Category Archives: Misc Thoughts

Do the Hard Things

You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.

You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.

You have to give more than you get in return right away.

You have to care more about others than they care about you.

You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.

You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.

You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.

You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.

You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers you don’t have.

You have to grind out the details when it’s easier to shrug them off.

You have to deliver results when making excuses is an option.

You have to search for your own explanations even when you’re told to accept the “facts.”

You have to make mistakes and look like an idiot.

You have to try and fail and try again.

You have to run faster even though you’re out of breath.

You have to be kind to people who have been cruel to you.

You have to meet deadlines that are unreasonable and deliver results that are unparalleled.

You have to be accountable for your actions even when things go wrong.

You have to keep moving towards where you want to be no matter what’s in front of you.

You have to do the hard things. The things that no one else is doing. The things that scare you. The things that make you wonder how much longer you can hold on.

Those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between living a life of mediocrity or outrageous success.

The hard things are the easiest things to avoid. To excuse away. To pretend like they don’t apply to you.

The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don’t have the courage — or desperation — to do.

Do the hard things. You might be surprised at how amazing you really are.

 

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Emancipation from GPS

For the last 18+ years that I have been driving in USA I have never used a GPS. I was gifted a GPS from my employers in 2008 but gave it to someone else.

I have driven in a lot of major cities – Seattle, Vancouver, Quebec, Boston, NY, San Francisco, Phoenix, Salt Lake City as well as remote areas like Utah, Arizona, Maine, Vermont and lot of South Florida without ever using any GPS.

Yes, I have got lost in about 10% of the cases – but that has been when – the roads have not been labelled properly especially in Boston.

I was never into gadgets. One of my former employers ( small company of 25 people ) used to give all employee Christmas gifts and for a few successive years
we got iPod ( 2006 ), Kindle, iPad.

I always hated relying on gadgets – more so – because – I was scared to become over reliant on them to the point of extinguishing
my memory and some left over brain power.

This idea of not using the GPS has given me an immense sense of adventure, pleasure sometimes venturing into the unknown and of course
extremely sharp sense of direction – especially a good understanding of where I am and where I need to go to arrive at my destination.

So how do I get directions and drive around. Well here is my story of finding directions and navigating.

Each and every time I have have to go somewhere – when at home / office – I open up Google Maps, get the address and figure out the direction using my
perception of distance and the route that best suits me. I first get an orientation of the place as to where it is located from a Bird’s eye perspective.
Then I slowly drill down and figure out the best Freeway to use to arrive closer to the destination and what other extra streets I have to
maneouvre through to get to my destination. Once I figure out the Freeway and which exit to take, I drill down to the street level and figure out the directions and turns
I have to go through to reach my destination and sort of memorize the image within my brain.

This has worked for me most of the time and previously I used to focus on the destination street and the street names I have to go through with the turns etc to
arrive at the destination street. However, at the start I often used to miss some of the intermediate streets where I have to take the turn – either I was
driving too fast or not focussed.

However, with practise over the years now, I do also make a point to observer/remember ( while studying the maps ) the names of 1 or 2 streets ahead where I have to make the turn,
so that I can slow down appropriately when I approach the turn(s) I have to take.

This mental and driving exercise has fine tuned my spatial orientation as well as my memory to an extent that now I can confidently venture out almost anywhere
without GPS and relying on any navigation device.

However, I am fascinated with 2 things about GPS – how GPS signals can be blocked by GPS Jammers and more importantly – how GPS relies on Einstein’s theory of Relativity to make corrections all the time due to relativistic effects 🙂

 

 

 

How I have solved some very difficult / hard problems

During my last 4 years, I have solved a lot of hard difficult technical problems.
These problems have existed in myraid layers of the system and spanned from UI, Performance, DB to Network apart from Configurational and Environmental problems.

The challenge has been to find out where the problem is and then how to solve it in the most elegant and efficient way.

While solving these hard problem it has been a learning and growing process for me.

Here are some thoughts on how I do it, I am trying to document how I approach problems which may be of help to you.

Here are some comments – I get as a compliment from my peers and management when I solve these problems.

“Sumit is go-to guy for hard technical problems”
“There is not too big of a challenge for Sumit. Over a year passed working on the same product, and whenever development was faced by hard situations, I have witnessed Sumit take the initiative over and over to resolve the issues with clever and simple solutions in a timely manner”

Apart from Passion, Motivation and Perseverance I think there are other factors that have helped me

Sometimes a lot of these problems have kept me thinking more than days / weeks.

1. Keeping a clear mind, believe in yourself – remember the quote
“No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.” – Voltaire

2. Talk about the problem – to your mother, wife, and of course peers. The more you talk the more it reveals how much you know of the problem. Like it is said – that you learn best when you teach – it is the same concept. When we talk and explain the problem to others you end up provoking some state of your brain that triggers other questions and helps you to get closer to the answers.

3. Ask more and more questions to the problem poser – “A wise man’s question contains half the answer.” – Solomon Ibn Gabirol
The more questions you ask – the better picture you get about the problem. The more you know about the problem – the better conceptual clarity you get and helps you in figuring out the solution space and solution path.

4. Find out where the problem could be. All of us work with complex systems and the problem could be hiding in any layer of the system. Theorize multiple places where the problem could be. List them out – try to see how exhaustive list you can make.

5.    Investigate each points as outlined in the list of possible places – carefully and eliminate options one by one. This reduces the solution space and helps you slowly to converge to the solution.
Never eliminate a solution just by guessing – have hard facts and experiments to prove – why you eliminated it. If you eliminated it very easily may be then you had not chosen the option correctly in the previous step.

6.    Listen to what others say about the problem. Listening always helps – you never know when someone’s words / phrases help trigger something in your brain that can push you towards the solution.

7.     Keep away from the computers – do not stare at the computer always – I have noticed – when I am in the middle of solving these difficult problems – I am most at ease and calm and poised.
This helps to trigger thoughts in the brain which probably will not – if you are stressed, too fast or are nervous. Look out of the window – look into open spaces, look into greenery. I was offered an Office when I was promoted to an Architect role – but I declined. I have seen my thinking gets messed up when I am in closed spaces. In my cube – I have a lot further to look out and also conversations from other developers helps me learn tits bit of information.

I would rather say – if the weather is good – best to take a walk now and then and think about the problem in a different posture / different environment / surroundings.

8.    Take shower – I shower once or twice a day, but when I am confronted with these hard problems I shower more than 2 times a day. When I am in a shower, I have noticed I get more ideas, thoughts and I am away from other noise and distractions and can concentrate on the problem.

9.    Use the right tools to monitor data and gather and organize the data carefully so that it is handy

10.    When you need help – always ask for people to chip in. Like for Networking related issues – I am not an expert – and whenever I needed – I called IT department’s help to unblock me / educate me

11. Dream about the problem – try to think about the problem at the end of the day – lying on the bed staring at the night sky. This helps the brain to clear all cobwebs and think in a focussed way on the problem

12. If you think that you have zerod in on the solution space OR know where the problem could be – Write small prototype and confirm your thoughts.

Above all – keep yourself sharp, keep yourself updated – if possible try to read as much as you can.
To keep myself sharp I do couple of things almost everyday – solve 1 puzzle every 1-2 days.

I never use GPS – when I need to go to a new place – I look up Google maps and clearly picture the path in my mind and go.

Yoga and exercise are part of my weekly routine. I do different exercises on the weekends to keep the variety.

I Play Badminton / Swim a mile at least once a week.

I have not watched TV for the last 4-5 years, if I have to watch news I go to the internet and watch it.

If I have to watch a movie I go to netflix and get it.

As an added relaxation – I recently bought an astronomical binocular and on good nights – I watch stars and nebulaes and get lost in space.

I am a gadget less person – I feel the more I rely on gadgets – the more my mind becomes useless.

What I am essentially saying is – learn to relax well – if possible all the time after a hard day of work but more so when you are in the middle of solving complicated hard problems.

I am not saying not to have gadgets – but – just saying do not become a savant of gadgets – it ruins your thinking clarity.

There was a time when I could remember Car Plate Numbers and associate them with my friends Phone numbers and their name all in my head. Now I am getting old may be that is fading slowly but I still keep trying.

For example – I work as a part time BI developer at Jaspersoft ( remotely located for me ). Some customer of them had a bug on a Data issue and how an MDX Query was not using an Aggregate ( summarized ) table to get better performance for the query. JAspersoft put me on this problem to figure out the root cause.

Initially I had a slow run with the bug – I got used to their data and schema and also the MDX Query. I ran a lot of SQL Queries bny hand to understand the nature of their data and of the original MDX Query. Over 2 days I thought and thought and played around a bit from time to time with their data to get my head wrapped around the issue but a clear logical answer evaded me – as to why the OLAP Engine was not using an Aggregate table.

Then after 2 days of thinking – next day – I decided to get up late from bed ( unlike other days when I am out of the bed by 4.30 am ).

