Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Top Ten Lies of Engineers

Carlos mentioned in our mailing list about Guy Kawasaki's "Top 10 Lies of Engineers." It's quite funny. There are truth (not lies) in it!

Here's the URL:

Read ... (and weep?)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Teaching in English

Yesterday, I taught my Engineering Concept class in English. This class is for 1st year EE students in their 2nd term. Most of our textbooks are in English, so I should not be to difficult for students to understand English. At least, they should not have a problem reading English. Listening is another matter though.

I don't know how difficult it was for them to understand my lecture. I do speak fast in Bahasa Indonesia and English. When I write and talk in English I don't translate the idea from Bahasa Indonesia to English. It just flows naturally. (My biggest problem with my English is my vocabulary. I don't use it often so that I am losing words. I should spend time with friends from India. Usually their English is good and sometimes it's even better than Americans or Brits. Anyway, back to the topic.)

I think most of the students understood what I lectured yesterday. There were students asking questions in English. That's a good sign. In earlier class I told them to learn how to ask question. It's an art. They practiced that yesterday. I am glad.

The reason I taught (part of the class) in English is to give them a feel of how the class would be had they study abroad. Well, at least if it is in an English-speaking university. Maybe it is too early in their class? I don't know. Usually I don't teach 1st year students. This year I was asked to teach this class and change the class as well. The content was already outdated and needed a lift, but that's another story.

The second part of the class, I taught in Bahasa Indonesia but the topic was in English. I read them an IEEE article by Bob Colwell, "What's the worst that can hapen." It was published in IEEE Computer (October 2005). The article was about experiment went out of control. Can you imagine a fission reactor done by a boy scout? Scary. I read the article paragraph by paragraph and tell the gist of it in Bahasa Indonesia. The article is quite funny, in my opinion. Well, Colwell's articles are funny (if you get it). Then I gave them an assignment to summarize an article, again by Bob Colwell, on "design complexity." I hope they get the idea on how to deal with complexity.

In short, I think the class went well.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Debian - got root?

I've just got some debian merchandise ... T-shirt, mug, and cap (got root?) Here is the picture. (ehm, ibook in the background. he he he.)

Debian Stuff

So ... got root?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Working in Paradise

Tanah Lot BaliLast Wednesday (19 April 2006) I did a presentation at XL Business Solution Customer Gathering. The event was held at Le Meridien Hotel, Tanah Lot, Bali. Yes, Bali, land of paradise. (Photo on the right side was taken by Donny BU.)

The place was beautiful. The place was surrounded by beautiful beach. I heard that sunset (around 5:30 pm) is beautiful. To bad when I was there it was couldy so I could not see the sunset. The weather in morning was cool. Breakfast outside, looking at the beach, was excellent. By midday, it was hot and humid. Evening was cool again.

I arrived Tuesday evening. Actually, it was like midnight. The next day, Wednesday, I did the presentation and moderating a session. (For those who were present in the even, tell me about my presentation. Was it good? Send me pictures of me if you have.) The following day, Thursday, everybody went to play golf, fishing, or going to a spa. Leisure time. Me? I have to go back to Jakarta for another meeting. Arrrggghhh ...

So, I just visited Bali for work! You know, it's a sin to work in Paradise.

Next time I go to Bali, I just want to relax with my family. No work!

Monday, April 17, 2006

No smiles for me?

I've been watching people face on the street in Indonesia and Singapore. In Indonesia, I watched (and still watching) people walking on the street. In Singapore, I watched people on MRTs. One thing I noticed, these people do not smile! I don't know about Singaporeans, but Indonesians used to smile a lot. Something has hapenned to us that made us lost the smile.

What is it? Hardship (of life)? But people in other countries are experiencing the same thing, aren't they? I could understand why Indonesians have less smile nowadays. (Although that does not mean that it is okay not to smile.) Our lives are becoming tougher, compared to years ago. But, Singaporeans? I thought they live better now. Places are clean and well organized. What's on their mind? Aren't they happy with what they have? Why there's no smile then?

