Keinian ideals – Ideas on discipline, gambling and winning

Ever since I got to Melbourne, gambling has more or less become a pastime. Not a daily one, but I do visit the casino every few weeks. And my balance is still positive after two years, which isn’t too bad. Not to mention today’s Chinese New Year session at Crown Casino, which turned out to be a good day really; I won about $120 with a capital of $80. How’s that for a red packet?

A casino dealer once told me: “Gambling isn’t about winning, it’s about having fun!

I like to think that winning and having fun are two halves of a whole; having fun is a little hard when you have been on a consistent losing streak the entire day isn’t it?

Therefore, gambling requires one important thing if you are to minimise your losses, and that’s mental discipline.

Mental discipline, with regards to the following:

  • Capital: tell yourself how much you are going to play, and stick to it. If thirty dollars is your capital for the day, thirty dollars it is. I can’t emphasize this enough – If you lose, leave. Don’t ever think about recouping your losses by doubling, that’s a nice way to lose more.
  • Winnings: set a limit to how much you intend to win. When you win that amount, leave. If you hit your target after playing ten minutes, don’t tell yourself it’s too early. Have the mental strength to get up from the table, and go home with your winnings.
  • Dealer: If you have been winning under a certain dealer, change tables as soon as a new dealer comes. It might be all superstition to you, but I’m quite a firm believer in this. Either you quit the table, or you sit back and watch a few games first.

I have always given thought to my losing streaks, and more than half the time it was because I failed to follow my own rules. I continued playing after I hit my target, and lost. Either that or I was on a losing streak, and I continued playing with more capital thrown in (and lost again predictably).

So hopefully these tips help you to keep your moolah in the pocket, and happy gambling! It’s Chinese New Year after all, so HUAT AH!

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Keinian ideals – Tips on getting yourself organised for 2009

This post is written for shenando (NZ), who commented that I should write something about time management and/or organisation. So here we have it, Kein’s comments on how he organises his things to do in life.

First and foremost: know that the key to making any system work is discipline. You have to stick to the system, and faithfully use it all the time. Otherwise, nothing works.

I’ll share what I use right now, which is actually a mishmash of various systems. It sounds confusing, but works surprisingly well for now. Also, note that I only use these for short-term tasks; long-term goals have been shafted for now because I’m lacking inspiration.

1. Google Docs
This is one of the best applications Google is offering, and as always it’s free! Using the default Document in Google Docs, I write up a list of outstanding tasks and any relevant information. This makes sure all of the information are stored together in a single place for easy reference, and there’s no excuse about forgetting where you wrote it. All you have to do is to get online, log back into Google Docs and check your document.

Example on the general outline of a list:

Personal
> Singapore
>> This includes a list of things I should be getting to when I return. Full details on the individual tasks should be written in this document for easy references, with relevant URLs included.

> Pet
>> List of things to do for Cookie, e.g. her annual checkup.

> Work
>> You can include work, or break it into a separate document altogether. I chose to do the latter, because work is like a giant jigsaw puzzle right now and I have too many bloody things to keep track of.

> Travel
>> Holiday plans, which require planning as well. Write down details of where you plan to go, and what research you’ve done so far.

*Note: when writing information on individual tasks, always do it in the tree format below. You can see that subpoints are all easily grouped together, which makes reading relatively simpler.

Example of a detailed task, this sample was extracted from my GoogleDoc:

Singapore passport renewal
> apply via APPLES, charge $70

> alternatively apply at ICA
>> need passport photograph, current passport, IC, NETS payment $55 (? to confirm) ***

> Need to change air ticket passport number reference
>> can update on airline website: airline.com
>>> Booking ref XXXXXX
>>> Name C KEIN

> Need to go Australian High Commission to update visa label
>> Call them on (65) 6836-4100 between 2.30pm and 4.30pm to check how long it takes
>>> emailed them on 24Jan @ immigration.singapore@dfat.gov.au ***
>> http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/overseas/s/singapore/
>> http://www.singapore.embassy.gov.au/sing/Visas_and_Migration.html
>> Visiting hours 0900 to 1200 for immigration counter
>> directions: http://gothere.sg/directions#tampines%20st%2022:napier%20road

Note that I’m using > as the main tree, and >> for subtree and so on. *** is used to denote points that should be followed up on.


