Category Archives: Tech

iPhone 3G in the house


July 31, 2008 11:14 PM

iPhone 3G

Yesterday, less than 2 weeks after I had placed a raincheck on an iPhone 3G at Optus World in West Perth, I received a call from them telling me that my phone has arrived in the shop. I was very pleasantly surprised because I had anticipated a 3-week wait.

When I got to the shop, I told them about that. And the woman serving me said, “Yeah we just had a big shipment.” Then she corrected herself, “Ok when I said ‘big’, I meant 4.” Heheh.

On the train ride home, I soon realised the one big benefit that I had wanted from the phone. Whilst surfing the net, my stop had arrived quicker than it has felt in the past. Killed time? Hell yeah.

When I got home, I played with the iPod side of things. No complains here, it’s an iPod touch. Sweet!

Pretty soon I was dragging and dropping songs from my computer onto the phone. And then I started ripping CDs too. I ripped CDs that I thought would be enjoyable for my daily commute. Before long, I was digging out dusty old CDs that had been lying in my stacks, neglected in the past but ready to be enjoyed once more.

I can see my hard disk space been eaten up very quickly if I keep up with the ripping. It’s got a little bit too addictive at one point that I had to pull myself away from the computer. It felt like I had wanted to cram in as much stuff as I could.

The touch screen is awesome to use but I still have to get used to the virtual keyboard. Typing in a text message is kinda awkward. It made me feel like I have fat fingers when my hands are tiny. And I can see it being a problem whilst being intoxicated in a bar or club. So I’m thinking that I will probably use my Nokia 6280 on the weekends and the iPhone during the working week. Best of both worlds!

Woo! The last time I was so happy with a gadget was when I got my Xbox 360. :mrgreen:

My blog on an iPhone 3G

Cliched vanity shot for any blogger who has an iPhone

iPhone fanboi


July 19, 2008 5:41 PM

Optus iPhone

Well that was quick. 1 day after I felt like getting one, I decided to have a day to think about it. I always do for major purchases. This way, I make sure that I’m not getting it on impulse and that I give it some time to research my options.

I scoured blogs and searched for objective and Australian-relevant reviews. It was kinda hard because there are so many gushing fanbois out there – I swear I could feel the stickiness of their spontaneous jizz just from reading their posts. :mrgreen:

I was already sold on the features – I like the fact that I’m getting an iPod, mobile internet and a mobile phone in one package, but I have no idea about which company I wanted to sign up with. Luckily for me, one of my daily reads the Sydney Morning Herald had an excellent review of the bewildering number of plans from three telcos (Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone) for the iPhone 3G. In this aspect, Australia is really spoilt for choice and we’ve still got one more telco company, 3 Mobile desperately trying to petition Apple to allow them to sell the phones.

Review: iPhone plans – iPhone Insider – Digital Life – smh.com.au

Telstra had the worst offers and Vodafone is par with Optus, depending on your needs. I was already an Optus customer and I was interested in staying on my current plan, and it became a no-brainer. It was near the end of my existing 24-month contract and I was always going to upgrade my phone at zero cost anyway. I only had to add $7 per month on my current plan over 24 months to get the iPhone. And I’d justified it to myself thus: that’s a bloody cheap way to get an iPod touch at the same time.

So, 4 days after I felt like getting one, I did. But the store ran out of stock and they’ve given me a raincheck – I was told that some of those who had wanted one on launch day last Friday are ahead of me. Oh well. Now I just gotta wait.

In the mean time, I went and got this from Rush Faster: Griffin Nu Form 3G iPhone Shell.

Griffin Nu Form iPhone 3G Shell

It will arrive in 2 weeks. Hopefully I’ll get my iPhone by then too. Colour me iPhone fanboi. :mrgreen:

Facebook: too much information


April 10, 2008 8:25 PM

Too much information

For some reason, people who join social networking sites seem to think it’s ok to blab about everything and anything, no matter how personal. Like that banking intern in the US who got caught lying about not being able to work because he was stupid enough to broadcast on Facebook, the party that was his real reason for not showing up to work.

This is no different to people who bare it all on their blogs I guess. Though on a social networking site, this information is broadcast to more people whom you know or allegedly know anyway, making the knowledge more relevant and potentially more harmful.

