Life & much, much more

End of 2012

Aha, it’s the end of 2012. Here’s a recap of the highlights of the year.

  • Firstly, I’ve finished my second year of architectural education at the University of Sydney. This has led to me forming some more baked opinions about the architecture industry.
  • I am now searching for architecture jobs and will likely begin work early 2013.
  • My design for of a museum of pacific art was selected as part of the 2012 university architecture catalogue.
  • There was the very excellent “Game of Homes” architecture revue, at which I acted as musical director and were reviewed as best revue band.
  • I am now a Gentoo developer
  • I have had much fun modeling and 3D printing various forest animals
  • I have developed a foundation to build web applications out of: a mix between HTML5 boilerplate, Kohana, Mustache, various drivers, and a skeleton DCI setup.
  • I have begun WIPUP2013: rebuilding WIPUP from the ground up with an improved and more maintainable backend, improved interface, and multiple device support.
  • A lot of fun work setting up a training scheme, dev infrastructure and QA standards with a web development company.
  • Early in the year: a couple months learning conversational Mandarin in Shanghai
  • A couple months enjoying Malaysia
  • Learning to cook a series of Malaysian dishes :) Yum!

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year, everyone!

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Hello, Shanghai! Happy holidays, everyone!

As you might’ve guessed from the title of this post, I am now in Shanghai and I have been for almost a month now. Apart from socialising with relatives, most of my time is spent on my job, with the free time I have soaked up by learning how to speak Mandarin. This has effectively stalled most if not all of my public projects – however once in a while it is good to just intensively learn and experience rather than the create-create-create I am normally used to. It’s also been good to have time to fix up and investigate a lot of nagging issues I’ve procrastinated in the past, such as creating a more robust backup solution, setting up better permissions on my webserver for alpha projects and hosted projects, and figuring out exactly how close my computer is to death.

Shanghai is cold. But Shanghai also has a lot of delicious food. The latter excuses the former. When I’m not resisting the cold and tanking up my stomach, I have experienced the usual touristy sights such as The Bund, public parks, ancient Chinese garden- oh, what’s that? No mention of the Great Wall or Tian’anmen Square? Yes, because that’s in Beijing, not Shanghai – which I will drop by and enjoy in the near future.

There was also a brief meet-up with Patrick Lauer (bonsaikitten) which was interesting given my previous geographic inconveniences meaning I could rarely meet up with anybody. If anybody else is in the area or knows of any FOSS events, give me a shout.

Every day is a linguistic challenge as I plough through new words to learn, but probably the best thing about being in Shanghai is that being back in an asian country means I play Badminton twice a week again.

Will be posting more updates to WIPUP in the near future.

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Back in business

The past month and a bit has been terribly hectic, working on our last pieces of our various projects and preparing for portfolio submissions which happened on Monday and yesterday. Sleep had been lost, excessive eating out due to time constraints, and in general all other projects slowed down to a crawl.

Now, however, the two portfolios have been submitted, and so the bulk of the work is gone. There are still classes going on, but not for much longer, and the workload for them is pitiful compared to the portfolios. This means I’m back in business, first catching up with my freelance, which have clients waiting, and then the Summer of KDE project, ThoughtScore, WIPUP, and perhaps some music.

I am a little disappointed that I couldn’t join the KDE WebWorld sprint due to my semester still going on, but hopefully I’ll still be able to put in contributions despite not physically being there.

Anyways, for those who haven’t already seen, here is a sneak peek at my portfolio (in horrible phone-camera quality):

So, now that I’ve caught up on sleep, back to work!

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Exams over!

Hello folks – I’ve not had a post in a while, WIPUP has seen some dust accumulate, and in general nothing very interesting has been happening. The excuse for this is that I’ve just sat my finals – the international A level exams which mark the official end of my highschool life and entrance into university. It’s been great fun and now I’ve got approximately 7-8 months before my term starts in 2011. It’s got lots of stuff planned for it already, including a WIPUP sprint, a hopeful return to ThoughtScore, some freelancing here and there, learning to drive, getting my International Award Gold and other whatnot.

Meanwhile whilst there are a few empty slots for things to do here and there, I’m open for suggestions.

Will post again when I finish killing time.

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Happy 2010!

Before anything happens let me start by saying how I bet my Christmas was better than yours. It’s probably the best Christmas I’ve ever had in my life.

We arrived in Hong Kong a few days before Christmas and then transferred for the 14 hour flight to the Toronto Pearson Airport with a chair that wouldn’t recline and 50 bad movies to choose from. After the ordeal (don’t ever watch "Watchmen") we ambled out to meet our relative(s). Say, did you know that 0.3% of road accidents in Canada involve moose? Someone needs to tell me why they let moose behind the wheel.

The next few days were spent (after loitering in our Grandma’s house) in the little aging town of Belleville to help move our other Grandma’s house. You know that feeling when you know somebody and think it’s normal until you suddenly realise it isn’t? Or rather if you’ve seen the film "A Beautiful Mind" when they walk into Nash’s office and see what he’s been doing all that time:

Yeah, it’s something like that but a good 10 times more shocking.

To abruptly change the subject to a considerably less vague one we then hopped onto a train to Quebec. If anybody tells you that you need to speak French in Quebec, they lie – everybody there can speak English fine and just conceal it to poke fun at tourists. If anybody tells you that all Christmasses in Quebec are white, they’re not lying – it snows like it doesn’t care you exist. -15 degrees on the street and the most fattening fast foods in the world (Poutine – a French-Canadian concoction comprised of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds) is definitely something to reckon with.

The Christmas day itself was spent in Quebec. Then it was back to Toronto.

I was introduced to a lovely tradition on Boxing day known as lemon gift giving. This is where you wrap up all the terrible "gifts" that nobody wants and you give them to people. You’re then allowed to trade (well "trade" with only one party’s consent) a maximum 3 times until you get stuck with the lesser evil. I ended up with a large size union jack. Oh, aren’t we so Canadian.

The rest of the plot of this mother of all summaries of a holiday recount was something to do with maple syrup, those heavenly Decadent cookies again and something to do with a snowstorm in Philadelphia.

The moral of the story is that when you grow up, you should definitely buy a fooseball table.

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Back from Langkawi

I’m back from spending a week kayaking around Langkawi. I didn’t bring a camera, though I will get photos from somebody who did later on. We kayaked in total about 50 kilometers halfway around the island as shown in the map below.

(Note: Tuesday we kayaked through the mangroves and caves – a very interesting experience) This little expedition marks the end of my Gold Award in the Duke of Edinburgh Award (aka International Award), something I began a good 3 years or so ago. Now I’ve just got to get the paperwork complete.

It was really something. Not like previous trips where we would spend a good 7 hours or so trekking in deep jungle pestered constantly by leeches, various bugs and the most aggressive of greenery. There’s something about the sudden drop in your stomach as your kayak falls from the peak of a wave to the choppy waters below – the splash as the water streams through you, the occasional jellyfish or regular fish that your paddle lacerates, the heavy, the light, the splat-splat-splat of the raindrops running through your forehead and tangled, clumpy hair – the salt, sand and grime in between your fingers and the sunburn around midday. There was a lot more planning this one instead of mindless plundering in the forest – tides, currents, weather and wind.

As usual we were introduced to the regular share of retarded animals that we consistently encounter on every trip. We’ve seen the vegetarian cats that refuse fish, the chickens that kick sand in their chick’s faces, the rooster that crows at the completely wrong time, the overweight leech that moves in circles, the crabs that thinks it’s a spider and the claustrophobic hermits.

Anyways, I just woke up from an amazing sleep on my bed and not on a root that cuts into your back, nuked my inbox as per protocol, listening to some fair trade music, and skimmed through RSS feeds with a disrespect to people’s posts that should never be. My parents are back from Canada with the most heavenly President’s Choice The Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies and a great breakfast. My computer’s just synced to the portage tree and various overlays and ready to do an update, and I’m setting up an rsync backup solution I shall post in more detail about later. Meanwhile I’m going to start catching up on the work I’ve missed.

As a welcome surprise I also found out that I got top in the world for AS Business Studies from CIE (Cambridge International Examinations). Hooray :)

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Back from Australia

I’m back from my trip to Australia and greeted with the Deepavali holiday. It was a great trip – visiting Sydney and Melbourne, my cousin’s wedding and checking out 6 universities. I met a lot of relatives I didn’t know before, didn’t know when I met them, still don’t know, and don’t plan to know. I close to perfected my mobile experience when limited to my phone and my cousin’s wifi, I learned what you could only learn about universities if you visit them, and of course the wedding dinner was (really) delicious.

I also got a Google Wave account to play with (from Marvin, whose shared interests are in the downfall of TMNet, our ISP – or an optimistic person would say the upgrading of TMNet), and will update you on my impressions later (no, I don’t have the send-invite ability yet, see the explanation, but if you do send me a kind request when I do I’ll send you an invite).

This is somewhat of a filler post as I’m quite tired and also have a lot of catching-up work to do. thinkMoult posts will resume its usual 2-day schedule. Of course WIPUP will continue development once I’ve catched up a sufficient amount. But to keep this post friendly here’s a paranoramic shot I shotted with my phone camera (hence the tiny size).

If you look closely you can spot Sydney Opera House.

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Into the Summer

I’m about to go through 5 weeks of exams, the first starting this coming Wednesday. This is normally the time when I finalise the list of what I plan to do over the summer holidays. Here’s what’s on my list:

  • Finish off the POSE2 Project.
  • Work on The ThoughtScore Project animation (hopefully finding some local enthusiasts with expertise to help).
  • Learn more C++.
  • Get into an attachment program with one or two companies.
  • Do something together with Chris, for the path to hell is paved with good intentions.
  • Do something charitable and not end it abruptly (last time I unintentionally caused some poor kid to cry for many days and nights)
  • Turn the open-source model into something that’s both realistic and comprehensible, then actually employ it.
  • Pacify myself more- and figure out what the hell I want to do in the future.
  • Return to the piano, which I’ve been avoiding for the past 6 months.
  • Do some sorting on my music collection, which represents something similar to the inside of my brain.

Comments,  ideas? What are your plans?

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Some Europe Photos

I said I’ll put up some photos, and here they are! (Some from the previous Europe trip)

In left-to-right top-to-bottom order, here are some brief descriptions.

1) An obese squirrel in the park outside Buckingham Palace. They are very tame, and once they’re eating a nut, you can literally put your face right next to it. I could even turn on the camera flash and flash it right in it’s face, but that would give it red-eye. Probably a good opportunity to use macro. Very cute too, if I had brought food I could probably coax it into doing tricks. (In London)

2) Just a nice group photo after eating at a restaurant. No, she is not related. (In Manchester)

3) A really cool set of whatever-you-call-those-things. Especially from different angles, oooh. Clever. From the back you hardly notice what it is. (in London)

4) A room full of people bidding and auctioning flowers. There were countless football fields full of flowers, and the flower industry is truly amazing. I probably don’t appreciate it enough but it’s really funny when you go through their tour: “and here we have dullards bidding on flowers. They do that all day. We have provided windows for your entertainment. No flash photography please.” (In Amsterdam)

5) Timeless fun with my Dad’s claims of “It isn’t cold!” as he strolls out wearing only a T-shirt. After a while we noticed he had a habit of hiding in phone-booths shivering. “Go away! Shoo! Shoo!” (In Amsterdam)

6) The glass structure of the pyramid in the Louvre. Makes it seem like something when you look up at it. (In where-do-you-think)

Perhaps more photos later ;)