Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Shopping Spree: Special Snacks

This is the last post of the "December Shopping Spree" series. This time it's all about snacks.

My wife and I came from a far away country (an archipelago comprising of thousand islands to be more descriptive) somewhere in South East Asia. As such, we occasionally miss snacks and foods made from there.

Luckily, we found a way to get those items not too far from our place.

Tehbotol Sosro!
24 Items per Pack
This is the famous Teh botol Sosro. It's actually a rather quite sweet jasmine tea (this particular one that we got). There are 24 items within the above picture; good enough for a while... or so we thought. We shall see how fast we can finish this pack.

Additional snacks ranging from biscuits (Regal), butter (special one!), chocolate for breads (Ritz), Tempeh, and crackers.

We also bought one of our favourite brand of the Korean instant noodle: Shim Ramyun. But this time, we opted to try a new addition to their Ramyun brand line: Shim Ramyun Black. Nongshim advertised it as a No-MSG instant noodle for the healthy foodies.

Shim Ramyun Black with more small package of spices
Obligatory Steel Chopstick just like in the Korean Restaurants
Taste was okay. Definitely missing the kicking ingredients: MSG!.

Here's a review from the Ramen Rater:

Friday, December 30, 2011

December Shopping Spree: Ruby and Rails Books

In this edition of "December Shopping Spree", we're back to books again.

It's no secret that I love computer books. Having said that, I think my love has slowed down a lot recently and I would not be surprised that one day I would move to something else (business or philosophy books probably?)

After a rampage of JavaScript book purchases, I had my eye set on Ruby and Rails books.

Early 2007, I was working at Kinzin, a Rails shop. Back then Rails was version 1.2.3 and Capistrano version was 1.2 (was about to move to 2.0). After Kinzin, I decided to move back to C#/Java (static language) world and had not looked at Ruby any more.

Lately, I've been thinking to give Ruby and Rails another try. I thought that maybe I can use Ruby as my primary scripting language since I sort of lost interest in Python (used to use Python a lot).

So I went online and purchased a few Rails books. Ordered three of them from Amazon US (way cheaper than Amazon CA):

I purchase one book directly from The Pragmatic Bookshelf because they're the only one who carries the second printing of Rails 4th Edition which supports Rails 3.1 (latest release). Nobody else had it.

I got the Programming Ruby 1.9 from The Pragmatic Bookshelf as well back in 2010 when they had a promo of $10 to commemorate the 10 years of Pickaxe book.

I believe this concludes all of my book purchases: 1 JavaScript book, 2 Ruby books and 2 Rails books with a total of 5 technical books I purchased. All within 2011. 

December Shopping Spree: Electronics

Continuing the "December Shopping Spree" series, while last time was all about the books, this time it's all about Electronics.

On the 23rd of December, popular forums are buzzing the Boxing Days/Weeks deals. RedFlagDeals and SmartCanucks were starting to post Online and In-Store flyers. We looked a few of them ranging from BestBuy, FutureShop, and NCIX because these are the remaining electronic stores with enticing deals after A&B Sound went down and under a few years ago. I sometime check out EBGames too but they never have a good online deal and I prefer not to wake up at 6 AM to line up in front of their store at Metrotown.

To our disappointment, we could not find a good deal on things we were looking for. Well...not until the very last minute (^_^). Lo and behold, both FutureShop and BestBuy had a significant discount on LED/LCD/Plasma TVs.

We were looking at two particular TVs: 32" Dynex for $199 and a 43-inch Samsung Plasma HDTV for $299. Wife and I had a short discussion before we decided to get the Samsung from BestBuy.

We figured that we would move the old TV to our bedroom and replace the one in the living room with this.

Our old TV (Westinghouse 32-inch LCD)
Unfortunately, we made a few rookie mistakes:

  • We realised the deals a few hours after the opening time of the online promo
  •  We took our time to discuss the pros and cons
Because of that, we ended up wasting our time on BestBuy online queue to find out that they had sold-out the item. We then move quickly to FutureShop (phew! thanks to FutureShop for having the same deal!).

We waited for a while on their online queue (similar online queue system used by BestBuy) and finally got the TV!

While waiting for the the queue, I also made a small purchase of  FIFA 2012 for PS3 since it was on sale with $20 off.

We were quite surprised to find out that both BestBuy and FutureShop did quite well when it comes to shipping the items during the hectic season. Fast forward a few days ... and the shipment has arrived (I shipped the FIFA 12 to my office just in case they couldn't ship it within the holiday).

New TV still inside the box
We were a little bit overwhelmed with the size of the TV since both of us had never own a TV that huge. Not even our parents when we were kids (my parents recently purchased a 42-inch TV). 

New TV has established its presence, old TV felt bummed out
Obligatory test using CoD: MW3 for PS3

After we installed the new TV, we moved the old one to our bedroom. Overall, we're quite satisfied with the price we paid.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December Shopping Spree: JavaScript Books

This is the first instalment of the December Shopping Spree series.

My first purchase was actually done at the end of November. O'reilly Media had a sweet promo on JavaScript books that I knew I cannot miss. The deal was 40% off of a large selection of what I would regard as "modern style" JavaScript books published by O'reilly and a few others (No Starch).

The first three books: Eloquent JavaScript, JavaScript Patterns, and JavaScript Web Applications were purchased by my employer on behalf of me so they will reside at the office's library. My only purchase was JavaScript: The Good Parts. Quite a good set-up: I keep JavaScript: The Good Parts at home and read the rest from the office.

After discussing with my colleague, we decided to purchase Eloquent JavaScript as the introduction to modern JavaScript programming followed by JavaScript Patterns to explain the common JavaScript programming techniques. Last but not least, JavaScript Web Applications introduces a few popular and useful libraries (such as Spine, Backbone, etc.) to support medium-to-large size modular JavaScript client-side application (although I have a feeling  that some of the libraries and concepts can be extended/applied to server-side Node.js as well).

Due to the advancement and the ubiquity of JavaScript going forward, I thought it would be important to get well-versed on this little language. 

2012 will be an exciting year to learn JavaScript.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Shopping Spree

Good morning December! We've been waiting for you for 11 months.

December is the month of the year where wife and I usually do our annual shopping spree because we normally don't shop during the other eleven months as we save all the money until the end of the year.

We do this for a number of reasons: to get better deals, to avoid impulse buying, and to give us a long enough time to ask the question: do we really need it?

We have a few ideas on what we're going to buy but of course those Boxing Days (or Weekend) deals will be a surprised for us and will create a bigger hole on our wallet.

Wife has been wanting to buy a few clothes and jackets/sweaters to accommodate her upcoming situation. She also has been browsing a few items for the little one but we're not sure if we should purchase them well ahead of the time.

For myself, I've been eyeing for a number of technical books both due to necessity and because of a few good deals.

I'll post what we bought throughout December in the upcoming post under "December Shopping Spree" series.

UPDATE! Links to all December Shopping Spree series: