When you always had error message (permission denied) when updating Miktex via it’s GUI, even though you have run it as an administrator, try running “mpm –admin –update” from an elevated “cmd” (that is, run cmd as an administrator).

For those of you who enjoy the reliability of Photorec as a last resort of file / data recovery, but instead prefer the Foremost​ way of organizing the output into file extension directories, you might want to check it out:

https://github.com/wahyuadi/classify-recup

It is a Bourne-again Shell (Bash) script that is doing just that. As you may have expected, I use rsync instead of cp, mv or any other copying tools to anticipate process interruption due to things like network hiccup (you store the recovered files somewhere on the network, don’t you?) or disk space running out on target directories.

A note to Windows user: You may want to install Cygwin or find Bash interpreter around you. Chances are, your infrastructure also have at least one of these: QNAP NAS, Samba file server, Mac Os machines, Linux / BSD servers, etc. Or better yet, write your own batch scripts which incorporates robocopy as a rsync replacement. The rest should be pretty straightforward. (I don’t know if that is the case with awk, sed, sort, uniq and grep, though.)

RS

March 26, 2008

Gosh! How can you *still* consider Roy Suryo as an expert? What contribution (if any) has he made to ICT community other than vague methods (if any) of elaborating such and such porn (motion) pictures as fake or not? The 3-stanza Indonesia Raya anthem that had revealed how uninformed he was about its history while at the same time blamed others (Yayasan Air Putih, Des Alwi, etc) for his own lack of research? And after all of these, why is he quoted when he clearly, purposely insinuate bloggers and hackers like this:

“Saya yakin para blogger dan hacker pasti akan melakukan serangan terhadap sistem itu. Tetapi, kemungkinan ancaman tersebut bukan berarti melemahkan niat pemerintah,” katanya.

without being confronted with those who think otherwise (as if he is the only source of truth)? If he can walk away with such insinuation, why do others get into trouble when doing exactly the same thing? Only they specified names instead of accusing the whole group like he did (black campaign as always), which is worse. D’oh!

As an IT practitioner myself, I don’t see any sign of his expertise in the ICT field of study. At least, I don’t trust so-called ICT expert who have no idea what are and how to separate hacker from cracker. Call me subjective, I didn’t call myself an expert.

Links: http://www.kompas.com/read.php?cnt=.xml.2008.03.25.16513265&channel=1&mn=1&idx=1

Things that I Missed

November 2, 2007

Gee… it’s been a while since my last post (16 months and you call it “a while”?). There’re things worth blogging about but never got a chance to show up here. To make it up, I just want to list anything I could remember since the time elapsed (this list can grow up, though):

  1. (August 2006) We resisted the temptation of migrating Quark Xpress/CopyDesk to Adobe InDesign/InCopy – SCEnterprise combination. Technically it would be great but I think the management had different opinions.
  2. (15 Sep 2006) My office officially moved from Jl. Diponegoro 23 to Jl. Martadinata 46, Bandung.
  3. (25-27 Dec 2006) Probably the most exhausting days of all. Working alone for 2 days while the connection from Bandung to Rancaekek broke down. My cell phone rang all the time; while I was in Rancaekek users buzzed me asking about problems to which I should troubleshoot by phone, while in Bandung I was in constant contact with Telkom Multimedia Support team to helped figured things out.
  4. (1 March 2007) After probation for a full year, I was appointed a full-time, permanent position as a IT Junior HelpDesk and Support Engineer at PT Kompas Media Nusantara.
  5. (25 Jun 2007) She joined Broadcasting Development Program Batch VII.
  6. (July 2007) She was assigned to Trans7 as a VJ (camera person and reporter at once).
  7. (Sept 2007) She was assigned as a camera person for Wisata Belanja Program.
  8. (14 Oct 2007) My family and some of the relatives came to hers to propose her to become my wife.

Within the last 2 days we at the office have tried to switch gradually (but later on turned out to be radically) from Quark Express 5.1 and CopyDesk 2.0 to Adobe InDesign and InCopy CS2 that are glued together by SCEnterprise (by WoodWing Software). We needed to test its usabilty and effectiveness before decided to buy some licensed copies. The transition was not as smooth as we thought because there were things to be considered, mainly about the learning process required and how to fit it with our working system.

In current system we use Quark Express to create page geometry and CopyDesk to place the page content and the editorial production flow was glued together by some applications we develop in-house. They work fairly good, especially our own image archive system that streamline the process from entering IPTC information to images (using K-Photo Feeder) to indexing the metadata into our own database for further searching. In addition to that, our customized watch-folder and file transporter that move the file from one place to another (and thus one state to another) accross our servers for load-balancing the process. We have our internal website as a control panel to the automatic process at the application level. As for commercial software we have for example FotoStation Pro for image management, ECRM RIP for TIFF separation from PostScript and Photoshop for automatically turn CMYK-separated TIFF files to JPEG for output visualizer.

Using InDesign and InCopy itself is not difficult for those having familiarity with Quark software. In fact, we have adopt Quark keyboard shortcut to make this transition easier. The difficult part is indeed the gluing application offered by WoodWing Software: SCEnterprise (web based), Smart Browser, Smart Style (for InDesign) and Smart Hyphen. The last 3 apps were embedded into InDesign/InCopy menu and panel once they’re installed. However, having been equipped with our complete range of in-house developed applications we undermined their capabilities the first time we saw them.

Their image archive system is not good enough for us since they can only manage the published images, while we want the rest of them to be archived to create digital image library. The performance issue also arose. Our image archiving system, managed by FotoStation in the front-end and our .NET application in the back-end, is unbeatable by their SmartMover, even if the process interval is set to 1 minute (btw, we use second as unit, unlike them) as their shortest pick-and-process interval. Uploading images/graphics directly to layout pages using SmartBrowser is also too time-consuming. That’s why we use both in this phase in case we don’t want the new ones around for the next few days.

The good side of the new system is the smooth integration of SCEnterprise within InDesign/InCopy. We can just use it and at the same time, invisible to end-users, the apps send files back and forth from the server to local filesystem every time we use Smart Connection for Save Version, CheckIn and CheckOut. The web-based SCEnterprise was meant to be used occasionally, for example in application settings maintenance and page result preview. Apparently it’s a net win over our web-based file transport system in which we should keep our web browser and Quark CopyDesk opened all the time. And on top of it, when it comes to printing to PostScript, well… there’s no need to print at all because the PDF file is created once the status of the layout page is set from “Dummy” to “Finish”. And everybody knows how to create PS file given that one. From feeding PS to ECRM RIP to sending the compressed, CMYK-separated TIFF file to Printing machine follows current standard.

Indeed, we’ve made a couple of stupid mistakes during this transition. Inserting special fraction character like 1/4 or 1/2 isn’t possible for the font Chronicle Text G1 Roman that we frequently use. Being confident enough not to test the PS output before throwing into ECRM RIP resulting in Cyan-only TIFF files. And the worst of all, we never realize until the last minute before deadline that we didn’t have to print using our custmomized print style just to create PS file. The SCEnterprise has created the PDF for us.

I think we should wait for a couple of days to see if the new system fits our needs. The learning process was not that steep; we could manage to produce half section (4 pages) in Adobe’s products (with SCEnterprise) and the rest in Quarks’s the first day we begin trials and made our way to replace all of Quark’s in the second day with no fuss in the output. Despite all the difficulties managing the changes, we are confidently looking forward to what next big hurdle awaiting.

When I see my favourite pop star, Krisdayanti, with her glamorous life, and then compare her with my elementary school teacher, for example, I can see an obvious economic inequality. Quoting Paul Graham, this phenomenon is not intrisically bad since the rewards a job offers its incumbents should be proportional to the risks it requires them to take.

Krisdayanti dedicated her entire life–privacy (no one will bear a life without it), time (almost with constant stage to stage performances and lots of agenda), money and her family–to survive in such demanding job area as entertainment. This world requires her and whoever decided to plunge themselves into it to put their best efforts to survive. Once she makes mistake, she’d better try very hard to make it up or her career will end up so bad her competitors are happy to takeover her position in the industry. There are too many examples to take; Any star’s career can be thrown away instantly by love affairs, underperformace, unexpected changing market (which is always so), lawsuits, drug abuse, copyright infringements, fierce competition, and plenty of others.

