Friday, December 24, 2004

Infrequent updates, superficial content. What's the point of this site really?

I created a account, so anyone can visit it. Maybe gain some insight into my viewing habits, and learn of some interesting links, which are all stolen from other users anyway.

I just learned that my friend army vocation consists of maintaining web sites. Chatting and surfing the net while playing games. And getting paid to do so. As if that wasn't ludicrously fortunate enough, he's being sent on some advanced dreamweaver/flash course to upgrade his skills. I ought to wish him all the best, but my thoughts consist only of jealousy and rage.

Been toying around with Firefox lately. I just installed an extension which offers IRC chatting capabilities. Poking around the #singapore channels and such gives me the impression that IRC denizens are a pack of sexual predators.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Yet another quickie update - I'm just squeezing them in the best I can. Recently purchased Half-Life 2, which probably needs no introduction to any PC gamer. It's very slick and intense, and I'm just at the beginning. Quite a few things have been keeping me busy lately. These things mostly include the playing of video games. It's not like I can help it - it's been a month full of blockbuster games so far. My "To-do" list includes the aforementioned Half-Life, Vampire: Bloodlines and Metal Gear Solid 3...

Meanwhile in my military life, I've failed to get into the bike course, which means that I'm staying in camp while my compadres get to race around on scramblers. Oh well, at least I have quite a bit of time off, to do my own thing.

Friday, October 15, 2004

A random smattering of links a bookmarking website, i just use it as a source of interesting links. seems to be updated every time i click the refresh button.

ruby take the hassle and pain out of programming by learning ruby, a high level programming/scripting language. not only is it easy to use and flexible, it can also be integrated with Java or C, so you're not throwing your existing skills away.

shacknews games news, updated daily with interesting features like 'late night consoling'

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Hehe, another sproradic update. I'm having a long weekend right now. Life at my new unit is real slack at the moment. I wonder how long it will last... real training will probably start after my motorcycle lessons. It's getting hard to update this site, my life is so routine at the moment. Time really passes when you're in the army. Plus, blogger keeps eating my posts :)

Thursday, September 30, 2004


Guess I forgot to update the site this week. It's not been particularly busy, since I'm on leave. But having fun is my priority. I'm really into Kohan 2 right now. It's innovative and deep; a refreshing change from traditional RTS games.

Finished reading the Da Vinci Code. It's not the most well-written book I've seen, and I would say it's a slightly above average thriller. What sets it apart from the competition is the "inflammatory" nature of it's contents, regarding Catholicism and christianity in general. I guess it must be approached with a pinch of salt if you're the religious sort. This wikipedia page has a writeup on the controversy, if you want a bit of spoilers.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Ok this place is going through some serious neglect. I'll be completing my basic training course in a week's time, then taking a week off. So there'll be time to update a bit more. I hope life will be better outside of Tekong.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Not that anybody actually reads this site, but it's sort of disappointing to have so few updates. It's been what, a month already? There isn't much to say about army life, really. I'm a lot fitter obviously, but still below the standard required here. Slowly but surely, they've been teaching us the tricks of the soldier trade. We learned about our main rifle, close combat and some basic first aid this week alone. It would be pretty fun, if the pace wasn't so hectic. We're lucky if we get more than 30 mins of free time before lights out each night.

There was also a recruitment drive this week, with all the armed forces trying to get us to sign on. Some very attractive pay + benefits packages were offered, and the presentation was super slick, but I didn't take the bait. I guess I'm just not ready to sign away 10 years of my life so easily.

Watched I,Robot last weekend. I found it to be a decent movie, although very generic and typical of a Hollywood action film. I think it got my attention only because of the book tie-in.

I've been thinking what to do during my short weekends away from army life. Resting seems like a good option. I'll go rest now.

Sunday, June 06, 2004


I just came back from a movie + dinner with a group of friends. It had a "Last Supper" kind of feeling, and afterwards everybody said their last goodbyes to me.

Updating this website is going to be a pain in the next couple weeks. But I hope to post about my early training experience, if there's anything interesting to share.

