Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Canonical will release Ubuntu 10.04 LTS tomorrow 29 Apr 2010

Good news to all Ubuntu Linux fans. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Long Term Support) codename Lucid Lynx will be officially released by tomorrow, Thursday 29 April 2010.

Ubuntu: For Desktops, Servers, Netbooks and in the cloudAs this is an LTS version, Canonical will provide at least 3 years support on Ubuntu Desktop, and 5 years on Ubuntu Server.

It is announced that more than 80 ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) are announcing support for about 100 applications in it.

Among the applications available for version 10.04 LTS are the Acquia-Drupal content management system from Drupal, IBM Lotusnotes and the DB2 database, Cloudera Hadoop distributed computing software from Hadoop, the Tcat server from Mulesoft, the Mozilla Firefox browser, and SugarCRM's self-named CRM system.

Ubuntu Desktop 10.04 LTS will feature extensive design work, faster boot speed, social network integration, online services and the Ubuntu One Music Store.

There will also be a Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Edition, which enables netbook users, in addition to benefiting from the improvements in the Desktop Edition, see even faster boot speeds on SSD-based devices and faster suspend/resume that will extend battery life. However, this 10.04 Netbook Edition will not be an LTS.

Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS extends the cloud-computing capability of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud, powered by Eucalyptus. The Cloud enhancements include a minimal installation profile for minimum-footprint virtual machines and multi-language Amazon Web Services library support. This version also includes many major applications and packages added or updated since the previous LTS release, giving new and upgrading users an extended range of applications that can be easily installed at launch.

Are you ready for the upgrade?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ho Yan Hor herbal tea in Drinho Tetra Pak cartons

Yesterday while I was looking for some Wong Lo Kat (王老吉) canned herbal tea in Tesco...

I discovered a Malaysian made alternative in Tetra Pak carton selling at cheaper price. It is a new product in the Drinho's family, herbal tea from Ho Yan Hor (何人可).

The Ho Yan Hor herbal tea comes in 2 flavours -- Lo Han Guo (罗汉果) and sour plum (酸梅, buah asam).

This Ho Yan Hor herbal tea is packaged into 6-pack cartons, and selling at the price of RM8.99 in Tesco. That will be equilvalent to about RM1.50 per pack. Each pack is 250ml, so price per ml is 0.6 sen.

Meanwhile, Wong Lo Kat herbal tea is selling at RM2.20 per can, each can in 310ml, and price per ml is 0.7 sen.

Ho Yan Hor is a traditional remedy since 1941, and similar to the function of Wong Lo Kat, it is traditionally used to relief body heat, common cold, indigestion and waning appetite.

Malaysian and Singaporean, especially the Chinese, should be very familiar with the Ho Yan Hor brand. They have been selling herbal tea in sachets for decades, and they are listed in KLSE as Hovid (7213). Now they are collaborating with Drinho to sell the herbal tea in ready made packs.

The packaged Ho Yan Hor emphasizes on "no preservatives, no flavouring and no colouring". However, I noticed that its sour plum flavour has one additive, which is food conditioner (Acid 330).

The ingrediants of Drinho's Ho Yan Hor Luo Han Guo herbal tea are: water, extract of Luo Han Guo and dried Longan, Ho Yan Hor herbal extracts and cane sugar.

The ingrediants of Drinho's Ho Yan Hor sour plum herbal tea are: water, cane sugar, Ho Yan Hor herbal extracts, Pu Erh (普洱) extract, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and sour plum extract powder.

Both flavours are Halal certified and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified.

DIY replacing the battery in Garmin GPS navigator

Ever wonder how to open up the Garmin GPS navigator's casing, and replace the rechargeable Lithium-ion battery in case it won't charge again?

This is how the Lithium-ion battery in Garmin looks like...

And here is a video showing us in detail how to do it...

Well, the battery in my Garmin Nuvi 255W GPS navigator is still working fine. I just keep this info here for future reference.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My 6" giant lighter

Just to share with you a giant lighter that I bought today.

