Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2005

Is that a vacation job or free labour?

From the Straits Times Interactive,5578,361748,00.html?

Dec 29, 2005
Is that a vacation job or free labour?

I WISH to highlight a practice by a local restaurant chain which appears to use students on vacation as a source of free labour.

My daughter, who had just completed her O levels, applied for vacation work at Fish & Co in Parkway Parade. She was told the pay was $4.50 per hour.

Happily, she started work on Dec 5, working a five-hour shift for five days. However, near the end of her shift on Dec 10, she and some others were told their services had been terminated. Nothing was said about outstanding pay.

My wife accompanied her on Dec 23 to ask about the outstanding pay. They were attended by one of the staff members who told them new employees, whose services are terminated, should have served a minimum of 24 working hours to get paid. If they failed to clock the minimum hours, they would not be paid a cent. She told my wife that ou…

New Year's Day to be a second late

Scientists will insert a "leap second" onto the end of December 31, by tweaking their atomic clocks, the world's most precise timekeepers, so as to be consistent with the Earth's rotation.

Leap seconds are inserted because atomic clocks tend to go slightly ahead of the Earth's rotation, largely because the rotation of the Earth has been slowing down.

It will be the first extra second in seven years. The first leap second was added on June 30, 1972, according to NIST, an arm of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Above extracted from

The 10 Commandments of Microsoft Access

From the microsoft.public.access.formscoding newsgroup:

And it came to pass that the cries and lamentations of the Access newbies were heard on high by the gods of the Database, and their hearts were moved to pity for their followers. And they opened their mouths and spake, saying: "Nevermore shall the young and innocent wander witless on their journeys! We shall provide guidance to them, yea, and to all who wish to seek the paths of wisdom." And they caused these commandments to be written and placed before the eyes of those seeking enlightenment.

So heed the words of those who have come before you, and keep these commandments in thine heart as thou dost create thy Database application. If thou shalt only follow these commandments thy burden shall be made light and thy path shall be made straight.

Thou shalt design normalized tables and understand thy fields and relationships before thou dost begin.Thou shalt never allow thy users to see or edit tables directly, but only throu…

My Top 10 Best Products of 2005

The top 2 happened to be my top few too!
I think I will come out with my top 10 one day.

All Products Listed by Ranking
Experts-Exchange IT Solutions Collaboration SiteGoogle Gmail Web MailQuickPost Experts-Exchange New Question Auto Notification
Mozilla Firefox Web BrowserVisual Studio .NET 2003 IDE .NET 1.1 Visual Basic 6.0 IDE for Visual Basic 6.0MSN Messenger 7.5 Internet Messenging ProgramGoogle Search EngineMSDN Library Microsoft Technologies DocumentationNJStar Communicator Chinese Input

The 100 Best Products of 2005

The top 2 happened to be my top few too!
I think I will come out with my top 10 one day.

All Products Listed by Ranking Mozilla Firefox Web BrowserGoogle Gmail Web MailApple Mac OS X Version 10.4 (Tiger) Operating SystemBelkin Wireless Pre-N Router and Notebook Network Card Wireless NetworkingDell Ultrasharp 2405FPW 24-Inch Wide-Screen LCDAlienware Aurora 5500 Performance PCSeagate USB 2.0 Pocket Drive Portable Hard DriveSkype VoIP ServiceCanon EOS Digital Rebel XT Digital SLR CameraPalmOne Treo 650 PDA PhoneZone Labs ZoneAlarm Antivirus Antivirus and Firewall SoftwareMysoft Technology Maxthon Browser Plug-InRio Carbon Midcapacity MP3 PlayerWebroot Window Washer 5.5 UtilityMaxtor H01R300 Shared Storage Drive Network Hard DriveGoogle Search EngineNetgear 54 Mbps Cable/DSL Wireless Travel Router Model WGR101 Travel RouterOnlyMyEmail Pro Spam FilterSony PlayStation Portable Handheld Gaming DeviceNVidia GeForce 6600 GT Graphics BoardAPC Back-UPS RS 800VA 120V Uninterruptible Power Supply2Bri…


The shiokness comes when I managed to answer a programming question without knowing the language and not having anything required installed to test. Purely code out the logic from examples and by instinct.

More than half of Asia's software illegal

The biggest culprits were Vietnam which topped the list with a piracy rate of 92 percent, followed by China at 90 percent, BSA said in the study which it commissioned research firm International Data Corp. to carry out.

New Zealand's piracy rate of 23 percent was the lowest in the region, followed by Japan's 28 percent. Australia was at 32 percent and Singapore 42 percent.

[All above extracted from in parts]

I doubt it will get any better soon.

Rank High for Quick Answer

Some statistics provided by the always excellent reporting service by expert ameba.

For each of the below, click on "Quick Answer" column to sort.

January 2005 - November 2005 Statistics
Ranked 23rd for a I-took-23-seconds-to-answer question

January 2004 - December 2004 Statistics
Ranked 25th for a I-took-27-seconds-to-answer question

I am pleased.

Poem to Promote Bush

Below is a poem happen to be found inside a Pakistani's English language textbook having the first letter of each line spelt out "President George W Bush". The anonymous poem, called The Leader, is seen as a praise for the president. This textbook is due to be reprinted next year.

Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to meet every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real.
Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn't conform to the usual mould,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do,
Never backs down when he sees what is true,
Tells it all straight, and means it all too.
Going forward and knowing he's right,
Even when doubted for why he would fight,
Over and over he makes his case clear,
Reaching to touch the ones who won't hear.
Growing in strength he won't be unnerved,
Ever assuring he'll stand by his word.
Wanting the world to join his firm stand,
Bracing for war, but praying for …

Do You Surf in Toilet?

Interesting but it would be better if there are hard facts.


"A significant number of Americans use the computer connection in the bathroom," said Jeffrey Cole, of the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future.

Since people were unlikely to be surfing in the bath, or while brushing their teeth, Cole said he had concluded that many of them went off into cyberspace while on the throne.

23rd SEA Games Medal Tally (Finalized)

COUNTRYGOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL PHILIPPINES113 84 94 291 THAILAND87 78 118 283 VIETNAM71 68 89 228 MALAYSIA61 50 64 175 INDONESIA49 79 89 217 SINGAPORE42 32 55 129 MYANMAR17 34 48 99 LAOS3 4 12 19 BRUNEI

Freelance Project Ethics

1. ANY desktop based projects in ANY programming languages.
2. ANY web based projects in ANY web programming languages excluding CGI.

3. School projects.
4. Design intensive.

Latter rules supercede former rules.

So PLEASE don't tell me to do school projects! I was once a student and so am able to identify them.

26 Nov - 30 Nov Singapura » KL » Genting » KL » Singapura

This is a long-waited trip between Regine and I. Below is the rough schedule of our trip from 26 Nov to 30 Nov.

26 Nov
0945   I left house for JB but was caught in a massive traffic jam at the cross junction before Singapore custom.
1230   I reached JB City Square.
1330   I reached Regine's house and had our lunch.
2245   Regine and I left for JB KTM.
2335   Train left for KL.

27 Nov
0830   We finally reached KL Sentral Station. Trip was delayed for almost 2 hours.
1000   We made our way to our hotel Dorsett Regency Hotel. We left our luggage at the Concierge because we could only check in at 2pm.
1100   We had lunch at a Hong Kong restaurant in Sungei Wang.
1145   Took a cab to Sunway Lagoon.
1200   We reached Sunway Lagoon.
1700   Made our way to Sunway Pyramid for a snack.
1740   Reached shopping centre The Curve and had our dinner.
1930   Reached Utama Shopping Centre.
2230   Left for our hotel.

28 Nov
1015   Woke up
1215   Had lunch in another Hong Kong restaurant.
1330   Reached Pasa Rakyat bus…

.NET Communiy Seminar

Regine and I attended a .NET Community Seminar organized by JobStreet but conducted by the Microsoft and the New Horizons on 24th Nov. This is a seminar to promote the launch of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

Throughout the entire demonstration, I was totally fascinated and impressed by the many features promised by the packages. All speakers are knowledgeable and their expertise in their areas are definitely proven. Some of the features that really grab my attention are the master pages, the site map, one-click installation, tight integration with SQL Server 2005, and many more.

