Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ICA: Status verification

Though I love the efficiency and practical approach of Singapore government service, I must say I started to hate the high handedness of some agencies. I liked ICA when I requested VISA, or used their services on-line but I started to feel a big annoyed when I hear the answers "we'll let you know" or "it's work in progress". This is regarding a friends son residency application and the status is 'pending' for just over an year. What is the point of having an online verification system, or call centre when the result is the same. For this reason I hated middle eastern countries, as the rules are known to them and not public by any means. So our friends are moving in to that direction it seems.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to do surveys - always in your favour :)

Today I got an invite/pop-up from a local TELCO. As I am always keen to provide feedback to improve the situation, I tried to spend couple of min to give my honest feedback.

But when I saw this page (screen shot below) I end up leaving the page. They knew that the "survey organizer" which in this case the website admin or outsourced company (i guess) need to get good marks.

Good & may be Hard way - listen to the customers, users and update.
Easy & simple way - Skew the survey results in their favour and claim that they are doing a great job.

So the survey asks questions but gives options to choose -
Poor - Average - Above Average - Good - Excellent
(-1)        (0)                    (+1)              (+2)       (+3)

We normally see,
Poor - Below Average-Average-Above Average - Excellent/Good
(-2)        (1-)                    (0)              (+1)       (+2)


So you see how it end up.. They remove the far negative and the end score would be way better than the reality. No wonder these days social scientists, data scientist jobs are in demand. :)


Monday, August 4, 2014

Sports - India: Russel peters may be correct

There is a show where Russel Peters joked about Indians - sports.


If we see the performance in CWG 2014, or any sport shows that's not far from truth. I just tried to put the CWG medal tally and the top countries list across...  Here is the map where we stood much below than countries like NZ, AU, EN..

By the way anyone dare to draw a graph for Olympics ?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

OCBC Internet banking: Slowness or "just dead"

I've been trying to use OCBC Internet banking since last night but couldn't login. At first I thought it was my internet connection issue or laptop issue. Then got the same issue on my mobile.

While trying again, I saw the 'small print'. I am ok if the service can't be offered 24x7 and I do accept that "failures happen".

But why try to "hide"? I am sure OCBC IT team (Who did a great job with the website) are pretty aware that the website is dead. So why the confusing, beating around the bush kind of attitude?

This is irritating OCBC. Just say that there is/are problem(s) and will solve by noon or some time.



Update#01: Now it's 2:30 PM, still the same status..


Now I am curious on what exactly is their "network" problem and if this is caused by the network provider or internal. When I asked the contact centre the answer is a confusing 'it's not a problem but intermittent issue (as expected).

Anyway, it seems OCBC is hosted with StarHub (I may be wrong) and when I try to do a HTTP request the packets are going pretty normal to the host. It seems there is some other problems within the IT systems of OCBC. Let's see what is their official reply.
inetnum:        203.116.27.0 - 203.116.27.255
netname:        OCBC-SG
country:        SG
descr:          Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd
admin-c:        NS110-AP
tech-c:         NS110-AP
status:         ASSIGNED NON-PORTABLE
changed:        pmbondoc@starhub.com 20060221
mnt-by:         MAINT-AS4657-AP
mnt-irt:        IRT-STARHUBINTERNET-SG
source:         APNIC

Sunday, June 22, 2014

MLAIS Note Pro - Octa core Android Phablet

I've just purchased this Phablet MLAIS Note Pro to replace my two years old Samsung Galaxy Y Duos. It's working fine but I wanted to get a bigger screen so the same phone can be used as a 'mini tablet' during travel. Without much 'talk' will jump in to the experience.

  1. Screen: It comes with 5.5" screen, 720P display, and 320ppi. Screen looks pretty neat and sensitive too. Compared to iPhone, the screen is more bright, and colours are more saturated. No qualms and I am quite happy with it. Positive marks here
  2. Performance: No complaints, memory is 2GB and processor is octa core mediatek clocked at 1.7Ghz. For my usage, this is more than sufficient. Positive marks here
  3. Call Quality/microphone: Yes, this is a drawback. Often the other party hear my voice coming from a well. It improves a bit with headset but overall this area can be improved. So I'll go with Neutral
  4. Battery: When I use the phone for zero calls, zero texts but as a hotspot, the battery gives me a full day. i.e. approx 8 hours. This is great but the moment I start making some calls or reading something on the screen, the battery goes like the taxi meter in Sydney. It drains almost a pointer every minute. The phone comes with 3200mah but must be some thing wrong with the software or processes. I've dimmed the display to bare minimum but still I can run the phone only for 4 hours of reading or watching video. This is a big negative to me
  5. Connectivity: No LTE. But UMTS(3G) is good enough for me with download speeds of ~ 3 Mbps. In Sydney I managed to get 11Mbps on Optus network, while in Singapore the throughput dropped to 3Mbps in City area. Upload is not bad either. There are other features like NFC, which I am still trying to find how that is useful to me or what purpose they achieve. Acceptable
  6. Camera: Not a great fan/doesn't really take too many snaps. I've tried to take few snaps using the front camera, and I am surprised with the quality. They are a bit grainy, but good quality pic. Acceptable
  7. Others: Looks are great and the phone build quality is great. It doesn't feel like a budget phone at all. The phone came with a screen protector on top of a gorilla glass, a sub-par eatpiece, cables etc. Good thing is I purchased a cover/case together from China, so I am not going to spend a fortune on accessories. There are some minor issues (bloat ware, software update etc) but as the name says, they are minor. Acceptable
Overall, I am happy with the phone and considering the US 200 price I paid for phone+case with NFC+addl battery, I must say this is a great value for money. 

Some tips/comments:

  • Get a good headset/ear piece. 
  • 1st SIM slot is Micro SIM and supports 3G. 2nd SIM is regular SIM. So keep a SIM adapter can be handy to change the slots when you travel. 
  • Custom ROM is not available at XDA and drivers are not available from MLais site. Note that the website is in Chinese. Limited support options
The folks at XDA are quite keen to get hold of this phone and overall there is a tremendous interest in the phone. So I am sure, we can see custom ROMs cooked very soon. Hopefully that can solve the battery issues.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Indian city trying to offer WiFi - A city where pollution is 10x of China, Potable water guarantees diarrhoea & building collapse and kill people.

Source: NDTV

Good money making opportunity for the new government & IT firms. A city where one can't find potable water, or good sanitation or 'safe air to breathe', the government wants to give WiFi to public.

Shame on the leaders, and media for even publishing it. First focus on basic needs/rights. Indian is in such dire state due to this 'wrong priorities'.

Not even a single city offering WiFi realized that the invested money is worth the tax payers money. Be it SFO or Singapore or any other place on the planet. There is/are no tangible benefits demonstrated in any manner. So why the Gov is trying? No one knows.

But I can say, shame on you leaders. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Security - You can't take it for granted. Over 1,500 SingPass accounts potentially accessed

Source: CNA

It is really amusing that the Singpass is not using 2FA. OneKey, which is a Gov backed initiative is active and I believe many people received the Key. Even without onekey, Mobile phone can be a good 2FA device, and if SMS costs are huge (which is not the case but still), Googla 2FA or other software based 2FA can be used pretty safely.

Remember, SingPass let's the user access almost all kind of personal, confidential and private information. So I am disappointed with the SingPass provider. Wish there is some change soon and we can start to use 2FA. Atleast optionally.

Shipping with SingPost - Real "shipping" and not via air

Source: SingPost

Not quite sure if this is a good choice for 'shopping' as the price seems to be quite high. Also the T&C need to be checked on the 'bundling discount'. I am going to get some solar panels /kit if it's allowed :)


There is a base charge of $39.90 for every single item you ship and a per kg charge of $3.90, depending on whether chargeable or actual weight is higher. There’s no bundling discount for this option and the same customs rule applies that is if your total CIF is above SGD 400, a 7% customs tax will be charged and collected. This service is available only for packages with a chargeable weight of 10 kg and above.

Free Server to practice opensource apps or development works from Cloud - AWS Free Usage Tier

Source: Amazon

If you badly need a server to practice some development or some hobby programming, then this is probably the best one can get in Singapore.

The terms & conditions clearly states the details, and the pricing is pretty competitive if you choose to upgrade. For myself, I wanted to give a try to OpenFlow and wondering how best I can do it with RDO. I started with a Micro (Free) but soon upgraded to M3.Medium (Western US) at 0.157 per hour. After a month, my bill came ~ eight dollars. That's less than a meal at a foodcourt in Orchard :)

Amazon does offer services from Singapore, but as I tend to travel most of time I opted for US. Also, with Fiber from home the speed is not a big challenge even from home (I've a M1 200Mbps and my speed to AWS is ~25Mbps)

Overall this is a good deal if you want to start some 'hands-on' or practice some system stuff. Finally, I wish SingTel or a local company starting such 'time based' or 'pay-per-use' model for our local needs. I am sure this is a huge untapped market which our local telco's can profit from. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Narendra Modi - Prime Minister of India.

A happy day it was and I can't forget it so easily. The way Mr. Modi started the campaign, the way he systematized, the way he cared for every single vote and the projection of 'image'. Whatever it is, it's going to be a 'metric' to be measured against in the near future.

Now, I see some of his priorities are going in the much needed direction. i.e. Basic Infra. Glad to hear that, and I am sure solar, alternative energy production would gain a huge support in India. So does the japanese companies and investments.

Here is a wish list I am keen to see. These are no means in an order or priority. Also I am excluding the basic infra as it is almost 'given'. So Roads, Electricity and Clean water is not included.


  • "clean & green" mindset. Create a culture of 'cleanliness' in the mindset of our children. The current generation is so spoiled, not an easy task to get rid of the mindset. Love to see a clean india atleast in 2050.
  • Reduce "cost base" of Indian manufacturing or services. Today India is a very expensive place to tour, or travel to, or even to do business.
  • Change the mindset of "private=bad"; or "companies=profit". The job of company is to make profit and employees are getting paid for it. No company = no job. Get away from communist, 70's mindset where companies means eating the flesh and drinking the blood of poor people.
  • Create "nationalism". Start from the top and children. So one case, would love to see Modi to do a symbolic change to Mahindra instead of "A.B. Vajayee" introduced B.M.W. 
  • Create good relations with Asia and create "Asia First"
  • Make North-East "real part" of India. Hope to see India is a place where every Indian can live irrespective of religion, language or region.
  • Reduce/remove the huge bureaucracy created by decades of in-efficiency. Good example, is putting an "automatic ticketing machine" but employing two people to issue tickets from the machine. What a waste. 
  • Reduce Tax burden but expand the tax net. A study done by M&S showed that even a 7% GST on every transaction could remove all other personal and consumption taxes in India.