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And You Call It Human Technology?

2 April 2002 14:50

Hmm... I must be in the 'zone' right now. With the right kind of environment (no unnecessary distractions), mindset and mood, I actually managed to get a lot of stuff done both personal and work related. Here's something employers, especially here in Malaysia, should consider. With all the stuff that technology has enabled us to do, employees should be given the choice of how they want to work. Although the infrastructure is not up to par yet, to some who are privileged enough, telecommuting should be made an option. Why is this? Think of it. For some people, getting to work is really a stress inducing experience with all the traffic jams that they have to contend with to get to the workplace. Not only that, precious time is wasted during those said traffic jams when the person can't do anything else but sit in the car with the hands on the wheels and occasionally give the finger when other drivers are being inconsiderate. Telecommuting on the other hand, alleviates that. I for one feel that I can produce better results from telecommuting. You aren't easily drawn into any gossip conversations, unnecessary banters, people dragging you off your seat to help them out with something minute, etc. At the same time, your form of "healthy" distractions, e.g. having music blare from your speakers, won't be in the way of your colleagues. For working parents with children, you can also keep an eye on the kid and/or babysitter. I'm not saying that we should completely go into telecommuting and forget about establishing face-time altogether, but if the facility is there, why not use it as and when necessary? It's all about knowing when to use technology and also improving the quality of life for some people in the end.

I wanted to watch the Formula One race last night but my eyelids got the better of me and it ended up the TV watching me instead. I really shouldn't have stayed up all night the night before. Anyways, Michael Schumacher (Ferarri) won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, Sao Paolo in the F2002 with brother Ralf in the Williams-BMW taking second place and David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes) finishing the race in his first podium finish of the season at third place.

Is it just me or is April Fools becoming an old hat? Don't see that many jokes being pulled around this year. I did manage to pull off an April Fools though by announcing my "engagement" and "marriage". Heh!

Here's one that went quite well over SMS with the Brickchick:

    Me: I got engaged recently and am about to get married soon
    BC: WOW! Congrats! That's great! Got a date yet?
    Me: Yeah, it's April 1. Happy April Fools, suckaaa!
    BC: Bastard :P

Yeah I know. I won't be the last one laughing if I can't ever give that statement out other than on April 1. :P

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Sunday Morning Ramblings

1 April 2002 04:09

Ohh Gawddd! I really should put a big fat clock right in front of my workstation. I started working on something last night and as I went on completing one part after another, I didn't realize that it was already 5:30am! So I waited a bit more till it was time to perform the morning prayers before I went to bed sometime around 6am. :P Sheesh! See how it goes, I might consider making the stuff I worked on available for interested people to download. It's something Nomad Jukebox users might find of use.

The crisis in the Middle East is escalating no end. Israel is attempting to isolate Arafat in hope of trying to supposedly stop him from giving orders to those suicide bombers. Bush has reportedly said that he expects Arafat to do more. The situation confounds me tremendously. All this while, what frickin' thing can they expect Arafat do all this while when they limit his movements in Ramallah, what more now that he is under seige with tanks and soldiers surrounding his headquarters? Also, don't they (Israel and US) realize that those suicide bomber groups are acting on their own accord? If Arafat is killed at this juncture (God forbid!), I doubt the situation would ease as there would be more fatal attacks being carried out. At the same time, I also have a bone to pick with those suicide bombers. It's understandable that they're acting out of anger towards the atrocities commited towards them and their families but doesn't Islam strictly forbids one to kill oneself and harming other innocent people? What more, such actions would only tarnish the image of Islam and would cause much grief and hardship to those Muslims who are still around because of the subsequent retaliations! The situation is a simple one really but too much analysis and talk has somewhat clouded and complicated the whole thing into absurdity. I'm sure the remedy is a simple one that can be both fair and beneficial to both sides. Thing is, no one smart enough has yet to come up with such a thing. The situation needs real brains to resolve, not just plain brawn. Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) and his caliphs have managed to do that (getting Muslims and none Muslims to live in peace) in the past.

In another note, the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth I has passed away peacefully in her sleep with her daughter Queen Elizabeth II by her side. She was 101.

This weekend is also a Formula One weekend with the race taking place at Interlagos, Brazil. Looks like I'll be staying up late again tonight! :P

Listening to: Leftfield Vs. Fatboy Slim - Planet of the Phatbird

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When Elephants Dance, Internet Radio Dies

31 March 2002 05:13

When technologists build something that provides enablement of sorts, as usual those capitalists just love to pounce on the opportunity to make even more money. As is witnessed in what's currently happening to digital media stuff that's on the Internet these days. When technologists provide a means for entertainers to let their works be heard and seen to potentially many more people than the traditional medium is able to and subsequently benefit the consumers since they don't have to fork out more due to the cost effectiveness of the new delivery medium, unhappy voices, which ironically aren't of the authors themselves but their publishers, can be heard. I personally like being able to listen to radio stations from other parts of the world, particularly since they play newer variety of songs of different genres rather than repeated select number of songs of the boyband genre like the ones here do. Anyways, I have only recently been made aware that they are trying to control media streams such as Internet radios. Traditionally, in terms of musical works for example, broadcasters would need to pay a certain amount of royalty to the publishers based on the number of times they play a song and also the number of their projected listeners. This model works well since traditional medium like television or radio would have a limited geographical coverage. Now, shift this to the Internet and we have the floodgates of sorts open up. With hundreds of millions of potential audience, would the model still apply? When those webcasters and consumers alike got all excited about being able to reach audience of such magnitude, those royalty seekers dampen the mood with their claims. If this is allowed to continue, no one will benefit in the end. Everbody loses. More on this here.

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Let Geeks Lead

30 March 2002 15:48

Bart pointed me to an article in one of the local dailies that touches something that's been on my mind for quite a while already. One of the things that I'm disappointed with when it comes to working here in my own home country is that you can't find many great and brilliant minds in the technical fields doing like what their counterparts are in other countries. The situation is such that they've opted to work in those other countries where their skills can be made full use of and their contributions are much appreciated. If they've opted to work in this country, sooner or later, you'll find them doing the selling stuff. Either that or they eventually end up in some managerial positions where they no longer deal with the nitty gritty details of things anymore, which is sad because as John Carmack, the technical genius behind hit games like the Doom, Quake series once said in aninterview, "I feel bad for some companies out there. The founders, who are these incredible engineers, are now directors of their departments doing management rather than engineering. At the same time most of the people they are managing are nowhere near as good as they were at doing the actual work."

So why is this happening you ask? As the report mentioned, it can be attributed to the fact that they are not compensated well enough as those who are involved in the selling of the stuff they're building. I may be making a broad generalization here but fact of the matter is that the mentality and mindset of the people here and this region is still focused on selling of things rather than building it. Not surprising since, as the article also mentions, it goes back to our ancestors in the 15th century dealing with trade. One can hope that the mindset changes. Personally, I find working in the trenches dealing with the nuts and bolts of things as exciting, as I experienced over the last four years I have worked. Sooner or later though, the need for money to support oneself and family through life will set in and hence the need to change fields. I can't see myself taking to that easily though. I'm seriously hoping things'll somewhat change, otherwise, these people may find no motivation to work here anymore if they choose to continue doing what they know they can do best.

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Mudflood: The Aftermath

27 March 2002 15:17

Spent the whole day cleaning up the mess outside the house. I now know what hard labor feels like. There's so much mud out there, if you gather a crowd you can have a mini Woodstock! Fortunately, we have a high pressure electric water pump, so that made it "somewhat" easier to flush away the mud from the porches. Still, nothing much could be done about the mud in the garden. Some Members of Parliament (MP), representatives and reporters also came visiting, taking pictures, etc. and promised to do something about it. We'll see if they can keep to their promises. Shortly after that, some of the developer's contractors came over to clean the mess up from the garden. In their attempt to shovel out the mud, they ended up shovelling the grass that was already there in the first place. In short, almost everything in the garden is now ruined. So much for that. Rumor has it that the developers now know they're in deep shit (they're not supposed to even start development work since the Government didn't approve the project!) that they're willing to give kickbacks so that they'll be off the hook. I'd like to see if they succeed. If they do, it just goes to show how fucked up the people running the District, State, Country are and how low they're willing to go to fulfil their personal interests at the expense of the public who voted for them. The track record hasn't been so good so far...

Update (Wed, March 27, 2:30pm): We made the news in a Chinese daily.

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Mudflood: The Return

26 March 2002 12:36

Our house was mudflooded again. Whereas a couple of months back it merely got into the garden, this time it got right into the kitchen and living room. Thing is, it's not just water but also mud. The house is totally messed up. The two carpets in the living room are soaked in mud, the bottom of the couch and sofas got mudstains all over it, the garden which was covered with green grass is now covered in about 5 inches of orange mud. It's all because of some short sighted developer levelling the hill at the top who don't have the faintest idea or consideration about the importance of proper drainange and irrigation. Someone's gonna hafta pay, and that someone has gotta pay it bad.

