The curse of software programming

May 10, 2007 Leave a comment

This is what I think is the worst curse in software programming.

When you feel that you are close to solving a programming issue, or cruising along towards the solution, you are unable to or find it difficult to pause work and call it a day.

I miss the days when I could just continue working until I solve the issues, or until I’m too tired to think. Married, or with kids will know that obligations to the family calls for a “clock-out” from work for a balanced life.

I don’t advocate overtime or over-worked. But I do miss the satisfactions and triumphs over finishing a piece of work on a single track.

That’s why this is a curse. Torn between the urge to continue over a piece of work and the need to balance your life.

Review of Miessence products

May 9, 2007 2 comments

I hesitated to write about this, because it’s just going to read too good to be true.

I went on a health-conscious spree recently. Just couldn’t bear using the chemical-laden personal care products any more, and I found this organic product Miessence. So I made an order and started using them. So here’s my review. I would have written earlier, but just wanted to be sure that it wasn’t my euphoria that was affecting my opinion.

I just love them! I just couldn’t believe that we have been so conditioned to thinking that effective cleaning requires foaming. Well, the Miessence products do not foam, and if it did, it’s only a little bit. They still clean equally well. Let me just go into each product that I am using now.


I am using the Lemon Myrtle Shampoo, for normal to oily hair. It cleans very well. So well, that my wife finds it too dry. I thought it was ok, but men have more oily hair than women. I combine it with the hair conditioner. I’m getting the Desert Flower Shampoo (for normal and dry hair) for her. Initially, you’ll need 2 applications of the shampoo. That means, shampoo, rinse, and do that again. That’s because your hair has those chemicals from the previous brands, and the organic shampoo will need to strip them out slowly. A few days later, you’re back to single shampoo and rinse. Big surprise factor was that I needed only a 2-cm wide amount of shampoo for each application.


I am using the Shine Herbal Hair Conditioner. You’ll need this if you find the shampoo too drying. Again, only a small amount is required. Flowery scent, but on using, it has a woody scent.

Facial wash

Balancing Cleanser for normal and combination skin. First time I used a facial cleanser that doesn’t foam. I was not used to it initially because it felt slightly greasy, like applying only moisturizer. But after rinsing and drying the face with a towel, it felt great! Skin pores are getting smaller, and the oil control is amazing. I don’t wake up with an oily face now. As the day progresses, I get oily spots at the t-zones of the face. No problems with just a little dabbing with a piece of tissue. Skin is starting to glow and less puffy too. My wife is loving this.


Mint-flavored toothpaste. Ohhh… if you have to get something, don’t miss out the toothpaste! We don’t have bad breath when we wake up now! It’s lovely to wake up without a dry mouth smelling like a rubbish dump. No more Colgate, Darlie, Sensedyne, or Oral B. All those didn’t work. I couldn’t believe simple ingredients in the organic toothpaste could prevent bad breath just like that. Honestly, it took me a while to get used to it because it wasn’t foaming, it tasted salty and there was a slight tingling sensation.

Shaving Gel

Another non-foaming product. For me, I’ve been using Gillette foaming cream/gel ever since I started to sprout hairs around my chin. So when I used this, I was having doubts. But foaming is just a myth! This shaving gel, or rather it’s of a creamy texture, just works as it should. It lubricates the skin, so that your shaving blade can glide along your skin without scraping with accompanying howls. On top of that, it doesn’t dry out like the Gillette foam, so that you can go over your skin repeatedly until you’re satisfied. Here’s the skeptical part… my beard growth seems to be slower after using this shaving gel. Well, that’s what I noticed for the past few days. Anyway, it has a woody scent to it too.

Hand wash

By now, “small amounts only” is not surprising. That’s all you need for an effective wash. Very little foaming, and leaves the hand moisturized after rinsing. A gingery-lemony scent which my wife didn’t like. But I do, so I’m the only one using it now. I do realize that my hands do not having the numbing feeling anymore. I mentioned that to some friends last year, and thought that it could be a side-effect of a heart condition. But it seems like it’s not. My palms are starting to feel more sensitive, and warmer too. By the way, my doctor couldn’t find irregularities in my heart beat.

