Saturday, September 24, 2011

iPad Orientation: Part I

After all the hype about the iPad, I finally got one. Well, it was more of a gift then getting it myself. I have a (generation 1) iPod touch, and it is still working fine, so I never thought about actually getting an iPad because I never saw the need for it. Well, now that I have an iPad, and having used it for the past 2-3 days. Here are some of the things I learnt:

  • In order to use your new iPad, you need to connect it to your iTunes and go through the setup and linkage to your Apple ID (existing or create a new one).
  • There are 3 types of apps :

1) iPod/iPhone

Almost all apps for the iPod/iPhone and iPad can be installed on the iPad. However, as the resolution for the iPod/iPhone and the iPad are different (with the iPad having larger resolution), apps (especially games) for iPod/iPhone appear small on the iPad's larger screen. Although there is the option of magnifying (2X) the apps, games graphics in particular tend to be more blur and pixilated. Some examples are:

2) iPad

Apps for the iPad are made specifically for it. So far I believe that it is not possible to port them over to the iPod/iPhone as the specifications for the iPad is higher than the iPod/iPhone.

Pricing for iPad apps are also more costly than those for the iPod and iPhone. An example would be Angry Birds where you pay $0.99 cents for the iPod/iPhone version and $4.99 for the Angry Birds HD version. That is about 20% more then the iPod/iPhone version. There are others with a much higher markup price...Read more>>

Friday, September 23, 2011

Angry Birds: App Review

What is all the hype about “Angry Birds”? It seems to be phenomenal the rate of success this game has achieved. The objective of the game is to crush the enemy (in this case pigs were want to eat the birds eggs, making them “angry”), through game play that is physics based and requires logic, skill and force. Maybe it is the concept, or the fluid graphics and game play that propelled it into success or it might have been the marketing and the timing, whatever the case its success cannot be disputed with merchandise appearing as well and it being made available for PCs and Macs.

Having been one of the most popular games on the Apple market (iPhone/iPod/iPad), it has finally made its way to the Android market. Basically, you get to hurl the angry birds at loosely made defensive forts made from glass, wood, and stone with pigs inside, and the aim is to destroy all the pigs at each level with as little moves possible. You get more points if you achieve destroying the pigs with as little moves as possible, destroy as much structure as you can, and have remaining birds that have not been used.

There are different birds with different abilities: to name a few, the default red bird has no special properties, while the blue bird splits into three with a second touch, or the black bird which explodes when tapped...Read More>>

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sally's Spa: App Review

Time management games are plenty on the Apple App store, and Sally’s Spa is just one of those games that is actually entertaining and enjoyable. Similar to Diner Dash in concept: you are running a salon (helping Sally) and have to serve the customers as best and as fast as you can. And yes, you guessed it, it is one of the games that I actually bought and so here are my thoughts on it. There is also a lite version available.

There are different locations, scenarios, customers, and upgrades of the spa’s equipment (e.g. Sauna, nail station, spa, massage table, and hair station). As you advance, you can also hire staff to speed up the process. The objective of the game is to get all the customers that come through your spa to complete the various treatments and leave with a smile on their faces and a huge tip for you. You are also able to sell various products to earn extra money. There is a chart that tells you what products customers’ would be interested in buying that day, and an indication of how well the items might sell...Read more>>

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Amazing Sudoku: App Review

With the many available Sudoku games made available on the Apple App Store, there are various designs and graphics that offer different game play experience, most of them plain and unappealing. I happened to chance upon Amazing Sudoku, which is currently available for $1.99 for the full version, when it was offered free for download one fine day (lucky me). There is also the free version, which limits the difficulty.

Some people may deem the colorful background and graphics too distracting, but I think that it adds a nice touch to an otherwise “boring” game of Sudoku. Within Amazing Sudoku, there are two modes of game play: Classic and Magic, each with 3 difficulty settings...Read more>>

Cut The Rope: App Review

“Cut the Rope” is one of the games that I bought from the Apple App Store, costing USD$0.99. The objective of the game is to feed the green cute looking creature with the sweets that you are supposed to navigate to the little create by cutting ropes, all the while collecting stars to advance to the next stage / box. You do so by cutting the ropes loose, in a way that the sweet will land up in the little green creature’s hungry mouth and collecting stars at the same time. Recently this app has also been made available on the Android Market as well...Read more>>

Friday, September 16, 2011

Avoiding Plagiarism: Learning What is Plagiarism

Plagiarism, a word commonly heard these days. Just what constitutes plagiarism? Well, plagiarism is the use of word of ideas that are not your own and presenting them as if they were your own, without acknowledging and taking credit for someone else’s work. Plagiarism is considered a type of intellectual theft, and it is on the rise with the increased use of the Internet and the convenience of access to information it offers.

There are many forms of plagiarism, ranging from deliberately cheating (copying) to accidentally copying from a source without proper acknowledgment. Whenever words or ideas from another person’s work are used, you have to acknowledge where they came from. By learning how to reference properly, you will be able to clearly specify where you received your inspiration from and show the depth of your research and understanding.

One of the best ways to avoid plagiarism is to understand what it is and how to best avoid committing it. Although the Internet can be a great source of information, with readily available information, it does not imply that it is necessarily “free”. Information found on the Internet should be referenced, just like any other source; it should be fully acknowledged and evaluated in the same way you would information from print-based sources...Read more>>

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wave House: Surfing Made Possible in Sentosa (Singapore)

Singapore has always been known for its food and shopping. However, If you are a beach enthusiast, or if you are just looking for something more than just shopping and eating, head down to the Wave House located Siloso beach on Sentosa island – a resort-styled island off the southern shores of Singapore and popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Wave House Sentosa, according to its website, is the fourth such installation of Wave Houses around the world. It takes about10- 15 minutes to walk from the rail station to Wave House Sentosa, which is located along Siloso beach. The Wave House offers two rides, the FlowRider and the FlowBarrel.

Compared to the FlowBarrel, the FlowRider is the more basic ride, and recommended for beginners. With 30,000 gallons of water gushing out per minute at a speed of 20 mph (32 kmph) over a plastic surface, it generates a thin, fast-moving sheet of water; resulting in a safe, non-curling, endless wave.

Riders have the option of using body boards or flowboards. Beginners will learn to balance and stand, while those who have mastered their balancing will learn how to slide down and ride the wave (e.g. carve turns).

The FlowBarrel on the other hand, would be the more challenging of the two: with 100,000 gallons of water per minute gushing out at 30 mph (48 kmph), it creates a curl over the surface which looks like a section of a skateboard park. The speed at which the water gushes out, results in a perfect, endless tubing six-foot wave that has the power and challenge akin to the waves along the reefs of Indonesia...Read more >>

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Long wait at the Hospital

Accompanying my mother to Changi General Hospital clinic S for her eye checkup/followup is proving to be a tiring affair. We have been at the hospital since 3pm and we are still waiting. In fact quite a few were also still waiting. Only after voicing out that they have waited for nearly 3 hours, are they granted their consultations.

What I do not understand is why does the clinic use a system that issues number queue tickets but does not display them in the order that they are received. Names seem to be just called at random. Seriously why even bother incorporating any type of system?

If we are supposed to wait for so long why bother with a number system at all. It is either the person that programs the system that is at fault or the incompetent people using the system that are fault. Aren't systems that are automated supposed to ease the whole process and make it more efficient?

A little off-point, but this is one of the reasons I would rather go to a private GP than the polyclinic. Though it is more expensive, somehow the waiting time is much shorter.

Ok so hospitals are busy and they have to deal with many patients in a day, or they may be short-handed. Then isn't it precisely that that a system and process are in place to make it more effective and efficient? Processes have a need to be constantly improving, as with the changing times. Accommodations should be made to make patients comfortable and prepared for the long wait. Just because they are "patients" doesn't mean they have to have an unending amount of "patience". So why does it seems like we are going backwards.

