Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Managing Love Handle

Managing weight after posa is so much challenging. The battle against over sized love handle and weight is now seemingly a loosing battle. What was lost (11 kilos) is now begining to be gained back and is now becoming another of my casualties. I had targeted to shed another 10 kilos, but now after seeing growth of 2 kilo, i dred that it will lax and the battle will be lost.

I am amazed at how some people just have the knack and ability to shed and manage their weight even though they are stuffing themselves with luxurious delicious food. I used to know one sweet girl who can go through sweets, ice creams and chocolate and still maintain her figure which she sometimes knowingly shows off to me ;-) and/or brag about it and this infuriates me. How one tends to lust on thing one cannot get - good high calory food.

Some people just had it lucky, but woefully, i can but joke about it while watching my love handle grows. Why or why????

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Subconcious Minds

Are we in control of our subscious mind? Do we have an alter ego that we project when we are on the net? What is it that sometimes in putting our thots down, we accidently scribe what our subscious minds wants to say and is manifested in our writings. Or is this an attibute of conversing on the net (due to lack of other communication inuendos)where flame wars can be ignited by interjection which is wrongly timed or a wrongly interpreted jest?

This week alone, I bear witness to many potentially misunderstood writing, cross postings and response where, comments and jest can be wrongly interpreted as serious comments. There were incidences that has been misconstrued and character judgement seems to be formed before any one of these posters are allowed defense ;-).

How do we manage this medium?

I also came across writings of a colleague who is perhaps at cross roads. Tho I can feel for him and am still trying my best to resolve or circumvent forecasted event, dejection seems to seep in and I look on helpless and not able to act fast enough. I cannot but try to cheer him up in other ways and provide necessary support but alas seem to face up hill battle.

I write to cleanse my soul and see it as "chicken soup" for my daily kick. But this friend, I sincerely hope it does not spiral in and make his dejection more negative. What else can I do? How do I manage this "content"?

To both, for once, I am truly empty............

Double Whammy about Monday blues.

First, theres the news that my daughter's car has broken down again. Perhaps due to mechanic slackness. After paying RM1000, the aircond leaked again and will not run. Had to send the Kancil to aircond repair shop again. I hate it when unplanned activities interupt my "eagerness" of going to work. So, called up office to reschedule my 9:00 am to 10:00 am while I send in the Kancil.

While having breakfast awaiting workshop to be opened, got a call from me wifey. Said that her car was involved in an accident. Two Kancil bumped into her at the traffic junction. One of the Kancil , it seems stopped at the red light while the other crashed into its backside while sending it forward into the path of my wife's Waja. Though the damage is not that great and almost insignificant, the scratch and exposed bare metal caused me great concern and thoughts of money flying out of the window pops into my mind again.

Chalk up another of lifes' casualties. Lost my mood in working yesterday and called it a day by 4.00 pm. Drowned my sorrow by wasting myself with friends in downing coffee and buying RAMs. Woe is me, seems that I have not paid my dues enough for me to deserve this trial and tribulation.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Economics 101

As i was slapped by a bill of RM1000 after servicing the aircon of my daughters car, I got to thinking why are there so much irregularities in life. This has been one huge casualty to my pocket and little does my daughter know of the significant impact it has cause to her daddy. I sometimes wonder whether she understand the value of money.

While trying to rationalise this fact, I got an SMS from my sister who has just touched down in Jakarta having taking my mother on a well deserved holiday using AirAsia. Looking in at AirAsia flight prices, i begin to ponder. How does an airline company offer prices to Penang or anywhere in Malaysia cheaper then the cost of taking a taxi to KLIA or even taking the ERL from Sentral to KLIA.

Can someone explain the economics and price modelling of this? Is it that AirAsia runs more efficently or that other transport companies run innefficiently?. Does the plane on Air Asia run on tap water (since mineral water is more expensive then kerosene - more difficult distilling process I gather) as the planes are less affected to oil price hike then some other public transport? Where do these unnecessary cost come from?. In most businesses, these operating cost are pass on to the consumers.

Argghhh...trying to understand.

