Oh! Singtel, what the hell?

‘Sheer Incompetence’, ‘Utter Arrogance’ and ‘Complete disregard’ towards customer needs are the terms which I can think of right now to describe what Singtel is doing to me. As you might have probably guessed by now, this is yet another story of bad customer care and one more example which illustrates their arrogance and negligence towards the customers. I am thinking loud, “Is it just me or is it like this for everyone in Singapore?” I am not talking about some third world country where connectivity is a ‘not-so-heard’ term. I am talking about Singapore, one of the world’s most efficient countries.
It all started when I decided to relocate. I knew from my past experiences that transferring my internet connection will be one hell of a ride. So I decided to start a bit early. I called the Singtel customer care hotline (1688) three days before I was to move in.
Day 1 – 1 day. (Dec 16th, After waiting 5-10 minutes in the waiting queue which is there for all the calls)
Me: Hello, I am relocating house and I need you to relocate my internet and phone connection.
Reply: Sure sir, what is your address? And what is your postal code. We need the postal code, without that we cannot process a relocation request.
Me: I am sorry, I am not sure about the postal code as of now. I will give you a call after checking it out.
Day 2 – 3 days. (Dec 18th)
Me: Hello, I am relocating house and I need you to relocate my internet and phone connection. Here is my address and the postal code.
Reply: Thank you sir, we just need the address to check it.
Me: (Thinking: what the hell?)
Reply: Hi sir, as of now there is an existing connection in this address you gave us. We will have to do a rewiring for you and for that you need an appointment. As of now, you’ll have to wait atleast one month for a rewiring appointment.
Me: OMG! Please tell me whether there is any alternative.
Reply: First you have to terminate the connection and give us a call. I will put your name for an appointment now. After you terminate the connection let us know, we will activate the phone line and you have to do the self configuration.
Me: That’s ok, configuring the router is not a problem.
Reply: Also sir, you won’t be able to retain the present phone number. I will give you a call later with the probable numbers you can choose from.
Me: It’s ok, I don’t really care about the number, I only need the internet connection.
Later that day, she did give me a call and I choose a number. She said that she will log everything in the system so that after termination, I can call them again for activation.
Day 3 – 6 days. (Dec 21st, I communicated with the owner and he terminated the existing connection)
Me: Hello, I am relocating house and I need you to relocate my internet and phone connection. I hope all the details are already logged in the system. You can do the activation as soon as possible from there.
Reply: Hi, who am I talking to again? I am really sorry to tell you that nothing about you have been logged in the system. Could you please give me your info?
Me: Ok, here is my details…
Reply: What is your new address with postal code?
Me: (Thinking: Holy God! Is this really happening again?) Hey my dear fellow, I have already given all the details.
Reply: Is it so? Then do you have a telephone connection in your new place already?
Me: There is a socket there.
Reply: Do you know whether its active?
Me: How am I supposed to know that? You are the person to tell me right? I already talked to a customer care officer and the person I talked to, said that activation can be done from there.
Reply: Sorry sir, I don’t know what you are talking about, Click! (And the line went dead)
I dialed again.
Me: Hello, I am relocating house and I need you to relocate my internet and phone connection. Please someone tell me what is going on. I already have done everything and now someone is telling me nothing has been done. What is going on?
Reply: Hi sir, all your details are logged in the system. You have an appointment for rewiring one month from now.
Me: I don’t need rewiring, the existing connection is terminated. You can activate it from there, if possible today itself.
Reply: Sorry sir, we can activate it, but it will take 3 days. You can have the phone line up and running by Dec 24th 5 pm.
Me: If there is some problem, then I will be able to get after 26th right? (‘cos it is the holiday time)
Reply: I am afraid so sir.
Me: Ok, so I am expecting to get a dial tone in my phone by 24th 5pm and no one will be coming for my assistance right?
Reply: That’s right sir, you have to do it on your own. If there is any problem, you can call our technical help desk or take another appointment.
Me: Thank you very much.
Day 4 – 9 days: (24th noon, during lunch @ office, I got a call)
Caller: Hi sir, I have an appointment to rewire your apartment.
Me: Who? What? When?
Caller: I want to check when you will be available?
Me: Are you really calling from Singtel?
Caller: Yes, when do you want me to come?
Me: Ok, I’ll get out of office early today and you can come by 5pm.
I am waiting for the caller and I called the customer care to clarify.
Me: Hello, I have already given a relocation request and the deadline given to me was 5pm on 24th Dec. But there is still no dial tone in my phone.
Reply: Let me check sir. Hello sir, according to our system, your connection is already up and running. Have you tried configuring your router?
Me: There is not even a dial tone in my phone and how am I supposed to configure a router?
Reply: You can try that sir. But then again, this is the sales dept sir, and for configuration enquiries, you can call our technical help desk.
Me: ok thank you. (You guys sux)
After some time the rewiring guy came. He said that he is here is rewire my telephone line. He poked around with the telephone line and some boxes and he also made some calls to his office (at least that’s what he told me)
The guy: I am really sorry sir, they did the wrong wiring at the exchange. So we have to do the rewiring. It will be up tomorrow first thing in the morning
Me: I really need this before the holidays, and are you sure you’ll give me this tomorrow?
The guy: oh! Sorry sir, I forgot that tomorrow is a holiday. We will do it tomorrow first thing in the morning and give you a call in your mobile and landline.
‘Tomorrow-first-thing-in-the-morning’ is over, afternoon is over, evening is over and the next day is over and at noon, I got fed up. And I decided to call again.
Day 5 – 11 days: (26th morning, From this point onwards, I had to explain my whole story till now which takes around 20 minutes plus the waiting time which is around 5-10 mins)
Me: Hello, I am relocating house and I need you to relocate my internet and phone connection. The technician who came to my house told that he will fix the internal problem and didn’t call me back till now. I am still waiting and there is no dial tone in my phone.
Reply: I will put you for another appointment sir.
Me: Now way I am going for another appointment, get me someone who can help me right now.
Reply: I will transfer this call to the technical department sir.
Reply: (from technical department) Let me check this sir, (put on hold). Hello sir, I have checked with the telephone department and they say it will be working by today 5pm. You can start using you phone by then.
5pm is over, 6pm is over and I called again to the technical department.
Me: I am supposed to be using my phone by now, but I believe I can’t do that without a dial tone.
Reply: (After all the explanations and clarifications and holdings for around 30-40 mins) I am really sorry sir, right now, the sales is closed and all I can do is to escalate this issue to the sales department and tell them to contact you first thing on Monday morning.
Day 6 – 13 days: (28th morning, first thing in the morning, I am calling them)
Me: Are you planning to give me my phone connection any time this year?
Reply: Sir, this is the sales, as per our records, your connection is up and working fine from 24th evening, I will transfer this call to the technical department.
After 20 – 30 minutes of explaining my whole story
Reply: Let me put you on hold sir. (After 20 minutes on hold) I have updated this with the technical department sir.
Me: So am I not talking to the technical department?
Reply: You are talking to the technical department for the internet and TV, the telephone is another department sir.
Me: Ok, so what can you do about this now? May be if you can track down the technician who promised me the phone line ‘first-thing-tomorrow-morning’, you can know what happened actually.
Reply: The only thing I can do is to get you another appointment tomorrow between 11-1pm (for which I may have to take off tomorrow from work) and I have specifically told the operator not to leave your house with your giving you a working telephone line.
Me: Thank you very much. Hope this story will be ending once and for all tomorrow.
And the above sentence happened around 30 minutes before I write this. I am waiting for all this to end and to get a written statement from the technician or whoever it is, that my phone was not working for half a month after I raised my relocation request. Let me see whether they will reduce this month’s bill to half. If I delay the payment of my bill, they fine me. Then they should reduce my bill to half if there was no service for half the month because of their fault.
Is there anyone out there from Singtel - I don’t care – who it is, who can explain all these? This is only about my Singtel internet connection and my mobile phone carrier is also Singtel. Don’t get me started about it. So, now my readers may wonder why I am still sticking on with this connection. That is ‘cos I signed a two year contract with Singtel which ends only in 2011 and I have already given S$400 as advance. So I am stuck with this “fill-in-the-blank-as-you-wish” operator for one more year. Now I know, even in Singapore (which I thought is a flawless country) there can be flaws.
Once again, “Is it just me or is it like this for everyone in Singapore?”

