Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Starhub revamping their channels from 30 Apr 2010

Updated 11 Apr 2010: Added Mediacorp channels from Wikipedia

Today's news reported that StarHub will revamp their channel numbering system on 30 April, in line with the practices of pay TV operators worldwide and part of its overall strategy to pave the way for the introduction of new content.

The channels will be grouped according to genres:

100 - International/Ethnic/Free-To-Air
200 - Sports
300 - Kids
400 - Education/Lifestyle
500 - Entertainment
600 - Movies
700 - News
800 - Chinese and Other Applications (Playin' TV, Interactive TV, KaraOK!)

MediaCorp's seven free-to-air channels will occupy channels 102 to 108. The exact channel details are not yet out for some reason. They are:
102 - Ch 5
103 - Ch 8
104 - Suria
105 - Vasantham
106 - CNA
107 - Ch U
108 - Okto

StarHub will offer a three-day free preview of all StarHub TV channels for its customers starting 30 Apr to 2 May. Take note of the dates!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phone Reception in the North South tunnels getting from bad to worse

I happened to travel in a loop today from the north south mrt tunnels, to NEL, to circle line, back to the north south line.

The reception in the SMRT tunnels in the north south line was very bad, and I was not even using 3G. I have lost signals at least 5 times from orchard to city hall.

The moment I hit the NEL line though, I had good reception all the way and I even managed to have a conversation in the NEL tunnels, a task virtually impossible in the SMRT tunnels.

The surprising thing is that I think they have did something to the circle line tunnels. Reception was quite ok along the line compared to my previous experience. I did not encounter any drop in signal at all.

Now all I have to wait is for the rich telcos to fix the reception problems in the north south tunnels.

Will they fix it? My guess is someone have to force them to.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shortening the bus route may not resolve the frequency problem

Recently the newspapers have been reporting that the long haul bus route will be shortened to increase the frequency of the buses. However, this may not be the magic bullet that resolves the problem.

Let us assume that a person Z wishes to travel from point A to C. Previously it was a direct route but after changes to the bus system, Z must change to another bus at point B. Assuming that a bus must leave the interchange every 15mins and there's only one connecting bus at point B, Z must wait for a maximum of 15mins for the bus to depart. Upon reaching point B, assuming that the person misses the connecting bus, the person will have to also wait a maximum of 15mins for the connecting bus, depending on the traffic conditions.

Using the example above, Z who used to wait for a maximum of 15mins will now have to wait for a maximum of half an hour before reaching point C. This is assuming that the bus route does not lengthen as a result of the change.

Therefore, in order to increase the frequency of the buses, in addition to the change above,
  • short-haul buses should leave the bus terminal every 10mins (minimum);
  • the number of connecting buses should be more than 1 and should stretch to a few bus-stops; and
  • the connecting buses preferably should be from different companies so as to induce competition (better service).

Translated, that means the bus companies need to spend more money to procure more buses and hire more drivers in order to increase the frequency of the buses. Even without changes to the bus routes, just by increasing the number of buses, the frequency will get better, especially with the recent implementation of the single red line bus lane. In fact, just by introducing competition to the route may result in an increase in frequency due to more buses plying the same route.

Transport is always a chicken and egg problem. With the sharp increase of COE, I do not see why an increase of bus frequency will not result in more people taking that bus route. There's no running away from increasing the number of buses. That's the only way to increase the frequency.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Do not dwell on the past

I quote from Alexander Graham Bell:

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.

In a way, he has summarised what usually happens in a situation. A door will close, but one or more doors will open. Often, we lament what we could have done to prevent the door from closing. While this is useful to prevent us from making the same mistake, the immediate concern should be to look for the doors that are opened and try to resolve the situation.

Look out for the open doors and you may be surprised on what you can find.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who sets the market rate? Private sector or URA?

The recent news have highlighted the sale of the reserve sites at Tampines and Ten Mile Junction in 2008.

In June 2008, a Tampines site first put up for sale by the government was not sold after the sole bid of $118 psf ppr was rejected after failing to meet the reserve price. However, in another tender exercise earlier this month, it was awarded to the top bidder at $421 psf ppr - 3.6 times the previous price. Similarly, a mixed-use site located at Ten Mile Junction, which had a failed bid of $162 psf ppr in April 2008, was awarded for $437 psf ppr in February 2010.

In this situation, it would seem to me that URA is the one setting the "market price", and not the market. Back in 2008, the market deemed that these 2 plots of land are worth that amount which URA disagreed by rejecting the bid (reserve price = minimum "market price").

Reading this article however reminded me about HDB flats. HDB has always indicated that the flat prices they have indicated are at a discount to "market price". So is the market price really the price which the market determines, or the "reserve price" that URA determines? It would seem that its the later. Does that mean that HDB flat prices are actually indirectly determined by URA? Is that healthy for the property market?

Personally, I'm never a firm believer of free market. I always believe that when the cat's away, the mice will play. There's no such thing as a free market as people will want to take advantage of each other. Regulation provides the direction of the market. However, the trick is when to stop "interfering" and provide a "light touch".

Drawing the analogy of a parent and child relationship. There will always be a time where the parent has to "release" the child and let the child experience the real world, while still keeping an eye out. The million dollar question is whether the "parent" will give us such freedom.

Judging from the recent news, I guess not. Over-protective parents are not healthy in the long run.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Zero-client computing is back in the rage

It has been over 10 years since I've last used a dumb terminal to access the mainframe functions. I've fond memories selecting diskettes belonging to the difference mainframes and inserting it before switching on the computer. I guess few people nowadays have ever encountered such dumb terminals.

It seems though that the trend is now back. Recently, Microsoft has actually launched the Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 that does what it is now termed as zero-client computing. The concept is very simple. You have essentially a group of users accessing a central server as if they have their own client machines. The main advantage is that you only need to manage the one server oppose to the many user client machines. However, people fail to mention that the disadvantage is that if the server goes down for any reason, that group of users allocated to that server will not be able to login, and can also potentially lose all the information they have on that server, depending on the severity of the problem.

I find it quite interesting that zero-client computing (what it's now known as) is back in the rage. However, looking at the technology involved, it does seem remarkably like the Windows Remote Desktop feature that has been around for quite some time. Oh well.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another iPad viral advertisement

The video below shows some of the features of the iPad in slow motion, along with tongue-in-cheek comments. :) I especially like the way people can view photos on the iPad. It's as if you're simulating someone holding a stack of photos and dispersing all of it on the table for all to view. Quite neat. Enjoy.

Inflation is up 1%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2010:
January: 0.2%
February: 1.0%

Transport and Education & Stationary are once again leading the charge, rising by 7.6% and 2.2% respectively year on year. Housing costs continued the downward trend by decreasing 2.0%. Judging from the current trend, it would seem that inflation for this year can hit as high as 2.8% year on year due to the low base as of last year. Food inflation might also spike up further due to the El Nino weather patterns wrecking havoc in the agriculture producing countries. Some coffee shops have also started increasing the food prices.

Another year of inflation. A signal?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Block Phone Calls Using Your iPhone

Previously, I've always wondered how to block certain contacts in my iPhone such that when that particular number calls in, the phone will not ring. Recently I finally found a way to block those phone calls while still allowing the other calls to come in.

The concept is very simple. Assign an empty ringtone to that contact. Therefore when that contact calls in, your iPhone will use the empty ringtone and you will not hear a thing. :)

To do that, just do the following:
  1. Save the phone numbers you wish to block into the iPhone.
  2. Create a 25 second ringtone of silence. You can also get the ringtone which I've created here using the Sound Recorder and the post here to convert the sound file into a ringtone.
  3. Add the ringtone into the iTunes Library and sync it to your iPhone. You should see a Silence option under Custom Ringtone.
  4. Edit the contacts of the phone numbers in the first step and assign the Silence ringtone to them.

That's it. No more nonsense phone calls. :)

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    First step is always the hardest

    I quote from Nikola Tesla:

    My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.

    My ideas are definitely nowhere in comparison with Nikola Tesla but I've been following such patterns since I started working. I've always advised people that the first step is always the hardest.

    Personally, that's the part where I'll try to visualize whatever that I'm trying to do before I actually start work. This has been quite effective in helping me focus my thoughts on a particular problem and visualize the alternatives before choosing the most effective one for me. Try it sometime.

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Streaming Videos on the iPhone

    I was monkeying around with my iPhone today and I realised that the iPhone supports HTML5 video streaming. However, the catch is that it must be encoded using H.264. I've tried a website that was streaming a MP4 H.264 encoded video and it works perfectly.

    If you're interested and you're on the iPhone, goto this website here and scroll to the end of the page. You should be able to see a video. Tap on it and it will automatically launch the Quicktime player in the iPhone. Just tap on the play button and the video will start. When you tap on the Done button, it will bring you back to the webpage.

    Soon, we'll be able to see video streaming on the Internet without being held hostage by Flash or Silverlight. Many of the browsers can support this capability out of the box even now. Now my hope is that the other websites will start to use this technology. I wonder if Facebook will embed this technology into the Facebook app. It will resolve the video streaming problem that the app currently has.

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    IE9 will only work on Vista and 7, and still does not conform to ACID3.

    I find it very amusing that Microsoft is going to launch a new Internet Explorer 9 that will
    • supports HTML5;
    • only work on Windows Vista and Windows 7; and
    • only scores a low 55 on the ACID3 test based on the IE9 preview.

    I've been a Firefox users for many many years and based on the current Firefox v3.6 on Windows XP, it already has a score of 92 out of 100 in the ACID3 test. Furthermore, Firefox v3.6 already supports certain elements of HTML5 (e.g. video streaming). You can see an example of video streaming here if you have the latest version of Firefox / Chrome (not sure if Safari has it). Note that no plug-ins are used (iPhone engineers will love this. No more dependency on Flash).

    The only thing that differentiates Internet Explorer from Firefox is that it supports ActiveX, which by the way has been disabled by some companies due to the danger of malware. However, ActiveX by itself has almost been made redundant due to the increasing capabilities of the Web browser and the HTML standard (Cannot wait for HTML5).

    Guys, there's no need to wait for IE9. Just download a free copy of Firefox or Chrome that will work on almost any operating systems.

    Windows Phone 7 to be similar to the first generation of iPhone?

    I was surprised to find out that according to Microsoft officials, Windows Phone 7 may not have the cut and paste functionality in the initial version and they have said that it was a conscious decision (yeah right). However, my take on it is that Silverlight does not support copy and paste and that they are still figuring out how to enable this option.

    Microsoft has also indicated that they will not add multi-tasking capabilities and they will be following the iPhone way of handling multi-tasking (saving of states). This is something which I agree. I strongly disagree with the concept of multi-tasking on a small device because I don't see any advantages of such a feature. You can read more about this in this post.

    Seriously, I do not understand why Microsoft will want to continue in the mobile space when it's quite obvious that they are copying whatever features that is now currently in the market (iPhone and Android). The only thing that Windows Phone 7 can support better than the other phones are their office applications. However, I seriously do not think that business users will get the phone purely based on this functionality as it's a real pain to edit a word document on a small mobile phone. Apple has already secretly acknowledged that by putting iWorks Mobile on the iPad but not on the iPhone. I believe that it's deliberate. With Android in the market, I believe that mobile web-based office solutions, most probably based on HTML5, will soon be available in their Google Apps.

    So why on earth Microsoft wants to come out with Windows Phone 7? There's no differentiating factor at all.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    iPad Demo by CNet

    This video may be a bit late but I've been trying to catch up on lost time. :) If you're not sure what the iPad is, this video by CNet will give you a general idea what it can do (before launch). For some reason, there's still no news on the iPad launch for Asia. The US will get the iPad on the 3 Apr 2010 while Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK will get it in late April. No mention of Asia at all.

    Difference in Internet Speed between iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS

    I believe it's quite obvious that the iPhone 1st generation only supports 2G and the iPhone 3G supports 3G, but I've never knew until recently that there is also a difference in 3G speed between the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

    I only knew about the difference recently while researching on a comment someone made with regards to the speed of 3G in handphones.

