Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I don't know why I'm thrilled about detecting a virus!?!

i just plugged in my 2GB usb drive into the G4 and discovered extra files which were locked... one autorun.inf and one WinProcess.exe.vbs (which could be viewed with dreamweaver). i don't know why i feel so thrilled at discovering this... maybe it's because i caught it before it could wreak destruction on my comp... "i caught the sucker before he could catch me!!"... gosh, this really shows that i have nothing else better to do... anyway, at first i thought that the autorun.inf file came from my flash instructor (he passed us some flash templates and pdf manuals) since he taught us about publishing flash as a projector and how to burn it into CDs so that it will have autorun capabilities (we need an .exe, .ico, .bmp and the autorun.inf files to make this happen). however after opening the vbs file in dreamweaver and scanning through its script, things like "i love u" and "i'm here to rule the world again" convinced me that it was a virus... surprisingly i couldn't find much info about it on google. one thing i'm curious about is how can we unlock the files on a windows platform... i learnt how to unlock locked files on a mac os x by chance... i was trying to delete a burn folder but couldn't trash it because it was locked, so i read the popup help to unlock the folder.

ok, the paragraph above is pretty redundant. the moral of the story is that i unlocked the files so that they could be trashed, then i emptied the trash so that no further infections can occur. i should have kept the inf file so that i can modify it later to use for the flash projector stuff... i kept the WinProcess.exe.vbs script in a text file so that i can read it when i have time! this is the first time i've seen a script for a virus... i don't even know what sort of script it is!!! sheesh, i hate computer stuffs!!!

as a reminder to myself, i want to blog about my results, voting and... crap, i forgot the last one... hopefully this will be in my next post.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Airhead time... knock knock

ooh.... i'm so excited! i just checked out and they've uploaded another 5 episodes of the korean drama "three daddies, one mom". i know watching korean dramas isn't a very 'constructive' pastime (for me), but i got hooked on this particular drama while channel surfing on astro. since in my home, trying to follow a tv series week after week is practically impossible (nowadays) as i have to book the tv in advance and that too isn't a guarantee that i'd be able to watch the show (eating out for dinner etc.). so i'm opting to follow it online... however thanks to the "ever-so-reliable" streamyx, watching one episode (streaming four 15 minutes parts simultaneously) can extend to 2-3 days. luckily i'm not like the average web users which have an attention span of a sand fly (as quoted in the 'Building flash websites for dummies' book), i actually have the patience to reload a page dozens of times just to access its contents.

anyway, steering back to the subject of korean dramas, i've come to realize that they are pretty far fetched in the reality department. practically all the dramas i've watched (not that many la) have some sort of fairy tale character which could not possibly exist in the real world... i guess this is what sets apart the asian dramas from that of the western world... however, this is precisely why i watch korean dramas too, as an escapism from reality... sometimes the drudgery of the real world really gets to me... hehehe

i roughly had 3 subjects in mind to blog about as i was coming home today, unfortunately i've forgotten 2 of the... so let me just go on with the 1 idea, maybe the other 2 will come back to me somehow

today i had a really fun lunch break, i found out a hidden side of my coursemate Janagi... who knew she could differentiate an Anna Sui bag from any other bag (as Hari puts it)... and her ideas for rice research (and the debates which pursued when the topic was introduced)... and her 'love life'... it's really interesting talking to her and Hari, they can talk the birds of the trees and debate anything under the sun (or maybe even more)... an example, we were talking about the possible scientific researches on rice for malaysian scientists (oh, today i learned from Hari that genetics is the study of genes but manipulation of genes is part of biotechnology... i've always had this confusion of definitions... and only after i graduate do i find out what these biological fields actually mean!) when suddenly he asked me, "you've never shaped your eyebrows?" and i was quite shocked... this coming from a guy (but then again, it's Hari... so i wasn't too shocked)... and then we all launched into the facial hairs subject... i learned quite alot about hair removal techniques, follicles, pores, tweezers etc. from both of them. Hari said i looked like a 'bag' girl (as in bag collector), but then i don't have many different bags... or shoes... or cosmetics... so i guess i can't really be categorized into any genre... i'm more like a clothes person, but i rarely buy branded clothes nor the latest style in fashion... so again, i'm a 'go-between'-er.

gosh, i really can't recall what i was planning to blog about and this post has been sitting in my drafts for way too long...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Homepage suggestion (for pbwiki toothpick)

hey, i created this "homepage" as practice for my adobe flash course... everything is from scratch, so there isn't any plagiarism etc... this is very basic... after all, this is my 4th day learning flash and i haven't even started on dreamweaver... what do you think? perhaps we can do something similar but less animation and more space, links, menu etc.?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

wow, i'm super early!!!

i'll never understand why some motorcyclists choose to ride on the highway with all the big cars and lorries etc., when they have a nice empty road specificly for them... i mean why would you choose to endanger your life (probably some mad driver may ram you from behind etc) when you have a hassle free road to use? it's just weird... after all, both roads lead to the same destination... since there is an underusage of these motorcycle lanes, maybe we should just get rid of the motorcycle lane and widen the highway so everyone can drive on a larger road... but of course if these lanes were actually used properly (probably would only happen in utopia), there'd be less motorcyclist deaths (if you look at it logically; i have no numbers to back this up...) so yeah, this issue also kind of irks me...

haha... actually alot of stuff irks me... to think about it...

so, about my post title... i'm composing this from the computer lab in the faculty of business aand accountancy... i'm unusually early as the KESAS highway wasn't so jammed as it was for the past 2 days... which reminds me, traffic jams seem to have an erratic pattern too... (shit, i just realized that internet explorer doesn't have the spell check feature that mozilla firefox has...)... as i was saying, some days the traffic is just hell but other days it's bearable... i wonder why? is it because everyone (or a mojority of us) woke up late on the bad jam days? and vice versa for the better days... or is there like some unseen force causing all of us to make similar decisions...

i think i'll post more tonight... oh yeah, i'd totally forgotten why i'm blogging today... i've finally put up my blog address on facebook (before, this blog was not listed and only certain people (hyperactive-chatterboxes) have the address) - well, not that there's anything heart-stoppingly interesting here anyway...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My first REAL flash project

This is my first flash movie which i created from scratch using the knowledge learned from the past 2 days of classes... took me a couple of hours on my iMac G4... hehehe

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nice white elephant

can't believe after so many years of dormancy (at least 2 years) the iMac g4 is finally in constant use! it has become the main household computer, since i sent in my laptop for long overdue repair (now, that's another story i have to tell later on). anyway, i'm so happy that i finally get to learn flash!!! and surprisingly the classes are really easy... way easier than what i was expecting ( which was based on what the 3p program administrator told me) and since i had sent my laptop away, i tried to reformat the old desktop pc but i had forgotten to write down my activation code underneath my laptop... so instead, i tried to eliminate the malicious wares on the system. after a whole night jumping from the mac (internet connection) to the desktop (too far away from the adsl modem), i finally gave up as i realised there were more than 20 trojans hiding in it... and my virus killing skills are just not up to par.

ooh, that reminds me of a proud moment... as mentioned before, i used a powerpoint presentation to aid my oral presentation for my final year project. since i came late to the presentation hall, i had to save my file during a timely break (1 person before me). and in my haste, i plugged my thumb drive into the computer provided. everything went well... and i suspected that the presentation computer had a virus since it behaved funnily whenever a usb removable drive was plugged into the machine... i had totally forgotten about my suspicions when a couple of days later, i plugged my thumb drive into my laptop to work on my thesis! as a result, my poor laptop got infected by a virus called IOImall.exe which produced a popup and caused my disc drive to eject every time it was executed. the popup contained some sort of "kampung" mentality message which read, "Kapok is the best guitar in the world!!!.." etc etc etc (i do not remember the exact words of the imbecile developer) but it led me to believe that the numbskull lives or comes from puchong... as i don't think someone in taiwan would actually write/speak in kampung-style bahasa melayu (you know with the slurred ending of each word making it seem like you're reading an unknown foreign language...) which leads me back to my proud moment... i managed to completely eliminate the bloody virus manually!!! my antivirus was next to useless against this fella (although this av is better than avg and norton) i went down to the bare minimum (in safe mode) and sneaked up on the fella (windows, startup and system 32 folders) and all its other roots and killed the bugger (delete and empty trash). one stinky virus took me so many days to chase after the fella (it was my first time manually killing a virus). ah, and this leads back to my white elephant... the iMac was really useful in getting rid of the virus which stuck onto my thumb drive (so i don't re-infect myself when i work on my thesis later on).

the mac also got me interested in open source softwares... which are a better alternative than what i was using before this... and it also led me to discover many softwares which are even better than the purchased softwares... like mozilla firefox is better than ie and foxit is a smaller and faster pdf viewer than acrobat reader... when i get back my laptop, i must start finding an alternative to windows live messenger (its always getting stuck and slowing down the pc). now , some of the open source softwares i'm using are like mozilla firefox, adium, gimp, neo office, foxit, jzip, chmox, darwine, audacity, burrn etc.

humph... i've just recalled the whole 'sending in laptop for service' scenario... i went to the nearest sen heng (as the extended warranty card said that any sen heng shop could take in the items to be repaired). number 1, the fat chinese guy (must be the supervisor or branch manager) could not speak english so he replied me in BM. nevermind about that, number two, since the major problem with the laptop was that the hardisk was about to die, the laptop took forever to startup. and since i'd just finished writing my thesis, i had a number of files on my desktop (say, it covered a quarter of the desktop)... then the fella starts saying something about a clogged up desktop causes the comp to hang (he must have thought that i'm like most of the other incompetent girls who only know how to use and not maintain my comp)... so i launched into my attack mode and answered that the problem isn't caused by a clogged desktop or anything software related since i've reformatted the pc and the problem still exists, and also that the burner has completely died (with a warning tone in my voice, that should he try to deny me the bloody warranty which i paid more than rm300 for, he will have an ear full). after that he didn't try to provoke me anymore... and did his job...

wow, that was practically the first time i've almost shouted at a stranger... in fact i've never really shout/fought with an acquaintance before... sheesh, i must train myself to yell at idiotic people i come across in the future... i really HATE it when these "adults" (who judge me by my young looks *not being cocky here, it's the truth* or my gender or race) try to push their weight around. i mean i may look young and stupid (or naive, a more civilized term) but i KNOW my capabilities and when i'm assigned a job, i take pride in my work (unlike many others that i know of). so it's just sickening when some "know nuts" idiot tries to look down on my capabilities. i know i'm not the most decisive person one may meet, but when i'm sure about something, i know I AM RIGHT!!! hah, the image mr JP used to draw about mrs ng just popped into my mind... it was a dinosaur (like a T. rex) with somebody's foot stepping on its tail and the dinosaur turned back to bite the offender... it was suppose to illustrate "don't step on my tail and i won't bite you!" - kind of feeling like that now...

ok, so today was my 2nd adobe flash class...i hope i can pass the certification exam, then at least i can put that into my resume... hehehe... hopefully adobe dreamweaver won't be too different from frontpage and html... probably going to go crazy with the css... but ultimately i hope at the end of these courses, i'll be able to create a template for the craft website... then we wouldn't need to buy a template or use a common one... i don't know what kind of job i'll be able to apply for... my skills and interests do not match... like a jack of all trades (ok, not really all la) but master of none...

Monday, May 05, 2008

FOUR months absence

wow, i really can't believe it's been four months!!! a whole semester of no blog activity... this just shows how preoccupied i've been this semester (my final semester as a Biochemistry degree student)

however, i must say that this has been the busiest, most stressful semester ever! the fact that i had 3 biochem lab sessions per week with all the lab reports to write, contributed alot to the 4am sleep regime... and for some reason, my piers (referring to those 3 other intelligent girls whom i hang out with all the time) decided to produce QUALITY lab reports this semester. what i mean by QUALITY reports is that "thou shalt not reproduce thy senior's report and hand in as thy own report"... as is the common practice among many public uni science students (i have no idea of the situation in private colleges etc... perhaps it's the same?) therefore, one report would take at least 1 day for researching the topic and and at least another day to actually physically write out the report and i almost forgot, the use of excel to analyze the data and print out the graphs!!!
as busy as i've been this semester, i believe i've learned alot this semester... especially in the use of MS office suite (in particular: words, excel, powerpoint) and DNA analysis programs such as chromas pro, MEGA 4 and geneious pro... plus my image editing skills have finally come into good use in the production of my thesis and oral presentation slides... not that i want to brag or anything, but i really think that first impressions are very important when you're trying to present something... from the way you present your data to the uniformity of your presentation slides and the aesthetics of your slide organizations to the language you use... it all plays an important role in how your audience will perceive your presentation or work. unfortunately, many science students (from what i've observed among my course mates and through the intervarsity biochemistry seminars i've attended) fail to recognize the gravity of first impressions.

