21 Feb 2010

"Tweet This!"

Yay! I added a "Tweet This" link to the end of my blog posts. Not sure if it works though, need someone to test it out. I can't do it because it'll look silly if I tweet that I'm reading my own blog posts... :S

I'll make this short. I wanted to post this yesterday, but I was too busy helping out my brother in composing music. And this is another song, but I won't say for which event yet. I'll just say the organizer of this competition is quite well known to Singapore.

And speaking of Twitter earlier, I've gotten a boost in Twitter activity. I seem to be tweeting more often and following more people now, compared to before the CNY break. Probably because I finally had the time to do so.

13 Feb 2010

Year of the Tiger... and the Day of Romance

It's really quite rare that these two holidays can actually coincide; it has only happened about 3 times since 1900, and probably won't happen again for a few decades! There's been quite a dilemma about which should be celebrated here in Singapore. The Chinese people have been wondering about whether to spend time with their partners or with their families, whether love and romance is more important than family bonding etc. There's little in common between these two events: besides the plentiful use of red, there is also the dinner(family reunion or date), and the loss of money(given away or spent)!

Other than that, they are very VERY different. The receiving party in V-Day is usually the girl, whereas for CNY both give and receive. On V-Day items given include chocolates, flowers, bracelets etc, while CNY usually just involves oranges and red packets. V-Day celebrations are usually most evident at night with all the romantic dinner dates, while the CNY festive mood is present before and after dark. This is why the Chinese usually have to pick just one to go along with, since each event has totally contrasting demands from the person!

6 Feb 2010

Break This Code!

uxq eai hiaswlrj wvttfdc oi 
wqmvxl rdiy esykhtqjt fhzq hhi 
soerbcn sxfeyby ugd ziypu tnbbz 
ol mm nmcsq


Don't understand the gibberish above? That's what this whole post is about, fortunately. You'll find out what it means later.

Ciphers have been used for many years already, even by Julius Caesar. He used a very simple method that most of us probably know already, which is named after him: the Caesar cipher/shift. You take your normal alphabet, and simply shift it a few letters to get your cipher! For example:

Plain:  ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Cipher: EFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCD

In this case, HEAD in plain text would translate to LIEH in cipher text. Pretty simple! Similarly, the cipher text FVMRK QSVI EQQS would mean BRING MORE AMMO. (If I didn't make any mistakes)

However, most people wouldn't be stupid enough to neatly space out all the words; they can lump in into one lump like FVMRKQSVIEQQS(and you're supposed to be smart enough to figure out what BRINGMOREAMMO means), or even worse, create fixed letter "blocks"(like 3-letter groups): FVM RKQ SVI EQQ S, and this can add a challenge to whoever's trying to decode the intercepted message.

There's a variation to this cipher: you decide on a keyword(s) to use, e.g. SINGAPOREAN. That would be used for the first few letters of the cipher alphabet, but removing redundant letters like the second A and N. So you have this: