Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Encounters with the Cube

Look at what I've come across Toys R Us in Robinson's Galleria! It's a Rubik's Revenge!

My Unopened Rubik's Revenge

I originally intended to buy a new Rubik's Cube, so I can get back on track with my speedcubing and show my officemates how fast I can go (I miss my sub-30s days *sniff*). But since the number of Rubik's Revenge cubes available here in the Philippines is pretty limited, I unquestionably bought one (worth ~$10) and decided to raise my cube addiction a level further. This will do, this will be worth it.

It will be a fresh start because this is the first time for me to get a hold of a Rubik's Revenge. It'll take time before I could tame this thing. I just bought it this lunchtime, opened it this afternoon and solved it (without any references or guides, just logic and previous knowledge) this evening. Yes, it took quite some time. *evil grin*

The power is mine!

I conquered the Rubik's Revenge within a day, but I couldn't tame it yet. But still, a solved cube is still a solved cube! Now that I got that hang of it, it's time to learn more methods. For now, I'm aiming for a sub-2m, head on!

But that's it for now! This post merely relieved me of my excitement on having a Rubik's Revenge. :P

Tuesday, August 7, 2007



Last week, I decided to open my very first personal savings bank account. The bank required me to submit three legal identification cards, a tax declaration certificate and a couple of photos. I had the last two requirements in hand. Unfortunately, I only had one identification card available--my office ID. I had my school ID with me too, but they don't accept it so it won't count. Too bad. But even if it did, I'd still need one more.

So here goes my issue:

Acquire two legal identification cards

Issue Type: Task
Reporter: Napoleon Esmundo C. Ramirez
Assigned To: Napoleon Esmundo C. Ramirez
Priority: Minor

Apply for a driver's license or a passport. You'll need your birth certificate for that.

Ok, I'm good with that. At last, I can drive my brother's car once I get a hold of my driver's license! Yay!

On the way to the LTO (Land Transportation Office), I realized that government offices are closed on weekends. Silly me. So off to the DFA's (Department of Foreign Affairs) passporting service I went instead. At least they were open that Saturday, but I had to wait in a very loooooong queue. I tried to play music in my head to kill time, but five grueling hours of waiting felt like half of my lifetime washing away. Geez, even when it was my turn, it took a long while before the clerk could actually attend to my business.

What a bother.

Bad luck struck even harder when the clerk lazily told me, "You'll have to return next time. Your birth certificate is not good enough for filing, I can't read some parts of it. Besides, we're nearing our closing time. Sorry."


All those five hours wasted. It nearly drove me insane just sitting in one place waiting for the clerk to call my name, and he just ditched me like that? So I asked, "How can I fix this? I know I used this same birth certificate before, and it was considered valid that time." But he replied, "What more can I do? If I can't read it, I can't file it. Just get another one from the NSO (National Statistics Office)."

Daaang. Ok, I got his point. Five minutes. That's all he needed to drive away someone who waited for five hours.

I let the day pass. I was so mad, I had to sleep early and skip weekend tv.

DFA clerk updated BNKACCT-1:

Shoo! Go get a valid birth certificate from NSO.

Priority: Major (was: Minor)

>Acquire two legal identification cards
> Key: BNKACCT-1
> URL:
> Issue Type: Task
> Reporter: Napoleon Esmundo C. Ramirez
> Assigned To: Napoleon Esmundo C. Ramirez
> Priority: Major
>Apply for a driver's license or a passport. You'll need your birth certificate for that.

Later in the middle of the week, I phoned the NSO to ask them how to acquire a clear copy of my birth certificate. Then I narrated how my birth certificate got rejected at the time I was applying for a passport. They told me that the copy available in their files was the only copy they had. And it wasn't in their authority to ask for any other copy from where my birth certificate originated--the town hall of my hometown in Pampanga. In order to update NSO's copy of my birth certificate, I must personally go to Pampanga and ask for one.

Geez, this is gonna be troublesome.

NSO clerk updated BNKACCT-1:

You should go to your hometown and ask for your authentic birth certificate at the town hall.

Priority: Critical (was: Major)

>Acquire two legal identification cards
> Key: BNKACCT-1
> URL:
> Issue Type: Task
> Reporter: Napoleon Esmundo C. Ramirez
> Assigned To: Napoleon Esmundo C. Ramirez
> Priority: Critical
>Apply for a driver's license or a passport. You'll need your birth certificate for that.

Seeing how things are at the moment, looks like I'm going into so much trouble just to open a bank account. LTO and DFA requires a NSO-certified copy of my birth certificate. However, NSO's copy doesn't seem valid so I have to update it with a new one. As for the new one, I have yet to acquire one from Pampanga.

Now, if I recall clearly, I lived my first 12 years there. After then I stayed in Laguna for the next 10 years or so. If nothing much changed since I left Pampanga, like the the town hall relocating or something unfortunate, then I have the chance to grab an authentic copy of my birth certificate. Otherwise, consider NSO's copy void and that leaves me without a birth certificate.

So my question now is, does that make me ILLEGALLY alive?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Deal with Design Patterns


I got acquainted with software design patterns when I was in my first senior year in college (first of my two senior years, I had two because I was delayed by a year). It was introduced to me by my brother Nikki and his pal Celsus because I kept on bugging them on how to design good software. It was the term when I had to do my Special Problem (an equivalent to the thesis). Back then, I was too naive to think that having a breadth of knowledge on the patterns was sufficient to get me going on my framework project. Hell, I even memorized the patterns in the GoF book. However, that idea has driven me to a dead-end rather than a quick start because I was never aware that I neglected the base principles from which the patterns were derived.

I was more of complicating the problem than solving it.

My mistake was to NOT analyze the problem based on the principles of object oriented design. I just thought of: use-this-pattern-for-this-problem-because-the-book-says-so. Six different patterns for two dwarf-sized modules to show-off was a bad idea. I had to redo everything in the end, keeping it simple as I go and using only the necessary patterns. Using patterns in the wrong context is indeed a fallacy. It took me a while of bashing to realize that. Yeah, a common mistake among novices. I guess most of us experience that once in our software design life, huh?

That's one reason why I'd never go trolling on mailing list saying, "Hey bud, you got that wrong. Don't use that without even knowing how and why it works." Another reason is I'm too lazy to discuss it, so I'd go "Better RFTM the way I did it" at them. Haha! Though it's another story when seasoned developers play the stubborn i-know-better-than-you arrogance on misused designs.

Just recently, I had a talk with this schoolmate of mine who keeps on pushing JUST the principles. He didn't like how complex the design buzzwords were so he said that the principles alone could get him up to level among the seasoned software architects.

Good enough, but not good for long.

My take on this is he'll reach the patterns while refactoring, eventually. But knowing and applying the patterns will speed the development much faster and avoid drastic refactoring. Besides, that's what the patterns are there for--it serves as a reference to problems identified and solved before. It also provides a common vocabulary among designers. So when we discuss designs, we are sure to be on the same line of thought. It will give us some advanced level of abstraction that will ease the way we understand systems. Never before has software designing been this unburdening. I hope he gets what I mean. It's just time we take advantage of knowing more.

What's your thought on this?

By the way, nothing offensive meant in the entirety of this entry.
Flame suit on, nevertheless.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


In my routine of checking mail and feeds this morning, I chanced upon a video of Utada Hikaru's ぼくわくま (Boku wa Kuma, or I'm a Bear in English). I can't take it off my head so I felt like blogging about it.

Online Videos by

The video begins with Kuma falling off the bed, and that woke him up.
Shhh, I fall off the bed often too.

He does his activies indoor, so I suppose he's a homebody or he's not allowed to get out.
Like I was in high school.

Kuma starts his day reading a book, but finds it boring so he goofs around with his toys instead.
The typical me.

Then he checks up on his plant by the window, watering it with water, then milk, then juice. The plant grew right away so it pretty much surprised him.
With a plant growing that quick, who wouldn't? Maybe it's the milk.

The lyrics say that Kuma's rival was Fried Shrimp, but I don't know what that means. Maybe Kuma is allergic to shrimp? Or maybe Fried Shrimp is another character?

He plays the guitar and flies through his fantasies.
I used to play the guitar too, but I never thought of getting p4wnd by Godzilla in my fantasies!

Suddenly, a ball shattered his window and he can't seem to find who the culprit is. So he sets the ball aside, procrastinates on cleaning the window debris then decides to play silly. Kuma soon cleaned the mess at the end of the day.
Maaan, the way Kuma waited until the end of the day before doing something is so much like me!

At the end of the day, Kuma fixed his stuff and played a tune for the night before going back to bed.

Well that's all about Kuma...and me! I found many similar traits between me and Kuma. Maybe that's why I liked Kuma's video so much. I never thought I'd recall how I was years ago by watching this video.

All in all, the video was really nice and the song was easy to understand and sing along.

...was what I wanted to say, but I was thinking of:

w00t! teh bear wuz uber c00l, I had teh same b0XX0rz at $HOME and the song gave me the LSS!

Cheers! Enjoy the video!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Geekbit #1: Multiple Identities in Gmail

I never thought email addresses can have aliases too, until I used multiple identities in Mozilla Thunderbird. Today, I just started using it with Gmail.

Here's how:

Assuming that you're a registered user. Sign in, and click the 'Settings' link in the upper right part of the page (it's near the user id and the 'Sign out' link). Then click the 'Accounts' tab.

You'll have to click the 'Add another email address' link, then fill up some information and verify your email address to have something like this (I just added ****** as my other email address):

Gmail Account Settings

To use the newly added email address, just compose a message as you usually do, but you can select the source email address from the 'From' combo box now.

Gmail Multiple Identities

Managing multiple identities in a single client will spare you the trouble of loading different environments just to read mail. I hope this helps!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Twit twit!

I started to like twitter just right after Henry invited me. A bit hesitant at first, since I hate registering stuff all over, but I soon got the hang of it when I found out that some of my Pinoy pals are related to some of my friends outside the country I met at work. Small world? Nah, just connected. I didn't see that in some social networking webservice! ;)