Saturday, 2 November 2013

Wondering If Everything Will Be Alright

Its November. I am here. Working instead of pursuing my studies. I have an offer from the University of Manchester for the next September intake which is a year away. I want to go to the States to study instead. Yet the financing of it is a terrifying prospect.

Can I risk financing it myself for the first year and get a scholarship the next? What if I can't? I will have to come back, start over. Again. Should I just go easy and study here locally? The problem is I don't like the study culture here. I want to be challenged.

Maybe that's why there's so many challenge. I want to get there.

Or maybe I don't. Is it just some deep corner of me that feels going abroad means I've gotten there?

So many questions. Nothing is easy, and I knew that from the get go but believing that maybe I might get it easy was a lot easier.

Hope is poisonous. Never was one to believe in it, but I can understand the temptation of hope has faltered men for ages. Never hope.

I just hope this all turns out well.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A New Opportunity

Ever did something out of personal passion and be rewarded by it? Such luxury is without any doubt very rare. Rarity however does not mean completely absent, and such rare moment has came to me.

Last couple of weeks, I have been trying to get myself a new PC. I needed a new one, my Acer 5750G was crazily underpowered here in Malaysia without an air-conditioned room. It would overheat and throttle down the CPU. Useless for the heavy work that I liked to throw at my computers. I collected some cash and plopped down a thousand dollars worth of computer equipment. A brand new desktop. Complete with all the bell and whistle. Actually, no bell and whistle. A thousand dollars was still not up to scratch for me. Regardless, I got myself some nice equipment and with reasonable performance for the price.

Putting a new custom desktop was no easy thing when you are juggling a tight budget and very enthusiastic level of performance. I spent countless days researching and reviewing. Hence my previous post where I ranted about computing review websites. Anyway, once I got my hands on all the stuff, I built it with the help of Fahmi, learning many new things throughout the process of putting the hardwares together and then the softwares. Tweaking settings and pushing overclocks to the limit. It was fun, educational and in general a nice experience. After things started to settle down, I did realize I had a pretty decent rig with high enough performance for relatively low price. I decided that, to hell with all the big shot websites and their high end gear review, let me educate the mass on budget parts that brought high performance to the table.

To that end, I wrote multiple reviews on the web about the hardwares that I bought, mainly at the Lowyat forum, where Malaysians typically frequent to sought after information regarding IT. Unbeknown to me, a lot of people read these forums.

A few days after that, I received an e-mail from a computer company, asking if I would like to review their equipments. I was speechless. Review frickin' computer hardwares. I jumped on the e-mail, while controlling my emotion, replying yes, I would love to. Professionally of course. They were a company that owned Armaggeddon, Sonicgear and Powerlogic hardware. E-mails when back and forth, I was worried any time the company representative took longer than a day to reply my e-mail, fearing if they had changed their mind about it. Alas, the day came that I would pick up the hardwares. I met up with the company rep and talked briefly. Took the gears and came back with heart pumping. I hope that this would open windows of opportunity for me to review more gears and do the things I am passionate about.

I have never ever thought that a simple thing such as posting forum reviews would net me an offer to review gears. Little things can bring along a big change in your life. That is what this thing is all about. Little things. Done passionately, will bring a huge difference.

Take it as that and take my advice, do what you like and opportunity will come after.

Speaking of advice, I should get back to studying mathematics. Tomorrow is Math P3. Oh buggah, my favourite.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Disturbing Work Culture

Work. A life many of us go through after our education phase. Some even go through it before they finish their education. Be it their choice or forced by circumstances. It is a scary phase when you first enter it. It is not a familiar ground as the education environment that we have been a part of for 20 years or so. You get paid to do something, and you are expected to do it. No excuse, within reasons.

Or that is what I thought. I was very naive when I took a job as a concierge at an upscale residency in Kuala Lumpur in between my study break. My first day was full of greetings by my fellow colleague. They all seem to be friendly and nice people in general. A senior concierge guided me through all the basics of the job. It was familiar, getting instruction and guidance. I ended the first day on a high note, thinking that working here would be great with all these people.

One month in and I would like to change my mind entirely. It is not what it seems. First and foremost is work ethics. No one here cared about it. No sense of professionalism or responsibility. Their common line is do the minimum required of your job and get paid. Nothing more but always a lot less.

