Monthly Archives: April 2016

All is not lost

If anyone is reading, I have not fallen completely into the abyss of depression. I say hopeless things like “I hate my life” because it takes ahold of me, and it is true that I am dissatisfied with my life, and that I do live practically in solitude because the people who are most similar to me, I can only find here on the Internet. Positive things do happen in my life, I just decide to not cover them in this blog because they’re the “small things.” For example, I did not get to state UIL, but I got pretty dang close given the number of people taking the test. (I took seventh place in regionals.)

If you are shocked because I’m all happy and stuff and then you read this and suddenly you’re like “you need help,” by all means help me. But please do not talk about my problems in public forums, although it has not happened yet.

Just keep it personal.

Anxiety

Yesterday, after the unwavering, impatient voice of the driving instructor resonated through my ears for a grueling 40 minutes (that took four weeks to schedule using the crappiest online scheduling system known to mankind), I started crying as I watched a girl and another boy practice for their driving test. I do not usually cry in public (or in private) so easily; I have not done so in the past six months. But this time I just lost it. I felt absolutely hopeless: two months and I was still having problems making turns. And the instructor commanded me around as if I were an idiot.

Yes, the poorly shaved Hispanic. He must be one of those second generation people. Do you know what the gas pedal does? There are three control mechanisms in a car. (Wrong… every button and switch in your car controls a subsystem.) What are you looking at? Make the turns tighter. TIGHTER. LET GO OF THE WHEEL. STOP TURNING. Brake if you have to. BRAKE. Now gas. ACCELERATE. Keep it smooth. Are you even listening? Now park there. No, not there. You know what? I’ll just let you do whatever you want. You think the car is parked correctly? Really? How do you know? Actually, it’s over the yellow line. Back the car up. Put it in reverse. Now stop. Okay, turn off the engine and let’s switch.


…All right, I need two more volunteers to put on blindfolds for the little game. Anyone? Anyone? “Okay, fine. I’ll volunteer myself for the cause.” Here’s a blindfold. Go out into the hallway.

Eleven people in the hallway, all with their blindfolds wrapped around their heads, laughing around and teasing each other. I look at my blindfold. It seemed to be tied wrong but the knot was too tight to be undone easily.

“…Uh, can somebody help me with this blindfold?”

“Sure.” He simply pulls on two sides and it’s a blindfold now. “Here you go.”

How did I not see that?


“Do you consider me as a friend? What about him?”

“No. I wouldn’t call him a friend. Just an… acquaintance.”


“You’re too stressed out driving. This is something you’ll do for the rest of your like. Take it easy. You’re anxious. Stop doing that with your hair.”

“Yeah, I am too stressed. It’s driving. What do you want me to do about it?”

“Look, if you keep acting like this, you’ll end up with ulcers in your stomach.”

“Fine, I will get stomach ulcers.”

“…”


“I thought you weren’t like your brother and you’re just like him. Pacing around back and forth. Come on, serve yourself some food.”

“Fine…”


I humble myself to the point of depression. Do you know why I picked oldmud0 as my name? Because I act like I’m old, people treat me like mud, and I’m less significant than 1.

I am in dire need of mental help. I am not depressed all the time, but now it seems that I undergo mood swings at regular intervals. My parents care but they do not realize that I need a diagnosis from a professional. Why? Because they think that because I am “distinct” from my brother that I ought to remain that way, and so do the opposite of everything my brother did. Don’t apply to college locally. Do the tests earlier. Do college applications way earlier. Be more involved. My father knows that I am often grumpy, but he believes that I’m simply rebellious like any other teenager. But I’m not. I just tune out most of his obvious advice, which insultingly undercuts my actual intelligence.

I don’t like my life. If a life of poverty and asceticism in India brought me more enlightenment, I would choose it over this. It is a culture of death. They were right. They do not glorify the humans, they glorify what does not move, what does not have cells, what does not have sentience, what does not self-actualize. They glorify the shaved tanned shined legs, the black leggings, the high boots, the crystal iPhone, the golden hair, the horn rimmed glasses.

People do not think anymore. Where are my people? All the people at my school just hang out with their friends and their friends’ friends. I hate it.

I hate where I live. I hate that nobody supports me. The ten thousand words I am endowed to say daily simply seems to pour out onto none but myself.

I must build up the nerve to tell them.

On virtual reality

Many people view virtual reality (VR) – and let’s point out the big elephant in the room, HTC Vive – as “the future that is now.” Then they hype hype hype and buy it. Then they complain that there aren’t enough VR games, that they’re all bad, etc.

But instead, consumers need to look at it from this standpoint: Where were video games at ten years ago? Twenty? Ten years ago we were doing these low-poly games and the best console on the market was PlayStation 2. Increasingly developers understood the architecture more and more and were able to hyperoptimize their games to exploit what the hardware could really do, which still can’t be emulated at full speed today without hacks along the way. Now it’s 2016 and we are seeing Direct3D 12 and photorealistic graphics. No, not FSX “photorealistic,” but as in faces rendered realtime and so humanlike that you couldn’t even tell whether they were fake or real. And in the 90s and 80s, we didn’t even have 3D graphics good enough for gaming, with the exception of some rising consoles such as the N64. And even they were extremely limited in capability.

Thus, I implore consumers not to look at problems in the “now” but in the future. In twenty years we were able to achieve photorealism for realtime applications such as gaming. And now that the whole issue of graphics has been resolved (since any graphics card made since last year is able to render basically anything you wanted on it), we have new issues related to VR, such as wield variably shaped items, move around in a physically confined area (less than 9 m2!), sense their environment beyond sight, interact with the virtual environment? Currently these problems have yet to be solved. But if we literally invented (and perfected) 3D graphics in 30 years – could we not invent and perfect virtual reality in the same amount of time?

And the whole idea of how these problems will be answered frightens me because the solutions might become intrusive. What if in 2030 we simply became accustomed to human alteration? What if 2040 the first human beings entered the long-awaited “dream pods” that would cede their consciousness to the hands of a computer? What if in 2055 we decided to just transfer our entire beings into solid-state drives? What if in 2085 the human race just disappeared from the face of the planet? Soon, virtual reality will become the only reality. And it’s turtles all the way down.

So don’t complain because one day, you’ll miss playing on a monitor.

Deconstruction

It seems that from the very beginning, I’ve simply set myself up for failure. Over and over and over. It’s funny how four letters can describe so much about an individual.

I’m a perfectionist. I only do what I feel comfortable doing, what I know has a >75% success rate. I do schoolwork and I do it well only because I respect my teachers and I don’t want to fail. My brother was right. I only play games I can’t lose.

I don’t want to be in school anymore. There is nobody I can comfortably talk to for longer than 10 minutes a day. Nobody codes as well as me. Yet I have no job. I don’t lead anything except my own clubs. Where are the friends around me? Nowhere to be seen, just “acquaintances.”

You know how I realized that I’ve been setting myself up for failure? When I submitted an officer application for a club that I’ve been a member of for a few months now, I missed reading the last page. Yet I turned it in knowing that I don’t have much to lose anymore. I’ll just keep descending in dignity. They offered me to apply for officer. Fine, I’ll do it.

(more…)

I guess I’m INTP

It said it all. It explained in perfect detail the inner workings of my personality – and more. It said that my ultimate challenge was fear of failure. It said that I am not sociable and could only possibly be interested and make genuine relationships with others who know as much as me and follow my own train of thought.

In essence, I am not compatible with society unless I overcome my shortcomings.

This is yet another depressing phase of my life, as the only window for junior officer applications comes up. It’s just a popularity contest, really. And it is a contest I will lose. And every time I bother trying to apply for whatever, I stumble on something. QuestBridge: wasn’t eligible because I’m apparently rich. Student council: I was never in it. Class officer: I’m not popular, so why bother? Programming club: I’m already a co-founder and nobody goes to the club anyway.

I’m supposed to excel in my own way. But what if nobody realizes that? People clap for some guy who picked up trash. But does anyone clap because I wrote 3000 lines of code?

My best course of action would probably be to see a psychologist. I don’t know what to make of this new information, how that’s supposed to make me feel better. I can’t simply “improve” who I am. Those are weaknesses built into my personality.

Every time I look at a picture with a group of people being happy, something in me triggers. It is not hate, but rather a feeling that soon it will pass. Soon people will not know how to sit together at a table and talk and laugh. They will become like me, except they will not be architects. They will be consumers. The 21st century dinner table will be everyone looking at their luminous wireless bricks, assimilating their souls slowly into the Internet. Soon everyone will understand the paradox I have been talking about for years now. The Internet, because it is inherently a superior method of communicating what is intellectual in nature, is going to herd humanity together… and kill it.

This world is coming to be too big. Soon fame will be nonexistent because it is too hard to attain. People will simply become viral, and vanish like Gangnam Style. I say this because people claim that famous thinkers like Einstein, Jefferson, Newton – they were successful when it actually meant something to be successful. Nowadays success is whatever authors feel like calling success. The truth is that nobody can really teach you how to be successful. It’s just something that just so happens to come to you.

People think I’m an idiot. The Spanish-speaking guests, they think I’m some monolingual 2nd gen because I don’t say anything at all. My parents, they think that I know nothing of what I want to do. They think I just like to say I want to do things and then do whatever the heck I want, like my brother. My teachers, they underestimate who I am and what I do. They look at my grades but they (reasonably) separate it from my personality and accomplishments, or rather desires.

This school is not for me. These are not people I truly will ever know.

The AoS bot that I originally wanted to make

crossposted from the BnS forums:

A few years back I thought of exactly this, a decent bot. At that time I did not have the experience to actually create AI but I started slowly working on a client implementation in JavaScript anyway. My imagination ran aloose: if I could make excellent AI, I could start a clan of “noobs”, watch everybody get rekt in League, and then reveal how I did it. Built-in inaccuracies and limitations would prevent any detection of ESP, because the AI would hypothetically only be able to view the map and within its line of sight, perform some limited communication, and have a reasonable (and adjustable) hit/miss percentage. The bot could also build prefabs, and other bots could join in or defend as they are building.

