I thought pretty hard on what to write or even how to begin on a new blog entry following the last one. No topic seemed appropriate. And it felt too soon to start blogging again. But then I thought it’s probably better to start writing than to bottle things up inside like my father did.

While I didn’t have any gripes with my father when he passed away, I feel incredibly… helpless for not being able to “see him off” at the funeral. I feel useless for not being able to help out with all that has to be done for the funeral, the ceremonies, the legal dances and everything that supposedly marks one of the defining moment in a man’s life. I don’t have a closure.

Everyone tells me my father wouldn’t blame me for the situation… for not being able to be there and for not being able to help. He’d understand. But I still don’t feel that a closure is upon me anywhere or anytime soon.

I recall this is how one can be messed up for not getting a closure to something important in life. Well, I don’t see myself going crazy anytime soon. But I am still looking for a closure that I can’t have, a way to say goodbye to my father, a way to find peace in myself and accept that he’d have understood my circumstances. Something like this made me question the wisdom and logic of the decisions I’ve made in the past several years, and how all this would have been averted if I had just…

Yes. There were a lot of “what ifs”, “what might have beens”, and “what could have beens”…. But I am living with “what is”…. I live with facts that I can’t change.

Now I will also have to learn to accept that maybe not everything has a closure. I’ll just have to live with my non-closure in peace — whenever I find it, the peace.

Exit Strategy

Grace: “So how long will it take Tibor to replace both break pads?”

Me: “He said two to three hours…”

Bryan: “Me talk first….”

Grace: “Bryan, please don’t interrupt. It’s impolite. It’s your turn when daddy and mommy are done talking.”

Home phone rings… Ignored.

Grace: “So to replace both breaks, it’d cost….”

Grace’s cell phone rings…

Grace: “Hello? Hi, Ma… Ok…. Hold on a second…”

Grace, wide-eyed, walks toward me extending her arm out to hand me the phone.

“It’s your mom. Your dad passed away.”
The news came very unexpectedly. But then, any news bearing the death of a family member always does. It was like a 6-foot-3 guy throwing a punch in my stomach with his full weight behind him — shockingly painful, but at the same time, numbing.

How was I supposed to feel? The sound of my mom’s trembling, sobbing voice sent more shock waves through my empty mind than the news did. I simply had no idea what to make of all this.

Finally I concluded it was a mistake. Mom always jumped to conclusions.
In the back of my mind, there was always a way to get out of this immigration hell hole I am in now, a way to finally resolve everything that’s stopping me from realizing my full potentials, a way to finally take good care of my parents like they did for me. I had an exit strategy — all planned; almost everything set in motion… all except for this immigration hell hole I am in.
The heart attack swiftly robbed any chance of him ever seeing his grandchildren and denied him of seeing his other son and the only daughter getting married. He’d worked so hard all his life, but the only time he got to rest was when he took his last breathe. Fate has its ways to mock a man.
So my exit strategy is probably flawed. It doesn’t account for emergency situations delicately, especially with the kind of shitty predicament that I am currently in. Maybe it’s time to revisit this again sometime. I’ll revisit this when I am in a better mood, or when there’s enough money in the bank, or when Taiwan has a new president, or maybe when… Whatever.
It’s funny how time is conceived and measured in such precise terms. Scientists can measure almost anything relative to the time. And yet, to us humans, time is just an abstract concept that really doesn’t mean anything. And it’s relative only to the mind that perceives it. To Bryan, a two-and-a-half-year-old, having to wait for a minute to speak is like a life time — because a minute relative to his young life IS indeed a much bigger unit in proportion to his life than what a minute is to an adult. Time literally loses its meanings when human perceptions are thrown into the equation.

What I thought I had years to do and plan for turned out to be all garbage and fruitless idealistic dreams when the news of my dad’s death struck. It turned out that there was simply no time for all of that. It was either done or never to be done. The false hope that “time” will eventually take care of everything simply tramples any hope and opportunity that might have left to actually bag the issues in question.

With that, all plans will be re-assessed and re-valued in a more concise manner — especially with Grace’s pragmatic approaches, my dad’s legacy shall be to have brought us a new set of objectives, maybe a new direction, and maybe a new life. And that is our new exit strategy.

Firefox 3 Beta 4 Graphic

I wrote about Firefox 3 Beta 2‘s cool intro page upon first launching it. Now Beta 4 is ready with a new intro page (though I’ve been using the nightly builds for some time now). It’s table as hell. And it’s nappy as hell (almost as fast as Safari 3 now).


I honestly can’t find any bugs that are show stoppers. So head over to Oxymoronical and download the Firefox Nightly Tester Tool to help enable all your favorite plugins on this beta and start enjoying the new Firefox.

