Monday, July 31, 2006

Blogging Tool WordPress is not ready for Prime Time


I was looking for a free blogging tool, which could be installed on my server and give me more control and feature over my existing blog with Blogger. The most popular option seems to be WordPress, but it was quite a disappointment as it can’t even fulfilled my simplest and reasonable requirements. Perhaps Blogger isn’t that bad after all, though being quite outdated in terms of feature (he is old, but steady).

How do I come across WordPress? It seems to come up at the first spot by googling “Free Blogging Tool”. Then I remembered about Movable Type, thus I google for “Movable Type vs. WordPress”. There seems to be awfully lots of article regarding migration of Movable Type to WordPress, could it be Movable Type is loosing its ground? After running through a few comparison articles, it seems like Movable Type is an old hack who is not so FREE, and WordPress is the new superstar, open source with tons of plug-ins and support. So, WordPress it is (WordPress is PHP-based, something I am familiar with while Movable Type is Perl-based).

What is my basic requirements?
  1. A decent blogging tool
  2. A decent minimalist theme (besides the default)
  3. Categorization
  4. Pretty URL (Permanent links which are search engine friendly)
  5. Hassle Free Comment
  6. Image Verification (CAPTCHA) for comment to stop spam from bots
Decent Blogging Capability
As long you I can post and users are allowed to comment, and it doesn’t look to bad, I’m happy. WordPress seems pretty alright.

Minimalist Theme
Though the default theme is quite minimal, but I don’t want it to look exactly the same with probably thousands of blogs out there who might be too lazy to change their default theme. The risk is too high, so I need to change for the sake of change. Though there are thousands of themes listed, but it is a pretty useless page since no preview is available, and I have no intention to click on them one by one.

By searching for the key word minimalist, I somehow landed on PlainTXT.org, which have a few themes which my suit my taste. Talking about theme preview, found one at alexking.org, and Minima Plus quite suit my taste (it kinda look like my blogger’s minimalist theme).

So, WordPress has tons of themes, including a few good choices for a minimalist theme.

Categorization
Yes, something Blogger does not have, and WordPress has it. It should be pretty common nowadays.

Pretty URL
WordPress does support permanent and pretty link, but not by default. It requires more effort than a click on a button, and best result is achieved only if your web server is Apache and support mod_rewrite. Here is the full guide and a simpler version.

I am somehow disappointed as why such a simple and popular feature is not enabled by default and require such extensive manual configuration and pre-requisite.

Hassle Free Comment
I hate site which prohibit the public to comment, where we must sign up for membership before we are allowed to put in a few words. WordPress does allow anyone to comment, but somehow, Name and E-mail is a required field. I can agree with name, but not email (people just don’t trust you with their email these days). I can’t seem to be able to find solutions to disable email as a required field after searching up and down for an hour or so. I am super frustrated for not able to find a solution such a simple requirement. This ticks me off to drop WordPress (I know it is a small issue, but why can’t it do such a simple thing!).

And 2nd of all, the field validation is a total disappointment. It redirects you to an empty page with no layout or links what so ever, with the message “Error: please fill the required fields (name, email).” in plain text. WTF! You create such a wonderful and pretty page, and you are too lazy to give it a proper validation result output page?

I found AJAX Comments plugin which is pretty cool, not only did it do AJAX, it provides JavaScript popup validation on required field (not the best, but at least validation is handled in a reasonable manner). Too bad the plugin caused some JavaScript error with IE, thus I am quite concerned with it.

WordPress totally fail me in terms of its simplest comment feature.

Image Verification (CAPTCHA) for Comment
There seems to be quite a few CAPTCHA options around, and I tried Anti Spam Image and it seems to work fine.

Conclusion

WordPress fails 1.5 of the 6 basic requirements of mine, and I wasted the whole afternoon researching yet couldn’t convince myself to use it. Perhaps better luck with Movable Type the old hack? Somehow just not very motivated to review the next one.

Somehow WordPress is quite similar to Mambo, both PHP-based and depend heavily on plugins and themes contributed by the community. I found a lot of these plugins have bugs, doesn’t work quite a well and a lot still get listed though have been stagnant for years. There are only so few reliable plugins.

I need a plugins listing page which only list the goods ones, the very best, so that I won’t waste my time trying them out one by one, and getting frustrated at times. I found 8 Valuable WordPress Plugins, but it doesn’t have what I want (interesting though).

What should WordPress do?
  • Support Pretty URL by default
  • Support Image Verification (CAPCHA) for Comment by default
  • Allow options to enable/disable required field for comment
  • Polish up the verification result output page for comment
  • A plugins listing page to list out the best of the best for each category, with proper review and screen shots (keep the list useful and short)

Freelance Software Job in Malaysia: Specification Document

Once upon a time, there is a craze about software freelancing in Malaysia. Every Tom, Dick and Harry think it would be cool to finish college (or go just half way through), do software freelancing, earn tons of money and be our own boss. Anyway, a good programmer should be able to write about 99% of the software required by the business world out there. So, since we can deliver the service quite well, why work for others which do exactly the same.

After a few years venturing in this business, I slowly discovered the challenges of this business, and it might not seem promising as a long term career. When we are doing freelancing, we are actually running a business, and programming is just a fraction of our job scope. We have to do some PR and Marketing (word of mouth usually), find some work, collect business/system requirement (what need to be build), decide on the price and negotiate, develop, test, deploy and support. As you can see, the sales cycle is pretty long, and software development is a small fraction. So our skill as a good programmer only provides us 10-20% of advantage, and there is a lot more to pick up to be successful in this business.

Let looks further into the challenges of this business.

Specification Document
When you work in a big software/consulting house, you have corporate clients and nice thick system requirement documents are produced to cover your ass before you start programming. When you do freelancing, most of your clients is SMB/SME (small and medium-sized), and it seems almost impossible to create a complete specification before start of work.

When you meet up for system study or collect system specification, they usually tell you their requirement verbally, or if you are lucky, you have a few sheets of paper with some sketches and points. If you ask them to create the complete specification to cover every aspects of the system before you would start work, it would seems almost impossible for that to happen, and even when it does, the specification wouldn’t be very useful. Why?
  • The customer have a rough idea on what they want, but they don’t know exactly what they want, and definitely don’t have the details for you (you have to help them make some decisions and suggestions)
  • Somehow, full blown specification documentation is tiring and boring. Remember, this is not a large corporation, and people are not used to such procedure.
  • Even if the guy is hardworking enough to create a full specification using his imagination and assumption, the specification wouldn’t be really accurate in reflecting the system actual needs and users’ expectation. At the initial stage, we can’t foresee a lot of things.
  • Even if the full specification is created with good accuracy (does this ever happened?), it still will not cover you ass totally. A specification is still a specification, it can never be complete and it never will. The clients will eventually require something which might not be covered (or vaguely covered) by the specification, and he wouldn’t be very happy when you tell him you can’t do it because it is not covered in the specification (or you wanna increase the fees).
So, is a specification totally useless? Hmm, not really. We still need a basic specification (does not cover every imaginable aspects), as a point of reference on what actually need to be done and delivered. You can be sure they will ask for more, and lots of changes as well, so be prepared for it. Whenever they raise something which is not within the original specification, add it into the documentation. Whenever they request changes, add it into the documentation. Label what is covered originally, what is chargeable and what is free of charge. This document is important to give the client an overall pictures of what they had actually done and requested, and it kinda helps in price negotiation if the needs arise (it does cover your ass, just not entirely, and negotiation skills kicks in at this point).

