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Showing posts from September, 2007

Personality Test

Get to know yourself better

Your view on yourself:
You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.

The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for:
You like serious, smart and determined people. You don't judge a book by its cover, so good-looking people aren't necessarily your style. This makes you an attractive person in many people's eyes.

Your readiness to commit to a relationship:
You prefer to get to know a person very well before deciding whether you will commit to the relationship.

The seriousness of your love:
You are very serious about relationships and aren't interested in wasting time with people you don't really like. If you meet the right person, you will fall deeply and beautifully in love.
Your views on educationEducation is very important in life. You want to study hard and…

Internet Services Goes Down In Myanmar

Public Internet access was cut off last Friday to prevent outflows of videos, photographs and information about their current crackdown on the biggest protests against military rule. Internet cafes were shut down as well. ISP customer service helpdesk had also stopped operation.

Myanmar's already limited access to outside world is now made even worst.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/09/28/myanmar.dissidents/

Now We Have MENA

FIRST, there were the global emerging markets. Then, there was BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Now, welcome the MENA (Middle East and North Africa).

SG Asset Management has launched the Oasis Middle East and North Africa Fund, the first of its kind in the local market.

Improved sales advisory guide to help consumers make good choices

THE Life Insurance Association (LIA) has published a new consumer guide to help people make better choices when buying life insurance. From Oct 1, all financial advisers and insurance representatives will give their customers a copy of the guide before offering them any life insurance policy. Produced by the Life Insurance Association (LIA) and MoneySENSE, the guide outlines the role of the representative, what you can expect during the sales advisory process, and your rights and responsibilities as a consumer.

http://asp.lia.org.sg/lia-TypeA.asp?id=384

What Tarot Card Are You?

You are The High Priestess
Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.
The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Powering Up Again

After 2 months without a freelance project, I have decided to take on one. My ex-colleague who was once my project manager called me and wanted me to help him out on a web-based project for a goverment agency. This time round, I said Yes.

20 SGX firms make the cut in Forbes Asia 200

TWENTY Singapore Exchange-listed companies have made their way into the latest Forbes Asia 200 'Best Under A Billion' list, which ranks companies with less than US$1 billion in turnover but which have shown consistent growth in sales and profits over three years.

One of the 20 SGX firms is in my portfolio :)

USD Drop Against SGD

As of 20 Sep 2007, 1 USD is equal to 1.5007 SGD. USD dropped even further after the recent interest rate cut.

Federal Reserve Statement

THE following is the full text of the statement issued on Tuesday by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in announcing a half-point cut in the base federal funds rate, to 4.75 per cent:

'The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 43/4 per cent.

'Economic growth was moderate during the first half of the year, but the tightening of credit conditions has the potential to intensify the housing correction and to restrain economic growth more generally. Today's action is intended to help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets and to promote moderate growth over time.

'Readings on core inflation have improved modestly this year. However, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain, and it will continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.
'Developments in financial markets since the Committee&#…

Keylogging worm discovered on Skype

Chris Boyd (aka Paperghost), from the FaceTime Security Labs (FSL), have identified a variant of the Bubbles worm on Skype. The team at FSL found what they're calling "Bubbles for Kids" that is designed to steal any and all sensitive information from the victim's computer through the most devious method of all - keylogging! It looks like it not only attempts to steal all your info on your machine, but once it has done that, it spreads out to all your Skype contacts.

The team have written up their findings on the Spyware blog.
http://blog.spywareguide.com/2007/09/bubblesfor_kids.html

Federal Reserve Cut Interest Rates By 50 Basis Points

As expected, the Federal Reserve moved aggressively to head off the risk of a sharp slowdown in the US economy on Tuesday 18 Sep 2007, cutting interest rates by 50 basis points to 4.75 per cent. This resulted in global stock markets to soar.

However, I believe the turmoil is yet to be over.

Google Presentations Is OUT

After so long, Google Presentations is finally launched. However, its functionalities as of now is limited. One key feature is its embedded chatroom.

Google Presentations Finally Launched
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2007/09/google-presentations-finally-launched.html

Example of Published Presentations
http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=ajg2d6cw8q8n_120cfj9cm&fs=true
http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=df7b563g_6cb55qv&fs=true

Microsoft Lose EU Antitrust Case

The gist of the whole matter is Microsoft Windows bundle with Windows Media Player is seen as a monopoly move by giant Microsoft which has caused minor players unhappiness. Microsoft is being ordered to pay approximately S$1 billion fine for this EU Antitrust case. On top of that, Microsoft is being accused of not releasing its code to others and making difficult for other software to interface with Microsoft's.

Personally, I feel the decision is unfair since the final decision is the customers'.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2184210,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2183936,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2184214,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2184207,00.asp

What is the yen carry trade

Simply put, the carry trade involves selling a currency with a relatively low interest rate, like the yen, and using the funds to buy another currency that yields a higher interest rate, such as the New Zealand dollar.

Usually, investors borrow in a low-interest-rate currency, convert the funds into a high-interest-rate currency and lend out the resulting amount at its relatively higher interest rate, reaping a profit from the difference in interest rates.

To paint a clearer picture of how the yen carry trade works, take the example of a trader who borrows yen from a Japanese bank, converts it into US dollars and buys a bond for the equivalent sum. Assuming the US bond pays 4.5 per cent and Japan's interest rate is zero, the trader makes a profit of 4.5 per cent as long as the exchange rates of both countries do not change.

The huge risk of the carry trade is the uncertainty of exchange rates. In the example above, if the yen was to appreciate in value relative to the US dollar or vi…

How To Stay With MSN 7.5

Microsoft has just step up in forcing all Messenger users to upgrade to the new Windows Live Messenger. However, this has brought displeasure to some.

However, there's a temporary workaround to revert back to MSN 7.5. Please note that this workaround method works now does not mean it is going to work forever. Who knows when Microsoft will lock the use of earlier messenger versions by changing the encryption and protocol.

This is how the workaround works.
Open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Program Files\MSN MessengerRight click msnmsgr.exe and select PropertiesMake sure Compatibility tab is selectedCheck the Compatibility mode option and select Windows 2000 from dropdown listClick Apply or OK buttonRun MSN Messenger 7.5 and it will automatically repair it.

A loss

Sold one of my shares yesterday for profit taking but then today the share actually jumped 6%! That's a hundred dollars gain and a miss for me.

It's just too bad.

There's No Free Lunch

Nothing in this world is free. In one way or the other, there's definitely a cost incurred. Think carefully - if it's 100% free, then where on earth are we to find incentive for those who promote the so-called "free" product?

NO to the Microsoft Office format as an ISO standard (Online Petition)

I would say those who signed this petition are either an Open Source follower or just being anti-Microsoft.

BTW, below is a link for those who wish to sign a petition against Microsoft's Office OpenXML becoming an ISO standard. Anyway, I remember reading an article few days back saying even Microsoft themselves know they are losing this battle since they are not able to garner enough votes.

Online Petition (I am neutral so I did not sign)
http://www.noooxml.org/petition

A quick guide to sub-prime issues

In case you are still not sure what sub-prime means, read below. Please note that it is extracted from The Business Times (Published 10 Sep 2007).

CHARMIAN KOK explains how individual loan defaults in a faraway land can have a domino effect all over the world - including here

PAUSE for a moment to consider these facts: HSBC, the world's third-largest bank, announced that 50 per cent of its earnings in 2006 were wiped out by sub-prime losses from its US subsidiary. Since the beginning of that year, over 50 US mortgage companies have put themselves up for sale, closed or been declared bankrupt. In July this year, Bear Stearns closed two of its ailing hedge funds, while in June, BNP Paribas announced the suspension of three of its funds due to exposure to US mortgages.

With news like this making waves in financial markets lately, it is hardly surprising to see the proliferation of doomsday headlines like 'Market falls parallel previous collapses', and 'Anxiety attack knocks …

Hit 2,000,000 Expert Points

I am late on hitting 2,000,000 expert points but it's never too late than never.
And there's another worth celebrating and that's I'm finally back to top 100 in EE HOF after dropping many positions due to inactivity years back.

Question that earned my 2,000,000th expert points - Need SQL statement for the following case
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Development/MS-SQL-Server/Q_22816087.html

Selected groups may be exempted from compulsory annuities

Not all Singaporeans will need to buy compulsory annuities when they turn 55 years old. Those with chronic diseases may be excluded, since they may not live long enough to enjoy the life insurance payouts.Those who are adequately covered and the policy which they bought fulfils a certain requirement may also be exempted.More details on the scheme are expected when Parliament sits on 17 September.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/298784/1/.html

Money Mind On Channelnewsasia

Those who are interested on Unit Trusts can catch today's 30 minute show on Channelnewsasia.

Sun, September 09 2007, 9:30pm on Channelnewsasia
Episode 19 - Money Mind will focus on unit trusts as well as cover topics like Global climate change and multi asset allocation.

Mon, September 10 2007, 12:00am on Channelnewsasia (Repeat)
Episode 19 - Money Mind will focus on unit trusts as well as cover topics like Global climate change and multi asset allocation.

Experts-Exchange Signatures (9-Sep 07)

Malaysia's Budget 2008

What is meant by “Independent Financial Adviser” and why good?

Before the Financial Advisers Act was passed, there's only tied agents. These tied agents work for the insurers and their duty is to put their principals first, client second. This means, they push their products as their priority instead of doing a proper financial planning for their clients.

To be independent, they must be
objectiveimpartialnot influenced by commissionsno contractual obligations with any product manufacturersable to sell a wide range of products (such as mutual funds, life insurances and health insurances)more importantly good advice that put their clients’ interests first“… the Bill [Financial Advisers Act] will create of a new class of licensed financial advisers. These professionals will be able to provide investment advice on a wide array of financial products, and also sell unit trusts and their close substitutes, such as ILPs. In some cases, these financial advisers will not be connected to any product providers, such as fund managers or insurance companies,…

Aggressive Prudential Financial Adviser

I passed by a Prudential roadshow at AMK Hub last Thursday (6 Sep 07). They were promoting savings plan - PruSave & PruCash. I actually am aware of these 2 products but I just sat down with a Pru adviser that fateful day in a purpose to increase my awareness.

The financial adviser did all the talking and I must say she's really good in talking. She just went on and on, clocking a record breaking number of words per minute. She first went through PruSave followed by PruCash after knowing I prefer liqudity. PruSave, a savings plan with no withdrawals, requires one to lock-in for 25 years and yield a 5-7% p.a. returns. PruCash, a savings plan with flexibility of withdrawing 60% of the amount saved yearly after 2nd year, will yield a return of approximately 5% if no withdrawals are made and a return of 3-5% if withdrawals are made. These plans are suitable if we are towards a conservative side. However, if we want to take slightly higher risk, we can consider investing in a diversi…

C# Split Method (Ignore Empty Elements)

To ignore empty elements, use below

string s = "*jan*feb*mar*"; string[] months = s.Split("*".ToCharArray(), StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries); int count = months.Length; Console.WriteLine("count = " + count.ToString());

Defining Success

When it comes to your life, what do you want? How does your money fit into that?

If you can't answer these two questions, you won't ever know when you've been successful. In fact, it might be worse than that: you might achive what you thought you wanted, or what all of your friends want, and suddenly realize that it doesn't satisfy. In order to make sure you're going the right direction for you, it's important to figure out what you want from your life (to find your definition of "success").

Why it Works

We're all going after something. That's part of being alive. As long as we're living and acting, we are headed towards something. Even if we don't want to live, we're going towards our goal (yes, death is a goal!). Our lives are going somewhere. We're caught up in the stream of living and we'll end up somewhere.

Luckily for us, we have some say about where we can end up. Sure, we all die in the end, but we have the abilitiy to …