Author Archive


October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Sometimes it blows my mind that for the past 7 months, I’ve been (ever so gently) smashing a ton of metal, with me inside, onto a slab of concrete at a speed of 120 km/h, and still live to tell the story…

Categories: Random

iOS 4 Gripes

July 19, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s been three weeks since iOS 4 was released by Apple, and my experience with the operating system on my iPod touch 2G, frankly, isn’t fantastic. I’ll leave it to you to find out what other users are facing, but I will just touch on the two major problems that I have when using iOS 4 on the iPod touch.

Firstly, there were issues during upgrading. The upgrade process is supposed to be pretty much automatic. Apple even publishes a 4-step instructions on how to upgrade to iOS 4. iTunes is supposed to automatically back up the contents of the iPod touch, and then restore it once iOS 4 has been installed.

iOS4 Updating Instructions

What actually happened was that the back up process could never be completed automatically, always ending up with some sort of a failure and an offer to continue the upgrade without making a back up. What was even stranger was that manual back up worked fine. So I had to create a manual back up, and then restore the backup manually after the upgrade.

Another glitch that I noticed during the upgrade process was with the Nike+ app. Nike+ is an app that can interface with certain Nike running shoes and keep a log of one’s runs. (I bought the iPod touch with the intention of making running more interesting, so that I would run more regularly. As it turned out, I don’t run that much after all, but that’s a topic for another discussion.)

What happened during the upgrade was that all my running logs were erased from Nike+. What was even stranger is that while I saw nothing in my running history, the total running distance, which is also logged in the app, was doubled from what it was. Say, before the upgrade, I had 53 km of running distance. After the upgrade, the app showed that I had run for 106 km.

Thinking that I could recover the running history by restoring from a back up, I performed the restoration a second time. What only happened was that the application now showed a total of 159 km of running distance–triple the original figure. Very strange!

In the end I gave up and reset the entire running history altogether. And it turns out I’m not the only one experiencing this.


The second gripe that I have is with the battery performance. I consider myself a light user of the iPod touch. I don’t use it to listen to music on the go as I don’t travel to work anymore. I only use the iPod touch to do some late night reading or surfing on my bed, where it is inconvenient to use my laptop.

Before the upgrade, I could do this for a couple of days between recharge. But ever since I upgraded to iOS 4, this frequency has increased to about one recharge every 2 days.

I pinpointed this to a new feature on iOS 4 which leaves the wi-fi on when the device is asleep. That means that before the upgrade, after reading/surfing, I would fall asleep, the iPod touch will go to sleep mode, and the wi-fi will turn off by itself. Now with the persistent wi-fi, even when the device goes to sleep mode, the wi-fi remains on, using up the battery as it does. Imagine my frustration when the following night and I wanted to do some reading, I found out that the device’s battery was flat.

iOS4 Wi-Fi

Apple advertises this as “iPod touch can stay connected to Wi-Fi when asleep so you can receive incoming VoIP calls and notifications from compatible third-party apps,” which is all good when you’re a user of apps that need such a feature. For my kind of usage, the fact that I have to manually switch off wi-fi before going to sleep, and switch it back on the next time I want to use it is really annoying. There is also no switch that allows me to remove the persistent wi-fi feature so that the iPod touch will behave like it was previously. Again, apparently a lot of other people are having the same problem too.

So, those are the two main gripes that I have about the upgrade to iOS 4. What are yours?

Categories: Tech


July 18, 2010 1 comment
Categories: Blog, Random

Passenger Briefing

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Part of the responsibilities of the pilot-in-command is to welcome the passengers and brief them on what they need to know before departure. This includes things such as the prohibition of smoking, use and adjustment of seat belts, location of emergency exits, use of oxygen (where applicable), stowage of hand luggage, and the presence of special survival equipment (where applicable).

A proper passenger briefing should instill confidence in passengers and start the flight off well.

This is what I’m going to use on my next flight. Any suggestions to make it better?

Good afternoon passengers, and welcome onboard flight Cessna 172 from Jandakot to Jandakot. The weather is looking good today, and you will be treated with a one-and-a-half-hour scenic tour of the training area.

To open the door, pull the handle towards you. To lock it, pull the door shut and push the handle forward until it is flush with the armrest. Make sure there are no gaps between the door and the fuselage of the aircraft.

The seatbelt works like one in your car. To fasten, pull the buckle forward, put the seatbelt over your body, and clip it at the other side of the seat. To unfasten, press the red button.

You must keep the doors locked and seatbelts fastened at all times during the flight, including take-off and landing.

This is a non-smoking flight, and smoking is prohibited by law. There are no toilets in the aircraft, and I would recommend that you empty your bladder before we depart.

I would like to request the passenger sitting in front to refrain from touching the flight controls at all times.

In case of an emergency, please follow my instructions and meet me behind the aircraft after we land. In case of fire, a fire extinguisher is available in the middle of the front seats. To operate, unlatch the clips, pull the fire extinguisher out, aim at the fire, and pull the handle.

If you feel uncomfortable in any way, please let me know and I’ll do everything I can to improve the situation.

Verbal Constipation

May 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Sometimes I look at this somewhat-neglected blog, and think of why I can’t blog as much as I did last time.

Apart from lack of time (which is the mother of all excuses), sometimes I am also having a case of verbal constipation.

What is verbal constipation, you say?

According to Google, verbal constipation is the “[d]ifficulty in expressing in words what one wants to say, especially if one has much to say”.

It’s like I have these gazillion ideas that I would like to write about, but whenever I sit down in front of the computer, WordPress’s Dashboard staring at me from the screen of my Eee PC, the words just won’t come.

Either that, or the words come in a spatter here, a spatter there, creating a mishmash that I disgustedly call a blog post, which I promptly delete.

What would be a good laxative for words?

Categories: Blog, Random Tags: ,

A Dream, A Crime, and A Blanket

April 3, 2010 1 comment

Something weird happened last night.

It was a pretty cold night, so when I went to bed, I tucked myself nicely under the blanket.

And then I had a dream.

In the dream, I was somehow framed by some random dude who stole something. Can’t really remember what it was, but it somewhat looked like a huge yellow coconut leave. I also seem to recall that that something came from the future.

So there I was, being arrested by the police for a future crime that I didn’t (haven’t?) commit. And then someone saved me from the police, and hid me in the second floor of a house.

I tried to stay low, and for a while it was getting pretty quiet.

And then I looked out of the window from the second floor, and I saw a special forces team (SWAT?) ready to charge into the house. Upon seeing me on the second floor, they did charge into the house.

And then someone in my cadet pilot course went up from the first floor and scolded me.

Wahlaueh, why did you even peek out of the window?

Then one of the SWAT members went up the stairs and opened fire at me, and for some reason I managed to dodge all the bullets.

Then I woke up.

And I found myself lying on top of the blanket, with the blanket nicely made under my body.

If you see the photo of my bed above, you’ll realise that without performing some sort of acrobatic maneouvres, it wasn’t possible for me to get from underneath the blanket to the top of it without physically stepping out of the bed, making my bed, and then lying on top of the blanket.

Thing is, all those probably require more mental power than that available in a sleeping person, or even a somnambulating (i.e. sleepwalking) person. And knowing that I don’t normally make my bed, it couldn’t have been through a subconscious movement like that of snoozing alarm clocks.


Update: After reading through Wikipedia’s article on sleepwalking, apparently it’s possible to perform “activities such as eating, bathing, urinating, talking, dressing/undressing, texting, emailing, exercising, walking a dog, painting, whistling, dancing, moaning, gesturing, grabbing at apparently hallucinated objects, committing murder, and/or engaging in sexual intercourse”, including one case about “a woman who sent semi-coherent emails while sleepwalking, including one inviting a friend around for dinner and drinks.”

Categories: Life, Random Tags: , , , , ,

Fun with Chinese Astrology

February 16, 2010 3 comments

Do you believe in Chinese Astrology?

I’ve always taken astrology/zodiac readings with a heap of salt. But just for the fun of it, and because yesterday was Chinese New Year, I took my reading at

To start with, I took a reading for my Chinese astrological animal and lucky element. We always talk about Chinese zodiac in terms of the year, e.g. 2010 is the year of the Tiger, but did you know that in terms of Chinese astrology, the hour that you were born matters as much as the year? Not only that, but the elements associated with the animal are just as important.

After entering my birth date, time, and location, I was presented with the following birth chart:

Apparently I’m a red fire snake born in the year of the green wooden cow.

Side note: the site uses cow instead of ox, but I suppose this is just a matter of terminology.

By the way, 2009 was the year of the brown earth cow. So how now, brown cow? 2010, on the other hand, is the year of the white metal tiger.

