Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bukit Putih Wangsa Cheras (Ah Pak San - 阿伯山) Revisited with GPS Coordinates

After a numerous trips to Ah Pak San and its waterfall, I decided to take a different route to sagaview summit and explore new path. From Station 6 to Sagaview Summit takes around 30 minutes, and it is a very spacious summit with many people, tents and benches, and a few kind uncle showing some new hula toys. A up and down trek around Saga View probably take around 45 minutes or so.

Ah Pak San tends to be quite a decent training ground as well, where it provide shades from the sun, near to the city, and a full circuit trek from Ah Pak San and round Sagaview Summit could take a good 2.5 hours.

Sagaview City View

New Construction near Wangsa Cheras

Sagaview Summit

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Beginner’s Guide for Electronic / Robot Building in Malaysia

I am a total electronic noob who just wanted to have some fun with robotics, and trying to figure out how to do it (after more Googling and Forum Reading).

The best way is to read some books (web resources are good, but they tend to be less organized for learning). Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots is really a very simple introduction to get me started, though I look forward to Robot Building for Beginners. Getting Started in Electronics should help on the fundamental (though you might enjoy the more humorous There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings). Depending what kind of robot you want to build, you could consider JunkBots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels: Building Simple Robots With BEAM Technology if you want to build some self-minded bots, or you could enjoy more control and programming with micro-controller through PIC Robotics: A Beginner's Guide to Robotics Projects Using the PIC Microcontroller (Free e-Books as well).

We might want to pick up some simple projects to work on from the books or the webs, thus we need to get some parts (some smaller companies sell DIY Kit for hobbyist projects), preferably cheaply and locally. We could try:
Being an Engineer Wannabe, of course we need some basic EE Engineer’s tool (should cost RM 150 or more), such as
  1. Screwdriver set
  2. Soldering iron and related soldering tools and supplies
  3. Needlenose pliers, Wire cutters/strippers
  4. Breadboard and hook-up wire (a.k.a. Breadboard Jumper Kit)
  5. Rechargeable Batteries Set (NiMH)
  6. Perhaps a Digital multimeter (DMM)
I am more fond of Micro-controller Programming and integration with various sensors, and PIC Microcontroller seems to be popular among hobbyist. I have a feeling the real challenge in robotics/electronics is the circuit design.

I had pick up a simple BEAM Bots project (The Coat Hanger Walker from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots), and wanted to try on PIC Microcontroller (from PIC Robotics) as well for starter. Let’s hit Jalan Pasar and see what happens next.

PS: Worth reading on LowYat.NET's Electronics Enthusiasts Club forum to find out the state of Robotics Hobbyist in Malaysia.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Change is Definite, is how we Cope with it

Nowadays with so many things happening and so many thought popup, I only write about things if they popup in my mind more than once, or if they “screwed up” my mind a lot.

Talking a phases in life, things are really changing especially in terms of career and my girlfriend’s career. Last time I used to thinking of joining a consulting firm and travel around the world for various overseas projects. Now I don’t get to do that, because I am starting my own business without International networks. Besides, my attitude, mentality, lifestyle and portfolio had been drifting away the employment world quite a bit, which I find it hard to get back. Basically, perhaps I had already burnt my bridge to go back.

There is another thing which bothers me. Now my girlfriend gets to do what I used to dream of, working on overseas projects. If the current trend continues, it is probable that she won’t be around very often, thus left me “alone” most of the time. Basically she is progressing well in her career, which has some side-effect on our relationship which I need to learn to cope with. If I am still in employment and climbing corporate ladder, then probably both of us would be equally busy and have even less time for each other. What really bothers me is the idea that she is busy running around, while I am sitting at home waiting for her free time. What should I do to make myself feel more “occupied”?

She would probably have less time for our usual social event like dancing, hiking, travel and etc, and probably I have to spend many weekends alone. I end up with more time in hand, which I should think of what I should do in the long run to cope with this. With the current worrisome state of Malaysia’s Economy (and low Ringgit value) and Politic, one might think it is probably be smart to venture oversea to earn from stronger currency: Singapore, Hong Kong or China. I am not quite sure how can I venture oversea, besides finding a job in Singapore, perhaps as a Software Architect or so. But my “departure” from employment for the past few years gives me the anxiety. Looking through the long list of job available in JobStreet, I am not sure what to pick on. Freelancing in Singapore? I have no idea where to start from without contacts and customer base.

Malaysia Most Wanted is progressing well lately, and I am practically earning US Dollar (though weakening, but still better than RM). I should continue to work on it, and I don’t get to go anywhere (it is an ironic turn-off). Perhaps there is an inner desire in me to work oversea. Perhaps to bring MMW to global level, but I can do that as well from my computer in Malaysia :|

Now I feel trapped in Malaysia with more free time in hand to burn. I thought it is nice for my work to have more time for our activities together, but things won’t be the same forever. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter where I am. Perhaps I should work on comics or robotics. Perhaps I should worry less about career and do more with what I can. Change is the only definite thing now, and I need to learn to cope with it. I think it would be equally bad if both of us didn't progress.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Phases in Life

I guess in life we would have to go through different cycles, as changes will happen and adjustment had to be made.

When I am a baby, there is absolutely nothing to worry about except food and mommy. During primary school, I wanted to grow up faster so that I can be an adult. Secondary is about fun, friends and exams. College finally realizing what I would like to do, though I had hoped that I would have a more fun-filled university life. Then working life is good, get to meet really nice colleagues and explore new interest and hobby such as hiking and dancing, and found myself a really nice girlfriend. Entrepreneuring is really good, as I get to make a living based on my ideal and choose a lifestyle which I wanted.

Lately I realized something, time might be running out to usher me to the next phase. I could just step in, or utilized the remaining time to do all that hasn’t been done yet.

Yes, I am nearing 30, the ideal age for marriage and starting a family. What I am more worry about is the responsibility of having children of my own. One thing a parent must do is to make sacrifices for the good of the children. I always had thought, “If you don’t have time to raise a children, why bothered to have one.” Then someone told me if you think too much, you wouldn’t have done anything. Making sacrifices for our life partner is one thing, but to take care of a new life created by us and totally dependent on us is really HUGE!

Perhaps I am still at a “selfish” stage, where I still think a lot about me and what am I going to do with my life: my career, my hobby, my travel, my lifestyle, my happiness and my girlfriend. There is yet so much to do, yet having a child would put an end to so many things. A child is totally depending on me, and my actions and thoughts would have so much impact on his or her life. This is really a very huge responsibility and many sacrifices have to be made in order to fulfill those responsibilities. I cannot let myself to be unhappy because I can’t travel the world, because the child need diaper changing and milk and care and love. It’s a whole new level of thoughts adjustment and priority rearrangement of life, the child should be the love of our life. I cannot just throw the child to my parents and just play with them up during the weekend, though it is convenient. If I am to change the stereotype of a working parent with children, there is even more needed to be planned and done.

The thought is really overwhelming to me at this stage. Perhaps we could have children around 35, but I would think the generation gap is too huge. Perhaps shouldn’t have any children? It sounded convenient, but I am not sure it is a good choice. Why do we want to have children in the first place? I haven’t really figured this part out yet. The problem with the modern generation is that we really think too much. The lost the wisdom and simplicity of earlier generations.

Perhaps it is really about one step at a time, rather that not making any step. When is good timing? Perhaps there is really no perfect timing, just move on with the flow of life and not halting. I don't believe it's a "just do it" mentallity, we have to prepare for it in one way or another. Though we can't control, but we shouldn't just let go as well.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lanchang Deerland Park and Kuala Gendah Elephant Sanctuary GPS Coordinate

Visited Deerland Park at Lanchang, Pahang with the children from The Skill Academy. The park is very small yet interesting, as it allows you to feed the animals at close encounters. The deer basically swarm and surround you to get food from your hand. There are a few black sunny bears which are very cute and will lick your hand for food and milk, and very playful as well. The encounter with the ostrich is slight intimidating, as they peck pack the leaves from the branches your are holding. And there is this small and little creature which looks like a squirrel with small eye, but are not. There are monkeys, chickens and porcupine.

We have some bamboo rice and fresh fish for lunch near a river, and simple games like fishing the bottle, coconut bowling and orang asli blow pipe for the children. The flying fox without harness is deemed too dangerous for the children, thus only me and Roslan get to try it.

We drop by the Kuala Gendah Elephant Sanctuary, which are swarmed with tourist (Westerner and Senior Citizen mostly). Perhaps is due to the large amount of crowed and worry for stress for the animal, the length and distance for the elephant walk around and elephant bathing is significantly shorten (it would sounds like a rip-off). I do pity those elephants having to service so many tourist, perhaps is a bad idea to make elephant sanctuary into tourism (or a better quota system per day should be implemented). We were late there and given a red tag, which disallowed us to ride or bath with the elephants.

This is a very simple free and easy half day trip, nothing too adventurous.

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Sungai Sendat @ Ulu Yam GPS Coordiate

Kean Hwa organised a Ulu Yam, Sungai Sendat simple camping trip, while trying to join the fun of a 4WD event held there. It's not really trekking, as we basicallly parked next to the waterfall.

It is a bit "not used" to it as walking is not involved, and camping at such a "civilised" place with many people walking around (usually we enjoyed peace and quiet up in the mountain). We have a nice and comfortable shelter, thus there is no need to setup a camp and get ourselves dirty. But it turned out pretty alright. The water is pretty clean and the stream is fun, especially if you walk about 200m further in.

We saw a lot of 4WD vechiles parked there for display, but didn't managed to see any in action. There is a mobile KFC truck, and there is a midnight party with performance and beer (though not free). Feel a bit old with the party atmosphere (nearing 30 perhaps).

Photo Links: Mei Ru's Multiply, Kean Hwa's Multiple

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Friday, July 11, 2008

ZeroByte and Totoro meet in Google Lively Virtual World

Google Lively is a lightweight virtual world (launch from browser), with small rooms meant for chatting and some social interaction (dance, body slam – WWF style, choke - Darth Vader Style, hug, kiss, etc).

This thing is still in Beta and quite buggy.
  • The plug-in download is pretty big and slow (about 10 minutes)
  • Login will probably fail the first time (can see the room, but cannot do anything). Remember to sign into your Google Account at the web page (before the room loads), I think it would help. You should see a chat box and some tool bar on the right.
  • The full room loads very slow (between 10-20 minutes) to be fully loaded, but luckily it’s progressive. You will see some shadow frame while the room is loading, and the more features shall be loaded as the room become fully loaded.
  • There is no quick short cut for a private chat. The room filled up quickly with chat bubbles if everyone starts shouting.
Anyway, the experience is still pretty interesting, though far from perfect. The room is small with nice theme and design (like Ewoks, Tree Top, Island, Dragon Tower, etc), though lack of items for interactions. You could change your avatar (male, female, animal), hairstyle, cloth, pant, shoe, etc (though not many choices available yet). Of cause, the highlight would be the social interaction (can you stop a gay/lesbian kissing you?) and object interaction (spin a windmill, sit on chair, etc).

ZeroByte and Totoro meet for the first time at I Hate Ewoks. Too bad there are no little bears running around :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Little Joy to make your day :)

What little joy do we enjoyed everyday?
  • It’s raining heavily outside in the morning, and we don’t have to get up to work.
  • We have time for a delicious breakfast in a café before starting our day, with absoluetly no rush.
  • Rush hours traffic jams are not of our concerned.
  • On Sunday night, knowing there is nothing we must do on Monday.
  • Even while working into the nights, you don’t feel there is anything bad about it.
  • If there is nothing to be done, you don’t have to pretend to be busy (or even show up for work).
  • Knowing that we actually do something useful or meaningful, besides doing what we are told to do.
  • To leave work without any worries following us home.
  • Seeing fewer cars on the road, or a better public transport.
  • See a corrupted politician actually being punished by law.
  • Don’t have to negotiate with Taxi driver.
  • A more comfortable and safer street to walk on.
  • To be able make money honestly and fairly.
  • A shit-less day.


It’s time to catch-up with the movie season, and the 1st catch is Wanted. I thought that it would be a fun movie to watch: with super cool bullet-curving, killer babe and lots of gun play action just to be admired.

Generally, it’s still fun to watch, but I have a few complaints.

I don’t mind ridiculous bullet-curving (even one that can make a full circle) and super-human adrenaline-pumped movement, or even sniping from miles away at the comfort of a home with his favorite chair. But to let a weaving machine to decide which baddies to be killed is just a bit too much, and to decipher them as binary (what if you get non alphanumeric characters, and how about people who share the same name)? It just takes the coolness off the movie. BTW, for animal lovers, a lot of rodents are blown away as Kamikaze bombers. And for children, people don’t get cut or shot at and be cured within a day in a pool of wax, so don’t try this on your siblings.

Looking at the initial setting of a office full with cubicles where most of us make our daily living, and to take on the daily dosage of shit just like any other ordinary people. It’s just like the office where Mr. Anderson of The Matrix work at, portrayed as monotonous, boring and ordinary (like a worker ant in a colony of thousands). I am quite sure most of us are in the cubicle and ordinary. So, do you want to be extra-ordinary? Become Wesley the Assassin or Neo the Chosen One? Is the cubicle good enough for you, or a bigger room suffice, or something out of it?

And another Question: What if you found out that you have 3 million dollar in your bank account on Sunday night? Will you still go to work on Monday morning? If not, what are the better things to do? Without the burden of making a living and actually given a passport for freedom, what will we actually do? Do we enjoy the process of achieving freedom, or do we enjoy the fruit without the labor? What will we actually do with the money and freedom? Travel and Charity, anything else?

I am not sure did I lack imagination or what, I can’t really think of one thing which I needed to do so badly. It’s like I had blended into my normal life so much, that I am not sure what to do if I go out of the norm. Perhaps this is not a scenario to be imagined. And perhaps nothing good ever happens to lottery winner. It's a journey to be taken.

Happy Birthday Mr. Tan

Is the time which repeats itself every year, doing the same thing yet felt slightly different about it as we move on.

She is one year wiser. Can’t believed that she have been alive for so many years, met so many people and done so much for the past 10,950 days or more. I’m glad that I manage to meet you on the way (and not too late), and we could share the next 18,000 days (+7,300 days if we are healthy and lucky) ahead of us into better times together.

Nice & Comfy Dinner @ Little India

Be Evil @ Toy Fair

With Master Q @ Toy Fair

Japanese Dinner @ Clarke Quay

The Blade @ Singapore

And don't forget the little boy under the big balloon