Monthly Archives: January 2009

iPhoto '09?

It’s like Apple hates me or something. Everytime I buy a new machine they release something groundbreaking shortly after, so I’m not too surprised that shortly after I’d started using Picasa for Mac they decided to mock me by releasing an extremely impressive iPhoto '09.

I especially like the ability to tag photos with faces and places, functions that Picasa already has – but only online. I’m pretty sure the Picasa client will eventually catch up, but probably not soon enough – especially not the Mac version’s! I feel a little like I’m betraying Google, but I think I just might give iPhoto a spin once more…

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Moo-re meat, please!

A random thought.

Since it’s the year of the ox/cow/whatever now (happy ‘niu’ year hrr hrr), by Chinese tradition are we meant to adjust the amount of beef eaten in any way? If so, are we supposed to eat more cows, or let them live peacefully this year?

A similar question can be posed for the years of the pig and rooster. And probably for most of the other animals on the Chinese zodiac, but let’s stick with the common meats.

Policy: The Game

I haven’t worked so hard on a project for awhile… this one was surprisingly fun, though! Basically designing a simple board game for a tutorial tomorrow. It’s a group project, with some input from all, but Kenny and I have been the main contributors for the game itself. Here’re the PowerPoint slides for tomorrow when I present the game rules – check it out if you like. The formatting’s a bit different after uploading, but the text is all there.

Anyone interested in publishing this for us? =P

Jobs evolution

I randomly happened upon a video of the first Apple Macintosh by Steve Jobs – and boy, I totally didn’t recognise him. This followed with me checking out various other videos of his keynote addresses. It’s interesting to see how he’s changed across the decades, as has the Macintosh.

Macintosh (1984)

iMac (1998)

iMac Aluminium (2007)

You can also check out the 2001 iPod introduction, when we were first introduced to the most popular line of MP3 players ever. I think it’s really impressive for one man to pretty much bring Macs, iPods, and even Pixar into the world, regardless of whether you actually use/encounter all these products. Hopefully his health improves soon – I’m quite eager to see what else he can crank out in the decades ahead!

Re-offender

Practicum school posting

Looks like I’m going back after all. =)

Alas, I hardly knew ye

It’s been almost a decade since we were all gathered together in the same room, and now we never will again. I’d lost contact with you over the years, and we weren’t really friends, not really, but you were still a part of my life, however tangential.

I wish I’d gone, but I guess that’s all too late now. All I can really do now is to pray for your future, if you believe in that sort of thing – I don’t even know if you ever did.

They came first

Just read about the death of Lasantha Wickramatunge on this article via mrbrown. I must admit that my general knowledge doesn’t include much on Sri Lanka – I’ve started reading up on Wikipedia, though.

Somehow I just find the journalist’s willingness to die for freedom of speech to be incredibly awe-inspiring, if also incredibly sad. I wonder if his (and other journalists’) sacrifice will pay off in the end? Whatever the case, may he rest in peace – his fight, at least, is done.

Resolutions 2009

I know I’d just said that resolutions aren’t really my thing, but I’ve been feeling kinda aimless lately, with no real short-term goal to work towards. I’m starting to stagnate (and perhaps have been for months already), which is definitely not what I want to be doing. So here’s a list of things I want to work on this year, in (approximately) descending order of importance.

Faith

It’s been maybe 2 years since I’d practically declared myself Christian instead of simply agnostic, but it feels like I haven’t made much progress since then. Maybe it’s my immensely sceptical nature, or maybe my resistance towards doing anything requiring too much effort, but that’s just the way it’s happened.

I’ve actually signed up for a BSF course starting in February, which I guess is a step towards developing my faith, but somehow I feel like I need to do so much more..

Fitness

I’ve recently been assigned to a Holding List for NS, which basically means I have no proper role for now, but they can suddenly dump me anywhere as long as I’m not 40 years old yet. I’m hoping that my services aren’t required of course, but the immediate consequence is that I now have to clear my IPPT annually. I’m aiming to train up and get silver by this October – I stand to net a cool S$400 (2x $200) for myself. I think that’s a pretty good motivator! Plus, just to continue (restart, rather) the exercise habit.

