Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MacDonald website designer neglected the IT aspect

McDonald's Singapore launched online sales for the set of six dolls, only to suspend this about an hour and a half later because of overwhelming demand. There were many cases where the customers were charged and yet they have not received any confirmation of order.

This is a classic case of non-IT trained staff making the decisions without any thought of the difficulty conducting such a campaign online.

It's very simple. If you think that the physical MacDonald shops are unable to handle the onslaught of customers coming in to get the Hello Kitty dolls, why do you think that a simple website will be able to handle such a load? Has a proper survey been done to estimate the number of customers per store which is used to gauge how many estimated customers will come into a site the moment it is opened?

I guess not, because if all this is done, the website will not behave the way it did.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Why does the oil price keep increasing?

Seriously, I still do not understand why the oil prices keep increasing when all I've reading is that oil production is going up and the US might become an exporter instead of an importer in the years to come.

If you look at the total barrels in production for the US at the start of year 2012, it was 6m barrels. As of March 2014, it is now 8.2m barrels. So why did the oil price keep increasing till now?

Any other reasons other than someone is attempting to manipulating the oil price?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Don't label yourself

I quote from Eckhart Tolle:
The answer is, who you are cannot be defined through thinking or mental labels or definitions, because it's beyond that. It is the very sense of being, or presence, that is there when you become conscious of the present moment. In essence, you and what we call the present moment are, at the deepest level, one.

Don't bother labeling yourself. I doubt a few words can truly describe who you really are.  Let your actions show proof to all who you really are.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Inflation is up 1.2%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2014:
January: 1.4%
February: 0.4%
March: 1.2%

Healthcare is once again leading the pack rising by 3.4% followed by Education & Stationery and Food, rising by 2.9% respectively year on year. Transport inflation again went down similar to last month and Housing inflation was also more tamed compared to last year.

Inflation has remained stable compared to last month with the exception of clothing & footwear. Inflation should be trending upwards starting from next month and remain stable for the rest of year provided there is no unexpected external stimuli.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Only 10 items in the SG50 gift bag?

I was reading about some special gift bag for babies born next year, to celebrate 50 years of independence. But seriously, what's the big hoo ha over this gift bag?

In places such as Finland, every newborn has a maternity package consisting of 30 items, including a mini baby crib! In order to qualify for it, you have to show proof that you have taken the necessary care of your baby (e.g. checkup). It also seems to me that the Finland's maternity package changes every year. Every year you have a new surprise on what's in store for you. If you're interested in the contents of the maternity package, you can take a look here.

10 items in the gift bag? Well.. I can say its a start. Period.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rearing a pet is for the privilege few

Seriously I feel some of the rules in Singapore are a bit arcane for rearing pets, especially dogs and cats. In fact, it seems like rearing dogs and cats are meant for the privilege few. People who own cars.

Why do I say that? Reason is simple. I can have a very nice and good pet carrier that is just the right size for my pet. My pet can be very obedient and will never make a noise while taking public transport, unlike some of the babies/toddlers you see here. I can mind my own business and ensure that the pet does not get out of the pet carrier and make a nuisance of itself. But... I am forbidden from bringing the pet in the public transport system.

Some say you can take a taxi if you want to bring a pet around. However, some of the taxi drivers may not like to ferry pets in the taxi due to certain reasons, even though you have all the pet carriers etc with you.

Some ask why do you need to bring your pet around? Why can't you just walk the pet around your area? Well, reason is very simple. Pets need grooming. Pets also get sick. How are you going to bring your pet to see the groom or doctor if you have so many restrictions?

Therefore, my only conclusion is that you must be rich in order to rear a pet because you're expected to own a car. I would think that the rules might have been relaxed looking at the new accessories for dogs and cats.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Xenopohobia rearing its ugly head again

I was astonished over a petition to stop Filipinos from celebrating their Philippine Independence Day in Singapore. The first thing that came into mind. Why?

True. Underlying, there are issues at hand that we feel are unfair to Singaporeans such as an over reliance on foreign workers and for some, perceived bias towards foreign workers from the same country.  However, that should not have translated into removing all their rights to celebrate their own national day.

Some have compared this to other countries but seriously, Singapore by itself is unique in a sense that we have so many races living and working together. We also have many religions that are practiced in Singapore. I would have thought that by now, Singaporeans would have racial and social harmony embedded within our lifestyle and behaviour.

We ourselves have also organised Singapore Day in many other countries. If the group has their event activities determined and have gotten permission from the relevant authorities, why can't we let them enjoy themselves for that day?

There is a difference between nationalism and xenophobia. This is definitely not nationalism.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Put your energy in getting on with your lives

I quote from J. Michael Straczynski:
People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.  