Here is it...

This lighter is slightly more than 6 inches long. You can see that it is a lot bigger than the ordinary lighter on its right. In fact, the flame it produces is bigger too.

I use lighter in my home for religious purpose - to burn incense, a ritual item. With this giant lighter, it is easier to light up the incense.

The price of this giant lighter is RM5, compared with the price of ordinary lighter which is normally around RM1. I think it can last very long, as its fluid is more than 6 times of ordinary lighter.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Know what people are searching for with Google Trends and Google Insights for Search

Are you interested to know what are the current hot topics and hot keywords that many people are searching for in Google?

You can actually track them using the awesome online tools namely Google Trends and Google Insights for Search.

In fact, Google Trends has been around for quite some times, and many webmasters, bloggers, twitterers, etc. are using it to come out with new hot topics of attraction for their websites. Google Insights for Search seems to be an enhanced version of Google Trends with more features.

Although Google Insights for Search is more advanced, Google Trends is still handy and useful, because you can access information from Google Hot Trends right in its front page.

Lets pay a visit to Google Trends:

As you can see, once you enter the website, you are displayed with a list of Hot Topics as well as a list of Hot Searches, and those are the most current info.

In fact, the RSS feeds of Google Hot Trends are available, including the following:

Global Server:-

Singapore Server:-

Try search for a keyword in Google Trends, lets say "iceland", and click the "Search Trends" button, and you will see the search trends of your keyword.

When there is a surge in keyword search, it will be labelled, and at the side you can see the news headlines which probably able to give you a hint of why people are suddenly so interested to the topic during those particular periods of time.

You can also refine the result by region and by timeframe. At the bottom of the page shows where the searching people are residing in.

Now lets pay a visit to Google Insights for Search:

As you can see, you have more advanced tools to refine your search by comparison, filters (including filter by categories), etc.

And the result has more information, including these:

And last but not least, if you want to know what kind of keywords that have actually brought traffic to your own website, you can find the precise answer in Google Webmaster Tool.

Herbs to increase milk production for breastfeeding mother

It seems to be a common topic among the mothers, especially the first time mothers, about facing inadequate milk production problem, especially during the confinement period.

My wife's experience can testify that there are some herbs which can be taken by the mother to help promote lactation to breastfeed the baby. In fact, those herbs are categorized in a family with a Greek name: "galactagogues".

If you want to look for such milk supply enhancement herbs in the pharmacy or baby/mother specialty shop, just mention "galactagogues" to the shopkeeper. If you find it difficult to remember this name, you can also mention "nursing tea" or "milkmaid tea" instead.

The herbs which are traditionally used to increase milk production including:

  • Alfalfa
  • Anise
  • Asparagus racemosus (a.k.a. Shatavari)
  • Astragalus root
  • Cnicus benedictus (a.k.a. Blessed thistle)
  • Fennel (a.k.a. Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Fenugreek
  • Orange cinnamon
  • Red raspberry leaf (a.k.a. Rubus idaeus)
  • Stinging nettle
The nursing tea products sold in the shops are normally a mixture of the above herbs. Some of the brands are Joy Angel Nursing Tea, Earth Mama Milkmaid Tea, Autumnz Organic Nursing Tea, etc.

It is said that the effectiveness of herbal galactogogues can be increased by consuming together with marshmallow root at the same time.

Mothers who have used galactagogues products before are encouraged to share your testimonial here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Goldman Sachs let Warren Buffett learnt a bitter lesson

Warren Buffett, well-known as the "Oracle of Omaha", has been famous for value investing, and also declaring derivatives as the "weapons of economic mass destruction" and stated that he would never be involved in them.

He derailed from this belief, when Berkshire Hathaway in 2008, at the peak of the financial crisis, purchased $5 billion worth of Goldman Sachs' perpetual preferred stock with a 10% dividend and warrants on $5 billion worth of common stock at the price of $115.

