Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Friday, December 21, 2012

Singapore Airlines Standards Drop!

I happened to fly Singapore Airlines to Bali recently and thought to myself it's been a while since I used this airline. Given its the almost the most expensive airline to fly from Singapore normally I'll end up taking one of the budget airlines, value for money and you know what you are getting. So it was a pleasant surprise to reacquaint myself with SIA ... and of course totally validate my reasons for never not using them to being with .....

.... From the time I first arrived in Singapore and through the years SIA won several awards and there was a time I would fly them religiously because the service and standard of service was impeccable, but then things started to go down hill, most noticeably with the standard of inflight meals (and I'm talking economy here). Food just got bad, cheap, nasty, and is now almost worst that the food you can buy on budget airlines.

For my trip back from Bali I was given a soggy hash brown, tasteless sausage, and dry rubbery omelette with .... wait for it .... baked beans. I mean seriously, baked beans. What supposedly world class airline serves baked beans. I mean seriously! I stared at the plastic tray for a few minutes in shock at what was there. Baked Beans! The things that come from a can at your local supermarket.

Baked Beans, can you believe it. How can Singapore airlines justify its fares when its inflight catering is so bad that they have to open a can of Baked Beans.

I expected more, after all this is Singapore Airlines, the flagship airline in a country that prides itself on the variety and quality of food it has available. Great food at fantastic prices. But Singapore airlines decided to chuck all that out the window and open up a can of Baked Beans.

I won't be travelling Singapore airlines again, I've learnt my lesson. Standards haven't just fallen, they've crashed completely. And whoever in their catering department thought that was a breakfast that was of a standard fit to serve on Singapore airlines has obviously lost the plot completely.

Such a shame really, it use to be fantastic (emphasis on use to be), but alas not any more.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

iPod Nano 7th Generation - Epic Fail!

After waiting to see what many people have had to say online about Apple's latest releases it's no surprise to find so many articles with the word "disappointing" in them. They are of course referring to Apple's decision to go back to the candy bar format for the iPod Nano, a direction that many (including yours truly) is not impressed with at all.

It seems as far as the iPod Nano is concerned that Apple have totally lost the plot. The 6th generation of the iPod Nano had become a wrist accessory, loved and worn by many. For the 7th generation expectations where high that it would have bluetooth capability and tight integration with the iPhone for displaying things like caller ID and SMS etc.

But no ..... Apple decided that they would take something innovative with stacks of potential and go backwards instead. Steve Jobs is rumoured to have once joked that soon everyone will wear one in reference to the iPod Nano 6th generation. It seems like the everyone heard him expect the people at Apple because for the iPod Nano 7th generation they have got it so very very ..... very wrong.

They could have taken the 6th generation iPod Nano, made it slimmer, added bluetooth, integrated it with the iPhone for things like Caller ID and SMS. They could even have gone a step further and tightly integrated it specifically with the iPhone 5. Given an estimated 263 million iPhone 5's will be sold the revenue potential was huge. And lets also not mention how perfect an iPod Nano on the wrist with bluetooth capability would have been for the gym and joggers among us. But no, Apple instead went backwards on the form factor and gave us something that we left behind more than a generation ago. Disappointing is almost too mild a word to use.

Apple have really missed the boat on this one not only on the potential revenue side but on the ability to move away from a phone war and starting to sell a "lifestyle". It could have set itself so far apart from its competitors. Instead however, we get a retro iPod Nano that is disappointing beyond belief. In my own personal opinion I believe that the cracks in Apple's ability to innovate are starting to appear.

I've already sent an email to Tim Cook on the above (no doubt it was a bogus email address) but it felt good to vent. For now I'm off out to snap up a couple of iPod Nano 6th generation models while I still can!

And now it looks like the iPad mini is going to hit the shelves after all. Another Apple product that I've been waiting for, and yet another offering from Apple thats set to be an epic fail as well.

And why is that you wonder?

Well if rumours are to be believed the LCD screen is going to be a step backwards in terms of resolution and quality from the current new iPad (or iPad 3 as many refer to it).

Now .... WHAT is the point of that .... I hear you all cry.

Indeed, I couldn't agree more!. Apple you are starting to fail to impress!

