Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Monday, 11 April 2011

To Our Most "Honored" MPs

To our most "honored" MPs who:

- want to build a new "palace" while thousands of schools are literally in ruins,
- watch porn while on a parliament sitting,
- insist that "comparative studies" must be done abroad on a regular basis,
- have the nerve to say they represent the people.


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Merapi - The View From Over Here Part 3

Total blackout again last night. I had a lot of text messages and phone calls last night with contradicting news, but confirmation shows no signs of worsening conditions. On the contrary it seems Merapi has calmed down a bit, but news still say that the worse may have yet to come.

Being just outside the 20 km danger zone, some of my neighbours have opted to evacuate for the night for fear of expanded danger zone and lack of news (having no electricity). They have come back home again this morning, but we're all ready to evacuate if things get worse.

I've got people asking about the residents of Panti Asih, Pakem. Well, I've just got news: they're all safe. They were evacuated to a seminary just north of Yogyakarta's Ring Road (Anging Mammiri Seminary). There were 72 people. 51 of them have since been taken home by their families, which leaves 21 people still taking refuge in the seminary.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Merapi - The View From Over Here Part 2

Last night we had the largest eruption so far. We had a total blackout until this morning, and it rained sand and ash. The rumbling of the mountain can be heard until dawn. Danger zone is increased to a radius of 20km. My friends who live higher up have evacuated already.

Masks are highly recommended now.

I had taken some pictures, but with internet connection being totally unstable and slow, I'll upload it later.

Pics uploaded. You can clearly see the ash buildup from Thursday night's ashfall. And this is mild compared to other places.

I went for a ride through the city at Friday afternoon (had to take my parents to the train station), and it was like driving through the desert. Ash and dust everywhere. Visibility is limited, although not too dangerous yet, and lots of vehicles look like they've just been through a cross country rally. Rain helped to settle the dust, but once it dries up, it's going to get dusty again.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Merapi - The View From Over Here

I just took this picture a moment ago from my room balcony:
Here's a closer view, where you can clearly see the mountain spewing volcanic ash into the air:
While my neighbourhood is still lucky enough not to receive hazardous volumes of volcanic ash, the people in the city have not been as lucky in the past few days. Therefore I'd recommend anyone traveling to the vicinity of Yogyakarta to have a mask handy, just in case.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Mid-Brain Activation, Full Brain Deactivation

Last week, a message came through my IM from my cousin. He asked a simple question, "Do you believe in this mid-brain thing?". I've read something about it, because it seems to be all the rage nowadays here in Indonesia, and I replied (always the sceptic), "No, looks completely like hokum to me." He agrees.

His question did spark an interest in me to investigate more on this matter. So I went to thelocal mid-brain activation organisation website, and read about their claims of creating little geniuses, with their proof being the ability to read blind-folded (BFR for short, and includes coloring pictures while blindfolded) and Dermo-Optical Perception (DOP). Well, coincidentally, I've done some (totally unscientific) experiments of my own a few years ago about DOP (I'll share the results later on).

In short, they claim that humans only use 3% (THREE!!!) of their brain, and activating the mid-brain will magically increase that number. See here for the source (in Indonesian language. Bad Indonesian language. Bet you expected a bunch of geniuses to be able to write well, huh?). Synopsis in English: Outrageous claim here, outrageous claim there (all claimed to be very scientific, of course). Add some misspelled names of some experts that have nothing to do with it to add credibility. Add some more outrageous claims of success all over the world (for which I haven't seen a single proof - not even one linky). Basta!

Now, of course all those claims don't mean anything without pics. You know, the interwebs demand it (Pics, or it didn't happen!), so here we have some nice pics, courtesy of Indonesia's finest forum. I wanted to take some from their own gallery, but they seem to have taken every pic out of their site. Anyway, here you go:

Blind-folded bike riding.

Coloring pictures while blind-folded

Using the computer blind-folded

Notice anything strange in the pictures above? *Wink, wink* I bet their accuracy would drop to nearly 0% if you exchange their blindfolds with opaque-painted swimming glasses. It seems all they "activate" is your child's cheating and lying skills... Wow! Teach your kids how to lie and cheat, only for $350! That's a bargain...

OK, then. Now to my experiment about DOP. Far from their claim of being able to "sense" color with their fingertips, I found out that I could "sense" light not just with my fingertips. The downside is that it must be done at night. It doesn't work in bright daylight. I could sense a small lightbulb with my skin from about 1 metre away. Or a bright LED light from about 2 metres away. No sensing of colours on a piece of paper though. How does it work? The small light bulb in my experiment emits heat and light in a focused direction. Therefore, my skin is able to feel the small heat radiated by the bulb, and the bright LED light is bright enough to penetrate my eyelids, so i see a faint light, even when I close my eyes. No fancy tricks needed, no brain activation needed (and it's certainly not DOP in the literal sense).

Regardless of what these self-proclaimed "experts" say, I use 100% of my brain (no activation needed, thank you). Just not all at the same time. That's why you won't see me reading, writing, solving a math equation, inventing the next best thing since sliced bread, playing football, and reciting Cicero's Catiline Orations all at the same time. Not that it would be a pretty sight to see anyway...

Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?
How long, O Catiline, are you to abuse our patience? And for what long duration will that madness of yours mock us? To what end will you throw your unbridled audacity around you?

Thursday, 28 January 2010

iPhail, Mr. Jobs?

Got an e-mail from Apple this morning. The same that millions of others also get, iSuppose. Apple's launching the iPad. I've heard (or read) the rumours about it for quite some time. It was supposed to be the next best thing since bread came sliced. "This Will Be The Most Important Thing I've Ever Done." said a certain Mr. Jobs. "Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price". O, rly?

Reading up about this magical and revolutionary device that has Apple's most advanced technology (at an unbelievable price to boot!), iFound nothing magical or revolutionary about it. It's nothing more than an oversized iPod Touch. Yep. Mr. Jobs said this thing was supposed to be better than a laptop at doing several key things and better than an iPod Touch at everything. iDon't think so. Unless the key thing is weight, of course, but then it wouldn't be better than an iPod Touch (which weighs a lot less than the iPad, obviously).

I haven't had a hands-on with this thing (nor am I even interested), so I've gobbled up some points from the interwebs as to why iThink this device is an iPhail.

1. Name.
Whoever in their right mind would name a product iPad? Do they even know what people would associate it with? And the way Mr. Jobs said it's more "intimate"... So, iPad and "intimate". What's the first thing that comes to your mind? MadTV's spoof from way back in 2006 seems to have it bang on. Time to hire a new marketing team, Mr. Jobs? Maybe look for someone who actually does research before deciding on a product name?

2. No multitasking.
One question to 1 Infinite Loop: Why? iCan't work while listening to music and having IM applications running in the background? Or maybe not even be able to work effectively at all?

3. Keyboards.
'Nuff said.

4. Storage Capacity.
Wait, isn't this device supposed to be "the best way to experience the web, email, photos, and videos"? Where do I plug in my memory card from my camera? Where do I save my 8GBs a piece HD movies?

5. No Flash support.
I hate flash. But the fact is, almost every site on the interwebs uses flash. So, the best way to experience a flash ridden website is to not show it at all. Way to go, Apple! Apparently, even Mr. Jobs' keynote showed error boxes instead of flash animations when he opened up The New York Times.

6. iTunes.
How does this work? Can i sync other devices from the iPad, or is it just a giant, oversized iPod that syncs from a computer?

7. Price.
Yep, it's unbelievable, alright... In the sense that iCan get a netbook for half the price and do more with it too...

8. Etc...
Google, anyone?

All in all, it's a beautiful device. But it looks like that's all it will be. Beautiful. I'm not an Apple hater. iHave and use a MacBook Pro. Before that iUsed an Acer TravelMac. I even have Mac OS X running on my AMD desktop. But that doesn't mean iHave to be a Jobsian fanboy who buys everything that 1 Infinite Loop churns out.

The iPad is nothing more than an oversized iPod and e-Book reader to me. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm sure Jobsian fanboys will bash me and say that the App Store will add more functionality to the device, just like it has done with the iPhone and iPod Touch. Sure, but just like the iPhone, why buy a half-baked device at an "unbelievable" price and spend even more for apps that add capabilities that should have been included in the first place? iThink I'll pass, thank you.

As an end note, iThink Youtube Hitler sums up the iPad nicely... ;)