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Archive for February, 2009

Do you eat alone?

I do, and I do it often. It breeds negative impression among friends and colleagues. It will not expedite my ascend to the top of corporate ladder, in fact it will most likely hamper any remaining potential of career growth. I know, but I still eat alone. There are just too many questions in my head, from how to salvage my Go hobby from time-hungry career, how to still achieve my dream to be a programmer to the smaller questions i.e. what to blog about, what should I read etc etc.

Today’s lunch, I ate alone again. I brought along a vocabulary book, and chose to sit at a table across a lady who was alone as well. I like being alone, but not alone alone. Hope that makes sense.

Anyway, she was cracking head doing Sudoku, while enjoying a green-ish drink. A girl doing Sudoku alone at lunch? Fewww.. I was relieved to know that my type of girl does exist. 🙂 I then rightaway drew my book closer within reading range and adjusted my focus accordingly, and she began to fade to the perimeter of my vision.

I do not suffer from jealousy of that guy, who generates laughter from waist-round buddies, or that guy who everyone knows and wants to be with. I do not covet them. I really don’t, so please do not project that I-commiserate-with-your-plight expression when you see me eating alone in a big corporation cafeteria.

That’s not to say I dislike being in company of others. I simply like to have social flexibility, to have a total control and freedom of myself and my activities. Prejudice may be piling against me, and in corporate world, this could be lethal. I dont care, I die a martyr for this nonsensical “personal social freedom” cause if I have to.

Note: Hahaha… seems like a rather extreme post. It is the little voice inside me though. Anyway, as I said, I read a vocabulary book during lunch. Can you guess what words I had learnt?

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In previous post, I had moved.
In this post, I am moved.

I have just finished reading a splendid book titled “The Race for a New Game Machine: Creating the Chips Inside the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3” written by ex-IBMer David Shippy.

psxboxbook-500

This book is about the development of Cell processor by STI (Sony, Toshiba, IBM) alliance. Cell processor is the answer to the grand vision of Ken Kutaragi, then the Chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEI) who wanted the PlayStation 3 to be a personal computer that also played games, with a chip that could take on roles in many broadband applications, from on-demand television to online gaming to real-time video chats.

First and foremost, I consider this book to be a management book, than a technological one. I am usually uninterested in management books, but this one is about how a team of super experts and geniuses working together to achieve the impossible within severe time constraints. They had to give their all. As David Shippy put it,

we work hard enough to win, play hard enough to stay sane.

Microsoft came much later into the story, 2-year after the development of Cell started in 2001. They too wanted to use Cell processor for XBox 360, but with extra enhancement particularly of the vector unit. Microsoft team was interesting as well, with their super confident and risk-taking attitude. All teams added up to make a very interesting story 🙂

There were just too many challenges faced by Shippy’s team where he acted as chief architect and technical leader. They wanted the processor to reach 6GHz, with low power, small area, and still meet the deadline. Many times, some of them lost confidence but positive and forward-minded leaders Jim Kahle, Chekib Akrout managed to keep the team together. Project Manager Keryn Mills with her iron-fist made sure the project was always on schedule.

There was also a young hotshot engineer who was hungry for recognition from solving big problems. Haha.. I think I have the similar hunger. Well, I actually saw in myself the qualities of many of the engineers mentioned in the book – love big challenges, overconfident, proud, arrogant – haha that’s all me. Minus the brain, knowledge and experience.

As mentioned, the book was about project management rather than technology. Shippy even outlined the key leadership principles in the Introduction.

  • Inspire a bold vision
  • Build a team for success
  • Know your competition and do your homework
  • Inspire innovation
  • Work hard, play hard, celebrate success
  • Enable risk taking
  • Stay positive, even in the swirl of controversy
  • Be proactive, anticipate problems, hold everyone accountable
  • Stay laser focused on the end result

Heh, know what, this was the book that prompted me to buy PlayStation 3 right away, after browsing the book in Kinokuniya. 🙂 Such was my appreciation of the effort behind the development of the machine.

Read this book!

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I have moved …

Was it 20 or 30 times that I boarded the elevator to transfer stuff to my car? It was very tiring and boring, making me moody for few days. Luckily by yesterday, everything was settled. I returned the key to the landlord and he returned the deposit by cheque.

Now that I live in Setiawangsa, I have to leave home for work at latest 7:00a.m, but if I wish to avoid jam altogether, I need to leave even earlier, perhaps 6:15 a.m. I might just do that. Spending 30 minutes of my morning crawling Jalan Jelatek simply not worth it. Go to office early and sleep there is a better choice at least.

I have also started playing my PS3. Currently I am at Chapter 13 of the game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Kinda cool that I can actually play shooting games. Got a lot of headshots. 🙂

However, I am playing without sound. My monitor has no built-in speaker, and I just dont know how to get the audio signal from the HDMI cable. Too lazy to research as well.

I bought the HDMI cable for RM95. Was it overpriced? I dont know.

Work has been rather slow lately, as I am leaving my current position as well. So I am taking this opportunity to rest a bit. Play games, sleep more, eat more and read light stuff is the current code of conduct.

