Saturday, July 31, 2010

HareNet 6th Parenthood Expo 2010

The annual HareNet Parenthood Expo is targetted to pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers and parents, showcasing products and services for growing young families.

Date: 20-22 August 2010
Time: 10.30am - 9.00pm
Venue: Mid Valley Exhibition Centre (MVEC), KL
Admission: free

There will be exhibition, stage activities as well as seminar & talks.

Click here for the programme schedule of the HareNet 6th Parenthood Expo 2010.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Top 20 display cards as of end-July 2010

The top 20 high end PCI-E 16X display cards in PassMark Video Card Benchmarks as of today 29 July 2010 is as follow:

I got the estimated price as of today from the HardwareZone Price Guides.

From here, we can see that those top performance display cards are all priced above RM500.

Something very interesting I noticed in Malaysia Dell Online Store is that, there are 4 options of display card available for the Dell Studio XPS 8100 desktop PC: NVIDIA GeForce GT 220 (default), NVIDIA GeForce GTS 240 (add RM205), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 (add RM409) and ATI Radeon HD 5770 (add RM34).

This mean that you can actually get the high end ATI Radeon HD 5770 (ranked #20 in the benchmark above) at a minimal upgrade cost.

And here is the estimated reference price for the 4 cards based on the HardwareZone Price Guides:
  • GeForce GT 220: RM280
  • GeForce GTS 240: RM400 (+RM120)
  • GeForce GTX 260: RM580 (+RM300)
  • Radeon HD 5770: RM570 (+RM290)
It seems that ATI Radeon HD 5770 is a good buy now if you were to buy the Studio XPS 8100 computer from Dell Malaysia.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How much computer memory do you need?

Computer memory (RAM) used to be expensive stuff. However, there had been tremendous drop in RAM price around 2008 and bottomed up in mid-2009. Although now the RAM price has risen back about 100% from its historical bottom, it is still consider affortable to buy RAM in Gigabytes (instead of in Megabytes).

However, buying too much RAM is still a kind of wastage, as there might be portion of RAM that will never be used. So, how much computer memory do you actually need?

I have done some study about this in the Internet, including a report in Tom's Hardware which concluded that having more RAM does not always mean getting faster performance, and would like to put down my opinion as follow:

  • If your computer is running on 32-bit operating system, you do not need more than 3GB RAM, as the maximum supported RAM by your operating system is around 3.5GB only. Any amount of RAM more than that will be completely wasted.
  • There is a maximum amount of RAM supported by your computer motherboard. Older model (typically manufactured before 2007) might only support up to 2GB RAM only. Any amount of RAM more than supported will be completely wasted. Check the specification of the motherboard.
  • If you use the computer for 3D games, audio and video encoding, 3GB RAM is sufficient to you.
  • If you use the computer for normal application which is not too memory intensive, 2GB RAM is sufficient to you.
  • If you use the computer for multitasking, always running several applications at the same time, 4GB RAM should be sufficient to you.
  • If you use the computer as database server, or running multiple operating systems with virtualization, then you should go for the maximum affortable RAM amount. Nowadays RAM module of 2GB is still cheap, but more than that would still be expensive. If your computer motherboard has 4 RAM slots, you can go for 4 x 2GB = 8GB of RAM.
  • Unless you are using the computer as multiuser server, normally you don't need more than 8GB RAM.
It is always a good idea to leave some spare RAM slots for future expansion when the RAM price gets even cheaper, and the computer software become more memory hungry then. As such, no need to spend money on more RAM than 8GB unless really needed now.

Calculate the recommended power supply wattage for desktop computer

If you are going to DIY build a desktop computer, you might be wondering how much wattage of power supply unit (PSU) should your computer use, that will be sufficient and not overkill.

In fact, you can calculate the recommended power supply wattage using the online eXtreme Power Supply Calculator, claimed to be "the only power supply calculator trusted by PSU manufacturers and computer enthusiasts".

Just click on either one of the links below:

This handy tool will calculate the estimated power consumption based on information including the motherboard, CPU, video card, RAM, harddisk, disc drives, PCI cards, PCI Express cards, USB devices, fans, cooling system, etc.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dell Malaysia monitor deals

Good news if you plan to buy a new monitor: Dell Malaysia is having monitor deals now. Last day is 29 July 2010 26 August 2010.

Here are the deals:

17" monitors:

  • E170S - RM164 RM109 discount
  • P170S - RM122 RM132 discount
  • E1709W - RM159 RM114 discount
18.5" monitor:
  • IN1920 - RM100 discount
19" monitors:
  • E190S - RM194 RM132 discount
  • P190S - RM113 discount
  • E1910 - RM83 discount
20" monitors:
  • ST2010-BLK - RM150 discount
  • E2010H - RM93 RM103 discount
  • 2007FP - RM305 RM239 discount
  • 2009W - RM443 RM143 discount
21.5" monitors:
  • SX2210T (multi-touch with webcam) - RM430 RM530 discount
  • U2211H - RM169 discount
  • E2210H - RM107 discount
  • P2211H - RM120 RM140 discount
  • U2211H - RM169 RM179 discount
22" monitors:
  • 2209WA - RM262 RM190 discount
  • E2210 - RM177 RM115 discount
  • P2210 - RM237 RM165 discount
  • U2211H - RM179 discount
23" monitors:
  • U2311H - RM131 RM151 discount
  • E2310H - RM243 RM160 discount
  • P2311H - RM112 discount + RM50 coupon code "C55HJQRH7$5N4C"
  • U2311H - RM131 RM151 discount
24" monitors:
  • ST2410 - RM270 RM290 discount
  • U2410 - RM316 discount + RM150 coupon code "5F7137L?4685FX" RM233 discount
  • G2410H - RM127 discount
27" monitors:
  • U2711 - RM437 discount + RM500 coupon code "QNS1W96C1MT$LZ"
30" monitors:
  • 3008WFP - RM1,132 discount + RM700 discount RM1581 discount
Visit Dell Malaysia website for detail specification and pricing information.

* The above information is for reference only, and might not be the latest information. For actual latest discount and pricing information, please refer to Dell Malaysia website.

You might probably be interested to also read about:

      Monday, July 26, 2010

      Compare LCD screen size of standard and widescreen monitors

      Nowadays there are 2 main flavours of LCD screen monitor, namely:

      • Standard panel with aspect ratio of 4:3, shape similar to the screen of CRT monitors
      • Widescreen panel with aspect ratio of either 16:9 or 16:10, which is the current major trend
      Many might not aware that there are actually 2 types of aspect ratio for the widescreen monitor. The 16:9 aspect ratio is commonly used for television, while the longer shape 16:10 aspect ratio is more common in computer monitors.

      You might have noticed that the widescreen monitor looks smaller than the standard monitor with same dimension measured in inches. The is because the measurement is on its diagonal. Widescreen panel has a longer diagonal, compared with the standard panel of same height. In other words, widescreen panel will have a shorter height than standard panel of same diagonal length.

      Using some basic trigonometry calculations, I have come out with the following table to compare the estimated dimension (height x width) of  the 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 screens.

      The theory is simple. Given the aspect ratio, we can find out the diagonal angle with their reverse tangent. Once we know the diagonal angle and the diagonal length of a screen, we can calculate for its height and width.

      As we can see from the above table, a 23" 16:9 panel and/or a 21.5" 16:10 panel is having about the same height as a 19" standard panel.

      With a shorter height, while you can enjoy a wider screen view, you probably need to do more scrolling for vertical display, as less line is shown in the widescreen.

      How will be the overall viewing area then? With the above information of their height and width, it is not difficult to calculate and compare their viewing area, as shown below:

      Hope that these 2 comparison tables can help you to decide and get a monitor of your right expectation.

      Friday, July 23, 2010

      ICAP Investor Day 2010 Bhd (ICAP, 5108) is holding its Investor Day right after its 6th AGM this year.

      Date: 14 August 2010
      Time: 12pm - 7pm
      Venue: Conference Hall 1&3, Kuala Lumpur convention Centre, KL
      Admission: Free

      The Investor Day will see the exclusive participation from the listed companies that ICAP has invested in.

      There will be interactive Q&A sessions, presentations and exhibitions by the participating listed companies.

      Topics of educational talks by Tan Teng Boo and the Capital Dynamics team on the Investor Day include:
      • What is value investing
      • Benefits of investing in ICAP
      • The economic outlook of Malaysia, China and US
      • ... and more
      See you there!

      Sunday, July 18, 2010

      Handy mini portable first aid kit

      I got this mini portable first aid kit in a white box, as a door gift from the exhibition booth of ECS ICT Bhd in the Investor Expo 2010.

      Seems like it is one of the "Happy Collection" gadgets from HP.

      Opening the white box, is a cute black case.

      And opening up the case, here are the items inside:
      • 5x plasters
      • 2x antiseptic wipes
      • 4x gauze pads
      • Small scissors
      • Bandage
      • Adhessive tape
      • 3ml medicated oil (风油)

      Pretty handy and useful, isn't it?

      I started sponsoring a child in Laos through World Vision

      I have just started sponsoring a child who live in the district of Phonethong (丰桐), at the northern part of Laos (寮国).

      This is done by joining the World Vision Malaysia Child Sponsorship Programme by contributing RM50 per month per child.

      Child sponsorship is about bringing hope and making a world of difference for a struggling child, his/her family and their community. It will help remove the obstacles of poverty and diseases placed in the child's path and help him/her discover love and the unique potential he/she possesses.

      Currently, there are about one thousand children in Phonethong who are still waiting for a sponsor to provide them access to education, health care and food security.

      While we are fortunate enough to be born and live in a place that have food to eat, clean water to drink, basic facilities such as electricity, transport, telephony and even Internet, we have to also realize that there are people living in other parts of the world who suffer from starvation, poverty, bad living condition, etc.

      You can also sponsor a child (or more children) in those less fortunate places through World Vision, with a minimal portion of your monthly income.

      This is a good deed of charity, that will plant good seeds in your karma.

      Note that contribution to World Vision is not Malaysian income tax deductible, but this shouldn't be the reason to deter you, right?

      Friday, July 16, 2010

      Is Windows 7 Home Premium good enough? Do you need Professional or Ultimate edition?

      MS Windows 7 has been around for quite some times now, and the OS for new computers nowadays will be Windows 7 (no more Vista nor XP), beside Linux.

      If you were to pick Windows 7, as a home user, you have a few options. Most PC vendors will let you select between Win 7 Home Premium or Win 7 Professional.

      The question that many buyer will ask: Is Win 7 Home Premium good enough? Do I need to pay extra for the extra features in Professional or even Ultimate edition?

      I found a report by Ed Bott in ZDNet pretty informative.

      After reading the article, I found that most home user should be enough with Home Premium, unless:
      • Your computer has more than 16GB RAM, or plan to upgrade the RAM to that amount in near future.
      • You want easy access to network projectors.
      • You want a one-button way (the Presentation Mode) to disable things like pop-up notifications and screen savers.  
      • You want a built-in Encryption File System (EFS) to encrypt a file or folder inside your Home folder so that it can only be unlocked when you log on with your user credentials. (Note: there are 3rd party alternatives which are equivalent or better than this)
      • You want to have a licensed copy of Windows XP (at no additional cost) to run as virtualized machine within your Windows 7.
      • You want your system image backup files to be stored across the network. (Home Premium will store it locally)
      • You want a built-in folder synchronization feature similar to Windows Live Mesh. (You need to install separately for Home Premium)
      • You want to make full use of Active Directory features. (Do you have many Windows PC at home until you need to use Active Directory?)
      • You want a built-in Remote Desktop server for other to remotely access and control your computer.
      The above are additional features in Win 7 Professional on top of Home Premium. And the below are additional features in Win 7 Ultimate on top of Professional:
      • Boot from virtual hard drive
      • Availability of Multilingual User Interface (MUI) packs. (Language Interface Pack is available for other editions of Win 7)
      • BranchCache and DirectAccess to improve connectivity on networks that use Windows Server 2008 R2
      • AppLocker
      • BitLocker drive encryption
      • Subsystem for UNIX applications

      Sunday, July 11, 2010

      Mystery code "9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a" in US Cyber Command emblem cracked

      The emblem/logo of newly established United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) has something unique from the emblems of other units in US Department of Defence (DoD).

      If you look carefully, you will notice a ring of mystery code "9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a" along the inner gold ring of the emblem.

      Over the past few days, this code has become the hot discussion in the Internet, and also well reported in the news media. By now, the code has been cracked.

      It is the MD5 (Message-Digest algorithm 5) cryptographics hash of US Cyber Command's mission statement, which is:

      USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.

      In fact, the message above cannot be "decrypted" from the code itself, as MD5 is a kind of cryptographic hashing method instead of 2-way encryption. However, if you know the original text, you will get back the same code by hashing it with MD5.

      One major use of MD5 is to verify the integrity of files and messages stored in the computer and/or transferred over the network. If the content is not the same from its origin, the MD5 code generated will be different. We call this unique verification code a "checksum".

      Let's try yourself to generate the MD5 code for the above mission statement here. You can also try to crack it here. If you wonder how it can be cracked, just read the explanation on that webpage.

      Saturday, July 10, 2010

      2nd Investor Expo 2010 @ KLCC

      Organized by ShareInvestor and Malaysian Investor Relations Association (MIRA) for the 2nd year after successfully held in 2008, Investor Expo 2010 that claimed to be one of the largest investment exhibitions in Asia is coming again.

      Date: 17-18 July 2010 (Sat & Sun)
      Time: 10am - 8pm
      Venue: Exhibition Hall 5, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, KL
      Admission: Free

      Interesting topics and speakers includes:

      • "Malaysia's Economy - Sunrise or Sunset?" by Tan Teng Boo (陈鼎武) of Capital Dynamics
      • "Intelligent Investors DO NOT Buy Low, Sell High"by Tan Teng Boo (陈鼎武) of Capital Dynamics
      • "Stock Market Outlook - Rest of 2010" by Teoh Ghim Meng (G.M. Teoh)
      • "Harvesting Profits from Crude Palm Oil Futures"by Teoh Ghim Meng (G.M. Teoh)
      • "Roadmap to Financial Freedom" by Yap Ming Hui (叶明辉) of Whitman Independent Advisors
      • "Strategies to Make Consistent Profits in the Stock Market" by Adam Khoo
      • "Market Outlook - Double Dip or Sweet Spot?" by Lorraine Tan of S&P
      • Panel Discussion on "Malaysian Market Outlook vs. the World Market" with Lorraine Tan, Tan Teng Boo and Lee Cheng Hooi
      • "New Age Investing - What Works Today" by Terence Tan of Mastery Asia
      • "Understanding and Appreciating Investment-Grade Wines and En-Primeur Investing" by Chad Merchant of Premium Liquid Assets
      • "3rd Quarter Financial Year 2010 Market Outlook" by Chan Ken Yew of MIMB Investment Bank
      • "The Psychology of Investment" by Carol Yip of Abacus for Money
      • "The Right Mindset for Long Term Investment" by Ooi Kok Hwa
      • "The Magic of Property Investment" by Leow Yeow Ming of MasteryAsia
      • "Residential and Office Property Market Outlook 2010: Is the Malaysian Market in a Boom?" by Allan Soo
      • "Commercial and Retail Property Market Outlook 2010: Is the Malaysian Market in a Boom?" by Christopher Boyd
      • "Get Rich Quick Scheme" by Bank Negara Malaysia
      • and more...
      Beside the free seminars, this event also features 40 exhibition booths, set up by both financial institutions and listed companies, functioning as a direct and effective platform for investors to grow their understanding of new and sophisticated investment vehicles.

      See you there!

      Click here to go to the official website of Investor Expo 2010.

      Monday, July 5, 2010

      How an automatic fire extinguisher can save your life

      There are a great deal of benefits involved with having an automatic fire extinguisher. Whether it is for your home or office, it can certainly save your property and can also serve to save lives.

      If you don't know what an automatic fire extinguisher is, it can be explained pretty quickly. Basically, it is an extinguisher or water sprinkler that is installed in the ceiling. Depending on the model of extinguisher, it is either turned on by heat, smoke or emissions.

      These can be extremely useful in the case of a fire starting when no one is around, or even when the occupants of a house are asleep. They have served to save thousands of lives over the years on top of the millions of dollars in property.

      But if you are thinking of installing an automatic fire extinguisher, you need to know what to look for.

      First of all, you need to understand the classes of fires. Depending on the room that it is installed in, there will be a difference in the type of extinguisher that you need.

      If you are installing one in a room filled with electronics then you will require a Class B or C automatic fire extinguisher. But if you are installing one in the bedroom, then you will likely only require a Class A. In order to make the proper decision, it is advisable to talk to a fire safety professional about your specific home or office. They will be able to advise you of the best and safest choice for your specific living conditions.

      The main point of an automatic fire extinguisher is to keep the fire at bay until the proper personnel arrive on scene. Although, depending on the size of the fire, they can in fact serve to completely put it out. But in the case of a large fire, their purpose is to contain the fire and to ensure that it doesn't burn out of control.

      Although they can be used in homes, they are most often found in large office buildings and warehouses. Especially in a working situation that has a high chance of a fire erupting.

      One thing is for certain no matter what type of fire situation you find yourself in: if you don't know the different classes of fires, you are putting yourself in even more danger than is already presented.

      Using some methods, such as water in a Class C fire can prove to be deadly. But water in fact works wonderfully in a Class A fire. Therefore, it is crucial to know exactly what kind of fire you are dealing with before taking the appropriate action. You want to make the fire less harmful, not more. And you certainly don't want to risk your life will trying to save your home or office.

      Automatic fire extinguishers are proven to save countless lives every year. So if you think you could benefit from one, start the research process as soon as possible.

      Disclosure: This is an original article contributed by Fire Protection Online Ltd exclusively for this website only.

      Saturday, July 3, 2010

      Population and Housing Census of Malaysia 2010

      The 5th nationwide population and housing census (banci penduduk dan perumahan) since the formation of Malaysia in 1963 will be held from 6 July until 22 August 2010. This census is carried out at the interval of every 10 years, and the last census was in 2000.

      During the census period, officers appointmented by the Department of Statistics will visit each and every household to collect information of all family member, including the racial origin, language spoken, religion, number of people in each household, their ages, educational qualifications, occupation, type of school attended by children and other information deemed fit. These information are used for national planning.

      All census officers must wear their identity tag which looks like this:

      and also must carry the official census bag which looks like this:

      This year, instead of answering the census questions through interview with the officers, we can also do it online.

      For more information, visit to the official Population and Housing Census of Malaysia 2010 website.

      Thursday, July 1, 2010

      POS Malaysia has risen domestic postage rate

      POS Malaysia has, by today 1 July 2010, risen the domestic postage rate.

      The new rate is as below:

      If you want to send anything using the snail mail method by POS Malaysia, you have to be aware of this new tariff and paste your stamp accordingly.

      Hope that this has minimal impact to the e-Commerce market, as I think most parcel in e-Commerce deals are sent using more reliable service providers rather than POS Malaysia.

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