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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year 2008

Happy New Year 2008, may the coming year brings you a lot more successes, good health, happiness and a better life.
Feliz Año Nuevo....
And now, it's the right time for Liverpool FC to move closer to the leading pack, let's beat Manchester City!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Atocha Station

Atocha Station, the main train station of Madrid, connecting high speed train to big cities around Spain, such as Sevilla, Cordoba, Barcelona and Cadiz, and two buildings around it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Traffic "Jam" in Madrid

These two photos represent what people here call "traffic jam" or "heavy traffic" that make them reluctant to drive their cars in the city centre. Nowhere like the "heavy traffic" of Jakarta, for sure.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Parque del Buen Retiro

Two photographs taken from Parque del Buen Retiro in Madrid.

Gran Via, Madrid

Some photographs of Calle Gran Via in Madrid, taken by using Nokia 6288. A busy street with a numbers of Cinemas, heaps of stores and restaurants.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Liverpool vs Real Madrid, Please!

All I want for Christmas is....

Liverpool to be paired against Real Madrid in the last 16 of UEFA Champions League.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Atlas Oil & Gas - Nigeria - Scam

If you receive this recruitment email in the future, just delete and disregard it, it is obviously a scam. For a start, any company or any recruitment agent, who uses a yahoo webmail address for communication is a crap company. Don't waste your time to deal with them.

Secondly, atlastoil-gas.llc.nu is a valid address but it has nothing in it because it is hosted by 2ip.com, which is a free subdomain website provider. A real company should not have a subdomain hosted in 2ip.com. This is clearly dodgy.

Anyway, here is the email:

Career Opportunity in Atlas Oil and Gas

Atlas Oil & Gas
Office- 102 West Misnister,
Oshodi Apapa Express Way
Lagos, Nigeria.
Phone- +234-1-8967609,+234-1-8507693
Fax- +234-1-7916561

Career Opportunity in Atlas Oil and Gas

Atlas Oil &Gas Company is an emergent dynamic company committed to the provision ofworld-class surveying and geo-spatial data services to oil and gas andlarge-scale construction efforts onshore and offshore in Nigeria and theAfrican west coast.

AtlasOil & Gas Company is recruiting skilled workers for the enlargement of theorganization, for rehabilitations of oil and gas pipe lines in Nigeria andalso for the renovation of the countries refinery.

Atlas Oil &Gas is recruiting candidate from different department from 0 to 30 years ofworking experience.

Atlas Oil &Gas Company has gone through legal recruiting agents on the internet and ourresume was short listed among others by the recruiting management of theCompany, We here by request for your updated Curriculum Vitae (Resume) if youare interested to relocate to Nigeriafor a promising career that includes bellow benefits.

Benefits Package.
1.) Avery attractive monthly salary based on qualification
2.) An open ended contract with high savings potential
3.) Quality single or family housing in Company communities
4.) Free medical care in Nigeria for contractor and family
5.) Accident Insurance
6.) Excellent educational assistance benefits with familystatus contracts
7.) Paid airfares allowing full flexibility with holidaytravel
8.) Personal effects shipment and excess baggage allowances
9.) Access to some of the finest social and recreationalfacilities in Nigeriae.t.c

Atlas Oil & Gasneeds your positive response if you are interested by you sending your UpdatedCurriculum Vitae (Resume) to the recruiting Manager, his name and contact is asfollows.

Name- Engr Gbenga Williams.
E-mail- gbenga@atlastoil-gas.llc.nu or gbengawill@yahoo.com
Phone- +234-8063829418

You can reach on to us on Phone+234-1-8967609, +234-1-8507693 , Fax- +234-1-7916561 and e-mail- info@atlastoil-gas.llc.nu , Further information of the company will begiven to you by Engr Gbenga Williams.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Metro or Bus?

Moving around Madrid is very easy because transportation network in the city is excellent. This opinion, of course, is from somone who used to live in an overcrowded city in a third world/developing country, namely Jakarta. Jakarta's traffic is a mess and its transportation network is the same. Buses and trains are normally overcrowded during busy hours. The vehicles' condition is mostly bad and getting trapped in a traffic jam and going nowhere for half an hour or even an hour is considered normal in Jakarta. The worst traffic jam in Madrid is still better than the "normal" traffic jam during busy hours in Jakarta. Check this website to read more about this story.

Anyway, this is not a story about how good the traffic jam in Madrid is in comparison to that in Jakarta but about the two most convenient transportation modes in Madrid. The first one is underground train and the second inner city bus.

The people of Madrid are very proud of their underground train network or METRO as they call it here. It has many stations around the city, well-connected between metro lines (routes), well-connected to the bus and surface railway stations and it is one of the oldest underground train networks in Europe. More importantly, all metro stations in Madrid have clear signs, which are easy to follow although we don't speak Spanish and the stations are clean.

However, it doesn't mean there is no negative points about the metro stations in Madrid. The negative points are: first they don't have toilets at all and second some of them have no elevator, which can cause trouble for grandmas and grandpas and not accessible for the disabled people. Nevertheless, travelling by using metro in Madrid is generally quick, easy and convenient but we cannot enjoy the view of the city because all are underground.

If we want to enjoy the view of Madrid, then travelling by bus is the better option. Public bus in Madrid are well-maintained, most of them are new, clean and well-connected between bus route. There are lots of haltes in Madrid and they usually have enough information for us to find our way. There is a transporation map of the city in every halte and there is, of course, time table information for the particular bus routes that pass by the halte.

It is important to note that buses in Madrid are often full of passangers and it is fair to say that travelling by buses during busy hours can be a pain in the arse, well not arse but rather feet, because we probably have to stand in the bus all the way to our destination.

The puublic bus service in Madrid is managed by The Municipal Transport Company of Madrid S.A.. Its abbreviation is EMT or Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid S.A. Its website is at http://www.emtmadrid.es/index.html?lang=eng. The website of EMT is an important source of information for travelling in Madrid by bus because it contains all bus routes in the city. We can find the exact location and halte numbers of the bus we want to travel with in the EMT website.

So, metro or bus, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Both are useful, modern and well managed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Lifestyle Consultant

A new concept of service is now being provided by a company called Mandhala based in Madrid. This company gives advices to clients who would like to enhance their personal image, enjoy lives and get to know more about lifestyle in the city.

