Sunday, October 30, 2005

Note to self: Weirdest injury to date

How did I get armpit abrasion from jogging?!?

Inner thigh abrasion, yes. But armpit abrasion???

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Qualnet is over!

No more late nights!

No more pesky mobility models. No more Random Waypoint, Random Walk, Reference Point Group Mobility~~!

NO more AODV, ZRP, DSR, OLSR-INRIA (even though what these routing protocols do continue to elude me...)

No more throughput, end to end delay, delivery ratios

No more spatial dependency, mobility metrics, or connectivity graph.

No more .nodes, .locations, .movements, .configs, .stats.

No more abuse of my lappie with meaningless simulations of Scenarios 1 - 4, 100/125/150 nodes, 600x600/800 terrains.

No more attraction points, source and destination locations.


But still got exams.


Comp. Engineering..... (let's say it together now) SUX!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Demented show

Demented Movie

This is so lame, but soooo funny~~~~!

Don't watch it! It's lame!

No no no, watch it! It's so funny!

Argh.. watever, you watch and decide yourself.
Or don't watch it and decide yourself. Huh?


Friday, October 21, 2005

Sir Rodney and Kenny (no) G

NUS piano ensemble presents...
La Chanson Et Danse

The musical performance at UCC on wednesday was quite an event for me to act the high class artsy fartsy dork I am not - other than being most improperly dressed for the event. I should have been fashionably late to pull the act off better, but no... - I was on time. How can I be late for your performance? =)

I am constantly led to wonder if cultural well-behaviour meant the refusal of the best viewing seats located at the sides of the upper levels of the theatre. If it does, I might have been the only ruffian in the theatre to enjoy the best in viewing and listening pleasures that night with me in bird eye view of everyone else, and the piano's lid providing an indirect projection of the acoustics from the soundboard within.

As the pianists played their melodious tunes, my mind drifted to thoughts on the value of Music. ...

What is the value of Music? Music has been a foreign agent to me (I can't tell my Renaissance from my Baroque.) My reference to music here is NOT contemporary music, but those that you hear on Symphony 92.4FM or in Victoria Concert Hall - contemp. music, I can deal with. I have never had any music lessons, unless you consider those immensely short periods of towgay readings and recorders in pri school and sec 1 and sec 2. The only music education I have is from MTV and radio. And from the umpteenth times I sang Mari Kita in school.

In the performance, the pianists played with absolute passion. It is clear the amount of practise they have on those ivories - how long have they been playing at them? 10 years? 15 years? What is the total expenditure for educating a person to reach performance level in piano? 30K? I have always wanted to be able at the piano without considerations of the efforts and costs behind it, but now I am led to consider - if I had the time and resources to pursue piano playing, would I have had played the piano or engage in other more profitable activities? I am not sure. I am quite a realist, and a bit of a dreamer.

Anyway, back to the performance.

I am quite sure half of all expert piano players look quite dorky - from the current sample size. They play well, but move with manners of primary school kids going up the stage to collect their book prizes at End of Year ceremonies. But maybe I am just being dismissive and jealous at their skills.

Sir Rodney captured me with his trance-like behaviour when he played 'L'isle Joyeuse' - he looked quite normal without any artistic bearings, but when he played the piano, it almost seemed like he was natural with the keys.

Sir Rodney
At times, he was smiling, at times he was frowning; at times his body was flowing to the soothing music, head nodding in agreement, at times he was repelled by the erratic rhythm which he couldn't stop playing no matter how hard he tried while his head shake in vehement disagreement - it was almost like watching a possessed being in action. I am in awe of his involvement, I seriously am.

What put me off was Mr. Maksim-wannabe playing Elektrik. Notwithstanding the wayang-ness of his appearance (with ditzy Windows Media Player visualisation on display, he sat on the piano bench and made the audience waited for a good few minutes before a 'We're sorry for the technical error' abruptly ended his first appearance.) His second appearance at the end of the performance played a Maksim-style techno-piano piece, which is, no doubt, quite nice to hear. The only fault I found was the background music being too overwhelming and drowned his piano playing. And his repugnant parakeet hairdo. And his brown coat. He would have been better off wearing a black tee and jeans - that will show a sleek fuss-free style centered at optimal performance, nothing grandiose, nothing superfluous.

The Man himself

Birthday in cluster kitchen

There was a gathering in the cluster kitchen yesterday late at night which led to the celebration of Gurkha's birthday. Not that anyone knew it to be Gurkha's 21st birthday beforehand.

I was recovering from my jog in the kitchen, when Jeremy 1 came in and chatted with me about how I should go and join him to swim and 'forget about jogging. It's so monotonous'. Then Phu came in with his rice cooker and seafood to prepare for next day's breakfast. And we started talking about how abs almost always develop disproportionately with respect to our body's lateral symmetry.

Then Jeremy 2 came in and we started talking about the Taichi man who taichis almost everyday and how Jeremy 1 would trade his unobstructed view of the Taichi man for my obscured view of the playground (which comes with chio bus sometimes.) We then hitched a cunning plan to ambush Mr. Taichi (just to test his skills), with details being Jeremy 1 jumping out of his window onto him, while I make sure to poke Mr. Taichi into Jeremy 1's landing area, if Mr. Taichi ever come to realise Jeremy 1's diabolical move and step aside.

Taichi Man and his Jeremy Subduing Palm

Soon after our whimsical thoughts subside in decreasing bouts of innane laughters, China Guy came in to cook noodles and we came to realise the gathering to be the most attended one ever (other than the first formal cluster meeting.)

To make things fun, we decided to sing Happy Birthday to the next guy who comes in, just because we were really bored and obstinate about going back to our rooms to study for our testsssssss.

China Guy 2 came in and we sang. Surprised at our misinformation, he was quick to point out the day to be not his birthday (but he would graciously accept any presents we have for him) - and we immediately digressed to examine the Pandoric contents of the upper freezer. To date, none of us present then have laid claim to the unidentified ice-cream box of what Jeremy deduced, after serious inspection, to be bloody fingers from some unresolved murder case.

Cluster leader came in and we sang. Not his birthday. We continued to delve deeper into the lower freezer area, asking for identification of all the possessions in the fashion of handling Katrina's aftermath.

Then Gurkha came in, clad in his shorts and generously endowed natural buffers, holding his toiletries in his hands. And we sang. Surprised at how informed we are, he gave us his usual 1 sec blank look and expressed his thanks to us. Some of us, no... most of us were dubious and thought him to be 'Lamb-Chop-Play-Alonging' with us, and we asked for proper authentication, only to have him properly authenticated by his IC.

Glorious day. 20-10-2005. Some of us should go and buy 4D, using permutations of the numbers.

All of us scurried back to our own room to dig for long-cached universally-accepted presents for Gurkha - Jeremy 2 got him some chocolates, cluster leader too (what's with everyone having chocolates as present reserves??) In excellent and fashionable taste, I gave him the USB-Handphone Charger given out during HSBC's MA talk, reminding myself I SHOULD get some chocolates for federal reserves.

And I walked to NUH to get him a tub of Haagen Daz for his birthday treat as well. He is, after all, my favourite Ghurka.
what Gurkha might have been some years ago..

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What do I want to be?

Sometimes, I want to be something else other than me.

I want to be a bird.
To fly freely in the sky, to make the world my home. I will fly from one end of the world to the other, across vast oceans, across great fields, across timelines; to feel the wind in my wings, the absoluteness of freedom.
Then I wonder where I will stay. In nests? Heavens, no. What happens when it rains?
What will I feed on? Worms? Goodness gracious, no! I want my pig's trotters and mee goreng! Pratas! Pratas! I need them!
So I don't want to be a bird.

I know! I want to be a fish!
To swim freely in the ocean, to make the sea my home. I will swim from one end of the world to the other, over vast distances, over great fields of sea anemones, across timelines; to feel the water in my fins, the absoluteness of freedom.
Then I wonder where I will stay, again. Heavens, I don't even have a nest!
What will I feed on? Other fishes? Planktons? No, I want my fish fillet and Hainanese chicken rice! Pastas! Pastas! I need them!
So I don't want to be a fish.

What about a squirrel?
To hide my nuts like a possessive nutcase, to make trees my home. I will jump about from trees to trees with nuts in my hands, balancing myself with my soft bushy tail. I can make my own Nutella, and I'll have fur that never goes out of fashion.
Then I wonder what I will do other than hiding nuts and jumping around. Nothing much, really. Do I get to see the world? No. Do I get to see anywhere outside my little community of trees? Probably not. What happens when it rains, or snows?
So I don't want to be a squirrel.

How about a tortoise? I'll take life easy...
To live a long life, to see what has been here and what will be here. To move about at leisurely speeds, laughing at the meaningless business of everyone else. Why bother to rush about doing, and miss the enjoyment of quiet peacefulness? Two hands of leisure rather than one hand of business, I'd say.
Then I wonder the usefulness of such a long life, if life is meant to be all so peaceful and non-undulating....
No, I don't want to be a tortoise. I want more excitement to life.

A dragon? I'm a magestic dragon! I'll breathe fire and destroy towns and places - holding princesses and kingdoms in ransom. Everyone will be in fear and awe of me! I'll fly freer than a bird, and I'll live in a cave with people paying tributes to me.
But then, who will be my friend? Who will dare to be my friend?
I don't want to deal with the occasional smart ass knight who thinks himself good enough to kill me for the princess and some stupid intangible he calls 'Glory'.
No, I don't want to be a dragon.

I guess I'm better off a human as I am -
I can fly further and faster than a bird to Cananda and live in East Hastings, living freer than a lark in my rented apartment with Garry and Eu;
I can swim freer than a fish in Ko Samut with Chee wee, and laze on sentosa beach as well;
I can wakeboard/windsurf/kayak with ZK/stef/lele anytime I want (if the weather permits);
I can buy cans and cans of Nutella and eat them with bread in PGP, with Gurka to tell me stories of exploits in Mt. Vernon camp;
I can spend a quiet sunday afternoon by myself in McDonald's, watching traffic pass me by;
I can sit in a park and watch children play whilst mothers scream, hearing the chirping of the birds and marvelling at how everything opposing fits in picture-perfectly;
and most of all, I have my friends.

Who needs to be a dragon when you already have friends who promise their kingdoms to you in times of need? (Though I'm always wondering why we never did have enough princesses to go around...)

Not me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

'You're the sunshine of my morning, you know that? We started talking when it's absolutely darkness, but now the sun's out and the birds are chirping...'

'then u are my moon shining softly down at me bringing me light in the darkness - cus it was still light when we started talking but now it is pitch dark except the illuminating moon'

I am yours. =)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A movie a day?

A movie a day?

It'll be really cool if he pulls it through, isn't it? =)

The talk with Permanent Secretary of Education

yesterday was quite an engaging and informative one. Present were a number of students from SMU, NTU, and NUS who had went on one (or more) exchange program(s) to various countries around the world, and all of us had something to say concerning our experiences.

The main impetus for the talk was for the Perm Sec to better know how exchange programs have benefitted us, and how MOE can step in to further help Singaporean gain a global perspective amidst a globalisation trend that is advantageous for Singapore's growth into the region - but this advantage can only be possible with more Singaporeans willing to venture out into the region. It is with the use of Exchange programs MOE hopes future Singaporeans are more accustomed to the idea of living/working overseas and decrease our resistance to a job abroad later on during our working life.

Already, there will be better conduits for students to access loans/funds for their expenses during the programs - something I find very important for students who have the interests but not the money.

It's heartening to know steps are being taken by MOE to help Singaporean students.

MOE is giving more money for Exchange Programmes!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

When I promised myself that I would do some cooking

in PGP, it was with the supposition that the kitchen will be a functional one.

Up to today, I have done no cooking in PGP. This is because I have been peeved with the state of the kitchen since day 1.

There are dead carcasses of ants in the fridge amongst all the half-opened packets of beef/KFC leftovers, half-used-and-exposed cucumbers; ants crawling over the dirty pots and pans stacked INSIDE and BESIDE the washbasin; ants crawling all over the grease-marked kitchen table top; markings left from greasy pots and pans placed over the dining table top without any mats; and a foul stench that emits from nowhere in particular because it's everywhere.

How to cook in such an environment? I had thought guys would be more professional when it comes to kitchen hygiene - obviously I haven't shared a kitchen with people other than my family members (who are very particular about hygiene), or Eu and Garry (I tot Garry was quite the limit, but I'm obviously wrong again - he's neat in comparison.)

I avoid the kitchen when possible, having no possessions in it except for a bottle of honey I use on my bread (i keep in room) for breakfast. It's disappointing, I know.

I don't think I can perfect my stir-fry techniques or carry out any taste experiments here, much less the thoughts of actually baking something edible to shame my sister's endeavours in Home Economics.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A rather busy week

These few days have been late night project meetings mulling over Mobile Computing's deadlines, and the group of us have not been having an easy time - but nevertheless, I am optimistic about our overall standing in the module.

We have a crack team of very efficient team members for the tough going: Eu (The Think Tank - he comes up with all the innovative solutions), Kenneth (Mr. Dynamic - does everything chop chop), and Minqiang (The Research Paper king - mention an idea and he knows which paper got mention about it on which page, which line, which sentence.)

(Most times I think I'm leaching off them, sigh... I'll try harder to be relevent.)

On a good note, we have been finishing our projects an average of a day earlier and being the first to do submissions, and I think that's pretty impressive!

