Thursday, July 30, 2009

Apples are Safer than Wndows - Myth Busted

So much for their "We Apples don't get attacked as Windows does" statement. As Mac Researcher Dino Dai Zovi says:

"There is no magic fairy dust protecting Macs. Writing exploits for [Microsoft] Vista is hard work. Writing exploits for Mac is a lot of fun."

More on the issue available here.

Title officially approved

Now it's time to put the project into full thrust mode and concentrate more on this. Am gonna uninstall GTA IV from my PC for the time being to aviod my attention being diverted.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some (not-so-minor) foul-ups

I was told that someone else has a similar project proposal and while I was told by Dr. Subariah that I could proceed with my own, I think I will wait until the result in black and white about the title's approval.

Also I'm experiencing running nose and sore throat since this morning, which for me it happens quite routinely, probably due to my dietary habits. I honestly hope I won't end up as another H1N1 statistic...

The only consolation is that, having a band-5 result, I would not need to apply for PSM in English, or at least that is what we were told.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Google Docs to the Blog

As you may be aware I'm posting the whole Chapter 1 for the PSM1 via Google Docs. This is not only for everyone's peruse (is that a good or bad thing?) but also mosre importantly: as a form of backup.

Backups, if done properly, can save you a lot of hassles as well as preserve your (and probably other's) sanity. Hard disks, being mechanical, have higher failure rate than other parts in your PCs. I once had a problem with a partition storing my photos when it suddenly failed to be detected, but luckily I had a DVD backup from which I recovered them. Nowadays I make multiple copies of backups for my pictures.

So I strongly recommend everyone to back their PSM files up onto multiple destinations. If you are using Bloggers, chances you can also access Google Docs as well. You never know what will happen to your laptop, so better play safe.


Airline Special Service Request (SSR) Passengers Tracking System Using RFID

1.1 Introduction to the Project

When Wright Brothers first flew their Wright Flyer, nobody could predict how the flying machine, created purely for the purpose for the mankind to conquer the skies, would greatly change the way we live nowadays. Some 50 years later when Pan American World Airways launched its Boeing 707 flights to Europe, only the rich could enjoy the “jet-set” experience.

Long gone are the days when flying was only reserved for the rich and elite. Technology advancements have made the flying more accessible and affordable, not to mention safer, just like AirAsia’s slogan “Everyone can fly.  Though, to make such slogan stay true, some passengers need some form of assistance from the airline. Those assistances required from the airlines are collectively called Special Service Requests.

Special Service Requests (thereafter called SSRs) are employed by airlines to capture special requirements for a particular passenger, for instance unaccompanied minors, wheelchair-bound passengers, and passenger with disabilities, which are covered in the project scope, as well as other information that are beyond the project’s scope such as passengers with special dietary requirements or passenger travelling with pets in the cabin.

SSRs are supplementary to Passenger Name Record (PNR) and are typically requested upon booking so the airline can be informed about the passenger’s special requirements in advance and prepare accordingly, for example special dietary requirements (Halal, Vegetarian, Diabetic, etc.) need to be requested at least 24 hours before flight. Some of the services are chargeable, such as Unaccompanied Minors. Typically passengers with SSR will be assisted by the airline’s ground staff at both the departing airport and arriving airport.

1.2 Problem Background

Often managing large amount of passengers causes management headaches to the airlines and the airport authorities, especially if the airport is a particular airline’s main hub which thousands go through the airport daily or even hourly (Atlanta’s main airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, processed 90 million passengers in 2008 and is among the world’s busiest), and more so if irregularities happen, for example multiple flights are delayed due to bad weather. Add in human errors and omissions, often resulted due to extra, unexpected workload in such situations, and this creates an opportunity for Murphy’s Law to happen – if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way.

The primary problem with existing SSR system for handling unaccompanied minors, wheelchair passengers, and disabled passengers is its lack of a central tracking system. As mentioned earlier, human factors can cause irregularities to happen if someone is not careful. On June 2009, Continental Airlines failed to put two unaccompanied minors on the flights they were supposed to be on, the result being them arriving somewhere they didn’t expect to arrive at.

Such incidents tend to cost airlines financially in terms of monetary compensation, replacement flights to send the passengers to the right destination, as well as charges imposed as a result of civil lawsuits. It can also dent their reputations and turn away potential customers, both new and recurring. If a central tracking system can track exactly where they are, and whether they are at the right place, it can possibly save the airlines in the long run.

1.3 Project Aim

The project aims to develop an RFID-based tracking system for passengers with certain SSR codes that can provide near real-time location about their whereabouts and notify the administration staff accordingly.


1.4 Project Objectives

The objectives of the project are to:

  1. research for similar system and the industry’s requirements
  2. design the system according to the specifications obtained using appropriate system design
  3. develop the system, and
  4. test the system for its functionality


1.5 Scope

The scopes for the projects are as below:

  1. The research will only be done in one airport for one client (i.e. airline), although it could be implemented for other airlines and airports as well.
  2. The system only covers passengers with following SSRs: unaccompanied minors, wheelchair passengers, and disabled passengers.
  3. The system runs independent from PNR database as the format for PNR is not known, and it may not be standardised among different airlines.
  4. The system assumes the passengers possess their own RFID tags at all times.
  5. The system only tracks outbound passengers’ movements and not inbound passengers nor connecting passengers.

