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Showing posts from March, 2008

Google Syntax Highlighter

I was doing some experimenting on some free Syntax Highlighter available on the Internet and found some interesting ones.

Currently, I am using a Code Snippet plugin for Windows Live Writer. All was working pretty fine except the plugin is not very friendly when showing of line numbers is enabled. Attempting to copy published source code by selecting text will end up line numbers being selected as well.

A further research brings me to SyntaxHighlighter on Google Code. This tool is purely in JavaScript and hence does not require the use of any third-party software or any servers to be installed. I have decided to give this tool a try and see if it integrates well with Blogger.

Malicious Email Claiming to be From Singnet

On 25 Mar 2008, I received a malicious email claiming to be from Singnet. That email attempts to trick someone into replying with their Singnet's account password.

Below is the email I received.


Singnet Account Supervisor Team


Dear Singnet member,


Dear Singnet member,

You are receiving this email with regards to your personal account.Please read carefully before continuing as some vital information is being updated.

Your account is showing to be incomplete due to a data failure in our systems and you MUST provide us with a correct information within 48 hours of receiving this email. Failure to comply will result in account termination.

To update your account provide us with the following datas:

2.Account Password:
3.Mother maiden Name:
4.Complete Name:

Ensure the informations are correct carefully before submitting it,mistakes can terminate your account. Thank you for your support.

Supervisor Team

Generic Method to Pad Array with Values

I recently wrote a code snippet to fill arrays with a value. The below method is a generic method that will accept different data types. Hope it will come in handy.
/// <summary> /// Generic method to pad array elements with values /// </summary> /// <typeparam name="T"></typeparam> /// <param name="myArray">Specified array</param> /// <param name="startIndex">Zero based start index</param> /// <param name="endIndex">Zero based end index</param> /// <param name="value">Value to set for array elements</param> public static void PadArrayWithValues<t>(T[] myArray, int startIndex, int endIndex, T value) { //Validate bounds if (myArray != null && myArray.Length > endIndex && startIndex <= endIndex && startIndex >= 0) { //Set elements with value for (int i = startIndex; i <= endIndex; i++) …

Google Involvement in Earth Hour 2008

Google users in the United States will notice today that we "turned the lights out" on the homepage as a gesture to raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. As to why we don't do this permanently - it saves no energy; modern displays use the same amount of power regardless of what they display. However, you can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

Given our company's commitment to environmental awareness and energy efficiency, we strongly support the Earth Hour campaign, and have darkened our homepage today to help spre…

Earth Hour 2008

In 2008, 24 global cities will participate in Earth Hour at 8pm on March 29. Earth Hour is the highlight of a major campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to take the simple steps needed to cut their emissions on an ongoing basis. It is about simple changes that will collectively make a difference – from businesses turning off their lights when their offices are empty, to households turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.

Earth Hour 2008 Official Website

Singapore Business Supporters

NETS Revises Pricing for NETS CashCard

Consumers are going to have pay more for their NETS CashCard come May, as it will include the cost of the CashCard as well. We will have to fork out S$10 for a CashCard - comprising S$5 for the cost of the card and S$5 for the stored value amount. Currently, we are paying $7 for every purchase - comprising S$5 for the stored value and another S$2 deposit which is refundable. Cards will expire every 5 years for both current and future versions.

NETS Announcement

With this new arrangement, consumers are going to pay for NETS production costs and we are left with nothing to gain. NETS are already charging retailers more for using NETS service since 1 July 2007 and now, they are showing their soft power once again.

Do we have a choice? Just think of the number of services that need CashCard. Should you have got any feedback on NETS CashCard, you may submit yours here. But will your voices be heard?

I am going to try to get o…

Google Annual Letter Excerpt from Google Annual Report 2007

The below letter written by Google is an excerpt from Google's Annual Report for 2007.


It is amazing to me that it has been nearly ten years since Sergey and I founded Google. When we went public, we promised to write a yearly founders’ letter in a frank style to keep all of you updated on our progress. We’ve taken turns writing the letter, and this year that responsibility falls to me.

We have seen our company scale tremendously, to more than 17,000 employees in 20 countries worldwide. But what’s even more amazing to me are the possibilities that appear before us—close enough to envision, but important enough to inspire our best efforts. I’m excited and hopeful we will continue to make progress in a wide variety of significant areas. I’m also happy to report that Sergey, Eric, and I continue to work together fabulously. I feel very lucky to be working with them and with our whole growing team (growing mostly just in numbers, despite our excellent food).

