Don't ignore your dreams; don't work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.
~The Top of My Todo List by Paul Graham
Believe it or not, we are almost halfway through 2012 - just one more month to go!
The passing of time still often gets to me - I find it hard to believe that 5 months have already passed since I last posted, but at the same time, reflecting on the past couple of months, I find it hard to believe so much has happend in 5 months. So somehow, time is both short and long at the same time!
One thing that I know for certain, there never seems to be enough time. There just seems to be so many things that one needs to/wants to/should do - yet only 24 hours in a day. Not only does my 'todo list' seem to be forever growing, but life seems to be very adept at providing a constant stream of distractions. Thus, plans to work through the list are often futile; resulting in the feeling of being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tasks and things happening everywhere.
What I try to keep in mind though, is that the 'constant stream of distractions' is really just an excuse - life will not stop for you, you have to stand strong and find a way to manage/control the constantly flowing stream. However, having said that, there are times that you can stop, relax and let everything around you flow by. As recently shared by a friend, in the words of Billy Joel:
So whilst we shouldn't make excuses for not always being able to get things done, we should also take some time off, relax and enjoy life!
ps. It is quite interesting reading my previous post (from last year!) as it is somehow still very relevant. Unfortunately, I have been very slack with regards to the challenge I set myself - must admit I haven't really been taking time to reflect at all.
... we rarely take the time to pause, breathe, and think about what's working and what's not. There's just too much to do and no time to reflect.
~The best way to use the last five minutes of your day
Firstly... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Believe it or not, we are near the end of 2011. As the year draws to a close, it seems to be the time when we reflect on what has happened throughout the year - or at least I do.
A lot has happened in the past year for me - in some ways you can say it's been like a roller coaster ride. Some of the observations below are in some ways obvious, but I would still like to write them down here to share and to serve as a reminder for myself.
- Things can change at a moment's notice - adapt to change when the unexpected happens
- Appreciate what you have - don't take anything for granted
- Friends are awesome - talk often, look after and care for each other
- Take things as they come, don't worry too much - if it's happened, you can't change it; if it hasn't happened yet, it might not happen. Worrying won't do you any good.
- "This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often" - Holstee Manifesto
- Smile, be happy. Relax, enjoy yourself - not everything in life is all that serious, take time to have some fun
I feel it is quite beneficial to reflect on what you have learnt from things that have happened. The act of learning and reflecting on what you have learnt are two very different things. In my opinion, reflecting enables you to better understand what you have done right or wrong and allow you to improve.
Unfortuantely, I believe we rarely reflect enough - I tend to reflect sporadically, especially after major events. However, we learn and do so much on a daily basis, it seems like we should really reflect at the end of each day. By not pausing and taking time to reflect, it means we are more likely to repeat the same mistakes, or fail to repeat something we did right.
I am going to challenge myself to take 5 minutes each day to reflect over what has happened; what I have done during the day; anything I could/should have done differently etc, I challenge you too do the same.
Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Hope you will have all an awesome and memorable holiday with family and friends!
If P, then Q. P. Therefore, Q.
If P, then Q. Not Q. Therefore, not P.
~Detecting Cheaters by Bruce Schneier
Detecting Cheaters has been on my "to read" list for quite some time now, but only got around to reading it a few days ago. I found it quite interesting, so going to give a rehash of it
Some of you may recognise the above as a 'logic statement', and to some extent it is fairly obvious. Associating the above with a concrete example may make things easier to understand.
If you forgot your keys, then you need to call the locksmith.
So in the example above, P='forgot your keys', and Q='call the locksmith'. Does that all makes sense so far? Let me introduce what is known as the Wason selection task. The concept behind this task is quite simple - you are shown four cards, each containing some form of information on each side (eg. one side will be about forgetting/remembering your keys, the other about the locksmith). The cards are placed so you see (face-up):
(a) Forgot keys
(b) Remembered keys
(c) Need to call locksmith
(d) Don't need to call locksmith
Your task is simple, determine which two cards you need to flip in order to confirm that the "If you forgot your keys, then you need to call the locksmith" statement is true. So, which did you choose, (a) and (c)? If you did, then you're wrong, but don't worry, you're not alone. (a) is correct. You need to check that if you forgot your keys, the other side of the card says "need to call locksmith". However, (c) is incorrect. The above statement puts no restriction on "you needed to call a locksmith, because of something", 'something' can technically be anything and the above statement still holds true. The correct answer is (a) and (d). In order to confirm the above logic statement, you need to make sure (a) is true, and (d) is true. (a) as aforementioned, and (d) because you need to check, if you didn't need to call the locksmith, then you didn't forget your keys; if the flip side of that card had 'forgot your keys' then it goes against the "If P, then Q" statement. In other words:
You forgot your keys. Therefore, you need to call the locksmith.
You don't need to call the locksmith. Therefore, you didn't forget your keys
Confused? Let's try again...
If you ate dessert, then you ate your vegetables.
So, how do you confirm this statement? How do you make sure that if your little sister is eating that delicious chocolate tiramisu, she ate her brocoli? Again you have four cards to choose from (I'll mix up the options a bit, and don't cheat by comparing with the above!):
(a) Ate dessert
(b) Ate vegetables
(c) Didn't eat dessert
(d) Didn't eat vegetables
Which two would you choose? If you were like me when I first read Schneier's post the answer might've just 'lept' out at you, (a) and (d). You want to make sure if your sister (a) ate dessert, she really did eat her vegetables; and that if she (d) didn't eat her vegetables she shouldn't be eating dessert! Now, did you get that right? or at least was that easier to understand?
