Superb Rails Tutorial

So, it’s been a week since I tried the Rails framework again after a while. After following the Getting Started Guide, I’ve been doing the Rails Tutorials by Michael Hartl. It’s a great materials! Not only we can learn the Rails frameworks, the tutorial also teaches about the practice of web development, using Rails, such as how to run tests inside Sublime Text (awesome!), and in general, such as how to use Git. Now those are really really useful for a guy like me who do not come from formal computer science material.

The tutorial itself is built upon how to make a micro-post web app like the real world one which originally made from Rails (read: Twitter). It flows linearly, means we really shouldn’t jump between chapters. Michael describe the exercises at the end of each chapters as “mini-bosses” that you have to defeat before going on to the next chapter. Well put, I must say :p. Currently I am in the Chapter 4 of 11 (watch my progress here).
Hopefully I can finished it in two weeks. Let’s see.

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My First Rails 4.0 Deployment

Decided to give the new Ruby on Rails 4.0 framework a spin. Followed their getting-started guide, a simple blog app, and uploaded it to Heroku. Now that I’m used to Django, the concept of MVC is much clearer. However, can’t help but feel python is much prettier than ruby.

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Some Life Questions

Hello, been a long time. Why? Life, as usual.

 I read “How Will You Measure Your Life”, an old article from 2010, wrote by Prof. Clayton M. Christensen of HBS.  This article feels so relevant to me since now I’m in my last phase of my study. I wished I had read it when I graduate from my undergrads.

 On the last day of his class, Prof. Christensen asked his students to find their answers of these three questions:

1. How can I be sure I will be happy in my career?
2. How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
3. How can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?

 The first question is a classical one. Since career is one thing that will take major slice of your life, it should bring us happiness right? Well, the popular answer nowadays is “Find your passion!” Unfortunately, that suggestion is not so practical. I spend some time after my graduation pivoting with some jobs, yet I still did not feel this passion thingy. I am not saying that it is a waste of time to try finding your passion. I learned many things and now I do have some idea about how I want to lead my life. It was time well spent, yet it is not enough to guarantee your happiness on your career.

 The second question for me is interesting in a peculiar way. You see, just recently I stepped –up my relationship with my partner. Well, we already talk about marriage since day one, but now that both of us are at the end of our study we talk about it more concretely.  You know, making plan together, talk about jobs, parents opinion, monthly budgets, car-or-house first, those kinds of stuffs. So this question will fit in quite nicely in our discussion.

 The third question might sound silly, but it is a serious one. There are already some people from my alumni that spend some time behind the bars. I’m quite sure none of them planned to do so when they graduated, and I definitely do not plan to follow their footsteps. Therefore, some conscious decisions have to be made regarding this.

 To sum up, the article is very insightful for me. I’m I highly recommend you to block some reading time, since it is quite lengthy, and go read it deeply.  Now excuse me, I have some thinking to do.



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E-Toll Payment Implementation in Indonesia

Thanks to a big ruckus by our minister, the issue of long queue at toll booths has gained my attention. My memory flashed back two years ago when I was a regular user of highway. At least twice a month I did Jakarta-Bandung round trip, commuting between Jakarta and Bandung. It seems that there is no improvement since there.

This is a minister who ordered to cut the queue line in toll booth until the length of five, and saw a 30 cars long queue at 6 AM in the morning. When he saw that the two out of four booths are closed because the employees were late, he got furious. Hence, the chair throwing is understandable. If something get wrong in my works just because somebody’s laziness, things start flying too.

Long queue due to human negligence like this would not have happened if we already adopted E-toll payment system. In fact, Mandiri already launched E-Toll card since 2009. From the discussion in my alumni mailing list, in term of number of transaction, the card already has reach a number equivalent to 20% of all credit cards number of transaction in Indonesia, or 75% of all debit cards transaction. The numbers suggest that actually the toll card has dominated the Indonesian card payment realm. Why it does not have expected impact? I guess that show the barrier of implementation is more cultural than technical. Indonesian just does not used to pay with cards. In this respect, the operators should have been more aggressive in marketing. Taking example from Korea, the operator can use discount to get more customer to adopt the card payment. In Korea, card users will get discount ranging from 5% to 50%, depends on the time and location.

