Insatiable Quest for the Perfect "Firewall-Proof" IM

A constant pain in the neck with using Meebo in office is that messages tend to go missing.  I’m not sure if this is a Meebo problem or my office network problem (dropped connection) but it is a real pain when you’re constantly unsure if your messages reached the other party.

The worst hit victim of this missing messages problem is Iceman (I suppose that’s ‘cos I talk to him the most on Meebo).  We’ve developed a habit of copying and pasting our messages if we don’t get a response after 5-10min.  Of course, sometimes, the other party is away from the computer and hence there’s no response.  But other times, this lack of response is because the other party never received the message.  Even the copy and paste text can go missing a couple of times… which means sometimes we can end up pasting the same message 3-4 times before it actually goes through.

On particularly bad days, Iceman and I resort to using Gtalk as an alternative IM to communicate.  Sadly, Gtalk disconnects pretty regularly too… but the mitigating factor is that when Gtalk is disconnected, there is an error prompt to notify me that the message did not go through. 

This missing messages irritation culminated in a really crappy incident last night.  I originally arranged to meet Iceman for dinner at 7pm, after which some last minute task came in from overseas and I had to resolve the issue before I could leave.  I told Iceman over Meebo to meet at 7:30pm instead… and I got an "ok, bye" from him and so I thought he got my message.  Unfortunately, Iceman’s "ok" was in response to an earlier message I typed… and he never got my message about changing the meeting time to 7:30pm.

When I finally reached at our appointed dinner venue close to 8pm, Iceman was starving and obviously puzzled why I was so late.  Then the whole missing messages thing came out and well, it was too late to do anything.  So when I got home last night, I decided to do another search on the Internet to see if there were any other IM alternatives (i.e. IMs that can get past my office firewall).  I found a website that had a whole list of the various web-based IMs available.  Amongst those listed were – www.ebuddy.com, www.iloveim.com, www.meebo.com, www.imhaha.com, imo.im, etc. 

I’m familiar with all except the last 2… and so I did a test on both.  Nothing really special about imhaha.com… but imo.im… aha!  I found a gem there.  There’s a downloadable imo.im programme that runs on Windows PCs.  It requires .NET to work and looks very very similar to Gtalk (which is small, neat and gets past most firewalls).  Tested it and it worked pretty ok so far – only 1 missing message occurrence.

This imo.im programme displays a "disconnected" status message when the IM is disconnected so as long as you don’t send a message when you’re disconnected, I think it’s reasonably stable.  Will continue testing it over the next few days but so far, it’s really lovely.  When the programme is minimised, it’s tucked away in the systray and I switched off the notification alert so nothing pops up when I receive a message.  The icons blinks discreetly in the systray and that’s it (just like ICQ).  Sweet.

I highly recommend this programme for all IM junkies!  🙂

sore links

tried the work around solution for the permalinks bug in WordPress 2.6 but that unfortunately didn’t work for me.  the solution proper requires me to delve into the codes but i’m hesitant to open the floodgates of blogging hell.  the best bet for me, perhaps, is to just wait for WP 2.6.1 to be released and hopefully the bug will be fixed then.

throat started hurting again this morning.  argh.  maybe it’s ‘cos i finished the course of antibiotics last night but my body hasn’t developed enough of its own to fight off the sore throat.  🙁

very sian.  sigh.

Axed Files

Managed to catch X-Files tonight.  It was a disappointment for me… the plot was thin and the pace slow.  I think you could probably put everything into a 1-hour episode and have it work quite well… but to stretch out the thin storyline into a 2-hour movie just didn’t cut it.

Even more disappointing  was how Mulder & Scully were suddenly an item in the movie!  Gosh!  How could the producers/scriptwriters/director just put Mulder & Scully together without showing how it happened?  After all, one of the things that kept fans chasing the series was to find out if Mulder & Scully would ever get together!  The romantic tension between the two leads was exciting and I think that forms a pretty big part of the whole X-Files package.

To finally make Mulder & Scully a couple just killed the emotional rollercoaster ride where we all wanted them to be together but for some reason they just didn’t get together.  To make them an item with no explanation at all?  That was horrible!  It’s like a double anti-climax!  Highly unsettling.

And if you thought it couldn’t get any worse… it did.  I think it’s due to poor scripting ‘cos you couldn’t tell at all that Mulder & Scully were together till 1/4 through the movie, you see them in bed discussing some problems they were facing individually and you go – gosh!  Since when did they get together?  Did I fall asleep?

Sigh.  I was quite looking forward to re-living a huge TV hit during my teenage years on the big screen tonight.  Sadly, I think this movie only shows it’s time to axe the X-Files.

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I couldn’t remember the plot of the previous X-Files movie so I did an online search.  If you read the plot of the previous movie, you’ll appreciate how it was deeply entrenched in the overall X-Files themes/plots, etc.  Sigh.  I miss the old X-Files.  I hereby conclude this latest movie is crap on comparison.

The Accidental Sip of Mouth Rinse Didn’t Kill Me

Haven’t blogged for an entire week ‘cos I was really busy and was down with a nasty sore throat + flu last Thurs… which stretched over the weekend.  Extremely depressing.  I hate being sick over the weekend ‘cos time just flies past while you’re trying to recuperate and before you know it, the work week starts again.  Bleah.

Legalise Organ Trading?

The government is currently looking into legalising organ trading in Singapore.  Read in the papers that the only country in the world where organ trading is legal is in Iran.  This stemmed from the US sanctions against Iran making it difficult for Iran to import dialysis equipment and the long war Iran fought with Iraq and thus the Iranian government devised an "organ sharing" scheme which is fully government run (doctors, hospitals, etc, are all on the govt’s payroll).  The govt compensates the donor for his/her "altruism" and provides health insurance for the donor as well.  A "gift" may also be given by the recipient to the donor for the "love gift" aka the kidney.

While there are certain pros to having a govt-run scheme – the poor is also eligible for an organ transplant, transplants are regulated, the donor gets the full compensation instead of a middleman profiting, etc, there’s no denying the fact that these are still monetary transactions that are taking place. 

In Iran, it takes about 1-2 years for a kidney donor to be found.  The average in Singapore is about 9 years and given that many kidney patients in need of a transplant have a life span of 5 years, many do not survive the waiting period.  It is a known fact that those who can afford often travel to emerging markets (China, India, Philippines, Indonesia and the like) to procure a kidney.  The most unfair part about these black market transactions is that the organ broker often takes the biggest cut of the payment and the donor is exploited. 

During lunch a couple of days ago, a senior colleague spoke strongly for the case of legalising organ trading in Singapore.  While I really don’t know how right or wrong this is – how does one put a value on a human organ vs. how can one not save another’s life – what struck me deepest was when my colleague said, "If we can allow abortions to take place, how can we not allow organ trading?  What gives us the right to rob the life of an unborn child and then get moralistic and ban organ trade?  At least the organ transplant will save another person’s life".

I’ve been thinking about this and I have no conclusion what is the right thing to do.  Perhaps an Iranian doctor summarised it best when he said – the world chooses to see this as a cup half empty but we choose to see it as a cup half filled.

Cutesy Bunny Pics!

Got this from Azure.  Aren’t they cute?

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I love the cute little bunnies!

More WordPress bugs!

Need to say thanks to David for alerting me that the Pages in my blog had broken links – happened when I got rid of the permalinks.  Sigh.

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I found another error too.  Went to my WordPress Dashboard and saw I had 4 comments that needed moderation.  However, when I clicked on the Comments section, the "Awaiting Moderation" part was blank!

 

 

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Managed to get around this by going back to my Dashboard – Manage Posts and under this section, posts that have comments awaiting moderation are highlighted a darker shade. 

 

 

 

Sigh… I hope there’s a new release of WP 2.6 soon… with all these bugs fixed!

Night Fest 2008

Went to the Night Fest with Iceman last night.  It was packed!  But worth the squeeze, knocks, "tsks", elbows and glares as the dancers in the sky (by Studio Festi) were really really good.

Here’re some videos I took.

 

Love this ballerina in the air.  Her pirouettes were beautiful! This was my favourite dance item in the entire performance. I love her spins in the air towards the end of the vid!

 

Ok… I thought this looked a little tacky.  Like those Chinese ghost shows of the 80s… (you can see the people pulling the cables on the ground).

 

This dancing couple wasn’t too bad either I suppose.

 

Anyway, my apologies for not having clearer photos.  That was the best my Nokia N82 could do.  I’m sure if you do a search on Youtube, you’ll find some clearer videos.  Heh.

The Dawn is Darkest Before the Knight

I was telling my cellgroup about "FCUK The Dark Knight" and they brought up another 2 really really bad names…

1) The world was happy with PayPal… but Google cussed and swore that they would do better… and gave us (well, lmost), Gbuy… (Hokkien speakers will know what I mean).  Thankfully, this was later launched as Google Checkout. 

2) Enfamom, from what I gather, is a pretty popular brand of milk of mothers.  I wonder how popular is Enfakid?  After all, as Jukebox said… did the entire boardroom of marketing people not realise what Enfakid sounds like?

Anyone got anything else to add to the list?  😛