Basically, no one is gonna read a 100 pages specification, but people will take notice of a 5 pages simple specification in point forms with drawings, well labeled and categorized using color for the changes and request along the way.

Why not to create a 100 pages specification?
  • No one will read it once it crossed the 10 pages hurdle
  • It takes a lot of time to write that, and you are not paid for it (and the customer aren't going to write that for you, or pay you to write it)
  • Does it matter if a requirement in in a specification or not? If the customer wants something, it needs to get in there. If something is good for the system or uers, you should put it in nevertheless. So what does the specification governed?
  • It is impossible to cover all grounds, and changes will happen, so just accomodate it along the way (you can't anticipate everything before it starts)
Again, specification for SMB is supposed to be simple and straight to the point. Record down:
  • What need to be developed initially (original specification)
  • What changes had been made along the way
  • What additions had been made along the way
  • List down components which are FOC, to show your goodwill effort
  • List down components which require a lot of extra effort and chargeable, and justify (and the FOC section does helps)
I know, I know, a lot of the items listed above are covered in other type of documentation. So? You don't need more documentation to confuse and burden you and your customer. One document to rule them all. Remember: simplicity, readability, useful and most of all, show your values and helps you get what you want. Forget about the formal methods they taught you in school, those are just meant as guidelines and references.

So, how to fully cover my ass? I am afraid this is not possible. This is business, in fact business with SMB, and it is partially done on goodwill and trust basis. If you don’t trust them, or if they are very difficult to handle or being unreasonable, cut your losses and pull out, no matter how desperate you are (unless they are paying you BIG MONEY). Since the specification document can’t cover our ass, we need goodwill and certain level of trust and confidence. My mantra is if I satisfied their needs and do a reasonably good job, they will be more willing to pay my fees.

I am afraid specification document is just a small part of the initial stage. I’ll try to cover next areas such as
  • Who you shouldn’t deal with
  • How to decide on the price and negotiate
  • Business Application Development
  • Testing and Deployment
  • Support is inevitable

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Programming 101: One Choice is a Good Choice - Conclusion


Conclusion

Again, we are not comparing which language or framework is better, but which language is easy to get started with their default IDE and Framework leader (the most popular and prominent choice).

It seems like .NET (C#, VB is the language, .NET is the framework) is the winner here, with their out of the box IDE and Framework, both easy to use, powerful, well supported and integrated. You can start production immediately after getting the kit; don’t have to meddle around to find the best tools or frameworks.

The runner-up might be the seamless integration of Ruby (language) on Rail (web framework), it is like a marriage. But the barrier of entry might be high, as you need to learn Ruby and Rail at almost the same time, and Ruby is a powerful language which might be complex at times for newbie. Rail is the web framework leader for sure, and other options are either non-existence or not heard of (and I don’t wanna know). ROR might be weak at its IDE at the moment, but some free and descent tool is available.

I think Java and PHP should share the 3rd place. PHP had a whole lot of framework choices, but no popular or prominent leader is in sight. Java had some popular frameworks, but it might be quite a challenge to get them to work together for the first time (not an easy task for a newbie, or even a novice). Eclipse is the popular IDE for Java, but there are other Vendors backed IDE for enterprise development as well. Zend Studio is the product leader for PHP, with good suites of tools.

Perhaps there is a good reason for the vast adoption rate of Microsoft development tools, beside Windows being the dominant OS. I think Microsoft is quite a developer centric company, they sure knows how to capture the hearts of programmer. Someone once told me IBM is run by salesmen, and Microsoft is run by geeks (like it or not, BillG is a geek at heart, and perhaps a ruthless businessman as well). I guess he is right, I always get confused and turned away from all IBM offerings. I can’t never quite know or understand what IBM is offering; perhaps they are targeting the enterprise space, not for Indies like me. With Bill Gates stepping down soon, I hope Microsoft’s geek culture still continues on.

Not only a language has to fight prominence, so do its tools and frameworks. Sometimes, too many choices confuses the new adopters and lessen the unity of a specific community, thus less the superiority and support for a specific technology. We need a good obvious choice.

Links:

Programming 101: One Choice is a Good Choice - Ruby on Rails


Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is the new kid on the block, where Ruby is the language and Rails is the web development framework. I think ruby is a pretty nifty and interesting language (I am still learning it) on the same par as LISP, PERL and Python (though I haven’t tough any one of these before). Ruby is certainly much niftier as compared to Java or .NET, but it might be harder to pickup by newbie. But once you get a hang on it, it should be pretty powerful and productive.

Rail is perhaps the only know web framework for Ruby, and probably it is the framework which makes Ruby famous, and a definite framework leader. So, no hassle here, when you choose Ruby, you had chosen Rail as well. I don’t even bother to look for alternative Ruby framework, as it seems powerful, promising and well supported, and that is good enough for me. Rails is just 2 years old, but it had the entire framework featured built in, especially MVC and ORM. Isn’t it felt great when you have such an obvious leader, no hassle and get right into production?

In terms of IDE, I am using RDT (Ruby on Eclipse), which seems simple and lightweight, with all the benefits of Eclipse as well. Other options includes
I have not used any of these, but it seems like Arachno is a popular commercial choice. Perhaps ROR is still new in its early stage, thus there don’t seems to any prominent leader appearing. If you want it free, use RDT; if you have the money, try Arachno; if you own a Mac, use Textmate.

Links:

Programming 101: One Choice is a Good Choice - PHP


PHP

PHP is probably one of the most popular web programming languages out there, but it doesn’t seem to be popular within Enterprise domain. PHP is a language, with lots of libraries, but not a framework. Popular PHP frameworks includes
When I wanted to develop Malaysia Most Wanted, I was madly fallen in love with PHP as a web programming language. Java and .NET are both big and powerful, but PHP is a productive language (especially arrays), flexible scripting capabilities, good libraries and cheap deployment.

Okay, now I have selected a language, which framework should I use? Arghhh, there are so many out there, and none of them seems to be the industry leader. How do I select the best or something which suits my needs? Since I can’t select a industry leader (which I have no idea of), and I don’t feel like getting my hands on a few of them (though I did read some reviews, but it just isn’t convincing enough), and neither do I want to put my fate randomly with one of them, thus I decide to create my own lightweight framework. Why? Because I am not sure of the capabilities and support of these frameworks, and I want the control and flexibility. Though developing my own framework is fun, but it is time consuming and perhaps, weak at times (though I get to mold it anyway I like). Only if I know which framework is good and well supported. Too many frameworks on the same level is bad for early adopters, as we don’t know which one to choose, and supports are scattered and limited for each. We need a framework leader, a dominant choice, and not many uncertain popular choices.

In terms of IDE, the best one seems to be Zend Studio, with its own array of offerings such as Debugging, Profiling, Optimization/Caching, Code Protection and etc. Other free IDE includes
Anyway, I tried PHP Edit and PHP Coder, they are pretty nice and nifty, but Zend seems to be the most powerful and comprehensive, but it’s not free. No complaint here, Zend is the product leader by miles, and it is an easy choice.

