Archive for February, 2007

exodus
February 26, 2007

At the start of this month, I found this post of my fellow Blogparteehista: Growth means going abroad?

Appropriate. In the Java community, it seems a lot of folks are moving to Singapore. I heard it’s because the Indians are going home? Our little group had a get-together to send people off. One of my friends was asking each one of us, why don’t you go to the US? It could be elsewhere. (Though US jobs nowadays seem to be bodyshop types and not direct hires.)

Why am I still here? Back in 2001, journalist Alan Robles interviewed me for the South China Morning Post. (Which is based in HK: another top destination. Coincidence?) Though my job is now different (and so is my age, alas), my answer today would still be the same: “Yes, it’s true I’d earn nth (sic) times as much if I were to work in the U.S. But I’d be nobody there.”

A proud answer, isn’t it? But for some people such as myself, pride is a big career driver.

Nevertheless, going abroad, living and working there is a personal growth opportunity. I should try it some time. But not anytime soon.

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My Hobby Programming
February 20, 2007

I went to a Book Sale branch in Cubao yesterday, and I bought Effective C#.

Why this, when I use Java for work? It’s confusing to work with both Java and C# at the same time since they are too similar.

There were Java books at that branch, mostly from APress. But they were about specific technologies, stuff you can pick from the web. Effective C# is something you would need to read leisurely.

But why C#? It’s part of my quest to learn other languages – partly for practical purposes, partly as a hobbyist. I was a programming hobbyist long before I did it for work.

I did use C# and .NET for practical purposes once in my life, back in 2004. I even bought a licensed copy of Microsoft Visual C# 2003 that came bundled with a book on learning the language.

Now I have Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition, but it’s waiting for a time I could use it. When is that? Maybe when I’m bored and want to build a Windows program. Maybe if I’m away on a foreign trip and have nothing to do in my off hours.

Ruby on Rails is another “hot” technology I’ve been meaning to pick up. I bought an ebook of Pragmatic RoR programming. This is for the time, if and when, I get to build a “web 2.0” style app. I do have the host after all and it’s only used to host blogs at the moment.

The main issue here is focus. Since I already do some coding, architecture and planning for work, it’s hard to “work some more” when I get home. This is the reason I can’t help some friends at the moment. They have some ideas on new killer apps to build, but they are not developers. I am the one meant to do the implementation. But, I can’t take on “another job” with what I’m doing right now for work.

Other programming work can only be a hobby for now, and even that, I’m challenged.

Learning my Blog Conviction
February 18, 2007

Jayvee “A Bugged Life” made me think here. You Define Your Blog Conviction.

Or: Why We Blog?

I can’t figure mine out so easily.

I have been blogging for many different reasons. I can’t reduce my blogging here to a simple mission/vision/objectives/values. (And that would be so corporate!)

For now, I just want to blog here to practice writing and share ideas. In the past I had grand plans of blogging about topics regularly. But I’m not a problogger, so that didn’t quite work out.

Now I post more and more personal stuff here, things I previously pushed out to sites like Livejournal. But, I don’t think I’ll ever join the school of “what I did today” blogging. (Or a pink blog for men, if there can be such a thing.) Unless there’s a point to be made.
So, I don’t know how to answer Jayvee’s question just yet. His “Bugged Life” is appropriate – perhaps he is the Socratic Gadfly of blogging, making us answer difficult questions.

Band Days
February 16, 2007

I’m almost apathetic about music nowadays. Mostly because it makes my ears hurt. But this pic made me reminisce.

How? No, Chiz Escudero has nothing with my personal history. And I will probably never write about Philippine politics in this blog.

It’s because Mrs. Escudero – Christine Flores, was a bandmate of mine back in high school. Circa 1990-1991.

I was playing drums. I learned just because my friends who played electronic keyboards and piano wanted to start a band. They had no drummer, no bassist. So, they got friends who were game to learn!

I studied drums in Yamaha which then had a branch in Manuela Shaw (now Star Mall). I bought a second hand set from some where, took it apart, and had it painted and chromed. At first I had only the stock “lata” cymbals, but I was able to buy a Sabian hi-hat and Zildjian budget (Scimitar I think?) crash/ride.

Christine was our second singer. Our first vocalist our schoolmate, recruited her when he quit. Our only gigs were: a school “Peace Concert” in early 1991, during the first Gulf War (I remember this was when the “EDSOR Consortium” was formed), UP Freshman Engineering “Maskipaps” when we were freshmen (I didn’t attend UP though); some UP Freshman concert the next year (when the Eraserheads borrowed our guitar cable and walked out mid-performance); and some party in Xavierville (where we played along with Kelts Cross). Our great non-achievement was being the only band who was eliminated during the Xavier Musicfest Eliminations.

The band never broke up, it just faded away. All in all, we had three permanent members including myself, four vocalists, and two guitar players. We played unabashedly commercial showband-quality pop all the way.
That needed a counterpoint. So I had another band in fourth year high school. This was a four-piece punk band, with another of my classmate and two of his neighbors. We had one gig, a punk event in some parish school in Pasay City, where the parish priest shut down the concert to all but a few people in the audience since it was time for Mass. Two years ago, one of them invited me to play with them. It only lasted a couple of sessions since I couldn’t get my groove back.

I also played a few times (3?) in “Jamming EBs” where people met up to play. I also hung out with a friend’s band when they had practice at home.
Somehow I lost interest. It also doesn’t help that I had computer-related wrist problems, and the ear problem. I had myself checked already. My hearing is perfect but the rinning – tinnitus – is annoying.
I was hooked on the electronic drumming game, Percussion Freaks. (And the dancing game, Dance Maniax – another story!) But I have forgotten it already.

I could probably still play, but beatboxing with my mouth is about all the drumming I do nowadays.

My Writing Story
February 15, 2007

I haven’t been writing here lately. I haven’t even been reading much blogs. My attention has been on work happenings. So, I’ve been writing plenty of emails and documents.
I don’t write much fiction, perhaps because I don’t read it. I really can’t conceive stories. The last story I was in 1991 or 1992 for Max Pulan’s class, freshman Ateneo english. (Hi Cathy and Sorsi, thanks for reminding me!) It was a sorta science fiction thing.

(Come to think of it, I don’t watch much fiction either. I am in awe of my friends and colleagues who find the time to follow TV series. I don’t even get to watch movies that much.)
I made my first blog post in July 2002. Blogspot still has it.
But who knows, I might start a blog network yet. But unlike Rico, I won’t be twenty-five. When I was 25, it was 1999, and I didn’t know what a blog was. Or maybe I thought Slashdot was a blog.

Go Team Barcelona!
February 11, 2007

Go Team Barcelona! No, not a sporting match. The 3GSM World Congress 2007. Our boss and my colleagues should be there by now – or in a few hours. One of the big things is the Mobile Innovation Forum – William writes about it.

Eat some authentic Catalan Food for us, guys! Seriously… more projects for us. Yey!

My Reading Habits
February 9, 2007

There have been a bunch of reading-related events lately: the Read or Die convention, Powerbooks Sale, the visit of the MV Doulus…

But I don’t actually read much in print. I switched my reading habits to online articles, and now, blogs. I took account of my how much time I’ve spent reading blogs in the past few months and I conclude: too much!

I’m trying to swing my reading back to print. It’s more relaxing, and I could do it anywhere. There’s no opportunity to jump to this site and that.

Reading some tech stuff on paper has helped. I have a couple of more tech books incoming so that should get me reading more.

Fiction is something else. I don’t really read much fiction, as I find facts more entertaining. I spend too much online reading time in Wikipedia. I was a super nerd when I grew up, reading encylopedias, Time-Life books, Time and Newsweek magazines, and newspapers. I took up speedreading. Up to now I can read very fast, which unfortunately makes me impatient when reading fiction.

Let’s see if I’ll read this other book here this weekend…

The SCJP Review Process
February 5, 2007

I’m reviewing for the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam, version 5.0.

In my IT career, I have never taken any certifications. I was never asked for them when applying for a job.

I’m now taking it because for my current job, our outsourcing customers might look for certified people to handle their projects. We have plans to have the team certified. I’ll go first so I can coach the crew.

I learned Java in 2002, and started serious work with it in 2003. (This makes me a relative newbie in the PinoyJUG Java User crew.) Despite knowing Java for four years, I still make mistakes in the exams I’m taking. The nuances are really nasty. And, for SCJP 5.0, you need to know Generics. I have not used that language feature yet.

The best references I’ve found are Kathy Sierra + Bert Bates’ certificate review book, plus Marcus Green’s online exam at examulator.com.

I’m writing notes about the study process, and I might just blog about it. (Not here, of course! I’m trying to keep this blog non-geek-friendly.)

Refine Me!
February 3, 2007

Bad bad blogger people. Tina is not mentioned in the Blog Parteeh site. The post-event posts did not mention her.

So here I am, saying… stop reading my blog!

Refine Me!

Read refineme.org instead!

The Cuckoo’s Egg: Old School Hacking
February 3, 2007

I found a copy of the Cuckoo’s Egg at the Chapters and Pages overrun bookstore. PhP 150 only. That’s $3 for a pristine copy of the book – thanks to old school printing and binding.

The Cuckoo's Egg

The events transpired in 1986-1987, and the book was released in 1990. Still, it’s fascinating. It reminds me of my old vintage Unix days, which came much later (1994 onward). In 1986-1987 I was still learning IBM PC DOS 2.0 and WordStar, and online networks were just a bit more real than science fiction to me. (I got to read about Compuserve and the like from magazines.)

I did engage those types of Internet users, especially circa 2000. Hey, some of them might even be reading! But I eventually lost interest. It’s very time consuming in terms of actual work done and keeping up with the knowhow.