DES Interactive Energy Saver

Interactive Energy Saver

http://www.des.gov.bn/bdes/images/electric_usage.swf
(Note: requires Flash thus wont’ work on iOS and later Android devices)

Saw this on DES website as I was getting links for my previous post and thought it would be nice to share. It is nice that they are providing interactivity, however it needs to be more accessible and there should be an HTML 5 / Javascript / Canvas solution to this especially with Flash being gone on mobile devices.

Perhaps @mfirdaus will bring the HTML5 solution to reality (P.S. he’s also available at mfirdaus.net).

DES Tarif Calculator

This was part of the talk on offline webapps I did at GDGW Brunei and can be found at

http://cornergeeks.com/projects/des/

It’s based on the Excel document that DES provides but as a pure HTML & Javascript solution, it will be available to a wider platform as opposed to those having Excel installed.

HSBC Brunei has been good to me

Brunei HSBC SMS

In contrast to my Standard Chartered Brunei experience, HSBC has been pretty good. I received an SMS informing that my ATM card would be deactivated and that I would have to visit my nearest HSBC branch to apply for a Visa Debit Card. Sounds straight forward for anybody in Brunei but sadly I am not in Brunei and thus I decided to give them a call. After some verification questions, they arranged to send my card to the closest HSBC branch in Melbourne. A stark contrast to the SCB experience.

While it was all good and I managed to get my card, I have yet to receive my PIN number and thus I called HSBC today and hopefully that’s sorted it out. I did get more verification questions which I feel could be improved on. Two of the several verification questions asked were

  1. Who is your employer?

    Now, I can easily tell them my current employer but I honestly don’t remember who was my employer when I answered this verification question. The question wasn’t who was my first employer, just who is my employer. This vague question is dependent on when I first answered this question, or whenever I updated the question. I asked the lady when could I have answered this question so that I could trace back which employer I was with at the time but she couldn’t specify more information and that I had to give a single answer, so I just randomly gave an answer.

  2. What is the branch that you opened your account at?

    While this is much less vague that the previous question, it still depends on whether I remember the answer. I know I’ve done some banking in the Gadong branch and Bandar branch. I’ve probably opened at least one account at each branch and perhaps I just have a bad memory but I don’t think this question is a good verification question (at least not for me)

But all in all, HSBC has been good and managed to give me service while I’m overseas so kudos to them! Now I wonder how other Brunei banks deal with overseas customers.

Offline Webapps with HTML5 – slides from GDG Brunei DevFest W

GDG Brunei DevFestW - Offline Webapps with HTML5.png

2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to present a 15 minute technical talk to the GDG Brunei DevFest W organised by GDG Women Brunei.

I pre-recorded a video just in case that the Internet was not cooperative but thankfully the Internet was good.

Slides:

Demos:

Source code:

GDG Brunei

Standard Chartered Bank has not been good to me

Over the past few years Standard Chartered has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth and I’m not even directly a customer of theirs…

Here are their ‘crimes’ that they have committed against me

  1. Sent me unsolicited SMS messages
  2. Not giving me direct answers regarding a loan
  3. Not following up on a loan prepayment
  4. Not processing a loan prepayment request (~3 months and counting)
  5. Hanging up while trying to get a temporary Internet banking password over the phone

Sent me unsolicited SMS messages

Every so often I get an SMS from Standard Chartered with them offering some of their new service or their next big event. Not even having a bank account with them, I find this intrusive and unwanted. Contacted them vai the “Contact Us” link on the Brunei Standard Charted website. Let’s see what becomes of it.

Not giving me direct answers regarding a loan

Wife has a loan and she was overseas, so I tried to get some information about prepayment and some extra details. They said they couldn’t give it out the details of the loan payment scheduled or even how the amounts were calculated. Took several visits to finally get a print out of it payment schedule from which I had to manually figure out how they did the calculations in order to gauge different prepayment options.

Not following up on a loan prepayment

After doing the calculations, we asked regarding a loan prepayment and never got a response back. While I may never know the real answer, the skeptic in me thinks of a straight forward answer that they are told to delay things like this so they can make more money out of us.

Not processing a loan prepayment request (~3 months and counting)

Back in December, finally sent a prepayment request which is still pending approval. What kind of approval is needed? Followed up with the loan office and was told that ‘it was sent for approval’. Comes back to the notion of delays to get more money out of us.

Hanging up while trying to get a temporary Internet banking password over the phone

While it is not a person physically doing the hanging up, after making the appropriate selection on the automated phone system, it rings once or twice and then just hangs up. Who are we supposed to contact, if the number provided doesn’t even enable us to get in contact with a live person.

Does it matter?

Perhaps its been one of those weeks that are physically short but mentally long and draining, but Standard Chartered has not been good to me and somebody needs to know.

Is this a rant? Probably.

Are the scenarios made up? I wish they were.

Is Standard Charted a good bank? Not in my experience thus far.

What do I hope to achieve with this? Some venting. Also a weird wish that Standard Charted will in get contact with me to sort it all out, but more importantly, to improve their service. But whatever happens, for the time being I’ll have to live with the annoyances of SCB in my life. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t have to be a long term thing.

 

Update: Seems that we have go actually physically visit Standard Chartered in order to get it sorted out. Not exactly an easy option to just fly in to sort it out, but I guess there isn’t really much of an option….

Standard Charted Email

SMARTER eVCS Android app source

It is now available at: https://github.com/thewheat/SMARTER-eVCS-Android

The Android app is currently meant to be used in conjunction with the SMARTER eVCS webapp but hopefully I’ll get time to upgrade both the Android app the make it a standalone app.

Also once again, anybody interested in helping in this community development project, do get in contact or just get the code, make some changes and submit pull requests.

Happy Software Freedom Day! Have some code!

Today is Software Freedom Day and as a user of technology you should think about the programs that you use and understand the importance of the free software movement.

Depending on who you talk to, “free” it can mean different things but in terms of Software Freedom Day, “free software” refers to freedom and not price. Some of the core beliefs of both free software movement is that computers users should have the freedom to:

  1. use the software for any purpose
  2. study the software and modify it to suit their needs
  3. distribute copies, either gratis or for a fee, and
  4. distribute modified copies to help their community

Do watch the following video for Richard Stallman (RMS) explaining Software Freedom Day and has some great insight into GNU and GNU/Linux

 

I thought it was appropriate that I release the code for the SMARTER eVCS as an open source project dual licensed under the GPL V3 and MIT License. As I previously mentioned I hope that this will foster some community development and be a point for people to involve themselves in a community project of a different kind that I believe has yet to be done in Brunei.

The code is available at https://github.com/thewheat/SMARTER-eVCS-webapp

It requires CakePHP for now and was built on an older version of CakePHP and somethings on the todo list are as follows

  • Move to AJAX instead of full page load for the user front end (admin can stay as is for now)
  • Responsive/Mobile site design
  • Using HTML5 and possibly Javascript MP3 playback instead of relying on Flash
  • User login with each user having ability to manage multiple profiles
  • Possible remove the need for CakePHP all together to make it lighter

Next up will be the Android app source code release and also deploying the demo app online for people to play around and test. In the meantime, anybody willing to support, contribute or help can leave a comment / fork the code / spread the news. Any and all forms of participation is truly appreciated.