Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another Self Reflection of Age Increment

var jon = {name: "Jon", age: 27}
jon.age++
console.log(jon.age)

Birthday is a special reminder. It will make us recall that few years back we had born to this world and one day we also need to depart. We do not live forever. There are two important things we could do for this special occasion. First, to do self reflection and second, to pray for our wish and dream. No wonder that most common birthday greeting is "wish you all the best".

Start from reflection, I still not satisfy with myself. I still quite often wasting time instead of doing something useful. I still procrastinate too much. Time management is still the most important skill that I have to improve. 

Regarding wish and dream, like usual I have so many those things in my head and heart. Likely I am blessed to be a super dreamer person. However I won't blabbing it here at the moment. I just would like to restate a personal note that I had written last year. In this age increment, I want "To be more grateful and more humble". There are to many things that need to thank for, like for example this simple but so touching present from my wife. Red tiny MP3 player with my name on it. Maybe wifey have realized how much I addicted to trance music although she said that she prefer me to listen Quran recitation :).



Nonetheless, there is on important wish that likely could be worth to be elaborate. I want to be a person that can give positive impact in social contribution. I have one friend. He is few years younger than me. Yet, I see he has done so many positive contribution in social life surround him. He often arranges and involves in many social activities. Like teaching children from street, arrange blood donation event, collect donation for neglected old person and event recently he managed to arrange some support to develop Islamic school for elementary student. He made me feel so ashamed. In this 28 years of life, I never had done things like he did.

Relate to previous paragraph, since I was studying in high school I always want to be a teacher. Might be not a school teacher but more to be a lecturer or just general speaker. I love to share the things that I know. I have one dream to be a great and inspiring speaker. Maybe one day I could speak in one of TEDex event or some software development conference. Teaching is not only the matter of transferring knowledge but also transferring passion. That's why teacher must be an inspiring person. I am hoping I can make this dream come true. This year is my third year pursuing some scholarship for master study. I have received countless rejection letter. I am hoping can start to study again soon. After that then maybe I could start teaching, inspiring and give positive social impact to my surrounding. For now, let I start by giving this very small contribution by pouring idea through simple writing and push myself to learn how to speak and share better by preparing my next project toastmaster speech for next week.

Life is too precious if just to be ordinary. Let's live life at the fullest.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cascading Dream: How to Find and Adjust Passion

There are two problems relate to human passion. First, problem of person who cannot find their passion. Second, person who know his passion but restricted to reach it.

Passion is the most important thing that drive us in life. It is our fuel that make sure we can keep moving and also our GPS for our direction guidance. According to summary of talk Tim Ferris talk that I took from Arman Sulamanov tumblr, Tim had shared about the way to find our passion. We can find it by ask these two simple questions, what did you do when you were 12 and what would you do event if you weren't paid. 

How to find passion

Let me remember what I would like to be when I was 12. I don't remember exactly whether it was at 12 but there is one of my child "want to be" dream. I want to be an astronaut. It was triggered by some astro scince book that I read when I was stay with my uncle during my elementary school time. I read about NASA space shuttle, international space station and US Apollo project, especially Apollo 11. I dream to be the next Neil Armstrong. 

As my age increased, sometime our dream and passion also evolved. Evolved because we find something that we interest more or could be also because constraint around us that make we adjust our passion. One day around my high school time, I went to bank to save my small saving. I had small talk with the bank teller. He asked me what major that I plan to take in university. I answered that I haven't think about that yet. The teller reply me again, be a computer programmer, he said. That job currently in high demand so that much company will offers good income. I immediately imaging going to office with nice laptop in my backpack (at that time laptop is something that still super duper luxurious) and spent whole time coding in front of computer. Not long after that I ended up taking electrical engineering major in university. Interestingly, after finishing my study, instead of being electrical engineer or teacher (my degree has minor in Education) I became programmer.

It has been 5 years plus I work professionally in that job. Periodically sometime I ask myself, am I drive in correct direction? Every time I answer myself, should be yes. I enjoy most of the time I work. I like to write code even how dizzy is it. I like to play with software development tools, exploring new technology, learning new programming language and dreaming to build my own startups. Even though it will sound naive, but definitely I can state I will happily coding even though I will not get paid. According of previous characteristic description it seems that I already found my passion.

How to adjust passion

Few days back suddenly I found interesting enlightenment. Suddenly I want to be a pilot. Pilot is something that quite related to my childhood astronaut dream. I understand this might be simple twisted thinking that could be not too serious but also could be serious. That willing is triggered by hackernews link that point me to interesting blog of ex programmer that became pilot. Also triggered with GTA V game that I play recently. However this finding arise some interesting discourse. 

Some person lucky enough could be anything they want since beginning. They are capable financially to reach their dream. Many people want to be a doctor but only some that could pay the tuition. Many children want to be a pilot but also not all can afford the expenses. Regarding those facts, I found the answer about adjusting passion.

It is never late to chase your dream. Few years back I was listening radio talk in Jakarta that invite interesting guy name Alexander Lay. He had worked in oil and gas company for few years with very descent income. He said that time, his savings will suffice him with very descent life for 7-10 years without working. We could imagine how large his income. However he found that his job is not his passion. He actually interest with law. Then at one point of time he decide to stop from his job and take law under graduate study for some years and became a lawyer. If you cannot afford to be something in past time, chase your passion at the time you can afford it. Like I have written about Matt Dearden, he was programmer but realize that his passion in flying. After have sufficient saving, he stop work and take flying course for few years and start career as commercial pilot.

