Friday, December 21, 2012

The list of most searched keywords in Google in 2012 unveiled

Google Zeitgeist 2012 published that in 2012, there were 1.2 trillion Google searches made in 146 languages across the world.

And the world's top 10 Google trending keywords in 2012 are:

  • Whitney Houston
  • Gangnam Style
  • Hurricane Sandy
  • iPad 3
  • Diablo 3
  • Kate Middleton
  • Olympics 2012
  • Amanda Todd
  • Michael Clarke Duncan
  • BBB12
Click here to download all the top 10 lists unveiled by Google Zeitgeist 2012 for the whole world and also separate lists for fifty over countries.

From the Malaysia lists, we can see that in 2012 Malaysian are most interested in the following brands:

  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  • iPad 3
  • iPad Mini
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2
  • iPhone 4S
  • HTC One X
  • Samsung Galaxy Y
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace
  • Samsung Galaxy S2
  • Samsung Galaxy W
Car models:
  • Nissan Almera
  • Toyota 86
  • Proton Prevé
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Mitsubishi Mirage
  • Toyota Prius C
  • Mazda Cx5
  • Toyota Avanza
  • Honda Civic
  • Proton Exora Bold
Travel destinations:
  • Legoland Malaysia
  • Sunway Lagoon
  • Langkawi
  • Cameron Highland
  • Universal Studios Singapore
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Genting Highland
  • Singapore
  • Penang
  • Melaka
Fashion labels:
  • Coach
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Gucci
  • Burberry
  • Longchamp
  • Prada
  • Chanel
  • Zara
  • Adidas
  • Victoria'S Secret

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top 20 IT companies to work with in 2013

The Glassdoor Annual Employees' Choice Awards has listed out the winners in the 50 Best Places to Work With In 2013.

There are 20 IT companies in the list, forming the top 20 IT companies to work with in 2013.

They are...
  • Facebook
  • Riverbed Technology
  • Google
  • National Instruments
  • Linkedin
  • Rackspace
  • Akamai
  • Workday Inc.
  • Citrix Systems
  • Orbitz Worldwide
  • Agilent Technologies
  • Intel
  • Red Hat
  • Apple
  • MathWorks
  • SAP
  • Eaton
Do you agree with this list, particularly their HQ? Are you working in one of them?

A family vacation trip to Phuket, Thailand (Part 2/2)

... continue from Part 1

Tour to Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island

The northern end of Phuket is connected to the mainland by Sarasin Bridge.

Our tour began with pick-up by minivan from hotel, leaving Patong and travelled all the way north, crossing the bridge and finally reached the 1st visiting point - Suwan Kuha Temple (a.k.a. Wat Tam) in mainland Phang Nga.

This temple is located beside a limestone mountain cave with Buddha. The cave is a bit alike Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. Similar to Batu Caves, there are steps to climb inside the cave, and there are "light cave" and "dark cave" inside its multi-cave structure.

This reclining Buddha is in the main cave.

The top most cave leads out into a rainforest.

There are monkeys outside the cave, and they are just staying outside, won't go inside the cave.

We continued the tour to a pier, and boarded into a longtail boat. The boat brought us for sight-seeing in Phang Nga Bay, where there are lots of mangrove trees along the Phang Nga Bay National Park estuary. After that, there are lots of beautiful rocky small islands around us in the sea.

The boat settled down in a floating village on the seaside in Koh Panyee. We took our lunch in a Muslim restaurant there. This lunch was inclusive as part of the tour package. There are some souvenir stalls behind the restaurant. In front of the restaurant near the jetty we saw a netted area where the seafoods (crabs, lobsters, etc.) are kept in the sea.

I'm not quite sure what is this. Is it pearl breeding?

After lunch, we boarded onto the same boat and departed to James Bond Island. It is a small island with 2 sandy beaches, once an undiscovered paradise, and after some shot taken in a James Bond 007 movie in 1974 (The Man With The Golden Gun), now it is crowded with tourists.

We landed on the longer beach. There is a row of souvenir stalls facing the beach. Although now is not a peak session, there were still a lot of tourists there.

There are 2 legendary scenes in James Bond Island. The straight wall cliffs...

and Koh Tapu (Nail Island), viewable from another beach.

The last stop is sea canoeing near Talu Island. We landed onto a "platform" formed by 2 cruise ships joined together, and got onto a canoe. A boatman kayaked the canoe and brought us around.

Along the kayak journey, we went through several sea caves. The above is a bigger cave, some required us to lay down in order to pass through.

After that, we returned to the platform, boarded onto our boat, went back to the pier, and sent back to Patong Beach by the same minivan.

Tour to Phi Phi Island

On another day, we went for another tour to Phi Phi Island.

A minivan came and picked us up from hotel. We passed through the Phuket Town and reached a pier. We bought a loaf of bread there to feed monkeys and fishes later on. We were advised to rent a pair of fins for snorkeling, but later we found that it was not necessary. So, if you were told to rent the fins, consider it carefully before paying the money.

Before getting onto the boat, we were briefed about the itinerary with this map (and I found the map later in Internet).

We took off with a speedboat. Our 1st stop was Maya Bay Phi Phi National Park. We landed on a beach lined up with a lot of speedboats. Many tourists were walking around the beach, and some were swimming in the sea.

We followed the path to the toilet, which located some distance away from the beach. We passed through a small forest, and at the end of the walking path is a viewpoint at another side of the island. It is also a diving location near Pi Leh Cove.

Departing from Maya Bay, we went sightseeing at Loh Samah Bay and then to several viewpoints as in the itinerary shown above. We were told that Viking Cave cannot be boardedWe fed the monkeys at Monkey Beach. We took lunch in a restaurant at Loh Dalum Bay and then continued our tour. The boat stopped in the middle of the sea at Hin Klang for snorkeling. There are beautiful corals and fishes under the sea. We finished up our loaf by bread by feeding the fishes there.

Then, there was a long travel to Khai Island with a long beach. The beach was occupied by a row of boats. Many tourists were walking around the shore. There are beach chairs with umbrella for rent, and it was compulsory for use to rent it as our tour guide informed us to bring along our belongings off the boat. Pineapple, watermelon and drinks were served as refreshment as part of the package.

Here is also the swimming and snorkeling spot in our itinerary. Fishes were found swimming around the coast.

The tour ended by returning to Phuket Island and we were sent back to hotel with the same minivan.

Elephant Trekking Tour

On another day, we went for elephant trekking near the foot of the mountain where Big Buddha is located.

This package includes monkey show, elephant show and snake show at the same place.

Siam Niramit Show

Siam Niramit Phuket is located beside an ex-mining lake.

We reached there around 7pm. International buffet dinner was served in a big restaurant at 3rd floor.

Outdoor, there is a small demo village showcasing traditional Thai-style living and a floating market. We rided on a canoe for free, going around the village.