---

Quite a comprehensive review of PHP Frameworks at Taking a look at ten different PHP frameworks. Sadly the author didn't manage to pick a winner, and that's exactly what I am worry about.

Links:

Programming 101: One Choice is a Good Choice - Java


Java

Java is a language, not quite a framework. Java is pretty much community-based, meaning they don’t come with an IDE or Framework out of the box, and depends on the community and market to develop them, and prominent is based on natural selection. In terms of IDE, there a probably a handful of them, mainly
Among the above probably the most popular is Eclipse, because it is free, pretty good and with a wide array of plug-ins. Though eclipse might be the mostly popular, its prominent is followed closely by NetBeans (free), JCreator (fast and lightweight) and other Vendor-supported tool such as IBM and SUN for Enterprise Application Developer. Now we have more options and more headaches as well. Small and independent developer would like Eclipse, and some might opt for NetBeans and JCreator instead. Those giant software or consulting house might like IBM and Sun Java IDE, because of their supposing Enterprise-level support and tight integration with their product stack. Not to mention probably another hundred or so big and small Java IDE is out there.

Perhaps natural selection will finally reach its stable stage at the end, with perhaps one supreme prominent player, followed by 2 or 3 sub-players focusing of niche market. But at the moment, it seems to be a headache for programmer to decide on their IDE. Though most would go with Eclipse, but the next company you work in might likes NetBeans or Sun Java Studio Creator. Though Eclipse is good, but it depends heavily on its plug-ins to be great. Thus you need to make decisions again on which plug-in to use, where to find them, what is available out there and which one is actually good.

Java Framework, it is like a framework war out there, gods knows how many are born and died everyday. Luckily, the few prominent one seems to be
  • Spring (powerful, configuration management, but include many other goodies as well)
  • Struts (MVC)
  • Hibernate (ORM)
Nevertheless, there are still many popular options out there, such as: Cocoon, WebWork, Tapestry, Turbine and etc.

These frameworks are good and powerful, but sometime we are just overwhelmed with options, which means more research and trial is needed to select out own stack of development framework. It is extremely painful and time consuming especially for newbie and it confuses us at times. Though there are projects such as Appfuse which put together a framework stack for us by selecting some of the industries best, but there is still a lot to pick, configure and learn. I am not a perfectionist, I just need someone to tell me what is best, and I will learned and use it with a lot of support of resources. Having someone tell me, “A is good, but B is pretty nifty as well, perhaps you should look at C as well” is just not helping me. Yes, I am lazy, give me a good development stack, with a good IDE and lost of support and resources to start with. Arghhh! No more options and research please.

Java's community a very strong, thus able to churn out all kinds of frameworks targeting different purpose. But there are a lot of components to pick up and assemble. Not only we have to pick a framework, we are actually picking a framework stack (a framework whichs consists of a lis of frameworks). There is a lot of evaluation and decisions to me made here, and options are plentiful. Somehow, I am not very fond of such vast amount of options and components.

Links:

Programming 101: One Choice is a Good Choice - Visual Studio and .NET


Visual Studio and .NET

I really like Microsoft in the sense that they always provide developers with the best out of the box. In pre-.NET time, we have Microsoft C++ and Visual Basic, which comes with a very cool and powerful IDE (Integrated Development Environment), superb debugging capability, and mass documentation from MSDN and a pretty good default framework as well.

C/C++ is a language, but the Microsoft framework comes with the MFC (Microsoft Foundation Class). Though it is not perfect or really good, but it’s probably one of the best at that time and makes development easier and faster. Without MFC, coding just using C/C++ and Win32 API is bad for productivity (though you could write so really clean and fast code).

As for VB, it comes with its own not so obvious framework, the ever so lovely and high-productivity forms (not really a framework, but it is good). They are so easy to use and a business application could be developed in such a fast and simple manner. And their IDE, it is almost like the best IDE in the world at that time (and probably is still one of best now). Their IDE helps you code faster (IntelliSense), easy and fast debugging (breakpoint and variable watch) and compilation and dependency linking is a breeze (they automate most of the task for you, thus you don’t need to learn makefile). And all these is available out of the box, no need for selection, downloading or configuration.

Fast forward to .NET, most of the things about pre-.NET Framework and IDE still holds true. The IDE had gotten better and more powerful, and the .NET framework had really standout as a real and common framework for all languages on Microsoft Platform. When you learn .NET, you have everything from an options of a few popular languages, a very best IDE, mass MSDN documentation and .NET Framework (with almost every features you ever need is here, and with good support and enhancement from Microsoft).

Java can run on all platform, but .NET can be coded in all languages (not all actually, only those supported by Microsoft or someone kind enough to port it over). When I first heard this, I thought, what good could it be to support multiple languages on one platform using a common .NET framework? Perhaps not on end user's side, but on developer’s side. You get to use any language you like (remember, each language is good at something, and each developer have their own preference) and yet, still shared the same powerful .NET framework and each language can talk (inter-operate) with each other seamlessly. If more programmers like the framework, it means more programs shall be developed for it, and in turns more applications for Windows platform. It you are thinking wouldn’t it be nice to run .NET framework on other platforms as well, probably you could look into Mono.

I am not aware if there is any other prominent framework or IDE out there for Microsoft Platform. There used to be Borland with their C++ and Delphi product, and I think it is fading out slowly. IBM had shift focus to support Java. I think the lack of competition at the same level could actually be a blessing. As long as Microsoft continues to churn out good productivity suites for developer, I would continue to stick with them. Is dominance good? Hmm, at least you could easily identify the best IDE and Framework, and everyone is using it (so you get more support at Forum, Newsgroup, Books, Articles and etc). I mean, resources is abundance, innovation is continuous, and support is everywhere, and definitely no headache is choosing and looking for the best. The best is within the box.

Links:

Programming 101: One Choice is a Good Choice (IDE and Framework of .NET, Java, PHP and Ruby on Rails)


Introduction

Sometimes, don’t you get tired out of choosing and making decision? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone helps you made the decision and provides you with a nice selection of goodies, if not the best, it would still be among the best? Though what I had just said would apply to most of our life, but what I mean is programming framework and IDE.

In software development, we have to choose our language, may it be C/C++, VB, C#, Java or even some less mainstream language, such as PERL, Phyton, Ruby, PHP, LISP and probably a few hundreds more. Choosing a good programming language to learn is already quite a headache, and each is supposed to be good at solving their own domain of problems, and some are more popular for specific industries. So, you have to pick up a few languages for yourself, some chosen based on what they taught you in college, some based on popularity and demand, and some based on you personal preference.

Let’s not dwell too much into the Languages itself (perhaps in another post for that), our focus here is development framework and IDE. Framework is like an architecture, foundation and design which we develop our program, which might consist of MVC (Model-View-Controller), ORM (Object-Relational-Mapper), Internationalization Support, a good arsenal of code libraries and etc. I am not here to compare frameworks, but to point out the choices of framework for each language, and what are the current state caused by the choices. BTW, it is based on my experience and most probably I will not be able to covers all the options we have out there.

