Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of Cars & Coffee Irvine 5+ Years of Fun

We are all sad that Cars & Coffee is closed indefinitely in Irvine. Thank you very much to all the organizers for giving us beautiful Saturday mornings so that we as car enthusiasts can all hang out in one spot. I am confident that C&C will reopen somewhere else in Orange County in the near future.

I put together an album collecting Cars & Coffee Irvine pictures from last 5+ years. Here is the link to the full album of this collection "Best of Cars & Coffee Irvine 5+ Years":

ALBUM: Best of Cars & Coffee Irvine 5+ Years of Fun

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#cars #CarsAndCoffee #Irvine #CarsAndCoffeeIrvine #RIPCarsAndCoffeeIrvine #carcrazy #CarEnthusiasts #OrangeCounty #California #SoCal #Driving

Friday, December 26, 2014

Enterprise Software Architecture - Generation X and Generation Y ?

Are Enterprise architecture changes kind of aligned with the dominance era of Generation X and Generation Y software engineers?

Applications used to be single or two-tier and applications made calls directly into the database.

Then the N-tier architecture revolutionized the software engineering. Applications (Clients) were communicating over TCP/IP to a service layer. This allowed us to separate the clients applications from the service application physically and it allowed us to scale better. It also allowed us to protect the service layer (where business logic resided) and to allow only certain clients to talk to these services on certain ports.

However, over the years the Enterprise development community kept implementing the "Service" tier as one big giant and exposing different endpoints and claiming that it is a Service Oriented Architecture. This works, but your code-base becomes very tightly coupled. To make this even better there are some steps to take in the right direction.

Vertical-slicing the "Service" giant into small services is the way to go. I understand that this is easy to say when you are starting from scratch, but we know it is a not an easy task if you already have large applications. What does "vertical-slicing" really mean? It means that each service is 100% independent of each other and they can even be coded in different programming languages / development stacks.

The overall goal is always:
  • Keep It Simple
  • Lightweight architecture
  • As platform agnostic as possible
The buzz word out there is "microservices". It is fine to take good things out of the microservices' architecture, but if you follow it religiously you might be jeopardizing the simplicity. I am sure this is up to debate. All I am saying is: Identify problems that you need to solve and find a solution for them. If that solution ends up being 50% of microservices architecture or 70% or 100%, then that's what it is. Just don't start by picking architecture that solved somebody else's problems without trying to find a solution yourself.

Below diagram will show you the following:
  • Your business logic broken down into smaller independent services (Right side)
  • Libraries/APIs that are treated as black-boxes and consumed by your code (Bottom of diagram)
  • Your Website code and the Low-level website layer that bridges your website with all the services (Left side)

In the future posts I will go into more details and show examples of how you can organize this using .NET (Visual Studio solutions) or using Python as an open-source example.

Download the PDF version of this diagram.
Open the Google Drawing version of this diagram.

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#SoftwareDevelopment #SoftwareEngineering #Architecture #KeepItSimple #tech #programming #programmer #code #coding #LightweightArchitecture #microservices #webservices #Ntier #ClientServer #Csharp #Python #Ruby #Java #JSON #Restful #XML #WebAPI 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Programming - Clever vs. Proper

Clever programming is clever, but is it necessarily proper? No, it is not. Typically when you are in crunch time, you come up with a clever solution given the circumstances, but it could be as pretty as a crowbar.

Proper programming is the right solution; it is maintainable and flexible enough to support the business changes.

Keep in mind that a clever solution can also be proper :)

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#tech #programming #software #softwaredevelopment #softwareengineering #programmer #coding #code 

Car Purchase - Important Tips

Purchasing a new or used car is not easy if you go to places where bargaining is allowed. If your salesman does not win in one aspect of bargaining, they will compensate somewhere else. That's why I am listing these basic tips that you can follow to make your car purchase process as smooth as possible.

1. Bring someone with you so that the salesman does not keep the eye contact with you 100% of the time. That's what they want.

2. Bring printouts of Invoice prices from Yahoo Autos or MSN Autos. This can be used so that salesman does not give you some unreal MSRP prices.

3. Never negotiate on the monthly payment. Negotiate on the price of the car before taxes or after taxes (your choice).

4. It is NOT over yet. After you make the deal on the overall price of the car, it is NOT over yet.

5. You will be taken to a finance person who will print out a bunch of papers and trust us, they will always be some add-ons that you did not explicitly agree on. Please review it all and see if your monthly payments match and if the duration of the loan matches. Take your time.

