Thursday, March 31, 2011

Free unlimited full version of Ashampoo Burning Studio Elements 10 (limited time offer)

Right now, Computeractive is offering free exclusive license (normal price US$29.99) for the famous Ashampoo Burning Studio Elements 10. This offer will end by 14 April 2011.

Ashampoo Burning Studio Elements 10 provides the straightforward, fast and effective way to burn movies, music and data easily. It is a handy tool to create data discs, burn backups, rip music, create audio CDs, burn already existing film files on Blu-ray Disc, create/burn disc images, create bootable discs, erase data in rewritable discs, design and print labels and covers, etc.

Note that there are several versions of Ashampoo Burning Studio software available for download:
  • Ashampoo Burning Studio Elements 10 is based on Version 10 of the software
  • Ashampoo Burning Studio 2010 Advanced is based on Version 9 of the software
  • Ashampoo Burning Studio Free is based on Version 6 of the software
This Ashampoo Burning Studio Elements 10 can be upgraded with a discounted price to Ashampoo Burning Studio 10 (premium edition) which contains more features, including the Autoplay Editor module for building auto-start data discs with attractive interactive menus.

Click here to download your full version of Ashampoo Burning Studio Element 10 for free. You will need an email address to receive your free unlimited time license key from Ashampoo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shaolin soccer - from movie to comics to games to reality

Shaolin soccer (少林足球) is about applying Shaolin Kung Fu to play soccer.

In 2001, Hong Kong comedy actor and director Stephen Chow (周星驰) came out with the famous Shaolin Soccer film. In less than a year time, a 4 volume Shaolin Soccer comics was published in Hong Kong. Following that, several Shaolin Soccer computer games also appear in the market.

Now, you guess what? The actual legendary Shaolin Temple (少林寺) in Dengfeng city (登封市),Henan province (河南省) of China has established a Shaolin Youth Soccer Academy (少林青少年足球学校) in October 2010.

And who is the chief coach of this soccer academy? He is not a monk, nor a Chinese. He is Tchami, a former Cameroon international player.

Yes, Shaolin soccer has now come to reality. Among its main mission is to improve China's soccer skill, with the hope to bring some of the Shaolin warrior-monks to be international soccer superstars some day.

"Shaolin Kung Fu and football are similar in some aspects, especially the brave and diligent spirit of kung fu which I think will help promote the level of Chinese football," said Shi Yanlu (释延鲁), the chief coach of Shaolin warrior-monks training base.

We all know that although China has been superb in various sport games, they have never been outstanding in the soccer arena. Can we see China make its way into the World Cup championship with Shaolin soccer? Time will tell.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clearing the doubt on My First Home Scheme a.k.a. Skim Rumah Pertamaku (SRP)

My First Home Scheme (a.k.a. Skim Rumah Pertamaku, SRP) was just launched by the government of Malaysia, aimed to help younger segments to buy their first home.

Without the scheme, most bank only offer up to a maximum of 90% financing for housing loan, and the home buyer need to prepare for the first 10% of the house, partially paid as the down payment or booking fee before S&P agreement is signed, with the rest payable within a very short period of time right after S&P agreement signed.

Under the scheme, mortgage borrower can obtain 100% housing loan from the participating banks. Cagamas SRP Berhad (a unit under Bank Negara) will guarantee the bank on financing above the 90% level. Borrower is liable to the bank for the full financing amount (up to 100%), and the guarantee indemnifies the bank for any loss incurred as a result of financing above 90%.

Here are some of the information I gathered about this My First Home Scheme:

  • Borrower must be an employee in the private sector (not applicable to self-employed, non-employed or government servant)
  • Borrower must be employed for more than 6 months with the same employer (not applicable for employee still under probation period)
  • Borrower must be a Malaysian
  • Borrower gross monthly income must not exceed RM3000
  • Borrower's age must not exceed 35 years old
  • The property must be a residential unit
  • The property can be completed or being developed
  • The property can be from developer or from existing owner
  • The property must be the first property under the borrower's name
  • The property must be occupied by the borrower (must not be rented out or keep vacant)
  • Cost of property within the range of RM100k to RM220k
  • Not applicable to refinancing existing property
  • Available for both conventional and Islamic housing loans
  • Not available for flexible home loan or any housing loan with redrawable features
  • Compulsory fire insurance/takaful. Depends on the bank if MRTA/MRTT/MLTA is also compulsory or not
  • Maximum financing tenure is 30 years
  • Monthly financing repayment amount should not be more than 1/3 of borrower’s monthly gross income. This may be increased to a maximum of 1/2 of borrower's monthly gross income, subjected to approval from the bank.
  • Joint application is only applicable to family member only (spouse or siblings)
  • All applicants in joint application must meet all the requirements above, including citizenship, first home, employment, age, income criteria, etc.
Participating banks of this My First Home Scheme include:
  • Affin Bank
  • Alliance Bank
  • Ambank
  • Bank Islam
  • Bank Muamalat
  • CIMB Bank
  • EON Bank
  • Hong Leong Bank
  • Maybank
  • OCBC Bank
  • Public Bank
  • RHB
  • Standard Chartered
  • UOB
Click here to go to the official website of My First Home Scheme.