On the other hand, my teacher spends his 25 – 30 years of career by depending to a small amount of salary to support his household and expecting his old age later will be long enough for him to enjoy his far-from-adequate pension money. His working hours is constant and occasionally longer than his students’ time in classes plus addition time to make correction to his students’ homework or exam results. This working atmosphere is apparently less stressful so long as he can manage it well. And the only competition he deals with is to gain point credit so he can be promoted to higher rank or perhaps a principal.

Let’s consider the extreme case: people who earn money by risking their very lives to save others or create a comfortable life for the rest of the society. Obviously they are unfortunate to gain only a fraction (a very small one) of what a top artist can earn. Police officers and soldiers of low ranks, nurses and firefighters are one of them.

So how come these undoubtedly most risky jobs pay much less than those of fairly risky ones that entertainers would deliberately take? Does it imply that society in general put no or little respect to people who work for helping others while putting their lives at stake? If so, why?

Like anywhere in the capitalist world, jobs market adheres to supply-demand law. If you are one of few people who have certain qualifications employers dream of, you can work for any employers offering you the most. Suppose in the future your skills is widely possessed by other job seekers (because they see it promising so they learn it), you will have less bargaining power over your employer, resulting not in smaller income perhaps, but reducing your share in the market and thus limiting your options. This is what happened to average programmers since the booming of education insitutes offering degree or certification on IT related stuffs, and will soon happen to Chinese speakers in Indonesia since the reopening of diplomatic link with China on 1991.

As one may notice, supply-demand law in jobs market doesn’t work exactly like in other areas, consumer goods market for example. If you want to buy shaving cream in a store and find that it is out of stock, chances are you can easily find it in another store with roughly the same price because every store sells it. Even if it runs out too, or the price becomes higher (because the seller knows it’s rare then) you can either buy it at that rate, or use any cream to shave, or use no cream at all and still get your face clean, though less conveniently. But if you want to build a software in Java and you cannot find any decent Java programmers to commit their time to your project, you cannot hire other than Java programmers simply by raising your offer to attract them to program using the language they are not interested in the first place. In this case, perhaps you could hire less capable Java programmers and let them learn by doing your project at your dime, but then you put your entire project (and business) at stake. The lack of commodities is at some point can be managed by subsitution; the lack of human expertise is not something that can be treated as such.

Meanwhile, people usually simplify the roadmap by classifying this world into white vs. blue collar worker as well as managerial vs. technical roles and then associate one with better wage than its counterpart. It implies that certain jobs deserve high wage while others don’t simply by the social prestige they inherently have. By not denying this, people unconsciously admit that the value of a job relies on what overall impression it would make to others. Because people despise having to sweep the street (even for social service) they associate it with low payment.

It is better to say that being a street sweeper or scavenger pay you less because of 2 reasons: that nobody will normally consider it, and that it relies on nothing else but physical power. The first consequently brings lower street sweeper supply in the market, and then increases the demand and should normally make better wage, but apparently it doesn’t work this way because all street sweepers can offer is what everyone else can do if s/he wishes.

Furthermore, let’s consider the extreme negative: If nobody wants to sweep the street so that a demand for street sweeper increases, is it more likely that the wage increases proportionately? The answer is yes, so long as the raised compensation doesn’t change people’s attitude about its work nature. The only way this will likely happen is when there is no significant proportion of unskilled labors toward the overall workforce and at the same time a very low (slightly above zero) unemployment rate; both of which are utopia, even in the developed country.

So, it seems a matter of taste to decide what kind of job to take, despite the payment. It is generally believed that a “low job”, the kind that makes you deal with dust, stain, dirty stuffs and sweat you up should pay a little. It is no coincidence that jobs like these only require physical power and limited skills. (Mechanics is an anomaly. How much he earns depends fully on how skillfull he is, where he works and how critical his position is to the success of his employer. A skilled mechanic in a racing team is of very critical value.)

If an unskilled labor is asked in the interview what contribution he can offer his employer-to-be, he will probably answer: my energy. And there is nothing more abundant any employee can offer than everybody’s least leveraging capital.

Now we have 3 factors that influence the compensation level a job would normally offer in the order of ascending magnitude and thus each one supersedes the former: the intrinsic risk it has, people’s attitude toward it, and what people should give away to do it. To make up the ill-formed, restricted supply-demand law as applied specifically to job market, we can add the fourth factor: how critical the expertise (not people) is to the success or failure of the employer. It makes sense to think your expertise scarcity as a bargaining win over anyone hiring you; that’s perfectly correct in the old days. But in this competitive era it’s about how much share an expertise plays in driving company’s success. The power to make difference over the power of being “urgently required” at any time.

These combined factors explain well to security officers (personal bodyguards, policemen, armies, firefighters, etc) which were formerly regarded as anomaly in high-risk jobs paying a little. We all know that this kind of job is not for those who fear to take huge risks, so we can start presuming a higher wage for it. Since nobody will normally consider doing it (negative attitude), it should pay less. But this job requires anyone to give away his/her physical power, skill, gut and unusual working hours, resulting higher wages. Then when we see it from the fourth factor, security is also a critical expertise in doing businesses, whatever they are. So long as the business generates and manages wealth and there is demand for such wealth, security always counts. But a security to business, unless it is the core competence, is like a safe deposit box to jewellery or share bonds; it doesn’t increase the wealth a business creates, it just prevents them vaporing.

Nevertheless, not having a deposit box is also net lose for everyone, so we conclude that security officers should pay reasonably high which, again, contradicts reality.

Why contradiction? It’s because government interferes. Even in the developed countries, government always plays its cards in determining the compensation of a job despite the previous factors we have investigated. This contradiction doesn’t happen on private personal bodyguard since his employer is usually a very rich and powerful person so he can literally pay him at any price he mentions. But when it comes to security officers which happen to be state-employers, I think government pays them less because in its political mindset it cannot bear thinking it has a very organized, armed, well-trained, ubiquitous and highly-paid group of employees having legal law coercion power stand at all time behind him, where it will be a serious political threat (or balancing power, depending your preference) if it is given economic power. However, modern society is constantly evolving toward self-regulation and thus decreasing security officers demand that should make them paid less eventually.

So, government which is mainly politicians pays them less to create a subtle bargaining power over them.

Which is not effective if we add into account the fact that money is not the only motivation for taking a job, and even more absurd if we realize that both government and state-owned security officers have contributed in disrupting everyone’s chance to get paid more fairly and one’s right to defend one’s self.

So the solution to this problem is to have a state-less country, in which people govern themselves, a self-regulatory society. But as much as I think it is really possible to have it today, people in general will consider it utopia so I should give it up for now.

Therefore, I would say instead that social jobs like teachers, firefighters, police officers or nurses should be considered noble since they contribute to build social capital, a thing a society cannot buy merely by paying some fees. People can spend a lot of money to get the best education from the best school available anywhere around the globe, but any amount of pennies cannot save them if teachers, who on average take their job only for money, find another interesting jobs to earn a living or give up teaching the disobedients.

Consequently, “non-social job” holders should also contribute to society as well, not because they have to but more because they need to. Regular tax payment is at some point will help support social jobs and keep them exist at reasonable abundance that the social gears run smoothly.

Most of the time, the noble jobs make up their insufficient financial compensation by giving the holder an inner satisfaction anyone could not buy with money, whatever the price. That probably explains why there are always people whose jobs are helping people without thinking the reward, even the money as the well-known weakest driving force at all times.

 

Questioning Assumption

June 19, 2006

How often do you question your basic assumption? What if somebody comes to you and tells (with shocking evidence whatever it is) you have a completely naive belief? What would you do if later in your life you find what you strongly hold as your common sense suddenly collapse? Finding scapegoat? Resisting no matter what? Questioning the questioner's motives and assumptions? Simply ignoring him? Examining the evidence provided?

I believe, as awkward it is as physically moving outside your comfort zone, changing our belief about anything is indeed difficult. Yeah, nothing new to that. The closer it attacks your deepest source of faith, the more resistance you give. But the more interesting thing is not whether or not you deny the opposing belief, but your motives to do it. Since people are likely to defend their belief from any questioning, let's start with the motive behind their rejection.

The simple motive is pride. Nobody wants to look stupid to others. Even though he realized his belief is inferior or simply false when contrasted to the attacker's, he will blindly defend it. This motive is also easy to bend when you know how to make your idea appealing to him by pointing to the good side or whatever it is that might be of his interest. It happens to those who rejected heliocentric theory.

Another similar motive that work like the one above is economics. In this capitalist world, wealth is your life. And anything that make your wealth decreasing down to zero is threatening your life. Especially if it is questioning your basis on which you create your wealth. It's like questioning why we cannot copy our softwares and share them to help our neighborhood (oh yeah, someone's gold mine would be useless when we all agree)

And finally, the only useful rejection motives is to learn exactly how others come up with such a thought experiment and shocking conclusion. Do they use another assumptions? Are they questionable? Are the evidences validated and verified? Many surprising finding come up when we examine this thought experiment and throwing away fake, groundless assumptions. Like global warming to some degree and eugenics.

Just be aware, questioning others assumption may not ruin their belief down. You may instead amplify them unintentionally and find out that it is your motives that being questioned. Like the collapsing evolution theory.

Negotiation Skills

June 13, 2006

I found a link in Reddit that discusses about several tricks on how not to lose in negotiation. A couple of it would certainly be some trivial suggestions you already have realized when doing this (like don’t act too interested or ask for more than you expect to get), but a few more are those you more likely grasp when you do this kind of job a lot.

One of them is “Don’t get suckered by the “rules” trick“. This is when someone gives you a contract and wants you to sign it. Signing it right away or after meticulously examining it is exactly what he wants. It ‘s also his way to undermine your position as if to tell “sign it or leave it”. It’s your signature and therefore you have the right to tell him what you want or don’t want from the contract.

I wonder if I could do this. The last terms I signed was before I join the company I am working for. It felt like I had to take whatever they offered me in the first place, or otherwise I’d be damned to apply for another. But the term was quite good, so I signed it anyway. And somebody else would not be lucky enough with his. It is because employment contract was the weakest deal any employee-to-be has to close. Small changes here and there, as long as in the end they don’t change the actual figure would be fine. If you really don’t like it, perhaps you should be the boss of your own company and learn to say “I think I have a better deal. Thank you”.

Until End of This Month

June 12, 2006

Until the end of this month, I have several things to do:

  1. Squid Cache up and running on FreeBSD 6.0 (very soon)
  2. Production System documentation (June 19)
  3. PBX Data Capture program (June 30)
  4. Web-based internal phone billing system (July 2)

Another error regarding my coworker's iPod Mini was brought to my attention and it added the iConfusion to the list. It's not detected, automatically or anyhow whatsoever. I can remember how in the last 24 hours I did exactly all suggestions I found in everymac.com and dived into Apple's iPod docs. From resetting, retrying with different USB ports (yeah, like anybody didn't realize there was another thing called USB port too), restarting the computer (as always when Windows is installed), reinstalling the latest of iPod software and iTunes from the web, retrying on another PC, to restoring the iPod (heck! how could anyone restoring UNdetected iPod??). They all look fairly simple but I did them with no luck. Though I've never hands-on experienced this popular gadgets before, I still don't get to know why such beautifully designed item doesn't JUST work.

Aaahh… you might point to the connector and tell me how about that. Gee… you can read my mind. The owner of this poor iPod doesn't have spare connector to try, and yes you can bet that it was genuinely designed in California and well-assembled in China (it's written there). So there's nothing to do but telling him: 'Dude, you're so nice. Why don't you just give it to me? It's been a good stuff on the wrong hands until now.'