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Israel Defence Forces Channel on YouTube

THE Israeli military - Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has launched its own channel on video-sharing website YouTube, posting footage of air strikes and other attacks on Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Message from the IDF:

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit is the Israel Defense Forces' professional body responsible for media and public relations in Israel and around the world. This is our new site that will help us bring our message to the world.

We were saddened earlier today that YouTube took down some of our exclusive footage showing the IDF's operational success in operation Cast Lead against Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip. Fortunately, due to blogger and viewer support, YouTube has returned some of the footage they removed.

We thank you for visiting us and will continue to update this site.

NOTE: Some videos are removed by YouTube.

Israel Defence Forces Channel on YouTube [via]

ST Engineering Order Book Swells to Over $10 Billion

Singapore listed blue chip, Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engg), order book for year 2008 swells to over $10 billion after the latest contracts for works at Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS).

Business Times - 30 Dec 2008

Sentosa deals lift ST Engg order book to $10b

By CHEW XIANG

SINGAPORE Technologies Engineering (ST Engg) yesterday said it has secured $86 million in contracts for works at Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS), bringing its order book to a record high of more than $10 billion.

'With this deal and various other contracts secured in the fourth quarter of this year, despite an unprecedented very challenging second half 2008, our order book as at end 2008 will exceed $10 billion, which is an all time high,' said president and chief executive officer Tan Pheng Hock.

The latest contracts are to supply an integrated security system, an IT infrastructure system and a car park guidance and payment system to the upcoming integrated resort and were awarded to ST Engg's ele…

What is Ponzi Scheme?

According to Wikipedia,

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high returns to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from the profit from any real business.

Bernard Madoff arrested over alleged $50 billion fraud - Ponzi scheme

Bernard Madoff, a former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, was arrested and charged on 11 Dec 2008 with allegedly running a US$50 billion "Ponzi scheme". This fraud could be written into the history book as one of the biggest fraud cases ever.

According to Wikipedia,

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high returns to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from the profit from any real business.

The list of individuals, banks, charities and investment firms exposed to losses in Bernard L. Madoff's investment funds continues to grow. This list is published annd maintained by the New York Times here.

Bernard Madoff arrested over alleged $50 billion fraud [via]
Madoff's Clients [via]

Current Value of Banks

]ust a year ago, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) paid US$100 billion to acquire Dutch ABN Amro. Temasek Holdings and Barclays jointly contested for ABN Amro too but lost to RBS eventually. Discussions were made just before the current sub-prime bubble blew up.

Today, this sum could effectively buy many banks with discounts:

Citibank US$22.5 billion (-74%)
Morgan Stanley US$10.5 billion (-72%)
Goldman Sachs US$21 billion (-67%)
Merril Lynch US$12.3 billion (-77%)
Deutsche Bank US$13 billion (-71%)
Barclays US$12.7 billion (-71%)

With the above acquisitions, we are still left with a balance of US$8 billion.

This is reality.

Consumer Watchdog Calls On Google to Provide Users to "opt-out" Personal Data

The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog asked on Friday that Google give users of its search engine the ability to "opt out" of leaving personal data, such as IP addresses, on Google's servers.

Ask.com, another search engine, already has this "opt-out" option.

Consumer Group Calls On Google To Offer Zero Personal Data Retention Policy [via]

Meebo Added 2 New Networks - MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat

Popular online Instant Messaging (IM) website, Meebo!, has added 2 new networks - MySpaceIM and Facebook Chat. Already, Meebo! supports MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, GTalk, ICQ, Jabber and Flixster.
MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat, and Meebo! [via]

OpenOffice.org Portable

OpenOffice.org Portable is a complete office suite -- including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package and database -- packaged as a portable app, so you can take all your documents and everything you need to work with them wherever you go.

OpenOffice.org Portable 3.0 is a free downoad for any USB thumb drive, however, it runs only on a Windows system (or Linux/Unix system with WINE).

OpenOffice.org Portable [via]

Alex Tew Million Dollars Selling Pixels Internet Entrepreneur Set Up set up sockandawe.com This Time

The internet entrepreneur, Briton Alex Tew, who made million dollar by selling pixels online each on milliondollarhomepage made headlines again. This time round, Alex Tew is behind an online video game, hosted as sockandawe.com, inviting users to throw footwear at President George W. Bush. The property was sold on eBay in just four day at US$7,818.

Get faster Gmail with a faster browser

Google Gmail says Gmail run an average of twice as fast when fully supported browsers are used. With a fully supported browser, one can experience all the features opened by Gmail.

Fully supported browsers: Google Chrome (download: Windows)Firefox 2.0+ (download: WindowsMacLinux)Internet Explorer 7.0 (download: Windows)Safari 3.0 (download: Mac)Get faster Gmail with a faster browser [via]
Supported browsers [via]

Convert PowerPoint PPT Slides to DVD for Free

An article from FreewareGenius reveals methods to convert PowerPoint ppt files to DVD for free.

Here’s a quick summary on what will be discussed in the article: PowerPoint to video to DVD: using “EM PowerPoint to Video Converter Free” (PPT to AVI), then doing the DVD authoring using DVD Flick (AVI to DVD).
PowerPoint to Flash SWF to AVI to DVD: using iSpring Converter Free (PPT to SWF); then using either SWF2AVI or CamStudio (SWF to AVI), and finally DVD Flick (AVI to DVD).
PowerPoint to JPEG to DVD: using PowerPoint Image Copier (PPT to JPG) then authoring a DVD slideshow using DVD Slideshow GUI (JPG to DVD).How to convert PowerPoint to DVD for free [via]

Graphical Execution Plans for Simple SQL Queries

The aim of the article is to enable you to interpret basic graphical execution plans, in other words, execution plans for simple SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT or DELETE queries, with only a few joins and no advanced functions or hints. In order to do this, we'll cover the following graphical execution plan topics:
Operators – introduced in the last article, now you'll see moreJoins – what's a relational system without the joins between tablesWHERE clause – you need to filter your data and it does affect the execution plansAggregates – how grouping data changes execution plansInsert, Update and Delete execution plansGraphical Execution Plans for Simple SQL Queries [via]

Away and Back Only On 29th Dec

I will be away from 9 to 28 December 2008 and will only be back on 29 December. During this period, internet access will not be readily available to me.

I do hope to come online if there is the slightest opportunity, to stay abreast of what's happening around me. I feel so out of touch and handicapped without internet access.

U.S. Big 3 Car Makers Are Really Pushed to the Brink

CONTRITE United States auto-maker bosses admitted errors and agreed to strict government oversight, but their pleas to sceptical Senators still won no guarantees of a US$34-billion ($52-billion) bailout.

After top executives of the Big Three car giants endured a sapping near-six-hour grilling :on Thursday, top Democratic Senator Chris Dodd said he would try to mount a last gasp bid to stave off a “death sentence” for the industry.

But President George W Bush said Chrysler, General Motors and Ford must prove their long-term viability if they want government cash, reflecting the tensepolitical sparring over the iconic firms’ fate.

Backers of the bailout warn that the failure of one or more of the top auto manufacturers could severely batter the already reeling US economy and would wipe out millions of jobs which rely on the industry.

“Nothing concentrates the mind like a death sentence,” Mr Dodd said, but cautioned he was not a “miracle worker” and said Congress was not about to simply writ…

Get Your Free Gmail Stickers

Now you can get a free Gmail stickers designed by the Gmail team for free, however, you will need to just provide them with a self-addressed envelope with a return stamp to your own country.
The sticker is supposed to provide a quick and visual guide on the handy shortcuts available to use Gmail. To turn these case-sensitive shortcuts on or off, click Settings, and then pick an option next to Keyboard shortcuts.

So how do you get your stickers? Just send a self-addressed stamped envelope (along with a note if you're so inclined) to:

Send me some Gmail stickers already
P.O. Box 391420
Mountain View, CA 94039-1420

Do also include adequate return stamp back from the United States to your country.

Be quick while stocks last.

Get your Gmail stickers [via]

Wordpad 2009 Offers Windows 7-Like Ribbon Interface

Lots of folks rave about Microsoft Office 2007's ribbon interface, but now you can have it for free in Microsoft Word's younger sibling, WordPad. A developer over at deviantART—not Microsoft, mind you—has released "Wordpad 2009," which offers multiple documents in tabs, Windows 7 icons, and yes, the ribbon interface.

Wordpad 2009 Offers Windows 7-Like Ribbon Interface [via]

Handle and Run SQL Scripts With GO Statement in ADO.NET

Ever encountered error when trying to run a SQL script file (.sql) with "GO" statements using ADO.NET SqlCommand.ExecuteNonQuery? The error occurs because "GO" statement is not a valid Transact-SQL statement.

According to MSDN,

GO is not a Transact-SQL statement; it is a command recognized by the sqlcmd and osql utilities and SQL Server Management Studio Code editor.

To run the SQL script file using ADO.NET, there are 3 methods. The first method is to remove all "GO" statement in the file before running them in ADO.NET. Second method is to perform a split (tokenize) the file content using "GO" as the delimiter. The third method is to make use of SQL Server Management Objects (SMO).

The below is a code snippet applying the third method - Using SMO. Do take note that references to Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo.dll and Microsoft.SqlServer.ConnectionInfo.dll are required.
using System;<br />using System.IO;<br />using System.Data.SqlClient;<br /…

Change Instance Name of SQL Server

The below article is a valuable source and provides clear instruction on how to change instance name of SQL Server.

The key is the below statements.
sp_dropserver 'old_name' go sp_addserver 'new_name','local' go
How To: Change Instance Name Of SQL Server [via]

Destructive Koobface Virus Hits Facebook

Facebook's 120 million users are being targeted by a virus dubbed "Koobface" that uses the social network's messaging system to infect PCs, then tries to gather sensitive information such as credit card numbers.

It is the latest attack by hackers increasingly looking to prey on users of social networking sites.

It seems to me virus targeting operating systems are on the downtrend and social networking sites are on the uptrend.

