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Saturday, 28 June 2008

You're Wrong. Always.

I have to admit, it may be shocking when somebody informs you that what you've been doing for the past decades is "wrong", or "unhealthy", or "dangerous", or whatever.

I remember getting a pamphlet for a certain English Language learning centre once, and they asked me to give their premises a visit, and take a test which supposedly reveals my command of English. I don't speak flawless English, but I figured I wouldn't do too bad to stain my image in a writing test.

1st part of the test: objective questions. Simple grammar, with four choices of answers, total of about 40 questions.

I got a 40-bingo. Ah well, they were primary-school-level, anyway.

2nd part of the test: subjective questions. These were slightly tougher, but I was still shocked to know my score.

"42/50???!!!" I mean, I expected something like 48 or 49.

"Yep. 42. That's very good! You can enroll for our advanced English class, we can help you do better."

"In what matter?"

"Many aspects. For example, how do you pronounce this word?"

He wrote the word 'photographer' down on a piece of paper. After hearing my pronunciation, I heard a tone of satisfaction from him.

"Ah. That word is actually pronounced as 'fur-toe-groff-for'. Check the dictionary if you don't believe me. Everybody's been pronouncing it wrongly for decades."

I don't know what dictionary he used, but I was a bit taken aback when I heard that piece of information.

Anyway, you got the idea. By telling potential customers that they are making embarassing blunders throughout their lives and that their services are the only cure for it, they won the customers' utmost attention.

Another English class example - this time at school.

"What day is this?"

"Monday," me and my class murmurred.

"Do you know that it is actually pronounced 'mon-dee'?"

Some of us were surprised. Others were sniggling, "Mandi? Mandi?"

"Yes, 'mon-dee', 'toos-dee', and so on."

OK, that got my attention twice. But I wasn't stupid enough to not notice that this 'you-are-wrong' tactic is getting suspiciously widespread. How can we be wrong so many times in our lives?

A skin/facial advertisement actually told me that I need to have my sunblock on even if it's a cloudy day, because UV rays penetrates the clouds. Well, that or visit their shops once in a while for a treatment.

Ironically, few days after that a newspaper article actually told me that people nowadays are so afraid of the sun that they are not getting enough sunlight to generate sufficient amount of Vitamin D.

Then there's the shampoo advertisement, which highlights the negative effects of blow-drying and dyeing of hair, and states that their shampoo has enough protein to restore hair.

And we've also heard that we come in contact with countless bacteria, germs, and viruses each day, and we need to use a certain antiseptic soap to 'sterilise' ourselves each day.

Well, for the sake of clarity, not all microorganisms are harmful and it is actually more harmful to be sterile. Secondly, most facial treatments destroy skin rather than regenerate them. And I neither blow-dry nor dye my hair.

Back to the English class at school, I couldn't believe day can be pronounced as 'dee'. I flipped my dictionary and found the word 'Monday', and, oh hoho, found out that 'mon-dey' is the main pronunciation, and 'mon-dee' is the alternative one.

Haha, nice try, sir, but I'll stick with the mainstream pronunciation.

And at the English Language centre...

"So you want to join our classes? We assure maximum quality, it's a Singapore established company."

Singapore established company? Your name is British.

"Erm, can I take a look at the answer of the subjective questions before I decide?"

"Yeah sure, here it is."

And guess what I found out. The answers were wrong. Hey, I know my English's not that good, but nobody says "peoples" or "a lots of". A quick look told me I should be getting 48/50, at least.

"OK, thank you. I 'll let you know in a day or two." I handed him back the answers.

I don't think I'm going to pronounce the word 'photographer' correctly then.

Friday, 27 June 2008

So You Think You Know Me?

Well, I have to admit - I'm neither Beckham nor Pitt, and no one would brag about having me as their friend.

However, are you sure you know me well enough? Try the below questions, if you dare!

Let's start with some easy and obvious ones. To those who find it hard to answer these questions, try looking somewhere around this blog.

1. What web browser do I use?
2. How old is my Casio G-Shock watch?
3. What MMORPG do I play?
4. Have I have/had pets? What sort of pets do/did I have/had?

Cruising through, huh? Let's go on to some more challenging ones.

5. I am no newbie when it comes to art. What sort of arts do I know?
6. You saw me walking out of Sunway Pyramid, clutching a bun in my hand. From the many bakeries in Sunway Pyramid, where do you think I got my bun from? (Tips: it is probably a mayonnaise filled bun with chicken floss on top.)
7. What is my favourite colour? (Tips: don't let my blog mislead you!)

Panting yet? Hang on, just a few more.

8. What sort of beverage do I like, but which I normally avoid?
9. How often do I take-away food? (Me and only me, excluding the times when mum bought food for me.)
10. I wished for two things during my 19th birthday. What are they?

So, how well do you know me? If you think you know me well enough, pick up your courage and post your answers in the comments area!

Or are you chickening out?

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Look, Ma! I Got My Cert

Have you downloaded Firefox 3.0 yet?

If you haven't, you'd better hurry up. There's only 5 hours left for it.

Well, I did. Using the school computer. The damned TARC server won't let me download any of the Windows version, so I had to resort to downloading a Linux version. Yeah, I have Linux Ubuntu 8.04 installed in my laptop as a virtual OS.

So, what do you get for downloading it? Of course, you help to set the world record of the most software downloads in a single day.

And... You get a certificate too.

Just click "Flaunt it!" on the World Record homepage, and you'll be prompted to enter your name.

And you'll be given something like this.

I have a strange feeling few people will print it out, frame it, and hang it up in their offices.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Start the Fire

Everybody's beloved web browser, Mozilla Firefox, is taking a big step forward.

Yes, Firefox 3.0 is getting released soon. Real soon.

Before we get into the details, let's just get a gist of what we are to expect from 3.0.

Firstly, many bugs are fixed in the new version. Hey, I don't remember encountering any bugs from 2.0. Secondly, it implements newer interfaces. And oh boy, it's one browser that passes the Acid2 browser test.

Address bar dropdown list looking good.

So when do we get the Hot Candy?

Well, it's slated to be released on 17th June, 2008.

Oh, and make sure you make your download that day too, because if you do, you can be a part of a world record!

Yeah, well, it really is a lot easier than swallowing a lightsaber.

Oh, no, you don't want to put these things in your mouth.

So what are you waiting for? Pledge now, and download 3.0 on the 17th!

Download Day 2008
Yes. You want to click this icon.

P.S. - For Malaysians and Singaporean users, the even officially starts at 1am, 18th June 2008 due to the different time zone from the west.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

"Happy Father's Day" x 40

Petrol has reached a record high of RM2.70 per litre. People driving SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) are now changing them to NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicles). Those driving motorcycles are converting to bicycles.

Let's make it simple.

Those single drive this.

Husband and wife? This.

Family of four, this.

For the Father, this.

Which Father? This Father! What is he going to load his bus with? With the 40 children and 4 wives he's planning to have, of course!

What the... ?! Hey, sir, you are already 54! How can you possibly afford to feed and breed 40 children?

I can't believe it. What have your children and your wives done to offend you? Have you noticed that your third and fourth wives are as young as your eldest child?

Seriously. I wonder how much money is Mr Abu Bakar earning each month. RM22500? If it's anything lower than that, I'm going to envy his children's life. And I sincerely doubt anybody smart enough to have 40 children can earn that much LEGALLY.

Well, I don't think the wives are going to work for the extra allowances. They will be too busy laying eggs, squeezing milk, wiping poop, and making the house a kindergarten.

You have 15 more to go, sir. Better make it quick, otherwise, you'll be too old to remember all 40 children's names by the time you have collected them all. My 50 year-old-mother is starting to confuse between hers, and there's only the three of us.


OK, OK. Calm down. He's not your father.

Sigh. Relax, relax...

Pardon me for being slightly offensive just now, sir. I've come to a realisation. And I fully understand the reasons behind your desire. Pray forgive me, sir.

Wild beasts without quality have to survive by sheer quantity, so that out of the many offsprings, at least one or two will survive to adulthood.

Happy father's day, Mr Abu Bakar. x 40.

Thursday, 12 June 2008


How often do you take shortcuts? I use them tens of times a day. Probably even in the hundreds. You know, those shortcuts really change what you see in literally in a flash.

Tap, tap! Now you see it, now you don't! Get the idea?

