Event ID 11

My Hard disk went a little foobar on one specific file. (downloaded from torrent)

When copying the file, it just freezes at 56% mark. And then several event logs of "Event ID 11" came up. From googling, it can be anything from motherboard controller, cable, or the harddisk itself.

This is the 2nd defect within 2 months of my Dell refurbished laptop purchase. I hope this is not a common occurrence, or else Dell should fire the whole QC department.

Another link about 10,000 hour practice

I always enjoy Khatzumoto's post about learning Japanese. His post is the motivation you need when you can't seem to go on anymore, and his post actually apply to anything else that is skill-based endavour.

This latest post is especially encouraging.

Although I think the innate talent is important (especially in the beginning), for most things the amount of work you put in will contribute much more to your expertise on the subject. Currently, there is only one exception that I can think of, and that is mathematician. For this one, talent rules all.

Lucky I don't want to be one.

Food Network Star

In America, everything is a competition. Even in cooking, if you want you can make a competition out of it.

Quite similar to "America's Next Top Model", the Food Network has its own show of future "cooking" TV personality. From the 2 episodes that I watched, it was done quite well. There are originally 8(?) contestant in total, and each week the committee will decide who will be cut base on their performance. The test they made each week is something related to being a cooking TV host -- like food knowledge, or performance in front of the camera.

In the latest episode I watched, there are 3 contestant left -- Aaron, Liza, Adam. I feel most comfortable with Aaron so I'm cheering for him.

Do work, get good

Ira Glass, American radio personality, has a sound advice for any person in creative career (actually any career)

Summary: You need to do at least 10 years of hard work before you will be able to make (great) stuff that you are satisfied with.

This reaffirms the 10,000 hour/10 years to proficiency theory. Also, he said the amount of work you do, [not the quality of work], that will make you better.

Metafilter: How to find your passion?

This is one of the advices at metafilter. I especially find this particular answer to be very deep and use, so I copied/pasted it here in case Metafilter delete it. [original post from grumblebee]

Is there a difference between "discover your passion" and "discover what you want to do"?

I ask because I hear people talk about their Passion (with a capital P), as if everyone has one whether they know it or not. As it it's a special glowing ball inside each of us. Yet I see no evidence that this ball necessarily exists.

To me, it's more likely that we have things we like and things we dislike. A like becomes a passion when it repeats with regularity. For instance, I like peaches, but I don't constantly crave them. So I wouldn't call peaches a passion. On the other hand, whenever I see a book, I want to read it. I like reading... I like reading... I like reading... So I'd call reading a passion.

Is there anything like this for you, even if it's something "stupid" (e.g. watching TV or eating poptarts)? If so, that a passion for you. If it repeats with great rapidity (and if the urge is very strong), then it's an obsession. (I can't keep my hands off my iPod. I think about it all the time. If I lose it, I panic.)

You don't get to chose your passions. Since passions are just intense likings, choosing a passion would be like choosing to like eating eggplant. You either like eating eggplant or you don't. Perhaps, if you don't like it, you can learn to like it. But RIGHT NOW, you either like it or you don't.

I've met some people who don't seem to have any strong passions. Some admit to this. They certainly have likes and dislikes, but nothing specific crops up over and over. In fact, some people dislike anything that repeats too often (you could say such people have a passion for novelty). Other people DO have passions (defined as I've done so, above), but they don't think of them as such. For many people, their passion is other people: passion for their kids, passion for their families, passion for helping others in need, etc....

Many people THINK they've discovered a passion when if fact they've only found a surface activity that lays atop their real passion. For instance, I love working in the theatre. At the risk of sounding holier-than-thou, I believe my passion is pretty "pure." In other words, my passion for theatre doesn't hide a deeper passion. I love theatre because I'm fascinated by the specific mechanics of telling stories on stage. When I'm not rehearsing a play, I will choose to read a book about theatre mechanics just for fun (for another dose of my obsession).

I've met others like me, but I meet far more theatre people who seem to be USING theatre to feed some deeper passion. (Please note that I'm NOT saying that there's anything wrong with this or that I'm better than these people. I believe neither of those things. And there are plenty of other activities -- just not theatre -- that I use as tools to feed deeper passions.) Such people may be into theatre because they love attention and praise; they may love belonging to an open-minded group (many "misfits" find their way into theatre in high school and stay because they love belonging to such an accepting culture); they may even be operating on autopilot, doing theatre because for whatever reason, they got into it when they were younger and it never occurs to them to quit. (They probably enjoy having mastered something.)

I think it's useful to delve into your psychology and ask yourself WHY you like what you like. Sometimes (as with me and theatre), the answer might be "because I simply love the activity." (How do you know if this is true? Try mentally removing orbiting aspects of the activity: would I still want to direct plays if no one saw them? would I still want to direct plays if I could only work with bad actors? Would I still want to direct plays if I hated the results? Would I still want to direct plays if I always got bad reviews? etc. For me, though I wouldn't enjoy the activity as much in these cases, I'd still want to do it.)

This is useful because if you learn what your TRUE passion is (the underlying one, if there is one), you may be able to change your life for the better. You may be able to say, "Wow! It's not theatre I like, it's collaboration! Maybe I instead of continuing in theatre, I should look into all sorts of collaborative activities and get into the one that's the MOST collaborative."

Such psychological delving may also help you deal with a crisis: "Oh no! I've lost my voice. I can't act anymore. Wait a minute: it's not specifically theatre that I like, it's storytelling! I could write a novel."

There's also nothing wrong (and a lot right) with realizing, "I love attention and praise, so theatre is a great activity for me." In all of these cases, you'll have learned something about yourself.

Once you know your passion, you will be tempted to ask -- as you did -- "How can I turn this into a career?" I think that's the wrong question. I don't think it's totally wrong. I just think it's too specific. Instead, I recommend you ask yourself this: "How can I best arrange my life so that I can spend the most time engaging in my passion IN ITS PUREST POSSIBLE FORM and derive the least amount of pain doing non-passion activities?"

I am a director, but I'm not a working (as in paid) director. To pay my rent, I have a "day job." I COULD work as a director, but I'd have to direct plays that I don't want to direct. For some people, that would be fine. For me, it's not a good trade off. I'll be more happy with the day job and the ability to direct whatever I want -- forgoing pay. It took me a while to come up with that "formula," and it's a personal one. Mine won't necessarily work for you.

(If you realize you're like me, find the least painful day job you can, getting yourself training if you have to. I actually like my day job. And I continually work to make it better and more interesting. The cliche of waiting tables to support your passion isn't a necessity. If you commit to the idea of having a day job -- I'll likely have one for the rest of my life -- it behooves you to make it a good one. Or at least the least painful one you can find.)

I see a lot of people working REALLY hard to make their passion into a job, and -- tragically -- when they finally make it happen, they don't enjoy the passion any more. (E.g. a lot of working actors, who got into the business to play Shakespeare or Chekhov, spend most of their time acting in commercials.) If this happens, it's really worthwhile to do some soul searching. Would I be happier with a day job? Am I happy doing a compromised version of my passion? If I AM happy doing a compromised version of my passion, does that (perhaps) mean that what I thought was my passion wasn't really my passion? ("Hmm. I thought I wanted to act, but in order to do theatre for a living, I've had to become a producer. And -- hey -- I like it. Maybe acting isn't my real passion. Maybe my real passion is being a key part of a big project.")

I am NOT saying there's anything wrong with figuring out a way to do your passion for pay. Often, that's a great way to spend most of your time doing your passion. Just make sure that if you're doing your passion as a job, it's really your passion that you're doing and not a perverted version of it that will fail to make you happy.

So, go through this thought process:

1. I've identified my passion as X. I am now going to define X as fully as possible. For X to be X, it MUST include A and B. C is optional. It can't include D.

