BarCamp Malaysia? What Is It All About?

Several weeks ago before I went to UTHM, a friend of mine Daniel CerVentus messaged me and told me he was looking for volunteers for an event call “BarCamp”. I asked him, “What’s BarCamp?”. He then led me to some links and after reading it over and over, I still couldn’t figure out what BarCamp is. I think I can only describe it when I go for the event itself. Anyway, I missed their first volunteer meeting and I don’t think I can commit on becoming a volunteer.

BarCamp Malaysia KL Logo

Basically, it’s not that I can’t understand what it’s all about. It’s basically an event where people with like minded geeks gather around and share or maybe show off something to the rest of the people. Now that makes me wondering, what am I going to share? I’m not a programmer nor am I a software developer. I just happen to be very good in putting things together and make it work.

Last week, I decided to drop by The Garden Midvalley and take a peek and spy what the volunteers are doing. My intention wasn’t to join the volunteer group but just to give myself a reason to visit the brand new The Garden shopping mall. Here is where the BarCamp Malaysia volunteer meeting was held:

BarCamp KL Volunteer Hang Out Place @ Starbucks The Garden Midvalley
BarCamp KL Volunteer Hang Out Place @ Starbucks The Garden Midvalley

The event will be held next on July 26 – 27 at xTrain in KL. Khai Lee explanation of BarCamp is the best I’ve read. If you are interested to meet me, I’ll be there on the 26th since I have a weekly commitment every Sunday morning. Make sure you register first.

See you there!

Joomla Administration Training at UTHM

Two days after I went to Singapore, I headed down south again. This time, I had to drive my own car accompanied with a colleague of mine. I was lucky I managed to fill up my tank with a full tank of petrol the night before the price of petrol increased the day after. Unfortunately, I still have to claim back from my company the same mileage before the price hike.

Anyway, I drive off from Equine Park where my office is located at around 6am in the morning. The journey took 2 and a half hour with a maximum speed of 120km/h with my red Proton Iswara. I arrived at Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) Kampus Bandar at 8.40am just 20 minutes before my training session starts. I have never conducted any training session before, the closest I have done was organizing a training session so this would be a great experience.

There were 10 participants in my training class. The best thing about the class is how well the computer training lab at UTHM is equipped. The PC they have are all brand new Intel Core 2 processor with vPro technology. I wonder how much does it cost for just one desktop computer alone. Before the training started, we had an in-house “nasi lemak” breakfast and then to set up the network and computer for a localhost connection with Joomla.

Joomla Training at UTHM FPT
The Computer Lab at UTHM

At first my partner suggested to install every PC that is going to be use with XAMPP. I insisted that we save up the time to install on every PC to only setup and install XAMPP on one host computer and the rest of the connection is pointed to that PC’s IP address. That would be easier to control and make it almost as the same as a live website. Unlike WordPress, the best thing about Joomla is the only setting that is needed to make the image, link and database connection is configurable at configuration.php file. After all that is done, I started the class with a brief introduction of why Joomla is suitable to handle a portal instead of a static HTML and the difference and similarities between a blog and Content Management System (CMS) website.

After lunch, sensing that the class was a bit bored over the technical jargon Joomla administration has, I organized an activity exercise which was a competition between the guys and the girls. The objective was to produce the most content entered and the best-looking website into a brand new empty Joomla system one. My partner facilitated the girl’s group while I handled the guy’s group. Obviously I helped the guy’s website look much more impressive than the girls since I know a lot of short-cuts and trade off of Joomla administration.

My objective before the class is to get the participant to grasp at least 50% of what I’ve taught them. From my observation, they have achieved it and I am quite happy about it. Overall, it was a good class and I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience which I couldn’t have got if I only keep the skills to myself.

A Day Trip to Singapore

I’ve been kept busy the past several weeks and it just keeps on getting busier. Thanks to the company, I finally make use of my brand new international passport. Last week, my boss and a few other senior colleagues of mine drove to Singapore to meet with our counterpart in the same industry over there. The journey from KL to Singapore took us almost 6 hours including a few pit-stops along the way. We then used The Second Link Highway to cross the border and made it through the immigration check point. But before that, we had to fill up a Disembarkation/Embarkation Form for Visitors. The form is available free of charge at the R&R just before the Malaysian immigration check point.

Disembarkation/Embarkation Form for Visitors to Singapore

After everything clears up, we were on the highway of Singapore. Before arriving at the area where National University of Singapore is located, I was greeted by a chain of SMSes which I soon realized that my Maxis prepaid has an automatic international roaming capability. That’s good and also bad. The good is I’m still connected even if I’m not in Malaysia. The bad is for every call or SMS made and also received, the charge is 10 times greater. Luckily I only got one important phone call.

My prepaid phone roaming in Singapore

The most significant thing about Singapore that I notice straight away after arriving there is how clean the highways and streets are. I am so used to potholes and dirt on side road of Malaysian roads, I can really see the differences from where I am from. The traffic obeys the speed limit thanks to the strict law enforcement over there and significantly, the cars over there look a whole lot better unlike my almost 10 year old Proton Iswara.

Parking Lots in front of Estate Office Drive

After my boss parked the car inside NUS, we went to lunch somewhere in Clementi by taking a cab. The cab accepts credit card, now that’s something new to me. The price of the food is not much different if no currency conversion is involved.

“Makan” place in Singapore

We took another cab and went back to NUS to prepare for our scheduled meeting. The meeting was held at The Office of Estate and Development and it was a good one. We’ve learned a few valuable lessons and it’s a good start to a healthy relationship.

The Office of Estate and Development

After the meeting, we went over to Singapore Polytechnic which was about 5 minutes drive from NUS.

Singapore Polytechnic

Another meeting was held but it got short because the Singapore Polytechnic team had to rush for another meeting.

I’ve put up photos I’ve taken during the entire trip. You can check it out on the slideshow below: