Monday, April 30, 2012

Research and wordprocessing

Ever since I started my PhD study, I stick to LaTeX for most of my works - progress slides, conference papers and even for a "kenduri" event for my daughter's aqiqah - I created invitation memos with LaTeX.

LaTeX needs some perseverance for you to learn . For me I started typed LaTeX files with VI and later compiled the document with pdflatex command.

Later, I met Kile, a KDE based LaTeX editor. It provided GUI based with autocompletion and spell check function, which is cool to assist you writing up your work - conference paper or thesis.

Most of my friends comfortable with MS Word and EndNote.. which is okay. But some conference organizer literally require you to send them paper written in LaTeX (or in another way around). In this case you might need to find a friend who are familiar which such writing environment.

Transit di Istanbul

Semasa dari London (Heathrow) untuk pulang ke Malaysia saya transit di Istanbul, Turki. Di Turki, khasnya di sekitar Sultanahmet (tempat Blue Mosque dan Hagiya Sofya), peniaga di situ menerima wang Lira (matawang Turki), Euro, dan setahu saya termasuk US Dollar.

Saya singgah hanya 10 jam - kapal terbang Turkish Airlines yang saya naiki dari Heathrow sampai di Attarturk Hamalavi (Airport) pada sekitar 420 pagi, dan akan berlepas pulang ke Malaysia pada pukul 3 petang hari tersebut.

Jadi saya manfaatkan tempoh transit yang panjang itu untuk melawat sekitar Blue Mosque.

Perjalanan agak mudah, seeloknya jika ada peluang untuk menukar wang ke Lira, sila buat demikian di Malaysia, kerana setahu saya pengurup wang di Malaysia setakat yang saya berurusan jarang mengenakan komisen. Di Turki, pengurup wang mereka mengenakan komisen sehingga 4%, satu jumlah yang agak signifikan bagi saya - terutamanya di lapangan terbang.

Dari Attarturk Hamalavi - kodnya IST saya bertolak ke Sultanahmet yg berkedudukan sekitar 20KM dari IST dengan menaiki keretapi "Metro". Di Turki stesen, setau saya disebut "Istasyonu". Di sini kita perlu beli token yang dinamakan "Jeton" . Setiap Jeton berharga 2 Lira, jadi tentunya anda perlu menggunakan matawang Lira di sini. Jarak jauh atau dekat, semuanya satu token Jeton.

Jeton boleh dibeli dari mesin "Jetonmatik", masukkan Jeton tu pada mesin pengadang dan mesin tersebut tidak akan pulangkan Jeton tersebut, jadinya cukup sekadar memasukkan Jeton sahaja.

Kemudian, untuk ke Sultanahmet anda perlu berhenti di Zeytinburnu, di sini anda kena keluar dari stesen tersebut dan membeli satu lagi Jeton untuk menaiki Tram ke Sultanahmet. Tram, seperti di mana-mana negara yang menggunakan tram, akan bergerak di atas jalan raya. Jadi kadang-kadang anda akan lihat kereta memasuki laluan tram untuk bergerak - saya tak pasti samada boleh atau tidak berbuat demikian mengikut undang-undang jalanraya Turki tetapi saya biasa melihat beberapa kenderaan berbuat demikian.

Sewaktu saya dalam perjalanan ke Sultanahmet waktu itu, tram yang saya naiki sendat dipenuhi warga tempatan, yang mungkin agak pelik kerana melihatkan backpack saya dan wajah orang Melayu di celah-celah warga Turki. Tram yang saya naiki tidak sampai ke sultanahmet pun, sebab ada dua orang Turki berkata sesuatu yang tidak saya fahami - sebab agak sukar untuk berjumpa warga Turki yang berbahasa Inggeris!
Apa yang saya faham, mereka mahu saya keluar - mungkin tram itu tidak akan ke Sultanahmet pun. Jadinya saya turun dua stesen sebelum sultanahmet, yang tidak saya ketahui berapa jauh jaraknya.


Saya sempat berjalan-jalan di sekitar stesen tram yang saya berhenti tersebut - Beyazit. Rupanya di sini terletak Sultan Sulaiman Mosque dan juga Istanbul University.. dan persekitarannya mengingatkan saya kepada Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman disebabkan jumlah kedai yang sangat banyak.. sehinggalah saya bertemu "Grand Bazaar" yang lagi besar saiznya.

Kebanyakan kedai-kedai di sini menjual barangan mereka dengan harga yang tidak jauh bezanya - sekiranya anda mahu membeli cenderamata. Yang penting anda kena pandai menawar harga barang yang dijual.

Saya hanya berseorangan berjalan di sekitar bazaar tersebut. Satu masa di celah-celah orang ramai ada seorang polis memegang "metal detector" - yang saya biasa lihat di lapangan terbang untuk mengimbas backpack saya yang "superberat" - sebab tak mau excess baggage pada luggage saya. Jadi terpaksa mengangkut beg yang berat demi untuk menjimatkan entah berapa KG hehe.