Conclusion

After having some experience in finding our passion in life we should inherit this experience to the others. The closest one could be our children. I haven't had any children yet, but not long from now I want to give one luxury that I don't have when I was child: guidance to find a passion. I want to be a consultant of my children for chasing their dream. I also really want to be supporter of their passion chasing, either financially or motivationally. They will be free to chase any of their dream as long as always maintain good deeds in their life. I called this action as cascading the dream. Next generation must be better than current one.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Birthday Love Letter to My Wife

Dear Wifey,

Happy birthday, may Allah always bless you, have all your dreams come true and happiness always be with you forever eternal from now until here after.

We know that we live only temporary. So let we live life at the fullest

Be someone significant. Or at least don't be a burden on this earth. There are already plenty of bad people out there. Don't add more by being one of them. Always try to make world a better place, even if have to by most insignificant way. Don't litters, drive wisely and respectful, always be honest, never cheat in any forms, always be a helpful person to other and if all of those look difficult, at least try to smile because smile is free.

Be a good agent to any attributes that's attached to us. Be a good Indonesian, although how worse political drama that always going on in the country, although so many annoying authority that always thirsty of money and although economy that still crawl slowly. Be a good model by having great achievement academically or professionally. Invent awesome things, make useful research or build a useful platform or business. Be a good Muslim although much people still having bad perspective about Islam. Try to be a good sample and make them reconsider their view. Religion is a medium. When someone bad it doesn't mean by mistake of religion but most likely because something wrong from the person them self.

Develop powerful and competitive generation. Being good by ourself is not enough. Because like I have said world has become more and more unfriendly. Where corruption is common, where people accept bribe shamelessly and event asking it in obvious way, where crime rate somehow always climb, where taking people right is generally happen. Let's build better generation. Be a good mother and let me be a good father. Not just as parent but be their friend as well and most important be a good role model so at the time our children growth up and somebody ask to them "Hi kid, what you want to be in this life?" and proudly they will respond "I want to be like mom and dad." Let growth children and teach about good self awareness, be a respectful person, be a hard and smart worker, have a high dream, achieve many great things and most important always honest in all aspect of their life. Hopefully this approach will sequentially inherited to our grand children education as well in similar good way. At the end hopefully if world could not be better instantly, let some years to be the cost, and need some generations to be go through.

Happy birthday my lovely wifey and let's always try to make world to be a better place. If it seems hard, at least make ourself to be a better person.

PS: I love you

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two Years in Singapore: A Short Self Reflection

Dear day, today is exactly two years I live in Singapore. Two years ago, only few days after my wedding, I flew to Singapore for work. I still remember the moment when I hug my wife in airport at that day and leaving Jakarta the city where I study and work in total of 7 years. My wife actually join me later in Singapore for few weeks, but the sad feeling at that day was there because after beside just Jakarta - Singapore distance, later on we have to face further distance, Asia - Europe when my wife study has started. However, it was hard but finally there will be only a couple of months left before we reunite again after wifey finishing her study and for this time should be no more long distance between us again.

Like I often said, I moved to Singapore totally in unexpected way. I have the wish to go here since long time ago but it was some kind of shallow wish. I always like to travel and explore. Hence since child, staying abroad is one of my dream. When I was in University I wrote "Work in Singapore" in one of my wish list in my journal. The country just came in my mind. Close to Indonesia, good standard of life and very safe country. Lesson learned from this wish is universe tends to follow what wish we have even how small the wish is. Never stop to dream because like Turbo said, there is dream to big and no dreamer to small.

Interested to have job in Singapore? Hopefully some of my experiences can give some insights. Anyway, the unexpected way that I said is not totally unexpected too. In this internet era job recruitment can be done easily because most of the people will online profile and resume. At that time a recruiter from Singapore company got my contact from linkedin and looking a requirement that match with my profile. Fast forward, I got phone interview and some administrative check and then some salary negotiation and I got a job offer. Lesson learned from this experience is enhance our online branding if we are looking some new opportunities. In this time we can still use linkedin, nice personal website and blog and also some online portfolio website for example like github. Of course all those stuffs have to be balanced by our truly technical and personal skills too.

By using internet for advertising ourself we have kill location limit and can open unlimited possibilities. I am not campaigning for everyone to go to Singapore or go to abroad for work. Living abroad for sometime let say 3 - 5 years will bring so much advantages for us. For example we will get new experiences, new perspectives and new exposures in life. It will be pathetic to have life in same city, same country for the rest of our life. World is big, so many nice things and indeed some dangerous things outside. Why don't have a nice journey in this short life? Work and collaborate with people from different culture. Work in the place which has 4 seasons. Going to Amsterdam for job interview. Have a phone interview with amazon.com. At the end, if we really nationalist we can go back to our country after that 3 - 5 years and make any contributions that we could. Anyway, foreign worker actually contribute to national income. We work abroad but we spent most in our country.

In this two years actually there are not to much weird thing happen. All the things mostly in order. Going to work from Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm. Hang out with friends on weekend. Go to mall or watch movie in cinema occasionally. Etc. I had work in two different companies since moving here. Basically most of the things quite same like in Jakarta. Except in here we will face truly multicultural environment. Our colleagues can come from many different countries. Not only Asia even could be Europe or other continents. The job pressure is depend on the project and timeline. When we reach a deadline soon, of course the pressure will be higher. In other time the pressure will be less if all the things has been finished.

