Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Points of Ponder in the Gym - Why??

I have been going to the Gym for the past 1 and half month. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have many questions that seems to go unanswered in my mind. There are so many whys, Why is this , Why is that?

a)Why is it that most of the Gym trainer has this "I am so hunky, why don't you look at me look".
b)Some Gym trainers are so helpful in counselling when it comes to petite girls and not so when the girls are plumpier and requires more assistance.
c)Towels offered at the Gym can never wrap around your waist successfully. Tends to suit the people who is already thin and doesn't require a weight loss programme.
d)Do you really have time or need Cable TV or headphone, when much of your time is watching heavenly bodies infront or around you.
e)Why everyone seems to tuck in their tummy and suck in their guts when u are around the drinking station.
f)People tend to do the cowboy (gunslinger walk)- u know the hand by the side walk, when around the weights area.
g)Sometimes the healthier (read slimmer or shapelier) you become, the more clothes u tend to shed. Guys started with T shirt and ends with singlet, girls started with slacks and ends up with teeny-weeny shorts.

Do you guys happen to get this kinda feeling in and around your gym?

Monday, February 27, 2006

While the Sun still shines

Was out and about near KLCC. Though lately the weather has not be very predictable, I thought perhaps I should use the occassion to enjoy what little sushine and the scenic view. I also thought of looking for a subject capture on my lens. A friend of mine did comment that my picture taking skill needs a lot of improvement and in some cases horrendous. Being a person of many hidden talent, this person went on to demonstrate photos which very much potray the skill of composition that seems absent in my pictures.

So not intending to call it quits and trying to rise to the challenge, here are some shots of my day outings. I find geometric items interesting though. Though I find these photos lacks character, I felt it wasted just staying put in my camera.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Of Crumpler Bags and Trojan Horses

I have a fascination with Bags made by a company called Crumplers to which I bought 2 from them, one for my own use and the other for my daughter. One of the range is called the "Embarassment" series and the largest is called the "Considerable Embarrasment" is mainly used to carry notebooks and other things. There are so many pockets in them U can hide many things.

I have also been in the Information and Network Security Sphere for the past 20 odd years having to start to hack and bypass Mini computers such as Prime to undertaking Security Audit project based on ISO 17799/BS7799 (Since I am a qualified and certified Auditor for BS7799). Being in the Security Domain, you get to see and expereince security breaches in networks and computers. One of the commonly used attack is known as the trojan horse methodology based on the Greek Mythology of a war between the Greek and its foe the Trojan. The Greek left its foes, a wooden horse as a gift (inside there are greek soldiers) to which the Trojan took the horse into its compound to their detriment.

Common Security breach such as Virus tends to use Trojan Horse method to catch unsuspecting users off guard by attacking their programmes from within. There have also been known of servers/traffic collectors being used as trojan horses for sniffing and espionage purposes withing unsuspecting corporate networks.

However, recently and unsuspectedly Trojan Horses can also be a Strategy to cause considerable embrassment to intercept and dissintermediate information in organization. Now, this can be a serious embarrasement considering that it can cause a major Security Breach to which the Brand Image, Product and Services can be compromised. That would also lead to the conclusion that the organizational control over the matter has lax and the Chief Information Security Officer has not reviewed nor audited the process and control for quite sometime.

The challenge is to identify and put the necessary safeguard that this controls has to be in place, but more importantly, the necessary controls to manage and reduce risk of this Security Breach is broken. But how do u do this on a Trojan Horse which has a perceptably flawless and reputable resume. How would you confirm and battle Trojan which can hide behind unsuspecting allies. Though it could well and easy for the CISO to resign, I think he has a considerable duty to safeguard the organization first and if not possible to remove the Trojan, but to negate any future risk.

I would hate that this can become another of life casulaties.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Song Lyrics as prescription for my Soul

If someone was to ask me, what song would describe my life, it would be closest to Richie Sambora's "Hard Times Comes Easy". The lyrics are as follows ;-
It's amazing, we go through changes,
When times get crazy, it's up and down, it's hot and cold.
These complications, just keep on coming,
There ain't not running, when it comes to life that's how it goes.
Round and round we go,
Sometimes it feels like, we're on a roller coaster ride.
Baby don't you know, it could eat you up,
If you try to keep it all inside.
Seems like hard times come easy, we do a lot of hanging on these days,

But there are times U meet friends who have been dishearten and its so difficult to motivate them out of the rut. Immediately this lyrics would ring in my ear, some of the people whom I have come across may find this lyrics very close to their hearts.

