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Risharde's Blog

I now know why I wrote on my blog

It's been about 10 year later, I'm now 32, I feel so much older, slower, failed and even lonely (but not lonely the way most folks know it).
Using my spare time wisely, mostly always analyzing, I now realize why I used to write on my blog. As you can see, I barely do it lately. I stopped when the people I cared for the most asked me why I would share how I feel with people who would just use it to hurt me. I suppose, it's called love and now I know that if there was someone like me who posted on their blog and I loved them, I would probably give them the same advice - never let people know how you really feel - they will most likely not understand.

I've lost a lot of friends just like Mark Zuckerburg... but Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook was lucky - he became rich, popular and perhaps vindicated. The total opposite I think of what happened to me. Again as I said, I lost a lot of friends, mostly because I was understood, mostly because I was honest and had my heart on my sleeve and mostly because of my blog and other creations. I was actually fine with that until recently. Sure, I might have been insensitive sometimes but who hasn't... cast the first stone.

In any event, coming back to the topic, I now know why I wrote on my blog. I never wrote for people who knew... and that's ironic now coming to think about it since I mostly told people I knew that I had a blog. My blog branched off from TNTSMS.COM at some point and so the blog was intended for those who used the website... many of which I didn't know.

Truth be told, I think I'm better judged by those that I don't know that those that I knew or those who knew me. The blog was really for those who would judge me easier. Maybe for those who could keep a connection purely based on just my heart and mind - not my actions, not my looks (or lack thereof). This is what I've always been fascinated by and has a link to IRC - where I first developed this really bad habit to put it lightly.

In any event, I hope to have more days where I can begin blogging again. If you're out there and you don't know me, I'd love to hear from you - you can always email me at risharde@gmail.com

It would be nice to make new friends...

Windows 10 SSD vs Normal Hard Disk Boot Times

After finally getting my first SSD hard disk drive, its time to help someone out there on the internet or so I hope.
For those of you who don't know the difference between a normal hard disk drive and an SSD drive, I'll try to explain it as simple as I can. Basically a normal hard disk drive has a moving magnetic disk called the platter that spins typically at 5400 revs per minute (RPM) or 7600 revs per minute (RPM). These drives have moving parts which means that if you throw down a laptop while the hard disk is running, you can damage the hard disk drive.
An SSD drive is a hard disk as well except that instead of having moving parts, the drive uses chips which store the data. This is a really basic description... it's more complicated than that.

Anyways, lets get to the main point of this blog, so essentially, the SSD drives, because they use the storage chips tend to be much faster at reading data and also writing data. This means that the computer is able to read data faster from these drives. How fast you might be wondering? Some SSD drive manufacturers claim that their drives are between 10 to 100 times faster than normal hard disk drives. When you put that into perspective, if your Windows machine took 30 seconds to boot on a normal hard disk drive, you might be able to get it to boot in 3 seconds using an SSD. Realistically speaking from my experience, Ive been able to get my Windows based PC to boot in approximately 8 seconds, which I have to tell you has been really amazing compared with a previous boot time of 28 seconds.

With that being said, there's one thing I have to warn you guys about - SSD drives tend to fail faster and do seem to have a shorter life span. You have been warned. I hope this will help someone out on the internet.

Bad Human Resource Practices

HI everyone, its been quite a while since I've blogged and I thought I'd get back up to speed with blogging. Please remember that the views expressed on this blog is mostly related to my personal views. I don't force these views unto you but simply present them to the public. If you get angry with my view, please don't. It's only a way of expressing my experience.

I've been thinking lately about something that is disturbing me greatly. I've spoken before about bad H.R practices in the past and I've seen consistently where Human Resource personnel fail to make good decisions. Particularly, I'm speaking from some level of experience especially since from time to time, I send resumes out to companies in Trinidad and Tobago. Of course, this blog topic doesn't apply only to Trinidad and Tobago but I am basing my writings as of current on Trinidad and Tobago.

Out of approximately 20 resumes sent out, I tend to get responses from only 1 or 2. I've always asked myself why this happens. I've gone through extensive alterations / version controls just like when I am programming to see whether its based on format, content, more credentials, less credentials, more qualifications, less qualifications... etc...

Favoritism
I think this needs to be at the top of the list because I am aware that this happens often. Companies and organizations that already have an 'in-house candidate' that they already like still follow the process of advertising for the position. The problem that arises is that the personnel on the panel have already made up their minds to the point that it is nearly impossible to convince them to choose you (the person being interviewed). What results is a time wasting procedure particularly for the person being interviewed. Can you imagine how much of wasted time is produced if a company interviews the top 10 list and finds no suitable candidates. Time is money. I am nearly certain that many Human Resource personnel would not like their time to be wasted but then again, I've come across many ill-tempered human resource workers in my years of work.

Hear say
I've heard Human Resource managers and human resource workers say that they talk to other people and based on what those people say, they either decide to short list the candidate or reject the candidate. While is possible sense to this, in many situations, this is a very dangerous, inaccurate way of determining a suitable candidate. Particularly because I hardly hear people talk good about people who are leaving an organization. Even from my own personal experience, I believe that I've been hurt and damaged by this process. Most people leave an organization when they are seeking something better or unhappy with the current organization. The organization on the other hand is interested in saving face. If you can see this angle, you'll realize that most workers work (with the minor exceptions) and most organizations try to be something they aren't but are seeking to get better. In the process, you hardly find an organization apologizing. So really, I actually question which one is the dangerous one... the people who want better wages or working conditions or the organization and the h.r practices which seem to be like shopping on amazon or ebay for the cheapest deal. It's downright disturbing.

Decisions based on qualifications alone
It is a dangerous thing to base your entire decision of short listing on qualifications only. Especially when it comes to computer science and IT. Particularly because the majority of people I come across in IT can't build a simple program. I ask, how is this possible? How do they get the jobs and I can't land one. Simply put, I believe Human Resources have not been up to speed with talent. I've questioned people with phDs in their fields and many have had to admit that they didn't know something. This is simply because a qualification isn't the deciding factor for getting something done. Practicality and option to prove someone can do it should matter but it doesn't seem to be that way with many H.R.

No proper testing or evaluation
Winning interviews is simple. You tell them what you want them to hear. But really, is that really what makes an organization better? Not to me. I could butter up the interviewers in an interview and that might land me the job. So what happens when you're in the job and realize you're head over heels. You see many interviewers on the panel are setting people up for failure. They think they are doing something good by giving someone a job but really, I don't think many see the real responsibility given to them. Sure, there are times when you are aware that the person doesn't have enough experience but your systems have to be in place for them to learn and get better. If you don't have that, why on earth would you hire someone to insult them, to make them feel like less of a human being when they fail to meet what you want.

These are just some of the things I've seen job hunting in Trinidad and Tobago. I'm sure there's more and I'm sure someone will post a really nasty comment about me. Of that I am certain.

Rocket Batteries

Has your car battery just stopped working right after the warranty period? Well I've had that experience happened to me twice using TRACK batteries. I wasn't going to let it happen the third time. From my experience the maintenance free Rocket batteries work really good. I've been running mine for about 2 and half years now without any problem. This is not a paid ad and I don't have any affiliations with Rocket. I'm just helping someone out there in Trinidad and Tobago that's willing to listen.

Wordpress vs Drupal

Many users on the internet take sides. The epic battle between Wordpress and Drupal is far from over. I will stand back in order to see this clearer and try to answer the question "Which is really better?". That answer however is extremely simple: None. This will have many internet users upset but in order to understand my position, one must view it in my eyes.

So really the question you should be asking is: "What does Risharde see". Let me bring this epic battle into context. Do you run Windows or Linux? Do you run Windows or MacOS? Is it becoming clearer yet? If it isn't, then for the most part, I will clarify by saying that these choices are your own personal choices. I should not and cannot decide from you. I can however tell you what I believe are the disadvantages and advantages as I see them.

Drupal and Wordpress

Common ground:
Both are open source

Drupal Advantages
- Content types are simple to create
- CCK is now built into the core of Drupal
- Views display CCK.
- Extremely modular
- Not just for blogging. Use it to do surveys, create a help desk or create a store... possibilities are endless.
- Large user community constantly working on the next version of Drupal
- Extremely organized contributed modules system.

