Thursday, December 25, 2008


Silent Night Chapel and Museum in Oberndorf, Austria Photograph by Gakuro
(Obtained from

Ramsau,Germany,Church 4
(Obtained from
Josef Mohr who wrote the words to Silent Night Served here. The Reiteralpe mountain range in the background.

(From FOCUS on the FAMILY, by Dr. James Dobson from Academy of Certified Counsellors, Specialist Diploma in Teaching and Supporting Children with Special Needs)

It was Dec 23, 1818, in the small Austrian village of Oberndorf. Father Josef Mohr had begun preparing the music for the Christmas Eve service at his church. That evening, he attended the town Christmas play, then made his way up a nearby mountain overlooking the city. There he sat, taking in the beauty of the evening darkness and the starlit sky overhead.

reached home around midnight and sat down to pen a new song, one which could be played on the guitar, because the church organ was broken. With the freshness of the mountain evening still on his mind, he began to write. All the while, the words flowed from his pen.

The next morning he asked his organist, Franz Gruber, to put a tune to the poem, something that could be played on a guitar. A few hours later, the task was accomplished.

And so it was, on Christmas Eve, 1818, that Father Mohr sang tenor and Franz Gruber sang bass, as the tiny town of Oberndorf heard for the first time a simple new song, a song that has since touched millions of lives around the world.

They called it Stille Nacht. You and I know it as Silent Night.

The christmas song Stille Nacht, autograph by Franz Gruber,
Photographed by deBenutzerMezzofortist

(Obtained from

(Obtained from

Music: Franz Xaver Gruber, 1818

Words: Josef Mohr, 1816

Translation: John Freeman Young

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Gottes Sohn! O wie lacht
Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
Jesus in deiner Geburt!
Jesus in deiner Geburt!

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Die der Welt Heil gebracht,
Aus des Himmels goldenen Höhn
Uns der Gnaden Fülle läßt seh'n
Jesum in Menschengestalt.
Jesum in Menschengestalt.

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Wo sich heut alle Macht
Väterlicher Liebe ergoß
Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß
Jesus die Völker der Welt.
Jesus die Völker der Welt.

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Lange schon uns bedacht,
Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit,
In der Väter urgrauer Zeit
Aller Welt Schonung verhieß.
Aller Welt Schonung verhieß.

Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Alleluja,
Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
Jesus der Retter ist da!
Jesus der Retter ist da!

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
'Round yon virgin mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Saviour is born
Christ the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

"Halleluiah!" is used sometimes in place of "Alleluia". "Alleluia" is the original usage.


(obtained from

(Obtained from

  • TODAY, VOICES, Tuesday december 23, 2008, Page 18

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Obstacles in working life - 拌 脚 石

拌 脚 石"Stumbling block, Obstacle"
Bàn jiǎo shí

知 足 者 常 乐"Easily satisfied brings everlasting happiness"
Zhī zú zhě cháng lè

锦 山 添 花"a flourishing scene of numerous success and prosperity"
Jǐn shàn tīan huā

知 错 能 改, 善 莫 大 焉"know the mistakes and is able to change, is the greatest thing"
Zhī cuò néng gǎi, Shàn Mò Dà yàn

富 有 的 人 不是 因 为 他 拥 有 的 多,而 是 需 要 的 少"A person is wealthy not because he possesses plenty, but because his needs is little"
Fù yǒu dè rén bù shì yīn weì tā yǒng yǒu dè duō, ér shì xū yào dè shǎo

Obstacles in working life

Non-supportive action
Having proper tools and adequate time is often necessary to produce quality result. Unfortunately we are witnessing and experiencing the lacking of equipments and the required time to accomplish the tasks assigned. It is already obvious that current day’s management look for the required results without any responsibility to provide the important requisites. The assumption is that since "I am already having what I need, what you need is no concern of mine. I don't see any need for you to have any equipment or any more information. Just do the work and cut off complaining, there are thousands out there waiting to fill your space."

Procedures to suit the heavenly
Everybody wait for Somebody to prepare a heavenly procedure to suit their tasks. It seems that Anybody can do it but in reality Nobody dare to come out with a BETTER and SUITABLE procedures. Who wants to get blame for anything that is inadequate, incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate? It is always better to blame that Somebody whenever something imperfect is discovered. Then with a righteous and saintly behaviour proceed to suggest something better, but most likely won't be implemented.

The true meaning of "Superior" and "Subordinate"
If the subordinates are brave and resourceful enough to initiate a change, they will be promptly shot down and declared as terrorist. If none of the subordinates has any action then they are considered "lacked the essentials for getting the work done". Understand this: Subordinate does not have the authority but are expected to shoulder full responsibility. Those higher up the ladder are immune to any failures because they have to cover very large area$. After all, their task is "to observe or to monitor" - a very complicated task.

Lack of clear and accurate job aids, reference guides and online assistance
The ancient grandmother problem of lack of space on paper still exists. Illustrations using photos are still presented in so small a format that the normal naked eyes will have problem identifying what is in it. Using the magnifying glass is still not sufficient to see the minute details. Asking for the soft copy is equivalent to committing an criminal offense. Any mistakes may takes decades to be noticed and another few centuries to be corrected.

Methods to do the task becomes more and more tedious, time-consuming and more noisy
Everybody knows and expects tasks to be done in as simple manner as possible to achieve the same result. However there live this sophisticated group of philosophers who insists on more complex, noisy and health threatening process. The life of those performing the tasks is simply not worth anything.

Unattainable deadlines or workloads
Erratic plans and schedules are constantly produced such that people need to work like a runaway train and ending with all parts damaged. All tasks are pronounced “VERY URGENT”. One may wonder why there is the need to plan; there is no way to meet the “Scheduled Date of Release”.

Barbaric animal instinct

The tasks are allowed to accumulate if the equipments break down. However once the equipments are up, then hell breaks loose. People wished that they are death rather than going through the suffering. All the lifeless tasks suddenly make to rear up with urgency. Why are people so barbaric?

Information sharing are non existence
Any request to have shared info, will be met with “access to relevant data is on the way”. Just that and no more. All are trained experts to share others’ data but not sharing "their owns". Relevant “authorities” also agreed to that. Prevalent attitudes: "Why bother about the others’ needs when mine is met?"

Duplicating of administrative tasks
Almost every level requests for the same tasks and hours spent by each subordinate. Each request is accompanied by a different set of forms and formats. There are too many unnecessary headaches for the same amount of pay. Each time the managements meet; more tasks are delicate downward. There is very poor cooperation between the managements but the subordinates suffer.

Individual methods to overcome the obstacles
  • Be easily satisfied to obtain everlasting happiness (while others press and press?)
  • Engage in other activities that bring success and prosperity (greener pasture ?)
  • know the mistakes and be able to change (over-serving character, inherited from slave or the historical serving generation?)
  • Note that a person is wealthy not because he possesses plenty, but because his needs is little (how much is consider little?)
(The contributors apologize if the contents are provocative beyond endurance. No malice intended, just thinking aloud.)

References and Appreciations
  • Philips' colleagues (both young and old)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Compare and contrast Issues raised in the case of ordinary consumer electronics and commercial or industrial products

Due to the ever changing world and the necessities to keep up with the new technologies and the fast changing customers’ demands, consumer products require constant upgrading during their life time. Commercial and industrial products also face another group of customers who command even more attention for better performances. [Upgrading Method]

Competition is very intense to have products that provide the best performance and at the least cost. In order to ensure that the product can survive as long as possible, ways must be created or found to fulfill the harsh requirements. Unfortunately there are no easy solutions available as the problems come not only internally but also from externally. A suitable model to represent the current situation and which can help to identify the likely sources of obstacles is important.

