Thursday, July 30, 2009

Remove your contact info from the TM Directory service

TM has set tomorrow (31 July 2009) as the last day to submit a form to remove your contact info from the TM Directory service free of charge. If you don't submit the form, your name, address(es) and fixed telephone number(s) will be exposed to the public in TM Directory service, including the TM White Pages Directory and the 103 directory assistance service.

Before this exercise, TM used to charge for a fee to customers who wanted to remove their contact info from the TM Directory service. There is no indication from TM whether they will resume the charges for the forms submitted after 31 July 2009.

You can click here to download the TM X Directory Confirmation Form, which you need to unzip the downloaded archieve file, open it with, fill it up and output the completed form as PDF file (or open with Microsoft Word, fill it up, and use a 3rd party PDF converter to convert the completed form to PDF), then email to for submission.

Click here to read the respective news release from TM.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Edge chosen 65 Malaysian Websites That They Like

The Edge Malaysia Business & Financial Weekly has included a pullout about "65 Malaysian Websites That We Like" in their March 2009 first week edition.

Those 65 sites were picked according to the aesthetics, content, functionality and also personal preference of their journalists.

And here is the listing of the 65 websites:

How many of the above are also in your favourite?

Website to look for latest home loan packages information

Do you know what is the most attractive home loan package in the market now? Which bank to approach to?

The Money3 website has the information you are looking for. They have compiled and made available quite a complete home loan package information of most if not all the banks in Malaysia.

Here are some of the useful web pages in their website that you might like to bookmark on:

There are many more useful online tools, articles, commentaries and useful loan related resources in their website. As such, they are no doubt one of the "65 Malaysian Websites That We Like" selected by The Edge Weekly and published in March 2009 their printed edition.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Website to check for latest price of IT products in KL

Which website do you use to check for the latest price of your desired IT products in Klang Valley? I believe many already know about Lowyat.NET which you can download the pricelist of several shops in Lowyat Plaza.

However, I found that some of the pricelist in Lowyat.NET are not instantly updated. There is a better place, which I make use to check for the latest price of my desired IT products nowadays, in the Price Guides section of the Malaysia HardwareZone Community website. There are more pricelist available for download than Lowyat.NET, and the pricelist there are updated on weekly basis.

Now that the 2nd PIKOM PC Fair for 2009 is around the corner, you might have something in mind that you want to buy, and would like to check for their current price before go shopping in the PC Fair. I would recommend you to visit the Price Guides section of the Malaysia HardwareZone Community website and get the latest pricing information available there.

The 2nd PIKOM PC Fair for 2009 is coming

Once again, the PIKOM PC Fair will be held nationwide as follow:

31 July - 2 August 2009 (11:00am - 9:00pm)

  • KL Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur
  • Village Mall, Sungai Petani - Kedah
  • Dewan Perbandaran Taiping - Perak
  • Batu Pahat Mall, Batu Pahat - Johor

7 August - 9 August 2009 (11:00am - 9:00pm)

  • Penang International Sports Arena, Penang
  • Mahkota Parade Melaka, Melaka
  • Sabah Trade Centre, Kota Kinabalu
  • Berjaya Megamall, Kuantan - Pahang

13 August - 15 August 2009 (11:00am - 9:00pm)

  • KB Mall, Kota Bharu - Kelantan
  • Terengganu Trade Centre, Kuala Terengganu - Terengganu

14 August - 16 August 2009 (11:00am - 9:00pm)

  • Persada Johor International Convention Centre, Johor Bahru
  • Stadium Indera Mulia, Ipoh, Perak

In conjunction with this periodical major ICT event in Malaysia, there will also be an online game fair in KL Convention Centre.

Click here for more information and the layout plans of the coming PIKOM PC Fair II 2009.

Note that the ICT Fair in University Utara Malaysia (UUM) to be held on 29 - 31 July 2009 has already been postponed due to suspected A(H1N1) issue.

Sekisui retractable clothes drying rack

I just bought a modern looking Sekisui retractable clothes drying rack (model no. SFU-300WB) cash and carry for RM300 from their new showroom in Bandar Puchong Jaya.

Despite being made in China, it is a product of the Japanese Sekisui Jushi Corporation (积水树脂株式会社) which is said to have more than 50 years of establishment and pretty famous in Japan.

This Sekisui SFU-300WB retractable clothes drying rack is suitable for landed house, and can be extended from retracted length of about 4.5 feet until up to about 8 feet. When fully extended, it can hang quite a lot of clothes with its 3 hanging areas. It is very easy to assemble just by connecting the stainless steel rods together and tighten with the 6 screws provided in the packaging. It is pretty light weight (about 6kg) and easy to carry, its X-shape legs are foldable and can lean by the wall when not in use to save space.

It comes with 1 year warranty and said to be very durable which can last for many years at outdoor. It can bear up to 20kg of clothes.

Their Puchong showroom has other intersting models of clothes drying rack for landed house as well as highrise unit. For example, I found the SHO-300 model very interesting as it is transformable into different shapes. They also have indoor laundry racks, closet organizers, kitchen organizers and other products made on stainless steel rods.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bursa Malaysia to reduce tick size effective 3 August 2009

There is a sudden news that effective 3 August 2009, Bursa Malaysia will reduce the structure of its tick size (minimum price variation between the stocks' buy and sell bid).

It is said that this move is to "in line with the current practice by global developed markets and more importantly, to create market depth, enable price discovery and boost liquidity in the local equities market."

This change will affect both the stocks as well as the equity exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed in KLSE.

The new structure is as below:

I can foresee that the smaller tick size will make the price movement of stocks with higher price tend to be slower and more stable than before. It will be more difficult for them to hit a limit up or limit down, especially when the volume is high.

Perhaps there will be more counters going for split or bonus issue to lower down their stock price in order to maintain a lively price movement.

How will this impact on KLSE market sentiment? What will be the reaction of investors and traders? Soon we will be able to see.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

World Top 10 Retirement Havens for 2009

The International Living magazine has produced a special report to introduce the World's Top 10 Retirement Havens for 2009.

Those selected are places that can offer us a lower cost of living and with a huge improvement in our quality of life.

Excerpt: "An overnight stay in a private hospital in Mexico for as little as $35...the world’s number one retiree program in Panama...the best value for you second home dollar in in the lap of luxury on a pensioner’s budget in Ecuador...hire a maid for $120 per month and enjoy beautiful Caribbean beaches in Nicaragua...enjoy the convenience of speaking English and banking privacy in Belize...experience la pura vida in Costa why European expats have been flocking to Brazil...learn where to find the best health care system in the entire world—France...and finally, hear about la dolce vita (at affordable prices) in Italy. "

And the world's top 10 retirement havens for 2009 are:

  • Ecuador - living large on little money
  • Mexico - live right on the beach for pennies on the dollar
  • Brazil - 5,000 miles of beaches, fantastic weather, stately colonial cities, and mountains with spring-fresh weather
  • France - good food, good wine, haute couture, a good climate, unspoiled countryside, glittering culture, excellent health care, colorful traditions and history
  • Panama - you will never find yourself bored
  • Nicaragua - one of the most beautiful countries in the Americas
  • Italy - beautiful sceneries and quality health services
  • Costa Rica - tropical climate, modern cities, Caribbean beaches, Pacific coastline, rainforests, lush valleys, and mountains
  • Uruguay - First-world infrastructure and Third-world prices
  • Belize - living and doing business made easy
"Broaden your horizons and you can dramatically change the way you live—for the better. "

Click here to read the full report on World Top 10 Retirement Havens for 2009 and find out more about the beauty of those places.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The 2009 Quality of Life Index reveals best country to live in

Founded in 1979 by Bill Bonner, the International Living magazine is a monthly publication for subscribers detailing the best places in the world to live, retire, travel, and invest.

In order to reveal the world’s best places to live in 2009, they have ranked and rated 195 countries by benchmarking on the following considerations: cost of living, leisure & culture, economy, environment, freedom, health, infrastructure, risk & safety and climate.

For the fourth year running, France comes first in the index, and Switzerland comes in second place for the second year.

