Wednesday, April 23, 2008

2008 Honda Accord Revealed In Malaysia!

Honda Malaysia launch it new Honda Accord today, this 8th generation is the biggest Honda Accord ever. It available with 2 locally assembled 2.0 liter and 2.4 liter variants, and a Thai-imported 3.5 liter V6 model. The price should be RM141,800.00, RM171,800.00 and RM249.800.00 respectively. Also Modulo accessories is available, the RM5,300 package including RM1,180 for the front lip, RM1,370 for the rear lip, RM2,180 for the side skirt and RM830 for the spoiler. There are also other Modulo parts which include a side step garnish for RM300, carbon fiber panelling for the interior for RM730, a trunk tray for RM450, door visors for RM450 and a Modulo single-bar design front grille which goes for RM920.







The Accord began life as the second international car model for Honda some 30 years ago. It was first introduced as a hatchback and then a sedan with the distinction of having front-wheel drive at a time when Japanese sedans in its class were mostly rear-wheel drive. Though still a relative newcomer to making cars even in the 1970s - although already the world leader in motorcycles - Honda had already gained respect for its engineering talent with the CVCC engine which could meet the tough emission control standards in the US without the use of a catalytic converter. Thus when this new model made its debut, the automobile community paid attention.
32 years and over 16 million units later, the launch of a new generation of the Accord for the eighth time still draws a lot of attention because Honda is well known for introducing practical innovations in its new models. This time, it's the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology which was first used in the latest Legend launched two years ago. The concept is not exactly new and a few manufacturers tried it out in the 1970s but somehow never got it right. Honda has and it is unlikely that it will have to withdraw the technology due to flaws in the design because Honda almost never gets things wrong.



The eighth generation lays claim to be the biggest and most spacious Accord ever offered, along with the most powerful engine under the bonnet this model has ever had. The increase in size - notably 75 mm in overall length with 60 mm more wheelbase and a roofline 25 mm higher - was not prompted so much by the US market where the Accord has been the best-selling passenger car in some years past but by feedback from customers in Asia.
"We did extensive surveys around the world and we found that Asian customers, in particular, wanted more space inside the car along with more comfort," said Kenzo Suzuki, Executive Chief Engineer from Honda R&D who was present at the media preview today. "We also learnt that the time spent in the car on daily journeys was quite long and therefore providing more space would enhance comfort."
Indeed, the dimensions of the new Accord are a big difference from the first generation which is more comparable to the Civic of today. It's grown in size over the years but this time, Honda's designers made the big leap and in the process, they also elevated its status by adding luxury and sophistication in its appearance.



Emphasising the substantial change, Atsushi Fujimoto, CEO/MD of Honda Malaysia, said that the latest generation is no mere facelift or enhancement of the previous generation. ""The all-new Accord will evoke an all-new emotion that makes a refined and sophisticated statement with pure luxury and performance for the Accord owner, like never before. It represents an upscale shift to a significantly more refined, dynamic and sophisticated sedan," he said





There are two styling themes used for the new Accord, one for the US market and another for Europe. The one for the Asean market is based on the US variant (which is usually the case) but has cosmetic differences which reflect the Asian preference for a bit more ostentation. The front end is bold with a 'frame' around the grille and distinctive headlight units. Character lines give the car a sculpted look which strengthens its 'character' but at the same time, there's a lithe profile to the car which gives undertones of sportiness. Almost everyone who first sees the car tends to remark that there's 'a bit of the BMW 5-Series' in the rear roof pillar though!




The larger proportions of the exterior are fully exploited for the interior and from the highlighted areas where there are dimensional changes from the previous generation, it seems that the designers pushed the cabin perimeter outwards in all directions - including downwards. While the ceiling is 25 mm higher, the floor has also been set lower by 15 mm and with the 60 mm more wheelbase, rear occupants get more legroom. The interior width has also been increased so there's a more expansive ambience with the couple distance extended by 40 mm.


The dashboard design has a 'Honda signature' to it which means it scores high marks for functionality. A lot of ergonomic studies must have been done to optimise the layout of various elements and for the new Accord, all elements relating to providing the driver information have been positioned along the same level. This means the screen showing such information as the air-conditioner, radio and CD settings is at the same level as the instrument panel, so the driver only shifts his or her head left and right, without having to lower it as well. That also allows the eyes to maintain some peripheral view of the road ahead, contributing to driving safety.



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Monday, April 21, 2008

WIFI Range Extender - D.I.Y



INTRO

Easily receive WIFI signals from far away using a standard USB WIFI adaptor and a bit of ingenuity. This Simple idea requires no modifications to a USB WIFI adaptor or your computer. A simple way to increase the signal strength and range of your WIFI. Plus it works with all USB WIFI adaptors.

STEP 1

Tools and Parts Needed!

You need only a few parts for this project and they all are pretty cheap except for the USB WIFI adaptor.
1 - Metal Strainer/Steamer

1 - USB WIFI Adaptor1 - USB Extension Cable (I chose a 10ft long)

1-½” Drill Bit (I like to use stepper bits for metal)

1-Gorilla Glue (Epoxy works well too)

2 - Zip Ties

STEP 2


Drilling the Strainer/Steamer


Remove the Center Post (If your's had one) and drill a 1/2" hole as that is perfect size to fit the usb extention.

STEP 3

Glue and Zip-Ties

Insert the Female end of the USB extention (the part that doesnt connect to your computer) into the hole you just drilled.Then just apply the glue/epoxy and let it sit for 24 hours. This Creates a strong bond between the plastic and metal. I used some tape to help hold the connecter in place while the glue cured. Be sure to apply glue to both sides of the connecter. Once thats dry the next day, zip tie 2 of the metal "ears" so they wont fold in on themselves when you use it.


STEP 4

Finish!

Just plug the USB WIFI adaptor into the socket on the dish and plug the other end into your computer. Enjoy boosted signal strength and improved distance. Fire up Netstumber or Kismet to really see the gain in power. This works even better than I thought it would. Be sure to leave your comments on how well it worked. Works great for war driving too.

STEP 5

Update: Tripod Mount

I decided to make the dish tripod mountable as its really hard to try and hold it to lock in a far away signal. The parts needed are pretty straight-forward.TripodNut for the bolt on the tripod9/32" Drill Bit (Stepper bit works really nice for enlarging the hole)Pick a hole near the edge of the dish and use the drill bit to enlarge it. I chose the one where one of the feet had once been secured. Then just put the bolt from the tripod trough the hole and secure with the nut. Works great.


DI.Y or you can buy all the things needed from me at $45 or MYR 130,inclusive the new WIFI USB adapter,all that things can get cheap in Malaysia.Exclusive the tripod (quite big to shipping).

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Friday, April 18, 2008

70% Public University Graduates Jobless (!?)

Whoa! I think even the most cynical amongst us out there would have been shaken by such a staggering number of unemployed graduates. I mean how can more than half of our graduates be unemployed?But that' the headline report from the Sun yesterday.



Some 70% of public universities and institutes of higher learning graduates in the country are unemployed. This is in contrast with 26% for private institutions of higher learning and 34% for foreign graduates.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar revealed the figures yesterday in reply to a question from Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur).



While I'm not surprised that the number of unemployed is large, I believe that the statistics provided above either by Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakar, or reported by the Sun is misleading. I suspect that some incompetent statistician somewhere took the total number of unemployed gradautes in the country (who could have graduated in different years) and divided the number by the number of tertiary education students in a year to obtain the silly percentage.





If however, the "70%" statistic is indeed true (which I seriously doubt), then I think we might as well shut down half of our public universities.What was more interesting however, is the additional breakdown of unemployed graduate numbers by universities provided by the Ministry. Note that the following breakdown refers only to the 20,217 who have registered themselves with the Ministry of Human Resources, and does not include those who haven't bothered with the Ministry.






It is most interesting to note that Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) contributes by far the most number of unemployed graduates amongst all the universities in Malaysia. The number of unemployed produced (3,278) is more than double the next highest university, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) (1,532). To put it into context, it is hence extremely laughable that UiTM as recently as a months ago, declared itself to be a "world class university" . In its advertisement of self-aggrandisement, UiTM dared to ask:

... why are UiTM graduates highly sought after?They are trained to fill the needs of industry both in the private and public sector, they have strength of character, and they have acquired mastery of the skills needed in today's competitive environment.UiTM's graduates are accepted at the world level because of their ability ot communicate in English and their good communication skills.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary here, UiTM declared its graduates to be highly marketable and are in demand globally. Assuming an intake of 30,000 students per annum and the likelihood that the above number represents UiTM's contribution to the unemployed pool per annum, that's more than a 10% ratio of unemployability, a terrible figure even by Malaysian standards!
The next interesting nugget of information produced is the subjects which seem to be littered with unemployed graduates as compiled in the table below:

The answer as to why the Computer Science faculty seems to be contributing the highest number of unemployed graduates to the market place despite a clear shortage of skilled workers in the industry is fairly obvious.
A survey conducted earlier has indicated that as many as 30% of the umemployed local graduates are computer science and information technology degree holders. These skills are in obvious demand in the country - it is not a mismatch. The clearcut issue in this case is that many of the local institutions of higher learning, both public and private have failed to offer a sufficiently rigourous education to produce the necessary quality in the workforce which the industry requires.

I'm not alone with this opinion. A friend and CEO of another sofware company listed on MESDAQ.

Most importantly, as highlighted by Chris Chan, chief executive offer of The Media Shoppe in the same article:

... some local ICT graduates lacked fundamental technical skills and only had knowledge of basic software such as Microsoft Office (!) *psst-my little bro also can laa..

The problem is largely either the poor ICT curriculum of many of our local universities/colleges that doesn't seem teach anything to our ICT students or these students shouldn't have been taking ICT courses in the first place.

Anyway, I'm glad that the Government has in recent times been a tad more liberal with releasing statistics. We hope however, that the statistics which are released can make a bit more sense and the replies made in Parliament to be a tad more "sensible". I mean "70% of local public university graduates unemployed" - that's almost a national emergency! haha...
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