Community General

Oh Twenty Twenty

As the year ends, I hope you join me in remembering our family, friends, and the almost 2 Million souls who will no longer be with us because of the many trials that 2020 came with.

We will remember them on other days. But for me, a lot of those good memories will be during these holiday seasons. So although bittersweet, I choose now.

They will live through us. As we live our meaningful lives, we hope to pass on their wisdom and virtues they taught us.

And a big Thank You, to those who continue to get us through these times, our heroes; the front-liner health workers, essential workers in other industries, and everyone who continues to contribute in big and small ways. May you continue to be well.

We may deal with these in different ways but one thing we all share for sure.We are still here!

We will rock (or flow – whatever works for you), learn, love, stay healthy, humble, kind, and hope for better years ahead.

Happy Holidays and stay safe from our family to yours!


Of course, a nerd future dad will post his baby’s registry on his site

And that would be me. Yes, Lauren and I are expecting a baby boy!

So that friends and family would get easier directions if they want to share in our registry, I am posting it here, now.

Click the link below to access the registry

Community General

DMV behind-the-wheel driving test in Fremont, CA

Passed my behind-the-wheel driving test today in Fremont, CA DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) [4287 Central Avenue, Fremont, CA 94536]

Sharing a thing or two about the experience and what could be useful to others.

Written Test and Permit (pre-requisite to the actual driving test)
Before you can take the behind-the-wheel driving test you have to pass the written test and be given a temporary permit (good for 90 days of writing).
Rather than discuss here, I would suggest you go to DMV website and read about Drivers License application

After reading the requirements and ready to take the written test, make an appointment (I haven’t tried walking-in but from the looks of the line I would highly recommend making an appointment).

Preparing for Behind-The-Wheel test (aka actual driving test)