Monday, July 02, 2012

City Harvest Church …. Baaaaaa!

I have to admit that I'm not surprised by the out pouring of love and support for Kong Hee and his would be popstar (sic) wife Sun Ho. I'm sure they are both overjoyed as they sit in their $9.8m condo on Sentosa cove to know that so many people still care. No doubt as they look back 4 years ago to their humble 197K HDB apartment they can only thank God themselves for how blessed they have truly been.

What people don't seem to understand though is that the investigation into Kong Hee and others has been going on for a while, its not something that has suddenly appeared out of the blue. And for all of Kong Hee's teary eyed speeches and quotes of "I maintain my integrity" he has yet to declare himself innocent of the charges in question. So read into that what you will.

I also love the fact how .... another member of the church's Crossover Project spoke out in defense of Sun, giving his testimony on how the Project had helped convert Thai teenagers to Christianity via "hip" and "popular" music and dances .... I mean talk about scrapping the bottom of a barrel to try and bring some religious (sic) credibility to Sun Ho's musical (sic) career.

Of course the City Harvest Church is known to emphasize tithing, the give us your money and God will reward you with more kind of speech constantly backing this strange philosophy with many testimonies for people who have prospered financially after giving to the church. Yes that's right, forget ending hunger or diseases, or war or famine, give us your money and God will give you more. Naturally God has nothing better to do with his time after all.

The whole things is laughable on so many levels that just watching the sheep "Baaaaaaa" has been amusing and you can be sure that I will be watching from the sidelines with my bucket of popcorn to see how this story unfolds. That said of course I can pretty much guess how that's going to go. After all it's very difficult for sheep to be anything other than sheep when all is said and done.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I'm Watch ….. Sucks!

I've loved the idea of a decent digital watch ever since the watch strap for the iPod nano mad an appearance so I have to admit to being intrigued by "I'm Watch" and what it promised from their website. That of course was some time ago and my feelings have since moved to ones of frustration and disappointment.

I ordered my "I'm Watch" and paid for it in full and waited. Then for some reason I got a request for another payment which I paid without thinking (stupidity on my part I know). I realized afterwards I'd overpaid for the product and wrote to them explaining the fact and asking for a refund.

Several unanswered emails later I eventually got a reply agreeing that I had overpaid.

At the same time as I got the above reply "I'm Watch" announced that the delivery of their product would be delayed by several months. They sent out emails to all of their customers asking them if they would like to wait or offering them a full refund. By this time my anticipation of their product had dwindled to an all time low so I opted for the full refund.

I wrote to them again (several more emails) asking them to refund me in full including the over payment I had made as well. They agreed. A few more days passed and I got an email asking for my bank details so that they could transfer the money to me. I replied with the details requested, and got an email back stating my previous email was not received (obviously in order to get that email they would have had to receive something from me, right).

So I then contacted their support department with another email asking what happened, and got the same response that my email was not received.

So as a last resort I have left ticket in their support department and that's where currently things are. I've no idea if I'll see the "I'm Watch" or if I'll ever get my refund since the company is pretty unresponsive all round.

Those thinking of buying this product should beware. In my opinion in all of the online purchases I have ever made this is the worst company by far that I've had to deal with .... quite frankly it sucks.

So if you are reading this after being directed here by a search engine before you've made your purchase then don't say you haven't been warned!

And if you don't believe me ....

I waited 7 months for this!
Don't Buy "I'm Watch"

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MDNA a Track by Track Review

By now I'm sure everyone knows and has heard one track if not more from Madonna's new album MDNA. Having spent a little time listening to all the tracks I thought I'd write my own review of them. So if you'd like to know what I think then read on ...

Girl Gone Wild ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
I was immediately turned off by the spoken religious references at the start of the song and cropped those out straight away. Really, it wasn't required. The music for the track is good, but lyrics like "girls just want to have fun" have already been well used. The lyrics are repetitive and not very imaginative. I expected more from this track. Loved the music, hated everything else about it.

Gang Bang ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
This started off as a really interesting track but didn't really get any where. "fish out of water", "bat out of hell" again more poor lyrics. No regrets about shooting your lover in the head etc, it had all makings of being a great track but again another let down. The music takes a while to get going, but like the previous song the music makes up for the poor lyrics once again (well almost). Lots more talking at the end of the track that really isn't required with very dark images. My least favorite track on the whole album just too dark and slightly disturbing for my taste.

I'm Addicted ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
At last something interesting. Great music on this track. Once again lyrics are a little repetitive but for this track that's forgivable. It's the kind of track that will get your ass moving on the dance floor and I'm looking forward to hearing some remixes of this specific track as I'm pretty certain they are going to be awesome, although lets hope they crop out the spoken reference to "MDNA" at the end of the track which are the only spoiler on this song. No need for it, not even linked to the song in any way, just a piss poor attempt at "mental suggestion" that falls flat.

Turn Up the Radio ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
A feel good song that many people will relate to and again another one that I'm really looking forward to hearing the remixes for. One of the better tracks on the Album although I wish there was a stronger beat behind it so I'm hoping that the remixes will really help this track shine.

Some Girls ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Another good track this time with a good beat behind it. This is one of the stand out tracks on the album for me and again another that many people will be able to relate to. Great music and great lyrics.

Superstar ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
This is a little hit and miss for me. Pretty simply and repetitive lyrics and lots of "oh la la" throughout the track. Many people will like it simply because they can join in the refrain when it gets played.The music like the lyrics is pretty simple as well, nothing to really recommend it and I wouldn't have missed it if it had been left off the album.

I Don't Give a (feat. Nicki Minaj) ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Another good track, strong fast lyrics. That said the music for the track never really gets a chance to take off which it could have with this track and taken it from being good to being great. Nicki adds some additional depth to this track as well although it doesn't really do much to showcase her own talent and seems more of an after thought rather than an active collaboration between two artists. The only spoiler for me is when artists reference themselves by name in the song, which this does.

I'm a Sinner ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I hate this song. Sorry, but religious references in songs just irritate the hell out of me and this track is loaded with them. The concept of the song "I'm a sinner" was a really good one and this could have been taken in a different direction and been fantastic. The music is good its just a shame that the lyrics are are so bad. This for me is one of the tracks on the album that missed that mark. That said I'm sure it will go down a treat in a catholic girls school which I hope is the only place it ever gets any airtime.

Love Spent ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
As this track started playing I immediately sat up and took notice. This is another great track, great music and lyrics. This is another one that I'm looking forward to hearing the remixes for as its got loads of potential.

Masterpiece ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time to slow it down, but this is a great song as well. Absolutely great lyrics. This is one of the tracks that really stood out for me.

Falling Free
Falling Free ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Another slow song, and again more thought given to the lyrics and content of the song. For me Masterpiece is the better track but this still grabbed my attention. It's slower again that masterpiece and gets even slower towards the end of the track and fades out to die which I guess is intentional given subject matter.

Beautiful Killer ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
The music for this track is actually not bad, but its totally let down by the lyrics and subject matter. "Can't really talk with a gun in my mouth" as one of the lines go. If only that was "sing" we might have been spared this particular track.

I Fucked Up ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
With a song title like this I have to admit that my expectations high to start. Music and lyrics are actually pretty good so it didn't disappoint. Definitely one that you'll want on your play list for those moments when you have to admit that you lived up to the track title.

B-Day Song (feat. M.I.A) ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Crap. This is one of those REALLY annoying songs that is going to be an instant hit. It's self indulgent pop rubbish that is going to get loads of radio air play simply because its a birthday song. This is not worthy of Madonna, not even even at her worst. Saying I hope I never hear it again would be a waste of time so I'm gearing myself up for lots of cringing over the next couple of years until it fades away like a bad memory.

Best Friend ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Another good track, and something that I'm sure many people will be able to relate to. Good lyrics and music and another remix that I'm really looking forward too.

Give Me All Your Luvin (Party Rock Remix) ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Not the best remix but way better than the original track. This at least pumps it up a little and is definitely much easier to listen to despite the annoying cheer and my second pet hate which is when artists refer to themselves by name in a song. That said, this version is way better and for people like me who didn't like the original you might find yourself more drawn to this version simply because the beat is way better.

Love Spent (Acoustic Version) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I already liked this track but fell in love with this version instantly and think this version is actually better. I hope when the remixes start surfacing that this version gets the attention it really deserves.

So, that's it. My take on MNDA the album. It's a little hit and miss but overall not bad. Many people will say this is her best Album (those would be the annoying love anything Madonna does even if its utter rubbish cause we don't care we love everything Madonna crowd) but I don't think so, its different yes but not Madonna at her best. There's some great tracks in this album but they are in the minority. That said they sill help to pull the album together. I'm really looking forward to a number of remixes from this album as there are a few tracks on it that with the right treatment will be outstanding.

Wether you love it, hate it, or are on the fence over it, enjoy!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Madonna is back with MDNA

Madonna is back and launching a new album titled "MDNA" which she give the world a sample of during the Super Bowl half time show recently. Yes apart from many songs that have been etched into the subconscious of a generation such as "Vogue" and "Hey Mr. DJ" fans where also treated to a new song hot of the new album called "Give me all your Luvin". Don't get me wrong I'm a huge fan but this track is …

... irritating with its schoolgirl nasally chorus cheer of "L-U-V Madonna". And if this is the first single, which you would expect to set the tone for the whole album then I'm nervous about what I'm going to hear when my pre-ordered copy arrives.

The new single features Nicki MInaj and M.I.A doing a little out dated rap in the middle which just adds that extra element of annoyance. I can only hope that when the remixes surface that someone turns this into something more listenable. I appreciate that may be asking a little too much at this stage given what they have to work with but I live in hope.

In the meantime, everyone seems to be praising the song for no other reason than its a new Madonna single with Facebook comments acclaiming "Madonna's back". For an artist that has blazed a trail through the music industry and left us with some startling images and music in her wake this new single (in my opinion) falls well sort of the mark. There's simply nothing new about it, it's all been done before and from an artist like Madonna, forgive me if my expectations are a tad higher than everyone else's, I really did expect a whole lot more.

This new single is simply not Madonna at her best, not even close.

I am still hopeful that the actual album is better and will reserve judgement on that, but so far the first single (which incidentally is free if you pre-order your album on iTunes) has failed to impress me. I guess its a little like time index 3.31 in the Superbowl show below, a stumble before we get back on track.

Madonna's Superbowl XLVI Halftime Show (HD)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

iPhone 5 ..... or not?

I've been waiting patiently for the iPhone to become the phone that has always been expected of it. While its true there have been numerous innovations as a result of the iPhone the problem is most of those came with the very first generation and there has been little improvement ever since.

We’ve seen better battery life, better design form factor, but most of the improvements since the first generation are to fix design flaws that many people have taken to jailbreaking their phones to correct to begin with.

Apple is just too slow to respond to what people want and .....

..... it seems that its absorbing some of the better apps that you can install on a jailbroken phone into its firmware to compensate.

Lets take the latest phone the iPhone 4S. It’s got a faster processor and Siri and that’s pretty much about the sum total of the innovation there. It has a notification screen which is nice, but there are better apps out there if your phone is jailbroken as lets face it the notification screen is pretty basic and really not much use.

Even Siri is pretty useless if the truth be told and after everyone who owns an iPhone 4S has gotten tired of asking “Who’s your daddy” I’m pretty sure Siri doesn’t get used much thereafter.

Meanwhile in the background the android phone market being open source has come along in leaps and bounds and I reckon it won’t be long before it surpasses the iPhone in terms of functionality and capability. In fact many people would argue (somewhat successfully too) that this is already the case.

So I’ve decided that I am going to wait until the release of the iPhone 5 before deciding if I will continue to support it. If that isn’t everything I expect in a phone and more then I’ll be dropping out of the iPhone yearly upgrade cycle (which in itself is becoming slightly annoying), jumping onboard the android mother ship and not looking back.

So heads up Apple, it’s really time to pull the finger out and innovate because if you continue at this same lack-luster pace then my prediction is that Android phones will surpass iPhone sales in 2012.

And while we are on the subject of a lack of innovation Steve Jobs once joked that soon everyone would be wearing the iPod nano as a watch. Well there’s a new player in town called “I’m Watch” which is set to take control of that particular market as well. It is everything that the iPod nano (as a watch) could have been but isn’t and is definitely one to watch. Oh and guess what, it’s android based too.

I’m seriously beginning to wonder if Apple has lost the plot.