Monday, November 26, 2012

Kopiccino Lovin!!

Who needs Starbucks when you can have it right at the comforts of your own home?

coffee kopicchino

I just want to rave that Kopiko Kopiccino is my latest FAVORITE coffee. I've always loved Kopiko because its coffee the way i want it. I love the flavor, the aroma, and the rich coffee experience. Really wakes me up in the morning, but THIS KOPICCINO is pure LOVE.

Me and Papa Ray were working on some weekend projects, and part of the plan was to unwind afterwards at a coffee shop. However we lost hold of time and found ourselves rushing towards the evening so we decided to just have Kopiccino indoors instead. Indeed it was the best idea because we were just chilling in the comforts of our place, while the coffee peaked up our productivity. And it tastes reaaaally good. It's the same delicious coffee, with thick foam at the top plus the choco granules that add the extra sweetness and texture. As you can see on the photo above, we even had fun working out random figures using the granules. :p

I love simple joys. And a pack of deliciousness for only php8 is just perfect for me. I'm actually about to stock myself with lots of these for the coming days since this is the perfect companion for all-nighters. Yehmen! \m/

Remembering Love Letters :)

Me and Papa Ray celebrated our 14th monthsary last Saturday, Nov 24, and I decided to write him a love letter :D wee! Yep, the old school ballpen-on-yellowpad type of loveletter. Actually when he saw it he said “wow LIHAM! Meron akong LIHAM!” hahaha!

The art of writing love letters has been easily lost in the sea of text messages, chat, email, and FB status messages. It’s just much easier, quicker, and more convenient. In our case we've been very busy for the past months and most expressions of love have been through texting and chatting (well aside from being together almost everyday nyehehe).

Still, a little re-validation and appreciation of love can go a long way. Sometimes our loved ones get way too integrated into our daily routines, and can get lost in the midst of our fast paced lifestyle. If we’re not careful, this might cause us to take for granted the smallest things that make our heart smile.

Just like everything else in life, it’s always nice to pause and appreciate the beauty around you, and the love that you've got. For me, a great way to do this is to actually sit down, take a pen and paper, and write a love letter. 

While I was writing the first few lines, I tended to have this urge of finishing it fast. Like I wish I could just let everything out with one snap of a finger. We all know that typing (whether in cellphones or in keyboards) is much faster than doing the manual cursive, and so it had to take a little getting used to. However, that precisely is the beauty of writing a letter with a pen: the fact that it takes much longer forces you to feel and savor every word uttered. While you watch the lines along the paper, you tend to reflect on how much you mean what you really say. And before you know it, you end up spilling your heart out and enjoying the moment. I think I am much more focused when writing on paper (probably because there’s no alt-tab option to steal my attention away? Hehe ).

Sentence construction also takes the time and effort: “What are the things I want to say? How do I say it?”, and this time, there’s no friendly red line that tells you your spelling is wrong or that your grammar is awful. You do your own checking and well that’s part of the effort.

For me, the simpler is always the better. I love saying I straight to the point. Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t end up with short love letters. In fact they’re actually quite long. Or maybe that’s just because of how wonderful he is. Lol #kesomucho.

Aaaaaaaaand the really fun part was folding the letter afterwards. Hahah! Who among you guys remember the number of ways to fold a letter? I went for the old school way, the type of fold that you really use for snail mails. Here goes:

folding letters
Starting with your letter facing the upright position

folding letters
Take the upper right hand corner and fold it diagonally downwards
folding letters
Fold it again as shown above
folding letters
Take the upper left hand corner and fold downwards
folding letters
Fold it in half... and dont forget the magic line "Smile before you open"! hahaha :D

Writing letters probably isn't for everyone, but i find it a very refreshing way to express myself because that's just me, unplugged. I think its also a very intimate act of love and appreciation. And well all it takes is effort and some time. 

