Super Size Who/What?

Tonight Channel 10 (http://www.ten.com.au) in Australia aired the documentary Super Size Me (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Size_Me) .

The documentary raises in my view, one important issue.

Know what you are eating.

Know the effects to your body by eating what you are eating.

Is it really healthy? Do some research into the ingredients in your food. The web, and your doctor are good source of information.

Also, keep in mind how much exercise you are getting on a day to day basis.

Exercise could be anything from walks (walking the dog, walking along the beach), running, jogging or even swimming. Exercise is important to our health, and our health can effect our state of mind. Too much junk food can make you feel drowsy easily.

Eat healthy, live healthy, be healthy.

I don’t think it’s just McDonalds that can be “fatty”, it’s all fast (processed) food. And fast isn’t always a good thing. Be aware of what exactly is in your food.

And even some food in other restuarants can be bad too. Things like MSG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate),which is added to food in a lot of Asian restaurants is pretty bad for you too.

In many ways, some of the issues I’m seeing in Super Size Me remind me of what Jamie Oliver addressed in his TV series titled “School Dinners” (http://www.jamieoliver.com/schooldinners).

I’m aware that some peoples’ reasons for eating fast food is due to not having enough time. Or just feeling too lazy to cook.

And I understand that, we all live quite busy lives these days. We all know that oft used quote “time is money”.

But if time is money, then what if the time available to you was reduced? Eating more than your fair share of fast food can lead to illnesses that reduce the amount of time you have available to you.

If you are spending time in hospital, or at the doctors to get an illness treated, then that means you’ve got less time to make money right? Even if you are just sick, but not sick enough to goto the doctors, you’re still not operating at 100% capacity, are you?

If we aren’t operating at 100% capacity, then we’re really not doing justice to ourself.

It really gives credence to the old saying of “you are what you eat”.

Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games

Yesterday night I went to the MCG with my brother (who was a Games Volunteer) and we watched the Commonwealth Games. I can say now that it was perhaps better being there than actually watching it on tv. Actually, it was a different perspective.

Australia on top of the world

I’ve uploaded two Photo sets from the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games onto Flickr.

Here’s the photos from the Closing Ceremony.

Some fireworks lighting up the MCG

Games Volunteers

It was a fairly interesting night to say the least. The fireworks were as loud as ever lighting up the entire MCG, and then covering much of the crowd and the MCG with smoke.

And also, the Mens Triathlon held on the previous Saturday.

Simon Thomson (8) from Melbourne

All shots were taken with my Nikon Coolpix 4500. Shots were taken using (P) Programmed Manual, (S) Shutter Priority and (A) Aperture Priority modes (and some shots had exposure compensation turned on).

A bit of thinking

Speaking of aus-dotnetters, I’m continually reminded how great that community is.

User Groups have been important to me as a learning source over the (almost) 2 years I’ve been in this industry. The aus-dotnet list is always a valuable resource, no matter how many OT (Off-Topic) posts get “generated” when one approaches on the fifth day of the working week (er, that be Friday :P).

But damn, even the OT threads are an interesting read at the best of times (when I have time to read them). Some responses do make you go “hmmm… interesting”.

I think one of the more interesting things have been blogs. Blogs started getting popular last year as I was starting my after graduation, working life. And is continually getting more popular. (By blogs, i’m referring to dev blogs). I’ve learnt a lot from blogs. A continue to do so quite often.

I have an idea. I wonder what sort of software would be created if all the great minds of the aus-dotnet list were to be employed at the same company developing software together. Imagine the internal discussion lists!

Another interesting idea would to put Mitch and Bill in cubicles next to each other 😛 — Ok, maybe that’s going a bit far.

Honestly though, all those resources coupled with the ability to use a search engine “efficiently” has helped me along the way. It’s not easy being a one man development team with no one else to turn to, to bounce questions off straight out of uni. I guess you could say I was thrown into the deap end and am swimming on my own at times. And then reading the instruction manual to help keep afloat while i’m semi-floating.

