Monday, April 27, 2015

Change Google Now cards temperature display from Fahrenheit to Celsius

If you have an Android smartphone with Google Now, and you would like to change the temperature display in your Google Now cards showing weather information of your favourite place from Fahrenheit to Celsius, or vice versa, I'll show you how I did it in my HTC One M8 running on Android Lollipop version 5.0.1.

Firstly, locate the 3 little dots on the top right corner of the weather card. Tap on it.

You will be asked 3 questions. The first question is whether you are interested in weather updates for the location, answer Yes, then swipe left to answer the second question.

The second question "what temperature units do you prefer?" is exactly the place for you to tell Google Now to display the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Make your choice and then swipe left again for the third question.

Answer Yes to "continue to get weather updates". Then tap on the "X" on the right hand side of the question to return to Google Now cards screen.

Once you have answered these questions, you can find them in Google Now customize setting. To locate it, tap on the three bars on the left of Google to open the Google Now menu.

Then, tap on Customize.
Lastly, tap on "Everything Else".

You will be able to change your preference on temperature units here too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Vote your survey choice for the 4 EPF proposals

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF, a.k.a. Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja, KWSP) has put up an online survey in their website at for its members to vote for their preference to the 4 proposals they've put up.

The online survey starts from 21 April 2015 until 5 May 2015. You need to login to their i-Akaun system in order to participate in this important survey.

The 4 EPF proposals are as follow:

Proposal 1:  To raise the age for full withdrawal from current 55 to 60.

  • Option 1: To increase the minimum age for full withdrawal gradually from 55 to 60 in stages, over a 15-year period starting 2016 until 2031. The minimum age for full withdrawal to increase by 1 for every 3 years.
  • Option 2: To continue to allow for full withdrawal at the age of 55, but if you are still working and still contributing to EPF after 55, all subsequent contributions are locked in the fund until the age of retirement of 60.
What is the impact?

For option 1, your EPF money will be locked down and cannot be fully withdrawn for a longer period of time. If EPF performs badly and pays lousy dividend, you have no choice but to just accept it. Currently, you are able to make a full withdrawal of EPF at the age of 55, and you have your own choice to get a better fund manager to manage your fund, or to self manage your fund with your own investment.

For option 2, your EPF money can be set free at 55, and then zerorized and reaccumulates from 55 to 60.

Proposal 2: To collect EPF contributions from both employee and employer at the minimum amount based on the declared minimum wage. The minimum wage is currently RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for East Malaysia.

What is the impact?

If you are having a basic salary below the minimum wage, but total monthly income above the minimum wage after commission, your monthly EPF contributions will increase.

This means your monthly disposable income will decrease, but your total actual income will increase as your boss need to contribute more into your EPF account.

This proposal will not affect you if your basic salary is already above the level of minimum wage.

Proposal 3: To continue to pay dividend to your EPF account until the age of 100, if you don't make a full withdrawal after your age of retirement.

What is the impact?

Currently, EPF will continue to pay dividend to your EPF account until the age of 75 if your account is still active after the age of retirement.

This will be good for you if you trust EPF with your retirement fund until you die.

This will be bad for all other EPF members, as your dividend will be diluted by old folks with active EPF account.

Proposal 4: To introduce option for fully Syariah-compliant fund in addition to the existing EPF retirement scheme.

What is the impact?

The performance of the existing scheme and the new Syariah-compliant scheme might not be the same, and the effort of EPF fund managers on the 2 schemes might not be equal.

Are the members allowed to switch from one scheme to another from time to time?

If you are an EPF member, it is important to vote for your choice in this online survey, as the final decision made and enforced will have long term impact on you, your family, your children, and all subsequent generations.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Comparison table for Samsung UHD, Smart, LED and Plasma TVs

Samsung produces quite a lot of flat panel TV models, which can be categorized as the 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, and 9000 series.

Normally, the higher the number, the more features, the better in visual and audio quality, and the higher in price too.

It is still quite difficult to compare among them, without putting them together in a same table for side-by-side comparison.

Well, I found the table below (click it to enlarge) in a booklet published by Samsung called 2014 TV Collection. Perhaps the 2015 edition will be available later in the year.

This table does not provide the full set of feature comparison, but better than none.

For normal consumer, we would probably look into whether the TV model has the following or not:
  • 3D movie support
  • Resolution (HD = 1280x720, full HD 1080p = 1920x1080, 4k UHD = 3840x2160)
  • Screen panel (normal or Ultra Clear)
  • Number of built-in HDMI ports
  • Number of USB ports
  • Built-in wireless LAN support
  • Multi-link screen (screen can split into 2: one side is the TV, another side is web browsing or app. Some models can split into 4.)
  • Sound output (standard = 2x10W, enhanced = 2x10W + woofer)
  • Dynamic dimming technology
  • Flat panel or curved panel
  • Instant on (need very short time to turn on)
  • Soccer mode
  • Voice control
  • Built-in camera and motion control
  • Smart Evolution / future ready (can be upgraded by attaching an Evolution Kit)
I think the 7000 series is a good balance between features and price.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

How to check if a merchant in Malaysia is eligible to collect GST from you

A merchant in Malaysia can only collect the goods and services tax (GST) from its customers after it has registered with the Royal Malaysian Customs Department as GST taxpayer and obtained a unique GST ID.

The merchant need to print out its company name, company full address, and GST ID on its tax invoice with serial number to its customers. The tax invoice could be a full tax invoice with customer's name and address, or a simplified tax invoice without the customer's name and address (i.e. cash sales).

If the merchant did not registered with the Royal Malaysian Customs Department as GST taxpayer, or does not issue tax invoice (either full or simplified) in valid format to its customers, it is not eligible to collect GST from the customers.

We can check for the registration detail of a GST ID in the website to ensure that the GST ID is valid and the registered merchant name belongs to the right supplier which we purchased the goods/services from.

You need to click on the "Lookup GST Status" link after you reached the screen as below:

Beside checking using GST ID, we can also check for the GST registration detail by using the merchant's business registration number or company name.

You need to click on one of the 3 radio buttons to select checking by which criteria.

Then, key in the search item and hit Enter. The result will be shown below.

I found that there are a lot of rooms of improvement for this online GST registration checking system, including:
  • This website is not mobile friendly. It lacks a mobile user interface when accessed by handphone or tablet.
  • We cannot access to the lookup screen directly, and must go through the main page and click the "Lookup GST Status" link. The system should have a direct link to reduce one step of using it.
  • Suggest to have a mobile app beside this website. The mobile app should have OCR function for us to scan for the GST ID / company name / company registration number from the tax invoice using the phone's camera, so that we don't need to manually key-in the information to perform the search.

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