Our Punngol Topaz Flat

I just realised I hadn’t written about Lix and I getting our flat — @ Punggol Topaz! I’m absolutely excited at the prospect of oving in — even though it’s still about four years away from being built and the keys being handed over to us o_O.

The flat selection process itself was a thrilling affair. Our first choice block being more or less taken up (at least our choice floors were), we had to settle for an alternative. We listed a few flats we’d be more than happy to have (almost like our first choice, only slightly less so), and prayed/hoped/wished like anything that they wouldn’t be taken up.

As the queue numbers edged up towards our own (when we arrived the queue was at number 48, while we were at 62), it seemed that even our slightly-less than first-choice flats were going to be taken up too. But against all odds, when our queue number was called, we still had one of our slightly-less than first-choice flats left. We practically ran in.

With a few clicks, Petrine (our malay-speaking, Chinese-name-and-looking HDB rep) told us happily that our flat was still available! Just as she was about to click on the button to reserve our flat, she realised that there was still someone ahead of us in the queue, and that they hadn’t reserved their flat yet. With bated breath we waited, as Petrine helped us determine the availability of our chosen flat, conversing with her counterpart across the room in malay.

I recall a moment of silence as her counterpart checked with her own HDB-hopefuls, finally announcing a block number I cannot remember but which was certainly not what Lix and I were looking at. We got our flat!

So here I am, an ecstatic bookie (not quite an owner yet) of a Punggol Topaz flat.  Many thanks for Lix for her dilligent, careful and neat execution  of this exercise (you should see her carefully lining up the ruler, with intense concentration mind you, crossing out the units that had been taken)!

Amor Fati – The Love of Fate

I came across this philosophy of Nietzsche’s that I found absolutely beautiful and heartening, that of amor fati or the “love of fate. If anything it gave me a glimpse of the possibility that life might actually be enjoyed.

In Nietzsche’s words:

My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary […] but love it.

My 2011 Personality

Over the years I’ve pretty regularly written about the results of the personality tests I take. The majority of the tests I take tend to be that of the MBTI-type, which I find one of the most insightful personality tests, as well as one where the results I find are generally accurate.

For 2011 I’ve taken the MBTI tests again, on a couple of free websites offering the tests, as well as consulting the books I purchase just for this personality-finding purpose (FYI they’re “Please Understand Me II” and “Gifts Differing”).

And yet again, fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve gotten the two results I’ve tended to get these later years: INFJ and INTJ.

But wait, there’s more! This year, through those two books mentioned above and some consultation with Lix, it seems that I could well add INXP to the list. Lix says that I’m more of a “Perceiver” (therefore the “P”) than a “Judger” (therefore the “J”).

“Perceivers” tend to take things as they come, and are more improvisers than planners. “Judgers” on the other hand, tend to plan things in advance. I’d always thought of myself as the latter, as I’ve tended to set goals and live by deadlines I set myself.

But I can see where Lix is getting at. In many of the activities I have with her, I’m always the unplanned one, and am probably more the “perceiver” in the relationship. Too many a time I’ve gone through an anniversary or birthday or some other “special event” (including Valentines which I’d rather not celebrate) by just winging it… so maybe I am sort of a perceiver after all.

Or maybe she was just using this to tell me something?

Why the Dvorak Keyboard Layout Sucks

I just read a (really long) article on how the studies/reports behind the Dvorak keyboard layout (or simply, the Dvorak layout) could just be all part of one hell of a marketing gimmick to help dear old Mr. Dvorak sell his keyboard layout.

For those who don’t know, the Dvorak layout’s an alternative to the Qwerty keyboard layout that is found on almost all computer keyboards and — for the few that still exist — typewriters). And it’s often used in business case-studies to show the failures of market forces weeding out the lousiest innovations, along with Betamax vs. VHS),

If you’d ever heard about the Dvorak layout or if you’ve ever been interested in learning it, you probably want to read the article before you start. Because by the end of it, you probably won’t.

The authors, with too much time on their hands, did some research to find out just how true it was that the Dvorak was a better keyboard layout (as opposed to Qwerty), and whether or not the success of Qwerty was truly a market failure, in the sense that the better product didn’t manage to become the standard while its supposedly weaker sibling did.

They found it wasn’t. And that the Dvorak layout might well have been a scam all along.

My own experience with the Dvorak layout

My story. I once dabbled with Dvorak layout some time back in my Polytechnic days (erm, that’s almost 10 years ago). I remember reaching speeds of about 40 or 50 words per minute after months of practice, but gave up after realising how impractical it was.

The main problem I found wasn’t that the layout itself wasn’t suited to typing. Because it did feel more natural.

The problem was that because most computers were shared, the time taken to switch keyboard layouts and get used to one or the other was taking up much more time than it supposedly saved.

And even if you did have your own computer, if someone wanted to use it, you’d have to switch it to Qwerty for them  to use (or you can choose to appear rude and reject their request).

The Dvorak layout can help with typing tests

The Dvorak layout might enable you to achieve higher a higher raw typing score, but unless you’re aiming to win typing test contests it’s unlikely to give you much benefit.

Stick with the Qwerty layout. Master Qwerty before you consider putting in time to learning the Dvorak layout. You’ll be much happier with the returns.

Let me know your Dvorak layout stories if you have one.

Dvorak Keyboard Layout Sucks

I hoped the header grabbed your attention because it’d sure as hell grab mine. I just read a (really long) article on how the studies/reports behind the Dvorak keyboard layout could just be all part of one hell of a marketing gimmick to help dear old Mr. Dvorak sell his keyboard layout (for the uninitiated, the Dvorak keyboard layout’s an alternative to the Qwerty keyboard layout found on almost all computer keyboards and — for the few that still exist — typewriters today.)

If you’d ever heard about the Dvorak keyboard layout (used often in business case-studies to show the failures of market forces weeding out the lousiest innovations, along with the Betamax/VHS ones — way back in 2003 even I had used it as an example of the failure of market forces), or if you’ve ever been interested in learning it, you probably want to read the article.

The authors, with too much time on their hands, did some research to find out just how true it was that Dvorak was a better keyboard layout (as opposed to Qwerty), and whether or not the success of Qwerty was truly a market failure, in the sense that the better product didn’t manage to become the standard while its supposedly weaker sibling did.

On a more personal note, I once dabbled with Dvorak some time back in my Polytechnic days (erm, that’s almost 10 years ago). I remember reaching speeds of about 40 or 50 words per minute after months of practice, but gave up after realising how impractical it was (back then shared computers were the norm, and it was pretty troublesome to constantly switch back and forth between Dvorak and Qwerty whenever someone needed to use “your” computer).

Besides, my Qwerty skills were already excellent, and achieving an improvement in typing speeds on Dvorak over my then Qwerty speeds was a pretty tough task.

Let me know your Dvorak stories if you have one. If you are, I’d like to ask you one question: you a nerd or what?