Friday, October 07, 2011

the technical pains

Problem 1:
Keyboard that spews out numbers when characters are typed, and vice versa.

Root Cause :
Water spilt accidentally onto keyboard while trying to work on the floor at my cousin's place in Chicago and trying to grab the water from the table above

Impact :
Many hours wasted trying to delete extra numbers when characters are typed, and vice versa
Unnecessary stress due to loss of productivity and having to catch up with work causing more stress

Solution :
Managed to finally get the Dell technician to come on site to replace with a new keyboard. Now I can bring the laptop to meetings and not be embarrassed when I type with the projector on, and having to explain why I have a keyboard that spews out numbers when characters are typed, and vice versa.

Problem 2 :
Erratic wifi at the client site

Root Cause :
2 wifi devices installed in the company laptop

Impact : 
Many hours wasted trying to copy and paste IM conversations with client and colleagues
Many hours wasted trying to wait for emails to be sent out, giving the impression of lack of timely responses
Unnecessary stress due to loss of productivity and having to introduce other tasks while waiting for wifi to be up again, throwing original schedule off balance causing more stress

Solution :
Managed to get Remote Support from Dalian who speaks with an American accent to take control of my laptop, figured out the root cause, uninstalled the extra wifi device. Now I have almost uninterrupted wifi at the office and don't have to feel frustrated having to explain why I'm offline all the time.

Problem 3 :
Having to plug in all cables (external monitor, external keyboard, power plug and mouse) manually

Root Cause :
Not docking station installed at my cubicle

Impact : 
Many minutes wasted trying to plug and unplug cables when there's up to 6-8 meetings in a day to be attended
Unnecessary stress due to loss of productivity

Solution :
Managed to get approval from the client to get their Helpdesk to install a docking station for me. Now I can easily dock the laptop and get started on work immediately, or vice versa when I need to dash off for meetings with the laptop.

Benefits of solving the above :
I think I can safely say that even though the above seem very minor on their own, they did add considerable stress because when I finally had all of the above sorted out (in various stages throughout the past few weeks), I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Yes I could have thought of those solutions earlier, and made some time to solve them, but just didn't think of them when I'm swamped with work. Note to self : To fix the leaking roof before the roof collapses and cause even worse damage and stress!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


If you know me, I don't have sweet tooth. In fact, I count dessert as a rare indulgence. I usually eat it when I'm reminded there's dessert on the menu, or when someone else asks if I'd like to share in a dessert.

However, these stars were too irresistible. Even though they were too sweet for my liking, but because stars are also my fav shapes, I ordered them from the lady who was scooping ice cream for those in the buffet line.

If you are a fan of buffet meals, they say Le Meridien offers one of the better spreads. Plus, you get stars on your ice-cream.

Monday, October 03, 2011

lantern festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival has come and gone, but I still have that lantern we made together with the kids the Friday before the Festival.

I don't even remember the last time I actually "celebrated" the Festival. That's because we stopped playing with lanterns after we grew up! What used to be wire frames covered in glass papers of various colours and lit up by candles have now given way to battery-operated modern contraptions.

Lanterns are not difficult to make. In fact, when you have the right materials coupled with other adults as enthusiastic as making these together with the kids, it brings back glimpses of a childhood filled with simple pleasures.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

the intern

Butterfly had to say goodbye to the Intern who had to return to London to finish his studies. He had been a good help, more than what she had expected. Maybe because she didn't have much expectations to begin with, except that the team's load would be better balanced with him in it.

When Butterfly tried to request for a replacement (intern), the Top People told her not to expect anything like the Intern. He was "unique", they said.

Butterfly had to agree. She had prior experiences with a few other interns from The Slick Side, and couldn't help but agree that he was unique.

All Butterfly had to do was just give a single sentence of request, and he would be able to comprehend and digest it almost immediately, and come back with exactly (and sometimes more) than what she had requested. In fact, the Intern had brains of his own, so was able to provide input that was constructive to whatever requests or discussion that were at hand.

Perhaps it was the fact that he had good upbringing, or the fact that he was analytical and intelligent enough for the tasks asked of him. Or perhaps his humility and initiative to learn endeared him to many.

Whatever it was, everyone who worked with the Intern had positive things to say.  Even though he had not yet graduated, but The Slick Side (not the Company that hired him) were prepared to engage him even when he's back in London studying.

As Butterfly flew home that evening after a week (that felt very long) at work without the Intern, she felt grateful that he was around for a bit. She even wished there were more interns like him.

Butterfly started to wish she had been given opportunities such as presented to the Intern. But even if she were, would she be as competent and well-liked as the Intern? Would she have been able to face questions posed by The Slick Side as confident as he did?

This brought Butterfly to memories of her first job. Really, the circumstances were vastly different, and could not even be compared. All that remained in her memory of that first job was how laidback the working environment was, and how dumbed down she felt as she knew she was capable for more.

Indeed, sometimes Butterfly cannot control what environment she ends up in, or what opportunities come her way, but what  Butterfly can do is how she manages her reaction and her next steps. No one said life was fair, but Butterfly makes do and is thankful for what she has.

*Any resemblance to real-life characters is purely coincidental. Excerpts from this story may be reproduced by acknowledging the writer.