Destructive Koobface Virus Hits Facebook [via]

Google Reader New Look and Feel

From the Official Google Reader blog,

Google is all about speed, both under the hood as well as in the user experience. So, in order to make Reader act and feel more speedy and responsive, we've removed some visual clutter, simplified some features and given everything a bit more breathing room. Out with the old rounded corners, drop shadows and heavily saturated colors -- in with a softer palette, faster components and a fresh new look.

Square is the new round [via]

Public Transport Council Chairman Powerless?

It has been ages and the issue of why tertiary students like full-time students from Polytechnics and Universities have to pay significantly higher transport fares as compared to non working peers from Junior Colleges and ITEs still lingers.

Just this month, petitions are set up to help bring this issue to the public and hope the government can bring some fairness to these group of tertiary students. The government should be mindful full-time tertiary students are without an income and they require monthly allowances from family. Having to pay approximately 80% higher transport fares is nonsensical.

Public Transport Council (PTC) chairman, Gerard Ee, pointed out that its hands are tied.

"It's not within our power to force operators to give concessions - that's up to the operators. We can only encourage operators to continue to be generous with transport cuts."

From PTC website,

The core functions of PTC, as governed by the PTC Act, include:Licensing of bus services that c…

OpenXML Document Viewer - Open Word 2007 Files

The OpenXML Document Viewer team is pleased to announce the release of the first version of the Open XML to HTML project. The OpenXML Document Viewer project provides plug-ins and tools to view MS Word 2007 documents on platforms where Word 2007 is not available. This is achieved by using the OpenXMLViewer browser plug-in or the command line interface to convert the Word document (.docx) into HTML.

This viewer is available for both Windows and Linux. You can even open a OpenXML document like Word 2007 in Firefox.

OpenXML Document Viewer [via]

Hide and Remove YouTube Video Search Box

You might have noticed the new "Search Box" YouTube added whenever you embed a video on a site. An example will be as below:

If you do not wish the "Search Box" to be there, there is a method to remove it. Simply append a new parameter &showsearch=0 to the video URL and the "Search Box" will be gone for good like below.


Do note that &showsearch=0 is case sensitive.

What's in it for me in Windows Vista SP 2

Microsoft has announced Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista is to be released by first half of 2009.

So what is in it for me in Windows Vista SP2?

Emerging Hardware SupportSP2 contains Blue tooth 2.1 feature pack supporting the most recent specification for Blue tooth technologyAbility to record data on Blu-Ray media,Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) Wi-Fi Configuration to Windows Vista SP2,exFAT file system now supports UTC timestamps, which enables correct file synchronization across time zones.SP2 provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID. new form factor support –example USB form factor as opposed to PCMCIA).Support for the new VIA 64-bit CPU SecuritySP2 includes all previously released security updates, and builds on the proven security benefits of Windows VistaSecure Development Lifecycle process updates, where we identify the root cause of each security bulletin and improve our internal tools to eliminate code patterns that could lead to future vulnerabilitiesReli…

Google Buys Digital Historical Newspaper Archives from PaperofRecord.com

Google has completed the purchase of 20 million digitized historical newspaper pages from PaperofRecord.com. The two have had an agreement for two years and has now concluded in a sale that was voted on by shareholders of PaperofRecord's parent company, Cold North Wind, Inc.

This should be quite an asset to Google's historical newspaper initiative, announced in September.

Google Buys Digital Historical Newspaper Archives from PaperofRecord.com [via]

U.S. Recession is a Long 1 Year Old

The U.S. economy is now officially in a recession since last December, making this downturn a long one year old. This effectively makes it the longest ever in a quarter century.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the chief arbiter of U.S. recessions, has confirmed and decided that this recession began last December, making it the 11th post-war recession.

Only two post-war recessions have been longer — November 1973 to March 1975, and July 1981 to November 1982. NBER has suggested the current recession is very likely to be the longest since the Great Depression.

The official recession [via]

Windows 7 Will Run Fully Accelerated Graphics From Your CPU

The new Windows 7 will run fully accelerated graphics from your CPU using technique called Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform (WARP). WARP is a tech which will allow your PC's CPU to act as a graphics accelerator, possibly doing away with the need for integrated graphics hardware to render user interfaces and low-end games.

Microsoft has learnt its lesson with Vista and this time round, could help avoid another "Vista Capable" type debacle.

Windows 7 Will Run Fully Accelerated Graphics From Your CPU [via]

Using WiFi in Hong Kong

How to use free GovWiFi in Hong Kong? Currently, most government premises in Hong Kong are WiFi-enabled as part of a major initiative under the 2008 Digital 21 Strategy to build Hong Kong into a wireless city.
Get a Wi-Fi enabled mobile device that is compatible with IEEE 802.11 b/g standardsFind out the GovWiFi locations near to you through our GovWiFi Locator or visit any government premises with the GovWiFi signageReady your Wi-Fi connectionSet the Network ID (SSID) to "freegovwifi-e" and click "Connect"Input user name: "govwifi" and password: "govwifi" for encrypted connectionOpen your web browser and accept "Conditions of Use and Disclaimers"Start free surfing at GovWiFi locationsThere is security risk in using unencrypted connection "freegovwifi". Please use the encrypted connection "freegovwifi-e" if your Wi-Fi device supports IEEE 802.1x and WPA-Enterprise (or WPA2-Enterprise).

