Saturday, April 30, 2016

It is possible to get a good job without a university degree

I bought a Dell XPS 13 laptop. It had a faulty motherboard. Dell sent an engineer to my office to replace it. I spoke to the engineer.

TKL - Did you go to the polytechnic or university?
Engineer - I did not. I did not reach that level.
TKL - You are quite experienced in your work. How long have you been doing this job?
Engineer - Four years.
TKL - Are you paid more than $3,000 now?
Engineer - Not that much. But more than $2,000.
TKL - Are you employed by Dell?
Enginner - I work for a subcontractor to Dell.
TKL - How long did Dell train you on this laptop?
Engineer - Just two days. I was quite familiar because I had 4 years of experience in the PC support.

It was quite complicated to replace the laptop motherboard. There were several dozen screws and connectors to be taken out and put back. He did the work well and tested the laptop thoroughly.

I showed another laptop to him. He tested it and diagnosed that the screen had failed. I had to send it to a repair shop that had the parts.

This engineer is an example of a young person who did not go for further studies but had gained useful knowledge and experience in a field that will be in good demand. He is fairly well paid, compared to a fresh, inexperienced graduate. Instead of going to university, he has found another route to a successful career.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bernie Sanders will continue to pursue his bigger goal

I met a friend in Jakarta. He also follows the US presidential campaign closely.

Friend -  does Bernie Sanders till have a chance to win the presidency?

TKL - this chance is very slim. However, he will still continue to campaign as he wants to give the voters in every state the chance to vote for the campaign that they support. Being president is one of his goal, but it is not the most important one.

His bigger goal is to let the people of America know about his issues that affect the American people - the disappearance of the middle class, a corrupt campaign finance system, a rigged economy, grotesque level of income inequality, disastrous trade policies, broken criminal justice system and his measures to overcome them - Medicare for All, minimum wage of $15 per hour, tuition free college education, etc.

He has achieved this goal magnificently well. In fact, in states with open primary, he was able to win over 70% of the votes, such as Washington and Alaska. In the states with closed primary, most of his supporters, such as young voters, first time voters and independents were not allowed to vote. That is why he lost in these states.

The issues that he had raised will play an important part in the general election between the presumptive candidates, i.e. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Both of these candidates will have to move closer to Sander's position to win the popular vote.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bernie Sanders has a narrow path to victory

Sisters and Brothers -
Coming out of last night's results, in which we won Rhode Island but came up short in four others, I want to pose to you three things that I know to be true:
  1. Young people – the future of our country – continue to vote for our campaign in overwhelming numbers. It's remarkable, and honestly quite humbling.

  2. When we compete in open primaries that encourage the participation of independents, new voters, and young people, we do very well.

  3. What remains in front of us is a very narrow path to the nomination. In the weeks to come we will be competing in a series of states that are very favorable to us – including California. Just like after March 15 – when we won 8 of the next 9 contests – we are building tremendous momentum going into the convention.
That is the reality of where we are right now, and why we are going to fight for every delegate and every vote. It is why I am going to continue to speak to voters in every state about the very important issues facing our country. Our country cannot afford to stop fighting for a $15 minimum wage, to overturn Citizens United, or to get universal health care for every man, woman, and child in America.
I'm asking you to help me continue to lead these fights. We have an FEC deadline on Saturday and another primary on Tuesday. Every vote we earn and every delegate we win is a testament to our ideas, to our movement, to our political revolution, and our willingness to take this campaign for the Democratic nomination all the way to the convention.
There is no doubt in my mind that what you and I have done together up to this point is nothing short of historic. And I know that if we are going to work together, we will continue making history.
In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

DBS Remittance Process is Poorly Designed

I use DBS online remittance system to send $1,000 to India monthly.

I was able to register the account number and other details of the payee. When I made the remittance, the system asked me to enter the mobile number, which is a mandatory field. I had to search for this number to complete the transaction. DBS should have allowed me to register the mobile number as well, if they require this information.

They asked me to break the mobile number into separate fields for the country code, area code and mobile number. The payee had given me a 11 digit number. I do not know how it is to be separated. I had to make a guess and break the number into 3 separate fields. To my chagrin, DBS joined the three fields into a 11 digit number. DBS should have allowed me to enter the 11 digit number directly.

