Happy Labour Day Everybody!

Yes, it’s the first of May and we are all celebrating Labour day today! Well, almost everybody in Singapore is celebrating except the common working man. They are busy trying to...

Yes, it’s the first of May and we are all celebrating Labour day today! Well, almost everybody in Singapore is celebrating except the common working man. They are busy trying to survive here in super duper expensive Singapore. Looking at all the recent price increases and salary suppression that is going on, I can’t really blame the regular working man. Of course they will be worried. Just look at how much the price of rice has risen and just look at how their salaries have remain stagnant these few years. Oh, yes the government is painting a rosy picture for Singapore, showing that the prices has actually not risen so much, however, the figures shown by the government doesn’t tell the entire story, because they lump everything together. I am sure when you get the figures for the prices of essential goods especially foodstuff, you will see that these prices has risen quite a lot in the recent weeks. And the poor is very dependent on this as they spend a huge portion of their disposable income on essential items. Just imagine a 30% increase in food prices will almost wipe out a low income family’s savings!

And the government had just told the people that it’s not their fault that the price has increased. They blame it on global factors and it is beyond their control. Sure, the global prices of foodstuff has increased but seriously, so has the prices of flats, rental, taxes, fees, fares and many others that the government is controlling and manipulating. If they claim that the price is beyond their control, then they should at least avoid raising these taxes that are in their control. But they don’t. If they reduce these taxes, it will almost certainly help the poor most than it will benefit the rich since the rich don’t spend a huge portion on these. In fact, they spend a lot of their money on high end cars, private 3-story houses, LVs, watches and so on.

Worse still, our beloved government had just claimed that if the people ask for salary upward revisions, the price problem in Singapore will escalate. They claim that if there was an increase in the people’s salaries, prices will be pushed upwards and the people will be worse off than before and this is not the right solution. Of course, they (as in the high ranking government officials) again conveniently forgot that they had recently increased their own salaries by 40%. I wonder what do you guys think of that? Puzzling right? I wonder how greedy and self-serving these elites can be. And the funny thing is, they don’t even have any solution to this problem and being some of the most highly paid multi-million dollar salaried ministers and officials in the world, it is ironic. So, we are still left with ridiculously high prices to deal with and no real solution in sight. We got tons of stupid excuses, ineffective half-assed schemes which benefited the rich more than the poor and nothing more. I wonder why are we paying these government officials so much for doing absolutely nothing?

Simply Amazing

Check this out: http://www.interactivepulp.com/pulpcore/sketch/ All you have to do is to move your mouse around that black rectangle area and you will see what I mean. It’s just like those brushes...

Check this out: http://www.interactivepulp.com/pulpcore/sketch/

All you have to do is to move your mouse around that black rectangle area and you will see what I mean. It’s just like those brushes you see in the video creation software. And on the same page, you can see the actual code to create that little applet. Isn’t it just amazing that just a few (hundred) lines of coding can create something so beautiful and interactive at the same time. Sure, it is of not much use to anyone, unless that someone is just too free but I guess it shows that some programmers just are amazing. And surprisingly, the coding doesn’t look that complicated. So, sure I am no Java programmer, heck, I am not even a real programmer who any real experience in programming, but it still looks easy to me. They really streamlined the code till people like me can understand at least a portion of the coding. Bravo!

Anyway, this is just a short post to show you this site. If you really don’t have anything else to do, you should take a look at it. In fact, you should spend some time playing with the screen. I mean, it is interesting for perhaps 5-10 minutes, but if you stay there for longer than that, then you have a serious problem. And I am not kidding. I am sure that they took hours and hours perfecting the coding, but it won’t get my attention for longer than 15 minutes. Maybe I have a short attention span, but how long can you draw imaginary lines on the screen with your mouse?

List Of Open Source Shopping Carts

No, they are not THOSE kind of shopping carts! But they are those things that people use when they buy stuff online. You know, the script that powers the online shop...

No, they are not THOSE kind of shopping carts! But they are those things that people use when they buy stuff online. You know, the script that powers the online shop you frequent so often. I guess the most famous is OSCommerce. This is the one I had used in my previous projects. It’s very easy to install and configuration is just a breeze. Of course, the design needs a little to work to make it look presentable but the base is there. And it just works. However, we should not be stuck with just one shopping cart¬† solution. There are plenty more shopping cart scripts out there! And here is a link to a list of Open Source Shopping Cart Scripts. These scripts are open source, which means that you don’t need to pay a cent for it.

There is no longer a need for anyone to spend thousands of dollars to setup their ecommerce site anymore. Seriously, if you know a little web programming or if you are just Internet savvy, you can simply use one of these scripts and setup your online store. It took me a few minutes to setup OSCommerce and I am not web programming guru. In fact, I have just a little basic PHP coding under my belt and nothing much else. All you have to do is to follow a few lines of instructions, setup your database and start their script installer, and you are done. And I am sure it has gotten easier now.

From the looks of it, it seems that other scripts are also making headway now. Some of them looks pretty nice compared to OSCommerce. OSCommerce still looks a bit outdated and chunky to me. The problem with shopping cart scripts is that you do need to make them look beautiful to attract customers. Unlike other websites, you really need to work on the design to appeal to your customers, that’s the reason why I am not pushing for OSCommerce. The PrestaShop e-commerce solution looks very tempting and perhaps for my next e-commerce site, I will try it out myself.

My Next Brew – Edwort’s Apfelwein

This is not exactly beer brewing but it is actually Apple Wine or German Hard Cider and I got the recipe from Homebrew Talk. All credits goes to Edwort from Homebrew...

This is not exactly beer brewing but it is actually Apple Wine or German Hard Cider and I got the recipe from Homebrew Talk. All credits goes to Edwort from Homebrew Talk. Basically, it’s cider and it’s very easy to make. You just need apple juice and some sugars plus a good attenuating yeast strain. In Singapore, we have a lot of varieties of apple juice but the problem is that they are expensive. Unlike most of countries, the cheapest Apple Juice here is about S$2 per litre. So to make 23 litres of Cider, it would cost about S$46 for the juice plus a few bucks more for the yeast and table sugar. But it is very simple. All you need to do is to add the juice into the fermenter, then stir in the sugar (making sure that it is completely dissolved) and pitch the yeast. Wait a few weeks and you have the best tasting cider in Singapore!

The recipe is as follows:

1. 23 litres of VeCool Apple Juice (no preservatives) – uses Fuji Apple Juice

2. 1kg of table sugar

3. Nottingham Dry Yeast

4. Yeast Nutrients

Well, that’s it! Yes, it is that simple. You don’t need to boil anything or strain anything or rack anything. Just put everything into the fermenter and wait a few weeks. of course there are a lot different recipes for Edwort’s Apfelwein but I am using the easiest one to make it. This will produce a very dry cider which may take a little to get used to but from what I heard, there are now a lot of fans for this Apfelwein. And it is an awarding winning recipe! Thousands of brewers are enjoying this nice wine. But beware, the alcoholic content is pretty high (about 8%) and you won’t feel it. It is known to sneak up to you and will probably give you a big hangover in the morning.

As you can see I have used Yeast nutrients for this recipe. Because unlike beer wort (with it’s malt content) , there may not be enough nutrients in the apple juice to have a healthy fermentation. So it is better to add some yeast nutrients and make the yeast happy. Happy yeast produces better giggle juice. However, not sure whether my friends will appreciate ciders. Singaporeans are not famous as wine drinkers and they tend to be pretty old fashioned when it comes to alcohol. Beer is the main alcohol of choice down here in heat country. But hey, I am sure that if the brew turns out great, we will see a large number of converts in no time!

Bottled The Blue Mountain Lager

Yo guys, yesterday, I bottled my Blue Mountain Lager from the fermenter. Now it is sitting in my cooling box waiting to get carbonation nice and fizzy to be stored later...

Yo guys, yesterday, I bottled my Blue Mountain Lager from the fermenter. Now it is sitting in my cooling box waiting to get carbonation nice and fizzy to be stored later in my pretty cool stomach. Yes, I did a little sample and it tasted okay. There is no longer anymore sweetish/bubblegum smell. Most likely the smell is from the unfermented wort stuck on the fermentor cover when I shake it to get aeration. Yes, the wort is that thick! The yeast I used is a pretty fast acting yeast. I bottled yesterday and today, I can feel most of the bottles with some carbonation already. I am using PET bottles so you can feel the bottles. If they start to firm up, there is some carbonation already. Probably, in about 1 week or so, it will be fully carbonated. Hope that it will taste even better once it is carbonated and served cold in a tall glass! Never drank a commerical Blue Mountain Lager before, so I don’t know what to expect from this kit. From what I read from forums, the taste should be very pleasant with a little hop bitterness. The hops oil they use is Hallertau and it is supposed to give the Blue Mountain Lager it’s unique flavour.

I found that the recipe I used (Morgan’s Blue Mountain Lager Kit 1.5kg and 1kg of lager malt extract) will probably give me something of a light beer. I think it’s alcohol content is about 3% to 4% max. Well good enough for a session beer. Too bad about the colour though. It looks very amber/darkish and a few of my friends had commended about the colour as well. They are too used to golden coloured lagers that I am afraid that the colour alone will turn them off. But as I said, they should be more than willing to convert once they start sampling a little of the lager….hopefully.

Anyways, I don’t think I will be opening the bottles in just a week. Think it will really improve over time. I believe that a few weeks in the bottle will do it more justice. Plus, it will give me time to finish off my previous extract brew, which turns out pretty nice after a few weeks in the bottle. I guess what they say is correct, if you properly age a beer, you will never regret it.

Like Cakes? Like Snacks? Like Desserts?

Well, so do I. I mean, nowadays, who doesn’t. We all know that such things are usually not too good for us, but we still crave for them, don’t we? I...

Well, so do I. I mean, nowadays, who doesn’t. We all know that such things are usually not too good for us, but we still crave for them, don’t we? I myself have a sweet tooth and sometimes I indulge myself with some ice-cream and other snacks. But I usually control myself. It’s the Singaporeans who can’t control their appetites that is worrying to me. I have seen people eating huge amount of snacks instead of regular and healthy food and the number of such people is getting more and more. In fact, if you look around Singapore, you will see evidence of that. And worse still, look at our school children! In the past, my daily allowance is so little that I have not much left for snacks and sweets. Now, the children are all living the life (so to speak) and they have much more disposable income than I did before and guess what do they spend it on? You guess right! It’s sweets, ice-cream and snacks! Bad for their health. And this is coming from someone who has a sweet tooth.

No, I am not saying that eating a little snack or some fattening food now and then is bad. It is not bad. If you can moderate the amount of sugar intake, then this is good. But most people don’t or won’t. And that’s a very serious problem. When you eat too much sweets and fattening foodstuff, your health will be affected in the long run. I think it’s the Singapore culture that is to be blamed. That, and too easy access to these kind of foodstuff. Everywhere you go, you will see shops selling sweets and snacks. I mean, at nearly every MRT station or bus interchange in Singapore, you will find shops selling sweets/drinks/desserts/snacks there. You don’t even need to walk to get there! They are based in the interchange or MRT station itself! Convenient yes, good no. I really don’t know what they are thinking when they start to allow so many of such stores to open up in these location. It’s like the government is trying their best to make the people as unhealthy as possible!

Anyway I have created a listing of online sites which sells these kind of stuff. You can find the list of Singapore Confectioneries, Bakeries, Cake Shops, Dessert Shops and so on.¬† But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the health risks involved.

A Big Hoooray For Singaporeans!

Please take a look at our current situation here. Yes, that’s right. All us Singaporeans are soon going to be replaced by foreigners (except for the elites and the powerful) who...

Please take a look at our current situation here.

Yes, that’s right. All us Singaporeans are soon going to be replaced by foreigners (except for the elites and the powerful) who demand lower pay and are supposed to be willing to do jobs that Singaporeans shunned. Well, that’s what the government is saying anyway, but apparently this is not true at all. The Singapore government also claims that foreigners actually help create jobs for Singaporeans which they won’t be if not for foreigners. I am very surprised that they claim such things. Seriously, which business in Singapore whose main purpose is to make as much money as possible would not want cheaper labour? And if the government allows a flood of foreigners to Singapore, companies will only hire these cheaper foreigners instead of Singaporeans even in jobs which Singaporeans would be willing to do. It seems that companies are firing Singaporeans from their jobs and replacing them with foreign imports.

