State of art traffic pricing and monitoring system using special video cameras

State of art traffic pricing and monitoring system using special video cameras

State of art video cameras will be used islandwide
To replace our old ERP pricing system
To automate and control our road traffic systems
By correctly control every traffic lights 
And monitoring every user
Even in our mrt trains
Face recognition and objects identification
Even our entry and exit points
At our airports and across the causeway
I have previously desmonstrated a video on this technology
The latest security is built into the software
For real-time image verification
Straight into the 21st century.


– Contributed by Oogle.

Slower growth on technology as expectations miss estimates

By Sinead Carew and Tarmo Virki | Reuters
(Reuters) – If Apple Inc’s weaker-than-expected quarterly result is anything to go by, the global smartphone industry is a lot more vulnerable to economic shocks these days than during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

In developed markets, every other person already owns a smartphone. In emerging markets, penetration rates are much lower, but cheaper phones that cost under $100 are squeezing profit margins.
That was not the case during the last recession, when Apple’s iPhone and Google Inc’s Android were still in their infancy. Smartphone demand remained strong even as sales of other electronics declined because consumers felt it was worthwhile to upgrade to a device with so much to more to give – touchscreens, email and full Web browsers.
Without a technology breakthrough such as touchscreen – made popular by the first iPhone in 2007 – people are in far less of a hurry to upgrade their phones this time around, analysts said.
That was evident from Apple’s June quarterly results, which showed a much bigger hit from the European debt crisis than Wall Street expected.
“The economy is having an impact on all electronic goods. Even Apple, which did defy gravity in the last recession, is not escaping now,” said Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst.
Smartphone users, who typically upgrade their phones every 18 to 24 months, are now holding on for three months longer than usual, according to Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
“The reason to upgrade is less urgent” she said.
PRICE PRESSURE
Overall smartphone shipments rose 32 percent in the second quarter, their slowest pace since 2009’s 16 percent increase, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm forecast annual smartphone shipment growth would slow to 40 percent in 2012 from 68 percent in 2011 and ease further to 23 percent in 2013.
Analysts say demand from emerging markets will support smartphone shipments even if the global economy takes a turn for the worse, but a growing supply of lower price devices from vendors such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp will pressure prices even if the economy improves.
“We’re forecasting ASPs (average selling prices) to dip in 2013 and accelerate from there on,” said Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston. “If the economy continues to flat line or dip that will accelerate the move to lower cost models.”
The popularity of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy S will give these companies some pricing insulation, analysts said.
But there could be much more pressure for price cuts at already struggling smartphone vendors, such as LG Electronics Inc, HTC Corp, Nokia Oyj and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.
“Apple and Samsung’s ownership of the high-tier and intense price erosion means the fight among others will be cutthroat,” said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.
The tough road ahead for smaller vendors became more apparent this week, when market leader Samsung reported its best quarterly smartphone sales in history as it outsold Apple and won customers from smaller rivals. Samsung’s bigger size allowed it to drive down costs and still make a profit on phones that would generate a loss for smaller rivals.
Some of Apple’s earnings miss was attributed to consumers postponing purchases in anticipation of a new iPhone model hitting store shelves this fall. LG did not have that excuse – its cellphone division, which accounts for around one-fifth of sales, posted a quarterly loss as competition forced LG to spend more on marketing for cheaper phones.
LESS PURCHASING POWER
According to Gartner, about 35 percent of an estimated 1.9 billion cellphones sold this year will be smartphones. Between 20 percent and 25 percent of people in the world already own smartphones, with the penetration rate rising to 50 percent to 55 percent in the United States.
“The first wave is selling expensive models to affluent buyers. The second wave is selling lower cost models to less affluent buyers,” Strategy Analytic’s Mawston said.
Gartner’s Milanesi said Huawei and ZTE are in the best position among the lower-tier smartphone vendors.
“If price is the first driver I’m going to pick the Chinese,” said Milanesi, who said LG and HTC are most vulnerable to price declines as they “need more to stand out.”
Also putting pressure on handset makers are the wireless service providers on which they are heavily dependent in many regions such as Europe and the United States for promotions. Carriers often subsidize phones to encourage their customers to commit to long term contracts.
In Europe, some operators such as Telefonica have been dropping subsidies entirely. The top three U.S. operators, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp have all been improving profit margins because they cut down on their subsidy costs by offering customers upgrades less frequently.
If consumers do have to cut spending because of the weak economy, IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said: “There’s smartphone available for just about every single budget out there.”
(Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; editing by Tiffany Wu and Andre Grenon)
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The next milestone will be on October when Microsoft completes Windows 8 and upon it’s launch, will it meets expectations? What will the take up rate be like? Do we see bells ringing this christmas for the new tablet version of the software? Google Andriod’s OS for tablets is a hard nut to crack.
– Contributed by Oogle.

