Monday, June 17, 2013

Pasar malam @ Ang Mo Kio

WoW. After a long time, I am seeing a pasar malam @ AMK Ave 10. Couldn't stop but here goes couple of snaps.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mapping with Google - Now I am certified by Google ;)

Here goes a certification from Google which is cool ;)

This is a certificate, I can keep with my years old (mostly expired) certificates from Novell, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Redhat, PMI, ITIL, BCP-DR, TOGAF/OpenGroup, & GOI

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Indian Rupee at all time low. Is it due to USD strengthening ??

If you are following the news, you must have seen it. If you are some of those Indians, who are out of India and doesn't have to worry about happenings in India then you are a luck person.

The news is 1xUSD = 58.98 INR. 

For majority of the Indians, the impact is bad. Even for those folks who are working outside and sending money with a grin need to be worried. Just think about it. The same 1xUSD used to buy a full breakfast in 2005 @ 35 rupees. Right now you are lucky if you can get a good coffee @ 58 Rupees. So numbers may look high in absolute value but the buying power has gone deep down.

So I am hearing this time, the problem is not with Indian rupee weakening but USD strengthening (???). I have no idea on what is doing what and I do believe many of these analysts speak  hind sight.

So what I tried is to match this with another currency. Not Euro or AUD which has seen some downs and ups due to various factors. I thought I'd compare with SGD as SGD is pegged with a basket of currencies and the variations with other currencies are not that great.

Below are the 10 year charts with Indian Rupee (INR), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), Philippines Peso (PHP), Russian Rouble (RUB), Chinese Yuan (CNY), Indonesian Rupaiah (IDR) Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) & Brazilian (BRL).

So if I see the variance over 10 years, we are the 3rd worst performing currency compared to SGD. The bottom two are war ridden Sri Lanka & forever corrupt Indonesia. Most of the currencies like Peso, Ringgit, did better..

MYR 23%
PHP 29%
CNY 39%
BRL 64%
RUB 66%
INR 82%
IDR 83%
LKR 102%

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

M1 Fiber Broadband 200 Mbps + Mobile Broadband 1 GB Promo @ SGD 39

It's time to re-contracted my home Fiber broadband. It's not a great comparison work for me (you might have guesses which camp I went for as I shared few times in the past about my experiences here, here & here) and I tried to get the cheapest among big telco's. Again, M1 is attractive and lately I am quite impressed with the improvement in Customer Service. I had a very bad experience with their call centre but now a days it's a matter of seconds(or less than couple of min) before some one attends the call.

So the offer is 200 Mbps home fiber, 1GB mobile broadband, free digital voice for home landline & a Linksys free Wi-Fi router. All at SGD 39 per month.

It was great and I signed up over telephone / online for this two days ago. Opennet is still a pain in the XYZ, as the earliest appointment is in early July. Anyway, I've got the free router and data SIM delivered to me. So I tried to check whether the data SIM is working fine, and I tried it in my 2nd Dual-SIM Phone.

Now the funniest part. The moment I restarted the phone, I've got a call from a telemarketer from Prudential.  I've no idea how the hell they even know this number. I havent even checked the number as I thought it's a data SIM. So I checked and found the number on SIM card cover, then I tried to make a call. Yeah it works surprisingly. Seems M1 didn't blocked it unlike SingTel.

Which means, you can use this as a 2nd mobile line or spare mobile line ? But there is a caveat. The charges are damn expensive. According to M1 the voice calls & SMS are charged for both incoming & outgoing. Below are the rates.

Local Airtime Charges
(Excluding Mobile Broadband V plans)
Peak Hours (Mon - Sat, 9am - 9pm)
1st min. at 21.4¢, 2nd min. onwards at 10.7¢

Off-Peak Hours (Sun, Public Holidays, Mon - Sat, 9pm - 9am)
5.35¢ per min

Charged by 1st min. block, followed by 6 sec. block

For me, it's good and bad. I can pass this SIM card when my close friends travel to Singapore, or use it as spare.
But to be honest, I found the danger of getting anonymous incoming calls worse than the benfit. So that's where I called m1 to block or bar the voice calls completely. Be it incoming/outgoing. I can still use this for Data and my trusted VoIP softwares like Fringe, GV or the all time fav Skype would be enough. Who needs a CS connectivity :)

Now looking forward for the Fiber connectivity to home. Will update in next couple of weeks time :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Customer Service in India - Need to learn one or two things from neighbours in Asia. btw, avoid It sucks !!!!

Recently, I've been travelling to & within India. I've decided to use, which is supposed to be one of the better websites for travel arrangements. Within months, I received a mail from them saying they've upgraded my membership to "Royale". I don't really know what does that means, but I thought I'd be getting some privilege.

It was a nice experience so far but the problems started when I wanted to cancel one of my flight booking. I've called the "priority" phone number. The conversation goes like,

Me: Hello, I need to cancel this ticket with PNR number XXYYZZ.
CSO: Thank you for calling makemytrip. Let me put you on hold, while we verify.
Me: waiting..waiting
CSO: Do you have the reference number?
Me: Yeah, here is the PNR number. XXYYZZ.
CSO: ok. let me check.
Me: two more minutes hearing a stupid advertisement forcing me to listen what makemytrip offers
CSO: Thank you for waiting Sir. Could you share where is this trip to?
Me: I thought I shared the PNR number. Also I've dropped a e-mail previously. Could you check it. I have multiple trips to the same destination. So I do not want to cancel some other trip.
CSO: Sorry Sir, but I can't see your e-mail and I don't have your PNR with me.
Me: Faint !!!!!!
All this while, there was a terrible background noise. Added to that, I can't be waiting @ hold for more than 10 min. So I've told them that I'll followup with e-mail.

Another shock.

E-mail reply:

Thanks for the mail. We'll respond within 72 working hours

At first this looks like ok to me. Then I realized, that they $%&^*( taking more than 15 calander days to respond.

What the hell. By that time, my flight journey would have happened and I'd end up with ZERO refund. Is it intentionally playing with Customers or just day light cheating ?

I don't know but Makemytrip, you've lost a valuable Customer.

Advani leaves BJP

L.K. Advani, who made B.J.P the second largest party in Parliament decided to leave the party. I may or may not agree with his points but I do agree that people lost hopes on "BJP" & Congress.

The problem is these parties are seen as one and the same.  For example, the same BJP who ruled Karnataka for five years was no better than Congress (or rather worse than congress or caste based parties).

On the other hand, looking at Modi, it seems way above compared to the inept leadership at centre right now.