Good News is in (at least for me)!

Wow long time no update, right?

Actually I was waiting very patiently for my application result(s), and it just came in on the 2nd day of this month.

Ho Ho Ho.... Guess what? I got an early chrismas gift from University of Illinois.. (UIUC) Woohoo!

I finally decided I want to get a Master of Finance degree and UIUC is my top choice. (To tell you the truth, I haven't applied to other universities haha)

Although UIUC is on the 2nd tier (ranking #24-28), its Finance department has a lot of wonderful professors and its location is good in term of job prospect (near Chicago) --- so I am very very happy I got admitted.

On the other note, I just bought 2 domain names -- and Now you can type in those address and it will redirect you to this blog.

PS. Happy Holidays Everyone!

When you have BAD Grades

If there is one true teaching of Buddha, it is this: what you did in the past will follow you long after you forgetten them.

Likewise, my bad karma is my grade.

When I was looking for the general requirement for Graduate Schools, I noticed that I couldn't get pass any of the GPA requirement (for top-tier school). I want to get in top schools nonetheless, so what should I do to fix this? Here are the choices I can think of:

1. Get another degree first
- In my country, this is called "chooptua" or (figurative) coating yourself with shiny new degree to hide the ugliness underneath. I prefer to think of it as cleansing and reinventing yourself. This is overall the most reasonable choice. However, you must be financially secure (rich) to do this.

2. Get a stellar score on GMAT,GRE,TOEFL, or any test that the schools accept
- this way is quite difficult for a normal person, but it won't be much of a problem if you are smart and diligent enough (very)

3. Get an outstanding letter of recommendation (preferably from a famous professor)
- A glowing letter can easily tips the scale of the application commitee. It is another way to say that "I have an evidences that I'm qualified, besides my grades."

4. Experiences in the field
- How important this is depends on your position, the company you work for, times spent, and the field you're going to apply.

For me, I've already got some of #4. I hope to do #2, then get into #1 which also make #3 possible,all the while reinforcing #4.


Another Cross-road in Life

After working for 2 years since graduation, I thought that I have accumulated enough working experience and office politics. I began to realize that being a code monkey (programmer) is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to explore other fields or careers. I also want to work abroad.

After some consideration, I thought that studying abroad would be my best chance. I get to see the world, which I wanted to do since I was a child, and the degree would make career change easier. It also enables me to work abroad.

So in order to do that, I resigned and started preparing for Graduate School.

However, choosing what to study has been more difficult that I expected. I know that I don't want to be JUST a programmer, but I don't know much about anything else. I also had dismal grades from my undergraduate adventures, but I decide that they will not limit my options.

Because of the high cost of Graduate Education, I take the decision very seriously. I asked myself what are the important criterias in choosing the field (that leads to a career), and came up with these 4 :

1. Interest - This is the most important values. I love challenges. I like the field that have a lot of them. I believe I can do any job in any field, but to do something for life, I must love doing it.

2. Environment - I cherish independence more than anything. The sheer thought of someone controlling me would destroy my productivity. Also, I like to be with smart people because they always have interesting things to say. (and also remind me how stupid I am)

3. Money (Family) - I want to earn at least enough money to feed my family. By feeding, I mean capable of supporting an upper middle-class family. I don't have an urge to have a big house or a fancy car, but in term of important things such as education, I want my family to have only the best.

4. Altruism - Lastly, I work for something that benefits mankind. No, I didn't mean it in a grand and dramatic way, but in a much smaller scale -- like having a shop in the neighbourhood so that people can buy stuff easier, or making a product that people can use.

Some of you might think that this is more like choosing a job than choosing a field, but I think they are all related. Some jobs are available in all fields, but some jobs aren't. Hence, we must find out what we like to do, in a particular field.

At the moment, I can picture myself doing these jobs: International Economist ( Economics), Financial Engineer (Finance), Software Architect (Computer Science), Psychologist (Psychology), Consultant (various fields), Researcher (various field), and Business Owner (MBA?)

I am very confused for the time being. I will definitely write up a new blog entry when I made up my mind.

Hell, I might be all of this combined -- An Owner of business which does research and give advices about International Financial Products (derivative securities) modeling. Hahahahahaa!

Have Faith in Facts

Do you think you are a reasonable person?
Do you think logically and base your decision on facts?

I used to think I'm quite a fact-based decider, but after reading Thomas Sowell's articles, I'm not sure anymore. (By the way, Thomas Sowell is a famous economist, and also my hero.)

Studies Prove: Part I
Studies Prove: Part II
Studies Prove: Part III

The articles are mainly about the decision that is based on "studies" or "evidence", is in fact not true at all. Many government funded studies, such as Global Warming, try to provide one-sided evidences that is conformed to what people want to believe.

Sowell himself used to read one scientific study which cited 6 other studies. He somehow doubted the validity of this study, and went to check all 6 references. Shockingly, he found out that these 6 references all cited the same other study! So he went to check that particular study, and to his horror, it was a study of a very different situation from the latest study (which cited it!)

So What should we do?

It would be time-consuming, and sometime impossible for the average person to check ALL the references. In other word, most of the time we have to trust the source that it is telling the truth.

But there are other method to make the right decision. You can make a lot of decisions until you find the right one. This is sometimes the best method because it actually saved more time and effort than to analyze the decision first.

Lately, I tend to notice that I use the study-it-first method for all the decision I made. I hoard data by reading books, interviewing people, and searching the internet before carefully making a decision. The result is, I am still wrong sometime, and it was VERY time consuming.

Perhaps, it is better to fail as much as possible, than attempting to succeed at the first try!

Minimum Wage Debate

It turns out that increasing minimum wage doesn't affect unemployment as much as we think, according to this article.

In fact, the power of the minimum wage to kill jobs has been greatly overestimated. Nowadays, most labor economists will tell you that that minimum wages have at most a tiny impact on employment.

Twenty years ago, they'd have told you otherwise. Back then, dozens of published studies concluded that minimum wages had put a lot of people (especially teenagers, blacks, and women) out of work.

As the studies continued to pile up, you might think we'd have grown more confident about their common conclusion. Instead, the opposite happened. Even though the studies were all in agreement, they managed to
undercut each other.

WoW Remash (Lord of the Ring Style)

Only the real World of Warcraft players will get it.

Some Reminder

For those desperate in life, and in GRE Exam....

Jessica Pierce: 1989-2006

Link worth visiting for Graduates-to-be

Usually I don't read slashdot because I think it is full of childish comments and flame wars, but this link is very worth the read.

If you are considering going to Graduate Schools, please read it, especially the comment section! There are so many good advices there that I didn't think it would be possible with slashdot.

The level of language

Today, while I was reviewing my GRE test on the verbal part, a question came up to my mind -- why are there so many words that mean the same thing?

For an example, today I struggle with "skulduggery","chicanery","trickster","swindler", which all means something about fraud. I think words like "skulduggery" would be used only once in a lifetime, while "fraud" would be used much more often.

There is really a level of language. An entire tier of words which are synonyms with another tier of words, only that it is more formal or more polite.I know that the Japanese language is like that. To say thing to your teacher instead of your friend, you have to use completely different sentences. In Japanese and in many other languages, it is the politeness or even privilege that makes language much harder, but also much more fun to use.

GRE Diagnostic test... BooHoo!

This is an essay I wrote for the GRE Diagnostic test.
Now I know that my brain is rusty beyond recognition, and if you disagree, just take a look at most of my old articles here..

Task 1: Issue Exploration (45 minutes)

“A person who does not thoroughly comprehend the technical side of a craft is incapable of judging it.”

Many craftsmen spent a lot of time honing their skills to make the finest products possible, so it is not surprising that they took great pride in their work. While most of us aren’t as skillful, we are still compelled to judge the quality of their work, and rightly so. This might sound unfair, but let me explain.

There are 2 types of skill needed to be a successful craftsman. One is making product, and the other is judging the quality of it. The first one is difficult to obtain, however, the latter can be learned much more easily -- sometimes we are born with it.

With that reason, someone who never cooks at all in his life can tell if the food is delicious or not. Or, in the same vein, many of us can judge about the quality of shoes, hammers, or a haircut. This mostly happens in the crafts that make functional products for people to use.

Also, there are other kinds of related skills, such as between an architect and a carpenter. An architect must design a building, but a carpenter has to build it. So, does an architect know more about carpentry than the carpenter? The answer is no, but they know enough to design it.

However, there are also exceptions, which is mostly in the field of art. One piece of art can generate a lot of different opinion, even from artists themselves. As someone has said, “the picture is worth a thousand words.” -- Unfortunately, the words are not the same for each person.

All in all, the person that can judge the craft correctly depends on which craft he’s judging. We should be careful to criticize something.

Physical Check

Well, today I woke up groggily at 6.30 a.m. in order to do a physical check at the hospital.

Why so early? Because when you need to give a blood sample, you can't eat or drink for 10/12 hours before that, and I get really hungry after 8 a.m., so it would be ideal to get this done fast.

the physical check program that I took is quite thorough, not only they check for normal things like blood pressure or a heart rate, there were also EKG, dental health, Hepatitis B virus, etc.

The hardest part about this, for me, is definitely the urine sample. this was arguable the hardest leak I ever took in my entire life. No kidding.

It started when they gave you the cup to fill your...liquid with, and then I headed to the bedroom. well, after standing there and trying to do it for 10 minutes, you will feel very silly. Question -- they prohibited you to drink any water for 12 hours, and then expect you to get it out more?

To make a long story short (no pun intended), it took me almost and hour to fill the cup, luckily I ask them to take the blood sample first, so I can drink more water -- make the process faster!

And after all assortments of test, 3 hours later, I got my result. Everything is normal, except my cholesterol is a little bit high. Me? I rarely eat anything oily. it must be genetics.

Economic Ignorance

Recently, someone forwarded the email to me, titled something like this -- "Save our country before it becomes a second Argentina." It refers to the economic collapse of Argentina, the country which money worth nothing.

Inside the email, the author had cited many examples how my country are acting just like Argentina before it collapsed. Most of it is about how we buy goods from foreign companies, or how foreigners are taking over many local companies.

One example is this --
"We should not buy things from Carrefour (French-owned?) because our local wealth will be transferred to foreigners and leave us with Nothing!"
"I myself buy all my stuff at local stores, even if they are more expensive, to support our country!"

Bullshit. This is sooo wrong on many levels...

the problem in question -- our money is flowing out to another country. Therefore we get poorer. We lose.

Now, the money is a paper. it's JUST a paper. What make it valuable is that we can buy something with it.

Ask yourself this, when we can buy the same thing at cheaper price, or buy more things at the same price, does it mean we get richer? And does it make our country richer?

In fact it does, in both questions. Because when another country can produces thing at a cheaper price -- ie. use resource more efficiently, both country will benefit from it.

I will try to explain it using example.

Japan and Ghana has never traded with each other before, but they're starting to. We will focus on 2 products which both countries currently produce -- Computer and Banana.

Japanese businessmen see that importing banana from Ghana to sell is much cheaper than buying from japanese banana farmers, so they imports a lot of it.

The result is many japanese can now buy more delicious and much cheaper banana. And the japanese farmers have to change to do something more profitable -- like planting rice.

On the other hand, Ghana businessmen also see that, Japanese computer are better and dirt cheap compare to its own country, so they start selling that instead.

You see what happen? in both countries, people are gettings better things at cheaper price, therefore better standard of living.

Whew... a little long read.

Me as a consultant?

