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Archive for January, 2010

Teaming with Passion

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I attended a company sponsored training called “Teaming with Passion”. It was a course aimed at our front-liners, who deal with interesting customers everyday. Being a pre-sales technical consultant, I too attended the course and here I’d like to write a brief summary of what I had learnt.

Up until very recently, I had been chiding the concept of positive attitude, power words, inner strength etc. I thought I did not need them, and all of them are common sense, and discoverable upon needs. How wrong I was !

The exact reason I did not need any emotional help or encouragement before was because I did not push myself enough that time. Now with bigger responsibility, with performance being measured in sales figure, I am getting more and more serious at work. Stress level is high, and I cant sleep easily.

What I found most helpful from the course was about positive thinking. Heck, positive thinking is so obvious that I feel ashamed that I care about it too much here. But, during the course, we had to keep shouting “I am mental warrior”, “You are your energy”, “Today is a grrreat day” and so on. We (the front-liners) also sang unity-themed songs together, keep shouting the support each other, look at the eyes of our learning partner while talking to him/her. I suppose this kind of training system is what Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is all about, although I know too little about it to write here factually.

People cried tears of joy. Connections renewed among colleagues, and created among strangers.

When the course started, I mumbled to myself, “Am I going to be brainwashed here?” I’ve been to quite a number of sales-themed training/seminar, although being more technically inclined by profession and interest. LOL, my worry was unwarranted. I am now “brainwashed” and see nothing wrong with that.

Well, too busy to continue blogging, but if you were also like me before, dismissing self-help, motivation and encouragement as common sense or unimportant, you may want to check whether you have pushed yourself enough.

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Glad to mention that Malaysia will be participating in Pair Go World Cup 2010 in Hangzhou, China after finishing second in Asia selection held yesterday. Suzanne and I, as the Malaysian pair completed four matches yesterday with 3 wins against Indonesia, Phillippines and Vietnam and a loss against Singapore Team 1. The tournament was actually held online on IGS as there was not enough time to organize it in the meat-world.

It was my first time playing Pair Go, and it was a great experience. I normally am very reserved in my game, prefer strategic to tactical fight. But Suzz was the complete opposite, and it seemed our combined style yesterday followed her more. We kept asking for fight when we were already leading against the Indonesian, and we put ourselves in great danger against the Vietnamese pair. I almost wanted to resign, until we managed to counter-attack with a squeezing sequence. Luck maybe, because I didn’t see it at all when reading 5 moves before.

Overall, it was an enlightening experience for me. I cant remember the last time I had intense fighting in my games. I normally wait for overwhelming advantage before I initiate a fight. With Suzz aggressiveness however, there was no wait and warming up before fighting. Haha … 🙂

After the selection round, the next stage will be held in Hangzhou in March 21-23 where 8 professional pairs and 8 additional pairs from various geographical regions will compete. I’ve never been to Hangzhou, so quite looking forward to this. Hopefully we could do well there.

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Soft threat

I could not tell whether he was serious or just joking. My manager today said to me that, if I ever lose track of documents or emails again, he’s gonna have me install Google Desktop in my laptop.

No.

There must be a better way, possibly by means of good habit. I need to restructure and categorize my files properly. I don’t want to have my computer cluttered with documents, even if I’d still be able to retrieve anything fast due to Google indexing power.

But then I agreed to his suggestion. If I fail to find documents and emails again, I will install Google Desktop. Uh .. ! I just have to make a commitment to better self-organization habit.

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Sharepoint now?

I’ve been rather busy these days that it’s almost impossible to rest. My sector has finally had interesting projects going on, and while not unexpected, I spent a lot of time on the process flow, populating online forms, validating past records and consolidating inputs coming from different people. These projects are based on IPVPN product, which is rather popular among enterprises these days. IPVPN allows an enterprise to have Local Area Network (LAN) over wide geographic scale, by renting service providers’ infrastructure to connect between the sites. While it is possible to implement SSL VPN over Internet, private IPVPN solution provided by telecommunication companies ensure better security, as the network packet will not traverse public or Internet infrastructure.

Also, I am developing a web portal for our department which is aimed to facilitate our daily operations including room booking, document management, and performance tracking. I am unpaid for this extra work though 😦 , but I view this as a good opportunity to warm myself up to web-based technologies, and develop a software that people use. However, I might have to redo everything if our department decides to have the server hosted by IT department, which could possibly use Microsoft Sharepoint instead. I really hope that this is the case. I dont mind redoing the PHP/Python programming in ASP.

I wish I had put more effort in Microsoft based technologies before. Perhaps, from trying to be geek-cool by not using Microsoft products, I spent the last two years using Linux, Apache, gcc and many other open source software and tools. Seriously, if I had learnt IIS, Visual Studio, .NET instead, my life would be much easier now.

If my life sounds very boring, it actually is. I miss being physically active, being able to fly in the air, doing somersault, juggling, playing football etc. I have lost all those skills now, and I dont see acquiring them back. I suppose I am very bad at having a balanced life, but time is scarce. I dont think I can afford the overhead of time management.

I wonder if having close friends, or community that share my interest in programming will make my life more fun.

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From time to time, I will dwell on the new age fundamental question : What is the purpose of blogging? With the arrival of 2010, I overdwelt on it. Apparently confusion and societal pressure and eventually shame then took the better part of me and caused me to switch this blog to private mode for a while. But now I have realised my error and reopened this blog.