Beside the demo village is a carnival funfair area for some games and prizes.

There was an open air pre-show performance at the outdoor stage, which included elephant show, and then the performance of a troop of ancient elephant army going to war.

Visitors were encouraged to take photo with this elephant army.

The Siam Niramit Show started at 8.30pm in a theatre located some distance away from the outdoor stage.

No photo can be taken for the show, and all guests were instructed to deposit their camera at the counter before entering the theatre hall.

The Siam Niramit Show is about Thai culture, history and believe. There were hundreds of performers including some animals. The show is full of amazing visual and sound sensation, and great thunder and raining effect.

We purchased the Platinum seats which have good location for watching the show.

There is another famous show in Phuket called Phuket Fantasea. We didn't went for that due to budget constraint.

Phuket City Tour

During our last day in Phuket, we visited to some attractions around the island for a 5-hours city tour in a 7-seater 4WD before being sent to the airport.

Departed from Patong, the car went south for sightseeing along Karon Beach and the beautiful Kata Beach. There is a nice viewpoint on top of a hill near Kata Beach.

There is another nice viewpoint at Prompthep Cape with a square and a lighthouse. We visited the lighthouse too.

Then, we visited the Big Buddha located on top of a mountain. The Big Buddha is undergoing some construction work to paste marbles onto its surface. There is a donation campaign for visitors to donate for the marbles to be used.

We dropped by Phuthai Phuket Souvenir and Handicrafts Market. This place is obviously operated to earn tourists money. We didn't buy anything there, as we found the price there is somehow even more expensive than the small souvenir shops in Patong main street. We have already bought our souvenir when we walked around in Patong.

We also visited Wat Chalong, the biggest Buddhist temple in Phuket.

There is a tower in Wat Chalong worshipping precious relics located at its top level.
Phuket Cashew Nut Factory is a place for tourist to buy snacks. We didn't visited the actual factory, but went into the outlet for food testing and shopping.

The Premium Outlet Shopping Center has shops of many branded names. The shops have big display area with lots of goods. However, the price in those retail outlets does not seems to give good bargain. It is just neither cheap nor expensive.

Our city tour in Phuket ended here, and the driver took us to airport for departure.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A family vacation trip to Phuket, Thailand (Part 1/2)

This year end, my family has spent our vacation to Phuket, Thailand. This Pearl of the Andaman Sea  is the largest and most popular island in The Land Of Smiles, located to the west of Krabi.

The Flight

We went there by AirAsia night flight. It is not only convenient to book the air tickets online, but also to check-in the flight using their web check-in service 14 days to few hours before the flight and print out the boarding pass for boarding.

However, if you want to travel with AirAsia, be prepared for the possibility of flight delay, and we did face the situation of flight delay on both our departure and returning flights.

When we arrived at Phuket International Airport, it was already close to 11pm.

Getting A Local Mobile Number

There is a counter in the airport arrival hall offering free mobile SIM card to arriving tourists, but the counter was already closed due to the late hour.

We ended up buying AIS One-2-Call SIM card at 7-Eleven and top up 50 bahts to it. After activation, I received several SMS telling me that I was given additional 35 bahts worth of talking time and also 20 free SMS. Not bad. The phone can get 3G network connection too, and I can always get HSDPA speed. Superb!

However, I turned off the phone's mobile network most of the time and manually turned it on when needed, as I think the bundled 3G connectivity could be as low as 50MB only. Anyhow, that is good enough for me to use Google Map and do some news syncing and WhatsApp texting on the road during the few days vacation.

In fact, we bought the SIM card mainly for the purpose of getting contacted with our travel agency. On our last day of stay in Phuket, we used up the remaining prepaid airtime by calling home to my parents.

Buying Tour Packages

The tourism industry in Phuket has a well systematic network to offer various tour packages to the visitors. You can easily find a tour agent counter at hotel lobby, and there are also many tour agent booths along the street.

You will notice that the packages sold by different agent are almost the same. Most of the packages include van shutter service for departing and returning to hotel. The van will go around several hotels to pick-up tourists who bought the same package, forming a tour group of around 10 people. Some packages include lunch at their designated location.

Our main itinerary was pre-arranged with Mayday Travel Phuket.

They offer slightly more competitive price for the packages than you can get at hotel lobby counter or booth on the street. They also have city tour and airport shutter service. We were shuttered from airport during arrival and few days later to airport for departure by their 7-seater 4WD.

The Hotel

We stayed at the 3-star Aspery Hotel in Patong Beach. Patong Beach is the most happening place for tourists in Phuket. Booking was done online with website. A Deluxe room with a king size bed and another single bed cost us RM2xx per night.

Located at the top floor of the hotel building, our room is spacious, modern looking, clean and tidy. It has a balcony with city and mountain view on the left, and limited sea view on the right. In front is swimming pool view of another higher class hotel. The sea view is limited as the beach is quite some distance away (about 200 meters), and the Nap Patong Hotel beside it also blocked some of the view.

The hotel has a relatively small swimming pool at top floor, good enough for some relaxation water play. I think the swmming pool used to have very nice sea view, but again now is blocked by the taller Nap Patong Hotel.

Anyhow, there is a higher platform built beside the pool enabling us to view the nice scenery around, including the Andaman Sea.

The room has an electronic safe box for us to keep our passports and some other belongings. There is a 32" LCD TV in the room with satellite TV channels, but all the channels speak in Thai and most don't have English subtitle.

There are plenty of electric socket points available in the room, but there is no plug converter for borrowing, and we have to buy one for 100 baht at the reception counter. With this, we can recharge our handphones, digital cameras and tablet.

WiFi is available to hotel guest free of charge, and password is given during check-in. I found the WiFi signal is stronger near the door, and slightly weak on the bed (middle of the room). There are also several PC with Internet near the hotel lobby provided to hotel guest free of charge.

The hotel breakfast is good. If you were to stay at Aspery Hotel, it is advisible to book the room with breakfast inclusive, as food around Patong area is pretty expensive and very likely to be more expensive than the hotel breakfast bundle. However, the breakfast prepared by Aspery Hotel is almost the same everyday. Not good if you are staying for more than 2 days as you will get bored with the same breakfast every morning.

Walking Around

I was told that Aspery Hotel has 2 buildings. The main building where we stayed at is located in strategic location in Patong Beach, while the new building is located some distance away in a less favourable location.

The beach is within walking distance from Aspery Hotel. There are many stalls along the beach, opened from evening till night, making it a lively bazaar. Closer to the shore are many beach chairs for rent. Phuket was badly hit by tsunami before, and now you can see signboard showing the direction to tsunami evacuation place along the beach.

Food in Patong is quite expensive. We found some good places for nice food with reasonable price.

The Joy's Cafe (green building) located very near to Aspery Hotel offers delicious Western and Thai food.