Ever heard the famous complaint regarding government officials and their ever super long lunch break? It happens here, at a high end residency which cost RM 1400 per square feet to purchase. Minimum. You are allotted one hour. Leave for your break and come back in after an hour. The norm is to leave five minute early to grab your wallet or purse in the locker room and arrive half an hour late at the counter after that. When I leave exactly at the start of my break and arrive back at the counter ten minutes early, I get the usual "Why are you back so early. Don't need lah to be so good". What kind of sentiment is that!

It even extends to the management higher up. On Saturdays, the management office is open until 12.30 p.m.. But leaving half an hour early is fashionable. Lest the tenants come down to the concierge counter demanding an explanation as to why the office is closed half an hour early. I will be stuck stuttering the word sorry over and over again for someone else's fault.

Teamwork is also not a good word to be uttered around here. Backstabbing and badmouthing someone is normal. Heck, you should do it if you want to look good in front of the boss. Watch what you say to anyone. Regardless if they are nice to you or not. I learned this the hard way when I complained to the Senior Concierge on how one of the other concierge was doing something very wrong. Next I heard was that tried to cover up my mistakes by pointing fingers to someone else. Nowadays I just keep quiet and avoid talking to any of my colleague, lest I get accused of something. This is the only part of the job where it felt like I was in high school again. The level of drama is unprecedented, just because you are expecting more matured actions by more matured individuals.

When I tell any of this to my friends, most of them if not all, comes out saying "Standard lah, nama pun kerja". Why? It is not normal. Somehow it has turned into a culture here in Malaysia that everyone understands the norm of working. Do not try to work hard, just work enough and if you can, work less. It is no surprise then that one of our major news agency reported that Malaysian clock in for nine hours of work but only perform roughly three to four hours of work. Everyone does it, so it becomes understood that I should too.

Except I can't. Not because I would like to consider my self some exceptional human being. I would be the first to admit that I do a lot of slacking in high school and college, but then again I did not get paid to be exceptional. My rewards are my results. Working however is completely different. I am contracted, hell, part of my life is bought at RM 8 per hour to work diligently for eight hours per day. The least I can do is to make sure I do that. Sure, some of the days I come in late and I occasionally forget to smile at the tenants or screw something up, but deep down I am trying to perform at this job, the rest seems to be trying to avoid the job.

We should strive to be better Malaysian. Stop the non-productive chanting about politics and some far away issue. Look closer, look at your job. Are you trying to do better or are you trying to avoid it better? If everyone can eradicate this culture of slacking on the job, then I am sure we could stand at the same height, shoulder to shoulder, with some of the richer, bigger countries without having to spend a single cent.

As a footnote, I would like to acknowledge that there are hardworking and honest people out there that might get offended at my liberal typing of the word "everyone". I apologise if you are offended, but would like to thank you for being exceptional. You are truly awesome. Period.

Friday, 11 October 2013

A little rant from a computer Geek.

I've always been fascinated by techs since the moment I could get my hands on them. I understand alot about them, more than the average Joe maybe. I know the component a PC requires and what each of the letters in DDR3 means (Dual Data Rate version 3 for your information). I google the wikipedia article that relates to it to know what it does and how it does what it does, but all those doesn't come close to personal experience and real life benchmarks. Given the financial circumstances of being a student, I can't test nor experience all the latest cutting edge tech. Therefore I resort to tech forums and helpful websites that do. They help alot to give an idea of the technology and component of a PC and how they perform in real world.

But that's where it ends. Lucky for me, my beyond-the-average-joe knowledge in tech helps me piece together sparse and unsimplified information together to give a better idea of what I need. However the long hours of puzzle piecing is not at all easy. 

Here's the problem. These websites give out information as though as they are paid to do so by companies that own the tech. I understand they mostly get their reviewed item through these companies and it helps add to their rapport by giving flowery and positive articles regarding it, but at least give out more information than technical specification. I can get the specs from the companies website, I need real world explanation of what the specs do. Take a look at the newly relased AMD's graphic cards, the R7s and the R9s. The companies provide excellent articles regarding the specs of these things but failed to tell readers what it all boils down to, these are rebadged 7000s series of AMD's graphic cards. I understand there are spec changes, but basically they are the same card. You can even configure a Crossfire setup with the R9 280X along with the HD 7970. So these tells me the benchmark and performance of these cards should be almost identical, with the 280X pulling slightly ahead due to the revised specs. 

