Monday, October 31, 2011

Pity that young singaporeans belittle themselves

I was reading about a particular debate that happened over the previous weekend. The main objective of the debate was of a different topic but I was lamenting the fact that young Singaporeans (ok, I'm not THAT old) are belittling themselves that Singapore cannot make it big without foreign talent, saying that we cannot make our own version of iPhone or Toyota.

However, do they know that Creative made sound cards popular before a series of missteps caused their present predicament? Do they know that thumbdrive was invented in Singapore? Do they know that Razer is a homegrown brand? How about the X-mini?

Do Singaporeans belittle themselves too much? Judging from the summary of the debate, it seems so. Pity.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mastering yourself

I quote from Lao Tzu:
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cloud has limitless power?

I was reading an article recently which talks about the cloud computing having limitless power. I find it quite interesting that it mentioned limitless power because the cloud has nothing to do with limitless power. Cloud, like Web x.x, is just a mesh of technologies that were combined together with a jazzy word. Cloud just makes it easier to provision for services.

However Cloud computing like any other hardware, does not have limitless power. What Cloud can do is to attempt to fully utilise the existing computing power in the Cloud, especially using the thin provisioning concept. It is able to adjust the processing power of the applications within the cloud, provided it has enough reserves in place.

The cloud concept is largely use nowadays to increase the utilisation rate of the existing hardware, thereby resulting in savings. Therefore, it is quite unlikely that there are sufficient reserves in place to provide limitless power. More likely than not, the reserves are used in the event of any hardware failure so that the services can still be provided, albeit a bit slower until the faulty components can be replaced.

Not sure where did the writer got the idea of limitless power. That's not cloud.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trivelis @ Clementi

The DBSS sales are coming up and fast since Belvia @ Bedok. I will not repeat what I have written in my other posts on DBSS and you refer to my other posts for more information.

DBSS @ Clementi has been named Trivelis, and is located along Clementi Ave 4. The indicative pricing and configuration are as follows:

3 room60 sqm
(222 units)
from $375,000

60 sq m: Big A/c Ledge (~3 sqm)
60 sq m: Big A/c Ledge (~0.9 sqm) 
4 room80-82 sqm
(518 units)
from $530,000
80 sq m: Big A/c Ledge (~3 sqm);
Living Room w/ Balcony (~5.9 sqm)

81 sq m: Big A/c Ledge (~3 sqm);
Living Room w/ Balcony (~5.9 sqm)

82 sq m: Big A/c Ledge (~4 sqm);
Living Room w/ Balcony (~5.9 sqm)
5 room105 sqm
(148 units)
from $658,000
105 sq m: Big A/c Ledge (~4.9 sqm);
Living Room w/ Balcony (~12 sqm)

You can take a look for more information here. If you look at the DBSS @ Yuan Ching, the highest price is about the price of the 4 room flat. Judging purely from psf interior area pricing perspective, the flats are super expensive.  The interior area for a 3-room  flat is 57sqm to 59sqm; 4-room flat is 70sqm to 72sqm; 5-room flat is 88 sqm. Translated, the interior area of a 5-room flat is smaller than a typical HDB 4 room flat.

The other interesting thing was that based on the floor plan, it seems that there is a very odd-shaped balcony for the 4-room flat. Seems rectangular in shape, and doesn't fit the shape of the living room. Not sure why. Seems like there's also a built-in wardrobe included, which is interesting as the interior area is so small.

According to the map, the DBSS is about 450m away from Clementi MRT station so location wise, it is quite okay. There are a couple of primary schools like Pei Tong, Nan Hua and Clementi nearby (not next to the development like others) so that's also a plus.

The Centrale8 post includes some of the calculations I did to see if it fits into my affordability matrix so I will not repeat it here. One word (at least for me). No. Too expensive for a HDB flat. A private HDB flat (a.k.a DBSS flat) is still a HDB flat. It's not even an executive condo.

Inflation is up 5.5%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2011:
January: 5.5%
February: 5.0%
March: 5.0%
April: 4.5%
May: 4.5%
June: 5.2%
July: 5.4%
August: 5.7%
September: 5.5%

Transport and Housing are once again leading the pack, rising by 11.4% and 9.6% respectively year on year. The inflation was as expected in my previous post, most probably due to the slight reduction in pricing of commodities. The rest of the inflation rates for the other goods and services are stable, which is not quite good as it means inflation rates will remain high.

Judging from the inflation rate this month, I guess inflation may hold at 5.5% for this month or go slightly lower at 5.4%.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The perception of cheaper, better and faster

I read with great interest on the latest parliament debate. I find that it is indeed better to have more opposition within the parliament as it brings about different perspectives on the same problem.

Mr Low recently brought up the issue of cheaper, better and faster minister, which won a swift rebuttal from Minister Lim Swim Say. According to Mr Lim's speech, he said,  “What the NTUC and the tripartite partners and pursuing are cheaper, better, faster products and services, and a cheaper, better, faster economy, not a cheaper, better, faster workforce.”

Therein lies the problem. When you talk about services, it's mostly driven by human resources. Therefore, it is highly difficult to get cheaper, better, faster services without affecting the services workforce. In reality on the ground, many bosses use this cheaper, better, faster keywords to drive ever increasing amount of work to the existing workers. This is the reality. Not many bosses will invest in technology to help in delivering better services, although there are a few good ones that do that.

Instead of dismissing this as "noise", instead I urge them to look at another idiom. There is no smoke without fire.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wrong Assumptions lead to obstacles

I quote from Jeff Hawkins:
If you look at the history of big obstacles in understanding our world, there's usually an intuitive assumption underlying them that's wrong.

A very interesting quote that speaks volumes. Reminds me of work. Why is the expectation of the customers unrealistic? That's because that's an intuitive assumption underlying it that causes this unrealistic expectation.

How to resolve it? Try to correct that assumption before it goes too far ahead. Easy to do? Definitely not. :(

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lake Vista @ Yuan Ching

Never knew that there will be another DBSS sale so soon after the Belvia @ Bedok. I will not repeat what I have written in my other posts on DBSS and you refer to the my posts for more information.

DBSS @ Yuan Ching has been named Lake Vista, and is located along Yuan Chiong Road. The indicative pricing and configuration are as follows:

3 room67 sqm
(145 units)
from $360,500

67 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room w/ Balcony
4 room86-91 sqm
(279 units)
from $481,000
86 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room w/ Balcony
89 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room w/ Balcony
91 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room & Master Bedroom
w/ Balcony
5 room105-108 sqm
(258 units)
from $584,300
105 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room w/ Balcony
105 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room & Master Room w/ Balcony
108 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room w/ Balcony
108 sq m: Big A/c Ledge; Living Room & Master Room w/ Balcony

You can take a look at the floor plans here.Although the flat seems to be bigger than Belvia, I find that the air-con ledge seems to be super long, as compared to other HDB flats. The balcony itself seems quite big too. The interesting thing was that based on the floor plan, it seems that the kitchen is bigger than the other flats that I've seen. Not sure if it is to scale. What's unique about this DBSS is that it includes a built-in wardrobe for the 5 room flat.

According to the map, the place overlooks the golf course and Jurong Lake park. It is also quite near the AYE, but the nearest food centre seems to be about 700m away. Quite far in my opinion.

The Centrale8 post includes some of the calculations I did to see if it fits into my affordability matrix so I will not repeat it here. The price is cheaper than the others but I believe it's because of the location. Based on what I can see on the floor plan, the usable space in the flat looks extremely small as most of the space seems to be taken by the balcony and air-con ledge. Personally, I also don't quite like the location, even though the scenery might be better than most. It's just too secluded for my liking I guess, and the price doesn't compensate that.

What about you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Innovation means less productivity

I was reading something recently that struck a chord within me. This leads me to the conclusion that to be innovative, that will mean you will be less productivity, at least by the definition the government uses.

