Monday, October 29, 2007


Got me a new toy over the weekend.. literally.. =)

Beeps went to the toy museum and got me a new toy. THANK YOU BEEPO! A toy aeroplane glider that I used to play when I was prob four. Those made-in-the-eighties babies will most probably remember this one. =)

yes.. I did have a childhood.. =P

The feeling’s really quite nostalgic.. putting together the foam pieces of the plane, with little punch-out slots where you can insert the wings and tail. And of course adding in the weight on the nose and the little propellers. It cost a dollar.. sounds cheap, but actually.. I really don’t remember it to be so expensive.. back in the days when 20 cents could get you handful of barley-mint candies..

Ahh.. how nostalgic. And to actually think that this was found in a MUSEUM. Goodness me. Before I know it, they’ll be putting the game boy (yes! the big grey one), tamiya cars and monopoly in there too.. sheesh.

I also got down to baking some cookies over the weekend.. figured it a good way to relax and since it’ll churn out so so so many cookies, I could give some away too.. (see Famous Alvin Cookies) I guess there’s always some sort of joy that accompanies giving gifts..

Chocolate Chip Cookies !!!

For those who frequent buying batteries for their cameras/discman and what-nots, you'll probably be really familiar with Energizer's new line of Lithium Batteries. They last REALLY REALLY long and i'm a proud fan of it. Just that if you drop by any supermarket, you'll probably notice it to be abt 9 bucks, quite costly for batteries if you ask me. Well.. click on the above picture for a closeup and you'll realise that i got these at only $2.80.. what a steal.. woohoo! I think i just found a new place to get batteries from. =)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

2 other Nifty Programs

2 other programs caught my attention over the weekend, Acronis True Image Server 7.0 and GSplit 2.1.

Spent the weekend sorting out my notebook computer. Apparently it had some issues with msn still hanging the whole computer occasionally. I guess it’s a windows thing. Probably in-built into the windows programming codes, there’s a statement that says that if the user has used his computer for about 8-12 months, start creating all sorts of nonsense for him to make him format his computer. Or something along that line..

As with all other computers I’ve had, this one is no exception to that. Spent Friday night formatting my computer. It all started when I tried to use Partition Magic to adjust the partition settings on my computer. When I first got my notebook, I cleanly forgot to set the partitions and everything, so each time I think of using an imaging program, I get turned off thinking of the HUGE partition that I have.

So anyway, long story short, Partition Magic which has had a good track record of performing well amongst my friends caused my hard disk to crash. Again, Microsoft’s amazing new technology.. also probably goes to show how many errors there were on my computer after a year..

So I had to restore with the recovery disc and this time I got me a 10Gb partition for my OS done right. And after setting everything to how I like it, I decided to try Acronis True Image. Powerful tool.. it allows you to make an image of any partition on ur hard disk and saves it as an archive file, with an approximate 40% reduction in file size. And this allows you to restore your computer easily at the click of the mouse.. it also allows you to perform incremental backups.. like for example, I did a backup on Saturday afternoon, and maybe today (Tuesday) I feel like backing up my stuff again, so all I need to do is just to set the incremental backup on and it’ll pick up and edit the file from where it left off the last time, appending any changes I made to the partition since Saturday. Pretty neat, saves u time and space. It also allows you to write these backup archives directly to a DVD, automatically chopping up the huge archive file and prompting you to insert a new disc when it’s done. So you sorta create your own version of a Recovery Disc. =)

I guess the only thing that bothered me was that AFTER I created the archive file, a nice and big 5.56Gb file on my computer, I was not able to burn it onto a DVD. A standard single-sided DVD allows you approx 4.7Gb of space. . After pouring through the entire help file on Acronis’ True Image, I realize that after I have created the archive file, I am not able to split it up to burn them onto DVDs.. instead, if I had wanted this done, I should have chosen that option initially.