Speaking of our t…

New Google China

Google has launched a new Google China just for China. Google China uses animated icons similar to Google Korea launched last year. So far, a total of three international Google search sites are launched for Asia.

Google China:

Google Korea:

Google Japan:

Adobe Photoshop Express - Free Online Photo Sharing, Editing, Storage

Adobe Photoshop Express is a free online photo-sharing, editing, and storage site. As of its launch, users will be provided with 2GB of free storages and integration with popular Web apps such as Facebook and Photobucket. Further partnerships with sites like Flickr to come. You can crop, rotate, tweak, twirl, and show off your photos!

Adobe Photoshop Express

Spybot Search and Destroy - Secure File Shredder

Spybot Search and Destroy's utility Secure Shredder aims to completely remove files in a way that they will be unrecoverable with software or hardware means. Using this tool, you can remove temporary files, browser cookies, cache files, or whatever other documents you don't want others finding.

Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.5.2

Interesting Never Rock or Tilt Sign

I was at East Coast Park last Friday with Regine and we spotted the above sign on a vending machine near Burger King fast food restaurant. I thought it is rather interesting.

Rules on off-in-lieu

I quote from a 25 Mar 2008 MyPaper article written by Ms Jean Tan, Director, Corporate Communications for Permanent Secretary Ministry of Manpower, on "Rules of off-in-lieu" below:

"For an employee on a five-day work week, Saturday would be considered a day-off and Sunday a rest day.

Under the Employment Act, if a public holiday falls on a day-off, an employee is entitled to one day off-in-lieu or be given one extra day's pay.

If it falls on a rest day, the law provides that the working day following the rest day will be a paid public holiday.

Speed Up Windows Shutdown

Should you wish to speed up Windows shutdown, you may try the below method. There is a configuration key in the Windows registry that controls how long Windows will wait for a program to end itself before killing it in the process of shutting down. Though it may looks cool to shutdown fast, the main reason as to why your background processes take long time to close is overlooked.

Shut down Windows in an instant

Sync Google Calendar with Microsoft Outlook™ Calendar in Two Directions

Google Calendar Sync allows you to sync events between Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar. You'll be able to determine the direction of information flow, as well as the sync frequency. Direction of sync can be 2-way or 1-way specifying either from Google Calendar to Microsoft Outlook Calendar or vice versa. Staying on top of your Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar events has never been easier!

No More Pay By Touch Service by Citibank

Citibank credit card customers can no longer make transactions using their fingerprints.

This is because Pay By Touch, the bank's partner in biometric payment services, has discontinued such services.

Citibank launched the One-Touch biometric payment service in November 2006.

The discontinuation of the services comes about three months after Solidus Networks, owner of Pay By Touch, filed for Chapter 11 US bankruptcy protection.

I'm helping to stop global warming

Climate change is an urgent issue that requires immediate solutions. That's why I've joined with Al Gore and others across the country and around the world who want to halt global warming.

We're on the verge of being over one million strong and I'm asking you to join us. Please click here today to become part of the solutions to global warming:

If leaders in business and government are going to make stopping climate change a priority, we need to send a loud message that we want action now. That's why I'm asking you to get involved today:

Together, we can stop global warming.

Unbelievably Poor Service from Phillip Securities

I recently have encountered a series of disappointing encounters with the service fronts. No wonder more are leaving local companies for foreign counterparts. From a ChannelNewsAsia news article, companies in Singapore are losing customers faster when compared to firms across the region. A recent survey which found that six out of ten consumers here changed service providers in the past year. I shall name SBS Transit, Citibank and Phillip Securities as those few whom I have had bad encounters with. Of course I should not stereotype an organization as a whole, however, a handful of black sheep would be enough to put a black mark on the whole. Isn't this how the world works?

I shall describe the sequence of events with Phillip Securities recently below and I bet you yourself will be left bewildered if you were me.

14 Nov 2007

I sent an email to AMK Phillip Securities to make an enquiry on transaction fees for telebroker and SMS service. Having waited for a week without reply, I decided…

Googley Design Guidelines

Jon Wiley, User Experience Designer for Google Apps, outlined some of the most important principles for designing interfaces at Google. I thought this is also very relevant when designing other systems or applications. Useful: focus on people - their lives, their work, their dreams.Fast: every millisecond counts.Simple: simplicity is powerful.Engaging: engage beginners and attract experts.Innovative: dare to be innovative.Universal: design for the world.Profitable: plan for today's and tomorrow's business.Beautiful: delight the eye without distracting the mind.Trustworthy: be worthy of people's trust.Personable: add a human touch.

