Sunday, November 21, 2010

Strengths and Weaknesses of AirAsia

The following are strengths and weaknesses of AirAsia:

1. Low Cost Model: Low cost operations and fixed costs
Focusing on providing air travel without frills at substantially lower prices, AirAsia has managed to achieve lower prices to attain high passenger loads, market share, and profitability by eliminating provision of costly in-flight services, flying a standard fleet, selling tickets to passengers directly, and minimizing labor, facilities and overhead costs (i.e. passengers are not allocated seats, and do not receive meals, entertainment, amenities, or access to airport lounges).

Its successful negotiations for its low aircraft lease rates, low long-term maintenance contracts rates, and low airport fees, enabled AirAsia to provide the lowest fares. As a result, AirAsia was able to reduce its overheads and investments in equipments substantially in the absence of fringe services. Exhibit 4 shows that AirAsia has the lowest operating cost (29), compared with 29 other competitors (with Air France being the highest at 184).

Moreover, AirAsia’s aircraft maintenance contract costs were reported to be substantially lower than other airlines (i.e. contractual lease charge per aircraft decreased by more than 60% from 2001 to 2004), adding to AirAsia’s competitive advantage, which was further compounded by its young fleet...Read more>>

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Sims 3 Ambitions Review

‘Ambitions’, released June 2010, is the second expansion pack for The Sims 3. And for the first time since The Sims 3 came out a year ago, it finally adds some worthwhile content to the game. I found the base game incredibly boring, with very little for the sims to do and nowhere for them to go aside from a few parks, libraries, gyms and other such uninteresting locations – there were few hobby items, and most of the community lots were ‘rabbit holes’, ie fake buildings that your sim disappears into and you are simply left sitting there blankly watching a progress bar showing the progress of whatever it is that your sims are meant to be doing in there.

The first expansion pack, ‘World Adventures’, was a disappointment – basically all it delivered was the ability to send your sims on holiday, and while that added a small amount of interest, it soon became repetitive and the pack just didn’t add enough to the gameplay or the content to be very worthwhile. As I mentioned in my review of it here, it was worth getting just for at least SOMEthing more for your sims to do, but a far cry from what gamers wanted.

But now, with Ambitions, the developers have finally got back on track and given players some substantial content, both in gameplay and in new objects. I was not expecting much from this pack, as everything else released for The Sims 3 so far had been very disappointing, but was really pleasantly surprised when I installed this pack last weekend and for the first time since I bought The Sims 3, I’ve actually been playing the game and enjoying it! Prior to that, I mainly just created custom content (to upload on the Mod The Sims website) in order to try to alleviate my own boredom and that of other players by creating quirky content to try to make the game a bit more fun, but I didn’t play much. But, finally, now there are things for your sims to actually DO, and most of the time you can now watch them do them as well, rather than disappearing into rabbit holes.

This pack adds some good new content:


Your sim can now follow a ‘profession’ as opposed to just to having a job. There are some good ones to choose from – my self-sim is just starting out as an Inventor, and has to go to a new community site, the Junkyard, to rummage through piles of scrap to find useful raw materials. So far, she’s made a rather Steampunk-looking decorative object called a ‘Rotational... Read more>>

A beginners guide to The Sims 3 (PC)

New to the world of the Sims or stepping in for a second or third round of it? In either case, The Sims 3 presents much of the same action available in the first two games while simultaneously adding and stripping away a fair amount. This little guide will help you get started on a new family, if you so desire one, and ensure they flourish.

The first step is to make said family. When just starting out you should tinker with a pair of young adults, as they're capable of doing just about anything and can get full-time jobs to make plenty of money.Go into the sims creation screen when opening the town and design them as you please; once you get to traits, though, I'd advise picking favorable ones for your first run. Anything that compliments a career path is probably best until you get the hang of how your sims interact. Make sure you don't leave the creation screen until you've created all your sims, as you'll either have to start over or do some fancy wrangling to get your desired family, both of which are annoying.

Time to move in. You'll either want to buy a house or make your own, and while it is tempting to just pick something pre-made I recommend just making a house. It's good practice and you'll save money in the long run. You need the following things to make sure a house runs smoothly:

  • front door (it's surprisingly easy to forget this)
  • A couch in front of a TV
  • A bookshelf
  • One bed for each person in the house, with an accompanying alarm clock; depending on your budget these may or may not be in the same room
  • A kitchen with a fridge, trash bin, sink, oven, extra counter space and a fire alarm
  • A bathroom with a shower, a mirror and a toilet
  • A phone
  • Wallpaper and carpeting to keep them from getting depressed about their surroundings
  • Windows for light; try to get a cheap lamp or two if you have a bit of extra cash

Your sims need to eat, sleep and clean themselves, so the above should keep them occupied. The mirror can help you build their charisma for raises at work while the TV is good for working out. The bookshelf is handy for several different skills, though make sure your sims don't waste time learning skills that won't benefit them at work, or at least not at first. Keep in mind that walls are extremely expensive, so working the living room and kitchen into one area is advantageous. The only room that absolutely must be contained is the bathroom. Overall you want to end this process with a couple hundred bucks left over... Read more>>

How to play as a ghost in The Sims 3

One of the main reasons I bought The Sims 3 was because I discovered I could play as a ghost. That single fact made the whole thing worth buying. What I didn't know, however, is that it can be a rather annoying process to achieve - especially if your sim works in the morning.

To get a ghost in your household you either need to kill somebody off or bring in a grave. Killing an active sim is probably the easiest method of doing this, as you'll have a handy grave on your site and they'll start haunting your house almost immediately. Killing a sim depends on your own malicious preferences: you can drown them in a pool with no way out, electrocute them while tinkering with a stove or TV, starve them... there are quite a few possibilities, you just need to pick one. Your ghost will act differently depending on the route you've chosen, mind you.

If you don't want to go to all that trouble then you'll need to go to the local cemetery at night and befriend a ghost. Be sure not to pick a fraidy cat sim, as they'll likely pass out over and over (and possibly die of fright) from seeing ghosts. Take a sim into the cemetery each night after 10 pm, pick one of the roaming spirits and then keeping using friendly actions towards them until they become good friends with your sim. Once they are friends you can pick up their grave and take it home with you.

This can prove problematic to sims with a daytime schedule, so expect a few tricky nights before your sim's sleeping patterns adjust accordingly. Keep in mind, too, that the same ghosts don't always appear every night, so chances are good you'll have to go back several nights in a row to find the same ghost more than once. Try and befriend a few different ghosts and go with the first one you get to good friend... Read more>>

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Computer Virus Guide

A brief guide on what are computer viruses.

With the increasing usage of computers and their connectivity to the intranet, the risk of encountering computer viruses also increases. Lurking on the web, computer viruses are ‘mysterious’ and grab our attention by doing things that range from irritating (i.e. deleting data on your computer) to dangerous (e.g. stealing sensitive passwords or information, or taking control of the computer to do illegal things). Every time a new virus hits, it spreads like wildfire, affecting those computers which are not protected, or computer owners who are ignorant.

Although computers can never be 100% secure from viruses, there are many steps that can be taken to ensure or minimize the chance of your computer from being infected with viruses.

What are computer viruses?
Computer viruses are malicious computer codes that are programmed to either harm your computer (i.e. overwriting over reserved areas of the operating system or attaching itself to other programs in your computer); infecting computer files, programs, and write over parts of files. Viruses are also able to delete files from removable disk media (e.g. portable hard disks, or USB drives)...Read more>>