Stephen's Ramblings on Life,Tech, Photography and other things...

My Birthday... fungus and sick

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

My birthday has just passed, well nothing happened really except being sick, specifically i had a sore throat that was quite irritating, you know the kind where even if you swallow it's painful and you keep drinking water because your throat is irritated and you keep going toilet because you keep drinking water. Yeah that's the kind of sore throat i had. That night couldn't even sleep well. It was that bad.

Anyway the only thing moderately exciting was that my mop/brush decided to have kids again! Haha you must be wondering what the hell I am talking about. Because my mop is kept is a moist environment and the handle was made of wood, so after some time it started growing mushrooms/fungus. At first it was one, so just removed it and continue using, on my birthday when i went to use the mop i found not one but three new "babies"!

Flickr Slideshow

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

If u are thinking of embeddig your Flickr Albums in your blogs or webpages the below two links should help!

Geocoding in Singapore

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Found this link that if u pass in a Singapore Postal Code, it will generate a Lat and Long of the location.

I am trying to do some mashup with this, GoogleCalendar and Virtual Earth to plot out places that you need to visit for your appointments.

Anyone knows a free JSP/Servlet hoster?

Chirstmas Roundup

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Well it was sort of a quiet chirstmas for me this year like every other year haha did nothing really exciting.

Last saturday went to Orchard to take pictures of the light up along the road, somehow didn't feel too chirsmassy to me. For the facade of most buildings, the decorations were merely strings of lights hanging around. Although i didn't walk very far, only from Orchard MRT to the end of Takashimaya (It was drizzling that day). Somehow the decorations seems moody to me.

Monday was Christmas Eve (Yeah !) Went to work and watched a movie (The Brother's Grimm) as part of the waste time efforts of the welfare commitee. Anyway the show was not too bad.

Well for christmas my dear dear gave me a can of Jelly Beans and guess what ? A Jelly Bean Dispenser ! You know like the 'Tikam Tikam' Machine where u put in a coin and turn a lever. Yeah looks cool, haha i try to take some pictures and post here.

Some details on the land survey origin in singapore.

My Feedburner Feed

By Stephen Lee

Hey guys/gals, i switched to using Feedburner to monitor details about my blog. So please use the link at my "Sites" link to the RSS Feed for my site. So you guys (and gals) will always know when something new is at my blog.

For those who don't really know what RSS is about check out the link and check out Google Reader for a good RSS reader.


For those who use Google Calendar and Google Map there is a Where column, where you are able to put in the address and use Google Map to find the location. But for us in Sunny Singapore, it dosen't seem to work too well, you can't just put "Esplanade" and it gives you the Singapore Esplanade so how?

There are a few ways to make it work better.

  • Put the word Singapore behind the location name,
    • For example "Esplanade Singapore"
  • If you are using Street Address like "123 Jalan Kayu #12-1209 Singapore 123456" Just take the first part and append Singapore to the back of it.
    • For example "123 Jalan Kayu Singapore"
    • If you put the whole thing in Google Maps can't find it.
  • Go to and search for the location and copy the lat and long into the address field. Remember to remove the two words Lat and Long.
    • For example "1.234 103.456"

Creative HN-505

Posted In: , , . By Stephen Lee

Wonder whether should i get this pair of ear phones? Active Noise Cancelling at 39SGD which is quite cheap.

I usually travel via MRT (Or the subway/underground) and on the bus, and so sometimes i crank the volume really loud because of the ambient noise (train moving, traffic). And i wonder how good these are at canceling out these ambient noise.

At Amazon out of 27 ,9 gives 5 stars, 10 4Stars, 5 3stars, 1 2stars and 2 1Stars.

I did some research and found out how active noise canceling works, basically besides a speaker, they have a microphone on the headset which listens to external sounds and the ciruitry generates a 180 degree out of phase signal that cancels it.

Seems like these ear phones are worth a shot.

Creative Store
PC Mag Review In the page there is a link to a webcast where they talked about the various noise cancelling headphones on the market
Good Gear Guide
How stuff works - Noise Cancelling Headphones

Review: Enchanted

Posted In: , , . By Stephen Lee

Just watched this lovable movie with my fiancee yesterday. Well the main gist is that there is a girl (Giselle) and a Prince (Edward) who are suppose to meet each other and have a happy ever after, however as usual there is an evil queen who is also the step mother of Edward who plots to get rid of her so that she can still be queen.