Derek Hitchins’s Generic Reference Model (GRM) can help. This model takes into consideration both the internalized and externalized view of the product system. The GMR internal viewpoint of a system is covered by its function and form. Basically it will champion in diagnosing and evaluating the product design’s specification. How well the product is accepted by consumer (external viewpoint) is look into by the GR (Behavior) Model. Behaviors are naturally very complex, mostly unpredictable, environmental dependant and situational. This model expresses them as emergent properties (Performance, Availability of Performance and Survivability of Performance). The overall acceptance and therefore it success of a product depends on how well these emergent properties are achieved. [Derek Hitchins, GRM]

Figure 1: Derek Hitchins’s Generic Reference Model - Internal & Emergent Properties

Issues raised in the case of ordinary consumer electronics and commercial or industrial products Upgrading” as defined in the dictionary:
  • to promote to a higher grade or rank: He has been upgraded to senior vice president
  • to improve or enhance the quality or value of: to upgrade property by landscaping it
The second explanation is more appropriate in our assignment. Issue” as defined in the dictionary:
  • “Cause, affair, business, concern, matter, argument, controversy, proposition, question”
  • “Outcome, end, consequence, result”
The first meaning is problem-related and the second is outcome-related. In this assignment, “issue” is problem-related with possible effect on the outcome. [Derek Hitchins, Issue]

Upgrading issues” means the problems caused by upgrading and its outcome effect. For example, Product developers are constantly challenged with disputable issues like greater frequency of providing updates and longer warranty periods. The outcome is that each upgrade provides lesser solution and there is limited warranty for the longer period.

Product upgrading during its life time is necessary but the issues that prompt developer to do so are not identical or universal. Ordinary consumer electronics products tend to upgrade at a faster rate than industrial products.
There are also cases where the products attribute changes from “Commercial or Corporate” to “Consumer Electronics”.

Demand for timely, better “structure” (form) and more “functions” (features).
Consumer expectation changes as time passes by. The expectation of the older generation is drastically different from that of the younger ones. Not so long ago the first hand-phone is bulky and is capable for “wireless” communication only. It is expensive and mostly own by corporate organization. It has then quickly replaced the walkie-talkie used in construction sites and shipbuilding industries because of its convenience in making “longer distance” call, and the demand for such product increased exponentially. More developers jump in this area and development for smaller structure (form) but more powerful (functions) hand-phone gathered momentum. The younger generation loves it as it arrives in their time and has become more affordable. This is the case of upgraded product having “
Evolutionary capability to adapt to a changing environment”. The upgraded product is thus able to satisfy the new demands during that period of time and has very little issues. [Derek Hitchins, GRM], pg. 77.

In contrast, another product for a large company information system faces demand for better performance and emergent properties. This case is not so straight forward as just to produce a better product, but also the need to consider its implementation. A large information system that is required 24/7 like that of the international airports and hospitals, requires intensive planning and long period to migrate to an upgraded system. Singapore General Hospital has about 3,000 PC connected to its servers. An upgrading of its servers from one Windows operation system to another requires that the other 3,000 client PC be upgraded, to be able to connect to the new servers. This task will take about seven months to a year to complete. The 5,000 login consumers’ demand may not be met timely.

Collecting the users’ feedbacks
Developers are constantly alert for changes in end users behavior. By monitoring the habits and other consumption characteristics will enable them to upgrade the products to best suit the users. The feedbacks collected are different for consumer electronics and industrial products. VCR, DVD and nowadays Blu-Ray players are capable of providing more input sources like USB, Antenna and Karaoke Microphone. Video outputs are also numerous like CVBS, YUV, S-Video and the HDMI with full HD quality. Players also come with Analog Stereo, 5.1 Channels, Digital Coaxial and Optical audio outputs. The consumer products feedbacks are “Influence” type which relies on the users’ attractions of life, culture, work, play, and environment, economic, political, religious, geographic and technological factors. [Derek Hitchins, GRM], pg. 80.

The upgrading issue starts from the issue of collecting feedbacks from the huge consumer population that may be spread across the world. 24/7 hotlines, help lines and internet websites are required to assist in the data collection. Such information requires specialists to compile before anything meaningful can be recognized. Collecting data and interpreting them before deciding on which upgrade to perform already takes up a lot of effort and time.

Collecting data from industrial product could be relatively easier. A power plant equipped with a generator would most likely feedback its “Potential” data. These data includes the Power, Capacity and Redundancy information. Power plant does not change unless there is a change in the power requirement. Information on any immediate future plan to increase the power requirement is important to the machine vendor.

Another 1,000 years from now the power station may need to check whether their machine can cope with the year change from 2999 to 3000. This is similar to the Y2K problem that occurs 8 years ago. Therefore there are minimum upgrading required and lesser upgrading issues.

Ease of use and realization of benefits after upgrading.
Consumer products are relatively easy to use and its benefits can be realized almost immediately, for example, the user is able to take pictures using the hand-phone. Transferring the photos to other device such as the DVD player or PC is very easy. The users are able to learn the new features by themselves, often with very little help from others. The startup guide book provides enough information to allow the user to enjoy the benefits of the new product. The user can quickly adapt to the upgraded product. Hence, after upgrading, the developer has very little issues and even if there is, is relatively simple to solve.

The industrial products upgrading could be another full scale system integration project. There will be new instrumentations and equipments that require special skills to operate. The new system with its new PLC and other controller may have different operating procedures. The operating staffs need specialized training before able to operate the system independently. A period of time is necessary for the new system to be fully functional and the full benefits of the upgrading are realized.

Upgrading cost and profit margin
Consumer electronics product due to the rapid need to modify and develop new features has low marginal returns because the market is near saturation. This means that the profit margin for upgrading is low. The developer is unable to realize the return for his investment because of the short time to the next upgrading. The opportunity costs may also be high, that is, what is scarified by the developer cannot be recovered and is not worth doing so. The developer could be trying to minimize the cost at the expense of other successful products. Therefore he is better off doing some thing else instead of tussling with the high cost and diminishing return issue.

The vendor supplying the industrial products or system is also faced with fierce competition and is forced to cut price until the minimum. He may just barely cover the cost of supplying the upgrade package, unless he is capable enough to claim the variation costs. One advantage is, as the supplying vendor, he stands a better chance to win the maintenance contract. This will allow him and his team workers to sustain in this industry for the time being. Upgrading costs are often difficult to estimate unless the vendor is very familiar with the existing system.

Quality of the upgraded product
Consumer electronics product are put through a series of test to ensure its quality and safety standard. Electrically, the products must comply with the IEC 61000-4-2 standard. In order to maintain the quality at international standards, the product design needs to conform to the International Standardization of Organization, ISO 9001:2000. Home Theater System, VCR, DVD and Blu-Ray players and recorders must go through a series of playability, electrical, mechanical, transportation, climatic and burn-in tests before entering the market. Some 300 different commercial playability discs that give problems in the past models are used for the playability testing. Another 100 standard playability discs are used to verify the player’s basic functionality. All these rigorous tests have to be conducted whenever an upgrading has to be done. The outcome is a more solid and reliable product for the consumer. The emergent properties and its achievements are evident in consumer electronics products, as they are able to perform up to expectation for a long time.

Typically, users are still skeptical about the upgraded consumer electronics products. In recent time such products are found to have attractive external appearance but its performance deteriorate and break down even before reaching the end of the warranty period. For example the electric thermo flask last for less than half a year. Electric rice cooker last for a few days. It then seems that upgraded new models are worse than before, which happens to be obsolete.

Industrial products have to go through more rigorous test so that it can withstand more hazardous environment. The products could be designed for medium or high voltage system. The difference in voltage warrants different sophisticated testing methods. Products may be designed for a wide range of uses. For example circuit breakers have different grades. Grade A is meant for domestic usage. Grade B is for residential buildings and offices. Grade C is for industrial use. Grade D is for device that is continuously pulsating. Similarly, product for military use belongs to another higher grade. Military products should also be able to operate for a wider temperature range. Obviously industrial products are designed with high quality standard and are meant to last for a long time. After the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT), Installation, Commissioning and System Acceptance Test are carried out, the products in a well designed system should last for a long time. Upgrading is rarely carried out. It is replaced by maintenance testing instead.

Disposal, reuse and recycle of parts resulting from upgrading
After numerous upgrading, one followed by another, product developers will have to consider whether the older models are to be disposed or alternatively to recycle it. Derek K Hitchins’s GRM (Function) takes into consideration the disposal of unwanted resources or waste. The waste from upgrading of consumer electronics products must be disposed off in an effective, efficient, safe and desirable manner. [Derek Hitchins, GRM], pg. 78.

For consumer electronics products, direct disposing is not the best solution. Reuse some parts of the product might create another business opportunity. Those parts that cannot be reused, recycling them can help to promote the ecological green environment.

one ton of mobile phone circuits can yield the same amount of precious metals as mining 110 tons of gold ore.[Mobilemuster, July 2008]

Industrial products create waste too, and must also be disposed off properly, reuse or recycle so as to increase sustainability of resources. There are calls to build more ecological industrial products that are friendlier to the ecological environment. [Sustainability]


One of the methods to have better product is by upgrading an existing stable model to become the most desirable model to the consumer. It will be very stressful in the consumer electronics sector, with having to continuously and rapidly searching for the upgrading solutions.

Products used by basic industries, especially those that are customized, special and huge, like power station generator, do not have this problem. However, there are imminent problems to search for the “accessories” to work with this main product. It is no longer a product but a system integration problem. One generator will requires programmable logic controller (PLC), power distribution boards, motor control center (MCC), cables, relay panels, circuit breakers and many other electrical products in order to function. The owner is most properly the government. Once a vendor is chosen to built the system, chances is that the same vendor will be called to do the next similar project regardless of whether the product has upgraded or not.

Upgraded consumer electronics product can be easily adapted by the users and very little or no training is required. The new features and its benefits can be easily realized. On the contrary, an upgrading a large information system will takes time for all the users to become familiar with the new system.

Consumer electronics product developer needs to constantly monitor the user’s behavior in order to come out timely with a suitable product. Basic industries requirement seldom change, unless it is in a very rapidly changing environment. Its immediate future requirements are mostly predictable.

Upgrading the consumer electronics and industrial product, both mostly faces the same problem of high costs and low profit margin. This is due to the existing fierce competitive environment. Quality of the upgraded product may drop.

Developer and vendor of both types of products have the responsibility to take care of the waste produced. It has to be disposed off, reuses or recycled in an efficient, effective and safe manner. Products have the “eco-friendly” issue.

It is inevitable that things change with time. Developers of products need to react accordingly in order that their products remain viable in the market. The Managing Director of one company told his staffs the philosophy, “Strive to be the best in whatever you do and work smartly.” The same applies to product developers. They must outsmart their competitors to come out with the most sellable products.

[The contributor of this article is embarking on a new project to create a machine capable of flying and submerging into water with just US$80,000.]

Reference list:

[Upgrading Method]
(Author: Young-Hoon Park, Min Ding, and Vithala R. Rao) A Web-Based Upgrading Method - upgrade from a “bare-bones” product to a more desirable product configuration.

[Derek Hitchins, Wikipedia]
This Wikipedia free encyclopedia website provides the links to Prof Derek K Hitchins’s Homepage, Books and Articles.
To obtain the related System Engineering books to start the assignment.
The need for upgrading resembles closely the concept of Generic Reference Model especially the function part - Mission, Resource and Viability Management.
Essential Systems Engineering guide. This is the original on which the IEE's Draft Guide to the Proper Practice of Systems engineering was based.

[Mobilemuster, July 2008]
Mobile technology upgrade presents recycling opportunity, Wednesday, 9 July 2008.


