Monthly Archives: April 2005

Gmail invites

I’ve been using Gmail for 4 months and I still don’t have any invites to send out. Other people get 50 invites within a couple of weeks. Am I at the end of the invites chain and am not allowed to invite any new people? Browsing Gmail’s support group (used to be bbs) shows that some simply aren’t allowed to invite, some still have their stock of 50 invites replenished from time to time.

Gmail invites used to be a status symbol kind of thing, where those with invites to send are in the “cool” group, those envied by the masses who have to make do with miserly 20MB inboxes, or less. There are so many gmail users around that it is easier to get invited and so the status is much less than before. Some kind souls even give away the invites free! Check out isnoop.net.

I’m finally stopping all use of hotmail. I used it in the past because I’m using MSN messenger and it all ties in with the .Net passport. Hotmail sucks, the junk mail counts towards your inbox quota and so I get flooded every few days. Sometimes every day. The only reason I still log in to hotmail is to clear the junk, since I will get a prompt in MSN messnger telling me I have a new mail, and I will inevitably find that it is hotmail telling me that my mail quota is close to being exceeded. Sheesh. At least yahoo does not count spam towards my email quota, and gmail has no spam (not that the 2GB quota can be exceeded, anyway.)

Since I can sign up for a passport using my gmail account, I need not stay with hotmail any longer. Yippie!

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Reading Harry Potter book 5

So I’m a bit slow, having caught up with his first 4 books and started on his latest book, The Order Of The Phoenix. By far the thickest volume yet.

Life gets complicated as the hero grows up. Harry is now 15 years old, hormones are raging, and his night time adventures no longer raise a chill in me. Instead, they make me all hot and bothered. Seriously, only 15 years old and so adventurous already? Our legal age is 16. Given that his fans are about his age, or younger, I think the very graphic descriptions are … informative? Educational? I wonder if the kids will try it out.

I think I have watched only the first HP movie. There are 2 more right? Gotta find out what Ginny and Hermione looks like. The actors are going to have a good time when they shoot the 5th movie. Heh. I doubt the censors will let it pass with a mere PG rating, which is kind of silly for a kid movie, isn’t it? Imagine 15year old fans having to wait until 18 to watch the M18 or age 21 to watch the R21 rating.

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Running along the road

Most people I know who run, run for health reasons. Some run to lose weight, some run to strengthen their body, some run to pass their fitness test. Few run because they love running. Now what if this healthy activity they engage in cause them other kinds of health problems?

Whenever I see anybody running along the road in the evening, I will shake my head and wonder how healthy they got. Running is an aerobic exercise, and aerobic exercices tend to draw air deep into your lungs. Along with the fumes and soot of the evening rush hour. Remember the advertisement about the box drawn on the road to show how much tar is sucked into a smoker’s lungs in his lifetime? I think a regular runner who pounds the pavement during the evening rush hour will probably find his lungs coated with a layer of soot, and his bloodstream filled with fumes. Imagine all those fumes being sent into your brain when your body is deprived of oxygen and in a weakened state!

During the haze that struck earlier in the year, I took to running in the air-conditioned gym instead of on the running track. I don’t have asthma or any other breathing difficulty, but I decided that I need not test my body’s ability to deal with irritants. I would rather breathe in the filtered gym air that is slightly lacking in oxygen than to suck in the haze and powder-bathe my lungs. After the haze, I realised that running on the treadmill is different from running on the track. I could run farther while on the treadmill, because my legs are only keeping me in place, they need not work as hard because they are not pushing me forward. I could not run as far when I took to running on the track again. I’d better make it a point to run on the track while I can.

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My database schema does not cater for food

This came to my mind a few days ago when I was trying to recall whether I have tried the food at a certain stall. The memory was vague, and I was almost certain I had never tried buying from that stall, but my dear reminded me that I did not like it. I told her that my database schema does not cater for food. She laughed at how true it was. I can recall dialogue from a book or movie, I can recall theories and principles, I used to be able to remember a myriad of other useless stuff, but when it comes to food, it just slips my mind. And this is ironic considering how I like to try new stalls and new brands of toiletries, but I would have forgotten most of them before long. My mind is pretty biased towards some things, and food is definitely not one of those. For that, I need her to remind me. At least we compliment each other!

