Archives

Thinking about how to reduce work-related stress

The past couple of weeks have been highly stressful for me – which led me to writing this post. I am really thinking of ways on how I could cut off some work-related stress or at least manage it well.

Whew. I don’t know how or when I could ever get used to this kind of stress. 😦

How do you handle work-related stress? I’d really like to know…especially if you work in the IT (Information Technology) world and if you are Developer/Systems Analyst like me.

I would really love to hear your suggestions… 🙂

Advertisements

Thinking about how to be a better software engineer

Whenever I’m asked what I do for a living, I often say I am a software engineer. But am I really close to being a good one?

I looked around the net for some tips/pieces of advice to becoming a better software engineer and I got the following:

  1. You’re paid to THINK. by Eric Hexter
    If you normally get your requirements verbally, try writing them down.
    Write down your requirements or technical plan in the easiest manner possible. That could be on a whiteboard, you could annotate a screenshot of an existing screen, you could use pencil and draw the changes to a print out of a screen shot.  Just do something in terms of thinking about what needs to be done before you start typing.  If you do write down what you plan to do, you can actually communicate it to other developers. You can have someone else review it and think through the problem.  You can also show it to the person who will decide if you created the correct software, imagine getting some feedback on what you want to build before you mess it up?

    The two most valuable ways I have found to write down what needs to be created are Screen Mockups and Sequence Diagrams. Now, I have been in the web space for a long time, so if you are not creating websites, or web applications, you may find that there are better ways to write down what you need for your particular design problem.  Either way , try to write it down. If you are writing mockups today, then add a sequence diagram for the more complicated problems and see if it helps.  I know it helps me and the developers I work with.

  2. Go, Solve Problems by Derick Bailey

I’m paid to solve problems consistently and reliably, and either implement the solutions through software or recommend a solution that doesn’t involve software. If I solve a problem once, but the solution breaks or is not repeatable after that one time, I have not done my job. If I solve a problem 100 times, add more code to try and solve a second problem and end up breaking the first solution, I have not done my job. My job is done when I can consistently and reliably solve the problem in a manner that either adds value or reduces cost. You are not paid to write software or tests. You are paid to solve problems and you happen to do it through software (and tests).

3. Learn to deal with people by John Sonmez

The basic problem is that humans are not logical creatures, we are emotional ones.  Sure, we like to pride ourselves on our ability to reason, but the reality is that most decisions we make are more influenced by emotion than reason.

What this means for you as a software developer is that unless you can effectively deal with other developers, managers, and even customers, you will constantly face trouble despite how good your ideas are or how valuable your skills are.

Being active and involved in the software development community in general can also help you immensely in your career.  It is not just about networking, but getting your name out there and building good Karma.

4. Understand the business of your customer by Markus Sprunck

How can you design and implement good software without deep understanding of the purpose or use? The answer is easy: “If you don’t know the WHAT, you can’t decide about the HOW.” A deep understanding of your customer’s and/or users’ businesswill lead to better requirements, designs, implementations and tests.Most of the software’s functionality creates no business value. The challenge is to select the functionality which creates business value. The better you know the business the higher is the probability to implement the best system.

5. Don’t Trust Code without Adequate Test by Markus Sprunck

Ten years ago, I trusted my code. Why not? After 8 years C++ with excellent skills and a lot of experiences. I just coded, tested and everything was working well. But over the years I made and saw a lot of errors. Because of these errors, I lost the trust in my own and others code.

Today, I don’t trust code until it passed:

  • unit test,
  • integration & system tests,
  • checks of performance and memory with real world data,
  • static code analysis,
  • measure code coverage of test,
  • load & stress tests and
  • peer review.

PBSP-Assisted Communities: Proudly Pinoy

PBSP (Philippine Business for Social Progress) has a vision of leading the business’ sectors efforts to reduce poverty in the Philippines. It has assisted a number of community-based organizations in starting and stabilizing their livelihood by providing credit as well as trainings, business advisory, and market development support.

I once had an opportunity to work with the organizations and see their products. I was really pleased to see that their products are of high quality – something that we Filipinos could really be proud of.

To learn more about the products and services of these PBSP-Assisted Community-Based Organizations, you can visit the site.You can help these organizations if you patronize their products/services or recommend them to your family and friends. Thanks!

pbsp

Bags made from water lilies

Bags made from water lilies

Long distance + friendship + technology = amazing!

Whew! I love Information Technology! When used properly, it can really make a (good) difference in people’s lives and relationships.

I’m so happy to have used Google Hangout. It makes me feel closer to my girlfriends Laiza and Ems.. feels like the old times. Just can’t share food with them though. Hehe. But it’s still fun! 😉

solo_pics with_niecesThere they are with their nieces.. I miss my niece Nycah.. if she’s here with me, the tita-and-niece hangout would have been complete.. hehe.. This is the new way of hanging out! Supah Cool! Now we’re officially cyber friends! 😀

Help, I’m addicted to Candy Crush!

I downloaded Candy Crush on the first day that we had Wifi at home and I… am addicted! Help! 😦 I don’t wanna be like that guy!

temp..bzeyhjwg candy crush

I don’t wanna be addicted to this. It’s sucking up all my free time! I only get to do the things I have to do when I lose all my lives and I have to wait for several minutes (or hours) to play again. Oh my…

Yes, it’s a good way to pass time when I’m commuting, in the bus, in the FX, (not in the jeepney – that’s scary!).. But my goodness!! It’s all I ever do all day! This can’t be happening!!!!

How can I help myself:

1. Limit playing to bus rides only.2. No Candy Crush at home – except when I get all my chores done! My room is a big mess already!
3. Uninstall? Noooo… ! Okay, I’ll just moderate. Can you give me a life so I can play again? Please???

Ugh!

P.S. Marvin wrote a very informative post explaining why our stock market is currently down. Read on! 🙂

P.P.S: Watch this funny video by my now favorite Youtube star, Ryan Higa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxhjbIICNZA 🙂

Globe Tattoo Wifi@Home

Ok, finally it’s here! Tattoo@Home Wifi. Based from the speedtest (Speedtest.net):
globespeedNot bad.. right? I availed of the 999 plan for speeds UP TO 1 Mbps. We have to pay for the Wifi router for 1000 pesos – about 350 per month, for 3 months.. on top of the 999 bill.

Seems good. Right now, I’m satisfied because I will be able to work from home. 🙂

Finally time for Wifi @ Home: Cost – Benefit Analysis

I’m frustrated with the speed of my Globe Tattoo stick here at GA Tower. I think it’s really time to be generous to myself and get at DSL/Wimax connection. I have been trying to convince myself that it’s TIME to get a Wifi connection, but of course, there are a lot of factors that I should consider:

1. How long will I be staying at my place? Since the lock-in period would be at least 2 yrs.
– So far, I don’t have any plans of moving out or going anywhere – not until 2015.
2. How much time would I stay at home? This is an important factor to consider in deciding between a pocket wifi or dsl
– With an upcoming project, I’d probably be at home by 9pm during weekdays and leave at 8am in the morning. That’s 11 hours minus 8 hours of sleep, so I’ll have 3 hours of surfing time during weekdays. I’ll also have about 10 hours during weekends.
3. How much would it be?
– Since my housemates and I agreed to divide the cost amongst ourselves – and there’ll be 4 of us – 1099/4 = 275. Since I’ll have 3 (hrs per wkday) * 22 + 10 (hrs during wkends) * 4 = 106 hrs per month. That’s about 2.5 pesos per hour every month! Hmmm… not bad! 🙂

Benefits:

1. I also really need to have more access to the Internet because we finally have DSL connection at home (Mangagoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur) and I’d want to get in touch more with my loved ones at home.
2. I can blog MORE! Yey!!! I’ve been wanting to blog regularly but oftentimes I don’t have Internet connection when I’m inspired to write – it’s not really a big problem because I can always write online, but it’s nice when you can just publish anytime. Plus, I’d like to have more images in my posts – which is sooo darn difficult and annoying when you have a super slow connection. Upload speeds could really wear you down and stress you out!3. There’s just a loooooot of benefits in having a faster Internet connection. DUH. :p

Cheers to a faster Internet next week! I’m so excited 🙂

How to create a Beautiful WordPress (or any Blog) Header

I wanted to have a new blog header for the loooongest time but haven’t had the time to design and create one. Luckily, I stumbled upon this awesome tutorial. It’s really helpful! If you want to create your own header too, go and visit the link.

I used the free tool from cooltext.com to create beautiful logos and downloaded some free header templates at smashingmagazine. I then used Adobe Photoshop to edit, layout and combine all the elements together and voila! I have a new WordPress header! Yey! 🙂

flowerswithlogoheader0323a

My Top 10 Favorite Android Apps

I’ve been using my Android Phone (Kata i1) for almost 3 weeks now. By the way, I got it for 9,500 because I used my credit card to purchase it (my first time to use the card for purchases). It should only be 8,400 if I paid it in cash. As I’ve mentioned in my earlier post, the phone has nice specs and so far I’m pleased with its performance.

I’ve downloaded and installed free apps from Google Play and here are my favorites:

1. Expense Manager – It’s a great app for managing your daily expenses. Now I no longer have to keep a small notebook for my expenses.

2. Evernote – I use this for writing my journals and I’m currently exploring this to draft my blog posts.

3. My Calendar – I use this to track my menstrual period – It’s a girl thing! :p

4. Calendar – helps me keep track of my appointments

5. DX Toolbox – manages the apps running on my phone and cleans up memory

6. Shopping list – I use this to list the items that I need to shop for. It allows me to categorize the item and helps me keep track of my budget by setting the number of items to be bought and the price per item

7. Any.DO – One of my top fave app. It’s an excellent and easy to use to-do list app.

8. WordPress – Of course, it should be on my list! I’ve been using this to write and publish my blog posts. However since I am using the phone keypad, I often have lots of typos on my posts. 😛

9. Dropbox – syncs my files – esp. photos from my phone with my online storage. 🙂

10. Adobe Reader  – I am happy that I am able to read my e-books conveniently on my phone and the app also allows me to highlight key words in the book. I still prefer this over Aldiko. 🙂 I wanted to include the Bible app in this list but lately I’m disappointed with the fact that I had to buy the pro version for me to listen to the audios. Maybe I just had to tinker with the settings and download the audios when I have the time.

How about you? What are your favorite Android apps?

Finally, a smartphone!

i’ve been thinking about getting a smartphone since July. And I’ve been eyeing note2 and blackberry. i didn’t  want iPhone because it’s too restrictive. i like the freedom that android phones give me. I have been an advocate of free and open source software so i love these cool stuff.

but note 2 was just too expensive for my taste.  i wanted a phone that is

image

testing the cam on my hausmate jo

dual sim, has a front camera, has a fast processor,  and can render ebooks beautifully.. and of course,  it should fit nicely within my budget. And luckily i found Kata! I was already thinking of getting a Lenovo when the saleslady offered me kata.

Hmm…so far i am happy with my smartphone!  It has an 8 MP cam,a dual core processor,  and 4Gb internal memory.  🙂

My gosh, i am blogging using my smartphone! Yey! Cool!