Category Archives: Life Stories

Some life updates…

So I’ve been pretty busy with, you know, life but who hasn’t. Actually I’ve been trying to write another blog post after my last one which was sort of a post but not really (just a generic generated past-year result the WordPress offers, for people busy (a.k.a lazy) such as myself.

So far life has been pretty good. My last year performance got me a promotion a few months ago and ever since I got to be sort of Tech Lead for the Web & Mobile Team, which is in charge of all the front-end webapps, including both internal & client-facing. I’d say dealing with this domain has been very interesting as it’s something I have wanted to do for a long time, until I took an arrow… w/e it is still very fun, being the guy who can work on both back-end and front-end and sometimes applying design patterns interchangeably. Some of those have failed miserably due to differences in the nature of the 2 domains (1 being a beefy powerhouse serving large data in a timely manners to all sorts of requests, 1 being a lightweight routing layer with some minimal caching & compression of resources).

A change in domain also means a change in technology as well. Getting myself better with NodeJS, Backbone, jQuery and now Bootstrap has been really challenging, all of which I’ll write another post about later. Ideally I’d like to push for the stack to be more well-used within the team myself. This stack can easily be distributed and scaled horizontally. However we’re not really dealing with a consumer-product business the scalability of the UI sometimes is not a development bottleneck.

Other than work stuff, I got an email this morning, which kinda cheered me up a lil bit:

Hi Long,

I came across while searching for resources around recipes and food and was wondering if this is the correct contact in regards to the content on the site. My team just created a graphic on the topic, would you be interested in taking a look? I’d appreciate any feedback.

Thanks in advance.


So someone actually reads my blog! And feedback. Based on the statistics I know someone reads my blog but normally it’s search query from Google and those can be highly irrelevant. I actually visited their site and the statistics about ramen, IMO, is indeed very interesting. Surviving on ramen has been 1 of the most important life skills in college. My Japanese neighbor was obsessed over ramen. I mean the dude was literally chewing through packs of those…

In case you guys wondered what he sent me, here it is:
We Love Ramen Infographic
Created by: Hack College

Pretty amazing isn’t it?

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So I’ve been trying to get a car, well not just a car, a Mini Cooper specifically cause it handles soooo well. But anyways since I got my license a while ago and have been renting cars, I got my shot at driving different kinds and it turned out to be a pretty satisfying experience. The ones I drove were mostly subcompact to smaller sedans/coupes but I did have my favorite. This ranking is purely personal so don’t jump up fanboys.

1. Mini Cooper S 2D Hatchback

Mini Cooper S

Mini Cooper S

BEST CAR EVAR!!! Seriously it’s like a little rocket. I think Mini started to pick up its fame since BMW acquired it. The Mini Cooper S especially has the turbocharged engine that feels so good when u ram it up. I favor the hatchback with the moonroof compared to the convertible. Sounds kinda lame but going on the highway, the convertible top can become really loud and I do prefer K-pop to white noises so… The car has really good suspension and all, along with superb high mileage that makes it #1 for city car.

One stupid thing about this car is its iPod adapter doesn’t work with my iPhone 4… weird.

2. Mazda 3 Sedan

Mazda 3 Sedan

Mazda 3 Sedan

Mazda 3 makes a really good pleasure/casual car. It handles itself well but sorta lacks the kick that Mini Cooper S has. The car I drove was a semi-manual but the manual part was not very satisfying, due to the computer override. The dashboard design is decent with enough amenities to keep the fun going while I was traveling.

3. Honda Civic

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

Honda Civic has never failed to be 1 of the top consumer’s choices. I have to admit that Honda is 1 of the better car manufacturers out there that has been producing good reliable cars. The thing I don’t like about this car is its engine weakness. It literally took me a few seconds whenever I’m merging into the highway to rev up to speed. Its cruise control is decent and OK amenities.

4. Toyota Avalon

Toyota Avalon

Toyota Avalon

Toyota in general produces good cars but IMO its handle is terrible. I mean the wheel is so light I have to haul it all the way for the car to turn. Same with the accelerator and brake, I had to push it all the way for the car to start moving/stopping. The dashboard in the Avalon is surprisingly great actually, given it’s actually 1 of those higher-end cars. The Avalon has leather seats and wheel and everything, which kinda compensated for its bad performance.

