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Showing posts from March, 2010

Considering changing Private Shield plan

It seems to me Aviva MyShield is no longer the best private medical shield plan in the market. Aviva has just announced an across the board increase in its annual premium by an approximate 10%. A quick comparison points me to Prudential and NTUC as the better choice.

没得吃 mango sticky rice


以为可以吃到泰国的 mango sticky rice but then because my service is required at CAB, I have to give mango sticky rice a miss. A friend of mine is supposed to have brought mango sticky rice all the way fresh from Bangkok.


Day trading is a bad idea

Day-trading is one of the dumbest jobs there is. According to one academic study, 4 out of 5 people who do it lose money and only 1 in 100 do it well enough to be described as "predictably profitable".

This includes day trading in the stock broker's office or at work.

Here's What Day Traders Don't Understand [via]

Malicious executables embedded in PDFs run silently on Foxit Reader

PDF researcher Didier Stevens has just found out a security vulnerability that it is possible to execute arbitrary code out of PDF files. This means an executable can be embedded in a PDF and get it to be run once the document is opened. Some PDF readers e.g. Adobe reader and Nuance's free PDF reader will show a warning dialog but when opened but NOT for popular Foxit Reader.

This is worrying.

Malicious PDFs Own Foxit; Adobe At Least Warns [via]

Actually got hardcopy format of financial report

The chance of receiving financial report from a company is 50/50 and the chance of getting it in hardcopy format is even lower.

I have received financial reports from ST Engineering, CapitalMall Asia and today, Mapletree Logistics Trust. Only Mapletree Logistics Trust is still distributing hardcopy format annual book to its shareholders.

For the past 2-3 years, Qian Hu Corporation still ranked highest in terms of connectivity to its shareholders. I remember Qian Hu's Kenny Yap actually signed on every single desk calendars which were to be sent out to all his shareholders as part of his well wishes on a Chinese New Year.

Way to go, Qian Hu.

My schedule for school

Just a reminder for myself.

Challenge for school

02: CS5322 Quiz 103: CS4236 Project deadline10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline15: CS5322 choose research topicApril
05: CS5258 Assignment 105: CS5258 Assignment 2 (75%)10: CS4236 Assignment 2 deadline13: CS5322 Quiz 215: CS5322 Project deadlineXX: CS5322 Assignment 2 deadline27: CS4236 Exam28: CS5258 ExamMay
03: CS5322 Exam
Shall start CS4236 Assignment 2 and CS5322 Project deadline concurrently soon.

Strikethrough means I am done with it.

Life insurance in Asia

Stephan Binder of McKinsey, a consultancy, thinks that people should be insured for 10-12 times their annual income. By this measure, Asians (and, for that matter, everybody else) are woefully underinsured.In that case, I am seriously underinsured too.

Life insurance in Asia [via]

Reporters Without Borders tells Singapore leaders to stop suing journalists

Media rights watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) has urged the Singapore leaders to stop suing journalists to respect press freedom. RSF is registered in France as a non-profit organisation and has consultant status at the United Nations. RSF is Reporters Without Borders translated in English.

Open letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Published on 25 March 2010

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Prime Minister’s Office
Orchard Road
Singapore 238823

Paris, 25 March 2010

Dear Prime Minister,

A foreign news organisation has yet again been forced to apologise to you and your father and pay you a large sum of money for publishing an article you did not like. This time it is the New York Times Co. that is a victim of this double punishment because of a compliant judicial system that always rules in favour of you and your family in all the lawsuits you bring against foreign news media.

Before the New York Times Co., you succeeded in punishing the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER),…

Suddenly missing instant noodles from Taiwan

Grabbed from here.

All the President's Pens

Really learnt something today. I learnt U.S. Presidents actually have the tradition of using multiple pens to sign papers. Those pens will then be passed to those who have put in effort to help pass the bill or treaty. And since the current President Obama is a lefty, pens for him are custom made for him.

I am also a lefty but then I am using an ordinary Parker and Sheaffer Pen.

Singaporeans are leaving Singapore at a worrying rate

Ever increasing standard of living, expensive education, expensive housing, expensive cars and influx of foreign workers, but stagnant wage increase could be the reason behind more Singaporeans leaving Singapore for other countries e.g. New Zealand.
Even as Singapore continues to attract expatriates from all over the world, its home-grown skilled professionals and graduates are leaving for bigger nations at a worrying rate.
4,500 - and still counting [via]

Parkway Novena Medical Suites See Strong Demand

The soft launch of the medical suites at Parkway Holdings Limited’s (Parkway’s) upcoming hospital and specialist centre at Novena, officially named Parkway Novena Hospital and Parkway Novena Specialist Centre, has seen strong interest from the medical community. Units available in Phase One fully booked up!

