Monthly Archives: March 2013

Seawalking but Freediving Style !

The idea this week was to get my new gear, Aqualung Falco mask, camera pole, pivots and straps but due to some delay in the mail as a result of easter just around the corner I didn’t get my gear prior to the sunday that I usually go diving. So as a result, the initial plan to give the new diving pole and mask a test run didn’t happen.

No matter, I went back to Gordon’s bay but this time decided to try a few different things under the water that I can’t normally do on land :P One of the things I always wanted to try was to do those really cool acrobatics that you see at the circus. So I tried to do some summersaults  on the way up, man it felt great, spinning and twirling around in the ocean, weightless and free :)

Whenever I do something new I always do it in shallower waters and always time my dives to gauge my air levels and closeness to feeling light headed. Doing these different activities like spinning around, holding up a stone and walking around felt pretty comfortable towards the 1 minute 20 mark and I felt that I have enough air to go for longer so i’ll do it in deeper waters and try to do more circus type maneuvers (so fun !).

A few weeks ago I also saw this clip about nomads that live on the water called the Baju people (living between the Philippines & Indonesian islands) and saw this amazing underwater hunter who can walk on the bottom of the ocean and stalk his prey like hunters in various tribes around the world do but only on land. It was amazing, so I wanted to see what it felt like to walk on the seabed. The problem with my situation is I am positively buoyant (unlike the underwater Baju hunter). I also haven’t done the AIDA or SSI courses so I don’t know and wont attempt to strap weights onto myself until I know how to do it properly (I have read about it extensively but its not good enough :P ).

So to mitigate this issue I snorkel to an open area where I can see some rocks below and just hold onto the rock while i walk around keeping me firmly grounded. Then when I want to get some air, I just drop the rock and float up nicely, quickly and easily. It’s an amazing feeling to just stroll around the bottom of the ocean, makes me wonder if the feeling I have bouncing around with near weightlessness is the same as how Niel Armstrong & buzz Aldrin felt when they first stepped out of their craft and began bouncing around on the moon’s surface ? (I know that they use underwater simulators to train astronauts so it might actually be the same, if it is how cool is that :P ) .

Anyway the feeling was amazing and I will definitely try to do it again next week, video above :) Again sorry for the jerkiness

Post pertama di bagian “Tanah Air Ku”

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OK, Jadi bagian blog ini adalah untuk pikir2an saya yang tentang indonesia. Indonesia itu home saya. Keluarga masih semuanya di indonesia, teman2 yang deket masih di indonesia dan tempat favourite aku “Bali” adalah di Indonesia !

Cita2nya pas business sudah bisa lancar saya akan balik lagi ke Indonesia …. tappppiii sebelom itu lancar, bagian blog ini paling akan ada cerita2 pas lagi di Indonesia. Tiap tahun aku balik bisa same 2-3 kali dan selalu ada seswatu exciting yang terjadi … itu akan jadi post di sini :)

Stay tuned … oh (and god do i miss the food, kangen bangets sama makanan kayak itu yang di atas … mmmm … nasih kuning tupang :P )

Movie Review: My Name Is Khan…


I just recently watched “My Name Is Khan” starring Sharukah Khan & Kajol and I thought that i would do a movie review on it. Whenever I watch a Bollywood movie I try not to read to much about the plot. This way when I watch the movie I can be surprised by the storyline. When picking a movie I just go by the actors and recommendations by people who have seen it :) In this specific case the title, “My Name is Khan” doesn’t say much about the movie but since it stars two of the biggest names in Indian cinema and with all the 5 star ratings it received  I knew it was a movie worth watching.

As many fans of Bollywood movies can attest, usually prior to the intermission the characters are defined, their backstories defined and a picture perfect image of the characters are created. By the time the intermission is completed the movie takes a complete 180 turn and we learn all about the plot and the major issues, secrets and conflicts between each of the characters.

“My Name Is Khan” was no different and the story basically revolves around a young mulsim boy (Rizwan Khan) with Asperger syndrome who has many social disabilities at a young age but is lovingly brought up by his mother who teaches him the ways of how to live a decent and good life. Rizwan though cursed with social disabilities is blessed with an uncanny skill of being able to fix just about anything mechanical and with this skill manages to earn the respect of a wise and educated man within the village who helps Rizwan hone his skills and also earns respect from the villagers by helping them clean their town center after it is damaged by floods.

Rizwan grows up to be an upstanding man and loving husband to Mandira, his Hindu wife (played by Kajol) woos into marrying him through his charm and his loving nature. They live life together happily running their beauty salon and raising Mandira’s child (Joel) who was from her previous marriage.

Life is perfect until the september 11 attacks occur and their life is changed. Due to the instant resentment towards Muslims and the persecution of anyone who resembled a muslim looking man (or women) either by attire, name or look their beauty salon business bearing the name Khan is instantly effected when no more customers come through their door even though Mandira herself is not a Muslim but simply bares the name Khan through marriage. Both Rizwan & Mandira manage to get by but things change forever when their son Joel is killed due to racial persecution by kids at his high school. Mandira blames Rizwan for her sons death as a result of his name and the pair part ways.

From there Rizwan begins his journey for redemption and to understand why Muslims are being persecuted the way they are when he remembers his mother teaching him that all men are the same and the only differing factor is their are good men and there are bad men, color, skin race and religion do not matter.

“My Name is Khan” is a beautiful movie of love, struggle & redemption and one that I wish more people could watch. I show it to many of my friends and most of them can’t help but get teary eye’d. It’s one of the movies that I think defines greatly why I like indian cinema. It gives the other side of terrorism a face, the side where other muslims stare in disbelief at the actions of people that share the same beliefs as them but commit murder at such a large scale that its unimaginable to anyone (same beliefs or not). As a result the rest of the Muslims are persecuted simply because they share the same beliefs even though they don’t share any of the violent ideologies and are actually whole heartily against them. In many Bollywood movies this is represented well but I think this aspect, where the bad guys are the “Muslims” is something that many times is grossly mis-represented in the typical hollywood movies.

I think it’s Sharuhkah Khan at one of his best (It was great to see SRK play someone who has Asperger’s and less suave should we say – Kinda like Priyanka Chopra in Barfi) and seeing him work with Kajol in this very different context is great. I’m sure they must have worked together many times but the last time i remember watching this duo was in the classic “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”.

It’s a great movie and one I will recommend to many other people who don’t mind watching foreign movies. Hope Bollywood keep making movies this great !

AND BTW, if by some freak of nature SRK types something into google and this page comes up I just want to say …. thanks for visiting Indonesia Sharukah, hope you visit again when im around so I can get an autograph :)

Nice Pictures At Shelly Beach

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This is just a quick update of some new pictures at shelly beach. Just before my swim I was taking some random snaps and got this really good one of Damir standing at the edge of the pool staring at the sun with a massive wave just climbing over the side of the rock pool. Its a really cool picture and kinda looks like Poseidon rising from the ocean :)

The swell was high yesterday so swimming laps underwater was harder then usual, lots of current and ended up in different parts of the rockpool. Visibility was pretty bad but its good practice as moving sideways instead of forwards requires a longer breathe hold as im creating the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle which is according to Pythagorus’ theorem the longest side of the triangle :P

Anyway some cool pictures of the sun rising above the big ocean swells along with nice morning meditation before starting the day :)

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Free diving Gordon’s Bay – (Sydney Australia) – 3rd Person View

SunriseSo yesterday we went to check out Gordon’s bay to do some free diving. We arrived right at the crack of day when the sun was just about to rise. It was a beautiful scene. The feeling you get when you see this kind of morning is one where you want to spread out your arms breathe in all the air you can get, smell the ocean, savour it and just slowly let out the air. The weather was warm, there wasn’t much wind and it seemed we where the first ones there.

We unloaded the make shift buoy and took out all our gear. We found a nice rock andDCIM100MEDIA placed all our equipment there claiming it to be ours for the day. Damir took out his phone and started taking snaps of the beautiful scenery, then proceeded to SMS people and get them jealous by showing them the pictures :)

The waves were pretty strong as we started to go down the dive ramp but we managed to get down without slipping or hurting ourselves, we then started to make our way to the middle of the ocean when we were struck with blue bottles …. dozens of them all around us with long tentacles. We didn’t notice them until Damir started screaming “Sh*t blue bottles and the thing just stung me … F*rk”. So here we where in the middle of the bay surrounded by blue bottles at the crack of dawn. Then a few seconds later I got stung on the leg, chin and shoulders. It went from a great morning to an absolute disaster.

DCIM100MEDIAWe swam back into shore and went to the coast guard to ask what we should do. The coast guard was still closed because we were there so early so we spoke to a few people and googled what the remedies were and the best suggestion was to use warm water. We couldn’t get warm water from the shops because they were all still closed but what I did have was a nice bottle of water that had been standing in the sun for a very long time so it seemed to be warm enough. I washed my leg, shoulders and chin with the water an Damir also did the same with his arm.

After a few minutes the pain went away and my leg automatically started healing (now the marks from the blue bottle jellyfish is no longer visible about a day later). Damir still has a line on his arm from where the tentacles were but its getting very faint and should heal in a few days.

We decided to go to Clovelly instead as there didn’t seem to be any blue bottles there. We had a few good dives, relaxed on the buoy and took some videos. On the way back to the car we saw that NOW Gordon’s bay was full of people, there were scuba divers, snorkelers swimmers and sunbathers. It seemed like the blue bottle issue was now no longer a problem so we went back to Gordon’s bay.

DCIM100MEDIAWe walked down the ramp and paddled out into the middle of the bay and Free Dove the main wall and followed a pack of scuba divers who were doing some training and marine sight seeing. It felt good to see scuba divers around because if any problems arose there would be much help around. We followed them around the trail and checked out much of the ocean life, even saw a sting ray ! :)

What started out as an awesome day, then turned into a bad day ended up as a great day with lots of learning experiences. I learnt that if there are lots of seagulls in the water its a sign that there are lots of jelly fish (don’t know if its true but will look it up), learnt that its a good idea to bring a thermo with hot water so that if jelly fish attacks again, we can mix it with some cold water and wash away the poison and last but not least, its probably a good idea to bring a first aid kit in the bag for cuts and bruises.

All in all it was a great day and next week hoping to get Gordon’s bay in the first person and also take lots of wild life shots. The 3rd person free diving video is above, hope you enjoy.

Below are the directions to gordon’s bay from the main city of sydney:

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Homemade Diving Buoy

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So I finally got around to getting a diving buoy so we can move into deeper waters and let boats know that we are there along with being able to rest and do some breathe up’s in between the dives.

I was torn between buying an official diving buoy or creating a make shift one but after some consideration (for now) my self and damir have decided on just creating a makeshift one.

dive_buoy_equipmentWe purchased a second hand truck tube from the kind folk at “tyres for less” for $10 which I think was a great find since it was cheap and also impossible to find anywhere else as now tyres are generally tubeless. I also purchased some rope from Bunnings (30m) for $3.99 (it on special so I bought 2) and a lead weight to let the rope sink. I think to complete the make shift buoy we need to paint the tyre bright orange and also purchase a rope roller so we can roll the rope down without leaving any slack or having to go through the hassle of rolling it whilst in the water but for now this will do just fine. The idea is to take it for a spin tomorrow at Gordon’s Bay.

Hopefully it works as expected :)

Octopus Hide & Seek

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This morning after the usual rock pool swim I decided to go out into the open waters. The swell wasn’t to big, sun was shining and the ocean was nice and calm. Water wasn’t really to deep about 3 meters or so and I didn’t have a buddy or a buoy so I didn’t want to risk going to far in on my own.

Every morning I swim in the pools but I had never swam outside of the rock pool at all at shelly beach and was curious to see what was around. After diving down I saw a few small fish, lots of blue bottles (which thankfully didn’t sting me and lots of seaweed).

It was somewhat dull because it was still close to shore until on the way back I saw an octopus. It was pretty big and as I started to take my camera out to take a picture it must have seen me and scurried back under a tiny rock. I decided to wait for a while but still the octopus didn’t want to come out.

I swam away for a while to see if there where other interesting things to see and when I came back the octopus was out of its hiding place but poped straight back in as it saw me approach. Sucks … so all I managed to get was a picture of my friend the octopus hiding under the rock to scared to come out (I guess you can see one of its tentacles in the picture).

Next time what I might do is put the camera right outside its hiding spot and keep the film rolling so I can get a nice video of the beautiful creature (I guess kinda like how they managed to get a picture of the gigantic squid 100′s of meters below the ocean surface).

Rising Sun Over The Horizon…

This is basically an extension of the post below. On todays swim I managed to get there before the sun rose and decided to keep my camera on so that I could capture the sun actually rising over the horizon.

I had left my camera on for about 30 mins before the memory was full but managed to catch the sun rise over the horizon in the last 6 minutes. I trimmed the rest of the video and have only left the best part for you to see. Added some nice relaxing music to the sunrise.

Hope you enjoy…

Technologies on “Blip A Deal”…

I am what you would call a bit of a geek and love to play with different types of technology. For the last 8-9 years I have worked in corporates doing either development, design or architecture on either software projects, hardware projects or a combination of both whilst also in my spare time tinkering with all sorts of crazy stuff :P

After years of working in larger companies about 1.5 years ago I (along with a friend of mine) decided to venture out and develop our own technology to hopefully make a living building and doing our own thing.

So it’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride but we are doing OK, it has its ups an downs but I wouldn’t have it any other way. One things for sure is it definitely beats the norm ! Also, as a result of building this business life has changed (in many ways) for the better in lots of unexpected ways.

We developed a site called BlipADeal found at http://www.blipadeal.com which is a platform for consumers around the world to find the best deals and coupons around. We also provide a large repository of deals and coupons for developers to access via our API’s. You can visit the site to get more information but in this particular post I mainly want to discuss the technologies that we used to build the service both on the mobile and web fronts.