It’s like telling your group of friends and acquaintances things that they don’t necessarily want to know. The phrase “too much information” in this context is more apt than ever. The ironic thing is that some of these people who are brutally open and bold online are not necessarily like that in real life. Why do they think that the impact of what they share online is less?

Ultimately, unless I’m intimate with a person, I’m more comfortable with not knowing every single personal detail of even my closest friends. I don’t need to know, and they certainly do not need to tell. Like how everyone likes a bit of personal space, not telling someone everything is like not standing too close to them. Because you know, that’s just really uncomfortable.


On my list of Facebook “friends” are several women whom I had liked at one point or another. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging but I never sought them out. The friend requests came from them. And in hindsight, I would have preferred that they weren’t on my list because I don’t really care what they’ve been up to.

As callous as that sounds, that’s just being honest. I mean, we weren’t friends to begin with. I liked them but they never liked me back, so that was that. I never hung around in real life pretending to be a friend after I had been rejected.

The problem with seeing their updates and photos, especially when they are to do with their love lives is information that does me no good. Sometimes it even generates a pang of jealousy in me when I had already been over them for so long.

Facebook causes unnecessary stress that way. It really does. Just like how Steph’s friend Kylie reacted to knowing about her ex’s marriage and son. It’s no wonder she calls it “Fuckedbook”.

This is one big reason that I don’t log on as often as I used to. I only go on when I know friends had posted photos of recent events, and to feed my Fluff pet (shut up). And speaking of the Fluff pet, I think I might let it starve to death soon.

Clueless people doing business on the Internet


February 22, 2008 12:53 AM

Idiot's guide to the Internet
callumalden @ flickr

On Monday, I received an email from a person working for the Malaysian branch of a well-known advertising agency. She had asked to purchase the rights to use a photo of mine that she had stumbled upon on Flickr. The fact that she knew how to use Flickr made me thought that she was clued in on how business on the Internet works. I was wrong.

Here’s the email exchange on Monday. The first hint of trouble was when she asked me to define the usual conditions that go with selling images. Don’t they buy images all the time at an ad agency? Well, never mind I thought. Maybe she’s new on the job and wanted to make sure.

Hi there,

Im [redacted], on behalf of ABCD (Advertising Agency), would like to ask for your permission to use the attached picture.

Usage is for our client advertisement in BTL items outdoor.

Kindly quote us for the picture and revert to me back by today!!

Thank you.

Hi [redacted].

The price I charge is USD80 for a royalty-free copy of the 640×480 version available off Flickr (largest resolution I have), which is non-exclusive and with non-transferable rights.

If this is ok to you, I will send an invoice via Paypal (let me know the email address that I should send it to).

Cheers!

Hi there,

Can you please advise us more specific on non-exclusive and with non-transferable rights.

Thanks.

Hi [redacted].

Non-exclusive = I can sell it again for similar purposes.
Non-transferable = It’s only for you and your company’s use as you see fit without restrictions, but you cannot on-sell the image on its own.

And royalty-free = you can use it as often as you like, for different projects.

Hope that answers your questions!

Then on Wednesday.

Hi there,

Cost approved AT USD80 for a royalty-free copy of the 640×480, please proceed our order.

Thank you.

Hi [redacted].

Will do – sending you an invoice via PayPal to your email address now. Your company can then pay via credit card at PayPal.

Thanks!

Note how many times I’d mentioned the use of Paypal to pay me and how they’d be invoiced. On the same day was when things got all Twilight Zone-y. Further signs of trouble was when she asked how long it would take for her to obtain the image. This when she’s already been to the page where she can download it from. Then there’s the questions about invoices.

Hi there,

I need to know once we paid through credit card how long will it take to get the image. Where is your company located??

Thank you.

Hi [redacted].

You just download the image at the link provided earlier. If you’ve lost it, here it is again:
sri-bahari-road-kopitiam

Hi there,

Kindly provide us your details (name, contact no.)

Is it possible for us to make payment through bank transfer under your name/company name because we are buying the image on behalf of client? This is not for personal matter. Please provide us also what are terms and regulation.

Hi [redacted].

I do not run a company as my photos are sold on an adhoc basis. Furthermore, I’m in Australia so a payment to Paypal is the easiest way. If that is not possible, then I wish you best of luck in your search for an alternative photo.

Cheers!

Hi there,

One more thing after we paid to you is there any invoice for us.
Thank you.