Parkway Holdings (P27.SI) ended yet another high to close at S$3.460 per share or 2.37% higher.

How To Live Longer?

What should be done?
Exposure to sunlightA little alcohol every dayBig breakfastEat more vegetablesEat a lot of tofuHave a social circleChoose your friends well tooGet marriedSleep 7 hours a nightHave a purpose in lifeBe optimisticWhat not to do?
Exercise too vigorouslySmokingDiet programsHow To Live Longer [via]

'Last Supper' discovery shocks experts

A pattern found in 52 paintings of Jesus' final meal may shed new light on a troubling trend. This finding suggests that the phenomenon of serving bigger portions on bigger plates, which pushes people to overeat, has also occurred gradually over the same time period.

Super-sizing the "Last Supper" 'Last Supper' discovery shocks experts [via]

COE prices shot up by as much as S$14,000

COE prices shot up by as much as S$14,000 in the latest bidding exercise.
The biggest increase was in the Open category, where the premium closed at S$42,001, an increase of S$14,411. The COE for big cars also saw a significant jump. It rose S$9,700 to S$36,089. For small cars, the new premium stood at S$28,389 - up S$7,587.It just looks more silly to buy a car now. For the past 5 years, the Singapore government used ERP gantries tactics to control traffic conditions on the road, charging based on usage rather than ownership. This resulted in increasing number of cars on the streets. Now, they are beginning to control ownership by reducing the number of car quotas, and resulting in increase of COE.

Failed policies. Ridiculous!

COEs for all vehicle categories surge in latest bidding exercise [via]

Detecting suspicious account activity

Google Gmail will now display a label whenever your account is logged on from a third party country. E.g. if you are usually logged on from the United States but then one day your account is logged on from Poland, a label in red will be shown at the top to alert you.

I thought this new security feature is pretty useful and practical.

Detecting suspicious account activity [via]

Parkway Holdings share price increased with Fortis Healthcare investment

Share price of Parkway Holdings (P27.SI), one of the region's leading providers of healthcare services, ended higher by 1.538% to close at S$3.300. The push in share price coincides with Fortis Healthcare, India’s fastest-growing healthcare company, investment on the company. Mid March 2010, Fortis Healthcare announced its interest to acquire 23.9% of Parkway Holdings in a bid to expand its footprint in Asia. To date, Fortis Healthcare owns 24.67% of Parkway Holdings' shares.
Since 1 March 2010, share price of Parkway Holdings' has climbed from S$2.830 to the current S$3.300, and that's 16.6% in a month. October 2009 share price was in the range of S$2.140.

Going concern concept and Rickmers Maritime Trust

In accounting, going concern concept simply implies that the business will continue to operate for the foreseeable future. In essence, this concept assumes the business remains in existence.

I was reading an article published on 23 March's The Business Times which mentioned Rickmers Maritime Trust (B1ZU.SI) is warned by its auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) of its ability to continue as a going concern. PwC said the ability of the group and the trust to continue as going concerns depended on the outcome of the refinancing of the trust’s outstanding US$130 million ($182 million) facility of which the entire outstanding amount of US$128.70 million falls due on 30 April 2010. We are now into April 2010 very soon.

With that news, Rickmers' share price plunged 25.609% today to close at S$0.305 per share. I used to own Rickmers' share when they used to give out almost 10% dividend yield in just one quarter. It is lucky I have none of them now but then, I thought there were p…

UMS Holdings extended yet another 6.380% today

UMS Holdings (558.SI) extended yet another 6.380% today to close at S$0.250%. Previous two days of trading ended higher too, at 6.818% on Monday and 7.317% last Friday.

UMS has risen more than 47% since two months ago. Since Mar 15, it has risen more than 31%.

Should I sell?

UMS Holdings extended a further 6.818% again

UMS Holdings (558.SI) extended a further 6.818% in today's trade to close at S$0.235 per share. On Friday itself, the stock also ended in bull, closing 7.317% higher.
Observe the sharp increase in share price in March. The stock has since rose close to 40% in just two months.

Schedule for School

Just a reminder for myself.

Challenge for school

02: CS5322 Quiz 103: CS4236 Project deadline10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline15: CS5322 choose research topicApril
05: CS5258 Assignment 105: CS5258 Assignment 210: CS4236 Assignment 2 deadline13: CS5322 Quiz 215: CS5322 Project deadlineXX: CS5322 Assignment 2 deadline27: CS4236 Exam28: CS5258 ExamMay
03: CS5322 ExamAm currently working on CS5258 Assignment 2.

Strikethrough means I am done with it.

Facebook Scam Alert: Facebook Profile Spy

Early this year, I made a post on a spam alert "Profile Spy", asking to advice users of Facebook to not to join the group. The group is said to send notification whenever someone visits your profile page. I am here reposting this because I still notice people are adding or joining the group/application.

The lesson to be learnt when using Facebook is not to add any applications that are not trusted. Once an untrusted application is added, the application may be able to do a retrieval of your personal information that are not protected. When I say not protected, I mean to say private information not set with the correct privacy settings. Many such information are by default not set private.

This is a "social disease". Let's be prudent and cautious. If I have the time, I may make a quick post on Facebook security/privacy issue.

Facebook Scam Alert: Facebook Profile Spy [via]

COE prices of cars to shoot up so ...

I actually woke up from a drunkard state thinking the high COE prices of cars. COE should go up more when the new formula to compute quotas kick in soon. It may go as high as $30K.

Yet another one strong factor to stop me from getting a car. Let's all take public transport. No wonder public transport operators' shares e.g. SMRT are rising each day.

Big O notation

To whoever may be interested in the mathematics, computer science, or computational complexity theory topic of Big O notation, read the article by wikipedia below.

In mathematics, computer science, and related fields, big O notation (also known as Big Oh notation, Landau notation, Bachmann–Landau notation, and asymptotic notation) describes the limiting behavior of a function when the argument tends towards a particular value or infinity, usually in terms of simpler functions. Big O notation allows its users to simplify functions in order to concentrate on their growth rates: different functions with the same growth rate may be represented using the same O notation.

Big O notation [via]

Laozi 老子 - The Mystic Light

The Mystic Light

In order to contract, it is necessary first to expand.
In order to weaken, it is necessary first to strengthen.
In order to reduce, it is necessary first to build up.
In order to receive, it is necessary first to give.
This is called the mystic Light.
The soft and gentle overcome the hard and strong.
As fish stay in the deep water,
so sharp weapons of the state should not be displayed.

What type of programmer are you and should you be one

Signs that you're a bad programmer
Inability to reason about codePoor understanding of the language's programming modelDeficient research skills / Chronically poor knowledge of the platform's featuresInability to comprehend pointersDifficulty seeing through recursionDistrust of codeSigns that you are a mediocre programmer
Inability to think in setsLack of critical thinkingPinball ProgrammingUnfamiliar with the principles of securityCode is a messSigns that you shouldn't be a programmer
Inability to determine the order of program executionInsufficient ability to think abstractlyCollyer Brothers syndromeDysfunctional sense of causalityIndifference to outcomesAbove extracted [via]

Nondeterministic Polynomial (NP) Problems

Investor Alert List

MoneySense published a list of companies that are NOT regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to carry out financial activities. The list is not exhaustive and will be updated. Some familiar ones I see are for example land banking The Profitable Group (Profitable Plots Pte Ltd) and MLM Sunshine Empire Pte Ltd.

A separate list of financial institutions regulated by MAS can be found here.

Always do your homework before you have any dealings with a financial company, especially those from the Investor Alert List.

Caveat emptor.

Investor Alert List [via]

Is Bangkok getting dangerous?

Within this week, 6x40mm grenades fired to army compound and 4 exploded, 1x40mm grenade fired to house, and total 40 rounds at least of M16 fired to 2 houses.

Is Bangkok getting dangerous? I have a friend going to Bangkok next week for a holiday and I hope situation there will improve by then.

UMS included in Top small-cap picks by CIMB-GK

CIMB-GK is my most trusted analyst.

UMS Holdings ended 7.317% higher

UMS Holdings (558.SI) ended 7.317% higher to close at S$0.220 per share. The stock has since rose 30% higher in just two months.

Fundamentally, the higher confidence on UMS Holdings and its peers could be due to the improving semiconductor and electronics sector. On downside, technical analysis reveals the stock may be overbought.

Fab tool book-to-bill jumps
Mark LaPedus (02/18/2010 7:15 PM EST) URL:
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The fab tool business is heating up after a major downturn.
Tool bookings are up and at their highest levels since April of 2008. But many ask a simple question: How long will the party last before the next downturn? Some say we are in a two-year super cycle. Others see a slowdown in mid-2010.
In any case, North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted a book-to-bill ratio of 1.20 in January, up from 1.07 in December, according to SEMI. A book-to-bill of 1.20 means that $120 worth of orders was…

CapitalMalls Asia ended 2.575% higher before 22 Mar entry into STI

CapitalMalls Asia Limited (JS8.SI) ended 2.575% higher today before planned 22 March 2010 entry as a component of the Straits Times Index (STI) to replace Cosco Corp (F83.SI). Cosco Corp ended 1.574% lower today.

Once included as part of the STI, fund managers who are tracking the index will have to offload Cosco and stock up on CapitalMalls Asia instead. CapitalMalls Asia ended to be the 10th most heavily traded stock, 15,160,000 shares in volume or S$35,924,990, on the Singapore Exchange.


Quick preview on Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft has announced their plans for their new Internet Explorer 9.0. This new browser is still in its infant stage and the interface is still pretty barebones e.g. there is no proper address bar but just a simple "go to" popup window. This is a developers' test tool, really. If you eager to test it out, you may find it here.

Some of the new promises of IE9 are native H.264 streaming support through HTML5, SVG rendering, faster JavaScript engine, and many more.

Windows Internet Explorer 9.0

Internet Explorer 9: A Fresh Start, With HTML5 [via]

YouTube allows stop buffering video feature

YouTube added a new feature to stop buffering a video. Previously, if you were to pause a video, the video continues downloading itself. However, there can be times when the played video is not interesting and so a stop buffering feature would be great to save some bandwidth especially for slow network connections users.

This new feature is useful but then it is a shame that YouTube did not get it work properly. The download should stop once "stop buffering" is selected but the player should still continue playing the frames already buffered. And to make it more perfect, there should also be a "Resume downloading" option.

Something to cheer for

Almost all the stocks in my portfolio are seeing more than considerable amount of profit. This is really something worth cheering for. The below statistics include dividends.
Cambridge Industrial Trust [J91U.SI] +0.000%CapitalMalls Asia Limited [JS8.SI] +1.740%Koh Brothers Group Limited [K75.SI] -3.850%Mapletree Logistics Trust [M44U.SI] +32.540%Neptune Orient Lines Limited [N03.SI] +5.510%Parkway Holdings Limited [P27.SI] +49.070SMRT Corporation Limited [S53.SI] +15.610%Singapore Exchange Limited [S68.SI] -32.830%
Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited [S63.SI] +19.330% *Does not include employee sharesUMS Holdings Limited [558.SI] +20.590%

My next bus will be arriving in 44 minutes time

I think I can take a nap first.

Reds complete blood ritual

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship on Tuesday performed a ritual to bring down the government, pouring blood taken from its supporters at all four gates of Government House.

I thought pouring of blood is unhygienic.

Reds complete blood ritual [via]

Mondrian Multidimensional K-Anonymity

Have decided to do research and implementation on "Mondrian Multidimensional K-Anonymity" algorithm. I just hope the algorithm can be formulated with reasonable amount of effort.

Inproceedings (DBLP:conf/icde/LeFevreDR06)
LeFevre, K.; DeWitt, D. J. & Ramakrishnan, R.
Liu, L.; Reuter, A.; Whang, K.-Y. & Zhang, J. (ed.)
Mondrian Multidimensional K-Anonymity
IEEE Computer Society, 2006, 25

Access: [IEEE] [pdf]

No one is indispensable

There is this saying "No one is indispensable" to describe no one in a company is absolutely important and given time, someone else can definitely take up his or her role.

So, how true is the proverb "No one is indispensable"?

At work, I am assigned to two projects and out of the two, I am basically the only one in charge of almost all its software. The system engineer, the firmware engineer in charge of the controller and I myself are usually the three who are always present in every integration test at site. The three of us are always planned to fly in every flight trials.

Taking the coming acceptance test for software portion for instance, I am the only one setting up the test and conducting the test.

Yes, I am getting worried. Worried on the theory of key-man assumption. I will press on and give my 200% effort and hope to clock as many man hours as possible, to clear as many backlogs as possible, to close as many requests as possible, to ...

I still believe in

Hope my friend's auntie can survive

Whenever I hear someone else's life is hanging on a fine thread, it always makes me feel rather down and sad. I hope my friend's auntie can survive the coming bone marrow transplant. Despite the chances of survival is a mere 10%, the transplant must still go on since it is the wish of the patient.


The Best Jobs in America

The top is totally unexpected.

System Engineer = Highest low stress?!?! So does that mean ranking criteria has higher weightage on stress level?


How Google Works?

Google tries to explain how Google really works and their three core businesses in three videos.
As a company, Google focuses on three key areas: Search, Ads and Apps. Search is our core technology; ads are our central business proposition; and apps are the umbrella over our web-based software that you can access anywhere, any time. While each of these has a lot of technology under the hood, the basic tenets for Search, Ads and Apps are very simple. We've created some short videos explaining the principles behind our core services.
How Search Works

How Search Ads Work

How Google Apps Work

How Google Works

Alonso winner, M. Schumacher 6th

Formula One new Ferrari driver, Fernando Alonso, finished on pole in Bahrain, alongside team mate Felipe Massa. With due respect, seven time world champion, Michael Schumacher, finished the race 6th picking up 8 points. This showed Michael Schumacher still what it takes after a three years hiatus.


Daylight Saving Time & Spring Break

Daylight Saving Time is here again and this means 1-hour less of sleep time for some northerners. This is certainly not affecting me since I am near the equator.

Daylight Saving Time: Remind me again why we 'spring forward'? [via]
Wikipedia: Daylight saving time [via]

Robert Shiller on market sentiment

“It ultimately comes from people watching the markets, seeing the prices change and then changing their opinions, and then there's a contagion that drives the economy into a difficult period for a while.”

-- Professor Robert Shiller, Economist & Author, Yale University

Robert Shiller on possible double-dip recession in USA

Yale University economist Robert Shiller is a perhaps America's pre-eminent academic expert on fluctuations in both the housing and stock markets. He was the first to warn explicitly of the looming subprime disaster in 2005.

Here, Prof Robert Shiller joins Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an interview and commented on a possible double-dip recession in USA.

Transcript in full can be found here.

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: It was the bursting of the American subprime housing bubble that triggered the Global Financial Crisis, and while the US is slowly climbing out of its worse slowdown since the Great Depression, with house prices edging tentatively upwards with the recovery, unemployment in America is still stuck at close to 10 per cent and some of the country's most credible economists are still refusing to rule out a slide back into recession. But while Australia these days is able to rely substantially on Asian markets, particularly China, to feed our…

Jack Neo's press conference on recent scandal

I hope the reporters stop reporting news on Jack Neo's recent scandal and let the family get on with their lives. There are people who commented this very dramatic less than 5 minutes press conference staged but no matter what, I still feel whether Jack's wife and 4 children can live normally largely depends on if the public are willing to forgive and forget Jack's wrongdoings.

Of course I am NOT saying have extramartial affair is a right thing to do.

Pleased with myself

I am actually quite pleased with myself for being able to get through the past two weeks. Though there weren't any hiccups, it was not easy either. 1 group project, 2 individual assignments and 1 quiz pretty much kept me occupied and busy for 14 full days.

The next challenge would be work. Schedule for work, at least till end of March, is now confirmed. 16 & 18 flight trials; 19, 20 (Sat) & 22 internal software acceptance test (SWAT); 23, 24 & 25 software acceptance test; 26 lab acceptance test. So, I am going to be stationed at DSO, CAB or/and PLAB on a single day i.e. it is highly possible I need to split myself into two to be present in two different locations on a single day. I hope I can still make it for my evening classes.

Challenge for school

02: CS5322 Quiz 103: CS4236 Project deadline10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline15: CS5322 choose research topic April
05: CS5258 Assignment 105: CS5258 Assignment 213: CS5322 Quiz 215: CS532…

Pay TV providers SingTel, StarHub now required to cross-carry exclusive content

The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has revised the Media Market Conduct Code (MMCC 2010) today to enable mandatory cross carriage of exclusive content in the Pay TV market. This new rule requires qualified pay TV licensees like SingTel and Starhub to cross carry each other’s content that is acquired or renewed on an exclusive basis on or after 12 March 2010.

For example, if SingTel acquires a new exclusive channel, it must make this channel available to StarHub and other qualified pay TV licenses. This means consumers can watch an exclusive channel through just one Pay TV retailer without having to install multiple set top boxes.

Media market conduct code revised to better serve consumers and create more opportunities for industry growth [via]

Fortis Healthcare to acquire 23.9% of Parkway Holdings

Fortis Healthcare, India’s fastest-growing healthcare company, it would buy 23.9% of Singapore’s Parkway Holdings in healthcare service provider Parkway Holdings from TPG Capital (formerly Texas Pacific Group). Parkway has a network of 16 hospitals having 3,400 beds spread over six countries, including India. The deal size is estimated to be about US$685.3 million ($959.4 million). This deal will give the Indian hospital chain a foothold in Singapore and Malaysia and make it the biggest private hospital network in Asia.

Separately, Macquarie has raised Parkway Holdings target price to $3.45 from $3.19 on back of earnings forecasts upgrades. Macquarie believes Parkway remains the best proxy to Asian healthcare and Singapore’s medical tourism drive. It also tips imminent launch of medical suites at new Novena hospital as share price catalyst. Today, Parkway Holdings announced a soft launch for the phase 1 of the sale of Novena medical suites.

Look at the climb and the increase in trade …

CapitalMalls Asia to replace Cosco in STI after half-yearly review

The Singapore Exchange has announced that CapitalMalls Asia Limited will replace Cosco Corp Singapore in STI after half-yearly review. After this news is official, CaitalMalls Asia ended higher by 1.282% to close at $2.370 whereas Cosco Corp ended lower by 2.830% to close at $1.230.

The STI reserve list, comprising the five highest ranking non-constituents of the STI by market capitalisation, will be (in order of size) Keppel Land Ltd, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd, Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust, Yanlord Land Group Ltd and Parkway Holdings Ltd. Companies in the reserve list will replace any constituents that become ineligible as a result of corporate actions before the next review.

The possibility of CapitalMalls Asia entry into the STI is one of the main reasons as to why I bought the shares a week ago. I am also glad that Parkway Holdings is mentioned even though it is in the reserve list. Parkway Holdings is still in a strong position at $3.110 per share.


SMRT Corp rated top transport operator in Singapore

Deutsche Bank has rated SMRT (S53.SG) as the top pick company in the public transport sector in Singapore. Recently, SMRT posted a 4.4% on-year increase in February train ridership, and an increase of 9.3% year-to-date ridership. SMRT, as a defensive stock and with a decent 4.4% dividend yield, the broker maintains a "buy" rating of $2.34 price target.

Separately, JPMorgan has upgraded SMRT to "overweight" from "neutral" to $2.25 from $1.90, on the expected acceleration in rail ridership with the opening of new train stations along the Circle Line (CCL).

Gates deposed by Slim; Slim is richest in the world now

Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim, is now the world's richest man, overtaking philanthropist Bill Gates. Following behind them is yet another respected philanthropist, Warren Buffett.

I respect both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for their philanthropy work and their willingness to give back to the society.

The World's Billionaires [via]

Bing shares on search market is up again

The latest data from comScore on the U.S. search market came out today and it shows Microsoft's search engine Bing continued slow but steady crawl to number two, rising from 11.3 to 11.5 percent of the search market. This is at the expense of Yahoo search engine. Yahoo fell from 17.0 to 16.8 percent from January to February. Meanwhile, Google, managed a slight increase for the month of February, from 65.4 to 65.5 percent of the U.S. search market.

February Search Results Are In: Bing Is Up Again, Yahoo Is Down Again [via]

Am surprised oral constitutes such a high percentage

From 2012, the oral component of the Mother Tongue languages will be given greater weightage in the "O", "N" and "A" level examinations. For "A" level, it will be 50 per cent, significantly higher than the current 30 per cent!


More marks for Mother Tongue orals at "N", "O" & "A" levels from 2012 [via]

Research papers reading again

I am doing research papers reading once again. This time round, I am expected to compare the below two literature papers, write a critic on them and make comparisons between them.

Tough papers.
“Executing SQL over Encrypted Data in the Database-Service-Provider Model”, H. Hacigumus, B. R. Iyer, C. Li, S. Mehrotra, In Proc. of SIGMOD, 2002. [acm] [pdf]

“Balancing Confidentiality and Efficiency in Untrusted Relational DBMSs”, E. Damiani, S. DeCapitani de Vimercati, S. Jajodia, S. Paraboschi, P. Samarati, In Proc. of ACM CCS, 2003. [acm] [pdf]Deadline: Mar 12, Fri.

Shares ended mostly higher

Cambridge Industrial Trust [J91U.SI] 1.111%CapitalMalls Asia Limited [JS8.SI] 1.777%Koh Brothers Group Limited [K75.SI] 4.444%Mapletree Logistics Trust [M44U.SI] 0.620%Neptune Orient Lines Limited [N03.SI] 2.564%Parkway Holdings Limited [P27.SI] 1.333%SMRT Corporation Limited [S53.SI] 0.510%Singapore Exchange Limited [S68.SI] 0.910%Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited [S63.SI] 0.946%UMS Holdings Limited [558.SI] 0.000%

Finally done with my CS4236 Assignment 1

After a few days of sleepless nights and long hours of work on my CS4236 Assignment 1, it is finally over. I must admit it is a tough project, requiring many hours of commitment and hard work. Not only it requires implementation towards a security problem, it also requires a report on the implementation.

Nevertheless, this project, which requires intensive readings of research papers and fairly deep understanding of encryption algorithms like RC4, on cracking of WEP keys, is an interesting, practical and challenging one.

I wonder what would the Assignment 2 be based on. It's time to catch few hours of rest before embarking on clearing the next deadline - CS5322 Assignment 1.

02: CS5322 Quiz 103: CS4236 Project deadline10: CS4236 Assignment 1 deadline12: CS5322 Assignment 1 deadline15: CS5322 choose research topic April
05: CS5258 Assignment 105: CS5258 Assignment 213: CS5322 Quiz 215: CS5322 Project deadlineXX: CS4236 Assignment 2 deadlineXX: CS5322 Assignment 2 deadline27: CS…

Gmail does not allow executable attachments, not even in a zip file

For security reasons, Google Gmail does not allow attachments which are executables, not even if they are contained in a compressed zip file, for both incoming and outgoing emails.

Unlike Gmail, Yahoo! Mail allows executables attachments, meaning to say, Yahoo! Mail allows both sending and receiving of emails with executables attachments.

Hellen Keller classic quote

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

-- Helen Keller, US blind & deaf educator (1880 - 1968)

Palm oil stocks: Are the good times ending?

By the way, I do not own any palm oil stocks though I used to more than a year ago.

Palm oil stocks: Are the good times ending?
Written by Thomson Reuters
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 10:09

Shares of Asia’s palm plantation companies have rallied over the last one year, riding a rebound in the prices of crude palm oil (CPO) due to lower seasonal production and dry weather conditions.

However, growth of at least 50% in the plantations index has lagged a rise of 55% in Malaysia’s benchmark index fuelled by bank stocks after the central bank raised interest rates last week.

And CPO prices may not stay high much longer because temperatures are set to cool and soybean oil, a rival vegetable oil, is expected to flood the market in the second quarter from a bumper harvest in South America.

Benchmark CPO futures on the Malaysian derivatives exchange are now trading at around 2,680 ringgit ($1,124) a tonne, or about 40% off a March 2008 record of 4,486 ringgit.

A January Reuters poll showed that average palm…

Google Buzz Desktop

If you are using Google Buzz but would like to use it without going through Gmail, now you can do so by installing an application called Google Buzz Desktop.

However, do not that Google Buzz Desktop is built by a Spanish developer, someone not from Google. The desktop application is based on the Adobe AIR platform. Since the application is built by a Spanish developer, you may spot labels used in some of the icons and buttons to be in Spanish.

Google Buzz Desktop

The Beauty of LaTeX

This person focuses on typography. Ain't too sure if LaTex is really better than a WYSIWYC editor. But it indeed caught my attention.

The Beauty of LaTeX [via]


Hungry Beast, a news program from Australia, had an article on Google that defines Google as an advertising giant whose main goal is to track users and deliver targeted ads.

Do note that some statistics from the article are outdated.


Efficient swapping of values using XOR

A more efficient method in swapping values of 2 variables can be done using XOR operation instead of creating a third variable for temporary storage.

The below C# code snippet illustrates just that.

byte a, b; // May use other datatypes like int a = 1; b = 2; a ^= b; b ^= a; a ^= b; // Now a and b are swapped ////

Yuan, the renminbi, may rise against the U.S. dollar

Central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan remarked that China may allow the Yuan (元), also known as the renminbi, to rise against the U.S. dollar. Inflation in China is picking up as the economy recovers, a problem that could result in social unrest. A stroner currency could help address inflation.

Zhou Signals Yuan Policy Shift [via]

Jack Neo admits affair

Jack Neo has confessed to a 2-year affair with a freelance model less than half his age. His wife knows about it but chooses to 'close one eye'.


Jack Neo admits affair [via]

YouTube Makes Captioning Available to All

YouTube has moved its automatic speech-recognition and closed-captioning technology out of beta and have now made it available to all. It also includes two BETA features, on-the-fly language translation and audio transcription, and both are still quite buggy from my observation.

You may watch the video below and play around with the new Captioning feature. Play with the two BETA features and you should observe the many "bugs".

YouTube Makes Captioning Available to All [via]

Looking into buying CapitaMalls Asia Limited

I am looking into adding CapitaMalls Asia Limited onto my stock portfolio.

Hope to get it on Monday.

Answer: How to find a set of coordinates in a bounded 2D space?

3 days ago, I posted a Mathematics problem on finding a set of coordinates in a bounded 2D space. I promised to offer my solution to the problem on the coming Sunday which is today.

Given 4 known coordinates, length and breadth of a bounded 2D space, find the set of coordinates (in RED) with its x and y offset in units as shown above.

Using the method of interpolation, lon = (103.69926-103.72147)*263/1000 + (103.708975-103.72147)*2017/4000 + 103.72147 = 103.70932816625
lat = (1.34192-1.34504)*263/1000 + (1.433975-1.34504)*2017/4000) + 1.34504 = 1.38906491375
It took me quite some time before I recalled there exists a method called interpolation to come out with the answer myself. BTW, this problem is work-related and not school-related.

References to interpolation

Interesting research papers to read on WEP key recovery attack

Research papers (Consolidated)
Using the Fluhrer, Mantin, and Shamir Attack to Break WEP

Weaknesses in the Key Scheduling Algorithm of RC4

Cracking WEP

A Key Recovery Attack on the 802.11b Wired Equivalent Privacy Protocol (WEP)

Upgrade to Office 2010 for free if you have Office 2007

Microsoft announced its "Technology Guarantee" program for Office 2010 on Friday. As part of the program, anyone who buys and activates Office 2007 between now and September 30 will get to upgrade to Office 2010 for free when it becomes available in June 2010.

From TechNet blog:

All you need to be eligible for this program – Office 2010 Technology Guarantee – is the following:
Purchase Office 2007, or a new PC with Office 2007, and activate it between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.Have, or create a Windows Live ID.Redeem your Tech Guarantee before October 31, 2010 by visiting Office for Today or Tomorrow [via]

Current stock portfolio

Cambridge Industrial Trust [J91U]Koh Brothers Group Limited [K75]Mapletree Logistics Trust [M44U]Neptune Orient Lines Limited [N03]Parkway Holdings Limited [P27]Singapore Exchange Limited [S68]Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited [S63]SMRT Corporation Limited [S53]UMS Holdings Limited [558]RED means currently at paper loss.

Treat paying citizens better at casino

Jamie Yeo shares about her recent trip to the Sentosa IR casino and tells us why she will not visit the casino again. She also felt Singaporeans who are paying the hefty $100 entry fee should be treated better instead of making Singaporeans go through cumbersome and segregating procedures, which are often made to feel like animals, being herded and checked like 2nd rate citizens.

Treat paying citizens better at casino [via]

On Gingko with Brahmi

Finally decided I should buy some Gingko with Brahmi tablets for myself to improve my mental alertness. I am not on the verge of mental breakdown but rather, I just want to boost it further!

How to find a set of coordinates in a bounded 2D space?

Given 4 known coordinates, length and breadth of a bounded 2D space, find the set of coordinates (in RED) with its x and y offset in units as shown above.

It took me almost an hour before I recall a method to the problem. An answer will be posted on Sunday.

Gaga for Google Broadband

City residents across the U.S. are campaigning for a slice of the millions Google plans to spend on broadband.
Google may pay heed. "Level of community support is certainly one of the factors we're considering," says a Google spokesman who asked not to be identified. The company is accepting applications at its Web site through Mar. 26.

Google Fiber for Communities
Google is planning to launch an experiment that we hope will make Internet access better and faster for everyone. We plan to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country. Our networks will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today, over 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We'll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

Gaga for Google Broadband [via]