Disclaimer: The above information is gathered from several reliable sources. I have no guarantee nor liability on its total correctness. Please verify the information by yourself.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Earth Hour @ 8.30pm this Saturday 26 March 2011 - go beyond the hour

Time is moving fast, and another year has past since I last posted about Earth Hour. Yes, it is back again to be happened on this coming Saturday 26 March 2011. The time remains fixed at 8.30pm.

This year, the theme is about "going beyond the hour". Well, this is not talking about switching off your light for more than 1 hour. This is about using the Earth Hour event to commit to a meaningful action, be it big or small, that will sustain for the future of our planet earth. And this echoes well to what I wrote on my Earth Hour article here last year.

Note that this year, there is a slight change to the Earth Hour logo to reflect the theme. Compare with the logo in my previous Earth Hour article and you'll see the different.

You can share with the whole world about your action of going beyond the hour here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bank Negara imposes higher income requirement for credit card holders

Bank Negara has just imposed some new measures on credit cards, with objective "to promote prudent financial management and responsible business practices".

Now, you need to have a minimum income of RM24,000 per annum in order to be eligible to apply for new credit card, compared with the previous RM18,000 per annum.

In addition, if your income is less than RM36,000 per annum, you can only hold credit cards from a maximum of 2 issuers, and your maximum combined credit limit per issuer shall not exceed 2x your monthly income.

This will affect at least 50% of existing credit card holders in Malaysia, as "currently 50% of 3.2 million credit card holders have income below RM36,000".

I think this is a good measure, as long as the merchants also accept for alternative card payment mode, such as debit cards, charge cards (American Express, Diners Club, ...) or ATM cards (MEPS, e-POS, ...).

After all, credit card is meant for convenient to make cashless payment, and not for making spending that we can't affort to repay in near future.

There will be tighter security for credit card transactions too.

Effective 1 January 2012, transaction alerts via Short Messaging Service (SMS) will be implemented by card issuers for their card holders after transactions are performed. But who will bear the cost of the SMS sending? I hope that it is not the card holders.

On top of that,  Personal Identification Number (PIN) verification for all card transactions will be imposed from 1 January 2015 onwards. This is a good measure, especially for unattended transactions such as petrol payment at the pump station. However, I wonder how this is going to apply for credit cards issued overseas. We do have many expatriates and tourists holding foriegn credit cards!

So, apart from the credit card holders, these new measures will most probably also affect:

  • CIMB Direct Access - which target to fresh graduates.
  • Mobile operators - they will have increased income in SMS soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) today

After about 1 year of public testing since its 1st release of Platform Preview to developers on March 2010, Microsoft finally releases Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) today, in conjunction with the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) 2011 in Austin, Texas.

IE9 improves on support to the latest web technologies nowadays, including HTML5, CSS3, SVG, XHTML, and a new Javascript engine called "Chakra" (is this developed by Indian developers??). It also features GPU-powered hardware acceleration for better and faster graphical and video support.

However, IE9 is only made available for Windows 7 and Windows Vista, and is not supporting Windows XP. This means that if you are still using Windows XP and want to use a modern web browser, you are forced to upgrade to later version of Windows, or you better change your favourite browser to the upcoming Firefox 4 or Chrome 9, which will also support for the latest web technologies, and at the same time still available to Windows XP.

Click here to download Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to pay Unifi bill online using credit card

Unifi bill payment account is different from Telekom or Streamyx payment account.

There are 2 places in the Internet where you can make payment to your Unifi HSBB bills with your credit card.

If you have a Maybank credit card, you can login to Maybank2u, go to Bill Payment section and make a payment to the payee named as "Telekom Malaysia Berhad - Unifi". Of course, you can also pay with your balance in your Maybank account there.

Another place in the Internet to make payment to your Unifi HSBB bills with your credit card is in the My Unifi Online Customer Centre -

After login to MyUnifi OCC, go to the MyBill tab, you will see a blue "Make Payment" button at the bottom of the page.

There is a trick here. Before you click on the "Make Payment" button, you need to set your web browser to allow for pop-up within as the payment form is a pop-up page.

After clicking on "Make Payment" button, this is what you will see. You can then make payment with any of your credit cards there.

Note that your credit card information will be sent via secured HTTPS channel.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Upgraded my home Internet from Streamyx BB Deal 110 to Unifi VIP5 HSBB

I have just upgraded my home Internet from Streamyx BlockBuster Deal 110 (RM110/month) to Unifi VIP5 so-called High Speed Broadband - HSBB (RM149/month).

