2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Passport renewal experience

It was in total a 3 hour process for me at DFA Megamall to do passport renewal yesterday.

DFA is located at the 7th floor of the Convergys building located in front of Megamall Buidling A. On getting there, there was a line to get into the ground floor elevator. Waiting there took a while.

At the 7th floor there is a line to get into the DFA office. The person at the entrance only allows people with appointment schedules before or at the current time to enter. My appointment was at 1030 and it was past 1030 already so I got in.

After getting in, the reception person does a bit of ID checking. And then tells people to head to window 4 to 7.

At window 4 to 7, there is a long line. It is perhaps where I spent most of my time waiting. There seemed to be only a few of the windows open and serving people at any time, hence the long queue. It seemed like there were only one or two windows operating at any time.

Once in a while there was a public announcement, explaining the requirements for renewal and other passport services (e.g. new passport). So the requirements were: photocopy of first and last page of passport, the passport and another form of ID. These were the ones I knew about already from speaking with the DFA passport phone hotline number previously but it turns out they also want a photocopy of the extra form of ID. This one has not been previously mentioned by the DFA phone service or the website. I just had to have mine photocopied right then. There was a photocopying service at the back of the same room so that was not a problem.

When I got to the front, I presented my documents, and let the person at the window know that I wanted mine done quickly so it has to be rushed. She suggested:
– pickup instead of delivery, because delivery adds a day to the process
– cancelling my current passport already to avoid the hassle later

She attached two small slips of paper to my application. One of which has contact information through which I am supposed to be able to followup on the status of my passport processing.

After that, I have to go the cashier to pay. The cashier prints machine validation into one of the slips of paper and its done. At this step, I didn’t encounter a line. Everyone was already being held up sufficiently at the previous step.

The next step is encoding and its also where you get your photo taken. There was a short line here. I got asked several times to make sure that what was entered was correct, and I was then asked to sign the typed up info. After that, that was the end of the process for me.

I didn’t arrange for delivery, otherwise there would have been one more extra step.

So, the upshot of it all is that the DFA passport renewal service’s time estimate is that I will get my rush passport renewal in: 9 to 14 working days. Does passport renewal really have to take this long?