It’s the time of year where I apply kaizen: To stop, reflect, and continuously improve.
I’m scared of the future. It seemed so uncertain and scary out there. Meanwhile, my days in university is numbered. I couldn’t start it with positivism and optimism like what I did in my 17th, where after reading it back, I laughed at myself 😃 Many things have changed but some things will not. I saw my wishes from my 18th birthday, I felt that I did fulfilled all of them already by this age: improved designing skill (check; hey, back then, my designing skill was really bad); improved public speaking (partial check; I think co-presented a presentation during international conference counts? hahaha); built personal website (check; it was a mini-resume now, with few side projects hosted on it).
What I’ve Done?
Now, for the zeitgeist on what I’ve done since my last birthday.
Firstly, this blog had moved to a new home, like finally. I’ve been planning to move it to a new home, under “kenrick95.org” subdomain, but never realized it until this year. By the ay, I also enabled SSL on this blog, for real, using Let’s Encrypt (and not using Cloudflare’s one). Though not officially supported by Hostinger, I found a way to do so, and the blog post seemed to attract lots of people.
I also did my first freelance work. Connected from my first internship company, my internship supervisor’s wife had an idea to start a company that sources projects and would like to engage me as a freelance web developer. Firstly, it was about web designing for an architecture firm; after talking to the client, the client rejected my design proposal. But then, collaborating with Nicolas, my internship supervisor, we developed a CRM system suited for the client usage. It was quite hard to find a time to do that as it actually consumed a lot of my time, and as per usual, I had underestimated the time needed to develop it. I did this from January 2016 and finished it around July 2016 after several stages of development.
Talking about internship, in 2015, I was very optimistic that I can get an internship oversea; and yet I failed. The furthest I got to was a series of two interviews by Mozilla. I screwed up the first one cause I was too nervous but the second one went really well (since I thought that I have failed anyway, so I got no more burden). The first interview was screwed as my mind was unclear and stressed and during the coding period, I was blank half the time, and I especially love the 2nd interview, where the conversation went two-ways, which the interviewer kept hinting till I got the answer, and in the end, I successfully answered all of them.
Realizing that my dream to oversea internship failed, I started to look for internship in Singapore. I applied through NTU career fair, and I was offered a position at Titansoft. Overall, tt was great, now I have experienced to play with Xamarin: Design, develop, and deploy to Android and iOS. Too bad, the company still run on Windows 7; if not, I could ask them to publish one to Windows Store. The people there was really nice to each other, and after a while switching teams for lunch, I finally stuck with the UX/Editors/ED team for lunches. The people there was also supportive of me going to Wikimania, on the condition that I presented my experience back to them after I came back, and I did, twice: once to the Singapore office, and the other one is remotely to the Taiwan office. Besides Xamarin, which is technical knowledge, I think that I gained a lot of other human-related skills here, like QBQ, “yes, and…”, and kaizen. QBQ is basically redefining your problem such that the problem can be taken action on, and if the problem cannot be taken action on, then rewrite it till it can be taken action on. This will firstly reduce stress of not being capable to do anything given a problem. And, like the saying, a good problem statement is already half-solved. “yes, and…” is an idea that, if you agree and build upon other people’s idea, the creativity process will go on and it will be a creative one, and both ways, people will feel more appreciated since their ideas were heard and built upon, not killed. kaizen, is the concept of continuously improving, like their slogan “never stop improving”; but the first step of kaizen is to stop, and to reflect. This reflection is meant to identify what have worked and what can be improved upon.
In November 2015, I supported Wikipedia Asian Month for the technical side. After that, the wrap-up process took much longer that initially planned, and I think we could learn much from this lesson. In 2016, I was sent a lot of postcards from all over the world: Thailand, Philippines, China, Japan, India, Ukraine.
Since my last birthday, I have traveled to:
- Phuket, Thailand
- November 2015: for ICPC Regional contest; very epic, since few days after the contest, it was exam.
- Johor Bahru, Malaysia
- October 2015: for NTUBS Fellowship recce, visited Nalanda Buddhist Centre, had all-you-can-eat dinner
- Medan, 3x
- December 2015-January 2016: around 3 weeks, for holiday; but mostly spent at home. Went to Brastagi, and climbed Sibayak Mountain.
- Februrary 2016: For Chinese new year
- August 2016: For a week, decided to come back after I felt sick in July and my dad accompanied me virtually. Played games, set up my Pine64, progressed my FYP
- February 2016: For attending Wikimedia Indonesia’s talk. I was flown to Jakarta to participate on a talk by John Vandenberg & Andy Mabbett regarding Pywikibot and Wikidata, held at WMID’s office at Jakarta. Not that exciting, but I knew a little tips and tricks. And I got to meet the idwiki admins for the first time.
- Esino Lario, Italy
- June 2016: For attending Wikimania 2016 international conference. I actually didn’t like the talks in this year’s Wikimania, but I like the overall program flow, venue, and volunteers. I found the concept of venue rotation for lunches and dinners were really nice as we met different kinds of people every time.
I participated in two more hackathons: IEEE-NTU Intuition (we created multiplayer minesweeper), and Facebook Singapore Hackathon (we created multiplayer Pac-Man). And the latter won the 2nd place.
By the way, I “departed” from CP: I left NTU training on ICPC. The reason is that I felt that I have not improved since the first time I came into the trainings, and since I was getting more and more busy, I felt that it’s best to depart and focus on other things.
I created few more open-source stuff: clock, chatbot, fortune wheel, idwiki admin dashboard, project revealing to the world what language I last used, flower of life, and other stuffs (you can check it on my GitHub). Most of them has no value, but just fun to build.
I started my FYP. Ah, I’ll talk about this on other occasion. It will be long. Ah actually I could about my FYP topic on English Wikipedia, since the subject matter didn’t exist yet and it has a lot of research citations to back the topic up. Trivia, I have never started an article on English Wikipedia. Most of the time, I was just translating it to Indonesian version.
Review of Hopes
So, these are the hopes from the last birthday:
- Maintain body and mind.
- Partially achieved
- I meditated daily for a month since my last birthday, but later I stopped due to me having a lot of projects and sleep-deprived a lot.
- I started swimming again during the 1st semester of my 3rd year, and it stopped when there were frequent rains during the weekends. Meanwhile on the 2nd semester, I think I only swam once or twice, since at a lot of weekends, it was either me being lazy or it was raining.
- Strict on schedule was quite achieved during my 3rd year. I regularly sleep at 12 am and wake up at 8 am.
- Contributions to open source projects.
- Not much contribution to OSS projects: I’ve sent few pull requests on big projects regarding fixes on their documentation. (e.g. I opened a few issues and sent few pull requests to Microsoft’s BotBuilder project)
- There are more projects that I created in my free time but it was just a fun project and not quite useful.
- ntulearn-dl was one project that I forked and fixed some bugs and it was really useful for me.
- Do charity, at least by donation to causes that needed it.
- Probably too much to Humble Bundle :P
- To WWF, a tree after The Haze
- To tissue uncle, probably now I have too much tissue paper.
- Frequently update blog on life events, thoughts, etc.
- The trend has been a monthly update, no?
- I published a tutorial on how to enable SSL on Hostinger sites and from the traffic, it was quite good.
- I also had a theory that I would like to continue writing on, but currently is still in draft and need more citations and research before publishing it out.
What I would like to achieve in this 21st year of my life? Besides graduating from NTU, to be frank, I don’t know what I want, cause my future is really uncertain to this point. Hence, probably by the end of next birthday, I only can hope that I have assessed my future life plans.
How’s my day?
8 October 2016 was not great. This day, I was quite determined to complete my FYP by the end of the day. So, I spent a lot of time in my room, staring at my laptop screen and writing report, and yeah, at around 7 pm, I sent my 90%-complete draft to my FYP de facto supervisor. But as one might have known, I can’t focus all the time writing report, so I also spent time to watch YouTube videos, walking in a circle at my hall’s rooftop area contemplating about life :P (recently I found it nice), had lunch at Canteen 11, had dinner at Canteen 11, contemplated about life (again), and strangely walked down to Giant and purchased ice cream.
9 October 2016 was better. I woke up quite late, and had a quick breakfast before walking down to hair shop near Nanyang Community Center (it was actually quite far to walk there, it took around 3000 steps). The haircut was nice, it was short. After that, I went to have early lunch at KFC, and ended it with a Fro-Yo. I think the Fro-Yo really boosted my mood. I walked back to my room, and did my laundry; and then started binge-watching YouTube videos, had a nap, and then finally continued writing my FYP report to the point that it was complete from my viewpoint. I then emailed it to my FYP supervisor, and arranged a meeting with him on Monday for comments on my report. I think that there will be a lot of errors inside, and I needed some rest, for now. There was a time where my CZ4032 project had an urgent matter and after a while, I finished the task. Then I felt really idle, and picked up my tutorial notebook and started to do tutorial for CZ4073. Finishing it, I started to watch YouTube videos again. It was the time when my friends came down to my room and celebrated my birthday with me. Thank you Dian, Peter, HW, Jeff, Winnie, Robert, Mellita, Sherly, Handoko, Zillion, Stefan, Aristo, Teheri (and others who can’t come); for the celebration and for the ice cream.