That’s it. Too good to be true? I don’t blame you. It’s something that you can accept only if you try it yourself. If you want to try it, you can just shop online here:

Ribena, really just a little bit!

May 7, 2007 2 comments

I just read this news article.

GSK, the manufacturer of Ribena, has admitted to possibly misleading consumers when it stated that blackcurrents have 4 times more vitamin C than oranges. It was found that Ribena contains “almost no traces of the vitamin”.

Why aren’t they apologizing to the consumers in Singapore?

Update:   Ribena in Singapore is not affected.  Please see comments.  That’s why they are not apologizing in Singapore. 🙂

Categories: Health, Products

Creating a record with your intended id

May 7, 2007 Leave a comment

In Rails, you can create a new record with the methods create; or new followed by save.  In both cases, the id of the record is automatically allocated.   This is how you can allocate your own id in a new record.  Why do we need that?  Well, I did, and someone probably need too.  For me, it’s a long story.  So I’ll just go into the How-to.

[Peep Code]

    s = => ‘New’)

[End of Peep Show]

Now you know why? 🙂

Categories: Ruby on Rails

Miessence package has arrived!

May 4, 2007 1 comment

It took only 2 days! After I placed my order on their online shopping site, they sent me an email notifying me on the order placement. Today morning, they sent me another email informing that the package is on the way. Today afternoon, the UPS man arrived to my doorstep with my package. All without me stepping out of the house! After a month of leg work in trying to find safer alternatives to personal care products, this is just a bliss!

So now you know that shipping Miessence to Singapore has no problems. Oh, no GST too. 😉

Update: No GST if your package’s value is below S$400.

miessence_box.jpg miessence_opened_box.jpg

From the pictures, you can see that the packaging is nicely done. Nuggets of foam is used to prevent the bottles from tumbling around. The bottles have a tape seal on top. If it’s broken, it means that it has been tampered with, or the contents might have been compromised. Nice touch.

Ok, initial fragrance test!

Extremely pleasant. Quite different from the usual products that we buy. The scents have an uplifting lint to it, which I find it very hard to describe. They are not over powering. I could sniff them repeatedly just to try to identify the scents. I’ll try my best here.

Mint Toothpaste – Wife prefers mint, so we got the mint! Minty and bright scent. The volume looks good enough to last for one month for 2 persons.

Lemon Myrtle Shampoo – Milky scent with a uplifting lint of lemon.

Shine Herbal Hair Conditioner – Flowery scent, like during a spring season.

Liquid Hand Soap – Flowery scent. Slightly more wholesome than the hair conditioner.

For the others, I wasn’t able to sniff it due to the dispenser design. I’ll probably know tomorrow. So far, it’s smelling good. 🙂


Shaving Cream – Woody scent.

Balancing Cleanser (facial) – Woody, with a hint of rosemary. English herbal kind of scent.

Another organic personal care brand

May 4, 2007 Leave a comment

I found another brand that manufactures only organic personal care products!

It’s Pangea Organics. Although they don’t ship internationally, but you can get them at these locations in Singapore.

I haven’t check out the prices yet, nor tried them before.  But if you have, let me know how you feel about this one.

Categories: Health, Organic, Personal Care

SVN rename – pitfalls to avoid

May 4, 2007 4 comments

Here’s a pitfall you should avoid when you use “svn rename” for files, or directories.

Once you have done a “svn rename”, it is better to do a “svn commit” before you start modifiying the contents of the renamed files.  Otherwise you are likely to encounter “local modifications” messages, or “versioning” warning messages, which can hinder your commit activities later.

If you are already in the problematic territory, what you can do is to:

  1. Copy the renamed file to a back-up file.
  2. Do a “svn delete –force” on the renamed file.
  3. Do a “svn commit” on the renamed file.
  4. Copy the back-up file back to the renamed file.
  5. Do a “svn add” on the renamed file.
  6. Do a “svn commit” on the renamed file.
Categories: SVN

Organic daily personal care products

May 2, 2007 Leave a comment

Referring back to my earlier post on “Living a life of chemicals“, I would like to update everyone that I have found the safer alternative to personal care products!

The brand is called Miessence, manufactured by an Australian company named Organic and Natural Enterprise group. Their products are certified by “Australian Certified Organic” and “United States Department of Agriculture”.

Lots of information that you can read up at OneGroup’s site. Take a look at the toxins directory and compare against your personal care products that you use daily. I think it will freak you out.

You can have a look at their products too. Yeah, they are more expensive than your typical shopping malls’ products, but I think your health is worth paying for it. I have made some purchases and I’ll update you all on the outcome of the trials. 🙂

Incidentally, they have a business structure in which you can take part in if you are also looking for a business opportunity and want to ride on the wave of growing awareness in better health. I have hitched onto it because I believe we shouldn’t be victims to irresponsible manufacturers.

Living a life of chemicals

April 30, 2007 5 comments

Recently my wife started to use cosmetics, and being aware of how most cosmetics are using toxic and carcinogenic ingredients, I embarked on a search for safe cosmetics.

The search led to 1 brand of cosmetic, and a much better knowledge in personal care products.

For a start, let’s begin with some education. Do a google search on “cosmetics dangerous ingredients“, and start reading. Or you can get this book “The Safe Shopper’s Bible“, if you are skeptical of what you read on the Internet. Keep a lookout for the most common ingredients.

The ingredients’ names can be daunting as most of them are chemical names, and most of us are not used to them. But if you start gradually by cross referencing your product’s ingredients to the chemical list, you’ll slowly get used to it. Well, as your concerns grow, your mind will start learning quickly.

So I’m pretty familiar with the ingredients now, and it’s freaking me out. Practically everything that I use on a daily basis is a chemical tub that can trigger off cancer in my body. Although all manufacturers claim that the amount used in their products is “negligible”, “too little to cause any harm”, “with in safe limits as specified by institutions”, the increasing statistics of people getting cancers is telling a different story. The problem is that all the products add up can become “significant”, “too much”, or “outside the safe limits”. Who’s to know? You are supposed to know. Not the manufacturer. If you use toothpaste, facial wash, shampoo, soap, body wash, hand wash, all in one day, and it exceeds the safe limits, it’s really your fault.

So how do we know? Actually, I don’t know. There’s no way for me to measure the amount of chemicals that I expose myself to in a day.

The only way is to use products that do not use such chemicals. Is it possible? Yes. My mum told me that back in my grandfather’s days, toothpaste was a simple home-made paste, made from baking soda and sea salt.

So I embarked on a search for safer products, and it’s a tough mission! Most of the cosmetics and personal care products in Singapore contain these chemicals.

So far, I have found one cosmetics which use minerals for its foundations, blush and shadows. Check out Everyday Minerals.

I’m still searching for the alternatives to personal care products. I’ll update this post if I find one. Good health to you!

Categories: Health

Non stick cooking oil

April 26, 2007 Leave a comment

You know how we have teflon-coated pans, which helps in non-sticking cooking, but releases toxic stuff under high temperatures.  So I decided to go for simple pans and woks, but my cooking sticks to the pans again.  Washing is pretty tough later.

For less degree of pan-sticking, I would use more cooking oil, but that’s unhealthy too.

Recently, I wanted to cook some omelette and was looking for butter.  But the only “butter” that I had was this bread spread made from olive oil and fats.  The brand is “The Olive Grove” from Australia with no trans-oil, supposedly to be approved by Australia’s Heart Foundation.

Well, it worked wonders!  My egg just didn’t stick to the pan. I tried cooking fish with this spread last night with very little sticking to the pan.  Washing was just a simple scrape with the scrubbing pad.

I’m not sure if it works for all pans, but I’m very happy with my olive oil “butter”.

Categories: Cooking