6. Now, you are done. Wait, did they give you the keys and the car.

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#cars #carpurchase #buycar #carreview #carbuying #autosale #tips #almirsCorner #carsale #bargain 

Good Process, Good Team, Trust in Team - Success??

Please look at the image. Here is the summary of the image in plain text.

** Good Process + Good Team + TRUST in Team = Repetitiveness/Audit Pass + Success 

** Therefore,  Good Team + TRUST in Team = Success

People on the team and trust in them is the formula for your success and keep in mind that behind that good process hides a group of people that are also part of the same team driving that success.

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#process #changecontrol #team #success #teamwork #trust #TrustInTeam #TeamTrust #waterfall #agile #scrum

Friday, December 19, 2014

Method vs. Goal?

The method of doing something is equally important as the end goal.

This applies in our personal and professional life.

You can achieve the end goal with a bad method, but what will happen to your next goal? Think work. Think personal life.

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#life #work #professional #goal #method #tech #fairness #almirsCorner 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kids spell "Love" as T.I.M.E. How do we balance T-I-M-E at home and T-I-M-E at work?

We know that kids spell the word "Love" as T-I-M-E. If that is the case, how do we as parents and professionals balance T-I-M-E at home and T-I-M-E at work?

If you are behind with T-I-M-E at home, can it be compensated by T-O-Y-S :)
Definitely not.

Everybody is different, but what's common is that the time runs equally for everybody. Let's all take a few minutes in a day and think about this and come up with an approach that works for us.

Enjoy the T-I-M-E during the winter break.

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#time #Love #family #parents #holidays #almirsCorner #balance #timemanagement 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saving Money and Clearing Cookies - How are they related?

We need to clear cookies in our browsers before doing online shopping because some websites will charge you more if they know you are a returning customer. Also, clearing cookies is good from security point of view.

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#tech #cookies #shopping #onlineshopping #security #money #technology #almirsCorner

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I almost recorded a big plane landing over 405 freeway on John Wayne airport as I was driving to work.

I had my camera mounted on my window this morning as I wanted to record my drive to work. I ran out of space on my SD card just before a big plane was landing on John Wayne airport flying over 405 freeway right in front of me. 

Luck and no luck. I was lucky to see it with my own eyes, but not lucky enough to catch it on video. 

What's the probability of the plane being at its lowest position above 405 freeway and being right in front of me while driving on 405 freeway? Let's say that I drive to work 200+ times a year? The probabilities are very low.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Your Online Presence - The Technology makes the World a big village

You may say that you don't like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Google+ and so on. If you live in this era and you have a job that is fully or partially dependent on technology then you need to start caring about your online presence.

Let's take it back 10-15 years. Let's say you are the type of a person that did NOT like reading daily newspaper. Let's assume that the local newspaper was writing something about you that is incorrect or fully taken out of context. How would you feel about it and would you even know until your friends told you about it?

Let's fast-forward back into the present. If you choose to ignore what is written about you online, then it will hurt you one day because the only presence you would have online are those few bad things that might NOT be even true.

Building your online presence and adding good content online with your name is what suppresses anything else online that could be unjustly ruining your name. 

It is not a 2-page resume that you have to prepare to apply for a job anymore; we are building and updating our resumes every day. The technology makes the world a big village.

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#tech #OnlinePresence #techTips #almirsCorner #socialmedia #reputation #technology 

Security Tips - Top 7 - Especially important during Holidays

As you will be doing a lot of online shopping, now is the time make sure that your computer is secured for online shopping. Here are easy top 7 tips that you should follow:

  1. Do not use the admin account on your computer. Even if you are the only user on this computer, always create a standard user and use the standard user for your day to day stuff.
  2. Install a good malware protection software and enable the firewall on your computer.
  3. Use a browser that is not directly tied to the heart of your computer. This prevents a lot of issues. I tend to use Firefox or Chrome.
  4. Install extensions/plugins in your browser to block the pop-ups. Use the popup blockers that have good reputation online.
  5. Pay attention to URL line in your browser and make sure that the word "https" is there instead of "http". This is important on the pages where you are entering your personal information and credit card information as the data is submitted encrypted over SSL/TLS.
  6. Stay away from websites that can email you your old password when you go through forgot-login journey. That means that they are either storing your password in clear text (THAT'S BAD) or they are just encrypting it in a way that allows the decryption. Passwords are supposed to be hashed so that nobody working for that company can decrypt your passwords.
  7. Do not click on links that you get in your emails.  

If you buy a Chromebook, you can skip tips #1, #2, and #3. I do all my shopping on my Chromebooks.

Happy shopping and Happy Holidays !!!

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#almirsCorner #securitytips #security #tech #shopping #holidays #staysecure #infosec #techTips 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Car Modifications - Tip on Wheels

Ligthweight wheels give you more power to the ground.

Inertia = mass   x   radius^2

If Inertia goes down, then the power to ground increases.

Here is the link explaining this in details:

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#cars #wheels #lightweight #modifications #rims #almirsCorner

Car Modifications - Tip on Suspension

Car Modifications - Tip of the Day:

If the stock suspension and chassis on your car is already good enough to some degree, you may not need to go with the coilovers adjustable suspension which generally has more race-spec oriented springs and shocks. You may go for a custom combo setup getting good shocks and sport springs separately.

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#cars #modified #suspension #springs #shocks #lowering #almirsCorner

Traditional Manual Transmissions - Why? What's so special about it?

What is so special about the cars with traditional manual transmissions that we car enthusiasts can't explain and properly convey to our family members and friends?

I personally owned cars with a traditional manual transmission except the last car that I owned which was a shiftable automatic. I learned how to drive a car on a manual car and I thought it was cool. At that time, the automatic transmissions were not efficient from the gas mileage point of view and from the performance point of view. It was definitely a bad choice that car enthusiasts did not want to make. Then technology improved over the years and automatic transmissions got much better and the number of gears equaled the manuals. Torque converters on the automatic transmissions also improved drastically along with the electrical control over vacuum control. Then came the dual-clutch transmissions that are technically automated manuals that you can also shift without a clutch pedal.

I have driven cars with all these types of transmissions and they can all put a smile on your face. Good automatics and dual-clutch transmission cars will most likely give you more consistent 0-60 and 1/4 mile times, but is it all about drag times and lap times?

There is something about cars with manual transmissions that draws me to them. I believe that word is "engagement". Yes, most of us guys are scared of engagements, weddings and commitments but there is definitely one place where we like engagement and that is behind that steering wheel, clutch pedal and that shifter.

My last car was a Mini Cooper with a 6-speed shiftable automatic; no clutch pedal present. I guess I wanted to be part of this trend that I've noticed in Orange County and I decided to get this car with this type of transmission. I had a lot of fun with this car, but I need to point out that the first thing I had to do when I got the car was stop by a performance shop to install an aftermarket exhaust so that gear shifting can be more engaging. I owned the car for almost three years and you can see a lot of my videos on YouTube under "almirx101" username. I was able to enjoy and maneuver my Mini with confidence in traffic and canyon roads never worrying about mis-shifting or not down-shifting fast enough so that I can get enough power. The car was relatively fast and gear shifts were fast enough for me, but after almost three years I started realizing that it was too easy to drive it. I guess my honeymoon phase driving cars as if it is a video game was over.

I concluded that I was missing the manual transmission and the engagement that used to put a smile on my face even in Orange County rush-hour traffic. I sold this car and moved on, but moving on meant getting a car within a certain budget. There were only a few cars on my mind but 2007 and 2008 model Honda Fit was something I was leaning towards because of the numerous YouTube videos on this car praising it for its chassis and driving engagement. That's how I started my new adventure or should I say continue my old adventure in the world car enthusiasm. I got a 2008 Honda Fit with a 5-speed manual transmission.

I can spend another thousand words talking about handling, suspension, clutch feel and how it translates into engagement, but at the end of the day, you define the word "engaging" for yourself. Have fun driving and be safe.

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#cars #carreviews #manual #dualclutch #automatics #transmission #driving #engaging #gears #shiftknob 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cars and Coffee in Irvine - Dec 13, 2014

Today's Cars and Coffee was great. We had a heavy rain yesterday and even this morning we had wet roads, but car enthusiasts know what they need to do whether it is rain or shine.

Here is the link to the full album:
Cars and Coffee in Irvine - Dec 13, 2014

Here are a few top picks from me:

An old school Porsche 911 heavily modified:

Dodge Challenger SRT modified:

A classic Bentley:

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#cars #CarsAndDriver #CarCrazy #Irvine #OrangeCounty #California