Why? Based on the article that I read, when workers focus on a specific task, they may find better ways of doing it. They might better schedule their days or invent something entirely new, be it software code written to expedite repeated tasks, or a machine that automates portions of a task.

This is exactly what I did back in my previous company. As I was focusing on a specific task, I grew frustrated with the limitations of the framework I was using so I created a whole new framework to automate tasks that will allow me to skip some of the repetitive work that I am doing. I could do it because at that point in time, I had the luck to only focus on a specific task.

As I think back to those days, now it seems that I can never find such luxury. The work nowadays seem to be that the bosses will force down ever increasing amount of work onto you so that you cannot even breathe. How can you innovate if you don't even have time to breathe, let alone think?

Seriously, I don't understand all that drive towards productivity. What happened to "More Haste, Less Speed"?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Professionals CAN'T clear leave, not don't.

Recently I read someone remarking that Professionals in Singapore don't clear their leaves for various reasons. I believe one of the major reasons is missing from that list. The fact is that some professionals CAN'T clear their leave, not don't.

Why can't? Reason is simple. All that drive for productivity is squeezing ever increasing amount of work each professional is suppose to do. And guess what? Because of the productivity drive,  no one is covering you. So if you go on leave, whatever that is pending your action, will still be pending after you come back from your leave. Some will think that the worker should never have any slack time, not knowing that it is during those slack times that people will need to re-charge, and yes, take their leaves.

Unless you really can find some "Kit Kat" time, do you think you can afford to take leave? I don't think so.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Belvia @ Bedok

Looks like the developers are clearing whatever DBSS land that they have bought before the stop of the sale of the DBSS land. A new DBSS site was launched at Bedok. I will not repeat what I have written in my other posts on DBSS. You can refer to my Centrale 8 post here, Adora Green post here, Parc Lumiere post here, The Peak post here, my Natura Loft post here, my Park Central post here, and my CityView post here.

DBSS @ Bedok has been named Belvia, and is located at the junction of Bedok Reservoir Road and Bedok Reservoir Crescent. The indicative price is $570 psf. Estimated pricing and configuration are as follows:

3 room66-67 sqm
(102 units)
from $405,000

66-67 sq m: A/c Ledge; Living Room w/ Balcony
4 room85-87 sqm
(209 units)
from $521,500
85 - 86 sq m: A/c Ledge; Living Room & Master Bedroom
w/ Balcony
87 sq m: A/c Ledge; Living Room & Master Bedroom
w/ Balcony or Living Room & Bedroom w/ combine Balcony
5 room105-109 sqm
(177 units)
from $644,000
105 sq m: A/c Ledge; Study; Living Room & Bedroom w/combine Balcony and Master Bedroom w/ Balcony

109 sq m: A/c Ledge; Study; Living Room & Dining Room w/combine Balcony and Master Bedroom w/ Balcony

You can take a look at the floor plans here.The flat is still small compared to the normal HDB especially the kitchen although it is the longish kind of design. I find it quite interesting that the bomb shelter is actually in the kitchen for some of the floor configurations. According to the map, this place is good only if you like to overlook the reservoir, and if you have a car as it is quite near the PIE (Bedok Reservoir exit).

The Centrale8 post includes some of the calculations I did to see if it fits into my affordability matrix so I will not repeat it here. Compared to the Centrale8, the 3-room and 4-room's pricing (using indicative pricing) is comparable with the exception of the 5 rooms, which is much cheaper than Centrale8. However, there is one big difference between Centrale8 and Belvia. Belvia is nowhere near ANY MRT station, a big minus for me since I'm quite reliant on it for my transport. Furthermore, it is right next to the Damai and Bedok West Pri School. Noisy? You bet, not to mention the morning and evening jam every school day.

Personally, I only think the 5 room flats are okay. Nothing to shout about but acceptable. The rest is quite pricy but then again, it depends if you value overlooking the Bedok Reservoir. I would have thought that they will reduce the price of DBSS after the big Centrale8 hoo ha but apparently, they did not.

I guess we can only vote with our wallets. but judging from the 200 applicants submitted on the first day, I guess Singaporeans are just too rich. Half a million for a small 4 room HDB flat and people can still afford it. Maybe I'm underpaid.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Turn Off your Data Roaming for your iPhone

I have recently been reading the forums where people get charged for data roaming unnecessary when they are overseas. What people don't know is that data is being used even though you're not surfing around using Safari or looking at your mail on your iPhone, and I am not even talking about background apps. For example, do you know that you are using data when you tap onto your Phone icon, or even the Contacts icon?

To turn off data roaming, just turn off your data cellular before you go overseas. To do that, just do the following:
  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Tap on General > Network
  3. Tap OFF on Enable 3G
  4. Tap OFF on Cellular Data

That's all to it. Do note that you may need to upgrade your iPhone (iOS) if you cannot see the functions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who says subsidies doesn't help in increasing birth rates?

The number of babies born in Taiwan surged 16 per cent in the nine months to September after the government offered subsidies to couples in a bid to boost the island's birth rate. Tax breaks and subsidies aimed at helping young couples buy houses were among the incentives offered as Taipei seeks to raise the island's fertility rate, which is among the world's lowest. Other incentives were offered such as tax reduction, cash gifts and financial help with childcare and fertility treatment.

Who says the government cannot help in increasing birth rates? There is always a price for economy growth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Give your life a purpose

I quote from Dr. Wayne Dwyer:
When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous. Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.

Chasing money alone will make your life seem so empty. Give your life a purpose, and you will be prosperous.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rest of the Places of Interests Near Circle Line MRT Stations

To add on to the post I created here when Circle line first opened, below are the places of interests near the rest of the Circle Line stations. Easier for me to reference. :)

Lorong Chuan
  • New Tech Park
  • Shunfu Mart
  • Bishan Fire Station
  • Association of the Visually Handicapped
  • Lions Home for the Elders
  • MacRitchie Reservoir
  • Marymount Convent School
  • MCYS
  • Mt Alvernia Hospital
  • Singapore School for the Visually Handicapped
Botanic Gardens
  • Adam Food Centre
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Cluny Court
  • Embassy of France
  • NUS (Faculty of Law)
  • Serene Centre
Farrer Road
  • Empress Road Market & Food Centre
  • Nanyang Pri School
  • St. Margaret's Sec School
  • Westlake Eating House
Holland Village
  • Bouna Vista Swimming Complex
  • Holland Road Shopping Centre
  • Holland Village
Buona Vista
  • Biopolis
  • MOE
  • Rochester Park
  • Anglo Chinese Junior College
  • Ayer Rajah Industrial Estate
  • Fairfield Methodist Pri School
  • Fairfield Methodist Sec School
  • Fusionopolis
  • INSEAD campus
Kent Ridge
  • Kent Ridge Park
  • NUH
  • NUS
  • Science Park 1
Haw Par Villa
  • Haw Par Villa
  • Hua Song Museum
  • Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre
  • West Coast Park
Pasir Panjang
  • Pasir Panjang Distripark
  • Pasir Panjang Food Centre
  • Pasir Panjang Park
Labrador Park
  • Alexandra Distripark
  • HortPark
  • Labrador Nature Reserve
  • NOL Building
  • PSA Building
Telok Blangah
  • Henderson Waves
  • Keppel Club
  • PSA Club
  • Southern Ridges
  • Telok Blangah Hill Park
  • Harbourfront Centre
  • Mount Faber
  • Sentosa
  • Singapore Cruise Centre
  • Vivocity

Friday, October 7, 2011

App Store is a data hog. :)

I was reading a ZDNet article here that states that Apple App Store is one of the main apps that consumes the bulk of your wireless data plan. It seems that in the US, the App Store accounts for more than 13% of all iPhone Data usage.

