Why auto Spell Correction is a bad, bad idea

Why auto Spell Correction is a bad, bad idea on a smartphone. Most of the time when we make a spelling mistake on “normal, common” words, the recipient would still be able to make out what we mean, even without the Spelling Correction. However, when we want to use an acronymn, an abbreviation or a foreign word, we do not want the Spell Checker to offer a “correction” and make it without us noticing it. That’s disastrous! If you have ever been caught in an embarrassing or difficult situation because of this, you will know what I mean. Therefore, I make my case for “No Spell Checker” as the default, unlike the present situation where it’s already implemented as the default and very often we don’t even know how to turn it off.

Two cases to illustrate:

1. I typed and sent a URL to a friend by SMS. He kept saying the link doesn’t work. I checked and it worked on my original document. Much later I realised that when I typed the abbreviations GMBO, the not-so-smart-phone kept auto-correcting it to GUMBO. And of course I didn’t realise that at the time.

2. A friend texted me to say that his friend would be calling me. I texted back to ask whether that friend could speak my dialect or English. He replied, “Try hollowness”. Of course, I sent a burst of ???? to him. He then realised that his phone had auto-“corrrected” the dialect “hokkien” to “hollowness”.

I rest my case.






My Travel Advisory!

Boy, do I have some exciting things to share with you!

I am planning my family’s European Holiday for August 2013. I started planning this more than a month ago, so I have the time to experiment and explore various options.

First, the “technical” part….which travel Apps should I use? Here are the (super) apps that I’ve settled on…you can check them out:

1. Tripit

Tripit will automatically (if you allow auto import) consolidate your flight and hotel reservations and prepare the complete itinerary for you, on your PC and on your smartphone. How cool is that?

2. Frommer’s

Frommer’s Travel Tools include currency converter, time translator, tip calculator, flashlight, packing list, postcards and guides. How convenient!

3. MapQuest Travel Blogs

Arguably the best travel blog app for you to record your trip. Don’t trust your memory; record your trip details as you go along.

4. TripAdvisor and Expedia

I use these two in tandem… I use the Expedia map to view the cluster of hotels around the main train station. Then I use TripAdvisor to read the reviews of the hotels to shortlist them. Finally, book through Expedia.

5. TripAdvisorCityGuides and fotopedia

Both give excellent free travel guides for various cities.

6. Frommer’s, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides

Other excellent travel guides but only some samples are free…..mostly chargeable. But check them out.

You can easily find all those Apps by name in your iTunes Store or Google Play. Check them out!

5. For the budget airlines, I look at easyJet, RyanAir and Vueling. Due to time constraint, I am not taking the intercity trains (which can be more expensive than the budget airlines). The cities are London-Venice-Rome-Barcelona-London in 9-days. Of the three, easyJet is the most generous with the hand luggage (bigger size and no weight limit).

8. And a most useful tip…. Do NOT buy in advance your airport transfers (bus); buy only when on board your bus as the flight may be delayed. Duh! Perhaps that’s too obvious.

Here’s wishing you a safe, pleasant, happy Holiday..wherever you may go.

What Promo? What a Shame! (5)

Another marketing lesson.

The Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Note2 mania hit our shores recently.

While my better half settled for the Samsung Galaxy S3, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the iPhone 5 which I had been waiting for over a year. And what better time to get it than when the service providers are all trying hard to outdo each other with their better plan? But here’s where my nightmarish experience began.

Initially I thought of changing from my current service provider to “M”, as my limited research seemed to indicate that M’s offer was better.  Off I went to Sunway Pyramid and found long queues at M’s outlet there. This was more or less expected since apparently M was the more popular of the service providers. The staff asked, “Are you an existing M-customer?  No, then please fill in the waiting list here.” I noticed that there was also a long list of existing customers as well. I figured that I’ll have a long, long wait coming. My fear was confirmed when the next day at IOI Mall, it was the same story at the M’s outlet there.

I resigned myself to the fact that I’ll have to stick to my service provider and so the next day I went to my current service provider’s branch in State New Town. First impression was very good. The receptionist there greeted me nicely and when I told her that I am an existing customer who wants to upgrade to the new iPhone 5 plan, she indicated that I was to go to the next available counter, apparently beating the queue like I was a VIP. Unfortunately it all went downhill after that. The girl at the counter attending to me had to hunt a bit for the special iPhone 5 plan to show me. Hey! This is supposed to be the latest, hottest deal for C this year…and no proper plan? I looked at it and enquired what data rates do I get for each of the plans in the list. She didn’t know and spent the next 10 minutes or so, hunting for the info. And there was no glossy brochure, just another photocopy. I asked a further question and realised that I’m better off studying the info myself. I then decided on a package and asked for a white 64GB unit. Another 5 minutes later….disappointment, no white 64GB unit; only black. OK, OK, I’ll take it. Then I spent the next 15 minutes twiddling my thumbs. She was running around talking to various people and then came to tell me that maybe she quoted me the wrong price. I protested and she checked again and finally told me the system was not updated to print the receipt at the offer price! So will I accept a manual receipt? Yes, yes, I will. All in all, it took about 1-hour to handle my new purchase! Am I the first iPhone 5 customer, I asked? Yes! Hmmm.. Next, I just assumed that my contacts list from my old Nokia will be transferred to the iPhone, but horrors, no! Sorry, we don’t have the equipment to do that, she said. What!? Such a simple value-added service should have been a given. What a disappointment! OK, when will my new phone’s SIM card be activated? Within 2 hours, she said. Sigh! Never mind, I was still feeling euphoric clutching my new iPhone 5 (finally!) in my hand with great anticipation, I left for home.

Guess what? After 24-hours, the new SIM card was still not activated. Off I went back to the branch the next day. Long queues again. The receptionist said that I’ll have to wait. I asked her why couldn’t she just take my phone and enquire from a technician inside what’s wrong? Sorry, she said, I must go back to the same counter where I registered the phone for them to check. OK, so can I have a queue number? Sorry, she said, the machine “rosak”. So how is the crowd to know whose turn is next? Anyway, I managed to get to a counter eventually (not exactly proud of how I got there) and told the  girl there of my problem. She checked and said the system was down yesterday; another “Rosak”. Wow! OK, she then managed to finally activate my phone,  after about 30 minutes of infuriating frustration.  I couldn’t help wondering how this service provider will be able to cope if they had as long a waiting queue as the other Service provider. More than 1 hour to register a new purchase/plan? More than a day to activate the SIM card?

So what promo? What a shame! Why don’t the Marketing Folks look into the details before launching a campaign? Sad.




Watch What You Say!

(Attention: Original Author…. please contact admin@free2consult.com so that due credit can be given for this excellent article. Thanks to Mr. Bugs Tan for highlighting this article.) 

Watch what you say!

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded:


Your words, your dreams, and your thoughts have power to create
conditions in your life. What you speak about, you can bring about.

If you keep saying you can’t stand your job, you might lose your job.

If you keep saying you can’t stand your body, your body can become sick.

If you keep saying you can’t stand your car, your car could be stolen
or just stop operating.

If you keep saying you’re broke, guess what? You’ll always be broke.

If you keep saying you can’t trust a man or trust a woman, you will
always find someone in your life to hurt and betray you.

If you keep saying you can’t find a job, you will remain unemployed.

If you keep saying you can’t find someone to love you or believe in
you, your very thought will attract more experiences to confirm your

If you keep talking about a divorce or break up in a relationship, then
you might end up with it.

Turn your thoughts and conversations around to be more positive and
power packed with faith, hope, love and action.

Don’t be afraid to believe that you can have what you want and deserve.

Watch your Thoughts, they become words.
Watch your Words, they become actions
Watch your Actions, they become habits.
Watch your Habits, they become character.
Watch your Character, for it becomes your Destiny

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than
you settle for.

When Bad Things Happen To Us

In one episode of “House”, when Dr House was debating with his team on a terminal case, the good doctor scribbled on the board:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargain
  • Acceptance


According to Dr House, when bad things happen to us, we tend to deny that it could ever happen to us (“It cannot happen to me”). When we realise that it is true, we get very angry over the situation (“How can it happen to me?”). We then enter into the next phase, “Why did it happen to me?”, and get depressed. When we pull  ourselves together, we  then tend to start bargaining for a  way out of the situation. When we finally realise there’s no way  out, we eventually accept our fate.

Since then, I discovered that this is the Kuebler-Ross Model (ref: Wikipedia):

The Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief, includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In no defined sequence, most of these stages occur when a person is faced with the reality of their impending death and applies to survivors of a loved one’s death as well. The hypothesis was introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969 in her book On Death and Dying, which was inspired by her work with terminally ill patients. Kübler-Ross was inspired by the lack of curriculum in medical schools that addressed death and dying, so she started a project about death when she became an instructor at the University of Chicago medical school. This evolved into a series of seminars; those interviews, along with her previous research, led to her book. Her work revolutionized how the medical field took care of the terminally ill. Her five stages of grief have now become widely accepted.

Have you ever been in such a situation?

What Promo? What A Shame! (4)

Yesterday I took my family for a treat at a fancy Western Restaurant on Bintang Walk. I was attracted by a large poster outside the reataurant promoting their alliance with a loyalty card. It said very clearly that members could get loyalty points or redeem their points in the restaurant.

Well, the three of us ordered our dinner and drinks, and I gave my loyalty card to the waiter and asked him to check my points for redemption against my dinner bill. After about 10 minutes, he brought my card back and said rather nonchalantly that their “machine is out of order and cannot check the card“.  I couldn’t believe it but held my peace.

