Monday, August 31, 2015

Inauspicious dates to avoid for wedding/marriage in 2017

I have posted the list of auspicious dates for wedding/marriage in 2017 a few days ago, and here is the reverse, namely the inauspicious dates to avoid for wedding/marriage in 2017. The list below is produced based on the Chinese almanac Tong Shu. (Click the image to enlarge)

If you are concerned, then you should probably avoid getting married on the listed days above.

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, August 26, 2015

Auspicious dates for wedding / marriage in 2017

Many couples plan for their wedding more than 1 year ahead in order to have sufficient preparation time.

Here is the list of auspicious dates for wedding/marriage in year 2017 (year of Rooster), 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.

The Seven Deadly Social Sins as shared by Mahatma Gandhi

Indian folk hero Mahatma Gandhi wrote about the Seven Deadly Social Sins, also known as the Seven Blunders of the World, or the Seven Dangers to Human Virtue, or the Seven Things that will Destroy Us, in the Young India newspaper in 1925.

The list is as below:

  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce without morality / Business without ethics
  • Science without humanity
  • Worship without sacrifice / Religion without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle
Mahatma Gandhi also gave the same list to his fifth grandson Arun Gandhi, who is now an Indian-American socio-political activist.

It is said that Arun later added the eighth into the list, which is:
  • Rights without responsibilities
Dr. Stephen R. Covey (author of the famous book The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People) has, in his another book titled Principle Centered Leadership, allocated a chapter to explain about Gandhi's list of seven deadly social sins.

According to Dr. Stephen Covey...

Wealth without work refers to the practice of getting something for nothing - manipulating markets and assets so you don't have to work or produce added value, just manipulate people and things. These include professions built around making wealth without working, making much money without paying taxes, benefiting from free government programs without carrying a fair share of the financial burdens, and enjoying all the perks of citizenship of country and membership of corporation without assuming any of the risk or responsibility.

Pleasure without conscience is a mind-set of immature, greedy, selfish, and sensuous. It is our challenge to learn to give and take, to live selflessly, to be sensitive, and to be considerate. Otherwise there is no sense of social responsibility or accountability in our pleasurable activities.

Knowledge without character is as dangerous as a little knowledge is, even more dangerous is much knowledge without a strong, principled character.

Commerce without morality - Adam Smith wrote in his book Moral Sentiment that, if we ignore the moral foundation and allow economic systems to operate without moral foundation and without continued education, we will soon create an amoral, if not immoral, society and business.

To Adam Smith, every business transaction is a moral challenge to see that both parties come out fairly. Fairness and benevolence in business are the underpinnings of the free enterprise system called capitalism. Our economic system comes out of a constitutional democracy where minority rights are to be attended to as well. The spirit of the Golden Rule or of win-win is a spirit of morality, of mutual benefit, of fairness for all concerned. Paraphrasing one of the mottos of the Rotary Club, "Is it fair and does it serve the interests of all the stakeholders?" That's just a moral sense of stewardship toward all of the stakeholders.

Science without humanity - if there is very little understanding of the higher human purposes that the technology is striving to serve, we becomes victims of our own technocracy.

Worship without sacrifice - there is no real walking with people or going the second mile or trying to deal with our social problems that may eventually undo our economic system. It takes sacrifice to serve the needs of other people - the sacrifice of our own pride and prejudice, among other things.

Politics without principle - You see politicians spending millions of dollars to create an image, even though it is superficial, lacking substance, in order to get votes and gain office. And when it works, it leads to a political system operating independently of the natural laws that should govern.

The key to a healthy society is to get the social will, the value system, aligned with correct principles. You then have the compass needle pointing to true north - true north representing the external or the natural law - and the indicator says that is what we are building our value system on : they are aligned.

But if you get a sick social will behind the political will that is independent of principle, you could have a very sick organization or society with distorted values.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How to change the default search engine in Microsoft Edge web browser from Bing to Google or others

Microsoft Edge is the web browser that comes together with MS Windows 10, which is made to replace Internet Explorer.

By default, it will use Bing as its search engine to search for the keywords you typed in its search bar. If you want to change the search engine to Google, Yahoo, Baidu or others, follow the steps below.

First, you need to use Microsoft Edge to visit to the webpage of your preferred search engine, eg.

Then, go to the Settings panel.

Scroll down to Advanced Settings section, and click on the "View advanced settings" button.

Scroll down to "Search the address bar with", and select "".

You should now be able to see "". Select it and click the "Add as default" button.

You can repeat the steps above to add in more search engines to the selection list.

How to mitigate excessive Internet data usage of MS Windows 10

If you have upgraded your Microsoft Windows operating system to the latest Windows 10, and found out that your computer is taking up a lot of your Internet bandwidth and consuming a lot of your data usage, there are 2 settings for you to mitigate this problem.

The first setting is to disable peer-to-peer sharing of Windows Update files and Windows apps that you have downloaded in your computer with other MS Windows 10 computers in the Internet.

Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security.

Then, go to Windows Update and click on "Advanced options".

Inside Advanced Options, click on "Choose how updates are delivered".

In the next screen about Update from more than one place, you can either set the option "when this is turned on, your PC may also send parts of previously downloaded Windows updates and apps to PCs on your local network, or PCs on the Internet, depending on what's selected below.' to OFF, or if you want to share with PCs within your local network but not across the Internet, leave it as ON and select "PCs on my local network".

If you leave the option to be the default "PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet", many computers from the Internet will just swarm in and suck off your Internet bandwidth, causing your computer and your Internet link to become slow, and if your Internet line is on quota usage, this will also consume up your data plan within a short period of time.

To further mitigate the Internet data usage, the second setting is to tell Windows that your Internet connection is metered connection. This will prevent background processes and Windows apps use up your Internet link to sync information and provide real time updates to you.

Go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet.

Then click on "Advanced options" under Wi-Fi screen.

Set the Metered Connection to ON.

If you find this information helpful, do not be hesitated to click on the share buttons below to share it with your friends.

Friday, August 21, 2015

If your Mozilla Firefox web browser can no longer access certain HTTPS websites, try this fix

Mozilla Firefox version 39 onwards will by default block the HTTPS connections to web servers using weak ephemeral Diffie-Hellman (DH) keys.

Bear in mind that by default, Firefox is set to automatically update itself from time to time, so your version will eventually be updated to version 39 and above.
This is a security measure against the Logjam attack. You can click here to read more about this Logjam attack.
If you visit to an affected website using HTTPS connection with Firefox, you will see the following error message:

Affected websites including the webmail of older version of Zimbra Collaboration Suite. Click here for more detail.
You can fix this by installing the Disable DHE 0.1.2 Add-on by Mozilla to Firefox.

To install, go to Menu > Add-ons in Firefox, and search for "Disable DHE". Once you found the add-on, click the Install button to install it.

Restart Firefox and check if this fix works for you.

If your Mozilla Thunderbird email client can no longer get email from mail server, try this fix

One day, I found that there was no new email coming in to my Mozilla Thunderbird email client for quite a long time, but I could still receive new emails from the same server with my smartphone.

I looked into the Error Console of Thunderbird by going to Tools > Error Console (you can also press the hotkeys Ctrl-Shift-J to go to the same place) and found this error message:

A search in the Internet informed that Mozilla Thunderbird version 38.1.0 and above will block the connections to any mail server using weak ephemeral Diffie-Hellman (DH) keys by default, therefore it can no longer retrieve new emails from the affected server.

Bear in mind that by default, Thunderbird is set to automatically update itself from time to time, so your version will eventually be updated to version 38.1.0 and above.

Blocking the weak Diffie-Hellman key exchange is in fact a security measure against Logjam attack against the TLS protocol. You can click here to read more about this Logjam attack.

Affected email servers including older version of Zimbra Collaboration Suite. Click here for more detail.

While waiting for the mail server administrator to fix the problem at the server side, I applied the Disable DHE 0.1.2 Add-on by Mozilla to my Thunderbird, and it can now continue to receive new emails from the server.

To apply this add-on to your Thunderbird email client, click on the link above to go to its download webpage.

Then, click on the "Download Anyway" link and save the file disable_dhe-0.1.2-fx.xpi in your computer.

After that, go to Tools > Add-ons in Thunderbird, pull down the menu button on the left of "search all add-ons" and select "Install Add-on From File..." to install this disable_dhe-0.1.2-fx.xpi into your Thunderbird.

Restart Thunderbird and check if this fix works for you as well.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Auspicious dates for signing contract, register for marriage, etc. in 2016

Here is the list of auspicious dates in year 2016 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.

Auspicious dates for marriage proposal or engagement in 2016

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 2016 (year of Monkey), 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.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Transcend DrivePro 220 (TS16GDP220M) car video recorder

I have been thinking of getting a car video recorder for quite some times, but I just can't convince myself to get a simple camera for a few hundred ringgit just to record down what is in front of my car, until I found this Transcend DrivePro 220 (model no. TS16GDP220M).

I bought it from Rakuten online store at the promotional price of slightly less than RM400, after credit card special day discount, and conversion of some points to additional discount.

It comes with a 16GB microSDHC class 10 MLC memory card that can store up to 120 minutes of Full HD videos.

First of all, being a car video recorder, this Transcend DrivePro 220 has a 3 mega-pixel camera with low-light sensitivity CMOS sensor. The video quality is pretty good in all weather conditions including rainy day. Its night vision is good too.

The recorded video file is in MP4 format. There is option to choose to record in full HD format (1920x1080 30FPS) or HD format (1280x720 30FPS). It will be saved as new file every 3 minutes or longer. When the memory card is full, the oldest file will be replaced in FIFO queue manner. If we want to keep a file and protect it from deletion, it allows up to 15 files to be protected.

It has a 3-axis G-sensor which can detect unusual shaking especially during collision, and will automatically protect the recorded video file from being deleted by recording rotational replacement.

You can also take a snapshot JPG photo by pressing its right most button while it is in recording mode.

The Transcend DrivePro 220 has an internal Li-Po 470mAh battery, which keeps track of its date and time, as well as provide emergency power for emergency recording of up to 30 minutes.

If you enable Parking Mode which will start recording when its sensor detects a movement in front of the camera while it is sleeping, the battery provides the power to run this Parking Mode operation.

What made me finally decided to buy it is its additional functions which make it more than a normal car video recorder:
  • Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) - the DrivePro 220 can analyze the current camera recording and detect the lane line. When you drive at the speed above the preset km/h to start LDWS and your car about to gone off the lane, it will warn you both visually and with a beeping sound. This is useful when you are driving long distance on highway, and you gone off the lane due to sleepy condition.
  • Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS) - the DrivePro 220 can analyse the current camera recording and detect any car in front of you which it found is too near to you. When you drive at the speed above the preset km/h to start FCWS, and it detects a car in front of you which is too near, it will warn you both visually and with a beeping sound different from the one of LDWS. However, I found that it is not so accurate in estimating the distance, sometimes the car in front is quite far away, but it will still warn out.
  • Speed Limit Alert - the DrivePro 220 can detect your moving speed with its built-in GPS. You can set a speed limit so that it will warn you when you are over speed.
You can set to let its 2.4" screen automatically turn off after some times, so that you can concentrate on your driving and not distracted by its screen display. However, when the unit is functioning with screen off, the LDWS, FCWS and Speed Limit Alert will only beep to warn you, but won't show on the screen what's the trigger. You need to manually press the left most button to turn the screen on to see what happen.

The Transcend DrivePro 220 also has built-in WiFi, but not function to connect to the Internet. With WiFi on, it forms an AP with internal network for smartphone to connect to it with the Transcend DrivePro app to access to its videos, and also gain remote control to change its settings.

You can view the video below to have better understanding of what the Transcend DrivePro 220 can do.

Click here to read about the comparison among Transcend DrivePro 100, 200 and 220.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Malaysia year 2016 national and state public holidays announced

The official 2016 national and state public holidays in Malaysia has been announced by Cabinet, Constitution and Inter-Government Relation Division (BKPP), Prime Minister Department.

There are 14 days of national holiday, and 3 of them fall on Sunday and another 3 fall on Saturday. Most of the states will have around 4 state holidays in addition to the national holidays.

