Saturday, November 29, 2008

Counting Yogi

Yoga has been banned by Muslims for Muslims in Malaysia.

I for one agree that Yoga should be banned, it's a corrupting influence on Islam from an alien civilisation.

Now that Malaysian Muslims have banned so much fun (and corrupting) stuff let's get past the frivolous things.

Let's ban Hindu numbers [the numerical system we use today]. This is an old chestnut, the numbers we use today were adopted by Caliph al-Mansur (i.e. well after the Koran was written).

It's a no brainer, the Koran doesn't say they are Halal, so let's play it safe, let's ban them and go back to something really old and safe, Roman numerals (taqlid is so hip nowadays and ijtihad has been out of vogue since about the 12th century).

"Roman" [papist] numerals not too good either, eh?

OK, let's scrap numbers altogether. They only distract us from praising God, counting with our fingers should suffice (unless your local Shariah court decides to chop some off that is).

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I celebrated my first Thanksgiving today with my flatmate's family.

I am really clueless when it comes to America, so lots was new to me.

Before dinner every around the table said why they were thankful.  What shot through my mind is how grateful I am for hospitality from people, many near strangers.

Wherever I find myself in the world I seem to fall on my feet.

Very grateful and repeatedly astounded.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Canon 5D Mark II

It's now shipping. Will it be another 50D? -- an autistic exercise, focusing solely on figures.

My dad (a Canon user) has already dismissed it as the old 5D body with a larger (and noisier chip squeezed in) not sure where he got that from, but also not sure how it can boast higher ISO quality than the 1DS MK III at the same resolution.

Where do the compromises crop up? Surely Canon won't cannibalise 1DS Mark III sales.

Pornography vs Paedophilia

Julia Suryakusuma writes some good stuff (well also a lot of drivel).  But this article is a good un.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am becoming more and more of a curmudgeon.

More and more set in my ways.

For example, Linux, open source etc.  Linux was such a breath of fresh air to me coming from Windows back in the day.  I went from Microsoft spoonfeeding me a web browser, a chat client, a media player an effing operating system - to Linux - totally open, totally free, no horizons.

Whatever Microsoft dished out I had to take (I knew no better, I was content) coming to Linux was an epiphany (even thought it took a month to get sound up and running -- Luckily my W Virginian pal sent me Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson CDs to get me through, whenever I hear those songs i sill think of KDE2).

So has does this relate to my curmudgeonliness?  Apple.  Over the years I came to view closed source as something to shy away from whenever necessary.  Closed source just wasn't for me.  But I feel I kinda got lost in some internal anti-closed-source dogma.

I bought an iMac a few weeks ago.  It's OK.  In some ways it's better than Linux, and other not.  Thing is I have some kinda internal cognitive dissonance in my head about using OSX.  OSX is tempting for people like me, cos the internals are Unix and instantly convenient to Linuxers.  Plus you have things like Lightroom.  Still I feel uncomfortable...

Then you have the iPhone.  It's not all that expensive.  But I don't like the feeling of sinking so much cash into a phone that's locked down by Apple.  It seems like slipping back into the Windows bad old days, you accept because you don't know any better (or are locked into a 2 year contract).

So while I have an open mind about Apple (and even Windows) I love the open horizons of open source, the no strings attached do whatever the hell you want style of freedom that Linux gives you.  The Linux community is also awesome.

Maybe I am not a curmudgeon, I just value open source software and its community.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Camera Gear is so Heavy!

I am half thinking of buying some new camera gear, namely a decent lens (Nikkor 24-70) and perhaps a decent camera (Nikon D700).

Thing is that combination would be twice as heavy as what I have currently, my Nikon D40 and 18-200 lens add up to 1kg, the other combination would add up to 2kg. The D40 and 18-200 don't take the best pictures, but you can be assured of getting passable results in pretty much every situation. The 24-70's focal length would be limited.

Apart from the cost of the D700 + 24-70, I reckon there's a lot to be said for light equipment, then again at one stage the thought of lugging any type of SLR seemed like too much hassle to me.

Then again the end quality of pictures might be worth it, then again how can I justify something like this when it's just a hobby (I don't even take my camera out most weeks). Then again my money is only earning 0.1% in the bank over here at the mo.

There's also the AF-s 50 1.4, and the AF-s 105 2.8 macro out there, they would be even more limited than the 24-70, but I am sure they would be awesome lenses.

Decisions decisions...

I need to stop thinking about buying stuff, and get out there and take more pictures of this wonderful city!

[I suppose there'd be less need for carrying a flash around with me with the D700, the flash is 0.3KG+]

Pluralism and Bunkum

There is a fine line between pluralism and the approval of bunkum, and only a brave and foolish individual is always sure what lies on one side rather than the other. Pluralism is the mark of intellectual seriousness: recognition of the force of a wide range of arguments with which one does not agree. This intellectual tolerance is a rarer commodity than it should be. Both campuses and trading floors contain high concentrations of people with common values and views. The internet and the polarisation of the media have made it easier to confine your sources of information to what you already know, and the opinions you hear to those you already hold.

