Smart Cut n' PasteDid you know that when you select a sentence in Microsoft Word and then cut it into the clipboard, and if there is a trailing space after your selected text, it will also delete that trailing space? It won't delete the space if it's a double-space, but I am in two minds about things like this in MS Word. Is it (a) Incredibly intelligent and convenient for the machine to guess that I wouldn't, couldn't possibly want that extra space and nice of it to delete it for me?; or (b) Another example of borg-like control in the way I write and edit my text?
Is there a way of switching this behaviour off?
A good friend just pointed out that you can turn it off by "Tools->Options, then select the "Edit" tab and Un-tick "Use smart cut and paste". And then I found this Knowledge Base article.
PM and wife get peace awards
The Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace has awarded Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Datin Seri Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali the “Ambassador for Peace” award for their contributions towards world peace and unity.
The Asian office of the federation, based in Manila, is a UN-affiliated body.
The Star, Malaysia, 19 Sep 2003
This should be good, I guess, exccept for the fact that the Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace is a front for the Unification Church (aka the Moonies). Its claim of being a UN-affliated body doesn't mean that the UN sanctions the fedaration, and really, I think (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) that any NGO can apply to be a UN-affliated body.
I tried to find out who the other Ambassador's for Peace in the world were, but I couldn't find it on their webpage but there are at least 3,500 Ambassadors for Peace (as of July 2002), so it isn't exactly an elite club.
The PM can even read papers written by fellow ambassadors on their website in the "Ambassador's Jornal" (sic), including one titled "test".
Let me first wax elequently about the first half. Villa played well, Angel and Allback causing more than their fair share of trouble up front, and J'Lloyd Samuel doing a stellar job defending and moving forward to help out where necessary. Manchester's City defence was all over the place, looking like a top-heavy ship caught in a gale. That large gaping hole in midfield caused by McManaman's forages upfield didn't help things. Hendrie made some space, lobbed in a cross, and Angel fooled both Seaman and a linesman unaware of the offside rule to head it in. Score at half time: 1-0 to the Villains.
And then, King Kev weaved his magic wand during half time and everything went to pot. Losing Mellberg to a groin strain just before the interval didn't really help things either. Alpay is still some way off his best and I think he was responsible for at least one goal, as well as the general uneasiness around the penalty box. I think Angel, Allback, Samuel and Hendrie played very well, but the rest need to realise when their backs are against the wall and show the determination to not just lean back and give up.
Anyway, the less said about the second half, the better. The defenders couldn't really be held too accountable for not standing up to the constant battering, and the midfield was a little lost when Man City stepped up a gear. Plenty of congratulations to the City, plenty of time on the training ground please for the Villians.
Man City is turning into a real Kevin Keegan team, who can create chances from almost anywhere, but have centrebacks who get pulled out of positions to cover missing fullbacks. They can be truly scary when the have four or five players running into the penalty box at one time, but they will stay a mid-table team with European pretensions if they can't get their defence sorted out.
As for Villa, we need to show a little more creativity in midfield to go with the hard work, as well as a few more reliable centrebacks. If Mellberg is out for a while, we may have just enough cover in Barry and Alpay, but things may get a little shaky.
Here we go, here we go, here we go...
The only real cause for gripe is that one Birmingham player made the first eleven (Matthew Upson) and not a single Villa player made the squad. Gah.
Cool Websites I LikeSo, I was watching TechTV the other day (or what Dinesh calls "MTV for geeks") and they had one of these "Wonderful Websites of the Moment" (Nobody write in and tell me what it's really called. I can't really remember. I don't really care). They were talking about the great imdb.com and then the commentator says something like "...visit this great new website...".
What the h-? IMDB is more than ten years old! It ws one of the first websites I saw that made me think, "Hey, this Internet thing is pretty cool!". I remember wandering around in 1993 when I was still trying to figure out email and Mosaic.
The Internet has thrown out a lot of good things in the last ten years. I'm not just talking about information sites, but websites that provide a service and provide benefit to the community by enabling possibilities. Just because I have time on my hands, here are a list of websites that I thought were pretty cool the first time I saw them, and time proved me right-ish when they made it big (I don't include ones that I like but were already on the radar screen by the time I appreciated them, so sites like Blogger, Yahoo and Google aren't mentioned):
- IMDB.com: The Internet Movie Database. All the films. All the actors. Posters. Images. Trivia. Goofs. Why would you need another website about movies? Thirteen years old and going strong.
- Hotmail: I know, I know, I have nothing but bad things to say about Hotmail these days, but when it first came out it was a revelation. It was web-based email. It was free. It was incredible. I didn't have to fight with telnet across continents anymore. I didn't have to battle tmnet's pop server inadequacies. It was cool. Then they sold it.
- Project Gutenburg: Bored? Get a book off Project Gutenburg. This is a depository of text that have gone out of copyright. Roughly speaking, this is any book published before 1925. It's great, you have all the Sherlock Holmes stories and Tarzan, as well as any book that the authors have released (e.g. The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling). The only downside is that thanks to the so-called Mickey Mouse copyright extension act nothing will move out of copyright until after 2019 at the soonest. But enjoy what there is while you can!
- Metacrawler: Just before Google came along, there was metacrawler. It searched search engines and aggregated results. Five search engines were better than one. And it was fast. It eschewed complicated, heavy interfaces in favour of a page with one search box and two links and nothing else. I don't know if they knew about Metacrawler (I can't believe they didn't) but Google picked a lot of this up (including at first using Yahoo as a meta-search engine) and went on to become the goliath it is today. Metacrawler somehow didn't get it and it thought more was better and got less as a result.
- Yahoo!Photos: Before, if you wanted to put pictures on the web, you had to do it all by hand. Edit the pictures. Upload the pictures. Make the thumbnails. Make the directory. And then, Yahoo did something clever: They allowed you to upload pictures directly and they handled all the processing for you. I'm not sure who the first were to do this, but Yahoo did it well. Yahoo was how I could get pictures from my camera to the Internet in extra quick time.
- ICQ: ICQ came before Yahoo!Messenger, so it gets the place of honour, although I have by now shifted over to Yahoo as my main message client. Although not strictly a website, this Internet chat client was the Thing I Had Been Waiting For on the net ever since the good old days in University when ytalk kept me in touch with my friends. Even if they were only in the lab next door. Just to show you what an early adopter I was, my number was 4441202, and now numbers reach nine digits. However, it's been so long since I used it that I've either forgotten the password or the account has been disabled.
- images.google Now how cool was that when it came out? I could finally search the web for desktop-sized images of Audrey Hepburn. It was incredibly clever at the time, and I still don't see anyone making a better image search engine for the Web. It doesn't always get it completely right, but it needs to only get it right once to be a success.
- Babelfish: Named after the fictional species of fish in the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Alta Vista's Babelfish tool does pretty much what it's literary counterpart does: translate foreign languages. Now, you can read my homepage in French (or at least, part of it). Even if it's not perfect, it's free and it's usable.
These are all things that are now recognised as cool. There are other websites out there that I think are very cool, but have yet to hit the general consciousness:
- epinions: The website that I believe hinted at the power of blogging before blogger made it big. The consumer review website was so broad that you could write an opinion on just about anything and there would be a category for it to fall under. OK, so there isn't a category called Why-The-War-In-Iraq-Sucks, but you can write a review on War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know. The real power is that readers can rate the articles and those that are valued float to the top, so it is a self-organising hierachy. I know, SlashDot does pretty much the same thing, but this is one I feel I 'discovered' myself.
- CafePress: Way back when I was working for MDC, I said that if we really wanted to drive e-commerce in Malaysia, we had to make it easy for people to take it up. What we needed, more than promotion campaigns, was a cookie-cutter method for companies to sell stuff online. This was before CafePress was launched, and it gives the best example I know of making a difficult thing simple. I can now sell a t-shirt online, with my logo on it, in less than five minutes. Really incredible. I really wish the e-perolehan guys would look at this.
- Lulu: This site and CafePress should be talked about in the same breath, I guess. While CafePress makes it easy for you to sell physical things like t-shirts and mugs, Lulu focusses on intellectual property such as books, music and photographs. That's right, you can write and sell your book online without looking for a publisher or having to pay somebody up-front. The clever thing that they've done this as a community so that if you're looking for photographs for your book, you can search through other peoples' libraries and then incorporate their images into your work, for an appropriate agreed-upon royalty. You can also collaborate musically with people online. If you should be so interested, you can also buy some of my photos from there (but friends need to only ask and I shall email to them for free!).
- Jabber: This is the open-source version of all those chat protocols you see out there. Back when it first started, having a Jabber client meant you could use that one client to chat to people on Yahoo, ICQ and MSN, but then some companies started to make life difficult. I don't really use a jabber client now because most of my friends don't use it, but I have faith that it being open will mean that things will snowball. Unless, of course, somebody opens up their proprietary protocols.
- Wikipedia: Wiki is a tool that enables people who read your webpage to edit it, and Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. How on Earth is this a good idea? Wouldn't it result in chaos? Well, no, it doesn't, although this may have to do more with its obscurity than anything else. The roots of this project is in community sharing and in this case the commodity is knowledge - which pretty much is the whole point of the World Wide Web in the first place. My contribution? The history section on Kuala Lumpur.
- dmoz: aka The Open Directory Project. What's good about Yahoo? Human beings are doing the work of organising the data. What's bad about Yahoo? All of them work for Yahoo. Now you too can implement a web directory under an area that you intimately know and love. dmoz is a work of passion and isn't likely to pay the bills, but at least you get to organise the Internet the way you'd like it. Well, you and 50,000 other people. How successful is it? Well, if you've used Google, you've probably used dmoz, because the Google directory (which is also searched) is dmoz.
What do you think? Do I know what I'm talking about? I know I don't, because I didn't think Amazon was going to make it and I was skeptical about how popular Blogger was going to become. But two out of lots ain't bad.
This is going up a day late, but it's just because I spent last night watching Lara Croft at the Starlight Cinema, which probably ranks as one of the least patriotic things to do on the nation's birthday. In fact, about the only things I did that were Merdeka-like were to watch a bit of the parade on TV, to hang around KLCC awhile and, when conversation laged a little, to pose the question What does being patriotic mean?
My monologue always begins thus: What does it mean to be patriotic? Is it when you wave a flag? Is it when you sing the national anthem? Is it when you follow your leaders and obey the law?
And then we get to this point: Is it possible for two people to have completely opposite opinions and do completely different things and yet both be patriotic? Is it possible to break the law and be patriotic? Is there an absolute?
The answer is obviously Yes, Yes and No. Being patriotic, like most things in life, is a spectrum with no real absolute, which is what makes it so difficult. It's not easy. It's not straight-forward. Why on Earth do people make it out as if it is?
Just to try and raise debate and some hackles, here are ways to break the law and yet be patriotic:
- Pirate software. Or rather, pirate foreign software. Why should we let money leave the country and lower our GDP when we can get this stuff for free? It seems that Malaysia is the fourth most competitive nation (with a population greater than 20 million). I say our 68% piracy rate is responsible for this. Go ahead, be patriotic and visit Sungai Wang.
- Throw a Merdeka party. Invite all your friends and dance the night away! Better still, find a public place large enough, like the local padang. Never mind that it'll probably contravenes the Police Act because it's a gathering of more than three people (more than five, and we can refer to the Penal Code as well). Party on, dudes!