Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I've Upgraded My Blogger Blogs

I've been holding back from upgrading to the new Blogger Beta for a while. The reason is because I had a bad experience with my Yahoo account. It is a good thing to have everything under one username and password, however if things goes wrong, you'll lose everything that you have.

Either way, after thinking about it for a while, Blogger would eventually upgrade their system so I think it would be better to upgrade my account with them and not having a seperate account. So last Sunday morning, I merged my former Blogger account into my Google account. This is what happened:

Blogger Beta upgrade in progress

Maybe because of the size of my blog which has increased over the years, it took a while before all my blogs got upgraded.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A few hours later (I went out for a while after I pressed the upgrade button), my new account is ready and I'm quite pleased with the new Dashboard. At first I thought the new Blogger would entirely change how my blogs look. To my relief, my templates which I've worked hard to customize is preserved.

I just loved the feature where I don't have to republish each post or the template whenever I've edited them. It makes my blogging a lot faster to publish and it got labels too. Not bad if you ask me. So, if you can upgrade to the new Blogger Beta, then what are you waiting for? Things will get upgraded sooner or later.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Agloco: The Global Community. Is It or Was It?

A long time ago, while I was still in my school years, I discovered a lot about getting paid to surf the internet. Some of them requires you to install a special software on your browser while some of them just to browse a couple of websites a day. Earlier this year, StudioTraffic and 12 Daily Pro which was one of the top program at that time finally shuts down. Millions of dollar were being thrown at these kind of program. Eventually, they kind of short lived and learning from these mistakes, I don't really trust such programs.

However, whenever I encounter another new program, I could not resist convincing myself that there is hope of making some extra cash. I'm not sure if Agloco will survive again since they also share the same experience quite some time ago. Anyway, since a lot of influential people are promoting it, it doesn't hurt to join as the membership is FREE. Check out Agloco!

Sometimes Free is too Expensive...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Micro Credit Loan: It will Choke You!

I had a shortage of cash recently. With my small salary living in a big city, I can't really survive on my own. Which is why I need help. I'm quite lucky not to have any big debts yet that will jeopardize my financial life. I'm still living with my parents though. However, I need to find more ways to get my financial right and not just depending on my crappy job I am in right now. I'll write about my plan later on when I see some success over my implementation.

Down at the mall where my office is, there is a small bank BCB or is now called CIMB Bank. They are now promoting a microcredit loan called Xpress Cash. The financial product was launched by SBB Bank which now they have merged into CIMB Group. Their target market is for those who have an income of RM800 and above. The best part is, for loan under RM5000 there is no need for any guarantor and there are minimal documents to prepare. I was the perfect candidate to apply for the loan where I can apply for up to 5 times my monthly salary. They also provide flexible loan period however there are terms and condition on the fine print of the application you need to take a closer and careful look at.

After some careful study using details on the brochure, I am eligible and can easily apply for a loan using the documents that I could provide them. My goal was to take a RM3000 loan with 12 months repayment. My rough calculation estimated that I have to pay around RM250 a month while receiving RM2150 in cash after deducting the RM100 processing fees and 3 months of security deposit. I will lost almost 30% alone just for the process of the loan itself but I don't mind about it because I need the money to pay up something and ease myself from a financial strain.

To confirm my calculation, I call CIMB Bank and ask them about this product. To my surprise, the repayment for a RM3000 loan on a 12 months tenure is RM301 per month. I ask the officer about the interest rate, the amount she has given to me is already calculated with a 3% interest (daily rest basis). I then asked how much do I pay for a 24 months tenure, she replied back RM177 per month. I further asked her how do I payback the loan if I wanted an early settlement for the 24 months tenure. She told me that for an early settlement, I need to pay the balance amount in full plus an additional 3 months interest and a penalty fee of RM200. I said "What? I have to pay a penalty fee for an early settlement?", she answered that is for the breach of agreement when you've signed the release of the loan.

Let me summarize the figures back for a much clearer perspective:
  • Loan Wanted: RM3000
  • Option 1- Payback for a 12 months tenure: RM301
  • Option 2- Payback for a 24 months tenure: RM177
  • Cash that will be received after loan release (option 2): RM2369
The deductions:
  • 3 months security deposit (We selected option 2): RM531
  • Processing Fees: RM100
Early Settlement:
  • Penalty Fees: RM200
  • Interest Fees: 3 months interest of 3%
Here's another summary of how much the bank wins back their money:
  • Loan given to you: RM3000
  • Option 1- Money being paid back to the bank (12 months tenure): (RM301 X 12 months)= RM3612
  • Option 2- Money being paid back to the bank (24 months tenure): (RM177 X 24 months)= RM4248
From Option 1, the bank gets back RM612
From Option 2, the bank gets back RM1248

Just look at how much the bank is making money out from you if you've decided to get the microcredit loan. I've finally decided not to apply for the loan as it will take away almost 20% of my current income as soonest the loan is approved and I'm stuck with it for 24 months of repayment. I don't want to give the bank more money, they've already sucked out a lot of other people's money. Just check out their financial statement and you'll find out that the numbers always grow every year eventhough the economy is not so good.

Bottomline, if you can find money to borrow from other alternatives, go for it. Don't deal with the banks or even worse, loan sharks. For me, I think I have to do some savings and review back my money management.

Update 25/11: I've found the website. Check out CIMB Xpress: Xpress Cash Personal Term Loan.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

I Attended eBay Explained 2006

This post should have been written earlier but lately I am a bit lazy to write. Anyway, last Sunday 12/11/2006, I attended eBay Explained 2006 held at KLCC Convention Centre. This was the first time I've attended eBay conference, I never knew eBay had a conference last year. The crowd was not that big as Microsoft's seminars but the people were quite excited. I arrived there half wet because of the rain shower during the afternoon. Waited for like an hour before they finally open up the doors. By the way, the snack was good.

While waiting, I spotted someone who is somewhat familiar. It was LiewCF. I'm one of his RSS subscriber so basically when he updates, I read whatever he writes. I never knew that he is a tall guy, he is way much taller than me though. He was circled by a few of his blogging friends I guess. While hanging out on the hallway waiting for the conference door to open, I heard LiewCF telling the guys, he doesn't sell anything but buys more stuff which is quite funny. Not that I'm not a friendly person, I don't know why I didn't wanted to shake hand and say 'hi' to him, maybe it is more fun to stalk behind him rather than asking him directly..Haha..

The conference started with a couple of success stories video clips. I really like the Indian Singaporean guy who eventually opened up his own office selling tech gadgets. I find the guy selling 'leaves' picked up in front of his apartment a little bit awkward because his business is unique and I cannot relate to it. Anyway, it is interesting to get to know small and strange businesses running especially on eBay.

For some people, they get really excited and motivated to implement their ideas after they are exposed to a new discovery. I was one of them, but I've seem to lost touch of the enthusiasm simply because my old habit seems to hard to overcome. I went home early because it's just too painful for me to see so many features and ideas coming up after getting to know eBay much better with eBay Explained 2006. However, I still love freebies and I picked up a couple of these:

I should have taken more but I wasn't carrying a bag and I don't want to look like I'm stealing something. Anyway, eBay Explained 2006 was a good insight and probably I'll go for next year's conference. If you wanted to know who LiewCF's friend who was circling him, they did a much greater explanation over their eBay Explained 2006 experience. Here's their link:

Colbert Low


Monday, November 13, 2006

Tips To Drive In A Flash Flood

In Kuala Lumpur where I live, when it is reaching year ends, there will be rain almost every evening. This would last for several weeks. Maybe it is the monsoon season or the cloud get saturated, I don't know, ask the Meteorology Department if you want to know more. Last Saturday was my re-exam day for my Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). I finally finished my first semester, now another 3 more semesters to go. After the exam, I went and had lunch somewhere in Shah Alam. I then went to Seksyen 2 in Shah Alam to meet friends of mine. They're having lunch there and asked me to join them. It was raining badly by the time I got there.

My car's air conditioning is broken so I had to wipe away the moisture built up inside my car with tissue paper. I hate driving in the rain. So, I arrived at the eating place where my friends was eating lunch. A few minutes later, the water level rose up above our ankles. People were still hanging out by then and was hoping for the rain to fade away soon. The rain kept pouring in and since the eating place was just next to a big drain, the drain was however clogged though, the water kept on rising. Then people started panicking, the dining table almost got washed away by the streaming water. I had no choice but to save myself. I then saw a couple of cars were now submerged by the water rising. I was concerned about my car so I rushed back to my car while walking through the knee level flood water. Luckily the water level at where I parked nearly touched the lower portion of my car so my car can still be driven. It was a horrible experience.

I didn't manage to get any pictures while at the eating place because I left my camera in the car. On my way to Klang, there was this horrible traffic jam just before the Sg. Rasah Tol. The reason:

Flash Flood at Sg Rasah Tol Klang

I somehow manage to maneuver through the flood water and made my way to Klang City. I saw many stranded motocycles and cars while going through the flood water.

Tips To Drive in A Flash Flood
  1. Make sure all your car windows are closed because you'll never know some lorry or bigger cars will barge through the flooded area and splash a big amount of water right on your car's window.
  2. You must be confident enough to drive your way across the flooded street, if you have a lowered car or the water level can seep into your engine, then just don't cross yet.
  3. While you are driving your way across the flood, DO NOT release your accelerator pedal or else the water can go inside your exhaust system and of course, stall your car.
  4. If you drive a motorcycle, make sure your engine is kept warm. The flood water can immediately cool off your engine block and causes your piston to be jammed and you'll get to nowhere.
  5. Last thing, if you can afford it. Have your insurance policy covered with flood protection or you'll have to pay for your own repairs.
Have a safe rainy journey ahead.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why Do You Need To Take Care of Your Laptop Battery

Last month, I wrote about Keeping Your Dell Laptop's Heat Under Control. Earlier this month, Kelvin Chu from Tom's Hardware wrote about How Notebook Batteries Work and Why They Blow Up. If you are wondering how laptop batteries look like, here's an image after dissecting it:

Laptop Batteries Autopsy

Well, this laptop battery is a bit ugly and quite different from the others but you can see now that it's no more of a bunch of rechargable batteries wrapped and connected together. The larger the battery, the longer it could last. However, I'm still sad about my laptop battery which has already cooked. I wish I had known this information before I've gotten a laptop. Oh well, the next laptop I'm going to purchase will have my fullest care.