January 31, 2016

The quest to uncover potential

I don't know why I put myself through this.

Would you rather excel at something mediocre, or be mediocre at something great?

So again and again I refuse to be discouraged from achieving something greater, despite nagging thoughts of inferiority lingering at the back of my mind. I chose my degree because it seemed challenging, and I put myself through depressing times, constantly questioning my decisions. Despite having gone through it relatively unscathed, I don't feel that made much of a difference.

Then I put myself through another test, a professional paper with less than 3 months to prepare. Although arguably not all that amazing of an achievement since 43% of 52,300 candidates passed, but going through more than 3,000 pages of text in a short amount of time did take some sort of a toll on me.

Then rather than settle for a run-of-the-mill job, my masochistic self decides to apply for something more prestigious, partially fueled by some sort of a disgusting ego to want to be different from the rest, while at the same time doubting myself as to whether or not that difference is even substantiated. And of course, opportunities of such prestige would include out-of-the-ordinary filtration processes.

Forgive me for my self-indulgent drivel.

So I passed by exams, completed one final-stage interview and about to attend a final-stage assessment centre.

Let's hope the next post would be the ultimate sigh of relief, at least for now.

January 23, 2016

My tech stuff

Depressing stuff aside, I just felt like writing a post detailing all the tech stuff that I've amassed. I have a philosophy when it comes to my tech stuff, so everything I buy is well-justified, both cost wise and practicality wise. I guess I'll try to sort it via reverse chronological order of purchase.

  1. SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive [link] - arguably the best USB flash drive (thumbdrive, pendrive, whatever you call it) money can buy. I wanted one because my mom recently got a new TV, upgrading from the previous SD TV to a HD TV that goes up to 1080p. Of course, the output is only as good as the input, so my movie files have to be large enough to display all the details it was meant to display, and that means files upwards of 20GB. While a cheap, basic USB 2.0 flash drive transfers at 2-3MB/s, this beast goes up to 60-70MB/s on my laptop. I'm not sure what it's potential is, but that's good enough for me. UserBenchmark rates it as one of the top USB flash drives too. I believe it retails at RM255 [Harvey Norman], but it's only $32 on Amazon.com. In the end, I got mine for RM150 from Lazada, but it took 2 weeks to arrive (28 days earlier than estimate, though).
  2. Samsung SL-M2020 Laser Printer [link] - cheapest laser printer money can buy? I think so. At RM150 (inclusive of delivery) with the use of vouchers I had [Lazada], I was incredibly happy with my purchase. I needed a printer for infrequent use, and inkjets have never failed to increase my blood pressure in the past. Also, inkjet cartridges are known to dry up from infrequent use, and I believe toners of laser printers do not. I was deciding between this and another low-end mono laser printer, the Brother HL-1110, but ultimately went for the Samsung one as the Brother model only had 1MB memory, whereas the Samsung one had 8MB. Furthermore, I believe the Samsung one retailed for a higher price, so it seemed like a good deal to me. At this price range, I expected very slow printing and a lot of noise, but I guess I've been using inkjets for way too long. For the first time in my life, a printer that didn't get on my nerves. What a time to be alive! There's also a SL-M2020W version with wireless capabilities but I didn't really need that.
  3. Logitech M280 Wireless Mouse [link] - I'm not sure why it took me so long to actually get myself a wireless mouse. I guess I thought it wasn't necessary. Now that I've switched over, I don't think I'll go back. It retails for RM76 (I've seen some shops price it above RM80), got mine for RM56 inclusive of delivery, so many great deals to be found online! I found it significantly better than the more basic Logitech M185 model in terms of the clickiness and the scrolliness of the wheel (very technical terms, yes). There's also the Logitech M545 but I figured that the additional buttons are really useless to me since my previous corded mouse, the Logitech MX518 had them and was more of a hindrance for me when I accidentally clicked on the other buttons. The Logitech Marathon M705 was really appealing to me but that model can only be imported, I believe.
  4. Xiaomi Mi Band [link] - It retails for RM69 but I managed to snag one for RM35, so I decided to just get one to play with. Least justified purchase, I guess. It's a very basic fitness band, but the built quality is great. All it does is track your steps and your sleeping patterns, which you can then set alarms and it will vibrate within half an hour of the time you've set whenever you're in "light sleep". I've ran a bit with it, not sure exactly how accurate it is since I don't have any other fitness bands to compare it with, but I guess it's really nifty for something that cheap. The alarm function could potentially be very useful, but I haven't had the opportunity to use it that much.
  5. D-Link Wireless N300 Range Extender DAP-1320 [link] - The Wi-Fi coverage in my room is quite weak, so I was determined to find a solution for it. My laptop works fine, but watching YouTube videos on my iPad was a pain. Some say that range extenders such as these are pretty useless but it worked perfectly well for me. The key is to put it where there's still some signal, not where the signal is already out of reach. I was choosing between this and the TP-LINK N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, but ultimately chose the former mainly due to PCMag's reviews (D-Link vs TP-Link). Got mine for RM65. Also, I've done some speed tests and results vary from device to device, but all in all I would say that it's an improvement and not much is sacrificed.
  6. PlayStation Vita 2000 [link] - This retails for about RM840, can be found on Amazon.co.uk as of writing this at £150 (and above!!). Probably the best deal I found; I got myself one at about £90, brand new with some bundle that came with an 8GB memory card. Long story short, it was a tax refund gift to myself. I wasn't comparing this to other handhelds because all I really wanted to do was to play Final Fantasy X on it. It's kinda sad how Sony has pretty much given up on it, but having spent more than 200 hours on it I have no regrets. The PSP was a much successful handheld in comparison.
  7. RHA MA750 in-ear headphones [link] - I can't comment on the sound quality of it as I'm no where near qualified to do that, but I guess the general consensus was that it wasn't too bad, and I found some Amazon warehouse deal on it for £68 so I decided to just go for it. My old pair of IEMs gave up on my anyway. Sound quality aside, I really like the built quality of it. From the thick cables and the stainless steel construction, it's really as premium in real life as it is in the pictures. Heck, I wouldn't even mind sacrificing a little bit of sound quality for them (as I probably couldn't tell either way).
  8. Nokia Lumia 1520 [link] - I wouldn't say I regret buying it, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. It takes a certain kind of person to actually want to give Windows phones a chance, and the majority of people aren't that. I would say the camera's great (though I don't really have other phones to compare it with) and I really like the navigation app (HERE app, but it's available on every other OS now so ...). I'll just wait for it to die on me and switch to another phone. For now, it works fine because I don't use my phone much anyway.
  9. NOOK Simple Touch [link] - Discontinued, but I got one for £29, which is extremely cheap for an e-ink reader. I used to read a lot when I travel, so it beats lugging around 3-4 books all the time. It's decent, but in the end I still prefer my physical books.
  10. Shure SRH440 headphones [link] - Probably not high on recommended lists, but I remember getting them for RM300, which was cheap. For the most part, they are pretty okay when I need a pair of headphones. Looking out for a pair of open-back headphones ...
  11. Lenovo Y510p laptop [link] - I believe it's 3 years old now, and I'm not sure what the lifespan of a laptop is but it's as good as new for now. Decent for gaming, big enough to watch movies on, way more responsive than most other laptops I've used, a great purchase.
  12. iPad (3rd generation) [link] - It's holding up surprisingly well for something released 4 years ago. I would say keeping it at iOS 7 (current one would be iOS 9) helped make it still perfectly functional. A little bit heavy, but with no problems at all so I can't justify an upgrade.
  13. iPhone 4 [link] - I wonder how many iPhone 4's with functional home and on/off buttons are still out there. If anyone's looking for one for collection purposes and is willing to pay a premium for it, do contact me. It's now the device I use to listen to music while running (which is very infrequent). I believe it's on iOS 6? Well, at least Spotify still works on it.
I think that's pretty much it. It was actually quite fun to write! Time to look out for the next gadget ... 

