On the software engineering lecture

The last post wasn't really about the lecture, so this one is :)

How do we inspire people?

As we talked about how we inspire people by why we do instead of what and how, it is creepingly similar to this TED talk by Simon Sinek. I guess Prof Ben had watched this before, and I agree that this is a very inspiring concept :)

Software engineering practices 

About the software engineering practices: they are not exactly very new to me although I have no formal experience in that area. Dealing with people, decoupling, division of work etc. are all so common even outside software engineering that they are no-brainer common sense to everyone that has seriously managed a meaningful project or organisation (I hope this is not too biased). Read more »

Should scientists share ideas?

Yes. Probably.

In the last CS3216 lecture, Darren mentioned that it is probably best for scientists to not share their ideas in the open because things like publication is very important to boost up reputation and by extension grants and salary. As a class overall, it was agreed upon that sharing ideas is generally better than not sharing, because people generally are busy with other things as you are busy with your things. Read more »

Motivations and CS3216

Don't you think that motivation is such a curiosity? Initially they all float around your head, trying to be heard by the prime consciousness -- I'm fun! I can make you smarter! I can give you loads of money! I can get you a girl! Only when we are asked by people or write it down will they be forever etched, "chosen" as The True Reason of doing things. The weight of each motivation is however never set in stone and might not even be realized by our consciousness.

So let me guide you around the voices that tell me to read CS3216 this semester, without the weights of course :) (I was asked to write this post as a requirement for CS3216. That's (one of) the motivation to write this post!) Read more »

Blog revamp!

Since I expect to blog a bit more often in the future, I put some time to make changes to the blog, hopefully in the right direction =)

  • New design originally made by me! The base design was from Basic Presentation theme.
  • Removed some cruft such as Twitter stream, not-so-primary primary links, and some backend stuff.
  • Updated Drupal and all the modules to latest version. I did not upgrade to Drupal 7 yet as some modules I used are still not available in Drupal 7.
  • Adsense ads under posts are now only displayed for posts older than 6 months, because I realise that it does not give much money anyway and makes my blog look very cheap. However I still want to deduct the balance from Google  so I will still keep and let it slowly die... (The minimum withdrawal amount is USD 100! So I'll keep it until I have that amount.)
  • Relicensed content to CC-BY from CC-BY-NC-SA, just for fun :)

I still want to polish the about page but I guess this is it for now. Hope you have a good time here!

Do you have what it takes to do GSoC?

Recently I wrote a piece of advice for a mailing list regarding applying to Google Summer of Code because I was a little bit annoyed by the freshmen / first years spamming the list wondering whether they were competent enough to apply. It would be nice if I can share it to the world as well, so here it goes. I copied the post here almost verbatim so keep in mind that I was actually talking to freshmen.

It is really encouraging to see how many people are really interested in doing GSoC, but before publishing your skills or lack thereof to the list, please do a reality check: do you really know what it takes to do an open source project? Read more »

Why we need categories

We like to think that doctors, lawyers, and programmers create terminologies out of thin air to suspend belief that they know so much and are indeed highly valued members of the society. As much as we like to believe that everything we don't understand is either evil or god, terms exist for good reasons.

I wrote this because I need to remind myself that terms are important. In pharmacy you remember a lot of $*#(% things, things that are abstract and may never be seen throughout your entire life. You DON'T want to see EVERY cases described in the Basic Pathology textbook! Rationalizing with myself brings enlightenment, and thus this post.

I shall use this simple statement to illustrate my arguments: 

"He's on NSAIDs." Read more »

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