Monday, September 28, 2009

Singapore workers median gross monthly income increased more than 20% over past 5 years

According to information provided in the Report on Labour Force in Singapore 2008 published by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, the median gross monthly income of Singapore employees (especially the full time employed workers) has increased by more than 20% over the past 5 years.

The median income by June 2008 stood at S$2,450.

"Income typically rises with educational attainment, reflecting the premium that employers place on education and skills. In June 2008, full-time employed residents with degrees commanded a median income of $5,060, 4.2 times the $1,190 for those with primary or lower qualifications."

I wonder if the Ministry of Human Resource in Malaysia conducts similar survey, and how will the figure be like?

CIMB offers Touch n Go Zing Card with multiple auto-reload options

Now CIMB Bank also offers the Touch 'n Go Zing Card after Maybank, Hong Leong Bank, EON Bank, Affin Bank, MBf Card and AEON Credit Service.

The CIMB Touch 'n Go Zing Card has the same fees and charges like those offerred by other banks:
  • Issuance of new card: RM10
  • Replacement card: RM10
  • Refund processing fees: RM5
On the other hand, it provides special multiple auto-reload options:
  • Reload RM100 with RM1.50 fee
  • Reload RM200 with RM2.00 fee
  • Reload RM300 with RM3.00 fee
Apparently, the reload fees are slightly cheaper than the Zing Card offered by other banks, especially when opting for RM300 reload, the fee is only RM1 per RM100 usage.

Click here for more information about the CIMB Touch 'n Go Zing Card with multiple auto-reload options.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

LRT extension to Subang Jaya & Puchong going to materialize (finally & finger crossed)

The Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension to Subang Jaya and Puchong area has been talked about for many years.

It seems that it will finally come to reality following the recent announcement from Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd about this proposed RM7 billion project expected to be completed by the end of 2012 (with finger crossed).

The proposed location of new LRT stations has been drafted out and open for public comment/suggestion. Design of some of the proposed stations is also made available for public review.

They actually setup a website about this proposal. You can get more information about the LRT extension plan, as well as provide online feedback with it. Hurry up, pay a visit to for more detail.

The proposed LRT line extension is as shown in the map below.

Proposed new LRT stations to be extended from Putra line (from Kelana Jaya):
  • STN 01 - Subang Depot near D’Aman Crimson Condos
  • STN 02 - Dana 1 Commercial Centre
  • STN 03 - Kelana Jaya Centre Point
  • STN 04 - Subang Parade (interchange to Subang Jaya KTM)
  • STN 05 - Summit USJ
  • STN 06 - SS 18
  • STN 07 - USJ 7
  • STN 08 - Taipan
  • STN 09 - USJ Digital Mall
  • STN 10 - USJ 21
  • STN 11 - Alam Megah 1
  • STN 12 - Alam Megah 2
  • STN 13 - Putra Heights Commercial Centre
Proposed new LRT stations to be extended from Star line (from Bukit Jalil):
  • STN 01 - Awan Besar
  • STN 02 - PPR Kg. Muhibbah
  • STN 03 - Bukit Kinrara
  • STN 04 - Giant Kinrara
  • STN 05 - Kinrara Industrial Park
  • STN 06 - IOI Mall
  • STN 07 - Tesco
  • STN 08 - Rakan Muda
  • STN 09 - Tractor Malaysia
  • STN 10 - Puchong Perdana
  • STN 11 - Puchong Prima
  • STN 12 - Kampung Tengah
  • STN 13 - Putra Heights Commercial Centre

If you have better suggestion to the location of the proposed LRT stations above, quickly send your feedback to them before its too late.

Garmin releases MalSingMaps Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei NT 2009.30 for free update

Garmin has made available MalSingMaps (MSM) Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei NT 2009.30 for free update now.

You can click here to download the installation file of MalSingMaps Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei NT 2009.30 from Garmin server. The file size is 163,883kb.

The installation program will update gmapprom1.img, gmapprom1.unl and SGMYMAL.JCV in your Garmin GPS navigator.

During the installation process, you'll be asked for the unlock key. The key is stored in the existing gmapprom1.unl file in your Garmin GPS navigator, which you can open with Notepad or any text editor. Just copy and paste the key to the installer when asked.

The size of SGMYMAL.JCV has increased to 199,430kb from the previous 155,439kb (for MalSingMaps NT 2009.5).

This version of map supports all the features in Sing/Mal version of Nuvi 255w, including Speed Limit indicator, Junction View, Lane Assist, highway coming exit junctions info, etc.

Version highlights:

  1. Synchronize to Malsingmaps v3.05.
  2. Add more Speed limit information
  3. Increase junction view display to 667 locations in Singapore and 704 locations in Malaysia

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER) will cease publication in December 2009

I remember when I was still a secondary school student, the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER, 远东经济评论) or better known as the REVIEW magazine was one of my favourite reading material in the school's library.

By that time, the Internet was still not introduced to Malaysia yet, and REVIEW became one of my main source to know about latest development and happening in the world especially in the Asian region.

It is sad to know that REVIEW will be gone into history soon, following the decision of the publisher, Dow Jones & Co. which owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., to terminate its lifespan by end of 2009.

Click here to read the official announcement to cease the publication of FEER in December 2009.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How to know the Garmin Nuvi 255w battery charging has completed

If you are charging the battery of Garmin Nuvi 255w using a USB cable connected to your computer, there is a way to know the charging has completed, although not so straightforward.

You need to firstly unmount the USB storage(s) in your Garmin Nuvi 255w detected by your computer.

If you are using Windows, right click on the Safely Remove USB Device icon in the taskbar and select "Safely Remove Hardware". Then click the Stop button follow by OK button. Your Garmin GPS will reboot by itself and go into normal operating mode which you can use it and navigate as usual.

Now, slide the Power key on top of the GPS to the left to switch it off. If the battery is still charging, it will show the message "Charging Battery. Slide the Power key to turn on." before the screen turn off. If the battery is fully charged, it will show "Charging Battery completely. Slide the Power key to turn on." instead.

In fact, the GPS is not off when it is still connected to the USB, only the screen is turned off. You can always slide the Power key again to turn on the screen, and slide again to check for the charging status.

From the message, you'll be able to know if the battery charging has completed or not.

Garmin ecoRoute currently not available for Asian version of Nuvi 255w

Garmin ecoRoute is a new feature for their GPS navigators which is made freely available to compatible units via the WebUpdater service.

This feature allows users to find more fuel efficient routes when navigating and even track their fuel usage. With ecoRoute, you may be able to save petrol and money by adopting smarter driving habits and finding more fuel-efficient routes.

After ecoRoute is successfully installed, a new Route Preference called "Less Fuel" will be added to the GPS unit. There will also be Fuel Report which tracks fuel usage over time, and Mileage Report which monitors mileage and fuel usage on a per-trip basis.

ecoRoute is available for US version of nuvi 255w. However, an email from Garmin Support confirmed that it is currently not available for Asian version of nuvi 255w, which includes the Sing/Mal version, Taiwan version, India version, etc.

For Asian version of Garmin GPS, currently only Nuvi 765 and Nuvi 1460 are ecoRoute supported.

Let's hope that it will eventually be made available to our Nuvi 255w in the near future.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Do not keep your money in your bank savings account

Do you know how much interest you will get if you keep your money in your bank savings account today?

Here are some of the interest information obtained from the banks' website as of September 2009:

  • Public Bank Savelink - 0% for balance <= RM10,000
  • Maybank Kawanku - 0% for balance <= RM10,000
  • CIMB Regular Savings - 0.05% for balance <= RM25,000
  • Hong Leong Savings - 0.10% for balance <= RM10,000
  • RHB Passbook - 0% for balance <= RM10,000
  • EON Bank Savings - 0.10% for balance <= RM5,000
  • Alliance Bank Savings - 0.10% for balance <= RM5,000
  • HSBC Premier or PowerVantage - 0% for balance <= RM10,000
  • OCBC Premier - 0% for balance <= RM10,000
This indicates that you will get 0% interest or very close to that by keeping your money in your bank savings account.

Most banks also have Basic Savings Account which provides a better 0.25% interest for balance <= RM50,000. However, most of them also charge RM8 to the basic savings account annually.

If you still insist to keep your money in a savings account, perhaps you should keep in this Basic Savings Account.

So, it is wiser to keep a minimal amount of money in your savings account, just good enough for day-to-day regular spending. You should have your credit card, short term (<= 3 months) fixed deposit or volatile investment ready for emergency spending.

Then what to do with your money if not keeping in the savings account? Here are some of the better places to park your money:
  • Clearing debts
  • Flexible Homeloan account
  • Investment
  • Business
  • Fixed deposit
  • Insurance
  • Precious metals/stones
  • Valuable collectibles
  • etc.

Monday, September 14, 2009

MalFreeMaps moving forward with improved free map

The mapper community supported Malaysia & ASEAN Free Maps Project (MalFreeMaps) releases a new version of free map covering Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei for Garmin GPS every Monday morning without failure.

Today (14 Sept 2009) they've gone to another milestone by releasing an improved version of map with a new versioning scheme, also with new coverage to Indonesia.

The new version is called MFM-Garmin 090914 with the following additional features from the previous version:

  • Link to NavNet map in Kalimantan
  • Coverage of Southern Thailand (coming soon)
  • Optional Chinese POI
  • Improved SG Postal Code & Address map with instant search result
  • New POI icons
  • New POI categories with custom icons (coming soon)
  • New MFM map generator with option to generate either Full or Lite version
  • Topo contours are added into Full-version map
  • New multi-language installer
  • No more error when uploading map through Mapsource
Click here for more information and download of the free MFM-Garmin 090914 map.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Upgraded Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop RAM to 2.5GB

I have successfully upgraded the RAM of my Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop purchased 3 years ago from the original 512MB to 2.5GB now, and have been using this new configuration for more than 2 months without any problem.

Before this, I heard about the Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop can only support up to 2GB RAM, but now I've confirmed that it can support up to 2.5GB.

The original 512MB RAM residing in Memory Slot 1 of the laptop is of DDR-2 PC2-4200 SO-DIMM running at 533Mhz bus speed. I purchased another Kingston brand 2GB RAM of DDR-2 PC2-5300 CL-5 SO-DIMM which can run at 667Mhz bus speed and slotted it into the empty Memory Slot 2.

As shown in the photo below, the RAM on the left hand side is the original 512MB, and on the right hand side is the new 2GB.

When the laptop first detected the new memory, it displayed a message stating "The amount of system memory has changed." when boot up and seems to be hang at this message. I was a bit worry then, but later found out from Internet that I just need to be patient and wait for a while. The laptop then accepted the new amount of memory and no more similar message appear during boot up therafter.

It seems that both the memory can work together well without any problem, and can even work in Dual Channel Mode. They passed all the stringent memory test in Dell's Diagnostic Utility, and have worked happily for more than 2 months now.

Although the working bus speed has to synchornized to 533Mhz even the PC2-5300 RAM is able to work on the faster 667Mhz, but the performance affected is very much neglegible.

In the BIOS, it correctly detected 512MB + 2048MB = 2560MB RAM has been installed, but it says only 2559MB is available for use. Therefore, the maximum RAM supported by Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop is 2.5GB only, and it will be a waste to install any larger amount than that.

Windows XP detects a total of 2,619,768kB (or 2558.367MB) of RAM.

Notice that I have completely switched off the Virtual Memory by setting the paging file to 0. I have been using the laptop without any Virtual Memory in Windows XP for 2 months, and it just works fine. In fact, it runs much faster than before, and there is less harddisk activity now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Using Garmin Nuvi 255w GPS as a digital photo frame

The Garmin Nuvi 255w GPS navigator does not have much multimedia function, but it does have a decent Picture Viewer, enabling us to use it as a digital photo frame. Its 4.3" screen is good enough for this purpose.

If your digital camera can store photos into SD card, what you need to do is just to take out the SD card from your camera, and slot it into the Nuvi 255w. Then, switch on the unit and tap on Tools > Picture Viewer.

The screen will then show 9 thumbnails of the pictures found. You can navigate from one screen to another by tapping on the up/down arrow keys.

Tap on the picture to show it fully on the screen. Tap it again and you are able to show it in Full Screen mode, as well as enlarge or reduce its display size.

When displaying a picture, tap on the Info button to see the info of the filename, camera make and camera model. You are also given an option to use this picture as your Garmin nagivator's startup screen when power on.

In the thumbnail display screen, you can also tap on Slide Show to auto show the pictures one by one.

Latest Garmin GPS pricelist of vendors in Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei

If you are planning to buy a Garmin GPS navigator, either the Nuvi, Fitness or Zumo, there is a place for you to check the price offered by various vendors in Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei.

Click here to access to the shared Google spreadsheet about Garmin latest pricelist.

Let's express our great thanks to Noah, the creator and maintainer of this pricelist info.

Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010 by World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum has just released their 30th edition of The Global Competitiveness Report (2009-2010) ranking and featuring 133 economies in the world. This report stand out as one of the world's most comprehensive and respected assessment of countries' competitiveness.

The Top 10 ranking for 2009-2010 are:

While Singapore has improved its position from the previous 5th to 3rd, Malaysia has falled from 21st to 24th now. Taiwan shows a good progress from 17th to 12ve. Brunei also moved on from 39th to 32nd. Korea dropped from 13th to 19th.

Click here to read the article in The Star highlighting about Malaysia's ranking in the Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010.

Click here to get more information about the Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010. You can also download the full report there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top 40 open source products for business and IT pros (Bossie 2009 winners)

Since 2007, each year InfoWorld's Bossie (Best of Open Source Software awards) will recognize a total of 40 best open source software from various categories for business and IT pros of the year.

The 2009 Bossie winners are...

Best of open source developer tools:

  • BrowserShots service
  • Drools BRMS
  • Eclipse Web Services Tools
  • Hadoop and Hive for distributed data processing
  • jQuery JavaScript library
  • Mono .Net platform
  • NetBeans IDE for Java and dynamic languages
  • OpenStreetMap mapping project
  • PhoneGap framework for mobile application development
  • WebKit browser rendering engine

Best of open source enterprise software:
  • Compiere ERP systems
  • Openbravo ERP systems
  • Dimdim web conference software
  • Drupal for content management
  • Intalio for process management
  • Jaspersoft for reporting and BI
  • Pentaho for reporting and BI
  • Magento for e-commerce
  • Piwik for web analytics
  • SugarCRM for sales and customer management
  • WordPress blog publishing platform

Best of open source networking software:
  • Cacti
  • Nagios
  • IPCop firewall
  • Kamailio SIP proxy server
  • KeePass password manager
  • Openfiler SAN/NAS appliance
  • OpenNMS enterprise monitoring system
  • PacketFence network access control
  • Puppet configuration management framework
  • Untangle network security gateway

