Study or Code?

October 29, 2016

If you are in the final year of your school, like me, you probably are focusing on your studies. Of course, we all know studies are important. But if you are interested in computer programming as well, you would have definitely thought of this at least once - why am I studying Physics or Chemistry if I want to land up as a software engineer?

My opinions vary from time to time. And that is a bad thing. The rational thing to say is that you have to strike a balance between the two, such that you get satisfactory grades (to get into a good college and learn from good teachers) and at the same time learn more about whatever field of computer programming you are interested in.

But then I realise that, that is not the rational thing to say. We only say that because the system works that way. The rational thing for being the most qualified person for doing a job is to practice whatever you are going to do at your workplace everyday. For me, that is to write code. The system is made such that people who are not sure of what they are going to do ahead, get to choose later on.

But if you are not one of those people, you have to face a very difficult choice and that totally depends on how confident you are when it comes to your skills. Are you just imagining that you are good? Have you faced true competition, or are you in a small bubble? Also, are you falsely relating something you are good at to an end result which is only vaguely similar?

From my experience, I believe another factor comes into play. What most people lack is self discipline, so even if you are good at something, you probably are not going to get better if not given the incentive (As in: good grades in college). You have to keep your attendance up as well, which means you will be consistent and get better at what you do. But not only will your skills improve, rather you will learn how to manage time effectively regardless of whether you love what you do or not, and that indeed is a very valuable skill.

The system is not wrong, per se, it is only made for the masses which are not sure of what to do. I once had a conversation with someone who wanted to have more time before deciding what subjects to choose, on the contrary, I wanted to jump right into a job as soon as I got the opportunity. I believe a lot of people do not correlate going to office as fun. I believe every day they wake up, they reluctantly get ready and wish their work got over so that they could go and watch a movie with a loved one. For those people, I would suggest studying. But for people who would wake up everyday with a strong urge to reach work ASAP and work on something they consider magical, I would suggest code, and don’t be afraid, history is testimony to the fact that if you follow your passion, you won’t regret it.

Creating a font out of my Handwriting

July 20, 2016

The idea for this project came due to the lenghty experiments I have to complete for my Practicals. But I soon figured that there are tools already available for this like MyScriptFont.com and so I first decided to see whether I will be able to fool someone, and as I had expected, I can't. When you make a font out of your handwriting, everything is neat and tidy and the shape of the letters is always the same, which never happens in reality.

So instead of creating a font, I had decided to create a program, which takes in several different scanned sheets of samples of your written alphabet and randomly chooses one letter everytime for the uneveness required to make it look legitimate. Of course, it will still not be very good since when you write, there are depressions in the sheet.

Even though I think it won't be worth the effort to try making a font out of your handwriting, it is still very good for designing purposes. For example, the title of this website is written in the font I created using MyScriptFont.com, so the idea is not completely vile, rather it gives a personal feel to the projects in the digital world. Signing off,

Abhay

Backing Up - The Necessary Evil

July 10, 2016

I have suffered immensely throughout my lifetime by losing valuable data because of bugs or accidents. In Breaking Bad, there is this dialogue that goes something like => "Never repeat the same mistake again." and unfortunately I have failed to follow these words of wisdom every single time I lost data by not caring to back up.

One of the very first time I lost data was about 4 years back when I accidently deleted some photos on my Android device. I had a third party app which could click photos, and not being fully aware that I had some photos stored in it, I hit the clear data button in the application settings. The photos that I deleted were really precious to me and needless to say, I never thought for a second to back my files up.

The problem with me is that I really don't feel like keeping copies of the same file in different places. I get confused which one is updated, which one is not and after a recent horrifying experience with iCloud Drive, I have given up on cloud based services. Anyways, another one of my horrifying experiences includes an 8GB SanDisk Cruzer Blade of mine, with the only copies of all my life's work related to Flash Game Development, Website Designing, Photoshop, Video Editing, Power Point Presentation, Articles... in short - my entire digital (productive) presence.

It was one of those cold winter days and the time for our annual computer club exhibition was around. Every boy, or a group of two boys had a make some sort of a project which could be displayed on a computer monitor. So along with one of my friend I had decided to make a multiple choice quiz using flash. It was all going good, but we were told to shift our files to some other computer as only a certain amount of computers were to be kept opertional on the exhibition day. So I took out my trusty pendrive (which, btw I won in a Comic Designing Competition) and I plugged it in. I had different folders for Flash, PSD, PPT, and blah blah blah, I still keep it that way, anyways, those were all the projects I had ever made. I moved the freshly prepared quiz into my 'Flash' folder and when I went over to the other computer the pendrive was empty. I learnt one important thing that day - Always copy the files even if you don't want them at the source, you can always delete them later.

The funny thing is that I had two more incidents with pendrives, but they weren't horrifying per se, I just lost things I could download from the internet again. So there you go - another lesson - if you think backing up your large computer would be slow and sloppy, think again, you don't need those movies or setup files, I have gathered that the most important things are - work, notes, photos, or anything which you can't find on the internet, even let go of collection of songs, making fresh ones will probably result in better ones. In fact, I had made an excellent web template which got lost when I forgot my laptop's password, when I remade it, it was much better, I have modified it and am using it for this website as well.

That was not all. There are a couple of more incidents, but I guess I got the point through. BACK UP. You will regret if you don't. But the funniest thing of all is that I still haven't backed up all of my important files. The reason why I wrote this article now is because I was going to lose them.

Where's my water?

May 28, 2016

Drinking "enough" water is not something that most of us really care about. Research shows that if we drink water only when we are thristy, we are not drinking enough, instead we should drink water at regular intervals keeping in mind many factors related to our personal lifestyle.

Our weight is one of the most important factors in determining how much water we should drink. There is simple math to it - multiply your weight (in pounds) by 2/3 and you will get how many ounces of water to drink per day. But keep in mind that weight is only one factor including but not limited to - how many minutes do you workout, what is the weather like, are you pregnant, do you have a bad breadth, dry mouth, can you think straight, are you in a high altitude region, do you have fever, diarrhea, hangover, etc.

If google around a bit, you will definitely find some "drink water" articles trustworthy. You can even go ahead and install apps on your smartphones, which take data somewhat like what I have stated above and create a schedule for when you should drink water and how much you should drink. They even come with alarms and notifications for you to be consistent.

But the raison d'etre of this post is that I am creating an android app which also helps you in letting you know how much water you should drink and it'll be pretty much the same as many apps that are out there, but I am making it only to test my skills at incorporating scientifically determined facts into easy to use apps. I have almost finished with the code, but the most important thing would be how it appears, so that people actually feel like drinking water. Also I would try to think of a feature that no other drink water app has for it to have a selling point.

Things to do in Software

February 5, 2016

Many a times I am overwhelmed by the infinite number of things I could be making in the realm of software and end up making nothing at all. This post majorly focuses on what I think is the best way to be good at software without wasting time going in the wrong direction. Well first of all I will type down four broad and popular paths you can take:

  1. Mobile App Developer
  2. Web Developer
  3. Game Developer
  4. Software Developer
Now, most people will be able to tell what they want to do out of these 4 within a minute. So go ahead and choose one thing that you ultimately want to be. You can like two things but it is best for you to focus.

Anyways. Now that you have chosen the field that you excites you the most, I suggest that you should get a lot of knowledge about that field. Sometimes we jump right into something out of excitement without realizing the amount of time and energy we are wasting. For example, sometimes we start learning a language or a framework which is no longer popular. So do remember to do a thorough background check of whatever field you are going to jump into, otherwise you will use up all of the energy from your excitement into something that is no longer needed in the world.

So after you get a good sense of where to head, you start off by making the most practical thing, which can be made through least amount of skill. And since you have Google at your hands, such projects won't be hard to find. Make something that you are going to use everyday and make it even if it has already been made. The reason you should do this is because it is very very difficult to be consistent in coding. If you have a constant reminder to tell you that coding is useful, you won't give up easily.

But don't get stuck at something, especially in the beginning. Do not think that if you ask stuff from others, you will get weaker. Just don't ask consistently but when you ask do make sure you understand it well.

Formal education is also beneficial and if you aren't in it for the grades, there is nothing like it. The best thing about formal education is that you are given direction without putting in much effort.

The four things that I stated in the beginning require roughly the same amount of raw material. That is a computer and an internet connection. Otherwise they differ only in the languages. For mobile app development you need Java for Android and Swift or Objective-C for iOS. For Web Development HTML, CSS, Javascript, some server side languages, and some frameworks. Do remember that for web development, a lot of new tools are coming up, so don't get distracted by them, but do keep an eye open. For game development, you need to learn about game engines and a language like C. For software development you need languages like C++, Python, etc.

Even one language takes a lifetime to master, so you need to set your goals before you get started, whether you want to be a generalist or a specialist. You can also be a generalist in a specific field or a specialist in a generic field, so that's up to you.

In the end it is all about what really interests you because then only will you be able to make wonderful things.

Macbook 12" Space Gray

December 27, 2015

I just purchased the new Macbook 12 inch which is also known as the retina macbook.

It is infamous for having just two ports. But what might surprise most people is that one of the major reasons why I bought this notebook is just due to the less clutter it has. What a wonder it is to look at. Of course I wouldn't recommend it to power users, but for people who want to code or maybe browse the internet with the added advantage of this ultra thin build, fan less cpu, individually backlit keyboard, great display, good speakers, force touch trackpad, and an amazing space grey color to choose from - I'd say it is pretty good.

It is not for the power users because of the cpu, but otherwise it has an 8gb ram and 256 gigs of ssd storage. Many people call it expensive, but without being biased, I'd say it is not expensive if you think what a big deal it was to engineer the hardware of this thing.

The other thing people point out is that it has less key travel. They say that it takes time to get used to it. Yes that is certainly true, but the amazing thing is that once I got used to it (which took me a day or two), the other keyboards felt like a century old, but that is my personal perspective. Maybe the reason of this futuristic feel is that even if I touch the extreme edge of a key, the entire key pressed down evenly, plus the keys are way big and the keyboard spreads out till the edge of this machine.

There is although one bad thing about this laptop, it does not have a very sturdy hinge. If you notice very very carefully, you will see that when you type, the monitor will shake. This doesn't happen with other laptops from Apple that I have seen.

Apart from that, there is nothing that really bothers me, but still I will lay down the disadvantages. It has a very bad quality webcam, the USB-C cable does not indicate whether it is charging and if it is charged. Plus it is tightly fixed so you maybe trip over the wire and take the laptop along with you which does not happen with MagSafe. But I won't complain because by incorporating USB-C, Apple's moving towards standards in technology.

A video I watched on Youtube said that this is a replacement for iPad. Maybe for some people, but this still is a few tones up where productivity is concerned. I can't make android apps on iPad, neither can I do my c++, or type on this futuristic keyboard. Anyways, that's all, I may have missed something, but I guess I haven't missed something that might be a game changing feature. Just the things that came to mind immediately.

Video Editing

December 3, 2015

Hey, I just wanted to share this really cool video which a few friends of mine along with me executed. This video is about the stuff that happened during our practices of a play at our school. We were in total five guys and I was majorly the Editor and the other guys worked with the camera. Do watch it, and I hope you like it.

Designing websites through Adobe Muse

December 2, 2015

I designed a website for my Dad using Adobe Muse. Check it out.

Coming of age of virtual reality

November 13, 2015

Virtual Reality has been an enduring topic in the realm of science fiction since ages, without ever making a significant impact in the real world as of now. Also referred to as immersive multimedia, it transports you to another world (not literally) by replicating physical places (real or imaginary), creating sensory experiences.

The most popular contender as of now is OCULUS, which has been bought by Facebook. OCULUS' flagship product is the OCULUS Rift (image above), which is ostensibly a commercial product, intended for the masses. Rift has been designed keeping in mind the things our mind can get most fooled by. For example, it has sacrificed high-resolution images in order to prevent latency since we can be fooled by low-res images but not completely by latency in the image display. Also it has a wide angle view.

The reason why Virtual Reality is going to be a big deal is not entirely clear, but because the concept of virtual reality has been around for many years just as the internet had been in 1997, we can predict that it is going to be big because Google, Apple, Facebook, Samsung, HTC/Steam, and Microsoft are all investing hundreds of millions in IP protections, development and production pipelines for the hardware.

Working on a self-help website

November 10, 2015

Check out the code at this link.

The French Fries

November 4, 2015

This is a newsletter I designed for a French Festival we had at school. (It is a rough draft)

The H Template

June 3, 2015

A Website Template created on Photoshop

Pepsi Website

June 30, 2013

A website template made in Photoshop, later published through Dreamweaver.

Android vs. iOS

June 19, 2013

A PPT turned into a video - Android vs Apple

Keep Calm

June 19, 2013

Keep Calm made over a still from 8 mile - I am a huge EMINEM fan!

The Final Analysis

June 18, 2013

The Final Analysis - A beautiful poem by Mother Teresa

Loops in Java

June 18, 2013

I was just learning Java these days through thenewboston. So I decided to make this Apple-esque design for three different loops in Java.