Sunday, June 29, 2008

Singapore Toy and Comic Convention 2008

Finally got a chance to visit athe Toy and Comic Convention in Singapore; It has always been a childhood thing, to be fascinated with toys and comics. Not sure it’s a dream fulfilled or not, but I felt that it is really an event which I should really visit; and it’s worth it :) Some people say, "Har! So big already still play toy and read comic ar!?". Are we really that far away from toy and comic?

I am a Happy Boy :)

May the Force e with you, muahahaha!

The event is dominated by free Wii games at the front, with the Guns, Guitar and Fit devices. I wonder why XBOX and PS3 didn’t show up. The right wing is full with independent and smaller studio and artistes with some pretty interesting art and creation. The event had a good balance of US/Europe, Japanese and Singapore art and comic influence. We have quite a lot of star wars (Jedi, Bounty Hunters, Storm Troopers) characters walking around, some trekkies (with a Klingon), an Ultraman and some other not very well known characters. Too bad no Manga or Anime babe around, but did have some very nice Japanese dolls.

Drunken Homer Simpsons with Thor outfit

Modern Art Figurine

Trekkies at Work

I think the target audience nowadays is really teenagers and young adults, not really children. The place is full with modern comic and art, with new and cute but simple characters spawning everywhere. Too bad I barely recognized any of them, nor know any of their names. These figurines are really nice, but I didn’t feel any personal attachment to it (didn’t know their background nor name); thus didn’t buy anything. In fact, I pretty much lose track with the comic world now; too far away from the industry as a fan.

Japanese Figurine with Movable Body Parts

Cool Babe Warrior

The most interesting game is a one dollar per pop block stacking game, where one of the major prizes is a PSP, so easy yet so far away. I felt that these artistes are really talented people; able to create their line of comic or figurine, and making their passion into their work is really a god thing. Now is not just about just drawing comic with interesting story, but also lovable family of figurines.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What Idea Cradle Investment Programme (CIP) don't fund?

I am a 2 times failure for CIP fund application. Mr. Bugs Tan (Inventor and Vice President of MACRI) said you got 50-70% brighter chance if you are shortlisted for an interview, and I got called for Interview both time.

One of my compliant is the lack of transparency and guidance for those who didn’t make it beyond the Interview session, or even got kicked off before the interview. You don’t know why your idea got rejected, thus you cannot learn from mistake. I can understand Cradle’s reasoning for doing so, probably due to lack of manpower and avoid opening the flood gate for appeal.

Cradle seems to have a bunch of professional and progressive people, who knows what they are talking about. I had always doubt their professionalism in evaluation (whether they know what is a good business plan or not). After I attended a talk hosted by them, I have slightly more confident. There is one important technicality which every applicant must be aware of, that is there is some category of projects that Cradle just won’t fund.

Portal is a great buzz word and success during to the 90’s thanks to Yahoo. In Malaysia, we have MOL portal which got sold for millions (and I don’t think it’s that valuable now) by the founder of JobStreet. Then we have Catcha (the most promising VC funded project and envy of all entrepreneurs of the time) which I think failed miserably into the void. If you try to apply to start a project with the word “portal” as part of the title, they would probably press the delete key faster than you can submit.

If you try to be as successful as, and try to invade the share market of, please hold your horses. Though I personally feel that E-Commerce is a good time now (with better infrastructure and people are more opened the idea), so I guess I would have to fund it with my own money. I don't think starting something which enable E-Commerce like Yahoo Store would be any better as well.

Online Advertising
If you try to be like Google Adsense, Nuffnang or Advertlets, you won’t get money from these guys either. Perhaps they have seen 1000 proposals based on Online Advertising (inspired by Google Adsense), so it’s pretty hard to stand out again.

There software is very important to business, but too bad there are too many competitors out there. I tried to submit a proposal in the early years to come out with a low cost (priced around RM 10K using mostly “free” software, where the market price is around RM 50K – 1 Million) CMS/DMS to target small business owner, and that didn’t work as well. They said there are too many similar products in the market.

Directory & Listing
If you try to challenge iProperty (which more than 2 dozens website already tried so), you would have to use you own money as well. They have a thing against property listing and perhaps business directory (do we need a better online Yellow Pages?) as well.

I understand Cradle blacklist these categories because it’s too common and high risk. The downside is even if you try to improvise and do it better on these ideas; I don’t think it will get their attention as well. I think the better strategy is self funding and make it work (or grab enough attention) to gain morechips for your future negotiation and funding. Who knows? The idea might really burnt, or prove them wrong as well. Google did go IPO after the Internet bubble burst, if you have the guts to buy their shares then, you would be slightly richer.

