Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I lost. Emails.

It’s time to swallow my pride and admit how lazy I am to manage ever-increasing number of files and folders on my working laptop. Even lazier is to manage emails.

Hence, I’ve decided to heed my manager’s advice to install Google Desktop, an application that will perform indexing of documents and files, including Outlook emails.


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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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ , 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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Computing with Microsoft.


2009-12-29 19-50-10.001


This blog post may be enough to show my ever growing affection with Microsoft technologies. Iโ€™m on Windows 7 Ultimate, despite having only 512 MB on my 4 year old desktop, typing with Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 using Windows Live Writer as the blogging client to WordPress.


And the picture above was captured from a Microsoft webcam as well. I probably should have studied the webcam specification because Iโ€™m not quite satisfied with the quality. Those arenโ€™t my eye brows. Anyway, if anyone has suggestion of a good webcam, please note me.


Normally I donโ€™t quite like to work with third party applications, in this case, using Windows Live Writer as the client to WordPress, but so far itโ€™s good. Hopefully it may help me to be more productive with my blog.


Blogging may well be fun again ๐Ÿ™‚

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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.


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

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Testing WolframAlpha

Dont you just love WolframAlpha?


I like WolframAlpha for few things. Firstly, the interface is so simple and clean, probably influenced by Google in some way. Secondly, many types of complex computations and mathematical operations can be performed which is highly valuable for a half-academic like me. Like this.


Pretty neat isn’t it?

I’m not going to put on more example of queries here, but I highly suggest for you to try it out yourself. It’s a new powerful service on the Internet, so do try to find out how it can empower you.

Many seem to think that WolframAlpha does not compete with Google, for the simple fact that they are based on two different technologies. WolframAlpha computes whereas Google searches and points you to the place where you might get information.

I however believe that they compete in a few areas though. WolframAlpha is going to steal some traffic from Google for some types of queries by Internet users. The service that both commonly provide to Internet user is helping them finding answers to their questions. The users do not care how the answers are arrived at i.e. computed or ‘search’ed.

Also, WolframAlpha is still in its infancy. Who knows what the genius Stephen Wolfram (physics paper age 17, PhD age 20!) can do with it.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

#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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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

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