# Sunday, 29 April 2007

My colleagues drove me down this morning back to Yong Peng to pick up my car. One lousy piece of plastic which forms my radiator cover ended up costing me RM400... bloody hell!

The car survived the trip back from Yong Pong to home without over heating luckily.

But the nagging question is still there.

Just that the heck was that molten piece of plastic that fell out of the car?

Sunday, 29 April 2007 01:05:44 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 26 April 2007

OK.. let's recap the day.

I woke up at 6:30 in the morning so that I could get ready to go to the client's location so we could get some testing down on the equipment we installed down in Johor.

The tests went well even though we didn't get to test out the massive processing scenarios that we wanted to.

It was already 4:30PM when we decided to pack up and leave the area, my boss gave me 2 choices, stay the night in the hotel and leave tomorrow morning so we can drive around more rested or well.. drive back then. As I knew I could make it back around 9PM if I left then I could get back home in time to catch WZ waking up at me and motion "Oh look daddy's back... FEED ME!!" I decided to drive home.

After we stopped for petrol at the Machap toll, I started hearing some weird fluterring noises from the car, like something was flapping around loose inside. As I pulled over to the side of the road and the car started slowing down it stopped on it's own, I thought I over heated the car but a quick glance at the thermometer showed otherwise. I popped open my frontal hood where my radiator was located, the roof of the hood had water traces on it, and my spare tyre located in the hood had spray marks on it.

My colleague who was riding with me looked underneath the car and saw a chunk of melted plastic drop from the engine, it looked like some sort of valve cap or something. Luckily I stopped meters away from a PLUS assistance phone and very quickly the PLUS Ronda people showed up and helpfully towed the car out to the Yong Peng toll.

Once there we had to fend for ourselves, but the typical service center wolves were present, the service center was located right outside the toll, he got his own toll truck to toll the car over to his place, for a fee of RM40 this time.

That's when the bad news was delivered, the mechanic poured water into the radiator, and it all just leaked out... since it was too late to go get parts he had to go find a new radiator tomorrow.

Luckily for me, my colleague's home town was just a town away. And that's where I'm posting this right now.

ps. We STILL don't know what that plastic piece that fell out is for....

Thursday, 26 April 2007 23:00:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [2]  | 
Now in my colleague's friend's car heading to my colleague's house, luckily his home town is nearby. Hope the mechanic can find the part and fix my car tomorrow...

Thursday, 26 April 2007 21:24:06 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
This is it... stuck in the edge of a small town, no transportation in sight, sitting outside a restaurant contemplating our options. The restaurant closes at 11pm... fark

Thursday, 26 April 2007 20:41:30 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
I think it was that little piece of tyre that I ran over. but my radiator got busted and it's leaking like an overfilled diaper. aiii...

Thursday, 26 April 2007 19:59:57 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
Was to rush back home after 2 long days at Johor to see WZ. Which according to my wife can now turn over.... well time to get rid of all the stuff which he can roll off of. But instead.. my car broke down right in front of the Yong Peng toll, the PLUS toll ppl say it might have just overheated, but a chunk of melted plastic dropped after I stopped to check what that clanging noise was coming from the engine. And even before I stopped I specifically checked to make sure the car wasn't overheated. Now I'm just waiting for a toll to the service center for RM40, the guy says his shop is just outside the toll, and I've been waiting in this mosquito infested rest stop for an hour already.

Thursday, 26 April 2007 19:26:45 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Saturday, 21 April 2007

When I first saw WPF/e in action, a thought ran through my head "Cool, this is MS's Flash like rich UI strategy where I'd be designing in XAML and coding the logic in any .NET language"

Now that WPF/e has been revealed as Silverlight, I've finally managed to sit down and take a closer look at it. And after my run throught the quick start and the various examples on the net, I realized something... Silverlight is NOT a Flash killer. Silverlight is not meant to be what Macromedia Adobe Flash is, Flash is an entire mini application platform (and a pretty nifty one at that) But Silverlight isn't that, Silverlight is more of a PRESENTATION technology than an entire platform. It doesn't even come with it's own script interpreter, all the logic is coded in Javascript (DAMN! I really really thought I could get away with .Net on this one) and the Silverlight plugin basically just handles the displaying of data.