Kemudian saya bertanyakan kepada salah seorang pekedai di situ, di mana Blue Mosque dan berapa jauh jaraknya dari Beyzati. Pekedai tu kata "Dekat saja, dalam 5-6 minit berjalan kaki". Maka saya teruskan perjalanan mengikut laluan tram di sekitar koridor kedai-kedai di situ. Kaki sebenarnya dah melecet sebab di UK pun banyak berjalan sebab takde kenderaan sendiri. Sampai saya nampak sultanahmet, dan bangunan Blue Mosque serta Hagiya Sofya yang berhampiran satu sama lain, saya tersenyum, bersyukur kerana akhirnya sampai.

Ni la namanya Jeton, sama je bulat macam Token naik LRT kat Malaysia

Namun saya tidak masuk ke dalam kerana memikirkan saya harus kembali semula ke lapangan terbang secepat mungkin - sebab tak pasti apa yang akan jadi kalau lewat kembali ke lapangan terbang (nak kena scan beg lagi etc. boarding pass balik KL dah ada pun).

Hagiya Sofya, masjid jadi gereja, then sekarang jadi muzium je


Bergambar dengan Blue Mosque, view tak berapa lawa sebab mintak orang snapkan (a stranger actually.. dah tu nak jugak gambar dengan latar belakang Blue Mosque lantak laa)


Then dah rasa macam nak balik singgah dulu bazaar, cari t-shirt, scarf (ke apa nama tah, macam muffler, beli untuk orang rumah, my mum, my mother in law...), fridge magnet, keychain semua ada dekat-dekat situ.

Kebab je tak makan sebab tak pasti la macam mana nak kenal Muslim non Muslim food kat sini, sebab sini negara sekular, tak macam di Malaysia lebih strict bab halal haramnya.

Lagipun singgah kejap je.

Then masa nak pulang semula ke airport, naik tram di Sultanahmet, berenti Zeytinburnu, ambik Metro dan balik semula ke IST.

:)



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kes Meninggal Semasa Bersukan

Selalu kita baca paper dalam tempoh terdekat ni, atlit meninggal/collapse masa main bola.

Satu benda kita mungkin tak sedar, kadar kolestrol (diet) kita perlu dijaga selain daripada bersukan.

Seorang doktor pakar yang saya jumpa beritahu, sekiranya kurus, tak semestinya kadar kolestrol rendah (apatah lagi kalau overweight, obesiti!)

Jadi biasa-biasakan periksa tahap kesihatan anda.. mungkin setahun sekali sebab kosnya agak tinggi, RM200 ke atas di hospital swasta (kat tempat gomen ada ke? Unless you're admitted kot?)


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Shopping di JUSCO

Kali ni dapat redeem voucher RM20... guna untuk topup beli bag tangan utk ibu


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Friday, April 06, 2012

Conference Trip to Cambridge, UK

I just went back from my UKSIM 2012 conference trip in University of Cambridge, UK. The last time I went out from Malaysia was in 2009, during my personal trip with wife to UK/Eire/France. This time, my employer provided travel and conference funding to the conference venue, which is awesome (super!!). 

The conference was held in 28-30th March 2012, at the Emmanuel College, Univ of Cambridge. As I did not familiar (I guess same to many of us who haven't been there) to the university, it seems that this university is more than a normal university that I ever saw. It is actually a small town, comprises 22 colleges which is scattered in the Cambridgeshire. Interesting stuffs, most of the students here are not allowed to drive a car, so they either have to get a bicycle or get on the bus. Both are convenient since the bus arrives on time, and cycling does not give much problem too  given the weather is quite cold. (I am not sure about Winter, my a friend from Malaysia chose to walk on foot instead from his home to the school, even it was winter, sounds cool, eh?).

I stayed in De Vere University Arms, just besides Parker's Piece, a huge field where usually in the afternoon the students (I guess) played football there or having chit chat with their friends on the field (something which you may not see in Malaysia, I guess since the grass is different.. and there's insects too). In the weekend or when there is strong wind, I see people playing kites there.. - I guess kids.

The university is open to everyone, much like attraction to tourists. In some colleges however, the outsiders are not allowed to enter (perhaps, they are having state of the art facility/research - I do not know, just guessing). 

As a small town, there are several shops which you notably will see if you got chance to come here:

-Mark and Spencer
-Clarks
-Apple Computer shop
-Gap and Gap for Kids
-Sunburry's - a big branch and smaller one.. you can get a bottle of mineral water for just 25-37pence here.. quite cheap
-Markets where you could buy fruits and souvenirs.

Souvenirs;
-T-shirts' prices are almost the same for all the shops, market or normal shoplots. You can expect a price tag from GBP7-GBP10 per t-shirt, or higher. If you can get cheaper price please tell so I could update.

For a Muslim like me, there are several halal food outlets over here, more than six shops spotted at Mills Road, one at Regent Street. You can even find a mosque nearby Mills road which holds two session of Jum'ah prayers due to the number of the people. I could easily spotted Malaysian faces once I get here.

To get here, there are several ways, either by train, bus (National Express) or cab. If you're rich, get a cab. Train is fast, but if you are on budget like me, take the bus, which cost GBP44.20 for return ticket from Heathrow Airport (you can opt to get "Open Return, which means it will valid within three months, but you have to call them to confirm which time you want to take as they will confirm you there will be a seat for you in the time you have chosen).

The most lovely experience is taking the punt boat, through the Cam River. It costs GBP10 per journey so I think it's worth it since you can see most colleges from the river.. and the punting boatman will also tell you the stories behind these places.