Monday, October 29, 2012

English Language Proficiency - Country list

Source: EPI or English Proficiency Index

Here is an interesting article (full study can be downloaded from the above link) on nations English proficiency. I was under the impression that Nordic countries language skills weren't great as my encounters with the companies (e.g. Ericsson, Nokia, ) wasn't that great.
There is a strong correlation between 'english' and 'economic progress' which is not a surprise given the domination of English in world markets and business.

Singapore occupied the top place in Asia. It is no surprise but again my observations of is similar to India. More people can communicate in English but few people can articulate well & think well in English. It's still a 'foreign language" than native.

I found another interesting part which is the 'progress' or 'change' in proficiency over years. From the chart, I see India jumped 16 ranks, while countries like Korea, Hongkong, Saudi dropped by double digits. In fact India is the only country with double digit growth in ranking.
The only reason I could think is due to the overall literacy rate improvement. In my observation India's English speaking skills are worsening (just like me who can't communicate as effectively as my dad/mom). Similar to Singapore, many Indians can communicate in English but we can't 'think' in English. that's the problem English speaking in Asian nations. So you can here people asking 'how much is the time'; or claiming, some relative "expired"; or put down the baby; or asking a question " when did you passout ? ;) ;)

Well, I can't stop thinking about Russel Peters now :)

Multiple Gmail extension in Chrome - Checker Plus for Gmail

Source: Checker Plus for Gmail
Install here from Chrome Web Store

Most of you understand the pain to check emails from multiple gmail accounts. Whether it's a family PC which is shared among the family, or single person with multiple gmail accounts, the task of checking one after one is not an easy one. On top of it, there are plenty of not-so-urgent mails which simply needs a view.

With this little extension, you can save all the hassle. Be it just glancing through the content of the mail before deleting it, or clicking on links, or forwarding.. You can do almost all the regular tasks within the extension. I've installed it on my family PC and right now we're using it for 4 accounts and it works perfectly fine.

You can find more reviews and WIKI for FAQs in above links.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Egg consumption per person by country - 2007 data.

Just now I saw an article in CNA, saying that Egg shortage in malaysia creating some issues. In the same article it was mentioned that Malaysians consume 320 eggs / year on average which is one of the highest in the world.
So that's where I started to wonder about the rest. A quick search resulted in some links but more authentic one was from a website called wattagnet. I can't paste the data here without their permission here but the details there are up to 2007. Based on 2007 data, the top most consumers are from Brunei.

But the study is in KG so another quick search led me to, BBC, and convertto. On an average the assumption is ~40 grams. So approx 25 eggs/KG.

  • Brunei - 20.99 kilo grams / person / year or 524 eggs 
  • Followed by Denmark, Japan, Paraguay, Mexico, Netherlands & China
  • China - 17.41 kilo grams / person/ year or 435 eggs.
  • USA - 14.29 kilo grams / person / year or 357 eggs. It stood at 16
  • Malaysia - 12.21 kilo grams / person / year or 306 eggs. It's rank is 21.
  • India - 2.07 kilo grams / person / year or 51 eggs. Rank is 128 :)

I couldnt find Singapore data in the study but from AVA, I've got this info.

  • Singapore - 302 eggs in 2007 (rank is 24); Or 308 eggs in 2011.
Well, finally why did the chicken crossed the road ?? (Don't ask me for the answer; Neither the question what is the point of this blog post)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Newsloop - New app from SingTel


NewsLoop brings traditional media to the next level by putting together news and lifestyle content into an elegant app. With over 230 content sources and 25 categories of stories to choose from, NewsLoop lets you discover news that matters to you.

I've installed it on my iPhone few hours ago and trust me, this is by far the best news app available in Singapore (or region). 

Some screen shots below showing the granularity of customization. wish I could show the functionality but you must try to get a feel :)

It's available from Appstore. Give it a try !!!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Survey found most S’pore firms let employees work from home ??

