Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kids In Grade School Think Fast

TEACHER: Why are you late?
WEBSTER: Because of the sign.
TEACHER: What sign
WEBSTER: The one that says, "School Ahead, Go Slow."

TEACHER: Cindy, why are you doing your mathmultiplication on the floor?
CINDY: You told me to do it without using tables!

TEACHER: John, how do you spell "crocodile?"
JOHN: K-R-O-K-O-D-A-I-L"
TEACHER: No, that's wrong
JOHN: Maybe it's wrong, but you asked me how I spell it!

TEACHER: What is the chemical formula for water?
SARAH: H I J K L M N O!!
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
SARAH: Yesterday you said it's H to O!

TEACHER: George, go to the map and find North America.
GEORGE: Here it is!
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
CLASS: George!

TEACHER: Willie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
WILLIE: Me!

TEACHER: Tommy, why do you always get so dirty?
TOMMY: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.

TEACHER: Ellen, give me a sentence starting with "I."
ELLEN: I is...
TEACHER: No, Ellen..... Always say, "I am."
ELLEN: All right... "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."

TEACHER: "Can anybody give an example of COINCIDENCE?"
JOHNNY: "Sir, my Mother and Father got married on thesame day, same time."

TEACHER: "George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted doing it. Now do you know why his father didn't punish him?"
JOHNNY: "Because George still had the axe in his hand."

TEACHER: Now, Sam, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SAM: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.

TEACHER: Desmond, your composition on "My Dog" is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?
DESMOND: No, teacher, it's the same dog!

TEACHER: What do you call a person who keeps ontalking when people are no longer interested?
PUPIL: A teacher.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

King Kong (2005) Review

I watched King Kong (2005) in IMAX cinema and this is my opinion:

Good:
1. Great Computer-generated imagery (CGI). Worthy for best visual effect Oscar. King kong and T-rex look real.
2. It is a advanture, romance, thriller and action movie.
3. Insect attack scene was sick to watch.
4. Audience can feel the relationship between King kong and Ann. The emotion that the actors portrayed really got to everyone in the theater.
5. New York city looks real and quite details with historical perspective of the 1930.
6. The battle between king kong and T-rex was fun to watch.

Bad:
1. First hour is quite boring. This movie shouldn't be too long. It can be cut to two and a half hours.
2. This movie didn't show how they transported King Kong from Skull Island to New York.
3. The plot was unbelievable. Carl Denham can't die and always lucky. Ann scream can be heard miles away. The entire crew of the ship leaves to rescue one woman, and more than half of them don’t come back!
4. Quite a number of characters manage to avoid being smushed by the dinosaur herd.
5. Repetition of ship scece sailing at the sea is awful to watch.

Overall rating: B+

Thursday, December 15, 2005

All-Time Worldwide Boxoffice

Top 20 for all time worldwide box office. (Revenue collected in US dollars)

1. Titanic (1997) $1,835,300,000
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) $1,129,219,252
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) $968,600,000
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) $922,379,000
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) $921,600,000
6. Jurassic Park (1993) $919,700,000
7. Shrek 2 (2004) $880,871,036
8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) $866,300,000
9. Finding Nemo (2003) $865,000,000
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) $860,700,000
11. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) $847,762,555
12. Independence Day (1996) $811,200,000
13. Spider-Man (2002) $806,700,000
14. Star Wars (1977) $797,900,000
15. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) $789,458,727
16. Spider-Man 2 (2004) $783,577,893
17. The Lion King (1994) $783,400,000
18. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $756,700,000
19. The Matrix Reloaded (2003) $735,600,000
20. Forrest Gump (1994) $679,400,000

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Narnia Review

I watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The
Wardrobe (2005) on 10th Dec. Below is my review about the film.

Good:
1. Christianity is told in a simple way. Aslan sacrifice = Jesus
sacrifice. The children are referred to as "sons of Adam" and
"daughters of Eve".
2. Aslan did look good and believable.
3. Narnia world looks great. Visuals are gorgeous, the music is
beautiful.
4. This film able to send clear message to its audience about
Christianity and C.S. Lewis story.
5. Sending moral message throughout the movie. Boy (Edmund) lies to
others to make his sister appear nuts so he can hide the secret of
Narnia. Boy betrays his own brother and sisters in hopes of power and
more sweets and puts their lives in jeopardy.

Bad:
1. In the beginning, I thought I was in the wrong cinema room.
2. Story line was usual. Good against evil.
3. The visual effect in fighting scene can be much better.

Overall rating: B

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

National Conference on Programming Sciences 2005 (Atur'05)

Today is my first time to present a research paper in a conference. My paper is about language to vision application. This event was held at Marriott Hotel in PutraJaya. The journey takes about an hour from my home in Klang. The whole event is running smoothly. They also invite guest from corporate IT companies to give an insight into new technologies. The speech given by guest at IBM and Microsoft are really helpful in understanding programming concepts better. IBM speech is on grid computing whereas Microsoft speech is about creating a concept in programming, tools and how to document programming concept so that normal people without technical knowledge with be able to understand it. Another speech guest is from Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri (KPDN). His speech is about piracy. However, I think that his speech gives us more insights and ideas on how to download and copy software illegaly!

