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Showing posts from 2011

My VFF Experiment

I'm not a fan of a lot of shoes. I tend to think of them as something of a utility. I don't get attached to shoes often. In my life I've pretty much had maybe a total of twenty shoes. I had two pairs I always wore in Elementary School, two pairs I always wore in High School (maybe four total as I tend to break them often), and when I got to work I always had three shoes in rotation. I've had a lot of shoes bought for me as gifts but most of the shoes I've bought myself I've worn out until I needed to buy new ones. Recently I've been running barefoot which is awesome, but the soles of my feet were getting sore after running just a couple of kilometers. I then decided that I would get me some Vibram Five Fingers just so that I can run more. This post is about the one week I've been using them.

Running Again, Bare Essentials

So being the person that I am who doesn't just give up without a fight, I decided to try running again. After a bout of developing tendonitis on my right patellar tendon and my right achilles tendon (and having a weird clicking noise from my right ankle when I turn it a certain way) and five visits to my physiotherapist, I was determined to try something new with the way I run. This time I'm taking it slow but also I'm now running with my bare essentials. Yes folks, I tried running with just my bare feet. In this post I reflect on what the experience was like and what I've learned about myself and potentially how my body works.


I know what you might be thinking: what the heck was I thinking running barefoot, am I crazy?! I may very well be crazy but that's beside the point. Let's get this out of the way: I have a reason.

Actually I have two reasons. First reason is that I wanted to see whether there's some truth to what people who have already been running…

Happy Second Birthday Julia!

Two years ago today I became a father. Reality didn't hit me hard enough at that time. I was still relatively young and wasn't aware of how my life would be affected by becoming a father. It's one of the best things men can be in their lives yet it takes a lot of us a long time before we realize this. Today I celebrate my daughter's second birthday and my second year of being a father. This post is about remembering what life was back when Julia was born and how much different our lives are now.

Two years ago I was still working as a consultant to the largest telco in the Philippines, helping make a growing messaging service something that can scale to a lot more users. I had a great manager at that time but I was too thick skulled to realize this at that time. I had a lot of things going for me: I was fresh from helping evolve a pioneer social network's internal system to handle 3x the original amount of requests (and more) and was getting ready to make a name fo…

Cultural Naivite

So it's Halloween and it doesn't feel like it here. My daughter's birthday is in a few days and it's going to be a small celebration. Tomorrow's the Melbourne cup and apparently it's a big deal. There's a lot of things that I'm learning about the local culture but I'm still very much naive about what's the custom and traditions are about. I think there's a lot of things that I need to learn and that I'm learning them on a slow pace -- to slow for my liking. This post is about how I intend to get assimilated into the country and what steps I've already done to get to where I can actually say I know something about this country.

Run for Your Life!

After 20 something years of trying to put off having to run, I'm giving running a shot. Heck, I'm diving head-first into running. My personal goal is making myself able to run 5 kilometers in the morning before going to work. Whether I'll do it on a daily basis is up for debate (mostly between me and myself). Aside from that goal is to actually be able to drop two full inches from my waist (or require myself to actually need to buy new jeans and shirts. Most of all, the more important reason is my family.

More Real Journalists Please

Don't get me started on so called technology publications. I think they're mostly bully pulpits to the influential unethically promoting self interests in the guise of "freedom of speech" and tabloids for the insider baseball in the most nebulous industry in the world. I'll reserve my ranting about certain technology writers to a forum where I can be myself and not have to worry about comment moderation. I'll keep my thoughts on certain celebrities who I feel do not deserve the attention they get. I'll hold my tongue on certain fanboys trying hardest to conceal their stripes like a zebra in the middle of an empty savannah. What instead I will write about is the need for real journalism.

Discovering Libraries

When I was a kid growing up in a small town in the Philippines, I didn't have access to a public library. Nor did I get much from the libraries in the schools I went to except for oddly enough friendships that have lasted a good while. It wasn't until I was doing research for my thesis subject when I was in college that I finally appreciated (and wished I leveraged more) the utility of libraries. In search of better more relevant and up-to-date materials before the proliferation of Internet connectivity in the Philippines I found myself going to UP Diliman (three hours commute from UP Los Banos) to find related literature. I found the three hour commute very pleasant and I was looking forward to being able to read more about the subject I was trying to get my head around. Fast forward ten years later and I find myself seeing how transformative and important public libraries are and how they're something that I definitely wish my people in the Philippines could get more ac…

Getting Into the Groove

I know I've written a lot of times already about how awesome the company I work for is and how much fun I've been having at work. This time though I'd like to reflect a little about how I get into the groove of being productive and learning more about the different situations I've encountered in the work I've done in the past and now. Although I can't talk about the exactly what I do in Google, I can tell you that it involves writing code (lots of it), making sure things are going according to expectations, and doing open source development. That sounds like a lot to do and the rest of this post is about how I get things done at work.

Open Source: Why?

So I won't re-write everything I just posted on C++ Soup about cpp-netlib 0.9.1 being released. I'll just point you over to that blog post and talk about something else in this entry. What I do want to write about is more of a reflection on my reasoning for why I do open source development. I feel like I need to write this down in a more thought-out form with better structure than what I've tried doing before.

Obligatory Birthday Post

This is a few days late but I just got a couple hours of alone time to allow me to write in isolation -- more on that later. This past birthday for me is one of the most special ones I've had so far because of a few things. I feel like the past year for me has gone way too fast having a lot of things happening between July 2010 and July 2011. This of course is the obligatory birthday post which I do outline things that I find interesting and even some things that I find annoying. Here goes nothing.

Winter is Coming

It's been a week into our new place outside the city and there are a few noteworthy things I'd like to share with the world at large. These may be useful reading for people who might think about moving to Sydney from a country like the Philippines (or anywhere there's no winter). It may have done me good if I heeded the Stark saying that "winter is coming" and prepared better -- unfortunately now I'm in a situation where winter has got me. Here are a few observations and insights you might find useful or amusing.

Moving Yet Again

Tonight is our last night here at the Somerset Darling Harbour right at the heart of Sydney. This location is so convenient that everything interesting and worth going to is just a short walk and maybe then a short train ride away. Walking to work takes at most 20 minutes for me at a leisurely pace. I've grown to like the sounds of the city here and have felt comfortable walking the Pyrmont bridge to work on a daily basis. Tomorrow though will be the first night at our newly rented place half an hour away by bus and 15 minutes away by train.

There have been a lot of "firsts" in the Somerset for me. First time I've ever lived in a place paid for by someone else longer than a week. First time to use an oven to cook meat. First time to use a dryer without having to put coins into the machine that's located in a private bathroom. First time feeling like it's all getting real.

See, it's been almost exactly 90 days since we moved into this combo two-bedroom uni…

This Is Me

The past couple of weeks have been abuzz about Google+'s field trial. The past few days I've seen people come in (and out) and conversations that circled around content that people post or share. It's really great that there's an alternative to Facebook where I personally can put my data in and know that I can pull the data out anytime I like. It also feels better that I'm using tools that the company I work in is building. Loving your own is a value that I definitely give weight to.

So I've decided to move my namesake blog out from Posterous which doesn't let you easily export your data out into other blogging services. It was cool to be able to post through email but even then writing is not usually about being easy -- it's about having something to say. It just so happens that Blogger is as good as -- if not better -- than Posterous for the kinds of pieces I want to write. Wordpress might be a good idea for a while because that's what the cool k…

Perspective and Awesomeness

It's not my first time to the US and I'm really not much into doing the tourist thing. Like the previous times I've been to the US, usually it's a business trip (except my first one, which was really a vacation). This business trip though doesn't feel like business -- and there's only one reason why: Google.

If you've followed my postings recently you will know that I'm now working in Google Australia. Part of that work is going to the Googleplex for required training and the requisite meeting the team. This three-week trip was a chance for me to get assimilated to the larger Google and all I can really just say is: wow.