Maybe you're losing pieces of your heart
You have a world but it stopped turning
You lose the day and gain the dark
Love was a fire but it stopped burning

Spare your heart, save your soul
Don't drag your love across the coals
Find your feet and your fortune can be told
Release, relax, let go
And hey now let's recover your soul

But sometimes, motivating people can take a toll on yourself and to buck up immediately the Lyrics to Van Halens Jump comes to mind;-
I get up, and nothing gets me down.
You got it tough. I’ve seen the toughest around.
And I know, baby, just how you feel.
You’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real

At present time, I seem to be soul searching and this can be depicted by the lyrics to the song Superman by Five for Fighting;
I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me

I wonder what other song lyrics motivates your Soul.

Monday, February 20, 2006

So, you think U know enough about starting a food business

In my zest of trying to startup my food business, and having discussed with few friends, I intended to pilot and try out this business soon. However, my rational side bugged my into discussing this matter with and old acquiantance who has been in the fast food business quite sometime previously.

Meeting up with him was a memorable occassion for he reminded me of a walking dictionary or a simple googles on legs. Firstly he was apologetic on his lateness as he got lost from a previous meeting. He also shared with me his moleskin notepad, which he jots down his observation and ideas. I find his caricatures and sketches interesting and then came the keyword - details. He reminded me that in sketches, much as in life, the devil is doing the details. But I digress to much.

I shared with him my ideas on a food franchise and patiently he noded and came back with statistics and retorts for which left me in amazement. He reminded me on locations, renovation cost and how the ROI will work out for each type of food franchise for which I need to be mindful. But what I find perplexing is when he started asking me the details, which left me flabergasted and speechless. It is not that I am slow to answer, but I just don't know the answer.

Simple questions as to what is my Signature Product and whether I want to be involve in the whole value chain or just the manufacturing? In a simple word, he has kindly reminded me that I have not thought through what I wanted to do in the food industry and that I had not thought through in detail in order to execute my ideas. As he reiterated, the devil is in the details...but it needs to be done.

As I bid farewell and thanking him for challenging my thots, I felt humbled that my gung ho effort was a bit short lived. Nevertheless.....the show must go on. ;) Watch this space.

Lessons in Life from the Youth

I have reached an age where one tends to look forward to retirement and play it safe in life. We each faces our own battles and some of us do have alot of scars to show for it. In my 21 years of working, I remember countless times that I have taken deadly risk either as part of my job or decisions to further my carreer. Over the years, we grew into a safe zone, we then build our complecancy and try to shield ourselves by taking lesser risk then before.

Lately, in working with some group of brilliant and aggressive people who averages 15 years my junior, I come to the realization that there are massive gaps between what I deem as risk when compared to what these guys risk appetite were. Where I would rationalize and plan, my colleague would shoot from the hip and with gung ho zest just attack the market. As one female colleague would put it, we have to have the "balls" to go out do it and believe in what we do.

Another pull me aside and remarked, "You know, by the time you finished planning,the market is no more there" , to which I pondered and concluded, "Yes, he could be right". Lessons learnt, Passion in executing your work may overide any form of careful planning(or U can't plan for everything).

Being elderly, words blurted out by these guys can be very direct and curt. They do not have any inhibition in what they say and do. I don't necessarily think that this negative but being brought up in an environment where word uttered and said are chosen to suit the environment and mostly padded, I sometimes find it tough to adapt to this new engagement model. However, I find that I need to learn and adapt to these new engagement model as new citizens brought up in this internet culture tend to be direct. Actually,to be fair to these colleagues of mine, they have on many occassion demonstrated the effort to appease me and I also should do my part to learn, listen and swallow what they have to say - as they could be right.

Thirdly, I have also discovered a weakness, which I feel may have been with me for ages, which is not to act when people are observing you ie MALU. This has on many occassion, prevented inaction on my part and not doing the right things for fear of MALU. A friend of mine, on a few occassions gave me stern reminders as to do the right things and not bothered by what people may say or judge. Though I found it difficult and bothered by this remark, I think there is sense in that advice to which I value very much and now try venture in more (don't care what U think) activities.

To these colleagues and friends of mine, I would like to thank you very much for the guidance and patience that U have given, you know who U are. It is a mindset change and we are never too old to learn ;-).


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Curiosity Kills the Diet

I often go around KL to my normal coffee establishment (Starbucks) mainly absorbing the ambience and testing the bandwidth at each of the location. I will rotate between The Curve, Ikano, Centerpoint, Bangsar Village, KLCC and 1 Utama.

Having been in Bangsar Village last weekend, and looking out at the lobby, Bakerzine came crashing thru my eyes. Now having heard some rave reviews about its strawberry shortcakes, I decided to indulge myself in just a few portions of the cakes that was begging to be eaten. Surely, one tiny cake cannot do me harm, my inner voice said to me.

