15 Jun 2009

About the Alternative to Knowing Everything

There's a saying, at least in Estonia, that the one, who knows everything about everything, knows nothing at all.

I actually tended to agree with that saying, but, unfortunately, the situation, where I am currently(June 2009), sounds like: “Know everything or become an asocial and die.”

The controversial part is that if one works for one company, becomes specialized in the set of skills, technologies, that are needed at that given position, and then the company reduces staff, goes to bankrupt or just changes business directions, it's next to impossible to find another company, where the acquired skill set is relevant. Specially in a small place like Estonia, where the number of companies is relatively small. As of 2009 there's about 10 companies of each type: banks, security firms, robotic engineering companies, universities, fine hospitals, etc., with an exception of web development companies and consumer product marketing firms.

One might think that, great, one learns web development and one has a secure future. However, I don't think that that's the case, because before the web boom, the type of applications that are now implemented as web based software, i.e. all sorts of business automation related software, was written in Delphi, C++, using Microsoft Foundation Classes, etc. Therefore, I think that it's not possible to say that the things that the businesses currently pay for, are the ones that they will pay for in the future. In another words, if I make an effort to become a top notch web developer, I'll be exactly in the same position, where I am today: I acquired a set of skills, became really good at it, and after getting sacked, for whatever reason, I have difficulties finding a job, where I can say that I'm the top notch specialist for You.

Leaving a long contemplation to aside, I have an urge to bring in a question, what would the job market look like, if machines were much more ample at mental activities, let's say, at jobs that human programmers do nowadays? What would happen to people, in a social context, who do not use brain implants, enhancements, if some other people did use brain enhancements? I mean, the ones that don't, probably will not have any chance at the job market, or will they?

So, in order to be in a different situation after, let's say, 30 years from now, I have to change something in my strategy.

Programming takes a hell of a lot of effort and time, and I want to be at least payed reasonably for making this effort. For example, at one of my positions, at a company that I intentionally will not name here, I learned one programming language from ZERO to an expert level within 3 months, in addition to the company specific technologies and standards. Then the company just sheds about half of its staff. Leaving one small project to aside, all of the development work was halted and obviously there was no need for a brand new programmer, who has been with the company for just about 4 months. And yes, from my perspective, it really seemed that I did not have such a rough times even at the university examination period, as I had while working at that company. I did not receive even a lay-off compensation, because they sacked me literally at the very last day of my trial period. (Actually the story is a little bit more complicated. The CEO got also sacked and the new CEO applied structural changes and applied the layoffs and even that's not all of the story.)

Anyways, the idea is that I know, from my personal experience, that I am capable of learning new technologies and relatively quickly. The described example is not the only example, but I'll skip the description of other cases here. However, coming back to the brain enhancements example, quick is not quick enough. One has to go faster in order to earn a living. As specializing only to a single technology for 5+ years (as requested in many job adverts) is unfeasible, one can only convince potential customers to accept results based pricing. The opposite would be hourly or monthly wage. But this means that one still has to be capable of doing the job at an expert level, which brings me to a question: how do I manage to do that?

Well, the answer is: I don't know. However, it seems to me that I don't stand a chance, if I don't figure that one out. There are no brain-enhanced competitors in the real world, but the job market of today's economic situation seems to impose plain human programmers to a situation that seems to be quite similar to the one, where the brain-enhanced competitors do exist.

May be I'll post something to my blog, if I come up with something along those lines of life.

9 Jun 2009

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll

Well, this is my first blog-posting in English. The reason, why I switched from Estonian to English, is that almost nobody ever reads my blog anyway. I thought that I might make this blog a bit more useful by writing it in English. Besides, almost everyone in Estonia can read and speak English anyway.

So, sex. Well, I'll come to that later, but for now, I'll keep to the drugs part. I started to wonder, what does Google pop up, if I feed it with a name of a drug that one of my doctors prescribed me. Rivotril. I found out, besides that the drug is somewhat toxic, as expected, that it has a "halfe life" ranging, according to various sources, from 18 hours to 80 hours.