The company provides information about what to do, where to go and how to enjoy live in Spain and Madrid in particular. It also advices on what clothes to wear and where to shop them, what exhibition and social/club party to attend. Furhtermore , entry tickets to any exhibition or cinemas can also be provided by the company. Basically it can provide anything related to lifestyle to clients who have no time to organize it themselves.

The concept of personal service provided by a lifestyle consultant is a bit different from that provided by a life mentor. A life mentor usually deals with behaviour and problems of his/her client and suggests them on how to deal with the clients' personal problems. A lifestyle consultant, on the other hand, deals with the enjoyable side of life of their clients. A lifestyle consultant does not sell service on how to deal with emotional problem or bad-mood and daily life problem with office colleagues, for example.

Being a lifestyle consultant means it is neccesary to know much about nearly everythings, including at least: tourist places, food, dressing style, the entertainment world, shopping centres, cultural festivals and transportation network. Knowing transporation network is important because it is related to information on how to get to the attraction places efficiently.

It will be interesting to find out if this kind of service is really needed and whether or not it can be a trend for the future model of personal service business. One thing is clear though, being familiar with a new environment is needed by people who are being assigned to a new place, therefore this service is useful for foreigners, like me (it's a pity I don't have enough money to hire a lifestyle consultant).

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Gift

What kind of gift would you want for Christmas?

A new car? Easy, as long as you have much money or your parents have lots of money or your partner has lots of money.

A new house? This is easy, too, again as long as you have money to buy it.

A new girlfriend/boyfriend? Well, although it is not that easy but still there is a chance you can get it.

Now what about peace in the Middle East?

What about no more "terrorism", any kind of terrorism, in the world?

What should we do to achieve it? It cannot be bought by using our money, neither can it be forced by power. We have no influence to engineer anything. We cannot prevent those with power to keep sending troops, either. Will Santa give us this kind of gift?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Parking a car at the corner between 2 streets

One thing I find strange here in Madrid is, we are allowed to park a car at the corner between two streets. Usually this is done when we need to stop by, just for a couple minutes and do not intend to park for hours. All we need to do is just turn on the emergency light. That's it.

I have no idea whether this is actually illegal or not, but many people do it and I have never seen police fine drivers who park their cars at the corner of the streets. It is possible that this kind of parking can only be done on small streets, not on main roads in the centre of the city where traffic is heavy.

Nevertheless, this is the first time I see people park their cars at the corners of 2 streets. It certainly does not happen in Indonesia, neither does it in Australia, well, at least based on my experience there.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bad Wine

It costs just over €2 a bottle, in fact, a litter. It was €2.35 precisely. The reason I bought it was because I wanted the bottle, which I am going to use as a water bottle in my office. Having a water bottle means I don't need to walk to our pantry every time I need to drink just a little cup of water. It is not that I don't want to walk at all but I can walk to the pantry 20 times a day just for drinking 100 ml of water because the only available cup is in this size.

This wine tastes awful, even for someone who knows nothing about wine, which is me. I can tell if it tastes really awful because it's sour. It leaves bad taste in my mouth after drinking it.

I guess we can tell from its price really. We can expect nothing from a bottle of wine that costs only €2.35/l. The only good thing I can think of this wine is its bottle. A water bottle that costs me €2.35, not bad really.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fighting for Survival - Self-Taught Spanish 1

So, how do you order a Subway when you don't speak Spanish at all?

Well, first of all, remember the steps here:
1. Choose from Subway menu (don't forget to remember numbers in Spanish)
2. Decide type of bread you want and its size
3. Order for extra cheese or no
4. Add vegetables
5. Add Sauce
6. Eat in or take away
7. Ask how much the price is

In Spanish, you will have to say:
1. Subway: Pollo Teriyaki (for example), or say Numero Uno, Dos, Tres,... (1,2,3,...)
2. Tipo de pan...(choose from the pictures, there are 4 types: blanco, integral, avena dulce and another one...I can't remember). The size option is either mediano (mid size) or grande (full size)
3. No extra queso (no extra cheese)
4. Con lechuga, tomate y cebolla (with lettuce, tomato and onion), con acetuna y pepino (with olive and cucumber)
5. Salsa mayonnaise (for example if you want mayonnaise or just point any one you want)
6. Para comer aqui (Eat in) or para llevar (take away)
7. Cuanto es? (How much?)

If the person who serves you asks too many questions, just say: sorry mate, I don't understand what you're talking about. Just fucking give me what I said and be quick! I am fucking hungry now, asshole!

Okay, good luck!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

CV-DVD Labels & Laser Printer

They just don't work!

Sometime they do work, but there is only 30% chance they can fit nicely to each other. In other word, out of 10 pages of sticker you print out, there are only 3 pages that you can use. This doesn't mean they are perfect. They are just "use-able".

It is clearly stated on its container that the label is suitable for most desktop inkjet and bubblejet printers. It doesn't mention anything about laser printer. Somehow I was confident that it can be printed on a printer and eager to give it a go, especially after the shopkeeper at OfficeWorks told me "there is no reason why it's not gonna work on a laser printer". I thought "Okay, that's great because I don't have a inkjet and the only printer available in my lab is a black and white laser printer."

Well, the main reason why it is not suitable to be printed on a laser printer is because sometime (not sometime but most of the time) it takes the printer too long to pull the thick label in and therefore when the printer has started printing out the words, the label is still not in. This means the position of the words printed on the label is totally wrong although when I tested the layout on a normal A4 paper it looks good.

Another lesson to learn, by making mistake. I would have been better if I learned it from someone else' mistake though, not mine...

What About Me

"What About Me" is a song that told a story about how "small people" are neglected by the society. The "small people", who live in the ground level of the social system can be those who are still young, have nothing or low-paid jobs. The song was sung by Moving Pictures, a rock band from Sydney in 1980s.

Check this YouTube Video out to listen to the lyrics and have a thought about our surrounding where we can see those "neglected people":

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cutting Refugee Intake and the Bashing of A Sudanese Boy

Mr. Kevin Andrews, the Federal Immigration Minister of Australia, is back in the news headlines. He announced the decision of Australian government in cutting the intake of African refugees, particularly from Sudan, and cited the difficulty of those people in integrating into the Australian society as his reason.

The announcement was made on the back of news of one Sudanese boy who died recently as a bashing victim by three teenagers in Noble Park, Victoria. It was originally thought that the boy was involved in a fighting with a kind of "gang", perhaps of African background, however later on Police found out that the basher are not of African origin.