On another topic of tech all together is that, I am looking to build a new PC with a budget of roughly $750. I have an idea of what I will be using it for and what I will need the hardware to perform. I know I don't need a nVIdia GTX780 or even a Titan. I browsed around to see the specs and benchmark of hardwares I will need to build a PC. What I don't understand is that, websites that benchmark and review hardwares don't bother trying to tell the full story. Case in point, RAMs. New boards runs on the DDR3 memories, but there's so many choices. Memory speed of 1066 MHz, 1333 MHz, and 1600 MHz are among the common ones (you can go all the way to 2400 MHz). Then there's the CAS latency attached to each memory. There's CAS 7 all the way to CAS 11 (or more depending). You have articles that talk about one but not the other. Forums go even worse by recomendding you to go ahead and buy the fastest memory you can afford. Go ahead for the Corsair Dominator 2400 MHz memory which will burn a hole in your pocket compared to the Value RAMs. What the forum users never tell you (or more likely, they themselves aren't aware off) is that these RAMs, performs the same. You can go up to 2400 MHz and still you're system will run at the same performance with the 1600 MHz memories. I found a helpful benchmark in one of the websites (can't recall which) that shows the benchmark of all the different memory speed and CAS latency. The difference between Value RAM and high clock rate memory? One percent.

Yes the high end users would highly benefit from the 1% increase in performance, but really, majority of your readers are the average guy trying to build a $500 PC, not the extreme overclockers who wants their extra 10 MHz by spending an extra $100. Safe to say, I saved $30 on memory, just because I read that benchmark, which I can spend on a different hardware. 

So to any tech websites or forums, keep in mind to get your information accross as simple as possible without leaving the bits and pieces that matters.

Gah. Geeked out. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Scuba Update

Yeah it took me forever to update this blog. I didnt make any commitment. It'l be up when its up. Anyhow. I've got the scuba update thing already. 

I have to take a PADI scuba diving certification. There's two stages to start with. Confined water and also Open water. Apparently if I were to take the confined water certification, I am allowed to dive up to a maximum of 12 metres. Which is quite deep already. But I also want the Open Water certification because 12 metres sounds too boring :P

Anyway each of em cost RM 900 each roughly. So it'll total up to RM 1800. Which is kind of a big number. The confined water certification will be done here in some large swimming pool. While the open water certification can be done at dive sites around Malaysia. Depending on your diving school, the location for open water can differ from Tioman to Pulau Redang. Each with a different price depending on location and time of year.

I want to sign up for maybe Pulau Perhentian, due to the mostly positive reviews. But I have not confirmed my bookings or rather anything yet because I've got a new job now. Concierge at the Marc Residence. The work hour here is fine, but the working days, aren't so much. 6 days a week. :(

Anyhow, I am at work currently and have to go. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

I wanna start Scuba Diving

A couple days ago, I met a few friends and one of their remarks hit me. I used to enjoy doing adventurous stuff and somehow along the way of growing up, I started to forget all those.

There was a lot that I tried but did not get attached to. Primary school life was filled with cycling in Kemaman to hills in the kampung. Some of those hills were old quarry. It was fun climbing them and learning a few stuff here and there. Back then phone cameras aren't what they are today. I wished it was so I could have taken more photos. Then there was the weekend karting that I always looked forward to. Then dad stop supporting that because it was slightly expensive. I could not do it my self. 

And then the scuba divings. It started with snorkelling in Tioman where I got stung by a tiny jellyfish that ended up ruining my holiday trip (it was extremely uncomfortable, I swear to god). Then the lil-ish newbie scuba. It struck me that I never got serious about it. I didn't even try to figure out the courses and license (you need those right). I want to start that now. I really do. I'll start figuring out what I need to be a full fledged Advance Scuba Diver. It'll take some time and money but I'll try.

Let's go. Or as Bunny of Furies like to say, BRING IT ON!

Monday, 19 August 2013

One more reaches the moon

Yeap. Someone else got to land on the moon. Actually one is flying there as I am typing this.

Two days ago on Friday the 16th was Nashuha's day to fly for the States. Just now was Syafiqa's turn. Two people that made a mark in my life, gone chasing their dream and I am still waiting to realise mine. 

It never crossed my mind how difficult it was going to be to get this far. It was tiring. 19 years of studying is degrading my morale. Each day, I wake up asking why should I study today? In primary school, it was to get into a great high school. In high school it was for the scholarship and universities. Now? It's for my life. I keep telling myself that but each and every obstacle that I encounter just happens to go "Well fuck your life, get through me first". Each of those, chipping my mountain of motivation that I've built since young. I can understand now how people start losing hope in life. 

Probably best that I keep this one short.