I am trying to follow the mantra that one choice is actually a good choice, meaning it would be better to have a single framework and IDE leader, rather than to have a whole bunch of them making choices difficult. One must stand out, and be far ahead than the rest of the pack (not just by one or two steps). Though the single leader might not be the best approach, but at least it makes selection easier, increase adoption rate and get going into production rather than spend a life time figuring which to use.

Links:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gunung Rajah Day 3: Downhill all the way

I totally forgotten about my Gunung Rajah Day 3: Downhill, so here it goes.

The Unforgetable Group (Though I forgotten most of their name)

We work up, busy packing our stuff and clearing the rubbish, and off we rush downhill with the speed of lightning (just kidding!).

Usually downhill is faster, but the leg shall hurts more as more pressured is applied. We took 2 days to climb up, and 1 day to go down. The path along Gunung Rajah is indeed confusing, even with the sign left by our team leader, Mr. Up Down. If you did not concentrate, you could mistakenly take another path easily. I took a wrong path once, but realized it once I noticed the land is too soft and there are too many thorny plants which are not there before. The price to pay? Got scratched severely until the scar is still on my hand today. Luckily we managed to climb back to the right path.

An extremely good hiking shoes does help a lot as well, else you would slide easily. Tang told us it got something to do with our movement and steps, she said there is a hiking steps to be learned. I still wonder is it the shoe, or the step. Anyway, I think shoe with bolder and bigger tracks are better, as the soil and mud are less likely to get trapped within and cause the shoe to loose grip.

Downhill is definitely more relaxing, nevertheless tiring as well. There is less pressure to keep up with the rest, and you get to enjoy the scenery more, as you know exactly where you are and how long to go before the next stop. But the bag doesn’t felt lighter, even though we had consumed all the food, weird.

We pass through some very steep slope, walking along the top of the hills (the scenery is pretty nice here), go down through the bushes to our first camp site. There is another group of Malays already camped here, seems like Gunung Rajah is quite a hotspot. We freshen up near the river, refill some water, pick up our baggage (we left some cloth here to reduce the weight), and on our way to the scenic water place for our lunch.

Icy Cool Water

What’s the best thing for lunch in the wilderness? Maggi mee, with egg plus hot Milo, yeah! Probably one of the most memorable meals in life. This place is really nice, with a huge rock platform for resting, and icy cool water for swimming and Jacuzzi. No kidding, the water is really freezing. Anyway, it is kinda fun to get into the water; at the same time kinda worry my body couldn’t withstand the sudden mixture of cold and hot.

Wow! Delicious!

After a good rest, I kinda felt slightly “sick”, shit! Mei Ru and I started to pick up our pace, before I need someone to carry me down. After an hour or so of trekking, I kinda felt better, luckily it is just a false alarm, or trekking could ward off minor sickness, haha. Soon, we reach the flat land with a few more hours of trekking to go. Somehow, kinda felt flat land trekking is extremely tiring and demoralizing at the end. What to do just keep the pace and continue walking, and after a long journey, we found CIVILIZATION!

Last Pit Stop

The next best thing in trekking is to take of your shoes and your sock at the end. The feet need the bareness and fresh air, yeah! We take a cool water bath in a dark public toilet with no light, and proceed to dinner at Bentong before going back to KL.

Tiring like Hell (Though this look slighly fake)

This is really a very fun and kind group, and I am hopeful to join them more in the future. Too bad I had been busy ever since, and had skip at least 3 one day trekking trip with them. Life is so CRUEL! Let me breathe some fresh air!



Photo Link: Gu Wen's Multiply 1, 2 and 3

Humility from 御用闲人

I kinda like the Cantonese series which is showing on Astro lately, The Prince Shadow (御用闲人), a story about the Emperor’s helper who is smart, good in Kung Fu and yet, have no intention to be the Emperor’s officer. Thus, he had no official power, just being the Emperor’s runner. It show is light and relaxing, and funny at times. Just right for a entertaining after a good meal.


Anyway, the song is pretty catchy as well, talking about life without much expectation for power and career, no intention to fight and don’t mind to be looked down, and enjoyed the freedom yet being good and useful.

不贪加官再封爵位
并未见有所作为
闲人 或许总给看低
没与你争辉
处事深不见底
莫笑我 我斗心不再
闲着似我 方可发现爱
如没有天赐休闲
谁又会知 怎放开
你莫羡慕被御用
也许最后是场梦
没有贪威想领功
妄想跨凤又乘龙
若自负天聪显威风
也许最后被愚弄
智者方想得通
不贪加官再分爵位
并未见有所作为
闲人 或许总给看低
没与你争辉
处事深不见底

Anyway, just thinking, perhaps of all the things I had learned and become better for the past years, I think I didn’t improved is humility. Perhaps I talk too much, over confident at times, thinking I am right most of the time and seldom find others better in me (in something I am good I, of course). Perhaps I should be more humble, talk less and listen more. I think too many times I tried to prove myself or persuade others to change, which I thought it is for the better.

Somehow I felt, perhaps I could find peace among humility. It kinda felt good to be humble at times. You can still be confident and capable, but just be humble :)

Another lesson learned from TV show

My first time with Google Adsense

Kenny told me he is going to get his first Google Adsense cheque after 3 years, and I was thinking, perhaps I should give it a try since I have nothing too loose.

I always wanted to try Adsense, but I kinda put in on hold as Blue Dragon is not really a high traffic site. In my mind, I was thinking why not wait until Blue Dragon gets more popular, perhaps then only Adsense would actually make sense. But I guess this day probably won’t arrive (Blue Dragon is not cut to be a super star), so might as well give Adsense a spin to get a feel of what isn’t all about. Perhaps I could get my own Adsense cheque another 3 years down to road to spend on a good meal, free and sponsored. Why not.

I applied for Google Adsense, and it took around 24 hours to activate my account. Adsense could turn out to be quite a complicated beast, as there are many options, policies and lots of FAQ, and not though mentioned thousands of optimization guides out there. Of course I wanna squeeze more money out of it, thus I click on a few random FAQs (such as Where should I place Google ads on my pages?), visit Adsense Blog for some tips and news and try to Google around for some extra guidance.

Too many too read (information overloading), thus I shall not be greedy and do with what I have. Now, where to place the ads and what ads to place? I thought of referring to Steve Pavlina (told to be earning USD 9K per month from Adsense). Okay, one on the left bar (Wait! My blog only had a right bar, and left bar is supposed to be hotter than right bar, shit!), one at the beginning of the article (well blended) and another at the end of the article but not the end of page. Hmm, more decisions to be made.

Basically, I want the ads to blend nicely into my blog, and non obstructive. I thought of putting it at the top (the greatest hot spot), but I think that is kinda obstructive. I hate seeing ads before the articles. So, I decide to be a considerate blogger and put the Ad unit below (but not at the bottom, below the article but above the footer). I choose medium size to get some pretty decent coverage (big seems too overwhelming, and small doesn’t quite match my layout either).

So, there is still a lot of space to stick in a few more ads. Remember, must blend nicely and non obstructive, don’t let the money temptation kill the blog. Since I don’t have a hot left bar, so I shall utilize my cool right bar. Why not switch to a left bar? Hmm, I kinda got used to it, and I dun wanna confuse my readers. Since I already have an Ad unit, so I would try with a small Ad link (something I read before told me this is good stuff), and blend it nicely among the most useful real estates on my cool right bar. Yup, it looks pretty nice. I wanted to try nice square image ads, but even the smallest size wouldn’t fit it. The tall image ad is too huge and scary.

Then I saw Adsense for Search, which looks pretty useful and cool. Thus I add it at the bottom of the page (footer). Should I use Referrals? Hmm, not really interested with it. Though I like both Firefox and Picasa (Picasa Web is cool as well, but lack some community-styled featured), but I just don’t think my site promote their usage in any ways, so not quite relevant. Then I saw Adsense for Feed, which I think is pretty cool to grep back the lost income (You don’t get Adsense Ka Ching$$$ if your loyal reader use a feed reader). Too bad it is still in close beta.

It took quite a while to mess with Blogger Template and Google Adsense to get the layout and blending right. Yup, Blue Dragon still look nice (non obstructive ads, yeah!). Now I shall sit back and wait for my free meal 3 years from now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Being jobless is actually good?

I read quite an interesting article with the catchy title of 10 Reasons You Should Never Get a Job. It pretty much reminds me on why I think life time employment might not seems like a good plan.

Basically, you only get paid when you work, and you probably get paid based on the numbers of hour you worked (silly, I know, as if we are a factory). It is actually possible to build a system for us which continues to generate income even when we are not working. I guess this is what financial independence, passive income and business system all about, continue to make money even when you are sleeping.

Once I read, a businessman is a Jack of all Trade, Master of none. When you become a specialist, you kinda limit your experience to a specific field, just focusing on one thing and disregard the rest. You live in your small little world, happily ever after. Perhaps being employed is a comfort, where we just need to do one thing and be quite good at it, and the rest is handled by others.

The funny thing is, the author compared life long domestication to life long employment, which could be true in a certain sense. We would have a master, and we follow orders.

What is the most secured job in this world? Definitely not a programmer or a backroom operator, because they can be replaced easily (general naïve assumption, with a cost of course). Someone once told me it is Sales, because it moves business and once you can sell, every business would need you. But every employee could be fired, and even Steve Jobs got fired before, haha! Perhaps being self employed is not less risky than employment.

One of the bad things about employment is having either an evil or stupid boss, think Dilbert’s Pointy Hair Boss. You can’t ignore them, and you have to listen to them even though you know they are not really good. It reminds me of Grade A students work under Grade B Students, and Grade C students own the business.

Loss of freedom is definitely true; you signed away 9-5 everyday, at least 5 days a week, so these 40 hours block per week does not belong to you. For some unlucky folks out there, perhaps another 10-20 hours are sucked out from them for free. I do hope you like your job very much, or at least got paid a lot, or at least being happy. If you enjoyed none of these, doesn't it makes you wonder why you are still here.

Perhaps it is common during employment for us to whine endlessly about the company’s problems. Even if we wanna stop whining and start fixing the problem, we might not have the authority, influence or support to make the change. Kinda felt helpless, and it seems like the best thing to do is MYOB and just remains ignorance, and continues whining, or move on to another whining pot.

So, what is so happy about being jobless? Only and only if you manage to build a system to help you generate income all the time, even when you are having fun or sleeping. How could we actually do that? There is another topic for another day, from another article. Basically this is just awareness, showing the possibility of alternative income model, and the possibility that we might be brainwashed into employment and become a slave minions all these while. Anyway, this might be another lie to brainwash you as well ;)

the choice is yours

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sunway Charity Musical: Break the Beat

I went for the Sunway Charity Musical last weekend for “Break the Beat”. It is performed by a bunch of college students and a few professional dancers consist of a combination of Hip Hop and Latin dance. I was hoping they would do more stunts with the Hip Hop, perhaps I am expecting too much.

Generally, it is pretty good; perhaps with some weakness in it story flow. Anyway, the focus is on the dance rather than drama. As usual, they have the chicks and some moves.



Video

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How Bad Ideas make it Big Time

Here is a list of Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Idea that makes it big time, and the top of the list is Million Dollar Homepage.

Now, there is always something which work against the usual and the conventional, abnormities which must exist out of too much normality, the ghost within the machine, to prove that miracles does happens and you can actually win a lottery.

Come to it, how could this idea actually work and people would pay money for it. First of all, out of the 6.5 billions of people in this world, there are bound to be a few (we just need 0.000015% of support) very stupid or crazy people who would buy the idea. Then we need a few more fellow who is desperate enough, plus a few more with too much money but no avenue to spend it on, and a few more genius who actually predicted that this advertisement would actually make its prime time.

Perhaps it isn’t that ilogical as well. Internet users have the tendency to like idiotic stuff, funny stuff, outrages stuff or illogical stuff. Look at the number of emails which fall into out inbox each day and how many of them actually falls into these categories, and we actually like it and most people will continue circulating it.

Perhaps this is the future of advertisement. Create something idiotic/funny/outrages/illogical, then slip in your sponsors advertisement and start emailing. It’ll spread like wild fire. Even better, make your advertisement as such, and it’s already happening.

Anyway, if a bad business idea does not consume too much of your time and money, and you felt lucky; perhaps you could buy a lottery as well and your dream to become a millionaire might come true.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Right is Wrong, and Wrong might be Right

Probably for the 1st time in my life, I was told some many things I thought is right, is actually wrong, not to mention the number of criticism and frustration. Perhaps I am wrong in the sense that I think of spreading something which I thought is good to others is actually a good thing. Perhaps the fact is beauty lies in the eye of beholder, and one man’s food might be another’s poison.

There is Natural Selection, there is Evolution, there is God's plan and Desmond’s Intervention is not part of it. There are probably more than a dozens of religions out there, and everyone get to pick their own version of the bible. Thinking in that sense, perhaps I try to act like a savior or evangelist when I really shouldn't. MYOB should they say, though it might sounds rude, but there are quite a lot of wisdom within it. Sometimes it is hard to see things from others perspective, but telling does help. God gave us freewill, and everyone had it (besides the Angels, hehe).

Sometimes, more is less, and less is more. Like the Word of Wisdom from Kenny: Respect, Lots of Love and perhaps some Tact as well :)

Perhaps I am just too studborn and supremo.

Education is Boring

After leaving school for such a long period, it just reminded me how boring education actually is. Think of it: Teacher follow some kind of syllabus, give out some exercise at the end of class as homework. First of all, the syllabus probably means you listen to what the teacher said, and try to absorb as much as possible. The teacher is trying very hard to churn out as much fact as possible, where the fact might be useful but just plain boring. Then we are made to copy some boring notes, without knowing what is the purpose or usefulness of this piece of information, just because we are told to do so. Then we are made to do some stupid homework, where we have no idea what is the benefit besides being a chore. Then we went for some stressful exam, so that we don’t fail and being kicked out from school with low self-esteem.

I mean, when I was young, I have no idea what is the purpose of education during my primary and secondary school years. I was told I need to study so that I can get a good job and earn good money when I grow up. I go to school because my parent would be very angry if I didn’t. I excel just because I want to be better than others, not because I am passionate is perusing knowledge for some greater cause. Only when I went to college, I finally know what I want to learn and what its purpose is. Then I found education to be fun because it is practical, I know how to apply the knowledge in my life. I finally had a purpose, and I get to do something or create something with the knowledge I have. Suddenly, I have a purpose and am productive, and I am happy.

