studywork.jpgIf you are a student studying overseas, there are many reasons why I always suggest to students like you to work while going through college or university.

  1. It supplements your pocket-money. If you are like many students today, you are learning to be independent. The best way for this is to get off your butt and do some work. The rewards are plenty, you get to meet new people and improve your social skills, learn to take real responsibilities and get paid while learning these new skills.
  2. It’s a scholarship. When you work, you get to learn so many things which builds your character and prepare you for the future. Think about it, you are paid to learn when you go to work.
  3. The real purpose of going to college or university is to prepare you for the real world. There are safely over 20,000 institutions of higher learning around the world producing graduates with either a degree or a diploma. These thousands of graduates are your competition and one of the best ways to compete is to get as much work experience as you can while you are still at school.
  4. It’s much easier to get a referral. Tagging on the previous point, when you start working earlier, it is easier for you to be noticed and be referred to your next job. LinkedIn published an interesting article on this.

There are many reasons you should get off your butt and grab life with your own hands and start taking control. The next question is how? How can an international student work in [insert your host country]. Well, here are a few quick pointers to help you.

If all the conditions only further confuse you as to the legality of working-while-studying, please contact your school or your education counsellors for further assistance.

I’m not amused when people tell me that “programming is an art and I need the creative juice to flow” and then complain about deadlines. It’s not quite an art, it’s a craft.

Unfortunately, deadlines come with all professional jobs. Programming has to endure the disciplines of sound engineering principles, not the ambiguity of art. Programmers are paid to solve problems, not feel the problem.

There are problems which are complex and takes dedicated analysis and design time. There are challenges which require a few iterations of designs and proofs of concepts to get find the right approach. These challenges must be approached with an engineering mindset. By understanding the problem, proposing potential solutions and estimating the time it will take to build the solution. Not many projects out there offer you the luxury of building the next software equivalent of the Sagrada Familia cathedral.

You can have a pet project on the side that you are funding it by yourself. In that scenario, you can take as much time as you like to massage the code to your individual perfection.

“It’s ready when it’s ready” is a battle cry for amateurs.

Morbid title but an interesting thought exercise.

This one starts with 3D printing. It has provoked the human imagination and charge innovation in ways that was once not possible. We can build intricate parts with our imagination and will them into the physical world. From 3D printed sky-scrapers to 3D printed kidneys and bones. We are starting to see money being poured into these verticals to supercharge them and industrialise them.

There are many game changers out there but for this line of thought, I want to think about medical science of 3D bio-printing and how we think about mortality. When you look at causes of death, the majority of the causes are technical such as organ failure, toxicity or loss of blood. 3D bio-printing may advance to the level where organ failure may have a real technical solution. Imagine the companies which are already working on this area [1]. New ones are coming up quickly and they are bringing new possibilities to change how we live our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Another day, another modern nightmare. HTC was caught to be storing fingerprint biometric data in a world readable image file. The implications would include that you have to change your fingerprint. Well, I assume you still have 9 more fingers to choose from.

Read the rest of this entry »

What if there is a way to redefine personal insurance by redrawing the privacy line, allowing the insurance agencies to monitor the behaviour or life style of the subscriber? Such an idea attracts immediate reaction to privacy concerns but just for the moment, let us treat privacy as the big white elephant in the room. Letting the elephant rest in the corner and assume that these concerns are under control so we could proceed with this thought exercise without injury.

This thought exercise suggests a change in how health and life insurance companies engage with their subscribers by using the Internet of Things (IoT) to measure behaviour and to manage risks. This thought was inspired by Usage based insurance [1], used in the automotive industry and based on the growth of IoT ready sensors and devices, usage based insurance may see it spread beyond auto insurance into almost any measurable object to be insured.

Read the rest of this entry »

My eyes feel fatigued. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately  (hoping to learn more about current and future trends in technology) – like a bee hopping from one flower to another, never quite satisfied with the nectar of knowledge each flower seems to offer. Alas, this is my process; or at least that’s how I console myself about my ADHD.

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Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said an emergency Parliamentary sitting should be convened to amend various laws governing Internet and media usage such as the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.” – The Star Online 2nd, August 2015

The government hopes the fear of the law creates a cone of silence from the people, so they can bring the voice of the one louder. This takes away the democratic mirror the government badly needs to see how well they (the public servants) are serving the people. Growing the ever increasing “Spiral of Silence” and burning the bridges of democracy. They will write their own report cards, they will sing their own praises and isolating themselves and digging their own graves.

I find it eerily strange. Alien even. Why a conscious mind would let another control it. Tell it what to wear, what not to wear. Tell it what they can say and not say. Tell it what and when they can eat and not eat. Tell it what it can think and not think.

To me, there is nothing more beautiful in my consciousness than the ability to think freely. To be wrong, to discover, to learn, to try and understand for myself. To find beauty through my own eyes rather than through a set of polarised glasses prescribed to me by some abstract idea. I refuse to have my life and lifestyle enslaved and shackled by superstition and have people who manipulate me with it.

“Only the illiterate smoke. Because every box of cigarette and tobacco products have warning labels. Smokers must not know how to read.”, my mum once told me. Today, we get gory pictures of cigarette boxes. We still get smokers. So it’s not because some people refuse to read, it is because some people refuse to open their eyes.

C’est la vie. It is your life. I only take offence when I see people being oppressed and not realise it. I guess it would be the same feeling that one gets talking to a happy slave who loves to be a slave. You can keep telling them that slavery is wrong but they are happy in it and constantly invites you to join them.

More than half the people in Malaysia have already lost their human rights. The other half have theirs under threat. The struggle for secularism in government should not be taken lightly. Even if you are a Bishop, a high priest, an Imam, an agnostic or a hard-headed Atheist, no one can differentiate our tears. We need the freedom to be who we want to be, when we want to be. This goes beyond freedom of speech, it’s freedom to think.

#MH17 A string of unfortunate events coincide with the struggle to cut cost and save money. If the last mysterious tragedy raised serious doubts on the future of the company, this current event should easily seal her fate.

Beyond the company, we must not forget the increasing volatility of our planet. Peace appears to hang at a cliff edge. We no longer live in a simple polarity but a patch work of ideologies. We live in a world in conflict, we live in between war zones, we live in war zones. Think of those who were flying out or back from a summer holiday on that plane. Someone elses bullet landed on their lap. It was a suprise last minute addition to their travel itinerary. Senseless stupid ideologies. Politicians should be stopped from playing their games with human lives.

To the men holding the guns/missile launchers or bombs and say it is because of war. Say what you want, cry all you want, to everyone else you are just a terrorist.

The world is a small small place. We live in a small blue planet, suspended in space. Given enough distance, this planet is but a faint dot in a dark sky filled with billions of brighter stars. It’s a small world. This makes every bullet, every bomb and every other weapon ever fired much bigger than it actually is. It kills who it hits, mortally maims their surviving families, crushes their friends, knocks the future of children off their tracks and scars humanity with digital shrapnel. It’s a small world, every bullet fired will affect you in one way or another. There is much hate in the world so the solution to this must be to add more love and understanding. Adding more hate and violence to the equation of solving “hate and violence” is obviously not the answer.

From star dust we come,
to star dust we return.

In living memory, we remain.
In written knowledge, we persist.

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A bench spotted at the new science museum in Dallas.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos