Friday, July 28, 2017

Eternal Summer


Even if you're a selfless kind of person, turns out sometimes it's easier to think about being contributive to your country, than to be contributive to the world.

What am I doing here?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Didn't Take Long

... for me to yet stumble upon another encroachment by the tentacles of technology. The tentacles have went right into our wallets.

Give me a large image banner that says Prime Student Free Trial, and a big yellow button that says Get Started; one click, and my card is charged $49. What were the fine print? Does it even matter? There is not even a purchase confirmation for the transaction, just a stealthy 'yay! You are now prime stud' and a quiet charge on your bank account. I am so done with Amazon, the account is going to be closed right after all my righteous monies are refunded.

Consumer protection on the Internet needs some law, like requiring the purchase confirmation page for all transactions, or requiring you to key in your secret password or three numbers on the back of your card. Most websites do have that system, with the popular exception of the one-click order and apparently now, one-click membership. I am so pissed at you right now Amazon, you have lost a customer today and have gained an opponent out to destroy your one-click purchase button. Take note, and beware.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tentacles of Technology

Fuming, I uninstalled FB messenger from my phone, vowing to never let it on my phone again.

Just a few hours ago I was waken up by a video chat request from someone I have never seen for years, or even talk to. I did not take the call, as per my usual social interaction level. You can only call me if you have my phone number, and that is if I gave you mine. Distance is not an issue, WhatsApp can let you call anyone in the world if you have their phone number. But FB skips that entirely, you can call anyone you want as long as you're FB friends. Even if you haven't interacted in years, you only met once at some summer camp and never since. It doesn't matter to FB. Bitch, my phone my rules. I choose who can call me and who cannot call me.

And they won't fucking let you choose to stop receiving calls! Rant end. Bye FB messenger, you won't be missed.

Even a few months ago I still had the FB app on my phone, but I have smartly disabled push notifications from them. However, the app took 600MB of storage out of my measly Nexus, and you know that Google paraphernalia takes up like another 1GB. Didn't take me much resistance to remove the app then. Also suspicious is the numerous permissions that you have to grant the apps in order to use them, so they can do their gimmicks such as going 'live'. The best thing is when I was scrolling FB on the bathroom throne as usual, and my finger goes ahead and click on the FB live button. Congrats guys, my first live video is going to be me pooping! Thankfully that did not actually happen.

I remembered a day where the Internet was more of like an alternative place, where you could join message boards anonymously, pursue interests that no one around you has, or just write about your thoughts on the www like this. When the smartphone came around, everything changed in a matter of months, the turning point being something like 2011 I believe when everyone started checking in into places and playing pretend mayor. Phones are now seamlessly integrated into the Internet, and the Internet to real life.

I would have been okay with it, it's technology catching up after all except that the companies in California are now pretty much forcing you into the world that they have created. Examples are abound on your phone, on your computer... With the computers forcing updates on you now as well, sooner or later we will have our whole lives being run by G, M, and FB. Resist the system, and they might as well deprive you of your income source, or even the basic necessities. The wild territories of Linux might as well be our last redoubt against them. Maybe right now I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but know that when I couldn't find the option to disable receiving calls, my chest has tightened as if I was choked by otherworldly forces - which in this case happened to be the tentacles of FB.

The tentacles of technology are creeping into every nook and corner of our lives, and our freedom of choice and liberty are being choked to death by its unrelenting grasp.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Invincible

Third post of the month, fuck yeah.


On the other side of the Internet I have just sheepishly announced that I have completed a 50-mile bike ride (that's 80km for you people in the rest of the world). They say that people who post their fitness activity on FB are crazy, so guess what that's me.

But truthfully, biking is already my thing for as long as I can remember. And being in the bicycle capital of Minneapolis, I find myself on miles and miles of trails, pushing my bike and myself to the limits, seeing how far can I go from the city (and also make it back). 50-mile bike rides are the limit for me right now, but that is way beyond what I expected from myself long ago. The longest ride I've been so far was a trip to a quaint little town called Stillwater, 25 miles out west and half an hour by car. I make that trip once a year since 2015, and #stillwater2k17 is actually scheduled for this Sunday, weather permitting.

Research is hard, and I have not found my limit break just yet. There is a certain barrier, similar to what I experienced with Add Maths in 2008, that is preventing me from reading between the equations to see the beauty underneath, or even to just use said equations correctly. I don't know what it is, but I know it's there. And this is also the challenge I have to overcome if I aspire to be part of the academic intellectuals of fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer. It's very taxing on the mind, and peer pressure and imposter syndrome does not help one bit. But with my dogged determinations I will persevere, just like I always did in facing challenges past.

There is at least one more soul out here recently on the wasteland of Blogspot, and yes I follow all your blogs if you have one. While I know all is well and success stories are aplenty for you on the other side of the Internet, to hear good thoughts on this end as well is very comforting. We all want to present our best sides to impress strangers and not to make our friends worry, but sometimes we build up facades that are too elaborate and exhausting to keep up.

It's the latter half of July 2017, and all I wish is to make good on my promise to myself - to do my best, but also to treat myself better. Trudging through the murky abyss of research, and remembering to periodically look up to the brilliant sunshine and surrender myself to the invincible summer - the season of comfy shorts, fast rides, cool dips in the lakes; scenic hikes, shaved ice, lying down under starry skies.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Midsummer Night Ranting

2017 has seen the revival of this blog, partly because I found out how easy it is to write a short post on my phone. I have no idea who else reads these other than me because I don't promote my posts anymore on FB, so there's a certain level of anonymity which permits more truthful writing.

Since coming back from my short excursion I have had a few realizations. Sure, working in the big US is glamour, but can't beat being able to see your family on the weekends, or even every day. Some of our folks over here don't even go back for years, I wonder how they stand with it. Also, some of my friends back home are working, directly or indirectly on some of the biggest mega projects in the country which impacts almost everyone. Talk about having an impact with your work - at least I am doing some research that *should* benefit everyone in the world. If you work for a company that only benefits the rich and further marginalize the poor, would be hard to get me excited.

But the position I'm currently having is probably being coveted by at least 100 other people in the world and they would just end their current careers if offered the opportunity. It is not a trivial job indeed. Anything I do discover in the end is gonna make some good impact on the future. And companies that marginalized the poor, that's what capitalism is all about, and that's how they recruit the "best and brightest" and somehow that probably means me as well.

Maybe this place is just so oxymoronic like that, a place that is able to paint a rooster blue and call it art. Yeah, just like that.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Summer Soliloquy

Back to school, work, and days of staring at Matlab.

All is green here, the summer breeze graces the land. The nights are not as stuffy, but it is definitely lonelier without dear family around.

Saw a friend's posting about being excited for her interview. I mean, that's great, but after my short trip I remain undecided over my future plans. It is where my friends and family and people I care about are. But then, I might just be looking through the rose-tinted glasses of being on holiday. The trip home was a good nostalgic grand tour, but it also awoken me to the harsh reality of how things have changed since I left five years ago.

I might take a wildcard product design and business development class to seek some new experiences next year. But it can still be changed, but for now I am of the opinion that the experience is worth the trouble. Maybe it was the influence of my friends, that I am also seeking new experiences other than my experimental fluid mechanics games. We are also starting up a new project soon, so I would have to take that into account.

I have been trying to sleep early for my health, but we'll see if I can keep this schedule during the school year. The new rubber pillows definitely helps though!