Here’s a list of improvements made in this version for you geeks out there…

On a similar note, sites I’ve built ever since Firefox 1.5 are still holding up perfectly in Firefox 3. But looking at the progression of Internet Explorer, what was built for IE5.5 almost always needed tweaks with each subsequent upgrade! Talk about poor forward planning on Microsoft’s side! Boo! And that’s what happens when a company makes piss poor browsers that doesn’t adhere to industry standards (and with its own internal standards changing all the time).

Volusion V5

I’ve written Volusion a few times. The first time I used Volusion (version 4) it really sucked in terms of UI (though the commerce portion was pretty good). And many of the problems in V4 were addressed in V5. So kudos to Volusion for noticing what sucked and made improvements upon them.

The good on V5:

  1. Much simplified templates. No more nested ASP codes that one may accidentally delete/alter and break the entire store. It’s now easier than ever for any designer types to make modifications to the store’s front page.
  2. Way better administration console on the back end compared to V4. Cleaner UI with improved tool tips.
  3. Great documentation now with video tutorials and an active community forum.
  4. Ample email tech support.
  5. Easy to copy/paste Div IDs that would ultimately to be replaced by generated codes. Volusion has good documentation on them too.

Now the bad on V5:

  1. Templates are somewhat messy and limiting. For example, it’s hard to change the way the featured products are dynamically laid out on the homepage. There are tables upon tables upon tables nastily nested within each other with the generated codes — I’ve never seen a more ugly generated code with tables like that.
  2. Web 2.0 functionalities need to apply (unless they were implemented by Volusion). It’s a little dubious that neither Prototype nor jQuery were allowed to run on Volusion because somehow it breaks the

    functions that make those Javascript libraries so beautiful and powerful to use.

  3. It’s one thing to produce generated code, but it’s another to NOT give them good ID or class labels so that us designer/coder types can at least manipulate the look and feels more easily. It’s not unusual to target a table nested 3 or 4 layers down with CSS selectors trying to get something look just right.
  4. Tables are evil, especially nested ones. At least have the sense of giving us the chance to alter/modify those templates that were generated from the ASP code (i.e. featured products). For example, give us the template that generates the output of each product. Even if they are just tables, show them to me and allow me to replace all those tables with nice and easy DIV tags!
  5. About the only thing that someone can really customize is the homepage. Everything else is pretty much locked down (or at least I couldn’t find a way to modify the other product pages in any meaningful way). In other words, customization is limited only to the homepage (layout wise), everything else all you can do is font sizes, colors and what not (maybe some graphics)… that is if you know your CSS (Thank you, Firebug and Safari 3 Web Inspector)
  6. Volusion claims that they have fixed the transparency problems with

    files. They lied. PNG files will show like a sore thumb in IE6 and earlier. And don’t bother to include one of those


    fixes in the header or CSS either. Volusion doesn’t allow them.

  7. Instead of using standard Prototype and other popular Javascript libraries, Volusion opts to use some commercial package that is 3rd rate at best in performance and generated output.
  8. The pages are pretty slow to load. I’ll bet it’s because of all the nested tables. It’d be in Volusion’s best interest to cut down the load on CPUs on those nested tables per page so that its overall server performance can increase for everyone!
  9. Email support is getting pretty slow in replying issues. It used to take mere hours, now the turn around is the next day.

I hope Volusion fixes at least the problems with Javascript libraries so that I can use Prototype and Scriptaculous to enable my clients’ sites to be more visually interesting (without constant page refreshes!). The next big deal would be to allow more flexibility with templates elsewhere.

Otherwise, I think Volusion is still a decent package. It’s just that many of the stuff they implemented are still stuck in 1998.

MacBook Pro Battery Replacement

About a little over a month ago, my MacBook Pro would just randomly shutdown when running on battery power even if the battery was still at around 60% charged. That really pissed me off because I really hate the process of having to restart and set up everything again before I can dive into work, not to mention the mysterious shutdowns was really getting me worried about data corruption (like it did to my Lightroom catalog).

Unfortunately I couldn’t really part with my computer for work reasons, so I hadn’t taken it to the Apple store because it might mean I’d have to leave my laptop there for a few hours (or even days). And I’d have to go through the motion of backing up everything again… But I decided to call Apple today anyway because it’s ridiculous that my less-than-one-year-old battery can now only stay unplugged for less than 1/2 hour on a full charge!

Apple told me was that batteries are “consumable goods”. And the tech support told me that an average battery life is for about 300 charge cycles, and mine was reading 463! I told them it’s understandable that a battery would ultimately become less chargeable over time, but for its capacity to drop so drastically within a period of less than two months is unusual.

They agreed. And a replacement battery is on its way courtesy to Apple.

So my MBP will soon resume its role as a portable again. Yay!

UPDATE 03.10.2008: My replacement battery arrived the next morning via DHL! Grace then called them to pick up the replacement unit the next morning; they came within a couple of hours… Wow.