After the meal, I went over to the cashier and said that I would like to check my loyalty card for my points. He swiped it and lo! the slip printed ourt my points! I told him that someone else told me that the machine was broken and my card could not be checked…but he said “no problem”. OK, so far so good. Next, I said that I want to redeem my points against my bill. The guy looked confused and off he went to get another guy who was obviously his supervisor. The second guy berated the first guy on the “right” procedure to swipe my loyalty card and my credit card and I thought to myself, “Good, here’s someone who knows his job!”.  That is..until I asked to redeem my points and he looked just as confused by my request as the first guy. He paused and then said that I could not redeem my points but he has credited the new points to my loyalty card. I pointed out to him that the poster outside clearly said that I could redeem my points in the restaurant…but he said that he does not know about that procedure.

I decided to let it go….but I wonder if the new points are even credited to my card at all!

Once again…..a grand promo plan but poor execution where the front-line staff have no clue as to what to do about the promo at all!

Do you have a similar experience? Tell us about it!

Golden Rule, Silver Rule, What Rule?

With the present (or has it always been like this in Mankind’s history?) chaotic state of the World, we all try to look for Rules that we can live by; that which may bring some sanity to the madness we face everyday.
What follows is largely from the material contained in Carl Sagan’s “The Rules of the Game” in his book “Billions and Billions”.

Most of us can relate to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. 
However, Confucius debunked the Golden Rule. He asked, “Shall the Masochist inflict pain on his neighbour?” and other similar questions that exposed the weakness of this rule in that it does not take into account human differences.

The Silver Rule, “Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you”, is more realistic and among the famous practioners of this Silver Rule were Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The nonviolent civil disobedience based on this rule helped to create significant change in India (Gandhi) and USA (Martin Luther King).

For a world in conflict,

Continue reading Golden Rule, Silver Rule, What Rule?

Natural Remedy for Chronic Renal Failure

My mum-in-law passed away on May 8, 2010, at 90, because of old age; not because of her kidney. She had a good and healthy life for the 22 years since the doctors gave up on her. We sincerely hope this may help others in the same predicament.

My mother-in-law had chronic renal failure of both kidneys back in 1988. She was 68 then and she’s still alive and perky today at 89 (April 2009).

One kidney was declared completely failed and the other had only 25% functionality left.

She was put on various antibiotics which gave her bad reactions and she also had bed sores due to the prolonged periods she spent in bed.

After a prolonged stay at the hospital, came the ominous pronouncement, “She has only 3-months left; take her home, make her comfortable and give her whatever she wants.” (or words to that effect).

Well, in a no-choice situation, an unexpected “choice” appeared in the form of a Chinese man (Mr Ong of Nibong Tebal; sadhu! sadhu! sadhu!) who heard of my mum-in-law’s plight from my brother-in-law. He introduced us to a wild shrub (Urena Lobata or Congo Jute or Pulut-Pulut) which was used to make asoup/tea for my mum-in-law to drink. That’s the miracle and the reason that she is still alive and well today, we believe.

The recipe calls for the stems of the plant to be cut in lengths of 2-3 inches and air- or sun-dried for storage. Take a small fistful (say 5-10 stalks) and boil in 3 bowls of water until 1 bowl left. A piece of lean meat can be added for taste (or as I believe to “balance” the “coldness” of the plant). Drink once a day for a week and observe for any improvement, before continuing. The frequency can be reduced as the condition improves. My mum-in-law now drinks it once a week or even less frequently.

The shrub grows best wild (too much care and attention tends to stifle it). Just scatter the seeds (like tiny hedgehogs; 3-5mm brown seeds that will cling to clothings, hair, like velcro) in a quiet corner of your garden and leave them to grow “wild”). The plant can grow up to 4-5 feet, but can be harvested as soon as it is about 3-feet tall. Just cut the larger stems and let the plant re-grow the branches. Remember to continually scatter the seeds for a steady supply of the plant. Note: there are two types; white or pink flowers. The recommended type is the one with white flowers.

We have introduced this to several other people and to the best of our knowledge, it works for them as well.

Contact: admin@free2consult.com

Five Frogs

A children’s riddle goes something like this:

There are five frogs sitting on a log over a stream. Four of the frogs decided to jump into the stream. How many frogs are left sitting on the log?

Answer: Five! Deciding to do something is not necessarily actually doing it.

Moral of the story? Don’t analyse a task to death or procrastinate; just do it!

What’s Wrong With “Work Smart……”?

In all my induction training for new executives, I always pose this question, “Who believes in the saying, Work smart not work hard….?”

There’ll always be a few eager beavers who are quick to raise their hands while a few will eye me cautiously, sensing a catch somewhere, but not quite sure what it is.

I’ll tell them that it is a myth that one can get ahead by simply relying on the smarts without any hard work. There is always the prerequisite initial hard work, after which the law of diminishing returns kicks in. It is at that point that one should then work SMARTER and not merely HARDER.

I’ll explain that anyone who lives by the credo “Work smart, not work hard” is actually passing the buck; he/she is implying that if there is a sucker to do the task, why do it yourself? I’ll be personally offended if anyone in my Team mouths that phrase without thinking of its implication. However, I do expect my Team members all to be adept at thinking out-of-the-box and finding creative and innovative ways to be more effective and efficient, after putting in the prerequisite initial hard work, of course. We all need to be smarter and not merely labour on harder.