2. I've realized that I won't be happy unless I'm doing X for a living.

3. Are there any jobs that will allow me to do X as I've defined it? (Or that will let me gradually work towards a pure version of X?)

4. If not, then I need to either brainstorm other ways I could be happy (compromised X? doing X as a hobby?) or resign myself to unhappiness.

5. If so, then I need to make sure that I can live with non-X aspects of the job. (Wow! I can do full time, paid theatre, but I'd have to work with the dreaded Mr. Y!)

Finally: I've noticed that people (myself included) have a strong urge to classify themselves. People REALLY want to be able to say, "I'm a director!" "I'm an engineer!" "My passion is gourmet cooking!"

There's nothing wrong with that drive, but putting yourself in a category is not the same thing as actually being in that category. In fact, categorizing yourself -- since it's so final -- is a good way to thwart any attempt to discover your actual passions. Once you say, "I'm a director," it's hard to think, "Wait a minute: is it actually directing that I like or some other activity that directing helps me achieve?" Which is why, at the start of this long post, I suggested you de-romanticize the whole thing and, instead, think about what you like and dislike, rather than trying to pin down your Passion.

Maybe you don't have a Passion. Maybe you have many likes -- you like playing in the sun; you like watching movies; you like hanging out with friends... If so, you'll be much happier if you arrange your life to maximize your chances to do these activities than if you expend a ton of energy categorizing yourself.

Problem: Ogre3D mesh with Intel Graphic

If you are trying to export an ogre mesh from any 3D apps, and want it to be compatible with intel GMA900 & 950, then don't use "shared geometry" option because the chipset doesn't support that feature and your program will get this error:

ogre exception(3):failed to DrawPrimitive :invaid call in RenderSystem_Direct3D9 ::render at ..\src\OgreD3d9RenderSystem.cpp(line 2812)

here's the link explaining the root of the problem.

John Carmack perspective

After reading a John Carmack Article, it just hit me that why don't I just follow my dreams like he did? I mean, just do it, without worrying that it might not work out.

The Worst(tm) that could happen is that I'll be working as an actuary/programmer somewhere in Bangkok. I won't starve, I will have enough money to take care of my family, and I will probably can afford anything that I want.

So be it. Let's try coding without worrying for once.

Changed World View

6 Years Old, Kindergarten:
Wheee! There so much to do and have fun in this world. I'm learning so fast!

10 Years Old, Elementary School:
Heh, this stuff is too easy, is there anything more to learn? I'm smart!

18 Years Old, High School:
Ohh, so many fields to go into, which one should I choose? I could learn all of these in 20 years anyway. I'm a genius!

22 Years Old, Finished Engineering Undergrads:
Man, All the subject in this fields... must have taken 30 years just to master them all. I'm not sure I can do this... it's boring... but I've got 150 IQ, that means I'm still a genius!

26 Years Old, Finished Master degree in Finance :
Wow... I don't think I could understand all of Finance even if I studied it all my life. Plus, I have found many people who are way smarter than me...

Future me, 2nd Master degree in CS: (hopefully)
This stuff is frigging deep! For all these years, I haven't even scratch the surface ... I'm such an arrogant idiot ! Hopefully I could master one subject in the field when I retired.

Make lots of things, pick best ones, show them, profit!

I just found this blog post through StackOverflow.
Essentially, it encourage you to produce a lot of things (says, photographs) and then choose only the best ones out of the rest, then you will be seen as a great photographer.

Very good philosophy. Also, you become better faster by producing lots of rubbish than concentrate on making the best one.
I just got a mail invite for StackOverFlow Beta Testing.

Basically, it's the website similar to Yahoo Answer/Metafilter, but specifically for software developer.

I tried it an hour ago and I was hooked! It has a Digg-like moderation system. You can Upvote/Downvote Questions and Answers. It also has a "reputation system" (slashdot karma?)
where if you contribute positively (insightful answers/question), you gain power to do more things -- like editing posts or even lock offensive posts.