Outside of work and come to daily life. Singapore is one of the safest country in the world. There are never any worries when we travel in public transport and going home late night. However the police here a have tagline that very good to keep us aware. "Less crime doesn't mean no crime". Second, Singapore also has one of the best public transport system in the world. Since I moved here I always want to purchase a motorbike. However since public transport is so good, having our own vehicle actually bring more burden than advantage. The public transport is punctuate. Train access almost all the part of islands end to end and keep growing. The bus is very reliable and also punctuate. We even can see the bus timing from the smartphone. Taxi also easy to get (outside peak hour of course) and what I like here the driver will give the chance even to the smallest cents. The mentality that I rarely face from Jakarta taxi driver. Pedestrian is designed properly. In here pedestrian walkers have highest right on the road. Overall the infrastructure here is almost perfect. Beside public transport, Singapore has public library in almost every region with very up to date collections. There are so many sport centre with swimming pool also in almost every region. There are many jogging tracks and nice parks. Mosque is not located in every blocks but still very accessible. In total there are 69 mosques around the island. One of my favourite rule in here is people cannot smoke anywhere. Very contrast compared to Jakarta. D

However there are also some disadvantages to consider. Singapore is very expensive. Income will be much higher but the expense also very big. Without proper financial management we can work for nothing in here. Second, the country is very small. We can feel excited in the first 1 or 2 months live here. But after that most of the thing feel boring. Same routine and not too much thing we can do. Anyway this second problem is not too relate about the country itself. If we feel so that bored we can just fly back to exotic tourism area in Indonesia or we could just cross using boat to Batam or also possible to fly to Thailand or Vietnam.

In conclusion even though life goes up and down sometime excited and sometime flat but I enjoy most of the time here. Not sure until when I will be in this country. My another pending wish list is to move to Europe and stay there for 3 - 5 years, grown my children and have some world trip. The experience must be much different from the current one.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to Have an Awesome Life

Life is too precious if just to be ordinary
 Human live in this earth only in limited time. In this era, average life expectancy in Indonesia is around 70 years. We could have some bonuses  for some extra years or on the other side we could also have less years. Nobody will know when exactly died will approach. The most important thing we only have one life. There is no green mushroom like in Super Mario Bros that give us extra life after we died. So let spent it wisely.

There are not a sin to life just usual. However, I catch one nice quote about few years back. I don't exactly remember from where I got that. Perhaps even I was the one who originally created it. The quote sounds "Life is too precious if just to be ordinary." We have only one life with limited time span then why don't we spend it in awesome way?

Here are two important things that I considered important to be an awesome person. First is we should be an awesomely honest and awesomely nice person. Most religious people beliefs there will be another eternal life after this where we will be granted for what we did in this life. Logically it will be ridicolous chasing some material things with not honest way and feeds our family with such dirty income. However still many people do. The act of robbing not always must be in obvious way. Corruption either in form of time and money is one common example that happen in many places on earth. Life honestly, only consume a clean income and always be nice with other is one important thing that we should do first. Think deeply for we want to do because we will ask for our responsibility for what we have done.

Second is going the extra miles. I got this quote from Negeri 5 Menara (Country of 5 towers) novel wrote by A. Fuadi. Very nice three sequels of novel to boost our motivation in life. The point of this quote is do our best in every aspects of our life and let God decide what is the best outcome for every particular current situation. Wifey always advice me one of greatest suggestion I ever received. "Always try immediately every potential opportunity and challenge that in-line with your interest and vision. Let decide what should we do later after getting the outcome." Example, I have applied so many scholarships in this 3 years and indeed still no one succeed yet. Who cares about the failure? It might hurt you at beginning. Whatever that doesn't kill you will make you stronger. In Mario Bros term again, whatever doesn't kill you will make you smaller. Do self evaluation, analyse what improvement that can be done and then retry again. We might be still fail again but at least we will learn so much. Just do the first step and let decide the next step after getting the first outcome. If succeed later we decide what to do and if not succeed we can check what kind of strategy adjustment we can do.

I want to continue elaborate further about "do our best and going the extra miles". If other people fail one times and give up, don't be like that. Don't bother to fail hundreds time and keep going extra with every strategy adjustment that we need. If other people study for 2 hours per night let make it 3 hours for us. If other people can finish work assignment in 4 hours find a way so we can finish earlier. Not only for such example, other sample is if other people spent his time from growth up until die in one place then we should go to explore the world. There are too many beautiful place that we should missed it on earth. Go to Europe, America, Middle East to any place that we can. Travel always bring positive insight in our life. Luckily it was rooted in one of my passion. Be different, be original, be as best you can and be yourself. Because once more, life is too precious if just to be ordinary.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Retrospective of Second Wedding Anniversary: Marriage Advice that I Will Do Properly

In the end, marriage isn't about Happily ever after. It's about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come. -- Gerald Rogers 

I like to reflect and to retrospect. I do a self retrospection again like I did last year. To reflect can be defined as think deeply or carefully about something relate to our self. To retrospect can be define as survey or review of a past course of events or period of time.The main aim of either reflect and retrospect are to do self evaluation so that if there are something that can be improved we can do so. To reflect is like seeing our self in mirror. We will never realize how we looks until seeing our self. Perhaps somebody can remind us but most of the time we are tend not believe until can see the proof by standing in front of mirror. Are we looking good? Are we can tidying our self to be better? To retrospect is like to turn around our head to see what we have passed behind. Today I would like to retrospect and to reflect about my marriage in its second year.