Let’s go back to earlier education, primary and secondary school years. Perhaps your argument might be the children are too young to understand their purpose or do not have the capability to choose their subjects of interest. Yes, that might be true. But my point is, we should make education meaningful and practical, and perhaps fun as well. The children need a purpose to capture their attention.

I notice in the classroom, the children doesn’t seems slightly interested with what the teacher is teaching, because it is boring and unrelated to their world. Why do I need to learn this? It is boring and I don’t why I have to learn this. I noticed that I paid attention to the teacher though I am not learning in the class, perhaps I have been conditioned to focus and pay attention all these while. But the children naturally sleep; look elsewhere or doing their own stuff. Education is boring, it doesn’t interest them. Sometimes the teacher use a stern voice to force the children’s attention, but we all knows that isn’t very effective in the long term as well.

So, what do we need in our education?
  • Academic is not everything. There is much more in life besides Math, Science and English. Teach the children Art & Craft, Music & Dance, Mountain Trekking and Camping, Cooking & Baking, Sports and etc. I know there are extra-curricular in school, but that just isn’t enough. We talking about 50% academic education, 50% extra-curricular activates. We don’t wanna create book worms that lack soft skill, we want children who know how to enjoy life and love themselves and others, besides being knowledgeable. I only get to really enjoys all these activities when I started working, and I think children should be encourage to develop their passion and hobbies on certain healthy activities, it help to build character. To success in life, it takes more than academic knowledge, so why just focus 100% on it. Aren’t education meant to nurture the leaders of tomorrow?
  • Be creative in instilling purpose and practicality in the process of educating. Rather merely teaching by following syllabus, teach with a purpose and provide example in life where the children can relate to. Lets assume we are learning mixing of some chemicals, rather than just explaining A+B=C, why not explain what is C for and how it could be useful in our daily life and how is it applied in certain industry. Perhaps it might provoke the children’s thought and creativity, and start thinking of ways to make and use C. Basically; the children need to know why they need to learn something, and how they could actually use it.
Sometimes I look at the frustration of teachers and their tiredness; I do pity them and the children. The daily teaching effort already sap out all their energy, leaving little space for creativity and extra effort. Rather than individual effort by the teacher, perhaps we need a Creative System. Rather than following the normal syllabus, they follow the Creative System where all creative teaching methods and practices had been laid out properly. In this way, even the uncreative ones can teach creatively and effectively.

Once I was told: If you have a strong system, you just need an average leader to perform superbly; if you have no system, you need an extraordinary leader to perform averagely.

Hopefully, the next generation of education is much better than what I had gone through and what I had seen today.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Getting Along 102: Miscommunication and Misunderstanding


Initially I thought our problem is Disagreement on certain issues, but now it seems more like a Miscommunication, and Misunderstanding what she meant.

Language is a very complex thing; with one sentence itself could have a variety of meanings, if delivered through different tone, expression or channel. It gets even worst if the Communicator isn’t talking in a direct and straightforward manner, or if the Communicator isn’t very well verse in expressing his or her thoughts, or when the listened don't have the skill to pick up the hidden clues.

Take the following for example

“I want our relationship to be open and truthful, so that we can tell each other everything”

“I want to tell you everything, as I don’t want to suppress my feelings and let the negative energy built up”

“But a lot of times, I dunno how to express thoughts and feeling”

“I am not an expressive person, not used to letting people know my inner feelings”

“If I know my words word hurt you, then I wouldn’t tell”

“Maybe my expectation of truthfulness isn’t the same with yours”

Isn’t the above quite contradicting if it is said by the same person? It kinda confuses me and lead me to think, “Hmm, to be totally truthful or not? To tell or not to tell?” I haven’t quite figured this out. It seems like she would like an open and truthful relationship, as it is a good thing to have. At the same time, she is not quite ready for that, as it is not quite her character to open up and share her inner feelings. So, does she want a compromise in between? What should be told and what should be kept? If it is up to our judgment, then we might have different judgment as well. It is as if the whole conversation about Open and Truthful relationship is voided, as now we individually decide what should be open and close without mutual standard or agreement. Perhaps just the timing isn’t right, and we need more practice on this communication and self expression thingy. Perhaps the whole idea is too idealistic, as we are mere humans who are meant to be flawed.

At times, it might be difficult to get hold what she what exactly she is trying to tell me. Perhaps I should try to read between the lines or listened more tentatively or like I read from someone, use the heart instead of the ears.

Let’s have a careful look at the following

“I feel that sometimes you feel frustrated with me”

“You and I are at different level, thus you make me feel inferior”

“Having you digging on my weakness, it just don’t give me the support to learn, and it hurts more as it comes from you”

“I don’t want you to praise with if I didn’t did a good job, I’ll feel that it is a sympathy”

“I know you are trying to help me”

“I don’t mean we can’t discuss about my weakness”

“Perhaps you didn’t take care of my feelings when you talk”

Looking back, it seems like what I had been doing and saying is hurting her. For me being frustrated with her at times make her very unhappy. While we were talking about her known weaknesses, she feel offended as it’s come out from my mouth. And she claimed I didn’t support her, yet trying to help her; and I can’t speak too frankly too her as it hurts her feelings.

When I turn on my angry self, I would think, WTF! I am just a human being; I can’t feel frustrated when I need to feel frustrated izzit? And it is supposed to be my fault that you feel insecure and inferior? Now, am I not supporting you or I am helping you? Now, it is okay to talk frankly or not? Now, did I dwell into your weakness in a hurting manner or scold you? For god sake, your weaknesses are well known, everyone is talking about it, and I am just trying to help by confronting the brutal fact. What the hell you want from me? That’s the tension and frustration I had which had to be released, though it is not a very good thing, but it is the truth of what I felt for a moment (the truth isn't always pretty).

Once read a book, “Good to Great” about good corporate culture and leadership. One of thing mentioned is “Confront the Brutal Fact”. For the company to change for the better, we must find and acknowledge openly what is our weakness. Only when we are comfortable talking about our weakness, then only could we approach it in an openly matter, rather a taboo which everyone pretentious denied its existence and look elsewhere. I am not trying to dwell on her weakness in a destructive way, like saying she is stupid or useless or anything like that. I thought we can talk openly about the issue, thus find a way to work together to help us be better.

Anyway, all the effort seems like a dead end huh? Perhaps there is no need to despair, as I had some idea on what is going on after a few heat up conversation and complaints. First of all, I think I mustn’t focus too much on the logicality of her sentences, as they always contradict each other and doesn’t quite make sense to me (in fact, they confuse me most of the time). I think it is pretty simple (I think la).

I think the main issue is I get frustrated when she did or said something uncommon, and I was like huh? Then, I’ll naturally turned frustrated and give her that expression which she dislikes. Then I would probably raise my voice and say something stupid. When I noticed what my frustrated self is saying or doing, then I try to cover back by softening my voice and offering some sort of advice or explanation on what just happened. But it is all too late, damage had already been done, she is already unhappy, and anything more words from me will be treated as direct hostility. Though I didn’t actually scold her or use any harsh words, but she is offended by my frustration, or should I say, she was unhappy because I was unhappy about her.

The first time that came to my mind: I consider myself good in the sense that I didn’t scold her or use any harsh words. But showing a moment of frustration? That probably means I can’t feel frustrated anymore, doesn’t it? That put a lot on pressure and limitation on me. It kinda sounds like it is not enough to do the average good, where I must do the very best. I am still trying to figure this think out. Perhaps when I managed to control my frustration in time and she didn’t get upset, I’ll have a smirk on face thinking perhaps everything is worth the moment of joy.

I am thinking, perhaps she had been trying to tell me all these while that it is “My Frustration” which makes her unhappy. Not what I said, but how I had said it. So by analyzing the context of our conversation, everything wouldn’t make sense, and I would never find the answer. I assume I find the answer, but this might not be it. Hmm, very demoralizing …

Okay, let’s not focus on our problems, but how to make our life better. How?
  • Never discuss relationship problem over the phone, email or using any instant messenger. This kind of communication channel isn’t effective for emotional discussion, as the expression and tone of voice couldn’t be delivered properly. When you need to talk, use the good old ways of face to face.
  • Communication is a 2 way thing: talk and listen. The talker needs to learn to express herself by giving as much information as possible for the listener to understand her. How about the listener? He needs to listen with his ears, brain and heart, and anything else he can use. Anyway, there is no excuse of being lousy at it, practice makes perfect. Try very hard to talk, and try very hard to listen.
  • When there is frustration, it needs to be let out. When there is an emotional suppression, it needs to be released. For the good or bad of things, just let it out. Keeping stuff in our heart will just poison our soul. Though sometime I knew think saying something might make her sad, I said it anyway because it is truthful, within good courtesy boundary and I need to say it out (sometimes I wonder am I stupid or what?). Why? Because I worry when I behold something within myself just to avoid a minor confrontation, I would stop talking, Couple who don’t talk won’t argue. That’s not where I plan to head, and perhaps that is also the root causes of why am I in conversation deep shit from time to time.
Any good advice? Just continue what we are doing, and try to get along better :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Getting Along 101


When the relationship just began, everything is just good and beautiful. As we share more, we unveil our strength and weakness, the pretty and ugly side, and compatible and incompatible. As we understand each other deeper, we learn that there are more to be understood. No matter what we found out or understand, we still wanna love each other and get along fine. But sometimes, it is easier said than done, especially when we are the party involved.

So, perhaps it is the right time for me to blog on a relationship survival series, Getting Along 101. It is based on my experience and the challenges I faced now and then, with great bias towards my perception and knowledge. I think the first article is unintentionally launched as To Fix it, or not to Fix.

My effort is kinda inspired by Positive Thinking, where the author had a series on Happiness at Work. He make himself the Chief Happiness Officer and launched a series on Monday Tips on how to make yourself happy at work. I wonder should I give myself the title of Dr. Love? Haha, perhaps not, Mr. Try-to-Fix-it is more like it.

At least this could serve as a guide for me to understand our problem, sharing my view with her and perhaps, find out a way for us to get along in between.

The next topic is: Disagreement is Inevitable

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cari-Cari Makan: Johor Food Fest

Last weekend I went to Malaysia Tourism Centre thinking they have some Travel Fair going on, end up it is a Food Fair instead (The banner focus on Tourism rather than Food, misleading).

Anyway, there isn’t much good food on show as well. A lot of dry food here and there, but I am not very interested with those. We are trying to have our lunch here, but there don’t seem to be much interesting options around. We end up having Penang Laksa (quite alright), Malay Style Dried Kuay Teow (not bad), Ramli Burger (Disappointing), Mixed Fruit Ice Blended (Pretty Cool) and ABC (Average).

The place is super hot as well, due the heat since recent weeks. They have a live band and some Maggi contest going on, and no F&N The Tarik competition in sight. Ya, they have inflatable castle for the children as well.

MV Doulos at Port Klang

I went to the MV Doulos ship at Port Klang with the children last weekend.

There isn’t much to see. The ship isn't very big, and the place is crowded with people and hot. Perhaps I didn’t get to explore much of the places as well, since the children aren’t very interested with the place. Anyway, just another experience to see a floating bookshop. BTW, it is kinda a charity thing as well.

Power Nap

Read an interesting article about the latest craze in Japan, Power Nap.

It seems like they are encouraging people to take a 15-30 minutes nap time after lunch. The Schools actually switch of the light, turn on some soft music and ask the students to take a brief nap. No more guilt in trying to steal some nap time in between and it is actually encouraged and part of standard practice, and they even create a nice sleeping environment for it. The same goes for Toyota. In Japan, they even have a Nap Salon for office worker to take brief nap after lunch.

I mean the idea is great. Everyone knows you probably would felt sleepy after lunch, and almost everyone will try to secretly secure some nap time. Why not just endorsed it, make nap time “legal” and make the best out of it by providing a good nap environment. It seems like a nap shouldn’t be too long, as we shall fall into a deep sleep and wake up grouchy and tired. 15-30 minutes is just nice.

From now onwards, I think I should practice 30 minutes of lunch and 30 minutes of nap time (and try to control myself not to oversleep).

Friday, July 14, 2006

Good Software Company

It had been a long time since I visited Joel website (too busy with my Feedreader with tons of stuff to read, and I kinda forgot to add him in), so I decided to drop by today. A long article captured my attention, “My First BillG Review”. From an ex-Microsoft employee who runs an ISV nowadays, it seems like a good read.

So, basically what did I get out from it?
  • Watching non-programmers trying to run software companies is like watching someone who doesn't know how to surf trying to surf.” Of course, we need a geek with at least some business sense in them. I always had doubt when I see a MBA or a salesman run a software company.
  • When your company had too many layers of bureaucracy, it takes all the fun, control and productivity out of it. In 1994. Microsoft had 6 layers of management (that is considered good), but now it had at least 12. Imagine the productivity boost and fun when you had only 1 layer.
  • A good manager does not have to know every detail of what are you doing, he just have to know that you got it under control. How does it do it? He asks harder and harder questions, until you admit that you don’t know, and then he yells at you for being unprepared. If you manage to answer all his questions? Hmm, it seems like you are pretty good.
  • When you hire too much, there are bound to be not too many gems in them. That seems to be an inevitable state when you are expanding big and good talent is rare as gem.
I think software is really a complex business, with too much technicality and culture which couldn’t possibly be understood by non-programmer. Some MBA/Salesman says that they understand, but in truth, they just don’t get it, and will never get it. The symptoms are obvious, but they are just in the state of denial.

