Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour 2009, and beyond

I'll switch off the lights in the house tonight, in support of Earth Hour this year.

However, let's take our 'votes' for earth beyond that, beyond tonight. Let's rethink our impact to the environment, and take steps to care for our earth more.

I borrowed Jafa's copy of National Geographic magazine March issue, and a lot can be learned in it.

Search online for ways to reduce energy usage, so you can know how to do your part. Well, borrowing (instead of buying another copy) is one way for reducing energy by itself, too.

Related entry:
recycling has its perks - eventually

Friday, March 27, 2009

How Fast Can Your Fingers Dance?

If you could send SMSes without having to look at the keypad of your handphone, kudos! That's a skill that many are still trying to learn, and not all could master. I am one of that many. However, it's only using one thumb. So, not an all-fingers-dancing there.

Touch Typing (TT) is an essential skill modern people should have. It uses all your fingers. Well, I'm using only nine - my right hand thumb is spared from the keyboard dance. Most of us who work in the office would have a computer on our desks. The means of communicating with the computer is via the mouse and the keyboard.

There are many associated health risks related to the usage of these two. Essentials for our work, we can't do without them. The risks can be minimised, by taking steps to make better the ergonomics. The physical design aspect is one of them. Another step that we could take is to minimise the nodding movement while typing. That is, to minimise the eye (and head) movement when we have to glance at the keyboard every now and then to make sure that we're hitting on the correct keys. With TT, this is minimised, or eliminated altogether (if you're an expert).

Reduced health risks aside, it is much more convenient to TT. Lunchtime is a lights-off period in my office. So, the ability to TT is essential if one is to send emails (not work related, of course...) or chat online during that period.

Old school Autocad users are familiar with TT, but not to the full extent. Give them a mouse to work with, they'd prefer a QWERTY keyboard instead. After all, the numbers are still on the keyboard, right?

That being said, TT also includes the ability to key in numbers without looking at the keypad. By the way, that set of numbers to the right of a full-sized keyboard is called a keypad.

I could only TT at about 45 words per minute (WPM) at accuracy above 90%. However, throw in symbols in the sentences or words to be typed, my accuracy (or speed) would drop a lot.
I learnt how to TT when I was 15, using my cousin Azizi's PC. Those days, the OS was MS-DOS (no, I'm not old), so the graphics was not as awesome as nowadays. Still the essence is the same. After finishing school, while my friends were attending driving classes, I sat at home learning TT on my brother Amri's PC (Windows based already by this). Four hours a day, for three weeks, I finished the basic lessons - not that hard, eh? Well, the PC was not with captivating computer games(solitaire, pacman) that I could play with, so I took the challenge of TT.

The intention was for me to be able to type efficiently, knowing that I would have to hand out reports and assignments for college and university. So, I started 'early' learning how to TT to prepare for that, and I guess I set the goal right back then.

The only bad thing about being able to TT is that my eyes would stay fixed on the computer monitor for a long period of time. Oh, and me learning to TT and forgoing the driving lessons, that's another story.

Google for 'touch typing' (or here), and you'll get enough help to get started. There are many sites offering free online tutoring. Have fun, and may your fingers dance gracefully, and faster.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

jemput makan?

While having his nasi lemak in the office one morning, a colleague invited:
"Makan?" ("Eat?")
It's a shortened question for "come and join me with my meal".

It is a courtesy invitation, practiced by Asians. We politely offer to share our meals with others. This is so as not to be rude, enjoying the sumptuous meal alone while others would be left watching enviously and trying hard to ignore the tantalizing aroma floating around the area shared by those around.

This courtesy is practised almost anywhere, even with strangers. If you're on a bus for a long journey and about to enjoy your food, it is deemed to be normal (and somewhat expected) for you to extend this courtesy to the person seated next to you. Even if it's just a plain slice of bread. It's the thought that counts.

Almost all the time, this 'obligatory' courteous invitation will be welcomed with a smile (absent all the while before that), and replied with one of these stock answers:
"No thank you, enjoy your [whatever]",
"Bismillah" (I like/prefer this one),
"Eh, takpe, takpe",
and et cetera.

