Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back to the basics and making them measurable

Every year I would conscientious write down my new year resolutions. This year, 2007, I did not. I've thought about the list, its there in my mind's eyes and its the usual stuff but I just haven't gotten around to writing it out.

The theme for this year is the same as every year before: Living a balance lifestyle with equal emphasis on work and play.

At the end of every year, I would have a self-reflection session and each year I would not be able to proclaim that I've had a GREAT year and met my objectives. I can't seem to say that I've had a balanced lifestyle, its always been a very obvious focus on work instead of personal growth.

Each year I find that work is taking up so much of my time that I slowly become a very very very boring person. And then, at moments when I have that realization, I start to feel very pressured to balance it out. This creates additional stress. And when I tell myself to relax or to spend more time with my family/friends, I find out that I do not deeply enjoy doing those things which I should. Actually, I start to find myself feeling rather guilty when I'm not working 100% of every waking moment.

Its only the beginning of Jan and already for 2 mornings in a row, I couldn't get out of bed. I was just too exhausted to do it. When I wake, the first thing that come to my mind is work and when I thought about all the difficult things that is waiting to be managed, all i want to do is to dig deeper into my covers.

I acknowledge that this feeling, as bad as it may be, is already a great improvement from my yesteryears back in the previous company. I recall on several occasions that I had to literally crawl my way into the hotel bathroom because my legs were so weak but I just didn't have time form them to "wake up"!!

So today I decided to step back and take a deep breathe. No matter how much work I've got to do, duties I have to fulfill, responsibility I have to take up, people I have to spend time with. I'm going to do things one at a time.

For starters, I realized that I needed to take my mind off work, even if it were for a little while. (It has been a most strenous week for me in Vietnam emotionally). And so I pulled out little Vera's pictures and a novel by C.S Lewis Prince Caspian to just relax a little. I told myself that I'm going to focus on one thing at a time and block out everything else. After just an hour, I felt suitably recharged.

Eating my chocolate ice cream, I reflected on the Vietnam trip to assess why I was feeling the way I did and then realized that I never really was happy with my performance because I never thought it was good enough. During my performance review, my manager told me that all objectives should be made measurable and thinking back now I think it applies to my personal resolutions too!

So, I've decided that once again, I'm still going to write down my personal resolutions for this year. However, a change that I would make is to make them more measureable and realistic. Each measurable item I would determine a time and place for it and simply focus on one thing a time. Going back to basics....

Christopher the Cat, Christina the Cat

Vera is thinking:" Haha, I've got a strange mum and dad"

Mechanical Traffic Light in Pyongyang

Monday, January 01, 2007

Computer too slow during start up? Tried and tested method...

Recently, many people have been plagued by computer problems. A common problem would be that their computers would take a verrrrrrryyyy long time to start up. This could be due to a variety of reasons. ...............


Solution 1: The brute force method
Certainly, you can be like a certain *erhem* person that I know, and one of the solutions to the problem is to reformat the computer and install everything from scratch again. Get ready to do this every 6 months though.

Solution 2: Not the brute force method :)
Another way, which is tried and tested by yours truly and of course, it works......

1) Back Up Your Computer
Firstly, almost every article that asks you to mess around with your computer is going to tell you that the first step you should do should be a BACK UP. This is just in case you lose those precious pictures, music, important documents, they would be able to say:" Hey its not my fault, I told you to back up your computer".

So I'm not going to be any different. I'll tell you the first thing you should do is to do a BACK UP.

There are many ways that this can be done. If you have alot of $$ to spare, you could buy a nice expensive software such as Norton Ghost (don't tell me if you got the cracked version of it :P). Otherwise, if you are running Windows XP, you can use the included back up program. To find it, please following the path below:
Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Backup.

P/s: I couldn't be bothered with the first step so I basically skipped it. Don't ask me if you need me to walk you through the back up. I would be in an exceptionally good mood to walk you through it, if I couldn't be bothered to do it for my own computer, in the first place.

2) Clear out Forgotten Programs
This is pretty easy. Make sure that you are the administrator of your computer. Go to:
Start -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Program

Uninstall away................................

3) Free Up Wasted Space.
Okay, this one is also easy. Do the following steps:
a) Open up My computer
b) Right Click “Local Disk”
c) On the General Tab, click the “Disk Cleanup”
d) Select the desired files to delete, then click “OK”

4) Defragment computer

Once again, do the following steps:
a) Open My Computer, right-click Local Disk, and then click Properties.
b) On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now. The Disk Defragmenter opens.
c) Click your first hard disk, and then click Defragment. Note: Disk Defragmenter will work for at least several minutes, though it may take several hours. Get a nice book and relax.

5) Remove Autostart Programs
This is interesting. Well, normally when you install ANY programs, I think that there is a high high chance that the vendor will assume that you would want to automatically start their program running in the background everytime you boot up the computer. Needless to say, if all programs tried to autostart in the background, you'll end up waiting a long time for it to finish loading up before the computer will pay any attention to you again.

Well, no worries because there is a really simple way to "over write" that assumption with the following simple steps: (It works!!)

a) Click “Start” and then “Run”. Type: “msconfig.exe”
b) On the startup tab, you’ll see a list of programs or processes that are set to run when Windows XP loads

There are all sorts of programs that are running which you probably do not recognize. Before you start de-selecting them, it is strongly advised that you CHECK THE FILE AGAINST this website

Basically, I checked the website for all the file names that I didn't recognize and I'm glad to say that I was able to find every single program running on my computer in that website. I was able to quickly identify the programs that wasn't necessary. This website is really fantastic!


Ok, you might have done the steps above but found out that the problem still remains. Then, my friend, this might be a more serious problem than you think.

For starters, there could be viruses/worms/adware running in your computer and affecting its performance. This problem needs to be fixed because you won't like misbehaving programs that would open a backdoor for a malicious hacker to take control of your computer. Or allowing your computer to start behaving like an unruly child and becoming a total nuisance to your friends.

If the above sounds appealing to you. Leave your computer as it is. Otherwise, the next step will be to install an anti virus or adware program to start cleaning up your computer.

I'm personally using SpyDoctor and Symantec Antivirus.

For Spydoctor

I paid USD $29.95 per computer and it has a 30 day money back guarantee. But I'm telling you that ever since I installed the program, it has diligently been watching my back. Its a fantastic software and I like it so much that I'm to buy more copies to install other computers that I have.

This software is a keeper. For more information, you can go to this website:

For Symantec AntiVirus

After leaving my computer out in the big bad world to fend for itself for quite some time, I finally decided to renew my symantec antivirus license.

Symantec has a pretty good Live Update process that allows you to quickly and easily download and install new signatures. However, my experience with Symantec Antivirus has been less than enjoyable, so far.

Firstly, there was a spybot worm lose in the company attacking computers that have symantec installed on it, and then at home, I started to have Update problems which requires me to reinstall my antivirus software.

My renewal license cost me SGD $69.95 but I guess I'll keep my options open for new anti virus out in the market.

P/s: Symantec is one of the biggest antivirus company out there but...........................