Tomorrow is Monday and I don’t have to be at work. This is why everyone loves the holidays, at least if you have some time off. I’ve turned off the alarm on my phone and will get up whenever I feel like it. For those who have to work on Christmas Eve, I hope it is a pleasant day nonetheless. I will think of you when I’m asleep in my warm bed.


So last week I began charging my phone at work. I know that sounds like a simple and an uneventful task but it’s made a difference in my life. Some of you are probably wondering why that’s a big deal. Well, there were two hurdles in my way at first. One was the lack of power outlets. The facility I’m in is woefully unprepared for the power requirements of a game studio. At my desk, I have enough power outlets for my lamp, PC, iMac, and two monitors. That’s it. There are no more outlets within a reasonable distance to where I sit. Second, you might be wondering why I don’t charge my phone via a USB cable. At most EA studios, especially in Burnaby, if you plug-in any USB device that has any kind of storage into your computer, the IT department is notified almost immediately. I’ve heard of stories where someone plugged in a USB key and less than a minute later, someone was at their desk. I thought the same restriction was at PopCap but I was told this wasn’t the case.

With nothing to stop me, I now juice up my phone all day via my USB connection. I used to get nervous on the commute into work and not use my phone too much as I’d be afraid the battery would run down before the end of the day. Not anymore. I’ll Internet to my heart’s content all day without any worry about a dead battery on the way home. Seeing the fully charged icon as I leave work is quite the satisfaction. Yeah man, good times.


I ride the Skytrain into work everyday. I deboard at the last stop of the line. The train car is usually fairly empty by the time the last stop rolls around. Today was not different as there were perhaps just four people in my car as we pulled into the terminus station.

One of those four people was this young lady sitting by herself. She was also full-on asleep as in head back and mouth open asleep. I could tell it was one of those deep sleeps. I wondered if she had missed her stop because she had fallen asleep. If she had, by how much? I briefly thought about waking her up because the train would start going back the other way. I definitely would have woken her up if the train was going to be taken out of service but the usually announce that first. For whatever reason, apathy or just awkwardness, I didn’t do anything at all. I honestly thought she’d wake up on her own but she didn’t. As I stepped off the car she was still snoozing away. Maybe I should have woken her up. I’m curious what her intended stop was.


Before I went to bed last night I looked outside the window and the weather appeared to be somewhat calm. There were a few sprinkles but nothing major. When I awoke this morning, I could see a lot of white through the gaps in my closed blinds.

I got up and looked through my living room windows. It had snowed quite a bit while I was asleep. I had not checked the weather forecast so this was a surprise to me. I immediately knew the snow was greatly impacting traffic when I saw vehicles stopped and not moving along a major route next to my apartment.

Undeterred, I got dressed and left for work. The ride on the train in was uneventful. If there were any delays on transit they happened before I was even awake. I had a very easy commute because I’m not even exposed to the elements until I reach downtown Vancouver. Some of my friends were not so lucky. A former colleague of mine had to drive into the EA campus in Burnaby from the suburbs to the east. A drive that should take about 45 minutes took three and a half hours. Terrible. Strangely, his commute home took only 37 minutes. Poor guy.

There is a snowfall warning for this evening as more snow is expected to fall overnight. The skies are still clear but there are many more hours before morning. I hope people have an easier time tomorrow.


I haven’t had a Coke Zero in over a week and I just got a huge craving for it. It maybe because I’m just thirsty right now but it’s the first thing I want to drink.

I started receiving Christmas cards last week. So far, Phil & Alana have sent me the fanciest card. It’s got glitter and rubies on it. Any card that has gemstones on it certainly rockets up to the top of my list.

The PopCap holiday party was held on Saturday. I didn’t make a fool of myself during the evening nor did I get sloppy drunk. The photographer we hired for the event released his set of photos and I didn’t look dumb in any of the photos, which is a miracle since I’m not very photogenic.

There is now a poutine place open just downstairs from where I live. Is this where my cholesterol spirals out of control? I picked up a small order of poutine on my way up to my apartment. While I was ordering, I saw a little one enjoying her food. I need to make some promise to myself not to eat there more than like five times a week. That’s a reasonable number right?

My parents bought me a robe for Christmas about two years ago. I didn’t start wearing it until last month. I’m still not turning the heat on during the winter and it got cold in my apartment. The robe was required to keep me warm enough to be comfortable. Thanks parents.

Not that I’m counting but there are only four more works days until I’m holiday.


Well, on Saturday I’m going to my first work Christmas/holiday party in about three years. The combination of lean economic times (which lead to cancelled parties) and me not being employed during the holiday months for some years has led me to almost forget what its like to attend such events.

I believe the evening will be somewhat fancy as everyone will be sitting down for dinner, with a choice of either steak or salmon. There also might be prizes, though I’m not sure. There will also be booze I believe. I’ll be just happy to get a free meal.


Have any of you heard of “near field communication“? It’s a method of sending data between devices across a very short distance, measured in centimeters. Currently, NFC applications are mostly found with smartphones.

Practical uses of NFC include touching two smartphones together to transfer data, using a smartphone to transmit payment data for purchases, or using NFC tags to execute commands or send data to smartphones. In the first case, you might think this was done before with something called the “Bump” app. That app did not rely on NFC technology, as data was actually sent through the Internet. NFC does not rely on a physical network between the two devices, its data is sent wirelessly and directly.

The third example is an interesting one and something that can be experimented with by normal people like you and I. NFC tags are small circuits that contain a small amount of memory. They are not powered and they can be printed on stickers for placement almost anywhere. You can program NFC tags with bits of information. When an NFC-enabled smartphone comes close to a tag, it will then receive all the info from that tag. There are many uses for such tags. Advertisers can send URLs to people for their products or services. A more interesting application is to use the tags to execute commands on your smartphone. People can program tags so that they can automatically send a preset text to someone, start a timer, configure a sound profile (no ringtone, vibration only), or turn Bluetooth on.

Because I was curious, I bought some blank NFC tags so that I can program a few for experimentation. I can use my phone, a Galaxy Nexus, to program the tags. Using an app, I can configure the tag to do whatever I want on my phone. My initial thoughts are to program two tags and place them near my front door of my home. One tag I’ll use on my way out, which will disable wi-fi and turn on my mobile data. Another tag I’ll use when I get back home, which will enable wi-fi and turn off my mobile data. It’s simple but a start. Other people have tags in their car which turns on Bluetooth so their phones can communicate with their vehicle systems. I might have a tag at work that will turn the ring volume down to 50% and activate vibration.

I’m eager to find out what other things I can do with tags. If you’re interested, almost every current smartphone has NFC technology in it, with the huge exception of iPhones. So if you’re Apple fan, you’ll need to sit this one out for now.


As a sure sign that I’m getting old, the most mundane things now get me really excited. I ask my parents every year to get me underwear for Christmas because that’s honestly very useful and practical. It’s a great gift that I look forward to ever year.

I was shopping at Safeway downstairs tonight and I was passing by the toothpaste section. I saw there was a sale on for Crest Complete toothpaste, three for $5. I’m acutely aware of how much household products sell for and $1.67 for a tube of brand name toothpaste is a super great deal. Just checking one online site tells me that this product retails for about $4 per tube. So three for $5 is awesome! I picked three tubes tonight. The sale ends tomorrow and I’m thinking I might just go back and get another three! Hell yeahs!