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General

Thinking back to 1919, a 100 years ago today

I was recently reading about an event that shaped the future in which I live in and was born in. A hundred years ago, what is currently India was occupied by the British crown and producing the highest amounts of tea and other resources for the crown. I am not a historian but I wanted to highlight an event today, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Here’s the wikipedia page on it:

Jallianwala Bagh massacre on Wikipedia

The massacre was a horrific act of mistreatment that’s concentrated in one day but was not uncommon in the British Raj. The native people were treated like servants, slaves, or less-than-human just because they were natives. The events of the massacre are not for the weak of heart, because the British officers took no mercy and later were not given any consequences.

Revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai are not highlighted as often in the Western world but their actions did have strong effects on removing the British from India as they showed that even with a massacre like this one, they would continue pushing toward a free and independent India.

This is an example of the inhumanity that took place just 100 years ago and we forget to think about how peaceful of a world we live in today and I am thankful for each day that brings everyone closer to living peacefully.

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General

Bookends update – April 2019

It’s a beautiful day in San Francisco, I got up and made some coffee today. I wrote a short tutorial on how to serve Vue.js apps through Github Pages and then I stepped away from the computer for a bit. But now, I’ve been sitting at my computer for about 2 hours and I have barely anything to show for it except a list Stack Overflow answers that were the correct answers for the questions but my problem was not solved by them.

So a few days ago, I finally got book search and user accounts working on Bookends. You can check it out here: bookends.app. So after this, I wanted to try something else. I want to be able to track a book when I’m reading it and update the progress as I go on and mark it finished at the end. There are a few new things for me to consider, one is making a composite table of users and their books, this proved to be a simple enough exercise thanks for Sequelize.

Next, I wanted to start tracking through the UI. And this is where I’m just flabbergasted! Okay so this is my route:

/api/tracking/start?bookId=[id]&userId=[id]

Simple enough, so I tried it in Postman, works as expected. I try accessing the page and it works as expected. Then I tried to put it on the Bookpage so when a user clicks “Start reading” the book gets tracked…

Well, I thought this would work but it didn’t. And well, fair enough, our good ole pal CORS was what I thought was causing the issue because usually that’s what messes up local dev if you’re serving Vue.js on one post and the server on another port. Well, after spending about an hour trying differen things, cleaning up my routes and looking at each character in my URL to make sure I’m not making a dumb human mistake, it turned out that it wasn’t the issue.

The issue was that for some reason, express routing doesn’t work past the 2nd nesting…I’m not even sure if that’s a legit problem. But at some point, I decided to try this URL instead:

/api/tracking-start

And bam! No cors issues, no network errors, and everything worked. 😐

I’m frustrated with some basic things about Express.js and Node.js together and I’m wondering how long my patience will last. The small jolts of energy I get from getting something work are cool but I don’t know when the negatives will outweigh those.

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Bookends update, March 2019

πŸ“šπŸ“ˆπŸŒΊ

So over the past few months, I’ve been trudging along slowly to add basic features to Bookends. If you haven’t read of my other posts, Bookends is a project I’m working on by myself to create a book tracking and discovery website. There are many reasons as to why I’ve been making slow progress but the main ones that I’ve noticed, I wanted to talk about in this post.

Node and Expess.js are great for small projects as I’ve built a couple of small applications of some sort with them, an example being the URL shortening service: Go. It was a quick and fun to build but there was something else that I didn’t realize until I continued adding common features in Bookends. When I started adding models and talking to the database, I had to rely Sequelize. But this isn’t a complaint against the tools, it’s mostly the ecosystem, I am often able to find a package for something in node but there isn’t a framework that dictates some sort of standard. Building an app comes one step at a time and one layer at a time with Node.js, unlike in other ecosystems where the conventions come with the framework.

Well, enough ranting about that. I’ve been adding some features to Bookends and I’m hoping to finish the book profile soon to launch the beta for people to try.

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General

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

I just finished listening to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. I started listening to this after finishing his book about Australia called In a Sunburned Country which I wrote about recently as well.

I really enjoy Bill Bryson’s style of writing, it feels approachable to me. Without spoiling much of the book, the book is a high level overview of how “everything” came to be. Whether it’s the book you’re looking at or the audiobook, the length of the book in either case is not long enough to justify he would be able to describe nearly everything. But that’s the caveat, it’s a short history of nearly everything.

I finished the book with a sense of knowing more about some aspects of where the universe came from, how life came to be, and how humans came to be. It’s satisfying to be able to get that information in one place.

I think compared to In a Sunburned Country, I didn’t enjoy this book as much because it didn’t have the Bryson travelogue writing style which I really enjoyed, especially in audiobook form. But still, if you’re looking for a fun to read/listen book, this is a good one!

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General

Being unaware of an economic depression

I’m in Mexico City right now but I can’t keep my mind off of Venezuela. Mexico City is beautiful, food is great, and people are nice but every bit of time I get where I have some time with my phone, I’m reading about what’s going on in Venezuela.

Until earlier this week, I was actually not aware of what was happening in Venezuela and I was, especially, not aware of what has been happening since the death of Hugo ChΓ‘vez.

If you’re like me a week ago, right now there is an economic depression sweeping all of Venezuela as the government struggles to support its populace with basic necessity like milk, sugar, coffee, basic hygiene needs, and health care. I won’t go too much into details about all of what’s happening, there are better sources for that here:

I am writing this more from a perspective a moderately informed American. I keep up with major news stories and I read into things that interest me beyond tweets and headlines but this one has completely escaped my radar. It’s also surprising that nobody in my circle of friends has posted about it on twitter or facebook. At least that means that there are 500+ people in some capacity who haven’t read or read enough to share about the crisis in Venezuela. I’m upset at myself for not finding out more about this earlier but now that I know, I’m looking for better sources to get familiar with the topic.

From the outside, the Venezuelan crisis looks like any other crises that oil-relying nations go through but I’m curious to find out if there are external influences that affected Venezuela differently than say Norway in the 60s or Kuwait in the 80s.

This does give me something to read more about and learn because I don’t want my blog to be a political opinion blog so I wanted to share this from the perspective that it’s possible to miss out on big news like this and then the best thing to do is to be informed about it.

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Code General

Trying out a new workflow for personal projects

I don’t have any serious personal projects right now because I usually start something small like the following few:

And after starting them, I realize that I got them done in a short spurt of energy but they are not projects I have much consistency with that I will actually keep up with them in the long run. The URL shortener was also a hack that I wanted to try to build in a short amount of time.

But the point of this post is to say that I haven’t really had a space to work on personal projects as I’ve had only a work laptop for the last 3+ years now. Since I left Outbound, I’ve had only a work laptop and it’s fine for small projects but once the project starts to have a database, a lot of assets hanging out in my recent files, and those sort of things, I don’t want it to be on my work computer.

Well, I had mentioned this a couple of times to people and one of those people is my wife. She surprised me with a Mac Mini for Christmas and I just got the computer in the mail today.

It’s the 3.2 Ghz hexa-core version which so far has been blazing fast! I’m excited to get it set up for some larger projects.

Especially Bookends which has been neglected due to the amount of work it takes me to get started with it. So in the coming weeks, I’ll aim to get a beta page up for Bookends and I’ll document the issues I’ve been running into as I’ve worked on it.

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General

Goal setting for 2019

I wanted to talk about setting New Years resolutions and goals in general. I’ve had a realization in the past few years of setting goals and acting on them. Goals that have measurable metrics like weight lost in pounds or number of books read are easy to track but pretty linear. By that I mean, they’re not goals that will require reconfiguring mid year or rethinking about what the ultimate goal is with numbered resolutions. By the end of the year, I forget what the original reason was for the goal and treat it like a timed chore until the winter holidays.

For 2019, I want to set the simplest of resolutions. To be organized and simplify things around me. And as vague as that sounds, I want to explain it in this post.

First, 2018 has been a messy and confusing year for me. From traveling, learning, and working, things had been filled to the brim with unexpected and exceptional things. I didn’t feel as satisfied with some of the trips I took because I felt stressed due to a something happening back home or at work (luckily no major crises). For learning, I kept trying new things without going deep into anything. The good part of that has been that I got to try a lot of new things but I didn’t feel like I mastered anything.

Second, simplifying has always made me feel like I have a better sense of what I want to do and why I am doing it. An example of this is actually this blog. Instead of relying on a convoluted updates process and hard to write posts in Ghost or on my own blog, I decided to use the industry-leading WordPress to blog. This led to less time spent maintaining or updating my blog’s settings and configurations of any kind. It’s almost no effort now because it’s easy to post and fortunately nothing breaks very often.

At work, a recent change I made is to switch from two monitors to one monitor. This is new so I can’t say with a certainty if it’s working out but I’ll post any updates if anything significant is noticed. It’s definitely to simplify but also to be more effective at the current task instead of just being “busy” without being productive.

So just like the above two examples, I want to find more opportunities to simplify in 2019. I believe finding the why is always important as it makes the goal more valuable in terms of what difference it makes in my life.

Cutting down on various interests that only become interests due to short term liking or hype will, hopefully, give me more awareness of what’s around me that I actually care about. Going deep into a hobby, project at work, or just learning something with a better understanding is my ultimate goal for 2019.

Wish me luck.

Top songs for 2018
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General

Some thoughts on 2018

The year is almost over and it’s a good time to be reflective of what has happened this year, where I went, and just how I feel about it. 

First of all, I got married in 2018!! πŸ‘«

Trips

I recently came back from Portland and I decided to jot down some places I visited in all of 2018.

Places I went to this year:

  • New York City
  • Las Vegas
  • Arizona (couple of small cities)
  • LA (SoCal area)
  • Portland

It seems like I went more places this year but I guess not. Weird because I felt like I took off time here and there that was for traveling but I guess not so much. 

Learning & projects

I’ve had a good time with learning new things this year. I decided to learn some more Vue.js and Node.js fundamentals. Learning node.js was actually more enjoyable because I could put together a whole “web app” after setting up a basic Express server.

I also started working on Bookends and I’m trying to spend more time working on it but the past few months have been unexpectedly busy which is not bad but it leaves little time for me to work on things at home.

For 2019, I want to continue learning new things. Hopefully, I’ll look into things like Ruby and Go, now that Weebly is part of Square.

Pets

Samson is a year and a half now. He’s super cute. Heisenberg is very cute still.

Me & Samson

Music

I wanted to post my top songs of 2018:

A surprise #1 but others are not so surprising. 

My top personal favorites:

  1. Raoui by Souad Massi
  2. Vienna by Matt Costa
  3. DNA. by Kendrick Lamar
  4. Malembe-Malembe by Bonga
  5. Kerala by Bonobo

I liked those because I was obsessed with each one for awhile at some point in the year.

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General

Learning a bit of iOS

For years, I’ve told myself I’m going to learn iOS. I have had an iPhone since 2011 and I use tons of apps on my phone every day. Since the introduction of Swift, iOS has become even more appealing. 

So about 2 weeks ago, I started working on some tutorial apps and getting myself in Xcode for at least an hour. By now, I have a couple of small “useless” apps on my phone that I am surprised were pretty easy to build. They don’t do anything that would require larger app design thinking for now, I mostly made them after following some tutorials to see if it’s even possible.

I created one app outside of the tutorials for a friend who wanted just a “prototype” of an app for school.

Now, I’m thinking of building some replicas to see just how easy or hard it is to build some popular apps. I often forget how long it took to make some apps that seem “simple”, in both the well thought out design and also in the lack of UI. 

In addition to building the iOS part, there’s also this rest of the app infrastructure that needs to be taken care of. I haven’t really learned much about how data is saved, design is done dynamically for multiple screen sizes. I’ve played only with a few mobile-device specific sensors like shaking. So far, I’m swooning over iOS. 


P.S. I miss Samson. 

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General

In Portland

I’m in Portland right now. I’m here for a few days and I wanted to write that down so I can remember on my blog.Β 

I’ll be making a post for the whole of 2018 while I’m here but I’m just feeling like I should post often enough to keep a cadence going.

I’m currently reading a few books at the same time so it’s a bit hard for me to focus on one book πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ.