Friday, October 26, 2007

On Resident Evil: Extinction and Others

Went to watch this movie last week. I think it's awesome! Sci-fic has always been one of my favourite genre and futuristic technology never ceases to trigger my imagination. I have always been impressed by Umbrella Corp even though they are the evil guys, lol. It's so cool that almost all sci-fics computer systems are always Starcraftish/Matrix-ish, holograms and projections, high tech traps, etc. Looking at what we have now, (so long as its a M$ world, sigh) it will be eons before we have something even close to that.

Anyway, watching how the few human survivors making a gamble and trying to move to where they think is a safe haven (= no infection) in an apocalyptic world, I was thinking that since Earth is already pretty much infested with human beings, will there actually be any safe haven? =P

If there actually is an infection happening that could potentially caused extinction, I think it is probably the planet's way of cleansing itself of the parasitic humans living on it. My thoughts on Earth's environment and how we humans are destroying it, is heavily influenced by the Life Stream Theory in FF7:
Bugenhagen: “Lifestream... In other words, a path of energy of the souls roaming the Planet. ‘Spirit Energy’ is a word that you should never forget. A new life... children are blessed with Spirit energy and are brought into the world. Then, the time comes when they die and once again return to the Planet...”
Bugenhagen: “Ho Ho Hoooo. Yes, it is something, isn't it? Well, let's get to the subject. Eventually... all humans die. What happens to them after they die? The body decomposes, and returns to the Planet. That much everyone knows. What about their consciousness, their hearts and their souls? The soul too returns to the Planet. And not only those of humans, but everything on this Planet. In fact, all living things in the universe, are the same. The spirits that return to the Planet, merge with one another and roam the Planet. They roam, converge, and divide, becoming a swell, called the ‘Lifestream’.”

Bugenhagen explains to Cloud and his friends that the Lifestream is continually being recycled and never truly leaves the system as a whole. So long as the entity does eventually die, the Lifestream will be returned to the swell, or Lifestream repository, that is housed inside the Planet’s mantle. This is of course both efficient and self-sustaining and therefore presents the player with the idea that the Planet is in perfect harmony, a common assumption when it comes to talk about nature in real-life as well.

Thus, whenever somebody is born they take a handful of Lifestream with them. When they die, they give it back. That same handful is then incorporated into the swell, and, eventually, used by another life form to facilitate its temporary existence. It is then returned and the cycle continues unto infinity, so long as this is uninterrupted.

Looking at our present situation, I would say we are the Shinra of this planet. Wouldn't be surprised if something actually happens when the planet strikes back, remove us all, and starts to heal. A last quote from Cid:

I always thought this planet was so huge. But lookin' at it from space, I realized it's so small. We're just floatin' in the dark. ......kinda makes you feel powerless. On top of that it's got Sephiroth festerin' inside it like a sickness. That's why I say this planet's still a kid. A little kid sick and trembling in the middle of this huge universe.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Geek Girl's Survival Guide #11

An interesting read. NOTE I DIDNT WRITE THIS OKAY...

A Geek Girl's Guide to Meeting Men

Dating as a geek girl can be frustrating. After all, being a true-blue, roleplaying, fantasy-writing, convention-going geek limits the dating pool substantially. Sure, I could probably find a great guy who would put up with my idiosyncratic interests, but I’m much more interested in finding a guy who will know what I’m talking about when I threaten him with my Rod of Wonder.

Sadly, geek guys can be darn hard to find, possibly because most of them are hiding in their basements playing WoW. (Girls, if you don’t know what that stands for, stop reading now. You’ll need to do a bit more research before you catch your geek.)

I have a friend who’s taken a vested interest in helping me find a geek. Unfortunately, his definition of a geek seems to be somewhat different from mine--he keeps finding me guys who are socially awkward in the extreme. When I said “geek” I did not mean “incapable of carrying on a conversation.” Try again.

The other problem I’ve found with dating geeks is that they all know each other. So, you have a bad dating experience with one, and suddenly all the guys in your dating pool know him.

I’ve got to get some new friends.

Now, I’m told that roleplaying groups are supposed to put the odds in your favor, since there are generally more guys who roleplay than girls.

My Friday night roleplaying group currently consists of two single girls, and one married couple. Not much in the way of dating potential.

In related news, my character who was dating the lich has now married him. They eloped and are very happy together. This further proves that I would be much happier if I dated uber-powerful undead magic users.

Okay, so maybe not.

The question is, where do I find geek guys who aren’t necessarily in my roleplaying group?

The online thing hasn’t worked well for me--I find that when I meet people in person I met online, it’s weird, because you know each other, and yet not. Just because a dynamic works in text doesn’t mean it will work in the flesh.

Cons can be a great place to meet guys with similar interests, as long as you’re okay with all the cute ones wearing Star Trek uniforms. Or tails.