If your device cannot support IE…

What do Bukit Panjang residents think of loss of their Town Councils' funds?

On 17 Nov 08, it was reported that Singapore town councils had invested in troubled structured investment products and had lost millions. Holland-Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris-Punggol town councils are the two most heavily invested in such products and had lost huge amounts up to S$12m.

On 19 Nov 08, Dr Teo Ho Pin, MP for Holland-Bukit Panjang Constituency and Chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council, wants his residents to be thankful that the funds have grown under the Town Council’s watch. I was utterly disappointed with Dr Teo's comments and I thought he could be more sensitive with the public resentment.

Below are 2 interview videos on the handling of the sinking funds and Dr Teo's comment.

Part 1


Part 2 - I forward straight to 108th minute (Must watch)

Singaporean Killed by Terrorists in Mumbai

I am saddened to learn that 28 year old Singaporean lawyer, Ms Lo Hwei Yen, had been killed by terrorists who attacked the Indian city of Mumbai. Ms Lo is the first Singaporean to have been killed by terrorists. She was held hostage at Mumbai's Oberoi Hotel and found dead at the 19th storey.
The battle between the Indian commandos and the lawless terrorists just ended a while ago. The fight lasted over three long days. A total of 6 places were targeted by the terrorists.

Singaporean held hostage at Mumbai's Oberoi Hotel killed [via]

Worker trampled to death at Wal-Mart on Black Friday

A Wal-Mart was trampled to death on Black Friday (28 Nov). Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Usually, retailer will slash prices on the traditional Black Friday.

Times must have been very bad with retailers reporting poor sales for the past few months. Black Friday discounts are attractive and people look quite desperate to get bargains. We do not see many tramples in the States. This one is really unfortunate.

Nowadays, there are just far too many gloomy news - Global financial turmoil, Bangkok political clash, Mumbai terrorism, and so on.

Black Friday turns tragic for Wal-Mart [via]

U.S. President-Elect Obama Lead By Showing Sense of Responsibility

A couple of days ago, U.S. President-Elect, Barack Obama, chastised U.S. auto executives for being "tone deaf" for flying on corporate jets to Washington to beg for bailout money, and said he believed bank executives should forgo their end-of-year bonuses.

Mr Obama hopes to see corporates showing sense of responsibility. If one is placed in a position of power, then he has got responsibilities to his workers and be responsible to the community and shareholders.

I see Obama as a President-to-be showing hallmark of a true leader.

President-elect Barack Obama has chastised US auto executives for being "tone deaf" for flying on corporate jets to Washington to beg for bailout money, and said he believed bank executives should forgo their end-of-year bonuses.

In the advanced excerpt of an interview to be broadcast Wednesday and released by ABC News late Tuesday, the president elect focused on responsibility.

Bank executives forgoing bonuses is "an example of taking respo…

Bug in Visual SourceSafe 2005

I was playing with Microsoft Visual SourceSafe 2005 when I discovered a major bug. Visual SourceSafe is a version control product from the Microsoft.

I found out it is impossible to check in a folder with more than 32,767 files. So, an attempt to check in a folder with 32,768 files or more will result in an error and version revision for files will turn out to be a negative number, -32,767. Now, it would be impossible to add more files to or remove files from the affected folder. Deleting of the folder fails too.

Repairing on the affected Visual SourceSafe database will not correct this unfortunate error. We will need to live with this annoyance unless you remove and re-create the entire database totally but this time round, remember not add more than 32,767 files in any folder.

Google Reassures Gmail is Secure

A post from the Google Online Security reassures users that Gmail is secure.

We've seen some speculation recently about a purported security vulnerability in Gmail and the theft of several website owners' domains by unauthorized third parties. At Google we're committed to providing secure products, and we mounted an immediate investigation. Our results indicate no evidence of a Gmail vulnerability.

Gmail security and recent phishing activity [via]

Test your phishing IQ

What is phishing? Definition from F-Secure defines phishing as a fraudulent e-mail or website claiming to be legitimate seeking indentifiable information. Phishing is an attempt to steal your personal data.

According to data from e-mail security firm MailFrontier, only 4 percent of users can spot a phished e-mail 100 percent of the time. That's a very sobering thought as the holiday season is upon us and Americans flock online for their shopping needs.

Test your phishing IQ [via]

Poor Start for Singapore Q4 Economic Data

Monthly manufacturing performance for October 2008 declined 12.6% as compared to the same month last year. Manufacturing makes up a quarter of Singapore's GDP.

The tourism industry is not doing any better too. October tourism figures reported a dipped in arrivals year-on-year for the fifth consecutive month. Singapore Tourism Board (STB) statistics show that 843,000 travellers visited Singapore on October, an 8 per cent drop over the same period last year. The figure was the single biggest monthly drop since arrivals started falling in June. Initial targets for year 2008 of 10.8 million visitors and $15.5 billion in spending would be hard to achieve now.

All these dismal economic statistics aren't helpful to a country that is already in a technical recession.

