August 7, 2008

Finding the right people for the job

Posted in Why is it like that? at 4:52 am by qballkubal

Phew! It feels like months since my last post in here. This long absence makes me wonder: Of all the issues, news, ideas which might float all the time in this world, why am I still find it difficult to pick just one of them and write something out of it? Anyway, today I feel the urge to write again in this blog. Not because merely for the sake of keeping this blog updated. The mood has just come on to me. Perhaps, my recent work which involves in writing has induced me to write in the blog as well.

I am now working on a one year-project in human resource at my campus. The goal is to build a model for succession planning for academic manager selection in higher education institution. Although human resource is not my main interest, I realize that there are more than just hiring and interviewing people in the HRD. Now I know why a one year-training (in the so-called management trainee or business apprentice program) is a common practice in many companies. Recent research suggests that it takes around 12 months-sometimes it can be prolong in year term- for the employee to adapt and become productive. What’s more, to groom the employee for higher level position really needs a long time and there is the uncertainty of failure.

Why am I suddenly jabbering about this? Ever since I was in college, a lot of my friends and seniors complained about the long-term training in job. We used to hear from our seniors who had graduated and worked at the entry level about their long and painful road to become permanent employees. With our lack of experience and knowledge (plus the idealism of a college student) we easily took the account at the company of being so irresponsible and taking the candidates for granted. What we didn’t know at that time was the fact that finding the right people at the right number and at the right time can be so frustated for the HRD people. I remembered my friend’s opinion when we discussed about the difficulty of finding a decent job today:

We can’t blame the economy and its element as the main culprit in unemployment. From my point of view, I believe there are abundant jobs out there waiting to be filled in. I don’t know the number for sure, but I believe it can reduce the number of unemployment significantly, providing they all filled in. The problem is finding the right people to fill in the position. Out of one thousand candidates for one thousand positions, there is a chance that none of them will be fit in for the position either because of lack of competency or not enough experience. You see,it is not always the fault of the economy. Sometimes we have to take the responsibilty for not being prepared for ourselves to fill in the job with additional skills other than just academic skills.

Alongside with the issue above, retaining and grooming the right people once they are able to be found by the HRD people could be more pain in the ass. To ensure that they will become valuable assets for the organization is a very challenging and never ending jobs.

Source:

Krandoff, A. Succession Planning in a Fast-Changing World. Journal of Management Decision 34/2 pp.30-34

hrcleanup

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May 25, 2008

Worm attacked the Friendster

Posted in Why is it like that? at 12:30 pm by qballkubal

Gw sebenernya udah pernah mengalami masalah ini beberapa minggu yang lalu. Cuman, berhubung bukan masalah yang cukup besar dan gak terlalu berpengaruh dengan account Friendster gw jadinya gak gw pikirin lebih lanjut. Sampe hari ini gw melihat account FS temen gw dan masalah itu muncul lagi. Jadi penasaran juga akhirnya.

Diantara anda pengguna FS, sebagian pasti dibuat pusing dengan keanehan FS yang seolah-olah menghilangkan halaman FS anda atau teman anda dan menggantinya dengan tulisan “Saviour of the Soul” lengkap dengan smiley yang (seharusnya) imut di pojok kanan bawah. Itu bukanlah gangguan atau error dari admin FS-nya, melainkan dari serangan worm yang nge-deface halaman FS tersebut. Untungnya, ini bukan serangan dari hacker yang pro, cuman nerd amatiran yang nampak pengen eksis.

Cara untuk mengatasi masalah ini juga gak rumit, cukup ikuti langkah berikut (from Yahoo!Answer):

Goto My Profile -> Edit Profile -> Customise -> Scroll down to Add Media.

Delete this script:

#x3c;script defer type=’text/javascript’ src=’http://www.cebusale.biz/community/i…

OR,

At times the script may take different forms. Simply delete everything and you can always add in your bgmusics or whatever later.

OR,

1. Go to your “Media Box” (Edit profile -> Customize, near the bottom). Get rid of all the crap there.

2. Go back to “Home” (not your profile) and click “Post Shoutout”, and delete it.

Mudah kan? Kayanya worm ini memiliki feature self-infected dan beberapa ter-attached dengan feature tambahan dalam media box FS. So, hati- hati saat akan mengaktifkan feature ini dan pastikan gak ada script aneh yang ikut nyempil disitu.

May 18, 2008

Trojan attacked!

Posted in Uncategorized, Why is it like that? at 4:59 am by qballkubal

The creators of virus and trojan have been hinting on the growth of movie streaming and video uploading site recently. They spot these sites as new places to prove that they have genius in making us miserable by having our computer infected. My notebook got infected two weeks ago, when I was streaming one video. Apparently, there was a notification window suggested that the video is best viewed with blabla codec.msc. There I was, so foolishly and heedlessly agreed to download the codec. It was peculiar though, for in a split second the codec has successfully downloaded. I believe that my mind was not on the right place at that time, because without any hesitation I double clicked the suspicious file. What happened next was really shocked me to death. My wallpaper changed suddenly into bright blue (not blue screen though) with quite big yellow head box stated:

Warning! your computer has been infected by virus/spyware!

Please install an antivirus!

Damn! I was in the middle of finishing my last paper for this semester and suddenly my notebook was lagged because of the trojan. Apparently, this new trojan was able to use more than 70 percent of my CPU and RAM in less than one minute after it has successfully penetrated my notebook. To tell you the truth, I was really panicked. I ran the newest AVG 8 (free version) for more than three hours and the trojan was still there. After spending some time searching for any information, I found out that this trojan was recognized as trojan zlob. AVG 8 (free) can detect and remove them but somehow some of the trojans (yup, more than one. I think they could also cloned themselves once they were inside the system) could not removed and stay hacking the system.

I almost gave up and threw away the notebook to the trash, when my friend suggested me to try Kaspersky 7. He said it works even better than AVG Pro 8. It turned out he was right! With less time required to perform complete system scan than AVG 8 (Free), Kaspersky 7 was able to identify all the trojan and swept them away.

Only one problem remained, since the trojan was also smart enough to disable my windows task manager (the ctrl-alt-del feature) I had to fix it manually. It was fortunate that I still remembered how to access the registry editor, for I had been troubled before by a virus with the similar ability. Here is the way to access registry editor and enable the windows task manager (for XP) again (from amahdy):

-Open the windows registry [Run, type “regedit” then press enter]

-Open “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\” (HKCU is HKEY_CURRENT_USER)

-If there isn’t a subkey called “System” then you don’t have any configured administrative operation on the system section … ok let’s open the “gpedit.msc” again and disable the “Remove Task Manger” option … after a refresh you’ll be able to see this subkey “System” and contains a DWORD value called “DisableTaskMgr” , and its value is set to “0” …

-Actually the value “DisableTaskMgr” should not exists if “Remove Task Manger” is set to “Not Configured” … or if it has a value so “0” means “Disabled” and “1” means “Enabled” .

Make sure you don’t touch anything that you are not familiar with, for some registry entries are related to the core activity of the Windows.

Phew! What a day, spending about more than eight hours to figure out and fix the trouble. However, in the end I had to uninstall Kaspersky 7 since it crashed with Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 2 (CALD 2). Apparently, it could not recognized the database in CALD 2 and thus, labeled it as a virus (every dictionary program under the SECURE-ROM database will experience the same problem with Kaspersky 7 as CALD 2 had).

Picture from istockphoto.

May 7, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

Posted in Why is it like that? at 4:40 am by qballkubal

It was all for the greater good

I’d like to start this post with the above well-known quote. I believe that every one of you have read or heard it somewhere. Either in some novels or perhaps movies. And this is what suddenly appeared in my mind after I’ve done watching “Gone Baby Gone” (2007). I was speechless, awed, and amazed at the same time. I mean, the complexity of the story, the morale issues against the idealism of rules and laws, the strong characters, all of them was mixed perfectly with almost no flaw. Somehow I felt like I was involved in that movie, had to help Patrick, had to convince him that it is okay to do something wrong for the greater good of that child. I somehow realized (again) that idealism sometimes will bring you nowhere, that it might do you harm rather than having a good expected result.

Imagine this situation: Would you help saving one kid’s life if you find out in the future that he turns out to be a serial killer? Would you help bring back a kidnapped child if only you’ve known that her mother will only ignore her and perhaps even worse, abuse her again? Would you or would you not, kill a child molester, in order to prevent him to kidnap and abduct another under age child? The last one might be an extreme example. Yet, sometimes we just don’t realize that our good deeds backfire us.

Perhaps we just have to follow Occam’s Razor theory, that everything in the world by its nature does not have to be as complex as what it seems. Just put aside unnecessary assumptions and make it simple: wrong doing is okay as long as it is for the greater good.

entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem

(entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity)

-Franciscan friar William of Ockham-

Unfortunately, it is always not as simple as it looks like. Our concept of morality always force us to see what we want to see, not the underlying problem. We want to see that saving someone’s life is more important than thinking the possibility of that person becoming a threat for our own life in the future. Ah……such a lofty sentiment.

How about you? Where do you put yourself in such situation?

Picture from drockdamian.

April 9, 2008

A zero narrative culture….

Posted in Why is it like that? at 8:37 pm by qballkubal

Sounds like a beautiful and interesting title, doesn’t it? The title is indeed interesting but unfortunately not in the beautiful way. In fact, it has a negative and decadent connotation. A zero narrative culture is a situation in one society where its people don’t give respect to books, information, and the activity of reading as pleasure. Instead, as some analysts argue, it is a society where people prefer video toys and internet hits to real reading.

To give more understanding about this issue, let me put it this way, in an interesting question: How many of your friends and colleagues (this could include yourself) claim reading as one of their life-style, not just merely another hobby? Compare the answer with this question: How many of your friends and colleagues enjoy watching movies and tv series rather than reading a book or news paper (be it printed or online)? The answer might vary but in general I believe that the answer for the second question will be much more than the first one.

Okay, I now that this issue might be a little old and has been discussed over and over again. However, I believe that this is still interesting and important to discuss because of the impacts that it might give to our society. Bear in mind that such situation not only occurs in our beloved Indonesia, but also in the mighty America. Check out the quotation from Playboy Magazine US April Edition 2008(You don’t think that Playboy is all about naked ladies, do you?):

The United States Today is not an illiterate nation. It is an increasingly an aliterate nation, in which books, magazines, and newspaper are being killed not by censors but by an indifferent public………..2007 report by National Endowment for The Arts, 40 percent of adults from the ages 25 to 44 and nearly half of Americans from the ages 18 to 24 never-I repeat, never-read books for pleasure. Not literary classics, not bodice-ripper romances, not mysteries, not poetry, not biographies or histories, not self-help books-not even the Bible. More than half of adults, in what is supposedly the most religious nation in the Western world, cannot name the four Gospels. It seems neither the good book nor naughty books can turn nonreaders into readers.”

If reading is being stereotyped as the main activity of geek and nerd people, I wouldn’t mind being into a part of that kind of society because I could not imagine what my life is gonna be without those thick-paper kind of things. In fact, I believe that being able to read as much information as you can will attract your opposite sex friend. Nobody wants a hunk or bootylicious chick with an airhead for sure (except if what you’re looking for is sex, perhaps).

Reading is boring and I sometimes feel that too. But why such tedious activity is important? Reading can be considered as the indicators for the society to retain certain knowledge and information about the world outside them. Indeed, it may not contribute to the real benefit of one life. It also may not increase your salary, but such ability is important in the long term. How somebody can pay your salary if he or she doesn’t have the knowledge to run the business. How you can enjoy (or make sure your child) can enjoy watching movie and tv series if nobody has the knowledge in the art of making movie. How then, you can have a good design and well-built of house and car if nobody is interested in reading engineering or architecture book?

