May 8, 2021

Virtual Half Marathon at Vancouver Marathon 2021

Running a half marathon has always been one of my long-term goals. The longest distance I had run is 16k but that was ages ago and I haven't been able to run for a long time.

My plan is to do the half marathon at the Vancouver Marathon this year: my first 21k on 2021. Due to the pandemic, all running events are still virtual. Participants can run anytime in the month of May. I registered early and decided to do my run on the second day while the weather is good. It was very tiring but I finished my first (virtual) half marathon run in 2:45:26.

For the run, my route is the Vancouver Seawall (from Granville Island to Stanley Park and back). I also got to wear the Brooks Sherpa Visor which I ordered for use during sunny day runs.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver Marathon. Hopefully, the event will be back to normal and I can run my first non-virtual half marathon by then.

April 30, 2021

Android Developer Challenge: Jetpack Compose

An Android Developer Challenge was announced during the beta release of Jetpack Compose. There are four weekly weekly challenges using Jetpack Compose to build Android apps. I joined the first two weeks and was one of the 500 winners for both challenges.

In the first week, the challenge was to build a puppy adoption app with an overview screen that displays a list of puppies and a detail screens. I made a simple app and got the images and details from BC SPCA. At the bottom of the details screen, I added an Adopt button that opens the link to the dog's details page on BC SPCA. I won a limited edition trophy of the Jetpack Compose superhero made of LEGO bricks.

The challenge for the second week was to create a working single screen countdown timer. My app is a simple one where users can set the hour, minute, and second and display the time remaining. Users can also stop the countdown and will be brought back to the "input" screen. Once the timer runs out, a "Time's up!" text will be displayed too. The prize was a Jetpack Compose poster and a set of Android pencils, and a limited edition Jetpack Compose comic strip poster.

I was able to learn and try Jetpack Compose by participating in the Android Developer Challenge. The prizes were additional bonus for me. I'll continue looking into Jetpack Compose and maybe I can use it in a project soon.

April 20, 2021

Virtual Vancouver Sun Run 2021

It's been two years since the last time I ran. I wasn't able to join a virtual run last year and my last run was at Vancouver Sun Run 2019. This year, I planned to try virtual runs. My first virtual run is the Vancouver Sun Run 2021.


Image from vancouversunrun.com

Vancouver Sun Run is Canada’s largest 10K race. They have a virtual race from April 18-30 for this year. I decided to do mine on the first day while the weather is good. It was a very sunny and hot day. I finished my 10k run in 1:10:27.

The virtual run feels like the usual run I do. I kind of miss the start/finish line, running on the open road, the pre-race stuff, and the post-race celebrations. Hopefully, running events will be back to normal next year.

March 14, 2021

Kotlin Heroes 6

After joining Kotlin Heroes 4 and Kotlin Heroes 5: ICPC Round in 2020, I decided to register again for this year's Kotlin Heroes 6 on March 9. Kotlin Heroes is a programming competition from JetBrains (creator of Kotlin) and CodeForces. The challenge is to use Kotlin in solving as many problems in two and a half hours.

My goal, like in the previos Kotlin Heroes, is the solve at least 2 problems. I only managed to successfully solve one of the 10 problems this time. In the second problem, my solution was failing in some test cases and my solution to the third problem was almost done but time ran out for me.

March 4, 2021

Co-Authored Book: How to Build Android Apps with Kotlin

The book I have co-authored, How to Build Android Apps with Kotlin, has finally beeen published last month. I have been writing blogs and tech articles for a while now but this is the first time for me to write a book. We have worked on this for months and it's feels great that it's now out for everyone to read and learn from.

With the book, you can build your knowledge, skills, and confidence by working on realistic examples, practical exercises, and challenging activities. If you want to learn Android app development with Kotlin, you can check out our book which is available on Packt and on Amazon.

I wrote a little more about my experience writing for the book here.