Google In Malaysia II

More than a year after I wrote this post: Google In Malaysia, and more than a year after Hanson Toh was appointed as Malaysia Google Consultant, we may actually have a real good news.

I just saw in TV3’s Buletin Utama that Malaysia Prime Minister met Google’s CEO in Switzerland (World Economic Forum) and they do have intention to have a physical presence in Malaysia.

For everyone who have ever dreamed of working for Google (to become a Googler), there might just be a chance soon. A chance is good enough – I doubt that it is going to be very easy to get into Google 🙂

Apple MacBook Air, Anyone?

MacBook Air

I can’t believe my eyes when I saw this notebook. It’s as thin as air hence the perfect name is given. At 1.94cm, it is as thick as two foolscap binders stacked on top of each other. The weight of 1.36kg is simply acceptable.

It looks like I made the right decision not to get myself a MacBook Pro late last year. Of course, we still don’t know how much it’ll cost and when will it arrive in Malaysia. It has just been launched in the States.

At that thickness I would never though this machine would be able to have the “almost” normal configuration. It comes with either 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, standard 2GB RAM, 13.3″ screen, the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi, built-in Micro-DVI output (VGA & DVI with provided adapters, S-Video & Composite with optional adapters), the cool backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor, and a battery that lasts for 5 hours.

Did I mention about storage? It comes standard with a traditional 4200RPM IDE (aka parallel ATA) or optionally a 64GB solid-state drive. The SSD is cool, and would be very invulnerable to shocks caused by moving round.

Well, that’s my summary. Go here for a detailed spec. Now, let me spend some time to watch the guided tour. 🙂

MasterCard/Visa Promotion Fraud Attempt

What great way to start 2008 with a pile of money obtained from other people’s credit cards? I am writing to share my experience today.

I am lucky I am not that stupid although I didn’t realize an obvious bit earlier during the call. By the way the call came is as “Private”

Caller: Is this Mr. Ady Romantika?
Me: Speaking.
Caller: My name is XXXX from MasterCard and Visa customer support. You have been selected to receive a discount card for purchases using your MasterCard and Visa. You will receive up to 30% of discount. The reason we do this is to help make sure our good customers will not be burdened by credit card debts.
Me: I am lucky so please send the discount card to my house. What do you need?
Caller: We need to verify your details
Me: OK, shoot.
Caller: Which bank’s credit card do you use? (At this point I started to be suspicious)
Me: Bank A, Bank B, and Bank C
Caller: Can you give me the expiry dates of each card?
Me: XXYY, XXYY, XXYY (I was dumb)
Caller: OK can you tell me each card is Visa or MasterCard?
Me: MasterCard, Visa, MasterCard.
Caller: OK. For the Bank B card, it starts with XXXX right?
Me: Yes.
Caller: The next number is Y, right? What’s the next number, A or B?
Me: A (I know, dumb again)
Caller: And then? (At this moment I know she is going to ask me the whole credit card number)
Me: Right, so I can’t even authenticate you and you expect me to give me my whole credit card number. Next you’re going to ask me my 3 digit CV2 code?
… She hung up …

You see, even though the caller did know the first digit of my credit card number it does not prove anything. The prefix number of Visa is always 4, and the next 4 digits is assigned to the financial institution issuing the card. It’s no mystery.

In this case I should have realized that she is a fraud when she said she’s from Visa & MasterCard customer support. Those 2 are different organizations, so it’s not logical they share the same customer support.

Notice how she tried to be as technical, procedural, and as patient as possible to get me convinced.

I hope that I didn’t go too far by providing bank names and expiry dates! If anyone from Maxis (my provider) is reading this and is interested to track the call (if possible) I am more than willing to help. Maybe in the telco side private numbers are recorded? And since all phones should be registered it should not be that difficult to lodge a police report?

This kind of people deserves to be awarded some free years at the “big mansion”. Be careful people!!!

To Be Or Not To Be

I wish I had found the site “Joel on Software” by Joel Spolsky earlier in my life. It contains a lot of precious insights and good points in the area of software development.

Being a partial developer myself, I would have never thought of doing programming as a full day job anymore in this lifetime. However, reading on how Fog Creek values their programmers made me realize that there just might be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve also been reading Joel’s book: Smart and Gets Things Done. Although his style might not be suited for many people especially the typical management, I see it as a very good way to get good technical staff and to retain them in an organization.

Programmers are human too, and for everyone there’s a price. Just keep them happy and they’ll do a good job.

The book is an interesting read for those who can keep an open mind; programmers and management alike. Just don’t bother to get it if you already have a firm way of managing people and not willing to change. Trust me, this is no conventional way of managing technical people. Conventional managers will only scoop some of the points that are advantageous to them, not for everyone.

As for me I don’t think I’ll have any chance to work in the States, perhaps one day I can create such company myself. Who knows…