New Blog Location

Hey guys,

As I mentioned a few months ago, I was looking into other blogging platforms. I chose, which allows me to create content via Evernote, a note-taking app. Check it out at You will notice some familiar content. I decided to migrate certain blog posts that I revisit once every couple of months to update. Using Evernote will allow me to do these updates in a much easier fashion since WordPress is much more bloated in comparison.

I have disabled comments on all old posts for this current blog to focus on maintaining the new blog. Please bookmark my new blog to stay updated or contact me via email if you have any questions/comments. I will also try to tweet my new posts regularly (something I didn’t do before), so feel free to follow me on Twitter. Thanks for the continued support!

Blog Overhaul

After some thinking, I’ve decided that I’ll be conducting an overhaul for this blog in the near future – either use of a new theme and cleaning up past posts, or starting a new one hosted elsewhere. I bought a domain name today, but haven’t decided on a host yet. In the past year or so, I’ve been using WordPress more as a blog than a website, since it makes more sense to direct people to my GitHub to see my projects, and my LinkedIn to see my work experience, but WP is a bit bloated as it’s template based and I am looking for a more minimalist style. This is what I wanted when I started originally (over 2 years ago now), but beautifully designed blogging platforms have emerged since then and I’m considering a switch.

WP has really awesome dashboards, and has great mobile support (holo style on Android is looking awesome) but

  1. The commenting system is a bit sub-par. I am considering removal of comments altogether so questions can be directed to my email or twitter instead.
  2. It’s also a bit troublesome when I want to update a past post because there’s a mix of old and new information, and again, comments make it a bit awkward too. It’s a bit easier when I can just make a brand new post, but I can end up writing repetitive content.
  3. Attaching media requires too many steps so I never end up doing it. This is really bad for people who don’t like reading walls of text. I need something more lightweight.
  4. My content is starting to become disorganized. I wish there was an easier way to bulk update tags I have on all of my posts so I can categorize them better (there’s probably support for it on but not It also becomes awkward when I don’t even remember half the content I posted way back when, because most of my posts are pages long so I’m not willing to go back and give myself a refresher.

I’ve had blogs in the past that were completely about my experiences, rather than about giving advice or writing meaningful content, and that’s something I miss doing – I just don’t want it to get cluttered in my more informative posts. I am thinking of having separate pages that keep these types of posts separate, or some similar system with tags.

If anyone has suggestions on which blogging platform I should use, let me know. I’m planning to get things done in a couple weeks the latest, but in the meanwhile, I will give an updated insight on the current state of the CS and SE programs because I know university application deadlines are coming up in a separate post (look above).

Reflection of Fall ’13

It’s been awhile since I have been home for the holidays for more than a week. To be exact, I’m be home for 2.5 weeks. I had plans to go on a trip to Japan and South Korea, but my friend bailed on me due to lack of funds. We then planned to do a Montreal trip, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen either since my mom lined me up for a bunch of appointments. My eyesight has been particularly unstable in these past few weeks (sometimes I feel like I can’t ever get Lasik because I work in front of a laptop 24/7).

I’ve spent most of my break so far catching up with high school friends (our annual Secret Santa), watching movies and dramas, and cleaning/organizing my belongings at home. You really end up with a ton of clutter after living on and off every 4 months. You can’t bring everything with you when you move far away, and you always end up bringing more when you come back. I also started doing this thing where I keep all my receipts or significant cool pamphlets I get every term in separate folders. These folders were getting really unorganized in the past couple terms due to lack of time (because when I do have the time, I’d rather be doing other things).

More specifically, I’ve accumulated a huge wardrobe. I’m not even high on the shopaholic standards. I just buy clothing when I feel like I need it, based on my current wardrobe. The problem with this is that I only have a partial wardrobe at all times (when I’m living off campus or renting a place for co-op). This makes it difficult for me to remember whether I already had a ton of white tops, for example. Now it isn’t as bad for school terms, but it really sucks for co-op terms in the States. I am way, way more limited in the partial wardrobe I can bring. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to fit all the clothing I want to bring for next term.

Speaking of next term – I’ll be in SF again, work term #5 at Rdio. I had a tough time deciding where to go because (if you didn’t read my last blog post) I really wanted to return to FB (or specifically Instagram). I originally decided that I would be happier to return for the Fall (of 2014) instead of the Winter as there will be potentially more returning interns (or new grads) that I already know. I also didn’t really want to be in the Peninsula again for Winter as I prefer SF, and I didn’t want to do a long commute either (FB gives housing to interns or a stipend if you want to live in SF). I almost slightly regret choosing Rdio even now, simply because I really miss my coworkers back at IG. They were extremely hard-working, fun people to be with 8 hours a day. I wasn’t able to properly appreciate and thank them due to a family member passing away around the end of my internship. Thinking back, I really appreciated the experience and the opportunity to meet awesomely talented people. Continue reading

Instagram Video V2 & Some Thoughts

It’s been another very exciting past couple weeks. We launched Instagram 4.1 last week – adding video support for Android 4.0 and video import from library. Huge wins. Video import was my main intern project, and I’m so happy that I was able to launch such a high-impact feature. Everyone please go and check it out if you have a chance.

I’ve worked at Instagram for about 15 weeks now, in the Facebook bubble. I realize that I’ve become attached to my team, attached to the product I work on. I don’t post the same kinds of photos I used to, after being influenced by amazing photographers (check out Suggested Users in Explore).

I began to seriously care about what users think of us (Those 1-star ratings hurt, just to let you know). It’s unfortunate that we can never have 100% test coverage due to the wide variety of Android devices. I’ve been in such a work-hard mode in the past few weeks that I forgot what I was doing – launching such an important and desired feature for millions of users out there. It’s a weird state to be in –  I became  critical of my code and it was hectic handling all of the bugs being reported. I spent a lot of time working on the feature (ensuring it worked on all devices, on various types of videos, etc.) that I forgot how awesome and high impact it actually was. Dilemma of a mobile developer perhaps?

A few people have asked me what it’s like working at Instagram but being under Facebook. Most of the public thinks that Facebook is making all of our decisions and will eventually make the app worse. No, it’s not like that at all. Facebook acquired Instagram, but the Instagram product still stands as its own. Our team is still present. We receive many resources and contacts through Facebook, which helps us reach a larger audience more efficiently, and scale more efficiently.

We are still fairly small, making me feel like I work at a startup, but we have the Facebook perks since we are on campus. It’s the best of both worlds. Facebook culture is slightly different from Instagram culture, and we also have our own values. One value in particular is that our community is our greatest asset. I’ve never been so exposed to how great our community is, and I have never realized how many amazing moments are shared from all across the world. People out there take some amazing photos.

Facebook is of course a little different. There are tons and tons of features in one large app, as we all know. There’s definitely a lot going on (feature-wise), although the fact that we all use Facebook to communicate at work, we are able to constantly debug each others’ code by testing great ideas.  Socially, everyone gets informed about product updates and what’s happening on campus through FB groups. I have stopped going on Reddit because all of my entertainment can be gained from various social groups. It’s extremely transparent here, and people love to have fun – a “just do it” type of culture.

Is this a recruiting blog post? No. Sorry if I’m making it sound that way. There are other interns who don’t feel the same way as me since they didn’t get placed on a suitable team. It happens. Life is full of bumpy roads and not everything can line up the way you want it to. I promise you this happens at other companies too, you just need to be verbal about it (esp if you work full time) so you don’t get stuck with something you don’t enjoy.

Anyways. I love this job and I don’t even know what I’ll do when I have to leave. Working on exciting projects with such an amazing team is something that you don’t always get to experience. It’s very surreal. Sometimes you really have to sit down and reflect before the moment fades away.