Wow because the environment is so conducive to solving problems.

Wow because it's so humbling to be around great minds solving great problems.

Wow because I never thought finding my dream job would come true.

One of the best things with seeing the world and finding out more about the different cultures you can get into contact with i…

Mothers Day: How Fathers Feel

It's mother's day and I had another fun day with Jeni and Julia this time on a lazy Sunday morning and a traveling Sunday afternoon. We went on a train ride to Ashfield and went right back because we got there really late -- it was already dark and they weren't feeling all to adventurous to ride a bus and back to see the surroundings. Before that we went to the Google Australia office to let them see the place without the people (and have some snacks at a micro-kitchen). But this is not what the post is about although that would be really light and fun to write. No, this post is about how fathers like me feel on a day that's supposed to celebrate how mothers are awesome.

There are five things that fathers feel I think when Mother's day comes along. Well that's a lie, there's a lot more feelings but here's a quick top five of what I felt this day just to give other non-fathers an insight into how us fathers feel on this day. Actually, that's another l…

Day out at Circular Quay!

This day was tons of fun! There were quite a number of firsts for the family since we've arrived here in Sydney. Exploring as a family is so much fun, I wonder why we didn't do much of this while we were in the Philippines!

Today Jeni, Julia, and I went on our first train ride from Town Hall Station to Circular Quay. That wasn't a very eventful train ride and it's pretty much your standard fare going to Circular Quay but we did get some hiccups on getting the tickets and getting through the gates at pretty much all the stations. We still have to get used to the idiosyncrasies of the Australian train system.

Once we got there, we just headed to the doctor's office for a quick visit -- he was pretty cool and very inviting. He explained things very well and Julia got comfortable really quick after a few minutes of silence from her as she does with strangers. Next thing we know she's exploring the doctor's office and playing with the cabinets and walking around.…

Diving into the Deep End

What have you done recently?

This is a really hard question to answer. If you're not careful and take note of what you're working on and what your accomplishments are actively, you will forget them. And when you forget that you are capable of making a difference and getting things done it's easy to lose sight of both where you are and how far you've actually gone.

If you think about it really hard, you might be able to answer this question in some sort of haphazard reply like: "Uh, yeah I got this done, and that done, and ... you know, stuff..." -- which doesn't help you nor the person asking you. If you don't know what you're supposed to do, what you're doing, and what you've already done, you won't get anywhere.

This week is the first full week I've had at work. Obviously I can't and won't talk about what I did at work, but I can talk about what was going in my head at a meta level. During my alone time, I think about what…

How the Internet is Changing Our Lives

Try this thought experiment: think about the time before there was the Internet. If you remember far enough back and if you're as old as I am (I'm turning 28 soon) then you will remember a time when there wasn't really an easy way to connect with friends and family if you were far away from each other. Actually, it's also really hard to connect with friends and family even if you were in the same house -- whether it was back then or now. The biggest difference between before the Internet and now that the Internet is "mainstream" is that now the Internet gives you little to no excuse to not connect with friends and family. And when I say friends and family, I mean every member of your family and every friend you have.
I remember back before I was in college, my grandparents immigrated to the US. My mother's parents became US immigrants and I never really got to bond much with them while I was growing up with my father's side of the family. But surprisin…

Reviving Mental Blabberings

It's no secret that I've gone Google. As part of that move I had to leave the Philippines and get into temporary residences as well as get up to speed with the Google way of doing things. There's a lot for me to learn -- and I mean a lot -- but it's a good thing that I do have time. I've been doing some thinking lately though about my web presence and what Google knows about me on the Internet, and I see that I have been a loyal Google product user even before I joined the company. Just to give you an idea of what stuff I already have in Google, here are some links to things that you might not yet already know about me that Google already does:

My Profile -- this is technically the most comprehensive profile of me that Google has. I keep this maintained even more than my Facebook account.My Web Album -- although I don't have much there publicly available, I use it a lot for backing up my pictures. If you know me enough I don't take many photos at all.My Blog…