Huh? What? Oh, sorry. I was talking about keyboard shortcuts for the computer.

Some people have been asking me for my collection of keyboard shortcuts after seeing me operate my computer. "How did you do that?" "Where did you learn those things?" "Can you tell me some of those?" are common questions.

Actually, I had several computer masters. I was very fortunate to have an advanced computer user as my first roommate of my life. Type faster than one can read, operate Microsoft Windows XP without the help of a mouse, and being able to recite all the bugs of Windows XP are useful skills of his, just to name a few.

OK, drop the last example. Maybe the first one is a bit exaggerated too. But the second one is definitely true. You don't need to rely a mouse to control Windows.

For example, alt + tab switches between opened windows. Hold down alt, and press tab until you've found the window you need, release alt, and tada! You'd landed yourself in the correct place. To go backwards, press shift + tab (with alt key held down, of course). This one is particularly useful - you can use it to jump out of full screen programs without having to quit the said programs. If you're running Windows Vista with Aeroglass features, try Windows + tab too.

A screenshot of alt+tab window in XP.

Flip 3D, a new feature introduced in Vista. Take note that this feature is not available in Vista Home Basic.

Second, try pressing windows + d. Erm, windows as in the key between ctrl and alt. It minimises all opened windows, showing the desktop. Well, if you already have all your windows minimised, it brings them forward again. Just remember - "d" for desktop.

Try another useful one, windows + e. If your computer is not exactly new, wait for a few seconds. A window will pop-up, and you get to explore your My Computer. Erm, your "My Computer". It's easy to remember too - "e" for explore.

To close a window, well, you can use the classic way. Use alt key to activate the Menu bar, and look for the exit item. Or just press alt + f4.

Not to mention to famous ctrl + c for copy, ctrl + v for paste, and ctrl + x for cut. Oh, and ctrl + z for undo. And also F5 for refresh and F6 to move the cursor to the address bar. All of these work in any folder, Internet Explorer, and Firefox.

These are only few examples of useful shortcuts. There are still dozens of shortcuts available to help you navigate around your computer! And, well, not to mention dozens more which are rather useless. So you see, you don't need to fidget around for your mouse to do every single task. Of course you don't always get a computer genius as a friend, but there is always help provided by my second master. The good thing about this second master is that he's in everybody's PC. In the Help and Support Center, type in the name of this article "Windows keyboard shortcuts overview" and search for it. There's a loooooonnnnnnng list of keyboard shortcuts available for Windows in there.

Surely you won't be inclined to unplug your mouse and throw it into a mouse-trap two minutes after reading the article, but after several weeks, I'm sure you'll find the keyboard a better friend than the mouse.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Things I Can't Go Out Without

These are the things I constantly keep with me, whenever and wherever I go. Excluding the clothes I wear, of course.

1. Watch

I've been wearing this Casio watch since I was 9. Yeah, it's 10 years old. It has seen all my victories and witnessed all the most embarassing moments of my life. Need to know me better? Kidnap my watch. Good luck trying to force him to talk.

2. Glasses

The ultimate thing which makes anybody geeky. The thicker it is, the geekier it makes you. Thickening the lenses and the frame both help. This is one thing I would like to lose for the rest of my life. Unfortunately my eyesight is so poor that I wouldn't be able to tell the differences between Lydia Sum and Fann Wong without my specs.

3. Wallet

Some other species prefer to call theirs "purses", but for me, I call it a wallet. Mine contains the usual cash, proximity card, and a strong aroma of my sweat.

4. Keys

Jingle bells, jingle bells... All you have to do is shake your hips to let others think you're loaded. Well, you are, but not with the stuff they think you are loaded with.

5. Phone

Forget where your lecture is supposed to be at? Stuck in the train with nothing to do? Need help with your sums? Have no ph34r, the tech age is here!

6. MP3 player

Nope, it's not an iPod. Nope, it doesn't play video. Nope, it doesn't sport Bluetooth. Nope, the battery sucks. Still, I carry it around whenever I see boredom approaching. Need to trick your lecturers into thinking you're paying full attention to him/her instead of nodding away? This thing helps. A lot. As long as the battery lasts. Dang it, shouldn't have said that.