Category Archives: web design softwares

Day 24: Online money making and existentialism

Standard

After declaring for what is now 24 days, my apparent love for the written word, i finally explored the possibility of monetizing my blogs – not this one of course; no one will read this. I write to please myself.

Making money through writing blogs is no easy task – as I find out. It is more like agriculture, where you sow and then wait to reap, all the while tending to the crops. It seems that blogs are nearly the same thing – with much more work involved. The key might be in clubbing together my own interests and the pandering to the public.

Anyhow, let’s talk about something else.

I started with the mindfulness method today – did the body scan first, followed by breathing meditation. The first one was a total flop – i fell asleep and the second was only a moderate succe….oops! I violated a cardinal rule of mindfulness – no judgement here. You don’t classify a practice as either good or bad. They are all neutral.

I find myself drifting into random imaginary situations and then reacting to them as if they were real. I had this habit before – one of my root behavioral traits leading upto depression. I am not saying that this is sign that I am going into depression soon – but this is a unhealthy habit anyway, I should get rid of it anyhow.

Let me explain what is happening – I don’t think the graduate student council at my university is doing a good job now – perhaps one day I could be the president of the council and bring greater vision into the organization and be a system that provides valuable support to the graduate student community. But there is this other guy DS who is somewhat of a jerk and is very active the community. Now, I haven’t even joined the organization and don’t have any exposure there. This guy has been there for two years now. I project my own fears on to him and so assume that he is after the post as well. So a conflict is for sure- we won’t agree, we fight and fight and I get angry at him for no reason. While everything else is totally fictitious, my reaction to it is completely real – I feel genuine anger, my teeth clench, my muscles tighten and my blood pressure rises. What a revelation – my mind, the very same mind with which I grasp the complex concepts of general relativity and write prosaic literature, cannot distinguish between a real and imaginary event. How can I be mad at someone – whom I hardly know – for something – that hasn’t even happened – for something that they “apparently” did? Isn’t that just plain stupid – all those doctors were right. The mind is a sucker when it comes to this distinction.

No wonder i get into this mess all the time – if fictitious event -> real emotion AND also real event -> real emotion; then where is the line? I do this a lot, I imagine up situations that don’t exist, put real people into it and then either fume at it, or get low – either way, I put myself to several minutes (sometimes several hours) of discomfort, because of this habit.

There is also a positive side to this. The ability to project into the future – and to be able to predict how people would react is often necessary. We call that ability good judgement. If I suppress that entirely then wouldn’t I also be a bad judge of people? Can I stave off all the bad stuff while keeping the good part?

This is a more general problem – I have prided in my imagination. Surely, if my thoughts are strong enough to produce real emotional resistance, then that means that I am a good imagineer ( copyright: Disney), ie, my stories and my constructs are that much real. I can therefore infuse life into my creations. However, the catch here is that the same ability is also at the root of many of my issues – not being able to live in the present.

Consider the general idea of existentialism – Live in the Here and Now. But one of the greater abilities of humanity is to be able to visualize the future, predict it to a certain extent and prepare for it. If we did not have this ability then we would not be any different from the rest of the animals around us, who simply follow their internal RAM and do not try to project into the future (or do so restrictively: think ants saving for the winter). But as human beings, our very own survival can depend on this ability. Can we give that of to live in the ‘Here’ and ‘Now’? Many modern success philosophies talk of ‘living in the present’ but does this mean not thinking about the future?

I believe that the correct approach should be “Do not live in the future” – ie, you are free to think about and consider your thoughts and ideas about the future – but draw a clear distinction between what are purely ideas and what is real. Does that sound right? Perhaps not entirely – No, not entirely, but definitely an idea.

Day 23: What is boredom?

Standard

I was afflicted with the same disease today as yesterday – complete and absolute boredom. I had no motivation to do anything – I tried reading a book, moved on to tweaking dreamweaver, then lay down thinking I wanted to sleep, then got up and made some soup (My own proud invention). Then I decided that I wanted to write but ended u watching Alien (1979) again. Great movie by the way.

Also, didn’t go to the gym.

So, what’s happening Lord? I ask myself. I ask you. But who are you but nefarious optical fibers that link servers floating around in  a virtual universe? (Evasion, is the first step of a coward), Focus! What is happening to me?

That question itself is not well constructed.. “What is happening to me? ” – It first of all claims innocence on the part of “me” – I am not at fault, please help! A kind of passive of a crime by deigning helplessness. Nothing is happening to me – I am happening to myself. (Philosophizing, second step of a coward).

The lack of motivation is definitely true. The Gym is perhaps the foremost example. I find myself making constant excuses not to go to the gym. Once there, I simply can’t wait to get out. I fool around and then wait for either A or D to finish off so that I can run away with them. I finally found that Artisteer cannot be used to maintain a website, so that kind of rules out that program for the website. I had Dreamweaver installed on my brother’s laptop, but then found out that the heavy volume that I bought is only a Bible of Dreamweaver CS4 and does not really tell you how to learn with it. I feel like I have learned enough Java and there is no progress with it. The same with Tensors – reached till Ricci tensors and then proceeded no further. Bought 10 CD’s of the Bhagavad Gita and heard only one and a half. All my books are half read. I’m basically a ruminating cow now – with a full belly but no nutrition. The “hunger” that I  felt before is replaced by something much less defined – something that’s like a mid summer sun at high noon – oppressive and lethargic. Lethargy – just don’t know if that is the cause or the effect. All this when time lime 25 is approaching – a full 25% of my allotted time.

I am definitely bored. I could blame it on my stomach bug – it seems like i’m pregnant with a food baby all the time. But that won’t go away that easy – been the bane of my life for some time now.

Maybe, like Godin, I should wait, wait?

But I don’t wanna be bored. I loved it early, when I was full of energy and ethusiasm and looked forward to doing everything. Achieving a lot. How did things change? What set this up? Could it be because, i had kind of reached a stalemate in all my goals? Possibly. How do I get out of this?

I’ll sleep on it, and like Scarlett O Hara, will deal with it t0morrow!

Day 4: The war of the operating systems

Standard

Dreamweaver, ASP.NET and WordPress are all stuck. I mean of course that I have no idea how to proceed from here.  Maybe I should wait to get Dreamweaver running on my Mac again – and then design a style sheet of my own. But due to some stupid licensing issue all my applications have stopped working as soon as I reached India. But then today I got my hands over a program called Artisteer – which is yet another webdesign software. Oh for a day when I won’t come across a web design package – and yet My site is no where up in the air.

But this proves just one thing. When you are strongly willed to do something, ways open up by themselves. I had no idea how to built a website till 3 days ago – but I am quite confident now that with enough time, I’ll soon have my website running. Oh for that day!

As the Rig Veda proclaims:

aa no bhadraaha krithavo yanthu vishwathaha

Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides.

It seems that I am not making any progress on any of my other goals. I hope to start going to the gym from tomorrow onwards. I am beginning to see the beginnings of a resolve to give up smoking. Being fit is as much about good healthy lifestyle choices as much as it is about working out. PLus, I genuinely need some time away from my home each day, and gym is definitely the best for that.

Have been reading Steven Covey’s book. In the first habit now. I feel that I am proactive enough which could perhaps be why I find it slow.

Day 2: The story of a website

Standard

I have been wanting to design a website for quite a long time now. It started out as a way to win favor from my advisor. That was when I had just joined the group and was eager to prove my worth. A full year and a half has g0ne by and I did nothing. Blame it on laziness or perhaps the crazy schedule of a grad student.

Anyhow, I stumbled upon something called Dreamweaver – which is somekind of tool that let’s you create webpages. Thing about like this: Microsoft page let’s you create pictures, photoshop creates images, Word creates documents; Dreamweaver creates websites. I never knew before that websites are loaded in something called a ‘server’. this is a fancy name for a computer that has all the data about the website. When I create my website, i store all the data on my mac – so my mac is the server for the time being. Later I’ll have it transferred to the Brown server – which is a bigger and better maintained server. But I am not there yet.

However, when i came home to India, I found that Dreamweaver does not work here. It’s some license issue that no one seems to be able to figure out. I looked around and stumbled upon something called ASP.NET which is yet another software tool to make websites. That looks cool – but I haven’t quite figured out that yet.

Then my friend S told me about some thing called WordPress – which is both a blogging site (this one) as well as something that helps you design a blog. The idea is that, though the website that I wanna create is not a blog – it’s my group’s home page – I can still start from a blog and make it into a conventional website. The highlight is that wordpress is both easy and offers a lot of cool stuff to go about designing a custom webpage. S showed me his companies website and that’s cool.  I’ll find out I guess.

