ViolinStar.NET

  • Posted On: July 6th 2019 at 9:50 pm | 3 Comments
    Categories: Domain names, Online life, Site Updates, Technology

    I just realised that my blog is opened for more than 11 years now. The “violinstar.net” domain name is more than 11 years old now. Like wow! Next year, it will be a decade!

    When I started this blog with this name, I didn’t expect to see it last for close to a decade. I didn’t expect it to follow me since the start of university days (bachelor degree) to my first job, then to my grad school (master degree) and now my third job.

    Let’s see how long I will still use this domain name. I actually still like the name so maybe another decade more to go?


    Posted On: June 9th 2019 at 10:50 pm | 1 Comment
    Categories: Food, Overseas, Personal life, Pictures, Talks, Technology, Travel, Work

    I’m back from Beijing. Hehe, I went Beijng for a work trip for 9 days. It was kind of rushed, hence didn’t blog about it.

    I went to Defcon Beijing 1.0 (yes, the first Defcon in Beijing after last year’s beta version). It was quite exciting since it was my first time going to Defcon. Well, the main one in Las Vegas is too expensive – flight tickets, hotel and event ticket combined. Hence, I went for the one in Beijing. I paid for my own event ticket while the company paid for my flights and hotel stay. :smile: Then I stayed on to work in Beijing office and was helping my Beijing colleague at work too. :grin:

    Defcon Beijing is mostly bling (lots of loud and nice decorations) and not many people went for it. Well, it’s not cheap – US$170. But the talks and workshops aren’t that technical. Not as technical as the one in Las Vegas, according to my colleague who went with me.

    The location of the event is really old. Like rusty and stuff. Then they hid it by decorating it with lots of photos but they didn’t decorate it every single part… It was also located at a remote location. It was not near train station or bus stop. Not exactly easy to find unless you take DiDi. Oh, DiDi in Beijing is really bad. The air is already so polluted and most DiDi drivers just open the car windows to air the car. Well, I get that they want to save money for aircon but still… sigh.

    It was near an arts district (751 D.Park) so we went to explore after the event. It was pretty rundown and had a rustic feeling to it. I guess that’s part of the distinctive feel of the place.

    I also saw an old Uber stand/booth while on the way to 751 D.Park.

    It was my first time to Beijing so it was an eye opening experience. The air is really polluted. Will I go back there again? Yes. Will I stay for more than a week? For the sake of my health, no. Will I go to Defcon Beijing again? No if it is at the same location.

    There are really a lot of people working in Beijing. The traffic was really bad, but at least the cars are moving very slowly and not stuck and not move at all. We need to queue up to get into the train station during rush hour. We can’t take DiDi during rush hour or we will be stuck in traffic jams. There were bag checks at every entrance of the train platform.

    Ignoring the air pollution and bad traffic conditions, Beijing really have lots of nice bubble tea shops and food. Lots of cheap food around too. I had a great time eating and drinking bubble tea. :oops: Really need to work out more after the trip now… I am also having a phobia of bubble tea after 9 days of bubble tea.

    Oh, we went to Quan Ju De, the famous Peking Duck restaurant but didn’t order any duck meat. Haha, my colleague didn’t want duck meat again since we had it at another restaurant. I had soy sauce chicken instead which turns out to be extremely salty. Will I go there again? Nah. I will go to the peking duck restaurant that my Beijing colleague brought us instead. It’s “Liu Lin Kao Ya Dian” if you are interested to visit.

    I had the best soup dumplings in Beijing – Yi Pin Xiao Bao. I highly recommended there. I had 2 meals there. The one on the left in the following photo is the usual pork soup dumplings while the one on the right is spicy pork dumplings – which was really awesome!

    I also went to Forbidden City, Tiananmen Gate and also Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan). I will blog about them in future when I am free. Hehe.


    Posted On: January 6th 2019 at 2:10 pm | 5 Comments
    Categories: Insights, Personal life, Rants, Technology, Work

    Happy new year everyone! Sorry that I didn’t post any new year blog entry on New Year’s day. I think I am becoming really lazy in blogging, which is not really a good thing. :sad:

    I started 2018 with an upcoming new job at one company and ended the year working hard at another company because of a merger event. Well, it has been a rollercoaster ride in 2018. What a ride, literally!

    I have achieved quite a bit in 2018 as compared to previous years. Well, 3 main events happened in a span of a year:

    So what’s up for me in 2019? I am still waiting for my Sony A6500 and SEL1670Z to come back from the repairs. Well, another hole in my wallet since it has passed the warranty period.

    I’m also waiting for Watsons to provide what kind of personal data they have collected from me over the years. I sent an email to their DPO twice and they ignored me on both instances. It’s sad but I guess I got no choice but to go through the formal complaint route to Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) just to get information on my personal data in Watsons’ systems.

    What have I learnt from this incident? Don’t fall prey to cheap discounts and stuff. You might be paying for the “discounts” when your data gets leaked in the Deep and Dark Web (DDW) or in the surface web (WWW – basically out in the open for everyone to see). Especially so given the level of security awareness they have in some employees… I feel like facepalming every time I got reminded how they asked me for my password in plaintext on a social media platform. :sigh: Now I can only pray that they didn’t collect as much data as I hoped. Physical shopping and carrying heavy shopping bags for the win. No or minimal online shopping.

    Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to an amazing 2019! I know it’s going to be amazing because I will make it amazing for myself. Hehe. :happy:

    And, no new year resolutions since I know I won’t actually fulfil them.


    Posted On: December 15th 2018 at 12:36 am | 2 Comments
    Categories: Personal life, Rants, Shopping, Technology

    I had the most facepalming customer service experience with Watsons.

    Well, basically I want to buy my essential stuff like toothpaste, toothbrush, etc from Watsons online store when they are having 12.12 sale. It turns out that their cart automatically added Whisper sanitary products into my cart and I couldn’t check out because it has too many Whisper sanitary products which I do not need. I suspect it’s because of the “Buy 2 Get 1” promotion that Whisper is having and Watsons e-store can’t handle it properly. Really bad error handling and user interface too, given that I cannot remove any Whisper items without it automatically adding more items to make it in multiples of 3. 

    So I dropped them an email which they didn’t reply. Fortunately they replied to my Facebook messages. After asking them for 2 days, they still couldn’t remove my Whisper items in my shopping cart. I’m concerned if I can still use the “1212BEST” promotion code (S$32 off for purchases above S$120) that is for 12.12 sale and the customer service person just reply, yes you can still use it. We just checked it. After the second day of waiting, the items are still not out of my cart and now the promotion code is not working. :sigh: 

    Oh, the funniest part in the whole conversation is not about me missing the promotion. It’s more about adding 6 Whisper sanitary products in my cart – basically 9 to 12 months supply of sanitary products (because each packet has 14 to 24 pieces of sanitary pads). Seriously, who ever buy so much sanitary products at a go? Oh, in order to remove the items in my cart, they asked me for my userid then my password. :shocked: Seriously, you need my password just to remove the items in the cart?

    That really got me concerned if this is how they operate. So I emailed their DPO (Data Protection Officer) to ask what personal data they collected from me and how do they protect my data. Let’s see if they will reply me.

    Now the really sad part? I have to go to the physical stores to get my essentials now and carry all my items back by myself. :sad: No shipping of items at my doorstep anymore… :cry: 


    Posted On: November 25th 2018 at 4:54 pm | Add a Comment?
    Categories: New stuff, Shopping, Technology

    Yay after many years of pondering, I finally got myself the Canon Selphy printer! Hehe I have been thinking of getting it since CP900 but I went for Instax Share SP-2 printer (back in May 2017) instead. Now I got myself the photo printer from Canon Selphy series and can print my own 4R photos! I still need to figure out how to print it out nicely since it gets cropped at the side if I set it to print as Borderless.

    Photo quality is close to the kind of photos you print in photo shops. The Border printing mode allows me to print it as a nice postcard which is quite pretty! I foresee myself printing awesome photos for my family and friends, oh of course for myself too.

    This is going to be my last gadget purchase for this year since I pretty gotten everything that I want. Well, I decided not to get the new iPad Pro (with Face ID). I still love my current iPad Air 2.