The problem here is greed. Both the government and the businesses in Singapore are greedy. We cannot allow companies to have a free reign on hiring and firing. Singapore elites are famous for being super greedy and their greed knows no bounds. So if they are allowed to have a unlimited supply of foreign workers, they will never think of hiring Singaporeans at all. In fact, just take a look at your local coffee shops, your high end restaurants, your regional shopping centres, the city areas and you will see that thousands of foreigners are replacing the common Singaporean worker. I cannot even find any Singaporean working in my downstairs coffee shop. In the past, usually the factories you will find foreigners, now even the service side is rapidly taken over by this group of people. I wonder, will all the common Singaporean workers be replaced by foreign imports just to make the rich richer?

The government claims that by hiring cheaper foreigners, it will help create more high end jobs for Singaporeans. High end jobs mean higher paid jobs. But I just don’t see it. I mean, what makes anyone think that companies will not just hire foreigners for the supposedly “high end” jobs too? A lot of Singaporeans are fooled by the government’s propaganda, but reality will soon hit as more and more Singaporeans are having trouble finding jobs. No matter how much propaganda and smoke the government puts out, it will soon have the face the problem of “real unemployment” in the next election. Crowding out Singaporeans and forcing them to take lowly paid jobs is not a smart way to get votes. Being too greedy can really backfire for them.

With Singapore’s super high cost of living (that is cost, not standard of living), I am not surprised that Singaporeans need a higher salary to survive. In fact, without any assistance, a lot of poorly paid Singaporeans cannot even survive on their own salaries, yet we have claims by the government and companies that Singaporeans demand too much. They even once put up a chart comparing the cost of a Singaporean worker to that in China and India. Of course, they conveniently forgot to mention the cost of living here and that in China and India. And now with rapidly rising cost of food, rental, transport and nearly everything, surely the Singaporeans demand for salaries must increase.

Yet Another Tutorial To Create Your Own WordPress Theme

Found another good tutorial to help you create your own wordpress theme. Basically it means that if you would work a little harder, you won’t have to steal someone’s else them...

Found another good tutorial to help you create your own wordpress theme. Basically it means that if you would work a little harder, you won’t have to steal someone’s else them and try to pass it off as your own. I must admit, previously when I was much younger, I would often use somebody else’s theme for my blog. However, being a big asshole and certified cheapskate, I would remove the footer link to the developer’s site at the bottom of the blog. Yes, I am really a big asshole. Now, I no longer do that anymore. I create my very own theme from scratch. Well, not exactly from scratch, but something very close to it. I would normally follow these types of tutorial and from there, I learn to create my own blog theme. As you can see, I have done a very poor job of it. But in my opinion, this blog still looks presentable at the very least. I am aiming for the minimalist look for Authority Sites Directory Blog and I think I have achieved it! It really looks minimalist to me. Some people say it is too bare and plain and they want more colours to brighten the site up. My opinion, too many colours make the blog look too cheerful and this is something which I don’t want to impart to my visitors. They shouldn’t be cheerful when they visit my blog!

Anyway, this tutorial seems very detailed and that is good, especially for beginners like me. And once you start to design your own theme, you will find that the coding of wordpress is pretty straightforward. This will allow you to (if you want) to design and even modify your wordpress blog yourself. I think most coders actually start from web design. If you can do php web design, you will find it easy to do php coding as well.

So go ahead and create something super beautiful for the whole world to see. Impress us with your blog’s beauty and elegance. And please don’t use too many colours on your site. I still find too many colours is just too gay and weird for me.

Busy Days Again

Sorry guys, I have been busy these 2 days. And it looks like I am going to be busy for a couple more weeks at least. I barely have time to...

Sorry guys, I have been busy these 2 days. And it looks like I am going to be busy for a couple more weeks at least. I barely have time to eat my lunch, so I guess the updating of this blog is not going to be very frequent. Well, things had been very hectic at work and everybody seems to have computer problems these days. Don’t you just love it even people only call you when they have PC problems? And when you ask them for a favour or to help you on something, they claim to be very busy and they have no time to help you? Hmmm….I guess that is the world and it is always very practical. People who would just call you for IT help but they seemed to believe that you don’t exist anywhere else. And at my workplace, there seems to be endless amount of problem everywhere, from the main office to the warehouse. PC breakdown, network problems, staff who don’t know how to use PCs, people who don’t understand that there are limitations to what a PC can do and many more crap like this.

Being the only IT support guy in a company is always so very exciting. You get to meet all sort of people some of whom will surprise you with all sort of requests, most of which is not practical. However, they all seem to shrink when it comes to the point where they have to sign on the dotted line. I have to explain to them that if they want convenience, they will most likely have to pay for it. Nothing in life is free, even Linux and open source software comes at a cost. If you want the world, you will have to pay a ton of money for it. Now I know why big companies are always trying to cut down on IT costs but most of them cannot do it. It is just not possible to reduce the IT cost without compromising on the efficiency of the staff’s work and performance. Slow network speed means slow access to information. In the long run, that would cost the company a lot more than saving a few pennies.

However, you will be surprised to know that a lot of big bosses happen to have this kind of thinking. Most of them don’t have any long term vision, only short term profit making, which can easily backfire on them. What is even more surprising is that they come back for more. In Singapore, rich people just don’t learn.

Anyway, I hope you guys will forgive me if you see this blog not being updated. Blame my boss. Blame my company. Oh, blame the whole world.

Wyeast Ringwood Ale Yeast

I am pretty sure most of you have never heard of this Wyeast Ringwood Ale Yeast before, even if you are a seasoned brewer. Even Wyeast Asia doesn’t carry this particular...

I am pretty sure most of you have never heard of this Wyeast Ringwood Ale Yeast before, even if you are a seasoned brewer. Even Wyeast Asia doesn’t carry this particular type of yeast in Singapore, so I am sure it is not a popular yeast that a lot of people use. In the forums, most brewers had not heard of this yeast either, let alone use it for their beers. It got me a little curious as why is it no that popular. I mean, this is an ale yeast and making home brew ales is more common than making lagers, so a lot of brewers should have tried using this yeast, right? No, that’s not really true. One of the reasons could be that it is a produces a lot of fruity ester and for people so used to drinking lagers, it may not suit the general taste. Yes, that’s right, too much lagers and tiger beers, we are so used to tasteless beers that we can’t appreciate good beers anymore. And this yeast also produces a large amount of diacetyl which will taste buttery! Yucks! This would require some really good “diacetyl” rest which basically means aging at a slightly higher temperatures after finish fermenting. This will force the yeast to eat up the diacetyl and reduce the buttery taste in the beer.

But from what I read, it can also produce some very complex and malty flavours in the beer. So this should be a plus for the Ringwood Yeast. A lot of home brewers love to have such a taste profile in this beers and this beer is very flocculant and will definitely produce a very clear beer. This is also something which a lot of brewers also strive for – clear beer without much sediment. For me, I also like a clear beer. Just feel a little uneasy to see little sediments and small white stuff floating in my beer. And I am sure that a lot of my friends will also appreciate a clean clear beer than one that looks cloudy.

Anyway, I am using this yeast to make my Blue Mountain Lager. You may be surprised to see that I have used an Ale Yeast to do a lager. Well, that’s because in Singapore’s weather, it’s next to impossible to do a lager without any special equipment or fridge. So although the ingredients are for making lagers, the beer will be an ale. Not much problem there, as ale yeast can easily ferment and produce alcohol and nice beer with light malt extract and from lager malt extract. And it is a very powerful yeast. It finished the majority of the fermenting in just 36 hours! My airlock was bubbling happily and then it suddenly stopped somewhere the next evening!

Well, only time will tell whether the beer will be tasty or not. I really hope that it will be a good one for me and my friends to enjoy.

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