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Are You Ready to Deal With the U.S. Economic Crisis?

This will be the most personal post I’ve ever written on this blog so far.

As you may know from my about page, I am a full-time software engineer working in a startup company. To my surprise, some of my close colleagues were laid off today. I shouldn’t have been that surprised given the current economic conditions, but it is still shocking to see some of my close friends leave without being able to shake their hands.

I am deeply sorry to see my colleagues laid off (we’ve had some great times), but I am not worried for them. They are among the best at what they do and I am confident that they would be able to find a new job in no time.

As for me, I am thankful that I wasn’t one of the ones chosen, but I can’t be relieved yet.

What did I learn from this?

Read on…

Foiling a Coworker’s Vacation

Continuing the office pranks theme, I want to post another prank done by my girlfriend’s sister who works for Disney corporate as an Information Architect. I’ve seen this prank before, but I have never seen it being done by anybody I know. Kudos Annie!

Don’t you wish your work place was as cool as ours?

Employees Versus Office Filled With Random Things

What’s a programming blog without office humor posts? A boring blog that nobody reads. That being said I would like to share a few office pranks pulled at my workplace (Coral8).

Prank #1: Balloons-filled Office

First let me share the video of our lead engineer, Aleksey, returning from a one week vacation. He is welcomed back with an office filled with extra-extra-large balloons.
Read on…

Programming for Halloween 2008

To get into the 2008 Halloween programming spirit, I would like to share an email my co-worker, Russell, sent me this morning. Here is what was in the email:

One of my friends down in LA likes to put on a “light show” every Halloween… of course light and sound synchronized. He’s a bit of an Oingo Boingo fan (so sound’s required, sorry).

Sound is played quietly for pedestrians (until 9pm), and he broadcasts the music on 99.1 … not sure the FCC likes that, but… oh well.

And yeah… as a day job, he’s a Disney Imagineer — and one of the loony folks that went to Japan with us a few years back (yes, primarily just to ride roller coasters).

I wish I had the technical expertise to do something this grand at my house. Oh well, at least there is Halloween 2009. Lots of time for me to study up until then. Happy programming!

150W to Power My Computer

Comments Off on 150W to Power My Computer

In the previous post, I found out that it takes 150W to power my personal computer which I always leave on the entire day. I felt bad that I am not contributing to the “Go Green & Save the planet” cause. I actually use my person computer for a variety of things throughout the day but there was definitely a way to optimize the usage. Here are tasks that require my computer to be on all the time:

  1. File Server (mainly used for backups)
  2. Torrents
  3. PVR System
  4. Personal FTP Server (mainly used for syncing settings with my work computer)
  5. MyCast Orb Sharing

I immediately saw that I can give up MyCast Orb Sharing, since I haven’t used it for months. Read on…

1500VA of Battery Backup for

I recently purchased an APC BACK-UPS XS 1500VA LCD for $120 to prepare for California rolling blackouts/brownouts. I’m not sure if this is going to be worth it yet since I still cannot supply backup internet access in case of power outage. So if the power goes out, along with a few other sites will still be forced offline. The great news though is that all of my precious hardwares are completely protected from over/under power issues. Here are some interesting facts I found out while installing this battery backup unit:
Read on…

Kombucha Detox Tea – The Miracle Drink?


Have you ever seen one of these bottles selling in Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s? Do you ever wonder what it is and why the heck each bottle cost $4? A few months ago, I decided to find out what it is myself and forked out $4 for a raspberry flavored one. Once I opened the cap, the liquid started fizzing and foaming (naturally carbonated). I took a sip and it tasted nothing like what I was expecting. The drink was quite sour and had an odd after taste to it. I didn’t like it at all, but I figured that I should finish it and make it worth $4. About fifteen minutes later, I was in for a surprise. Read on…

Bypass iTunes, Rockbox Rocks!

Rockbox Banner

“Rockbox is an open source firmware for mp3 players, written from scratch. It runs on a wide range of players…”

The Apple iPod line has always been the bottom of my sh*t list. Don’t get me wrong, the iPod is stylish and the music quality is great. The only beef I have against the iPod is its music management. Almost everybody I know (including my non-geeky-girlfriend) hates how you have to use iTunes to get music onto the iPod. Here is the beginning of an endless list of iTunes woes:

  1. iTunes is DRM compliant
  2. iTunes is a slow P.O.S. software.
  3. iTunes thinks you don’t know how to organize your own music, so it sticks your music into your iPod the way it thinks it ought to be organized.
  4. iTunes will automatically delete songs from your iPod if it cannot find them in your library (image if you’ve moved a few of your music folders and did not update your library)
  5. …you may add your own woes in the comments…

Notice that I did not mention “iTunes cannot be bypassed” in the list because, I have finally found a way that lets you do exactly that, bypass iTunes! Read on…

Quit Smoking the Easy Way

I would like to admit to the public that I was a smoker for 2 long years. As a blogger & coder, I was very vulnerable because I often hit writer’s/coder’s block. Now that I am an experienced ex-smoker, I would like to tell the world that smoking is not a choice or a habit. It’s an addiction. Nobody smokes their first cigarette thinking that they will continue to smoke for the rest of their life. I remember smoking my first cigarette because I wanted to be cool in front of some people. I thought that there was no way one cigarette would get me addicted. I then thought that two would not get me addicted. Then three, four, five… slowly but surely, I became a 5 sticks per day smoker. The nicotine trap is so subtle that if you are not always carefully paying attention to it, then you would continue to burn your life away. Read on…

Lower Your Cell Phone Bill by Changing Your Billing Address

Back in my younger poor-college-student years, I’ve always been pissed that my cell phone bill was always substantially more than what my monthly plan costs due to cell phone taxes. Arnold taxes the average Californian 13.18% of their cell phone bill. If you tack on federal tax (5.48%), an average Californian will pay an extra $7.46 per month in taxes for a $40 per month plan. That’s about $90 per year. I was looking for ways to reduce this number and this is what I did:

  1. Researched which state had the cheapest cell phone tax (found out that it was Nevada with 1.14% tax rate).
  2. Opt for e-statement, so Sprint emails me statements instead of sending me a paper statements to my home address.
  3. Change my address online to Caesar’s Palace Casino:
    LAS VEGAS, NV 89109
  4. Start supporting the Nevada State government and watch my bill go down.

Here is the result of changing my billing address. Read on…