Showing posts with label productivity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label productivity. Show all posts

This Week I Learned 2019 - Week 01

Happy new year 2019! Another year, another new TWIL post.

For those who miss out the previous post of the series, check out the last TWIL post of previous year or the whole year review. As usual, go through some legacy TWIL posts as well.

What else I learned this week in separate posts? First, ornamental fish culture in terms of overview, industry, popular tropical fish species through our local online MOOC. Second, the literature review of the paper on the effect of salinity and diet on Betta fish growth and survival. And lastly, the start of Perl Module(s) of the Week (plMOTW) series which we review the Data::Money Perl's module.

What is a mental model? According to Wikipedia, mental model "is an explanation of someone's thought process about how something works in the real world." In other words, a mental model is a systematic thought process that helps you to make better decisions. There are several list of mental model catalogues, Gabriel Weinberg's list (for Anki as well), Kent Beck's list, Slava Akhmechet's list, and Farnam Street's list. Similarly, there are cognitive tricks or  "brain hacks" that you can use on daily basis to manage your life. Contrary, the discussion on these "brain hack" is more philosophical rather than systematic to approach any issues. Nevertheless, good mental exercises for anyone, especially those on writing which I should adhere strictly. This reminded me of a research on when is the best time to write.

What is the morning writing effect? (via HN) Discussion and research on what is the best optimum hours to write. Not surprising, morning is the preferable schedule but because for those who were interviewed, they worked as a full time writer or writing is a major part of their works. Hence starting to work or write in the morning is obviously answer. Discussion at Reddit seemed to have different opinions. For those who have a day job and write casually, night time is the most suitable hours, where everything have slow and quiet down. The discussion on best hours to write relates to our sleep hours and quality.

What is circadian rhythms? It's our internal biological clock responses corresponding to external environment factors like light, temperature, and others. Your health and productivity will be affected if there are any disturbances in your circadian rhythm, for examples, jet lag or blue LEDs light (mobile phone or PC) which affects our sleep (secretion of melatonin hormone which regulates circadian rhythms) leading to drowsiness. To achieve good health and improve our quality of life, not only we need to eat well and exercise adequately, we also need to sleep satisfactory. Does fishes have circadian rhythms? Not really but there was a research suggesting that fishes may have.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 52

Last week post or every damn thing from the past. As this is the last week of year 2018, this will be the last second post of this year before the reflection post at the eve of the new year.

What is the plural of fry (a group of little fish)? Is fries, as in like french fries. Every time when I jotted down my observation note on Betta fish breeding, I always confuse about the grammar.

The use of carcinogenic pesticides in our local rice, will this ever get regulated and monitored? Doubt so but our neighbour country, SG will surely let us know. While pesticide residues found in our food sources (especially beloved chili) and diet is still worrisome, there is still lack of conclusive evident linking pesticides to cancer.

Who is Larry Wall and how he is like? The creator of Perl programming language, the author of "The Three Virtues of a programmer", whose favourite colour is Chartreuse, an INFP, and unassuming. Also, some said he is Weird Al in disguise..

How to Get Things Done When You Don't Feel Like It? Use and apply these five strategies: (1) Gamify your process. Start with the smallest possible step that you don't have any excuses not to start. (2) Reserve calendar time for every project. Mark it in the calendar as any other important items in your life. Allocated a short period to do your next smallest item. (3) Get other people involved. Accountability is the key here. We will likely follow through what we promise others. Example is the daily scrum. (4) Talk about it. Externalizing problems by venting it out. (5) Practice the art of "precrastination". Do something else satisfying that release "dopamine" like checking off a to-do list or a short break.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 49

Last week post or some old posts.

How to identify and utilize the hidden pocket time available? Surprisingly, there are 13 time slots available. Generally, how do we to shed unnecessary time off your daily schedule, for examples, choosing what to wear or 40 minutes per day on buying stuff? Planning, automation, and limit the choices you've to make. Plan your week ahead, preps your meals up front, or wear the same type of clothing everyday. All these to prevent decision fatigue by removing yourself to make unnecessary decisions in your daily life.

What are you thankful for? I share the same sentiment with this person. Of course, personally, be content.

Does quitting social medias like Instagram or Facebook make you happier? (via HN) Indeed, as the author experienced, it will make your lighter and thus happier. I believe the same experience you felt when going for vegetarian food for a period, your stomach felt lighter. As usual, moderation is the key but take note, these apps were explicitly designed to "consume" you. Start slowly. Instead of drastic changes, disconnect yourself during the weekend, then weekday, and finally totally remove yourself from it.

How does one living with less? Fit everything you own into one carry-on bag. As usual, there always a subreddit, r/onebag, exists. If you travel a lot for a long period of time, the author list of items is a good way to start or reduce the "stuff" you owned to the essential bare minimum.

How smooth jazz took over the '90s? When you mix the technicality of Jazz and melodically of Pop music, then you have Smooth Jazz.

Is Microsoft Edge (Spartan render engine) or Internet Explorer (Trident render engine) going to be replaced by Microsoft own version of Chromium? Yes and finally bloody yes. (via HN) The demise of Edge/IE browser allows me to check off an item from my to-do item after so many, many years of painful experiences and wasted numerous hours trying to get web sites / web apps to work correctly with Edge/IE and numerous hacks and workarounds (remember the stupid box model and their refusal to fix it?). Maybe right now we can have a consistent and standardize web browser render engine with minimum differences. Yes, they may pull another "embrace, extend, and extinguish" strategy again but at least right now we have a FOSS web browser and Firefox.

Why you should switch to Firefox web browser? (via HN) If you values and concerns about privacy. First, Mozilla values your privacy. All the browser data (bookmark, browser history, and etc) synced through Mozilla Sync cannot access by any parties except you. Second, the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension where cookies are not shared and kept within the container tab itself. This means that each tab is a new browser session and isolated from other tabs where you can use multiple identities and accounts simultaneously. For Google Chrome, there is this extension, SessionBox that did the same but do you trust a third party vendor instead of Mozilla? Third, tracking protection is already built into the browser itself.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 46

Last week post or something else from the past instead.

What I say to people who are looking for a job? (via HN) Is not about job hunting but a good step-by-step guide on identifying on what you want to do with your life or career instead. The advice is useful to evaluate the reality of what you think you love to do and actually doing it for a long period of time. Very much suitable for fresh graduates who don't know what they want to do with their life. For example, most young people with some programming knowledge dream to be a game developer but once they start building their first game, the initial passion will die down and most will quit after a while. Maybe they don't have the lack of right exposure, support, and environment. Nevertheless, passion, interest, and enthusiasm varies from person to person.

Meanwhile, if you had two months off between jobs what would you be doing? Do nothing but eat, sleep, shit, and repeat (just to unwinding) or travel (not the usual tourist type trip but maybe solo trip). Or go through your long postponed someday list and finally pick something up and pursuit it. Perhaps, "work" as usual but at home doing your thing as usual.

What is like to survive a month without computer? (via HN) He is not the first who tried this before, someone else did it for two months, and another one, a year without Internet. We're left wonder what it's like without any exposure to any electronic devices these days. Can we survive a day without our mobile phone? Doubt so for most people these days. Can you imagine the anxiety of not having your phone next to you? It used to be a norm last time. At the end of the digital sabbath, the author felt that it's not that special or spiritual as he hoped. He did, however, recommend that instead of two months, try digital detox or going analogue for two weeks.

Similarly, Vipassana retreat is harder and requires more mental power but maybe too extreme for most people. Another approach, Mauna, the practicing observing the silence is worth trying as well. For us mere mortal, start small. Away from any digital devices or Internet during the weekend. Off everything after 6pm during the weekday. Start from there, slowly but surely.

I've been investigating digital detox for quite some time and implement some of these strategies with moderate success and failure. Still, more adjustments needed as we're trying different approaches.

Is "not doing anything at all is the most productive thing you can do"? Boredom may be good for your creativity. As they said, "an idle mind is the devil's workshop". If you're stuck with a problem do something else not relevant and does not engage your brain. You subconscious mind will do all the works. I was wondering what if we dont do nothing and just stay in a very quiet place, where you have nothing else to do except engaging and confront your own thoughts, will you go crazy? Yes, in 45 minutes, in the world quietest place.

Do you know how Red Hat was initially funded? 8 credit cards with a debt of 50k. Crazy as it sounds but it seemed this was quite common practices for business that can't get proper loans. The sales of Red Hat to IBM did pinque some interests on its founders and humble beginning (via HN). While I believe they should have use apt as the package manager instead of reinventing another subpar package manager, rpm. They have proven themselves to be the most successful companies or poster boy of FOSS world.

How do you keep track of the articles you want to read? Instead of overwhelmed yourself with pending reading list, the best approach is just "now or never". Why put off when you can do it today? If any articles are important enough or worth your attention, read it now. If you have more then 10-plus tabs opened, then you're setting yourself up for information overload. Often, we save too many articles but never get the chance to read it. Most of these articles are mildly interesting and should be put it someday anyway.

Is there anything else like Memepool? Yes, we have Useful Interweb, "which brings only the best links every day".

What is the worse code base you've seen so far? Oracle Database 12.2. The insight shared by an ex-employee did shed some lights on maintaining extremely large legacy software project, in this case, a database management system. While this mess can traced back to overseas Indian team but US team should shares the blame as well. However, it was mess to start with in the first place. And, as usual, there is always a xkcd comic to describe such insane scenario.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 44

Last week post or something else from the past.


What is GNU Kind Communication Guidelines? (via HN) The first comment (shown below) caught my attention of effective communication. However, there are always exceptions.
This is excellent; using love and persuasion to help someone improve is so much better than by force, compulsion, and fear. How many children rebel against restrictive and domineering parents? but a child who is loved and taught, but allowed to make choices and pursue independence usually ends up much healthier and happier.
Why digital detox is still more than essential these days in digital era? Repeated interruption leads to lost concentrationDiscussions at HN thread proposed several ways but is there a way to reduce this impact? Yes, but without discipline and life style changes as we're too digitally connected. For a start, take life slowly and be more patience. For example, reading a dead tree book is harder these days we have alternative and faster way to do so. But, isn't it nice to just slow and enjoy the smell and texture of the book while doing so?

When does education stop? (via HN) An essay of justification for studying liberal arts against the practical Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Regardless the choice you made in your life or career path, love what you do, and do what you love, provided you don't starve yourself and your family to death. Note the article is hosted in David Bull's site, a very dedicate gaijin woodblock printmaker on preserving and populating Japanese woodblock printmaking.

How to write a technical paper (pdf)? (via HN) The advice on writing good abstract was the best I've read so far. Easy, step-by-step, and straight to the point. Not to mention several other ways such as rules, formula, or algorithm as recommended for further reading.

What do you do in your 1-on-1s with your direct reports? Build trust.

How to check the React version of the app using it? There are many ways (depends on the ReactJs library was minified or not). The simplest way so far (may not work for all) is as follow. Is Facebook is using the latest greatest version? Seemed so.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 30

Last week post or something random from the past.

Is MySQL an ACID compliant database? On paper yes, but in reality, not quite. For example, database dumping using mysqldump have an issue where did not backup tables with proper single quote escape. This was quite a tricky bug I've encountered where MySQL silently ignore inserting certain records due to quoting issue. Only when certain records were missing from the application, I only realized that database restoration did not work as intended. I wouldn't have figure this out if not for the need of the record. In the end of the day, a workaround was added but unfortunately, wasted a whole day to track this down through numerous dumping and restoring the database.

How do you organize/track your personal goals? Pen and paper, nothing more and nothing less. Write it down and make it happen. Off course, the usual productivity systems like SMART or GTD but to what extend? Sometimes you just need to chill and don't pressure yourself so much.

What is PERMA? Basically this represents an acronym of a theoretical model to achieve well-being or happiness by Martin Seligman in the field of positive psychology. The components of the model are position engagement (there is a difference between pleasure and enjoyment), engagement (in the 'flow', they said), relationships, meaning (doing something other than yourself), and lastly accomplishments. Does the application of this model in online learning platform have an implication on learning ability of these online learners?

What is one anime adaptation worth watching? Monster by Urasawa Naoki. I was quite late to discover this anime but the the style and story line was worth it and way different from the conventional Shōnen manga.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 28

Last week post or something else from archive.

Why Aloha shirt is still not a common official men wear here? Via HN. We're living in a tropical country and yet our normal office wear is following western style. On the related note, the history of Aloha shirt was an interesting read as well.

Looking to get started in medication but don't want to fork our money? Look into the UCLA's Guided Meditations audio tracks. Download all and make it a playlist.

What the difference between informational support and emotional support? If your SO talked to you about her problems, just shut up and listen. Do not offer any solutions to her problem. Just listen and understand. Discussion at Reddit agreed with that. Don't assume. Ask or request what you want, if possible, explicitly. If you consult a doctor, are you going to tell the doctor that you're sick and he/she should know what sickness you've without you disclosing more specific details?

Stuck at your current tasks or your goals during the weekend? Chop wood, carry water.

Looking for food pyramid in the context of MY? Yes, it seemed we have a guide or alternative summarized version that from Ministry of Health. While we at it, there is another guide for low cholesterol diet as well. Why they don't provide a printable PDF version or compile everything into a booklet instead?

You know what is craziness when comes to set up your home network? Unnecessary and over-engineered enterprise level setup.

Joining the Utrawide Master Race but short on moolah? On first look, the LG 29WK600-W looks like a good choice if you're short of cash. However, it's best to check the actual specifications of the monitor before making any purchase. The panel bit depth is actually 6-bits + RFC and not really 8-bits, hence the 16.7 millions colours is overstatement. While the split screen functionality is nice, it has it's own security issue if you're running Windows. For GNU/Linux, there is Fake Xinerama or gTile (if you're using GNOME) that simulates several virtual monitors.

Setting up a home audio studio? This advice is a good way to start.

Is Anabas testudineus (also known as Puyu in Malay) suitable for consumption? Yes, and it's being massed produced as ornamental fish (gold colour variation) or as food source. I've long knew this fish but never realized that it actually travel through dry land to mate as shown in video below. And the hormone that the breeder used is most likely Ovaprim or GnRH, a spawning agent to induce breeding for fishes in captivity.

Do no feed the female Betta a day before breeding and let mating happened after 6pm because cooler temperature is good for bredding Betta? The issue with online resources when come to fish breeding procedures is it's quite hard to differentiate anecdotal experience or scientific result.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 25

Week 24 post and something from archive.

中国最后的剑圣, 于承惠。在中文影坛里,在也找不到另一个演员能诠释演出这个角色,从霸气的恶人角色到闭山修行的一代宗师。可惜,晚年在影坛没参与任何武侠片。

How to Survive Your 40s? (via KH). As someone who going to take a leap into this new decade, I can probably relates (the screenshot below tells quite a lot as well) to the author experience. Since few years back, younger people have started to call me "uncle" (my choice of clothing did contribute to that as well). It's a sudden but natural shift that comes with your age. The article reminded me of a Korean movie (can't remember the name) I've watched few weeks back. Basically the protagonist (someone in his 50s) said you need to see this milestone as the second 20s. The second time for you to reflect or follow up with what you've done (differently this time) in your 20s. The to-do list since so many years ago is still so long and it will keep me occupied for so some times.

What the difference between Perl and Python? If you need a comparison between both programming languages, this book, "Scripting with Objects: A Comparative Presentation of Object-Oriented Scripting with Perl and Python", while quite dated (it was written in 2008), provides some insights on differences between these both programming languages. In the end, the rising popularity of Python and emergence of Perl 6 shown that, opinionated or there should be a standard way of doing things won.

Why you need to set default value in `sub` in Moo or Moose? Because having a subroutine wrapper returns a unique reference every time you create a new object.

How do you boot from USB thumb drive from Grub itself? Yes, this is possible (do read the whole discussion). You must go to the Grub console by pressing 'c'. Remember that you can tab to find out which removable media and partition to use. It's quite annoying that sometimes the BIOS cannot detect the removable media (thumb drive) and can't boot from the device itself.
grub> ls
grub> set root=(hd1, msdos2)
grub> chainloader +1
grub> boot

On a related note, migration from Fedora 27 to Fedora 28 was such a painful experience. The keyboard and mouse did not work and were very lagging. I'm not sure, but Fedora 28 was such a let down. In the end, have to wipe out the whole installation and replaced it with Ubuntu 18.04 and everything works as intended. Seriously, Fedora, what is going there with 28 release?

Why they said Perl is a more advanced scripting language for system administrator? See App::GitHubPullRequest, a Perl console tool that glues together three different console tools of git, stty, and curl.

How to train your kids to do house chores voluntarily? (via HNEmpowerment since toddler.

Dreadful tasks? Just try, give it a while.

Which Perl modules to use when making HTTP requests? There are so many.

