July 29, 2006

I'm Officially Old

Yes.. I've finally turned the corner and hit another decade... I feel older but am I wiser, don't think so. (^__^) Anyway, you youngsters out there think that life comes to an end when you're done with your twenties, but I think its just a beginning. Right now, I feel I'm a bit more secure in my financial standing, my career is starting to take off and I should be quite satisfied with myself. I should be thinking more about what I can give back to society and not what I am still able to take instead.

So, what am I looking forward to my next decade? Well, not much. I'm looking forward to what I can still learn and teach... Saving up more $$$ for my old age and taking care of my health so that I can be active like my parents who are in their 60's at the moment.

So, anyone else out there who's also born on 29th July, Happy Birthday!!! I know at least two other people who share the same b'day with me, so, Happy Birthday Joshua and Alice, wherever you are... (^_____^)

I leave you guys with a parting shot from last year's b'day celebration...

Looks kind of disgusting, right?? (@_@)... We had too much pancake last year and this was one of the "b'day desserts" we had... Kekeke...

July 27, 2006

Free NetBeans WorldTour CD!!!

Fancy learning about Java and J2EE technologies? The NetBeans community along with Sun Microsystems is offering a free cd (courtesy of both Sun Microsystems and NetBeans) order at the NetBeans website!

Anyway, what's included:-
  • NetBeans IDE 5.0
  • Sun Java System Application Server 8.2 Platform Edition
Here's the link --> http://www.netbeans.org/about/cd-form.html

Enjoy.... (^_^)

July 18, 2006

My Astro Died... & Resurrected!!

There are a few things which cause my dear Mom to "panic",

1. Unexpected events such as car trouble or being late.


2. Electrical items "dying" at her hand.

Last night, I was hanging around my pc, figuring out why my downloads were a little slow, when my Mom called me to the living room,

17th July, 2006 @ 11:30pm...

Mom: Geline, come!! (yes.. My nickname at home is "Geline")
Me: Yea?
Mom: Look at the Astro, it's not responding!!
Me: Huh? What happened?
Mom: Dunno... I wanted to change the channel with the remote and then, the screen went blank. Look... Look... No more channel showing on the decoder. Is the remote spoiled?
Me: ** Looks at the decoder, pats it a little **
Me: Let me "restart" the decoder-arh..
Mom: Let me get the Astro book, it'll teach you all sorts of things... ** scurries off **
Me: o__O ** Goes to "restart" the Astro **
Mom: How-ar?
Me: Still like that-ohh.. No more indicator.. *sigh*.. Maybe burned out liao...
Mom: Aiyoooo.... Nevermind-la, I don't watch too much Astro anyway during the day.

It's true, my Mom doesn't watch too much Astro during the day. Sometimes, she will turn it on just so that she can sleep. (0_O) Don't ask me why, it's her habit.

Anyway, we had to break the news to my Dad. I think he took it pretty well but he was disappointed that he can't watch any of his golf. I think there was some LIVE telecast of some championship. If this had happened during World Cup, I'm sure he would have fallen on his knees and prayed for the Astro decoder to come back to life...

Update: 18th July, 2006 @ 6:45am
Astro is back alive.... (o____0)... Don't ask me why, but the Astro is back on and this should delight both my parents very much. (^__^)

July 14, 2006

Firefox 2.0 Beta??

I am a major fan of Firefox. I try to push people to use it, especially if they're IE users. Anyway, some of you might know that Firefox 2.0 Beta is out.

If you're interested, here's the link on the Firefox 2.0 Beta (p)review from eWeek. I'm not going to install it but AFAIK (as-far-as-i-know), not too many new features other than spell-check for forms, anti-phishing (finally!), security enhancements and some enhancements to the tab system on the browser.

BTW, for some of you geeks out there who are developing web-based stuff, it pays to know that Firefox is not Acid2 Browser compatible. :(

July 10, 2006

Toys at Work I

Photo from JRTA Caption Contest #140
"In case of Bad Day, Open Case, Remove Jack, Play."

I was thinking about what I should blog and a couple of things turned up, but I'm too lazy to get to it for now. :)
So, for fun, I was thinking about what would make the workday fun... Kekeke..

This is my first post... As you can see, a little dog is in the briefcase. Wouldn't it be fun if you could bring your dog to work?

Well, it would be great... And it would be even more fun if I could bring Snoopy to work in this way. (^_^)


Snoopy: grrrooowwwwlll.. whine whine..
Me: Shhhhh.. Wait, I'll play with you in 5 minutes time.. (^__^)"
Snoopy: woof!! woof!! (time to play! time to play!)

The office environment can be a bit stuffy. Wished that we were like some companies in the US, where we can bring our pets to work, to help us de-stress. :) Am sure Snoopy will be a big hit.