Today I just refuse a very easy job with easy money. It was a consulting job for ERP implementation. I was hired to fix performance and others issues, but I quit (in a same day) after found out that I could do nothing about the problems.

Because it was all ERP software's fault, and I told them that they should try contacting the ERP software's tech support instead.

Damn, A title as a consultant would looks find on the resume, but I couldn't accept the job and do nothing useful. It wouldn't be fair to the employer.

Weird, huh?

Bought a new Graphic Card

After I the old card starting to act strange (rebooting several times), I rushed out and bought a new Radeon X1600 Pro for $130.

So Happy..

I Stop Counting

I think it's against the quality to forced me to blog everyday... but nevertheless, I will try to do so.

For today's news, my 2-years-old graphic card (Radeon 9100) seems to acting weird lately. Everytime I browse the net and use the mouse to scroll down the page, the card stopped working, making the screen turn black.

At first, restarting the machine made the problem went away, but only for a while. And the latest catalyst driver (6.5) didn't help at all.

It seems like the time to buy a new present for myself!

Day 56

You say it best... When you say nothing at all...

Day 55

I don't think I would ever see a flash site that is usable!

Day 54

Sometimes the work rushes you,
and sometimes you rush the work.

Day 53

Brazil will WIN the 2006 World Cup by beating Italy in the final game.

well..According to this...AI.

Day 52

Do older people write more than younger people
because they have something more (experiences) to write about?

Day 51

Leveling Up in Real Life...

Day 50

Start Programming (for Work) Again, hmm not fun as before, dunno why...

Day 49

Just watched "The Bourne Supremacy". This movie is so fast-paced I just feel the need to do everything faster.

Day 48

You definitely don't want to get stung by this.

"If a colony of about 30,000 European honeybees were to be attacked by 30 giant hornets, they would be wiped out in 3 hours. The hornets would enter the nest, kill the bees, and take their bodies home to their young. After a few successful trips, hornets rub a pheromone on the nest that signals other hornets to attack."

Day 47

Waking up early is more satisfying than sleeping late.

Day 46

Who is our friend?
Who is our enemy?

Day 45

Just came back from Country Trip.
It's so relaxing I don't want to go back to urban...

Day 44

Are you tired in a strange way?

Day 43

Why are you blogging?
Do you blog because you want other people to read it,
or because you want to read it yourself?

I'm in the first category, but lately, I've had a wonderful experience from reading my past archive. I found a lot that I've forgotten -- such as this. I couldn't write like that anymore.

It teaches me. Thank you, myself.

Day 42

What would happen if the hot countries get cold, and the cold countries get hot?
Would people change?
Would building change?
Would you move to another country?

Day 41

I'm now Manga-Deprived. I've read all of my manga, and no new one has come out...
So tempting to buy a new story!

Day 40

I've finish main quest of Elder Scroll IV: Oblivion.
Comparing with Morrowind, it's so much shorter -- like a walk through a park VS going cross-country biking.

Anyway, I'm bored so I got a new game to play already.

It's...It's....It's....WOW! (World Of Warcraft)

My account has been frozen since I stopped playing a year ago.
Has they wiped my characters?

I revived my account with anticipation, and found that..
everything is still there!

Viva la Blizzard!

Day 39

After you quitted your job, you should...

1. Get your reference letter (this should be before quitting)
2. Check if last months salary is correct (I got 22 days' worth)
3. Check if there's other money you should have recieved (like provident fund)
4. Go travel and relax!

Day 38

This is it. I have quitted my job.
Now I'm home, looking at my future.

What should I do?
What should I become?
Where should I go?
When will I do it?

Answering these question take some times.

Day 37

Eating Taro is fun but exhausting...

Day 36

I'm off to play games again.... I think I'm really addicted to it. Should I quit?

Day 35

I've been playing game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. And it's great fun!
It's a single player RPG with huge game world, great storyline, and great graphic.

My graphic card couldn't handle it though...(Radeon 9100 series)

Day 34

I've just handed in my resignation letter today, but it will be effective on 22 May 2006. It's weird because I didn't feel anything changed. Maybe it haven't sunk in yet.

Day 33

Do you work for money only, or do you also enjoy your job?

I first enjoy it, but now it's only for the money. Hopefully this will change soon....because I'll be looking for a new job!

Day 32

Need to recharge myself.....

Day 31

1 Month from Songkran Resolution

I had:
- Travel to Singapore
- Find out a little bit about myself
- still blog (almost) everyday!
- becoming independent

overall, good progress!

Day 30

Half Way There...

Day 29

Is Every Programmer a nocturnal person?
- Some get work done only at night
- Some must also have a beer first
- Some boost productivity by playing games

What kind of things you do to help boost your productivity?

Day 28

The future of game is here!

Wii: the new game console from Nintendo!

The internet is buzzing with this name -- What is it, actually? Here.

E3 2006 Nintendo Press Conference about "Wii".

Day 27

[manga] AirGear's #12 issue is out!

Day 26

Someone told me that it's not hard to make a decision right on the spot, even tough decisions.
Because, in reality, there are no tough decisions, it's only that you can't accept what you have decided.

Day 25

I feel little ashame when looking at someone else's blog. They're sooo much better than my ramblings..

Day 24

Came Back to Bangkok.Got told by a pilot when the plane landed:
We seem to be getting traffic jams, we are waiting 2 planes in front of us to clear the path. Sorry for your inconvenience..

LOL. Even the planes got stuck. I love Bangkok.

Day 23

I bought a postsecret book. So Happy!

Day 22

I am now at Singapore.

I just went here by myself, alone! I also planned my whole trip with no help too, isn't that amazing?

I never did something like this before. There were always someone to help me through everything. sometimes I think I can never grow up.

But this time, When I did everything myself, it really helped boost my confidence that I can do what I want to do.

It's so liberating to think that you can do anything you want now, by yourself.

Day 21

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.

Day 20

Do you know how to use To:,CC:, and BCC: in e-mail?
I just found out today and it makes one little gear in my head went click. So, for those who're as clueless as me, here's the explanation.

Day 19

LMAO! That just made my day!

Day 18

The thing that hurt us the most are indecisions.

Day 17

I have a weird life cycle nowaday -- sleep at 2-3 AM. , then wake up at 8 AM to eat breakfast, and then sleep again to finally get up at 1 PM.

Wash , Rinse , Repeat.

I think I'm actually a nocturnal creature.

Day 16

When will the computer do exactly what we think? We should be trying to find the natural user interface instead of typing in keyboard and using mouse to navigate.

Day 15

Coding All Day.

Day 14

Tired. Rest.

Day 13

more than half of my day, I sit in front of the computer. I think I'm getting too attached to it. When you started naming them, you know you went too far.

Day 12

I think right now my health is at the worst point in my life. My eyes hurt a lot these days. My legs don't work as it should. I am fat fat fat. I also have digestion problem (but since I was a child.)

Maybe I should take a nice, long break.

Day 11

KOTOR2 doesn't live up to KOTOR1's great storyline. I feel it was just mediocre..

Day 10


Day 9

Life is like a box of black chocolate, you never know what you will get. When you first ate it, it was very bitter, but later on you will learn to love the taste...

Day 8

I have a gift at one thing, but I try so hard to be good at others.

Day 7

A dust in my keyboard reminds me that everything needs rejuvenation.

Day 6

If you try to please everyone, you end up hurting everyone in the process.

Day 5

Every decision you made will either --

1. take you closer to the goal, or
2. take you away from it.

Always choose with the goal in mind.

Day 4

Opposable thumbs...

Day 3

My eyes really hurt today.

Day 2

Every Sunday, I enjoy looking at these Fresh, Secretive, and witty Postcards.
And that's my little secret.

Day 1

Where has all my time gone? think think.