The 2 tea receptions provided by the organizer were not bad - better than average. Also, the pantry area is really very self-contained. A huge fridge to house huge varieties of packet drinks, a hot drink dispenser offering several different hot drinks, a coffee blender, distilled water dispenser, several bottled mineral water, and several comfortable seats available for most. Welfar…

NUS FYP Gathering

21st Nov - NUS FYP Gathering:

We went for a steamboat buffet near the famous Tian Tian Huo Guo. The cost is $12 instead of the initial $10 which I know of few months back. This $12 steamboat doesn't have the BBQ plate like what those at Marina South offer. I would say I still prefer those in the Marina South. More fun, more varieties, better atmosphere, e.t.c. We chatted and updated one another on our current status.

After the dinner, we went for a show "Dragon Squad". This show is full of firefight and is towards the over-exaggerating side.

Just Like Heaven

Yesterday 23th Nov was Regine's last paper. After her last paper, we went down to Lau Pa Sat to have a BBQ Seafood feast for dinner. We ordered BBQ Stingray, Kailan, Satay sticks and chicken wings. The serving was quite a lot for all the items especially the Stingray. I rate the Stingray, Satay and chicken wings highly and as for the Kailan, I thought it was average.

After our feast, we took a bus down to Cathay Cinneleisure for a movie. We watched Just Like Heavens. It belongs to the romantic comedy category. I highly recommend the show. Try it and you know why.



Ghostzilla is a Web browser like Firefox, but it shows up and disappears instantly, discreetly, blended with your application -- any application -- so the Web pages look like part of it and not like the Web at all. (Read here how.)

What would you use it for?

1. Hide from your boss and coworkers. Not a good idea; you can get fired (the network administrator sees everything you do) or end up wasting lots of time.
2. Survive endless meetings (if you have a laptop; kind of like (1) but a little better).
3. Have a browser instantly available and dismissable within your work application, washed out from ads and unnecessary pictures. This is actually useful -- except you risk developing attention deficit disorder. Seriously.

So what's it for then?

* Entertainment. Ghostzilla is a form of computer art.

Microsoft Support For My Conjecture

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for the reply.

Currently, the Singnet customers are facing the Windows Update issue
where the Windows Update page shows "Checking for the latest version of
software" and it hangs. Sometimes they might get the error code
0x80072F78 or 0x80072EFF stating that "Web site has encountered a problem and
cannot display the requested page".

We are still investigating on this issue and have escalated the issue
to the concerned department. We are still waiting for further updates
and will appreciate it if you may co-operate and provide us some time to
resolve this issue. Once the issue is rectified we will update you with
further information.

Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.

Have a nice day!

Best regards,

Wisut Pisitsangkakul
Support Professional
Microsoft Customer Service and Support (South East Asia)

Singled out WindowsUpdate Woe

I managed to single out the reason behind why my windowsupdate at home does not work. This is a problem of Singnet. Using my same laptop, I successfully connect myself to windowsupdate on NUS wireless network and an anonymous wireless network. However, my test failed on my home Singnet broadband and Regine's Singnet broadband. Test also failed on my friend's Singnet broadband.

I called up Singnet again and this time the customer service officer knew his stuff. At least he knew what I am talking about even though he got the MTU as Maximum Transfer Unit which is wrong. He confirmed that I am not the only one complaining about this and so is most likely a Singnet problem. Hope they will revert back to me asap.

Gave a lecture to a Singnet Customer Service Officer

I realized my windowsupdate problem could be due to ISP MTU setting. I made a call to Singnet 1800 call service and my first call was pleasant. The customer service officer was knowledgeable and direct me to the steps to do the configuration. However, I was not ready to launch the configure program at that moment of time and so just relied on my memorization of steps. I made a second call to the 1800 service but was attended to by another person. This person was not knowledgeable. Described to him the whole situation and kept telling him I am able to connect to the internet but just couldn't get to windowsupdate. I told him I am able to get to windowsupdate in NUS but not at home. WindowsUpdate just returned an error number and I managed to find an article telling me that it could be deal to ISP MTU setting being not setup correctly. That stupid guy just kept telling me that Singnet does not provide the level of help if it is not found in their database. But I just couldn't un…

Windows Update Woes

Yesterday, I formatted my laptop and re-installed WinXP. I applied SP2 and installed NAV 2003. But then I end up not able to perform Windows update. WindowsUpdate.log shows download failed for some crucial *.cab files which really puzzled me. HOSTS file is not tampered but then I just cannot contact I tried whatever possibilities on the internet to troubleshoot but to no avail. I am now a serious windowsupdate troubleshooter. Below are 2 postings made by 2 gurus.

Extract 1 - MowGreen [MVP 2003-2006] from microsoft.public.windowsupdate newsgroup
Open Internet Options in the Control Panel. If you're NOT running a proxy server, click the Connections tab.

Click the LAN Settings button. If any boxes are checked there, UNcheck them. Click OK.

Click the Advanced tab. Scroll down to HTTP 1.1 settings. UNcheck the box next to " Use HTTP 1.1 through proxy connections ".

Under Java ( or Microsoft …

As a Web Developer

I have land myself a job as a Web Developer with salary after CPF deduction at S$2,400 and rejected a job offer. The rejected job offer is a Software Engineer position at S$2,300 but before CPF deduction. I will start work on 3rd Jan 2006 but it is only 3 months contract. I wouldn't mind for the attractive salary.

Smurf Goodnight Song

Try to sleep now, close your eyes
Soon the birds would stop singing
Twinkling stars, are shining bright
They'll be watching you all night

All the things, you enjoy
On this beautiful day
All your friends, all your toys
will be waiting for you to play

"Mr moonlight will come bring you dreams
As soon as the lights are out
And tomorrow you must tell me
what those dreams were all about"

Try to sleep now, close your eyes
Try to think of tomorrow
All of us wish you good night
So I'm switching off the lights

One more hug, one more smile
Kiss you once, kiss you twice
I'll be here for a while
Try to sleep now and close your eyes


For you all to enjoy.

Too bad I lost the mp3.

YouTube version:

Custom Misfortune

I made a trip to JB last Thursday to buy 2 return train tickets from KL. At the counter, a train on its way back to Singapore arrived. I decided to buy ticket for that train to return to Singapore. Everything was in a rush and I was the last passenger for that train. I quickly bought the 2 tickets from KL-JB and 1 ticket for that just-arrived train back Singapore. I rushed to get my ticket punched and hopped onto the train. None of the JB immigration officers stopped me to have my passport checked. They just let me pass them. On the train, I realized I forgot to have my passport stamped to prove my exit from JB! I made a call to Regine and she advised me to go back to JB custom and have my passport stamped to avoid future problems. I reached Singapore-Woodlands arrival hall, had my bag scanned, made my way to Singapore-Woodlands departure hall again, exit Singapore, and then finally reached JB custom again. This time the queue was a lot longer than earlier. When it's my turn, I ex…

NSF Days Over Soon

In just 52 more days, my NSF term will be over. This does not include Saturdays and Sundays, 2 public holidays, and my remaining 17 days of leave. On top of that, I think I may take one more MC.

You are currently using 276 MB (10%) of your 2654 MB

Finally I managed to use 10% of my gmail account size. A total of 5225 email topics make up the 276MB size emails. So this means on average each email topic is only of 54.090717703349282296650717703168KB which is rather small as compared to many others I believe. It is true that I received mostly text-based emails only with file attachments.

You are currently using 276 MB (10%) of your 2654 MB.

NUS Library Complaint

Since I promised to write something about the complaint I made to NUS library days ago, I will uphold my promise now.

The purpose of the email is to bring out the problem of outdated IT books in the NUS Science library. If one were to notice, many books on the shelves were old and were from years as old as the hills can be. Books of year 2004 or 2005 are rare. I see this as not helpful at all espeically to IT undergraduates. I feel students should have easy access to a vast repository of new books since school fees are paid for. A world class university like NUS not having decent bookshelves is a disgrace. I conducted a comparison with the local polytechnics and found out that NUS is no match with them when it comes to owning new library books. NUS libraries actually resembles a museum, keeping out-dated books since early days. Unlike NUS, SP and TP keep updating their shelves and have many new books of year later than year 2004. NUS has very few books of year later than year 2004.



Came across this and thought it is rather interesting.


Quite comprehensive:

Ass.. Acronyms Say "Stupid!"

Acronyms are, in my humble opinion, a blight upon the young and the lazy. Yes, I'm from another time period. And in that time period IBM acronyms ruled and you weren't "in the know" and a real engineer unless you could spew those acronyms from your mouth and listening to them in return while determining the architecture for the next big application. Resumes were riddled with these funny little meaningless phrases that, if used properly, landed you jobs at the best consult…

Lihat Sini

Lihat Sini - Please proceed to any bus interchange and read the white piece of announcement pasted on walls/pillars. It states the extension of smoking bans on more public places. Offenders will be fined S$200.

Book List

I have decided to set up webpage to show a list of IT-related books I have read the past few years since I first touched PC back in 1998. I wish it will serve as a motivator for me to read more.

ROC Training

13 Aug
I reached 高雄国际航空站 in the morning. Weather was not good and was in fact drizzling. A typhoon had just passed Taiwan. We alighted from the Eva Air plane right onto the runway where we were picked up by a shuttle bus to the arrival hall. The system could have been better if we alighted not on the runway and at a place with shelter.

We then took a bus from the airport straight to our camp, Hengchun Camp. The journey was long. It was too early a morning and so all the shops along the way were not opened. I could see mountains everywhere.

Hengchun Camp was more like an old camp to me. The camp was there for more than 30 years. The external looked average but then the internal revealed itself. More than 50 soldiers were made to live in a bunk! Fans were not enough! Toilets were at another block and so we actually had to cross to another block just to use the toilet. Toilet facilities were bad too. Some of the showers let out water that could boil an egg! Those were condemmed. The first d…

Why New Orleans (victim of hurricane Katrina) is vital

The Louisiana Purchase (this is back in the 19th century if I am correct) was important because it gave the US the port of New Orleans, the port at the mouth of the Mississippi. Even today the New York Times in an article titled. "Across the US, outrage at response" said, All the grain that's grown in Iowa and Illinois, and the huge industrial output of the Midwest has to come down the Mississippi River, and there has to be a port to handle it, to keep a functioning economy in the United States of America."

I ate a lot

Lemon chicken rice add chicken for lunch.
30 minutes later.. Hup Lee Nasi Lemak.

Yong Tau Foo
1.5 hours later.. Fried rice.

Guess I must have missed Singapore's food too much.


I am so tired and sleepy now. I had only a couple of hours of sleep on the plane. This means I only had that little amount of rest for the past 2 days.

I will update my ROC trip tomorrow.

Freelance Project Finally Over

Finally after more than 2 months of work together with Regine on a freelance project, the project is completed - at least 99.9% completed. The project is a web-based application for Regine's elder sister's financial company. For more than 2 months, we have spent most of our weekends on the project. The process is tiring no doubt but then at least we are together most of the weekends. If not for me only able to book out on weekends, this project would have completed earlier.

We went back to JB yesterday evening to submit the product. Before that, we took a bus from NUS to Jurong West to have a sumptuous curry fish head dinner. I ordered curry fish head, a plate of vegetable and 2 plates of plain rice. The serving is quite big. After we had finished our plate of plain rice, there were still a lot of food left and so.. hehe.. we ordered an additional plate of plain rice each.

The next morning (today), her sister handed RM1,800 to us for the project. I was rather shocked because I o…

Harbin Ice Wonderland

I got free ticket to Harbin Ice Wonderland from regine's sister. Regine and I went to the Harbin Ice Wonderland at Bugis today. We rented 2 winter clothing before we started our Ice World journey. I must admit the place is small and seriously there are nothing much to play. $16 is not worth it. But then I enjoyed myself today.

Stupid Me

I took off from NS today to collect a Dean's List certificate from NUS School of Computing. I wore collar shirt and jeans for the event, bearing in mind not to wear T-shirt so I wouldn't look too casual. When I reached LT34, I saw everyone wearing long sleeves shirt with pants and leather shoes. I really was shocked. I decided not to turn up for the event.

Feel so stupid. Never mind, I collect the cert on Monday.


Please don't ask me why I am not taking honours. It's has been my intention to take up Bachelor even before my very first semester starts. So please don't ask me why again.


