Personal

Life since last post

I haven’t been very active lately mostly due to an incurable desease called laziness :) . I know I shouldn’t be making excuses, but I do have a few other reasons. I am happy to say that I now am a proud father to a super cute 3-month-old boy. His name is Adrian and I look forward to teaching him some mad programming skills.

Yep, it all happened rather quickly. When I stopped posting in late 2010, my girlfriend and I were planning our wedding. After the wedding she immediately got pregnant. I swear I didn’t do it on purpose ;) . Since then, life have been pretty hectic for me as I had to stop being a baby and grow up was preparing to be a father. In the mid of all that, I got promoted to lead the mobile and devices team at msnbc.com. Apparently if you are good enough to be a father, you are also good enough to tell other people what to do ;) .

So during the last 18 months, I learned a lot about designing for touch devices. We started using ASP.NET MVC for our new publishing platform at work, so I got to learn a lot of C# as well. In early 2011 with a friend and my wife, we built a prototype for our own web startup. It was a recommendation engine for people who enjoy good food. Although we never finished the project, I have grown a lot as a developer.

So, that’s pretty much it. As things are coming back to normal, I will try to stay more active. I will even try to write some tutorials again.

Not impressed by the acclaimed Cirque Du Soleil in Seattle

Please excuse my ignorance because I have never heard of this group before we saw their tent on our way home with my better half, Rali. She later did some research online and bought two tickets for the premier show. I almost had a heart attack after she told me how much it cost to place us close to the front stage. My savings for an ipad is gone. I have been chipping in every week in hope to save enough money to buy an iPad before Christmas and now it is all gone. Just like that. Gone. Ok, maybe I am dramatizing a little bit here :) .

Rali has not been to a circus since she was a little kid and I have only been to a few in the US. We came through the main gate to a covered area with a few shops for souvenirs and snacks and was told to go to door number 4 of the main tent to find our seats. The main tent is a half circle with a relatively small stage in the middle. I was not really impressed by the setting until the music came on. Darn it, the surround sound system was good. The lights were good, too. There are a few interesting parts of the show like beautiful gymnastics and some extreme in-air actions but the big part of the show is a bit slow in my opinion. Rali loves it, but I think I have seen better.

If you happen to be around the Seattle area, you should definitely give it a shot. It is almost worth the money. You can also check their website to see where they are heading next.

Here is a bit about the show from the site:

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a major Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has more than 4,000 employees from over 40 different countries, including 1,000 artists.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to almost 90 million spectators in over 200 cities on five continents. In 2009, Cirque du Soleil will present 20 shows simultaneously throughout the world. The company has received such prestigious awards as the Emmy, Drama Desk, Bambi, ACE, Gémeaux, Félix, and Rose d’Or de Montreux. Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.

Cirque du Soleil’s mission is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world.

Have you ever tried to get a refund from Amazon.com?

I ordered a treadmill from Amazon on 11.29.09. It was delivered on 12.9.09, and a week after the delivery I moved to a new place. That’s when I assembled the treadmill and realized it was not working. The display was OK, the timer was counting down, but the belt was not moving. So here’s what I’ve been doing the last couple of months.

Continue reading »

Offline for a few weeks

I just got a couple of freelance projects, so I am offline for the next few weeks, maybe couple of months.

Also, just to keep things interesting, I managed to install my first super ultra cool lame app on my iphone :) . So what’s the next step? Well I plan to create the next Google :P

Friday at msnbc.com

Friday at msnbc.com

Thanks, Evann :)

Porfolio section is up, finally…

I have been debating with myself for the last few months over how to design the portfolio section for this site. I started playing with some concepts in late 2007 using flash as the base technology. Out of all the ideas, I chose and refined one in early 2008. Here is a mock-up of the concept.

Mock-up of portfolio in flash
Click on image to see full size.

I also created a mock-up of how different control panels might look like and behave. Note that the orange dotted lines are there to show what section is currently highlighted in the mock-up. They are not presented in the final look.

Mock-up of the interface in flash
Click on image to see full size.

It was excited about this project at that time because I had just moved to as3 and wanted to find a project to sharpen my skills. I wrote most of the core functionality for this project in about 20 hours spreading over a few weeks. But then I moved to Seattle and never finished the project.

Now that I finally have time to think about this again, I decided to go with a different approach using html as the base technology instead of flash. I made that call because html is still a better option when it comes to search engines. It is also much easier to create and maintain a new section with the CMS I am using. A similar system in flash would take much longer to implement. So, here is the result. It took me about 3 hours to put together =)

My Social Network Idea

I was working hard on the portfolio section for this Web site. I spent a lot of time trying to write it in AS3.0 using good OOP practices, so later I can just attach a simple PHP/mySQL backend and make it a content management system for my projects. I was close to finishing it, but then I realized that what I did would only benefit myself and nobody else.

While working on the portfolio site, I wrote a little nifty piece of code that can be used to put a slideshow together in no time. I am planning on releasing that, so you can download and use it. But I still didn’t feel like the project worth the efforts.

Few months ago, a friend of mine started a social network that is a copy of facebook but for Vietnam, you can view it here. He invited me to be a part of it, but we couldn’t come to an agreement as of what would be my responsibilities in his company. I dropped out of the project. At that time I had a few ideas for a social network of my own and was studying the tools necessary to do that.

After talking to a few close friends, I decided to start a social network on my own. My idea is to have a social network that target media professionals. As the industry is going through a major transition from print to digital, many professionals are left behind. This site should help them learn the new tools necessary to work with the web. It will also be a place where people can post their works and get feedbacks from other people in the community. There are many other features that I am still working on, but ultimately, the site will be a place where everybody can come and share their thoughts, collaborate on different projects and learn from each other.

Let me know what you think.

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