Category Archives: tech stuff

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.

Online backups…

I still remember last year around this time where I lost 6 months of my work, data and emails due to a hard disk crash. 6 months is a lot of data lost even for a small company like ours! No fun. No fun at all. If we’ve got something like IDrive-E at that time, I would have been able to recover my stuff.

They are basically an online backup service that provides up to 2GB of space for your backups. They have a client that you can use to setup automatic backups so that it’s a total hands off system. In an event where you need to recover your data, you can even choose which generation you would like to restore the backup from. And the best part is, the basic setup is FREE!

There are many alternatives out there and some even offer around the same thing with their software, but nothing beats having it FREE. Even for the paid service, the price seems pretty reasonable given that it’s for a yearly pricing. There was a similar service offered in Singapore by a local company many years back but the price you pay is on a monthly basis and you don’t get this amount of space.

I’m definitely going to try them out. At least when something crashes next time, I won’t have to worry about loosing too much data.

Oooooohhh… I can do that???

Getting my IPOD Shuffle fixed was one of the best thing I could have done. Did not realised that I had a faulty product since the day I bought it. Now that I’ve had it fixed, I’m enjoying error and interruption free transfers but…

You know hor…

I hor…

Have been so stupid sia…

I’ve had my IPOD Shuffle for a few months hor…

And I’ve only just realised hor…

Why it sounded so flat sia…

I could actually change the equalizer settings of the songs before importing them into the player sia…

Now the songs sound so much better…

Now I’m a happy man… emoticon

Buggy… Flickr or WordPress?

Hmmm… Severals things happened to my blog today.

First, when I tried posting a blog via email through Flickr, the post didn’t appear. Then I tried submitting through the "blog this" feature, it failed as well. So I decided to upgrade WordPress to 1.5.1.1, after downloading and upgrading, my database went down. Had an appointment with my 师傅 so I decided to fix it only when I’m back.

Came back, found out that I had ran out of space on my server and somehow I’ve corrupted my database. Fixed the database and tried posting via email through Flickr again. Still doesn’t work but the "blog this" feature is now sometimes working sometimes not. Will try the email again sometime later. Not sure if this is Flickr’s bug or WordPress but their both pretty good applications so I hope this is resolved soon.

Staging and production…

Question for all you techies out there, what is the purpose of having a staging and production environment? Wouldn’t it defeat the purpose if they are both different?

There is absolutely no excuse for them to be different especially when you’ve actually got more than enough budget to pay for it! This is stupid! Now I’ve got to deploy an application that’s on Windows platform in the staging environment while the production is on a Unix environment! What the heeowll is the staging and production environment for anyway?!!!

I wonder how much patience and sanity is left in me to continue working in this industry…

All you can eat… But now allowed to eat that much…

There are many hosting companies around these days that are suspending many people’s subscription suddenly without warning based on the fact that traffic is too high, even the ones that charge you for bandwidth.

It’s like telling people you serve a one price eat all you can buffet and realising that these people can REALLY eat, you put a stop to their eating, claiming they’re eating too much. Worse, in this case, you are paying for every dish and they still tell you you’re eating too much.

To all these hosting companies, it goes to show that your prices are wrong and unrealistic. I sincerely hope that your own provider shut you down when you have a huge bunch of subscribers subscribing to your service.

*Touch wood* Lucky my current host isn’t like that. *Touch wood*

On a similar note, a similar incident happened to a friend of mine during my poly days. He and kakis went to this all you can eat restaurant and went haywire. They ate a lot and the manager actually came out and told them they should not eat so much.

My friend and his kakis shot back, “If we’re not wasting the food, we should be allowed to eat since you advertised it as eat all you can.”

The manager wasn’t pleased and went on to make things difficult for them by delaying how fast the food was served, cooking a huge amount for their order of fried rice etc… Needless to say the restaurant has since closed down.

Another more recent incident is the closure of a friend’s currency trading account. Usual practice by other trading firms was to charge a percentage of the amount traded but this particular firm advertised that they only charge 1 dollar per trade regardless of the amount.

My friend’s account was suddenly suspended on day without any warning except for an email stating that his volume of trade wasn’t enough to justify the company’s continual provision of service because they could not take the amount of interests they’re paying out.

So my suggestion? Take care when you see offers in the form of “one price fits all”.

Salute to Windows…

842242 – Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2

I’ve got to hand it to M$. This latest patch is going to be the ultimate tactic of shirking responsibility that has ever happen in the history of software development.

Market complains to M$ about the lack of security. So now they come up with the Service Pack 2, which turns on the firewall by default and will block off most network services. Take a look at the list via the link above and you will know.

The most glaring one is the web server (IIS) not being able to respond to client requests. What will this mean? Well, they’re simply telling us that they’ve made it safe but if we turn it on in order for others to browse sites that we’re hosting, they won’t be responsible because we’re the ones that open up the vulnerability.

Do note that the a bulk of the security complaints come from companies who use M$ (IIS) as their web server. It now absolves them from bearing any responsibility on issues relating to security arising from the web server.

The following is likely to happen in the future.

User: “Hello, M$ tech support? Someone just hacked into my web server via an IIS vulnerability despite your SP2. Seems like there’s an issue with your webserver.”

M$ demon (snickering): “Oh really? Did you open up port 80 of the firewall for your IIS?”

User: “Duh, I need to do that for my clients to browse my website.”

M$ demon: “There! That’s your problem!! Default access is off, you turned it on, so it’s not our problem.”

User: “What???!!!!”

M$ demon: “Thank you for calling M$, have a nice day!”

DIAL TONE…