I love the communities! Most helpful and insightful members I've ever seen. I guess it's a small beta so there are mostly veteran developer. I wonder if the post quality will go down when the site is open to public. I also wonder if there's any way to game the reputation system. haha.

The gist of life.

Sometimes, great wisdom is found in the strangest of places. This time, at GameDev.net forum:

Petr, aged 15 from the Czech Republic, writes in his signature...

There are two life senses [note: 2 purposes in life]
1. Be happy.
2. Make others happy.

When I think about living my life like this, I found peace.

Changing Career

Alice: Oh, no, no. I was just wondering if you could help me find my way.
Cheshire Cat: Well that depends on where you want to get to.
Alice: Oh, it really doesn't matter, as long as...
Cheshire Cat: Then it really doesn't matter which way you go.

I just got a degree in one field and now want to work in another. In just one short year, I have changed my mind 3 times about where I want to go. The Cheshire Cat was right, it all depends on where you want to go.

Oh, and when you've really nailed down your career choice, this Japanese proverb perfectly tells you what to do next.

好きこそ ものの 上手なれ
Become good at what you like doing.
Cheers, career changers.

Back from Siggraph

I've been to SIGGRAPH'08 conference and I had a blast.

Many new things in computer graphic world. Many interesting people.

I had even shaked hand with one of the lead art designer from Blizzard.

More than that, going to Pixar night and watching "The Pixar Story" have changed my perspective about life (in a good way.)

We look at Pixar now and see a very successful company. Everybody wants to work at Pixar.
But you know what?

Pixar was almost got bankrupt many times and John Lasseter, the main guy behind Pixar, had been fired from the company he loved (Disney), just because the executives didn't like his work.

Success doesn't come easy, indeed.

I guess it all came down to perseverence. Just keep doing what you love. And I found that what I love to do is not exactly Finance. (Long story for another time)

Anyway, for any 3D artist/programmer/enthusiasts who has never been to SIGGRAPH,

just go.

It's worth it.

PS. random thought: people like playing The Sims or games like this because they feel like they're improve their life. And it's easy to measure with all the "money" and "happiness" stats.
(I love watching green bars go up too.)

What if we do this in real life? Putting huge chart/screen in front of you with the stats you desire, ex: money, fame, etc. Would it motivate you?

Game: Time Waster?

A second piece about time waster.
I'll keep it short this time because I'm lazy.

Is playing video game a time waster?
Mostly Yes. But sometimes, no. It depends.

Ultimately, it's our intention and our goal that decides what it is.
If you use the "playing game" activity to have fun with your family & friends,
that's not a time waster at all.
If you play games and learn something from them, then they could be called "educational tools."

Unfortunately, when we play purely for pleasure, that's when we play games for games' sake.
So just be careful, games are designed to be addictive. Some people become so addicted that they devote their life to playing games. (WOW Addicts for example)

That's it for today. But before I end this, let me share with you a very unique game. You can finish it in 5 minutes. I can't promise that it will be fun for you, but I assure that you will have a unique experience.

It's the game call "Passage." Download Here. Then unrar and play.

Time Waster

Time is a precious thing. It's one of the rare instance in life where everybody is equal. Everyone gets 24 hours per day, whether they are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, lucky or unfortunate, etc.

But even knowing that, we still often do activities that are categorized as "time waster."
A time waster is, for me, an activity that is unimportant or not relate to our real goals.

Why do we still do such things, even we are fully aware that they "waste" our time?

Simple: Instant Pleasure.

We always choose to do something base on how much pain or pleasure it will give us.

Important activities give us pleasure when we achieve them.
Time waster(TW) activites also do the same, but they're so easy to achieve it's instant.
Also, they are set up in a way that is addictive. You'll keep coming back to do them.

The bad thing is that they give "fake" pleasure. True, we achieve something but it's unimportant, it's not what we actually want. That's what makes them dangerous.

Next post will talk about games as time wasters.


An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
- Gandhi

I wonder if he was trying to warn us or he was simply telling us about the future.