The next destination after Krakow was Berlin (this would be my second time here). First step: go to the Sony Center and have a Bananenweizen because I just can’t get that anywhere else.

There is a Uniqlo here! I wish I got paid to say this, but it’s the greatest clothing chain in existence.

Gotta love these Bierbikes rolling down the street.

Our main reason to come here was join in on the party that is the Eurocup. A giant screen was set up at the Brandenburg Gate just to show the games. The weirdest part, that before the game started, they did Kiss Cams, which was fine, but they did this with straight men too… shudder

We stuck around to watch Poland play against Portugal!

These people know how to chill.

We met some of my friend’s German friends and they took us to a warehouse that was converted into a bar with a giant screen just to watch Germany VS Italy. According to them, going to that place to watch the game has brought them “good luck” when they went to see Germany VS Brazil in 2014. Definitely one of the greatest games of Football I’ve seen – what a close game between Germany and Italy with a 6-5 Germany win after a penalty shootout.

And of course, when in Germany…

Link to photo album: here


As part of the trip to Krakow, we visited the Auschwitz concentration camp. We bought tickets in advance (guided tour) so we didn’t have to wait in line to buy tickets or anything. An Uber took us from the city center to the entrance (190.70 PLN = ~$49 USD). At the entrance, we were greeted by the icon sign that read “Arbeit macht frei”.

The tour took us to various locations in the camp, where prisoners were experimented on, suffered in standing cells, etc. The guide also explained how the Germans ran the camps day to day, how they used certain prisoners to oversee other prisoners (Kapos), and of course the extermination. One of the most impactful exhibits here was a room full of just shoes – shoes of many who died at the camp. It’s one thing to be told a bunch of numbers of how many died, but it’s another thing to see thousands of shoes just laid out in front of you.

The camp was split into two: Auschwitz I and II, where the main purpose of Auschwitz I was for political prisoners while Auschwitz II was for extermination and forced labour. Originally, Auschwitz I had many one story buildings, but an additional floor was added to increase capacity.

Guardtowers and electrified barbed wire fences prevented escapes. They really thought of everything.

The death wall is where people were lined up to be executed by firing squad.

The next part of the tour took us to Auschwitz II. Railway tracks efficiently brought prisoners directly into the camp. It’s impressive how efficient they were – that’s what made so scary.

As the Allies closed in on the camp, the Germans destroyed many of the buildings to try and hide what they did. But nonetheless, the truth came to light at the end and many of those responsible were tried and executed.

It was really hard to imagine millions of people were killed in this one place alone. People didn’t talk much during the tour as if to informally have a moment of silence for all the victims. There was nothing to be said. Everyone felt the aura of sadness just by being there.

Link to photo album: here


In June 2016, I made yet again another trip to Europe! This time, my travels have taken me to Krakow in Poland! I flew Vancouver to Montreal to Paris, AND THEN to Krakow. It took basically a whole 24 hours, but at least I got a $200 Air Canada voucher out of it by volunteering to get bumped to a later flight.

Travel tip: THERE IS UBER IN KRAKOW!!! To go from the airport to the old town, it costed only 25.46 PLN, which is not even $7 USD to go about 12km. That total was split by 3 people, so that’s about $2-something per person.

Our hostel was in the old town, and was in walking distance to the market square.

South of the old town is Wawel Castle.

And it’s got a great view of the Vistula River. It’s a got a great bike/jogging path that runs along it too.

We went on a walking tour to the old Jewish quarter. Since the war, it no longer housed the vibrant Jewish community that once existed.  The Old Synagogue, built in the 15th century still stands today.

The former ghetto now looks like this. Each chair represents 1000 victims.

The tour ended at the former Schindler Factory. It is now the site of museums for art and the history of Krakow. One of the exhibits is a cable car that used to run through the city. The sign says “Use by Jews forbidden”. It’s one thing to hear about what the tour guide says about the holocaust, but this sign was much much more impactful.

A less depressing topic: food. I can’t go to a new place without drinking their beer. I definitely like it a lot better than the beers I can get in North America. And then there’s bread. I really like bread. A local brand of orange juice, called Cappy was amazing too.

Somebody also told me to try perogies, but perogies to me are alright I guess. I also ate some deep fried calf brain. I would not eat that again. One of the restaurants we went to was called Wierzynek, and the cool thing about it is that it’s been around since 1364!

Link to photo album: here

Should you be an engineer?

It’s not easy to decide what career path to take.  Especially for high school students, who don’t yet know what they want to do.  During my time in university, I spent a bit of time in engineering outreach to speak to high school students and first-year university students about studying engineering.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to go back to my old high school and present to students about studying engineering (link to presentation below), and to help guide them with their career choices.  The idea was to communicate:

  • What engineering is as a profession
  • What engineering is about
  • That they should consider it as a career

At the same time, it wasn’t meant to “persuade” them to study engineering, but more like show them what it’s about so that they can make a more informed decision when they choose their university majors.  I also wanted to tell them this as general advice:

  • Do what you’re interested in
  • Nothing worth doing is ever easy
  • Don’t do it just for the money

Overall, the students seemed to be receptive to what I had to say, and had good questions to ask me about my experiences.  Hopefully, I helped guide them to make a career choice for themselves!

Link to the presentation: here

Moving an OS to another disk and still have it boot with Linux

For the longest time, I’ve had an 80 GB HDD running my Windows partition (dual-boot setup with Ubuntu on a SSD), but now I’ve finally upgraded the Windows partition to an SSD as well. I looked into how to clone my Windows partition onto the SSD, such that I can still boot the disk.

I already have Ubuntu as my main OS, so copying the disk was easy using dd, which allows copying all the contents of one disk to another. This works well when the new hard drive is greater than or the same size as the current hard drive (I upgraded from a 80GB HDD to a 128GB SSD).

First I run this to see which disk I am copying from and to

fdisk -l

Then I run dd. If I am copying from /dev/sda to /dev/sda, then it’s:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb

But sometimes the disks don’t have the same size, so I used gparted to move/resize the partitions to make use of the extra space on the new disk. gparted complained that it might make my disk no bootable, but the disk was still bootable for me nonetheless. I didn’t even have to mess with any grub bootloader settings either. I simply unplugged the old disk, and left the new disk plugged in and booted into the new disk no problem.

Not your typical “sign your life away” kind of waiver

I stumbled upon this when I was rummaging through some of my things.  It’s a waiver for visiting the Demilitarized Zone on the border of North and South Korea.  It pretty much says that my safety is not guaranteed if the North decides to attack.

The United Nations Command, the United States of America, and the Republic of Korea cannot guarantee the safety of visitors and may not be held accountable in the event of a hostile enemy act.

There’s even a section about not interacting with the soldiers on the other side too.

Fraternization, including speaking, making gestures or associating with personnel from the Korea People’s Army/Chinese People’s Volunteers (KPA/CPV) side, is strictly prohibited

Anyway, the full text is here for people who are curious


Repairing corrupt PowerPoint files

A free tool called DiskInternals ZIP Repair was able to recover a corrupted PowerPoint file (*.pptx) that I had on my computer.  I learned that pptx files are actually zip files in disguise, and so using a utility to repair a corrupt zip archive could work.  At first I thought it was one of those sketchy bloatware programs, but Lifehacker has written an article about them before, so it should be fine.

Using the program was pretty simple.  I just opened it and told it which zip file (in my case the pptx file which I renamed to a zip file), and then the program did all the work and recovered everything.  It was like magic!

A Week in Oahu

Just spent a week on the island of Oahu in Hawaii with a high school friend who used to go to school here, so I had a pretty good tour guide!  Along the way, we met up with some friends and just hung out with them.

Fun fact: Hawaii is not part of North America, but rather Oceania.  Already on the flight in, Hawaii already looks beautiful.

On the North Shore of the island, sea turtles sometimes just chill out on shore.  They are endangered because people wanted to eat them and use their shells for superstitious medicine.  It is illegal to touch them and there is a fine for it if caught.

Here’s a picture of our nice rental car – a BMW 535i.  Notice how there isn’t a front license plate (not legal)

Parts of Oahu’s coastline has lots of these oddly shaped rocks (possibly some volcanic rock?)

There’s also cool rock formations like this one at Laie Point.  We saw people here fishing, and jumping into the water from the cliff side – looks dangerous, but super fun.

For hikes, not many people know about the Puu O Mahuka State Monument, where there is a semi-hidden path that leads to a really good view of Waimea.

There’s also the Pillbox Hike near Lanikai beach, which is a bit more touristy, but the view up there is really nice too.

Another well-known hike is the Diamond Head hike, which starts at the base of a crater all the way up to the top edge of it.  From there, there is a good view of Waikiki and the surrounding area.

Another hike, called the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is another hike to see Oahu’s natural beauty.  At some parts of the hike, the mountain blocks the wind completely, so on a hot day, there is no breeze for cooling down, which makes this hike a little less enjoyable.

For a night view of Honolulu, we headed up to Roundtop Drive

This is the best food in Hawaii.  It’s called Poke.  It’s essentially raw fish with spices on it – absolutely delicious when it is fresh.  The ones here are from a place called Fresh Catch.

Of course, there is also Pearl Harbor, the site where the Japanese attacked the United States in 1942.

The USS Arizona Memorial is built on a sunken battleship, the USS Arizona.  Even now, pockets of oil still bubble to the surface.

At the Polynesian Cultural Center, people can learn about the Polynesians and experience their culture through stuff like dance performances.  Too bad I couldn’t get a picture of their actual theater performance, where they did crazy tricks with sticks lit on fire.

There is the stereotypical Luau, which is a buffet with a dinner performance (with more fire involved).  There’s good food like kalua pig, poke, salmon, chicken, etc.

One thing that really surprised me about Hawaii is the amount of wild chickens everywhere.  I even got woken up in the morning by a rooster’s call in the morning.

Other things to do in Hawaii that I recommend:

  • Trying garlic shrimp from a food truck (like Fumi’s)
  • Drinking out of a coconut (really stereotypical, but I’ve always wanted to try this!)
  • Drinking an Otai (coconut and mango drink)

Things that I do not recommend:

  • Driving too fast.  Police are EVERYWHERE and it is impossible to get away with breaking traffic rules.  I learned this the hard way.

Link to photo album: here

Migrating a WordPress blog from to

Since a few months ago, I migrated my blog from the previous free installation of WordPress that offered, to the self-hosted installation offered by (note that one is .org and the other is .com).  Here are just a few of the key differences stated briefly:

  • Self hosted installations allow greater control over what plugins the blog uses, what domain name to use, monetization, among other things
  • The cost is the added time required to tweak to do the setup and customisation

After I chose to switch to the self-hosted installation, I faced the problem of having to migrate all of my content, site stats, and followers.  I also had to set up proper URL redirection to the new website.  Most of the guides I read did answer how to migrate content, and set up URL redirects, but it was not so clear as to how to migrate my site stats and followers.

Content Migration

For migrating content, the blog allows exporting blog content into a file to be imported into the new WordPress installation.  Steps 1 to 3 in this guide illustrate the process:

Migrating Site Stats and Followers

Migrating site stats and followers requires installing the Jetpack addon and linking it to the account (so that the self-hosted WP and the existing WP blog are connected).  Afterward, a support thread has to be made on to ask WP staff to do the rest of the migration (there seems to be no other way).  I found the information on how to do this at this site:  The post I made for my own site migration is here.

Setting Up URL Redirection

This part costs money unfortunately.  I paid ~$17 CAD for this so that my own URL would be redirected for the new one.  If redirection isn’t required, then there is no need to buy anything.  The setup is pretty straight forward.  After buying the redirect, it is just a matter of setting the destination WordPress site to go to.  Reference link here:

Running League of Legends in PlayOnLinux (Ubuntu 14.04)

There are various guides floating around on the Internet for running League of Legends on Linux, and no single guide worked for me, but after piecing the information together from various places, I managed to get it to work on my system.

My computer specifications:

  • Intel Core i5-4570
  • 16 GB Memory
  • Radeon HD 5770

I followed the instructions here, with these changes:

  • Using video driver “fglrx-updates” (the tutorial talks about NVIDIA cards)
  • Did not install TuxLoL
  • Did not do anything regarding the “Maestro error” since it only applies to Optimus Notebook users
  • Did not follow step 6 because I did not run into the problem for big item icon text for the item shop
  • EDIT: Thanks to Ingvar’s comment, the installation progress for the game can be viewed like so: open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and execute:
    # tail -f ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix/LeagueOfLegends/drive_c/Riot\ Games/League\ of\ Legends/Logs/Patcher\ Logs/*.log

There are also other steps that I had to do, which I read from here:

  • Click configure for the “League of Legends” entry in “PlayOnLinux” and find the “Display” tab and then choose the following options:
    • Direct Draw Renderer – gdi
    • Video memory size – 4096 (or something else depending on graphics card)
    • Offscreen rendering mode – fbo\0
    • Everything else on default
  • Create a file called “game.cfg” in the directory “/home/your-username-here/PlayOnLinux’s virtual drives/LeagueOfLegends/drive_c/Riot Games/League of Legends/Config”. Below is what I have in my “game.cfg”:


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