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Good Night 2017 and Good Morning 2018

Wow, I can’t believe it has been a year already. It seems like yesterday, I was just here posting how I need to post more on my blog and how this blog has become an annual post. So I’ve been so blessed this last year and I am sad to see it fly by so quickly.

So let’s look back at some of the highlights for 2017.

Places that I’ve went to in 2017

1) Taiwan, first time in close to 10 years
2) Japan, I love this place
3) Palm Spring, CA
4) Bay Area, CA
5) Fort Lauderdale, FL
6) Mobile, AL
7) Auburn, AL
8) Anchorage, AK
9) Boise, ID — first time here and it’s pretty amazing place
10) Portland, OR
11) Sun River, OR

Highlight events in 2017

1) Chinese New Year in Taiwan
2) Middle of no where hot spring resort in Japan!!!
3) Eclipse from the plane
4) USTA Tennis Mix 6.0 Sectional trip to Sun River, OR
5) USTA Tennis 40+ 3.0 Sectional trip to Portland, OR
6) USTA Tennis 40+ 3.0 National trip to Fort Lauderdale, FL
7) USTA Tennis Mix 6.0 National trip to Mobile, AL
8) Year end trip to Kona, HI

So with all this travel, I made platinum status on both Delta and SPG/Marriott. This means I stayed over 30 days in hotels in 2017… that is way too much.

But with great sacrifice, there are also some good rewards. This year, I was so lucky to be on two wonderful tennis team with lots of wonderful friends. Our 40+ men’s team made it to national in Florida and we almost made it to the top, taking home second place at the national tournament. Vicky and I also made it to Nationals in our 6.0 mix doubles team, and we also placed second at the mix tournament in Mobile, Alabama.

My tennis level remained at 3.0 with a very rough early start. I ran in to some mental challenges, that I am still trying to conquer and over come. But all in all with another year down, I feel my tennis and Vicky’s tennis has improved a lot. Oh and Vicky is now 3.5.

Workwise, it has been a super busy year, being a sales engineer, I am on the road almost every week. It is very tough on my loving wife and family, but Vicky has been very understanding and loving! Like I said, I am very very lucky.

Tech wise, I finally retired my Pebble :(. I loved my Pebble Steel, but I finally opted to go with an Apple Watch 3 with AirPod, which is almost life changing. pretty cool stuff man!

So as for misc, I am Auburn Club president again, by default, it has been a tough season, not the football team, but for the club. it seems that I am not getting much local support, with all my work travels and tennis it has been hard. But really appreciate all the friends that did step up to help out!!

Finally, we had a big scare with Hugo, but everything worked out, and he is ok and happy as ever.

So as for goals for 2018.

1) Improve workout and lose that belly. Tennis has been great for Vicky and I, however, I feel we plateaued and need to do something to improve our fitness level. We will see how this will turn out next year.

2) Continue to have more world travel and maybe print some photos for my house

3) Need to get that back yard completed

4) Let’s make club for 2018 … I am very close to making club for 2017 so let’s make it in 2018

5) Spend more time with family

6) I am sure there are more goals, but I will post as I think of them.

Happy New Year!!!

Welcome 2018!!! See you next time I post ::)

Good Bye 2016 and Happy 2017!!!

Well… and there we go another year. 2016 has been very good to me. I know many says 2016 is a horrible year, but 2016 to me has been really blessed.

So let’s reflect what has happened.

First, I am an uncle again!!! Welcome Ethan Chan!!!
In earlier 2016, we decided to buy a new house. This was such a life changing experience. This also lead to a career change, I decided to leave BlueCat, one of the best job I ever had. Oh and for the first time in my career, I received 3 different awards from BlueCat for my performance!!!

But with these changes lead to even better experiences. We love our new neighborhood and believe it or not… I love my new job with Gigamon even more!!!!

so on other news…
This year (2016) has been a year of tennis and travel and no travel.

First of all tennis ….
Well… I got bumped from 2.5 rating to 3.0. It is a really nothing, but my goal for 2017 is to get to 3.5. Vicky’s 3.0 team made it to the Nationals again and got 3rd place!!!

As for travel in 2016 I’ve been traveling a lot for work but not much personal travel because of our new home purchase. Because of this this was also the first year that we (Vicky and I) spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas with our pup, Hugo, in Seattle.

So where have I been for work this year?

Toronto, Canada
San Francisco, Califorina
Portland, Oregon
Eugene, Oregon
Spokane, Washington
Anchorage, Alaska
Las Vegas … way to many times in 2016

Personal travel this year
Auburn, AL
Atlanta, GA
Phoenix, AZ
Vancouver, Canada

This year has been a stay home year, but that has been really fine with me, because during the work week, I’ve been traveling pretty crazy during the year for work.

Once again, looking back at 2016 for me, personally, it has been pretty good. We’ve been very blessed and I hope 2017 will be another peaceful and wonderful year.

So of course, this is a new years eve post, so I have to post some goals.

1) Improve my Tennis Game
2) Spend more time with family
3) Try to make it to next years Presidents Club Trip
4) Have more social events and share our wonderful home with friends
5) Ride my bike more
6) Change up my diet a bit
7) Reconnect with my friends
8) Do some home automation
9) Work on the back yard
10) Travel the “world” and have fun!!!

Happy New Year 2017!!!!

Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Happy 4th of July 2016

Happy 4th everyone. 14 years ago + 2 days I became an American, and every July 4, I am so happy to be an American!!!


Where was 2015???

Funny… I remember when this blog first got started, I was posting 2-5 times a day, then it was once a day, then maybe one a week, then maybe once ever two weeks, or once a month, once a quarter… then once a year? and I just missed 2015 entirely!!!! you would think that with the invention of mobile devices and better and easier apps, I would be posting more often, but sadly no I did not.

So just to recap what happened in 2015…

Traveled alot… including

San Diego
San Francisco
Las Vegas
Glacier National Park
Caribbean Cruise
Kona, HI

yep it was a year of travel.

So 2015 was also a year of new things.

So last year I joined USTA and started to play team tennis, mixed double in particular. I did not play much, and not a single win last season, but I did lose over 10 pounds which is a win in my book.

Speaking of tennis… last night at my Men’s 3.0 team, I got my first USTA win in a men’s doubles game.  It was a 2-6, 6-2, and 10-8  (tie breaker) win.

I still need alot of work, but it is a good start.

Goodbye of 2014 and Hello 2015

2014 has been a year of joy and sadness. So let’s look back.


Passing of my father-in-law

My father in law passing away was very hard on my wife and my family. Although, I only knew my father-in-law for 5 years, he has been wonderful to me. I am very blessed to have shared great conversations with him about his past and history. Those are all great memories that will be kept alive. RIP.


New Job
2014 is another big year of change. I finally after many years left my consulting job with Sparing and went to work for a Canadian Software Company called BlueCat and it is one of the best decisions that I’ve made. This was one of my biggest event that happened to me in 2014.

My New Nephew (Toby)
2014 I gained a new relative. My little sister is not a mother and I am now an uncle!

Spain and Portegal Trip

2012 was a huge travel year for me, but this year was also an amazing year. Vicky convince me to to

NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour

Iphone 6

2 books read/heard
The first book was one of the Best books this year. It is the Martian. I would recommend it to anyone who love a real science based Sci-fi.

The second book was “All you need is kill”. it is what the movie “Edge of Tomorrow” is based on, but the book is so much better and so much more

Events around the World

Seahawks Won the Superbowl

3 crash plans in south Asia

Increased Cyber security everywhere

Looking forward to 2015

In 2015, my goal will be try to rebalance life and become more healthier. I know this is a common goal, but I hope this is a goal that I can achieve.

New Years Resolutions

  • Workout at least 30 minute – 60 minutes each day
  • Start Japanese Language Class
  • Start volunteer work (e.g. CISSP,church … etc)
  • Read and Listen to couple more books
  • Do more tech side projects

DIY: Basic Moteino (Arduino Clone) Project – Part 1

Recently, there has been some mail theft in my neighborhood (yeah Seattle sucks sometimes).  So I thought to myself, I need a way to notify me when my mail arrives.  I though I should do something with my Raspberry Pi, or maybe there is something better I can do.  So I did some Google searches and Boom, I found this.

A Mailbox Notifier using an Arduino clone (Moteino) [1].

This solution uses a wireless serial connection to send information from the mailbox back to the gateway.  It looked perfect so I decided to order few of these awesome and cheap Moteinos (an arduino clone).

After a few days they arrived.


It’s been over 15 years since I last messed seriously with electronics.  I went to my storage and dug up my old tackle box full of electronics components.


it still have a piece of my old EE junior lab project robot.  See it is a vintage robot parts from 1998.


Yeah, that robot use to follow a black line on a white piece of paper… oh the old days.

Anyways … focus on topic… so getting the parts was only the first step.  Getting back in to it took a little bit of time, but it is like riding a bike, I picked it up pretty quickly.

So in the next series of blog post, I will try to go through my steps and hopefully this will help others that are trying to set up a Moteino project.

I found this Griff’s[2] intro to Moteino to be very helpful so take a look.  I will try not to repeat what was there, but I will highlight few things that helped me.

STEP 1: Setup your soft environment

The first thing, before you began to build and test is to setup your lab environment.  You will need to set it up so that you can easily push your arduino/moteino programs on to your actual controller chip.  BTW the simple arduio program is called a sketch.

First set up your USB port.  since I am using my macbook pro, I needed to install the usb drivers for the FTDI adapter to connect to the moteino.

The drivers are located here:

The details on the FTDI adapter can be found here:

and also here:

This link above also provides alot of details on Moteinos [3].

There are two ways you can load a sketch into a Moteino.

1) Use the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

You can download it here: The set the IDE to Arduino Uno and you should be good to go.

There are also lots of information and examples on the arduino website about sketches and how to write sketches.  Take a look at them here: Please note that the Moteino’s pin outs are different than the Arduino Uno so the you will need to change it if you are using the built in examples. (e.g. the moteino onboard LED is on pin 9 vs pin 13 on Uno).

CAUTION:   I am using a macbook pro as my computer interface environment, I am running OSX 10.10.  I ran into few problems setting the Arduino IDE up.

First, the IDE is a java program and it needed an older version of java which OSX doesn’t have, so download it from Apple support here:

Second,  I was not able to upload my sketch right after I installed the USB driver and the Java, because it was saying the serial port is already in use.  You will need to do the following at the command prompt and that should fix it.  Oh and 777 is pretty insecure, so use at your own risk.

$ sudo mkdir /var/lock
$ sudo chmod 777 /var/lock

2) Use

Codebender is one of the coolest things, it is almost as cool as Bender R. Rodriguez.  Code bender allows you to store and code your sketches (Arduino program) on their website.  With a use of a browser plugin, it allows you to connect to your hardware controller (Moteino or Arduino or others) and upload your code.  It is super fast and fantastic.  I was able to set everything up with in minutes and best of all you can share your code with others or use others code. It’s super easy.

So during my initial setup to make the build in blinky led blink, I was able to set it up on codebender and under 5 minutes from pluging in the Moteino into my macbook pro usb port and sign up for an account and push the code down.  it is pretty nifty and I did not run into any java or permissions problems like I did with the IDE.

 STEP 2: Setup your physical environment

Once you got blink (blink sketch to blink the onboard LED) to work on your moteino, you are ready for the next step, setting up your physical environment.  For me, I got two motenios so I can have a node and a gateway.  The gateway is the moteino that is located at base and the node is the motenio that will be out at remote.  To model this easily, I am using two breadboards.  the Moteinos do not come with headers solders on, so I will need to do that myself.  Like I stated earlier, its been over 15 years since I solder things on PC boards.  I took my 15 year old soldering iron out and went to work.  After about 10 bad solders/cold solders, I finally remember how to solder.

How I found it to be the easiest to solder the headers on is to put the header on the bread board and place the moteino over it in place.  This way it will not move.  When soldering, have the soldering iron on the outside facing in and the soldering on the inside toward the pins.  Once the soldering iron is hot and ready, bring it in close to the pin and run the solder by it and lift up.  The solder will melt as soon as it touches the iron and bubble around the pin and when lifted up, it creates a good clean solder.  Give it couple of try and you should be able to get the hang of it.

So this is the result of my work.




CAUTION:  Be careful when soldering, you don’t want to accidentally melt and remove any components that is on the moteino board.  Also  be careful when soldering in on the antenna.

I will continue my progress in part 2.


[1] Low power lab Mailbox Notifier:

[2] Griff’s Digital Ham Radio Site:

[3] Low Power Lab All About Moteino:

UPDATES are Coming!!!

Well, it is close to the end of 2014. So many things has happened. I pretty much have abandoned my blog for most of the year, but there are so many things that is going on in my life that I think I should start posting things on my blog again. Now rules for posting about my life will change a great deal in this new world of Information security and personal security, so I will only talk about generic thing that I think will contribute to the world. I will minimize talking about any thing that can Identify me. All travel pictures will likely contain few personal images and posted after the trip is over and never during the trip.

I am also thinking about changing the theme of my website. In 2012, I did a 365 challenge for photographs. I did it and it was harder than I expected. I will try to do a 52 challenge which means I will post a least one entry a week. I will hope to keep it meaningful.

The return of USSR?

So I am applying for my Global Entry this morning and I saw that USSR is one of the pull down list countries?!?!?! Does USSR still exist? Or is this simply the US Governments way of easing the expected USSR return by Putin? MAYBE?!?!? Take a look yourself 😉

What are rules for? — Part 2

So this week, I finally received my email from Seattle Parks and Recreation about the tennis court incident.

So the following is the email that I recieved.

July 21, 2014

Dear Min-Hsao Chen, 

I’m sorry for your experience at the Victory Heights Playground tennis courts.
Seattle Parks and Recreation’s policy is that facilities are to be used for their intended uses: tenniscourts are for tennis, which does not include “soccer tennis.” 

The only exceptions are the designated courts at Cal Anderson Park and Judkins Playfields, where dodgeball and bike polo are allowed.

The reasons for keeping tennis courts exclusively for tennis play are that:

1.   Tennis courts are the only places available for playing tennis (other activities can usually manage in other places).

2.   Activities other than tennis often harm the court surface and/or net.

You could print this out to take with you; or, if you encountered this again, maybe it would be sufficient you just to confidently state that, when you contacted Seattle Parks, the Superintendent’s Office verified that tennis courts are intended for tennis only; and if the “soccer tennis” players had any doubt, they could contact me as well at
Thanks for checking, and my apologies for my delay in replying.

Laurie Dunlap
Superintendent’s Office, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Seattle Parks and Recreation
“Explore more”

So for all those Soccer Tennis players, “how ‘bout them apples!?!?”.

What are rules for?

Why do people don’t follow rules? what are rules for, if people don’t follow them.

So Today, when my wife, Vicky and I arrived at the Victory Height tennis court to play tennis, I met  two individuals playing soccer tennis on the Victory Height tennis court. (Soccer tennis is using a soccer ball and kicking the ball back and forth across the net and court). When my wife and I address the individual and asking them, if we can play tennis on the court, they told us they just go there. I then ask them if we can use the court because they can play soccer on the large grass field and we can only play tennis on the tennis court, they then told us they will be playing for another 30 minutes. Then a young 7 year old kid nearby pointed out the posted court rules which states that the “courts should only be used for tennis and other city approved activities”. I then address this to the individuals playing the soccer tennis and they argue that their activity was a city approved activity and would not leave the court. I complained and stated that “that can’t be right”, since it is stated that it is for tennis only and they don’t have any written statement from the city therefore it is not approved.

My problem is this, if I was in their shoes playing soccer on a tennis court when someone shows up playing tennis, I would yield the court. Instead they call me grumpy and saying that these are rules and not laws and that it can be bent or broken and they are not meant for them.

So my question is Am I wrong for following rules? What is the point of posting rules stating that the tennis court is only for tennis and people don’t follow them?

Is this just Seattle? or is it just me getting old and grumpy?

End of week 1

So today is the end of week one at my new job, or should I say the beginning of week 2. So far it has been a pretty remarkable experience. I went through 4 days of training and still trying to get my head around everything that I am learning. IPv6, DHCP, DNS… etc. All the things that I’ve used and know about but I am just doing a major deep dive into these subjects. It is good to be back in the mist of all the technical goodness. Tomorrow begins my week too and it starts with an early morning travel.  Once again, I think I will try again this year to start my blog back.  hopefully this will continue.

A New Start

It’s been a long while since I wrote on my blog, but I feel this is an important occasion to update my blog.  So today is my first day at my new job with BlueCat Networks.  After close to 7 years working at Sparling, I finally called it quits, little over a week ago, on Valentines day (2/14/2014).  It was a difficult decision, but it was time to move on.  It’s always the people that I missed the most.  So for the last week, I’ve been throwing away everything, reshaping my office, and preparing for my new work day today. During my week off, I’ve been really enjoy my time off, like I said, I been cleaning up the house, walking 10K steps a day and trying to eat healthy.  It’s pretty amazing. So today starts my new work life.  In a few minutes I will be on a conference call with my new boss and start my new work day. Wish me luck.

Sublime with Rome

download (3)

Back in 1996, I was in Auburn, in college.  Ska was big and I loved it.  One of my favorite group was Sublime.  I remember saving my money to get the Sublime CD (compact disk for those that don’t know what it is 🙂 ).  After Bradley died, I thought that’s it… such  great group and no more. To my surprise, I found out through Marymoor concerts.  That Sublime is back from the dead, they are called Sublime with Rome.  So it seems that they found this amazing guy that has some great talent.  Check out the video below.

or listen to them on Spotify.

Well… I know I am like 2 years late, but it made my day 🙂  Enjoy and if you have time tickets are still available to see them at Marymoor.

TIL: Optimal sentence length for comprehension


Today I learned that the optimal length for writing comprehension is around 5 to 6 words a sentence. This is approximately the same length that a feather quill pen can write before the ink dries up.

Ref: Star Talk S4E15

TIL: Wireless Telephone in 1962 Space Needle


 Today I Learned (TIL) that special wireless telephones were built for the Space Needle’s rotating restaurant in the 1962.  Today, this may not seem to special, but back in 1962, the is truly futuristic.  OH and 1 HP is all that is required to turn the space needle restaurant!!!

Ref:   Space Needle: The Spirit of Seattle

Ref:  WUNC and Sceince Friday

First Raspberry Pi Lab: Hello There

Hello there!  This is my first attempt at messing with Raspberry Pi.

It’s pretty simple, pretty much everything is from Adafruit.  Including basic script instructions.  I modified few little things and added Obi-won saying “hello there”.

Check it out.

Post Thanksgiving reflections….

So I am sitting here in the Tokyo airport lounge thinking about my recent travels and I really want to record everything that I did on this trip in my blog, however, history has shown that I have failed on that many times.  (e.g. China trip last year,  Yosemite Trip, Iceland trip, and etc…)  So I will try to do something different this time.  My goal for this trip is not to post date my posts, but to talk about a day on my trip as I have time. Maybe this way I can actually get some of our  (Vicky and Min’s) travel on paper.

So let’s begin,  So as I stated earlier, I am currently at the end of this in Tokyo.  The trip started from Seattle, to Beijing, then to Tokyo.  In Tokyo, we stayed mostly inside the city however, we did travel outside to Endoshima and Kamakura area for a short day trip.

The food for the last few days has been amazing.  Especially, the sushi and sashimi, just amazing.  We were very fortunate to have  few sunny days and few museum days (rainy).    Today of course, our departing day is rainy.  We statyed in Shinjuku and travelled around by walking, trains, and subways.  So I will go more into that in my next post.

Old Tee Shirts

Well, it has been such a nice a wonderful weekend, so during this weekend, I decided to do some cleaning and get rid of some old stuff that’s been following me around for sometimes.  So when I open up this one suit case, it was full of old tee shirts.  I will probably never wear them again, but I hated the idea of throwing them again.  They are my history, they are my past… they mean so much to me.

My logical and not emotional wife asked me a simple question, “when was the last time you’ve wore those?”

My response… “uh… 1995…”.  Right,  that wasn’t too long ago, but what 1995 was 17 years ago!!!!

Yeah… Vicky is right … I will probably never wear them ever again and they are just taking up space… but they are still so special to me… So I decided to digitize them.

So here they are… let me know what you think.

1994-1995 AP Chemistry

This shirt is my high school senior AP chemistry shirt… I am sure all my classmates are all rich and famous now :)… maybe I should keep this shirt 😉







1995 Auburn High School Science Olympiad shirt

This shirt was for the 1995 AHS Science Olympiad Team and yes we made the nationals that year!!!  This shirt is special because I created this shirt with my friend Ming Yan.  It is also special because we printed all these shirts in the Technology Student Association club in AHS.  Note that this was a 4 color screen print, however the back design has more than 4 colors…. pretty cool right?

Additional information about the design, the fonts are of course Star Trek DS9 Fonts and the idea for the back came from the Sliders TV show opening.






Auburn High School Science Olympiad Team Shirt

Very late 80 and early 90 style and look.



Catholic Youth Organization

This shirt was from our teen youth group in Auburn St. Michael Catholic Church.  Once again Vintage 1995.

IMG_7740.jpg IMG_7741.jpg


The following shirts are from college… few years laters


Catholic Student Organization Pan Y Vino  XLII and XLIII Shirt

Pan Y Vino is a biannual retreat for the CSO.  These shirts were from the two time that I was part of the host team.  Those were special times.

IMG_7743.jpg IMG_7744.jpg

Catholic Student Organization

IMG_7745.jpg IMG_7746.jpg

Catholic Student Organization

These are CSO  @ AU shirts

IMG_7747.jpg IMG_7751.jpg

Superball 1995!!! 

One year before the 1996 summer olympics in Atlanta, many women softball team came to Columbus, GA for a pre Olympics fast pitch softball competition.  The is the shirt made for that event, for cheering on the Republic of China team!!!

IMG_7752.jpg IMG_7753.jpg

Spring Upgrade: Ad Block Plus

As part of the spring cleaning, this past weekend, I wanted to clean up my web browsing and reduce the number of annoying ads that I see in every website I visit. This include all those annoying ads on youtube and other similar sites.
This is what I found!!!

Ad Block Plus

It a wonderful plugin for web browser that removes all your ads!!! Really!!!.

What is cool about ABP is that it is a Chrome plugin. However, no plugins for Safari yet.



Currently my laptop is a late-2008 MacBook Pro. It is probably the best laptop that I’ve ever owned. It is definitively the only laptop that I have ever used for more than 1.5 years. This laptop is currently working on it’s 4th year. From the original specs this model of MacBook Pro only suppose to support max of 4 Gigs. Some people before were able to get 6 gigs on it, however, after Lion everything changed. With a firmware upgrade, my late 2008 MacBook Pro supports 8 Gigabyte of RAM!!!! Check out this article for more details.

So with my new found knowledge, I quickly purchased my upgrades from Newegg. This is what I got.

First, Memory… for $40 bucks I was able to double my memory. GREAT DEAL!!!!

Then I decided… maybe I should go ahead and upgrade my HD. I thought about a SSD, but I can only afford a 120GB SSD, which is smaller than my current drive size. The SSD will be must faster, but much smaller. I then saw the Hybrid drives. It got mix reviews, but the price is right, so why not. (note: right after I bought mine, newegg put this drive on promotion, it is now only $89.99!!! DOH for me!!!)

So with my removal of my 250 GB drive, I though it would be nice to have an extra external drive, so I got this case for $7.99. Yeah… pretty cheap huh!!  The best part is I can use this new USB case to transfer all my data to my new drive so I won’t miss a beat!!!!

So with very little money, I’ve refreshed my laptop and hopefully I can get another year or two out of it!!! That will be excellent, if I can do that!!!