My Baptism Note

11 March 2018, a special day for me, because I was baptised at that time. The following is my speech note.

My name is Allen Liu. My journey started from a book.

Nick Vujicic, an Australian without limbs told me a truth in his book of ‘Life Without Limits’. “God always has a plan for you”. When I read the book, I thought it was amazing but I didn’t fully believe it. This was my first touch of the Lord. This was the start of God planting a seed in my heart. One day it will grow to be a great tree.

When I landed in New Zealand, I met a lot of challenges. Of course there will be some challenges for new immigrants. Driving, speaking and even ordering something to eat in a restaurant. The most tricky one was finding a job. I made my best efforts, but nothing good happened. I was tortured by the worry every day.

When I felt hopeless, my wife invited me to Northcote Baptist. We then joined Niki and Doug’s home group. I realised that God did not abandon me. I kept learning and praying religiously in the home group. I try to practice what I was learning. Like being patient, loving others, forgiving others and so on.

Several weeks later, I got a job. A perfect job. After that, some more good things happened. I gained a work visa and bought a house nearby. This is special to me as Northcote Baptist is like a family to us and is where we want to worship God for a long time.

By learning step by step, I realised that I am a sinner with pride, stoniness, selfishness and many other sins. I didn’t even know you, but you sacrificed your own blood to clean our sins. You opened my eyes and let me know the truth of the world and myself. I thank you for your mercy and praise for your great wisdom. I hope to follow you all my life and learn from you. Only this can make me live a meaningful life. May the glory and praise be given to Jesus our Lord! Amen!

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Daily Life of Programmers

Who are programmers? In one word, they are the guys who use their expertise about computer to make the business ideas come true. They use their brain to make this world better and better, so they get headache every day. For what? Let’s figure out what their daily work first.

Daily Task

Generally speaking, there should be a task management tool to record and dispatch the specific work to the programmers. It could be JIRA, a spreadsheet, or some smart guy’s brain. Whatever it is, there must be some stuff like this. The tools wil save some kind of tasks as follows:

  • Work for a function.
    • Create a new function.
    • Improve an existed function.
  • Fix a bug.

To complete the missions above, skills about programming language are not enough.

Daily Headache

  • Understand the business and build a model for it.
    • What concepts are included?
    • How the requests flow from one step to another?
    • What’s the feature and the limitation for each section?
  • Design your solution according to the business model and the resources you can use.
    • What is the data structure?
    • Any third party service is better to choose?
    • Any framework or package or library can be used?
    • Where should the code be put in? Front end or back end? API or SDK? Business model or micro service?
    • DO NOT forget security, performance, robustness, extendability, readability and testability.

Programmers are driven insane by the question marks.

Daily Work

For programmers, they do the same thing again and again.

  • Read code. Others’ code or the code he / she wrote several days ago.
  • Check documents. No one can remember all the details in the manual.
  • Write the code. Actually, not many characters.
  • Test the code. Make sure it work as expected.
  • Mark the task as “To be tested” and then next one.

We repeat the cycle again and again. We look like coding machines, but actually we are not. We are magicians who can make business ideas come true. And the best thing is the sense of achievement. It is so awesome, like the happiness created by drugs, I guess.

For “Tiny Archers”

After an amazing weekend, I’ve became a biiiiiig fan of a mobile phone game — Tiny Archers. I was fallen in love with the sharp guys. The android  version download link : Tiny Archers

Background

At night, four archers are sitting together around the campfire. They are from different stirps, a human boy, a male dwarf, an elf girl and a dead wizard. They tell their own stories about defending their hometown from goblin and giants as a great archer one by one. With the crackling of campfire, we enjoy the exciting stories.

The details are vivid enough to set a fantasy atmosphere. I even enjoy watching them sitting there.

Setting

The archers have something in common.

  • Five weapons to buy. All the weapons require a certain minimal level. With the price increasing, they have more capacity for arrows and more good-looking.
  • Every archer has two skills to help defend their base. But their skills are different from each other.
  • They all share the same level, coins, gems, arrows and traps.
  • Every one has 24 normal stages and 12 difficult stages. They all have challenge mode.

The traps can be upgraded four times to be used for more times and less cold time. They are very useful in difficult levels.

Coins can buy weapons, arrows and traps. Gems can buy coins and produce arrows instantly.

Shooting different parts of the enemies has different reaction. (except the wizard)

  • Shooting feet will stop them.
  • Shooting body will reduce their HP.
  • Shooting head will kill it. (except giants, they won’t die, but injured heavily)
  • Shooting armor or helmet will take it off.
  • Shooting through the small outlet on the shield will hurt the goblin behind it, mostly kill it.

Skill

  • Free Gems Watching video can earn gems. If you don’t want to waste the time on that, you can click the home button of the mobile phone to the desktop, then get back to the game. You will ignore the ad video and just get the gems.
  • Ice Arrow There are several magic arrows. The ice arrows can kill goblin under the ground easily. When you found brown point on the map, just shoot an ice arrow at the position in advance, the one will be killed later.
  • Good Cliff For the designer’s purpose, cliff will increase the difficulty for the players because they can’t predict the enemies position when they jump. But actually, it make the game easier if you master the certain skill. Every goblin, even for the ones with armors or shields, can be killed instantly when they drop down from the cliff. When they jump, just shoot them, whichever the part of them, they will drop and die instantly.

Cheer for great archers! I hope there will be sequel for this game.

An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 series #3)

That’s some pretty shoddy programming

— Roy

Yes, it is. If the programmes were not so shoddy, this story couldn’t be so funny.

Todd, described as a mad nerd in previous books, was the boss in this story. I have to acknowledge that this guy is a talent, although disgusting with weird taste, but a talent. In Magic 2.0 world, the reality is a programme and many programmers know that, but none of them developed a game with the powerful file. Todd did it. If it wasn’t used for revenge, it would be more funny.

If we set the rate of this game, it must be R18 because there was something about violence and sextual content. Todd made this game so funny not just because his programme was shoddy and stupid, but aslo he often appeared in the game as the author and discussed with the players about the game. As the developer, he even joined the game at the final chapter. What a big Easter egg! And what is worse (or better?) is that there was another team coming to experience the adventure while the game was designed as one-off. Many weird and funny bugs came up. I was completely defeated by the bugs.

Fortunately, even though there may be something violent, it is also very funny because it actually is a sci-fi comedy. Even disability was shown in a funny way. The sense of humor of Scott Meyer is amazing.

Beyond all doubt, this book is the best in the series util now. It gave me a lot of laughs and joyful time. It is an awesome gift for gamers and IT guys, indeed.

Finally, I want to say :

Good job! Martin! You got Gwen in the end. You did it!

Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0 series #2)

People say that they want to know how things work, but really, most of them just want to know why things work.

— Brit the Elder

The most interesting point of the series is that it explains all fantasy elements with programming terms. After the fascinating story in Medieval England, we traveled around in Atlantis. Of course it is also not the one we expect it should be. Like Camelot was built by Jimmy, Atlantis was built by Brit, another programmer. Jimmy built a golden castle, while Brit built a diamond city. Yes, luxurious, grand, but not difficult for the programmers.

In my opinion, the real boss is not the stupid non-magic citizen and the president, but also Jimmy. He spent over thirty years to make a plan to travel back. He was really good at social engineering. He even successfully got back his power and made other wizards powerless. But he didn’t revenge, in stead, he asked forgiveness. Unbelieveable, especially for an arrogant, talented and crazy wizard. He did horrible experiments and murdered a village of people and tried to kill all the other wizards. After thirty years’ suffering, he fought back and got back power. Then asked for forgiveness? I distrusted him. Let’s see what he will do.

Rules are necessary for any community, especially for the powerful ones. If you are the only one who is powerful, you make the rule. If not, there should be an organization like Union to implement some rules to control the power. For Magic 2.0 world, Roy may be the last one who can become a wizard or time traveller after finding the special file, because all the instance of files will be password protected to prevent bad guys from doing something terrible. It is boring, but reasonable.

Congratulations to Philip! He met his lover, Brit the younger. (I was completely confused by the logic of Brits.)

Congratulations to Martin! He will have more stories with Gwen.

Off to be the wizard (Magic 2.0 series #1)

That may be, but I’m an algorithm with free will! Any time someone claims I don’t have free will I shout shut up at the top of my lungs, because it’s totally out of character for me, and it proves I have free will.

— Philip

Most of geeks who love computer science consider themselves as wizards, or even god, but that is not true. It is just a kind of similitude. Information technology is important and powerful without doubt, but not enough like magic. Well, what if the reality is a huge computer programme?

A nerd who often hacks other’s computer system and spy on the files found a file which could influence the real world by changing the data in it. He could not help exploreing the possibilities with his programming skills. A legend began from then on. He can travel in any space and back to any time. He can set the attributes of any items. He even can change the balance of his bank account. Can we call him the god? No, because he is not the only one who can do this. Perhaps we can call these guys wizards. There is an organization for the wizards. The story is funny and simple — the good ones kick the bad one’s ass.

The most attractive point of the book is neither the funny story, nor the creative tricks, but the setting — The world is a computer programme and the file which controls this world is editable. This setting gave the programmers great power. They can be powerful like a god in the tales. If that is true, everyone konwing this must be eager to learn programming skills.

I am very glad to meet this book while feeling a little bored about coding. It helped me remind the fun of programming and get back the passion for coding.

Thank you, Off to be the wizard;

Thank you, Scott Meyer.

Humans and Cell phones have the same status

It is surprising that humans and cell phones have the same states. Both of them have three states:

Charging State

A cell phone is useless without plenty quantity of electricity, and humans also need to rest to be energetic. They both need to have a good rest before working. If they can not rest well, they can not perform well even they have great ability.

Holding State

Most of time, cell phones and humans just keep holding state, ready to work and spend little energy.

Working State

When a cell phone runs some awesome apps, they must spend terrible electricity and become hotter, so do humans.

For the smart people, they can arrange and switch their states properly to be effective and healthy. Rest well, adjust working rhythm. They makes sense.