Friday, August 31, 2012

Global Edge - Random Things


So this week is more working. Last Sunday we pretty much just took the day off, which I thought was a great idea since if we didn't take the day off, today would mark the 26th day in a row we'd be working. And considering how we have to work this weekend too, it would not have been a fun month.

The reason why we have to work so much is pretty apparent at this point I think. School is starting soon, and Baptist University wants MaXit to be complete and ready for the school year, so the last few weeks has pretty much been the same things. Making sure all the features are in place, making sure the system is stable, and demoing the system to them, asking for feedback.

They did not request to have MaXit work on a 3DS. Which is good cause it actually doesn't work.

So this week has pretty much been us working on all the new features they want implented into the system as well as us finishing/polishing existing features. For things I did, I focused primarily on the mobile application. I had to essentially integrate the existing mobile application into the tablet application we had, so I spent some time doing that.

I also went and helped Michael Chow work on generating a web page based on a MaXit session. I actually think that feature is pretty damn cool. But essentially they wanted to be able to generate a session report, so we worked on that.

This report.

Essentially, how that works is that once the comments, videos and rubric has been uploaded to the server, they can click a button which will activate a Linux script that will use FFMPEG to create pngs of the video at  the time marked by the comments. Once the pngs are all created, then the screenshots, comments and rubric will be organized onto a web page which can be printed.

It's actually a pretty cool system. I helped work on the Linux script, but for the most part this week was just me working more on the mobile application, and tweaking the C++ code when necessary. I made it so multiple users can use the mobile application at the same time, and the main client would be able to understand that and react as necessary.

It tracks logged in users!!11!!

Overall things are being done and although we still have many days of work ahead of us, I feel like we're doing pretty well.


So recently I've been eating a lot more icecream and popsicles. I don't normally eat these things back at home, but in Hong Kong it's a lot more accessible since convenience stores are everywhere, it's so hot that eating that stuff is awesome, and they have many different flavours and types that don't exist back home.

 For example, here's a melon flavour icecream cone.

It didn't really have a strong melon flavour though.

So it's like a regular drumstick, but the icecream is melon flavour. It's kinda interesting, but it wasn't too too special. The melon flavour wasn't too strong, so it tasted like regular vanilla icecream with a tad of melony fragrance.

A much cooler icecream I had was this banana flavour icecream.

Yes, you can peel it.

When you open it from the wrapper, it looked kinda dissapointing, just some yellow thing on a stick. However I noticed some splits on the side, so I was wondering what that was. But apparently the icecream itself was designed so that you can peel the yellow gummy-like wrapping thing, and then its a pretty epic icecream.

That icecream was pretty awesome. Tasted like banana, but I don't even care about how it tastes, you can peel an icecream!

There was no lead in for this lychee flavour popsicle.

It's a lychee flavour popsicle. It tastes like lychee. I don't know what else to say.

Anyways, so starting today me and Enrico have to move out of the room at the nest, so I went ahead and moved to my uncle's place this morning. It's a lot better since I don't have to share a room anymore, but it's also so far away from a subway stop :(

At least I never have to go up these stairs again.


我上個星期又要返工。我哋要做浸會想要個d yeh。我已請做好好多yeh gah la。但係我仲要做多少少yeh。我好想訓多d 呀。

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Global Edge - Location Switch


So this is another Saturday morning blog post. Reasons will follow.

Anyways, this week was somewhat interesting. For the last two months I've been working at BeaconWall's main office at the Science Park. However due to the fact that we have to hand in our project soon, we've switched locations so that instead of working at the Science Park, we're now working at Baptist University at Kowloon Tong.

Yay for being on campus again.

Now working at BU is actually pretty cool, since for one, it's a lot closer to where we live, so instead of taking 45 - 60 minutes for a commute, we're looking at like 15 - 20 minutes instead. Which is obviously a lot better.

Not only that, but since it is so much closer, I'm saving a lot of money in terms of commuting, which is great. But the best part is that since we're on campus, we get much cheaper prices on food since we're on campus. The school apparently lowers the prices. But since the food we get here is literally the same at the Science Park, having the 30 - 40% discount on all the food is awesome.

They also have this Ube flavour icecream which apparently is Purple Yam.

In terms of work though, this week was pretty much just finishing up the work we needed to get done. For what I did, I mostly just made sure the main MaXit client was working the way we wanted it to, and to help Enrico and Michael Chow with random things they needed help on.

Key things I did this week was figure out how to convert avis to mp4s using FFMPEG in command line, and then porting it over to a Linux script so that it could be run on the server. Coding in Linux sucks btw.

Don't hate on my arrow algorithm.

We also did a demo yesterday to one of the BU guys for feedback and stuff. Overall he was happy with our progress and gave us some suggestions as well as new ideas that he wanted in the system. Since he wants new stuff, we have to spend a bit more time working on the system to get everything done and implemented.

As a result, here I am again on a Saturday working. This marks the 20th day in the row I have been working. Oh well, at least the environment here is more interesting.

Hurray for no more cubicles.

I gotta work on more stuff for the mobile application this week, so more JavaScript and HTML and less C++. Not sure how I feel about that right now.


I feel like I should be working right now. Hm. Well have some pictures instead of text.

This week was more of working, hanging out with friends/family and walking around anyways.

Kamen Rider booster pack?!

Kamen Rider stuff I want but cant bring myself to buy.

An ID lanyard thing for a conference I didn't get to go to.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Global Edge - Extensions


Gahhh so much work.

So readers of my blog would know that last week, I had to work Saturday and Sunday. Which honestly wasn't very fun, especially considering how theres not air conditioning for half of the day on Saturday, and none at all on Sunday.

I had this fan on my computer and it still was hotter than being outside.

So naturally that isn't very fun. Our project was supposed to be handed in on Wednesday though, so it made sense that we had to work overtime to make sure things are complete. So I came in and worked, and progress was made.

Pretty much in the last week I've been primarily working on integrating the drill down menu we have and to make sure it is bug free and it works. It's taking me a long time to do so because there's just so many issues that are occurring, and I have no idea why.

Game Dev y u no work.

Overall though it's been testing my abilities a bit since not only do I have to debug in C++, but I also have to debug a bit in JavaScript too. I've pretty much been working with C++ and JavaScript 50/50 this week, which is cool since I don't normally do JavaScript, so it's nice to work with a new language. Although C++ is still the best.

In addition to that I was also working with Michael Chow and Enrico to set up the server components as well. They were the ones primarily working on it, but I kinda gave my input and worked through the logic or bugs with them. It's interesting because I had a chance to work with some PHP code some more too.

Notepad++ is awesome btw. (Wikipedia)

And then I found out that we were getting an extension on our project deadline, so that we would be handing in the project on Monday instead, which gives us extra time to work on things. Which is great, but due to that we have to work this weekend as well. So that kinda sucks.

And yes, I did say I'm working this weekend. Now, what's the significance of that you mean? Aside from the fact that it sucks, it means that yes, I will be staying in Hong Kong. My flight was originally supposed to be today at 5 PM, but since Dr Hung needs me to stay to help with the project, he bought me a new ticket back to Toronto on Sept 14. So it's official, I'm here for another four weeks.


So this week was fun. Major things that occurred was that obviously I'll be staying in Hong Kong for another four weeks. I'm really happy about that. I considered staying longer when I was still in Canada actually, but I didn't put too much effort into it.

I started considering staying longer late May too, but I found out there weren't seats, so I kinda gave up. A week or so later though, Dr Hung told me he needed me to stay longer so for the past month we've been trying to get me a seat. We couldn't change my flight, so he just decided to buy me a new ticket.

Yes, I'll be in Japan for like two hours. Jealous?

I really wanted to stay too. I think the extra time here would be awesome in terms of work experience, but outside of that I'm just really enjoying Hong Kong in general, and staying here for an extra four months would be awesome.

I have so many things I still need to do here, like buy more clothes (granted I'm not sure how my luggage situation is gonna be ugh), go to 10000 Buddhas, Ocean Park, etc. I was planning on going to Ocean Park this week, but since I'm staying longer I'll go on my birthday or something.

Apparently it would be free if I went on my birthday. But the promotion ends Aug 31 and my birthday is Sept 3. (Wikipedia)

So yea, so excited to stay. Lots of fun and memorable times have been had already, and I'm sure many are to be had in the future.


我本來今日返多倫多gah, 但係我個先生要我留係香港幫佢整好d yeh。所以佢幫我買左一張新機票。咁我九月十四號返去。

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Global Edge - Crunch Inc


So this week was essentially the week before we have to hand in our project to Baptist University. So because of that it's crunch time yay!

So what does crunch time mean? Well this normally just means extra hours at work, lots of stuff to be finished in not a lot of time, and stressing over everything since things need to get done. And this week is where it starts.

Also it means your desk gets really messy.

With the only actual full time member of BeaconWall gone due to personal reasons, and with Rob gone since his time in HK is up, there's only really me, Michael Chow and Enrico working on this project. Rob is working on it remotely, but still.

Most of the functions we need our thing to do are done, it's just a matter of debugging, testing and polishing them to make sure they're ok. In addition to that there were just a matter of integrating everything with the central control server to make things work. So overall this actually isn't that bad, but still, lot's of stuff to be done.

This is our MaXit sever. Also that white board has not been erased for like three years.

One cool thing I did this week though was with the help of Michael Chow made it so that the mobile application reacts to the main MaXit client, and since the main MaXit client already reacted to the mobile app, they cross communicate now. Which is awesome.

Not gonna lie, makes me happy to see things like that work. Makes a lot of the frustration and pain of programming go away when things work the way they're supposed to. Definitely one of the reasons why I'm a programmer. I just love seeing things work after working on them.

MaXit is doing things.

Also keen readers of my blog may notice that I've been posting this entry a day later than normal. This is pretty much due to the fact that there's been so much to do lately that I didn't have time to do it yesterday. As a result I'm doing it now.

Since there's still much to be done, we're working overtime again. Both days on the weekend. Kinda sucks, but it's part of the industry, so I'm not complaining. But it sucks >_>

Not complaining too much.


