When Penguins Can Fly… (An Exercise in Portfolio Building)

No, this is not an exercise in a delayed reaction for April Fool’s Day.  I am not that slow!  Rather I spent most of the weekend in a concerted effort to setup a portfolio and renewing my personal website.  I realize now the reason why I procrastinated to do so for years.  Setting everything up in a systematic manner is difficult and painful.  Digging through folders to find great examples of your work even more difficult.  However the effort was worth the pain.

The blog now has a unique title: “When Penguins Can Fly…”.  I think the title is appropriate considering how much of a Linux fan and of penguins I am.  At little bit of magic in Gimp and I replaced the background for the theme.  Anyone interested in using the theme for themselves, can find it here: Hacker Dreams WordPress theme version 0.1

After that and a bit of fun with the favicon, I started work on setting up the various pages and galleries in my portfolio.  It took a while to try out the various galleries, and I settled on the NEXGen Gallery plugin.  After some futzing around, I managed to setup quite a few nice galleries for the Draw section of my portfolio.  In the future I will need to either find even better art or create more artwork.  However this will have to do for now.  In addition I found an animation I did for a visual computing class that I uploaded to Youtube.

The most difficult aspect is the coding part of the portfolio.  I originally wanted to build a bunch of original apps with new source code.  Unfortunately that will take time that I do not have at the moment.  I will add those when I have a chance.  However for the moment downloads, brush ups of old work, screenshots and screencasts will have to do.

In a rare case, I am opening up the comments to take suggestions.  Please let me know what you think.

California Dreaming

Good morning all!

Maybe there are better things to do than to update your blog, right before you start work.  And looking at my e-mails and my to-do lists make me feel like this will be a long day.  But considering my recent silence I thought an update on me is in order.  Plus if blogging doesn’t get my creative energies flowing… I’m not sure what will.

As I sit at the table of my hotel room, I can not but be amazed.  For a little over a month, I started a new job and showed up at my client’s office.  My client being located in the south San Francisco Bay area.  The first week I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of travelling, working on a serious project for a serious client and living on my own.  While the initial shock wore off, I am still overwhelmed both in the good and bad sense.

A month later I still love the travelling aspect.  Visiting San Francisco and Los Angeles all were worthwhile.  Flying never gets old, but I could do without the insane travel “security” at the airports.  Everyday I still can not believe that I am in California, right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley.  The fact that my client wanted to fly me in from Toronto to Silicon Valley is amazing.  A huge ego boost.  This is me making it in my career.  Sort of like an actor ending up in Hollywood or performer on Broadway.  Plus I get to work on Android development and build a tablet system from the ground up.  All of this overwhelms me in a good way.

Living on my own in a new city, without a car overwhelms me in a bad way.  Living out here, away from the inner-city makes everything so far and inconvenient.  Groceries, getting places, and all that jazz is tricky and time-consuming.  Taxies take too long, and the only real viable option is biking.  Unfortunately I bought a bike that just broke down on me the same day.  Plus since I will not be living here for longer, it doesn’t make sense to plan too long term.  Being away from friends and family also takes its toll.  Originally I assumed I would at least be able to catch up on my long overdue work.  That is partially true, but I still struggle with that.

Still as with anything in life, there are pros and cons.  Overall I’ve learned a lot, and have a greater appreciation of life’s small things.  I do miss Toronto, but I love also living here.  Flying solo does have its advantages.  And I’ve never been able to take the initiative and be more spontaneous like I can now.  I have learned to be truly independent in work and in life.  And I have started to make friends here too.  Now if only the weather here started being more like stereotypical Californian, as in warm and sunny.  Even the Sun has been shy recently.  But other than that–and if the overwhelming amount of catch-up work would just go away–I am happily dreaming big dreams and living it up down here in California.

Odds and Ends and Everything in Between

When one ought to go sleep, but instead insists on staying up to finish one more thing… than one is an workaholic.  But who am I kidding here?  My excuse is really that I’ve realized that this week is a crucial crunch week.  And that once things are done, I can take things a bit easier.

So why am I posting this instead of finishing off my odds and ends?  And getting some sleep?  I want to start some good habits that I want to carry out through the new year and beyond.  One of them is writing everyday, and moving forward on my long overdue tasks.  Hence this is today’s blog entry.  I apologize if it sounds like filler but it isn’t.  Anyways, now I really need to finish work and get some sleep.  Good night and good day!

In the Beginning of November…

A new month begins and a new twist to life. This is the first day at a new office in downtown Toronto. Not that I’ve changed positions, I’m still working as a mobile developer for Web Impact. For my coworkers, this is nothing new since they all worked at the Toronto office before moving out to Mississauga. Unfortunately the Mississauga location did not provide what we needed and so we are moving back for now.

This morning everything is a little different. Figuring out new schedules, new routes and a new location. Should be fun. Other than that I’ll still get to enjoy working on mobile coding, with all its unique challenges.

One challenge I worked on this past while is writing. Not a lot of progress on the novel. But I did manage to submit two short stories for publishing. One to the Fall issue of the Alexandrian, which should come out soon. And one to 365 Tomorrows, which will hopefully get accepted too.

Other than that I still have load of catching up on work. I still feel a bit behind. Anyways, this next stop is mine. Catch you later.

The Madness Subsides

I apologize for the silence of in the last few days.  Things really picked up at work, to the point of insanity.  Fortunately yesterday I managed to get the component I was working on out the door.  Still a good amount of overtime was required by the entire team to get our part done.  Hopefully the client will be pleased with my initial contribution.  I’m sure they’ll be satisfied with my latest work as I’m adding the final touches to that component.  Another reason for my silence, is that I’m transitioning to using my cellphone as my main computing platform.  It can feel cramped at times, but the portability is amazing.  I’m sure it will be even better if I get a nicer device like the N900.

Ok, well all I have time for today is a quick update.  I still have a good amount of work ahead of me, and very little time to do it in.

By the way, the new beta release of Kubuntu is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  Definitely worth the upgrade.

Inbound Tasks

I got up this morning, or rather crawled out of bed this morning.  I didn’t expect today to be the grandest of days.  Nor did I expect today as the worst of days.  I expected that for once I could relax this week, and just take it one day at a time.  When I logged onto my machine this morning, I noticed first a large number of e-mails.  Then the existing pile of tasks.  And the message from one of my friends, that I might have a huge event to go to.  A event that requires preparation, time and expenditure of financial resources.  In mortal terms, I have enough to keep me busy for this entire week.  And I’m a bit overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all.  If I don’t roll up my sleeves and get to work soon, then I’m going to have a pack of snarling, salivating tasks all over me in the matter of a single day.  Help.

I’m not worried, cause I can handle the load.  (Assuming nothing else doesn’t pop-up.)  I’m a bit cross that I’m waking up this morning, to the realization that a shitload of work is heading me way.  Oh well, I need to be expedient, and hope for the best.   Wish me luck.

Your Shipment of Fail Has Arrived

Today I am producing and delivery shipments of fail.  Late, missing meetings, missing the point, having to reschedule due to my perception of time (or the lack of more accurately) et cetera.  I have exceeded my expectations of how absent minded one can be.  So apologies to everyone.  Today is not going according to any well thought out plan.  I am just hoping I can clean up my act and start thinking straight today.

Today I am thankful that my coworkers are patient and understanding.  And I am really glad that the project at work is going forward.  Even when one of the team member clearly suffering from two left clown feet syndrome.

The rest of the universe is in working better than I am.  Cisco gave up trying to irritate the FSF.  My favourite free software projects are still there and churning out wonderous code.  The Tamil Tigers and their civil war may start to fade into the annals of history.  The markets refuse to stop irritating the interventionsit governments.  Today more than yesterday looks toward a brighter, saner future.  Either that or I finally lost it and am a hopeless optimist even when I myself is not up to par.

Incremental Progress

I owe a short update on what I’ve been up to:

The majority of my life still revolves around work. And also the necessary preparation and commuting to work. Still I manage to have some free time. Most of that time is on catching up with tasks and work I planned to do months ago.

I put off writing for a bit. Not stuck, but rather I find it easier to listen to podcasts and read e-books than actually write. If I’m not too stressed out, I’ll try to get some headway on Chapter 4.

Developing justCheckers a little bit at a time. I’m kind of ashamed to say that JSP programming without any particularly fancy framework is harder than it seems. The point of that exercise, is to use the least complex technology to get job done. It also means less dependencies and easier to read code. Still justCheckers will take some time to get going again. And SourceForge’s migration to a new datacentre isn’t making my life easier.

I’ve also got some other projects I’m working on. I’m going keep those under wraps for now. When I have something to show off, I’ll blog about it.

Another Day of Wandering

OK. These sinuses are bugging the hell out of me. Its going away, imperceptibly slowly. The work at home is also seems that it is not going away. Washing dishes, picking up things, and worst of all cleaning the tarps that Dad used on the roof. Blobs of black tar that leave green smudges and that can only be cleaned using paint thinner. Oh and did I mention it was ragweed season and that I am sick at the same time. 🙁

In the morning I managed to finally spiffy up my computer. Yup, updated and running a new 2.6.11 kernel. It boots with a splashscreen that I made myself. Yeah! Go me go! I wish that I had more time to work on my hobby projects. Maybe tomorrow.

Out of the Abyss and into the Clouds Again

Hello, hello again, dear reader and fellow blog-journeyer. Finally had the heart to write an entry again. The last few days since the last entry and this one, I had a bout of depression arising from an all time low self-esteem and self-worth. Today, when I got up to work today I thought today would be the same old low. But no. I got up late, but not tired and with a full reserve of energy. Didn’t really need my customary early morning French Vanilla coffee. But hey, it is customary.

Work itself was exasperating as always. My machine ran OK except for one place where the material would fold up… and everything would die in the messiest way. The lead hand, Malkait tried to fix it. But the machine had its day, and the lead hand got on my nerves. Again. He is a really nice guy, but an utter fool and has the perpetual illusion that his way is always right. I play along since I really don’t care about work, and am not in the mood to stir up problems. Beside I got to finish earlier since I ran out of material. Hey! Who’s your daddy now, T-3?

I have only three more days left of work. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday and then… freedom 22!!! Now that in itself isn’t would seemed to end the vicious cycle of defeatism. I started to write up that novel I was talking about. I don’t have a title for it yet, but who cares when I actually have a plot, characters and everything else falling into place. This is really exciting, and maybe I will add a bit more content later on Today after I get ready for work tomorrow.

Another success was that my Dad fixed my Palm yesterday, so today I had my precious music. Yay! To top it all off, I actually can keep up my hackey-sack for more than four hits. In fact, I feel like I have been better today, than ever. Now only exhaustion is holding me back, as I got a hold on the technique and the rhythm of the game. I am exhilarated by all of this. I hope tomorrow will be just as good as today. (Maybe I should ask out Kat today, since today seems like my lucky day. Or am I just pushing things again?)