Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Do You Mean, "We"?

I find this post a bit disturbing in the wake of the latest Chinese food scare. Sounds like some one had a bad day.

This "it's not them, it's us" mentality can't really be applied to some of the victims. Xinhua highlighted a mother from a family with an annual income of around 6,000 yuan (US$882) who could not afford foreign-made baby formula that's three to four times more expensive.

I buy milk products from big names: Nestlé, Magnolia, and Marigold because I trust them. San Lu is not some two-bit bootleg operation; the majority state-owned joint venture with New Zealand's Fonterra was exempted from inspections since December 2005 because it was believed to be a standard bearer. Yili, another affected company, was a partner of the recent Beijing Olympics. People trusted them - and were betrayed.

Some of the suppliers knew what they were doing - and couldn't care less. China Daily quoted one of two brothers who sold doctored milk to recoup losses after earlier shipments were rejected. "I've never asked and never thought about it. I only know it's bad for health."

We buy (often) crappy broadband because we don't have better. My buddy buys parts for his Fiat Coupé from Europe because they can't be found here. There are times when we want cheap (economy rice, anyone?), and times when we want the best, but can we get it all the time? What can we really do when big names associated with quality, through their fault or the fault of their partners, turn rogue?

Friday, September 12, 2008

On-line Speed Upgrade, By Maxis

I signed up for Maxis's Broadband. I didn't ask for one of the animal print versions, though.

In fact, I'm using it right now. it's slower than wi-fi, but much faster than dial-up. Registration took less than half an hour; half a day later, I'm online. I'm about six to seven floors up and connection's still good. So I did the ultimate test: Load Jolene Lai's blog. That should be the national benchmark for all local broadband providers.

But I had to return to the service centre after lunch because the dude who did my registration gave me the wrong SIM card, and my day wasn't really good already. And sometimes, the pages don't load. So building height is somewhat of an issue. Maxis also placed a cap of 3GB for amount of data transferred; any more and they'll pull the plug.

Don't think I'll be saying goodbye to wi-fi enabled cafés anytime soon.