Jan 04

Yes, this is one of “those” posts, where I announce the end of something that has been pretty cool.

It’s likely that close to no one will actually care, but pfft – here at freshbytes, we’ve had a good run. What originally started out as the front-end to a quasi-replacement of the BWS Online days of old has now evolved into a place where I post relective crap up, in the hopes that at least someone will read it and have their thoughts provoked. Syncing these posts to my Facebook profile has given them a new lease on life, even if the readers aren’t actually visiting the website.

That’s okay – we’ve had our fun. Freshbytes has been an immensely awesome learning experience for me especially, as webmaster, curator, and overseer of operations. Amongst other things, freshbytes has been the proving ground, the stable horse, and the trainer, all on the one webhosting account. It’s also been the home to many an education – in particular, a HUGE introduction to the blogosphere and especially WordPress, which is by far and away the most useful blogging platform that I’ve come across.

While I may be shutting down this WordPress front end in the near future, that doesn’t mean the complete end. We’ve (or maybe I should make that I, in absence of co-conspirator Chris) still got a couple of decent posts up our sleeves, and those should be written with an increased frequency over the next month. The plan from there is to move all existing content which I deem worthy across to my main, personal, blog. This’ll most likely include those awesome GarageBand compositions, the NoSpoon LAN details and pictures, as well as some of the better blog posts.

Behind the scenes, this blog will be kept intact – however, that doesn’t mean that it will be updated (and I’ll tell you right now – I don’t intend to update this website after January 2010). I’ve registered the domain name for an additional two years – just so everything has a chance to make the move to my other domain. Images which depend on the freshbytes domain will be trickier – while the files hav already been copied across, I’ll probably have to write a htaccess rule to make matching URL requests automatically find the right file in the new domain. It shouldn’t be too hard. ;)

So, here’s to what we had. Here’s to the education, learning, and experiences that freshbytes offered us. Here’s to the blog posts that provoked thoughts, made people think, and allowed them to work things out.

Most of all, here’s to you.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , ,

Dec 28

No, I’m not talking about those sorts of benefits. Instead, I’m talking about benefits of the intellectual kind – the ability to calculate things insanely quickly, the ability to do huge sums in my head, the natural understanding of concepts, strategies, and techniques. You’ve all heard of them – those genii who live glamerous but secluded lives, squandering their hard-earned on their many earthly posessions, passions, or even both.

If life were a Hollywood movie, they would be the ones the government calls on in times of emergency, when the words “national security” are whispered between men in black trenchcoats.

Enough of the narrative, though – needless to say, I’m not like those guys. Instead, I have to endure social awkwardness without any of the usual side-effects of such people, such as those with mild autism – their gifts are genius-level intelligence, a razor-sharp mind, and a helping of witty repartee at my disposal.

Sure, I don’t think I do too badly when around friends. The days of where I would top the class in almost every test are long gone, though, and now all I have to look forward to is scraping a mark meager enough for me to pass – but only just.

Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I’d like to be one of those guys, like the Bug in Matthew Reilly’s Hover Car Racer, who can calculate the most effecient course through a maze-like combination of gates and point scores, all in a number of seconds. There’s also this game on the iPhone, whose name I cannot remember at this particular time, where you had to flip a tile to set off a chain-reaction of other tiles. I’m sure that there’s some sort of pattern that would allow me to create a tileset that would continue indefinitely, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out the correct one – my highest scores thus far have been flukes from a random arrangement of tiles.

Smart? I’d love to be smart – but does intelligence come with being smart, or is it the other way around?

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: ,

Nov 29

Against the flow

Blog, Misc Comments Off

Alternative title: “Hypocritical”.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve discovered that I’m the kinda person to go against the grain, against the flow.

The most basic example of this I can think of is the fact that if you say no, I’ll be more inclined to say yes. And conversely, if you say yes I’ll be inclined to say no – not because I like having a conflicting opinion, but because most of the time, what you’re saying doesn’t match my own thoughts and actions.

Uni results were released last Friday, and one of my friends remarked that he thought he worked harder than all of us – which was probably true, and his results certainly reflected that, after my reply of “well, I cant say that wasn’t expected, after all, you did put in the hard yards”. You might be able to tell I’m a firm believer of the “reap what you sow” philsophy, but that’s for another time.

Anyway, he made the remark in such a way that prompted me to think – and I could be reading too much into it, after all, it was sent in an email – that he’s the kind of guy who has “always look on the bright side of life” attitude. Which is weird, because he doesn’t apply it to other parts of his life, but in any case, he said it in such a way that implied that he thought if you do everything right, there’s no way you can go wrong.

Now it could just be me, but even my meagre experience in the IT industry says that that’s almost never the case, all because of the one element that’s prone to errors – humans. Yeah. I came to realize that no matter how many precautions you make to ensure stuff doesn’t stuff up, it invariably will, one way or another.

Which, in itself, is kinda weird because usually I’m a “look on the bright side” person. If someone says the situation looks bleak, I’ll usually manage to find a silver lining.

I’m not actually sure what I’m trying to say this time around, because it’s all still a huge jumble in my head. Maybe I’m a hypocrit because sometimes I’ll swing both ways – but rarely am I a fence-sitter (unless I really don’t care).


I guess we’ll leave it at that, then. Hopefully I’m not the only person to note this, the fact that I’m constantly at loggerheads, even with people I call friends. =/

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: ,

Nov 23

There’s a Stargate Atlantis episode titled Sanctuary. In it, Major Sheppard and the gang are being pursued  by the wraith (for the umpteenth time), and the just happen to come across a planet which, among other things, offers them a safehaven from the wraith.

When describing a sanctuary (as opposed to a safehaven), I would usually err on the side of “spiritual/meditation/place to center yourself”, but really, anywhere can be a sanctuary, so long as it takes you away from the daily grind – whether that be work, school, or whatever you do for a living.

One of my friends also has their own sanctuary – every once in a while (okay, a couple of times a year), he’ll go away (often at the drop of a hat) and come back a little while later, refreshed and ready for whatever the next couple of days/weeks/months will bring him. Where he goes isn’t exactly public knowledge, but those that have been agree it’s an excellent place to shoot zombies, among other things. ;)

In my mind, a sanctuary can exist in the most innocuous of locations – a shack at the beach, a good friend’s house, even something as simple as your car. As long as it’s a place where you can get away from it all, escape from whatever’s on  your mind and just *enjoy* and *relax* – that’s a sanctuary, and having one is just unbelievable.

I don’t doubt that there are a whole heap of psychological benefits to having such a sanctuary – it’s awesome to be able to take a break once in a while, and hopefully it means that you’ll be able to sort some things out, re-center yourself, and come back refreshed, renewed. I know it sounds a little corny, perhaps even a little zen-like, but realistically – isn’t that what a sanctuary is? Someplace where you can feel safe, untouchable, a place where everything has it’s own time and it’s own place?

The holidays have started, and it’s time to get down to business. Yeah, I’ve got a hell of a lot of things to do (and so many things to buy!), but this time, it looks like I’ll actually have time to do them (although it’s debatable about how much money I’ll have to buy them).

So many things, so little time…

Time to find my own sanctuary.

Have you found yours?

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , ,

Oct 12

Another day, another musing.

I don’t usually post personal (well, not too personal :P ) stuff here, only because I’ve got my own blog for that. However, with freshbytes circling the drain I think it’s time we made sure that line is well and truly blurred. Here goes.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had an unholy amount of assignments and so on unleashed upon me care of Uni – with the exam period looming large, I feel like there’s some sort of pressure for me to preform.

As I’ve struggled to figure out how to call specific functions in programming, or how to make Javascript write to cookies, or how to determine how to validate forms using HTML, I feel like there’s just no point to all of this. Really, what’s the point? A degree in Computing (whoop-de-friggin-do)? That just seems so far away, and so futile…

Once upon a time I wanted to get into Dentistry. Certain circumstances changed (most on those another time), and now I’m not so sure. That’s not to say that if I was offered a place I would turn it down – I for one know how hard it is to get into those kinds of degrees – it’s just that sometimes, things just seem unbearably hard, you know?

The thing is, I’m not actually sure what I want to do now. Once upon a time Computing was my backstop degree (that is, backup), now it’s my primary one and it’s fast becoming my most hated one. Everything’s just too hard :(

Please don’t think of me as lazy – rest assured, as long as there’s enough reward in it for me, I’ll work damn hard to dot my i’s and cross my t’s. It’s just that now, almost one-third through my wishy-washy Computing degree, it’s like everything worthwhile seems so far, far away…

It gets even harder when you consider that I’m not sure what I want to do anymore. Everyone says to do something you enjoy – I used to enjoy Computing (or more accurately, computers), but now I’m not so sure. The hard question needs to be asked, then: what do I enjoy doing?

The sad thing is that I’m not quite sure I have an answer; computers are still fun, I love tinkering around with stuff like that, but as for making a career out of it? Video games, I love playing them, but again, making a career out of it?

Then there’s my real job. Ah, Apple. Apple stuff is cool, for sure, and I’d work in an Apple Retail store in a heartbeat, but again, I have relatives who have been salesmen their whole lives, and while they’re not too bad off they’d certainly be better off if they had a degree. I know that degrees give you excellent career opportunities, licenses to travel the world, etc, etc – it’s just going through the rigmarole of getting them that hurts the most. So yeah, retail isn’t a career path I’m willing to take – stupid ignorant customers took care of that pretty quickly.

Where to from here, Benny?

That, is the real question – one that I’m not sure I have an answer to.

(Apologies for the somewhat moody post again. Blame Uni. Blame whoever you want – I couldn’t care less.)

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , , ,

Sep 24

I can tell you now, things aren’t as great as they used to be.

Even I’ll admit that I’m but a shadow of the person I used to be. Nap time in prep has well and truly passed, and even the pleasures in “guilty pleasures” has been removed; only the guilt remains.

Yes, I’m aware of how emo this particular post may sound, but hear me out. If this doesn’t particularly appeal to you, no one’s forcing you to stay.

So. If you were to tell me right at this second that everything’s just gone to hell on a handcart, I’d say you were about right.

I guess the problem comes from not knowing what I want to do. Like my Windows 7 party, I’ll go through the motions to make it seem like I have everything planned out, and had everything gone my way I would have given it everything. Unfortunately for me things haven’t gone my way, and now I’m just… lost.

It’s alsmost surreal. I lack motivation for anything, and things which seemed once enjoyable just aren’t anymore – just something to pay the bills and feed my gaming addiction, you know?

Honestly, I couldn’t care less. Procrastination is my modus operandi, and everything just seems to lack excitement, or any kind of payoff. Even things which mildly interest me, such as web development seem like utter crap when assessed. Assessment just takes all the fun out of it, you know? What’s the point, really? So I can get some piece of paper that says I can do certain things? Hoo-rah, gentlemen.

I don’t think I’ve asked myself the big questions in a little while – what do I want out of life, where do I see myself in 10 years, what do I want to be doing, etc – but even if I asked them today, I honestly wouldn’t have an answer.

It’s somewhat sad, because I know I’ve got my whole life in front of me, and yet I have no idea what to do with it. I know I want to do something (anything else would just be a waste), but I’m just not sure what.

It’s like like the lights are on, but there’s no one a home. It’s like there’s a door, and you can knock on it, but no matter how long or hard you knock, you’ll never get an answer.

Everything has fallen apart, gentlemen. And like Humpty Dumpty, I’m not quite sure I can put it all back together again.

written by Benny Ling \\ tags: , , , ,