If I explained things properly, then you really should've found the latter example much easier to digest. The reason appears to stem from the fact that the latter example is related to cheating. We seem to be more adept at figuring out if someone 'cheated', for example, if they ate dessert without eating their vegetables, compared to figuring out if someone called a locksmith or not because they forgot their keys.
What strikes me here, is that without any "training" we can easily distinguish one scenario from another, when logically they are equal. This seems to mean that we are designed to be able to pick out when someone is getting something they don't deserve or haven't earnt, I guess you can say we're all designed to keep the playing field fair. Interesting thing is, as far as I know this isn't the only thing we're hard-wired with. I remember in psychology, we learnt that humans can be taught to fear spiders more easily than say, a wooden chair. So somehow we learn to fear things that are potentially more dangerous to us more easily. Evolutionarily, this all makes sense. Making sure someone doesn't get all the benefits without doing the work. Making sure that we quickly learn to 'fear' what may potentially kill us. Though that makes me wonder, how many other things are we, as humans more prone to being able to accomplish, learn and execute?
Not only could they not communicate, but they were left without a code to think in.
~ How Deaf People Think
This post is long overdue and thus it has been quite sometime since reading the article, but still something to think about. After reading this article, I realised that I had never quite thought of how one who has never heard sound would think in their mind. When random thoughts float around my mind, they are definitely quite literally a "voice" that is there blabbering away. It made sense that deaf people's inner "voice" would be how they normally communicate - sign language, but I still somehow find it mind boggling!
After reading the article, I thought to myself - what would I do if I did not have an inner voice? Would I still be able to think? I know this isn't the focus of the article, but the thought was probably triggered by the section about deaf people who were forced to communicate only via spoken language and therefore never really formed an inner voice. Luckily research has found that forcing deaf people to communicate exclusively with spoken language only is detrimental to their brain development.
It is good that with more knowledge people are (hopefully) not being forced to do something they are not naturally inclined to do. I for one cannot imagine not having an inner voice or some way to talk to myself and think in my head.
Believe it or not the end of the decade is just around the corner, in less than one week we'll be in 2011! So what has happened for you in 2010? Take a moment or two to think about it and I'm sure you'll realise tonnes has happened in the past 358 days. I know a lot has definitely happened for me this year, and being optimistic me, I would say most of it is all good
With only a few days of the year left, I think we should all relax and enjoy the last few days of 2010. Think of all the awesome things that has happened, the great people and friends you've met and all the amazing things you've accomplished. Albeit there may have been a few hiccups throughout the year, but let's ignore them and just think of the good stuff
So to all of you out there, I hope you all have a great Christmas, be sure to enjoy your holidays, relax, stay safe, be happy
Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. -Wikipedia
As annoying and frustrating as down times are, they are not the be all and end all, in fact they are needed. After all, there is no meaning to 'perfect' if there is no imperfection. Happiness holds no meaning if there is nothing to complement it. This is not to say that we should always dwell over problems and sorrows; instead we should be optimistic and try to see the brighter side of things whenever we can.
There is always plenty happening around us, often so much is happening that we cannot acknowledge them all. So, be selective and concentrate on the ones that make you happy, the ones that you like. There is always bound to be something good that is happening; so don't go and make your life harder by looking at those that irk you, because as unfortunate as it is, they often come and find you instead. When they do find you, don't give up - smile, be brave, be optimistic - it won't last forever.
Being happy is one of the most important things in life. As much importance as society today places on material wealth, it doesn't matter how much material wealth you have, they don't mean much if you're not happy. Life is too short and precious to be wasted on our worries, so instead go and find something that you enjoy doing.
Smile, be happy
So, today is 10/10/10... hurray for special dates! It's not everyday one can add a post because the numbers in the date is something different/special. It's 10-10-10, it's in binary AND it's binary for 42. Though not only is today 10/10/10, it is also October 10th, or Double Ten Day (雙十節/國慶日) which is Taiwan's National Celebration Day. Just thought I'd like to share that with everyone
ps. A longer, slightly less random (well maybe still random, but more well thought out) post is coming... it's currently in super draft form!
"Time (noun): [mass noun] the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole." -Oxford Dictionary
Time is a funny thing. We, as humans, all seem to be aware of the concept of time. What time did you wake up? What time is dinner? When will the train leave? How long is the movie? We have units to measure time - seconds, minutes, hours, days etc. Despite these well defined units of measurement, I feel time seems to be a very flexible and almost completely open to interpretation...
So, it's April Fools today, and as usual, Google has come up with some random stuff...
Street View...now in 3D!
There seems to be a couple of other April Fool hoaxes Google has provided this year
After having nearly forgotten about Google Wave, today, while talking to a friend we decided to give it a go for some brainstorming/collaboaration. To my surprise when I logged in to Wave, I was greeted with this popup
My first reaction was "Cool, they finally giving us the option to have email notifications.", but then I remembered how Buzz 'spammed' my inbox with all those random messages that I didn't care about, so in the end I just clicked on "No, thanks."
If you, like me clicked "No, thanks" but then changed your mind. The elusive "notification setting" is hidden under a menu which can be triggered when you hover over "Inbox" and click on the arrow icon that appears.
Interesting thing is I do remember that Google making a firm stand on keeping Google Wave and Gmail distinctively separate, guess that is no longer the case!
ps. Compared to when I last used Wave, it seems to have improved a fair bit. The inline commenting is win!