One More Month

2018 is about to end very soon. Time passes quickly. 

Art posts will return soon. But before that, there are many things that I need to attend to. Mostly to do with writing. 

In the meanwhile, the end is ending with a lot of “conventions” around Malaysia. Wish I could catch a few. Here’s hoping for the opportunity. 

Have a blessed week ahead. 

NaNoWriMo – I Am Going to Join this Massive Challenge!

Are you ready? 

The first time I tried NaNoWriMo (years ago, nearly a decade ago), I dropped out after a few days. Writing 50,000 words in a month is DAUNTING! Especially when you have not done it before. This is ALL about disciplining oneself. Well, truth be told, this requires a LOT of planning before hand. 

I know it is tempting to start writing, but the textbook answer is to make LOADS of preparation. Especially if you are writing fiction – the kind of research and material needs to be done before hand. World building IS necessary, unless you are expecting small kids to read your words. (I honestly doubt they would want to read cover-to-cover, 50k words, a work that has no consistency within itself). 

So… what will I be writing? Science Fiction would be my preferred genre. Fiction by itself requires a lot more planning to ensure that the level of realism holds for the reader. Hope for the best! If you are joining, let me know… we all could use the support and motivation 🙂

Keto the Way to Go? All or nothing – Are You Ready to Let Go?

As I am writing this down, I have just downed a cup of Mocha, and am on my way to finishing a can of A&Was that contains 160 calories, and 39.7gm of Carbohydrates. It is obvious that I am NOT on Keto diet or lifestyle at the moment.

Having said that, my weight has improved dramatically over the period of 3 years. From a high of 84kg three years ago, I am now at a comfortable 71kg. My target before the end of this year is 69kg, but that might be tougher since I am also on a regime of adding muscles and to improve my overall strength. That is what happens when you are a confirmed hypertension person, who has been at the desk for the last decade and sedentary. Change cannot be immediate, and it cannot be momentary. The key word is ‘sustainable’.

Which brings me to this excellent article by a professor David Harper, who wonderfully states:

Harper also said many people might confuse going keto with having an excuse to fill up on bacon and eggs every morning, but it isn’t that. A proper keto diet is about 70-80% fat, with no more than 10-15% carbs. That means most people on it try to keep their carbohydrate intake below 50 grams a day and stick to only moderate amounts of protein.

I totally agree. Most people get Ketogenic diet wrong – and it is just a mini-Alkins diet that focuses on protein. This is not protein diet. This is high-fat, low-carb. And I would say that it is better to go down to 30gm a day for carbohydrates. It is a radical shift which I had played with a few times. When combined with fasting and intensive exercise (short duraction – not long ones), it is doable for the short term. But Professor Harper is right when he says – you either commit to it, or you stop.

Frankly, I am not one who can do Keto for a long time. Why? Because I love my bread, noodles, rice and other Asian food that is our STAPLE food. Look at the Japanese people – they are slim! In my two weeks holiday in Tokyo and Kyoto I COULD NOT see an obese or overweight Japanese person. The only ones overweight were foreigners! And their main food consumption? Both rice AND noodles. Besides, biblically (if you are religious) God created human beings as vegetarians. Although after the Flood they became omnivorous, yet remember, we were vegetable eaters! It is a ‘safe default’ for all of us. There is some wisdom there. Of course, if you believe in an Old World theory (evolution), then you would believe that paleo diet is better – but that is another article next time.

But it is tempting to consider Keto for the long term, especially if (like me) you are battling inflammation issues that leads one to major issues like heart problems. In Malaysia, this is a hard option to consider as keto-friendly food is NOT easily available, and you need to be of a certain income level to sustain this type of spending. Besides, you need to spend time preparing it, as you just cannot go into a store to buy keto-friendly food. However, this is something that I have been considering on and off – should I do it for long term.

The full article can be read from: https://www.businessinsider.my/ketogenic-diet-what-a-scientist-eats-2018-10/?r=US&IR=T

Anyone going to try this for the long-term? Do you think it is easier to consider this diet if there is ready and reasonably priced keto-friendly food available for purchase? Maybe I should start a keto-business in Klang Valley! Hahahaha.

Bitcoin TIPS for the CURIOUS and BEGINNER! Best TIPS for those investing from Malaysia!