Click here to read the article from International Living and find out why France and Switzerland are chosen.

Among the ASEAN countries, Singapore ranked the 80th, Malaysia 90th, Brunei 113th, Thailand 134th, Philippines 136th, Vietnam 143th, Indonesia 145th, Cambodia 154th, Myanmar 162nd and Laos 178th.

The top 20 are:

  • France
  • Switzerland
  • United States
  • Luxembourg
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • New Zealand
  • Denmark
  • Malta
  • Sweden
  • Uruguay
  • Lithuania
  • Czech Republic
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Netherlands
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
Click here for the complete 2009 Quality of Life Index with detail scoring info.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Result of Robert Walters Global Salary Survey 2009

In the latest Robert Walters' Global Salary Survey 2009, 3 new countries namely China, Switzerland and Thailand have been included from 2008 coverage in their download page.
Malaysian companies were found to be more cautious in their hiring strategy with slowdown in recruitment activity. This slowdown was particularly seen in the FMCG and manufacturing sectors while the telecommunications, IT and oil & gas sectors were less affected. It continues to be a favourite place for MNCs' business process outsourcing (BPO) particularly for accounting and finance sector. There is an increase demand for risk management professionals in financial services. High demand for technology services continues across the board, particularly in software development, system implementation, technology consulting, system administration, IT security and compliance.
Annual salary for permanent staff in some of the roles in Malaysia for the year of 2009 are found to be as follow:

  • Accountant (3-5 years experience): RM42-66k
  • Auditor (8 years experience): RM85k+
  • Chief financial officer: RM250-460k+
  • Finance director - large organisation: RM220-270k
  • Finance director - small/medium organisation: RM180-240k
  • CIO/CTO: RM320-380k+
  • SAP consultant: RM100-120k
  • Software development manager: RM95-110k
  • IT security analyst: RM100-110k
  • Software developer: RM55-65k
  • Marketing director: RM240-300k
  • Sales director: RM240-300k
  • Product manager: RM90-96k
  • Account manager: RM90-96k
In Singapore, skill shortages were found in the areas of cost accounting, internal audit, financial planning & analysis and taxing. The financial services sector is affected by the economy downturn and salaries are seen to be lesser than 2008 in general. In the engineering, human resources, IT, sales and marketing sectors, salaries are seen to be about the same as 2008. However, a slight increment were still seen in the salaries in legal & compliance sector.

The comprehensive report of Robert Walters Global Salary Survey 2009 covers the following regions:
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • China
  • France
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Click here to go to the download page of the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey 2009 report.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Result of ZDNet Asia IT Salary Benchmark 2009

ZDNet Asia has conducted an online survey between October 2008 and May 2009 to gain insights into salary trends and IT workforce across 8 economies in Asia region, namely China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The study polled a total of 21,627 respondents from various sectors including government, healthcare, IT, services, telecommunications, legal and finance. Here are some of the analysis results based on their feedback.

Ranking of average annual salary by region:

  • Hong Kong (US$66,140)
  • Singapore (US$45,341)
  • Thailand (US$20,154)
  • Malaysia (US$18,350)
  • China (US$14,441)
  • India (US$11,880)
  • Philippines (US$8,448)
  • Indonesia (US$6,398)
In Malaysia, respondents who held IT management responsibilities in the IT, Web and telecommunications industry were the highest paid, pulling in an average salary of RM102,280 a year.

The average annual salary of the top 10 most popular IT skills in Malaysia are:
  • Consulting/Business services (RM82,037)
  • Enterprise applications (RM77,407)
  • Application development (RM69,530)
  • Database management (RM69,774)
  • IT security (RM67,115)
  • Servers/Networking (RM65,422)
  • Systems administration (RM64,455)
  • Operating systems (RM63,710)
  • Desktops/Software (RM62,792)
  • Web development (RM61,894)
In Singapore, respondents who held IT management responsibilities in the legal and finance industry were the highest paid, pulling in an average salary of S$103,598 a year.