Drupal Disadvantages
- Auto updates still not extremely simple
- Cannot update core automatically
- Learning curve at first is high and can leave you frustrated and unsatisfied.
- Slower than wordpress if used without caching.
- More load on your server
- Theming is a bit more complex than Wordpress

Wordpress Advantages
- Large support on the internet if you need help
- Simple to use and extremely easy for blogging purposes
- Faster especially with caching enabled.
- Less load on your server if proper coding is done
- Very easy theming with built in editor within the control panel.
- Choosing a different theme per page is extremely easy.
- Installing and updating plugins are a breeze

Wordpress Disadvantages
- More code required to do page tweaking
- Majority of really good plugins to do forms and display output of database data ARE NOT FREE!

I was fined by the Trinidad and Tobago / Mon Repos Police for coming out of a food related business driveway

THE REGULATION IN QUESTION IS "DRIVING VEHICLE ON FOOTPATH OR PAVEMENT" - MOTOR VEHICLES AND ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATIONS CH 48.50 REGULATION 57 (1000 dollars and 30 point penalty):

"57. No person shall wilfully drive, ride, draw or propel a vehicle
or ride an animal upon any footpath or pavement by the side of any
road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of pedestrians."

THE INCIDENT:
Only in Trinidad and Tobago I think this happens. My fiance and I went out tonight to buy some bar-b-que. We arrived at the barbque food place after 8 pm (more around 8:25 pm). As the food place was situated on the right hand side and I was driving on the left hand side of the road, I proceeded to turn right in order to enter the driveway of the said food place where 2 cars were already parked. As I entered the entrance, a pedestrian warned me that the police were charging people for parking on the pavement and since I saw that I might end up partially on the pavement I proceeded to return unto the road to find another area to park or go elsewhere to find food. Upon waiting to get back unto the road in which the direct lane was full of incoming cars, I indicated and waited for a few seconds before a car would allow me to exit to get back unto the left lane - during which a police officer instructed me to park on the left hand side of the road. I complied and waited for a male officer who approached my car in which I began to explain in a respectful manner the above by addressing him as "Sir". The police officer did not allow me to continue and cut me off while trying to explain the situation by responding "You know what you did! You know what you did!" in a tone that I can only recall my father would probably speak to me in my childish / adolescent years. I responded to him by asking him why he was speaking to me this way when I was trying to explain to him about the above and my intention. I also asked him why I would lie to him in front of what he would have "hopefully" seen. He said "I don't want to hear nothing!" and asked me for my license and registration in which I complied. He went over to the other police workers and I waited for what seemed to be about 10 minutes before a female police officer handed me a ticket at which point I tried to explain again what happened. She responded saying that the male police officer never gives anyone a chance to explain (which I would think is highly unfair to me as law abiding citizen but it seems even law enforcement in Trinidad and Tobago isn't fair). She said that I should not pay the fine and explain my case to the court/magistrate.

MY BELIEF:
I am good citizen in that I follow the law whenever and wherever I go. I try to do the right things and many of you see this by the comments I write on facebook about doing the right thing. This police officer charged me for "driving on the footpath". The question I must ask is, how would I have taken out my vehicle without having to "drive on the footpath"? Driving always as defensively and safe as possible, I did not reverse the car into incoming traffic but proceeded to position my vehicle while moving forward to proceed unto the road by indicating such. In the long run, by being a "good driver", I was fined. How fair really is this land that I live in? After all, people say life isn't fair but then didn't someone think up the idea of law enforcement to try to reduce the odds of life being fair by providing proper rules and regulations. Furthermore, if driving over what he claims to be the footpath to enter or exit from a driveway, then I don't know anyone other than perhaps Houdini who would be able to do this. Additionally, if I were to enter my own driveway or exit it in such a way, would police be able to fine me for exiting my driveway? This is none sense... either the policeman was mentally challenged or the law and its intent is not clear - because everyone comes out or enters into a driveway by going over the so called "footpath". In any event, I was not parked and in good intent, attempted to solve and comply with the law by getting back on the road and finding a proper park nearby or finding a next place to eat.

JUSTICE:
So what if I am cleared of this fine by the magistrate, how does the police learn that they should not abuse the law... Will I get any compensation for my wasted day in court because a policeman was wrong for charging me? Of course not and that is why the system will not change in this country. Take 1000 dollars out of his pocket and I bet you he will make sure and get glasses to make sure he sees properly the next time.

How to install Memcached on CentOS 5

Okay so since I don't particularly like to assume the trust of installing 3rd party yum repositories, I install most new software packages by compiling from source as previously mentioned. This undoubtedly makes it more difficult than using the yum command but I think its a sacrifice with respect to trust and security.