The lunch for this event is quite good and have a lot of variety. That day the hotel has special buffet on Western food and local food. Among the food served are chicken marinated with white sauce and basil, variety of cheese, variety of puddings, lamb in soy sauce, salad, and etc. I didn't feel hungry at all during the event as there are breakfast, lunch and tea time. Anyway, any functions that is government sponsered will have nice food. Hehe...

My paper presentation begin after my lunch. At first I am quite nervous about that. But after I start presenting, I didn't feel nervous at all and I still able to talk until specified time finished (15 minutes).

After all, it is a good event but it must be improved. The quality of paper seems too focus on teaching method and in teaching area. More emphasis must be given towards industy based.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A1 Grand Prix Facts

A1 Grand Prix is the first opportunity in any area of motorsport for nations to compete on a level playing field. It is a series where technology and innovation are deliberately equalised and performance is determined by human bravery, skill and excellence. Team and driver combine to create their advantage and the winning nation raises its flag in celebration.

Meaning
The name 'A1' encapsulates the two key aspects of the World Cup of Motorsport, unity and excellence. The letter 'A', being the first letter of the majority of the world's continents (Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Australasia, Antarctica and Europe) represents the world and its population. The number '1' signifies the unity between them -- All as One, One World.

Point System
- Sprint Race

The average (based on aggregate) of the best two lap times will determine the grid for the sprint race which will be a rolling start. The sprint race will be between 20 and 30 minutes long.
1st place will receive 10 points
2nd place will receive 9 points
3rd place will receive 8 points
4th place will receive 7 points
5th place will receive 6 points
6th place will receive 5 points
7th place will receive 4 points
8th place will receive 3 points
9th place will receive 2 points
10th place will receive 1 points
The results of the sprint race will determine the grid for the feature race.

- Feature Race
The results of the sprint race will determine the grid for the feature race. The feature race will be between 45 and 60 minutes.
1st place will receive 10 points
2nd place will receive 9 points
3rd place will receive 8 points
4th place will receive 7 points
5th place will receive 6 points
6th place will receive 5 points
7th place will receive 4 points
8th place will receive 3 points
9th place will receive 2 points
10th place will receive 1 points
One point will be allocated to the fastest lap achieved by a team during the sprint race or feature race.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Why is English so hard to learn?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) I did not object to the object.
9) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
10) They were too close to the door to close it.
11) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
12) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
13) I shed my clothes in the shed.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Driving Test

Malaysian driving lessons should include:
-Driving at night and rain.
-Correct way of overtaking
-Uses of mirror
-Emphasis the danger of speeding and follow too near from other vehicle.
-Using hand brake to stop a car if normal brake fails to respond.
-How to respond incase of emergency

However, cost and time are always the main constraints that hinder government to implement it. The current test is simply not enough (hill, 3-pointer, back parking and on road) and don't represent the situation in real world. That's why our accident rate is high.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Trip to Muar, Johor

I went to Muar, Johor during the first day of Hari Raya with my ex-school mate. We took KTM komuter train from Port Klang Station at 7.15am. The journey with komuter train is indeed boring and long. It takes three hours (we missed a train in KL sentral and have to wait for another 30 minutes) for us to reach Seremban station. We have expected this situation since there 28 stations between Port Klang and Seremban.

As we reach Seremban at 10 am, we have planned to buy bus ticket straight to Muar. But to our disappointment, all the bus tickets to Muar has been sold out. It is a silliest choice for us to have a vacation during Hari Raya and the biggest mistake is that we didn’t book any tickets at all. With out any choice, a bus ticket seller advice us to go to Segamat first then change another bus to Muar. We accept the advice and our journey continues. What we didn’t think is the distance between Segamat and Muar is actually quite far. Looks like I have to study back my geography lessons. The journey from Seremban to Segamat takes about two hours as not highway route to Segamat. We reach Segamat at 1pm. The bus ride is actually not bad as I have chance to see place that I never been before like Gemas, Tampin, Pedas, and Rembau.

As soon we reach Segamat, we broad a bus to Muar. We were quite shocked with the bus fares from Segamat to Muar, RM6.10! The we start thinking that our journey still quite far. This proved true as the bus will go through areas such as Jementah, Tangkak, and Gunung Ledang before reach Muar. We then reach Muar at 4pm! From there, our friend fetch us to buy delicacy and then go to his house to bath and rest (9 hours journey). His house semi-D house is quite spacious. At first I quite concern whether we will cause inconvenience if we stay at his house and plan to stay at hotel. Since his house has an empty room, I think it is ok.

At night, we go to a restaurant in Bakri to try out its foods. The restaurant is full of people and we have to wait for 20 minutes before we get a table to sit. Many customers look like they are from Singapore. There we ordered the famous ‘Ikan haruan’ bihun. The taste is sour and the fish meat texture is soft and nice. Other dishes like Yam meat, roasted chicken, spicy tauhu with onion and spicy squid are not bad. Only the roasted chicken is quite regular.

On the second day, we go to eat dim sum for breakfast. There got a lot of variety to choose from. Some dim sum I never see before. Among dim sum are: black pepper pau, lotus leaf glutinous rice, stewed meat pau and variety of siew mai. Each of us (4), order different dim sum and each dish we separate it to four pieces. So, each of us can try each dish in the shop.