This is exciting to me as a developer because now I have access to a rich presentation framework that I didn't have access to before (cause I didnt have time to polish up my Flash/ActionScript skills)

Confused as to why this is the case? Picture this scenario (ok.. I'd love to actually MAKE out the demo, but I've just started out here, so give me a break) Let's say I wanted to make one of those snazzy bar graph animations, say a list of mobile phones sold grouped by phone manufacturer. I want the bars to start extending from 0 to their values, and each bar to fade in following the complete extension of the previous one.

This animation is ridiculously simple to achieve in Flash, but the question is.. what if the data is not static? What if the data is supposed to come from a dynamic server generated source? Ah.. yes.. we can just use Flash's capability of performing HTTP GETs to a server page and grab a CSV file containing the values! But then what if the data is complex? We could probably just use XML to represent then data, and then walk through it with Flash's DOM explorer. But then.. here comes a huge problem, your Flash designer with his l33t actionscript skills doesn't understand the concept of how XML files work, he can't grasp the concept of an XML Element, Attribute, etc. etc. As a developer we'd waste time trying to hammer out a way to paste data to the Flash designer, while the Flash designer tries to work out how to read our data.

How does this change with Silverlight? First the designer will create the template of the animation  (he'll be DESIGNING which is what he's good at.) And then the developer will take the XAML which he generated and then using the template the developer creates an ASP.Net file capable of generating the full XAML of the graph and displaying it on a page (the developer will be CODING which is what he's good at.)

It's not that this kind of server side generation of rich animation like content wasn't available previously, Adobe has a product called FLEX which essentially (if I remember correctly) allows you to generate Flash files with server side backend code. Silverlight essentially opens the door of rich content generation to the other developers out there, without having to buy another server, or application platform.

Why did I mention OTHER developers instead of Microsoft technology based developers? As I mentioned, Silverlight is a PRESENTATION plugin, it reads and displays XAML, and all logic for client side interactivity is in Javascript (the language of choice for web client side interactivity coding... damn I miss VBScript.. curse those ;s!) So you don't have to be using ASP.Net to take advantage of Silverlight, you can use anything you like.. PHP, Java, PYTHON anything as long as you can deliver the XAML to the plugin.

There are still some hurdles that need to be jumped through first though, the main one being...

There Aren't Any XAML Editors Out There That Supports Silverlight Yet!

There isn't any *official* way to create the loose XAML files that Silverlight uses yet, you can probably rely on tools that create XAMLs for use with WPF, but there might be issues since there are certain extensions in WPF XAML files which aren't used in Silverlight. The current version of Microsoft Expression Blend which is THE application to create XAML with doesn't yet support Silverlight files, but with some slight tweaks I was able to use it to make XAML files suitable for Silverlight so I do believe that it's quite possible that Expression Blend will be released with support for Silverlight files.

Can't display HTML styled formating in it's textblocks

One really sad thing is that the text block doesn't support text that is HTML formatted, I don't mean anything like ACTUAL HTML formatting, I just want the <b>,<i> and <a> tags to work that would be super useful. Flash has this feature though, which is cool.

No Intellisense For Client-Side Scripting in VS2k5

Yes.. it's not essentlal.. but hey it'd be a VERY welcomed addition!

An end user probably wouldn't see what the big fuss about Silverlight is about other than MS trying to knock Flash off, but to developers who understand what can be done with Silverlight the possibilities are astounding. I personally can't wait to put Silverlight and Atlas together and take them out for a spin!

Saturday, 21 April 2007 08:45:40 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 19 April 2007

As I was mucking around MSDN a few days ago I came across the article "Data Storage Architecture with SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition" It was essentially talking about where you could use the ever nifty SQL2k5CE. It also mentioned that you could use it with websites, something which I read from the SQL2k5CE Books Online that it wasn't supported. But the golden line in the article was this

If you choose to use SSCE for Web applications, some configuration is required to allow SSCE to be hosted in the Web application process.

I quickly rummaged through the documentation for SQL2k5CE more carefully this time, and I found this:-

AppDomain.CurrentDomain.SetData("SQLServerCompactEditionUnderWebHosting", true)

Aaaa.. the magic key! My eyes must have glazed over the paragraph the moment I read the part about ASP.Net not being a SUPPORTED host for SQL2k5CE. Essentially all you need to do is throw that line in your Application_OnStart event of your Global.asax file and you'll be able to use it in your ASP.Net application.

Wonder how performance is though, since the article mentions that SQL2k5CE should only be used on websites with a low performance of oh... <300~500 request an HOUR. I guess that would mean most personal websites that dont get slashdotted! ;)

Thursday, 19 April 2007 10:03:25 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 17 April 2007

TNB cut power to my house for the WHOLE morning!! And because the fans, didn't work, and there was no lights at all... my mother couldn't really put WZ in the mosquito tent which is hot cause it has poor air flow. As I was on the way home my wife calls me and sounded very distraught...

And I came home to see this...

WZ's right arm was RAVAGED by mosquitos!!! There were also bites on his head, and some on his leg, but his arm was definetly the worse affected. I ran out and got some more mosquito repellant and killing devices!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007 23:30:29 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 
# Monday, 16 April 2007

I learnt a few things following yesterday's power failure incident.

  • I need a new battery for the UPS which is connected to my modem and router, darn thing only lasted 30 mins last night.
  • Get a USB powered fan, preferdably one that has a stand so I can use it to cool WZ.
  • Get one of those shake powered flashlights, preferdably the original Forever Flashlight.

Monday, 16 April 2007 11:15:12 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 15 April 2007

Phew... luckily power is back already.. phwer

Sunday, 15 April 2007 22:10:54 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

Great.. About 9PM... the power suddenly, completely cut out.. the whole street has blacked out.. and it seems like according to my cousin.. a lot of PJ has blacked out... JOY! Wonder how long can the backup lights last till they go out and WZ is left in the dark...

Sunday, 15 April 2007 21:39:59 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 12 April 2007

Previously there was only 2 kinds of people you'd meet when you were playing online in say.. on XBox Live.

The people who play games, or the people who heckle/sneer/curse while trying to play games.

More recently there's an additional bunch of people who like to let the other gamers on their teams know about their views of the current geopolitical issue. So you got people who are ganging up on people from certain countries, or just being an ass to people from certain countries.

Come on people!!! We're trying to have some fun online here I don't care what your polictical beliefs are, if you're on the opposing team I cap your ass, if you're on my team I cover your ass, that's unless you're a bad teammate, if not THEN I'll cap your ass.

Thursday, 12 April 2007 13:54:43 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The client wanted us to make a simple system that picks a random choice out of 3 items, it was a simple task and it was done within a few hours. But then after using the system for a while, the client comes back and says, it's picking item 3 most of the time, can you make it not do that? Sure.. we could add a weightage to the selector, but wouldn't that be NOT random anymore? in fact.. since there were so little choices, how can you say that the favoring of one item makes it NOT random? After all if you could expect what item is coming up wouldn't it be NOT random?

I'm not making sense now am I?

Wednesday, 11 April 2007 13:25:40 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 
# Saturday, 07 April 2007

Today we finally took Wen Zhern out of the house for intention of casual shopping in One Utama. Gotta do it sometime I guess. After about an hour of studying how to get the car seat in the car properly we finally got to the point of strapping him into the seat.

Mummy is still worried that the sun is too harsh on little WZ's eyes, hence... If you're wondering why I'm strapping in a less than 3 month old baby in a front facing car seat, well... my seat belts aren't long enough to attach it in back facing mode!!! Luckily the seat can be tilted so WZ isn't being forced to sit up when he still can't do it.


After finally reaching One U and finding a parking, the first challenge was.. how to get down an escalator with the stroller. After finally deciding on a way and getting down to the mall level I noticed a big NO STROLLER, USE LIFTS sign on the escalators. But dude... 1U lifts SUCK ASS!

