With that in a flash marks the end of the Chinese new year week and into week 3 into my internship, with my Liason officer coming to visit the my workplace the following workweek.
Notable events would be YuSheng with my company on Thursday as Siam kitchen restaurant, at Cousin Gordon’s home (with both our families) and finally yesterday night at home with my family ourselves. So that’s almost one Yusheng every day for 3 consecutive days.
Went down with a little indigestion since yesterday, but that when down quite controllably with some off-the-shelf medication and the discomfort clearing up by evening. I always get bloating or stomach pains quite expectedly whenever I overeat the previous day or have a rich diet of flatulence inducing foods, such as nuts and cucumbers, resulting in some form of discomfort. Guess I have to control my intake or sleep with a full warm body in air conditioning to keep my “Qi” in. But that didn’t pretty much stop me from running the National Vertical Marathon today, contrary to possibility seeing myself skipping it this year with my given condition.
Murphy Law in Effect
Amazing despite yesterday’s discomfort, woke up this morning feeling much better and raring to run. But it seems that everything is against into running the event today or a typical case of the Murhpy law in full effect- From yesterday’s indigestion to the morning alarm falling to ring (Thanks to my friend who woke me up through phone) to dad’s car breaking down at 6am in the dark morning on our way there to the venue at Republic Plaza (RP) – A typical case of a dead battery when the lights were accidentally left on overnight. It was so bad even the car alarm and central locking was not working. Despite able to push start the car it struggled even at the slightest incline prompting the need to drive the car back halfway while I commuted the rest of the journey to Raffles on MRT. That’s should be enough encounters for one day.
National Vertical Marathon 2007
Met up Ahlong, Elrick and Andre at Raffles MRT this morning for registrations, being only 6mins late despite all the mess ups. Also chanced upon Lonely Runner and rest of the SGRunners before my event and even the H5N1 Chicken guy on my way up around the finishing line at the top floor (who had to do like countless runs up the last flight of steps for a perfect media picture). I didn’t push for a good timing given my bad condition the last few days, prompting about 12mins overall time for the 60 floors up Singapore’s Tallest building, just a little longer than what I did for Swissotel’s 73 floors. Elrick and Ahlong did about 11mins and Andre about 13mins if I remembered. The goodie bag was quite wholesome with various tidbits, pasta and rather readable magazines of interest now, even the event Shirt is dry-fit this year. Left the event shortly thereafter to Delta Swimming complex my planned post vertical marathon 1hour continuous recovery swim.
Dad was repairing the car when I came back at Noon and my appetite found it’s way back me again! Lunch was on mum and it was great!
Millege for the week (7 day period)
Tuesday – Tiong Bahru Park – 15 rounds (15km)
Wednesday – Tiong Bahru Park – 16 revised-rounds (18km)
Sunday Morning – National Vertical Marathon, Republic Plaza 60 Floors
Sunday Noon – 1 Hour Continuous swim 50m laps for 60mins
Total Running Millage for 1 week: 33km
Total Accumulative Millage for 2007: 115km
24th March is shutdown day folks. Just like “don’t drive your car day” or “no smoking day” or “kill the girbills in the trash day”, try to do as the name suggests ya? Like not turning on your desktop/laptop without the mouth-foaming withdrawal symptoms.
24th march is the date to mark on the calendar falling on a Saturday (and one day before my birthday as well ba!). Now if only your boss will buy that on your 6th day work week…
It’s 2007 a new running year and new resolutions to meet as well. With that, it’s time to revise the 2006 usual running patterns.
2007 Revised Tiong Bahru Running Route
My usual favorite bi-weekly running route will have a revised distance, so not only make my lap and distance counts easier but it will be more accurate to do my timings and pacings based on the single kilometer instead of the 800m previously. One round is realistically 1.05km with an additional 50m to accommodate for my habit to occasionally take the insides of corners and bends, so give and take it’s 1km.
I though I might be crazy naming the corners of the run, like the “Delta Apex”, or the “GESS Figure 8″, but unlike that on the BBC Top Gear race track, it’s the basic thing I can have on my mind (besides playing music) for those extended repeated rounds I particularly love. Training runs will be 15 rounds for half-marathon training (present distance for my Amback KL Half-Marathon) and 20-30 rounds for a marathon (2007 SCM).
My Labrador Park Distance will still be fixed at 1.22km so is my other favorite Sunset way canal route capped at 5.18km per round.
|Labrador Park 1.22km/Round||Sp Canal Route 5.18km/Round|
National Vertical Marathon 2007
Got a confirmation on the National Vertical Marathon 2007 this Sunday. This time it’s Republic Plaza (RP) with 60 floors to beat. I had not ran up RP before, contrary to Swissotel and Suntec, hope the stairwell layout is alternating and not so monotonous. Registrations starts at 6.30 – 9am for Men’s Open. Would be meeting my track and classmates at Raffles MRT at about 7am after breakfast around home. Then would be going for a short 1 hour continuous cardio swim after the event to sum up the coming Sunday morning.
Asics DS Trainer
I was looking the Asics DS Trainer 12 is out for $209 at the Marina Square Asics concept shop yesterday. Should be able to get it at about $129 from the running world warehouse. Otherwise, I still find my present Trainer 11 the best looking so far, which simply justify why the DS trainer 11 and 12 are sold for the same $209 price?
Last but not least, here is a little inspiration: Running The Sahara.
Would be going out for another 15km run again. Chaos!
Chinese New Year is rather short this year, but very much more enjoyable than last year. Namely because it’s the first time in about 5 years where all our families come together under one roof at my grandma’s place, lunch and dinner included. Previously one of my Uncles kinda like went down in a family contractor business. Being in-debt and declared a bankrupt, he kept to himself and his family in isolation after having sold their Mercedes and rather overly large 3 floored landed semi-D for a Mitsubishi and smaller home presently. I guess it’s just human nature as my other chatty aunties would remark “No face, go Hide”. But I guess it’s time when the wounds are healed having been able to see our long lost cousins in person (besides catching up through random meet ups on the streets or irregular Friendster updates for almost 5 years since before I enlisted into the Army) – the undesirable expense of family avoidance, all over now? Well so did they say… “see you in 365 days time?”
I have not actually counted my Angbao Money yet, but based on what sis told me, she had collected an odd $200, a far cry from what we used to get previously when we were kids – going at least $300-$500 per new year. Looks like as the saying goes, as you get older you really receive less.
Work starts tomorrow for me!
As part of the new phones announced at 3GSM in Barcelona, here are few of the few interesting phones which should be coming out within 1 or 2 quarters time. HTC and Nokia didn’t really steal the show though, as most the products on show are actually announced products ages ago. But Toshiba also came out with a heart-stopper with their 800×400 screen resolution Pocket PC called the G900 with almost everything the HTC Hermes (Aka Dopod 838Pro) has plus a larger screen and an integrated finger print reader (Video on fingerprint scrolling). Motorola is reliving up with the traditional 90s banana sliders with the Motorola RIZR Z8 in a hip trim of green as opposed to their age old MOTOROKR E6 which I was considering getting last month. Glad I didn’t purchase it then. With that I guess the stars of the show have to be from the Samsung booth with these 2 phones:
Do note that both phones are Windows powered, but running Samsung’s Unique GUI Theme and Animated Menus (possibly their answer to Nokia’s 3rd Gen S60 and Nvidia phone interface?) instead of the chunky Standard Pocket PC interface, but you can still be able to run all your old Pocket PC software with it. Noticeably the specifications left out are the onboard RAM and ROM which is native for Windows Mobile based devices and there is no confirmed spec of Wi-Fi being included in both phones, besides the all standard bluetooth. Product specifications are subject to change without notice though, so expect alot of updates and news to come.
I-mate Ultimate WM6.0 : 5150, 6150, 7150, 8150 and 9150
With i-Mate dunking HTC as an ODM manufacturer (with HTC strangely stating the desire for a merger with SE), i-Mate had came out with a new range of non-HTC devices for the 2007 lineup, dubbed the “Ultimate Series”, the specs raises eyebrows considerably too, with 262k VGA screens and Windows Mobile 6 “Crossbow” across the board for instance.
The higher end 7150 tablet comes with a 3.6″ LCD touch screen with the most compact 8150 candybar going at a mere 11.5mm. Even the 9150 flip phone variant has a touch screen, (which could be quite difficult to use as a clamshell). Otherwise last is a choice between a slider or a front integrated keypad for the 5150, 6150 and 8150. Here are the basic specifications across the board, with the exception of both the 8150 and 9150 spotting external sleek OLED screens.
- Intel Bulverde 520MHz
- Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, Tri-Band UMTS/HSDPA
- WiFi 802.11B/G/E/I
- 256MB ROM, 128MB RAM
- Micro SD card slot
- VGA 262K Colour LCD Touch Screen
- Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR – up t 1.3 Mbps
- Mini USB high speed – 480 Mbps
- Direct Video Out XGA
- Micro SD card slot
- 2.0 mega pixel camera
- FM Stereo Radio
- Microsoft Direct Push email directly from MS Exchange 2003 SP2
Lastly, besides downing DRM, undoubtedly Jobs is planning an upgrade of the iPhone labeled the iPhone 2.0 mainly as it will be largely outdated by the time it’s released mid this year.
Oinks going out to all celebrating the Lunar New Year Today! Wishing prosperity, success and good health this new year of the pig.
Now to eat the new year goodies in moderation…
Work had definitely eaten not only my personal time but much of my usual run and training schedules – I had not been running regularly, (clocking awfully low week millage in the process) nor attending track training in school last few weeks. Furthermore, if it’s not hitting my personal weekly distance requirement of 30km, it’s beating it off with weather blues given my fixed inflexible schedules – so it’s either “yes or no” with heavy rain yesterday evening canceling short my evening run. But a 11km run at MR today topped it up, which was rather cool with coach around, with the exception of him always talking all about the movie Apocalypto. Registered for the Ambank KL Marathon there (Running the Half-marathon event $10SGD earlybird price) at the MR carpark, where the official registration team is located.
Besides National Vertical Marathon coming up in a fortnight, my basic plan now are mostly 15km runs after work on Tuesdays and Thursday/Fridays (with flexibly in case of chill out Friday nights) ending the week with 1 hour continuous cardio swim on Sunday mornings. This is particularly important for millage training relating to KL marathon. But I guess the schedule can only realistically start after CNY, when all our blood vessels are clogged with pineapple tarts, cashew nuts and Ba Kua oil – the time for health and weigh related guilts is coming!
Maybe eating a proportionate amount of mandarin oranges will have an antioxidant effect on the unhealthy foods…
Millege for the week (14 day period)
* Previous Week
Tuesday – SP Gym 3 Light Sets Weight Training + Threadmill 5km
Wednesday – Tiong Bahru Park – 15 rounds (15km)
Friday – 1 Hour Continuous swim 50m laps for 60mins
* Current Week – Pre-CNY
Tuesday – Tiong Bahru Park Run – 12 rounds (12km)
Saturday – Macritchie Park Run (Golf Course Route – 11km)
Total Millage for 2 weeks: 43km
Total Accumulative Millage for 2007: 82km
Hello I am Shaun, just like Assok the intern in the comic Dilbert, I am the lowest possible life form in the corporate ladder – having the profound ability to “not know anything” and the “noob-rights” to hang around like a complete idiot. ITP this holidays is a unique one, being only 9 weeks short, not many companies are actually accepting internship from SP (giving the department lots of headaches in the process) particularly because the usual ITP period is usually about 6 months and 9 weeks is technically a “holiday” as nothing short-mid term project can actually be done within such a short time, thus no justifying and company’s need for specialised training or intensive coaching to students. Mostly a “water-boy” role as proclaimed by many of my peers. We can see this coming given the SP MM ITP department sorting to desperate measures telling students to sign and accept disclaimers if they are posted to a job completely unrelated to their field of studies “just for work experience” as they claimed.
For me, being posted to a company of my recommendation, work is rather manageable. Moreover having worked there before on almost every semester holiday, I am already well versed with the practices and staff, with the exception of getting to know few new recruited staff since my last stay in office. Integrating is a piece of cake and I got a desk ready for work within 5mins on my first day of work.
With the exception of distractions within the Bugis area (such as shopping, Bugis street, Bugis Junction, Simlim square etc), I guess I am quite blessed with quite a centralised workplace location, contrary to some of my friends pooping up at dawn to factories Changi or Woodlands. Commuting is acceptable with one direct bus form home, with the exception of rather frequent long waits.
Pay is good too, way above the minimum wage (and SP recommended wage) of $440, and “high” enough for any student on ITP to drool for. But that is peanuts to anyone working in my current company though. My monthly pay is capped at a mere $640 so as not to “spoil market” as stated by my supervisor, so as not to invite any potential “head starches” to my school for paying an “inexperienced intern” the rate of a normal full time staff.
But being posted to a company recommended by yourself will guarantee higher pay too – many of my other SP peers recalled tormenting experiences of their company supervisors immediately quoting the minimum $440 wage at any given chance to cut costs, them cursing and swearing after leaving the HR office.
CNY is tomorrow thats fast! With the first week over, it will be a long holiday till the next work day, thursday for me (wednesday is and off day) till then I am free!
And yes, on Cars. Dad came around one day with mum asking about plans for our next new family car. Despite all his talk on Renaults previously, he was considering the 2006-2007 1.6L Mitsubishi Lancer which is going for a dirt cheap $43,000 with COE at C&C, which is close to half of how much we paid for our current 1.5GLi Toyota almost 10 year ago with it’s COE expiring in a few years time. To dad, “a car is a car which gets people from point A-B and B-A, any other questions asked? and no, we do not need a convertible….”
This decision came about after serious considerations whether into continuing maintaining our 9 year old car which will needs an expensive overhaul for inspection soon or just scrap it and get a new one after this Chinese New Year? I suggested the standard Subaru Impreza 1.6 going at around the same affordable price. But as dad as dad, who had previously worked for Subaru and always bragged about how good their flat fours are, amazingly did not want to own a Subaru this time! And neither would be a Toyota, Hyundai, Mini, Volkswagon, Ford, Datsun (and the list goes on…) as he had owned them all first hand before, even before I was born! and wanted something different this time. But didn’t he own a Mitsu before when I was a kid?, “”that previous one was a resale”, he said… *collapse*
Another contender in the sub $43,000 priced car would be the 2nd most common car in Singapore – The Nissan Sunny 1.6L, (with the Lancer in Third and the Toyota Corolla in First). But if my eyes don’t fail me the new 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer is really pretty though, it’s like a cross between the old Mitsu Gallant and Volvo front styling, totally niffy. The thing I heard that variants starts at 1.8L up to the 2.4L in the 2008 Lancer EVO X. So the $43,000 price tag might not stay especially for a 1.8L.
However, realistically speaking, I actually do not need a car, it’s more of a want – something that almost all guys will spend on their first contact with big bucks. Even if one may argue driving a car allows you to take the shortest possible route to your destination (in my case most school and town), thus saving time. But if I get to drive one to school, the shortest route I will be taking is the exalt same route my bus takes me to school everyday. Same for town and such, it just IMPOSSIBLE to find a parking lot in the city – Let be wasting at least 30mins to even an hour waiting or trying to look for one, where all I need is a short bus trip from home to town and back.
In the Singaporean context, the car functions more of a social status as our very commendable network of public transport fully substitutes it in terms of it’s basic function relating to personal transport, contrary to other larger countries. Furthermore, with bus lane rules are getting stricter with dedicated lanes as well & so are rising fuel prices & taxes, pollution & stricter emission controls, things don’t look good & does not justify the perceived “good”.
Furthermore, we can fully exploit the opportunity cost of the money saved from buying a car – we can do alot with it like investing it or use it to fund further studies, so as mum hinted occasionally.
Though one can argue that a car is an invaluable resource at times of critical need and emergencies, I guess that only comes out of the blue where the true value of owning a car really shines. But there are vehicles called “Taxis” as well. Mmmm
Well I can’t deny that if I can afford it, I would still buy a car, in fact I was torn between the support for green cars, namely the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid, but the price ($80,000-$100,000) cannot justify itself where I can get another equivalent sized saloon of the same capacity at even less than half the price.
Besides that, I always have a soft spot for convertibles as well. For the record, the 800,000th Mazda MX-5 ($90,000) has recently rolled out of the factory, maintaining in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest selling most affordable 2 seater convertible. For me, a 2007 BMW E93 Cabriolet Hardtop Convertible 325i ($200,000) is what I can realistically dream for.
Despite the sun coming out quite nicely these days, the whether and ambient temperature is still holding out nice and cool in my area. In fact so good I do not even need to sleep with regular air-conditioning on for a few weeks! Morning temperatures are around 25 Degrees Celsius (readings from my desk clock), with rather frequent strong breezes threatening to slam doors around the house. Cool, but just wonder how this weather will hold out? Just hope it’s not a by-product of global warming…
Had been catching up on dated chores since my last paper on Tuesday – Engineering Mathematics III was easy with a careless mistake on partial fraction threatening to set my maximum score at 98/100. Personally after going through the post exam paper again with my classmates, we more or less came out with a model answer sheet for all the solutions in the paper allowing us to calculate our expected score for the paper. Seemingly, 98/100 is the lowest I can ever go…
Talking about chores, had been doing ALOT of packing and cleaning up the last few days, therefore not even having any blogging time in my hands. It’s namely sorting up my past semester lecture notes and organising them into binders for archiving *and forget. The rest will go into the paper recycling bins near my home. I won’t exactly say that I have a recycling obsession, but it’s just a way of life I guess – Little things you can do on your part for the environment like cutting down on plastic bags used at NTUC Fairprice or declining wrappers or carriers for small items in shops. But ironically, that doesn’t quite go for me when it comes to cars and POWER (taking about C02 levels….). I guess as the saying goes – “penny wise, pound foolish”.
And now, the news…
|News in the limelight
Some notable news around the past weeks have to be:
Johor’s complains of the flood caused by Singapore reclaimed land works.
Singapore ups plant to desalinate sea and reservoir water fueling up to 10% of our water capacity and mainly set for industrial use.
Jail or high fine for Singaporeans who did not stamp their passports at causeway checkpoints.
First say of ITP starts tomorrow for all SP second year students, wishing everybody all the best!
As part of my planned holiday chores, spent time over the last few days revamping and fixing up parts of the site. The videos page now has the videos streamed from youtube and google video, so no hassles to download them for viewing anymore, freeing up alot of server space for the site as well. Did some miscellaneous cleaning up of the site’s core code for W3C compliance, with the exception of IE7.0 screaming at every single “error” it encounters – code with Firefox breezes through with ease and speed.
The portfolio page is also revamped with a new look and updated sections, noticeably the interactive mouse overs and the quotation request form, which I’ve spent the last 3 whole days altogether coding and testing. Personally I think it looks fabulous with the exception of some more code tweaking in the background to speed up browsing in some areas.
Email contact code
Powering the quotation request page of the portfolio section is an email contact form. It’s very hard to find good free email programs are all very basic, they are either cgi or simple php files with basic functions and userablity. So I decided to write a whole custom contact form scratch and put it up for testing on the pages:
Little basic run down on of the contact code.