I said 'almost', because sometimes I'd like to tease my friends (and strangers) with this unexpected answer:
"OK, leave some for me that chicken wing and the ice cream", while rolling my sleeves up.

That begs a question:
Do we offer our food to be shared with others around because of mere courtesy, adab berbudi bahasa, making it as cliché; or doing it out of pure sincerity and kind thoughts?

During college years, a close friend of mine usually would enjoy his food by himself quietly, and never would offer the courtesy to people around. His take on it is that he wants to eat it all for himself (food on his plate is just enough for himself), and would never be a hypocrite. I agree with him on this.

There's a hadeeth about sharing your food:
"Food for two is enough for three, while food for three is enough for four"
(Abu Hurairah r.a.)

Rest assured, I'll always be sincere while being courteous whenever I ask you to join me with my meal. Though I'll keep mum if I'm only a spoonful away from finishing my [whatever].

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I received these photos from my cousin Liza 2 days ago. The exact date of the photo taken is July 19th last year. It's from her elder sister Lin's (Kak Long) camera, who is technologically challenged :)

The occasion: Nubhan's fan club inaugural meeting cum get together.

I was around KL at that time attending meeting; and so were Ibu, Ayah, and my elder brother Amri's family. Amri fetched me from Crown Princess hotel upon checking out and we went to Low Yat to buy a laptop for Ibu.

Ibu were at UTM Jalan Semarak attending IT related course. We fetch her and had lunch together. Little did I know that they came to KL also to attend NFC's function. I followed them anyway, to Bora Ombak near Ampang Sports Planet.

Although there was a long table reserved for 'family', I still felt uncomfortable to be there. I didn't pay anything, while members have to fork out a certain amount. Another reason being: I was the other person besides Auntie Bong wearing green in that occasion. Really felt so out of place :).

The way out: took Kak Long's camera and went to shooting frenzy mode. Hahaa... Win-win for her and I. Problem is, it took this long for me to get the photo of myself with Nubhan from her. Perhaps Kak Liza could teach Kak Long the simplest way ever to download photos from her uber sophisticated camera someday? Using a card reader is a simple way to do it.

Ayah, Ibu, me, Kak Lang, Kak Long

Of Nubhan, I didn't quite notice how lanky he is. Upon seeing the photo, well, he's a lot taller than I am, and a lot slimmer than I remember when he's younger. And little did I know of his hidden talent, for he's a quiet guy all the while.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

be the boss?

Anyone would be perplexed whenever I tell them that I don't have any desire to be a boss, head of department or the like.

I would ask them back why would anyone want to be a boss. The common and usual answer would be 'better salary'. Ahh... the very reason why people are busting their delicate bottoms everyday at their workplace.

Not just $, but $ if you're the boss.

Yes, it is bigger but not necessarily always. Once a former boss of mine said that it is also not unusual for bosses having lower wages than their subordinates. This of course depends on the industry and the line of work. You don't have to be in the management ladder in order to have a big salary. For technical companies, if you have the right technical competency, your salary would be upscaled accordingly. Unfortunately for me, my company doesn't have that. Thus the only path to have better salary is to be the boss.

Does it have to be that way? The boss is the leader, period. That's how companies would flourish, and people get better. When people wants to be the leader because of the $ factor, things could go ugly. Corrupt politicians are examples. Naturally, a leader is a leader not because of the benefits for himself. He should be focusing on others, beyond self. Improving the lives of others, for example. Hence making the $ factor not the prime motivation, rather downgraded only as a side benefit.

You would always also hear bosses say that 'money is not everything'. Well, if you already have tons of it, and that's completely another topic altogether.

Monday, March 02, 2009

summer meadow update

Last Sunday Naza requested for me not to go offroad, and have a recreational activity with the family instead. I obliged, and as usual they enjoyed the extension of last night's sleep. Meanwhile, after Subuh I picked up my XS project and continued on.

This morning I took a photo of the project so far, and it is showing very much progress since my last entry about this. The white daisies are starting to show up between the spots of green & khakis.

It would finish very much soon, if I'm willing to trade it with my offroad rides. Well... the project can always wait.


And yes, we went to Hutan Bandar for the family activity - after the brunch.