Technology for Good

I have been a fan of mechanical/technology since my early years with mecano sets and legos. Having a short attention span, i find that i work best with my hands and fingers. I find technology fascinating to the point of obsession. Some of my friends call me the "Gadget man" in the number of gadgets I carry around and my obsession with differing Operating Systems and their workings.

I carry with me Notebooks with differing OS setup (dual boot Windows/Mac OSX), another notebook (dual booting Windows/Linux), a Palm, a Pocket PC, 2 Camera Handphone and more. Ironically as my colleagues keep pointing out to me, what is the point of having this, if you are not helping out the community?

The recent reported event about a Chinese citizen being caught on camera got me to thinking, why have we (as a country) not deploy technology to improve transparency and improve the common good? We recognize the technology, but we seems engross to kill the creativity that these new applications brings us and focus on the negativity that it has brought.

Take the technology of the Camera phone, I am sure that one of this day, some brilliant chap will be looking for a solution of trying to censor the transmission of "obscene content" transmitted via MMS. We are sometimes common culprit in missing the point and loose ourselves in news spins that we fail to recognize the original issues. Why some of us do not use it to reaffirm and improve our social standards as there seem to be an erossion of good consciousness.

We spend more money using SMS for Acedemy Fantasia then we spend to SMS our TV stations to voice our current issues. We recognize that the SMS technology can provide us the feedback loop for Acedemy Fantasia, but we have use it enough to garner feedback from community to seek representation of opinions from the ground. Do you know that we have 14 million handphone subscribers ie 63% of total population?

We have Touch and Go/Smart Tags to collect Tols, but why do we not collaborate with the Toll operator to use the same technology for collecting speed fines. I am sure if we break the speed limit, an SMS can be sent to U, while money can be deducted from your Touch and Go account while demerit points go your "prepaid JPJ point system".

Which subsequently make me ponder, do we really understand on how to manage and leverage on these technologies. Do we understand enough of these new digital media in the protection and safeguarding of critical information/evidence for it to be used constructively?. Under what act are these safeguarding protected under....Computer Crime Act (maybe), Communication and Multimedia Act (Governance of Infra and Licensees), DSA (nope). Maybe the soon to be introduced PDP act will govern this. We wait and see....if there are any exclusions.

Celebrating Friendship [POEM]

Friends comes in many shapes and sizes
Big or small, most provide you with suprises,
But that may not be all the things they do,
Some complicated the life of me and you.

Some friends are new to make you smile,
Some stay around more then a while,
To those who stay, I would like to say,
May god be with U through nite and day.

Friends can sometimes be quite complicated,
Few of them are quite sophisticated,
Just be yourself, my advice to thee,
A friendly reminder to you and me.

There are friends that operates a blog,
Many seems to write just round the clock,
Prolific writers they seems to be,
Stringing sentences, a credible story.

Identifying themself using a nic,
Sometimes the names gives them a kick,
While there are nic relates to cutlery,
Other tend to choose the tropical tree.

There are some friends who are good looking,
Macho and famous, some quite interesting,
Attracting some girls they sometime do,
Not necessary with intent, can stick like glue.

Some friend find answers in the wrong place,
Looking for support in the right spaces,
Seeking solace we sometimes do,
Suffer in silence, when we are blue.

There is a friend who always write,
In alternate languages, to pick a fight,
But in his heart, he is quite good,
Always dependable a silent cool dude.

The test of frienship can be challenging,
Managing differences, can be interesting,
True friends stay on we truly cherish,
Stay by our side they do not perish.

Building trust, just like a rope ,
Investing time, we look for hope ,
Recognizing effort in each successes,
Celebrating friendship, with best wishes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bowled Out

I am reminded of a Tom Clancey's Novel titled "Netforce" where he paints a distance future of a special squad that goes after Net Terrorist and how they go about tracking, tracing and piecing together information scattered trough out the Net. In one of the chapters, because of the supposed death of the Netforce Director, one of the agent (tho against the law of that time) reconstruct the body of knowledge from the Director's website (which presumebly he has documented as a journal) into a virtual Director so as the agents can look for direction and advice from this information store.

As I sat there trying to recollect the details of the Novel while nursing the injuries inflicted on my ego and hand in participating in a bowling game with friends, I am also reminded of the implication and consequences of missing spares in a bowling game. In bowling, you need to take every chances, if you keep missing strikes and spares, you end up getting way-way behind because of the method of scoring.

