Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Credit Cards Deadline Coming Up In Six

One of my friends got two shocks recently.

Shock Number One
She found out that by end of December 2011, she would only be allowed to hold two credit cards. The extras have to be cancelled. She would only be given two years to settle the outstanding debts from the cancelled credit cards.

Shock Number Two
She was informed that her maximum credit limit for her remaining two credit cards could only be 2x her monthly income.

In her particular case, she has six credit cards.  When she cancels four of them, she has a combined debt of RM20,000.  But her remaining two credit cards have high credit limits... and she has to settle RM4000 to comply with the new credit limit.

So now she is dizzy thinking of those debts... yes, she is given two years to settle them... but RM24,000 on top of her other debts is a very very heavy burden to pay.  While I pity her, I also think that this is something that Bank Negara Malaysia should have done earlier.

These rules apply to those who earn RM36,000 a year or less.  But personally I think we shouldn't hold more than two cards.  Why two cards?  Just in case one doesn't function.

I once tried life without credit cards.  Hoo boy!  The deal breaker came when I checked into a hotel.  I only meant to stay in Hotel Fairlane for a night but they demanded a deposit of RM600!  It was as if someone without a credit card was immediately under suspicion.  Maybe they thought I gave fake details and was getting ready to run away with their carpet and kettle.

The info is at http://www.bnm.gov.my/index.php?ch=8&pg=14&ac=2226.  This is not NEW info but I think for people like my friend, she didn't realise how bad her financial situation had become until she sat down to do the numbers.

Friday, June 24, 2011

All A-Kindle About My Kindle!

One day, I flipped open my PDA and tried to read one of the ebooks in it.  After ten minutes, I gave up.  Age had taken a toll on my eyes.  I used to smile indulgently at those people who used big-screen e-readers and pat myself on the back for using a small PDA to read books.  Well, Time has a way of getting back at people like me.  Sigh.

I tried increasing the font size on my PDA.  Have you ever tried to read a book on a screen that displayed only ten words a a time?  Go, go give it a try.  If only to laugh at me. 

So I began my search for a big-screen replacement. The Amazon Kindle kept coming up in the course of my quest.  I didn't want an LCD screen with a backlight because they tire my eyes out pretty fast.  'Pretty fast' means four or five hours of reading.  Sometimes I like to go on ebook reading marathons.  People kept telling me that Amazon doesn't ship Kindles to Malaysia.  Amazon doesn't sell Kindle ebooks to Malaysians.  But from my previous experience with Malaysians and IT equipment, there is never a 'doesn't', 'cannot', 'doesn't have' and other similar auxiliary verbs.  And when I went to one of my favourite forums LowYat.net, lo and behold! Kindles were doing brisk trade!  As for the ebooks I wanted, most of them tended to be classics which were freely available on Project Gutenberg and other similar sites.  All I needed was Mobipocket Creator or Calibre to convert the ebooks to the .mobi format and I'd be in ebook heaven!

After lurking for a while and following the tradeslists, I chose a trader and purchased a Kindle from him.  Incidentally, I found out that Shirogawa was a teacher in training :D Got the Kindle within a week and I began downloading books into it.

It was the best purchase I ever made!  I am not going to talk about why it's so good... just google and find out for yourself. 

And I found out that Kindle ebooks are doing brisk trade on the net.  Anyone interested in publishing and selling a book could just upload his ebook to Amazon in the html format and begin selling within minutes!  But obviously it's not that simple.  You'd have to pick a title and cover that would catch people's interest... and you'd have to begin selling at a low price.  But that would be a topic for another blog post.  And I'd like to experience the process for myself before I say anything about it.  Unbelievably, many people are buying many many books priced under two US dollars.  Well, maybe not so unbelievably.  But if you don't have the budget to get a book out there in bookstores, this would be a very good option for you.

So what have I done with my Kindle so far?

I've loaded 33 books into it.
I've installed Kindle for PC into my notebook.
I'm now looking into loading Scrabble into my Kindle.

And according to Amazon, these are the things I can do with it.
I can loan a friend an ebook bought from Amazon.  That friend wouldn't need a Kindle, just Kindle for PC.
I can sync all my ebooks in up to five devices (all with Kindle software loaded in the devices) using my Amazon account.  There are limitations for non-US residents though.
I can download the free ebooks from Amazon into my Kindle, although they apparently charge USD2 for purchases by non-US residents.

How-evah... I would like to report that YES! It is true I am unable to buy ebooks from www.amazon.com because I am on a computer with a Malaysian IP address.   One of my acquaintances who works for a company that uses a VPN has no problems with Amazon because his computer has a US IP address.  So, the solution to a Kindle owner would be to make sure he surfs online with a US IP.  Bah, paham-paham saja lah.

 The Kindle 3 Oh-So-Thin-And-Light

My Kindle Now Sits Safely In a Flipcase