Saturday, September 28, 2013

US government is unable to function

The politics in the United States have reached a point where it is no longer functioning for the welfare of the people in the country.

I believe the people in Congress have forgotten the purpose of public service. Congress has previously approve Obamacare, albeit without the support of any Republicans. Instead of tweaking it for the common good, they outright reject the implementation, causing the US government untold problems where it is being held ransom by political parties ideals. 

Is that the role of Congress? Can Congress hold ransom the entire US government credit ratings just because of party ideals?

I think it is time to have a clear separation between what is good for the country and what is good for the party. The actions of the Republicans show that they are only interested in what is good for the party because they rather let the government default on its debt than to wait until they have a clear majority in the government to pass bills that support their policies. 

They are finding ways and means to remove certain policies when they are clearly not in power, wasting everyone's time because all knows that it will happened. This is especially true for the Senator who wasted everyone's time by speaking over 22 hours on something that will happen anyway.

Why are these people voted into Congress then anyway?

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Focus and Simplicity

I quote from Steve Job:
That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.

This is something that I find difficult to explain to many people. They do not understand that it involves a lot of effort to make things simple to use. Instead, they justify cost by comparing how difficult or complex the system is to the users.

The easier it is to use, the harder it is to do, and the more expensive it will be. Truth of life.

P.S: This has nothing to do with Apple products but generally how everything should function.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inflation is up 2%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2013:
January: 3.6%
February: 4.9%
March: 3.5%
April: 1.5%
May: 1.6%
June: 1.8%
July: 1.9%
August: 2% 

Healthcare is once again leading the pack, rising by 3.9%, while Education & Stationery rose 3.3% respectively year on year.

Transport has plunged, rising by 0.2% year on year, most probably due to the fluctuations of the COE prices. August inflation ticked up most probably due to the rise in housing and food inflation, although inflation did rise across the board.

As mentioned in my previous post, this uptrend most probably will continue this month looking at the current trend. Inflation will tick up throughout the second half of this year, unless by some miracle all the global uncertainties disappear.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cheap iPhone is available, just not in Singapore

iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are now available in many countries since last Friday. Everyone is lamenting the fact that iPhone 5C does stand for cheap iPhone. Well, I do think that the iPhone 5C is cheap compared to the previous releases, with similar features to the iPhone 5S.

However, the cheap iPhone does exist, just not in Singapore. In the United States, the iPhone 4S is offered free with a contract, and guess what, in China, the iPhone 4 can be purchased for $19 installments per month for 2 years through Apple. It does seem that the iPhone 4 sales in China is permanent, and not a temporary measure because it was released the same time as the iPhone 5S/5C sales.

The cheap iPhone is available, just that it is only available in certain countries. Now the question is why all the telcos in Singapore did not bring in any of this cheap iPhone here. Why am I not allowed to get the cheaper iPhone in Singapore?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Basic core of our spirit

I quote from Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild:
I'd like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.  
If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Software Design becoming non existent now?

I've been in the technology line full-time for a decade, and part-time for more than that. Sad to say, it seems that many companies are now throwing software design out of the window. To many, it seems like they are only looking at speed and functionality. It doesn't matter if the software is unable to scale. In fact, I was so surprised when I heard a professor from a certain university saying that software architecture is not important. Needless to say, I will avoid that university at all cost.

Good software design will try to be as future proof as possible, and allows extensions to the software based on the requirements that are known at that point in time. However, good software design doesn't mean that the designers have a crystal ball and know everything under the sun. That is why software has a shelf life. If there comes a time where the requirements are very different from what was envisioned, there will be a major change in the architecture. This though takes a lot of courage.

However, if the designers have their eye on the future, the software will be scalable and upgrades to the software will be quick and simple, with minimal bugs created. The only time when major change is required is where the roadmap changes due to changes in technology or usage.

So do you think that software now is designed with software design in mind with all the bugs created just by those innocent patches?

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Slower pace of life?

I think all of us hope that we can live a life that we want but at times, do we have a choice?

Many people have different aspirations. Some wish to make lots of money and buy lots of things. However, some just like to enjoy life and earn enough for sustenance. The pace of life will therefore naturally be slower than others.