Based on the birth chart, I was also presented with another table showing my lucky element:

Based on this table and theory of balance (yin-yang), it was deduced that metal would be my lucky element. This is because the amount of metal in my birth chart is very low compared to the fiery me. As such, an increase in metal would bring the equation into a balance, and therefore it should bring me luck.

All seems well, 2010 is the year of the metal tiger, so I should be pretty lucky this year, right?

Just to double check, I verified my life in 2009, the year of the earth cow, against the astrological reading.

All seems well:

  • Those with metal lucky element are supposed to have a “Vary good luck. Earth is the mother element of Metal. Earth supports Metal.” If they really meant very, then I think it’s quite true, I landed my dream job some time last year.
  • Those who are born with fire as the day master type are supposed to “Trend to talk to people what in your mind. If Earth is the Lucky Element, then you will win the reputation. If Earth is the unlucky element, many people don’t like the way you are.” I’m not sure what they really mean here, so I’ll just take it to my interpretation that I tend to talk too much, which was true.
  • Based on the monthly readings, my luckiest months should have been April, and June till October. Again, I applied for my dream job in April, and got it in July. And I felt that I’ve been lucky from then on, in terms of life outside work, until October when some of it went down the drain till the end of the year.

Side note: Ah… how can we ignore the fallacy of confirmation bias? You only tend to believe what fits your hypothesis, and ignore others. Anyway, let’s leave that for another discussion.

Everything seems well, so I proceeded with the reading for the year of 2010.

It’s pretty lengthy, so for the sake of brevity, I will summarise only the points pertinent to myself:

  • The white tiger contains the elements of metal, wood, and fire, and therefore having metal as my lucky element, I should have some degree of luck.
  • However, wood can help fire to burn, and metal and fire are opposite elements. Therefore, I should avoid wood and fire as they are my unlucky elements.
  • I should have a “good [luck], but not always. It looks a sunny day, however it can become cloudy or rainy later.” Hopefully nothing to do with my job or life!
  • In terms of money, “something to do with money will happen to you. Tiger implies the support from parents, elders, siblings and friends. If you have money trouble first, then people around you who care about you will appear to help the financial trouble. But if you have money luck first, then you will spend more money on investment or people. Therefore, you have to watch your pocket, because the money luck is up and down in White Tiger year.” Somehow, with me going for Australia soon, I feel this coming too.
  • I should have a better people relationship this year as my birth chart contains the female wood. This is because male metal and female wood have an Attraction Relationship into metal side. Well that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
  • Since my lucky element is metal, my luck will be super, including love relationships. Hurhur, let’s see if this is true at all.
  • Since the snake and tiger have a hurting relationship, my people relationship will be damaged. This means that I have to watch my words and act to avoid that a friend becomes an enemy. If I have a shaky love or family relationship, then there is a chance to break it. Wait a minute, didn’t they just say that I will have a better people relationships just a while ago? According to some interpretation that I found on the same site, it could also mean that I will have a good relationship earlier in the year, followed by a bad one, or vice versa.

How true are these? I will never know till one year from now. Maybe I should post a report on whether these come true next year. Go on and read the entire astrology reading, it’s quite interesting, but like I said earlier, take it with heaps of salt.

I went on further to check out the rise and fall chart of my life. The result is not too encouraging:

The red bar represents the amount of luck I will have each year. The page went on to say that a good marriage and career should be started in the longest, or at least longer red bar. Well that’s not too good if I have to wait till I’m 54. And I’m not looking forward to the time when I’m 34. =/

The last thing I checked was the things that I can take note of, having metal as my lucky element:

  • Monkey and Chicken are your lucky animals.
  • Years of Monkey and Chicken are your lucky years.
  • Months of Monkey and Chicken are your lucky Months.
  • Fall is your lucky season.
  • 15:00 – 19:00 (3 P.M. to 7 P.M.) are your lucky hours.
  • Western direction is your lucky place.
  • It will bring you luck to live in a house that faces west.
  • You should choose a bedroom on the west side of the house.
  • It’s good for you to keep the west side window(s) open.
  • When arranging the office desk, you should sit facing the west.
  • A metal bed is good for you.
  • Your lucky color is white.
  • You should wear white often.
  • Driving a white car brings your luck.
  • Wearing jewelry will bring you luck.
  • It’s a good idea to wear golden rings.
  • Take care of your respiratory system – Lungs, Nose and Skin.

If you’re interested to check out any of the last two, they’re in the page that shows you your lucky element.

Whew, this entry is much longer than I initially planned it to be. There are actually a lot more information in the website, but I was too lazy to trawl through every single page.

Just for the heck of it, why don’t you go ahead and see how your reading is like in 2010? But like I said again and again, take it with a heap of salt. 😉

Oh yeah, and by the way, Happy Chinese New Year for those who are celebrating!

Helping Strangers

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

How shy are you to help strangers?

Today while I was cycling to the college to take photos of the sunset, I came across this couple whose car tire had blown. The damage was pretty bad, I could see the tear on the tire, the rim was dented, and the wheel cover was missing. I had actually seen the wheel cover somewhere along the way, but I had kept quiet and continued snapping photos.

That was until the guy asked me for help. He had removed the spare tire, but he couldn’t get the car jack out of its mounting, and he was wondering if I could give him a hand. It was only then that I told him that I saw the wheel cover at the side of the road earlier near a construction site. The car probably hit one of the construction blocks somewhere along the way.

As I know nuts about automotive, I could only apologize and tell him that I couldn’t really help him. I continued snapping photos, as the girlfriend walked to the nearby Sunset Grill restaurant, presumably to ask for help.

I wished him all the best, and I went on to the college. I took more photos, and on my way back, I saw the girlfriend walking all the way to the other end of the road, where the car hit the block, to retrieve the wheel cover.

As I cycled back, I felt guilty and disappointed in myself as I felt that I could somehow at least offer them some form of a help. For those not in the know, Seletar can be quite inaccessible, and walking in or out is very inconvenient. As I was riding a bicycle, it wouldn’t be too hard for me to go and retrieve the wheel cover for them, or to go to Sunset Grill to, maybe, borrow a car jack from the owner of the restaurant.

At the very least, even if I couldn’t help them, the gesture would have been nice. Even a simple “Do you need any help?” would do. It was too easy for me to reason out that I shouldn’t be too kaypoh (busybody) about another person’s business, and that even if I offered my help, he might just reject it. But thinking about it again, I realised that sometimes I’m just too shy to be bold and offer some form of help.

The next time I encounter myself in a similar situation, I’ll try to offer some help. Maybe by being nice to strangers, people will be nice to me too. 😛

Categories: Uncategorized

Of Lifelong Friendships

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I was reading the latest post on Niniane Wang’s blog about her losing her best friend. I couldn’t help but feel sad for her, as she had thought that they would be lifelong friends.

Now, I don’t know Niniane personally. Neither am I saying that I fully understand the situation that they’re facing. In fact, I only came across her blog while searching for easter eggs in Google services.

Niniane Kicks Ass

Niniane is a former engineer in Google. In her website, she wrote that she had a little bet in the year 2000 with his Caltech friend, Dan. The bet was trivial, it was about interpreting a drawing in a cafe. Whoever won that bet would have the other’s name hidden in whatever products they were working on next. She won and Dan’s next project happened to be Google Maps, and for a time her name directed searchers to Google’s headquarters–if you made the search before 2009, as the easter egg has already been removed since then.

To cut a long story short, it appears that the two have fallen out. They had been friends for half of her lifetime, and what they had thought to be a lifelong friendship is, after all, not permanent, and she felt sad and angry about it.

Which makes me think about the notion of lifelong friendships. Is there really such thing as a lifelong friendship? Can two different people meet, realise that they have something in common (or maybe not so much in common, and they simply enjoy each other’s company), decide to become good friends until their dying day, and really live up to it?

I’ve lost count of the number of good friends that I’ve made and lost throughout my life. Usually the cause is as simple as a change of school or location and we simply drift apart. I can accept this, as people always change. Even I change.

But some are due to other reasons such as a misunderstanding or an argument. Yet others have no reasons that are explicable. These usually bug me, because for one, I’m a peaceful person who hates conflicts, and for another, I’m also a person who tries to understand everything in his life, and having something which I can’t explain just annoys my mind to no end.

Anyway, I guess what we all should really do is to treasure all the friends we have, no matter how close we are or how much we trust that person or how we always say that we will be friends till our dying day.

The next thing we know, they could just be gone.

Categories: Life, Personal Tags: ,

It Was All Crap

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Have you ever written or blogged about something, spent a lot of time checking the grammar and expressions, taken an effort to pepper it with photos and other multimedia contents, but at the end of it all you re-read everything you have written a couple of times and decided that it was all crap and thrashed the whole thing?

Well, it just happened to me. 😛

I shall try to write a more-proper post soon!

Categories: Blog, Random Tags:
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