Best of open source platforms and middleware:
  • Jitterbit data migration and integration
  • Talend data migration and integration
  • Mule service bus
  • WSO2 modular SOA platform
  • Nginx web server
  • OpenVZ server virtualization platforms
  • Xen server virtualization platforms
  • VirtualBox desktop virtualization tool
  • Turnkey Linux factory of software appliances
Beside the 40 Bossie winners, Infoworld also named the Top 10 Open Source Hall of Famers from the greatest open source software of all time. They are:
  • Linux kernel
  • GNU utilities and compilers
  • Ubuntu
  • The 3 BSDs (FreeBSD, OpenBSD & NetBSD)
  • Samba
  • MySQL
  • BIND
  • Sendmail
  • OpenSSH and OpenSSL
  • Apache
Beside that, Infoworld recognises there are a lot of great open source apps for Windows too, and they've picked the 10 best:
  • FileZilla
  • VirtualBox
  • Firefox
  • Paint.Net
  • Media Player Classic
  • TrueCrypt
  • PDFCreator
  • 7-Zip
  • ClamWin
Click here for more details about the Infoworld Bossie 2009 awards.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A visit to Packet Hub, HQ of WIMAX provider Packet One

Being one of the contributors in a committee of a local business association, I am honoured to be invited by Michael Lai (赖敬达), CEO of Packet One, to visit their HQ building Packet Hub today.

I was really amazed by the presentations by Michael and his senior staff, which show that this young company has very clear and ambitous mission, vision, direction and goals.

Since the debut of their P1 W1MAX service in August 2008, which was just one year ago, the company has grown exponentially in terms of service coverage area, user base (now already reaches 100,000) as well as staff force (more than 600 now). Packet One is no doubt the pioneer and still the only WIMAX service provider in Malaysia, despite 4 WIMAX licenses have been awarded by MCMC several years ago.

Located at Jalan Templer next to the Federal Highway, the Packet Hub building implements some of the Google-like working environment which can especially attract the Gen-Y workers.

Near the entrance is a Paddock which showcase their products and services. Their customer service area is just next to the P1 Paddock.

They have modern looking meeting rooms named by countries with their presence, equipped with high tech meeting equipments and high quality chairs. They also have a nice well equipped gymnasium, a rest room with several massage chairs and a comfly gamers room. On the roof top of the building is an air garden with nice landscaping and a BBQ area. There is also a WIMAX base station on top of the building (in the photo).

Apparently Michael is a fan of What Would Google Do (WWGD)?, a book written by Jeff Jarvis. He shared with us about his business philosophy, his view of technology future particularly in the IP field, his ambition and market positioning of Packet One, and more. He talked about Business 2.0, a new term that I just know about today.

It seems that Green Packet has made a right choice to get Michael joining them to start up the P1 business. Michael has sound track record while he was with Celcom and later as CEO of TMNet before joining Packet One. Undeniably, he has always been very good in branding strategy all the way from his previous companies till now in P1.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Keeping employees engaged in tough times

In September 2009 edition of the Baseline Magazine, an article by Corinne Bernstein reviews the key attributes of how the best-of-the-best companies keep their employees engaged, especially when in tough times, which are:

  • A compelling, positive vision with clear goals: essential for increasing morale, motivation and productivity.
  • Communication—the right stuff at the right time: encourage employees to express opinions, and managers relay the organization’s perspective in a timely manner.
  • Select the right people for the right job: hire the most qualified candidates for jobs, and promote qualified, well-trained people into management positions.
  • Remember that we’re on the same team: value team work within and across departments.
  • Cool stuff—continuous improvement and innovation: encourage and recognize employees to improve quality by creating new products, processes or services.
  • Recognize and reward excellent performance: appropriately reward the highest achievers.
  • Accountability counts: clearly define what is expected from employees, providing feedback on their performance and holding team members accountable to performance standards.
  • Every employee learns and grows: provide good training programs that are relevant to both the workers’ and the organization’s success.
  • Problems are no problem: identifies and handles problems early on.
  • It’s all about the customer: place a high value on exceeding customer expectations.

If you are interested to read the full article, you can click here to download the softcopy version of Baselin Magazine September 2009 Edition. It is in Page 12.

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