Friday, May 29, 2009

MSC Malaysia Open Source Conference 2009

With the theme "Open To Change", the MSC Malaysia Open Source Conference (OSCONF) 2009 will be held in Kuala Lumpur soon.

This international open source event consists of hackathon, forum, exhibition, talks, etc. for sharing and exchanging ideas on technical advancements, applications, development and business cases on open source, and its positive impact in meeting challenges of the current economic climate.

Venue: Berjaya Time Square Hotel & Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Date: 31 May - 3 June 2009
Time: 9.30am - 6pm

Click here for more information about the MSC Malaysia Open Source Conference 2009.

Forbes Asia 2009 Malaysia 40 Richest List

Forbes Asia has just unveiled the Malaysia 40 Richest List for 2009. Here is the complete list:

This list was compiled using shareholder and financial information provided by individuals themselves, stock exchanges, public documents and analysts. For people with publicly traded documents, net worths were calculated using stock prices and exchange rates from 15 May 2009. Privately held fortunes were calculated using database company BRIS and other sources to estimate what companies and assets would be worth if public.

Click here to read more about the Forbes Asia 2009 Malaysia 40 Richest List.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Configure Ubuntu login window appearance and behavior

By default, when you boot up Ubuntu Linux, you will first reach the GDM login window whereby you'll have to provide your username and password in order to login and use the system. Do you know that you can easily configure and personalize this login window with the Login Window Preferences? You can even enable automatic login so that you can directly reach your Desktop, bypassing the login process, good for single-user computer.

To configure your Ubuntu login window appearance and behavior, go to System > Administration > Login Window.

Among the configurable items in Ubuntu Login Window Preferences are:

  • Hide/show visual feedback (the "***") in password entry. By hiding the visual feedback, no asterisk will appear when you key-in your password, which is more secured.
  • Enable/disable multiple login for single user
  • Change the theme. There are a few preloaded themes available, to download and install more themes, please read on...
  • Hide/show the Action Menu, which consist options to shutdown, restart, select XDMCP, etc.
  • Customize the greeting welcome message.
  • Enable/disable remote login of X-Window.
  • Configure the style for remote login window.
  • Enable/disable accessible login.
  • Customize the music played when login screen ready, upon successful login and/or when login failed.
  • Enable/disable automatic login without asking for password.
  • Enable/disable timed login. This will automatically try to login the selected user after inactivity of defined seconds in the login screen.
  • Allow/deny local and/or remote system administrator login directly into the system.
  • Allow/deny TCP connection to the XServer. It should be denied for security reason. Denying TCP to XServer doesn't affect the XDMCP function.
  • Include/exclude user in the face browser listing of the login window.
  • Some other security related settings.
You can download and install more themes and artworks from the GNOME Artwork Server by using the Ubuntu Art Manager. Just access to System > Preferences > Art Manager.

To download and install the themes for Login Manager, go to Art > Other Themes > Login Manager in the Ubuntu Art Manager. The Art Manager will then download the information of available themes from the GNOME Artwork Server, including the name, snapshot, description and author, and list them in the selection box as shown below.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I notice that there is a new species of flat panel television called LED TV available in the electrical shops nowadays. Here are some of the fact finding.

Pioneered by Samsung, LED TV is in fact a LCD TV using Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) as its backlight, contrasting to the Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFL) backlight of normal LCD TV. This innovation has made Samsung to receive a prestigious award from European Image and Sound Association (EISA) in 2006, for its premium display technology in terms of true colour representation with a 46% larger colour gamut and the industry's highest contrast ratio of 10,000:1 by then.

According to Samsung, their LED TV provides improvements in 3 distinct areas:

1. Breakthrough picture quality with higher contrast, sharper motion and enriched colour.

2. Ultra slim design at only 1.2" deep with lighter weight.

3. Environmental friendly with 40% electric power savings than normal LCD TVs, produce less heat, and also lead and mercury free.

It is also claimed that the LED light source can double the TV panel life compared to the CCFL panels.

Beside Samsung, other manufacturers such as Sharp, Sony, LG, Panasonic, etc. have also produced their own series of LED TV. Of course, you will expect the price of LED TV to be higher than LCD TV of the same size.

Meanwhile, the television technology keeps on progressing, and the next generation will be a true LED TV called Organic LED TV (OLED) using the Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (AMOLED) technology, this time to be led by Sony.

The primary benefit of OLED displays over the LCDs is that OLEDs do not require a backlight to function, and consume even less power. This technology also enable the panel to be ultra-slim, weight even lighter, and more robust. Of course, better quality display can also be expected.

On the other hand, we can notice that the plasma TV gradually step down from the TV technology warfare, following the CRT TV, as there is not much technology breakthrough and also less R&D investment allocated by the major manufacturers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Database synchronization/replication with SymmetricDS

SymmetricDS is an open source, feature rich, web-enabled, database independent, data synchronization/replication software. It is written in Java 5 and released under GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 3.

It uses web and database technologies to replicate tables between relational databases in near real time. The software was designed to scale for a large number of databases, work across low-bandwidth connections, and withstand periods of network outage. By using database triggers, SymmetricDS guarantees that data changes are captured and atomicity is preserved.

Supported databases including:
  • MySQL version 5.0.2 and above

  • Oracle version 8.1.7 and above

  • PostgreSQL version 8.2.5 and above

  • Sql Server 2005

  • HSQLDB 1.8

  • H2 1.1

  • Apache Derby and above

  • IBM DB2 9.5

  • Firebird 2.0 and above

SymmetricDS allows for 2-tier and even n-tier synchronization, which can be configured to push data (trickle-back) or pull data (trickle-poll) at an interval, as illustrated below:

The software is installed either standalone, as a web application in a Java application server or can be embedded into another Java application.

SymmetricDS will be useful for data synchronization between a central database and multiple remote databases. This kind of requirement is often in:
  • HQ and branches
  • General office and retail outlets
  • Police HQ and stations
  • Ministry of education and schools
  • Ministry of health and hospitals & clinics
  • etc.

Click here for more information about SymmetricDS.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

20th CommunicAsia + 14th BroadcastAsia + 6th Enterprise IT + 3rd InteractiveDME @ Singapore

The 20th CommunicAsia, together with 14th BroadcastAsia, and 6th Enterprise IT, and also 3rd InteractiveDME will be held concurrently in Singapore Expo this coming 16-19 June 2009.

The combined shows of CommunicAsia, Enterprise IT and InteractiveDME focus on the latest hot technologies for applications, solutions and hardware. It covers all aspects of the ICT industry. Co-located with Broadcast Asia, the regional event for digital media and entertainment, convergence is a major focal point of this unique event.

The streams and forums held at the CommunicAsia 2009 Summit will focus on popular topics like Broadband Access Technologies, such as Fixed & Wireless broadband, WiMAX / LTE / HSPA / WiBro, Mobile Backhaul, FTTH & GPON / GEPON, Mobile Interactive Services & Technologies, involving Mobile Internet, LBS, Messaging, Mobile advertising & NGMN, Next Generation Networks, comprising of Service Delivery Platforms, IMS, VoIP, Video Over IP, Triple Play / Quad Play & Web 2.0.

Key EnterpriseIT 2009 exhibitors include Barracuda, BlackBerry, Blue Coat Systems, CBOSS, DZ Card, Eaton Corporation, Fortinet, Garmin, Harmonic, Huawei, Irdeto, LG Electronics, Microtex Energy, NAVTEQ, NTT Docomo, PCCW Global, Petracarbon, Rosenberger, Samsung Electronics, SES NEW SKIES, Singapore Technologies Electronics, TANDBERG TV, Thuraya, VINASA, Yahoo!, ZTE Corporation and many others.

Interactive Digital Media & Entertainment (InteractiveDME) targets applications and solutions providers, industry leaders and professionals from the communications, broadcasting, media & entertainment industries, covering 3D, Digital Signage, IPTV, Mobile Broadband, Mobile Entertainment, Navigation and LBS, Social Networking / Social Media Technologies, and more...

Key BroadcastAsia 2009 exhibitors include ABE, ANT, APT, Argosy, Axel, Axon, Beijing APU, Benchmark, BT Media, Cine Equipment, Conax, CTE, DMT, DVB, Elber, Electrosys, Evertz, Harris, Huatian, Indiasign, Klotz Digital, Lawo, Magna, Max Peak, Miranda, Monarch, Nautel, Netia, Playbox, RCS, Ross Video, RVR, Salzbrenner, Screen Service, Shenzhen Coship, Siel, Skyworth, Temix, Vizlink, VIZRT, VSN…and many more.

For more information:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Launching of iCapital International Value Fund

Capital Dynamics (Australia) Ltd, a member of the Capital Dynamics group led by the renown Malaysian fundamentalist investor and fund manager Mr. Tan Teng Boo (陈鼎武), will launch the iCapital International Value Fund on 1 June 2009.

As a tracked record, from 1998 to Mar 2009, Capital Dynamics Asset Management Sdn Bhd run by Tan Teng Boo delivered a net compound return of 19.78% annually versus 3.16% per annum for the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI). Meanwhile, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has delivered annual returns of only 5% over that period! If one were to compare Tan’s performance with Warren Buffett’s in the last 10 years, Tan wins. (Source: The Star - Up Close and Personal with Tan Teng Boo)

The iCapital International Value Fund (ICIVF) is an open ended, managed investment scheme registered in Australia which invests in listed securities globally. As investors do not pay any entry or exit fees, they buy and sell based on its NAV. The ICIVF will be denominated in Australian dollars.