Chinese New Year falls on Monday and Tuesday (8th and 9th February 2016). Hari Raya Puasa falls on Wednesday and Thursday (6th and 7th July 2016). Deepavali falls on Saturday (29 October 2016).
Click here to download the table of Malaysia year 2016 gazetted national and state public holidays.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Solid state drive (SSD) will soon phase out the traditional hard disk drive (HDD)

Flash memory devices that store computer data using NAND memory chips is gradually dominating the data storage medium.

We have just seen how soon the USB thumb drives replaced the optical discs (CDR, DVDR, Blueray, ...) to become the major removable storage medium nowadays. I believe we will soon see the SSD phasing out the traditional HDD to become the major internal storage medium.

In fact, flash memory is already the data storage medium in mobile devices and slim ultrabook computers nowadays.

Traditional HDD stores data in spinning magnetic discs, and the data read/write is performed with a movable r/w head. Since there are moving parts, there will be wear and tear during operations, which limit down its lifespan. Also, it is fragile to drop or even large physical movement during operations, eg. if you shake your laptop with your hands while its HDD is busy operating, you'll probably cause  damage to the HDD, such as introducing some bad sectors.

The traditional HDD also access data much slower than SSD, which is its main disadvantage against SSD. However, HDD is cheaper to produce, and therefore carries a much cheaper price than SSD, and made available at generally higher storage capacity too.

So, the 2 main reasons why SSD hasn't replaced the HDD yet as of today, are:

  • Price
  • Available storage capacity
New NAND memory technology that evolves in 2014 will change the game plan. Now, manufacturers including Samsung, Toshiba, Intel, etc. have already come out with multi-layer 3D NAND memory chips, which stakes the flash memory cells vertically in 32 layers or even 48 layers, to achieve a 256 gigabits multilevel cell (MLC) and 384 gigabits triple-level cell (TLC) die that fit within a standard package.

It is said that this approach can greatly reduce the manufacturing cost, at the same time can make available higher storage capacity to SSD. With reduced price and comparable storage capacity with HDD, there is no more resistant for SSD to replace HDD as the major computer storage medium.

Advantages of SSD over HDD including:
  • Can package in smaller size
  • Less electricity consumption
  • Less heat produced during operation
  • High grade NAND can have a warranty period of 10 years, much longer than HDD
  • Much faster data access speed
  • More robust to drop or movement during operation

The diagram below is a Samsung 850 EVO SSD using the 3D V-NAND technology. You will soon find it inside the next generation of Apple MacBooks within the next couple of months.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What should you do to save your life when your building is on fire?

Have you ever think of this question and get prepared when your building is on fire?

I have recently read some notes written by professional firemen in Facebook, and summarize here according to my understanding.

Here we go...

If you are in the same room with the fire, and the fire just started and still controllable, try to extinguish it. If the fire has been burning for more than 5 seconds and the flame is spreading fast, leave the room and evacuate immediately.

If the fire is outside your room (which you probably have no idea where is its exact location), get close to the door, and use your hand to touch the upper part of the door. If you feel the door is hot, it is safer to stay in your room than going out, because there is high temperature outside, and probably accompanied by smokes and poisonous fumes.

The reason to touch the upper part of the door and not the middle or lower part of it, is because the smokes, fumes and heat travel upwards. They might be right behind the door, but you still can't feel it at lower level yet.

However, if the door has little resistant to heat or fire (such as plastic door, glass door, etc.), it might be unsafe to stay in the room. In that case, you should crawl out and move to a safer room (eg. room with wooden door, or better still, fire escape staircase).

If you were to stay in the room, open the window to have fresh air to breath, get as far away from the door as possible, and ask for help from the window, as well as using your handphone.

Do not jump out of the window unless you are staying at ground floor or first floor, because you probably can't save your life by jumping out either.

If you don't feel the heat at the back of the door yet (which means the fire and/or fume has not reach outside the door), or your room is unsafe to stay (door has little resistant to heat or fire), and you decided to evacuate, remember, always go DOWN the building. Do not go up.

This is because the smokes and heat are travelling upwards at the speed of about 3-5 meters per second. They are travelling faster than you, and you probably will get yourself roasted or suffocated if you move up.

You can do a little experiment: light up a candle and put your hand at different positions: on top of the fire, beside the fire, and under the fire. Now you should be able to reason why you should always go down and never go up the building during a fire.

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