5. Honda Insight Hybrid

Honda Insight

Honda Insight

As I’ve mentioned, I like Honda but this one is just plain annoying. It’s true that Hybrids in general get a superb MPG but Honda uses this Assisted Motor technology that basically turns off the engine everytime u stop… like every single time. It saves gas I get it but when I was on traffic it’s like “vrrroooom”, “fuffff”, “vrrroooom”, “fufff”… really? They made a change in their new CR-Z Sport Hybrid model that when ur on Sports mode, it doesn’t do that but it burns gas like nuts.

Anyways, I haven’t had a chance to try out the better ones that Zipcar offered like BMW and such but I will, eventually. If u guys are interested in cars try CNET Car Tech shows, it’s pretty good. Aight night time now and it’s blizzard outside, which reminds me of how lucky I am not to have a car, or not…

iPhone 4 issues are myths!!!

Alright they’re not exactly myths, but not THAT many people experienced those problems. I guess the news just always try to criticize and sabotage pretty much any new consumer products that came out, iPhone being the worst out of them. But hey, I got myself and iPhone 4 and I didn’t get any death grip, yellow spot or anything like that. The experience is PHENOMENAL (I spelled it right, right?)

Anyway, iPhone 4 is mad fast, probably because I was using the iPhone 1st generation, which apparently could play ChaosRings at around 8fps. The iPhone 4 is just smooth with almost no lag. Facebook and Yahoo Messenger did crash on me once. The annoying thing about iPhone 4 is that now it actually doesn’t close any app. Pressing the Home button puts the app to sleep I guess, as I still saw it in the Multi-tasking interface. I’m myself a performance freak so I’m actually pretty concerned about this regarding the battery life of the product.

The retina display is off the hook, along with new camera. I took this picture with the phone’s camera and it turned out surprisingly good!!! Can’t wait for the FaceTime tryout thing with my friends 🙂

Coney Island through iPhone 4

Coney Island through iPhone 4

The battery life itself is pretty decent actually. I walked around SoHo using GPS and compass and it lasted me for almost the full day. I did dropped by Apple Store SoHo to sneakily charge the thing a bit but overall I’m pretty satisfied with the phone. I haven’t actually tried out the whole gyroscope thing (gyro = delicious lol, just FYI) cause I didn’t really know any app that utilized the feature 😛 Will definitely do in the future.

Alright now move on to the life story part, gosh I miss Hanoi soooooo much. Good things do come to an end and I guess I’m just not ready for it yet. I think I did go through the same feeling when I left high school cause Hanoi is so small, everybody lives in “walking” distances. I talked to a couple of my friends and there’re already gaps between us since I’m not physically there anymore. Anyway, once I move to Madison and establish my new life, hopefully this will be much better as I’m definitely pretty “sociable” and “co-dependent” I guess… gotta turn up that radio now!!! (I put radio on just to get background noise)

Kk guys I think I forgot to say have fun and keep on rolling last time but here it is!!! Kabooom baby!! Dang I sound kinda depressed.

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A month no blog!!!!

Sorry guys I was on vacation and so far this has been the best summer EVAR!!! I guess partially it’s because that I graduated from college (when my maturity shot off the sky) and got a job lined up in a month. I’m starting to forget how to blog lol since it’s been such a long time.

Anyway, I made a lot of new friends over the summer, most of whom are younger than me, a.k.a 9x generation. I actually had a lot of fun hanging out w/ them and our meetups are usually very high in energy. I felt like the 1st few days when I was back home, I missed the US the most. Most of my friends are there and I was in touch with them sooo frequently that I felt like “dang, shouldn’t have I stayed back instead?” 2 of my high school best friends weren’t home and as a result I wasn’t so satisfied with it.

However, I guess part of college maturity made me get my ass out there and start mingling, for real. I realized that I talked like an old man at first, with much conservatism and carefulness instead of the state of “che’m gio'”, which I got from kids I hung with. I admit that I sorta forgot the feeling of saying random stuff w/o caring, as part of becoming an adult is to take responsibilities in what I said. I still do though, so if I’m che’m gio’-ing w/ u, that means u’re one of my closer friends, whom I feel comfortable talking to and letting my guard down.

Anyway, here’s my awesome schedule:

  • Morning: having breakfast and coffee w/ friends
  • Afternoon: GTL!!!! Actually just gym, people got tan in Vietnam naturally by just going out
  • Night: Go out!!! Not really bars or clubs, but rather social gatherings, events or just pure conversations over some mediocre coffee (big fan of Muse Cafe btw!!!)
  • Later at night: chatting online with my friends, mostly in the US due to time difference. Everybody seems to be moving on alright and I’m so glad for that.

I also helped out with this conference called Vietabroader Conference and FINALLY made my face into the hottest TEEN magazine in Vietnam!!! I seriously read this for fun everyday (the magazine, not just the article) so I was definitely pumped.

Me on

Me on

Besides all the fun, I did got in some drama stuff over the summer… lol I guess it’s just life. Now that I’m back in the US, the fun is almost over. I’m visiting my best friend from high school in Boston this weekend, before getting ready for a completely new life in a completely new land… the Midwest!!!

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iPhone 4?? Let’s wait for a bit

Hi guys, sorry it’s been a while since my last blog post. The Wifi in my house sucks as the previous one indicated so I was having a hard time browsing the Internet and Facebook in particular. I’m not going out tonight so I decided that I should update my awesome blog (hi-5 for awesomeness!!!)

Anyway, home has been great so far, but according to the Principle of Diminishing Return, I’m getting bored. I’m starting to miss the States and my friends there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not turning into American or anything, just that it’s mad hot here and I have nothing to do since I’m clearly just chilling all day.

It’s been around a week and I think I’ve had way too much free time on my hands, so much that I looked up articles on gruesome beheading and cannibal incidents… complete waste of time. I’m trying to find Indian ingredients to cook some Masala (or is that Bangla?)

Well ok that aside, who’s excited for some iPhone 4 updates!!!! I know I’m not cause those updates are really bad. This is not the 1st time we’ve seen this. iPhone 4 has ISSUES!! Like some pretty severe ones. I believe this is pretty much due to the deadlines since WWDC has always been THE event that Apple does major releases and as we all know, rushing means poor testing and development. It turns out the be true cause iPhone 4 has been thoroughly tested by review parties and users.

1. Yellow dots on screen: If you recall the old old iPhone 2G, it actually had a similar issue called “dead strip”, which refers to an invisible strip on screen that doesn’t respond to touch. Yellow dot issue is not as bad, but it makes part of your screen yellowish and of course, nasty. Several reports claimed that you can get it replaced but this should have been tested.

Yellow bands and spots

2. Durability: Apple claimed that the new synthetic material is like 30 times harder than plastic, yet stress tests showed that it breaks after dropping from 1 foot just once. Again, YMMV (Your mileage may vary) since I’ve dropped my iPhone 2G so many time and it still kicks ass nowadays. However, this is still bad news. I really don’t want to buy insurance for my phone.

iPhone broken after 1-foot drop

3. SIGNAL!!! Ok this time it doesn’t sound like AT&T’s fault. Some users reported that if you hold the outer  case (the metal part, which is actually the antenna), your signal will drop. A user made a pretty convincing videos of going from 4 bars down to No Service just by holding the iPhone 4 (thus covering the antenna). If this is the case, iPhone 4 will have absolutely no case and you have to hold it differently (?!!). Not cool Apple.

Can't touch the iPhone

Aight guys that’s it for now 🙂 As much as I’m excited about getting one, I’ll really have to wait and reconsider until the cases are resolved and stability is guaranteed. Ok have fun and keep on rolling guys!!!

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Home finally!!! Slow Internet though

I’M FINALLY HOME!!! Gosh that was some serious flight: 7 hours from JFK to Alaska, 10 hours from Alaska to Taipei and 3 more hours from Taipei to Hanoi and I was literally warmly welcomed by the mad heat of Hanoi. It’s constantly upper 90 degrees and it drove me insane -_-".

The 1st part wasn’t so bad since my flight was like 11:59P.M so I did sleep most of the time. I did prepare myself by buying "The girl with the dragoon tattoo", which I lost later (dang!) but that only kept me awake for like an hour or so. The plane was surprisingly empty so the seat next to me had nobody. Kudos for ticketing failure, China Airlines!!

The 2nd part was pretty much similar. One of the things I hate about China Airlines is the lack of entertainment. I mean it’s clearly a very long flight, yet the airplane didn’t have individual screen so instead we have a big projector with distorted colors. The food on the other hand of pretty good and service overall is ok. I ended up watching Family Outing all the way, well at least until my Macbook battery dies.

The last part I had a pretty suprisingly interesting conversation with a girl next to me, who happened to be studying Ph.D at UC Berkeley. She’s visiting Vietnam before going to China for an English teaching program. Her major is French Literature and she’s also a salsa dancer. That was a pretty pleasant 3-hr flight.

