Month: March 2002 (Page 1 of 3)

When Elephants Dance, Internet Radio Dies

When technologists build something that provides enablement of sorts,
as usual those capitalists just love to pounce on the opportunity to
make even more money. As is witnessed in what’s currently happening
to digital media stuff that’s on the Internet these days. When technologists
provide a means for entertainers to let their works be heard and seen
to potentially many more people than the traditional medium is able to
and subsequently benefit the consumers since they don’t have to fork
out more due to the cost effectiveness of the new delivery medium,
unhappy voices, which ironically aren’t of the authors themselves but
their publishers, can be heard. I personally like being able to listen to
radio stations from other parts of the world, particularly since they play
newer variety of songs of different genres rather than repeated select
number of songs of the boyband genre like the ones here do. Anyways,
I have only recently been made aware that they are trying to control
media streams such as Internet radios. Traditionally, in terms of
musical works for example, broadcasters would need to pay a certain
amount of royalty to the publishers based on the number of times they
play a song and also the number of their projected listeners. This model
works well since traditional medium like television or radio would have a
limited geographical coverage. Now, shift this to the Internet and we
have the floodgates of sorts open up. With hundreds of millions of
potential audience, would the model still apply? When those webcasters
and consumers alike got all excited about being able to reach audience
of such magnitude, those royalty seekers dampen the mood with their
claims. If this is allowed to continue, no one will benefit in the end.
Everbody loses. More on this here.

Let Geeks Lead

Bart pointed me to an article in one of the local dailies that touches
something that’s been on my mind for quite a while already. One of
the things that I’m disappointed with when it comes to working here in
my own home country is that you can’t find many great and brilliant
minds in the technical fields doing like what their counterparts are in
other countries. The situation is such that they’ve opted to work in
those other countries where their skills can be made full use of and
their contributions are much appreciated. If they’ve opted to work in
this country, sooner or later, you’ll find them doing the selling stuff.
Either that or they eventually end up in some managerial positions
where they no longer deal with the nitty gritty details of things anymore,
which is sad because as John Carmack, the technical genius behind hit
games like the Doom, Quake series once said in an
“I feel bad for some companies out there. The founders, who are these
incredible engineers, are now directors of their departments doing
management rather than engineering. At the same time most of the
people they are managing are nowhere near as good as they were at
doing the actual work.”

So why is this happening you ask? As the report mentioned, it can be
attributed to the fact that they are not compensated well enough as
those who are involved in the selling of the stuff they’re building. I may
be making a broad generalization here but fact of the matter is that
the mentality and mindset of the people here and this region is still
focused on selling of things rather than building it. Not surprising since,
as the article also mentions, it goes back to our ancestors in the 15th
century dealing with trade. One can hope that the mindset changes.
Personally, I find working in the trenches dealing with the nuts and bolts
of things as exciting, as I experienced over the last four years I have
worked. Sooner or later though, the need for money to support oneself
and family through life will set in and hence the need to change fields.
I can’t see myself taking to that easily though. I’m seriously hoping
things’ll somewhat change, otherwise, these people may find no
motivation to work here anymore if they choose to continue doing what
they know they can do best.

Mudflood: The Aftermath

Spent the whole day cleaning up the mess outside the house. I now
know what hard labor feels like. There’s so much mud out there, if you
gather a crowd you can have a mini Woodstock! Fortunately, we have a
high pressure electric water pump, so that made it “somewhat” easier
to flush away the mud from the porches. Still, nothing much could be
done about the mud in the garden. Some Members of Parliament (MP),
representatives and reporters also came visiting, taking pictures, etc.
and promised to do something about it. We’ll see if they can keep to
their promises. Shortly after that, some of the developer’s contractors
came over to clean the mess up from the garden. In their attempt to
shovel out the mud, they ended up shovelling the grass that was already
there in the first place. In short, almost everything in the garden is now
ruined. So much for that. Rumor has it that the developers now know
they’re in deep shit (they’re not supposed to even start development
work since the Government didn’t approve the project!) that they’re
willing to give kickbacks so that they’ll be off the hook. I’d like to see if
they succeed. If they do, it just goes to show how fucked up the people
running the District, State, Country are and how low they’re willing to go
to fulfil their personal interests at the expense of the public who voted
for them. The track record hasn’t been so good so far…

Update (Wed, March 27, 2:30pm): We made the news
in a Chinese daily.

Mudflood: The Return

Our house was mudflooded again. Whereas a couple of months back it
merely got into the garden, this time it got right into the kitchen and
living room. Thing is, it’s not just water but also mud. The house is
totally messed up. The two carpets in the living room are soaked in
mud, the bottom of the couch and sofas got mudstains all over it, the
garden which was covered with green grass is now covered in about 5
inches of orange mud. It’s all because of some short sighted developer
levelling the hill at the top who don’t have the faintest idea or
consideration about the importance of proper drainange and irrigation.
Someone’s gonna hafta pay, and that someone has gotta pay it bad.

Afdlin Shauki’s Why You So Fat?

Izaidy, Shida and I went to see Afdlin Shauki’s stand up comedy show
at The Actor’s Studio Box in Dataran Merdeka tonight. Although I’ve
heard 40% of the jokes before during The Malaysian Comedy Pest 2002
(which Afdlin was part of), I certainly didn’t mind listening to it
again! The airconditioning was the only thing during the show that left
to be desired. The whole show was running for almost four straight
hours (without intermission!) and after about two hours or so, it was
getting a little bit uncomfortable already and by the end, people were
already fanning themselves trying to contain their perspiration! It was a
good show nonetheless.

I Got A Ticket To Ride (ERL)

Got the chance to ride on the ERL before it was even open for public
testing! Right after work, Izaidy called up asking if I’m up to it. So the
four of us (Bart, Shida, Izaidy and myself) met up after work at KL
Sentral and took the 7:15pm train to KLIA. The ride was super smooth
and although it was travelling at 160kph, it sure didn’t feel like it! This
could very well be my choice of transport coming back from KLIA next
time around if I were to come back from any overseas trip. I mean,
RM35 for a one way trip from KLIA and then a couple of ringgit to the
train station near my house is much better than having to pay RM57
for the same one way trip using the KLIA limo service right?

Arrogant and Ignorant Americans?

I’m really amazed with how arrogant some Americans are with respect
to some issues of the world. These people obviously haven’t been
outside their country much if at all to see the world with their own eyes.
Reading up about the world news in the intepretation of its own media
and propaganda alone does not give anyone enough perspective to
make any judgment. As is obvious in this guy’s writings.
His particular take on the world is fucked
and the discussion
that ensued really got me riled up. Sure, every other place in the world
is fucked except for America. Everything that is bad is not the fault of
America, everything that is good is because of America. Yerright! The
crisis in the Middle East is escalating because in the eyes of most
people of the world, America took a wrong stand on the issue.
Innocent people of Afghanistan and Iraq has to suffer because of
America’s attempt to chase out terrorists and so called oppressors by
blowing the place to bits and impose sanctions that is not unlike
holding hostages for ransom. America chose not to involve itself when
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Chechya when it was under a tyrant’s
seige carrying out a mass orgy of ethnic cleansing in broad daylight.
AIDS is spreading because of the American media’s propaganda on
free casual sex. No one else in this world can build nukes except
America. America blamed my country for not taking any action on the
supposed hijackers on one of the planes involved in the events of
September 11 when they were in the country the year before (and
subsequently labelled it as a launch pad for terrorist activities),
but did not blame itself for letting those people in and provide them
with aviation training on their own soil. The world has to conform to
American standards or way of doing things, otherwise they will be
forcefully imposed on. Any views given by any other country America
consults with is irrelavant and merely academic. They’ll go ahead with
their plans anyways despite objections with partnering countries. Isn’t it
obvious to you already why some people of the world loathe your

Ralf Ends Elder Brother’s Winning Streak At Sepang Circuit

Williams BMW driver, Ralf Schumacher won the Malaysia Formula One
Grand Prix held today in Sepang, Malaysia. His team-mate, Juan Pablo
Montoya took second place thus making it a Williams 1-2 finish. Michael
Schumacher of Ferarri had to settle for 3rd place, after having to climb
all the way from the back of the pack as a result of his slight collision
in the first corner with Montoya. Both McLarens of David Coulthard and
Kimi Raikkonen did not finish the race this time due to engine
problems. Reubens Barichello of Ferarri also suffered engine problems
as he was leading the race when his engine blew up. Jensen Button
would have made a podium finish ahead of Michael Schumacher had it
not been for his car slowing down at the very last lap of the race. Nick
Heidfeld and Felipe Massa, both of Sauber Petronas finished the race
in fifth an sixth position respectively.

Race standings: 1 – Ralf Schumacher (Williams BMW), 2 – Juan Pablo
Montoya (Williams BMW), 3 – Michael Schumacher (Ferarri), 4 – Jensen
Button (Renault), 5 – Nick Heidfeld (Sauber Petronas), 6 – Felipe Massa
(Sauber Petronas).

Mat Duan’s Graduation Celebration

The Purdue grads of Class of 1996 thru Class of 2000 held a small suprise graduation party for Mat Duan. It was the very least we all could do for a guy who, without a doubt, was the most helpful person without haste anyone who was in Purdue could come across. To quote some:

    "Memang Mat Duan was a great help in Purdue… hujan…. ribut.. snow…. you name it… memang dia tolong dengan Daytona merah tu….." – Bard

    "Mat Duan is one of the most helpful human beings I've ever met." – Bart

    "He's really really helpful.." – Fazilah

    "Rasa terhutang budi kat Md Duan sebab dia banyak tolong bebudak masa kat Purdue dulu." – Bogo

Kinda hard to forget someone who made quite an impression to all of us there, isn't it?

So Duan, many congratulations! The best of luck in whatever you do after this! To quote a TV sitcom character (whose show seems to elude me at the moment): "Welcome to real world! It sucks, but you're gonna love it!"

To those who didn't get to make it, pictures are here.

Mat Duan’s Graduation Celebration

March 16, 2002

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