Thursday, 29 July 2010
A couple of notes I wanted to add:
Firstly, I don't think it's worth the time digging through 1,174 posts. There's just too many posts to go through, I cannot be bothered to do something that will only benefit 1, if any, viewer out there. It's just not worth my effort. So, what I've done is to tag approximately the last 100 posts.
Secondly, I have to admit, I'm not very good at "retrofitting tags", so it's not exactly a brilliant job, if I were honest, but I'm quite happy to see that at least I do have a proper tag cloud, with tags of different sizes representing the number of posts with that given tag. So, I hope that as I blog more often, the cloud would change in different ways.
Thirdly, the load times is around 24s on my iPhone and iPad (on a DSL connection). It's 6-12 seconds on my Mac (cache not cleared). That's in comparison to Mr Stanley Ho's 4-10s (same conditions - cached). So, yes, I admit, my blog is not the most streamlined it can be. I've come to the conclusion that it's due to the way Blogger loads the elements - it tends to load 3rd-party elements (e.g.: the last.fm image in the sidebar) at a slower rate than their main elements - the posts, for example. I think this problem would be solved if I were to switch to a blogskin rather than the stock Blogger template. But since I just changed to a new layout, I thought you wouldn't mind waiting a bit longer to access my blog. I promise you, the next time I make a change to the blog design, I'll make sure it's a speedier experience. But for now, do bear with the slowdown. Or just use Facebook/RSS/Safari Reader.
K. That's all for now!
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
I thought I'd share what my diary looks like over the next few weeks/months...
Of course, all these are tentative and subject to changes. That goes without saying, right?
Right, then. [btw, if the spacing between lines and my spelling looks wrong, blame it on the fact that I'm not on my usual keyboard - I'm using my bro's office PC, and it feels a bit weird to type on, plus Firefox on his PC behaves a bit funny - when I press the 'enter' (or 'return') key, the cursor doesn't follow.]
I'm still discussing my Singapore get-away trip with my parents, but if they're are fine with the plan, then I'll be visiting SG 5th to 10th August 2010. My parents will be coming along from 5th to 8th (because they think I'm 6, in spite of the fact that I did book and stay in a hotel alone when I went to Birmingham and Manchester), after which I'll be on my own to do whatever I want to do.
That's assuming I can get my Japanese Visa in time, because apparently, due to timing and availability reasons, our family decided not to go to the States this Lebaran. Instead, we'd be bound for Japan and Hong Kong. I was kinda upset - that means I can't cross anything out from my Bucket List yet. But nevertheless, I'd still try to apply for my US Visa on 25 August - that's when my appointment with the US Consulate staff is due.
Aside from that, I also have to apply for my UK Tier 4 Student Visa. Submitted the online application form, and call me kiasu, but I've even booked an appointment for 30 August. This is in spite of the fact that I am still lacking one crucial document (amongst others) - the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter number. That's not supposed to come out till the University has made their offer to me Unconditional Firm, and that can't happen until my results are out. That'll happen on 19 August. So, between now and then, it's the waiting game.
So, in summary:
5-10 Aug: SG trip (tbc)
19 Aug: A Level Results are out
25 Aug: US Visa Appointment
30 Aug: UK Visa Appointment (tentative, likely to change to an earlier date, since the US embassy does allow us to hold on to our passports while the application is in progress, albeit for emergency reasons only.)
4-15 Sep: Japan/HK trip (rough dates)
25 Sep: Uni Orientation starts.
Monday, 26 July 2010
You know... those blogs that were edited by multiple users. Collaborative projects?
Blogs like the 4SA'08 Class Blog (4saints08.blogspot.com).
Or the 4SB'08 Class blog (forassbee.blogspot.com).
Or maybe the 4SA'09 blog (4saeba.blogspot.com).
How are they now?
Well, see for yourself!
Oh, do look at the tagboard. And maybe, just for fun, post something in the tagboard.
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Monday, 19 July 2010
I seriously think visas are just some form of protectionism - people pay money for their application, only to find out they applied too late / didn't have the right supporting documents / can't afford to travel because of the application fees. We probably won't get back the application fees, and they avoid having us people in their country.
This is one form of bureaucracy that has dogged me whenever I want to travel. And it's not like the process is one that makes you feel welcomed in the country you plan to visit, either - you must submit a straight-faced photo of yourself, give them your biometric prints, and miss work/leisure time to wait a lot in a grim embassy office/building (often an office in an apartment, because they're too cheap to make a respectable building), before you can actually show the embassy staff your application form, only to be let known if you passed or failed the "visa acid test".
Nowadays, of course, you can fill in your application form online. But don't be fooled. The process is still not futuristic - you have to search for a PDF file in a website that probably looked modern in the Netscape days, and you have to print the PDF on paper - so much for environmental awareness. Then, you have to remember to bring the printed forms to the embassy. Forget that, even if it's a single page, and you're in deep trouble.
Oh, did I mention you have to book an appointment? Most often, the embassy opens in the most unhappy hours - my appointment with the US embassy, for example, is 7.30AM. And because I live in the North of Jakarta, while the embassy is in the central/South area, I'd have to try and beat the jams. Otherwise, I'd have to come back another day.
Embassies' consular services seem to open for 4 hours a day - 8am to 12am for the UK Visa application centre in Jakarta. I've been wondering why it's only open for such short hours, and why only in the morning, aside from security reasons. I don't know if the postal system have anything to do with the short opening hours, or maybe it's laziness, but who cares - I find it bloody annoying. If they open for more hours (I'm staring at the US embassy folks here), maybe they can serve more people in a day and have less of an appointment backlog that goes into the next century. Oh, maybe hire more staff as well? I know the US is trying to cut their budgets (well, not really, are they?) but I suspect the cost of taking on more staff will be less than the benefit of having more tourists and visitors enter your country.
The whole visa application process kind-of makes you feel second-rate. I understand they do certain things for certain reasons - the funding test is to see if we'll be milking from their benefits system, when we shouldn't be. The biometric scans and photo go into their databases for criminal investigation purposes - I'd want the authorities in the country I'm visiting to know who I am and where to send me if I were to end up in an accident. But sometimes, I wish the process was a bit more human and a bit less bureaucratic.
Oh, by the way, stop asking questions like "Have you done anything that may not characterise you as a person of good nature?". Who, in their right mind, would say "YES I AM A MENACE NOW GIVE ME MY VISA"? (That's not shouting, that's block letters - forms must be filled in in block letters, right?) I mean, come on, I seriously think the IQ level of terrorists are way higher than the person who though up this question. Maybe it's a cold or sleep deprivation that caused that question to go through, but can we not have such things?
On second thought, keep that question there. It certainly brightened my day/night when I read that question, thinking "LOL what if I said YES for eating meat from animals?". All sorts of scenarios of behaviours that may be perceived as 'bad' pop up in my head - stepping on ants, stealing the moon, taking candy from a baby, kiasuism, irrtating people, being lazy, etc. What if someone repents their sins in a visa application form and answered "Yes"? What would the immigration staff do?
Oh darn, maybe I should have answered "Yes"!
Heck. It's just bureaucracy.
Friday, 16 July 2010
lat night, and the fact that I didn't brush my teeth.
That got me thinking - brushing your teeth - why is it that I choose
not to do it, even though I know from experience what could happen if
I choose not to do so?
Well, I have a theory about this, so strap in, behavioural economists.
As a teenager (whose parents don't really police me anymore on whether
I brush my teeth or not), I can choose for myself whether I'm brushing
my teeth or not. I know that the cost of not brushing my teeth will be
a sore throat the next day.
However, last night, I chose to ignore the cost, because I didn't
really think about it. Furthermore, I didn't really care at that time,
whether I have a sore throat the next day or not. You could say this
is a case of discounting the future - the future cost of not brushing
is just not significant enough at that time to make me drag myself to
And besides, the tap water in my house smells fishy, which just isn't
right. So in my case, the act of not brushing my teeth, which seems
irrational, is actually rational.
Gosh, I love behavioural economics!
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, 15 July 2010
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Friday, 2 July 2010
I'm trying to see if I can actually serve up a different 'UI' for mobile web browsers (i.e.: Android, iPhone and iPad browsers) from the standard PC browser. It might be a huge challenge, but hey, I have time.
Watch this space!
•I will score 3 As for my A Level. [tbc]
•I will get to a University. Either Warwick, or Exeter, if not Manchester. [Highly likely]
Score so far: 1/2
Athletics & Fitness
•I will log 250km of runs in 2010 on Nike+. [35.9 done. Not good. To be fair, there were a few unlogged runs due to sensor issues. Still, I have to admit, I've not been running much due to the peculiar English weather and the exams.]
•I will run a 10K in under 1 hour. [Far from it]
•I will try to run a full marathon in 2010. [Even further from it]
•I will keep my weight under 75kg. [So far, so good]
Score so far: 2/6
Charity & Church
•I will help at least 5 homeless people in Brighton directly [Safehaven!]
•I will work at the charity shop for 100 hours in 2010. (I have to cheat a bit on this one - I didn't think I'd be doing other sorts of volunteer work, such as Safehaven and Production Team, so I've decided to include those in) [~50h in BHF + ~24h at Safehaven + ~26h on Production Team = 100h!]
Score so far: 4/8
•I will pass my practical driving test and get a full license. [Ha!]
•I will buy my first car. [Not likely]
Score so far: 4/10
•I will attend at least 2 live events/concerts/gigs in 2010. [Owl City, Brian Eno, that's 2. And later this year, I'm watching Imogen Heap!]
•I will join a music team, be it the church music team, or a choir in Uni. [I'm putting a 0.5 on this for joining the Production Team at St. Peter's. Technically, it's not what I meant, but it is a form of 'music team', so 0.5]
Score so far: 5.5/12
Tech, Art & Social Networking
•I will not buy any more Apple products. No iPods, iPhones, Macs, iSlate, etc. Only provision allowed: An Apple Remote, since mine is a bit wonky. [iPad]
•I will finish my short film project by the end of 2010. [Oh wait, I did that slow-mo thing! That's a short film of sorts!]
•I will get a new Time Machine HDD. [Not yet. Probably will when I'm in SG]
•I will post at least 200 blog posts. [currently 47. Not even 50%, is it?]
•I will post my 2,000th tweet in 2010. [As of posting, it's 1423, so this one's a no-go.]
•I will get my 5,000th view on my Flickr Page. [Yes]
•I will increase the number of uploads I have on Flickr to 400. [Yes]
Score so far: 8.5/19
•I will visit 6 UK cities in 2010. [Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Exeter, Brighton&Hove, London]
•I will go to at least 4 countries [Indonesia, Singapore, UK - yep. TBC: Malaysia, USA (New York), China (Shanghai)]
Score so far: 10.25/21
Well, that's almost 50%, isn't it? And it's only the first half of the year, so who knows! As the Netherlands vs Brazil game has shown, anything can happen after the second half!
Oh wait, that was a football reference. From me - a person who claims to have no interest in football whatsoever. Surely, that deserves another point on my New Year's Resolution Scorecard!
Oh, speaking of football, erm, may I recommend these 2 links which have been in my address bar, which I thought you may like as well?
First up, if you're interested in predictions and psychic animals, well, have you heard of Paul the Octopus? Well, The Huffington Post has this story which you should read.
"I think I might call Nelson Mendela,To see if he can order me a Vuvuzella(ella ella eh eh ...)"