Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Section 114A, Evidence Act 1950: Its Impact on Your Business

As the Deputy Chair of the FMM ICT&Multimedia, Im helping organise a seminar entitled "Section 114A, Evidence Act 1950: Its Impact on Your Business" on the 30th October 2012.(Do clicky to register - its a paid event)

The President of the Malaysian Bar, Jahabar of The Malaysian Insider and Xescx will be presenting and will be open to some questions. Ill be hosting a panel or two, so if you need any queries answered, just post em up in the comments below.

Strangely enough the standard FMM mailer got picked up by Malaysiakini. So in the right reasons, phewh, my first quote appears there. (free version)


Monday, February 21, 2011

Paintball in 3D!

Ooo, Paintball in 3D:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My New Job

During June/July, I was seconded from my company to work on things completely unrelated to IT. It was a Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit) lab on Tourism, where a bunch of private sector folk and public sector folk getting together and working together in an unprecedented manner in coming up with impactful projects to boost the Tourism Industry and making sure that "things will get done". The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) comprises of 12 labs, and Tourism belongs to one of these NKEAs. The acronyms are a burden and unnecessary, but if you get past those EPPs, you get to see some exciting projects.

The work itself was exciting; I had a blast, not only negotiating with the civil service, but also settling (and starting) battles amongst private sector folk with conflicting interests. It was an interesting experience, and if it ever presents itself in the future, I'd recommend any of you to take it.

After the two months was up, I had a long break from work, planned early this year. Fortunately it lined up perfectly, and its the first long distance holiday Ive taken since the kiddos. Had a great time. On the last few days of the holidays though, I received an email from Pemandu requesting me to join their team. They were running extensive advertisements in the media for applicants, but they wanted things to move fast, so they needed people involved where we could join immediately and hit the ground running.

I thought about this for a long time as it was a very difficult decision. Firstly because of the job which I love and have huge attachment to, secondly, the fact that none of my technical knowledge would be directly applicable to the microcosm of tourism. However the most appealing prospect of course is working with the Pemandu team, of whom I have had several good experiences with. They were all young, having only set up only this year, very dynamic - most are from the private sector, and the public sector secondments were of a high calibre, and their CEO, DS Idris Jala is a pretty bright guy. Also working with the projects and the dedication by both private and public sector folk in coming up with mitigation plans to ensure that the projects will work is reassuring.

Of course like all the public in Malaysia, I too am sceptical on whether Pemandu can pull off any 'Transformation' in the civil service, but unlike the general public I now have the ability to directly contribute on whether it succeeds or not. Instead of yammering and griping at mamak stalls and twitter, the work I will do will have an immediate effect on economic change for the country.

How the politicians (BN and PR) react, will be interesting, but irrelevant. Just as long as the private sector are not hampered by little Napoleons, I think its good enough. I just wish that our politicians on both sides will be mature enough to see that this is an apolitical programme, and its for the common benefit for all. The projects are all private sector driven, and will pave way to make businesses operate more cohesively with the public sector in the future.

So today is my Official last day. Very exciting and very weird at the same time.


Thursday, May 06, 2010

Empire Avenue

Trying out Empire Avenue, where you are suppose to invest in all things online

May I interest you in some stock?


Friday, April 23, 2010

Posts to other sites.

I submitted an opinion piece to The Malaysian Insider, in response to a really weird article by Kwek Kon Yao who was pleading to the world to stop persecuting Microsoft. It was easy work, considering the arguments raised by Kon-Yao was rather basic and not thorough. I still have a feeling he force fitted the Microsoft example into a pet theory he was considering.

Please read "Who is persecuting Microsoft". I quoted several Microsoft's executives using emails uncovered during the antitrust trials. Its quite shocking.

Anyway, I wrote the structure of the response and invited Ditesh and Haris to add any points, correct my facts and polish things up. All done online via Google Docs. I then checked the change history, to see if their changes were good (yes).

It was then a matter of twittering the editor, jsadiq and sending him the link to the doc. Almost immediately, he posted it, and it was online.

On the same day, there was a really interesting Facebook Group brewing, called "What would Zaid hold?" It was a meme inspired by the bad photoshopping skillz by a pro-BN blogger on a The Nut Graph picture.

I had to contribute to that, and this was my entry:

Zaid and Kamalanathan, K*I*S*S*I*N*G

For the benefit of people not familiar with Malaysian Politics, Kamalanathan denies kissing his superior's hands despite the photo-evidence. So who's hand we rather see him kiss than Zaid, his opponent, in the upcoming by-election?

If you are on Facebook, and think this is somewhat humourous, please click through and click on the "Like this" linky! Otherwise, enjoy other people's extension of this meme ...


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Pictures #3

Some random pictures from quite a while back.

I always see this van passing by. Some strange reason, I gets cheezeburger cravings:
lolcats grown up

Quite a while ago, I was at Tasik Idaman, and had to pass by this installation. I never knew Malaysia had a Atomic Licensing Board.
Big Boomz

Spotted outside Padang Astaka there was a strange English-Malay transliteration / modern Malay word: 'SUKSES'.

'Beraksi' is derived from the English word 'Action' where 'tions' are converted to 'si' like 'Suspension' is 'suspensi'. I thought those words were bad enough, but 'success' as 'sukses'? How lazy is that? Its like 'Racists' is 'rasis'!

Then we have some pseudo-science. Just lob in some Greek characters, and you'd gain some credibility. Pi water for vibrant health. Shrite.
Pi Water helps you make superior Apple Pi.