Friend,

There has been many, many articles and posts written about this miracle product called ‘Bitcoin’ over the past year. Apparently, we have this ‘new virtual currency’ that is decentralised and precious. What was easily ‘mined’ by the use of computer CPU’s or GPU’s (Central Processing Unit and Graphical Processing Unit) can bring you profits that has just began to be realised. Many seem to be predicting that one Bitcoin will easily breach the twenty thousand price point in the near future. Here is the BEST TIME to jump on the bandwagon – put all your money into this investment and be prepared for financial freedom.

Friend, this is a lie. The best TIPS for investing in Bitcoin is this: DO NOT DO IT. I am not even joking. Do you want to know what is speculation? Speculation is making an investment without any real, firm, tangible expectation or evidence. There is no basis. Basically, speculative investment is no different than gambling. That is why people LOVE it. Gambling promises high payout – but with that level of payout, there is a very high risk. Bitcoin is HIGHLY speculative.

How can one really find out whether this is true or merely a personal conjecture of one person? Simple. Ask your friend who had introduced you to Bitcoin investment – what is crypto currency? What is bitcoin based on? What is it backed by? What does ‘decentralised’ mean? Is it a real commodity? Who handles the trading? What happens when the trading platform (also known as ‘exchange’) fails? What happens to those who are linked to the exchange?

I can guarantee you that most people would never be able to explain in succinct or clear terms what Bitcoin is all about. They are ignorant of what blockchain technology is, let alone the whole concept of cryptography. Yet, they are CONVINCED that this technology will change industries, in fact, change the fabric of humanity! I beg to differ.

I do agree that Blockchain technology IS a good technology of the future, but it suffers tremendously in a few areas – one is STANDARD. Unless a common standard is set on how things are done, you will find ‘trust’ to be low. Whether this standard relates to cryptocurrency, or to the blockchain technology itself – we all need regulation to ensure that consistency is made and given.

Secondly, in the trading of cryptography like Bitcoin, we have problem with exchanges. Why? The lack of regulation means NO ENFORCEMENT in the event that problems occur within the exchange. In Malaysia, we have Luno, shutting down its operations because of the bank account FREEZE by the authorities. What this means is: at the end of 2017, when the price of Bitcoin was still soaring, many could buy. But those who wanted to sell their coins suddenly found an inability to do so. Their investment was stuck – for a long time even until now (nearly one full year). Do you know what happened since Luno’s Maybank account was frozen? Bitcoin CRASHED and LOST 70% of its worth. I was very blessed to have only LOST RM15 on my RM100 ‘test’ on Bitcoin and Ethereum. Somehow, the moment I recognised the flaw of power given to the individual UNREGULATED exchanges, I quickly withdrew what I had, despite the small loss. The week after, Luno’s problems came!

Thirdly, read what the experts say about it:

“The truth is that the developers have absolute power to act as judge and jury. When something goes wrong in one of their buggy “smart” pseudo-contracts and massive hacking occurs, they simply change the code and “fork” a failing coin into another one by arbitrary fiat, revealing the entire “trustless” enterprise to have been untrustworthy from the start.”

“It is telling that all “decentralised” blockchains end up being centralised, permissioned databases when they are actually put into use. As such, blockchain has not even improved upon the standard electronic spreadsheet, which was invented in 1979.

No serious institution would ever allow its transactions to be verified by an anonymous cartel operating from the shadows of the world’s kleptocracies.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/blockchain-has-been-a-lie-all-this-while-10831880

So, my BEST TIP for you is: let the speculators BURN. Stay out of it. Go into Mutual Fund or the Stock Exchange of your country. Those are safer and regulated. You lose based on your ignorance of information, not because it was a gamble.

The Two C’s to Successful, Livable Relationships

The word ‘relationship’ is about the connection that exist between two or more persons, that is mutual. Keyword here is ‘mutual’ because a one-sided attempt to greet the other that is not reciprocated is evidence of a non-existent relationship.

Whether it is an acquaintance, or a spouse, the two basic elements is necessary to make that relationship thrive, or to progress further. It is lamentable that we are in a time when ‘effort’ is given in all things except our relationship with one another. We have taken for granted this important aspect of our life, thinking that a relationship can be ‘had’ in an instance. Perhaps our infatuation and obsession over modern technology has strengthened that notion. Is not the satisfaction derived from having over a thousand Facebook friends evidence of this? It frightening that many gauge this concept of ‘relationship’ based upon their ability to ‘accept’ a Facebook friends request.

No.