Let's smile (more) . . .

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My next (public) presentation(s)

My next public presentation

Sharing Vision: Menentukan Kewajaran Harga & Feasibility Pengadaan IT
Tanggal: 27 & 28 Apr 2006
Tempat: Hotel Preanger, Bandung

Bagaimana sebetulnya pembiayaan IT itu? Mengapa banyak kasus yang masuk ke KPK soal pendanaan IT? Bagaimana menaksir biaya hardware, software, konsultasi. Itu yang akan kami bahas dalam acara sharing vision yang dikelola oleh LAPI ITB ini. Pembicara adalah Dimitri Mahayana, Arry Akhmad Arman, dan Budi Rahardjo. Acara akan berlangsung di Hotel Preanger Bandung.

Intan, Agus, atau Yasser
(022) 2534098 - Fax: (022) 251-4758

Selain itu sebetulnya saya juga memberikan beberapa presentasi, akan tetapi presentasi tersebut bersifat tertutup (internal companies plus pers).

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My Musical Time Line

I love music so much that at one point I think I wanted to become an artist. (Don't you?) Well, yesterday I dug in some old photographs related to music. So here they are.
The first one is this very old picture taken in 1980. This is me with my drum kit in my bedroom. You could see the bunk bed in the back. My room was not sound-proofed. Of course it was loud. I don't know how our neighbour could stand us (me). Ha ha ha.

I was skinny by then and had lots of black and curly hair. Now they are thin and dominated by grey hairs. Look at that T-shirt that says "We Believe in ROCK N' ROLL". Nice.

I did take a formal drum lesson in a music school, taught by a rock drummer. So, I knew drum partitur at one point. It didn't last long though, because I was so bored with many things at that time. I just jamming around with friends and family, renting studio basically, playing Beatles songs. I pushed them to play Styx ("Suite Madam Blue" anybody?) or Rush ("Subdivision"), but mostly we played Beatles or Rolling Stones. I didn't make any gig or whatsoever. Oh I did. It was part of school vocal group. I did played drum in their song competition. Now, I could not play drum. I lost it. Really. I am clumsy now. (Maybe I was not a good drummer to begin with.)

budi-band-82-2Then this one. This was taken somewhere between 1981 to 1983. I was at the university and this was our band performing in one of celebration nights (organized by EE student body). At that time I preferred to play guitar.

I didn't have a formal training in guitar. So, I could not read musical notes! I learned guitar playing from friends and family. In high school I managed to learn something from a very good classical guitar player. He won competition in Indonesia and even regional (South East Asia?). He taught a bunch of us to play classical guitar.

Anyway, that was the starting point of playing band on campus. There were more to come, but music was just for fun. Mostly we were busy studying to get our EE degree. But, when we do have a chance to play in a gig, we play.

Gig tahun 84-85So here we were playing again. Left to right in the back: Iriawan (keyboard), Imam Pras (keyboard), Hammam Riza (drums). This time it was around 84 or 85, because we asked Imam Prass to play with us. He was (and still is) a great keyboard player. He is actually a jazz player, but we asked him to play rock (like Genesis, Rush, and Marillion)! Ha ha ha. He was so humble that he agreed to play. We need him for complex keyboard chops like those in Genesis or Marillion. Nowadays you can find him playing in many gigs (hotels, caffees, recording studios) playing all kind of music. People know him as a great piano and keyboard player. I have not seen him for quite a while. I wouldn't mind watching him playing with his jazz band. I heard it is great.

budi-nyanyi-itb80sDuring that campus-gig year I also acted as a singer in the band. It was not because I have a great voice. It was just nobody wanted to do it. Everybody was shy. At earlier gig (maybe in 81?) my other band had a gig and the singer was so scared that he could not sing! So, I took over. Ha ha ha.

