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!]