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Showing posts from February, 2009

Citigroup and AIG Look Doomed

Citigroup Inc

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government ratcheted up its effort to save Citigroup Inc., agreeing to a third rescue attempt that will cut existing shareholders’ stake in the company by 74 percent. The stock fell 39 percent.

The Treasury Department said it would convert as much as $25 billion of preferred shares into common stock provided private holders agree to the same terms, the government said in a statement today. The conversion would give the U.S. a 36 percent stake in the New York-based company.

“We’re in these dire conditions, and this is a restructuring of a troubled company,” CreditSights Inc. analyst David Hendler said. “Common shareholders are severely diluted.”

Increased government involvement complicates Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit’s attempt to restore confidence in the company after the stock sank to the lowest in 18 years. The government is supporting Citigroup because of concern its failure might roil weak global markets. The U.S. doesn’t immedia…

Information Architects - Web Trends on Tokyo Metro Map

Information Architects has published the 200 most successful websites pinned down on the Tokyo Metro Map, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective. I thought this is a very creative way to show web trends.

Web Trend Map 3 [via]

Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0 [via]

Microsoft Excel Zero-Day Vulnerability

Microsoft Office Excel was reported to have a vulnerability that could allow malicious hackers to attempt remote code execution, if user opens the specially crafted MS Excel file. The malicious Excel file could be hosted on website, arrives as an attachment in email or be passed around through thumb drive/media disk.

Microsoft is currently investigating this vulnerability. As the patches are not available yet, we urged you to take the following precautions:1. Avoid opening or saving MS Office files, in particularly MS Excel file that you receive from un-trusted sources.

Be cautious when browsing the Internet (especially those un-trusted websites), or click on links in emails from unknown sources.For more information, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/968272.mspx

Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution [via]

U.S. Department of State - 2008 Human Rights Report: Singapore

2008 Human Rights Report: Singapore

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
February 25, 2009

Singapore is a parliamentary republic in which the People's Action Party (PAP), in power since 1959, overwhelmingly dominates politics. The population was approximately 4.6 million, with foreign workers accounting for nearly one fifth of the total. Opposition parties exist, and the May 2006 parliamentary elections were generally fair and free of tampering; however, the PAP placed formidable obstacles in the path of political opponents. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces.

The government has broad powers to limit citizens' rights and to handicap political opposition, which it used. Caning is an allowable punishment for numerous offenses. The following human rights problems also were reported: preventive detention, executive influence over the judiciary, infringement of citizens' privacy ri…

My Email Was Thought to Be Scam By Some

I recently lost my contacts from my PDA after a mistake while doing sync. This mistake resulted in almost 75% of all my contacts wiped out. In an attempt to recover them, I did a mass email to everyone on my GMail contacts but little did I expect many asked if I had lodged a police report for my "lost" phone. Some even asked and verified if the email was a scam before they replied with their contacts.

Thank god, I did not lost my phone.

My email:

Hi,

I am sending this email to you to request for your most updated contact.
Just half an hour ago, something unfortunate happened and I just lost all my phone contacts.May I have your latest mobile number?

Is this email address I am sending to your primary email account? If not, may I have your primary email address?I am taking this "opportunity" to rebuild my contacts.

Regards
Hon Chun

I should be less formal the next time I send any emails.

Credit Card Debts Ballooning - The Next Bubble?

According to the an article published on the Straits Times, credit card debt hit an estimated $3.4 billion last December, the highest for that month in 20 years. If I assume Singapore population stands at 4.5 million, it would mean every single soul in Singapore to have spent S$755 each. This number does not good especially with climbing unemployment and retrenchment rates.

Credit card debts ballooning [via]

Gmail Allows Multi-Select Files and Attach Them With Progress Bars

It is now possible to multi-select files from the same folder and attach them when composing an email with Google Gmail. On top of that, you will be able to see progress bar status as each file is being uploaded.

These new features are released to all users. However, you may need to first logout and then re-login to Gmail again to be able to see it.

Updates to attachments: multi-select and progress bars [via]

Experts Exchange Goes Mobile

Experts Exchange (EE) has gone mobile. EE is a IT knowledge sharing community for IT solutions. EE Mobile allows you to search, ask, and monitor your questions from your mobile device.

Experts Exchange Mobile [via]

Explanation for Gmail Outage from the Gmail Team

"Lots of folks are asking what happened, so we thought you'd like an explanation. This morning, there was a routine maintenance event in one of our European data centers. This typically causes no disruption because accounts are simply served out of another data center.

Unexpected side effects of some new code that tries to keep data geographically close to its owner caused another data center in Europe to become overloaded, and that caused cascading problems from one data center to another. It took us about an hour to get it all back under control.

