Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sole pierced by tooth pick

Westgate at B1 level is having a Japanese food fare if anyone is interested. I guess the products are transported from Japan because the price is crazy expensive.
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Are the food good?
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I had no idea because the queue was long and lots of people were seen lining to get the free samples.
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These samples were cut into smaller pieces and held with a tooth pick. The toothpick quality is good. Not those cheap and less pointy ones.
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I wished that it was not the case. If it had been the cheaper ones, I wouldn't be writing a random blog.
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When people were sampling the free food, some decided to be a litter bug. These people are suspected to be hoggers too. I abhor them because when they threw away the pointy toothpicks on the floor, I got injured.
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There I was, walking around the fare and getting a pack of mochi. All of a sudden I felt a sharp pain on my sole.
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When I held my foot up, I saw a pointy toothpick sticking on my sole. I was wearing slippers.
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It would have been a funny pic to take and share, if it hadn't been painful enough that I had to pull it out ASAP.
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I have been pierced by nail, screw, glass and other stuff on the road. But having a toothpick sticking out of my sole in a shopping mall really added up to the wierd stuff that could have happened to me.
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Just to share

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Google Play star rating is not up-to-date


Google Play star rating doesn't help much to gauge the popularity of apps. It also doesn't help to inform users about how responsive the developers are to users' feedback. What the star rating does is to average off the rating of earlier versions down to the latest ones.Hence, if the earlier versions were good and millions voted for 5 stars, that rating stays throughout. Even when the app failed later that resulted in millions who removed the apps, the star rating would still contain the previous votes. If that is the case, it will not tell new users how good the app currently is. To me, when the star rating is not real-time it does not help. That is because it won't help users to gauge the real-time performance/popularity of the app in question.

Another benchmark about app performance (or popularity) is the number of downloads. Most hot apps would have millions "downloaded". However, this benchmark is also not useful for the same reason as the star rating, i.e. it is not real-time. Assume that initial release of the apps attracted millions to download it. The millions love it, but then due to complacency on the developers' part, the app lost its luster and millions removed the apps from their phones. Such movement is not reflected on the scale. To me, that is not informative. For all I know, the 10 millions downloaded could well be "1000 still using it" scenario.

All-in-all, these two ratings are not being helpful to both users and developers. If these ratings or benchmarks can be made into real-time, it would help users to decide if they want to waste their phone memory downloading the apps. Also, real-time rating will pressurize developers into addressing users' feedback in order to keep their rating high because they can't afford to have the rating drop overnight!

Wouldn't that be a good idea, Google?




Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Smart" lift invasion in Singapore taken over human mind

This could be the first incident of "smart" lift that ignored and overridden human "command". An elderly lost her left hand to a lift at Tah Ching Road.
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I'm not sure if this incident happened due to machine fault, poor maintenance, or worst, "smart overriding" program installed into the machine (to prevent holding of lift by users). The lift that severed the elderly hand was from Sigma Elevator Singapore.
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I'm not sure if many have realized that we are seeing more smart lifts in Singapore. Lifts that are able to override user holding the lift doors open for longer than allowed time. There is a program now to prevent lift hogging/waiting by users. Although it is useful to many, such smart program is dangerous to some users.
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I've recently visited Gardens by the Bay. My family stopped at Bayfront MRT station. We travelled with two baby prams. On three out of four occasions, while using the lifts there, we had the lifts close their doors on us while we were trying to move the last pram out/in. This is in spite of holding the open button from both sides of the doors. The lift just sounded the warning alarm as it nonchalantly closes. For reason unknown, it has to close before it can open again. Anything in its way will surely get squashed, our baby included.
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In instance like this, I prefer the mechanical sensor over light-mediated sensor. With mechanical sensor, there is less likelihood of failure to stop the door from closing. I am made dumber by this smart lift. I hope this is not the reason for phasing the mechanical ones out.
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Having warning sign discouraging users from holding the lift door by hand is useless and insensitive. There is no need to hold the door if we are clear from it in the first place. Don't assume that users are holding the lift door for FUN. Think about the user's who are pushing someone on a wheelchair. How about parents with two baby prams? How about users who have difficulty moving? 
A no hand warning sign is stuck on the leave. I have no idea what it means, although it is safe to assume that users are discourage from stopping the doors with their hands.