Save

I’d actually like to get my own place as soon as possible, but housing’s pretty expensive in Singapore so I doubt I’ll be able to get something anytime soon. You usually need to fork out 20% of the total sum as a deposit, meaning to get something that’s $300,000 I’ll need… $60,000 on hand?

So I’ll aim to save up that much in the next two years – even if I don’t actually end up getting housing then, I’ll be better prepared for whenever it happens. I’ll probably be pumping money into buying STI ETF and perhaps some other vehicles, so the actual sum accumulated will probably vary somewhat – hopefully the economy’s on the way to recovery 2-3 years later!

Teaching

I’ve not been taking my NIE course all too seriously, and my average grade for the last semester is just slightly under the required to get a Credit for the diploma. This semester I have some slightly more interesting modules (if laden with more difficult work), so I figured I should take the chance to work on elevating myself from a simple pass grade. It might not actually be all that important in the long run, but I might as well try a little, huh?

More importantly, though, I hope to be a good teacher when I’m finally posted to school, but that’s probably a longer-term goal and kinda difficult to quantify.

Guitar

I really enjoyed playing in an ensemble in the past, and though (I’d like to think) I was one of the better players back then, I was never really good at going solo. I’d thought about taking formal classical guitar lessons before, and I think it might be time to finally put those plans into action.

Holiday

This doesn’t actually gel well with the earlier-mentioned goal of saving money, but it’s still something I’d like to do. I’m not sure if I’ll have enough time to pull this off, but if possible I’d like to take that trip to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic that I wasn’t able to last year. Possibly in late May/early June before I get posted to my school? Depending on my NIE schedule, I guess.

I’m not too optimistic about this right now, but if the opportunity presents itself, maybe it’s time to go ahead with it! (Especially before I lose that KrisFlyer Elite Gold status…)

Creepily coincidental

I’ve never been a big fan of predestiny, since I’d much rather believe in free will and fail to see how these two ideas can coexist. In fact, I’m not particularly confident of the common Christian concept that God has a specific plan for all of us. Of course, this personal slant of mine is based mostly on preference rather than any empirical evidence (I don’t think we’ve figured out any method to confirm it, one way or the other). On the other hand, I occasionally encounter a series of events which seem so creepily coincidental and sometimes surprisingly fortuitous that I start to reconsider the possibility of such a plan.

Today I went to SNGS (my sister’s school) for a parent briefing session – my parents weren’t particularly keen on going, and I figured that I’d take the chance to check out what today’s secondary schools were offering the students. I bumped into my former army officer there, which was really weird since I’d recently (on New Year’s Day) re-read an email he’d sent me. So, it turns out his daughter is actually my sister’s classmate this year!

His wife was there as well, so we made some self-introductions. I remember hearing that she was a school principal back when I still worked with her husband, but she’s been working at the HQ for some time now – having recently taken charge of a psychology-related department. It’s actually really great that I’ve met her, since after some discussion with Ailin I’ve come to reconsider utilising my psychology degree and becoming a specialist in MOE rather than pursuing the leadership track, and it never hurts having someone I could ask for advice from.

On top of all that, I’ve discovered that I can try looking Mr Tan JC up should I ever need another job – he’s recently started his very own tuition centre.

It was a coincidental day indeed, involving a pleasant chance encounter with someone I rather like and respect (even if we’ve never been particularly close), as well as completely unintentional (but very useful) networking.

God, are you trying to tell me something?

Picasa for Mac

Picasa’s been released for Mac! Finally. Having used Picasa to organise my photos on Windows prior to switching to Mac, I quite dislike iPhoto. Very much, in fact.

If I were to stop playing games on the PC, there’ll be practically no reason for me to boot to Windows anymore…