I had a stomachache just now all because of I being a glutton. I went to JB just now and before I left, I bought myself Bak Kut Teh for dinner at a coffeeshop. I guessed the Bak Kut Teh was the culprit for my stomachache.

What's good of a COPA

Some of the benefits of a COPA are the following:
1) No duties for me other than "serving" CO. This means no COS, no duty clerk, no guard duty, etc.
2) No one (except CO) dares to ask me to do things.
3) Everyone (except CO) listens to me.
4) Everyone (except CO) takes my word seriously.
5) I am allowed to call everyone's including CO's handphone.
6) I need not queue up.
7) When I need to get something which is not found in my working area, I make a call and get someone to get it for me.

Bad day for me

CO called me early in the morning regarding particulars of members for this Sunday's briefing. I printed a list of contact numbers of members involved in the briefing and reminded him to bring home but then he forgot! This morning, he politely told me if I could make a trip to camp and tell him those contact numbers. My goodness! I live in Ang Mo Kio and my camp is at Lim Chu Kang! There goes my lunch with Regine. Before I left for camp, I called Orchid Country Club to help book 18-hole golf session for 4 on behalf of my that CO. Trip to camp took me almost 2 hours.

Life as a COPA

COPA (Commanding Officer Personal Assistant) is not easy at all. In practice, a COPA usually just stays in the office slogging like a typical secretary. Only the CO (Commanding Officer) runner is to go out-field. However, my CO (Commanding Officer) thinks otherwise. He feels there should not have a clear line separating between the duties and responsibilities of a COPA and a CO runner.

Some of the duties of a COPA are
1. Receive calls and take down messages
2. Schedule meetings/briefings for CO
3. Facilitate signing of documents
4. Check and reply his emails
5. Schedule cleaning of his GP car.
6. Keep his desk clean and neat
7. Pack his field pack
8. Ensure cleanliness of his field pack
9. Go out field with him

Going out field with him also sucks.
"Map please" - I have to pass to him
"Camo" - Pass him his camo cream
"Mirror" - ...

Would not want to describe further.

10GB Free

Nearly forgotten about this. I sent my laptop for servicing few weeks ago. My laptop was having a mere 4KB of bad disk sector and a suspected LCD problem. Fujitsu engineers had determined that my LCD is perfectly okay. As for my harddisk, they replaced it for free with a 40GB brand new harddisk instead of getting a same size harddisk as my original one because they could not find a 30GB harddisk. My laptop is on warranty and so the replacement is free-of-charge! So happy.

Star Wars 3

Went to buy a pair of tickets for Star Wars at Orchard Cinneleisure early in the morning 10am plus. I, being a M1 user, am entitled half price for the 2nd ticket. Yeah!

Overall, the show was average only at least in my opinion.

Zoo Trip YEAH

Went to the zoo today with Regine, her sister, and her sister's boyfriend. Weather was hot but I still find it quite fun. We took quite a lot of photos and I must admit many were quite well taken. Too bad we don't have the time to make a trip down the Children's World and have a ride on the tram.

Overall, it was truely fun.

Regine's Last Paper

4th May is Regine's last paper. I can see she really is very excited over it. Ya, we went for a ktv session from 2pm till 7pm that same day with Regine's JC friends at Clementi KBox. We then went to HollandV for dinner and a drink.

NUS Summary

I shall now summarize the 2 short years of my life in NUS.

I knew life in NUS will be of few friends from my poly friends (girls) who enrolled before me. They told me it is always difficult to make new friends especially those from JCs. Those from JCs usually have their own usually big group of buddies and when come to forming groups for projects, they are always together. So, it is good to come in with someone whom you know of especially if you are from poly. I am from poly but I am the only one enrolling in year 2003/2004. Girls enrolled 1 year before me and all guys enrolled 1 year later than me because they choose not to disrupt from NS.

I conducted a medical checkup at NUS one hot afternoon. That was the first day I set foot on NUS. As required by NUS for all poly students, I took QET (Qualified English Test). I bumped onto a primary school friend, Francis. We lost contact after PSLE even though he lived just opposite my block. Francis was from NP. The paper was tough and as…