Friday, December 30, 2011

HTC rolled out Android 2.3.5 and Sense UI 3.0 update to Incredible S in Malaysia and Singapore

The OTA (Over-The-Air) Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) together with HTC Sense UI 3.0 of HTC Incredible S smartphone has been made available to Malaysia and Singapore yesterday (29 December 2011) morning.

You can manually check for the update now, or wait for the automated update alert appear on your HTC Incredible S smartphone sooner or later.

Although this update will not cause any data or setting lost to your smartphone, it is always a wise choice to perform a backup using tools such as MyBackup (or the paid MyBackupPro) or Titanium Backup (or the paid Titanium Backup Pro) prior to the update, just in case...
After the update, you will get a new lock screen as the one in HTC EVO 3D. You can customize this lock screen in Personalize > Lock screen. The background can be either your Wallpaper, Photo Album, Friend Stream, Weather, Stocks, or Clock display. You can also assign the apps linking to the 4 quick launch icons there.

Using the phone becomes more fun with the 3D effects of HTC Sense UI 3.0. However, it is harder to get the carousel effect when fast swiping the home screen than in HTC EVO 3D.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Auspicious dates for signing contract, register for marriage, etc. in 2012

Here is the list of auspicious dates in year 2012 for signing contract, signing offer letter, register for marriage, receiving religious baptism, and other similar agreement-related activities. It is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Related articles:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Auspicious dates in 2012 for getting a baby

Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2012 for getting a baby (求嗣), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

The dates have good element(s) to embro/faetus. Traditionally, the dates are referred for conception planning (making love and expecting a baby to the family). Nowadays, people also make reference to them for Caesarian delivery of new born.

Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

Related articles:

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in 2012

    Before becoming the life partner, marriage is proposed by lover and engagement is made.

    Here is the list of auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in year 2012 (year of Rabbit), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

    You might aware that 12 December 2012 (12-12-12) is among the auspicious dates.

    Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

    Good luck in getting your right life partner.

    Related articles:

      Saturday, December 24, 2011

      Auspicious dates for housewarming, open house, party, gathering, etc. in 2012

      Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2012 for organizing and hosting meet-up with friends and/or relatives (会友), which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

      The dates are applicable for housewarming, open house, home party, gathering, and any other similar functions to meet up with friends and/or relatives. (Click the image to enlarge)

      Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

      Related articles:

        Wednesday, December 21, 2011

        Auspicious dates for baby first haircut (Mundan) in 2012

        In many culture, religion and/or tradition, the first haircut of a baby is considered an important milestone for his/her life. The day is known as Mundan, Chadakarana, Halaqah, Upsherin, etc.

        Here is the list of auspicious dates for baby first haircut in year 2012, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

        Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

        Related articles:

          Malaysia Employment Outlook and Salary Guide 2011/12 from Kelly Services

          Kelly Services has released their Malaysia Employment Outlook and Salary Guide 2011/12.

          It is observed that employers are now focusing on employing graduates armed with knowledge of the profession and competency, who are critical thinkers and problem solvers with good communication skills within the sales and marketing functions. Most organizations offer these fresh graduates lower basic salary and higher performance based tiered incentives and commission.

          Talent with a genuine ability to build long-term, successful, professional relationships with clients, in addition to selling a product or service are in great demand to keep the business moving forward.

          With the rise in "cloud" technology, there will also be an increasing demand for ICT professionals with skills in networking, security and creative multimedia within the next 3 years. Other staffing
          trends include rich Internet applications and mobile development arising from smart phones impact into the markets.

          Click here to download the Kelly Services Malaysia Employment Outlook and Salary Guide 2011/12.

          Auspicious dates for opening business in 2012

          Here is the list of auspicious dates for opening business in year 2012, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. It can be applied to new business opening, or reopening of business after a break/holiday. (Click the image to enlarge)

          Note that 24/1, 27/1, 30/1 and 31/1 are the auspicious dates for opening business right after Chinese New Year 2012.

          Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

          Related articles:

            Monday, December 19, 2011

            Auspicious dates for starting new job/post/assignment in 2012

            For employees, especially those in leading/managing position, here is a list of auspicious dates for starting new job/post/assignment in 2012, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

            It can be applied to first day reporting to new company/department/office/position, go for the post to lead/manage a new business unit/team/project/programme. It can also be applied to assuming new job position after promotion/restructuring/relocation exercise.

            Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

            Related articles:

              Auspicious dates for renovation in 2012

              Here is the list of auspicious dates for renovation in year 2012, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

              Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

              If you are going to renovate your house, don't forget to visit the "home idea" section of my blog to find out some of my sharing there.

              Related articles:

                Auspicious dates for moving to new house/office in 2012

                Here is the list of auspicious dates for moving to new house/office in year 2012, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

                Bear in mind that although the Tong Shu is a compilation of Chinese astrology and calendaring studies gathering wisdom of thousands of years, we should use it wisely and rationally, but not be too superstitious on it.

                If you are going to move to a new home, don't forget to visit the "home idea" section of my blog to find out my sharing on mortgage, renovation, furnitures, electrical appliances, pest control, etc.

                Related articles:

                  Saturday, December 17, 2011

                  Citibank giving out 500 new Apple iPhone 4S 16GB in its contest

                  On the same day the new Apple iPhone 4S smartphone debut in Malaysia, Citibank has announced a new contest with 500 unit of Apple iPhone 4S as prize.

                  Residents of Malaysia who are existing or new Citibank cardholders (credit card, debit card or ATM card issued in Malaysia) can participate in this contest.

                  Contest period is from 16 December 2011 to 24 March 2012, spanning 100 days. There are 5 winners for each day, and each winner will be awarded one unit of Apple iPhone 4S.

                  You can gain contest entries by:

                  • Use credit card to swipe at least RM50 in single receipt locally
                  • Use credit card to swipe at least RM50 in single receipt, charged with foreign currency
                  • Sign up Citibank Online account
                  • Sign up to receive e-statements
                  • Successfully apply for Balance Transfer / Cash Advance / Dial For Cash / Card Protection Premier / Flexi Payment Plan / One Bill / Credit Shield Plus / Credit Shield Premier / HomeSafe / Cash Assure Plus 400
                  • Successfully upgrade your credit card
                  • Successfully apply for new credit card / debit card / ATM card
                  • Successfully apply for supplementary card
                  • Accept a Citibank initiated permanent increase of credit line

                  At the end of each day during the Contest Period, each Contest Entry received during the day will be given a serial number. The Contest Entries will then be arranged according to the serial numbers assigned to them. The total number of Contest Entries received for the day will be divided by 500. The result will then be rounded down to the closest whole number (“Multiple Number”). The first twenty (20) serial numbers which are multiples of the Multiple Number, beginning with that Multiple Number, will be selected as the shortlisted serial numbers.

                  Each of the Short-listed Participants will be contacted by Citibank or its appointed representatives up to 2 times at the latest telephone numbers furnished to Citibank as shown in Citibank’s records at any time during office hours (9.00am – 6.00pm) to answer a series of 5 questions. In the event Citibank or its appointed representative is unable to contact a Short-listed Participant after 2 attempts and/or the
                  Short-listed Participant withdraws its participation in the Contest upon being contacted by Citibank or its appointed representatives, the Short-listed Participant will be deemed disqualified from the Contest. Only the principal cardmembers will be contacted.

                  The five (5) out of the 20 Short-Listed Participants who answer the most number of questions correctly in the fastest time will be the Winners for that relevant day and will each win a Prize.

                  Click here to read the detail terms and conditions of Citibank's "Win 500 Apple iPhone 4S Contest".

                  Click here to participate in Citibank's "Win 500 Apple iPhone 4S Contest".

                  Wednesday, December 14, 2011

                  BNM to issue new series of Malaysian coins in 2012

                  Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is issuing commemorative coins in the denominations of 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen and 50 sen, to mark the new 3rd Series of the Malaysian coins which will be available for circulation early 2012.

                  This series of new coins are smaller and lighter, making its more user-friendly for the public. The yellow and silver coloured coins and the edge designs enable the public and also the visually impaired to identify and distinguish the different denominations.

                  The new series of coins embodies the latest advancements in minting technology which incorporates improved counterfeit resistance security features. The new metal alloy used for minting has enhanced durability against wear and corrosion.

                  The alloy used in 50 sen coins is Nickel Brass Clad Copper,  in 20 sen coins is Nickel Brass, in 10 sen and 5 sen coins is Stainless Steel.

                  This new series of coins are legal tender and will co-circulate with the existing series. The existing series will be gradually phased out.

                  Vendors of cash handling machines are given 6 months to calibrate their machines to ensure convenience for the use of the new coins.

                  Thursday, December 8, 2011

                  Find out if your smartphone is installed with the infamous Carrier IQ

                  Nowadays, one of the hot topics among the smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, ...) users is about Carrier IQ.

                  Carrier IQ is spy agent pre-installed in certain smartphone that can capture information about the phone numbers you are dialing, your GPS location, the webpages you have visited with your mobile browser, etc. Those information are sent back via the Internet without your notice, invading into your privacy.

                  Carrier IQ has been reported to be found in iPhones, and it is told that you can disable its information sending action with About > Diagnostics & Usage > Don't Send.

                  There are multiple vendors and multiple models for Android phone, and not all of them are affected. If you have an Android phone, good news is that now there are several free tools available in the Market for you to find out whether your Android phone is installed with the infamous Carrier IQ or not.

                  Just open the Market app, and search for the keywords "carrier iq detector" and you will get a list of the detector tools for Android.

                  Use them to check on your Android phone. You can install multiple of them to assure that your phone is not affected. Once you have done the checking, you can go ahead to uninstall the Carrier IQ detection tools.

                  If you find Carrier IQ in your Android phone, removal will be a bit tricky, as you need root access. There are apps such as Logging Checker (a.k.a. Logging Test App) that claims to be able to help you eliminate Carrier IQ in your phone.

                  Wednesday, December 7, 2011

                  Understanding Advance Instalment and Capital Repayment in OCBC Bank home loan prepayment mode

                  OCBC Bank in Malaysia has been giving quite a competitive housing loan facility since they introduced the so-called semi-flexi scheme.

                  Unlike the fully flexible home loan provided by some other banks, this OCBC semi-flexi home loan is more difficult to understand, more troublesome to manage, and also introduces cost and constraint when come to excess payment (a.k.a. prepayment) redraw.

                  Anyhow, many people still consider OCBC semi-flexi home loan, as they give among the lowest interest rate, highest possible margin of financing, longest possible serving term, and short lock-in period.

                  If you were to take up this OCBC semi-flexi home loan, you need to understand about their definition and operation of Advance Instalment and Capital Repayment, which are the 2 options of prepayment for you to put in excess money into your loan account in order to reduce the outstanding balance, and therefore will reduce the overall interest paid as well as shorten the overall loan tenure.

                  These 2 prepayment modes are clearly spelled out in the Main Terms & Conditions document that come together with your home loan offer letter. I'll summarize it here.

                  Both Advance Instalment and Capital Repayment will reduce the outstanding balance, and therefore will immediately help you to save on interest charged the next day onwards (since the loan is on daily rests). If you have the current version of the Main Terms & Conditions document, it is stated in Clause 6.6 (a) in that document.

                  Advance Instalment:

                  • Non-redrawable. Once you banked in, you cannot take it out from your account.
                  • You can use it to automatically set off future monthly instalment, provided there is enough Advance Instalment in your account for the deduction. This is useful if you are going away to oversea for a long period, and might not be convenient to serve your monthly home loan repayment for quite some times.
                  • Can make payment with cash (over the counter), cheque, ATM machine, inter-bank transfer, etc.

