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Showing posts from January, 2012

Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal to win Australian Open

'Dr Doom' Nouriel Roubini predicts financial meltdown to last a decade

Economist Nouriel Roubini, nicknamed 'Dr Doom', who successfully predicted the sub prime crisis in 2008 is now predicting the current financial slowdown could last a decade unless Europe radically reforms itself and the United States gets serious about its own overwhelming debt deficit.

He painted a grim picture of the euro zone in recession and key emerging markets in China, India, Brazil and South Africa slowing down. The biggest uncertainty is the possibility of a conflict with Iran over its nuclear programme - which could lead oil prices to spike to US$150 per barrel, and lead to a global recession, he said.

Calling for a major change in policy priorities, Dr Roubini said: "We have to shift our investment from things that are less productive like the financial sector and housing and real estate to things that are more productive like our people, our human capital, our structure, our technology, our innovation."

Slow growth in advanced economies will likely lead …

Google prompting all to read new policy when log in

When you re-login to your Google account, Google is now prompting you to read its new unified privacy policy. Come Mar 1, 2012, Google will be unifying its current more than 70 privacy policies into one single privacy policy. Google urges us to take a few minutes to read its updated Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service now.

Infographic: Apple's billions

McDonald’s 1-for-1 Prosperity Burger

McDonald is now offering a time limited offer from 27 to 29 January 2012 for its 1-for-1 Prosperity Burger. To redeem, simply flash the coupon on your mobile device.

Twitter able to block tweets and accounts but tweets must still flow

Twitter announced on Thursday that it is now able to block tweets and accounts from appearing in specific countries to comply with governments' request to censor information. Before that, Twitter can only block globally.

As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.
From Twitter, it will not block tweets and will stay reactive. It will review and will withhold specific content when requested and necessary.

When an account is blocked in a specific country, users of that country will see that blocked profile as below:

And when a tweet is withheld instead, the tweet will be seen as below:

What If Twitter has misidentified your country? You will then have to update your countr…

Bill Gates annual letter shows his philanthropy work

I always admired the current chairman of Microsoft and co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates. He is a man full of heart for the world. Yes, I believe many know this man - once richest man in the world but lost, or rather gave away, the title to a Mexican business man. If not for his giving away billions dollars for charitable effort so far, he would have retained his richest man title.

In his annual letter, he pledged to give more in 2013, investing in agriculture hoping to feed the still many poors in the world, without enough food to pass a day. In effort in polio was noted to be a success with only one such case reported in India in year 2011.

Apart from his annual letter, you may also wish to watch the video below on an exclusive interview by the ABC News.

Google unifying 70+ privacy policies into one

Come Mar 1, 2012, Google will be unifying its current more than 70 privacy policies into one single privacy policy.

We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read. Our new policy covers multiple products and features, reflecting our desire to create one beautifully simple and intuitive experience across Google.

For current privacy policies, click here (specific product policies at the right side. New coming unified privacy policy can be found here for preview.

» Updating our privacy policies and terms of service | Official Google Blog

Facebook, Twitter and MySpace launch "Don't be Evil" bookmarklet

Social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and MySpace together launched the "Don't be Evil" bookmarklet in response to Google including its Google+ pages in its search results. Google+ integration into search results has been criticised by competitors that it is not displaying the most relevant social network for an individual, and rather, it's simply promoting their (often less relevant) Google+ page.

The "Don't be Evil" bookmarklet attempts to put focus back to the user, looks at the three places where Google only shows Google+ results and then automatically googles Google to see if Google finds a result more relevant than Google+, and showing them instead.

There are two methods to trying out the "Dont' be Evil"

As a bookmarklet

Go to Focus on the User (, click on the "Try a More Relevant Google", and then drag the "Don't be Evil" bookmarklet to your browser's bookmark toolbar. Next time …

Apple's unbelievable first quarter earnings

Some numbers from the Apple's first quarter earnings as summarised by Mashable.

Apple sold 37 million iPhones in the quarter, a 128% jump over the comparable quarter in 2010.iPad sales hit 15.4 million, a rise of 111%.Mac sales were 5.2 million, an increase of 26%.Apple sold 15.4 million iPods, a number which is down 21% as the iPhone cannibalizes sales of more limited-function devices.Apple now has $97.6 billion in cash on hand.Revenues from iTunes hit $1.7 billion. More than 140 million apps and pieces of content were downloaded on Dec. 25.There are 1.5 million iPads being used by educational institutions.iCloud has 85 million users. There are now 550,000 apps available. Developers of such apps have earned more than $4 billion$700 million in Q1.Apple Stores produced $6.1 billion in revenues for the quarter. The average revenue per store was $17.1 million vs. $12 million last year. There are about 22,000 visitors per store per week.Apple’s revenues for the quarter were higher th…

YouTube statistics - 4 billion daily views, 1 hour of video uploaded every second

Wonder just how much content YouTube is generating? According to the latest statistics, daily views is at 4 billion and in every second, an hour of video is uploaded.

To put all these numbers into perspective, YouTube has launched a new website - Here's a short sample:

» Holy Nyans! 60 hours per minute and 4 billion views a day on YouTube | YouTube Blog

Starhub: 140 channels free-of-charge for 6 days

Starhub is offering over 140 channels of exciting entertainment from 20 January (12pm) to 26 January (12pm), all for FREE in conjunction with the Lunar New Year.

Do enjoy!

SingTel: Free mobile calls, SMS, MMS and mio TV during Lunar New Year

SingTel announced on its website 48 hours of free local mobile calls, SMS and MMS from 23 Jan 0000hrs to 24 Jan 2359hrs.




» 守岁 | 中国政府网

Double rainbow in Singapore just before Chinese New Year

Hope double rainbow just before Chinese New Year will bring better days for Singapore.

Brave ball girl catches bug at Australian Open

During the match between home favourite Lleyton Hewitt and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, an unwanted insect invader became the centre of attention as Stebe asked for the bug to be removed before continuing.

This ball girl picked up the bug quickly but dropped it while running away from the scene attempting to throw it away. Her brave action attracted much cheers from the crowd.

» Brave ball girl catches giant bug | Yahoo! Sports

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

According to the Wikipedia,

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results.
The following articles by Experts-Exchange provide a quick but comprehensive guide on tips to SEO.

SEO Basics: 5 SEO Secrets for Creating Content that Drives TrafficSEO Secret 1: Tools for Success – In-Depth Analysis Made Easy(er)SEO Secret 2: Keyword Placement – Positioning is EverythingSEO Secret 3: Keyword Variation & Relation – Because ‘Other’ Keywords Matter, Too!SEO Secret 4: Making Your Content a Resource – Going Above and BeyondSEO Secret 5: Sharing your Content – Because Links are SEO Gold!

sudo apt-get commands

From the Ubuntu documentation,

The apt-get command is a powerful command-line tool used to work with Ubuntu's Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) performing such functions as installation of new software packages, upgrade of existing software packages, updating of the package list index, and even upgrading the entire Ubuntu system.

Update the Package Index - Run this command periodically to make sure your source list is up-to-date.

sudo apt-get update
Upgrade Packages - This command upgrades all installed packages.

sudo apt-get upgrade
Upgrade Packages with "smart upgrade" - The same as the above, except add the "smart upgrade" checkbox.

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
Install a Package

sudo apt-get install <app name>
Remove a Package

sudo apt-get remove <app name>


A poem titled 来了新加坡才知道···, composed by a mainlander PRC who visited Singapore recently.









来了新加坡才知道,新加坡很多东西是MADE IN CHINA的







来了新加坡才知道,70多岁的老头娶个20 多岁的越南姑娘是很多的




Peking University Professor labelled Hong Kong people as dogs

A professor, Kong Qing-Dong (孔庆东), from the Mainland China Peking University gave his commentary labelling Hongkongers as 'dogs' on the recent incident involving a quarrel between Hong Kong and mainland passengers on a MTR train in Hong Kong.

The quarrel on the train was sparked after angry Hongkongers tried to stop a mainland girl eating a snack on the train. The incident was captured in a 2-parts video and uploaded onto YouTube. The mainlanders apologised eventually only after the train staff was alerted.

2012-01-15 火車內罵戰 香港人大戰大陸人 Part 1 [1/2]

2012-01-15 火車內罵戰 香港人大戰大陸人 Part 2 [2/2]

So, did the mainlanders know eating is not permitted in trains in the first place? In the Part 2 video, the little girl was heard telling her mother they should be the one in the wrong but was quickly "ssshh" by her mother.

Watch Professor Kong commentary calling Hongkongers 'dogs' below:

Microsoft Excel 2007 Specifications and Limitations

As extracted from Microsoft Office Support,

Worksheet and workbook specifications and limits

FeatureMaximum limitOpen workbooksLimited by available memory and system resourcesWorksheet size1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columnsColumn width255 charactersRow height409 pointsPage breaks1,026 horizontal and verticalTotal number of characters that a cell can contain32,767 charactersCharacters in a header or footer255Sheets in a workbookLimited by available memory (default is 3 sheets)Colors in a workbook16 million colors (32 bit with full access to 24 bit color spectrum)Named views in a workbookLimited by available memoryUnique cell formats/cell styles64,000Fill styles256Line weight and styles256Unique font types1,024 global fonts available for use; 512 per workbookNumber formats in a workbookBetween 200 and 250, depending on the language version of Excel that you have installedNames in a workbookLimited by available memoryWindows in a workbookLimited by available memoryPanes in a window4Linked sh…

Microsoft Excel 2003 Specifications and Limitations

As extracted from Microsoft Office Support,

Worksheet and workbook specifications

FeatureMaximum limitOpen workbooksLimited by available memory and system resourcesWorksheet size65,536 rows by 256 columnsColumn width255 charactersRow height409 pointsPage breaks1000 horizontal and verticalLength of cell contents (text)32,767 characters. Only 1,024 display in a cell; all 32,767 display in the formula bar.Sheets in a workbookLimited by available memory (default is 3 sheets)Colors in a workbook56Cell styles in a workbook4,000Named views in a workbookLimited by available memoryCustom number formatsBetween 200 and 250, depending on the language version of Excel you have installed.Names in a workbookLimited by available memoryWindows in a workbookLimited by system resourcesPanes in a window4Linked sheetsLimited by available memoryScenariosLimited by available memory; a summary report shows only the first 251 scenariosChanging cells in a scenario32Adjustable cells in Solver200Custom functionsLi…

Mark Zuckerberg says 'No' to SOPA and PIPA

In a Facebook post, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, commented as such:

The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can't let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet's development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.

The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet.

You can read more about our views here:

Google opposes SOPA and PIPA, urges petition

Google main search engine page is now seeing an additional link urging the Congress not to censor the Internet to oppose against Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Google's stand is to end piracy and not liberty and Google wants us to sign a petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before the Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Click here to vote.

Wikipedia (English) black out globally to protest SOPA and PIPA

The English Wikipedia is now blacked out globally to protest Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.
To learn more on the SOPA and PIPA, click here.

Microsoft’s New Social Network - Socl

Microsoft entry to the social network industry is still in its development, with a brand new social network called, dropping the vowels, which pronounces the word as Social. is still under development and is open for a limited amount of users.

I am still waiting for an invite. Do drop me one if you have spare invite.

URL Expanders for shortened urls

Ever wonder if a shortened url is harmless or malicious? The following are 5 url expanders capable of revealing the actual full url.

You may use for your own testing.

Where Does This Link Go?


URL X-ray



Google Maps to launch Google+ games

Google will be releasing a Google maps oriented game for Google+ in February. Watch the preview features in the following video.

To know what exactly is and the services provided by Google Maps, click here for a quick walkthrough.

Google top U.S. search engines ranking, Bing overtook Yahoo!

Latest comScore report shows Google still led the U.S. explicit core search market in December with 65.9 percent market share (up 0.5 percentage points), followed by Microsoft Sites with 15.1 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and Yahoo! Sites with 14.5 percent. Ask Network accounted for 2.9 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.6 percent. Yes, Microsoft is now second, overtaking Yahoo! along the way.

comScore Explicit Core Search Share Report (December 2011 vs. November 2011)

Core Search EntityExplicit Core Search Share (%)Nov-11Dec-11Point ChangeTotal Explicit Core Search100.0%100.0%N/AGoogle Sites65.4%65.9%0.5Microsoft Sites15.0%15.1%0.1Yahoo! Sites15.1%14.5%-0.6AOL Network2.9%2.9%0.0AOL, Inc.1.6%1.6%0.0

Google Search and its "Search Plus Your World"

Google has been rolling out gradually and soon, search results will begin showing in its new "Search Plus Your World" format. In this new format, it finds both content that's been shared with you privately on Google+ along with matches from the public web, all mixed into a single set of listings.

From a Google blog post, three new features are introduced to make up the "Search Plus Your World"

Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a c…

SMRT former CEO Phaik Hwa Saw compensation

As listed Bloomberg Businessweek, SMRT former CEO Phaik Hwa Saw total calculated compensation amounted to $1,847,611 for having tendered her resignation amidst series of SMRT trains breakdowns incident in December 2011.

ANNUAL COMPENSATION* Salary $666,303 Bonus $842,308 Total Annual Compensation $1,508,611 STOCK OPTIONS* All Other Compensation $60,000 TOTAL COMPENSATION* Total Annual Cash Compensation $1,568,611 Total Short Term Compensation $1,508,611 Other Long Term Compensation $60,000 Total Calculated Compensation $1,847,611

Determine age given date of birth using SQL

The following Microsoft SQL function will help return an integer, determining one's age given date of birth. Hope it helps.

--function to compute age given date of birth CREATE FUNCTION fnGetAge (@d datetime) RETURNS INT AS BEGIN DECLARE @age INT SET @age = ( CASE WHEN DATEADD(YEAR, DATEDIFF (YEAR, @d, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP), @d) > CURRENT_TIMESTAMP THEN DATEDIFF(YEAR, @d, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP) - 1 ELSE DATEDIFF(YEAR, @d, CURRENT_TIMESTAMP) END) RETURN @age END GO --create table for testing CREATE TABLE #tem (birthdate DATETIME) go --insert some dummy values INSERT INTO #tem VALUES ('1981-01-09') INSERT INTO #tem VALUES ('1981-01-10') INSERT INTO #tem VALUES ('1981-01-11') INSERT INTO #tem VALUES ('2000-01-01') INSERT INTO #tem VALUES ('2012-01-01') GO --test our function SELECT birthdate, dbo.fnGetAge(birthdate) FROM #tem GO

Ministerial Salary Review - Summary

Please refer to below for a summary of the report submitted by the Review Committee to Ministerial salaries. The full Review Committee's report can be found here.

President’s annual salary cut by 51% to $1,540,000
PM’s annual salary cut by 36% to $2,200,000
(by 36% including the removal of pension)
DPM’s annual salary cut by 23% to $$1,870,000
(by 31% including the removal of pension)
Minister’s annual salary cut by 26%-31% to $1,100,000 and $1,760,000 respectively
(by 33%-37% including the removal of pension)
Speaker’s annual salary cut by 53% to $550,000
Deputy Speaker’s annual allowance cut by 15% to $82,500
MPs’ annual allowance cut by 3% to $192,500
NCMPs’ and NMPs’ annual allowance cut by 4% to $28,900

Ministerial Salary Review - Press Conference, Jan 4 2012

Grace Fu comments on ministerial pay cut

Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday in response to the recent announcement by the Ministerial Salary Review Committee. The committee suggested on Wednesday cutting the prime minister's annual pay by 36 per cent to S$2.2 million, ministers' yearly wage by 37 per cent to S$1.1 million and the president's annual salary by 51 per cent to S$1.54 million.

Grace Fu wrote:

When I made the decision to join politics in 2006, pay was not a key factor. Loss of privacy, public scrutiny on myself and my family and loss of personal time were. The disruption to my career was also an important consideration. I had some ground to believe that my family would not suffer a drastic change in the standard of living even though I experienced a drop in my income. So it is with this recent pay cut. If the balance is tilted further in the future, it will make it harder for any one considering political office.
Her …

Mr Brown shares his thoughts on the recent Ministerial pay cut

Just for entertainment.

Ektron URL alias giving "Page Not Found"

If you are getting "Page Not Found (404) Error" when you are trying to assess a Ektron URL alias page on IIS 7.x, you may be missing a module mapping.

In you web.config file, make sure you have the following key under the <modules> section.

<system.webServer> ... <modules> ... <add name="EkUrlAliasModule" type="UrlAliasingModule" preCondition="integratedMode" /> ... </modules> ... </system.webServer>
You may ensure that your web.config contains all of the handler mappings from the IIS 7 example configuration file (Usually found in C:\Program Files\Ektron\CMS400vXX\CommonFiles\IIS7Web.config).

Hand grenade throwing went horribly wrong in China

A hand grenade throwing exercise went horribly wrong in China when a recruit's throw had his grenade hit a sandbag wall instead of over it. The live hand grenade bounced back and landed into the ditch beside the recruit and the instructor.

The quick-witted instructor nimbly dived into the other side of the ditch, dragging the recruit together with him, saving his life, before the grenade exploded in seconds. What puzzled me is the instructor actually rose up and began clearing the mess coolly and naturally to prepare for the next hand grenade thrower, as if such incident is common anyway. Hope not.

A short 48-seconds video clip showing the incident captured over 1.8 million viewers so far. Watch the video below.

Just how a typical Mr Android 2011 will look like

A new infographic from BlueStacks pulled data from Nielsen as well as poll responses from its 145,000 Facebook fans to create a picture of the average male Android user in 2011.