So this is how I do the install for Memcached (I have not tested the pecl install memcached as yet.. this is just to get memcached cache server installed). Also, this is for 32-bit.

INSTALL LIBEVENT FIRST
wget -t 10 https://github.com/downloads/libevent/libevent/libevent-2.0.21-stable.ta...
tar -xvf libevent-2.0.21-stable.tar.gz
cd libevent-2.0.21-stable
./configure
make && make install

THEN INSTALL MEMCACHE
wget -t 10 http://memcached.googlecode.com/files/memcached-1.4.15.tar.gz
tar -xvf memcached-1.4.15.tar.gz
cd memcached-1.4.15
./configure --enable-threads --with-libevent=/usr/local
make && make install

NICE, IF ALL GOES WELL, YOU HAVE MEMCACHED INSTALLED BUT NOT RUNNING.
TO RUN MEMCACHE, I USE:
memcached -d -u nobody -m 64 -p 11211 127.0.0.1

Notice at the top the -m 64 which tells memcache to use 64MB of memory. You can increase this depending on your RAM needs.

Good luck!

Installing APC Beta for PHP 5.4.x

Okay so I've tried testing the stable version of apc and it gives segmentation errors with PHP 5.4.x branch and it seems there's an APC beta version out on PECL. I searched the internet and realized it was really hard to find the command to install the beta version so I'm posting it here in hope that it helps others

Firstly, if you built your own php, you should got your php's bin directory and type
./pecl install apc-beta

Of course, if everything goes well, it should compile and you'll need to add the 'extension=apc.so' to your php.ini file. The file for me is located in your php's lib directory. If the file does not exist, you can create it there (if you compiled php from source like I did).

REMEMBER, you may need to restart your apache or other webserver and also phpfpm if your setup is like mine
ALSO, I noticed that with APC installed and in use, more memory was used up. Like about 150 MBs extra.
Good luck!

CinemaTT released for Android

I am pleased to announce the immediate release of CinemaTT. CinemaTT is a straight forward app to access the latest movie information, trailers and show time schedules in cinemas throughout Trinidad and Tobago. It really isn't complicated. Just select the cinema you'd like to see what movies are showing and the app will give you the show times plus the option to watch the trailer for the specific movie ;)

Download it on Google Play Store FOR FREE!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rrp.cinematt

Works on Froyo 2.2.x up to the latest Android version as well as Google TV Supported!

Stay away from EVE and SANTA ROSA brand products in Trinidad and Tobago

I noticed today that EVE brand canned sausages did not include the cholesterol values in its nutrition facts. Santa Rosa also DOES NOT put the values anymore either! What you may not know is that in nearly every can of sausages, there is about 40 mg of cholesterol per serving - which I can tell you is not very good for you to consume often from my experience. What does this imply? I would guess that EVE is purposefully not putting the value on its products in order to get it sold which I believe is wrong and I therefore distrust them even more now. Can you imagine what else they may not be putting on their products? You wouldn't even know what you are eating. This is unacceptable and a very shady practice and a big shame on EVE for doing this.

Desalination plant maintenance may affect around 75% of the country

Is it just me or does anyone else believe that we should probably have a backup system for catastrophic events. I heard on the news that the shutdown of the desalination plant for 9 days to do maintenance on it - in Trinidad would affect nearly 75% of the country... I think we really need to have another plant on backup or another system to shed the load. Water is one of the most important ingredients to sustain life and I don't think the country is serious enough about the problems that might be faced during a catastrophic event. Worse of all, I just have a feeling that there's going to be water woes during the 9 day shutdown. Tank systems generally only supply water for about 3-4 days so my logic is telling me that there's going to be some issues here.

UWI - Resetting your password and a little common sense...

Why is it that UWI's Grade System and the IT department require users to come in to show id to get their passwords reset? My brother has to drive up from south today just to reset his password. Instead, there should be a security question and / or something that can be verified over the phone to get the password reset such as national ID, passport number or drivers permit number. UWI really makes me wonder sometimes.

VAT Exclusive nonesense...

I see many companies especially telecom companies like TSTT using this VAT Exclusive pricing. Why all the nonesense? Calculate the effective price and give people a straight forward way of knowing what they are paying upfront. If I wanted to know the price without VAT, I would calculate it since this is less important. Imagine going in to pay your bill and pay the VAT Exclusive price, I doubt TSTT would appreciate that.

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