In Islamic believe, there are three things that decided absolutely by God. Birth, dead and who will be our spouse. First, we can not decide when we will got birth and who will be our parents. Second, we also never know when we will died. The obvious thing is died will definitely come but the time is indefinite, could be soon or later. Third, whom will be our spouse also cannot be choose exactly. She or he could be some of our friends, or maybe our neighbor, or perhaps our work colleague or could be someone who just come to our life suddenly. The last one is our case.

Like quite often I shared, how I met my wife at first time was very unusual. I first met her in scholarship selection. Before that actually I was introduced indirectly by one of my fried that at the same time also friend of my wife. Within 5 months from that meeting we got married. It felt like just yesterday but actually we have been fast-forwarded for two years.

My Favorite Perfume



Wedding Anniversary Card
Like her usual hoby, wifey (the way I call my wife) sent me a present yesterday after a few weeks ago she sent me beautiful letter. Wifey also sent me beautiful marriage advice from Gerald Rogers that went viral earlier this year. The original title of his advice was Marriage Advice I Wish I Would Have Had. Gerald advice is an irony, because he has divorced, and the advice is his self reflection and self retrospect that we can learn from. Since his website is detected has some mallware by my google chrome, I will just rewrite points of those advice here:

  1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted.
  2. PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART.
  3. FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER and OVER again.
  4. ALWAYS SEE THE BEST in her.
  5. IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing.
  6. TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad.
  7. NEVER BLAME your wife If YOU get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU.
  8. Allow your woman to JUST BE.
  9. BE SILLY… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.
  10. FILL HER SOUL EVERYDAY… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED.
  11. BE PRESENT.
  12. BE WILLING TO TAKE HER SEXUALLY, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul.
  13. DON’T BE AN IDIOT.
  14. GIVE HER SPACE.
  15. BE VULNERABLE.
  16. BE FULLY TRANSPARENT.
  17. NEVER STOP GROWING TOGETHER.
  18. DON’T WORRY ABOUT MONEY.
  19. FORGIVE IMMEDIATELY and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past.
  20. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE.
Of course, absolutely I won't follow Gerald Rogers trail but most of his advice is very make sense.

Our First Honeymoon in Malang, East Java
In return of wifey's gift and love letter, I sent a love email to her this morning. I just would like to share it here hopefully can give remind us later in future about our own reflection and retrospection. Where was we, where will go and how to go there.

***

Dear Wifey,

Our Second Honeymoon, ready to fly from Bali to Lombok
It has been two years isn't it? Also, Like I often said Time flies isn't it?  I remember almost all details since the first time we met, to the time we felt click, to the time we got married, to the time we were mostly separated, to the time we could live together like common couple for a while, to the time of today when I write this letter.

It was still quite clear in my mind, the first day we met, when unluckily you sit beside me :p. The destiny will be totally different if you were sitting at different spot. We were talking so much in the middle of test. I didn't wanted to waste a chance, I found a way to got your phone number before leaving that day. The destiny might be different if I didn't successfully got your phone number. And then you also remember the story after that, don't you? Watch movie, some dinners and dates, hanging out to mall, etc.

Short Trip to Melaka
Birth, died and mate are God area. He decide all those stuffs. I was wonder at beginning, how God can find a match of one man to another woman. Does he use some kind of transcendent algorithm? The way we met and then live together and hopefully forever, always make me wonder. How lucky I am to have you at the end.

You are almost perfect from all side, that can complement so many deficiencies that I have. Joy, comfort, sense fulfillment are all the feelings that I have since we are together. If sometime I behave strange, like so easy to get emotional, those are not because something wrong from your side but totally more to my own mistake that could not be more patient and could not be more gentle to treat you. However, I am always learning to be a better person.

So let's talk about some mission statement. Firstly I want we can partner together to build our dream marriage. With a joy, laugh and comfort that never last forever. I don't want to learn that by going through bad way such your story below. How hard the challenges that might come in front of us, I always wanted to stay beside you and hold your hand firmly. Second, I want we can be together to build a strong generation in very nice family. To have smart and wise children that love the learn, full of care and have big dreams. Third, I want we to be more settled. To have a nice home anywhere or some houses in some beautiful places with some of our dreams vehicles inside garages. A wise man said, don't put dunia (material world) in your heart but grab it in your hands. Fourth, always have a great adventures ahead. Fifth, please help me to add.

On Our Way to Bukittinggi, West Sumatera
Dear wifey thank you to be with me for this 2 years. I hope you don't mind to spent the rest of our life together. Thank you for continuesly giving surprises and presents. Those are important but still, you are the most important one.

Happy 2 years anniversary. I always love you.

PS: I love you

***
Marriage is a moment when there is no one wearing mask and present truly them self. Two years is even still not enough to really know and to really understand each other. However she always better than me, knowing and understanding me much more even than myself, caring me so much like make sure I am not hungry even when she is hungry, make sure I sleep well even when she not sleep well, often give me a surprise and gift even when I rarely did the same. Happy 2nd wedding anniversary to my lovely wifey. Thank you very much for limitless love, joy and comfort that you bring since I pledged to be your forever love partner. PS: I love you -- Jon Kartago Lamida

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Several Good Movies Shot in Europe

Europe has many beautiful countries. This continent always being one of place that I want to spent some of years of my life, either by studying or working for 3 to 5 years maybe. Unfortunately both of that willing haven't come true yet. Europe always unique in my opinion, first because various countries with their own cultures and languages. Second, most of the countries there are advance country. Third, they have many beautiful architectures and buildings. Fourth, as a tropical country man, I always wonder how 4 season climate feels like. Fifth, most of European countries linked with good quality of transportation system. Let say comprehensive European rail line. Sixth, etc.

