Daily Log #122

Ah…

I spent the whole night yesterday and today to format and reset my desktop computer. By the end of it all, majority of the hard disks were subjected to two rounds of full reformat.

While the computer was being reformatted, I took the chance to actually dismantle some of my older hard disks. They are mainly those Parallel IDE ones from several years ago, my old PS3 hard disk and a spoilt 2.5 portable hard drive. After I dismantled them, I subjected the platters to magnets, swiping the hard drives’ own magnets across several times. After that, I toss them together into a bag containing other metallic stuff like the hard drive enclosure, circuit boards, drink cans, etc.

Now, my intention was that once the bag is picked up by the trash truck, the platters inside will be subjected to crushing forces due to the trash compactor on the truck and the other metallic stuff will proceed to scratch and damage the platter randomly.

I also used the chance to destroyed several old electronic devices such as SD card, memory card and old phones that I no longer use by hammering down a pick on the data chips until they split open and I see the shiny and sparkling internals. Then I toss them into the same bag as my hard disk platters.

With this, I have officially quit PC gaming and I won’t be getting a Windows-based computer any time soon. The only Windows I will ever use is at work since I’m developing in C# for .NET.

My main form of gaming will come from consoles, namely my PS4 and Xbox One X. And it’s actually so much easier. With consoles, you just focus on getting the games you want to play. That’s it. If the console spoils, one could just get a new one without worrying about how much ram to get, which processor, which GPU etc. Right now, even Nvidia’s latest and great GPU, the RTX-series can’t even tempt me to go back to PC gaming.

And you know what, I’m so glad that I make this transition. It actually is part of my desire to further minimize my life to the bare essentials.

For personal computing, I got my MacBook Pro and I have the intention to get the latest version of the MacBook Pro so that it can keep me going for another few more years with the Core i9, 32GB of ram and 1TB of SSD before I need to upgrade again. This time I won’t be going for the 13 inch and instead I will get the 15 inch model so that I have more space to work with. There’s a high chance I won’t get the iMac because I do want to be able to bring a powerful computer with me when I go out.

I don’t know what I will do over the next few years. Maybe I find the courage and ability to run my own business. Maybe I become a full hermit. Maybe I will attempt to become the world greatest creator. Maybe I become a digital nomad.

What I do know is that having a iMac definitely doesn’t give me much leeway. I will feel tied down. That’s a form of clutter, a form of stress that you don’t need in life. It’s unnecessary. Better be free and have more choices. A portable computer definitely will help on that front.

Daily Log #119

Four days went by without me doing any form of writing…other than C# codes at work and messages on my phone. It’s mostly because I was feeling angsty and frustrated with my work and colleagues.

It has come to a point where I’m sick of my colleague continual dismissive of whatever thoughts or ideas I shared at work. She is always saying that she is there to solve problem and always go on and on sprouting her own ideas, totally ignoring me. Sometimes, she will be making hiss sound at me in an attempt to dismiss me and my ideas.

Alright, so apparently, my experiences, knowledge and intuition are not useful in solving problem. With that, there are multiple solutions. The first would be to confront this colleague about the issue and hopefully get her to change her tact and approach. That’s the assertive approach. The passive approach would be to ignore her and stop contributing whenever she is around. For me, I tend to go with the passive approach because I never really like any kind of confrontation. And she’s not my friend, so I don’t even want to spend the time and energy. Just not worth it…

Hmm… now that I mentioned I have been writing C# codes, I hadn’t really spent the last year writing any Java codes and I feel kind of sad about it. Yes, I know I can probably write Java codes at home but my life isn’t all codes and text. I got my family to be with, my games to play and books to read. Devoting 6 to 8 hours a day to code is more than enough for me in my view. And yeah…when I was younger, I devoted more time to that by coding at home but that’s because I wanted to improve my skills at a programmer. Now, not so much…I rather be doing something else more interesting.

And here’s some quick recap of the things I did and notable for me over the four days.

On Thursday morning, at around 1am GMT8 , I stayed up to watch the Apple Event and got to say I’m not that particularly impressed with what Apple announced, except maybe for Apple Watch series 4. I got a series 2 and has been a year plus. I think it’s time that I change to the new watch. Even the Apple Care that I got for it will only cover the watch for another few more months.

Now the one feature the series 4 watch got me the most excited is the ECG. Considering my sedentary lifestyle, having multiple elevated heartbeat notification from my series 2, and family history of heart issues, it’s the best device for me so that I can keep a close watch on my heart. I do know I need to make a conscious effort to exercise more.

On Friday night, I went with a friend to watch The Predator. It wasn’t the most intense or thrilling movie in the franchise. In terms of story, it just isn’t the most exciting and I could see most of the events coming before they even play out on screen.

Once I got home, I turned on my Xbox and went ahead to get Shadow of Tomb Raider. Of all the Tomb Raider games, I prefer the games set in this reboot trilogy as they have more focus on Lara development. Then the puzzles are challenging while the combat mechanics are pretty good, compare to the older games.

I like that they don’t go over the top with the presentation of her physique like the older games. I really don’t want to see her dressed in skin-revealing attire for no reason. She’s an archaeologist who works in environments that most likely will kill city dwelling people like me. I don’t get why would any sane person wear such short shorts and cleavage revealing shirt in that kind of environment. Even if the animals, humans and creatures in the tomb raider series didn’t manage to kill her, the environment will. And if you want to portray a strong female character like her, don’t degrade her by making her look like a bitch. It’s insulting.

On Saturday, I met up with my best friend for lunch. That lunch required me to take four different trains to get there but it’s worth it. It’s not often that we meet up because of our vastly different lives. I also got back the book, Start With Why, from him. Not that I will re-read it during my free time but it’s part of my book collection. So I will put it back where it belongs.

After that, it was mostly just me playing Shadow of Tomb Raider and suffer back and neck pain. Not that I can really complain about it. I made the choice to spend so much time in front of a screen and continue to make the same stupid choice.

Then I went out to have dinner with my family before coming back to continue my game. I didn’t play for long either because my sleep debt has pretty much caught up to me.

Well, I didn’t really have any good night sleep since Tuesday because of a sub-conscious stress I’m feeling with a whole bunch of rumination. I know they are pointless but my mind will just keep playing them over and over again. By default, I’m highly neurotic and will always assume the worse.

So that’s another reason why I love my routines so much. They keep me sane.

On Sunday, I squeezed in a few hours of Tomb Raider, a two hour nap, and a quick jog around my neighborhood. After coming back, I decided to read Halo: Glassland. After so long, I only managed to get through half the book and I still got three new novels sitting in my bookshelf that I hadn’t got around to read. I also got two non-fiction books that I also didn’t read. I stopped after about twenty pages and went with powering on my MacBook to watch the last episode of Shooter, season 3. Then I spent some time to watch an old movie that I watched before, The Darkness on Netflix.

I have been thinking about something too.

Ever since I got my MacBook, I hadn’t really use it like most people. I mean I didn’t put it through the paces in terms of bringing out to work on stuff much. Yeah, in my previous two work places I do and when I do my freelance work but other than that it’s just sitting at home where I use it to write and watch movies, listen to music. I don’t do much programming these days on it.

And that’s why I have been putting off on buying a new MacBook Pro for so long. I just don’t see the need. Yet I can’t help but feel like it’s a waste, just like my gaming desktop now where I don’t seem to be interested in its upkeep or play any games on it. I think after a while, I may finally just decided to get rid of it.

Well… in a way, this machine is actually making me stress by the fact it’s around and need me to take care of it. One prime example is that my room is going to be renovated soon. That means I need to move it out while my room is redone. Combine that with my neurotic nature and my innate materialistic (in the truest form of the word) nature where I don’t want people touching my stuff for the fear they break it, I’m kind of pulling my hair out.

And that’s one of the subconscious stress I have been feeling over the past week. So yeah, I guess this is the time where I get to review the things I introduce in my life and start paring down.

One last thing. I don’t think I will be able to sleep again tonight because I have been drinking too much tea. First green tea in the day and now Earl Grey at night. Sigh…

Daily Log #116

Yep, yep, I’m definitely fat.

The reason I said that was because when putting on a pair of shorts earlier this afternoon I couldn’t button it up. Well, I didn’t measure my waist but I suspect my waist has got to be around 34 or 35 inches instead of the original 32 inches.

So… that’s depressing and it’s my fault really. I used my allergies as an excuse of not exercising outside when there are other ways of exercising at home. Then because of me not wanting sweat to roll off my face and wash away the serum and cream I put on my face when going to work, I didn’t use stairs or walk too much.

Finally, there is the problem of my diet. I thought a high-fat/protein diet will help but it won’t work if I’m living a sedentary life. My metabolism at my current age just isn’t high enough to burn whatever calories I consume.

I also came across a few articles about how allergies are actually signs of inflammation in your body caused by weight gain and that high level of histamines caused by inflammation also make you gain weight. So it’s a chicken and egg problem.

So what I can do is to lose as much weight as possible over the next few weeks and months to bring the inflammation under control and maybe reduce my allergies.

Sigh… come to think of it… managing my diet, my sensitivities and allergies is such a pain in the ass. So much so that I hate my life.

Enough of my self-absorbed whining…

I spent most of my weekend playing Mass Effect Andromeda and I realize it has gotten more and more boring because of the repetitive nature of the tasks and assignments. Some of the mission keep taking you back to the same old set of planets and the travel between the star systems do feel tedious after a while. And then there are so many bugs that Bioware didn’t bother to fix because they rather spend the resources on building Anthem.

No wonder the game wasn’t exactly winning awards and got so much flak from fans. It didn’t do a good job as a science fiction RPG like the other games released during the same period.

And finally, Iron Fist Season 2 is out on Netflix. So I spent some time to watch the first three episodes and thus far I enjoy it. In terms of fight scenes, it does look like Finn Jones has had time to prepare and look more natural. In the first season, he did look like he wasn’t as fluid when fighting. The actor did mention about him rushing to film the ten episodes then and didn’t have time to prepare in an interview.

Daily Log #107

I felt so guilty over the weekend for not putting in any effort to finish off my novel. I keep procrastinating. I keep trying to look for that kick or that inspiration to get me started.

Well, it turns out, I could not get that same feeling I got back in February when I pumped out twelve thousand words over three days, spending approximately eight hours or more each day. It has become what I call drudgery. The last mile of the marathon. You are tired and you feel stuck. You just don’t feel like continuing anymore. I think you know what I mean.

Then I came across a paid article on Medium that talk about defining a writing schedule through the act of picking a word count and stick to it every day. It could be as simple as writing 200 words per day, 500 words per day or even 1000 words per day. This way you created a bite size chunk and reduce your anxiety instead of being overwhelmed with the thought of writing a scene or a chapter.

Now that was a good reminder for me. I used it to push me to get into a writing mode.

I’ll admit that along the way I got distracted by YouTube but generally I found myself putting in at least 200 words for the last scene of my novel. And I’m happy with that.

I…I also just realized something as I was writing this log and allow me to give you some context.

I have been feeling rather bored over the last few weeks despite having my Xbox to keep me entertained when I’m at home. Then this morning when I decided to switch on my desktop after nearly two months, I find myself playing a game for half an hour or so before deciding to call it quits, switched to another game and then quit after half an hour. After my desktop completed its Windows update, I decided to switch it off and be done with it.

And now I realized that the excess of anything can really kill your motivation to do anything else.

Put it this way. Ever since I got the Xbox, I have put in nearly every weekday night and weekends for the last month or so on it, playing the Halo franchise, Gears of War 4, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Call of Duty: WW II. So much so that I didn’t really spend much time on reading or writing. And when I’m not gaming, I would be watching videos, shows and films.

So it created a situation where I stopped creating stuff and consumed too much content. What was originally a relaxing activity, it became a chore that drained your energy level.

Going forward, I will still play video games, read and watch videos but I will do it in a more controlled manner. Instead of playing video games consecutively for days, I will need to control myself and put myself in a creation mode from time to time.

That means to write more.

Yes, I’m creating stuff in my day job as I’m a software developer and doing UX/UI design as part of my work. But to me, there is a difference between that and writing fiction. Creating software is an activity that requires more logical thinking whereas writing fiction requires more imagination. In order to feel fulfilled, I need to do both.

And like what I said earlier, too much of anything zaps your motivation level out. By listening and doing what both half of my brain wants, I will end up happier and not have this nagging or guilty feeling like I have been having for the past few weeks.

Hmm… I also realize I’m having some trouble getting my thoughts out in a coherent manner, especially for the latter parts of this log. Maybe it doesn’t show up. Maybe it does. But I definitely felt it as I write. It’s like my mind is gagging and choking.

Well, this is definitely a lesson for anyone who wants to write well.

The moment you stop practicing intently, you get rusty. And from my infrequent writing and publishing of daily log, I’m sure you know what I mean. It applies to anything that you want to do in life.

So keep doing whatever it is you need to do, even if you are producing just a tiny fraction. In my case, that means to write at least 200 words per day to prevent myself from becoming rusty.

Daily Log #101

I went for my second VBeam laser treatment after work today. After it was done, I was surprised that I didn’t see my face become red like some videos I have seen on YouTube. But I definitely need to avoid the sun tomorrow.

And when I was there, the doctor did a quick review and determined my face is looking smoother. That Infini RF with Rejuran and VBeam treatment three weeks ago was definitely effective. However, the doctor also noted that it was still early to make any big claims. It was stated that it will take one month after Infini RF for any visible effect to show. And then, the recovery will continue for the next three months as the skin generate new collagen to push up the depression scars.

In the meantime, my friends are calling for me to start looking for a girlfriend soon since I’m looking better now.

Well, for a start, I didn’t want to commit to a relationship because I think it will bind me down and prevent me from actually doing whatever the hell I want. At heart, I’m a seeker of sort, never wanting to quite settle down.

Now this lead me to recall something a friend of mine said two months ago.

That friend commented that I still hadn’t figure out what I like. He himself like doing technical stuff and that’s why he continued to do it even after ten years.

Well, I have actually figure it out a few months ago before I met up with him.

I like seeking inspiration and novelty that ultimately allow me to create.

That is the foundation of my behavior when it comes to work, games, books or movies I watch.

The limiter on my seeking behavior is the desire for safety and stability. Knowing that constantly wanting to stay safe and stable doesn’t lead to growth, what I am always doing it balancing them. So I will seek new stuff but only when I’m sure I can leap and will do whatever I can to prepare the ground.

This is probably why I’m still watering the grass on my side of the fence despite feeling suffocated at my current workplace. I tried to make it work for me by requesting for tasks and work that I enjoy doing, which my team leader has pretty much accommodated as much as possible. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I went home feeling tired or bored at times. So it’s important to remember to be contented with what I already have.

I also come to acknowledge the fact that the other side is always brown too and not greener. It’s just how companies are. The marketplace is cutthroat. Competition is high. But it also take very good managers and bosses to know how to focus and push away distractions.

And so far, I hadn’t seen any good ones and I can’t control that. What I can do is to show up and ask for what I want to do given the company existing resources and requirement. Then I go do that.

That’s why going home early and being able to play video games until sleeping time is so important for me now.

Playing video games and getting merchandises related to the video games I love playing is a big part of the reward system I created for myself, after having to suffer through eight plus hours of work in an environment that stresses me out with all the noise, poor air circulation, etc.

Yeah… the pain of being a HSP.

Previously, I thought I hated gaming because of how often I get bored playing new games. Hell, look at Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It’s been six months since I bought it and still hadn’t gotten around to complete half of the campaign missions. It’s all these observation that make me think I hated gaming.

Turns out, deep down, I still love gaming a lot. Just that I dislike how the gaming industry had turn out with the focus on micro-transactions, free-to-play massive-online multiplayer and arena-style games. And that affected how game companies develop their other existing game franchise by making everything more massive with co-op or multiplayer elements.

For me, video games is a solitude activity. It is something that allow me to consume through visual and audio to relax my nervous system.

A good single player campaign with good storyline, gameplay and graphics goes a long way to make me happy.

Halo franchise is one such game.

Mass Effect: Andromeda, despite all the flaws and lower quality compared to the original Mass Effect trilogy, is one such game.

