Monday, March 30, 2009

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, is characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness and inattention, with or without a component of hyperactivity. It is a chronic disorder with instances of individuals diagnosed in childhood continuing to have symptoms into adulthood.

Symptoms include:
  • Impulsiveness: acting before thinking of consequences, jumping from one activity to another, disorganization, tendency to interrupt other peoples' conversations.

  • Hyperactivity: restlessness, often characterized by an inability to sit still, fidgeting, squirminess, climbing on things, restless sleep.

  • Inattention: easily distracted, day-dreaming, not finishing work, difficulty listening.

This is what I gathered from Wikipedia here. Why did I mention about this? This is because I recently read an article that indicates the Internet might be affecting the children's brain, causing more children to be treated for ADHD. It seems that the constant bombardment of media and information online may permanently alter our brains and trigger some disorder.

I guess this means that our children should not be online for too long a period. Heck, I think this even applies to adults, since this disorder seems to affect them too. The traditional games should still have a place in everyone's childhood. Board games, sports, reading a good old-fashioned book, etc.

The standard rule applies. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Anything should be done in moderation.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

I had it with the slowness!

That's it. I had it! I'm re-arranging my layout again to quicken the loading speed of the blog. The speed is ridiculous. I've shifted some things so that it will only appear when you click on a blog post. Now the loading speed should be faster.

清明 horror again

If you're looking for spooky stories, sorry. You got the wrong post.

My horror is the traffic jam "horror" that I see almost every year at the Lim Chu Kang cemetery. This year is even more ridiculous. Singaporeans are either blind, or they are illiterate. The no entry sign was so big and red, and yet people came in from the opposite direction, causing a massive traffic jam.

This happens year after year, and it's a wonder that there isn't any accident. It's very easy to resolve this issue. Just post someone with a notebook, and a camera at the exit, to make sure no one goes against the traffic on Sat and Sun for this period of time. If the government can afford to send officers to catch cars going into the bus lanes, why not some officers to see that the traffic rules are being observed for 清明节?

Or must an accident happen first before anyone does anything about it? Well, if that is so, it'll be soon, judging from those reckless drivers I saw. I already saw an accident that almost happened in the cemetery. Sooner or later...

This reminds me of the child seat belts incident for buses.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Anything more for iPhone 3.0?

After reading about the iPhone 3.0 last week and summarizing in this post here, I have a feeling that there will be more surprises for this coming WWDC 2009 held from June 8 to June 12.

Well, first of all, very little is said about tethering. It means connecting the iPhone to the desktop for the purpose of Internet access. Most handphones in the market supports tethering. There was only a short mention of it during the private conference held last week, mainly because someone asked about it. I feel that for iPhone 3.0, this is going to be one of the features, with Bluetooth, and maybe even Bonjour support.

Next, I really hope that the iPhone would be sold direct from the Apple store, without contract. There are already rumours that AT&T is preparing for this. Some says that it's to clear old stock for the upcoming new iPhone. In a way, I believe that this is partly the reason. The next reason is that I feel that it makes practically no sense for Apple to restrict the iPhone to certain carriers. Apple can always list out a list of carriers that is compatible with the iPhone, but there is no reason why Apple should restrict it to the selective carriers. The customers should have a choice if they wish to get the device, and just pop in any 3G SIM card.

Last but not least, the iPhone hardware. Unlike some of the rumours on the net, I do not believe that they are going to release a new iPhone based on some new chip that they are developing. Why? There is one very good reason. iPhone 3.0 is available on the 1st and 2nd generation iPhone. As a product developer, you would want to only concentrate on 1 particular platform, especially when you're a new player, and you're adding new features that customers have been bugging for a year. Although the new chip rumoured is also ARM compatible, I do not think that Apple may risk it to launch the hardware with only 1 year of work. It took Apple more than 1 year to plan and migrate from PowerPC to Intel.

However, I do believe that there is new iPhone hardware, and I believe that it should be video call. Yes, that means a camera facing both inwards and outwards. There might be a slight increase in the MP, but I'm not really looking for it. Yes, that means that video may also be enabled for the iPhone, other than just simply taking pictures using the camera.

Actually there is one thing that I learnt from the iPhone 3.0 conference last week. That is although something might appear very simple to the users, it can be very very difficult to do when you're on the other side of the fence. Example, cut copy and paste.

For those people who did ask me, I told them it's going to be quite difficult for Apple to do cut copy and paste on the iPhone based on my experience on the same feature in XCode. If you tried to do copy and paste for the Mac desktop applications, you will understand the difficulty for Apple to port it to the iPhone. The other difficult part is how do you enable this throughout all the applications already deployed, without much coding. Apple managed to nail it after a year. I particularly like the way they handle the copying portion. Kudous to them.

Morale of the story? Do not look down on "simple" features. It might appear very simple to the user, but it may take months of hard work, and a supporting team to make it a reality. Another example will be the Yahoo Mail User Interface (UI). Do you know that it was out in beta since 2005, and it was only launched last year in 2008? I only said beta. How long it was in development? More than 4 years of development to launch a UI that mimics the desktop mail client. Simple UI enhancement? I don't think so.

Well coming back to the iPhone, I hope they can port this cut,copy and paste from the iPhone SDK back to the Mac XCode SDK. This looks like a useful API. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Difference between Disinflation and Deflation

I think many times I've have mentioned the word deflation while elsewhere, they are actually using the term disinflation. They are different terms.

Disinflation means a decline in the rate of increase of the consumer price index (CPI). For e.g., Year x inflation is 3%. Year x+1 inflation is 2%. Year x+2 inflation is 1%.

Deflation means a sustained decrease of the CPI, where the annual change in the CPI is negative year on year. For e.g., Year x inflation is -0.1%. Year x+1 inflation is -1%. Year x+2 inflation is -2%.

Disinflation is already very obvious since last year. I really meant deflation, at least for Singapore. Reason is that I do not believe the global financial sector is going to pick itself by this year. I see this as a 3-4 years of consolidation and "cleaning up" for the financial sector. This means that credit will be tight while this is on-going. If credit is tight, how could the economy be booming? Highly unlikely. Demand will be down sharply.

Currently, I still see at least 2 years of negative CPI, which is the reason why I kept mentioning deflation. Singapore is too dependent on the US and EU and unfortunately, both have too much excess that will take a long time to clear.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

IE8? The final push to other browsers

Very rarely do you see a product being launched, that pushes users to the rival's product. The way I see for IE8, this might be a final push for more users to join the Firefox/Chrome/Safari crowd. Was there any difference to IE8 since my last post here? I do not think so.

According to all the news on the web about IE8, it's suppose to be the most standard compliant browser out in the market. That was what it's being "advertised" in the grapevine. Well, how do you explain this wikipedia article stating that the Acid3 test for IE8 is only 20/100? For your information, the Acid3 test is to test the browser's compatibility with the Document Object Model, CSS3 and Javascript standards for browsers.

Another issue with IE8? The IE7 compatibility mode is not really IE7. According to news from the grapevine again, what works in IE7 may not work in the IE7 compatibility mode. IE8 broke Jira, and even the IE7 compatibility mode does not work. So what did the guy do? He downloaded Firefox. No problems at all.

IE8 is suppose to be standards compliant. My question is whose standards is it based on? All the web developers out there is going to curse and swear again. Another weird browser to add to their development woes. IE7, IE7 compatibility mode, and IE8. Thank you very much...

This reminds me of an ad that I was being told about. It speaks for itself:

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Making mistakes are normal

I quote from Albert Einstein:

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

Trying something new is what makes life interesting. We are not born to be able to do anything that is thrown at us, and we are bound to make mistakes. The key point is to learn from your mistakes. If we start the blaming game, we'll be moving backwards and rest assured, you will find yourself in the same situation again, and again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Inflation is up 1.9%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2009:
January: 2.9%
February: 1.9%

Food and Housing is leading the charge, rising by 4.3% and 6.6% respectively year on year. Inflation has been treading downwards, where the biggest change is actually in the transport & communication, down by a hefty 5%. Food and housing have also moderated downwards compared to last month. Healthcare costs are still very resilient, with no change from last month.

The peak of inflation was reached in April last year. Co-incidentally, this year April is also the month where there will be a 4.6% reduction of transport fares. Most probably, there will also be a reduction in electricity tariffs in that month. It's highly possible that inflation will be below 1% from April onwards, and may continue for at least 3 months.

That's provided that property values are not revalued. Currently, the only areas that are holding inflation up is mainly housing due to the revaluation. Otherwise, deflation will be a possibility.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Opposing for the sake of opposition

Recently the problems at US leads me into thinking of the effectiveness of opposition parties in the government.

Many people look at the main problem at hand, which is currently the bonus of AIG executives. The public outcry is understandable. However, I'm unsure why the outcry is against the present government. Has everyone forgotten? Under whose administration was the bail-out money first given to AIG, and the banks? Who started the no conditions attached bail-out money?

The Republicans are saying that the current recovery plan is no good, but they neglected to give a solution. More of what the Republicans were doing for the past 10 years? More wars? Well, the only assurance for that solution is that the US economy will continue down the Great Depression path for the next 5 years. Then guess what? It's elections time again, and who has the upper hand now?

Sometimes, I think politics are really a big waste of time. Some people opposing ideas for the sake of opposing them, and neglecting to give any solutions of their own. Worst still are those people who just outright oppose the idea without even giving any solution. They just give the generic reply. "It will not work". So the question is, what will? In this current situation, remaining status quo is worst than doing nothing.

In my opinion, what President Obama is doing is that he is trying to force innovation to happen within the next 5 years. If innovation does happen, there will be an explosive growth that will propel US to the fore front, and at the same time lead to more money for the US government in terms of taxes. The target areas seems to be all related to innovation. Education, new research areas, healthcare, etc.

And from what I read from the news, it seems that the opposition is not asking any useful questions, but just putting road blocks at every junction.

The old school will think the only way to decrease the deficits is to increase taxes. They are forgetting the other side of the story. How about increasing the number of businesses in-corporated in the US? Won't that increase the amount of tax collected? Won't increasing the inflow of talent into US increase the amount of tax collected? This brings out my other grouse against politicians who have no knowledge of basic economics.

I wish President Obama the best of luck.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Comparing an iPhone 3G Photo and W595 Photo

There has been many complaints on why the iPhone 3G camera is only 2 Megapixels (MP) and that it is inferior to the other phones out in the market.

Just recently I had a chance to try out the camera. I needed some information which requires me to run back and forth from my colleagues desk to my desk. So I took a picture of the information (on screen) using the SE W595 3.2MP camera. I reasoned that since it has higher MP, it should be clearer. I was wrong.

Due to the low light, I could not make out the words that I was taking. After that, I tried using the iPhone 3G for fun. Surprisingly, I was able to take the picture more clearly than the 3.2MP camera. The words could be more clearly seen. Unfortunately, I am unable to post the pictures.

Sometimes, I feel that the normal users are just too hyped up over all these numbers. I'm sure most users do not know that a simple 2MP camera is able to take a picture of resolution 1600 x 1200 pixels. Clarity wise does not depend on the MP but more on the lens and image processor.

That is why recently, one of the SLR makers said that they are no longer upping the megapixels because as most professional photographers know, megapixels now have not much effect on the quality of the picture.

Likewise for computers. All those numbers like 2 GHZ, 2.2 GHZ, etc. Will the user be able to tell the difference between 2 GHZ and 2.2 GHZ? The answer is no.

In my opinion though, if you want to take pictures, get a compact camera. Most compact cameras out there can beat a phone's camera hands down without even breaking a sweat.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living your life

I quote from H. G. Wells:

We must not allow the clock and calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery

Very often when we're very focus on a particular task, we tend to lose track of everything that is happening around us. Life flashes by so fast, that we often neglect to stop and smell the roses so as to speak.

Sometimes just by slowing down, you might see something that might surprise you, or lead you to change your current course.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

iPhone 3.0 updates

Updated 21 Mar 2009: Youtube videos of portions of the presentations

Apple is currently having a conference in the US talking about the new features of the iPhone 3.0. There are also some cool demos of the new apps that will be based on the iPhone 3.0. Developer beta is available now.

iPhone 3.0 software will be available to all iPhones free (including original). However, some features will not work on the original iPhone as the hardware does not support it. iPod Touch will have an update too, but you'll need to pay again due to licencing issues ($9.95).

The new version looks good for developers:
  1. Over 1,000 new APIs

  2. Supports App in App purchase. E.g. Buy a few new levels for a game app you have bought previously.

    Basically, I translate that to mean that you can access the App Store via API, so you can embed your "store" in your app.

  3. Updated the APIs for Bonjour for peer to peer, and it has been enabled for Bluetooth too.

  4. Allow developers to write apps that talk to the hardware either connected by the dock connectors, or by Bluetooth!

    However, the devices are limited to those made for iPhone/iPod accessories only. I guess it's because the protocol used is Bonjour.

  5. Turn by turn navigation supported in the API, but maps have to be self provided due to licencing issues.

  6. Google Maps access, iPod Library access, Mail access, Proximity sensor, Shake sensor, Streaming audio/video, etc from API.

  7. Push Notifications (finally). E.g. Meebo

  8. Cuy, Copy and Paste, and Undo/Redo API. :) Minimal work to integrate into your own apps.

How about end-user features?
  1. Cut, Copy and Paste. :)

    The UI experience is quite different from other phones, from what I read. It seems to meet the approval of the people who attended the talk.

    This is enabled for all the iPhone default apps. You can copy a photo and paste it into Mail. You can also copy the whole SMS content.

  2. In mail, shake to Undo, and shake to Re-do. :)

  3. Landscape mode, and search has been enabled for all iPhone key apps. (e.g. Mail)

  4. SMS is now called Messages. Able to forward, and delete single or multiple messages. MMS is now supported.

  5. New Voice Memos App. Integrates to Mail and MMS.

  6. Calendar now supports third party calendars using CalDav or ICS format.

  7. Stocks App update. I think they made it a little similar to Bloomberg.

  8. Spotlight is added into iPhone so that there's one common search screen for all the apps. It will be to the left of the main home screen.

  9. Shake to shuffle (Nano anyone?)

  10. Notes sync between iPhone and Mac/PC.

  11. Wi-fi auto-login.

    Hmm... Does it support Wireless@SG?

  12. Youtube account support, so you can see your favourites.

There are many more features (100 new ones) but I think these are the main gist. Looks like they are making it more appealing for the general users. Knowing Apple's calendar, iPhone 3.0 should be available in June, in their WWDC conference. They'll most probably introduce some new hardware too.

Below are some of the Youtube Videos I've found:

Azure down for 22 hours

With all those talk about cloud computing and my recent post here regarding it, the Microsoft Azure cloud was down for a total of 22 hours last Friday. I understand if it is 1 or 2 hours, but 22 hours? What happened to all the contingency plans?

Look with your eyes wide open if you're going into the cloud.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Interesting unemployment stats for December last year

CNA has threw out some interesting statistics on our unemployment rate for last December. The resident labour force unemployment rate has risen from 2.4% in December 2007, to 3.7% in December 2008. However, the overall unemployment rate has risen from 1.7% in December 2007, to 2.5% in December 2008.

Considering that 36% of the 2.95 million people working in Singapore are foreigners, those results would translate to mostly Singaporeans getting the cut. It will also be interesting to know the definition of resident labour force, since the government likes to mix PRs and Singaporeans together as one group.

With this kind of statistics, it's no wonder that the government came out with the Job Credit Scheme in Jan to stem this flow. They are also going down hard on phantom workers, which has been going on for quite some time. I mean look at the statistics and you can see something is wrong. 36% of the working population are foreigners?

I guess they've finally realised that the guys who live here are being priced out. And rightly so. How do you fight price with someone who just rents a flat with some friends, live minimally, and mostly will be remitting most of the money home?

I also do not think that the jobs that they are taking over are the jobs that Singaporeans do not want to do. In fact, I know quite a few people in my line who can do the job, and do it pretty well too. But most have been "driven out" of this line.

Sometimes, it's not that Singaporeans are choosy. Just that for the most of us, we have a life other than work. We have families, we have friends, and we have hobbies. That's what life means, and this work-life definitely has a direct impact on Singapore's birth rate.

You want us to work like no tomorrow, rarely see our family and friends, and have no time for hobbies, then I might as well be an expat and work overseas instead of working in Singapore. It would make no difference to me. What I can see at least in my line is that at the very least, Singaporeans do not have a communication problem. And that, is very important in any line of work.

The unemployment rate will be interesting for Jan and Feb. That was when the Job's credit scheme was announced. Logically, the unemployment rate for locals should improve. Hopefully...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Speaking the truth

I quote from an old Arab proverb:

When you shoot an arrow of truth, dip its point in honey.

I always tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Sometimes, I really feel so tired. I speak the truth, I piss people off. I choose to remain silent, I also piss people off.

Truth sometimes hurt, but the problem of finding the "honey" to lessen the hurt sometimes is either elusive, or non-existent. Where can I find this "honey"? I'm tired of feeling so frustrated.

Given the choice, I will still piss people off. To tell people what they want to hear is all too easy. To tell people what they need to hear. That's the art that I need to grasp.

iPhone Apps no allure? I disagree

Recently, there has been so-called surveys of certain people in the industry that says that most people do not use the iPhone Apps after a month of usage. The figures are supposedly higher if it is paid.

My first impression is who did they interview for the survey? What's their sample size? What's the demographics of the sample size? Are they interviewing those people who use the jail-broken iPhones or the un-touched ones? Do they have a data plan together with the iPhone they are using?

This is coming from a iPhone user. I use at least 5 iPhone Apps everyday. All free!
  1. Bloomberg
  2. Straits Times
  3. ChannelNews Asia
  4. Free RSS Reader
  5. iToday

I use these iPhone Apps sparingly throughout, depending if I need the information:
  1. SG Buses
  2. SG Transport
  3. Air Sharing
  4. Maps
  5. Notes

Just recently, my friend was commenting to me how useful the apps are, when we were trying to find a connecting bus at a certain bus-stop around midnight. I've also told my other friend about the Puzzle Quest on the iPhone, and he was surprised that there were more classes on my version than his PSP version.

There are other apps that I use that I will not list here because it depends on my mood, but you get the general idea. I do use apps more than once, and I've been using the iPhone for almost a year.

What's my point? There seems to be a general misconception among those people who do not use the iPhone. They always think that all phones must be hacked to get all the good stuff. Not true for the iPhone. My iPhone is totally untouched. I'm surviving just on the AppStore. All my apps are free, and I can amuse myself totally with the iPhone for hours. There are of course problems of apps crashing, but that's the fault of the app developer, not the iPhone.

Just imagine... The iPhone Apps have someone overlooking the quality of the apps, and the apps still crash under some circumstances. Just imagine what happens if no one is overlooking the quality of the apps.

iPhone might not suit Singapore users because of the SMS/MMS, and cut and paste problem, but other than that, it's a very good mobile device. I personally though will not use unless it's purely for business usage. Why? Because in business, you rarely SMS. Most of the time you're calling each other. It's a very good business phone I would say, but a lousy personal phone. I've used the iPhone quite frequently in my line of work.

This incident reinforces my opinion that all surveys are a waste of time, and to me, I will take it with a pinch of salt.

Anyway, iPhone 3.0 info might come out next week. Who knows what they have up their sleeves this time?

The trend of chasing paper

These few days, there has been many reports on people getting cheated when enrolling in institutions to get a degree, be it a normal one, or Masters/PHD. Recently there has also been reports of someone getting a PHD in an unaccredited university.

I believe the mindset of the generation nowadays is to get a paper no matter what. My advice to them is to look at the big picture. Why?

Many of the papers out there are just "stepping-stones". It's the knowledge of where these stones are that counts. That means the knowledge that you gain from these courses.

You have to look carefully at the structure of the courses, and see whether do you learn anything out of it. I've interviewed people who studied a particular language for 1 year (degree), but when I ask questions regarding that area, they could not even answer a simple question that can be easily answered by a diploma holder. Worst still, they are learning things that are outdated.

I've also realised that many nowadays just study for the sake of studying. At the moment before the exam, they might know everything about the topic. But after coming out of the exam hall, it's like a system crashing. All data lost. Re-format.

In the end, the degree name may sounds fancy, sounds like its an overseas degree, but it boils down to what you know.

Likewise, I've also known people who are knowledgeable about their area even though the institution might not have a good name, but mainly because they take the extra effort to learn more about it in their own time. They do complain to me endlessly about their lecturers though.

There's a reason why some particular institutions are popular. That's because the bare minimum you learn there is more than what you could have learned elsewhere. If you find that what you're learning is simple, basic stuff, beware. Something is wrong...

Remember the basic rule of thumb. Quality beats quantity anytime. The paper is useless if there isn't any knowledge backing it. That's reality.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blog seems to be loading slower

Since I've made some changes to the template, my blog has been loading slower than normal during peak hours. It seems that it pauses at a few particular locations while it's loading. I've already fired off some emails to the relevant people.

I don't understand how could they ask me to shift my content when their servers cannot take the load of all the hits. I'm now closely monitoring the speed of the loading and will make further changes to my template in a week or two if I do not see any improvement.

It's quite simple to allow other portions of the site to continue loading while some portions of the site is still processing. I've done this many times before. Yet, this happens. Grrrrrr...

Let the big banks fail?? Madness

This week, I've read with interest on some comments made by the Republicans. One comment stood out to me. Let the big banks fail.