There are some movies that took those setting into scene. Some are quite good movies.

Run Lola Run (1998)
This is Germany movie. Starred by Franka Potente that also play as Bourne lover in first and second Bourne movie. The story of this movie is very unique. Of course I wouldn't tell the twist. The movie was shot in Germany.

Bourne Trilogy (2002, 2004 and 2007)
This movie franchise is one of my favorite. The movie is about Jason Bourne, a former CIA that suffers loss of his memory and being chased by other CIA agent in one big conspiracy. The movies were shot in all over Europe like France, Prague, Italy, Spain, UK, etc. We can see car chasing, airport, train station, cross country drive in this movie. There are a spinoff series that released on 2012 but the main role is not Matt Dammon anymore and the shot mostly in Philipine.


Vollgas - Gebremst wird sp├Ąter (2005)
Another Germany movie. The story is about a woman and driver that is trapped in a car that has been planted a bomb. The driver has to follow the guide of one person who put the bomb or else they will be blown up. The shooting location is in Germany. They are using VW Golf for the movie.

The Tourist (2010)
I just saw the movie today. Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp play the main role. The tagline is the perfect trip, the perfect trap. Johnny Depp is an American tourist who visit Europe and suddenly chosen to be a decoy by Jolie when they meet in train to Venice. The movies set were in France and spent most of the hour in Venice, Italy. So there will some chase action but instead of car they use boat.

Zindegi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Indeed this is Indian movie. Recently more and more Indian movies is shot abroad. However, still some dancing will shown along the show. The main story of this movie is about friendship of 3 best friends. Since of them will get married very soon, they deside reunite by travelling to Europe together. The movie is quite good. The most of the movie set was in Spain.

Habiebie Ainun (2012)
The story about one former of Indonesian President and also very respectful Indonesian Technologies BJ Habiebie and his wife Ainun. The movie take the story from the biography book writen by BJ Habiebie itself. The set of the movie were in Indonesia and also some sets in Germany. Some sets that I can remember is when Habiebie sit with Ainun in the park to feed the Pigeons.

TBD
There might be some movies I forgot to include, I will add them later.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hackerx Singapore 2013: Bring Developers and Founders in One Place

I just attended Hackerx, an interesting event this evening. The event try to arrange a meeting between startup founder with a hackerx or we can said as  an awesome potential recruitment. Hackerx is based in USA and likely this is their first event in Singapore or maybe Asia.



Overall, the event is nice. Anyway, I found one link that have opposite perspective. The concept is hackerx organizer will invite about 50 software developer and around 10 to 20 startups. The developer likely is picked by browsing and selection through online resume. Perhaps Linkedin. The invited developer can come free of charge. However the employer have to pay some amount of money to attend. The main content of hackerx is speed dating between startups and prospective employees. The startups founder will sit in some of chair and desk provided inside the venue. The invited developer will queue for 5 minutes interview with startups owner. The interview more or less will consist about tell me about yourself and I will tell you about myself. There will be impossible to do some kind of coding challenge or deep architectural design discussion within 5 minutes only. The event is limited for about only 2 hours. Startups list is announced exactly at the event day, so that we don't have much time to research and getting know about the startups. Actually, in this current event most employer looks for front end developer. I was accidentally invited perhaps because some wording in my Linkedin profile mentioning some "front end" words.



There are about 18 company that come to this current event.

Unfortunately, because limited time I just have chance to talk with some.

Hackerx is more to networking rather than recruitment because it will be little bit difficult to get to know each other only withing 5 minutes. Job opportunities is a great thing to get. However at least I can meet some new people there, with so many ideas that they bring. At the end it could got force as well for me to cultivating some ideas then writing prototype and launching my own startup. Of course there will need much times and extra effort to do the later one.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Booking.com Job Interview Experience



Last month I had an opportunities to visit Amsterdam for the first time. I went there to attend onsite interview in Booking.com. Booking.com provide very great facility during recruitment process.

That experience was started when I see and booking.com Perl developer vacancy in stackoverflow career website. Actually the position is for Perl developer. Honestly I don't have professional experience in Perl yet. But the job post didn't ask such requirement. Although I spent most of my professional career use Java, but I am language agnostic person that always happy to try and learn new thing.

Back to the interview story. After submitting my resume, I didn't receive any immediate reply. Couple of weeks from that suddenly I received a missed call from strange number. The country code is +31. I asked to my wife which country code is that. Then she goggled it and reply her finding, "Netherlands". I didn't know exactly who probably try to call me that night.

Few days later another phone call was coming in at the time I go home from office. Same country code, but not sure whether it was the same number. I picked up the called and the girl was on the phone. She greeted me and introduced as a recruiter from Booking.com. Since my phone was low battery I asked her to call me back in couple of minutes so that I could reach my room and plug the charger.

Couple of minutes later I was standby in my room. Looking my phone waiting the recruiter to call me back. The phone was ringing again and I picked up. Fast forward, we were talking about HR thing. Her main question was about my interesting to do a technical phone interview about the job that I applied. Of course I said I interest. Later she asked several information about my profile. Time availability, the reason to change job, salary expectation, etc. At the end of phone called she said will arrange phone interview schedule  At the next day I got the schedule about two weeks forward from that day.

Then within 2 weeks I did some preparation. I went to library and lend several books, specially Perl and algorithm book. Read the book and did coding practice. Finally the phone interview schedule was coming. I did the interview at 10 PM Singapore time which is around 4 PM Amsterdam time. There was two interviewer. I spent about 45 minutes for the interview. The questions include algorithm, database and one business process. The interviewer are so nice. Like usual at the end they let me ask question regarding the company or the job. They said I will got the result withing 2 days.

The day after I was on the bus from office to go home. Another Netherlands number was calling. She introduced as another recruiter in booking.com and immediately congratulate me for passing phone interview phase so that I was invited to go to Amsterdam for onsite interview. Wow it was an awesome call. For the first time in my life I will go to Europe for free. She gave me 6 weeks time preparation so that I can apply visa while she would prepare another things for my travel preparation. In the same time that 6 weeks also very useful for me to do technical preparation as well by more reading and coding practice.

I applied my visa through Netherlands embassy in Singapore. The process was very straightforward  First we need to make appointment through the website. The visa requirement are application form, photo, invitation letter, travel insurance, recommendation letter from our current company, last 3 months bank account statement and visa fee. The current fee for Schengen visa is 60 Euro which is equivalent to 97.10 SGD at my application time. After all requirement was complete, I went to the embassy according to my appointment time. I submit the whole document and the staff will check it immediately. I pay fee and the visa can be collected withing few days (I forgot how many days). At scheduled collection date I called the embassy and they said the visa is ready. While waiting my departure time at the end of April, I spent the time for reading and coding practice again.

Finally the departure time was coming. I took 3 days leave for this purpose. I went on April 17 Wednesday, just after midnight. I arrived the same day around 7 AM in the morning. But the whole flight was about 14 hours direct! The longest flight I've ever experienced. I spent the time on plane by sleeping and staring flight tracking screen seeing the plane icon moving slowly from Singapore to Amsterdam. The first feeling after landing was cold weather. Actually it was already spring, but the temperature still below 10 Celsius.

From the plane I move fast through Schiphol airport, pass the immigration and then collect my baggage  Later I went outside baggage collection area and found a stall selling phone sim card. I bought Lebara sim card with some data plan. After that I move a while see airport surrounding. Later I bought the train ticket to Amsterdam central from the machine. It cost about 4 Euros something from Schiphol to Amsterdam central. The train station located exactly below the airport. Europe has very complex railway system. In schiphol station itself there are several train platforms. We have to go to correct platform when going to particular destination. The very coplete informartion bords are everywhere but we still need sometime to grasp all the things. Within few minutes the train was coming and jumped in then try to find empty seat. I was asking one passenger just to make sure that I ride the correct train. The train was moving out the station and rise to the street level. Slowly I amazed to have that experience. I am in Europe! I saw the cars at the street, the vehicle is moving at the right lane. I saw many exotic and well maintained building. I saw so many people ride bike.

About half hour later I arrived at Amsterdam Central station. I alighted from the train and directly went down from platform to the station. After observing from internet, I should ride tram to my hotel. But I have to purchase OV chipkaart first. OV chipkaart is a smart card that we can use to pay public transport in Netherlands. For someone who live in Singapore, OV chipkaart more or less is similar with Singapore EZlink card. But OV chipkaart just implemented recently. We can purchase the card from the machine. After purchasing the card I go out and find tram stop with so many trams standby ready to serve passenger to various destination. Exactly after going out from station I was hitted by cold weather. Actually I have used thick jacket and sweater.

Every tram number has their own rail and stop. In every stop there will be a board showing tram destination and the whole stops it will passed. I directly hoped to one of the tram and not forget to tap my OV chipkaart to the ready near the entrance. Tram usually consist two or three cars. The crew are one driver at the front and one assistant in the middle who sit inside one ticket counter. We can pay cash here if we don't have OV chipkaart.

It was about 4 stops from Amsterdam central to my hotel. I alight and walk some minutes to the hotel. I was staying in The Bridge hotel, during my visit to Amsterdam. The hotel located exactly beside the canal. Oh yeah, I forgot to share, Amsterdam is canal city. Canals are everywhere. Boat are everywhere. Bikes also everywhere. I went in to the hotel, checked in, and entered the room. All expenses has been taken care by booking.com.

When entering the room I was amazed, I got the room with canal view. The room was so large. A queen bed, work table, a heater near window and large bathroom. That evening for the first time I can feel how is jet lag. I fall sleep at 5 PM and suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, fresh! My body still think that I am still in South East Asia.

Btw I have shared too many unnecessary detail. Let's fast forward to interview date. My schedule was on Friday 19 April, two days after my departure. Booking.com office located 5 minutes walk from my hotel. So at the d day, I walked 15 minutes before the schedule. I register at the front office, wait some minutes and finally welcomed by another recruiter. The onsite interview was scheduled for 3 hours. 1 hour HR interview plus 2 times 1 hour technical interview.

The HR interview stage actually more to presentation than interview. Because at this opportunities one HR staff will describe a lot of benefits that we will receive if got the offer. The interviewer also again will ask about the reason why we want to move etc.

The first technical interview was coming. There are two developer. Immediately they ask one algorithm about string permutation. I have to admit that I was little bit stuck in this question. But I tried to be cool and keep comminicate with them properly elaborating my thinking process. At the end I can solve their question after they simplify and simplify again the problem. Anyway, likely they are not too satisfy with result.

The second technical interview, another two developers were coming. At this stage I asked little bit more database question and business process. At this stage I was more confidence with all of my answers. Finally 3 hours interview has ended.

That afternoon I was planning to go to Keukenhof. But it was too late for that day, so that I went there the day after. Anyway let just fast forward again to one week later after I go back to Singapore. Finally on Thursday 25 April I receive email from booking.com HR. I just watched Iron Man 3 in cinema with my wife. The email consist of rejection. Honestly I feel so sad that time. I was thinking, if I can got the offer, I can move to Amsterdam, and can stay closer to my wife which is currently studying post graduate in Germany. I just feel so often failed. But this time it is easier for me to try to be positive. Most likely that positive feeling was coming after so many encouragement from my wife. Something is happening and not happening with reason. Event for the worst failure there will be always sweet lesson that we can gain.

Now it has been more than one month since that awesome experience. I will be always looking forward, continuously enhance myself, trying with my best for any opportunities. Destiny is not lie on water surface that is impossible to write. Destiny is written in hard stone. We still need a hard effort but always possible to write any story that we want.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Amsterdam Here I Come

There's no rejected pray. When pray seems not granted immediately, it could mean 3 things:

  1. Our pray is suspended to more appropriate time
  2. Our pray is replaced with something we need more
  3. Our pray is granted at the hereafter with something bigger


About some years ago, I put a simple facebook status. I forgot its detail, but more or less it said something like "Amsterdam here I come!!!". At that time honestly I just babbling. Babbling from the heart.

Since I was child, I always hope can live abroad. At that time, the way that I think could be the path to that dream is through post graduate study. That's why, there was a time when I'd tried to apply several sholarship. Speaking Europe, I was inspired by Edensor novel by Andrea Hirata. Europe is one of my dream land. Anyway, I failed in many sholarships appication about 3 years in the row. Little bit frustrated, but somehow I realize that there are so many lessons from those experiences. I learn to be more persistent, to be more grateful, to be more excellent.

This month I received interesting surprise. I will fly to Amsterdam for one ocassion. Exactly the old dream that come true. For some people flying to Europe is a simple thing. Maybe it just the matter of purchasing the ticket. But for me it was special experience. Unfortunately I cannot see the snow at this time since now has been spring in western Europe. At least perhaps I can see beautiful tulip blomming in a wide garden.

This experience is one simple proof for the prior statement I've mentioned. There is no rejected pray. Never lost your patience, your enthusiasm and at the same time always put your best effort in anything you want to achieve.



Life is short. Life is too precious to be ordinary. World is too beautiful to left it unseen.

Amsterdam, here I come!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Legoland Malaysia Review

This post was half way written since September last year. I just can finish it right now, because my laziness.

This post will share about my first visit to the large newest theme park in South East Asia. It is exactly located in Malaysia. I will talk about Legoland.

Legoland Malaysia is the first Legoland park in Asia. At first time I was little bit reluctant when prepared plan to visit this place. From some review on internet, some of people said that Legoland is child oriented theme park that probably not suitable for adult. This consideration is really matter, because I plan to visit there with my wife. Two adults visits child theme park seems not sound good. But later I decide just to visit there while my wife still here in her summer holiday.

The adult ticket for Legoland is 140 MYR. In Singapore dollar it will be around 56 SGD. It is quite expensive and have small differences with more well known theme park, Universal Studio Singapore at about 68 SGD. But still we just decide to buy and try. After browsing Groupon, we found a nice offer. By paying 52.90 SGD we got one Legoland ticket include return bus coach from and to Singapore. We book departure date on 15 September 2012, exactly at grand opening date of the park.
The Ticket

We went from Singapore Flyer as the starting point. My booking confirmation show our departure at 8.30. But later I realized the tour provider made a mistake. We supposed to depart on 9.00 AM. Several minutes before 9.00 I queue for exchanging my booking confirmation sheet with two tickets. Then several minutes after 9.00 the bus departed. Legoland is located in Johor area. It takes less than 90 minutes travel time from Singapore. So we were arriving before 10.30. First impression when we arrived: It was so hot!!

Actually we were anticipated that in grand opening day there would be a lot people came. Yes they were so many people, but not so many as our expected. In the ticketing counter the queue was so long. Maybe around 100 people were queueing. We were lucky already purchased the ticket so we don't need to queue.

First thing first was to take foto in the front of Legoland logo. Because it was quite hot we just enter the park after scaning ticket barcode. At the entrace we can take a Legoland map. Legoland is divided into several section. I didn't remember exactly all sections. But it about 8 section with around 40 shows, rides and attractions. All section is located arround circle area with one interesting poin that we cannot find in another theme park. It is Miniland. In Miniland we can find a lot of buildings and landmarks miniature from Malaysia and several countries in South East Asia built in Lego. I think this section is best of the best in Legoland. We can spent plenty of time take a photo in this area. The best time to visit this place will be at afternoon when the sun goes down. Beside Landmark made by Lego, in all over park we will see a lot of interesting figure, animal or structure also made by Lego.

Me and Wife at front of Legoland Gate

Bali in Miniland
We don't want to play in rush. So we didn't try too much attractions and rides. Several that we had tried are as follow. First is Legoland express. Simple large train build with structure like Lego that will move slowly around center of Legoland. Second we plan to try Project X. Some kind of 4 seater roller coaster. But we decide to cancel riding after queueing and saw several time that ride was jammed. Third ride we were trying Wave Racer. It was quite interesting ride. We were spinning in the middle of the pool on the ride that we can control to move to or from center. Sometime there will waterbomb that can make us little bit wet. Fourth we were riding a roller coaster. There are two roller coaster in Legoland The Dragon and The Dragon Apprentice(if we count Project X as roller coaster there will be three). The Dragon Apprentice is smaller and less challenged Roller Coaster, that's why we decide to ride it instead of The Dragon. Fifth, we ride some kind of carrosel with name Merlin Challenge. Sixth, we were trying Kids Power Toys. This ride will make some turn and we can pull and release a rope that connected to our sit. Not too special but still quite interesting. We plan to ride viewing tower but it was currently checked for some problem. The viewing tower will move the cabin from bottom to several meters high to the top where we can see suround view of whole Legoland.
Lego Einstein

The next attraction that we try was 4D show. Every hour usually will be played different movie. The show is played for about 10 to 15 minutes. The show is not so uncommon right now. 4D show with 3D movie, wind blow and snow. After watching 4D we ride Dino Island. This is water slider ride. This ride was exciting, although we can find similar ride in other theme park. The next ride is Lost Kingdom. We ride a kind of train with a gun attached there. On the way in we can use that laser gun to shoot a lot of 'evil' object with a censor. Every time we hit the target our score will be incremented on display at front of us.

The time move so fast. Our bus will pick up us around 9 PM to go back to Singapore. Before going out we alocate last time to ride Lego Boating School. Actually this is the most boring ride that we tried that day. Even we have to queue almost one hour. But since I went with my wife, it was still very enjoyable moment.

Finally we going out. Buy some KFC for our dinner on the bus otw back home.

In conclusion, I would like to say with given ticket price and the available ride and experiences that we can get, visiting Legoland is worth to visit.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

First Phone Interview for Software Development Engineer Position in Amazon.com


About few months ago, one of amazon.com recruiter asking my CV through Linkedin and invite me for the recruitment that would be conducted in Singapore. The position is for Software Development Engineer that will be based in Seattle, US. With full of interest I decided to sent the CV and answer several question she asked. Unfortunately only few days before recruitment date, she informed me again that cannot proceed me further. At that time they can only proceed Singaporean or Australian citizen because US visa quota limit consideration for other citizenship including me as Indonesian (H-1B visa if I am not mistake). But she promised that in the beginning of 2013 (when visa limit quota will be reset) there will be another recruitment process.

Her promise is right. Just about 2 weeks ago another amazon recruiter contact me and offering one phone interview schedule for AWS Software Development Engineer position. With full enthusiasm I send her my available date and time. I also do some of researches for the preparation. According to the information I have gathered from internet, amazon.com interview will be very technical and involve writing code. Until job offer, candidate have to pass up to 3 phone interview and whole day onsite interview.  I read many books about coding interview, other books about algorithm and some books about cloud computing. I also practiced a lot solving some coding problems.

Finally the interview has been conducted this Saturday morning 6.00 AM GMT+8 (Friday 2.00PM Seattle time). The interview who called me is very nice. He speak very clearly and we discussed a lot while I try to solve some coding problem. At the beginning he introduce himself then start asked some of my background, my project, what I did, etc. Next he asked some basic question about java keyword. Then finally we arrived at the coding challenge.

The first problem is: "Given binary search tree, write a method that will return the next node from given node!". Actually I have been anticipating such questions. But since I have to write in interview nuance, it make me little bit nervous and under pressure. I wrote the code in one online coding collaboration website, so both of us can see what I have written in real-time  After struggling some minutes finally I can finish the solution. I am not sure whether he satisfied or not.

The second problem he just asked me to get element with second most highest occurrences from and array of object.

example:
someArrays = {"xx", "yy", "xx", "yy", "zz", "xx"}
xx shown up 3 times
yy shown up 2 times <-- this is the second most occurances
zz shown up 1 times

Actually this is also not should be too difficult. First, iterate onel time the array and push every object occurrences into a hashtable. Second, iterate hashtable and return the second most occured. But I was struggling how to get the key of most occurred object. I will write the solution in here, later.

Last, finally he asked me if I have any question. I just asked about what he do in Amazon. I also asked how many person inside one team. In conclusion I feel not satisfied with my interview. I supposed to perform better. But I should not be regret. I can use this experience as a trigger to learn more so can be more prepared if face same experience again. Not sure whether I can have next interview or not, but it is enjoying experience.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fibonacci Sequence With and Without Recursion


Fibonacci sequence is sequence with subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. See snapshot below from wikipedia.

We can implement this algorithm either using recursion or without. Let see both.Before the implementation let see how is the sequence defined for every F(n).

F(0) = 1 or F(0) = 0 in some definition
F(1) = 1
F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2)

Now these are implementation using Java

With Recursion
int fibo(int in){
 if(n <= 1){
  return n
 }else{
  return fibo(n-1) + fibo(n-2);
 }
}
Without Recursion
int fibo(int n){
 if(n <= 1){
  return n;
 }
 int fibo = 1;
 int fiboPrev = 1;
 for(int i = 2; i < n; ++i){
  int temp = fibo;
  fibo += fiboPrev;
  fiboPrev = temp;
 }
 return fibo;
}