The receipt will come from Paypal showing that you have paid to me, and what it was for – you can print this out for your records. I will not be issuing an invoice to you.

So after all that, you would assume that all questions about how to obtain the photo, and how payment should be made and transacted are answered right? Well, you’d be wrong.

On Thursday, I received another clueless email from her. That was when I had enough. She kept asking me about damn invoices and alternatives way of paying me! It was like she didn’t even read anything that I wrote to her in the past few exchanges! FFS!

Hi there,

Need to check with you is there any invoice before we make payment. One more thing I need to know do we need to register the Paypal because our company don’t have account with paypal. Can we straight away paid you via credit card without register Paypal.

Hi [redacted].

I think this is probably getting too difficult for you guys. I have already explained everything previously.

I will withdraw the payment request. Best of luck in your search for a suitable photo.

Cheers!

You’d think that someone working for a prominent ad agency would understand how to do business on the Internet. Buying a photo from me is no different to buying a photo off a professional outfit like Getty Images. Everything is done electronically, you pay with a credit card, and you’d get an email receipt to print out for your records.

At first I hesitated about publishing this for fear of ruining future opportunities of selling my photos. Burning bridges and all that. But what the heck, this is just a hobby. I still have my day job.

Because it really has to be said: clueless people really have no business doing business on the Internet.

Let me rephrase that: clueless people who do not read have no business doing business on the Internet.

Bad customer support pisses me off


February 16, 2008 3:31 PM

Smiley and sad faces

A lot of thing pisses me off (I’m an angry guy, don’t you know? ;)) and one of them is bad customer support. Getting bad support grates on me because I have been working in customer support and service for a while. Having been on the other side of the fence, I can empathise with the poor lowly techs who have to take calls or emails from an angry customer, or an ignorant one.

That is why when I have to call in for support myself, I always handle it thus:

  • The tech serving me now may not be familiar with the history of my issues, so I shouldn’t show my impatience.
  • The tech is a person just doing his/her job so I should be polite.
  • The tech may not be able to handle my issue so I should request to escalate it if need be.

And due to my background in customer support, I also make sure I troubleshoot the issue extensively before I have to call it in. To a good tech, I am probably the best kind of customer that they’d want to deal with.

So having said all that, I deem the support to be horrible when the following happens:

  • Assuming that the customer is always wrong, and being adamant and arrogant about it.
  • Poor communication and mis-diagnosis of the problem, which leads to incorrect suggestions for resolution. And also, when “the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing”.
  • Making the customer wait a long time for replies or acknowledgment of a problem.
  • Allowing an old problem to reoccur without explaining why, and not doing anything to prevent a future occurrence.

To illustrate this, I will use the recent 2-day outage of my blog as an example. I didn’t know it at first but my blog was shut down due to the massively popular Edison Chen scandal story that I wrote (it had hit 20000 page views one day at its peak) – it was consuming too much resources from the server, slowing it down for all of their other customers’ sites. I had no issue with that because I don’t want someone else’s site slowing mine down either.

But the problem begins thus:

  1. Couldn’t access my site. Thought it was the usual server gremlins and I’d submitted a support ticket.
  2. First tech said, “we are rebooting it.”
  3. Second tech (9 hours later) said, “Your IP is blocked. Send us your IP”.
  4. I told them I tried accessing my site from three different geo-locations so it can’t be an IP block.
  5. Another 6 hours later, I was told by the third tech (the most helpful one of the bunch) told me that my site was locked down. Now why couldn’t the first tech had told me that?

I was very grateful for finally getting the right answer after a 16-hour wait but I was majorly pissed off by how it was handled. I appreciated the third tech who was polite and understanding about the problem but I feel sorry that he was working in the messed-up system of his company.

In case you are wondering, the web hosting company is Site5. This incident was the last straw on top of other problems, although minor in comparison, that kept reoccurring. And when they had happened, I had to always call their attention to it. A tech company with poor customer service, and which isn’t pro-active about correcting problems does not instill confidence in me.

And yes, this site is now hosted with another company called iMountain. I chose them after doing my research on Web Hosting Talk and found that they’ve got very satisfied customers who write nice things about them. For me, so far so good. I’m happy with their customer service and the faster speed that my site loads at now. 🙂

Edison Chen sex scandal: his ego and their combined stupidity


February 6, 2008 7:13 PM

Edison Chen and his girlfriends over the years
(image source, SFW but links out to image depositories
of all the Edison Chen photos that aren’t)

The above flowchart shows all the women that Edison Chen – a Canadian-Chinese actor/singer based in HK – has been connected with. A couple of weeks ago, the HK media was rocked by the release of pornographic images of Edison and three of these women. They were allegedly leaked by the tech guy repairing Edison’s computer, who has since been arrested.

For those not familiar with the Chinese entertainment world, most of the women on the chart are singers and actresses, with a few models thrown in for good measure. The most famous one to Western audiences is Maggie Q (near the top right), who has appeared in MI:3 and Die Hard 4.0.

Of all the pictures obtained by the computer tech, there were 6 women involved. For the investigating police, only 4 are known to them. Three of these 4 women (2 singers and 1 actress, with the actress being currently married to one of Edison’s friends, Nicholas Tse, an actor/singer) were the unfortunate ones to have been exposed before the police and the courts put a stop to it by warning that anyone caught distributing the photos risk being arrested.

Shanghaiist has a good round up of the events and people involved (NSFW even with pixellated photos – read it at home!).
Shanghaiist: Edison Chen, Bobo Chan, Gillian Chung and Cecilia Cheung embroiled in Hong Kong’s biggest sex photo scandal ever

For a less titilating summary:
Edison Chen photo scandal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To me, it’s one thing for naive everyday people to be caught up in a moment of foolishness like this, but for people in the entertainment business who have carefully crafted images it’s quite bizarre. Assuming that these people are aware of the importance of image in their line of work, what possess these women to pose for him? And how big must his ego be to not care about the possible consequences if they leaked out like it has now? Or are they all just dumb?

Photos of 6 women were found on this one computer. Are there more saved on other computers stashed away in his home? How depraved is this guy, really? And what would his fans think of him now? He may be able to shrug this off and become more “adult” and edgy with his image – that’s what I’d do anyway if I was his PR, but the women involved probably do not have this luxury. It’s still very much a double-standard world.

In this situation, there are two glaring lessons for the Youtube-loving, Facebook-hugging, and MySpace-living digital generation of today:

  1. Unless you are in the adult entertainment business, never ever take naked pictures and video of yourselves unless you can live with the scandal and embarrassment. And even if you can live with it, employers in most industries won’t. No matter how much you think he loves you, or how fun you think it’d be, think very carefully about what you are doing.
  2. If you are going to send your iPod/MP3 Player/Computer in for repairs make sure that there’s nothing incriminating or highly private on the machine. Encrypt the information if you can and know how to. Otherwise, transfer the data onto another computer and delete the originals. While you are at it, delete your browsing history, cache and saved cookies.

A contrite Edison had asked for people to stop spreading and to take down the images. People in HK may be compelled to do so, but at this stage it’s spread beyond HK’s borders and its laws. Unlike printed photos with negatives, once it’s out there it ain’t coming back. The Internet is a bitch like that.

One thing’s for sure: these people are not going to have a very happy Chinese New Year.

Tech Support Hell: 10 types of difficult customers


January 17, 2008 6:33 PM

start
moar funny pictures

  1. They are always rude and angry.
  2. They don’t listen to your instructions because they think that they know more than you and insists that it’s not their fault.
  3. They are not willing to learn. They believe it is their right to ask you to do it for them every single time, because they have already paid for the service.
  4. They take advantage of your easy-going nature and ask for extraordinary favours.
  5. They confuse the issue and have contacted the wrong people, eg. calling the shop that sold them the computer about a faulty software that they’ve downloaded, and insist that you help them anyway.
  6. They lie about the problem causing you to go on wild goose chases that lead nowhere.
  7. And then they get impatient when you can’t solve their problem.
  8. When you tell them that it may take up to a day, they email you every hour on the hour to see if maybe somehow the Gods have smiled on them, and all kinds of rules and logic do not apply to them, and their issue has been miraculously fixed.
  9. They change their mind after the item/order has been delivered. Their complaints always start with, “If I had known it was going to be like this …”
  10. And after all of the above, they still complain about the price.

Those who do IT support will recognise the above instantly, though some types are applicable to all kinds of business. Have you guys got similar to share? Or as a customer calling up for support, have you been through your own tech support hell? 🙂