Category Archives: review

Resolutions for 2004

  • Speak slower and lower.
  • Check requirements within 3 days.
  • Log all of my expenses in plain text in Emacs so that I get forced to develop a ledger mode.
  • Journal every day. 23:00 – 23:30 is my journaling time. Drop everything and write (unless have earlier substantial journal
  • Visit at least one new website related to computer science education every day.
  • Play at least one game of chess a week.
  • Chat with friends at least once a week in order to swap stories and get ideas.

Plans for 2004

  • Visit AU and NZ during the summer. Sit in classes, visit friends, meet professors.
  • Collect or compose at least 100 exercises, examples, and ideas for introductory computer science education.
  • Collect at least 30 CookOrDie recipes and stories into something publishable.
  • Apply for an MS or PhD program in computer science education or computer science.

Week in review: December 4, 2005

I spent some time thinking about what to do during my Christmas break. Aside from brainstorming sessions for education, geekettes and making a difference, I’m also thinking of having some round-table chats about our quarter-life crises.

Monday was a blast with a tango party. Then it was back to work, with lots of papers to write and books to read. I took some time out to take the winter clothes pictures my mom’s been asking for, and I also took a self-portrait. I raided the library for a whole bunch of books and started thinking about the classes I want to take next semester. My week wrapped up with an IBM meeting, and my weekend started with a bunch of rants and reflections on computer science education.

Tomorrow I’m going to hand in my MIE1407 paper and then work like heck on the project proposal for IBM due on Tuesday. Then I need to work on my application for the Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship and finish marking the papers for the DSS project. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget to study for my finals exams on Monday, too!

Hectic week up ahead, but with judicious planning, I’m sure I can survive.

Reflections on 2005

This year saw me in three countries: Japan, Philippines, and Canada.
On the surface level, I learned about a fair number of things: Jakarta
Struts, Ruby, engineering psychology and human performance…

Other things I learned:

  • I love writing. One article in the Linux Journal resulted
    in dozens of e-mail. My column in Computerworld On Campus got a lot of
    feedback from students whose lives I’d touched (even if only lightly).
    My weekly posts on get feedback, too. I love writing. I
    can affect people through it. What took me so long?

  • I need people. This was the year that my current barkada
    really came together. The year started with the Digital Pinay fiasco,
    which was how Clair and I really got to know each other. The year also
    saw Slycesoft developments and our little triumphs and crises. I’m
    also very glad I have Dominique and my family. =) With them, the
    future looks even better.

  • I have much, much more to learn about the working world.
    If I could do one thing over this year, it would be that span
    of time at a company in Cebu. Looking back, I can see how I could’ve
    been more politically sensitive. It was a valuable lesson, and one
    I’ll keep in mind.

  • I want—no, _need_—to make a difference. =)
My biggest challenge for 2005: graduate school

My biggest challenge was adapting to graduate school. I found it
difficult to be motivated and confident. I had a really bad attack of
the impostor syndrome that made me almost quit my teaching
assistantship because I felt I was doing the students such a
disservice by teaching something I didn’t really know. The students
reassured me, my professor and the previous teaching assistant helped
me, and even the assistant department chair called me in and
half-scolded, half-encouraged me.

The engineering psychology and human performance class was
interesting, too. The lab reports really helped me review statistics,
and I enjoyed writing. If I could do one thing differently, I wish I
had kept my new-found study habits instead of getting frustrated in
lectures. I used to read ahead, but I found it difficult to pay
attention in class, so I ended up just reading afterwards. Maybe
graduate-oriented classes will be more engaging.

Searching for a good project was also very difficult. My research
supervisor and I went through so many ideas. Because I didn’t have a
clear research question in mind, I felt adrift and frustrated. I
wasn’t sure if graduate school was worth the opportunity cost. I’m
happy now, though. We’ve found something that not only fits in with
our short- and medium-term goals, but also helps me with my long-term
goals. I think social search provides interesting possibilities,
particularly if we can make it much easier to do, much more
mainstream. I’m curious about whether we can make it easy to filter by
multiple networks, too. I still feel a little guilty about not having
completed my reading paper, but I resolve to turn in an absolutely
wonderful one next term! =)

I think the secret to life is being fully in the present, wherever I
am. I’m looking forward to throwing myself into the metadata course
when I get back to Canada, and I’m setting aside time to read papers
while on vacation.

Best memories for 2005

Listening to my family’s stories. Chasing horses and ice cream carts
while learning photography. Hanging out with my friends. Geek lurv.
(Hi Dominique! Hi Clair and JM! Hi Paolo and Kris! Hi Marcelle and
Gin! ;) ) Digital Pinay smackdown. Long phone calls and Skype
sessions. Cryptograms. Graduate House people and activities. New
friends and old friends. =)

Goals for 2006

  • Read more. I want to read at least a book a week and a
    scholarly paper a day.

  • Write more. I want to write a scholarly paper. I want to
    continue writing articles for magazines. I want to post thoughtful
    pieces on my blog more often. =)

  • Study more. I want to make my department glad they took a
    chance on me. =)

  • Do more. I want to lay the groundwork so that I have an idea of
    what to do after my master’s degree.

  • Live more. I want to make more friends in the Philippines and
    in Canada. I want our barkada to grow—fresh blood! =)—and I want to
    find a group of people I can hang out with in Canada.

  • Be more. I want to make a difference (even a small one!) at
    least every week.

On Technorati:

Oct 30, 2006 to Nov 5, 2006

School and learning

I spent the week steadily working on various school deliverables – CAS
project report, KMD2004 essay on open source in developing countries,
and MIE1402 readings.

I enjoyed spending time with Simon, too. Hack night on November 1 was
*tons* of fun. We learned a lot about Google Maps and PostgreSQL’s
geometric functions. It was so much fun pair-learning. We could keep
each other on task, and my breadth of background was helpful. We
should do that again with something else, like Ruby.

I also had a terrific time having hot chocolate with John Oxley. I’m
starting to figure out what I want in a job.

Somewhere in between, I found the time to write Emacs Lisp code to
produce a contact report for September and October.
I also tweaked my blog design to be a little simpler and cleaner.


It was a very good week in terms of people. Over the week, I sent out
lots of cards. I figured that, well, I have all this blank
stationery lying around… I might as well use it. Having stamps on
hand certainly helps! I need to buy another pack of US and
international stamps.

Simon came over on Monday just to hang out and breathe. As previously
mentioned, Hack Night on Wednesday was tons of fun. And he visited
again on Saturday to take care of me while I was sick… =) There,
see, he does make time.

Halloween parties were fun, too. I got to hang out with Leigh and her
friends. The red leather dress (“So this is the famous red leather
dress?” – Leigh) got a number of compliments. =) I told them how my
mom picked it out for me, and some of the other things my mom’s asked
me to try out… <laugh>

I had a three-hour conversation with my mom over Skype. We initially
had problems with feedback between her speakers and microphone, but we
sorted that out when she plugged in earphones. Voice quality was
pretty good. It was great chatting with her about the different things
that were going on, and my dad had an interesting theory about
Microsoft’s interest in me. ;) You’ll have to ask me about it; it’s

I was too sick to go to Andrew Burke‘s
housewarming party or Joey de Villa‘s
birthday party, but I called with regrets as soon as I recovered.

The week ended with a wonderful dinner at the McGuffins. Michael
turned 30. Seeing them reminded me that I need to spend more time with
those folks – I like them a lot.

A very good week indeed. =)


Random Emacs symbol: gnus-level-default-subscribed – Variable: *New subscribed groups will be subscribed at this level.

Weekly report: Nov 6 to Nov 12

I’ve been too busy to blog this weekend (gasp!), but I’m happy to
report a productive week. I spent Monday writing an Emacs 22
pre-release review for Don Marti of I’ll send the
author contract on Monday. (Yay! Another $350 for writing!)

I attended Enterprise2.0Camp on Tuesday, and I shared some of the
things we talked about at CASCON2006. I’m getting a little tired of
saying that I don’t have the answers to the questions I raise, though,
so I should probably sit down and help figure things out. ;) It was
great catching up with Tom Purves,
Goran Matic, and the rest of the Camp folks.

I spent Wednesday concentrating on my KMD2004 paper, blogging most of
my raw thoughts as a way of getting around writer’s block. See,
blogging can be productive procrastination… ;) I’ve been slowly
reworking the blog entries into a more scholarly form on my hard disk.

Thursday was a bit of a blah day, though. I was feeling low-key
because of the different things I needed to work on. I was supposed to
meet Jed, but he was offered free concert
tickets, so we postponed dinner. I did end up making a nice set of
business cards, though. People like the new design which includes a
stylized portrait.

Friday was a very productive day. I woke up early and rewrote my
research proposal, adding all sorts of nifty diagrams. After that, I
hung out in the Emacs channel on IRC for a bit. I had fun catching up
with people there while waiting for Jed to call.

Jed and I had dinner at Simon Sushi on Spadina, then went to the Night
Lights event at King’s College Circle. We met Quinn there, and then we
headed to Second Cup for warm beverages. Chatted a bit. Ran into
Pavel Zaitsev. Went back to the Night Lights
thing, hung out for a bit, then headed over to meet Simon, Shane and
Lara, who had attended a lecture by Deepak Chopra. It was fun hanging

I insisted on walking Quinn home, partly for company and partly for
security. Good thing Simon and I accompanied her, as there was a
homeless person sleeping right in front of her door. She had to go in
through the back entrance.

I spent the weekend deepening my connections to people and getting a
fair bit of exercise. I learned something on Saturday about how I
prefer to spend my time, but that’s worth a separate blog entry. Other highlights: dinner with James Iveniuk, Mike Bailey, Simon Rowland, Roger Yang, Eyal, and Mariette. We passed by the arcade, too, where I beat Simon at driving and shooting! I don’t know if I’ll ever let him live it down. ;) We played foosball there, then went to Graduate House for even more foosball and some table tennis. Fun. =)

On Sunday, I went to the Toronto bead fair and picked up whatever I
needed to make necklaces and earrings. I have a few diodes and chips
I’ve been meaning to make into stuff for a while now, and I wouldn’t
mind I also picked up a rather classy set of rose glass beads that
look almost like pearls, and I’ll probably make an elegant choker or a

Sunday evening was terrific, too. Gabriel Mansour pinged me about hanging out. Given that he lives in Markham (near IBM, in fact), it was a bit of a mission for him to commute downtown in order to hang out for a few hours – but it was well worth it, I think. He probably didn’t expect to be given seatwork, though. ;) I gave him a stack of index cards and some colored markers, and told him to brainstorm what he wants to do with his life. ;) I like knowing what my friends are interested in and what they want to do… Anyway, that was good. =) We chatted over hot chocolate / tea, but then my contact lenses really started bugging me.

Very good week. Wrote a lot, learned a lot, and managed to sneak in time for deep socialization. Looking forward to next week!

On Technorati:

Random Emacs symbol: whois – Command: Send SEARCH-STRING to server defined by the `whois-server-name’ variable.