Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Leona Lewis - New X-Factor Champion [updated]

She's got a good voice and unlike the usual divas, she doesnt over-cook the song with like 10 notes per milisecond. Check out her performance with Take's so amazing..

full version of finals here.


A Father's Love Knows No Bound

What an inspiring story...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ting Hai - 听海

My unplugged version of an old favourite:)

听海 - 张惠妹

写信告诉我今天 海是什么颜色
夜夜陪着你的海 心情又如何
灰色是不想说 蓝色是忧郁
而漂泊的你 狂浪的心 停在哪里

写信告诉我今夜 你想要梦什么
梦里外的我是否 都让你无从选择
我揪着一颗心 整夜都闭不了眼睛
为何你明明动了情 却不敢靠近

听 海哭的声音
叹惜着谁又被伤了心 却还不清醒
一定不是我 至少我很冷静
可是泪水 就连泪水也都不相信

听 海哭的声音
这片海未免也太多情 悲泣到天明
写封信给我 就当最后约定
说你在离开我的时候 是怎样的心情

Celebrity Jeopardy (Saturday Night Live)

This section of SNL was extremely funny. All the celebrity parodies are just so so funny, especially Sean Connery and his innuendoes. Get em all at youtube, where else?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Even Slashdot makes a mistake

Bummer... slashdot's losing it a bit. One of their editors just put up a piece of artcile without checking it properly. The news is about Google and Nasa's collaboration. The article's all wrong cause it used an old article to point to a 'new' news. Worst still, the article also contain a link to a blatant internet squatting, GoogleNasa, which was registered to a certain Chris Kemp who seemed to have registered that domain on 29 September 2005, one day after that announcement by NASA. But, it seems that the site's been slashdotted already:)) as can be seen in this screenshot:

Better buck up, slashdot or you'll be losing more readers to digg.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Testing Your Vs and Ws

Here's a tongue-twister I thought of. It was caused by one of my cell member in Edinburgh always making fun of people who cant pronounce Vs and Ws properly:P

Vincent and Wilson and are best of buddies,
Vincent wants to buy a Volvo,
Wilson wants to buy a Volkswagen,
And so on their birthdays,
Wilson buys Vincent a Volvo,
Vincent buys Wilson a Volkswagen.

See if you can read this fast and clear enough:) There's actually a subtle twist within a twist in it, it's for people with problems with Vs and Bs:)


Wow...cant believe I've lost almost 10kg in less than 9 months. When I left Open Source Systems in March 2006, I was like 84-85kg (which sort of qualified me as overweight with a BMI (weight in kg divided by height squared) of 85/(1.82 x 1.82) = 25.7). I started going to the gym in Shell twice a week and after 5 months of consistent attendance, my weight dropped to 80-81kg (BMI 24.5.. still a bit borderline). Then I sort of got side-tracked with that singing competition and so, reduced my sessions to once a week. After coming to Edinburgh, I've mostly walked to places I need to go and guess what, my weight's now 76 kg (BMI 22.8). Hopefully, it's due to healthy living (eating mostly home-cooked food with very little oil and salt and MSG) and consistent exercise:) and the cold temperature probably:) This is so cool:)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Stig, a Mclaren Test Driver??

Is this true? Is Top Gear's tame racing driver, Stig testing for Vodafone Mclaren-Mercedes F1?? Don't believe me, look at these photos:

Well, not really, it's actually Alonso getting a surprise Christmas gift from Flavio in allowing him to test for Mclaren for a day despite still being contracted to Renault till end of Dec 2006. Because of the contract, he cannot have any other sponsorship associated with him now and so even his car's decals were removed.

Although, I think Alonso probably got his overall colors idea from Renault's previous publicity stunt with Top Gear when Stig did drive the Renault F1 car around the Top Gear track.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

BMW Sauber F1's new Supercomputer, Albert2

Should have seen this coming:)) Sauber Petronas's first supercomputer, Albert was based on AMD Opteron architecture. With Intel now sponsoring BMW Sauber, Albert must have been quite an eye sore in the sponsorship:)) Having worked in a company that was selling small supercomputers (oxymoron here:P), I've realised that it's all just about marketing and exposure. They're not really passionate about technologies and the amazing stuff they can do. It's just about selling more processors. At least that's the case in Malaysia as most of reps here are just marketing people. Gets a bit frustrating dealing with them. Anyway, here's the press release from BMW Sauber:

lbert2, presented on Thursday to international media representatives in Hinwil, is Europe's fastest machine used in industry according to the current Top-500 list. Albert2 is based on Intel processors and employed by the team for computational fluid dynamics (CFD). On average, it is about three times faster than its predecessor.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Aerodynamics has a crucial influence on the performance of modern Formula 1 cars, with experimental work in the wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics complementing each other. The launch of Albert2 means a decisive reinforcement of our CFD capacity. Unlike other teams, we are not planning to build a second wind tunnel but will continue to bank on the consistently expanding potential in this area. For the new season, we have set the goal of further reducing the gap to the top. Our new Supercomputer based on Intel technology is an important tool supporting us in this effort."

"The powerful Dual-Core Xeon processors perfectly match the high demand on computing power of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The cluster based on these processors is one of the fastest in the world running computational fluid dynamic applications,” said Christian Morales, Vice President & General Manager of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa.“With the move to Multi-Core we are able to meet the future demand on computing power of the BMW Sauber F1 Team for computational fluid dynamics."

Albert2 is based on Intel technology. It has 256 nodes with two Intel Xeon 5160 processors each, and each of these has two cores. This results in a total of 1024 cores. The capacity of the main memory is 2,048 Gbyte, the maximum computing power is 12,288 GFlops.

To illustrate the point for non-computer-experts, this means that Albert2 is capable of performing 12,288,000,000,000 floating-point arithmetic operations per second. To equal this computing power, all the inhabitants of the city of Munich (1.3 million) would have to multiply two eight-digit numbers every three and a half seconds for an entire year.

According to the criteria defined for acceptance in the Top-500 list of Supercomputers, this data makes Albert2 5.5 times faster than its predecessor, Albert. In the field, though - as with any computer - the software used plays a crucial part when it comes to speed. But even when running the complex programs for CFD calculations the increase is immense: when using the Fluent application, the average performance improvement amounts to a factor of three.

The architecture of the Supercomputer was developed by the Swiss company DALCO. A key objective was the achievement of high levels of efficiency as well as very good scalability, meaning that operations can be split among many processors without any significant loss of performance. The software for the CFD calculations is supplied by the German subsidiary of the American company Fluent, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ANSYS, Inc. since May 2006. Their specialists have been working together with the CFD engineers in Hinwil for several years, optimising the software step by step.

The Intel processors operate inside High Density Racks from American Power Conversion (APC). These combine power supply, cooling and environmental monitoring in an optimised rack construction. The Supercomputer consists of a total of ten racks, each having a width of one metre, a depth of 1.20 metres and a height of 2.30 metres. This results in a total length of nine metres and a total weight of 21 tons.

Albert2's enormous technological potential is used for analyses in the area of aerodynamics. By means of CFD aerodynamics components for Formula 1 cars are calculated on the computer, using numerical grid models that often consist of more than 100 million cells. CFD plays an important part in the development of front, rear and auxiliary wings as well as engine and brake cooling as another key area.

For the CFD specialists, the computing power provided by Albert2 means that they can perform their calculations either at higher speed or greater accuracy. Willem Toet, Head of Aerodynamics for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, says: "Thanks to Albert2 we can calculate more variants and more complex models which, in the end, results in an advantage on the stop watch. Of particular benefit is the system’s good scalability which gives us a very high level of flexibility.” Computational fluid dynamics does not compete with the work in the wind tunnel but complements it. During the development of the front wing, for example, numerous variants are calculated using CFD before the most promising of them are tested on the 60-percent model in the wind tunnel."

"A major advantage of CFD is the ability to simulate the air flow, which enables us to understand why one part is better than another. Consequently, there is a cross-fertilization between simulation and experimental aerodynamics," Toet added.

Linkin Park + Jay Z

This was out last year, I think. Didnt like Linkin Park nor Jay Z individually but somehow when they combined, it's pretty cool:)

Even Sir Paul likes them apparently...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Poor Asimo

Poor fella took quite a fall:P


This is so so cool, if you got a mac laptop, you gotta try the MacSaber. It's a prog that uses Mac's in-built Sudden Motion Sensor to generate light saber sound every time you move the laptop. Not sure about the longevity of your machine after excessive use but what a way to start a conversation in a party:P

Best F1 Overtaking Moves

This is obviously very debatable but just enjoy it...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Daniel Chan (陈晓东)-Xin You Du Zhong 心有独钟

Finally finished my first semester. And it snowed for the first time this year! So thought I'll do what I've been wanting to do in the blog:) Ignore the pathetic attempt at music-video-ing (I'm a bit kaku(frozen), i know) ..concentrate on the song;)

