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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What are SIVs

SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles) are typically offshore companies created by banks and other firms to sell short-term debt to buy mortgage securities and finance company bonds with higher yields. They profit on the spread between the two. Unlike securitisation vehicles, SIVs sit off the balance sheets.

SIVs finance themselves by selling asset-backed commercial paper, or short-term loans backed by collateral such as mortgages. When the subprime debt market blew up in August, investors stopped buying SIV commercial paper. As a result, in September and October, some SIVs didn't have the cash to pay debt holders thus resulting in many losses.

Yesterday, HSBC decided to put US$45 billion of SIVs onto its balance sheet to end uncertainty as a result of the credit squeeze. Will the other banks like Citigroup, etc, follow suit?

Google's GDrive to Launch Soon?

The much anticipated Googles' Drive is on its way. Google is now planning to offer consumers a new way to store files on their hard drives.

Google Plans Service to Store Users' Data

Currently, files for Google are now kept rather in a "disjointed" fashion. Read on my earlier post "The Disjointed GDrive (or Where Do I Upload My Files?)" for more information.

Actually, there's a third party add-on named "GMail Drive" which allows a user to access a virtual drive stored in a Gmail e-mail account by causing the contents of the Gmail account to appear as a new network share on the user's workstation. This extension is free and is not supported by Google.

Unofficial GMail Drive (third-party add-on)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday

What is Black Friday? Coincidentally, the financial markets of today is in a mess, with most of the global markets in bearish mood. Last Friday marks the Black Friday and Dow Jones coincidentally jumped more than 200 points after many days of fall.

Lifted from Wikipedia:

"Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Since Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday may be as early as the 23rd and as late as the 29th of November. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many employers give the day off. Retailers often decorate for the Christmas season weeks beforehand. Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the 1970s. "Black Friday" was originally so named because of the heavy traffic on that day (see below), although most contemporary uses of the term refer instead to it as the beginning of the period in which retailers are in the black (i.e., turning a profit)."

Privacy fears over Facebook feature

Facebook's feature of automatically alerting a user's online network of friends to things bought on other websites, can reveal highly personal information. This has angered its users by publicising details of their shopping habits without their permission. This will mean Christmas gifts meant for surprises will no longer be surprises.

Einstein's Intelligence Quiz

I took 15 minutes to find a solution to the below problem. I suggest you to dedicate at least 30 minutes just to find a solution. Try not to be distracted.

Einstein's Intelligence Quiz

Einstein wrote this quiz last century. He said that 98% of the people in the world cannot solve the quiz.

  • There are 5 houses in 5 different colors
  • In each house lives a person with a different nationality
  • These 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet
  • No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar or drink the same drink.
Here's the question: Who owns the fish?

  1. The Brit lives in a red house
  2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets
  3. The Dane drinks tea
  4. The green house is on the left of the white house
  5. The green house owner drinks coffee
  6. The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds
  7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill
  8. The man living in the house right in the middle drinks milk
  9. The Norwegian lives in the first house
  10. The man who smokes Blend lives next door to the one who keeps cats
  11. The man who keeps horses lives next door to the man who smokes Dunhill
  12. The owner who smokes Blue Master drinks beer
  13. The German smokes Prince
  14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house
  15. The man who smokes Blend has a neighbor who drinks water
With these 15 clues the problem is solvable.

Giant Sea Scorpion Discovered; Was Bigger Than a Man

Scientists say this 18-inch (46-centimeter) fossil claw (bottom) belonged to the world's largest known bug: an 8.2-foot (2.5-meter), 390-million-year-old sea scorpion called Jaekelopterus rhenaniae.
Read more below

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Make sure your .NET applications perform

US Market Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

The US stock market headed into the Thanksgiving holiday (22 Nov 07) on a low note with Dow down 211.10 points (1.62%), Nasdaq down 34.66 points (1.33%), and S&P 500 down 22.93 points (1.59%), as investors sold equities and bought bonds. Will the Asian markets get a breather tomorrow?

High Oil Prices Spark Burning of Wood

Winter is around the corner and people will need to heat up to keep warmth. Oil prices has surged to unbelievable level hitting US$100 per barrel and burning of oil furnaces is now no longer economically feasible. People are now turning to burning wood to keep warm despite knowing wood burning is many times more pollution unfriendly and is many times more harmful to one's health.

How Wal-Mart lost its technology edge

I bumped onto the below article by chance. It's interesting.

HP's Results Set the Pace for Dell

Hewlett-Packard Co's better-than-expected quarterly results may raise the bar for competitor Dell Inc, which is more vulnerable to U.S. economic woes and reports earnings next week.

