Now, That is What I Call Speed

Whoa! We just upgraded our internet connection to a 2Mbps plan and so far we got this actual speed from speakeasy:

Internet Speed

Now, isn’t that great. So far, we haven’t experienced any buffering while watching youtube videos!

For how much? 400 Qatari Riyals (about USD 110) per month. That’s a lot of money, huh? I’m just glad we are 5 in the house to share with the cost.

But it’s a great experience. Looking forward to someday find myself cry in exasperation when I’m back to reality with slower DSL internet connection, hopefully not back to dial-up though…..:)

The FEN Standard

In my world wide web exploration, I just learned today how to read and interpret a fen standard or notation.

FEN stands for Forsyth-Edwards Notation. It is used to describe the particular position in a chess game. As compared against a PGN (Portable Game notation) file, a FEN describes the position at that particular point in time, while PGN describes how the game went on from the first move to the last. It’s weird that I was able to relate this two types of chess files to accounting and financial reporting. FEN is like the balance sheet, which presents the financial condition of an entity at a certain point in time. While, on the other hand, PGN is like the income statement, which presents how the operation went during a period of time.

fen-pgn

Usually, when using chess applications, the program has the ability to save fen files as well as read and show automatically what is described in the fen file. However, what if you have no chess program to analyze this series of codes? How do you set up the position in say an actual chessboard to analyze that particular position?

One might wonder, why do you still need a fen file when you can have a position illustrated by an image (i.e., jpg, gif, bmp, tif, png, etc. type of files)?

  1. You cannot import the image file into your chess program and play through the game to analyze the position
  2. An image alone lacked a lot of data

To illustrate, take a look at the diagram below:

Chess Position

In this illustration, what do you miss?

Answer:

  1. Active Color – which color is to move next
  2. Castling Availability – Is queenside or kingside castling (in-rook) still available to either black or white?
  3. En Passant Target Square – Can white/black make an en passant capture? In this specific example, how can you determine whether white can capture en passant at the pawn at d6?

This is where FEN comes into the picture. The following notation depicts the same position as above, with additional useful information to analyze the position:

r2qk2r/pp2ppp1/1n4n1/2ppP1Bp/1b1P2b1/P1N2N2/1PP1BPPP/R1Q1K2R w KQkq – 0 8

This notation is composed of six data fields. The first being:

r2qk2r/pp2ppp1/1n4n1/2ppP1Bp/1b1P2b1/P1N2N2/1PP1BPPP/R1Q1K2R

…which is the piece placement data. It corresponds directly to the board coordinates starting from the eighth rank, from left to right. The small letters represent black, while the capital ones are white (where q-queen, k-king, b-bishop, r-rook, n-knight, p-pawn). The numbers represent the number of blank squares between last and next pieces described.

The second field, “w”, describes the active color and tells that white is to move next.

Castling availability is the third field. “KQkq” enjoins that both colors can still castle queenside or kingside. Of course, without this field, how would you know if the white or black king or the rooks have already moved and back to prohibit castling on that side? Note that this pertains to the “potential” future castling availabilitty, regardless of if there are any other pieces that block the rook and king at the moment. Capital letters represent white, and small letters black. K/k=kingside, Q/q=queenside. Other possible combinations include: Kkq, Kq, kq, etc. White always precede black, and the kingside always precede the queenside. If there are no castling available a “-” is used.

The fourth field (“-” in this case)is the en passant target square. It is only given if the last move was a pawn advance of two squares. Otherwise, “-” is again used. If given, it should represent the coordinates of the square at which the active player can capture via en passant. Obviously, it should be one of the squares in the 3rd and 6th rank. Examples include: e3, e6, d3, f6, etc.

The fifth field (0 in this example) is the halfmove clock. It is the measure of the number of halfmoves since the last pawn advance or capturing move. This value is used for the fifty move draw rule.

The sixth and the last field (8 in this case) is the fullmove number. It is measured by adding 1 to the nth move by black.

So, in conclusion, it’s not always true that a picture paints a thousand words.

Sherwin’s Top 10 Albums

guest-post-iconThis is a guest post from Sherwin.