Since then, Buffett has been talking good about Goldman Sachs and declaring his strong endorsement to its CEO Lloyd Blankfien. Last week, Ron Olson, one of Berkshire’s directors, once again defended Goldman  by saying that "Buffett invested out of belief in not just the strength of Goldman but its integrity."

To the great surprise of the whole world, it was just 3 days right after that "integrity" assurance from Berkshire, Goldman was accused by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of defrauding its investors. A civil charge was filed on 16 April 2010.

Goldman is accused to have promoted and sold mortgage investments to its investors, without telling the buyers that the securities were crafted with input from its client, Paulson (a hedge fund capitalize on the housing bust), who was betting on them to fail.

The SEC said Paulson paid Goldman roughly $15 million in 2007 to devise an investment which tied to mortgage-related securities that the hedge fund viewed as likely to decline in value. Separately, Paulson took out a form of insurance that allowed it to make a huge profit when those securities' value plunged.

SEC stated that, "Goldman wrongly permitted a client (Paulson) that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective 3rd party."

Goldman's investors of that securities have lost about a billion dollar in less than a year thereafter, while Paulson reaped in its fabulous profit.

In fact, Goldman had been warned on this fraud case, in black-and-white by SEC, as early as in July 2009. The question is: did Buffett knew about that? If he didn't, then why? If he did, well, well, well....

The stock price of Goldman dropped heavily after this allegation, causing Buffett to gave out most of the profit he made earlier in his Goldman deal. However, the blow to Buffett is minimal in monetary wise. The bitter lesson to Buffett is the deteriotation to the reputation and respect which he built for decades, which had won him the title as the "Oracle of Omaha".

Now, all the eyes is staring on him, especially when the AGM of Berkshire Hathaway is just a moment away from now.

All investors make mistakes, including Buffett. But this mistake he made is really very costly. Let's wait what he'll say...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Garmin releases MalSingMaps Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei NT 2010.20 for free update

Garmin has made available MalSingMaps (MSM) Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei NT 2010.20 for free update now.

You can click here to download the installation file of MalSingMaps Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei NT 2010.20 from Garmin server. The file size is pretty huge, 742,884kb.

The installation program will update gmapprom1.img, gmapprom1.unl and SGMYMAL.JCV in your Garmin GPS navigator.

During the installation process, you'll be asked for the unlock key. The key is stored in the existing gmapprom1.unl file in your Garmin GPS navigator, which you can open with Notepad or any text editor. Just copy and paste the key to the installer when asked.

The size of SGMYMAL.JCV has increased tremendously to 352,764kb. Therefore, we can expect many more road junctions to have Junction View in Garmin with this map.

Version highlights:

  • Synchronize to Malsingmaps v4.08.
  • Extending more JCVs around Malaysia
  • Add new categories of Brand icons
  • Add more POIs, postal code data and lane information

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Have you upgraded your Windows Chinese IME to the new Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY) 2010?

Good news to all MS Windows XP/Vista/7 users who need to type Chinese characters using IME!

Microsoft has just released Microsoft Pinyin (MSPY 微软拼音输入法) 2010 which is free to download and install to upgrade the existing Chinese IME in your MS Windows operating system.

This new release of MSPY 2010 is jointly developed by Microsoft and Harbin Institute of Technology (哈尔滨工业大学) in HeiLongJiang, China. In fact, its beta testing version has been made available to the public since last year, and now it is finally officially released. It is expected to also bundled as part of the coming MS Office 2010.

MSPY 2010 loads up much faster than the previous MSPY 2007, and also has faster respond to keyboard typing.

By using MSPY 2010, we can type Chinese faster as it is more accurate in getting the correct words we want, and it supports short-cut input style as well as intelligent word predictions.

MSPY 2010 supports 2 different input styles, namely Simple Fast (简捷) and New Experience (新体验).

The Simple Fast typing style looks like this:

and you can see how fast the typing is by using short-cut input with accurate prediction of the IME:

The New Experience typing style looks like this:

MSPY 2010 can accurately predict many new Internet jargons. It also supports a vast variety of professional dictionaries to get more accurate results.

