Singlish or no Singlish?

Well, this is a really old argument. But the minister pointed out something quite true.

Minister Balakrishnan cautions against promoting use of Singlish

SINGAPORE: Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has cautioned against promoting the use of Singlish.

Speaking at the Pre-University Seminar 2008 on Tuesday, Dr Balakrishnan said the move to promote the lingo is a “pet project” by “linguistic elites” that can cause more harm than good.

He said those championing the local lingo are mostly highly educated individuals who are able to effortlessly switch from Singlish to proper English.

“But very few of us, to be honest with you, really have the ability. For most of us, we can only speak one way. So I’ve often felt there’s a bit of intellectual snobbery on the part of people who push Singlish,” Dr Balakrishnan said. (Source: ChannelNewsAsia)

That actually is pretty true now to think of it. But if you think of it from a different point of view, could this be also something to do with the fact that only the people who speak well dare to voice out in public?

And if that is the case, wouldn’t that be a good reason to encourage people to speak in better english?

Your keyboard may be dirtier than a toilet seat

This makes me feel like cleaning my keyboard on a Saturday afternoon:

Your computer keyboard is FIVE TIMES dirtier than your toilet seat

Computer keyboards can harbour more harmful bacteria than a lavatory seat, it has been claimed.
Many users are at risk of becoming ill with stomach bugs, according to the consumer group Which?

One keyboard was so dirty that a microbiologist ordered it to be removed, quarantined and cleaned. It had 150 times the acceptable limit for bacteria and was five times as filthy as a typical lavatory seat.

Anyone who eats a sandwich or piece of fruit having been tapping on such a keyboard can pick up bacteria that could lead to a stomach upset.

The scientist swabbed 33 keyboards for food poisoning bugs e.coli, coliforms, staphylococcus aureus and enterobacteria and compared the results to those found on a lavatory seat and lavatory door handle. (Source: DailyMail)

But I supposed this may be true. Even toilet seats are cleaned regularly in my house. My keyboard is cleaned like once in a blue moon. Argh… Okay, I’ll clean it today.

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Above is my keyboard. Quite dusty it turns out.

Irony of the day – ‘Free Tibet’ flags made in China

If you hate China and stage a protest, maybe your protest tools come from China.

‘Free Tibet’ flags made in China

Police in southern China have discovered a factory manufacturing Free Tibet flags, media reports say.
The factory in Guangdong had been completing overseas orders for the flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Workers said they thought they were just making colourful flags and did not realise their meaning.
But then some of them saw TV images of protesters holding the emblem and they alerted the authorities, according to Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper.

Thousands of flags had already been packed for shipping. (Source: BBC)

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Ubuntu Hardy Heron, coming April 24

Okay, some Ubuntu news. Next version of Ubuntu is going to be released real soon. I got the released candidate already. It seems to have killed support for my old graphic card. Maybe there is some problem with the configuration. It’s going to be released on coming Thursday. The following is a news excerpt:

Ubuntu ‘reaping Linux dividend’

A new version of Ubuntu, a version of the Linux OS, is released on Thursday.

Mr Shuttleworth said the success of the Asus Eee PC and the work of the One Laptop Per Child programme had driven awareness of open source.

“There has been a sea change in the way people think of Linux, which is very healthy,” he said. Continue reading “Ubuntu Hardy Heron, coming April 24”

The cure for acne has been found

Oh, cure for acne found. Maybe my face has some hopes. People say that once you hit a certain age you’ll stop having acne? Seems like I haven’t reach that certain age. And whether I would actually like to reach that certain age is somewhat debatable.

Cure for acne found, say scientists

Scientists believe they have found a breakthrough treatment for acne.

They claim that the drug, SMT D002, can reduce the flow of sebum – an oily substance produced by the skin and believed to be a significant cause – by 90 per cent.

At present, the drug is in pill form and is used to treat a condition other than acne but a pharmaceutical company plans to turn it into a cream for easier use. Continue reading “The cure for acne has been found”

Bloggers can die due to stress

My friend just showed this to me:

In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop

SAN FRANCISCO — They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.

Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.

Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December. Continue reading “Bloggers can die due to stress”

Birds have been shot into jet engines for safety tests

Saw this in a magazine. Birds have been nothing but trouble to the aviation industry. Dreamliner is tested and found bird-proof.

For your safety, a bird has been shot into this engine

One of the safety bar of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner jet engine, the General Electric GEnx, is to pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s “bird strike” test. To perform the test, technicians at GE’s testing facility in Peebles, Ohio, suspended the engine from a giant stand, its turbines spinning at full force. Then they loaded four thawed goose carcasses into a 50-foot-long steel tube and fired. Together, the birds shot at 205 miles an hour toward the blades of the engine, which tore them to pieces. Not one of the front fan blades broke. The GEnx engine passed the test.

According to the Bird Strike Committee USA, collisions with birds have caused more than a billion dollars’ worth of damage worldwide to civil aircraft every year. Continue reading “Birds have been shot into jet engines for safety tests”

Indonesian ISPs block YouTube and MySpace

Indonesian ISP to block YouTube and MySpace? Banning the whole portal just for one video is just like barring our Indonesians from entering Singapore just because one guy is a terrorist.

Indonesian ISPs Block YouTube And MySpace

Another day, another country blocks YouTube (and MySpace, for good measure). According to Gulfnews, five Indonesian ISPs have blocked, on government’s request, YouTube and MySpace because of an anti-Islam film Fitna, created by Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders. Official ban reason: the movie ‘could disturb relations between faiths.‘

This is not the first time that Fitna has caused controversy; after being rejected by all Dutch TV stations, Wilders simply uploaded the file via LiveLeak. Continue reading “Indonesian ISPs block YouTube and MySpace”

Streetdirectory.com is no more?

Ahh, Streetdirectory.com gotten themselves into real big trouble this time. I use Streetdirectory.com pretty often to help myself finding places. There’re websites like Google Maps and all but I always return to Streetdirectory.com for their map because they show the buildings, the bus stops and stuff. It’s unfortunate that they gotten into such trouble.

POPULAR online map StreetDirectory.com has shut down, after the company behind it, Virtual Map, lost its appeal against the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) over copyright infringement last week.

The SLA, which originally issued Virtual Map a licence for its maps of Singapore, sued the company in January 2007 for continuing to use the SLA maps even after the licence had expired.

Virtual Map lost it case in the District Court, and was ordered to stop using the infringing materials. It appealed to the High Court, but lost again.

The site was taken down two days ago, said Virtual Map’s managing director Firdhaus Akbar, but the company is currently working with a set of replacement, non-infringing maps, and hopes to bring the site back online in ‘about two days’.

Mr Ackbar said his company has spent ‘millions’ putting in value-added data like points-of-interest, on top of the maps SLA had provided.

Hat tip and source: Plaktoz

I think previously, Streetdirectory.com went to pursue some people for using their maps on website. They fussed about it and they was some legal issues that they cite – possible of copyright infringement. I am not too clear of what actually happened. Anyway, the Singapore Land Authority pointed out that Streetdirectory.com does not rightfully own the maps too. That was a golden moment actually. It sounds almost silly to stop people from using maps.

The incident went quiet for a while but it seems like Streetdirectory.com themselves will have to be silenced for a little while longer.

BBC and Firefox 3 redesigned

It appears that BBC has undergone a redesign. It looks much cleaner now and I am still trying to figure out where to start. Previously BBC tries to push more information to the user. Today’s BBC tries to get the user to learn about what’s available and let them choose the content for themselves. It’s kinda a slightly refreshing approach to online news which often confuse me with too much pieces of news in one page. Try minimizing everything. I sort of feel happier seeing no information than some information, hahaa…

And also, Firefox 3’s new interface has gotten better. Ars did is a good write-up on what’s coming up. Honestly, I don’t like their back and front buttons. It looks almost hideous.

By the way Ars is one of the best websites to read about interfaces I notice. They don’t just take a bunch of screenshots that throw it online, Ars crops it nicely so you don’t have to move from page to page clicking and clicking. It’s a good effort.

Hat tip: citizen geek