I’m done with my audit and still assigned to this client for another week. I’m so damn bored. So I decided to kill time and list down my 10 favorite albums of all time. Here it goes:

 

1. Nevermind – Nirvana
NirvanaNo album had such an overpowering impact on me – I was 13 year old kid who was not interested at music at all when all of a sudden I turned to rock. A few months later, I bought a guitar and started playing. The song “Come as you are” was the first song I learned to play. I also played the song “Lithuim” at an office Christmas party in 2001 – I think I did a good job in impersonating Kurt Cobain. Cobain is a gifted song writer. The 12 songs, which are catchy, melodic and powerful, are stuck in my head like peanut butter in the brain. This album changed my life and millions of other lives.

2. Dirt – Alice In Chains
DirtDirt is AIC’s masterpiece. It is the ultimate drug album of the 90’s. Songs like “Junkhead”, “Sickman”, “Godsmack”, “Angry Chair”, “Hate to Feel” and the title track “Dirt” are about Layne Staley’s drug addiction. Staley died due to drug overdose in 2002. Staley’s vocal gives the album its dark and gloomy feel while Jerry Cantrell’s grinding riffs will make you feel like dirt. This album also includes the hits “Rooster”, “Down in a Hole” and “Would”. I always sing along to all 13 tracks of this album every time it’s playing and yes, including the 43 second song “Iron Gland”.

3. Ten – Pearl Jam
Ten - Pearl JamTen is Pearl Jam’s debut album. The album’s name is based on the jersey number of NBA player Mookie Blaylock, which was also Pearl Jam’s name before Mookie told the band to stop using his name. It’s really hard for me to pick what PJ album to include in my top 10 because I love all 8 studio albums. If it wasn’t for Nevermind and Dirt, this would’ve been number 1. Ten is Pearl Jam’s most commercially successful album selling 15 million copies worldwide and producing the songs “Jeremy”, “Alive” and “Even Flow”.

Listening to this album tears me up sometimes, it’s such an emotional album. Eddie Vedder’s voice is bigger than the Pacific Ocean. You can feel his anger and pain through the songs. Mike McCready’s guitar solos are amazing especially when he plays them live. He plays the solos differently each time. I saw Pearl Jam in 1995 and 2006. I remember skipping school in 1995 to go to Manila (from Tarlac) to watch them. They put on a great show. The 2 shows I’ve seen are probably in the top 10 moments of my life.

4. Superunknown – Soundgarden
SoundgardenSoundgarden has the heaviest sound among the Seattle bands. This album sounds lighter than the previous albums – “Louder Than Love” and “Badmotorfinger”. Although I prefer the old heavy Soundgarden sound, this album is their finest work. It sounds like the old Soundgarden with a touch of the Beatles. One of my favorite songs, “Fell on Black Days”, is in this album. Most of the songs here have alternate tunings (on guitar/bass) so they are pretty hard to play. Singing along with Chris Cornell can cut a nerve in your neck. Listen to Superunknown and you’ll find out what I mean.

5. Temple of the Dog – Temple of the Dog
Temple of the DogTemple of the Dog is collaboration between Soundgarden members Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron and Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Mike McCready. The album is a tribute to Andrew Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone, roommate of Chris Cornell and former bandmate of Gossard and Ament. Eddie Vedder appeared in the song “Hunger Strike”. The duet between Cornell and Vedder is classic. The album also featured Mike McCready’s first guitar solo on the song “Reach Down”. I didn’t know the album existed until I discovered Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Finding it was like finding a gem.

6. Are You Experienced? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Are You ExperiencedJimi Hendrix is the greatest guitarist ever. No doubt about it. He is number 1 in Rolling Stones Magazine’s greatest guitarist of all time list. I bought a white fender Stratocaster because of him (but I can’t play like him). My uncle introduced me to Hendrix when he found out that I was playing guitar. “Are You Experienced?” was Jimi’s first album and featured his excellent and superb guitar playing skills. This album has 3 versions, I have the US CD version which I think is the best. From “Purple Haze” to “Red House”, every song is worth it.

7. Siamese Dreams – The Smashing Pumpkins
Siamese DreamMy mother bought me this record in 1994 as a birthday gift. The Pumpkins pushed further from Nineties alt-rock to a grander, orchestrated sound with multiple guitar parts, strings and a Mellotron. Loved the guitar parts. It’s the main reason I bought a Digitech Whammy pedal (the guitar effect that was used on most of the guitar solos on this record).

