Thursday, December 29, 2005

Air Conditioner

I finally gave in to the heat and bought an AC. God, I had forgotten how good it felt to sleep in a cool room. Last I slept in it was in Dubai back in 2004.

I even feel more productive. I wrote 2 algorithms in the last 2 hours. More about my latest misadventure later (I am writing my own grid technology framework... one that really works).

I also made some progress on cracking the RSA Factorization Challenge. I just need more processing power (which is what led to the grid technology framework)

Back to the Air Conditioner... I noticed the Australian way of defining AC is horse power(HP). Back in my days, it was Ton in Dubai and BTU in US. I know what Ton means. If you have 1 Ton AC, it means your AC will have the same cooling power of a 1 ton melting ice cude in 24 hours. Back in Dubai, my bedroom had a 2 Ton AC. (You need that kind of cooling power when you live in the desert).

I've no idea what BTU or HP means, so I googled it and here's the scoop. 12000 BTU = 1 Ton. But HP is completely different. HP refers to the input power the AC. Meaning its the horse power of the refrigeretion unit's compressor motor.

So HP refers to the input of the AC and Ton/BTU refers to the output. You can't convert between HP and Ton/BTU. HP in itself is not comparable because your room AC and your fridge may both be rated 1 HP, but they don't have the same cooling effect. Leave it to people down under to be so naive.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tips Before Seeing King Kong

I saw King Kong yesterday and all I've are two words... Exceed Expectation.

What can I say. The first half is quite boring... all talk... basically building up the characters after which the action starts and WOW. Just when you think the situation can't get any worse, it does. Everytime you think its over, something else occurs. Like I said, exceed expectation.

The movie is quite long - a little over 3 hours. So I'm going to give a few tips for watching it:
  1. Drink 4 cokes before you get there. You will need it for the 1st half
  2. Watch Jurassic Park again. You will need it for the 2nd half
  3. Watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Will help to understand some irrational human/animal behavior
  4. Get trained to say “WOW” 20 times per minute. Try: it is not so easy.
  5. Medidate deeply on this old vicking thought “Only monkeys are fooled by blond women”
  6. Try to draw a monkey with your computer. You ll see that they made a good job.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pandora - Finally Something That Works

A while back, I tried the Yahoo! radio. It was new in the sense you listen to the songs rate each one on a scale of 1-5. The more you rate, the more Yahoo! radio will play songs according to your taste which it determines from your rating - just 3 words - "it does not work." Ok, 4 words :p

Today, I came across Pandora. It does the same thing, but this time it works. WOW. The Music Genome Project is such a natural thing that it's brilliant. Kudos to the folks behind it!

You begin by entering an artist or a song name. I said Good Charlotte. And it started pumping out music. I “educated” it a bit, telling it that I also like Metallica, Linkin Park and a few others. As it threw amazing tunes at me, I could give them thumbs up or thumbs down.

In less than an hour, this thing had me dialed. Here is a sampling of some of the music it picked for me that I had never heard of before:
  • I Stay Awayby Alice In Chains
  • Life Goes On by LeAnn Rimes
  • Your Mistake by Sister Hazel
  • When Love Was The Only Thing by Kin Fox
  • No such thing by John Mayer
You can also do really cool things like click on a song and make a whole new station that is inspired by just that one song. At one point I selected the “Why did you play this song?” menu item. It said something like this:
Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features a subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentional, major key tonality and acoustic rhythm guitars.
Another time, during a nice instrumental rock/metal tune, I asked again and it said:
Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features basic rock song structures, a suble use of vocal harmoney, mild rhythmic syncopation, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation and a vocal-centric aesthetic.
Yup... now I know exactly what my music taste is. Its whatever's in the block quote above. Oh, and you can listen to stations that your friends create, if you know their email address.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Cell By Stephen King

Stephen King's releasing a new book, Cell. Its coming out on January 26, 2006 missing the Christmas rush by 1 month. What was his agent thinking?

I'm not that big a fan of Stephen King. (I like Micheal Crichton). The only books I liked of Stephen King was his Dark Tower Series.

The story-line is classic Stephen King. Your cell phone rings, you answer it and a weird sound from the other end turns you into a raging lunatic making you go on a wild rampage. Of course there are survivors (people who don't own a cell phone) who regroup and save the world.

This is a typical storyline of Stephen King namely The Stand and Salem's Lot. You'd think Stephen King fans would get tired of this by now.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Money Is Nothing But Trust

I've been trying to figure out what factors affect the forex exchange rate. After a lot of thinking, I've come to the conclusion that money is not worth the paper its printed on. What gives money its value is the trust it represents. And it actually makes a lot of sense.

For example, investors will line up at the door of a reputable investment banker when he says he needs $2 million to buyout a bankrupt company which he can turn around in 2 years (after which he can sell it for $2.2 million). On the other hand, everyone will ignore an ordinary man when he claims the same. The difference between the two is the investor believes (or trust) that the "reputable" investment can/will deliver on his promise.

This investment banker of course gets a percentage of the profit. The premium he charges is proportional to the trust he has in the eye of the investor. The higher the trust, the higher premium he can command.

Same thing can be said about IPO/Stock Market. Higher the investor's expectation (or trust the company will do well), higher the stock price and vise versa.

Other examples out of the financial market, higher the buyer's trust in the quality of a car/designer cloth, higher the product's cost. Higher the employer's trust in the quality and/or productivity of an employee, higher the employee's salary/bonus/raise.

This is probably why money are printed with the "Trust".

How long can you fake it?

I was out with a friend today and we were talking about life. Yup... one of those conversation :p I was telling him about some of my work when he said, "My God, you really believe in what you do!"

Of course I believe in what I do. I'd never do anything I don't believe in. Because if you don't, you'll have to fake it and then the only question that remains is how long can you fake it?

Saturday, November 26, 2005



I just love the doodle drawings of Hugh. Someday I am gonna use him for my business card/book cover.

Love the work he did for Cravens

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A more effective defense against DoS

This is an interesting read about DoS attack -

The ideas behind how to foil DoS attack is pretty interesting. I doubt that its 100% effective. A more effective defense would be instead of dropping zombie's TCP packets, redirect it to the IP address of the zombie's ISP.

This way, when the ISP gets hit, the ISP will take a more active interest and disconnect the zombie PC's internet connection. Maybe then, the ISP will call up the customer owning the zombie PC and tell them to clean up their act.

This way, you cut off the head instead of waiting for the hackers to give up(and hoping your defense will hold up).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker
Father of Modern Management

The Weasels’ jobs just got easier. Here are some of the most important things I’ve learned from Peter Drucker:
  1. He coined the term “Knowledge Worker”, which helped explain how the workplace had become more dependent on what people knew than what they did
  2. He thumped on companies big and small with a trademark question: “What business are you in?” and went to explain what business they were really in - they were in the business of developing people. Think about what organizations that know that have done… now think about where you work and how you develop the people in your charge
  3. The modern job evaluation process- for good or evil- is largely founded on his belief that you can’t measure results if you didn’t have concrete goals to start with. Every time you ask one of your employees to set SMART goals or define outcomes, you’re marching to a tune Drucker popularized, even if he didn’t write it by himself
  4. That didn’t mean you tolerated underperformance for long. He’s also the guy who said, “Executives owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.”
  5. Most importantly, Drucker helped change thinking about the role of manager- from militaristic “command and control” to an inclusive, strategic model that most of us are still aspiring to.
  6. Peter Drucker didn’t want the weasels to get you down either. He’d just say it in a more professional way, with hard science behind him and with that Austrian accent

Monday, November 14, 2005

RSA-640 Challenge Number Factored

RSA-640 Challege Number has been factored. @#$%

I wasted 1 year trying to factor that number after RSA-576 was factored. Before that wasted 3 years on RSA-576. Thats $20,000 and $10,000 in lost prize money. Could have used that dough. :(

Oh well... will pick myself up again and on with the next Challenge Number: RSA-704. The prize money is $30,000. Could seriously use THAT dough.

The factoring research team of F. Bahr, M. Boehm, J. Franke, T. Kleinjung continued its productivity with a successful factorization of the challenge number RSA-640, reported on November 2, 2005. The factors [verified by RSA Laboratories] are:


The effort took approximately 30 2.2GHz-Opteron-CPU years according to the submitters, over five months of calendar time. (This is about half the effort for RSA-200, the 663-bit number that the team factored in 2004.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Correlation Between Product And Market Share

What a potential demograph looks for in a product:

1. Demand (Need or artificial)
2. Commodity (Cost and availibilty)
3. Cash cow vs Star Product
4. Empowerment (Self Publishing)
5. Eco-System (Hardware, software, content, accessory, api, support)
6. Simplicity (Simplicity changes the world)
7. Convenience (Convenience is a force multiplier)
8. Barrier (Barrier to entry/mindset/use)
9. Branding
10. Trust
11. Trend (Popularity)
12. Publicity (Whether their role model uses it)
13. On-Demand (Don't let customer worry about licensing or capacity planning)
14. Content Producer (Let customer be content producer than consumer)
15. Provide as service (SLA) instead of Support

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

iPod Video

Now I've done it. Long I've resisted going over to the dark side by buying an iPod and joining the mainstream. But when that bald Steve guy whipped out the thinner, smaller, black iPod with video, I succemded to the music.

Just got it in the mail today. I ordered it online at Apple Store and had it in my hand in less than 24 hours even though the website listed it shipping in 7-10 days. Apple just went up a notch in my book. You go, Apple.

What can I say... its black and simply gorgeous. Will post pics later.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Publishing A Book

I've always wanted to write a book. Not that my writing's Pulitzer quality, but sometimes I feel like I have so much to say and nothing to say at all.

Below is a way to get published:

1. Write Book
2. Self-published with online POD like CafeExpress
3. Get an ISBN (for a book), or a UPC (for a CD or DVD). For one book it costs $125, for one CD, $55, for one DVD, $89.
4. Get a bar code based on the ISBN or UPC. Costs $10, or may be included in UPC.
5. Send free books to critics like NYT or Oprah
6. Get Listed on Amazon - Ship two copies to them with cover scan
7. Track sales
8. Do your taxes

More details from Kevin Kelly.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Data Inheritance

What happens to data when you die? Data like blog, email, etc? Does Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, local ISP etc etc hand over the data to the next of kin (assuming they can provide a death certificate or court order or something)?

Data has value in an information age. It shouldn't get lost. This might actually be an idea for a new service.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


In my previous post about IBM, I used the words 'commodity' a number of times. What does that mean? Something is a commodity when it's transparent, i.e. you don't care where its from... all you care about is how much it cost and what you get for that cost. For example, electricity and petrol is a commodity. You get it at 5c per kwh or $2 per litre. You don't care whether its from Con Ed, Energex, Shell or BP.

In US, telecom is also a commmodity, which unfortunately isn't in Australia. But all that will soon change. It begins with privatization of Telstra. Australia missed out on the tech boom in the 90's because telecom wan't a commodity. Internet cost was and still is too high. US produced companies such as Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Google and other deads during the tech boom. Australia produced nothing. Its because internet's so expensive that the little people in their garage couldn't afford to tinker with it.

And just like that, soon global technologies will also consolidate. It's already started. IBM shred the propriety PC/Laptop. Apple moved to Intel architecture. Sun making Solaris open source to fight Linux. Oracle buying up Peoplesoft and others to move into the ERP space. Microsoft developing CRM software (with rumors of trying to buy Siebel).

Microsoft is also adopting Sun's prophecy that the "Network is the Computer". By 2010, Microsoft Office will soon be hosted where you'll pay a subscription to use it instead of having it installed on your PC. Microsoft also bought Citrix. Already, SAP, Peoplesoft 8 and Seibel are internet based where users use the apps through web browser. Soon office workers will only need a terminal instead of a whole PC to get their work done. Its cheaper and easier to maintain from an IT point of view.

With network based operations, you need high performance servers, which is where grid technology comes in. Oracle and SUN already are releasing products with Grid enabled. Next version of windows slated to be released in mid 2006, named Windows Vista is also Grid enabled. With grid technology, you need non-properiety hardware where hardware can be added when needed. Dell and hp is doing that. IBM will die if it doesn't change its spots.

A last word for thought. Simplicity changes the world. Convenience is a force multiplier.


Today, I had an interesting discussion. Where does technology stand today and whats in the future?

The talk started with IBM and at some point I simply blurted out, "IBM is going down". And here's why. During and after the tech boom, IBM entered into the consulting market, beefing up by aquiring the consulting arm of PwC and then going head to head with the likes of Accenture.

But now, its shreeding its fat. First came the mass lay off in its engineering division followed by the IBM Global Service. Few months back, it sold its PC/Laptop to Lenovo. Now, IBM's main source of revenue is Consulting, Lotus, Application Hosting (onDemand), Middleware and Server.

IBM Global Serivce is already losing the race. The fundamental problem here is IGS's solution to every problem is IBM. With cheap consulting fee, IBM make their customers implement all IBM propriety hardware and solutions, after which they charge an arm and leg for hardware/software/upgrades.

Few years back, every page on eBay displayed an IBM logo saying eBay runs on IBM. Now you can't find it anywhere. Looks like eBay learnt its lesson. :)

Lotus lost out to Microsoft Exchange a while back. Now its competing in the application hosting marketplace against hp, Unisys and RackSpace. Middleware (DB2, WebSphere) is already fighting with other open source products.

In the server market, they pitched to customers about Linux, especially RedHat Linux. When RedHat gained dominance and eventually going public, they turned around and started recommending Dell and hp to run Redhet since they are the market leader. Customers are finally realizing that they are getting locked into RedHat which only recommends certain hardware (althought the choice of hardware is more), but after installing RedHat, when the customer wants to go with cheaper Linux (yes, Linux is not free. Upgrades/fixes are only available through Service Plan which cost money), they realize their existing servers are not certified for other Linux. IBM is now pushing Suse. In short, customers are moving from IBM to commodities like Dell and hp.

I am not saying IBM will go bankrupt. Just that in 4-10 years, IBM will be just another company with market recognition as much as what hp has now. It won't be Big Blue any more. Just Blue.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Continuing on the thought about life… funny thing about religion is that its very, for lack of a better word, self-contained. The majority of religion… Jew, Christian, Islam all have a common path. It started with Adam and Eve, went on to Moses parting the Red Sea and taking his people to the Promised Land, to Jesus walking on water to Muhammad.

All of these religion have a common heritage of Prophets and timeline, and the difference being Jews, Christians and Muslims believe the last prophet is Moses, Jesus and Muhammad respectively. I mean, Jews believe in Moses and all Prophets before him. Christians believe in Jesus and Moses and all prophet before them. Muslims believe in Muhammad, Jesus and Moses and all prophets before them. Funny thing is they are all localized at the same place… the Egypt-Iraq-Arabia triangular region. At that time in history, those were the center of the educated world.

And what about other civilization that were in isolation, such as like Aztec, Red Indians, lower Africa, Chinese or Australian Aborigines? Didn’t God care enough about these people to send them a prophet? Those isolated civilizations worshipped either nature or life.

According to Occam's Razor, what's more likely? That an all-powerful, mysterious God created the Universe, and decided not to give any proof of his existence? Or, that He simply doesn't exist at all, and that we created Him, so that we wouldn't have to feel so small and alone? Looking at the time flow of Jew, Christianity and Islam, it seems like one prophet was simply building up on the framework of the predecessor, i.e., to create a better society (or religion if you prefer to call it).

Friday, July 08, 2005


For some time now, something about life's been bothering me. It just doesn't add up.

For example, God, death, heaven and hell. Why would God create life so it can one day die to go to heaven or hell. What does God get out of this? If His ultimate goal is to fill heaven and hell with their respective souls, why not just go ahead and fill it up. Why the charade of life? He doesn't owe anyone anything.

If the devil does exist, why is God competing with him for the soul of man-kind. Doesn't this suggest an ego-manistic nature for God?

Ask any God-fearing believer about life and they will tell you life is about proving to be worthy for heaven or how pain makes you appreciate the good blah blah blah. What happens to a human life is of insignificance in the great scheme of thing.

Unless, there’s more to it that meets the eye. The only two plausible explanations I can think of that actually makes some morbid sense are:

1. There is something more than the life, heaven and hell. The Story of Judgment Day, heaven and hell is only a veil pulled over our eyes to blind us from the real truth, so that we will continue to play and produce an outcome, for whatever purpose, to His liking.


2. There is no God, devil, judgment day, heaven or hell. Life is just a chance event and this is it, you only get one chance at life. After you die, its game over, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. And religion is something man invented himself for self-control and hope.

Either way, we're all screwed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Remember the time when you were blind in love and said some stupid things like, 'I'd rather die than let our love melt away'?

What happens after you break up? Does, 'Oh... I want to forget', mean anything?

Monday, June 20, 2005


Just finished Sphere by Micheal Crichton. Micheal states that animals such as bear, chimpanzee, dolphins etc are quite intelligent animals, comparable to 6-10 year old human. Some of these animals also have a few special abilities such as language, caring for the young, social structure, etc. Yet these animals never evolved to a higher intelligence through evolution. What make humans special?

What make humans special is imagination. Animals cannot make mental images of how reality might be. It cannot envision what humans call the past and the future. Nothing else, not human's ape—nature, not tool-using nature, not language, not violence or caring for young or social groupings. All these things can be found in other animals. Human's greatness lies in imagination.The ability to imagine is the largest part of what is called intelligence.

You'd think imagination is merely a useful step on the way to solving a problem or making something happen. But imagining it is what makes it happen. This is the gift of humans and this is the danger, because we do not choose to control our imaginings. Humans imagine wonderful things and imagine terrible things, and then take no responsibility for the choice. Humans say they have inside them both the power of good and the power of evil, the angel and the devil, but in truth they have just one thing inside them—the ability to imagine.

Quite thought provoking.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Trick to Happiness

The trick to being happy is learning to want the right things.

The funny thing about the universe is that once you learn what the right things for you are, very often you start to receive them.

So once in a while or two, do some soul-searching about 'real' desires. You can get 'em if you really want.

Friday, February 25, 2005

New House

We moved into a new house 2 blocks down the road from our previous house. Its rented.