Back from Dominican Republic

I’ve been back for a while. Dominican Republic is in the Caribbean’s and the place is really beautiful. Not many Singaporeans go there though. The immigration staff haven’t heard of the country Singapore and we were questioned on the weather and the language we speak. I said it’s warm and English is our language of choice!

Resting on the beach
Resting on the beach

Interesting learnings:

  • Interesting is the country lives off tourism basically. Most of the tourists are Americans and they love the sun and the island getaway options.
  • A couple of Dominicanos saw me and started doing the Gangnam Style dance, wanted to tell them I am not from Korean.
  • “Hola” is the basic greeting and it makes them happy.
  • Spanish is their official language but most Dominicanos working at the resort have at least basic understanding on English.
  • My next other favorite word is “gracias.” It brings happiness.
  • Infrastructure isn’t great in Dominican Republic in general. However at the resort place — Punta Cana — it is decent.
  • Punta Cana International airport looks like a resort already!
Punta Cana International Airport
Punta Cana International Airport

Interesting discoveries #02

It’s been a busy week at work; I never thought I had the time to write this. So here’s what I gathered the past week or so.

1. Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain

A sweet book about a racer from a dog’s perspective. It’s not a book I would have picked up if not for Amazon’s offer and reviews. It’s a good book but I shan’t delve into what Amazon has already decide to be anyway.

The fact that I bought a book on mere offer must have meant something. My spending methods have changed. I use to despise the idea of going to the supermarket and purchasing goods simply because the item is on offer. I now found myself succumbing to that temptation and a half-an-hour introspection was to follow.

Story! Yes, the book is good and this is coming from a reader neither a racing enthusiast nor a dog owner. I do like dogs though.

2. Gun fires in Sandy Hook Elementary School

The most heart-wrenching story of the week is to be the case (CNN) where a gunman killed 26 people at the school, including 20 children, before taking his own life on Friday. I was watching the video reports of this online.

It’s leading to gun control debates, even the National Rifle Association has pretty much shut up in their Twitter account. Moving on from the tragedy, it’s a good opportunity to discuss on the issues with gun ownership and I believe America will reach a rightful conclusion in the months to come. It does irk me a little that the discussion got distracted by people who are calling for more god in schools. Focus on the gun policies first, we’ll talk about morals later.

3. The Walking Dead

Kevin recommended me The Walking Dead and I have been pretty much glued to it. The Walking Dead is an American television drama series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The series stars Andrew Lincoln as sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who awakens from a coma to find the world dominated by flesh-eating “walkers”, resembling the zombies of George A. Romero’s horror movies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way.

I am not why the drama distance themselves from the “zombie” association. I found that hard to accept. Given the whole setting was made to resemble reality — i.e. having places like the CDC, Fort Benning and Atlanta — I feel a little “betrayed” that no one seems to know about “zombies.” Why is that even so? This is not the reality I live in. Of all the efforts that place in creating this familiar environment, I found myself constantly awaken at each mention of the word “zombie.”

The Walking Dead has good story arcs but falls shorts in their lines. I love the visuals too.

4. Apache Maven

I never came across Apache Maven until this week where my new job requires me to. Maven is a build automation tool typically used for Java projects. Maven serves a similar purpose to the Apache Ant tool, but it is based on different concepts and works in a profoundly different manner. It can also be used to build and manage projects written in C#, Ruby, Scala, and other languages.

I don’t have much of comment on this accept that it is one of the most complicated build management tool I have seen. Or maybe I’m just unfamiliar with these things.

5. SimCity, released on March

What got me excited this week most is the upcoming SimCity.

I leave you the video to watch.

6. Upgrading/buying a new computer

I never learnt so much about computers until I have intentions to buy on. My new work place is at Sunshine Plaza and that is a 5 minute walk away from nerd heaven Sim Lim Square. So I was there doing a bit of cost research. I don’t plan to spend a lot on a computer since I’m just going to play SimCity on it when it is released.

If possible I am going to just stick with an integrated graphic card. I saw that the upcoming Intel Haswell micro-architecture has a significant improvement on their Intel HD offerings and I am looking forward to it although I might not have the patience to wait for it. Making a decision when SimCity is out is definitely not too late so, I’ll do that!

For those self-professed hardware idiots, like me, the update is they are now on DDR3 RAM, and the graphic cards are less a necessity more an option. Also the CPU casings are getting more beautiful. And also Intel i5 3330 (Ivy Bridge) seems to suffice. MSI is cheaper than Asus and it’s okay to get cheaper motherboards, they aren’t as bad as the cheaper motherboards of the past. Okay I know nerd language now. Moving on.

7. Sunshine Plaza

How little they did for Christmas decorations:

Sunshine Plaza

Sunshine Plaza has a mall, a residential and office building. It’s across Fortune Center. Good location, I’m happy it’s near all the tiny food places. Will update on that.

8. Google Maps for iOS

Google Maps for iOS is just pure joy to use after the 4 month deprivation of it. Currently the Google Maps application is top in Apple’s App Store and has a 5 out of 5 average rating. Google really deserves this and Apple has help educate the public how hard it is to get mapping right. Google has triumphed this time and Apple is probably a bit thankful for that. It’s time to put Apple Maps in the folder where I place all the crap I can’t uninstall.

I would have but cannot get rid of the following applications:

  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Weather
  • Compass
  • Voice Memos
  • Stocks
  • Passbook
  • Maps

Google Maps team definitely deserve a good vacation.

End notes

This week has been busy and my sore throats gotten worse. I met my new colleagues that I haven’t been as able to be chatty as I could have been. I spend more time reading this week, mainly on Maven, Backbone.js and Handlebars.js. It’s going to an exciting next week.

The forgotten compliment

Most people take things for granted, remembering the bad cases and failing to celebrate the right. In this case, I was way ahead of time in a software release. For this, no one said a thing.

Petty blames are placed on mistakes I’ve made and it’s enough to negate all the good I did previously. We have an odd culture here.

Time for myself

I’m happy that I work at Fusionopolis. I stay in the west of Singapore and there is little commute time to work. I never thought too much about traveling but with this new work arrangement, I felt I have more time for myself.

I like the idea of sitting in a park reading a book; never have I gotten a chance to do that until recently. It felt like I’ve done a huge favor for myself. It’s more humid than I imagine, I couldn’t get into the meditative state either. Nevertheless it felt right and that’s all that matters.

Recounting 2011

New year’s coming and I am excited that I am going older a year. This year has been particularly fruitful. I completed most of what I set to achieve. Here’s a rough status:

  • On religion, I ascertain my religious stance. I am neither theist nor atheist. I found out about the word “ignostic” (or theological noncognitivism) and felt it describes the thoughts that are forming from 2008 to now and I learn that I am not alone.
  • On consumption, I have deeper appreciation on the finer things. I learnt to enjoy coffee in its bitter form. I finally got it.
  • On living, I am slowly discovering what my motto in life is. It’s kind of flaky and I should not discuss it now. I feel a lot of decisions that I make or do not make is based on this narrative. While it differs from most people, I found peace in that statement and that everything will be okay if I continue to invest my options towards that goal.
  • On work, I quit ONG&ONG because I got too comfortable. I never realized I crave for uncertainty that much. I traded stability for excitement. It’s the first step to reprioritize myself. I look forward to 2012.
  • On clothes, I am more willing to try out something less conservative. I wanted to believe that there is a perfect form of fashion but this is perhaps fundamentally incorrect. I am confident that nearly no one has any idea if a set of apparel and accessories is matching. It depends on the person having the confidence to pull off the most ridiculous of combinations.
  • On verbal and written communication, I could do better. I should work on this more in 2012. I tend to be misunderstood.
  • On health, I am less healthy than before. I will go to the gym more. Oh and by the way, I somewhat concluded that the most important thing in life cannot be health. Anyway who claims that haven’t thought through the subject sufficiently. If you believe in that and you aren’t a health product salesman please let me pull you out of this disillusion. Call me.
  • On music, I like fusion jazz and electro swing more. And Nicki Minaj of course. I got a pair of Marshall headphones this year and it is best investment this year. Thank you Joanne.
  • On people, I grew less skeptic and less protective of myself this year. Am I just waiting to be hurt really badly? Maybe. People are kinder to me this year — empirical evidence of something done right.

See you next year.

I’m already looking forward to after exams

Examinations (find posts tagged ‘examinations’) have yet to begin. I have yet to study (even though I planned to but you know you know) for anything. Yet I’m already looking forward to after examinations already. Here’s a list of what to do after the examinations:

  • Go do some exercise: I haven’t done any since a really long time. I just sit in front of my computer and type.
  • Get back some money: Well, this is a little personal, so…
  • Figure out how to set up an Ubuntu server: This is more for personal learning. It will have Lighttpd, Ubuntu, Python and MySQL, I call it LUMP, haha… And I hope to do something interesting with it too. We shall see.
  • Settle some work: Unfortunately, some of my work is incomplete. I have yet to tie some loose ends and I’ve been really slow in these.
  • Find back my friends: I have neglected them. I’m too busy with my work and school and some self studying. I never met a single friend that is not my classmate or workmate for the past 1.5 months.

Now, back to studying for exams. Oh ya… Before that, I have a comic to share regarding friends:

Friends are important

See how important friends are? I don’t know who is the artist for the comic unfortunately. I got it through an email.

My start of the day is often unproductive

I just realized that almost everyday I start work reading RSS feeds using Google Reader. This is getting so totally unproductive.

I’ve been slightly more busy these days. Picked up quite a few things to do too. Things are more or less stabilizing. Once I finish off my things, I’ll stop a while and enjoy.

Examinations are nearing too. I haven’t started any form of preparation and I don’t have the bloody Steven Alter book too, I might have to hunt it down to study some day. Probably probably it from a friend for a day or two and really really study it.

Anyway, look at my title, look at my blog. Now I really should work.

It went well

Seems like things went well today. What a strange day. I went out feeling quite down. Don’t even feel like going to school today. But overall the day worked out. The work worked out too. I went to my mother’s don’t know who don’t know what friend house to do some installation. Her friend pushed some cash into my pocket which made me a little happy. Before that I was pretty pissed my mom set me up to fix someone’s computer without me knowing in advance. Seems like things went well.

I’ll work harder.