Ray was laughing the whole time because it really felt old school, but well I still had my prize: a tight hug and a kiss. Wee! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My First Two Weeks as an Employee

First off: HEEHEE. :p I found this blog entry on my multiply, last July 2008. I was a cadet engineer then. I've had mixed feelings upon re-reading this one. And thought it might be amusing to share this with you guys. It's like remembering an old friend. I'm honestly at loss for words now haha.

I'm just amazed to see how passionate i was then. Hehe, hello fresh grad kid!

*Feeling reaaaally reflective :P *


Every time the day ends and I think of how I currently am, I always feel thankful, that I have been guided to make a really good decision in choosing this job. Because right now, I'm really having a blast. =D

I've already made a really long blog entry about my current job and the company I work for, so I could share with you my pride and the excitement of belonging here. But just before I was supposed to post it, I saw an announcement, discouraging the use of the company's name and then talking about it in the internet, because company image is something they really take care of, so I decided not to post it anymore.

The company I work for is a subcontractor. They have more than 200 customers from the semiconductor and electronics industry who send them orders to assemble and manufacture as ICs (Integerated Circuits). That's why their main focus is customer satisfaction. It is made critical by the fact that an IC pretty much like the brain of the device, and as we are presently very technology-dependent, product quality is of utmost importance, because the reliability of most of the conveniences and equipment that we have today are at stake, and most importantly, the lives that depend on them.

This type of industry really entails a lot of pressure, because you have to keep up with customer demands, and the highest product quality. This was felt very much during the orientation. People here are proud to be with one of the better companies around, as the training and work attitude that it develops in the person are said to be commendable, and the benefits and compensation are good, but they also acknowledge that not many people are able to survive the extremely tough environment. (totoo niyan, maraming nagtatanong sakin na engineers," sigurado ka ba dito ka? Nako baka magresign ka lang din kaagad!" kanerbyos kaya)

Discipline, safety, presence of mind, and endurance among the employees are some of their most valued virtues. One has to work fast, keep giving their best and high energy even under loads of pressure, learn to deal with all types of people (specially those whose attitudes take an unpleasant turn under pressure… there's a lot of them at the production line so bawal daw ang pusong mamon don), follow and keep in mind ALL rules (and I tell you, there's a whole lot of them) and never, commit a mistake (as much as possible at least. Potek masugatan ka nga lang sa locker ang dami nang cheche-boreche e).

Tough right? Specially for me who can be mali-mali at times. But that's because there's always a lot at stake, like product integrity, company image, and customer satisfaction. Displease the customer and they run out of business.

I feel very blessed because I was assigned to the department that I have worked for during my OJT, so I already know the basics of the job and several of the people I'll be working with, who are really nice. There are a few new faces but I was able to get along with them well. And I really like the work in this department because there is good exposure in the assembly line and in dealing directly with the customer as well. (at in fairness ang ganda na ng office nila! Haha!)

The regular cadetship program involves a month of machine operatorship, 2 months of being a machine and line technician, and 3 months job-specific training. But this program is made for process engineers, who specialize in only one station of the assembly line and seek to improve and maintain the yield of this station. In my case though, I will be a product engineer who covers the whole assembly line to monitor the status of special products as requested by the customer. So it is more recommended for me to at be immersed in several stations.

At first I was assigned to specialize in the Die Attach area (one of the methods in IC production), but because of the nature of our job, an engineer suggested to me that I get immersed in 3 stations: the Die Attach, Wirebond (most critical), and Mold. One station per month. Hopefully my direct superior approves of this. And that would be cooool. =p

In between the line immersions, we'll have lots of training programs that aim to improve us as engineers and as people. It can be held either in Muntinlupa or Sta. Rosa. I'm looking forward to those too.

2 weeks operatorship and 2 weeks technician training per station is the plan. I started last Friday. In the production line, different roles are shown through different badge colors, because everyone wears white bunny suits. Even if I was an engineer trainee, I was made to wear a badge color for the operator, so I really would be one of them, because I was told that an engineering badge tends to intimidate them so that might hinder them from really sharing everything they know about the work. I met lots of people in the line and most of them were friendly and were willing to teach me.

So there, that's pretty much it. I'm really excited to get moving. I feel like working here has given me a chance to have a fresh new start. Do you know that feeling when you think you can do more but you never do? That's always been a frustration of mine. I've always been a so-so student in UP. Well I am proud of graduating on time, but my grades are unfortunately just... blah. I don't know if I'm just acting like a filingera, but sometimes I look at my grades and I feel like I can do more. Then I promise to do better next sem, but I still end up looking at my classcards and feel… blah. Hehe ang lungkot kaya nung last sem, kasi wala na kong next sem para galingan pa ulit e.

There were times when I felt like I was in my element, then I do really well… like when I get a high score for an exam, when I give a well prepared report, or when I am with my former SME execom team mates. That kind of affirms my hunch that maybe, I really am more than a mediocre UP kid.

That is what I wish I could bring out in in this company. I felt very much in my element during the interview, and I'm hoping that it is a good sign. I hope that the training and the culture helps me bring out the best in me. Of course I've done a lot of self-examination and knew what my weak points are, at least most of them, and I am determined to work on them for the next few weeks/ months. With the help of God, I really hope to be a much much better person in a few months, or years. My current plan is to keep on doing everything with a purpose, so that I am really motivated when I work. Hindi yung gagawin ang isang bagay para magawa lang.

Hehe I remember when this trainer told us that career growth oppurtunity is fast for those who really are deserving, that there was a really good engineer, who after just five and a half years, already got promoted as a Senior Engineer (maraming levels e, una Engr1, tapos2 at 3, kumbaga siya, nadaanan na nya yun lahat in such a short span of time), then she challenged us, "o kayo kelan niyo balak?" I joked and said, "Ma'am bukas po! ". But I was like maaaaaaaaaaannnn that's hot! I'd love that! Hahaha. Dreaming has become my favorite past time. :p

So there, this was another incredibly long entry, but can you blame me? I'm really bursting with stories. Hehehe. I hope everyone is doing well. =D


There's an urge to tell my 22-year old self a thing or two. But I realize I'd better leave things that way. It's always best to let people learn on their own. :p And well, to all those who said I won't even hit 3 years, I'm on my 4th year now and still alive and kicking :p

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What I Learned From Steve Jobs

I was never a fan of Steve Jobs. I didn't exactly subscribe to the Apple-mania and to this gadget-elitist thing. “Once you Mac, you can never go back” that’s what they say. Still, I’d turn my back on the thought that my tools ought to be more expensive in exchange for some flair and style. I just didn't get it.

And then Steve Jobs died. The best recipe for popularity is to just...die (Lol). I never gave him a second thought until he did, at least. Then came the stories of him being one of the greatest movers of 20th century technology, and stories of him being temperamental (a gross understatement as it turns out) and uncompromising.

What intrigued me was his belief of not making use of market research, because “people don’t know what they want until you give it to them”. And I realized he made a fair point. More than once did I prove to myself that what I wanted is not always what I need.

He seemed to be someone who moved against the tides and found his way to the top in spite of. This, together with his controversial temper, drove me to read his biography.

Papa Ray gave me a copy of the e-book for our 5th monthsary. We’re currently on our 13th month, so yes, it took me more than half a year to finish it. First because I didn’t have a tablet at that time and could only read it on my laptop, and when I stare at the laptop I end up checking Facebook instead. Haha! Second, because it was gadawfully long. During my first few days of reading it I managed to reach a third of the book and then just got too busy to go on.