Get my point?

Source: Jacoby, S. 2008. Zero Narrative Nation. Playboy Magazine US April Edition 2008.

Picture from nftsfilm.co.uk

March 12, 2008

Mengapa harga obat mahal?

Posted in Why is it like that? at 1:26 am by qballkubal

Milis angkatan gw lagi seru ngomongin seputar kesehatan. Soalnya temen- temen cewe gw yang udah menikah sedang banyak yang mengandung. That’s why, mereka jadi aware banget soal kesehatan bayi, reproduksi, kualitas dokter kandungan mereka, dan obat- obatan. Banyak yang mengeluhkan soal mahalnya harga obat non-generik saat ini meskipun mereka gak punya pilihan lain karena emang versi generik obat yang mereka butuhkan belom ada. Yang lain mengeluhkan dokter kandungan mereka yang terkesan terlalu banyak ngasi obat (ada yang lebih dari tiga bo!) sehingga mereka lebih mirip sales obat daripada dokter.

Achi, sang Pharmacist (inget, gak sama dengan Apoteker biasa!), juga lagi pusing dengan adanya praktek insentif dari perusahaan obat kepada dokter yang mempromosikan obat mereka dalam seminar dan praktek. Gak tanggung- tanggung, insentifnya bisa mobil ato liburan ke luar negeri! Sound like a bribery to you? It’s just one bottle of wine away from bribery. Jadinya kadang- kadang pasien sering dijejali obat yang gak mereka butuhkan.

One time, bayinya temen gw demam ketika baru nyampe Jakarta (from New Jersey). Dokter di Jakarta merekomendasikan suntikan antibiotik (buset dah! bayi belom setaun udah dikasi antibiotik!). Sedangkan konfirmasi dari dokter-nya di New Jersey sangaaaat simpel: sang bayi terlalu exicted karena berada di lingkungan baru, cukup kasih suplemen and sang bayi bakal sembuh dalam dua hari. Does this indicate incompentence of our Doctor? Perhaps.

Back to the drug price issue, kenapa perusahaan obat sangat agresif dalam mempromosikan obat mereka?

Harga obat memang mahal karena perusahaan farmasi (terutama yang besar seperti GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer (oh, the viagra!), and Eli Lilly (famous for Prozac) mengeluarkan uang yang mungkin dua kali lebih banyak dari APBN negara kita buat mengembangkan satu jenis obat. Penelitian, pengembangan, tes efektivitas dan efek samping, uji klinik, produksi, dan marketing bisa memakan waktu rata- rata 12,3 tahun dengan budget sebanyak US $802 juta.

Ini beberapa info yang berhubungan dengan riset obat:
1. Hanya 4 dari 100 molekul kandidat (screening compounds) yang bisa digunakan sebagai informasi untuk investigasi obat baru (Investigational New Drugs/IND)
2. Hanya 5 dari 200 uji IND yang menunjukkan efektivitas dalam uji terhadap hewan
3. Rasio kegagalan uji klinis obat baru terhadap manusia adalah 6 kegagalan dari 10 uji (3:5)
4. Hanya setengah dari obat yang diajukan ke FDA mendapatkan pengesahan

So, kalo kita liat berdasarkan info di atas probabilitas penemuan obat baru yang sukses adalah 0,04 x 0,025 x 0,4 x 0,5 = 0,0002 ato 0,02%

Makanya, dalam waktu 20 tahun masa berlaku paten obat tersebut (sebelum versi generiknya diperbolehkan keluar) perusahaan farmasi harus puter otak untuk menentukan harga yang bisa bikin mereka balik modal plus ama profitnya. Kenapa? soalnya setelah 20 taun masa paten-nya abis, obat generik yang keluar bisa membuat pendapatan mereka turun 80 persen.

Beh…….emang bisnis obat itu mahal dah dan beresiko tinggi pula.