Raffles Hotel Mooncake boxes and Soldering

Mooncake festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. It’s now the 17th day as I write, so the festival is officially over.

Baked mooncakes, snowskin mooncakes, yam mooncakes. Cakes and cakes!

Quite frankly, I had a slice of each type and I’m stuffed. No longer the days where I can eat an entire moon cake by myself. (Double yolk, anyone?)

Snow skin mooncakes from Raffles Hotel do not fail to impress buyers with their high quality standards every year, despite prices increasing from $50 to $75 over the last 5 years. Moon cakes with exotic ingredients – Champagne Truffle & Ganache, Chocolate Pearl Truffle goes well with a pot of hot Chinese tea.

Besides the mooncakes, the packaging containing them is unique. Just one glance, you will know it’s from Raffles Hotel. The pure metal square box is a good size and has the 60s look and colour.

After eating those cakes, what else can I do with the metal box? Yep, the cover can be used as a container for small screws and what nots, while I’m mucking around with the soldering iron.

Setting up Raspberry Pi 3 with Linux

I had a requirement to run a headless Linux device, coupled with a 3G USB dongle for communications. The Raspberry Pi 3 I bought about 9 months back came in handy.

Here are the steps I took to setup Linux on Rpi.

1. Download and copy the Linux image file onto a micro SD card.
2. Insert the micro SD card into the Rpi and start it up with the keyboard and mouse connected.
3. Log in, and run ‘sudo apt-get update’
4. Update gparted to expand the partition space. You will need to apt-get install gparted
5. Run gparted and expand the existing partition space.
6. Reboot
7. Insert the following string into the /boot/cmdline.txt file. ‘usbhid.mousepoll=0’ at the end of the string. This step removes the laggy mouse scroll.
8. Insert the two following lines into /boot/config.txt file ‘dtoverlay=pi3-disable-wifi’ and ‘dtoverlay=pi3-disable-bt’ at the end of the file. Each lines on their own. This step disables the wifi and bluetooth.
9 Reboot
10. Insert 3G Dongle and update the APN configuration in network-manager.
11. APN: hicard, Username: , Password:

Listening to Theresa May speak on Bloomberg

Listening to May speaking at Florence, Italy, on the reasons why UK will leave the EU sinking ship. EU driven by only one large propeller (Germany) and two minor ones (France and Italy) will soon run aground.

So far, her points are in alignment with Lee Kuan Yew’s observations made some 30 years ago. The new observations he made before passing away in March 2015 (Lee Kuan Yew reflects on Europe, immigration and politics)

Things will be interesting.

76% of S’poreans positive towards new F1 deal: Report – Really?

Last weekend’s F1 race in Singapore saw a dramatic crash which took out the Ferrari team. Lewis Hamilton who started in 5th position, roared past other drivers to take podium while racing in the 1st wet night race in F1 history.

After the race, a British couple got onto the track and took selfies. Usually that would not bring any notice, except this F1 fan had to broadcast his enthusiasm on the Internet and of all, insisted he had bribed the security guard to get onto the track.

Bribe. The 5 letter word. BRIBE.

Probably lost his mind when he said the ‘Bribe’ word in the context of a high security sporting event.

Apart from these controversies, I read on the local online papers and saw this report (76% of Singaporeans positive towards new F1 deal)

An excerpt of the article as follows:
“A report by global media intelligence firm Meltwater — which tracked online reactions in the lead-up to and during the race weekend — showed that 76 per cent of Singaporeans had reacted positively to news of the deal, which was announced by Formula One, Singapore Tourism Board and race promoter Singapore GP last Friday (Sept 15).”

Keywords noted here. tracked online reactions, the lead-up, during the race weekend, 76 per cent of Singaporeans had reacted positively to news of the deal.

  1. Only online reactions (Likes, Twits, Mentions, etc) were tracked.
  2. 76 percent of Singaporeans reacted positively to news of the deal

For the uninitiated, the F1 deal was renewed before race day. The last renewal was a standard 5 year contract but this renewal was one year less than the standard.
Remains to be seen whether was the positive reaction attributable to the renewal of the the contract, or one year less of suffering to be experienced by 76% of Singaporeans.

Lastly, the misleading title by TodayOnline shows how Journalism in Singapore has gone to the dumbs.

By skimming the headlines and not reading into the lines, anyone could be have mistaken that 76% of ALL SINGAPOREANS agree to have the F1 race renewed. Let’s run some numbers here.

Statistics showing the estimated number of Singaporeans online, we get 4,699,204 (estimated) online users. Using these numbers, 76% react favourable to F1 race. This gives 3,571,396.

With the mid year estimates from Statistics Singapore, the total population in Singapore is 5,607,300. This gives 63.6% which is more than 10% difference from that headline number.

But the foot note in the statistics indicate “Total population comprises Singapore residents and non-residents. The resident population comprises Singapore citizens and permanent residents.”

So let’s look at the resident population only – 3,933,600. Doing the calculations gives an estimated 90.7%. 90.7% on the Singapore online population approved the F1 race? Even if the the calculations from the “global media intelligence firm Meltwater” is off, its more than 10% off from the reported numbers.

This begs the question. Are the numbers provided by “global media intelligence firm Meltwater” correct? If they aren’t correct, why are this ‘news’ being reported?

One last thing – Counting 4 years, the next contract review will be up in 2021. Ahh, another big event coming up there. Care to take a guess?

HelloPay becomes Alipay (MAS regulation in the works)

I came across an Bloomberg interview with Jack Ma about Alibaba. Pretty much firing a salvo across the broad side of most global payment providers, despite what he said.

Looking into Alibaba’s payments platform, Alipay, I was not surprised to find it has bought out HelloPay in Singapore. But what caught my eye was the blurb at the bottom of the homepage.

“Consumer advisory: Alipay Singapore Investment Holding Pte. Ltd., the holder of Alipay’s stored value facility, does not require the approval of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Consumers (users) are advised to read the Terms and Conditions carefully.” – Alibaba Singapore
Looking into this, I found the formation of a National Payment Council on the MAS’ website on 2 Aug 2017 (here). That’s the reason why there’s no regulation on such payment platforms in Singapore yet. (it’s forming its forming…)

How to remove and reapply Office 2016 activation

If you have registered multiple Office 2016 (standalone) to only one email address, Microsoft activation is likely to deny your second or subsequent activation even when you have valid product keys.

Why so? The reason is simple -> Microsoft Office activation was written by a bunch of kindergarteners.

if any of the microsoftie kindergarteners are reading this, go check out McAfee AV’s activation as a model to follow.

Here’s the steps to reset the second or subsequent activations, assuming you are comfortable with the Windows command line.

1. Determine whether 64bit or 32bit version of Office 2016 was installed. To find out, look for the OSPP.VBS file in the Office16 directory.

Go to the Program Files -> Microsoft Office -> Office16. There’s either “Program Files (x86)” or “Program Files”. If you find the OSPP.VBS file in the “Program Files (x86)” directory, means you are running a 32bit Office 2016.

2. If you are using the 32 bit version, go on to step 3. Else jump to the bottom then back to step 3.

3. Run the following to get the existing Product key
Look for the last line that says “Last five characters of the installed product key: XXXXX”

cscript "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS" /dstatus

4. With this five chars, run the next command to remove the (incorrect) product key currently registered with, XXXX refers to the 5 chars from the above /dstatus output.

cscript "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS" /unpkey:XXXX

5. Next, run this command, substituting the xxxx with the new Product key which you can find on the Office 2016 subscriptions page.

cscript “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS” /inpkey:xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx

6. Then activate the licence

cscript "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS" /act

If you are running the 64bit version, replace

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS"

with

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS"

 

Making Orchard Road great again (aka Retail is dead)

I was watching the nightly news when I saw an interview with a Urban Planning  expert say Orchard Road needs to do this, Orchard Road needs to do that.

  1. Was there no other news to report? (Strangely the Presidential accolades appear to have died down. Wow.)
  2. Why does this remaking of the Orchard Road keeps coming back every year like a cold sore, and nothing happens? If you are new to Singapore, the remaking of Orchard Road has been broached for the last ten years. The same solutions had been brought out over and over again…
  3. Why does Orchard Road need a foreign Urban Planning expert to give his advice when the advice was the same ten years ago? (Hope the Singapore Tourism Board didn’t pay this “Urban Planning expert” fees. I could have given the same and the actual solution for free!)

On hindsight, I realise humans don’t treasure free and well intentioned advice. As such, there has to be a price tag on the advice. Ah. I’ll be charging consultation fees then.

Retail is dead. Don’t you get it? I got it, most people got it. Perhaps those hadn’t gotten the memo would be th marketers, full time influenzas (sic) spreading their shopping disease around and those who will die if their money doesn’t leave their purse.

Here’s the ST link to the same interview.

State of equipment servicing services in Singapore

My electric oven had stopped working after a long period of disuse. I hadn’t got time to troubleshoot the reason for it being out of order, (Out of order:  (of a device) not working properly or at all. Conversely, what do you call an equipment which is in working order? In order? It’s called ‘working’)

Repair man says he will be arriving during the afternoon from 4 to 6pm. Does that mean I’ll need to roll out the red carpet while waiting for Emperor Repair Man’s grand entrance?

Considering there is a charge of $60 for a onsite diagnosis (no repair or parts) and I’ve still got to take time off from work to let this guy in. This is becoming quite an expensive endeavour.

Is there a way/method to fix a specific time (ie. 6pm) for the repair man to arrive?