Posted on: March 20, 2010

So I waited a couple of months before trying to work the whole skype-creative webcam problem again, and nothing seems to have changed. Instead, the microphone now does not work, as evident during testing and calling with the boy. So I installed QuteCom in the hopes of using another application to mediate communications over these thousands of miles, and QuteCom is not even opening as a program, even after restarting the computer. After installing and uninstalling several drivers and programs after testing them and realising they don’t work, I am close to admitting defeat.

This sucks.

I’m going to continue hinging on my housemate’s laptops to use skype – I feel like a parasite sometimes – but I am determined to find a solution to this problem. Not now though, with work looming ahead dangerously, but when I get back. Darn you, technology that lies outside my grasp!

I suspect it could be that Skype’s performance is worse now because my Ubuntu system ‘upgraded’ to Karmic Koala, which may have left certain programs behind if the programmers aren’t keeping up. Ohwell.

On another note, it’s been a short but squiggly rollercoaster these few days. My insect collection got a high mark, but the one cockroach I was so proud of was actually -gasp- a Coleoptera (beetle)! And I was so sure, too. I did get the bonus point of having the smallest insect in class though, that went to a wasp that was a tenth of a millimeter. :D

I’ve finished three books (The Tipping Point, Outliers and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell), and am in the middle of (Siew Lee, I recounted) 11 books. Heh. Itchy fingers insisted I bring my wallet to the Toronto Reference Library’s clearance sale, and I bought myself 3 books for a dollar (now isn’t that a swell deal!): two business books and one fiction. Started on two of them: Happiness by Richard Layard (curious about what he has to say), and How full is your bucket by Tom Rath and Don Clifton. The other book is WICKED by Gregory Maguire, which spawned the award-winning musical that we almost got to see in NYC.

Still in the middle of The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawkes, Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (the annotated version), and Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. Then there’s Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton given to me by Chrystella (:, and The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins.

Aside, I am browsing through E.O. Wilson’s massive tome: Superorganisms, and a book on spiders as well in a bid to get my creative juices to think about upcoming FYP (final year project) ideas. I’m fascinated by communications and social insects, but I have no QUESTIONS. And that’s what I need. Recently though, working in the mite lab brought up the idea of studying tripartite mutualisms or even engineered mutualisms (predatory and herbivorous mites in domatia of leaves provided by the plants). Not sure if it’s possible and if I really want to do it yet though. Needs research!

Also borrowed two of Edward de Bono‘s books on creativity, to jolt more ideas because I have another idea for a photography series. I first noticed his books when I read his Six Thinking Hats in one sitting at PageOne at Vivocity in Singapore. That got me interested. Am excited! Might have a partner to do this series with, we’ll see. It’s going to be pretty major though, so it’ll be some time before anything’s out. Which reminds me.

The photography competition ceremony saw brilliant photographs – you know, the kind that takes your breath away? I know it did for me! – and taught me an important lesson! My pride launches up and lashes out at some photographs that I think I can beat with what I know I’ve taken, before I realise that I didn’t submit those. So there lies the gravest mistake. Similar to how a student has to answer a question and express the answer appropriately to display his knowledge of the subject, a contestant has to submit photographs that are greater than other photographs. It’s always a relative race here. I mistakenly and casually submitted photographs that I had learned to print (and weren’t necessarily great), while I had good ones in my computer that I didn’t even think about. I was locked in the mindset of submitting just my black and white film prints.


Some mistakes in class once again make me think about that lesson, and it’s so important to be concise, hit the point and make sure you explain what you know, if not in the best way, then at least better than other people. Such is the competition that is breeding in classes nowadays.

Hence, I am off to FINALLY write my first draft of my essay, hopefully the skeleton will be up by today.


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