Sunday, April 29, 2012

Solution for AMD Catalyst Control Center unable to start problem after driver upgrade

Are you facing problem loading or starting the Catalyst Control Center (CCC) for your AMD Radeon graphics display card after you upgraded its driver to the latest version?

This is very likely to be caused by .NET Global Assembly Cache (GAC) in your Windows system preventing some of the DLL files in your new version of AMD Catalyst Software Suite from overiding the existing, older version of them in the system. As a result, the newer version of CCC is unable to work with the older version of the DLL files and simply won't start.

To fix this problem, you need to delete all the ATI's assemblies from the GAC before you install the new AMD Graphics Drivers and Software.

In order to delete assemblies from the GAC, you need Administrator's right as well as to turn off the Windows User Account Control (UAC).

Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Change User Account Control settings and pull down the setting to the lowest level.

You will need to restart your Windows in order to complete this task.

After system restart, use your Windows Explorer to go to \Windows\assembly folder and delete (uninstall) all the assemblies with this Public Key Token "90ba9c70f846762e". You can click on the Public Key Token tab to do a sorting, locate for the assemblies to delete, highlight them with your mouse, and push the Delete button on your keyboard.

When you are done, you may set back your Windows UAC to its original level, usually the 2nd bar. You will need another round of system restart to change the UAC setting again.

Now, install the new AMD Catalyst Software Suite and the optional AMD Catalyst Application Profiles, Hydravision Package and AMD Media Codec Package.

You should be able to launch CCC now!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Know your rights: Malaysia Employment Act 1955

Whether you are employer or employee in Malaysia, the Employment Act 1955 is a very important act related to your employment.

Below is a summary of some of the important points in that act:

  • The Malaysia Employment Act 1995 is applied to Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan only. For Sabah and Sarawak, they are governed by their respective Labour Ordinance.
  • Either party to a contract of service may at any time give a termination notice in writing, and the notice period shall not less than:
    • 4 weeks for employment less than 2 years
    • 6 weeks for employment between 2 to 5 years
    • 8 weeks for employment more than 5 year
  • The notice period above is minimum requirement, which can be longer in the actual employment contract, and is important for short notice compensation serving, especially when Voluntary Separation, Retrenchment, Early Termination, etc. occur.
  • Termination without notice nor compensation can happen in the event of any wilful breach by the other party of the employment contract.
  • Employer may dismiss, downgrade or suspend up to 2 weeks after due inquiry to the employee, on the grounds of misconduct or inconsistent in fulfilment of service.
  • Employee may terminate without notice when threaten by danger, voilence or disease.
  • Contract is deemed broken by employer if he fails to pay wages not later than the 7th day after the wage period.
  • Contract is deemed broken by employee if he has been continuously absent from work for more than 2 consecutive working days without prior leave from his employer, unless he has a reasonable excuse for such absence and has informed or attempted to inform his employer of such excuse prior to or at the earliest opportunity during such absence.
  • Wages is not payable during the period when employee is imprisoned or attending to a court otherwise than as a witness on his employer's behalf.
  • No deduction of wages can be made by employer other than:
    • Deductions to the extent of any overpayment of wages made within 3 months of the mistake.
    • Deductions for the indemnity due to the employer by the employee.
    • Deductions for the recovery of advances of wages.
    • Deductions authorized by written law, such as EPF, SOCSO, PCB, etc.
    • Deductions upon employee's written request, in respect of the payments to a registered trade union or co-operative thrift and loan society of any sum of money due to the trade union or society by the employee on account of entrance fees, subscriptions, instalments and interest on loans, or other dues.
    • Deductions upon employee's written request, in respect of payments for any ESOS shares.
    • Deductions upon employee's written request, in respect of payments to a third party on behalf of the employee.
    • Deductions upon employee's written request, in respect of payments for the purchase by the employee of any goods of the employer's business offered for sale by the employer.
    • Deductions in respect of the rental for accommodation and the cost of services, food and meals provided by the employer to the employee 'at the employee's request or under the terms of the employee's contract of service.
  • The total deduction shall not exceed 50% of the employee's monthly wages, unless for:
    • Indemnity payable by an employer to an employee
    • Final payment of the wages of an employee for any amount due to the employer and remaining unpaid by the employee on the termination of the employee's contract of service
    • Repayment of a housing loan (where an additional limit of 25% applied)
  • All wages must be paid in legal tender or direct into bank account.
  • Employer shall not require any female employee to work in any industrial or agricultural undertaking between 10pm and 5am nor commence work for the day without having had a period of 11 consecutive hours free from such work.
  • No female employee shall be employed in any underground working.
  • Every female employee shall be entitled to maternity leave for a period of not less than 60 consecutive days in respect of each confinement.
  • Maternity leave shall not commence earlier than a period of 30 days immediately preceding the confinement of a female employee or later than the day immediately following her confinement.
  • A female employee shall be entitled to receive maternity allowance if she:
    • Has been employed more than 4 months before confinement.
    • Is employed more than 90 days during the 9 months immediately before her confinement.
  • If a female employee dies from any cause during the maternity leave period, her maternity allowance shall be paid to her nominee.
  • The employer cannot terminate a female employee who remains absent from her work after the expiration of the maternity leave as a result of illness related to pregnancy or confinement and certified by a registered medical practitioner, until her absence exceeds a period of 90 days after the maternity leave.
  • Every employee shall be allowed in each week a rest day of 1 whole day.
  • Employee who required to work during his rest day should be double paid.
  • An employee shall not be required under his contract of service to work:
    • more than 5 consecutive hours without a period of leisure of not less than 30 minutes
    • more than 8 hours in one day
    • in excess of a spread over period of 10 hours in one day
    • more than 48 hours in one week
  • For any overtime work carried out in excess of the normal hours of work, the employee shall be paid at a rate not less than 1.5 times his hourly rate of pay.
  • Every employee shall be entitled to a paid holiday at his ordinary rate of pay on 10 gazetted public holidays in any one calendar year, including:
    • the National Day
    • the Birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
    • the Birthday of the Ruler or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri
    • the Workers' Day
  • Employee who required to work on paid holiday shall be double paid.
  • Employee who required to work overtime on paid holiday shall be triple paid.
  • An employee shall be entitled to paid annual leave of:
    • 8 days for every 12 months of continuous service with the same employer if he has been employed by that employer for a period of less than 2 years
    • 12 days for every 12 months of continuous service with the same employer if he has been employed by that employer for a period of 2 to 5 years
    • 16 days for every 12 months of continuous service with the same employer if he has been employed by that employer for a period of 5 years or more
  • An employee shall, after examination by registered medical practitioner at the expense of the employer, be entitled to paid sick leave:
    • where no hospitalisation is necessary:
      • 14 days in the aggregate in each calendar year if the employee has been employed for less than 2 years
      • 18 days in the aggregate in each calendar year if the employee has been employed between 2 to 5 years
      • 22 days in the aggregate in each calendar year if the employee has been employed for 5 years and above
    • 60 days in the aggregate in each calendar year if hospitalisation is necessary, as may be certified by such registered medical practitioner or medical officer
    • An employee shall also be entitled to paid sick leave after examination by a dental surgeon as defined in the Dental Act 1971
  • An employee who absents himself on sick leave shall be deemed to absent himself from work without permission if he is:
    • not certified by a registered medical practitioner or a medical officer or a dental surgeon
    • certified by such registered medical practitioner or medical officer or dental surgeon but without informing or attempting to inform his employer of such sick leave within 48 hours of the commencement thereof

Click here to read the full Malaysia Employment Act 1955.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Converting PDF back to Word or Excel file for free

I have been using the PDF conversion tools by Nitro PDF to convert PDF files back to Word or Excel format for quite some times. The result of conversion is pretty satisfactory.

They provide free conversion service, whereby we can submit the PDF file to them via their website, and they will email to us the converted Word or Excel file. The major limitations of this free conversion service are: can only submit 1 file at a time, and there is a submitted file size limit of 10MB only.

Anyhow, they also sell the Nitro Pro standalone conversion software that can be installed in your PC and perform local conversion without going through the Internet. Batch conversion is possible with Nitro Pro, and the file size limit is eliminated as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Generating free QR code with custom colour, background, design, etc.

I just discovered this website that enables us to generate QR code with custom colour, background, design, etc. for free.

Here is the QR code of my blog generated by that website. Pretty cool isn't it?

Currently it only support 5 types of QR code generation, which are:
  • Text
  • URL
  • Phone number
  • VCard / meCard contact detail
  • WiFi Access
And supported customization includes:
  • Round the edge of the pixels
  • Change background colour
  • Put an image as background
  • Change foreground colour
  • Change colour of certain pixels
  • Put an image as foreground
  • Paste an image in front of the QR code

This is the website I'm talking about:

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    The legendary Dato John Lim Tow Yong JP (1925-2012)

    Singaporean Dato' John Lim Tow Yong JP (拿督林道荣局绅), born in Suatow (仙都乡), Jinshizhen (金石镇), Chao'An (潮安县), Chaozhou (潮州市), China and actived in South East Asia, has just passed away on 7 April 2012 at the age of 87. That was just a few days right after his biography book, The Legend of Dato' Lim Tow Yong JP -- Founder of Emporium Holdings (英保良二老板林道荣·新马汶百货巨子传奇) been published. His death and his legendary life was widely reported in newspapers in South East Asia.

    Dato' Lim has a brother Lim Tow Seng (林道信) who reached Singapore in 1935 at the age of 15 and  worked as an apprentice in a trading company, 7 days a week, 14 hours a day, with a monthly salary of $4 only. 3 years later, he started up his own provision shop called Lim Seng Huat (S) Limited.

    In 1940, Dato' Lim also reached Singapore, first worked at his uncle's pork shop, later joint his brother's provision shop as a saleman. The business of Lim Seng Huat grew after World War II by importing and distributing made-in-China products. From Singapore, they expanded to Malaysia and Hong Kong. They even became the sole distributor of German MontBlanc pens in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

    In 1961, the Lim brothers founded the Emporium Holdings Group, and 5 years later, they opened the 1st Chinese-managed emporium in Singapore namely Oriental Emporium on 1 December 1966, selling made-in-China products on the same street with British's Robinson that sell high-end Western goods.

    In 1968, they opened another emporium in Singapore, selling local products as well as made-in-China products. They continued to expand, and by 1979, they opened 16 emporiums in Singapore. In 28 March 1980, they opened another 8 emporiums and 2 restaurants in the same day.

    At the same time, they opened 22 emporiums during 1967-1979 in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Melaka, Seremban, Johor Bahru, Kuantan, Kulai, Kluang, etc. In December 1972, they registered Emporium Holdings (M) Bhd in Malaysia. Later in November 1973, they also registered Emporium (S) Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. Dato' Lim became the managing director of the Emporium Group.

    Being a visionary boss, Dato' Lim paid attention to his employees' training. He sent his employees to Western countries to study the operations of large departmental stores there. He invited professor from Japan to give lecture to his employees.

    He emphasized on team work and cultivated good inter-relationship among employees. He cared about employees' benefits and engagement of his employees. He brought in advanced management methodology and technology to improve productivity. He improved customer service to engage his customers. He led in the computerization of his operations way back in the 80's. At the same time, he established a mentoring system, breaking down his employees into 5-people groups with a leader, each group in charge of about 400 sqft in the departmental store, and awarded according to their sales contribution.

    While the Emporium Group focused in selling oriental goods, Dato's Lim also established Klasse Departmental Sore to sell Western goods, and joint-venture with Kimisawa Departmental Store to sell Japanese goods.

    In early 1985, at his peak, Dato' Lim made a Guiness World Record of having 113 companies around Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Hong Kong.

    However, a recession in Singapore in 1985 also brought him down. In 31 July 1985, 500 employees were retrenched. In 23 October 1985, another 200 employees retrenched.

    The Emporium Group gone into trouble, because they margined too much on bank loan for expansion, and they never close down branches that didn't make money. Besides, high inventory level also caused cashflow problem. Later, they tried to convert some departments into consignment basis, which eventually formed a norm in departmental store operations nowadays.

    In 1987, the Emporium Group in Singapore was taken over by Malaysian tycoon Bill Ch’ng (庄宝), and Dato' Lim resigned from the empire he built.