I find the data quite interesting as I do not go into the App Store that often. Maybe it's the discipline I have that I only go into the App Store when I have a Wifi connection. I find it also interesting that Google Maps consumes only 8.3% of the data used, while e-mail consumes only 4% of the data used. What about Facebook? That's only 2.8%.

Watching movies and streaming music services account for the majority of the data consumed, about 35%. So if you find that your data plan is not enough, cut down on that. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Minimum wage for Malaysia

After Hong Kong's landmark ruling on a minimum wage which I wrote here, it seems like Malaysia is also getting into the ball game. The bill for the minimum wage has already been gazetted and came into effect on Sep 23. So the question for Malaysia is not how but rather when.

I guess Malaysia has realised that they better listen to the problems of the people. If you need $x to survive in the country, then the jobs in that country jolly well pay $x. If it doesn't, then I guess innovation has to come in. That's the way it goes. That's called life.

We work to live, not live to work. Now,  when is it Singapore's turn?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Be content with what you have

I quote from Epicurus:
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Something to remind ourselves everyday/

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Denser cities does not equal to productivity

I was recently reading an article talking about higher productivity in denser cities. However, I felt that the article had a misleading header. It's not density that leads to productivity. It's interaction.

You can be in a dense city but if people do not talk to one another, do not listen to each other, do not interact with one another, it does not matter how dense it is. The key to higher productivity is interaction. There is a need to create this kind of interactive environment to improve productivity. It has nothing to do with denser cities.

Seriously, I will say those who say denser cities lead to improve productivity is taking the easy way out. It's way much easier to make cities denser, but way more difficult to improve interaction between people. It's like trying to sell to people you have to work less to be more productivity due to the way humans are structured. Oh well.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Alternative ways of losing weight

Oct 2011's Reader's Digest came out with an article talking about Dr Eric Westman's low-carb diet,  I believe which is also known as the Atkins Diet. The reasons that he brought out are compelling, and it does somehow relate a little on my own diet. I find what he said about fruits very interesting. :)

Grab a copy of the Reader's Digest if you're interested in what he said. Below are 5 guidelines listed for this low-carb diet:
  1. Don’t Try to Limit Fat. “Eating high-fat foods keeps you from feeling deprived,” says Dr. Westman. Bacon, cheese, heavy cream, sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, butter, and oil are all healthy parts of a low-carb diet.
  2. Say Goodbye to Pasta, Bread, and Rice. To lose weight, most people have to stay under 20 grams of “net” carbs per day (net carbs refers to the number of grams of carbs minus grams of fiber, because fiber doesn’t send blood sugar spiking). That rules out bread (two slices contain about 24 grams of net carbs), rice (over 40 grams in a cup), and pasta (about 40 grams per cup). Once you hit your goal, you can slowly add in more carbs that don’t have a big impact on blood sugar.
  3. Be Picky About Vegetables. Starchy (carb-heavy) vegetables—most of the ones that grow underground, as well as corn—are off-limits. But you can have up to four cups daily of leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and collard greens. Limit broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, okra, and Brussels sprouts to two cups per day.
  4. Say No to Hidden Sugars. Fruit, that legendarily healthful food, is packed with sugar, aka carbohydrates. So are fruit juices. Other concentrated sources include soda, cakes, and candy. You may be able to keep diet sodas, light beer, dry wine, and sugar-free sweets on the menu and still lose weight.
  5. Eat as Much as You Want. When it comes to protein and fat, “you don’t have to use portion control,” says Dr. Westman. “Your hunger will go down automatically when you start eating this way—all you have to do is stop eating when you’re full.”

Look out for Kouk Leong Jin

 A fourth-year Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School student, Singaporean Kouk Leong Jin, is believed to be missing in Athens, Greece since the night of 27 Sep 2011. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been informed and they are working with the Greek authorities to find him. You can find more information in the Today's News here.

He stated in his last known e-mail that he may be visiting one of the Greek Islands or try some mountain climbing. If you've seen him or know his whereabouts, please respond to this Facebook page that was specially created to locate him.

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