Sunday, 30 October 2011


Lobangclub is an Apple app that has just been mentioned in the newspapers because they were comparing prices of cigerettes in Singapore. HSA did not like that.

Lobangclub comes from the Malay term “lobang” which means “tips”, is an app that allows users to scan a barcode and compare its prices with other local merchants.  Lobangclub is currently incubated at the Innovation Centre of Nanyang Technological Univeristy (NTU) and was launched a few weeks ago

How it works:

Choose a product, scan the barcode, compare prices with other local stores around you, decide where you want to purchase your item. As simple as that. The app also allows you to follow your friends and see their activities. The focus of Lobangclub, unlike other deal or bargain sites, is entirely community based and focuses on everyday prices for things that you buy.

Pros :
(1) It is power of the consumer and collectively strength of many. Similar to SummonsAuntie and such social media, it only works if a lot of people get on board.
(2) It breaks down the walls of mis-information and advertising perceptions.
(3) It is a locally based and Singapore focus app.
(4) The bar code scanner is pretty quick and accurate.

Cons :
(1) This type of app is not new, there was one based in UK and another setup by Singtel which I liked, but was then limited only to Singtel customers
(2) Seems to have an limited number of choices for some products. Like when I searched rice, it gave me Want Want rice crackers instead.
(3) Repetition of some of the products, when I searched for beer, more than one entry for Tiger was inside.  
(4) It kicked me out of the app when I was trying to enter the price of one of the products.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

OMG Margin Call !

Margin Call The Movie

Margin Call does offer a highly realistic view of Wall Street firms. Characters like Paul Bettany's hard-bitten player display the mixture of insecurity and hauteur that fuel the financial services world. Zachary Quinto, Spock in the most recent Star Trek, is a ph.d. in physics from M.I. T. who now runs financial models instead of figuring out how to keep spaceships aloft. The higher the rung on the organizational ladder, the better the suits and haircuts -- and the less the executives seem to know or care about how the company is making its money. Jeremy Irons, who plays the vulpine CEO John Tuld, parachutes in via helicopter, and doesn't deign to descend to the floor where the action is taking place.
Like real people on Wall Street, the characters in Margin Call are very interested in making money, and not much else. The long-term vision extends about as far as the year-end bonus for the junior people, and for the current quarter at the top. And they're fatalistic; some trades work, some trades don't. Some people make money, and others lose it. People get downsized or blow up all the time. If you're asked to be a scapegoat, take the generous severance package, cash in your options and move on. In order to ensure the survival of the century-old firm, the remaining executives have to dump huge positions of mortgage-backed securities and other toxic assets quickly. Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), a 34-year veteran of the firm, argues that doing so will hurt the firm's customers and clients. But in a crisis, firms worry about themselves first and everybody else last.
The film is sharply written and fast-paced despite the absence of fireworks. In the end, though, Margin Call lets Wall Streeters off easily — and not because there's no single, Madoff-esque villain. The model and the markets went against the company. But the story was never that simple. You can blame policy and government and the Fed and Black Swans all you want. But in the end, the financial crisis of 2008 was the product of a series of extremely stupid moves made by people who should have known better, and who were paid huge amounts to know much, much better. Lehman Brothers could have survived the meltdown in the markets in 2008 — if only its executives and board hadn't decided that running an investment bank with 30:1 leverage was a great idea.
Wall Street II resolved with an improbable happy ending. By contrast, Margin Call has a more realistic denouement. The firm survives, and some of the traders and executives still have their jobs. But they're diminished, demoralized, in need of a hug and support. Yet nobody seems to be going home to anybody. In one of the final scenes, Spacey's character is weeping over his dead dog in the front yard of his ex-wife's house.
An obvious metaphor? Sure. On Wall Street, you may have temporary allies, colleagues and co-workers. But if you want a true friend, you'd better get a dog.

Monday, 24 October 2011

LTK : Better, faster and perhaps cheaper ministers ! Michael Porter's Competitive Advantage !

As the last speaker to speak from the opposition bench, Low -- the MP for Aljunied GRC -- took aim at Minister Lim Swee Say’s oft-repeated slogan of “cheaper, better, faster” and said that  “perhaps we will start to see better, faster ministers at work and perhaps cheaper (ones) after the ministerial salary review is completed”.

He also urged the government to ask itself why Singaporeans commonly perceived the government to be "more concerned with paying its ministers well than about the welfare of the people."    

In reply, Lim – who is the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office as well as chief of the NTUC labour movement —said that his “cheaper, better, faster” slogan was referring to products and services and that comparisons were unfair.

“There’s a fundamental difference,” he said in his speech. “What the NTUC and the tripartite partners and pursuing are cheaper, better, faster products and services, and a cheaper, better, faster economy, not a cheaper, better, faster workforce.”

[Commentary : LSS has a lame explanation on his cheaper, better, faster comparison. The NTUC has kept on talking about re-training and re-development workers to improve and aspire to meet the slogan, so shouldn't the Ministers also aspire to improve and make less mistakes (Mas Selamat, Transportation woes, crazy COE and HDB prices, floods in Orchard/Tanglin/Serangoon).

I think Singaporean did a great job voting in the WP's members to counter and challenge the pre-vailing group think, the WP understand Singaporeans' worries and anxieties. More WP and removal of lousy, slow and expensive Ministers in 2016!]

Monday, 10 October 2011

Apple : The Genius of Steve Jobs

[Commentary] The Genius of Steve Jobs is to make complex technology beautiful, simple and accesible to the masses. No complex manuals, no slow startup sequence, no dreaded blue screen... Just reliable, intuitive and a pleasure to use. And in the process, become the game-changer and creative-destroyer in the music industry, books industry and mobile phone industry. If only he had more time in the world to revolutionize the airline, automotive and health-care industries..... Think Different - your legacy will live forever....

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein.

Apple Inc received orders for more than one million iPhone 4S phones in the first 24 hours, topping the previous record of 600,000, the company said on Monday.
In the United States the iPhone 4S is being carried by three U.S. operators for the first time with Sprint Nextel joining AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless as an iPhone seller.
Orders started just over a day after the company announced the death of its co-founder Steve Jobs.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Property : Couples fake divorce to earn extra $3K monthly rent

Married couples in Singapore have been faking their divorce in order to buy new flats to be rented. The flats rentals typically earn them an extra $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

Vice-president of real estate company Propnex, Mr Lim Yong Hock, told Lianhe Wanbao that such practices began about 10 years ago.

Property agents have been puzzled when couples show up to view a house together, despite being divorced.
After the couples proceed with the divorce, one party will keep the existing flat which they co-own, and the other party would buy another flat. One of the flats will then be rented.
According to Singapore's regulations, a single person above the age of 35 is eligible to own a flat on their own.

Mr Lim added that such arrangements between couples are hard to see through and even harder to foil.
In an earlier report last year by China Daily, couples in Shanghai had also faked their divorce and obtained fake divorce certificates to buy properties after the legislation passed a regulation which only allowed families to purchase only one apartment.

[Commentary] The things that people do to make $$$.. But don't forget once it is made legal, the other party may rescind on the promises and you may be left holding the debt and liability... remember the lawyer who ran off with millions of dollars and abandoned his wife and children???

Sunday, 2 October 2011