The timing of Mr. Andrews' announcement is quite strange because to tell people that the African refugees intake from Sudan will be cut due to their difficulty in adapting to the Australian lifestyle while one Sudanese boy actually died as a bashing victim by three other boys and girl, without any information on who was at fault, frankly does not make sense at all. It was pretty much a prejudice that the boy died because of his own fault, perhaps he bullied his basher or tried to robe one of the basher, or because he didn't want to do what most ordinary Australian do.

Understandably, Mr. Andrews has to cope with heavy criticisms from several people, no less than the Premier of Victoria, Mr. John Brumby and the Police Chief of Victoria, Ms. Christine Nixon.

Ms. Nixon told that the numbers of crime committed by the Sudanese only make up 1% of the total numbers of crime they deal with in Victoria and are not represented more than the proportion of their population.

What already clear is the government of Australia had decided to limit the intake of African refugees of Sudanese origin, due to reasons we don't know, and the recent bashing case of a Sudanese boy has been taken for a ride by the office of the Federal Minister of Immigration to announce its decision. It must have been more difficult for the minister to announce the decision had there been no case involving member of the Sudanese community recently.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Repairing My Own Laptop

Being confident alone is not enough to help you repair your own laptop, although the task you want to do is as simple as changing a CMOS battery. It takes more than confidence, knowledge of the location of the battery in the laptop and having the right tools to perform the task. A right way to start is to know what you want to do and how you want to get into the point of doing the task, in other words, what to disassembly first, second, third and so on.

Unlike a PC, disassembling a laptop is not a matter of loosing all screws and pulling all cases then you can see everything in the box. A laptop is different from the larger personal computer because firstly a keyboard in a laptop is located on top of the machine, secondly opening the bottom cover of the laptop doesn't mean we can see the laptop machine and thirdly, in order to open the bottom cover itself you need to find the unseen screws, which somehow may be located "under" the keyboard.

My first adventure in disassembling my old, secondhand and cheap Compaq Presario 700EA nearly successfully break down the unlucky machine and at one stage I thought if I could not assembly it again, then I would have had to get it binned permanently. I tried to loose all screws that I could see at the bottom cover of the laptop and thought it should be enough. I started to pull the cover but failed to open it and forced it until it nearly cracked.

I thought I needed to disassembly the screen first so that I can open the bottom cover, so I pull out all screws on the screen and disassembly everything. I still could not take the bottom cover off. Then I realises there must be some screws that still hold the bottom cover. These screws might be located under the keyboard, so I tried to pull my keyboard but I don't know how to do it. I decided to take its button off one by one. When I realised the screws were not there (which means I did another mistake), I spent more than one hour to assembly everything back to as before my work started.

Having finished assembling the laptop, I browsed the internet afterward and found the following website, which provides instruction on how to disassembly a COMPAQ laptop:


Apparently, I should not have opened up the bottom cover of my laptop to change a CMOS battery. I just need to take off the LED panel, the keyboard, the optical drive and the plate where the keyboard sits.

In total I just need to loosen about 8 screws, 3 in the bottom of the laptop and 5 under the keyboard. I don't need to touch the screen whatsoever, let alone totally disassembling the screen as I did before I learned from the website. The keyboard itself can be folded as a whole once the LED panel has been taken off. So I don't need to take the buttons off one by as one as I tried to do before.

I was lucky to be able to assembly my computer back without having any major problem when I disassembled it. I broke the button of the conventional modem of my laptop when I pulled it apart, but everything else is fine. Finding the website above has helped me fixed my laptop more efficiently and now the CMOS battery of my old laptop has been replaced with a new one. No more adjusting time and date every time when my Ubuntu start up. The lesson to learn is, make sure you know what you want to do and how you want to do it. Don't forget to learn from others.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wasting Wealth a la Mr. Abramovich

Jose Mourinho, arguably the most successful coach of Chelsea FC, resigned from the club last week after a draw against Rosenborg of Norway in the group stage of the 2007/2008 UEFA Champions League. The story of his resignation shocked the football world, because the club and Mr. Mourinho himself have tried very hard to play down any problem between the owner of the club, Roman Abramovich, with the manager until recently. However, only a day after Peter Kenyon, the chief executive of Chelsea FC reiterated that Jose Mourinho is the future of the club, up came the sacking news.

It was published that the club parted company with Mr. Mourinho by "mutual consent", in the sense that Mourinho was not sacked and in the same time he didn't resign either. By using the "mutual consent" term, it means Mr. Mourinho will be entitled to approximately 20 millions pounds pay-off, as a compensation from the club to ask him go.

Mr. Abramovich has just thrown away 20 million pounds as if that amount of money was only peanuts to him. It is ridiculous to think about some people cannot even find a single dollar a day to make a living, while in the another part of this world someone has just wasted 20 million pounds happily.

The pay-off for Mourinho is the latest example of Abramovich's "generosity" in spending million after million to buy overpriced football players and inflate the salary of players in his club. Overall he has spent over 200 million pounds to date. There are no economic nor business calculations that can be applied to explain the football club management a la Mr. Abramovich. It is just extraordinary and out of this world.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Paranoid Thinking of a Postgrad Student

There is a phase when a postgraduate student is very scared of one thing related to their project, namely losing all works they have been doing for the last couple of years, due to a problem in their computer system. The problem can be caused by a hard disk failure, or perhaps a software f*ck up and a more extreme one, somehow fire burn down the building where they have been working days and nights, due to electricity short circuit from one computer in the building. I know it sounds funny and this clearly is an extreme paranoid thinking of the student, but to be honest, it does come up in my mind.

I thought it was funny when I read the "Tales from the Road" comics of Jorge Cham (Jorge = Whor Hé), in which he revealed that one of his fans in Kansas University (if I remember correctly) always has her project back up around her neck, i.e. she wears her USB disk - containing the back up of her project - as a necklace. This sounds like taking the caution to the very extreme - I for one will not do it, however it is understandable if students do not want to lose any bit of their works especially when they are approaching the end of their project.

I myself have burnt more DVDs in the last couple of weeks than I ever burn in a year during the second year of my candidature. I usually back up my project every 3 months in the first year. I used to trust the computer system very much. I always think they are reliable and they don't often have any problem anyway.

One day, there was a leak from the plumbing system of the university, the computer where I had project was affected, it was flooded by water and needed to be shutdown, but afterward it cannot be restarted. I could not work on my project for a month. I was still lucky to be able to get the data and my project out of the computer, no data loss at all. It is unimaginable if something worse had happened. I don't want to take any gamble since then, better safe then sorry, I do my back up every month.

In the last couple of weeks, I have this strange thought of all sorts of possibilities that can make my project folder under threat. Starting from a failure in my PC, my lab mate mistakenly bin my stuffs to the university building on fire. It then makes me think that I need a way to save my data/analysis results. So I burn 3-4 DVDs in a week, while having a back up of my project folder in a USB and also another back up in an external hard disk. So, I have 3 back ups and one original folder. As if this is still not enough, I am always extra cautious when I want to cross a road, making sure I can pass safely to the other side of the road and just in case if a driver didn't see.................oh dear, terrible!

Crime Unfolded - The Story of Qian Xun Xue

Be aware of whom you sit next to in your next flight to oversea. He/she may have committed a crime somewhere and is running away to hide him/herself.

A man, who is suspected of murdering his wife, is believed to be in Los Angeles at the moment, hiding low while Interpol are chasing him. He is of Chinese origin and have been living in Auckland, New Zealand for the last 10 years. He was married to a 27 years old Chinese girl and they have one daughter for the marriage.

The story started when he abandoned his 3 years old daughter in Southern Cross station in Melbourne and the security CCTV camera saw a little girl wandering around by herself without company of anyone on Saturday morning (September 15). The little girl has been seen led by a man of Asian appearance but then the man disappeared, leaving the girl in the station. The girl was then approached by the station's security officers within 15 minutes and because she didn't speak anything, she was called "Pumpkin".

On Monday 8 AM, September 17, Police believed that the little girl and the man might be from overseas and they also believed the man was "her relative". By Monday mid-day, the Police learned that the little girl was from New Zealand and they found out she had arrived to Melbourne on Thursday afternoon or evening from New Zealand. The scenarios were formed based on several calls from public to CrimeStoppers' call line.

Tuesday, September 18, the names of the little girl, her mother and her father were finally discovered. She is Qian Xun Xue, 3 years old, lives in Auckland and the search for her mother started. The New Zealand Police were contacted and their search of Qian's mother was not successful. It was feared that "something" had happened to her mother.

Wednesday 4 PM, September 19, a body of a woman was found in the boot of a Honda parked outside Qian's house. It was feared that the body actually belongs to Qian's mother. A forensic test finally revealed she was Qian's mother. Interpol then have a case to chase a man, while the New Zealand Police have to cope some criticisms because they were thought to be a bit late in conducting a search of the car, which had been parked there when the Police and journalists visited the house two days before.

An international man hunt was then issued by the New Zealand Police, the LA Police are now working on the hunt and it will be interesting to see how this case ends in the future.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Post-Grad Student

A day in the life of a post-grad student:

08.30 AM: Morning alarm (turn off alarm, laying on the bed for 10 more minutes before taking shower, this is the plan)
09.30 AM: Wake-up and realize it is already 30 minutes late (this is the actual)
10.00 AM: Breakfast, check world news
11.00 AM: Arrive at the univ., turn on computer, check emails part 1
12.00 PM: Morning coffee, socializing and building network until...
01.30 PM: Lunch
02.30 PM: Afternoon nap
04.00 PM: Check emails part 2, browsing football forums
05.00 PM: Doing research
06.00 PM: Happy hour
07.30 PM: Dinner
08.30 PM: Check emails part 3
09.30 PM: Making phone calls back home
10.30 PM: Writing for blogs, browsing, check emails part 4, until...
12.30 AM: Call it a day and take a rest, preparing for another hard day at school

Monday, August 06, 2007

Aussie Guy Looking for Asian Girlfriend

It is possibly a joke, but then it claims that the request is "genuine".

A bloke, perhaps a Monash University ex-student, has tried to advertise himself by displaying a piece of paper with handwriting on the announcement board in one faculty.

The ad is attached below:

Presumably he is desperately seeking for an Asian girlfriend, but then it could be that someone is trying to make a fool of the bloke. Although the advertisement is real, I just cannot believe someone would actually do this, seeking a girlfriend by displaying an ad like this.

I don't believe if a girl would actually be interested to contact the person at all. Nevertheless, it is quite funny :)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Farewell, Dr. Mohamed Haneef...

Farewell, Dr. Mohamed Haneef, from the land of 'fair go', namely Australia, the land where everyone has equivalent rights, the land of dream, the land where the future is bright, Adios! See you around when we see you...(meaning: we most likely will not see you again, ever).

The first 10 words in the paragraph above were taken from The Sunday Age, published in Melbourne today (29th of July, 2007). It was the headline of the newspaper, covering the most recent debacle of Australian politics, where cousin of cousin of cousin of British terror suspects was mistakenly accused of helping his cousin of cousin of cousin to plan the bomb attack to Glasgow Airport.

Dr. Haneef, who has working visa as a health worker in Queensland, came to Australia on the basis of his needed skill, but because of his SIM card found in the apartment of the terror suspects, he was prosecuted in Australia.

The initial accusation was his SIM card found in a burnt car, the car that exploded in Glasgow, was used as an "evidence" of his involvement in the attack. But later it was found that the SIM card was actually seen in the apartment of his "cousins". His visa was canceled and not re-instated although it is now admitted by the Australian government that there's no basis to prosecute him (well not yet, this is what the government said).

"This is a political game.", said Jason Koutsoukis of The Age.

Indeed! It is a nasty game. And a disgraceful one, too!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lycos Gives 3 GB for FREE

Lycos - http://www.lycos.com give away 3GB of mailbox size for each of its free email address. On top of that, they allow you to attach anything as big as 20 MB. However, if your account is not active for 30 days, they will delete everything you have in the account, all of them except your username, and you cannot receive an email either!

Some major webmail providers fight each other nowdays. Yahoo7! (Yahoo!'s Australian portal) gives UNLIMITED mailbox size, while LIVE (Hotmail) give away 2 GB.

This trend obviously was started by GMail with its 1GB mailbox and then increasingly bigger until now becomes 2.8GB.

From my personal point of view, I still prefer to use GMail, because it is definitely faster and it collects every emails with the same subject under one heading only. Very useful because it is easier to follow discussions within the same subject. Kudos to Google!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

(Apparently) Free SMS

I was sent an email by a friend, telling about FREE SMS service by a website called SMSCity. Coincidently, I was looking for free SMS providers so that I can save some bucks by sending text messages over the internet, instead of using my mobil all the time. It costs me AU$0.35 to send an international text message, and I can send 20-30 messages a day, which will cost me hell lot of money. In Indonesia, it costs only Rp 350/text message, which is like AU$0.05 or five cents. Yes five cents only!

Back to SMSCity...I registered straigthaway and got my 20 credits for FREE. Then I started playing around the Send SMS page. The price of 1 international SMS costs 8 credits, which means I can send less than 3 SMSes with the my first 20 credits. The FREE SMS section itself can only be active during "Happy Hour" and for me in Australia, my happy hour is 6 PM - 7 PM everyday.

During the "Happy Hour", only 1 sms can be sent everyday and the funny thing is, if I wanted to send the 2nd one, I have to do it at 8 AM in the next morning. It is funny in my opinion because it is nearly impossible for someone to send the SMS exactly at 8 hour 00 minute 00 second. Beside that 8 AM is a time when someone is preparing to go to his/her office/school/university. Or perhaps they are not awake yet. I haven't really tried how it works, because I am not awake around this hour.

SMSCity provides a reasonable service for people who expect some freebies, obviously there are no free lunch these days, so a service like this one is good enough for me. And they allow me to buy cheap package for sending SMS as well, certainly cheaper than my mobile provider's price.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Scientific Commons

A search-able website listing many millions of Master and Ph.D theses from around the world has been established by a university in Switzerland. This website is called Scientific Commons and its address is:


Scientific Commons is a project owned by the University of St. Gallen with repositories located in universities in 50 countries (871 repositories as of today). It uses Open Access Protocol for Metadata Harvesting to retrieve the theses. The ScientificCommons website basically indexes the theses and the authors only and it provides a link directly to related repository for anyone who wants to download the files.

The project is aimed to provide freely accessible scientific knowledge to the world through internet connection, which is a noble idea that has to be supported by all of us.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Guide to Pre-Paid Plans in Australia

Google helped me found this guide about available pre-paid plans in Australia. This is very useful and worth reading for those who want to live and get a pre-paid plan for their mobile in Australia. Here is the link:


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"I'm Paris Hilton! Get me out of this prison!"

Some Paris Hilton's "fans" or rather "followers" are trying to save their lovely celebrity from living in a prison for 45-days. Paris Hilton herself, as reported by The Age, supported and urged her fans to sign an online petition, which was started by her friend Josua.

It seems that being a celebrity means someone could break the law and then tried to escape punishment. Perhaps Paris Hilton thought she is too pretty to become a prisoner?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Last Message of Suicide Girls

This article tells a story about how MySpace website of two girls (who later committed suicide by hanging themselves together in the same tree near Melbourne) received a last message as follow:

"RIP Jodie & Steph"

The message was posted one day before the girls went missing. Scary stuffs...:(

Saturday, April 21, 2007

How to Educate Future Leaders?

A friend sent me this YouTube Video, showing some kind of "physical education" done by "a senior student" to his "junior students" in a government-funded university. This university is exclusively aimed at teaching and preparing the future leaders of Indonesia. The students are chosen from all provinces in the country and usually once the students graduate they will be employed as a local government official in their home town. I don't know how serious the person who punched and kicked the students was, but............. I am speechless!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Toyota Camry SV21 1988

Toyota Camry SV21 1988 FOR SALE, 5 speeds manual transmission, power-steering, well maintained, engine is still in good condition, new radiator, new battery, odometer 271000 km.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS to Ubuntu 6.10

Painless migration that is, except it took my old laptop nearly 10 hours to download more than 1200 files from the internet.

I have just upgraded my Dapper Drake to Edgy Eft, so my old Compaq Presario 700 laptop is now running on Ubuntu 6.10. The beauty of using Ubuntu is, you don't need to re-install everything to upgrade your operating system. How cool is that? Imagine you were using Windows ME and wanted to upgrade it to WindowsXP, what would you do? Move your data from your desktop, wipe everything in the hard disk off, install WindowsXP and then move your data back to your harddisk.

To upgrade from Ubuntu 6.06 LTS to Ubuntu 6.10, you just need to type this line in the terminal:

gksu "update-manager -c -d"

and then follow the instructions.

gksu to call up the root password window, -c to update at all and -d to ask the update manager to consider all pre-release version. For other details, refer to this website.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Manchester City - Liverpool (0-0)

It was a disappointing result from Liverpool's point of view. The Liverpool's boss, Rafa Benitez, has preached to the mass medias since last week, that it is important to keep winning and make sure Liverpool qualify for the Champions League next season as soon as possible so that they can concentrate on the semifinal of UCL against Chelsea. Getting into the last 4 is the minimum target of Liverpool this season, while reaching the 3rd is always more welcome than getting the 4th place in the EPL.

However, the players did not perform yesterday, the game was dull, Manchester City defended well, and Liverpool lacked ideas to break them down. Chances were few, and when it came, both teams didn't make the most out of it to score a goal and open up the game. As Rafa Benitez himself said, in football you must take chance, that first goal is very important to change things. When a defensive team conceded a goal first, they must come out to attack their opponents, hence opening up their own defensive organisation and they are susceptible to counterattack.

So what went wrong in the game last night?

The formation was similar to the one Rafa Benitez put up against Arsenal at Anfield recently, where Liverpool won 4-1. It was 4-2-3-1, or 4-5-1 depending on how you want to call it. The bottom line is, Rafa used two holding midfielders in the centre in Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard played in the middle, Riise on the left flank, Pennant on the right flank.

Despite using a similar formation, playing with different group of players evidently give different results perhaps because collective creativity and imagination of the groups are not similar. The players' movement last night was not as good as when they played against Arsenal and they lacked ideas.

Rafa Benitez himself blamed the players for not getting themselves focussed at beating Manchester City, because the players have started thinking about the Champions League semifinal already. He believed it is a problem of motivation. Perhaps he is right, but perhaps it was actually due to his tendency to rotate his players, which make them eventually do not click to each other that well. Whatever the reason is, it was still disappointing to draw with Citeeh.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rafa Benitez and His Analogies

For those who do not follow football (futbol), Rafa Benitez is the manager of Liverpool FC, the greatest football club in England.

Rafa likes to use analogies when he wants to make sure people get his points. When he just arrived at Liverpool, he used lamp and sofa to describe his frustration of the Valencia CF's boards. In Valencia, he wanted to buy certain player but he was given different kind of player. So he described it like this: "I wanted a lamp they gave me sofas".

Then few weeks later, he decided to sell some of Liverpool's players at the time and buy a couple players from his native Spain. The reason he was giving to the fans was "Like a table, we need to balance the numbers of its legs, if we have 3 legs only, the table will not be balance, therefore we need to buy the 4th leg".

And then when he was asked what his opinion of Chelsea FC, who have a rich owner in Abramovich, he diplomatically said: "If you have £1 million you can buy a better jacket than if you own £10,000 only", which is sensible.

And the most recent one, before the quarter final of the 2006/2007 UCL against PSV Eindhoven, he said: "This is a very important trophy and we will do our best to go as far as we can. At the moment we are swimming and we're getting closer to the beach, but we know that we could die at any time. We need to keep swimming until we reach the beach. That's why we need to keep our focus and make sure we keep playing well.". This is his analogy to ask his players to keep working hard and keep themselves focused to the task of winning the UEFA Champions League.

I am sure there more quotes to come from him in the future, but I can't predict what they are gonna be. :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Abuse of Power by 2 Singaporean Airport Officers

It looks like I am not the only person who do not like the way the Singaporean airport officers' handling of passengers. Here is a ridiculuous case of a family's holiday was ruined just because she mentioned bomb once and was rudely asked to repeat it again (so that they could arrest the poor lady).

Dangerous Four-Letter word: Do not utter the word
BOMB in the airport at checkpoint..


Do not use the word " BOMB " even for private conversation in airport
although the law only applies to saying it in public in particularly to
security officers.


Dear Mr. Foo,

My name is Sandra Tan (I/C number 7328669G). It is with great
disappointment and distress that I am filing a complaint to you with
regards to my situation.

My family (including myself, my husband, my daughter, and my son) planned a Darwin holiday for the March school vacation period and was supposed to depart on 09 March. Unfortunately, we were put in a situation by the security officers at the departure terminal, that was way beyond our control and we were not able to make our trip. The following is an account of what had happened : -

I entered the Immigration gantry at about 7.15pm with my daughter (Belle Lee, 13 yrs old) to have our passport scanned and our hand carry luggage checked whilst my husband (Lee Ming Chong) stayed behind with my son (Caius Lee, 8 yrs old) at the ticketing counter to sort out my son's visa.
After having mine and my Belle's passport scanned, we proceed to the security gantry to have our hand luggage and our bodies scanned. Belle passed the security gantry first, whilst I followed right behind her. A lady officer asked me to remove my boots for scanning, and I did as told immediately and put my boots inside the basket provided, for it to be scanned together
with my hand luggage. I then proceed to the metal detector of which I cleared without the gantry beeping or detecting any metal objects. I was then asked to collect my luggage and my boots. In the mean time, Belle was throwing away a sweet wrapper and retuning to me and saw me putting on my boots. Belle then asked casually "Mummy, why do you have to remove your shoes?" Whilst putting on my boots, I replied her and said that "they (the security officers) are afraid that we might keep bombs in our shoes (which is why I need to take it off to have it scanned)"

Immediately, a security officer standing at the conveyor belt (Stephen S Naidira) who was standing in front of me said with a very rude tone"repeat what you just said". I clarified with him what he meant - is it for me to repeat what I had told my daughter? He said loudly again, to repeat what I had just said. So I did exactly what he told me. I said to him that "my daughter asked me why I need to take off my shoes, and I told her that you guys (the security officers) are afraid that we will keep bombs in our shoes." He immediately asked me to stand aside and said that he had to report it to his superior that I said the word "bomb" twice. Then an Indian lady (Sivamalar) at the customs started hurling at me and my daughter and said that I said the word "bomb" twice and it is against the law and I can be sent to jail and they are calling the police. She (Sivamalar) was so loud and rude and she shoved us to the side, and refused to listen to my
explanation. In fact, she got so aggressive that another officer Ricky Lim (I guess it's her supervisor) had to come forward to stop her from further attacking me and my daughter verbally, and specifically asked Sivamalar to "shut up". I told Ricky Lim that I would like to know the names of his staff because their attitude and rudeness were simply beyond any acceptable
level. Immediately Sivamalar got so angry and aggressive that she started charging at Ricky Lim and hurled "What?! What?! What?! She (she meant me) said the word "Bomb" twice, so what is wrong with arresting her (which is me) and we were told that if we heard the word twice, we will arrest!!"

At that time, Stephen S Naidira came to me again to intimidate me further by asking me to repeat what I said earlier to my daughter again. I refused to repeat again then because I believe he was deliberately asking me to repeat so that he can count the number of times that I mentioned the word "bomb". I also believe that that the officers were deliberately provoking me by being rude and intimidating, in the hope that I will retaliate in kind, thereby making their unreasonable actions justifiable.

Despite my anger and the fact that my daughter was scared to tears by the situation, I knew I had to keep my cool. I sat aside with my daughter taking down names of the personnel involved on my mobile phone. I was told to wait for another officer of a higher rank to decide on the matter,
and I was still hoping whoever the higher ranked officer that was coming will have the logical thinking to acknowledge that what I had said to my daughter was a simple, harmless private conversation taken completely out-of-context.

At about 7.30pm, the Sergeant-in-charge, Amran Buang came. After I explained the full context of the incident to him, he refused to make a decision and decided to escalate it further to the Auxilary Police and State Police. He said that the word "bomb" is very sensitive and I
should not have mentioned it twice. I explained to him that I did not know saying the word "bomb" is against the law, and I further explained that I did not say the word "bomb" in a threatening context to the officer, the word "bomb" was taken completely out of context as part of an answer to my daughter's question. Despite my explanation, he said he cannot make the decision and my case has to be escalated to higher authorities.

Meanwhile, at about 7.40pm, my son's visa cleared and my husband and my son came in through the customs. After knowing what had happened, my husband tried to talk to Sergeant Amran Buang, further explaining to him that we are just a family going on holiday and what I have said to my daughter had been taken out of context. Again, no one was bothered to listen. And
again, we were told to wait for another officer with an even higher ranking. With time ticking away and at 7.55pm with no sign of the higher authorities appearing, we knew then our hope of boarding our flight had diminished.

Whilst waiting, Stephen S Naidira (the security officer) gathered with a few security officers at the side, including Sivamalar to discuss how they should present their statement to the police when they arrive later to make sure that they are adequately covered, and that they are just following the rule and doing what they were told to do. They said by insisting that they are taking actions "by-the-book", they would be ok.

I hope by now you have a clear picture of the situation. My kids were both crying then, with more and more policemen arriving which scared the living daylights of them, and with no hope to continue our holiday plans. I believe every action inside the terminal is recorded and I would insist that your review the CCTV recordings on that night to know that I am only stating the truth without exaggeration. You can also see that during the entire episode, I was not at any point defiant or rude or refused any further check by the officers, despite the infuriating situation that me and my family were put through.

I know it is important to stay vigilant to protect Singapore. I have young children, I know how important it is, which is why I complied without complaining when I had to remove my boots for scanning. However, here is an obvious case of the security officers trying to get away with their
rudeness and aggressiveness by taking things way beyond what was necessary, in the name of following the security protocol. They were really angry when I asked for their names from Mr. Ricky Lim, and they knew very well then that they can abuse their power to make things very difficult for me and my family.

At around 8.05pm, we were informed by the Tiger Airways personnel that the plane will have to depart and they will off-load our luggage from the plane. At around 8.10 p.m., the State Police and other policemen arrived to take our statement.

In the entire episode, the State Police and the SWISS PORT personnel were the only ones who conducted themselves professionally and offered us consolation and meaningful advice. They have also at some stages expressed their personal views that they acknowledged this incident was
gravely mis-handled on the part of the security officers. The State Police further confirmed that there is no case against us, and they would just need to complete the paperwork.

The Budget Terminal manager came to meet me and said that whilst he empathized with our situation, it is an airport security protocol and frankly, it's "just too bad" that this happened to us.

My statement and my daughter's statement only completed at about 10.45p.m. The counter service staff, Ms Nur Aisah Bte Ali Hassan was very helpful and advised us on our next steps. She was kind enough to ask us to return the next day to change the traveling dates and advised the additional charges involved.

I am not given a report for this case, but my case number with the State Police is P/20070309/0015. I was already told by the State Police that the case is closed without further action.

For the ordeal that my family had been put through, I would want an official reply from CAAS and all relevant authorities addressing the following : -

Whether the security officers were trained to handle passengers with such bad attitude and rudeness and if such actions by them are condoned by authorities. I would insist you to refer to the CCTV recordings during the period of the incident.

What actions would be taken by CAAS and all relevant authorities with reference to both the security officers, Mr. Stephen S Naidira ad Ms. Sivamalar, for their unruly behavior and attitude? Surely, characters as such do not belong to a national airport that aspired to be a world class traveling hub.

What actions would be taken by CAAS and all relevant authorities with reference to Sergeant Amran Buang, who had the authority to end this episode promptly, but instead decided to prolong our ordeal for no justifiable cause? Is it a protocol that even after establishing the facts that we, as a family poses no security threat, there is still a need to escalate the matter to the authority and have the State Police and other policemen carry out a full investigations only to end up in vain? Why is it that even at level of Sergeant, whom I reckon is better educated,
experienced, and able to make logical sense of the whole situation, refuse to make a simple decision and end our ordeal quickly? Is this a Singapore civil service practice where decision making is pushed and shoved from one level to another no matter how obvious what the final decision should be from the very beginning?

Whether all the officers concern are properly trained and competent to handle such situation. Besides hardware ( i.e. the protocol book), are they taught to apply the software (i.e . common senses)? Is it really a protocol that as long as the word "bomb" is mentioned twice by a person (once being asked to repeat by the officer) ??then no matter what context, tone, situation and profile of the person who said it, it would not be taken into consideration? What if my daughter instead of asking me a simple question about my shoes, decided to say: "mummy, according to news report, there are speculations that the recent Indonesian air crash may be attributed to a bomb inside the plane." Would your security officer would come up to her and ask her to
repeat one more time, and she would be put under arrest? Your staff kept telling me that saying the word "bomb" in the airport is illegal and I can go to jail. They quoted newspaper examples of how people have gone to jail because of that. I think your staffs need to be trained to understand and differentiate situations and circumstances. As far as I knew, the people that went to jail had VERBALLY THREATENED staff members in the aviation service or had DELIBERATELY caused public alarm using sensitive words.

My case was clearly none of the above. Even if, I am saying if, indeed its illegal to mention the word "bomb" in the airport no matter what context, the person involved need to be warned ahead of time. You cannot arrest a person for committing something illegal when the person has no idea
that the word is illegal in the first place. Your staff could have given me a verbal warning to say that such sensitive words should be refrained in the airport and I would have walk away remembering the warning. But instead, they decide to let the matter escalate further.

Who is to compensate for the expenses that are already incurred and forfeited for this trip, and our emotional stress and duress during the entire episode? The total cost incurred, including air tickets, accommodation, and land tours amount to about $4,200. We had to put up with hours of humiliation with more than twenty policemen and officials surrounding us, questioning us, checking our luggage through and through.

We had put up with never-ending questioning from different departments, and best of all, repeated checks on my same pair of boots. My kids were terrified, puzzled, disappointed and exhausted from this entire ordeal. My husband and I are left with one week of applied leave and no vacation and holiday to look forward to.

I would like to state that not everyone that we came across in this episode had been unpleasant. I wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the empathy shown by the State Police and the SWISS PORT personnel.

I will be waiting for your reply. Please let me know when to expect it in email. In the mean time, I may seek legal advice for my rights and entitlement in this incident.

Yours sincerely

Sandra Tan Hong Lian
I/C : S7328669G
Blk 148, Tampines Ave. 5
#04-284, Singapore 521148
Mobile : 81236990

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Exodus Continues

An recent article in Petrominer, an Indonesian mining and oil industry magazine published in English language, reviewed current phenomenon about the exodus of several hundreds of Indonesia's oil workers to several countries particularly Malaysia. The same magazine also published a comment made by the head of BPMigas, on 2,444 workforce shortage in the industry during a stage where the government have planned to increase oil and gas production in Indonesia by 30%.

