Sunday, March 23, 2008

Outpinged Lives Again!


I finally got down to building my own computer. Last year, my workstation was very cluttered (click) and unergonomic. This new desktop let's me save space and have a much more ergonomic workstation (click). Last year, I had used my notebook connected to a display as my workstation. Little would i know that it would affect my posture quite badly (i actually had the initial signs of scoliosis but that's another story). It affected my ability to play sports and even walking became annoying.

The Tale of Outpinged

Once upon a time, there was a warrior, a trained sniper who totally owned at the legendary battlefields of 2fort5 in Teamfortress for Quake II. He was a veteren of combat who had experienced many other battles in Duke Nukem, Quake and Doom. Yet, he was unable to fulfill his maximum potential. He was limited by speed. Using an ancient 28.8kbps modem, he struggled during intense moments on the battlefield, trying to pre-empt where his enemies would be a split second later. The delays (pings) were sometimes outrageous, lasting about half a second. Some people are outrun on the battlefield. Some people are outsmarted. He was, "Outpinged*".

He had his fair share of leadership commanding armies in Warcraft (I,II,III), C&C and Starcraft, but the battlefield was where his heart was. He clocked more than 300 hours on counter-strike on dated equipment.

As time slowly crept upon Outpinged. He found himself increasingly disadvantaged by the limitations of his gear. That limitation has now been removed.

The last gaming rig:
  1. 0.6Ghz Pentium III. 10 million transistors
  2. Riva TNT2, 12 million transistors, 16mb RAM
  3. 64MB RAM
  4. Rolled iron and Plastic case
  5. 350W power supply.
  6. 17" CRT monitor
  7. RM5500

Gaming rig, 2008:
  1. 1.8Ghz Pentium Dual Core. 230 million transistors
  2. Geforce 8800GT, 666 million transistors, 512mb RAM
  3. 2048MB RAM
  4. Brushed aluminium case.
  5. 650W Coolermaster Real Power (19A x 3 @ 12V)
  6. 22" Widescreen LCD Panel.
  7. RM4600

*Ping is the delay it takes for a computer to communicate with the server.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Grind

Stand after going low to pass a hurdle...

Classes start at 8am and end at 5pm on Mondays - with only an hour of break in between. To add icing to the cake, the faculty decided that monday was the day we also receive our weekly presentation topics and patient cases. The tuesday breaks are about to be no more in a few weeks...

Im starting to feel alot of pressure. Last year, a record 100+ students out of a cohort of 300 students were forced to sit supplementary exams. 9 students actually had to remain in first year! Unbelievable. This year there are even more exams and hurdles to cross.

...yet i dont feel stressed! It's an awesome feeling; the pressure is nothing. I can take it! I dont feel like im last in anatomy class. I've refined my method of distilling knowledge. I can take it! I can take it now! I suffocated last year. This year, i can finally breathe...

Moving fast,
hurdles pass,
never last,
sadness past.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


I arrived on the 11th of February. Little would i know that the following few weeks would herald a new stage in my personal development.

The Prequel of Empathy

It was a cold rainy night on the 13th of february. The halls were deserted. I went to the guys house on Panorama street to pick my stuff up. They were still in Malaysia so the house was empty. It was dark, raining and windy. I felt a chill as i opened the rusty door. It took me about 2 hours to move all my stuff back to the halls. The cold, gloomy drizzle was depressing.

Isolation makes one sensitive to the presence of others.

O-Week, 2008

Orientation week proved to be very meaningful to me. I put a conscious effort to interact more with other people - yet a simple truth of human nature still eluded me.

Then, as part of the orientation, I was obliged to watch a presentation done by the university to promote healthy lifestyle choices. The comedian cum motivator was pretty good, but at one point, he said something that echoes in my head till this very day.

"To be sociable means not to be interesting,
it means to be interested..."

Staying in the halls has provided me with an excellent opportunity to expand my interpersonal skills in a neutral, multicultural environment. As preconceptions and prejudices were destroyed by the voice of reasoning, I finally removed the last few buckles of the mental straitjacket that had once threatened to destroy me.

A 180 degree turn in my interpersonal relations soon followed. I quickly noticed that interest in others is always reciprocated (ok, there are exceptions, but reciprocality is the norm). That set the tone for my interactions with others during the course of o-week. Interacting with lots of new faces, i put the basic principle to work. It works!

Physical Reverberations..

I now feel compelled to divert resources from typically self-centered luxuries to those that involve other people.

Ethreal Reverberations...

To see another person, and not only recognize his/her name. To seen individuals. Where they are from, their background, their likes and dislikes. The mental effort to remember comes naturally with genuine interest to know more about other people. This is something I have yet to gain - so yes, i do have to put some mental effort when interacting with people. I hope that one day this would come more naturally to me.

Feel it falling off like clothing
Taste it rolling on your tongue
See the lights above you glowing

Oh and breathe them deep into your lungs

It was always simple, not hidden hard
You've been pulling at the strings playing puppeteer for kings

And you've had enough

But the search ends here

Where the night is totally clear

And your heart is fierce

So now you finally know that you control where you go

You can steer

So hold this feeling like a newborn

Of freedom surging through your veins

You have opened up a new door

So bring on the wind, fire and rain

It was always simple, not hidden hard

You've been played at a game called remembering your name

And you stuffed it up

'Cos you've been listening for answers
But the city screams and all your dreams go unheard

You get out of the box and step into the clear

'Cos now you finally know you can steer

~ Missy Higgins, Steer. ~