Keep it up and I think we can all do very well for the module. =)


The many recruitment talks in recent weeks have kept me well-fed, but regretful over why I did not do any internships with any companies (my CV's quite short).

Let's keep a tab - Capitaland, Citibank, Top Grads, BP, DBS, and later - MOE HQ, HSBC, Credit Suisse.... assume each night dinner costs $3, that's a savings of 9 * 3 = $27! Heh.

What?? Vancouver is best city to live in?

Hmm... never did have that perception while living in East Hastings, but maybe it's just because I was living in the eastside of town. And with 2 clowns somemore...(rite, Garry and Eu? ;)

But I do miss the weather; the late-hours studying in Kroener library; and a few other things.

And I will definitely remember the day before prog lang exam when
idiotic Garry ask stupid Frank to go study in SUB around 2am in the morning,
and Frank stupidly agree and pack up his camp and laptop and stuff,
and run from Gage place to SUB to find him,
only to find the whole building locked up and Garry nowhere in sight.

And how he waited there in the cold wintry night,
with colder wind blowing against his cold face,
standing like an absolute fool looking for his sanity,
afraid that Garry is also looking for him,
for about 30min.

Then Frank gave up and ran back to gage place for some warmth in the lounge area,
and Garry came along 10 min later,
and they started mugging for a desperate short while,
before rest is really really inevitable,
and both concussed for maybe 2 or 3 hours (after N hours of mugging before that),
before they had to rush for the 8am test.

And stupid garry came out of the exams earliest after... 1hr..? To go buy stuff before going for a trip or something.. I can't remember. And he still got bloody good grades.

And I finished the exam with the rest... and I went shopping a while before my final hols break in Canada/US too.

Yah, it was all quite a rush to just pass the exams (though we didn't get shabby results) and carry on with the last few days of freedom in that country....

...though idiotic Garry is now having a fun time gallivanting with gwen in Sillicon Valley.


Monday, October 03, 2005

We're all retaliating hamsters...

Either that or our true nature as lazy hamsters prevails.

Since one week has passed and there's no sign of The Box ever going to be around, we've sort of figured that the cleaners are not going to implement the ruling at all.

Shoes are back to normal hazardous placements.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


If you don't know me, you probably won't know that I'm a minesweeper fanatic.

Not the MSN type where you compete with your friend to click on mines - I'm talking about the classical minesweeper that comes with all versions of Windows. Yes I'm quite addicted to that little insignificant piece of program, when I should really be playing World of Warcraft, DOTA or some other fancy games out there in the market that everyone else is playing.

Why do I play minesweeper?

Other than the blatant fact that I'm quite addicted to it, it takes up much less time than WOW and DOTA to play, and I can stop whenever I want to (not really!) I also like the logic process of if-this-then-that-else-this-but-since-this-therefore-cannot-that involved, and I can be absorbed in it for hours on end!

In my endeavours to cut down on useless clicks and processes to achieve a better timing, I have also come to realise the similarities between situations in life and Minesweeping, mainly:

1. An element of probability is always involved.

To actually get a manageable starting scenario in minesweeper, you'd need the first few clicks to open a significant portion of the space - and none of them should actually be a bomb. This is not possible all the time, and you'd find yourself dead before the game has started, much like you don't always find yourself in a winnable situation in life. What then can you do? You have to move on to the next game and carry on to fight a battle you can win.

2. You'll need experience to be successful.

Winning minesweeper requires you to cache certain patterns like 3-3-3, 1-2-1, 1-2-2-1, so you need not think on runtime. This is much like gaining experience in a field, and being able to carry out repetitive stuff successfully. This is merely the first step to improving efficency, but does not guarantee success in the end.

3. Pre-processing is needed.

To further improve timing, you need to know 2 or 3 steps in advance that you can eliminate the pauses in your look(pause)-think(pause)-click pattern of solving minesweeper. This is because our motion is slower than our brain, and you can asyncronously click and think at the same time. Thinking in advance is definitely necessary to prevent yourself from getting into situations you have no way of getting out of (like taking up an insurance policy without considering possible future expenditure, or agreeing to boss' requests without considering the repercussions)

4. If the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

When approaching complex situations which you know you CAN solve, but extra time is involved such that you can never make it to beat your best score, you should give up and start on a new game.
This is akin to you knowing that you CAN do something, but if the end results doesn't justify the efforts required, you should give up and look for better opportunities.

5. Hard problems are easier to solve if you don't take it head-on.

The best thing to do when facing complex situations is not to tackle the problem directly. Look at the big picture. Flank it from the easier-to-tackle sides, and more clues will expose themselves, and you can solve it in a shorter period of time, or you may find that you need not even solve the problem!

6. You don't need to do everything to win the game!

I started off with marking every mine on the map and double clicking to expose the safe areas. I found that every marking takes a bit of time, and this contributes to an increased overall timing. By eliminating unnecessary markings (through pre-processing, or marking it in your mind), timing can significantly improve!
This is like conscientiously doing all your tutorials without referring to answers and solving all the nitty-gritty details in your assignments - not necessary to understand the gist of the lesson and do well in exam. It's a minimum-effort-maximum-result issue.

7. At the last stage, there is always a 2-choose-1 situation to cock things up. 50% win, 50% lose.

C'est la vie.

8. To get really high scores, your inherent response must be good - techniques can only get you so far.

To be really really good, it is not enough to be hardworking. You also need inborn talent. Unfortunately I don't have fast responses and thus my minesweeping scores seems to have hit a plateau. Sigh.. such is life.

A rather busy week

It had been a rather busy week, with deadlines (Qualnet!) stealthily approaching from behind and making irritating coughing sounds behind my back; and the CS4274 Quiz to study for. 4274 wouldn't have had such an effect if I had been more studious and not started my initial reads only this week.

Running Qualnet has been anything but nice to me and my comp. The simulations are so freaking labour intensive (and unproductive) that I'm left most of the time working on a laptop seemingly running on a 80286 chip and 2MB ram. Never have I let my laptop undergone a stress test of such long duration (it has been running near a week now, and a good more days to run), with CPU fan running more than half the time. I wouldn't be surprised if police came over and knock on my door, charging me with offences of abusive actions to my computer - I probably deserve it.

And for what purpose to this? a 10% assignment for mobile computing? I am not in agreement with our lecturer on the intensity of such an assignment.

Lecturer states:
1. The simulations are meant to demonstrate the issue of scalability - that the algorithm doesn't scale well.
It is exactly because the algorithm doesn't scale well that we shouldn't run it on too many nodes, isn't it? I think it is quite enough to KNOW that it doesn't scale well - we don't have to do redundant hardwork reinventing the wheel. We don't need to plunge a knife to our side to know we will bleed if we plunge a knife to our side. Furthermore, computing resources are not free - running my laptop like this definitely reduces the lifespan of my comp like siao, and I'm not the only one running simulations. Multiply the effects by the number of people running these simulations, and we get a small-scale global warming just from the heat produced by our computers.

And yes, all that computing has left other high priority projects from other modules hanging in hungry states, waiting for free computing resources. It's a 4-MC level 4000 module, for goodness sake, not a 8 MC UROP. If it is, it would probably justify the 2 projects, 1 (or 2) quizzes, 1 term paper, and a final exam - but it's not.

2. Coming up with the config files are not hard, and running the simulations is easy - He did it during his PHD times and it's simply running and go do other work.
No one say that running the simulation is hard, and if it is not hard, what's the motive for doing it? This is a level 4000 computing module, not some PHD module, and it might be good enough to run the simulations on 100 nodes. If we are given access to adequate computing resources (say, comps in I2R), this would not have proven to be so much of a matter, but we are not given such computing resources. We only have our laptops and home comps to do calculations. How can we fight an army with stones and twigs?

3. We are free to quit the module if we want to.
We are not - it doesn't take any cow sense to know that we've invested too much time and effort to give up at this point of time. We're at the balance point between attainable and breakable. And we're not quitters - the people taking this module are relatively strong performers.

4. IF WE HAVE THE GUTS, we can tell him directly and suggest points for improvement. I think there's a difference between having guts and being foolish. Already Eugene has been shot down for his suggestions (although they are valid ones), and I am led to think our prof doesn't take to suggestions easily. Then what's the point of taking your guts out in full display to a person who will only cut them up and cook curry? The probability of survival is bleak, if not none. What the strong can do now is to grit their teeth and bear it out in resilence. Resilence is required of us now. And of course, our review at the end of the course will definitely be a DON'T TAKE UNLESS YOU'RE A SADO-MASOCHIST LOOKING FOR TROUBLE. Either that or you're a Melvin Zhang. =P

And yes, I'm slightly peeved I'm spending my sunday in my room running simulations and doing work when I should be out windsurfing. Suppose to go windsurfing with the NUS Sub-club, but decided otherwise when storm came in the morning (but it's all sunny now!) and weather report says the next few days will probably be thunderstormy. But I think there wasn't any error in the judgement call - it's just that things don't always turn out accordingly to probabilities.