Welcome to Jekyll!! (Meta post)

It seems like a valid title to mark my ~ half-decade hiatus from blogging. My last post about camera representation was around the time I left college. Soon after life hit, and I never came back.

Since then, I’ve worked at a startup, university, two years of unemployment, and now I write code infrastructure in the rendering team for a CAD company. I’ve tried to be a purist about writing, only 3D software to the degree one can find such jobs in a country like India, which has a (mistaken) reputation of being cheap outsource-able grunt work but not actual engineering/R&D country. Hence very few such jobs.

Throughout my jobs, I’ve worked on scientific visualization, realtime-graphics, C++, performance optimization, nonlinear math, clean legacy mess – but never all in one place on a single engine. I feel I’d have grown much more if I did. My dream of a Carmack-style career of mastering abstract math to silicon – remains unfulfilled for now. Anyways, I digress. I’ll write more on this later.

The point of this post is to announce I’ll try to write more regardless of response. I want to share knowledge and develop more constructive output for venting. I’ll mainly write technical posts as well as my experience working on small to very large-scale software – observations about :

  •  Managing projects/people
  • Good (and bad) engineering
  • Tooling, release management, debugging tips
  • Working with people with very different skill sets
  • Attempts developing as a specialist in a generalist team
  • Meta-analysis on understanding political/social implications of our work; finding creativity within silos of well-defined scope, etc.

Feel free to share with people who may find my tirades helpful, and reach out to me on Twitter.

It takes time.

I recently enrolled myself in yet another new online course.

I say ‘yet’ because I have enrolled myself in numerous courses previously as well. But unfortunately I’ve never succeeded in finishing either of them. I always follow up with the course religiously for a few weeks until my motivation wears out or my fickle minded nature shifts its focus to something new, something it suddenly finds much cooler, yet never actually finishing the previous task at hand.  I’ve been through this enough number of times that I can call myself jack of many trades-

  • machine learning
  • computer vision
  • probability and statistics
  • music theory
  • computer graphics
  • parallel processing
  • algorithms
  • guitar playing
  • running

Yet master of none.

I can safely manage to have a somewhat interesting conversation with people about the said knowledge base yet I mostly find myself  intellectually challenged when it comes to an actual ‘grey matter’ discussion. Discussions where I am not able to contribute even though they pertain to domains of my interest.

 

Let me digress for a moment to talk about two approaches of  learning I have noticed people take.

 

Classically, people tend to start learning what they find interesting, and eventually delve deeper and deeper until they have achieved a level of expertise that bestows them the title of ‘master‘.

Lets call this behavior ‘Depth-first‘ learning approach, since people who undertake this approach swim a lake but know every nook,crevice,fissure and pebble in the lake.

Another approach, say ‘Breadth-first‘(example at beginning of article) is where people swim downhill a river are vaguely aware of its attributes. It encompasses a large domain that can be grasped anything but completely.

I have spent a lot of time thinking which approach is better – To know so much about a particular sphere, or to know about so many spheres with lower levels of detail.

Answer is – the former.

While ‘BF’ approach is suitable when you want to impress people with your superficial knowledge, ‘DF’ approach is more worthy when you want to contribute to that particular field. To make your mark.

Its like when I am watching a particular lecture series(say computer graphics) and I get stuck at a point beyond which I’m not able to understand what the professor is saying( say, writing shaders ) and I bash myself for not being able to understand a basic shader program even though the way he’s explaining the concept is very lucid. It is then when I look at the professor and notice his white hair,slouching skin.

I realized that professor had  put in his 10,000 hours into that field to gain that level of expertise that allowed  him to publish path-breaking papers,do new research, contribute to the field. Earn respect all over the world.

So I kept on, watching the same video repeatedly. It took me 9 times, but I finally got how the graphics pipeline is OpenGL works. I understood how to write basic shaders, how to write modern OpenGL programs.

It took time, but I did conquer it.

So don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it in the first try. The point is to keep trying until you succeed. This reminds me of a thing my math teacher once said:

F = m.a

” akal kam hai? koi baat nahi! aur mehnat lagao! Fal  aapko zaroor milega! “

First blog post.

Hello World!

My name is Nilay Engineer, and this is my first blog post. Since I have no past experience of writing, my posts may seem out-of-focus/unprofessional. But I do not care.

I am trying to develop blogging as a productive pass-time to meet new people around the globe and share new ideas (Let’s admit it, Bloggers are cool.)

The most difficult thing for me when starting this blog was to make myself find a topic to blog about. It was not that I did not have anything in my head, but it was how to pursue a single line of thought with many other things in my head. Even right now I have random ramblings inside, but it is tough to combine them into a single topic.

But since this is a relatively new blog, I am not afraid to commit any mistakes. I wish to mature with my writing so that years from now, I’d look up this first post and laugh about how skeptic I was about the blog idea , how insecure I sound in this post and how much has changed in my writing.

Bragging Rights:

  • I am an 18 year old resident of Gujarat,India.
  • I am currently pursuing my undergrad studies(Computer Engineering) from LDRP Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • I love to gorge on food, read, and sleep. I play basketball, and getting good at it 🙂
  • I have a deep passion for Computers and the Armed Forces. I someday wish become an Army Officer.
  • I recently “converted” to atheism, thanks to my smart-ass friends who gifted me a copy of “The God Delusion” on my birthday.

Besides that, I am one of those my-work-is-my-life kind of people. Hence, I do not have separate work/life distinction. I rather have mundane/interesting columns of distinction.

Anything, however remotely related to computers, amuses me to no end. Full knowledge of Linux, embedded systems, parallel processing, interactive design, realistic graphics and Mathematics are some of the main things I wish to conquer before I graduate.

That seems enough for a first post. I assume anyone visiting this post would be kind enough to leave any comments below.

Constructive criticism is especially welcomed.