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Quotes of the Day (24/11/08)

November 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Colleague: Hey Hendri, how was your weekend?
Me: It was great!
C: Cool, what did you do?
M: Nothing!


Friend: You know, I really thought that Singapore Flyer was close to the Esplanade and the Kamasutra* place!


Friend: So what sort of thing do you do in your current company?
Me: I’m doing a lot of low-level programming…
Friend: Eh, but programming is not a low level work!


* A note for non-Singaporean readers: This is what my friend was actually referring to.

Something Different

November 21, 2008 4 comments

There is something different about today.

I woke up happy, and I jumped to my feet and went to shower as if I was really looking forward to work. I put on my best T-shirt and jeans. Fridays are dress-down day, so there was no need to wear anything to work formal shirt and pants.

Everything seemed beautiful. When I walked out of the house and entered the lift, I smiled to the neighbour who was in the same lift. I got out of the lift with the sound of the birds singing in the trees. The air was fresh, and the weather was perfect.

When I went to KFC and had the most expensive breakfast ever, I didn’t feel guilty at all. And when I walked to the bus stop to embark on the 40-minute journey I take everyday, I felt like there is spring in my feet.

There is definitely something different about today.

Maybe, it’s the one-day leave that I took on Thursday.

Or perhaps, it’s the good deed I performed; helping out my friend with her tuition grant arrangement.

But most likely, it’s the sound of ka-ching in my bank account.

Happy because it’s pay day,
hendri

Edit: “This entry was posted on November 21, 2008 at 10:59 am and is filed under life and work.” Now who said life and work can’t go together? 😉

Categories: Life, Work Tags: ,

Fun with Flesch-Kincaid

November 19, 2008 4 comments

Old users of Microsoft Office (and I don’t mean that the users are of old age) might remember the statistics window that pops up after they perform a grammar check. For some reason recent versions of Microsoft Office disable the readability statistics by default.

MS Word Grammar Statistics

One of the things presented in the statistics are the Flesch-Kincaid Readibility Test, namely the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Flesch-Kincaid is a measure of comprehension difficulty when reading a contemporary academic English passage. The figures are derived from several factors:

  • average number of words in a sentence
  • average number of syllables in a word

The Flesch Reading Ease is derived using the formula:

Flesch Reading Ease

The scoring system means that higher-scoring passages are easier to understand than those of lower scores. As a rough measure, passages scoring 90-100 can be understood by an average 11-year old student, 60-70 by 13- to 15-year old students, and 0-30 by college graduates.

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, on the other hand, is a similar measure using the US grade level as a unit. It goes by the formula:

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

For example, a score of 10 means that students in the 10th grade should be able to understand the passage.

Well, I’ve described one of the statistics measures that can be taken from an English passage. The more interesting thing that I found was a list of such Flesch-Kincaid statistics as calculated from the State of the Union speeches delivered by US presidents from the time of George Washington.

The State of the Union Address is an annual message that the president delivers to the Congress, in which the president “give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient”.

There are some interesting facts from the list. For example, the easiest speech to read is by Goerge H.W. Bush in January 28, 1992, with a Reading Ease of 54.98 and Grade Level of 9.45. This means that most 9th grade students should be able to understand it.

The other end of the spectrum is James Madison’s speech on December 5, 1815. It has a Reading Ease value of -1.91, and Grade Level of 26.16. This is probably one of the lowest Reading Ease values I’ve ever seen (it’s negative!), requiring at least 26 years of education just to understand the speech. The speech also has the highest average number of words per sentence at 50.87 words per sentence. Imagine giving a speech with that average number of words!

A graph provided in the website also shows that as time goes by, the Reading Ease steadily decreases. This can mean a couple of things. One is that the intelligence of the presidents has decreased over time the presidents want their speeches to be more easily understood. Another possibility is that it is just a matter of style of English as it is used in different periods. It then means that it might just not be a good idea to use the Flesch-Kincaid measures to compare English passages from different periods.

The moral of the story here is… well, there is no moral of the story, really. Maybe something that we can learn from the calculations is that to make our passages easier to understand, we should try to minimize the average number of words per sentence and the average number of syllables per word.

However we have to remember that the Flesch-Kincaid Readibility Test is merely a statistical measure. Obviously having a very high Reading Ease and very low Grade Level is not practical. To obtain such values, words have to have a low number of syllables, and sentences have to be short as well. In turn, this means that coherence may be affected.

The highest value of Reading Ease and lowest Grade Level can be obtained if all words are monosyllabic, and sentences contain just one of such words each. Practically it’s impossible to obtain such a value without sacrificing coherence.

Try it. If you can create such a passage, drop me a message.

Fleschy,
hendri

Life’s Scars

November 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Feeling quite sucky now, because time and again, we hurt each other. No matter that the relationship has been over for 10 months now.

I myself, have not been a very good ex-boyfriend. I admit that I’m not good in hiding my emotions. I admit that I’m not patient enough. I admit that I’m not mature enough to accept that there is logically nothing wrong that they both do, and that we can’t force who people choose to love.

I hope that I won’t get to have any more ex-girlfriends to hurt anymore.

Hopes,
hendri

Life’s Scars
by: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

They say the world is round, and yet
I often think it square,
So many little hurts we get
From comers here and there.
But one great truth in life I’ve found,
While journeying to the West-
The only folks who really wound
Are those we love the best.

The man you thoroughly despise
Can rouse your wrath, ’tis true
Annoyance in your heart will rise
At things mere strangers do
But those are only passing ills
This rule all lives will prove
The rankling wound which aches and thrills
Is dealt by hands we love.

The choicest garb, the sweetest grace,
Are oft to strangers shown
The careless mien, the frowning face,
Are given to our own.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.

Love does not grow on every tree,
Nor true hearts yearly bloom.
Alas for those who only see
This cut across a tomb!
But soon or late, the fact grows plain
To all through sorrow’s test:
The only folks who give us pain
Are those we love the best

Categories: Love, Personal Tags: ,

Homeless on the WWW

November 11, 2008 10 comments

It’s only less than five hours after setting up my blog at WordPress.com, and I’m already sick of it…

When I first started blogging back in 2002, I started off with Blogger, hosted by Blogspot. In fact, you can still find my blog there–although later on I removed all the entries when I moved to a self-hosted one. Blogger (and Blogspot) was still under Pyra Labs at that time, and blogging was still very simple. Just write a post and publish it, no fancy things like categories or password-protected posts. You could modify your template to fit your needs, and in fact that was how I started taking my foray into web design seriously.

A couple of weeks later, I moved to a self-hosted domain, though the publishing platform was still Blogger. Blog-functionality-wise, there was practically no difference between self-hosted and Blogspot-hosted blogs. I did appreciate the directory password protection feature from the hosting company, which restricts access to the entire directory containing my blog.

A couple of months later, Google bought Blogger, but Blogger didn’t evolve as much as the other blogging platforms at that time.

That was when Ethan, a JC friend of mine, introduced Movable Type. At that time, Movable Type was the state-of-the-art publishing platform. The only catch was that the blog has to be self-hosted. Well, there was no problem. I migrated the entire blog into Movable Type.

I must add that the migration is not as simple as the current WordPress’s import feature. During those days, migration means manually modifying your Blogger template and settings to fit that acceptable by Movable Type, saving the resulting file, and then uploading and finally importing it into Movable Type.

So all was well, and I enjoyed the various functionality of Movable Type. Movable Type was one of the first to introduce the concept of plugins. I remembered that at one time I went into plugins-frenzy, and I did a quiz to see if the readers of my blog could find out what plugins I installed.