After the breakfast, we went to Gunung Ledang to see the scenery there and have fun at the waterfall area. The bottom part of the mountain is easy to climb. Just like climbing 25-30 minutes of stair. The waterfall scenery is spectacular but as usual, some parts are polluted by rubbish (ugly side of Malaysians). Many people bring food up to the mountain just for picnic and some of them didn’t clean the place after eating or throw rubbish into dustbin. If the trend continues, maybe next time, Gunung Ledang won’t be a nice place to visit anymore.

In the afternoon, our journey continues to Panchor. At first, I don’t even heard of this place. Of course, this place is very remote and far away from the main road. We went there to taste its prawn and seafood. The prawn is quite large and the taste is quite natural. The prawn is not heavily salted and it is fried. Then the seafood sup with yam is also tasted quite natural.

At night we went to Parit Jawa to eat its roast sting ray and crab. The roast sting ray is delicious but a bit too spicy. That day is my first time to try crab and the experience is bad. I wonder why some people like to eat crab whereas it is so difficult to eat (I prefer prawn. Hehe...).

On the third day, we have went to the Muar food court for breakfast. There we try the fried oyster, chee chong fun (filled with char siew), chai pau and fish ball mee. After breakfast, we went to Tanjung Emas for sight seeing. My school mate and I went back to Klang after we visit Tanjung Emas. Tanjung Emas is just like Tanjung Harapan in Port Klang and the only difference that I can see is we can view Muar city from Tanjung Emas whereas Tanjung Harapan can’t. But in Tanjung Harapan, we can view many large ships and cruise ships. The journey back is much better as it only takes five hours. I learn a lot of new places during this trip and I get to know that many parts in Malaysia which are still not developed. Thanks a lot to a friend who brings us around during two days trip in Muar.

The moral of the story is always plan for a trip and book bus ticket early especially on festive seasons.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hoax

It is quite some time that I didn't updated my blog. Too busy with my programming stuff and have to get feed back from the user whether they like the program that I wrote. Nothing much to say, I just want to recommend a website that is worth to read. How many e-mails that you receive daily? Probably five? ten? No matter how many e-mails that you received, most e-mails that you received from friends are actually hoax. This website can tell you whether the e-mails you received are hoax or real situation. you will also find that some e-mails that you received are exactly the same (word by word) just like in the website.

http://www.hoax-slayer.com/email-hoax-archive.html

Try to read this website and I sure you will be amused for hours. Hope you all can gain useful knowledge today. I have to start my work now. Bye.

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Top 15 Skylines in the World

1. Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is number one for many reasons: Hong Kong has a whopping 39 buildings over 200 metres tall. It also boasts four of the 15 tallest buildings in the world… that's all in one city! Hong Kong’s skyline shows a large selection of distinct sky-reaching towers, with beautiful night lighting and reflection. This city exemplifies the post-modern skyscraper and skyline. Finally, the mountain backdrop makes this skyline (as you can clearly see) the greatest on the planet! Metro/Urban Population: 6.8 million


2. Chicago, USA
Chicago is the birthplace of the modern skyscraper. When Chicago built its first steel high-rise in 1885, it was not the tallest structure in the world but the first example of a new form of engineering that would change nearly every city on earth. Chicago has 17 buildings over 200 metres tall (three of which are among the top 20 tallest buildings in the world, including the tallest in North America). Chicago has some of the finest mid-century architecture and examples of modern skyscrapers.Metro/Urban Population: 8.5 million


3. Shanghai, China
Not to be mistaken for a space station, Shanghai is a real city! China's biggest and most advanced city, Shanghai was said to be the most cosmopolitan city in the beginning of the 20th century, but lost its glory during the “Mao era”. It is now quickly regaining its position as one of the biggest economic powerhouses in the world as well as a showcase of modern architecture. In Shanghai you’ll find 18 structures that are over 200 metres tall, one of which is the insanely tall, the 468m downtown Oriental Pearl TV Tower.Metro/Urban Population: 13.1 million



4. New York City, USA
New York City has one of the densest and most diverse skylines, with a huge collection of buildings and building styles. Thanks to Hollywood’s obsession with the city, it is also the most easily recognizable skyline in the world. New York City has an amazing 44 buildings over 200 metres - the most in the world! Home of the famous, now destroyed World Trade Center Towers, the Empire State building, the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations, New York City is the financial capital of the western world. Upon the completion of the new "Freedom Tower" (built on the old site of the World Trade Centers), it may rank higher in this list (depending on how good it looks of course).Metro/Urban Population: 21.0 million



5. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo is the world's most populated city. Its skyline has a number of unique characteristics that set it apart from other big city skylines, among them 15 structures at over 200 metres tall (including the Tokyo Tower which changes colors every night). But because of the density and vast size of the city, every corner appears to have its own skyline. With the height restrictions and the required red lights that flash atop all mid to tall-sized buildings make the city look spectacular at night. Tokyo is filled with neon lighting and unique, contemporary architecture, and like New York City is also often portrayed in movies for its aesthetic and eye-catching cityscapes. Interesting fact: Tokyo houses the world's largest fleet of helicopters to get around town if traffic gets too crazy. Metro/Urban Population: 32.0 million



6. Singapore
One of the best (urban) planned and cleanliest metropolitan cities in the world, Singapore looks like an architectural model city come to life. The buildings cannot be higher than 280 metres due to air traffic control restrictions, but that has added a tall (but not too tall) and consistent building height and space pattern that makes this skyline unique: Three buildings are exactly 280 metres tall and 5 others (8 total) stand at just over 200 metres. The buildings are mostly light-coloured and there is a large expanse of greenery dotted around the city core. This South-Eastern city is definitely in a league of its own.Metro/Urban Population: 3.8 million


7. Toronto, Canada
Toronto is a meeting place, a crossroads of many cultures and ethnicities. Toronto is downtown Canada, the biggest city in the country with a skyline to match. Toronto has 7 structures in its skyline that stand at over 200 metres, including the astonishingly tall 553 metre, CN Tower, which is often referred to as the tallest free-standing structure in the world. While mostly untrue (because there are taller TV masts in the world), the CN Tower possess the world's highest observation deck, making this city's skyline one of the most immediately identifiable.Metro/Urban Population: 5.1 million


8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This is probably the most impressive city worldwide that has less than 2 million residents. Marvelous modern buildings reach the sky here, and while the skyline is not too dense, it does allow buildings to soar and stand out. Kuala Lumpar has three of the 25 tallest buildings worldwide, including the tallest twin buildings, the Pretonos Towers (which are arguably the second and third tallest overall in the world) as well as the 420 metre Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower.Metro/Urban Population: 1.5 million



9. Shenzhen, China
What was a tiny fishing village on the border of Hong Kong in 1970 is now a buzzing metropolis of over four million people. With 13 buildings at over 200 meters tall, including the Shun Hing Square (the 8th tallest building in the world), Shenzen is a marvel of lights after sunset. You can’t help but ask yourself if you are in a video game or in a real city.Metro/Urban Population: 4.2 million



10. Seoul, South Korea
This city's skyscrapers are divided into many clusters, spread amongst the main businesses and residential districts. Most of the recent growth in Seoul's skyline, however, has been of residential towers over 60 storeys high that are shooting up like blades of grass! There are 10 buildings in Seoul over 200 meters tall and much of the mid-rise to high-rise structures are lined up in a linear fashion, creating a "wall" of buildings like no other. Seoul is where the ancient Eastern world meets the modern West. Metro/Urban Population: 20.8 million


11. Sao Paolo, Brazil
“What building did you say they lived in?” Finding it in the largest mass of condensed apartment buildings anywhere would be like finding a needle in a haystack. Sao Paolo has a population of over 18 million people! While the buildings are not super tall (with only a single structure at over 200 meters tall) this skyline is nevertheless stacked. Sao Paolo has a fleet of over 500 helicopters, the second largest helicopter fleet in the world.Metro/Urban Population: 18.3 million



12. Sydney, Australia
Australia’s showcase city, Sydney has one of the most recognizable skylines due to its world-famous harbour, often referred to as the most beautiful natural harbour in the world. The Sydney Harbour has many bays, inlets and secondary harbours. It is spanned by the monumental Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House decorates the shoreline like a white flower. The Sydney skyline is world-class with hundreds of skyscrapers in the central business district and many more high-rise buildings in the outlying neighbourhoods. Sydney has 8 buildings over 200 metres tall.Metro/Urban Population: 4.2 million


13. Frankfurt, Germany
Certainly one of Europe's most interesting cities in terms of skylines, Frankfurt is home to five structures that are over 200 metres tall. These modern skyscrapers are marvels compared to those other, mostly non-existent ones scattered across European cities. The contrast here is interesting: The city combines low-rise, high-density traditional European architecture (some of which is over 1,000 years old), with modern towers that stick out like sore thumbs, but are impressive nonetheless.Metro/Urban Population: 4.1 million



14. Dubai, United Arab, Emerites
Is this a mirage in the Middle East? Seemingly out of nowhere emerges a city in the middle of a desert. This is Dubai, a city that produces only the best modern architecture in the world. Already home of the world's tallest all-hotel building and the tallest all-residential building in the world, AND currently proposed to build the world's tallest building, this skyline might just leap to the number 1 spot in the near future. While the skyline is not so dense, each building is a marvel all on its own. As a skyline it probably can't compete with the larger cities, however the individual buildings in this city are by far the greatest examples of modern architectural accomplishments. All seven structures in this city at over 200 metres tall were built in 1999 or later - that's how new this city is.Metro/Urban Population: 1.6 million



15. Guangzhou, China
Guangzhou is a very modern city, yet it is called "the City of Flowers,” as each of its spectacular skyscrapers is surrounded by grand green spaces and flower beds. Although it only has four structures at over 200 metres tall, there are plenty of other high-rises, each displaying a design that stands out in its own respect. This includes the 391 metre, 80-floor, CITIC Plaza which appears transparent against the (usually) clear blue sky!Metro/Urban Population: 4.1 million

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Apple Tree Story

A long time ago, there was a huge apple tree. A little boy loved to come and play around it everyday.He climbed to the tree top, ate the apples, and took a nap under the shadow...He loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him.Time went by...the little boy had grown up and he no longer played around the tree everyday.

One day, the boy came back to the tree and he lo oked sad."Come and play with me," the tree asked the boy."I am no longer a kid; I don't play around trees anymore."The boy replied, "I want toys. I need money to buy them.""Sorry, but I don't have money... but you can pick all my apples and sell them. So, you will have money." The boy was so excited.He grabbed all the apples on the tree and left happily.The boy never came back after he picked the apples.The tree was sad.

One day, the boy returned and the tree was so excited. "Come and play with me" the tree said. "I don't have time to play.I have to work for my family. We need a house for shelter.Can you help me?" "Sorry, but I don't have a house. But you can chop off mybranches to build your house."So the boy cut all the branches of the tree and left happily. The tree was glad to see him happy but the boynever came back since then. The tree was again lonely and sad.

One hot summer day, the boy returned and the tree wasdelighted. "Come and play with me!" the tree said."I am sad and getting old. I want to go sailing to relax myself. Can you give me a boat?" "Use my truck to build yourboat. You can sail far away and be happy." So the boy cut the tree truck to make a boat. He went sailing and never showed up for along time.

Finally, the boy returned after he left for so many years."Sorry, my boy. But I don't have anything for you anymore. No more applesfor you... "The tree said. "I don't have teeth to bite" the boy replied."No more truck for you to climb on""I am too old for that now" the boy said."I really can't give you anything ... the only thing left is my dying roots" the tree said with tears."I don't need much now, just a place to rest. I am tiredafter all these years." The boy replied."Good! Old tree roots are the best place to lean on and rest.Come, Come sit down with me and rest."The boy sat down and the tree was glad and smiled with tears.......This is a story of everyone. The tree is our parent.When we were young, we loved to play with Mom and Dad...When we grown up, we left them... only came to them when weneed something or when we are in trouble.No matter what, parents will always be there and give everything they could to make you happy.You may think the boy is cruel to the tree but that's how all of us are treating our parent.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Face Or Talent

This year Malaysian Idol is not being an exciting event compared to last year. Jaclyn Victor was a clear winner when the event start. This year, the singing part is quite bad. Although, this year competition is quite stiff compared to the previous, there are no obvious indicator on who going to be the next Malaysian Idol. In last year event, the judges didn't comment much and don't have much bad comments when reaching top three. I think that all the contestant should not have pitching problem until this stage. With one more performance to go (Grand final), I hope that the quality will be better. This is a singing competition and the contestant should be judge based on their performances and not on how fabulous they look. If they are judged based on their look, they are better joining beauty pagent competition.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Why Employees Leave Companies?

I read this article from a website and I found it interesting. Most people think money is the main reason but read it on and you will find that it is not the main reason...

Retaining key employees is now the number one problem for corporations. With unemployment rates going toward all-time lows, attracting and holding top talent is a serious concern. After 20 years of down-sizing, it may seem ironic that corporations are now in a panic about losing employees.

Training professionals, managers and CEO's are all searching for what they can do to keep their good, talented employees. Particularly hard-hit has been the high-tech industry, which reports turnover rates as high as 30 percent.

Organizations are turning to retention bonuses to attract and retain talented people, some say as high as $20,000. There are also reports of an amazing array of perks and benefits being offered to make employees' lives more comfortable. Some organizations offer dry-cleaning services, car-detailing, concierge services to run errands, child-care, pet-sitting, gym programs, and chair massages.

But you can't buy love. Throwing money or gifts at people isn't enough to keep them. If they don't like the company, the people they work with, the boss orthe way that they're treated, they will still leave.

Finding solutions to employee retention means more profitable companies, happier, more productive employees, and more satisfied customers.

Losing employees is very expensive. Studies have found that the cost of replacing lost talent is 70 to 200 percent of that person's annual salary. Expenses include recruiting, orientation and training, lost productivity during that period, even lost customer satisfaction because of the change. Finding and training the best employees is a major investment.

What can a company do, once they have found talented people, given them valuable training and equipped them, to prevent them from walking out the back door and going to competitors?
Study after study shows that people leave because of their direct supervisors, more so than any other reason. It is the manager who more than anyone else can do something about retaining workers. The manager can be seen as responsible for creating a satisfactory working environment.

However, studies also show that 9 out of 10 managers think people stay or go because of money (Harvard Management Update, June 1988.) This keeps showing up in research, in spite of the fact that people leaving jobs say otherwise. Money and perks matter, but employees report that what they want most is challenging, meaningful work, a good boss, and an opportunity for learning and development.

In 1999 the Hay Group studied more than 500,000 employees in 300 companies. They found that of 50 retention factors, pay was the least important. Other studies bring up similar lists of the 10 most important reasons people want to stay with a company.

1. Career growth, learning and development
2. Exciting, challenging work
3. Meaningful work, ability to make a difference and a contribution
4. Great people
5. Being part of a team
6. Good boss
7. Recognition for work well done
8. Autonomy, a sense of control over one's work
9. Flexible hours and dress
10. Fair pay and benefits

This is contingent upon people having already attained a certain level of material comfort. That is, once people have their basic needs met, they care more about what they do and who they work with, rather than the money.

So why do managers still think it's the money? Do they view people as important capital assets, or as easily replaced? Do they nurture, respect and protect their workers? Or are they looking at them only as performers? Diagnosing the gaps in espoused theory and theory in action is important in putting retention efforts in the hands of managers who are most closely working with the employees and who can make the difference.

One possible explanation why managers still think it's the money may be thatwhen employees complain to them, they often bring up the subject of compensation. Workers come to their bosses when they want a raise. They may feel they are not earning enough, or as much as another person. When these concerns are frequently verbalized to managers it gives them the impression that money is what matters the most.

A 1999 study by the Saratoga Institute for the American Management Association cites three reasons people leave their jobs:

1. Poor supervisor skills
2. No growth opportunities
3. Inability to speak freely

Some of the most comprehensive research on what makes a great company has been done by the Gallup Organization. In 1999 they published the results of a meta-survey of over 1 million employees. This information is invaluable and is contained in the book, "First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently" by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (Simon & Schuster, 1999).

Based on a wealth of data, the Gallup Organization attempted to define not only what makes a great company, but because so much depends upon it, what makes a great manager.

In today's tight labor markets, companies compete to find and keep the best employees, using pay, benefits, promotions, impressive job titles and training. But these well-intentioned efforts miss the mark. The most important element in attracting and retaining key employees is the front-line manager.

The Gallup study found that people weren't necessarily loyal to the company, but rather to the unit they worked in, and this was because of their feelings toward their immediate supervisor. In other words, companies aren't employers-of-choice, but rather supervisors are the essential factors in retaining talented people.

No matter how generous its pay, benefits or training, a company that lacks great supervisors and managers will suffer. Great managers, according to the Gallup research, have the following behaviors that set them apart from others:

1. They select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience.
2. They set clear expectations and define the right outcomes rather than the right steps.
3. They motivate people, by building on their strengths rather than trying to fix their weaknesses.
4. As each employee grows, they encourage them to find the right fit for their strengths within the organization.

It is worthwhile to examine four of the elements that have been proven to be effective in creating employee loyalty: praise and recognition, a sense of contribution to the company, learning and development, and having a best friend at work.

1. Praise and recognition: It has been said that no news is good news, but for managers interested in keeping the best workers, this is not true. For workers, not getting any feedback is tantamount to being ignored: it leads to complacency. Workplaces that ignore performance will destroy the very human spirit that makes the true difference in quality output and service delivery.

Positive recognition is often thought of as coming strictly from supervisors or managers, but studies have found that employees really value praise and recognition from peers. Co-workers know the particulars of a job and when they give good feedback it can be more meaningful.
What can a manager do to help foster this? Model the appropriate way to give frequent praise and recognition. Work with your coach to help develop your feedback skills.

2. A sense of contribution to the company: Excellence only happens when people have a deeply felt sense of purpose in their lives. Human beings want to know they make a difference. Organizations need to let employees know how their job and their performance is important to the overall success of the company. There must be an alignment of the worker's personal reasons for being there and the purpose of the job. It is more exciting to share a mission rather than to simply accomplish a task.

What can a manager do to increase this sense of meaning? Involve the workers in other aspects of the company. Take them to meetings, let them know about what's going on in the company in other departments and teams.

3. Learning and development: It is important to offer trainings and learning opportunities. Traditional management highlights the need to help employees identify their weaknesses and then creates a plan for them to improve. The emphasis is on what the employee is not, rather than on developing more of who they are. Effective organizations are now hiring coaches to help workers develop their strengths and to become more of who they are.

Working with a coach involves holding up a mirror to employees and encouraging them to know themselves. As they come to better understand who they are, they can see opportunities for growth in the company, utilizing their strengths and talents. As they move forward in their self-knowledge, they can look for places within the company where their talents are a good fit.

4. Having a best friend at work: This is a key element in why people choose to stay at a job, even in the face of other dissatisfactions. In the best workplaces, managers recognize that employees want to forge quality relationships with their co-workers and that company loyalty can be built from such relationships. Developing trusting relationships with one's coworkers provides a significant emotional compensation for employees. While organizations pay close attention to the loyalty workers may feel toward the company, the best employers recognize that loyalty also exists among workers to each other. Great managers allow time and opportunity for these relationships to flourish.

Managers know that they need to attract and retain talented people in order to succeed in the competitive workplace. And they also have to find ways to get workers to improve performance. People usually don't think of themselves as performers, but as individuals with certain strengths and talents. Workers must know that the manager cares about them on a human level before they are going to be motivated to make extra efforts.

There is no one-size-fits all retention formula. Here are some of the ingredients:1. Honest communications in all directions2. Supervisors who invite workers into all facets of work and help them to see the big picture, that is, the corporate value of their contributions3. Workplaces that encourage experimentation and learning.

There are no new tricks. It is the same old story: there is a great need to engage and enable the hearts, minds, and yes, even the soul of people at work. This engagement is far more important than bonuses, perks and even chair massages. It is primordial to retaining talented people.

So, after you have read this article, what do you think?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ah Beng Jokes

AH BENG the Crazy Singaporean.
Why did Ah Beng go to a movie with his 18 friends?
Because below 18 not allowed Lah !

