Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Replies to comments... ^_^

Wah, this is a surprise - and thanks for nominating my blog - ack, didn't know so many people read it....so embarressing.. ^_^ A small hint - my posts are super long and wordy so always scroll down to estimate what you're getting yourself into before starting...=)

Anyways, since people are now forced to read my blog, (and I have free advertising space...haha..) I'll just mention some blogs that I really enjoyed reading, so you all can read those too...

I was inspired by Yuming and Jiayang's blog to write about my own experiences, but I think their experiences are more touching and interesting to read than mine. They took alot of effort to write it up and I think its very worth reading, so do drop by there if you have time..

Sharon's last post was very touching also, but for some reason access is blocked..hm. BUT. If you have google reader you can still read her last post from there..haha.. ^_^ Reading Wang Sha's blog also impressed me alot, especially when she said this for her last post:

What have we learnt?

1. HTML, PHP, CSS, Ajax, ActionScript, SQL, Mysql, Flex, Microsoft Visual Studio, WPF

Four month ago, I knew absolutely nothing about them. Now I can use them to create something.

Wah I after I read that I think the Xiaonei team is legendary. I don't even think I will be able to learn as much as they did in the same time frame. :p


Anyways, another reason I'm posting them here is because my laptop has some problem allowing me to post comments, and I've been wanted to leave comments on these people's blogs so I'll just leave them here..hahaha...hopefully you all read my blog...


@yuming - Hee I always liked reading your blog coz I realize we think alike on some issues... Like how I cannot stand slackers who always do half assed work and say they need personal time - but I'm also starting to understand that life is not all about work and to tone down my perfectionist streak also... Which is why I was breaking down halfway thru the module also - I was so pissed I even ranted straight out on my blog...haha... ^_^


@jiayang - Yeah, I agree that Singaporeans like to be comfortable..you have no idea how happy I was when Prof Ben mentioned it in class and I'm like finally someone agrees with me... And you are right about the scared to graduate part too - coz I had my chance to graduate last semester and then I was suddenly freaked out.. But now I'm not so scared, at least I'm more confident in my abilities and what I want...Same as you, graduating in 1/2 yr's time...Hopefully we'll get what we want when we go out in the working world! ^_^


@sharon - For your computing friend..I think it just goes to prove that if you find your passion and head determinedly towards it, you will suceed in the end... ^_^ I was like you also, I never thought it was possible to deviate from the pri sch-sec sch-JC-UNI-work life track...

I only came to the realization too late in end of uni 1st year..that I have just been blindly following a path my parents charted for me. And I was very depressed also, because I deeply wanted to do art in uni but I always felt that I never really had a choice.. It was always too comfortable to strike out, I always had enough results to clear the next level of school... so I had no excuse to do art...

In fact I hated myself for passing my O lvls and A lvls, I wish I'd failed so I will be free to do what I want to do. Haha..I'm still feeling some of the regret now, but I've decided to make the most of my uni life and do as much design and art as I can... I did costume design for RAG, did hall decor, made posters, tried to be publicity head in all the ccas I'm in...and in year 2 I changed my major from literature to CNM so I will have more chance to do what I like.. Its still not art ART, but I'm happier here. ^_^

It was nice working with you for the Library Guide, I really feel lucky for having you as the person to liase with because I'm sure I can never find someone as nice as you..haha, like you were really trying to take care of me every step of the way..Don't worry, your colleagues were very nice also... ^_^ I think the class benefitted from you being in it also, especially your perspective on working life since most of us are still studying and we only have Prof Ben's word to go on..hahaha... I hope you'll find a great job that you love and pays well too! *hugz*


@wang sha - Quote from her blog:“ I know nothing now but I hope I can make something when I finish this course.” Actually, I think we all know some things before we started the course. Its just that this course has forced us to find out exactely how much we know about the things we already know...by making us use our avaliable skills for actual projects.. Like how I've always been content with my level of photoshop skills but now I realize there is a higher level of photoshop (and illustrator..haha) skill to achieve, and I've increased my level of photoshop use..haha..I'm understanding more about the things I already know because I need to use my skills practically for this module.


I'll just reply comments to my previous post here also:

@ jiayang - Yeah, its really been quite hard to shake off that "my work sucks" attitude - even when its nice I'll sometimes wonder if I remembered wrongly that I was the one who did it...haha.. >_< Hmm does tt happen to anyone else too?