January 20, 2016

Much at stake

It's probably the best-case scenario up till now, but I just can't seem to chill. I wish I had more people I could talk to about this. Heck, even my mom couldn't fathom how big of a deal this is, to me at least. 

Here's hoping that the next time I check in, I will have good news to tell.

January 14, 2016

One step forward, two steps back

Every time I decide upon something, something else would pop up and make me question everything that I've painstakingly convinced myself to believe in.

I really shouldn't waste time torturing myself and just dive headfirst into the unknown, but it's just my nature to do so.

If my uninteresting life were to be written as a fictional novel, the main theme would be "unnecessary internal conflict".

If only I could find a way to cash in on this.

January 12, 2016

12th of January

My room is suffocating.

For some reason, my room is significantly warmer than anywhere else. Despite the heavy downpour and the open window, the heat just stays there, stagnant.

I don't like it when people say "have a blast" or "have a good one" or even worse, "I'm sure you'll have a good one". What's with this unnecessary pressure to make sure my birthday celebration exceeds some sort of an expectation? Is it wrong to just treat my birthday like any other day, but with a larger number of messages from a bunch of people that I don't talk to often?

I'm grateful to actually have people in my life who actually bother to celebrate my birthday with me, but it's certainly no blast when there's this lingering misery looming over me like a dark cloud.

Anyway, my laser printer arrived today. Having only used bloody inkjets at home, I was pleasantly surprised when the super low-end laser printer slid out a flawless black-and-white document like clockwork.

This all seems pointless, really.

January 10, 2016


It's 10 days into the new year and 2 days before my birthday.

I contemplated phrasing "2 days before my birthday" as "2 days before the date I was born" but realised that wouldn't be accurate, because "date" includes the year, which would imply that we've successfully travelled back in time to 1993. I wasn't exactly satisfied with "2 days before the day I was born" because one, it doesn't convey what I'm trying to say without any sort of ambiguity (though really, any reasonable person would understand what I mean but there's always that one very anal pedantic person) and two, I would like to avoid using the same word too close to each other in the same sentence. So I looked up the definition of "birthday" and realised the word "anniversary" was used, which then led me to look up "anniversary". Why would you use the word "anniversary" to explain the word "birthday" to someone who needs the word "birthday" explained to them?

In short, I decided to use "birthday".

Happy new year, and welcome to a peep into the workings of my brain.

I will almost certainly use Google's extremely helpful "define" feature for any posts that I've written. Just one of the many quirks of mine that I desperately cling on to in hopes of being different from other people. Lol jk.

* * *

Still in the process of job hunting, which can get pretty depressing in many ways. I've decided not to dive into that, but let's hope something interesting happens soon. Meanwhile, I shall try to find something to do that would make life slightly less miserable.