Monthly Manufacturing Performance - October 2008 [via]
Tourism dips [via]

How to Disable Annoying User Account Control (UAC) Prompt on Windows Vista

Note: Disabling User Account Control (UAC) will lead to a less secure system, so be warned.

Disable User Account Control (UAC) the Easy Way on Windows Vista [via]

Apple Sued Over iPhone's Browser

Surfing on a Apple's iPhone 3G smartphone using its mobile Safari browser is undisputedly one of the best with its ability to zoom, scroll and navigate with one's fingers.

Lately, EMG Technology filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc. EMG Technology claim that the technology the iPhone uses to surf the Web infringes on a patent submitted by themselves.

Apple Sued Over iPhone's Browser [via]

Message from the CEO, Citibank Singapore Ltd

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Citibank Singapore Ltd, Jonathan Larsen, sent out an email in an effort to reassure all customers on the financial soundness of Citibank Singapore.

The below is the email content:

Message from Jonathan Larsen

Country Head & Citi Country Officer, Singapore

Chief Executive Officer
Citibank Singapore Ltd

November 24, 2008

To: Customers of Citibank Singapore Limited

Dear Customer,

I am writing to update you on the latest developments taking place in the U.S. to further strengthen Citi's capital ratios, reduce risk and increase liquidity. As of this afternoon, the U.S. Government and Citi reached an agreement to address the speculation and rumors about Citi's financial health, which led to recent stock market valuations, in spite of Citi's strong balance sheet and franchise fundamentals.

As a result of the agreement with the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), Citi significantly strengthens its key c…

Google Experimental Search SearchMash Has Gone the Way of the Dinosaur

Google experimental search engine, SearchMash, has gone the way of the dinosaur.

I personally quite like the clean and innovative many features on display by SearchMash. You can read my previous articles on SearchMash here.

Minister for Finance, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Broke Law in 1992

Singapore Minister for Finance, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, had a brush with the law in 1992. Mr Tharman was the director of the economic department of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He was accused of passing the economic growth rate for the second quarter of 1992 to Manu Bhaskaran, an economist at Crosby Securities Pte Ltd., a regional brokerage, before it was announced publicly.

Singapore Puts Top Prosecutor On News Leak [via]

CPI for October 2008 at 6.4%

Singapore's consumer price index (CPI) in October 2008 rose 6.4% as compared to the same month of 2007. As what I expected last month, I mentioned a very likelihood for October's CPI to remain high due to extraordinarily 21% hike in electricity tariff. Housing cost advanced by 16.4% arising from higher accommodation and electricity tariff, making this component the highest as compared to other components.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the consumer price index in October 2008 was
0.8% higher compared with September 2008.

The consumer price index for the first ten months of 2008 was 6.8% higher compared with the same period of previous year. It seems the inflation rate for year 2008 is still quite high.

Consumer Price Index for October 2008 [via]

Civil Servants' Annual Pay to Fall

In line with the global recession including Singapore, civil servants are to receive lower year-end payment in 2008. On top of that, senior civil servants' pay are set to slash up to 19% in 2009. As such, the total Annual Variable Component (AVC) and 13th month Annual Wage Supplement (AWS) payment for civil servants in 2008 is 2 months plus $100 to $300. This is 1 month less than the total paid out in 2007 which was 3 months plus $200 (including Growth Bonus).

Specifically, in 2009, there will be a 19% fall in the annual salary of the President (to $3.14m) and the Prime Minister (to $3.04m). The Ministerial Grade (MR4), which includes the Ministers and Senior Permanent Secretaries salary, will fall by 18% to $1.57m, and salaries at the entry Superscale grade (SR9) will fall by 12% to $353,000. The allowance for Members of Parliament will fall by 16% to $190,000.

2008 year-end payment announcement by Public Service Division [via]

Obama's Radio Address 22 Nov 08

On 22 Nov 2008, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama made a public radio address. Below is a video from YouTube on the address. I also include a transcript of Obama's radio address for as released by the president-elect’s office right after the video.

Good morning.

The news this week has only reinforced the fact that we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. Financial markets faced more turmoil. New home purchases in October were the lowest in half a century. Five-hundred-forty-thousand more jobless claims were filed last week, the highest in 18 years. And we now risk falling into a deflationary spiral that could increase our massive debt even further.

While I’m pleased that Congress passed a long-overdue extension of unemployment benefits this week, we must do more to put people back to work and get our economy moving again. We have now lost 1.2 million jobs this year, and if we don’t act swiftly and boldly, most experts now believe that we could lose millions of jobs n…

The Future of C# - Compiler as a Service

I was watching a over 70 minutes video for Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2008 on The Future of C#.

I would like to highlight a section on "Compiler as a Service" that interests me most. The idea of having C# able to evaluate and execute strings as codes is pretty exciting. JavaScript has long since having this eval() function many years ago. You may fast forward to somewhere near 59th minute for a demonstration on C# Evaluator.

The Future of C# (Watch video using Silverlight) [via]
Video Download (331MB) [via]

Temasek Holdings Pay Cut to Lead by Example

Singapore investment vehicle, Temasek Holdings, which oversees $130 billion or more, said senior management has volunteered a 15 percent to 25 percent pay cut.

I welcome this move but I would like the cut to be more and bonuses to be freezed after billions are lost from many failed investments in companies like Shin Corp, ABC Learning, Chartered Semiconductor and several badly battered U.S banks. From what I know, salaries for the senior management are undisclosed and they must be a lot since Chief Ho Ching is now ranked number 7 richest woman in the world.

I think this timely move is to send out a signal to corporates that cutting pay should be exercised first before laying off employees in tough times. I am in favour of this move. The monthly variable component in an employee's salary should be adjusted to tide with bad times. I shall not comment on the recent retrenchment exercise conducted by DBS Bank. Unions should be informed and consulted beforehand.

I have read the next sched…

Massive Subsurface Glaciers Discovered on Mars

The more we learn about Mars, it seems, the icier the Red Planet appears to be. The recently departed Phoenix lander dug up water ice and even spotted falling snow from its position in the northern polar plains. And now data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter point to vast glaciers buried beneath thin layers of crustal debris, much closer to the equator.

Red (Planet) Alert: Massive Subsurface Glaciers Discovered on Mars [via]

Google Gmail Themes

Google Gmail has added a new feature to the public in phases that enables users to select from a total of 31 themes as of today.
Themes option can be found from the Settings section.

From Google, this new feature should be available to all in a few days from today.

Spice up your inbox with colors and themes [via]

50 Ways to Make Windows Vista Faster

Discover tips, tweaks and techniques for speeding up your Windows Vista-powered PC from the below 5-parts article.

50 ways to make Windows Vista faster (part 1) [via]
50 ways to make Windows Vista faster (part 2) [via]
50 ways to make Windows Vista faster (part 3) [via]
50 ways to make Windows Vista faster (part 4) [via]
50 ways to make Windows Vista faster (part 5) [via]

Disappointed With Dr Teo Comments on Town Councils Sinking Fund

On 17 Nov 08, it was reported that Singapore town councils had invested in troubled structured investment products and had lost millions. Holland-Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris-Punggol town councils are the two most heavily invested in such products and had lost huge amounts up to S$12m.

Till date, no one have claimed or are willing to stand out and be accountable for this grave mistake. Many ministers stood out in defence and gave reasons and excuses on the investment failure. One such remark which disgusted me most is from Dr Teo Ho Pin, MP for Holland-Bukit Panjang Constituency and Chairman of Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council.

Dr Teo Ho Pin's message to his residents,

"Be thankful that the funds have grown under the Town Council’s watch."

A mistake is a mistake and I do hope the Singapore government can come out and make a public apology. The Singapore citizens do not wish to listen to reasons and excuses that are intended to brush off the issue aside. We want an apology a…

Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Gets Tab Tearing

The latest Firefox 3.1 development release features the announced option for tab tearing: drag a tab out of its current window, and it is removed and opened on a new one, providing a more intuitive way to organize your web browsing.

Firefox 3.1 gets tab tearing [via]

Singapore October 2008 NODX Dive 15.3%

Non-oil domestic exports (NODX), fell 15.3 per cent last month as shipments of both electronics and chemicals met with sharply lower demand in all the key markets. Against September, NODX fell a seasonally adjusted 7.4 per cent last month, the biggest drop in five months.
NODX is the key trade indicator to signal health of Singapore's economy.

2 Town Councils Invested in Troubled Structured Products

It is reported that at least 2 out of the 14 PAP managed town councils invested in troubled structured products namely DBS High Notes, Lehman Brothers' Minibond Notes and Merrill Lynch's Jubilee Series 3. These investment products were worthless as of today. Holland-Bukit Panjang and Pasir Ris-Punggol town councils are the two most heavily invested in these products with amount sum up to S$12m. Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council invested about S$8 million or 6.7 per cent of its available funds, while Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council invested some 2.6 per cent, totalling S$4 million.

Other town councils such as Aljunied, Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang, Hong Kah, Marine Parade, Tampines and Tanjong Pagar also have exposure to Lehman Brothers.

Since Dec 1 last year, the amount that town councils can invest in non-government stocks, funds or securities has been capped at 35 per cent of the total sinking fund.

Holland-Bukit Panjang town council another investment in Creative Technology came to…

Video - ACJC Birthday Girl Tied Up and Tortured

Last Friday, I commented on a ACJC birthday girl being tied up and tortured in front of many people. I thought this is sickening, immature and simply outrageous.

Stomp has been discussing this quite some time and they even have video footages, split into 3 parts, on the incident. It's SICKENING to see this happening in a Singpaore Junior College. Is this how Singaporeans going to be adults should behave?

Video 1: ACJC students start ragging the birthday girl [via]

Video 2: ACJC girl tied up, roughed up, and humiliated on elite JC premises [via]

Video 3: ACJC girl gets tied up, and has cake and chocolate milk thrown in her face [via]

Open and Edit Word / Excel Files Using SoftMaker Office

SoftMaker Office is a free, lightweight office suite consisting of two fast, simple applications. These two namely TextMaker and PlanMaker, are capable in opening and editing Microsoft Word and Excel files.

SoftMaker Office 2006 is able to run off straight from your thumbdrive! The software is just a mere 24MB file download and uses only 12MB of RAM on your system. This is certainly a good application that does its job perfectly without being hungry on resources.

