Entries for June 2006

How to safely land a plane by blowing one of its wings off

How to safely land a plane by blowing one of its wings off. I’ll leave it to your judgement and imagination.

Video: An improvised synth solo

Amazing interactive periodic table

Stream your music collection through the web browser

10 things men hate about women

Ten things men hate about women. This is just for your knowledge and fun of it! Personally, I do not entirely agree with certain aspect of the article.

Photoshop tips and tricks for photographers

A confession with my soul

Dear Diary,

Since the existence on the World Wide Web, I have been able to write and share my thoughts, views, opinions and among others with friends and strangers all around the world. I thank you for accompanying and serving me by displaying the contents appropriately and attracting listening ears.

Time flies! I barely remembered leaving to Australia, Tamworth for my air grading course in February. Having successfully completed the course, I returned to Air Force School a month later. Had it not been my Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) results, I would have proceeded for my Air Force Service Term (AFST) course at the Officer Cadet School (OCS) in early April. Instead, I had no choice and all I could do was to start keeping fit and clear my IPPT. Ultimately, this led to a 4 months delay but it has brought me tons of knowledge and gained valuable experiences on subjects related to inter personal relation, human resource management as well as various scenarios that test my leadership qualities and capabilities. Unknowingly, something attractive triggered my mind and I somehow stumbled into someone’s life and made a mess out of it.

Perhaps, all of these were somewhat planned and arranged or it could be God’s gift. I may not see the roadmap planned for my life journey but I believe that there are many things that had occurred or will be occurring in the near future are not within our means and control. If I were to think about it, had I gone for the April 06′ AFST course, I would not have the opportunity to request for a re-examination of my vision that has helped me secure a place in the photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) program. There may be many ups and downs throughout this 4 months but I’ve learnt to better appreciate people, things and my life.

To certain extend, I doubt a portion of what I’ve experienced will be replaceable or even forgiven. I’ve had regrets and there are many times I wished I could look back or even turn back the time and let everything occur once again but this time, I would handle the situation using different style and approach. Then again, what’s done has little chance of reversing it. As saying goes, let bygones be bygones. I’m one who is always deep into thinking about various issues and my mind never fails to come up with ideas. In fact, it is so preoccupied with trying to predict, forecast or even analyze thoughts that it makes me gets emotional easily. The only difficulties I frequently encounter are to express my views, opinions and get the message across to the other party. There have been many instances of this shortcoming, which has lead to misunderstandings, miscommunications and even subject of others’ gossips.

Looking forward, I’m glad this ordeal has ended now that I’m able to close this uneventful chapter and move on. For the next 2 month will be a good time for me to leave the bad memories behind, revisit my resolutions and goals which I’ve set out to achieve and start afresh in a new environment. Still, I’ll be honest about one particular issue that has been bothering me. Although it’ll be a good breakaway from the issue, it will not be easy for the little bits and pieces of memories and image to fade away, for it will always live in my heart and soul.

Yours truly,

Alvin

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Minor site updates

Since the redesign of PureHype almost a month ago, I’ve made quite some changes which include tweaking and optimizing certain files as well as to keep this site trimmed and meets the W3C web standards. If you have been visiting the site, you would have noticed that the about section has been completed though I’m still in the process of adding bits and pieces to the author biography portion.

What’s more! I’ve also added a site disclaimer for various reasons but I thought it was necessary just in case… The contact form was previously broken and I was receiving tons of spam but it has now been fixed. However, the cc feature is no longer working due to changes on my service provider end.

I’ve been busy working on the books section. Hopefully, I will be able to get it up real soon. The long awaited search feature is still out of service for now as I’ve yet to figure out the best design and how to implement it on this site. Other than that, things should be running fine without much interruption!

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Strange statues around the world

Verify that your virus scanner is working

My country, my home

As I was on the bus on my way to work today, I stand towards the rear of the bus and took a look around the people surrounding me. They came from various walks of life that range from students, working adults to senior citizens. As I looked upon, I suddenly sensed an urge to serve my country and protect these people. Maybe, it’s because I was the only one in military uniform but for unknown reasons, I felt a sense of duty as a soldier or even as a future officer to defend my country.

This is where I was born and brought up. My roots and love ones are here. To certain extend, it may be tempting to migrate elsewhere for a better career or lifestyle but this is where I truly belong. It is my homeland and where all my friends and wonderful memories resides.

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Culture differences

Before reading my thoughts for this entry, I would like to make it clear that I’m not pin-pointing any organization or person. References, if any, are simply quoted as examples. All of these are my personal opinions and thoughts and in no way it shall represent the organisation and/or views of anyone. In fact, if you observe closely, what I’ll be expressing in this article can most certainly occur in almost everywhere in our daily lives. Please read my disclaimer for clarifications.

Having served the military for a year now, I’ve had many opportunities to have an insight and learnt about the organisation, its management and people. I’ve come to realize that it is not easy to management a group of people, especially so if you are working in a big organisation. I’m sure many would agree that there are bound to be office politics in any organisation but in a military organisation, there’s simply more than office politics as there is a standard chain of command as well as the rank hierarchy to respect.

There are a few incidents which I’ve observed and would like to share and express my views on. As a trainee, one has to listen to the instructors and take orders without displeasure. Most of the time, these are errands out of your job scope but because you have no say and to avoid getting into trouble, you’ve got no choice but to do it. For example, recently, there was a donation drive. Instead of donating any amount (which should be the case) as wished, one is expected to donate a minimum amount. I believe that donation is one’s will of willingness and should not be forceful. In this case, because of pressure and orders, we have to adhere to it in order not to get into further argument or even worst, be invited to have a “sharing session” with senior commanders.

Next, I’ve seen what is known as “abuse of the system”. For example, there will be duty personnel scheduled to perform various duties in the office daily. The job ranges from picking up newspapers, cleaning the pantry to making coffee and many others. One may argue that this is a good form of training but personally, I may not have seen the bigger picture of how this will teach, cultivate and benefit the trainees in particular. Basically, one will rely on the “extra hand” and eventually it will be abused for personal gains and pleasure. I think all of these are not right and it instils the wrong teachings to the younger generation.

Compared to what I’ve seen during my internship at a renowned US company, it is a total culture difference. I see that US companies value their employees, are more transparent and this in turn give an impression of an open and relax working environment. If you would to ask me can Singapore achieve this kind of environment and cut the red tape? I think for now, the answer would be a no. Our bad habits have been around for too long that it’ll need a powerful sweep before we can see things change for the better. I presume this would be one of the factors why many decided to migrate to other places where one can taste the true meaning of life, work, family and fun without a stressful and yet political working environment we experience in our daily lives!

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Rubik's cube solving robot

Video: Robot solving a rubik’s cube. This is cool! I’m curious to know how the robot is able to determine how to solve the mystery and feed the information into the software portion to solve the logic.

40 thing you didn't know about Superman

10 ways to relaxify your workspace

For a fresh change, here’s 10 ways to relaxify your workplace. I prefer to keep it neat and simple, just like my study desk.

Avoid spilling oil or you'll be asking for trouble

A stupid lizard catching session caused me to accidentally spilled oil onto the floor. What makes things worst is that the lizard was not caught after all! It was not my idea. Apparently, someone in my household cannot stand the sight of lizards and the mind would not set at ease should we fail to catch the lizard.

Yes, I agree that lizards are irritating and I’ve had bad experiences with it. When I was young, a lizard fell onto my arm while I was sleeping on a bed placed next to a wall. Of course, I screamed and jumped out of my bed as the lizard’s body is cold and there’s this eerie feeling that follows. Now that I’ve grown up, I still hate the sight of lizards because it means I have to assist in lizard hunting sessions but it doesn’t really bother me anymore. If you were to think of it the other way round, it’s embarrassing that human being like us are afraid of something that is so small? It should be the other way round isn’t it! That’s why you see lizards dodging when the spot the sight of big objects approaching them.

And so, I had a hard time trying to clean the pool of spilled oil. The more you try to clean it, the worst it is. I had to resort to powerful cleaning agents to clear the mess and there’s still this slippery effect on the affected portion of the floor after the clean up. Not only do I have to clean the pool of oil, I had to de-oil the rags and the pail, which was used to fill the water and detergent! What a day indeed!

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Free e-book on 55 ways to have fun with Google

Windows live messenger

Microsoft finally released the final version of Windows Live Messenger today. My first impression when I heard about it was that it is related to the infamous Windows Messenger that came with Windows XP. However, after reading from various websites, it turned out that Microsoft is simply renaming the product and moving away from MSN Messenger. Most of the other Microsoft products that will be released in the near future will come under the “Live” idea.

You must be wondering what’s so great about it that I decided to make the switch. As compared to MSN Messenger 7.5, Windows Live Messenger has better memory management. On my 2.4 GHz computer with 1GB of RAM, it utilised about 32MB and this was further reduced to 1.8MB when minimized to tray! Next, it has built in nickname and contact editor that enables me to better organize and rename my contacts — without the need for a third-party plug-in. What’s more, I heard from my colleague that the changes made to the contact list (including renaming of the contacts) are saved to the messenger server. This means that I will not have to stare at a few unfamiliar contacts nickname and trying to “match make” the email address with the contact nickname when you access Messenger on public terminals. I’ve yet to try it personally but I think it’s a cool feature!

Having said so many good things about the new messenger, there are downside. One of it is that the messenger team have not worked on improving the chat logging feature. I actually had to rely on the Messenger Plus! Live plug-in to keep my logs organized and secured. Next, once you have decided to rename your contacts, there’s no way to view their original nicknames. Previously, I was still able to view my contact’s original nickname by simply moving my mouse cursor over their names. Apart from the above, there are many other features which I do not really utilize. Overall, I would give it a grade of 4 out of 5, mainly for better interface design and improved memory management.

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A guide for Windows user switching to Mac

This is one of the best guide I’ve come across so far. It gives a detail comparison of the differences between Windows and Mac. A must read for those who intend to switch to Mac.

10 tips on writing reusable code

If only I could apply this while I was coding for projects in polytechnic, it would save the additional hundred of lines of codes. 10 tips on writing reusable code (or Object Oriented Programming as commonly known).

A complete list of Command line reference for Oracle, Windows, Linux and OS X

Body language

I found a new interest while I was reading a book: Studying of body language. I was amazed by how it taught me to be more sensitive towards people — in terms of paying attention to own or even someone else body language even though their actions and/or speech says otherwise.

I have to admit that I’m those sort who is monotonous and not very good at approaching people. I’m more comfortable with close friends and thus, this make me unwilling to step out of my comfort zone when required. I’ve been trying to improve on this kind of feelings for some time and things are on track. I realized that by stepping out of one’s comfort zone and being exposed to various situation, one will be more daring and willing to take on new challenges/tasks, which can greatly help to boast the confidence level especially when conversing business associate, superior, strangers or even giving a speech.

In order to test myself to see if I completely understand what I read, I decided to do a mini observation by myself while on my way home this evening. I was on a bus and noted some observations right from the point when one board the bus till the point when he/she finds a seat or even a comfortable place to settle down.

Observations: 9 out of 10 would focus their attention to the rows of seats available. Most of the time, their eye would refuse to maintain direct contact with other passengers while their mind are working to decide a suitable seat — preferably one that is not occupied at all. 95% would go for seats that are empty and remain in a “world of their own” though there is a minority who would choose to seat with someone else. However, I’ve noticed that if there is a need for one to share seats with a stranger, its facial expression shows that his/her mind is racing to make up a decision on whether he/she should seat with that person.

Interesting as it may seem, however, I’m curious to know the cause for this kind of reaction. Perhaps, a psychologist or someone out there can enlighten me? What about sharing your personal experiences and/or observations?

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New bicycle design that does not require the conventional chain

10 top goofs interns make

10 top goofs interns make. Internship are very valuable experience, especially if you intend to work with the company in future. Make the best out of it and enjoy every moment. Of course, you must enjoy what you are working on in the first place.

How to speed up PDF loading with Adobe Acrobat

How to speed up PDF loading with Adobe Acrobat in Windows. Works like a charm. My acrobat reader now starts in less than 3 seconds.