8. Achtung Baby – U2
Achtung BabyI have U2’s 2 Greatest Hits album and owned only 1 studio album & this one. I got this record the same time I got Nirvana’s Nevermind. I don’t really know why I like this album. After listening to it for a number of times, it just grew in me. This disc is packed with hits “Even Better than the Real Thing”, “One”, “The Fly” and “Mysterious Ways”.

9. Back in Black – AC/DC
Back in BlackAC/DC’s first album with singer Brian Johnson after Bon Scott died. It’s strange that they sound the same. Back in Black features a great rhythm section from Malcolm Young and killer lead guitars from Angus Young. Most AC/DC albums have only 1 or 2 hits in them, this album generated AC/DC’s most popular songs “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Back in Black”, “Shoot to Thrill”, “Hells Bells” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Polution”. A little trivia: The title track “Back in Black” is the first song Kurt Cobain learned to play on guitar.

10. Metallica – Metallica
MetallicaAlso known as the “Black” album, this opened the doors to other Metallica albums and heavy metal music. I’m not too much of a heavy metal guy, the only metal bands I like are Metallica, Pantera and Megadeth. Listening to the black album makes me bang my head naturally.

ALMOST MADE IT:
11. Purple – Stone Temple Pilots
12. Automatic for the People – REM
13. The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails
14. Vs. – Pearl Jam
15. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols

Thanks to Deuts.net

deuts.net photography 101

I don’t think I still need to create a photoblog. Instead, I plan to retain the coppermine gallery, and anything related to deuts.net photography will be posted here.

(Note: This blog is using the lightbox plugin for images. Please wait for the whole page to load first before clicking on the images to activate the javascript lightbox properly. The images are grouped in the lightbox, so that you can click on the right-side of the image to view forward, and the left-side to view the previous image.

Betos Menu

All Meat

Betos Icecream

Betos Belt

Betos

Barista

Bar Starbucks

PS. The whole album can be found here.

HSBC-Qatar Banking Experience

hsbcWhen we were new in Qatar, we were scouting for a bank that can accomodate our banking needs especially for payroll account purposes. A legion of the banks here offer high levels of average maintaining balance, until we found out about the service by Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). HSBC offered no (zero/nil) maintaining balance for employees of pre-determined employers, and our employer was one of them. So we grabbed that opportunity and eventually learned about its lousy service.

  1. It is one of the slowest, if not the slowest internet banking site.
  2. Its CSR presumes you know nothing, and I mean nothing, about internet banking. They won’t believe this and that error happened when you performed this and that transaction.
  3. You can’t transfer QR 1,000 or more in a single transaction even to your another HSBC account. Even when paying your credit card bills online, you need to repeat the transfers if your bill reached QR 1,000.
  4. Their system doesn’t recognize if you have already paid your credit card bill before the due date. They will autodebit your current account (except if you have nil balance) on the due date for the amount of the bill, even if you have paid it already in full prior to that day.
  5. No real-time detail of credit card purchases. You still have to wait for your billing statement to examine the details of your credit card purchases.
  6. More. I know there are more, but that I can’t remember them now. I’ll just have to update this or post in another entry in the future.

Wesley So, the Gifted Child

Indeed, Wesley So holds up to the expectation of him as Promil’s gifted child a long time ago. Now at the age of 13, he’s the Philippines’ youngest IM (besting even Mark Paragua), rated at 2519 in the April 2007 FIDE rankings, he grabbed the fourth spot in the countries best chess players trailing behind Grandmasters Antonio Rogelio Jr. (2539), Mark Paragua and Eugenio Torre (both 2532).

Wesley So(Photo courtesy of Rooty Hill Chess)

Wesley is well on the way to becoming the Philippines’ next grandmaster. He’s not going to be the youngest in history — that honour belongs to Sergey Karjakin, but already he’s a long way ahead of Bobby Fischer, who earned his title at 15 years and 6 months.
Source

Last November 2006, So already gained his first GM norm.

I haven’t gone through all the games of this kid over at chessgames.com, yet here’s one game that proves his brilliance.

Note: In any case that the Chess Publisher should break down, you can always refer to DEUTS.NET PGN VIEWER, courtesy of jspngviewer.

Visit DEUTS.NET PGN VIEWER NOW.

Update: No more DEUTS.NET PGN VIEWER.