Tuesday, November 07, 2017

How to learn touch typing quickly (my story)

There is no doubt that touch typing (Wikipedia) - a way of typing on the computer keyboard without looking - is much faster than the visual hunting for the right keys. Imagine how much more you could achieve if you typed faster. I will share my story how I learned this in two weeks.

TL, DR: Just do it.

Back in 1996, when I studied computer science at the Kiev-Mohyla Academy, some American (don't remember the name, it was something like Mike) has organized a computer room at the university with Internet access. This was a big deal back then. Most people with computers had only BBS access using the slow modem devices. I was immediately hooked and spent time in the room almost every day.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

TED Talk. Info-faith.

As a child I used to think that all or almost all information and knowledge about the world is known. My primary source of information was my father who had told me different scientific facts in a way a child could understand. And if he would not know I was sure there's somebody clever out there who does.

Later I started to realize that it's far from truth. As I grew and learned more - I noticed that all the knowledge of humanity is just a small fraction of what's there to learn.

The more we learn about the world the more we wonder. Think of an ancient man who saw the forces of nature, the great mountains, the vast oceans, soil producing food... He thought it's must be created by a God. Fast-forward to a Newton and his apple. The guy was clever enough to come up with an explanation of the planetary movements when he was hit hard by an apple. I wish I had brilliant ideas every time I'm banged on my head ;-). At that time people started to realize that there are forces and laws that make life possible. Not only the existence of the gravity is important but the precise magnitude of it as well. If the gravity were weaker, Earth would be larger and less dense, water freezing point would be higher, surface tension smaller, tons of other effect would be much different leading to a lesser chance of live. The same for stronger gravity - everything would be heavier, trees would be just 15cm high, no much biomass, no chance for any animals to get enough food to evolve.

Nowadays, scientists have came up of dozens of different universal parameters each of which is probably having quite wide range for life to emerge, but all together, being dependent on each other, they form a fragile web of relationships to each other. Touch one parameter and the whole perfectly tuned system would crash like a card-house. You can learn more about this here: Why is our universe fine-tuned for life? | Brian Greene.

That said, it's kind of sad that most scientists are atheists. Just think about all these dependent universal constants: they are all perfectly synced. Who did that? Mere luck? Scientists leaned not to believe in luck - they believe in statistics. So they've come up with this idea that there are indefinite number of other universes with all sorts of different values for the universal constants and we just happen to be living in the best of them. There isn't just one perfectly tuned universe but lots of them. And the life in other unsuitable universes just doesn't exist to be asking such questions.

But this approach is against the Occam's razor: don't make complications when there's a simpler explanation. One just needs to admit that the universe is created they way it is. The difference is subtle: "created" instead of "happens to be". Yet this gap is too wide for them to cross.

Religion starts when faithful people organize themselves and start collecting money. As soon as there's money involved it's business. Religion is a business of making money from faithful people or people who think they are faithful. That's why there are Jehovah's Witnesses willing to talk to you everywhere - the business model requires new sources of money. Faith is only loosely related to religion.

The point of my talk is to bring you closer to understanding and appreciation of the world we live in and comprehension of the fact that it exists. When walking around, looking at the flowers, trees, creeks, mountains, valleys and while at the zoo - think of the what you see and understand that what you're looking at is a miracle.

Thank you.

Single most annoying Xperia Arc flaw

It's the back cover which is curved and not flat. Not the hardware (a mere 600MB RAM is desperately not enough) nor software (laggy and crashing launcher). The problem is that the phone is not usable on a flat surface, it's rocking left and right when touchscreen is touched making it impossible to operate accurately. And it's curved on most Xperia phones (I owned 4), not just some. There's one exception AFAIK, Xperia Z. It's square as a thin brick. I can put on the table and touch it without my gestures being smudged. What a relief!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Markdown blogging example