Life & much, much more

2018 New years resolutions

The first half of January’s resolution probation period has ended, and so it’s perhaps safe to post the goals for the year. So in no particular order, here they are.

  • Blog more. There’s a lot that’s been happening, and very little of it sees the light of day online. There are plenty of projects to provoke, reflect upon, or just answer your organic search query. My blogging habits used to be a couple times a week, and slowly died down as life took over. It certainly shows in the analytics dashboard. By the end of the year, monthly sessions should equal the same numbers seen in 2015. This means content creation, content creation, and more content creation. You can probably already see that a mobile friendly theme has been refreshed, new categories, and a few posts already published.
  • Divest. Financially, investors in their 20s can take a long-term view. This is the time to build up investing habits, and experience different markets. By the end of the year, I would like to invest in 20 different markets and start understanding my risk profile. Last year I experienced managed funds, blue-chip stocks, and rode the crypto currency roller coaster. This year will be more.
  • Consume intelligently. The environment is changing. Now is as good a time as any to build habits to be a more ethical consumer. We vote with our dollars, and it is our responsibility to support supply chains that promote good values in our society. Once consumed, we should break the disposable habit that arose sometime in the previous generation, and go towards zero-waste.
  • Improve digital security. The crypto boom is the public’s first taste of moving more traditional assets into a decentralised network. Unlike centralised systems, decentralised systems are very hard to kill. I foresee more of our digital lives being interconnected, even if we don’t realise it. It is pertinent that we promote more usage of privacy practices, such as password managers, secure protocols, self-hosted infrastructure, encryption, and signing.
  • Begin longer term work and life. I’ve been in the architecture industry for a year and a half now after being primarily in software. It’s probably time for training wheels off, and to start specialising in an area of architecture that is socially beneficial. Similarly, despite the prohibitive housing costs here in Sydney, the ongoing market correction suggests it’s time to revisit settling down in the more traditional sense.

Until 2019, then.

Life & much, much more

Another year awaits.

Well, it’s been another month since my last post but my online slumbering isn’t the result of laziness, but rather the shifting of focus towards more of real life and less of the fantastical world wide web.

Since then, I had returned to Shanghai to continue studying Mandarin. Upon my return, my ever-faithful Acer Aspire 4530 had decided it was time to corrupt its hard drive and stop displaying things on the monitor. I am now the happy owner of a Thinkpad T420i, whose notable features include choosing discrete/integrated graphics at the BIOS level, which subverts any possible Linux NVidia Optimus problems, things just working, thanks to the series being a developer favourite, and a very rough-textured nipple and touchpad, which are like heaven to my sensitive hands which suffer from hyperhidrosis. Even when my hands do act up, the keyboard has a drainage system.

Software-wise it runs Gentoo Linux with KDE. Files were easily transferred without any problems from my backup server at – whom I’d recommend to anyone in an instant.

I have included a picture of it below (or rather, a stock photo of it). Aesthetically it looks not much more than a black box, but given its reputation as something which just doesn’t give up on you, it’s an appropriate design.

This caused quite a bit of a setback in my office work as well as personal projects, of which the latter got severely cut back upon. Not helping was the fact that in a couple weeks time I moved back to Sydney, Australia to prepare for my second year of university. Also not helping is that I am moving around quite a bit during my first couple of weeks in Sydney.

In terms of personal projects, I finalised and synchronised the latest live.WIPUP design with the stable version. Those who were checking WIPUP would’ve seen the first animation sequence of ThoughtScore finished and posted online on the 24th of Janurary.

Life & much, much more

G’day, mate!

As some might be aware, I’ve recently moved from my nest in Malaysia to the charming country of Australia to begin university. I’m officially a university student now. Well, classes haven’t started yet and won’t for the next 2 weeks, and I haven’t even been to orientation yet, but according to the university’s crappy intranet system I’m enrolled in all my courses for Architecture.

I haven’t posted anything in a while. Normally I’d be able to blame it on my being busy on other things but truth be told I’ve actually just been plain lazy and have taken a liking towards twiddling my thumbs in bed. I still dabble in my projects here and there but there isn’t a sense of over-caffinated hysteria over finishing whatever task I’m currently working on. This means that the KDE-www war is still on hold, my ThoughtScore script is progressing reaaaly slowly, and I haven’t done any composition for the past month. However things are still getting done (yes, live.WIPUP has been updated with a much improved UI!) and will pick up soon as I start settling into a brand new and improved routine. Meanwhile, you can see my work trickle into WIPUP, and despite the horrendous simplicity of my blog design I’ve brought myself together to add a somewhat borked navigation at the top which references my work, hosted on – as it should be – WIPUP.

On the other hand, Australia is excellent. There are weekly $2 barbeques and I’m walking distance away from the harbour, the rocks (where touristy stuff like the Opera house and their iconic bridge are), the SLUG (Sydney Linux User Group) meeting place as well as the central station, which can pretty much bring you anywhere else in Sydney. I’ve also got this wicked view out my window of Darling Harbour which means pretty much unobstructed fireworks displays (so far I’ve experienced two, one during CNY and another during – believe it or not – Valentine’s day.) No, I haven’t yet been to the beach, but plan to in the coming week, and I’m still working on my Aussie accent.

As for open-source stuff, though I haven’t contributed anything in a while I have really been enjoying activites in KDE 4.6 and can’t see how I managed to survive without it in the past. I’ve also been using Diaspora as a sort of “entry hub” when posting social status updates. Now that the newsfeed is starting to see a little bit more activity with people using Diaspora I’ve found their aspects system really awesome, and allows me to share exactly what I want with exactly who I want. I also got myself an Android phone (yes, reflashed with a custom rom) and that’s actually really helped my productivity.

In social news, I’ve met my long-time server sponsor and webhost Tarik from OpticEmpire and talks on new projects have begun (start more than I finish eh?), and somehow formed a weird troupe of acquaintances involving a chilean, italian, hong konger, indian, and miscellaneous.

No, I’m not dead.


I find life hilarious, really.

This isn’t the first time I’ve made that outrageous claim but I really, really do. I do so much that I want to write about it.

A random stroll down the street at 6AM each morning reveals yet another lovely little detail that our crazy synergy has produced. The reason that detail exists? Because we’re often too caught up with trying to comply with these imaginary rules that so-called society has imposed on us. Completely forgetting we’re what defines society we act certain ways around people, do little things for love and big things for money, and often forget who paid for the ticket to the joyride in the first place.

Taking a step back and realising just how comical it is for all these people to comply really opens up a lovely new perspective on things.

To use an example I’d like to talk about a daily (well, weekdays) activity – walking to school. I’m awake sharp at 6AM each day and up even sharper at 6:07AM. I leave at 6:40AM and begin the walk at 6:45AM most of the time. That’s about the point when I stop measuring things in terms of time (yes, it’s amazing not having a watch) and start measuring things in accomplishments and experiences.

It usually begins with trying to get my headphones out and plugging them into my phone. Occasionally I listen to a talk or music but most of the time it’s so that people don’t stare when I start playing the air-drum/guitar/trumpet in the middle of the street. Salute the guards at the guardhouse, tell them my schedule for the morning (you know, they’re paid to just sit there), and wink at the drivers having a chat downstairs. Pass the Japanese mothers and their little children confused between hyperactivity and morning sleepiness and then remember something I forgot to put in my bag.

Screw what I forgot, take a run down the road as a warmup and play chicken with the cars at the first junction (quite an easy feat, not many cars at that time). Exchange nods (and the occasional high five) with Azif the street cleaner and watch the stream of workers miling down the path. Try only to step on the red bricks and check how late (or even early, occasionally!) the bus driver is this morning – use the time until the streetlights extinguish since I don’t have a watch. By this time I’m about the chorus section in the piece of variable genre I’ve made up since winking at the drivers. By that time I’m also by the stretch of road that leads to the Plaza, an area with a few shops and a ridiculous architect who decided spurting water from a leak in the ground was somehow better than a magestic fountain and pond. More about that later, perhaps.

This stretch of road is great – it has everything. It’s got the sleepy 7/11 workers who accidentally set off their own motorcycle alarms, the rhythmic beat of the beginnings of a construction day (say, they have a legal start time don’t they?), the stray dog, the forest (well, close enough if you squint) to the right (lovely split image of nature/urban), the clouds saying hello to a new day, the taxi driver whom I’ve never seen in a taxi, the guard having a smoke behind the voltage box, and the cars realising they no longer need their headlamps. Oh, and the birds too, but they’re more noise than anything. and it’s a bahdum-tsh! Baam bah bah aahhhhh – it’s the climax of the song by the end of it.

Unless of course I see my business teacher walking to school too just ahead of me with his children. Then I just scare them silly by stalking them.

By this time we’re at the Plaza. Now we’re around people we can really have a laugh. You’d find at least a couple people sitting in the most unimaginably uncomfortable positions (well, they look uncomfortable, but you never know) in deep, deep sleep. You should walk through the McDonalds without fail each morning, not to buy anything, but simply because it’s half a minute faster walking through than around (I know, I timed it long ago). You want to know why the first hash brown of the day tastes like the sort of deep-friend chicken skin somebody’s left overnight? Want to know why the free newspapers pile is always empty? Want to know why McDonalds switched from ketchup packets to a self-service watchamathing? It’s hilarious.

Then you leap down the wrong escalator (they haven’t been started yet) and meet that security guard I’m almost sure is gay. It’s hard to tell because they don’t speak English very well (neither do I, apparently I’m told), and like most guards he spends most of his time loitering. Loitering with a purpose. However when you shake hands each day and he holds your hand for a bit too long and a bit too close you worry sometimes. But it’s ok because he knows my schedule better than I do at times and a walking agenda is a great tradeoff.

At this stage you get to the set of traffic lights where all the cars who realise that going around the back of the Plaza gets you to where you want at least 3 times faster than the only route that existed before which went for a lovely 3KM loop-the-loop just to get 500 meters away. Not to mention 2 more traffic lights. (honestly, what were they thinking?) Funnily enough you get parents dropping off children here because then you can skip another loop-the-loop when driving back. You also get your physics teacher’s retired husband taking his brisk walk around here. He talks to anybody else who’s white and about his age, and I don’t exactly fit that as far as I know.

The next stretch of road is great, because it features the 13 years consecutive winner of worst-traffic-jam award of the year. It’s great because you’re walking. It also means that in about 2-3 minutes you’ve got to end your piece because you’re about to arrive. In fact, now is the perfect time for an impulse run, to make people think you’ve actually run all the way from home in formal office-wear (and sometimes a green bow-tie, for that matter). (Note: this run may happen for any duration, and may start as early as 6:45) That doesn’t mean the fun’s over though, in fact it’s just begun. Stuffing 1000 adolescents with a P.E. teacher at the head in a school is a recipe for the perfect all-night comedy show.

Guys (and girls), keep ’em coming. You make my day, every day.