Mom’s New Camera

August 22, 2009

Turned out to be pretty good for something that cost less than $200.


I am a MAN!

November 30, 2008

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 5%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 95%

Site Male-Female Ratio 1 0.85 1.15 1.2 2.08 1.22 1.5 1.27 1.27 1.33 1.33 1.5 0.83 1.2

From Mike on Ads. Based on SocialHistory.js, which I have only just discovered. Shame on me, considering it’s something so pertinent to my job.

Asus EEE 900

May 17, 2008

Just bought it. So far it’s been terrible to use–the keyboard has almost no tactile response at all, and typos abound. Typing anything longer than a 3-paragraph blog post is bound to result in hand-cramps, I’m almost certain. On the other hand, just marveling at its size is giving me an orgasm.

Segway -> Water

March 22, 2008

Segway inventor invents a machine that uses no chemicals, membranes or filters to produce “10 gallons of water an hour on 500 watts of electricity” (see article ).

Of course, his plans are to bring this technology to places like Africa and India, where thousands of people die every day due to the lack of potable water. I snickered when Colbert, in his daytime-tele-mercial voice asked if it could even distill urine and the audience went “ewwwww….” and NeWater popped into my head.

10 gallons of water an hour on 500 watts of electricity translates to something like 0.0378541178 cubic meters on 0.5kWh.

Singapore Power charges (or, at least, will soon charge) 23.88 cents per kWh. That means this invention will distill approximately 0.075 m3 of water for 48 cents. That’s about 640 cents per m3 of water.

The PUB charges about 180 cents per m3 of water, making it about 5 times cheaper than this little machine. Of course, the PUB operates at a scale much much larger than this little doohickey, but considering that the water the PUB uses isn’t free to begin with…

So I really wouldn’t call it a miracle. The thing comes with its own generator, but I find it difficult to believe that poor rural villagers who don’t even have potable water will have petrol just lying about.

Child labour!

February 12, 2008

Child labour! But in a good way. Read more about the Playpump here.

Of course, I have my doubts about how much underground water there is in sub-saharan Africa and the feasibility of using it for general consumption. If underground-water was such an easy answer, why aren’t there any hand-drawn ones?

Also, is it just me or does a play pump remind you of old-fashioned mills–the kind you see on TV used as torture devices, with captives chained to it and slavedrivers whipping them from behind?

Perhaps some form of punishment for naughty children?

“Ukundu! Do your homework or you’ll have to go out and play!”


Headline: Children play to pump water–suffer dehydration


For those who don’t understand, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has exposed the SQL script used to generate the results of some data directly in the page’s address. This could potentially lead to SQL injection attacks, or in the case above, a giant search result that will most likely crash the server when too many people start visiting the site.

An amusing example og how this can be abused here:

The RIAS, Singapore’s version of the RIAA, has a somewhat more secure site (because it’s all static) that is sadly disappointing in its plainness. The “RIAS Chart” isn’t up – clicking it brings up a 404 error. Perhaps to protect lawyers’ asses from getting whopped by Singaporean pirates?

Update: Within a day the problem was corrected. Just hope no one lost their job over this.

January 14, 2008

Posed a rather innocent question Friday to my colleagues if they’d ever considered purchasing their name-domain-names, which was actually an excuse for me to bring up the evil 3 year-old Alex Huang Jae Huang, whose parents have purchased the domain name till 2011. I usually don’t feel like working very hard the last hour of Fridays.

This ended up in a Google searchfest for all our colleagues’ names, including of course myself.

That turned up this blog.

So my colleagues started reading, as my mind raced to recall if I’d ever posted anything derogatory about any one of them. Because I couldn’t remember, I ended up trying to shut down the whole site, but it turns out WordPress, for all its development does not have a dooce-prevention button conveniently positioned in its admin interface. I didn’t have FTP access (damned network security at work blocks FTP access), so I did the only thing I though posible – I deliberately screwed up some site settings in a self-destruct-so-the-enemy-gets-nothing mindset and–voila!–all that happened was CSS went haywire, so not only could my colleagues read what I REALLY thought about them, they could read it completely unstyled–the naked truth, as it were.


Turns out I needn’t have bothered, though. My laziness to post in recent months due to my dead-end wonderful new job has saved me the embarrassment of having written anything potentially damaging to my career or hurtful about my colleagues. In fact, my Friendster profile turned out to be more damning, where a “friend” of mine had posted some comment about having sex with me (in context it was supposed to have been funny), and had my small-minded, conservative lovely colleagues looking at me with sanctimonious righteous contempt.

Phew. I REALLY dodged a bullet there, not writing how I really felt.

(as an aside, some of my colleagues were more interested in 3-year-old Alex’s website showcasing stomache-curdling pictures of his youthful cuteness rather than my much-more-intellectually-stimulating blog, which should tell you something about how truly evil he is)

If anything good has come of this little incident, I have learnt how to instigate people into Googling their own names. Just try to start a conversation with “Have you ever tried to register your own name as a domain name?” I shall employ said tactic just before performance review, after writing glowing reviews about my boss – maybe something like this.

Alternatively I could post disgustingly graphic slash fiction about myself and any other colleague whom I might potentially be up against with for a promotion and then leer at them curiously once in a while before questioning them on whether they knew their domain name was free. Their resulting Google search for their own names should result in a request for a transfer to another department pretty quickly.

Or possibly a request for my transfer to another department. The department of mental services.

In any case–blogging about work? Never a good idea. You have to be pretty stupid to do it. Which I can be at times, judging from my actions today.

Went down to Junction 8, my local mall, to support the Banana for yet another one of her singing competitions, this one in particular organised by the Science Club. To raise money for the event, they set a 15% of the judging criteria to be audience participation – in the form of 50-cent votes. This, of course, sparked off the somewhat offbeat competitive streak in me and I ended up spending $60 to get the Banana up to second-most popular singer. We just barely beat a Japanese-wannabe singer whose Hokkien-speaking mother and boyfriend bought votes for, and I couldn’t help but laugh a little as I saw nihon-jin-in-training looking at the Banana and then wistfully at the voting panel, where she was just 5 votes short of being second-we had practiced the dirty trick of last-minute voting to prevent a bidding-war.

It was rather tragic, really. Some of the little schoolgirls there were pooling together spare change to buy votes for their friends. I feel a bit lousy for having crushed their innocent delusions of people-power, but I suppose a university-organised-small-time singing competition is as good a time for them to learn about the pecking-order-of-economic-power in Singapore, of which I thought the results of the votes were pretty representative of:

  1. First place: rich guy whose parents got him first place (the monied, connected crust of the Singaporean elite)
  2. Second: the banana, who just happened to have a crazy friend with money to blow (middle-class working professionals)
  3. Third: Kawaii-Hokkien (The Other not-so-well-educated Chinese)
  4. Losers: various other minorities and schoolkids (Various minorities and people without certificates-to-prove-usefulness)


So really, I HAD to vote for the Banana, you see, otherwise some schoolgirls might have gone home thinking that they’d managed to make a difference or that together friends could change the world rather than the important life-lesson that they were simply unimportant drones in a largely uncaring society where money was power.

Harsh? I suppose. But important! I am entirely justified in my actions.

And I don’t mind at all having had to spend $60 to spread tough love.

Not at all, not even if the Banana refuses to give me a treat.

Pictures up when I can find time to upload.

Birthdays suck

September 22, 2007

I don’t really like it when people send me Birthday messages, primarily because it puts an obligation on me to remember theirs, which I’m not really good at. I can’t even remember peoples’ names half the time.

It’s not that I have a bad memory–after six months of not having to use them, I can still remember my old company’s IP addresses and even SingNet’s DNS servers. It’s hardly my fault that people have such hard-to-remember names. If we all had 12-digit designations I’m sure there would be much less confusion and administration all round.

In any case, I received a call from Friend F, wishing me well on the passage of another disappointing year, and at the same time reminding me that his own was approaching(birthday, not disappointing-year). I lied with the standard Yes-I-remembered-of-course-we-are-such-good-friends-how-could-I-forget and made a mental note to check Friendster out.

Of course, I forgot.

So today, whilst I painted the window grills, giving myself a red-paint-high, I was suddenly struck with the realization that Friend F’s birthday might already be over. I vaguely remembered his star sign was Virgo (the only possible use of star signs is for the remembering of birthdays, in my opinion) and hidden somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain a small memory piped out that Virgo was Ending.

So I decided to check out Friendster, but as usual got sidetracked by the idea that it was so damned inconvenient to have to keep looking up peoples’ birthdays, and so I drew up an XML chart of my friends and relatives, with information on birthdays and such that I could put on my desktop and update when necessary. I then hosted on a little private site for future reference and started on an XSLT for easy viewing. I figured I could probably write a quick app to email me alerts.

Then I came across a stumbling block. Friendster doesn’t show birthday information anymore.

Now there’s just this silly little message that comes up if the person’s birthday is <= two weeks from today (as far as I can verify, but since I can’t remember any actual birthdays it’s a bad guess at best).

So now I have an XML file with a bunch of empty nodes and a half-complete XSLT.

Birthdays are so troublesome.


April 27, 2007

A web gallery application named Singapore.

The reason for its name is, sadly, nothing to do with the island I am a native of. I quote Tamlyn Rhodes, the developer:

Why is it called singapore?

Short version: Why not? It’s a nice name!

Long version: The software was originally started as a quick, one-day, must-build-a-gallery project. I have a habit of prefixing function names, global variables and css rules with the names of the package to which they belong (in order to reduce the likelihood of conflicts later on) so I needed a name for the package. Imaginative as I am, I used ‘sg’ for Simple Gallery. However, there is already a PHP gallery called Simple Gallery and as the project evolved it outgrew it’s name so I decided to just call it sg. Then when I applied to have sg hosted on SourceForge they told me that the name had to be at least 3 characters long so I had to think of something else. The name singapore came to me because sg is the country code for Singapore and I couldn’t think of anything else.

Note, though, that this software is spelled singapore – all lowercase – whereas the country is spelled Singapore (in English, at least).

So I’m assuming Rhodes has never been to Singapore.

Incidentally, a search of Singapore on Google (as of 27 Apr 2007) lists the free software in 9th position. The Singapore Tourism Board website is number 1, whereas STB’s corporate website stands at 10. I’ll bet the poor sap who works as their webmaster cowers in fear at the thought that someday, singapore could be more web-visible than Singapore.

Google TiSP

April 2, 2007

Google TiSP – commode-based wireless connection using fibre optic cables. The cable actually goes down your toilet bowl.


I’ll bet someone somewhere has had some laughs about PHDs in the sewers hooking up internet connections and poor job markets, so I won’t.