For some reasons I always feel different seeing foreigners in Vietnam, probably because there aren’t so many. People looked at me cause I was talking to an American and all… Besides all that, I totally burnt my Xbox 360 AC Adapter cause the electricity back home is 220v but come on! Everything else works, my Macbook, iPhone charger, even WD External Hard Drive. M$ should take a look at this.

Bonus, this is what I eat for lunch:

Bun Cua

Lol yeah guys, no need to envy cause I’m clearly enjoying the finest pleasure that my city can offer right there. The Wifi in my house is kinda unstable and no it’s not from our neighbor. I’ll try to blog as much as I can but no guarantee. Aight have fun and keep on rolling guys!!

What’s coming up??

Hi guys, sorry for not blogging for like the whole week. I was actually chilling in Stanford with 2 of my very close friends and we had tons of fun. Besides all the awesome Asian food we got, we went surfing. Now hold on a second and let me talk about surfing. When people talk about surfing, what comes through your mind? Standing on the surfboard riding on the waves right? That stuff is ADVANCED. It will take you a ton of training to do that so get that out of your head a.s.a.p cause I couldn’t even lie on the board. It’s seriously hard stuff. I don’t know how dogs do it, but apparently I’m not so good at it.

Besides, the water is cold so bikini girls lying on the beach is complete fictional. Why is it cold though? In order to have waves, you need really strong wind and the water itself is like super cold but thanks to the wet suit, I didn’t die. Overall it was really fun though as it’s my 1st (and probably the only) time. Besides that we went to the usual tourist sites like Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39 and all that jazz.

Anyway, wassup with the technology world today? iPhone 4!!! Ok enough of that. My friend and I actually watched the Steve Jobs keynote like a movie since it was pretty good. Jobs know how to sell and surprisingly enough, as I learned from my visit to the Computer History Museum, Steve Jobs was the cool guy and Steve Wozniak was the introverted guy. Have you heard of Woz? He’s the co-founder of Apple and just appeared on Dancing with the stars last year I believe. I always thought he was the funny and outgoing guy.

You can also check out Steve’s keynote right here.

But Apple isn’t the only one that’s bringing all the cool stuff, Microsoft also released Kinect (a.k.a Project Natal) which is basically a service/device that track your whole body motion, instead of just nun-chuck like the Wii. A new line of Xbox 360 (slimmer and quieter) is also released.

New Xbox 360

New Xbox 360

See all the coolness happening? Kinect will basically open numerous gates to gaming opportunities with real motion. If you have played Wii, you know how fun it is. Kinect gets rid of the whole controller concept cause your whole body IS the controller. You can see the Ricochet demo right below.

Pretty fun right? I’m really excited about all the cool stuff coming up. Besides those main thing, new smartphones came out like the HTC Evo and all that but there’re just way too many to keep track of, while Apple has progressively been releasing new iPhone only once a year, yet the impact is phenomenal.

Aight guys that’s it for today. I’ll be traveling back home to Vietnam real soon so my blog will be disrupted for a little while 🙂 Have fun and keep on rolling!!

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My Travel Plan!!

Hi guys, sorry for not blogging recently as I just finished moving from temporary summer housing to “permanent” summer housing although I’m only staying for a little bit before going back home to enjoy my last vacation before work. I just wanna keep you guys updated on my upcoming plan until around August.

06/08 – 06/12: I’ll be hanging out with my friend Chakman in San Francisco, California. Courtesy of my college friend Martin who’s in Stanford right now. He’s a super nice guy so he’s hosting us for 4 days and I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun.

06/16/ – 07/21: I’ll be back home in Vietnam (YEAH!!!!) enjoying my last vacation blah blah, you get the idea. I’ll probably represent Lafayette in VA Conference if I get more information from them and also spend time with family, take my mom around and enjoy the finer things in life. I plan to cook for the family as usual, not all the time but I’ll try, probably make some cheescakes and banana bread, make some Indian dishes if I have all the stuff I need. I don’t know about summer love lol since I’ll be working full time soon 🙂

07/21 – 08/02: Relocating to Madison, Wisconsin. I’ve found 2 places that seem very nice. They’re near bus stations which is what I need since I don’t have a car. They’re cheap (Efficiency room for $600 with electricity, water and gas with free gym, pool and laundry)

08/02: 1st day of work, which I’m looking forward to 🙂 Probably starts out with training and debugging stuff but everybody’s gotta start low sometimes right 🙂 The company’s campus looks really awesome 🙂

Epic Cafeteria

Epic Cafeteria

I will definitely try to blog while I’m in Vietnam. I guess it’ll be a mixture of everyday life and technology stuff. Hey I might try vlog (video – blog) also since my friend Trinh suggested it so many times. I think it looks pretty fun. Aight guys have fun and keep on rolling!!

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Long time no blog!!

So it’s been like a week since my last post, mainly because I was swamped with graduation stuff… literally. Senior week was pretty fun for me as we gather a group to go to six flags, ended up losing the car keys and stranded for like 4 hrs. It was memorable though.

My brother also came all the way from the UK and I kinda felt bad not entertaining him most of the time. We’ve never actually talked that much but I definitely appreciate his presence and photography skills. He has good taste when it comes to this!!

Graduation itself was actually… ok. I didn’t really have any particular feeling for it, probably because I’m used to the mindset of summer coming up and people leaving campus while I’m staying, this time they might leave forever though. It was raining hard also. A lot of us got wet along with our diplomas destroyed so the school actually offered to send replacements. My graduation pictures taken by the school were horrible though, definitely not gonna order them.

I actually just came back from an on-site interview with Epic Systems Corporation. The campus was really nice, although in the middle of a farm. It’s env-friendly and definitely has a college campus feeling with it. Madison itself is a nice city with University of Wisconsin right downtown. It’s a bit too quiet though but in general a good place to live if you have a family.

The flight they booked for me was kinda late so I had to crash at Lan’s place for a night. She’s still busy as always and her bf Terry’s there, getting ready for his Master’s graduation.

I spent most of the day hanging out with some of my best friends: Chakman, Aung, Ada and her sister Teresa. We went to Coney Island to get a taste of the ocean and also visit TJ who works close by. The whole day was really fun but now that I’m on the bus back to campus, reality kicks in… again.

Anyway this blog is pretty much just to update on my life so imma tag this as Life Stories (not quite). I’ll resume blogging tomorrow. I plan to look for a job here and of course exploit my school library as much as I can while it’s still available. Oh and Starcraft 2 Beta also lol. Have fun and keep on rolling guys.

BTW, sorry I didn’t include any picture in this post. I hate reading just texts so I always try to spice things up a little bit.

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4 days till commencement!!!

22nd of May that is. I’m not really a big fan of graduation and stuff. Out high school “graduation ceremony” was uhhh… just like any other Monday. I don’t know how you guys do it, but here in the Great Soviet Russia… not really, more like Socialist Republic of Vietnam, we have to gather every Monday (the beginning of the week) and sing the national anthem. We call it “say hello to my little flag” (yeah that’s how you translate it).

I don’t remember the US anthem but our national anthem is mad violent. Dang it involved killing and gory scene of soldiers stepping on enemy’s corpses and people cheering for them. Really bloody!! Yet kids sing it every week, from primary school to… probably when you die or change citizenship. Now it sounds pretty messed up but kids don’t really understand what that means, “if the beat is right, they’re gonna move all night”. Well not quite, but close.

My High School

My High School

Our "new" gate... now old

Our "new" gate... now old

Our high school “graduation ceremony” was just like that, plus some speech from the school president. Then the VP of Studies (or Dean of Studies here) brought out this huge drum and started drumming like he’s never drummed ever. Students were crying and taking pictures with our Asian poses. After that would be the party, technically. Prom didn’t exist until I think 4 or 5 years recently. It was not as fancy as high school here with limousine and venue. Everything took place within the school yard, of course with some “pre-game” alcohol involved (not me, I’m clean).

After high school people still keep in touch, mainly cause they live in the area, unlike here where students come from all over the country/world. It’s hard to do so but you guys got the Facebook, which is great.

Anyway, my friend Chinh just picked up her dad the other day from JFK. He’s gonna be here for a while traveling and stuff. He’s still having jet lag and all but yesterday he dropped by to have dinner with us (I cooked, hi-5!!! No?? Aight T_T). I was just watching TV and he walked in and he was like: “Long, your room is so nice and big, and even has kitchen”. I was like LOL, LMAO, ROFLMFAO and told him my room is next door, not this one. Well I wish it were. Lol anyway that was funny (yeah?? no??)

So far senior week has been pretty boring. I just wanna hang out w/ my friends since there’s a slim chance I’m gonna see them ever again after graduation. I bombed this semester btw lol but it’s ok, it’s over. We’re going to Six Flags today so it’s gonna be a long long day for me. I gotta go to sleep so have fun and keep on rolling guys!!

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