Horizon Zero Dawn is one such game.

Hell, even The Witcher 3 is one such game.

I don’t necessary need games to be science fiction. Because I hated the recent Warhammer 40K games.

So I went from focusing on writing lots to playing video games a lot more, now having rediscover my love for it. But I still need to go back to writing because it’s the other thing that is also important. It’s part of the reason why I became a software programmer. And I’m reminded of the fact that I’m still not getting around to write that one last scene for my novel… It’s always the last mile that always get me.

Daily Log #99

This is my 440th log or journal, depending on how you want to call it. Even so, I still hadn’t really learn anything meaningful when it comes to writing. Maybe there is slight improvement in my grammar and the speed in getting my thoughts out. And possibly improvement in my ability to express myself.

If I am to dig deeper and be honest with myself, writing these logs has definitely helped me in recognizing my feelings and my thoughts better.

And that’s probably one of the reason why my updates these days have been inconsistent. I only write when I needed to process some things in my life or to document significant events of what happened. This way, I can review one day in the future of where I have been and what I have done.

That aside, I only have two things that I want to note down.

The first thing was that when I went back to work on Friday, I saw the email sent to me by HR asking me to confirm if I will be taking any more paid annual leave from now till September 3rd, 2018 because they wanted to calculate the final payment. The reason being it’s the one year anniversary of my two year contract with the company. Leave not taken, as stated in my contract, are converted into cash. However, what was weird was that the person used the subject ‘Resignation Leave Balance’, making it look like I have resigned from the company. Even better, the email stated that September 3rd is my last day at work.

I replied saying I won’t be taking any more and asked, “I thought my contract is two years.”

I have yet received any reply as the person would only come back to work on Monday.

Me being me, I will just assume the worse and that the company decided to kick me out without notice. That means, they will have to pay me two months of salary in addition to the completion bonus as well as any other bonus payable stated in the contract.

And I will also start looking jobs and going for interviews.

You must be wondering why I don’t wait for further clarification.

Now, I experience the world through meaning and expression. Those things affect my decision making. Therefore, words that you use to describe something has to be correct. The final meaning of a sentence has to be exactly what you intend to communicate.

And it tend to rile me up if I realize you are careless with the words used. Well, it’s one of my pet peeves tied directly to my personality.

When it comes to a new job, there are things I am also aware of.

Like for one, I want to transit into being a UX designer but without the appropriate practice, portfolio and actual experience, no company would hire me. So I will end up being stuck as your run-of-the-mill software developer. And yeah, I don’t even see myself as an engineer. Not in the traditional sense anyway.

My reason for wanting to be a UX designer is so that I can humanize technology, therefore making technology a less “stressful” thing people have to deal with. It’s part of my life goal, “To help everyone, including myself, live stress free.”

I will further expand on the goal with the following:

“To help everyone, including myself, live stress free through designs and creations.”

I design my own life. I’m intentional about it. I know what I like and dislike, thus the things I buy, use and do all serve to make me live stress free. And that is including choosing friends over professionalism because friends reduces my stress and being professional does not.

So now you see, I’m consistent in this way.

The second thing was I spent half of my Saturday playing Mass Effect: Andromeda. So far I have enjoyed myself and liked the story.

Of course, I didn’t really read the reviews but the initial scores of the game did affect my purchase decision. That’s why I waited until several weeks and when the game is on sale before buying. In fact, as of late, I have already mostly stop buying EA games because of the way EA treats its games.

Yes, I know it is a business and the video game industry is cutthroat but there are video game companies that balance profit and making great games while not sounding like a money grabbing company. Look at Guerrilla Games. Look at CD Projekt. Impression these days are ever so more important. Good impression always lead to higher profit in the long run. And how to leave a good impression? By being honest, have integrity and deliver quality. That’s what I always believe.

And I’m well aware business exists to make money. It is a given. But if you keep saying it, keep hanging it in front of everything you do, then you lose me as a customer. I will stop giving you my money just because you love money so much.

