Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Life: Leg cramp

I tried to do some programming while on the train. There is very little space, so I was sitting somewhat slanted on the seat so that I can open my laptop enough for me to view the screen. Eventually, this became uncomfortable so I tried to change position by sitting forward and prop my leg on top the other so I can rest the laptop on my leg.

During the process, my leg suddenly cramped really bad. This has never happened to me before where I could not move or twist my calf for like a minute. On the rare occasion my leg cramps (usually from over-stretching my leg), I usually can manage to push my feet up towards my shin which would relieve most of the pain and relieve my calf.

I also could not move my foot with my hands after I managed to put away my laptop which was a task in itself as I am trying to ignore the pain. I was worried that maybe I had torn a tendon, but eventually the cramp just went away. Fortunately, there were no one nearby to witness my odd behavior. It could have been unfortunate if the problem was more serious.

This was probably because the weather was colder than usual and I was outside for most of the day. I had also spent the morning running in the park. Later walking for about an hour to get to the train station. Ending on a happy note, I did manage 20k steps that day (still enjoying my Wii U Fit meter).

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hulu, TV Provider, White Collar - Connection issue

I tried to keep my laptop more locked down on what it is capable of doing. One of those options was to lock down on the third-party cookie tracking. Although harmless, it has the potential to be abused. One of the problems for this is connecting Hulu to my TV provider. This also prevents some of the settings in some facebook games/apps. By disabling the "Block third-party cookies and site data" option, this allowed all the features to work properly. I couldn't find exactly which ones to put onto the exception list. I tried adding hulu and url of my tv provider, but neither fixed the problem. My guess is there is another site that the tv provider uses for authentication.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How to determine a thesis topic for your master's degree (possibly other theses)

Even though I have had many great ideas for a master's thesis, almost all of them are not feasible within the time period to complete a master's thesis (typically a year, possibly two). For doctoral thesis, this can span many years so I assume one could be more picky about their thesis.

The simplest suggestion I can provide is to just skim through a few theses that you are interested in. All theses have some problems or issues. These will become great sources for your thesis topics. Do not worry too much about sticking to a specific topic but try to keep it as concise as possible. As you do more research, you will be modifying your thesis depending on the sources you are able to find. That's about all there is to finding your thesis topic.

The reason for this method is that most of the ideas you think are innovative, you will find that it is far from innovative. You will also find that the topic will be much more precise than what you initially thought or else your paper will become really long.

But have no fear, although most of your ideas are not new, most of the papers you read will become sources for your thesis. All the sources within those sources will be other sources for your use. I do recommend that you track all the key topics though. I spent a lot of time looking for specific arguments in sources. The temptation to think that I could remember, I did not anticipate the large number of sources that I ended up using (easily used more than 20, read more than 50).

Doing your own research with a survey or test also makes a great source and makes the thesis topic a little more genuine. Before doing this, you should be pretty confident that your thesis will not change (or not change significantly) or else you risk that the research to be just a waste of time. This may be normal for a doctoral thesis, but time is quite the enemy for a master's thesis.

Hopefully this will help someone out there... or perhaps for my future self if I ever decide to get a PhD. GOOD LUCK!

Other Fun Links

- PhDComics.com - http://phdcomics.com/

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Future Reading - New Ways to Think of Volunteering/Philanthropy

I like some of these thoughts of long term philanthropy.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

T25 (First Impression)

A couple friends introduced me to T25, and it has been very convenient to add to my list of exercises to do. My personal preference for exercise is primarily running outdoors. This becomes increasingly difficult as the freezing season comes around or simply just rainy or just on the road. At home, I typically go to the gym to run on the treadmill.

One would realize that 25 minutes of constant movement should be rather tiring especially for someone that still cannot jog for a straight 25 minutes (although I did just pass 20 minutes... we'll see how long I can maintain it this time around). But no, I always thing that I can easily put in 25 minutes of my time to work on T25.

Although I really enjoy doing the different exercises (haven't touched the Gamma level yet), I really like that I do not need any equipment and can easily be done at home. Some do require weights or a mat, but I just use a carpet and I have not reached the level to use weights yet. I am not able to keep up with the regular workout thus having to follow Tanya for a good chunk of the video.

Tanya is one of the people in the video but does a "toned down" version of each exercise. But for amateurs/beginners, do not be fooled as this can still be challenging enough to keep the body going. Even then, I still do some of the exercises a little slower which is supposed to be ok still.

The hardest part for me (besides being out of breath) is the constant moving on the balls of my feet. My calves start to tire and cannot keep up throughout the entire video. I am able to follow for the first third to half of the video, then I try to keep up whenever I have the breath and energy to do so.

I do not think many people have the same opinion about the sense of time lapse, but I always find it interesting how each minute once you get tired becomes mentally longer as I reach the end of the video. The worst for me is the cardio since I am somewhat able to do most of the exercises so I have the chance to glimpse at the clock. I have not done the others enough to be used to the exercises yet so I focus more on the pose, position, and steps thus always scrambling to keep up.

Overall, I really like the exercises so far. I have no experience with other types of workout so I do not have much to compare with.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I am a Release (noun) Manager, not Release (verb) Manager

I've been getting several calls from cold-calling recruiters for positions seeking a release manager. After a couple questions, I end up correcting most callers that they are looking for a release engineer. I rather call them deployment managers because most of them understand that rather than release engineer.

This site provides a good explanation of the difference between the two.

I am a release manager (release as a noun), not a release manager (release as a verb). In my line of work/responsibility, I do not actually release any code or compile any code or touch any code (except maybe to forward the package to the operations team which I really should not be doing).

Another way to look at it is that I am like a project manager who are managers on the project level while I am a manager on the release level. If a problem is on the project level (something wrong with project requirements) then it is managed via the project manager. If that same problem cannot be remedied within the release schedule, then it becomes a release level problem thus requiring a release manager to review the impacts.

A release (in my world) is a set of projects to be deployed within the same window. The projects may have weak or strong correlations with other projects within the same release. Not all companies require a release manager as most companies deal with only single project releases. There may be several projects but none are dependent on the other so can always be deployed independently, or small enough to be easily managed by the development teams or existing project managers.

Our releases typically have 2-4 large projects, several small projects, and other production issue patches. For us, releases require quite a bit of coordination due to limited resources including both human resource and hardware resources. Our environments are hardware dependent costing tens to hundreds of millions of dollars so we cannot just simply "spin" up another test environment.

The release manager does not (in my opinion) have the authority to make a final decision on how the new issue should be resolved. The release manager has to be capable of providing the different options and the recommended course. The product, customer, or client should make the ultimate decision.