Ah Beng wants to buy a TV set. He goes to a shop.
Ah Beng : "Do you have color TV ?"
Salesgirl : "Yes !"
Ah Beng : "Give me a green one, please "

Ah Beng is filling up an application form for a job.
He supplied the information for the columns on Name, Age,
Address etc.
Then he comes to column on "Salary Expected", but he is not sure
of the question.
After much thought, he writes " Yes "

Ah Beng goes to a store and sees a shiny object.
Ah Beng : "What is that shiny object ?"
Salesgirl : "That is a thermos flask."
Ah Beng : "What does it do ?"
Salesgirl : "It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold"
Ah Beng : "I'll buy it"
The next day, Ah Beng goes to work with his thermo flask
Boss : "What is that shiny object ?"
Ah Beng : "It's a thermos flask."
Boss : "What does it do ?"
Ah Beng : "It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold"
Boss : "What do you have in it !?"
Ah Beng : "Two cups of coffee and one cup of ice cream"

After taking photocopies of documents, Ah Beng always compares
it with the original for spelling mistakes.

Ah Beng always smiles during lightning storms because he thinks
his picture is being taken.

Why can't Ah Beng dial 911?
Because he can't find the number 11 (eleven) on the phone.

Ah Beng had just bought a new computer and was using it.
When he encountered some problems. He decide to use the 'Help'
command after some tries.
Soon after, he became very irritated and called the computer
retailer for support.
Ah Beng : "I press the 'F1' key for help lah, but it's been
over half an hour and still nobody come and help me Lah ?!"

Ah Beng with two red ears went to his doctor.
The doctor asked him what had happened to his ears and he
answered, "I was ironing a shirt and the phone ring, lah - but
instead of picking up the phone, I accidentally picked up the iron and
stuck it
to my ear, lah" "Oh dear !" the doctor exclaimed in disbelief. "But ...
what happened to the other ear ?"
Ah Beng answered : "That stupid dumbo called back, lah !!!!"

Ah Beng talk to a long-distance telephone operator.
Ah Beng: "COULD YOU PLEASE TELL ME THE TIME DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
Taipei
AND LAS VEGAS ?"
Operator: "JUST A MINUTE..."
Ah Beng : "THANK YOU , lah" AND PUTS DOWN THE PHONE.

After completing a jigsaw puzzle he'd been working on for
quite some time, Ah Beng proudly shows off the finished puzzle to a
friend.
"It took me ONLY 5 MONTHS TO DO IT", Ah Beng brags.
"FIVE MONTHS ? THAT'S TOO LONG", the friend exclaims.
"YOU ARE A FOOL." Ah Beng replies, "SEE THIS BOX, IT IS WRITTEN
FOR 4-7 YRS".

At a bar in New York, the man to Ah Beng's left tells the
bartender,
"JOHNNIE WALKER, SINGLE"
and his companion says, "JACK DANIELS, SINGLE".
The bartender approaches Ah Beng and asks, "AND YOU, SIR ?"
Ah Beng replies : "Tan Ah Beng, MARRIED lah"

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Next Shopping Gadgets

Without even realise it, I have worked for about 3 months already. Being a software developer is simply not really cool. The job is typical boring unless you are a person who like to sit in front of computer for the whole day (10 hours). I still feel that life in university is better compared to working life. But we just cannot study in university for the whole life time. We have to earn money in order to live well.

My daily routine is basically the same during work days. Wake up early... go to work ... back from work ... bath ... dinner ... watch TV ... and sleep early. One thing amiss in my current job is lack of challenging project or interesting project to be done. Although I am working in a factory area, our IT department don't do much support, solve problems or provide solutions to the factory management. I think this is due to my IT department is a subsidiary company which make their own business and separate from other devisions/company within a group.

I like to watch TV at home. But my working life don't allow me to watch great TV series or movies. Fortunately, technology can help me by recording those movies I would miss. With it, I only need to set the TV programme time and channel in the TV scheduler software. In order to save energy, I would schedule my computer to shut down after recording a TV programme and set it to stand by mode before recording session begin.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Haze Emergency In Port Klang

These pictures are taken when the API (Air Pollution Index) reached 450. The situation here is very bad and very dangerous to be on the road as the visibility distance is only 20-100 metres.



Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Full Function Gadget

Now, I want to rumble about a device that I find it interesting. It is the MSI Mega Stick, a five in one thumb drive. It offers five great functions such as thumb drive (256 MB), MP3 / WMA player, voice recorder, FM radio and FM recording. This device has all the functionality that I need. This device also uses AAA sized battery and it is good for me when I am on traveling for a long time without the worry to find power socket to charge the device. By the way, AAA sized battery can be purchased anywhere. But this interesting device also has its own downside. The black lever on the side of the Mega Stick is quite small and difficult to adjust. But this disadvantage didn’t pose much problem to me. The pricing of this device is quite reasonable at RM315. The package comes with:
• MSI Mega Stick (Portable Digital Audio Player)
• Ear-clip Type Earphone with Extension Cable
• Extension Cable for Earphone
• Metal Necklace
• USB Extension Cable
• Quick Installation Guide
• Carry Bag
• Driver Disk
• AAA Battery

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Very Strange Facts! But Interesting To Know

Most lipstick contains fish scales

Coca-Cola was originally green.

The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.

The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

People say "Bless you" when you sneeze because when you sneeze, your heart stops for a millisecond.

It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.

If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or neck and die.

If a statue of a person in the park on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Honey is the only food that doesn't spoil.

A snail can sleep for three years.

All polar bears are left handed.

Butterflies taste with their feet.

Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.

On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.

The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.

The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.

Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over million descendants.

Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Great Pictures From Baldur's Gate II

Hey, it is 4 years already since I finished playing Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn. I find it very hard to find a game that is more interesting to play than this. It have many powerful spells which catch my attention. Time stop (stopping time to attack motionless enemies) and dragon's breath (attack a group of enemies using a devastating fire blow) are some the examples. Nowadays, most of the games produced is not on the par. In this new decade, many game developers put importance on the wrong side of the game. The wrong side that I mean is graphics. Too much emphasis is put on the game's graphics alone. In my opinion, a good game should have a good story line, original ideas, meaningful, promote creativity and give moral values to the players. Although, games like Pac-Man and Supermario are not as good looking compared to Unreal Tournament 2004 or Hitman, it has its own originality and meaningful while playing it. I am sure that you also remembered a game that bring meaningful game play compared to a game that have very good graphics but don't have good plot.

Another good game that worth to mention is Half Life. This is a very famous first person shooter game. Do you know why? The good thing is that the graphics is on the par and yet it does not require a powerful PC to play it. With just 32MB or RAM (Random Access Memory), you are able to play the game smoothly. This game is not like a normal first person shooter game where players only need to shoot at everything that moves (which is meaningless). Half Life test our IQ as this game need us to figure out how to get to the next level and to solve problems. Sometimes we need to hear properly what the scientist in the game said in order to solve a problem. For example, a scientist said "This creature have a good ear but blind". So, in order to kill this beast, we cannot make any sound that can be heard by the creature. Any shooting won't kill the beast. Only the nuclear beam can kill it. So, at that time I try to figure out how to get to that nuclear beam switch without being killed (the beast attack the sound source). Actually what the scientist means earlier is that we have to walk slowly without making sound to the switch. Normally in the game we just press the forward arrow key. In this case, we need to press shift + forward arrow key to walk.

Sad to say that now, game developers seem not to put much effort in creating a good plot in a game. In addition, most of the games produced nowadays using sophisticated 3D modeling software which do not promote creation of good algorithm to make the game smoother on low performance PC. Maybe games developer and PC manufacturer co-operate with each other to gain income from the public. Game developers produce higher requirement games so that the public need to upgrade their PC or change their PC in order to play the new game!





Thursday, July 21, 2005

Approved Permit Issue

"The price of car in Malaysia is 600% more expensive than its actual price!" That's mean that a brand new Proton Waja 1.6 only cost about RM66,000x100/600 = RM11,000. The price of Honda City is actually RM85,000 x 100/600 = RM14,166.

Thanks to our former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir for requesting the names of the approved permit (AP) holders to be published to the public. If he didn't mention about this, until now we also don't know the real problem.

According to a newspaper report, a famous branded imported car 1.0 litre from South Korea only cost about RM8,762 when it arrived to Port Klang. But, after the tax imposed to the car, the car value may only cost about RM22.868. The car then sold by the approved permit holder at RM46,000. Now we can see that the approved permit holder can so much money by just selling a car. A low level car from south korea can gain RM20,000 profit already. How about the higher level car like BMW and Mercedes? The profit is sure higher than RM20,000 per unit.

The concept that our government protect our automobil is a good move but it must be look from other aspect as well. How long is our citizen need to suffer in order to buy other cars than Proton or Produa. Nowadays, car is a necessity as the public transportation system especially in Klang Valley is very bad. I am a public transport user and I know how its feel when using public transport. Not only that the bus is full but it seldom follows its schedule. Sometimes I have to wait for an hour to wait for a bus to go to a particular place. How is our country is going to develop if we have to wait for 1 hour just to go to a place? Don't see that 1 hour is just a small amount of time. What happen if one day, nearly 10,000 people have to wait an hour for bus. That's mean we already loose 10,000 hours! That's amount of time if use properly, can hasten our developed country status.

Now, we back to our national car. In 1984, when our prime minister Dr. Mahathir talked about our own national car we feel very happy at that time. But after 21 years, Dr. Mhathir still talked about the protection to the national car. We feel cheated that although after AFTA (Asean Free Trade Area), our cars still sold at a high price. In Singapore and Thailand where they don't have their own national car, can enjoy lower car price after AFTA.

I need to go now cao.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Catch This Exciting Facts

We asked more than 250 PC World readers about a raft of tech annoyances. These are the worst, rated on a scale of 1 (not annoying) to 7 (extremely annoying).
1. Sites that hijack your browser home page: 6.87
2. Downloads that come with spyware: 6.80
3. Services you can't unsubscribe from: 6.60
4. Viagra/prescription-drug spam: 6.54
5. Animated ads blocking out a Web page: 6.52
6. Pornographic spam: 6.50
7. Pop-up/pop-under ads: 6.47
8. Nigerian scam spam: 6.31
9. Overpriced printer ink: 6.18
10. All the work required to get a rebate: 6.10
11. (tie) RealPlayer marketing tactics; cryptic error text: 5.97
(PC World magazine October 2004)
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