There are both pros and cons to keeping the image on ur harddisk as opposed to leaving them solely on an external media, like DVDs. For one, it’s much easier to perform a restore operation when the image is already sitting in some partition on ur computer. Just click and wait and it’s done. However, if any freak accident does happen to ur harddisk/notebook, you might just wind up losing the image as well. Let’s not also forget that the size of that archive file will depend on how big a partition u are imaging. The 3rd alternative? Be kiasu, leave one ur harddisk and do a back-up on an external media too.

So that leads me to the next other lovely program.. GSplit. Interesting name aside, this amazing program’s a freeware. So use it and spread it and fight the selfish buggers at Microsoft with it. =P GSplit allows you to split up huge files into smaller more manageable packages for whatever reason it may be, emailing, burning to cds, uploading to the net, etc.. all this is done with only a few simple steps. If you can point your browser to be able to read this blog, you’re probably able to operate this software, it’s that simple, no rocket scientist stuff here.

You can determine if you’d like to split the files according to pre-determined sizes (fixed settings for DVD, CDR, floppy etc) or specify exactly how many bytes each package should be. The other way works too, you can also specify how many packages you want ur huge file to be split into and the program will sort the rest out. I split my 5.56Gb file into 2, so it’ll fit comfortably into 2 DVDs.. After a short wait, the part1 and part2 of the files are created along with a tiny little assembly file. Double-click on this file and it’ll join back ur files into it’s original form.. so you can simply split the file and send it to someone across the net and he doesn’t need to have GSplit installed to be able to combine the files. Great stuff..

So combining these 2 programs, it’ll probably allow for a much more enjoyable process of restoring my computer the next time I need to format it. =)

Download Acronis True Image Server 7.0 here. (from Acronis site, the installer I have is to large to upload. Maybe I should use GSplit on it! Drop me a comment if you need any help.)

Download GSplit 2.1 here.

View the previous 2 programs that i find amazing here.

Comments? Suggestions? Programs not working or you found something better? Do leave me comment! =)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy Halloween

Had a hall supper thing going on tonight. Not exactly sure when Halloween is, since we don’t really go trick-or-treating here in S’pore.. but anyway.. it was the theme for the hall supper.

Apparently it’s some Hall get-together and pre-exam supper thing. They dolled up the whole function room in the theme of Halloween. So they had ppl dressed up in funny t-shirts with ghostly (or rather funny) makeup.. and they tried to make the place spooky. Heh.. TRIED. They also had ppl going around to invite ppl down to the event.. I’m quite impressed.. it’s something hall 6 never really had. They’d just holler over to you with their loud hailer and tell you to go down to the wateva-event happening.. heh.. kudos to them. They served some fried rice thing, with broccoli and sausages.. pretty decent, considering that it’s free too.. just that the drinks weren’t, and at the same time they were screening The Maid, some local horror flick.. And supposedly later tonight is the hall-bash with alcoholic drinks and what-nots.

Don’t know half the ppl there, and probably don’t intend to anyway.. =) the other good thing to come out of this was the happy Goodie bags. As usual, goodie bags cheer me up. This one included quite a few things, from ball-point pens to correction tape to instant noodles and even a HUGE bottle of cheese.. the kind you mix with pasta. Glad I went down. =)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Running MSN Messenger 7.5

There has been some unhappiness in the net for quite a while. Ever since microsoft decided to come down hard and make every one use its Windows Live Messenger (whether you want to or not), people everywhere have been complaining about it.

I for one didn’t really have much to complain about. I mean, it DID look slightly prettier.. but as with all of microsoft’s products.. the prettier it gets, the lousier it performs. The newer it is, the more buggy it is.. it didn’t really affect me up till about last night when my computer insistently froze up every time I try to start a conversation with certain ppl. The chat window would pop up halfway then the whole system just freezes..

Amazing new technology from Microsoft.

