Short term goals

Since my last update, there have been several items on my agenda that have been achieved and others that haven’t. First off, I regret my decision to buy a car…the reason why I bought one was for two reasons primarily:

1. Help me find a part time job. I wanted faster transportation so that I could make myself more available to more jobs.
2. Get me to class on time. Provided I get into my commerce course, I needed faster transportation so as not to be late.

Turns out that it hasn’t really helped me with the first point (I’m still looking), but I am glad I got into my commerce course, so the second point has (or will be) fulfilled.
But there is a massive caveat to this: according to my calculations, the upkeep of the car is too expensive for me right now. If I were to pay off my debt and my car loan AND have leftover money for my tuition next year, I am still going to be in debt. So therefore, there’s really only two options for me: Keep the car and get a part-time job or sell the car and take some losses. The first one seems more likely; I don’t want to make losses or go through trouble of selling it, and even then how will I fulfill point #2?

Thus, I believe that this fall will become quite busy for me. I thinking to participate in many extra-curricular activities as well (such as public speaking and/or badminton, piano lessons, etc) in order to boost my character. But to work a full-time & part-time job AND get over an 80 in my commerce course is going to be hard work indeed. The last time I juggled so many activities, my marks dropped me down an entire grade point. So I have no idea how I am to handle this, but I hope things will come through; if I can do this then my vacation next year will be well deserved indeed.

There’s a minor style/image change on the site; now it’s more ‘blue’ I suppose. Also the reason why the media section never gets updated with new videos is because I am waiting for Cooliris to come out with a way to embed youtube RSS feeds into an wall. I just can’t be bothered to make an entire Media RSS feed for my videos just for this site =/.
I leave off this post with an acoustic guitar rendition of Moonlight Sonata. I’m off to study for my next interview -_-;

California Dreamin’

The Golden State:

Drivin on the 101 under the sun, California here we come
Drivin on the 101 under the sun, California here we come

A goal that I’ve always had since I had been living in Canada so long is to live and work in California.

Why there? many reasons, often the reasons that most people have for chasing that dream: Warm beaches, palm trees, land of hollywood and silicon valley, porn movies, hot asian chicks and wine (those last three go very well together).

But another reason may be because despite what many people say about it being expensive to live there, it actually isn’t that much more expensive than living in Toronto.  Allow me to make a comparison:

Based on data from Wikipedia, Cost of living by state and Gas Buddy, here is a comparison of the basic necessities (gas, rent, food, insurance) as well as the average annual income (all in USD btw) to see how much you save.

Cost of living (avg) Cost of living in California Cost of living in Ontario (USD)
Rent/mo $1265 $863
Gas/mo $82 $111
Insurance/mo $153 $121
Food/mo $150 $125
Salary/Annual Income $60,000 $56,000
Annual savings $40,200 $41,360

So living in California might not be more expensive; it might actually be cheaper due to the lower taxes you pay in the US. All in all though, this is a long term goal and I hope that after the economy recovers, there might be a better chance of me settling there.

Cant wait to watch this sunset in person ^_^
Can't wait to watch this sunset in person ^_^

My work at EnvCan and some remarks about healthcare reform

So its been a good 2 months since I started at EnvCan doing software development but things have been slow to pick up. The reason why that link on my portfolio page probably won’t link to anything soon is because I still have not been doing all that much.
My role is a Core developer, and to understand what that means, you have to know that Environment Canada has several different teams:

  • Core team – the team I’m on. This team is responsible for developing the interfaces that all the components will use and as the closest layer to the database.
  • Component team – the team that is in charge of developing all the applications that communicate with the core interface. At EnvCan we have several components such as Decoder, Standardizer, SYNOP, QC, etc (but you won’t care for what those are).
  • NinJo team – My friend Stefan is on this team. They are in charge of the software that predicts the weather. =)
  • Architecture team – I am a secretary for this team. It is as the name implies, in charge of the architecture for everything.
  • Business team – They are not coders but rather they write out the rules and specs we are to follow.

There you have it. Each team has their own meetings, and I have been rather swamped with those lately (I had two just today). However it’s a nice and relaxed environment to work in. Everyone is friendly and helpful, and alot of the time I find myself getting distracted.

Here is one of our ‘productive’ meetings:

Our meetings about porings
Our meetings about porings

Here is what my ‘work’ consists of:

Sketches, drawings, etc
Sketches, drawings, etc

As you can see, very productive.

On the other subject of this post, I want to make a few remarks about Obama’s healthcare overhaul:

47 years ago, JFK made the same sort of proposal which later got passed as Medicare and Medicaid after his death. It was the biggest piece of healthcare legislation since FDR implemented Social Security in the 1930s. Obama seeks to have universal coverage, something that I find quite ambitious yet unlikely. The problem is the United states, unlike Europe or Canada, has had private insurers for healthcare for its existence.

It’s analogous to why they are still using the Imperial system for measurement – it’s simply too entrenched to get rid of. The reason why Canada switched is because we did it a while back. It’s a bit too late to do it now, though there is little choice – US federal budget projects huge increases of deficit due to Medicare/Medicaid either way. So I would say that because this issue was never passed in the 1930s, they dug themselves in a very big hole.

I have taken courses on Canada’s healthcare system – and while it is not perfect by any means, it is sufficient. I don’t have to have an employer sponser me as I would in the US to get coverage. Americans would recoil from the mention of ‘socialized’ medicine but if it didn’t work, then wouldn’t we have switched back? Not to mention our federal budgets are not nearly in deficit as the USA is. So before criticizing socialized healthcare, ask yourself ‘is it really much worse than having the least efficient healthcare system in the world?’.

Edit: I see why the argument against universal healthcare persists. It is a RIGHT to pursue and receive healthcare but it is not a RIGHT to pay for someone else’s healthcare (except when they’re poor and old apparently). The argument for auto insurance is different. Everyone has to have auto insurance because there’s a chance that you could cause damage to someone else or their vehicle and be liable for it. A chance that is not statistically insignificant. However, the chances of you causing damage to someone else or their property due to your health is rather insignificant. That’s why auto insurance is mandatory and the same argument cannot be extended to healthcare. They’re different playing fields.