@Toan. HAHAHAHAHAHA... *evil laughter*

@Jason: Thanks for remembering..and..PREPARE YOUR CAMERA... ^_^

@Su Yuen: Hmmm - I did try to de-code CSS during the first project, was consulting Chris Henry...haha but still quite FAIL leh.. (you can see my horrified post on it (http://mannie3216.blogspot.com/2009/01/all-nighter-madness-wei-man-vs-css.html) So I doubt I'll be an expert programmer if I'm forced to learn coding..haha..With illustrator its still an art thing, just different tool, so not as bad... ^_^ Thanks for sharing!

@Ben: =) Good wad, I push people to reach new limits and they are happy about it. Like you loh! But really la, I learnt alot from my NPCC culture - Discipline, thinking on your feet, taking initiative, and all that...^_^

@Hui Hui: THIS IS NOT EVEN 1/3 of what I want to say... ^_^ Oh ya, I watched the clip, yup, it was like that.. ^_^ Except I wasn't so fierce... ^_^ Good luck for your exams too!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Something's screwing up my blogger account formatting but anyway the links to this sentence in the previous post can be found here:

It was insane. I couldn't believe it. I could replicate this and this in illustrator. Check out our app to see them man...

And btw, the title of the last post should be:

The Closing of a Chapter

You know what?

I really wanted to do a mini webcomic strip for my last post. But that has to wait awhile since I'm currently rushing projects, presentation, reports, UI design and playtesting sessions for Module A due in 4 days, and then a final project (16 page magazine + 5 pg website) for Module B that I have ENTIRELY NOT TOUCHED this whole semester due to *ahem ahem*, all of which I BY HOOK OR BY CROOK HAVE TO FINISH IN A WEEK by 27th April because it makes up 100% of the grade.

We'll see whether I get so stressed up that I furiously draw a webcomic to relax or I finish my projects and furiously draw a webcomic to celebrate. So before that happens, I'm obliged to put a word in first. ^_^ Even if its just:

"COMING SOON, to a computer screen near you."


Just kidding. I'll write a little more than that. Just to commemerate my survival in this sick module. Take this as the blurb you read at the back of a book before you read a comic. ^_^

(Gosh I just finished and realized this is super long, so just skim to the end - the bold part - if you don't have time..

If you don't believe me you can scroll down now and see.


Now just read from the bolded part and come back when you have time - i.e. not pia-ing exams/projects.

Good Luck!)

Taking this module is like being in a state of extreme stress all the time and where you also have to think out of the box to survive. It reminded me of the atmosphere during Naruto's Chunin exam - both the written exam and the forest part (watch the episode on youtube, the link doesn't explain anything). The HunterxHunter exam too. ^_^

Basically to pass the exams, its half skills, half psychology - having the skills to do things, and being able to withstand stress and psych yourself up. Its about team management, trusting your team mates, knowing their skills and how to make everyone work together to achieve the same aim. Its trying to be one step ahead so you don't miss your step and die.

Its been a very hard module to get through, because of the speed of the assignments and the constant reshuffling of project mates. VC almost didn't manage to get a programmer on our team for project 1 because all the groups formed up so fast. But in the end Yuhan liked our idea and decided to join us so we didn't die.

For the presentation group Toan took the lead to get everyone together, and then I realized that I needed to take the lead to get the group for WPF, because I no longer wanted to be just passively waiting for someone to pick me. Its somewhate disadvantagous to wait, you might just get left out like in proj 1. And then you die. Besides, it is much harder to form a WPF group due to the restrictions. So I did up a table of who worked with who before and then went to approach people based on that... and then end up I'm the first to form a WPF group so everyone panicked and cemented their group that night too.

I was quite surprised though. I didn't expect such a reaction - in fact I've never been so active in classes before, its just because I felt that the class demanded people to be more proactive, and I've seen people in class being proactive, so I just tried it out. ^_^

That's something good about the class - by having proactive people in the class, it affects and changes the way other people think and work. You learn alot from people around you. And CS3216 is the only kind of class that allows proactive people to be proactive - just because it is so turbulent! Things move and change so fast, even passive people like me are forced to become proactive.

On hindsight, I realized what the first class was all about. The round of introductions was meant to be a stage on which we "sell" ourselves, so other people in class can have a better idea of who to pick for projects later on. Argh, totally missed out on that and brought a dusty old hand painted bag down >_<. It pales in comparison to what everyone else had to show; I was a little embarressed after that. Though it really did summarize me very well - literature, arts and crafts...old fashioned and outdated.

I really learnt a lot on the current state of technology during this class, especially during WPF...when I suggest ideas for our app and Dingyan and Hongting will look and me and say - "its been done, weiman. Go check out etc etc etc..." Den I'll *sian*. Plus they introduced me to new apps like Twitter...and showed me that you can actually control your powerpoint presentations through your handphone....etc etc etc - LOTS.

Things I've totally never thought were possible just yet. Technology that can improve my life and work alot. And this is going to sound super sua ku to you but when they hooked up my laptop to another keyboard and a monitor and taught me how to manipulate what's showing up on the monitors so I can work in comfort, I was super happy. ^_^

Oh, another thing about that 3 nights pia-ing WPF in Engineering Block. We were making an application, so that requires alot of icons. And icons look best when done in Illustrator because resizing them is easier and it looks much cleaner. When I started WPF, I did not know illustrator AT ALL. But it was my own personal standard that forced me to picke up illustrator... because I know in order to make the app look good it has GOT to be illustrator art. But time was running short...and I was very worried I wouldn't be able to pick up illustrator on time.

In the end, I stuck with the illustrator decision, sat down in front of my (happily modified) laptop-monitor-keyboard-thing, and started the "Learn Illustrator in 30 days" tutorials. In 4 hours straight, and with many delighted screams when I completed cool tutorials, I finished all of them...and I could use illustrator as I wish. It was insane. I couldn't believe it. I could replicate this and this in illustrator. Check out our app to see them man...Toan and Hui Hui's help were also invaluable during that period, since they were both illustrator pros. Nevertheless, I would have never imagined that I could manage to master illustrator in that short span of one week...I hated illustrator before this, because it is so hard to learn. I'll probably never have hauled my lazy ass around to tackle it if not for this module. This is one skill that I learnt during the course will be useful to me for my whole life..

I learnt that I had a social life too, when the module started interfering with it. YES I so do remember the Musical clashing with the pitching session. But as I said, it is important to me, and I will never regret choosing it over the pitching session. Not to mention I cancelled outings with my friends and even CNY visiting just to rush projects for this module. And like Yu ming I got frustrated alot with trying to balance work and life and almost broke down - there was only one previous incident where I was so stressed and that was when I was overworking myself for hall - I ended up hyperventilating then, and I swore that I'll never get so stressed up again, so I left hall. But that was after 1.5 years of overworking for hall, and I'm doing the same for this module I've only been in for 6 weeks?! That is so not making sense. I broke out in stress related ecezma too.

That was the wake up call - I had to relax, or else I'll really just collapse into a jumble of nerves. After WPF, which happily was the 1 week holiday, I lazed about all day, went out to take Watchmen pictures, and went out with friends. It was amazing - the eczema cleared straight away. It came back a little for the final project tho. =( But I believe I have learnt to manage my stress better.

Still, no matter how evil and horrendous the whole module has been, I agree with Prof Ben's methods. If you want to make someone learn, you put them through hell and high water. But you always watch out for them to help them out if they are really drowning to death.

I know this because I was in one of the top few NPCC units in secondary school. (Shot a .22 revolver then too, so I understand the Prof Ben shooting analogy during the last lecture. ^_^) It made me who I am today. As a cadet I had my fair share of hell. As a sec 4 NCO in charge, I learnt to make hell useful to my cadets.

I remember one incident during the Annual Training Camp where we make the cadets do drills in the dark, steal their rifles at night, call impromptu fire drills when they are sleeping + assorted hell. There was a company that was being punished, about 150 push ups by the end of the day. There was this Sec 1 cadet who did 150 push ups along with the rest, but she's got extra 25 to go because we stole her rifle in the morning. She was quite exhausted and she said, "ma'am, I cannot do any more." while still in push up position.

She was new, so she didn't know that in our unit, there's no such thing as "cannot". You never tell your seniors "cannot", because they can very well give you hell (i.e. +25 more) the moment you say that. So you try your best every time to finish up.

But there was sweat streaming down her face and it was really late at night, plus she had to do this herself, alone, so it was really difficult for her. Still, I believed she could finish it...if she still had the energy to speak, I'm sure she still had the energy for 25 more. My squadmate was next to me so she started to ask the cadet to stop and rest, but I interrupted her.

"No." I said. I knelt down next to the cadet, looked her in the eye, and told her "You can do it one. I'll count down with you."

So I counted down for her each time she did one more. 24...23...22...21... I could see her mustering all her will and effort for every extra one she did. It was hard. She had to slow down a couple of times. But I was always encouraging her when she paused - 9 more, only 9 more, come on, you can do it... - and in the end she did it. All 25 extra on top of the 150 straight. She was even able to stand up after that. And I could see that she was surprised at herself. I'd made her push beyond her limits and taught her that she could achieve more than she had expected.

When I left secondary school, she thanked me in a note. I was surprised that in the note she remembered the encouragement I gave her "when she thought she couldn't make it anymore" and not the part where I was being evil and insisted on giving her hell. Hahaha...

But I guess this is how things work out - it is what you've learnt that has made an impression on you, not the hell that you've been through.

That's what this module is like too, I guess. It is hell, no doubt about it. But its what you learn from hell that you remember the most.

I guess what I'll remember most is that I have learnt to believe in my ability to make a difference to this world. Before the module I'd always thought that I was too insignificant to make enough of a dent - I didn't believe in alot of things, and one of them was that I could ever be successful. My art isn't good, really, if you compare it to professional standards and I doubt I can even get a job by it. Which is a problem because all I ever wanted to do was to be a character artist, or a comic artist. My writing isn't that good either, which also is a problem because I wanted to be an author or a comic book writer. And then certain injuries prevent me from being a dancer. Seems like all I can do is be a game producer..a job that I don't really like, although I liked making games. And random sai kang like designing costumes and decorating hall dining rooms which I felt made a difference but no one really cared.

But things are different now. This module has taught me that there are people out there that can help me achieve what I want to achieve. The whole class is like a microcosm of the world - there are all kinds of talented people in it, I just have to go out there, find them, and persuade them that what I want to do is useful and meaningful to the world. And of course tell them how they can benefit from it. To try to do everything single-handedly is a fantasy, most people aren't talented enough or if they are, they don't have enough time to do so. You don't have to do everything yourself, and you don't have to feel bad that you can't do everything yourself. Because there are always people around who can help you - JUST ASK DAMNIT. And pick the right people to help you achieve your dream.

I've also stopped comparing myself to people much better than me. Chinese proverb time: "There will always be a mountain higher than the highest mountain you see." I've become more confident as an artist, because this module allowed me to work on my art a lot. In fact, my skill set for this module has always been artist artist artist, from project 1, to wpf to final project. I've learnt alot as an artist during this module, especially with regards to working with programmers. Learn how to use SSH and SVN in proj1 and final project respectively. Which I am very grateful for because it is actually practical. Like I learnt about how programmers put in artwork and now I try to keep naming conventions the same when I modify the art. At any rate, I am the best that I can be now, so all I need to do....is to move upwards. Faster. My art teacher told me he used to draw 100 drawings a day for a few months..and so he improved super fast during that time..

The holidays are coming. May is for that. ^_^ And then... I'll work on some stories, enter some competitions, draw, write, hopefully get published one day... I need to go out and meet more people... more people who share my dream... and perhaps everything will fall into place one day. ^_^

Now I believe in being ready when opportunity knocks on my door, and its time to start preparing. I might not succeed in what I want to do, but I have a back up plan, and I'm not worried if I fail.

Thanks Prof Ben for designing this module, its been an eventful and interesting semester. Its the people in class that makes CS3216 so different from other modules though, most of what I've learnt, I've learnt from my classmates and project mates, who showed me how ignorant I am, and time and again showed me different perspectives and possibilities. Especially Jason and his bots. I was just totally dumbfounded by that.

Last comment - I'm super impressed by the Xiaonei team...their perseverance and determination is admirable, and their presentation for the (Olympic scoring) group discussion was the best. I really loved the little sticker quotes they pasted on their poster too, it really cohered with what their application was about and made it more convincing. They really deserve the success they are having with My Campus, and I hope it just gets better and better for them. ^_^

Oh, and don't forget:

Confessions of a CS3216 Mugger

"COMING SOON, to a computer screen near you."

