MonthDecember 2010

Enthusiastic Teachers and Naive Implementation of Gauss Seidel Approximations

This semester, one of our so called electives (despite the fact that we have no real choice in them) is Numerical Methods. I don’t quite like the actual way the subject is taught – mind numbing, error prone calculations with a calculator. However, the methods are pretty awesome.

The staff explained Gauss Seidel yesterday, and it seemed a straightforward recursive solution to me. So in the break, I cooked up a small python script that gave me all the intermediate answers as well – so for any assignments I could just run them through this and copy it to paper.

What happened after that was more interesting. The staff made an offhand remark that she hates the subject, since it involves so much mindnumbingly repetitive calculative work, and not something fun like probability theory. I picked it up, and we had an interesting conversation that ended up with me showing her a 3-function version of the above code and explaining to her how I got this. She was incredibly interested – and asked me how to explain each line properly.

Was a lot of fun. Sad that this is the first time in 3 years that I’ve had someone who is actually interested in what they’re teaching, rather than treating it as just a normal 9-5 job not much different from herding sheep. What exactly can we do to change this?

Serendipity

I’m back at home after travelling almost ten days – ACM ICPC at Coimbatore, One day at Ooty, the last FOSS.in at Bangalore, Nonameconf at Bangalore, and finally chilling out losing at XBox 360 Takken at the [Zynga][z] office.

One thing I’ve realized sharply is that “Life will take you to interesting places and make you do interesting things, if only you let it

I realized that my days were being pretty much the same all day. I’ve shook up a lot of things – quit many ‘safe’ stuff I was doing so I could go try stupid, freaky things – I don’t know what. Should be fun and interesting.

What stupid, crazy, freaky and incredibly interesting things you have done?

More Effects for Cheese!

Watch two rather handsome[1] dudes (daniel and andreas) in this screencast where they show off some more effects (thanks to fargiolas!). Newer effects are easier to add (feels awesome that that was my work) – and more will be on their way :)

footnote: [1]: Professional opinion from one of my lady friends :P

Moving to Vim from Emacs

I moved to Vim from Emacs a while back. I realized I was not using emacs to its fullest extent – I was using it as ‘just a text editor’, and alt-tabbing to gnome-terminal for most of my work. I was using one tool per job anyway, so why not go all the way and use a text editor for a text editor instead of yet another operating system :P

Also, and perhaps more importantly – on my rather small Netbook, pressing combos felt awkward to me (I know it shouldn’t have, but it did). Much better (atleast so far) with vim than Emacs. Since most of my coding these days seems to be done on this small and underpowered machine, and my wrists were hurting anyway, I switched.

Muscle memory is still set to emacs (hit C-k several times when it should’ve been d$), but I guess I’ll eventually get back to being fast enough in vim :)

Last time I was on vim, I was just getting used to Linux, and switched to emacs a few months after. I wonder if I’ll switch again in the future.

TL;DR: Moved from Emacs to Vim ‘coz I felt like it.

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