No guts no glory.

What does Cradle like?
I think they like really cool technology, something innovative or complicated (high risk in commercialization, but media buzz is guaranteed and got categorized as Malaysia-boleh kinda Technology). Engineering feat to solve daily problem in better ways seems to gain favour as well, and perhaps following the new trend on recycling and renewable energy. As for ICT, I think any kind of website is loosing favour (including the latest hype in Social Networks like Facebook or MySpace, and I’ll be so TL if they did grant one), or any common business application like Accounting, Inventory, Document Management, etc. Maybe GPS / Wireless related mobile applications could gain some attention.

I guess there is no hope for all range of services to be funded by Cradle. I am quite tired of figuring out what favour the VC as well, I just want try if MY ideas really work or not.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The things with Super GT Girls and SLR Men

Source: MyCen

I never been to a Super GT event before, but I won’t expect anything less of the following:
  • We have a lot of men walking around with their big gun (SLR camera, the bigger the more macho) shooting pretty Japanese young girls with skimpy clothing and handy umbrella (for protection, from the Sun). Some hunt in packs, while some prefer to work alone.
  • Most hunters will ask the girls to pose for them, where success is almost guaranteed with these friendly chic. Some gutsy hunters might try to ask for dates, but even guts do not stop a lemon to be pushed down your throats. Some might pick up a few Japanese words or even go for classes so that they can impress these foreign beauty queens, or ask them out for a date.
  • For those with a blog, you are most willing to share it with all other men in this world :) And you don’t see picture of any cars.
I wonder anyone is making any complilation video of GT girls? Maybe I should do it next time, and tag along with the hunting party :)

Sigthings so far:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Review: How the errors of rivals helped Microsoft

The secret of Bill Gates' success is a very short and simple article from BBC, yet it manages to highlight a few key points which attributed to Microsoft’s Success.

"They (the competitor) did not understand how to bring in people with business experience and people with engineering experience and put them together. They did not understand how to go around the world."

I guess this is a very common issue in every company, either your company are more Sales & Marketing Centric like IBM, or more Developer & Engineering Centric like Microsoft. As a developer, I would always look for company which are more Developer centric so that my effort is valued and appreciated (rather than being treated as just a working drone). I guess Microsoft did more than that: being able to jell the business and technical people together, giving respect to both camp and have them working close together.

I remember I read an article about Brian Valentine from Microsoft, “Our role as manager is to allow the developers to do their job effectively, not getting into their way”. Too many managers try to tell the developer what to do, when they themselves have no idea what should be done exactly. We need someone (a manager) who is able to bring the best out of people, not trying to control or restrict them.

“Getting MS-DOS out there was more important than the price of any particular deal.”

Talking about market share, I guess it’s all about getting as much people to use your product as possible. I guess Microsoft did a lot to gain market share in the early days, even though it means loosing money. Is like nowadays Antivirus Company like AVG gives out free version so that more people would use it, talk about it and recommend it. It’s like free marketing, bigger market share and a higher chance that people would actually buy it. The more people use it (the more popular it become), and then there is a good chance to be successful.

“It was Mr. Gates' ability to understand the business as well as the technical side that gave Microsoft the edge”

This is really a rare skill which not many people have, and business people and technical people indeed think very differently. I don’t really believe a company would be successful because we have a MBA as CEO; and neither a Techie could be a great leader as well. Business people probably aren’t very interested with the detail of technicality, and Techie doesn’t really care about business stuff. To success in this Technology Business segment, you need both, and not many people have both the skill set. We need someone who really understand and appreciate technicality and technology, yet still know how to market it effectively and how to make money out of it.

It’s like the customers (usually a business person) who understand very well about their business, yet doesn’t have a very good idea to utilize technology to enhance their business value. He would then tell a Techie to develop what he wants, but the techie only understand on the surface how the business run. So it’s pretty hard to jell both brains together to get optimum result, unless you are the same person.

Microsoft had "evangelized" its software to other companies, begging them "please write software for our platform". Mr. Gates says that he had personally visited Lotus "so many times" to plead with the company to adapt 1-2-3 to work on Windows.

I found the recent trend on anti-trust and monopoly lawsuit it quite pointless (and a good waste of money and resources). It’s like the sour looser whining when they loose in terms of competitiveness or they fail to have a proper vision for the future many years ago. Those who bet with Microsoft in the beginning will probably be more successful than those who didn’t.

I believe Microsoft is very adopt a Developer friendly, trying to get as much people develop on Windows platform as possible, providing API’s and powerful development tools. Maybe they hide certain APIs, but I don’t think that’s the main reason why competitor loose out.

Microsoft is quite a Giant, and every domain which they move into is going to cause some casualty. For example Borland Development Tool is crushed by Visual Studio and Microsoft Office overrun Word Perfect and Lotus 1-2-3. It’s because Microsoft practice unfair competition or these companies just isn’t good enough? Microsoft did venture into database segment with Microsoft SQL, but Oracle and MySQL is still standing. Microsoft tries to venture into Internet and Search, but Google is still very much dominant. I think it’s all about survival of the fittest, and perhaps Microsoft did have more advantage with its cash flow and Windows platform. I mean, you can just hate them for being rich and successful.

"But they (the competitor) were quite slow, so our own Windows applications, Word, Excel, were doing incredibly well."
If Word Perfect or Lotus 1-2-3 believe in the potential of Windows in the beginning and start developing on the Windows since the beginning (and did a good job), Microsoft might just become an OS company without an office suite.

Everyone was once small; and Everyone has a chance at success. Can you make it, or not?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ballroom and Paso Dance Exam

Ah, dancing. Didn’t quite blog about it for a long time, though I had continuously dancing for almost 3 years perhaps? I had lost count. It’s strange that dancing is not really my hobby or passion, but it is nevertheless fun to do. It’s it is really good to have such weekly activities, I guess I benefit a lot subconsciously. Get to have time to hang out with friends once in a while, have some exercise, learn to accommodate different partners and try to relax and have fun. I guess dancing is good for the soul.

My Ballroom Partner, Mui Yen

Just hard my third exam this year, not for Latin but for my new venture into Ballroom Dancing (Waltz, Quick Step) and Paso (Bull Dancing). This year Mei Ru got pretty engaged with her new job, thus she won’t be joining me for the exam. My partner for Ballroom is Mui Yen and partner for Paso is Jane. I guess the exam when pretty well, except for a few minor mistakes I did. I guess I wasn’t too cautious with top mental alert, thus I let myself go. Anyway it’s over, and I probably shouldn’t take differentiation of a few points too seriously.

Old Dancing Buddies: Jenny, Lai, Tang and Jeremy (Michelle and Li Mun no longer the the picture, and not to forget Derick and GF)

Dancing is supposed to be fun and relaxing for me, and the purpose for me in taking exam is so that I could do it slightly better while correcting my mistakes. But sometimes we are indeed affected by social pressure and slight competitiveness, just a bit. There is a high chance I won’t be taking dance exam the next year, and I am not sure if I would continue it until next year. The workload is getting greater and the Studio is really quite far for me (and rising fuel price). Let’s see how it goes.

Dancing is still fun, and I never regretted doing so. I just hope I still know how to dance 10 years down the road.

Book Review: iWoz (A True Techie)

Just finished iWoz which my sis bought for me (RM 35.50 only with a 3 for 2 deals on top). Steve Wozniak is not really my idol, neither is Steve Jobs. Nevertheless, I am curious about how they started Apple anyway.

My first impression about the book is that it involved a lot of self bragging. After a few more chapters, I don’t think it’s about bragging in a bad way; it’s just how technician behaves when they try something really cool and wanted to share it with the world.

Steve Wozniak was an Engineer and Techie at heart, playing with circuit, chip and electronic since he was young. His passion and solid foundation in engineering and electronic make it possible to create the state of the art Apple II at that point of time, where keyboard, color monitor, computer sound and software is not really of existence yet. It’s his passion which drive him to create things in the most effective manner (or sophistication), to use lesser chips and increase performance.

He’s a fun loving guy, never quite really into making money but instead to create something really cool or fun. He loves to have fun (with his jokes and pranks), treat his friends and co-workers very well (he practically give them free Apple shares), let people have fun (the US Festivals) and a definite philanthropic to help others to achieve a better life. Of course he is not very successful with his marriage life, but did try his best to raise his children in a liberal and adventurous way. I wonder how his children are doing now.

As a person, Wozniak is really great and easy going, and passionate about hardware. He is not really a good example of corporate figure or management, as he just want to have fun and remain an engineer. Of course he moves on to philanthropic effort later in life.

The final advice form him is: if you are going to become an innovator or artist, it’s better to work alone. You’re going to best able to design revolutionary products and features if you’re working on your own. Nothing great comes out from a committee. Large and structured company will restrain you imagination and exploration, and make it very difficult to do so.

Sometimes I also though of the idea of having a few partners and investors, but it just bring the fun away in exchange for money and help. I used to try to apply for Venture Capital funding whenever I came up with an idea, and usually my proposals wouldn’t gain their attention. Perhaps it’s better if I always start the idea on my own to prove that it’s really something, rather than convincing people how good it’s on paper. In fact, most of the times I don’t even know how good it will be. I just know it’s fun and useful :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Did I Misunderstood Christianity?

I guess the biggest problem in any religion is human interpretation, as we tend to interpret in our own ways (based on our preference, knowledge, culture and experience).

I always believed all religion is about goodness. Being kind and compassionate, help each other and to build a better and peaceful world. If we are good, then we might to go heaven; if we are bad, then we go to hell. That’s the basic rule or principal which I assumed I understood, so that all of us will do good.

One day someone told me that is not true for Christianity, where you will not go to heaven just by doing good. You have to accept Christ, or to be judged. To my interpretation, that means I am doomed if I am not a Christian. All other religions are doomed! And why does Christianity get this VIP treatment for 1st class ticket to heaven (is it a monopoly?)? What about doing good? If Jack the Ripper is a Christian, will he still go to heaven? I never quite buy the idea because I just cannot accept the concept, no matter how true it may be. Is like the Malaysian Government ask everyone to drive a Proton or else we shall tax you KAU KAU!

After many years (in fact, it’s yesterday), I realize perhaps it’s a problem of interpretation. It may be due to the translation from the original text to English, or perhaps it is supposed to be symbolism, or we didn’t read in between the lines. What if we exchange the word Christ for God. To accept and believe in God (and it can be any God based on your believe and culture and religion). Not just believe in God, but his teaching and believes, such as be compassionate, loving and kind. If you are Compasionate, Loving and Kind (like God had been), then you are welcomed to the VIP club in kingdom of heaven for eternal life. If you are a naughty boy who didn’t listen to God, you get to spade coal for the rest of you life in the hot basement (or is it in the center of the earth?).

So, isn’t that better? It works for me at least, now that I have less prejudice against the religion. Again by not joining any of the club, I became more open minded and get to explore and understand more without being told that it’s haram.

Living My Life

I know we have to deal with all kind of shit everyday: useless boss, picky customer and painful people to deal with. But life still goes on, should be in a way which we are most satisfied with.

Why not I work my ass of for this ten years in a job which I totally dislike but pay very well, so that I can do whatever I want in the next ten years? Sound familiar? I think Warren Buffer commented on this, “Is like saving up sex for old age, and it isn’t a very good idea.”

Can we live current life in a happy way while still be able to make a living, either more or less. How many people are you willing to hurt in order to earn a few extra bucks, including yourself? Why can’t we say, “Tomorrow, I am gonna chase after my dream! To infinity and beyond!”. Then we have, “No la, I need the money to buy milk for my babies, to take care of my family, to pay for my cars, etc”. So our plan is put on hold forever until … forever. I guess its okay, as long as our happy or satisfied with it. Do you have a hidden urge for some kind of achievement, or to do something, no matter big or small?

I am trying to live a good life everyday, and I will make tomorrow even better! I guess there is no other way besides promising not to torture myself and people around me. I am lucky in the sense that I don’t have much burden around me, thus I am able to take life slightly more freely compared to other. But it is a decision I had made not without sacrifice and struggle, and there is no guarantee of a better tomorrow besides my belief. I guess we have to be good (not to do evil), and try to make as many people happy and as many things better. It is supposed to be an ideal, and definitely not perfect.

What is my purpose in life? I really have no idea besides going through it in the best possible ways. But that is only me, for now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why ASP.NET sucks (and there is Hope)

I think ASP.NET really fuckup big time. I tried at least 3 development projects with it, and I found the whole package doesn’t really speed up my development time, plus it’s no fun and excitement.

Page Controller Architecture Sucks
First of all, the Page Controller (or Model-View-Presenter) method used by ASP.NET 1.0 and 2.0 is so out-dated. Once you try your hand on Model-View-Controller (MVC), especially Ruby on Rail (I tried it more than a year ago, and still find it fascinating and refreshing), there is really no turning back. Personally, MVC increased both productivity and fun level by at least 50%.

Desktop Application Framework (and Controls) on Web Sucks
The thought of Microsoft trying to emulate desktop development framework (like VB6 with forms, controls and events) on the web really screw up the whole development experience. I hate the idea of the entire ASP.NET life cycle thing (which causes a lot of cannot do and inconvenience), and the event things doesn’t really work very well for dynamically created controls (you have to re-create the controls even though you don’t need them in order for the event to be fired, then you destroyed the controls and created new ones based on the event, which is a total waste of effort and processing cycle). And those damn controls are so bulky (generate a lot redundant HTML code) and take a lot of effort to customize, and none of the commercial controls out there is really outstanding (I tried Infragistic, it’s not really great). And the use of skin file for UI customization (such as color, padding, etc) is really not as good as CSS. Even though they try to remedy it with CSS Adapters, but it’s too late of a patch work.

