Now this just sounds so wrong. “Oral Me”.

Short week due to the holiday on Tuesday and public holiday on Wednesday. And the end of Friday is supposed to be relaxing but no. I was driving back home just now and was stuck in a massive traffic jam. More traffic than usual so there was a huge jam.

Fig 1.

Suddenly I heard a noise coming from the rear of my car. A motorcyclist had hit my car while trying to squeeze through the small gap between my car and the parked car (refer to Fig 1). It was obvious that I was blocking the motorcyclists from going through but what was I supposed to do? Can’t he wait for another 30 seconds more for the traffic to move?

Obviously not. When we wound down the window to inspect the damage (the guy who knocked me had continued merrily on his way already), one other motorcyclist went past and shouted something unintelligible. It sounded like “WOI”. I think he was too stupid to string some words together. My only regret now is that I didn’t turn to the left and just knock him down on the spot. remember his license plate number.

In less than 30 seconds, the traffic had started to inch forward and the gap had widened for the rest of them to pass through nicely. I apologize to the rest of the motorcyclists if I had unintentionally delayed your journey. But for the two other that I mentioned above, you give Malaysian motorcyclists a bad name.

As for my car, there were no visible scratches or dents. I’ll do a more through check tomorrow just to make sure. TGIF. Continue reading

Back in class

I’m taking a 2 day course on FAR (federal aviation regulation) awareness so I’m back in class. When people ask me if I’m studying or working, sometimes I cannot tell them exactly what I’m doing. So to some people, I say I’m studying. To others I say I’m working. None of them are wrong answers. They just explain part of what I’m doing.

This course I’m taking is unusual because it deviates from the normal course people would go through to obtain a degree. For me, I have to attend classes and also get hands on experience on the aircraft before I can get my license. That means if I’m not taking courses, I will be working in the hangars to gain experience. Through working, I’m studying how the plane works as well. What better way to learn than to get your hands dirty? And it’s also a requirement. We need at least 4 years of working experience before we can apply for the license. It’s all about rules and regulations in this industry. That’s why it’s so safe to travel by air.

If you are annoyed by the 8GB of storage on the iPhone, here’s something that will enable you to take unlimited terabytes(TB) of music with you on your iPhone. Introducing the Winamp Remote. It lets you stream all your music and videos from your PC to your iPhone. And it has an iPhone-like interface. Check out the Safari screenshot below:

All my songs from my PC!

It’s free and it’s not limited to the iPhone. This will become more promising as our internet connection gets faster. Continue reading

Malaysian Customer Service

Read this, and if you’re a Malaysian, tell me if you agree with what I say.

I think the quality of customer service in Malaysia needs to improve. How many times have you been behind the counter at some department, only to find yourself staring at someone who’s busy chit-chatting with his colleagues and pretending not to notice you? You wait for a while and you find yourself still waiting for him to finish his story. When he is finally done, he snaps at you, asking you want you want, without a word of apology. Welcome to Malaysian customer service.

This comes from personal experience. I’ve been treated this way many times. On a few occasions, I wanted to just go over to the other side of the counter and give the guy a punch in the face so he might remember next time to do his job better. But I did not because I still consider myself patient enough and I believe that violence cannot solve problems.

A particular incident at the Subang Immigration department really irked me out. I’ve just finish making my passport and was about to collect it from the cashier. The department uses the ticket queuing system so customers don’t need to stand in line to wait for their turn. We just take a number and wait for our number to appear on the red led sign.

There are two cashier counters, but only one is open. The process is fast and straightforward: give the cashier your receipt, pay the required amount and you get your passport. But the person behind the counter is unusually slow for the task. He takes his own sweet time and instead of serving the next customer immediately, he relaxes for a bit before calling for the next number.

Now this may not be a problem if it was on a public holiday. It was on a weekday morning. Everyone who was there had to take some time off their daily routine to come and pay and collect their passport. We all have jobs to do, children to fetch from school, meetings to attend and housework to complete. We want to get over this as quickly as possible so we can move on with the rest of the day. By not doing his job efficiently, he was wasting everyone’s time.

Then the situation took an unexpected turn. A lady was holding the next number. I could see that she was expecting to be served any moment soon. Suddenly, the cashier stood up from his seat, walked over to his colleague’s desk, sat down and had a nice long chat with him. Both of them looked cheerful so I can deduce that they were not talking about work. The lady was stunned. All she could do was murmur to the person next to her, whom I think is her husband.

