Wednesday, December 28, 2005

2005 in Reflection - [POEM]

2005 in Reflection - Journey

2005 has been a year to remember,
A lot of action and a splendid candor,
It has been a year faced without regret,
Though some events that I chose to forget.

Diabetes causes me to be lethargic,
Falling asleep while driving can be tragic,
If I want to carry on living, to see my wife,
Exercise and diet will be part of my life.

Working with friends who requires assistance,
Mentoring and guiding with little persistence,
To these good people, I am sure they could,
Succeed with greatness, they truly would.

A great event was held in late September,
A Hacking Conference, that everyone remembers,
A gathering of friends and experts, is nothing new,
I found it proud to be part of the crew.

Around the world, speakers and participants came,
Skills, capabilities none that are lame,
Memorizing tutorials can be great for action,
Short skirt and big tops can be such a distraction.

Rediscovering the Net, a new found love,
Blogging and writing as free as a dove,
Making new friends as the days go on,
Realizing new impetus, a chapter is born,

A close friend of mine told me he is sick,
Not realizing how bad, i deserve to be kick,
His news came to me as a great big shock,
The impact was great, feels like been knocked.

To my daughters, who excelled I'm truly proud,
Getting 8 As and thus removing all my doubts,
You did not get your brains from me as you now know,
Must come from your mother, it just goes to show.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Ho - Ho - Ho - Where will my diet go?

It has been a very interesting weekend to say the least. Much has been spent mainly on food (I know who would enjoy this greatly though). Since, plodding along with friends from one joint to another, I thot maybe it will be interesting to share the experience in documenting the food preparation in some of this joints.

[Soul(ed) Out]

Interesting layout. You have a selection of Open air or Aircond Dining environment. In the aircond area upstairs, you also have a choice of a family type siting area with lounge chairs and eating table with TV.

Menu selection covers the normal western, american/mexican food (nacho etc) and eastern (teriyaki chicken etc). Wine list and apperitifs and mocktails are quite nice albeit a bit on the expensive side. Waiters are fast, and service is very quick.

Food on the Western Menu side is nothing to shout about, as I have seen better Western Sets at Cable Car, Chillis and Jakes. The Salads and Terriyaki is ok and reasonably tasty but not outstanding, but better then some of the Japanese fast food outlets. The Tandoori and Kebab are quite spicy and tasty, which I think is above average. The drinks and apperitifs are interesting with nice choice. Overall, its a nice place and setting to hang out. Price - is equivalent to that of Chilis or TGIF. My choice here would be Shish Kebab, Roast Beef Salad and Chicken Terriyaki.

[Cable Car - Sunway Pyramid]

Typical Restaurant setting with booth ala Penang Cable Car. My choice would be the window side with view of the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park. Good place for family dining though, may not have setting for private dinner though.

Menu Selection covers western (which covers escargot to steak) and Local (Yong Chow fried rice and Laksa). The drink list is fairly normal if not basic, i suppose to cater for local choice. Waiters are ok and seems inexperience on some occassion. This is made up by their friendly service though.

Food on the Western side is above average, tho not as good as Jakes or Chilis but is fairly juicy and nicely done. However, I normally prefer baked potatoes with my steak which they serve here with fries. The Local dishes are done quite well and I would say that this Restaurant is a safe bet for local delicacies. Don't expect any fancy choice of drinks here. Price is worth the volume for this kind of setting. My preference here would be the T-Bone Steak, Salad and oxtail Soup.

[Aji-Don Alley - Plaza Damas]

Gerai Stalled Food Eatery with some covered eating areas with hard benched stools and outdoor styled timber table. Located near one of the hotel and on the Plaza Level, it faces the courtyard with fountains and artificial running "streams".

Menu Selection covers Western (Waffles and Steak) and Locals (Moontarbuck, Mee Dali, Kacang Pol, Kuey Teow Kerang/Udang etc). My choice here would be the Mee Dali, Kuey Teow Goreng or the Kacang Pol. The Mee Dali on Friday and Saturday has marvelous Tulang as add in.

The food here is excellent for me that is, except that becoz of the seating is limited and the place is popular , you seems to feel chased out as people keep queuing for seats and you are somehow in the rush to eat. To avoid this, I usually hang there early but the window of eating is to short. Price is reasonable and worth the investigation.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Tis the Season to be Jolly

As I sit down sipping my Marchiato, this jingle keep ringin in my ears..
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town ...........

Ahhh....the sound of HOLIDAY....

To all Netizens and Blog Owners and Readers, have yourself a Merry X'mas....

Friday, December 23, 2005

Ever Wondered when going to movies

Sometimes when watching movies, i find myself asking some stupid question. Why can't I just enjoy a movie without trying to rationalize them!!!!
  1. You know when you watch STAR WARS or STAR TREK, the star fighter travels at warp speed or faster then the speed of light and shooting of their lasers. I ofter wonder, if they are travelling faster then the speed of light, won't they reach faster then their lasers. Does that mean they are shooting at themselves?
  2. The scenes in Babylon5 or Enterprise, where you have many form of aliens, think of it, how does the architect design in the urinals and WC's for all these aliens. How does a ship that big cater for these aliens, whose needs to remove waste.
  3. I find it difficult to believe that Enterprise or the Death Star does not run on Windows or Linux OS. Where are all the blue screen and core dump screens? Why does R2D2 need to be connected physically ala serial port connection.? Don't they have Bluetooth or Wifi in the future?
  4. In the Enterprise, there is a bar. How do you differentiate which is an alien and which is not? After all, most of them will be drunk, and its very difficult to tell one from the other?
  5. When Luke Skywalker gets his hands chopped off by Darth Vader and he falls down the cavity, why does he fall in the first place, there is no gravity outside the ship, or is it there?
  6. Why is it when they use the transporter to transport from the ship to the planet, it is always a smooth process, what if there was a malfunction, do you get Captain Kirks brain in Mr Spocks body (since I suppose the molecular build of human is different from Vulcan). That is the first think that I will hack first...
  7. In Superman, does Clark Kent wear boxer shorts. If he does, how does he take a leak?
  8. When watching Matrix, when the character Neo meets Seraph, the guardian of the Oracle, was the fighting scene a challenge and response (authentication)prior to talking to the Oracle (Database)
  9. In Matrix, those bodyguard watching over the Merovingian, are those deamons or processes that cannot be killed?
  10. Why do you have many agent smith (is it becoz smith is a common name) replicating since it wants to eradicate Neo (the anomaly - virus?)

It is that time of year

It is that time of year:-
  1. When your boss calls you for your performance appraisal, and you keep wondering why are there not enough days for you to perform.
  2. When your friends go back to their kampung, leaving you writing nonsensical blogs like this
  3. When your colleagues go on a long holiday weekend while U try to figure out what to do with your life tomorrow
  4. When you start wondering whether your next year resolution is the same as before or does it matter in the first place.
  5. When your pocket gets empty due to expenditure on school books and uniform for your kids for next year.
  6. When agencies calls you up for services unbeknown to them as they need to do Christmas Shopping
  7. When there are flurry of parties and "kenduri" for you to attend, but you are on a strict diet and trying to watch your weight.
  8. When you realize that you have 40 odd days of leave for which you need to finish, but when you take it, you are still called to the office.
  9. When you have to travel out of town for a a business planning sesssion for next year for which there are absent of internet, and you need the net for planning in the first place.
  10. When all your staff seems helpful since it is time to appraise them.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Privacy>Confidentiality>Trust - Long Post

A blogger Spoonfork (Mel) commented on one of my write-up to elaborate further on my understanding on the issues of Privacy, Confidentiality and Trust. Being a person who may not be strong in the command of the English Language, I will attempt to answer him by describing this through a thought process. Basically, how do I rationalize the relationship between Privacy, Confidentiality and Trust.

Definition in Dictionary.Com
  • Privacy is "The quality or condition of being secluded from the presence or view of others."
  • Confidentiality is " Entrusted with the confidence of another" and
  • Trust is "Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing"
Privacy (in my view) is trying to keep the view or information secluded to other and relates to a person specific or personal space, but Confidentiality covers a bigger aspect of secluding of information or entrusted confidential information relating to person or any other persons, company and/or entity. However, the common challenge in defining Privacy is that there seems to be a philosophical view of what the boundaries are and varying degree of what is deemed private and what is not.
Those familiar with Venn Diagram will know that if I were to draw two circles having overlaps, one circle represents Privacy while the other Confidentiality. In an illustration, it will go as follows :-
  • "A" tells "B" about a certain confidential information. "B" accidently disclose the information about "A" to third party. "B" is breaching a Confidentiality Agreement which has led to "A" privacy being infringed.
  • "A" tells "B" about a Confidential information about a company "X". "B" accidentally disclose the information to third party. "B" is breaching Confidentiality Agreement but has not infringed "A's" privacy.
The private/public domain of one person may not be the same of another. Here are two simple example for illustrative purposes:-
  • If a business card is pass on from person "A" to person "B". On the business card, there are contact number, email address, Company and Position. If this information is then passed on to a third party, the generally accepted principle under Common Law is that it is not infringing the privacy of "A" as the information is deemed available in Public Domain. Unless "A" explicitly spells out to "B" that the card is explicitly for "B" and not to be shared, then the action of "B" does not constitute breaching of confidentiality and "A's" privacy is not infringed.
  • "B" goes to "A's" house and visits the compound and garden and since "A" defines his personal space is his house, "A" does not find "B" as infringing his privacy. "B" goes to "C's" house, but "C" defines his personal space is the house, garden and compound and thus when "B" goes and "trespass" into "C's" garden, "B" is infringing "C's" privacy. Here, the boundaries are subjective and since unbeknown to "B", "B" can get into trouble.
Nevertheless, there still are disagreement because what is deemed private has to be explicitly made known.

Trust however, is the result of a person or entity that has been providing reliable, predictable and secure services to another over a period of time. Which is why, in the Network world, you may require technologies that build trust through the keeping of Information in a Secure Manner (Confidentiality), preserving the Integrity of the information, presented to you by and Identifiable and Authenticated Persons/Servers. This require another independent chapter on its own though ;-).

Saturday, December 17, 2005

An ASS of Me without U

Man, I sure became a laughing stock for another idiotic mistake of taking things for granted and "assume" that friends Pentium 4 means Centrino. Having collected a DELL Widescreen Pentium 4-M (Nvidia, 1.25G RAM and 40Gb HD) and having installed the Mac OSX on it, spent the last week trying to configure the Nvidia to support the wide resolution and getting the wireless to work. GREAT Intent, BAD execution.

You would have thought one of the latest DELL widescreen comes with wireless, wouldn't you.? (Now, that is a rhetorical question). No, I was trying to make the OSX to recognize the wireless card when there was none in the first place. When did I find that out?, when I was returning the notebook to the owner and profusely apologizing to him on my inability to configure his DELL wireless to work . He gave me a chagrin look and said "Well, it would have been marvelous if you could, since there was no wifi card in there at all". He and another colleage spent the whole 5 minutes laughing their heads off.

Man, was I stooooopid. I had to rationalized and console myself that at least I made both of them happy. Another of those casualties..........what can I say.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Supposition of a Conspiracy Theory?

After about a month of blogging, and conducting some preliminary research into this matter, while browsing to other peoples blog, I noticed that there are some interesting observations which leads me to form certain hypothesis . The ever suspicious mind that I have keeps bringing up that this could be a conspiracy theory. Let us look at what we have to consider where there could be basis to my hypothesis:

a) The theory of 6 degrees of separation between any people. These seems to be the philosophy incorporated into marketing of the "Gmail" service. Do you know, when "Google" sends you an invite, and you are suppose to invite frens to be entitled for a Gmail account, that is not only a brilliant marketing approach but also provide a sense of exclusive brand positioning. However, in doing this way or marketing, you then can link one account with another, since generally one only invites friends.

b) The provision of Blogs Hosters providing a less then ideal hosting mechanism, so that users leverages on other Service Providers to improve their blogs, thus leading to many accounts being created on many hosters which then subsequently can lead to the profiling of Bloggers and their interest and activities. Let us analyse what these services do:-
  • Tecnorati - Service that provides search of who is linking to who and indirectly provides a search engine to the blog as it tracks updates between these links. Which leads to some form of community tracking which may arise to profiling of interest within the communities. (Require Account)
  • Blogrolling - Automated Blog listing service that one subscribes to determine which of the blogs are updated and subsequently identifying the "activeness" of blogs and frequency of updates. Also can lead to rating and popularity of blogs (Require Account)
  • Flickr - Service where photograph can be hosted so that you can link to personal blogs for publishing. (Require Account)
  • Haloscan - Comment Page with value added features for bloggers to leverage to experience enhance feature sets. (Require Account)
  • Adsense - Blog Advertising, putting a name to the blog (by cheque)
Ironically, when an individual choose to host its Blog, he/she may do so anonymously and his/her privacy maintained, but as he/she interacts, this anonymosity is watered down. However, when the blogger then chooses to use other providers and creates accounts for the services, these then erodes further the confidentiality of the blogger. Individualy the dots maybe insignificant but collectively these then provides the links and all the dots can then be joined. Which leads to my hypothesis that this is now becoming one of the best profiling mechanism.

How then will the users privacy be protected?

It is even more of a concern if these database are then shared , though under different organizations, should a state of emergency be declared, these can then be used to confirm the connection and links while putting a face or a name to the so called anonymous blogger. Thought process and manner of writing can then be used to determine the bloggers state of mind and their inclinations (as evidentiary support).

Someone tell me I am wrong and too captivated in these Conspiracy Theories or just plain paranoid.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mood - (POEM)

Pardon for this measly attempt at another POEM


Moods is something that can swing,
If it is not managed, it can be king,
Influencing our action, in every day,
Cramping our lives, in many way.

Some moods are bad and some are good,
Not getting excited, one maybe should,
Lest we get remembered, and truly known,
Emotions and excitement, our very own.

Changes in moods are sometimes caused,
Bad behaviour and actions, making one cross,
If we don't conquer this changes in mood,
Lashing at friends, may not be good.

Moods are also changed due to hormones,
Changes in our bodies, we are not alone,
Affecting some of us incessantly,
Exhausting and tiring, affecting emotionally,

We are often challenged by changes of mood,
Wishing that we can manage if we truly could,
Affecting us badly when we are down,
Conquering its effect, we can but frown.

Moods can be used to work out for good,
Changing ourselves, one truly should,
Influencing our moods, to positively,
Changing our minds, ever gracefully.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


My blog is a month old. I am not sure whether to celebrate or to ponder and maintain silence for it also happens to be the day before a major casualty. It is quite an irony that what started off as my experiment and excercise for me to learn about writing, has now evolved into a place where I seek solace and therapy. I find that as I write, I began to find peace and put observation, thought process and emotions to "electronic paper" .

As I write and reflect on the support given by colleagues who have been patient with me, I wish them the best and would like to give them due recognition one of these days. I owe them quite a lot, though we barter trade and services regularly, I think they deserve better to be better compensated.

I am also new to this new media and its trust and recognition model. I also find it intriguing that though there are some parellism in life, there are also ironic differences. This new media can sometimes be, not forgiving with mistakes as indirect documentation becomes part of life. As I troll the Net and "Google" my name, it is very scary to find pictorial and documentary evidence of my postings and presentations done as far back as 1994. I also find it uncomfortable having to see photographs of me in the "younger" days.

Ironically the manner, character and mode of posting for me seems consistent (I think) when its in the newsgroup or the web. Friends remarked that my response and comments are sometimes to stolid, formal and "needs to loosen up". Guys, I am trying!!.

Anyway,"Let us move forward to our new Ventures", I thought to myself.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Songs of Christmas (Carol)

I was sitting down as usual in my normal Coffee establishment at the Straights and hearing this Christmas Carol and was wondering, maybe I should sing to Christmas Carol my way and with my wordings. Well, here goes and early attempt :-

Twelve day of Hacking Course (sung to the Twelve day of Christmas)

On the first day of Hacking Course
My tutor gave to me
A program from a script kiddie,

(second day) Two scanner programs
(third day) Three Backdoor Tools
(forth day) Four Wifi sniffers
(fifth day) Five War Dialers
(sixth day) Six Tools for Phishing
(seventh day) Seven Phone Phreakers
(eighth day) Eight Trojan codes
(nineth day) Nine Password Crackers
(tenth day) Ten Tools for Spoofing
(eleventh day) Eleven Lines of Codes
(twelve day) Twelve List of Hacksites

I am dreaming of a White Notebook (sung to White Christmas)

I am dreaming of a White Notebook
Just like the ones I had just broke,
Where the screen are vivid,
And the background are livid,
Just like the colour of the snow.

I am dreaming of a White Notebook
With every visit that I see,
May your hands go shaky,
And your budget go flaky,
Until you had it packed for me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Romancing the Net

I was looking back at my involvement with the internet, and to think I have been toying with it close to 13 years scares the life of me. There is a reason why I am relooking at this "history".

My first acquintance when trying to connect to the internet was ironically was through the setting up of a Bulleting Board service using a software called Remote Access. However, when JARING came to town, my colleage and I went to Exchange Square to queue up to get our own account JARING account. We were advised to bring along a few diskette to copy a programme called SNUUPM and SLIP packet driver. Met this lady by the name of Sham who also helped us choose from a thick (like 4 inches) of listing of newsgroups for us to get support.

A few month later, got updates from this gentlemen called MAL (didn't know who he was at that time) that there is this new up and coming services called web/http. Telling us that new thingy was going to revolutionlize the Net, trying to explain that it was an evolution of this technology called Gopher. Said that if we want to try it out, we need to come and collect a software called Mosaic. Well, we know what Mosaic turn out to be and how the Net went on like wildfire. That was the year 1994.

At the same time, I was dabling with something that got my eye at the time called Linux. I remember that the kernel at the time was 1.0.9. Was trying to fiddle around with this software and boy, did I find it very useful. Didn't know how great an impact it soon become, until recently when I was rummaging through the my files and found some configuration files to configure uucp, innd, fwtk and a"patchy" server. In fact I managed to save one organization RM25k at the time with this rudimentary server running DNS, Web, Mail and News.

The reason I was reminiscing, was that I was trying to do some research on the time lag on the realization and introduction of application with respect to the introduction of technologies. I came across the fact that applications like the light bulb,water heater and oven came about many years later after the introduction of electricity, in fact 30 years to be exact for the first application to be introduced. Now with the Internet, what is that lag time like? Is it 3 years, 5 years or much later. Seems that the lag time is different for different countries.

So, is this lag time also an indicative of the social development and/or assimilation level of knowledge in the country, one wonders ;-)?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Reward for Impact Creation....

I remember one wise man in one of the company that I used to work said to me " Always pay your hardworking employee soonest possible for a job well done even before their sweat has dried". That way, they will remember you for a long time. He went on to advise me "Look out for talent, if they create impact for the company, we should reward them well". "I think we spent more money in advertising and customer care just to get a certain brand image".

This provocative thought came about as I was reading the news on Nicol David. Here is a lass, who was written of by some sports pundits years ago for being not good enough and have burnted out and lacks potential. Now, she has demonstrated that not only does she prove all of them wrong and she is on top of the world and she has the mettaled to be the youngest woman world squash champion.

The next question in my mind is, does the people of her country recognize and appreciate these efforts and position that she has brought Malaysia to? Or is she going to be laid by the wayside like the Karamjit and the two Mount Everest Climbers. I feel that she deserves all the assistance and support required for her future endaevour (not that she needs a datukship).

We talk a lot about knowledge economy and how people are our assets. Here is one lass that has brought impact and placed Malaysia in the limelight, and yet we have not gone ahead to make her a national hero. What does she have to do? Isn't she a national asset? How do we treat assets?

Scarred Tissue, [Poem]

It is difficult to know what is in my heart,
When its shreded,ripped and torn apart,
Threading carefully, it needs to be
To mend its scar ever so carefully.

Women handle it quite differently,
Rationalizing their mind repeatedly,
Testing questions they seem to send,
Cryptic answers, we don't understand.

With normal macho, is man's approach,
Never heed advice nor need to be coach,
Though deep inside, they seem to be,
Confused and perplex, suffering silently,

Following our heart we sometime do,
But not our mind which is more true,
Regretting some actions between the two,
Not giving enough time, to think it through

Do we understand our partners heart,
Suspicion and stress draws us apart,
With each attempt, we sometimes cry,
Overcoming failures, we have to try.

Learning to say that I am sorry,
Making your partner feel less worry,
Keeping ones silence, is very deafening,
Demonstrating ones care, can be promising.

How do we mend these heart of ours,
Is it just time, but how many hours,
So that maybe we don't fall from grace,
Maybe what is needed is also space.

Some wise man says, we need reminded,
Forgive and forget, lets make it a standard,
Take many deep breath before we do,
When anger erupts between the two.

What is important , we need to decide,
We have to take note, relationship or pride,
To choose each path there are its merit,
Each has consequence, when executing it.

But in the end, what matters most,
Will we be together, like two nice host,
Gaining experience as we grow old,
Reviewing our actions lest we get cold.

So what can be learnt from all this reasons,
With every each word there is a lesson,
To learn that taking and giving is part of life,
Accepting challenges, as man and wife.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Selling my Soul to Coffee Company

Life has a habit of turning back on us and biting us in the ass if we takes things for granted. Today marks one of the most traumatic day of my working life. I have participated in the most despicable of act and have sold my soul to (off all thing), a coffee establishment. This moment of weakness happened this afternoon and I am now still in disbelief of what I have done and I am now trying to figure out how to console myself .

To top it all, what was originally intended as a cheeky conversation between my colleague and me turned into a nitemare when the target of cheeky conversation, a chic girl of beautiful proportion came around and confronted the two of us (my colleague and me) as if knowing that we were complimenting her. God works in mysterious ways.

Scene: A packed famous coffee establishment, time - afternoon, me and my colleage - chatting to each other using Yahoo Messenger.
Chic Girl : Are U two guys together?
Me: (Thinking - "Is this girl for real? What does she mean by that question? Is it a trick question?)...Uhh...
My Colleague : Yeah, we are working together on a project, if that is what you mean (while smiling wryly)
Chic Girl : Would you two mind being on our establishment video, to celebrate our 7th year anniversary
My Colleague : Yeah, we don't mind, we are cool
Me : (YM him frantically - Are you insane?, What do you mean by volunteering us)
Chic Girl : OK, I'll give you 10 minutes to get ready, we'll get the cameraman here shortly. (She leaves)
Me : Hey...what the hell are we going to say? Are you nuts...i screamed?
My Collegue: Don't worry, I think you are experience enough, Let me contemplate whether I should participate or not. (he smiled in hesitation)
Me : Hey, this is your doing, you are not getting away scott free. (I panic, while trying to do a verbal arm twist)

Anyway, video shot were taken, interviews were done and and we were compensated with free beverage leaving us not only feeling cheap but traumatized (at least for me). Lesson of the day, NEVER EVER attempt to oogle a bypassing girl and gossiping in Yahoo Messenger again. It could come to haunt you back in the same lifetime if not the same day. This has been a horrendous Casualty Affecting my Life. I dread to see the outcome of the video......WAHHHH!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

12th Planet - Worth a read??

Zechariah Sitchin seems to hypothesis that there was advance life in the Universe and this advance life forms has visited us many thousand of years ago. He also postulated that these advance lifeform are the ones that has "intervened" the normal evolution and and using the base humanoid at that time created "man" in the image of themselves to be slaves. These advance life form was implied to have come from the realms of the 12th Planet.

Ironically the date of the book predates the recent discovery of what seems to be the 12th planet in our solar system. Sitchin based his hypothesis on Babylonian and Sumerian historical records which is somewhere in the region of 2500 to 4000 BC. Sitchin also tried to reinforce his argument with certain assertions that the recorded storyline of the Babylonian and Sumerian records are very much similar to that of the religous scriptures both in events and stories recorded.

Though I find the book to be a bit long winded in its approach and argument put forth, the latter chapters are interesting in its attempt to decipher and translate Babylonian and Sumerian language to the common historical events documented in the scriptures. The argument seems plausable and reasonably convincing to bring the reader to think that the explaination put forth could be the missing link. This argument if true may reconcile the differences between the darwinian theory of evolution and the holy scriptures of the world. It is this premise that I think Sitchin is trying interject and base his theory on.

A good read, albeit there is lots of details to comprehend and arguments to follow and linked.

Fresher Outlook

Traffic Jams in KL has become so unbearable nowadays that it now becomes a hindrance for you to enjoy travelling from one place to another. With PC Fair and Batik Convention, the Golden Triangle has become a hell of a challenge to just pass through. What use to take 30 minutes now take 90 minutes just to get through. Its almost a car park.

60 minutes of oblivion makes you do and think of many ridiculous subject from assessment of passer-by to self critic. On the positive side, I took the time to carry our a self assessment of myself for the month. Character wise, being an an experience (read above middle age) person and passive in nature, I can sometime be over bearing in nature and unknowingly may impose myself on other people. Many of my friends tend to be obliging when I do call on them. Only question is, am I too imposing when I give them a call?. What is the balance between calling them and them feeling compelled to follow your plan and you not calling them and them finding out you are in the neighbourhood and you have not informed them, they cud be ok with your company?.

Where is the borderline between being intrusive and being a non-concern friend.? After recent experience, I now find myself hessitant on making these call lest being labelled intrusive or worst still harassing. Quite an interesting predicament that I got myself into, maybe this will turn me from a collaborative type person to a loner type and be more focus on my task, who knows?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Should we all be NICER? [POEM]

Browsing to a fellow blogger website, and sharing his displeasure of many self claimed experts, i thot maybe i shud remind my friends and I as to the perils of being a Security Consultants (not that I am). Here is my feeble attempt at a poem:-

Ode to Security Specialist

There was once a security analyst,
Whose job was based on best practice,
Tried to hack into a computer host,
Failed in attempt hence he cannot boast

He then saw opputunity and went into teaching,
So that he can carry on live long preaching,
Talking and dreaming are his ability,
Not a great contributor to the society

Believing himself to be the greatest,
Arming himself with the latest,
Notebooks, knowledge and a U degree,
Adding to his title a CISSP.

Showing it off, work as a consultant,
Don't understand the detail, also reluctant.
Bullshiting his way through and through,
Getting admirers in everything he do.

Carrying out pen test he tries to do,
Its not something done in the loo,
Outsource to a team done remotely,
Giving client impression that it was easy.

Conducting a class on security Audit,
Attendees went back not comprehending it,
Content provided was a great big crap,
Souvenir was great, got a big cap.

Security is not acquired just by learning,
It has to be reinforced by also doing.
Understanding details is also good,
Managing controls, one truly should.

Inbuilt Security into design rigourously,
Managing all the processes, continously,
Looking for vulnerabilities is what we do,
Conduct system patch, let me remind U.

Security is not something that U can talk,
Just from your ass, go take a walk.
To all you good people make sure you do
Research and study to live it through,

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?