                  Capital Repayment:
                  • Redrawable to your saving or current account with OCBC Bank, subject to the terms and conditions.
                  • You still need to serve your monthly home loan repayment on time as usual. The automatic set off mechanism does not apply here.
                  • Can make payment with cash (over the counter) and cheque only.
                  The redrawal terms and conditions for Capital Repayment is typically like this:
                  • Redrawing must be made at the OCBC branch.
                  • Need to submit the Redrawing Notice to OCBC 3 days before the redrawing occur.
                  • RM10 will be charged for each redraw.
                  • Only 1 redrawing per day.
                  • Redrawing must be in multiples of RM1000.
                  • Minimum redrawing amount is RM5000.

                  Sunday, December 4, 2011

                  The mobile view of this blog

                  Google Analytics shows that about 15% of my visitors to this blog are actually reading with mobile device. Last month, 37.37% of the mobile visits are from iPhone, 29.43% from Android, 27.31% from iPad, 1.86% from Symbian, and the rest from others.

                  If you are accessing this blog (or any other blogs hosted in Google's Blogger a.k.a. Blogspot platform) with your mobile device, you will be able to browse its mobile view, which is a simpler, faster loading version. Here is how it looks like:

                  Scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can find the "View web version" option to switch to its web view.

                  Actually, web view is also pretty nice when browsed with my favourite mobile browser - Dolphin Browser.

                  It is even better if you rotate your phone to read in landscape mode.

                  Actually, there is a trick in the blog's URL to switch it to mobile view and vice versa.
                  If you are also blogging on Google's Blogger a.k.a. Blogspot, you can check how your blog looks like in its mobile view by accessing it with your mobile phone, or by accessing from any browser using the mobile view URL as above. There are several templates and settings which you can configure in the Settings > Email & Mobile tab.

                  Wednesday, November 30, 2011

                  The cost of selling a property in Malaysia

                  If you were to buy a property for investment, you should be well aware of the cost involved in buying the property, as well as the cost to sell it later.

                  The typical cost of selling the property consists of:
                  1. Advertisement fee to look for buyer (if any).

                  2. Agent fee (if you engage property agent to help you to sell your house): between 2%-2.75%. Officially, it is 2.75% if the selling price is below RM500k, and 2% if the selling price is above RM500k. There is a 6% government tax on this agent fee too.

                  3. Lawyer fee for Sales and Purchase Agreement (calculated based on the property's selling price, if you engage a lawyer on your behalf. You can save on this if you use the buyer's lawyer):

                  • First RM150k = 1% (or minimum RM300, whichever higher)
                  • Subsequent up to RM1 million = 0.7%
                  • Subsequent up to RM3 million = 0.6%
                  • Subsequent up to RM5 million = 0.5%
                  • Subsequent up to RM7.5 million = 0.4%
                  • Above RM7.5 million = negotiable
                  4. Deed of Receipt & Reassignment, Revocation of Power of Attorney, Letter of Undertaking, Statutory Declaration, etc. = a few hundreds                      

                  5. Miscellaneous legal fee = at least a few hundreds

                  6. 6% government tax on total lawyer fee

                  7. Submission of CKHT 1A form per seller = RM300 (RM600 if the house is jointly owned by 2 owners) 

                  8. Real Property Gain Tax = 5% of net profit if selling within 5 years of acquisition

                  9. Penalty payable for early mortgage settlement (if still within lock-in period) = depends on the loan agreement

                  Besides, you can get back some surrender value (partial refund on premium paid) from the following (if applicable):
                  • Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA)
                  • Fire insurance
                  You might probably be interested to also read about:

                    Monday, November 28, 2011

                    The cost of buying and owning a property in Malaysia

                    The property market in Malaysia has gained quite a lot of interest, especially over the past 3 years when the mortgage loan interest dipped to historical low.

                    If you were to buy a property for own stay or for investment, you should be well prepared for the cost involved.

                    The typical cost consists of:

                    A. One time cost

                    1. The booking fee, down payment and subsequent unfinanced payment of the property (normally about 10%-20% of the property price)

                    2. Lawyer fee for Sales and Purchase Agreement (calculated based on the property price):

                    • First RM150k = 1% (or minimum RM300, whichever higher)
                    • Subsequent up to RM1 million = 0.7%
                    • Subsequent up to RM3 million = 0.6%
                    • Subsequent up to RM5 million = 0.5%
                    • Subsequent up to RM7.5 million = 0.4%
                    • Above RM7.5 million = negotiable
                    3. Miscellaneous fee for preparation of Sales and Purchase Agreement = at least a few hundreds

                    4. 6% government tax on total lawyer fee for Sales and Purchase Agreement

                    5. Stamp Duty of Sales and Purchase Agreement (calculated based on the property price):
                    • First RM100k = 1%
                    • Subsequent up to RM500k = 2%
                    • Subsequently onwards = 3%
                    6. Lawyer fee for Loan Facility Agreement (calculated based on mortgaged amount):
                    • First RM150k = 1% (or minimum RM300, whichever higher)
                    • Subsequent up to RM1 million = 0.7%
                    • Subsequent up to RM3 million = 0.6%
                    • Subsequent up to RM5 million = 0.5%
                    • Subsequent up to RM7.5 million = 0.4%
                    • Above RM7.5 million = negotiable
                    7. Stamp Duty of Loan Facility Agreement (calculated based on mortgaged amount) = 0.5%

                    8. Miscellaneous fee for preparation of Loan Facility Agreement = at least a few hundreds

                    9. 6% government tax on total lawyer fee for Loan Facility Agreement

                    10. Land/Strata Ownership Title Transfer = at least a few hundreds + 6% government tax on legal fee

                    11. Stamp Duty of Land/Strata Ownership Title Transfer (calculated based on the property price):
                    • First RM100k = RM1 for every RM100 or fractional part of RM100
                    • Subsequent up to RM500k = RM2 for every RM100 or fractional part of RM100
                    • Above RM500k = RM3 for every RM100 or fractional part of RM100
                    12. Consent to Charge (for leasehold property) = at least a few hundreds + 6% government tax on legal fee

                    13. Mortgage Reducing Term Assurance (MRTA, optional) = a few thousands

                    14. Deposit for water and electricity = at least a few hundreds

                    15. Deposit for telephone, Internet service, satellite/cable TV (optional) = at least a few hundreds

                    16. Renovation and moving cost = depends on you, easily more than RM10k

                    B. Recurring cost

                    1. Quit rent (yearly) = around RM50

                    2. Assessment tax (yearly) = a few hundreds

                    3. Fire insurance (yearly) = a few hundreds

                    4. Mortgage Level Term Assurance (MLTA, yearly, optional) = a few thousands

                    5. Housing loan repayment (monthly) = at least a few hundreds

                    6. Severage treatment fee (half yearly) = RM48

                    7. Water, electricity, telephone, Internet, satellite/cable TV, etc. = depends on usage

                    8. Cooking gas = depends on usage

                    9. Security fee (for gated & guarded community or apartment/condominium) = depends

                    10. Maintenance fee and sinking fund (for apartment/condominium) = depends

                    11. Car park rental (optional for certain apartment/condominium) = depends

                    12. Pest and termite control service (yearly, optional) = at least a few hundreds

                    You might probably be interested to also read about:

                    Saturday, November 19, 2011

                    Case-Mate Tough case for HTC Incredible S

                    Recently, I managed to get a Case-Mate Tough case for my HTC Incredible S Android smartphone at a bargain price (almost the same price with my Case-Mate Barely There case).

                    The Case-Mate Tough case is a 2-in-1 case that provides double-layer protection to the phone, and officially claimed to be able to withstand sudden drops and accidental falls.

                    The inner layer is a soft rubber-like feeling silicone skin, covering up the phone (including the buttons) to provide the impact protection, and the outer layer is a hard polycarbonate shell, which is the same material with Case-Mate Barely There case, providing additional protection, as well as gripping the inner layer firmly to the phone.

                    The front:

                    and the back:

                    • You can immediately feel that the protection to the phone is great.
                    • Access to the phone's power button is much better than Case-Mate Barely There case.
                    • It makes your phone become bulky.
                    • It also makes your phone heavier.
                    • More troublesome to wear and remove, as it consists of 2 layers.

                    Friday, November 18, 2011

                    Malaysia Tesco Clubcard members, download your limited time RM10 saving voucher here

                    Tesco Stores Malaysia is giving away RM10 saving voucher to their Clubcard members, which you can download from their website and print out to use.

                    This voucher is only valid for purchase in Tesco above RM100, during the period of 18-20 November 2011.

                    Terms and conditions:

                    1. Limit to 1 coupon per transaction per day.
                    2. Vouchers or coupons are not exchangeable for cash.
                    3. Vouchers or coupons are not valid for purchases of: a. Tesco Gift Voucher; b. Tobacco Products; c. E-Pay Credit Coupons / Pre-paid Top Up
                    4. Vouchers or coupons are not valid for purchases made at Mall Tenants and Food Court.
                    5. Spend and Save Vouchers cannot be used to combine with ANY Clubcard Vouchers or Cash Vouchers.
                    6. If the value of the goods purchased falls short of the amount indicated, no cash refund will be given.
                    Download your Tesco RM10 Spend and Save Voucher here!

                    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

                    The real fact about your Lithium-ion battery life and death

                    Nowadays, Lithium-ion battery is commonly used to power up electronic gadgets including laptop, netbook, tablet PC, mobile phone, cordless phone, digital camera, GPS navigator, PDA, MP3 player, etc.

                    There are quite a lot of information in the Internet teaching you how to prolong the lifespan of your Lithium-ion battery, but not all of them are true. Some are even misleading and ridiculous.

                    The information below is summarized from 2 websites, namely:

                    which I believe to be more reliable source to learn about the real fact of your Lithium-ion battery life and death.

                    Here we go:
                    • Lithium-ion batteries age. They start degrading as soon as they leave the factory. They will only last 2-3 years from the date of manufacture whether you use them or not. You should fully make use of your Lithium-ion battery, because it will still die off even if you store it aside and not using it for long time.
                    • Lithium-ion batteries are good in holding charge. A lithium-ion battery pack loses only about 5% of its charge per month when not in use. (Compared to 20% loss per month for NiMH batteries)
                    • Lithium-ion batteries have no memory effect. You don't have to completely discharge them before recharging.
                    • If you completely discharge a lithium-ion battery, you can no longer recharge it. It is ruined. However, the battery has electronic mechanism to prevent it from complete discharge by stop working when the voltage is too low. A fully discharged battery left for a long period of time will lose its charging capacity.
                    • Lithium-ion batteries can handle hundreds of charge/discharge cycles. Don't worry about recharging it often.
                    • Lithium ion chemistry prefers partial discharge to deep discharge. Your battery can have longer life if you charge it often rather than charging it after deep discharge.
                    • Lithium-ion batteries can have as much as 4,700 discharge cycles if you recharge it at every 10% drop in capacity; 2,500 discharge cycles if you wait until 25% drop; 1,500 discharge cycles if you wait until 50% drop; and only 500 discharge cycles for 100% full recharge.
                    • Avoid leaving them in high temperature, such as in a car parked at sunny outdoor. Heat causes lithium-ion batteries to degrade much faster than they normally would. Keep your battery below 30°C (86°F). Extremely high temperature might also cause battery explosion.
                    • When stored in 0°C, Lithium-ion batteries suffer about 6% permanent capacity loss in 1 year. At 25°C, they suffer about 20% permanent capacity loss in 1 year. At 40°C, they suffer about 35% permanent capacity loss in 1 year. At 60°C, they suffer about 40% permanent capacity loss in 3 months.
                    • Normally, there is built-in mechanism to prevent Lithium-ion batteries from overcharging, so you don't have to worry about battery degrade due to overcharging. However, if such mechanism failed, overcharging might cause excessive heat generated, which is harmful to the battery's lifespan.
                    • Most lithium-ion batteries cannot exceed 4.20V/cell. While a higher voltage would boost up the battery's capacity, over-voltage shortens its life.
                    • High charge levels and elevated temperatures hasten permanent battery capacity loss. This is the reason why some people prefers to remove the battery from laptop when it is on A/C power (so that the battery will not be always fully charged, and expose to the heat generated by the laptop). 
                    • Storing the battery at 40%-60% state-of-charge instead of fully charged can prolong its life.
                    • Avoid ultra-fast charging and discharging. If the charger allows, lower the charge voltage limit to prolong battery life. In this case, sometimes charging the electronic gadget by connecting it to a computer's USB port is more preferable than charging it with wall socket charger.