    Meanwhile, the Emporium Group in Malaysia was applying for public listing in KLSE at the same time, but failed. In November 1987, 31 emporiums was bought over by Natvest Sdn Bhd backed by the Lion Group, and were renamed Parkson.

    In 1988, Dato' Lim was declared a bankrupt by Singapore high court at the age of 63. By that time, Dato' Lim was in Labuan, trying to make a come back with RM100k capital. Since his bankrupcy, Dato' Lim was trapped in Singapore for 2 years, until he met Dato Hapitz who helped him restarted his business as Milimewa in Brunei.

    In 1992, Dato' Lim made a come back by expanding his business to Sabah. In 1999, he was finally discharged from bankruptcy at the age of 75. In 2003, he had 18 departmental stores in Sabah, and in 2004, he sold all of them to The Store and gained a few millions. He became a millionaire again!

    In 2010, Dato' Lim had 8 departmental stores in Brunei. In 2011, he used back the Emporium brand for his departmental stores. He also planned to build a hotel in Labuan.

    On 24 September 1996, while Dato' Lim was still in his bankruptcy, 700 of his ex-employees invited him to a dinner to thank him for fostering them while they were in Emporium Group.

    10 years later on 20 December 2006, Dato' Lim invited back his ex-employees to a dinner, and attended by 1380 people from Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Hong Kong. That night, Dato' Lim spent over 300k to thank back his ex-employees.

    On 30 March 2012, Dato' Lim invited his ex-employees again to his dinner, in conjunction with the launching of his new book. That dinner was attended by over thousand people. However, Dato' Lim didn't make it to the dinner, he was hospitalized, and later passed away in his glory. His funeral was attended by several hundreds of his present and past employees.

    There are 2 things that we all admire Dato' Lim. One is his business skill in building his business empire recorded in Guiness Book of Records, and making him a millionaire once again after bankruptcy. Another is his leadership charisma in having over thousand of engaged employees, who still remember and feel thankful to him regardless he was in failure or success.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Is your wage above, below or on average to the global salary scale?

    International Labour Organization (ILO) has been keeping track and publishing the average wage of workers (not self-employed or people on benefits) in most of the countries in the world for more than a decade.

    Recently, BBC has published a ranking of rough wage figure of 72 countries based on ILO's data of year 2009.

    According to the report, Luxembourg topped the average world wages in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) dollars. The top 20 are:

    1. Luxembourg ($4089)
    2. Norway ($3678)
    3. Austria ($3437)
    4. United States ($3263)
    5. United Kingdom ($3065)
    6. Belgium ($3035)
    7. Sweden ($3023)
    8. Ireland ($2997)
    9. Finland ($2925)
    10. Korea ($2903)
    11. France ($2886)
    12. Canada ($2724)
    13. Germany ($2720)
    14. Singapore ($2616)
    15. Australia ($2610)
    16. Cyprus ($2605)
    17. Japan ($2522)
    18. Italy ($2445)
    19. Iceland ($2431)
    20. Spain ($2352)
    The world average wage is at $1480 and Malaysia ranked 45 in the list with average wage at $961.

    In their website, you can key-in your country and your pre-tax monthly wage in local currency, and they can immediately calculate for you your wage in PPP$, and how many percent it is above or below your country average as well as the world average.

    Why don't you go there and have a try?

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Emergency SOS phone number that all GSM phones can dial: 112

    Nowadays, all mobile phone has a feature enabling you to dial an emergency SOS phone number, even without SIM card in the phone, and even when the phone is locked.

    Once the number is dialled, the mobile phone will try to connect to any available GSM network operator, and use the service to connect you to the local emergency respond center. The call is free of charge.

    Do you know what is that emergency number?

    Yes, it is 112 for all GSM mobile phone and is applicable worldwide. This number will connect you to the respond center of emergency services including police, ambulance, fire & rescue.

    In Malaysia, this 112 emergency number will automatically redirect to the local emergency number 999. If your mobile phone is a local set, you can also dial 999 as the emergency number as well. However, if you are using AP set, 999 might not work, but 112 will still work.

    If you are in Malaysia, remember these 2 numbers for emergency SOS:
    • 112 for all GSM mobile phones
    • 999 for all wired phones

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