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?

How to stop Spotify from starting up after login

I thought I had left the Spotify app running when I shutdown the Mac. It turns out that Spotify set itself up to start up after login.

The more interesting thing is that you can’t disable this automatic startup from the Spotify app.

The method to stop Spotify from starting up after login, is to:

  1. Go to > System Preferences > Users and Groups > Login Items
  2. Select Spotify  and click on the  (minus) icon.

 

Fish food

Caught my eye when reading the online news this morning.

Antidepressants found in brains of fish in Niagara River

The discovery of antidepressants in aquatic life in the river raises serious environmental concerns, says lead scientist Diana Aga, PhD, the Henry M. Woodburn Professor of Chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences.

“These active ingredients from antidepressants, which are coming out from wastewater treatment plants, are accumulating in fish brains,” Aga says. “It is a threat to biodiversity, and we should be very concerned.”

Wastewater treatment facilities have failed to keep pace with the growth of Americans taking anti-depressant drugs, which has risen 65 percent between 1999 and 2002 and 2011-2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Treatment plants typically ignore these drugs, which are then released into the environment, Aga says.

Link: http://wivb.com/2017/09/05/antidepressants-found-in-brains-of-fish-in-niagara-river/

I had an inkling of this madness when a study found drugs in the River Thames but this takes the cake since Red meat is bad, Vegetables has levels of pesticides.

Now, does the AVA test for these? I would think the risk of drugs found in sea-dwelling fishes is much lesser than those caught from rivers close to human inhabitation.

Walking

Went Macritchie for the treetop walk last weekend. It was a short walk, with a fair bit of people on the trails.

I saw a few Gurkhas walking the trails as well, with a backpack behind them. I’m sure it’s part of their training regime.

I recalled jungle training during my army days and kinda missed the navigation in jungle bit.

Feeling inspired, I reached out to my army buddy and found he’s part of a group organising such trail walks.

I’ll be starting with the walks on the following weekend. I’ll be reusing the old army fieldpack (no webbing) still in serviceable condition. The fieldpack took me from Singapore to Brunei to Thailand, sustaining only superficial cuts.

On a side note, I can’t fathom how a person can get his fieldpack damaged beyond recoverability. Did I get my fieldpack from a good batch? Hmm…

Repairing an unbootable Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Updating this blog after a busy weekend. I came into possession of a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro ultralight which could not boot up. The BIOS showed the stock 256 GB SSD was not recognized – uh oh not a good sign.

Quickly went to Sim Lim to pick up a replacement (and one with a larger space) mSata SSD – Samsung  850 EVO 500 GB and prepared for the operation.

Something at the back of my head was stopping me from replacing the SSD, so I thought to give another spin on the repair bandwagon. After some mucking around, I managed to resuscitate the Y2P, not after downloading a Windows 8.1 ISO (its free to download but you will need to key in a serial number if you are doing a bare metal install) from Microsoft.

The magic is found within the Repair Options -> Command Line in the Windows 8.1 thumbdrive.

c:\> bootrec /FixMbr
c:\> bootrec /FixBoot
c:\> bootrec /RebuildBcd

The Y2P started to boot up normally. I was able to log into the Windows 8.1 desktop.

All’s well.

Expand iPhone storage using a OTG storage device

I saw a colleague using an OTG storage device to transfer a zip file from the Android phone to the laptop. Thought that I could find something similar for the iPhone.

Turns out that you can access Photos and Videos on the iPhone only. Made sense because Apple would be providing base filesystem access which is disallowed by the sandbox.

Sandisk OTG iXpand Flash Drive