Monthly Archives: February 2021

What I would tell to my younger self

I would tell him to spend more time with people.

I would tell him to not think too much about money. I would tell him that I am now living comfortably, with a lot of freedom. I can buy any thing I want, I can eat whatever I want whenever I want, I can sleep whenever I want, and that none of it matters. I would tell him to never get too comfortable, and to keep moving.

I would tell my younger self to never stop reading books. I would tell him to never get hooked to TV shows. I remember long ago, when I used to pick up those black binded books from the library and finish them within a few days. I could never do that now.

I would tell him it’s okay to be passionate about computers, but that he doesn’t have to have a laser focus in one thing. I would tell him to try to live a more balanced life. I would tell him to not overthink, or to be too sensitive of what others say. I would tell him to work on his social skills a lot more.

There’s so many more things I would like to tell, but I guess I’ll end it here.

Other parts of my life

These days I find it so hard to work on anything other than computer stuff. I really want to work on myself, but the only productive thing I achieve throughout the day is something to do with code. I feel like I just don’t have the energy to do anything. For example, I want to spend a lot of time exercising, but the most I can manage is some light stretching, that too, not every day.

There was a time in college, during my second year, that I was super productive in many different ways. I used to go for swimming early morning, then for college lectures, then I used to go for Japanese classes in the evening. I used to spend a lot of the time studying and working on lab work, assignments, etc.

I was in a film-making club in my second year and then in a computer hacking club in my third year, where I spent so much time learning how to hack through CTFs. When I couldn’t go for swimming, I spent time playing tennis with a friend. And when both tennis and swimming were out question, I did yoga.

And it never felt tiring. I had fun while I did all these things.

I like to believe that I am a personal growth person. I would rather work on my physical and mental health, than work on making excess money. That’s just who I am (or rather, was). And I don’t know how to get out of this rut. Every day there is a moment of hope, when I do something for my personal growth, and then that hope disappears as I collapse into the bed.

I’ve read countless things online about the situation I’m in. I don’t know whether I’m in this because of the pandemic, or if I was bound to end up this way sooner or later. I do think that the pandemic is a huge factor, since I haven’t been able to play any sport because of it. The options are limited and I’m personally not too fond of the gym.

Anyway, that’s it for my rant. As for next steps, I believe one thing that is going to help me is planning my day. I used to do that a lot. I learnt it from a book called “How to be a Straight A Student” which had some real gems, but overall wasn’t that good of a book. Anyway, that book had a section in which they told you to “plan every minute” of the day. I guess that’s what I’ll have to do now.

Making two lists of things helps: one for things I have to do everyday (learning a new language, going for a walk, etc.), the other for things that just appear out of nowhere (buying a handwash, doing laundry, etc.) and then you just use the items in those two lists to plan your day.

Let’s see how it goes.

Ciao.

The world needs to come together

Sometimes I feel like there’s just so much pointless division in the world. I am no John Lennon preaching that there should be no countries, but I certainly feel like we could do better in how we treat people.

I used to feel that with my generation, people would finally not care too much about this kind of stuff. But, on the daily I see things on the internet that make me lose hope. There is just too much hate due to differences in race, religion and gender.

I’m totally understanding of conflicts regarding ideologies. For example, there will always be people who lean towards socialism vs. capitalism, there will always be rationalists vs. mystics, etc. There will be conflicts as long as we have a brain to think.

But hatred towards someone just because they have a different skin colour, or because they have a different set of reproductive organs *blows my mind*. Yes, it is a part of the human experience to judge. You can dislike a group of people, because you don’t like something that they do. But I don’t see how it gets generalized and turns into hatred. What truly irks me is pure hatred.

But, as with all things, the bad parts are over-represented. In my experience, there are way more people who are good and kind and loving. I also feel hopeful for the future. The connectedness that we have because of technology will have a huge part to play.

Creator’s dilemma continues…

So in the last post I wrote that when you are creating something, you go through a phase where you ask too many questions and you should just try to push through that phase (as it is mostly just our mind making excuses). Today, I tried to continue making that web browser I was talking about, however, I just couldn’t get myself to do it.

I got overwhelmed by the amount of new information that I was supposed to soak in, and eventually, I gave up. Then I started asking myself: should I make it in some other language? Should I make some other project in this language (Rust)? Should I make some high-level project? Should I start making websites or something?

I don’t know what to do honestly. This is partly why I used to love security work instead of development work. In security work, you don’t have to make anything, you just look at things made by other people and see if they made any mistakes. Then you write a Python script to demonstrate that mistake and voilà. But honestly, I am kind of tired of security work as well. I do feel that the need to create something is stronger in me, than the need to hack into something.

But even when you are talking about creating, there are so many things you could do apart from web browsers. Sometimes I feel that systems programming gets too much into the weeds. Sure, making your own web browser or operating system rocks as a first experience, but do you want to keep doing it again and again? I don’t know.

I love first principles and whatnot, but without some heavy guidance (like in the nand2tetris course), it is overwhelming. I feel like taking a break from assemblers and emulators and web browsers and operating systems to work on some high-level stuff.

So I don’t know what I am going to do now, but it’ll probably be something less to do with the extremely lower-level aspects of computing. But who knows, my opinions change on a daily basis. I do feel however, that if I spend a lot of time developing actual applications, it will help me a lot in understanding computers on a deeper level.

The creator’s dilemma

When I decide to create something, I always end up overthinking my decisions. For example, recently as I was trying to build a web browser, I wasn’t able to settle to any one method of going forward. Instead of actually coding stuff, I spent a majority of my time just thinking about the right way to do things.

When you are building a web browser, what are you really building? By a web browser do you mean the HTML and CSS renderer, or the JavaScript engine? Which language are you going to implement it in? What if somebody has already done it? These questions are easy to answer, but time and again I see myself reaching back to this part of my brain.

Some harder things to decide are what is considered as cheating? Do you want to learn everything from first principles? But if you have already done something similar before, can’t you just use a library to do that for you? But what if that library doesn’t do exactly what you want and also adds a lot of bloat to the project? When you are building a web browser, do you also consider stuff down to the network layer? Or do you just abandon your web browser project and start making a network stack? Haha.

The typical solution to these issues is to just start: works 100% of the time. So whenever you are building something and your mind drifts to the shiny new thing, or you start to overthink your initial commitment, just tell yourself that this phase is absolutely normal and that you need to move past this phase. Then, proceed to do actual stuff and as soon as another question pops into your head, just eliminate it (I don’t know how, but just try to stop thinking about the question).

Doing actual stuff doesn’t mean not planning. Planning also comes under doing stuff. But make sure you are moving forward. Directly jumping into the code without doing any research is also bad. There is a fine line between planning for work and planning for filling up time.

Why I decided to blog here

So I was looking at this post that I found on Hacker News, and the post itself is very good and in-tune with what I think about grad school (or perhaps any structure/institution) but more importantly I realized how cool it was to use a blogging platform.

I already have a static website. However there is no way for people to comment on there. Also, I am usually quite reserved when it comes to my blog posts and I do a lot of drafts, etc. whenever I am writing something new. I wanted another space where I could just write whatever I want without thinking too much about it, since I do feel like writing a lot.

So, if you know me because of hacking/programming stuff, this blog won’t be a great place to be, this is probably gonna be more like an online diary. Also, it feels cool not to have to write in barebones html lol.

I first decided to use blogspot, but abhaynayar.blogspot.com was already taken (probably by me, I couldn’t find any linked account) so I decided to come here.

Anyway that’s it for now, I’ll come and rant here the next time something happens.

Tchüss.