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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Ready for Download on June 2008

Yesterday, I mentioned Microsoft is to make Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) available for download via Automatic Updates on 29th May 2008. However, it seems it will only be ready in June.

Service Pack 3 will contain all previously released Windows XP updates, including security updates, out-of-band releases, and hotfixes. SP3 will also feature four Vista features.
  • Network Access Protection (NAP) is a policy enforcement platform meant for enterprise use that blocks systems attempting to access a network until they meet whatever security criteria the corporation has in place.
  • "Black Hole" Router Detection helps detect and protect end users from a router that drops packets without returning the specified Internet Control Message Protocol response.
  • Microsoft Kernel Cryptographic Module incorporates cryptographic algorithms in a single module other kernel mode drivers are capable of hooking into and accessing.
  • The new Product Activation module allows users to install XP without entering a product key at installation.
Article from ars technica

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview (in pdf)

High Cost of Living in Singapore

I just read an article published in It is on the high cost of living in Singapore and some suggestions on how it can be improved. I find it interesting.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Raffles Place Ghost Mystery

Recently, there is this rumour of ghost being sighted in one of the Raffles Place lift. Just for your information, I shall post it here. Anyway, I don't believe in supernatural.

CCTV on "Ghost"

Raffles Place Ghost - Even got blog!

Raffles Place Ghost - Different view on this mystery (Find it rather humourous)

If you believe it, then it exists. If you do not believe it, then it does not exist.

NTUC Income Annual Bonus Cut but Up Special Bonus - A Strategy?

By cutting the guaranteed annual bonus and putting more weight on the non-guaranteed special bonus, this will give them more leeway to "manage" the bonus at year end.

FYI, the present CEO of NTUC Income who took over from Mr Tan Kin Lian was from Prudential. Branding should be in the pipeline for sure. How often do you now see NTUC Income setting up roadshows? Do you see them in the past? I thought it would be interesting to see how the present CEO will run a cooperative (owned by policyholders) versus his days at Prudential (owned by shareholders).

NTUC Income Annual Bonus Cut - Is It Fair?

I personally does not have policies with NTUC Income but have been hearing news that they are cutting annual bonus despite posting a healthy over 10% gain in investment yield in year 2007. Policy holders are actually expecting an increase in bonus but instead, the cooperative does the opposite. As a cooperative, one must have thought "people" are always placed Number One but this time round, profit is placed as a higher priority.

Mr Tan Kin Lian, NTUC Income ex-CEO, has raised his concerns over the recent unexpected bonus changes. From NTUC Income, policy holders will be expecting a higher payout on maturity or death as they are increasing their special bonus. However, it is to note that special bonus is non-guaranteed and can be lowered to cover marketing expenses, overheads, or to increase higher profit at year end. A high investment yield in year 2007 has already resulted in a cut in annual bonus and who knows what will happen next year should investment yield in year 2008 were to end lower - which is quite likely given the current weak economic outlook.

Recently, NTUC has unveiled a whole new logo which I personally feel it unnecessary. NTUC is a cooperative and is a household brand name and there is no need to spend additional costs in a new logo design. A new logo is usually necessary for a profit driven corporate especially after a merger or acquisition. Not only additional cost has been spent on the new logo design, NTUC is also moving into more aggressive markerting, conducting roadshows to sell their policies. This is very different years ago.

An advice to existing NTUC Income policy holders is if you are not satisfied with the reason being provided as to why a cut in annual bonus is essential, you should question them how the dollar cut is being used. There should be more transparency isn't it? It's your money after all.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Out Soon

Chris Keroack, Release Manager of Windows XP Service Pack 3, has just announced that Windows XP Service Pack 3 is to be released to the web on April 29th. So, in a few hours time, it should be out!

"Today we are happy to announce that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has released to manufacturing (RTM). Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be available to OEM and Enterprise customers.

We are also in the final stages of preparing for release to the web (i.e. you!) on April 29th, via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center. Online documentation for Windows XP SP3, such as Microsoft Knowledge Base articles and the Microsoft TechNet Windows XP TechCenter, will be updated then. For customers who use Windows XP at home, Windows XP SP3 Automatic Update distribution for users at home will begin in early summer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back from Genting Trip

I just came back from a 2 days 1 night (26th - 27th Apr) getaway trip to Genting with Regine. It was fun except the weather was not as cold as I wanted it to be most probably due to now being the hotter season of the year.

Deepavali to be on 27 Oct in Year 2008 Instead

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has just announced that the actual Deepavali date for 2008 is 27 October 2008 (Monday) instead of 28 October 2008 (Tuesday). The date is now confirmed after verifying with the just made available Indian Almanacs.

We will need to update our personal calendar to mark the new public holiday - Deepavali. It's Monday and this means a long weekend awaits us!

Friday, April 25, 2008

What is Metacognition?

I learnt about this new term Metacognition from a friend's blog. Even though I have studied some cognitive theory before, I have not heard of metacognition.


KNOWING HOW TO LEARN, and knowing which strategies work best, are valuable skills that differentiate expert learners from novice learners. Metacognition, or awareness of the process of learning, is a critical ingredient to successful learning.

Metacognition is an important concept in cognitive theory. It consists of two basic processes occurring simultaneously: monitoring your progress as you learn, and making changes and adapting your strategies if you perceive you are not doing so well. It's about self-reflection, self-responsibility and initiative, as well as goal setting and time management.

Metacognitive skills include taking conscious control of learning, planning and selecting strategies, monitoring the progress of learning, correcting errors, analyzing the effectiveness of learning strategies, and changing learning behaviors and strategies when necessary.

More definitions of Metacognition from Google Search.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Who is Ray Ozzie?

Ray Ozzie is now the chief software architect of Microsoft Corp since June 2006 when Chairman Bill Gates announced his intent to relinquish his Microsoft day-to-day responsibilities in July 2008.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ubuntu Cheat Sheet

Singapore March 2008 CPI Up 6.7%

Singapore's Consumer Price Index (CPI) up 6.7% in March 2008 as compared to March 2007. As compared to February 2008, CPI is down by 0.1%.

The government's forecast for inflation this year ranges between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent.

Detailed report by the Department of Statistics, Singapore

MayBank iSAVvy Savings Account Interest Rates Revised Again

I missed this announcement completely! MayBank iSAVvy Savings Account interest rates was revised on 4 April 2008, which is more than 2 weeks ago. Currently, they are offering only at 0.88% for daily balance of S$5,000 to below S$50,000. This is from the previous 1.08%. 1.08% interest rate was from 4 February 2008 onwards and exactly 2 months from that point, it is revised again.

iSAVvy's competitor Standard Chartered's e$aver is now offering 0.78%.

My previous post on e$aver and iSavvy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shutdown Windows Using Built-In GUI

To shutdown another networked PC, we usually perform a RDC followed by Windows Shutdown or using a one-liner script shutdown /s /f /m PCName.

Little actually knows Windows has got a built-in GUI to perform remote shutdown. To launch the "hidden" GUI, go to Command Prompt and type.
   1: shutdown /i

The above script will activate the below Remote Shutdown Dialog.

Receiving Average 30 Emails Per Day

I am receiving an average of 30 emails per day after I going back to EE participation. Few years ago when my participation in EE was most active, I can get hundreds over emails per day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

SQL Server 2008 New Languages Causing SQL error 4078

SQL Server 2008 introduces a few new languages like Welsh, Tibetan and Norwegian. While these new languages map to the codepages in Windows Server 2008, in earlier operating systems (like XP) this is not so, and simple queries like “select * from mytable” can break with the SQL error 4078.

Solution as discussed below:

Directory Listing in ASP

As promised days ago, I am posting my own Active Server Pages 3.0 script in doing a directory listing. Below code snippet not only perform directory listing, it also allows content (text) viewing.

Some configurations you can mess with
  • Line 106 - 113: Specify file types to enable text content viewing
  • Line 166: Specify the directory to start listing
 ' Copyright © Loh Hon Chun. All rights reserved.
' Experts-Exchange Profile:
' Email Loh Hon Chun at hongjun_wap [AT] yahoo [DOT] com to get permission
'**Start Encode** 
Option Explicit
Response.Buffer = True
Response.Write "<html>"
Response.Write "<head>"
Response.Write "<title>"
Response.Write "Directory Listing: Copyright © Loh Hon Chun"
Response.Write "</title>"
Response.Write "<script language=""JavaScript"">" & vbCrlf
Response.Write "<!--" & vbCrlf
Response.Write "window.defaultStatus = 'Directory Listing: Copyright © Loh Hon Chun';" & vbCrlf
Response.Write "//-->" & vbCrlf
Response.Write "</script>" & vbCrlf
Response.Write "<style>"
Response.Write "a { color:#707070; text-decoration:none; }"
Response.Write "a:hover { color:#000000; text-decoration:none; }"
Response.Write "body {"
Response.Write "    font-size:9pt;"
Response.Write "    color: #2F4F4F;"
Response.Write "    FONT-FAMILY: Arial;"
Response.Write "    margin-top: 20px;"
Response.Write "    margin-left: 50px;"
Response.Write "}"
Response.Write "h1 {"
Response.Write "    font-weight: bold;"
Response.Write "    font-size;14pt;"
Response.Write "    font-family: Verdana;"
Response.Write "    color: #BC8F8F;"
Response.Write "}"
Response.Write ".header {"
Response.Write "    font-weight: bold;"
Response.Write "    font-size:10pt;"
Response.Write "    font-family: Verdana;"
Response.Write "}"
Response.Write ".contents {"
Response.Write "    font-size:11pt;"
Response.Write "    font-family: Verdana;"
Response.Write "}"
Response.Write "</style>"
Response.Write "<body>"
Response.Write "<h1>Directory Listing</h1>"
Response.Write ReadOutFile
Function ReadOutFile
    Dim strFilePath
    Dim fso, txtStream
    Dim strContents
    If Trim(Request.QueryString("f")) <> "" Then
        strFilePath = Server.MapPath(Trim(Request.QueryString("f")))
        ' Display only if it is not the current running file
        If Trim(Request.QueryString("f")) <> Right(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO"), Len(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO")) - InStrRev(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO"), "/")) Then
            Set fso = Server.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
            If fso.FileExists(strFilePath) Then
                Set txtStream = fso.OpenTextFile(strFilePath, 1)
                strContents = Server.HTMLEncode(txtStream.ReadAll)
                Set txtStream = Nothing
            End If
            Set fso = Nothing
            ReadOutFile = "<font class=""contents"">Contents for: <b>" & Trim(Request.QueryString("f")) & "</b> [ <a href=""" & Request.ServerVariables("URL") & """>Close</a> ]</font>" & _
                "<div style=""width:760px;height:300px;border-style:solid;border-width:1px;overflow:auto;"">" & _
                "<pre>" & strContents & "</pre>" & _
                "</div>" & _
        End If
        ReadOutFile = ""
    End If
End Function
Function ShowReadFileLink(strFilePath)
    Dim str
    Dim d
    Dim strExt
    strExt = UCase(Right(strFilePath, Len(strFilePath) - InStrRev(strFilePath, ".")))
    Set d = Server.CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary")
    d.Add "TXT", "TXT"
    d.Add "HTM", "HTM"
    d.Add "HTML", "HTML"
    d.Add "ASP", "ASP"
    d.Add "INC", "INC"
    d.Add "ASPX", "ASPX"
    d.Add "JS", "JS"
    d.Add "CSS", "CSS"
    str = ""
    ' Do not show Read File for this current running file
    If strFilePath <> Right(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO"), Len(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO")) - InStrRev(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO"), "/")) Then
        If d.Exists(strExt) Then
            str = "  [ <a href=""?f=" & Server.URLEncode(strFilePath) & """>Read</a> ]"
        End If
    End If
    ShowReadFileLink = str
    Set d = Nothing
End function
Function RecurseFolders(thisFolder)
    Set objFolder = objFSO.GetFolder(thisFolder)
    Dim strFilePath
    If StrComp(objFolder, Server.MapPath("."), 1) = 0 Then
        Response.Write "<font class=""header"">Current Directory</font>"
        Response.Write "<font class=""header"">" & Right(objFolder, Len(objFolder)-Len(Server.MapPath("."))) & "</font>"
    End If
    For Each objFile in objFolder.Files
        If Mid(objFolder.Path, Len(folder) + 2, Len(objFolder.Path)) <> "" Then
            strFilePath = Replace(Mid(objFolder.Path, Len(folder) + 2, Len(objFolder.Path)), "\", "/") & "/" & objFile.Name
            strFilePath = objFile.Name
        End If
        ' Do not show Read File for this running file
        If strFilePath <> Right(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO"), Len(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO")) - InStrRev(Request.ServerVariables("PATH_INFO"), "/")) Then       
            Response.Write " <a href=""./" & strFilePath & """>" & vbCrlf
            Response.Write objFile.Name & ShowReadFileLink(strFilePath) & vbCrlf
            Response.Write "</a>" & vbCrlf
        End If
    Response.Write ""
    If Not objFolder.Subfolders.Count = 0 Then
        For Each objSFolder in objFolder.SubFolders
    End If
End Function
Dim objFSO, objFolder, objFile, objSFolder
Dim folder
Set objFSO = Server.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
folder = Server.MapPath(".")
Call RecurseFolders(folder)
Response.Write "</body>"
Response.Write "</html>"

Three Possible Factors Leading to Escape of Mas Selamat

On 27 Feb 2008, JI leader, Mas Selamat, escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre. He is still at large.

The Committee of Inquiry (COI) has made the below conclusion and presented three possible factors that led to the escape of Mas Selamat.
  1. There was a physical security breach as the ventilation window in the toilet – from which Mas Selamat made his escape – did not have grilles.
  2. The guards watching Mas Selamat allowed him to close the door of the urinal cubicle when they should not have done so.
  3. There was a physical weakness in the perimeter fencing outside the Family Visitation Block, where the toilet was located, which made it easier for Mas Selamat to get out of the detention centre's premises.
Ministerial Statement by The Minister For Home Affairs Made in Parliament, 21 April 2008

Executive Summary Section of the COI report

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Experts-Exchange Answered Questions Compiled as CHM Help File

I have just compiled my Experts-Exchange Answered Questions list into a CHM help file. This conversion is made possible all thanks to fellow EE expert, PaulHews. PaulHews created a utility for the conversion.

My CHM Help File [ 8.6 MB ]

Saturday, April 19, 2008

PayPal to Block Browsers for Security

PayPal just released a paper titled - "A Practical Approach to Managing Phishing". The paper mentioned PayPal plan to prompt users using "unsafe" browers that they are using unsafe browsers when logging into PayPal. Later, they plan on blocking customers from accessing the site from the most unsafe – usually the oldest – browsers.

In PayPal's perspective, unsafe browsers are those which do not have support for blocking phishing sites or for Extended Validation. The new Extended Verification SSL certificates are used in Internet Explorer 7 and the upcoming Mozilla Firefox 3. EV SSL highlights the address bar in green when the site has been certified. Other browsers, such as Apple Safari and Opera, do not currently include these protections.

A Practical Approach to Managing Phishing

Google Whois Search

Google shows a special OneBox when you search for "whois", followed by a domain name: for example, [whois]. The OneBox shows the date when a certain domain was created and date when it will expire.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sound Banking System in Singapore - Deposit Insurance Scheme

Singapore consumers enjoy the benefits of a sound banking system. Banks and finance companies licensed in Singapore are supervised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It is MAS’ aim to ensure the stability of the banking system in Singapore and to require financial institutions to have sound risk management systems and adequate internal controls.

However, MAS does not guarantee the soundness of individual financial institutions. Therefore, a Deposit Insurance Scheme has been set up to protect the core savings of small depositors in Singapore in the event a full bank or finance company fails.

What is deposit insurance?

"Deposit insurance protects depositors in the event a Scheme member fails. The Deposit Insurance Scheme compensates your savings up to a maximum of S$20,000."

How does the Deposit Insurance Scheme work?

"In the event a Scheme member that is covered under the scheme fails, the MAS will request the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) to step in. The SDIC will put its crisis plan into action. Affected depositors will be notified and arrangements will be made for depositors to be paid either by cheque or through accounts opened for them in another financial institution.

The SDIC will make the compensation from insurance premiums that Scheme members pay every year under the Deposit Insurance Scheme.

Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation

List of Scheme Members

Frequently Asked Questions

What Warren Thinks and His Advice On Investing

A very enriching interview on Warren Buffett.

What advice would you give to someone who is not a professional investor? Where should they put their money?

"Well, if they're not going to be an active investor - and very few should try to do that - then they should just stay with index funds. Any low-cost index fund. And they should buy it over time ..."

What should we say to investors now?

"You know, I always say you should get greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy. But that's too much to expect. Of course, you shouldn't get greedy when others get greedy and fearful when others get fearful."

EE Member Satisfied With Help Provided

A comment made by asiya13 on a ASP question.

"THANK YOU very much, yes moving the function out the loop works!! I wanted to say I am very impressed with the quick response and solutions. I work in London England, posted the question just before I finished work yesterday, check my email this morning, theres the solution. I signed up for the 7 days free trial on Monday, but I decided to continue my subscription."

How to Lock Your Computer Using Script?

Copy and paste the script below into a flat file and save it with a .cmd extension. Double-clicking (running) it will lock the computer.
   1: @echo off
   2: rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation

How Hedge Fund Managers Win Billion Dollar

Mr George Soros, one of the world's most successful speculators and richest men, leapt out of retirement last summer as the market turmoil spread - and he won big. Mr Soros unsurprisingly made it to the top list for year 2007. He was also at the top of list for 2006.

This is only the other side of the story. When there are winners, there are definitely bound to have losers. Just look at the billions if not trillions lost since last August.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Best and Worst Ways to Optimize Your Code

An excerpt from the below article is as below:

"There are some dreadful ways of making code trying to make code run fast. The worst mistake is to write your code in a machine-Friendly-human –unfriendly way, an art beloved of a few Perl programmers. Another bad idea is to compromise a good Object-oriented model in pursuit of small savings in Garbage-collection, a process equivalent to the sin of de-normalisation. It is programming without all your faculties, blind to what is going on and, even worse, without the faculty of thought."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Full Mobile Number Portability Finally Here in Singapore From 13 June 2008

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) finally announced the arrival of full mobile number portability from 13 June 2008. I have been waiting for this day since last year! FYI, I am without contract since May 2007. Yes, I am a free agent.

Singapore To Enjoy Full Mobile Number Portability From 13 June

Potential Harm of Bisphenol-A (BPA) In Containers, Hard-Plastic Bottles

Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found in many food containers and hard-plastic water bottles can be harmful. BPA is either perfectly safe or a dangerous health risk. The plastics industry says it is harmless, but a growing number of scientists are concluding, from some animal tests, that exposure to BPA in the womb raises the risk of certain cancers, hampers fertility, and could contribute to childhood behavioral problems such as hyperactivity.

So, is Your Nalgene Bottle Toxic?,1759,2283931,00.asp

Upload and Convert PowerPoint Slides to Video

With authorSTREAM, it is possible to convert your PowerPoint slides into video and embed them onto blogs without having to worry your users do not have PowerPoint installed.

authorSTREAM is a place to share and discover great PowerPoint presentations worldwide on just any topic. With authorSTREAM you can
  • Upload your PowerPoint file as it is, with rehearsed timings or with audio narrations.
  • Embed the presentation in your blog or e-mail the link to your friends.
  • Browse and discover interesting presentations uploaded by authorSTREAM members.
  • Rate presentations or post comments.
  • It’s all FREE!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to Perform "No to All" When Copying Files

If you were to perform copy of a set of files from one directory to another, you will be prompted a Confirm File Replace dialog if there are existing files in the targeted directory having the same name. From the dialog, we have "Yes to All" button but mysteriously missing "No to All" button. Suppose we have no intentions to replace all files, we will need to click on "No" button repeatedly to tell Windows not to replace existing files or "Cancel" button to tell Windows to stop copying totally. Note that "Cancel" button will also stop copying of files even if filenames are unique.

Actually, there's a shortcut to perform a "No to All". You can do a "No to All" functionality by simply holding onto the SHIFT key on your keyboard before clicking on the "No" button in the Confirm File Replace dialog box.

Note that this is applicable for Windows XP but not Vista since Vista provides more advanced options when it comes to copy and paste of files.

Creating a Directory Browsing Page Using ASP

Microsoft provides sample classic ASP code to perform directory listing on a web directory. Someone on a IT forum actually pointed out the below code. I thought Microsoft does a great job since Directory Listing is often a frequently asked question. However, there is a catch in the code and some will be caught scratching their head as to why there is a security issue running the script.

You will need to comment out line 6 - 9.
   6: ' this section is optional - it just denies anonymous access
   7: If Request.ServerVariables("LOGON_USER")="" Then
   8:    Response.Status = "401 Access Denied"
   9: End If

Creating a directory browsing page using ASP

I shall be posting my own Directory Listing version in classic ASP in a day or two's time.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Singapore to Diversify Pork Sources

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has announced that it has approved the import of pork from Chile and the Philippines. Pork imports ban from Malaysia may also be lifted. This shows Singapore is looking for more diversification when it comes to pork sources.

Test Regular Expressions Online with RegExr

RegExr is an online tool for editing and testing Regular Expressions (RegExp / RegEx). It provides a simple interface to enter RegEx expressions, and visualize matches in real-time editable source text. It also provides a handy RegExp snippet sidebar with descriptions and usage examples to make it easier to learn Regular Expressions through trial and error.

RegExr is built with Flex 3, and uses ActionScript 3's built in RegExp engine. RegExr uses an extension of the TextHilighter class that comes with the Spelling Plus Library.

StreetDirectory Back on 14 Apr 2008

According to, the site will be up and running on 14 April 2008.

How to Download YouTube Video?

Ever wondered how to download YouTube videos and play them offline? Below will guide you how to do that but most are applicable only to Mozilla Firefox browser though I mentioned one for Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Video file is downloaded to cache in Firefox for viewing. When viewing is completed, the cache file will be deleted. To permanently download a YouTube video, you need a Firefox addon or third party program

For Microsoft Internet Explorer, try below

Saturday, April 12, 2008

8 Reasons the US May Be in Worse Trouble Than You Think

The 8 reasons as published in the below paper are:
  1. Housing Bubble
  2. Wall Street
  3. Inflation
  4. No Confidence
  5. Credit Spreads
  6. Sagging Stock Market
  7. Monetary Policy
  8. Fiscal Policy

East Asia: Foreign Reserves Minus Gold

As published by Haver Analytics, Datastream, Singapore's foreign reserves minus gold as of Feb 2008 stands at US$ 171.8 billion. Below shows some countries from East Asia on their respective foreign reserves in US$ million.
China           1639.9
Indonesia 57.1
Malaysia 116.0
Philippines 32.3
Thailand 97.9
Hong Kong (SAR) 160.3
Korea 262.3
Singapore 171.4
Taiwan, China 277.8
Total 2814.9

Microsoft Vista User Account Control (UAC) Designed to "Annoy Users"

A Microsoft manager has said that one of the security features in Vista was deliberately designed to "annoy users" to put pressure on third-party software makers to make their applications more secure. The said feature is User Account Control (UAC).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Adobe Launches Media Player

Adobe has just launched its own Media Player. The player is built on top of Adobe's Air platform. I will not be trying out this player any time soon after looking at its System Requirements.

Adobe's Media Player 1.0

What does S$NEER Stands for?

Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate: S$NEER

According to Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore is to continue tightening its monetary policy and therefore re-centre the exchange rate policy band at the prevailing level of the S$NEER.

What does NEER means?

From investopedia, NEER means

"The unadjusted weighted average value of a country's currency relative to all major currencies being traded within an index or pool of currencies. The weights are determined by the importance a home country places on all other currencies traded within the pool, as measured by the balance of trade."

The Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973

Market is basically driven by demand and supply.

"If anyone can remember, the early 70’s everything was in short supply especially oil. When Americans heard the word shortage, they would jump out and purchase these items since they knew what it was like standing in line to get gasoline for their cars.

Well, whether you believe it or not, there was a toilet paper shortage in the United States in 1973. The entire episode started with a Johnny Carson Tonight Show monologue. On December 19, 1973, the writers for the show had heard earlier the federal government was falling behind in getting bids to supply toilet paper and that it might be possible that in a few months the United States could face a shortage of toilet tissue. They took the words of this Wisconsin congressional representative, Harold Froehlich and decided to add a joke for Carson for the evening show.

Carson did in fact use the joke in a monologue stating, "You know what's disappearing from the supermarket shelves? Toilet paper. There's an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States."

Much to the amazement of not only the show but of toilet paper factories across America, 20 million people that watched the Carson show that evening ran out in the morning and bought as much toilet paper as they could carry. By noon on December 20, 1973, practically every store in America was out of stock. Many of the stores tried to ration this valuable paper but they could not keep up with the demand no matter what they did.

A few nights later, Johnny Carson explained there was no shortage and he apologized to his viewers. However, this did not help with the scare. As soon as people noticed the empty shelves, they wanted this paper even more.

It took a total of three long and grueling weeks to get the shelves stocked again and finally the shortage was over.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Overcrowded Train Systems in Singapore

I cannot imagine how Singaporeans commute if Singapore's 6.5 million population target is achieved.

Last Friday at around 7.30pm, I was at Raffles Place MRT interchange waiting for train towards Marina Bay direction. Marina Bay, one station away from Raffles Place, is the last station along the North-South line. My intention was to take the same train up north when it resume its journey in opposite direction so as to guarantee a seat. Usually only a small number of commuters alight at Marina Bay since it is the last station and there isn't much to entice people to visit except steamboat buffet dinner.

What I witnessed today was something to be worried about. There were quite a number of commuters actually waited for the same train at Raffles Place towards Marina Bay like myself. At Marina Bay, less than ten actually alighted and almost all remained in train. There were already commuters standing without a seat. I could not recall seeing such things happening a year ago.

I repeat again that I cannot imagine how Singaporeans commute if Singapore's 6.5 million population target is achieved. There is no way frequencies of trains to be increased during peak hours since I would say the current 2-3 minutes interval is the best transport operators can offer making sure trains are spaced apart at safe distance. An alternative could be improve and better integrate public transport networks.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Premium Bus Services in Singapore Premium?

More premium bus services will soon be available as the Public Transport Council (PTC) processes 23 new applications from both public and private operators.

A commuter mentioned travelling time is reduced by 10 minutes from 45 to 30 minutes. I wonder if this is premium and justifiable since travelling time is reduced only by 33% but bus fare is up by 100%! Commuters are definitely paying at a "premium" in this case! Travelling cost from point to point is fixed at $3 per trip. Accordingly to the article below, both bus services 530 and 531 saw the number of passengers almost doubling since the services were launched in August last year. With more commuters taking premium bus services, I doubt they will remain premium after all since commuters will end up having to stand without a seat.

Will premium bus services one day end up like those express bus services? I remembered paying more on express bus service 502 from Jurong to Orchard area but still took me almost an hour for that! The bus was crowded the other time.

How to Bind Papers Without Staples or Clips

I thought this is a rather useful tip.

Olympic Sabotage at London

Protester snatch Olympic torch:London

Boo an Olympic‐Torch Relay in London, Fall Aggressor China

Olympic torch almost extinguished

CBS:Peace Torch Vs. Olympic Flame Will Be Back Soon

As announced on website,

" services will be interrupted for the next few days while we update our new maps and add more awesome online services."

Jade Technologies Holdings Ltd Plunges 70.5% By Speculators

As expected, Jade Technologies fell when trading resumes today on disappointment over Asia Pacific Links' withdrawal of its S$0.225/share takeover offer for company. Asia Pacific, investment vehicle of major shareholder Anthony Soh, blames move on inability to secure funding due to collapse of Australian broker Opes Prime Group, which Soh had pledged a huge block of Jade shares to.

On 7 April 2008, SGX targets speculators and imposed trading curbs by declaring a counter a "designated security". It is when fundamentals of a company are no longer dictating how shares should move but rather, speculators gamble on how share price is certain to move. These bets can hurt genuine investors. This protection makes sure speculators will be temporarily barred from selling short.

Announcement by SGX:

"Any sale of Jade shares shall be prohibited unless the seller holds the Designated Security. A seller holds the security if, at the time of sale, he has the securities in an account maintained with CDP and produces satisfactory evidence that he owns sufficient quantities of the Designated Security in his securities account maintained with CDP. This condition is not applicable to the subsequent sale of shares that have been purchased on a contra basis.

Jade Technologies plunges 70.5% today from S$0.22 to S$0.065 per share.

VeriSign® Identity Protection Developer Test Drive Simplifies Two-Factor Authentication

The VeriSign® Identity Protection (VIP) Developer Test Drive makes the powerful functionality of the VIP Authentication Service available to developers by exposing the APIs in a pilot environment. By using the VIP Authentication Service API, available through a free download, developers can quickly evaluate how easy it is to enable their own applications for two-factor authentication using the VIP Authentication Service.

How to Determine Page File Size for 64-bit Windows Server 2003

The below Microsoft KB serves as a good reference for performance optimization.

Five ERP Gantries To Begin Operations On 7 April

The ERP gantries at the following 5 locations (i) Upper Bukit Timah Road; (ii) Toa Payoh Lorong 6; (iii) Upper Boon Keng Road; (iv) Geylang Bahru Road; and (v) Kallang Bahru Road will start operation from 7 April 2008.

Five ERP Gantries To Begin Operations On 7 April

Land Transport Authority Master Plan

Singapore 2010 Impression in a hilarious but meant no malicious intent

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Singaporeans Willing to Travel for Favourite Foods

A study by Meridian Junior College students showed that 56 per cent of Singaporeans are willing to travel an hour or more to their favourite eateries.

Free High Quality Windows XP 3D Style Icons

A year ago, I made a post on a website that offers 300 3D Windows XP style icons free download. They are excellent and was indeed helpful to one of my projects.

300 Free 3D Icons

Other than the above website, also provides free icons for download. They provide high quality royalty free icons for Windows, Mac and Linux. This website is definitely another worth visiting. organizes their icons into galleries like Art, Application, Business, Computer, People, System, and many more.

Below is a snapshot of its System gallery.

Free Icons Download (FID)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Five Best Instant Messengers by LifeHacker

Five Best Instant Messengers by LifeHacker:
  1. Digsby (Windows)
  2. Pidgin (Windows/Linux)
  3. Meebo (Web)
  4. Adium (Mac OS X)
  5. Trillian (Windows)

Out of the 5 above, I have used only Pidgin, Meebo and Trillian (early versions). I voted for Pidgin.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Phones or PDAs to Support Windows Mobile 6.1

Want to know which phones or PDAs now support upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.1? Below covers some of the first ones to sport Microsoft's new and improved mobile OS.,2817,2280674,00.asp

Street Directory Down for Days After Losing Appeal

The commonly used online map website, run by Virtual Map, has been down for the past few days after Virtual Map lost its appeal against the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) over a long-standing copyright feud over online maps last week.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Google CIO Douglas Merrill Resigns to Join EMI as President

Google CIO Douglas Merrill is to resign to Join EMI as President. At EMI, he is to come out with a next innovative business model.

Below is a video showing Douglas Merrill talking on innovation.

Official announcement from the EMI Group.

ISO Approves Microsoft's OOXML

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) announced that its members have approved adoption of a draft standard based on Microsoft's Office Open XML document format, a day after the company itself declared victory.

I bet anti Microsoft group will appeal.,144041-c,techindustrytrends/article.html

Windows Mobile 6.1 Just Released

Microsoft announced the release of Windows Mobile 6.1 yesterday. To check if your device is upgradeable to WM 6.1, read here.

Internet Explorer Mobile is also "fixed" to support Adobe's flash and Microsoft's Silverlight!,1759,2280741,00.asp

Windows Mobile 6.1 Full Review by PC Magazine,2817,2280410,00.asp

Yahoo New Site Targets Women - Shine

Yahoo launched a new Web site aimed at women on Monday. The site, called "Shine," will feature original blogs and content from major publishing partners including Conde Nast, Hearst, and Time.

Microsoft SQL Get Number of Rows from All Tables

Below is a quick and easy method to retrieve number of rows / records from all tables in a database. The below code snippet is tested on Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
IF IsNull(object_id('tempdb..#temTable'),0)<>0 DROP TABLE #temTable
CREATE TABLE #temTable (
    Name sysname,
    Rows INT,
    Reserved sysname,
    Data sysname,
    IndexSize sysname,
    UnUsed sysName
    EXEC sp_msForEachtable " sp_SpaceUsed '?' "

SELECT Name, Rows
FROM #temTable

IF IsNull(object_id('tempdb..#temTable'),0)<>0 DROP TABLE #temTable

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