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Saturday, 30 May 2009

One-Word Descriptions for KTM

To describe...

The station floors
- spotty (click to see why!)

The employees' uniform
- blue
Nice try, but wearing uniform of my favourite colour isn't gonna make me like KTM any better.

The tracks
- uneven

The engines
- loud

The speed
- slow

Interval between trains
- you-know-how-short

Recorded announcements
- annoying
You know the announcement asking us to "stand behind the yellow line", "take care of our belongings" and stuff? It was bloody recorded and if the employees are bored, they'll just play it over and over again, non-stop.

The lines on the platforms
- colourful
Yellow, Green, Red and Blue, to be exact.

The location of the stations
- isolated
Some stations are almost literally in the middle of nowhere!

The (paper) tickets
- 80s. Not 1980. 1880s.

Touch 'n Go implementation
- cheater!
TnG once cheated me of some RM20 for one journey! Since then I don't use TnG anymore. Don't worry, the TnG implementations of the other transits are safe to use.

Trains' air-conditioning
- steaming

Trains' seats
- small
It is always amusing, seeing those big, beefy, muscular men, trying to squeeze into one seat.

The Train floors
- wet
Especially when it's raining. Plus with the uneven condition of the tracks, the water will flow here and there and everywhere.

The people riding the trains
- uncivilised
My definition of being uncivilised is the inability to think for others.

The service
- un-bypass-able
However grumpy I may be, I can't do without it. Oh well.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Not Just A Phone

A have something interesting in my pocket. I don't know what to call it. I hate to call it a phone because it's so much more.

What else can it be?

1. Music Player

Pardon the poor dynamic range of my digicam, can't see the vibrant green of the earbuds clearly.

Ultimate Walkman experience, anytime, anywhere.

2. Video Player

Friends plays flawlessly on my new phone.

Never again ask me what am I doing, staring at my phone unblinkingly for long periods of time.

Videos look fantastic in fullscreen.

3. Gaming Console

You don't know how hard it is to play with one hand and shoot the photo with another. My HP bar (the white vertical one on the left of the screen) is running low. The blur black diagonal thingy is actually the phone's stylus.

Stab, stab, stab the screen!

4. Tour Guide

The blue dot is where I am.

I was mentally and physically lost.

Now I'm only mentally lost.

5. Browser

Owl Order on my phone.

Who says you need a computer to go online? Now I have the world's biggest encyclopaedia in my hands.

6. Camera

Finally, I can get more shots for my blog!

7. Office

Microsoft Office Mobile comes with Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint.

I'm not fooling around on my phone, I'm doing my assignment!

So I disagree. It's not just a phone. There's no word to describe it.

And I can only call it the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1.

Oh, great, now that I have a high-end phone, time to get call credits!

Coming next week: how I got my X1!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Math Story

Mathematics has always been one of my favourite subjects. Possibly the favourite too.

I remember when, one fine day, my primary school teacher surprised us with a mathematics competition, where we had to answer 100 questions, totally out of the primary school syllabus. I remember getting some 60 questions correct, and was 6th overall in school. That impressed me and my family.

Some time in secondary school, I even managed to score a distinction in the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC), along with the Prudence Award, given to the student with the highest number of consecutive right answers in every school.

Maths was never much of a problem to me, until I was 15. I went through Form 4 without taking additional mathematics tuition class (which was what almost everybody else in my class did), and I have to say, I did quite terribly in my finals, scoring a sad 56%.

I immediately called a tuition teacher, Mr James Tan, and got myself enrolled in his tuition class the very next month. My mum had to drive me quite a bit of distance each week for his class, but she didn't complain.

Within a year, my performance in maths improved in leaps and bounds. For SPM trial, I managed to score a satisfying 89%, which was good enough to land me on the 10th spot of my school. Seems like the weekly drive was paying off.

Soon, I left secondary school after getting A1 for my SPM additional mathematics. Upon entering college, I find myself learning even more things on mathematics, but thanks to Mr James, I managed to scrap past college life, with A's for all six of my mathematics subjects.

So, consequently, I left college without a grudge.

Upon entering the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, I was greeted by Dr Natanael Karjanto during my Mathematical Techniques for Electrical and Electronic Engineering lessons. Although falling short of Mr James' standards, he was exceptionally good, feeding us with Laplace and Fourier transforms, Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations, probability, vector calculus, multiple integrals, and such.

I finished two semesters of classes under him without much problems (except on vector calculus), and before too long, it was the final exam for his module. I prepared for this exam, doing example sheets, trying out past year questions, looking through the notes (which includes my college notes as well), memorising identities...

Exam morning. The front page of the exam paper asked us to answer 6/7 questions. I flipped the question paper open, and was awfully shocked.

I had no idea how to answer 3 questions. At all.

The other four questions, I could only answer parts of them, getting stuck at others, with rather lame excuses like, "I don't know how to integrate this!" and "why am I getting so many zeroes?" or "this answer is illogical!".

Before I handed in my answer sheet, out of a full marks of 120, I had only written about 45 marks worth of answer. And that includes wrong answers too.

