Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2009

Fate of GM & Chrysler

Obama Administration on the auto industry:

And so today I'm announcing that my administration will offer GM and Chrysler a limited additional period of time to work with creditors, unions, and other stakeholders to fundamentally restructure in a way that would justify an investment of additional taxpayer dollars. During this period they must produce plans that would give the American people confidence in their long-term prospects for success.

Now, what we're asking for is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made extraordinarily painful concessions to do more. It'll require creditors to recognize that they can't hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts. It'll have to -- it will require efforts from a whole host of other stakeholders, including dealers and suppliers. Only then can we ask American taxpayers who have already put up so much of their hard-earned money to once more i…

S-chip Woes

How to Calculate the Amount of Income Tax to Pay For?

I am posting this How-To because I had previously gave inaccurate advice on income tax calculation. This post should clarify all doubts.

Suppose your taxable income after minus relief is $40,000, the amount of income tax to pay for is as follows:

Based on the above table, you will need to pay $350 + (5.5% * 10,000) = $900.

If you are eligible for the 20% one-time tax discount as announced during Budget 2009, your tax will be $720 instead.

Earth Hour 2009

Earth Hour is on March 28th, 2009 at 8:30pm (local time). For 60 seconds, the action needed is to turn off the lights or more if you want to save mother Earth.

Earth Hour in Singapore [via]

Candidates@Google: Barack Obama

Illinois Senator and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama visits Google's Mountain View, CA, headquarters to deliver his innovation agenda, speak with Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and take questions from Google employees. This event took place on November 14, 2007, as part of the Candidates@Google series.

April Fool's Day Virus

A new variant of WORM_Downad (aka Conficker) is expected to propagate on 1st April 2009. This worm exploits the weakness of Microsoft Windows Operating System including Windows Vista.

As a precaution, perform anti-virus definition update on 31st March 2009.

PC security forces face April 1 showdown with Conficker worm [via]

U.K Primary School Pupils to study Twitter and Blogs

Children will no longer have to study the Victorians or the second world war under proposals to overhaul the primary school curriculum, the Guardian has learned.

However, the draft plans will require children to master Twitter and Wikipedia and give teachers far more freedom to decide what youngsters should be concentrating on in classes.

Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up [via]

Sitting arrangement for cost cutting

What a way to cut cost.

U.S. Treasuries Bubble?

The New York Times - March 22, 2009

The Way We Live Now
No Safety in Numbers

Is there such a thing left as a safe investment? Stocks have been massacred, real estate all but wiped out. Each was promoted in its day — as was gold — as safe and secure, appropriate for widows and orphans.

If there is a truly last bastion of safety, it would be, of course, the U.S. Treasury bond, that venerable instrument with the full faith and credit of the United States behind it. Perhaps it is esteemed so highly because we think of it not as an “investment” per se but as an article of faith in Washington and, by extension, the entire country. It is our tax dollars, after all, that stand behind it — the accumulated output of our citizens. And ever since the Wall Street meltdown, as investors have fled from any security carrying a whiff of danger, Treasuries have been in hot demand.

So it is an eye-opener, and rather depressing, to report that even Treasuries bear risk, in particular, the r…

I Should be Contended With My Bonus

I just received my year end bonus for last Friday. After adding up January's 0.5 months bonus, National Day bonus and one-time quantum extra bonus, it sums up to approximately 2.6 months bonus. This excludes AWS and my $2,000 project bonus.

I thought I should be contended with what I am receiving and not grumble when my company announced freeze on wage increment days ago.

Gmail Labs: Undo Send

Google Gmail Labs has just come out with an innovative Undo Send email feature. This feature attempts to undo sending of an email after you click on "Send". However, you will need to do it quick within 5 seconds before the email is really being sent out.

New in Labs: Undo Send [via]

Google Chrome 2.0 Beta

The best thing about this new beta is speed — it's 25% faster on our V8 benchmark and 35% faster on the Sunspider benchmark than the current stable channel version and almost twice as fast when compared to our original beta version.

Do remember to try the new drag tabs feature.

Google Chrome has a new beta [via]

8 Months Bonuses for CDC Staff Explained

Mr Lim Boon Heng, People's Association deputy chairman and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, explains the reason why 2 staff from the Northwest Community Development Council (CDC) received 8 months bonuses last year below.

"In good times and in bad, there are good performers. And I think that particularly in bad times, we need people who give of their best and show example to the rest about what they can do to help the organisation."