Typical choices could be:
  1. delaying all phases to accommodate the new timeline
  2. removing the project from the release (there still exists risk that this still delay the deployment if there are issues removing the project)
  3. do not fix and deploy with a known defect (adds risk to customer satisfaction and/or data integrety)
  4. shorten the timeline of a future phase if possible (typically requiring a group to work overtime)
  5. use the buffer time if one was implemented (typically adds risk to a shortened quiet period)
These terms are not set in stone as the position (to me) seems relatively new (within the last decade) as can be seen by all the recruiters that does not know the differences either. The terms have been around long enough for some stability in their usages. Truthfully, I did not know about this type of position until I was hired here, and didn't know about release engineers until the recruiters started giving me job descriptions that did not match my roles.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wii U Fit Meter - Durability and Tracking, Personal Review

I have been using the Wii U Fit Meter for a few months. I did not intentionally test these "features" so most are just from my recollection.


I had accidentally left the Fit Meter in the pocket of my pants that went through wash and dry cycle. Surprisingly, it has survived and appears to still be functioning accurately. Unfortunately, it did track a bunch of steps and elevation during that time. I did not find a way to cancel these steps. 


The Fit Meter appears to track my runs on a treadmill. I am not exactly sure how accurate it is though but it seems roughly correct. Usually, I have other steps in the day so that kind of complicates how far I actually traveled. I typically run around 3.5 miles and I end up with around 5 miles on the Wii U for the day. 1.5 miles seem to be the typical distance for the usual daily steps when I'm not at the gym.

It also does a pretty good job of determine if I am walking or running on the treadmill. I am quite stumped on how it determines this. Since I am not displacing any relative distance it would make it difficult to determine how far I walk/run. It would have to somehow calculate from just the 'bounce' from my steps (guessing). It would have to estimate my gait from my height and weight if that were the case.

Update (1/8/2015): My guess is that it estimates by the steps. Now that I am in more shape to run a bit faster, I noticed that the distance is not accurate in that the Fit Meter calculates a shorter distance. I think this is due to my sprinting form having a larger gait than walking/jogging so the frequency of my steps decrease.


Interestingly, the Fit Meter tracks the elevation even on an airplane. It does not track it for the elevation walked, but you can see in the graph that the meter was at a certain elevation while flying.


The Wii U sits on the second floor, so most of the elevation at the gym is at a negative elevation as the instructions does mention that it zeroes where the Wii U console unit is. There is a way to reset this but I have not found this to be a problem yet so have not bothered to set the ground level to be 0.

I have also traveled to other places that have a much higher elevation. The Fit Meter tracks this similar to the flight elevation. I'm not sure if you are walking while climbing these elevations that it would record that data. I have not put in any steps during these artificial elevation changes.


The bumps in the car or train does not seem to impact the Fit Meter. I have not walked around the train while it was moving so I cannot say what happens for that. My guess is that the Wii Fit somehow considers the current velocity and uses the accelerometer to determine steps inside a moving vehicle.

Tricking Fit Meter, Distance and Step Compensation

Similar to losing my meter in the washer and dryer, I can shake the meter up and down to add artificial steps to the meter. Steps are also counted while walking or running in place. Jumping will also be considered a step. The distance is still calculated for these "steps" even though I do not move.

Current Status

I am quite impressed with the Fit Meter. I cannot theoretically guess how it calculates all its numbers but it seems to be accurate enough for a leisure level exercise. There are quite some limitations to viewing specific data so I would not recommend this for more hardcore 'steppers' or runners. It is great just for trends that I am steadily improving or seeing holiday splurge of added weight (sigh). 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Need Alarm Feature to Temporarily Disable the Next Occurrence Only

Why has no one developed an alarm that allows exceptions to a recurring alarm? For example, I have an alarm for work every morning but I have to turn this off for Thanksgiving. I am ok with turning off the alarm, but I would really like the ability to turn it off only for a single day and not disable the entire recurring alarm... for example today, Thanksgiving.

Not only would it be nice to disable for Holidays, sometimes I just wake up naturally before the alarm. The process to disable the alarm so that I am not interrupted by the alarm (usually when I am already driving to work) is too tedious or sometimes just forgotten. Well, the app cannot help if I forget but most of the time I wish I could just disable the next alarm. I do not wan to disable the entire alarm schedule because I will likely forget to enable it for the next day (or rather the risk of being late to work is worse than the risk that I disable the alarm).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bored: Jump roping or jumping rope?

I did a general search and it seems that both use means the same thing. I originally used jump roping because the activity is jump rope even if it may not be grammatically correct. My usage is like doughnutting or dialoguing (reference). Then some part of my brain kicked in and tried to push for jumping rope which I suppose could also work since the activity is jumping a rope. After some more thought, I prefer jump roping because it sounds less ambiguous. "Jumping rope" could simply mean that I was jumping any rope like a rope to keep people out or rope to mark a certain area (like jumping fence). But then I suppose it could be jumping the rope or jumping a rope. Anyways, not an entirely important topic but perhaps something to get the hamster going.

This video inspires me to continue jump roping which was the original intent of this post but this was more interesting.

30000+ All Time History Visitors

Thank you visitors, readers, web surfers, fact questioners, and everyone else that has contributed to my blog. My last milestone of 20,000 visitors was only a few months ago in May/June of this year, 2014. I started around 12,000 at the start of the year (when I essentially started tracking my blog metrics).

YTD, I have almost 7000 sessions from Google Analytics with 13000 pageviews. I did have some analytics issues when I tried to enable the demographics. I am not sure that would be a 5000 page view difference though.

Google AdSense shows that I have about 8500 page views. This is several thousands short from both analytics and blogspot. I wonder if this may possibly be due to ad blockers.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Buggish: Google Docs Spell Check Issue with word 'sclerae' In Bulleted List

I found this very odd spell check bug where the world "sclerae" (a medical term) is marked as a spelling error only when it is the second item in a pair of a bulleted item with the word "conjunctivae". It is not marked as an error when it is in a list item by itself [Item 3], nor when it is the first item in the pair [Item 10], nor when you add "are [some object]" [Item 13].

The last test is kind of weird because it will still be recognized as an error even if I use a different verb (ie action verb like "diagnosed by person") [Item 13].

At first, I thought that this may possibly impact other nouns that do not end with 's' when in plural form. But as seen with many other combinations, these do not trigger the spelling error flag. Also seen in the latter part of the list, the spelling error flag is also not triggered if used with other plural nouns.

Obviously, this is going to be a super minor bug bordering "who really cares" bug. I just thought it was rather interesting bug. I am sure the bug is not those specific words, but I was unable to figure what the boundary cases that was used for this bug.

Review: Snooze (Boulder, CO)

Boulder is such a nice place. Clean air, lots of climbing, skiing, biking, etc. I am a fan of breakfast places, so Snooze was recommended. I also really like chicken pot pie, so it was no surprise that I was immediately sold that this place had a breakfast pot pie.