Soy and Corn prices set to rise globally

SINGAPORE – Singaporeans are concerned by the higher cost of living, stemming from higher housing, certificate of entitlements (COEs), and crude oil prices.
However, we may also see an increase in raw food prices, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a Cheng San-Seletar division National Day dinner celebrations on Saturday.

“One thing which I would like to alert you to if we look ahead is food prices. So far, it is actually not so much of a problem. But if you look forward over the next year or so, I think we may have to be concerned because in America, they are having a big drought now,” he said.
He said the drought, the most severe one in nearly a hundred years, is affecting their crops.
“So when you buy tao huay zhui, I think you have to be prepared maybe it’ll cost you five cents more. When you have ice kachang, maybe there will be less jagung (Malay for sweet corn) in the ice kachang,” he said, referring to the reports of soya bean and corn supply crunch.
“But I think as long as the Singapore economy is doing well and as long as we have resources, we will deal with this,” he added.
PM Lee also urged Singaporeans to tap on possible areas for success that will allow the country to stay ahead of the race in an ever-changing globalised world.
“Take advantage of these new opportunities to keep on moving forward,” he urged, noting the importance of working together as one people and having the determination to advance.
‘This is Singapore, we are special, let’s show the world what Singapore can do,” he said.
His message was echoed by Member of Parliament for the Cheng San-Seletar division within the Ang Mo Kio GRC Ang Hin Kee, who reminded residents to work with one another for the progress of Singapore.
“Everyone has a stake in this country of ours, so even as we pursue to build a better future for one and all, let’s do it the Singapore way – which is the friendly way,” he said.
Close to a thousand residents who attended the dinner had the opportunity to meet PM Lee face to face as he went round the community club toasting and mingling with them.
Residents also sang the national anthem and recited the pledge to commemorate Singapore’s 47th birthday, which falls on August 9.

Bring back the COE Category for 1000cc and below

Does the Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) system still achieve its objectives or does it need to be reviewed in today’s context?
From August 2012, the number of vehicles allocated for COE quota will increase by no more than 1 per cent per annum and no more than 0.5 per cent per annum from February 2013 through to January 2015.
Initially, the cut was to be from 1.5 per cent straight down to 0.5 per cent from next month.
Overall COE supply will be cut and public anticipation includes a rise in the already high COE prices.
We each have our own opinions but for me, I feel that the COE system serves its purpose in many ways. In others, it’s outdated and some components can be reviewed.
Here what’s wrong with the COE system:
1) Favours the wealthy
COEs are allocated based on a person’s ability to pay rather than his/her needs.
The auction-style system favours the wealthy who can afford to bid with higher prices for COEs, even affording multiple COEs, while lower income families which may need a car more, are forced to pay the demand-driven high COE prices.
The COE system has made cars a luxury good and COEs are going to the rich rather than to those who may really need it.
Of course, those who need it may not necessarily be able to afford it, but that’s another can of worms.
2) No segregation of user groups
COEs are segregated according to engine size and cars of smaller engine capacities are supposed to be cheaper. But that has been negated due to premium car brands launching small-engine models. The different income brackets are also not taken into consideration.
3) No redistribution of resources
The COE system encourages inflation. For example, service businesses that require vehicle ownership pass on the increased costs to consumers. Also, the money put into the high COE prices could have been re-invested into innovation by entrepreneurs.
4) May lead to bad driving behaviour
It encourages a “I want more” or “Must have car” thinking.
For example, COE for large cars in December 1994 was S$110,500.
If  adjusted for inflation, it will be much higher than today. It is people’s expectations of their needs that have changed.
Also, it can lead to really ugly driving behaviour where drivers think they own the road simply because of the high prices paid to obtain their cars.
5) Drastic changes in COE prices every fortnight cause instability
This leaves little room for prediction and destabilises automotive-related businesses. For example, the aftermarket car segment follows the cycles of the COE prices.
When COE prices are high, people will spend more on parts and accessories for their cars. Conversely, when COE prices are low, people will just switch cars every three to four years.
The pre-owned car market may be a viable option as there is the prevailing COE tagged to it, but if COE prices go too high, people end up not even buying any car, new or pre-owned.
6) No vintage car scene in Singapore
At the end of 10 years, renewing the COE life for an existing car is simply too much for some people. As a result we don’t have a very vibrant vintage car scene.
Another issue is also the modern classics, such as the Toyota AE86, which lends significance in feeding people’s passion for motorsports for instance. (Another can of worms there.)
Some suggestions that have come about to tweak the COE system are:
– Creating a separate COE category for taxis and/or luxury cars
– Segregating COE categories according to income brackets and/or household needs
– Balloting
– Queueing system
– Pay-as-you-bid model where successful bidders pay the same figure they bid rather than pay the highest figure of all the bidders
I feel that the overall transportation model (ie. walking connectivity, bicycles, buses, train, car sharing, private run buses, district planning etc.) needs to be enhanced and the COE system is instrumental in the entire system of mobility.
The public transportation system needs to get more superior, to match the conveniences of that in Hong Kong for example — a similar cosmopolitan city without the need for such a COE bidding system for cars.
Again, it is the mindset of the people as well as the convenience of the public transportation system.
Let’s not forget the COE is only one significant part of vehicle ownership in Singapore — there are still other components such as road tax, insurance, ERP, parking and getting summons.
There is also the influx of population that has not been matched by a similar rise in road capacity. There are only so many roads Singapore can build to cater to the increasing population so population management must be looked at as well.
In conclusion, the COE system does not need to be scrapped totally, but there are some policies which warrant review.
Another related issue that needs reviewing is vehicle usage, which will help with vehicle growth as well.
Traffic jams stem from too many people wanting to go to the same place at the same time. While increasing costs of attaining a car, building a better road network and improving the public transport systems do help, but it is the mindset and the usage of the vehicles that need to be taken into greater consideration.
For me for example, I drive a seven-year-old Mitsubishi Lancer which happens to be my first car.
I will drive it to the end of its COE life and at that point in time, then decide if I can afford to maintain a car in Singapore. If vehicle ownership costs (including maintenance) get too high, I will have to turn to public transport.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.
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It is with everyone’s full knowledge how our enterprising taxi drivers are abusing the rigid COEs to use taxis for own personal use with business, which accounts for most of the disappearing acts during peak hours when a taxi is needed the most, not withstanding without a small car COE category(1000cc and below), everyone is using the business category of COE van for their private personal usage also, artificially jacking up the COEs of this category.
– Contributed by Oogle. 

Kudos to LTA for making the right moves

No more taxis in COE bidding process: Lui Tuck Yew

Taxis will be removed from the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) bidding process from next month onwards, reported local media.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew made the announcement on Friday, saying the move was a response to public feedback that taxi operators unduly skewed COE prices.
COE prices rose across the board in the latest bidding exercise last Wednesday, with premiums ranging from $68,000 to over $90,000, depending on the categories of the cars.
“There is evidence to show that the taxis, at least in the last bidding cycle and earlier bidding cycles, have not affected prices. But there is also some evidence that they may have affected prices in the Category A COEs,” said Lui, as quoted on Channel NewsAsia.
“Taking in the feedback from the public and from the industry and having studied this issue for quite some time, we thought that this is the appropriate thing to do,” he added.
Currently, all taxis bid under the small car Category A of 1600cc and below..
From 1 Aug, they will be removed from the bidding process and just pay Cat A’s Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP), which is the moving average of the COE prices for the last six months.
COEs used by taxi operators will also be taken from the quota for Category E, usually meant for big cars.
In another move, the government also announced that in 2014, the number of COEs made available to taxi operators will be tied to whether they meet availability standards.
This after public feedback that taxis are not always available when needed, especially during peak periods.
More details will be unveiled by the Land Transport Authority next week.