Every true relationship depends upon ‘commitment’ and ‘communication’. These are two essential components. Christians, of course, would quickly add another ‘c’ and that is ‘Christ’ into the mix, making it a three essential components. But let me be clear – even an atheist can have good, strong relationships. Biblically, relationships predate the fall of man into sin! Thus, to say that only Christians can have meaningful, deep relationships is an actual denial of their authority source.

Communication is the ‘effort’ (terrifying word for some, I know) to convey our heart’s content and to listen to the other person’s heart content. Many, and I really mean many, would immediately groan in derision and irritation, claiming that they have already KNOWN this. But if they had known this, why are they still having problems in their relationship? Why are they hardly speaking to one another? Why are they uttering or doing things to vent out their frustration at one another? Answer: they have not been communicating. Either they have been speaking too much, or they have been listening too little from the other side. Our effort in communicating to one another shows our true concern. To say to the other person: I really want to solve this, I need you and want to help us. Humility is implicit in constant, vibrant and sincere communication between two persons. It seeks not to take the other for granted. It is a wonder why many are not warmed up to this idea of taking time to ‘speak’, to ‘listen’, to put themselves in an environment where they can ‘talk’. Having the screaming kid(s) in front of the parents and then saying, ‘We need to talk’ is not a smart thing to do. The truth is that ‘communication’ needs ‘humility’ and ‘compromise’. Either one of them needs to make a compromise to facilitate communication. Best is when both makes compromises to set a time, a date, to speak. But when both are stubbornly opposed to making such compromises, it is impossible to make progress. I have seen grown men, adults and elderly persons, who only talk without letting the other party speak. Worse, even if the other party speaks, the person will ridicule, oppose, or be defensive. In rare cases, the person may even respond negatively, by ‘shutting up’ – thus, destroying the communication channel that was (up to that point) working. Businesses fail because of the failure to communicate with the partners or workers. Fight for this, if it is your heart’s desire to restore or improve our relationship.

The other is ‘commitment’. Commitment is a hard word to explain. It is better seen and exemplified than to be put in words. Yet, I will try my best. Commitment is the well where effort springs forth to work at the relationship. Commitment is loyalty, born out of time, shared experience, beliefs and other intangible elements that are precious to the parties involved. Commitment barks at everything that seeks to throw doubt or to put down the relationship. This is not something taught, but something experienced. Some may find this offensive, but the genesis, or seed, of commitment shows itself at the start of a relationship. One knows the potential of the relationship based on the show of commitment or its promise at the start. It is not something that can be easily gotten through going through a ‘diploma’ course, or by a pep talk. You CAN actually stoke commitment and grow it through certain experiences or circumstances, but those are based on blind luck. Commitment is dependable, and in some cultures, commitment is emulated, grown and nurtured like a plant. One just need to read the type of commitment that was and still is evidenced in the work conduct of the Japanese (especially after the World War 2)! Whether it is in marriage, or in friendships or in business, commitment must be encouraged. Money is a poor reason to commit, although it is the most convenient and common factor used. Why? Because the value of money changes depending on circumstances. Money is of itself, unstable, and thus, it is troublesome to put too much weight upon it.

Notice that ‘communication’ and ‘commitment’ is not mutually exclusive of each other. They have a symbiotic relationship. The more we communicate, the more we can commit. The more we commit, the more we will communicate. Yet, as in any spirals, it can move upwards (i.e. strengthen the relationship) and it can move downwards! The lack of one, will hasten the descent, as the support for the relationship breaks down slowly, but surely. Those with economic backgrounds will have horrifying pictures of hyper-inflations in mind – and this is fully applicable to human relationships as well. Even though we may ‘facepalm’ when reading extreme cases like this (http://empirenews.net/woman-violently-kills-husband-after-finding-toilet-seat-left-up/) where arguments escalate to murder over a trivial issue of toilet seats, yet we do not need to question over the possibility of these cases, as we know relationships can spiral down suddenly and disastrously!

I wrote this to put a reminder for myself. We easily take things for granted and even for the various relationships that we think we have in this world, it is foolish to forget these two important components that is needed to keep those relationships. Hope you find it helpful as well. 🙂

Everything and Nothing

It is the joy of every reasonable and good parent to see their children exceed them in various areas. It is a testimony of God’s goodness and grace upon us, even though we are constantly afflicted with doubts, limitations and failures as parents. I pity those who become envious of their children’s achievements or who imposes upon their children their own ambitions (trying to live vicariously the life that they could not).

I was filled with much parental pride when my son showed me two completed mini-books that he had made, all by himself. I told my wife that he had already exceeded in areas that his father had failed many times at the same age, and even later. It is one of my great regrets in my childhood that I did not complete a comic book, or an illustration, or a short story for that matter. Ever. There were a lot of ambitious starts, but I never learnt the art, rather the virtue, of perseverance. My son has done it! And I will continue to encourage him in his endeavour to finish one more (in the same flavour as the Treehouse series), and an original series which he showed me last night.

There is the belief that creativity is purely driven by emotions and thus, the need to focus on ambiance, mood, triggers and just pure luck, before one can tap into that important well where ideas spring forth. But this is almost certainly a lie, or at the very least a half-truth. Creativity demands persistence and tenacity. Just as life is filled with both happiness and sadness, creativity is a state that is balanced by the freeness of mind which is bridled by character. Thus in history, and even contemporary examples, we find the most marvellous expressions and articulations of creativity where limitations are imposed, sometimes by necessity. The first Matrix movies by the Wachowski brothers broke all conventions of sci-fi movies then because of the limited budget and the constrains set upon the production, filming and post-editing. The human mind thrives when limitations are imposed, boundaries erected – because the unrestrained mind is fallen at best, and is capable of incomprehensible vainglory. Again his repetition is seen in Da Vinci, in the great composers who lived in a time of restraint, and not excess.

Having the freedom to do ‘everything’ is not necessarily satisfying. It often becomes ‘frustrating’. In fact, the mind that is unbounded, distracted by everything that comes to mind, will rarely go beyond ‘nothing’. ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ is a worthy adage to keep in mind. For myself, my focus now is not on everything, but ‘something’. The elusive ‘something’ that hopefully, if God is merciful, lead to something satisfying and fulfilling.

End of An Era

You would have noticed how infrequent this blog has been updated over the months. Well, life has been extremely busy. I cannot afford the time to blog anymore. The demands of the ministry is growing weekly. It is with much sadness, and yet with some profound sense of happiness, that I end this blog as it is here. There are many sites that provide much better information on gadgets and even on religion. I do not think I have a place in the blogging world.

It has been a great ride reader. I doubt that I have any regular readers, yet I know some posts have been helpful for some. That is the reason why I choose to let this blog be as it is and not remove it entirely.

Thank you and God bless!

Upgrade Issue (Passive Connection) using FTP for WordPress

This has been a recurring pain for my site (and all the sites hosted under my provider). I cannot seem to use the upgrade plugin, themes and wordpress function that has been introduced for quite a long time now. There has been plenty of updates given and fixes on this issue, but found them all inadequate for my particular problem.

The symptom is this:

Whenever I press the ‘upgrades’ for either WordPress, plugins or themes, I come to the FTP login page. I fill it up and press “Upgrade” only to find that it does nothing at all… it seems to be loading, but it will not refresh or change at all.

It happens no matter what ‘fix’ I employ.

Fix:

I found that I have to use Active FTP connection rather than Passive. What is the difference? I have no idea, for now (feel free to comment if you do know). What you need to do is make an amendment, very slight one as follows to this file: class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php that is located in wordpress\wp-admin\includes

the original will have

@ftp_pasv( $this->link, true );

Change the “true” to “false” like below and re-upload the file to the appropriate directory on your ftp.

@ftp_pasv( $this->link, false );

Overwrite the previous file and try upgrading again.

Warning:

This works for me. Pretty easy, however, take note that if you do an Upgrade of WordPress, you will need to re-modify the new class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php file again since the upgrade would replace the modified one. That is a minor annoyance.

All the best 🙂

2010 in Review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 67,000 times in 2010. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would have performed about 3 times.

In 2010, there were 23 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 467 posts. There were 85 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 57mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 29th with 724 views. The most popular post that day was Quick Review: CSL’s Spice Mi700 DroidPad (Updated).

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were forum.xda-developers.com, carrypad.com, forum.lowyat.net, mytechnews.info, and umpcportal.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for pacman, tuesdays with morrie, darkseid, arm cortex a8 vs snapdragon, and cortex a8 vs snapdragon.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Quick Review: CSL’s Spice Mi700 DroidPad (Updated) September 2010
30 comments

2

ARM Cortex A8 vs QUALCOMM Snapdragon vs NVIDIA Tegra November 2009

3

Rooting HTC Dream (Singtel) June 2009
182 comments

4

Upgrading O2 XDA Stealth to Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM May 2009
75 comments

5

Of Pac Man and of Spam July 2008
1 comment