                    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

                    Family outdoor activity at Janda Baik, Pahang

                    My family with some 20 families altogether, have brought our kids who live in urban city to a small village called Janda Baik (coordinates: 3°19'42.94"N, 101°51'43.29"E) in Pahang for a 2-days-1-night parenting activity organized by the Family Learning Centre (亲子学苑) of the United Chinese School Teachers' Association Of Malaysia (教总).

                    This is a wonderful experience, as most of the organized camping activities only involve the kids, but this camping invites both the parents and children to experience the nature together.

                    The journey started by visiting to a waterfall. At first, we entered into the jungle following a smooth lane.

                    What a nice jungle walk where we can see and try to identify the different kinds of leaves, flowers, plants, insects and small animals. We are also able to see some of the buildings of Genting Highlands from far.

                    Soon, the journey became more and more challenging as we entered the untreated lane.

                    We needed to climb through relatively steep sloves, walking through slippery mud and crossing through waterlogging, before we finally reached the waterfall.

                    When I reached the waterfall, I found a bloody leech on my leg. Ouch!

                    We spent most of our time in a platform of New Era Organic Farm, located quite some distance away from the waterfall. This wooden pyramid-shape platform is the place where we eat, play and sleep.

                    There is a small river near the New Era Organic Farm. Its water is clean, fresh and chilling cool. The children like it very much.

                    Entering the organic farm all bare footedly, the children also learned to do farming in the farm.

                    We had camp fire and BBQ at night. No animal was harmed. We only grilled sweet corns in the BBQ.

                    The trip ended next day with horse feeding in a nearby small horse farm.

                    This is a nice outdoor activity for our children to get close to nature, and for us to relax ourselves, break away temporary from busy urban living.

                    Friday, October 28, 2011

                    The top 10 in Interbrand Best Global Brands 2011

                    Interbrand, a leading brand consultancy, has just released their 12th annual Best Global Brands Report.

                    This annual valuation report has been voted as one of the most influential benchmark studies by business leaders. It provides insights into the yearly performances of the world's Top 100 brands.

                    Interbrand ranks the brands by Brand Value, which is calculated based on the formula below.

                    Due to the volatile markets and uncertain business climate that characterized 2011, brands are in the midst of adapting to a new reality.

                    "Uncertainty is the new status quo, so today’s brands need to be quick and nimble," remarked Jez Frampton, Interbrand’s Global Chief Executive Officer. "Consistency, relevance and commitment are imperative if a brand is to keep pace in our rapidly changing world."

                    The top 10 brands in 2011 are:
                    • Coca-cola
                    • IBM
                    • Microsoft
                    • Google
                    • GE
                    • McDonald's
                    • Intel
                    • Apple
                    • Disney
                    • Hewlett-Packard
                    The chart below shows the change in Brand Value of these top 10 over the years. Google and Apple are both progressing fast.

                    Click here to download the full Best Global Brands 2011 Report for free. There is also an iPad version of the report available in iTunes Store.

                    Sunday, October 23, 2011

                    5 main reasons why prospects will not buy from you

                    According to Zig Ziglar, there are 5 main reasons why your prospects will not buy from you:

                    • No need - They don't feel they need what you are selling
                    • No money - They don't have any (or enough) money
                    • No hurry - They are just not in a hurry to buy
                    • No desire - They don't really want what you are selling
                    • No trust - They don't trust you
                    If you apply the correct tactics, you can still close the deal.

                    In most cases, people are going to buy what they really want, not necessarily what they need. It is your opportunity and responsibility to sell the legitimate benefits of your goods and services in a legitimate manner so that your prospect will want to buy from you, again and again.

                    Perhaps you can learn from the late Steve Jobs on how he could get you to buy his range of Apple products.

                    Saturday, October 15, 2011

                    Ubuntu Linux 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) released

                    Canonical has just released Ubuntu Linux 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) on 14 October 2011. You can freely download and install it from here.

                    In this version, we can see major upgrade to its Unity user interface, with refined Dash and improved Launcher and Filter. The Ubuntu Software Center is now looks even more alike the Macintosh App Store.

                    It has replaced Evolution with Thunderbird as its default email client.

                    It has tighter integration with the Ubuntu One cloud service.

                    The Linux kernel has been upgraded to version 3 too.

                    While Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) is a major revamp that brings in new user experience, I would say Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) is the subsequent refinement and stabilization release. The coming version of Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) will be a Long Term Support (LTS) release.

                    Sunday, October 9, 2011

                    A visit to Logos Hope ship - the world largest floating book fair

                    Logos Hope, a ship known as the world’s largest floating book fair, is now berthed at Port Klang Cruise Centre at Pulau Indah (photo below), Selangor, and is open for public visit from 29 September 2011 until 23 October 2011. After that, it will depart to Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore and other ports around the world.

