Trying To Read More This Year

One similar thing that I understand for successful people that I’m really looking up to is that they read a lot. Insanely a lot. Warren Buffett is said to spend 80% of his day reading. Bill Gates has a dedicated page about books that he read. Mark Zuckerberg started a book club. Elon Musk learned how to build rocket by devouring books.

In one public event at the end 2015, I met with the Dr Werner Vogels, the CTO of He was in rush to the parking lot and I caught him to take a selfie. Seeing him in such a hurry, I asked only one question.

“I love your blog and love how you share papers you read there. You are a very busy man, how do you make time?”

He then answered something simple like,

Continue reading Trying To Read More This Year

Coffee Cupping Experience at Caribou Coffee PvJ

If people can be divided into two classes, coffee person and tea person, I will definitely say I am the latter. But that never stops me from hanging out at great coffee shops, as long as they serve tea or at least chocolate. I love the comfortable styles at common coffee shops rather than fancy atmosphere by tea houses.

Lately I have been regularly hanging out at Caribou Coffee after work… to do more work. Or just do some book readings. The interior gives so much inspiration to me that I feel more productive taking work here than home. Or just some book readings; I can finish books faster here than in my room (It becomes obvious that I am writing this in between my working break here, doesn’t it?). In addition to that, the service is just awesome. The baristas are so friendly and have great sense of humor.

Continue reading Coffee Cupping Experience at Caribou Coffee PvJ

New Year, New Habit: 3 Things I’m Feeling Grateful Today

It’s 2017, time for trying a new habit. Last year I’ve added a simple one: making bed after waking. Now instead of opening my phone right away and checking up social medias, I make my bed. I learned this habit from a Youtube video shows a speech from a Navy Seal Admiral. You can see from this a lot of reasons why you should start off your day by making your bed.

If you have read Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, you should be familiar about ‘keystone habit’ – a good habit that are correlated with other good habit. Making bed has become one for me. After I made my bed, I would feel bad if I started sleeping in again, so I started do something else and those became new habits like stretching my muscle, checking my weight, reading books or articles, and planning my day.

For these couple of weeks of 2017, I have been starting a new habit that I called ‘3 Things I’m Feeling Grateful Today‘. I didn’t have any slight idea about starting this actually. It started when Arip gave me new year present: a beautiful planner with my initial engraved on it. Since I already have a working digital system, I don’t have any use of the planner. But then I got an idea. What if I write every day, three things that I was feeling really grateful about that day?


As a Christian growing up loving hymns, I got this concept of count your many blessings from one of the hymns. Here’s the lyric of the hymn.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

This is a way for me to count many blessing that The Lord hath given to me each day. One day maybe when I am feeling so down, I am going to open this book, count on those many blessing, and thank The Lord that despite every obstacle that I faced on that day, The Lord had been and is still with me.


Tadi Malam Tiga Tahun Lalu

Malam tadi tiga tahun lalu, saya bersama beberapa rekan berkumpul minum-minum di salah satu lounge di Simpang Dago. Mungkin saat itu saya terlalu banyak minum atau saya terlalu larut dalam pembicaraan, saya tidak merasakan ponsel terus bergetar dari adik saya yang ingin mengabarkan bahwa Bapak malam itu masuk ICU. Saya menyadari runtunan panggilan tak terjawab di layar ponsel paginya. Dan itu pun sudah terlambat. Saya tidak sempat mendampingi Bapak menjelang saat akhirnya.

Saya hanya sempat mengucapkan “Aku sayang Bapak” berulang-ulang kali lewat telepon ke Bapak yang sudah tidak sadarkan diri. Saat itu saya masih di dalam bus travel yang terjebak macet di tol, hanya berjarak satu jam dari rumah sakit. Tiga puluh menit kemudian Bapak menghembuskan nafas terakhir. Tidak terkejar untuk melihat wajah Bapak yang masih hidup terakhir kali.

Ironinya, dalam pembicaraan di sela-sela alkohol malam itu, saya mengungkapkan ke teman-teman bahwa meskipun saat itu saya masih sendiri, saya ingin sekali cepat menikah karena Bapak saat itu sakit-sakitan. Saya ingin agar Bapak bisa sempat menyaksikan anaknya bahagia di pelaminan. Sehari setelah kepergian Bapak, salah seorang teman yang ikut dalam pembicaraan tersebut mengucapkan belasungkawa sekaligus mengingatkan tentang pembicaraan itu. Tidak ada terbersit pikiran atau firasat saya malam itu kalau Bapak akan pergi esoknya.

Mungkin memang sudah jalannya.

Twenty Nine

Today marks the final year in my twenties. I think most people would say that notable achievements will start coming in the third decade of one’s life. The previous decade is just filled by series of textbook learning, adventures, and whole bunch of trial-and-errors before starting to put some scratch little by little in the face of the world marking your legacy. While in the previous decade you mostly learn from people’s mistakes and successes, now you will start making your own mistakes for other people to learn.

I hope I have learned enough to prepare myself to a whole new decade. But I did learn a lot of new points in the past year. I think, just like me, you will realize that you have learned about a great deal in a year when all the problems you faced in the year became more complex and more delicate. Those problems, if compared with the problems you faced previously, will make them look so easy.

I learned about leading people and handling myself with them. I learned about relying and trusting other people just so then I learned to say farewell to those I have been relying and trusting. I learned to own my mistakes and learned to learn from them and learned to make more mistakes to learn to and so on. Just couple of years ago I started picking up books on self-improvement, leadership, habits, happiness, or people – with great skepticism in the beginning, but then I ended up hungry for more trying to catch up on what I have been missing all of these years.

Health is also becoming a more priority for me pay attention. In my youth, I never really care about health; never even bothered to invest little time for the benefit of the years to come. These couple of years I have paid more attention to my health. Not seldom old habits tried to reintroduce them selves. It’s the consequences of my old habits that are trying to keep up that I have been so worrying about. Some times I just hope I can pass through the third decade at all. Finger crossed.

There are another plenty of things that I am hoping for. I want to write a lot more of them, but it’s still three o’clock in the morning and I want to continue sleeping. But I shall just see what the world have in store for me. Looking forward to more challenges, more people, and more learning experience!

Drop Me A Birthday Wish Email, Will You? ;)

In less than a week I am going to begin my final year before turning thirty. As you may know, I have never been very big on birthdays. But, as always, just in case you think I was very helpful to you this last year and you want to express your gratitude by giving me birthday present, I am going to hold you right there. I am already happy if I can ever be helpful you. Our friendships are already precious to me more than any present you give.

There is something, though, that I want you to do for me if you can have the time. I am really hoping that you can send me a birthday wish email on the 13th to my email petra dot barus at gmail. Tell me three things in the email. First, tell me what you hope me to do or to be before I turn thirty. Secondly, tell me the one story that is the most heartwarming to you when thinking about me. And the last one, tell me what activity you want us to do together if we both have time and means to do it.

Well, if you insist on giving me present, you may find some clue in my Goodreads Wishlist or Amazon Wishlist. I am currently hooked up reading books about leadership, happiness, mindfulness, inspiration, and financial. I wish the next year I can learn how to be more helpful to a lot of people and be more happy and mindful. If you are having difficulties finding the book, you can always send the Kindle Gift to me via email. (PS: You can see which books that I already own/read/currently reading in my Goodreads profile). I promise I will read it 😉

Template LaTeX Untuk Tugas Akhir dan Tesis Informatika ITB

Beberapa hari lalu Peb (IF 2003 2002) mengontak saya perihal template LaTeX yang ada di Github saya. Dokumen ini saya buat sudah sangat lama hingga saya hampir lupa keberadaannya. Dulu ceritanya usai sidang gelar master saya lima tahun lalu , Pak Imam yang pembimbing tesis saya mengomentari bahwa dokumen yang saya susun memiliki tampilan yang bagus. Oh iya dong pake LaTeX. Lalu beliau mengusulkan saya untuk menyumbangkan template agar bisa digunakan mahasiswa yang lain.

bahkan latest commitnya pun 5 tahun lalu

Kembali ke lima tahun kemudian, Peb menyumbangkan beberapa kode untuk perbaikan. Saya lalu merasa penasaran dan menanyakan ke Restya (IF 2006) yang sekarang mengajar di Informatika apakah masih belum ada standar LaTeX untuk tugas akhir. Ternyata belum ada. Jadi selama lima tahun terakhir ini mahasiswa Informatika ITB masih hidup dalam masa kegelapan.

Bagi saya seorang programmer menyusun dokumen tebal dan kompleks dengan LaTeX adalah hal yang menyenangkan dan terasa sangat natural. Penyusunan layaknya seperti kode aplikasi biasa, pengorganisasian kode, otomatasi, serta manajemen revisi menggunakan git membuat pengerjaan dokumen terasa mudah. Oleh karena itu saya menghibahkan template ini agar mahasiswa dapat fokus dalam membangun karya ketimbang berkutat dengan dokumen.

Kodenya dapat diakses di Github saya.

Beberapa hal yang akan dikerjakan (kalau sempat)

  1. Tutorial penggunaan.
  2. Penyesuaian dengan template Microsoft Word milik program studi.
  3. Template dua kolom untuk makalah.
  4. Cara otomatis pengunggahan ke Dropbox.

Saya sangat berharap ini bisa membantu mahasiswa untuk bisa berkarya.