Discontinuation of the McDonald's Rewards Program

The McDonald's Rewards program will be discontinued with effect from 1 June 2008. In the meantime, all Rewards may still earn and redeem their Rewards points as follows:

Now till 11 April 2008

Rewards points can still be earned and redeemed.

12 April 2008 till 31 May 2008

Eligibility to earn Rewards points will cease. However, redemption is still possible

From 1 June 2008

Redemption will be not possible. However, since redemption slips have a 30 days expiry, redemption slips printed before 1 June 2008 will still be valid for the next 30 days. After 30 June 2008, any and all redemption slips shall no longer be valid.

For any queries, McDonald's can be reached at 1800-4919810.

Official Announcement

Machine Check Error Occurs on Windows Server 2003 on Multiprocessor Machine

Recently, I encountered a machine check error on a AMD motherboard running 2 x dual-core processors making it 4 CPUs and 16 GB RAM. Operating system running is Windows Server 2003 R2 SP 1. The machine is very powerful and performance issue is definitely out of the question. Software causing the machine check error is a .NET application compiled in x64 configuration platform.

A trial and error concludes that x64 could be causing some problems to the set of codes I wrote. BTW, the .NET application is just a small application doing duplex serial communication via RS-232 serial ports. A change from x64 to x86 compilation seems to work miraculously. After further searching on the internet, I attempted to install the latest Service Pack. The problem seems to have gone away even with a x64 compilation.

A machine check error may occur without any noticeable symptoms in Windows Server 2003

How to disable the corrected machine check on a Microsoft Windows Serv…

Check Website Availability - is another alternative to DownForEveryoneOrJustMe to check website availability. To check if Google is availabile, simply type in textbox before clicking on Submit.

Check Website Availability with

Check Website Availability with DownForEveryoneOrJustMe

JPMorgan Agrees to Buy Bear Stearns at Cheap Price

JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to buy Bear Stearns Cos. for $240 million, about 90 percent less than its value last week, after a run on the company ended 85 years of independence for Wall Street's fifth-largest securities firm. Shareholders of Bear Stearns will get stock in JPMorgan equivalent to about $2 a share, compared with $30 at the close on March 14. Mind you, share price was $158.59 last April! JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon bought Bear Stearns, once the biggest underwriter of U.S. mortgage bonds, for less than the value of its real estate after clients, alarmed by speculation about a cash shortage, withdrew $17 billion in two days. Faced with the prospect of bankruptcy, Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz was forced to accept the deal less than five days after he assured investors that the company's ``liquidity cushion'' was sufficient to weather credit-market losses.

Facebook to Launch Internal Instant Messaging Service?

On Friday, a rumor surfaced that Facebook would be launching an internal instant-messaging service . Then, on Saturday, gossip blog Valleywag suggested that launching the IM service would involve acquiring Social.IM, a Facebook application that enables instant message chat between services like AIM, Yahoo, and Windows Live Messenger.

Solving tesUpload Giving chmod Permission Problems

One of the few things that PHP lacks that other web environments have, is the ability to report the progress of a file upload. This means that file uploads, especially uploads of larger files, can be extremely frustrating for end users when they don’t know if the upload is progressing or if it has stalled or if it has even started.

tesUpload solves this problem by using a perl script that handles the progress reporting. Don’t worry if you are a hardcore PHP programmer, you won’t have to touch the perl code at all. Just put the cgi-script in your cgi-bin folder and forget about it.

However, some may encounter permission issues especially when CGI process is running on a different user as compared to the web server's. Hence, uploaded files end up not accessible! A simple workaround is to add a chmod in file upload.cgi. Somewhere near line 224, simply add the below 1 statement and BINGO!
while(<$fh>) { print $tmp_fh $_; } close($tmp_fh); chmod 0666, $tmp_filename; /* Added …

Watch YouTube Videos in Higher Quality

You may have noticed that we're now giving you the option of watching some YouTube videos in higher quality. We're making these streams available on certain videos, based upon the source file uploaded to us, and over time you'll find a greater percentage of the library is available to view in higher quality. This feature applies to all eligible videos uploaded from the YouTube community, and is not restricted to partner content, so everyone can enjoy this upgrade.

From YouTube, you can also set default setting to view high quality videos by configuring your accoutn settings.

YouTube Blog Entry

GoogleSystem Blog

MENA and EMEA Set to Be Next BRIC?

On September 2007, I posted on a new MENA fund by SG Asset Management. There is actually another fund that also focus on similar region - Fidelity EMEA.

MENA - Middle East and North Africa Fund
EMEA - Emerging Europe, Middle East, Africa Fund

These 2 funds are going to be the next "IN" thing after BRIC.

Mena on track to be the new Bric

FF Emerging Europe, Middle East, Africa Fund

Now We Have MENA

US Economy Is Really In Bad Shape

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is being forced to throw out four decades of monetary history by a financial system choking on miscalculated risks and a deepening recession.

Bernanke and the four Fed governors voted yesterday to become creditors to Bear Stearns Cos., a securities firm that isn't a bank, by invoking a law that hasn't been used since the 1960s. Three days earlier, the Fed said it would swap Treasury notes on its balance sheet for privately issued mortgage-backed securities held by Wall Street firms.

Dubai - From Desert to Wonder Lands In Less Than 20 Years

This should make up for all the sustainable engineering they are doing!

Dubai in 1990 prior to the craziness

The same street in 2003

Last year

The madness. Dubai is said to currently have 15-25% of all the world's cranes.

The Dubai Waterfront. When completed it will become the largest waterfront development in the world.

All of this was built in the last 5 years, including that island that looks like a palm tree.

The Palm Islands in Dubai. New Dutch dredging technology was used to create these massive man made islands. They are the largest artificial islands in the world and can be seen from space. Three of these Palms will be made with the last one being the largest of them all.

Upon completion, the resort will have 2,000 villas, 40 luxury hotels, shopping centers, movie theaters, and many other facilities. It is expected to support a population of approximately 500,000 people. It is advertised as being visible from the moon.

The World Islands. 300 artificially created islands in the shap…

Recover Lost Wireless Network with WirelessKeyView

WirelessKeyView recovers all wireless network keys (WEP/WPA) stored in your computer by the 'Wireless Zero Configuration' service of Windows XP and by the 'WLAN AutoConfig' service of Windows Vista. It allows you to easily save all keys to text/html/xml file, or copy a single key to the clipboard.

But, please use it to good use.

My Predictions is Malaysia Bourse to Fall Sharply on Monday

The recent Malaysia election says it all. Racial divide in Malaysia is evident and this is going to dampen investors' confidence in the fundamentals. Barisan Nasional did not manage a 2/3 majority and this results in losing rights to Consitution ammendment. The multi-billion corridors and Iskandar projects may be jeopardised. Time will only tell. Penang, technology hub of Malaysia, is lost to the opposition. This will mean plans for development of Malaysia's Silicon Valley may see a shift. Bills approval and Constitution ammendments may now take longer than usual.

My predictions is a sharp fall for Malaysia bourse on Monday 10 Mar 2008.

Malaysia Decides 2008 - Election Results

In summary, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's multi-racial coalition Barison Nasional (BN) won 139 out of 220 seats counted for the 222-seat Parliament. This is short of the 48 148 seats needed for a two-thirds majority. A two-thirds majority is needed to amend the Constitution.

BN loses 4 states to the opposition while opposition PAS retains Kelantan state. The 4 states are Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.


Generate PDF from Oracle Databases Using PLPDF

Generate dynamic PDF documents from data stored in Oracle databases using the PL/PDF program package. PL/PDF is written exclusively in PL/SQL. It is able to either store the generated PDF document in the database or provide the results directly to a browser using MOD_PLSQL. No third-party software is needed; PL/PDF only uses tools provided by the installation package of an Oracle Database (PL/SQL, MOD_PLSQL). Use PL/PDF to quickly and easily develop applications with dynamic content but also quality presentation and printing capabilities.


Standard Chartered's e$aver Accounts Interest Rates To Drop Again

Standard Chartered's e$aver Accounts interest rates is to drop again for the 5th time since its launch.

From 17th March 2008 onwards, e$aver Accounts with deposit less than $50K will be revised to 0.78% from 0.8%. e$aver Account has since revised their interest rate from 1.88% to 1.5%, 1.2% to 0.8%, and then now to 0.78%. MayBank's iSavvy account is now offering 1.08%.

e$aver New Interest Rates Announcement

My previous post on e$aver and iSavvy

Disappointed With Citibank's Poor Service

On 5 Mar 2008 Sunday, I went down to AMK Hub to submit a Citibank credit card application form at their Instant Issuance Counter. The application form I was using will entitle me a $20 voucher.

2 hours later, a credit card officer from AMK Hub called to inform me the card I applied for is ready for collection. I asked if I will be getting the voucher. I was told Instant Issuance counter does not give out vouchers and so I will not be getting any. I argued that the application form I used will entitle me that voucher. He shocked me when he said he had torn my application form and the only way to get the voucher is to get another application form from the merchant and reapply. I requested my just approved card to be terminated and a similar application form to be mailed to me. I was again told they do not have the forms. Service is poor.

On the same day, I called up Citibank hoping to get an answer to what had just happened. I was determined to get them to send me the application form and…

It's Time to Get Back to Experts-Exchange

After 3 months of inactivity, I think it's time to get back to Experts-Exchange and start answering technical questions again.

My expert points for the month of February 2008 is less than 3000! As for the current month, it is still ZERO!

US Daylight Saving Time Starts 9 Mar 08 Morning

This Sunday morning, 9 Mar 08, US Daylight Saving Time will kick in. This is the switch where you get an hour less in bed. At 02:00 local time Sunday morning the clocks go forward an hour.

US Daylight Saving Time starts this Sunday morning

Read more on Daylight Savings for the rest of the world

How to Create Strong Passwords?

The strongest password is in fact a "Blank" password in certain situations. From the below article, Microsoft describes why "Blank" password is best for those situations.

A blank password (no password at all) on your account is more secure than a weak password such as "1234". Criminals can easily guess a simplistic password, but on computers using Windows XP, an account without a password cannot be accessed remotely by means such as a network or the Internet. (This option is not available for Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows Me, or earlier versions).

Do read further to learn on the pros and cons of a blank password.

Help protect your personal information with strong passwords

The World's Richest People

Bill Gates after reigning as the world's richest person ends after his 13th year, he has now lost the throne despite increasing own net worth by US$2 billion.

The world's richest man is now Gates' best friend, Warren Buffett. Ranked 2nd is Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú. Bill Gates now ranked 3rd.

Some Possible Faces of Mas Selamat

The above picture is from It may look like a joke but who knows it may be handy to spot Mas Selamat in various forms of disguise. Mas Selamat is a master of disguise.

IRAS Auto-Inclusion Scheme

All Singaporeans are required to submit income tax for year 2007 as long as they receive a IRAS letter with pin number. Filing of income tax starts on 1st March 2008 and ends at 15th April 2008. Before submission, check if your employer is in the Auto-Inclusion Scheme.

The Auto-Inclusion Scheme (AIS) is a scheme where employers transmit details of employees' employment income to IRAS electronically. Information on salary, bonus, tax-deductible donations, CPF contributions etc, are then auto-included in the employees' income tax assessment without them having to declare or claim when filing their income tax returns.

So who are the participating companies?

RSS Feed for Gmail Unread Messages

Gmail has a very cool feature not available in other webmail applications: feeds for unread messages. For example, the feed shows the most recent unread items from your inbox. Gmail also offers feeds for your labels:, but it would be nice to have a comprehensive listing of all the unread messages, not just the ones that have a certain label. As you probably know, "unread" is one of the many built-in labels in Gmail, so you can use it to obtain this feed: In the URLs above, you can replace "http" with "https" for more security.

Poster on Escaped JI Leader, Mas Selamat, for Dissemination

Please assist to disseminate the below poster and its message to as many places, including workplaces, as possible. The poster should preferably be printed on A3 size paper and in colour. Let's lend a hand to help nab the terroist leader as soon as possible. [ PDF File ]

Google Engineering Philosophy

The Google Engineering Philosophy - As presented at last year's Google Engineering Open House.
All developers work out of a ~single source depot; shared infrastructure! A developer can fix bugs anywhere in the source tree. Building a product takes 3 commands ("get, config, make") Uniform coding style guidelines across company Code reviews mandatory for all checkins Pervasive unit testing, written by developers Unit tests run continuously, email sent on failure Powerful tools, shared company-wide Rapid project cycles; developers change projects often; 20% time Peer-driven review process; flat management structure Transparency into projects, code, process, ideas, etc. Dozens of offices around world => hire best people regardless of location

Bus Fare Stages Update Hit By Software Glitch - Leap Year Bug?

The Land Transport Authority said a software glitch had disabled the automatic updating of the bus fare stages. This incident happened on a Saturday morning, 1 Mar 2008. There is no mention on the reason behind the glitch but I speculate it could be due to leap year in year 2008. There are 29 days in February this year.

Singapore 2010 Impression

Is Singapore going to be like this in year 2010? Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is an electronic system of road pricing based on a pay-as-you-use principle.