Dell earns about 85 percent of its revenue from business customers, many in the United States, whereas HP has a stronger focus on consumers and international markets.,2704,2220184,00.asp

Financial Markets Jitters

Price of oil is on the verge of hitting US$100 per barrel, global banks and financial firms are declaring more write-offs, inflation is hitting all time high, US$ is falling, China Yuan is rising, Japanese Yen is rising, treasury yields falls below 4% for the first time since many years, ...

Where should we keep our money?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I came across below article in Chinese which I thought worth a mention here.








[ Translate this Post ]

Quote of the Day from Business Times

Below is extracted from Stocks open higher

'Potential good news is that we do have the preconditions in place for the classic year-end rally. While we still look for the market to go higher into year-end, our confidence has weakened a bit and the market needs to improve soon in this traditionally strong seasonal period. If not, we will go to a more cautious stance.'

New MSN Messenger Trojan Spreading Quickly

eWEEK has reported a new trojan which is using the Windows Live/MSN Messenger platform to grow a botnet by hundreds of infected PCs per hour, adding VMs to the mix as well.

The Trojan is an IRC bot sends itself in a compressed zip file with two names. One of the names includes the word "pics" as a double extension executable—a name generally used by scanners and digital cameras: for example, DSC00432.jpg.exe. The Trojan is also contained in a .zip file with the name "images" as a .pif executable—for example, IMG34814.pif.,1895,2218894,00.asp

Monday, November 19, 2007

US Dow Jones Drop 80 Points in first 15 Minutes

This is the effect after Goldman, Sachs & Co. told investors to sell shares of Citigroup Inc. and Lowe's Cos. There is also a concern that U.S.'s retail sales growth this holiday shopping season may be the worst in at least five years and signal an economic contraction. The number of economists forecasting the U.S. will slip into recession almost doubled over the last two months.

What's the likelihood of a global recession? I think it is never so high before since 9/11.

Singapore's Q3 GDP growth falls short of market expectations

It's a Bad Day

It's a bad day and I decided to sleep over it.

A Grave Mistake Made that Cost Me a Bomb

More than a hundred dollars went missing due to a careless mistake made. I am not sure if the loss will go up further but I definitely know it will take more very long or perhaps never to recoup the losses.

It's a harsh lesson being learnt indeed. 我的心好痛...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Old Chang Kee to Go Public

What started off as a humble curry puff stall near the old Rex Theatre is now multi-million dollar food business. One step at a time, Han Keen Juan, Chairman of Old Chang Kee, overcame budget constraints and other challenges to build Old Chang Kee into the household name it is today. Here he talks about the pains of entrepreneurship and the rewards that await those who perserve.

Interview with Han Keen Juan, Chairman of Old Chang Kee

Old Chang Kee eyes Sesdaq listing

Is It Really "Clean Air, Save Climate"?

Indonesian activists rolled a giant inflatable globe on the street during a "clean air, save climate" campaign in Jakarta today.

Indonesia, which is the the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, will host the 13th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali in December.

From the photo, traffic almost crawled to a stop. I thought stationary vehicles emit more greenhouse gases?

Goldman sees subprime cutting $2 trillion in lending

The slump in global credit markets will force banks, brokerages and hedge funds to cut lending by $2 trillion, triggering the risk of a “substantial recession” in the U.S., according to Goldman Sachs. Losses related to record U.S. home foreclosures using a “back-of-the-envelope” calculation may be as high as $400 billion for financial companies, Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman in New York wrote in a report. The effects may be amplified tenfold as companies that borrowed to finance their investments scale back lending, the report said.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Google Co-Founder Page Off the Market

Larry Page will be getting married on 8 December 2007.
I particularly like this statement:
    "Guests have been advised to have their passports available to travel internationally, the newspaper said.",1759,2216819,00.asp

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

SQL Server 2008 Sneak Preview

It has been months since I last attended a talk. I shall try to make myself available for this coming tech talk.

Date : Thursday 22 November 2007
Time : 6.45pm – 9.00pm
Venue: 1 Marina Boulevard
#22-01, One Marina Boulevard

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Google offers US$10m in prizes for new mobile phone software

Google is offering US$10 million in prizes for people who build the best software to enhance the company's upcoming mobile phone operating system - Android. Android is the open source platform Google designed for building mobile phones. This challenge is to spark off innovation.

Developers can submit applications between January 2 and March 3.

Android Developer Challenge

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is Global Market Going to Fall in 4th Quarter

As compiled by the Bloomberg, the US S&P 500 rose in the fourth quarter 58 of 79 times since 1928. History has shown that usually it's best to pick up stocks in the 4th quarter because they come in cheap and 4th quarter usually marks the start of a bull run. However, it seems this year's 4th quarter is an exception.

For years since the Internet bubble burst, technology and utilities stocks in the US have been performing very well till now. Their performance have prevented the US stock market from collapsing and are now trading near their most expensive valuations. However, the recent slight fall of these stocks are sending us warnings that the bull run could be over soon.

The last time the market was so dependent on technology and utilities stocks are in year 2000 (around the Internet bubble burst period). That's when the US S&P 500 index plunges 49 percent over 2.5 years! It seems that we are to be extra careful.

I hope brokers and analysts can update clients more often on the market trends and advise on the necessary actions to undertake before investors' hard-earned cash are lost overnight.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Am a Software Engineer

Recently, I was quite active on a financial blog posting comments. There is only person who had just emailed me asking what's my profession.

I am a software engineer working in the IT industry.

Poor return to policyholder

This is an interesting discussion on poor return to policyholder and the company in picture is "PXXXXXXXXX". I would say commission is needed for advisers as this their source of income. However, wouldn't it have been better if the cost is paid to an IFA who provides services in comparing the various products in the market and recommends the best ones? We should be gunning for service based and not product based.

2 Dates To Watch Out For Investors

In UK, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have come under the most pressure due to their large exposure to US sub-prime mortgages and to the problems in global financial markets. Banks in UK are now "queuing" up to prepare to give speeches to the public on their credit positions in the next few weeks.

Barclays' update - November 27
RBS's update - December 6

Life Is Tough

I am still working in front of my laptop at this very hour! Life is tough. I think it's really time to give myself a chance for a breather. This will be one of my goals for year 2008.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is Citigroup Sell-Off to Be True One Day

After all the many financial markets tumbles, many big firms have turned victims. One of many victims is Citigroup. Citigroup now risk being forced to break up its model and sell off some of its assets for survival. Is this really going to be true?

Yes, my previous post has suggested of an imminent recession. Poor performance by US and Japan will definitely cause a slowdown to even the emerging Asia.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Congrats to Anthony

Congratulations to Anthony for passing his CCNA paper. Well done!

Thanks for the adSense Clicks

I would like to thank whoever who clicked 4 times on my adSense ads yesterday.

Berkshire Hathaway profit rises 64%

Berkshire Hathaway, the company controlled by world's No 1 investor, Warren Buffett, said third-quarter profit surged 64 percent. Berkshire's Class A shares closed up US$1,250 at US$132,500, and its Class B shares rose US$25 to US$4,402. I doubt few are rich enough to buy 1,000 shares of Berkshire's shares. 1,000 shares of his Class A shares will come up to US$1,250,000!

More Details Below

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Top Analyst Received Death Threats After Citigroup Downgrade

Meredith Whitney, the analyst who prompted a $369 billion (£177 billion) plunge in the value of US shares on Thursday by issuing a negative note on Citigroup, hit out at Wall Street’s culture of intimidation yesterday after receiving several death threats from investors in the bank.

US Dow Jones fall also resulted in Asia markets to free fall as well.

Experts-Exchange Corporate Accounts

Experts-Exchange has just launched Corporate Accounts for businesses. EE lists out 5 benefits of Corporate Accounts.

#5. All the information you need, whenever you need it.
Never go to another site for your IT or technology problems again! Experts Exchange is available 24/7, giving you access to the information you need to solve your problems whenever you need it--at home or in the office, during business hours or late night session.

#4. Be more productive -- helping you do your job better.
IT professionals benefit both personally and professionally by participating in an IT community. By collaborating with the best IT professionals the world over, you will grow your knowledge and skill set, making you more valuable to your company.

#3. Save time -- helping you work more efficiently
According to a King Research study, 93% of IT professionals who rely on an IT community claim that they do their jobs more efficiently and save time by using the IT community to solve their IT problems. 43% say they save 3 or more hours every week! Source:

#2. Save money -- corporate discounts save over 42%.
Corporate Accounts save you money by giving you additional discounts above and beyond the already discounted yearly memberships. Create your account today and save over 42% off our monthly rate.

#1. Instant access to the #1 IT resource on the internet.
With over 10 years experience pioneering the online IT collaboration field, the most comprehensive knowledgebase of over 1.9 million proven solutions as well as hundreds of thousands of active members from around the world, Experts Exchange is the best resource for your IT staff... period.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Bad Day for the Stock Market

The stock market wrapped up this week having ST Index falling 88.24 points on 2 Nov 2007 (Fri). US market falling over 360 points on 1 Nov 2007 (Thu). FYI, the US market is still falling right now after Friday market just opened for them.

Total Rises Counters = 190
Total Falls Counters = 657
Total Unchanged Counters = 822

Bastards bullying Singapore senior citizen

Ugly tourists bullying Singapre trishaw rider. Shame on them!

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