Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alternative policies for Singapore

1. Land Transport

1.1. Private Transportation

1.1.1 Road Tax

Current System

Road tax is based the engine capacity of a vehicle. This archaic system is suitable when it was implemented because the cost of a vehicle then is generally in tandem with the engine capacity therefore those who can afford a more expensive vehicle pay more tax. However, this is no longer applicable as the cost of vehicles now are no longer in tandem with the engine capacity.

Big families who buy MPV that generally come with big engine capacity are disadvantaged as compared to those who buy cars with small engine capacity but expensive eg RX8.

Proposed System

Road tax should be based on the value of the vechicle. This can be determined by the open market value (OMV) of the car. LTA has other tax structures that uses the OMV as base, therefore it is not impossible to base road tax on the OMV as well. This system is fairer as those who can afford a more expensive vehicle, regardless of engine capacity, will pay more, just as what the current system was for when it was first implemented.

This system will apply to all vehicles.

1.1.2 COE

Current System

Buyers bid on a fortnightly basis for a COE from a pool of limited numbers as determined by LTA. Successful bidders are those who form the top list and every successful bidders pay the lowest of them all.

This system defeats the purpose of an open bidding because

- it pushes the responsibility of getting the entitlement to the buyers with cost instead of the car dealers themselves even when most COE biddings are decided by the car dealers and buyers simply pay for the advertised total vehicle cost.

- dealers will normally bid the same amount for all their cars.

- highest bidders will definitely get a COE as they will form the top group. This is a loophole because some bidders will not hesitate to bid an unreasonable amount just get a COE and yet need not pay for what they bid for.

Proposed System

COEs to be divided into 4 Category.

Cat A - Private Vehicles
Cat B - Commercial Vehicles
Cat C - Motorcycles
Cat D - Open Category

Cat A, B and C will be based on a first come first served based queue system.

Dealers will submit an application for a COE on behalf of buyers using their NRIC or business registration.

Buyers can only submit one application for each exercise and only through a car dealer.

Unsuccessful bidders will remain in the queue maintained by the dealers unless they opt out or decide to apply through a different dealer.

Any new applications will have to join the existing queue.

Only administrative charges apply for each application.

The number of COE to be allocated to each dealer can be on a percentage basis or on an equal basis.

Eg of Percentage Allocation System

Number of COE available = 100
Applications submitted by dealer A = 30
Applications submitted by dealer B = 40
Applications submitted by dealer C = 50

COE allocated to dealer A = 25
COE allocated to dealer B = 33
COE allocated to dealer C = 42

Eg of Equal Allocation System

Number of COE available = 100
Applications submitted by dealer A = 30
Applications submitted by dealer B = 40
Applications submitted by dealer C = 50

COE allocated to dealer A = 30
COE allocated to dealer B = 35
COE allocated to dealer C = 35

No car dealers will have extra COE for keeps unlike the current system now.

Cat D will retain the bidding structure as of now except that bidders will have to pay for what they bid for. COE obtained through Cat D can be used for vehicles in the other categories.

LTA will decide on what percentage of COE are to be allocated to each category.

1.2 Public Transport System

1.2.1 Buses

Current System

Commuters are currently charge by the distance traveled. Although commuters are now not charged for making multiple transfers, they will generally choose a route that cost them the least. This leave them with not much of a choice unless they are willing to pay more.

This will also result in a certain route or services being used more than others. As a result public bus companies will also need to roll out more services or increase the frequency for certain services will other services suffers.

Proposed System

Commuters should be charged by the shortest possible distance regardless of how far the total distance traveled is.

With GPS and the ezlink system, public bus companies can calculate the shortest possible distance that a bus can travel directly from the starting point to the end point.

The theory behind this is that bus companies should provide direct services for all the commuters and commuters are then fairly charged. Practically, this is of course not possible. Therefore by charging commuters the shortest possible distance, it is a win win situation for both parties

Bus companies will not make a loss due to abuse as no commuters would want to travel more than necessary.

This system will give commuters more option on the service and route to decide on therefore helping to ease popular and overcrowded ones.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Have we progressed?

I was reading Today's Voices column where a someone wrote in about the treatment her father received as a senior worker.

In an instance, it reminded of my late father.

I remembered the time when he was released by his company after he was struck down by a serious illness. He recovered though after that.

Having work for years, staying home is not something he looked forward to even though that was what his children wanted him to.

He pride himself as a independent man, so he worked as a cleaner, one of the few jobs he qualified for in this place where educational level is everything.

He didn't last very long. It was only after his passing that through my mum, we found out that he was made to carry heavy loads which he can't afford anymore considering his age.

That was almost 13 years ago. Nothing has changed in this place where money is everything and we are simply numbers filling up that profit making machine.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nasi Padang River Valley

I seriously do not understand what the hype is all about.

Maybe it used to be nice but from what I had recently, it was far from it.

I went there more than once therefore my comments are not based on a one off.

The cuttlefish and liver tastes only of vinegar.

The beansprouts was super salty.

The sambal goreng was diluted.

The fish asam pedas tastes like curry.

The rest of the dishes was nothing special.

And they charge more than they should, considering how the food tastes.

The only positive points I can think of is that they are consistent, if you like the food.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Back to school

3rd term starting 25th of this month and feeling is neutral. Not that looking forward to it or otherwise. Too much things happened that dampens whatever spirit I have left.

Not sure how many of classmates made it although I know I'll be seeing Vincent.

My request for another module to be added, which is on a Monday, was granted. So it's 1-3-5 now. The more days I'll be coming home late, the better it is. Less contact, less friction. Simple laws of physics.

Hate classes on Friday as that is the day I normally stay back late at work to finish up stuff that I can't during normal days.

Maybe it's telling not to put work to high up on the priority list anymore and instead on things that leads towards real happiness. Work have been that for many years and have seldom failed me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today in history changed the course of the future

Twenty six years ago today was a Sunday. I was 12 years old and it was not long that the family moved in to our new 3 room flat at Jurong East.

I cannot recall what I was doing back then but as a kid who cannot sit still and spent most time outside exploring, I was probably in the longkang (drains) catching fishes or cycling around on my BMX on numerous trails courtesy of an undeveloped area.

I wish I could I remember exactly what I was doing back then around noon because somewhere else, something magical happened - the world said hello to a little beautiful girl named Azrina.

Little did I know then she will have a tremendous effect on my future. She took 23 years later to do that. It was a long wait but it was worth it.

Thank you my dear for coming into my life. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Installing VirtualBox Guest addition on SUSE

When you try to run the installation script, you'll receive this error

"Your system does not seem to be set up to build kernel modules"

What you need to do is to install both GCC and the Kernel Source. You can do that by running YaST and install it using the Software Management.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Installing Microsoft Exchange 2010

First of all, take note of the system requirements.
  • PC―An x64 architecture-based computer with Intel processor that supports Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (Intel EM64T) or AMD processor that supports the AMD64 platform; Intel Itanium family IA64 processors are not supported.
  • Operating system―Microsoft Windows Server 2008 x64 Standard and Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 2 or Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Enterprise Edition.
Basically you need a Windows Server 2008 x64 edition on an x64 Intel or AMD machine. Make sure you have more than 25GB of free hard disk space even if you are installing for trial purposes.
Before you install Exchange 2010, you will need to do the following else you will be wasting a lot of time with Exchange readiness checks.

1. Net.TCP Port Sharing service to Automatic
3. Install IIS 7 and turn on the following
  • .Net Extensibility
  • Basic Authentication
  • Windows Authentication
  • Digest Authentication
  • Dynamic Content Compression
  • IIS Management Console
  • .IIS 6 Metabase Compatibility
  • IIS 6 Management Console
4. Install .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 and turn on WCF Activation, HTTP Activation.
7. Install Active Directory and DNS service

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There's always a first time for everything

I guess the term never say never slapped me like Shiva last Sunday when my clean record is finally broken with Axela finally hurt after close to 5 years. But the big plus side is that, no one was badly injured and for that I was super grateful.

A couple of things to be learnt from this incident.

Firstly, never drive when your mind is occupied or vice versa. For this, I would like to give the finger to Murphy and his law. In the end, what I was thinking about did not get solved either.

Secondly, the first thing to do is to check on the passengers before anything else even though no one was flown around or the sorts. While I was calm, I was still dazed for a moment, going 'Oh crap' from time to time. But I guess that should be quite normal for a first timer.

Thirdly, you just have to accept that sometimes laws can be stupid on the other side. You cannot make a traffic accident report, which is required to process my claim, without the vehicle involved. I was like WTF? I have to drag my car back in the condition it's in just to file a report? It makes no sense. I let the insurance company handle that since the car is already in the workshop.

Lastly, and the most important one actually is that having your other half supporting you makes a whole world of a difference. They need not be there physically. You just need to know they are there for you and I was glad mine was, all the way.

For now I just need to wait for Axela to be cured. Her major parts are not damaged so she'll be alright. And in a few months time, I'll have to source out for other insurance company since my current one will not go easy on me, not with my 30% NCD erased like the sands by the beach by the pounding waves.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rude or anal?

The car park was congested and I stopped to let a car leave a lot. There was already another car waiting for it in front of me. Any decent driver knows that the lot is considered taken and I was no exception.

Since the car needs to reverse for it to take the lot, I do not have to wait for it to park as I can move forward by its side. It was only after I started to move my car that I realised the car beside the car that was leaving was also doing the same. As it was now perpendicular to my car, the only way it can leave was for me to move forward because I cannot reverse with another car already behind me.

However, there was no place for me to wait in front except by the side of the car waiting for the lot and that will make me the biggest jerk as then no car could leave the car park with me blocking the only way out. So I decided to take the 1st lot which will then allow the car beside it to leave and the waiting car can take the that soon to be empty lot instead.

I heard the driver of the waiting car honked his horn at me, probably thinking he's going to lose his lot. Technically yes but there is another lot just beside me so nobody is at a lost, at least that's what I thought.

But when he parked beside me, he gave me that wtf gesture. Kind of pissed, I gave replied with wyp. He said that I was being rude that I did not let him park first. In other words, I stole his lot. I told him I saw two lots, one for each of us so what is the issue now since both of us are parked. He then said never mind and walked away.

Seriously, was I rude or he's just anal?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Paperwork is just as important.

When my fiancée and I were scouting around for a marriage prep course a few months back, we initially planned to go for the one conducted by Suchi Success titled Kasih Sejati since the miss heard it was good.

It took many days after I applied online before someone gave a me call. When they finally do call, I was asked to confirm my registration and make the payment through bank transfer.

I asked to be emailed the details so that I will have proper reference therefore avoiding unnecessary errors. And most importantly, I can't simply trust someone I practically do not know giving me information that I cannot verify.

No emails. We should have called them, I know but we're the customer. They may be popular but that does not mean we are at their mercy. So I said screw them, we'll go with someone else and we did.

A few days after we went for our prep course, they called me to confirm my registration, again. I was like 'what the...'. Still, I was polite and told them that we have already completed the course with someone else.

They called me again this morning to confirm my registration, for the 3rd time! Looks like their management really needs to iron out their issues.

If they call me again, I am going to give a feedback they won't forget.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tick tock... tick tock...

I don't know the man personally but if he did not stand up and condemn the wrongs, then he is just the same. So thank you for your contributions and be on your way. You have been rewarded enough for your work. We cannot be held ransom to gratitude our whole life.

I think the old man knows his number is coming and probably shaking his magic ball furiously for something good. He's also probably upset that the same thing will happen when it's his turn; that despite all the propaganda spewed by the states times, it is still not garnering the kind of response expected.

Face it old man, no one is going to cry for you. My bubbly is still in the fridge, waiting to be popped.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Microsoft Security Essentials

If you are using Windows and looking for a free anti virus solution or even contemplating to download an illegal cracked version, you can stop now. If you already have one installed, replace it especially if it is illegal.

What I like about it from my experience so far

- acceptable use of resource that it will not strangle your machine to a standstill.
- can detect threats that other solutions do not. Probably because Microsoft knows their product better hence able to detect any changes that is detrimental to Windows and avoid it.
- don't seem to break anything, yet. All applications still running as usual.
- support all operating system from XP onwards.
- nice GUI, if that matters to you.
- ease of use. Nothing confusing, from scanning to updates.
- it's totally free as long as your Windows is properly licensed and activated.

So why the hell am I recommending a Windows product if you're wondering?

I may not like Microsoft (for their licensing model) but I have to give credits where it's due. It's good not because it is free. But it's good that it is free.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jetstar take a friend for free sale

Travel in pairs and pay only for one with Jetstar Friend 4 Free flights. Sale is on now until midnight Thursday 6th May 2010 (21:59), unless sold out prior.

1. Click on the link above
2. Look for the destination of your choice.
3. Take note of the qualifying dates
4. Click on 'Singapore'
5. Specify the date(s) you want to fly (must be a qualifying date)
6. Look out for flights marked 'Friend 4 Free'. If you don't see such flights, means seats are sold out.

Prices includes tax.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Siemens A580IP

If you are looking for an IP phone, then look no further. You can't go wrong with the Siemens A580IP

Main features of the A580IP

- dual mode functionality (supports both Internet and fixed-line calls)
- registers up to 6 handsets per base
- can support up to 6 VoIP (SIP) accounts
- can make 3 simultaneous calls (2 VoIP and 1 fixed-line calls)

You can get one for around $100 which is a worthwhile investment. Buy additional handsets if you need to use the phone in more than one room. With one base, you save electricity and a tidier setup. Think of a WiFi access point and you'll get the picture.

With 6 different SIP accounts, you can configure the handsets to receive incoming calls from different SIP accounts or share a SIP account with multiple handsets, and in any combination, depending on how you configure the 'Number Assignment'. If you configure a handset with multiple SIP accounts, then handsets will show which SIP account the incoming call is for. You can also configure it in such a way that a handset will make use of a different SIP account than the one it is assigned to receive an incoming call. Nice features there.

Everything can be done on the web. You need not even touch the handsets, accept to register it to the base and check the IP address assigned to the base. Once registered, configuration through the web interface is very easy and pretty straightforward. It won't take long before you are up and running with just these few steps.

- connect the base to your network
- power up both base and handset(s)
- register the handset(s) to base
- check the IP of the base from the handset
- log in to the base using its IP address to configure

Voice quality is superb, even when using the hands free. And the range is better than I expected. I could still hear clearly, more than 30 meters away from the base, which is more than enough for your home or your small office.

With multiple handsets, you can make handsets to handsets call and cut the need for additional intercom setup.

And does it work with Asterisk? Definitely.

All in all, this is a great product and kudos to Siemens for coming up with the A580IP.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Huawei E1762 on Linux

You'll need two packages and a configuration file

usb-modeswitch version => 1.07
usb-modeswitch-data file dated => 10 Jan 2010
usb_modeswitch.conf => 2010-03-09

Note: The above package links are for Debian based distribution like Ubuntu. If you are using 10.04 Lucid, use the Ubuntu Software Center to install both usb-modeswitch and usb-modeswitch-data.

Install the packages at the same time

Place the configuration file in /etc directory. To check if you have place the configuration file at the right place just type
# usb_modeswitch
and it should not give you a 'file not found error'.

To check if your stick is correctly detected as a modem, give the command
# lsusb
you should see something like this
Bus 002 Device 009: ID 12d1:1003 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. E220 HSDPA Modem / E270 HSDPA/HSUPA Modem
If you see something like this
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 12d1:1446 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd
edit the configuration file by giving the command
# sudo gedit /etc/usb-modeswitch.conf
and find the lines that says 'E7162' and uncomment the 5 lines that follows. There are two instances of 'E1762'. Either one will work. Save the edited file, and give the command
# sudo usb_modeswitch -H -v 12d1 -p 1446 -c /etc/usb-modeswitch.conf
Now check if the dongle is detected correctly by giving the 'lsusb' command again and you should the stick is now detected as a modem.

If you are using on a 64-bit architecture, you can download them here

If you are not using a Debian based distribution, you can download the files below


Monday, January 4, 2010

HyperTerminal in Windows 7

Windows 7 do not come with HyperTerminal but you can simply copy the required files from Windows XP to solve that.

You will need just two files.

hypertrm.exe, which you can copy from "C:\Program Files\Windows NT" and place anywhere you like in Windows 7. I would personally place it on the Desktop.

hypertrm.dll, which you can copy from "C:\Windows\System32" and placed at the exact same location in Windows 7.

Double click on on hypertrm.exe and you're good to go.