2. Yahoo! Calendar
Yahoo! has improved its calendar by leaps and bounds by integrating it with the new Yahoo! mail interface. IMO, it’s much more accessible and easy to use now. I’m an email junkie, so keeping reminders with the email makes a lot of sense. The calendar’s used to keep track of important upcoming events, and the event is filled up with bite-sized information (e.g. location, things to bring along) – the original full chunk is still stored in the GoogleDoc.


3. Mobile phone calendar
This is used to set daily recurring reminders e.g. check my work email (at predetermined times) and update expenditure. The mobile phone’s always around us, so this is good for keeping us on track for daily stuff.


4. Emails to myself
This is usually done as a last resort when I’m too lazy to write things that interest me down properly in Google Docs. I dump all the raw data into a single email and address it to myself, period. Saves time, and easily noticeable. It’s always good to straighten things out and throw these over to the GoogleDoc of course, serves to make things neat.


That’s all I have to offer, hopefully this opens up some thoughts on how you should structure your everyday tasks and better yet, get started on completing some of them on time!

Have a good year people.

Cisco MRTG temperature graphing with the 7200 router

In a way, this post is a sequel to the previous MRTG tutorial I wrote. Then again, it’s slightly more specific towards the Cisco 7200 series router, so it wouldn’t be as applicable to everyone. If you are interested in graphing Cisco MRTG temperature though, read on.

Once again the disclaimer follows – I’m using Debian distribution 2.4.18-bf2.4.


#1 Knowing what’s good and what’s not

It’s not very useful to know the temperature if you don’t know what you’re looking out for.

Ambient operating temperature: Cisco advises a minimum of 32°F (0°C) and maximum of 104°F (40°C). 40 degrees Celsius doesn’t sound like it’s enough to cook the router though.

If we check the table displayed in our router’s CLI by going into exec mode:

Router#show environment table

We get:

Sample Point LowCritical LowWarning HighWarning HighCritical
I/O Cont Inlet 40C/104F 50C/122F
I/O Cont Outlet 43C/109F 53C/127F
NPE Inlet 75C/167F 75C/167F
NPE Outlet 50C/122F 60C/140F

Seems to be a wee bit higher than what the website said? Oh well, I guess it’s a good thing.


#2 Checking your router’s temperature the quick and easy way

Login to your router (telnet, console whatever) and go into exec mode.

Router#show environment all

I believe the display differs according to the NPE (Network Processing Engine) you’ve got, but this is what mine says.

Power Supplies:

Power Supply 1 is Zytek AC Power Supply. Unit is on.
Power Supply 2 is Zytek AC Power Supply. Unit is on.

Temperature readings:

I/O Cont Inlet measured at 25C/77F
I/O Cont Outlet measured at 27C/80F
NPE Inlet measured at 28C/82F
NPE Outlet measured at 29C/84F

Voltage readings:

+3.45 V measured at +3.50 V
+5.15 V measured at +5.25 V
+12.15 V measured at +12.39 V
-11.95 V measured at -11.85 V

Envm stats saved 94 time(s) since reload

The bolded section’s what we want, period.


#3 Using MRTG to plot your router’s temperature

Takes a bit more effort, but at least you’ve got some historical data to rely on for comparison. Plus, you don’t have to keep logging into your router to check!

