Sunday, January 18, 2015

Is it relevant or redundant?

We subscribed to the StarHub services for many years, and in the recent year, it comes with the "Interactive Channel" that I did not access until only recently. It comes with 6 broad areas of information that includes "live" cameras of the various expressways, availability of car park lots in selected car parks situated in the town area.

Amongst them is the "Yahoo! News". Initially, I thought it would lead me to brief intro lines of the updated news. Instead, it picked a few pieces of news to be highlighted. A click at each piece of news shows a QR code that would lead the user to the website with the news article.

All seems to be convenient. However, on a second thought, I just wonder....
  • To read a QR Code, one needs to have an internet-connected device (e.g. Handphone)
  • Would it be far much more convenient to access the news from the website, since the news I received earlier came from HR site.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Audiences behaving badly... at concerts and theatre shows

The Straits Times (Saturday, 29 November 2014)
Click HERE to view article in the Straits Times website

I like going to theatres to watch performances, especially those from the broadway - hence, I'm pretty familiar with places like the Esplanade, Marine Bay Sands Theatres and the Resort World Sentosa (RWS) Theatre.

The first time I could not believe my eyes was what I saw at the RWS Theatre after a show. In fact, the feeling was quite different when my 'neighbours' scrolled in with popcorns, sandwiches in their hands! I could not believe that patrons are allowed to bring food items in! What's more appalling was at the end of the show, litters were all over the place (on the floor)!!!

Is this the behaviour of the supposedly more cultured theatre-goers? I wonder?
Similarly, late-comers took their time to walked in blocking other audiences. Haiz...
How do we go about cultivating the appropriate social behaviours in the theatre?
Perhaps this could be another area to be included as part of Gracious Singapore Movement?

Online Scams - How the report could be more informative?

The Straits Times (29 November 2014)

Saw the publicity posters pinned up at the void deck several months ago. Today, saw this article that reports the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is stepping up its effort to heighten the public's awareness. Indeed, I was hoping to find out what are the preventive measures or tips to look out for online scams. Unfortunately, the report did not carry this information :(

On the other hand, googled "Singapore Police Force" and "on scams" and the following link was surfaced:

The link brings me to the page where the SPF provided examples and tips to the public, that I thought these are very useful information. Here's what I got (screenshot)

Just a quick thought: Would it make its promotion efforts more effective if the newspaper article also carries the direct link to the information source?

Quite often, we assumed the readers were just reading updates to know what's going on; perhaps one way to value-add (and increase the usefulness of the article) is to provide links to the relevant authorised websites? Something for considertaion.

Are we ready for Smart Life?

The Straits Times (Saturday, 29 November 2014)
Click HERE to read article at AsiaOne website.

Scanned through the article - it talks about what we envisioned Singapore would look like, and what are some of the hurdles we need to overcome for implementation, and of course, the advantage of Singapore being small would be the quick deployment within a short period of time.

Basically, the success would mean changes to our habits - how adaptable and flexible we are, and also how receptive we are (as we tend to compare the existing state with what's upcoming). In fact, since technology is supposed to bring about greater efficiency and better connectedness, I think the success would be how well-thought through the implementation plans, its implementation, and of course, its communication to generate buying-in.

Take for instance, I experienced some pleasant surprises in my recent trip to Beijing. It was about 10 years ago, when I first visited the city. The impression then was largely my encounter with the people around (I supposed, the culture) - I was shocked and it did not leave much good thoughts after the experience (apart from the rich historical learning I gleaned during my visit). Nevertheless, 10-years later, I was impressed by the level of the services that had improved, and one more unspoken aspect - the use of technology.

Look at this boarding pass - notice the barcode printed at the bottom?
We don't see this in the boarding pass issued in Singapore.

My wonder was answered when we enter the immigration zone. In most of the airports, we would have to show both the boarding pass and the passport to the security officer who would check before allowing us to proceed. That's where we sometimes have to wait before continuing with numerous queues after the first stage. Well, there's no queue at the entrance to the immigration zone in Beijing Capital Airport. Indeed, the security officer stationed there were not checking the passport or the boarding pass, but to aid unfamiliar travellers how to place the board pass underneath the barcode scanner to scan the info. Once that's cleared, one could proceed to the next stage. It's a breeze!

I wonder, would the Singapore Changi Airport consider this?

The other thing that impressed me was that the hotel that we put up in taps on technology to bring about more convenience to guests. Recall, each time we check in to the hotel room, we would check for the switches to the lights (located at different parts of the room) and air conditioners, etc?

Well, I was pleasantly surprised that the guest room in Dongsheng Gloria Plaza Hotel provided the guest with the apps in an iPad that allows the guest to configure the lighting and temperature of the room at the finger tips:

What I like is the hotel still gives the guest an option between the use of technology, as well as the 'conventional' ways - yes, there are physical switches too!

The only service that I 'tested' but not quite successful was the "Room Services" where I could place order for food items, however, it's still not friendly enough to allow me make changes to the items put in the 'cart'. For this, I think it's still better to go through the phone :)

Being IT-savvy does not imply Online Smart

The Sunday Times (30 November 2014)

Read this article in Today's "Top News 6" about people selling and buying medicine online - this transaction is possible as it's largely motivated by low cost. Low cost as consumers today learn that prices of items purchased online could be much lower than those we buy from the shops. Shop rental fee is probably one of the reasons when items in physical shops cost much more. Of course, it's also the convenience as one could sit down comfortably in front of the computer, buy and wait for the items to be delivered at the door step. Hassle free!

Well, the prices of items offered in some of the websites are definitely far more attractive! That's when the consumer needs to exercise discernment and make careful checks before checking out the items.

Chanced upon this article recently that would be useful for the online consumers: How to Spot a Fake Online Review 

On the other hand, from this article, I also learnt that it requires one to have the 'licence' to sell/ market any medical products. I think this is a very good info to remind all not to compromise the quality due to low cost.

To me, I felt, if one wants to make any online purchase, it would be best to go to the website of the actual shop/ brand to place the order; at least, the quality of product would be assured :)