Every time we hear certain individuals talk about the economy and about certain policies, I can't help but think that the expectation is for all of us to work to our deaths for the benefit of the country. Are we alive just to enrich our bosses and the country we're in? If we want to have the choice of a slower pace of life, knowing that it means that I can't go overseas every year, why can't we have the choice? Even the law doesn't protect those employees who wish for a slower pace of life.

Shouldn't we have the choice of choosing how we want to live our life?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Anyone can negatively criticize, but ...

I quote from Chuck Jones:
Anyone can negatively criticize - it is the cheapest of all comment because it requires not a modicum of the effort that suggestion requires. 

Criticize all you want but if you have nothing to suggest, you might as well keep quiet because your words will not be of any aid to the perform who is trying to resolve this issue.

Either give constructive suggestions, or keep quiet.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Facebook is not for bonding

I was seriously surprised when I read that someone treated Facebook as bonding with your friends and family. Come on... Facebook is not meant for that.

Facebook to me is for me to keep connected to some of my circle of friends whom I'm not able to meet due to geological reasons, or due to my time constraint. However, it cannot replace the bonding that takes place between people when they meet.

Like it or not, some people do put up a different "front/face" in the virtual cyberspace. However, its less easy to do that if you meet face to face. That's why most bonding takes place in person.

For the life of me, I cannot imagine how someone can bond with someone through some words typed in cyberspace. You may be able to comment on some recent event/happenings but bond due to those words? Highly unlikely.

Monday, September 9, 2013

You want search and yet want privacy?

Sometimes I think the class action suits raised by some people do not really make sense. One immediate example I can think of is the one over Gmail "reading" your emails.

Seriously, when you sign up for Gmail, you already know that Gmail is able to let you find your emails easily by searching through the content of the email. This is one of the features of Gmail and obviously, Gmail can only let you search the contents of your email if they analyse the content of your emails.

If you want the search feature of Gmail, then you have to allow Gmail to analyse the content of your email. It's just logic. For example, no one is going to give an accurate quotation if you're moving house if you do not let the person in to see what are they going to move.

If you do not want any company to look through your emails, then invest in your own email servers or get one that does not offer a web-based email, only a pop3 email account.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Happier if we ...

I quote from John Wooden:
If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier. 

I think that humans are born pessimistic as we always magnify disappointments but discount blessings. To be happier, we need to celebrate every blessing, no matter how small how significant, the same as we treat every disappointment.

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Exit from stimulus shoud be a no brainer

Recently the Feds have been discussing on how to exit the stimulus that has been in place since the Great Recession. Seriously, I believe that the method of exit should have been determined a long time ago and the only reason why the method is not conveyed explicitly is because of politics.

As far as I understand, whenever contingency plans are activated for emergency, 99.9% there is already an exit plan in place. This exit plan will be reviewed regularly throughout the whole contingency period.

In fact, if you listen carefully to what the Feds have been saying, they have already been dropping hints on how the stimulus will be withdrawn, such as not selling the assets in their balance sheets and selective purchases of financial assets (e.g. mortgage bonds).

The stimulus exit will most probably not be immediate, and like any contingency planning, it will be gradually phased out. I think that everyone seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Medishield Life will be good for everyone, regardless of premium increase

Recent news on the inclusion of all Singaporeans for Medishield life is good news for all Singaporeans as it will ensure all Singaporeans are covered by some form of medical insurance.

The fact is that some Singaporeans do not want to hear or have anything to do with medical insurance, no matter who initiates it. However, medical insurance is important as you will never know when you need to be hospitalised. It could be under your control, or totally not under your control.

Having it as compulsory will ensure that everyone is covered and everyone is protected if something happens to you that requires you to be hospitalised. Medical bills may come up to a sum that will seriously cause a serious draw down of your funds. This is the case where the benefits of having the insurance outweighs the premiums that you will have to pay. Yes, there is co-payment on our end but this is a classic demand and supply kind of model. If it is free and everyone starts going into hospitals for no particular reason, this will cause a serious drain in resources and deprive the truly needy from getting the help that they need.

Furthermore, it will be for life, which means that you will not need to worry unnecessary if you live longer than estimated. The hospitals will still be open to you.

However, devil is in the details. Let's wait for more information from the government.
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