This is an age-old question that I've been asked before, typically by people who wanted to gauge my level of expertise as a programmer.  For me, what was telling, was that even though I didn't know the answer, when I asked them what the answer was, I never got a clear answer from them neither.  This morning, as I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, I decided to get up, and search once again, for the answer.  The last time I asked Google about this, years ago, I did not get a satisfactory answer. ...
December 3, 2018
Over the past couple of weeks, I've had some extra free time.  I think I did a good job putting that time to use by redoing the Finance section of my website, tweaking and extending its capabilities.  Specifically, I retroactively went back and added all the businesses that I had spent money with.  It's revealed some interesting trends.  First, a graph of my spending: I think it's interesting that aside from the general picture of my spending increasing over time, I see a...
December 2, 2018
In the past two months, I switched my phone from my trusty and venerable Moto X (1st gen, 2013) to a Sony Xperia Z5 Compact (circa 2015).  However, due to a strange Lollipop MMS texting issue, I was forced to switch to a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (circa 2014).  Even though Sony is one of the better manufacturers in allowing users to unlock their bootloaders, it does come with a few tradeoffs: Voided warranty Loss of DRM-related features SD card storage capacity fancy...
November 3, 2018
The last month has been both smooth sailing, as well as a change from the past.  A few months ago, on a whim, I had committed to restricting myself from the Japanese restaurant I frequented to two times per month.  The effect of that decision is starting to show up on my smaller credit card bills.  Combined with no mortgage payment anymore, and it was time for rejoicing.  It's been so long that I'd forgotten how nice it was to not live paycheck to paycheck. Another result of my self-imposed...
September 19, 2018
This past weekend marked the end of my 5 year journey.  It all started a little more than 5 years ago.  At the time, I was living with my parents and my grandma in my parents' house.  I was working at a steady job.  My mom was complaining about the house being too small and too cramped.  My dad wasn't bothered, but he was fine with us looking at houses, just to appease my mom.  At the time, the housing crash was still recent, and the housing market was still recovering.  On the positive side, prices...
August 2, 2018
From time to time, people will ask me questions about my work in software development.  Typically, I find myself unprepared to answer these questions.  It's not that my work is particularly challenging; it's simply that I've never dedicated time to carefully think about how I would describe my work.  Thus, I typically focus on the output or product of my work, rather than the process of what it is that I do to get to those results. Fortunately, I worked on a small side project in the last two...
July 14, 2018
So, my brother turned 30 about half a week ago, on Wednesday.  He came up from Austin, and took the rest of the week off.  It was fun, hanging out and chatting with him.  It was encouraging to see that he's making a more conscious effort to take care of his health, like cutting down on sugar and caffeine, and exercising.  On the other hand, he's also complaining unnecessarily about how he's getting old. We ate together a lot in these days - with my former co-workers, with his former classmates,...
June 18, 2018
Time really flies when I look back.  I've already been working for 8 years (I started working full-time the day after Memorial Day, 8 years ago).  I think I've really become a seasoned veteran, in terms of adapting to the workplace.  When I look back on these 8 years, I think I have really been blessed with solid employment (except for a three month period - due to a choice I made due to my youth and inexperience at the time).  I have really changed, when I really consider my mindset.  In some ways,...
May 29, 2018
The last few weeks have been characterized by a feeling similar to when I realize I've beaten a game.  It's really a wonderful feeling: the absence of stress, the assurance of victory, but with ongoing excitement.  Before beating the game, it is stressful toiling, not knowing whether I'll make it or not.  After beating the game, it is boring idleness, goal-less and aimless.  In general, I have been very happy the last few weeks, and I realize this is the time to be happy. I took a day trip...
May 16, 2018
As I get older, I find myself travelling down the same path I saw others going down before me.  The destination is sometimes what I, as a teenager, had sought to avoid.  As far back as 6 years ago, I had started realizing that there are reasons for everything that happen, and now, I am at the point where I clearly see that it's not a simple matter of deciding what I want to be or do today.  Realities, situations, and past experiences all determine who I am and what I do yesterday, today, and tomorrow. ...
April 22, 2018
Since adding searching capability to my website, I was able to analyze my posts like never before.  Combined with me finally loading in my diary of pre-website entries (private, sorry, readers, only viewable for me, but believe me, it's better for you that way), this gave me a record of my thoughts during various times in my life spanning almost 14 years, or almost half my life.  Thus, there were some observations I could make.   Putting aside the distinct changes in character and the mellowing...
April 19, 2018
Behold, the most significant addition to my site in years: search capability.  I'm pretty sure this was in the original plan for my site, but in the early years, it was a combination of not having a good plan to implement and not having enough posts to need searching capability that meant I never got around to doing it.  Then, two years ago, I was exposed to Elasticsearch.  I was pleased by its ease of use, robustness, capabilities, and features.  I had a good solution.  Now, that I have almost 150...
March 31, 2018
The last few weeks have witnessed a host of changes to my life.  One thing after another meant that I didn't really have time to make a post.  But, now that things have settled down, that is exactly what I am doing here. It all started on March 2, when I bought a new (used) car: a 2006 Honda Accord coupe with a manual transmission.  I had first seen this car more than a month ago, at the end of January.  The previous owner, a nice lady who had worked at the same company as me, was quitting...
March 24, 2018
It's been almost a month since my last update.  These few weeks have been quite eventful.  I've tasted success with two projects I had going on, and I've had other good news and changes to my life. The first project was something I tried last May: growing wasabi.  Real wasabi is actually quite rare, because it is very slow-growing, but at the same time very perishable.  The wasabi paste or powder that people frequently buy is typically composed of horseradish, which is a relative to wasabi,...
February 21, 2018
There are probably a few things that, if people were to keep in mind, would solve a lot of problems, relieve a lot of stress, and make people a lot happier.  I call these the great lessons in life: Learn what you have to care about and what you don't have to care about - it is not a requirement in life to please everyone you meet; the people who will actually make a meaningful impact on your life are very few, by comparison.   Learn what you can afford and what you can't afford...
January 28, 2018
As has been customary in recent history, I finished doing all my finances yesterday.  That has typically been the time when I am able to determine any trends that are developing in my spending habits, which I normally would not be able to ascertain just from daily activities.  It was particularly useful last year, when I noticed that I had been spending a shocking amount of money eating out.  It was something that needed immediate attention, as for the first time since I started working, I was feeling...
January 2, 2018
A year ago, I looked at my life, and decided that it was going in the wrong direction.  It was then that I decided that by the same time, a year later, I would be "back to normal".  Those were the exact words I had thought of in my inner monologue.  It wasn't easy, but I am satisfied with the progress.  In particular, I've been eating out and staying out late less.  I've been home more, which has given me the chance to clean and organize my room - something I've been doing in bits and pieces for...
December 29, 2017
Yet another month has gone by.  There hasn't been much going on.  I bought a new gaming laptop at the end of September.  Since then, I have been budgeting in order to amortize the cost.  Because of that, I haven't done many exciting things this past month. The laptop, an Alienware R13, marks an important change in direction from all my previous laptops, which had prioritized portability and battery life over processing power.  This laptop is the most expensive one I have bought so far, at $1250,...
November 13, 2017
Disclaimer: What you are about to read may shock you.  If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or are known to be impressionable, please consult a physician before proceeding.  Reader discretion is advised.  Thank you. One thing that's always puzzled me about myself, while I was growing up, was that I would find myself putting things into boxes.  These would be things that I really liked.  Due to this, I have boxes of non-mechanical pencils, various writing instruments, and candy dating as...
October 8, 2017
My first attempt at writing a mobile app happened more than 5 years ago.  I was in between jobs at the time, and decided to use the time to write a mobile app to get rich.  At the time, I had two main problems: I didn't have any ideas about how to write a mobile app, and I didn't have any ideas about what the app would do.  I think it was an uphill battle the whole way, from installing the Android Toolkit to laying out the UI.  Ultimately, I made something very small and basic, that ran on my Motorola...
October 1, 2017
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