每一次呼吸 心被占据
浓得发痛在心中 痛全是感动
笑我太傻太蒙懂 或爱得太重

Zhe zhong gan jue chong lai bu cheng you
Zhuo you mei tian si
xu mei yi chi hu xi
Xin bei zhan ju que ku bu yi
Shi ni
rang wo zhao le mi
* Gei le tian mi you bao chi ju li
ni siao sha lai qu wan ai qing you xi
Wo yi tian tian shi qu
yong qi
Pian pian nan liao nan wang ji
** Dan dan wei ni
xin you du zhong
Yin wei ai guo cai zhi qing duo
Nong de fa dong zai xin zhong
Tong cuan shi gan
Wo shi zhen de zhen de yu zhong bu tong
Zhen zhen
wei ni xin you du zhong
Yin wei you ni shi jie bian bu
Siao wo tai sha tai mong dong
Huo ai de tai
Zhi wei xiang xin wo zhi ji
Neng yong yuan dui ni
xin du zhong


Quite an interesting way to mix in Leann Rimes's How Do I Live..

[天天夜夜] 正確歌詞
黎安萊姆絲:How do I live without you
Faye:I want to know
黎安萊姆絲:How do I breathe without you
Faye:If you ever go
黎安萊姆絲:How do I ever
合:Ever survive How do I How do I How do I live

阿沁:當你的淚在微笑中滑落 回憶的風 吹著我走 我卻情願停留
Faye: 等一顆心到時間的盡頭 呼吸也會痛
合:可是我記得 你給我的夢

阿沁:每一夜我感覺妳的存在 走過傷害

Faye:So, how do I live
阿沁:How do I live
合:How do I live without you

Faye:How do I live

阿沁:當世界都遺忘我的時候 妳的一切 對我來說 緊握才能擁有
Faye:我明白一份真愛的背後 藏著苦和憂
合:心痛的時候 更深刻感受

阿沁:每一夜我感覺妳的存在 走過傷害

Faye:So, how do I live
阿沁:How do I live
合:How do I live without you

黎安萊姆絲:And tell me now

阿沁:每一夜我感覺妳的存在 走過傷害

Faye:So, how do I live
阿沁:How do I live
合:How do I live without you
阿沁:without you


Faye:So, how do I live
阿沁:How do I live
合:How do I live without you

黎安萊姆絲:How do I live without you
      How do I breathe without you

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

N Sync - It's Gonna Be Me (Live)

I know most wont agree with me but this is a really cool song. I think I tried to learn the dance steps when it first came out quite a while ago;)

Firefox Crop Circle

Wow, some cool farmer has created a Firefox Crop Circle and it's now on Google Maps:) Check it out at Google Sightseeing. They've even arranged their vehicles to say FX2:))

Cool BMW Advert

So delightfully cheeky:P

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Proof That Dogs are Rear-Wheel Drive

..or more like two-legged run.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

12 Days of Christmas (Hindi Style)

Got this from coolcat. This is guaranteed to crack you up:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The 90/10 Principle

Common sense, this but it's a useful reminder, that our actions or rather reactions do make a difference:

Author: Stephen Covey

Discover the 90/10 Principle.

It will change your life (at least the way you react to situations).

What is this principle? 10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is
decided by how you react.

What does this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us.

We cannot stop the car from breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which
throws our whole schedule off. A driver may cut us off in traffic.

We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine the
other 90%.

How? ..........By your reaction.

You cannot control a red light. but you can control your reaction. Don't let people fool
you; YOU can control how you react.

Let's use an example.

You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee
onto your business shirt. You have no control over what just happened.

What happens next will be determined by how you react.

You curse.

You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over. She breaks down in
tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing the cup
too close to the edge of the table. A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs
and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find your daughter has been too busy
crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the bus.

Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your
daughter to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph
speed limit.

After a 15-minute delay and throwing $60 traffic fine away, you arrive at school. Your
daughter runs into the building without saying goodbye. After arriving at the office 20
minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has started terrible. As it
continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home.

When you arrive home, you find small wedge in your relationship with your spouse
and daughter.

Why? .... Because of how you reacted in the morning.

Why did you have a bad day?

A) Did the coffee cause it?

B) Did your daughter cause it?

C) Did the policeman cause it?

D) Did you cause it?

The answer is “D".

You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5
seconds is what caused your bad day.

Here is what could have and should have happened.

Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about to cry. You gently say, "Its ok
honey, you just need to be more careful next time". Grabbing a towel you rush
upstairs. After grabbing a new shirt and your briefcase, you come back down in time
to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and
waves. You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss
comments on how good the day you are having.

Notice the difference?

Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended different.


Because of how you REACTED.

You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens. The other 90% was
determined by your reaction.

Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle. If someone says something
negative about you, don't be a sponge. Let the attack roll off like water on glass. You
don't have to let the negative comment affect you!

React properly and it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a
friend, being fired, getting stressed out etc.

How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic? Do you lose your temper? Pound
on the steering wheel? A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off) Do you
curse? Does your blood pressure skyrocket? Do you try and bump them?

WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work? Why let the cars ruin your

Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.

You are told you lost your job.

Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out. Use your worrying energy and time
into finding another job.

The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take outpour
frustration on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on.

Use your time to study, get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It
will just make things worse.

Now you know the 90-10 principle. Apply it and you will be amazed at the results.
You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90-10 principle is incredible. Very few know and
apply this principle.

The result?

Millions of people are suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and
heartache. We all must understand and apply the 90/10 principle.

It CAN change your life!!!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

MMU Pre-University 1998's Theme Song


Aaaahh...belaian jiwa (we always call it belakang kira, trying to be funny). When I was doing my Pre-University studies in MMU Malacca, this song played on the radio at least 10 times a day. Those were fun times. Studies werent as tough as the days to come. We could go bowling in Mahkota Parade in between classes though we were at Bukit Beruang. After exams, can go to Pantai Klebang, all the plays we did, all the concerts we organized and made a mess of:)) We could even go see meteor shower for the whole night and next day went for classes without sleeping. Though until today, I think I missed all the meteor that went across the sky that night:)) Not very good eyesight, I have. So thankful that the bunch of us still meet up for movies and mamak even after graduation and repeat all the stories we had again and again and again... Though some of us are now in UK, some will be going to Australia, some probably gonna get married and will be going nowhere:P, we can still look forward to fruitful friendships ahead!

p.s. I was also incidentally banned from driving my car into campus for a week then, thanks to a certain fella who is now CTO/CEO/CFO of his own startup company and he even hires a well-known car blogger as his employee:P

Mungkin Nanti by Peter Pan


Nice Malay song that I heard one of the band's in Shell IT performed during the finals of CBJ Idol. Couldnt forget it after hearing it. Here are the lyrics and chords (the original song is in A key):

G Bm
Saatnya tuk berkata
Mungkin yang terakhir kalinya
G Bm
Sudahlah lepaskan semua
Kuyakin inilah waktunya

Chorus : Mungkin saja kau bukan yang dulu lagi
Mungkin saja rasa itu telah pergi..

Reff : Dan mungkin bila nanti
Kita kan bertemu lagi
Satu pintaku jangan
Kau coba tanyakan kembali
Rasa yang ku tinggal mati
Seperti hari kemarin
Saat semua disini......


G Bm
Dan bila hatimu terbangun
Bangun dari mimpi-mimpimu
G Bm
Membuka hatimu yg dulu
Cerita saat bersamaku

back to chorus
back to reff 1x

Tak usah kau tanyakan lagi
Simpan untuk sendiri
Semua sesal yang kau cari
Semua rasa yang kau beri......


Thursday, November 02, 2006

European Masters In Informatics (scholarship provided)

For those who are interested in doing their masters in IT in Europe, the program I'm currently enrolled in is open for application again. Dateline is January 15 2007. Program is two years and you get 21,000 euros each year for living costs and tuition fees. If IT isnt your cup of tea, just go see the Erasmus Mundus program for other masters program;)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Aaron Kwok is back singing


At 41, Aaron is back with a new album. Used to my idol, as you can see from my past performance. Too bad, I'm not as good looking...if not....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Amazing Passion of Schumacher for Racing

Even his car was on fire, he's still calm, collected and 100% committed. Hard to forget Austria GP 2003 where Michael was comfortably leading the race till his last pit stop when his car caught fire. He still went on to win the race and ultimately the championship in the slightly less spectacular F2003-GA. He made it work.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Happy and Sad Day for Formula 1

It's been 10 years since I've started following Formula 1 in 1996. It's been 10 years since Michael Schumacher switched from Benetton to Ferrari after winning his 2nd Drivers' Championship. No coincidence for sure. Too young to really understand the meaning of the word controversy and sportmanship, I admired Schumacher and Ferrari tremendously and had not stopped doing so. It's so sad that he is retiring but I'm glad that he's retiring at the top of his game, especially if you've seen his final race in Brazil. Even when things were going against him, a failed fuel system in qualifying, a puncture in early part of the race, he still fought back to finish 4th. Would someone who is retiring do that? It's just so amazing!

But F1 is in good hands. Alonso's career path is so Schumacher-like, it's really scary. Also coming off his 2nd World Championship with Renault (who was Bennetton), he's moving to Mclaren (which is in backward slide, just like Ferrari in 96). But can he do the Schumacher there, to build a team around him and pulverise opponents for the next 10 years? Hard to tell but it is highly unlikely...

... cause Ferrari is still strong and I just cant wait for next season to start already. With Kimi Raikkonen (I believe this guy is in almost everyone's list of favourite drivers) joining the ever-improving Felipe Massa, the future boads well for the Scuderia. With Schumacher hopefully staying around in an advisory role, it's gonna be fantastic. And for people who dont have the chance to watch itv, here's a tidbit information which will crack you up: before the start of the race, Pele came down to the grid to gave Schummi a special trophy to commemorate his retirement. Martin Brundle, itv's f1 commentator was as usual going around interviewing people on the grid. When he approached Kimi and asked why was he not at the ceremony, Kimi actually cheekily explained to Brundle that he had to go for a shit!!!!!! (I'm not kidding!) The fella was grinning happily, being honest on international tv:)) Who say the Iceman has no sense of humour:P And we learn a bit more about what F1 drivers do before a race as well;)

Maybe, Ross Brawn, going into sabbatical is training Schumi to be a pit-stop tactician/strategist like he is. Not surprised if he does cause Schumacher can not only drive fast, he is also pretty smart, tactically and mechanically as well, I believe. So, have we seen the last of Schummi? As a racer, maybe. But we just have to wait and see. Really cant wait..I just cant wait!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Selamat Hari Raya

To All my Malaysian friends, Selamat Hari Raya and Berholiday:) Eat more ketupats and rendang for me!

Selamat Hari Raya

Selamat Hari Raya
Kepada saudara serta saudari
Setahun hanya sekali
Merayakan hari yang mulia ini

Di masa bulan Ramdan
Kita berpuasa hingga sebulan
Pabila Syawal menjelma
Hari raya disambut dengan gembira

Miskin kaya memakai baju baru warna-warni
Mengunjungi sanak-saudara kaum famili
Sungguh hebat pemandangan di hari raya ini
Tua muda wajah berseri-seri

Marilah bergembira
Bersama menikmati hari raya
Mintak mak kuih sepotong
Saya mahu makan kerna perut kosong

Maafkanlah jika ada terlanjur perkataan
Diharap supaya jangan disimpan
Kuberdoa selamat panjang umur murah rezeki
Semoga Tuhan akan memberkati

Selamat hari raya
Hari untuk kita bersuka ria
Selamat kami ucapkan
Untuk kita hingga sampai tahun depan

Selamat hari raya

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Work Work

It's inevitable isnt it? Yup, the drawback of going back to studies is the notion of assigments and exams:P Thank God I only have 4 subjects but each of them have assignments aready:)
Studying Applied Databases, Distributed Systems, Java Programming and a Research Review course.

Research Review's pretty cool. Based on my area of interest, I get to do a paper on a subject matter, requiring me to go through journals and stuff. I'm specialising in Databases and so my supervisor has given me a topic on Web Services. Should be fun since one of the topic is to review 2 web services offering. Planning to talk about Google Maps and Youtube:P

Thanks to Farul, I will still get my healthy dosage of wholesome American TV programs such as Lost and Desperate Housewives:P So it aint too bad:)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Arthur's Seat

Been in Edinburgh for 2 weeks plus. Thanks to Shawn, I've been up Arthur's Seat twice within that short period:) You can read his adventure here. Hehehe. Of course, me being me, the two times I went up, I chose to do it the hard way:P First time went up was during my 2nd day in Edinburgh. Did it while still recovering from my journey to Edinburgh. Had a good sleep after reaching the top though.

2nd time, went up alone 2nd week into Edinburgh. Did it when it was raining and pretty windy. Also took the wrong way up. Went up through the medium difficulty path. Met some kind fellow trekkers and went up together. Had some whisky and a pint of beer with them after that. Pretty cool.
Holyrod Park (the area where Arthur's Seat is located) has a very nice field where people can just sit down and relax. Gurmit Singh (Phua Chu Kang) would love this place since he mentioned in an interview before that his ultimate contentment would be just sit below a tree in a big field with his wife sleeping at his lap or something of that short.

Pretty lake at Holyrod.

The enjoyable trek up Arthur's Seat:
Trying to be artistic photographer

Even the view along the way is fantastic

Finally reached the top.

The view is worth every effort:) It's a bit foggy but still looked great!
Edinburgh Castle from Arthur's Seat

2nd time around, met Gavin, Noelia and Carol. Carol is a local Scots lady. Gavin works with British Airways in London and Noelia is from Peru.