But anyway, tomorrow I shall be reporting to the island of Tekong, where I will solemnly vow to spill my lifeblood for my country. Then after the administrative paperwork, there'll be the head shaving ceremony, tour of the facilities and an introductory session, before training begins in earnest.

I only hope I'm not too pampered and spoiled to adjust to army life, which is already pretty slack where I'm going.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Last Days

7 more days to NS.

My original plans to work on the games project don't seem to be going anywhere, especially when everyone's busy/not interested. Well, it's their decision to make. So the question is, how to spend the last week of "freedom"?

My problem with the Army is that it requires total dedication, you're stuck in camp and there's no room for anything else. Which sucks, because I've not finished learning everything I want to know yet. It certainly won't be easy to start learning again after the next 2 years. I guess it's my own fault for wasting so much time.

I can't think of anything interesting to write. It's been a pretty dull day. I went back to my school to showcase a project, but I didn't really do much except to get in the way. Our "customers" were all secondary school students. Their knowledge of technology was pretty good, and they asked some smart questions too. The worst part about presenting the showcase was that I was a freeloader, so I felt pretty lame.

My dad is talking about buying a Palm device, so I don't get totally out of touch during NS. It's a nice gesture, but I don't think expensive hardware can be/should be brought to camp. Man, it would be great to read e-books and play a few games during long hours though.

Saturday, May 29, 2004


So anyway, here's my take on Perth, in case somebody out there actually wants to know.

Perth is a very laid-back, relaxed city. There's a lot to see, a lot to do, things to touch and experiences to be had, but it's incredibly peaceful and quiet, especially after 5 o'clock (there's no nightlife whatsoever). So, it's a good place to settle down and live... when you're 60. Thrill seekers, look elsewhere.

The shopping here is decent, nothing compared to Hong Kong or Malaysia though. You can buy some interesting Australian-themed souvenirs. Kangeroo scrotum (said to bring good luck, except for the original owner) comes to mind. A wide selection of "indigenous artifacts", made by real tribespeople, is also available, which include paintings, digeridoos, boomerangs and ... rocks. Also check out the local foodstuffs. Fremantle (a town right next to Perth) is a port town, so there's plenty of delicious fresh fish and other seafood available. Chocolate, ice-cream and any dairy-based products are also good, because the cows are right next to the factory.

A highlight of my vacation there was the 1-day tour of Perth. A charming and fat gentleman, called Ron took us to see a wildlife park, a chocolate factory (free chocolate tasting), a vineyard (wine tasting), a fruit store, a convienience shop, a boat cruise and finally his own house. That's right, his own house. Where he cooked a very tasty bbq lunch for us. His mom showed us his 3 story house (located on prime waterfront land, with a glorious view) and his personal yacht.

It turns out Big Ron's a multi-millionaire.

What a mess

I tried porting over the project to use JME, but it's been surprisingly difficult so far. Surprising because most of the original code was ripped off from there in the first place. Now I've reached what appears to be a dead end.

Here's some background info on the project: It's a Java game project designed for multiplayer, originally created for a school project. It makes use of the lwjgl project, to allow 3d graphics and sound. Features of our project include:

- "Martian" terrain with textures
- 3D player models, which were stolen from polycount
- Powerups
- Multiple weapons deal out death and destruction
- In-game chat
- Lobby system where you can set up a game with others

Right now, what I'm trying to do is to replace the in-game engine with JME, because it has a lot of cool features and special effects.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Back from holidays. Nothing except National Service to look forward to now. At least I have the spare time to work on the game project.

Eclipse came out with a new version recently. The most obvious changes are the appearance of the interface, and code folding (you can hide any block of code away).

On my todo list today is to write some JUnit tests for the project. Not sure how to proceed with this one, but I just like the idea of having automated tests filter out bugs at the touch of a button.

Friday, May 21, 2004

I was originally going to post a short blurb on the different Java IDEs out there, but I realized that it's a highly personal choice. There's no real killer feature that distinguishes one from another. The IDE I'm using right now is Eclipse.

A short guide to getting Eclipse running from scratch:
1. Go to the downloads page on the website.
2. Click on the main download site
3. Select the latest version available(currently 3.0M8)
4. Select your operating system.
5. The download will start now.
6. Unzip the file to any location you choose
7. In the eclipse directory, double click on "eclipse.exe". It's the one with an eclipse icon.

Eclipse will start up immediately. No installation required. At this point, you may want to create a shortcut for Eclipse on your desktop or start menu.
I would definitely recommend going through the help contents, which can be accessed from the "Help" menu bar. For standard users, you can go through the "Workbench User Guide" and the "Java Development User Guide".

I'll be taking a short vacation in Australia with my family. Be back next week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

So, we had a meeting to discuss our group project yesterday. I think we must have spent 5 minutes total in discussion. Then we went to play street soccer.

I'll be watching Troy later on. I hope it's good, the last movie I watched was Van Helsing.

A good site to visit if you like technology in general is Ars Technica. The site mainly covers news in the IT world, but they also branch out into a lot of interesting directions. Be sure to take a look at their forums too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Finding this site really made my day. I love this show.

A group of friends and I will be meeting up today, with the pretext of discussing our games project. I predict that the day will be spent playing Winning Eleven 7, and then some real football later on.

I really need to get some proper sleep now, seeing myself in the mirror scares me (hello outbreak of pimples, didn't see you yesterday. have you met mr.dark rings around my eyes?)

Open Source software

Most of us, at one time or another, have installed pirated software on our computers, or perhaps distributed it to others. Even in the world of business, this is a fairly common practice for small to medium companies. A recent example comes to mind.

While I'm not going to discuss whether this is right or not, an alternative to casual piracy is to use software released for public use. For instance, instead of cracking that copy of Winzip or Winrar that you downloaded, why not try 7-zip, which is free for public and commercial use? It supports all the major formats you will find on the internet today, and comes with it's own format which has very good compression.

Which brings me to the term "Open Source". Open source simply refers to software which has it's source code released. Anybody who wants to can download the code and modify it to suit their needs, or simply use it normally.

Are you just an average user? You can skip the paragraph below then.

Are you a software developer? If your code is based on open-sourced software, there is one thing to watch out for: the license. Yes, free software comes with a license too, though I'm not too sure what happens if you actually violate this license. If it comes with the General Public License, it means that any software you write using this product will become open source too. You will have to make your source code available to the public. The Lesser General Public License means you don't have to release your code. It's as simple as that.

I hope to cover some useful open source programs soon, together with a short guide on how to get them up and running. The biggest source of open software on the web is SourceForge.

One of my fantasies is to start a software company based on free software, because I'm an incredible cheapskate.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I've been tired and dull the whole day. I planned to put up some links to a few open-source programs which I like, but I'm lacking the energy right now.

Today, my grandmother and auntie went back to their home, after a 2 week stay here. I kind of miss them already, we rarely get to see each other.

I also set up my free newsgroups account today. I only subscribed to a few interesting groups, but there are thousands of messages already. I'm using this program as the reader, it's very easy to use and doesn't require an install.

You can find lots of other small, useful programs in this article. If you're into music or recording, you can read the other articles on the site too.
Having just came back from the party, I find there's not much time left to write. (I'm dead tired). The party was fun, I had fun, everybody had fun.

In soccer news, the final day of the season has passed, and there were no surprise results to be had. Arsenal preserved their season-long unbeaten record, and the other two big teams, Man U and Chelsea, won their respective matches. I guess nothing significant really happened, except that Newcastle cinched their place in the UEFA cup. Congrats.

With Leeds relegation into the first division, I shall look forward to seeing how they perform next season. Life in the lower leagues is not to be seen as a setback, but a new experience. The only thing that I hope for is for them to put an end to their financial and management troubles. I'm really not a very demanding fan.

Over the coming 2 weeks, I will be writing on my experience of working on a computer game project. It used to be a school project, but my friends and I will be working on it on our free time now.

After those 2 weeks, I will be going to serve in the army. I'm going to miss my slacker's lifestyle.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Oh the thrill!

I've decided to add my voice to the millions of others out there.

More to come after I return from a school function.