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Showing posts from July, 2008

Open Large Images In Double Quick Time

I just tried FastStone MaxView and am quite satisfied with the performance.

FastStone MaxView is a tiny, very fast and innovative image viewer that supports all major graphic formats. Its intuitive layout and commands allow everyone, from beginners to professionals, to view and manipulate images quickly and efficiently.

FastStone MaxView
http://www.faststone.org/FSMaxViewDetail.htm

Scrabulous Removed From Facebook But Still On Web

Although Facebook has pulled down the popular third-party word game Scrabulous following Hasbro, the rights holder to Scrabble in the U.S., copyright infringment lawsuit against the Scrabulous developers, Scrabulous still lives on. U.S. and Canada citizens, blocked from using Scrabulous from Facebook, can still access Scrabulous from http://www.scrabulous.com/.

Scrabulous
http://www.scrabulous.com/

Employment Situation in Second Quarter of 2008

Employment

Employment grew by 70,600 in the second quarter this year. This is slightly lower than the increase of 73,200 in the previous quarter but higher than 64,400 in the second quarter of 2007.

Retrenchment

1,900 workers were retrenched in the second quarter of 2008, down from 2,274 in the previous quarter, but comparable to 1,918 in the second quarter of 2007.

Unemployment

The overall unemployment rate rose from a seasonally adjusted 1.7% in December 2007 to 2.0% in March 2008 and further to 2.3% in June 2008.

Employment Situation in Second Quarter of 2008
http://app.sprinter.gov.sg/data/pr/20080731995.pdf

The Internet Needs Patching to Make It Secure

Since a secret emergency meeting of computer security experts at Microsoft’s headquarters in March, Dan Kaminsky has been urging companies around the world to fix a potentially dangerous flaw in the basic plumbing of the Internet.

The flaw that Mr. Kaminsky discovered is in the Domain Name System, a kind of automated phone book that converts human-friendly addresses like google.com into machine-friendly numeric counterparts.

The potential consequences of the flaw are significant. It could allow a criminal to redirect Web traffic secretly, so that a person typing a bank’s actual Web address would be sent to an impostor site set up to steal the user’s name and password. The user might have no clue about the misdirection, and unconfirmed reports in the Web community indicate that attempted attacks are already under way.

Individuals and small companies with some technical skills can protect themselves by changing the network preferences of their computer settings so that they use the domain …

Total Defence Awards 2008 Winners

A total of 244 companies were honoured for their outstanding contributions to Total Defence at the Total Defence Awards Presentation Ceremony 2008 at the Pan Pacific Hotel this evening.

Outstanding Contributions to Total Defence
http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/news_and_events/nr/2008/jul/30jul08_nr.html

Many of the winners are more or less expected e.g. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Defence Science & Technology Agency, DSO National Laboratories, Keppel Corp, SembCorp, NCS Communications Engineering Pte Ltd, Singapore Airlines, Singapore Computer Systems Limited, ST Engineering (various arms and divisions), many other government bodies and ministries.

Award Winners for Year 2008
http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/topics/totaldefence/microsites/tda/about_awards/winners/2008.html

Merrill Lynch Share Price Chart

From the Financial Times

Google Analytics Updates Favicon

Google Analytics has just updated its favicon. It now has its own unique icon.

Temasek Holdings to Dump Additional US$3.4 Billion For Merrill Lynch Stock

Temasek Holdings, the Singapore-owned fund that became Merrill's biggest investor by acquiring shares in December, will buy $3.4 billion of the new stock, Merrill said yesterday in a statement. The New York-based company is paying Temasek $2.5 billion to offset losses on its earlier investment. Merrill will also book $5.7 billion of writedowns in the third quarter.

The very first time when Temasek bought Merrill's shares, the price was US$48 per share. Currently, Merrill's share price is at US$24.33 per share! A 50% fall in share price will need a 100% gain in order to get it back to original buy price. If history repeats itself, there may be a financial hiccup every 10 years and this may make Merrill's share price to recover to US$48 per share even harder. This new deal makes me wonder if Temasek is seeing the red and thus decided to do a dollar-cost averaging.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aoNJEp7BHg14

Discussion on the deal on OnlineCitizen
htt…

Is Singapore Losing Its Investment Acumen?

Following earlier news that Australand Property Group, the Australian unit of Singapore’s CapitaLand, will seek as much as A$557m ($532m) from shareholders after first-half profit dropped 79 per cent amid plunging property values, it seems timely to examine the forays by various Singaporean entities into ventures Down Under.

Singapore Inc’s Temasek meanwhile ploughed A$400m into ABC Learning at $7.30 a share 12 months ago and has watched almost 90 per cent of that evaporate.

On top of the recently not-so-profitable Singaporean investments in western banks, the shine is beginning to look distinctly duller on Singapore’s famed investment acumen.

Singapore’s ‘Australand shocker’ Down Under
http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2008/07/28/14760/singapores-australand-shocker-down-under/

Search Engine, Cuil, to Rival Google

Search engine, Cuil, has declared its ambition to rival search engine giant, Google. I just made a few simple keyword searches using Cuil but I am not satisfied with their result. I also am not in favour in columnised search results. Or am I just not used to it?

Cuil Search Engine
http://www.cuil.com/

Search site aims to rival Google
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7528503.stm

How to Insert Code Snippet on Blogger

I have received a couple of emails for advice on "How to Insert Code Snippet On Blogger". I thought it would be good if I can share this "How-To" with you.

If you were to do a Google search with the right keyword, you should be able to find some gems, however, there is a need to tweak and make sure they work on Blogger.

For Blogger, there are 3 popular methods - Google SyntaxHighlighter, Google Prettify, code snippet plugin for Windows Live Writer. I have tried all 3 but I chose SyntaxHighlighter in the end. The main reason for my choice is its ability to copy code snippet easily without ending up copying line numbers when line number feature is on. Prettify is good but it does not have line number feature. Plugin for Windows Live Writer is not preferred because line number is copied together with the code snippet. This is not user friendly at all. Furthermore, Windows Live Writer is required to be installed.

[ Google SyntaxHighlighter ]

Homepage: http://code.googl…

石欣卉 - 你没想像中爱我《一切完美》插曲

这首歌呢是石欣卉在电视连续剧《一切完美》的插曲。

你没想像中爱我 - 《一切完美》插曲

词:石欣卉
曲:So Million
制作:曾偉祺
演唱:石欣卉

你小心翼翼 牵我手
其实是担忧 藏不住我
自尊也投降 活在她之下
我 好傻

你字字句句说 你不爱她
那又是什么 让你害怕
我疑惑但是原谅 因为你留下
我 好傻

不是我不说就不在意空等候
原来 你没想像中那么爱我
我不懂该拿什么安慰我的难受
你的存在 让我更寂寞

你寸步不离 像天使的她
挥霍我的爱 从不放心上
我有一丝无奈 也有一些明白
该 放开

不是我不说就不在意空等候
原来 你没想像中那么爱我
我不能再从你的怀抱感觉到什么
不爱我别再说 假装爱那是撒盐在伤口

啊~~ 谁说我不在意空等候
原来 你从来都没深刻爱我
我才懂不是我不心痛
其实是心没了感受

呜~~~

你没想像中爱我

Another 2 More Banks, First National Bank and First Heritage Bank, Failed

First National Bank of Nevada and California-based First Heritage Bank were closed by U.S. regulators yesterday, the first institutions to fail since regulators seized IndyMac Bancorp two weeks ago following a run by depositors. All deposit accounts have been transferred to Mutual of Omaha Bank, Omaha, Nebraska ("assuming institution"). All deposit accounts will be available as usual. Subsequently, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver.

This is a very bad news to the already bleak financial sector. Global stock markets should plunge on the coming Monday.

Mutual of Omaha Bank to Acquire Deposits of Failed First National Bank
http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/mutual-omaha-bank-acquire-deposits-failed-national-bank/

Celebrate Singapore Birthday With UOB Credit Card But Not On That Day

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has launched a Credit Card promotion programme to celebrate Singapore's birthday (National Day) with its existing credit card customers. However, a deeper look at the Terms and Conditions makes me wonder how Singaporeans are going to celebrate National Day with the promotion programme.

An excerpt from the Terms and Conditions that puzzles me is as below:

Not valid on eve of and on public holidays, eve of and on National Day, and other special occasions, unless otherwise stated

UOB Credit Card Promotion Programme for National Day
http://www.uob.com.sg/pages/promotions/promo_dine_nationalday.html

Qantas Emergency Landing

A hole in a Qantas Boeing 747-400 passenger plane with strong winds gushing in forced the pilot to perform an emergency landing from 30,000 feet to 10,000 feet in an extremely short time so passengers can breath without oxygen mask. In the end, the plane managed to land safely in Manila with passengers cheering and clapping for the safe landing. I must say the calmness of the pilot, co-crew and passengers are commendable.

During the emergency landing, a passenger captured the chaos in the plane. Do read the below CNN report and of course MUST watch the CNN videos.

Hole in Qantas jet forces emergency landing
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/07/25/jet.emergency/index.html#cnnSTCText

Wonder If Our Security Guards Are Up to the Job

I witnessed a fight at AMK Hub basement 1 near QB House last evening. The fight left an Indian lady's left ear bleeding. She was beaten by an Indian guy apparently friends. If not he stopped and pinned onto the ground by 2 bystanders, more blood should flow.

A middle aged slightly plump female security guard arrived the scene with the attacker still on the ground. The security guard could not do much except calling for more help using her walkie-talkie. Very soon, 2 more security guards arrived. They are males in their fifties. Physically, they do not look capable enough to subdue the young aggressive attacker should he manage to escape.

The 2 young men who came onto the scene to help subdue the attacker is indeed righteous. However, I do like to question the many "overaged" security guards stationed in our shopping centres, condominium guard houses, etc. If there is a fight involving young aggressive adults, will they at the very least able to pin the attacker onto the gr…

石欣卉 - 我知道我变漂亮了《一切完美》主题曲

这首歌的詞与曲是新加坡 Project Superstar 石欣卉的创作。

我知道我变漂亮了 - 《一切完美》主题曲

詞/曲:石欣卉
製作:陳達偉

过去的批评嘲讽 (Let it go, let it go)
过去的轻蔑冷落? ?(Let it go, let it go)
有些人口不饶人
却忘了瞧瞧自己 又有什么资格

时刻都善良待人 (let's move on, let's move on)
时刻都做好本分 (let's move on, let's move on)
有些人心思浅薄
绝不是宽容 自暴自弃的理由

也许 确实也受过言语打击
也许 从来也没什么好际遇
千万别将勇气深锁在阴影里
我们又不会妨碍这世界继续美丽? 咦耶~? 呼呜~ 呜~

我知道我变漂亮了 (我知道我被注意了)
曾难过 曾失落 微笑一下就过
外在的美貌容易戳破
内在的美好细水长流 ?耶咦耶~
我知道我变漂亮了 (我知道我也豁达了)
不自卑 不埋怨 就算还差一点点
用 内涵弥补一切缺陷
内在的美 迷住每个人的眼 哦喔~

时刻都善良待人 (let's move on, let's move on)
时刻都做好本分 (let's move on, let's move on)
有些人心思浅薄
绝不是宽容 自暴自弃的理由

也许 想说的话总埋在心底
也许 想要的爱可望而不可及
竭尽全力争取 幸福会看到你
大声说 你的真心全世界最动听 ?呜呵~ 呜哦呜呵~

我知道我变漂亮了 (我知道我被注意了)
曾难过 曾失落 微笑一下就过
外在的美貌容易戳破
内在的美好细水长流 耶咦耶~

我知道我变漂亮了 (我知道我也豁达了)
不自卑 不埋怨 就算还差一点点
用 内涵弥补一切缺陷
内在的美 迷住每个人的眼 喔哦~

一个两个不懂 丑小鸭变天鹅啊
需要时间比较多
走过了伤痛才看得更通透
不到最后不会懂命运安排了什么

呜呵~呜喔哦~ 呜呵。。。
呵~~ 呵呃~
我知道我变漂亮了 (我变漂亮了)
曾难过 曾失落 微笑一下就过
外在的美貌容易戳破
内在的美好细水长流 耶咦耶~

我知道我变漂亮了 (我知道我也豁达了)
不自卑 不埋怨 就算还差一点点
用 内涵弥补一切缺陷
内在的美 迷住每个人的眼 呜呼呜~

用 内涵弥补一切缺陷
内在的美 迷住每个人的眼

Gmail Now Allow Always Use Secure Connection HTTPS

Now, it is possible to force the use of https whenever you visit Google's Gmail. They have added an option to Settings to always use https. The use of https (Secure Socket Layer - SSL) ensures between better security. Whenever you forget to use https, they will add it for you.

Making security easier
http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/making-security-easier.html

Singapore Monthly Manufacturing Performance for June 2008

Manufacturing output in June 2008 rose 2.5% over the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month basis, production in June increased 4.5% from May. Cumulatively, manufacturing output for the first half of 2008 registered a growth of 3.6% over the same period in 2007. The three-month moving average index for June 2008 was 5.2% lower than the same period last year.

http://www.edb.gov.sg/edb/sg/en_uk/index/news_room/news/2008/monthly_manufacturing5.html

There's no such thing as failure, only feedback

Someone once asked an inventor a question, "How do you keep from feeling discouraged when you try so many things that don't work?" The inventor replied, "Oh, when something doesn't work, I just realize that it's a solution to a different problem."

There's no such thing as failure, only feedback.

Some Recent Asia's Inflation Values

MAS Up Inflation Forecast to 6-7%

Singapore's central bank has revised up its inflation forecast for 2008 for the third time. It now expects inflation to come in at between 6 and 7 per cent from its initial estimate of 5 to 6 per cent. The consumer price index for the first half of 2008 was 7.1 per cent higher compared with the same period in 2007.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/362437/1/.html

Singapore CPI Up 7.5% Y-O-Y In June 2008

According to the Department of Statistics, for the month of June 2008, the consumer price index fell by 0.3 per cent over May 2008. Compared with June 2007, the consumer price index in June 2008 increased by 7.5 per cent. The consumer price index for the first half of 2008 was 7.1 per cent higher compared with the same period in 2007.

http://app.sprinter.gov.sg/data/pr/20080723998.pdf

Has the National Stadium Retired?

The recent plan to host visitor Brazil for a soccer match with Singapore's S-League selection team in the National Stadium has resulted many questioning whether the National Stadium has really retired.

Many months back, the Singapore government announced the closure of the National Stadium by staging a farewell event. Many National Stadium supporters even made efforts to attend the farewell event or bought tickets to watch the "final" soccer match. I remember watching a video interviewing employees of the National Stadium on their feelings of having to leave after having spent decades working in the National Stadium.

After the announcement on the planned closure, there are actually several events being hosted at the National Stadium itself. The most recent one is the upcoming soccer match between Brazil and Singapore.

I wonder has the National Stadium retired? What is the reason of reopening the National Stadium? Is it for monetary reason or something else?

Govt to delay additional S$1.7b worth of public sector projects

The government has decided to postpone an additional S$1.7 billion worth of public sector projects to further ease pressure on construction resources in Singapore. With the latest decision, the government is deferring a total of about S$4.7 billion worth of public sector construction projects to 2010 and beyond.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/cna/20080722/tap-974-govt-delay-additional-s-1-7b-wor-231650b.html

Zimbawe Introduces $100 Billion Dollar Notes After 2.2 Million Percent Inflation

If you think an inflation rate of 7.5% in Singapore is bad enough, then I cannot imagine what's life like having an inflation rate of 2,200,000 (2.2 million) percent. This is exactly what is happening to Zimbawe at the moment.

The Zimbawe central bank has just introduced $100 billion banknotes in a desperate bid to ease the recurrent cash shortages. A $100 billion banknote which is equivalent to 1 USD is now only enough to buy four oranges. With such hyperinflation happening, the number of people living in poverty must have increased at an alarming rate. Someone who is relatively rich can end up in poverty the next day. This reminds me of those days in Germany after WWI in 1923 whereby banknotes were so worthless that it was cheaper to burn them than buying firewood. That time, they also had banknotes that hit 100 billion mark.

Zimbabwe introduces $100 billion banknotes
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/07/19/zimbabwe.banknotes/

German Hyperinflation Banknotes
http://www.tomchao…

Discovering Your Mission

President Kennedy proposed to the United States that they pursue the dream of putting a person on the moon by the end of the 1960s. He said, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills." The nation rallied around that mission, and they made it their own.

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams... he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." - Henry David Thoreau

Facebook Accuses German Rival Studivz of Copycat

Facebook is suing Studivz for being a copycat and Studivz of course denies of this allegation. Studivz is a social networking platform for students based in Berlin, Germany. I personally did not try out Studivz since I do not understand German.

Studivz Portal
http://www.studivz.net/

Facebook challenges German rival
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7516821.stm

Wikipedia on Studivz
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StudiVZ

Beijing to Improve Air Conditions Before Olympics

As reported, Beijing will implement several measures to improve air conditions to increase the number of blue skies before the Olympics.

One of the measures is to decrease the number of vehicles plying the streets by banning and alternating odd and even numbered registered plates. Factories emitting pollutants that exceed standards are requested to stop operations as well. The number of blue skies should increase but threat of unfavorable wind condition could bring in air pollutants from neighbouring cities. Threat of weak wind can cause pollutants to stay within Beijing city.

There are sayings that now is the best time to visit Beijing. Air condition should remain in considerably acceptable condition. This "luxury" is said to be lost and poor air condition is set to return after the Olympics. After Olympics, the various measures imposed to improve air condition are likely to be removed. Beijing enthusiasts, it's now the best time to visit Beijing.

Google gets $1.10 of every new ad dollar

Even as Google's business growth softens, the company continues to eat everyone else's lunch. Search engine marketing firm Efficient Frontier claims "Advertisers are putting all of their new search dollars into Google, and pulling money out of Yahoo Search and Microsoft Live Search." For every new dollar spent on search this year, Google picked up most of that dollar and, in addition, took a bit of business away from Microsoft and Yahoo. That means more and more Internet ad revenue will be routed to a single company that gets 98 percent of its income from ads.

http://valleywag.com/5026455/internet-math-google-gets-110-of-every-new-ad-dollar

Microsoft says demand for Vista is strong

For the full year, Microsoft said that Vista OEM revenue increased $1.7 billion or 13%, driven by 16% growth in OEM license units. Revenue from commercial and retail licensing of Windows operating systems increased $209 million. Client software revenue (which also includes Microsoft Office) was only 28% ($16.86 billion) of Microsoft’s total revenue, but it delivered the lion’s share of profits - $13.05 billion.

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/38485/118/

Who Is Interested in Master of Technology

I may be trying out Master of Technology offered by NUS. The course will start in January 2009. Anyone of you also interested in the Master programme?

The Institute of Systems Science will hold Course Preview Talks at 7pm at Suntec City NUSS Guild House on 13, 29 August and 12 September 2008. Come and find out for yourselves the curriculum and other details of the programme from the lecturers.

http://www.iss.nus.edu.sg/iss/article_display.jsp?artid=968&name=Master_of_Technology

Pimp My Search

PimpMySearch.com is a website that makes use of Google as the main search engine. PimpMySearch just provides an interface for search keywords. With PimpMySearch, you can input your own name and set it as the logo like Google.

PimpMySearch
http://www.pimpmysearch.com/home.html?gname=hongjun

Adeona: A Free, Open Source System for Helping Track and Recover Lost and Stolen Laptops

Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go — there's no need to rely on a single third party. What's more, Adeona addresses a critical privacy goal different from existing commercial offerings. It is privacy-preserving. This means that no one besides the owner (or an agent of the owner's choosing) can use Adeona to track a laptop. Unlike other systems, users of Adeona can rest assured that no one can abuse the system in order to track where they use their laptop.

Adeona is designed to use the Open Source OpenDHT distributed storage service to store location updates sent by a small software client installed on an owner's laptop. The client continually monitors the current location of the laptop, gathering information (such as IP addresses and local network topology) that can be used to identify its current …

Yahoo! Sends Letter to Stockholders Against Carl Icahn-Microsoft Alliance

Dear Fellow Stockholder:

The recently-formed Carl Icahn-Microsoft alliance continues to make misleading statements about their plans for Yahoo!. Your Board of Directors believes strongly that the Icahn-Microsoft agenda -as presented to us jointly last week - will destroy stockholder value at Yahoo!, serving only their very narrow special interests, clearly not your interests.

Your Board continues to work to maximize value for you and is taking the following steps to do so:

-- Moving forward with our strategic plan and strategies to lead in online advertising - with both search and display;

-- Preparing to implement our recently signed commercial agreement with Google that will increase cash flow;

-- Continuing to explore other ways to unlock value and return value to you such as unlocking the value of our Asia assets; and

-- Remaining open to negotiating a value creating transaction (including with Microsoft) that provides real and certain value - not just the possibility of value.

In contra…

Mozilla Firefox 3.0.1 Release Notes

Firefox 3.0.1 fixed several issues found in Firefox 3.Fixed several security issues.Fixed several stability issues.Fixed an issue where the phishing and malware database did not update on first launch.Under certain circumstances, Firefox 3.0 did not properly save the SSL certificate exceptions list.Updated the internal Public Suffix list.In certain cases, installing Firefox 2 in the same directory in which Firefox 3 has been installed resulted in Firefox 2 being unstable. This issue was fixed as part of Firefox 2.0.0.15.Fixed an issue where, when printing a selected region of content from the middle of a page, some of the output was missing (bug 433373).Fixed a Linux issues where, for users on a PPP connection (dialup or DSL) Firefox always started in "Offline" mode (bug 424626). http://en-us.www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/3.0.1/releasenotes/

Reason Why Personal Notes Are Not Allowed Into National Library Reference Section

I recently emailed the National Library Board to ask why personal notes or books are not allowed into the reference section. I argued personal notes should be allowed if we need to make reference against it while looking for reference books. I questioned why books borrowed from the library are allowed into reference section but not personal books. I questioned if I happen to find a book with the same title as my own book from the library and borrow it, I can now bring it in. Why are rules rigid?

If you were to visit the reference section of the National Library carrying a bag, you would be asked if you have a laptop with you. If your answer is a yes, then you are allowed into the library, otherwise, you are to leave your bag in a locker first. Their argument is laptop is used for reference purposes. But how often do patrons with a laptop really use it to do research? Very often, I see them doing their own project, if not, many end up doing group project engaging in noisy or sometimes i…

.NET Terrarium 2.0

Terrarium was created by members of the .NET Framework team in the .NET Framework 1.0 timeframe and was used initially as an internal test application. At conferences and via online chats, Terrarium provided a great way for developers to learn about the new .NET programming model and languages as they developed creatures and introduced them into a peer-to-peer ecosystem.

http://www.codeplex.com/terrarium2

TechCult’s Top 100 Web Celebrities

According to the website, celebrities that became famous prior to the explosion of the Web were not included. Hence you will not find the likes of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, despite our acknowledge that they are also influencing the Internet. However, Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web made it to number 11th.

The number one spot belongs to a Vietnamese lady.

http://www.techcult.com/top-100-web-celebrities/

Companies Should Help Staff With Inflation

In view of the current higher rate of inflation, companies with stronger financial abilities should play their part in helping staff cope with higher living expenses. The financial help can be in a one-off lump sum manner and with that, together with what have been provided by the goverment such as the GST Offsets and Growth Dividends, and the NTUC, such as the "U" Stretch vouchers and book grants, I hope this will help mitigate the impact of inflation on staff.

My company has taken similar step to help their staff cope with inflation on top of the usual annual increment exercise. I hope more companies will do likewise if possible.

Still In Poor Health

My cough and sore throat are still with me since last Monday. Only fever has left me. Am I getting weaker? If history says it all, I should remain fit and clear from sickness for at least 3-4 years after I recover. Once I fall sick, it's usually long and serious.