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Floating code factory

Came across this article on doing off-shore software development on a ship while browing slashdot.

Take a used cruise ship, plant it in international waters three miles off the coast of El Segundo, near Los Angeles, people it with 600 of the brightest software engineers they can find around the world (both men and women), and run a 24-hour-a-day programming shop,
thereby avoiding H-1B visa hassles while still exploiting offshore labor cost arbitrage and completing development projects in half the time they’d take onshore or offshore.

The engineer in me would love to work on such a ship for a while, churning out code from a floating base. The efficiency of such an arrangement, the chance to work focused and with committed people, and the unique experience that this will be. Something to boast about. It
will be a sweatshop, no doubt, but if I were a young and aspiring coder, i might give it a try. Life is simplified so you can concentrate on your work.

Check out their site: http://www.sea-code.com

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A productive day

I had been very productive today. It is amazing how motivated an analyst can get from the disapproval of the users’ HOD. But to be fair to me, it was also the culmination of several days worth of groundwork and preparation.

I have patched a live problem that I am not directly responsible for, managed a manager’s expectation and basically got his approval to pursue another course of action, and briskly walked my user through the workflow in 15 minutes. There are still a lot of uncertainties that will become clearer only tomorrow, but the progress is still good so far. I enjoy my work when I can make progress. I am most upset when bogged down by bureacracy and managerial indifference. I guess that is pretty common.

I don’t know how much longer I can stay in this line. It remains too much of a sweatshop kind of working structure, with the junior staff sweating away and the supervisors not bothering to pitch in and get the work done, which is of course not very good. One of my collegues told me to just forget it, work your way up and make a difference when you are on top. It remains a very distant goal because the top is saturated. I will just do what I can, learn what I can, and move when the opportunity presents itself. It is difficult to see beyond that.

Why am I willing to live with all these? Is it because I have just heard that ex-colleagues tend to aggregate around other companies that are similar to us, but are just as messy? There are those who do well, and those who just wind up in another cesspool. The cesspools make me think that this is not such a bad place to be in. One shit is pretty much like another, I suppose.

This year’s performance bonus was the poorest I have ever had, and I blame it on last year’s lack of opportunities. Not that I did not ask for things to do. Confused supervisors did not know what to let me do. They still don’t know their priorities and can frequently be confused even now. I am learning so much from their mistakes. Just don’t be too agitated by their lack of integrity, lack of vision, their inconsistencies, empty promises, etc etc etc. Next year’s performance bonus should be good, considering the difficult tasks I have been assigned this year. Wonder if I will be around to claim it. I hope I would have found a better job by then, one so good that I am willing to give up the performance bonus. Won’t that be nice.

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blogging takes time

I’m spending too much time online these days, reading other blogs and writing my own. I have another blog that I post to frequently. The reason this blog is so neglected is that I’m still trying to find my own voice. At the ripe old age of almost-30, I’m still trying to find my own voice.

I never had a problem like this when I was an adolescent. Life was simple then. Study, work on my hobbies, learn about interesting stuff, go to church. My future was assured. Go uni, get a job in IT and I will earn enough to feed myself and pay for my hobbies. Life was simple and focused.

Start working and all the things I’ve never taken into account start hitting me. I try to adapt to new demands, learn new skills, grow in new dimensions. In the end I wonder who I really am. And thus there is a need to re-find myself.

Writing is a way for me to organise my thoughts. A discipline to focus my thoughts enough to form coherent sentences. What can be given form can be understood. Some time ago I have had similar goals with my previous blog, but unfortunately that was a public blog and there is much that I cannot write about. I think I will continue to maintain that, and this will be something else. I’ll see how this new attempt works out. Perhaps by separating them I may achieve something I’m not able to achieve with only either of them.

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