Me and Gavin struggling to keep up with the ladies:)) Noelia's homeland Peru's landscape is like this. Carol has been climbing Arthur's Seat since ages ago.

Gavin, Carol and me

Gavin, Noelia and Carol. We had whisky and beer to warm us up after the cold wind and rain outside.

Gonna continue go up pretty often:) Nice la. Just hope the weather will allow me to do so:))

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Remember Dreams Come True


Leann Rimes - Remember When

Disneyland 50th Anniversary Special

Do you still remember when you dreamed and wished you could go to Disneyland? I seemed to have forgotten that dream.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ladyman, You The Man!

I'm sure all motoring fans know about Richard Hammond (Hamster)'s horrific crash while attempting to set the land speed record. Naturally, all the Greenpeace and anti-Top Gear wimps have come out bashing the show, saying it's dangerous and environmentally unfriendly. Apparently, Stephen Ladyman, UK's Road Safety Minister has come out defending the series, expressing his regret at the actions of these idiots. Now, that's a cool Transport Minister. Of course, he appeared on Top Gear before and drove the Suzuki Liana in the Star In a Reasonably Priced Car segment. He also drives a red Alfa Romeo:))

On a separate note, I've actually sent the following get-well-soon message to Richard but Top Gear didnt dare to publish it:P


Please get well soon as Top Gear wouldnt be Top Gear without you. It'll just be 2 old farts trying to act young talking about cars too fast for them. Seriously, you've done a great job and hope you'll be up and running soon."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dr Ross Anderson

Another post for geeks. Hehehe. Just attended a talk by a guest lecturer, Dr Ross Anderson from Cambridge University. Very cool guy. Why? Cause there's actually an entry on him in wikipedia. Dr Ross is an expert on all things security and as seen from his webpage, he's done some very very cool research. He even puts his whole book online free for download. He came to share on two of his most interesting research areas.

The first one was titled "Programming Satan's Computer". Satan's Computer was a term he coined with Roger Needham in expressing the difficulty in coming out with cryptographic protocols. He shared a lot of his previous experience in helping banks come out with better ATM security systems. He also shared his dislike for Microsoft and their "treacherous computing" idea:P

2nd topic was on Economics of Security. It's basically applying economic reasonings rather than tehcnical ones on why security systems sometimes fail and why do certain people do certain things and caused havocs in computing environments. One interesting topic was on incentives in finding bugs in software. He gave a rather funny example to illustrate this point. Supposed, the National Security Agency (NSA) finds a bug in Windows. Would they inform Microsoft to patch it? If they do, they will protect about 300million Americans. But if they don't, they can spy on 400million Europeans, 1billion Chinese and a couple of Middle-Easterns. So the rationale in security is more often than not, driven by economic and sociology motivations. Hence, his research together with a few economists is to analyze the trend in security systems via an economic perspective.

I have no plans to specialize in security but it's still so interesting. Will be doing mostly databases and data management stuff. That should be fun as well since database research is pretty strong in Edinburgh University. Will also find time attend all these ad-hoc guest lectures. Lots of new and interesting ideas to glean from:)

Publishing Your iCal Calendars on Google Calendar

Found this ingenious method of getting iCal calendars on Google Calendar. Why would someone wanna do that? The geek factor I guess:) In the process I've also accidentally published my calendar on iCalExchange. Here are my personal calendar and my studies calendar. Doubt anyone would wanna know but just in case:)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Pride and Joy of Malaysian Automotive Industry

Well, well, of all things seen in Edinburgh, this has to be quite memorable. Seeing my country's own national car. Known as Proton Wira in Malaysia, it was "technology-transferred" from Mitsubishi Lancer in 1993. Still in production 13 years later and sold in various guises by Proton locallly. In UK, it's apparently known as Proton Persona and also used by the Dominoes delivery guy near my living place:P

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Corruption in EPL

Just saw a very shocking program called Panaroma on BBC. They just did an undercover job to reveal the depth of corruptions amongst the player agents and club managers. Many names (very big ones I imagine) were withheld due to lack of evidence. However, 3 stories were shown as they had video and audio recordings:

1. Bolton's manager Sam Allardyce had taken money directly or via his son, Craig (an agent for players as well) from agents during player tranfers to and from Bolton

2. Liverpool and Chelsea's Youth Academy blatantly tried to tap Middlesbrough's young player Nathan Porrit when he was offered like farmyard sale by his agent, Peter Harrison. If you dont know what tapping means, just search these terms in google: Ashley Cole Chelsea tapping:P

3. Harry Redknapp, manager of Portsmouth tried to tap Blackburn's Andy Todd when he was offered by the same agent again, Peter Harrison. Harry's assistant Kevin Bond also called the undercover journalist to express their (Harry and Kevin) interest in getting their "palms greased" when there's a transfer deal in the future.

