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My Sweet V6

So! Great to have you back! It’s nice of you to turn up and it feels great to be here on this Friday night! I figured there is nothing wrong with opening a blog post like them performance artists. So here I am, willing to whine, as you dine, and while some time trying to rhyme.

So let’s get straight to it. I am one of those people who show off every bit of textual trivia they learnt in school as a child. I made it a point to remember that information, not because I was required to show it off in an examination, but so that I could show it off ten years later. And I am somewhat of a snob when it comes to it. I am happy when certain phenomena can be explained with simple high-school physics, or when I manage to debunk a common dietary misconception by sounding right. I worship theory and a text-book is my temple. I have a preposterous belief in evolution too. I accept the meteor-dinosaur story and accept the fossil fuel formation theory. Naturally, I know that fossil fuels are limited. Unless large forests and rock gardens are buried under volcanic vomit again. But that does not seem likely since 2012 was classified as fiction.

I have spent long hours in grad school discussing matters of little relevance to the project due that midnight. And I still get to do that, waiting for gigabytes of code to compile. And one such subject came to my mind just before I thought of the title. It was time travel. Einstein was not a genius. He was just the physicists’ equivalent of the ultimate hipster. You know; doing stuff before it was cool and all that. Anyway, time travel: we thought that if we could accelerate this teacher I had at the speed of light to a distance of five light-minutes, she could travel to the past and see herself being clueless about what electromagnetic waves meant. Then I thought, what brought up time-travel anyway? I had seen a “forever alone” meme based on the Voyager. The Voyager was leaving our solar system. It was one light-day away from us. So we thought if we asked it to click a picture of us, which finger would it show us, how long will it take the image of the finger to reach us etc. And thus began some Youtubing for inspirational space exploration, and I stumbled upon this video on Moonshot Thinking.

Apparently some fellow told a nation that ‘they’ will put a man on the moon. And ‘they’ asked him if he was out of his mind. They didn’t know how to put a man on the moon. They could barely fly for more than a few hours. They had nothing, not even Google, to teach them how. But as we know, there have been men on the moon. They figured out how to fly, and how to fly into outer space and how to fly to the moon. They used fossil fuels, FYI. But the point is they got it done. Inspirational! And at this point, I had to go to Facebook to, you know, to unblow my blown mind. And I saw a share about a windmill that did not have any moving blades. Some charged particles vibrate and give free electrical energy. Who needs fossil fuels, right? But Youtubing inspiring renewable energy sources didn’t throw up many results, and none as well made as the likes of Moonshot Thinking.

And this is when I thought of the title. We have enough petrol and coal for this generation, and probably for the next. So we are trying to prolong the life of fossil fuels (see irony?) We do not really need to try too hard for renewable energy. Although we have come very very far. We reached the moon because we started as underdogs against nature, against science. And we, well, ‘they’ thrust a man to the moon. When we started towards the moon, we had nothing. And that makes for so many heart warming Youtube videos. We need to get back to that state to solve our energy crisis. We need to have nothing. We need to bring out our true nature of discovery and exploration. We need to inspire the next generation to harness the power of nature and sustain it in the absence of apocalyptic eruptions and ice ages. And we as a people need to work towards reaching that state of apathy and lost hope. So bring out your Humvees and top up that Avendator. I’ll see you at the Energy Conference with my super, sweet V6.

The Tea Party

She was gamboling, with an oblivious gait,
Through the woods, of spruce and date,
She slipped and tripped and tore her sole,
And fell into a rabbit hole.

Tumbled down stairs and through a door,
She woke up on a velvet floor.
She looked around and rubbed her eyes,
She saw crackers and tea, pots and pies.

“Where am I?” she pondered,
And to where has she wandered?
To a table full of hatters?
Who speak World, about worldly matters?

In silken coats, and a tall top hat,
From silver cups they sip and chat.
“A fine leader!” she heard them say,
“Peace on Earth!” she heard them pray.

Some would sing, some would sway
To a tune that wove its way;
Someone gasped, some sat entranced
By a fancy contrivance.

Lost as ever, puzzled and dazed,
She reached out, trying to catch a gaze.
Not one eye, no ear nor hand was lent,
By the hatters drowned in merriment.

She crawled out, and gamboled back through the grove,
And woke up next morning to the rooster’s crow.
It was only a dream, she was told,
But on went the tea party, down the rabbit hole.

Summer Vacation

1st Month:

Practising typing to get used to this curvature. Typing is is supposed to be easy and intuitive, but typing on this curved keyboard is going to take some learning to do. Let’s see if it is actully comfortble to type on this keyboard. I can already feel my hands cramping up. May be my palms are supposed to hug the keyboard like a bear. But the remote keys simply refuse to get pressed. I don’t think this meant for typing. It is probably more suitble for playing games. Let’s try a different orientation of the keyboard, may be it’s not supposed to be tilted. It probably is supposed to be straight. And so continues the rant about the keyboard where the a key is so far behind that my left pinky simply cannot reach it in time for the word to spell correctly. But with concentration on typing, rather than on actual work, I can push down the a key. But this is a lot of overhead on the part of the brain, which should be spending time on the code, rather than typing.The keyboard continues to pose trouble in terms of speed. I still have to think about typing when I’m typing. But pressing the a is a lot simpler now. Well, not really, missed the ‘a’ when I typed that last sentence. Just like the a, I tend to miss the comma. P and l are relatively easier. A new week and the keyboard adjustments keep happening. Still cannot press the A effectively. Have to concentrate hard before doing that. But the keybord is very smooth, makes no noise which is sort of unsettling. Keyboard noises are very gratifying when in a confined environment, it gives an appreance of working even when I’m only wasting time writing a journal. It is very tiring to press a as hard as I have to here. Let’s see if it can happen intuitively. FOr the next few sentences, I’ll press a again and again. I’ll not correct any typos. Okay? Okay. A for apple, b for ball, c for cat, d for dog, e for elephant, f for fat. OKy that’s enough. Let me see how many I missed. Hmm, not many. Good.

2nd Month:
Whoa, just found this journal lying on the desktop. Typing speeds have improved a lot with accuracy. Pressing the a is no longer a big effort. I have settled into a keyboard position that is straight, but not parallel to the screen. But I am guessing that it is more the fault of the screen being tilted than my position. But looking a t people around me, my speeds are just a waste of muscle energy. Nimble, smooth typing is not a good thing for typing. Besides, it does not give the impression of typing. It looks like I’m chatting with someone, not caring for punctuation and accuracy. My typing speeds have been reasonable when coding, using keyboard shortcuts etc, but when it comes to accuracy and first-attempt correctness, there is no beating my team members. Let’s try the alphabet again. a for apple, b for ball, c for cat, d for dog, e for elephant, f for fat, g for goat, h for house, i for Italy, j for jam, k for koala, l for lime, m for Mumbai, n for Nagpur, p for Parrot, q for queue, s for state, t for turmeric, u for Uruguay, v for van, w for why, x for Xylophone, y for Yen and z for Zen. Well done my boy, speeds are great, typing while not lookng at the keyboard or the typed text is also good. Accuracy is fine, but coding at this speed seems impossible. It is hearteninng to hear and see my teammates typing at lighteningn speeds when coding. The repetitive or rhythmic patterns like ing still need more work and concentration. But it is okay. I can handle it so far, if I read the text when I type, I’ll correct these mistakes immediately. Code has compiled, so, later. Doing a make-install takes a lot of time. I mean really, a lot of time. While there is nothing to do when I wait for the compile to finish, I cannot but help admire the way my fingers move when I’m typing. Because I don’t have to look when I am typing and only get a few errors when I do that, I really never look when I’m typing. A mistake i sforgivable with the right excuses. So wile I watch a long list of c and cpp files being spewed up on the screen, I am thinking of why I can smell coffee in front of me, only to realize that there is indeed a cup of coffee in front of me, between my screen and myself. How can I not see that? Because I am not really looking at anything. I am just listening to clickety clacks of the keyboard. Looking at my wavy finger movements, only ocassionally looking at the screen to make sure that I’m not done. people are busy an are working seriously to meet a release date, however, I am waiting for a respnose from an equally busy person to have my own work go forward. I can research other stuff, but while I am doing that, It is necessary that I do not lose track of what I’m supposed to be doing according to plan. Making and then reverting a change is much more expensive than not making a change and sitting idle. Not that yping a journal is a good utilization of time. But I have to wait for this compile to finsh. So after a quick glance to check if I’m making any glaring errors, I return to mundne typing, butt derive a strange satisfaction from the movement of my fingers on the god-awesome soft keyboard that is this curved beauty. I was wrong about the curvature. It is indeed fun to type on this, regardless of the errors.