EE5902 Multiprocessor Systems Qn. Paper

Subject: EE5902 Multiprocessor Systems
Department: ECE Dept, NUS
Semester I, AY 2009-10 Question Paper

Here I go again. My second exam for this semester also didn’t have previous year question papers published. Remembering the questions this time was a bit tough as it contained 20 one word type questions. I have somehow managed to remember bits and pieces of up to 16 questions. The rest, I hope my friends will help me. If you have attended this exam and have any comments about this post or if you know any missing questions, please post a comment. Please don’t mail them to me. I don’t need them. I am doing this in the hope that I may help some students in the upcoming batches. If you find this helpful, please leave a comment so that I know I have helped someone. Thanks to my 2 friends who helped me in remembering these questions.
Q1. [These questions are not in the order in which they are asked. I am putting the questions I remember in the order I jot down them right after the exam]
1. State only the correct statements
a. [Don’t Remember]
b. Data parallelism is not scalable [Something similar]
c. [Don’t Remember]
d. Control Parallelism is not limited by pipeline length
The correct statements are __________
2. [Summation]j,k [Summation]j,k(aik + bik) Computations like these are best suited in __________
3. Write a typical RT for a CV 1011 in the space provided (page 278)
4. __________ level parallelism is prohibiting the increment of factor k for a k-issue superscalar architecture
5. Baseline network has only one path from input to output (T/F)
6. For a superscalar processor of degree m and n instructions, as n tends to infinity, the speed up factor becomes __________ (notes chap 6, page 55)
7. Pentium is RISC in the higher level and computes CISC operations in the inner core level (T/F) (Notes Chap 3, slide 30)
8. If hit ratio of level Mi of memory is pi, the expression for access frequency for Mi __________ (Notes Chap 3, slide 69)
9. If the number of processing elements are between 1024 and 16384, it is typically considered to be a __________ (page 32)
10. If the time complexity of a problem is of O(2^n . n^2), it is clearly of polynomial complexity (T/F) (page 34)
11. What is the time complexity of the expression () [Forgot the exact expression]
12. MAL is greater than or equal to maximum number of check parks in the RT and less than or equal to the average latency of any greedy cycle. Also the average latency of any greedy cycle will be one greater than the number of ones in the initial collision vector. So, MAL is greater than the number of ones in the ICV. Point out what is wrong with this statement in the space provided below.
13. Non-linear pipelines and the reservation tables have a many to many mapping (T/F)
14. Loop level parallelism is considered to be __________ grain with less than 2000 instructions (Page 61 and it was given 200 instructions, not 500)
15. Power is proportional to the square of the frequency in embedded processors. (T/F) [Not sure about this statement, but it was relation between power and frequency which is given in slide 40 in the first lecture]
16. [One problem with coming up with an expression with some T1, T2, T3 and T3 and E1, E2, E3 and E4 for something. Don’t remember, I didn’t get time to look at this as this was the last question in the set]

Q2. We have a system with cache and memory. The cache capacity is 8 blocks and each block is one word. We have a 4 x 10 array, X(i, j) which is stored in main memory from address 7A00 to 7A27 in a column major fashion. (7A00 contains X(0, 0), 7A01 contains X(1, 0) etc). MM is also word addressable. The following program is executed

TOT = 0
For j = 0 to 9, do
TOT = TOT + x(0, j)
End do
AVE = TOT / 10;
For i = 9 to 0, do
X(0, i) = X(0, i)/AVE; /* Normalizing all the elements in the first row */
End do

Run the LRU algorithm on the above code for both the following scenarios
(i). Direct Mapping
(ii). Associative Mapping
Draw the mapping diagram also.
Hint: The memory is in hex [and some more, which I don’t remember]

Q3. A computer architect wants to connect 8 processor nodes to 8 memory modules using an MIN. He/she decides to use a baseline network, but wanted to have more connections from input to output and decided to have 5 stages. The first 3 stages – stage 1 to stage 3 – is done as normal self-routing network. Then from stage 5 through stage 3 is also self-routing network. For e.g., if we partition the whole network into two parts around stage 3, we will get exact mirror image. For this network, answer the following questions,
a. Draw the above stated network
b. How many paths are there for a given input-output pair
c. Device a strategy to route a given input node to an output node
d. A processor connected to the first switch in the first stage, P(0) is connected with memory module in the last switch in the last stage – M(7). Now the processor P(3) wants to connect to M(3). Show how the connections are reconfigured for the above design (qn. Q3 - c)

Q4. (Same question as problem 6.13 in text) For the same 4 pipelined stage in Qn 6.13,
a. Specify the reservation table
b. Find the collision vector
c. Draw the state diagram and mark the transitions

Q5. Formulate the differential equations for the reliability model for memory with state diagrams and with full equations (Same question as the reliability model for memory in notes)

[---- Questions Paper Ends Here ----]

Some doubts I had during my preparation for this exam. There are more which I never wrote down and now I don’t remember them. I had all these doubts by the end of my preparation which was just before the exam, so I didn’t get time to clarify them.

Qn. 19 in self test. The answer given is False. But in the text page 55 says “Bernstien’s conditions simply imply that two processes can execute in parallel if they are flow independent, anti independent and output independent”. Does it directly contradict the answer or is it ‘cos it doesn’t say anti-independence?
Qn. 28 in self test. The answer given is CRCW, but in text page 37, 38, it is clear that the ‘uncommon’ type is ERCW.
Qn. 43 in self test. “All processors need not be executing an instruction concurrently in a MIMD machine”. The answer for this one says False as per the self test answers, but the qn no. 10 in the qn bank “In a MIMD computer, all processors must execute the same instruction at the same time simultaneously” which is given as False too, directly contradicts this.

Page 346 in text. The input to the switch from both p1 and p2 shows e1 as the increment factor. It should be e1 and e2 right?
Can we consider pipelines as a MISD stage or a systolic array. Cos they are multiple fn units acting on a single data stream with specific function. In linear pipelines, the stages cannot be programmed. But in non-linear, different stages can be programmed also right?
In the Pentium, why do we need 2 bits for the history in the BTB? We need only one bit right?
Qn. 29 in self test, given a CV, how can we uniquely say the number of pipeline stages in the RT? Even is no stage is left unutilized in any cycle, the m of the CV will be less than n-1 right?

Some points I wish to note here, (just like my previous post)
1. I am not sure about the answers of the multiple choice questions and that is why I have given pointers to the page where they are mentioned.
2. There is no guarantee for any of these questions to be exactly the same as seen in the question paper. I simply wrote down what I remember after the exams.
3. I am publishing this the next day of my exams and so I don’t know the results, yet.
4. Please don’t send me mails asking for answers, please post comments in the comments section so that someone else may answer.