Another example of culture barriers is the implementation of nonstop E-Tollpass. In other countries, it is possible to make e-toll payment completely without stopping. The booth will detect the cards in your car remotely, see your ID, and deduct the fee from your account.  If you  pass through the non stop gate without valid account, hence not paying, a camera would shot your licence plate. Soon there a fine letter will arrive at your address. All this is technically possible to be implemented in Indonesia. One problem however is that when people buy/sell second hand cars, they commonly do not change the owner identity of the car, especially if the buyer and the seller are related. Hence, if the car do violation, the previous owner will get the fine instead of the culprit (serve him right IMO since it was due to his negligence). Therefore even in non-stop E-Tollpass the operators install mechanical gates that will not open without the detection appropriate payment.

This case of e-toll implementation prove that localization is important in technology adoption in developing country.




Single Time Zone for Indonesia

The most mind catching headlines this week for me is this: RI to Save Trillions of Rupiah by Merging Time Zone. Upon reading, I was very excited, this is one of the best idea from our goverment! Why? Because this is a low hanging fruit (a.k.a. easy win) to boost our national output. Win? Easy?  Let’s elaborate the pros and cons.

Coordinating Minister for Economy Hatta Radjasa said that by having time zone across the archipelago and with neighboring countries, economic activities will have better management and could be more efficient. The potential saving can be up to trillions rupiah. There is a logic jump in the minister statement, maybe due to time constraint.

Since I do not have the data and models, I can only guess where the trillions come from. By having three time zone, there are two hours time difference in working window of people in the western zone with the people in the eastern zone. By unifying time zone, suddenly there are an extra two hours for transactions everyday. This should provide some jumps in national outputs. Trading and banking with many other countries in GMT+8 will also get same effect. Countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Hongkong, all are in GMT +8. More trading with these countries will give significant boost to our outputs. I expect this is the major components from the trillions “saved”.

There are also some “minor” advantages. One thing is the flight schedule will be simplified. The Jakartans also would go earlier (according to the sun), so they don’t have to burn as many fuel for air conditioning on their way.

The biggest cons of the plan is, hundreds million of people should change their time agreement and daily habit. Many say that this will cause chaos, but is it true? Maybe because Indonesian are tropical people they have much concern against the idea, but for our fellows at many four-seasoned countries are familiar with “time shifting”, albeit for different reason. To conserve power during winter, many countries adopt Daylight Saving Time (DST).  With DST, people should shift their time twice a year, and they can do it without any chaos.

It can be argued that we can not model our country situation with those country because their situation is too much different. Well, the Philippines, a tropical country, has tried DST in the past. Pakistan, a Muslim country with almost 200 million people also tried DST without much uproar. So there is no reason why Indonesia can not do this shift, once in a life time.

Sure, there will be some discomfort, but Indonesia need to pick up pace as soon as possible. This policy can be a way to tell all the Indonesians that we are changing and moving. And that everybody should shoulder the progress, united as a country.

One thing that is not appropriate from this idea is the way the government present it. One minister talk that there is this “plan” that suppose to “save: trillion of rupiah but it is not clear when or whether the policy will be active at all. This study sparks many debates, as every changes would, which is counter-productive. If the government already did the necessary research (as they claimed) and sure that this policy is the way to go, they should just make a formal press conference, explain the policy, including all the study involved, and release the effective date. And the timing is not elegant. This issue appears just before the increase of subsidized fuel next month. That’s why many people accuse this issue as a diversion from the fuel issue. A pity, since this is a real way to boost our economy.




Hello Everyone

Hello! Welcome to my blog! This place is my space to practice my English writing. I plan to update this blog regularly, once a week. The theme of the posts may vary, heavily depends on my current interest, but all posts shall imbued with my thoughts, so maybe they will turn out quite heavy.

Anyway, this is my hello to you all. I hope you can enjoy your reading here!

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