1.6 Importance of the Project

If the usage of the RFID-enabled boarding passes for passengers with SSR is deemed acceptable, the RFID boarding passes can track all the passengers requiring special attentions and reducing possibilities of mishandling caused by one human’s error. Such could save the airline financially in compensations due to mishaps as well as liability charges caused.

Furthermore it can also be made possible to extend the functionality of the system by implementing the tracking system for everyone who is flying. Passenger counts for both ground staff and cabin crew can be automated to reveal who has not been aboard yet or who has boarded the wrong flight.


1.7 Report Organisation

Chapter 2 will cite references and citations related to the industry and system’s design as well as implementations.

Chapter 3 will discuss methodology used in the designing of the system.

Chapter 4 will highlight specifications for the system. And,

Chapter 5 will conclude the report.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Basic insights into my planned PSM project

After toying with the blog system to get myself more familiar to the Blogger system by posting some off-topic items, it is time to get more concentrated on the PSM itself.

Basically what the system I'm planning to do, provided it's approved by the PSM commitee, is about passenger tracking system for those with Special Service Requests (SSRs) uasing RFID system. That's especially useful to track unaccompanied minors. BTW I used to be kinda fidgety and wouldn't stay seated but luckily I didn't end up boarding a flight to nowhere like this poor child (discussions about the event).

I originally intended to integrate the RFID system into PNR (passenger name record) database, since SSR supplements PNR, but instead I'm thinking of making it an entirely independent system due to:

1. different airlines may have different PNR formats, especially among LCCs and non-IATA airlines, and

2. I doubt any airlines or travel agents will provide me sufficient information on how to decode this (sourced from here):

MPM304/JC YULOU 2GM3/JC AG 69145576 22FEB
1 AC 105Y 21DEC YYZYVR BK1 0715 0916 FR
2 AC3992Y 28DEC YVRYYZ BK1 1430 2141 FR
FONE-YULAS/514-874-0202 BSP CANADA IDS/69145576-JOAN

All I know from this record field is that someone named Allan has booked on 22 February a return trip from Toronto (YYZ) to Vancouver (YVR) on Air Canada (AC) flights AC105, departing at 0715 on 21st December,  and returning aboard  AC3992 at 1430 on 28th December, aboard Economy Class (Y) on both legs. There's no indication that Allan has requested any SSR, but that's beside the point.

Seeing these circumstances, I'm thinking of implementing the system by coding the passenger's name and the details into whatever space available in the RFID tag, rather than retrieve it from PNR. I'll probably use Java for this system, but I'm still looking for an appropriate database system.

More updates to come when I come across some ideas.

More info regarding SSR codes. Not all of the codes are within the scope of the system.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Guangzhou Student Rides Chopper to School

Guangzhou Daily reports that a video of a student travelling to his school by riding the chopper to supposedly beat the traffic has been widely watched and commented throughout the web. According to sources the chopper belongs to his father.

The high school has confirmed the event, but also noted that the event happened two years ago, and happened only just once.

Isn't this a sign that there are more and more spoiled, pampered, nouveau riche  brats in China?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Proof that SMS can be hazardous to yor health

A Staten Island (at NY) teenage girl fell into a manhole while texting on her message. She is now blaming this on the department who manage the sewage system for not covering up the manhole or putting up cones. Lawsuit may come later.

That's your stereotype American at its finest everyone!

Read more at:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My academic schedule for 2009/2010/1

This semester's schedule is quite peculliar to say the least, you'll see what I mean:


8-10am Internetworking

11am-1pm Cryptography

4-6pm Theory of Computer Science


8-9am Theory of Computer Science

9-10am Cryptography

10-11am Network Programming

11am-1pm PSM1

2-4pm Internetworking Lab

8-10pm(!!) Network Programming (again)


9am-12pm SKK Special Topic - Wireless Programming




(Updated) 8-11am IT Entrepreneurship <- we tried to move this somewhere else but failed

As always this is subject to changes.

Last update at 17th July.

Friday, July 10, 2009

1200 laptops lost weekly at LAX? WOW!!

Now that's an interesting news from LA Times - 12k laptops lost or stolen through American airports weekly, and Los Angeles Int'l (LAX) tops the list.

Read more at:

Surely some people have either:
1. too much budget for their PC
2. has left the brains at home, or
3. both...

What's more, only 33% of them are ever reclaimed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First post

Upon request of Dr Hazinah, to whom I shall express gratitute as being my supervisor, I created this blog for updates regarding the PSM so everyone can see the progress of the system I'm developing - as long as I remember to post that is...

But this blog won't be entirely consisted of PSM progress. I also plan to post something that are not related the PSM in between as long as they are of particular interest to me to make this blog more interesting.

That's all from me for this moment...