Posts Tagged ‘Google’
US-Chinese relations have been rocky at best and outright hostile at times. The Chinese got pissed of at the US’s decision to sell military arms to Taiwan and then at Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama. Then there was the row over censorship in the wake of Google’s pull out. The latest spat has been over China’s supposedly undervalued currency. To be fair, there is an almost unanimous international consensus that the RMB is undervalued. This however is irrelevant. Regardless of this, the US should not be trying to pressure China for a RMB rise.
First, those who are calling for the move are hardly reliable. Sure, they have their share of Nobel economists and awards. But muddled amongst their claims were that China and Hong Kong were both currency manipulators. C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank in United States said in a Congress hearing that
“Several neighboring Asian countries of considerable economic significance — Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan — maintain currency undervaluations of roughly the same magnitude in order to avoid losing competitive position to China.”
True, Hong Kong has a peg to the USD since 1983, and the government has had to control the currency to maintain that peg, but maintaining a peg is hardly currency manipulation. And if a peg is to be maintained, its rather difficult to manipulate a pegged currency! The total irony of it all is that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner paid a visit to Donald Tsang and other prominent financial people during his stopover in Hong Kong just this week. The HKD-USD peg has been around for almost 30 years, as long as Bergsten has been out of the government and out of touch with reality. John Tsang, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong put it quite nicely :
“This is a sign of rising protectionism and this kind of absurd voice will continue to be heard. Hong Kong’s peg to the U.S. dollar has been in effect for over two decades, how could we have manipulated our currency in that period?”
Even if we assume their claims are correct, what’s the real problem? Is the US-China trade imbalance a result of currency manipulation or a more fundamental issue with the US economy? Understandably, the currency plays a part, but the underlying problem is not the RMB but the lost of competitiveness of US products. Made in US just isn’t that cool or in demand anymore. US goods are expensive in comparison to almost all countries, that’s the underlying problem. Changing the RMB value won’t change the price of US products. Until something is done, the trade imbalance will still occur.
There really is no better indicator of the US’s lack of competitiveness than the fact that a trade imbalance would occur even if the RMB raised its value. Many Chinese goods would still be cheaper than US goods. Even if they aren’t US goods won’t be the cheapest because Indonesia, South east Asia, India, Brazil and other countries will still be cheaper than Made in US. In fact, Saudi Arabia’s multilateral merchandise surplus of $212bn in 2008 dwarfs China’s $175bn surplus. Has the US cried about Saudi Arabia? No. It wants the oil. Would RMB revaluation do anything to the Saudi Arabian surplus? No. What does Bergsten want to do then? Ban all foreign goods?
Blaise explains Bing Maps. Microsoft may finally have a product that rivals that of Google.
Will you continue to use Google Map or are you going to give Bing Map a try? I’m all for the latter.
Add twitter results when searching google
A minimalist iGoogle interface saving screen space to fit more content in
iGoogle Transparent Header
Compact the content and create a transparent header so your eyes don’t hurt
Take advantage of all of Google’s services without having to stray from Google’s homepage
Gmail Mac Theme
Use a Mac OS X theme with Gmail
Remove the annoying ads in gmail and read emails in a wider panel
Google Reader Mac Theme
Google Reader with a Mac OS X theme
Google Reader Mac Theme Refined
The refined addition of Google Reader’s Mac OS X Theme
Google Book Downloader
Download google books thanks to this script
Despite the competition, Firefox continues to lead the way as the most popular browser although IE has the largest market share as a product. So here’s a list of 10 useful Firefox Addons to brighten up your browser. Hopefully they will all work with the new Firefox 3.6
Search better and easier with thumbnail preview and much more
Take control of your iGoogle page with these useful options
A compilation of some of the best Greasemonkey user scripts for YouTube in one simple interface
Make Gmail work for you with hierarchical labels, file attachment icons and unread count in browser tab amongst other features
Better Google Reader
Enhance Google Reader with feed favicons, inline article previews, and unread counts in your browser tab
Add extra information like links to Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN and removing unwanted information like ads and spam
A useful addon to help you download any type of embedded object
Reduce tabs to the size of a favicon and reduce tab clusters
Integrate Wikipedia articles directly into Google searches to give you more information without the hassle
Create a highly sophisticated email signature with multiple signatures, RSS feeds, Instant messaging, Social profiles, logo and images all easily integrated
I was initially inspired to start PaulLau.WordPress.com and this blog by the million of other personal websites and blogs out there in “the internets”. Since I started, you can even find this website on “the google”
I’m please and glad to be able to see that my own blog has inspired others; KennethChan.org.
For those of you who like Fanfiction or English writing, KennethChan.org may be the place to go for those who like Fanfiction, IGCSE example essays and more. At least that’s what the site promises. Up till now however, despite having started
this blog to make sure I practice my writing.
there has only been 1 blog post and no essays. Despite this, he has linked to KennethChan.org from twitter for a while.
Best of luck to weuer aka Kenneth in the future.
As I noted in my last post, although small and tiny, Hong Kong ranks in a surprisingly large number of areas. Even in some of the less obvious categories, Hong Kong still has an unexpectedly good showing. Hong Kong has few roads with little land to cover. Even though, Listverse ranked Tuen Mun Road as the 4th scariest road in the world.
Even if you don’t buy into the whole haunted roads business, you would be wise to exercise caution on this road. The road is very heavily used, yet it hasn’t been redesigned to take all of the modern traffic. It is notorious for it’s frequent traffic jams wrecks. And apparently,the ghosts are out to get you on top of this! Many claim that ghosts will suddenly appear in the middle of the road, causing the driver to swerve to avoid hitting the “person”. And to make matters worse, supposedly the ghosts of the crash victims are being added to the already high spirit count. Travel this road with caution, and keep an eye out for much less cautious “pedestrians”.
A simple Google search turned various blog posts detailing the ghostly horrors.
Having lived in Hong Kong since I was six, I admit I’ve heard of the many road accidents at Tuen Mun Road. Sadly, they don’t seem to be particularly connected in any way as the rumors suggest. Furthermore, despite living in Hong Kong for most of my life, I must admit to never having heard of those stories until now.
The rumor will be difficult if not impossible to verify in any substantive way. Nevertheless, they make for a good Hong Kong folk-tale!
It’s been a relatively short year for this blog, but it has nevertheless been a fruitful one with nearly 40 posts in a short 2 months period. Here’s a round up of the top posts of 2009.
SIS had its first batch of IB students completing their exams and the results of this was released sparsely with only certain staff members insisting that they were wonderful. However, in an ironic twist, the school carefully choose to exclude a number of important statistics of comparison.
With the announcement that Mr. Wray was due to go to another school, the process of selecting a new principal began. Ultimately, Mr. Graham Silverthorne was selected. You can read his bio here.
It’s taken a while.
But finally, we’ve been indexed by Google!posted to WP.com: Google Search
Search “PaulLau.com” or our website “paullau.wordpress.com”
And you’ll find us in the results!
Need Proof, Here you are