Hazardous Advertisements
Friday, April 29, 2005
I don't know about you guys, but I get distracted by my own radio while driving. In the past, there used to be some telco advert that had a Nokia monotonic, Standard Message Alert tone (which goes "beep beep, beep beep") in it. On a coupla occasions, I was driving when this ad came on air and guess what, I thought it was my phone that rang. It doesn't matter what I did next, my point is that I got distracted.

Recently, there's this ad that has honking sounds somewhere in it (not sure if it's an advert, could be some community service message). And if I may also add: It sounds really real. I've heard it on air a few times, and each time I always got punk'd (I only listen to radio in car; rarely turn on my radio at home). What I mean is that, actually there wasn't any car that honked - it came from the radio. Today, for the first time, that particular ad really got to my nerve.

I was changing lanes - to the right. Traffic was heavy, a bumper-to-bumper crawl. Then this particular 'frantic-sounding' honking noise was heard, while I was still in between the two lanes. I thought some car at the back was honking me (hey, you'd never know the reason - it could be any sign, like trying to tell you that you're about to hit something, or someone). I reacted by slowing down, checked my right-side mirror (all done within a span of probably one second). The next thing I knew was I got punk'd by my own radio (the subsequent dialogue lines cut in).

Concentration and focus while driving, I believe, are essential to prevent accidents. Radio adverts like these are potentially hazardous. Yes, they're attention-grabbers (successful marketing, as the advert guys say) - but hazardous. Another reason why I want an iPod with integration kit for my car (iPod in-vehicle use).
Post - Robocon 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
The Robocon 2005 was a real eye-opener. Some teams spent as much as hundreds of thousand of ringgit on their robots, about 10 times more than the amount of money we pumped into our project. Standard had improved significantly since Robocon 2004; and more teams joined this time around. As a newcomer, we carried cameras snapping photos of other teams' robots, hoping to learn and gather design ideas (for future reference). Some teams didn't like it, so they covered their bots with cloths. For other teams, their robots' designs may reveal their strategy - hence the secrecy.

The area where teams prepare their bots was crowded, really hot during the afternoons, and poorly guarded (yes, PWTC, that was). No air-conditioner - It was outdoor. Working environment was hell. It was something like an F1 weekend in Sepang - Hot sun with teams preparing their machines. Some teams even lost their notebooks. There was a quarter-finals rematch between MMU Malacca and one of the UTM teams due to incorrect results and poor judging. Oh well... When I heard that Malaysia's gonna host the international-level Robocon next year, even my toes were laughing (comparison: previous hosts include Korea, Japan and Thailand).

Most of the judges were SIRIM officials. I'd consider the Robocon to be a prestigious event - But the organisers sucked at running the whole thing. Their delays (thank goodness it wasn't a live telecast) caused the whole event to be draggy, and that frustrated participants as much as it annoyed the audience. The emcees could have been better - Probably should learn up what 'sarcasm' and 'insults' mean. Every team had tried and did their best, and their efforts should never deserve insulting remarks. The fact that it's going to be aired on TV1 has its pros and cons, actually. It's not good because few watch RTM1 (you can't deny this, honey). On the other hand, it is good because at least the world doesn't know how poor we run events like this.

Organisers aside, the teams that took part were very good - especially the serious title contenders. Team MMU Malacca seemed promising, but so were the teams from UTM, UKM and UPM. Some teams displayed commendable sportsmanship - shook hands and patted shoulders after a match. I was impressed, really impressed by some of their robots' speed, agility, the ability to shoot a projectile (*ahem* UTM did this), creativity and technology. Our campus does not provide mechanics labs, hence the manual-handsaw method (cutting aluminum). We're satisfied, nonetheless - cuz we won and lost one game each. Hope to join again next year.

Special thanks to our seniors and lecturers, who patiently taught and guided us for the past 6 months.

Living Gem's nobody-should-be-at-lost policy:
1. SIRIM - Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (darn, just realised that I had to Google for this. I doubt that the emcees/presenters knew what S-I-R-I-M stands for, too)
2. PWTC - Putra World Trade Centre
3. UTM - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
4. UPM - Universiti Putra Malaysia
5. UKM - Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
6. MMU - Multimedia University (don't ask me why are there two "M"s)
Typically Mirc
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
I hadn't chatted on MIRC for a very long time. Today, I joined #malaysiabloggers on DALnet for a look-see. At the same time, I also explored other local channels. Felt so young again - Chatting with total strangers on the main channel, as well as privately. I like MIRC for its simplicity. So simple that a chat could last for only three lines (and I'm not talking about bots auto-messaging and stuff):

MIRC in Malaysia, whether you like it or not, requires you to be gender-specific almost all too often. Get the idea?
Telling Signs
Friday, April 08, 2005
You know your friend is having exams when you notice that he/she:

1. has unusually more (visible) zits around the face (think 'pizza-face')

2. goes to be later than 1.30am

3. wakes up at about 8.30am in the morning and begins studying

4. has panda eyes throughout the day

5. talks about Laplace Transform during a meal

6. stock up the kitchen with packets of Maggi Mee (or loaves of bread)

7. can't be bothered to shave (for guys)

8. brings along a piece of paper to lunch (with formulaes written on it)

9. goes great lengths to obtain extra tutorial solutions (solutions from a variety of sources provide better understanding)

10. doesn't update his/her blog
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