Even though I was hyped about the dish, it did not disappoint although a little more expensive that I would like to pay for it if I were to eat it everyday. The pancakes were also pretty good. I think my favorite is the pineapple upside down cake. It was a little too sweet after a few bites, but fortunately we were sharing the dishes.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Scammish: Alternate Utility Companies Providing Discounts 8626211032 PWR

I received a call from what sounded like my electricity provider stating that there was an error to my billing that I should be getting a 10 cent discount. They then asked to confirm if I was a customer. When I confirmed they then requested for my account number. I didn't have that information handy so I asked a few questions. The caller tried to get the account number again, eventually she just hung up.

I called my provider to ask what that call was about. My provider said that there are companies that provide discounted energy. They need the account number to transfer to the third party. She added that it could be legit and one of the questions you should ask is how long that discount is for as they are likely to change after a future date.

First, electricity is only more than 10 cents during the day. Second, they asked for my account number first. Third, they hung up on me after some questions. Fourth, they did not identify themselves and hiding behind your provider's name. This may not be technically a scam, but this surely is a very fishy scheme in the most optimistic light. Because of the order of information, I think this is likely a scam to switch you even without your consent. I'd stay away from this either way.


(862) 621-1032
caller id - PWR

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Buggish: Disappearing Scroll Bar on MSN site on IE11

While testing Hebrew on different browsers, I clicked on an interesting news article on Internet Explorer which defaulted to MSN. While reading the article, I kept failing to scroll down the page. This is when I realized that as I read the article, the vertical scroll bar disappears (reappearing after moving the mouse around).

I assume this is by design because other pages on IE does not have this problem. Nor is MSN a problem on Chrome or FF. Sure I could use the scroll wheel on a mouse or the arrows on the keyboard, but unfortunately I happen to want to use the touchpad tap because double finger slide is not very fluid on this laptop nor the tiny up/down cursor buttons. I guess this is kind of a rant on my laptops keyboard and touchpad designs too. At least keep the arrows there... or even better let the functions exist even if the scroll bar is not visible.

Buggish: Firefox (PC) using Hebrew in Textboxes - Shift Arrows different as Non-shift arrows

When using Hebrew in the textboxes in the search and address textbox, the cursors do not moving in the correct direction when holding down the shift key. Because Hebrew is right to left, this is probably what is causing the odd behavior.

1. Copy עברית to the address box or search box
2. Use arrows to navigate (should be similar behavior as English words)
3. Hold down shift, then use arrows (cursor moves in opposite direction as #2)

I use opposite direction to #2 only because I only care that #2 and #3 move in the same direction. Because I want to copy certain words, it is very odd to have to change direction after pressing shift
(to highlight letters/words).

On Google Chrome, the cursor moves in the direction as the arrows with or without Shift pressed.

On Internet Explorer, the cursor moves in the opposite direction as the arrows with or without Shift pressed.


Firefox 32.0.3

Monday, November 3, 2014

Coding: SqlCommand Add vs AddWithValue

I ran into the issue but had simply converted it to a string value which worked for me. Later I was cleaning up my code and realized that Add was deprecated then out of curiosity looked up the difference. I thought this was interesting because on how 0 and 1 were implicitly converted differently.

vcsjones (@stackoverflow):

The reason they deprecated the old one in favor of AddWithValue is to add additional clarity, as well as because the second parameter is object, which makes it not immediately obvious to some people which overload of Add was being called, and they resulted in wildly different behavior.
Take a look at this example:
 SqlCommand command = new SqlCommand();
 command.Parameters.Add("@name", 0);
At first glance, it looks like it is calling the Add(string name, object value) overload, but it isn't. It's calling the Add(string name, SqlDbType type) overload! This is because 0 is implicitly convertible to enum types. So these two lines:
 command.Parameters.Add("@name", 0);
 command.Parameters.Add("@name", 1);
Actually result in two different methods being called. 1 is not convertible to an enum implicitly, so it chooses the object overload. With 0, it chooses the enum overload.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bored: Combination Lock Puzzle

I was just surfing random sites and stumbled across this site when I visited randomnumbergenerator.com. This was pretty fun and felt like a good brain exercise as I tried to do this all in my head. I ended up having to take some notes for 6 reels on crazy level.

Here are my "best" times (I only played each one once except for 2 reels standard which I played 3 times):



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Life: Exercising, Right Leg Hurt/Sore After Few Minutes of Jogging

After jogging for a few minutes, my right calf feels very sore (almost to the point of pain but not exactly). I am not exactly sure why this is the case. It sounds normal according to one post which seems to be consistent that I have only recently returned to running.

Odd thing is that I am right-sided (ie right handed and footed) so I always thought that my right leg would last longer than my left leg. Another odd thing is that I do not have this problem when running on a treadmill. I thought perhaps it has to do with the extra stability when running outdoors but then I just ran into the same problem when just running in place.

I started running in place while watching tv because I have been trying to get more steps onto my Wii Fit Meter. By running, I really mean walking and jogging. I have noticed that I do run a bit farther/longer before reaching the soreness every couple weeks. I typically alternate between jogging and walking until the soreness goes away. I only did this a 2-3 times before just walking out the rest of the trail because I was afraid that I may be making it worse by not letting it rest enough.



Friday, October 31, 2014

Coding: Name Distributions for 12k Semi-random Names

I wanted to create a table of people's names so that I have a set of data for testing purposes. I wanted the names to be somewhat more random than people I know and needed to find possible exceptions to my assumptions on names. As noted in my previous post, I have ran into quite a few exceptions and some were quite difficult to workaround (ie Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi or Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon).

Before I get to some of the problems, I wanted to just post some data since it is just one of those things that I just like to do with my free time even though there may be no value to it. This is for my set of 12k names which I pulled from any lists of names that I could find (US presidents, popular scientists, soccer team members, veterans, etc.) with some diversity.

The top 10 first names are:

  1. John - 40
  2. James - 29
  3. William - 21
  4. Thomas - 17
  5. Robert - 17
  6. Michael - 15
  7. David - 14
  8. George - 12
  9. Mark - 12
  10. Richard - 12
The top 4 last names are:
  1. Brown - 9
  2. Johnson - 8
  3. Smith - 5
  4. Stewart -5
My random data search is quite dominated by males. The top female name is Susan (8). Just off the top of my head, I think at least 95% of the names are male. I will try to focus on more female dominated industries. I stop at 4 for last names because there were too few overlaps in last names.

I also did a direct aggregate of names, so names with different spellings or abbreviations would have a lower count. I have thought about creating some sort of normalized table for names (ie John, Jonathan, Johnny, Johny, etc.).

As for unique spellings:
First names - 655
Last names - 1055

Another small issue with the names are the use of accent marks. On the traditional US keyboards, accents are not easily accessible so accents may be left out (ie Zoe vs Zoë). These are counted separately in the SQL aggregates.