If you are still using the old IME to type Chinese in Windows, I'll recommend you to try out this MSPY 2010.

Click here to go to the official website and download page of Microsoft PinYin 2010.

PS: If you face problem in using Regional and Language Options to assign the keyboard sequence for calling out the input method, you can make use of IMETool to set your preferred keyboard sequence, and it never fail you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Work-life lessons from Peter Drucker

Peter F. Drucker (19 Nov 1909 – 11 Nov 2005) is well-known as "the father of modern management".

In fact, Drucker's teachings on personal growth or self-management, are as profound as his views on organizational management.

Drucker personified the value of creating and living a "total life" with diverse interests, relationships, and pursuits. He called this as "living in more than one world."

He exemplified the following 5 key elements to crate a "total life":

1. Practice self-development

Drucker opined that: "What matters is that the knowledge worker, by the time he or she reaches middle age, has developed and nourished a human being rather than a tax accountant or a hydraulic engineer."

We should start thinking about our life, both as it is now and where we'd like it to go. It should cover not only our work, but also our life outside of work, i.e. family, friends, interests, activities, and pursuits.

2. Identify and develop your unique strengths

Consider what's unique about what you do, and in what areas you excel and contribute the most, both at work and outside of work. Focus on those strengths, which are your own core competencies, and find new ways to cultivate and cherish them.

3. Create a parallel or second career

Drucker said, "The purpose of the work on making the future is not to decide what should be done tomorrow, but what should be done today to have a tomorrow."

Drucker encouraged us to think about possibilities for a parallel or second career, while we're still in our main job. Leveraging on our existing knowledge and experience, and exploring into the area of teaching, writing, or working in non-profit organizations could be some good idea.

4. Exercise your generosity

Drucker believed an essential part of living in more than one world is to display a sense of generosity.

Sharing your time and talents in areas such as volunteerism, social entrepreneurship and mentoring, not only provide opportunities to contribute, but also offer personal benefits from broadening and deepening your life experience to expanding your circle of friends and colleagues.

5. Teaching and learning

Drucker would like to see us to incorporate continuous learning as a natural part of our daily life. We should also consider teaching, as he said, "No one learns as much as the person who must teach his subject."

Drucker’s secrets to success can help our life and career be more satisfying, meaningful and multi-dimensional. The following are 7 tips to get started:

  • Focus on achievement, not money
  • Make time for thinking - where you are and where you're going.
  • Practice "systematic abandonment" - stepping back, at regular intervals, to determine which of your present activities can be scaled back or eliminated. Only then can you make way for something more fruitful.
  • Volunteer your time and talent
  • Become a mentor - if you’ve been guided by mentors of your own, pay it forward by mentoring others. If not, look for opportunities to both mentor and be mentored.
  • Learn the art of leisure
  • Be the CEO of your own life - self-management is an ongoing discipline, requiring self-knowledge, introspection, and personal responsibility. Start now to think of yourself as the CEO of your own life and career, and take accountability for your decisions and actions. Know who you are, what is important to you, and how you will contribute at work and in the world.

The above are my notes taken from an article written by Bruce Rosenstein, the author of the book Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker's Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life.

Property investment in information age with Google Earth and Google Maps

Mr Ho Chin Soon (何振顺) recent talk in The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate 2010 has enlightened me about the use of Google Earth and Google Maps in property investment.

Google Earth enables us to zoom in to the property of our interest, survey its surrounding environment and nearby township, assess the road systems and buildings, measuring distance from city center, know the nearby amenities, etc. You can also watch Panoramio photos and/or Youtube videos of selected locations uploaded by contributors in the Internet.

One of the powerful feature of Google Earth is it Historical Imagery, which enables us to view the historical satellite images of the location, and see its change and development over time.