CDC bonuses explained [via]

Top Up Of EZ-Link Cards At DBS And POSB ATMs

We are pleased to announce that DBS and EZ-Link Pte Ltd (EZL) have introduced a new ATM service at DBS and POSB ATMs – Top Up of ez-link cards. What’s more, the ez-link top up service will be available to the recently announced new (replacement) ez-link cards as well. We are also proud to inform that we are the first bank in Singapore to offer this service.

We will be piloting the service at 31 ATMs from 16 Jan 2009 onwards and will gradually roll out to over 900 DBS and POSB ATMs by end June 2009. (Please refer to Appendix 1 for the pilot ATM sites)

With it, DBS will be bringing greater convenience to the majority of commuters who are also our customers. We are also offering the service free of charge.

You may refer to attachment 2 for the ATM screen flow for this service.

Agnes Ang
CBG Business Operations
on behalf of Robin Yap
CBG Deposit Sys & Payment Scvs


Pilot ATM Sites from 16 Jan 2009

S'pore firms turn to cloud computing

Business Times - 16 Mar 2009

S'pore firms turn to cloud computing

Two studies show that there is a high level of interest in this cutting edge technology which can reduce capital expenditure and costs, reports AMIT ROY CHOUDHURY

CLOUD computing, which promises to reduce capital expenditure and operational costs, is being examined closely by Singaporean companies, two independent surveys have revealed.

Cloud computing refers to the delivery of services over the Internet by a service provider or vendor, with the 'cloud' referring to the Internet.

It is closely related to some of the technologies that chief information officers (CIOs)are most interested in, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), utility computing and resource virtualisation.

According to IDC, in Singapore there is a high level of awareness of cloud computing, with nearly 80 per cent of companies surveyed saying that they knew about cloud computing.

However, another survey by Avanade shows that Singapore still lags be…

Support for NUS Student With Leukemia

A student of the National University of Singapore, Ms Zhang Xiaoou (Matric Card Number: U052101M) has recently been diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a life-threatening disease that will post a staggering SGD$400,000 medical bill to her middle-income family.

She is a 24 year old Chinese scholar in her final year of study in Faculty of Science with excellent academic result. In her undergraduate education, she was placed several times on the Dean’s List which is awarded to the top 5% students only.

Xiaoou is also an active student leader in various schools and social activates. She was the Vice Chairperson of NUS Students’ Union Welfare Standing Committee and volunteered as a teaching assistant for community service project – “GIVE”.

She is currently undergoing treatment in National University Hospital and she will need a prolonged period of chemotherapy for treatment of her leukemia. Her medical expenses are estimated to be SGD$400,000, with each treatment session around $…

Forbes - The World's Billionaires 2009

Last year the world had 1,125 billionaires but today, there are only 793. Today the world's billionaires have a collective net worth of $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago.William Gates III
Warren Buffett
Carlos Slim HelúLawrence EllisonIngvar KampradKarl AlbrechtMukesh AmbaniLakshmi MittalTheo AlbrechtAmancio OrtegaJim WaltonAlice WaltonChristy WaltonS Robson WaltonBernard ArnaultLi Ka-shingMichael BloombergStefan PerssonCharles KochDavid KochForbes - The World's Billionaires 2009 [via]

German Prince Replaces Facebook Zuckerberg as Youngest Billionaire

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, who's just shy of his 25th birthday, has lost his world's youngest billionaire title to German prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis because he's not a billionaire anymore.

An article from the CNET says Zuckerberg title has been replaced by a guy with the worst sideburns ever seen.

The World's Youngest Billionaires [via]

The Reason Behind Why Internet Radio is Down These Days

Is it RIP for Singapore internet radio?
By Mayo Martin, TODAY | Posted: 11 March 2009 0940 hrs

SINGAPORE: She lives in China, yet it’s a family of familiar voices from Singapore that have kept Jennifer Seah informed and entertained.

For the past two-and-a-half years, the Singapore housewife, whose husband works in Shanghai, has been tuning into MediaCorp’s Internet radio streaming service which has been online since 2000.

“It’s wonderful to be able to tune in to familiar voices from home when you are abroad,” she told Today. So she was very disappointed when, earlier this month, most of the Internet radio streamed out of Singapore suddenly went offline.

The reason: It is going to cost broadcasters thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars each year in licence fees depending on the number of stations they operate.

After an amendment to the Copyright Act in December, broadcasters here have been locked in talks with the Recording Industry Performance Singapore (RIPS).

RIPS is the coll…

Help Me Do a Survey

I am currently doing a research on the music industry and the impact of online music on the recording industry. As part of my research, I am conducting a survey and I would appreciate if you can help me out in doing the below survey.

The survey consists of 15 simple questions and should take you less than 10 minutes to complete. Be rest assured that your privacy is respected and your identity is anonymous. The questions are not sensitive anyway.

There is no need to let me know if you have done the survey. Just do it for I know you will.

The Survey

Google Apps Status Dashboard - Service Status At a Glance

The next time you encounter problems accessing a service by Google, you may wish to visit Google's App Status Dashboard for an overall health status of Google's services.

Gmail experienced the latest service disruption.

Google App Status Dashboard [via]

Usability Practice Cognitive View: Strategies For Designing Application Navigation


Getting the navigation right is one of the most important aspects of design. Navigation is the framework within which screens, interaction, and the visual appearance are designed. The most basic axiom of usability is that one should make interaction with the software as easy as possible, allowing users to focus on the tasks that brought them to the software in the first place. To the extent that navigation is confusing and requires the user's attention to figure it out, usability will suffer.

Usability in Practice: Strategies For Designing Application Navigation [via]

Deaths of David Hartanto Widjaja and Zhou Zheng - A Conspiracy Theory on Deaths in NTU

2 deaths in Nanyang Technological University in under 1 week is indeed not helpful to NTU's reputation. The first death was a student, David Hartanto Widjaja, and the second one was a Project Officer Officer, Zhou Zheng.

By coincidence or not by coincidence, both are actually from the same laboratory (S2-B3a-06)!

A consipracy theory on deaths in NTU [via]

Singapore tops international e-Government survey

Singapore has overtaken the United States to come out tops in an international e-Government study. If I remember correctly, Singapore was already the top in a separate survey by Accenture in year 2007.

I believe the Singapore IT landscape will even be better than now with the current SOE (Standard ICT Operating Environment) and IDA's iN2015 plan.

Singapore tops international e-Government survey [via]

Bad news can be good news for investors

Buying into the stock market one month after the worst GDP contraction produces a return of 21% in three months, 38% in six months and 53% in 12 months.

Business Times - 06 Mar 2009

Bad news can be good news for investors


THE revelation that the economy could shrink a shocking 10 per cent this year could be just the news that some investors have been waiting for.

Citing poor economic data - manufacturing and non-oil domestic exports have fallen by around 30 per cent and 35 per cent from their peaks respectively - Citigroup said that it believes that Q109 could possibly see gross domestic product (GDP) shrink by 10 per cent, followed by 8 per cent in Q209.

However, Citigroup believed that this could be an indication that the time to start buying into the stock market is nigh.

Timing, however, will be critical. While buying into the stock market during recessions can produce exceptional returns, it can be counter-productive if the investment horizon is short (eg three months), sa…

Offline Gmail Does Not Support File Attachments When Composing

Offline Gmail does not support file attachments when composing an email. When you click on "Attach a file", you will see the above message.

What's Your Peak Work Time?

My peak work time is in the midnight and I am not alone. A survey conducted by LifeHacker had over 30% voters voting for "Late at night". A very small 3% voted for "Noon".

As of now, the votes are as above.

What's Your Peak Work Time? [via]

MayBank iSavvy Savings Interest Rates Revised Downwards

Both MayBank has revised interest rates for their deposits accounts in line with all other banks operating in Singapore.

MayBank iSavvy Savings Account Interest Rate Revision [via]
Daily balance below S$5,000 0.25% p.a unchanged
Daily balance of S$5,000 to below S$50,000 0.50% p.a from 1.08%
Daily balance of S$50,000 and above 0.75% p.a from 1.38%Effective from 3 March 2009

Standard Chartered e$aver Account Current Interest Rate [via]
Less than S$50,000 0.40% p.a.
S$50,000 to S$199,999 0.68% p.a.
S$200,000 & above 0.88% p.a.My previous post on e$aver and iSavvy [via]

Another Joke from NTUC Union Chief and Minister for PMO, Lim Swee Say

House had 89 MPs, not 93, on Feb 5

The Straits Times
3 Mar 2009

I REFER to my reply last Saturday, 'Duties taken seriously'.

I said in the letter: 'This year's Budget Debate was attended by 90 elected and Nominated MPs on Feb 3; 86 MPs on Feb 4; and there was full attendance of 93 MPs on Feb 5.'

While the numbers for Feb 3 and Feb 4 are correct, Parliament has advised that there is an error in the number for Feb 5. It should be 89 and not 93.

My apologies for the error which was due to a miscommunication between the Whip and Parliament.

Lim Swee Say
Government Whip

House had 89 MPs, not 93, on Feb 5 [via]

DBS/POSB Deposits Interest Rates Revision

Interest rates for DBS Bank savings plan has now gone south all the way to 0.125% p.a. I have decided to move to other banks and not DBS or POSB since 2 years ago.

DBS Deposits Interest Rates

POSB Deposits Interest Rates