I am DVDKOURIL. This is my blog.

The week when I was sick

I was sick this week. I wrote about that already. It means however that there’s not much to say about my week other than that. I stayed home and I slept a lot.

The weather has been extremely hot, 35 °C at some point. It’s hard to say if it was good or bad that I didn’t go anywhere and was at home the whole days. I guess it was a good thing. Although the amount of sweating I did…

I remember last year when I was sick like this. It was very similar—also in summer (right before our vacation in fact) and I was also hit so hard that I could barely move. And the same as last year, I didn’t drink any coffee and I’m thinking about continuing with that. I haven’t had any coffee since Monday and I kinda like it. But I have to say that being at home makes it very easy to have a nap after lunch (instead of the cup of coffee).

The only thing about drinking coffee that I don’t like is that I don’t want to be dependent on something so much. I want to be able to focus and work whenever I want, without the need to get some caffeine before I dive into something (that’s a state of mind that I’ve been gravitating towards lately). I guess I’ll try to not drink it for a while and see how long I can do it.

On Friday we went to Donauinselfest. It’s a free music festival that takes place on the island in Vienna. We wanted to see Cro. We did and it was awesome! I really really liked it. Although being sober at this type of an event is not that much fun.

I’ve got to say that I’m very much looking forward to going back to my normal functioning routine.

The value of sheltering yourself

I think I need to cut myself off from a certain type of social media. Maybe it’s going to be enough to just do it mentally…let me explain.

I’ve got projects to do. Personal, side projects. Things that I’ve come up with to learn stuff. They are not the best ideas in the world. They will not make a hole in a world. But it’s still important to finish them. I don’t want to be a quitter. I want to be a doer. And you can’t be a doer without finishing what you’ve started.

I have a bad habit of going on twitter and looking at the stuff other people make. Sometimes it’s good to get inspired like that. But most of the time it just makes you look at what you’re working on and get bored of it. Maybe you’ve had an idea that you liked at the beginning but, now that you’ve spent some time on it, it’s not so new/exciting/easy-to-do.

Or in my case, I’m worried that I’m learning the wrong thing. The way technology world works is that it’s constantly changing, programming languages are going in and out of style. Everybody makes you feel that you’re doing it wrong if you’re not using the same programming language, framework, or paradigm they are using. It makes sense—everybody wants to be on the wave of what’s popular.

It makes sense to just ignore that. There’s no way of predicting future. You just need to get your head down and finish your things. You will learn something even if you work on the wrong project, using the wrong stuff. The important thing is that you’ll learn something. And finish something.

This is probably something very obvious to a lot of people but I sometimes need this kind of talking-to even if it’s from myself. I’d love to hear you opinion on this, reach out to me either on email or @dvdkouril.

Had being sick always sucked this much?

I got sick this week and it’s been awful. I think I got some kind of flu or something. I get sick like this maybe once a year and I have a suspicion that it get’s worse and worse as I’m getting older. This time I got completely smashed. I got headache, runny nose, throat ache, fever, and I was almost not able to move. Maybe it’s because when you’re a kid, you don’t really care that you’re sick. You just don’t go to school.

But as an adult, you have responsibilities. You’ve got shit to do. Maybe that’s why it’s been extra hard for me this time.

Tuesday and Wednesday was the worst, now it’s a bit better. It’s still not as easy to breathe because of the stuffed nose and I’m still coughing. But at least I can stand up for a while.

Also the better I feel the more I’m motivated to go back to my normal schedule, back to working. I really need just a few days to reset, but I can’t spend doing nothing more than 2-3 days.

I got a new phone

My old phone was an iphone 5s which I got in January 2014. I’ve had a lot of fun with it.

I thought that I don’t need a new phone, I thought that I really just wanted one. But now that I been using my new 7 plus, I realized that I actually already needed to upgrade.

I’ve been trying to do more and more on the phone. I’ve been editing photos for instagram on it. I’ve been writing notes all the time at work (and in general). Some blog posts have been written on my phone as well. I want my phone to be an ultimate planing and management tool. And from this perspective, the old 5s just wasn’t keeping up.

The 7 plus is amazing. It’s a shock when you see it for the first time, it looks just way too big. But it’s very easy to get used to the additional screen estate.

I’ve seen an interesting video. It’s Dealing with Performance Anxiety and I feel that, although it’s aimed for performing musicians, it’s perfectly applicable to other disciplines as well. For example, in my field of work you give lectures and presentations very often. And I usually do get at least a little nervous. So there are few things I got from that video:

  • to get nervous is a natural reaction of the body to the stress of performing something in front of people
  • there are three parts to every performance and you need to approach them differently: the training leading up to the event, few hours before the event, and the actual performance. you need to optimize what you’re doing and where your mind is in all of these
  • few hours before: box breathing to calm down, don’t try to catch up on the practice, go through your visual “cues” if you have any
  • when performing: you will always play/talk faster than when you are practicing, try to keep about 80% speed
  •  weeks leading up: practice the thing, but also practice the delivery: take a video of yourself, imagine that you are doing it in front of people, perform it in front of few friends.

You should definitely go watch the video for more in-depth information!

How not to look for bugs in your code

In the project at work I basically have data that I’m rendering with a very sophisticated rendering pipeline. I was not getting exactly correct results so this week I had to look into that. From my point of view, there were two parts where things could go wrong: the data loading or the sophisticated, complex, error-prone rendering routine. I’ve spent two days going through every single part of the rendering, making sure that everything does exactly what I need it to. Of course everything was fine. The problem was in a code which loads the data from a text file. At some point I thought that this might be the problem but I dismissed it because it was “too much work” to debug.

It was just a gentle reminder of how much I still have to learn. Sometimes I get really hyped up and I’m excited to deliver things. But then I get stuck for few days on one thing and I’m reminded how hard software development actually is. It kinda makes me appreciate higher-level programming languages and other people’s libraries.

I was at my colleague’s “proficiency evaluation” this Friday. It’s a new kind of exam at TU Wien for PhD students. You are supposed to do it some where in the middle of your PhD and basically you show what you’ve already done and what’s your plan for the rest of the PhD. He was the first one to do it in the Vis Group and even though he passed, it wasn’t 100%. I took a lot of notes and I’m going to make sure that I have a better plan for my PhD.

This week were also notifications for IEEE Vis 2017 conference and quite a few papers got through! The one that I was participating on too! That’s good news because more people are going to go to Phoenix this autumn.