Samero's Icecream Paradise has nice icecream and gorgeous waitresses.

Number 6 Restaurant at the main street offers delicious dishes with cheap price, and is always full of people.

Emotion Massage is famous for its SPA and massage service at reasonable price.

The nightlife happening Bangla Road is full of bars, hot chicks, and tourists. Near to its junction is a big shopping center called Jungceylon. Near to Jungceylon Shopping Complex across the road is DJ Plaza Walking Street.

Simon Cabaret famous for ladyboys show is located further down the street.

The Songthaew waiting for passenger near Jungceylon wanted 200 bahts to send us back to Aspery Hotel. We ended up walking back.

Continue to Part 2...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Auspicious dates for housewarming, open house, party, gathering, etc. in 2013

Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2013 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, potluck, 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.

Auspicious dates in 2013 for getting a baby

Here is the list of auspicious dates in 2013 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.

Calculation for PCB 2013 income tax deduction

The Potongan Cukai Bulanan (PCB, a.k.a. Scheduled Monthly Tax Deduction) for year 2013 need to take into consideration of the following:

  • The individual income tax rate be reduced by 1 percentage point for each grouped annual income tax exceeding RM2,500 to RM50,000 with effective year assessment 2013.
  • The existing deduction on the children’s higher education amounting to RM4,000 per person be increased to RM6,000, commencing from year of assessment 2013.
  • Current relief of RM3,000 for savings in the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) is increased to RM6,000. The deduction is effective from year of assessment 2012 until year of assessment 2017.
  • With effective from year 2013, the subscription fee of Internet broadband is no longer a deduction.
While a new Jadual PCB 2013 schedule table is expected, it is not found in the official website of the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (a.k.a. Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri, LHDN) yet.

However, there is a document called Specification For Monthly Tax Deduction (MTD) Calculations Using Computerised Calculation Method For MTD 2013 or  Spesifikasi Pengiraan PCB Menggunakan Kaedah Pengiraan Berkomputer Untuk PCB 2013 is available for download from the website. The document provides detail explanation on the amendment to calculate PCB 2013.

Click here to download Specification For Monthly Tax Deduction (MTD) Calculations Using Computerised Calculation Method For MTD 2013.

Besides, there is also an online PCB calculator available in LHDN website for calculation of PCB 2011, 2012 and 2013.

PCB 2012 income tax deduction rate, calculation and table

If you are looking for the Potongan Cukai Bulanan (PCB, a.k.a. Scheduled Monthly Tax Deduction) 2012 table (Jadual PCB 2012) from the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (a.k.a. Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri, LHDN), it is available in a document published as Income Tax (Deduction from Remuneration)(Amendment) Rules 2012 or Kaedah-kaedah Cukai Pendapatan (Potongan Daripada Saraan) (Pindaan) 2012.

The Jadual PCB 2012 schedule table starts from Page 61 until Page 86 of the document. You will notice that actually it is the same table as Jadual PCB 2010 published before.

The document also has detail explanation on how the PCB 2012 is calculated.

Click here to download the Income Tax (Deduction from Remuneration)(Amendment) Rules 2012 document.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Auspicious dates for baby first haircut (Mundan) in 2013

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 2013, 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.

Auspicious dates for opening business in 2013

Here is the list of auspicious dates for opening business in year 2013, 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 18/2 and 21/2 are the auspicious dates for opening business right after Chinese New Year 2013.

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.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Auspicious dates for starting new job/post/assignment in 2013

For employees, especially those in leading/managing position, here is a list of auspicious dates  in 2013 for starting new job/post/assignment, including joining new company, which is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu.

There are only 2 auspicious dates for this in 2013.

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.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Auspicious dates for signing contract, register for marriage, etc. in 2013

Here is the list of auspicious dates in year 2013 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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Auspicious dates for renovation in 2013

Here is the list of auspicious dates for renovation in year 2013, 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.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in 2013

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 2013 (year of Snake), 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.

Good luck in getting your right life partner.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Auspicious dates for moving to new house/office in 2013

Here is the list of auspicious dates for moving to new house/office in year 2013, 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.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I decided not to upgrade to Windows 8 at this moment

Microsoft has just launched Windows 8 operating system recently, and is now given an offer for existing Windows users to upgrade to Windows 8 Professional at the price of US$39.99 (download from Internet) or US$69.99 (purchase the DVD media). This offer period is until end of January 2013.

My Dell Studio XPS computer with Dell SX2210T multi-touch LCD monitor is running on Windows 7 Home Premium.

I have just gone to this website of Microsoft to download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant tool to check if it's worth for my computer to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro by accceting this US$33.99 offer.

On that website, just click on the "Download Pro for $39.99 ERP" button to download the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant for free. Don't worry, there will be a few steps to go through before you actually need to pay the money and get the Windows 8 Pro. You can just run the assessment with the tool first without need to pay anything.

The assessment result for my PC seems to be quite discouraging.

I am informed that:
  • There will be no DVD player software in Windows 8 Pro. You will need to either install a 3rd party DVD player application or to buy Windows Media Center at a separate price.
  • Sidebar gadgets are not supported in Windows 8. This seems to be a bad news for who produced nice gadgets such as All CPU Meter, Network Meter, Drives Meter, GPU Meter, etc.
  • Windows Media Center that is included in Windows 7 Home Premium and above, need to be purchased separately for Windows 8 at US$9.99. I heard that Microsoft is offering this for free download to Windows 8 Pro now until end of January 2013.
  • My Dell SX2210T multi-touch LCD monitor seems not fully supported by Windows 8
  • There are quite some applications unable to run in Windows 8, including any component of Microsoft Office 2003 or earlier (including MS Project 2003, MS Visio 2003, etc.), Oracle VM Virtualbox, etc.
As such, I don't feel having the desire to upgrade to Windows 8 now.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PTARAS and FAVCO: the 2 well-performing counters in construction support industry

In my current stock investment portfolio, there are 2 well-performing counters in construction support industry, both having forward PE ratio below 5. Despite the recent KLSE market slowdown, I still hold on to them and will consider to contrarily increase my position should their price drop following the market sentiment.

Both of them have healthy order book, consistent earning growth, and their business are very unlikely to be affected by the outcome of the upcoming general election of Malaysia.

The main business of Pintaras Jaya (PTARAS, 9598) is piling & foundation systems, civil engineering and superstructure building. In 1999, it acquired Prima Packaging which manufactures metal pails & cans as container for paint, chemical, lacquer, motor oil, ink, food, etc.

One of the attractive points of PTARAS is it managed to obtain high profit margin from its business.

PTARAS is cash rich with zero debt, and they have engaged with 3 fund managers to invest a large portion of their cash reserved into the share market. The 3 fund managers are: Kumpulan Sentiasa Cemerlang, Singular Asset Management, and Pheim Asset Management. This should be a better option than keeping the cash in bank and earning the low interest rate, as long term return of well-managed stocks is expected to be better than bank interest. However, certain people might not like this, as its investment gain/lost will fluctuate its earning figure in financial reports.

PTARAS is trading around its NTA of RM3.14 now. It has declared a final dividend of 12.5 sen single tier in respect to its last financial year, which will gone ex on 27 December 2012 and payable on 15 January 2013.

Favelle Favco (FAVCO, 7229) was an Australian company, bought over by Muhibbah Engineering (MUHIBBAH, 5703) in 1995 and becomes a subsidiary of the later since then.

FAVCO's business involve in the designing, manufacturing, supplying, servicing, trading and renting of tower cranes, offshore cranes, crawler cranes, wharf cranes and marine winches.

FAVCO has manufacturing facilities in Malaysia, Denmark, USA and Australia. They have own marketing arms in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, UK, UAE, etc. as well as a strong dealer network around the world. In fact, 90% of the world's 13 tallest buildings had used Favco's tower cranes during their construction.

As at 21 November 2012, FAVCO's outstanding order book stood at RM746.1 million, of which majority is from the oil and gas cranes for the offshore oil and gas exploration and production activities. Remaining are from the shipyard, construction and wind turbine industry. This will keep them busy for the whole year of 2013.

FAVCO's D/E ratio has been declining from year to year. The D/E for FY2011 is at healthy level of 22%, and it is in a cash surplus position. Its net profit margin has been kept on improving over the past few years from 4.17% in FY2007 to 9.87% in FY2011.

It seems that the stock price of FAVCO has been laggard behind its strong fundamental and business performance, probably caused by its parent MUHIBBAH which has some issue in its Asia Petroleum Hub (APH) project. Anyhow, the problem with MUHIBBAH should not affect the fundamental and business of FAVCO at the time being.

MUHIBBAH has just sold a crane fabrication yard in Australia to FAVCO recently, which I see is positive to FAVCO future financial.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for sharing of point of view only. It is not an advice or recommendation to buy or sell any of the mentioned stock counters. You should do your own homework before trading in Bursa Malaysia.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Check and monitor Celcom Mobile Internet data plan usage

Celcom Mobile Internet data plan is currently packaged as follow:

  • mLite (300MB/month)
  • mBasic (1GB/month)
  • mAdvance (3GB/month)
  • mPro (5GB/month)
If you exceed your monthly quota usage of your plan, Celcom will probably throttle your mobile Internet to a very low speed, unless you purhcase additional quota with them.

How to check and monitor your daily and monthly mobile broadband usage, so that you can subscribe to the right plan, without need to pay more (for too much unused quota) to Celcom?

If you are using the data plan with Android smartphone, you can install an app called 3G Watchdog in your phone to monitor your Internet data usage on your side. 3G Watchdog even comes with a widget to report your Internet data actual and predicted usage on your phone's screen.

However, what really matters is not the record on your side, but the record with your mobile operator, as that will be used in your billing and also throttling.

One easy way to check your Celcom Broadband usage status is to send an SMS from your smartphone using its data plan to 22188 with content "VOL STATUS".

Another way which will give you more details is to get the infor from Celcom Online Customer Service (OCS) website.

After login to the Celcom OCS website, drop down the "My Account" menu and select "Fair Usage Policy". Then, click the "Check Usage" button.

You can note that in case you need to purchase for additional quota for your Internet data usage, there is a button to do so.

After clicking the "Check Usage" button, you will need to provide a start date and end date for the checking, which I think should be optional but the website makes it mandatory. Why can't the checking be on the latest month if user doesn't select the date range?

Then, you will get your Celcom data plan info for each billing month within your checking date range. Information includes the billing cycle start date and end date (which you should set into your 3G Watchdog setting accordingly), allocated volume for your package, volume used (this is the important data that we are checking on), subscribed speed (the maximum Internet download speed you can get from your package).

If your Internet has been throttled, you will also see the throttling information there. If you purchased additional quota, the purchased volume is also shown there.

Click on the figure in the Volume Used colume, you can check on your daily recorded usage.

Note that Celcom can actually track your usage down into categories such as file sharing, web browsing, email, messaging and misc.

You will notice that the daily volume recorded by Celcom will be slightly different from the daily volume recorded by your 3G Watchdog app. Anyhow, the variance should not be too wide apart.

Monday, November 12, 2012

ICAP AGM over, Tan Teng Boo and ICAP BOD got overwhelming support from shareowners

The 8th AGM of close-end fund Bhd (ICAP, 5108) which lasted from 9am to 3pm (with 2 hours lunch break to allow calculation of votes to Resolutions #3 onwards) on 10 November 2012 was finally concluded, with overwhelming support given to Tan Teng Boo and the current BOD of ICAP. It is still very far away for Laxey Partners to attempt to obtain a seat in the BOD of ICAP.

About 2000 shareowners have attended this AGM, and apparently 99.8% of the attendee headcounts are on Teng Boo's side, while 0.2% in the hall was in favour of Laxey.

Laxey Partners has recommended to use share buyback mechanism to try to minimize the discount gap between the ICAP's share price and its net asset value (NAV), which we still unsure if it is approvable for CEF in Malaysia to do so, and the method is not bulletproof and has no guarantee whether will really work or not, and even if it works, it "will only benefit short-term traders" as said by Teng Boo.

Meanwhile, Teng Boo has revealed an innovative way of introducing a dual-listing global fund with attached warrants to address the discount gap issue. He didn't disclose much as he is still working on it, and said that hopefully it will be materialized in early 2013.

From the percentage of votes casted to the resolutions, it is clear that City of London Investment Management Company Ltd. was not on Laxey's side. I doubt they are on Teng Boo's side too. They possibly did not cast any vote.

Although Teng Boo managed to beautifully win the battle this round, he has to really ensure that his proposed "dual-listing global fund with attached warrants" can get materialized and can really work. If not, that will be a good attack point from Laxey, and Teng Boo might not be getting as much support from ICAP shareowners again if he failed to deliver.

Teng Boo and the new 7-people BOD must work really hard for ICAP to sustain the victory and avoid subsequent attack. This should be good to all the shareowners of ICAP, including Laxey. After all, we believe Laxey is here to gain money from investment, and not to make trouble for no reason.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for sharing of point of view only. It is not an advice or recommendation to buy or sell any of the mentioned stock counters. You should do your own homework before trading in Bursa Malaysia.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The upcoming AGM of ICAP on 10 November 2012 will be crucial for all shareowners

Most of the shareowners of close-end fund Bhd (ICAP, 5108) have been wondering why the AGM of this year comes so late.

