Playing sound over HDMI on a Samsung TV

When I tried to connect my HP laptop to a Samsung TV via HDMI, I expected sound to work out of the box, but unfortunately this is not the case. After making sure that my laptop output sound to the ‘HDMI adapter’ and that it was not disabled per the HP support forum, I came to the sudden realization that Samsung treat the input port differently on how you tell it. I registered the HDMI input port as ‘DVI PC’ and usually I use a separate 3.5mm audio cable, so I tried to fiddle with the option (via the input menu -> context menu button -> edit device)

Because DVI cannot convey sound, I had to select ‘PC’, which is a little weird since ‘PC’ is also the term Samsung applies to VGA input, but well, if there were a separate ‘HDMI PC’ category it would have been clearer

Installing subversion support for Eclipse on Linux

You have two choice: subversive (Belongs to the Eclipse project) or subclipse (hosted on tigris.org).

Even though Subversive is the more ‘official’ option, I find it prohibitively confusing to install. You have to go to an external site (polarion) and download a bunch of stuff nobody told you what. It took me 2 hours fiddling back and forth between Eclipse site and Polarion site only to install the wrong stuff. Highly not recommended! Agrh!

I have a better start with subclipse. The only URL from their site worked perfectly with eclipse’s ‘install new software’ dialog. Better still, you don’t really need to install JavaHL (which is also ridiculously hard to install), you can use the SVNKit package in the same repository and everything will work.

To install subclipse, go here

 

For those of you who prefer JavaHL, here is how to install JavaHL on Fedora 16. JavaHL is another middle layer required between any Eclipse plugin and SVN (I don’t know why things are so complicated when it come to designing on Linux). Most of the sites on the internet recommends you to install that by

sudo apt-get install libsvn-java

But there is no such package on Fedora, so I tried to use add/remove software and searched for various part of the name. I finally found it when searching for ‘JavaHL’, the correct package name is

subversion-javahl

Documentation and tutorial and another thing the Linux community didn’t do well!

How much banking has become absurd (at least for individual customers)

Spending most of my life in a cash-only economy and only got touch to the modern word of banking for the last few years opened my eyes on a range of problems. I once thought banks was a great idea, giving risk management tasks to the most capable people, earning me money while I rest instead of having them just lying around; I don’t need to carry cash and don’t have to worry about thugs rampaging the streets; and I have nothing to lose, banks shouldn’t charge fee to keep your money, after all, I am giving them my money, and banks ought to be nice to me or I will go somewhere else.

And now I think it’s a ridiculous idea. Really!

They do charge you money for keeping your money, lots of it

I work all week, and when I went out to play in the weekend, I find myself short on cash and some small shops I often visit on those trip don’t like cards very much (reason to be covered later), I came to the ATM to withdraw my money, and greeted with a screen that I will be charged extra fees because I’m withdrawing on a public holiday.

Seriously?

It’s understandable when you have to pay fees withdrawing from other banks than the bank you made the card with because of connection fees and such (to be frank, banks should be able to deal out this with each other without inconveniencing the customer, since it’s their responsibility), but charging their own customer for taking their own money? What kind of world am I living in? I can’t use my money without paying fees? Why am I depositing in the first place? I can just keep all my money under my pillow and use them any good day I want! It’s not like they are hiring someone to stand at each ATM booth, counting and handling the money to you at weekends when their money-crunching networks went out for no reason on weekends! Everything is automated, run 24/24 (Wait, that’s not true either); machines don’t have days off (they don’t know better) and the banks don’t have to pay machines extra for working on holidays, so why are the fees?

They have a huge sum of interests from our money to begin with, and they just can’t offset the operating cost themselves? If they just can’t take care of the money well enough that it cover their operating cost, why do it anyways?

Remember when I said some shops don’t like cards? Oh yes, they charge the business owner fees for having customer use their money. Are you kidding me? Why get everyone to use your stupid blood-sucking credit cards in the first place? We’ve had better time dealing with each other for free you know?

Overdrafts and other hideous practices

Things doesn’t go well for the poor, and if you have a low balance on your card, well, you are as good as bankrupt.

