Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Bye 2013, Hello 2014

_DSC2023It’s new year’s eve today. Many people like to take this time to look back in the year to review the things they’ve done or the events that have taken place. I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’ll talk about a couple of random things.

Firstly, there’s this matter of the sorry state of Linux. It’s 2013. It’s still not ready for prime time on a noob’s desktop. Yes, yes, I know many Linux fanatics will beg to differ. But I’m entitled to my opinion. You see, my home Ubuntu box broke apart. I realise it was a non-trivial configuration, and it isn’t entirely Ubuntu’s fault. Still, though, as a user, I need to blame someone.

That my Ubuntu box broke was particularly annoying, because, my pfSense router was installed as a virtual machine instance in that box. So when the host broke, the router broke. That was my Internet gateway. I couldn’t use my notebook to surf the Internet to find information, at least not via my home broadband. I couldn’t download a new Ubuntu image to install too.

I was very tempted to go to CentOS. However, in the interest of minimising changes at this critical juncture, the sensible thing would be to just continue to go with Ubuntu.

The experience upgrading OS X on an Apple hardware is so very different. Even though I will still do the necessary due diligence to backup my stuffs, I do the upgrade with much higher confidence that everything will work out right, and it will be done in no time. In fact, I would upgrade my primary computer with little worry, even if I only have a small window of “free time”.

With Ubuntu, on the other hand, I would have to pick an “auspicious date”, when I have plenty of free time, like pretty much the whole of the day, and then cross my fingers that everything will go smoothly.

Linux has no doubt been improving over the years. The trouble is that all the competition is also improving further, and they are doing so at a faster rate than Linux.

The next thing is about one of my pet peeves: cyclists on the roads. I’ve talked about this before, but perhaps in a far more balanced, politically correct, tone. But I think this topic deserves some bluntness and brutally honest thoughts. The past year, there has been a lot of viral sharing on social media about the dangerous things that some cyclists are doing, how they are sometimes the aggressor on the roads, and how sometimes they are the ones blatantly at fault for accidents.

I don’t think anyone wants accidents. Not motorists, not pedestrians, and not the cyclists. The trouble is that the way some cyclists are riding on the roads, they might as well be carrying a sign that reads “PLEASE KILL ME”. I apologise for being so brutally blunt about it. But really.

The other day there was this idiot riding an exotic bicycle, you know, the sort where the rider is practically in a supine (lying face up ) position. He rode with a “convoy” surrounding him, for protection, I guess. Yes, he really needs protection. But if the roads are so dangerous, perhaps just cycle elsewhere? Anyway, that’s besides the point. So the convoy made a u-turn, cut across three lanes to get the the left side of the road, practically behaving like they were a heavy vehicle bullying all the other motorists, and thus forcing everyone to slow down to give way to them. A few moments later, realising there was a temporary obstruction (stopped vehicle) on the leftmost lane, they switched lanes without slowing down, again expecting everyone else to give way again. A normal vehicle would have slowed down, perhaps come to a stop, behind the obstruction, waiting for a suitable break in traffic to change lanes.

Now, I have many friends who are cycling enthusiasts. They are really happy about integrating with society at large, understanding that there are gives and takes, and conduct themselves in a manner that brings peace and harmony with other road users.

There are others, however, who go around talking about their rights, how the government and society owes them safe passage on the roads. The other day I overhead an idiot talking about how unclear the markings are on the parks connector. You see, they are talking about rights again. About which side of the park connector path is for cyclists. With this sort of attitude, you think they could be peacefully sharing our roads?

Another incident that I mentioned before is about how some idiots criticised the government for the lack of park connector continuity because an overhead crossing across an expressway did not include a ramp. If you can cycle, surely you are able bodied enough to climb the stairs. If any improvement is needed on these overhead bridges, it’s the accessibility for disabled people and the elderly. Certainly not for cyclists.

I used to cycle, and I used to consider myself quite neutral on this topic of cycling on roads. These days, however, I think we have too many vocal cycling enthusiasts who are placing their interests and convenience ahead of everyone else in the society they live in. It’s gotten to a point that others are genuinely getting quite frustrated with them.

I’ll have respect for those cyclists who are happy to share the roads properly, and I’ll be happy to give them space. But those selfish cyclists who only care about their own rights, well, I hope there’s a way to ban you from cycling. On roads and elsewhere. Permanently. The roads are part of a public transportation infrastructure. It is not something for your recreational convenience.


Singapore is a unique city with its own unique problems. It’s not so simple to take a solution from another country and just plop it down here. Having said that, sometimes it is unthinkable that our government could make such humongous blunders. Such as the opening of the new Marina Costal Expressway, which on its first weekday of operation had already become dubbed the Most Congested Expressway.

It sometimes feels very disappointing that with our very highly paid politicians, and a government overflowing with scholars, that down-to-earth problems can’t be properly handled.

Alright, that’s enough of complaining on this new year eve.

Happy New Year 2014! We are certainly looking forward to a better, happier, healthier, and more prosperous, year ahead.

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