Cough.. Cough.. Cough.. Just when will it goes away?

IndyMac, Yet Another Bank to Collapse

Mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc, became the latest bank to collapse after U.S. banking regulators swooped in to seize control on Friday after withdrawals by panicked depositors. IndyMac is a company that was pretty much 100 percent invested in mortgage assets, and it currently had no capital in today's bad mortgage market.

IndyMac will reopen fully on Monday as IndyMac Federal Bank under Federal Deposit Insurance Corp supervision and I anticipate there will be long queues for cash withdrawals when it reopens.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/usTopNews/idUKWA000014120080713

Am Still Very Sick

My sore throat does not seem to have improved. Swallowing of saliva, water or food is still giving me sharp pain. I cannot talk normally with a bad throat.

Petrol Companies in Singapore Lower Pump Prices

For the past few days, crude oil prices is trading at a lower price from its high. With this good news, petrol companies in Singapore lower pump prices by 4 cents. I thought this is very encouraging to see petrol companies reacting as quickly when raising prices to reflect market conditions.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/359216/1/.html

Just Recovered From Fever

For the past 2 days including today, I am on medical leave. I had a fever as high as 38.9 celsius. On top of that, I had headache, cough and a bad sore throat. Today, all were gone except a bad sore throat.

The last time I was that sick was 4 years ago during my NUS days.

I think my immune system has been doing quite well all these while. After this recent illness, my immune system should have beef up even stronger. I hope my sore throat goes away quickly.

Force Save As Download On a File in PHP

<?php $strPhyFileName = "FILE PATH HERE!!!"; $strSaveAs = "FILE NAME TO SAVE AS"; $size = filesize($strPhyFileName); header("Content-Type: application/download"); header("Content-Length: $size"); header("Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=".$strSaveAs); header("Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary"); $fh = fopen($strPhyFileName, "r"); fpassthru($fh); ?>

Find Who Has Access to Your Gmail Account

Google Gmail now provides a feature to tell you when did you last access your account. The feature even reveals from where and how did you access it. This newly added security feature tracks open sessions. This is particularly helpful if you forgot to log out from your Gmail account from a public computer. This feature allows you to log out that opened session remotely.

Find Who Has Access to Your Gmail Account
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/07/find-who-has-access-to-your-gmail.html

Rotting cheese recycled in Italian food scam

Eleven thousand tonnes of rotting or out-of-date cheese from European dairies were mixed with fresh products and resold. The rotten cheese, containing mice droppings as well as residue from plastic wrapping and ink labels, was mixed with fresh cheese products and used to make cheeses such as mozzarella and gorgonzola.

On 1 Apr 2008, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore announced Italian Buffalo Mozzarella are found to be safe for consumption. AVA had earlier withheld the sale of all Italian Buffalo Mozzarella cheese in Singapore as a precautionary measure following reports that the levels of dioxin detected in the milk from some farms used for production of Italian Buffalo Mozzarella cheese are moderately higher than the limit allowed by EC regulations. Remember that was 1 Apr 2008. The press release for the clearance can be found here.

Now on July 2008, it seems there could have some problems with the Italian mozzarella if they were from the same source. Are Ital…

Banks Need to Improve Cash Deposit Machines

I was at a DBS Branch Office at Woodlands Civic Centre doing cash deposit. There are a total of 3 Cash Deposit Machines (CDM) and I picked the one nearest to the entrance. I observed the queue at the inner most CDM was the shortest and I deduced it could be due to the machine able to only perform passbook update and not able to do cash deposits. I was right after seeing many leaving the queue and joining the other 2 CDM.

The CDM I was using was not able to accept my remaining $120 notes. The notes were all neat and straight with no "dog ears". They were withdrawn minutes earlier from my StandChart bank account using their ATM. How could DBS CDM have rejected them? What annoyed me was one of my $10 note was made torn by the CDM. I hope I can still use the torn note. I joined the CDM beside the one I was using to attempt to deposit my remaining $110 notes ($10 was damaged). When it's my turn, I read the machine showing only cash deposit using card is available. If I were pl…

Are Singaporeans Taking Public or Private Transport (Revisit)?

Last month, I made a post on "Are Singaporeans Taking Public or Private Transport?". Recently, theonlinecitizen.com also has a post on similar discussion. Do read the comments posted on the article.

Are Singaporeans Taking Public or Private Transport?
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2008/05/are-singaporeans-taking-public-or.html

How “public” is S’pore’s public transportation system?
http://theonlinecitizen.com/2008/07/how-public-is-spores-public-transportation-system/

Google Adds Privacy Link to Homepage to Not Violate Law

Google has added a link to its privacy policy on its homepage and results page to not violate the California Law. If you were to read the Business and Permission Code by the California Law, it says a link to the privacy policy must be on homepage. The text of the link must include the word "privacy".

BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE SECTION 22575-22579
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=bpc&group=22001-23000&file=22575-22579

Google Changes Home Page, Adding Link to Privacy Policy
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/04/google-changes-home-page-adding-link-to-privacy-policy/

Experts-Exchange With Independence Day Logo

As the United States celebrates Independence Day today, Experts-Exchange unveil their new creative logo.

Temasek Linked Firms to Issue Lower Dividends

According to a report in TodayOnline, Temasek-linked firms may post lower dividends this year. Even billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has slumped 20 percent since December. A 20% fall indicates bear market territory. Temasek must be experiencing some losses. Do not forget Citigroup has since falling even after Temasek shares acquisition. TLCs with the highest projected dividend yields are MobileOne at 8.9 per cent, Singapore Airlines at 7 per cent and ST Engineering at 6.7 per cent.

Some of Temasek's major investments
http://www.temasekholdings.com.sg/our_portfolio_portfolio_highlights_major_investments.htm

Temasek-linked firms may post lower dividends
http://www.todayonline.com/articles/263190.asp

Pop Up Windows Not Recommended

With visual user interfaces that use a windowed interaction paradigm, Web user agents SHOULD restrict the opening of pop-up windows from web content, particularly those not initiated by user action. Creating excessive numbers of new popup windows is a technique that can be used to condition users to rapidly dismissing dialogs. This can be employed in interaction flooding attacks.

Web user agents which offer this restriction SHOULD offer a way to extend permission to individual trusted sites. Failing to do so encourages users who desire the functionality on certain sites to disable the feature universally.

http://www.w3.org/2006/WSC/drafts/rec/#popups

Project VS Process

We use a project to create a unique product or service, and we use a process to create a non unique product or service.

DBS Online Experiencing Exceptionally Heavy Traffic

I just want to do some fund transfer using my DBS savings account but I got the below error screen.


It must be due to people trying to check if GST offset cash rebates from the government has reached their bank accounts that cause this exceptionally heavy traffic. At least the error is "graceful" enough and hope the server will remain stable and not crash. I expect stress testing has been done.

A Long Overdue Project

If a project, let's call it Project A, is worth only $x, but not a single cent is collected for despite all requirements being met and completed more than 6 months ago, what should be done? Project A is currently still waiting for clearance to go live from the HQ office. And if there is another project, let's call it Project B, worth $24x, that started almost the same time as Project A, but was already fully paid for and launched live several months ago, wouldn't this made Project A ridiculous?

I have decided to send an email to Project A coordinator asking for updates. They certainty need a lesson on "Time value of money" and I believe the know thia subject better than me. I am seeing a serious red tape and highly bureaucratic system between the branch office and the HQ office. I will demand for payment before I even push it live (if there ever be a day like this).

I just cannot understand.

Microsoft Not Selling Windows XP Anymore

Come 30 June 2008, Microsoft will stop selling Windows XP despite several calls and petitions against this decision. Their move is to "force" the switch from XP to Vista. However, Microsoft will still allow smaller PC shops to buy XP for resale through the end of January. A version of XP will also remain available for ultra-low-cost PCs such as the Asus Eee PC.

If you are not happy with this decision, you can voice it out by joining a protest setup by InfoWorld. This could be your last chance.
http://weblog.infoworld.com/save-xp/archives/2008/06/sign_the_save_x.html

Anyway, I doubt the online petition is going to have any much impact on Microsoft's decision.