Where is ORM?
Where is the Object Relational Mapping? I have to write damn lots of database helper class, write my own Model/Entity class and mess with even more SQL statements. I want the Model/Entity to be automatically generated, and all the common SQL command ready to be used as methods. And also some easy syntax to specify the relationship between models. They nearest they got is Strongly Typed Data Access (using XSD), which is too rigid and very difficult to customized.

Strongly-typed Variable is not too smart
I really like VB (and VB.NET), because they take care of the internal/implicit casting (some might argue it's bad, but it save time and it's right 90% of the time) for you (short, integer and long can be interchanged easily). C# is really a pain, where it demands you to do a proper casting (you can’t assign integer to long or vice versa). Too bad VB syntax is too lengthy, and C# is too damn strict (and not really smart). Scripting language is far superior in terms of speed of coding. I don't mind case sensitivity (make the code cleaner) and variable declaration.

Wastage of Processing Cycle
ASP.NET AJAX is really easy to use, but the solution is quite pathetic and really inefficient. Basically the AJAX called the entire page again but only refreshes a specific portion. In fact, the entire ASP.NET package is a good waste of processing cycles, especially for events.

Loose Control of HTML and Javascript

I know the whole thing about web development is a big giant, with HTML, Javascript, CSS (thus ASP.NET try to do abstraction on it so that VB developer could survive). To be frank, what kind of web developer are you if you cannot take control of the HTML and Javascript (and make use of jQuery). We all have to learn HTML and Javascript, and manipulate them wisely. We don't need protection and subsidies!!!

There is hope!
The good news is, MVC is becoming popular on ASP.NET, with MonoRail and ASP.NET MVC in the picture (and comparison). MonoRail had been established since 2003, and ASP.NET MVC just started by Microsoft. Microsoft really has to nail this right, and I am afraid they have done too many wrong with ASP.NET. For ORM, maybe we can look into NHibernate vs. MS Entity Framework/LinQ (and comparison).

I like the .NET Framework, Visual Studio and C# (perhaps speed of development friendly. I do agree that VB.NET is really a developer's good friend, besides the lengthy syntax).I am not really a ASP.NET fan nowadays, but sometimes I am “forced” to work on it due to customer’s demand. I might explore these options next if the opportunities arises.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What technology a web developer need to know?

I think I am a techie at heart (much like Steve Wozniak, be a techie for life), at least of the software programming side. Always looking for the next cool framework with a WOW factor, and also to know there is a world outside Microsoft ASP.NET and Java. I was once quite impressed with Java's Spring, Hibernate and Struts, and also .NET's Web Client Software Factory (WCSF) and Enterprise Library.

Now I really like scripting language and MVC-like framework such as Ruby on Rail (RoR) and perhaps CakePHP (similar rail framework, suitable for existing PHP developer) for it's speed of development.

What else impressed me as a web developer? Yes, jQuery the javascript library. Maybe prototype as well, but I got a feeling jQuery might win the war. The javascript library actually make javascript usable on most platform, a lot easier and more powerful. Ahh! AJAX, so simple yet with some much usability.

What next? Something called Rich Internet Application (RIA), something more interactive than AJAX, an application on your browser, something like flash but with more power to the developer. The two competitor around is Microsoft .NET Silverlight and Abobe AIR. I trust Microsoft’s developer tool such as Visual Studio, with a good language such as C# and strong developer support. Abobe AIR (with Flash & Javascript) is really a surprise. I never quite like development on flash using ActionScript and Timeline, but it is the most popular RIA around (with good support from the designer & art community). The good news is they have something called FLEX, with Eclipse (good!) as the IDE.

Personally I think Silverlight is not ready for big time yet, but it does have a lot of potential (with Microsoft + VS + .NET + Developer Support). Adobe AIR (or rather Flash) had a head start, and ready for deployment sooner than Silverlight. If the support for development is really good, Adobe AIR could really come up as a surprised winner. BTW, Adobe AIR could be run as a desktop application as well. I like the idea of scripting, only if it’s a powerful and easy to use scripting language.

The problem with RIA is that it’s not search engine friendly (meaning search engine can’t read your content, which is really bad for web traffic). Maybe it is not meant for a community portal or online content, but rather an online application which serve a specific purpose. Perhaps an online accounting software or online leave tracking system or ticket booking. Do you think there is an opportunity to win by technology used?

There is Google Gears as well, to build an offline web application (maybe Google Desktop use this).

So much technologies, so much possibilities, so little time. I am into RIA at the moment, I kinda know what silverlight has to offer, and I am very curious about what Adobe AIR had under its sleeve. I need more TIME!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Project Petaling Street (PPS) Hacked?

I notice PPS stop updating its list of latest blog posts since June 08 10:38 PM (now is June 09 12:04 PM). Then I though maybe there is some technical hiccups, perhaps database issue or errorness php script due to upgrade.

Once in a while, I was shown a different frontpage titled "petaling street sean paul elton at". Hmm, did the owner forgot to pay his annual domain name renewal?

A quick check at whois show the ownership is still intact. But the expiration date is 09 Jun 2008, and that is pretty darn close (open opportunity for domain name hijack). Another quick check at GoDaddy shown otherwise (Last Updated On:09-Jun-2008 03:46:19 UTC, Expiration Date:09-Jun-2009 04:46:12 UTC). Perhaps it is really a last minute domain name renewal, phew!

PPS could had been hacked (unlikely I think), or it could be just another technical glitch (last minute domain renewal?).

How do I become rich enough until I don’t have to worry?

This is a difficult question to answer, yet common. I supposed everyone would want financial freedom, doing our favorite thing of the day while the money still rolling in.

How do we achieve that? Or rather, what are we supposed to achieve. I think Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad) says wealth is how many days we could survive without working? So if you could survive with your current lifestyle until age 80, I think you are pretty rich. Based on this formula, you should be able to roughly calculate how money you actually need (take into consideration of inflation, emergency fund, your wanted luxury vacation and etc).

Lets say I need 5 million, what then? I guess there is 2 way, where you could try your very best to earn as much money as you can from now on (maybe become a millionaire by 30 or 40), or create enough passive income which continue to generate income even when you are not working.

I guess the only way to get rich very fast besides hitting the lottery is starting a business, or unless you are a high paying CEO of a very large cooperation. The problem with business is that there is risk, with lots of business folding within the 1st year and lots more closing by the 3rd year. And steady employment might not be able to fulfill your dream. With the Internet today, the cost of doing some business had gone down significantly (thus reduced risk), but it doesn’t mean it is easier to make money (more competitive), but at least everyone has a chance. Almost everyone can be a professional blogger or sell things through eBay at virtually ZERO cost, and probably less than 0.001% could actually gain financial freedom from doing that. Probably it is easier to make money by conventional business (with conventional risk), perhaps it could be supplemented by Internet such as There are some Internet successes in Malaysia such as, but you don’t get a handful of them. I still think the fastest legitimate way to make money is to do business.

Then there is the wonderful thing called Passive Income, a mechanism which makes money for you while you are sleeping (a.k.a Money Making Machine). The common thing is investment through share market and property, but you need to have a decent capital in order for the money to roll (let’s say RM 100,000 for start). You could either save every penny you can through employment, or you could try you luck with business first to earn your first pot of gold. To invest wisely you would need knowledge and skill, and you probably don’t have it because you are too busy earning money. If you leave it to the professional, they will take commission from you, and you don’t even know they are good or not. You heard of someone (a friend’s friend) who is good in investment, but you don’t trust your money with that guy? What’s next?

Yes, back to starting a business. But this time your focus is not about just making money, but how to make the business run without your present? This requires some thinking. Let’s say a Kopitiam franchise that run very well with the system you had developed and run smoothly under the management which you handpicked. Perhaps to build a very well known internet portal which earn good money through advertisement? Or become a silent partner in a business investment, given that you have the cash and found someone to entrust it to. Or invest in someone like Warren Buffet 20 years ago, or invested in Google not that long ago.

Either way, you need to make sure your Reserve (Money) + Passive Income could last you for life. After that, you had reached the Nirvana on earth :)

Simple, huh? It’s just an idea, not even a plan.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Comic: 2 Characters

On some weekend, I just don't feel like working anyway, yet couldn't find something really to do. That's the problem with city dweller like us, depending too much on window shopping at shopping complex, eating, watching movie and etc. Sometimes, we just ran out of options so fast so furious.

To counter this weekend boredom and stay away from work, we probably need some hobby such as jogging (could be pretty boring at times), reading (if I had a good book), mountain hiking (good choice, but not available on every weekend), blogging (if I had a topic) and perhaps live up to some childhood dream, such as drawing comic.

So, my first draft of my upcoming comic, presenting the 1st 2 characters :)

Ultraman Hairstyle + Shirt | Helmet Hairstyle + Apron

Robot | Helmet + Animal Costume

Stickman | Bowl Head + Wizard

Weird Costume?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

JVC Everio GZ-MS100 (Memory-based Camcorder) suitable for high altitude?

I was thinking of replacing my handy JVC-GR-DX37AG Camcorder (which I have to fork out RM 319 to fix recently due to a malfunction recording button, repairing high-tech gadget do cost a BOMB to repair after warranty). I thought of getting the one of those HDD (hard disk) based camcorder, like JVC GZ-MG330AG. The main issue for me is that these HDD camcorders do not work on high altitude (above 10000ft, due to the hard disk need external air-pressure to spin). Not many people know about this (even the technician at JVC service centre does not know about this).

So, perhaps a memory-based camcorder would be a solution for high altitude? I found JVC Everio GZ-MS100 which use SD / SDHC memory card (SD card have a current limit of 4GB, which is sufficient for 1 hour of recording). It seems to have almost the same specification as JVC-GR-DX37AG, and had an official price tag of USD 350 (about RM 1120, and could be lower). I mean, this is really great news. The next time old Camcorder spoil again, this should be a viable alternative. I think this model is not available in Malaysia yet, so probably a few months more.

Other alternative include canon Canon FS100, which retail for USD 399. These sub USD 500 camcorder are actually Standard Definition camcorder (around 1MP). Canon do offer HD (High-Definition) flash memory camcorder such as Vixia HF100 with better recording quality and internal flash RAM, but these babies are over my budget as a hobby.

But I still have a question, can JVC Everio GZ-MS100 (or any memory-base camcorder) can actually work on high altitude?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Garmin eTrex Vista HCx GPS

I finally decided to get myself a GPS which I had been putting in on hold due to the high price. Mainly it will be used for my Malaysia Most Wanted projects, especially the Travel part which is coming up. Besides that, it would give me some added pleasure while hiking mountains and help me navigate through unfamiliar roads around the city.

The reason I choose this model is mainly:-
  • Garmin brand (thus more availability of compatible map format)
  • High sensitivity chipset (good during hiking)
  • Long batter life (25 hours)
  • Durable (drop proof and semi water proof)
  • Miscellaneous feature: Map, Routing, Compass, Barometer.

I bought my unit (RM 1300) from, a local Garmin Vendor (it’s in Seremban, and about RM 100-200 cheaper than KL vendors). Amazon had cheaper price (around RM 800), but they don’t deliver to Malaysia. I found who actually delivery to Malaysia for RM 1100, but the saving is too little as compared to worries like import duty and warranty issue.


Trip Computer

I had some problem with the 1st unit as the unit keep freeze/hang after a while, which is very annoying. After numerous try and getting help from forum, I concluded that the unit is faulty. Luckily there is a 14 days one to one exchange policy, but I have to fork out RM 20 to deliver the unit back to SLTSB. They did sent me a new unit and everything is okay now :)

What’s really good (or not good) about this unit?
  • It’s required about 5-30 seconds to get the satellite signal (3 of them), and it could really work in some indoor places.
  • It works with the free malsingmaps, which is really cool
  • It could navigate decently using the maps, just that there is no voice to guide you while driving (but there did make some beeping sounds when near a junction and zoom in the map with big arrows)
  • We have an electronic compass, with useful information such as speed, destination to next, ETA to next and etc
  • There is a barometer to check your altitude, with plotted graph of the ascending and descending
  • A Trip Computer to trace distance travelled, Max Speed, Moving Time, Stopping Time, Moving Average, Overall Average and etc
  • Track saving up to 20 tracks with 10000 points each, and could be exported to Google Earth
  • The malsingmaps comes with POI such as Food, Shopping, Lodging, etc
  • Checking of sunrise and sunset time (as well as the moon)

Basically, it’s a cool gadget which work decently well :)

About Dream: Drawing Comic

Just remembering that we should not give up our dream, and I just wonder how many dreams do I really have.

When I was young, I think I wanted to be a police, army or even astronaut, but I didn’t quite feel the urge to be those now. I do enjoy comic, and sometimes I try to draw them, but the problem is I was never quite good at them. No matter what, I still feel like drawing comic.

Recently I felt to urge to take this dream more seriously, perhaps to start something. I thought, oh god, another project? I had my hands full already. Anyway, I just can’t stop thinking about it, as it’s still fresh and hot. So, might as well do something about it and see what happens (rather than kill it before anything could happen).

So, what kind I comic should I draw?