So this is a picture of me singing in the band. I forgot what song I sang at that time. Probably one of Genesis, Rush, or Marillion songs, because that what we did. Actually, we did Toto's "Hold The Line" in another gig. I remembered that because I could not do Steve Lukather's solo lick (who could?) so I made it simpler. Ha ha ha. I still could not do fast guitar licks. That is why I love guitarists with simple but melodic style, such as Roine Stolt (of the Flower Kings) or Rothery (of Marillion). I still love singing, but with "wierd" songs - I mean progressive rock kind of songs. So, when somebody ask me to sing - like in a karaoke - I refuse, because they probably don't know the song that I am going to sing and they would not enjoy it. I could not sing "regular pop songs". ha ha ha.

Ngeband 85-an (b)
The gig continues... I don't know when this was taken, but I think it was also around 1984-1986. Again we were playing on campus. This time Iriawan played guitar. I think we played Genesis' "Home By The Sea". The rest of the band was not shown. There were a lot more photographs for this gig. But, you'll get bored with them if I put them all here.

After graduated from ITB, I moved to Canada and was too busy getting my MSc and PhD degrees. I did have a wonderful time in Canada because that was the time that I had access to computer music labs. I was into computer music (MIDI, synthesizers and stuff). I took a computer music class, played with Yamaha (DX 7, DX ... ) synthesizers, Korg, Kurzweil's synthesizer/piano, and other gadgets. I also learned to play more electric guitar techniques from James. That was also the time when I started writing my songs.

NiCE 2004 bandThen came back to Indonesia sometime at the end of 1997. I was too busy with my life and didn't have anything to do with music. But, I still love music. So, in 2004 when we had a National Internet Conference Education (NICE) in Jakarta, I played again. This time I took the deliberty of playing the keyboard. It was not great since we didn't practice at all. We just jumped into the stage and play!!! Whoa!

Garin (on guitar), Andika (far right, bass), Bowo (on drum was not shown). We were just goofing off. You know, we should practice for the next gig. If there's going to be another NICE - which I think is going to be held this year or next year.

In the mean time, now I am looking at doing business in music as well, selling digital music. At the same time, helping people who like music (like I do) who don't have access to market, studio, and even a little shy to perform their music. Wish me luck on this.

So that is my musical timeline.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

I looove Cheese Cake

cheesecakeWhen I visited my daughter in Singapore last month, we went to Secret Recipe restaurant. We ordered pasta and of course cheesecake. To tell you the truth, that was the real reason we went there. Cheesecake. If my wife found out, she would be furious. Well, that's too late now. She knew now. ha ha ha.

Look at the picture. It was a Marble Cheesecake. (At the far side was Bannana cake. My daughter ordered that.) Oh, I love you cheesecake. I want more and more and more. Hi hi hi.

Unfortunately, I could not eat to many of them because I am getting fatter. That's what my doctor (actually the diet expert who my physician referred me to) told me, but I don't agree. I am okay.

sing-budi-restoranLook at me. I am not that cubby, am I? Okay I am not that lean. I am only a couple kilogram over weight. But the bad part is that, I don't do regular exercise. When I have the time I walk up the hill around our house. That should be enough, right? The thing is, I am always busy with many things. Sometimes I have to travel a lot and I don't bring my running shoes with me. (I travel light.) On top of that, I am a lazy person in terms of regular sport. I admit it. So what should a person like this do?

There are other food that I cannot eat now, such as "soto sulung". (If you know what it is, you'll be disgusted.) Oh ... I used to love it, but now I can only dream about it. I don't eat soto sulung anymore, but let me enjoy cheesecake. Please ...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Finished reading "b l i n k"

blink Ah ... finally this afternoon, I finished reading "blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. It is a good book - there are many interesting facts that I am going to test - but not as good as his "Tipping Point" though. I wanted to write a review for it, but I don't think I have the time and energy to do it. I do have a list of good books list (in Bahasa Indonesia). It's in Tipping Point is listed in that page.