I had so much to write about for this section. Not really in terms of what I did though, since I didn't really do anything to special that I wanted to write about.

But I had an idea about what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about eSports. There has been a lot of news and happenings going on lately, and I'm really tired right now so I'm not sure I can even convey everything I wanted to convey. But I have things to talk about.

No, not this. (Wikipedia)

So many things happened like this week. Michael Phelps wins a million gold medals, Usain Bolt defends his back to back 100m and 200m golds, humanity lands a science truck on Mars. Many things.

However one thing not that many people know was that this week also marked the end of an era. The final Starcraft Broodwar Starleague has ended. The final OSL completed. There will be no more professional, individual Broodwar tournaments.

The final finals. (Team Liquid)

Now, some people might not care. But I certainly do.

It kinda makes me sad. Yes, I really enjoy Starcraft II, but at the same time Broodwar is essentially a mainstay in eSports. It is a piece of history and culture. Yet at the same time, it feels like it was killed off in the sake of "good" business.

You know, I was excited for this when it was announced. Now I just kinda feel. Kinda sick. (Team Liquid)

A lot of the mainstream media that is like, non-Korea don't really understand the entire concept of eSports. It's pretty apparent when you have that one garbage CNN article that pops up that really just puts a damper on everything.

It really doesn't seem right. What really gets me is the cheering crowds during the finals. The fans, who are watching the final night of their favorite game. Showing their passion and cheering for the players, the teams, the casters, and most importantly, the game.

I actually almost had tears in my eyes when I watched the finals. (Twitter)

eSports is a thing. People care about the games they play, not just because it's a game, but they are in fact so much more.

If you want to watch the finals, here they are. Legends match. Set 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.



Friday, August 3, 2012

Global Edge - Routine and Olympics


So this week was incredibly not exciting. Last week was mildly not that exciting, but this week was even less exciting. I've kinda entered a phase of routine now here in Hong Kong. Before I would go out and actually do things, but now that I've kinda settled into a routine, I'm back to pretty much just doing all the things I normally do, mainly program, Internet, eat and sleep.

As far as things I got done for BeaconWall, this week was exporting and archiving week. I literally spent the entire week making sure the exporting and archiving system works the way we want it to.

I made that button. And designed the interface.

How the system worked before was that it would save .avi files to a local drive and that would be that. Nothing else would be done. However with the network upgrade, we want the files to be saved in a way so that they can be indexed and accessed easier, and then exported for transport to a drive.

We aren't saving the files directly onto a server at this point, we are merely moving the files to an external drive and then physically moving the drive to a server and copying the files like that. I'm not a fan of this system, but our client wanted it done like this, so we're doing it like this.

Yay folders.

Essentially, what I did this week can be summed up quite simply as just making a new button on the MaXit interface that when pressed will prompt the user to specify an export directory. Then, the program will go through the save directory and copy all the files there to an export folder in that directory as well as making a copy to an archive folder.

It will also generate a log that can be used by the server for indexing.

I know what you're thinking, that's the most epic export log ever. I know.

I also did some additional tweaks and changes to the system, but they're pretty minor. As of right now though, I'm pretty happy with my progress. I have two weeks left before I'm supposed to leave, but honestly the main MaXit system pretty much has all the features we wanted completed.

All that's left to do is a few small back end things as well as further refinement and polishing. It feels pretty good to know that everything is coming together and actually finishing. Especially since I'm pretty much the only person working on the main MaXit client. Everyone else is working on other interfaces or server stuff.


So the Olympics started this week.

When I was younger, I never really followed the Olympics that much. But starting the Beijing Olympics, I started to since it was in China and I felt like I should be watching. Then obviously Vancouver followed so I watched that too.

I couldn't think of a caption for this, but then I saw the black background in the preview and laughed since the black ring is invisible. (Wikipedia)

So with the Olympics being held in London now, I kinda wanna watch the Olympics too. However it's in a really inconvenient timezone since the events start at like 3 PM and continue until late into the night. It doesn't help that I'm at work until 6 and so am only able to watch at night.

It also makes me sad that the Internet connection at the Nest is pretty bad since it gets bogged down so much with so many people using it. As a result, I can't really even watch it even when I have time. So I end up watching some Ultraman instead. Ended up finishing Ultraman Mebius and man, that series was good.


It's interesting watching from Hong Kong though. Since it's been always pretty obvious that the Olympics coverage has always been tailored to the country it's being broadcasted in, but it was never really apparent to me until I started watching it here.

It's different, because like 80% of all the events being covered feature a person from Hong Kong or China. And when I first started watching, I was like "why are there so many Chinese people being covered." and then I realized and it made sense.

Oh right.

It's cool though. Watching the Olympics from Hong Kong with Cantonese commentary is definitely different than watching it at home. Oddly enough though, watching it from here is making me feel like I should be cheering for China/Hong Kong more than Canada. It's weird how that works.

I'm not normally really a big fan of sporting events in general though. People that know me that know that I'm not really the biggest sport person. But in terms of watching sports, I really don't do that. But to me, it just feels like it's the Olympics. I should be watching.

However I do watch eSports. (

Also North Korea is totally owning up Canada in terms of medals right now.