And then things started tumbling downhill. I started having problems with Movable Type (it is running on Perl, and Perl is a bitch), and they started charging for the use of Movable Type for multiple blogs and users. Not that I needed the features, but it was a catalyst that started my exploring other alternative publishing platforms.

And then came WordPress into the picture.

When WordPress started, there was no WordPress.com-hosted concept yet. Like Movable Type, you have to download the source code, upload it to your web hosting, and then configure it accordingly. Although the template system takes some time getting used to, WordPress runs on PHP, and it runs beautifully. There was also a lot of new features previously not available on other platforms, like password protection of posts.

And therefore, I made the switch to WordPress.

And all was well. I switched domains once during the time I was using WordPress, and the migration was as simple as copying the entire database and editing some variables. Of course, fixing the broken links was another matter altogether.

Around the time that I switched domains, WordPress.com-hosted blogs were also made available.

Like all things new, there was a lot of hype when it was announced, followed by a disillusionment when it finally came out, with all its quirks. WordPress.com strips its users naked a lot of codes, and among all things, it means that many JavaScript/CSS codes and IFRAME’s cannot be used in a WordPress.com-hosted blogs.

Those things didn’t affect me anyway, since I was on a self-hosted WordPress blog.

But then things started to take another turn, and this time it wasn’t the blogging platform’s fault. For reasons that are best kept as a secret (which may not be a secret to some), I finally let go of my domain, and hosting along with it. That left me with no place at all to host my blog.

Well, all was well as I took a break from blogging.

And here I am today, ready to start another blog. And I immediately thought of WordPress.com. I set up a blog here, and lo-and-behold, I was nothing but disappointed. Although simple to set up, the limitations of WordPress.com is annoying. I can’t even install widgets from my favourite social networking site, nor can I set up a shoutbox. Editing templates is a chore not because of the difficulty, but because I have to pay to edit the CSS file.

So here I am now, homeless on the world wide web, looking for a place where I belong.

I am thinking of getting a new domain to get back the functionality of a self-hosted WordPress blog. But I have yet to decide on a domain name. Some of the domain names which are available that I can think of are:

  • hendribudi.com
  • hendribudi.sg
  • hendri.sg
  • hendri.budi.sg

I’m kind of against having a .sg domain since I do not really fancy the idea of tying my domain name to a specific country. hendri.com is no longer available, and the only thing stopping me from getting a domain name with my surname is that my full name may not be easily memorized by someone who is not an Indonesian/Malay.

So what do you think? Should I go ahead and get a hendribudi.com domain? Or should I play safe and go ahead with hendri.sg, which is potentially easier to memorize? Or is there no difference at all whether I use my full name or not?

Sincerely confused,
hendri

Brand New

November 11, 2008 7 comments

A brand new blog, a brand new beginning, same old boring me.

With similarly boring blog title to boot (duh, who on earth names his blog Untitled?!?).

It’s been many months–maybe years–since I last blogged with such a passion. It’s been one or two months since my domain–or should I say our domain–squoar.com was deactivated, leaving me with no blogs to pour out what I’ve always been itching to write every now and then.

So here’s an attempt to resurrect that passion I used to have. To blog for the sake of blogging. Not to be invited to some blogger events, not to get invited to do product reviews, nor to make money (though those are always nice things to have, as an aside, heheh).

I’m not sure yet what I’m gonna write here. Only one thing is definite: It’s going to be as random as can be. Maybe mostly things to do with my life, my dream, and my passion. Some stories on flight simulation, and the journey towards reaching one of the things I have to do before I die–to fly.

Pepper with a few stories on my obsession with exotic places like Maldives, Christmas Island and Princess Juliana International Airport, among others, which again, I hope to visit before I die. In fact, maybe a lot of stories on my many obsessions. Probably a dash of humour here and there, and some links to interesting things I found on the net.

And maybe, though entirely unlikely, some romance.

Cheers to this brand new blog,
hendri

Categories: Blog Tags: , , ,
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