I learn

on Wednesday, 13 December 2006
Commitment and sacrifice. I learned the hard way; had to have it hammered into me. But I learn and in learning, I shall change. I will change. I must change.

Monsters Game

on Thursday, 5 October 2006
Interested? Try this: Bite me!

Be at ease. It will neither cause the spread of any viruses, worms, or trojans nor cause the installation of adware and spyware. Nothing malicious. It's just a link to a fun little website.

The Essence of Love

on Friday, 29 September 2006
I recently received forward email that contains something akin to chicken soup. As I do not recall signing up for it, after receiving it a couple of times, I almost replied to be removed. For some reason, I didn't, and proceeded to actually read it. What I read suddenly became the very answer that I had been looking for in all my previous posts regarding my own time.

While the topic of the forwarded email was "Spending Time with our young children is Love", the very last paragraph in it applies to everyone around us:

"Your most precious gift is your time. Only when you give up your (leisure, computer, game, social, TV, etc.) time, do you truly prove your love for your children (read: loved ones). Whenever you give your time, you are making a sacrifice, and sacrifice is the essence of love. Thus, you show your love in action and not in words only."

Sounds pretty obvious doesn't it? But I was blinded to that simple explanation for so long. I have given my loved ones a lot of pain, frustration, and disappointment. Words are not enough. I know what to do now Lord. Thank you God.

Hardcore Gamer

on Wednesday, 27 September 2006
According to this research, the general belief that the more hardcore gamers are young working adults who have more spending power is false. Apparently, true hardcore gamers are mainly those between age 6 and 17. Wow, I'm kinda... quite out of that range now...

Oh well, time passes, and we age. As highlighted here, as we move from a generally distraction- and commitment-free life of a teenager to that of a working, married, and/or in-a-relationship life, the amount of time that we can spend on gaming gets sliced off to the other more realistic and practical parts of life. I really miss those days school, college, and university days when I can just sit down in front of the computer and let everything else just fade away until I'm fully into the game.

Times like these are getting lesser and lesser, although I'm not saying I'm no longer doing that, just less often and shorter (relative to the good-old-days of course). But if you ask my wife-to-be, she'll definitely say I'm still playing too much. Oh well, I try not to play too much, but it kinda feels like I'm missing out on soooo many things these days; work life eats up a lot of personal time. Even after around 4 years of working (yes, only 4, i'm still young!), I'm still rueing the fact that my personal hours have been shortened considerably and still trying to get used to it. Ah, time, the creator of nostalgia.


on Tuesday, 26 September 2006
You know what I hate about advice from family? They don't give it when you ask; they give it after the time you could've used it. It's a really frustrating and confidence-denting time for me, juggling work problems, wedding preparations, house preparations, and, of course, leisure time (you think I'd leave it out? ;) ). What's so frustrating? Here's a summary of how I feel:
  • Me: How should I do this?
  • Family: You decide loh, whatever you like.
  • Me: Ok, I'll do it this way.
  • Family: No, no, you shouldn't do that, do this instead.
  • Me: ... but why not my way?
  • Family: Cos of this and that and those. Do it my way.
  • Me: ...
How is this frustrating? (Nay, it can even be disgusting sometimes depending on how many times it happens in a day). Sure, I'm probably being too harsh and unfair to my family who are most assuredly saying what they think is best for me. But can't they be more tacit or subtle about it? Or better yet, let me know before I do it instead of refuting and denying and naysaying me. The above sample is not exactly an exaggeration. It happens quite often. Each time something needs to be decided, and I defer my decision, I get pushed into making one. Each time I make one, I get all sorts of objections and opinions on why my decision sucks. I hate it. If you have an opinion, say it. If you have a decision in mind, make it. Why should make the final say? Because it's my stuff? Oh ok... yet my decision gets battered and bashed into an unrecognisable lump of worthless crap. Over-reacting? Yes, I am. But I feel that way. I don't have alot of self-confidence, I admit that; and I know it's a bad thing for a guy. That's why I don't like making decisions, but I do make them anyway, because I know I have to. Sure, let me know if I'm making the wrong decisions. But can't the problems be highlighted to me before I make my decision? It really steps on my confidence. I choose A. Suddenly, I get several reasons why it's a bad idea, and I should choose B. Right... and those reasons couldn't have been mentioned earlier because I haven't decided yet. I had to be made to feel stupid and useless because I should have thought of those myself. How come you didn't think of those? How come you didn't ask this? How come you didn't do that? Right. Here's my response: How come you didn't tell me earlier? Why didn't you make that decision? Why didn't you tell me directly what you're thinking instead of hinting it? Why must you wait until after the event to let me know and then force me to go rectify it? And then act like it's all my fault for letting it come to pass. Sigh. And they're all my loved ones and closest people. This is all so frustrating. I haven't been out working for very long. I've been pretty sheltered (yea, really, I know) my life and I'm still learning how to stand on my own two feet. Can't I get some slack and support and encouragement instead of demoralising negative responses? But then, what am I complaining about? It's been like the whole of my life. I'm used to it already. Didn't speak out about it; I know all were done with the best of intentions, if not the best of methods. Terribly sorry. I'm just ranting. But I just want to let it out. Sure, let the whole world know. A colleagues says blogs are too public. Yea, true, but it's a kind of therapy I think. It's been a good long while since I've ranted on something personal on this blog anyway. Great, now I'm sounding like an emo wimp.

Hmm... I wonder if my sister feels the way with some of the things I said to her... if I did, I'm sorry sis.

Guild Wars Nightfall World Preview Event

on Friday, 15 September 2006
This is turning into a Guild Wars news blog... oh well.

The World Preview Event is starting on the weekend of September 22nd to the 24th. For that period, anyone can log on and get a preview play for Guild Wars Nightfall, the 3rd chapter in the series. I wonder which of the two new profession (Dervish and Paragon) that I'll try out first... hmmm... I invite EVERYONE who has not played Guild Wars to give it a try. The client software is free to download.

For those who don't know, Guild Wars is rather unique in the world of MMORPG in that it does not have any monthly subscription fees. Its business model is such that the developers (ArenaNet) aim to make new content releases every half-year. These releases have come to be commonly known as chapters. Some still refer to them as expansions, but they're aren't really expansion, since the normal meaning of expansion usually implies that the original is needed. Each Guild Wars chapter is completely standalone. You do not need all of them to play. You buy whichever chapter, and you get all the content in the core set plus the content of the chapter you bought. How wonderful is that? Plus, you're not excluded from playing with other people who have bought all. As long as you have access to a particular content or area, you can play with anyone else with access to that as well.

It's a trick? You still paying the same? Nope. Chapter 2 was released late. Chapter 3 appears to be scheduled on time. Assuming they keep to 6-month cycles, every half-year, you pay around... say RM200. It's actually around RM160 - RM180 for the standard editions, but for the sake of easier calculation, let's round up. For those with monthly subscriptions, including popular MMORPGs like World of Warcraft requires you to both buy the box and pay subscription. Let's just standardise that these also cost RM200 per box. And you pay RM50 per month (for some, this is actually cheap). Cost progression...


See the huge difference after 1 year of gaming? And this is only assuming that the subscription-based MMORPG does not release any new expansion packs. Most of these expansion packs will cost more money. And these are usually required purchases or you won't get to play with those who upgraded.

Why do I love Guild Wars? Maybe I'll use that as a subject for my next post. ^-^

PS: The prerelease event for Nightfall is in Cititel Mid Valley (Malaysia) just 2 days from now at 1pm.

Updated Pricing for Nightfall

on Thursday, 14 September 2006
Looks like there's an update for the pricing. Guild Wars Nightfall standard edition (SE) will cost RM149. The pre-release bonus pack will cost RM40. Getting both will be RM174 (RM15 rebate on the bonus pack). The price for the Collector's Edition (CE) is still under revision, but given the changes due to tax, I'd say getting the CE plus the bonus pack is gonna cost more than RM250... hmm... still undecided which to get. I didn't buy the CE for the first two chapters, so maybe I shouldn't start now.

And remember guys, it's 1pm on the 17th of September, at the Pinnacle Lounge in Cititel Hotel, Mid Valley. My guild, the Goda Vos [GV] and the other large Malaysian guild, the Celestial Order [CO] will likely turn out in force to show support.


Guild Wars Nightfall Pricing

on Monday, 11 September 2006
New updates on the prerelease event thread on lowyat's forum. The gist of it (some not 100% confirmed):
  • Nightfall Bonus Pack = RM30
  • Nightfall Standard Edition = RM139
  • Nightfall Collector's Edition = RM220
  • Nightfall Standard Edition + Bonus Pack = RM 155
  • Nightfall Collector's Edition + Bonus Pack = RM??? (around RM235 maybe?)

As mentioned previously, the event starts with a registration session from 11am onwards. The actual event starts at noon. The first 50 registered will get a goodie bag each.

Nightfall Prerelease Bonus Pack

on Sunday, 10 September 2006
The prerelease for Guild Wars Nightfall will be on September 15th. There's gonna be an event at Cititel Mid Valley (Malaysia) on the 17th of September, starting at 11am. The original news posting is here at the lowyat forum (it's gets updated periodically). There's gonna events, prizes, door gifts, and bonus packs and game boxes available for sale.

