology buff, perhaps poised to make a New Year's resolution based on the stars and a reading of your supposed personality, know that you're actually following observations, predictions and advice aimed at another person entirely.


Here's the full truth about your astrological sign.

New set of date ranges for the 12 13 zodiac signs
  1. Capricorn - Jan 20 to Feb 16
  2. Aquarius - Feb 16 to Mar 11
  3. Pisces - Mar 11 to Apr 18
  4. Aries - Apr 18 to May 13
  5. Taurus - May 13 to Jun 21
  6. Gemini - Jun 21 to Jul 20
  7. Cancer - Jul 20 to Aug 10
  8. Leo - Aug 10 to Sep 16
  9. Virgo - Sep 16 to Oct 30
  10. Libra - Oct 30 to Nov 23
  11. Scorpius - Nov 23 to Nov 29
  12. Ophiuchus - Nov 29 to Dec 17 (new zodiac sign)
  13. Sagittarius - Dec 17 to Jan 20

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