It was 2 weeks after the announcement made on 18 October 2012 about its 8th AGM to be held on 10 November 2012, an Addendum to the 8th AGM notice has been dispatched through Bursa Malaysia's Company Announcements webpage, that a shareowner named Ms. Evelyn Ho is nominating 3 persons (including a foreigner who is the CEO of Laxey Partners) to enter the board of directors of ICAP. On the other hand, the present BOD is also nominating 2 more friendly partners to contest for the directors election.

As you might notice, the share price of ICAP has been trading at discount to its NAV since 2008, and the gap has widen to more than 20% from 2011 until today. This is a good investment opportunity for anyone who want to invest in ICAP with discounted price to its NAV. In addition, ICAP fund management has been performing well, with its NAV keeps rising despite the discount in its share price.

Then, we saw a foreign fund City of London Investment Management Company Ltd. emerged as substantial shareholder of ICAP since August 2011 and keeps on accumulating until holding about 7% of ICAP to date. Later, we also saw another foreign fund Laxey Partners Ltd. also emerged as substantial shareholder of ICAP since April 2012 and also keeps on accumulating until holding about 7% of ICAP to date. 

Laxey Partners Ltd. has many track records of accumulating the shares of close-end funds at discount, then getting into the BOD of the fund, replace the chairman/CEO and hostily take over the control of the fund. The sudden nomination of 3 persons apparently from Laxey Partners Ltd. to ICAP's BOD is definitely a threat to the existing BOD, and if the replacement of the directors does happened, it will affect the fund's future direction and hence affect the interest of all ICAP shareowners.

According to its 2012 Annual Report, ICAP has 3000+ shareowners, of which about 65.8% are held by about 2,000 minority holding 100-10,000 shares. CDAM, the fund manager, also holds about 0.5% of the shares.

In its Annual Report, ICAP reiterates that it "exists for one simple reason : to allow long-term shareholders or more aptly called share owners, to benefit from value investing. Investing in your Fund allows the power of compounding to work for you. If we succeed in achieving this, we would have also shown that serious long-term investing in Bursa Securities can offer superior returns." This is inline with its IPO Prospectus stating the investment strategy to be "intelligently eclectic".

If the existing shareowners want to maintain ICAP's investment philosophy and agree that the fund has been well managed and the present BOD has been taking care of the interest of all shareowners, they should show support to the existing BOD during the coming AGM.

Anyway, let's see what Laxey Partners going to propose, and what the existing BOD and the fund manager is working on to enhance the value to the shareowners. If City of London is on their own, we might see a triangular war, else, we'll see a cut-and-thrust war. The party who can convince the minority shareowners with 65.8% holding will be the winner, but the minority shareowners must be present to the AGM or appoint proxy the exercise their rights.

That's why, the upcoming AGM of ICAP is very crucial to the fate of ICAP.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for sharing of point of view only. It is not an advice or recommendation to buy or sell any of the mentioned stock counters. You should do your own homework before trading in Bursa Malaysia.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Edge Financial Daily app for smartphones and tablets

Digital format of The Edge Financial Daily business paper has been made available to smart mobile devices including iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android smartphones and Android tablets for quite some times.

It is delivered with the free The Edge Financial Daily app available in Google Play Store and iTune AppStore. Currently, the digital format of the paper can be downloaded for free too.

However, this app doesn't bring good and convenient user experience to its readers yet, and still need quite a lot of improvement.
  • The app is running on Adobe AIR, which requires user to install Adobe AIR app before able to run The Edge Financial Daily app. Adobe AIR consumes about 9 MB of storage space of your smartphone/tablet.
  • Before we are able to read the paper, we need to download it from the Internet. The file size is around 30 MB per paper, taking some times to download, and consuming quite a lot of precious storage space of your smartphone/tablet too. Worse still if you are not connecting to the Internet via WiFi or HSDPA and need to download with slow speed, it really tests your patient.
  • Probably because it is an Adobe AIR app instead of native app, its navigation respond is sluggish, page loading and rendering is slow too.
  • The navigation buttons don't respond well. Sometimes need to tap a few times before it start working.
  • It does not support multi-touch gesture. To zoom the text, you need to double tap the screen instead of pinching.
  • I don't find any feature to jump to a particular page. Everytime you open the paper, you need to start reading from its cover page.
  • Deleting the downloaded papers (especially to save valuable storage space) is a pain. There is no multi-select deletion. You need to delete the files one by one, and each deletion takes a few steps to complete.
It is very nice to be able to read the digital format of The Edge Financial Daily anytime, anywhere with our smart mobile devices. With this digital format delivered through the Internet, we no longer need to look for the paper in newspaper stand, or need to wait for the paper boy to deliver at our doorstep. Being paperless, it is environmental friendly too.

However, it would be better if the app can be redeveloped as native app instead of using Adobe AIR, optimize on the download time and file size, and improve on user interface and experience.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MFM Custom POI 20121023 for Garmin released - including AES cameras alert

Contributors in MalFreeMaps (MFM) forum have just released MFM-CPOI 20121023 (WAV format only) Point-Of-Interest (POI) files for Garmin GPS navigators.

These custom POI will enable your Garmin GPS to alert you on the following points when you approaching them:

  • MFM-Accident Area v2.6
  • MFM-AES Cameras v2.1
  • MFM-AES Mobile Camera v1.8
  • MFM-AES Traffic Light v2.0
  • MFM-Checkpoints v3.0
  • MFM-Expressway R&R Stop areas v5.0
  • MFM-Latar_Toll v1.0
  • MFM-Ngvstations
  • MFM-Night Market POIs v2.22
  • MFM-NKVE_Cameras v1.0
  • MFM-Pasar Tani v2.3
  • MFM-Power Grids v2.0
  • MFM-Railway Crossing V2.5
  • MFM-Redlight Cameras v1.9
  • MFM-Road Junctions
  • MFM-School Zone v2.0
  • MFM-SGRC_B_W_091206
  • MFM-SGRC_S_W_091206
  • MFM-Sharp Bend v3.6
  • MFM-Speed Traps & Camera v5.3
  • MFM-State Border V1.0
  • MFM-Toll Plazas v2.1
  • MFM-Tunnel v1.3
  • MFM-Touch n Go Hubs v1.0
You can install the full list, or just some of them, by copying the respective GPI files into the Garmin\POI folder (create one if it doesn't exist) of your Garmin GPS.
This compilation contains POI alert for the Automatic Enforcement System (AES) installed by JPJ recently.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

yEd - freeware for professional diagrams drawing

Talking about professional diagrams drawing, including Organization Chart, Venn Diagram, Flow Chart, Entity-Relationship (ER) diagram, Use Case Diagram, UML Class Diagram, Network Diagram, BPMN Business Process Diagram, Semantic Diagram, Decision Tree, Family Tree, Swimlane Diagram, ... and so on, what would be in your mind?

I am sure you will think of MS Visio, which is now part of MS Office suite. Visio is superb, but it is not free. For the free one, you might think of the open source Dia, now under GNOME project. Dia is good enough for most of the people looking for free MS Visio alternative, only that you need a lot of effort to use Dia to produce nice looking diagrams, and to maintain a relatively large diagram.

