Sparkfun Free Day

I don't believe I stayed up for this. On 7th January 2010, The Sparkfun Free day starts. You can order anything up to USD100.00 and after that, anything over the amount, you pay the balance. Oh, and you also pay the shipping. And Freeday will stop once the USD100,000 mark has been reached. Which is nice because this is their way of "giving" back. And so, on that very day, or shall I say, minight, all Hell broke loose......
This is was the only page I got after I wanted to checkout.
After that, everytime I hit F5, I got a "blank page"
And for the next 2 hours, it was the same thing and the
only information was from their Forum which generated
a lot of postings. So, I just hit F5 there to see them
fulfilling the USD100K target in the Forum.

Despite upgrading to a nice server, their suffered a DOS
(Denial of Service) as too many people were trying to
get in and make their orders. So, the webpages slowed
to a crawl thanks to the record 111,493 hits

Even maximising their bandwidth did not help with
their new Sparc servers.

Anyway, reading through their Forums, there were a lot of sour grapes and annoyed first time customers. And there were a lot of rational arguments too. But then again, this is the Internet where a simple spark can turn into a razing inferno in a very short time. And yes, this is also the Internet where everyone want things for free, by yesterday. Still, some of the arguments were right. This is a successful publicity stunt which, for a few hours, made Sparkfun the number one search on Google. However, due to the immense visits, they were really overwhelmed. So, for every satisfied customer, there were 10 pissed of new and loyal customers. Oh well, if I did get what I wanted (A simple Digital oscilloscope and some Arduino) I would be very happy. Still, easy come, easy go.

In the aftermath, a lot of people complained about not being able to get in, get free stuff, alienating loyal customers and so on, while on the other hand, some did and ( some did not) preferred to be psychological about it saying its all about being web-savvy smart, be an adult and expect this, bla.. bla.. bla.. This is the Internet age where everyone takes for granted they can get anything for free and that its theirs by birthright. Don't believe me? Try this.

Do you get annoyed when:
1) You send a SMS to your friend and they do not answer within 30 seconds
2) Your Office does not allow you to surf the Internet during Lunch-hour
3) You cannot call your next door neighhour's Mobile Phone for the past 5 minutes

But for me, I am annoyed because I could not even get in just after 00.01 (0901 their time) even after I have made the purchase. And I could have made the purchase even without the Free Day. And for the rest of the two hours I stupidly wasted, I discovered that I do not need Sparkfun that much because after a short search, I found out the same Oscilloscope kit was being sold USD20 cheaper. Yes, and also, I can vent about Sparkfun and make childish noises of not being a customer or buying from them bla.. bla.. bla..

You know, they could have just said, "Yo, we've got new servers! The lucky 1000 who managed to get in will have USD100.00 worth of prizes but you have to pay shipping. And for loyal customers, we'll do a draw and the lucky 50 can have their shopping later." Or something to that effect.

Sparkfun can say, this is a test on their new servers and so on. But the precious publicity they generated is going fast the other way. Its a nice idea but poorly executed. Somehow, while passing the news from one to everyone, The "Spakrfun Free Day with a catch" has somehow mutated to "Free" which, like a "SALE" sign, turns every housewife into shop-till-you-drop-zombie.

Because now I know what Sparkfun is, I don't give a shit about them.

And I still don't believe I stayed up for this.

The Yam Cake

Let me put it this way. Yam is nice. You have it mashed and shaped into a bowl and deep-fried. You can cut it to little chunks and steam it. You can slice it and turn it into crisps. You can even turn it into ice-cream and colour it purple too. But a yam Birthday cake? This is a new one. Let' hope they don't come up with yam-flavoured Shandy or wine cooler or something. Still had anyone come across yam bread and yam pizza?

Anyway, today's weather is not that good. And so,
with nothing else better to do, my Boss rushed out
all of a sudden...

And came back with a Birthday cake. Yep, its one
of our Tech's birthday and this time, we're not
going to miss this one. Now, when we opened the
box to see a purple cake, I was half expecting it to
smell like one of those Lavender powder perfumes.

Anyway, it tastes nice. OK, I mean if you're
going to buy a cake early so in the morning,
its going to come in frozen. So, the middle
of the cake is frozen, and so is the yam.

[Later on, when we left it overnight in the fridge, it tasted blissfully delicious the next morning. Wow. The only thing missing is the Kampung Koh Chili sauce.]