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Afdlin Shauki's Why You So Fat?

24 March 2002 17:42

Izaidy, Shida and I went to see Afdlin Shauki's stand up comedy show at The Actor's Studio Box in Dataran Merdeka tonight. Although I've heard 40% of the jokes before during The Malaysian Comedy Pest 2002 (which Afdlin was part of), I certainly didn't mind listening to it again! The airconditioning was the only thing during the show that left to be desired. The whole show was running for almost four straight hours (without intermission!) and after about two hours or so, it was getting a little bit uncomfortable already and by the end, people were already fanning themselves trying to contain their perspiration! It was a good show nonetheless.

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I Got A Ticket To Ride (ERL)

23 March 2002 15:52

Got the chance to ride on the ERL before it was even open for public testing! Right after work, Izaidy called up asking if I'm up to it. So the four of us (Bart, Shida, Izaidy and myself) met up after work at KL Sentral and took the 7:15pm train to KLIA. The ride was super smooth and although it was travelling at 160kph, it sure didn't feel like it! This could very well be my choice of transport coming back from KLIA next time around if I were to come back from any overseas trip. I mean, RM35 for a one way trip from KLIA and then a couple of ringgit to the train station near my house is much better than having to pay RM57 for the same one way trip using the KLIA limo service right?

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Arrogant and Ignorant Americans?

20 March 2002 15:37

I'm really amazed with how arrogant some Americans are with respect to some issues of the world. These people obviously haven't been outside their country much if at all to see the world with their own eyes. Reading up about the world news in the intepretation of its own media and propaganda alone does not give anyone enough perspective to make any judgment. As is obvious in this guy's writings. His particular take on the world is fucked and the discussion that ensued really got me riled up. Sure, every other place in the world is fucked except for America. Everything that is bad is not the fault of America, everything that is good is because of America. Yerright! The crisis in the Middle East is escalating because in the eyes of most people of the world, America took a wrong stand on the issue. Innocent people of Afghanistan and Iraq has to suffer because of America's attempt to chase out terrorists and so called oppressors by blowing the place to bits and impose sanctions that is not unlike holding hostages for ransom. America chose not to involve itself when Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Chechya when it was under a tyrant's seige carrying out a mass orgy of ethnic cleansing in broad daylight. AIDS is spreading because of the American media's propaganda on free casual sex. No one else in this world can build nukes except America. America blamed my country for not taking any action on the supposed hijackers on one of the planes involved in the events of September 11 when they were in the country the year before (and subsequently labelled it as a launch pad for terrorist activities), but did not blame itself for letting those people in and provide them with aviation training on their own soil. The world has to conform to American standards or way of doing things, otherwise they will be forcefully imposed on. Any views given by any other country America consults with is irrelavant and merely academic. They'll go ahead with their plans anyways despite objections with partnering countries. Isn't it obvious to you already why some people of the world loathe your country?

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Ralf Ends Elder Brother's Winning Streak At Sepang Circuit

18 March 2002 10:50

Williams BMW driver, Ralf Schumacher won the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix held today in Sepang, Malaysia. His team-mate, Juan Pablo Montoya took second place thus making it a Williams 1-2 finish. Michael Schumacher of Ferarri had to settle for 3rd place, after having to climb all the way from the back of the pack as a result of his slight collision in the first corner with Montoya. Both McLarens of David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen did not finish the race this time due to engine problems. Reubens Barichello of Ferarri also suffered engine problems as he was leading the race when his engine blew up. Jensen Button would have made a podium finish ahead of Michael Schumacher had it not been for his car slowing down at the very last lap of the race. Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa, both of Sauber Petronas finished the race in fifth an sixth position respectively. Race standings: 1 - Ralf Schumacher (Williams BMW), 2 - Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams BMW), 3 - Michael Schumacher (Ferarri), 4 - Jensen Button (Renault), 5 - Nick Heidfeld (Sauber Petronas), 6 - Felipe Massa (Sauber Petronas).

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Geeky and musically inclined male carbon based bipedal life form capable of operating machines that can perform billions of operations per second without bloodshed. Also capable of producing millions of male reproductive cells on a daily basis without even trying. More...

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