Wednesday, February 20, 2013

HTC One (M7) Android smartphone launched

HTC just launched a new Android smartphone in London just now. It will be made available to the market from 15 March 2013 onwards.

This widely anticipated HTC One (a.k.a. M7) features the following:
  • All aluminium body frame, zero gap construction
  • Platform: Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) with HTC Sense 5
  • Size: 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm
  • Weight: 143 gram
  • Display: 4.7 inch, Full HD 1080p (1920x1080), 468 ppi, Super LCD 3
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, quad-core 1.7 GHz
  • RAM: 2GB DDR2
  • Storage: 32/64GB internal
  • NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n, DLNA
  • Infrared remote control to home appliances (TV, DVD player, etc.)
  • micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port with mobile high-definition video link (MHL) for USB or HDMI connection
  • Dual front facing speakers with integrated amplifiers
  • Beats Audio
  • HDR microphone
  • Sense Voice
  • HTC Ultrapixel camera with dedicated HTC ImageChip 2, 2.0 micrometer pixel, F2.0 aperature, 28 mm lens, 1/3' sensor, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Smart Flash
  • Front Camera: 2.1 MP, 880 wide angle lens with HDR capability
  • 1080p Full HD video recording for both front and back cameras
  • HDR Video
  • GPS: Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS, Digital compass
  • Sensors: Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
  • SIM card type: MicroSIM
  • Battery: 2,300 mAh Li-Polymer
  • HTC Zoe, HTC BoomSound, HTC BlinkFeed, HTC Sense TV
It seems that this HTC phone won't support for microSD external storage and LTE network. The battery is also non-removable.

Watch the HTC One commercial below:

Will HTC make a turn back and snatch back its market share lost to Samsung Galaxy series of smartphone with this new Android smartphone? Time will tell...

Monday, February 18, 2013

CNY red packet (ang pow) money in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China

TNS has conducted a study in January 2013, covering 5000 people over the age of 20 in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China, about their Chinese New Year planning and spending to celebrate the festival.

Among the questions asked in the study, there are 2 questions related to red packet (a.k.a. ang pow) money:

  • Average amount of red packet you give out to each individual during Chinese New Year
  • What is the total amount of red packet money you allocate for CNY each year?
And the result for Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China in their respective local currency is as below:

Converted to US dollar, the result for comparison is as below:

It seems that Taiwanese allocates the most red packet amount for each of their family members, while Hong Kong people are pretty generous in red packet given to their relatives, friends, colleagues and employees.

To see the full result of the said TNS study, you need to have Adobe Flash Player installed and:
Note: I faced problem opening the page in Internet Explorer 9, but no problem with Google Chrome,  Firefox and Opera.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

EPF declared 6.15% dividend for 2012

Few hours ago, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF, a.k.a. KWSP) has just declared the dividend rate for financial year 2012 to be 6.15%, which is 0.15% higher than the 6.00% dividend declared for 2012 (last year).

This is the highest dividend rate declared by EPF over the past 10 years.

If you have already registered as an EPF i-Akaun member to access your EPF account detail with their online service, you can login to your online account now and check the actual amount of dividend in RM added to your EPF account by viewing your 2012 online statement.

With this dividend rate, it seems that those who have withdrawn their EPF Account II savings to reduce their housing loan during 2012 might be regreted to do so, as the effective mortgage rate is generally lower than 6.15% in 2012, due to a lower housing loan financing rate along the year (BLR-2.4% = 6.6%-2.4% = 4.2%).

If you have withdrawn your EPF Account I savings for investment in unit trust or fund, your fund manager has outperformed EPF if your 2012 ROI in the fund is greater than 6.15%. Otherwise, you might want to meet up with your unit trust agent or fund manager to find out what's wrong.

In 2012, EPF has put the highest proportion of its investment portfolio into the equities (share) market, forming 38.77% of the portfolio.

The EPF 2012 investment return is reported as below:

Therefore, EPF's return of investment (ROI) for year 2012 is 31,024.94/469,035.43 = 6.6146%. Among them, the EPF's equities ROI for year 2012 is 13,912.54/162,089.56 = 8.5832%. However, in their announcement, EPF says their equities ROI is 10.06% instead.

The KLCI at 30 December 2011 (Friday) closed at 1,530.73 with  volume of 1.329 billion and value traded at 1.528 billion. The KLCI at 31 December 2012 (Monday) closed at 1,688.95 with volume of 0.835 billion and value traded at 1.314 billion.

Therefore, the ROI of KLCI in 2012 is (1,688.95-1,530.73)/1,530.73 = 10.3362%

This means that the ROI of EPF in equities portion is lower than the ROI of KLCI!

Click here to read the official announcement from EPF, and the investment structure of EPF in 2012, etc.

Source of the chart and tables above are from EPF website:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Erroneous device driver update is harmful to your computer

Today, I installed an optional Windows 7 update called "NextWindow - Input - NextWindow Voltron Touch Screen" found in the Windows Update listing. This update is related to my Dell SX2210T touch screen LCD monitor.

After the update, I noticed there was unusual CPU activity causing its temperature shot up to over 70 degree Celcius. All the 4 CPU cores were in high usage.

I checked it up with Task Manager and found out the culprit was a process called TouchScreenTools.exe.

As the CPU usage continuously remained high and the CPU temperature also stayed at high level, I decided to undo this problemistic Windows update.

I opened the Device Manager by right clicking on Computer in the Start Menu and select Properties to bring out the Control Panel, and click on Device Manager in the left menu.

In the Device Manager, I managed to find "NextWindow Voltron Touch Screen" inside Human Interface Devices.

Right click on it and select Properties will bring out its Properties window. There is a "Roll Back Driver" button inside the Driver tab.

After clicking the "Roll Back Driver" button, there is a confirmation window, click "Yes" and restart Windows will roll back the driver to its previously installed version.

After the driver roll back, the CPU is now back to normal, with temperature back to below 50 degree Celcius.

In order to prevent future update of this erroneous driver, I went to Windows Update, right click on "NextWindow - Input - NextWindow Voltron Touch Screen" and hide it out.

If you also have a Dell SX2210T touch screen monitor and see this optional Windows update, remember not to select it. You might also want to hide it out from the Windows update listing.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Moon+ Reader Pro for Android is giving 50% discount

Moon+ Reader is a popular e-book reader app for Android which is feature-rich and supports a lot of e-book format including txt, html, epub, pdf, mobi, umd, fb2, chm, cbr, cbz, rar, zip and OPDS.

Recently, a compliant from a Russian online library LitRes to Google had caused Moon+ Reader (both free and Pro version) being removed from Google Play Store, just because Moon+ Reader supports the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) Catalog format that is also used by certain pirate online libraries.

Anyhow, Moon+ Reader appealed to Google and finally relisted on Google Play Store. To celebrate this recovery to Google Play Store, it is now offering a 50% discount to its Pro version (selling price reduced from US$4.99 to US$2.50) from now onwards until end of February 2013.

I have been using Moon+ Reader free for quite some times. To show my support to them, I have made a purchase to Moon+ Reader Pro at this discounted price.

If you are looking for a good e-book reader for your Android smartphone or tablet, I would recommend you to try out Moon+ Reader free. If you like it, you can purchase the ad-free and feature richer Moon+ Reader Pro before this 50% discount offer expire.

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