Any interested investors, retail, corporate, or institutional, can invest in ICIVF. The initial investments are kept to A$20,000 (around RM50,000). Additional investment required is A$2,000.

A very interesting question to ask to fellow Malaysian: if you have RM50,000 ready for investment, do you prefer to invest in ASM, ASW2020, or ICIVF?

Capital Dynamics will conduct 2 road shows in Kuala Lumpur to explain about this international fund.

Venue: 16th Floor, Plaza First Nationwide, 161 Jln Tun HS Lee, KL.

  • 15 May 2009 (5.30pm - 7.30pm)
  • 21 May 2009 (6.00pm - 8.00pm)
There are also road shows in Kota Kinabalu, Sibu, Kuching, Melaka, Penang and Singapore in early June 2009. Click here for the flyer and registration form.

Click here for more information about the iCapital International Value Fund.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

6 Rookie CIO Mistakes in Vendor Management

It is one of the CIO roles to effectively manage the vendors to get the most for his/her business. May 2009 edition of CIO Insight magazine has highlisted 6 mistakes common to rookie CIO in vendor management.

1. Failing to Speak With One Voice

CIOs make the biggest mistakes in vendor management when too many cooks get in the kitchen without putting an executive chef in charge, resulting in no one is held accountable, communication breaks down and suppliers don’t get good direction.

2. Skipping the Homework

The CIO must be clearly understand what is required from the vendor, before expecting the vendor to understand the requirements. Groundwork such as developing written requirements and going through formal RFP process is crucial.

3. Fixating on Price

Pricing is very important, but there are other equally important factors in vendor selection. The CIO must understand to get the right people doing the right thing at the right price.

4. Using Too Few Suppliers

Too much reliance on single vendor could be disastrous, as the negotiation power will be deteriorated.

5. Only Dealing With Large Vendors

Your deal could looks small for large vendors, but could be precious for small vendors. Therefore, the smaller vendors might provide better service, and at the same time you might have greater leverage in negotiation with them.

6. Signing and Forgetting

Successful CIOs review their partners regularly to ensure everything is going according to plan and to make adjustments to agreements when necessary. Signing is just the beginning rather than an end.

From RON97 to RON95?

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister has just announced that the current RON92 petrol sold in the country will be replaced by RON95, and selling at the price of RM1.75 per litre. It will be made available nationwide by 1 September 2009.

The price of RON97 super-fuel will also be increased from the current RM1.80 per litre to RM2.00 from 1 September 2009 onwards, which is a rise of 11.11%. This is a drastic move to encourage the people to switch from current RON97 to RON95. It is argued that RON95 can be used in majority of the petrol-fueled cars on the road.

How will be the performance of RON95 compared with RON97? We have no idea yet until we have used the RON95 and benchmark it with RON97.

However, we can make reference to the comparison between Shell Super (RON97) and Shell V-Power (RON98). The information about Shell V-Power is RON98 can be confirmed in Shell Malaysia website (you can click the link to go to the "V-Power Fuel Composition" page in that website).

So what's the different between Shell V-Power (RON98) and Shell Super (RON97)? What will be the different between RON97 and RON95 then?

And no doubt, the Shell V-Power will also be priced higher by 1 September 2009, following the price increase of RON97.

It is a pity that we are told to downgrade the fuel we use in our car from RON97 to RON95, or have to pay a higher price to maintain the same after 1 September 2009. While the global world is moving forward, why we always have a feeling that we are moving backward?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The rise and fall of Borland

I have almost forgotten Borland if not the recent news about it being acquired by UK based Micro Focus for $75 million.

If you have been doing computer programming, especially since the 80's or 90's, there is a very high possibility that you used Borland's product before.

During the good-old DOS time, Borland had been famous with their Turbo Pascal, Turbo C, Turbo C++, SideKick, etc. When the Windows time come, Borland continued their popularity with Borland C++, Delphi, C# Builder, JBuilder, etc. They also produced software development tools for Linux, such as Kylix.

Beside being famous in programming tools, Borland had also been the company behind some office productivity products such as Paradox (vs MS Access), Quattro Pro (vs MS Excel), WordPerfect (vs MS Word). They had made attempt to combine these 3 products into Borland Office as rival to Microsoft Office. Later, this office productivity business was sold to Novell in the mid-90's.

During their time of glory, Borland also bought over Ashton-Tate, the company behind the once very famous database software -- dBase & Interbase.

Over the year, Borland gradually lost ground in their competition with Microsoft. Nowadays, Visual Studio succeed in engulfing their software development tools market, and Borland Office has long lost their market to MS Office.

