Category Archives: weekly

Weekly review

Here are the highlights of the last week:

  • Finally got my paperwork together for the post-graduate work permit! After following up with the School of Graduate Studies a number of times, I finally got the letter thanks to a follow-up by my department. Now I have to wait for my work permit…
  • Notified IBM about possible delays. I’m glad that they’re flexible.
  • Applied for IELTS, an English proficiency test that will be useful for my permanent residency application.
  • Started working on proposal for Emacs book. Read A-C of the EmacsWiki.
  • Attended a Toronto Linux Users Group meeting that promised to be a vi vs. emacs debate. Greatly amused to hear it turn into an ed vs everything else debate due to old-timers.
  • Watched “Philippine Science” with W- at the Toronto International Film Festival. Imagine that—a movie about my high school!
  • Baked a cake for Mark Chignell, my research supervisor. Well-received. Also, got back in touch with Calum Tsang.
  • Had another driving lesson. Reviewed 3-point turns. Also, practiced driving with W- in an empty parking lot.
  • Gave a presentation on blogging to around 15 people at IBM. Convinced a few people to start blogging.
  • Booked tickets for a flight home this March. W- and J- are coming. Yay!
  • Picked up tons of books from library. Current reading focus: personal finance, work-life balance.
  • Had a good conversation with W- about medium- and long-term goals.
  • Still working on improving relationship with family.

My goals for the next week include:

  • Clarify my vision for the next few years and develop a plan.
  • Develop clear financial plan.
  • Summarize advice on transitioning into real world.
  • Send professional update to people.
  • Spend more quality time with people.
  • Post book notes.

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-parameter-large-newsgroup-initial – Function: Return GROUP’s initial input of the number of articles.

Weekly review: 2007.09.17 – 2007.09.23

Hmm… So what happened this week?

Getting my book proposal approved was definitely the highlight. That
happened on Wednesday, and I’ve been keeping myself busy writing a
page every weekday. I’m at 993 words now. Whee!

Another cool highlight was the Toronto Girl Geek Dinner last
Wednesday. Leila was a hilarious speaker who told us how having the
guts to go for something made such a difference in her life. Good

W-‘s friend Dan flew in from New York on her way back to the
Netherlands, so we’ve been pretty busy entertaining and listening to
stories. Last night, we hosted a small reunion here at 176. There was
a _lot_ of food. =)

I met one of the people who gave me advice on LinkedIn. I ended up
giving him advice on personal branding and stuff like that. =) Maybe I
should write about that too.

Called my mom. She was happy to hear from me and had started planning
her trip here for convocation. Things are still stressful, though.

Packed the week full of social stuff, now need a little rest.

Lots of writing, too. Aside from chipping away at my book, I also
worked on summarizing the advice that my LinkedIn network gave me on
transitioning into the real world. You can download “Advice for a
Twenty-something” from . We’ll give Lulu
a try, although what I’m looking for is something that will let me ask
people for their e-mail addresses if they want to be notified the next
time I try this writing thing.

I picked up bound copies of my thesis, too. Shiny!

Revised my website. Finally.

Did another driving lesson. Went up to 60kph! Managed to not panic.
This is good. Also getting better at shifting gears.

So that’s been my week so far. Good progress towards my goals.
Next week, my top priorities are:

  • More work on book. Let’s see… I want to write 5 more pages this week. Maybe even 10. Let’s pick the pace up a bit. Write in the morning, write in the afternoon…
  • Finally get my yearly update out.
  • Read and post book notes. Definitely feeling the need to get my system organized. I’ve been publishing some notes on LibraryThing, but I’m still lacking something.
  • Figure out how to highlight useful articles so that search engines can find them. Maybe compile a list of my favorite blog posts as a 23-year-old?

Random Emacs symbol: rmail-search-mime-header-function – Variable: Function to check if a regexp matches a header of MIME message.

Weekly review

Slow and steady progress on my Emacs book – 2351 words so far. I
should find a way to accelerate. Maybe putting together a detailed
outline for _three_ chapters, so I can work on one script each. It’s a
little difficult organizing so many different ways to do things,
though… Waah! Next week: Finish a detailed outline and get to 5000

My transcript arrived, so the only thing I’m waiting for now is my
work permit. I hope to get it by the end of the week. I’ll also need
to renew my SIN. Speaking of paperwork, it turns out that I have to
get a medical exam and register at some overseas employment thing in
the Philippines before they’ll let me leave again, so I’ve added a
reminder about POEA to my March planner.

I made significant progress on the interviewbot I’m making in Second
Life for Stephen Perelgut. It can read questions from a notecard,
interview people who click on it using either a special channel or a
general chat prefix, save the answers in-world, report the answers
in-world, and e-mail one person’s answers offword to a specified
address. Next week, we need to check if it works, and to load-test it.

As part of my plan to give back to and be part of the community, I
attended the Toronto Public Library public consultation meeting for
their budget cut. Watching the meeting facilitator tactfully draw out
neutral points from attendees’ political rants was instructive. A
recurring comment was that the provincial government should give more
to Toronto. I felt some participants were a little resentful of new
immigrants, or at least they felt that the library shouldn’t have
programs to help people learn English as a second language (or third
or fourth). Some people also questioned the public computer access
that the library offers. It was a learning experience, and I learned
some interesting things from the library’s presentation. I’m not sure
if I’m going to go to one of those public consultation meetings again,
though: lots of people just like complaining about politicians. I’ll
observe the next board meeting on Oct 15 to see if that’s worth it for

W- and I practiced photography this week. We tried taking a picture of
the cityscape from the bridge at Front and Bathurst. The CN Tower and
the moon weren’t very remarkable, but we did have fun taking long
exposures of incoming trains. We have also decided never to shoot in
ISO 1600 if we can help it, and are learning how to use the flash more
effectively. We practiced using the fill-flash in bright sunsight
technique described on Strobist (link at the end of this message).
We’d have good results if I weren’t so self-conscious about the
current state of my skin. I’ll go to a dermatologist as soon as my
health plan kicks in. Next week, I’m going to start carrying powder.

Took another driving lesson. Next one’s still in November. I’ll be
taking up emergency maneouvers in winter—oh joy. *terrified!*

Went for another library run. Most of the productivity books are
alike, but I found some nuggets worth keeping. I’m still trying to
figure out a good booknotes workflow. Any tips? Next week, my goal is
to take notes from at least three books.

Tea today was good. Ian and Joe shared a lot of insights about
large-business sales. I’m glad to hear that our get-togethers are
helpful for them, too. Intellectual conversation is apparently a rare
thing in this world. <wry grin> Let’s have more of it, then!
Next week, my goal is to organize my tea workflow.

Little revisions to my website here and there. I browsed through my
past entries and realized that I write a lot about my life in the
process of thinking through things, but probably little that’s more
relevant to other people’s lives. My goal for this week is to pick a
few topics, outline a few areas I want to explore and write about, and
plan my reading. That will let me develop more depth and be more
useful. Recurring topics include networking, contact relationship
management, personal productivity, personal finance, and Web 2.0. Next
week, I want to have a personal editorial calendar. ;)

Life is good.

Random Emacs symbol: w3m-scroll-right – Command: Scroll to the right.

Weekly review

The highlights of my week were the conversations I had. From hot
chocolate at Farcoast with Driss (whom I’d last met at the Wikinomics
event in February) to hot chocolate at Linux Caffe with Michael (whom
I’d just gotten to know over blogs and e-mail) to tea with Ian and
Gabriel, my week was just packed with interesting conversations. Add
to that the e-mail conversations I’ve been having and the connections
I’ve made… wow. Great week learning more about this connecting
thing. =) More thoughts on that later.

My work permit arrived! I’ll be starting on Oct 15. I also took an
English language test to prove my proficiency for the skilled worker
permanent residency application, and I renewed my social insurance
number as well.

Reading and writing – I’ve been catching up with a number of
Enterprise 2.0 blogs. Because Google Reader allows you to view past
blog entries by scrolling down, it was easy for me to read, say, all
of Luis Suarez’s posts on I’ve
also been working on my book. Less writing this week, more playing
around with Emacs. I took another look at Org-mode and realized that
it has a number of cool features that I’d wanted to do in Planner, so
I might move more of my config over—maybe even make it more of the
focus of my book, as it’s built into recent versions of Emacs.

Speaking of code: I added many features to my interviewbot in Second
Life. I sent the latest version to Stephen Perelgut. It includes a
factory that creates an interviewbot based on a stored notecard and
personalized for a particular avatar.

I tried out the static trapeze last Tuesday. Although the static
trapeze was closer to the ground than the flying trapeze I tried a few
months ago, I found it scarier because I didn’t have a safety harness
on and had to rely on the instructor spotting me. I didn’t complete
the two-hour lesson because my hands hurt so much that I couldn’t hang
on to the bars, but that’s just because I haven’t developed calluses.
It’s great exercise and upper-body conditioning, though, and I’m
looking forward to going back next week. Thinking of the trapeze has
also helped me build more exercise into my daily schedule. Today I did
100 crunches, which will come in handy when I need to get my knees up
and over the bar!

As for cooking: we made lemon chicken last Friday, and we made
sinigang today. Yummy!

Random Emacs symbol: combine-after-change-execute – Function: This function is for use internally in `combine-after-change-calls’.

Setting priorities

For once, my random Emacs symbol is strangely apropos. There will
never be enough time in the day, and it’s easier for me to say no to
low-value tasks if I have other things to do. Here are my best-value
tasks over the next few days:

  • Prepare for the start of my new job by reflecting on what’s worked for me before and what hasn’t, and figure out what I want. If I can help my manager learn about my strengths and weaknesses, then he’ll be able to manage me more effectively.
  • Work on my book. I should be able to complete the Org section if I just sit down and write. The Planner section can follow a similar structure. It pays to complete a rough draft of the chapter as early as possible, because I can get more feedback from beta readers. I need to give myself permission to skip the parts that I _really_ want to include but for which the code needs to be written practically from scratch. My job is to show people interesting hacks, not fill in all the holes or fix all the bugs.
  • Connect with my family and catch up on stuff from last week.
  • Braindump what I learned from my chat with Ian Irving. Plenty of nuggets there, and sharing is the best way of thanking him for his time.
  • Do my weekly review. I feel uncomfortable if I don’t have time to reflect and share.
  • Build in some quiet time and some relationship time. I don’t want that to get lost in a long list of TODOs clamoring for my attention.

These are my essentials for this weekend. It’s like the way you manage money: plan for the important stuff first before you spend on luxuries. =)

Random Emacs symbol: schedule-day-remainder – Variable: The number of seconds remaining today.

Weekly review

I had *awesome* conversations again this week. I greatly enjoyed meeting Jennifer Dodd, Jamie McQuay, and Hartwell Fong at Farcoast last Wednesday. We talked about so much: science outreach, Second Life, quantum computing… Then there’s yesterday’s conversation with Ian Irving about tech evangelism and consulting. This is amazing stuff. I want more people to enjoy these great conversations! =)

I’ve been getting ready for my job at IBM, which starts on Monday. I
checked the public transit route to 3600 Steeles, and
Stephen Perelgut is right: it’s not
complicated. I’m getting used to wearing grownup clothes, too! ;) Yesterday, W- complimented my pairing of a gray cashmere turtleneck with a gray dress. I’m finding myself drawn to neutral bases (white and gray for the most part, with a bit of black), and I’m now looking for a few accessories to add color and whats-it.

I made more progress on my book. I spent some time learning how to use
Org, and feel comfortable enough with it to write the section on
planning my day. I think I understand it now. I’m also comfortable
with planner-appt, and I’m going to recommend that over the little
hack I put together before.

This has also been a great week for exercise. I went to trapeze
classes twice thanks to W-‘s encouragement, and have successfully been
able to hook my knees over the bar or hold my legs extended over my
head without assistance. Whee!

My goals for next week are:

  • Finish the raw text for the first chapter in my book.
  • Get on board smoothly: find out my manager’s expectations, help him figure out a great way to use and develop me, finish the onboarding paperwork, and set up direct deposit
  • Make it smoothly onto the bar in trapeze classes
  • Attend the Toronto Public Library board meeting to see if I’ll make it my primary charity this year
  • Contact the U of T Career Centre; also, see if I can access the contact directory
  • Connect with Mohan and see what I can do to help, or what holes there are in my Web 2.0 network
  • And if there’s time, I want to figure out how to blog using Org, too.

On Technorati:

Random Emacs symbol: backward-delete-char – Command: Delete the previous N characters (following if N is negative).