Henson & His Works

Friday, December 28, 2007

Old and New Years

New year is coming. Again, the ‘Auld Lang Syne’ song will echo all over the world. The song will lead us to the coming year.

For many people, New Year’s Eve usually relates to happiness. It is time to have fun by getting together and by hanging around. They celebrate it in many ways. Indeed, there are many ways of welcoming the new year. It seems that New Year’s Eve is a different day. On New Year’s Eve, the atmosphere is very different from the other days. People, especially teenagers, hang around or hold a party. Discotheques, pubs, and other prestigious places offer special programs. When we walk down the streets, we will see the crowd. Maybe some of us still remember the party held in Jakarta several years ago. It was called a ‘fireworks party’. It is said that the project spent so much money. Sometimes a question crosses my mind,”Was the party really useful?” To tell you the truth, I doubt about the usefulness of such a party. I think it would have been better for the committee to use the money to help the poor.

As a matter of fact, New Year’s Eve is a high time for self-introspection. In other words, it is the right moment for us to make a reflection of what we have done in the previous year. From our reflection , we can decide our next steps to better our life in the future.

Although making resolution can be done in any day, it also sounds wise if we do it on New Year’s Eve. If some of us like writing a diary, the diary can be used as a tool for making evaluation of what we have done during the year. Doing so, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses.

The following are suggestions for our New Year’s Eve ‘programs’.

Firstly, we can make the best day on New Year’s Eve by having a self-introspection (self-correction) and it is related to making a reflection and contemplation. Unfortunately, a lot of people misinterpret the meaning of New Year’s Eve. People tend to have fun until they forget everything. Even worse, they spend money on useless things.

Secondly, on this special day, we can do some good things. We should thank God for His blessings. We should be grateful that we are healthy and we are still able to have the New Year. Certainly, we need to avoid doing anything useless, such as drinking liquor or riding a motorcycle in a reckless way. Overacting, dancing excessively, and crying out wildly should also be avoided.

When we have reflected on our mistakes, we may start our new life. As the saying goes,”Experience is the best teacher,” it is wise that we learn from our experiences. We should make use of our failures to motivate ourselves to achieve success in the future. Now, let’s make a resolution that we will better ourselves and use our time wisely. Let’s welcome the New Year with a new start, new hope, and new spirit. Happy New Year 2008!

(Artikel saya di atas pernah dimuat di Majalah DIALOGUE 11/XXI-1997.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tujuan Terjun di Dunia Blog

Menarik sekali membaca tulisan Mas Iwan yang menanyakan apa sih tujuan seseorang terjun dalam dunia blog. Setiap orang tentunya memiliki tujuannya sendiri-sendiri.

Saya sendiri mulai terjun di dunia blog sejak Maret 2007. Adapun tujuan saya nge-blog adalah sebagai berikut:
  1. Menyalurkan hobi saya dalam menulis. Seperti yang pernah saya tulis dalam posting perdana saya di blog ini, saya mulai terjun di dunia tulis-menulis sejak 1993. Saat itu saya sering menulis artikel, puisi dan cerpen di beberapa surat kabar dan majalah, baik yang berbahasa Indonesia maupun Inggris. Dan sejak 2002 saya mulai beralih menulis buku. Kini dunia blog makin populer. Jadi, tidak ada salahnya kan kalau saya juga menggunakan media blog sebagai sarana mengekspresikan diri.
  2. Mengembangkan kreativitas dan menambah pengetahuan. Dengan nge-blog saya selalu dituntut untuk berpikir kreatif. Apalagi dengan 3 blog yang saya miliki (Catatan Henson, Let's Learn English, dan Communication & Information Technology), saya harus terus mencari ide-ide buat mengisi blog. Tanpa pemikiran yang kreatif, blog akan terasa hampa dan hambar. Dengan mencari ide-ide, otomatis pengetahuan akan bertambah. Sebagai contoh, di blog ini saya sering mem-posting rangkuman cerita dari novel-novel sastra Inggris klasik. Sebenarnya, kalau mau mencari rangkuman cerita yang sudah jadi sih banyak di internet. Tapi saya tidak mau melakukan hal itu. Saya harus benar-benar membaca sendiri novel Inggris yang rata-rata tebalnya ratusan halaman itu dan membuatkan ringkasannya sendiri.
  3. Sebagai penulis buku, saya membutuhkan media untuk memperkenalkan buku-buku saya kepada masyarakat. Media itu haruslah murah dan menjangkau banyak lapisan.
  4. Menyumbangkan pengetahuan. Melalui blog saya bisa menyumbangkan pengetahuan yang saya miliki (walaupun saya bukanlah seorang pakar). Bukankah tangan di atas lebih baik daripada tangan di bawah? Dengan membagi pengetahuan yang kita miliki kepada orang lain, pengetahuan yang kita miliki itu tidaklah akan berkurang. Saya merasa bahagia ketika para pengunjung blog saya di Let's Learn English berkomentar bahwa semangatnya untuk belajar bahasa Inggris muncul kembali setelah membaca blog itu, bahwa mereka bisa mendapatkan pelajaran secara gratis, bahwa materi-materi di blog itu bisa menunjang pelajaran di sekolah atau di kampusnya, bahwa seorang ayah telah mencetak materi di blog itu untuk belajar anaknya, dan berbagai komentar lainnya.
  5. Membangun jalinan persahabatan. Dalam keseharian saya, saya lebih banyak tinggal di rumah karena semua pekerjaan saya dijalankan di rumah. Namun, saya tetap membutuhkan interaksi sosial yang lebih luas. Dengan menjadi blogger, saya bisa menjalin persahabatan dengan para blogger lain dari berbagai latar belakang pendidikan dan keahlian.
  6. Menambah penghasilan. Melalui blog, saya bisa menambah penghasilan dengan menjadi ad publisher. Ini merupakan usaha sampingan yang tanpa risiko karena saya tidak butuh modal, tetapi cukup meluangkan sedikit space untuk pemasangan iklan. Tapi yang jelas... ini hanyalah usaha sampingan berupa pemanfaatan ruang dan waktu.
  7. Media penyimpanan online. Dengan blog, saya bisa menyimpan tulisan-tulisan saya sehingga jika suatu saat saya membutuhkan tulisan tertentu, saya tinggal mencarinya di blog. Begitu juga ketika teman-teman atau murid privat saya membutuhkan suatu topik tertentu dan kebetulan saya punya, saya tinggal merekomendasikan mereka untuk mencarinya di blog saya. Memang, saya juga menyadari bahwa menyimpan di blogspot masih belum begitu aman karena bisa saja sewaktu-waktu blog kita di-banned oleh Google. Untuk itulah, para blogger sebaiknya melakukan backup pada isi blog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Count of Monte Cristo

A young sailor named Edmond Dantes returned home from a dangerous voyage. Since the captain of the ship Leclere died during the voyage, Edmond Dantes took over the command of the ship Pharaon which was owned by Morrel. Morrel liked Edmond and promoted him to be the new captain of the Pharaon. Dantes was well-liked by all of the sailors, except Danglars, who was jealous of Edmond's favorable position. Edmond asked for Morrel’s consent to visit his father and then to see Mercedes, his fiance.

When Edmond hurried to Mercedes’ house, she was having an unpleasant talk with Fernand, a soldier who loved her so much and wanted her to be his wife. But Mercedes was true to Edmond. Finally, unable to bear the sight of the happy couple, Fernand rushed out of the house. Then, Edmond and Mercedes planned their marriage,

One day Fernand, Danglars and Caderousse, Edmond’s father’s neighbor, drank together and they conspired to crash the wedding of the two lovers and they would also like to denounce Edmond Dantes as an enemy of the King.

The big wedding feast was prepared and soon the celebration began. Suddenly soldiers barged into the hall, interrupting the feast and arresting the bridegroom, Edmond. The reason for the arrest was not stated. Everyone was shocked, but Edmond believed that it was just a mistake or misunderstanding.

Villefort, the district magistrate, was told that Edmond was a Bonapartist conspirator. Though it looked as though Edmond had tried to help Napoleon, actually the young sailor was simply following orders given to him by his late captain. One of the orders was to deliver a letter to someone in Paris. As Villefort questioned Edmond, Edmond showed him the letter, hoping to reveal his innocence. Villefort read the letter and he was so shocked to see that it was addressed to his father, Noirtier who was a Napoleon supporter. Hoping to destroy any evidence that he was helping the father whom he had disowned, Villefort burned the letter, telling Edmond never to speak about the affair again. Edmond was told that he would be released, but the sailor was forced to stay in prison for the night.

Edmond believed Villefort. But what happened then? Edmond was taken by soldiers to the Chateau d’If, a very well-known prison due to its bad condition. Edmond didn’t know what to do. Villefort had betrayed him.

As the years passed, Edmond really lost his spirit. He feared he was going mad. In his twelfth year, he wanted to die. But one night he heard a scrape on the wall of his room made of stones. The next night the scrape was heard again. He thought someone might be giving him a signal, so he knocked the back of the chair against the wall. Then Edmond broke a mug and used the broken mug as a scraping tool to chip away the plaster of the stone. He did it every day. Before a jailor entered his room to bring food and drink for him, he closed the wall with a table.

Days by days Edmond chipped away the plaster. Meanwhile, a person next to his room also scraped the plaster from the opposite ends. Finally, they succeeded in moving the big stone. An old man entered Edmond’s room and introduced himself as Father Faria, whom the jailors called “The Mad Priest.” They became friends and often communicated with each other. When a jailor was going to bring food and drink, they moved back the position of the stone.

Father Faria was an Italian, a man of the church. He was an educated man. Political enemies had caused his arrest after the death of the rich Cardinal Spada, who had protected Faria and treated him like a son. Edmond felt that his whole world had turned over. For the next few weeks, the two men used the passageway freely to go between Edmond’s dungeon and the priest’s cell.

During the next year and a half, Faria taught Edmond many things and Edmond made rapid progress. Without realizing it, Edmond began to adopt Faria’s refined quiet way of speaking and moving. Soon the rough sailor vanished, and an educated young gentleman emerged. Faria also declared Edmond his heir. At his death, all the riches that he inherited from Cardinal Spada would belong to Edmond.

One day they planned an escape. Faria showed Edmond a treasure map, a map of the Island of Monte Cristo. In this island there were jewels, gold bars, and silver household objects hidden in one of the caves. Edmond wanted to escape with Faria. Unfortunately, Faria was sick and dead several days later.

After fourteen years in the Chateau d’If, Edmond managed to escape. He was free. And then he became a rich man and used the name the Count of Monte Cristo. Edmond wanted to take revenge against his enemies: Danglars, Villefort, and Fernand. He got the information from Caderousse that these three men were responsible for his suffering. The Count of Monte Cristo did a business with Danglars and Villefort. Of course, these two men didn’t know that the Count of Monte Cristo was actually Edmond. With his strategy, Edmond succeeded in making them go bankrupt. They lost in their investment. Villefort were so shocked to see the fact that he lost a lof of money and that the Count of Monte Cristo was Edmond. To make it worse, Villefort’s wife poisoned herself and her son. Finally, Villefort went mad. Danglars felt the same way as Villefort. But Edmond decided to show mercy on Danglars because he was sorry for what had happened to Villefort’s wife and son.

Edmond’s next target was Fernand. Edmond met Mercedes who had become Fernand’s wife. They had a son named Albert. Mercedes didn’t know what had really happened to Edmond and Edmond explained everything. Fernand was very angry to know that Edmond was still alive. Finally Mercedes and her son left home. They didn’t respect Fernand. Fernand shot himself. He didn’t stand it any more. He had so many problems and he faced accusation in the court.

(Cerita di atas diringkas dan diceritakan kembali oleh Hendro Darsono berdasarkan novel The Count of Monte Cristo karya Alexandre Dumas, diterbitkan oleh Baronet Books, New York)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas was born in a small town in France on July 24, 1802. His father was a general and a companion of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Alexandre grew up in Villers-CotterĂȘts, and traveled to Paris when he was twenty. By twenty-five, he had his first success as a playwright.

Dumas wrote hundreds of plays, novels and travel diaries. He wrote several children's stories, and a culinary dictionary. He started several magazines and wrote in them weekly. He was one of the most prolific writers ever, and did not shy away from collaborating with others or rewriting older stories.

When he turned to novels, they were an even greater success. His most successful novels contain marvelous adventures and actions, and bigger-than-life characters. He wrote many historical novels where he took great liberty with the truth in order to achieve a good story, but never claimed that they were historically accurate. He combined real people and events from French history with imagined people and plots.

The most famous of all Dumas' books are The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Count of Monte Cristo. They have been read for over 100 years and made into movies several times.

Dumas became rich from his writings, but he spent so freely. After many years of writing, traveling, and carousing and after he had made and lost several fortunes, Dumas died penniless on December 5, 1870.

Wanna read the summary of one of Dumas' novels? Don't miss the next post!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Menonaktifkan Autorun

Bagi para master komputer mungkin posting-an ini terdengar basi. Namun, mengingat pengunjung blog ini berasal dari berbagai latar belakang pendidikan dan keahlian, saya memandang perlu untuk menuliskannya.

Akhir-akhir ini virus/worm komputer semakin merajalela. Cara kerjanya pun sudah semakin canggih. Kalau dulu virus/worm baru aktif setelah diklik, kini para pembuat virus/worm mulai banyak yang memanfaatkan fasilitas autorun sehingga virus/worm tersebut akan menyebar tanpa disadari oleh pengguna komputer segera setelah flashdisk dicolokkan ke komputer.

Untuk mencegah masuknya virus/worm ke komputer secara otomatis, sebaiknya fasilitas autorun kita nonaktifkan. Caranya adalah sebagai berikut:
  • Klik Start - Run.
  • Ketik "regedit". (Tanda petik tidak diketik.)
  • Masuklah ke HKEY_CURRENT _USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
  • Pada jendela sebelah kanan, klik kanan NoDriveTypeAutoRun.
  • Klik Modify.
  • Ubah value data menjadi "ff" (tanda petik tidak diketik) untuk menonaktifkan (men-disable) fungsi autorun pada drive.
  • Klik OK.
  • Lalu masuklah ke HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
  • Lakukan hal yang sama seperti langkah-langkah sebelumnya.
  • Keluarlah dari jendela Registry Editor.
  • Restart komputer.