New Photos

Apparently its been a long time since we've transfered photos to the internet.  Here's a bunch including Chinese New Years and a bigger Caper.


Lions come to scare away bad things
Caper's cool outfit
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lady of leisure

I think I have had the most vacation I have ever had in my life this year. It has been fantastic. I just had my Easter vacation extended by a week and a bit because the HK government closed down all kindergarten and primary schools because of a flu that was going around. So what do I do during my time off? I read. I have 6 books now prepped and awaiting my eyeballs. I also do a little bit of shopping. Hurray! I continue going to my Stitch and Bitch once every 2 weeks. I harass Dave into finishing work early so he can go for walks with me. It isn't a bad life this teacher life.

 As today is Saturday, I'll take the dog out for a walk on the promenade so we can go sniff other dogs butts and enjoy a Mr. Softy ice cream.

But on a more sober note: I won't be able to have much vacation after Easter until July when I get another month off and go to CANADA. See you in a few months pals. 

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Stuff White People Like

Now we like to think of ourselves as two people who are very inclusive, we push the boundaries of convention, and we try to break out of the molds of the stereotypes that we find ourselves boxed in.  

However, yesterday Debbi came across this really funny blog: Stuff White People Like.   It's only been in existence for 2 months, and there are already 87 posts on what defines white people (albeit it's probably only white people between the ages of 20-35).  Looking through the full list we find that between the two of us 67/87 of these things apply (or did apply at some point) to us.   This means that we are 77% white.  Geesh!  Maybe we are more run-of-the-mill, white bread, plain jane, ordinary, vanilla, regular white people than we realize.  

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Drupalcon highlights

I'm waiting in Newark international for my connecting flight back to HK, and I just want to sleep. Its been six days since I arrived and I never got past the jet lag. I want to be sleeping right now, I should be sleeping right now (HK time), but I don't think they'll let me do that in this restraunt that I'm waiting in. Furthermore for every hour we get closer to the scheduled departure, the real departure gets pushed back an hour. By the time I actually get settled on the plane I'll be wide awake since my body is alternating from tired to awake every 4 hours. This has been the story all week. So I'm significantly more insane than when I left. Oh and the other reason for that is because I've been hanging out with Drupal geeks all week.

Some of you wanted to know what the highlights of the conference were. The rest of you might want to stop here, before you get confused / bored to death. It was pretty crazy: 1000 people excited about making great websites for everything from little blogs, to internal university wikis, to ginormous news sites. There was even a 14 year old kid there leading a session. I was nowhere near that smart at 14. Actually I'm still not that smart.  I only got to see a small sliver of the presentations.  At any given time there were 5 sessions and 6-12 smaller scheduled discussions, not to mention all the unscheduled discussions.

First day:

Drupal Multimedia - you can do so much with multimedia content in Drupal. However it seems that I'm already familiar with the techniques so I didn't learn much here.

Keynote - Dries Buytart - Drupal Project Lead - The reason Drupal has done so well is because this dude has such an accurate vision for where things need to be in 5 years, what our next challenges will be, and how to lead such a huge community to get through those challenges to where we need to be.

Mapping business requirements to Drupal modules: a gap-fit process - Boris Mann is a very smart guy in this area. Hopefully I'll be able to utilize some of these approaches to deliver a product that better matches our users' needs.

Panels 2 and Nodequeue - Earl Miles is the author of so many of the essential Drupal modules. He showcased a few cool techniques in the new versions of these modules

Drupal in China, the how, who and why - I had nothing to do with this session. There are three other groups of people that have recently setup offices in mainland China. I got a chance to meet (or re-meet) them all. Hopefully I'll be able to get some advice from them on how to build a Drupal User Group in Hong Kong.

News Industry Meetup - food, beer, and drupal talk

NGO Meetup - more food, beer, and drupal talk

Day Two:

Client work kept me occupied for the first half of the morning. But then:

Keynote Speaker: Chris DiBona - Google Open Source Programs Manager - Explained all the reasons why Open Source is poised to succeed. There is no longer any question.

Performance tuning and optimization of high traffic Drupal sites - most of this stuff was sysadmin related that was a bit over my head. I was hoping for more delth on query optimizations. : Affiliated content for magazines - these folks have taken a different approach to the problem of affiliate sites in a multisite configuration. If I had known about this before we did, we might've headed in a different direction.

Drupal powering hosted services - I felt like there's some hosts out there that are kicking Advomatic's butt in the areas of new techniques (though this isn't my area of expertise either, so a lot of this went over my head). But with that said, I don't think any of them are working on the same scale that we are, and if they are, they aren't focused on just Drupal.

