Friday, January 30, 2009

I love big bags

Yea I love them all. They're so practical, can be a little bit heavy but it's not like you're carrying it with you all the time. So out of boredom tonight (more like I was looking to do something silly before I start doing my work) so I took a picture of my handbag and turned it upside down and started scrounging for whatever it is that has been living in there. I was quiet amazed at how much I can squeeze everything in there all this while.

[caption id="attachment_1476" align="alignright" width="300" caption="My mom bought me this bag"]



[caption id="attachment_1477" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Stuff in the bag"]



In my bag currently:

  • 1 little notebook/organizer

  • 2 sachets of Nescafe 3 in 1

  • my purse

  • coin purse

  • camera

  • a tiny box of Clorets

  • 2 pens (black and red)

  • couple of movie ticket stubs

  • a necklace

  • a pair of earings

  • a bottle of shower gel (it's for my mom)

  • a pack of plastic bandages (to wrap around my burned finger)

  • a lighter

  • a RM5 Nando's voucher (ang pau from Mr. Foong =/)

  • 2 movie vouchers

  • my namecards

  • a couple of membership cards

  • 1 tube of vaseline

  • my 'skema' goverment nametag

  • 1 pack full of jelly sticks!

  • some misplaced coins

  • my handphone

  • some receipts

  • my car keys

  • my house keys

and that's it. Sometimes I even have a book in there. Looking at the list, the most techie stuff I have is my phone haha! Everything else is normal lah for a simple girl.

I just remembered something. I was planning to apply henna last weekend because the one I have is almost gone. I always put it on my left hand. Now that one finger is recuperating on the spot where henna would've been applied on, so can't do. Else there'll be big black circle on my middle finger, not so nice leh. Problems with henna on right hand is that it attracts people's attention eaaasily.

I feel sleepy now but have to make up time for some work. I watched tv just now - darn. Damn you magic box. Time stealer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Memory lane

You know when you're so tired with work and just wish you could take a long break, that time when you wish everything would quickly disappear, when you wish for all the time in the world to catch up with that tight deadlines? You just wish that whatever god given talent you have, you couldn't stop longing to be somehow more brilliant just to solve that hard equations in 2 seconds. Please please please, you pray, if I hit F5 please no more errors. But they keep on messing with your mind with their little error messages and cryptic paths showing to some library. Oh well. It happens to everyone of us.

I'm blogging during working hours. I got this list of pending tasks waiting next. I just solved that tricky join-tables auto-generated-form I-want-it-this-way-not-that-way cakephp thing that had taken me 3 days so chill ok. Give me a break.

For the record, I'm not that tired as described in first paragraph. That's just for dramatic introduction. :p I'm lucky coz I had a couple of long breaks in the past 6 months. I was just thinking of something. Sometimes I do get tired and pissed but around that time usually I'll think about what I love most about my job. And believe it or not, this is something I like doing for the rest of my working life. I love coding, I love the problem solving stuff going on it in, I love the discipline of writing codes and above all, I just love the logic. 1 + 1 is always 2. If you say otherwise, you're insane - go to rehab.

I was thinking about my former workplace - SYABAS. Boy how I loved working there. I joined PUAS just after I graduated. The HR Senior Manager at that time gave me a choice, programmer at HQ or at one of its district branches. Of course I chose HQ, I knew it would cost me more traveling but it would worth it. There I met amazing people. I was quickly assigned a mentor and quickly became part of the team. It was a very friendly and family-like atmosphere, we still keep in touch with each other now. The great team aside, what got me excited, though I never understood it at the beginning until later, was how big the IT potential was in assisting the day to day operations - to supply clean water throughout Selangor & KL, and it was up to us so to speak to automate stuff, make their life easier. When I first got there almost everything was done manually or the technology was outdated. I have to agree part of it was because of limited budget.

The HQ IT department then only consist of 20+ people, app team there with 5 of us. Kak Izan was (still is) the lead. The first thing was to get intranet up - it took a year to get all PUAS staff to get used to it (training, training, training - can't blame them it's human nature to forget). En. Suhaimi was (still is) the big boss, he is a man with a vision with so many bright practical ideas. I think within 3 years after SYABAS takeover he went from a senior manager to a general manager and now something higher than a GM. I can safely say whatever IT infrastructure and applications there now came out from him, mostly. All that and he is such a humble person. I have high respect for this man. An open source enthusiast also, if I may add.


The intranet, can you believe it, was developed from scratch. It won a government award for its functionality a year later. When I left in 2006, a module that lets anyone logs in and see their workspace was being developed. If I can remember correctly, user can login and see their upcoming meetings, things need to be approved, private messages, etc. There were independent systems too - telemetry (monitoring water level in reservoirs etc), billing, accounting, HR, customer service. All this was using different technology and we had to get all of them together and integrate. Linda was working with inventory system that should talk to the accounting system to manage in and out/ purchasing of pipes, machinery, trucks, valves etc. Nisa was working with online bulk payment for those company that has branches all over the place and want to monitor transactions of each. This app of course need to talk to accounting also. Husna was working with online submission of new plans for the housing developers for approval. What was done manually that could've taken weeks was cut down to a few days. Me? I was kept busy with online mapping, digitizing pipes layout. Such horrid experience. Do you know that back then they didn't document it properly, everything was inside engineer's head. There was also some other system being developed at the same time.

I remember the fun when we found local celebrities addresses. And there was this one thing that would blow siren when something was wrong - I forgot what it is. Also the mass sms system just sitting nearby we could but didn't abuse. We painted the training room on our own - that one is unforgettable haha! We had Nagios to monitor the connections to our district offices on suspended monitor so we all could see (this simple solution saved us alot of time investigating when something happened).

They have come a long way since then. Numbers of people has grown I think. I don't know how it is doing now anyway. Back then, there was already so many systems but how did we handle it? By documentations. I was told to follow the ERD, the flowcharts and the wireframes established beforehand. This way it's kinda easy to know where to plug a new system to an old one. New people coming in also can just have a look at that and can catch up pretty fast from there. Any probable amendments, talk to Kak Izan first. Now she is such an open person and smart. Also she knows how to talk and reason. She gave me a good lesson in database design while I was there. She has earned my respect so long ago, together with Nisa, Husna and Linda.

In the end all this word of love and hurrah, so why did I left? I couldn't stand the shitty pay and discrimination by the very upper management.

Oh and if you're curious, new systems then were developed using PHP and MySQL. There was also various technology involved at that time at system integration level: Oracle, Sun, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, ASP.

Monday, January 19, 2009

An alien has invaded my place

1. abdza told me he visited the office last Friday but I went off early that day.

[caption id="attachment_1456" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Alien's note"]



2. KSN's new system is applying's theme. OMFG. Why can't it use default Plone theme, change the base color to purple or something.

3. Hey we got sijil penghargaan for sumbangan melaksanakan projek inovasi MyMeeting, with my name incorrectly spelled on it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

If it's up to me...

... I would grow and sell mushrooms. Yah that's what I'd do. By mushrooms I mean the food, not anything else. I would eat them everyday. I never did like mushrooms, not until I met Adda 2 years ago in 2006 (we stayed together in a house with Siti for 4 months). She would put them in everything we cook, even in sambal udang! Amusing to think about it now but it was good nonetheless. There's so many type of mushrooms. The only one I don't like so far is the one that looks like taugeh. Eww... I couldn't get it to taste nice enough for me to swallow. But yea I put mushrooms in everything I cook these days, well, most of the time. But you can't get fresh mushrooms easily here, not if you're looking at pasar malam. Even at Giant or Tesco, they only have it in cans which always works for me. But I'm not that cerewet (I'm a self-professed low maintenance person). The fresh ones are usually more expensive so I usually give it a pass.

Last Tuesday I went to pasar malam here in Putrajaya. I LOVE grocery shopping! Looking at the seafood that night oh wow - the fish were all fresh, the squids, shrimps, crabs etc. They smell like they had just been brought in from the sea. Last time when I was living with Adda and Siti, our house was near the beach. So you can imagine how excited I was everytime we went to the pasar after work. There were 3 of us so we bought alot for a week. Now I'm only buying for myself - no fun. And I found myself actually like to cook. I enjoy planning my meals everyday.

So I made that caramel pudding again today, without accidents this time, thankfully.





[caption id="attachment_1448" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Had eaten it halfway when I took the pic. Sweeeeeet sweeet thing. The pic didn't do justice, I should've use white plate to bring up the colors."]



I took a panadol today and feel asleep right away. Loooong and deeeep sleep. Woke up at 5! Kinda late to do anything for the day so I just made myself some snacks and wash my clothes and sweep the floor. So now I feel like going to bed early for a change. I'm still reading Band of Brothers. Lots of spelling mistakes but what a book. I'm drawn by the individual experience during WWII, not just talking politics of winning the war. The series was great but the book offers so much deeper insight of what happened. Like LOTR, if you've read the book, you'll understand the movie much better.

Next in line should be my borrowed pilates book and again Cecilia Ahern's Thanks for the Memories. You know I never noticed the book stall in Street Mall of Cyberjaya. The books are new and really cheap. I got 2 books for RM50 that day. If it was a normal bookstore it would've cost me around RM70. That stall has all the new books I see on New Arrival shelf in MPH.

And I finished reading The Child Called It by David Pelzer. If it didn't state that it's a memorial/non-fiction book, I would've thought it was fiction, how brave of the author to put such gruesome details to sell the book. But yea it is a memorial and I was stunned at the end how on earth did he make it alive. Inspiring piece, I must say.

Come to think about it, I haven't registered the books on yet! Alright. Toodles you blog readers - read a book.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Some random open source stuff

I had just finished helping some people from Jabatan Pelajaran with their reporting and PHP which by the way took the whole day. They've been developing it from scratch. Even I forgot the insert syntax :P yea I'm quite used to framework already. Anyway, the point is, they said they know some other government agencies who already has this and that system so why can't they just take it and reuse it at their own agency? Such a hassle to build when they're the only 2 IT people supporting the whole Jabatan. And they're not even programmers.

The answer to this is quite obvious - open source environment. Malaysian government should have its own sourceforge where all these systems can get in there and show off. Doesn't matter if they're build from scratch or by using frameworks, elegant code or not, it's supposed to be where malaysian government servants should feel comfortable at, at least as a playground for programmers in the government sector. I like the idea when other people come and see my code and suggest some new features or report bugs or better yet, submit patches. My apps will not only get better, but I get to learn too. This of course varies to each of us, some of us may be get intimidated at the idea of others who's probably better programmers looking at our wee wee code. Some will right away jump at the opportunity to the point of annoying everyone. Some will just accept it as it is and do nothing about it. I'm sure you've heard this a million times: it's the first step that counts. Here's an advice: take that step and see where you'll end up.

Who cares if the app is not perfect, then again, which app ever is. It's the continuous development along with the requested features that will make it 'perfect'. A success of a software doesn't depend on how advance the code or the tool is, it's when the user says "I like this software. It helps me alot in my day to day tasks. I use it everyday". Now wouldn't that something every developers would want to hear. You've developed a small app still using PHP with every page you have to mysql_connect at the top but everyone in your bahagian/seksyen/jabatan/etc depends on it, I will say to you - you rock!

For you men of real martians, you get to feed you ego. Ya ya everyone will know you as the so and so contributor, you have stories to tell to you fellow colleagues and later on your kids, you get to brag, and sometimes you can make some money out of it even though open source is not really about money. Just be careful, ego too big will cut your life short. Too small it's a turn off ok. And girls, this is the time for us to rise and show the world what we've got. There's so many of us graduating in IT/CS in Malaysia, alot working in the government as IT Officers - where are you? Get in here ladies. First step: join

I think what could stop them from sharing apps even if we have this kind of sourceforge is they probably think if they share it, they'll lose ownership of it. Pride. One of the deadliest sin - seems the deadlier it is the more people has it. Or they think if they share their app, they'll share their confidential info too. Hmmpphh... shows how much open source education is needed. Lack of understanding and exposure is one item we still have to beat and it's not going to be easy.

Ooohh didn't mean to write this long. Just feeling bad for the people I helped today - it's better if they can just browse and download and install.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy birthday abah!

Kinda late wishing my dad a happy birthday today. Now he's 53!

A father means so many things
An understanding heart
A source of strength and of support
Right from the very start

A constant readiness to help
In a kind and thoughtful way
With encouragement and forgiveness
No matter what comes your way

A special generosity
And always affection, too
A father means so many things
When he's a man like you

- unknown author

Monday, January 5, 2009

I burned my finger

Was making that delicous yummy looking caramel dessert and somehow managed to get a little drop of the sugar caramel on my finger. I think I got second degree burn or something. Searing pain and it still hurts like hell!!! You know how high the temperature of burnt sugar right? It's over 100°c.

But I got 4 mini cups of desserts in return.

I had a calm weekend, quite unexpected but I treasured every moment of it.