It always looks good on paper…

I’ve been doing a bit of research work this week on the trends, challenges and solutions for various industry verticals and came to realise that things always look good on paper. When it comes to the reality, the outcome, most often, is a different thing altogether.

For example, apparently there’s a new upcoming practice called Integrated Practice Units (IPU), which is essentially (simplistically looking at it) gathering or co-locating all the medical resources that’s related to a particular condition in order to reduce redundant processes, streamline costs, reduce waiting time and ultimately resulting in a better outcome and experience for the patients.

However, what I discovered was that while implementing the IPU model, many healthcare organisations are still stubbornly following their old processes, resulting in a weird hybrid model that still resulted in the same problems faced previously. This, coupled with no establishment of proper measurement of outcome resulted in long waiting hours, confusion and eventually, poor experience for the patients.

Another example came from a case study that I sat through during the week. It was about how a major retailer implemented a mobile payment solution for their retail store to allow customers to make payment for their purchases immediately at the various departments. This is to create more convenience for the customers for a better shopping experience. One of the objectives was also to reduce the chances of customers leaving the store without making the purchase due to long queues at the payment counters.  However, when some of my colleagues visited the store, they realised that the customers still have to go to the immobilised payment counters to make payment for their purchases on the mobile payment device. The desired outcome wasn’t achieved. Not only is the cost of the implementation wasted, the reputation and credibility of the retailer was also affected as they were being ridiculed for a sloppy implementation.

Things always look good on paper, however, the human factor is always the weakest link. There are many good ideas but ultimately when they fail, it’s always because of the people behind the failure. Looking at this, we might have to always consider the human factor and the possible outcome that will arise and take pre-emptive measures in order to ensure a higher chance of success for these ideas.

Balanced view…

It’s getting hard to get a balanced point of view for news on Android and Apple these days. Sites are started by fanboys of both platforms and the way the articles are written are often skewed towards their supported platform respectively.

So far, there’s only the “Cult of…” sites that have a more balanced view. They often cross publish articles and suggestions for improvements on the opposing platforms, which I think is a good thing. It gives everything a more balanced view and the aim seems to try and garner improvements for improvements for everyone.

Check them out at Cult of Mac and Cult of Android and let me know what you think.

Going faster…

Slower.

Despite my attempt to run faster in this morning’s run, my watch painted a different story. This morning’s run started off okay and I felt that I was going faster. As I progressed and felt pretty good, I thought that I should pick up the pace a little. The pain started coming and I realised that it was coming from the knock that I got yesterday at my left knee. Not wanting to aggravate any potential injury that I did not know, I slowed down my pace a little. That’s when the rhythm started to go off. It was quite a struggle from then on.

The cramps started happening at the shins, the calves and followed by the thighs. I kept pushing on but it was a real effort. Breathing rhythm was also off and there were some instances where I almost wanted to walk. I drank more water than usual and the run ended 2 minutes slower than usual with my computer showing that I’ve burnt less calories. On hindsight, maybe I should have gone slower to go faster…

Personal writing styles…

I was just re-reading some of my posts and writing that I’ve done previously and I realised that the tone and style of what I’ve written seems to vary quite a bit.

Checking through the dates, I realised that the differences coincided with the different jobs and environments that I was in at those time frames. I guess that your environment does affect you in many ways that one…

Down with Jawbone Up…

The Jawbone Up is a motion powered device that tracks your activity level and sleep quality. The product was relatively successful when it was initially launched but was recalled due to durability issues. It was recently relaunched and seemed to have a better success this time round.

I received one as a birthday present when it was initially launched (friend bought it from US) and really liked the device. I liked how the device and apps that support it were well integrated almost seamlessly. It’s even supported by MyFitnessPal, a web application that I use to track my calorie consumption and expenditure.

However, the device went dead after less than a week of usage and I had no way of returning it for a warranty or refund as Jawbone does not support user in my country.

The second time it was launched, I found it on the Apple Store in Singapore. I thought that would mean that warranty would not an issue and so I decided to try it out again as I really liked the product.

A few weeks ago, after 4 months of usage, the device died again. Jawbone really got to work harder on the quality control. I thought it would simply be a matter of sending it back to Apple and exchanging it for a new set, however, that appear to be wishful thinking on my part. Apparently, according to Apple, I had to go back to Jawbone for the warranty of their products sold in the Apple Online Store.

I then contacted Jawbone and was told, to my disappointment, that they are not allowed to send the replacement Jawbone Up device to Singapore due to some customs restrictions and I have to find a proxy address in one of the countries (US) that do not impose any customs restrictions.

This absolutely makes no sense. If there are custom restrictions, then how is it that Singapore’s Apple Online Store is able to sell the product here? Are they importing the products illegally?

Apple doesn’t provide me with any way to contact them regarding this and Jawbone has stonewalled me. I’m recommending (not that my opinion matter) that consumers in SG who wants to get the Jawbone Up to not purchase it until they first, sort out their quality issue and warranty arrangements.

Running…

Life is like running.

There are days where everything seems to fall in place. The pace is good, the temperature is just right. The light breeze lightly touching your face as you move forward and your feet seem to just float and glide across the road without resistance. Your breathing is smooth and you feel like you could go on forever.

Then there are days where you struggle to even get up from your bed. You question why you’re doing this and you don’t even feel like putting on your cloths. When you finally step out of the house, you complain about the still and humid air. Basically you complain about anything and everything. Then you just grit your teeth and run. One. Step. At. A. Time. At the end of it, you don’t feel as good but you’ll still feel better. Somehow.

That is why life is like running. During the ups, enjoy it. Cherish the moment and thank God for it. During the downs, just grit your teeth and move on. Even if it’s just one single step at a time. Somehow you’ll feel much better at the end of it.

Seeing the two sides of Apple and Android “news”…

It’s always good to look at things from both or even all sides.

A perfect example would be when I’m reading articles from sites that write about Android and Apple respectively. Their views tend to skew towards the respective platforms they’re writing about. I find it hard to not conclude that these sites are more like fan sites than they are about real news about Android and Apple…

 

My thoughts on Runkeeper and Garmin…

I’ve been running quite a bit the last year or so and I’ve been using the Garmin Forerunner 910XT to track my progress. I love the device, it’s simple and accurate. However, sometimes I feel that it’ll be nice if there’s a way to sync each session to MyFitnessPal automatically. It’ll also be good if I could just have all my workout and music device all in one. It’s just me. Lazy.

A few weeks ago I decided to try out RunKeeper, which is one of the apps that can actually sync my workout directly with MyFitnessPal. I actually bought a Polar bluetooth heart rate monitor so that I could record my heart rate, get the calorie information that I’m looking to sync to MyFitnessPal.

So far it’s not been working well. Every run I tried to record so far is always missing a chunk of the data because the GPS couldn’t get a reading and thus not recording those portions of the workout or the app mysteriously going into pause mode despite me starting the workout. Also, running the GPS, bluetooth and music streaming app all at the same time really consumes a lot of battery for every workout.

Maybe it’s the device I’m using or the app that I’m using but I’m figure it’s too much of a trouble to troubleshoot for now. I’m going back to using my Garmin device for now and try again when I have more time.

I miss the routine…

As I near the end of my hospitalisation leave, I started back into the following daily routine.

  1. Wake up before 6am.
  2. Put aside sleeping stuff (blankets, pillows, bed mattress).
  3. Change into my running gear.
  4. Go for a quick run.
  5. End the run at the hawker centre.
  6. Buy breakfast home for mum, dad and myself.
  7. Shower when I reach home.
  8. Have breakfast with folks.

All in all, I’m done with the above by 8am and I’m ready to start work if I’m working. There is no pressure to hit a certain time and I really miss this routine.

These days, it’s more like the following. 

  1. Wake up before 6am.
  2. Shower and dress for work.
  3. Make breakfast and some meals that I consume in the office.
  4. Have my breakfast.

All the above have to be done by around 7.15am or 7.30am latest. Else I would be late for some quiet time and a cup of coffee at the cafe near the office. I have to be in the office before 8.30am so there’s this nagging feeling at the back of my mind all the time.

I miss the first routine. Going to find a way to incorporate that routine into my current work-life.

Writing…

Writing…

Why do we write? Why do I write? Frankly, I don’t know. I realised that I missed writing, especially in the last couple of months.

But what do I really miss writing? Is it a certain topic? Or am I simply missing the sensation of typing on the keyboard and hearing the clicks of the keys as my fingers pound onto them?

Maybe it’s because there’s a cool notion to being a writer? Or the sense of power when you know that your written words have some form of influence or power over someone else?

How about the freedom that comes with it? Maybe when I was running my own business, I wasn’t really into running a business but more into the freedom that I was experiencing? Maybe I’m just mistakenly thinking that writing would help me achieve that? But if writing was to become my profession, would I still enjoy it as much? Am I just being delusional?

Maybe I shouldn’t be even be thinking about this given my lack of flair in the language itself?

Lots of maybe but nothing conclusive.

To be continued…

More than that..

Read in the news that MM noted that Japan needs more foreigners. But I guess that despite the need, there is this reluctance due to the fact that they’ve let in foreigners before and it resulted in their own people being abused with no effective channel to address their own needs.

Maybe things have changed over time but I guess that overcoming that obstacle is something that would need to be seriously looked at. Simply saying that they need more foreigners without any viable solution suggested is not helping at all.

Pointless…

There are things in this life that you know however you do it, it will still be pointless. And yet you are compelled or want to do it, hoping that it will eventually achieve what you want to achieve.