Funnily, oil companies operating in Indonesia are bound by the rules set up by the government/BPMigas themselves. The remuneration and benefit packages offered to Indonesian nationals are peanuts compared to that of the regional standard, not to mention international standard. For someone of a similar amount of experience and skill, an Indonesia who works abroad in a foreign country can earn nearly 2x or even 3x (with benefits) as much as what being offered to an Indonesian who works in Jakarta or somewhere else in Indonesia.

Living in Jakarta is expensive, even for someone with the earning power of an oil company worker. House rental is high, there are some cheaper options but the living environment is not that great, namely not safe or we have to be prepared for annual flood. Food is relatively cheap, however transportation cost is high because the public transport system is a chaos. If we want to be comfortable when using public transport, then we have to hire a taxi.

This is not to mention the quality of living in Jakarta, which is famous for its busy hour traffic jam and high Carbon content in the air. It is understandable if people who have opportunities to work abroad will jump to a different company straightaway. If I were given this opportunity, I will grab it with both hands, too. Very easy to choose...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

DELL Monitor For Sale

I have this DELL CRT monitor that I wanted to sell since many months ago. Its model is e770s, Beige colour, still in good working condition, but it looks like it is difficult to sell it. The pic is shown above. Anybody out there wants to buy it? Give me you price :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Don't Worry About the Change


"Oh, hi!"

"Here is your money, don't worry about the change!"

"Oh okay, thanks, you're very generous!"

"No worries!"

Those were my conversation with someone who paid me back some amount of money the person owed me.

At first, I really thought, "Wow! This person is really generous." And then when I saw the money, I was given $17. And the amount I should get from this person was $16.80.

So, I was told not to worry about $0.20 change, 20 cents ladies and gentlemen. I thought the person wanted to show some generosity, but obviously I expected too much too soon. The person who gave me money was right, I should not worry about searching a 20 cents coin for the change :)

Hillarious! :D

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Away Goal Rule

The away goal rule in the European continental competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup make the way managers and teams approach the second game differently. The rule, which doubles up the value of an away goal when the aggregate goal is equal among the two teams over two ties, means that the team who scores an away goal should be pretty much in the driving seat of the ties. However, this is not always the case because the away goal in the first tie means nothing if the home team in the second leg could not score a single goal. So, what score is most desired by managers and how do they approach the second tie based on the result from the first tie?

First Leg Results
0-0: This score is good enough for the home team as long as they can score an away goal in the 2nd leg, then any draw (1-1, 2-2) or any win bigger than 1-0 away will do. In this case, both teams in the 2nd leg should play a counterattacking gameplan and be very cautious. Whoever got the first goal in the 2nd leg will dictate the game.

1-1, 2-2, 3-3: These scores are pretty bad for the 1st leg home team because the 2nd leg home team can afford to play a very defensive gameplan to grind out a 0-0 score or a counterattacking game because the 2nd leg away team has to attack to get a win with any score or a draw with more away goals.

1-0, 2-0 (Home team win): This is very good because in the 2nd leg they can afford to lose with a single goal margin (1-2, 2-3, and so on) and any draw is obviously enough, as long as they do not lose out with more goal margin than the 1st leg win. In the 2nd leg the away team should be playing defensive or counterattacking game while the home team should be playing an attacking game to score 2 or more clear goals.

2-1 (Home team win): This is a bit tricky for the 1st leg home team, but it is not necessary an advantage for the 2nd leg home team because in the second leg, any draw will be enough for the 2nd leg away team. So the 2nd leg away team should be playing a defensive gameplan or counterattacking to nick 1 away goal, while the 2nd leg home game should be playing counterattacking gameplan and prevent the away team to score a goal in the 2nd leg.

3-2 (Home team win): This is a disadvantage for the 1st leg home team because when they are playing away in the 2nd leg, they have to be very-very defensive. The fact that the 1st leg away team can score 2 goals means they have very dangerous forwarders and they are capable of scoring goal. Any away win or a draw in the 2nd leg will be enough for the winner of the 1st tie to progress however the main idea actually is to prevent the dangerous attackers of the 2nd leg home team to score goal. Once the home team got the first goal in the 2nd leg, it means the away team has to score 2 clear goals to progress. A 1-0 or 2-1 win in the 2nd leg for the home team is still enough for them to progress.

Any loss at home in the first tie is a big trouble for the 1st leg home team that needs to travel in the 2nd leg. Barcelona FC has been a victim of this situation when they lost 1-2 to Liverpool FC in the Last 16 of the 2006/2007 UEFA Champions League.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bush Fire Causing Power Outages

The latest bush fire in the north-eastern Victoria has caused a major problem for Melbourne this afternoon/evening. The bush fire apparently burnt power transmission line that connects Victoria with the national power grid. It caused mass power outages around metropolitan Melbourne, resulting in havoc during the peak hours of people commuting home from work.

For Melbourne and it modern life style that rely heavily on electricity, mass power outages mean trams, traffic lights and trains are functioning properly. Furthermore, electricity that supplies lifts of many office buildings and apartments is also likely to be cut off. People were trapped in the lifts. Air Conditioners do not work properly, meaning problems for people who have respiratory problems because of no air circulations.

It was quite bad especially because today was quite hot, about 40 degrees Celcius around Melbourne. Several road accidents immediately straight after the power outages, ambulances were seen traveling fast along the main highway near Monash campus. It is quite a problem here, unlike it was in my home town, where power outage is "normal". It is normal because most of the time we don't have power supply at all. :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Probationary License

It is official!
I am now a legal car driver, but it is only on Probationary License, which means I still have to tell other road users to be aware of my driving skill, by displaying a P plate, with white P letter on red background.

The road to get a P-License for driving a car in Victoria is quite long. It started with taking computer-based exam to get a Learner Permit. The L permit holder can only proceed to take P-License test if they have hold the L permit for at least 3 months. It will be longer for someone who is under 21 years old, at least 6 months.

A minimum 120 hours of supervised driving is suggested to all L permit holders before they proceed to P License. The minimum 120 hours will be mandatory starting in July 2008, and evidence to show this requirement has been fulfilled will be requested by the licensing office.

To get the P License, a driver has to take two exams, including computer-based Hazard Perception Test and Practical Driving Test. The Hazard Perception Test must be taken first and Practical Driving Test can be taken only when the applicant has passed the Hazard Perception Test.

The P-License will expiry in 3 years time, and assuming the driver shows a good behaviour, he/she can get the full license after 3 years. By then, no more P plate on the front and back screen of the car.