The good thing when keeping your own money is, you can’t spend what you don’t have? You thought that was a bad thing? Let’s say that you purchased lots of things with your credit card, you thought “hey, may be it will just overdrawn a bit, I will be able to pay it back with no trouble!” and your check came several days late and boom! Overdraft fees, processing fees, interest, stacked up all at the same time, and the best part: they compound with a rate much higher than the rate you got with a positive balance!

If you think using a check card or debit card is fine because in theory, you can’t come into overdraft, right?

As you read, in theory. Did you read that you can’t overspent with these cards in the card contract? I guess not! In the real world and not Wonderland, they allow you to go on a spending spree all you want, and at the end of the month send you a short notice that you owe them money, plus interest, and fees, and congratulates you on having the equivalent functions of a credit card to mess your life up!

Banks in the US even charge something called “overdraft protection fee”, which is basically another way of sucking your blood to the last drop: you think you are safe when one account goes into the red and having two accounts to manage your funds will protect you? Wrong! With this great service, you can pay them money to have all your accounts linked together  and uses your money to cover the overdraft. That is, when you really ran out of money you can still fall into the overdraft trap!

LOL

Judging the main cause of the last global financial crisis is fat bellies selling debt to each other and got off on our tax money with big bonuses, I think now they have become the last people on the world that you should ever give your money to!

Report on a conference

Just finished the morning session of the international conference on information technology for education 2010. Generally speaking, I’m disappointed at the organization skills and the content of the conference.
They started an hour late (9am instead of 8) and even so, they used the first hour to let the sponsoring organizations advertise themselves. Boring, and they haven’t provided us a single bottle of water. The tea break only has some cheap snack, coffee and soya. The tea is too bitter, it’s not something you can hold and sip while talking to someone else.
The technical presentation brings nothing new either. The first, G-system from a university in Canada is about linking everything to create an “internet of things”. Translate into normal English: ubiquitous computing. It’s not something that you need to goto Canada to do. It’s really just as simple as making a new command for Mozilla Ubiquity. If that presentation is to attract student to canada, I would say they haven’t chosen the best representative for their education.
The second keynote, a datamining report from the head of computer science dept. At NUS, my previous dream school. Well, it’s not so dreamy anymore. Hearing him talk about splitting set and reducing sample all I can feel is a non-functional (in academic speak: conceptual) version of a spatial database. I have never agreed with PhD comics like that before. Their best research is esentially fruitless, despite the $50 million funding they got from companies each year.
The third speech is about internet trends. The translator seems to be a representative for the speaker’s company. The guy keeps making stuff up during the translation using his prior knowledge about the speaker. The speech, in sort, describe stuff that i have been tumblr-ing for the past year. Nothing new again.
Fourth speech, a PhD working for Dell’s R and D dept., opening a college in Vietnam (and I guess the fee will be sky high). It’s the same old blame on education: you cannot do anything right after you graduated. I would say bullshit! If you are so good you should have thought if something better than that.
Yeah, so rounded up: I don’t feel this conference is really presenting any useful work and more or less something made up so the experts can get a trip abroad (which their hosting institution paid for).

Just finished the morning session of the international conference on information technology for education 2010. Generally speaking, I’m disappointed at the organization skills and the content of the conference.
They started an hour late (9am instead of 8) and even so, they used the first hour to let the sponsoring organizations advertise themselves. Boring, and they haven’t provided us a single bottle of water. The tea break only has some cheap snack, coffee and soya. The tea is too bitter, it’s not something you can hold and sip while talking to someone else.
The technical presentation brings nothing new either. The first, G-system from a university in Canada is about linking everything to create an “internet of things”. Translate into normal English: ubiquitous computing. It’s not something that you need to goto Canada to do. It’s really just as simple as making a new command for Mozilla Ubiquity. If that presentation is to attract student to canada, I would say they haven’t chosen the best representative for their education.
The second keynote, a datamining report from the head of computer science dept. At NUS, my previous dream school. Well, it’s not so dreamy anymore. Hearing him talk about splitting set and reducing sample all I can feel is a non-functional (in academic speak: conceptual) version of a spatial database. I have never agreed with PhD comics like that before. Their best research is esentially fruitless, despite the $50 million funding they got from companies each year.
The third speech is about internet trends. The translator seems to be a representative for the speaker’s company. The guy keeps making stuff up during the translation using his prior knowledge about the speaker. The speech, in sort, describe stuff that i have been tumblr-ing for the past year. Nothing new again.
Fourth speech, a PhD working for Dell’s R and D dept., opening a college in Vietnam (and I guess the fee will be sky high). It’s the same old blame on education: you cannot do anything right after you graduated. I would say bullshit! If you are so good you should have thought if something better than that.
Yeah, so rounded up: I don’t feel this conference is really presenting any useful work here, another day wasted in commute between countries while they actually could have used it to do real work.

The science of choices and hapiness

Source: http://waternymph.tumblr.com

There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroads. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days. Of course, when faced with the unknown, most of us prefer to turn around and go back.

It’s been a week since I descended onto this path. I feel like a fresher: afraid, fragile and stressful. Why? I bypassed an offer for such a great job. Maybe the salary at where I’m going could never compete with that job. A RMIT lecturer worked there too. That should tell you how interesting that job is. That compelled me to explore more. Why? It’s the choice I made after carefully considered the pro and cons. Why am I still haunted about my decision? Why do I still want more of something I can’t have any more?

Coincidentally, I got time to watch some TED presentations, and among the most favoured ones are these:

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Dan Gilbert: Why are we happy?

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choices.

I am biased against these talks at first because it’s natural human psychological behaviour to feel that way when things go against your expectations but I think they are right. Happiness is not something you will have eternally, it goes up and down with what you call “morale” or “emotion”. Your life goals have nothing to do with happiness, when you achieve it, the happiness is there but it won’t linger for long. It will be defeated with other matters like what you will eat for dinner and how will you survive the day. It’s your instinct to pursuit what make us happy but it’s your consciousness that decides which happy thing to have when there are many choices.

And that’s what tormented me.

I have more choice that other people. And a real choice, it’s not about choosing between rice or noodles for dinner, it’s about where I’m going for the next three years, it’s between taking an opportunity to achieve a life-long dream or living a nice life, which is also my target-to-be after I have my dream achieved.

It’s a choice I have to live with.

It’s natural that I get this feeling, being miserable for the choice I didn’t made, to find so many negative things that goes with my choice only after I’ve done it. Well, there is a bias working around here. Should I have take the other option, maybe I will find something negative about it too, especially when I doesn’t have as many data to evaluate it at the time, and there’s no way I can get more now.

Life is so crude, it make you push yourself, make choices that deep inside you just don’t want to make. But it’s a war of consciousness and desire. It’s what you will get along the way and in the end that matters. Sum them up and see which you like better. It’s easy to make a choice, you know you’ll do it any way, but it’s the preceding process of choice and the succeeding process of living the choice that’s hard mentally. But as another TED presentation have said, to be success you need to persist through CRAP, which is criticism, rejection, assholes and pressure, of which three comes from yourself.

  • Don’t criticize yourself about your choice, you know it’s hard to make and you’ll do exactly the same should things happened again.
  • Don’t reject yourself, no matter what you do, as long as you are striving, you’ll achieve something. It may be big or small, but you know you did your best provided you can’t turn back time.
  • Don’t pressure yourself,  you know humans doesn’t live well with stress, so there’s just no reason to be so pessimistic about the future. You don’t know what you’ll get, you can’t control it so blaming yourself doesn’t make things any better.

It’s so true that having choices and freedom may torment people, but the cure is also there, you can control your happiness, live positively, believe in yourself. It’s against common sense, people just won’t see why you are doing it, you are expected to be better. But hey, it’s your life not theirs!

In the end, I’m still glad life gave me so many choices, so many opportunities, so many ways I can live to my heart’s true desire :D. This is not the last time I have to make a choice. This path will lead to more choices. I hope the next time I have to choose, I will be glad I made the right choice, be a grown up and control my own life 🙂