  1. Have a car to use for your test.
    • DMV will not provide you a vehicle so if you don’t own a car, you can borrow from a relative or rent a car.
    • But the vehicle must have:
      1. valid car registration (as the driving test date)
      2. car insurance (or named non-owners insurance – particular on liability)
    • I rented a car from Enterprise to use for my test. If you do this too, make sure you tell the rental company that you will use this for DMV behind-the-wheel test so they can give you a letter stating you are allowed to use the car for the test. Also my examiner looked for the rental receipt/document and when he saw that I did not accept supplemental liability protection I had to show him my StateFarm named non-owners insurance. I got one since although I don’t own a car I sometimes drive friend’s, relative or the company car and want I have my own liability insurance (by the way, renters insurance usually does not include damages caused by motor vehicles)
    • Depending on the availability of the car you will use, you can now then schedule an appointment
  2. Schedule an appointment (through their website)
    • Behind-the-wheel is by appointment only
    • I could not do it online then (getting an error) for some reason but when I called DMV (1-800-777-0133)
    • If you’ve driven before (e.g. foreign license) then I would suggest you make appointment right away. The closest DMV office to your area might not have an available behind-the-wheel appointment. Since I live in Mountain View, the closest one were Santa Clara, San Jose, Los Gatos, Fremont.
      • I took my written test in Los Gatos (everyone was nice, not too crowded and went smooth up until the correction of the paper – where I had to wait for almost an hour to get the paper corrected)
      • Why Fremont for behind-the-wheel:
        • Co-workers suggested that it’s relatively easy here compared to others (whatever that means)
        • The earliest that had available schedule
        • Not Los Gatos since there are more uphills and sometimes the roads are narrow then becomes wide etc
  3. Know the area (possible routes)
    • Test examiner will give you instructions along the way but it helps to be familiar with the area (especially if you don’t live in the area)
    • I got my most helpful information from this blog post – Akbar’s Home on the Web
    • Know that no one can predict the routes (but getting familiar with the common ones will help). Since my appointment was a Monday, I went to familiarize with the area the day before that. There were others there too, practicing and scouting the area. I will the route I ended up below.
  4. Day of the appointment
    1. Get you documents ready (your permit, car registration, insurance) and a pen could be handy
    2. Come on time (at least 20 mins before) – parking in that DMV could be hard to find
      • make sure you feel well, ate well, well hydrated (or anything that could cause discomfort)
      • also helps if someone can go with you (if you haven’t had a foreign/another state license then this is a must) since you can’t drive to DMV with just your permit (and without being accompanied by another license holder)
    3. Go and line up at the behind-the-wheel appointment line (as of today was at Window 11). There will be a marker above the window that should give you a hint.
    4. Once you get approved for the actual driving test, you will be asked to get your car to the back (line up on the left side) then wait for your turn
      1. Before you go to the back (and as a best practice, make sure your seat adjustment is comfortable, mirrors are set properly. When I took my foreign drivers license this was actually part of the driving test but in here in CA it doesn’t seem like it (nevertheless do it for your own safety before it’s too late/too risky to make adjustments)
      2. I waited for may 30+ mins for this one (this is when a company could be helpful – the wait could get boring – but during the actual driving it should only be you and the examiner)
    5. Once it’s your turn then test time. Greet your examiner with a smile (not scored in the test but that should be nice). Then there are two parts:
      1. Pre-Drive Checklist
        • basics functions in your car (know where and how to control)
          • windows
          • mirrors
          • turn signals
          • brake lights
          • flashers
          • headlights
          • wiper
          • horn
          • parking brakes
          • defrosters
        • also know how to turn your car key without starting the engine (accessories only > on)
        • arm signals
        • seat belt (since you drove up to the test area, you should already be using it)
        • when the examiner comes in make sure he/she uses the seat belt, if not ask politely
        • examiner will also hand you a piece of yellow cardboard/paper (laminated as of my time) about what will take place (e.g. instructions will be given a long the way)
      2. Actual Driving
        • Examiner will now ask you to start driving (in my case move to the right to exit the DMV to the right)
        • He/she will not trick you (that’s written in the yellow paper mentioned in item#1) so be alert but take it easy, relax
        • This is the first test, leaving that area will require you chase to the next “lane” so make sure you check your mirrors and look over your shoulder (you should know this by now)
        • When exiting DMV make sure you signal of course and stop to check and make sure you exit safely.
        • If examiner asks you to turn right, then exit in a way that you end up in the rightmost lane (that is, do not cross two lanes and end up in the middle lane). If examiner asks you to exit left then turn right, then make sure you end up in the right lane closest to the middle first then slowly move to the right (looking over the shoulder again as best practice) then make your right. Then just follow along, constant/reasonable speed and below the limits indicated, you’ll be alright.
        • At some point (in the residential area) he will ask you to park at the curb (side of the street). Just a regular parallel park (not in between two other vehicles – there wasn’t a lot during my test). He/she will not trick you but make sure to:
          • look at your mirrors, then over your shoulder to make sure you can safely park
          • straighten you parking and try to be within 18 inches away from the curb (more or less – no need to be very accurate but at least not too far, not too close)
          • examiner then asked me to do a straight reverse (make sure you do not hit the curb). Follow best  practices when backing.
          • then examiner asked me to get back on the road, as usual, look over the shoulder and get back on the road safely
        • Proceed and follow along the instructions and you will be fine. At the end you will be back at the DMV to do a diagonal park, then you will know if you passed or failed.
        • When you pass the test you will be asked to go back to Window 11
        • Make sure you check your name and address properly
          • this turned out bad for me – I have two first that ended up with no spaces so ended up with just one firstname lumped together – make sure the staff will get it right before you give a go signal to finalize it

My route

remember there are too many possibilities for routes (depending on examiner, his/her mood, traffic conditions etc). so familiarize but you should only take the test when you’re comfortable driving even if you’re directed to an area you’re not too familiar (or at least you can pay attention and react accordingly to traffic rules/signs)











  1. come out of DMV on Dusterberry Way turning left (get to the center lane first, then move towards the rightmost lane)
  2. turn right towards Central Ave
  3. turn left on Glenmoor Dr (there were speed bumps here – examiner told me one could go over the bumps at most 20 mph)
  4. turn left on Mattos Dr
  5. slight left on Palmer Dr
  6. turn right on Argyle Rd
  7. turn right on Central Ave
  8. turn left on Fremont Blvd
  9. turn left on Peralta Blvd
  10. turn right on Dusterberry Way
  11. turn right on Thornton Ave (no right on red on certain times – watch out and read the timings if red light is on – unfortunately I couldn’t read it earlier – seems to be 7AM-9AM then 1PM-3PM not sure but wasn’t red when I got to it)
  12. turn right on Fremont Blvd
  13. turn right on Central Ave
  14. turn right on DMV (before Dusterberry Way) then park

Checklist/Tips/Reminders – there are too many in the handbook but having a few here relevant to the area

  • turns, merging
    • always
      • signal
      • look over mirrors
      • look over your shoulder
    • when turning, if you start at the inner lane, end at the inner and if you start at the outer lane, end at the outer lane (i.e. do not cross lanes while turning)
  • yield
    • green circle is not a protected turn (let oncoming traffic pass)
    • there were places where left turn should only be if the left green arrow is lit
    • always yield to pedestrians
    • yield signs
  • stop
    • stop at red light
    • full stop at intersections with stop sign – FULL stop – not partial stop
    • stop before the limit line

Good luck!

Safe driving practices and following rules are not only for test purposes, follow them even after you get your license. It would make the road a safer place to be and as they say “the life you save could be yours”.

Though car-free life style is still in my opinion better in most cases (healthier, cheaper) I would still say – happy driving!


Career Growth General

sushi, software and success

Just finished watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi  – a film about Jiro Ono, a 85 year-old sushi master and owner of Michelin 3-Star restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, on his continuing quest to perfect the art of sushi.

“Once you decide on your occupation,” says Jiro, “you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”

Reminds me of a lot of things I try not to forget:

1- make a choice, then move full speed ahead

2- you must love what you do (otherwise find another one)

3- excellence and quality

4- art

Just around the time when I am in the process of reading Seth Godin’s book Linchpin. Probably safe to call the master sushi chef the linchpin that ties together vendors (shrimp, fish experts) and the rest of sushi hungry and foodies of the world.

I would recommend this movie to everyone. Most especially to my fellow technologists.

We don’t have to learn how to make sushi but we definitely could learn a thing or two on how to make software/products that can make everyone say “Ahhh……”



Happy New Year, New Blog for 2013

happy new year
happy new year

The past year (2012) has been a year full of new things for me.

Now ready for new ones up ahead for 2013 and hopefully I would be able to share more about the small things and learning that comes my way.

Happy New Year everyone and may your 2013 be full of great things!

General Web

Philippine broadband connections affected by damaged pan Asian cable

Telecom services provider Smart Communications said a pan-Asia cable cut early Wednesday caused adverse disruptions in its international and broadband services. In a statement, Smart stressed the disruption affected its international voice and SMS services. Its Smart Bro and Smart Bro Plug-It services are also affected by the cable cut, which was reported to have happened around 10 a.m. “We are still awaiting word on the cause of the fiber cuts,” the statement said. “In the meantime, Smart would like to assure the general public that close coordination is on-going with our network counterparts abroad to aid in restoring normal services as soon as possible.”
The affected undersea cable is the Asia-Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2), which runs between China and Taiwan but also connects to the Philippines, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

As of the morning of 12 August 2009, several undersea cable systems have been reported down. While harsh weather is suspected, the precise cause is being investigated. More specifically, the following cable systems are down: APCN1, APCN2 and SMW3. In the case of APCN2, this morning’s outage has completely impaired all traffic coming out of the Philippines due to a pre-existing fault in the process of restoration.
Other systems such as C2C, EAC and TGN-IA are not affected, and we have not received any outage advice from their respective network administrators. Customer circuits carried on APCN1, APCN2, SMW3 are affected. In addition, you will experience slow internet browsing because a significant portion of the internet bandwidth is carried by the affected cable systems.
We are currently working on restoring the affected circuits at the shortest possible time. We appreciate your patience and understanding of this catastrophic event affecting the


Free Web Hosting for Filipino Developers

If you are a Software Developer, Filipino (by nationality or by heart),
looking for a little space for hosting your site or blog or simply for
testing and practice purposes I might be able to offer you a few MB
(starting at 200 MB, in my experience this is more than enough) and one
unlimited size MSSQL/MySQL and probably 2GB/month of traffic.

I can offer .NET, PHP, ROR, Perl, Python with full Plesk/Control Panel access

You have the option to use an existing domain to that you have. Or if not I can provide you a subdomain of [more]

I ask nothing in return except to share your knowledge to the community
when you can and no illegal activities (or those that will harm the
domain and the host), and the passion and pride for Filipino

I am yet to come up with better guidelines but if interested, feel free to contact me (Contact Link above – right) and we'd figure something out. Or if you might also want to help setting up this endeavor, all help is welcome.

Pay it forward,



define programmer

1) pro·gram·mer (n) An organism capable of converting caffeine into code. 

2) Semi-sentient being who inexplicably survives an extremely unhealthy lifestyle. Usually found in confined spaces with low lighting, at a computer terminal.

3) One who can read the following example

if( !User.IsProgrammer ){
return "Everyone Else";

Taken from UrbanDictionary


Address1 vs Address2

Update: I had a UPS package returned to sender (side note: they suck and given a choice I will not use UPS ever). I would recommend putting PMB (private mailbox number) in Address1 instead of Address2.

What really is the difference between Address1 and Address2 and is it significant?

It depends on the country but generally (e.g. US)

* Address1 is expected to have Street Number, Street Name, or maybe PO Box or PMB (Private Mail Box)

* Address2 refers to Apartment, Floor, Suite, Bldg #

NO, Address2 is not asking for a secondary address or a backup of whatever you put in Address1. Neither is it a “confirm” address field. Nor it is simply a “continuation” of Address1

And also, if there is no company field Address2 will be a better place to write the information on than the Address field. Seems to differ by carrier, I suggest putting in Address1 for UPS.

Safe to say that Address1 should be general (but enough to pinpoint a geographical location – and obviously not include City, State, ZIP, Country) while other extra information should be in Address2.

Address2 fields in forms are generally (and for usability) shorter and in my opinion should have at least include hints as to what goes to it.

Also, for US ZIP code lookup you might find the following link from USPS helpful : USPS ZIP Code Lookup

Community General

My Black Theme and Selecting Theme File

In joining the rest of the eco geeks in contributing small or little ways to help the environment I switched to a black background for my desktop for a start and sharing a few steps here. [more]

I explored a bit on having other things (windows content, application backgrounds) to black but not ready for that transition yet.

Nevertheless I just figured for a few of those out there who wish to change to a back background but not quite sure how. (** Warning: this may appear too simple for some so this is not intended for you)

1. Click on your desktop background. You should see a menu item named Properties. You should something similar to this: (Note that the My Computer icon is only included to illustrate that this is done by clickin on your desktop background – eg. in the image anywhere in the backscreen/space)

2. Click Properties menu item and you should see something similar to the window in the image below. Then click on the Desktop tab

3. While in the desktop tab, find the color drop down in the lower right corner. Select your background color (eg. Black)

4. Click Apply, wait for the changes to be applied, and click OK


Will also include my Black theme file here. So here too are the steps for using a custom theme file. (I think you can add this file in a theme folder and it will appear in the themes list but going for another approach for now).

1. Download My Black.Theme (5.42 kb) and save it on your disk (eg. C:)

2. Show Display properties again (see item 1 above) then instead of going the desktop tab, stay on Themes tab. Note the Theme dropdown list highlighted in image below.

3. Click on the dropdown list and you should see a browse option at the bottom of the list. Click on it. It will open a File Select Dialog and from there look for the Black.Theme you saved on your disk in item 1 above (eg. in C:). Click OK

4. At this point Black should be the item selected in the Theme dropdown list.

5. Click Apply, wait for the changes, then click OK.

They say the effects are significant for CRT monitors vs LCDs but even if you’re using LCD the small difference is significant if combined together. Besides what’s there too loose, the black backgrounds doesn’t hurt and looks cool anyway. 🙂