And that’s probably why I spend more money on Apple than any other technology company so far. They don’t speak money. They speak quality. They speak how they want to change the world and make it a better place. Their message is consistent in everything they do. Even when it comes to spending on buying companies, they are rather stingy about it. If they can develop in-house they do it. And that is a company I can get behind. It will always have my support…until the day they decided to be like any other money-grabbing companies.

Ok, that’s all for now. I will be off to watch The Package on Netflix.

Daily Log #98

It’s Singapore’s 53rd year of independence today but I didn’t feel like it is a holiday. My mood had pretty much been destroyed by the sudden onset of fatigue, full body aches, and allergy that saw me downing a few painkillers and anti-allergy medicine. I practically laid in bed from 12 noon to 6 in the evening.

In the morning, I went about playing Mass Effect Andromeda on my Xbox while feeling the constant pressure to check my phone because I’m on standby for the National Day parade. It was work-related. You see, the security application I was building with a team of people was deployed for use today. The application was pretty much what my previous mentor termed “proto-duction”. What it meant was that the application was still in proof-of-concept and development stage being used in production environment for SIT and UAT. The customer insisted that my company have a few people on standby to respond to any issues within the hour.

Since I was involved in the Trump-Kim summit a few months back for four-days straight starting from Sunday, it was my colleague’s turn this time. She wasn’t around that time as she went on an overseas trip with her family. However, it doesn’t mean I get away completely scot free. I am involved in the access control aspect of the whole application and so if there are any access rights issue, I would have to deal with it. At least remotely.

But as I said, I was practically attached to the bed sleeping. So I wasn’t much of a help. And I’m feeling guilty about it.

And I shall talk about what happened yesterday.

The whole morning was actually a sleepy one for me because of the anti-allergy medicine I take.

Now, I know I sound like a weakling but then I have always been dealing with allergies since young. I have had a nose that seem to run non-stop when the weather changes, go into a dusty environment, etc. Then in my late teens, I developed chronic urticaria that I continued to deal with today. As I got older, both of them always strikes simultaneously. Excessive work = hives. Eat wrong food = hives. Didn’t sleep well = hives. Exercise too hard = hives.

Compounding the problem is I’ve got acne outbreak every now and then. I even have keratosis pilaris on my arms, thighs and back. Those become worse when the hives strike again.

But I digress.

As I was saying, my morning yesterday was a sleepy one. Then came afternoon, it was no different. After lunch and a short nap, I felt better. At it got closer to evening, I was called to go down to site to deal with an issue with the application.

I told my team lead that I have to go by six because I have got an appointment with my friends. He said he hope the issue can be resolved before then. Separately, he asked if I could cancel or postpone the appointment. I told him no. It was a movie. Tickets already paid for. Then he said he could pay me back the money if I missed the movie. Then he went on to say my friends would be proud that I’m doing something related to the national day and won’t mind me being late.

Honestly, I doubt my friends would be proud of anything.

That aside, I’m actually quite pissed at that offer to pay me back if I missed the movie. It wasn’t so much about missing the movie but rather about missing the chance to meet up with my friends, whom I don’t see often because all of us are busy with different things. Who knows when we will meet up again.

You see, I treat meeting my friends as though it is the last time I will ever see them. That mindset and combine with the potential regret of not meeting up with them is simply enough for me to drop everything.

There was once when I had stomach flu then and was in a bad mood but nonetheless I still went and meet up with my best friend of twenty plus years. I also dropped everything to meet up with another friend for just a dinner just a few weeks ago.

So by offering to pay me back is like cheapening the whole thing. My friends don’t worth only $13 (the price of a movie ticket). They are priceless. The ones I care about, I will definitely be there for them in whatever capacity I can provide. If they want me to go eat dinner at the last minute, I will go. If they want me to accompany them to an event, I will go despite my reservation about crowds.

So if you ask me to choose between professionalism and friends, I choose my friends. And so I told my team lead that meeting up with my friends is very important to me, more than the national day celebration. Then I also said that there’s always a workaround for the issue he wanted me to resolve. It’s a matter of whether the user want to temporary use that workaround.

Yes, I know users are users. They will want to do things in a certain way. Everyone has their preferences. But the problem he wanted me to fix is potentially an implementation issue, at the code level. Combine with the fact that there is a code-freeze or deployment freeze, I don’t really see how we can fix it.

