First Month of Internship

A lot of things I’ve learned during my first month of internship at Unilever. Mostly I learned about supply chain, a division where I’m currently being assigned. But what’s important too is I learn about friendship. ULIPers, they said, but I prefer to call them my comrades. A lot of people have helped me since I joined this internship. From showing me the structure of organization to simple thing such as using office printer.

However, the fervent vibe exists when we gather together; being it lunch at canteen or having dinner and watching movies. The exchange of laugh, joke, or story or even gossip, all mix to be a great chemistry among us. Up to this time, three of my ULIP friends have finished their internship. I’m glad to have Marvel, Aris and Cheryl as my friends here. No, not just here, I believe we’ll be friend for a long time ahead.

Still, I have 2 months ahead of internship and I know I have a great group of ULIPers I can’t forget for the rest of my life.

Rogers pcb board

My final project requires me to use a RF PCB board which is not available to buy in my country (as far as I know). So I decided to order it from one of the most known PCB manufacturers, Rogers Corporation. The project I’ve been worked on (Doherty power amplifier for LTE base station) is based on NXP LDMOS power transistor. From many application notes I read from NXP websites, they use Rogers PCB too. So, I choose to adapt their PCB selection and my option goes to Rogers 4350B.

Rogers claims in its datasheet, Rogers 4350B has a very good microstrip insertion loss which is shown in great detail here:

chart3

At my power amplifier operation frequency (1.8 GHz), the loss is about –0.05 dB/in. Compare this to a FR-4 PCB (which is very easy to find) that has –0.15 dB/in loss. So I’m quiet sure that my decision is correct.

At first I got confused about how to order it online. Together with my lecturer, we tried to find it from DigiKey but we couldn’t find any. Several days later, my other lecturer suggested me to order it directly from Rogers website. I browsed the site and I found a part where we can order a sample (free). Then I found this University Program from Rogers that requires us to register our University in order to get a sample for University academic purpose. So I began the registration process online. The response was pretty fast. At exactly the same day we registered, my lecturer got an e-mail from Rogers Corporation at USA with the order number already. Wow. Later on we got e-mail from Rogers subsidiary at Singapore (I think because its closer to my country). Hence, we contacted this officer from Rogers Singapore about our order.

I asked the officer when will our order be ready to be delivered. He said that it requires about 10 days for the PCB board to be manufactured. Wow, that must be a very state-of-the-art one. After almost 2 weeks waiting I contacted him again about our order. Then he said we need to send a DHL account for them to ship. At that time I think it’s not a difficult task to find any DHL account in my campus. I was wrong. It took about 5 days for me wandering around ask any people I know about DHL account. None of them has it. OK, then I asked the Rogers officer whether a FedEx account can be used. The answer was yes, so I immediately send him the FedEx account I got from my lecturer. It was Friday evening that made me think the order would be processed the next day. I waited till Tuesday and tracked my order through FedEx web, and I got it had been processed since I sent the FedEx account. This a great response from FedEx. Finally my order arrived at Tuesday (from California on Friday evening) and it was packaged really nice. Thank you Rogers for sending us the sample. Thank you FedEx for the extraordinary delivery service. Now what I need to do is to deal with whole implementing stuff with this Rogers PCB in order to finish my final project.

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Game Theory Course

This idea has been lingering in my mind since the beginning of this semester. During the last holiday (January) I watched a lot about Game Theory course in online videos from Yale University. They provided the videos freely at youtube. If you want to watch it there, you can watch it here

I strongly suggest to watch it directly on youtube for larger view or you can download it and watch on your video player. I did the latter in order to get the best audio of it.

There are totally 24  videos you can watch with each video having 1 hour duration. I haven’t watched all of them, and I also skipped about 3 videos, but I think it’s better to blog it here. The reason is because I find out that this course is really useful whatever major you come from. It’s quiet fun and will make your life brighter in decision making.

All contents of the course belong to Yale University (I’m not Yale’s student, I’m just someone who watched the course from Open Yale Course program) and you can check it at http://oyc.yale.edu/economics/econ-159. The lecturer of this course is Ben Polak (picture shown below) who is an expert on decision theory, game theory and economic history. I don’t know him personally but I think his style of teaching is very understandable.

The content of the video that I’m about to provide is really what I perceive from watching this video. I will try to be as objective as possible in delivering the material. Should any of you come from Yale and took this course (or perhaps participated on the videos), feel free to give any correction if you find any.

So let’s start the journey. The first question that may ring in your mind is “what is game theory?” Well, Ben said that game theory is a method of studying strategic situation. So what is strategic situation? Ben mentioned the example of non-strategic situation of economy (this course is taught at Economic major but it’s applicable in many parts of our life) about perfect competition in which firms (companies) don’t have to worry about what their competitors doing. Monopoly also an example of non-strategic situation because monopolist doesn’t have any competitor to worry about. But when we have imperfect competition that means we have strategic situation in which the decision taken by a particular company depends on what its competitors do or might do. A good example is Ford must be worried of what GM is doing and what Toyota is doing. Indeed many businesses in the world are in the form of strategic situation. So to put it on more general meaning, strategic means a setting where the outcomes that affect you depend not only on your action alone but also on action of others.

Continue reading

Screw You!

Picture taken from Bloomberg Businessweek magazine

Voila. On this special date of 29th February I read an interesting article from Bloomberg Businessweek magazine about Fastenal’s tremendous stock. So this afternoon I attended a Financial Planning class in my campus and my lecturer showed how stocks of certain companies have grown astronomically since being offered publicly. He showed the graph of Microsoft’s stock in the past 2 decades. Here is the snapshot I took from Yahoo! Finance:

There was a huge peak at 2000 but the price of the stock has dwindled since that time (I predict this is due to the rise of Apple and Google). Bloomberg said that the increase from Microsoft’s initial stock price is 9,906 percent. This is quiet cool to show to your student that investing is a great choice, right?

But hold the drum roll, Fastenal’s stock is far more amazing. If you don’t know about Fastenal (I hadn’t known it either until I landed on Bloomberg magazine) you can go to http://www.fastenal.com/web/home.ex. You will perhaps be surprise that the business is about nuts and bolts. Yes literally nuts and bolts. You can read the complete history of this company in Bloomberg magazine or any other sources, but what I want to pinpoint here is its skyrocketing increase of stock price from 13¢ in its initial public offering in 1987 to around $52.43 at the day this post written.

The exact number is not important. On that graph from Yahoo! Finance, the year is started from 1994 while according to the story Fastenal began its IPO in August 1987 and now has experienced 38,565% increase from its first stock price in that day. What a shocking number. What makes Fastenal the king in its market share is its diversified products combined with sophisticated sales force. You can go to its website and see that it has almost whatever nuts or bolts or pin or anything else you mostly need for your auto parts. This story clearly describes that you don’t always need high tech or formidable innovation to grow your stock price. We can do what Kierling, the Fastenal founder, did – offering products that almost all consumers need. That’s how Fastenal screw you.

Oil Reserves Are Growing – Should We Cheer or Remain Vigilant?

Photograph by Plamen Petkov for Bloomberg

Photograph by Plamen Petkov for Bloomberg

I read a Bloomberg Businessweek article here and I found it really interesting. Amid the long clamorous campaign of most of our society (perhaps mostly the environmentalists) to reduce the use of fossil fuel (mostly oil), there is an astonishing idea from Daniel Yergin who claimed that the technology advances and new discoveries have led worldwide oil reserves to growing. This is the main claim: “For every barrel of oil produced in the world from 2007 to 2009, 1.6 barrels of new reserves were added“. Well, that seems good for human being, but most likely bad for mother earth. In fact, it is the benefit of human being that allows mother earth to suffer more. Why is that? The first plausible idea is perhaps this will ease the alarming awareness (or fear) of tackling climate change that has been enforced internationally both in macro and micro level. However the article doesn’t reveal the mechanism behind this oil-reserve expansion.

Before we delve into the next ideas outlined by Bloomberg, let us play some math here. If you compare the data of global oil reserves from here and global oil consumption from here, then we can do simple calculation to predict the bussinessweek claim. I wish to find the recent data, but it seems hard to find all the countries update their reserves and consumption. Even the Wikipedia version doesn’t cover the recent one. By doing the calculation of dividing the total data of oil reserves with total data of oil consumption (both globally) then we end up in the number arround 47 years. That’s not so far from bloomberg calculation. Perhaps the most recent data suggest that bloomberg’s number (38 years). But this number doesn’t mean so much. It is frivolous to just use all the reserves completely with the current consumption rate, right? There must be new resources of energy being generated during that period, there must be new efficiency of oil usage by discovery of new technology, and the list will go on. So 38 years later won’t be the peak oil. There seems no doubt about the prediction.

Next thing, in that article Bloomberg claimed that expanding resource (oil and minerals) reserves means great news for poor countries which are home of many mineral’s discoveries. Well this is very debatable seeing the obvious facts of how resources such as oil has become the major problem in developing countries either in politic or economic climate. But I agree with the article that extracting most of these abundant resources seems lunatic to do. Beside the fact that it will seriously damage our Earth even further, the political and social turmoil it may inflict is enormous for sure. So, there should be no way these countries (where under their geographical areas myriad oil exist) proactively engage in new deal with oil companies to extract these hidden oil reserve. Perhaps, they may opt for it, but it shall not the main objective they pursue in fulfilling their countries’ energy needs. Given these tempting facts, the ongoing idea of developing new energy resources (of course the renewable ones) should not dwindle any little. It should remain being focused in order to gradually replace our old “black gold”. Therefore, instead of being cheered up by this fact, we should better remain vigilant in utilize it.

 

Ryan Gosling’s Overrated Movies

These two movies (I bet you know the titles already) seem to be great and worth to give a punch among all movies this year. But if I ponder it myself further, I think they deserve clear lower credit. Let’s just jump to the first one.

This movie is the one with huge overrating. It scores 8.1 in IMDB. What a shame. The plot is quiet simple. Not so complicated. But what makes it flopped is that it’s very easy (at least for me) to predict the next scenes. You have this guy of psycho personality who worked as  a driver for action movie. He doesn’t talk a lot which I think  was the strategy of the director to deliver a portray of non-talking hero. However again, it fails. Ryan Gosling‘s face is not psycho enough for this type of character.

About the action part, it has nothing to compare with most action movies which feature car race scene. Perhaps credit can be given for many of the sadistic way of kill done by Gosling. Still this can’t outweigh the flaw the drama delivers.

Even if you look at the movie poster, it is a vehemently inappropriate design. The font of “Drive” word gives impression that this movie is all about romance along with Gosling’s uncool face at the poster. I personally believe “Drive” deserves 6 instead of 8 rate out of 10.

The second one of Gosling’s overrated movie is The Ides of March. This one is a little bit better than the previous one, albeit this scores lower in IMDB. Again, I’ll start  first from the poster. The two faces of Gosling and Clooney is a poor choice for the content of the movie. The movie is not solely about the competition between the two. Yes it’s about political campaign running for the presidency of United States. But it involved more characters both from the Morris side or the Pullman side, or even the media. If you examine in detail, Clooney played fewer scenes than the other unmentioned players. The title is about the “ides of March” which is about the 15th of March. However this movie only mentioned it once without relating the remaining plot to the title. I mean what’s going to happen on the 15th of March?

Now the plot has been arranged quiet neat from the beginning. Revenge, loyalty, blackmail are the main recipes of any politics movie. However the movies failed to execute its climax with a great touch. I was really wondering what Gosling gonna do with his Steven Meyers role knowing that he was cornered into a complicated position. Well the movie doesn’t satisfy it. At the very end of the movie, when he came into the press room – ready for revealing whatever inside his mind – what you will see is just black screen with “Directed by George Clooney” words. WTF. Poor you Clooney. It’a a very disappointing finishing. I didn’t see any final blow to end the movie perfectly. Now many people believe Gosling deserve to be nominated in the next Oscar – I quiet agree (he performed quiet well in depicting his role here). But the movie being nominated? I completely disagree. Even Clooney doesn’t deserve to be nominated at all with his horrible remark. 6.5 is good score for this movie from me.

From Warrior With Love

Unorthodox may sound good to label this movie. In fact it deserves more than that. A mixed of ‘fabulous’, ‘excellent’, ‘trembling’ and ‘poignant’ is a better one to describe the movie in a nutshell.

Warrior (2011) is a movie you’ll never seen. Unlike other boxing movies (such as the legendary Rocky for instance) I think this one depicts the best mix of ‘fighting’ and ‘feeling’. You’ll get aroused while watching the fighting scenes (thanks to my Audio-technica ATH AD300 for staying on my ears to listen to the beats) and you’ll get sympathized while watching the drama parts.

Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) is a former boxer who for whatever reason had done something wrong in the past. The movie doesn’t provided much scene regarding his past. But for sure, he left his wife and 2 sons due to his alcoholic-related habit. Well, then the story says the mother died and Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) and Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) lived on different path. Tommy went to Corps where he was famously known to be a hero in battle in Iraq, while Brendan transformed to be a high-school physics teacher (despite the movie also says he fought in UFC previously).

The main plot began when Tommy came back to Paddy (I don’t know why his sons call him ‘Pop’) and he still seemed very upset for Paddy’s past misconduct. You’ll see the true heart of a father from the beginning of this scene. Paddy is so patient in dealing with Tommy’s cold behavior. Then Tommy attended a fighting gym and registered as its member. While the gym has its best fighter, Tommy asked him for a fight and the result is very surprising for the gym’s members. Since that fight, Tommy was regarded as the gym’s best fighter for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) tournament called ‘Sparta’.

Far from the fierce fight, Brendan lived as a happy father with two lovely daughters. You’ll never expect him as a fighter given his career as physics teacher. His students love him as well. However, the happy life got troubled when the guys from bank asked him to pay for his house; otherwise they would foreclose it (I think it’s the remnant of 2008 financial crisis that hit United States). Given that financial problem along with the bank’s decision to not give him prolonged time to pay, he desperately attended a fight at a strip bar. The result was out of question; he won the game (he was former UFC fighter though) and was paid some amount of money.

Furthermore, Brendan knew that there was this upcoming MMA competition with a prize worth of $5 million, a sum of money he thought could solve his family’s problem. On the other part of the spectrum, Tommy also saw this as a good chance to obtain the money. For that reason he asked Paddy to be his personal trainer (Don’t think that he had forgiven Paddy– no, he remained cold as ever). You might ask, why would this cold Tommy want the money? You should watch the movie yourself to grab the answer.

So, how about the fight? I can tell you that it was really depicted so close. You can hear the sounds of the fight and this will deliver you with a sense of trembling as if you really want to join the fight. Although Tommy is plotted to be the ‘monster’ here, I enjoyed more the fighting scenes of Brendan. He’s really good at defending and grappling. While Tommy is shown to be a ‘quick’ fighter that always knocked down his opponents as fast as possible.

I really amazed with the way Nick Nolte painted his role as Paddy. There is this scene where he was really chided down to his heart by Tommy who told him to become beggar instead (I believe this is one of the best scene in the movie). But the best part of the movie lingers at the last battle between Tommy and Brendan (I thought Tommy will be the instant winner, but no, it is extremely an unpredictable battle of brothers). Deep inside the battle, you’ll find the true love of a brother. From brother with love. From warrior with love.