Snoopy: **super kembang**

Did Anyone Remember Wimbeldon?

With all the World Cup madness going on, a major tournament had just completed yesterday. (^_^)

If SOME people remember, Wimbeldon is on usually this time of year and it is kind of a big deal amongst sports fanatics. Anyway, since WC 2006 was drawing to a close, I caught up with Wimbeldon 2006, which was pretty good.

We saw a new champion for the Ladies,
Amélie Mauresmo, after a very good match with Justine Henin-Hardenne. The Men's final went to the world no. 1, Roger Federer ("Fedex") after a very good fight by Rafael Nadal. Both matches saw a lot of good service games but many unforced errors commited by all opponents.

The best part of tennis is that we are starting to see a new rivalry between Nadal and Federer, which is good since it has been pretty dull for a while and Nadal has built up his skills to contend for the No. 1 spot in tennis. This kid (only 20yrs old) will be a major champion some day and most likely to unseat Federer (who's 24). :)

July 06, 2006

French Fries Are Yummy!!

So, France is going to meet Italy for WC2006 final. Again... I did not manage to wake up in time to catch the match. (=__=)

Anyway, when I woke up this morning, I turned on my TV and got into the "Results" section of the Astro special menu to find out who won the match... It was... France!!! FRENCH FRIES FOR EVERYONE!!!! Zidane delivered a very nice penalty to beat Alexandre Ricardo. England, take notes! (-___-)"""

Kekeke.. I checked the stats, wow, only 2 yellow cards, one for each side. Anyway, I'll check the repeat later today after work. I'm sure both side has their fair share of dramatics, i.e. diving, play-acting --> (touch a bit, fall down, roll around in pain... think Patrick Vieira... kekeke)

Anyway, we shall see now who will win in the finals, would we have frogs legs or pizza... (^__^)

Oh yea! For the 3rd place match, we'll see if we'll have sausages or Nando's chicken again. Kekekeke..

July 05, 2006

Another Heartbreak...

My last couple of posts were a little bit serious and very geeky. ^_^

Anyway, I was working on my post this morning when I think the network blocked access to Blogger. o___0

I did not get a chance to watch the 1st semi-final between Germany vs Italy as I clearly forgot about it... *____* but also, since England and Brazil bowed out at the quarter-finals, I lost some interest in the WC. Oh well, rest assured, I WILL watch the finals whoever it will be. (PLEASE.... PLEASE.. PLEASEEEE... Let it be France lifting the cup!!)

For those of you who STILL have no news of the score, Germany lost to France at extra time (unbelievable). The scorers were,

119th minute - Fabio Grosso
120th minute - Alessandro Del Piero

I got a shock when I saw that Del Piero had scored. I was reading through the match report and found out that he had subsituted at the 104th minute. I'd guess Italy was banking on him to be included in the list for the penalty-shootout after extra-time. Anyway, if you do know your football (I know a little.. *blush*), you notice that this is Del Piero's 1st goal of the tournament. He's not known to be a goal scorer but he's been around with the Italy team for a while now.

My heart goes out to Germany and all zee Germans out there. I have to concur with a lot of people that Jens Lehmann did a phenonmenal job as the #1 goalkeeper for the German national squad. If ever someone were to fill Oliver Kahn's HUGE shoes, he would be the prime candidate.

Anyway, I wait for my 3am appointment with France and Portugal. I'm waiting to see the two giants of football clash, Zidane and Figo, both players who will retire at the end of WC2006. If Portgual goes through, they are VERY VERY VERY VERY lucky. Cristiano Ronaldo had better wear full-armour plating should he return to Old Trafford for training... (>__<)

July 04, 2006

Software Architect - Skills

Being a Software Architect isn't easy. One might say that the Software Archictect has to have bits and pieces of various roles in a Software Development Team. Why is this so? One might wonder to suggest that the Software Architect is like a Technical Project Manager in some sense. I say that is utter rubbish!

A Project Manager takes care about the timeline and resources of the project in software development. In regards to adding the "Technical" word at the front of the title does not make any difference. A Project Manager must understand the requirements of the project from the technical to resource management and that does not have anything to do with Software Architecture.

So, now since a Software Architect does something different from the Project Manager or a Technical Team Lead, the skills that the Software Architect would be different from both these roles. However, some skills from both these roles are required of the Software Architect.

So, what skills are we talking about? Well, lets have two types of skills,
  • Technical
  • Soft-Skills
Technical Skills
This is definitely very obvious, of course Software Architects need to be technical! Up to date knowledge about software architectures, design patterns and frameworks in current practice is required. Besides that the following list of skills are important as well,

Technical knowledge of programming languages
Technical knowledge of current technologies (trends, practices, etc)
Technical knowledge of vendor tools
Technical knowledge of hardware/platforms
Technical knowledge of software engineering design methology such as RUP, Agile
Technical knowledge of object modeling languages such as UML
Technical knowledge of software quality processes such as CMMI, SOX
Technical knowledge of general software development - design patterns, algorithms, security requirements

This list would grow in time, but generally, an understanding of technical matters relating to the domain knowledge as well as industry software practices should be key items the Software Architect should pick up on.