Good luck everyone for exams and projects!!! ^_^ This chapter closes, but the next one always begins straight after! ^_^

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Security Talk

I liked Kai Er’s talk alot, because he explained the difference between security and privacy very clearly. While thinking about the differences between privacy and security, It never crossed my mind that better security may require privacy to be given up.

I had always thought that privacy is keeping things private, and security is to keep those private things from being public. So in that sense, security will never be able to invade privacy. However, since Kai Er’s definition of Security is “making sure that the program does what its supposed to do and not what its not supposed to do.”, or, in light of the luggage checks and surveillance camera example, protect people/information from external threats, higher security can lead to invasion of privacy in order to secure its parameters.

I prefer Kai Er’s definition of security, because it is a broader definition than mine and applies to more situations. ^_^

Another thing I felt was important is that “a program is only as strong as its weakest link” – very true. However, I especially like the part about social engineering, because no matter how good a program is, humans are always its weakest link.

So the best solution is actually to educate people and to encourage people to think and doubt more.. ^_^ Heehee.

Oh haha I remember Prof Ben asking Kai Er about Extensibility – for Kai Er’s product it was extending the product into other rfid readers and all that so that you don't have 2 spend extra resources 2 retrofit whatever you have. Prof Ben felt that its just basic common sense to work on a version that can be easily extensible from the start, and he was surprised to find out that this is not common practice. As a non-programmer, I’m not very sure about the specifics, but I understand perfectly when Kai Er said that when deadlines are coming, nobody really cares about the future, they just care about getting it to work now. I’ve seen this inefficiency happen several times in the many projects I’ve worked in – its not something that can be helped.

Other than that, I think Kai Er’s product is pretty cool, I wonder if it is available for personal use though? As in, you know how there are so many things to sign into – facebook, deviantart, gmail, etc etc every time I use the school computer – its such a chore. I wonder if it is possible to build a device that saves passwords in a secure format so that the public can use it on different PCs? Obviously it will be very different from the way the RFID program is build now, since it has to be customized for each client. How about a thumbdrive thing that can sense when you are trying to access gmail and inputs all the info for you? Of course, it has to be protected by a initial password when the user opens up the program, like the RFID program is now, but hmmmm does such a thing exist yet?

Haha. One thing I learnt after hanging around with tech geeks ( through WPF ) from this class: whenever I think of something new that is tech-ish, they’ll stare at me and say, “wei man. That is out in the market already.”


Entrepreneurial Talk

I’ve never seen myself as an entrepreneur, because I’m not the kind of person who likes to have lots and lots of money. A rudimentary knowledge of economics will teach you that people are beings that have a specific set of needs, but infinite wants – that’s what drives the economy – the ever changing “useless” fashions and trends. Personally, I’m tired of all the junk we make and throw away on a daily basis. It used to be that things were made to last for years, decades even. I still use the sofa my grandparents bought for their apartment 40+ years ago, and it is sturdy enough. Not like those flimsy Ikea chairs I bought a year ago which broke a few days back. And hand phones - people change them like changing underwear – its become a matter of habit to be trading in your old phone for the latest phone almost every month. (yes, you! ^_^)

It pains me to know that the resources used up to mass manufacture trendy electronics and senseless trinkets could be put to better use, like making cheaper laptops for the poor in India or Africa. I try my best to fight against the desire to own products that do not last, or whose value is determined by the brand name rather than its utility.

I would like to be one of the few people who cut out as many wants as possible from my life. In fact, all my phones are hand-me-downs - I would still have my old JC nokia phone if my mother doesn’t trade in my phones once in a while coz she say its too obiang.

The thing is, I don’t need alot and alot of money. Its my ambition to live in a one room flat that has enough space for my books, that’s about it. I don’t like unnecessary spaces, one room will be nice and self-sufficient. (I can imagine Prof Ben asking – “What about your husband?” Ans: WHAT husband?!?!) And the thing about entrepreneurship is, most people go into it for the money. More than half the speakers in the lecture theatre became entrepreneurs because they felt that it will bring them more money faster. (and of course they like to take the risk and has the strength to fail.) For the rest for did it for passion, I’m sure they worked at a office job for a while to earn some back up money and capital before quitting and working on their passion.

Not only that, entrepreneurs usually capitalize on people’s need for new good and gadgets that look new and cool but are not intrinsically different, so essentially they are helping to create more waste for the planet. Like last time I wanted to set up a clothing brand in secondary school... Because I like to sketch a lot I’ve got these set of cute but really depressing stick men figures that spout clich├ęs, that I really wanted to get printed on T-shirts, stationery, accessories, bags, and stuff. But when I thought more about it I felt that it is just helping to perpetuate the consumerist myth of individuality. (i.e. people buy my clothes because they feel that it will make them different but in actually fact they are just duped into feeling different and cool.) It doesn’t change the world, doesn’t help people, it only “wastes resources”. So I dropped the idea.

Interestingly enough, the businesses presented are businesses that are more practical in nature. Trading information rather than goods – like ownskins, red sports, and hungrygowhere. I really like what hungry go where said, “Ask what people need then make something that addresses their needs,” because I believe that’s the way businesses should be made. It goes to show that “new technology is not the key in business,” because new technology gets copied amazingly fast. It is new concepts, new ways of arranging information, that is the key to businesses now, I feel.

There are several other points that I agree with the speakers. In order to set up a business, one must have the “idea, money, and people”. I know that because after JC my friend asked me to do some art for his start up and somehow I ended up trying to set up a business with him and some friends. I did my time giving out flyers in City Hall MRT. (yeah, those office people really look quite dead.) The whole thing fell apart soon tho – crappy idea, not much money, and people with wrong motives. So I can appreciate that advice very very much now. Especially the right people – I believe that everyone should come clear with each other on their motives and expectations of the start up before going into the details of the business. Because knowing your people/partner is the single most important thing even before starting up your business – you’ll have to suffer and succeed with whoever you’re saddled with – like being married like that. Divorces are ugly.

Another thing is that selling is one skill needed to be an entrepreneur – very true. I remember someone telling me this orientation game – in a room of about 100 people, everyone’s given 50 cents. Everyone is free to mingle and talk within the time limit of 30 minutes – to beg, borrow, or steal 50 cents from each other. When the time is up, the person with the most 50 cents wins the game, and everyone who doesn’t have a coin has to do a forfeit on stage. It amazed me that there are people who can end the game with over 20 dollars... Honestly if you can do that you can sell blind people spectacles. ^_^

And yes, of course, being an entrepreneur is all about learning to be in the right place at the right time, and all the hard work to make sure it happens. ^_^
The most important thing I learnt is actually the search engine optimization. I feel that it is the most useful and practical piece of advice I gained from the talk. While the rest of the things I agree with can only be experienced or learnt through experience, SEO is not.

Oh and lastly, Leslie’s words struck a chord in my heart when he said that there’s all these big MNCs in Singapore like Nike and GAP, but there is no really huge local brand. And part of his motivation for setting up Red Sports is to build something that is Singaporean, a brand that belongs to us. Yes, I believe in that too – creating a Singaporean brand that lasts. ^_^

Actually, after hong ting’s question I wanted to ask a even more evil question – if the entrepreneurs had anything they regret. Because starting up a business entails a lot of sacrifice and risk... But oh well, not able to. Ah, I ask questions very methodologically one, so I had to ask the “why you start out” before the regrets question.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

ten facebook tips for power users

Tips include getting the old facebook layout back and how to stalk your friends. ^_^


Friday, March 20, 2009

Dialogues: Software Engineering, Zit Seng's Talk, More pia-ing in SOC 1

More PIA-ing in COMP 1.

Justin: "OMG- Eh Kian Boon! You must take a picture of this! Must have me in the picture too okay?"

-click- *flash*
-click- *flash*
-click- *flash*

Kian Boon:"Eh Wei Man you must put your hand here - den got picture of Wei Man's hand typing.."

-click- *flash*

Wei Man: "What the hell!?"

Justin: "Eh this is evidence of Extreme coding okay? Eh Boon I look horrible in this picture - Yuhan! Take a better pic!"

Yuhan:*click - * "Uh, did I take a picture?"

Justin: "What the hell did you press?!"

Kian Boon: "Ahem, that is Extreme Data entry okay, not Extreme programming. Eh, and stop laughing la."

-click - *flash*

Justin: "Eh, serious lah!"

-click - *flash*

Yuhan: "Nah, this one la, you both look very serious in this one."

Justin: "Okay, put on Facebook. Wei Man you go on putting data into myphpadmin arh, you've got to know enough to show prof ben by tmr."

*Wei Man enters data*

15 minutes later....

Wei Man: "Eh Justin, isn't there a way to do this faster? Like importing straight from excel?"

Justin: "uh..."

Yuhan & Bryan:"Yes! Can! No Problem!"

Wei Man: "Damn you, Justin!"


So ends my first attempt at psuedo-coding (i.e. data entry into database). It seems pretty straight-forward after some coaching from Justin who helped label and and place the information in an excel sheet for me to refer to. Other than some exceptions with special conditions, I could do it without Justin's hovering supervision. Now only the question remains - will I pass Prof Ben's test? >_< style="font-weight: bold;">So, about Software Engineering...

After I left the class that day, I went out with a friend for dinner. We ended up discussing Buddhism -

He said, "The problem with people is that they have too many things in their minds at one time. All the different thoughts are distracting them from progressing with their lives and solving their problems..."

I said, "OMG! That's Abstraction!"

So of course he asked - "What is abstraction...I was talking about meditation... -_-lll" And I had to explain the whole thing about how there's this thing in software engineering where you hide all the distracting information and just reveal the parts that are important to you so you can concentrate on the important parts to think clearer and solve questions faster.

So *heh heh* Abstraction isn't a special case of SOC. ^_^ Its applicable to real life too..

Oh and just a note: Decomposition is actually one of my favorite methods of approaching a problem - I really think that the 5 principles taught in software engineering is applicable to many aspects of thinking and planning in life. ^_^

Regarding the Scrum presentations, I was very impressed with Zihan's scrum-thingy invention because it sounded very efficient, and a very good solution to a production problem. Regrettably, it is only workable with a) a small group of bonded people, b) where everyone understood exactely what everyone else was doing.

The program that Zihan used, Track, works like the other production programs that I used in my company - Devtrack and Perforce - which I didn't have a chance to present. Devtrack tracks all the tasks that people are working on at the moment, allows people to update real time when they have finished their tasks, and allowed people to see how tasks are passed from one person to another.

The problem was training the huge number of people to all use the program when they didn't see any real benefit from it because it felt like just another time wasting administrative procedure. The other problem was that the project group was continuously expanding at the rate of about 2 people per week, so it was hard to get the synergy and bonding going because everything was in a constant state of flux. Unlike Zihan's committed group who knew each other (and their end goal) well, it was not easy to implement Zihan's system at my company, no matter how good the technology/method was.

I'm starting to believe that it is much easier to motivate and handle a small group than a large group. Even if its a large group, I think the big group should be broken up into small groups with a common goal so as to improve bonding and motivation to increase efficiency.. Its not so much the method or technology, its the people and the bonding that ultimately motivates and drives the project.

On Zit Seng's talk..I'm actually quite lost, but I was very impressed with his passion and how he made the talk interesting with stories. I think he's a very good speaker, just regret that I'm not well versed with the technical programming terms so I can't really understand what's going on - Hong Ting summarized it for me - basically if there's problems with the application, it can be a server problem, a network problem, or a programming problem within the app, so its really hard to figure out what's the critical problem and you have to do lots of testing. I got the part where its sometimes a programming problem with the app - just have to use abit of common sense to solve it.

I was very amazed when Zit Seng talked about the smooth logistics at the 80,000 over participant Networking session overseas, because I know from first-hand experience how hard it is to organize an event with just 100 participants and all the assorted problems that come with feeding, registering, and taking care of their welfare for one night. I would love to learn their secrets..

Reminds me of a discussion I had with a friend over the deplorable condition of student societies in NUS: He spoke of how overseas student organizations can handle 2,500 participants and invite distinguished guests for their yearly political events with no trouble at all, while the Singaporean version bungled up with only 300 participants. Is it a Singaporean thing, after all? To suck at logistics? Why? Has no one really bothered to ask for advice from overseas? Or we are just not committed to logistics and don't think they are important?

(Bah. At any rate, my own opinion is that student societies are too fleeting to succeed significantly.)


That about sums it up - sorry for the late post, I was rushing other modules with crazy deadlines too, working on 4 projects this semester, dying, dying, dying. But I blog long and I think hard okay, and I need like a space of 2 hours or so to properly sit down and think/blog - couldn't have planned it in during the last 2 weeks..>_< forgive me? ^_^

Random quote of the day: "Any good programmer will have the Ctrl+S syndrome" -Bryan