DanCenter Performance

Saturday night I attended a dance recital together with some friends and it was really good. Ever since being in Vietnam I have felt a little creative arts deprived. Maybe it’s lack of awareness of the various activities that happen around the city. The ticket would definitely be pricey for an average student but I think there are other options.

Burning iso directly off the web

Taken from http://www.knoppix.net/wiki/Downloading_FAQ.
mkfifo KNOPPIX.fifo # mkfifo create a fifo-file
screen ftp mirror ....# screen creates multiple shells in one terminal (handy!) ftp connect to your mirror
get KNOPPIX-3.10-EN.iso KNOPPIX.fifo #command to copy inside your ftp-session
C-a C-c # screen will make a new shell
cdrecord dev=(your burner) speed=4 KNOPPIX.fifo # ftp starts to get data when cdrecord starts to read from fifo
wait; exit; rm KNOPPIX.fifo; exit

(Attention, use “cdrecord -scanbus” before cdrecord to find the correct device of your cd-writer. If you own SCSI hds, you could lose all data of one hd when you use cdrecord with a wrong dev=(controller,id,partiton) !)

Alternatively:

This works well and is much simpler: wget -O - URL_OF_IMAGE | cdrecord -v speed=4 -eject -

Infficiencies and Idiocies

I do not wish that this be read as a compliant, for I wouldn’t like it to be said of me either. However on the balance of things and to remember that time is actually valuable, I am writing this down for future reference.

Today I spent 6 and a half hours doing what should have been done in 3. There were a couple of things that I wanted to do:

  • Withdraw my term deposit from a local bank
  • Create a new term deposit at a global bank
  • Buy a computer

The headache started at the local bank where my term deposit was in. Because of some updates in the account details performed at another branch and separate systems used, the branch at which I wanted to withdraw my money had to make confirmations with the other branch. Total time spent – 2h30m. Spent something like the same amount of time setting up the time deposit previously. Oh, and they had this customer satisfaction feedback machine but the cable for it was not connected at the first counter I was at!

Depositing cash. As I do not yet have a work permit, I was under some restrictions on the amount of cash that I was allowed to deposit into my account and I had to split up my deposit into two parts. There were a few things that shocked me:

  • When I changed my mind about the amount to split in the two parts, the banker told me “last chance” to make any changes. I was shocked to hear this at an global bank, especially since the banker was still busy counting the cash.
  • Was a little peeved that I had to fill in the forms a few times. Well I guess I expected something better like the other global bank I banked with where the staff helped me to re-write the forms.
  • Previously I went in to set up another term deposit, and when I got home that night, I saw that the term deposit was still not set up, so I proceeded to do it myself online. This should have caused the term deposit opened at the branch to fail, and I expected that someone would phone me to check what had happened, especially more so since the amounts were different. I didn’t get any phone call and soon forgot about this. Today at the branch, a (seemingly Korean) person asked to speak to the manager, as he was upset that he was not notified of a failed wire transfer. Expected better than this for a global bank.

Spent 45 minutes there. Should have taken 15 minutes but this was fair enough given the hiccup and time to count through all the cash. Should have done a bank transfer instead. So much for cash.

Buying computer. Oh the joys of flipping through price lists and choosing components which I haven’t done in a long time. Spent 3+ hours here, even though I had quite a clear idea of what I wanted to get. A lot of time was spent calculating and re-calculating the total price of the various parts and staff weren’t terribly helpful too. Was most infuriated that there was a 3.1% surcharge for paying by bank card and annoyed with myself for not having seen that coming. Shop was closing at 9pm which I failed to anticipate. Still haven’t gotten the computer. Felt like it was fighting a battle with highly inefficient processes.

Lessons learnt:

  • If your time means anything to you, be wary of the local bank that starts with T and be prepared to spend at least half a day on any simple task. No complains about their ATMs though.
  • Global bank + local staff ⇏ world class standards. Global banks are not immune from customer dissatisfaction, but are definitely still at step up from local banks. Try to confirm in advance whether certain transactions are possible to avoid holdups.
  • Despite the progress towards a cashless society (e.g. installing POS terminals in taxis), we are far from arriving. Always be prepared to pay in cash if you need something urgently in Vietnam.
  • Expect delays. Don’t plan things to the brim. Do not resign yourself to expecting poor service, for that will only reinforce that such actions are acceptable, but be mentally prepared in the event that it does happen.

Not looking forward to another gruelling day tomorrow to actually get the computer, a bookshelf, and as an added bonus if I can fit it in, a chair for my room.