I was thinking something like Dilbert, simple (something I could manage) but funny, and to portray truth in a sarcastic ways. I like Rose is Rose (it’s weird angle and explosion of imagination), Adam@Home(SOHO imagination), Calvin and Hobbes (child's imagination) perhaps something along this line.

I was very much influenced by Hong Kong comic all the years. Though they graphics are great, but their story lack depth and continuity. Perhaps lacking of imagination and surprises, too stereotype.

I like Japanese Manga or Anime very much, due to their explosion of creativity. I don’t really have any particular favorite, but I like their creativity and depth, and humor as well.

I never quite like American comic book, like Spiderman, Superman, Batman, or even Witch Blade or Hellboy, they just seemed too rough and lack some connection with me while reading it. I didn’t felt hooked or beginning to imagine things.

Again, kind I comic should I draw?

The art must be simple, as my drawing skill is very limited. I cannot do long story, as it required lots of creativity and imagination, so probably I’ll do a 3-6 frame comic strip.

What is it going to be about? After some careful thought, I guess it’s going to be about me and people around me. It’s hard for me to imagine something which I am not, or have no experience of. Probably will draw about software industry, mountain hiking, about ideal & thoughts, about human relationship, or perhaps mostly about what I usually blog about. Sometimes I do feel it’s difficult to draw what I blog about in a comical way, haha.

I like magical and fantasy as well, but that required a more elaborate illustration which I am not capable of. Perhaps some element here and there :)

1st step, need to create a few main characters :)

Yong Belar

I really like the Yong Belar trip, where the weather is nice, the path requires less crawling with a good amount of up and down and the scenery is just nice (not to mentioned a good campsite and close proximity last water point).

This is like a redemption trip as well, where I was totally out of form during the Liang trip few weeks ago. I had been going on jogging as frequent as I could (jogging just on weekend does not work, as I would be usually occupied with something else) just to keep up the stamina so that I could have a more enjoyable hiking trip. I am really glad that it work out very well, and the trip is just marvelous. I think I should keep up the habit of jogging :)

Yong Belar started near a Blue Valley farm in Cameron (same starting point as Charlie), reached only by 4WD. This time Wen Pin leads the front, followed by the ever energetic Tang and Iron Lady Michelle. In between we have Tiger Alvin, Jason the Noise Maker, Muscleman Chim and Mrs. Chim (Li Chan). At the back, we have the usual me, Mei Ru, and surprisingly Tai Kor Siong Har and Fong the Chef. Siong Har and Fong kind of slow down their pace this time and it’s the first time we manage to catch up with them and keep pace. Probably is because Siong Har’s leg is aching due to an old injury. Nevertheless, they are never too far behind (good discipline and stamina).

We track through the high steps, crossing a river into 1 hour plus of logging path and ended up sticking our foot in some really muddy path. We hike up a stone hill into the forest, and begin our pleasant journey. Highland mountain is usually like a dragon, with a lot of up and town. The good thing is it isn’t too taxing while going up and the bad things is going down requires equally long hours as well (but at least it doesn’t hurt the knee too much). After a few hours of tracking through vast forest and mountains area, we reach Kem Tudung Periuk, the 1st water point. From there, it takes about 2 hours to reach Kem Kasut, the last water point. We clean ourselves up with icy cool water (syiok!), and carry 2 extra bottles each person for cooking and cleaning. I path up is about an hour of steep path, but it’s okay. The peak had a small piece of really flat campsite, the best I had seen for far. The mountain views are majestic, and it’s covered by heavy mist most of the time. It’s cold (Chim detected 15C during midnight, but it could have gotten lower) and not so windy (that’s God). Since we are not the very late arrival this time, I get to help out to setup the tents and alike, while the girls help Chef Fong with the cooking. Once thing about Siong Har and Fong’s combo, you could always expect being well taken care off and really good food. We are not talking about camping food like can or magi mee or bread, but Chinese cooking with 4 dishes and a soup, plus dessert after meal. You should be saying WTF now, haha. Fong’s cooking is delicious as usual, and many thanks to her and Siong Har of such good hospitality :)

I bought along a loaned GPS unit (Garmin eTrex Vista HCx) from Mei Ru’s friend, but the Yong Belar summit coordinates which I got from the Internet is wrong (almost 1km plus off), thus always the wrong estimate. The GPS unit works pretty well, except it fails to detect if we are moving or stopping most of the time, probably due to the dense forest. But it manages to track the full path pretty well.

It’s a good and memorable adventure, and I do feel good about it :)

Photo Links: Mei Ru's, Tang's, Michelle's 1 & 2