Category Archives: My Life..

Expanding the toe box of a shoe.

This is a pretty overdue post, I bought a shoe sometime back and somehow it felt tight around my toes when I wore it. It felt alright when I tried it out at the shop. Oh well. I decided to stuff old newspapers into the toe box of the shoe and see if this ‘hearsay’ works.

To my surprise, it worked. I left the shoes with the stuffed newspapers inside it for an entire day and the results were excellent. All’s well 🙂

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” It’s true we do not know what we have got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we do not know what we have been missing until it arrives. “

The first part of the quote is easy enough to understand, but I have been trying to figure out a proper meaning of the 2nd part of the quote for some time..

I got a brainwave today and kind of struck gold  =P

”  it’s also true that we do not know what we have been missing until it arrives. ” …

In a concept of a relationship, it seems to mean that there’s someone out there who is better than the  person you have left, a message for you to move on and perhaps down the road, you may find someone deserving of your affection.

In a general point of view, it could signify hope. We should continue striving on after a setback, and unexpectedly, things may get better.

As what an answer on Yahoo Answers mentioned , ” think of if you traveled on foot your whole life and suddenly are given a ride in a car…look what you’d been missing! ” .

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My Definition of True Love

My Definition of True Love.

Excellent article on the evergreen topic of Love .

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Random thought of the day #123..

We as Asians can usually easily differentiate between China nationals, Koreans and Japanese from one another. On the other hand, Caucasians tend to visually group all Asians together lol.

I am just thinking, perhaps if we went to Europe, we may face a similar issue where we are unable to differentiate between Portuguese, Greek, British, French people apart HAHA 😛 . Now it would be the Caucasians’ turn to be puzzled as to why are unable to tell each nationality apart..

 

 

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Finally a breath of fresh air ? =P

Alas, I have finally decided to change my blog’s theme after 2 holy years =D

It looks very much minimalist as compared to the grunge feel of the previous theme I have used.

Only thing that is somewhat annoying is the lack of advanced customization such as individual font colours.. It is a payable feature in WordPress.

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Doomsday tomorrow.. Oh yeah ?

Hmm.. I wonder if the end of our lives as we know it will be due to a traditional meteor strike , or some exotic earthquake cum tsunami combo ? Lulz.

Or better still, some alien race bombarding Earth to declare”Judgement” on us ?

We shall see what happen in a few hours time. Though the realist in me believes that nothing will happen..

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Interesting fake USB drives..

One of my mum’s acquaintances bought a 30GB thumbdrive for my mum as a souvenir when they were in Hong Kong. Initially, I was a little curious  at the capacity of the flash drive. 30GB ? Never heard of lol.

Suspicions aside, my sister went to copy over some files over to the thumbdrive. However, after she removed the thumbdrive and reinserted it again, all files in the thumbdrive refused to be opened.

We all thought it was some codec error during the copying process. ( some avi videos were copied over ) . We tried copying again, but the same results occurred.

Seriously, things got really mysterious. I decided to check the hashes of the files that were copied over. True enough, the hashes of the files before they were copied and the files on the thumbdrives doesn’t match at all.

Oh well, another fake USB thumbdrive I guess..

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Seriously, bad luck + yet more bad luck = ordeal of the year.

I have recently purchased a new laptop for myself after a long time just yesterday. It is supposed to be joyous event, but it escalated quickly. Too quickly.

Sequence of unfortunate events:

1. Entered IE to download some basic stuff like CCleaner etc.. Spent abt 15 min online.

2. Plugged in a few thumbdrives to transfer stuff to the new laptop. Realised something weird, the folders were all turned into shortcuts and have the ‘hidden’ attribute. Dafuq ?

3. Suspected virus, plugged back into my previous laptop. KAVBOOM ! Dorkbot.Backdoor detected -.- . Sincere thanks to AVG.

4. AVG wiped off the virus off my thumbdrives, but the content were still not seen. Did some research and got them back.

5. Concluded that my new laptop got infected with a damn virus within that 15 mins I spent online without a Anti-virus installed. HOLY ?!

6. Tried to fully remove the damn virus from the new laptop, didn’t accomplish it. There are still traces here and there.. Decided to reformat since it is a new laptop anyway.

7. Had a sudden thought to do Recovery Media for the Sony.. But my brain thought that since there’s a virus, doing a recovery media is pointless. But it actually isn’t !!. My screwed-up logic forgotten that RM only saves factory stuff, and I doubt the virus originated from the factory eh ? So it should technically be safe to do so.

8. Attempted to do reformat using Sony Vaio Rescue, 2 attempts both failed. -.- . WTH is up with you, Sony ?

9. Decided to clean install windows 7 then. Since I can’t reformat.

10. Totally freaking forgotten that there are Sony bundled software like Vegas Pro inside. It will gone if you reformat and never do a deep CSI of the registry for the product keys .. ( Freaking Sony’s fault, why make it difficult to reobtain the bundled software for users who reformatted their drives? )

10. Happily proceeded straight on to do a clean install, thus erasing all my hopes of seeing the bundled software ever again. T_T. My Vegas – a few hundred bucks gone.

11. Apparently boot iso don’t work well with DVD+RW.. And I only have them at home. No DVD-R whatever. Wasted shitload of time trying to get them to work.

12. Next, attempt to install iso on usb. Used the tool Microsoft kindly provided, but it formats the usb to NTFS, which a UEFI boot doesn’t support. Geez.

13. Spent a crapload of time testing out software to install iso on usb with a FAT32 filesystem.

14. Unfortunately, the horror isn’t quite over. Using a supported Fat32 filesystem, the UEFI boot on the Sony laptop still requires a specific boot file arrangement. Googling and googling.. yawns.

15. After some eons, I got it to work. Attempt to install windows failed twice .. At this point, I am seriously considering to charge towards my room wall at full speed..

16. A sudden realisation dawned on me. I have to remove my thumbdrive before the 1st reboot occurs, otherwise it will simply reboot using the thumbdrive and restart the installation process. -.- . OMFG, wasted like what, 1.5 hrs on this ?!

…. … … Updates on how it turns out will be soon..

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Things I’ve learnt via the Google Power Search class.

Yeah, this is just a random sharing of what I’ve learnt in the Google Power Search class. It is a free online course with 2 tests which teaches you the ins and outs of Google Search. It definitely helped me a great deal in doing better searches in general.

Here goes : ( It isn’t organised in any way, pardon the messiness. )

Accessing Google.com and not your localised Google page.

  1. Bottom right corner of your localised Google page, there will be a Google.com hyperlink.
  2. Go to www.google.com/ncr

Filter by color –> can lead to implied definitions.

Eg: Search for ‘Tesla’ + black&white color filter gives us mainly archival images of the guy Tesla.

Search for ‘Tesla’ again + ‘red’ filter gives us mainly images of the Tesla Roadster car.

How does Google decide which few documents I really want?

By asking questions; more than two hundred of them. Like:

  • How many times does this page contain your key words?
  • Do the words appear in the title? In the URL (web address)?
  • Do the words appear directly adjacent?
  • Does the page include synonyms for those words?
  • Is this page from a quality website? Or is it low quality, even spammy? What is this page’s PageRank? That’s a formula invented  by our founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, that rates a web page’s importance by looking at how many outside links point to it, and how important those links are.

Finally, we combine all those factors together to produce each page’s overall score and send you back your search results, about half a second after you submit your search.

—  Try  other phrases which can relate to your original query if the original query fails to get what you wanted. Eg: Old city –> Ghost town

— Be specific

— Use Keywords. Very important.

— word order. Eg: sky blue and blue sky

— inserting a + infront of a word will search Google+ database for the word

— #hashtag , @xxx

—- Capitalisation doesn’t matter.

— information panels on the right. For some searches. Eg:Sagittaria

— define function. Define ‘word’

— making use of other media types in your search queries. Eg: after searching the default webpage search , you can click ‘news’ to find out recent news articles about it.

— rollover preview tool ((>> icon to the right of search results)

—Use the site: operator to restrict results to a domain, website, or directory.
Eg: site:who.int
:site.gov ( only results from governmental websites)
:site.sg ( country operator)
:site.net , :site.org  .. .com etc  .. .edu

— :filetype operator
eg: pdf,docx,doc,ppt,txt,dat, csv (data sets) , kml(google earth) for expedition data etc

— Use the minus sign (-) to eliminate irrelevant results.

— Note: A plus sign (+) does not mean “and,” nor does it force inclusion of a word. Google can search for certain plus signs after a word (e.g., C++ and Google+). A plus sign before a search term, used as an operator, looks for a Google+ Page by that name.

— Double quotes to search for webpages which have the exact phrase within the double quotes.

— OR operator. Must be in caps. Joins two search queries together. “Xxx” OR “ cxcxc” .. can be used without the quotes as well.

— If an idea on one side of the OR is more than one word, it needs quotes around it (e.g.: [handkerchief OR “facial tissue”]

— Use the intext: operator to require that a term appears specifically in the text you can see on a page.

— Dragging an image directly into the Google Search . For instance, to identify what the object is in theimage.

—google search feature – eg: date,time, sunrise, flight etc

—Limit results to sources published during a specific time period by clicking on Search Tools in the left panel, then selecting the appropriate time range.