This comment really stood out to me. I thought that politicians should be more far-sighted than this. Even if they have no background in economics, I'm sure they know history. How big was Lehman Brothers before it failed? What happened after Lehman Brothers failed? How big are Citibank and Bank of American in comparison with Lehman Brothers? What do they think will happen if any of the big banks failed? And since they are so concerned about taxpayers, how will this failure impact all the taxpayers and America?

I mean this is just simple data gathering from recent history. Based on this alone, they should know that the big banks must not be allowed to fail in any circumstances.

And guess what is most amusing? Right after the comment, Citigroup mentioned that they made more profits compared to 2007 for the first 2 months of the year, and Bank of America is also making profits for this year. Both have also stood out to say that they are stable now, and do not require any injection of funds. Even the big giant GM has refused some of the funds.

Politics really do hinder recovery... No wonder Obama now has gray hairs even before the first 100 days in office.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Building a reputation

I quote from Warren Buffett:

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.

Personally, if I think everyone follow this rule, the world will become a better place. Things will get done. People will start to take notice of more things.

This is similar to what I used to tell friends too. Trust once lost, is difficult to get back. Make your choices carefully.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Government to look at cloud computing? Beware.

Today I just read an article that encourages cloud computing for the government due to the savings in consolidation of IT equipment and cost, etc. Before we go into all these thing about cost, I think the one point the article failed to address is the cost of security. One thing that is most important for the government.

The reason is very simple. All you need is to ask yourself a very simple question. Would you trust the cloud computing enough to store all your important tax documents, bank account information, passwords to the "cloud"? I won't, and I know that many people do store these kind of information in their personal computers. Yes... Passwords included.

If you can't trust the cloud, what makes you think the government should trust the cloud, unless they own the cloud? Cloud computing is a great concept of consolidation of services and hardware, but it is not meant for every solution, unless you own the cloud. There are many horror stories on the net where cloud computing goes wrong. Users seeing what they are not suppose to see, etc.

Some areas which I find that is quite safe will be the government's reach to the citizens for example. Forums, blogs, etc. All these may be deemed not too high in the security aspect, and can be put in a generic cloud to save costs.

However, how many such applications you have in the government sector? Most of the applications in the government sector would be more like tax portal, licence portal, identity/password application, etc. These are deem too important to be put into a cloud, unless the cloud is created by the government, for the government only. This would require huge investment in infrastructure costs and know-how to host this cloud, something that the government may not have the time to do.

One thing the governments may want to take note is that not to take all these conslidation of services too overboard. Governments might want to conslidate all their hardware and software to efficiently run your own personal cloud, but there are some platforms that are best suited for certain areas. For example, one of the most popular blog software is Wordpress and it runs on PHP, and MySQL. Try benchmarking Oracle that runs in Linux and one that runs in Windows and you'll know which operating system is faster and more efficient, etc. This might not be a big problem though since the current trend now is on virtualization. Virtual machines can run practically any operating system, and they can be clustered.

Cloud computing is a great concept, but like all other solutions, it's not a cure-all for all types of problems. IT is to enable business processes. Beware of crippling your processes because of the cloud restrictions.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

VirtualBox 2.1.4 fixed 1 problem

I've used VirtualBox latest v2.1.4 for sometime now. To a Mac user, there isn't much difference in it. There was only one difference that I spotted that is different from the previous version. My snapshots can now be restored after a VirtualBox upgrade. Before that, my snapshot must always be discarded after an upgrade.

It did seems that the performance is relatively better. I detect a lesser lag when I switch between spaces on my Leopard, and I have enabled the VT-x/AMD-V setting for my Virtual Machine.

My problems still remain though.
  • I've sort of given up hope on VHD. I do not think it's VirtualBox's fault that it doesn't work though. I know what is it like. :)

  • Somehow if I have setup 2 network adapters, 1 virtual, and 1 host interface, there will be a problem with WinXP as it detects that the 2 network adapters are enabled, even though only one adapter is enabled at any one time.

    So I will get an annoyance where the other network adapter keeps trying to get connected and it will always fail.

  • To fix my problem above, I've tried to disable my second network adapter from WinXP. However, that crashes my snapshot. If I take away the second network adapter entirely from the VirtualBox settings (un-check), it will be ok.

  • My snapshot still crashes if I setup a transient read-only folder. Oh well...

But still, I'm not complaining that much. I'm still using it. :) It's great for quick reference to a Windows (especially IE) machine in my work.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Expose @ NLB aftermath

It has been some time since Expose's Valentine's day performance at NLB. I was surprised that someone actually uploaded some clips to Youtube on the performance. It's not hard to guess what pieces they are. They are Super Mario Brothers, Vamo' alla Flamenco, and Tifa's theme from FFVII Advent Children.

Pop/anime pieces are always the most popular pieces. My friends also agree that they like those pieces. In fact, they were only talking about those pieces and nothing else. :) Someone also did comment to me previously that if we had an anime concert, she would attend the concert without even me asking. :p

It's weird that classical pieces are so much harder, and yet majority prefer the easier to play pop/anime peices. :)

Anyway, these are the Youtube videos I've found:

Monday, March 2, 2009

No wonder I feel so tired

Just today, my mum made an interesting comment when I reached home. As I was eating my dinner at around 8.30pm, she actually asked me why was I so early. I was momentarily stunned when I heard that. I think I did not reply her.

This explains why I was so tired for the past half a year, and especially so these past few weeks. I can practically just fall on the bed once I'm back, and sleep right through to the next morning. I think I've been eating my dinner at 9+pm to close to 10pm for quite some time. Otherwise, my mum won't be making such a comment. Just last year, 8.30pm would be the "normal" time I have my dinner.

Come to think of it, my dinner has progressively been getting later and later. This also explains why I think I'm getting gastric. Oh well... Hopefully things will change for the better soon. I can't maintain this lifestyle for long. My "battery" is going to be spoilt soon.

Who is connecting to my Shared Folders

Sometimes, my computer/laptop starts to slow down for no apparent reason. Usually when this happens, I tend to look at my Shared Folders. The following is a way to find out who has been connecting to my shared folders, and see if it is the cause of the slowness:
  1. Goto Start > Control Panel > Administration Tools > Computer Management
  2. On the left hand side, look under System Tools > Shared Folders > Sessions

That's it. The right hand panel is the place where you can find all the users who are connecting to your Shared folders. There are basically 2 ways to disconnect them from Computer Management:
  1. Right-click on Sessions on the left hand side, and click on Disconnect all sessions
  2. Right-click on the user on the right hand side, and click on Close Session

Of course there is one other way to disconnect them. That is to unshare your files. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Are politicians suppose to have a basic understanding of economics?

Just today I was reading about the upcoming "battle" between President Obama and the Republicans with regards to the budget. I wasn't really interested in the details but one comment by a Republican stood out to me. Ths gist of what he said was that if everyone is tightening their belts, why the US government is spending like there is no tomorrow. This was used to "slam" President Obama's budget plan.

I was seriously amazed by this statement. How could a politician uttered such a remark? First, the basic definition of an economy by Wikipedia:

The economy is the realized social system of production, exchange, distribution, and consumption of goods and services of a country or other area.

In this economic crisis, the production and the consumption portion is severely affected due to the lack of credit, high levels of risks, and loss of jobs. If consumption is down, deflation and more loss of jobs are expected. A vicious cycle will spiral endlessly. The only way out of this cycle is to boost up the consumption level. If everyone is losing jobs globally, who else can raise the consumption level? The government. That's the only answer.

I do not have a degree in economics but I read a lot when I have the time. The basic fundamentals of an economy. Demand and Supply. Shouldn't politicians have this basic concept when they are elected to office?

I thought this would be simple economics, and yet a politician actually made this remark. Without this basic concept, how can one actually govern the country effectively? Like it or not, there's no way you can get out of this crisis without doing something drastic. They think money/consumption will drop down from the sky? I'm sort of relieved that the Republicans are no longer in control of the US government. I can't imagine what would happen to the economy if they are still in control.

Actually in this crisis, the Doha trade talks become increasingly important. If trade barriers are removed/reduced internationally, and the governments around the world announced stimulus packages simultaneously to benefit from this free trade pact, the global economy will be on its way to recovery.

I'm sort of relieved the ASEAN has made the first step to initiate a free trade agreement with New Zealand and Australia. If Doha rounds cannot proceed, let all the other countries proceed along with their own free trade pacts. Sooner or later, the ones left out will know the advantages of having a free trade pact. Free market economics I feel cannot function without an actual signing of a pact, with the rules and conditions stated out. That is life.

I do hope that not all governments will have this kind of needless in-fighting among themselves in this crisis. It's seriously a waste of time.
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