But WordPress requires a server – that is you cannot simply install wordpress on your desktop and then design it from there. But I wanted to learn it before I upload my site – play around, get familiar and then advance ahead. Also, I don’t have a server available now. Then I came across something called a MAMP – which is an acronym for Macintosh, Apache, MySQL PHP. If you install this, then you can disguise your computer as a localserver and then built websites here (using wordpress). I installed this and it works! The online tutorials out there are great and I had wordpress running on my fictitious server in no time.

Now the task ahead is to learn how to design my cool custom site…

But I am already enjoying this, and I get the feeling that this is gonna be one of those chores that would be fun to do….

Day 1: Things to do in the next One hundred days

Standard

It seems like I have an awful lot of things to do in the next One hundred days. I am quite delighted that I don’t have moderately ambitions goals like “conquer the  world” or “derive the theory of Everything” in my list – it might be easier to teach my father to use the internet.

So let’s see:

  •  I definitely need to work on my body – I have come to love the sadistic feeling of pain and sweating it out at the gym. Also, I need to start now if I wanna have those six packs by the summer beach season. That reminds me to buy a protein pack. I have been using Gold Standard, but that thing is expensive here – maybe I should look around for  a less expensive local brand.
  •  I should definitely solve the problem of torsion of compound prismatic bars. This would make Prof AK quite happy and let him know that I have not wasted his or my time during the break. I would need to convince him that both I am Ok as well as give me something to say for the next four or five years. You see, I’m now on a medical break (Long Story) …and I am quite convinced that AK wasn’t delighted at the turn of events. The project was just shaping up when I just took off and left. I assume there would be a host of papers already published by the time I return – I’m not afterall the only one in the world working on Flexo-electricity. Solving this would be my deal breaker. I can hold my head high when I get back to Brown – and probably start on the experimentation right away. maybe have a paper by the MRS fall conference. Wait, Baby steps lord, baby steps..

This isn’t easy however, and would be the most comprehensive of my tasks – I’m from a materials background and this is a purely mechanics topic. I had famously flunked both the mechanics courses in my undergrad. If only I had known that mechanics would come to bite me in the ass years later….

So to do this task, I need to do the following subtasks:

  1.  Learn Solid mechanics – Professor Bower’s book might be the way to go. I need to open up the book and start reading…maybe I should print the whole thing out – I cannot read a 1000 page book directly from the screen – it might be easier to turn into a cyborg. So the hope is to be able to understand the torsion of prismatic bars  – I’m hoping to god that someone has actually derived it. I have no intentions of turning into a Timeschenko at this age. Brown doesn’t pay me enough
  2. Even with subtask 1, there is no actual closed form solution. This can only mean one thing – Abacus!! Apparently this is some kind of modeling software that would do all the thinking for me. But I had drilled Sean into doing this for me. But that a-hole did nothing! I mean NOTHING! but he did prove that there is no routine in Abacus to calculate strain gradients – the holy grail of flexo research. So I would need to write the subroutine by myself.  If I can do this, I might as well write the complete subroutine to be able to calculate the polarization values directly – this would be a small step for mechanics, but a giant leap for me. Go me!!
  3. With all of this, I might as well finite element analysis. Which apparently is the basis of all of modern mechanics.

I guess Ak would come and kiss me if I do all this. Maybe I should get two PhD’s for this, instead of one? Some I should look into. If only I had an identical twin brother. Damn random gene pairing rules.

But I should do this task. It is not only a great intellectual challenge, but might propel me from an average student to a research biggie. I should do this..i should ..

  • The short story collection – This is like the one of my oldest dreams. Something that I have wanted all my life. Seriously, I think that this is one of oldest of my unfulfilled dreams. Plus, if I just worked out in the gym and studied for my research it wouldn’t be a medical leave would it? 20 stories should ought to do it. I so far have one. I’m 5 % of the way there. Way to go Lord, way to Go!
  • Design the website – I have been wanting to design the AK group homepage since forever. This might I might actually be able to do it.

I return back having designed the website and having solved the torsion problem; AK would overflow with tears of joy. And I can forever look back and call this my Happy hour. I should do this. Plus, from what I see so far, this is kinda fun!

  •  Work on Depression methods – practice and perfect Wakeful meditation. I should do this, no question about it.
  • Also, learn General relativity ? – this involved tensors, manifolds and field equations. Ambitious but achievable

I guess that’s it. My stepping stones to greatness. I will elaborate on each of them in subsequent posts. There is a story behind each. It should be fun.

So there it is – 99 days to go! Come D-Day May 22, 2012!!!

LordGabbana! Prepare for greatness!!