Shocking indeed but not surprising since so much money is being passed around in EPL. What a sad day for football

100 Sexiest Cars


Top Gear just came out with a list of the 100 Sexiest Cars. I love it so much I went through the whole list and these are some of my own favourites. Really hard to choose:P The top comment for each car is mine. The photos and car descriptions are all blatantly copied from Top Gear:

The muscular no-nonsense looks just grabs you by the throat
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
You'll be wanting the Series 3 with 430bhp 'X-pack' Works Service V8 then, sir. It's like driving a supercharged tractor, but cool as dry ice.

Weird choice I know but the space-ship shape is rather cute and sexy:
Citroen DS: the car that Citroen still trades on 30 years later...
Enough has been said about the DS over the years that if you don't know about it, then you've been living in a hole. The reason? Well, it was absolutely, without a doubt, one of the sexiest cars ever built.
It looked like a spaceship that had been ram-raided by a luxury speedboat. It contained technology that was so far ahead of its time that William Woollard may have regarded it as witchcraft, and had the canny knack of making every woman driving it look like a French screen actress just back from the Riviera.
How many other cars have self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension that have saved French presidents from assassination? Witness De Gaulle's escape from the baddies in 1962 thanks to the fact that a DS could still drive even when miscreants had shot out the tyres.
In the 1950s this was a car with a hydraulically-assisted shift and clutch. It was a car that combined style and forward-thinking not re-created until Apple got jiggy with personal music players. As with everything, though, there's a DS sexual-chemistry hierarchy. You need, and this is non-negotiable, a 1954 DS Convertible in white. Mmmm.

The first F1 car with aerodynamics parts and nice sponsor colors. Btw, the word "fag" below means cigratte not erm faggots:P
Lotus F1 Type 72: the ads get sexy
The debate goes on: is it who's at the wheel, what a car has achieved or something entirely different that provokes an often inexplicable sense of hormone-fed awe in onlookers? In the Lotus Type 72's case, it isn't so much that it won 20 Grands Prix, three constructors' championships and two drivers' titles, but, that, for a generation, it represented the finest car you could possibly wish to place on a Scalextric track.
And as a symbol of a defiantly un-PC decade - one viewed via a can of Watneys Party Seven and the eye-stinging haze of a splosh of Old Spice - it's also a contender for the finest race car livery of all time, courtesy of a fag sponsor.

Mclaren SLR is just such an amazing car. It has rear spoilers that comes out to help the car brake faster:
Mercedes SLR McLaren
The SLR is sexy because it sounds like a WW2 fighter. Our only caveat is it must be in black.

The Ferrari 599 just looks stunning and it has almost Enzo-like performances as well.
Ferrari 599 GTB
The Ferrari 599 is so unutterably cool because it just gets more and more attractive the longer you spend with it. This isn't an instant addiction car, it's one that hooks you in deeply when you have spent some decent miles in the driver's seat.
You don't fancy it, or lust after it. But you might just fall in love with it. And that, my friends, is outrageously sexy.

The Ford GT just has such presence although Jeremy Clarkson owns one and he's been complaining about it since he got his, which incidentally was 1 year late in delivery:))
Ford GT: rebirthing gene pool
A 5.4-litre supercharged V8 with 550bhp through the rears, retro styling and the coolest use of stripes since the Viper. The GT is sexy. Except for the fact that Jeremy Clarkson owns one. Oh dear...

If one cannot afford a Ferrari, then one should get a Lambo instead (<-- this statement does not make sense)
Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder: if ever there was a time to lose your head...
The car that made a Lambo a temptation over the equivalent Ferrari eventually lost its head a couple of years after the Coupe first snarled and spat its way into the collective imagination.
Powered by the same 520bhp, V10 engine, the Gallardo Spyder can mince your hairdo at 190mph with the roof down, but better than that, it comes in the kind of colour pallet that takes it from just impressive to downright outrageous.
There is nothing sexier than a powder-blue Lamborghini drop-head anywhere near a beach.

Very futuristic and yet retro looking concept car. No wonder it's sexy
Alfa 8C Competizione: retro never looked so modern
You can sense shades of inspiration for the stunning 8C in the Tipo 33 next door. A car so beautiful they gave it a cool-as-heck name. The '8C' refers to the early 8-cyl powered cars and the 'Competizione' bit is a homage to the 1950s 6C 2500 Competizione that Fangio used to drive.

I have to agree with the Top Gear writers about this animated porsche. If Porsches are alive, they should be like this, very disconcerting:P
Sally Carrera: it's all in the voice, dear
This is ridiculous. How can a cartoon car make it into the top 10? Well, just listen to Sally the 911 Carrera and you'll see. Voiced by Bonnie Hunt in Pixar's movie Cars, Sally Carrera is the love interest for Lightning McQueen - the story's hero.
Quite apart from the fact that Sally sounds like what you imagine a 911 might in your weirdest fantasy, she also has some rather interesting pinstriping which would suggest intimate tattoos.

I put this C6 in because the description says very very nice things about intelligent people being sexy:P
Citroen C6: smooth and intelligent beats macho grunt
A well-turned ankle or washboard stomach is one thing, but nothing pumps the handle of love's well like brains. Einstein had several mistresses, and many women admitted to being slightly smitten with Robin Cook when he was in office.
He was a thin bloke with a beard, but he was clever, and that sent Peter Snow's sex swingometer straight into the red. And all blokes get a bit hot for Carol Vorderman - not just because she's good-looking, but because she can add up. And this is before we get onto librarians in owlish glasses. The C6 is a brainy car for brainy people, a pleasant antidote to everything sporty and cardiovascular. It's handsome, certainly, but it's the strong silent type.
A ride in a C6 is an intelligent and sensitive form of seduction. It lowers your resistance imperceptibly, like a pre-coital massage. It's a car for anyone who was turned off by the old Bullworker ad. The C6 simply wouldn't kick sand in anyone's face, it would rather disarm you with a timely quotation from Roland Barthes.

Who says 4-door saloons cant be sexy, especially if it's a Maserati
Maserati Quattroporte: Ferrari in an overcoat
Maserati has always maintained a romance about the name despite some shockingly poor cars, but once in a while it manages something really special.
Yes, the Duo-Select paddle operated gearbox might not work in fully automatic mode, but the Quattroporte is simply one of the most evocative four-door saloons anywhere in the world.
A Ferrari-sourced 4.2-litre V8 howls down the screams from the back seats as you make a large Italian four-seater flick through the twisties like one of its more exotic Cavallino cousins. And it seduces your eyes away from your brain. We love it.

One word says it all: Bond.
Aston Martin DB5
Even discounting its 'Bond, James Bond' connotations, the DB5 is a seriously sexy car. It's an Aston for pity's sake. Hell, it's THE Aston, and it's our number one Brit.

No 1 takes a while to understand but you'll get it after a while. We've always associate car sexiness with sleek low-profile sports cars but there are like so so many of those that they've become sort of common. The Fiat Cinqueciento is a rather smart and sexy choice. Of course, LC made a good point about the old Beetle and old Mini being better choice. But unfortunately, those 2 have newer modern versions that look like the old. That's not sexy:P
Fiat Cinqueciento
And, yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. A car that embodies the essence of sexiness; a car that drips desirability from its every curve. Yes, it's Italian. Yes, it's a classic. And yes, we want one. Each.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Churchill House @ Richmond Place

This will be my home for the next 1 year. The names alone bring such a sense of Englishness already:)) Richmond Place is a very quiet residential street with my hostel being a section, the rest are flats and houses.
Dont misunderstand, this isnt Churchill House (I wish) but one of flats opposite Churchill House. Nice brick design and all, very English. If you noticed that in the first picture, you can see some hills. They're missing in 2nd pic due to foggy weather.

Pass through an arch and you come into Churchill House:
The entrance is in the 2nd pic. Rather dull looking I know but it's very comfortable as you will see.

The ground lobby has a foosball table, some sofas, our individual mailboxes and some vending machines selling sweets, chocolates and soft drinks.

Take a lift up to 6th floor and you'll pass by some corridors to get to my room. Very hotelish. Well, the word hostel is like the word hotel but with an "s" in the middle:P
Left corridor of my room

Right corridor of my room. Ya I know, exactly the same

This was my room's original arrangement. After seeing some corridor-mates redecorating their room, I decided to have a go myself. Gave myself a lot more room to practice putting during winter as you can see:

Each room's gets its own en-suite bathroom

The kitchen is shared with about 10 people sharing one. Quite nice. Has sofa, TV, dining table and the usual cooking-ware.

My kitchen apparently has the best window view:)

My microwave meal: 8-minute microwave instant lamb chop with peas, carrots and potatoes. It's £2 only:)