Subject: A Heartfelt Story
To All American Voters,
I am a senior citizen. During the Clinton Administration I had an extremely good and well paying job.
I took numerous vacations and had several vacation homes.
Since President Bush took office, I have watched my entire life change for the worse.
I lost my job.
I lost my two sons in that terrible Iraqi War.
I lost my homes.
I lost my health insurance.
As a matter of fact I lost virtually everything and became homeless.
Adding insult to injury, when the authorities found me living like an animal, instead of helping me, they arrested me.
I will do anything that Senator Kerry wants to insure that a Democrat is back in the White House come next year.
Bush has to go.
I just thought you would like to know how one senior citizen views the Bush Administration.
Thank you for taking time to read my letter.
Andy Ho of The Straits Times says that the new music piracy law is fair play. (Reproduced below for discussion because the article will disappear from their site soon)
What do YOU think?
Here are some other possible reasons I can think of to account for the music industry's decline:
1. Competition with other forms of entertainment
2. Poor quality product
3. Insistence on sticking to an out-of-date CD format when people are listening to music differently and just want to get per-song downloads
4. High prices and making consumers buy an entire album when only one song is good
5. Suing their own customers instead of winning them over
6. Making legit customers pissed off with pain-in-the-ass Copy-Control CDs that cannot work in all audio devices and cannot be easily ripped into mp3 players like the iPod.
7. No viable alternative for users who want paid downloads (until iTunes came along)
8. Sales have not declined, shipments have, because retailers are now ordering what they think they need, and not eating the overrun
9. Britney Spears
Oct 29, 2004
New music piracy law is fair play
By Andy Ho
THE Singapore Parliament last week sought to amend the Copyright Act to align it with American law as part of Singapore's obligations under its bilateral free trade pact with the United States.
Many of the proposed provisions cover the illegal downloading of music, no surprise since the Recording Industry Association of America is an aggressive trade group that has influenced recent changes to US copyright law.
Under the amendments, unauthorised downloading of a 'commercial scale' will be deemed a criminal act. Several lawyers, this newspaper reported, criticised this as being unclear and unhelpful. In fact, the proposed changes make good law.
Here are some other interesting links that explore filesharing, copyright and music sales decline:
Lelong lelong! SMEs, you can now buy our ogirinal softwares at 40% discount! So you can stop buying your pasar malam edition of MS Office. Better buy soon, or your company may kena busted under the new copyright law.
Wait, where you going? Linux and Open Source? Don't listen to them. Closed Source is still the best!
From: fishbuff (sammyboy forums)
please lah.. for most SMEs, even if they do earn profits and the bosses wont spend much on the office, employees much less on IT. They will "divest" to something else. i used to work in a air logistics SME in the IT. They have 40 employees and bought 5 copies of MsWord; one for the boss, one for the secretary, and 3 to float around 38 staffs. So if staff B want to use MSWord, I have to uninstall from Staff A whose PC has Msword and install into Staff B's PC. This idea came from the HR/Admin manager, who was infamous for HER sheer draconian style of management. Funny thing is; she was the wife of a bedok church's pastor. talkabout hypocrisy.
anyway, even if u give them linux, they won't know how to use it. Everyone here is psychoed to use windows based products. We ran freight and accounting softwares off a netware OS in a IBM cheap server. heck, Company won't even want to do raid 1. expect the IT staff to work miracles. But the boss can fly first class and have lots of entertainment claims.
SMEs cheer software discounts
By SHARON DE CASTRO and CHAN CHI-LOONG
SMALL medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore have welcomed the recent initiative by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore to help businesses move away from using non-original software.
The scheme has been designed to help SMEs cope with the costs of complying with tougher copyright laws set to be implemented here at the beginning of next year.
Under the new Business Software Licensing Programme announced last week, discounts of up to 40 per cent will be offered to SMEs on software from Adobe, Autodesk, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec until the end of the year.
If you cannot figure it out by now, this link may help.
Thank you, mr brown, for your article, "Poetry with swear words" (Oct 22). It gives me the opportunity to raise an issue that has been troubling me.
I do think there should be a body that can assert control over the profane and raunchy music being played publicly in department stores and other public areas, where shoppers are assaulted by a barrage of expletives while trying to pick out a gift for a child's birthday or toiletries for the family.
Stores should have some respect for shoppers who may not share their liberal views on music. I have had to leave a store because of the foul lyrics coming over the PA system and have written in to complain.
Yet, I find such vulgar music becoming the norm in many shops, especially smaller outlets.
I hope the larger, more reputable stores will look into the music they play, so that we need not worry about the music's impact on teenagers and young children who patronise these outlets.
I have become so paranoid about all this rap and hip-hop music, that I was overwrought when I heard a similar noise coming from my son's room recently — only to discover, with much relief, that it was only a funny ditty about a toothbrush!
Wow, this Catherine Lim really knows how to write good, man. She should write some books, man. Oh, wait—
Plus a response at Sg_review.
The debate on the ministerial salaries is as good an example as any to elucidate a point I now wish to make, to draw attention to what I feel is the beginning of a serious problem in the government-people relationship, which threatens to negate all the gains we have made so far in the new dispensation of Singapore 21.
What is happening, as demonstrated so vividly in the debate, is the persistence of a government strategy of managing public dissent that had worked well in the past and is clearly assumed to work just as well in the present (and possibly the future).
Through this strategy, the Government ensures that while people are publicly allowed any extent of disagreement, privately and quietly, their views can be disregarded.
The skill of the strategy is apparent in an analysis of its stage-by-stage operation.
First, the Government, having made a major policy decision, throws it open for public discussion, allowing, even encouraging the people to voice their views freely through the permitted channels such as the forum pages of the newspapers and the face-to-face feedback sessions with their Members of Parliament.
The people accordingly respond, often with much spirit and candour.
The Government next waits for the noise to reach a certain level, then steps in to say, with business-like briskness: "Enough. Let's get back to work." Following which, the media duly wrap up the debate, and the people withdraw and return once more to the concerns of their busy lives.
JUST when you thought you have joined the ranks of white iPod coolness, Apple decides to make black the new white.
Witness the U2 Special Edition iPod, in black. Suddenly, my white iPod doesn't look as cool anymore. And iPod accessory makers everywhere are tripping over themselves to make black iPod accessories.
Like screaming girls in a shoe shop sale, we geeks gathered around the computer screen of one of our own, "Ah Beng", as he ordered the black digital music player without blinking an eyelid, his renovation budget be damned. Mission one: U2 iPod ordered. Mission two: Figure out how to tell the wife-to-be that the walk-in shoe cabinet will have to wait till the next bite of the HDB cherry.
Fellow Singaporeans, this is a GLORIOUS DAY for us! We have beaten countries like Pakistan and Iraq in the RSF's (Reporters Without Borders) third annual worldwide index of press freedom!
To see our glorious win, go to the relevant RSF page and then scroll.
No, scroll some more. Scroll some more... just a bit more... right at the bottom. Yes! There we are! Number 147.
As you can see, we narrowly missed beating countries like Democratic Republic of Congo and Bhutan. Never mind, onward we shall climb! This year, we only managed to slip 3 places from the 2003 index where we placed 144th out of 167 countries. With our return to good old media monopolies, I expect us to do much better next year.
Besides, this index did not take into account the fact that we have Asia's best designed newspaper, so that certainly affected our ranking. And some more, USA, Land of the Free, was placed 22nd. So there.
You cannot trust this reporters' organisation anyway, their initials are RSF, but the full name is Reporters Without Borders, which should be RWB. Must be the damn French and their poor spelling.
Media Freedom Survey rank Singapore at bottom 20.
SINGAPORE has slipped down the latest world press freedom ranking, according to international association Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF).
The Republic is now ranked 147th out of 167 countries, three rungs lower than last year, making it the lowest ranked developed country when it comes to press freedom.
Malaysia is ranked 122nd while Indonesia is 117th.
RSF, which has its national branches based mostly in Europe and with offices around the world, released its third annual worldwide press freedom index on Tuesday. (TODAY)
I must agree with mr brown's profound discovery of "Singapore fried noodles" while in Australia.
I, too, have spotted "Singapore fried noodles" in the United States and the United Kingdom.
I was confused when I stopped to ask for directions in Northolt, UK, and a young lad who helped me said: "My most-loved food is Singapore fried noodles, do you like it too?"
I didn't know what to say — it felt foolish to admit I'd never heard of it.
How, and where, did "Singapore fried noodles" originate? Maybe if we adopt the recipe, it'll save us the humiliation when abroad of not knowing our "own" dish.
Giving the excuse that it is not a Singaporean dish would be odd, for it is a favourite in many countries…
Charlie Demerjian of The Inquirer warns: Prepare to get screwed by digital rights management
"The fundamental question is simply this. Why would a consumer want to buy something that has more restrictions and less functionality for more money than current solutions?"
They can't answer the benefit part because there is no benefit. Some execs tried valiantly and used excuses like 'well, interoperability is better than many different incompatible DRM schemes'. Nice try, but answer the question. The execs either have the proverbial clue-proof coating applied way too thick, or they don't get the idea. I don't know which frightens me more, but I do know at least one electronics exec I talked to is clue-proof, and the other is in the rapacious greed category. Let's just assume it depends on the mustelid involved.
Hands up everyone who thinks the RIAA threatening to sue 12 year old girls and octogenarians made them buy more records? Hmm, I see no hands out there. OK, here's an easier one for you. Hands up everyone who feels the poor underpaid RIAA members would starve to death peddling $18 CDs laden with crap if they couldn't trample your rights? Nope, no hands there either.
Now, how about this one. Hands up everyone who would buy more CDs if they actually worked in your car without having to use illegal programs to rip them? Wow, lots of hands there. How about if they were forced to put out good music you wanted rather than what they want you to buy? Wow, more hands. Think it means something? If you are a record exec, or a DLNA member, it means the thieves are barking at your door. Call the lawyers, start the lawsuits.
Sometimes, you get a 404 page and the server hosting the site really lets you know how it feels, doing this day in, day out...
I have never spent this long reading a 404 page. I need to get a life. Now I'm depressed.
You see, I'm just a web server...
-- here I am, brain the size of the universe,
trying to serve you a simple web page,
and then it doesn't even exist!
Where does that leave me?!
I mean, I don't even know you.
Or you could also get my Special Edition coming out soon, in tasteful black and orange. You will get a full collection of my readings of SNE and a few choice songs sung by me. As you can see from the photos provided, the mrbrown Special Edition iPod will also come with a my logo and my signature engraved on the back. It will be worth a lot of money, so better book yours soon.
Yes, it is dangerous to arm an idle mind with Photoshop and a Mac. Incidentally, the new iPod (not mine, Bono and Friends') caused a minor frenzy in the office this morning, resulting in one of our colleagues ordering one online right away. Needless to say, the young man, who is planning to be married and moving into his new flat soon, will have the challenge of telling wifey-to-be that the walk-in shoe cabinet will have to wait for the next renovation cycle, maybe in 2008.
Apple is an evil evil company.
Once more, my intrepid friends and I are joining the BCF/Mazda Pink Ribbon Treasure Hunt, organised by the Breast Cancer Foundation, this coming Sunday. We did it last year and had a hoot(er), so we joined again. As you can see from the photo provided of our entry last year for Best Dressed Car, our decoration and design was too cutting edge for the judges and we did not win that prize to Bangkok.
The Pink Ribbon Treasure Hunt is a treasure hunt on wheels and the cars are decorated with pink ribbons and breast cancer messages. The fun part is actually finding places in Singapore that you never knew existed. The first prize of a trip for two to London is a nice incentive too. Besides, who does not want to help out a worthy cause like raising awareness of Breast Cancer prevention?
The name of our team of four guys is Buxom Buddies. Last year, we were the Busom Buddies, and I believe we lost because we spelled our team name wrongly. This year, we used a dictionary. We will be an unstoppable force this time.
Because they did not want us to have all the fun. our wives joined this year too, as the Breast of Friends (my missus chose the name, we are a witty family). I will be
sacrificing entrusting my car for the missus to drive.
This shot of Ultramama herself was taken the night before the treasure hunt last year, after we inflated too many balloons, and were light-headed and bored. There were 100 balloons on that car, give or take a few that burst.
ms. beautifuk thinks Singapore blogging sucks after watching Get Rea!'s piece on Singapore blogging. You know, the one where Xiaxue and Mr Miyagi got interviewed. Oh, she thought Mr Miyagi looked "vaguely gay" and a recluse.
And all this while, I thought he looked hunky and had lots of chio girlfriends. Ok, I should remember not to call other men "hunky", or else others might think I am vaguely gay too.
When I read an article in Time about American bloggers, I was impressed. Blogging there is an important political tool, it really makes an impact. People actively follow elections and have opinions on it. Here? People follow Korean drama series and have opinions on it. ("blahblahblah so cute!")
Yes, blogging in Singapura is a disappointment. Even the more well-known blogs here are nothing but a big fat flop. All they do is ramble about their personal lives, which to me, is all wrong. Nobody wants to hear the brain-numbing details.
As Dr Bob gleefully points out, there is a virus for the Mac.
MacMerc is not impressed, calling it a script, albeit an evil one. And also one that has to ask authorisation from the administrator of the Mac to run itself. I'd like to see a PC virus that has the same courtesy.
