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Poor usability, Singtel!

I am quite disappointed.

Even the prize of a Motorola V3X cell phone doesn’t alleviate my dissatisafaction with “Asia’s leading communications group with operations and investments in more than 20 countries and territories around the world”

I went to my favourite page at http://home.singtel.com/consumer/msg_center/internet_sms.asp intending to send a SMS out to a friend.

I noticed that soon all Internet SMS users (which let you send free SMS to Singtel users) will need to register.

As a sweetener, they’re giving out Motorola cell phones

Not bad, I’m thinking.

I get to the registration page and guess what I see.

Singtel Internet SMS

Looks pretty ok, you might say.

Until you get to “Agreement between you and SingTel Mobile”

This contains the terms and conditions for use of the service.

Pretty standard you might say.

Being a careful guy, I scroll down to read the t&c, especially if there might be charges involved.

I’m squinting at the three line display.

I scroll down. and read more.

I scroll down. and read more.

I scroll down. and read more.

I scroll down. and read more.

I scroll down. and read more.

I scroll down. and read more.

I scroll down. and read more.

Does this never end?

My eyes are watering from staring at the miniscule text.

Frustrated, I copy the entire block of text and paste it in my text editor.

Turns out it’s about three pages. My word count rates it as 1012 words.

I contribute regularly to article directories and my articles run 400-500 words.

This is like reading 2 articles on screen real estate equivalent to my mobile phone.

It’s take about 200 taps on the scrollbar to read the entire message.

What’s the deal, SingTel?

Usability should be one of the key considerations.

Some things that could be done to improve this:

  • Increase the display to at least 5 lines
  • Use a larger font size to increase readability (especially appreciated by the long-sighted)
  • The best: have the terms and conditions appear in a pop up window

We want technology to make things easier, not more difficult.

Class dismissed.

Adapting to Change

Can anyone hope that change freezes for a moment?

It’s strange, but many people like to reminisce about the good old days.
When soda cost a nickle, a hamburger cost a quarter. When everything seemed as it was and nothing change.

And suddenly like a tidal wave, change comes along one day.
New fangled things like CD players, LD players, MD players, DVD players, MP3 players, every kind of player comes along.
Unable to cope with change, these people retreat to their homes, hiding from change.
Like the ostrich that buries it’s head in the sand, hoping to stave off change.

In the business world too, and especially the technology sector, change comes in the blink of an eye.
One moment you’re the market leader, the next moment, things have changed.
From being king of the heap, you’re suddenly king of the scrap heap.

Oh how the mighty have fallen, how things have changed, may suddenly become a familiar refrain.
Witness how Apple Computer pioneered the Apple ][e, and was subsequently displaced by the IBM PC, and the title went back to the Apple MacIntosh, and then leadership changed hands to Compaq, and at next change, Dell, and somewhere in between was Apple again with it’s iMac, it’s PowerMacs, once again establishing itself as a potential Big Mac with growing market share.

In the rough and tumbling, ever changing world of technology, the guy sitting on the music chairs changes with each turn of the music.

Likewise, business leaders unable to adapt to change will inevitably face a challenge.
The unspoken rule of the tech jungle seems to be not the strongest survive, but the one best able to change survives.
Likewise, for any business with an established incumbent, it’s merely a matter of time before things change.

Things cannot stay the same, especially at the top.
The only constant in the technology business is that things will change.
And that’s something that will never change.

Stress: Eustress and Distress

Stress: distress and eustress
Stress is a concept that’s frankly stressful to most people.
The dictionary defines it as a “mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.” (reference.com).

Stress might cause your blood pressure to rise, lower the oxygen supply to your brain, kill off more neurons than usual.
Stress CAN shorten your life. In extreme cases, Stress may bring on a heart attack and kill you.
During the recent world cup, some Brazil fans were so stressed their teams lost they had heart attacks.
In fact, some fans died from stress-related heart attacks when their teams lost.

To die because of a sport is especially taxing for the family who will inevitably also be stressed by having to make the funeral arrangements.Is all stress bad?
The psychologists and doctors are in agreement that distress (the ‘bad’ form of stress) is bad for you. On a prolonged basis, distress could bring about health-related conditions and put unnecessary stress on the heart.

As far as possible, it’s best to reduce the amount of unnecessary stress in one’s life.
Practise deep breathing, do creative visualization, anything to destress oneself from the rigors of our stressful lifestyle.

BUT on the other hand, is a stress-free life desirable.
Should we aim to isolate ourselves from any stressors (factors which bring about stress)?

Even if we were to live in a cave in the mountains, it might not necessarily mean a stress-free existence.
For one, there could be bears in the area, disease and illness could be more rampant there and not to mention the stress of not having a doctor around. And no Internet!

There is a silver lining to the stress storm cloud.
Eustress is the ‘good’ form of stress.
Coming from the Greek ‘eu’ meaning good or well, the good form of stress motivates us during moments when we are stressed.
Occasions where we face a massive challenge, yet come out ahead are when eustress manifest itself. Some of these eustress moments could be winning or achieving first place in a competition, finally earning that well-deserved promotion, proposing to the love of your life and having the other person accept your proposal. These are all examples of ‘good’ stress.