I made an effort to go to Starbucks (at Ciwalk, Bandung) to finish it. It has been dragging me for quite a while. (It was in my backpack all the time, but for some reasons I just didn't have time to read it. I had to make time for it.) With a mug of caffee lattee, I gulped the last chapter. Done. Now I can move on to the next book(s) in my to-read-stack.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Reading list during a sleepless night

Last night I couldn't sleep! I don't know why.

I decided to do something conventional, that is reading books and magazines instead of reading the Internet. I turned off my computer! Yes, it was hard for me. Let me go back to my "scientific root."

I pulled three of the latest magazines I just received from the "to-read" stack (it's about two feet tall!) and grabbed whatever book on the table. Of course I also took my iPod nano while I headed to my bed. Let the fun begin.

First, the book. It was "blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. I've been carrying this book like forever! I just could not get it going. I have bought other books since I bought "blink" and have finished a couple of them (one of the being the biography of Phil Collins, the drummer of Genesis). You've seen this blink book in many photos that I have taken and maybe more if I cannot finish it quickly. (Here's a link to the photo, and here's a clearer view.)

Blink is not a bad book. In fact, it is a very good book - although I like "Tipping Point" (by the same author) better. In any case, I decided not to read it this time. Skipped it.
[Music on my iPod nano: Donna Summer - On The Radio]
Next, I pulled the first magazine. It was IEEE Anals of the Internet History of Computing, vol. 28, no. 1, January - March 2006. Yes, I subscribe to this magazine or journal as part of my IEEE membership. I am always interested in history of computing and the people behind it. I even want to write a book on history of computing in Bahasa Indonesia. This issue is on "Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN): The First 40 Years, Part 2." Darn! It's part 2. I have not read the first part. It is still in my stack of to-read-list. Not gonna read this.
[Music: Dream Theater - Under Glass Moon]
Next magazine. IEEE Software March/April 2006. Hmm... it seems the magazines that I took were those that I just got from IEEE. The issue is on "Software Architecture." Yay! Great! I've been confused with the word "architecture" before and was happy to see it in the context of software architecture. What does "architecture" mean?
[Music: Earth, Wind, and Fire - After The Love Is Gone]
At one point in my professional lifetime I created a "security architecture" document for a client. I thought it was a masterpiece. It wasn't a theory. It was a real workable or implementable architecture of security. Just like an architecture of a house that is not only good on paper but it is also good in the real building. So, I decided to read this magazine.

The next magazine lying to me is IEEE Computer, March 2006 with "mobile displays" as its main topic. Well, you'll get your turn baby. Not this time. Let me read this IEEE Software first and learn more about software architecture. (I use to love IEEE Computer magazine when Bob Cowell was still writing his column. But, there's no Bob Cowell.
[Music: De Barge - Lost Without Your Love]
I started reading the magazine while the music kept on moving.
[Music: ELP - C'est La Vie; England Dan & John Ford Coley - Part of me - part of you; Goo Gool Dolls - Name]

The first article I read was Grady Booch, "On Architecture." It's an interesting article that sheds some light in terms of the difficulty dealing with "software architecture." I was searching for the philosophical meaning of "architecture" though. But, I appreciate his take on this. He started an initiative to create a handbook on software architecture at I will check on it. Well, the guy is an expert in his field. You've got to respect him. I've read (part of) hist book a long time ago while I was still a graduate student.

The second article I read is "10 Small Steps to Better Requirements," by Ian Alexander. Okay, I've been reading on "requirement" but still don't understand it. Maybe, (a) because I have no background in requirement engineering, and (b) my mind wandered into many things. It was close to midnight. What do you expect? There's a cartoon (or ads?) next to the article that says:
"Requirement Engineering Made Easy.
Essential Requirements
Engineering Practices for Average Joe"
I guess that is exactly what I needed.
[Music: Jay Graydon - After The Love is Gone; Joe Jackson - Stepping Out; John Mayer - Love For No One]
Apparently, my iPod nano was set to sort the songs alphabetically based on the artist's name. At this time, I continued reading but was to tired. Put down my reading glasses and went to sleep.

So, that's my story . . .