Well, I did out do myself by sampling just 4 types of "samples". I blame it all on the waitress, for she did not do enough to stop me from the feeling of lust for those samples.To share my some of the images that came on strong to me, I decided to take some photos on some of these cakes;

Strawberry_shortcake I had this first....

Strawberry _CrumbleI then succumb to this second...

Chocolate_cheesecake Thirdly, I went weak in the knee for this delicious and tasty offering...

Well, it will now take an extra one week of Gym work to remove that moment of weakness. If I do not fall asleep before the work out ;-)

[Conclusion and note to self , keep away from good food - no matter how rave the review were.]

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Methodologies of a Consultant - Intro

Often when I come across papers either for review (Research papers or Consulting), I always find that Junior Consultant or Researchers have a problem of expressing themselves on paper or thesis. The papers generally lacks focus and framework when written about a subject or a hypothesis.

I remember my early years working with a Consultant, I was taught, Consultant generally have one method of putting their ideas on presentation forward and that is:-

a) Describe the current problem (as is analysis)
b) Describe or prescribe what the ideal situation got to be (benchmarked or best practices)
c) Recommend how to get there. (Otherwise known as the Strategy)

And, this is not far of wrong when you are trying to do your Phd as well,

a) Describe a problem statement that needs to be solved
b) Prescribe a hypothesis
c) Try to proof you hypothesis with what you think is the way forward.

Essentially, guys and girls, its all about Gap Analysis.

You may see dozens of presentation or reports using this simple methodology and of course it is normally padded up to essentially support the three main areas. So, I thought, maybe if I were to write on this topic may help me remind myself to write better in the future following my own doctrine ;-).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Left Click - Right Click

I was loaned a notebook for use as mine had a crash hardisk. The previous owner must have been a left handed person as he had reconfigured the touchpad and buttons in reverse. It somehow brought me on to think of how these buttons and its actions parallel's life in many ways.

For the past weeks, I have been fortunate or unfortunate to be involved in helping friend do two things, startup a company and helping to find/conclude a job. Lesson that I learnt out of these experience is the power of networking, u need to be in the right click (so to speak). The word "Click" has many connotation, and in this case, being in the right Click, means being in the right group of people who can assist U in getting the right job at the right time.

In the Windows environment, pressing right click essentially gives the menu or the path for you to choose (unless some left hander has reconfigured it do the reverse in which pressing right click will select item). Choosing the right path is key to your next step - essentially having a "Right click" will help you move in the right direction.

Now pressing the left click on a mouse generally will select item. However, choosing the left click on a mouse maybe a correct choice but choosing left (winged) clicks, may undoubtly be the wrong choice since left winged groups are commonly associated with extremist ideologies.

Now back to the startup company and the job hunting/acquisition, the lessons that I wanted to promote out of this and what i was trying to coax my fellow colleageues is that moving forward in life and business, networking is important, to be with the right click most of the time. But it is also always also important to not to concieted in thinking he/she is always in the right click, as he/she may be also be left (gedit). In business it is also important to live with both clicks and leverage on both when oppurtunity knocks.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Lonely - [POEM]

Though I tend to find my poems very rough and monotonous, I thought maybe I should try to to keep up the spirit by attempting to write once in a while. Here goes:-

Lonely , is a feeling never shared by two,
Despair and sadness often encompass you,
This feeling inside that I cannot explain,
Never easy to describe, but causes me pain.

It breaks my heart, to see my friend,
Not needing company, don't know when it will end
Seeking a place where you can be alone,
Asking me to leave, you pleads and moan.

Do not disturb, you seems to imply,
Respecting your wishes, we can but comply,
For as long as you're happy, as one could be,
When you are ready, you may contact me.

I wish I could understand whats in your heart,
Is it sorrowness or laughter, how do i start,
To make you understand, that sharing can be,
A joyous new experience for you and me.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Oh God - Prayers of a soon to be Pauper

Oh help me, Oh God,
Stop my neighbours from buying things I can't afford.


Monday, February 06, 2006

St. Valentine (on the cheap)

By next week, the price of a single stalk of rose would have tripled if not quadrupled. I am never much of a person who celebrates Valentine's day, but if I do, I would do it on the cheap for that particular day as I feel the demostration of love and affection is year round. So, here is my early attempt at a symbolic offering of this pink rose to all the girls/women who knows me.
This photo was taken using my Canon Powershot 2S SI.

Fallen from Grace

You try to be good and helpful to people most of time, but then some of the time, people misunderstand you and you fail to communicate. Who was it who said, "If you open your mouth some of the time and speak, people may think that you are intelligent but if you open it too frequent, people can confirm that you are dumb". Maybe I shud limit opening my mouth or in this case typing messages, then I do not disappoint people ;)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cross Roads of Life

There were a few things that I had deliberated last year that needed to be achieved by this year. I had wanted to have among others the following:-
a) More outdoor type activities through photography - Done
b) Improve the state of health by going to the Gym - Done
c) Reallocation of time for self - On going
d) Carreer change - Considering Now

I have been in the IT/Telecommunication line for 16 years. I started in 1990, when I decide to make a career change then from a Civil Engineer to IT. I had been working in Civil Engineering for a period of 6 and half years more of a structural engineer.

Recently, I had a wonderful conversation with a close friend about going back to more basic skill which is cooking. We were then discussing and exchanging recipe on some soup preparation (if U can imagine a middle age guy exchanging recipe - that might make some people puke). I was then posed the question by this friend of mine, would I consider making another career change and move into the food business.

I thot about it for (hmmmmmm)......2 minutes, thats how long I take to make a career decision before (and as long as my brain can sustain), possible, I quipped. At that moment, I thought to myself, am I too old to change to another profession? I had all this while setup and mentored many engineers and developers so as we can compliment while leverage on each other skills. Am I going to throw away all this and go into the food business?

But I then thought to myself, don't all these geeks and businessman want to meet somewhere? I wish someone out there can guide me as I am an amatuer when trying to take this plunge into the commercial world.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Out manoeuvring

Its quite difficult to explain to a colleague the difference between race driving and defensive advance driving (the British Police style). I was asked this question as I blogged about the near miss accident I had the day before and my colleague was wondering where have all my "acquired skill" in advance driving and race driving has gone to. I suppose its gone to the dogs, since this year is the year of the dog.

Defensive driving is about using as much information available from the road and roadside furniture as possible to plan ahead and possibly negate an accident. Race driving is more of using whatever resource or space available to get the car through in the shortest possible time.

As a point of illustration for lane management:-

If I were to drive down a Looping S-curve two way street,
a) In defensive driving, u position the car to the left of the lane when going round a right hander to gather as much information as possible from up ahead for U to take necessary defensive measures.
b) In Race driving, you would do the reverse, U position the car as far right as possible to the lane to drift into the right hand corner so as to exit cleanly the right hander quickly or looking for the shortest path.

Another example of using the power of the engine:-
a) In defensive driving, (ala the Brit Police Style) you have to complete your braking prior to entering a corner lest you maybe in the wrong speed and wrong position. You do this by double declutching (ie brake into a corner holding straight line position and after finishing of braking, tap the accelerator pedal to rev the engine up while pressing the clutch to change gear, as U release the clutch to the matching engine speed) to prevent skidding due to engine rev. Maintain engine speed while taking the corners (do not lift off) and accelerate as you straighten the line.
b) In Race driving, this concept is replaced with heel and toe action on the accelerator and the brakes, balancing them in one foot while leaving the other to manage the clutch. One would normally power through the corners compensating for drifts to safe as much time possible in the corners.

My personal preference is for Defensive driving since I was taught that method while in the UK and it does give me a bit more control as it has a nice system and technique that one can practice even for beginers. Maybe I shud rekindle and horne back this skill to reduce and minimise the shock experience that I had yesterday. To all those concern, I wud like to say a big Thank You.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Weekdays of Near misses

This past few days have been very trying and tiring for me. There have been too many near misses almost leading to major casualties both in emotional and physical sense. To illustrate one such instance is the near miss that I had with this idiotic driver in a blue satria driving up a one way street near the Curve.

Here I was driving my car down from the Pencala Link towards the Curve exiting it, and going downhill towards the Curve's car park. The driver of the Satria, going up this oneway street and in hessitation crossed my path trying to get into the entrance of a Proton showroom nearby. Now, here I was minding my own business going down this lane (at not to fast a speed) have had to do an emergency stop. Now, cars on a gravel road going downhill don't take too kindly to emergency braking and I find that my car (with ABS an all) was gliding towards that blue satria.

The irony of this is that, U can see the car coming slowly to a halt, but don't have control of when its going to stop. I escape inches from banging into him. But as usual, (the story of my life) the driver of the satria not only did not have the courtesy to apologise but went on to make cursing gestures at me. Such is my physical predicament .......

Fortunately, this near physical casualties almost mimic my also recent emotional one. What a life...............

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Discounts on bottoms

Now, I know what u guys maybe going to gyms and workout centre to have pounds of weight removed from your rear. Now, wouldn't it be nice to have a place where you can shop for a nice bottom like the signage above. Now you maybe thinking, just because I have just enrolled myself into a gym, I maybe looking for a fast method of getting my bottom fixed and I have been going around looking for such a shop. Correspondingly, I am also almost certain another friend of mine, whom I share conversation of "butt analysis" recently maybe thinking that I have found such a shop and thus selecting my bottoms. Booo-Hooo, no such luck people.