Archive for 2009

An Event Apart in San Francisco

An Event Apart
A sea of fellow coders and their Macs
photo by kris krüg

I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s An Event Apart web conference at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco for the last two days. It was a fun two days of web design and development goodness! With big names in the web development community such as Jeff Zeldman, Eric Meyer (with whom I got to have lunch with the first day), Jonathan Snook, and Dave Shea, to name a few…I was in awe. These are the pioneers of the web standards movement–guys whose books and articles on the web made it possible for me to be where I am in my career today.

The sessions were a good variety of talks, ranging from high-level looks at what is happening in design right now, to nitty-gritty, head-spinning code. Not surprisingly, jQuery, a Javascript library that I loved from the first time I used it, took center stage at this conference, with every speaker mentioning, evangelizing, and even using jQuery in their demos. Yes, with jQuery, you too, designer-guy, can write javascript!

I loved how Twitter was used there too. AEA set up a live feed page where any Twitter updates with hash tags such as #aea or #aeasf were automatically added. I could see what others in the ballroom were thinking in real-time as the speakers gave their talks. Unfortunately, the only time I updated my Twitter was when I disagreed with Nicole Sullivan’s frowning on location-based CSS:

AEA Live Feed

With the ever-changing nature of the web, it’s vital for web professionals to be able to take time out of the grind of their work and see what others are doing, and what is coming. I came out of the last session more energized about my work and what I do than I have felt in a long time, and already eagerly waiting to go again next year!

Um, Apologies to my Twitter and Facebook friends who were bombarded with geeky web speak for the past two weeks!

Some of the few pictures that I took.

The Subway and Das Boot!

The most adventure-filled time of my life was when I was in high school living in Davao City, Philippines, and I give a lot of credit to my good friend Daniel Peckham and the Peckham family. I went on more hiking, backpacking, rock-climbing/rappelling, scuba, and tubing trips with the Peckhams in those two short years that I have in the rest of my life before or since (this is also the reason I didn’t finish high school on time).

Das Boot
A narrow hallway from the Das Boot
. Picture from Joe’s Guide to
Mt. Zion National Park

Daniel and I have kept in touch through the years and though he hasn’t slowed down in his adventures, I unfortunately don’t live close enough to him that he can easily rope me into his excursions. BUT, tomorrow I leave for Las Vegas–but not for The Hangover type of experience–to join Daniel and Katie and Aaron and Torrey on a canyoneering trip at Mt. Zion National Park. We’re doing a route called “The Subway,” and possibly one called “Das Boot.”

I’ve got my camera, my old diving wetsuit, some new gear, and think I’m ready for tomorrow. I am just happy to be doing one of these trips with Daniel again. It reminds me of my high school days and makes me feel young again, since I am now 30 and that makes me old. Right?

Daniel, Aaron and I will most likely take thousands of pictures between the 3 of us photo nerds, but there are some great pictures of the routes we’re planning on doing over on Joe’s Guide to Zion National Park.

Well, I survived and had a great time! I posted pictures from all three cameras on the family site.

August is a Bad Time to go for a Drive

It looks like whenever Oliver and I plan to get together around this time of year, something bad happens. We had been planning, up until Caleb’s eye debacle, to visit Oliver and Nem at their new place this past weekend, and that Saturday, Oliver, in his last couple weeks of his probationary period, was responding to an additional units call when he and his partner collided with another car which was running a red light. Thankfully, he’s doing A-OK, recovering from a broken arm. If you want more details, it’s on my dad’s blog.

Almost exactly 1 year ago (missed it by a week!), I was on my way down to LA to see Oliver’s LAPD badge ceremony when I rolled my car on the I-5. But just like Oliver’s accident, I came out relatively unscathed, which a mere broken thumb and lacerations on the top of my head, that were thankfully not as serious as the doctors feared.

Totalled Car
Destroyed

Car Accident During my recovery, I created this page (new window) for friends and family to see, which details what happened on the I-5 that night.

I know there’s no way that this will ever reach these people, but some thanks are in order from not just me, but Chesney, Caleb, Tyler and the rest of my family:

  • Thank you to the guy who was there right when I got out of my car, who called 911, and who was willing to let me put his brand new iPhone 3G up to my bloodied face to make a call to Chesney. Even in my dazed state, I respected the phone enough to say “it’s ok, just put it on speaker.”
  • Thank you to the truck driver who stopped and bandaged my head before the paramedics arrived. However, while right in front of me, you could’ve done without mentioning to the paramedic that you might have seen some bone.
  • Thank you to the paramedic who talked to me and calmed me down during my first ever helicopter ride (not that great since I strapped to a stretcher and in a neck brace–all I saw were the pretty lights on the ceiling of the cabin).
  • Thank you to the ER doctors and nurses at Modesto Memorial, thank you for the conversation, stitches, staples, and most of all, painkillers.
Tim after the accident
Not my best moment.

And of course I can’t go without thanking Chesney and family, for the love, care, and support during my recovery.

So a year later, I can kind of relate to Oliver and what he’s going through. Best wishes Oliver–we’re praying for you and Nem. I just wish that we had driven down for a visit so that we could’ve been there for you. Heal up, and enjoy your time away from work with some vacation time with Nem! See you on Xbox Live! And Christmas!

Ah well, let’s just not plan on getting together in the last couple weeks of August, 2010!

New Computer! Pentium 150 mhz!

I was perusing my backups this morning and found this gem of an e-mail that I sent to my friend Daniel back in 1997. I was 17 and a computer geek.

Wed 7-16-97

Well I’m typing again…on our very own, BRAND NEW COMPUTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 Finally after four long years of enduring a laptop 486, the Malabuyo’s have actually purchased a good computer–with a CD-ROM drive even! Have you bought your new computer yet? Here’s ours (which I won’t get to use much, since I’ll be away from it most of the time)

Pentium 150 mhz
2.1 Gigabyte hard drive
16 MB RAM
3-CD changer, 6X
28.8 modem

Man Daniel, this is faster, better, everything more than I have ever worked with. I still can’t beleive all that room we have on the hard drive–and it’s not even double spaced yet! (We don’t even have dos–lost it in the great hard drive crash)

This won’t be funny to some of the kiddies, but I just think it’s funny how excited I was about the computer. Because, you know, 2.1 GB of space is crazy. Before double-spacing, even.

Oh how far we’ve come in 12 years. Just to give some perspective, the iPhone 3GS has a 600 mhz processor and 256 MB of RAM.

Google Voice Fluid Icon

I just got my Google Voice invite today, and have started using it. Here’s to hoping that it’ll stop the telemarketing calls…

I couldn’t find an icon for use with Fluid to create an app for Google Voice (at least one that is based on the Google Voice icon), so I made on myself.

Google Voice Fluid Icon

Enjoy!

Google Chrome OS and Life on the Web

Google Chrome OS on a Macbook ProI have had a couple days to let the news of Google’s Chrome OS announcement sink in and the more I think about it, the more end up thinking about the future of our computing.

A Google OS? I was excited about the mere rumor of this waaaaay back in 2005 (my short blog post). But undoubtedly this begs the obvious question: how will stack up against Windows? Or any “traditional” browser like OSX or Linux, for that matter. From reading the announcement, it doesn’t sound like Chrome OS will really be a direct competitor. The initial focus will be on “cloud computing,” which means doing all of the work that you need to do online. Rather than being a massive OS that will will have everything that you need locally on your hard drive, Chrome OS will be a lightweight gateway into accessing everything over the web.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds.

The Google Universe

This strategy is perfect for Google since they happen to be the leader in computing on the web. They offer Google Docs, Google Apps, Gmail, Google Calendar – most everything the average user will need. The only thing holding users back from going completely online is their comfort zone with native applications. It’s a big change to think about using an online text-editor, rather than loading up Microsoft Word.

See Ya Online

Web 2.0 Logos, by Stabilo Boss on Flickr
Web 2.0 Logos,
by Stabilo Boss on Flickr

But the future of computer use, in my opinion is just that. Everything is moving in the direction of everything being online, available to you anywhere you are. Bandwidth is getting faster and becoming more widespread. Online access everywhere is coming. Companies see this trend and are adapting – the most attractive software almost always has an online component to it, and many new companies are developing web applications for use exclusively online. The rise of the new class of laptops, netbooks is evidence of this trend of cheap, fast, and light, made for the user who spends most of their time on the computer doing things online–there’s no need for lots of storage and a huge processor when you are doing most of your tasks online, in a web browser.

Not convinced? Chances are, you are already halfway there yourself. Think about how much of what you do online right now. Have a Facebook account? Do you use Gmail? Plan your week in Google Calendar? Photo-ordering? Banking or bill pay? For the average user, there really isn’t much that can’t be done online. Besides the every day tasks that were just mentioned, there are even web applications for project-planning, photo-editing, and even intensive graphics work.

It’s coming, and while local computing will never completely go away, especially with professionals in many fields, I believe the masses will be doing most of their computer-time online. And with that in mind, Google Chrome OS has the potential to be the leader/trailblazer in this kind of computing.

To top it all off, Google Chrome OS is free and open-source. “Don’t be evil” indeed.

Happy First Birthday, Tyler!

Since Caleb got a post when he turned 1, it’s only fair that Tyler gets a blog post, too. Ha, “fair.” Chesney and I do our best, but we kind of stopped trying to make things completely fair – who knows how much he has been “cheated” out of since he is the 2nd child! I’m pretty sure that he has had half the amount of pictures taken of him in comparison with Caleb. …but maybe that’s a good thing… (remember the old Caleb Daily Photos?)

Anyway, Happy birthday, little guy! It was a year ago today that you joined our family and changed our lives forever.

His party is this weekend, right after we get back from an out-of-town wedding. Hopefully we will make it through this busy, busy weekend in one piece!

I don’t have a picture of Tyler from today, but I have this one from a couple days ago, when he was enjoying our new lawn:

Caleb and Tyler enjoy our new lawn

Chesney Appreciation Month

Chesney

I made it. I survived “Chesney Appreciation Month” this year! The month of May is especially stressful for me since, for some reason, we planned things so that our wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, and Chesney’s birthday, are all within 3 weeks of each other. That’s a lot of pressure for a husband!

I told Chesney that I wouldn’t do too much heartfelt mush, so in short, Chesney, you’re a wonderful wife and mom, and have been really supportive of my extra-heavy work-load in these past few months. It has been an amazing 7 years–let’s shoot for 60 more. Or until I die, whichever comes first.

Car Design: The Honda Insight vs Toyota Prius

Both Honda and Toyota released their new green cars recently, and I can’t be the only one who sees the similarity…

comparison 1
Honda Insight (top) and the Toyota Prius (bottom)

comparison 1

comparison 2
Honda Insight (top) and the Toyota Prius (bottom)

comparison 2

Star Trek Reset

I wouldn’t be a real Star Trek fan Trekker without the obligatory latest-Star-Trek-movie-thoughts blog post. (Don’t worry, no spoilers here)

Sylar/Spock

I’m not going to lie: I was really wary of another Star Trek movie. The last couple had let me down, and despite all this new one had going for it, I still was afraid another Star Trek Nemesis bomb (I took Chesney to Nemesis opening night, and she still married me). The reality is Star Trek movies are hard to do right, and really, really easy to do wrong.

But this latest incarnation of Star Trek was, in a word, amazing. But not because I love Star Trek, but because it was just a really good movie! And that’s the way it should always be. The success of this latest movie is due in large part to the director…some guy named J.J. Abrams–maybe you’ve heard of him? Some of his earlier work includes little-known shows like Fringe, Alias…oh, and LOST.

It look Abrams, admittedly not a big Star Trek fan, to give the Star Trek movies a good reboot. Comic books have been doing this for a while with old superheroes who have so much back-story to them that it was impossible for newcomers (or even old fans) to keep the stories straight. Marvel did the same thing with X-Men, “re-imagining” the comic book series into a new series “Ultimate X-Men“, and shedding away the baggage of decades of back-story.

The result? X-Men has never been so popular. A cartoon series and 3 huge blockbuster hits on the big screen, both based off the new, Ultimate X-Men.

In this latest Star Trek movie, the plot re-imagines the Star Trek series in a way that doesn’t upset die-hard Trekkies/Trekkers, while paving the way for new fans. The movie is so well-done that it wows these new Trek fans and satisfies the old Trekkies.

Sylar/Spock

The top-notch acting, great special effects, and wouldn’t you know it–a great story–has won over the public: as of today, Star Trek is enjoying a well-deserved 95% Rotten Tomatoes rating aggregated from a whopping 244 reviews! I would say that even if you aren’t a Star Trek fan, go see it. It’s a great sci-fi movie in its own right.

Starfleet Academy
Man, I wish CSUN really was right across from
the Golden Gate
Starfleet Academy

As a side-note, the movie had quite a few establishing shots of Chesney and I’s old alma-mater, CSUN’s Oviatt Library (picture). We spent a lot of time in that computer lab using telnet for our email. I’ll have to dig up some old photos of Chesney and I hanging out in front of the library.

Oviatt Library at CSUN

Photo of actual Oviatt Library by acejr371 via Flickr

It’s Tough Being a Sharks Fan


Photo from sjsharks.com

Well that series was craptastic.

And a lot of good being number one in the regular season did you, Sharks. Put the shiny President’s Trophy on your shelf because you were destroyed by worst possible team to be eliminated by…in the first round!

I used to be a somewhat of a starry-eyed optimist, but I’m now joining the ranks of longtime, jaded fans. The stats from the last decade really illustrates the frustrated Sharks fan’s plight:

  • 1997-98: Lost to Dallas in the Quarterfinals
  • 1998-99: Lost to Colorado in the Quarterfinals
  • 1999-00: Lost to Dallas in the Semifinals
  • 2001-02: Lost to Colorado in the Semifinals
  • 2002-03: didn’t make the playoffs
  • 2003-04: Lost to Calgary in the Conference Finals
  • 2004-05: Stupid lockout
  • 2005-06: Lost to Edmonton in Semifinals
  • 2006-07: Lost to Detroit in Semifinals
  • 2007-08: Lost to Dallas in the Semifinals
  • 2008-09: Lost to Anaheim in the Quarterfinals

I guess no further commentary is needed–there’s plenty of that around the ‘net (a good rant by Mac, if you’re looking to read one).