How does you do dispatch table in Perl? Found an old discussion (2010) in HN. The book High-Order Perl have a whole chapter (PDF) on this topic.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 18

Last week post or something else from the archive.


FORMS. Interesting concept on how to manage your week. In other words, you have a daily theme or something you're going to focus on each day. For example,
  • Monday: Finances 
  • Tuesday: Operations 
  • Wednesday: Research & Development 
  • Thursday: Marketing 
  • Friday: Sales
Interesting learning experience with Perl and Travis CI. From how-should-i-start, to why-this-is-not-working, and finally-something-is-working, Axel Beckert's guide is a definitely must read material. Furthermore, the Travis-CI testing helper for Perl modules does help a lot. However, like most Perl modules out there, documentation and maintenance is still a major issue. No worry, there is a tool to bootstrap the `.travis.yml` file, just install App::CISetup and use ``.

Having fun coding and can't seem to stop. Moderation is the key here.

kwalitee. Yes, kwalitee or Test::Kwalitee.

Facepalm. Totally speechless when using Dzil and Perl::Critic. You cannot put the package name in the first line of the code otherwise Perl::Critic will complain.
use strict;
use warnings;
package Foo;
# ABSTRACT: This is a Foo.
# KEYWORDS: foo bar baz

use frobnitz;
use OtherStuff;

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 15

Last week post or grab something from the archive.

Travelling. Short and late write-up for this week.


Travis CI and Perl. Some minor hiccup but I managed to get the Continuous Integration (CI) to work correctly. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a way to test the CI within the local development environment.

The history of React.js. Didn't realize that React have came a long way, since 8 years ago. Yes, you got it right, 8 long years ago! The competition of the front-end Javascript libraries have settled down to either React, Angular, and Vue. Due to some "compelling" circumstances, this is a good time for "reacting" (pardon the pun), and nothing better to start with the fundamental basis (via HN).

"Manage your energy, not your time." How you manage your day (especially the morning) determine the productivity for the whole day, week, month, and year.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 13

Last week post or something from the past. This going to be a very long weekly post. So many things written down this week and might as well put everything together.

The Nightmare Letter: A Subject Access Request under GDPR (via HN). GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the new data protection law coming into force on 25th May, 2018. Ironically, an article posted in a site that making profit from our shared data. There always this saying I read online many moons ago regarding privacy, "If you have done nothing wrong, then why you need to worry about people tracking your Internet usage?". And the counter argument to this question is "Everyone knows what we did in the toilet, then why we still need to close our door?". Corporations have long monitored and tracked our daily movements and behaviours and people needs to be educated and aware of such activities and their right to erasure, also known as "the right to be forgotten".

Off course, all these discussions was due to the recent social media data breaching. And usual things was, some noises were made, another call for deletion of your social media account, and things will cool down, and live goes on. Nothing drastic will happen, people still will keep their social media account and no one will delete it. Social media site will be replaced by another social media site, somehow or another.

Surprising to find out about this on feeding Betta fish (emphasis added). And we were feeding the Betta fishes with more than 2 to 3 pellets! Pellets will expand in their stomach. No wonder some of the Bettas were having constipation issue.
Adult bettas can be fed once a day and babies (young) can be fed twice a day. It may not seem enough, but many pellets expand to more than 2x their size when they get wet. To put this in a further perspective, the stomach of a betta fish is about the size of their eye! Additional power supplies may be necessary depending on the level of activity and personality of your betta.
Read the story about the origin of Giant Betta. Most of the new Betta type was due to anomaly of breeding and continuous selective breeding.

Reality when comes to management as described below:
In this case, it's management giving the impression that they are "doing something." We see the same thing with, "can we add more developers to speed this up?" The answer is almost universally "no" and, presumably, any manager in the modern era should have read (or at least be familiar with) the over 40 year-old book, "The Mythical Man Month." But, from a senior management position, there aren't many levers to pull--and when the heat is on, they have to be seen to "do something."
Write or build your own software projects. Yes, is a time waster to re-implement something from scratch, but you will gain valuable insights by doing so. Build your own React is probably something relevant that everyone should look into if they wish to understand what the hype about front-end development using React and the like.

Thought provoking post on how Lisp, the programming language ruined a person development career (via HN). Are you a software plumber or software developer? The comment did raise an interesting question on how once see his or her software development career. If you're doing mostly business software or glorified spreadsheet, then you're a plumber, not the later. If remember correctly, long ago, there was this discussion about software developers who are producer and those who are consumers.

Is the ability to focus the key skill that separate successful and unsuccessful people. This HN user think so. The next question is how to increase your focus?
Pretty awesome! If I ever had to say the one thing that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people it wouldn't be intelligence, or even perseverance, or passion. It'd be focus. With focus, you can be amazingly successful in so many types of occupations.
(That being said, passion / perseverance / intelligence can often lead to focus)
How to tell great story? Feeling stuck or suck? Just follows the Pixar’S 22 rules of storytelling. Rule number 4 or the The Story Spine way is the most common and popular.
Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
Meanwhile, while reading about writing, saw this post about whether we can start a sentence with a conjunction? Definitely yes. Good examples shown below:
It’s a pretty smart and progressive budget. But do you think those changes go far enough?
Some people are calling this film the worst movie ever. And who are we to argue?
Dworkin’s answer is no. But why not?
Who would have thought it? And is it really true?
While we at it, this week vocabulary list. Lots of similar words and it was quite hard to link these words up into a cohesive paragraph.
When sedition (煽动叛乱) law have been applied selectively, societies will slowly disintegrated (瓦解) from within rather by external influences. Inconsistency and partially interpretation this law will result in serious crisis in the legislation and judicature (司法) of our country or worse, the ridicule (奚落) of our judicial (法庭的) system. Therefore, there should be a judicial review of the law should be an integral (整体) part of the to the rule of law. That was David, an adjunct professor (副教) of law, judicious (有见识的) closing statement before the class adjourned (休庭) for lunch break. While he was discussing remaining details with his fellow students, Mary, his personal assistant, interjected (插话) their discussion to remind Davis about his itinerary (行程) for today. He should be in the transit (中转) lounge at the airport in two hours and additional amendment of this law was not be the ambit (范围) of their discussion right now.

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 11

Last week post or something from the past.

Another week, another compilation of vocabulary list. The list of words were a bit tricky to cohere (一致,连贯) together into a convincing paragraph. Just let your imagination go wild then!
The island have been inhabited (居住在) by the isolated indigenous (土著) peoples since long before it was discovered by foreign outsider. Strangely enough, the tribe was hospitable (好客的) and willing to embrace outsider even though there was some resistant initially. People in the island are not herbivore (草食动物) due to the climate and available food source. Within the cold climate with little greens available, tuna fish is their daily source of protein. Tuna fish, due to its distinct smelly fishy odor inhere (存在) can lead to to halitosis (口臭), which can be quite put off to outsider. The people in the island adhere (持有信仰) to a strange religious ritual where they don't inhume (埋葬) the death but instead leave it open in the wild wrapped in Tuna fish skin in a helical (螺旋) way. Everyone was inhibited (抑制) from getting near to the burial ground forever as it will bring bad luck for those who ignore the rule.
Ask HN: Were we more productive 10, 15, or 20 years ago? The question raised was related to development works itself. Were we? When comes to web development, not really, more marketing hype and too many choices available. Furthermore, too many tools, and too many abstractions. In other words, paralysis by analysis or decision fatigue, which made us ends up doing nothing.  What worse, we were bombarded by so-called news these days which read like tabloid instead. Technology made things done faster but at a price, we're more disconnected and distracted. Or maybe we (those reaching middle age) are more grumpier.

The Pilot System rule. The first system will always developed incorrectly somehow due to lacking of understanding and edge cases. Focus on the programmer productivity instead of focusing on optimizing the system itself.

Lesson learned when breeding Betta fish. We've made a few mistakes by our self and pretty much can relate to the breeder himself.

While we're talking about fish, the best video so far on using salt in your aquarium or towards your fish. We must be using salt wrongly, no salts are created equally, even chemical components are different!

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 04

Last week post or the archived stuff.

Fourth week of the new year and we've reached also the end of first month. Interesting that time flies and progress of the pending to-do list items still slow but moving ahead.

人生的長尾效應:25、35、45的生涯落點。职业的第二个阶段,你要如何去面对?当然我在多年前就清楚我擅长什么,热爱什么,及那些是备受肯定的能力。如何在自己的生涯中找到自己的落点? 职业生涯长达45年,在你人生中占据了一大半的岁月,自己好好去规划。记得,任何计划都必须有健康的身体去扶持。注意你本身的健康吧!


According to the discussion I have with different breeders and the show owners around Jalan Pasar, depends on the type of Betta fish, arrival of new stocks depends on the prices. Tuesday or Thursday (MYR 2.50) and Thursday or Saturday (MYR 5.00/6.00). Do not that more of these cheaper Bettas are rejected low grade fish. On a rare occasion you will have higher grade Bettas like Koi or Dumbo which is priced around MYR 20.00 - MYR 35.00.

Go for those less than MYR 10.00 if you're starting to raising Betta but don't want to fork out a lot of money. When I saw those kids buying these Betta with their clueless parent, definitely those Bettas will not survive long. Betta are quite sensitive to water parameters. Without keen monitoring, most of these bought fishes will die of infection due to bad water quality.

Forgot that I supposed to review my weekly steps walked. Hence, going to start this week with reflection and review. The plan is to try to walk 6,000 steps per day. This is doable if you walk more in the office, drink more water, eat more fruit, and go to rest room more often. You can gain more steps if you walk to eat your lunch and travel by train instead of motorcycle. A minor changes in your daily habit can have a significant improvement of total steps walked.

This week progress was quite good. Good if we can have 6000 steps per day. That the essential bare minimum. If you can hit 10000 steps per day that would be nice but that is optional. Experiences have shown when you walked more step a day before, you should let your body rest the following day. Awareness is the key here and that is the plan for next week. Compare to last time, aware of your weight and food intake. In short, move and don't stay stagnant.

Yes, it's almost one month into the year 2018. What are you looking forward to? What are you new year resolutions? CrushEntropy, my friend.

Steve Yegge left Google for Grab (via Reddit) Interesting comment about his guitar playing skill. Joke aside, we do need more vocal people to voice out somehow. I believe he is right, on the consumer side, Google is not really gaining any advantages over the competitors.

Surprising and shocking. I wondered if the video have been viral enough, what would the manufacturer of the said "healthy" drink would do? Lawyer up and sue?

This Week I Learned 2018 - Week 03

Last week stuff and all the archive posts.

大水冲了龙王庙 (一家人不认一家人)。看了几套大陆片,一直听到这句歇後語(英文应该是Idiom吧?)非常适合那些说话不直截了当,话中有话的人。另外还有几句普遍的,例如:
  • 有事鍾無艷,無事夏迎春
  • 豬八戒照鏡子(裏外不是人)
  • 秀才遇到兵(有理說不清)
  • 無事獻殷勤 (非奸即盜)
  • 泥菩薩過江(自身難保)
  • 快刀斬亂麻 (乾淨俐落)

Chinese New Year is around the corner, surprisingly this year, the weather is getting colder and not warmer especially after the Dongzhi festival. Several fishes have died due to infection and we suspected that tank contamination from other fishes without quarantine and cold weather may be the root cause. Water parameters are a dead and life issue for these fishes.

All the Bettas have been quarantines and water changes done on almost daily basis. Some of them are recovering and seems more active. We have change our approach to water changes and sea salt, which are good practices to keep the fishes healthy. Unless necessary, no more chemical like Malachine Green (debatable toxicity issue, it can kill both bacteria or fishes). Methylene Blue or Formaldehyde (aka Formalin) are still safe to use. Even so, each antimicrobials have their own safety issue and met with apprehension issue in the fishing industry, especially aquaculture (fishes breed for eating). Aquarium medication is an interesting area for investigating. Expect more future discussions on this.

Overfed your fishes? Expect bloating and constipation issue to follow suit. Nothing but pea to help them with their digestion. Surprisingly these fishes crave pea. Well, pea should be on their weekly diet then.

cron.weekly is no more. It's not easy to continuously writing up and weekly aggregate posts. Definitely you're going to burn out somehow or another. I've tried different approach and the only possible way is to do it on daily basis, sit down in front of you computer for 15 minutes and write something up. Consistency is the key here, whether you like it or not.

Cal Newport have a good write-up on digital de-cluttering. Find and cultivate high-quality leisure instead of instant gratification low-quality digital distractions (news feeds, social media posts, or videos). A deliberated and strategic pause of using your mobile devices will have quite a significant effect on your daily life. What are your analog activities? These is something I need to reflect upon. For a start, rediscover what you like to do when you're young? Long forgotten hobbies? That's a good start!

Yes, I've installing and setting up my printer and scanner drivers the wrong way (using the official M2070W drivers from Samsung) for so long. There always this conflict between the printer and scanner driver everything I've upgraded my Ubuntu distro. It took me a while, but I was made aware there have been this The Samsung Unified Linux Driver Repository since 2015. Adding a repository, update, and install the necessary drivers and everything works as intended.

Timezone cheatsheet in MySQL. Timezone is always tricky and to do it correctly or explain it persuasively to layman.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 50

Last week post or something from the archive.

Two more weeks to go and we can start the new year. Meet quite a few talented and inspiring people around. Wish I pick up illustration at a younger age. It never too old to try venture into something totally new.

The Second-system effect, where simple and efficient system was replaced by over-engineered systems due to personal agendas, preferences, and career advancement. The Mythical Man-Month book is within my reach and every time I saw the book cover, it reminded me of the profound insights of Fred Brooks. The Hack story at Facebook done everything correctly and to prevent such effect (Facebook should have just buy Zend last time and replace PHP with Hack instead). Software architecture is more leans towards theoretical, common sense, and management rather than practical hands-on stuff. Most of the recommended reading literature indicate this.

PostgreSQL Exercises. Yup, someone have helped me to check off one item of my bucket list. PostgreSQL should gain more traction and exposure comparable to MySQL. I'm glad someone made some contributions towards that direction. History always repeat itself, this time, unfortunately, the worse (MySQL) is always better.

License compliance. A concept so foreign for so many software house, let alone those startups or companies without even a human resource department.

Not really time management but mission, GTD, energy management, and automation.

Three girls in kitchen by William Gedney via (RD). When times were simpler and photography was manual, constraints, limited, and more humane. Roger May have a good write-up on his photography works.

Embroidery, potential new hobby for the coming new year? Example of a work (screenshot captured and cropped by me) by glazier-heart shown below. Not that hard, you just need patience and tracing ability. What if you combines your masterpiece with sarcasm and cynicism? Surely it going to be an awesome gift. Note to self, remember the Wheaton's Law.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 40

Last week post or the usual archive stuff.

Week 40. Twelve more weeks to go before the end of the year.

The case against open office when people just copy without including the subtle details of the design and layout. While many organization sugarcoat the many benefits of of open office layout, the main advantage is the organization save a significant money using such layout.

200 productive hours per month? (via HN) Research shown that it's possible on daily basis, if a worker can concentrate 4 hours on deep work and remaining 4 hours on shallow work (meetings, random discussions, surfing, and slacking off). However, deep work requires more solitary environment, which is not possible in a open office environment.

Via Reddit. You always have to be suck at something before you can be better at it as shown in the quote below. But, unless you're constantly improving, you will stuck at the expert beginner level.
"Successful writers are people who allow themselves the freedom to suck—unrepentantly, happily, even."

What are the best combination (budget and feature wise) to setup a desktop music system? Below are the list of components:

(1) JBL LSR305 active speaker
(2) Lexicon Alpha audio interface / Behringer UCA222 / HIFIME(DIY) DAC
(3) XLR-to-3.5mm cable / TRS-to-3.5 mm cable / XLR male to RCA male cables

You should look into the issue of balanced audio.

Slashdot is 20 years olds! Ironically, good discussion was found in HN instead! I found the site when it was going through it second year and getting more popular due to discussion of FOSS. And off course, those idiotic memes, Anonymous Cowards, and BOredAtWork comments. Man I feel so old.

Audio gd is an interesting audio equipment manufacturer. The website still looks like those site Geocities era and you have to wait for a while for your order to be processed and built. While relatively unknown in some part of the world, Audio gd is one of those China manufacturers who build good audio equipment or parts.

How to increase gain in FX-Audio DAC X6. Some Redditor found a tiny little hack that increases the overall gain of the amplifier.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 32

Last week post or something from the old TWIL archive.

Everything should be back on track this week after the "nature appreciation week". Lots of pending items to be checked off. Luckily, a few long delay items have been cleared off. As they said, one thing at a time. If you can't do it today, continue tomorrow but do not postpone for more than two days. Keep the streak going!

I've been quite effective in applying Scrum or Kanban at my workplace. Sadly, I can't say the same about my personal projects. What if I can obtain the same efficiency at my own stuff? Surely I will be surprised by the results. Lately, I have been thinking about what are the effective ways to get the best of each day, either at workplace and home. Discipline is definitely a must, of course with effective system. Another approach is to focus on overlapping what you done at work and your own personal projects. Focus on the important stuff, one thing at a time. Throw it the work life balance as well. Sometimes you just need to walk away from anything and just to unwind and recharge.

Invest in your own learning. Julia Evans shared her thought on this matter on keeping learning outside working hours. Learn and read something new but relevant to your work. That's it. However, it's best to set a time after work, for example, half an hour and learn or work on something new. This may sound easy but it's quite hard to do it in a constant manner. Consistency is always hard. Self-discipline is always hard.

What would you do if programming is made illegal overnight? Be a problem solver. Or do something else other than development works. There are millions of problems that need to be solved and and you can leverage your programming or IT knowledge one way or another. During the nature appreciation week, I've thought and discussed about this with my younger peers during the whole trip. Unfortunately, we are still caught into the tribalistic pressure or social conditioning in the name of team work or company culture. Someone told me before when I was starting out as a programmer, pick your battles, not everything is worth fighting for. These battles here refers to the things you want to do in your life, your bucket list, or something meaningful. And off course, at the same time, without starving yourself.

The morning paper and the Arxiv Sanity Preserver. I love reading research papers, even though most of the time I can't really understand most of it, especially those not within my domain of expertise. But the morning paper site makes everything fun and bearable. Beware, energy, attention, focus, and time are scarce, use it properly on things that matter to you. That's why social media are big time waster unless you're working in the digital content industry.

Ligne claire. French of clear line, the art style used by many illustrator, especially Moebius. Most recent illustrator who follows such style is Josan Gonzalez.

Money has a way of being the perfect "excuse" for vicious people to expose their viciousness. Interesting digression from the forum discussion which turned dark half-way.

Git bisect, the proper workflow. Didn't realize such things exists and probably won't bother to pick it up.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 26

Last week post or browse the archive of mindless ramblings.

Week 26 of 2017. We've finally reaching the half part of the year. So many things to do, so little time available.

"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.". Avoid white processed food or any kind of fast food. Sounds simple right? Hard for us to follow. With a tendency of bridge, especially during dinner and sedentary life style, I doubt anyone have the time to eat a proper good healthy meal. What can we do then? Read discussion on forum and read scientific papers, and develop your own methodology. Good example of such research. However, some studies were paid studies to fit certain agendas, checking for a reputable sources is quite difficult due to signal to noise problem. Furthermore, most discussions are just personal anecdotal, which you know, is just a sample size 1 observation or N = 1 situation. To reduce all these noises and personal anecdotal, do your own research and refer to few reputable sites like NHS Choice and Harvard Health Online (paid subscription). Everyone mileage may varies, as we tends to trust our body and conduct N = 1 experiments on ourself.

Be careful when going to any chiropractors, don't let anyone have a quick jerk of your head. Better still, see an orthopedist with chiropractic knowledge.

MySQL, seriously, what an effed up database system. Conversion from one character set and collation to another was rather tricky. Resolving "ERROR 1071" was not as straightforward at it seems.

Interesting idea. Just focus on 3 things. 3 things per day, per week, per month, and per year. Experience have taught me figuring out which three things is the hardest part. We're constantly fighting over on the should and want.

This is what happened when an organizational system have been practiced rigorously. Way overboard for my taste. But different people have different working style and culture. While it's good to go for simplicity with an analogue approach, but managing index cards the manually way is just way too cumbersome. Pen and paper is good when you don't need to archive the information and can simply throw it away.

Meanwhile, the post on electric typewriter and reading environment gave me an idea on converting my Raspberry Pi into one digital typewriter. I just need to setup my writing environment with a monitor, mechanical keyboard, a mouse, and a good reading lamp. Just fire up the tiny box and start writing. Jot down what ever come to you without any prejudices and judgement. And eff grammar.

Why process is important? Cognitive errors more likely to happen than procedure errors. Stick to the process.

Fanny pack and Underbone (kapchai). These are like almost like everyday carry (EDC) and yet I don't even know the actual names.

Seeking job fulfillment? Depends on what you want or to sugar coat it, whether its align with you moral and ideological compass. Some don't dream big and content with their role, even through with minor contributions. Some based on ideology. If you want better pay, you will likely to end up with job you don't like, just like 98% people out there. Or maybe you should take a different view, the job itself is just your bread and butter, use the money to do something you find more fulfilling. Provided that you save your income aggressively like 25 times annual expenses.

Something of similar nature, how not to bring emotion from work back to home or how do you decompress after work?

Another day, another weird validation rule when using Vim and LaTeX.

GNU GPLv3 turns 10. What a long way to go since the first decade. Like it or hate it, this license have significantly changed the whole computing industry, especially free and open source software development. Without it, we are still at the mercy of proprietary licenses in all our computing devices. If you ever use any free and open source software and benefits from it, it's time for you to help out, sign up and be a member!

"TDD failed for economic reasons, not engineering ones." This is so true for legacy system when you want to add new feature but don't want to break existing stuff.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 25

Last week post or you can explore the archive.

Writing and nothing but writing. Imagine starting from 8 in the morning until 12 in the night, minus the eating time and occasionally short breaks, you have to write up something to fill the remaining 12 pages. Staring at the monitor for 16 hours non-stop will definitely depleted you and causing much stress, especially to your eyes. The sudden and urgent feedback caught me by surprise. Totally messed up my daily routines. The aftermath of this last minute changes is you have become wordy, like one of those week I've experienced before. Therefore, this week blog post will be a bit wordy than usual.

One hard lesson I've learned during this writing period, reading and lots of reading is essential for writing. There is no way for you to churn out anything fast, if you don't even have a clue on what you're going to say. Want to be a better writer? Be a better reader. Reading a technical paper and a fiction requires different strategy. The former needs a systematic and structural way of extracting information. The later, you just need to use your imagination and indulge with it.

Another one. Statistics is very important, far more practical and relevant than other branches of mathematics. You never know when you going to need it, but when you do, you really do! Time for relearn and pick up some statistics.

The next lesson? I think I finally and partially understand what the heck is methodology, which in short, a set of practices or procedures. To explain in another way, a step-by-step procedure on how you going to tackle a particular problem. Particularly, you have to explain when, where, and how you're going to carry the procedures. It changed how I read, understanding, and absorb information. In the end, all the details, some ways or another, are transformed into a flow chart.

Back to the regular weekly ramblings.

Via Reddit. World oldest gymnast, Johanna Quaas, 91 years old to be exact. Nothing but good genetics, healthy and active lifestyle, be independent, and how to age gracefully. There are so many ways your body will let you down and kill you when you age. Genetics aside, which is out of our control, this is definitely doable, you just need to have the persistent and patience to do it. Seems that cycling is preferable than running, if you don't want to damage your knees due to running.

Do you plan your next day ahead? I've been facing the same problem in organizing my life. It's a long tedious process of trying different organizational systems (Four Quadrants / Eisenhower BoxGTD, Bullet Journal, and Pomodoro) to see which one sticks. Typically, nothing stick for a long time, after a while, you will drifted away and back to your old self. The main issue procrastination. You're aware of the priority, but don't feels like doing it. Then it dawned to me that time management is actually mood or mind management. If you need to to something important, schedule it at the time where mentally you're most alert and aware. For example, early in the morning when you first woke up is probably the golden hour of productivity.

Maybe the mentioned systems are way complicated as it can lead us to overly micro planning. Remember, there is no one true system, it's a mixed of everything with some adaptation. Why not going analogue and low tech with a simple pen and paper. Jot down your to-do list, prioritize, try to get things done within that day will work. Not every day is a perfect day. Accept it. Not everything will be completed within that day. Reschedule the unfinished tasks to the next day. For more refinement, break the day into four sessions of morning, afternoon, evening, and night.

Regardless how you optimize your day, the first thing is to plan ahead, way ahead like life goals from 6 months to 30 years. The longer the planning, the more you will aware that most things don't matter that much in life eventually. I agreed with the poster's four assumptions, especially that "productivity is getting the most important things done" and "most people don't have that many things they truly want to accomplish.".

Classic Papers: Articles That Have Stood The Test of Time. Collection of ten most cited papers from different area of research. Unfortunately, only from 2006. It would be nice the paper can be extended from far longer before 2006, say from 1900. Interesting found was this paper, Who should fix this bug? where the author was using machine learning to semi-auto assign a reported bug ticket to the a developer.

LaTeX, where what is hard is easy, and what is easy is hard. Editing LaTeX file with Vim? Plenty of errors that you probably needs to amend to make it go away. Generating PDF file and the page dimensions seems off? Readjust the page margin dynamically. Sigh. No matter how much I love typesetting, the hassle and effort of tweaking the layout is not worth the time.

When using Git, branching is easy and cheap. Two things that I need to use quite often when merging changes from different branches. First is create more throwaway branches and squash merge using the `--squash` parameter. Second is cherry picking using the -n parameter. Both ways do merge but not commit the changes.

This Week I Learned - 2017 Week 23

Last week post or the stuff from the archive.

Busiest week ever. Spent lots of time tidy up all the loose end. Non-stop churning out words after words for the past few days depleted me both mentally and physically. Having to write the same thing again and again but in different ways exhausted me further. Nevertheless, it was an "interesting" experience. Cognitively it was challenging but your learn a lot at the same time. However, if the knowledge gained will be forgotten later, then why we need to pick up it in the first place?

#1 On work ethic. Emphasis added.
Work ethic is about showing up, being on time, being reliable, doing what you say you’re going to do, being trustworthy, putting in a fair day’s work, respecting the work, respecting the customer, respecting the organization, respecting co-workers, not wasting time, not making work hard for other people, not creating unnecessary work for other people, not being a bottleneck, not faking work. Work ethic is about being a fundamentally good person that others can count on and enjoy working with.
#2 Iomega's Zip drive. We used to own one and have a few disks lying around. Not sure what happened to it. But one thing for sure, recordable CD, which was superseded by DVD, and USB thumb drive really killed the product. I still can't remember what we used it for, maybe just to backup all our downloaded files?

#3 Best possible reason on why Intel is not putting any significant efforts or buying more times on tackling AMD's Ryzen Threadripper. Intel and Microsoft have completely missed or failed the mobile market. If Intel cannot produce anything that match up ARM's mobile market dominance, we will see a significant shift of Microsft from x86 platform to ARM. 

#4 Writing journal is the art of talking to yourself silently. However, the correct approach to journaling is to focus on both cognitions and emotions will have the best benefits. I was contemplating of getting an actual typewriter to switch to more manual way of writing but the cost of the typewriter is surprising expensive, roughly more than MYR500. You probably can buy a very decent second hand computer with that pricing. There exists also Freewrite, a digital version of distraction free typewriter, sort of. Or the predecessor, the Alphasmart Neo or the retro looking Cambridge Z88. However, the pricing is just ridiculous! Why not spend the money on getting a second hand laptop like a used ThinkPad instead? Heck, might as well just switch to pen and paper instead.

#5 Productivity is less about time management than it is about mind management.. Profound insight. Basically is all about "hacking" your brain and getting it to a desired state.