I've found yEd, a freeware developed by yWorks of Germany, which enables us to draw and maintain professional diagrams easily, and able to produce nice looking diagrams. One of its selling point is that it has a powerful feature that enables us to automatically rearrange all the elements in the diagram into well organized nice looking position, just with a single click.

The video below is a 90 seconds introduction to yEd.

yEd is running on Java, therefore it is cross-platform, able to run in Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, etc. It can import diagram/data from multiple format, including GraphML, GML, MS Excel spreadsheet, GEDCOM, TGF, XML through XSLT, etc. It can also export to multiple format, including JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PDF, SWF (Flash), SVG, EMF, EPS, HTML imagemap, etc.

Here are some sample diagrams drawn with yEd:


Click here for more information and download of yEd.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The mobile network icons on smartphone and their speed

When your phone is connected to a mobile network, you will see an icon on its title bar (a.k.a. annunciator panel) indicating the type of mobile network it is connected to.

Have you been wondering what type of mobile network does that icon indicate, and what is its maximum upload and download speed? Here is the answer.

Icon             Network              Max Download         Max Upload
-----        ---------------       ----------------      -----------
  G               GPRS (2G)            14.4 kbps                 12 kbps
  E                EDGE (2.5G)        177.6 kbps               40 kbps
 3G              WCDMA / UMTS     384 kbps                 384 kbps
  H               HSDPA (old)        7.6 Mbps                 384 kbps
  H               HSUPA (old)       7.6 Mbps                     2 Mbps
  H               HSDPA              14.4 Mbps                   384 kbps
  H               HSUPA              14.4 Mbps                   5.7 Mbps
4G LTE          4G LTE               300 Mbps                 75 Mbps

Therefore, you will experience a slow network speed when the icon is either G, E or 3G; and you will experience a smooth network speed when the icon is H or 4G.

Note that most of the phones released earlier than 2012 are not supporting 4G Internet connection yet, and most handphone does not support HSUPA. HSUPA is more commonly used for home/office Internet broadband connected with wireless router device.

Both the phone and also the mobile operator's network infrastructure must support the network type in order for such Internet connection to be established for the phone.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What is the meaning of WORK to you?

If somebody asks you the question: "What do you do?", what will be your answer?

WORK can have different meaning to different people. In fact, what "work" means to you is a big part of who you are.

"Work" can be one of, or an intersection of more than one, of the following to you. Check it out!

Work as Job

This means working for the sake of a paycheck, without much personal involvement or satisfaction. Yet, jobs can produce valuable feelings of skill and satisfaction, not to mention sustenance that enables a worker to pursue meaning in other areas of life.

Work as Career

Work as career is motivated by the desire for success, achievement, and status. The careerist’s approach to work is not a passionate attachment to the work itself. Rather, it emphasizes the feedback about the self that comes in response to work. For the careerist, work is a means of creating, defining, expressing, proving, and glorifying the self. Work as career can be an important source of meaning and fulfi llment in life.

Work as Calling

The word “calling” derives from the idea that one is “called upon” to do a certain type of work: either externally, by God or community, or internally, by a natural gift demanding expression. It’s done out of a sense of personal obligation, duty, or destiny.

Work as Fulfillment

Work as fulfillment is best described as a strongly interest-driven (or even passionate) approach to work — but one lacking the overwhelming, allencompassing nature of a "calling". People pursuing work as fulfillment may choose unconventional career paths that favor personal interests over financial reward, recognition, or prestige. Such work can be an important source of meaning in life.

Note: The above is learnt from a book called Business Model You, which is derived from an earlier book called Business Model Generation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Notes on trademark registration in Malaysia

A trademark is an important thing commonly used for branding and identity. It need to be legally registered in order to prohibit infridgement or unauthorized use of it. Although it is normally registered by business organization, individuals (such as freelancers) can also register trademark for their products and/or services.

Here are some guidelines to follow, according to the Trade Marks Act 1976 if Malaysia. By following the guidelines below, it will probably save you time, effort and cost in case you are trying to register your own trademark.

In order to be accepted for registration, a trade mark need to contain or consist of at least one of the following particulars:
  • The name of an individual, company or firm represented in a special or particular manner.
  • The signature of the applicant for registration or of some predecessor in his business.
  • An invented word or words.
  • A word having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods or services not being, according to its ordinary meaning, a geographical name or surname.
  • A distinctive mark. It must be capable of distinguishing goods or services with which the proprietor of the trade mark is or may be connected in the course of trade from goods or services.
A trade mark is prohibited:
  • If the use of which is likely to deceive or cause confusionto the public or would be contrary to law.
  • If it contains or comprises any scandalous or offensive matter or would otherwise not be entitled to protection by any court of law.
  • If it contains a matter which in the opinion of the Registrar is or might be prejudicial to the interest or security of the nation.
  • If it is identical with or so nearly resembles a mark which is well known in Malaysia for the same goods or services of another proprietor.
  • If it is well known and registered in Malaysia for goods or services not the same as to those in respect of which registration is applied for: Provided that the use of the mark in relation to those goods or services would indicate a connection between those goods or services and the proprietor of the well known mark, and the interests of the proprietor of the well known mark are likely to be damaged by such use.
  • If it contains or consists of a geographical indication with respect to goods not originating in the territory indicated, if use of the indication in the mark for such goods in Malaysia is of such a nature as to mislead the public as to the true place of origin of the goods.
  • If it is a mark for wines which contains or consists of a geographical indication identifying wines, or is a mark for spirits which contains or consists of a geographical indication identifying spirits, not originating in the place indicated by the geographical indication in question.

90 precious experiences that entrepreneur Jason Goldberg learnt from founding 4 tech companies

Jason Goldberg, the founder and CEO of, has shared a list of 90 things he has learnt from founding 4 tech companies, which is a revision and extension from the 57 things he learnt from founding 3 tech companies that he shared 2 years ago.

If you are running a start-up or working as employee in a start-up, this long list of sharing will probably be inspiring to you.

Click here to read about the 90 things that Jason has learnt from founding 4 tech companies.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fixed Windows 7 Stop: 0x0000007B blue screen error during boot time

I have a HP Probook laptop running on Windows 7 Pro, which recently accepted an automated update to its BIOS.

After the BIOS update successfully, and system rebooted, I got a disaster! Now Windows will not reboot into login screen, it will reboot again halfway during the booting process, giving me 2 options: to enter recovery mode, or to boot normally.

I entered into the recovery mode, tried using Startup Repair, the problem was not fixed. Went into the same screen again, tried System Restore to previous checkpoint, still unable to fix.

Tried running Windows Memory Diagnostic, the RAM is fine. Tried entering Command Prompt and check the disk, fixed the MBR, all not working.

Then, I booted with the "Disable automatic restart on system failure" option, I found this Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) showing the infamous Stop: 0x0000007B error.

Here are other methods I tried to fix the problem, but all not working:
  • Download the latest BIOS from HP website, make the bootable USB drive and reflash the laptop BIOS with the USB drive
  • Download the previous BIOS from HP website, make the bootable USB drive and reflash the laptop BIOS with the USB drive
  • Boot with "Enable low resolution video (640x480)"
  • Boot with "Last Known Good Configuration (advanced)"
  • Boot with "Disable Driver Signature Enforcement"
  • Go into the BIOS, set the SATA mode from AHCI to IDE
  • Go into the BIOS, set back the SATA mode from IDE to AHCI
I was about to give up, boot using System Rescue CD, mounted the Windows 7 partition using ntfs-3g command copied my files in the /mnt/Windows directory to another PC using the SFTP method.

Then, I downloaded the ISO file of Windows 7 SP1 from this website, burn it into DVD, and boot the laptop with it.

Last try, run the Startup Repair from the Windows 7 SP1 installation DVD, reboot the laptop with its harddisk. It booted up using a longer time than normal, and Whoala! I got the login screen. Logged into the Windows, everything is still there, try rebooting it, and the Stop: 0x0000007B error has gone.

So, I finally managed to fixed this problem by running Startup Repair from the Windows 7 SP1 installation DVD, instead of the Startup Repair from the installed Windows 7 system in the harddisk.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fixed Android phone unable to send out SMS problem after updated to ICS

About 2 months ago when I just updated my HTC Incredible S to Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich, ICS), I noticed an SMS sending out problem as described below:

When a new SMS arrived to the phone and shown as pop-up message, I replied the SMS immediately. That replying SMS will not be sent and stuck at the sending out state. The SMS will eventually be sent out after the phone is rebooted.

This problem is not observed when the SMS is not directly sent from the pop-up box. Meaning, if the SMS is sent from within the SMS app, this problem will not occur.

I managed to find a workaround to fix this problem, and after observing for about 1 month now, I never encounter the same problem again after applying this fix.

If you are also having the same problem in sending out SMS reply, probably can try this fix.

Go to Settings > Call > Phone settings and disable "Home dialing". Restart the phone.

I think this problem is related to a bug in the Home dialing function in Android ICS, and disabling it is the workaround.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Business Model Generation - A handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers

  • Are you an entrepreneurial spirit?
  • Are you constantly thinking about how to create value and build new businesses, or how to improve or transform your organization?
  • Are you trying to find innovative ways of doing business to replace old, outdated ones?

If you've answered "yes" to any of the above, I would like to recommend you the Business Model Generation book the you could learn about the 9 building blocks of the Business Model Canvas, 5 patterns of business model, etc.

Below is a short video explaining the famous Business Model Canvas:

If you like the idea, you can download a 72 pages preview of the book here.

Visit the Business Model Generation website to find out more.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Garmin portable friction mount to hold GPS navigator on top of car dashboard

If you have a Garmin GPS navigator, you are most likely mount it with its suction cup onto your car windscreen in order to use it.

The suction cup rubber tend to age and lost its suction power by time, and can cause your GPS navigator to fall off from windscreen while you are driving. 2 years ago, I've posted a solution to prolong the time of possible fall off by reactivate the suction cup power with hot water. Another common method is to make the suction cup wet by putting some water (or saliva!?) onto its base before putting it onto the windscreen.

Now, I found an alternative solution, which is to use Garmin portable friction mount to place the GPS navigator on top of the car dashboard.

This friction mount holds the Garmin GPS on top of the dashboard with strong grip and unlikely to be affected even when sharp cornering or emergency breaking. It has a sticky pliable base which can bend according to the dashboard shape.

After using, you can easily take it off from your dashboard. Although there is sticky material at its bottom, it won't leave any residue on the dashboard.

It's holding arm is foldable to adjust the position of the GPS when use. You can totally fold it down when not in use.
I bought it online at the cost of RM88 including shipping.

Friday, September 7, 2012

PIKOM Digital Lifestyle Expo 2012 & World Cyber Games (WCG) 2012

I have just gone to the PIKOM Digital Lifestyle Expo 2012 & World Cyber Games (WCG) 2012 held in KL Convention Centre today.

This event is still on until Sunday, as below:

Date: 7-9 September 2012
Time: 11:00am - 9:00pm
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

The main event is WCG Asian Championship 2012 held in Hall 1, where you can see gamers competing for:

  • FIFA 12
  • Counter-strike
  • Counter-strike Global Offensive
  • World of Tanks
  • StarCraft 2
  • DOTA 2
  • Tekken 6

Samsung is also showcasing their big LCD TV and Android products there.

At the end of Hall 2, there is another attraction of fashion show by Cyber International Lifestyle Trade Fair (CILTF). However, you have to catch the right timing, as the models are only doing catwalking for a short while only.

I am forced to go to the other side (Hall 3 and Hall 4) to exit. The other side is very quiet with little crowd. MAMPU is showcasing some e-Government thingy, and you will most likely see their staff relaxing, chit-chatting or playing games instead of entertaining you. Then you will pass through some telco booths and bank booths where a lot of salesperson will come to you, before being able to exit the hall.

In fact, I find the Volkswagen DAS Auto Show 2012 next door (in Hall 5) more attractive, with the launching of brand new Volkswagen Beetle in different colours.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

RON 97 petrol in Malaysia made historical high price @ RM3.00/litre

The RON 97 petrol price has silently risen to a historical high of RM3.00 per litre since Thursday 6 September 2012, a whopping 30 sen increase from its previous price of RM2.70.

In July, it was reported that the price of RON 97 was slashed by 20 sen from RM2.80 to RM2.60 per litre.

Then, the price silently increased by 10 sen in August to RM2.70 per litre without announcement.

Now, it increased again to historical high, without announcement too!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

CIMB Bank will discontinue their Western Union money transfer service

I am quite surprised to know that CIMB Bank will discontinue their Western Union money transfer service effective 29 August 2012.

Western Union is the most convenient and cost effective way for Malaysian to receive cash from Google Adsense.

We will need to look for other Western Union agents to receive payment from Google Adsense now.


FBI seized, and for hosting pirated Android apps

The US government has shutdown 3 Android apps marketplace websites namely, and recently.

Those websites are known to host and distribute popular Android apps which are selling with a price in the official Google Play Store and/or Amazon Marketplace, etc.

Actually, most Android apps are selling at a low price, even lower than a cup of Starbucks coffee, and we just need to pay for once to download the apps and able to enjoy all future version updates/upgrades. Even when we changed to a new Android phone, the apps we purchased before will be automatically installed into the new phone.

