There’s no denying that IT and computers have assimilated into virtually every business area that exists right now. The traditional business disciplines like accounting, management and human resource have been targeted by IT and right now there are many software packages that integrate these functions and more.

Now imagine you’re in the IT line itself. Gone are the days when IT people merely provide support and firefighting services whenever a system has gone bonkers. Today’s IT workforce are expected to be dynamic, self-motivated and constantly updated with the latest technological trends.

Traditionally, IT personnel went through the same traditional classroom-based training programs. But as work becomes more demanding and free time is a luxury that many don’t have, alternatives like online computer training; like the one provided by K Alliance, have gained tremendous popularity over the past few years.

I’ve had the opportunity to review the courses offered by K Alliance and the technology implemented to deliver these solutions. In this post, I’d like to share them with you.

The most obvious thing I noticed when visiting K Alliance’s web site was the sheer number of courses available. Virtually all the big names are covered:

  • Cisco
  • Red Hat
  • Microsoft
  • Oracle
  • CompTIA
  • Business Objects (of Crystal Reports fame)

It is by far the most comprehensive online training course offering I’ve seen in a long time. You can view the complete list of courses offered by visiting this alphabetical listing of all courses offered by K Alliance.

I’ve also noticed that K Alliance have put in significant efforts in ensuring that your coursework data is protected from unauthorized third parties. One of the solutions that K Alliance have employed is the use of a USB dongle that is custom made for each course participant. Each dongle is unique and acts like a key that unlocks your own set of course content.

Being in the online training business, K Alliance have invested significant resources in building one of the most robust LMS infrastructure today. So even if IT training is not one of your organization’s key goals in the short or medium term, you can leverage K Alliance’s technology by integrating your own course content. At prices as low as $5.00 per user monthly, this is a solution worth taking a closer look at.

Overall, I’m confident that K Alliance offers a complete end-to-end solution for most online training needs. To further examine this cost effective knowledge delivery route, I recommend that you take up K Alliance’s offer of trying out some free demos of their course content.

For more information about K Alliance, please visit their homepage.

Singapore Zoo is located at Mandai and it is probably the only cageless Zoo in Asia (if not the world). This unique layout means that you get an “in your face” experience when viewing the animals. I visited the zoo last Saturday with my family.

I got to Singapore Zoo via a feeder van service set up just outside Ang Mo Kio MRT station. I think there’s no transport charges, you just pay for the tickets. You can view the rates here.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi ride from Woodlands Checkpoint to the zoo and it’ll cost you roughly S$7.00 (just under RM17).

Please continue reading this post to see pictures I’ve taken during this trip.

Singapore Zoo has the largest number of orang utans in captivity anywhere in the world. The most famous of which is Ah Meng, who unfortunately died last year (8 February 2008) aged just under 48 years old. Ah Meng’s memory is however kept very much alive throughout the zoo. There’s even a restaurant named after her.

Senior Orang Utan (by azmeen)

Orang Utans Huddling (by azmeen)

Young Orang Utan (by azmeen)

I particularly enjoyed observing the Proboscis Monkeys at the zoo. This is the best close up picture I got of one. The dark area at the top left corner is unfortunate, but I’m too lazy to edit it out 😛

Proboscis Monkey (by azmeen)

I saw this lemur hanging out near a holding rail being virtually free to roam as he please. This guy is right in front of my eyes and I could even touch him if not for the fact that I’m unsure if this is legal (Singapore being a fine country and all that). I then did the next best thing and took a photo instead.

Black & White Ruffed Lemur (by azmeen)

There was also a cute marmoset close by. Doesn’t he look adorable?

Marmoset (by azmeen)

There were also some dangerous animals that I would never dream of being close to let alone touch! This Komodo Dragon is one of those creatures.

Komodo Dragon (by azmeen)

We also saw some amazing cats on display. One particular shot I’m quite proud of is this portrait of a leopard.

Leopard (by azmeen)

There were also various shows put up by the zoo which adds to the enjoyment of the visit. One show that we got to watch in its entirety was the Rainforest Show. This photo was taken right after the show. My son totally enjoyed the chance to handle the snake!

My Family & The Rainforest Show Crew (by azmeen)

Singapore Zoo is a massive place to visit. We spent almost an entire day there and still felt like we spent way too little time to really absorb the place.

I’ve always enjoyed visiting zoos and this experience is definitely one of the better ones. If you do make a trip to Singapore, do not miss visiting Singapore Zoo! It is definitely worth the trip!

If you wish to see more photos during my trip, please check out this Flickr set of mine.

Flickr

Flickr is in my opinion the ultimate photo sharing web site available online. I’ve been using it for years and highly recommend it for photographers to safely store their photos (check out my Flickr photostream).

As awesome as Flickr is, there are areas where it can be improved. One obvious area is the process of sharing photos on blog and forum posts.

Previously I’ve been doing this manually by clicking on the picture, selecting the appropriate size and copying the HTML code to be pasted. Straightforward? I guess so. Fast? OK if I’m not copying HTML for the large image; it can get time consuming to wait for larger photos to load though.

That’s why I’m very pleased to come across AllSizes+; a Greasemonkey script that makes Flickr photo sharing a few notches easier!

Getting the script to work is very easy. There’s only two pre-requisites; you have to be using Firefox and have the Greasemonkey addon installed.

Once that’s sorted out; simply install the AllSizes+ userscript.

Now that the whole process is complete; you’ll be presented with the following overlayed interface everytime you click on the All Sizes icon on any Flickr photo page:

GM Script: AllSizes+ (by premasagar)

Another huge plus point for AllSizes+ is that it will render the All Sizes button on all Flickr photo pages; even for users who disabled the All Sizes button on their account.

Some might find this offensive; but honestly, once you put your photos online people who want to “steal” them can do so anyway. AllSizes+ to me is a perfectly legitimate tool to make photo sharing a painless process.

If you’re a blogger who often blogs about photos you’ve uploaded onto Flickr; or even if you want a faster and more efficient way to post your photos on Flickr message boards, AllSizes+ is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal.

I highly recommend it and I’m sure you will too; once you’ve given it a whirl 🙂

For the recent Chinese New Year holidays, I took a trip to KL (as usual whenever there’s a long break). Spent some time at KL Butterfly Park and took night trips to Putrajaya and KLCC.

Why am I mentioning this? Of course there’s an ulterior motive; I want to share some of the photos I took 🙂

On the first day of my arrival there, I hooked up with an Alphanatics forum member. It’s for business… I bought a Tamron 70-300 lens from him. It’s virtually unused, so I think I got a great deal for it.

The next day, I visited KL Butterfly Park. My last visit there was at least 20 years ago. The park is small but still a very good location to snap pictures of beautiful butterflies.

Blue Glassy Tiger

This is a Blue Glassy Tiger, sitting on a pretty much chomped up leaf.

Nymphalid Butterfly

A close-up of a Nymphalid butterfly on a hibiscus.

Unknown Butterfly Species (ID Appreciated!)

Two unknown butterfly species.

Unknown Insect Species (ID Appreciated!)

Yet another unknown butterfly perched on a leaf.

If you happen to know the names of the butterflies in the last two pictures above, please let me know.

All of the pictures above are taken with my new Tamron 70-300 Di LD; handheld! I did bring along my cheapo RM50 tripod but didn’t have the time to set it up to photograph the ever-moving butterflies.

Later that night, I took a trip to Putrajaya just to capture some night scenes. It was pretty disappointing as it rained not long after I parked my camera. The only picture worth showing from that night is the one below:

Putrajaya Bridge

The Wawasan Bridge at Night.

Since I was staying at my mom-in-law’s place in Cheras, a return to Putrajaya doesn’t seem worthwhile (tolls and all… how do you KL people survive?!). So two nights later, I decided to head down to KLCC and do some night photography of the twin towers.

Petronas Twin Towers @ KLCC

Petronas Twin Towers @ KLCC

Petronas Twin Towers @ KLCC

I’m quite pleased with how the pictures turned out. It makes me feel that the RM2k plus investment on my α200 is beginning to show results 😉

What do you think of the pictures? Comments and critiques always welcome.

 

One of the phrases I hear often but find to be totally self-contradicting is “This is a win-win situation!” That phrase annoys the heck out of me! It’s one of those paradoxes that proves the nonsensical nature of the very message it tries to project.

The thing is there can’t be a winner without a loser. In a so-called “win-win situation”, who is the loser? Isn’t the loser the same people that “won”? Isn’t it more accurate that whatever outcome that was described as a “win-win situation” was actually a draw?

Yes, that’s exactly what happened. You didn’t winYour opponent didn’t win. You stalemated. It’s as simple as that. Trying to describe such situations as “win-win” is ridiculous.

So the next time you’re itching to use this cliched phrase; bite your tongue, drop the pen, move your hand away from the keyboard. The “win-win situation” thing has been overused to oblivion.

Just tell the situation as it is; the best compromise, equally beneficial middle path, fair and square… anything that doesn’t imply that either (or neither for that matter) party is “winning”.