Friday, July 22, 2005

Free Wireless Access

MacDonald's used to offer free wireless access at all outlets across the island (or so I was told). I only realised this some time in May, although the marketing materials metnion that the free offer is a time-limited trial ending on 31 Apr. I was gladly surprised when I attempted to connect to the wireless networks at Mac's Siglap and Mac's Jurong East both in the same day (sometime in May), I was able to get internet access.

It was pretty easy, simply go to a browser to access any page, and the technology offered by ANTLabs will redirect the browser to a log in page asking for my name and email address.

After the log-in page, the network will be connected and I can use the internet connection just as I was at home. Another good service from MacDonald's

Some weeks ago, when I tried to hook up to the wireless network at Mac's Jurong East (entertainment centre), I was greated with a different login page. Apparently they decided to start charging, and I had to pay some charges (I vaguely remembered it was about $5 an hour). So I chose to do some offline work instead.

Today, I happened to have an hour between appointments to spare, and thought that instead of wasting the time to commute to my office just to leave office 20 mins later, I might as well spend the $5 at Mac's Suntec. (In my mind the productivty gained should outweigh the $5 spent, but of course when I get on to a network, I start doing unproductive stuff like blogging.)

After paying for a regular coke and a large fries, I sat down and started up my browser. Typed google's url in the browser, and waited for the login screen to arrive. To my surprise, I was greeted with the login screen that I saw the first time I tried this service -- free access! Gladly I entered my name and email address, and here I am blogging. :)

Two things I don't understand here though: (1) Why is it that at some Mac's outlet the access is chargeable, whereas at other outlets it is free? (2) In the first place, since it is 'morally mandatory' to spend on Mac's food when sitting in a Mac's restaurant, why start charging for the wireless access?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Although I have been driving my own car for the last 3+ years, I have always been clueless about what I need to do to maintain my car to make sure that it can continue to operate properly. I always thought that if I just simply go for servicing religiously at the pre-determined intervals I would be free of any problems with the car.

However, the truth is that, as will all machines, after some time wear and tear will set in. The same goes for my car which has passed its 3-year-mark. Some months ago, it was the battery that went flat, and more recently (last Saturday), it was a flat tyre.

In a way, I guess it is a blessing in disguised that I had a flat tyre, because when I went to the Shell servicing centre near my place (ok, I know I waited for almost 4 full days before I did anything about this, but I am a procrastinator. :P ), I was told that the set of tyres I have are quite worn out. The guy at the garage told me honestly that the tyres are not totally worn out, but because I did not rotate the tyres (and I assumed that my regular services at Nissan would take care of that), some parts are not as good as before. He also pointed out that certain parts of the tyres have some sort of split lines, which could possibly be due to me hitting curbs. True enough I had made that mistake of hitting curbs a number of times, and thought nothing of it.

I took his advice to change all four of my tyres, since it has been about 2 years since I last changed them. I don't know the market rate, but they charged me $345 for four Bridgestone tyres (made in Japan, but do I know the difference?). In any case, I left as a satisfied customer with my problem solved. ;)