Why we need categories

We like to think that doctors, lawyers, and programmers create terminologies out of thin air to suspend belief that they know so much and are indeed highly valued members of the society. As much as we like to believe that everything we don't understand is either evil or god, terms exist for good reasons.

I wrote this because I need to remind myself that terms are important. In pharmacy you remember a lot of $*#(% things, things that are abstract and may never be seen throughout your entire life. You DON'T want to see EVERY cases described in the Basic Pathology textbook! Rationalizing with myself brings enlightenment, and thus this post.

I shall use this simple statement to illustrate my arguments: 

"He's on NSAIDs." Read more »

What A Game Can Tell You About The World

I have been playing Civilization IV for quite some time, and so far it is one of the best games I have ever played. Its deep gameplay is based on how civilizations survive, so strategies employed for the game, common reoccuring scenarios, and AI behaviours somewhat represent how governments of the world behave.

Size matters

A nation with larger territory usually wins over the smaller ones---but only if it is managed well. The more cities you have, the greater the cost for maintenance. However, more cities mean: Read more »

  • more productivity, and productivity usually means everything: troops, buildings, or MONEY. So you can have bigger military force, boost education and research, or turn one city to a money-making machine to make up the cost for other cities.
  • more population, so you can have political advantage and force the UN to agree with you on everything.
  • more (natural) resources, so you can have competitive edge on trade or making citizens happy. The Arabian oil is a prominent example. If only the Middle East is one country...

Pemerintah Terlalu Reaktif terhadap Film F*?

Hari ini gw baca artikel yang cukup menarik di koran Kompas hari ini, 7 April 2008, halaman 33, “Keseimbangan Baru Menghadapi Teknologi”: minggu lalu, Menkominfo kita mengeluarkan surat perintah kepada APJII (badan pengawas internet Indonesia) untuk “memblokir situs maupun blog yang melakukan posting film F*”, dan artikel tersebut berisi kritik terhadap kebijakan tersebut. Gw sebagai warga negara yang baik (wuidih…) mencoba untuk menekankan isi-isi yang penting dari artikel tersebut, tidak lupa ditambah dengan bumbu-bumbu pendapat pribadi :D.

Kesan pertama gw membaca artikel tersebut adalah: PENTING YA!? Bagaimana nggak, film hate speech seperti F* bisa mengundang reaksi yang begitu besar dari sebuah negara beradab seperti Indonesia. Apakah pemerintah saking gak punya kerjaan, sampai-sampai urusan-urusan kecil seperti ini diurus dengan sesigap mungkin (tertulis klasifikasi surat adalah “Sangat Segera”)? Apakah urusan seperti pembajakan yang marak terjadi di internet tidak segawat masalah F* ini? Gw rasa pemerintah perlu menunjukkan bahwa ia punya prioritas dalam menghadapi masalah-masalah yang terjadi di masyarakat. Read more »

The Purpose of Blogging for Me

Now that the blog becomes permanent, I would like to have a say about the purpose of this blog; or, rather, the motivation for me to blog. Perhaps my write-up here could motivate you to start blogging (for non-bloggers), or blog better and happier :)

Practice English and Writing

This is important for everybody, even for native speakers of English. By blogging in English, I am forced to write in English all the time. However, it doesn’t feel very dreadful because I am free to write about anything. Nobody collects and marks my work (except you blog readers!).

Contrastingly, being active in forums or social networking sites do not help much for your English. Either those sites permit you to communicate with your mother language, or they require very little typing. Replying a topic, writing on a person’s Wall or adding up a testimonial does very little impact to your English writing compared to writing a blog post this long, for example. Read more »

OOXML vs. ODF: A Battle of Format

Yesterday I collected files from my classmates (by email) to aggregate it because a teacher had asked us to do it. Since most of us are pretty much non-techies, I would assume that everybody submit .doc files – that goes without saying. A headache came in, however, when one of my friends submitted a .docx file.

I am perfectly aware that this is a new file format used by Microsoft Office 2007 – but hey Microsoft, do you think that everybody in the world can suddenly open up a new file format just because you use it? A patch from Microsoft for opening up these files cost a dreading 28 MB download. Do you think everybody in the world has that much of time and bandwidth to download it? (No, Ritchie, I’m not blaming you for this fuss.) Read more »

Web Service to Replace SMS

I have an idea for a service to replace SMS (Short Messaging Service) with a "SMS over IP" structure. Basically a mobile Java / J2ME application connects to a central server with persistent socket. Using the established socket, the server can send data to the phone. Therefore, people can send "SMS" (actually only ordinary text data) to the server (using their own connections), and the server can route the message to another account which is already connected to the server.

This is very similar to existing IM concept, but with IM there are too many data to send - people logging in/out, etc., and data cannot be retained / saved if the current user is not connected to the server at the moment (hence "Instant" Messaging).

It has a great potential if SMSes are more expensive compared to GPRS connection (which is the case in Indonesia: Rp 350 per sms vs. Rp 3 per kb). I might want to develop this, but the server cost must be high, as there are very many persistent connections at one moment (which needs an MMORPG class server).

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