Sustainability Communities and Industrial Ecology

[Derek Hitchins, GRM] Derek K Hitchins, 1993, Putting Systems to Work, first published 1992 by Wiley (ISBN: 0-471-93426-7), Chichester, Chapter 4, Page 75 to 85, The Generic Reference Model

[Derek Hitchins, Issue] Derek K Hitchins, 1993, Putting Systems to Work, first published 1992 by Wiley (ISBN: 0-471-93426-7), Chichester, Chapter 8.1, Page 153, Addressing issues. What is an ” issue?


丢人现眼 “to lose face, embarrassing”
Dīu rén Xìan yǎn

心惊胆跳 “scared the heart out”
Xīn jīng dǎn tìao

,不可忘恩负义“Think of the mentor , do not be ungrateful”
Yín shuǐ sī yuàn, bù kè wàng ēn fù yì

Being retrenched is accompanied by "losing face" and some moments of anxiety. The shock can be as great as being hit by an UFO. For employee, the feeling of having ungrateful management is very intense. Ultimately in this very cruel and harsh world, we will learn that the famous "Nobody owns Anybody a living" is a very realistic statement. Once an employee is deem "non-contributable", he will be "executed / Cut Off" immediately. Just like a diabetic foot.

The executors may not be very fair judges. They are just like any human beings, who practice "the strongest survives". They will mercilessly execute those who are less beneficial to them, without bating an eyelid. The executors may even preach about "saving cost to save jobs". However they explained that it is utmost necessary to "cut jobs to save cost".

The idea that the livings can help the unfortunates appears to be just grandmother stories. The small remains small and will be told to disappear. They are just to make way for the "better" ones, before, now and ever after.

This is all very meaningless. Loyalty and integrity has no value in bad times.

It has happened and will continue to happen.

This vicious phenomenon launches waves after waves of attacks.

Who on earth can save us?

No Job - Odd Todd

Click here to play


Friday, December 12, 2008

Supermarket Checkout System

Stakeholder and Goal of each stakeholder in relation to the system
The stakeholders of the supermarket are Consumer, Owner, shareholder, Vendors, Government and Supermarket employee.
With the implementation of the checkout system the goals of the stakeholders are as follow.

  1. The checkout time to be cut short
  2. More flexibility, for example, 24/7 shopping hours
  3. More cost and time saving
  4. Safe to use with no health hazard
  5. Easy to use even for commoners
  6. Shorter checkout queues, a faster checkout process
  7. More privacy and greater control for the customers. New automated Supermarket Checkout Systems allows shoppers to scan, bag, and pay for their purchases with very limited help from store personnel.
  8. Customer must be able to scan, weigh and pay for their groceries via cash (notes and coins), credit or debit cards.
  9. The system should allow the customer to get cash out, buy and top-up mobile phone card, and provide consumers with the options provided at a full-serviced, manned lane.

Owner and Shareholder
  1. More profit because less employees needed. One cashier is now able to serve multiple customers simultaneously. Staff time is used more efficiently. Displaced labour could be used to improve the service in other areas which really help the customers without incurring extra cost.
  2. Able to cut other operating costs in middle/long term.
  3. Able to bring in more business.
  4. Checkout system able to prevent or reduce theft (crime), especially from stolen credit cards.
  5. The raw sales data collected by the system can be analysed to discover customer preferences and purchasing habits.

Vendor of the Checkout System
  1. Able to let more people know about the system
  2. The system can attracts other supermarkets to implement similar system
  3. Acceptance from the end customers
  4. Valuable feedback from users
  5. Introduce new technologies in a live environment
  6. Demonstrate to retailers not only that the product works, but that it will bring real business to benefit their stores

Supermarket Product Vendors
  1. More orders from the supermarket
  2. Better payment terms from the supermarket, for example, 60 days credit reduced to 30 days.

  1. The system does not in any way inhibit the progress and stability of the country
  2. It should have minimum or no political implication
  3. It has the characteristics and attributes to support the policy of the relevant ministry, especially in relation to human’s right and well-beings
  4. More value added goods and services produced (More GST collections)

Supermarket employee
  1. Still have a suitable job.
  2. The amount of efforts and scarifies to be rewarded promptly.
  3. System must be easy to maintain with supports and helps available from the vendors.
  4. Minimum Health hazard (less stress).

Characteristics or attributes must the system have in order to satisfy each stakeholder

  1. Electrical Safety standard according to IEC 61000-4-2
  2. Comply with ISO standards
  3. Durable and able to last for a long time. High Mean Breakdown Time Between Failures should be achievable.
  4. Accurate in all the process. System is calibrated, for example to measure small paper-packet items.
  5. Automatic Operations – automatic error detection and correction
  6. Ergonomic - User friendly and comfortable to work with
  7. Self recoverable from most problems
  8. Modern appearance and not intimating
  9. Expandable – for future increase in capacity
  10. Able to cope with Ad Hoc tasks and activities and work 20% beyond its capacity
  11. Uses at least the current state of art technology, for example, Windows Vista operating System and Core 2 CPU. The system should use familiar technologies such as touch screens, scanner, and credit and bank card readers. The touch-screen monitor gives the customer both visual and audio prompts, and guide them through the process step-by-step.
  12. Very Good Energy Efficiency Rating
  13. Acceptable size and does not occupy too much space
  14. Provide Credit Cards verification

Can the objectives of each stakeholder be satisfied simultaneously?

  1. Newer system and technology ensures better accuracy for everybody. Everyone benefits except for the crooks. An example, the checkouts work by using bar code information to get product weight as well as price. Customers scan the items and place them in a shopping bag mounted on a set of scales, which checks that the total weight of the bag matches that of the scanned goods.
  2. Lower crime rate as more security measures are in place. Lesser headache for the Government, supermarket owner and shareholders.
  3. Lesser cashiers are now needed to serve the same number of customers. There is no drop in customer services, but there is saving for the supermarket owner. The supermarket can operate with a leaner workforce.
  4. Some of the suitable displaced labour could be used to improve other customer services (helping, directing and informing people where to get the items) without incurring extra cost. For example, previous cashiers can become sales and marketing staffs to introduce new and existing products.
  5. More privacy and greater control for the customers with the use of the automated self-checkout system.
  6. Less energy consumption with the most modern state of art technology. This means lesser demand for oil, which is a commodity that can be used to manipulate the world.
  7. The Checkout System reduces waiting times for those in a hurry, or only needing to purchase a few items.

  1. Owner and shareholder in order to maximize profit will cause customer service to suffer by cutting quality help to those in need. Customer is being “penalized” by the system.
  2. There will be job lost when automation takes over. The normal cashier is unable to take over the sophisticated technical tasks of maintaining the system. Without a job means there is more difficulties to survive.
  3. Customer does not like to use the checkout system but prefers to use traditional checkouts. Reason being they feel that their skill is not sufficient to operate even the basic functions of the system. One generation period may be required for the younger customers to grow up to use it. The mindset of the older customer is difficult to change.
  4. The Checkout Systems is unable to prevent hi-tech criminals with stolen credit card details. Supermarket will suffer lost.

No, base on the above arguments, not all objectives of each stakeholder can be satisfied simultaneously.

  2., Checkout station to reduce retail theft, by John J. Bogasky

Monday, December 8, 2008

Falling Out of Love - 暗然伤心, 寂寞和孤独陪伴一生

暗然伤心"Secretly heartbroken"
àn rán shāng xīn

寂寞和孤独陪伴一生 - "Loneliness accompanied throughout the whole life"
Jí mò hé gū dú péi bàn yī shēng

"Secretly heartbroken after falling out of love. Loneliness then accompanied throughout the whole life"

A journey on the train after the loss of a girlfriend.

Click here to play


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Falling in Love - 眉来眼去, 神魂颠倒

眉来眼去“Make passes both ways”
Méi lái yǎn qù

神魂颠倒“To be infatuated”
Shén hún dián dǎo

“Make glances secretly at each other
And become mesmerized”

Click here to play