Friday, December 31, 2010

22nd Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary. Every year I would look at the wedding photos. In the last few years, I only viewed those that I have already scanned. This year I scanned almost every one of them into into the PC and transferred it to the iPad. I am also glad I found Julie Roger's, "The Wedding" on YouTube.

It was with this song that I symbolically said good bye to my first gf for the last time. At every milestone of her life somehow my old pal will bring the news to me and I will repeat my farewell in my heart to her. I didn't expect that the Lord will arrange for us to meet up again almost twenty five years later to send me a message that would be impossible to understand otherwise. It was just like Peter had to have the vision of the sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of unclean animals that God okayed for him to eat before meeting Cornelius and his family. The message: A wife is more to be loved than as a partner. It has been four years that I have received and understood the message. Time needed to be confident enough to put into writing, and also a deeper appreciation of Acts 27.

The mercies and grace of our God through Christ is beyond surprising. The story continues in ways that I can only accept by faith. God has given us his Spirit as the guarantee and that is enough.

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:29-31

Except by faith shown in obedience this passage cannot be understood. I mean, I don't want a hundred times more this or that. It is meant to be taken figuratively and to trip up those who have idols in their hearts. It must begin with like Moses, "Show me your face..." or it would just simply go awry.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's in the package?

What is the package from Patti. They are really beautiful things. Two books made in a way that I have never seen before. They are covered in velvet and feels very nice when you hold it. Four book marks and mine is special with a golden eagle in the air. There is a Christmas card and an ornament for our tree too :-)

The planks for NaviMap?

This book could very well provide me the planks I need to cross the chasm into the promised land for NaviMap. I can't believed that I took a copy out from the public library a year ago and failed to recognize its value then. A story inside read very familiar which prompted me to check my Gmail. True enough, I did check out the book.

I shall not count the chickens before they are hatched. I have been disappointed many times before. NaviMap is hard stuff.

Parcel from Patti

Patti had emailed me about this a few days earlier and now it is here! I am not opening it yet. Let's wait for the rest to get home first :-)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cursed by cheap books

Looking for interesting free or low priced books is really hurting me. It takes me away from reading now, those that I truly need. If I am not careful, it is an entry into a poverty trap!

I should have read Dan and Chip Heath, "Making to Stick: Why some ideas and others die" long ago. Just pay up the USD 12.47 for it than to discover it as a free ebook from the library and download it for free. The nuggets of wisdom from this book could be very helpful to NaviMap.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nice weather

Really nice cool temperature today. What a pity we didn't go outdoors to take advantage of it.

The girls are bored with the places they can go to.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Laser pointer

Finally after many months Lin found a cheap laser pointer at Tiong Bahru Plaza yesterday. $3 that was how much it costs.

I wonder if the LR44 replacement batteries cost more than the pointer.

The Original Serenity Prayer

The less catchy but perhaps the differences matter. This is the original words Reinhold Niebuhr used in a sermon preached during World War II.

God, gave us grace
To accept with serenity the
things that cannot be changed

Courage to change the things 
that should be changed,
And wisdom to distinguish the 
one from the other.

Figuring out what can be changed is a process of growing in wisdom. It isn't a formula that we can thoughtlessly apply.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The girls' school so coveted

Fail to embed successfully. So here is the lnk.

Christmas Eve gathering

A log cake from our annual get together last night. We have been doing this with the same bunch for almost as long as we have been married. In comfortable and familiar surroundings.

Anniversary Dinner

Every year we get fleeced by the hospitality industry because of our anniversary celebrations. Pay back time to them. This year we are going to Shangri-La.

Security has become so tight. This is the first time we need to have tickets such places.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My WD workhorse

Is my trusty daily workstation workhorse, the white WD Passport drive with only 400 GB that old?

Chkdsk passed but it has been giving me write error messages many times today.

The type of the file system is FAT32.
Volume My Passport created 5/2/2003 3:45 PM
Volume Serial Number is AFC8-16EF
Windows is verifying files and folders...
File and folder verification is complete.
Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
  390,613,408 KB total disk space.
      929,824 KB in 4,559 hidden files.
      244,896 KB in 7,576 folders.
  152,059,328 KB in 245,006 files.
  237,379,328 KB are available.

Applying for a transfer of school.

Trying to jump out of second choice to her first choice school. Paying the price for 3A* and a damned B, when 81% of cohort achieved A or better for CL.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Apple Care

Decide against extending the warranty of two of our iPods by another two years. We would probably buy a more updated version within the two years or may be even out grow them to something else.

Sneaky Singtel

Last Thursday I recontract my mobile with them for another 24 months and in return I get to trade in my E63 for $100 and got a SE Xperia X10 for $198. Regrettably the salesperson didn't inform me that I would also receive 30 days of unwanted free mobile content, which would become chargeable afterward. I was wondering over the past few days why was I getting all these smses from ST, Reuters etc., Chagrined, I just called 1688 and got them to terminate it. :-(

This selling by stealth is unethical. Sadly these days the only value that rule is money and the criminal code. They will do it as long as they have not broken the law. If so, we would have to broaden the law but that is not a practical option. It would lead to runaway cost and paralysis.

Moral decay every where.

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My Mobile Broadband subscription

My 1 GB traffic plan for Broadband Mobile is way too much for my use. But at only $8.37/month for a 12 months plan, I can't be complaining. The data report is what I had used up since the service was activated for me last Thursday.

Last Data transaction as at: 20 Dec 2010 18:55:43HRS

Local Data Usage: 2.35 MB 
(Include download and upload usage)

Roaming Data Usage: 0.0 MB
(Include download and upload usage)
Your next bill statement will be on: 10 Jan 2011

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Salmon Sashimi

The girls' favorite sashimi at Ichiban Sushi.Usually they will order the 7 pieces one and eaten without wasabi. Soy sauce only.

Nando's in Singapore

Nando's has come to Singapore. We used to visit the one at The Greens in Dubai which is walking distance from our house. The food is real spicey. Their outlet in Singapore is at Plaza Singapura.

Nokia X3-02 screen guard

Guess what happen when you try to force the screen guard for another make of phone on another. Just two days and the whole thing peeled off in my pocket! It happened last night when I was enjoying myself at Justin's cook fest at the Biopolis. Never knew that there is such a place as "Palate Sensations" and it is not a restaurant but a cooking school.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A letter from China. Who could it be?

Wondering who in China could have sent me a letter. Was puzzling over it from seeing it emerge in the letter box all the way upstairs until I got a chance to open it. For a while, I wonder if it was from my late father's younger brother, but it wasn't possible since he didn't have my name and address in English.

Turns out that it was from a friend whose family is in China.

Neighbor's renovation Part 2

They are bringing in the tiles today. I supposed they are nearly, hopefully all done with the hacking. What a relief.  What we can expect now are the occasional drilling.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Mobile Broadband

A story I am excerpting from WSJ.

Last year, he might have just dropped the $184.85 Garmin global positioning system into his cart. This time, he took out his Android phone and typed the model number into an app that instantly compared the Best Buy price to those of other retailers. He found that he could get the same item on Inc.'s website for only $106.75, no shipping, no tax.

But immediately, my new subscription to Broadband Mobile (I pay < $9/mth for a 12 months term) is to check up the traffic in order to avoid congestion. It helps that I can see what many cameras on our expressways see too.

I don't shop a lot, so the benefit here is more limited.

Neighbor's renovation

Good thing we decided to stay away from home today in view of the hacking going on upstairs. The noise would be unbearable but we never imagined that it would create enough vibration for this to happen.

I hope they had finished the job today.

The tools created so much vibration that our tumbler and hand wash lotion was thrown into the sink!

Queing for the iPhone 4

Was at Jurong Point early this money to trade in and re-contract my mobile plan at the Hello! We arrived ten minutes before the shop opens and was very surprised to see such crowd outside. Every shop owner would love this.

Later I learned from one of one of their salesman that the reason for so many people waiting for them to open is because they know they usually have stock of  iPhone 4. They must come early as it is usually sold by lunch time.

Apple is one very happy company.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Testing X3-02 camera

A demonstration shot with the Nokia X3-02 set at maximum resolution. I am quite happy with it.

New Phone

Bought this for $288 at Tiong Bahru Plaza last night. My E63 will be traded in for a SE X10, which my younger daughter is looking forward to owning.

This is the last pic by the lousy E63 camera.

Neighbor moves out

Today my neighbor upstairs moves to their maisonette in Clementi. Nice folks. My younger girl sometimes went upstairs to play with their girl and pet dog. That was years ago, and as many other activities and increasingly heavy study loan impose themselves upon them, they interact less with each other. During the upgrading works, we used to visit each other homes exchanging tips and providing small aid to each other. 

Before I forget. I took this shot with my new phone camera. This is much better than the E63 with only 2 Megapixel. I am now using the X3-02. It is equipped with a 5 Megapixel camera.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The latest terrorist attack in Sweden

""He was saying physical jihad was an obligation for all Muslims and saying that Muslim scholars are unreliable and untrustworthy because they are in the pockets of governments,"

Quoting the chairman of a mosque in Luton where the suicide bomber Taymour Abdelwahab attacked. 

The present environment supports the theology of enough people with extreme views in Islam. They are going to be keeping us company for a very long time.

Stupid Nude

Stupid fellow.

We go there about once a week for McDonalds. Always thought such madness happen at places I don't frequent. Now I think any place is as likely as any where else.

People will do anything now for the few brief minutes of fame isn't it? There is no more shame.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Power: Why Some People Have It-and Others Don't

In this crowning achievement, one of the greatest minds in management theory reveals how to succeed and wield power in the real world. Over decades of consulting with corporations and teaching MBA students the nuances of organizational power, Jeffrey Pfeffer has watched numerous people suffer career

Read about a quarter of the book. Nothing really new to me as it reads like a retelling of what I have seen in corporate life previously.

Months back I had shown it to my ex boss. She found it very interesting and felt that it would have benefited her as a young executive. She encouraged her kids to read the book. Then I wasn't interested. I didn't buy into the book core ideas. I saw it as morally corrupt and piling up for ourselves the eventual wrath and judgement of God.

For those clueless it is useful to understand what hit them.

For the young and inexperienced it is like a how to manual but most will be disappointed when they discover it doesn't work. They will learn the hard way that their fates were never in their hands. Majority of people wouldn't learn this any other way.

So what is this book good for? For becoming aware about the ways of the world and not to stupidly walk into traps for nothing. For me, how the author has organized the information is useful for discussing with peers and advising the young.

This book is a godless and self-centered tome of advice. I don't think this was the author's intention. He was just reporting what his research had uncovered. Of course, he must have hoped to sell many copies. I am glad he wasn't very successful on this account.

Friday, December 10, 2010

GNAX Hosting

I have checked for quite a few days but this morning I could no longer reach the dedicated server hosted at GNAX. I had informed them my wish to terminate the hosting service more than a month ago but they had kept silent. Perhaps they were hoping that I would change my mind after a month they must have decided that I am not going back. The burden to keeping a dedicated server shipshape is just too much. Traffic to the sites have fallen so much over the years. Shared hosting is good enough.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mandai Zoo

Just got back from taking the children the zoo.

The entrance fees have gone up. I don't remember an adult ticket was $20 the last time we visited in March 2008.

I don't think we will be back for sometime. Perhaps only when the River Safari and the Panda enclosure are opened.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WSJ subscription

It will expire quite soon. On the 22nd to be exact. I shall miss it but I am holding out for a better offer like the one they gave me the last time. After one month of absence they baited me with a $20 Amazon voucher. They can do better this time by not waiting so long. But will they?

Monday, December 6, 2010

eBooks DRM

What is remote now is possible tomorrow. Today I bought a software to remove the DRMs from my eBooks and archive them for safe keeping. Just in case the vendor some day stop being a player in this space.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Acer Service Centre

Took this at 9am when I collected my Acer Notebook PC from their service centre. I am impressed how empty the place was. I remembered previously there was a long queue.

Selecting a secondary school and PSLE results

Just submitted via the S1 system the following schools for my younger daughter.

Choice of Secondary Schools
1st :3005 - Crescent Girls' School
2nd :3013 - Tanjong Katong Girls' School
3rd :3512 - Tanjong Katong Secondary School
4th :7021 - St. Margaret's Secondary School
5th :7023 - CHIJ St Theresa's Convent
6th :3029 - Clementi Town Secondary School

Pity she had a B in CL to accompany her three A*s. 81% of  her cohort achieved A and better. You can imagine that her T-score for CL is way below 50.

The top pupil achieved 282. Typically that would be the perfect score. Assuming that the outcomes for all the four subjects are similar, the likely maximum T-score per subject is 70. See this blog for and excellent lowdown on t-score calculations.

A very crude estimate as we do not have any clue about the mean and especially SD for each subject, the T-scores from her A*s should range between 190 to 210. Therefore if CL wasn't an issue and she was just average of her cohort, her T-score is easily beyond 250.