And yes, I have already downloaded Norton's anti-virus definition to catch this little sucker. The first time I've had to run NAV for Mac in years. Unlike my PC, where my anti-virus (and anti-spyware etc) has to be run almost daily.
The new Opener virus (or "Malware") does pose a threat, but that's all it will ever pose. The script (as most educated users are calling it) disables OSX's built-in Firewall, creates a backdoor, downloads a password cracker, and ships your cracked passwords out to a home base (I'm sure it sends out more, but that's the most important item). However, like all scripts which modify system files, Opener must receive authorization from an administrator to run. Yes, this evil script will politely ask you for permission before ransacking your computer. The moral of the story is, don't give access to unknown processes and don't give your admin password to untrusted individuals.
In this case, the only security hole is the user.
"I figure with the degree of access a malicious person would need to have in order to apply this script to my Mac, they could save themselves the trouble and just steal the machine off my desk." ~ Rick
Adri gets a mention on Scole's blog. Too cool.
Makes me proud to be a fellow Mac user.
Adrianna Tan is gonna be famous. She's working at an Apple store (in Singapore?) and writes a passionate blog. I wonder what she thinks of Microsoft Office for the Mac?
...She is Apple's next great evangelist.
Congrats to Aussie blogger Karen Cheng, who's pregnant with Number Two. Plus some tips on how to get your hair smooth and silky the "natural way". See the entries for 22 Oct 2004 and 17 Oct 2004 (you need to get permalinks lah, girl).
Guess who's pregnant again?!? Yep ME!!!
I'm about 5 months in. BabyTwo's sex will be kept a secret until D-day in late March 2005. Callum and BabyTwo will be almost exactly two years apart.
We are SO excited!
I have a feeling that Callum's a real mummy's boy, and that he'll get pretty jealous of the new baby. So I'm trying to get Callum used to the idea that I have a baby in my tummy. But now he just points to his own tummy and says "baby".
Those of you who got all excited about a recent Canon commercial on Channel 5 where a cute girl dives to get a ball and her bikini flew off will be disappointed to know that the model was completely covered up. So you can stop killing the freeze frame on your VCR now. Sheesh, talk about nipple-deprived.
How I know? The model, Angela, said so herself.
And no, I wasn't searching for anything nipple-related when I found the site. Really lah.
My gosh, people are still wondering about the canon ad...a friend sent me a link to a forum, and it was regarding the ad. here's a couple of lines:
"Does anyone know of the recent Canon ad where there was this quite girl diving to get a ball or something and her bikini just flew off? I think the right nip was visible...or maybe my eyes played a trick on me. Does anyone have a video capture of it? "
"dun think got nipple lor.... "
"Can someone pls help us video cap it so that we can carefully scrutinise the scene?"
"lol...i can see evryone opening their eyes big big le...wana spot the 'spot'..i guess..."
"But I would continue in my tireless quest in search for the golden nip..."
HAHAHAHAHA SPOT the spot??? tireless quest?? Dudes... yes i was wearing a nipple sticker and a nude bra on top of that PLUS hollywood tape. No spots to spot! HAHAhahAHah
Jasmine Janice and her friends flip through a medical journal to come up with illnesses to use as excuses for an MC. Blackheads (link removed on blog owner's request) was her choice. Do check out the rest of the site (link removed on blog owner's request), lots of interesting stuff to read. Janice's other half is apparently an Iron Man, and does those running-cycling-swimming events for FUN. I got physically tired even reading the descriptions of the events, like Action Asia, that they took part in. It was also nice to read her sweet posts on their loving relationship. But then I am a Sensitive New Age kind of guy.
I would also like to clarify that I did not spend all this time on her site because of all the Beautiful People (link removed on blog owner's request) featured there (herself included). I only read it for the articles. Thank you.
Damn, that's a lot of Beautiful People.
Update: I did not want to cause Janice (sorry got your name wrong the first time) any worry or make her lock her posts and all that. So I removed the links.
Everyone in the pantry was laughing about Wench's lame vertigo excuse, and making up reasons why we should stay home next week. Clinton said he'd get Tourette's Syndrome; Auntie Joyce said she'd say she was suffering hormonal changes and is turning into a man, or simply say she's weak in the knees since she has a knee problem already. I looked into the medical book they were flipping through and it actually documented quite a few illnesses and conditions.
I carefully selected mine:
Blackheads: Blackheads are small, dark spots (about the size of a pinhead) caused by a small plug in the opening of a follicle (pore).