                    Opening hours:
                    • Tue - Sat: 10am - 10pm
                    • Sun: 1pm - 10pm
                    • Mon: closed
                    The ship is big. You can find out the technical details of Logos Hope and its book library features here.

                    After boarding, the tour in Logos Hope started with a 2 minutes video introduction about the ship, then you will go through the exhibition area, book fair area, multimedia "Life Experience" display, cafeteria, interactive educational section, and finally the exit.

                    There is actually quite a big crowd visiting Logos Hope, and the stream of people boarding and departing the ship is continuous. The photo below only captured one section of the book fair.

                    The books are quite cheap, especially those McGraw-Hill textbooks at the last section of the book fair. Most of the books are selling in special units, and Logos Hope uses a currency conversion scheme to convert the units to RM. Some of the items are sold directly in RM without the need of conversion.

                    If you haven't visit Logos Hope yet, I recommend you to do so. It is a good experience boarding to the world largest floating book fair.

                    Malaysia immunization (vaccination) schedule

                    The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Malaysia has scheduled for every child to be immunized to gain protection against childhood diseases including:

                    • Tuberculosis (肺结核)
                    • Hepatitis B (B型肝炎)
                    • Diphtheria (白喉)
                    • Pertussis (百日咳)
                    • Tetanus (破伤风)
                    • Polio (小儿麻痹症)
                    • Hib disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (bacteria) (b型流感嗜血杆菌)
                    • Mumps (腮腺炎)
                    • Measles (麻疹, applicable in Sabah)
                    • Rubella (德国麻疹, applicable for girls)
                    And the immunization schedule is as follow:
                    Beside that, some private clinics also recommend additional immunization against:
                    • Rotavirus
                    • Pneumococcal Conjugate
                    • Pneumococcal Polysaccharide
                    • Hepatitis A
                    • Influenza
                    • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV, applicable for girls)
                    It is up to the parents whether to let their children accept vaccination to these optional immunization or not.

                    You are encouraged to consult medication experts for the immunization requirements of your children.

                    Thursday, October 6, 2011

                    My YB-642 Yoobao Long March Power Bank with 11,200 mAh capacity

                    Nowadays it is pretty normal for us to have a few mobile devices powered by rechargeable battery, including handphone, GPS navigator, tablet, digital camera, PSP, MP3 player, etc.

                    Some of those high end mobile devices are fast in consuming battery, require us to recharge their battery very frequently. For example, we almost have to recharge our smartphone (Android, iPhone, ...) and tablet (iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, ...) on daily basis.

                    During the recharging period, the mobile devices are no longer mobile. They might be still usable while plugged in a wall socket for battery recharge, or they are temporary unusable because the battery is taken out to be charged by external charger. A common way to overcome this is to prepare additional batteries, so that the mobile device can still be used by replacing the flatted battery with the spare one.

                    However, different mobile device uses battery of different size and capacity. Their battery is charged with different charger too.

                    Imagine that we are going for outdoor activity in a place with no electricity supply, such as camping or mountain climbing, for at least a few days. How to solve the battery power need of our smartphone, GPS navigator, tablet, and even torch light?

                    I have just bought a YB-642 Yoobao Long March Power Bank with 11,200 mAh capacity at the price of RM185.50 from an online store, which I believe is the perfect solution.

                    A power bank is an external battery with high storage capacity, that is able to provide power to the mobile device through its charging mechanism. Yoobao produces a few models of power bank, and I have chosen YB-642 because of its high power storage capacity of up to 11,200 mAh, which is very long lasting.

                    The size and look of YB-642 is similar to old style PDA, and its weight is just 253g, not heavy to carry.

                    Inside the package, there are:
                    • The YB-642 power bank itself
                    • A micro-USB cable to charge the power bank
                    • A power adapter that convert AC 100-240V power to DC 5V-1000mA
                    • A DC3.5 switch cable that connect YB-642 to one of its connectors
                    • Connectors for mini-USB, micro-USB, Apple (iPhone, iPod, iPad), Nokia, Samsung phone, Sony Ericsson and PSP
                    • User manual

                    YB-642 has 2 USB output interfaces. The left one (marked as 1A) is able to output DC 5.3V-1000mA max, suitable for most mobile devices that accept 1000mA charging. The right one (marked as 2A) is able to out DC 5.2V-2000mA max, suitable for tablets and other devices that need a higher charging current.

                    YB-642 is very easy to use, just put it to the device and charging will automatically begin. Disconnect its cable and it will automatically turn off itself. See it in action charing my HTC Incredible S smartphone.

                    YB-642 is able to charge up to 2 mobile devices at the same time, by using both of its USB outputs.

                    YB-642 is also able to provide current to Samsung Galaxy Tab, which accepts 2500mA charging. Just plug the Samsung Galaxy Tab to 2A output of YB-642 using the USB cable that comes with the tablet. Although it cannot effectively recharge the battery of Samsung Galaxy Tab which require 2500mA current for recharge, plugging YB-642 to the Samsung Galaxy Tab enable you to use the tablet for a much more longer time.

                    YB-642 also has a LED light in front, which you can use it as a torch light. Push its button for more than 2 seconds to toggle the torch function. The LED torch can last for 540 hours (over 22 days) in a fully charged power bank when its USB outputs remain unused during the period. This is very handy and useful for outdoor activities.

                    Sunday, October 2, 2011

                    Attended the 7th AGM and 2011 Investor Day of ICAP

                    I have been proudly the shareowner of Bhd (ICAP, 5108) since 2008, and this is the 3rd time I attended its AGM (just held in KL Convention Centre on 1 October 2011). This is also the 2nd time I attended its Investor Day, which is an annual investment event held in conjunction with ICAP AGM since 2010.

                    There is nothing much to talk about the AGM, as this year, there is no presentation of  ICAP investment portfolio by Mr. Tan Teng Boo, which he used to present in previous AGM. Therefore, the AGM ended pretty fast, and the Investor Day session started earlier than last year.