3rd Month:
I feel like a mountain lioness waiting for her next victim when I wait for the next build result. Mountain lions hunt in the dark. But I have to build in the day. It takes hours, and I have no option but to wait, patiently, stalking my victim like a mountain lioness waiting for her next. Hungry hyenas rattle the still of the night with cacophonous laughter. But I cannot give myself away. I have to sit still in the dark, praying that my prey does not notice me, praying for the cacophony to drown out all my mistakes. The chopping sounds made by my keyboard are the loudest pins in this cushion of darkness, except when the hyenas come around. My results are building up, waiting to fail. or pass; I do not know what kind of a job I have done; I do not know if I have fixed the errors, or just hidden them, only to be exposed by my results. I do not have much long to live. Soon, all my frailties will be exposed. The laughing hyenas will start scratching their paws on my seemingly perfect fur. Soon, these scratching paws will rip through my tender skin, I have had many a prey in my time here, but each one of them as hard to get as racing a rat aginst a tortoise.Yet, I lurk in the darkness, hoping I have many more deer to catch, hoping I have the energy to ward off my loud, laughing cousins. I see a herd of deer approaching. They’ve run away from me before. I am not as fast as I used to be. I have started making a lot of mistakes, but I still know how to get them. How to get them with my current abilities is a question. I can leap, but the deer are too fast. I can ambush, but they are too smart. I can chase them, but they will outrun me. But I have to have my supper, I have to catch my prey. It will happen. But will it happen soon enough? Will I starve and spiral into death? May be I should let this herd go, hunt rats instead. For shame.

Hungry Kya?

There was (is?) a time when you would not eat a certain piece of pie because you were afraid of what people will say. But now, you will not eat for several other reasons. Have you not been eating for any reason (and being ridiculously stupid in the process)?

Did you not eat because your comforter was too, well, comfortable? Did the over-cooled room make it even more difficult? Was the heavy rain and thunder over-noising your stomach? Did you leave the Rajmah for the army of roaches to devour?

Was there no onion at home? Was that the reason you didn’t make your omelette? Was there no knife to chop the onion? Was the knife simply unwashed from a previous onion-cutting? Or was it too washed to be stripped of its pristine beauty?

Was the kitchen too far away from the computer? And the laptop too heavy to take to the counter? No empty chair in the kitchen to place the laptop on?

Was running a compile for the thirteenth time more important than nutrition, especially after knowing that the result will not be changing (no matter how strongly you hoped it would)?

Was making tea really so much more tempting after having only a bowl of cereal in more than a day? Six tea-spoons of sugar in boiling water is obviously more filling than a couple of chapatis with dal, but it probably hurts the chapatis’ feelings and leaves the dal with a bitter taste.

Spending two dollars on delivery charges for a ten dollar pizza is bad. But worse still is the minute you spend talking to the pizza people on the phone, and worst of all, clicking on stuff on the online order menu. Bread and jam for din-fast it is.

Din-fast is funny because on days when brunch happens at midnight, din-fast is what keeps you alive through the evenings filled with homework and mundane distractions like hunger. Also, evening tea early in the morning is quite the refreshing break from our routines that keeps you going.

May be skipping lunch to pack-up for the summer is okay, especially if make-up lunch is a burrito bowl home delivered. Also warranted is no-food evening for a blog update.

Forever Dead

A merry face, he smiled and laughed;
He Jumped and hopped, in merriment he pranced and danced.

Crashed, his mother’s china, his father’s pots;
Slashed his arm, bruised his knee and merry thoughts;

“The witch’s curse has shackled my soul!” he blurted out;
The smallest joy was since plagued with doubt;

The lad now knew nothing but to work hard and true,
With a frown as crisp as the forehead furrow grew;

With a deep, thoughtful purse of his lips,
He laboured through life, from his brow as sweat dripped;

Winning every battle, earning accolades and wealth,
He built a family, a home of heart and health;

“The curse has worn off, I shall now drink and dance!” he said,
Crashed his mother’s china, his father’s pots, his soul forever dead.

Turn-Tables

Criticism is the best resource to improve something. Played a bad shot, let the veteran criticize you in the newspapers. Made a bad movie, enter, the film critic. Awful pop number, let Rolling Stone pluck your string.

Being a critic takes a lot of practice and a lot of time with the vocation. Like a literature critic, the author’s customer, a reader. I am not a reader, I hardly read two sentences before taking a break. But I’m definitely a critic. Because I love criticising. And today, I shall be criticing readers and the entire concept of reading and more.