One of the biggest problems to this count is Asian names especially Chinese ones. Most Asian names are family names first. Although almost all Chinese family names are a single characters, there are rare exceptions to this rule. Unfortunately, I cannot read the names. Even if I assume that whatever I find are single characters, I am not exactly sure how to manage surname first whether I should enter them into the last name field because that is traditionally the family names for Americans (which most systems are based off of) and because names are split so that formalities can be added to American traditions or keep the literal that it is the first part of the name then.

This does make a difference if I were to create metrics similar to what I have above. It will be more important to keep the list as first names as opposed to given names and last names as opposed to family names. This becomes even more complicated as I read that some places like Iceland and India have other traditions to their names where there is no "family" names similar to American or Asian cultures. There are some that include the location, parent's, or parents' names. 

Or even ancient times where people only had a single name. How would I enter Alexander the Great? Given that I keep 'von' and 'de' in the last names, the most logical method is to have 'the Great' as the last name.

Also some people changed their names or inherits new names. I did not have a method for this except to just keep the first name that they had (or at least I think it was the first one). In the future, I will likely have to create an alias table to track people with multiple names.

So there came to be a lot of work to dealing with names than I had originally planned. And this shows how software planning could easily be thrown out the window. What most would probably estimate to be only a couple hours could turn into days because the architecture may change thus rippling other changes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Coding: How to request, store, and display names from different cultures and languages?

I have found this great site that does a great job of describing the majority of cases. While trying to create a database, I had created a table with the standard first name, middle name, and last name. I had input several names to test this table. There were a few instances that had my question the method.

Before you read further, I will be coming from the standard American naming format where most people will have a first name and last name with an optional middle name. The first name will typically be the given name, while the last name will be the family name. There are rare exceptions due to the cultural or individual reasons. As far as I am aware, there are no laws to how the games should be passed from generation to generation so names really could be used in any manner in theory.

A lot of ancient names have only a single name like Euclid. I have the table to allow nulls for last name, but it still raises the question on what impact this will have on applications that may use the last name. What do people with a single name fill in forms that require a last name? He can also be identified as Euclid of Alexandria. As some names make use of the location names, "of Alexandria" could be designated as a last name.

On the other spectrum there are names with multiple parts, usually including parents name, location names, generation name, caste name, and any new traditions people want to make up. Which parts should go into which field or column? First, middle, and last name could still work but would be up to the user to decide. The problem with that is that we lose some capabilities to easily group people by names... but is that really a problem?

Along the same line, many east and southern Asian names are family names first. Should that be literally the first name or switch the family name  to the last name? This also poses the same problem as many immigrants decades ago have adapted their names to the given name then family name structure, while more current immigrants have kept the same order (like Yao Ming).

At the end of the day, is there a real need to separate the name into first, middle, and last? As the w3 site suggests, I could use different fields of full name, given name, and/or display name. I would lose the ability the ability to automate the US American formality of addressing names as Mr., Mrs., or Ms, as I wouldn't know what the last name is (because some last names have multiple parts).


Review: Wii U Balance Board (First Impression)

The Wii Fit U is quite fun and the fit meter makes a nice pedometer. The most interesting thing about the game to me is seeing how stable (or how unstable) I am at certain exercises. The balance games are also quite interesting.

One drawback to this game is that I do not have other controllers. There are quite a few exercises and games that require the wii-motes to play. They look interesting.

Another drawback is that I cannot find other Wii U games that make use of the balance board. There appears to be some from Wii classic.

I kind of wish the board was a big bigger. I feel that my feet barely within the board and barely within my shoulder width, so I will be off the board if I make any slight missteps from the center. This would be a lot more fun if it were maybe double the size or something as big as the dance pad.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Work: When did 50 miles become a local distance for new job opp?

I received a random recruiter call. After the introductions, he tells me that he is looking to fill a position. I responded that I am currently employed but willing to listen to the details. He says that it is local. After giving me the location, I said that it was a pretty far distance. He then states that it is local... 50 miles.

50 miles?! That's local? That would probably be a 2 hour commute... maybe 1.5 with no traffic but for work that will always be rush hour... so probably more like 2.5 hours and possibly even 3-4 if there is an accident. And this is my estimate just for standard places, but I have to cross a major city plus that area is known for its traffic jam. I quickly declined to save us both time.

And where do these people even get my information? This person has my mobile number and my latest work location. I do not post my mobile number, and my resume doesn't even have my current employment. This really makes me suspicious on what information some of these recruiting companies share. I doubt my current employer would share this information, so that would only leave the one recruiter company that got me my current job who would also have my mobile number.

I really hope legislation would someday force companies to report where they obtain personal information. Companies should not be making money from my information (which does not even include that this seems like some form of privacy invasion) without my consent. If they are unable to provide the proper trail of information, they should be fined and I should get a cut of the money for my troubles.

Companies sue other companies and even individuals just for using their name. Shouldn't there be some sort of copyright issue for companies distributing my resume especially if they are profiting from it either monetarily or valued data? While they are at it, they should make it illegal to waive your right to allow them to bypass it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Buggish:Google+ Error when Click On New Icon in Blogger Admin Page

I have been busy with other things lately and haven't posted for a while. I just noticed that there is a new icon in the top right corner of the blogger admin page. It is a plus-sign inside a comic speech-box.

I'm not exactly sure what it does, but I get an error message: Error Loading.

Google+ Error
Google+ Error

Update 11/10/2014: This error has been fixed. It is the Google+ share. I just happened to check, not exactly sure when the fix was implemented.

Review: Changing Mii Character's Pants?

Why is the default color red? Couldn't it be a little more neutral like khaki, off-white, black, jean blue, or even just regular red? I am quite color-illiterate but that red-maroon color is just kind of... eh... it just does not match any of the other palette colors available. If Nintendo was trying to make everyone feel unsatisfied equally, then they did a fine job of it.

I guess someone did invest the time into changing the pants color, but it looks so intimidating that I have learned to accept my pants color :D

I'm not sure if there are games that use the Mii characters. After reading a few articles online, it seems that the pants color may be used to identify other Miis or allow games to control some aspect of the Mii characters. All that is still speculation, as I'm still saving to buy another controller before getting another game.



Wii U

Friday, October 17, 2014

Work: Late Night Work

Just finished some night work. Nothing like a period of time where no one else is on to distract you from work. I always feel like I easily do about a day's worth of work within a couple hours. 

For one thing, I noticed that the type of people who seem to talk forever rarely work the extra hours. Not that I'm complaining because I get a lot more work done. But I always wonder what goes through their heads that make them have to repeat everything multiple times within the same conversation. I even have one person who keeps telling me how to do my work that is not even related to that person.

For example, we would have a conversation about what work needs to be done. The work is to get Jobs A, B, and C completed by Day 10. Her job is to make sure Job B is completed by Day 5. Her requirements is that it will take 3 days. So, working backwards, Job A has to be completed by Day 2.

For some reason as I explain to another person if they can finish their work in 2 days, person B has to reiterate that it is important that they get 3 days. As we complete the details of Job A, person B has to interject that if they cannot finish in 2 days that they cannot finish their work by Day 5.

What always gets me to practice some calm is that historically group B has always finished their work within 1 day for the last 2 years. Each time, she stresses that they need 3 days which I always give them. I have tried different methods to figure out what her concerns are. I've tried asking directly, providing the contingency plan if the different groups cannot meet their committed dates, and another minor differences.

Another time, I always trying to get a timeline from the testing team. This disruptive deployment needs to be put into place so I am trying to gather the preliminary duration that each group needs so that I can determine around what date we can deploy. For some reason, they cannot give me a duration unless I give them which date we can deploy.

Confused, I try to explain them that I need their duration so that I can determine when the deploy date. Yet the manager continues to stay on her story that she needs to know when the deployment date is so that she can work backwards from that. Afterwards, I even checked with a few other people in the meeting offline to see if perhaps I was not making any sense. They seemed to understand what I was asking, and eventually I was able to piece together a plan without the manager of the test team.

What made matters worse was that the timeline overlapped with another priority. In the next meeting, I had to figure out a contingency plan. Here, she gives me another roadblock in that she cannot have the code change until after that priority is completed. I stated that is not a problem so we will just have to drop code after that is done. Although not exactly a real problem, she somehow things this is a show stopper and keeps repeating that they will not approve the work plan because they cannot meet my initial plan. I repeat that I understand why they cannot meet it, so we have not changed to a new date given the new information. Yet, she will still not approve the new date because it does not meet the INITIAL plan, emphasizing "initial."

Sometimes, I just do not understand why I have to go through these types of people. I wonder if they ever listen to themselves. I have found that it is just easier to ignore these people and just accept that it is the way things are. Unfortunately for audit reasons, I just have to keep asking then escalating to get the approval. 

I think most other people have already arrived at this conclusion. When I try to ask for alternate methods of handling these matters, I seem to only get a smile, a pat on the head, and a shrug. With the proper people, I seem to be able to hold my meetings within 15 minutes and get the work done with higher quality and efficiency. With teams that just include a couple of these talkers, my meetings take up to an hour. I have even timed a couple meetings and found that they take 30 of those minutes. An additional 15 just to respond to them.

One minor change that I have been able to implement is that I know which topics impact which group, so I get all the quick topics first. Once one of the talkers start, I start signalling that the people not pertinent to the discussion to drop/leave the meeting. I've let them know that I'll forward any information if it impacts them.

As a result, I find that I have one of the better attended meetings in my team. They also come prepared and ready with their plans. I have tried to explain this to my team, but for some reason they also like to repeat things until it has been beaten to a pulp. Yet what can I say, they've been doing this for years. Somehow we manage to stay afloat yet executives wonder we never get ahead. The continuous reorganizations do not help either.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Project: No easy way to change class names using EF or MVC

I am still testing around the MVC and EF tools. What I have been trying is to change a class name. Although this probably happen very rarely, this exercise at least helped me understand how some of the pieces fit together.

It was interesting that the cshtml are not included in the global name change updates. I had to manually go through each one to update to the new class name. I also noticed that all the model parameters always have the red squiggly underline. This does not have an impact as I was able to eventually get the site running again.

Clearly, this is an example that is kind of the drawback to scaffolding (sorry, still not completely familiar with the term yet). Because a lot of the code is generated based on the class name and because they are internal variables, these variable names do not change. This is not a major problem for the code as it will still render but will be just as misleading as they would still reference the old class name. This also includes the documentation. The best way is probably use the Visual Studio's CTRL+ALT+F feature to just replace all terms. Hopefully, the term is not too simplistic to impact other variables.

Somehow my table name was updated with the new model name. I am not exactly sure how I did this or when it happened as I was not checking that while I was correcting the files. I did run an Update-Database. This is my best guess on when it possibly could have occurred. Later, I did an Add-Migration and Update-Database. But because the Up/Down methods were empty, I assumed there were no changes.

At then end of the day, it is possible. I'm not sure how complex some of these classes may become, but with simple classes, it is much easier just to recreate a new class. I'm sure there probably is a way to delete the old tables. Hopefully, you just never have to make these changes.

Project: EF6, Resetting Entity Framework (VS 2013 Express, SQL Server Express, C#)

This was my first time working with Entity Framework. Because I used it in a web application, I had to fidget with some of the instructions I found online that worked with a console application. Somewhere in the middle of the setup, I changed the database and I think this is where I must have broken something.

Basically, I followed the initial setup so I had a migration for Initial Create. In this setup, I had created a class. In this area, I am not sure exactly how to replicate what I ended up with. Somehow I ended up with the migration scripts for creating the initial ASPNET tables but not my class (MyForm).

I continued to use add-migration with no luck. It will not attempt to create the table. The up/down methods are always empty. I am not exactly sure where it stores the information that it has already attempted to generate MyForm. I looked inside the script for InitiateCreate but I do not see the class or table in there.

Next I tried to make a modification, and this did generate an add column. Because I do not have the table, this update failed. Just to test it further, I also created another class. This also generated scripts for creating a table. Of course this failed, because the other update to add column is still pending.

After several more hours of banging my head, I finally decided to start over. This posed another set of problems. I quickly found this link which gave me the command (Update-Database -TargetMigration:0).

When I tried to add-migration again, I get the error that I still had pending migrations. I tried to look everywhere on how the system knows that I still had pending migrations. I just took a risk and just deleted the migration files in the Migrations folder. Initially, I had moved them to a backup folder but of course the project would still find it since it is in the same namespace. I guess I could have just dropped them from the project. Fortunately, by running add-migration, I was able to recreate the Initial Create scripts again.

Also another problem with the tutorials were that they were all using Visual Studio 2012 or 2010, while I am using 2013 Express. Some of the layouts and forms were slightly different. Because my problem was a bit unique, these slight differences really made me question a lot more than I should have. It would be nice if there were tutorials on how to make a blanket rollback without restarting a new project.

Error Messages

  • "Unable to generate an explicit migration because the following explicit migrations are pending"
  • object does not exist



Review: FireFox's Memory Usage

I've been kind of watching the memory usage of FireFox using the Windows Task Manager. I was curious how much it used because I had left my gmail test account open last night and this morning FireFox was up to 1G of memory. So, I was wondering how much it uses by default.

The odd thing was that it settles around 74M of RAM after startup. Then I minimized it for a few minutes. When I check the WTM, it is now at 150M. When I bring it back to maximized, this actually drops down to 76M of RAM. I tried this minimized/maximize one more time and got 150M dropping down to 100M. It has not dropped below 99M as I am typing this blog on Chrome.