                    The Investor Day session is a remarkable one. Again, Mr Tan and his friends (including the young Jonathan Quek, the middle-aged Rajen Devadason and the senior-aged David Gerald) are trying very hard in educating the participants on value investing.

                    Well, value investing might look simple on the surface, but not so easy to truly comprehend, and need high discipline to practise. A lot of people out there claim that they are Warren Buffett followers, and that they trade stocks using value investment strategy, and one thing I learnt from this Investment Day is that, the moment you say you "trade stock", you are very likely to be already deviated away from the path of value investment.

                    Mr Tan emphasized (repeatedly) that we should focus on the value of the business behind the stock counter when doing investment, rather than paying attention to its stock price movement. If we practise "buy low, sell high", we are trading the stock as a kind of commodity, and that is not the value investment way. If we invest as businessmen and practise "buy cheap, sell expensive", then the stock transaction is based on value.

                    In value investment, if we want to determine the time to buy and/or sell, we should not focus on timing the stock market sentiment (that could affect the price movement) or timing the stock price level (without referencing to its intrinsic value) or market index level. Instead, we should analyse the fundamentals of the business prospects that could be driven by the global and local economic growth, the business environment (such as inflation and interest rates), the corporate earning power, etc.

                    ICAP portfolio now is holding on more than 50% cash. That is because Mr Tan opined that the worldwide economic outlook in the near term doesn't look favourable, not because the KLCI had gone high or the stock market had tumbled. And because he has been consistently doing comprehensive and detailed fundamental analysis, Mr Tan has been warning us insightfully about his bearish view on world economics since April 2011, 3 months ahead of the 1st round stock market crash in July 2011.

                    And I agree with Mr Tan that, we can always buy ICAP when its price is at discount to its NAV, even at the current moment that is full of risk and uncertainty. Why? Because I believe that Mr Tan is a good and professional fund manager that I can entrust to take good care of my investment money. After all, we let fund manager manage our fund, because we believe the fund manager can make better decision than us, and can perform better than us in long run. Otherwise, we might as well be our own fund manager if we believe we can beat their performance.

                    You might think that the NAV of ICAP might still drop further, and hence affecting its share price to also drop further, if the share market continue to collapse. So, why not keeping the money with you now and buy later at lower price? In this case, you become your own fund manager, and nothing wrong with it. In short term, this might be a wise move. However, when will you anticipate the economy to recover? Are you doing the same amount of homework as Mr Tan? Do you have the same discipline, wisdom and perseverance in value investing as him?

                    There is possibility of NAV of ICAP will not drop even during the most scary situation, if Mr Tan can foresee that scary situation and hold 100% cash for ICAP, or if the stocks in ICAP portfolio able to withstand such critical business environment challenges. In fact, some of the portfolios in the iCapital newsletter already shown 100% cash position.

                    So, as shareowner of ICAP, we put our trust on our fund manager in managing the fund for us and make wise investment decision for us to grow our money. If we no longer has such a trust with him, or if we believe we are better than him, then its the time to sell out all our ICAP shares.

                    One of the ICAP Investor Day 2011 activities is the final judging of The Budding Value Investor Award. 5 student finalists were put on stage presenting their analysis of "why invest in ICAP" and asked to answer the question will they invest in ICAP.

                    I find that the contestants didn't answer that question well. They said they will invest because ICAP NAV is giving about 17% annual return since inception. Well, all of us have to always bear in mind that a fund's past performance is no guarantee of its future success. Sounds familiar? Because this statement is made as a compulsory reminder of all funds to their investors. In fact, investing in any fund based on its past performance is a risky attempt.

                    To me, I bought ICAP and still accumulating it from time to time, because:
                    • I believe that the investment philosophy of ICAP, which is value investing, is a workable way for long-term capital appreciation of low risk high return. (Every fund has its own investment philosophy. There is no point investing in a fund that you don't believe in its investment strategy, isn't it?)
                    • I trust Mr Tan is much more hardworking than me in analysing the investment targets, has done much more insight investment researches than me, is more disciplined and wiser than me in picking and dumping stocks. (If not, why don't I invest myself instead of relying on him? And in fact, I do make my own stock picks and investment. There were short term periods that I performed much better than him, and there were also short term periods that I performed worse than him. In the September 2011 market drops, ICAP is among the counters in my portfolio that dropped the least, which means I could have lost more if I didn't bought ICAP but bought another stock that has dropped deeper than ICAP recently.)
                    • I trust the professionalism, independence, intelligence and integrity of ICAP fund managers and its board of directors. (This is very important. When I evaluate a stock, I always look at its board of directors, management team and major shareholders, and find out the tracked record of those people to check if I can trust them.)
                    • The price of ICAP is at great discount to its NAV. (Value investing in ICAP is very straightforward. We don't need to do a lot of calculations to find out the so called intrinsic value of the stock, just look at its NAV and make sure we are not buying at high premium.) Because ICAP exercises "intelligently eclectic" value investing strategy for its portfolio, buying ICAP below its NAV provides the margin of safety of lower risk, higher return as we get "double discount" to the stocks in ICAP portfolio. This is in line with Buffett's advice on "Rule #1: never lose money; Rule #2: never forget rule #1".
                    • I bet that Mr Tan will be still around, managing the fund for the shareowners of ICAP, for at least 15 years. (And this seems to be a better bet than Warren Buffett, who is 81 now.) This is important, because we are talking about long-term investment. The fund manager must also service long-term, or at least get a right-hand-man and/or successor similar to him to continue service long-term. It is like you are taking a long journey flight from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles. You can't afford anything bad happen to your pilot (and co-pilot) halfway on top of the Pacific Ocean, can you?

                    I'm looking forward to attend the next AGM and Investor Day next year. Although the educational content is the same every year, which is about value investing, I find it a very good refresher course to us, and I learnt something new from Mr Tan every year.

                    Bank Negara instructed credit card issuers to use payment received to settle highest interest rate item first. But...

                    Bank Negara has issued new guidelines to be implemented from 1 October 2011, requiring all credit card issuers to use payment received to settle highest interest rate item first.

                    Generally, Malaysian credit cards interest rates per annum of retail transaction range between 13.5% to 17.5%. Cash advanced rate can be as high as 18% per annum. Balance transfer rate ranges from 0% to 18% per annum. Interest rate of instalment payment plan also ranges from 0% to 18% per annum.

                    Let's say in a particular month, your credit card balance is as follow:

                    Retail transactions with interest @ 16% p.a. = 2000
                    Balance transfer instalment @ 0% p.a. = 500

                    If you pay 1000 for that month:

                    • In the worst case scenario, 500 of your payment is used to offset the balance transfer instalment, and only the remaining 500 be used to offset the retail transactions with 16% p.a. interest.
                    • In the best case scenario, 1000 of your payment is used to offset the retail expenses, and none will be used for balance transfer instalment.
                    However, the best case scenario for this month might not be good to the card holder, if the bank consider the balance transfer instalment be defaulted and charge a hefty 18% p.a. interest rate thereafter. The only way for the card holder to maintain the 0% balance transfer rate is to pay the monthly credit card charges in full until the balance transfer instalment is settled.

                    I believe Bank Negara should have think of this kind of scenario, and the guidelines should be comprehensive to ensure card holders are charged with the lowest possible interest charges for current and also subsequent months. Otherwise, scenario like the above might form a trap, causing the card holders end up need to pay even more interest.

                    Thursday, September 29, 2011

                    Wireless antenna technology: SISO, SIMO, MISO and MIMO

                    The wireless data transmission system consists of 2 parties: the transmitter and the receiver, whereby data is transmitted into the air from the antenna of the transmitter and received by the antenna of the receiver.

                    In a Single Input Single Output (SISO) system, both the transmitter and the receiver have one antenna, and data transmission over the air is through a single radio frequency (RF) signal chain.

                    An example of SISO type of wireless is Bluetooth.

                    Multiple antenna technique has been developed to improve wireless performance.

                    In a Single Input Multiple Output (SIMO) system, there is one antenna at the transmitter side and multiple antennas (each with an RF chain respectively) at the receiver side.

                    In a switched diversity or selection diversity implementation, the receiver chooses the best antenna to receive a stronger signal from the transmitter. In a maximal ratio combining (MRC) implementation, the receiver combines signals from all its antennas so that to maximize the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR).

                    The Multiple Input Single Output (MISO) system is the other way round, with multiple antennas (each with an RF chain respectively) at the transmitter and a single antenna at the receiver.

                    A technique known as Alamouti Space Time Coding (STC) is employed at the transmitter with 2 antennas, allowing the transmitter to transmit signals both in time and space. This means data is transmitted by the 2 antennas at 2 different times consecutively.

                    Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) system is commonly used in today's wireless technology, including 802.11n WiFi, WiMAX, LTE, etc. Multiple antennas (and therefore multiple RF chains) are put at both the transmitter and the receiver.

                    A MIMO system with same amount of antennas at both the transmitter and the receiver in a point-to-point (PTP) link is able to multiply the system throughput linearly with every additional antenna. For example, a 2x2 MIMO will double up the throughput.

                    Spatial Multiplexing (SM) technique is used in MIMO to enable signal  to be transmitted across different spatial domains. This is used  to provide additional data capacity.

                    Therefore, when buying a Wireless-N access point or router, to get a stabler WiFi with higher bandwidth, look for those that support MIMO and with more antennas.

                    Acknowledgement: the above diagrams are taken from the website.

                    Thursday, September 22, 2011

                    Using NetSetMan to change Windows network settings with a single mouse click

                    If you are using a laptop, you must have faced the problem of having to manually adjust the network settings to connect to the network (either LAN or WiFi) in different places. This is really a tedious thing, isn't it?

                    Although many places make use of DHCP to automate the IP address assignment (so that you are free from the hassle to manually set the IP address, subnet mask, gateway IP, etc.), you might probably still need to do some adjustment to some other settings, such as the SMTP email server, the DNS server, the default WiFi AP you want to connect with, the default printer, etc. Worse still, there are places that don't make use of DHCP server, and you have to manually change the network settings, especially the IP address, subnet mask and gateway IP, in order to connect and use the network there.

                    For example, the DHCP server might assign you with the ISP's DNS servers, and you prefer to use Google's DNS servers instead. In some other places, you cannot use Google's DNS servers because the firewall might have blocked DNS request to WAN, and you have to use their internal DNS server.

                    I found NetSetMan to be a very handy tool allowing you to quickly change your Windows network setting with just a mouse click to connect to the network in different places. It lets you pre-configure the network settings and save them in different profiles. By switching the profile, all the pre-configured settings will be switched over accordingly.

                    NetSetMan is free for personal non-commercial use. The free version lets you set up to 6 network profiles, while the Pro version lets you set unlimited profiles.

                    You can customize the settings in each profile for:
                    • IP address (to use DHCP or manual setting)
                    • DNS servers
                    • DNS domain
                    • WINS servers
                    • Default WiFi AP
                    • Default printer
                    • Network adapter status (activate, deactivate or restart)
                    • Your PC name
                    • The workgroup / domain to join
                    • SMTP server for email sending
                    • Network drive mapping
                    • Browser homepage and proxy setting
                    • Local "host" file setting for mapping domain names with IP addresses. Normally the setting in this "host" file will supersede the DNS result
                    • IPv6 settings
                    NetSetMan also allows you to run Windows script before and/or after a profile is changed.

                    It also has feature to allow you to copy-and-paste profile settings from one to another. This is handy to create a new profile where most of the settings are the same with the existing. You just need to make a copy, and modify those settings that need to adjust with.

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