Improving My Coding Skills

I recently finished a course on Coursera. Machine Learning from Andrew Ng. Its been on my radar for the longest time and after several false starts, I finally completed mid last month. But along the way I learnt two things: I still relish math like I always did. I understood the concepts pretty well and am able to come up with correct solutions. I am somewhat terrible at coding them up.

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Note Taking

I am terrible at taking notes. I guess I never learnt the skill properly. Until two days back, I had 6 note taking apps on my device, each having a copy of all the projects I am working on, status, todo list (unchecked), and thoughts and action items for each. Each of these has some overlap, so they aren’t imported around. I spent last morning cleaning up every one of them, copying them to two main tools and deleting every thing else.

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Split Audio Files

So we had to transcribe a bunch of interviews we did earlier. One of the sessions was a good 45 minute long and had a tonne of details. It’s quite difficult to manually transcribe this. But hey, we gotta do this. And then we have to do a bunch more later. The wife was in charge of doing this and she was trying to do manually. Then she had a “eureka” moment and tried to use One Note’s speech-to-text function.

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Eco Diversity Project

My son’s school is running an eco-diversity project. Yes, he is in kindergarten, and he probably doesn’t understand the term yet. But that’s ok. It is more to teach the kids to treat all lives equally. But the thing is this – as with all school projects, there is an implicit acceptance from the parent’s side. As a parent, I am thrilled to see my son participate and learn this stuff.

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Disaster Recovery

I briefly lost the site to a sysadmin disaster. Although I didn’t quite create the disaster on my own, I had to clean up after a failed upgrade script. Anyway, the site is back up and even if I don’t have much to say in it. It took me about 15 minutes to fix it. The exact 15 minutes I didn’t feel like spending for over two weeks when the disaster first occurred.

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Poetry

School killed poetry for me. The only poem I grew to appreciate was – “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost – much later in my life than I was originally introduced to the poem. That said, I never appreciated other poetry for a very long time. I blame schooling for this debacle because I have come to realize that poetry is the most beautiful expression there is. For what its worth, words are always lacking when it comes to expression and poetry is, perhaps, an earnest attempt to fill that gap.

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Music

I had never been one to appreciate music. I had a few tracks that I listened to all through college. I still remember the CD that Satya gave me – sort of an initiation to rock and metal, so to say. I wasn’t quite a fan of classical music at the time. Neither Indian classical nor western classical. I did like a selected 2-3 songs from each of the prominent boy-bands of the time – Backstreet Boys, Boyzone and the like.

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Lisp & Thinking in lisp

I am finally able to write common lisp code. Frankly, though, I don’t think I have arrived as far as Lisp goes. You can take a look at some of my work here: https://exercism.io/profiles/abishek Learning to write code, looking through CLHS for usage and figuring out a workable solution in a near-functional manner is how far I have gotten. I don’t yet know to write a macro. I mean, I know the construct to create a macro.

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Netflix & Chill

After a while I found my true netflix and chill combination in the least likely of all the things I have tried – Korean Dramas. And the best part is that I didn’t even spend time picking them out. I just picked the first few recommendations. I am on my third drama now and I am ‘hooked’ is the least I can say. Path to here wasn’t straight-forward though. It is not like one day I bit the pill and started watching K-Dramas.

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Dirk Gently

I stumbled upon this pure genius on Netflix by serendipity. And I don’t think I have laughed as much on anything else. This is the kind of absurd humour that I enjoy the most – I wonder what that says about me, sometimes. This genre is somewhat hard to find, though. For a long time, it was only the Monty Pythons that worked on this genre. Then I stumbled upon Douglas Adams and haven’t looked back since.

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