At Cascadiacon in September I was actually stalked down the corridor by a man with a thin mustache and a stuffed otter on his shoulder. He had that otter on his shoulder every time I saw him that weekend, and he followed me all the way down the hall, and then all the way back.


As a side warning: never date a guy who’s a panelist for a discussion of Alien sex. That just screams red flag.

I could talk about the vast sea of opportunity that is game stores, but I won’t, first because I’ve beaten that horse to death, and second because my game store group reads this column.

And I’m in enough trouble already.


I must say that recently I’ve experienced a strange change in lifestyle.

I used to be the girl no one asked out. Now suddenly I’ve had to reject several guys within the space of a few months.

(On that note let me say that I much prefer being the rejectee to being the rejecter. I know I can handle the pain, and I hate hurting other people.)

On the upside, I’ve gone out on more dates in the last three months than in the previous three years combined. (No, you won’t be getting exact numbers on that one.)

I even had a guy ask me on a date to play Magic. How awesome is that?

I’ve learned yet another very important lesson: I’ve been going for the wrong guys all along.

I’ve conferred with other Geek Girls, and many of them have had the same experience: they never dated until they embraced their geekiness and started hanging out with like-minded males.

After all, a pretty, socially-competent Geek Girl is an Ioun stone in a bin of diamonds.

Who needs those useless rocks anyway?

Even so, it seems a miracle that two people, like minded or not, ever actually end up dating. So many things have to work out exactly right, or things just don’t happen. Even if you manage to find your social niche and meet the right kind of guys, there are still a plethora of things that can go wrong.

Some days, I just want to give up all together and become a nun.

Maybe I could find a prestige class for that or something.

Point is, dating is frustrating. It’s frustrating for girls; it’s frustrating for guys; it’s frustrating for geek and non-geek alike.

Single Geek Girls, here’s hoping ya’ll find what you’re looking for. And which is more, here’s hoping you know it when you find it.

Written by MsFish on April 14th, 2006

A post from my colleague...

Found this quite useful...

With firefox extension:

1. The situation: You want to signup at a website. You are at the registration form and you have to enter your private email address.

2. You don't want to give away your private email address. So you decide to use an email address from

3. Now click the "random email" button at the temporaryinbox firefox extension toolbar.

4. A random temporary email address has been generated for you.

5. Copy it from the toolbar to the email address field in the
registration form.

6. Enter the other things and submit.

7. Now you can check the inbox of your email address on But it's easier to use the firefox extension. Just enter the email account name you used before in the left field of the toolbar and press "Check".

8. Now you will be redirected directly to the inbox of your
temporaryinbox account.

9. Open the email and click on the activation link or copy the
password... or whatever.

10. Delete the mail or let it be. Note: the mail will be deleted after
6 hours.

The world ends at 4 GB

I had the opportunity to ponder upon this problem last Friday (19 Oct). Having been assigned the responsibility of speccing out a machine for computational intensive program, I shopped around Dell's website looking to customise a machine.

"Budget is not a problem, just get a machine that is really powerful."

So I picked the best CPU, fastest/biggest HDD... and ram?

"Wah, got 8GB ram out there huh!"

"Buy, buy!"

I think almost all of our CS1104 has gone rusty. Nobody even recalled the memory limitation.

"Cannot lar, 32-bit OS can only address up to 4Gb right?"

In fact, buying 4GB will already has some wastage ok. Look at this:

This is an excellent article that explained how even with hacks to make 32bit OS address more memory, it is still very nasty and best advised not to do it. Also include a very detailed explanation of the "memory hole" and some other tidbits =)

Learning something new everyday! =D

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the world's healthiest foods

It's here!

After combing through the whole of Borders in a futile attempt to locate this book and getting the staff to help ("healthiest foods" has no matches; however we do have a few matches on "healthy foods"), I was forced to conclude that the only way to get it is by ordering from amazon.

And now it's finally here! =) Looking forward to poring through it and learning some good (read: simple and healthy) recipes over the weekend.

Here is the book @ amazon: the world's healthiest foods

and here is the link of the book's website:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quote of the Year

"Singapore is twice as big for her than other people because a place in daytime and nighttime is considered 2 different places for her. HAHAHA."

Something a friend of mine said about my poor sense of direction... It's so cute and so true.. lol.

Detecting ext2/3 partitions in Windows

Was listening to my mp3 while in vista. Then I realised some of my favourite tracks are in my ubuntu! ZzzZz. As we all know, windoze in general refused to acknowledge the existence of other things it has no control over, so how do i get my mp3s??? ZzZ

I came across this v useful blog while trying to look for alternatives (no way am i gg to have a FAT32 just for file sharing between the oses!). And guess what i noticed first?? Yay! Gnome FTW! no way am i going to switch over to KDE just because someone can't configure his right mouse clicking to his liking (hehe) lalalalala~ /dance

anyway, check it out here:

All About Linux

I am linking the blog to the geeky links on the side menu, enjoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Not Good Dream, Not Bad Dream, Not my Dream

Have you played The Sims before? The way I see the sims leading their artificial life and the way I see not just my life, but life in Singapore in general, is so similar. Pure routine, boredom, and predictability. Study -> Work -> Car -> Marry -> House. It's like... everyone I know in SG is doing the same thing lor.

Someone sent me an inspiring email. It was a very old article on the Singapore Dream, Singapore Plan. I went to read more about it and came across this blog.

Good Dream Bad Dream

Read, and think. =)

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Poor Villagers =(

I came home after work today, turned on my pc and checked on my virtual villagers.
It is a great sim game by Last Day of Work, a homestudio. I loved all their sim games! Check it out here:

anyway, here is a screenshot of my starving villagers. Not much to see. =( Notice the big fat zero at the food column and see my empty, cropless farm.

So sorry my poor villagers. I was playing World of Warcraft and forgotten all about you guys.

*one minute of silence*

HOWTO: Converting .CHM to .PDF

If you are like me, who is fussing about having to click on every 'Next' to move on to the next page of a .CHM file, or who needs to have a CHM file printed (Imagine the horror of having to select every page to print o_O;) You would have, at any point of time, wondered about this.

There is a good ubuntu geek guide on this (google: convert chm pdf ubuntu). I don't use htmldoc for the conversion though, because I think the generated pdf file is too ugly (probably cos I didn't configure it properly. lol)

Step 1: Assuming you already installed libchm-bin, this command will run it

extract_chmLib book.chm outdir

I have always find this command hard to remember, so I like to save it somewhere and do a cut and paste, changing merely the file name and destination directory.

Step 2: With the decompressed html files, I used Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional (Dualbooting = best of both worlds) to convert multiple files to a single pdf file.

The only thing to note here is that you would need to select the order of files and you can remove the headers and footers (showing the file name and location and time/date etc, which I think is too ugly) by unsetting the options under the "Create PDF from Web Page" option. It is NOT at Preferences -> Options setting (I couldn't find it earlier because I was combing through this -.- )

Optional Step:
Before step 2, if you are concerned about the Next, Previous links that appeared on each html page (like me), you can opt to remove them.

Using UltraEdit (or any good text editor that can allow you to search and replace texts in files without having to open them manually), I opened one sample html file and observed how the Next and Previous tags were coded. Most often it is a table by itself.

Copy the code for the 'Next' and do a regular expression search and replace. This is important because we will need to use a regular expression to handle the a href="something.html" part. Note that this is a dynamic line that changes from page to page, while the rest remain static.

Replace the "something.html" with "[\w]+[.]html" This will account for all the different variations of the URL.

Leave the replace field blank. This effectively means removing the search string.

Now search and replace all the .html files in the directory. Leave it to run.

Repeat the same thing for the 'Previous' tag.

Done! After the html files were cleansed of those bothersome links, you can convert them to pdf using step 2 above.

Enjoy your beautifully created pdf file! =)

HOWTO: Making Wireless LAN work in Ubuntu

Rather than having bits and pieces of my technical know-hows scattered around my home and office, I thought it would be a good idea to be organised (for once, haha) and centralised them all in one place.

This bit deals with making wireless works in Ubuntu 7.0.4. I meant this to be a reference for myself (in case I run into the same problem again), so I apologise for the lack of generality. =)


Broadcom Corporation BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller

Step 1:
sudo apt-get install bcm43xx-fwcutter

This is basically to install the guy that will extract the relevant firmware from the driver =)

Something to note: during installation it may report a problem that a certain file could not be found etc etc (I forgot the actual problem) Just ignore it. =)

Step 2: Download the driver file wl_apsta.o.
The catch here is there are many versions of wl_apsta.o floating around out there. I tried a few versions before I managed to find the correct one (and I am sure to back it up!) Assuming you have got the correct version, let's move on.

Step 3: Run the firmware cutter on wl_apsta.o
sudo bcm43xx-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl_apsta.o

/lib/firmware is basically a place to store all the firmware files (there will be A LOT) extracted.

Last Step: There will be NO need to reboot your machine after this step. If everything goes well, you will be able to see your wireless connectivity bars up and running (I am assuming you have set up your wireless correctly, meaning it is working in MS Windows) :P

If, for some reason it is not working, I highly suggest you try another copy of wl_apsta.o. Delete the firmware files from /lib/firmware/ and repeat the extraction.

A good way would be to compare the md5 of various wl_apsta.o files to differentiate them and try different ones until you get it up =)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Office Romance

After reading this, all the more I do not believe in office romance.

Misleading Signs

In a restroom:


In a Laundromat:


In a London department store:


In an office:


In another office:


Outside a secondhand shop:


Notice in health food shop window:


Spotted in a safari park:


Seen during a conference:


Notice in a farmer's field:


Message on a leaflet:


On a repair shop door:


Try this on a webpage with lots of images!

Cut and paste the following code into the URL boxes and press Enter:

javascript:R=0; x1=.1; y1=.05; x2=.25; y2=.24; x3=1.6; y3=.24; x4=300; y4=200; x5=300; y5=200; DI=document.getElementsByTagName("img" ); DIL=DI.length; function A(){for(i=0; i-DIL; i++){DIS=DI[ i ].style; DIS.position='absolute'; DIS.left=(Math.sin(R*x1+i*x2+x3)*x4+x5)+ "px";*y1+i*y2+y3)*y4+y5)+" px"}R++}setInterval('A()',5); void(0);

USB Gadgets

USB Missile Launcher:

USB Mini Fridge:

USB Rechargable Batteries:

Problem Solving Flowchart

Being an engineer is all about solving problems. Take a look at the following problem solving procedure. =P

A little Ubuntu Incident

First, my situation: I own an XP box, hand assembled and recently upgraded (so that I could play Oblivion).

Vista was dualbooted with XP and everything works like a charm. When I installed Ubuntu though, it was start of my nightmare. The installlation proceeded beautifully, and it was smart enough to detect prior Windows installation. =)

Once it booted into GRUB though, this was what I saw:

Error 21: Selected Disk Does Not Exist


Enough said, I literally googled and read every single relevant page on this issue. I read through menu.lst and browsed through my grub folders. I installed and reinstalled on different harddisk and partitions (I have 2 hdds and several partitions - imagine the permutations) I have no idea why it refused to acknowledge the existence of my 2 hdds that are sitting comfortably in my casing, though Windows have no problem finding them.

In the end, I gave up and I took out my 256mb thumbdrive. 'Let's see if you can detect this,' I thought. And so I installed my Ubuntu's /boot in this thumbdrive, that jutted out of my casing and looking absolutely like it did not belong at all.

And guess what, that solved the problem beautifully. I was ultra relieved and mentally kicked myself for having to resort to this 'cheapskate' method. Well, at least it worked. I have no idea, even now, why ubuntu did not detect my hdds. So now I am still booting up my ubuntu via thumbdrive, and there is no cause of concern except the slightly more bootup time required. But that is not an issue. I still love my Ubuntu =)

Demotivational Posters

Sick of those motivational posters? Try something different instead! Below is my favourite. =)

A Meaningful Story

Got this story from a colleague today, something meaningful and something which I would like to keep =)

Silly Margins

My primary four English teacher Mrs Yeo taught me this golden rule of always drawing a one-centimetre margin on the left-hand side of my exercise book. For the longest time, I wondered about this need to waste space, as I could have written more words, saved more paper and made my exercise book last longer if not for those margins. I really believed it was a silly rule but I reluctantly drew them anyway.

Fast forward 30 years. One day as I was tidying up my house, I found my primary school exercise book. As I flipped those pages of yore, I could not help but smile. There was something special about this book that made me treasure it. It was the margins. At every margin, Mrs Yeo would pen some encouraging words like, "I am happy that your ambition is to become a teacher", "Interesting narration of a pencil-box life? love your ideas of giving birth to little baby pencils", "You are the only boy whose best friend is a girl - keep it up". Sometimes she would draw a star, a sad face, a smiley or just a simple tick to show her reaction to my statement. I noticed a few pages on which I did not draw margins; there were no remarks. How I wish I had drawn them.

I finally understood Mrs Yeo's golden rule of drawing margins. Just as I had drawn margins for her to pen remarks that I so fondly cherish, I should also draw margins in life's hectic schedule so that I can savour the process of my work. I have learned a few tricks about drawing margins in life:

Give allowance of time. Avoid tight schedules and aim to arrive early by 15 minutes or more for all activities. Too often, stress is created by my ambition to squeeze too much activity into a limited time.

Plan time for things that matter. Plan time to enjoy my hobbies, time to spend with my loved ones, time to go on a vacation and time to play my favourite sports.

Spare time for little things. Spare some time talking to a child, pouring myself a good cup of coffee, comforting someone, cleaning the toilet, learning to cook Mee Siam from Mommy, helping the old lady to cross the road, marvelling at the sunset, or just watching the street busker performing.

I thought drawing those silly margins was a waste of space and was worried that my exercise book would not last the whole year. The fact was, the margins turned out to be the highlight of my book and by the end of the year the book was only three-quarters filled. Yes, I had worried for nothing. The worth of the exercise book is not measured by its length; it is measured by its content. Likewise, time is not measured by seconds; it is measured by the moments. I shall continue to create such moments by drawing those silly margins in my life!