Then we quickly headed for the baby section, for the main reason that we came here in the first place.

To buy WZ a chew toy... cause according to my parents, the reason he's sucking his thumb so much lately is that he's teething so they told me to get him something small to chew on. To which I answered, he can't even hold onto his own pacifier how is he supposed to grip a chew toy in his hands? But... who am I to argue with my parents?

The trip went smoothly, WZ didn't make a fuss about anything and we managed to leave before he hit a feeding point so all was good.

Saturday, 07 April 2007 22:00:25 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 05 April 2007


So I saw this little guy in the Sony Wings shop just now, I was considering this form factor when I finally decided to go with the Fujitsu P1610 that I'm using now. But this model UX27, which is what I would have seriously considered last time finally has that 1GB of RAM I look for in a system, it also has a slightly faster 1.33Ghz processor. But it sports a smaller 40GB HDD while my P1610 has an 80GB HDD.

Do I feel regret for choosing the P1610 over the UX27? Nope, 1st reason is of course.. hey, I have an 80GB HDD on the P1610 and 50GB is already used up! Is there that much of a difference between 1.25Ghz and 1.33Ghz? I don't think so! And the main reason why I would never choose the UX as my work laptop.... I can't do my work on it! Yes, the screen resolution is small but I could have configured Visual Studio to make as much use of the available screen real estate as possible, but after fondling the unit a bit more just now I realized that, there's no way in hell that I can write code with the THUMBBOARD on the UX27!!! The miniture keyboard on the P1610 is already slightly cramp inducing for me (that's why at work I need to get a REAL keyboad and display to work better) BUT.. I can still work on it when I'm away from my desk. I doubt I can use the UX27's thumbboard for too long before my thumbs cramp up.

Another weird thing about the UX27 is that, the thing has a touch screen, and it has Vista installed. BUT.. the drivers aren't reporting to Vista that there's a touch screen present, so Vista isn't enabling the Tablet PC functions such as the Tablet Input Panel, etc. etc. I wonder if it's just a bad install on their part or the drivers really aren't ready yet?

So if I DID get the UX previously I would end up still having to lug 2 notebooks with me when I go on trips, cause one would be for work and then one would be for.... errr... entertainment? Web surfing? nah.. no thanks... for a secondary web device THIS is what I'm waiting for... June/July 2007!

Gear | P1610 | Sony UX | UMPC
Thursday, 05 April 2007 23:05:34 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 04 April 2007

Hey, look finally a MONEY SHOT!!!

Wooo hooo!!!

Wednesday, 04 April 2007 20:33:46 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 

There.. finally got a good frontal shot!

Wednesday, 04 April 2007 09:47:33 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 

I was setting up a demo on a partner's notebook. Something which I wasn't expecting to do, since we were suppoesd to be presenting the demo on our equipement. And also because it involved the creation of an Ad Hoc WiFi connection, something which in my past experience had a 50/50 chance of working.

As I tried to get his system to attach to the Ad Hoc network, the OS popped up a message box saying that the system was not configured to connect to AdHoc networks. So I popped into the wireless properties page and toggled the setting to allow connection to Ad Hoc networks and then I clicked Apply and I get a message box saying "Wireless settings could not be saved!"

WTF? So I tried a few more times with the same results. Then I realised that his system was attached to a domain, and wondered if the domain policy was not to allow them to change the settings. So I mentioned that to the partner, telling him that his machine might be locked down by the domain policy and he might need to check with his IT department to get the settings done.

He replied "Don't worry I'm sure the IT engineers can handle it, they all have Cisco certifications."

I was dumbstruck by the sudden name dropping of his IT department's qualifications... DUDE!! I'm your partner, not your client, you don't need to and CAN'T impress me with stuff like this. I DON'T CARE whether your enginners are Cisco certified or not, since if it is a domain policy issue, I hope they have MCSA certifications too!

Wednesday, 04 April 2007 00:03:50 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  |