Even if I leave FireFox maximized but in the background, the memory usage remains the same. This seems very odd because I thought that inactive windows would actually take up the same or less RAM. It could take up less RAM due to its inactivity status which would the OS should start moving some of it to the harddisk so that it has more RAM for active applications.

Not as pertinent to FireFox, I always find it odd that the memory usage would fluctuate when nothing is happening with the application.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Buggish: Cannot Start a Level in Dreamworld of Candy Crush Saga

Ooooops! What happened? / An error was found, called: (E-Error=Error #1007][CCS error message: Something went wrong after a saga api call: https://candycrush/kingcom/api/gameStart with params: / (1/ 1)

I get this odd error message with no closed square bracket when starting a level in the dreamworld. Still stuck on the same level for ever, 383. Sadly, I'm still playing when I have some free time... just finished all the reality levels, 710.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Buggish: Google+ Comments not working with Blogger and Chrome. Works on FireFox.

Today, I attempted to repost an old blog on Google Plus but then found nothing happened when I used the +1 or if I clicked in the comments field. When I click in the comments field, a pop-up window comes up then disappears and I am left back where I was before clicking the comments box.

This works perfectly fine with FireFox.

Google Chrome - 37.0.2062.124 m
FireFox - 32.0.3

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: HP Pavilion 15z Touchpad (~1 week), poor

This touchpad (HP Pavilion) is one of the hardest touchpads that I have had to adapt to. I still have not quite adapted myself to streamlining its functions.

I have usually preferred to click using the button instead of a quick tap on the pad, but I have found myself using the tap more often because the click is not very responsive. The click requires quite a bit more force than other touchpads. Not that it is difficult to click, but it feels more like a press than a click.

The most annoying part is when I do use button, I usually leave my finger on the touchpad so that I can keep pressing the button. The problem with this is that the touchpad will no longer register a page scroll when there are 3 fingers on the touch pad. 2 for scrolling, 1 because it is the resting position for the left click.

Basically, the touchpad (so far) is on partially useful. I have always liked using the touch pad because of its proximity to the rest position of my thumb. There are times as I am editing files or using multiple screens, I am able to use my thumb to move the pointer or tap to point. It is also closer to my hands than reaching for a mouse.

This is probably my first laptop where I actually prefer to attach a mouse because I cannot get all the proper motions when I am trying to click on multiple objects/windows/etc.

Review: New Super Mario Brothers U - Completed All Levels and Stars for Mario (~20 days)

Overall, this game is not difficult. There are couple levels in star world that took me a while to finish. I also started playing the Luigi mode which, I suppose, kills some of the time when I don't feel like doing much. I liked that I could just pick this up and play for just 10-30 minutes at a time which I seemed to have found more of even though I was not very inclined at first.

It was quite painful to go through most of the levels again to collect all the stars. Once all the stars are collected in each area, a new level is unlocked in the star world. Then in star world, once all the stars are collected another final level is unlocked. Besides satisfaction for completing the game 100%, there is nothing else that is accomplished by unlocking and completing all the levels after beating Bowser.

The two hardest levels (by a lot) are Superstar Road's level 2 (Run for It) and level 8 (Pendulum Castle). Both levels took more than a day to complete (probably about 90 minutes of actual game play). Typically, I only play in 30 minute periods but these two really tested my nerves.

Level 8 was really difficult because I just didn't have enough patience to wait for the proper timings. I kept trying to sprint through the level and each time I would his a pendulum, fall into the pit, or die. It took a night's rest to calm my nerves which made it much easier.

Level 2 (which I actually completed after level 8) is completely opposite to level 8 where you are trying to sprint through the level. The section that I kept losing was around the third or fourth P-switch where there are moving platforms. For some reason, I just could not time this consistently. This got pretty bad to the point where I started to miss the flying koopa all-together, the P-switch, and even the P-switch at the very beginning.

Also to note, I have not played a console game for a very long time. My thumbs were actually quite sore after playing about 30 minutes. After about a month, they are no longer as sore. I did not track the total amount of time that I played, but I would guess around 30 hours of game play (usually logging more time over the weekends).



Saturday, October 11, 2014

Work Life: Being a Professional (coder)

I just read an interesting article. It has a lot of good points. Although I do not agree with every single point, there are a lot of good take-aways for anyone who is starting their career. In general, it is a good read. It is a bit lengthy but a good skim cannot hurt either. I also realize I wrote quite a bit too

The biggest problem (similar to some of the comments) is about learning off-the-clock being required as a professional. If you can spare time, this is a great way to get ahead. You should always strive to improve yourself, although it should be focused on areas that you cannot cover at work. Learning material that is related to your work should be done during work hours (assuming you are an employee).

As a contractor this may be a different story depending on the contracted work. If you contract to do work on certain work within your existing skill sets, then learning things to skills that have been promised should not be billed. On the other-hand, if you are contracted as a hired-hand, then the learning materials should depend on what your contracted responsibilities are.

The next problem is much lesser than the learning aspect. I rather separate the definition of responsibilities and professionalism. I prefer to see that professionals have a set process on how to deal with unexpected problems and responsibility as problems that should be managed by the person. If there is a big enough problem that falls within your responsibility, then attempts should be made to go outside of existing procedures to correct the problem. That includes staying up late and knowing when you should take a break. I have seen too many junior developers stay up all night then become completely useless the next couple days thus just adding onto the emergencies.

Also by separating the two, professionalism also covers responsibilities that may be outside your circle of responsibilities. For example if an outside group found a problem with communicating with your application, reasonable attempts should be made to assist the group even if there are absolutely no problems on your end. These groups could be third-party or system test team or another department. Being professional is knowing what a reasonable attempt is. You may already have prior engagements thus unable to assist in the short-term.

From my experience, one of the biggest factor to being professional is simply to manage expectations. Although some groups may not like that you cannot assist them immediately, almost all groups are satisfied with a path-forward (some plan where they can show progress) even if the response is that I will need 2-3 days to investigate the issue before providing a new status. One of the most helpful reminders for me is that most projects are really not life-critical (although I have treated some like one in by younger years). Although companies will claim that they lose so much money per hour that it is not fixed, there are many areas that they have skimped that also contribute to the problem. If you are a single-point of failure, that is not your problem... it is the company's problem. Do not confuse this as a reason not to do work, but more to prioritize how to balance your personal life and work life. If it is your anniversary or your child's big play, those should almost always take priority over extra work. Simply manage the "client" expectation that you will focus on it first thing in the morning.

The last problem that I want to bring up is primarily that the article also falls into one of its own points of curse of knowledge. Although I can relate to most of the points, I think it would be difficult for someone who is just starting their careers to fully understand why each point is problem. This is not an easy problem to fix as I suspect that I probably do the same all the time. A couple main topics are like "Don't be egoistic," "Be responsible," and "Accept criticism" (probably a few other topics). The problem with those is that everyone (good or bad) will always think they are all those things. Like who does not think they are good especially those who are victims of "bad" traits? I would have liked to see how to recognize when I am being egotistic or when I am in self-denial. I have faced many people who say "they accept criticism" when it is clear to everyone else that he is not.

The part about experience is actually a lot trickier than it is stated in the article. For example, I work with a lot of people who have much more experience in work experience but few have actual development background. Rarely are my suggestions are ever considered. I usually remain patient and professional in stating my opinions but not over-pressing the issue. Most of the time, the problems that come up are consistent with exactly the risks that I have stated. Am I perhaps being egotistic in that I provide more value than it really is (the actual data seem to back up my recommendations), or perhaps my coworkers egotistic in not allowing more value to my suggestions or accepting my criticism in their suggestions?

I find it more difficult when dealing with people who have more experience but do not seem to really comprehend the problem. Although they also recognize that there is a problem, I often do not agree with their methods in resolving the issue because they do not fully understand the full extend of the problem. I have tried to explain but I seem to fail in getting them to understand my point-of-view until it is too late. To me (imo), being a professional also means knowing when someone is set in their views, have more authority, thus knowing when to back-off and just hope they will someday see the value that I can bring to the team (even though they say that they welcome our thoughts).


Friday, October 10, 2014

Buggish: Secure Connection Failed Error When Accessing Google+, Drive via FF through a VPN

Secure Connection Failed

An error occurred during a connection to plus.google.com. SSL received a record that exceeded the maximum permissible length. (Error code: ssl_error_rx_record_too_long)

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.
    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem. Alternatively, use the command found in the help menu to report this broken site.

I get this error with Firefox ESX 31.0 when trying to access Google Plus or Google Drive when connecting via a VPN. I do not have any problems via Google Chrome.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Info: Whirlpool wtw8900bc0 Modified Energy Factor, 2.5

I was helping someone fill out a rebate for a new washer and got stuck on the part to fill in the Modified Energy Factor (2.5 for this washer). This turned out to be more of a hassle than I thought. I even went through the manual (although I did just skim through it because it was primarily an instruction manual). Searching did not turn up the model number. After truncating the model number, I did find one site with the information.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Buggish: Blogger on Chrome with Google Plus Comments

I still have not quite figured how blogger counts the visitors to my page. The number of visits per post does not seem to add up to the total visitors to the site. My top pages have about 14k hits. I have almost 300 posts which should be about 30-ish hits each thus about 9k hits. That will give me almost 23k. My all-time is 25.6k. Most of the posts have less than 10, but then I do have a few random ones that hit 100.... but it is not one for ever four which would average to about 30-ish per page. So there seems to be quite fewer hits by aggregating the post hits versus the site hits which should be approximately the same.

I was actually trying to manually count the number of posts by adding them up in my head. I had reached perhaps the 8 or 9th page. I found that the biggest issue in scrolling through the page was that each time it would load the google comments count. While it loads the count, I cannot scroll the page. Some times it would even jump around because it queued the commands while it was loading.

With all the memory that Chrome already consumes, I am surprised that it cannot handle a user scrolling while it loads data in the background. After been using Chrome for a while, I am starting to feel that Firefox is more my preferred browser. Chrome just uses too much memory and it just makes my system crawl at snail speed. Once Chrome is closed, everything else on the system seems to return back to normal.

This occurs even when I have Chrome minimized and not in use. This may be perhaps with the ads or other scripts, but I have not find this to be a problem with FF or even IE. At times, even Dota consumes less memory than Chrome.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Life: Exercising 20141006

So I have not been exercising much for the last week, and I have basically gained almost all my weight back... probably because I was eating unhealthy again. Work stress is just not healthy for me. Besides the stress part, it really throws me off-course with exercise and eating healthier.

Anyways, at least I got to running today. Surprisingly, I was able to easily jog for 30 minutes straight at 5 mph (~12 minute mile). I was a bit out of breath near the end, but I felt that I could probably do another 10 minutes.

My perception on how long I can keep a pace is rather poor. To test this, I walked 2.5 minutes then ran 2.5 minutes at 7 mph. When I switched to the running pace, I thought I could do 10 minutes, then quickly to 5 minutes in 30 seconds. By the 1.5 minute mark, I wanted to stop.

Some people say that they don't like to run because it is boring. I have never felt that way, but then I also do not really get bored easily. What keeps me focused is that I try to analyze how I am progressing. I am always checking how I feel I am doing to predict how much longer I can go. Sometimes, I feel a slight ache or soreness or I just feel something in certain parts of my body (like my foot or joint) then I try to change my movement to minimize the feeling. Other times, I experiment with my posture. Especially on the treadmills, I have a habit of looking down because I am so focused on the timer. I have noticed that I can run longer and faster if I simply look up.

Some day, I need to track my progress on my outdoor runs. I always find that I cannot run as long outdoors, but I also suspect that I run faster than I do on the treadmill even though I am trying to maintain the same speed by my sense alone. My other hypothesis is that it is easier to run on the treadmill because I do not actually have to move my body. Basically, I think I just have to move my feet fast enough to keep my body in a single place. The other factor to outdoors is that there are hills which I am terrible with.

I do not understand why hills impact me far greater than other people. My effectiveness at running up hills drops significantly. While most people slow down, I can never maintain the same reduced pace as others on outdoors (where I try to keep pace with someone). I wonder if this is due to me running with my feet close to the ground. I notice that I run very quietly. I also have walk rather quietly as many people have actually complained that I appear out of nowhere many times. Or that I run/jog more on the balls of my feet. I always found it odd how others make so much sound with they run. Or maybe I am just so out of shape.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: HP Pavilion 15z (First Impression)

My new laptop just arrived about 30 minutes before I started writing this post, and I already have it up and running. This laptop is much thinner than most laptops I have owned in the past, almost all HPs including work laptops. My last personal laptop was probably before 2010. Truthfully, I was reluctant in buying another HP because my recent experience with their laptops have been pretty bad. I still decided to go with HP because it was basically the only one that I could find that had SSD, 16G of memory, and Windows 7. I wanted an I7 but the A6 will do for the price.

I am currently waiting for Windows to update. I have verified that the specs are consistent with the website. By default, the base install takes about 46G of hard drive space. With a preliminary check, there appears to be no additional software which is a huge plus to me. I rarely ever use any of the bloatware that comes with systems today. Preinstalled virus scanners always seem to be the most bloated and a nuisance to uninstall.

I did not pay attention that this was a wide screen which is ok for me. I would have preferred the regular screen as I plan to use this laptop as my development box and the extra height would be useful. But that really is very low impact and I would have stuck with this one anyways.

The keyboard does not have a mechanical keyboard feel (with all the clicking) which I do prefer but I know quite a few people personally that do not. I cannot understand why feeling the click makes it easier to know that they pressed the button, especially now that most of us are used the touch screen keyboards on smart phones (perhaps another blog to further this discussion). Because this is a wide screen, the main keyboard is offset to the left to fit a keypad on the right side. This is rather standard for most widescreen laptops that I have used. This did take me a little bit of time to get used to as I kept missing the enter button (being used to the enter being at the end of the keyboard).

I do usually prefer the touchpad over the mouse, and especially over the joystick-nub of thinkpads. I am currently not a fan of the seamless pad where there is no distinguishable left and right buttons. This may just be a matter of time to get used to. It is nice that it provides more area for moving the pointer, but I never had a problem with that before. It also works fine with the protective plastic.

This does have a removable batter which I read somewhere is not as common as before. All the laptops I've owned always had one. The charger seems to be a bit smaller. The overall weight is not bad. Cosmetically, this laptop is ok. It is odd that the battery is black while the rest is silver, but is not noticeable since it is on the bottom and the interior is also black-ish. It is not glossy which I also prefer.

My biggest concern is whether this laptop will run hot, but this will take a while to find out. With SSD HD, I would at least expect this to run cooler than what I am used to.

Lastly a shutout to the awesome 2-day Amazon shipping. Although I was not in a rush to get the laptop, it is nice not to have to worry about delivery for the extra few days for regular shipping. I barely make any purchases, so it was nice to make use of my Amazon Prime.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Life: Blogger September 2014 Stats

Google Analytics

Sessions = 1120
Users = 1031
Pageviews = 2444

Google Webmasters

Total Queries = 327
Approximate Impressions = 8171
Approximate Clicks = 733

Google AdSense

Page Views = 953
Clicks = 1


Pageviews Last Month = 2080
All Time Comments = **
All Time Posts = 287
All Time History Visits = 25195

* Approximations are rounded down
** Switching to Google+ comments removed the ability to count total comments

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Food: Chakri/murukku (First Impression)


This was the first time that I've tried chakri. It was a cracker with indian spices. At first, the texture and flavor was a bit foreign and would give it maybe an 'eh' rating. But then the flavors started to kick in, kind of like an after-taste... or my tongue is retarded.

I probably wouldn't go out of my way to eat it, but I'll eat it if its sitting in front of me as munching food (which I should not be doing as I am trying to lose weight). It definitely adds some kick to your munchies if you are looking for something to change things up. It is worth trying if you hadn't had it before.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bored: Blogger - The Little People Project

Not exactly what I thought it would be about but turned out to be quite a nice surprise. The blogger places little figures outdoors, some with more meaning than others. It seems like a nice way to bring awareness and making use of things that we overlook on our daily tasks.


Work: Executives Visit then Removes Offsite Work Perk

Recently, executives have mandated that everyone work in the office. The reason for this change is because there were a group of executives who made a visit and saw how "empty" the office is. The conclusion they came up with is that the company is wasting money on a huge office that is not fully used.

Perhaps I am reading too much into such a generalized statement, but to me this seems like a financial decision. Because they made the decision because they were onsite. I assume before the visit, they could not tell whether the effectiveness of the workforce was impacted because some of us work offsite.

This sort of decision-making also seems to be consistent with other decisions made on the executive level where they take a single instance and rule on it without inquiring if perhaps their perception of the situation could off.

I have worked in the office for quite some time before taking advantage off the offsite perk, and I can attest that most people just stay in their room. Personally, I was in my office practically the entire 8 hours except for maybe 10 minutes to go out for lunch or go to the bathroom. Even in those 10 minutes, it feels like no one is around even though you'll see people in their offices if you peek really hard.

Financially, the decision does not make sense either. Their concern is wasting money. They turn on the lights to every other hallway (to conserve energy) so this makes it look even more barren. I work in one of the dark hallways. Yet, they want to save money by bringing the people who are using their own resources to come into the office and consume the office's resources?

For most people, this has bigger impacts because they had used the perk to reduce unavailability during work hours like going to the doctor, dentist, or other personal chores that they used to have to take time off to do (although I never understood why those professionals work during the hardest period of time for normal people).

I am probably more of the minority where I spend the majority of my time offsite. Although I think that I work just as effectively where ever I am, not all people are as effective at home as they are at the office. Sometimes it is just as annoying hearing background noise of their dogs, kids, etc. I admit that this has happened to me once where my mother knew I was working from home and just kept ringing the doorbell while I was hosting an important call.

All this just because they thought the office should feel more robust.


I bet they think their flying around from corporate office to office, plus car rentals, food and hotel rooms are free too since they don't have to pay out of pocket.

Am I disgruntled? I cannot even get a cheap-ass $250 PC to write some software to streamline our process even when I said that I'd work on my time... or even a virtual system which we host and provide which probably only cost the company a couple dollars at most. I'll probably be even help testing the stupid thing.

(Sorry, my language does become a bit vulgar as I my irritation level goes up. Sometimes I just want to 'argh' and 'ugh' to get me through an argument.)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Work: New Boss, Same Learning Routine - Give Me All the Details then Complain About Info Overload

We have yet another new upper manager. I think we've probably have a new one every 2-3 quarters. Yet again, he requests that everything be spelled out just like all the others before him. Give him 1-3 months, they will start a "email reduction initiative" to be leaner and effective.

My first reaction is to ask, "don't experienced managers already know this?" Although I do at times like to think that I so wise and experienced, I doubt that these managers are really that dumb. I am starting to wonder if these are intentional and ways to set the bar low so that they have things to claim in the future.

I do notice a lot of work patterns that seem to confirm my feelings that the corporate world is more about conserving your reputation and job than to improve the ways of the company. And the more I see the relationships between so many random people, I am starting to see why this sort of culture seems to be bred by a corporate life-style.

With all these reorganizations, I find it difficult to forge any type of relationships even with coworkers that I have been with for several years. The churn just resets a lot of different things that are important to the "continual growth" of the company. We all understand that with most changes, we will take a step back to hopefully take two steps forward.

But I feel that (intentional or unintentionally), these rotating managers seem to take 1.5 steps back (round down) then take 1.5 steps forward (round up) so that reporting looks like they are making progress but in reality, we are in the same spot (which I feel we are always stuck in the same spot).

I do like my immediate boss, because he never really did anything like that yet still able to learn the ins-and-outs very quickly. He encourages to use executive-speak (ie KISS) where we just present the important information up the chain. My small gripe is that information is rarely summarized when information go down the chain. I am not sure why they want to waste more of our time sifting through all the information especially when there was only one paragraph that may or may not impact us. Then we wonder if it is a change or just regurgitation. Perhaps there value*time is much greater than our value*time*(# of members)... that thought just makes me more depressed how big our "value" differences are... even then it still saves them costs... so... (brain shut down on cyclic overload).

Anywho (sic), just another day at work... business as usual... just when you think we were finally reaping the fruits of our labors, we resow the ground before picking.