Fast forward a few months, I’m at the Chinese embassy doing my visa. I miscalculated and I arrived later that I intended to. You see, the embassy does not accept visa applications after (find out time here). When I arrived I had only about 1 hour to spare. I looked at the number of people there and I was thinking that I would never make it. Nevertheless, I filled up the form, and joined the queue. In 15 minutes, I was out of the embassy already! That is not the best part.

3 working days later, I came over to collect my completed visa. 3 minutes later, I was done. I had my visa! The Chinese embassy had totally changed my views about customer service in bureaucratic departments. Not only were they efficient, they were very fast as well. They don’t have high tech computers to help them, yet they take less than 1 minute to serve each customer, never stopping until they have served every last customer on the queue. I wouldn’t have remembered this incident if it hadn’t caught my attention. I was very very impressed. I was wondering, why can’t our other departments be like that?

Which reminds me of another incident at a KFC outlet. I was served by this guy whom I think (I hate to say this but for readers to understand the situation, it needs to be mentioned. I may be wrong though.) is gay. But his approach at treating his customers really impressed me. He would never raise his voice when repeating your order, and he would speak to his customers as if he was having a hearty conversation with them. He was just so full of energy that you cannot help but feel impressed with him. And when you’re done, he would thank you and tell you to enjoy your meal. There is no doubt that he is truly enjoying what he is doing, even if it’s just asking random strangers what they want to eat. I believe he gets job satisfaction for doing that.

It leaves me wondering sometimes why some people choose to serve customers when they suck at it. If they know that they cannot treat customers the way customers should be treated, they are better off doing other jobs that don’t involve customers. For example, you can work in the office and do paperwork. Or you can learn how to treat your customers better. It’s simple. Treat them the way you would want to be treated. Don’t do to them things you don’t want others to do to you. Trust me, if your customers are satisfied and happy, you will be too. You don’t want customers cursing your behind your back. It’s a win-win situation. Think about it.

Back to our immigration department scenario. We left off with a fuming lady waiting for her turn.

Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do too. I needed to get that passport done. When I was done, as always with anyone, I thanked him cheerfully. I was cheerful not because he was very fast and efficient. Nor was it because he was polite and helpful. I was cheerful because I was glad I was not him, who was stuck with a job that he hates doing.

Continue reading

Why You Need A Macbook Air

Comic from Joy Of Tech

The Macbook Air is the world’s thinnest laptop. While that may be a good enough reason to buy it, there may be other things you might want to consider before forking out USD1799 (RM5700+) for one.

The Macbook Air doesn’t have a lan port. That means you’re limited to wireless networking. Although it eliminates wires, wireless can sometimes be annoying. Frequent disconnects and slow speeds will drive you crazy. And some places don’t have wireless connections. Security is also an issue with unsecured wireless connections.

No optical drive. With the invention of the thumb drive, people are relying less and less on other medias like floppy disks. But cdroms are still widely used to distribute software. So without an optical drive, there may be inconveniences.

Glossy screen. Not sure about the rest, but I don’t like glossy screens. You get glare if you use it near a window and it’s a pain to look at the screen for long periods. And with a glossy screen, you get fingerprints and smudges on the screen pretty fast.

Non-removable battery. This is a great drawback for users who bring their laptop on the road for long periods of time. With a spare battery, you can run your laptop longer by swapping the used battery out and replacing it with a fully charged one. But since the Macbook Air’s battery is non removable, you’re left with a dead laptop once your battery runs out.

Non-removable hard disk. Simple. Once your hard disk dies, you’ll need to send it back for a replacement. The same goes too if you need an upgrade.

One of the cool design on the Macbook Air: illuminated keyboard.

Of course, some of these shortcomings can be fixed. You can purchase a USB optical drive and a USB Ethernet device. But these come at an extra cost and also extra things to lug around with your laptop.

In conclusion, the Macbook Air is a good buy for a casual mobile user. If you’re just someone who needs a computer for use at Starbucks, this is your answer. It’s thin, light, stylish and very easy to carry. You won’t be lugging a brick around. For home users, the lack of ports and Ethernet and an optical drive might be a problem. And there are definitely cheaper laptops out there, although thicker, that can do the job much better. Continue reading

Simplest Motor Ever

Was supposed to blog about the new Proton BLM today but that can wait until I’ve test drive it. I’ve seen the real car but I’m not sure when the dealership will allow people to test it. So instead today, I want to show you something so cool that I cannot believe my eyes when I first saw it.

This must be the simplest motor to construct. You may have problems finding a neodymium magnet though. The magnet produces a magnetic field and current running through the copper wire produces the electromotive force that spins it. Pretty cool. More info can be found at Continue reading