Without giving away too much somehow she manages to come to New York, and meet with a Lawyer Robert and his daughter Morgan who takes her in. Edward and Pip comes along to find her and bring her back. And of course the evil Queen does makes an appearance to stop them all.

Overall the show is a typical Disney movie (think along the lines of Cinderella and Sleeping beauty) where there are talking animals/animals seem to do housework/happy endings but in this show there are certain interesting differences.

There is a great musical number in the park which reminds me of when i was at Hong Kong Disney land where they had a street parade going on and all these people are dancing and singing.

Credit has to be given to Amy Adams (Giselle) and James Marsden (Edward)for they way they portray chracters out of a fairy tale. Unfortunately Patrick Dempsey who played the "real" life character of Robert Phillip was abit too dead, even when he is in danger of being thrown off/ eaten by a dragon wasn't too convincing.

Overall a good movie to watch but i think people of my age might find it a bit too childish. Hey I'm a child at heart !

IMDB Listing
Enchanted Official Movie Site
Singapore Enchanted Movie Site (They have a MV of Carrie Underwood singing the theme song)

My Running Pic

By Stephen Lee

A picture of me running to the finishing point snapped by my friend BingQiang. I am the one in the black orange shirt

Finished 10km

By Stephen Lee

Current State
Feeling: Tired but good
Legs: Tired

Next Goal: Army Half Marathon 21km

It's currently 4:21am in the morning as I am writing this, been awake since 3:55 making breakfast (haha 2 pieces of ham and 2 pieces of bread).

Current State:
Awakeness Level :Slightly Awake
Eaten: True
Legs: Feels ok
Hair: Messy
Teeth: Brushed

Plan to leave house: 4:45am
Bus Leaving: 5:30am
Time to flag off: 7:15am

Book Review

First some background.
I have been involve in 2 projects so far at my current workplace, the first i wasn't involve to completion as i was transferred out to the next project where i managed to see it out all the way through to the deployment phase.

During the deployment, many problems occurred, things like system not performing as we thought it will be, missing segments that were not coded (and no body noticed it). During deployment we had no fixed building system for the new code that was written and we had to come out with our own scripts to build and deploy. And the deployment system wasn't too well thought out and throughly tested only adds to the pain.

And now the book...

Some of the advice in the books are probably known to seasoned developers,project leads, but what i think the value of the book probably lies in those who just came out of school. Unfortunately (at least during my time) in school, the modules in University were mostly related to the grammar and syntax of programming languages and how netmask works, there weren't much subjects related to actual programming problems/project problems that you might face when you are actually out there working on a real life project, like managing requirements, ensuring you have a good build, design patterns, source code control practices and so on.. (Think you guys can probably think of a few more).

Probably couldn't really blame the lecturers though.. In a school envrionment, it's probably quite sterile and the professors themselves are out of touch.

It brings you from what tools (CI tools, feature tracking, bug tracking) that you should have to project techniques (code reviews, the list). They propose a way of doing developement (Tracer Bullet developement) and ends with a section on common problems and how to fix them(Legacy code, testing untestable code, feature creep).

The book can be considered easy reading as compared to a regular boring computer realated book and the author not only shows the problem but also the solution and how to monitor it. It has something for developers, leads and managers

Quotes: Muhammad Yunas

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

"Don't take conventional wisdom as kind of scared cow. Sometimes, conventional wisdom can also be conventional stupidity. We started where we started from because of going against conventional stupidity. If it doesn't work, attack it"

Muhammad Yunas
Nodel Laureate, Founder of the Grameen bank
Extracted from Today, November 3rd 2007

D*I*Y Planner

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Found this link where they have different templates for making planners, they have templates for A5, A4, Filofax size planners.

They also give tips on how to print and what equipment u need for making your own planners.

My good friend sent me this link, it compares the language u use to what type of car it is!


P.S I use Java and C# in my work!

1st IPPT after i left

By Stephen Lee

I Failed !!! haha took my first IPPT after i left the service and i failed. Chinup lack one and run halfway stitching like crazy liao so i stopped.

And i got 11 pts before i run liao so if i pass running i partial failure... Think all the ot and coming home late abit hard to train.

Think must start thinking of running and exercising in the morning and evening for the next few month before my ippt window closes....

Well my fiancee will be going for her US attachment tomorrow, hope that she will have a nice time and fun there.