What are the symptoms am I talking about?
  • There is no high ranking technical position in the company (no Chief Software Architect, no Chief Technology/Technical Officer, and no Technical Director); all you have is non-technical people holding post like CEO, COO, Big Ass Salesman, VP, Division Manager, etc.
  • They give weird title like E-Developer (what’s with the E thing), Application Specialist and Application Consultant when all we do is programming. Give us property title like Programmer, Lead Programmer, Software Architect, or cool title like Master Programmer or Chief of Productivity
  • When business is bad, they keep expanding the sales team.
  • When business is bad, they stop/halt product development and R&D.
  • During interview, they don’t have proper technical test to filter the candidates
  • During interview, the guy who interview you is from HR or someone non-Technical
  • There is no IDE, Testing Tool, Version Control, Bug Tracking, Standard Framework, Development Guidelines, Documentation
  • There is no Blog, Forum, Wiki or any collaboration tool for resource and knowledge sharing
  • When you keep switching team/project/task at a very frequent rate
  • When you see only the good one leaving the company
  • When the company loose or don't have a core product/service (end up doing anything that comes in)
Am I too demanding or the local software development scene is just so out of league. If I can find a company worth working for (besides for the big money), perhaps I wouldn’t be struggling with my own venture now. Like they said, if you can’t find it, create it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Kit2 MTV Special

It had been quite a while since Kit2's birthday, and I had been delaying his 1 year old birthday video until now. Luckily I have Mei Ru to shield me from the "relentless persuit" of Kit's Mom and Grandma :) Anyway, I'll make it up for them with a "Kit2 MTV Special" video.



Video Links: Birthday Party, Play with Me, Horse Riding with Mommy, Kit2 MTV Special

Monday, July 10, 2006

My Mid-Year Review

A glance back what I had accomplish on first half of 2006, down memory lane and to find out what had actually happened?
And still trying very hard struggling with productivity and procrastination (getting things done), and trying to manage Motivation and Discipline. And trying to accomplish my dream of entrepreneuring which basically means make some money with Malaysia Most Wanted. Perhaps making money is not the whole point, but it is kinda like a reward and milestone. Probably need to pick up and apply more business and marketing skill as well.

TODO:
  • Get myself together (increase Productivity, decrease Procrastination)
  • Have preseverance (Motivation + Discipline)
  • Let the ship sail smooth and steady (Turning Idea into actual Working)
The Good Side:
  • MMW is growing steadily, with much potential and space for expansion
  • The freelance works helps to lessen my financial burden for a while
  • I still have much faith with the idea, and Simon's contribution is extremely valuable
  • and I have her by my side in a very supportive way

Chiang Mai + Chiang Rai Travel

A compilation of my travel experience in Chiang Mai + Chiang Rai in December 2005. It's a nice and affordable place, with a good mix of nature and lighweight adventure :)



Blog
Photo
Video

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Lepor Waterfall at Ulu Langat

It’s time for another Travel Blog again; I shall try to make it sweet and short, hopefully.

Last weekend I spent 2 day 1 night hill trekking and camping trip at Lepor Waterfall, organized by MMG (RM 60 per pop). This time is kinda a big group; around 12 of us I think (Rathi and Friend FFK at the last minute). We have a lot of newcomers as well, such as Kenny, Ting Hui (cute little girl), Elaine (kinda innocent look), Chiu Nuan (Tang’s Friend), Lim and Chim Sou. The trip is very pleasant, as every one of us have fun and interesting characteristics.

Ulu Langat is quite a big place I think, with a few spot for picnic and bathing as well. You can join the nature outside, or you can trek for 2 hours to enjoy her inner beauty (the trek is worth it). The weight we have to carry is averagely 10 KG person, including camp equipment and Ah Kong’s stuff (publicly shared stuff). Since the journey is short, it shouldn’t be any big issue.


The road is wide, so the journey is pretty pleasant and simple. Only Lim and Elaine had some problem enduring the track, but you can be slow, and everyone shall reach at the end. Some part of the track is pretty steep and take the breathe out of newbie trekkers.

Our camp site is next to a river, so it is pretty cooling. The MMG Guys (Brandon and Ah Thong) quickly setup the camps and we get ourselves ready for lunch. Lunch is provided with sandwich and banana. We had it near the waterfall, and that’s the beauty of nature trip. Surrounded by running water, cool air, greenery is pretty amazing, and not to forget the good companions who shared the same passion. And we get to enjoy some fresh fruits as well, somehow they just taste better up here (I shall never forget them for all my Nature Trip, they are so refreshing).

The first activity is abseiling or something like it. They put a rope from the middle of the waterfall to the bottom, and we descent rock climbing style in the running water and jump into the water at the end. It is pretty interesting and not too difficult. Everyone was pretty nervous and cautious in the beginning, and everyone made it safely. As there a many of us, only a few got a second try. In the 2nd round, I would try a more difficult water path, go faster and enjoy the scenic view of running water from the top, and try to jump into the water in a more adventurous style.


The rest of the day is simple enjoyment. We took a bath and long chit chat while waiting for dinner to be served. Due to boredom, most of us turned into a cam hore. The food is not as good as Chef Fong’s cooking at Gunung Rajah, but most food taste delicious while we are in the nature. A long chit chats after dinner, and I was feeling pretty sleepy. Everyone went to sleep after Tong Sui session.



It is not very cold up here; the tent is more than enough to keep us warm. Floor Mat or Sleeping Bag is pretty important as the ground is very cold.

We woke up around 8 plus the next morning, had a good breakfast and played a survival and rescue game. It is supposed to be a quick course offered by MMG as well. One person have to pretend to be injured, and the rest of the team had to figured out a way to mobilized the injured to safety, and utilizing simple compass as well. We did a few mistakes here and there, but it as nevertheless fun. Perhaps it is important for us to take a few lessons in first aid and survival as well, since we do trekking quite often nowadays.

After that is start packing up and go downhill all the way. We drop by a hot spring on the way back, but it isn’t very interesting. After the trip, seems like we manage to attract more people to enjoy trekking.


Somehow, it seems impossible to keep these postings shorts no matter how hard I tried. Enjoy!

Photo Links: Wynn's Multiply, Mich's Multiply, Mei Ru's Mutiply, Tang's Multiply, Chim's Multiply 1, 2 and 3

Saturday, July 08, 2006

To Fix it, or not to Fix

When the relationship is still new, we share only happiness. As the relationship gets deeper, we start to share problems as well. Recently Mei Ru and I seem to start sharing each other's problems quite frequently. But somehow, the conversation usually didn’t end up in very good terms. But, I noticed the following trend …

When I told her about my problem, she usually doesn’t talk much. She just listened, and concluded with a word of encouragement. In my mind, I would think perhaps there is nothing much she could do for me as well, since it is after all my problems and only I can solve it.

When she told me about her problem, I usually responded a lot. I think besides listening, I am trying to be helpful in order to solve her problem. Of course, while I am trying to solve her problem, I need to pinpoint the causes of the problem, which most of the time the enemy is within us. So, I might offend her in the process.

The situation is kinda interesting, it kinda reflect something which I read in the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. It is told that women told their problem just to seek an audience, with the purpose of just sharing their problem with someone without the intension of seeking a solution. For men, they share a problem to seek a solution, an opinion, guidance. When a woman told his man her problem, he would try to put up his “Mr. Fix-It” hat and try to analyse the problem to come up with a solution.

So, what does it mean to me? When a woman shares her problem with me, I just listen and give a word of encouragement at the end. When a man shares his problem with me, then only I am allowed to put on the “Mr. Fix-It” hat. I do hope my conclusion is right, and wonder should I practice such a way from now onwards. Part of the mystery of the universe.