The website

So the website was built using multiple different technologies which include, python, php, javascript, CSS, JQuery and HTML. Mainly the backend was developed using python frameworks and functions as an API so whenever the front end needs any new data it will make ajax requests and will receive only the specific information that it needs.

PHP is used to develop the front end dynamic pages. We could have used a python template library but decided that it would be best to use PHP so that updating designs on the fly would be much easier and would allow us to split the architecture much easier as traffic starts to grow (I might go through the architecture in another post later on).

JQuery and CSS is used for all the communications between the rendered HTML and the backend business logic and processing whilst also being used to render the presentation layer that interacts directly with the user. All data passed between the backend and the frontend is done through JSON objects. Its a nice little architecture and easily extendable to handle mobile requests also.

All of the software sits on top of the amazon cloud which runs EC2, S3, RDS and a whole host of other little services conveniently handled by amazon. Amazon is great and I think many founders can attest to how easy it has made their lives !

The Mobile Applications

In addition to the website we have also developed mobile applications so that users can easily receive their deals and vouchers on the go. So far we have supported mobile applications on both the main platforms, Android and iPhone. To save time we wanted to develop the application for both platforms using the Titanium (TA) framework but discovered that for android development there are very serious limitations.

We developed the iPhone application using Titanium pretty quickly and easily. All the code was developed using javascript and it was clean, easy and fast to test however once we came to developing the BlipADeal application for android we found the following limitations which actually where a pretty big deal.

Number 1 problem is that it would compile the whole javascript V8 engine into the APK binary file. So in essence this made the binary 20MB + where the binary should only be about 1 meg in total. This might not be a concern in places such as Australia and US where the mobile internet has pretty decent speeds but in some other asian regions (where we have a substancial user base) a 20MB file will simply be to large to download for everyone.

Number 2 problem is that its really difficult to have it supported on most of the devices and screen sizes, it just does not scale as well as if it was a native android app. This again is a big deal in Asia where many people purchase the more esoteric Android devices with weird screen sizes and models that Titanium complied applications simple wont run successfully on.

As a result of these pending problems we executed the mobile development in the following way, iPhone completed and done in Titanium whilst Android done natively using Android java.

The question always gets asked as to whether its better to develop natively or to use titanium. The answer to this is it really depends. As I described above, developing for Android using Titanium is a nightmare in my own personal experience. You have to develop many exceptions in your code and in the end to have a code base that works on both devices becomes really messy internally. This is simply not because of Titanium along but also because of the fact that there are some widgets that are not transferable between different devices.

If you want to develop for iPhone and want to get something up quick smart and you have existing skills in javascript using Titanium will exponentially increase your productivity. This means you could hook up and app in a week and have it on the store approved and ready. As far as my own experiences go with playing around with Titanium there has never been anything that I couldn’t do on the iPhone however I have never developed games and extremely complex layouts so there could be some limitations which I have not yet hit upon.

In terms of achieving a native looking app that functions well and is responsive, titanium can do this without any issues or problems on the iPhone platform. If you want to get something out as an MVP and don’t want to spend to much time on the MVP just to test the idea and want to do without spending more time developing the application natively,  its the perfect option that in the intrim will buy you time to redevelop the application natively later.

Sun Rise at Shelly Beach (Sydney Cronulla)

I had a good deep sleep last night after finishing a days work on fixing up our mobile application for  BlipADeal. I finished about 11:30pm and went straight to bed allowing me to wake up at the planned 5:30 in the morning so I could head to the beach and catch the sunrise, something that I have been trying to do for a while but keep missing by about an hour :P

Jumped into my car and drove to shelly beach, road was pretty empty this early in the morning so it was a nice quick drive. Since its a Saturday morning people are probably still hung over from Friday night drinks after work :P I got to the car park expecting to easily find parking but was surprised that there was only one left. I guess people are also here to enjoy the beautiful morning :)

When I got to the esplande (the name of the walk way right by the beach) it was full of people taking pictures.  I always keep my water proof camera in my bag incase there are some great shots to take underwater so I pulled it out and began snapping some pictures and taking a few videos of the beautiful sunrise.

Sunrise @ Shelly Beach Sydney AustraliaThe sky was pretty cloudy but you could see that it was slowly blowing away and soon would be clear skys. The sun was sitting just below the clouds and it created a beautiful horizon where the top was filled with clouds and the bottom with the blue sea with the sun right in the middle (almost like the light at the end of the tunnel :) ) Took some shots of the beautiful scenery for everyone to enjoy.

It was very peaceful with very light breeze on the shore, however the oceans had really high swell and as a result surfers, body boarders where all out taking advantage of the ocean and the great morning. After my swim I dried of and put my running shoes on and ran up and down the esplande for about 40 mins. Now back at home finishing of this blog post and ready to crank open the editor and begin hacking away :P

Shore on the sunrise