Why was it error? Was it not good to save humanity from half-hearted journalism (which is this blog)? It was an error for the following reasons:

  1. There are readers, so there must be a right thing going on as well.
  2. I fell into the trap of destroying before rebuilding again and again.

What’s the rebuilding I was talking about? It’s Inkuiri Terlampau, a new blog where I’d post deeply technical, nonsense-absence stuff. And I write them in Malay. Initially I operated it in two languages with the name “Nauseating Enthusiasm” instead, but I decided it would be too confusing for any visitor.

Inkuiri Terlampau was motivated by the fact that computer science /mathematics/ engineering related materials in Malay are too little. In fact the Malay web world is overly infested with “Menjana Pendapatan Di Rumah”, “Dapatkan Kekayaan Mudah dengan Mengisi Borang” kind of links that I hope some Malay technical blog would put a balance to it. Acknowledgably, I and most probably most Malaysians are technology adopter instead of leader/innovator, so it would not be bleeding edge. And also, last year I voiced out my support of government decision to revert the teaching of science and mathematics to Malay despite the obvious argument that learning materials in the language are severely scarce. So, I’m just trying to help the government here by making the argument less qualfied each day.

Helping the government post-308? Gasp … haha 🙂 Seriously, waiting for a government that would appeal to all Malaysians would take too long, so I choose to support policies instead 🙂 I’m done with zealotry in any polarity.

So what’s the 2010 new blogging attitude that I title this post with? It’s separative journalism. This blog will remain about my personal ongoings, while Inkuiri Terlampau will be about hardcore technical stuff.

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This time last year, I made a ridiculously ambitious set of new year resolutions. I was aware of the evil of making unrealistic goals, but I thought I was different. I thought could achieve anything. Afterall I was young, energetic and more importantly, I was living off my parents. But unfortunately it turned out that I failed every single resolution including going to the gym, practicing my Mandarin, memorizing Hiragana/Katakana, earning money online, reaching 7d in Go strength (hahaha!), earning golf ‘licence’ and whatnot.

This year, I decide to only have a modest set of resolutions to fulfill. It may not be half as fun, but hopefully will be more meaningful and effective as a guide. Failing self-drawn resolutions every year is too meaningless to make a habit of.

Anyway, I decide on the following seven resolutions to welcome the new year, and the new decade ( if millennium started in 2000, decade may start from zero too). They are aimed at nurturing good habits and subtly improve my effectiveness as an individual.

  1. Always carry a USB memory stick , pen/paper and business card with me everywhere. It’s not that I know the exact purpose these are for, but there were countless of occasions when I wished I had these. Especially business cards. It is too unprofessional to walk around without bringing them.
  2. Read less. 🙂 That’s quite misleading, so I rephrase. Balance reading with doing actual work and producing result. Great men of the past may have been scholars i.e. Aristotles, Socrates etc, but great men of the present are survivors of harshest battle. Why else would we look up to dropouts?
  3. Write more. No matter how little it is at a time. Rewriting whatever that I read is the easiest way to be productive. Make that a habit enough, it’ll get myself to be more result-oriented than effort-accounting-oriented.
  4. Ensure quality in work. The main aim is reusability, and is highly applicable with regards to programming and writing. Quality programming exercise must be readily publish-able. Study notes should be easily made into lecture notes or article. What can be more harmful to effectiveness than having to redo the same things again and again?
  5. Make use of free available resources. It’s time for me to be more saving-savvy. I spent too much on books last year when free resources are available. Why buy programming language syntax rule books when the standards are readily available? Books are most useful when they contain experience and advices from the expert, rather than being a prettier form of available manuals.
  6. Relax. Listen to music. Two recent fantastic movies had one thing in common. They mentioned that when men are too full in their thoughts, they cant be receptive to ideas or think creatively. What are the two movies? Hint: Awesome cinematography. 🙂
  7. Continually assess the above 6 targets. As I set out above as my this year resolutions, clearly I have not actually done them. Best intentions aside, the above resolutions might be too light to create a measurable impact. Adjust as necessary if the set out resolutions do not work the way you want. There’s no need to be a purist and force yourself to adhere to painful resolutions no matter how original they are.

I notice that except for the first one, all of them could be too abstract but I am outlining them as the initiatives to combat my ineffectiveness. I am clear of my goals and aspirations and do not need a new year resolution as reminder. What I am more concerned about is my ability to convert my effort and investment into tangible results. Actually, I believe that is what everyone should be concerned about.

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Jumpy Monk

Kibitzing and blitzing are two nicest things to do on KGS. Today I witnessed the creation of a new KGS Go term during a game between ecstatic[9d] and supertjc[8d].

FarahIzyan[5d] asked about the Go term for S8 move below, whether it should also be called “monkey jump”. Originally, monkey jump means a large knight jump on the first line from a second line, a very useful reduction technique for endgame.

Since S8, is a rather backward monkey jump, from first line to second line instead, Warfreak[6d] suggested a like-sounding name for it, “Jumpy Monk”

Few people quite liked the name 🙂

It already has its own entry in Sensei’s Library.

http://senseis.xmp.net/?JumpyMonk

 

jumpymonk

Edit :

You may also visit an earlier entry on Sensei’s about Inverse Monkey Jump which talked about the same move.

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