Archive for October 2009

Google Trike in Singapore

By now, some of you should have known that the Google Trike is now in Singapore. Google Trike are tricycle with mounted camera to capture image for Google Street view. Although slower than the Street View van (which was spotted in Singapore last year), it can go places where the van can’t access.

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I was fortunate to meet the folks from Google and the Google Trike few days ago at Clarke Quay. It is a impressive looking tricycle many camera mounted on top. The whole system is powered by a power generator which is next to a box that houses the computer. There is a small display mounted on the handlebar for the rider to monitor the status. Looks cool huh?

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Google is looking for suggestions on places for Google Trike to visit. There are 5 categories which the public can submit their ideas: The City, Cultural Areas, Natural Wonders, The River & Quays and Hidden Gems. Google will be accepting suggestion until 12th October and work with Singapore Tourism Board to choose the most original ideas from each category. The public will then be able to cast their final votes and choose the top locations.

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In the mean time, this guy will be going around some of the places to take photos for Google Street View. This is like one of the geekiest job around. Imagine riding the Google Trike around Singapore and having lots of people taking photo of you. But its not going to be an easy job. He will need to cycle this heavy tricycle under the hot sun. From what I understand, they can only go out and take photos during sunny day between 11am to 2pm. That’s when you get the best pictures, and also the worst sunburnt.

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I tried cycling the Google Trike for a while. Its tough to control because the left side is heavier. You need to make extra effort to keep the Google Trike straight. And I think its going to be tough to cycle up slope. This is not an easy job.

Still no news on when Google Street View for Singapore will be ready.

Do not call the police/SCDF if you felt the tremors

There was a earthquake of magnitude 7.6 at Padang, Indonesia yesterday. The tremors were felt in several parts of Singapore and Malaysia. Strange, we seems to be getting more tremors in recent years.

But one thing I still don’t understand. Why do people call the police or Singapore Civil Defence Force when they felt tremors? It was reported on ChannelNewsAsia that the Police and SCDF received more than 150 phone calls. Was anyone injured? Did anyone get robbed? Is there any emergencies that requires the Police or SCDF?

I think this is a very serious problem. We really need to educate everyone to stop calling the emergency lines unless they have a real emergency. Feeling the tremors is not an emergency. Your building shaking is not an emergency. Unless someone is injured, there is really no need to call the police/SCDF. They are in Singapore too. They can feel the tremors too. They cannot turn off the tremors or stop your building from shaking. They can only help you if your life is endangered.

We are lucky that there is no injuries so far. But what if someone is really injured but couldn’t get thru the emergency lines because 150 people thinks that they need to call the police/SCDF? Think about it. Do you really need to call the emergency line? If not, stay off the emergency line so that those who really need assistance can get help as soon as possible.

If you are worried about your building’s structural integrity, call your building management or BCA at 6325 7720 or HDB’s Essential Maintenance Service Unit at 6275 5555 and 6354 3333. Do not call the police/SCDF even if there is a huge cracks on your building. They cannot do anything about it unless your building collapse.

Please help spread the words. Stop calling the Police and SCDF when there is tremors unless you really have an emergency.

How do you change your EZ-Link GIRO auto top up amount?

Saw this on wishbone’s blog. Apparently, if you applied for GIRO auto top up on your new EZ-Link card and want to change the top up amount, the process is rather tedious.

1) Deactivate your existing GIRO facility at any TransitLink Ticket Office. This will take at least 7 working days.

2) Reapply for GIRO again by filling up the form online.

3) You will receive the first email within 24 hours to notify you that they receive your application.

4) You will receive another email within 5 working days with the collection slip number if application is successful

5) Proceed to any TransitLink Ticket Office to activate your GIRO auto top up

Did I misread the instructions? That is a 12 working days process!!! And you need to visit the TransitLink Ticket Office TWICE! All that just to do a simple change on your GIRO auto top up amount. SERIOUSLY? Our EZ-Link is that efficient ah? No wonder they are charging a S$0.25 surcharge for every GIRO auto top up. So many paperwork and process to get 1 simple thing changed.

So don’t hand itchy hor. Decide on a GIRO auto top up amount and stick to it.

By the way, if you haven’t exchange your old EZ-Link card for the new ones, do note that LTA and EZ-Link has graciously extended the free exchange period for 1 more week. So if you haven’t done so, better do it by 7 Oct 2009. Oh, and one more thing, your old EZ-Link card cannot be used anymore from today (1 Oct 2009).