Now, what is the reason of me bringing this matter up? The reason is this, i was with a friend who has lost all his work and 4 years of journaling perhaps due to some contribution of my inactions. I had thought that on that day, I had wanted to lend some support to this guy by carrying out other non IT related activity. Call came in, got distracted and plans were shelved. Meeting adjourned, caught up with him and though he is a macho kind of guy, you can see the sense of panic and despair in his eyes when he told me that "I think I may have lost 4 years of my Blog"

I was shocked and we spend some time figuring out how to recover the database but to no avail at that time. The impact to me is this, "How does one feel when he sees 4 years of his lfe of interaction and journalling gets lost". The documentation and articulation of thought which gives reader insight into this person ala the Netforce Director. To think I could also be a contributory factor to these actions......i was one quiet person that day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

IT imitating Life

Its ever so interesting to listen/eavesdropping in to conversations between ICT equipments, as they go through trying to determine who are the visitors and the mechanism of identification.Some examples maybe as follows:-

Browser Client talking to a webserver
Client > Hello, webserver
Webserver > Hello client, what is your IP address?
Client > Here is my IP, Gimme webpage (get index.htm)
Webserver > Hey Mr DNS, what is this guys name, this guy having this IP address?
DNS > Here, his name is (if the name is listed by sysadmin in reverse lookup)
Webserver > Ahhh, Mr Client, ok, I am going to let him access the page, here's the webpage, let me put him into my log.

Mail server receiving mails and checking for SPAM,

Client1 > Hey Mail server, I am going to send this mail to U.
Mail server > Roger, but before I receive the mail U are sending, I need to check with my friend, Mr RBL (Block List).
Mail Server > Hey Mr RBL, this mail client 1 is going to send me mail, do you think the domain is legit?
RBL server > My man Mail, hey this guy's domain ain't legit, if you receive any mail, just throw them out.
Mail server > Yo , mail client 1, you aint legit, i am going to ditch U.
Client 2 > What about me , mail server ? Can I send U mail destined to one of your users.
Mail Server > Hey Mr RBL, this mail client 2 is going to send me mail, do you think the domain is legit?
RBL server > My man Mail, hey this guy's domain is legit, you can receive any of his mail.
Mail Server > Thanks Mr RBL, Yo...Mail Client 2,'re legit, send me the mail!!
Mail Client 2 > Here is my mail, please deliver to receipient please.
Mail Server > Roger , but you know I need to check it with the colleague here Miss SPAMAssassin.
Mail Server > Darling, Miss SPAMassasin, can you be a dear and check whether this is SPAM?
Miss SPAMassassin > Darrrling, hand it over and let me go through...
Mail Server > Here you are, bunch of mail from Mail Client 2...
Miss SPAMassassin > Hmmmm....looks like bunch or Sales Material to many people and its got this thing in header called VIAGRA. Looks like SPAM to me. I am going to tag this as SPAM. Hey Mr Mail Server, what do I do with this SPAM?
Mail Server > Ohhhh...I have a folder for that, possible SPAM, pass it to me then.
Miss SPAMassassin > Here you are luv, thanks for processing it. Can u tell the receipient, the mails are possible spam.
Mail Server > Yeah, I'll tag them and put it possible SPAM folder. I hope the recepient is told that they can review the tagged mail in possible SPAM folder. Some Service providers don't tell their users ;-) these small things

Now, isn't that IT imitating LIFE. Takes a lot to create a trust relationship, even in the IT world. I wonder what will be the conversations during a SSL session? Maybe I shud learn from IT rather then learning about IT so that I do not face too much casualties ;-)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Cracking the Code

Think that you are a great cracker, able to understand patterns in Input Output, able to reconstitute information from unfathomable finger printing tools. Familiar with all forms information hiding techniques, encryption algorithm such as 3DES, RSA, IDEA, SSL handshake and Eliptical Curve etc. I would like you to undertake the biggest challenge of them all, deciphering woman behaviour (What they do and what they say).

I sometimes think that deciphering woman's action, behaviour and communication protocol is much like hacking/cracking a code. Technique used on one woman (your wife) may not be applicable to another woman (your daughter). When a woman ask you, "What are you doing tommorrow?". " I am available after 11.00 am". There are many possibilities that you can read into that question. Its almost like deciphering a coded message.
  • First, there could be hidden messages within the original message much like steganography.
  • Secondly, the information could be encrypted with hidden messages which only you will know. The only problem is that you are not sure which encryption algo was used and agreed.
  • Thirdly, it could be a handshake question much like a SSL handshake session and session key, you require additional supplementary question to derive and more coherent answer.
As the method of hiding the info can be in various combination, it takes a skill male some time to decipher and get the correct messages. Failure to do so will result in either denial of service and subsequently can lead to forking of other processes such as "sulk" and "tears".

In rectifying situations, one must avoid relying on other cracking mechanism such as "man in the middle" attack. This can be liken to having an information broker seating in the middle talking to both you and the wife while sharing the wrong information.

Now I am no expert at deciphering codes neither in "C" nor in any other human (body or verbal) language of the opposite sex but when male colleagues faced with similar situations tries downloading information/experience from me, i can but offer these advice :- "I know I have been in this profession for almost 12 years however I have only been married for 15 years, hence at times I blame the inability in comprehension and problem solving activities of the opposite sex may still be lacking, hence your experience is as good as mine".

However, I do find this similarity weird and close to the reality of Security Management as I know it and have given new meaning and perspective to "Ethical Hacking" or "Penetration Testing".

A new journey

As I look back at the past, I now feel perhaps its time for another carreer change. I have been a System Engineer, Systems Developer, Network Administrator, Security Consultant (extremely abused word) , a wannabbe Chief Technology Officer and lastly a Telecommunication Advisor. Even more perplexing and much feared is the working platform that I have worked on ranged from Prime, VAX, IBM, *nixes and PC/MAC. It makes U a piece of history when U think some of these computers are no more in existence.

I remember going to meetings with IBM the first time and numbers were churned out and thrown about like nobody's business. IBM'ers have this habit of talking codes like, " You know, once you get the 4381 to the DASDee and have it connected to the 3270's (or was it the 3174) we shud be having it up and running". Being cheeky at that time, i got a bit fedup and threw them(IBMers) a spanner and asked, "What about the 8820?, I asked?". Being an IBMer and without flinching (since there is no 8820), looked straight at me and replied " Well, Mr xx, let our Engineer get back to you on this".

As i revisit the past, the one thing that bothers me most is the tangible output and contribution that seems not to be enough and impactful. However, what is common that I can safely conclude (without blowing too much trumpet) is the development of people and the reverse engineering (some called it cracking) of some systems. Having to visit some Raya gathering and meeting old friends who has turn out well, makes me an exteremely happy camper.

Recent casualties also has made me to think of making some changes in life and considering at making a career change. Perhaps get out of IT/Security and Telecomunications and do something different for a change. The crowd in the IT/Security seems to be a young in nature and pace and thot process can be dissimilar to that of this old elephant like me. Learning from the past, it is perhaps better to explore areas which are different and perhaps less stressful.
Well, watch this space............

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Check ......Mate???

I recently took to playing chess again with a wise friend. After a few sets, I came to the conclusion that there are lotsa parallelism that can be drawn from chess to life. In chess, the engagement process you go through with your opponent covers many facets. Some may say the objective is to win, others like me chooses to make as little mistakes possible ;-).

Charting out moves can entail the study of set pieces, your opponents thought process, gestures and preferences of engagement. We engage with each others move and study each others preferences. Now had these things be documented in a blog, one can perhaps study the transcript and put together a profile and study that profile.

In life, I suppose this engagement (like a chess game) is done concurrently with many people. I suppose in engaging with people, some (like playing chess) chooses to study and analyse their opponent(Like Bobby Fisher) thru well documented set pieces, while others just move at the spur of the moment, making the least mistake as possible. I am not sure whether the study of transcript of move/set pieces is a healthy approach.

The same wise friend did provide me a very sane advice, "You can plan your move some of the time, but not all of the time"."You live sometimes by making the least or no mistake at all (in chess)".

I get to thinking - in my recent casualty, what mistake have I done?. I am engaging in this game, suddenly, the opponent cries fowl and comments immediately to the umpire that I maybe cheating, perhaps. Being the party who avoids confrontation and slightly hurt (you only engage in chess games with someone whom U know), you walk away immediately. However, this leaves a void of non-closure. I am normally critical and analyse my mistakes that I have done onto others as I do not want to repeat nor cause conscious distress again to others.

But as my chess mentor would say it, "You learn thru mistake, sometimes not necessarily yours, but nevertheless, you learn". "It is never too old to learn".He also added "The trick is to know when to drop it or walk away from the game irrespective of non-closure"

I agreed while thanking him...uttering Cheque...Mate!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Guilty - Non Conformance to Standards

Ironically, though being in the Telecommunication and ICT Industry for more then 15 years, I made the most critical of sin ie not checking the Standards. I have always had this phobias of interoperabilities of system especially when it involves IBM (SNA) and TCP/IP. One must always check the STANDARDS of Communication.

The same is applicable in life as my recent Casualty is also due to breakdown in Communication Standards. Father (TCP/IP), Daughter (SNA). One sometimes assume (wrong move) that when you send Ack packets, you get a reply ie in real life, you talk or enquire, you get a response. This should be thought of good communication ethics -yes/no....No. Unfortunately, not so with daughter, you enquire repeatedly, it can lead to invasion of privacy as young professional now views the right not to reply is theirs. Hence, no Ack packets - cutting the story short, leading to communication breakdown.

My sin is assuming that communication standards is common and normal across age groups and people and not evaluating this standards enough to understand this daughter has led to making this blunder. Communication standards are different across social upbringing, race and over technologies.

Here, after relooking and reevaluating recent events leads me to believe that sometimes the standards that we live in may have to be narrowed, lest we like living in a confrontational circumstances. I suppose the give and take is one such solution, hmm...what will that be in the IT World, one needs investigation. ;-)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Weekend Casualty - Allegations/Assertions/Contentions??

One sometimes wonder whether if there is a mismatch between your actions and what others see or think that your intent is. Well, sometimes you put in some effort to invest in friendship and it can be misconstrued and taken the wrong way. Alas, we try not to think the negative of people and what people may want to say and do to you, but being the elderly person, sometimes one has no choice but to swallows and suffer in silence actions and words uttered and done by other.

I am always a believer that truth prevails and with that, I take note of this as being another of my Casualties of Life. Looking back sometimes, I suppose, if you invest and mentor in 3 friends, and 1 remembers you, I think that is good return ;-) I don't think I am about to hold any grudges to people who may have wronged me in any mortifying manner.


Poem for a Friend [POEM]

Observing Friend (11/11/2005)

Sorrowness crept into my heart,
Feeling Melancholic, begins to start,
Watching my friends, move helplessly;
Suffering inside, so silently.

I have known him for many years;
There are many time we shed some tears;
Through thick and thin, we always go;
Sometimes I lead, he will follow.

I don’t know what,that I can do;
Except, be there, to get him thru;
As I write this; I will confess;
My heart is heavy, with much distress.

Using this blog for me to write;
Allowing me to use this wonderful site;
Spoonfork my fren, you are so kind;
Highlighting issues, on a fren of mine.

Balance of Life

I often ponder on the fortune and casualties that life has to bring to many people. I wonder whether every indivduals faces an equal balance of fortune and problems that one faces. Sometimes, you have wealth, but you are not happy. At other times you have a good Strategic Job, but then you end up searching for satisfaction that other "operational" job have to offer. Is there more to life then this?

This thought came about as I observe the challenges that my friend has to face. A simple bloke, whose outlook of life was originally to be a "Dispatch Rider". He is now a Director of his own IT Company, but is now saddled with the knowledge that he has leukemia. Where and what is the balance, I often wonder?

What also will become of me as I too am going through a challenge of correcting my sugar imbalance due to extreme weight management problem (to say the least). I have quite a reasonable job, a good family and most of all I am quite lucky in having good supports from friends, but I wonder whether other people have this framework and support to get it thru their years. How will they take life treatment?