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A sign of stress?

It’s not an uncommon story that a man was unable to find something in a refrigerator, and a woman then went to his help and grabbed the thing right in front of his eyes. Men can be so lost somehow.

I just had one of the more extreme cases of that. I arrived at my desk in the office, and could not find the keyboard. I asked the admin, wondering if some maintenance was being done. Several people turned their focus onto me, and one of them then pointed, “Isn’t that your keyboard?”.

Yes ! It was damn right in front of the monitor, where it had always been !

I wonder why this happened at all. Am I under stress or is this just a perfectly natural occurence? Just the other day, I locked myself out and had to call for locksmith. Haizz… burned RM70 for that.

I suspect this clumsiness and loss of focus is what happen when attitude, spirituality and discipline are so underdeveloped.

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What happened to YB Elizabeth Wong must be a nightmare. Technologies have been (mis)used to take private photo of her, and to distibute it online. I hope she will not resign over this matter, because it would encourage more of such practice. I am approaching this matter from security point of view, not political.

My stand on this is not dissimilar to Exclusionary Rule in the U.S. , which says that evidence gathered in violation of defendant’s constitutional right is inadmissible for criminal prosecution in the court of law. This is to discourage illegal conduct of investigation by removing all benefits that it would have brought.

Applying to this case, we can discourage the practice of such trespass on privacy by doing the same – remove all benefits it has, hence all reasons to do it in the first place.

Everyone is actually exposed to privacy attack as more and more data of us is circulating on the internet. For those who do not realise how horrific and terrifying this is – please read the book Schneier on Security. It discusses about security in general, without delving too much into technicality and is highly suggestable to everyone. I love the chapter on privacy most of all, this is one of the motivations for me writing about it myself now.

How about Facebook and all its features, tagging etc ? I just found this wonderful link on how to manage Facebook privacy settings. Consider paying it a visit, at least!

ps: I am a Bukit Lanjan resident, at least for another week.

Suggested reading:

schneier

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Many Changes

There are changes all around, coming my way and coming within myself. For the latter, I am starting to realise that it is futile to go against fate. I am stucked with my job for at least another 9 years, having sold 10 years of my future for oversea studies. I might as well love my job, or I will not do justice to my boss and colleagues. My boss so far has patiently put up with my non-motivatedness, perhaps in the belief that I will someday be useful. Well, she’s right. I will start being a superstaff starting tomorrow !

This change in me actually came from a realisation that my current job is perfect for me. Before this, I parrotted everyone, complaining that I got a job that does not match my qualification. That’s actually true, I have degree in engineering, but I am doing regulation now, that has strong flavor of Law.

But then, I am also a believer in multiple streams of income. Possible other streams are freelance programming, or part-time teaching in the university. Combining these with management-ish job means that I wont be overloaded with too technical stuff. Hmm.. I guess this will be my new script until the 10 year service is over.

Another change is, I’m moving out. Leaving Damansara Perdana 😦 . I like this place very much, located strategically near The Curve, Ikea, Ikano, Cineleisure and my office. I am going to live with my parents, which is quite uncool for a 26 year old, but a real convenience and money-saver.

One last change that I would like to mention here is that, I have started using Ubuntu Linux as operating system. No more Windows XP. I’ve decided to go open source, and stop pirating. Glad to know that my friend, Asa is doing the same and pretty much enthusiastic about it. I actually had to change to Linux for my Master project which is titled “Electronic Voting System based on Trusted Computing Architecture”. Two by-elections are coming, and I am going to observe one of them for the purpose of researching. Anyone wanna join?

This is random, but I would like to express my appreciation of the song Love Story by Taylor Swift. My sister just told me that she liked this song too, and had listened to it for the entire day. Hah.. cant beat me. I’ve been listening to it for two days, including a non-stop for an entire night where I refused to sleep because I could not get enough of it.

I dont know why, but I just feel happier lately. No.. I’m still single with no prospect for otherwise, for those who start thinking funny.

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I just got younger !

Haha .. and RM1600 poorer as well. Just bought myself PS3 and a game called Uncharted. I certainly bought this in haste, as I dont have a TV yet that could support the game. The current one is not LCD TV but CRT which is part of the apartment rental.

I’m moving out to my parents’ place in a week, leaving this CRT TV behind as well. Can’t wait to buy a new one. A 42″ would be nice, but I think I’ll go for 32″. An LG perhaps, although I have affection for things Sony.

Sadly though, my Sony P1i handphone is behaving too erratically lately. It did not alert me of incoming SMSes. Got 8 birthday wishes which I just read today. All I can say is, “Belated Thanks.” 😦

I dont think playing PS3 will impede my personal growth. In fact, I am hoping that it will assist me in thinking and reacting faster. I am thinking too slowly lately, thanks to Go, as a training, which allows plenty of time for each move.

Many people suggested Wii to me, but I like Sony . Besides, after reading about Cell processor in Kinokuniya recently, I couldn’t wait any longer to have this. There are online notes available from MIT about programming Cell processors here , but I’m not hacking this PS3 baby just yet, if ever!

Now, time for a long wait for Final Fantasy 🙂

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