For example, we are able to see the rapid development of Kota Damansara on the northern part of Klang Valley, by looking at its Historical Imagery in 2004...

and compare with its most recent image taken in 2007...

Meanwhile, Google Maps is directly accessible with your web browser, and enable you to easily switch between Satellite view, Map view and Terrain view.

No doubt that Google Earth and Google Maps can help you study the area of interest, find out the township developments and conditions of the surroundings, before you actually pay a visit to the site. They can also give you a clearer picture about the present and past developments and constructions of a location, and probably let you discover some growth area that you might be interested to invest in.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The most reliable laptop brands are...

If you are planning to buy a new laptop or a new netbook during the PC Fair or otherwise, you might be interested to read this.

SquareTrade, the largest independent warranty service provider in US has, in 16 November 2009, unveiled a report that analyzed failure rates of over 30,000 new notebook computers manufactured by 9 leading brands (with minimum 1,000 units of each brand sampled) over the past 3 years.

The report concluded that:

  • 31% of laptop failed during the first 3 years. 2/3 of this failure (20.4%) came from hardware malfunctions, another 1/3 (10.6%) was reported as accidental damage.
  • Netbooks have a 20% higher failure rate from hardware malfunctions than laptops.
  • The failure rate is inversely propotional to the market grade (and price) of the laptop.

And the most reliable laptop brands are Asus and Toshiba which scored almost equally.

So, if reliability is important to you, you might probably consider laptop than netbook, with preferance to the more reliable brands above.

Click here to read the full report of SquareTrade's Laptop Reliability Study.

The most reliable digital camera brand is...

If you are planning to buy a new digital camera during the PC Fair or otherwise, you might be interested to read this.

SquareTrade, the largest independent warranty service provider in US has, in 31 March 2010, unveiled a report that analyzed failure data from a sample of over 60,000 new digital cameras purchased by their warranty customers.

The report concluded that 11% of digital cameras fail over the first 2 years of ownership, whereby 6.6% of failures coming from malfunctions and 4.1% from accidents.

Interestingly, they also found out that the failure rate is inversely propotional to the price of the camera. Cheaper point-and-shot digital cameras are more vulnerable to malfunction than the more costly Digital SLR cameras.

And the most reliable point-and-shot digital camera brand is... Panasonic.

How about the DSLR? There is no significant difference between the reliability of Nikon and Canon.

Click here to read the full report of SquareTrade's Digital Camera Failure Study.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

LTKM the hidden gem stock yet to be discovered

Before the merger of KLSE's main and second board, LTKM (7085) was listed in the second board, and like most of the stock counters there, was out of the radar screen of most institutional and personal investors. This could probably explain why its price is stable and steady without much fluctuation most of the time.

Even now, its number of share remains at a low level of 42,055,002 only, and 60% of them are tightly controlled by Ladang Ternakan Kelang Sdn Bhd (the "fullname" of LTK), which founded by the 3 Tan brothers way back in 1976, and initially operated on a small piece of 10-acre land in Kampung Jawa, Klang.

The "M" in LTKM is Melaka. Ladang Ternakan Kelang (Melaka) Sdn Bhd was established in 1986 after they acquired a 448 acres freehold land in the district of Durian Tunggal, Melaka. LTKM was listed on KLSE's Second Board in March 2000.

LTKM is famous as the single largest centralized poultry farm in Malaysia. Each and every day, LTKM produces at least 1.3 million fresh shell eggs. They are fully integrated in egg production including the processing and trading of organic fertilizer. They employ high production technology, including the biosecure environment controlled housing and automatic egg collection equipment.

They are well known as the sole producer and distributor of MARDITECH licensed Omega-3 eggs under the brand name LTK Omega Plus. LTKM was given the exclusive rights to produce Omega-3 eggs using MARDI's feed formulation, despite nowadays there are a few "me-too" brands of Omega eggs in the market. Another famous brand from LTKM is LTK Organic Selenium Plus, an R&D result with MARDITECH.

Currently over 40% of LTKM's eggs are exported to Singapore and Hong Kong. The balances are sold to wholesalers throughout Malaysia.

While egg production is the main business of LTKM, and many has the perception that they are only in this business, in fact, LTKM has ventured into other business, such as organic fertilizers (since 1993), property development (since 2006), sand extraction and trading (since 2008). Their latest venture is into glass processing business in 2009. Therefore, LTKM has been diversified their business into different areas, and I like their entrepreneur spirit.

Certain analyst are curious about their business venture to glass processing, which seems unrelated to their livestock business. But taking a closer look at it, I found there is relationship between sand extraction, glass processing and property development. Do you agree with this observation?

LTKM is currently building their glass processing factory in Sungai Rasah, Klang and expected to start operation by 2nd half of 2010. They have hired 2 experts from overseas, Mohan Menon and Alexander Akguel, to help them establish this new business under the brand name Lumiglass.

So, what make me feel that LTKM is a hidden gem? All back to fundamental facts and figures.

As you can see from my estimation of their upcoming FYE2010 based on simple normalization, LTKM is likely to announce their best ever revenue and profit result, with the estimated EPS of 45 sen. If they really achieve this, the net profit will be more than double from last year, and the ROE could be standing at a high ground of 18.44%.

Something worth notice is that, on 24 February 2010, LTKM has revalued their freehold land and buildings, which will contribute an exceptional gain of about 19 sen per share to its 4th quarter EPS to be announced in May 2010. With this, technically the EPS for 4th quarter will be much higher than my estimation above which didn't take this exceptional gain into account.

You might have observed that LTKM share price and transaction volume have both risen immediately after the asset revaluation announcement, which formed a strong support at RM1.53, which was the peak of 25 February 2010.

Meanwhile, LTKM is going to distrubute a 3 sen single tier interim dividend soon, the ex-date is 14 April 2010. Based on historical records, I estimate the full year dividend to be 10 sen, with another 7 sen final dividend in 4th quarter.

Closing at RM1.61 on 6 April 2010, we can therefore calculate based on my estimation that:
  • PE = 1.61/0.45 = 3.58
  • DY = 0.10/1.61 = 6.2%
I think the asset revalue exercise of LTKM might be a sign of possible bonus issue in the future to increase their issued shares from the current low level.

Perhaps this hidden gem will be discovered when they release their 2010 Annual Report in around August.

Click here to visit the website of LTKM. Their website is really informative.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for sharing of point of view only. It is not an advice or recommendation to buy or sell any of the mentioned stock counters. You should do your own homework before trading in Bursa Malaysia.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The 4Ss, 6Ms and 8Ps of business

Do you know what are the 4Ss, 6Ms and 8Ps of business?

Well, the 4Ss, 6Ms and 8Ps define key elements in a business from 3 different perspectives.

The 4Ss are:

  • Skills
  • Surroundings
  • Suppliers
  • Systems
The 6Ms are:
  • Men
  • Money
  • Markets
  • Methods
  • Machines
  • Materials
And the 8Ps are:
  • People
  • Process
  • Policies
  • Procedures
  • Price
  • Promotions
  • Places/Plants
  • Products
In these 3 different prespectives, do you notice they all start with one common factor, which is:

Skills = Men = Peoples = Human resources

Undeniably, human resources are the most important element in the business. Without Skills, the rest of the Ss mean nothing; Without Men, the rest of the Ms also mean nothing; and without People, the rest of the Ps mean nothing.

Realising this is very important, so that:
  • When implementing Enterprise Resource System (ERP), you should put emphasis on the human resources (users) more than the infrastructure, data, information, etc.
  • If you are a boss, you know which part of your business is the most important one, that you might affort to lost the others, but definitely not this one, in order to sustain your business.
  • If you are a financial controller, you should know how to better control the company's financial in the way that will not deteriorate the company.
  • If you are an employee, you should know why you need the certifications and continuous improvement on your knowledge and skillsets, which are actually your core value to contribute to your company.

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