Snow here?

Given that even United Arab Emirates had snow in a desert country, it might just be possible.
bq.. Snow has fallen in the United Arab Emirates for the first time in years, shocking residents of a desert country better known for its 50C summer heat.
Meteorologists reported heavy snowfall on the mountains of Ras al Khaimah, the federation’s most northerly Emirate, as a cold snap gripped the region.

ST depicts local bloggers in dim light

The Straits Times published an article today about how bloggers around the world reacted to the Earthquake/Tsunami disaster in Asia.
There are many first-hand accounts from people, video footages and also bittorrents for people to download. There are also blogs that volunteers helped to consolidate information and news for others to read.
And then they mentioned about Singapore. Of all people, the paper mentioned about some girl who was very determine to take her holiday and complained about cancellation of her holiday plans.
bq. yeah lor why do we hv to be penalised when its a natural disaster…sighhh
Firstly, the link quoted in the ST article, was which isn’t a blog. The quote from that girl was in a forum. Not a blog too. Please, get this straight. Blog =/= Forum.
I’d think that there are local bloggers who care more about the suffering than just a cancellation of a holiday plan. If you want to quote, please choose any one of these fine people:
* You Can Help – Anand Shiva
* Help Tsunami Victims – La Idler
* Red Cross Appeal – Adri
* Earthquake and Tsunami Relief information – Mr Brown
* Prayers from a small island nation – Yann
and not this:
bq. …cancellation policy really sucks – now only have two solutions… forgo AirAsia tickets and absorb 15-per-cent hotel cancellation fee, or change AirAsia tickets to Bangkok (pay more for tickets), then change Phuket hotel to Bangkok hotel and pay for hotel difference.

Earthquake and Tsunami Relief information

Relatives or friends of Singaporeans who are in the affected areas can call the MFA Duty Office at 6332-0000 to register their contact details.
For better consolidated information, please click:
* Habitatnews: Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster Relief
* You can help
* Earthquake and Tsunami Relief information
* Singapore Red Cross
* Singapore Sinhala Association’s Sri Lanka Tsunami Disaster Relief
* Mercy Relief
* DBS Bank Singapore
* OCBC Bank Singapore
For Overseas readers who would want to contribute:
* Red Cross International Response Fund
* AmeriCares South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund
* Direct Relief International International Assistance Fund
* Médecins Sans Frontières International Tsunami Emergency Appeal
* Oxfam Asian Earthquake & Tsunami Fund
* Sarvodaya Relief Fund for Tsunami Tragedy
* UNICEF South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts

You better watch out…

Someone dropped a cashcard and few weeks later, got a call from the Police to retrieve the card. Nothing special you might think, but cashcards we have do not have any markings nor IDs taken to link you with it. So how did the Police found the owner?
According to Mr Brown, the cashcard was linked to the Electronic Road Price(ERP) reader attached on all our cars and the owner was tracked from it. Everytime you drive past an ERP gantry, besides deducting the $, information about which gantry, when and which car are being tracked.
bq.. An Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantry and/or the carpark Cashcard system must have collected data from both his Cashcard and his ERP In-Vehicle Unit (IU) serial number (which is unique to every car), and either stored it on the CashCard itself, or in some ERP database.
Heck, I bet they even read the ERP IU serial number from your car passively, every time you drive under one of those ERP gantries, even when the gantry is not “on”.
p. Same with EasyLink cards which we used for public transport (Bus and MRT). As it is tied with our NRIC number, our movements are logged somewhere every time you tap your card against the reader.
Likewise, those who signed up with McDonalds to make payment with EasyLink, someone somewhere will know where and when you ate that Big Mac.
And our Traffic Police are also hard at work, not just driving around souped up BMWs or Volvos, they are also lumbering up overhead bridges to take nice portraits of speeding cards.
So, besides Santa taking notes on who’s good or bad, so are the man in blue.

Opt-out anti-spamming not effective?