There are many kinds of readers. Some read all the time, some sometimes and me. Some read fast, some read smart, some slow, some intently, and me. There are selective readers, pop readers, connoisseurs of literature, comic book readers, blog followers, people followers, combinations of these, and me. There are also seasoned readers, wannabe readers, genuinely trying readers and me, and some other miscellaneous types of readers (God are there a lot of readers! And me, of course.)

All these readers have opinions about everything they read. The question is, are some of them qualified to have opinions about what they read? Is there a structure to reading? A method? Does every reader follow a protocol that lies underneath the coolness and creativity? What if the protocol asked the reader to keep reading through the boring parts full of prepositions and twisted pronouns to eventually reach the wonderful world of interjections and rhetorics? How important is it to be a good reader to extract the best out of a text? It is as important as the text being good itself. It is important to be a good reader, to extract information out of mediocre text, or extract entertainment out of mediocre narration.

In the same vein, it is important to be a good receiver. At a restaurant for example, if they don’t use Serrano peppers but use Jalapenos instead, and you create a ruckus about it, it is you who’s spoiling the evenings of fifty other people along with yours, while knowing that there’s really no difference between the peppers except their cool names. A stressed out call-center will be more cordial if the callers are polite. Bad movies are always unintentional comedies. Bad pop songs are great for an annoying prank.

Critics generally speak and lead to constructive processes. Being a bitch and complaining about everything will lead to a less happier life for the critic, not the artist. “Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see…” A little broader mind and accomodating consumer will always do cordial business. And the waiter won’t spit in his chilli. All the best.

Real-Time-Ness

Tardiness: Are we really late? According to my teachers, real-time processing imples results are available when they are required. It does not matter if the results are available an hour before or a microsecond before its requirement. But a microsecond on the other side could be disastrous. Alright alright, let’s say it won’t be disastrous, because we’re not that bad, but it will definitely be useless. Or it can be disastrous; if the airbags open through your cracked skull wrapped around your knee.

We still don’t need to be early. Unless someone is going to notice that we are. And he believes that it’s not because we’re vela or desperate. And that it’s more because we’re sincere and understand the importance of being not-late. On the other hand, being right on time might give the impression of professionalism. There is probably no pragmatic human who will not be looking to make the most of the productive part of the day, where reaching early implies waste of time waiting. Who’s better at time management then? The early one or the maximum-time-utilization-er?

Early birds do take the worm, and, early worms get taken by birds. So, one needs to decide what strata of the food chain one belongs to. We don’t want to be helping pretty girls set up food stalls in our Armanis while dignitaries walk past us in theirs.

We will learn most from an assignment if we upload it in the last minute before the online system stops accepting them. Upload it a few days early and we’re sure to miss out on those few days of discussions and dissections. Unless there are grades on speed (when we’re birds who might want to get the worm.)

And there it is, one more thing to think about with no apparent consequence. The amount of trivial ideas a processor generates at just about the wrong time is probably boundless. Real-time-ness. Really!

I Squared Are

There are 3 broad types and an average of 2 sub-types of power dissipation in digital CMOS circuits. The best electronic products run while dissipating around 20% energy at their best. Generally around 40% is just lost in thin air. DC power transmission lines lose around the same amount just allowing the power to reach its destination. AC power is lost as reactive power in leaky capacitors and noisy inductance. So much of energy is put in knowing that it is going to be lost in thin air.

The wonders of Apple’s touch technology is from just 60% of the energy that runs it.  Motors in BMWs are awfully noisy and lossy in the electrical sense. And digital electronic circuits are supposedly the most efficient machines.

Relating this to a human tendency of expecting just results and rewards, it’s close to preposterous; this expectation and greed. One must always remember that the most efficient machines get only 60% of the input as output. Imagine the efforts that have gone into making of the biggest machines, machinery and organisations of the world! Then spare a thought for our own efforts and the corresponding expectations we have of ourselves. Improving efficiency will reach a dead end soon. There is a need to improve absolute output. There is a need to improve absolute input.

 

P. S.: Please don’t trust the numbers and earn yourself a bad grade.

Eggs and Bread

Can effort be quantified? How desirable is it to spend a little more to avoid a little effort? How much more? Let’s say a little more is spent to avoid a little effort. Is the saved effort used to replenish the little spent? Is it desirable to quantify effort? Rather spend and acquire material happiness (and a little health and discipline probably.) Save 2 dollars in Walmart and take 20 printouts honestly.