SoftMaker Office 2006 for Windows [via]

Startup Delayer - Improve Windows Start Up Time

When Windows start up and boots, it reads its startup file and attempts to load every programs in there all at the same time. Therefore if you have quite a lot of programs starting up when Windows starts, each program will try and grab CPU time and memory all at the same so that it can load. You should see your Windows start up slower as the list of programs to start up grows.

Startup Delayer allows you to setup how many seconds after Windows has started, to load each program. With that, you can now choose to setup Updater programs like Java updater to delay from running. Startup Delayer is compatible with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista.

Startup Delayer [via]

Sun Cut 6,000 Jobs to Cut Cost

Sun Microsystems Inc. plans to cut up to 18 percent of its work force, or up to 6,000 jobs, in a company restructuring as it deals with declining demand. As part of the revamp, Sun said it is splitting its software organization into three business groups -- Application Platform Software, Systems Platforms, and Cloud Computing & Developer Platforms.

Sun shares have nose-dived 77 percent this year, more than double the decline in the Nasdaq Composite Index, to around $4, a 13-year low. The stock is down 98 percent since 2000, the peak of the dot-com boom.

Sun to cut up to 6,000 jobs; software chief exits as unit revamped [via]

Will Sun Be Forced to Sell Itself? [via]

Failure of auto industry could set off chain reaction catastrophe

Advocates for US carmakers are warning that the collapse of the Big Three - or even just General Motors (GM) - could set off a catastrophic chain reaction in the economy, eliminating up to three million jobs and depriving governments of more than US$150 billion in tax revenue.

Earlier, I published an article "To Bailout Or Not to Bailout General Motors?" saying a bailout for automaker GM is not advisable. In summary, it says the bailout should not proceed and GM should file for bankruptcy.

Failure of auto industry could set off catastrophe [via]

ACJC Birthday Girl Tied Up and Tortured

The two videos mentioned are particularly shocking to me because of two factors. First of all, the perpetrators are practically all females, with a few boys in the background cheering. I never knew women are into such cruelty as well. Second, it occurred in bright daylight at a crowded school canteen - where everybody can see! The poor victim was tied to a chin-up bar and attacked mercilessly. All in the name of “celebrating” her birthday.

The school where all these took place is a well-reputed school - Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC). (No point in concealing the school’s identity as the uniform of the students involved is obvious).

Video captured on the incident was uploaded onto YouTube but was taken down after this matter was blown up.

ACJC girl gets tied up and tortured… by friends “celebrating” her birthday [via]

Mozilla Firefox 3.0.4 Release

Mozilla recently released Firefox 3.0.4 to fix several security issues. To upgrade to version 3.0.4, select Help from Menu and choose Check for Updates.

Mozilla Firefox 3.0.4 Release Notes [via]

USB 3.0 to be Formally Unveiled Next Monday

USB 3.0 is finally finalized and will be formally unveiled next Monday. Last February, I made a post on this new protocol. USB 3.0 will feature some more efficient protocols which will shut down to preserve power when not in use. The cables will be parallel optical which allows for the higher speeds which boost up to 4.8Gbps.

USB 3.0 is said to be capable of transferring 25GB data in just 70 seconds. The older USB 1.0 needs 9.3 hours while USB 2.0 takes 13.9 minutes.

USB 3.0 to be Formally Unveiled Next Monday [via]

Top Spam Provider Cut Off

A major drop in spam is being reported by services that monitor spam, perhaps thanks to an article by Brian Krebs titled "A Closer Look at McColo" on Security Fix published on the Washington Post.

From the article, Krebs discussed web hosting firm, McColo, of serving as a gateway to organizations engaged in spam activity. Now, McColo is being knocked offline.

Top Spam Provider Is Cut Off from 'Net, You [via]

Tweak IRPStackSize to Solve "Not enough server storage is available to process this command"

I encountered an error "Not enough server storage is available to process this command" today when I tried to access a locally shared folder. Simple stuff like \\COMPUTERNAME\ShareDir was unsuccessful. After some research, it looks more like a Microsoft Windows problem to me. I am running Windows Server 2003 R2.

To solve this problem, I set the IRPStackSize parameter in registry to value 17.
Click Start, and then Run.
Type regedit, and then click OK.
From the registry, navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters
If IRPStackSize DWORD value does not exist, create it
Give a DWORD value 17 (decimal) to IRPStackSize.
Close the Registry editor.
Reboot computerFor Windows Server 2003, the default value for IRPStackSize is 15. To solve my above mentioned problem, you will need to set it to a larger value. The range for this parameter is from 11 to 50.

According to Microsoft, Symantec Norton Antivirus is another likely suspect th…

CAAS launches online travel portal offering best airfares

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has launched a search engine, ViaSingapore.com, for users to compare the best deals for flights into and out of Singapore (via Singapore) and provide the best airfares on offer at a glance. The result is determined by gathering data from 100 websites in real time. Users can also make bookings from ViaSingapore.com itself.