Artificial Holy People

Don’t hang on exclusively to any particular creed so that you disbelieve the rest, or you will disregard much that is good and miss the real Truth. Allah is omnipotent and omnipresent and is not contained by any one religion, for he says in the Qur’an “Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah”

Ibn Arabi

[from Tere]

The Islam Card

It has happened in Ireland and it looks like it's the same in Indonesia. As long as you are seen as a "true" believer, people are afraid to touch you.

So recently in Indonesia, you've had the paedophile imam openly marrying a 12 year old. I saw a picture of him sitting beside his 12 year old wife, made my stomach churn.

Then you had public sorrow over the Bali bombers being executed, and proclomations of martyrdom.

Idiocy. Pure idiocy.

(HT to Triesti.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Indonesian Passport

I bought my Indonesian passport in January for 7m rups. It was either that or a Nintendo Wii, and well I thought I could by a Wii any time, but how often would I get a chance to buy a real Indo passport?

V handy, I use it as ID here in NYC instead of my Irish passport all the time.

Here's Dilligaf's / Jakarta Post's take on the Passport Office.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Radio Station

In the past weeks I've just realised how cool is.

Check out my radio station, all the tunes I've listened to over the last 3 or 4 years are played on there, and they rock!! (for the most part ; ))


Street kid buskers in Jakarta. They're everywhere, and most are not that good, but as this video attests, there are some good un's out there.

Didn't a busker win Indonesian Idol recently?

Hat tip to Marisa.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Wrong Trousers

What's happening with Bumi Resources?

Here is what I've patched together. Anyone with any clarifications etc. please let me know! Hard for me to keep up.

So, Wednesday Mulyani gave the order to lift the suspension of the Bumi Resources stock. Then SBY overruled her.

Mulyani went ape shit, threatened to resign. The suspension was lifted Thursday. The stock dropped 10%, it was atomatically suspended again. Looks like they dropped another 10% on Friday.

So Mulyani got her way it seems. How interesting, look who is wearing to trousers in the cabinet now! Kalla and SBY must be quaking in their boots as Bakrie is their biggest electoral backer, but without Mulyani the Rupiah and IDX would tank leading up to the election.

Bakrie might have slunk around Sidoarjo intact, but he may well come off second best against Mulyani. A return to Suharto style crony capitalism will only hinder Indonesia would eventually dump the country into another Krismon; let's hope Mulyani gets her way!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

African American?

Obama is as much white Kansan as African American.

Post election that's all I hear, the first African American President.

Big deal, get with the program, we have a white Kansan / African American president now, stop guffawing.

Obama is American pure and simple, in fact he sums up American aspirations like few others.

How effective a president will he be? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Pregnant and Single in Yogya

Interesting account of a single mother's pregnancy in Yogya.

Yogya, it's a university town, but pretty conservative (at least that's what I thought that the one and only time I ventured).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The 'Hood

I never lived in a neighbourhood with so many TV camera crews, photographers etc. before.

Anyways, here is a rather wry picture taken around the corner from me : ) [by some AFP guy, not mine, too busy talking people down from ledges...]

Brings down the tone of the place, eh?

JCI Spreadbetting

Anyone know of a spread betting site that lists the Jakarta Composite Index?

MyIndo Meets Peter Fennema

One of the things you I love when I visit Indonesia is the pop music. All around the archipelago from Manado to Medan to Makassar you hear some great tunes (and some extremely dodgy ones -- like karaoke on the ferry from Banda Aceh to Pulau Sabang for example).

Fairy [ones of my fave bloggers] of MyIndo fame interviews Peter Fennema, who takes these songs and records his own versions of them -- which are bloody fantastic btw!!

Here Peter's a tribute to Chriseye:

Poverty in Bali

I don't know much about Bali, somehow I thought Bali was much wealthier than the rest of Indonesia. I suppose it could be a lot wealthier and nevetheless have child labour, which is kind of shocking.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Buying a Mac

Macs are pretty good value. Official Apple upgrades cost a bomb though.

I upgraded the RAM from 1GB to 4GB. 4GB cost me about $90. An extra 3GB upgrade from Apple would've cost $300. It was Corsair RAM (you don't get a better brand for RAM) and saved a cool $200+.

You could do the same trick with your hard disk or processor even. For example 1TB hard disks costs just over $100 nowadays, whereas Apple will charge you at least $250.


I got an iMac recently. And shock horror, I think I got some kinda virus!!

(maybe I still have it, but I seemed to have cured the symptoms for now...)

What it did was was change the DNS settings, which meant evertime i tried to login to gmail or Google it would redirect me to a site called wsearch.

Nice... Really nice....

I fixed it by manually setting up my network settings - deleting the automatically inserted dns entries and lookup domains, and entering sane ones.

I gotta switch back to Linux soon!! : )