Endianness

Let’s try to get the endianness etched in our memory (BTW, what is the endianness of our memory? 🙂 ):

  • Little Endianness: start with LSB
  • Big Endianness: start with MSB
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Another Beauty

from the same book:

We are so convinced that because our technology is evolving, we must be doing the same. We think that because we have cell phones with cameras in them, we must be more advanced than someone who lived 2500 years ago; but in fact, those people in the past were much more aware of their internal world than we are because they weren’t distracted by technology. We have all this technology, which is supposed to make our lives easier, and yet it doesn’t. They had none of the technology but had much simpler lives and perhaps a better understanding of how their minds worked.

Closing Note

of The Practicing Mind, beautiful words:

In closing I would like to say this. All cultures begin by expending all of their energy and resources into survival. If the culture survives this infancy, its people eventually pass the point of having to spend all of their time focused on staying alive. They get to a point of what’s for dinner instead of is there dinner. Their days are filled with more and more free time. It is at this point that the society faces a fork in the road. We have been standing at this fork for quite some time. The one path states that you can spend at least a portion of this free time on expanding your spiritual awareness, your knowledge of your true self. The other path leads away from this truth into an endless cycle of meaningless self-indulgence which, at its core, is trying to fill the spiritual void that so many of us experience in our lives. The track record for all the great cultures that have come (and more importantly, gone) is unfortunately not a very good one. We can and must learn from this historical truth.

take time regularly to review all the things that you have acquired in your life all the way back to your childhood. What you will notice is that the toy that was everything to you when you were a child has no significance to you at all now, and yet at the time, getting it consumed your thoughts. What you may also notice is that the joy in the memory of that toy is not in the toy itself, but in the simplicity of life back then, a simplicity that was rooted in your unknowing, present moment living. If you look at all the “things” that you had to have in your life through the years, you begin to see that you don’t really care about most of them anymore, certainly not the material ones. Things like the car or the furniture lose their importance and value to you over time. You may even wonder what you saw in many of those things in the first place.

That moment of realization is a good time to notice if you are just repeating that process of struggling to acquire things that you are convinced will end the anguish and twinges of emptiness you feel inside. You come into this world with only your true self, and you leave the same. Everything that you acquire spiritually expands your true self and becomes part of you forever. We need to get off of this self-destructive train that runs on the tracks of instant gratification. All things of lasting and deep value require time and nurturing and come to us only through our own effort. I think everybody out there is aware of this at some level. We just get distracted by information to the contrary that comes at us every day. You can eliminate a certain amount of that by paying attention to what you expose yourself to in the way of media, be it TV, music or reading material. If it doesn’t enrich you, then you don’t need it.

Most importantly, if we make our first item of business to develop our practicing mind, then the process of becoming is an adventure, and we are filled with peace instead of struggle. I have put down here for you what I am learning in my own life through my own efforts. I hope that it helps you in the same way that those before me have helped me, by taking the time to put down what they have learned. Remember, none of this is new. They are just the eternal truths that we have learned and re-learned over the centuries from those who have questioned and found peace in the answers. This is when the fun begins

A Small Paradox between Adults and Kids

on being impatient, from the excellent book, “The Practicing Mind“:

Look at an activity such as taking piano lessons. Children can’t see the point in practicing because they have no concept of being able to play well and the enjoyment that would bring to them. That is why they get impatient. Why do it? Adults, however, do possess an understanding of the point of practicing, and it is for the exact opposite reason. They do have a concept of what it would be like to play well and that is the very reason they get impatient.

On Real Skills That Are Needed Today

From here(emphasis mine):

I do most of that work with a tool called Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails does for web developers what a toilet-installing robot would do for plumbers. (Web development is more like plumbing than any of us, perched in front of two slick monitors, would care to admit.) It makes tasks that used to take months take hours. And the important thing to understand is that I am merely a user of this thing. I didn’t make it. I just read the instruction manual. In fact, I’m especially coveted in the job market because I read the instruction manual particularly carefully. Because I’m assiduous and patient with instruction manuals in general. But that’s all there is to it.

A Model for Test Driven Development

Before I start to write on this topic, I want to say a word on the MOOCs that are being widely offered these days. I got hooked up with edX’s Introduction to Computer Science and Programming course. Though I had my initial presumptions about its naivety, its a pretty decent course. Even if one has a degree in Computer Science, s/he can still take that course and learn something that s/he hasn’t learned so far. Right now, I am having a similar experience. I am learning new things, especially the Python programming language. I am happy that I did not let my presumptions affect my judgement. The way the course is organized, the way the problems are laid out, the way things are introduced, rather silently, in problems are just fascinating to me.

So much for the hypothesis. Coming to the point, one of the things introduced, silently, in the assignments was some kind of TDD – Test Driven Development. The basic idea is to test as we code. For example, if an assignment problem entails us writing 5 functions, then there will be a test module that imports these functions and calls them and tests them independently, given the functions’ signatures. So, when we run the test script for the first time, all tests fail. As we implement the functions, the tests will pass one by one. This kind of development is generally called as TDD. It builds confidence into the code (and into us). The organization (or realization) of TDD w.r.t the python scripts/programs is rather impressive to me.

One more lesson that was sent home, again rather silently, is the usage of comments. Whenever a variable is initialized, there is a comment above it that says what type the variable belongs to and what its purpose is. And then, there is another usage of comments. That reminds me of my university professor who used to say that we should first write comments and then fill code in between. That’s exactly what is done here. Then, my professor’s suggestion looked rather heavy to me. But, he, sure as hell, had wisdom!