The Rammifications of Thought

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Thursday, March 30, 2006


Sometimes I have an irrepressible urge to use swear words.

When I'm pissed off by someone, when I can't find my personal stuff, when everything's going wrong etc.

Now I'm feeling exactly like that.

Coming from a place where swear words are part of everyday life, I'm not proud of it, but it does let the steam off...for a while.

As tempted as I am, I have no intention to treat this blog as a place for me to utter obscenities.

But man, expletives can be so convenient sometimes.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Filler update

A filler post about my final year project, as a follow-up to the upcoming MiCE exhibition.

I guess not everyone's an electronics engineer so I'll try to explain this as well as I can in layman's terms. But please spare me the gallows if I use any technical jargon :)

Well, my project is basically to develop a compiler for users to program a microcontroller. Here's an illustrated flow of what happens:

First, you program! Not like C or BASIC but through the drawing of "ladders" like the one shown below. Compiler is software; your program goes in, gets processed, and the compiler churns out millions and millions of teeny-weeny bits of 1's and 0's, called a binary (or hex) file.

These 1's and 0's that I mentioned, they're the basic building blocks of everything digital. I mean, you wouldn't even be reading this if it weren't for these two magical numbers. They also tell the microcontroller what to do.

So now that the hex file is ready, it's time to download it into the microcontroller chip, to see whether my compiler functions correctly or not. The one with the white label below is the controller, located on this green thingamajig called a PCB.

These controllers are a flexible lot. They can be used in cameras, industrial machines, automobiles, even guided missiles and nuclear bombs if you like :) But in my case, it'll probably be used for educational or training purposes (NOT for terrorist training of course!)

Oh, and I'll need to power up the whole thing using the power supply.

When the downloading finishes, the program is ready to run on the board. I've done a simple traffic lights program where the lights will go on and off after a certain amount of time.

So, turn on the switch and...

Voila! It's Christmas time!

Did I inspire you to one day take up a basic electronics course, or even get a masters in one?

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Monday, March 27, 2006

MiCE is nibbling my life away!

It's seven days and counting down.....provided that I DID get selected for the MiCE (Microelectronics and Computer Engineering) Expo '06.

This week's gonna be a hectic one. Gotta make sure my program works, the hardware doesn't malfunction and most important of all, that my supervisor and the other lecturers are happy with my project.

That, besides having to prepare my slides, my speech, my on so forth. So I guess there won't be much time for me to blog.

Final year sure is fun. Juniors you have been forewarned.

Wish me luck :)

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

School meme

I came across this sometime ago and it looks fun so I'm gonna try it. Here first ever meme, courtesy of suanie.

How many schools did I go to?

SRJK (C) Ketari for primary, SMK Ketari for lower secondary and SMK Sulaiman for upper secondary. That makes it...umm three. Right smack in the middle of the peninsular.

Was I the studious nerd, or the last minute hero?

A little bit of both, maybe more towards the latter, depending on how you define last minute. Never studied if there weren't any exams, though I always came up tops in class :)

Was I the class 'taiko' or the teacher's pet?

Neither. I sort of kept a low profile during secondary. Was a playful little kid in primary though, constantly keeping teachers at their edges and goofing around with my classmates. Guess I grew up.

What was the biggest rule I broke in school?

There was once in form 2 or 3 when nearly the whole class was hauled up for cheating in a particular paper (forgot what it was). I was penalized for letting someone copy my answers (duh). Rumours had it that someone blowed the whistle on us, up till this day I still suspect it's that someone although I never blamed her.

Three subjects I enjoyed.

English - cos it was the only subject that didn't require any studying. As opposed to the other language subjects which I kinda sucked at.

Chemistry - I liked it for no particular reason, maybe cos I was good in figuring out all the chemical equations. It came naturally and I like mixing the elements around to see what would be produced. I put chem eng. as one of my options for my uni application, didn't get it though. So here I am, stuck in electronics eng.

History - I totally hated studying for the sake of exams, but apart from that the subject's so interesting.

Three teachers that inspired me.

Ms. Law Mee Hoon during my primary days. She was our Standard 6 class teacher and was the most dedicated teacher I have come across. We even snail-mailed each other up til a few years ago. One timed she mailed me a book for my birthday, it was like so touching.

Pn. Hasnah during my lower sec days. Class and BM teacher for the entire three years. A fun person and can be intimidating sometimes due to her size. Could be as fierce as a raging elephant when someone got on her nerves.

Upper sec teachers including Mr and Mrs Wong, Mr Ooi, Mr Lee and a few others. They were nice teachers and most importantly, they knew how to teach.

Last but not least, both of my parents who are teachers themselves, who truly inspired me to excel in life.

And I'm tagging...

Karin, E-quan, Sueihuey, Christine and whoever's interested in doing this.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Seafood fiesta in Kulai

Finally had our celebration dinner for winning a prize in the Philips Young Inventors' Challenge (PYIC) today. Er I had better clarify that some of us weren't actually IN the team...but since we helped out, I guess we deserved it too haha.

Location was at Good Eats restaurant in Kulai, a place Mr. Lim introduced us to.

I don't do free advertising okay....but this pic serves the purpose anyway. Taken when we were about to leave.

The restaurant is supposed to be famous for its seafood, especially the lobster. We noticed that it was even featured in a Singaporean TV channel once.

We ordered two servings of lobsters, steamed chicken with wine, cereal prawns, tofu, some veggie and a steamed fish. The dishes were pretty decent overall, though the portions were nothing to shout about. The crustaceans came in small sizes too, resembling large prawns with elongated antennas.

Spot the odd one out.

The answer to the first pic would be...the lobster-in-nice-soup at the bottom right corner. Why? Because it's in a bowl and the other dishes are served on plates. Aw did you pick the tofu?

Now the second pic...the answer is again the one at the bottom right corner. Cos in the other pics it's either all guys or all girls. Unless you consider Shin Huey as a guy......

Third pic...a little tricky this one. The odd person out not the old-looking guy in the middle (that's Mr. Lim), but Elaine! Front row, first from right. Cos she's the only one wearing a dress (the only one OVERdressed hehe).

Turned out that the bill for our table exceeded the other by nearly 80 bucks. That's what you get when you put all the food connoiseurs at one table.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Uncle Oswald

One of the BEST books I have come across....evar!

My Uncle Oswald

HILARIOUSLY FUNNY......that sums it up.

Pardon the repetition but you will want to shout FUN FUN FUN times infinity plus one after reading this.

Trust me, it's good.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Meeting the cast of GUBRA

I was strolling around Times Square today when I noticed someone very familiar at the escalator. Omg, I thought, isn't that Sharifah Amani from Sepet? Petite as she was, she sure looked pretty.

The good things were yet to come.

As it turned out, she was there with the rest of the Gubra (the sequel to Sepet) crew together with director Yasmin Ahmad for a promotional roadshow for the movie, set to open at the beginning of April. Sharifah, together with 3 of her co-stars (including the dashing Alan Yun, whom I'm sure you're familiar with through his various ad shoots) took to the stage and addressed the crowd.

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It was a pity that most of the shoppers there weren't exactly the sporting type. Despite numerous calls from the stars, the audience were reluctant to gather at the concourse area although there were a number of them looking down from the higher floors.

Having enjoyed Sepet, I made my way down to have a look at what was happening. They were giving away prizes to those who could answer some questions about the film. The first one was a no-brainer: who is the director of Sepet? Seeing no one willing to go up on stage, I took the chance and bravely stepped up.

The stars were really friendly and I managed to shake hands with them while introducing myself and giving the answer. Then Sharifah asked me to shout "Gubra" in three ways, to which I obliged hoping I wouldn't embarass myself. Yasmin herself gave the prize to me, which was a Pensonic radio and a Gubra poster. Too bad I didn't have a camera with me to snap some pics.

Sharifah and Alan Yun

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So there it is, my brush with stardom, my five minutes of fame. Really glad to have met the crew, especially Sharifah who is absolutely lovely for a 20 year old.

I told Yasmin that I enjoyed watching Sepet, and she replied to me: "Go watch Gubra ya." Looks like I don't have a choice now, do I? :)

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Me, myself and deriku

Just came back from celebrating Quek's birthday. Maybe will put up a post about it later.

Anyway, it's been some time since I put up some pics of REAL people, not some fancy photoshopped graffiti. This time the honour goes to yours here goes.

The old me....

The new me....notice the difference?

Darn I'd hope you would.




Here's the difference.

And no I did not trim my eyebrows.

Did I say something about photoshop just now? Must have slipped my mind.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Karin cooks

A short post today cos I've gotta work on my PSM. Hopefully the simulations will turn out ok and I'll be able to find a suitable bootloader for the chip.

Anyway, Karin tried her hand at cooking today. And if you know her, you'll know that it's a rare sight to see her in the kitchen, which makes it all the more worth blogging about.

With Elaine's help, she whipped up some kurma chicken as the main dish.

A close up of the dish...home-cooked heaven.

Ladies fingers to make it a balanced meal.

Funny looking veggie that tasted not bad.

I must confess that it was really a good effort considering the experience that they have. Perhaps with more practice in culinary skills, she might even add 'cooking' to her forte :) Bravo, gurl.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

The cynic strikes again: Tertiary education standards

A big applaud to editors of The Star which published this open letter directed to the Minister of Higher Education.

Photo from

The letter was written by Dr. Azmi Sharon, an associate professor from the Law Faculty of UM. It seems that the message being conveyed by this 'true academic' warrants some change in local universities.

Being a student from a local varsity, let me give my two cents worth regarding the decline of tertiary education standards in our country.

Dr. Azmi says: "Over the past few years, there has been this mantra chanted by the Government and university leaders: “We want our universities to be world-class universities.” "

That is true but are we really worthy of world-class standards? There's been nothing but talk about being a 'world-class uni' or 'world-class faculty' but that's just TALK ffs. I don't see anybody taking any initiative to make the situation better. From a student's viewpoint, I would definitely say that the world-class thing is CRAP. Mediocre at best.

Dr. Azmi says: "Universities are not hampers."

Another political blah that aims to coerce the people to vote for the ruling party. The result (that I foresee): shoddy institutions run by bureaucrats who don't give a damn about quality.

Dr. Azmi says: "Universities are not fast food joints."

I say local unis are part of a big franchise chain that even McDonalds can't match up to here. What Dr. Azmi is trying to advocate, I think, is the implemenation of meritocracy when it comes to university admissions. Well, thanks to the Malaysian version of meritocracy, I had to appeal my ass off when I didn't get an offer for a degree course (but was offered a diploma course instead). 10As don't give you much of an advantage when you're chinese/indian/non-bumis.

Dr. Azmi says: "If you love your universities, you must set them free."

Freedom of expression? Now that's something students aren't used to (or should I say aren't permitted to). We can't even wear what we want to classes for that matter. No wonder the varsity I'm in is famous for producing so-called 'freedom fighters' aka bomb experts. They must have had a bad experience during their tenure here.

Dr. Azmi says: "Universities need Mandelas."

Since the appointment of our new VC, I've seen no obvious change whatsoever to the university except for higher fees. Oh, and security's much tighter nowadays, you can't even get into campus without being stopped for a short interrogation by the guards. Yeah like we're planning to blow up the masjid or something. I hope this guy doesn't stay up there for long...but hey, I'm graduating in two months time anyway.

And that concludes this episode of My Two Cent's Worth. Tune in next time for another cynical experience.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Blog scare

I was checking up on my blog just now when I clicked the link to it. What a scare I got when nothing turned up on the screen. Jabbed the refresh button multiple times but was still faced with the white screen.

Shit, I thought. Other blogger blogs looked fine. My blog's vanished forever. ceases to exist. Nothing, nil, zilch, nada. GONE!

After republishing it on blogger, everything went back to normal. Shouldn't have been so worked up about it after all.

Man I love this blog.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Deriku on book reviews

Been doing some (re)reading lately. Not the usual me during this time of the semester, I'd rather be busy watching serials, labouring on my project and so on, but these two books are just so absorbing you can't put them down once you've started.

One that I'm going through (again) is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This book tells the compelling story of a small family in Alabama, the American South. The adventures of Jem and Scout, the two main characters in the story, are depicted in a most wonderful way. From childish pranks to active championship of their lawyer father, it weaves a magnificent tale of the coming of age of the children. The book also deals with some racism issues, how white people despised the black at a time when America wobbled on the brink of tumultuous social change.

This edition was published in 1971, which makes it even older than me! Belongs to my dad actually.

30 pence for a paperback? Costs more than 20 times that price nowadays. Also justifies the book's age.

This book not only won the Pulitzer prize in 1961, it was also made into a major motion picture the year after. It is Harper Lee's only novel, although she went on to publish a number of articles after completing it.

On another note, Tash Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory certainly caught my attention when articles about it appeared in the newspaper some time ago. This is Tash's debut novel, and tells the story about the enigmatic Johnny Lim, "textile merchant, petty crook, and inventor of the Amazing Toddy Machine" as the backcover puts it. With war-time Malaya as a backdrop, the story is told in three distinct narratives, each with their own viewpoints of the events that occured. I couldn't help but keep on reading as the story unfolded, bit by bit with such amazing intensity.

Although these two novels are set in different backgrounds and different times, they make excellent reads for those who have a passion in books.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Anti-rasuah my ass

Was stopped by traffic police today for making an illegal turn. Four years of driving here and I never saw it coming. Inflation must be hitting the police force real hard.

"Son, that was an illegal turning there, you'd better not do it again or you'll regret it." That'd be my dad talking. But no, this pissy cop just mumbled "Illegal right turning, compound RM150."

First excuse: Sorry lah sir, I didn't know it was an illegal turning, I'm new to the area......blah blah blah (put on a sorry face with a pleading look).

