Thursday, September 25, 2014

Self-Centered LinkedIn Invitation

I got an email from LinkedIn. It is an invitation to participate in a research study.

Opening with a smile, I read it. But I was disappointed after reading the mail. It was so badly written you would not believe it was from coming a world-known company like LinkedIn. Instead, it read like a high school student asking for help.

In a nutshell, this email was asking the recipient to participate in a survey and LinkedIn would compile the data for sale, advertisement, internal use, etc.

So what is wrong? Here are a few to start with:
  • No credit given: you are just treated as a white mouse. Sure, privacy concerns, but you could ask me if I want to be anonymous, no?
  • Condescending question: "We have a few qualifying questions to confirm your eligibility", well, if you doubt my qualifications, why sent me the invitation in the first place?
  • No rewards, No Sharing: The very least LinkedIn should do is to share the result of this survey with the participant for the time spent after the result is out. But this is never mentioned.
  • Short time notice: Invitation expires in two days. Are you kidding me? Definitely it is doable, but if it targets the group of middle level executives, one week is the minimum because most of us will have some spare time over the weekend.
 Essentially, this email fails to convince the reader why we should complete the survey. This survey is void of any motivation for reader to participate.

 In fact, this piece of email does a disservice to LinkedIn and also to the companies that pay it for research. In my view the person responsible should be fired due to utter incompetency. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Friday, March 21, 2014

How to Disable the Undefined Response on Node.js Console

On the REPL command line, enter the following:

 module.exports.repl.ignoreUndefined = true;

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Install npm and node locally without sudo or root privilege

Updated 7/21

Trying to play with node and meteor in my own directory with invoking root privilege

By default all these packages will assume default of /usr/local. We need to change that

In .bash_profile, add:

export npm_config_prefix=$HOME/local # For npm
export PREFIX=$HOME/local
export N_PREFIX=$HOME/local # For n

Make sure the changes are in effect by running:  

. ~/.bash_profile 

For npm
  1. Download the install script from At the time of writing, this URL issues a 301 redirect, so we need the '-L' switch to follow the redirection. To specify the prefix, we need 'npm_config_prefix' (covered in .bash_profile)

  2. curl -L | /bin/sh   
For node or other packages installable by npm
  1. Node is installed via npm and the prefix is specified by N_PREFIX (covered in .bash_profile)

  2. npm install -g n

  3. Install the versions
  4. n stable
Do note the above: npm install -g means the package will be installed relative to the current location


Monday, January 13, 2014

Complaint Letter to Charles and Keith on Poor Customer Service

Update 2: Jan 15. I got a reply from C&K, as following. The tone of this email is the right attitude as a merchant. We as costumers didn't ask for anything difficult, but the staff kind of pushed all responsibilities away and just tried to protect himself. Maybe he faced some unreasonable customers before, but assuming all customers are bad people is just plain wrong. Maintaining basic courtesy is the bare minimum for a service staff to have. I hope C&K will do better after this.

Thank you for writing in your valued feedback to us.

We deeply regret to learn of the unpleasant experience you had experienced while shopping with us, please allow us to apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused.

Your feedback has sincerely brought us concern with the less than desirable service from our staff, and as such, we will be reviewing our internal channels as such behaviour is not acceptable in our operation standards.

Please allow us to apologize on behalf of our service staff, Domic for the lapse in service while performing his frontline duties. We are looking into this matter and will send him to undergo retraining and counselling if necessary.

In view of this, we would like to thank you for sharing your experience with us, as it is only with such constructive feedback that we can strive to maintain and improve the level of service provided to all customers.

On another note, please bring your defective bag to any outlet you prefer to do an exchange.  Do let us know which outlet you prefer so that we may make the necessary arrangement with our colleagues for your visit to do an exchange.

We sincerely look forward to your valued and continuous support for Charles & Keith and to have the opportunity to welcome and serve you better in future.

Hope to hear from you again soon.

Yours sincerely,

David TAN (Mr)
Senior Customer Service Officer

Update 1: I sent the message to C&K's Facebook page, and got a very polite message telling me to their customer care department via email. Very big company, very customer focused.

Recently I bought a bag from Charles and Keith (C&K) in the Suntec Store. However upon the first use, the bag already giving us some issue. Thinking this is Singapore, I brought the bag to the store where I bought it. However what I got is anything but good customer service. Here is the message I sent to C&K customer care department. Will update the blog if they respond.

Dear C&K,

   Hope this message finds you well.

   I am writing regarding to an issue that I have had on C&K handbag that I bought as wedding gift to my wife. Please find the attached PDF file for images and description. [NOTE: I will share the issue of the bag in a separate blog post]

   On Saturday (Jan 11), I and my wife had taken the bag to the purchasing retail store at Suntec, and I would like to commend on Domic, the assistant shop manager, as a valuable asset to C&K. He has performed exceptionally well in protecting C&K's interest. Details follow:

1) Blame the customer: When we showed him the issue, Domic instantly said something like "You are not supposed to carry heavy things in the bag". My wife didn't bring anything unusual and she has been taking the same items in a lot of other bags, including the S$10 ones she bought at roadside, but so far only C&K bag has such problem. If C&K bags really had a weight limit, why don't this communicated clearly so that consumers will know beforehand?

2) Disown responsibility: After he opened up a new bag in store and found out the new one didn't have the issue we raised, Domic intelligently shifted the responsibility to the head office. He quickly asked us to come back again on Monday and managed our expectation by repeating: "I don't know, it depends on our head office. They need to see the bag first. Nothing can be done here. I cannot commit anything. I don't know"

3) Act blur: It was a good 20 secs where we stood face to face, and Domic, chose to remain completely silent. So finally when I asked him for a name card, he fumbled a couple of drawers for a few minutes, walked to the back of store, and couldn't even find _any_ name card. This is nothing short of impressiveness. C&K has an SOP, no?

4) Customer will exaggerate: Since my wife would fly abroad in two days, we asked if we could call the numbers directly. He said direct calling is not an option, because the description would be exaggerated. The issue is, he himself and the staff there already have seen the bag in person, why can't they help to describe the issue to head office if they think we customers would exaggerate??

  I understand products do and will have defects. In fact, we just wanted to check if the current bag condition was normal, and what could be done to fix that. We didn't ask for anything unreasonable, and instead, how about some sympathy and help? For example, offer to take down our numbers and help us to liaise with the office? It is appalling and disappointing to see such lousy bag and defensive customer services coming from a Singapore brand.

This shall be our last purchase in C&K.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Review of Hydrapak Reservoir

I recently had a misfortune of buying a Hydrapak hydration pack.

The story started when I wanted to start on cycling, and since water bottles are clumsy and unwieldy, I decided to go for hydration packs.

After some researches, I heard good words about Hydrapak. However this brand is curiously not popular at all in Singapore, in fact, among all the shops I had visited. Only one shop carried some very old models of it. Since Hydrapak brags "offers a lifetime guaranty against leakage, due to product defects, on our hydration systems, including reservoir, drink tube and bite valve.", but actually it is bluffing and doesn't stand behind what it claims.

The reservoir started to leak upon my first putting in of water, well before I even left my house.

I contacted Hydrapak via Facebook, and they asked me to fill up a form on their website. I did exactly that, then, nothing.

I sent a couple more messages to them, and from then on, they just play dead and ignored my requests.

The issues on hand are 1) Hydrapak product falls short of what it claims it is 2) Hydrapak doesn't stand behind its own warranty and commitment. Instead, it just trying to hide without resolving issues.

If Hydrapak cannot produce a product that lasts, then don't offer 'lifetime warranty'. Shame on such irresponsible and ball-less company. Not cool.

What do I try to do here? you may ask.

Actually I already threw the worthless Hydrapak away, and got myself a D&G water bladder.

The look seems familiar? Indeed it is!! I would believe it is the Source WXP. I took it out for a spin and there is absolutely no issue, plus its price is only 1/3 of Hydrapak! From now on I will warn all my friends who ever consider buying Hydrapak, or any brands that partner with it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sorry State of Le Royal Meridien Shanghai

Due to business trip, I am sent back to Shanghai again. Since I had a pleasant stay with Le Meridien, I booked it again.

However, things aren't right:

First of all, upon arrival, I was told all the king-size beds were fully booked, and I have to settle with twin-beds. Fine, this is partly my fault because I didn't really check the details when I booked. I should have asked my travel agent about the room details.

One of the reasons I chose Le Meridien is because of the shampoo set, which is made by Cinq Mondes. I don't have much dandruff problem with this shampoo, and there isn't many shampoo in the market that works for me.

However this time, they replaced it with some unknown brand stuff, and this is where I find it unacceptable.

The Cinq Mondes set. This pic is from Le Meridien KL

Now what the customers get? Here are the close up pictures:

Note the pictures. First of all, this set is manufactured in China and it is obvious they are some cheap shit bought in bulk and fill the bottles. WTF is this? Am I staying in a cheapo hotel? Hello, it is RMB1400 per night!! Not cheap in most part of the world, barring the most expensive Hong Kong or Tokyo. The cheapskate'ness baffles me.

For some reason the pictures are upside-down, although the previews are correct at my end. Anyway, you can download and take a closer look if you like.

I did approach the staff but they insisted these are 'branded' stuff. Well, I am not gonna pay RMB1400 per night for this kind of rubbish. Checking out tonight and never going back.