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Friday, January 26, 2007

Lunch by Citibank

Dear Citibank,

Even though I didn't sign up for your savings account which offers 0.685% per annum (or 2% if I save an minimum balance that increases each month) nor any of your credit cards, I'd like to thank you for providing lunch today at the office.

I really enjoyed the nasi lemak from Fong Seng, with the fried chicken and egg. Too bad there were no cucumbers or fish. But the rice was good, so all's forgiven.

To be fair, I gave your savings account offer some thought, but finally decided that I should stick to my present account and put the loose change in investments, which can earn more than 2% per annum on average.

And as for your credit cards, well, my hands are tied by the law, which states a minimum income that cardholders must earn, so there was nothing I could do about it.

So thanks again for lunch. I'm sure the cost will be recouped quickly and easily, even without my business.

Regards,
Yuhui

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Monday, January 22, 2007

When you pray...

Here's something I've noticed about how people pray. Especially among people of my generation, there seem to be a few "key words" that are almost always used. So far, I've managed to identify these two:
  1. "just"
    Unlike the dictionary meaning, in prayer, "just" is simply a prefix to an action, nothing more. For example, "I just pray that she will just remain faithful" or "May You just heal her." Do people just talk like that? I just can't think of any non-prayer-real world example.

  2. "Father", "Lord" and similar pronouns
    If "just" is a prefix, then these pronouns are punctuations. I've heard so many prayers where the count of these pronouns outnumber the other words in the prayer. Does including more of these words make the prayer somehow holier, because you're invoking the Name more often?
    Here's one example: "Oh Lord, I pray, Lord God, that you will heal her, Father Lord, so that she can walk again, Lord God almighty." That's similar to saying, "Hey Bobby, at lunchtime, Bobby, let's go to this restaurant, Bobby, where they serve awesome Thai food, Bobby." Bobby would probably give me a puzzled gaze in response.
I thought of a third key word, but it's slipped my mind. These two are the more common prayer utterances. I hope I'm never guilty of using them.

Update: continued in part 2.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

It's no fun having a deluge of work suddenly land on my desk when I have other work waiting to be done. These past few weeks have been ones of late nights and tired brain.

As my fellow department colleague said, at this rate, we'll be burned out by June. I think he's being optimistic.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Web Standards Group meetup

I attended the first meeting of the relaunched local Web Standards Group at Raffles Girls' Secondary School. (Aside: I hope the next venue is more accessible, bus or MRT-wise.)

It was a basic rah-rah, "let's support Web standards!" meeting. I listened to the presentations, but really, I was doing work because I had so many deadlines due!

I've read a few of the write-ups. Everyone remembers the guy who mashed Amazon with the National Library Board. No one remembers the guy who said Web standards and Web accessibility gives him grief.

Maybe I'll do a presentation next time, especially based on my conversations with others about the topic...

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Desu nôto 2"

I don't have much time to write about this, so here's a short review of "Desu nôto 2", or "Death Note: The Last Name". This is a sequel to "Desu nôto", or "Death Note". Based on a Japanese manga, it tells the story of a young man who needs only to write a name in a notebook, and the god of death will kill that person.

I didn't watch the first film, but was persuaded to watch this second one. Since it follows directly from the first, I had a hard time following the opening moments. The pieces fell together slowly through the film, but it took a clarification after the show to help me understand. The Death Note's power is so, well, powerful that it can corrupt even the bearer with the purest of intentions.

As was said in "Spider-Man", with great power comes great responsibility.

The sequel resolved the plot of the first film, but in typical Japanese fashion, it was done in a very convoluted manner. Needless to say, I didn't like it. I've watched Japanese films before -- and am a huge fan of anime -- but this film totally lost me. Other than the plot, there were also a lot of "talking heads" moments, i.e. people talking and talking and talking and talking...

As I read in a scriptwriting book, film is a visual medium, so instead of having characters explaining things verbally, make them perform the actions. Unfortunately, even the action sequences in the show were mild, sometimes looking even forced. So in this two-and-a-half-hour film, I found myself getting bored after the first half hour, and looking at my watch just before the two-hour mark.

The upside? There were two:
  1. It was quite amusing to hear Japanese dialogue spoken by real "live" people. I've usually heard it in anime (and other cartoons) only, so it was quite refreshing to hear the same tones and words in this "live action" movie.
  2. The characters' mannerisms, posture and even hair were obviously lifted directly from the manga. But that got stale very quickly.
After watching this, I doubt I'll watch the first "Death Note". It'd be too painful to me to sit through another two hours of this kind of film.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple iPhone

Apple iPhone
I suppose I could give my two cents on the new Apple iPhone. And it's this: I wouldn't get it if it was available in Singapore, for three reasons:
  1. I've already shelled out big bucks for my current phone, so my money would be better spent elsewhere,
  2. it's a version one electronics item, and if there's one thing I've learned along the way, it's to never buy a version one electronics item, and
  3. I already have two iPods, so I really don't need a third one.
I am, however, more intrigued by its software. The one thing that caught my attention were the widgets. I assume that these would be, functionally, similar to the ones that work in Mac OS X's Dashboard. In fact, I dare say that the "programs" that were demonstrated are redesigned widgets that are already available, e.g. address book, calendar, even the music player. So I see the next step as being able to sync my favourite widgets into the iPhone, in the same way that I'd sync my contacts and music.

Anyway, that's all I'll say about the iPhone. However, I was intrigued by the icons. Everyone says Apple makes the best user interface. So just by looking at the icons in this reduced-size image here, can you figure out what the icons represent? (Assuming that you don't already know what they are.) The only two I had trouble with were the first and third icons in the last third row. The rest seem self-explanatory, though I'd change the last one in the first row.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

It's 2007!

2007
You know you're jaded over new year countdown ceremonies when...

...you watch the countdown on TV to make sure that the various clocks at home are telling the correct time!

Happy New Year!

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