I finished it just this week and I am one inspired young woman. Heheh! :

I think it is part of his genius that he personally asked Walter Isaacson to write his biography when he was diagnosed of cancer. I have his audio-book with Einstein and it was really, really good (pity I still haven’t finished it either, I couldn't help but doze off every fifteen minutes hahaha!). The depth of research is amazing, and I really like how he is able to give approximations on the core of a man’s character, that is able to consistently manifest in crucial points of his life.

His work with Jobs is all the more awesome, with Jobs being able to give him firsthand information, and Walter being able to freely interview all the people involved in an attempt to provide a balanced perspective of the various events in his life. It’s an incredibly comprehensive work and it made me feel like I've already known and understood Jobs, as complex as he is. And with that, Steve was able to achieve his goal.

I need not write a synopsis of his life and the book, it’s easy to Google that. But I’d like to share a couple of quotes that I found very memorable in the course of my reading:

“Deciding what NOT to do is as important as deciding what to do”

– the idea is FOCUS. Dear God where can we please buy focus? :p One of the stellar characteristics of Apple is being able to focus on ONE goal, as ONE team, and eliminate the things that do not matter. This allowed them to really focus on improving their product and making sure it had top notch quality. Same goes for us. Sometimes it’s tempting to take on everything and consider ALL (assumed) factors, in an effort to create a well-rounded decision, however sometimes it just distracts us from the main goal. Learning what NOT to do, and firmly standing to that decision, is as important as identifying the key items of a problem.

“Find a way to make the product DEFER to you… It takes a lot of hard work, to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions” 

This is taken from Jony Ive, Job’s chief design person. The idea is that for you to create simplicity, you must CONQUER its complexity. :-D Beautiful isn't it? Sometimes we think the more complicated things get; the more intelligent we think we are. Intelligence is more than just understanding the complicated; it is also about conquering it to achieve what is simple. It gives us the power to cut 7 steps to 1 unified method, or maybe reduce a whole red tape process into a smooth and efficient flow. Or even as simple us the ability to reduce a confusing dilemma into merely a question of what is right and what is wrong.

“The right kind of building can do great things for a culture”

– Hello Philippines. Hello Manila.  I guess we have long been caught up with our own poverty that we find matters such as ‘culture’, too “bourgeouis” or too elitist.  However, I've always believed that food is for the body, as culture is for the soul.  I hope I live to find the day when I walk Makati, or QC, with Filipino brand-buildings being portrayed as high-class instead of “indigenous”.

“Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, random discussions” 

 – one of my favorite qualities of the Apple company, as I have learned, is that they don’t hold meetings like corporate companies do. They are not ‘compartmentalized’. Jobs hates Powerpoints. He likes DISCUSSIONS.

One of my favorite things about college was how you could just come up to a friend and then bounce several ideas off each other and before you know it you’re planning to build a company. I totally loved my org-executive meetings in college (S.M.E represent!) because it was a time when we’d just follow a skeletal agenda, then brainstorm and really have fun with where our ideas and plans could take us.

Those, for me, are the REAL discussions. A group of people in a spirited conversation with a common goal. Not sitting in a round table, in a contest on whose ego wins nor whose department gets the highest number of quality issues, nor who is able to pass the blame on who ever. There are times when I sit on a meeting and feel frustrated at how it’s more like a show because sometimes they’re all about superficiality.  These are the kinds of life-realities that you need to deal with and work around and sometimes before you know it you’re one of them. And that’s sad. And you have to remember to pull yourself again and remind yourself that you are not about appearances.

This is the point when I realized, how an organization structure really affects how a product turns out. Jobs was able to force his personality in Apple’s very DNA. He ensured that all his groups worked not as various departments, but as one team (albeit often controlled by only one). It’s a slogan that is very easy to say but hard to actually enforce. And in succeeding he was able to come up with a product that is tightly integrated: software-hardware-design-user experience. Amazing. And inspiring. Think of what you can do if only you could manage this in your own small teams.

“It’s just the way he’s wired “– This is always said about Jobs and his crazy personality. What I learned, with how Walter delivered it, is that this is NOT an excuse, rather merely a fact. It’s never justifiable to crush a man’s self esteem in front of everyone, nor to yell at someone who have worked so hard for long months only to be dissed by the CEO. However he does it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't  But in the many times that it DID work, Walter never really made me feel that being an ass was alright. Being an ass sometimes works, but karma works just the same. It did happen to Steve, in a sense.

 “I hate it when people call themselves entrepreneurs when what they’re really trying to do is launch a start up then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business”

I’m not exactly a business person, but what I know, is that a business thrives when you LOVE what you’re doing, and not when you just see it as a milking cow. I guess in today’s competitive world, it is no longer just about thriving, but also about surviving and being a step ahead and always taking the extra mile to add an extra value. 

 “It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. We believe that its technology married with the humanities that guide us to the result that makes our heart sing” 

This moved me. He said this in the product launch of the Ipad. And somehow it was a culmination of what Apple has fought to be from day 1.  This puts them apart from everyone else. They are the ones who were really able to live up to their vision, and it isn't an easy feat. Again I always believe that it’s easy to cry slogans to show on advertisements or cork boards or brag about in meetings, but unless a systemic approach is made to really live up to that vision, everything is merely superficial

And this reminded me of what passion really is about.Passion is the tune of your heart singing :-)

I am tempted to buy an Apple product I just don't know what yet. Have I changed my mind about the arrogance of closed systems? Not exactly, though I do understand it better now. Will I subject myself to it? I doubt. So why do I want a piece of Apple?

Because at this point, to me they signify a turning point of technology as we know it. A lot of key features of our gadgets today that we've taken for granted are fruits of the many months of labor from those guys at Apple, in conceptualizing what the user may want in his phone/media player/tablet. More than being just a status symbol, their products are testaments to what people can do when they keep pushing themselves to the limit, and are able to integrate their different strengths into one direction.  

Amazing companies and products do not always win the congeniality game, but it is undeniable that that this group of people did set the bar and moved the technology age a step forward, with each brilliant innovation that they have made. :-) And obviously it works for a lot of people, they wouldn't be one of the worlds most profitable companies for nothing. So I'd rather not miss that. :-)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

So What Makes a Good Morning?

goodmorning coffee

A good morning is the aroma of hot coffee waking your senses.

A good morning is made up of your favorite breakfast waiting at the table to start the day (pancit canton and toasted bread for me! :p)

A good morning is looking into the eyes of your special someone as he(she) breaks into a sweet smile (yihee)

A good morning can be from a random kind deed of someone you least expect.

Best of all, a good morning starts when you tell the universe that you'll have one :D

No matter how big or small, a good morning kicks off the start of a great day and a grand week. :D

So start that day right, yes? :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Driving Notes

I'm finding driving to be a highly enjoyable feat.
Its forcing me to focus in ways that I've always found hard to achieve, with me being so easily distracted. Well how would I not? A wrong step on the gas or not being able to hit the brakes could endanger a life. It's crazy.

It's also empowering in a sense. It requires you to develop instincts, much like riding a bike but way more complicated. You have to keep in mind the side mirrors, the road bumps, the intersections, the pedestrians, the sidewalks,the parked cars, and more importantly (for a beginner at least), centering the car on the lane.Stressful but fulfilling when you manage to work on bumps smoothly and when you feel that you are able to somehow drive the car well. It's suuuuuper fun. Life ought to give us more good stresses like these. Hehe!

What I'm carefully taking note of is the correct driving etiquette. Use of the pass light, overtaking from a good distance, driving at a safe distance and not doing 'tutok', a respectful way of beeping the horn, and always, always, doing the DEFENSIVE driving. I'd like to be a driver with class. :-) I'm glad to be student of one of the best drivers i know, my tatay. :-)

Will be converting my student license to a non-pro soon. I hope to be confidently driving the streets by January next year. Wee! :-)