Recounting 2011

New year’s coming and I am excited that I am going older a year. This year has been particularly fruitful. I completed most of what I set to achieve. Here’s a rough status:

  • On religion, I ascertain my religious stance. I am neither theist nor atheist. I found out about the word “ignostic” (or theological noncognitivism) and felt it describes the thoughts that are forming from 2008 to now and I learn that I am not alone.
  • On consumption, I have deeper appreciation on the finer things. I learnt to enjoy coffee in its bitter form. I finally got it.
  • On living, I am slowly discovering what my motto in life is. It’s kind of flaky and I should not discuss it now. I feel a lot of decisions that I make or do not make is based on this narrative. While it differs from most people, I found peace in that statement and that everything will be okay if I continue to invest my options towards that goal.
  • On work, I quit ONG&ONG because I got too comfortable. I never realized I crave for uncertainty that much. I traded stability for excitement. It’s the first step to reprioritize myself. I look forward to 2012.
  • On clothes, I am more willing to try out something less conservative. I wanted to believe that there is a perfect form of fashion but this is perhaps fundamentally incorrect. I am confident that nearly no one has any idea if a set of apparel and accessories is matching. It depends on the person having the confidence to pull off the most ridiculous of combinations.
  • On verbal and written communication, I could do better. I should work on this more in 2012. I tend to be misunderstood.
  • On health, I am less healthy than before. I will go to the gym more. Oh and by the way, I somewhat concluded that the most important thing in life cannot be health. Anyway who claims that haven’t thought through the subject sufficiently. If you believe in that and you aren’t a health product salesman please let me pull you out of this disillusion. Call me.
  • On music, I like fusion jazz and electro swing more. And Nicki Minaj of course. I got a pair of Marshall headphones this year and it is best investment this year. Thank you Joanne.
  • On people, I grew less skeptic and less protective of myself this year. Am I just waiting to be hurt really badly? Maybe. People are kinder to me this year — empirical evidence of something done right.

See you next year.

Sad tale of leave application system

In a small company, it’s easy to manage 5 employees, their leaves, benefits and training programmes. In a larger organization however, it is becomes impossible to maintain a good overview of how employees are doing as a whole. Larger organizations manages training programmes for different disciplines and recruiting processes. So they implement this information system to support their employees. Employees hated this systems, not the fault of human resources, but largely because these systems are often cumbersome and inpersonal.

The leave application system user interface

In a Singapore company I worked for, the old system to apply for leave involves printing out leave forms, writing the amount of days you want to apply and getting them signed. We moved to a new system using a bespoke web application that basically looks like that:

There are many things wrong with this user interface (UI):

  1. You are allowed to choose a from date that is after the to date. You get an angry error only after submission.
  2. You are allowed to apply a leave for, say, Monday to Tuesday, with Monday Morning and Tuesday Afternoon selected. That counts as 1 day of leave and meant you have to work on Monday afternoon and Tuesday Morning. This is just too complicated.
  3. There are many Leave Types but really 99% of the time, just quoting numbers from thin air, people only use Annual and Medical leaves.
  4. Stand In is bolded for no apparent reasons. Users think it is a required field. It isn’t.
  5. The required fields is not just Leave Type as suggested by the asterisk. From and To dates are required too.

Continue reading “Sad tale of leave application system”

How words are learned

MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son’s life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch “gaaaa” slowly turn into “water.” Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

Deb Roy: The birth of a word

Rick Perry’s strength

I can only frown.

Strong by Rick Perry

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.

I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.