Archive for December 2009

Google Street View Singapore is now LIVE

After more than a year since the Google Street View van was spotted on the streets of Singapore, Google Street View Singapore is finally live. Woohoo!!! Singapore is the first country in South East Asia to get Google Street View. We are the fourth in Asia Pacific, after Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

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For the uninitiated, Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that provides 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic views from a row of positions along the street. There are many uses for Street View. One of the most common use for Street View is to help you find the exact location of the place you are going.

Google put in lots of effort to ensure that individual’s privacy is respected. The photos on Street View are no different from what a person can readily see or capture walking down the street. Google also blur out the faces and car license plate on all the photos in Street View. If users find any images objectionable, they can easily report it by clicking on the “Report a Problem” button. Google will access the feedback on case by case basis.

The Singapore Street View photos are mostly taken late last year and early this year. Some of the areas are outdated already. But don’t worry. Google will be updating Singapore Street View sometime next year. Note that all the photos we see now are from the Google Steet View Van. The photos from the Google Trike will only be available next year. Speaking of Google Trike, the results from the voting is out. Chinatown, Pagoda Street and Mosque Street is the winner for the “Cultural Areas” category. The Southern Ridge, Henderson Wave Bridge, Hort Park and Kent Ridge is the winner for the “Hidden Gems” category. Sentosa beaches and trails is the winner for the “Natural Wonders” category. Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and fullerton is the winner for “The City” category. The most voted spot goes to Sentosa. These spots will be visited by the Google Trike first. (Good luck to the Google Trike rider for the Southern Ridge)

There are many ways you can access Street View. The easiest way is using Google Map. When Street View is available in the area, you will notice a orange man (Called Pegman) above the zoom bar. Just drag and drop the Pegman to the location you want to view Street View. Alternatively, you can zoom in all the way down to enter Street View.

You can also access Street View on your mobile phone. iPhone, Android, Symbian BlackBerry and Windows Mobile Google Map apps all support Street View.

For iPhone users, go to Map and tap at the icon on the bottom right hand corner. Select Drop Pin and drag the pin to the location where you want to see Street View. Then tap on the Pegman on the left side of the dialog box to enter Street View.

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For Android users, go to Map. Do a long press (press and hold) on the location where you want to see Street View until a dialog box with the address appears. Click on the address to access the menu. Select Street View to enter Street View.

For Symbian users, go to Goole Map apps. Do a long press (press and hold) on the location where you want to see Street View until a dialog box appears. Select Street View to enter Street View.

Don’t ask me about BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. Don’t have a unit on hand to test out. (will update once I got my hands on 1)

I’m still waiting for someone to find something funny/interesting on Singapore Google Street View. There are a lot of interesting stories about Google Street View in other countries. Google Street View was used to solve a crime in Netherlands. Someone spotted an image on Street View that shows that the Street View Van knock down a baby deer. A guy even used Street View to propose to his girlfriend.

I guess the most amazing photo on Google Street View is this.

Free Starbucks Coffee on 3 Dec 2009 (5 – 7pm)

In case you didn’t notice the “By the way” in my previous blog entry, Starbucks will be giving out free coffee in support of The Salvation Army today (3 Dec 2009). This is their 6th annual Christmas Open House.

Just visit any Starbucks in Singapore between 5 to 7pm on 3 Dec 2009 (today), make a donation of any amount to The Salvation Army and get a free tall-sized beverage of your choice.

PS: I recommend you choose Toffeenut latte. 1 more month till they stop selling this drink until next festive season.

New Starbucks Passport

Starbucks Singapore is replacing the S$29.90 Passport with 2 new ones. For the uninitiated, the old Starbucks Passport give you 6 Grande size Espresso drink or tall size Frappuccino. I’ve lost count on the number of Starbucks Passport that I’ve purchased this year. It is a good deal for those who frequent Starbucks.

Replacing the old Starbucks Passport is an Espresso Passport and a Frappuccino Passport. The Espresso Passport gives you 6 Grande Espresso drinks and cost S$33.00. The Frappuccino Passport gives you 6 Grande Frappuccino drinks and cost $36.00.

So if you are a Frappuccino drinker, this might actually be a good news to you. (Depending on how you see it) But if you are a Espresso drinker (like me), it means a slight price hike.

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I just got myself a Frappuccino Passport although I’m not a frequent Frappuccino drinker. I still have 4 chops left on my old passport. So no point buying Espresso Passport for now. But I do see myself buying the Espresso Passport soon. Haha.

But here is the bad news. They will stop selling the Passport after 31 Jan 2010!!!! The Barista isn’t sure what is the plan after 31 Jan. Maybe a new Passport? Maybe another kind of reward card? Or many totally nothing. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for now.

Maybe I should buy a few Passport on 31 Jan to stock up. But the passport is only valid for 2 months.

Oh by the way, Starbucks is having it’s 6th annual Christmas Open House tomorrow (3 Dec 2009). Free tall-sized beverage at all Singapore Starbucks from 5 to 7 pm. You can make a donation to The Salvation Army at the same time.

PS: I usually avoid Starbucks during their Open House. It’s like a warzone sometimes. Starbucks is not just about the drink, its also the ambience and experience.

It must be something worth reading

I must say that I’m a huge fan of mrbrown and I follow his blog/podcast/column. He is one of the most respectable blogger in Singapore. One of my sure read/listen of the day (if he updates)

But I was a little busy lately and hasn’t been able to keep up with all the blog entries piling up on my Google Reader. So I missed some blog articles lately. Sorry everyone. But fortunately, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) and Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) decides to draw my attention to this wonderful column that mrbrown wrote for inSing. (By the way, I don’t even know we have a ministry call MEWR.)

You see, they were against the content of the article. According to mrbrown’s editor, MEWR said it criticized a minister and a ministry. So they requested Singtel (who owns inSing) to remove the article.

I’m not sure if the folks at MICA and MEWR knew that things that once you post something online, it’s hard to remove it. There is always Google Cache. And mrbrown himself repost the entire article on his personal blog, which receive high readership daily. And after that, several bloggers & tweeters (including me) are making reference to that article, thus giving it more attention than it would have received.

Has anyone heard of the Streisand Effect? It is an Internet phenomenon where an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information backfires, causing the information to be publicized widely and to a greater extent than would have occurred if no censorship had been attempted. And this exactly what is happening now.

When will they ever learn?

So if you are free, do check out this wonderful article by mrbrown. If MICA & MEWR wants it to be taken down, then it must be something worth reading. And don’t worry, they won’t be able to take down the article from mrbrown’s blog.

World AIDS Day

Today, 1st Dec, is World AIDS Day. AIDS is now considered a pandemic. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.

The late Michael Jackson was one of the first entertainers to enlist in the fight against AIDS/HIV. His 1993 song, Gone Too Soon, was dedicated to Ryan White, an American teenager from Indiana who was infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment. Michael performed this song at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration ball where he highlighted the importance of supporting research for a cure to this disease.

And to mark World AIDS Day, I’ve join other local bloggers in “shutting down” our blog for today. The idea behind this is to make people sit up and take notice of things in life that they take for granted. HIV/AIDS can happen to anyone if we’re not aware or careful, and when it does, it can have a big impact on many of the routine things that we do on a daily basis.

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If you are interested, join me by adding the codes on your blog for today.

Eeeeerrrr…. wait a minute. If I shut down my blog today, you won’t be able to read this blog entry until I remove the codes tomorrow. If so, how are you going to get the message and add the codes on your blog? Hmmmm….. unless you are reading from a RSS reader.