According the official website for Guild Wars. The prerelease pack will provide a trial key, exclusive items for the new professions, and, most importantly, one additional character slot (which by itself already costs USD 9.99 in the in-game store). Other stuffs include concept art, screenshots, strategy guide, quick reference card, wallpapers, and music tracks.

I think alot of GV members will show up.

Guild Wars Nightfall

on Friday, 25 August 2006
Long time no post. ^-^

Guild Wars Nightfall, the third chapter of Guild Wars now has an official release date: October 27. WHAT?! That's like 2 months away! It's too damn early! Slow down. I still need more time to explore more of Guild Wars Factions (chapter 2)... sigh. So many games, so little time... I've practically abandoned all the other offline games now. Should I get the pre-release bonus pack? Tempted to. It'll probably cost RM25 or so. Should I get Collector's Edition (which I didn't get for the first 2 chapters)? It'll likely cost over RM200. Or just skip this chapter and wait for chapter 4 (since there's still alot more to do in the first two for me)? Hmm... decisions decisions... heh.

See also here and here for alot of images. Some of the screenshots looks really really beautiful, possibly better than Prophecies and Factions, in a refreshing sort of way. Love them! I am soooo tempted to buy it.

Guild Wars Music Video

on Wednesday, 14 June 2006
For all Guild Wars fans out there, this is one music video you don't want to miss! By the Fire Of Spirit guild and The Kryta Bomber.

X-Men: The Last Stand

on Monday, 29 May 2006
I watched X-Men: The Last Stand yesterday at the new Cathay Cineplex in the new Cineleisure building at The Curve in Mutiara Damansara. This post is a two-part review. The first part reviews the cinema, the second part reviews the movie.

First, I love the new cinema, except for the cold. Buying tickets and getting in was a breeze, although the empty new Cineleisure building made it tedious to ride all the way to the top to get to the cinema. I'm sure that'll change when tenants start to move in. One reason it was easy to get tickets was probably because alot of people don't know about it yet, so we don't have a whole lot of idiotic kiasu people who book 6 tickets in every single timeslot, and possibly every single cinema for one whole day, just because they couldn't decide when and where they want to watch it. These inconsiderates just don't care how much this inconveniences those people who know when and where and what they want to watch. But I digress.

I really like the fact that Cathay chose to show all their old advertisements from the 80s and 90s. It brings nostalgia to me, remembering the good old days when my father would drive the whole family down to the nearest Cathay cinema for a weekend movie. And now Cathay is back! And with quality too. The sounds great, the screens great, the software and hardware used are pretty impressive. The only gripe I have is that it's bloody cold! I watched it in the middle of a hot afternoon. The hall was half-full. Couldn't they turn up the temperature to adjust for the lack of body heat? Everyone was freezing. Reminder to self: Bring a jacket next time; or two, or a thick one.

As for the movie, I'm giving it a 2 out of 5, despite CinemaOnline's user rating of 4 stars. Overall, the effects and dramatics were all there, boosting the rating brought down by continuity problems, bad character development, and some illogical scenes. And that's despite me putting aside the blatant and offensive inconsistencies with the comic characters. The pros:
  • They finally show off how powerful Storm can be, rather than the wimp she was in the first two episodes.
  • The Beast was really quite nicely done.
  • The whole plot idea was rather intriguing, and some scenes have a cool (though somewhat predictable) twists.
  • A lot of good scenes with highly charged emotions, some reflecting real-life situations.
  • Some of the special effects are very spectacular, if one does not consider the context in which it was placed.
  • Rogue's subplot was realistically played out, but it could've been played down in favour of other characters, considering her minimal role.
  • The Danger Room was a nice touch, although it could have been much better.
The cons:
  • Jean Grey's "evolution" was really badly done.
  • Wolverine was a pale shadow of what he was in the first two episodes. I can't help but feel that some of his scenes weren't meant for him.
  • A lot of cliched one-liners.
  • Really really bad character development, even for characters already introduced previously. And for some obscure reason, the major characters were just killed off or sidelined only to put focus on underdeveloped and unused characters.
  • Introducing so many new characters was a really bad idea when you don't have the time to properly portray them. It'll only offend the fans.
  • What happened to Nightcrawler from the 2nd episode?
  • Unimaginative and some rather stupid use of mutant powers.
  • The music score was rather forgettable, and sometimes, inappropriate.
  • Change of director was a really really bad idea.
  • This was supposed to close the trilogy... not kill it.
  • With so many characters and being a finale, I'm surprised the movie clocked in at only a 100 minutes or so...
Conclusion: A good storyline coupled with spectacular effects cannot justify killing off major well-developed characters, sidelining previously well-developed characters, focusing on underdeveloped characters, and introducing unused characters.
The rant (Extreme Spoilers!!! Highlight to read):
  • Storm does not have short hair. It just doesn't feel like Storm anymore.
  • How can they kill off Cyclops! It's crazy! Professor X was acceptable for the drama, but Cyclops?! Just 10 minutes into the show?! And in such a lame manner. I really hope it isn't because of having to film Superman Returns. If it is, Superman Returns better be well above my expectations, or I'm going to rant on him.
  • Jean Grey as Phoenix was incredibly horribly portrayed. Famke's a really good actress, but Phoenix feels more like a pouting supergirl who flings destruction when she has a tantrum.
  • Someone apparently didn't know that the word 'Phoenix' very much implies fire. Jean Grey as the Phoenix? Not even a spark. She feels more possessed or an undead than a reborn goddess.
  • Wolverine is so... tame. Totally unlike his feral namesake and the Wolverine in the earlier episodes. Sure there are action scenes, but he just feels more... mushy. Too many emotional scenes involving him that was so obviously meant for Cyclops.
  • Angel was totally inconsequential as a character and pointlessly included. Why provide an interesting background to a character and then have him as a pointless afterthought in the show?
  • Magneto is too ruthless. It's so unbelievable he would abandon Mystique the moment she lost her powers. Plus, it's bad judgment to leave her alive if you don't want her anymore.
  • Magneto is too fake. What's the point of assembling an army of mutants only to use them as guinea pigs? All the while trying to get the audience to buy into the us vs. them beliefs.
  • Magneto is too dumb. Why in the world did he team up with Pyro to launch flaming cars when he has the power to tear down the whole building by himself? He can move a whole bridge but can't do more than fling cars? Give me a break! Special effects potential does not justify stupid strategy.
  • Magneto is not that charismatic. It just doesn't make sense for him to free two captured and convicted mutants (Juggernaut and Multiple Man) and have them join him as-a-matter-of-fact and no questions asked...
  • Juggernaut looks like a walking trash can. His "armor" is hopelessly ridiculous. Whoever designed it needs to be blinded.
  • The way Mystique is killed is really lame. Killing off a memorable character in such a manner and then just dumping her as inconsequential really kills the trilogy.
  • There's not a single line of script in that movie that mentions the names of Shadowcat, Colossus, Psylocke, Angel, Beast, or Multiple Man. And I'm not sure if I got all of them. It must be really offensive to comic fans when the comic characters they're so familiar with aren't even named.
  • I probably have some more rants but I'll stop. :P

Guild Wars Fan Movie

on Thursday, 25 May 2006
This should only interest Guild Wars fans but potential recruits can take a look too. Here's the link to the forum post for The Adventures of Miya and Malatide 2. It's a really creative work of passionate players. Here's the direct link to download it (~140MB); and the links for episode 1 (~66MB) and the X-mas special (~10MB).

FitNesse Testing

I took my first look at a new testing framework called FitNesse. It certainly looks interesting. It's like a combination of natural language requirements specification, wiki documentation, a testing tool, a web server, and a collaboration tool. Tests are actually conducted on the wiki pages themselves, with test results being produced as page updates.

This is not meant as a replacement for unit testing strategies (xUnit). In fact, they're meant to work together; unit testing for checking that the code has been built correctly, and fitnesse testing to ensure that the correct code has been built.

It's also a collaboration tool because the tests are not only created by the developers, but the testers, managers, support staff, and users as well; to ensure that the requirement is interpreted exactly as it was meant to be. This means those who write requirements can actually produce something the developers can use as measurable targets, as opposed to natural language specifications. Tests can be produced much earlier as well.

Should be interesting to see how it all goes when I dig in deep later on.

EDIT: Testing is about specification, not verification.

RK Launcher

on Tuesday, 16 May 2006
I found a really neat tool the other day when checking out the desktop modding guide over at Lowyat.net's forum. It's called RK Launcher.

What does it do? Well it shows a very nice looking docking bar at the side of your screen that can be used to hold shortcuts. The good thing about it is that it's fully customisable. It's still in beta and it's already impressive. You can change it's location, the opacity, the size of the bar, the animation smoothness, and the icons. Just drag-and-drop the shortcuts. I'm in the midst of cleaning up my desktop and relocating everything on the bar (and hiding the standing Windows taskbar while I'm at it).

It gets better. You don't need to install it at all. Just drop it anywhere and maybe add a shortcut to the start menu so it starts up automatically. And even better, you can have multiple copies of the program and have two different docks containing different shortcuts!

While searching for more icon sets (very few by default), I found this post, which already manages to explain things I wanted to talk about, and with screenshots to boot, plus providing some links to icons.

Also, RK Launcher can be used to contain docklets as well, as mentioned in the above link. Do a google on Y'z Toolbar and ObjectDock. The docklets (mini-programs) for these applications can be attached to RK Launcher without much problems.

Turning a Page

on Wednesday, 10 May 2006
I am, right now, officially an ex-staff of my company, joining a whole bunch of those who left before me. It's a been an interesting journey, full of ups and downs, hates and loves, and bittersweet memories. People who could've made a difference has gone before me, and people who are probably better off in a competitor's employ are still in the company, and still there are people left to carry on the slow (very!) march onwards. On the one hand, I feel sad that I'm leaving this part of my life behind, but excited at the start of something new. It's a weird mix of feelings when I start handing over the work that I've been doing for the better part of my 2-year-plus time in the company. It's like giving away my blood and sweat and all those long nights. In a way, it's a relief as well, to no longer have to look at it... :P Oh well, the next chapter is here, and I'm definitely looking forward to see what it contains.

Jokes from beyond the Bridge

on Tuesday, 18 April 2006
This article from a Singapore news website is really really quite funny. Too bad the joke's on us. Can we blame them for making fun of us? I don't think so, since I believe that if the roles were reversed, we'd be doing the same thing, and probably in a cruder manner.

I'm playing Guild Wars!

on Friday, 14 April 2006
Yup, I'm playing Guild Wars. And it's been a heck of a fun time so far. Love it. I started playing at end of March, right after their preview event on the up coming Chapter 2, Guild Wars: Factions. Been meaning to post about it and add in some screenshots. But I've been stumped on how best to go about it. I've reduced the shots to slightly more than 1 MB each. Maybe I should just upload them all into Flickr. Hmm... I am loathed to reducing the size even further (the details! the details!) so... maybe I should.

Guild Wars does not charge any subscription fees, unlike most other MMORPGs, which is simply wonderful. You don't get that feeling of wasting money when you're not playing, compared to other subscription-based online games where you pay a fixed amount each month. So how do they make money? By alternating the release of new content and a new "expansion" every 6 months. Guild Wars: Factions is the so-called "expansion", although it really is a standalone game. You can play with both, or just one of them, and having access to the appropriate content. This makes it possible for players that own different chapters to still be able to play together. There are already naysayers on how long Arena.net can keep up their cycle of releases. I think it's possible and still too early to say it won't work. Work has already begun on the next two releases even before the upcoming Factions.

Anyone considered playing but didn't? You won't regret it, trust me (except maybe the usual sleep deprivation problem and the social costs, hehe). There's quite a few Malaysian players in there. Check my GW bookmarks for useful links.

My Homepage is Gone...

on Tuesday, 28 March 2006
Apparently, Yahoo! is very efficient in detecting violations of terms and contracts. Darn it. My homepage is no longer there. Oh well, there goes my favicon and tag clouds. I wonder where else could I host small files without hassle.

How to use the tags

I've been meaning to do this ever since I started tagging. Tag? What's that? Sites like Del.icio.us and Technorati offer bookmark and blog taggings for categorisation and organisation.

See that selection box on the left with the header "Topics"? Those topics are my del.icio.us tags. Selecting any one of the topics and clicking 'Go' will change the area below, headed by "Topic Posts" to display links to the most recent posts that are tagged with the selected topic. Neat eh? It's a multi-select box too, so you can select several topics and 'Go' for pages tagged with all the selected topics. Did I do do that? Of course not. The script is from FreshTags.

Isn't tedious to tag all your previous posts? Yes, it was. But I can't help it... :P A couple a day and now I'm finally done tagging. My blog posts anyway... now for all my bookmarks... Ugh.

ajaxWrite - Word on the Web

on Friday, 24 March 2006
Looking for Microsoft Office alternatives? OpenOffice too much of a hassle to download and install and update? Or just plain not as good as MS Office? I think you'd want to keep an eye on the new ajaxWrite. A new word processor that requires no money, no installation, and probably no requirements except having a JavaScript-enabled browser. It uses AJAX, a new development technique for interactive web programming. Give it a try, it definitely looks promising, especially since the word processor is just for starters.

God's Debris

I just read a rather thought-provoking book by Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert. There's a banner on that comic page that links to a page offering the free download of God's Debris. It's apparently a really big success story.

Why is it a good read? Precisely because it's rather controversial and thought-provoking. It's like a cross between fiction and philosophy, where ideas are presented via a simple story. I find it a very interesting read and opens up my mind to several perspectives I haven't thought of. Although some of it might sound far-fetched, but for some reason, they just seem to click and sound reasonable. Go figure.

A word of warning though, DO NOT read if you're narrow-minded and easily offended by views and ideas that do not subscribe to the norm. The story is presented as a dialogue and the discussions touch upon religion, evolution, human nature, relationships, and reality. The best way to enjoy the read is to be open and neither accept nor reject the views, but to simply ponder... and argue (if anyone wants to argue the points, I'd be happy to oblige, I like to argue ^-^).