Troudat of Austria ('Gday, mate!') should get with the times and have a #FAIL stamp.
Or otherwise do some localisations for Malaysia; 'File' -> 'Fail' or at least 'Success' -> 'Sukses'


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Browser payloads

I was innocently (honest!) browsing the vastness of the internet, when I came across an interesting page.

It displayed Windows XP like alerts, "Windows Security Alert" in all the colourful WinXP crayola themed glory and then proceeded to pop up another realistically rendered "window" which simulated a scan throughout my vulnerable Windows system. Yes, the windows were drag-able.

It looked something like this:

Then my Firefox browser popped up a dialog to confirm if I wanted to download and run a delicious "packupdate_build6_318.exe" file to patch up my now severely insecure operating system:
Fortunately Im abit more technologically aware of these scams. Fortunately I know that when Windows alerts you of something, you have to be doubly aware of things.

But what about the rest of the world? The vast majority of people who would be fooled by this cleverly rendered HTML/CSS/JavaScripted page? At the threat of "Security has been damaged by virus[sic]", a large number of people will want to eradicate the pesky virii. Thus, a high percentage who would click on "Run Application" after downloading.

So if you are the so-called "Tech Support" for your family/relatives/friends (its a thankless job), you could save yourself alot of headache by educating your "users" about these threats. Change the default theme to something different. Install a net-nanny. Install a real Anti-Virus app (or two) which is updated frequently. Lock down the users' permissions. Boot read-only. Charge by the minute. Ban the user from computers.

Alternatively, you could get them to run Linux.


Friday, February 05, 2010

MyNPL 2010 - Round 1 - PJ Astaka

Jalan Astaka - Photo Credit - Doug Chung

Another year, a new season of Paintball action. Paintball in Malaysia is really picking up, last year there were two full leagues, this year it has expanded to 4: MyNPL, MPOC, CPCL and for East Malaysia, Sabah Paintball League. It certainly gives us players alot more choice in which weekends to play, but doesnt bode well for our budgets!

Team Feva Division decided to play the first leg of MyNPL in Division 4 (the entry level division) because we only played 1 leg last year. Together with the original team of Verat, Gilbert, Doc Henry, Kevin and myself, we have guesting with us is Miguel a new player and Cikgu from Infidelz.

During the Captains meeting on Friday night, which I attended with Captain Gilbert, all the teams needed to draw lots, to pick out the order of play. Interestingly enough Feva was picked as team 'D1' which would be the first team to play on game day.

I didnt have much sleep the night before, which was OK, cos we had to meet early at 6:30am, to setup our tables at the players paddock. Did our last minute strategizing and warming up and couldn't wait to start our first match.
All 3 Fields for all Divisions had the same layout

Match #1 - MK&Co - Snake Right

We started well against a new team 'MK&Co'. I dove right into Snake 1, there was no mirror (another person in their Snake 1), but there was someone in the Back Right (BR) Temple covering the Snake side. Luckily I had Dr Henry to back me up to force BR in. So I moved up to S2, and shot out a guy across in their Carwash.

I then looked down the tape, and the BR dude was still there. Tried to snap with him, but he hit a pellet on my arm. I asked for a paintcheck, and the marshal said "Play On!" - it was a bounce, as the pellet did not burst on impact.

By this time, there was not much sound on the field except from BR. So I peeked out, and confirmed that BR was the only one left. Cikgu who was guesting for us from Team Infidelz was moving up the Doritos on the left. Verat was moving up the center. Henry was still behind me. I burst up from S2, moved towards BR, and had to weave in because I saw the guy look at me down the tape. Doc fired, so he went back in. But as I wrapped around the BR to the right to take him out, I got shot by friendly fire on my right shoulder. Fortunately Cikgu and others cleaned him out.

So Feva won with 98 points, with only me as a casualty.

Match #2 - Outrecs 360 - Snake Right

We were feeling confident, and decided to play the same game for the next opponent: Team Outrecs360 from Multimedia University Melaka. Unfortunately as I dove into the snake, I saw that their snake player and Back Right was quite exposed, so I slowed down to try to take them out. Unfortunately someone else saw me and marked me out.

Kevin who was playing my Snake Back was also taken out relatively quickly after that, which meant our right flank was completely exposed to their Snake player to exploit. Gilbert who was playing Back Left was taken out next by the snake guy who had moved up to S3. Miguel playing Center Back, and also a first time tournament player, spotted their snake move up to our Snake dorito, and managed to snap him out. Kudos!

However he felt a hit on his right forearm, and asked for a paintcheck. The Marshal came over while Miguel waited, and the marshal said "You're OUT!" and surprisingly called a 1 for 1, meaning calling a penalty for playing on. This was strange because Miguel actually stopped his play when he asked for the paintcheck. So the ref went ahead and pulled Cikgu out from the carwash, and the Outrecs captured our flag.

Ah well, smeg happens. At least we got 3 of them.

Match #3 Fai Long Unitar - Snake Left

The next match was against Fai Long Unitar. I dove into the snake (on the left hand side), bumped up immediately to snake 2 and looked inside. Saw an enemy in the left brick and shot him out. Then looked down the tape on the left side, and managed to shoot out their Left Back on the hopper.

I didn't detect a snake player, reloaded, and I decided to move up. Just when I leant forward to pass the knucle, I got shot on my mask. I did not realise it then but there was a player on their Tower by the snake, who then moved to the snake dorito.

Kevin moved up from his carwash onto D4, to take her out.

Match #4 Xtreme Estrogen - Snake Right

We were sharing the players tent with an all girls team from Singapore called Xtreme Estrogen. Very happy and positive, the girls were relatively new in tournaments with two of their team members having joined less than a week ago.

We had a long wait of about an hour before we were up against the Estrogens. I delayed my entry to the snake and opted for the Dorito instead, but that was a mistake. I could see the Center Back, and tried to mark her out. But while I was concentrating on that, their Back Right lobbed a few to mark me out.

Doc had a great game battling his mirror at the Right Back. This allowed Cikgu to mark her from the carwash. However it was almost immediately filled by their Center Back, and Doc had to do battle with her too.

Cikgu then marked out the Left Back and their D3 player. After a while Doc got their Right Back out. He also managed to hit their Snake 1, and with the snake tape clear, moved down the tape to take out their Dorito 2 player.

Match #5 KKTM PJ Wild Hunters - Snake Left

In Field 2, we were up against the Wild Hunters. I dove straight into S1 and didn't have any resistance along the snake tape, so moved to S2. From there I had a really nice view, and shot out their Dorito player almost immediately.

Surprisingly another player did a funky slide into the Carwash, right in my line of fire. He got into cover OK, but he must have dropped his marker. As he was reaching out to collect it, I sprayed a few pellets, and it hit his hand. Ouch, that must have hurt.

Doug managed to catch me in action! Thats me peeking out of the snake S2

I moved up to S3, and took out their Right Back player. As I exited the snake, there was no one else, and we captured their flag.

Fortunately for us, Doug Chung dropped by and took some pictures of us.

Match #6 Kito Unitar - Snake Left

Against Kito, I took a break while Gilbert took over the snake duties. He delayed his dive into the snake, opting to post up on their snake player in the Tower. This was him looking on:

Which paid off, because their Snake at S1 was looking in at the S1 knuckle which made it really easy for Gilbert to shower him with alot of pellets in the gap between the Cake and the horizontal bar. So with their S1 out, Gilbert moved into the snake.

Miguel managed to mark out their D2 player, while Cikgu moved all the way to D3 to take out the Left Brick. Doc ran out from his back position and cleaned up Back Right:

The great thing about this match was that Kito until that match was undefeated. Unfortunately we initiated a losing streak for them all the way till Sunday morning after this.

Match #7 Gladiators - Snake Left

In Field 3, we were up against the Gladiators who up to that time was doing well. I dove into S1 and moved up immediately to S2. I assumed there was a player in S1, but noticed that their Left Back was in furious battle with Doc behind me. So furious he didnt notice me pop to the left and fire a few pellets which hit his loader.

I then quietly snuck up S3, and tried to snap out the player at their S1. But nobody was there, and when I looked up, Cikgu already grabbed the flag and was on the way back. How strange.

This pic was taken just before Cikgu ran down to cleanup and capture the flag:

Kevo shooting down the lanes

Match #8 - KKTM PJ Rlid 3 - Snake Right

For the last game of the day, we were up against another KKTM PJ team, 'Rlid 3'. Doug has an excellent sequence of our breakout. Quite proud of it, cos it shows all of us advancing with guns up.

I went straight for the snake, but was pinned down by their Snake Dorito player. fortunately someone got him out, so I could advance without any resistance. I looked inside at S3, and saw someone in the center brick. Was firing a few pellets at him when another person decided to run towards the middle center bunkers. Unfortunately for him it was right in my line of fire, so he was taken out. Went back to the center bunker, and took him out too.

I saw another person move up and hid into D2, but at my angle, I couldn't get him. So I crawled to the middle of the last segment of the snake, popped up and fired 4 pellets at their D2 player who was then called out.

Snuck out the end of the snake, and found that there was no one else left, so I collected the flag and brought it home:

By 1:30pm, it was the end of Day #1. We dropped a game, but fortunately so did all the other teams. So for the first time, Feva Division was seeded #1 for the knockout stage on Sunday!

#1: Feva Division: 698 points.
#2: UiTM Shah Alam: 690 points.
#3: Outrecs 360: 680 points
- they were the ones who beat us at game #3.
etc ...
The standings after Day #1

Day 2

Day 2 began with us meeting up at 6:30am again in Astaka, sorting out our gear and getting things ready. We were again playing in the first game of the day as the 1st team from the prelims would be playing the 16th.

Sweet 16 - Fai Long Unitar

So up against us was Fai Long Unitar which we played in our 3rd match yesterday.

Sweet 16 - Game 1 - Fai Long - Snake Right

I delayed my dive into the snake, to shoot out the tall dude who managed to make it into the small Snake Dorito. His loader was exposed, and it was really easy to pick it out. Someone else managed to mark my mirror at tall can. So I dove into snake and went all the way to S3. It was really tiring - to crawl the entire length of the snake.

When I emerged from S3, I then proceeded to shoot out their guy at Dorito 1. I wrapped further around the and saw and marked out their Centre brick. I then continued crawling and at the end of the snake, I saw someone at their Back Dorito and also took him out.

It was most satisfying, especially after that arduous crawl.

It was also tiring, so I took a rest for next game.

Sweet 16 - Fai Long - Game 2 - Snake Left

While I sat out in this game, I could see a relatively conservative breakout from our side. Kev managed to lob their tall and aggressive Snake 1 player from the carwash early on. We held our ground for quite a long while. Kev then did an amazing run towards the tall middle spike. We thought he would stay there, but he kept going heading to a large empty space in the middle. He was shot out Tropic Thunder style.

Doc then went into Snake 1 and moved up taking out the Back Right across field. One of them was moving up to the Dorito2 the same time Cikgu made his run past the carwash. Doc hit the Dorito 2 player, but I saw them pulling out Cikgu as well! It was strange but it was only apparent after the game when we found out that it was Miguels' pellet which bounced off a bunker to hit Cikgu.

So we won two games for the best of three knockout round, which meant we proceed to the next stage, the Quarter Finals!

Quarter Finals - Mospeada

Mospeada was a team we hadn't played in the preliminary rounds. They were solid, and certainly gave us a huge fright.

Quarter Finals - Mospeada - Game 1 - Snake Right

The first game, I dove straight into the snake, and moved up immediately to S2. I couldnt see anything in the field, but heard activity down the snake tape on my right. There was a guy in their Snake 1 who was battling with Doc. So I waited in position, and timed my rhythm, and when I felt it was right, I popped out, shot two pellets and went back in. I managed to hit the snake player who was concentrating on a target further behind and therefore the stream was higher than me.

So with the Snake player eliminated, I could move up to S3 to take out the center brick. I could hear pellets hitting my bunker and when I peaked out, I saw someone in the tower posting up on me. So I called for help, and luckily Cikgu was close by in the carwash and able to hear me. I told him that there was a player in the tower, and he put some pressure on him. I then snapped out of the cake, and hit the player out.

I then peeked around the corner, and was harrassed by their Left Back. I told Cikgu the location, and he went hunting and marked their LB out. So it was quite a successful game communication wise.

Quarter Finals - Mospeada - Game 2 - Snake Left

I didnt make it to the snake this time, but played in the small dorito just behind the snake. Their Back Left, Snake Can and Back Right were showering me with pellets, so I couldnt move. Unfortunately I exposed too much of my left side and their LB lobbed one over and hit me out.

I don't quite recall what happened after, but I do know that Cikgu and I were shot out relatively early on. Our team held strong, and it was a draw at the end. So we had to play one more game for this best of 3 stage.

Quarter Finals - Mospeada - Game 3 - Snake Right

I dont recall what happened in this game, but we lost the game. So with the status at Win - Draw - Loss, its a tie breaker of 1 versus 1 with 2 minutes each round, till a single winner emerges.

Quarter Finals - Mospeada vs Doc Henry - Round #1 1 vs 1

Doc started conservatively, staying at the center back, and moving up through the cans and ending at snake Maya. The Mospeada player was also very defensive, which meant that the game ended in a draw after 2 minutes.

Quarter Finals - Mospeada vs Capt Gilbert - Round #2 1 vs 1

Gilbert moved up quickly, and the Mospeada player was very aggressive, taking alot of risks between bunkers. Gilbert probably had alot more chances but any movement was risky, and the game also ended as a draw at the end of 2 minutes.

Quarter Finals - Mospeada vs Verat - Round #3 1 vs 1

Verat was up next, and moved relatively quietly to the center can. He then saw the Mospeada guy move up from their Back Dorito and then Verat unleashed his Rain of Terror. He just let it pour down on the poor guy, with a period of rapid firing, and the Marshalls called "Out!" which meant we were through to the next round!!

Thanks to Nat's camera from Team Xtreme Estrogen to capture this moment of pure bromance

Semi Finals - CMX Badai

The top 4 teams have been identified; #8 CMX Badai, #7 Gladiators, #6 Ethos and #1 Feva. We were up against CMX Badai.

Semi Finals - CMX Badai - Game 1 - Snake Right

I dove into the snake, bumped up easily to S2, and managed to mark out their Center Back. I tried to replicate what I did in Fai Long's first game, but as I moved up to the final bar of the snake, their Snake Can spotted me and shot me out. Silly me, I didnt check.

Fortunately Doc battled with the Snake Can and marked him out, and controlled the game from the snake side. We won the first round.

Semi Finals - CMX Badai - Game 2 - Snake Left

The problem of getting shot out is that the refs marshal you out, and make sure that you go straight to the dead box. So I couldnt see what was happening after I got shot out relatively early on in S1. I dont know what happened in this game, but we lost.

Semi Finals - CMX Badai - Game 3 - Snake Right

In this game, I planned to stop by the Snake Can to easily take out their snake player as he dove in. However my shoes lost traction, and I went tumbling past the can. I scrambled / crawled back in, but a pellet hit my marker grip so I was called out.

Gilbert in the carwash did a great job in showering their Snake 2 player eventually getting him out. Verat and Doc then formed a squad to run down the snake tape, to clear up the remaning players. There was at least one at D50.

So we Won - Lost - Won, which meant we are in the Finals to decide on 1st and 2nd placement! W00t! [12:22pm]

Finals - Gladiators

On exiting the field for the last Semi Finals, we were told that the finals will be played in 10 minutes! Argh. Our over aged bodies were screaming, considering we played multiple 3 games in each stage. Our opponents were the Gladiators which we beat easily during the prelims.

Finals - Gladiators - Game 1 - Snake Right

I was shot out early diving into the snake. After a while, Doc did a run down the snake but their S2 took him out, and he bundled out, and hurt his 'Tailors Muscle' along his thigh - it cramped up after getting shot.

Eventually, it was only Verat who was deep in their territory, and one of their players in ours. Their player captured our flag, and thought that he was the only one left on the field, so he lowered his marker and started to sprint towards his home. Verat noticed him, and easily shot him out. Verat then went to retrieve our flag (which was not necessary) but before he could work out what to do, the time was up.

In his own words:
"i terforgot ma, split second decision anyway, if i take flag i may loose the fellow, so my mind made up for the stalking & kill. actually im glad time out coz i took the wrong flag n i was totally blurred.. like not enuf oksigen in brain.. black out. even the ref in front of me was puzzled with wrong flag at hand. not sure so i just dont move lor. phewww... even the US pros made mistakes like these"
So the first game was a Draw.

Finals - Gladiators - Game 2 - Snake Left

I meant to stop at the Snake Can and post up there, but for some strange reason, as I was running and gunning, trying to hit the center back, I found myself in the Snake Dorito. Looking across the field, I could see their Back Right shooting right back at me. Their Left Back was also peeking above the Temple in the Left Back and lobbing some shots at me.

I engaged their RB for quite a while, using up a pod. Then I saw the LB getting more aggressive. I also noticed that there was no sound from my Back Left, who was Gilbert. He got shot out early too. So I switched hands and tried engaging with LB.

Then I heard a slide behind me and was so relieved when Verat filled in the Back Left to back me up. This gave me a whole lot of confidence and fired more shots at LB. Unfortunately he got the better chance, and gave me a headshot. :(

Verat at LB, Cikgu at Doritos and Kev at carwash was holding up but their Snake player kept pushing.

Verat recalled:
"remembered today, when Gilbert was out, he shouted "I'M OUT!!" which gave me a good head start to cover his position from my center back before 2 opponents started attacking from that flank. held my ground as long as possible. but got pulled out by Ref due to an interesting circumstance."
The interesting circumstance was a spectator outside the field, said something which affected play, causing the Marshal to call Verat out. With our LB gone, the defence broke and we lost the second game.

Finals - Gladiators - Game 3 - Snake Right

Karu, who was competing in D3 pleaded to me to go straight into the snake this time. So as promised, I dove into S1. I looked behind, and saw that Doc (recovered enough) had the tape under control, and I heard him say "Go go!" So I went to S2.

In Snake 2, I surveyed the scene. It was strangely devoid of any enemy positions. Then I saw a guy at D1, but he was hiding well. So I tried lobbing him. In the meantime, the sound of pellets hitting my bunker became louder and louder, but I tuned that out. I just concentrated on hitting the only person I could see at D1. Unfortunately in doing so, I extended the barrel too much, and one of the 4 remaining guns on me marked my barrel. So the Marshal came over and pulled me out.

While I was with Doc in the deadbox, Gilbert was in the Doritos, Miguel at the Carwash and Verat Center Back holding strong. We needed a win, but when I saw Gilbert being called out my hopes dwindled as we had no runner left to finish this game off.

So we lost the game, and therefore, like ISSC which we played a few months ago, Feva could only muster up 1st Runner up for Division 4.

At 1:31pm, I twitted:
I am pooped. #mynpl
And we were. We had to play almost the maximum of 11 games, plus the 3x 1vs1 games. We could have won, but we did not have the remaining endurance to finish off the finals.

All the winners for MyNPL Division 4 - Round 1

Feva Division and guests: standing - yk, Miguel, Doc Henry, Kevin - sitting - Verat, Gilbert, Cikgu

Overall it was an awesome experience yet again, and we look forward to Melaka in a few weeks!


[I forgot that I had this post in Draft for a month now. Sorry for the delay!]

Thursday, October 08, 2009 2009 - Press Conference

Last year a bunch of us organised the Free and Open Source Software Conference ( 2008 within a very short period, and it almost killed us. This year we had a bit more time, but as per normal, we procrastinated and left it till very late before things started happening.

Thanks to Ditesh who pulled everything together the past few weeks, we managed to sort out all the prelim issues which we missed last year. One of the main items was a Press Conference; an activity which completely baffles us techies, but certain corporate types seem to like as it seems to bring in the publicity.

With APIIT (or now they prefer to be known as UCTI since being promoted to a University) as our venue sponsor again, they have been amazing in sorting out the issues with regards to logistics. (Go Gurdip)

So the Press Release was written up and available online here, basically outlines why we are so excited about this year's lineup of speakers;

We are showcasing our local dudes, namely John Lim, the reclusive hacker of the very popular database abstraction layer for PHP, ADOdb. He will be the opening keynote on the first day. Yusseri Yusoff, the big guy behind the first phase of the MAMPU initiative on public sector open source way back in the day will be giving the closing keynote on Sunday. Like his articles online in OpenMalaysiaBlog and TheMalaysianInsider, do expect a twisted tale.

Of course have in the Malaysian lineup, Reduan Oon, Nur Hussein, Mohan , Alvin Jude, Khairil Yusof, Muhd Abd Hay, Yaser Khalid, Yuen-Chi Lian, Julian Khoo, Muhd Najmi, Suresh Ramasamy, Uwe Dippel and Errazudin Ishak.

The economic crisis has made this year's effort in raising sponsorship and also persuading companies to help fly in speakers extremely difficult. However the team has managed to juggle the finances and have managed to bring in a few luminaries of the international Free and Open Source Software scene.

Brian Aker will be giving two regular talks: covering aspects of MySQL, Drizzle, memcached or Gearman, and he will also be giving the first day's closing keynote.

On the second day, we will kidnap the Father of Free Software, Richard Stallman who will be making his way through Asia. He will fly in at a peculiar time on Sunday, give his keynote, and then scoot off. He will be talking about "The Free (Bebas) Software Movement and the GNU/Linux Operating System"

We will also host Pradeepto, a KDE hacker from India, Devdas Bhagat, Giuseppe Maxia, Harish Pillay, James Morris and Pia Waugh who was extremely well accepted in the previous conference.

On top of that, we are having numerous Birds-of-a-Feather sessions running in parallel to the talks, featuring KDE, Ubuntu-my, Drupal, Fedora, CodeAndroid, Fosschix and workshops Linux and Startups.

For more information, look at the 2009 schedule.

The Press Conference held at APIIT/UCTI on the 6th of October itself was pretty standard. After some welcoming comments from Gurpardeep Singh of UCTI, Lee Nan Phin of MNCC outlined the importance of Open Source for Malaysia, and how MNCC has had programmes in support of FOSS over the years.

Ditesh and I were "co-chairs" for whatever that meant, and we both emphasised that this is a true grassroots events created by the community for the community. We were asked if the talks would be too technical. Our response to that was that it is aimed more for the technically inclined, and instead of the regular rhetoric, and hopefully the technical bias of these talks would encourage the audience to participate more in the FOSS process.

We were also asked if the Government should have programmes to encourage the usage of FOSS in research and academia. I responded that it shouldn't be a Government initiative but the academic institution's culture. Currently most of the institutions teach students how to use a particular software to fulfill the syllabus. So at the end of the day, we get students with a very short shelf life, in that they only know a certain version of one vendors product without having any strong fundamentals.

What is really required is a change in this culture to a true research and innovation culture where FOSS, the freedom to run, read, share and improve software, clearly satisfies the academic requirements.

Another issue which we wanted to emphasise was the affordability of 09. It is free (as in percuma) for all primary and secondary students. For those on a tight budget, we have the $20 pass which allows full access to all the talks - you just don't get the swag. Hobbyists just have to pay $60 while Professionals pay $88. All of this goes up during the event, when the Walk-in price is $100, so we encourage people to register NOW.

With GIMP and Inkscape love, this is our poster. Clicken to embiggen:

Thanks to the sponsors, MDeC, APIIT/UCTI, MySQL, LCA, ByteCraft and Inigo. MNCC is helping to organise the event.

Colin has got a good summary, and thanks to Jo Timbuong, we have something up at TheStar. The reporters fron Nanyang and Sin Chiew were very careful in getting our Chinese names right.

Because of this buzz, and the fact that today it was announced that a netbook will be given to all the pre-registered (15 Oct) delegates, registration has picked up!

So sign up now, and see you in a few days time.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

MyNPL Round 4 - Melacca

Feva Division did not register to play Round 4 of the MyNPL League, which was held in the historic city Melacca. Luckily for me, The Infidelz (gotta love that name!) had a player spot available, so I had the opportunity to guest for them yet again.

It was great that Division 4 games only started in the afternoon, so I could actually travel down to Melacca on the Saturday morning itself. I was suppose to wake up at 7am, but in the excitement, was awake by 6am. Checked twitter, and found that @joshlim of Yakuza needed a ride. After some attempts at getting his number, I drove across town (pre ISA/FRU clampdown) to Tropicana area to pick him up, and then only got onto the North-South highway by 8am-ish.

The drive down was shorter than I anticipated, with some really heavy patches of rain. This was not good news, but fortunately the paintball field was not deluged when we arrived at about 10am. Had breakfast at the "Old Town Coffee" in Dataran Pahlawan. Ironic.

Waited around for teammates to arrived, and Shiham, Infidelz captain for the day joined us. Ideham couldn't make it for the first day, Saturday, because he had family duties to attend to. Got my tag, and we waited for the rest to arrive. Prem, Faiz and Wan turned up, and we had the opportunity to check out the other D2 and D3 teams playing on the three Fields.

Had lunch, which was some badly cooked maggie mee below the field facing the school/church. Don't go there. Although the limau ais was nice: they put in an asam boi in it.

The players paddock was luxurious in relative terms. Long tables, instead of the crummy square ones, ample chairs, but most importantly, an airy high ceilinged structure which housed over 40 teams very comfortably. The toilets were close by and although they didn't have tissue paper (always bring your own), it was clean. It is an excellent venue. Pity about the traffic though.

Field 2: For all the games, we started from the left working towards the right.

We setup our stuff, filled pods, and warmed up. For Field 2, my default position was to take the Mini-snake within the Carwashes (mid-top of this image). I had Prem to back me up. Shiham was in control at the center and ready to fill in whichever positions, while Faiz and Wan played the huge wavy snakeside.

Our first game was against the red Tshirted team called "Kerex Hunter." It was interesting, with Shiham managing to do a snakeside taperun to take the flag for the win.

The second game, also on Field 2 was against "Jerung" and it featured Faiz taking out three from the hard to handle snake. I was in the little dorito/"chip" and managed to take out the BabySpike right across the field. Then made my way to the carwash, suppressed the back corner and dove into the mini snake. However the carwash on the other end was not oriented properly, leaving less cover than it should, and the corner guy shot my shoulder. But Infidelz pulled it off and brought their flag back.

The third game was against DPMM 1, which was a bunch of newbies, who put up a brave fight. They were a bunch of 3 girls and 2 boys, and very young. I did the same as in the previous game, parking myself in the chip, taking out the opposite corner (backright), then I dove into the mini snake. By the time I reached the other end of the minisnake, my teammates already cleaned up shop. All of us survived.

Field 3: Again we were "fortunate" to start from left to right. The stalls behind us were blasting "Speedy Gonzales" on the PA system making it difficult to relay info.

Then we had two games on Field 3, where the default plan was to have Faiz at the 50Spike, myself at the mid carwash, and Prem, Shiham and Wan at the back.

For the fourth game, we were up against "Jari Jari Mentega" which is such a brilliant name, the BM version of "Butterfingers" (or more accurately it would be "Margerine Fingers", but who cares). It started well, I tried desperately to hit the back right guy who was battling with Wan who was already in the snake. All five of us were still in play.

I then heard the call, "Only one left! Go!" So Faiz who was infront, obeyed immediately and marched forward, and I tagged along. He was facing right so I flipped to the left. Shiham was running on the right of the carwash. Just when I noticed Faiz getting shot out, I switched hands to face right but it was too late and I was shot out too. I first thought it was because I was in Shiham's line of fire but the shots came from someone who was hiding in their carwash. Shiham got him out, but Shiham too was marked by the player on the right back.

Prem who was moving up on the left was taken out by another player in the centre back. So there were actually 3 players just before we made our move. Fortunately Wan was still in the snake, and he meticulously took out the remaining two back players, and hung the flag in time. That was a really close call.

The fifth game was against "Rookie Raiders". They held their ground well. Playing from the home side (on the plan, right to left), I was in the carwash battling with their backleft. I was joined by Shiham who had moved up from his command at center back. He told me to go into the snake, and because there was a convenient break in the snake, I slid in and composed myself at the center dorito. The back left dude was pelting the dorito, and I just timed it to snap shoot him out. I feel my left shooting is far better nowadays than before. With the left tape down, I shimmied further down the snake. I exchanged a few pellets with the center back, but unfortunately did not recoil in time as he shot my hopper.

There were two from both teams remaining when the marshalls called "Time out". So it was a draw, but a very interesting fight.

We didn't have a sixth game, because Team "Legio-X Frentensis" was a no-show, so we got a walk over.

Tally after the prelims. Infidelz at 5th Place, tho' the spread was thin.

So at the end of the first day, we had 489 points and were ranked 5th of a field of 30, which wasn't too bad at all! This means we proceed to Day 2 for the knockout stage, starting with the Sweet16. Being fifth, we would play the fifth last team which was Team "JS".

Later that day, Ideham turned up, checked into Baba Hotel and walked down Jonkers Street:

A lady crooning down Jonkers Street. Must be part of the "Moral Uplifting" programmes. For her, not us.

Shiham was parked in Dataran Pahlawan, so we walked all the way there to meetup for dinner. It was getting late, and we were hungry, so we chose an easy option of Burger King. crums.

The next day, the competition started at 8am. D4 players were assigned Field 3 again. Because Wan could not attend Day2, we changed our breakouts accordingly.

The first game against JS for the best of 3, I was suppose to fill the snake while Faiz the 50Spike. Unfortunately I got laned: as I dove on the ground, sliding, a pellet exploded on my hopper splattering paint on my mask. How embarrassing, getting laned by mech markers. So as I watched helplessly from the deadbox, I could see teammate after teammate dwindle down, to a 2 vs 2 fight. Shiham took out their Right Back and they got a penalty for playing on, so their other teammate got pulled. So somehow Infidelz pulled it off again, and we got the flag.

The second game against JS, I was in the carwash and suppressing the doritos. Felt a graze on my right finger, looked at it, but there was no burst. But the marshalls pointed at me and called me out, only to see Faiz and Prem in the deadbox already.

Shiham and Ideham were still in play, up against 4 JS guys. Shiham slid out to the doritos side, while Eddy was in the snakes. Eddy burst out, running down the snake tape, and bunkered JS's captain Buyo at Snake50, then slid into the Snake1 knuckle. He got a bounce off his hand, and the marshall cleared him. He then took out the man in the carwash, and moved up the end of the snake.

Eddy put pressure on a guy across the field on Dorito1, who wrapped around, hiding from the pellets. Shiham saw him and was just about to take him out when the marshalls called the JS guy out, because in his haste he stepped out of bounds. Shiham then moved up and did some gymnastics and managed to get mini-dorito guy out. They both got the flag, and helped us through to the Quarter finals (top 8).

Next, we were up against Team Karma, a Singaporean based team, who had great results whenever they played in previous MyNPL rounds. Fortunately the official photographer The Resident Evil Chef Foo was on the field to take pictures of this game (more here).

The first game we started at Home, breaking out with Eddy and I in the carwash.

Faiz made it to the 50Spike, but had problems with his marker. Eddy did a brave run down the snake, but was shot out, and while I was suppressing the dorito side, a Karma dude ran down the snake side and took me out.
At the same time, Shiham ran up, got the Dorito guy,
and captured their flag while their man also got our flag. It was a 1-on-1 situation but unfortunately Shiham got shot out first.

So we lost for the first time in the tournament.

In game 2, there was some confusion in the breakout, which meant that Faiz did not make it to the 50Spike. When he tried to go down, he was shot out. Eddy was taken out by a wicked bounce off another bunker while he was safely behind the carwash. I was covering the doritos as usual, and exchanged fire with D1 for quite a while. Fortunately I managed to mark him out, but almost immediately, their back left filled in the same dorito. So while I was raining pellets on him, a player from their spike slid into the mini coke right in front of me. I called for Prem, which I then realized was already taken out.

By the time I tried to suppress the mini-coke guy, the player from Dorito-1 moved into D2 which had a better angle than before and took me out. All that was left for the remaining 4 of them was to do was to clean up Shiham who was in the back corner.

We lost only for the second time in the tournament, and it was devastating. So we got knocked out of the tournament, not progressing further than the Quarter Finals. It was a pity. A small consolation was that Team Karma progressed from the Semifinals beating the Jackals to be in the Finals against Team "Shoot in Rage" (SiR).

Not over yet...

Karma however lost to Shoot in Rage in the finals. Yin Yang who was extremely strong in the prelims played Jackals for the 3rd/4th placing, and we managed to see them draw after three games. However the 1-on-1 decider was extremely anti-climactic as the Jackal player got laned on the breakout by the Yin Yang player at the start.

We had lunch at a tiny peranakan restaurant called "Banya" which was very close by, thanks to the recommendation by localboy @cerventus. The Assam Fish and Chendol was good, the rest OK only:

Overall, it was a great outing, managed to reach the Quarterfinals, but like in every tournament, it would have been better to proceed further. The disadvantage of having a relatively easy prelims is that we dont get a feel of the quality of opponents in the future rounds, and whether our tactics would stand up against good opponents.

But we live and learn, and again it was great to play alongside Team Infidelz.

The official results were:
Division 4: (32 teams)
2nd = KARMA


Some other links:
Uncle Zee of Yakuza.
Eu Veng "Evo" Ooi of Yakuza
Resident Evil Chef Foo with his Malacca Gallery Day 1 and Day 2

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Poken apart and back again.

Thanks to @mikefoong, I managed to see first hand what this Poken device is all about. We met at D'lish at Bangsar Village for a tweetup and we got to choose our poken devices. I arrived kinda late, but got the RockStar Poken - only because he had a guitar.

I also brought my Ubuntu netbook to see if it worked well as advertised. I plugged it in, but nothing happened. So I kept an eye on dmesg and found it rather alarming:
I double checked with @davidlian's device, and the I/O errors persisted with his device too. So its not particularly well setup. However it mounts as a read-only device and displays 3 files.

Because Ubuntu doesnt recognise "autorun.inf", you'd have to manually click on the Start_Poken.html file. This is where the magic lies. In the html file, it has a URL which is automatically generated everytime you plug your Poken in.

Its a simple META refresh to a website with a really long URL and looks something like this:
The URL autogenerated by the Poken device. Some information blocked to protect the innocent.

It certainly looks like it was a relatively straight forward encoding, with fields delimited or padded with the 'AAA's. So the first few parts tended not to change, but I could detect the byte field which increments by four bits every time its plugged in. What is also interesting is that the trailing groups of data corresponds to the number of people I Pokened. So in this case, was 6 people.

The remaining series of '+-+-+' obviously is "free space", and at 1434 bytes remaining, with approximately 23 bytes per Poken contact, it should be able to fill another 62 contacts in addition to my 6, so a total of 68 pokes.

So don't go to a Poken party with more than 68 new people, or you'd lose information. I'm not too sure what happens when it gets full, but it seems you can erase the information on your Poken by holding the button down for more than 3 seconds.

I also pried open my Poken, and it split apart quite easily. There was no glue holding it together, as its held together with just simple plastic catches, so a small screwdriver will do the trick. Underneath the circuit board, they melted the plastic pins to flatten out like rivets, so you'd have to push those up for the board to slide through.

Argh! Put that Poken back in one piece, darn it!

As you can see, the circuitry itself is small and thin with the possibility of being incorporated in a slim card form factor. However the bulk comes from the battery, and the antenna, which is wrapped up as a spool.

It also works just by touching the battery onto the contacts, and the red LED lights up. I noticed 3 other LEDs, inside the spool: Another Red, the Green, and Orange to signify the different modes of the Poken.
No worries, it still works, see? flashing lights!

I then snapped it back, not wanting to damage this device further.

So its a relatively simple device, with not much information exchanged during the Pokening process. Just the ID of your friend, and the status of their Poken (discrete or normal). All the actual "Social Network" information is actually in the website. So there is no need to "download" information into your Poken.

What this also means is that this Poken device may not be necessary in the future. All we need could be just software which runs on your phone, which can do almost the same thing via Bluetooth, Infrared or even the Bump.

I guess why this is interesting is that we have some relatively cheap tech which does data transmission, reception and storage in a really bizarre form factor. I look forward to people hacking this to make other interesting applications.

Noticing that the website allows customisation of the Poken Calling Cards, here is my Poken Card template which I created using GIMP (the layered .xcf file available on demand):
Which when populated with the Poken information, looks like this:
Things which Poken needs to fix:
  1. I/O error as reported by dmesg
  2. Making the device writable - what is the use of a 1GB capacity when I cant use it? [Update: it seems the 1GB is simulated, as the device has only 14KB of memory]
  3. Linux friendly - plug and launch
  4. It seems Facebook Connect only works with Internet Explorer 7+. Being a Firefox on Linux user, I don't see how I can make use of this.
  5. Make the device cheaper - something which people wont even think twice about buying. RM20?
  6. Make it thinner
  7. More Pokenistas abound.
Other good Poken reviews:
Carolyn Chan - "If it ain't Poken, go fix it"
Nicki Choong - "Let's start Poken"
Suanie - "do you poken? come poken with me"


[Update: 12 Aug 2009, added Suanie's blog which mentions this, and the 1GB simulated info]