The bugs have been found and fixed, and we're in the process of pushing out changes. We know how painful an outage like this is -- we run Google on Gmail, so outages like this affect us the same way they affect you. We always investigate the root causes of rare outages like this one, so we can prevent similar problems in the future." -- Gmail Site Reliability Manager

Update on today's Gmail outage [via]

Workaround to Get Gmail Work

Google Gmail experienced hours of outages and it seem to have recovered (at least for me). For the past few hours, I used the below to access my mailbox.Basic HTML version: https://mail.google.com/mail/h/
Basic HTML version #2: http://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html
Older version: http://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=1

System Wide GMail Outage

Google Gmail is currently experiencing system wide outage. It is affecting me!

Gmail Support Announcement

We're aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a number of users. This problem occurred at approximately 1.30AM Pacific Time. We're working hard to resolve this problem and will post updates as we have them. We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused.

Oscar 2009 Winners

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire Best Actor: Sean Penn, MilK Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire Best Original Score: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire Best Song: A.R. Rahman for Jai Ho penned by Gulzar Slumdog Millionaire Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire Best Sound Mixing: Resul Pookutty (India), Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke Slumdog Millionaire Best Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire Best Short Documentary: Smile Pinky Best Foreign Film: Departures (Japan) Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina BarcelonaJean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Jerry Lewis Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk Animated Feature Film: WALL-E Animated Short Film: La Maison en Petits Cubes Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Costume: Michael O'Connor, The Duchess Art: The Curious Case of B…

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Unaware Lehman Minibonds Existed

Chan unaware Lehman minibonds existed
China Daily
By Teddy Ng (HK Edition)
Updated: 2009-02-21 07:51

HONG KONG: Financial services chief Chan Ka-keung told the first Legislative Council hearing on the minibonds saga Friday that he was unaware of Lehman Brothers ill-starred minibonds before the collapse of the investment bank in September.

Chan's testimony, offering the first official account of the investment debacle, drew criticism that the government is concerned only with helping financial institutions weather the financial storm, while ignoring the interests of small investors.

The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury said he is concerned about the turbulence in the financial market and that he's been concerned about structural investment instruments such as Accumulator, since early 2008.

Legislators at the hearing referred to a speech made by Chan last May in New York. He told his New York listeners that the roots of the sub-prime crisis arose from credit rating age…

Interesting Article on Intellectual Property (IP)

Business Times - 20 Feb 2009

Take care of IP rights during downturn

A four-pronged strategy may be considered to maximise ownership and exploitation

By STANLEY LAI

THE financial fallout continues unabated. We struggle to contemplate where and when the global economy will see the worst, but this demands an exactitude of prescience that lies well beyond conventional judgment. Most of us would be content with bracing ourselves for a year (possibly more) of gloom.

Over the next 12 months, prices will come down, assets will devalue, trade financing will come to an end, and with that a steadily declining gross domestic product, particularly for trade-dependent economies. The halcyon days are over for now, and most commentators agree that it will get worst before it gets better.

It would be too simplistic to merely categorise intellectual property (IP) assets as being recession-proof. But if one were to attempt to make this argument, the starting point would be that IP assets are long-term acquisi…

President Nathan Breaks Silence On the Use of Reserves

I extract what President Nathan commented on the use of Singapore's reserve recently for Budget 2009. He took only a mere 11 days to approve it.

“We don’t micro-manage the Government. It’s for the Government in power to determine what needs to be done. I’m not an Executive President ... it’s for them to find solutions to our nation’s problems and come up with proposals,”

“it would have been presumptuous on my part to go forward and start to give explanations when explanations were not called for”

I wonder what is the role of a President then. I thought the President should be protecting the sacred reserves and any use of it should be studied seriously and deeply. Final decision should be leave to the President since he is paid million dollars annually! Even the U.S. President is paid just about half of the amount.

‘Why I said okay in 11 days’ [via]

Mobile Phones Chargers to Standardize

Chargers used by mobile phones are set to be standardized. This is great news to consumers. Cost of buying phones may be lower since we can use the same charger we always used when doing phone switching.

GSM Arena Confirms Mobile Universal Charger Format [via]

Speech By Dr Lee Boon Yang at Launch of IDA International

Ms Yong Ying-I, Chairman of IDA International
Mr Seah Chin Siong, Chief Executive Officer of IDA International
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Afternoon.

1. I am very pleased to be here today to witness the launch of IDA International. Recently in Parliament, I said that the Government is committed to helping our infocomm enterprises ride the economic downturn and build up their capabilities. It is important for the infocomm sector to emerge from the recession fitter and stronger with more capabilities to tap new opportunities. The launch of IDA International is an additional way for Government to help infocomm enterprises. IDA International is a wholly owned subsidiary of IDA Singapore. Its mission is to help our infocomm companies gain access to new markets overseas and work with them to tap opportunities for new business despite the troubled times.

Infocomm and the Economic Downturn

2. The infocomm industry has not escaped the effects of the recession. Gartner has halved its global IT sp…

Microsoft Announces Windows Mobile 6.5

Microsoft announced the latest version of its Windows Mobile OS for smartphones at the Mobile World Congress trade show on Monday. Windows Mobile 6.5 is a cosmetic overhaul designed to make touch-screen phones easier to use and improve Windows phones' Web-browsing skills.

Poor me, I am still using Windows Mobile 6.0.

Microsoft Announces Windows Mobile 6.5 [via]

Jackie Chan donates antique collection to Singapore's fourth university

International superstar Jackie Chan donated his antique collection worth about S$100million to Singapore's fourth university which is estimated to start in 2011.

Chan's property agent in Singapore, Simon Kwan, verified the news to local press but is unable to certify how much the donations are worth.

Chan started collecting antique buildings 20 years ago, eight of them are old houses and old stages of the Ming and Qing dynasties with at least 200 years of history.

He had actually wanted to donate the structures to the Hong Kong government but they took too long in replying so Kwan suggested donating to Singapore instead.

Kwan also specially flew to Hong Kong to understand the artifacts before suggesting to the Singapore authorities. Chan finally decided to donate his antique collection to a Singapore new university which will open in 2011.

According to reports, the new university, which will be located at Upper Changi near the Singapore Expo, will offer degrees in Design and Constr…

Google Holiday Logo for Valentine's Day 2009

The above is Google's holiday logo for Valentine's Day 2009. It shows 2 love birds.

Bespin - Code in the Cloud

Bespin is a Mozilla Labs experiment that proposes an open, extensible web-based framework for code editing that aims to increase developer productivity, enable compelling user experiences, and promote the use of open standards.


Bespin - Code in the Cloud [via]

1234567890 Day - What's Your Local Date Time?

The below C# code determines your local date time to celebrate 1234567890 Day.

static void Main(string[] args) { DateTime dateOn1Jan1970 = new DateTime(1970, 1, 1); int partySec = 1234567890; DateTime dateToParty = dateOn1Jan1970.AddSeconds(partySec); Console.WriteLine("UTC DateTime to party: " + dateToParty.ToUniversalTime().ToString()); Console.WriteLine("Local DateTime to party: " + dateToParty.ToString()); }

Change of 2009 Deepavali Date

According to Ministry of Manpower (MOM), 2009 Deepavali date will fall on 17 October 2009 (Saturday) instead of 15 November 2009 (Sunday).The Deepavali date for 2009 has now been confirmed. The Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) has advised that Deepavali will fall on 17 October 2009 (Saturday) instead of 15 November 2009 (Sunday). The variation in date was due to the rare occurrence of two “no moon” days (amavasai) between mid October and mid November 2009. The earlier tentative Deepavali date of 15 November 2009 was based on the second “no moon” day. The Almanac has now affirmed that Deepavali will fall on the day of the first "no moon" day on 17 October 2009.
Since Deepavali is no longer on 15 November 2009 (Sunday), 16 November 2009 (Monday) will not be a public holiday. Instead, 17 October 2009 will be gazetted as a public holiday.Change of 2009 Deepavali Date [via]

Critical IE, Exchange Flaws in Microsoft's Patch Tuesday

Microsoft Corp. today released four patch bundles to fix at least eight security vulnerabilities in PCs powered by its Windows operating system and other software. The fixes are available through Microsoft Update or via Automatic Updates.

The identified four critical vulnerabilities are found in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 Web browser and Microsoft Exchange.

Critical IE, Exchange Flaws in Microsoft's Patch Tuesday [via]

Scolari sacked as Chelsea manager

The day has come. Scolari was sacked as Chelsea manager after a dismal season so far. Currently, Chelsea is ranked fourth in the Premier League, seven points behind league leaders Manchester United who has a game in hand.

This shows there is no sympathy in a very result-oriented highly competitive league. Past experience and performance of a football manager does not count.

Scolari sacked as Chelsea manager [via]

Tertiary students seek lower public transport fares

Close to 5,200 tertiary students have signed a petition for lower public transport fares. Earlier this week, the students even managed to meet up with transport operators to discuss on transport fares. This is a positive move.

For many years, tertiary students have been paying 89% more than peers from Junior Colleges and Institute of Technical Education.

Tertiary students seek lower public transport fares [via]

Ho Ching to Step Down from Temasek Holdings

Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd on Friday announced the stepping down of its chief executive officer, Ho Ching, effective Oct 1, 2009.

Mr Goodyear, 51, an American, joined the Temasek board on Feb 1. He assumes the position of CEO designate on March 1 and will succeed Ms Ho on Oct 1, 2009. Mr Goodyear retired from BHP Billiton on Jan 1, 2008 after leading the world's largest diversified resources company through its rapid growth and expansion.

Ho Ching joined Temasek as a director in January 2002, becoming its executive director in May 2002 and CEO since January 2004. She has since made several headline investments whereby many did not perform quite well.

Temasek Holdings Appoints Charles W. Goodyear as Member of the Board and CEO-Designate [via]

Microsoft Smartphone Rumors Gain Steam

Rumors that Microsoft will launch its own smartphones have gained steam again, with one analyst predicting that the device may be introduced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in two weeks.

Microsoft Smartphone Rumors Gain Steam [via]

Overwhelmed With Things-To-Do

I am totally overwhelmed with my ever growing to-do list. I better come out with a strict to-do list and follow it diligently even if it means sacrificing precious sleep time.

Coffee shall be my beloved beverage.

Obama Cap Top Executives Pay for Companies Receiving Federal Aid

I just cannot but applaud U.S. President Obama for his move in capping pay of top executives who are federal aid.

"For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis is not only in bad taste it's a bad strategy and I will not tolerate it as President. We're going to be demanding some restraint in exchange for federal aid so that when firms seek new federal dollars, we won't find them up to the same old tricks. Top executives at firms receiving extraordinary help from US taxpayers will have their compensation capped at USD 500,000 a fraction of the salaries that have been reported recently."

Obama announces compensation caps for top executives [via]

Windows 7 and its Different Editions Available

For those of us in the developed world, there are only three editions that matter:Windows 7 Home Premium: This is the successor to Windows Vista Home Premium.

Windows 7 Home Professional: This edition drops the Business label used in Windows Vista and goes back to the old XP-era name, presumably to give XP users more comfort in their upgrade decision.
Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise: In the retail channel, this edition will be called Ultimate; for corporate customers with a Select license agreement, it will be called Enterprise.2 more editions of Windows 7 are around but the ability to get hold of is highly constrained.
Windows 7 Home Basic: Lacks the Aero interface, will be available for sale only in emerging markets and will not legally be available for sale in the U.S., Western Europe, Japan, and other developed countries.
Windows 7 Starter Edition: with its artificial restriction on performance (you can only run three simultaneous programs) will be available for sale worldwide, but only…

Gmail Adds New Move To and Labels Drop-Downs

Gmail adds new "Move To" and "Labels" drop-downs and both with auto-completion filter features.

These 2 drop-downs may look similar but there is a difference.

"Move to" applies the label selected from the list and removes all the other labels, including the "inbox" label (archive it). For keyboard fans, use v.

"Labels" lets you add or remove labels from the list in a single action. You no longer have to repeatedly click on "More actions" to add multiple labels. For keyboard fans, use l.

Gmail Adds Folders by Improving Label Management [via]

Relatively Quiet Stock Market

For the past few days, I am seeing a relatively quiet stock market, at least so in Singapore. The average numbers of shares transacted per day is around 700 million. I do not use actual numbers to compute the average but the small number is obvious.

With low shares activity, fluctuations should be restricted. Are we seeing bottom soon?

MergePDF Combines PDF Documents for Free

MergePDF is a free online tool for combining your PDF documents.

Limitations but not very restrictive in my opinion:Maximum number of input files is 10Individual file size limit is 5 MBAll uploaded files are removed after the merge process has finished.

STOMP Controversy on TPJC Case

Sometimes, I feel STOMP is getting out of hand. Almost any articles sent in are published and I am not sure if the accuracy of them are verified.

Weeks ago, a STOMPer sent in a photo taken on public bus 12 showing 2 Tampines Junior College (TPJC) students 'heavy petting'. For this reason, the 2 students were stripped of their leadership positions as student councillors.

The 2 students had defended their behaviour and pleaded innocence. They are reported to be merely god-siblings. The male student was consoling his godsister who was unhappy as she had been appointed to a different class and that she did not bear to leave her friends. He pointed out that it was her mother (who is also his godmother) who wanted him to send her home and that the only form of intimacy was merely a consolation hug.

I hope STOMP can verify accuracy of articles before releasing them to the public. This report on STOMP has definitely caused unnecessary inconveniences to innocent parties.

Published on STOMP…