The average annual salary of the top 10 most popular IT skills in Singapore are:
  • Consulting/Business services (S$83,103)
  • Enterprise applications (S$78,829)
  • Infrastructure management (S$76,043)
  • Application development (S$70,227)
  • Database management (S$67,760)
  • Operating systems (S$67,155)
  • Servers/Networking (S$64,800)
  • Systems administration (S$64,506)
  • Web development (S$63,395)
  • Desktops/Software (S$61,515)
Whereas in Hong Kong, respondents who held IT management responsibilities in the legal and finance industry were the highest paid, pulling in an average salary of HK$824,052 a year.

The average annual salary of the top 10 most popular IT skills in Hong Kong are:
  • Infrastructure management (HK$587,132)
  • Consulting/Business services (HK$583,985)
  • Enterprise applications (HK$566,628)
  • IT security (HK$556,399)
  • Application development (HK$529,132)
  • Systems administration (HK$510,840)
  • Servers/Networking (HK$503,710)
  • Operating systems (HK$502,625)
  • Database management (HK$497,579)
  • Desktops/Software (HK$491,515)
For other regions, respondents with the highest paid are from the following job positions:
  • China - IT management in the legal and finance industry (RMB244,000)
  • India - IT management in the IT, Web and telecommunications industry (984,723 rupees)
  • Thailand - IT professionals from the legal and finance industry (1.2 million baht)
  • Philippines - IT management in the legal and finance industry (671,559 pesos)
  • Indonesia - IT management in the legal and finance industry (132.33 million rupiah)
As a conclusion, if you are heading for a high pay IT career, it is wise to get into consulting/business services and/or enterprise applications. Industry wise, the legal and finance industry in the region are generally paying more to their IT staff than those in the ICT industry, except for Malaysia and India.

Click here to get more complete and detail information about the ZDNet Asia IT Salary Benchmark 2009.

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    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    BNM issues new design RM50 banknote with enhanced security features

    Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) starts to issue a new design RM50 banknote with enhanced security features from 15 July 2009.

    The enhanced security features incorporated in this new design of RM50 banknote are:

    • The Colour Shifting Security Thread which replaces the existing security thread and is embedded in the paper. The thread appears on the reverse side of the note as coloured intermittent lines. When held against light, it is seen as a continuous dark coloured line and the repeated text of BNM RM50 can be read. When the note is tilted, the colour of the thread changes from red to green and vice versa. Under ultra-violet light, the repeated text of BNM RM50 will fluoresce yellow and the thread is seen as a continuous fluorescent yellow line when the banknote is viewed from the obverse.
    • The Two-Coloured Fluorescent Elements is an additional invisible printed feature on the reverse of the note. Under ultra-violet light, a complex design two-colour numeral 50 will fluoresce.

    The existing security features which are designed for public verification remains as follows:

    • The Watermark Portrait can be recognised by tints that are lighter or darker than the surrounding paper. This watermark portrait which has a three-dimensional effect appears without sharp outlines. At the base of the watermark, the numeral 50 is clearly visible.
    • Perfect See-Through Register features the songket design on the obverse and reverse of the banknote when it is held against the light.
    • Invisible Fluorescent Elements of the background on the obverse and reverse of the banknote which fluoresces in different colours under ultra-violet light.
    • Micro-Letterings of "BNM RM50" which can be viewed under a magnifying glass.
    • Holographic Stripe features the numeral 50 and hibiscus flower.
    • Multicolor Latent Image where the numeral 50 is visible when the banknote is tilted slightly and changes colour when it is rotated.
    • Anti-Scanner feature in which certain design cannot be captured by scanning machines.
    • Braille Feature for the visually impaired.
    According to BNM, existing design series of the RM50 banknote will continue to remain legal tender and will co-circulate with the new RM50 banknotes as the former are gradually phased out. No time limit has been set on the duration of co-circulation.

    Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2009

    Mercer’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey covers 143 cities across 6 continents and measures against New York on the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

    The resulting Cost of Living Information Report (non-free) is considered as the world's most comprehensive survey of its kind and is intended to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

    The report includes comprehensive information such as city-to-city index comparison, expatriate accommodation costs, education costs, business travel expenses, actual price list, and the list of stores and sources.

    Based on the latest report dated March 2009, Tokyo is the most expensive city to live in, while Johannesburg is the cheapest. It is observed that cities in the US, China, Japan and the Middle East have surged in the ranking.

    The top 20 expensive cities ranked in 2009 are:

    • Tokyo, Japan
    • Osaka, Japan
    • Moscow, Russia
    • Geneva, Switzerland
    • Hong Kong, China
    • Zurich, Switzerland
    • Copenhagen, Denmark
    • New York, US
    • Beijing, China
    • Singapore, Singapore
    • Milan, Italy
    • Shanghai, China
    • Paris, France
    • Oslo, Norway
    • Caracas, Venezuela
    • London, UK
    • Tel Aviv, Israel
    • Rome, Italy
    • Helsinki, Finland
    • Dubai, UAE

    Click here for the top 50 cities ranking in the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2009.

    You might also be interested to read about:

    UBS Price and Earnings Report 2009

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    Understanding the thinking of Gen-X and Gen-Y in your organization

    Today's workforce is mainly formed by the following 3 generations of workers:

    • Baby boomers: typically refers to those born between 1946 to 1964, after World War II and before the age of Internet.
    • Gen-X: typically refers to those born between 1965 and 1977.
    • Gen-Y: also known as the millennials, typically refers to those born between 1978 and 1997, who have been brought up by technology.
    The Malaysian Human Resource Advisory team of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has done a survey among the Gen-Y employees of today. The result of their survey is an interesting study of a group of employees which is both vastly different from their managers, and which brings unique skills and perspectives to the table.

    PwC found out that the Gen-Y forms approximately 62% of our workforce today, so it is important for managers and business owners to plug into their frame of mind and understand their thinking.

    Click here to download the full 40-pages report on "Malaysia’s Gen Y unplugged - A 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey on millennials at work".

    Friday, July 3, 2009

    New generation web servers - lighttpd, nginx, Cherokee

    New generation web servers have evolved recently, and gradually taken up the market share from Apache and IIS, which still dominate the web server market nowadays.

    Of course, there are always many brands of web server made available to the market, but so far they haven't managed to make some major impact to the market share of Apache and IIS, until the emergence of these new generation web servers - lighttpd, nginx and Cherokee.

    These 3 web servers have some common similarities which form the key factors for their successful breakthrough in the web server market.

    • They are all in the open source world. lighttpd and nginx are distributed under BSD license while Cherokee is distributed under GPL Version 2 license.
    • They are all developed in C Language and designed for Linux/FreeBSD/Unix platform. They can also run in Windows (although it is really a bad idea to use Windows as Windows OS itself is a major source of performance issue for multiuser network server applications) by riding on Cygwin. With some minor porting, Cherokee can run in Windows by itself without any Cygwin component.
    • They are all designed to be lightweight, which consume as little CPU and memory resource as possible. This make them a good choice for virtualized server environment and also for use in embeded systems.
    • They are all designed with high performance to be able to handle large amount of traffic with fast respond time. They make good use of the Linux kernel’s fast, state-of-art interfaces to accelerate request handling. Benchmarking tests show that they can easily perform twice faster than Apache and many times faster than IIS.
    • They are all modular, which is highly configurable for required features and options based on actual need.
    • They can all work with PHP and MySQL, which is the current major trend for web applications.
    • They all support virtual hosting, which is a basic feature that must exist in any web server application nowadays.
    • They all support modern features such as load balancing, video streaming, etc.
    Among the 3 of them, lighttpd (a.k.a. Lighty) first came into attention a few years back, and is now in used by popular websites such as YouTube, SourceForge, Meebo, Wikimedia, Flickr, Imageshack, Sendspace, The Pirate Bay, Mininova, etc.

    Now, lighttpd is overtaken by nginx (pronounced as Engine-X) to become the current favourite, which powers popular websites such as Rambler,, Yellow Pages, Hulu, Zimbra, etc.

    Cherokee came into picture around 2006, and has quickly gained popularity with massive development and extensive features. One thing to make it stand out from the rest is a very user friendly web-based administration interface called cherokee-admin. Following its development trend, it has the potential to overtake the rest and become the most preferred web server of choice.

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