Yes, I talk in dollars now. Wide roads have an inherent disadvantage that it is too far to cross without making sure cars in both directions are at the least in the other city. Presence of roads, on the other hand, makes it even difficult to walk on and across them. Cars are needed to go to the grocers, retailers and the other room. And cars need gas. Irony is taking a free bus ride to a nearby expensive store to save effort when cheap store is also a free bus ride away. Nukkads are just poles with traffic lights on them. Pan ki dukaans sell coffee for close to 120 rupees. Wheat bread is expensive and frozen chapatis are platinum. We really do need to save those two dollars.

I have had a large phase shift in my staple diet. I can make around 10 types of egg-containing dishes and have already eaten 4 types of bread. But good ol’ aloo and chawal have not lost their original form factor. Fried rice is probably the best way to discard unwanted left-over and hardened rice in our stomachs. I forgot to buy straws long enough to draw oil to wash down dry rice, bhurji and bread. On the healthier side, chocolate, coffee and tea always find their way into double sized mugs. Brown bread is the new chapati and rice is white. Occasional honey and milk with Bournvita keeps up the Calcium levels if egg wasn’t enough in the day. With this unhealthy exaggeration and healthy consciousness, I sign off to make today’s supper super.

Dit and Dat

This is a typing test. I have become very slow in typing. I have to improve my typing speed. I am making several mistakes and really should improve the co-ordination between both my hands. Typing is supposed to come as second nature. But in reality, it requires too much practice. It is not easy to co-ordinate the two hands and their fingers.

Typing is becoming boring and mundane because of lack of serious matter to be typed. Lecturing online is only making it worse. Too many ideas and a limited typing speed don’t really help the cause. Most words are shortened and some are not even typed.

Sometimes, speed comes at the cost of accuracy. And vice versa. That is why starting slowly until fingers are warmed up is a good idea. However, once a slow rhythm is established, the entire segment goes slow. This is heavily undesirable. One way to avert it is to time the paragraph. Or keep a typing speed widget on the side.

I have been looking at typing videos on YouTube and it is amazing how committed people are towards their keyboards. It is this sort of commitment that is required for success in any field. Mindless chatting and typing in chat windows without attention to accuracy is detrimental to the activity.

The good part about typing is that it can be learnt, forgotten and re-learnt. And it can be done for all kinds of keyboard layouts. It is fun to not only train a part of your body to do a specific task, but also try out multitaking at the very basic level of concentration. The process of thinking and typing is rather fun. It is difficult to match the speed of thinking and typing. Also, since thinkng and typing both require a certain amount of thinking, the time sharing done by the brain is quite marvellous. With enough continuous practice, it is possible to not think about typing. This helps a lot because once mentally disconnected from typing, more brain time is given to thinking. At the same time, since thinking increases, it is difficult to keep up the typing speed with the thinking throughput. It is a conundrum most pipelined processors face. Another factor is, once typing becomes only a physical activity, the brain may now think of two independent things. Multitasking increases while keeping throughput of both processes lower. This is a more efficient means of processing.

The speed of typing comes down to the speed of moving fingers. Believe it or not, heavier fingers mean stronger fingers which mean faster typing. It is the same for playing guitar. Stronger the fingers, faster the playing. Also, since every key stroke is sure and hard, there is a more efficient output. No letters are missed out, even if they are, it is because of the thinking-typing speed clashes. Learning the keyboard layout is the first step. There is always a set speed at which you can start typing. You can use the standardised finger positions or you can invent your own. As long as the layout and the finger positions don’t change, the speed is not affected much. Accuracy might be owing to lack of concentration or unresponsive brain signals. Otherwise it really is constant.

It is not necessary to be objective or re-productive whilst typing. Creativity can also be expressed in typing. There are ASCII artists and then there are programmers whose life depends on typing and being creative. As said before, typing should be second nature in this computer driven world. Typing faster than writing is like ‘lol’ing harder than laughing. It is required to stay connected and in the loop while being human with normal social contact.

Call me a geek but I did install a gadget on my Windows 7 that measures typing speed. There is no accuracy meter though. Will get around to making one which will include backspace strokes too. There will certainly be a sequel to this when certain opinions and ideas gain ground or change. Also, this indeed was a typing test. Its verbosity is because I needed a typing test.