Archive for the 'personal' Category

Happiness is…

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Loot from Rockville

America 101

Monday, March 5th, 2007

Many of you knew that I was moving to the US — I’ve been saying it for months. So, I finally made the move and am glad to announce that I’m officially here, and am settling in quite well.

Some photos are in order.

After spending a night at Aelvin’s place in NJ, I flew to Washington Dulles Airpot on Saturday 10th of February and arrived at the Hertz car rental to pick up my month-long rental car. I paid for an upgrade and they were nice enough to give me a 2007 Camry, only travelled 1,400 miles.

Next, I went to the apartment to sign the lease and get the keys to move in.

Living room looking at the balcony.


Washer and dryer nicely tucked in a closet




View from balcony

Same view on Valentine’s day

Same view on Sunday 25th Feb

View of my apartment block. My unit is the balcony on the third floor.

Across the street from my apartment compound.

When viewed from my balcony on Sunday.

Snow flakes on my car window while driving to work.

On the evening that I arrived, Les and Kim were nice enough to bring me an air mattress and Sony flat screen TV plus some essentials all the way from Baltimore. That was a life saver, thanks guys!

The first weekend was Chinese New Year and since Monday the 19th Feb was President’s Day. Seeing that it was a long weekend, I decided to drive up to NJ to spend with Aelvin and his family. It was a nice and quiet one, but I didn’t take any photos except on my way back (using my brand spanking new Blackberry Pearl):

Along Interstate highway I-95

In the tunnel near Baltimore

And if you’re curious as to what my place and surrounding is like, here’s a satellite view:

This satellite map shows you how to get from my apartment to my work place. Yep! 6 minutes and a traffic light later, I’m there!

That’s it for now!

Time Zones

Sunday, May 8th, 2005

I was confused by the astrological chart generated for me by, which says that my birth place (Kuala Lumpur) was in the GMT+7:30 time zone. That totally defies my knowledge about time zones. For me, Malaysia and Singapore are in GMT+8:00. Period. We have no Daylight Saving Time, so no complications there.

First thing I did was to do a binary search on’s atlas query tool, and found that thinks that on May 1st, 1982, Kuala Lumpur transitioned from +7:30 to +8:00.

So, I did a bit of research and learnt something. I stumbled upon Helmer Aslaksen’s page, which contains very extensive explanation of the history of the time zone and its influences in our region. It turns out that was right – at the time of my birth, Malaysia was observing +7:30. Now I feel really stupid.

I then remembered that the entire timezones(tz) database is on any UNIX system with glibc installed. To view information about your location, look for the appropriate geographical location under /usr/share/zoneinfo and use ‘zdump -v’ to view the complete history of transitions in your location. For example, to see Singapore’s time zone history:

$ zdump -v Asia/Singapore
Asia/Singapore  Fri Dec 13 20:45:52 1901 UTC = Sat Dec 14 03:41:17 1901 SMT isdst=0 gmtoff=24925
Asia/Singapore  Sat Dec 14 20:45:52 1901 UTC = Sun Dec 15 03:41:17 1901 SMT isdst=0 gmtoff=24925
Asia/Singapore  Wed May 31 17:04:34 1905 UTC = Wed May 31 23:59:59 1905 SMT isdst=0 gmtoff=24925
Asia/Singapore  Wed May 31 17:04:35 1905 UTC = Thu Jun  1 00:04:35 1905 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=25200
Asia/Singapore  Sat Dec 31 16:59:59 1932 UTC = Sat Dec 31 23:59:59 1932 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=25200
Asia/Singapore  Sat Dec 31 17:00:00 1932 UTC = Sun Jan  1 00:20:00 1933 MALST isdst=1 gmtoff=26400
Asia/Singapore  Tue Dec 31 16:39:59 1935 UTC = Tue Dec 31 23:59:59 1935 MALST isdst=1 gmtoff=26400
Asia/Singapore  Tue Dec 31 16:40:00 1935 UTC = Wed Jan  1 00:00:00 1936 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=26400
Asia/Singapore  Sun Aug 31 16:39:59 1941 UTC = Sun Aug 31 23:59:59 1941 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=26400
Asia/Singapore  Sun Aug 31 16:40:00 1941 UTC = Mon Sep  1 00:10:00 1941 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=27000
Asia/Singapore  Sun Feb 15 16:29:59 1942 UTC = Sun Feb 15 23:59:59 1942 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=27000
Asia/Singapore  Sun Feb 15 16:30:00 1942 UTC = Mon Feb 16 01:30:00 1942 JST isdst=0 gmtoff=32400
Asia/Singapore  Tue Sep 11 14:59:59 1945 UTC = Tue Sep 11 23:59:59 1945 JST isdst=0 gmtoff=32400
Asia/Singapore  Tue Sep 11 15:00:00 1945 UTC = Tue Sep 11 22:30:00 1945 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=27000
Asia/Singapore  Sun Aug  8 16:29:59 1965 UTC = Sun Aug  8 23:59:59 1965 MALT isdst=0 gmtoff=27000
Asia/Singapore  Sun Aug  8 16:30:00 1965 UTC = Mon Aug  9 00:00:00 1965 SGT isdst=0 gmtoff=27000
Asia/Singapore  Thu Dec 31 16:29:59 1981 UTC = Thu Dec 31 23:59:59 1981 SGT isdst=0 gmtoff=27000
Asia/Singapore  Thu Dec 31 16:30:00 1981 UTC = Fri Jan  1 00:30:00 1982 SGT isdst=0 gmtoff=28800
Asia/Singapore  Mon Jan 18 03:14:07 2038 UTC = Mon Jan 18 11:14:07 2038 SGT isdst=0 gmtoff=28800
Asia/Singapore  Tue Jan 19 03:14:07 2038 UTC = Tue Jan 19 11:14:07 2038 SGT isdst=0 gmtoff=28800

Notice the cut-off at the end of 1981, when Singapore shifted to GMT+8:00. I can’t seem to find any information on who is right – the tz database or Obviously, the tz database thinks that the transition from +7:30 to +8:00 was at Dec 31 16:30:00 1981 UTC.

Does your Windows box have this? (Use the time zone converter if you can’t get your hands on zdump, though you would have to perform a more superior algorithm than binary search to find out the transitions from this tool.)

More Burnt Food

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

What’s with me and burning the food I cook? First, it was the Kebab, now it’s the Sargent’s pie:

Burnt Pie

The thing I don’t understand is, how come the branded part is unaffected?

Not everything is bigger in America…

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

South Africa Adaptor

Went out to Paddy’s Market to buy a travel adaptor for South Africa in preparation for tomorrow’s trip to the ICANN meeting at Cape Town, imagine my horror1 when I saw this. The American plug looks puny beside it.

1 Actually, I almost felt violated.

I got my first donation!

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

A BIG THANK YOU to Michael Mills for his generosity! Actually, this entry is way overdue, I received it on the 8th July but have been too lazy to blog it (yes, we can definitely see a trend here.)

Some time ago, I started to use the PayPal’s “Make a donation” feature to accept donations for some of my projects. I did it partly to see if an open source software developer could actually get enough to buy some coffee and pizzas from donations. Well, looks like the answer is a Yes! (US$25 = plenty of 3-in-1 coffee and Domino’s pizzas)

Blog is being upgraded.

Monday, June 7th, 2004

Just upgraded bBlog to version 0.7.3. Lots of new features. Loving it…

Since the template format is not quite compatible with the old version (0.6), I’m forced to use the default template for now.. which is much better than the old version’s default, so I’m happy to live with it for a while until my new templates are baked.

Oh, and I just installed Zeitgeist too =)

Broadband, at last.

Friday, May 14th, 2004

After a long period of 56K modem, we’re finally up and running with the Optus ADSL service. A broadband price war is going on here in Australia. Yes, it’s a bit slow, I know. But that’s the way it is down below. (sorry, can’t help it!)

The reason why it took us so long is many fold: first we had to wait 2 weeks for our phone line to be activated, then another week for the ADSL to be activated on the line and for the modem to arrive. Then we had to miss the courier who delivers our ADSL modem thrice, first two times because our intercom was faulty so we couldn’t hear him, and the third because the courier company screwed up. Arse luck.

When we finally do get it, we often get dropped out of the network due to “an unexpected outage”, or so I was told by the technical support guy after holding for an hour.

Just a glimpse of the crap I have to deal with sometimes. It’s not all bad though, we’re making progress, at least the real estate agent got the door bell fixed :)

I don’t miss dialup at all.

Burnt Kebab

Saturday, May 1st, 2004

The other day I decided to buy some Lebanese bread (Guildford being a Lebanese town, these are dirt cheap here) and make myself some kebabs. So I chopped some garlic, onion and tomatoes, cheese, a fat sausage, sprinkled them on a round lebanese bread and put it under the grill. Went to brush up, came back and found thick smoke coming out of the oven. Here’s the result after salvaging the stuffing:

Take a closer look…

I learnt that:

  1. The oven is pretty powerful.
  2. Never leave the grill unattended.
  3. Lebanese bread burns easily.
  4. It’s better to buy kebabs from downstairs.


Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Life’s too good and I find myself playing nethack again. First I tried looking for it in my FreeBSD VM, I thought they used to distribute it in the default installation… nevermind I found Rogue and was playing it for a while. Then I went to download the windows version of nethack so I can play it without having to fire up VMWare.

I’m now using the IBMGraphics option, which looks pretty darn good! I’ve also managed to get PuTTy to display the IBM line drawing characters properly by going to the “Translation” item, select “CP437″ under Character set translation and select “Use font in both ANSI and OEM modes”. Also, I needed to use “Courier New” or “Lucida Console” fonts with the “Central European” script to make it look right.