Monthly Archives: May 2008

Blyk – Free (ad-supported) UK telco

Ad-supported freebies have been available on the web for some time now, but the concept of an ad-funded telco still intrigued me when I first read about it a few weeks back. But since I’m leaving the UK soon, I didn’t really pay too much attention to it.

Fast-forward to this week, when I was getting busy with my project (or starting to, anyway) and with 81p left on my mobile credit. I gave Blyk another look, and figured – why not? It’s free anyway. Supposedly you need an invite to join, but it’s easy enough to get one simply by texting “JOIN” to 82595 from a UK mobile phone. So I did, and am now enabled with free minutes and texts for my last week here in the UK.

The SIM card arrived in a little square envelope, which was rather cute I think. I like minimalistic packaging, somehow. Anyway, setting up was a bit of a pain – you’re supposed to get messages after inserting the SIM card into your phone, but they didn’t quite advertise that it might take up to 2h for that to happen. But after waiting for sometime, everything was finally set up, and the free balance was credited to my account.

The prospect of getting (up to 6) adverts a day isn’t particularly exciting to me, but I think it’s a fair enough trade. Besides, you’re able to specify the specific fields you’d like to receive spam about, and if it actually leads to you getting news about sales and discounts – that’s not so terribly bad, is it?

(Yes, I am fully aware that ‘Fashion’ and ‘Sport’ remain unchecked on my interests list. So sue me.)

Wonder if such a service will ever take off in Singapore? I think I wouldn’t mind being on an ad-supported service, as long as incoming calls are free…

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Familiar burning sensation

I swear, my block must be cursed or something.

I mean, aside from the real fire last year, there were two late night fire alarm incidents last (academic) year. I could probably create a new label just for all the fire-related posts.

I guess I should be pretty grateful that it’s no longer the dead of winter when the fire broke out last night, but it was still pretty annoying to be kept out of my room for about an hour in total for what seemed to be a (literally) smoking kitchen. But it’s the first time I’ve seen the fire engines actually driving into our quad – now that’s a sight to behold!

The fire trucks arrive!

Because two is better than one…

Firemen and hoses to the rescue.

So I was kaypoh and went to poke my nose into the site of the incident – it didn’t look all that damaged at all, especially compared to the previous damage done in Block K . In fact, I’m kinda curious what was burning at all – there was quite a lot of smoke, and I assume that the firemen wouldn’t have been that worked up over some burning potatoes, but I really couldn’t tell what exactly had happened from the aftermath of the incident?

Israeli origins

The Singapore Armed Forces – A Deep, Dark, Secret Love Affair

The Israelis faced a problem. To evade service, most of the young men of draft age (18-24) who were of Chinese origin furnished proof that they were employed. Some 70 percent of the inductees were unemployed and of Malaysian origin – the opposite of their proportion within the population. Elazari and Golan complained to Lee and Goh, but the prime minister was undeterred. “I want you to recruit the most primitive people in the country, the uneducated and the jobless,” he told them.

Stunned, the Israelis tried to persuade him to reconsider, but he was adamant: “In the Second World War, I saw the Japanese and the British. All the British soldiers were intelligent and educated. But as soldiers they were worthless. The most primitive Japanese soldier gets an order and executes it, and they were extraordinary soldiers. The fact is that the Japanese army defeated the British army.”

Quite a fascinating read. It’s something I’d been vaguely aware of (as are most NSMen, I think), but I hadn’t really known the specifics.

Somehow, I find their being labelled ‘Mexicans’ simply hilarious…

Bukit Molehill

On retrospect it’s actually not that funny, but I thought I’d post it anyway because my art is uber-l33t.

Anyway, from a conversation with Lin – here’s a new Singlish/Manglish phrase I’ve coined, to be used when someone’s making a fuss over nothing. You just stare at him/her and say scoffingly, “Bukit Molehill lah!”.

Maybe one day this will catch on and I’ll be famous. =D

Faith and Works

James 2 :18-20
Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?

No particular reason for using the NAB translation, except that’s the version I encountered in today’s daily readings. Plus, I found the use of the word ‘ignoramus’ hilarious.

The whole faith vs works issue has always had me quite annoyed, since it used to be a major contention and still is today, somehow. I personally see it as a no-issue because, well, most moderate groups now believe that both faith and works are necessary in a Christian’s life. The only difference seems to be whether works are an essential part of the saving process.

Which seems like a really small thing to nitpick over… If you need both, what does it matter which aspect actually earns you salvation? Does God really care which of these two aspects you mentally rank as being more important? It’s kinda like arguing over whether the chicken or the egg came first, when in the end you still need both to make a good oyakodon.

Loosening the purse strings

Because it’s been getting warmer recently, and I’ve been a ravenous pig the past couple of days, I decided to get myself some ice cream.

It’s a luxury I’ve never (personally) indulged in previously here, but I figured that with it being my last 20ish days in York, I’m entitled to spend some money.

(That, and I’d lost the excel sheet I was using to keep track of my accounts when my hard disk died)

So here’s a hurray for spendthrift living! Here’s hoping I don’t bankrupt myself before I get back home.

Das Experiment

So traffic to the MWBS Wiki has exploded since its public release, with almost a thousand daily hits at times. That’s not superbly high in the grand scheme of the Internet, but it’s way higher than any blog or website I’ve ever created. I must say, I’m rather proud of how it’s done.

With the increased traffic, Google Adsense revenue has increased too – average earnings this month (so far) has been US$0.76 per day. Which isn’t particularly earth-shattering, but it’s a nice steady source of revenue which I hope will eventually pay off the web hosting fees.

Frankly, the revenue hasn’t been worth the time and effort invested into the site, but I guess as an experiment and hobby project it’s been quite rewarding. It’s convinced me that there’s actual money to be made on the web, and if I can find something fun to work on and profit at the same time – well, why not? Especially since it can be done on the side, rather than a full career.

Something to think about when I get bored marking scripts in the future…

All is not well

There is a disquiet in my heart, and no matter how I try to think, work, eat or sleep it away – it remains, (figuratively) paralysing me.

Now if only I knew what it were, or how to get rid of it.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

I was just doing some random surfing when I discovered that the Wisma Atria aquarium was being removed (it has already, actually), with the fish being moved to Sentosa’s Underwater World.

It was a shocking discovery for me – I remember those fishies from oh so many years ago. I remember taking the glass-walled elevator down as a kid and looking in wonder at the fishes floating around as it descended into the basement level. I remember staring at that little shark in the tank and wondering why it never ate any of the other fish.

I’d never paid the aquarium much attention in the later years of my life, but now I wish I had at least taken a picture with it or something. Like so many places from my past in Singapore, it’s gone now. But I guess that’s just the way of things, with the fast-paced city life.

(Gotta admit – that’s a pretty funny poster, though.)

Back in York

The weather’s pretty nice in York now. Guess it was a good time to come back. People are hanging out in the sun a lot more, some playing sports, others just lounging in lawnchairs and chilling out. Basically, things that city boys don’t do =P

The waterfowl have reproduced as well, and ’tis the season for fowl families to be seen waddling around. They’re pretty cute now, but it also means an increased amount of bird crap around the campus. Still, pretty nice, I suppose.

There’s just one major complaint – it’s 8pm and still quite bright – I swear, the late sunsets are screwing up my bioclock!