Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fibre to the home - Thanks to the Gov vision in 2010.

200/200 Mbps Download/Upload speeds and unlimited data volume. For a price of SGD 39/Month. This is what Singapore managed to do with Fibre to the Home. I was a bit sceptical originally in 2010, and the project itself went in to many challenges (still ongoing with lead times to install fibre, or change operators) but end of the day it is a great boon to house holds. I've checked my bills and I found out that in year 2003, I paid SGD 58 to a cable operator for 3 Mbps broadband connectivity. Followed by SGD 41 for 6 Mbps ADSL, then SGD 39, and SGD 72 for 20 Mbps before I subscribed at SGD 31 for 30 Mbps Fibre to home in 2011.

It's a good experience overall and I know I can't ask for more given my current services comes with free residential telephone with unlimited local calls, and a free WiFi router.  

World tallest Ferris wheel - It's not Singapore Flyer any more. Las Vegas got a bigger one now..

Source: Here

The world’s tallest Ferris wheel opened on the Las Vegas Strip on March 31, 2014. Standing at 550 foot tall, the Ferris wheel named “High Roller” sports a 520-foot diameter giant wheel and is taller than the previous record holder, the Singapore Flyer by 9 feet and almost 100 foot tall than the famous London Eye. The wheel is located across from Caesars Palace, adjacent to Flamingo Las Vegas and The Quad Resort & Casino.

Looks good and I am not sure if soon the "ferris wheels" will be removed or scrapped. I don't understand the business case and I still see no business here in Singapore, and many other places. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Optus Prepaid $2 Days SIM Card Validity period

Source: Optus Web

Due to business purposes, I end up travelling in the region and Australia is one of the country I visit every alternate month. One of the challenge is to keep a local number so it's easy to reach local friends. I've been using Optus for $2 days and I love it. At a fraction of cost, or may be at the cost of 1Day Bridge data roam plan or 5 min roaming call, I can enjoy 5 days of unlimited voice, sms and 2.5GB data. By the way it's LTE ready too :)

So one of the interesting thing I found out is the SIM card validity vs. Amount validity. Optus says the validity of the card is based on the top-up (normally I do $10 for 5 days) and it lasts for 10 days to 100 days. However this is only for the "VALUE" and the SIM card is valid for longer periods with zero value in it.

For example, this is what I observed. I bought a SIM with $10 value on 1st Feb 2014. So the "validity" shown by Optus in SMS/internet is up to 11th Feb. But when you try to recharge the card or do a status check (with a SMS 1 to 9999) the return message shows that the SIM card is valid till 1st Sep 2014 which is great. I don't have to queue up at the airport or try to find a optus store. All I need to do is to top-up online right before I get on the flight :)

The number continues and I am using the same number for over an year, and yeah love the convenience and peace of mind it brings. It works great for voice, and atleast on Android it supports Hotspot. So no more roaming charges, or Boingo kind of WiFi charges, frantic "free ad based" wifi at airports.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Top paying jobs in Singapore - CIO/CTO Wages


The info might give a wrong info as this is almost 2-3 years old. The report was based on MOM Occupational Wages table. The MOM table was released in June 2013, but the data is based on info from 2012.

Anyway based on the "new info" the top dollar is obviously paid to Financial professionals, and Specialists (e.g. Surgeon, Lawyers etc). One thing caught my eye is the supposedly low compensation to CTO/CIO. The position is @ 19th rank with a third quartile pay of $10,648. By the way this is gross wage.

Either the number is skewed by too many "false" designations in small companies or the 'value' offered is too low compared to a Trader or Sales manager or Marketing manager.

If I compare the CTO pay with average/median worker pay in other countries,

* USA median salary is USD 195,450 (Source - Payscale)
* USA median salary is USD 310, 200 (Source - Glassdoor)
* Australia median salary is AUD 280,700 (Source - Glassdoor)
* HongKong median salary is HKD 1,500,000 (Soruce - Michalpage)

So I guess my assumption is correct and the 'designation hype' is causing the number to skew to lower ranges.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

MH 370 - Surprised to see such a huge confusion. Is it none of the nations monitoring their borders?

I am not sure what's going on with the MH-370 Flight. But I am really surprised with the state of FAILED security of all the nations.

If I're to take the call that the flight went missing around Vietnam, then I can understand the "failed" radar monitoring from Vietnam. They are still running soviet era, Vietnam war remnants infra.

Based on the second case, if the flight indeed crossed Malay peninsula then what exactly happening with the Malaysian Airforce or Army? Nobody working on monitoring their borders?

If I go to the final case (as of today) and take that the flight went near Andaman. This is a huge disappointment. India got a huge deployment in Andaman & Nicobar, and they are supposed to be on very high alert 24x7 under a "central command" covering Army, Navy & Airforce. Also the Bay Of Bengal is monitored (or atleast on paper) from Visakapatnam, a Coastal City in South-East India which is Indian Navy eastern command centre.  Aslo their Spy Satellite should be watching very closely on both Arabian Sea & Bay Of Bengal. In this case, the satellite missed? Or its busy broadcasting movies and cricket?

Total failure from them?

Or is it "intentionally" hiding the information from public?

I can only say there is only one Country who is sad & happy at this stage. Must be China, sad to see such a tragedy to its people; but happy to learn that the entire south & south-east asia forces are not watching their borders. Forget about Stealth, just a huge 777 can't be identified by them.

Only one word to close. DISAPPOINTED.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Opal card - Sydney's own EZ-Link card or Octopus card. But the deployment shows what Australia can learn from Singapore, HK


Ok, Finally I see some effort and actual implementation of a simple store value card in Sydney public transportation.

I know, public transportation in Sydney is not comparable to what Singaporeans enjoy but it is great to skip horrendous parking charges in the city or if you are trying to beat the traffic during peak hour. I love it especially to go to the north sydney or towards the Central areas.

But what really surprised me is the 'planning' and the way NSW choose to sell the cards. First of all you need to register online and top-up with a credit card so it can be mailed to you. Then you need to go online and 'activate' the card.

Compared to Opal, lets look at our own EZ-Link card. I know people may compare with HK and

MH 370 - No idea what's going on

Source: Strait Times

My prayers and hope some miracle unfolds.

But I am still puzzled by the lack of technical advancement finding place in airlines industry. I am a layman, and don't understand the complications of airlines but still puzzled to see why we can't have GPS tracking on different modules, blackbox or real time updates of FDR/CVR to near by control tower or even through satellites. Finding the information is so critical, I believe the investment can justify.

Hopefully there will be some changes soon.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

India - Going back to mediaeval period

What a sad state of politics in this great country. I won't blame the politicians but the PEOPLE who are quite educated, and have seen the world but who failed to understand a simple thing that "Strength is in Unity".

I've seen a comedy bit in a movie recently. Some folks asks a foreign tourist, "How is India, and indian hospitality". Seemingly american, he answers the question - India is good but I haven't seen Indians in India and neither experienced Indian hospitality. And elaborates,

- I've seen North India, South India, then
- I've seen Punjabi culture, Punjabi food, Tamil culture, Tamil food, Jain food, Bengali food, Gujarati Thali, Assamese dance, Rajasthani heritage.

But I am yet to see anything Indian.

----Sad but true----.

When the world is breaking boundaries and trying to remove barriers, we are creating new. For the whole benefit of some people selfish reasons. If we're to go by the 'political news', Indian political parties are supporting new small states. Based on Wiki, and other news the list seems to add atleast 50 more states. Which means 80 states in India.

One may say, this is the decentralization which India needs badly. But the problem is this is something like creating new boundaries administratively and increasing the cost unnecessarily. We are already wasting spending close to 17% on public administration(Reference - TOI/Link is dead but will update). If you've the reference which stated post budget 2014 with Salaries, Administrative spending/board, plz share).


So how much more burden is added on the middle class of India to support these new states, bureaucracy ? Why can't we simply keep the linguistic states as it is? 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why not allow local roaming within country when an operator network fails

Ok, I agree this is not going to be easy to live without Mobile network for hours. Atleast in Singapore. Where people use 2.3 Peta Bytes a month, spend on an average 6 hours on mobile phone (calls), and carry 2 or more connections to be online all the time.

From the news itself I recall there are more than 

Minister says Telcos should raise their game during disruptions. But mere 'communication' doesnt help solve the problem. One way is to use a Dual-SIM card with multiple numbers but this is going to be expensive and cumbersome to maintain two different numbers. Perhaps future technology may allow a 'soft-sim' where the single SIM card can allow dynamically change the service provider. But until then a more practical way to let the affected parties roam to another operator could help.

So the 'national roaming' - how does this going to help and what are the challenges. I have seen this approach by many countries in developing nations. Especially in India, it is very common since the 2G nation wide launch in early 1990's. This was started mainly from coverage point of view, but slowly operators realized that they can share the resources to scale. The case in Singapore differs slightly and for us coverage may not be a big issue (though i still have plenty of dark spots or blind spots throughout my mobility areas)

From resiliency point of view, there is a good paper from European Union here. This is more in tune with our requirements in Singapore. So what happens is very simple

When the M1 network goes down (be it nation wide or specific areas), the subscribers can automatically switch over to SingTel or StarHub networks assuming it is a Radio network failure or Radio(core) nodes failure at central exchange. The billing can be settled based on Inter-op agreements or via a central party.

If in case of other failures like the Data centric nodes failure, the voice network still works but customer suffer no data connectivity. Again , depending on the scenario a subscriber may be roamed in to backup network. Technically this is more complicated and need many cases to be explored. So I doubt this can happen in Singapore. But for the basic voice connectivity and SMS connectivity should be supported.

Today most of the 2G networks are under utilized given the fact that 90+% subscribers running on 3G or LTE. So until IDA decides and takes back the spectrum or Operators decide to close the 2G toally, they can use the 2G as a backup network to roam. Basically this is for voice + SMS which 2G does a great job.

Any thoughs...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Creative Customer Care Centre - As good as a Chinese imitation product

I wanted to get a good value headset for VoIP/Skype communications without breaking my wallet. So after some recommendations I purchased Creative HN-900.

I've used it mainly for VoIp/Voice calls and the product is good value for money. However less than an year of spare usage, the product started to give problems.

It's a classic issue - i.e. only one side of the headset is working and it's randomly disconnecting voice. So I reach out to Creative support. By the way did I mention that you need to work hard to find the actual creative 'contact us' or feedback form in their website?

Anyway the e-mail support is quite fast and normally I managed to get same day reply. However after 10 days of e-mail communication where they tried to "solve" the problem, they finally advised to visit the support centre and also told that I need to pay SGD 40 for 'repair' even it is under warranty period. I am fine with that as this is supposed to be 'international warranty' which creative doesnt provide. (?)

I am angry but as I've no choice, I decided to lose 40 bucks to get it repaired or replaced. After a tedious 1 hour journey to the remote place, I managed to find the physical room with the name "creative customer care centre". But I didn't realized that this is the beginning of the problem.

First of all I got a shock when the place is unmanned. Then I managed to find from a security guard that the support person went out for lunch (it's 3 PM by the way). After an hour of waiting I saw the person sitting at the desk. Then the person repeatedly said 'sorry lah' for over a dozen times and go through all the story.

Another 30 min wasted. Finally he went inside to the store to check the stock and returned with a sheepish smile. Guess what. Sorry lah, no stock of this model. Come again next week or some other time.

What the hell.. There is no assurance at all that and worse, the person is not even trying to make an effort to find the stock arrival date and asking me to visit or send the item to me via post.

What a shame Creative. For a company who claims to be Worldwide leader in entertainment products. Atleast there should be some effort to improve the support.