Can we create situations of eustress?
Definitely, by having clearly defined goals, and a well-thought out set of strategies to achieve our goals, we might feel some stress, however, it’s likely to be eustress, accompanied by a healthy dose of confidence that we’ll achieve our goals.

After all, a stress-free lifestyle might seem like a nirvana, however, it could turn out to be a bland personal hell.
Pick the challenging route, it might be more stressful, but the saying holds that whatever doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.

Embrace stress, you’ll be the better for it.

Reflective thoughts on Marriage

Marriage picMarriage is an interesting concept.
8 letters full of complexity and entailing a lifetime commitment.
Does length equate to length of commitment?
Car is three letters and goes into about 5 years or so.
House is five letters and goes into 25 years.

Marriage could top them all, though Mistress is also eight characters and …

People marry for lots of reasons, and almost every instance ends up in a marriage.
Some marry for money, some marry for fame, some marry because it’s time, while others marry due to parental pressure.
The best reason to marry for me, is to marry for love.

While I was going through marriage counselling, our marriage counsellor told us, it’s not love that sustains the marriage, but the marriage that sustains the love.
I can be quite dense sometimes, especially when it comes to love, relationships and marriage.
I know the concept of marriage intellectually, but I feel that marriage having emotional components, it’s something that my mind cannot fully fathom.

Men and marriage sometimes are like chalk and cheese.
Not because we don’t respect the institution of marriage, but because it may be less ‘task-oriented’ than work.
At work, we know we clock in the 9-to-5 workday (more often it’s a 9-to-9 workday), but with marriage, there are no official marriage rules, there is no martial handbook.

Sure there might be the bible, popular bestsellers like The Rules, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
But what do they really know about the intricacies of marriage?

And for what matter what do I REALLY know about marriage (compared to what I THINK I know about marriage).

Buddhist monk Adjahn Brahmavisimo said “To know and not do is not to know.”

Marriage for me is a long learning journey, being sensitive and knowing that the marriage was the first step in the process.
Marriage is a process where we begin as marital newbies, get used to how each other is REALLY like, as opposed to our pre-martial perception of each other.

When you wake up one day and realize the other person either doesn’t leave the toilet seat down, or leaves the toothpaste uncapped, you will then see their ‘intra-marriage’ persona. Some may run screaming, thinking their soulmate has metamorphosised into some sort of alien creature shortly after the marriage ceremony. Still others may wonder about the mysteries of marriage, whether it’s meant to be, whether they’re destined not to access membership to the married people’s club.

For me, there’s no question about it.
Marriage is a journey of exploration and discovery, it ‘marries’ the best of two people into a combination that’s greater than the sum of the parts.

this week’s goals

this week is gonna be a stretch.

I committed to the people over at Internet Marketing Singapore’s forums that i’d boost up the content count of the following:

  • update this blog regularly, going from 12 posts before to 25 by Saturday.
  • InternetMarketingCookbook.com to hit 45 pages of content from 20 now
  • BizExcellerator.com to hit 45 pages of content from 20 now.
  • BiancaWee.com, my daughter’s blog to go up with 5 pages of content
  • WarcraftTanks.com, my new game domain to go up with 5 pages of content and a forum!

At stake? I’m gonna fork out $150 worth of refreshments at the next event on 24th July. If you’re interested in the programme details, drop a comment below and I’ll post the details.
Phew! It’s gonna be a busy week. I guess I better not touch Gunbound anymore this week!


how much time left?

1) Take your current age, multiple it by fifty two.
2) Take 4000 and deduct the figure you got from step (1).

Ok, do it now.

I’ll wait for you.

No, really, you need to do it.

Yes. now.

Ok, if you haven’t done it yet, you can do it later.

But you’re missing out.

Ladies and gentlemen, the number you have is the number of weeks you can expect to live!

No one lives forever, but the problem is that when you’re young, you think you’ll live forever. You feel invincible, you can do another and probably live till 150.

But as you grow older, you put on the pounds, you go through the daily grind of the job (if you’re unemployed), you worry about finding a job (if you’re unemployed), you worry about the next project/contract (if you run your own business), you worry about competitors (if you’re successful). So worry starts to dominate, more and more.

Added to that is the fact that the sands of the hourglass seem to be ticking faster and faster, or maybe it’s just because there doesn’t seem to be that many grains left in the upper chamber.

Regardless of the fact, most of us will live about 78 years. Maybe 90, maybe 120 if we’re lucky.

But beyond just the number, the quantity of time that’s left, there’s the quality as well.

Few people think about the legacy, the mark they left behind when they go. Maybe during the last few weeks, there’ll be a period of reflection, a moment of regret? a moment of satisfaction.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, does it?

Can’t reflection begin much earlier?

Reflection can begin during the prime of our lives (the only thing most teenagers seem to reflect in, is a mirror)

By seeing what we are doing today and more importantly, ensuring that what we’re doing is something we’d be proud of doing, it’ll ensure that our week is well spent.

To do that may mean that we methodically plan our schedule. Business guru Tom Hopkins, asks himself constantly asks himself what the most significant thing he could be doing at that moment in time to keep himself in check.

After all our initial 4,000 weeks isn’t a lot to begin with. And if we look at the amount of time we have left, isn’t it time to take stock and make a change now?