Quotes: December Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in December:

Time devours all. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

All life is an experiment. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

In the face of the inevitable, the only choice is to adapt. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

What’s the point of jumping onto a reef just a few steps from shore? — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

There are many ways to say I love you in this cold, dark, silent universe, as many as the twinkling stars. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

He said nothing, either in her mind or aloud, which was his way of saying all that he needed to say. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

“The fading sunlight holds infinite beauty
Though it is so close to the day’s end.”
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

We are defined by the places we hold in the web of others’ lives. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Every night, when you stand outside and gaze upon the stars, you are bathing in time as well as light. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Our lives are ruled by these small, seemingly ordinary moments that turn out to have improbably large effects. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

It’s one of the central paradoxes of archaeology that in order to excavate a site so as to study it, we must consume and destroy it in the process. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Somehow, though, and I’m sure you’ve met people like this, he was able to appear as merely part of the background, even if he was standing at the front of a line. — The Book Thief

A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship. — The Book Thief

She closed her eyes and her ears held the notes. — The Book Thief

Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness. — The Book Thief

There were not many people who could say that their education had been paid for with cigarettes. — The Book Thief

It was a style not of perfection, but warmth. Even mistakes had a good feeling about them. — The Book Thief

You can do all manner of underhanded nice things when you have a caustic reputation. — The Book Thief

“His hair,” she told him, “is like feathers.” — The Book Thief

How do you give someone a piece of sky? — The Book Thief

“I am stupid,” Hans Hubermann told his foster daughter. “And kind. Which makes the biggest idiot in the world.” — The Book Thief

She heard his stomach growl — and he was giving people bread. — The Book Thief

“I love you.” He says this quietly, the way he has always done, as if it were the sound of breathing and heartbeat. — The Algorithms for Love

I started crying again. This understanding, this pain. Was this what love was about? — The Algorithms for Love

Goal Tracking: December 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 December –

  1. 100% self availability over the course of the month.
  2. Volunteered for 0 hours  😦
  3. I definitely procrastinated. In my defense, I was on vacation for most of this month.
  4. Was as honest and open as humanly possible. Maybe even more. To say that this lead to an emotional roller coaster of a month would be an understatement.
  5. Wrote a bit of Rust code.
  6. I read 4 books in December — Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fiction and Illusions (first Neil Gaiman book that I disliked), The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (I discovered this book via the Goodreads Best Books of 2016 awards. This is an INCREDIBLE book. Each short story left me with a sense of wonder and discovery), The Book Thief (I had high expectations from this book based on what I’d read/heard about it. It was very good, but lacked something (in my opinion) that would have elevated it to that status of a great book. I felt that the ending was a bit cliched), and The Algorithms for Love (another Ken Liu short story that touched my soul).
  7. I read two research papers in December — Three States and a Plan: The A.I. of F.E.A.R, and Kraken: Leveraging Live Traffic Tests to Identify and Resolve Resource Utilization Bottlenecks in Large Scale Web Services.
  8. I wrote 0 posts in December.
  9. I didn’t play guitar at all in December.
  10. (a) (goal achieved)
    (b) (goal achieved)
    (c) (goal achieved)
    (d) (goal achieved)
    (e) (goal achieved)

Quotes: November Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in November:

His own age was on the older side of completely indeterminate. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

It seems odd, don’t you think, that the quality of food should vary inversely with the brightness of the lighting. Makes you wonder what culinary heights the kitchen staff could rise to if you confined them to perpetual darkness. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

He seemed more like a succession of extraordinary events than a person. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I’ve certainly never come across any irreversible mathematics involving sofas. Could be a new field. Have you spoken to any spatial geometricians? — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Well no, not married as such, but yes, there is a specific girl that I’m not married to. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I told you that coincidences are strange and dangerous things. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

“Ah,” said Dirk, “it is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto nonexistent blindingly obvious.” — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Will I ever feel better? If you’re reading this, I guess the answer is no. — When I’m Gone

His cheeks hurt from smiling so much, or maybe his facial muscles were out of practice. — When I’m Gone

Goal Tracking: November 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 November –

  1. 100% self availability over the course of the month.
  2. Volunteered for 0 hours  😦
  3. No procrastination!
  4. Continued being honest and open over the course of November. A lot was said in the eleventh month of 2016.
  5. Zero Rust progress.
  6. I read 2 books in November — When I’m Gone (some parts were good, but overall I thought this book was OK), and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (SO, SO, SO GOOD. I’m a huge fan of Douglas Adams, and this book is a great example of his literary genius).
  7. I read zero research papers in November.
  8. I wrote 7 posts.
  9. I didn’t really play much guitar in November.
  10. (a) (goal achieved)
    (b) (goal achieved)
    (c) (goal achieved)
    (d) (goal achieved)
    (e) (goal achieved)

Merci

Continuing my tradition from last year, here’s I’m thankful for in 2016:

  • You.
  • An awesome new job at a fantastic company. My co-workers at Uber are incredible, and inspire and motivate me each and every day.
  • My friends and family. I care for all of you deeply. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you.
  • All the new art (books, music, concerts, food, etc.) that I’ve been fortunate enough to experience.
  • Karan Parikh from December 2015 — for coming up with a list of personal goals and resolutions for 2016. Even though they have been hard to follow/accomplish, I feel that they have made me into a better person than who I was at the beginning of the year. What do you think?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Void

(summaries of and key takeaways from two papers I read last month)

Paper: SLIK: Scalable Low-Latency Indexes for a Key-Value Store

  • Building a low latency, consistent, and scalable secondary index for a NoSQL distributed store is hard.
  • Partitioning your secondary index independently of your data (i.e. not co-locating your secondary index with the data) is key for high performance.
  • SLIK returns consistent data without the need for transactions at write time by using what they term an “ordered write approach”. The SLIK client library shields applications from consistency checking by primary key hashes at read time.
  • I’ve used rule-based programming languages like Prolog before, but I did not know that rule-based programming can be used for non-AI related tasks like concurrent, pipelined RPC requests like SLIK does in its client API implementation.
  • SLIK reuses its underlying system’s (i.e. RAMCloud‘s) storage system to store a representation of the secondary indexes SLIK builds for fast recovery in the face of failure.
  • Measure n times (where n >= 2) cut once: SLIK keeps its design simple by not implementing a garbage collection mechanism to handle invalid secondary index entries. The paper explains how the space saving gained by a garbage collector in their system are negligible.
  • By performing expensive operations like index creation in the background without locking the entire table SLIK ensures that performance never suffers.

Paper:  Caching Doesn’t Improve Mobile Web Performance (Much)

  • Measure n times (where n >= 2) cut once: a 10% increase in cache hit rate in Flywheel only lead to a 1-2% reduction in mobile page load times. This is because of the inherent limitations in web page design and cell phone device hardware (as revealed and evaluated in this paper)A systematic evaluation of the problem (i.e. quantifying the gains of caching in mobile web performance) might have saved engineering effort in improving cache hit rate.
  • I was surprised that page load time was used as an evaluation criteria for cache performance, when above-the-fold load time seems like a more appropriate metric. As revealed in section 3.3 of the paper, this is because above-the-fold load time is harder to measure.
  • The load time for the critical path of a web page determines its overall page load time, and if the elements along the path are not cacheable, then more caching will have zero benefit to page load time. As proved in the experiments detailed in the paper, the amount of data on the critical path that can be cached is much smaller than the amount of overall data that can be cached for most mobile web pages.
  • The bottleneck for mobile web performance is the slow CPUs on mobile devices. Since the computational complexity involved with rendering the page is so high, caching does not give us the page load time reductions we expect on mobile devices.

Quotes: October Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in October:

If you’d take your head out of the clouds and look around you now and then you’d be surprised at what you see. — Asterios Polyp

Life is stressful dear. That’s why they say “rest in peace.” — Asterios Polyp

After all, folks aren’t so hard to figure out, y’know — you just ignore what they say and watch what they do. — Asterios Polyp

How can we call death — about which we know nothing — the opposite of life, when we barely comprehend life itself? — Asterios Polyp

I am the hero of my own story. — Asterios Polyp

Her breath is wine-sweet, and she has one of those smiles that seem architecturally impossible. It still slays me. — Dark Matter

He laughs. Beautifully. — Dark Matter

Perfect in their imperfection and asymmetry, like a range of mountains. Or the shape of a river. — Dark Matter