So anyway, after pouring through the internet, I realize I’m not the only one still reminiscing the old versions of MSN messenger. And some have gotten it to work. I did, and I’m now happily using MSN Messenger 7.5. =)

Here’s what to do:

Firstly, if you somehow managed to NOT use Windows Live Messenger since the hostile takeover by Microsoft, that means u still have your old version of msn messenger installed in your computer. Just that each time you try to connect, they tell you to update. Make sure you CLOSE msn messenger (right click on the system-tray and click on Exit). Go to the folder which msn messenger is installed in, this would most probably be under C drive -> Program Files, find a folder called MSN MESSENGER. Open this folder and you should see an exe file called msnmsgr.exe, which has the icon of the round msn fella. Right-click on this file and go to Properties. Under the Compatibility tab, check the box that says Run This Program In Compatibility Mode.. and from the drop down menu, select Windows 2000. And you’re done.. start msn messenger 7.5 and you should now be able to connect.

Secondly, if you’re like me, one of those affect by the hostile takeover, and have unwillingly subjected yourself to upgrade to Windows Live Messenger, you would first need to uninstall Windows Live Messenger. To do this, go to Control Panel -> Add or Remove programs. And uninstall Windows Live Messenger. Doing this will NOT affect the files/emoticons that you have; it will simply just remove this new version of messenger. And once it’s done, you should see that your version of messenger has been reverted back to the previously installed version (7.5 for me). Then make sure that messenger is not running and follow the steps as listed above and you should be able to connect to the msn network using MSN Messenger 7.5.

There you have it. Hope it helps.. comments? Still using Windows Live Messenger? Then you might want to check out this post on how to remove the advertisments on messenger..

Monday, October 15, 2007


Happiness comes in various forms.. on Friday night, it came in the following form and I have only God to thank for it:

Dear Alvin,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected by DSO National Laboratories after the interview.

By Career & Attachment Office

my smiley donut !!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Rubik's Obsession

Got me a Rubik’s cube over the weekend.. it’s really quite amazing how much entertainment a little thing like that can provide. Decided to get one after fiddling with Wilson’s cube last week. It’s actually quite therapeutic.. just sit there and kill time quietly twisting and turning the cube.. it helps shorten the bus and mrt rides tremendously.. =) Of course, I’m no pro. Not able to do it in like under 30 sec and with my feet or something.. but that would be something VERY cool to achieve.. and most probably at the expense of my school work too. =P

Found a couple of websites that teach/provide instructions on how to fiddle your way through it. YouTube as a tonne of videos, both awesome and sucky, about ppl fiddling with their cube or trying to teach u how to fiddle with yours. It basically takes just 4 different moves that you need to know to ultimately return ur rubik’s cube back to it’s original form.. sorta like the special moves you do on an arcade game.. just 4 needed. The best tutorial/instructions I feel come from the website (duh where else?!) haha.. it’s the one that helped me get my cube back to square one and I’d highly recommend it. =) The link to the page: Instruction Set (See Edited Portion below, the instructions are much simpler here and more generic; you only need to remember the Edge Switcher, Edge Switcher with Flip, Switch Three Corners and Corner Flipper).

I’m still trying to figure out how to shorten the number of steps taken, like combine some of the moves together.. I’m sure there’s a way to ‘see’ it.. anyone got any suggestions? Drop me a comment! =)

Oh and did you hear the recent news? Microsoft release a NEW version of Windows.. check out the following advertisement. =)

As hard as a Rock, as dumb as a Brick. HAHA.

=== EDITED on 09 Dec 2014 ===

Rubik's Cube Solution

When solved, every face of Rubik's Cube is a solid color. Once you start turning, twisting and flipping, it's easy to mix up the colors. Not to worry - Rubik's Cube can be set right from any mixed-up combination. The following steps will help you solve the puzzle.

When you play with the cube you turn its LAYERS, but you want to make the FACES have solid colors. There are 26 CUBES on the outside of Rubik's Cube and an invisible "cubie" - which is a rotating mechanism - in the middle. There are 8 corner cubes with 3 colors, and 12 edge cubes with two colors. There are 6 center cubes with one color. The center cubes cannot move, being FIXED. So, if you have the original Rubik's Cube, the blue center cube is always opposite the green, red is opposite orange, and yellow is opposite white. The color of the center cube determines the color of that face.

Note: we use the color arrangement of the original Rubik's cube because this is the one Erno Rubik prefers. (i.e. blue is opposite green, red opposite orange, and yellow is opposite to white; if the blue side is on the top, then the red is on the left and the yellow on the right, and so on), The new Rubik's Cubes currently sold in stores and online are colored differently (i.e. blue is opposite to white, green is opposite to yellow, and red is opposite to orange). If you have a new Rubik's Cube for all the moves below take it in your hands so that the front face with the logo is towards you.


Turn the front face clockwise (if you have the cube in your hands so that that face is towards you - this also applies to the turns below). Turn the front face anti-clockwise.
Turn the back face clockwise. Turn the back face anti-clockwise.
Turn the right face clockwise. Turn the right face anti-clockwise.
Turn the left face clockwise. Turn the left face anti-clockwise.
Turn the top face clockwise. Turn the top face anti-clockwise.
Turn the bottom face clockwise. Turn the bottom face anti-clockwise.


1. Now form a cross on the top of the Rubik's Cube so that the colors of the edge cubes match the colors of the center cubes!

Usually it is relatively easy to position the edge cubes of the top layer in only 2 or 3 moves. The easiest way is first to put the edge cube to the bottom layer below its place, turning away the middle layer and the layer which is opposite the layer where it will fit. Then move the edge cube to the top, and back the layers you moved away. Then position the top layer again (it may be turned away).

2. Position the edge cubes of the middle layer with your chosen color orientation!

Use the EDGE SWITCHER or the EDGE SWITCHER WITH FLIP sequence. If you want only to flip two neighboring edge cubes, but you don't want to change their color orientation, use the EDGE SWITCHER sequence. Find an edge cube on the middle layer. The colors of two center cubes determine the colors of an edge cube. The edge cubes that belong to the middle layer will now be in the middle or bottom layer.

The EDGE SWITCHER sequence.
Hold the cube like this before performing this sequence. This sequence swaps two edge cubes, but keeps the colors untouched. It forces two corner cubes on the bottom layer to switch as well, but we need not consider them for the moment. The sequence keeps every other cube in place.
The moves of the EDGE SWITCHER sequence (advance from left to right):
If you want to flip the cubes as well, use the EDGE SWITCHER WITH FLIP sequence.

Hold the cube like this before performing the moves. This sequence switches two edge cubes changes their color orientation, and forces two corner cubes to switch as well, but we won't consider that right now. The sequence keeps every other cube in place.
The moves of the EDGE SWITCHER WITH FLIP sequence (advance from left to right):
2.1. If the edge cube of the middle layer is in the correct spot but the color orientation is wrong, move it to the bottom layer with an EDGE SWITCHER, then back with the appropriate EDGE SWITCHER sequence.

2.2. To position an edge cube, which is just next to its place in the bottom layer, use the EDGE SWITCHER once, or the EDGE SWITCHER WITH FLIP sequence if you want to change the color-succession as well.

2.3. If the edge cube you want to position is not beside its place, but two steps away on the bottom layer (see the image below, where the cube has been turned to illustrate the solution clearly so that the original bottom layer is on the top), use the EDGE SWITCHER sequence to move it next to its place. Alternatively you can use a simple quarter twist of the down face (you can unscramble it later). Now go to 2.2.

2.4. If the edge cube you would like to position is opposite its location in the middle layer, then you have to move it to the bottom layer next to its place using the EDGE SWITCHER sequence (to illustrate the image below turns the whole cube so that the original top layer - with the blue center cube - is the back layer). Then go to 2.1.
2.5. The last alternative case is that the edge cube is on the other side of your Rubik's Cube in the middle layer. In this case you have to use the sequence to move it closer to it's correct spot, and then place the edge cube next to its correct spot with a quarter twist or an EDGE SWITCHER. Then another EDGE SWITCHER to solve the cube.

Now your cube must look like this:
3. Place the edge cubes of the bottom layer in correct color orientation!

To achieve this use one of the two EDGE SWITCHER sequences without forgetting that now you have to position the 4 bottom edge cubes and work on the bottom layer only!

Hold your cube like this before performing an EDGE SWITCHER sequence. In this image the two edge cubes of the bottom layer can be seen on the right, as the whole cube has been turned left.
First check whether or not you can use one or two simple quarter twists to position cubes.

There are two cases:
3.1. The edge cube you would like to position should be just next to where you want it. Use the EDGE SWITCHER (or the EDGE SWITCHER WITH FLIP sequence, if you want to change the color-orientation as well) once you have turned the whole cube as indicated in the image above.

3.2. If the edge cube is opposite where you want it, use the EDGE SWITCHER to position it next to its place, and then perform this or the EDGE SWITCHER WITH FLIP sequence depending whether you want to change colors as well.
If you have completed these sequences, your cube should bear a crusader's cross on every face. It is possible that some corner cubes are in their correct spots with matching colors as well, that's fine.
4. Place the corner cubes, but don't worry about their orientation yet!

The SWITCH THREE CORNERS sequence will help you.

Hold the cube like this before performing this sequence. This sequence switches three corners, but keeps every other cube untouched.
The moves of the SWITCH THREE CORNERS sequence (advance from left to right):

 Again there are a number of possible starting patterns:
4.1. If you have two neighboring corners you can position them using the SWITCH THREE CORNERS sequence (do not worry about the color orientation). Be sure to hold the whole cube so that the three corner cubes you want to switch are on top before performing the sequence.

4.2. If there is only a center cube "between" the corner cube and its correct place perform the SWITCH THREE CORNERS sequence, do this twice if you want to keep the fourth cube "behind" the three moving cubes during the sequence.

4.3. If the corner cube is not in the same layer, use the SWITCH THREE CORNERS sequence twice. First to move the corner to the same layer, and then go to 4.2. or 4.1. to perform one or two more sequences. Turn your Rubik's Cube so the 3 corners are on the top before each SWITCH THREE CORNERS move sequence.

Having completed that move the 8 corner cubes will be in the correct spot. Some of them will have the right color orientation; most of them won't!

5. Finally correct the colors of the corner cubes!

Use the CORNER FLIPPER RIGHT or CORNER FLIPPER LEFT sequence. The CORNER FLIPPER RIGHT rotates one corner cube clockwise in place, and forces the next corner to rotate in the other direction. The CORNER FLIPPER LEFT rotates one corner cube anti-clockwise in its place, and forces the next corner to rotate in the other direction. Note that the CORNER FLIPPER RIGHT is equal to two CORNER FLIPPER LEFTs; so if you only want to learn 4 move sequences instead of 5, you can leave out one of the two CORNER FLIPPER sequences.

The CORNER FLIPPER RIGHT move sequence. Hold the whole cube like this before performing the sequence. Make sure the corner cube you want to make the right color is at the front!
The moves of the CORNER FLIPPER RIGHT sequence (advance from left to right):

The CORNER FLIPPER LEFT sequence. Hold the whole cube like this before performing the sequence. Make sure the corner cube you want to make the right color is at the front!
The moves of the CORNER FLIPPER LEFT sequence (advance from left to right):
Here you have to advance step by step zigzagging through the corner cubes. Choose the first to correct randomly or start next to an already correct corner.

There are three possibilities here:
5.1. If only one of the two corners rotated with the sequence gets the right color orientation, turn your Rubik's Cube so that the remaining wrong color corner cube is on the front at the top.

5.2. If both corner cubes get the right color orientation, use the sequence on one after the other of the corner cubes. Hold the whole cube carefully.

5.3. If two opposite corner cubes are the wrong colors, but the other two corners of the same layer are right, don't get frustrated. Use one of the CORNER FLIPPER sequences on one of the wrong and on one of the right corner cubes. This will make one corner right and the other corner wrong. Use the sequence on the corner that is now wrong and the corner that was wrong.

Ensure the cube you want to color-orientate is at the front and on top.

When only two corner cubes have the wrong color-orientation both will be OK if you have used the proper CORNER FLIPPER sequence. If you have done that you have solved the cube.