Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm Gilber-licious!

Yes I been hooked to the song Fergie-licious. How can you not, it's catchy as hell. Thank god my name isn't something like Anand. Ana-licious doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blood on the Tracks

K a bit outdated, but this post was on draft for a while and I forgot about it. Till now. Disclaimer: If you are sensitive about suicide read NO further.

We recently had a few people jumping in front of trains in Singapore, sparking concern that more people might follow thinking that it was the latest trend in dying. (Previously it was ODing on pills) I always felt that dying that way was a selfish act. I mean why not jump in front of a moving truck instead? I highly doubt someone can tell the difference between being hit by a train or a big truck. But the latter inconveniences way less people and you don't even need to pay a fare beforehand. Or at the very least jump at one of the terminating stations (Boon Lay, Pasir Ris), so that the train service isn't disrupted to as great an extent.

A few have suggested that fences be built on every train station to stop people from "falling" over but they have been rejected, I am guessing the suggestion was rejected because of how much it would cost to fit all the stations in Singapore with those fences.

Anyway I came up with this brilliant and cost-effective solution one Friday evening when I was at home just feeling really lonely and suicidal. Instead of fitting all the station with fences, why not built one station for people who are thinking of suicide? They have to make it like a real station, with the fare-deducting gantries, the station attendants and everything.

Of course that would still not entice the potential suicide attempters, so the station will have one train that goes in and out of the station every 15 minutes. Of course there will be one trained counselor at the landing, in case they want someone to talk them out of it. But it will be completely voluntary. But if not, then they just wait for the train and jump in front of it. Hell they could even jump with someone else who was waiting.

The cost benefits are enormous. For one, there is no disruption to the train service, because it's not part of the network. Secondly, track and train cleanup can be postponed till the end of the day saving both time and costs, there really isn't no point cleaning the track immediately after a jump when you just have to do it 15 minutes later is there? Thirdly, no one will be traumatized by the suicides because the only people who are there are gonna die themselves anyway, so it don't really matter. Hell they might even change their minds after watching the mess on the tracks.

SO yeah that's my solution to the problem.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Starhub: You can't tell 5 digits from 6 digits!

Starhub has this new alert SMS thingy on their website where you can register for the service and get notified of shows by sms. I have yet to test it out, and not for the lack of trying. Here is what happened.

On the 13th of June, I went to the page where I was supposed to register , and this is what it said:

When you receive the 6-digit code, key the number into the box provided in the Security Code Confirmation page.

So I registered, and waited for the SMS which arrived promptly. Only problem was ...well see if you can spot what's wrong:

Tried the code, it didn't work. So I emailed the address that was stated on the same page. Got a response immediately. It was from the mail server informing me that the email address did not exist. Yup they actually put a wrong email address there for people to contact them with.

So I was forced to poke around the site to look for a valid email address. In the end I had to use the feedback form and explained that I only got a 5 digit code instead of a 6 digit one and also notified them that their email address on that page wasn't valid.

Got a reply the next day:
"We would appreciate it if you could retry as our test shows that it does sends out 6 digit code."

Which basically translates to

"The only problem here is that you can't tell 5 digits from 6 you f**king retard!"

I was a bit annoyed at the slight at my counting skills. And also by the fact that they completely ignored the part about having a wrong email address on their website. But hey, I am nothing if not patient, so tried it again and then sent them another email:

"Here is the screenshot of the sms I got in my phone. I tried it a few times
and it is still the same code. As you can see it is a 5 digit code."

The reply I got was that they have "informed the relevant department to look into the issue" and will get back to me as soon as they have an update.

5 days later, they got back to me:

"With regard to the My Alert sign up issue, our engineers have looked
into the problem you raised. Could you try signing up again and let
us know if you do not receive a 6-digit code on your phone."

So I did, and replied that I was still having the same problem. Here was their suggestion 2 days later:

"In order to remove the old copy of the My Alert pages previously stored on your PC, please clear the cache of your web browser using
these steps:
- Close all instances of your web browser
- Click on Start -> Settings -> Control Panel
- Select Internet Options
- Click on General
- Click on Delete Files, then check ''Delete all off-line content"
and click OK.
- Click OK to exit.

Please try again and advise if you are able to get a 6-digit code
after the above steps."

I took a deep breath, and tried their instructions. My reply:

"I tried the steps as you suggested. I still get a 5 digit number in the SMS sent to me on my mobile number.
I would think the problem is with the sms sending service (which is sending me a 5 digit number instead of 6) instead of my browser.
I have attached screenshots of how i register for the service, in case that helps."
(I attached 6 screenshots of the whole login process I went through)

Their reply:
"We are sorry to learn that you are still experiencing the problem. We
have escalated your latest update to our engineers for further
investigation. Rest assured that we will inform you as soon as we
have an update."

Finally today:

"Our engineers have advised to add 0 in front of 5-digit SMS code, in
order to get the 6-digit PIN for My Alert sign up, e.g. 044039"

My reply:

Thanks it worked!

And it only took 9 days. I wouldn't blame the helpdesk though, the engineers were probably the ones who couldn't be bothered. And it's nice that instead of fixing the issue that they just asked me to append a number in front. Maybe they should put a note on that registration page that says something like "If you get a 5 digit number, just append a zero in front".

Anyone else had similar experiences with Starhub?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lost in Translation

Shenzhen sucked. Had a long post on why it sucked, but it was way too whiny so I ditched it. So let me focus more on the interesting parts of it. First is what I found in my hotel:

This is the first hotel I been in where they actually had condoms and other related items in the bathroom. They really do have a way with words, "being infringed by the germ during the journey of romantic life" actually sounds pretty worrying, and definitely scarier than "risk of contracting STDs". They really should use that phrase in schools during sex ed.

Oh and I also learnt new words at the hotel. For example, do you know what the opposite of complimentary is?

Another interesting thing that happened was when I was invited to a home of a local colleague and his wife, it was a lovely home and they were really hospitable. But as I was sitting in the living room I was treated to the sight of the wife's undies hanging in the balcony adjacent to the living room.

Yup that's all for my trip. Been really busy at work since I came back. So busy, that last Friday I went to bed at 10pm. Yes 10 pm. At first I felt like a loser for being home on a Friday night, but then I realized I was actually pretty cool because I was defying the social norm and being different from everyone else by staying in. And if that isn't the definition of cool then I don't know what is.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Back from Shenzhen

Was there from Tuesday to Sunday, and they block Blogger. It was probably the least enjoyable trip that I been on. Update coming soon.