Monday, April 30, 2007

Using ScribeFire to blog

Trying to see how Scribefire will work with blogger !! ..btw I am looking for a offline blog post editor !! ...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Choosinng Cable TV, Internet, Phone, Mobile Contracts in Singapore

I discovered it little late. So would like the people to understand this concept very well when they try to subscribe to any New Cable TV, Internet, Mobile, or Land Phone services from any of the companies in Singapore.

Being coming from India the concepts from getting into contracts for new subscriptions was little new to me.

For all the above services there are several companies like :

1. Starhub - - Mainly for Cable TV
2. M1 - - Phone + Internet
3. Singtel - - Phone + Internet

All the companies run "promotions" all the time. So this is very important to know that these companies run it all the time. They offer lot of discounts/gifts etc when they run promotions, one needs to choose between the discount & gifts they offer.

So points to remember before you finalize your contract with any of these companies :

  • Research well to to understand which service you want & who is the best provider in your area
  • Always look for best option in order to minimise the contract period & penalty in event of you breaking the contract
  • Generally the contract is for 12 or 24 months
  • The 24 months contracts is always better sometimes & offer maximum gifts like even Laptops in some cases !!
  • Try to understand your need & subscribe based on that, not on the based on what you are getting as a part of contract ..e.g. One company is giving away Laptop(they say worth $1500) for your 24 months contract with them for taking 3 services(Cable TV+Internet+Phone). But if you break the contract within 24 months, you might have to pay $1000 back :) ..So decide what you want...
  • Look for your needs - e.g. You want to make more local calls or IDD Calls.
  • Some companies will offer Free IDD calls to India, USA etc for a fixed minimum rental per month. So if you are going to make more calls to that IDD destination make use of this facility.
  • Generally breaking the contract is never profitable :(
  • Never rush for the promotional offer or discounts, there is always something hidden in it. So take your time & then go for it.
Some more general Information for these services :

  • Starhub Cable TV has only 3 Hindi Channels - Star Plus, Zee TV, Sony
  • Internet Services by Starhub is advertised at upto 6000 kpbs speed. So it might vary, it is not a dedicated speed.
  • Singtel promises to provide better Broadband than Starhub - I have personally not used it.
  • Generally - the Local calls are charged at .15 cents per minute
  • IDD to India from Starhub mobile is expensive, instead buy a calling card which gives upto 80 minutes for $10 value
  • M1 has a 384 kpbs anywhere wireless broadband service which is cheaper & good if your Internet usage is not much :

Disclaimer : The above points are written by me based on my own experience & may change depending on the offer going on by the company at any given time. So please check the offer before deciding.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cost of living Singapore - 2007

I have been trying to get realistic picture of "cost of living in Singapore" before I moved in here. i searched many blogs & yahoo answers. I surely got some idea, but it was hard to find the close the approximate feel of how much does it costs a couple with one child or for a couple to live in Singapore with moderate expenses NOW !!.

As it is very important for us to know the cost of living in a new country or city before we move-in, so that we are financially & emotionally prepared to live there !!.

Now that I have already been living in Singapore for more than 3 months, I guess I can put some math around for other people who are in search of the same question "How much does is cost to live in Singapore?".

Again what I am trying to put here is something based on my experience & my lifestyle(which call as Moderate).

I will try to update more on this as I get more data based on my experience here in Singapore.Now let me explain some of the expenses in short to avoid any confusion.
Local transport will cost around $100 for commuting daily to office by MRT/Bus

Fixed Expenses
These are some of the expenses you will have on a monthly basis.
Variable Expenses
These expenses can be different for some months, but most of you will have these as well. Now again here is the lifestyle comes into picture, someone using more of Taxi or eating out frequently will have more amount spent in this category.

Rent is the major expense in singapore & it ranges from $1000 to $1500, depending where you stay in Singapore. Staying closer to the CBD(or city area/downtown area) is more expensive. So one needs to decide a cap on this before you try to find a good house to stay. The HDB(developed by Singapore Govt) are the most economical & do serve the purpose.

There are 3 types of housing·

  • HDB Most of the housing is HDB. Economical & most people prefer this to start with. Choices are 1,2,3,4,5 Bed Room flats in most of areas of Singapore.·
  • Condo These are expensive housing schemes by govt or private builders. They are few in all areas & provide facilities like Swimming pool, gym, guarded security etc. But the rooms generally are smaller & you have to pay more for it.

Settlement Expenses

Consider some settlement expenses when you arrive, following are based on my experience·

  • One Month rental as Deposit (e.g. $1300)·
  • 50% of the per month rent as Brokrage to Agent (e.g. $650)·
  • Most of the HDB/Condo flats will have furniture, but sometimes you might have to buy something. Furniture is expensive depending on what you want to buy (e.g. $500 for a Queen size bed)·
  • Buying any electronics items like Mixer Grinder/Vaccum Cleaner etc will cost more here.·
  • Indian style Kitchen utensils are expensive here (e.g. $50 for a 4 ltr Aluminum Hackings cooker)·
  • Any other item you want to buy which is not there in Flat you rent or required.

Some other points about Singapore

  • All Indian vegetables/grocery are available in Mustafa 24 hour shop· Little India(a Place in Singapore) has most of the other Indian Stuff & food items.·
  • No need of Car as pubic transport is very effective & cheap to travel all around Singapore·
  • Weather is not extreme..humid climate·
  • Lots of Indians for community help·
  • Roundtrip to India is about $700-1000 per person
  • Deposit to Schools for registration (e.g. 1 month fee or around $1000-1500 for Indian Schools.
  • There are 2 Indian Schools : Bhavans & DPS !! Having CBSE system.

Some useful websites·

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