Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: March 2004

Pali Chanting --- free online music

It's kind of interesting how communication channels work. After commenting on Volker's music industry boycott, quite a number of people, known and unknown ones asked me about the Pali Chanting music. Pali was the language Lord Buddha has spoken. You can find the music online free for download. And Lord Buddha will be delighted, when you listen.
There is also a translation into English available there, in case you don't speak Pali.

Posted by on 31 March 2004 | Comments (0) | categories: After hours

How Socialism will take over the US

I know the title is a bit provocative. Bear with me and follow how the idea unfolds. I'm not saying that this a good thing or a bad thing. It is simply something that is not too unlikely to happen. So here is the plot:
The growth of the US economy is fuelled by robust growth of consumer spending. This spending is financed to a good degree by borrowing against the increasing values of houses. So the interest rates and house prices determine the money available for consumer spending. This can't grow indefinitely and the number of jobs not appearing suggest, that the combined consumers spending power needs to rely on an increase of the individual spending, rather than an increase of individuals spending.
So, once the interest increases or the house prices level off, this would spell an end to the growth... Unless you make more money available otherwise. The government uses tax cuts, that might work for a while until the deficit strangles it. This is where Socialism, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae kick in.
We all know, that our monthly mortgage payments consist of interest and capital payment. Getting back the capital isn't that interesting for the lender, since they need to look for a new borrower to continue making money.
So it is only a question of time until the "perpetual mortgage" will be introduced by the Freddie & Fannie. With one strike your pocket will have the money you needed for capital payment available for spending. This possibility is so simple and so tempting, that you will see it happen big scale sooner as you might think.
Actually, since Freddie & Fannie are government backed entities, you do not actually own your house anymore, but the government (there are the security owners in between, but ultimately its the government).
Government owning the houses of its citizens is called Socialism <vbg>.

So what do you think? (I'm more interested in you view of the financial construct, less my provocative label, but every comment is welcome).

Posted by on 27 March 2004 | Comments (0) | categories: After hours

The Latte test

I have to admit that I'm a Cafe Latte addict.

Here in Singapore the big contenders are there: Starbucks, Spinelli, CoffeeBean, Coffeeclub and some smaller ones. The latest entry in the race is McCafe, McDonalds' take on Starbucks. McCafe is well styled, however you can see, that the staff is new and needs to practice. I wonder if McCafe is already active in the US?
Coffeclub has the best deal on WiFi (20SGD flat for Pacific Internet subscribers, 25SGD for the rest), but Starbucks has the most friendly staff (you actually can flirt with them and that is something remarkable in this part of the world!), the best locations (between my office, the MRT and my gym) AND the best Latte in town. The only drawback are prices. A local coffeeshop charges 0.80SGD for a coffee mug, the Latte goes at 5.25SGD. (The joke goes: Starbucks Latte goes at 0.75SGD, but you must buy a mandatory 4.50SGD Starbucks experience). Internet, provided by Singtel, is 0.30SGD/min with no cap and that's a show stopper for always on.
How much is a Grande Latte and Internet elsewhere?

Posted by on 10 March 2004 | Comments (1) | categories: After hours