What another Experience with Singapore Visa and Flight

I have had so many bad experiences with visa applications before, including Canadian and Indian visas, which I had blogged before here. This time, it is Singapore’s turn.

I have planned trip to Cloudera’s Chennai office next week. Since I have never been to Singapore before and my flight will transit in Singapore, I decided to bring my wife with me for a short holiday before heading to Chennai. As I am holding Chinese passport, I will need a visa to enter Singapore. After checking the official website, I knew that we needed to wait until within 30 days before we could make an appointment with VFS Global, the third party vendor who processes Singapore visa.

Our planned date was 21st of Nov, so I tried to make a booking on 22nd of Oct, but only to find out that the earliest date available for us was 15th of Nov, which was just 6 days before our flight, and only 4 working days. I emailed them complained that it was too rush to apply visa only less than a week before our flight, and we could only get our visa one day before (it needs 4 working days to process visa). If anything happens, we will not be able to get another chance. They rejected my request to get appointment earlier, actually, they ignored me without a reply!!

Same deal for my parents, their planned flight is on 11th of Dec to Singapore, and I could only make appointment on 6th of Dec, just 5 days earlier, including weekends.

I understand about the 30 days rule to apply for a visa, but I do NOT understand why it also applies for making appointments. This is non-sense.

On the day we took our documents for interview in VFS Global’s Melbourne office, what was even more non-sense(er) was that they asked every one of us to change the Date field next to our signature to that day’s date on the main application form, and then sign again because we changed the field. But why? No one would take an empty application form and fill in on the spot!! And when you fill in the form beforehand, you would only fill in using the date you were on, not the interview date, which would be in the future. Why would this date matter anyway? I have seen pretty much everyone on that day had to change this field and sign again. What’s the point!! If this is a requirement, make it clear on the form PLEASE!!

OK! Now the Visa is all good, we got it just the day before our flight, PHEW!! This morning, on the day of our flight, when I was checking my email at 6AM, I noticed that JetStar notified us that our flight JQ007, scheduled to fly out of Melbourne at 12PM had been CANCELLED. What the hell? By following the recovery options, I was not able to make alternative flight because all others on the same day had been fully booked, possibly due to this flight’s cancellation. And I had to move the flight to tomorrow, which would be 22nd of Nov.

I called our hotel that I booked in Singapore, and confirmed that our hotel fee is non-refundable.

Hoping to get another flight today, so that we do not waste one day, I searched on Skyscanner and found out that Scoot had flights available with also very cheap price. So I called JetStar again to cancel our trip from Mel->Singapore and I made another booking straight on Scoot’s website. The flight was scheduled at 1:20PM this afternoon.

We packed up everything, called in DiDi Rider and reached at Melbourne Airport at around 10:30AM. However, when we checked in, we realised that the flight had also been delayed by 8 hours and was re-scheduled at 9:15PM instead of 1:20PM!! We just bought the ticket 1 hour earlier online, but never got notified about this huge delay. They just do not care about passengers who had to travel all the way to airport and only found out that we had to stuck in airport for 8+ hours.

In the end, Scoot provided us with AUD$20 meal voucher to be used in the airport, but we have to pass this long period of waiting time without knowing what to do!!

Budget airline? Think twice in the future before making decisions, JetStar and Scoot are certainly on the list to look out for!!

What an experience applying Indian Visa

I need to travel to India at the end of November this year to train up our new colleagues in the Chennai new office, so I have started applying the Indian Visa online through their offical website IndiaVisaOnline. After trying several times, I finally got through the final stage, however, I would like to share my extreme experience in the last couple of weeks.

1. I crashed their website at least 5-6 times on the same page, and each time took them around 5 minutes to be back and running again. Based on my test, I believe entering a website without “http://” prefix could crash it. I am really thinking about to test it again..

2. I had to squeeze in phone numbers and addresses into the same field that has 80 character limit, which forced me to truncate random characters to make them fit and at the same time it became totally unrecognisable address. So what’s the point here??

3. The passport and business card need to be uploaded in PDF format, well, fair enough, but why 300K limit? I had to keep shrinking the size in PNG format, convert and then repeat the loop, until I can barely see the text on my passport!! THIS ISN’T 1980s folks!!! GO TO OFFICEWORKS AND BUY A HARD DRIVE!!!

4. Now, after several hours of trying, I finally got to the last step. And what a surprise in the success message, with every piece of information missing on the confirmation page. I am wondering, should I call them to confirm if I made through or not?

Use my manager’s word, “A monkey with no arms could code better than whatever el-cheapo graduate they fished out of the fail pond to write this website”!!

I am sure that there are other guys out there have the same experience as mine, has anyone complained to the officials?

How to Disable the Facebook Friend Finder Suggestion

I have been REALLY annoyed by Facebook when it keeps suggesting me the strangers that I do not know on daily basis, including Facebook site and especially on my mobile phone. I am really getting pissed off and about to uninstall Facebook if I can’t find a solution to this. Lots of people saying there is no way of doing it as it is built in by Facebook and there is no settings to control it.

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Today, I found this article How to Disable the Facebook Friend Finder Suggestion, and I thought to give it a try. This article suggests that those friends suggestions were made based on your imported contact list, so I followed the steps and took the following screenshots.

Step 1:

Navigate to your Facebook page and find the “PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW” section, click on “See All” link:

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10

Step 2:

Click “Manage imported contacts.”

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Step 3:

Click “Remove all contacts,” and then click “Remove.” A status message appears, advising that a confirmation notice will be sent to you.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.24.05 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 10.24.13 PM

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Step 4:

Currently I am still waiting for confirmation regarding this action, 30 minutes passed and my contacts still in my list.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

Download File in AWS S3 Bucket in Browser

The file path in S3 will always has the following format:

http://{bucket-name}.s3.amazonaws.com/<path_to_file>

Now, ff you are given a link to a file inside of s3 in the following format:

s3://my-bucket/test-folder/dir1/test-file.txt

You should be able to convert it to the following url:

http://my-bucket.s3.amazonaws.com/test-folder/dir1/test-file.txt

So, you can now easily convert s3 protocol to http protocol, which allows you to download using your favourite browser, or simply use wget command to download file from S3 bucket.

 

Hadoop Administrator – Cloudera Certified

I had some drama yesterday when I was trying to setup my laptop for Cloudera’s Hadoop Administrator Exam with Innovative Exams (http://examslocal.com/). I was unable to share my screen inside Chrome with the examiner. I spent about 20 minutes trying different ways and finally it worked, but I had no idea what the problem was and how I fixed, it just happened.

Anyway, the exam went smoothly afterwards and it took 90 minutes. I had taken the practical exams lots of times before this and I have to say that there are lots more trickier questions in the actual exam than the practical one. And some of the questions, although not many, that you can not find in the course note, meaning you will have to do lots of practical work with Hadoop by hand to know the answer.

I got the score back straightaway after the exam, and guess what, the result was PASS. I will get the actual certification confirmation in about 2 business days. Oh Yeah!

logo_cloudera_certified

Now next one is the Developer certification. Cloudera is in the process of changing the exam structure for the Developer course, and there will be some practical questions, meaning you will have to actually write some code, rather than pure single/multiple choice questions.

Wish us luck!!