—Time filters are available in Web Search, Books, Images, News, Videos, Blogs, Discussions, and Patents. Sometimes, in News, you may need to click on the ‘Archives’ link under the time filters on the left to access the Custom Range option.

— Translated foreign pages
Search in foreign languages using English by clicking “More search tools” on the left panel of your results page, then select “Translated foreign pages”. This feature chooses the best language in which to search and delivers results translated back into English.
This capability to switch languages gives you the ability to see the world through the eyes of somebody else, in their culture, in their language, the way they write it.

—Verify the credibility of information you find on the web. Like using the date restriction tool under “show search tools” on the left panel. For instance, someone said that the quote “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives” is said by Martin Luther King. If you want to check if it is true, use the date restriction tool and set it to a maximum of year 2000.  If there are no search results, it could be something fishy as Martin luther king existed a long time ago and surely, his famous quotes should have been cited or quoted somewhere before 2000.

— Use a query containing WHOIS to identify the owner of a particular website.

—If you see a second company listed as a contact on the WHOIS page, then a relationship exists between the two companies; you can then do another search to determine that relationship.

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Why balanced discussions fail.

Wow.. This article in the Straits Times is very thought-provoking. After reading it, I realise that the author has legitimate grounds for his arguments. Well-written article.

It is well known that when like-minded people get together, they tend to end up thinking a more extreme version of what they thought before they started to talk. The same kind of echo-chamber effect can happen as people get news from various media. Liberals reading left-of-centre blogs may well end up embracing liberal talking points even more firmly; conservative fans may well react in similar fashion on the right.

The result can be a situation in which beliefs do not merely harden but migrate towards the extreme ends of the political spectrum. As current events in the Middle East demonstrate, discussions among like-minded people can ultimately produce violence.

The remedy for easing such polarisation, here and abroad, may seem straightforward: Provide balanced information to people of all sides. Surely, we might speculate, such information will correct falsehoods and promote mutual understanding. This, of course, has been a hope of countless dedicated journalists and public officials.

Unfortunately, evidence suggests that balanced presentations in which competing arguments or positions are laid out side by side may not help. At least when people begin with firmly held convictions, such an approach is likely to increase polarisation rather than reduce it.

Indeed, that is what a number of academic studies done over the last three decades have found. Such studies typically proceed in three stages. First, the experimenters assemble a group of people who have clear views on some controversial issue (such as capital punishment). Second, the study subjects are provided with plausible arguments on both sides of the issue. And finally, the researchers test how attitudes have shifted as a result of exposure to balanced presentations.

You might expect that people’s views would soften and that divisions between groups would get smaller. That is not what usually happens. On the contrary, people’s original beliefs tend to harden and the original divisions typically get bigger. Balanced presentations can fuel unbalanced views.

What explains this? The answer is called “biased assimilation”, which means that people assimilate new information in a selective fashion. When people get information that supports what they initially thought, they give it considerable weight. When they get information that undermines their initial beliefs, they tend to dismiss it.

In this light, it is understandable that when people begin with opposing initial beliefs on, say, the death penalty, balanced information can heighten their initial disagreement. Those who tend to favour capital punishment credit the information that supports their original view and dismiss the opposing information. The same happens on the other side. As a result, divisions widen.

This natural human tendency explains why it is so hard to dislodge false rumours and factual errors. Corrections can even be self-defeating, leading people to stronger commitment to their erroneous beliefs.

The news here is not encouraging. In the face of entrenched social divisions, there is a risk that presentations that carefully explore both sides will be counterproductive. And when a group, responding to false information, becomes more strident, efforts to correct the record may make things worse.

Can anything be done? There is no simple term for the answer, so let us make one up: surprising validators. People tend to dismiss information that would falsify their convictions. But they may reconsider if the information comes from a source they cannot dismiss. People are most likely to find a source credible if they closely identify with it or begin in essential agreement with it.

In such cases, their reaction is not, “how predictable and uninformative that someone like that would think something so evil and foolish” but instead, “if someone like that disagrees with me, maybe I had better rethink”.

Our initial convictions are more apt to be shaken if it is not easy to dismiss the source as biased, confused, self-interested or simply mistaken. This is one reason that seemingly irrelevant characteristics like appearance, or taste in food and drink, can have a big impact on credibility. Such characteristics can suggest that the validators are in fact surprising – that they are “like” the people to whom they are speaking.

It follows that turncoats, real or apparent, can be immensely persuasive. If civil rights leaders oppose affirmative action, people are more likely to change their views. Here, then, is a lesson for all those who provide information. What matters most may be not what is said, but who, exactly, is saying it.

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