- Tumblr offered a much more robust experience on mobile, be it via an app or via the website. Since most of the post I churn out would be done on my phone, this was important.
- Tumblr performed slightly better than Wordpress on slower connections. My connection was inherently slow, and I had had quite my share of frustrations with Wordpress due to his.
- And finally, for a personal blog, so much power as Wordpress entitled me was unnecessary. All I needed was the ability for minimal customizations, and to add a few widgets, such as my Facebook and Twitter profiles - this, I could accomplish even on Tumblr, though I had to dig through raw HTML for that.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
What is emptiness?
An illusion conjured by a weak mind to shield out its weaknesses, a byproduct of a numb heart that fights off further scars, or the inescapable dungeon that you randomly fall in?
More importantly, how real is the feeling of emptiness; how more real is it, than the purported real world that's little more than a bunch of colours and sounds; or how less?
These are the questions that a heart lost deep in the tunnels of emptiness churns out to keep itself occupied, half-sure it can't really find an answer. It doesn't need an answer, though; all it needs is an obsession to feed itself, and a thought that feeds on it. All it needs is to fill some voids.
As it wonders, the question grows, fuelled by itself, blotting out anything else. It grows to fill out the long-formed voids, wipes the wiry cobwebs and whirs the gears of free thought back to life. It grows, filling the empty spaces.
Where is the emptiness? Had it been real?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
"Designing the database? What's the big deal, it's all about writing half a dozen CREATE TABLE queries, right?"
I was working on my semester project where we had to build a complete database application in Java. I had just started my work, and was bending my head looking at my basic abstract notion of the application, trying to decide what tables I need and what data do I put on them. This was when a friend called in, wanting to know my progress. I told him that I've just started with it and was designing the database - and he asked me this.
I was not shocked in any sense, because my friend represented 99 percent of India's undergraduate population, who believes programming means the code - bringing up your IDE or whatever editor and punching in lines and lines of code - that says it all about programming. 'Seriously, what else is there to it,' are you thinking too?
A lot, a hell lot, in fact - perhaps you remember from your Object Oriented Programming or Software Design, this rhetoric phrase - "actual coding contributes to only 30% to the total software development life cycle" - there are equally important phases like analysis, design and modeling. Despite this, when we are given a software product, the first thing we do is jump on our keyboards and start punching in hard code. The methodologies stay in the books, either being too good for us to try out, or just being mundane and irrational, a mere waste of time. So are they, really?
I wanted to find out. With a semester project that need to be completed in the next three days, this wasn't the best time to experiment, but I took that chance. I took out my notebook and a pen, conjured up the my database with the required data, normalized them, refined them; and in an hour, I was left with six tables in Boyce-Codd Normal Form. Ah, quite a feat, I thought, considering this was my first real attempt a practical database design problem.
With my tables in my hand, I contemplated if the hour spend was really worthy enough. I was slightly surprised that it was -- during my design process, the database underwent 3 major revisions, and the tables ended up quite different from what I originally had in mind. If I had attempted coding the tables downright, this would have meant having to rewrite the code entirely a couple of times - that would already take an hour and then leave me in frustration that I'll need to spend the next hour doing something else.
With my six little tables, I sat in to code them up in SQL. After 15 minutes, the database was done - the magic is, no single line of code, no single query was written, which was surprising again. I was depending upon the mySQL Workbench, which did the query-generation for me - all I had to do was create a schemata, arrange my table within it using the well designed GUI, and sync it in to the database - done, and zero coding thus far.
With the backend in place, the next task was designing the GUI front-end for my application. In this situation, however, it was not necessary to actually draw out the windows and buttons on paper before I implement them - since I was using my NetBeans IDE for this purpose, I was "drawing the windows anyway", and there was enough room for errors and improvisation.
Designing the GUI only held more surprises - with the entire GUI frontend ready, complete with the event-handling, I still hadn't written a single line of code. NetBeans automated it all. From laying out my components on the screen, to setting up events like "click this, and that window appears" or, "tick this box and that text-field is active" - everything could be handled using just the GUI, and no coding.
So this was all the software modules, frameworks, and component-based development jargon all about, I realized. And as I leaned back in my chair starting to take a break with "The Social Network", this amazing thought stuck me - for the first time in my life as an engineering graduate, I was applying something I was learning in my books. Absurd call, that's what I'm always meant to do - but this was indeed an idea worth cherishing for an engineering graduate in India.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
What if your emotions are your choosing?
What if you could choose when you want to feel sad, or happy; angry or weird? What if all of emotions and thoughts are just an independent illusion with no direct correlation with the 'real' world and its events? Well, that would have been wonderful, won't it? With your emotions at your disposition, you could choose to be happy whenever you can, even when the whole world pits itself against you.
