Monday, February 17, 2020

Tech Tip: Online Typing Test

I would say that I'm a pretty proficient typer.  While KeyHero is the typing test that is being outlined in the tech tip on the course page, I'm a big fan of typeracer.  There's not much different between different online typing tests in my honest opinion.  However, typeracer lets me compete with other people in my typing.  There's just something about competition to me that really appeals to me.  You can even share links to your friends and race in real time.  But I've been typing for most of my life, so it's always fun to compare myself with others.  I also have a $100 keyboard for "the feels".  It's much more comfortable than many other keyboards.  There's actually a large enthusiast community behind mechanical keyboards.  $100 is on the cheaper end.  Some of the keyboards can be as much as $1000.  I would definitely agree with the sentiment that a better keyboard can make you a more efficient typer.  So if you type a lot for school or work, just know that there's a market out there for nicer keyboards.  On a sidenote, I've actually also built a keyboard from scratch using a microcontroller, diodes, switches, and wires, which was really fun to do. 

The IBM Model M keyboard.
 Regarded as the "holy grail" of keyboards due to its build quality and tactile feel

Monday, February 3, 2020

Feedback Strategies

Why Do So Many Managers Avoid Giving Praise?:
The statistics of the article are interesting.  I think it's strange that managers who believe that they have good feedback are usually the ones with negative feedback.  It's kind of like a loop.  Generally, managers are the leaders over their employees.  One of their main jobs is to give feedback to their subordinates.  But it's interesting that for a manager to give good feedback, that they also need to receive feedback from their employees.  Without feedback from employees, they have almost zero clue whether or not their feedback is even helpful or not. 

The Trouble with “Amazing”:
I can agree with the reasoning for the dislike of the word "amazing".  For me personally, I correlate the word "amazing" sometimes with sarcasm.  In my opinion, the word "amazing" is used usually in only two ways: sarcasm and pure awe.  Both of which don't contribute much to anything.  Sarcasm is just in bad taste.  Pure awe sends off the message that "nothing needs to change".  In both cases, there is no feedback that aims to improve the work of the other person. 

Similarly to the manager-employee example, feedback should also be a loop.

Topic Brainstorm

The Gods / Devas:  Overview article of Vishnu's avatars
This topic is interesting because it's a big general topic.  Rather than focusing on and limiting myself on just one topic, I can go over a big variety.  I don't have too much prior information on the topic.  A couple ideas would be to either do a story involving many different deities from the culture or even focusing on Vishnu and his avatars. 

Supernatural Characters of the Ramayana: Ramayana PDE
I think that this topic would be good because we're already reading the Ramayana and I can just do a more "focused" viewpoint from a project.  I've read part of the Ramayana, and it seems like it'd be possible to do a project over a selection of the characters and have them intertwined in a different story.

The Ramayana Told Your Way: Ramayana PDE
This topic is interesting similarly to how the "Supernatural Characters" topic would be interesting.  The difference, however, is that the previous topic would be more focused on the characters (writing a story with the characters as a base).  This topic would be more focused on having the Ramayana stories told in a different perspective, perhaps with different characters involved in the Ramayana story. 

Creation Stories: Samudra Manthan
Creation stories are always interesting, I feel, because there's always a similarity between different cultures.  Reading about the Samudra Manthan, there is comparative mythology with it.  So there's a possibility to have a project that plays off of that idea where, for example, you could have a combination of the different stories into a compilation story. 

Artwork depicting the creation story, Samudra Manthan

Friday, January 31, 2020

Week 3 Story: The Soiled Examination

Updated Story
Image result for school test
Like Rama, we all have important tests that determine our paths
"You may begin the examination."  The instant Peter heard these uttered words, an intense determination filled the whole of the room.  This was the moment that he had been waiting for his entire life.  If he passed this test, he could finally fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer.  Rumors of this very test haunt the students of the department.  "Not more than even one out of 100 students are expected to be able to pass the exam." whispers a student.  Despite all the discouraging thoughts floating about, Peter had studied long and hard for this test.  Countless nights of sleep surrendered.  Peter knew, deep down inside, that he was ready to pass this exam.  He blazes through the first section; confident that the nights of lost sleep were worth it.  The second section comes, and he has no hesitation in his answers.  After the second section, he is ahead of schedule and decides to take a quick drink.  As Peter reaches to set his water aside, a slip of the hand causes the bottle to tip over onto his desk.  The examination pack is ruined beyond repair. The loudest silence fills the air of the room.  Peter feels the gazes of the students behind him.  The proctor, Mr. Jackson glares at Peter with the most disappointed look.  Mr. Jackson gets up from his chair,  "Peter, come with me."  Peter follows Mr. Jackson to a small office.  Mr. Jackson begins sighing, "Peter, I am upset that you would have so little care in your work.  Go home.  You're done for today. Come to my office tomorrow."  The next morning, Peter came to the building and stared longingly at the front lobby board.  "Congratulations to the graduates of 2020!"  A few of his peers had seemed to pass the examination.  Peter walked to Mr. Jackson's office.  "Hello, come in Peter.  I have just cleared it with the department.  You may take this make up alternative examination."  Easily racing through the exam, Peter gives the finished exam to Mr. Jackson.  Waiting patiently, Peter sits on the chair outside of Mr. Jackson's office.  A voice echoes from behind him.  "Congratulations Peter."

Author's Note:  This story is loosely based off of the test that Rama had to overcome to win the favor of King Janaka for his daughter, Sita.  Rama must bend the bow of Shiva, which is a feat that has been unsuccessful for many before him.  Unsurprisingly, Rama is able to bend the bow, however, he also ends up breaking it.  As a result, Parashurama comes angrily, and gives Rama another test: to bend another bow.  Rama succeeds in this trial and is given the weapon to keep.  I chose this story because it felt the most applicable to me in terms for a modern example.  We've all had to overcome different tests and trials, and so I think that the story can be empathized by any person.  For Ramayana part A, I would argue that this point is one of the most important moments for Rama.

(Extra Credit) Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana, Part A

The story begins with two kings, Dasharatha and Janaka.  Dasharatha was father of Rama.  The capital was very prosperious and wealthy.  Although Dasharatha had everything, he still had no son.  Dasharatha performs a horse sacrifice to have a son.  Many brahmins (similar to a priest) witnessed the ritual.  The gods promised four sons unto Dasharatha.  Vishnu was divided and was born as each of the four sons of Dasharatha.  A rishi (enlightened person), Vishvamitra, gathered the two of sons of Dasharatha to battle against rakshasas.  They battled a rakshasa, Thataka, and Rama shot her with an arrow and killed her.  Vishwamitra chanted mantras, and Rama received celestial weapons.  Vishwamitra tells Rama of a few stories.  Rama and Lakshmana wanted to see the city, so they left Vishvamitra.  Rama meets Sita and they fall in love.  As a test, Sita's father, Janaka, has Rama bend a bow.  Rama breaks the bow and there is a loud thunder. Parashurama (Axe-Rama), tests him with another bow.  Dasharatha chooses Rama to be his heir among his sons.  Manthara, a nurse of prince Bharata (one of the sons), is unhappy at Rama's instillation.  Rama is banished and he goes to the jungle of Dandaka.  Sita and Lakshmana plead with Rama to accompany him.  Dasharatha remembers his curse due to his karma and dies.  

Parashurama, or Axe-Rama

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tech Tip: Dual Boot Operating Systems

This tech tip may not exactly be pertinent to this course, but I think that it's a very technological tip useful to have at your disposal.  For my last tech tip, I wrote about text editors, and this tech tip will be slightly related. 

If you're familiar there are many operating systems: Windows, MacOS, and Linux are the main ones floating around.  I'm sure that the first two, Windows and Mac, are fairly known.  However, not many people are familiar with the Linux operating system.

For a quick summary of what the Linux operating system entails, essentially, Linux is a open-source freeware operating system as compared to Windows and MacOS which are commercial products entailed towards consumers.  Essentially a public library compared to a book store.  Linux is used for professional use in many technical areas. So it's good to be familiar with the system if you're involved in a particular field (although it has a learning curve compared to Windows and MacOS).  I am a big advocate for the use of Linux systems due to the fact that it values public and free information of its use.  The Linux system is free online, and any person can view the source code to see what exactly makes up the Linux operating system and see what they are installing on their computer.  In this day and age, both Windows and MacOS come preinstalled with software that allows Microsoft and Apple to track your information.  Linux will always be free to install and secure. It's extremely fast and memory&CPU efficient.

On to the tech tip, the Linux OS does have its caveats.  It's a bit difficult to ease into:
  1. You must be comfortable without a graphical user interface and be able to type in a command line terminal (There are resources online). 
  2. It does not have many of the commercial products and software available on Windows and MacOS (However, there are many open-source free alternative software available that fall in line with Linux's free mission statement.

 My tech tip is to dual boot (or even tri-boot) multiple operating systems.  You can have multiple operating systems installed on the same computer and use each one accordingly to which particular function you need at the moment.  There are many resources online that you can search up that instruct and guide through the process of doing this.  However, if you don't know what you're doing, there's possibility to accidentally erase your data, so it's a good idea to back up (That's also a really good tech tip. BACK-UP YOUR DATA!).

Learning how to install multiple operating systems is also useful because you get to be more proficient on working with the computer BIOS.  I would say that doing this sort of stuff with computers is similar to working on a car.  You gain so much knowledge about the specifics.  The next time your hard drive fails, you can diagnose and fix the issue just like changing your own oil or switching a tire in a car. 

Even if Linux is not attractive to you, there are many software that are on Windows but not on MacOS (and vise-versa), so a multiboot is still very useful.  However, a caveat on MacOS is that MacOS can only be installed on Apple products.  So "theoretically", Apple products are the only devices that can "tri-boot".