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Archive for April, 2009

Webinar

I’m addicted to Global Knowledge’s webinar already. It’s free, but registration is required. Attending a webinar or web-seminar is so much different from simply reading up written materials on a subject. It’s just more effective!

Currently I’m watching my fourth one for today, titled Essentials of Routing. I am actually watching a recorded one, not real time. But what does that matter, huh? I’m not the type to raise my hand to ask questions anyway, in both real and virtual worlds.

webinar

With multimedia based learning, less focus is required. Pausing a video is much easier than pausing reading, in my personal experience.

Most importantly, with generous use of colours and animations that multimedia based trainings or tutorials offer, learning is simply more relaxing and absorbable. I ain’t baby no more, but heh, learning with colours and visuals is still as effective as ever before. 🙂

I highly suggest Global Knowledge for those computing and networking professionals (and freaks) who are already too tired of reading manuals and books.

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Finally, new workplace :)

Finally, I am at the new workplace. The environment is good, full of young people unlike previously. And to my suprise, the one sitting next to me here is Azharina, my senior at KMYS last time. So I didn’t start as a total stranger, luckily.

Anyway, the department is called Solutioning and Programme Management. I must say, HR did know better when they decided to send me here. Just now I connected to the department server, and was really excited to see the training materials and documents hosted there. Network designs, video lectures, telecommunication related Powerpoint presentation slides etc.

Probably, I have found a workplace where I can give my all. Anyway, I must give my all because everyone here is very experienced and knowledgeable despite being young. Yea.. yea.. I am competitive.

Equally troubling is the fact that people expect a lot from me. One of the new colleagues even told me that I can be quite intimidating with my academic qualifications. Pressure !

Honestly, in engineering and IT industries, I dont think qualifications give any indication of your expertise at all. For research-based companies such as MIMOS, IBM, Qualcomm etc, qualifications can be a relevant metric of expertise. But for operational and technology adopter telcos, I’ve seen too many non-academically-qualified technician outexpert those supposedly smart people.

To Go playing friends who have been wondering why I have been so inactive lately, it’s because of the new job, exams this weekend and multitude of unfinished assignments. Once I get my life back in order, I’ll kill you all hahahahaahhaahah.. 🙂

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Old Pictures

Got old pictures of myself from a friend.
I miss university life.

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Learn Go at MWA

If you are in Kuala Lumpur (or nearby) and interested to learn Go, you can attend weekly classes provided one of Malaysia Weiqi Association regular player, Hock Doong. The classes are held in Japan Club, Taman Seputeh which is within walking distance from Midvalley Megamall. Visit MWA website for more information.

Hock Doong is a respected instructor, and dan-ranked player himself and had represented Malaysia in many tournaments, including recent World Mind Sport Games in Beijing, China.

The schedule are as follows:

18 April: Life and Death (Multiple eyes and basic corner shapes)

25 April: Basic tactics (Ladders, Nets and some basic tesuji)

2 May: More Life and Death (a few more shapes and capturing races)

9 May: Opening Made Easy

16 May: After the opening (relationship and combination of stones)

23 May: Joseki and how to use them

30 May: A bit more on joseki and how to use them

6 June: Basic Invasion and Reduction

13 June: Basic Attack and Defense

The flow of the class will be as follows:

3.30pm Start Class. Handout answers to last week’s home work. Go through some problems from last week’s homework.

3.45pm Start main lesson for the week (as per the plan above)

4.30pm End of main lesson. Start Q&A session. Handout this week’s lesson. Class Ends.

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I want to play Go.
I want to play Shogi.
I want to play Chess.
I want to play Scrabble.
I want to play Draught.
I want to play Xiangqi.
I want to play Cranium.
I want to play Risk.
I want to play Sudoku.
I want to play Rubik Cube.
I want to play Final Fantasy.
I want to play Total War.
I want to play God of War.
I want to play Spider Solitaire.
I want to play, play and play …

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Cloudy times

It’s nearly 10 a.m. now, and I am at San Francisco Coffee surfing Internet. As of now, I’m officeless … more grandly known as ‘floating’.

I had previously cancelled my plan to join R&D, and decided to stay in the corporate mainstream. The Human Resource Department (HR) then sent me to Solution Integration Unit (SIU), to fill a Solution Consultant position. Well, I went there, only to find out the position was not even vacant. So, SIU is now telling me to wait, while they are sorting out matters with HR. And, I always prefer waiting with a large cup of Cappucino, in a cafe, with a Wi-Fi connected laptop. I have another job interview this week, so at the moment, my career could have been any of two radically different stories.

Over the past few weeks, I had plenty of career advices, from colleagues (ex- and not) and friends. If fact, interviewers as well. Some said I should join a department filled with seniors, so that I could rise easily replacing them after they’re gone. Others said I should join a young team instead, to build network and have more fun at work.

Well, I guess, both advices have pros and cons. The first advice is only relevant if I plan to stay at one particular job, and patiently wait (without cappucino and Wi-Fi) to succeed my seniors. For the second advice, there is possibility that network and fun might amount to nothing. Competition will also be high, and also, I am not the best networker in town.

Anyway, the conclusion is, first advice is better if I plan to stay long at one particular job, the second one better if I want to jump around between jobs quickly.

Actually I couldn’t care less about job, career etc. The problem is, that’s what people first ask me about whenever they see me. Family wants to know how my work goes. Old friends will ask, “where do you work now?“. Old colleagues, ex-schoolmates, etc etc. I suppose that will be the first thing asked of me, if I attend a blind date as well.

I want a more meaningful thing to do, not simply living for the society and to gain respect. Not even simply for my own survival. Something which has the flavour of “meaning of existence”. Something that shows me why I am what I am, something that takes me beyond my maximum potential.

Something worth dying for ..

Am I at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, or I just take everything for granted?

maslow

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It’s very rarely that I talk about the intricate details of my research. It is not because of the potential business value. It is instead mainly for the reason that my research only truly began two days ago 🙂

My research is about bringing general election to the people via the Internet. So people do not have to travel back to their voting precinct just to mark a ballot. So that people will not be complaining when EC decides to have by-election on a weekday, like yesterday Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang and Batang Ai tri-election. So that the Parliament no longer need to allocate RM100 million for election conduct, or for EC to employ nearly 200,000 election workers. There are plenty of motivations for having election conducted via Internet. At a more personal level, my research in this area is motivated by the prospect that I do not have to queue, and be stucked in traffic jam just to mark a ballot. Life is too short for such a thing. If a more convenient way exists for us to exercise our democratic rights, why not use it?

Election is interesting. It is the best type of contest, even better than a game contest such as Go and Shogi. Contestants in an election are actually racing against each other, trying to capture as many voters as possible.

It was a painful admission on my part, but an election contest is really better than a Go contest. While a Go contest brings out the character of the contestants, an election brings out the true character of a nation, the contestants personalities, the qualities of the voters and may even determine the fate of our children! I have none for now (or so I think?). Anyway, not being a Christian, I dont believe in Original Sin, but election is one case where the children en masse may have to suffer for the sins and foolhardy of their fathers, en masse. For that reason, I maintain that election (Parliamentary and State) are the best type of contests.

What are these true characters, and qualities? For instance, it could be our basic human survival instinct, despite masking ourselves as Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, atheists etc. Despite wearing the Malay, Chinese and Indian skin. Yes to bribery, yes to badmouthing, yes to selling principles, yes to holier-than-thou, yes to fraud. Yes, yes, yes. Votes are the One Ring, we are all Gollums.

Now that Internet voting is such a cool thing, why has it not been implemented? Well, actually it has been implemented in (astonishingly) Estonia. This one country that has been escaping from my mental image of the globe is now having 80% of my attention. Their citizens can vote via Internet, wohoo. Voting 2.0 if you want to call it 🙂 Well, actually, voting is the right of all residents of Estonia, not limited the citizens.

Utilising computer and Internet for voting is very tricky, due to its unique requirements. The most tricky of the requirements is ensuring fail-safe vote secrecy. No one is supposed to know who you had voted for ! And technology must be implemented to ensure that the voter can not prove to anyone that they had voted for this or that person. This is to discourage vote-buying (or vote-selling) and intimidation.

This requirement can be satisfactorily met by the traditional election. An individual voter enter the voting booth by him/herself, mark the ballot and cast it. Of course, RPK claims that vote buying still exist with the buyer instructing the voters to record their votes using handphone and show the image captured to receive rewards. Even if that is true, at least in traditional voting, such activities do not scale. In Internet voting however, such practice can be done in large scale, by distributing software that automates the recording and reporting of all activities of the voters. Potential for large-scale fraud is tremendous, which is why Internet voting must be subject to more strict requirements.

Internet voting is impossible, some people are crying! However Avi Rubin said, there is hope for Internet voting, when voters’ PC can be trusted, and trusted path can be established between the users and the voting servers.

Seriously, when will PC ever be trusted? We’re not just talking about being free from virus, or Trojan. We’re talking about even deeper level, i.e. secure boot, secure OS etc. Luckily for us, there is an effort started by Trusted Computing Platform Alliance to produce specification for a hardware that can be hard-mounted on our motherboard to facilitate this. This is the basis of Trusted Computing really.

My job is marrying Trusted Computing and Internet voting. Certainly not the first and last academic attempt at this. I’ll try to fit my research into Malaysian election scenario, to have a more personal flavour.

Ah, I think I have written long enough. Suprisingly, effortlessly. If only I could write thesis as easily as I write blog posts, I could have a long list of academic credentials by now 🙂 But of course, there is no academic quality in blog posts whatsoever. There is however, an eerie feeling that more people will read this post than people who will read my final thesis.

Which begs the question, what is the point of writing thesis?

begq

ps/: The time will come when there is no trust among humans, only between humans and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and trust among TPM-selves.

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