And then more client work in the evening

Day 3:

I slept through most of the morning. It was probably a good thing.

New JavaScript in Drupal 6: AHAH and Drag and Drop - There's some new rad stuff

Creating custom workflows for Drupal applications - taking advantage of core hooks and context - This actually had nothing to do with workflow, it was about context (site sections) and how to maintain context as the user browses to different pages. These guys had some great ideas for Drupal 7.

Scalable Theming: Theming for 100s of node types, CCK fields and views - Some great ideas here. I'm gonna write up a best practices doc for Advo.

Evening - Just hung out at the hotel. We needed a bit of downtime.

Day 4:

A Developer's Assistant - Using Coder for Module Developers and Maintainers - I already knew that coder rocks, but it also does some cool stuff in terms of module upgrades. As a case study we used coder to walk through an update of View to Drupal 6.

Information Architecture to Drupal Architecture - apparently I went to this. Don't remember a thing about it though.

Hostmaster 2 - This Birds of a Feather (small table discussion) was awesome. Bright/Raincity are re-starting hostmaster from scratch. This install profile has some really revolutionary tools to mange 1000s of sites accross several servers from a single master site. This obsolutes my multisite_maintenance module. Unfortunately there isn't working code yet (though this might have changed since yesterdays code sprint). I'll be looking in to this for politicker.

Zen and the Art of Drupal - some of the lullabots did a great presentation on how to ensure that your contributions to Drupal last for the long term.

Wrap Up - The winners of the site showcase were anounced. Advomatic had a few in the honourable mentions, but no winners this year.

Evening - shopping. Had to get some presents to take back.

Day 5:

Code sprint - It was real cool to be working in the same room as 400 other developers. I met a lot of smart people and had a chance to ask people questions face to face. I spent my day writting unit tests.

Phewf! I'm tired.

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Photos for viewing

Chinese New Year recently passed us by. Dave and I participated in some of the events. So with our trusty couchsurfer-turned-long-lost-friend James with us we went out and about Hong Kong. I have to remember to upload the rest of the photos onto flickr but for now check it out.

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On becoming famous

I have decided that I need to become famous. So I have purchased a guitar. Apparently it is a classical guitar. Which means it has some nylon strings which makes it easy on my poor little fingers. I will only need to practice half an hour everyday to get really good. I think half an hour of my day is a sufficient amount of time to sacrifice for my soon-to-be fame.

I have also started a band. I estimate that it will take me about four months to get really, really good at playing the guitar. I am pretty convinced that I'm an amazing guitar player that hasn't been discovered yet. So in my band is me as the lead everything, a drum machine (still need to buy one of those) and an extremely reluctant bass player. I still haven't figured out why he is dragging his heels on what will obviously the best and most famous band ever. Perhaps everyone could give him some encouragement. He says I'm not allowed to post his email address on this website. But if you leave some comments, I'm sure he'll read them. His name is Dave.

I think my band with the drum kit, me as lead and the reluctant bass player have some similarities with other duo groups. Except that no one will wonder if we are brother and sister or if we are lovers. I'm pretty sure you can look up who is hitched or not. I'm a little sad that we will loose that aura of mystery.

I also have started thinking of an awesome band name. I was thinking something with "The" at the beginning. Bands that start with "The" seem to do alright. For example, "The Beatles" did alright. I mean alright enough for my friend Ed to obsess about them. If anyone has any suggestions about band names they can also leave those in the comments section. Please remember that there needs to be a "The" at the beginning.

So I must look up how to play some cords on the internet. Wish me luck on becoming famous.



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Our sick house

Everyone but me is sick right now.  My dear wife every two years gets this itchy rash all over her body that lasts for about a week.  Apparently its been two years since the last incident.  Cause: unknown.  Cure: unknown.  She spends most of the night awake scratching.  It's pretty terrible.  And our dear little puppy has this issue where every day he spends 30 seconds dry heaving.  Then he's fine and back to running around and biting my ankles.  Very bizarre.  

But they're both snoozing right now.  They look so darn cute.  

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Geek Trip

So its official.  I've booked my flight, got a room, paid my fees.  I'm going on a geek trip.  Destination: Drupalcon Boston 2008.  This probably does not excite you as much as it excites me.  I'll be hanging with some of the brightest web developers in the world, learning new techniques, writing cool new stuff.  And, due to the oddities of working for a distributed company, I'll be meeting many of my coworkers at Advomatic for the first time.  After having been working with Advomatic since last spring, I've met only one of my ~15 coworkers, and that was Yashesh when we were traveling through Mumbai.  It will be interesting to see what people are like in person.  Will the impressions of people that I've built up over the last 10 months of email and IRC resemble anything like the real thing?  

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