Source: Yahoo

It's really a big joke :)  The author must be trying to convey a different message but end up giving this wrong impression. Perhaps it should be something like,

Most S’pore firms ASK employees work from home AFTER OFFICE HOURS:

Anyway jokes aside, I am a strong supporter of telecommuting and it can be a deal breaker to me in a new job or my existing job. We are in a different world today where we don't have the luxuries of our dad/grandpa who used to finish their 9-5 job and come home without much tensions or thinking. But thanks to the pressure cooker culture and attitude to work we have a situation that many of Singaporeans can't stop thinking about work even when they are in toilet (Another survey from CNA says this that people bring their mobiles ;0). So telecommuting can help save couple of hours from travel time and most importantly it can help workers to be more "FLEXIBLE". Flexible doesn't mean to be less work but work when the person is more productive.
I know many people who are wonderful during early mornings. So they can stay home to focus on work rather than spending their valuable time in MRT or Bus. Same goes for late owls.

Even it helps Employers to trim down some of the cost in terms of real estate, cooling, power etc. This is what I'd say a win-win.

Sadly our local "managers" attitude is "Theory-X". i.e. assumes employees are inherently lazy and will avoid work if they can and that they inherently dislike work. As a result of this, management believes that workers need to be closely supervised and comprehensive systems of controls developed

And this is where the problem is. Today majority of modern theories shown that employees are of Type-Y or "Self Motivated" type and doesn't need to be "controlled" but provide help/assistance when needed. Instead of hierarchy, team/collaborative work practices are much more common.

  • Today employees doesn't need to be "controlled" but " consulted" or offered assistance
  • No longer hierarchical inherently but more of a collaborative structure
  • Performance pay which promotes self motivation & drive
  • No longer "hierarchical or position based power" but more of a "influence, persuasion power"
  • Not really for $ but more of a complete package with $, balance, satisfaction.

I see some MNC's and local companies are on the right track (atleast from an employee point of view) and some are moving towards but IMO majority of local firms are way behind. It may take decades or centuries to change the attitude of 'boss-worker' mindset.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

M1 did it again. 200Mbps FTTx SGD 49/month

Source; M1 Promotions

Just after an year or so since we saw $ 29 / 50Mbps; $39/100 Mbps, M1 started the price war again with $49/200Mbps plan.

Wait.. The 49 includes, Home Fixed voice services & Mobile broadband data service (for your tab or iPad). With the current bundled plans of 2GB mobile data it makes perfect sense to subscribe to a separate data plan for tab and this is where I believe M1 is aiming.

Ofcourse, the question is how *FAST* the 200Mbps can take us to internet highway. The problem in Singapore is the content is not hosted locally (even with massive Peta Bytes of Cache from SingTel, Google) so the overseas internet bandwidth is important and this is where we need to improve .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

iOS6 - Passbook, United Airlines

My first pass book@ Tokyo-Singapore.

It works, though the staff were pretty new and not sure what to do. Luckily  the supervisor knows about it (may be she is the only one with some communication) and let me in.

It'd be good if more options are available. Usefulness point of view, not much but it's "cool" :)

Jasmine - Youtube client on iPhone

I am a great fan of browser based stuff so I don't have to install a *special* app for doing the same task.

For example, the original Youtube app bundled with iOS (before iOS6) was a waste and it doesn't even offer HD content. On the other hand Safari lets you choose HD option.

Recently I see many people started using Jasmine. I was told that this is from Jason Morrissey (yeah, the guy behind Alien Blue) so thought of giving it a try.

I must say, the first look itself is pretty impressive. The interface is simple & elegant. The focus is on "search" functionality. I felt that somehow it is rather fast compared to browser based youtube, and also the playback is smooth.

Now the bad part, is you'll lose the options in Youtube. i.e. the browser based search queries, , long, recent, etc. Also it doesn't let you sort by date, popularity etc. So end up going back to browser based :)

However if there is an app which is simple, elegant & easy for youtube, then Jasmine will be at the top. You can try it @  iTunes.

iTunes link