When something happens and is not your fault, it's natural to blame others. It is a natural reaction but you shouldn't let it be the only action you will take. Spend more of your energy fixing the problem than to blame others for it. After all, if you're blaming others for it, it means that it is important. :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Multitask versus Delegation

I realised that many people tend to confuse between the words multitasking and delegation. The truth is most, if not all of us cannot multitask.

So what is multitask? Multitask is like talking to your boss, and at the same time SMSing your spouse. If you're not doing both at the same time, you're not multitasking.

Delegation on the other hand is different. For example, you can delegate your computer to run a report while you're replying a email that your boss sent you. After sending your email, you check back if the report has been generated. In actual fact, most of us are delegating our work, either to other colleagues or to the computers.

If you still think that you can multitask, try telling your spouse what happened from the start of the day till the end of the day, while at the same time reply an email to a friend on the details of a next gathering for example. Note, the keyword is at the same time.

Can you do it?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cherish your visions

I quote from Napoleon Hill:
Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.  
Take note of what you dream or think of because you may never know that the dream or the thought that came may be the next wonderful invention.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Building apps with no IT foundation is dangerous

Recently I've been concerned with regard to people starting to develop apps with only about 3 months of programming experience because of one simple reason. The IT foundation is not there and therefore the application may be unstable or worse still, leak information out to the public.

I believe everyone knows that regardless of the level of technology or social media know how, if a person is not trained for some time on a particular skill, he/she may only be able to understand the basic concepts and not understand how to build on top of it.

Giving a very simple example, if someone creates a simple application that has a login screen, so that you can store your daily tasks in their servers (or they call it cloud). Without the basic concept, how would you know if the person
  1. encrypted your login credentials on the servers and store it securely so that no one can access it from the internet
  2. encrypt the transportation of the login credentials to the app provider so that people are unable to sniff out your credentials on the fly
  3. store your daily tasks securely so that other users of the application will not have a chance to peep at your tasks.

Yes, some people may be able to grasp this concept fast but I do not think its the norm. I have not gone into load balancing, and clustering of the servers to enhance performance.

Just because you can create a program called Hello World does not mean you're ready for the world of programming. You may be able to figure out if you have the affinity for programming but I believe that may be just about it.

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Freemium is just like a demo

The freemium model, made popular by mobile applications, have been fast becoming the norm and more and more applications are adopting this model. The reason behind this is very simple... Expectations.

Before the days of freemium model, sometimes developers used to create demos or time-limited programs to showcase the features of the programs and entice people to buy the full version. This is time consuming on both the developer and the customer because the developer needs to create different versions of the same product and the customer sometimes need to un-install and re-install the application as the full version is different from the demo version.

With the freemium model, the 2 issues have been resolved because the developers now only need to create one version of the application (depending on platform) and the customers can have access to the features immediately upon paying online.

The freemium model is definitely here to stay and it is quite an effective marketing tool. In fact, some of the highest grossing applications are based on this model because the application/game was designed to be so addictive that the customer will be willing to pay more to stay ahead.

Freemium model is definitely here to stay but in order to be successful, the fundamentals never change. The application/game needs to be good. Very good...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Strive for the best, but ...

I quote from Brené Brown:
Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.

Strive for the best, but it need not be perfect as evolution will ensure that the perfection is only for a fleeting moment. Continuously learning and trying out new things is the answer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wondering why my external storage was slow in Mavericks

Updated 20 April 2014: Added update of firmware

I had recently upgraded by Mac Mini which I bought in 2010 to Mavericks and somehow, my 2TB firewire external storage became slow and I couldn't really write anything into it. After much trial and error, I finally found out what's the issue with it. Spotlight and the firmware.

Apparently, spotlight was trying to index my 2TB external storage which is already half-filled. As my Mac mini is not on 24 hours, it is forever trying to index it, causing any read/write to the storage to slow down.

My solution? To go into spotlight and stop the indexing for my external storage. I didn't really need it because I use it mainly for my Elgato TV tuner. To stop the indexing, just do the following:

  1. Click on System Preferences
  2. Click on Spotlight
  3. Click on the Privacy tab on top
  4. Click on the + and select the external storage (Note: Do not click the folders within or it will just exclude those specific folders)

In addition to that, I've found out that apparently, there is an issue with Mavericks working with Western Digital External storage drives. There is a need to update the firmware for the external storage in order for certain file copying to occur.

To do this, look at the back of your external storage and you should find your P/N no. Use that no to find the firmware update software for your storage. Just follow the instructions and remember to use the USB cable instead of firewire cable to connect to your drive.

That's it. After that, my external storage functioned as per normal.

Hope this helps...
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