Couple of months back, I mentioned about IDA’s proposal for a opt-out method for antispam legislation. The model they planned to take was based on the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act that went into effect in Jan 1 in the USA.
This model is pro-business and consumers need to opt-out of marketers’ lists inorder to be free from spam, ideally.
However, this MacCentral article suggests that it is far from curbing spam. Ironically, the past year showed increase in spamming.
bq. But some antispam activists assert that the law has aided spammers because CAN-SPAM requires recipients to opt out of unwanted commercial e-mail by contacting each sender, instead of forcing senders to get opt-in permission. The federal law also hurt spam-fighting efforts by pre-empting parts of some tougher state laws, including a California opt-in requirement, said Laura Atkins, president of the SpamCon Foundation.
It also pushes spammers to be more creative in their efforts.
bq. Spammers, apparently in response to CAN-SPAM, changed tactics this year, said Andrew Lochart, director of product marketing at Postini. More spammers are using so-called zombies networks — computers hijacked with Trojan horse programs — to send spam, and spammers are using increasingly sophisticated directory harvest attacks to spam corporate mail servers, he said.
I have not heard about what will eventually be the proposed law in Singapore, but come Jan 1 2005, with the start of the FTA with the USA, more details will definitely be revealed. Hopefully there is a change in the direction IDA was proposing.

Tragedy across Asia

2004 is ending on a tragic note. A deadly earthquake and the resulting tsunami hit many parts of Asia causing tens of thousands of death with more numbers being reported as time passes.
No words can describe the scale of this natural catastrophe and the tragedy that many across Asia are feeling now. I wish that relief can come to those who need them most swiftly and nothing else happen in the near future.

Know your law – Use of mobile telephone while driving

Got this via Clubsnap
update – an easier to understand faq about what constitutes handphone driving
bq.. Use of mobile telephone while driving
65B. – (1) Any person who, being the driver of a motor vehicle on a road or in a public place, uses a mobile telephone while the motor vehicle is in motion shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both, and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
(2) In this section –
“mobile telephone” includes any hand held equipment which is designed or capable of being used for telecommunication;
“use”, in relation to a mobile telephone, means to hold it in one hand while using it to communicate with any person.
p. Something which I always wanted to know.

Happy holidays

Yes Happy Holidays. Nothing tells me more that it is the Festive Season when the jams start at all hours, at all places. Not just traffic jams. Human jams. I can’t walk along the streets without rubbing elbows, smelling BOs and seeing plenty of contorted faces. If I can see myself as I walk, it will be like using Photoshop’s Liquified tool and adding tons of Forward Warp or Pucker.
I get grumpy.
Driving is even worse. Almost every road is like Orchard road. Cars are everywhere. And with my commitment with the choir, I have no choice but to go down town every evening this week for caroling.
This particular hotel made the choir jump from restaurants to restaurants — 4 places in 40 minutes. Basically it was 3-5 songs per area. What kind of enjoyment will your customers get? And they have the cheek to complain about us not starting punctually when we sang more than we contractually should. Next year’s contract will have clear points stating our performance condition, plus a shorter time per session.
[ thoughts of an angry man which shouldn’t be there ]
Joy to the ****ing world.
Oh wait. This is suppose to be a posting about Happy Holidays. Forgive and forget. Patience and tolerance. Love.
Yah. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
PS: Besides being a Sore Loser, I think I am a very angry person.

I'm a sore loser

The last thing I wanted to end a nite was to be beaten not once, but three times straight in a match-made Big Team Battle. For the non-initiated, that is one of the reason why Halo 2 is such a popular game on XBox. Big Team Battle allows a maximum of 8 guys in a team to challenge another team on objective-driven games, like Capture the Flag, Assault or the no-brainer, Team Slayer.
Team Slayer as its name refer, basically you try to out-slay your opposing team. Kill as many and die as little. No brainer.
Assault and Capture the Flag are a wee bit more challenging. You need to work together as a team to attack or defend.
Cut the story short, my team got our asses kicked 3 glorious times and I had enough for a night off ass-kicking and went off. Maybe the opposing team played together much longer ( we unfortunately were paired up twice ) or we just sucked. The only game we won that night, we almost lost too. Was yelling my head off for support and only after some friendlies came did we managed to pull one win today.
Man, I hate to lose. I lost a rank straight after gaining one.
Maybe I’ll just pop in again to beat some crap out of some people before going for a good night’s rest.