That day (10th Oct, 2010) – which is Fall / Autumn time in Boston, New England – I went out with my family to Old Sturbridge Village

osv.org – and spent the whole day there out in the sun, in nature with my family and enjoying the place – but at the back of my mind – always thinking of the problem and what the next steps would be.

I came back from there in the evening – sat down with my laptop after a shower – wrote some more queries and the answer came to my mind immediately – I got excited and knew why the OLAP Engine was not using the Aggregated table and it was doing it correctly.

I was really happy after that.

The best part after solving the problem is – it gives you so much exhilaration and jubilation that everything you had done to solve the problem become all the more important.

Hope you find this useful.

LateNight Thoughts Lying on bed staring into Deep Space

Wonder if Gravitons really do exists.  Applying the analogy to Magnetism we do not have magnetrons. How do magnets work.

If Graviton is a particle – they must be smaller than electrons ( since electrons would also exert gravity and possess gravity ).

So are we all made out of gravitons

Can we define something called as Amount of Light. Does light have mass ?

  • Is the amount of energy and matter in the universe constant, if that is so then how and when was it decided how much was to be there ?
  • How much energy or mass can a region of space hold ??
  • Why is the Orbit of most of the planets elliptical. Was their a reason for them to be circular ?
  • Can there be a region of space where we cannot put any matter – sort of matter resistant ?
  • Why does not all the Gases in the Earth’s atmosphere come down to earth  because of the gravity of the earth ?
  • Can we find the point in space where big bang started ?
  • Why is the rainbow curved and why only the outline, why not everywhere in the sky, because the water drop lets are               all there. Also why the curve ?? Is there a connection with the radius of the arc ??
  • Is gravity a result of rotation ???? Even at the Quantum level particles exhibit it because of rotation. If the earth stops rotating – will be have the same gravity ?
  • IS it possible that the ET is transmitting using Dark Energy where we can’t even listen since we do not have a full explanation of it yet.
  • Can we simulate the Universe in an area of Space – in Space (not on earth since the G will cause different effects ) Lets say we enclose an area of space in Space – about 1 mile in all directions Sphere of 1 mile Diameter. Then shoot some matter into it and see what happens
  • What will happen to the water in the oceans if the G on earth becomes == 0, will it go into space and float around the earth Will the trees stay stuck or will they also move out.
  • Can the G of a body in space increase over time
  • Can the animals feel the G on earth. Would they be able to acclamatize to a lower/higher G better than humans.
  • What about the plants and trees, would they grow with a higher/lower G
  • Like inside a Submarine when u go to about 100 feet, u cannot see the color red. That is because the red light cannot reach that depth and water filters it out.
  • Is color a perception of the human eye or is it a perception of the brain or is it something in nature.Do animals see different colors.
  • I feel that there are more colors in the universe that we can see or perceive. Like the submarine case, may be if we go into a different place in the universe we can see less color or more color depending on filtering in that medium local to that portion of the universe
  • How does one navigate in Space. How can a Space Shuttle direct itself towards a Star ?
  • Like light cannot pass through a opaque object, is there something – some material in the universe through which the gavity waves cannot pass ?
  • Have Hydroelectric generators at the beaches, so the tides of water will drive the Blades of the motor. The tides are generated by Gravity of sun and moon and hence these ocean tides can give us energy ?
  • Will a piece of radioactive material have any radiation or will there be a change in its Half-Life if it travels at the speed of light. since then the time will flow slowly.
  • Is it possible that different parts of the universe is expanding at a different rate.
  • Earth quakes would also generate gravity waves that would be released to space as well
  • Can a water animal – like fish, tortoise, or Whale know that the earth is round. I think we are in a similar state of mind, we cannot from within the universe know what the topology of the universe is.
  • We do not know what is there beyond the 12 Billion Light year scale since we have not seen light from that period, What is there, where the matter can go furthur ahead
  • Imagine an Alien being that can take a step that is 1 light years long
  • I feel there are more colors than the human eye can see. Like there are Sounds that the Human ear cannot hear
  • I feel that we cannot imagine something beyond the speed of light because our senses are not made to visualise that. Because our nerves cannot trasmit anything beyond the speed of light. Sometimes, I feel that speeds greater than light is possible.

My friend thoughtful paintings

My friends Painting :

The one I liked most – has the message

Boat to Nowhere could represent the modern man.  The deep sea of spirituality is quite nearby but he turns away from it towards the dry, arid land of materialism and blind consumption.  He feels just as empty as this boat is.  He is looking for happiness but he looks in the wrong direction.  The sea from which he originated and which could take him on a memorable voyage remains neglected but waiting for him to come back.