I'm deeply sorry. I disappointed so many people. I disappointed Dr Karjanto, who had high hopes on me for this exam. I disappointed Mr James, who brought me back from the brink of (mathematical) death, only to see me dying again. I disappointed my mum, for her great efforts to get me the best teachers to ensure my success was, afterall, somewhat wasted.

I disappointed myself. I can't even do my final maths paper properly, and what's the use of getting good scores in earlier papers?

Nevertheless, maths is still one of my favourite subjects.

Besides, maths can still be taken as elective subjects over the next two years.

It's not over yet.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Ads Can Be Anywhere

In the 21st century, advertisements are everywhere, in all sorts of forms. Not just the usual newspaper columns and TV commercials.

Internet banners.

Short messages.

Visa/credit/debit cards.

The latest form of ad comes in the name of Facebook. Facebook is generally filled with advertisements disguising as so called "applications". Take this test where the results are products to be advertised, play that game where you drive a car made by the advertising company, and such. You know what I mean.

Those are ingenious, actually, but they didn't really surprised me when I came to realise that they are advertisements.

What surprised me is this.

The bottom line says "UniTen New Student Intake for June 09 session open now."

Great. Now even my electric bill comes with advertisements.

I should join an advertising company. They never run out of business despite the economic downturn.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

One More Thing I Do Non-Stop On the Net: Lowyat.Net

Some time ago I blogged about four things I do whenever I surf the web. Minus mail-checking, of course.

Today I'm gonna add one to the list. Just one because that's a big one.

Comes in the name of Lowyat.Net (LYN).

LYN is probably Malaysia's biggest forum. Ever. And growing.

Almost every Malaysian friend (OK male ones) I know visits the forum regularly, at least weekly. Many may think, so what? It's just a forum. How much can you do in a forum?

Well I was one of those, until I started visiting. I enjoy myself so much, visiting the forum, even though I don't have a LYN account! So what can you do there?

1. Seek for Advice

Not just for computer related advice, just about any advice at all.

There's the photography sub-forum, where users show off their DSLRs with even heavier price tags than a new Proton Iswara.

Then there's the mobile phone sub-forum, the one I used to visit the most. You never knew the potential of your cell-phone until you visit this sub-forum.

There are also other sub-forums where you can ask for advice including very sensible and serious discussions such as education and careers, but one particularly interesting one is "Health and Fitness".

2. Trading

There's a marketplace there, where people sell all sorts of stuff. Want to buy some second hand stuff? Newspaper's classified proved to messy to you? Or have some stuff to get rid of?

The LYN Trade Zone is the place to go. You can get very good offers of some exotic products, most notably being the iPhone. (Psss... You can find 1st generation iPhone for less than RM1.3k in there.)

3. Hanging Out

My friends, however, prefer the Kopitiam, particularly the Jokes Heaven section.

Picture found at Jokes Heaven.

Warning: can be extremely addictive for the true blooded Malaysians.

Try reading some of the sticky posts up there, and have fun.

Stay tuned, I'm gonna talk a bit about trading in my next post (hopefully).

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Growing With Mum

Hey mum. I looked into space today and realised how much time has passed, and how much has changed.

I used to cry a lot as an infant, and a simple bottle of milk usually fails to silent me. You had to carry me in one hand, and cook with the other.

We used to cuddle together, you guiding us to read Peter and Jane together, letter by letter, word by word, page by page.

You used to punish us, hitting us on our shoulder blades every time we made a mistake. We definitely feared the long, thin, and mean rattan cane.

We used to sing nursery rhymes together, going Humpty Dumpty, London Bridge, Bonnie, Row Your Boat, One Two Buckle My Shoe before falling asleep.

You used to grab our little palms with your fist, holding them on tight for dear life, as you guided the both of us across the busy and hazardous streets in Malaysia.

We used to go shopping, where we'll annoyingly ask for ice creams and toys and shirts, and you had to pay for the items and carry them home for us.

* * *

So, I looked into space today and realised how much time has passed, and how much has changed.

I don't cry nowadays. Even if I do, I would know better than to ask for you to carry me in your arms.

We still enjoy reading, but we no longer cuddle together like the Peter and Jane days as we read Harry Potter.

You don't punish us anymore. Sure we still make mistakes every once in a while, but we've certainly outgrown the "punish-to-teach" age.

We don't sing nursery rhymes anymore (actually I still love My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean). We now play the piano more instead.

We no longer hold your hands while we cross streets. In fact, I now go out with you at night for your safety, not the other way round.

And we certainly don't go screaming for ice creams anymore, and whenever we shop, I would carry the heavier items instead of you.

Ah, I miss the good old days.

* * *

I looked into space today and realised how much time has passed, and how much has changed.

You grew older. We shifted home. Twice.

But the biggest difference lies within us. Your children.

And looking back to the past, I think you did a fantastic job raising us.

No matter how much time passes, or how much we change, one thing's for sure - love it or hate it, you're our mother.

And we love it.

Happy mother's day.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Cmc: Jedi Sword-Swallowing

Obviously the light sabre can't replace the sword in every occassion.