# Thursday, 30 November 2006

The cool R2D2 Interactive Robot was previously available in limited quantities, and was very hard to find. Maybe Hasbro thought not a lot of people would buy an expensive toy that was just slightly intelligent than most of the other toys out there.

But now.. after the great sales of the Robosapien and the like, I guess Hasbro knows... we can sell expensive toys to the masses, heck our R2 is much smarter than the RoboSapien anyway!

That's why we now have an ample supply in the market.

Thursday, 30 November 2006 17:10:46 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 27 November 2006

Has been available for about 2 weeks now over here at a quite substantially inflated price. And I had to chance to play with one as well.

After playing around with a bit of Resistance and Ridge Racer 7, I just find the PS3... lacking. When I mention that to my friends they usually just say I'm biased because I lean towards Microsoft, but wait a sec... if I'm biased to Microsoft, why the heck can't I stop thinking about the Wii?

The reason I'm disappointed with the PS3 was that for all the hype and features the Sony promised, for all the things they said their console can do. IT didn't manage to deliver the goods! Again my friends tell me that the console just launched, I shouldn't expect graphics like what I see for Gears Of War on the 360.

OK, I'm not expecting graphics like that. But Resistance doesn't even feel as good as the 360 launch title Call Of Duty 2!

Playing Ridge Racer 7 was just a crazy experience for me, if you haven't heard the PS3 comes with a motion detection joypad called the SIXAXIS. You're supposed to drive your car by tilting the controller, interesting concept if only there wasn't just a 1 degree difference between an easy turn and a super hard turn! I was fish tailing all over the track when I was playing, and when other people tried it they all had the same feeling. I wonder if there was anyway to tweak the sensitivity?

And then the PS3's free online network, called the Playstation Network which is supposed to compete with Microsoft's paid XBox Live network pales in comparison to it's counterpart. If you showed the system to someone who has never used XBox Live before they might be satisfied with what they've got, but show it to someone who has and they'll tell you the PSN just doesn't cut the cake, but hey it's free and I guess that always sways people. Mayebe later I'll point out the differences between the 2 networks.

Now where's my Wii?

Monday, 27 November 2006 00:30:18 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

On my previous post I mentioned that I was not ready to install Vista on my primary developement machine the Toshiba M200, first of all, I still had no idea how the driver support would work out. Secondly was due to all the scary stories I've heard already which includes.

  • Visual Studio 2003 cannot be installed on Vista
  • Visual Studio 2005 doesn't work too well with Vista, needs a patch that's not yet available.
  • SQL Server 2000 doesn't work on Vista
  • SQL Server 2005 doesn't work well on Vista, needs a new patch that's not yet available.

That's what I heard, and then I found the Visual Studio 2005 On Vista FAQ page which lists out all the known issues with VS2k5 and Vista.

So.. still wanting to try and get Vista running for my developement uses I did the next best thing during the weekend. I installed Vista Ultimate on a VPC and then installed all the tools on it.

Surprisingly all my primary tools, VS2k5, SQL Server 2000 and 2005 all installed and seem to be running properly. I also can't seem to get some of the problems mentioned on the fact to happen, guess I'm gonna need more time to test it.

Monday, 27 November 2006 00:11:42 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 25 November 2006

So, I grabbed a new hard disk for the fried one on the Shuttle MCE that was fried 2 weeks back. Then I decided what the heck let me just slap in Windows Vista Home Premium Edition for the MCE duties now and see how Vista performs as a normal home system since I can't seem to use it on my developer system. (More on that some later)

The most interesting thing which I wanted to try out was a point made by someone on the team that the setup time for Windows Vista would be around 20 mins, and boy did it. I came back home from work, slapped the hard disk into the hard disk holding cage of the Shuttle. (It's a very neat design, only thing is that the cage is like.. milimeters above the hard disk air hole hope it doesn't cover it too much) Popped in the installation CD, started off the installation, went to take my bath and came down to a spanking new installation of Windows Vista.

Wow... that's fast!

Saturday, 25 November 2006 12:33:51 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 20 November 2006

I'm 29 now... my birthday last week past pretty much like any other day. Had a ton of meetings, rain nearly flooded my car, and then to top it off I had to head out to the data center for some early morning work. Yes, I should probably just take the day off next time.

Well, I'm hitting the big 30 soon. Time to take account of my life, time to reflect on what I've done and wheter I'm happy with myself with it.


Monday, 20 November 2006 01:32:02 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 19 November 2006

I just a call from my colleague who mentioned that our client's website was down. I RDPed into the machine and based on the event logs, figured out that there was something wrong with the connection between the webserver and the SQL server express that was installed.

I looked at the services list for the machine but noticed the SQL Server service was started. Then I noticed something weird, the instance name of the SQL Server was SQLExpress where as we had already set it up as the default instance previously.

Further checks revealed other worrying signs, our SQL user was missing, and a DB which was less known to the client was also missing from the server.

This is going to be a problem.. only 3 parties have access to the server, us, the client and the web host service provider. Obviously having the actual database file deleted and also the SQL user itself must mean that someone had pretty much full acess to the server.

Question now is.. who screwed up?

Sunday, 19 November 2006 17:14:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Been having sort of an argument with a client recently.

The project in question is to make a desktop widget, thingamabob that will pull down information about the client's promotions and offerings so that the users can be kept up to date on the client's offerings.

The client also has BIG BIG plans for future expansions of the product, so it's not just a plain and simple RSS viewer.

So half a year ago, when this item was first inserted into the project proposal I already stepped in and informed the client that based on what they want, and planned to do int he future, the best way that we can go with was to use .Net to make the program. And they all agreed to using the .Net framework then.

6 months later and after some staff turn over, they're telling me a different story. And now they're asking us to use alternate methods, the main alternate method is of course to use Win32 to make it.

But ask any ISV who gets paid on a project basis if they'd commit to a 2 month deadline for a Win32 UI application and they'd probably tell you it's a crazy thing to suggest.

The results will be known today on how things go...

Tuesday, 14 November 2006 09:50:51 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [2]  | 
# Monday, 06 November 2006

Overheard from the head of a certain high education instituition to the lecturers who are teaching there.

"Now your annual review will be based on the passing rate of your students, cause if you're doing your job properly your students won't fail!"

Oh great.. just what we needed more lecturers who are afraid to flunk students who are not up to par!

Monday, 06 November 2006 23:16:26 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 

Today I was going to login to the Citibank website to check out my credit card activity and I was told to create a username instead of using the credit card number to login. Cool I thought, at least I don't need to remember the credit card number when going in anymore. So I followed the steps to create a username and password.

So I punched in a username, then I entered the password using their virtual keyboard (to stop the spoofing attacks) and I pressed continue.. then I was greeted with the message the USERNAME you have chosen is not strong, please follow the security guidelines.

So I took a closer look at the fields to see what they mean by a strong USERNAME... then I noticed it's the SAME guideline for the password.. which are..

• 6 characters or more, with at least 1 alphabet and 1 number
• May contain the following special characters @, . and _
• Cannot contain 3 identical characters in a row (e.g. alpha111 or aaa125)
• Cannot contain 3 consecutive alphabets or numbers in a row (e.g. abc269 or alpha123)

Which just made me go... WHAT THE HELL? Instead of a simple username like weiminchanz and then followed by a complex password of l3t1tb3th3w4y I have to make a complex USERNAME as well?!?!? w31min8i8v7 don't they know if you make the user have to remember more complex stuff then they're gonna have more of a reason to stick it under their keyboard?

It seems that in their blur of thinking that complex=secure the people behind the design of the security system forgot WHY passwords get leaked in the first place. Which is mainly... people have bad memory!

Monday, 06 November 2006 22:20:34 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 02 November 2006

So.. here I go again, I just got myself a Leatherman Squirt P4. Which like all other Leatherman tools is basically a pair of pliers.

And like all good multitools, the Squirt has a few other things tucked away in it's handles.

A knife, a file, the 2 types of screwdrivers, a small screwdriver and finally an awl (what the heck is an awl for anyway?) Now for you people who are familiar with multitools, you might be wondering why it seems like that there's only a few items on the thing.

Well, that's because the Squirt is a SMALL multitool, QUITE small and pocketable when closed.

It's just a little bit longer than a AA battery! This ensures that I can carry it with me all everywhere I got and ready for me to use when I need it!

Thursday, 02 November 2006 23:17:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |