Flickr fun


Originally uploaded by xen3

Yep, below was an automatic test blog post sent by Flickr. This, on the other hand, is a real test post sent from Flickr by me, using the “Blog This” feature on Flickr.

What a paradox.

photo album

With my camera phone I start to have more random photos. I’ve just created accounts with photoape and Flickr, but I’m currently uploading to Flickr, cos it has a mobile interface for uploading. Apparently Flickr has some integration with WordPress blogs as well. But it has a 100mb/mth upload limit. Maybe I should try photobucket too.

I hope to get one that’s free, allows mobile uploading, and hotlinking from my blog. One with maximal bandwidth and space will be good too.

In the meantime here’s a hotlink test from Flickr.

Free public transport

I read about the idea of increasing GST in order to offer free public transport to Singaporeans on phishie’s blog. Not really sure where he read that from since there’s no reference.

While most of his reactions are psychological and behavioral (what beeping of gantries, sound of doors and students taking space on free trains), I’m more concerned with the effects of such a policy. Firstly, how much GST increase will we need to actually cover the costs of transport operators? What if we actually need to change GST to 50% in order to cover the costs? Then this wouldn’t be feasible at all.

So I did a quick search and found the following.

SBSTransit operating costs (2007): $616,686,000
SMRT operating costs (2007): $625,600,000
Total “public transport” operating costs (2007): $1,242,286,000
GST revenue estimate for FY2007 (at 7%): $4,850,000,000
Total Goods and Services taxed: $69,285,714,286
Total GST needed to cover “public transport”: $6,092,286,000
New GST: 8.79%

Of course these are estimates and do not include all costs such as future expansion costs that need to be borne by this scheme. Their dates corresponding to these figures are not properly aligned as well. Also, with the opening of the circle line, it means such operating costs will increase significantly. Therefore it is possible that the GST % can move up another 1-2% in the next 2 years.

But let’s say we also have a corresponding increase in GST revenue due to increased spending over this period, and we manage to keep the GST at 9%. Whether it benefits an individual will depend on two main factors: public transport expenditure vs GST taxable expenditure. A Singaporean might spend $2 per trip to get to work currently, and therefore spends about $100 per month. With the new scheme, he pays $0. For him/her to benefit, his/her increase in GST paid should not exceed $100. Since the increase is 2%, the person’s GST taxable expenditure must be kept below $5,000.

Sounds perfectly reasonable, as most people should be spending below that amount per month (earning below that?). And if another person has a short-trip, direct-bus and costs him/her $50 in transport per month currently, a spending of $2,500 per month will break even with this scheme.

Secondly, the beneficiaries of these schemes are COMMUTERS. So if a person do not take public transport (e.g. walk to work), they will be totally hit by the GST hike. In fact it does not make it better even if they change their job to commuting-based, since commuting will be free. So how many lower income people currently have jobs that just require them to walk from their home? Or they work from home? How can they be assisted?

Maybe our Department of Statistics have the numbers for these (which I might try to find if I have this urge again). Maybe it’s worth for the majority of people (who are commuters) to bear the increase than to transfer them to these non-commuters. Or if the correlation between income and number of people taking public transport is a normal distribution, why not use an increase of 0.5% in income tax to pay for public transport?

This response comes from a person with zero economics knowledge or public policy background. Views expressed are entirely personal. Critiques welcome.

Blog’s back

The blog is back, and using a newer version. I’m still not sure what happened to the old one. But I’ve managed to link up a few directories across the new blogs and saved some disk space. Now I still need a good mobile blog plugin and a good stats plugin.

In the meantime, let there be snow.

blog spoil

My blog went down immediately after my last post, and it’s sort of not really up yet. I’ve yet to pinpoint the root cause, but I’m suspecting it’s The weird part is the other blogs and forums hosted together are fine. Maybe it’s time to “reformat” the blog.

The morph surface is future technology

Remember the crazy idea about the morphable surface on a mobile phone for tactile effect?

Guess what?

Cambridge and Nokia are working on it already, and it’s called “The Morph Concept”. Although they have the exact same idea, it is expected to take a decade for possible realization. They have released the concept publicly in February this year, but I didn’t know about it until I heard it on the news last night. Kinda shocked, cos it was so recent that I wrote about it.

To see what I mean by the morph surface, load this video and click on “9”.

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.

– Albert Einstein