The name of Borland faded in the 2000's, especially after the departure of their founder Philippe Kahn, and was almost forgotten by many programmers who once developing software with their superb products with nice Integrated Development Environment (IDE), especially during the DOS era.

Philippe continued to bring wonders to the world after his departure from Borland in the mid-90's. He has contributed to wireless devices data synchronization technology, invented the first camera phone, and is currently the CEO of Fullpower Technologies, a company focuses in converging life sciences, wireless technology, accelerometrics, nanotechnology and MotionX solutions.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

National Career & Entrepreneurship Carnival 2009

Organised by Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and managed by My Events Sdn Bhd, the National Career & Entrepreneurship Carnival 2009 (Karnival Kerjaya & Keusahawanan Kebangsaan 2009, K3G 2009) to be launched by the prime minister is targeting for the largest career and entrepreneur fair in the country entering the Malaysia Book of Record.

Theme: Realize Your Dream Job
Venue: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC)
Date: 15- 17 May 2009
Time: 10 am - 7 pm
Dress code: Business casual
Admission: Free

This event provides exhibitors from GLC, corporate company and entrepreneur a great opportunity to meet face to face at one localized place with a variety of talented job seeker and aspiring entrepreneurs from all over the country. The exhibition will also serve as an exclusive platform to showcase exhibitors’ jobs which are in demand in the job market.

The floor plan for this event is as below:

Activities including:

  • Resume Clinic
  • Stage activities
  • Internship corner
  • On-the-spot interviews
  • Consultations on career and enterpreneurship
  • Career talk by industry experts and successful enterpreneurs
Click here for more information about the National Career & Entrepreneurship Carnival 2009.

Gold investment with passbook account

Gold is a kind of precious metal that is internationally recognised and accepted to be always interchangeable with cash based on the exchange rate in its own market. It is well-known to be hedge or safe haven against any economic, political, social, or currency-based crises.

Besides keeping the physical gold (in forms of coin, wafer, ornament, etc.), Malaysian can also invest in gold with passbook account in the way similar to passbook savings account with Maybank and Public Bank. The gold price offered by these 2 banks are pegged to international gold commodity prices in the market.

The benefit of investing gold with passbook account is that you don't have to keep the physical gold. This will save you from the hassle or risk of:

  • storage cost (eg. keeping in a safe box)
  • lost, theft, etc.
I have made a comparison between the Gold Savings Passbook Account (GSPA) of Maybank and Gold Investment Account (GIA) of Public Bank as below.

Generally, Public Bank trades with you in a smaller gap between the selling and buying price of the gold. This also mean that Public Bank sells to you at a lower price than Maybank, and buys from you at a higher price than Maybank, which is more beneficial to the investor.

However, Maybank also has some other advantages, such as:
  • They have more branches nationwide available for you to make the gold transaction with them.
  • They allow you to withdraw your gold in physical gold wafer or gold certificate format.
  • They don't impose annual service fee even though your balance is below 10 grams.
  • The minimum initial deposit and balance required is lesser.
The gold price has been in the rising momentum since 2001 until today. There is a nice website ( for you to check for current and historical gold price with charts.

Is now a good time to buy gold? What I can tell you is that now the price is at the historical high end of a long term bull. How long can this bull go further? You have to do your own homework.

Click here to check the gold rate of Maybank GSPA.

Click here to check for the gold rate of Public Bank GIA.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What can you do if your Ubuntu display screwed up

When I upgraded my Ubuntu Linux in my laptop from 8.10 (Intrepid) to 9.04 (Jaunty) using the "Upgrade to 9.04" option in Synaptic Package Manager, it didn't go smoothly.

After the packages download, upgrade, cleanup and restart, the login screen can't show up, and it jammed up in a distorted screen. My first tought was that the display driver or setting was not working well with the display hardware of the laptop.

Luckily, I managed to fix the problem within half an hour. And here is my solution:

  • Press the Esc key during Grub bootup to bring up the kernel menu.
  • Select the 2nd option "Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic (recovery mode)" to go to recovery mode.
  • When the Recovery Menu show up, you can try to select "xfix - Try to auto repair graphic problems". However this didn't work for me.
  • Therefore, I had to try another way and selected "netroot - Drop to root shell prompt with networking". I think you can also select "root - Drop to root shell prompt" as well.
  • Key-in the root password, and you will enter to the root's shell command prompt.
  • Key-in this command to manually configure the Xorg-server settings: "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg".
  • You will need to configure for the input devices (eg. keyboard) as well as the output devices (eg. display and monitor).
  • When you get back to the command prompt, key-in "exit" to end the shell session and go back to Recovery Menu.
  • Now, select "resume - Resume normal boot".
  • If the display problem is fixed, you will see a beautiful reddish login screen with a stylish 3D Ubuntu logo on the bottom right.
  • Welcome to Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope).

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.