It took my colleague and I nearly an hour to figure out what’s going on. I realized that access checking function had an issue where it always return false when it had to deal with more than two groups assigned with resources.

Put it this way, I implemented both resource-based access control and role-based access control. Resources are assigned to groups, also known as resource groups. A user has to be given roles and resource groups in order to do anything meaningful in the application. And there was an issue with the resource-group checking.

And you know what, once we realized what’s going on, I hated myself so much. How can I be so careless to write an access checking function that looks right on first glance but don’t really work in runtime?

What about testing…

Well, as for testing, I admit, there wasn’t much because we were constantly being distracted by new tasks, new demands, etc. I have repeatedly said that I don’t do well when there’s too much going on. I really just can’t do it. It’s both my curse and blessing for I am a highly-sensitive person.

Anyway, we went ahead to delete data so that each resource is at max assigned to two resource groups. Then we got the tester to test everything again. When it works, I feel so much better.

After that, I went scrambling off from the place to catch a westbound train. Once I reached the mall, I went straight to queue up at the Japanese restaurant to get seats first while waiting for my friends to arrive.

During the dinner, we just catch up on stuff. After that, one of them left because he’s not joining us for movie. As for the movie, we watched The Meg.

I found the movie to be suspenseful enough and exciting. There were also parts that were funny.

I had hoped that it help to lighten my mood but it didn’t. Deep down, I was still feeling pissed on the way home. I even didn’t sleep well because of intense rumination. All kinds of scenarios were playing out in my head like movies. All the what ifs..

Daily Log #96

After Halo, Gears of War 4 was what kept me engaged for the last four days. Once I reached home from work, have a quick shower and I will be playing on my Xbox until it was time to sleep. I finished the game campaign by Saturday afternoon.

When that was done, I continued to spend the next two hours or so playing Mass Effect: Andromeda. Despite all the bad reviews and comments about the game, I thought it was still a decent game and will at least keep me occupied for the next few days if not weeks. After all, it’s a RPG game and I tend to take a long time with these kind of games because I want to complete every quests there is. I can get pretty OCD about it.

Of course, I will probably go back and play the Halo games again to collect all the achievements and complete optional or bonus objectives.

I’m also looking forward to Shadow of Tomb Raider. Thus far, I think the game looks pretty good. Then there is the quest system with customizable difficulty for different aspects of the game (exploration, combat and puzzles) which definitely is interesting.

Games aside, my professional life is also doing relatively ok. It’s at where I want now.

As I have said repeatedly, I have no desire to climb the corporate ladder and only want to focus on creating stuff either through code, writing or drawing. Thus far, I’m enjoying myself with creating great looking user interface for users to work with when they use the application my team is building.

However, there are times when I just feel unmotivated or disappointed at work because of how low in terms of quality one of my colleague goes when it comes to usability and design. I feel like I’m taking a step forward only be forced to take two steps back. It’s just frustrating.

I still don’t get why this company is at such a state where there is no investment in having a full-time UX designer/writers to craft a great user journey for the application, don’t have resources to implement continuous integration and yet keep getting us to get ready for demo after demo.

Do you know that for every demo we need to prepare, we spend at least forty man-hour not doing development work just so that we can test, prepare deployment packages, go onsite, deploy and test again? There are always at least two people involved for deployment of both the client and server application? One of them is me.

Then there are situations where certain sub-system running on a different servers decides to break down or stop running. And those sub-systems are critical to the function of our system. The vendors responsible for those sub-systems don’t seem to be providing a very good support and actually asked us to fix their issues. So even more time spent there. I’m definitely not happy with it. My colleague, well… even more unhappy since she is taking the brunt of it.

And do you know that that in that forty man-hour, I could have completed two medium-sized features or one big, difficult feature? I could also have refactored many of my codes and fix silent bugs (these are codes found during reading that could potentially break in a certain scenarios). Or I could have created a simple user journey with storyboards and then implement that in code.

The company is like trying to do devops but is just not practical given our existing strengths and weaknesses as well as project requirements. There are still tons of features not implemented.