    Based on what I've researched, the iPhone 3G only supports speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps while the iPhone 3GS supports speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps (downloading). However for the iPhone 3GS, the uploading speed is capped to 384 Kbps. The reason is because the iPhone 3G only supports UMTS while the iPhone 3GS supports the downloading portion of HSDPA.

    It's funny that this information was never put across clearly, at least to me. Anyway, it doesn't matter whether your iPhone can support 3.6 Mbps or 7.2 Mbps. Try using the SpeedTest app and I sincerely doubt you can even reach 3.6 Mbps consistently. Even if the telco supports 3G speeds of up to 42 Mbps, it's of no use to handphone users as their speed is capped at 7.2 Mbps (which I've never achieved before anyway).

    Anyway, this doesn't matter because if you've used the SpeedTest app previously, you'll know that it's next to impossible to get 3.6 Mbps consistently. I'll be happy even if I can get 3G signal and in some MRT tunnels, a normal phone signal.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Increase of CPF-SA lock-in in Budget 2010

    Somehow this year there seems to be many changes during the Budget 2010 discussions. There are quite a few CPF changes but one thing of note (to me at least) is that from 1 July 2010, the first $40,000 of members’ Special Account balances will no longer be allowed to be used for investments. Previously, it used to be the first $20,000. Reason given was that with the higher risk-free interest rate on the Special Account, it is better to be more conservative than to subject these savings to the uncertainty of CPFIS returns.

    There are also changes to the following CPF rules:
    • Facilitating Automatic Inclusion in CPF LIFE
    • Allowing Payout Adjustments for Minimum Sum Scheme
    • Refining CPF Nomination Rules
    • Special Needs Savings Scheme
    • Enhancements to Workfare Income Supplement Scheme (WIS)
    • Refinement to the Public Assistance Scheme 

    You can read more about it here.

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Circle Line Open House on 4 Apr 2010

    To prepare (can't think of any other reason why they would hold an open house) for the opening of the Circle Line from Dhoby Ghaut to Bartley, there will be an open house on the 4 Apr 2010 from 11.30am to 6pm to give a sneak preview of the stations before it is open on the 17 Apr 2010.

    You can hop on the train at any of the 10 stations from Bras Basah to Tai Seng. The 10 stations are Bras Basah, Esplanade, Promenade, Nicoll Highway, Stadium, Mountbatten, Dakota, Paya Lebar, MacPherson and Tai Seng. Do note that you'll not be able to enter Dhoby Ghaut Circle Line station from Dhoby Ghaut MRT station.

    There will also be events held at some of the stations.

    Arts and Culture CentralBras BasahBalloon sculpting at the road show by National Heritage Board. Performances by grassroots clubs and schools

    Celebrity DJ: Charissa Seet (Power 98)
    Shopping and Entertainment CentralEsplanadeEsplanade
    Balloon sculptures, caricature artists and games stalls. Performances by grassroots clubs and schools

    Celebrity DJ: Vernetta Lopez (Class 95FM)
    Sports CentralDakotaFree style football stunts, Balloon sculpture and games stalls. Performances by grassroots clubs and schools

    Celebrity DJ: Jenson Ho (Power 98)
    Culture CentralPaya LebarCaricature artists and games stall. Performances by grassroots clubs and schools

    Celebrity DJ: Glenn Ong (Class 95FM)
    Community CentralMacPhersonTeochew Opera, Tattoo artist, balloon sculpture and games stalls. Performances by MacPherson Community Club

    Celebrity DJ: Evelyn Tan

    For more information, refer to the Circle Line Discovery website here.

    Think differently when resolving problems.

    I quote from Albert Einstein:

    Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.

    A very simple statement that reveals much about problems that face us every day. The reason why a problem occurs may be due to looking at a situation from a certain point of view. A solution will present itself if you look at it from another perspective.

    Think differently when looking at problems and you may have very well found the solution.

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Stupid MRT ticket machines does not like POSB cards

    For some reason, the stupid MRT ticket machines nowadays mostly refuse to accept POSB ATM card for NETS transactions, and I do include the NEL line.

    Whenever I try to insert the POSB ATM card, it refuses to register that the card has been inserted and removed. Out of 10 ticket machines, I may be able to get 1 machine to accept my card.

    I do wonder if anyone is ensuring that the ticket machines work as advertised. Isn't there a standard User Acceptance Plan that ensures that the machines accept all NETS cards? What's the use of accepting NETS if the machine doesn't accept the most popular ATM card in Singapore?

    Cashless society? Yeah right. Provided it works.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    LTE? First Resolve the 3G problem

    Recently the 3 telcos have been saying that they have testing the new 4G technology, also known as Long Term Evolution (LTE), that allows transmission speed as high as 100Mbps.

    My question to the 3 telcos is very simple. To date, are any of the 3G users making full use of the speed that 3G can offer? HSDPA+ (3.5G) is suppose to hit up to 42 MBps. Are any of the 3G users consistently hitting this speed?

    I don't have the telco's statistics but based on my personal usage statistics, I can say that the 3G users are NOT hitting the promised speeds. Not only do we have serious coverage problems even for EDGE (2G) in the SMRT tunnels (yes, I had no problems with the NEL tunnels), whenever I do have 3G coverage, I need to wait for a while just to launch my Facebook app. Even if I'm taking the conservative speed of 7.2MBps for 3G, loading of the Facebook app should be instantaneous, which isn't the case. Heck, even if I try to load the Channelnewsaisa app, I have to wait for a while during peak hours (morning and night) even though it's mostly textual.

    So why on earth are we going towards LTE if the telcos are still having coverage and speed issues? If 3.5G cannot hit speeds of up to even 7.2MBps, then admit it. Don't use the same network congestion excuse. No matter how fast the technology is, if you cannot resolve the 3.5G network congestion issue, what makes you think that you can resolve the 4G network congestion issue? Oh yes, and the other favourite excuse given. Too many users are logging into the network. Does 4G resolve this problem?

    Resolve these fundamental problems before you should even think of going towards LTE. I do wonder if anyone is monitoring the service level of the telcos. Recently Singtel got rapped by MDA for the Mio service downtime. How about the internet service level?

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Power of Letting Go

    I quote from Julia Butterfly Hill:

    As I started to picture the trees in the storm, the answer began to dawn on me. The trees in the storm don't try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go. Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break.

    This analogy rings true for the problems we face everyday. Some battles should be fought, but not all battles need to be won. Energy can be saved for battles that matter.

    For those with minimal impact, live and let live. For those with outcomes that we cannot change, escalate it to someone who can make the difference, and not try to resolve something that's not achievable within your power.

    Letting go helps us mentally. Learn to do that.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Summary of HDB changes for Budget 2010

    HDB has came out with a list of changes designed to prevent HDB speculation and enhance the distinction between Singaporeans and PR, which was what people have been complaining about for the past few years. Is the election coming?

    Anyway, the summarised changes are as follows:
    • Effective on or after the date of policy announcement, allowing all eligible households to apply for a second concession HDB loan regardless whether they upgrade, downsize or move to the same flat type;

    • Effective on or after the date of policy announcement, tightening the rules of the second concession HDB loan by reducing the quantum of the second concessionary loan by the full CPF proceeds and part of the cash proceeds from the sale of the existing or immediate past HDB flats. Details can be found here;

    • Effective from 1 Apr 2010, the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) eligibility criteria are:
      - Citizen household living in a 3-room or smaller HDB flat;
      - All lessees are at least at the CPF draw-down-age, currently at 62 years old;
      - The household must not have enjoyed more than one housing subsidy in the past;
      - The household must have lived in their flat for at least 5 years;
      - The monthly household income must not exceed $3,000;
      - The household must not have owned or currently own a private residential property; and
      - The household must not have any outstanding housing loan on their flat that exceeds $5,000 unless they have minimum proceeds of $60,000 for the purchase of an Immediate Annuity under CPF LIFE.

      Those who previously owned 4-room HDB flats and above will enjoy a subsidy of $5,000 while those who previously owned 3 room HDB flats and below will enjoy the same subsidy of $10,000. Details can be found here.

    • Effective to resale transactions on or after the date of policy announcement, the minimum occupation period for resale of non-subsidised flats (i.e. resale flats bought without CPF Housing Grant) will be increased to 3 years, regardless of whether the buyer takes an HDB loan, a bank loan or no loan at all. There are no changes to the minimum occupation period of 5 years for resale of subsidised flats. Details can be found here.

    • Effective on or after the date of policy announcement, the housing subsidies for Singapore Citizens (SC) and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) will be the following:

      Household Type*
      Buying New Flat from HDB
      CPF Housing Grant for
      Resale/DBSS flats or EC unit
      Citizen Top-Up
      SC / SC
      No change
      Receive $30,000
      Receive $40,000
      SC / SPR
      Pay $10,000 Premium
      Receive $20,000
      Receive $30,000
      Receive $10,000
      * Withheld subsidy of $10,000 will be restored when an SPR family member in the SC/SPR household takes up citizenship or if the couple has an SC child while still in ownership of that flat
      ** Not applicable to EC

    • Effective on or after the date of policy announcement, the SPR quota will be set at 5% and 8% at the neighbourhood and block levels respectively, and will apply in addition to the existing Ethnic Integration Policy limits.

      Details can be found here.

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Shaking away Negativity

    I quote from Terry Orlick:

    Negativity sucks away energy. If part of the negativity stems from your attitude or perspective, commit yourself at the beginning of each day and each activity to find something positive in yourself and in others around you. If the people around you are negative and you can't change that, either remove yourself from the situation or view it simply as one obstacle you face in pursuing your own potential. Stay focused on your own goals and make the best of the situation.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Something wrong with the Phone reception in SMRT lines

    It may have been due to the influx of iPhone users but I've realised that the phone reception in the SMRT underground tunnels is increasingly going from bad to worse.

    Why did I single out SMRT underground tunnels? That's because I've done a simple experiment. I had an uninterrupted phone call with someone from the start of NEL line to Serangoon. After which, my friend switched to the Circle Line (SMRT) towards Bishan. During the journey in the NEL line, I had uninterrupted access to my friend (both of us on mobile phones and I'm at home). However, the moment my friend switched to the NEL line, I kept losing connection. The same dropping of connection also happens during the journey from Braddel to Dohby Ghaut.

    Therefore, it's definitely not true that only the old SMRT lines have the phone reception problems. Even the new Circle line is having the very same problems. Therefore, I can only put it down to the SMRT design that prevents phones from getting reception. There are no such problems in the NEL line.

    This could be dangerous in certain situations because in certain parts of the SMRT tunnel, I got absolutely no signal on my mobile phone. This simple experiment can be duplicated any time during the peak hours (going to and coming back from work).

    I'm not even asking for 3G access. Sometimes, I don't even have EDGE signals in SMRT tunnels or a reception for that matter. Are you sure the 3 telcos coverage are over 99% ? Doesn't look like to me and I'm being reminded of this fact everyday.

    Universal Studios Singapore Opening 18 Mar 2010

    Resorts World has finally announced that they will open the Universal Studio on the 18 Mar 2010, at 8.28am. Seems like there are a variety of tickets. I have copied the table from Resorts World below. You can refer to more information here.

    I do not understand the part on the lanyard with 2 pins and lanyard with 4 pins. Why the differentiation? :)

    Ticket Type
    One Day Weekday Pass
    One Day Weekend Pass
    Two Day Pass
    Annual Pass-
    Fun Pass *
    Annual Pass-
    Superstar Pass **

    Ticket Type
    Off- Peak
    Super Peak
    Express Pass ***

    * Fun Pass
    • Enjoy unlimited admission for 312 days (Most weekdays and weekends)
    • Universal Studios Singapore lanyard with 2 pins.
    • S$25 Resorts World Sentosa gift voucher.
    • 5% discount off selected F&B outlets at Universal Studios Singapore and Resorts World Sentosa.
    • 5% discount off selected retail outlets at Universal Studios Singapore and Resorts World Store and Resorts World Gift Shop.
    • Receive our monthly E-bulletin on the latest happenings in Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios Singapore.
    • 10% early bird discount for Universal Studios Singapore events.
    • Sneak previews of new rides and attractions.
    • Entitled to a maximum of FIVE Universal Studios Singapore day passes at 10% discount for your accompanying guests during your birthday month.

    ** Superstar Pass
    • Enjoy unlimited admission with no black-out dates for 365 days
    • Universal Studios Singapore lanyard with 4 pins
    • S$100 Resorts World Sentosa gift voucher
    • 5% discount off selected F&B outlets at Universal Studios Singapore and Resorts World Sentosa
    • 5% discount off selected retail outlets at Universal Studios Singapore and Resorts World Store and Resorts World Gift Shop
    • Receive our monthly E-bulletin on the latest happenings in Resorts World Sentosa and Universal Studios Singapore
    • 10% early bird discount for Universal Studios Singapore events
    • Sneak previews of new rides and attractions
    • Entitled to a maximum of FIVE Universal Studios Singapore day passes at 10% discount for your accompanying guests during your birthday month
    • One complimentary pass to Halloween Horror Nights™
    • 30% off the rack rate of the Resorts World Sentosa VIP Tour
    • Enjoy unlimited climbs at the Amber Rock Climb™ which is an attraction in The Lost World™
    • Enjoy complimentary Universal Express access to all the attractions in Universal Studios Singapore
    • Reservation made for a Deluxe Room in Festive Hotel™ and Hotel Michael™ will enjoy a complimentary upgrade to the Deluxe Family Room and the Club Deluxe Room respectively

    *** Express Pass
    • There are three types of express pass:
      - Off Peak: Valid for weekdays ONLY
      - Peak: Valid for weekdays School Holidays
      - Super-Peak: Valid for weekends and black-out dates
    • Allows you priority access to all the attractions
    • Express Access is a separate line with a shorter wait time at each attraction

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Why people want to multi-task on phones??

    Recently I've been reading about the advantages/disadvantages of different phone models from different companies and I've realised that the inability to multi-task on iPhone Apps have been cited most often as a must-have.

    This is the part that puzzles me because when I was using a Windows Mobile phone a long long time ago, I've always make sure the application exits whenever I close a window. I personally find that the mobile phone is too small to effectively multi-task. Form factor is small and sooner or later, you will not know what applications you have running in the background and which applications are the ones draining your battery. It's also super unfriendly to find out what applications are currently running in the background.

    I felt that instead, iPhone developers should be educated that there is also another way to "multi-task" on the iPhone. It's called saving the current state of the app.

    The concept is very simple. Look at your Messages app. Type a SMS halfway and close the app. Re-open the Messages app and you're back to exactly where you have left off. This is how an iPhone app is suppose to work. However, look at the apps in the AppStore and you'll find very few people developing this functionality in the app. Few developers realised that this is the answer to multi-tasking. The ability to allow the user to quit the application to answer the phone or send an SMS, and get back to the app exactly where they have left off.

    It's already possible and few people are using it. To me, this is very similar to the effect of multi-tasking. If you combine push notifications while saving the state of your app when it exits, you can boast to the rest of the developers that your application can be multi-tasked on an iPhone.

    That's a real pity.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Problems of common currency have finally reared its head

    I was never a big fan of the common currency idea that ASEAN was floating around previously and this is proven right by the happenings in the euro now. Due to the problems faced by Greece, partly also due to the common currency, the euro has free-fallen down to its true value. This is in a way also affecting the other countries in the euro bloc, and will most probably drive up their inflation rates this year.

    Personally, I could never understand the logic behind the common currency. You have so many distinctly different countries, with different cultures, different strengths, different weakness and different state of economies. How could one currency be able to fit all countries? True, there are advantages to a common currency but the problem is whether the rules governing the currency be able to fit into the current state of the country. Greece is a good example.

    I sincerely hope that the ASEAN members are looking at what is happening to the euro now and drop the idea of a common currency. No country is totally identical and what fits in one will not necessary fit into the other. 请三思而后行。

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Actions speak louder than words

    Personal thoughts:

    There is no need to justify yourself as your actions will explain everything.

    Actions always speak louder than words. There is no need to keep explaining yourself as quite often, just observing the actions will speak volumes of what you meant to do.
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