Once on board the plane, I was minding my own business and browsing through the Tiger inflight magazine when I came across this page. Because the plane was docked at Changi still, I sent out an sms to the person in the picture. I shall not include the reply she gave me which I picked up only after I reached Guangzhou and laughed over. Actually, I took like 10 shots of the page until I got a few I was really satisfied with in order to gather incriminating evidence (haha!). If you have ever flown on a budget airline, you will understand how cram the seats are which explains the numerous attempts. I can imagine what the person sitting next to me was thinking. The one here is not the best and you can forget about book a flight on TigerAir just to get a copy of the magazine because it is the August-October Issue.
Upon arrival, my childhood pal, Bernard, met me at the airport MacDonalds outlet. I was glad I was not tempted to buy a high-calorie meal while waiting for him. Anyway, I could not read most of the menu which was entirely in Chinese! In such circumstances, a picture does say a thousand words and they were calling out to me like Voldermore was to Harry Potter. I must also add that the staff there were extremely proactive and smiley. I certainly hope to see more of such great service back home in Singapore. No, I did not eat a thing from the outlet.
So I was whisked away in the family vehicle to their den while Bernard took a flight back to - Singapore for a business meeting. It is quite funny if you ask me now - he left the country upon my arrival. In the meantime, I was enjoying the sights along my chauffered journey to Regal Harbour where I will be staying for about 2 weeks!
There was only one word on my mind when I stepped out of the Buic and was met with huge a length of massive Roman columns that stretched for at least 400 metres on both sides - fortress.
Whatever Halloween is about, I'm intrigued that the gym I go to is also into it. Unfortunately, there were no treats aka sweets given out. Maybe it was just too early in the morning for the spooks to be on duty and do their thing.
Skulls and pumpkins galore form the line-up at the check-in counter.
That would be me if I do not hit the threadmill regularly.
Lifetime Supply of Beer for Stolen Laptop Mon 22 Oct 2007
If you fancy a lifetime of beer, fly over to New Zealand and search for a stolen laptop belonging to the Croucher Brewing Company. This stolen laptop, which contains various financial records, contract details and other propriety information warrants enough attention from the company to offer anyone who finds this laptop a lifetime supply of beer from their brewery.
arstechnica.com - Laptop theft is unfortunately common these days. It generally only makes the news when the laptop in question belongs to a company or government agency and contains enough personal data to make identity theft a very real possibility for hundreds—or even thousands—of people. In the case of a laptop stolen from the Croucher Brewing Company in Rotorua, New Zealand, the laptop contained financial records, contract details, and other proprietary information (maybe the recipe for its Belgian Blonde ale?).
In an attempt to get the laptop back, the brewery is offering a somewhat unusual reward: a lifetime supply of free beer. Whoever fingers the thief will get a 12-pack per month (a bit skimpy, perhaps) for the rest of their days, according to the BBC. That beer could really come in handy for a dedicated Kiwi rugby fan trying to erase the memory of the All Blacks' spectacular flame-out in the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup two weekends ago.
Croucher appears to be on to something with its reward offer. Chances are that the laptop is an aging vanilla Dell, HP, or other corporate model. I suppose that if you don't have a laptop of your own, such a machine might come in handy. But what would you rather have, a creaky old laptop or a lifetime supply of your favorite brew? I know which one I'd pick.
There are lessons to be learned from Croucher's laptop strategy, though, lessons that other organizations that have suffered from lost or stolen laptops could definitely put into action. Offer a compelling—and unique—reward for the return of missing hardware. Here are some suggestions:
1) For the return of a lost or stolen Transportation Security Administration hard drive: free bumps to the front of every screening line, plus a first-class seat next to an air marshal on the flights of your choice
2) The IRS has suffered the theft and loss of several laptops. Those finding and returning them should get a special finder's deduction on their 1040 equal to the amount of their gross income for that year.
3) A US Department of Transportation laptop was stolen last year. Anyone returning it should get a lifetime pass to the front of the long, long lines at the local DMV
4) Anyone returning one of the stolen Veterans Administration laptops should get a lifetime of free medical care at the VA's expense... from the Mayo Clinic.
5) Return of the laptops stolen from a Seattle Apple Store? A lifetime ticket to Apple's top-secret product development and planning meetings.
Lost and stolen laptops cause big headaches not only for companies, but for the people whose data is on there. Legislation introduced earlier this week would allow US consumers to recover some of the costs associated with data theft, but companies and the government both need to take better care of their hardware, or at the very least, use encryption—standard at the management consulting firm I used to work at—to ensure that sensitive data is difficult, if not impossible, to extract from pilfered hardware.
Experience a First Person Shooter Game Physically Mon 22 Oct 2007
Imagine this: You find yourself in the line of fire, and someone aims a rocket launcher at you. What happens next, is a world of pain when the rocket lands and you feel the shock of the impact. That's what you'll get with TN Game's 3rd Space Vest that allows gamers to feel the impact of a punch or a bullet shot with alternating air pressures within the vest. Think of the impact this will have on competitive gamers during their training sessions.
gizmodo.com - TN Game's 3rd Space Vest, designed by physician Mark Ombrellaro, is based on a earlier medical instrument that permitted doctors to carry out distance based investigations. As if there could be an even better use, Dr. Ombrellaro has modified the vest so gamers will be able to feel gaming impacts, such as punches and shots, by means of alternating air pressures that will simulate the sensations.
The gaming peripheral will consist of eight zones, all of which will be able to direct appropriate force to accurately simulate a plethora of sensations, including bullet fire, explosions, punches and even finger taps. The device will be released in November, retailing at $189 and will come bundled with two games, 3rd Space Incursion and a special edition of Call of Duty II. The TN Game online shop is currently taking pre-orders at $169.99 saving 20 bills on the final price post release. Patches will be made available for Quake3/4 and Doom 3 compatibility and an SDK kit will be released for developers.
Future revisions are already being planned. The next release will hope to replicate G-forces to add that little extra to speed orientated gaming. We may have fluked a win against Kotaku, but we are not so sure we are up to risking bruising to our sculpted blogging physiques for the sake of a realistic gaming experience.
Facebook Bolsters Security to Protect Children Online Mon 22 Oct 2007
Facebook Bolsters Security to Protect Children Online, Sophos reports
Sophos welcomes move but calls for social networking site to change default privacy settings
IT security and control firm Sophos has welcomed news that Facebook has agreed to better promote its security settings and to take greater actions to protect children online, following a safety probe by the New York attorney general's office.
According to reports, investigators set up fake Facebook profiles posing as teenagers and received sexually suggestive messages from adults within days. The investigators then notified Facebook through its website, but these complaints went unanswered for weeks. Facebook has now agreed to post sterner and more obvious warnings about how users can control and set their security settings to reduce the dangers to children and others using its site. It has also pledged to deal with any complaints within 24 hours.
Sophos experts note that, while Facebook's privacy and security features are far more sophisticated than competing social network sites, it is still almost impossible to police the site and check that users really are who they say they are. Furthermore, many users continue to unwittingly expose their personal details to millions of strangers online, potentially putting themselves at risk of online sexual abuse.
Indeed, recent research from Sophos revealed that 75 percent of users in the London network, the largest on Facebook with more than 1.2 million members, allowed their profile to be viewed by any other member. In light of this research and the findings of New York state, Sophos is urging Facebook to rethink its default privacy settings."With more than 70 million active users on Facebook - many of whom won't have thought to change their privacy settings and to limit which other members can access their personal information - it's no surprise that sexual predators are using these sites as a way to lure innocent victims," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Social networking sites provide these criminals with the anonymity they need to trick children and that's why it's so important that the companies themselves take steps to protect members and educate them about the dangers of joining networks and making friends with complete strangers. You wouldn't invite someone you don't know into your home and nor should you let them view your online profile."
Sophos's user guide for behaving safely on Facebook is available at: www.sophos.com/facebook.
To listen to the latest Sophos podcast, which discusses the potential risks posed by social networking websites, please visit: www.sophos.com/podcasts.
In August, Sophos published research showing that 41 percent of Facebook users.
After checking in on a roller blade shop at East Coast Road to change my wheels for my trusty pair, Daryl suggested eating at this Katong Prawn Noodle shop. It was more of a feast for the 3 of us. In fact I just woke up and have not taken dinner as I am still feeling a little full from lunch at this point. In Miss Gan's words (via sms), "East is best!". I truly believe so having tasted this glorious meal and driven past so many mouth-watering joints. I'm definitely going back there to check out each joint after I'm back!
This was supposed to be a surprise gift from 3SA (well done guys!) to Miss Seah. A covet mission to arrange her exisiting stuff toys in an act of worship around the black devil one was almost aborted when she actually stumbled upon the team. Of course she kindly made a U-turn and left while the team finished up their task.
Having done my usual end-of-term walk around school, my heart is filled with mixed feelings. Someone once said that the state of unrest or dissatisfaction is the onset of a greater breakthrough - not in those exact words of course. The situation feels frustrating but it is a good thing, apparently.
I just have to put up the lyrics to the video below. It is one of those things that haunt you even in the dead of night, during moments when you are unoccupied and they just pop right up and speak to you. Don't go around making guesses regarding its significance to my life. All I can say is Matchbox Twenty make such `deep' songs that strike the heart of one living with a myriad of commitments. They speak volumes about many situations in life and I like good poetry in songs for that reason.
I just heard some teacher yelling at boys who were late for the Form Teacher's period. :) It's time to take a look around the classes again.
3 more days...only time will tell.
If You're Gone Matchbox Twenty
I think I've already lost you I think you're already gone I think I'm finally scared now You think I'm weak - but I think you're wrong I think you're already leaving
Feels like your hand is on the door I thought this place was an empire But now I'm relaxed - I can't be sure
I think you're so mean - I think we should try I think I could need - this in my life I think I'm scared - I think too much I know this is wrong it's a problem I'm dealing
If you're gone - maybe it's time to come home There's an awful lot of breathing room But I can hardly move If you're gone - baby you need to come home, come home Cuz there's a little bit of something me In everything in you
I bet you're hard to get over I bet the wound just won't shut I bet my hands I can stay here I bet you need - more than you mind
I think you're so mean - I think we should try I think I could need - this in my life I think I'm just scared - that I know too much I can't relate and that's a problem I'm feeling
If you're gone - maybe it's time to COME home There's an awful lot of breathing room But I can hardly move If you're gone - baby you need to come home, come home Cuz there's a little bit of something me In everything in you
I think you're so mean - I think we should try I think I could need - this in my life and I think I'm scared - do I talk too much I know this is wrong it's a problem I'm dealing
If you're gone - maybe it's time to come home There's an awful lot of breathing room But I can hardly move If you're gone - baby you need to come home Cuz there's a little bit of something me In everything in you
I heard this old track while playing their latest compilation CD on my boombox in my ride. It's one of those tunes that speaks right to the heart of a situation very poignantly. Without going into details, let's just say I will call it my theme of this season.
The reason why I'm blogging at 1.32am in the morning is that I was awoken by Prince's snoring. Yes, the saussage fur-duster was probably wrecking his revenge on me after having spied on my blog on those evenings he sat surreptiously quiet beside me while I had my laptop tuned into Saint2.0 (thanks Brenna for your encouraging comments! See even Prince could not resist checking here for updates!). Anyway, I will send this entry to the live feed department first and update more in a short while.
That's the princely cow/bull carpet print lying at the edge of my bed on his final night sorjourn in my den. For my version of sweet revenge, I took a flashy picture aimed to wake the living dead from him but sigh, he slept like a log but snored as usual like a hog. I am going to miss this cocker spaniel for sure. Miss Seah kept telling me to adopt another dog. I will probably do so after I am back from my next big trip in January (stay tuned!). On the note of furballs, this chap from 1N2 just had to introduce me to his little furry friends which he and another classmate had brought to school. I truly appreciate these gestures from students to share their precious precious with me. Before I allow his pet hamsters on my precious hand, I checked with him to see if they bite. Initially he said they would not (AARGH! That's Prince letting off another symphony of the "Stars Wars - Jedi Knights duel battle" theme beside me). When I had one of the tiny things on my palm, he added that sometimes a different human smell might agitate it to nib the strange terrain! I gladly returned it to him in a flash, taking care not to drop it from the great height.
This was taken on 24/10, the day the `Lower Secondary Swim Meet' was to take place. Long story - by that I meant the meet. The hamster was given its maiden swimming lesson probably in the 50m pool. Some power rodent eh? Someone call the SPCA and report its owner (eh, anyone who knows his name, do kindly leave a comment on this entry) to report hamster abuse! :)
Have you ever wondered how this word "own" and its derivative form "owned" come from?
Inspiration struck me while I was walking my brother's dog, Prince, whom I'm helping to babysit while he is away on holidaywith his family (sense the simmering frustration?).
My theory goes like this :
Teenagers go around using the word "own" mainly in games, especially those you play online. With the limited budget they have, they have few things they can truly call "their own". So, apart from the handphones which they cannot afford, the EZ-link card which are topped up using cash from their parents, the very clothes they have on their bodies, most teens have a insiatiable desire to stake their claim in this big, big world out there - all thanks to the alluring advertisements and many temptations they encounter daily. Unless they are born with a titanium spoon (note the upgrade!) or they belong to a minute group who work for extra spending cash, they turn their attention to "own" each other in competitions and games instead. They train day and night, skipping even their favourite television programmes sometimes to "own" their peers on WOW, Mapel Story (too cutsy pie for me. Yucks!), CS, SF, etc.. Sometimes, the rare dish comes by in the form of a naive adult (ahem) who decides to pit his/her skills against these relentless youngsters. The well-trained teenager jumps onto this offer of course! How else do you get to bash up an adult to pulp using the most gory and violent means except in the virtual world of the WWW? I mean, I have been "owned" most of the time (perhaps all of the time) on these online games! Seriously, some of them are good! Don't underestimate the sleepy or nerdy looks they put on in classes. Once they are infront of their LCD screens (something they do not own), they set out to "own" and conquer the world! So don't pray pray!
Let me use an analogy of my brother's dog. Just now, while out on a walk around my neighbourhood, I decided to take a few pictures of him "owning" the territories along our journey. Here's a sample of the blury shots (beware, you may lose your appetite!) :
Prince, the mighty one, leaves no spot un-"owned"!
Firstly, he takes out the base of this big tree (it's big compared to his small body).
The fallen branches and dry leaves (indicating death had already taken place hours before) are not spared!
Prince is so skilful that my handphone camera failed to capture him in action when he tried to "own" I-don't-remember-what. Oh, those poles! He loves prancing around them while he takes his time to pee, "owning" them.
Young shoots- newbies or otherwise "noobs" make easy killings. OWNED!
999999 hours later, a contented Prince reaches the lift landing, looking absolutely victorious and perhaps exhibiting some withdrawal symptoms for not being able to "own" more territories. He is dragged back home of course by me who has truly "owned" him. :)
Oct 18, 2007 Select student leaders for their leadership skills SHOULD students who excel academically, who are well-behaved and perform their assigned tasks quietly be given great responsibilities as school leaders and be selected to participate in activities which hopefully tap on their brilliance?
As a parent who is an active volunteer in school, I have observed that teachers select prefects, class monitors, debaters and orators based on such criteria.
Such a selection process may be flawed. Leadership is a quality inherent in a person. Though it may be true that students who do well in their studies can multi-task and afford more time away from their books, some may not have the character and/or personality to lead.
Giving them leading roles would disadvantage students who are natural leaders but average students.
Students who are well-behaved and perform assigned tasks as instructed by teachers may be more suitable as team members.
Students should be selected to fit the roles, and not have roles created to cater to them. Leaders are those who can differentiate between right and wrong and are willing to right a wrong. How many student leaders have a keen sense of justice?
How many debaters and orators are selected because they participate actively in discussions and have the courage to speak up in public?
Sadly, most are still selected based on academic performance. Only a handful of students are bright, possess leadership qualities and fit the roles.
Apart from Madonna, Lennox is another great artist from the 80s. I like the melancholic melodies accompanying very poignant lyrics about life's joyous and tragic moments. She writes what I deem as REAL music.
In this song, she sings the feminist refrain of the repressed woman pining for her lover while dutifully playing her tradional role as lady of the house (paradoxically portrayed with the cutsy pie Mickey Mouse earred female character in the MTV).
My English and Literature students - check out the use of visual metaphors.
I remember raising funds for the Singapore Pocket Money Fund via the sale of a 2-VCD compilation of student performances back in 2003 with a group of Literature representatives.
A friend of mine is chipping her share with her online web store. You will see this picture-ad in The Straits Times tomorrow. Targetting primarily at females, you may wish to ask your mother, aunties, other relatives and neighbours to take a look at other products available there.
The items are made of genuine swarovsky (what a mouthfull!) gems and apparently, consumers will not be able to find these attractive prices in the stores anywhere.
PS - I do not get any commission from this. I'm just doing the SPMF a service.
I went for breakfast at the Macs outlet in Potong Pasir after my invigilation duty. It was a case of bad timing and noisy ambience. I had brought along 4 days' worth of backdated newspapers with me in the hope to do some major catch up. The plan was to execute my mission in perfect peace and quiet. However, the outlet was crawling with SAS boys and most shockingly, the turnover was just as high.
In light of the recent high profile on teachers' behaviour in public places, the choice to clear my tray was not a choice at all. Not that I do not have the habit to do so, it's the public scrutiny that some of us feel has robbed us of our privacy.
Interestingly, this topic was raised during lunch time at the usual coffee shop outside school. Some colleagues and I shared our harrowing experiences of bump-ins with students - past and present. We agree that there are forbidden zones to avoid on weekends if we treasure some sanity and privacy. The malls mostly fall within the Orchard Belt, especially Cineleisure and Plaza Singapura.
Personally, I do not mind running into students on the streets. However, I do have the following requests :
1) Do greet using a decibel level that is audible within a 1 metre range. However excited you may feel in seeing a teacher out of school, kindly do not scream like you do when you are at a Black Eye Peas concert.
2) Keep the conversation short and simple. The teacher's other half and extensions have been known to turn green with envy for students have already milked the former's attention from Monday to Friday (sometimes on Saturdays too), so the weekends do belong to families and loved ones.
3) If you should choose to ignore the teacher for whatever reason, do not point, gawk or flash any significant gesture when s/he walks past you. Teachers are not rock stars. If you want their signatures, make your requests politely during their office hours (if there is a clear line to draw that at all).
Abiding by the above guidelines would bring greater peace in our already much troubled times.
It's significant that I had in mind to put this video up after Madonna "What It Feels...Girl" which comes right after the Peugeot entry. Here's the shrewd singer poking fun on obnoxious celebrities...enjoy!