These skills are vital as a Software Architect needs to be able to relate to all parties, from clients, to developers. So, the following skills are vital,

Communication Skills
This does not mean just being able to speak, but the ability to listen as well. Since architects need to liaise with clients and developers, having a good ear and listening without prejudice is very important in dealing with people. Nobody wants to deal with someone who is obnoxious and arrogant, who does not listen and is not open to suggestions.

Basic Project Management Skills
To be able to understand the project landscape, timeline and resources but not manage it entirely. The Project Manager would most likely liaise with the Software Architect in order to determine the project landscape and thus, understanding the basic principles of project management is vital.

Leadership Skills
A Software Architect should have some leadership skills as most of the time, the Software Architect would champion for certain causes through "evangelisation". However, since the Software Architect liaises with the Team Lead as well as the Project Manager, some leadership ability is required. That is because the developers not only take their leadership skills from the Team Lead, but also the Software Architect during the SDLC process.

Mentoring Skills
The ability to mentor someone is important as knowledge shared, means knowledge gained together with the team. No man is an island and thus, no coder in a team ever codes alone. So, by mentoring developers/coders, we can be assured that these developers/coders are aware of the best practices to use during the SDLC process. Besides that, by setting up a mentoring system, the Software Architect may start to groom developers into Software Architects in order to assure a succession for the role, should the Software Architect leave the position one day.

Evangelical Skills
Sometimes, the Software Architect is required to "sell" an idea to a specific audience. Thus, they become the champions of ideas or technologies. This skill, like being a preacher on a pulpit requires that the Software Architect has the conviction and "belief" on the technology or idea they are trying to "sell".

Drive to Learn
The ability to constantly learn something new is highly important for the Software Architect. This is because trends change, technologies change and thus, something which may have worked 2 years back may not be applicable for the current environment or requirements. No self-respecting Software Architect should say, "I have enough of learning, I've done all that during my Uni/College days" as this would mean that the Softare Architect would be stagnant and outdated in their knowledge.

Drive to Succeed (Motivation)
Finally, the Drive to Succeed, a big big soft-skill that the Software Architect should have. Some say that Software Architects play the role of 10 people in a software development team. Thus, they need the extra drive to succeed. They are also the motivators for the team, guiding, coaching and encouraging the team to reach its goal of successfully delivering the project to the client. So, Software Architects need to be highly motivated to succeed.

Anyway, these are just my 2 cents on the matter. This is because I've seen a number of people who try to be a Software Architect but fail miserably because they lack many skills, one of the most important ones being the ability to mentor staff. Some people tend to be very selfish about sharing knowledge and this should the LAST attribute that the Software Architect should possess.

I'm constantly figuring this out as I go along in my career as a Software Architect. I've taken on this role for the last 4 years and the mindset required to be a Software Architect is very different from being a Team Lead or Developer. There are many other attributes that the Software Architect should have but I do not have the time to list it here. Certainly, this role/position is fairly new and so, the roles and skill requirements would change from time to time.

Frankly, I do not think this position is a walk in the park, and it certainly is no glamour job. We sit behind the scenes to make things work.

July 02, 2006

Late Heartbreaks...

I can't believe it! Two big heartbreaks in a span of a few hours. O___o

It really does baffles the mind. England went down to penalties despite being a great team of 10 men, holding a scoreless draw against Portugal after Wayne Rooney's send-off. It baffles me that Gerrard and Lampard missed the penalties. I wonder if they had practised their penalties as so late in this stage, it would not be surprsing that a penalty-shootout would entail after a grueling 120-minute match. England played good. My usual commentary of England's defence being poor is revised as I saw the likes of Ashley Cole, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand did some fantastic work in defending against the Portugese.

Then, there was Brazil. It was World Cup 1998 all over again. That time, Brazil had a fantastic performance through the round of 32, 16 all the way up to the finals until that fateful night in 1998. Ronaldo had been sick some minutes before the match (found out through Internet news) and when he played, he wasn't his usual self. France took advantage of that and beat them. This time, it was different. Brazil did not shine throughout the tournament and I had a very strange feeling that they underestimated their opponents this time around. Anyway, it was a fantastic goal from Henry... Just utterly classic, it was Brazil's mistake for not marking him when the free-kick was taken. -_-"

So, now, we're looking at an all European affair for the semi's and finals. I'll be looking forward to the Portugal vs France match as two giants, Zidane ("Zizou") and Figo play out what will be their last international match before their retirements.
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