Go Red Wings!

The Hard Truth

The creepy Easter bunny

Last night Caleb whispered to Chesney and I:

“You know what? When I saw the Easter bunny, I went behind the bench, and I saw a PEOPLE NECK! It’s a person dressed up like the Easter bunny!”

We quickly diffused the situation by informing Caleb that the Easter bunny is really busy that day and has people dress up like him so kids can get their pictures with them.

Caleb is getting older…we’ll have to prepare for the Santa questions later this year.

Also, Easter bunnies, remember to cover up your necks.

The Great Communications Blackout of 2009

iPhone has NO SERVICE
Photo by dbrulz123 via Flickr

Yesterday, something like 50,000 people in the south bay lost their cell service AND land line phone service. If they were DSL subscribers, there goes the internet too. Unfortunately, we fell in this category. Our house was without phones and internet until 5pm. I was at work all day in San Jose, and if Chesney or I had some kind of emergency, there was really no way to get a hold of each other (or the police!) unless we got in the car and drove.

And this wasn’t just residential – businesses, too were without phones and internet. I know that OfficeMax in Santa Cruz was effectively unable to open their store until later that evening because all communication with the store databases was down. OfficeMax in the whole region estimate they lost $14k in sales that day. Some other stores did not even open at all. Banks and ATMs were also offline.

Early that morning, we were half-joking that it was probably a new terrorist cyber-attack. Later when the news came out that it was, in fact, sabotage, we find out that we weren’t that far off!

Jack is Awesome
Yeah, Jack saves the President again.

Feeling a little vulnerable? To me, it all seems a little too easy. Sure, it was 10 feet underground, under a man-hole cover, and you had to have some expertise to cut those lines, but it still seems like for not too much effort, you can knock out communications to a huge area. It’s kind of like how all too easy it was for those terrorists to take over the White House in this season’s 24. Well maybe not that easy.

This begs the question: are we as a society today a little too wired? I love the computer/internet age and all improvements in the quality of life that we live – I owe my whole livelihood as a web developer to it – but times like these make me want to go out and buy a battery-powered radio, walkie-talkies, and stash money under my mattress.

Read about the whole incident on SFGate and Mercury.

Webcomic Art

A long, long time ago, in another life it seems, I was an art major. Now that I am in web development, I rarely get the chance to pick up a pencil and draw. Sometimes, I get to incorporate some cartooning into a design. Those who have seen timches.com over the years have probably noticed the evolution of the caricatures of my family in the header of the site.

I have always admired web comic artists like Scott Kurtz of PVP online, Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade, and Scott Johnson of Extralife. Lately I have been reading up on the techniques that comic artists use nowadays for producing their strips, and have been itching to give it a try. I am pretty pleased with what I came up with:

Me. Blah.

Now for some of the process. It all starts with a sketch, of course, and sketching the drawing is probably the easiest part for me.

Sketch

Tracing the image in Illustrator takes a bit of finesse, especially without the luxury of a tablet. This tutorial on Vectortuts.com introduced me to the notion of creating my own custom brushes, to get the “hand-drawn” feel, rather than the computer-perfect line-weights you’ll see in the timches.com caricatures.

Traced

Coloring really brings the art to life.

Colored

Drop in a nice background–my favorite color blue–and done!

Done!
What a cool-looking guy…

TurboTax is a Necessity

Just a well-deserved endorsement for TurboTax again this year. I have always regarded TT as a great product, and even came back to it after trying out a competitor one year, but I have to say, this year’s TurboTax (online) is the slickest experience I’ve had doing taxes so far.

Thankfully, I only did taxes the old-fashioned way a couple of times back in college, before there was e-file. That was back when it only took me a half hour, filling out the 1040EZ! Now with a business, spouse and kids, mortgage, and more, TurboTax is a necessity. There is no way I would even attempt to do all the worksheets and piles of paperwork–I would just pay someone else to do it!

After a few hours of work–most of which was digging through files for the paperwork I lost–I submitted my returns, with the assurance that my Audit Risk was low:

Audit Risk is Low. Yesss....
Woo hoo!

The next day I got word from TT that both my Federal and State returns had been accepted and that I would be receiving my refund in my bank account within 2 weeks.

So thanks again, TT, for making an otherwise daunting, time-consuming task, a piece of cake.