One PHP file is used for input, verification and submission. In other words, it basically calls itself back with an identifier when there are any error(s), preserving all the submitted field data and not having to retype the form again. It’s like and instant redirection back to the form if a user misses out and required fields, unlike conventional forms which will “tell the user to go back and fix the problem”. I personally find this user-friendly aspect lacking in most free code which depends on browser back button and cache to retrive back field information which does not always work. A success submit will yield a success message and the done option to close the form altogether.
|Success Message||Sent Email Format|
Moreover, the form even lists down the errors in a numbered list with the missing field boxes highlighted so that the user knows where to go from there. Other features include:
- Active hover tooltips for fields which requires explanation
- Optional no direct access to form itself (against spam bots)
- Auto loading of different custom form field templates for different categories
- Field conditions (e.g. if “others” is specified it’s required to specify)
- Valid email checking
- Antispam fields with image verification
- IP, referrer and client browser logger
- Able to log requests in a log textfile or database
- Mail sent through PHP mail() or SMTP
I will leaving the form to run on the site testing before looking to release the contact form under a GPL. Also after I go about cleaning the source code and making it more modular as it is currently hardcoded to fit some specific form fields my site is currently using. Come worse to worse if I am unable to do so, I will just release the code “as it is” for ya all coders to pounce on and start dissecting.
With all the hype and publicity on Windows Vista going on in Singapore, I guess I can only commend on the efforts MS Singapore is putting into promoting the OS. However in that limelight, definitely the main selling point and MS broke in sales will tell you that it’s “safer”, “more secure”, “looks fabulous” and has “excellent media PC functionalities”. What they WON”T tell you though are the horrible benchmarks, system requirements and how slow it is compared to previous versions of Windows.
Anyway as the saying goes “a sucker is born every second” & “people will pay for it just because it looks good, lest functionality”.
Courtesy from Tom’s Hardware (You can read the full article here), all benchmarks ran on high-end Intel Core2 Duo systems with 2GB DDR2-800 RAM, 300Gb Harddisk space & ATI X1900XTX 512 MB GDDR3 GPU, let me just share some findings:
|Fact Number One: Vista is performs slower than WinXP in ALL tested game benchmarks. On same hardware configuration, the vista OS system performed slower in all games benched, with UT2004 having a record 32% lower than XP benchmark: 3D Mark06, Call of Duty, Farcry, FEAR, etc
Fact Number Two: Vista is only faster in in Video and Audio encoding, but only with marginal increments (1-23% faster). Benchmarks: Xvid, LAME Encoding
Fact Number Three: Vista is horrible at 3D based modeling programs. Vista is 83-90% slower than WinXP running3D Studio Max, Lightwave & Maya.
Fact Number Four: Vista fails badly in the CAD and design benchmarks as well: PTC Pro-engineer, SolidWorks 84-98% slower
Fact Number Five: Vista treats anything you install as a threat to it. Even after you get through installing it, any program you run will need a prompt to initiate even though YOU are the only who started it in the first place. Till you disable the prompts in the UAC, any user will go bonkers over it.
What’s more, Vista breaks 90% of games, as said by game publisher, WildTangent.
This does not justify the significant need for an upgrade. Furthermore so just as you think about putting the greens on Vista now, this is when it gets interesting – don’t think that holding your purchase now will solve all the bugs now. Think about it – unlike handphones, such that we can “wait out for the price to drop” or “new firmware updates in the next release”, the Windows Vista DVD is available pre-packed in default content, the next big DVD update you will get is a service pack (similar to XP SP2) which we won’t be seeing too soon, maybe over a year or so.
Everything will be patched through the naive windows update. In other words, having to install Vista now or later won’t be a difference, it’s just another PC in the Vista Bandwagon doomed with slow software, praying that Microsoft & their partners brings and fixes up compatibility and performances through new driver and software support.
And not only that, Vista look almost a clone to Mac OS X, now what Bill Gates have to say when poised with that question on CNN?
“NO NO NO!” Hahahaha!
Oh and not leaving this out, for ya price hunters, here are the following rates for the respective versions of Vista after a SLS store roundup:
Main OS (OEM DVD Edition)
Vista Home Basic Edition – $145
Vista Home Premium Edition – $185
Vista Business Edition – $229
Vista Ultimate Edition – $309
MS Office 2007:
Home and student 2007 – $189
Office Basic 2007 – $269
Office Small Business Enterprise – $369
Office Pro 2007 – $489
Attila Vista Baby!