Smartphone users should build the mentallity of paying for the apps that they find useful, which they like to keep in their phone for their use. Most of the time, the cost of the apps is less than 1% of the cost of their smartphone.

FBI seizure of these 3 piracy marketplaces is a meaningful move to somehow educate the users not to avoid paying for non-free apps. If the mobile developers are well rewarded by producing popular apps, that will encourage more and more fantastic apps to be produced.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Malaysia national and state public holidays for year 2013 announced

The 2013 national and state public holidays in Malaysia will be as below.

There are 14 days of national holiday, and 1 of them fall on Sunday and 3 fall on Saturday. Most of the states will have around 3 state holidays in addition to the national holidays.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Interesting Android app to display Chinese family relationship terminology 亲戚关系

The Chinese has a very systematic and complex family relationship (a.k.a. kinship) terminology system which maintains a separate designation for almost every one of ego's kin based on their generation, gender, lineage, relative age, etc.

Do you know the Chinese family designation of each and everyone of your relatives? I've found an interesting Android app by chance, which can help you to quickly find out the correct designation. So, no more embarrassment in calling your relatives correctly when you meet with them next time during family gathering, wedding dinner, Chinese New Year visiting, etc.

The app is called My Relatives (亲戚关系) and you can get it from

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Online registration to autopay monthly TM UniFi Bill with credit card

Good news to all TM UniFi users who wish to pay your monthly UniFi bill automatically with your credit card. I just discovered that you can now register for this autopay service online, don't even need to fill up and submit the paper form anymore.

Step 1: Login myUniFi Online Customer Centre (a.k.a. UniFi Customer Portal) with your myUniFi account.

Step 2: Once login, go to the myProfile tab.

Step 3: Click the Change Payment Method button.

Step 4: Fill in the online form and click the Save Changes button.

You can find a new service ticket is raised in mySupport which is immediately closed. Your payment method in myProfile should be updated as well.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alternatives of US-based GPS satellite navigation

The usage of global satellite navigation system has become more and more important nowadays, from military to civil uses. For example, location based service (LBS) in smartphones has high level of reliance on it.

The current global satellite navigation system used by most of us are depending on the Global Positioning System (GPS) of US NAVSTAR, which has 24 to 32 satellites in operation. The actual number of operating satellites varies from time to time due to maintenance and/or replacement, but the minimum in operation in any time is 24.

GPS has been operational since 1978, and made globally available since 1994.

Due to political, and more importantly, millitary reasons, some other nations have also developed their own global satellite navigation system as alternative to the US NAVSTAR's GPS.

These include the Russian Global'naya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema (Global Navigation Satellite System, GLONASS) which is currently supported in iPhone 4S. GLONASS has been operational since 1995, but fell into disrepair after the collapse of Soviet Unoin, and was later recovered and restored in 2011.

China is developing a regional navigation system called BeiDou (北斗导航系统), which has 12 satellites and will implement for Asia Pacific region by this year (2012). They have plan to further expand it into a global navigation system by 2020, under a project called Compass. By that time, BeiDou system will have 35 satellites in operation.

The European Union also developing their own Galileo positioning system, but seems like they are facing some progress delay due to financial issue.

Indian is also developing the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) with 7 satellites, mainly for their own use.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A family vacation trip to Cherating, Pahang

My family has spent a vacation in Cherating, Pahang recently. It is a nice getaway place at East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia for urban person to take a look at the beauty of nature in the rural part of the country.

We stayed at The Legend Resort, which has an average outlook, but pretty modernly renovated rooms. From the number plate of the cars parked there, it is observed that majority of its guest are from urban area especially Klang Valley.

We booked our room from Internet. We've browsed through the famous hotel reservation websites and group coupon websites, and surprisingly found out that the cheapest rate we could get is actually from the hotel's official website! We stayed at Grand Deluxe Seaview room at the price of RM2xx per night only, and the seaview (photo taken from balcony of the room) is quite nice.

The Legend in Cherating has large swimming pools, as well as long sandy beach. There are many small crabs on the beach...

... and we are warned that there are jelly fishes in the sea. We saw some dead jelly fishes on the shore.

The food in hotel's restaurant is expectingly expensive, and there are many nice and cheap Malay food around, and a Chinese restaurant right at the junction where you turn in from the main road to a small road leading to The Legend Cherating.

In a small village several kilometers at the North of The Legend, there is one Hafiz's Cherating Activities which provides one-stop sight-seeing service around Cherating. To look for En. Hafiz, locate for this signboard in the village.

That night, we've gone for fireflies watching trip and also turtle watching trip.

En. Hafiz is a friendly and nice person who is very knowledgeable about the Cherating River and the Mangrove Forest Researve area along the river. The fireflies are residing in the mangrove forest. Before we got on the boat to watch the fireflies, Hafiz has done a presentation about the information of fireflies, their habitats, life cycle, etc.

Hafiz has learnt a tactic to attract the fireflies to fly near to us by using small torchlights to imitate the fireflies' communication signal. It is really a fantasy experience to have hundreds of fireflies coming to us from the mangrove trees at the river side, and later send them back to the trees. However, use of camera and handphone is forbidden as the light from the device will disturb and cause annoyance to the fireflies, so no photo taken during this amazing trip.

The turtle watching trip was guided by rangers from the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary. The location was at an open beach near Kemaman, some distance away from Cherating village.

When we reached there, a turtle was half-way laying eggs in a hole it digged. It is a green turtle and its egg is about the size of ping pong ball.

That turtle laid 137 eggs that night. It burried the eggs, and the rangers digged them out to bring to the sanctuary for hatching.

The yellow one is actually a ping pong ball brought by the ranger for explanation purpose.

The rangers brought along 3 baskets of 1 day-old baby turtles (about 200 of them) for us to release to the sea.

Off they gone into the sea, remembering this seashore. They will come back years after, when they grown up later, to reproduce and lay eggs at the same beach where they left that night. However, most of the turtles might not be able to survive due to predators and natural challenges in the sea.

We have gone to the Turtle Sanctuary the next day. It is located next to Club Med Cherating. There are 2 adult turtles there, and several small turtles.

The next day, we actually planned to go for snorkelling trip to Snake Island with Hafiz, but we missed the time.

We gone back to Cherating River in Hafiz's day-time mangrove river cruise that evening. It is the same river we watched the fireflies the night before.

During the cruise, we also travelled into a branched small river, where many small animals can be seen.

The crabs in the mangrove forest are very colourful. We saw red and blue crabs there.

During the 2 hours river cruise, beside the crabs, we also encountered with monitor lizards, mud suckers, monkeys, snakes, birds, insects,  etc. It was really a nice experience.

On the way back from Cherating, we've visited Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary near Temerloh, hundred over kilometers away. It is located at the end of a small village, quite some distance away from the main road.

After the retreat, now we are back to urban life. I think we shall revisit Cherating again in the future. It is a wonderful place.

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