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The case of the above "smart lift" can only be designed by someone who are clueless and ignorant about practicality. Having the know-how but lacking practical sense does unfortunately defeat the purpose and aim of developing a modern and useful living concept. If the programmer/designer had taken into account users such as those with difficulty moving, or family with members who are reliant on prams/wheels (make it a family with two prams and an elderly on a wheel chair going to the lift at a time), they would not have made the oversight in the first place.
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Another stupid example is the water faucet at public toilet. Most mechanical ones are phased out and replaced by "smart faucets" with motion/light sensor. To conserve water, users are only allowed a running water for like 1-2-3 sec. The time-out is irritating when the freaking liquid soap that these toilets provide are so foamy that they are difficult to get rid off by a 3 sec running water. It takes at least 5 x 3 sec to remove that stuff off my hands. Now, what happens if a parent needs to rinse a baby's bottle? Try it out and you will fume. That's because some sensors are homing only to heat signature (aka infra-red)!
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Sometimes, I think it would be much better to just walk out of the public toilet without washing my hand.
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Now imaging me shaking your hand later. Now imaging all Singaporeans in public shaking your hands daily. What happens if these people who forgone washing hands in washroom/toilet starts preparing food or drink? What if hospitals have these "smart faucets" and the staffs there starts to forgo washing their hands.
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Not so smart now, right? When technology impedes our daily activity, we "adapt". In other word, if we can't adopt a technology, we have no choice but to adapt.
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Having smart technology will only work if the public is given the avenue to give feedback. Don't just shove it up to our face and neglect to take note of feedback.
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While most tech gadgets die naturally in the market when they are deemed useless by the public, I can't say the same for public infrastructure. They will stay longer because of the higher cost of installation. So, before we buy in bulk or commit to signing contracts with manufacturers, at least have a trial run using the public as Guinea pigs. Our feedback will be priceless and helpful to prevent unnecessary cost/live later.
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Just a thought.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Re: Wisma Atria workers in shock over death of Indonesian man

A 48 yo Indonesian man died from a fall at Wisma Atria around 9 to 10 pm on Thurday. The reason for the fall is uncertain although witness claimed that the man jumped.
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It must have been a shocking experience for the staffs/workers at the mall. The people who rushed to resuscitate the man are commendable.
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One of the staffs, Dolly, at the mall pitied the man and offered prayer to him.
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Some commentators of Yahoo News started comments about Gambling, Money, Health, etc. that could have driven the man to jump (although we are not certain if the case had been suicide or otherwise).
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This is my thought.
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  • If it had been an accident, the investigators must find out the factor(s) that contributed to the fall and prevent such recurrence.
  • If it had been a suicide, I have only this to say, “it was an irresponsible act by the man”. I am truly shocked by his apathy (even though he might not have been in a right state of mind).
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Let me explain why I am saying the latter.
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In any other days, in a mall, there could have been families or visitors who could be walking around the mall. There could have been children, parents, loved ones, or friends.
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To have someone jumping down from a fifth floor could have caused an unintended death to these people on the ground. Children could surely succumb to the lethal impact from above. We are lucky indeed that there had not been a misfortune in this case. I wouldn’t dare to think what could have happened if the man had "fallen" on a busy weekend!
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Regardless of the factor that contributes to suicidal thoughts, to decide to jump from a high place is always irresponsible, especially when it happens without consideration for other peoples' safety below.
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Finally, for those who are in hurt and contemplating suicide, please give yourself a chance to live by contacting:
To friends/families who know anyone who are going through tough time, just be there to lend a support or call SOS if you need advice.
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Just to share

Saturday, November 28, 2015

LTA officer fighting with Uber driver

LTA officer fight with Uber driver

The news can be read here (Suspended LTA officer caught fighting Uber driver on camera arrested by police, Straits Times).

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I don’t see a victim here. Both are at fault. The Uber driver was confrontational and the body language and first response (e.g. immediately punching to the officer in retaliation) after being punched suggest that the 59 years old are hot headed too. If he had been younger, the one lying on the ground being kicked on the rib would be the LTA officer.

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Next, the officer is “rude”?

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Sometimes, we don’t really know how to distinguish between “rude” and stern. Being stern and strict can be mistaken as being “rude”. Similarly, security guard at certain buildings sometimes appear RUDE which is puzzling because they are supposed to be friendly-but-assertive in their job.

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Even if the LTA is “rude”, it would be foolish to confront the officer just because you are upset with his attitude. That foolishness caused one arrested and another one missing a tooth.

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That’s what happens when we let our temper reign.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Singapore Yu Sang fish got “GBS”

MOH and NEA have advised the public not to consume raw fish dishes using Song (or Asian Bighead carp) and Toman (snakehead fish) in this news report (Traces of GBS found in raw fish samples: MOH reported in Channel NewsAsia). That is because traces of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria has been detected in some samples.
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Later, when I went to the kitchen to get water, I told my wife that Singapore “Yu Sang” fish has got GBS. She looked at me puzzled. 
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I repeated, “Don’t eat Yu Sang because they got GBS”. She gave me a similar puzzled look.
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I laughed out loud when she explained to me later why she had looked puzzled. This is what she thought I said.
Singapore Yu Sang Fish got 'GBS'

Singapore beggars on the rise?

Gullible and clueless are the “generous” people who forked out money to pay beggars on the street who displayed limbless but abled bodies. Some are the elderly. According to Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF), beggars can sometimes get S$100 to S$200 in just a few hours (Begging an “easy way out” for some S’poreans, Straits Times). That is still the status quo, but when more beggars are joining the begging game, that lucrative pie will be diluted even more. By then, with more competition means that most of them will have to up their ante by crafting innovative means to move people emotionally to pay more.
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Fortunately, Singapore is a place that will not allow a child to be manipulated to beg. Countries where children are being FORCED to beg have only these gullible people to thank for putting them into such predicament. In some parts of the world, children are kidnapped and maimed so that they can be DISPLAYED to earn easy money for syndicates. All thanks to people who like to fork out money the easy way. Example, Siem Reap Milk Powder Scam in Cambodia, child beggars on Malaysian street, and Slumdog Millionaires the movie that depicted thesad reality in India where children are kidnapped and maimed to beg for money. Did paying child beggar alleviated their poor condition? No!
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When I see people giving money to beggars, I don’t see them as caring individuals. Rather, I see them as clueless about helping people. They are akin to parents who give sweets to crying children.
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Lately, on TV there have been commercials highlighting the 8th ASEAN Para Games 2015 depicting our athletes who braved daily challenges to achieve their dream and representing Singapore in the Para Games. To me, they have already won. The commercial touched me so much because by seeing their happy, proud and dignified faces made me humbled by their achievements.
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However, I can’t say the same to seeing beggars making themselves looked undignified and sprawled out on pavement with extended hand and the sad look. 
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There are also the visually impaired who are made to sit in a corner the whole day begging. The caretaker who brought these people there just leave them at the place to beg daily. Is that living? Worst is when I see them staying there until late at night at 8 to 9 pm. Did the caretaker took the money and spent it on happy hour and forgot about their care?
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For those who resisted begging, but instead learnt new talent/skill to show in street performance (which required annual license), I salute you. Examples are:
  • Visually impaired lady who played musical instrument. I am more supportive of her than the rest. She is independent and talented. She used to play only the Tambourine but she later learnt how to play the harmonica.
  • An old man who played the Chinese instrument called Erhu. He is worth supporting.
Now, I used to see only one beggar at the MRT station where I travel to work. Today, I am seeing at least three.
  • One who held a card saying that he had “Osteoporosis”. He used to hold crutches but now he is travelling in an electric scooter. I doubt that he knows what osteoporosis means. He is just 30 to 40 years old without any sign of osteoporosis, except that he bandaged his leg. If he had written “fracture”, that would have been more convincing.
  • A man with amputated legs sprawling out on the walkway.
  • At least two ladies with tissue papers.
  • Another obese man on electric scooter.
Begging is illegal in Singapore. You can apply for a license to perform on the street but you can not beg. However, a loophole in law had produced the so called “Tissue Paper” aunty/uncle who are now technically “not begging”. Loop holes are what encourage people to misuse it and thus, we are getting more “Tissue Paper” sellers in Singapore.
When the government tried to discourage the practise by imposing a S$120 licence, Singaporeans made a hoo-ha. Well, that means Singapore will have another attraction to talk about by travellers, apart from Durian and the food. Versatile usage of tissue papers, e.g. from chopping for seats to begging. 
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I guess if begging gets out of hand, the government will surely intervene. We wouldn't want people to get hooked up to begging. 
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Just a thought.