730 done ... next up, paper 731

FINALLY took the certification for the db 2 fundamentals paper today after such a long delay (supposedly there were some issues with the changeover to Prometrics as their certification provider and also the schedules of staff here). I passed with moderately bright colours (not 'flying' ler...) with 73.4% which I consider OK for a weekends' worth of studying. The paper wasn't hard, just really confusing, especially the questions about SQL of which I bombed quite badly; scoring 4/7 only. There were literally subnested-subnested-subnested-nested queries which really got me so riled up until I just tembak a few of them.

What did I learn out of all of this? Well ...

  • No two books and/or web sources actually say the same thing. At times, reading one book will contradict the contents of the other. This is true even for references such as the IBM tutorials and IBM DB2 help center. Its just plain wierd.
  • Many people attempting this test would probably have located and downloaded the e-book version of the book "DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide" by Roger E. Sanders. Word to the wise, buy the original to study else take everything you read in this pirated copy with a large pinch of salt. There are many mistakes in the book but the sample questions and paper do help you to gauge how much you need to know about each chapter. Those looking for this e-book can probably try here
  • There are 7 chapters in the IBM tutorials but only 6 are covered in the exam. Mistake or a lucky break for exam takers? No such luck unfortunately because chapter 7 covering XML using Xquery and XML extenders is actually listed under the SQL chapter. I think I got 6 questions using XML extenders/Xquery.
  • Can't find a DB2 9 reference book? Use a DB2 8 one for the majority of the text since the same SQL concepts still apply. Then just use chapters 1 and 7 to cover the changes in the latest version. I got a copy of SAMs Teach Yourself DB2 UDB for RM10 only ... a bargain really since the original price was RM179.00!!

There were a few people seated in front of me during the exam who failed the paper. This makes me wonder whether it was because they did not study or did not read the questions carefully. My second round of checking revealed so many blunders which I missed out during the first round. which brings me to the last point

  • Always read the questions and answers multiple times.

Now that thats done, its off for the next paper in June - DBAM 731 for Linux/Windows. Ughs

P/S: Turns out I have a paper published in the MJCS journal vol 20 and I didn't even know about it ... go figure. Hee hee hee

UKM-UM Choir get together was tiring ... but fun !!

Stage all set
After many discussions and meetings, finally the teams from UM and UKM/Artisukma got together for an informal session cum concert at the UKM campus on March 9th. There were gossip and discussions on the previous days' elections (of which BN suffered major losses) but that wasn't the main agenda of the day.

After a period of pemecahan air batu, we had an intimate session to get to know each other. Mainly, things are very much different in UKM as they (the choir there) do not face the same stress as the kolej choir do for the Feseni competitions in UM. Instead they are stressed out over events such as the convocation ceremony (which I fully understand after going through it twice in UMSO ... tiring + boring = no fun). They also suffer the same problems of attendance and discipline as we do ... small world isn't it?

But best conclusion, every member there is also is definitely gila 'cos the SS habit runs wild there too :D

If only they saw the reminders we stick in our practise rooms (i.e. "Don't SS"). Anyways, here are more pics from the event.

Lunch time
Warmup session
Ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh
Mah meh mee moh moo
Ughs, the dreaded UFO effect

There are better (and more) pics on other this blog -> the Cross-Junction
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Voting fever!!!

Everywhere its voting, voting, and more voting. There's the US Presidential elections, the Malaysian General Elections, American Idol selections and UK elections. First things first, US Presidential elections which are of no major concern to me ... too lazy to read up on the voting rights, details, constitutions etc (unlike my cousin 'cos its part of her ADP core subjects, hee hee hee). What I do like however is seeing how people make fun of these elections. MadTV (of which I was and still am a big fan of) had a hilarious sketch that parodied Hilary Clinton and Obama with the song Umbrella (Under-ba-rack-O-ba-ma, ba-ma, ba-ma hey hey hey).


Next up are the American Idol competitions. This week the guys were once again stronger than the girls in my opinion. The one Idol that got my vote this week was David Cook with his rendition of Lionel Ritchie's classic 'Hello' in rock ballad style ... top marks for reinventing the song and giving it a new edge. Who'd have thought that such a slow ballad could work so well with a nasty bass line with electric guitars and drums. In one word ... cool. You can view that video clip here

Looking back, I realised how much I love remakes and rearrangements of classic songs such as
  • Blake Lewis and his own beat-boxing style to Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name.
  • Baz Luhrman remixing and fusing various songs in Moulin Rouge.
  • Whitney Houston and Brandy with Rodger & Hammerstein's classic Cinderella in the Disney TV remake.
  • Paul Oakenfold's remix of Elvis' Rubberneckin
  • Jay Z and Linkin Park's Numb Encore
  • THe OST to Alvin & the Chipmunks with their takes on Daniel Powter's Bad Day and their own classic Witch Doctor (so cute)
  • Marié Digby's Umbrella ... 'ella ... 'ella

But then there are the bad ones too

  • Britney's retake on I love rock & roll was a poor copy of Joan Jett's version
  • Meatloaf's horrendous Its all coming back to me now
  • MSP's Umbrella

Anyways, to sum it up ... I love the concept of remixing and rearranging a song to make it fresh. Those familar with my arrangements will notice this very obviously in my scores. Its always great to have that surprise factor running alongside familiarity of a song.


Moving on, the Malaysian general elections. What can I say about this ... I'm neither pro or against any party though I do have some opinions on what the candidates are talking about. I won't voice them out here though as they are my own thoughts and I don't intend this to be a political blog. With two days to go, things are still pretty low-key except for a few issues such as the last minute decision of not using indelible ink to mark voters thus resulting in the EC chief's property being vandalised.

The banners, flags and colours have been flying everywhere for the past two weeks but I'm estimating the bulk of it represents the BN party. Not only content with on road advertising, they have TV ads, online ads and emails coming in ... sheesh talk about mass campaigning efforts. It's literarily stuffing information down my throat (which by the way is still VERY sore).

Driving around to and from work its obvious to see which housing areas have more Chinese, Malay or Indians based on the flags. Places like Puchong and Damansara areas are very Chinese biased with majority of BN and DAP banners but go into places like Pulau Meranti and Kayu Ara is where you start seeing flags or green moons and blue eyes (PAS and PKR for those not in the know). Funny thing is, drive all the way to Cyberjaya and you see absolutely nothing ... not one flag, not one banner. Its like the place has been excluded from the elections chaos, else nobody is bothered. I think it falls under the Sepang district so I guess their efforts of campaigning is probably more focused at housing areas.

Entering PAS country here ...

We're entering PAS country here ... plus you can now get a car wash too!!

Some areas in Puchong are overflowing
See! Told'ja
So can anyone tell me what THIS banner means?? And who the heck is BilliLim??
Vote my @$$

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