But somehow can't fight the feeling of sadness that she is going away (even though its only a month). Haha think i'm just a sentimental guy. For the past few years that we are together, we were at most separated by a phone call or a sms away (except for the few times where i went sailing and she was the one back here), now i am the one being left at home. Well a first time for everything.

Hope that you will have a nice trip there dear and come back safely !

Why?!? basically Java spoils u for the amount of Open Sourced libraries/programs that help you in your coding.

I can't imagine coding with out anything from Apache (commons, axis2,tomcat), or database without hibernate (ok .NET has their own version), light weight db for testing (HSQLDB), Spring (Dependency Injection, Hibernate Transaction management), XML Mapping (Castor) and so on ..

In my current project, we are doing the project with the server end being implemented in Java and we require interoperability with .Net and Java clients. The approach we have taken is to use a XML to represent the POJO or PONO that is used as a base entity object to set attributes and also for hibernate to persist into the database, so we looked around for some library or solution that will allow us to do so.

Looking around the internet found a article that used XSD to convert from a .NET to XML and to JAVA solution. It uses .Net XmlSerializer that can use a XSD to save .Net objects to XML and Java has Castor that could read from a XML and the XSD .

But i find the solution not very elegant as u need to use XSD, which i find a pain to read (haha i am no XSD expert), and i quite like Castor's XML mapping format. So in the end for .Net we do manual parsing using XmlReader to convert from the XML to .Net objects.

Then i began to think what if my java stuff needs to talk to a php, python or any other language that does classes using XML? would it be good to have a coverter for all these languges and also a code generator to generate the require entity or plain objects from the XML mapping defination? That's why i started a project to write a simple Marshaller and Unmarshaller (in Castor's terms) to perform the same thing for .Net (Since i am using .Net and Java) and probably think about how to make the mapping suitable for other languages that need to transfer simple objects for data representation and storage.

National Days Post

By Stephen Lee

Just some facts about our nation on National Day on our Nation's birthday

1. Majulah Singapura
Written by Encik Zubir Said, unveiled on December 3, 1959, together with the national flag and the coat of arms, on the steps of City Hall at the installation of the new head of state, the Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Encik Yusof Bin Ishak. Upon Singapore's independence in 1965, "Majulah Singapura" was adopted as the republic's national anthem, (Source Wikipedia)

He also wrote the children day song Semoga Bahagia.

2. Singapore Pledge
The National Pledge was written by Sinnathamby Rajaratnam (Minister for Foreign Affairs) in 1966 shortly after Singapore's independence

3. Area
Singapore is about 270sq milies and about 1.444% of it is water

4. Population
Total : 4,483.9
Singapore Residents: 3,608.5

Hmm what other intersting things about singapore, u would like to know/share?

Statistics Singapore

Sun Developer Days 2007

By Stephen Lee

Hey all attend my first Software Developer type of Conference at the Sun Developer Days, although its a lot of fun (with free cds, free with Duke, free food, free t-shirt).

They talks were particularly interesting especially the techie types, for the sales type, i wasn't too interested, especially the one from Oracle who was trying to get people interested in something called Oracle Webcenter but i was quite distracted by his rapid marching around the stage and his droning voice and his overly complicated slides.

Nice things to note for Java fans,

Java 7 is looking better and better with more constructs and hopefully they will finalise and adopt something that looks like C# property types.

Phobos: U can take it as Javascript for the Server side (imagine writing servlets in JS, no need for compilation and rapid testing and depolyment)

Netbeans: Quite a bit of time was spent on how Netbeans can help u in ur developement, impressive was the GUI editor for Netbeans, looks faster and easier then handwriting ur own GUI code.

Google Map Test

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Found this cool website that teaches u how to embed a Google map into ur blog. hmm still trying to see what to do with it

map loading...

Mini Episodes

Posted In: . By Stephen Lee

Just found this website (Think it was featured on Slashdot). Mini Episodes of old show, the condense a 1/2hour-1hour show into 6 minutes, Perfect for the very busy singaporeans. Hmm maybe Mediacorp might consider doing this to some of their shows?

Transformer and Simpsons

By Stephen Lee

Wao, Micheal Bay's Tranformer was great, watched it at Cathay AMK Hub on Sunday. But first before talking about Transformers lets talk about the journey to watch it.

The Journey Begins
On Saturday tried GV website, keep saying busy so couldnt really get tickets, if i was lucky i was able to get as far as selecting the seats but that's about it, the next page where your are suppose to confirm and pay never did appear, GV should think about their ticketing website, cause when the demand is high it never seems to be able to cope. So didnt get to watch it on Sat.

Sun, tired GV but also busy so tried Cathay, wao fast immediately was able to book tickets and so went to watch but.... At the booking counter the queue was longer than that of the buying queue.!??!?!! Queued up about 20mins just to get tics, if i was not there earlier i could have missed the starting of the movie!

Now finally to the brief review, it was a great movie!! Although the movie didn't really looked like anything from my youth, but i think i agree with Micheal Bay that if it looked like the old Tranformers they will probably looked weird and out of place, the story was good but i think the ending could be abit better (It ended too abruptly for my taste). But the characters looked cool. Megatron looked really evil. All in all a good show.

Now i think this will be the next big movie if the movie is as good as the trailer that i saw. It was simply hilarious, just go to youtude and type "simpson spider pig" or "simpson movie trailer" to see what i mean.

Last weekend was a busy weekend, there was the PC Show and a friends ROM.

Lets talk about the PC Show, got me self a Prolink Wireless Desktop set with Keyboard, mouse, Prolink Webcam and a Acer laptop.

The Prolink Desktop set is the one using the 2.4ghz band with 16 channel hopping so u get less interference, the mouse and keyboard all have extra keys to help u. For example the mouse has a back and forward button for web browser use. The mouse also has a button for switching between 800dpi and 1600 dpi modes. I generally find the mouse quite comfortable to use (I have big hands) and i so far have no problems with it. They keyboard i haven used much as i still have my MS Keyboard attached to my computer. The keyboard keys' height is shorter than my MS Keyboard but overall feel is still ok, i like the volume control (looks like a wheel). Overall i find it a reasonable buy at 59$.

I also got a Prolink Webcam, the PC9000. The webcam cost $12 well for the price u shouldn't really expect too much, it has a mic built in so its great for doing video conferencing and stuff but the real downer is the webcam it self, if u are like me living in a HDB flat where u most likely have flourecent lighting in ur house, u will find the webcam's picture to be generally dark, even after u tweaked the exposure settings, this webcam is only meant to be use for a bright and sunny room in the day. Spend some money get something better from logitech or genius or creative. U get what u paid for.

Well for the laptop, as all last days of PC Shows or Comexs go usually vendors will slash price or ive more freebie or do both on the last day, surprising i didnt find too many vendors slashing prices on the last day. But Acer was probably one of the big slashers, most of their laptops were going for 200$ below the first day price and they even added another GB of ram for some models. So i got one specs are :
Core 2 Duo1.64MHZ,
2 GB ram (After free GB),
Geforce 7600/7700 with 128MB
and 120MB harddisk

All for 1598. Its preloaded with VISTA seems ok to use, except i prefer the older "Start" where the program are easier to select and the button bigger too, and the "power" button instead of shutting down outs it in hibernate mode, u gotta go to the > button to shutdown. Not very intutive. Haven try to configure it .

As for the ROM haha lets leave it for the next posting...

Watches in Space

Posted In: , . By Stephen Lee

Found this website Watches in Space which shows the watches that NASA cleared for Outside the orbiter/on the moon and within the Orbiter. Interesting that a G-Shock was within the list of watches that are approved for within the orbiter.

Old casio Watch

By Stephen Lee

Came across this blog, GMT+9 while surfing around and saw his entry on how he found his old casio watch in his drawer.

I think most of us when we were young owned a casio watch at one time or another, i think even for many of us now we are probably wearing a Casio G-Shock as our daily watch or have one lying around somewhere.

I still remember my first casio watch, it was a small thin black caiso watch (come to think of it, it seems more like a ladies watch) with no water resist capbabilities what so ever. It was gone when i tried to see how water unresist it was by dropping it in to a pail of water.

My second one was a Casio Databank, u know those watches where you can save your friends telephone numbers, mine was one without the key pads so i gotta use the left and right buttons to input the number manually.

My third one was one of those illuminator models, round sports watch which survive pass my army time.

My lastest one is a blue G-Shock which my girl friend (Wife to be gave me)

I sort of remember that in my dads room there was an old casio lcd watch lying around so here it is, Model B613W with date and time, water resist and thats abt it.

Could find much info on it, the closest i can find was a Model B612W here. And it seems like the collectbility is quite low but who cares ! This watch seems to be going strong

Customs and Traditions

By Stephen Lee

You guys know what’s the problem with customs? The main problem is that it is open to interpretation, background and experiences of the person who interprets it. It is not written like the word of law and thus as time goes by with the march of time, customs change and but not everyone knows of the changes.

Best example I had this morning was with weddings, I think most of u guys who read this probably know I am getting married sometime next year and I fully empathized with people who have been through it, for those who have been through it I salute you, for you surely must have great perseverance and strength plus a great deal of negotiating skills. For how do u do what u want and what ur parents think it’s the right thing plus inputs from the future in laws?

To make it short, my mum has certain ideas of what is the correct way and my future in laws has a certain idea. And now I am having problems trying to reconcile it. And to make things even more interesting they are from the same dialect group (and they already have different ideas, can't imagine if both sides are from different dialect groups). Chinese weddings are terrible stuff, haha that’s why u shouldn't get married more than once, the planning will kill you, and if u survived they should give all a Medal of Perseverance and Courage!

Hmm probably we should have something written in black and white like the Singapore Laws for Weddings so that people can refer and say what is the right thing or wrong thing with regards to certain things. The ambiguity is certainly not a good thing.

Journey through Genius

By Stephen Lee

After reading the above book, "Journey through Genius" by William Dunham i realised that when i was studying as a kid, i took a lot of stuff at face value esp math.

I mean how many of us knows how to prove that the sum of the angles in a triangle is 180? or the how important was the Pythagoras theorem and how to prove it. Probably that why most kids in singapore dont really like math that much is that they just see it as some weird formula that they are made to remember and remember the type of questions are that use it. A lot of the how and why is lost.

"Journey through Genius" takes us on a tour of the more important theorems in math, and even though i have only finished the first two chapters, I find the readings easy and the theorems selected are easy to understand by those with at least a secondary school education.

I only wonder at what point in the book will my aging brain be unable to understand what was written...

Tired Tired Tired

By Stephen Lee

Tired Tired Tired....


By Stephen Lee

Nope this post is not going to be gross or EEEEEEE haha. Rather i went with my dear, to Engaged Encounter, a catholic church run Marriage Preperation Course or (MPC) as it is known in Singapore.

It starts on a Friday evening and end on a Sunday late afternoon or evening. Well so wat do we do there? Lets just say i cant divulge too much due to the vow of secrecy that the weekend organisers made all of us take. So as not to spoil the fun for the rest of the people.

To be honest i wasnt too keen as nowwhere it is stated what they were doing during the 2 days ++ that we were suppose to be there. But after being there i found it a useful course for learning about marriage life what are the challenges and so on. And the way the disucssion with ur partner is being conducted is quite novel.

You might think that u have talked frankly with ur future wife/husband on many of the issues that u might enounter and belive that love will conquer all ur difficulties but sometimes life is not so simple afterall.

So i will definately encourge all couples who are taking the next step to seriously consider taking some MPC in one form or another so as to be better prepare urself for the next big step in ur life together.

Anyway abit about the history can be found here. And the singapore website is here.

BBC Lomo Documentary

By Stephen Lee

Found this on youtube, its a BBC documentary on Lomography. It talks about how it started from one guy in Vienna who got the Lomo LCA and how they form the Lomography society. Interesting piece of history about Lomography.

7Parts in Youtube

Amazing Ferrari

By Stephen Lee

This guy actually built a Ferrari!

First Post of 2007

By Stephen Lee

First Post of 2007, what should i talk about?

Well i had a great start to the year, i was over in Hong Kong from the 29th Dec to 2 Jan. Definately the weather was sooooo much better, walking around in tempreatures of 15C to 20C with no rain around definately much better than Singapore's rainy weather. And to top that off my gf gave me a surprise on the plane to HK.

Disneyland was great! U really feel like u are transported to another realm the moment u step it. Sounds of "Someday my prince will come" (Haha is that correct?) greeted us when we step off the train. The place was fantastic, for those that will be going there all should try the "SPACE MOUNTAIN" ride! Its a indoor roller coaster in the dark. Imagine u can't see where u are going so u never know what u are going to expect. And the interior lighting was great the moment u go up u see a ceiling of stars and lights flashing all throughout the ride. Definately must try try !!

Well thats all for my first post of the year.