There's apparently a sequel, called the Religion War, that was hinted at near the end of God's Debris. My curiosity is definitely piqued. Unfortunately, the price at Amazon means it'll probably cost at least RM60 around here, if the government even approves of it... Oh well.

A New Homepage is Born!

on Wednesday, 22 March 2006
Phew... I've dug around and decided to just set up a GeoCities account with a basic web template that I'll play around with when I have the time. Visit it here. It's not necessary to visit though. There's not much there at all. Why'd I do it? Well, so I have somewhere to host my "favicon.ico" file and a place to put my del.icio.us tag cloud. Hehe. Look at your URL bar. See that nice little icon next to my blog address? It's the third generation of it already. I just scrapped the earlier ones and just kept it simple, seeing that I only have 16 by 16 pixels to work with anyway.

Oh, and in case anyone's interested, in addition to the favicon converters/generators links I posted earlier, this logo generator is pretty helpful in producing simple word-based images with customisable size, font, and textures. Unfortunately, that page is loaded with ads and can be slow to load. Luckily, I use Mozilla Firefox with a nifty and very useful plugin called Adblock. It allows you to filter away ads from pages so the browser won't even load them at all.

Favicon Problems

Right after the del.icio.us tag cloud problem, I found out what a favicon is from here, and here. What's a favicon? It stands for "favourites icon". See that little icon that appears next to the URL in your browser window? It's that one. It's also the icon that appears when you bookmark a page. Apparently, Microsoft created it as a means to tracking who's bookmarking whom, but modern browsers display all the time, making it moot.

The icon has to be a 16 by 16 pixels icon by the name of "favicon.ico", for full compatibility (although Firefox and some other browsers still display it if you provide .png or .gif, but not IE). I actually had fun creating it... and have been trying to find a web host to put it in, since Blogger apparently doesn't allow uploading of .ico files. Darn it. I tried a couple of supposedly free web hosts, but they're usually meant more for online storage than web hosting, or they have some usage limitations. Oh well. I thought of Geocities as well, but they do have this clause saying you can't use it for hosting images. I kinda lazy to go set up a facade page just to let me link to a .ico file... oh well. I'll get around to it (*dlim puts appends a new task to his long to-do list*)

Oh, and in case anybody's interested, here are some favicon generators: this and that.

Del.icio.us Tag Cloud

on Tuesday, 21 March 2006
I'm half-way through adding tags to all my old posts. I'm just tagging along as I have the free time for. I've just added FreshTags to my template as well. It's a fun way to integrate my del.icio.us tags with my blog by providing filters and topic organisation. Granted that my blog isn't really so widely read at all and is rather pointless, I still like the organisation. I used to just prefix my post titles with a one-word description of the post. Del.icio.us gave me a really fun way of organising my stuffs (I'm a sucker for organisation), and FreshTags help with the filtering. Cool!

Oh, I digress. My main reason for this post is just to show my del.icio.us tags as a tag cloud. But, apparently, blogger blocks the script tag from being used inside a post. Which means I can't actually show my tag cloud inside a post... darn it. I suppose it helps prevent malicious scripts from being embedded inside a post. Oh well. I'll think of something.

Another DDO Review

on Tuesday, 7 March 2006
Sigh. Look at this preview. Doesn't sound so optimistic for DDO. Even worse when the user comments mostly rant about the game. Sure, there are positive reviews, but I think the general conclusion is that it's not really a breakthrough. Just another MMORPG that adopts Guild Wars idea of instanced dungeons. Problem is, it's also charging a monthly subscription and has much less content and poorer graphics. Darn. Maybe I'll just wait for the Guild Wars expansion, Factions, and try it out with the prerelease invitation key a friend was kind enough to send my way.

EDIT 20060308-1757: It's funnny why review articles like this and this gives a very good rating, yet player comments are almost contradictory. Is it because the players who really like the game are too busy playing and have no time to rebute these nay-sayers? From all accounts, it's a very group-oriented game, almost exactly like PnP D&D. I wonder if all those nay-sayers are simply too used to the typical and numerous level-grinding MMOs available. But then again, the relatively small amount of content, plus the fact that some players are able to max out their level in a week or so does make the game quite repetitive. It might still be worth a try, perhaps much more so when more content have been released.

What D&D Character Are You?

This really fun (if you're a D&D fan) quiz has been updated with more questions, options, and results! Personally, I think it's much more accurate, because the result is exactly my favourite character. The output:

I Am A: Neutral Good Half-Elf Ranger Druid

Neutral Good characters believe in the power of good above all else. They will work to make the world a better place, and will do whatever is necessary to bring that about, whether it goes for or against whatever is considered 'normal'.

Half-Elves are a cross between a human and an elf. They are smaller, like their elven ancestors, but have a much shorter lifespan. They are sometimes looked down upon as half-breeds, but this is rare. They have both the curious drive of humans and the patience of elves.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Druids are a special variety of Cleric who serves the Earth, and can call upon the power in the earth to accomplish their goals. They tend to be somewhat fanatical about defending natural settings.

Mielikki is the Neutral Good goddess of the forest and autumn. She is also known as the Lady of the Forest, and is the Patron of Rangers. Her followers are devoted to nature, and believe in the positive and outreaching elements of it. They use light armor, and a variety of weapons suitable for hunting, which they are quite skilled at. Mielikki's symbol is a unicorn head.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy of NeppyMan (e-mail)

Well... maybe I cheated a little. I got an elf initially, then I just looked at the code and tweaked it slightly so I'll get half-elf. Hehe, all I needed to do was change 2 answers to be more human and less elf. But I couldn't get rid of the druid secondary class though, druid is quite tight with rangers. The alignment, deity, and primary class was perfect though. And from the detailed scoring, I'm least likely to be a chaotic evil gnome mage bard. It used to be halfing. Time to go update my sigs in the Wizards forum. ;)


on Friday, 3 March 2006
My friend was right. This Del.icio.us is really quite a useful repository of bookmarks. No wonder it's gained such popularity, and no wonder Yahoo! bought it. I can't help tagging all my links! A dozen or two down, several more dozens to go....

Oh and by the way, this post was made via email. I suppose emailing in my blog post makes it more convenient to post. Unfortunately, the post ended up only as a draft, so you'd still have to manually publish it. Auto-publishing via email would've been too risky I suppose.

The First DDO Review

on Thursday, 2 March 2006
The first review of Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach (DDO) is out! And the review is excellent! I'm really really definitely getting it.

It's still not in Malaysia yet of course, at RM 189 (at the Software Boutique), it's much cheaper than World of Warcraft and Guild Wars when they came out. Still, as my friend pointed out, there's still the matter of a monthly bill. Oh well, I'm still trying to convince myself not to get it and buy the next expansion of Guild Wars (coming out next month or so) for the simple fact that there's no subscription fee involved. But... but... I'm a D&D fan, how can not play DDO? To buy... or not to buy. That, is the question. Heh.

New Look

on Wednesday, 1 March 2006
Woohoo! First release of new look. Been tweaking this for quite a while, yet there are still quite a few tweaks I'll want to try out later. Aside from more hacking and tweaking of the template, still waiting for the time to check out del.icio.us, more Technorati stuffs, Google's AdSense, and Flickr.

EDIT: A bit more tweaks are in... ^-^

5 Years for Manslaughter

on Friday, 17 February 2006
What?! Five years for manslaughter? Only? This is turning out to be another of those silly "Malaysia Boleh" thing again. What sort of justice and fairness is a simple 5 years sentence to the 5 Thais who beat one of our own countrymen to death? How can the court expect the victim's family to feel consoled by such a sentence?

Since when has the sentence for manslaughter be similar to the sentences of snatch thefts? While I do understand the point where the victim was most likely provoking the Thais and likely "digging his own grave" as they say, given the reactions of the Thais on hearing the sentence, it is obviously too light. A sentence doesn't give joy to the perpetrators, they should be dreaded of it and makes other people feel fearful, as a deterrent and lesson never to do it again. 5 years only is almost a mockery of the worth of a person's life.

Money No Enuf

on Tuesday, 14 February 2006
You know, I realised that given all the things I want to buy and own, discounting the really expensive ones, I can easily blow RM 10K in a book shop or a hobby shop. Sigh. Me and my possessive nature. "Possessive" is a trait my girlfriend identified. I didn't really think of it as "possessive" before; before she mentioned it, it was just a "want". Must... resist... temptations...

Juggling with the Time of your Life

on Saturday, 11 February 2006
I'm a loner at heart; which is the reason why news and gossip always reach my ears last (or not at all!). Is it a bad thing to be socially disinclined? In pure honesty, I'd rather play games or read a good book than go out on weekly or even nightly social activities. Disco? No thanks. Bar? Nah. Dinner? See-lah. Mamak? Maybe. I don't feel good turning down good friends. Sorry all.

Maybe I just need to trim away some of my interests. Perhaps give up on some things that I keep myself up-to-date with and focus more on other parts of my life. Which parts? Family and friends for starters. As life goes on, more and more people appear who'd need a share of your time and devotion. I know I've been neglecting alot of loved ones, especially the closer ones. Worse when I give unfair shares. Sometimes, I just feel reluctant to give out a share when my own share is already small. Or maybe I'm just blind to how much I'm hoarding to myself.

Life, I believe, is about personal enrichment and experience. But how do you specifically define that? By doing things that make you happy? By doing things that make others happy? Or somewhere in between? How much of your own life should be dedicated to others? How much is too much?

Religion aside, we only have a lifetime each. Is it really selfish and foolish to want to spend it to the betterment of the self? Is it really noble and praiseworthy to spend it to the betterment of others?

I think the corrects answers would both be yes. Without those who sacrifice, there won't be a better tomorrow. Life is not a lonely road. Life is all the more richer by the lives of others we enrich. Life is more about the giving than the receiving.

I'm still trying to convince myself. God help me.

English Problem

on Tuesday, 7 February 2006
When the government decided to steamroll the decision to have all Maths and Science subjects to be taught in English back in 2003, I had anticipated alot of problems, problems like this. There was simply not enough planning and consideration for the sudden switch from the national language to English. But the government probably thought this might force people to improve their English skills.

As it is, it's doubtful that it's been an effective move towards raising our national standards of English, Math and Science proficiency. It's rather shocking that our public universities, UPM, UKM, and UM are actually having problems teaching in English. The rub is that it's not the students who are facing problems, it's the lecturers themselves. Maybe these lecturers should attend English classes together with the students.

Not Enough Time

on Tuesday, 24 January 2006
Is it just me or do most people realise that time is an extremely limited resource? I have this ex-colleague who finds the time to read books, read mangas (Japanese comics), watch anime (usually Japanese animations), read ebooks, watch movies, watch TV series, watch reality shows, play games (PC and PS2), as well as find the time to work. Everything's appears to be done in a volume or quantity that's more than me. Is it really true that everyone gets the same amount of time? I'm starting to doubt that. Or maybe it's just because I have other time-consuming activities... like driving to and from house every week day, or going shopping (not fully my idea... :P ) Sigh.

Let's see... I'm currently reading 2 novels, with 34 more sitting on the shelf, following 4 mangas, catching up on 2 animes, with at least 5 more lining up to be watched, about half-a-dozen movies I wanted to watch but haven't found the time, currently playing 3 PC games, waiting for the time to play another 4 PC games (2 of them MMORPG), playing 1 PS (yes PS, I don't have PS2) game, have 3 other PS games lined up, 2 gaming news websites to cover, articles and forums for D&D and MtG to catch up on, technology news to watch, and development forums to check out.

And those are just my leisure stuffs. There are alot of chores I need to be doing. Dental checkup, checking up on my housing loan, wedding plans, cleaning up my storage space, preventing my cacti my really dying off, fixing a bad scatch on my car, keep my car washed and clean, spring cleaning, as well as keeping up a semblance of activity on this blog. That's all I can currently recall.

Sigh. How can time ever be enough. Or maybe I'm just trying to do too many things at once. Life is at such a fast pace. I should probably really sit down and figure out exactly what I want from it before it's over.

The Daily WTF

on Friday, 13 January 2006
Here's a fun little blog I found out about while reading the comments on a post on a friend's blog posted by another friend. It's called The Daily WTF - Curious Perversions in Information Technology. A really funny read regarding the weirdos and "smart" people that happen to be in the same line of work I'm in. Technical, but classic, stuff.

The Da Vinci Code

on Tuesday, 3 January 2006
I'm currently reading The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I must say it's been an interesting read (finished about three-quarters). While the story is intriguing and the author is a fine writer, I believe the one main reason it's taken the world by storm (since 2003 I think) is because of the controversial views it presented of Christianity. I am quite ashamed to admit that I was actually quite taken in by the disclaimer page titled "Fact", which went on to state that "all descriptions of ...documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."

After googling a bit and surfing around, I am relieved to find my doubts to be foolish notions so easily planted by a masterful storyteller. Sigh. Still alot of space my faith needs to grow into. Anyway, here are some of the debunking views and statements made by those of the faith and historians: here, here, here, here, here, and here. It was kind of a relief to find out that others had doubts too... phew...

What I was wondering about is the author's view on his story. Does he believe about the so-called facts and hard evidence (despite being rather shaky) or is this just a marketing move designed to make his books bestsellers? It certainly did propel his books to fame. Or is this even some kind of conspiracy? We'll never know I guess, but I do know this:

That disclaimer page which claims the facts being presented are true is very very bad... it will seriously mislead any who are not familiar with Christianity and drive away those who are already apathetic, ignorant, or hostile to Christianity.

To all who have read The Da Vinci Code, are reading it, or plan to read it, please bear in mind that it's fiction. Come to think of it, I must be pretty gullible or shaky in my faith to get all worked up like this.... Oh well, time for a prayer.