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Welcome to TheCoolerZone

TheCoolerZone.com was started as a virtual ‘water cooler’ area. A ‘water cooler’ is traditionally the place where people in an office environment bump into each other. From there on usually comes lively and interesting discussions / debates about everyday issues that come into mind, such as sports, technology, health, business. These conversations tend to be informal, contain non-expert opinion on matters, and are above all things fun and interesting to participate in.

What this site intends to do is create something like an online version of such a place, where people can just drop by, leave comments, participate in the discussion and review events that are posted on a particular topic. The initial goal of this site is to build up as much content as possible every day so that there is a variety of discussion that can go on.

Some of you might ask, “Is a forum environment not more appropriate for such a thing?” Although I agree that a forum might seem more appropriate for what we want to do, yet a forum wouldn’t give us as much control as to what topics are covered, who can contribute to a post and generally would require much more maintenance and manpower than we have right now. At the beginning, we’re just trying to grow the readership, build relations with people, get into the habit of daily writing, and in the future recruit more authors and contributors. At that time, if we have enough people to moderate, then forums might become another option.

We hope to make this a friendly environment where people are comfortable visiting and saying things that are in their mind, and ask for your support and participation as we grow as a community. If there are any suggestions, comments, ideas that you would like to contribute, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

TheCoolerZone.com team

Gloomy

Warning! rant ahead!. Let me preface this by saying that I still believe that by God’s grace and help, I’ll get over this and find something to do about it. But as of now, these are some of the feelings that I need to vent out. So, here we go:

[RANT]

I haven’t been feeling quite good about everything, especially life and career directions, for a couple of weeks now. Seems that I’m not satisfied at where I am in life right now. I keep telling myself that I should be thankful for a great job, wonderful family and supportive friends, and yet there’s this sinking feeling inside that something just isn’t right, and it’s even more frustrating because I can’t really find any solution to it right now.

It starts with a seemingly endless journey in all aspects of my life. In my career, there are tons of things to improve in and being in Information Technology especially – a never-ending battle to keep in touch with the newest and greatest trends, which sometimes make me question my own skills and abilities. It seems that everyone in IT has the same skills I have and there’s no way I can keep working in IT before some young kids with brilliant minds come up and kicks my generation out the door. It’s the frustration of being a jack of all trades, but master of none. Nobody wants to hire someone like me who can do multiple things very well, and yet have no certification or am not considered an expert in one thing.

Of course management is an option for the future, but to get from where I am to management would require me to learn all the politicking and bureaucracy and all these abstract concepts and methodologies that are so hard to implement in real life, while trying to keep from being disillusioned and driven crazy by all those. The more I look at management, the more I realize how hard it is to make it to the top working in a corporate environment, and don’t feel that it’s what I want to do, especially thinking about the time it would take to get to a senior management / C level status.

Which brings me to try my own business ventures of course, and without any business background or experiences, seems too hard to accomplish. Statistics is of course against any small business owner trying to make a full time living of it, and it takes lots of time, which I don’t mind spending, except that I don’t have any :( *sigh* I really do want to make it on my own and spend time with my family more, but can’t seem to find a way to do it since I need to work full time to support my family. It’s a Catch-22 situation for me right now.

My dream is to be able to work my own business at what I am strong at, and make a good living of it, so I can enjoy life with my family (hey… isn’t that the dream of almost every single person on the face of the earth? :)) Accomplishing this is very hard to do, and I can’t seem to find a way to even start.

I always grew up thinking that computers and IT was what I loved to do, and was going to do for life, and yet these last few months have made me question myself, whether I’m supposed be an IT guy, whether I’m still passionate about technology and whether I’m any good at it compared to the millions of IT guys out there, plus the fact that even at a good salary like I’m earning right now, I barely make enough to support the family. Seems like I’m supporting the government with a large chunk of my paycheque everytime.

So, doing business and investing came up in the last few years, but I haven’t managed to do anlything at all with all these ideas running in my head. It’s all bottled up somewhere in my mind with no way of getting out or expressing itself. I have no idea how to market, promote or sell products, and have no capital to start up anything or invest in anything.

I guess those are the big sources of frustration in my life right now. Living has become a gigantic hamster wheel for me it seems, with me trying to get somewhere, but limited by my situation, be it time or finances. *sigh* Hope everybody else is in a better phase of their life right now, doesn’t feel good at all to be in this kinda situation.