This upgrade increases the Internet bandwidth from 1024/384 kbps to 5120/5120 kbps, and also includes telephony voice service similar to BB Deal, with additional free Caller Line Identity Presentation (CLIP) service and a free Motorola DECT cordless phone. On top of that, there is also HyppTV service with its own separate bandwidth.

Although the Unifi VIP5 HSBB of RM149/month is considered expensive compared with the high speed broadband Internet in some other countries, I think it is still a good deal to upgrade from Streamyx BB Deal 110 by paying extra RM39/month to TM for much higher bandwidth, phone CLIP (identify the calling number) and IPTV.

However, there is also a trade-off. Unifi phone bills don't come with free itemized call log detail. It just gives you lump-sum figure on the call charges.

This is my tested Internet bandwidth after upgraded to Unifi VIP5 HSBB:

Unlike Streamyx which uses the copper line, Unifi is using fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) cable. I place my termination unit behind my monitor.

Note that the power adapter in between the termination unit and the fibre wall socket you see in the picture is actually belongs to my monitor and nothing to do with Unifi.

I put the Unifi premise gateway (D-Link DIR-615) on top of my computer.

Note that I also make use of Aztech HL110E 200Mbps HomePlug AV to connect the line to my TV some distance away. There is another HL110E near the TV, and the network between the 2 units is linked with existing electric wiring in the house. In fact, I intended to buy the HL110EP model, but unfortunately not available in the computer shop.

One "disadvantage" of Unifi is that, there are quite some equipments which need a few power points. If you want your telephone to function 24x7, the broadband termination unit as well as the telephone power supply need to be always switched on. The rest of the equipments can be switched off when not in use.

The first thing after Unifi installation is to change the default operator and admin password of the DIR-615. Operator is a more priviledged account in DIR-615 than admin, who can see and configure more options.

I placed my Unifi HyppTV Set-Top-Box (STB) beside my Astro Decoder. I think I will still subscribe to Astro as it contains much more interesting channels than HyppTV at the moment.

And this is the Unifi HyppTV channel selector screen (Channel 100) shown in my TV. I noticed that the RTM channels in HyppTV is sharper than Astro's.

There is some Video On Demand (VOD) titles in HyppTV, which can be purchased at around RM8 per movie for 24 hours unlimited access.

And I found out that HyppTV supports Picture-in-Picture (PIP) display inside Astro screen. Of course, the other way round to PIP Astro inside HyppTV is also supported.

Currently, TM is promoting Unifi by waiving the RM200 installation charge and also the 1st month subscription fee (for online registration from their website). However, Unifi is only available in certain area only and not yet rolled out nationwide.

If you no longer need your old telephone and Streamyx service, you might need to go to TM Point to terminate them after successful Unifi installation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Digital Mall dmCard

It seems to be a norm in the retail industry nowadays to come out with some sort of membership system and give you yet another plastic card to fill up your wallet (or your drawer).

Probably I'm a bit late to know, and just realised that Digital Mall in PJ has also come out with its dmCard now.

So, what does this Digital Mall dmCard offer?
  • Admission priviledge to half yearly member's day Pre-Sales event
  • 3 hours free parking with purchase of RM100 and above (worth RM2)
  • Free shuttle bus service to Millenium Square and Asia Jaya LRT station (seems like this is free for non-member too)
  • Special price on their online Virtual Mall purchase
  • Discount from participated outlets
  • Free RM5 Sushi King voucher (when you collect your card)
  • ...
The membership is free, and the expiry date is pretty short (until December this year).

You can apply for dmCard either physically at their counter in Digital Mall ground floor, or register online in their website.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Online registered my kid to Standard 1 in primary school

If your family has a child at the age of 5 or 6, now it is the time to register your kid to Standard 1 in local primary school for year of entry 2012-2013. The registration is open from March until April 2011.

If you are staying in Selangor, you can register your kid online with the web registration service of JPN Selangor: Pengurusan Murid Tahun 1 Online JPN Selangor - Permohonan Penempatan Murid Tahun 1

You will need to key-in the parents detail as well as the kid's detail. Then, you can pick the primary school of your choice for application. At the end of the process, you'll be given a PIN number.

The website could be quite slow. If the page jammed for more than 10 minutes, you can try to click the Back button to go back to previous step, and resubmit again.

The online registration is only half of the whole process. After that, you will need to bring the following documents to the school you wish to register your kid for verification. Acceptance of the registration will depend on JPN Selangor.
  • Birth certificate (original & photocopy)
  • MyKid (original & photocopy)
  • Parents' MyKad (original & photocopy)
  • Marriage certificate of parents (original & photocopy)
  • Utility bill with your address (TNB/water/telephone)
  • Health record card of the child with vaccination records
  • Self-addressed envelop of 4"x9" with 60 sen postage stamp
You can check for the processing and acceptance status at the same website above (with the 4th link in the menu).

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