ViaSingapore.com [via]

Google Reader Now Translates RSS to Your Preferred Language

From the official Google Reader blog, it says reading of RSS feeds in your preferred language using Google Reader. This preferred language is set when you create your Google account.
The integration of Google Translate into Google Reader has made web truly world-wide.

Is Your Web Truly World-Wide? [via]

To Bailout Or Not to Bailout General Motors?

General Motors (GM) has approached the U.S. Federal Reserve for cash injection so that its business can continue operation. Many including new President-elect Barack Obama see this bailout necessary to avoid job losses and fall of manufacturing sector.

However, Ludwig von Mises Institute has a different point of view regarding whether to bailout GM. In summary, an article published by them says the bailout should not proceed and GM should file for bankruptcy.

Yet Another GM Bailout [via]

Ex-IBM exec Mark Papermaster Move to Apple Blocked

Ex-IBM top executive, Mark Papermaster, was reported and introduced by Apple as their new senior vice president of devices hardware engineering this week. Mark Papermaster had been with IBM for a good 26 years was the vice president in charge of blade sever development unit until his resignation last month. He was described as the IBM's top expert on Power microprocessors.

Why did Apple hire away IBM's Mark Papermaster? The answer is clear.

At least for now, Mark Papermaster will not be reporting for his new appointment in a years' time after the judge blocked him from joining Apple. IBM has won a suit against the move but this is going to delay the move by a year.

Judge blocks ex-IBM exec from joining Apple [via]

Why did Apple hire away IBM's Mark Papermaster? [via]

While the West axes jobs, Asia cuts pay but not DBS Group

It is a corporate culture that the West risk losing of jobs as a global recession kicks in. However, the East usually practice pay cut instead. Singapore DBS Group, largest Southeast Asia bank, has announced decision to axe 900 jobs after reporting 38% fall in profit. Certainly, DBS Group is an exclusion of the norm of the East.

"In the Confucian mindset, the right thing to do is to share the burden. There's that sense of collective responsibility whereas in the West, it's more about individual survival," said Michael Benoliel, associate professor of organizational behavior at Singapore Management University (SMU).

A cultural divide? While the West axes jobs, Asia cuts pay [via]

DBS cuts 900 jobs, reports 38% fall in Q3 profit [via]

WPA Not Secure As Well

It is already known that Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) used to secure a Wireless Network is insecure. Back then, the recommendation was to use the more secure Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).

Not long ago, German researchers have found an exploitable hole in WPA that would allow a hacker to "send bogus data to an unsuspecting WiFi client", that uses Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), completely compromising your Wi-Fi security and opening your network to all sorts of hacking.

To guard your Wi-Fi, use WPA2 instead since it is still not cracked. Alternatively, you can switch off TKIP as an encryption mode, and use Advanced Encryption System (AES) only.

Battered, but not broken: understanding the WPA crack [via]

Firefox Reaches 20% Market Share

Popular browser, Mozilla Firefox, is going to breach 20% of market share as reported by Market Share.

Microsoft Internet Explorer stands at 71.27%, Mozilla Firefox at 19.97%, and Google Chrome at 0.74%.

Market share for browsers [via]

Office of the U.S. President-Elect Change.gov

The U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama unveiled a new website Change.gov where one can find news about the transition and inauguration and information about his agenda. The site also has a place for people to share their ideas for government and their stories about the campaign.

"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today." - President-Elect Barack Obama

Change.gov [via]

Yahoo Jerry Wants Microsoft to Buy Yahoo

Now that Yahoo's ad deal with Google Inc. is off, Yahoo Inc. CEO Jerry Yang says his company is open to a new offer from Microsoft Corp. Google called off the deal to avoid further clash with antitrust restrictions. I bet Microsoft will not going to offer at the price (US$31) it offered on February. Do remember Yahoo share price is now only at US$14.41 per piece. Microsoft bid was rejected by Yahoo.

Jerry Yang seems to be running out of options.

Yahoo suggests Microsoft should make new offer [via]

View as HTML for Open XML Files

Google Search now allows "View as HTML" for Open XML files. Office 2007 .docx documents, .xslx spreadsheets and .pptx presentations are some Open XML file formats.


So what are Open XML File Formats? Microsoft has an article "Introduction to the Office Open XML File Formats" on this.

Participate in Petition for Fairer Transport Fares for Tertiary Students

On 3 Nov, I made a post on fairer transport fares for tertiary students. Organizer TheOnlineCitizen has launched an official logo for this petition.
For polytechnic and universities students, they have to pay the following concession rates:

Bus Concession Pass - $52/month, unlimited bus concession travel on basic fare bus services for one month.

Train Concession Pass - $45/month, up to 4 rides per day on the MRT/LRT for one month.

Hybrid Concession Pass - $97/month, unlimited bus concession travel on basic fare bus services for one month and up to 4 rides per day on the MRT/LRT for one month.

As for JC and ITE students, the same concession passes cost $27.50, $25 & $52.50 respectively. This is as much as 89% lower!

I thought this is a good start to get tertiary students’ voices heard. I myself was once a tertiary student from Singapore Poly and NUS who had to pay higher transport fares for no reason. I do agree in tertiary students need to be fairly treated and not having to pay adult f…