The website asked me to state the amount in rupee to be transferred. They will the convert it into the dollars to be deducted from my account. I had to access another webpage for their exchange rate and calculate the rupee amount. They should have allowed me to enter the dollar amount and they can use their exchange rate to get the rupee amount to be transferred.

I get the impression that the people running DBS Bank are inconsiderate and give a lot of unnecessary trouble to their customers.

Managers have to pay attention to operations and customer service

Bus 163 is usually quite crowded in the morning between 8 to 9 am. It is difficult to get up the bus.

I do not mind. Being the peak period, this has to be expected. There is nothing much that the bus operator can do, except to ensure that the buses keep to their schedule.

The bus also move quite slowly along Yio Chu Kang Road, as there were too many cars. When it reached Upper Thomson Road, it was able to move along the dedicated bus lane, so the bus move more quickly.

I only get annoyed when I see that the bus operations were badly managed and the managers were not paying attention to their service.

I get annoyed that some buses have tracking systems that were faulty and apparently they were not spotted or rectified for months (this is just my suspicion).

I get annoyed that the buses do not have a voice announcement or displays on the next bus stop. Surely, this could have been done years ago, maybe decades ago.

A struggle to set up a new stall

A new stall opened in Midview City Cafe selling Western food. There was no queue in front of this stall. The other stalls have long queues.

I decided to to patronize the new stall. I ordered chicken cutlet.
After my order, a few other customers came to place their orders, but the number is small.

After the meal, I went to the cashier. "Your chicken cutlet is very tasty. Well done!"

She was delighted to receive the compliment. We had a short and nice chat. I hope that they will do well.

Difficult to match jobs and workers

Someone told me that his friend runs a small business and had difficulty in recruiting workers. Nobody respond to his advertisement. He wonders why is there a complaint that it is hard to find jobs?

I asked him to advertise in JobStreet, Monster, ST Jobs. It is costly, and the response is poor.

My own experience using the Jobs Bank from MOM is also discouraging. No locals respond to the advertisement.

I know that many people now use headhunters or employment agencies to find jobs for them. Employers also use these agencies to find their workers.

Surely, there must be a more efficient and less costly way to match jobs and workers?

Bernie Sanders expect to do well in a few states with polls closing today

Sisters and Brothers -
The polls are about to close in five states, and we expect to do well in a number of them. As you watch the results, I want you to keep something very important in mind. We are running a historic campaign which is transforming America.
Any victories and any votes we receive tonightnext week in Indiana, and in each state moving forward are a public declaration of support for the values we share.
Our path to the nomination was never narrower than the day I announced my candidacy. I will not stop fighting for an America where no one who works 40 hours a week lives in poverty, where health care is a right for all Americans, where kids of all backgrounds can go to college without crushing debt, where there is no bank too big to fail, no banker too powerful to jail, and we've reclaimed our democracy from the billionaire class.
The political establishment wants us to go away so they can begin their march to the center. But we can send a message to them in a language they’re sure to understand:
When we started this campaign almost a year ago today, people called us "fringe." They said our ideas were too radical. But what we have done throughout this campaign is show that when people stand together we can take on a billionaire class and the candidates they fund. And the message you can send today, with your contribution, is that we are going to keep fighting.
In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Difficult to set up OneKey

Rex Hsu said:

It is a nightmare setting up 2FA for Singpass. I don't understand why it is so complicated. When OCBC bank and UOB introduced 2FA it was extremely simple. For many years already i use their 2FA tied to my phone, no problem.

One major problem of this Singpass 2FA process is that they introduce a term "service provider" in their website which utterly confused me. When you clicked to activate, they bring you to a site called OneKey. The instructions in there are really messy asking you to make a lot of decisions for questions you don't even understand.

Also some years ago I received a token device from god know where, labelled OneKey. It was supposed to get rid of individual tokens from various banks but programming it was so complicated that I gave up.

I don't understand why this OneKey company get involved in the Singpass 2Fa setup. They already messed up the previous job of consolidation of tokens. Why are they involved  in Singpass 2FA?.

A nightmare to navigate the security protocols

Our wonderful government is so paranoid about security that they make it difficult for the public to use online services.

A year ago, they insisted that I change my Singpass password to a strong password with a strange combination of characters. Since then, I have never remembered my password. I had to write in down somewhere and search for the password each time that I want to use it. I cannot remember this strange password.

Now, they ask me to change my strong password.

They also ask me to register for a 2FA token. I am quite confused about whether I have to use a 2FA token device or to use a mobile phone verification.

What for? So, that I can submit my employee's CPF payment online. What is the risk? Why would a hacker want to mess up with my CPF contribution?

These steps to comply with government regulations are so troublesome and take so much of my time. And the complicated login and 2FA verification add to the nightmare.

This will bring our productivity down the drain.

Unsatisfactory Return Process for Lazada e-commerce website

I find the Lazada e-commerce website to be well designed.  However, their return process is terrible.

I bought an "Electric Cordless Drill". I received a battery operated drill. The compartment containing the drill bits was badly designed. I found it difficult to open it.

I went to the Lazada website to look for the process to return the item. Here are some difficulties.

a) They do not provide any person that I could talk to.
b) They asked me to fill in a complicated form, asking for more information than is necessary.
c) I asked me to provide some images of the product.

After uploading the webform, I received a message that someone will call me to pick up the item. It never happened. A few days passed.

There was nobody that I could talk to. I had to fill in another webform and repeat the tedious steps.

Someone sent me an email to ask for more information about the defective product. The staff came back and said that the item was properly described as powered by 3 batteries and the return guarantee does not apply.

This is a typical reply - to avoid responsibility. It is a common culture in Singapore. I had to point out that it was described as "Electric Drill" and there was a badly designed compartment. I did not get any reply.

I wasted several hours on this process. It is a bad practice of Lazada. 

Travelling time of 35 minutes by bus

I de-register my car after 10 years. For the past six weeks, I have been taking the bus to the office.

The daily routine is:
- walk 3 minutes to the bus stop.
- wait up to 10 minutes for the bus to arrive
- bus journey time is 20 mins.
- walk 7 mins to the office.

The total travelling and walking time is 35 mins, on average.

If I have to be in office at a certain time, I will leave my home 45 mins earlier, to give a 10 min allowance.

My walking time is 10 mins. I read that some people, including the young ones, find 5 to 10 mins to be a long walk. They will get used to it.

Rectify defects promptly

I checked the (LTA app) for the bus arrival time for 162. It showed the next bus arriving after 19 min and the following after 35 mins. I suspect that the actual interval should be 16 mins, and that one bus will arrive after 3 mins. This bus probably has a faulty tracking device.

I was right. It arrived after 6 mins.

I suspect that the people in SBS Transit or LTA probably did not monitor these faulty tracking devices. It is quite sad that the device could have been faulty for a long time (this is just my guess) without anybody paying attention.

We need to have a culture of paying attention to defects and rectifying them promptly!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bernie Sanders continue to use phone banking to reach out to the voters in several states

Bernie Supporter –
If you believe in what Bernie stands for, we need you to get on the phones and talk to some voters.
On Tuesday, 384 pledged delegates are at stake in five contests. We need to win as many of those delegates as possible to keep our movement going strong.
We've come from an afterthought in the polls, to where we are now, thanks to a lot of hard work from supporters just like you. So please join with thousands of other Bernie supporters across America, and put in a few hours today or tomorrow to call voters in the states votingTuesday.
Help us reach our goal and call 3.5 million voters
Calling on our Bernie Dialer is easy, and very efficient. All you need is a computer or tablet, and a phone. We provide you with a script to follow, and there are volunteers standing by on livechat to answer your questions if you get stuck.
Together, we are the most powerful force for change in American politics today. And with every vote, every delegate and every victory, we grow stronger. Your efforts are essential to winning those votes, so we hope you'll stand with us and keep up the fight for the values we believe in.
In solidarity,
Team Bernie

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Use one checkpoint between Singapore and Malaysia

I visited Malacca over the weekend. Had to pass through the Singapore and Malaysian customs on the way to Malacca. And to pass through the Malaysian and Singapore customers on the way back. How much wasted time passing through two checkpoints each way.
Surely, our high paid ministers know that there is no need to have two checkpoints? They could have a common checkpoint and ask the travelers to scan their passport only once. This will reduce the wasted time by half. The two governments can share the data, instead of duplicating the work.

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