| March 2005 |

Photos from My Travels

Photos from my travels in 2003 are finally uploaded after a long delay. I’ve made some slight adjustments to the photo section, and the photos are now labelled in numerical order. My failing memory is the main reason for the change — I simply can’t recall the locations where some of the photos were taken. In addition, photos from the same trip will be categorised under a single album, instead of the haphazard listing of albums by city names.

Please update your bookmarks as the old links to my photo albums may not work anymore. More photos will be uploaded as quickly as my busy schedule allows. Stay tuned!

19 March 2005 · Travel · Comments (1)



I’ve made several attempts to keep a diary over the years, but I usually gave up within a week. Life was so exciting back then that any amount of time spent on writing a diary was time wasted. Although life isn’t as fun as it used to be, it has definitely become more stressful; hence the idea of writing at the end of a long day started to lose its appeal — until now.


I’ve recently found this amazing application, Moodstats, which allows you to rate your day in six different categories. A feature which sets it apart from other emotional software is that Moodstats will generate graphs and statistics that track your moods over time. There’s also built-in diary where you can jot down your thoughts and feelings, much like a normal diary. You can even synchronise your data with the global Moodstats server and recover your precious diary entries in the event of a computer failure. As an added bonus, you can even compare your own moods with that of other users after synchronising with the server!


Now that I’ve convinced everyone that Moodstats is the best thing since bread came sliced, the burning question you must have on your mind is: how much is it? Moodstats costs just $15, which includes free future upgrades. If you think about it, you’re only paying for the synchronisation function, which keeps a backup copy of your data on the global Moodstats server, and a leather-bound diary easily costs more than $15. You can also download a trial version of Moodstats and try it out for free. The only restrictions are that you can only enter 20 days worth of data and synchronisations with the server are not allowed.


I know this sounds awful lot like a sales pitch for Moodstats, but I can assure you that I don’t receive any commission for getting people to sign up. I’m just puzzled by the fact that only 1,303 people have bought Moodstats since its release four years ago. Of course, there are improvements that can be made to the application — I really hope the next version give users the option to change the default font size — but it’s a bargain at $15.

I will definitely recommend Moodstats to those who want to keep a diary or record their moods. It’ll be interesting to look back a few months later and see how your moods have changed over time.

11 March 2005 · Technology · Comments (2)

Straits Times Interactive Redux

Straits Times Interactive has just announced that current subscribers to the ST print edition will enjoy a 50% discount when they subscribe to STI. I doubt SG Watch is so influential as to make the management change their mind about charging a flat rate after reading my previous post, but it doesn’t hurt to dream a little sometimes.

STI explained that the abrupt change in subscription rates was due to the overwhelming response from readers. I guess this is a way STI tries to show that it takes feedback and suggestions from readers seriously.

However, I don’t really view the discount in a positive light. No company in the world — at least those in the right mind — will start a loss-making business. And a 50% cut in subscription rate within days of announcing its imminent conversion into a subscription website just goes to show how much profits STI will be raking in.

Furthermore, this shows that STI doesn’t have a sound business plan to begin with. Any company which announces its IPO subscription price and then reduces the price within days of the initial announcement will no doubt make the financial markets lose confidence in the company and subsequently result in a drastic drop in its share prices. Apparently the same rule that applies to competitive firms doesn’t necessarily apply to huge conglomerates in Singapore.

Cost-conscious readers are unlikely to subscribe to STI since it doesn’t offer any extra content; it simply charges readers a significant premium for the convenience of being able to read the ST print edition online. However, I can already foresee that this move to turn STI into a subscription website is going to be a huge success, in terms of increased revenues and profits for SPH.

It will be relatively easy to convince Singapore schools to subscribe STI for their students, as a way of promoting the use of information technology in education. Instead of reading printed newspapers off gigantic metal binders in school libraries, students can now access the latest news online in the comfort of their own homes. This will also help in the effort to increase the awareness about current affairs among students.

Assuming MOE decides to provide online subscriptions for all the secondary school students in Singapore, STI will gain more than 200,000 subscribers instantly. Even if STI charges MOE only $3 a month, which is half the discounted rate, for every student, it’ll still receive more than $7 million in revenues annually — on top of what it’ll be getting from regular subscribers.

Perhaps it’s a good idea to buy some SPH shares now to hedge against the rising newspaper subscription costs.

03 March 2005 · Media, Money · Comments (1)

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