I thought about a design for such a system of bots for a very long time, and I looked at some dumb bots some people around here made in Python. But I wanted the “unauthorized” approach, so I was not inclined to create a serverside script. I wanted a clientside approach that would be controlled by the bot master’s computer, so that I could simply and inconspicuously deploy three or four well balanced bots on a server. The problem, of course, is that there is a limit for clients per IP address.

The problem in the holistic sense when I envisioned this concept was not the algorithmic portion as it was the implementation and the time that it would take to complete this undertaking, which I repeatedly underestimated. Moreover, I was not familiar with three-dimensional A* or machine learning concepts. I was eager to learn them, which is really what matters. But time always turned out to be the greatest deciding factor in all of this. My time was always fragmented; 15 minutes doing this, 15 minutes doing that, rather than a solid slot of 3 hours of project time. And due to school, my free time varies from 3 nice hours of relaxation to absolutely nothing.

Many of you think that this is my excuse all the time for not being able to do anything. But it’s true, and so my disposition to commit to things has fallen. That’s why I never carried out the whole bot thing in the first place. I just did the backend and that was it. You want to pressure me into doing it for that AoS of the Future project, fine. You want to pressure me into doing it so I can fill your servers with future-proofness, fine. You want me to do it for the betterment of all your little FPS projects, fine.

Suffice to say, a well scripted bot would be perfect in imperfection. But I am not one to do it.

On computer terminology

I see in many books certain attempts to ease the apparent pains of using computer terminology.

For example:

With the help of Tim Berners-Lee, the Internet became popularized with the creation of the World Wide Web.

This simple statement becomes this convoluted paragraph:

With the assistance of Tim Berners-Lee, a computer technology was developed that allowed computers to communicate each other through what became known as the World Wide Web, which people could connect to through new software such as America Online and CompuServe that came in floppy diskettes. Thus came the existence of the Internet.

Authors continue to be extremely cautious in introducing computer terminology in their writings. But the truth is, who doesn’t know what the Internet is these days? Who doesn’t know what software is? And when authors do use the terminology, they often surround it with these metaphors so as to try to compare it to tasks once done by hand. “The Internet, like a pair of telephone wires, …” “With the advent of the microprocessor, computers once the size of rooms became smaller than the ‘a’ in this book…” This is the virtual world we’re talking about here. There is no substitute for these things.

No. Heck, no. If you’re going to include words like “axle” and “spigot” in a book and don’t bother defining them, then don’t bother with “die size” or “parallelization” either. Suck it up and make people learn the jargon. Don’t talk to them as if they were elderly people.

On Anki: 14 months on

Since January 27, 2015, the first set of cards that I had inputted on Anki, I have learned 550 kanji. No, not just stared at for 5 minutes… LEARNED!

When I first heard about spaced repetition, I thought the forum posts were too good to be true. But they prescribed the same advice: Anki. Anki. Anki. Study every day. Mine the crap out of Japanese and fling it into Anki. And I haven’t had any complaints about the system ever since that day, not because I’m an optimist who only looks at the positive side of “good” things, but rather because it’s (1) a scientifically proven model that accurately works with, not against, the dynamics of the brain, and (2) because once you set it up, you can study from wherever the heck you want. I study on my phone because it’s the most convenient, but I have to input new notes on the computer because it would take an eternity and a half doing it on a tiny phone with an even tinier keyboard.

(more…)

The phoenix

After receiving a carefully timed letter from the people at MIT – as if they knew perfectly the stages of grief of an MIT applicant – my confidence almost immediately reemerged after flipping through the pages. It reassured me that these people aren’t demigods, they’re real people who took the time to document the fun in their lives that they have over there.

My brain somehow took what I knew about MIT, who you’re up against, what it takes, what kind of people get admitted, and the passion I’ve had for it since I was twelve, and melded it together. And that evening I felt, since a long long time, that I was intellectually driven by a purpose. I got to work right away: I constructed “the path to success,” what needed to happen between now and the day that I apply, in order for me to successfully assert my worth.

Yes, I missed many opportunities I could have seized, but humans are not built to perfection, and like I’ve said, are influenced by circumstance. It’s hard to get to MIT, and that’s an understatement. And if I truly want to get there, then I will. If I want to be successful, then I will. If MIT has to be the impetus to get off my lazy butt and do what I love, then I will.

I never cared about the prestige and the fame, but rather the people and what they do. The engineers, the coders, the mathematicians, those are my people! I wish there was somebody at my school who would love to talk about Lagrange points and Taylor series. But there’s really nobody to compare to. I’m unique, and thus the doors are not closed.

And even if they find me uninteresting, I have options. The world is growing, and MIT’s officers know that they cannot possibly expand the campus. The people just get better and better; the 10% of soon to be 8 billion people in the world.

The science fairs are over and the competitions. No more awards. It’s time for me to just show off my projects, unadorned and unappreciated, to the world.

So here we go. Another phoenix is rising out of the ashes.