Well if you are ever at the hospital or polyclinic in Singapore for anything, be prepared to waste your precious time, one way or the other. The majority of the doctors and nurses are nice, which makes the whole experience better, like by 40% only. The long waiting time minuses almost all of the remaining points.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Painted Skin Drama Series (2011) (Complete)

This drama series is adapted from as Pu Songling’s classic short stories in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, as well as the movie of the same name. The drama series sets out to explain the characters and their origins.

In the movie, the storyline is about how a fox demon, Xiao Wei, who tries to prove that true love does not exist in the world and that it can be broken easily. She makes her way into the home of General Wang when he ‘rescues’ her. Xiao Wei’s beauty starts to attract people, and she slowly falls in love in General Pang. She plots to take over the position of his wife. In order for her to retain her beauty, she has to consume the hearts of humans. With dead bodies with their hearts missing increasing in numbers around town, General Wang’s wife, Pei Rong, suspects Xiao Wei.

When Pei Rong discovers that Xiao Wei is a fox demon, she enlists the help of Pang Yong and Xia Bing to help eliminate Xiao Wei. Xiao Wei forces Pei Rong to drink a poison that will turn her into a ‘demon’. General Pang upon seeing that his wife turned into a ‘demon’, tried to kill her. In the end, when both Gerneral Pang and his wife were dying, Xiao Wei finally understood what love meant and sacrificed her life to revive them.

The drama begins with an innocent Xiao Wei, who is not yet called Xiao Wei but Xu Xu. Xu Xu is caught in a demon trap and is unable to escape. She is set free by the noble and righteous Wang Sheng, unaware that she is a demon in her animal form. In the time it took him to free Xu Xu, the guards who were chasing him managed to catch up with him; dragging him back to his forced marriage. He was escaping from an arranged marriage set by his tyrant father who happened also to be a prince who abused his powers. After the first encounter, Xu Xu cannot forget about Wang Sheng and takes on human form and travels the world.

Back from being captured, Wang Sheng is forced to go through the marriage ceremony with Pei Rong, the daughter of a noble family. Pei Rong is not happy and does not want to marry into the Wang family, but she has not choice as her family is held hostage. It so happens that a band of bandits attack the city that Wang Sheng is residing on the day of the wedding. This results in a series of events that resulted in Wang Sheng leading Pei Rong out of the city. Wang Sheng encounters Pang Yong, Pei Rong’s childhood friend, and who is also in love with her... Read More>>

Cast (taken from Drama Wiki):
薛凱琪 Fiona Sit as Xiao Wei
陳怡蓉 Chen Yi Rong as Pei Rong
Li Zong Han as Pang Yong
Ling Xiao Su as Wang Sheng
鬼鬼 Gui Gui as Xia Bing
Qi Yu Wu as Long Yun
杨幂 Yang Mi as Xiao Hong

Episode Guide

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Hyundai Motors Part 2 - Entering The High End Automobile Market

Discuses some of the challenges Hyundai Motor is likely to face in trying to reposition itself as a premium automobile brand, with its new premium model, the Genesis.
As Hyundai Motor tries to reposition itself as a premium automobile brand, one of the biggest challenges the company faces is its perception problem; being perceived as a manufacturer of entry-level cars and lack of prestige amongst consumers. This is evidenced in the first quarter sales of the Accent (least expensive car) increasing by 74%, while the Sonata sedan (more expensive) was down by 30%. (Gidman 2007) Hence, Hyundai Motor has the challenge of trying to change (improve) consumer brand knowledge, and convince consumers that they are capable of producing premium cars with prestige, which still maintains the company’s trademark affordability and durability.

Although Hyundai Motor has come a long way since its days of being branded as the “Worst Car Ever Made”, the notion amongst consumers that the Hyundai brand is inferior to Japanese car manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda is still prevalent. Gidman (2007) mentions that according to a May 2007 Business Week article, 71% of people who viewed an unidentified car without any Hyundai logo on it said that they would buy it, if a Toyota logo was on the car they were 20% more likely to purchase the car. However, once the Hyundai logo was shown, those willing to drive it out of the showroom dropped to 52% (lack of prestige).

As with any product line or family that is extended, there is always a risk of cannibalization. One such example can be seen when the sales of the Tucson affected the sales of the Santa Fe: the Tucson’s similar size and more affordable (cheap) pricing was the reason for the drop in the sales of the Santa Fe. (Ward's Dealer Business 2005) In its attempt to create a more up-market image for the whole brand with its latest luxury offering – the Genesis, sales of its other models may be affected or vice versa (Eisenstein 2008)...Read more>>

Hyundai Motors Part 1 - Hyundai Motors Success

Factors that have contributed to Hyundai Motor's success:

• Brand Equity:
The initial failure of the Excel propelled Hyundai Motor to improve their product quality and regain consumer confidence by "adding an unprecedented 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty—assurance to buyers that the car wouldn't fall apart on the turnpike while speeding along in the passing lane" (Gidman 2007).

Due to its efforts, Hyundai Motor was able to reposition itself as a producer of affordable cars (with quality), and consumers overall confidence in the Hyundai brand improved. As a result, Hyundai Motor has since been recognized as a producer of quality cars which are reliable and affordable; being ranked 72nd in the 2007 Best Global Brand survey. Bunkley (2008) quoted senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, David Champion, that Hyundai has made "phenomenal progress" in the quality and reliability of its vehicles.

Being focused on the consumer, and improving in areas such as quality, durability, value and warranty programs have contributed to the success of Hyundai Motor's brand equity. The company's focus on affordability and practicality, unlike its competitors (e.g. BMW choosing to focus on technology), set it apart from its competitors and contributed to its success. (Vasilash 2006)

• Product Differentiation:
By improving (augmenting) its cars' exterior design and engineering, while still maintaining its affordability, made it appealing to consumers and improved its brand image (from being the "Worst Car Ever Made"); giving it a competitive edge. For example, "Hyundai's sleekly redesigned flagship" - the Sonata - was equipped with "six airbags, electronic stability control and a long list of standard equipment, all for less than $20,00″ (Muller & Meredith 2005). Hence, according to Muller & Meredith (2005), "Hyundai is now dictating trends that others must follow": the company's "success with cheap cars inspired General Motors to buy its own Korean company, Daewoo, to try to match Hyundai's offerings", and "Hyundai's breakthrough ten-year, 100,000-mile warranty spawned extended warranty offers by Chrysler and Mitsubishi"...Read more>>

Writing Reports: How to

Explains why there is a need for writing reports, and describes how to write reports.
According to, reports are "an account or statement describing in detail an event, situation, or the like, usually as the result of observation, inquiry". There are many reasons why there is a need to write reports. Unlike creative writing, reports are written for educational and informational purposes. They are always based on facts, and can be in the form of assessments or for references. There are many types of reports, namely progress reports, investigative reports, and feasibility reports.

Reports generally have 3 parts: the introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction of the report (like its name suggests), introduces the reader to the report:

  • Background (of the report)
The background within the introduction of a report provides the history of the situation (that the report is about), who the report is targeted for, what the topic (of the report) is about, the current status of a situation (that the report is about) and the reasons for it, and the definition of key terms (e.g. scientific or technical). ...Read more>>

What is a Team?

Consisting of more than two individuals, Robbins and Judge (2007) describe a team as a group of interdependent individuals with special skills and/or knowledge, who have gathered together to achieve specific objectives; interaction is necessary and encourages “positive synergy through coordinated effort” (Robbins & Judge 2007, p299).

For example, 3 people (e.g. Lawyer, Programmer, Accountant) work together as a team producing high quality (computer/system) programs for an organization specializing in tax accounting. The programs produced require a high level of programming skills and aptitude to comprehend the law, with new laws and interpretation of existing laws have to be integrated quickly (and flawlessly) into the existing regulations and analysis tools. Each individual is equipped with the necessary (complimentary) skills and knowledge to integrate, as well as interpret new laws into the organization’s existing programs’ efficiently and effectively. Due to their education background and working experiences, each team member is able to contribute an area of expertise (law, accounting and programming); integrating desired objectives seamlessly and effectively through coordinated effort...Read more>>

Friday, September 02, 2011

Myung-wol The Spy / Spy Myung-wol (Korean Drama)

The drama revolves around Han Myung-wol, a North Korean spy, and Kang Woo, a big Hallyu star. Although Myung-wol works for the North Korean government, she is a member of the Hallyu crackdown squad, where she deals with the illegal distribution and smuggling of media (i.e. South Korean dramas). It has always been her dream to be in the special force unit, but she fails the final round of tests. Undeterred she tells Choi Ryu, a special force agent and friend. He tells her to stick to what she is good at instead of trying so hard. He does not want to see her bruise herself over the memory of her father, trying to become like him: her father was a solider and had died while in service.

Acting on intel, her team locates one such source. When Myung-wol tracks him down, she arrests him as he’s screening Kang-woo’s newest drama. From here on begins Myung-wol’s adventure: General Kim has a daughter who is a Kang-Woo fanatic and the General makes arrangements for Myung-wol to escort his daughter as her bodyguard with Ryu accompanying them. The mission has a dual purpose, the first is that Myung-wol play bodyguard to the General’s daughter at a Kang-woo concert in Singapore, and the second is for Ryu to track down some mysterious ancient books that apparently hold the fate of the world.

Kang-woo, appears to be quite the perfectionist, nitpicking every flaw which planning the performance in Singapore. However, he gives the impression that he an easy-going, smiling top star.

Finally in Signapore, the General’s daughter attempts to sneak out of the hotel room, only to be caught by Myung-wol. The General’s daughter assigns Myung-wol to get her a Kang-woo’s autograph. So off she goes to conquer Kang-woo’s autograph, which is proving to be more challenging that she initially thought... Read More>>

Review of Thai Restaurant: Sakon Thai (Singapore)

Sakon Thai is a "restaurant", more like open air cafe? It is located in a quiet part of Singapore along 77 Jalan Wangi, Macpherson. Initially what attracted me to this place was the reasonable pricing. However, standards don't seem to be consistent and fluctuate each time I go there. I have been to this restaurant a couple of times already, but today might be my last.

When my group of 4 arrived at the restaurant, business was rather good with a crowd forming a queue waiting to get seated. So we joined in the queue and waited patiently, however when it was our turn we were conveniently ignored by the restaurant staff and had to find our own table ourselves. Disaster soon ensued after we seated ourselves, despite our waving and calling the waitresses totally ignored us. It took some for time to take our orders and the food to actually arrive (45 min!). The drinks arrived first, however they were blend and tasteless. I had ordered an iced lemongrass drink and it tasted more like flavored water, it tasted better the first time I had it. Even my friend, who had previously ordered the lemongrass drink commented that the drink was much more blend and tasteless then the previous time she had ordered it.

After waiting (patiently) for 45min close to an hour, and some serious prompting the food arrived.  We had reminded them and asked about our order 3 times, each time they replied that the food was coming. There was a group that ordered after us, but by the time our food arrived they had already eaten, paid and left. All my group of 4  ordered was one tom yup seafood soup with rice (which they forgot and we had to remind them twice, which ended up in two plates of rice), one rice with bail leaf beef and egg, and 2 phat thai noodles.

It would be interesting to note that there was a lady seated at another table who demanded a change of her drink. She was asking the waitress why the drink tasted horrible when it had (previous) tasted fine. The waitresses were non-apologetic when it came to the appalling service and sub-standard drink quality. Neither were they friendly or helpful. Maybe it was because of the high influx of guests, but service standards nonetheless should not have been so deplorable to such an extent. Perhaps there was really too many people that the staff cannot cope with, perhaps we were just "forgettable" customers. Who knows?

Maybe the food is ok, maybe the pricing is reasonable (no 10% GST...yet), but the inconsistent service and drinks, on top of the bad attitude make it not worth the while. So either you avoid this place, or you may want to try this restaurant when there is no crowd. Now if the food was worth the wait and the waitresses approachable and friendly... that would be a totally different story altogether...Whichever the case, do let me know if you visit this place and is the service and food have improved.