so now, i'll commence on to the major item which took up alot of my time and concern for the past few months... my final year project... i can't remember whether i've blogged about this before... but my final year project was giving me alot of problems since i started on it... and all the results finally came tumbling in when our dateline for ending the lab sessions was way past its due and when the thesis writing dateline was approaching at break-neck speed... but THANK GOD for that!!! Really truely praise God!!! a specific instance would be during one of our (me and my lab mate) overnight stints in the Antarctic Lab... we were trying to optimize our PCR conditions, conducting more than 10 runs on that night itself, but not getting any results... multiple bands, multiple bands but none with the size we desired... my partner (which is the brilliant one among the 2 of us) with sleep-deprived swollen eyes had already expressed her defeat and since she was out of ideas, i suggested we try a PCR profile which i pieced together using the "mini mini miney moe" technique (a.k.a pin the donkey's tail blindfolded)... and after we put the PCR tubes into the thermal cycler, i prayed and prayed and prayed (silently) that we'd have a band at 1.5 kbp... and at last, my prayer was answered when we saw that beautiful band at 1.5 kbp (amongst multiple bands) on our ethidium bromide stained agarose gel!!! it was our eureka moment! (although it wasn't a break through discovery or anything important in actual fact...) but yeah, that was a really miraculous event that can only be attributed to God answering my prayers!!!

after that miracle, the project progressed in quite an uninterrupted productive flow... with an occasional stumbling block here and there. but evidently, the project went quite well as i've gotten through my oral presentation and have finished my thesis (to be submitted tomorrow). for the first half of the duration, we (my partner and i) were so worried and our mentor (a PhD student) and supervisor were already thinking of changing our project title... and one really 'encouraging' PhD student (not our mentor) told us not to worry, we could always extend our project work to the special semester (which would delay our graduation)... however, thankfully everything went well and to completion.

at first i thought since i wasn't 'the one who made the big decisions' in this project, i would have difficulties writing my thesis... so i just wrote what i understood and could think of... but to my surprise, i received positive comments (among some criticism) on my results and discussion section (which is the core of the thesis) from both my mentor and supervisor. however, this led me to think whether they thought it was well-written because of the content, or because of my writing style... again, i'm not trying to brag but i'm more confident in my writing skills than with my scientific thinking skills... so lies the undecided balancing scale of content and writing style over my head... (i'm actually having the "timbang" image in my mind!) therefore, i really cannot gauge that the positive comments will get me an A... i really hope i can get an A, since it's an 8 credit hour course!!! but my supervisor is not known to be a lenient evaluator... so i shall have to wait and see and receive my grades gracefully.

as for my oral presentation, i somehow lost all my concerns when i went up to present... it was really weird... since i have a very real phobia of public speaking... but my 'matter-of-fact' behaviour caused me to accidentally skip mentioning an important point in my introduction on PHAs and also i finished my presentation before the 8 minutes bell (we were given 10 minutes to present). so i'm not sure whether they will penalize me on that... anyway, i think it went quite smoothly... Praise God!!!

oh, i think i forgot to say what my project is about... the title is 'Genetic Characterization of the Polyhydroxyalkanoate Synthases in Two Pseudomonas Isolates from Antarctica'. so basically we ran PCR to amplify the PHA synthase gene and then we sent the fragments for DNA sequencing. since the DNA sequencing only can sequence around 500 bases in one run... we had to design a primer to conduct gene walking (which is the process where primers are designed so that we can sequence an entire gene step by step). we did not sequence the entire gene, but we managed to sequence the 1.5 kbp and part of the 1.3 kbp fragments ampilifed using primers designed by Solaiman in his 2002 journal paper. i know it doesn't seem like much but the sequencing and PCR reagents were really expensive, in fact our project has exceeded the rm500 per person budget which was allocated to all project students. i think i can safely say that our project cost could have even exceeded rm2000... but thanks to the generosity of our mentor, she used her grant to pay for the DNA sequencing etc.

hmm... as can be seen, my final year project has been a major part of my life for the past few months... my last exam of my final semester was on saturday... i only had 3 papers this semester and 'post-exam pre-results' comment would be that i didn't come out of the exam wanting to cry... so i know that i won't fail and probably could get at least B's for these papers... but of course it would be better if i could get A's (pray, please pray, pray...)

i haven't started looking for a job yet... i'm kind of worried since i'm not too sure about what i want to do... ads and writing really interest me, but i don't have the formal training in those fields... however, sometimes i see myself doing postgraduate studies but i fear i lack the discipline to work on my own schedule to finish masters by 1 year and PhD by 3-5 years. and i don't know much about finance and investments to determine whether i'm suitable for that field... this is bad... too fickle

in the meantime, i'll be taking a computer course on web designing using flash and dreamweaver... it'll be starting next week and i'm really excited about it... since i've always wanted to learn flash (whether i'll be good at it is another story)... i think i've blogged about this before...

gosh, i'm so hungry now... i think i'll stop here... i don't know when i'll blog next... my blogging pattern has been pretty erratic... maybe i'll blog tomorrow or it could be 5 months time... i don't know.