Nokia dump Meltemi because it can be abused

Reuters | 26-07-12
Struggling Finnish cellphone maker Nokia has scrapped a software project which it had hoped would compete with mass-market Google Android phones, three sources with direct knowledge of the company’s plans said.
Nokia was hoping the Linux-based software platform, code-named Meltemi, would replace its ageing Series 40 software in more advanced feature phones, but has killed the project as part of its massive cost-cutting drive.
Scrapping the platform means loss-making Nokia will risk losing its strong position in the mass-market — where phones are priced at $100-$200. Nokia controlled more than 20 percent of this market in the first quarter, according to research firm IDC.
Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop flagged Meltemi in a leaked video in mid-2011, but Nokia has never officially confirmed Meltemi existed. It declined to comment on Thursday.
In June, Nokia said it would cut 10,000 jobs – one in five staff in its phone business – as it aims to pull the company out of the red. Talks over job cuts are scheduled to end this week in Finland.
One of the sources, who works at a supplier, said the original plan was for the first feature phones using Meltemi should to be on the market by now.
Smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone which offer a platform for third-party application developers, is where the industry’s strongest growth is. But simpler feature phones, with limited support for third-party software, still account for most units sold.
Nokia’s Series 40 platform are in around 2 billion cellphones, making it the most ubiquitous software in the market. But it lacks the smartphone-like experience Meltemi could have offered.
Google’s Android platform has stormed the smartphone market in its first few years. Last quarter it was used in roughly 60 percent of all smartphones sold.
Nokia last year dumped its own smartphone software platforms in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which has so far had a limited impact, in part due to the high prices of phones using it.
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Nokia dump Meltemi because it is open source and the programming features telco use to sent an sms to set the features on a mobile phone eg turn on 3G internet could be easily hacked to be abused for other purposes. If you received an sms that could not be deleted because it is an unknown format or cannot even set to factory default, better bring back to the agent to have your firmware formated and overwrite with the latest version.  Remember, there is no security for mobile devices. Especially with smartphones that connect via your PC that sync data with your mobile, your contact lists, messages and location can easily be compromised. 

– Contributed by Oogle.

No celebration for National day due to so many unresolved issues

By Sorisori From AsiaOne Forums
Dated 25/7/2012

Come August 9 this National Day, what do you celebrate? While the SAF showed off their latest firepower they shopped with a $12.28 billion Budget at the expense of healthcare and welfare, what do you celebrate? While you watch the montage of how the PAP government claiming every credits to your fellow true blue Singaporean’s hard work, what do you celebrate? Or tell me simply, when you hang your flag outside your unaffordable home, what do you celebrate?
We have come to a time where the feeling of resentment against the system has never been so justified, and where such resultant act could be so bitter-sweet. For we love the country and we want to make the best of it, but the balance today has now been so heavily tilted in their favor, that only the growth of extremes could right the pivot. Rising anti-foreigners sentiments, or specifically anti-PAP sentiments, is the right clenched fist on the chest in practise. Only Singaporeans who have the Singapore Pledge ingrained in them understand why resistance to anti-Singaporean policies must be upheld and kept strong. We must not allow the PAP and their dogs [Link]to taint our National Day. Singapore did not become independent because of dog-mentality like theirs, and neither should Singaporeans today allow our country to continue to be flooded by foreigners at the expenses of our people.
This year’s National Day is a sham, it is no longer celebrated by Singaporeans from all walks of life. Neither will it be a good education material for our youngs. Singapore is no longer the country that our fond memories told us how it should be. Foreigners have invaded this country, put Singaporeans out of jobs, priced Singaporeans out of their creature comforts, robbed Singaporeans student’s of their education opportunities, ruined the Singaporean culture of peace and humility, made Singapore the most family-unfriendly nation and literally crowding Singaporeans out of this land we call home. What is there to celebrate this National Day?
This system the PAP has created, divided our nationality, caused adverse extremes between the rich and the poor, questioned the judiciary fairness and simply opened a pandora box where the influx of demons could no longer be contained. They made resistance futile with numerous shackles in the name of CPF, NS, HDB and the repression of education. This PAP system fully reeking of authoratarism, along with the people however self-proclaimed innocent they are in it, has masked too much putting too many assets of the people at risk [Link].
Ask the elderly tissue touters on the streets if they love Singapore, and, sadly, looking at how the PAP have punished these kind-hearted souls for giving their life to this country, most still say they do. However the PAP has become a shameless bully leeching, exploiting and literally trampling on the rights of the weak and helpless to achieve the paper growth which surprisingly translates to asking the average Singaporeans to accept higher inflation [Link], accept lower wages [Link], accept sending your mothers to JB [Link], accept more foreigners [Link], accept depressed CPF interest rates [Link], accept a preferential policy that penalizes the poor to make way for the rich [Link], accept an already-out-of-reach higher HDB prices [Link], accept a pro-foreigner policy that penalizes our mothers-to-be [Link], accept a lower standard of living, accept a relatively extended enslaving conscript system for our men while foreigners leeched and prospers from the security we gave them, or simply accept to bite more bullets.
How could we Singaporeans accept this National Day to be a celebration of PAP’s absolution of their governance responsibilities and sheer incompetence to simply provide for its people?
Our values on our Singapore flag have all been compromised and I want no part in this traitorous act. I will not hang the Singapore flag. This country has truly gone to the dogs.

Alex Tan