(I think I may have mentioned some of these things before…)

The power of having the community there, some of whom are likely to have some experience in areas you are looking into is very beneficial. Take today for example. I was looking around the web for Australian based SMS Gateways which allow for 2 way SMS and an API of some sort that I could make use of. Basically, it’s to extend the existing alerts/notification system we’ve got at work. (We’re still using pagers. )

The thing with SMS messages is, is that everyone has a mobile these days (well, almost everyone). So it’s quite a viable alternative (well, for the company I work for anyway, rather than going for the everyone has to have a Pocket PC phone etc…).

Anyway, Stuart Kinnear recommended MessageNet which seems to be able to do the job. It’s got a Web Service interface. So it should be fairly easy to integrate into what we’ve already got, and replace the pagers.

Ajax talk at VDNUG

I’m presenting this month at the newly formed Victoria .NET User Group (that’s MDNUG+AusDev+Victoria.NET Cluster).
http://www.victoriadotnet.com.au/index.aspx?link_id=84.459

My talk is on Ajax and apart from the general Ajax stuff, i’ll be talking about how to make use of it in ASP.NET applications.

This will be my first presentation at the user group and my first proper presentation since I graduated from uni (end of 2003).

It’ll be on the 21st of September at the Microsoft Melbourne Como Office. And looks like i’ll be the “first on stage”. Or so says the website.

At this point in time, my focus will most likely be around the most “mature” Ajax library available for ASP.NET apps, which is Ajax.NET.
Unsure how much detail I’ll go into. We’ll just have to wait and see on that.

I remember Chris Garty last year before he left was encouraging me to pick a topic and volunteer to give a presentation on the topic. Well Chris, i’m finally going to give my first presentation at the UG. I’ve learnt a lot from the user group, and I guess it’s my turn to give something back to the UG community.

Well the idea for this presentation came about when I was talking with Matt and Elaine about Ajax (after the Sharepoint User Group meeting) and whether they’d done anything using it. Both said no, and wanted to know more about it, so I said I’d see if I can do a presentation for September on it.

Looking forward to giving this presentation to see how I go. I’m sure i’ll be fine. Already have a fairly good idea what I want to talk about. Just need to put all that into a powerpoint deck of some sort. Think i’ll keep the slides to a minimum with brief points that i’ll elaborate on as I go along and planning to have a few demos. (Haven’t decided how many demos i’ll do).

Goodbye, farewell mate!

Was just counting the dates on the calendar an hour or so ago and realised something.

It’s been almost 49 days since my friend Sam Ly passed away in London.

Why have I mentioned 49 days, and why is it so significant?

The traditional Buddhist funeral ceremony goes on for an entire 7 weeks. That’s 7 days a week, for 7 weeks. Which equals 49 days.

The best description I’ve found of it on the web is the following quote:

This Buddhist custom is based on the idea that a person enters his next rebirth after a period of seven times seven (49) days.
… But the custom itself was adopted from general Buddhism in order that the 7th day rites may become an occasion to cherish the memory of the deceased and also be an opportunity to hear the Dharma and awaken to the compassion of Amida Buddha.

And…

In the days and weeks following the death especially for the first 49 days one can help the dead person’s mind/spirit by avoiding harming others, generating love and compassion, doing kind actions, making charity and specific prayers and practices that their spiritual teachers recommend and dedicating this positive energy to the mind/spirit of the deceased, wishing only peace and happiness for them and rebirth in the presence of their God or Buddha.

Buddhists believe that a happy, positive, peaceful mind creates a life of good deeds and morality, which produces a happy, fortunate rebirth. Bereaved Buddhists want the deceased to achieve this and will continue to do prayers and rituals for 49 days (the end of the Intermediate State when Rebirth takes place).

Every single religion on this planet has different beliefs for life (if any) after death. The above is a brief illustration of mine.

It is quite different to many other religions. Those of different beliefs may find it strange, but interesting. Our world is a very multicultural one, and the best way of living with each other in a meaningful way is to understand each others’ various beliefs and to respect them, as they should respect yours.

Sam, all the best in your next life mate.

Take care, you’ll always be in my thoughts, and have been since I first found out what happened to you.

It’s never easy losing a friend. But life and death is a part of our everyday lives.
The past 7 weeks have been a time of much reflections on many things from life in general, to memories of all of my time during uni. (I’m also aware that my blogging has somewhat dropped off of late, this is only part of the reason for it though things are starting to pick up again. Work has been quite busy to say the least…).

We all move on after a tradgedy, and we do learn to live with it. We remember all the happy memories associated with that individual, and wish them all the best in their next journey of life.

Self Reflections and taking chances

On the drive back home from the MDNUG meeting, I heard a song on the radio (as I often do) and somehow I just connected with certain parts of the song…

Here is the part that I remember quite clearly:

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes til’ I touch the sky
I’ll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change

[Song: Breakaway, sung by Kelly Clarkson (American Idol winner!)]

It really got me thinking about things, about things that are going around me. I thought I should take a chance and do something diffrent, in that process i’ll be learning something new, a new experience, something diffrent.

It can be applied to several things that are circling inside my mind these days. But i’ll just put it into context of something from today.

I think I should take a chance, and not worry too much about performing/giving a speech in front of an audience. [Chris suggested that I should consider giving a talk to MDNUG if there is a topic that I think is important, but has not yet been covered by anybody.] Chris gives a good point (and then interpreted in my own way): users make up a user group, so users should help with topic suggestions as to what they want to hear. And if they know a lot about that topic, perhaps they should share their knowledge with fellow user group attendees.

Sharing of knowledge helps builds a stronger community, it also builds up a local support network (as the aus-dotnet list has become).

Quite often lately I have been a bit not really wanting to speak up too much and just keep to myself. Though just last year and the years before that while I was still at Uni. There was no concern about speaking up during lectures when I knew the answer to something, there was also always the constant muttering of the answer under my breath that only those friends sitting closeby could hear.

Much has changed, including some of my attitude since leaving uni, matured a bit too I suppose. And being by yourself most of the day at work, you do crawl back into your shell a bit. Whereas during university, I was always surrounded by friends, and involved myself in many many differing on campus activities.

On Sunday, while attending a friends’ 21st one friend commented about how they recalled during first year I went down the flight of stairs in the lecture theatre to go help out the lecturer to get the PC and projector to work. (Don’t ask, it was a spur of the moment type of thing). [You’re probably thinking, teachers’ pet or something hey?]

I wasn’t always like that though, i’m certain that during highschool there was a bit of that, but not to that extent. I almost always shyed away from excessively volunteering myself or at all during highschool.

Once I stepped into Uni, I seem to recall telling myself that I should take those opportunities that come my way and see how things go. As the song says “take a chance, make a change”. I definately did that during my time at uni. Looking back, those were great times that I had during uni, so I think there comes a time, and opportunity arises, I should once again, “take a chance, make a change” and learn during that process.

I know from what I did during uni, it may well be a struggle at first, but with practice and dedication things generally turn out quite well when I am willing to “take a chance”.

I seem to start writing a lot when it is in regards to topics that I am I quite passionate about. No, shorter entries definately do not mean i’m just posting for the sake of posting, that’s another issue though.

There are a lot of topics which i’m very passionate about for various reasons. Topics include (but not limited to): China, Chinese, Blogs, Blogging, New IT Technologies (I know it is a very broad area, but so is my interest level in new IT technologies, not just programming ones), MDNUG, My Work, aus-dotnet mailing list, Passionate individuals, my family, my heritage, and the list definately does expand beyond that.

I think that if you are not passionate about something, it is quite hard to do much with that particular something.

I’ll post my summary of the MDNUG meeting for this month, and last month, hopefully soon.

Wow, and there goes 21…

I guess it’s time I did a more personal type of blog entry on here. Hey, why not? It’s my blog, so I decide on the content, right? 🙂

So, I just turned 22 today. I can wave goodbye to the year that has gone by since June 21st of last year. Much has happened, many new experiences.

1) I graduated from my course.
2) I have gotten my first job after graduation.
3) I have met many many great people through regular attendance at the local user group (MDNUG), as well as developer events organised by Microsoft Australia. Also other places too 🙂
4) I got my first laptop. Yes, very important 🙂
5) I got a broadband internet connection at home (OptusNet Cable) in fact. Also very important 🙂
6) Learnt a lot. That’s not just things learnt through my course, but other topics too.

Ok, there is a longer list, but I’ll probably keep the rest to myself somewhere for now. But yes, many things happen over the course of a year.

Yes, I do seem to like my smilies 🙂