Joining a Toastmasters Club Is A Must

I have started attending the Toastmasters club at the downtown S.U.C.C.E.S.S. office called “Talk for Success Toastmasters” as a guest. It was started by my neighbor Suddhodan and the sessions have been helpful so far. It is held on Wednesdays from noon to 1PM and I’m petrified everytime I attend. Stage fright is the hardest thing to conquer I think but I know I have to get over it. I have yet to take on some of the roles like time keeper, table topic evaluator, speaker, etc and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to it.

Their membership benefits include books that clearly spell out the roles, etiquettes, and best practices. I have just attended two sessions and have already learned the following:

– Do not apologize and never say ‘sorry’. In previous public speaking engagements, I would apologize in advance at the start of the speech because I wasn’t a skilled speaker. This is apparently a no-no.
– Do not draw attention to your gap-fillers like ‘uhms’, ‘ahhs’, ‘you know’ , etc. This becomes apparent at Toastmasters clubs where someone is counting your gap-fillers. Just keep going.

It’s a very informal crowd and everyone is nice. You and I would probably rather go to the dentist for a root canal but joking aside, I welcome the challenge.

(Room 110, 28 Pender Street West, Vancouver | http://talk-for-success-toastmasters.wikispaces.com)

Using an external USB drive on your PS3 game console

I have just spent all day today trying to fix what could be mechanical issues on a 115GB Western Digital external USB drive. Every so often, I would hear that deathly clicking noise from the external hard drive and then lose connection to the contents of the drive. I fear that it’s life is numbered so I moved the contents to another location and low-level formatted the disk with hopes of getting more life out of it.

In order to use a USB drive with a Sony PS3 game console, it has to be formatted with FAT32 file system. Using the utilities that come with Windows XP SP3, I cannot format the entire drive with FAT32 using “format /fs:fat32” because of FAT32 file system limitations. I searched around for a utility and found freeware SwissKnife. This software let me format the entire 115GB capacity.

After that, I tried to copy all the contents back to the extenal USB drive but I ran into roadblocks again. Using Windows Explorer, the copy would start but fail after a few minutes with an unrecognized sector error message. This only seems to happen with big files over 600MB. I had no issues copying small text files however, so I attributed the error to the FAT32 limitations in Windows rather that bad blocks in the drive. I dropped to a MSDOS command prompt and used XCOPY to copy the same big files that errored out, and I was able to complete the copy with no issues.

One final tip I learned from my Nick. Copy your videos and photos into folders named VIDEO and PICTURE respectively. Make sure it’s all in uppercase. Doing this will let you display the contents easily from your PS3 game console. Enjoy.

Completed a course at BCIT: Relational Database and SQL

Back in December 2011, I just completed a 12-week evening course COMP 1630 at BCIT in downtown Vancouver. This was a great course worth 5 credits, and delved into database design, architecture, a little systems analysis, and a lot of SQL syntax. We learned about Crow’s Foot Notation in building an initial requirements design before translating that into actual tables, columns, indices, contraints, etc. It helped strengthen what I already knew of database systems and look forward to taking database administrator-type courses this year.