[/RANT]

US $750 off Dell laptops for those in the US

For you lucky people in the US, Dell’s having that $750 off any laptop over $1499 deal again. Check it out here:

Dell $750 off Inspiron Laptops Deal

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Microsoft really pushing .NET

Within the last few months, I’ve gone to various free educational seminars from Microsoft, received tons of educational material online (including their MCSD.NET certification books through the Last Developer Standing competition), free books and software. It looks like Microsoft is really pushing to get the knowledge of its .NET framework based products around.

I’m a Microsoft product kinda guy, so it’s great for me. The picture here shows the free products that I’ve received recently:
- Microsoft VS.NET backpack
- Introducing ASP.NET 2.0 book
- VS 2005 Beta 2, Team Studio, as well as SQL Server 2005 Beta
- Visual C# 2003 Standard edition (just got this in the mail today actually)

Add to this, the various free IDE’s around, the Express products all over the place, and the open source project Mono gaining grounds within the Linux community, and I think the .NET solution is really going to gain quite a bit of followers in the development world.

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Our regular dining out food

When we need to eat out, and are on a tight budget, we usually go to the nearest Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Mi.

There are a couple of dishes that my wife and I order on a regular basis, and these are 2 of them: The rice with grilled chicken and fried egg, as well as vermicelli with grilled chicken and spring rolls. The drink is just a rare order, with mixed red and mung beans with green jelly. It’s quite nice for a hot and humid day like today (it’s 32 C and it’s 9 pm !!!)

There are 2 other dishes that we rotate on sometimes, and I’ll post them next time we eat there :)

Funny thing about culture

Watching people drive convertibles around the highway here in Toronto with sun pouring down on them, people driving with windows open during the summer, and people going to the beach for a suntan brought me some interesting thoughts on the culture in TO.

From a general observation, during some of the breezy summer days, lots of Canadians drive around without the AC in their car on, while most of the Asians (including myself) always have closed windows and the AC on.

I think that these points are what contribute to this major difference between Toronto and a majority of immigrants:
- Lots of immigrants come from countries where temperatures probably average around 30 degrees Celcius all year around, and are likely sick of the sun burning their skin every single day of their lives. (Generalizing here, because that’s what Indonesia is like :) )
- Lots of Canadians don’t get enough sun year round, because of the winter months, so once they get a chance, they cherish the sun like crazy, go to the beaches for a tan etc.

Very interesting to note, that Asian culture values skin that is very light in colour (ie. whitish) and especially the ladies try their hardest to use makeup that will make them look whiter. In contrast, North American people try to get tanned as much as possible.

Now what does that say about people? It’s that we’re never satisfied of what we have, and grass always looks greener on the other side. How true, and yet if people swap places for awhile, they’ll probably realize that that’s not always the case.

Just an observation.

Playing Nintendo DS

I’ve managed to borrow my little cousin’s Nintendo DS for a day, and have been playing Metroid on it for awhile. The touchpad really seems like an interesting concept for a handheld game, and yet a problem presents itself already: most of the players are going to be a younger generation, and younger generation of kids tends to lose small things like the stylus … :)

Luckily Metroid allowed me to select a control mode that doesn’t use the stylus. In total there’s 6 buttons (4 usual ones on the right + 2 on the sides) + the D-pad. It’s quite an interesting item to play with, but for $199 CAD, I think I’d rather spend it on a PS2 or XBox.

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An Indonesian business idea

So I’ve been thinking, why should I try so hard to start my own online business when it can be bought for a price? What if I spent something like 20K and bought 3 or 4 sites that were making about 500 – 600 a month? Wouldn’t that be a good return on my investment? Invest 20K, and get a return at about 7%, which is not really high, but for someone like me who plans to live in Indonesia, $1500 a month would afford us quite a high standard of living.

Of course there are many drawbacks that have to be thought of, such as:
- Can I run these sites from Indo, where Internet is still 512K downstream at maximum and even less for upstream, and that for a price of about $100 – $200 per month.
- Arranging for the income to be sent from North America to Indonesia every month?
- Can I find sites for sale that make 500 bucks a month for 5000 dollars (1:10)? (probably rare, but not impossible to find, I know most sites charge about 2 years worth of income (1:20 to 24) as their price)

Even if the charge is 1:20 or something around that range, I spend 30K, and get $1500 a month, it’s still a 5% return per month.

Of course, this is assuming I’ll somehow manage to get the initial investment up there, but just an interesting thought for people like me who wanna live in Indonesia/countries where cost of living can be substantially lower than industrial countries, where $1500 a month is a director’s level at a major company.

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Friday

Rather slow day at the office. It appears that somehow my position is listed under the ‘Tester’ group, which is funny because I don’t seem to have many testing experiences at all :)

London

RIP and condolences to the families of those who died during the London bombings. Cowardly acts by people who think that killing others are a solution to something.

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