I definitely feel that the company is just chugging along, still thinking they are the best in the world. It’s a system integrator trying to be a product/solution house but doing a poor job at both. It’s not a good place to be in.

But still, I try to make the best of it because I don’t want to go to work every day and torture myself. I have not really decided to join another company because I believe that it is the same everywhere else. I just don’t think that there is a truly great tech company in Singapore that does things RIGHT and INSPIRING. Hell, I don’t even believe in my company’s motto, vision, and values. What I have seen and experienced have pretty much destroyed those beliefs.

Daily Log #94

I just realized today I made a mistake.

I spent some time this morning to calculate my expenditure on my main credit card as well as how much I have paid off. It turns out, I topped up additional $236 because I didn’t bother to calculate how much I owe when I made a $800 repayment the day after my facial treatment.

If it was a normal expenditure, it would have been fine but as you know, I went for a acne scar treatment that cost me $7,400 and had to pay that off using a 0% interest free installment plan with my primary credit card. With that additional $236 I put into the card’s account means that I have made a prepayment of the installment plan. And the bank’s term was that if there is any prepayment of any amount for installment plan, they may charge me an administrative fee of $150.

Sigh…

It’s really my fault and I doubt I can get it waive off. So I will wait and see what the bank do when they send me the monthly statement later this week. This is the time when they consolidate all the transactions I made and determine how much I owe.

That aside, I decided to go ahead and buy two more games for my Xbox One. The first is Gears of War 4 and the other was Mass Effect: Andromeda. Both of them were on sale and I thought why not.

I have also installed Halo Wars 2 on the console and imported all the saved data. Previously I was playing that game on my Windows gaming pc. As the days goes by and I spent more time on the console, the urge to get rid of that pc grows stronger.

Reasons are simple. Gaming console has a easier maintenance and faster startup. I can just jump on and game without thinking much. PC need a longer boot up time and is much slower overall…you know with all the Windows update and stuff. Anyway, games these days looks nearly indistinguishable comparing the PC and consoles, especially if it is mastered for Xbox One X. There are also more compelling titles on the consoles than the PC these days. By that I mean, there just ain’t much exclusive games on the PC with a very strong story, characters and good gameplay. Most are multi platform. So I stop seeing any good reason to keep the desktop.

And for general purpose computing, I have my MacBook Pro and iPad. Even my phone can do things my PC can do.

So maybe by the end of the year, I would get rid of the pc…

That’s all for today.

Daily Log #91

Over the last week, I managed to finish Halo CE Anniversary, Halo 2 and Halo 3: ODST while a quarter or possibly midway through Halo 3 campaign. Thus far, I have really enjoyed myself and continue to love the fictional universe of the franchise. However, I also know that I hadn’t gone as far as digging out every aspect, design decision, throwing out theories, etc. about the franchise like most hardcore fans do.

With that aside, work today was quite uninspiring because I had to work on something that was supposed to be done months ago. I didn’t finish it because I got very overwhelmed by the constant need to prepare for demos, go on site to do deployments, and that I was uninspired to work with codes written in a style and manner I don’t agree with. Even after so long, I still feel bored by the work.

Making things worse was that I didn’t have enough sleep the night before and was super sleepy throughout the day. Since my body don’t do well with caffeine these days, I had to force myself through it.

As the day went by, it became clear to me that I wasn’t doing very well with the design of the functionalities required based on how haphazardly I wrote my codes and skipping the use of local database to call the external API instead. Even my colleague commented that she wasn’t expecting me to drop the quality of my work by doing that. I shrugged.

Anyway, recently I have been thinking about scaling back my career to focus on doing the only thing I enjoy doing. That is to write codes to create stuff for people, nothing more, nothing less. From where I’m sitting, being an intermediate software engineer in a big company means that I have a lot more responsibilities. Those responsibilities are distracting and overloading me from the things I do enjoy. And it will only become worse as I go further along.

But there is also the question of salary: would I still be able to get the same kind of pay I’m getting now and if not, how comfortable am I to get a pay cut?

I’m just not sure if I have an answer yet…maybe I’m really looking for certainty that I won’t regret it before committing to any decision.