Well, what if they really are? Guess what, I think they are.
It was about 4 months back that I discovered this simple fact. My emotions are a matter of choice - they are just a bunch of simple illusions, that I am free to play with. As my anecdote goes, I was pitted in a very frustrating and grave situation; which co-incidentally was a replica of a similar situation that happened to me some time ago. Back then, the scene wrecked me off my nerves and rewarded me with a spell of three days of angst, frustration and anger.
This time, maybe because I was a bit preoccupied when the situation presented itself, it was a while before the picture percolated down through my senses, into the sphere beneath my consciousness. And quite unintentionally, I had already pondered over the situation for quite a while and made my choice that it did not deserve to chunk away a share of my emotional energy.
Or, put simply; a very bad thing happened to me, and I chose to remain passive. Result: The next week, I spend happy as ever, if not happier.
This was when I started to get the idea that emotions were really a matter of choice. But this was no more than an ambitious hypothesis; and like any hypothesis - mathematical, physical or philosophical needed further evidence to prove it right. The only test subject I had in disposition, was, alas, myself.
Without elaborating on the testing process -- which for an outline, involved attempting to be happy with another disarming situation, attempting to stay grave when I could blow my head in elation, and a myriad of smaller tests -- instead - let me tell you my findings - that emotions really are a matter of choice. I could really handpick my emotions, even when they bore no perceivable coherence with the event-horizon surrounding me.
What then, is happening in the with all of us usually? I think, its just that we are unaware of the choice. We are making our choices without even realizing it. Of course, how are we supposed to choose, if we didn't even know the choice existed, in first place?
However, there is another, more subtler reason why our emotions evade us, and ends up getting the better of us; this one a lot more difficult to handle. This is not about not realizing the choice, but being 'powerless to choose'. There are moments when you are just to tired to make your stance, or you don’t care - and let the events make the choice for you. The classic example is 'numbness', when essentially all you do is spent your days detached - good days and bad may alternate in front of you, without you noticing. All you do is exist and watch, without involving, yourself anchored in some remote delirium. You will know you can end this whenever you choose to - all it takes is a hearty laugh; but you won’t make the choice, you won’t want to.
It's this situation that's the hardest to handle. Here, the choice won't matter. It is really no different from having no choice at all - worse in fact - you will bear the additional burden of knowing about the existence of a choice, which will clobber your already tattered soul even further.
I cannot prescribe a perfect solution to this situation - maybe presence of mind, focusing hard enough can get you out. I myself couldn't find a solution, a way out, since I got caught in such a pit over two months ago; and to this day since then, my life and thoughts are more a compromise, a deal stricken with the numbness.
However, such situations, I guess, present themselves only sparingly, and for the larger share of your life, you should be able to really choose your emotions without much trouble.
Closing note - choose your emotions. When you give up the choice, even for an instant, the subsequent course your subconscious is made to trace could get too wild to bring back in control.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It was the spring. Daffodils, roses and a thousand other nameless flowers bloomed beside the river. The nameless flowers smiled at the river from the weeds
they bloomed. The river smiled back. The sky shone - sometimes pink, sometimes azure, and sometimes transparent like the darkness. The river looked at the
sky. Never smiled, neither stared; just kept looking at the sky. Still it did not flow.
Then a bird flew by, it asked why. The river did not heed the call. The river did not smile. And it did not flow.
A thousand birds then flew by. None of the birds noticed the river. None of them smiled, or laughed at it, or cried for it, or asked why. The birds kept flying.
The river kept not flowing - for it had forgotten how to flow.
Time hadn't forgotten to flow. It did, tumbling sometimes, sometimes slow. Kind and mellow sometimes, ruthless at other. The daffodils wilted, the roses fell to
ground, and the thousand nameless flowers rose to heavens. The birds were gone, so was the spring, what left was the river - that did not flow.
And so did time flow. The river did not flow, across the white ground, devoid of life; besides the shores that bore no daffodils, roses or nameless flowers.
Then it turned pale.
The river turned pale, then white. Crystalline, then solid. Cold, then frozen.
It was the spring again. Daffodils, roses and a thousand other nameless flowers bloomed beside the river. Then the bird flew by - amongst the thousand birds
that never noticed - and asked why.
The Glacier smiled to the bird. "I'm flowing, my darling.."
I wish yesterday be a dream,
Evansce, melt, and lay forgotten.
Wish tomorrow never came -
No hopes nor fears that keeps me taut.
I wish this moment could stay -
This moment, called now
Would dilate, or freeze - and never elapse.
Even as the nows coalesce
Into this hectic scale of time
Whence I walk,
By funny yesterdays
And misty tomorrows.