We can’t use cfgmaker this time round as it takes a bit of typing to get things done.
Here’s a sample .cfg template of what I used:

Target[router.temp]:1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.3.1.3.1&1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.3.1.3.2:CommunityName@RouterIP
Directory[router.temp]: temperature
WithPeak[router.temp]: wmy
YLegend[router.temp]: Degrees C
ShortLegend[router.temp]: °C
MaxBytes[router.temp]: 50
Options[router.temp]: nopercent, growright, gauge
Unscaled[router.temp]: dwmy
AbsMax[router.temp]: 50
Title[router.temp]: Router
Colours[router.temp]: GREEN#00eb0c,BLUE#1000ff,BLUE#1000ff,VIOLET#ff00ff
Legend1[router.temp]: Average 1 minute Inlet Temperature
Legend2[router.temp]: Average 1 minute Outlet Temperature
Legend3[router.temp]: Average 5 minute Inlet Temperature
Legend4[router.temp]: Average 5 minute Outlet Temperature
LegendI[router.temp]:  Inlet:
LegendO[router.temp]:  Outlet:
PageTop[router.temp]: <H1> Router temperature - Degrees C<BR></H1>
<TABLE>
<TR><TD>System:</TD><TD>Router</TD></TR>
<TR><TD>Maintainer:</TD><TD>Admin</TD></TR>
</TABLE>

There’s actually four points of temperature measurement for the 7200, but since we only need two for the MRTG, I used the inlet temperature and one of the outlets, which makes more sense than checking the temperature of two outlets.

OIDs for the four points are as follow:


Inlet .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.3.1.3.1
Outlet 1 .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.3.1.3.2
Outlet 2 .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.3.1.3.3
Outlet 3 .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.3.1.3.4

Follow up with the usual steps to creating the index and populating the cron job (refer to my previous MRTG article), and we should be done.


Credits for the solution goes to a whole ton of Googled results, and I sort of lost track along the way after reading numerous websites. One of the major help sites is the MRTG mailing list, and the people there are seriously good.

I hope this post helps some other poor soul out there who’s trying to do the same thing, and here’s to you saving two hours of research on doing up a Cisco MRTG temperature graph for your router.

NBL: Postgame analysis on 10 Jan 09 New Zealand Breakers vs Crazy John South Dragons

It was my first time watching the New Zealand Breakers at the MSAC (Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center) last night, and my comments might not be accurate. Consistent watching of the games would help on this part. This however, was my third South Dragons game in the season (previous games being vs Melbourne Tigers and vs Wollongong Hawks), so I am starting to appreciate and understand the team more.


New Zealand Breakers
Led by Kirk Penney, features consistent long range shooting coupled with excellent rebounding abilities. Offensive play is good, with plenty of passing for opportunities to sink that open shot, which Penney helps by driving and making excellent passes on the move.


Crazy John South Dragons
Captained by Mark Worthington (Wortho), the team possesses outstanding defense capabilities coupled with consistent contribution from the dependable Wortho in both offense and defense. Good offense especially on a fast break after turnover, and long range shooters like Joe Ingles (Jingles) and Rhys Carter contributing to the score.

The game
The Breakers had a good first quarter but were hit with several fouls. As the game progressed, it became more evident that the South Dragons were catching up due to excellent defense pressure, which led to steals and turnovers.

The Breakers on the other hand, maintained their lead by scoring three pointers consistently, especially from Tony Ronaldson, Oscar Forman and Kirk Penney. Ronaldson and Forman were also the key figures to the team’s defensive and offensive rebounding. However their defense failed to make consistent turnovers, which could have made a difference. Add the fact that two of their three shooters were the rebounders in the team, and it added to the hazards of missing a shot somewhat.

Passing and off the ball movement also slowed down for the Breakers in the second half of the game, possibly due to the South Dragons’ tight defense. A pity Penney missed his free throws in the second half, which could have decided the game before overtime.


Kirk Penny on one of his excellent passes. (image source from southdragons.com)

The South Dragons on the other hand, kept a consistent game with Worthington’s dependable scoring and tight defense. New player 23 Donta Smith was impressive, pulling his weight despite limited bench time. Joe Ingles failed to hit his threes last night, but Rhys Carter stood up to the challenge and performed admirably. Many of the steals were due to his quick reflexes, and his clutch shots helped define the results. Once, hitting the jumper that made the game go into overtime. and once more in overtime, hitting a three and nailing the score down tight with no time left. Needless to say, he was voted MVP of the night.


Rhys Carter, man of the night. (image source from southdragons.com)

It was an enjoyable game last night, one with great atmosphere as the teams battled it out on the court. One that I was glad to attend, despite having the agony of piles on my arse and being made to sit for three hours nonstop. IMO, the overwhelming support from the spectators must have made a great difference to the way the game went, especially during the free throws. But although the scoreline looked like it could have gone either way, I had told my buddy Bill at halftime that the Dragons would win; it was a gut feeling based on the fact that it was a South Dragons home game after all, and the Breakers’ style of play was good but still lacking.

Related articles:
Dragons Win A Thriller
Heartbreak for Breakers
Dragons vs Breakers Box Score

Keinian ideals: A purpose to life

I have been down with tenesmus for the past few days. And it was on the way home just now, that I remembered something that I had long forgotten.

The purpose of life; my life that is.

Almost six years ago, I remembered telling myself that life is like a scripted tale. Everything happens for a reason, and it’s up to you to learn what you can from your experiences along that road.

I’m not a born believer of destiny, but some things simply stand out in stark relief.

I remember the years long ago, when my friends were heading off to Australia for their studies. The family could not afford something like that back then, and all I could do was to wait. And wait, for the right moment to come. And it finally arrived in ’07, when I came. And stayed, miraculously enough. Against all the disbelieving odds and skepticism. And I’m thankful for every single day of my life here, always.

What about learning experiences? For example, this recent unfortunate bout of tenesmus has not been crippling, but sufficiently irritating enough to inhibit my everyday movements. To avoid aggravating the pain, I have slowed down to a leisurely walk. Sitting down and getting up is a chore in itself, and the constant dull ache seems to be there all the time.

What have I learnt?

I began to appreciate the things around me that the pace of a stroll brings about. I told myself that pain is the just the polar opposite of joy. You do not appreciate one enough when the other is absent. Pain, is a reminder that I am still alive, and still experiencing the beautiful things around me. The brilliant rays of sunset casting shadows on the streets, as I walk to the train station. The people around me whom I will never get to know; each with their own life story, inextricably woven into the great tapestry of humanity.

I could talk of other examples other than myself of course.

Like a bad day at work, where your boss screamed at you for something that wasn’t your fault. It is simply a reminder that one should always rein in his emotions at work, and not inflict his negativity onto others.

How about that time when a loved one passed away? An endless footnote among others, telling us that human life is all too fragile, and should be cherished. One should not mindlessly indulge in mundane reality and forget about appreciating the existence of life as it is.

Therefore, learn. And make the best out of things, all the time.

I leave this as food for thought.

We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control our reaction to it.

If you liked this post, feel free to share it with others. Thanks for reading as always.

Photography – Melbourne: Falls Creek

It’s like bloody summer now, so.. pretty obvious this is an backdated post. (Very backdated at that.)

So I actually went on a ski trip in July ’08, and drove up there for the first time. Very interesting, very exciting, and so very fcuking tiring.

*Refer to ZM’s recount of the trip (day 1, day 2 and day 3) for a different perspective.

Three days, two nights. Random snaps of the trip, too many pictures to share in a single post.

So we (where we = NZ MS Nick ZM LS V and me) rented a Toyota Tarago (comfy 7 seater), and started off on the trip at about 0230hrs in the morning.

And so began the most tiring drive in 2008.

This is just a rough driving route from Google Maps, to give you an idea of the distance involved.

And Mr Google Maps said: estimated distance = 388 km, which is about 5 hours 10 mins.

Well, he wasn’t too far off the mark.

.. we reached Falls Creek at about 0830hrs.

So ZM had the wheel in the first leg, and I was the navigator. Everyone else slept.

It was a really dark (read: nearly pitch black, punctuated by the blazing lights of passing trucks) drive, and we continued that way until it was almost 0600hrs. At that point, ZM and I both began to black out. Despite having music playing, bottles of energy drinks and endless bitching, we were still falling asleep. So it was time to get out of the car, walk around and wake ourselves up before continuing.

ZM failed abysmally at staying awake though, so I took over (while the bugger went into a dead faint at the back). Fortunately, daybreak had come so it was a little easier to drive.

First picture at this part; the pictures taken earlier at night were horrible.


This was taken at the base of the mountain. Yes, Falls Creek is on top of a mountain. We hired snow chains for the car at this point, and proceeded upwards.

The drive was a welcome change from the straight and seemingly endless road, with turns and turns and turns and oh, just for variety.


More turns!

And a nice speed limits ranging from 20kmph to 40kmph. Not that I would’ve dared to drive any faster; I had the lives of six other people in my hands. Everytime I felt like falling asleep, all I had to do was to visualise the car flying over one of the bends and crashing down into the woods below. And I’d stay wide awake.


I took the opportunity to stop at this spot for phototaking – actually, to rest. At this point of time, Nick, NZ and V were already awake.

So we carried on upwards, with other angry drivers trailing behind me because I was driving too slowly. They would tailgate for a bit, then give up and simply overtake. Rinse and repeat for seemingly eternity.


And finally, SNOW! Everyone woke up at that point.


FALLS CREEK AT LAST!


After paying the toll, it was time to put the snowchains on.


Yay!

Car parking came after that. I dropped the rest off, and Nick kept me company on Operation Park-Bigass-Car. Needless to say, I took quite a while because my parking fcuking sucks.


AT LAST!

We regrouped, and made our way up to Halleys after that. Yep, the same Halleys I stayed at in the ’07 ski trip. Dumped our bags and all ready to roll! Unfortunately.. there was some mixup on the issue of equipment hire, so we were stuck at the shop.


The sibei tired duo posing with style.


And it took quite a while, but we finally emerged ready. NZ was the only other person who took a snowboard; everyone else stuck to skis.


On board the ski lift. We had a minor episode at the lifts every day.
Day 1: Nick crashed into some fellow’s skis because he couldn’t brake in time.
Day 2: LS crashed into some lady because she too, couldn’t brake in time.

Moral of the story – if you can’t brake, you’d better bloody fall on your ass before you hit someone/something!


Fast forward to the usual exhorbitant lunch. They had fun learning, I had fun relearning (and falling down).


Hiding from the snow, it was a literal blizzard at work. This was where the snowboards came in handy.


Crowding around the fireplace at night. Warmth is goots! Not to mention the wonderful meals that always came at dinnertime; Halleys is always good at that.


Lunch with NZ at some pub, crowded place. Reason? We always got separated from the rest.


The snowboarder at work. He and I were opposites. I would plonk my ass on the snow because my thighs were burning up from the strain, and fall very very frequently. He would be falling very infrequently, but when he did he crashed and burned big time.

There were other things that happened, like the time when the skiers took the wrong track and went down an intermediate route. Happy ending of course; they fell, and fell, and fell. I reckon I would’ve died similarly had I been there.

Or the feeling of satisfaction, when I snowboarded. Feeling alone and on top of the world, the wind howling past my ears, and the thrill of knowing that I could fall on my face anytime at all. Keeping upright and moving was exhilaration in itself.

Or the time when NZ and I got stranded on a cross country route, and had to bunnyhop/dig our way out because the snow was too level and soft to allow any forward movement.


Our snowboards stuck in the snow; look at how deeply the boards were stuck.

.. or that momentous incident involving a giant snowball.

The trip came to an end all too soon, and this time ZM took the drive down the winding mountain road. He was puzzled at my recount of the experience, and enjoyed himself swerving around the bends at high speeds. That lasted all the way until he realised everyone on the car was close to throwing up from motion sickness. Resignation to a crawling drive came right after.

The trip back home was largely uneventful, and that concluded the experience. Falls Creek for 2009, anyone?