Category Archives: tech

Bluetooth push advert

At the bus stop opposite Ion, waiting for the bus to bring me home, I noticed an advertising billboard promoting a certain skin whitening product with a bluetooth icon at the top, with a message telling me to switch on my bluetooth to receive a special offer.

Out of curiosity, I switched on the bluetooth radio on my phone and within seconds received 2 messages from that billboard. A picture which I can show the cashier to get a free gift with my next purchase, and a video evangelising the benefits of the skin whitening product.

It is a busy bus stop, one of those selected to trial the new service that forecasts when the next bus would arrive. Thousands of passengers would have passed by this stop on the bus of on foot. When a bus stops at this stop to pick up passengers, if it had a few passengers who had their bluetooth switched on, would they be within range of the advertisement and find the messages pushed to them? They might not otherwise have noticed the advertisement at the bus stop if it had not found its way onto their phones. It’s an interesting way to increase the reach of the ad.

Now my bluetooth is usually switched off to conserve the battery life on my devices, but maybe I should start switching on my bluetooth for a few days to see if such push technologies are more widespread than I thought.

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My new life in QA

life as a qa manager involves stopping my teammates before they screw up and shoot us all in the collective foot, among other fun and worthy tasks that my job scope encompass.

This aspect of the job was especially highlighted by my counterpart today who sits on the other side as the client. He told me, in not quite the words, that he wants me to keep tab on my boss and prevent him from screwing up, to make him fear me (not to make my nice teammates fear me) and keep him in control. It gives me a new perspective of my job when my user puts this expectation to me

Huh? I asked him, does he want me to commit career suicide? What is going to happen to me at year end appraisal, because this is the same boss who is going to grade me? He tried to allay my fears of risking my job security by explaining how i probably have no job security in the first place: according to him, my company did not have a qa role in its teams until the client pushed for it, and so i will not have a job when this project is over.

I have just realised that there is probably an exit ticket waiting for me at the bottom of this shit pile. Fortunately, i share the same perspective as my client, that i’m in this job for the experience, not for retirement. I’m trying not to think too much about the possibility of another, perhaps higher role, waiting for me in this company after i have cleared this pile of shit.

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Camera-less Nokia E51

My new job does not allow phones with cameras. Rather than to spend $68 on a simple 2g phone that i do not want to use, i extended my 2 year contract with m1 and got a nokia e51 for $98. It’s my first 3g phone, so m1 had to give me a 3g sim card before i could send out sms. There is no touchscreen. It’s a simple phone, not really a smart phone but at least i don’t need to give up bluetooth, mp3. And this is a 3g phone so i can potentially plug in my broadband sim card from my 3g modem and have internet access anywhere i go in singapore, though i have yet to try that. I can also connect to wireless@sg and surf for free without needing to change my sim card. It detects and connects a lot faster than my n311 pda. It takes an hour to charge the battery using the tiny charger bundled with the phone, and it lasts 3 days with moderate use, bluetooth on. Surfing on wifi can drain the batt very fast though.

I typed this entry on my phone using Notes, which came with it. What sucks was that I could copy from notes, but the browser that shipped with it does not allow pasting. So while I could type on the go, I couldn’t copy and paste directly when I’m at a wifi hotspot. I need to bluetooth it to my pda, or my home laptop with bluetooth, both receiving the note as a text file.

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Importance of being visible

Was having lunch with my Hokkien-spewing boss. One of the safer topics we would discuss over the meal would be the state of politics. Yes, far safer than our different views of how the company should be run. One of which was the complaint letter by Li Hongyi, son of the current Prime Minister. In brief, his email circulated and leaked to the outside world, telling all of Singapore about the quality of SAF officers, or the lack of quality.

The boss’s take on this issue is that this email attracted this much attention because of the person who wrote it has a very high profile. If it were some unknown officer, perhaps nobody would have paid it any attention. After all it is not a surprising thing that regulars protect their own, anybody who has served national service can tell you that. But you can still get charged for jumping the chain of command. And to have included so many people, entire departments of units who have nothing to do with the incident, is quite spectacular. Should have resulted in spectacular trouble.

My take is that he was supposed to be the third generation monarch of the lion city, but he has offended some very important people. Uncle Teo could have asked his boss, “Why is your son doing this, airing dirty laundry in public? He could have come to me and worked something out.” And now international presses have also reported on this lack of integrity in our army. Was it out of a sense of frustration that such an email was written and sent out? There are better ways to do things, and he of all NSF officers have other avenues to change things. There is a Chinese saying that an empire or a collection of wealth tends to be ruined by the third generation. The first generation builds it up and the second maintains it. The third is used to a good life and lacks the skills and drive to keep the empire from cumbling. I would worry more if this was done out of frustration, and not part of some sinister plot.

We both agreed that his high profile could have been some sort of protection. Unknowns can disappear overnight, but public people can hardly vanish or be destroyed without notice. There is even this guy in America who sends photos to his blog every few hours, telling people that if he stops blogging, it could be that the authorities have taken him away for some crime he did not commit. And it is also a good idea to raise your public profile before going against the big boys. See for example eastcoastlife. The media is a powerful shield to keep you alive, if you ever need protection from being made to disappear.

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Clicking game

I don’t believe this.

Someone has set up a server to accept clicks, and rank countries according to how many clicks they have submitted. This sparked off a war of clicks in which online communities in a few countries are organising themselves to submit more clicks than their competitors, thereby pushing themselves up the list. What? National pride in cyberspace?

SgSpartans, inspired by the movie 300, appeals for the tiny nation to be mobilised to hold the figurative hot gates and defend the nation’s standing on the list against the hordes from other countries. Only that we use technology (javscript) to do what brawn cannot. Do you find these phrases familiar?

their mouse-clicks can blot out the sun” [so we will click in the shade??]

“And you my CLICKER…what is your occupation?

>>guy with no life.

And YOU? (other clickers)” [a javascript programmer]

“Tonight we click in hell, for tomorrow we dine in click heaven..”

At least this is living proof of national pride.

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Male Restroom Etiquette

This video starts with practical advice on what the social rules are and how calamity can result from disobeying these rules. Film making is now easy enough that all you need is a computer, a game or two and a lot of skill in directing a movie to create a low-cost film and tell a story. This one is made using The Sims 2 and Simcity 4.

update: Or you can just get a few actors to bring your point across.

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wireless router with built-in BT client and 160GB HDD

Saw this at boingboing. A very good device to suck up internet bandwidth. I can easily download more anime than I can ever finish watching, just keep it running. This will be tempting if I see it at comex this weekend.

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