Didn't work.

Second excuse: Sir, bagilah chance. We're just students......yadda yadda yadda (put on a sorry and innocent face with an even more pleading look).

Damn, still not enough to convince the pissy cop. But I guess he finally warmed up to my hospitality and offered me a 50% discount on the compound.

Wtf, 50% discount? If you think I'd pay you 75 bucks of my hard-earned allowance as a bribe, you are so f***ing wrong mister. Usually I wouldn't use swear words but yeah I am f***ing pissed.

Interesting enough, this cop who stopped me was wearing a "Saya anti-rasuah" badge which is a common practice for policemen nowadays. After the shit I went through, I'd recommend these:New police badge

It seems like Pak Lah still has lots of work to do if he wants our corruption index lowered. I won't say what happened in the end but I DID NOT PAY THE BRIBE. 'Nuf said.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Smackdown on Cekap-ism

Came across this at confirm cekap and it hit me like a gazillion ton meteorite:

Wtf is my pic doing on some other guy's blog???!!!

Turned out to be a 'popularity contest' between bloggers. Of course I was honoured to be lined up along with the likes of Fireangel. But E-Quan? I smell something rotten here......

So as not to let all the people-who-are-dying-to-see-a-face-off down, deriku is retaliating. Here I'd like to point out what DOES NOT make a 'popular' blogger (if that's what you call it).

  • First, specs DO NOT make an unpopular blogger. Take it from Suanie. Notice how gorgeous and cute she is.

  • Popular bloggers DO NOT drink some orange mush from, what I presume, is Starbucks. See FA's pic, I bet it's a cocktail and so is mine. Alcohol is best.

  • Look at E-Quan's pic. The angle is SO wrong! Then look at FA's pic. Perfect! Head tilted sideways, slightly to the right at 40 degrees, and facing down at 20 degrees. Beats the hell out of Kate Winslet's pose in Titanic. Ditto for my pic, bwahaha.

  • Last but not least, popular bloggers DO NOT post any entries about popularity contests between their blogs and others. Ever seen FA argue on whether she's hotter than xiaxue? They just know.

Did the points above justify my message that my blog is a popular one? Hell of course not. I wasn't just going down without a fight.

Let's look at how confirm cekap will react to this. Heheh.

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

SMARTER: Another fuel conservation project

Saw this in the newspaper the other day. This is one company that knows how to cash in on the recent petroleum price hike (other than those unscrupulous petrol kiosk owners of course).

Fuel efficiency from 10 sen/km? That's great! Last time I checked, my Iswara made it to more than 15 sen/km...and that's highway driving too. So why aren't Smart showrooms clogged with people? I dunno but I bet it's because these babies cost over 100 GRAND.

I guess I'll just have to come up with my own version of a 'smart' car. And thus it is my priviledge to introduce to you, the vehicle of the future......"Smarter forone".

Smarter forone. The smarter choice...obviously.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Under construction

For the past couple of days I've been trying to tweak my Blogger template in order to make my layout purrfect. Of course, I'm no master at hyper text make-up language or whatever you call that. I'm no master at any programming languages for that matter.

I have no choice but resorting to some good ol' trial and error methods...modifying bits and pieces and pasting code into my template. Man, it is fun. What I like most about this blog is you can change the look in (almost) any way you want. Unlike Friendster dull and simple...totally no freedom at all. It has its pros though...but hey there's no looking back now is it?

So be warned, fellas. This blog is (still) under some construction / modification. Any tips or tricks about improving me blog, please let me know. I may even let you guest blog :) Now wouldn't that be fun.

PS: There seems to be a problem with my blog header when viewed in Firefox. I dunno if this is an isolated case or some parts of the code are not compatible with it. Any suggestions?

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

He who controls oil controls the world

My introductory post...this is not. I actually did an entry earlier last year which wasn't in my old blog.

But here I am griping on my first real post. I guess I'm pretty pissed (aren't we all, Malaysians?). And the reason is simple: Being a country that exports petroleum, we (as in the citizens) have to bear the brunt of rising oil prices....I wonder where's the logic in that?

According to our PM, the extra revenue from the petrol price rise will be "used mainly to improve transport infrastructure"...I'm just worried for Panjang; he'll probably be out of a job soon, if the gomen keeps true to its word. And are we to expect an LRT system to be set up here in UTM?

A full tank that used to cost 60 bucks now tops up at 70. Sooner or later all of us will be feeling the consequences of this move by Big Bro. There's bound to be a ripple effect, trust me. So don't go laughing if you still don't own anything that runs on hydrocarbons. Everyone...and I mean EVERYONE will SUFFER!!!

I should get myself a bike.

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