Goal Tracking: July Edition

At the beginning of the year I published a post outlining what some of my goals for the year were. In the spirit of being transparent, here is the progress I made on them over the course of July –

  1. 0 hours of volunteering.
  2. A tiny bit of shyness. I think.
  3. Finished the third chapter of the Rust book.
  4. 3 books read — Galapagos (loved it), Breakfast of Champions (my least favorite Vonnegut book so far), and Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth (dark and disturbing. The art work is breathtaking).
  5. One paper read (I failed at my goal to get this number up)
  6. 3 posts in July.
  7. 5 consecutive muscle ups! I was quite surprised by this number. And when I say “consecutive” what I really mean is “do one, then take a break for 45 seconds”.

SF

I live in San Francisco now. When I moved out to the Bay Area ~2 years ago I never imagined myself writing that.

Don’t get me wrong; I love SF. But the whole idea of commuting two hours to work 5 days of the week (I work in the Mountain View LinkedIn office) didn’t really appeal to me. “I’ll just go to SF on the weekends! And when I need to be in SF during the week I can just Caltrain or drive. Why live there?”

But then two of my friends moved up from South Bay to the city. And visiting them on the weekends I started realizing what I was missing out on. While it was nice to have a place to stay at over the weekend my friends’ place only seemed like a home, not my home. I started entertaining the idea more and more of living in SF. Coordinating concert departure times with the Caltrain only made the idea grow stronger.

Yet I stood firm. The longer commute times seemed to be winning over everything else.

And then life pretty much made me live in SF — almost all my friends decided to move. I was, for lack of a better term, peer pressured into moving North. I’m so happy that I did.

Living in SF is fantastic. Yes, the rent is more. But my house and the people I live with are wonderful. Yes, my commute is longer. But LinkedIn has a shuttle to and from work. And the days I drive I get to listen to music and work on improving my abysmal karaoke skills.

I think I’m happier here. There are so many good restaurants and bars here it is ridiculous. The city is, in my opinion, extremely beautiful. There is always something happening and something to do (though I’m yet to take full advantage of this). If I go out I know I have my home to go back to. I don’t have to worry about missing the last bit of a concert in order to get on the last Caltrain back to South Bay.

One of my friends once said that he is happier in SF and I didn’t understand what he meant, until now.

Here’s to many more years in San Francisco.

This post wouldn't be complete without a (quite terrible) picture of Golden Gate Bridge.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a (quite terrible) picture of Golden Gate Bridge.

Goal Tracking: June Edition

At the beginning of the year I published a post outlining what some of my goals for the year were. In the spirit of being transparent, here is the progress I made on them over the course of June –

  1. 0 hours of volunteering.
  2. No shyness.
  3. Installed Rust and read the first two chapters of the Rust book (I seemed to have not tracked this for the past two months)
  4. 3 books read – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (crazy and delightful), The Metamorphosis (first Kafka story I’ve ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed it), and The Sirens of Titan (favorite Vonnegut book so far; it is EXCELLENT).
  5. One paper read (this number has to go up)
  6. 5 posts in June.
  7. Two muscle ups! :D

Paper Review: Paxos Explained from Scratch

“Tutorial Summary: Paxos Explained from Scratch” is an extremely unique and interesting paper. As evident from the title, the paper attempts to explain the Paxos algorithm to the reader. What makes this paper great is that it builds up the Paxos algorithm step-by-step.

The Paxos algorithm is explained in the context of building a replicated state machine. The authors begin with a simple algorithm for consensus. By injecting failures in this simple algorithm we eventually derive the Paxos algorithm in a very natural fashion.

This is the first time I’ve read a bottom-up explanation of Paxos and I thought it was quite easy to understand. Each algorithm they present (building up to the Paxos algorithm) is also accompanied by a pictorial explanation which made concepts even more clear.

Overall, I loved this paper. If you’re looking to refresh your knowledge on the Paxos algorithm I would recommend reading this paper, followed by Paxos Made Simple.

8

Paul Buchheit on the death of his brother

Paul’s post is incredibly touching and beautifully written. The following lines stood out to me –

On a more practical level, what matters most in our day-to-day lives is that we’re good to ourselves and to each other.

What’s most important is that we are good too each other, and ourselves. If we “win”, but have failed to do that, then we have lost. Winning is nothing.

Ultimately, the people who learn to love what they do who will be the ones who accomplish the most anyway. Those who push only for the sake of some future reward, or to avoid failure, very often burn out, sometimes tragically. Please don’t do that.

Goal Tracking: May Edition

At the beginning of the year I published a post outlining what some of my goals for the year were. In the spirit of being transparent, here is the progress I made on them over the course of May –

  1. 0 hours of volunteering. I need to figure out a way to be more productive on Sundays.
  2. No shyness.
  3. 2 books read – The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (I enjoyed it immensely. I might write a longer post about this book in the future) and The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets (made me love The Simpsons (and Futurama) even more. I particularly enjoyed the sections on prime numbers and topology. I highly recommend reading this book if you’re even remotely interested in math and/or The Simpsons).
  4. I read 2 chapters from AOSA.
  5. 5 blog posts.
  6. I’m still stuck at one muscle up. Getting to two is proving to be harder than expected.