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Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

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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For the past few days, I have been working on Activity Log system for our Sales Consultancy department. Under the request of my AGM, I reformatted, restructured and added formulas to our Excel activity log so that metrics such as conversion rate, engagement (prospecting), and revenue movement can be calculated automatically.

It started as a horrible task as the past logging system did not validate input, hence there were text when figure or date was expected. But by now everything is cleaned up and actual programming is already being carried out. At the moment, quick and dirty solution is ready and the performance metrics mentioned above are already available.

Scary ! Pretending to work or be busy will not help anymore as our performance is spelt out as number and can be compared against others.

For conversion rate, we calculate the ratio of closed deal against total number of quotation, proposal, tender, RFP and RFQ being given out. It’s horrible, because so many of our customers like to ask for quotation for fun 😦

For engagement, we total the project values being prospected, which may indicate our aggressiveness in sales.

Whereas movement metrics will show the result of our effort in monetary terms. This will encourage sales to chase after higher value deals.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of objections within our department to these performance indicators especially conversion rate. We do give a lot of quotations upon customers’ requests eventhough without any chance to actually make any deal. Even worse, the threshold is set at 40% conversion rate. I dont think even Zig Ziglar can do it (actually I dont even know who he is).

It’s regrettable that my passion to work on automated activity logging system has been mistaken by some as taking opportunity to escape my core tasks. I hate updating logs, I hate administrative work but I thoroughly enjoy building programs and computerised systems. Anyway, I’ve already got at least one person telling around that I dont have work to do (probably with some hints that s/he is the only one busy bringing profits to the company).

Yawnsy …

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It has been for a while since I wanted to be a more serious blogger. While telling about my life, opinion and feeling on this blog serves my emotional and psychological needs pretty well, I always had hoped to have a higher purpose of existence on the Internet.

Techpiece is my attempt to realise that. It’s a platform for collaborative blogging for me and a friend, Soha who is doing PhD in the UK in power engineering. I’ll try to write articles more closely related to Malaysia, in particular about telecommunication, security and software.

I’ve written about cryptography in general that is unrelated to Malaysia. Actually I only reused an old article from here, because Soha pushed me to post according to schedule. LOL.

Next in my plan is to write about Streamyx and Home Surveillance in Malaysia. If you have any technological questions that you hope to be answered, just ask me anytime. I’ll answer or research the answers.

techpiece

Seems like a tough project, but hopefully I will persevere.

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I chat quite often, although not a hardcore. I use MSN. Few of my friends said that I often have my User Friendly Name hinting around Love, Being Single, Girlfriend etc. I disagree!

Luckily for me, I can prove that this is not the case. Firstly, my MSN records all conversation (as I had configured), and secondly, all my User Friendly Names have certain pattern, all begin with “Waq” i.e. Waq is yawnful or Waq : Girlfriend or freedom? . Some people call these nicknames, but I use User Friendly Name because that is the term used by the chat history XML files.

Below is the list of all my User Friendly Names since about 2 years ago. (Actually not all are recorded, but just ones I had using my laptop 😦 ) I wrote a Perl program to extract this from MSN Chat history. At first I thought of using XML solution, but then using regular expression is so much easier. I’m not good with Perl, very embarrassed at the non-aestheticity of the program, but in the spirit of knowledge, I put it at the bottom of this page.

Love, Loneliness, Girlfriend related User Friendly Names are highlighted in pink. Only 9! Okay, maybe all these 9 happened closely, but then, 9 only la ..

Waq : All is well
Waq : Argh slow news. Politics getting boring again
Waq : Be productive
Waq : Blog Go Bahasa Melayu di http://idazuwaika.net/me
Waq : Can I be more?
Waq : Climbing ethnic ladder
Waq : Climbing the ethnic ladder
Waq : Doing work with eyes closed is fun
Waq : Dont boycott Olympics
Waq : Genetic is kind to a few
Waq : Girlfriend or Glory ?
Waq : Girlfriend or freedom ?
Waq : Going Pulai Spring
Waq : Happy Birthday Vix. May it be better than Samy’s Birthday
Waq : Happy Birthday anyway to Samy Vellu
Waq : Happy Birthday myself 🙂 I’m 25 , so ancient
Waq : Happy Birthmonth to me
Waq : Happy New Year
Waq : How to increase mental stamina?
Waq : I HATE STREAMYX !
Waq : I am a man afterall
Waq : I met Go Seigen
Waq : I won’t rest
Waq : I’ll traverse unknown path, and call such life my own
Waq : I’m OK
Waq : I’m not happy
Waq : If they are racist, should I be one too?
Waq : Just got Astro. I will be LAZIER !! HELPP
Waq : Kang Dong Yoon won Gold for Individual Men’s category
Waq : Keep fighting !
Waq : Kit Siang too used to opposing everything
Waq : Learning Korean
Waq : Leaving for SEA Games, Korat
Waq : Love… is it really beautiful?
Waq : MC today
Waq : MS SQL 2005
Waq : Malaysia is so happening
Waq : Mental limit. Am I sane?
Waq : Need energy
Waq : Never knew paintball that fun
Waq : Nizar can speak Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese and Tamil ?
Waq : No more exams ! Cant wait to start on individual project !
Waq : Obama !!
Waq : One more paper to go !
Waq : Outstation.
Waq : Perlis, small state with BIG issue
Waq : Pleasant 15 mins with a cute stranger
Waq : Rock songs can be so soothing
Waq : SQL is fun 🙂
Waq : Sabah 13 – 17 April
Waq : Sabah 13 – 17 April, now in Sandakan
Waq : Say yes to Love Story
Waq : Selamat Hari Raya
Waq : Shopping is best medicine
Waq : Should I go to Taiwan?
Waq : Singapore Trip was Fun 🙂
Waq : Suddenly I want to play Chess
Waq : Super many coursework to do !!
Waq : Taylor Swift makes me want to love
Waq : Tired of being single
Waq : Together, through good times and bed times.
Waq : Traitor !
Waq : Ulcer sign of stress?
Waq : What can life offer?
Waq : What numerical year is it in Chinese calendar?
Waq : When will I see BoA on MTV again?
Waq : Who good with SQL?
Waq : Who wants to go Singapore this weekend?
Waq : Why have my imaginary friends left me?
Waq : Will of steel
Waq : XML and XPath
Waq : Yay, one less work
Waq : Yay… Celcom 3G Broadband reactivated 🙂
Waq : Yes !! Wireless networking at home
Waq Blog : Weekend Go Trip to Singapore
Waq Blog : Weekend Go Trip to Singapore. https://idazuwaika.wordpress.com
Waq SEA GAMES GO VIDEO UPLOADED :
http://msiago.wordpress.com
Waq in Korat, Thailand
Waq is yawnful
Waq observes politics, studies abandoned !
Waq refuses to grow up

The Perl program is the following. Underlined is the regular expression to match my User Friendly Name, to extract just mine, and not my conversation partner.

nick

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I am probably causing many people to yawn with plenty of programming related postings lately. 🙂 Honestly, due to the very vague restructuring status in our department, I have not been tasked with anything. My boss seems not to mind to see me programming for whatever reason, and I think she would like that better than seeing me watching animes in office.

Anyway I found out that OpenLibrary.org has very easy to use API and more importantly can provide cover book images for most of the books that I have. Project #3 tab is now updated to show how it’s done.

bookcover

About the initial intention of earning money online, I’ll delay that to next week. Hopefully by then I will have moved to the new home and have got a permanent addresss.

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Getting Started

Let me start by admitting one thing – I really don’t know how to earn money online. I did browse Irfan Khairi’s and Tze-something books in bookstores few times before but their ideas and messages never registered in my head.

I know I have to start doing it. Like board games and programming, I can only learn by actually playing and cracking head over it, rather than by reading.

I’ll document everything that I do in this blog, and if you have advices, do pour them on me. My main interest however is in learning and gaining greater understanding of Internet and web technologies. Then only will I start thinking about huge money-making.

I believe I’ll be quite slow in my learning due to my other commitments and interests. I might fail in earning any money, but I dont think I will fail in being more proficient with web technologies.

Ok .. enough talking. Let’s for once get really started. I’ll open my Notepad, and write down (type) the ISBN of all books that I have. One line each. Some books have both ISBN 10 and ISBN 13, latter is assigned to books published after 1 January 2007. Choose to record ISBN 13 whenever possible, ISBN 10 is subset of ISBN 13 afterall. There is no need for recording title, publisher etc as these information can be extracted from online database somewhere, hopefully.

Wish me luck. 🙂

p/s: Ah, my idea revolves around Amazon affiliate programme, book reviews, ebooks, AdSense etc. I dont know yet.

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This post title was too long already, so I conciously omitted the important phrase “in my opinion”. It’s there, implied. Just as whenever a list appears on Internet.

Here I would like to share an ordered list of computer skills that I expect to be valuable for working people. This is actually a personal list, which I extrapolate to cover general corporate population. I blog a lot about work lately, ain’t I?

#1 Microsoft Excel

I cant overemphasize the need to master this software, along with the macro features and preferably with competency in Excel VBA programming and object model as well. My copy of MS Office is 2003 but it does not matter, because with VBA, everything can be done.

However sometimes, the managers may expect you to do things manually. They may expect you to show progress from time to time, and it’s just hard to explain why you haven’t got any simply because the programming is not done yet.

#2 Microsoft Outlook
Emails and people are parts of everyday work. Take time to master features such as calendar, reminder, personal folders etc. Learn Outlook object programming model as well, to extract and analyse data from address book and yea .. abuse it to climb the corporate ladder. 🙂

#3 PDF
There’s a book on PDF hacks by O’Reilly which I am going to add into my collection soon. Lack of knowledge on PDF has caused unnecessary waste of time, in many occurences i.e. superposing PDF pages, rearranging pages, adding text, images etc.

Learn your Adobe Acrobat Professional software, I dont even have a copy in my desktop.

#4 SQL

Data, data manipulations, analysis and presentation constitute 95% of corporate operations. OK, I irresponsibly threw a random number there 🙂

Anyway, data are stored in database, and SQL is the language to manage database. One of my greatest contributions in my current department was to write an SQL script to check data accuracy, which previously were done manually by eyes.

#5 Making diagrams, flowcharts etc.

Impressive-looking presentation slides are very important for your career. People will again and again get to your slides to copy your hard-drawn diagrams. Perhaps use Microsoft Visio for making good diagrams? Or if you are good with Latex, take the trouble to learn the extremely powerful pstrick package.

Or maybe use Flash, Adobe AIR or Silverlight to make a really outstanding presentation. I dont know. Too many software, too little time to study them 😦

p/s: What’s your invaluable computer skills?

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