According to my practice, that data is nonsense. I take it at the evening and feel well, fresh, in the morning, and it relaxes my muscles about 30 minutes after I have eaten it, but, yet again, I'm not a drug developper, nor a doctor.

I started to wonder, how long does it take for that poison to get out of my body. Considering a fact that I visited gym 2 days earlier, did not jog after the gym, and had a really good night sleep with exceptionally nice, and erotic, dreams, there should not be any reason, why I am not at my best at jogging. However, I think that I was not at my best at jogging today.

So, considering that the halfe life varies, it's no use of drawing just a line that shows the amount of drug left in the body. It takes 2 axes: time passed since administration and drug halfe life. For halfe life in range 18h to 80h and time since administration between 0h and 100h (==about 4 days), one gets the following "picture":

So, no wonder that I missed the "tone" today. The conclusion: it makes sense to use the drug not more than once a week and it should be administered at the evening of a day, when exercises took place. The administration timing aims to use the training interval for drug decay.

About the sex part, well, forget it, but what comes to the Rolling part, then it's not recommended to drive a car, when under the influence of that drug. Some sources claim that Rocking with alcohol intensifies the effects of the drug, so I guess that alcohol based Rocking is not recommended either. Cheers!

Here's the Mathematica source for the above image:

initialAmount = 1;
famount[hours_, halfeLifeInHours_] := initialAmount/2^(hours/
Plot3D[famount[hours, halfeLife], {hours, 0, 100}, {halfeLife, 18,

1 Jun 2009

Üks, tõenäoliselt loll, mõte energia ja mateeria teemal ning natuke lobajuttu matemaatikaalaste töövahendite teemal

Tunnistan, et Mai 2009 seisuga ei ole ma veel endale ei Einstein'i teooriaid ega Schrödinger'i võrrendeid selgeks teinud (jättes praegu kõrvale teema, et kas ma selleni üldse küündin), kuid mul on vaikselt, juba vist keskkooli ajast saadik, kummitanud peas, mõnikord, jalutades, taevast pilvi vaadates, mõte, et võibolla on mateeria hoopis ruumis kokku surutud energia. Keskkooli füüsika tunnis ju käidi välja Einstein'i kuulus võrrand, E=m*c*c.

Ülikoolist mäletan, et footoni energiat sai välja arvutada, teades tema sagedust. Samas,
kui võtta eelduseks, et footoni liikumise kiirus on vaakumis C, saab välja arvutada footoni "pikkuse", eeldusel, et ta koosneb vaid ühest võnkest.

Minu amatöörlik, ketserlik, esmaspäevaõhtune, mõte on, et võrdleks füüsikute poolt väidetavat prootoni "suurust" sama "pikkuse" footoniga ja siis arvutaks footoni "pikkuse" järgi välja tema sageduse, ning siis paneks selle sageduse füüsikute poolt väidetavalt kehtivasse footoni energia arvutamise valemisse, saades sedasi võrreldava footoni energia ja siis avaldaks Einsteini valemist, E=m*c*c, footoni "massi" ning siis võrdleks toda footoni hüpoteetilist massi(ma mäletan, võibolla valesti, mingit füüsikute väidet, et footonitel massi ei ole) füüsikute poolt väidetava prootoni massiga, mis peaks enam-vähem ühilduma vesiniku aatomi massiga, sest elekroni mass pidavat aatomite massist vaid väga tühise osa moodustama.

Kui need massid klapiks, siis oleks minusugusele, Einsteini teooriaid mittetundvale inimesele, see maailm tsipa intuitiivsemalt tajutav.

Muideks, kogu selle ürituse inspiratsioon seisneb selles, et mul õnnestus omandada Mathematica 7 Home Edition litsens ning WolframApha otsingumootor näib igasugu äraunustatud, ning ka veel mitteõpitud, koolitarkuse ülesleidmisel päris hea abivahend olevat.

Aga, ega siis midagi. Siin on mu Mathematica töölehe kood, Copy-Paste tegemiseks:

c = 299792458 Meter / Second;
electronCharge = (1.6021765*10^(-19))*Coulomb;
(* The PhysicalConstants` gives the proton mass in MeV. *)

protonMassEnergy =
ParticleData["Proton", "Mass"] *10^6*electronCharge *Volt ;
protonRadius = (9*10^(-16))*Meter;
protonDiameter = 2*protonRadius;
plancConstant = 6.626069*10^(-34)*Joule*Second;

fFrequency[wavelength_] := c/wavelength;
fPhotonEnergy[wavelength_] := fFrequency[wavelength]*plancConstant;

Manipulate[fPhotonEnergy[prd], {prd, 1.6*10^(-15), 1.7*10^(-15)}]

ourPhotonEnergy = fPhotonEnergy[protonDiameter]

ourPhotonEnergy2 = fPhotonEnergy[1.6*10^(-15) Meter];

Ja tulemus: prootoni diameetri suuruse üksiku võnkega footini energia on 1.10358*10^(-10)J ning prootoni mass energiaks ümber arvutatuna 1.50328*10^(-10)J ehk footoni energia moodustab prootoni energiast 73%. Minu meelest, polegi paha, eriti kui arvestada, kui umbmääraselt prootoni raadius antud on.

Näiteks, kui kasutada prootoni raadiuseks Wikipeedias antud 1.6*10^(-15)meetrit, siis on footoni energia juba umbes 83% prootoni "massist". Aga jah, paistab, et selles valdkonnas mulle veel intellektuaalseid harjutusi jätkub. Selleks, et mõõtmistega seonduvaid ebakõlasid kontrollida, peaks ma vist juba materjaliteadust oskama, mida ma ei ole õppinud. Seega, jätan need vesiniku aatomid esialgu sinna paika ja mõtisklen, õpin, pigem, kuidas matemaatiliselt tekivad meremeestele hirmu tegevad asjad, mida inglise keeles nimetatakse "Rogue Wave".

Muidugi, huvi pärast võiks mõni päev välja mõelda mudeli, kus seisulaine ei liigu "2 seina vahel", vaid moodustaks oma "põrgetega" kera. Näiteks, tekib küsimus, et mis tingimustel on vaid osa kera pinnast põrgetega kaetud ja millal on kogu kera, "matanalüüsi mõttes pidevalt" põrgetega kaetud.

Ah jaa, muideks, naljaga pooleks võiks ju rääkida ka sonarite tehnoloogiast teada olevate ultraheli-lainete massiosakestele iseloomulikest omadustest. Vähemalt mingi analoogia näib ultraheli-lainetel ju, vähemalt väliselt, katood-kiirtega olevat. :-)

Üldiselt, kommentaar Mathematica 7 kohta on, et mul on selle Linux versioon ja see Debiani peal täitsa toimib. Aeg-ajalt küll variseb kokku, kuid mitte nii tihti, et see kokkuvarisemine eriti tööd segaks.

Samas, mis Wolfram'i litsensipoliitikasse puutub, siis see on küll minu meelest viidud absurdini.
Konkreetne näide on nende otsingumootori FireFox'i otsirea litsensist, kus on öeldud, et seda otsirea pluginat võib kasutada vaid mitte-kommerts eesmärkidel. Teisisõnu öeldes, lähed nende lehele, saab küll tööasjus valemeid meelde tuletada, aga läbi FireFox'i otsirea ei tohi. Absurd.

Ma siin küll ei ütle kust, aga teine näide on nende akadeemilised litsensid. Need on täiesti mõttetud. Sisuliselt on nii, et kui soovite asja väga rangelt vaid õppimiseks ja hobiks kasutada, siis tohib kodukasutaja litsensi osta ja kõigil ülejäänud juhtudel tuleb sõna otseses mõttes 10 korda suurema hinnaga (==40kkr) Proffessional litsens osta. Nende tasuta allalaetav Player või Viewer on ka täiesti mõttetu, sest vähegi keerukam tööleht ei ole sellega interaktiivselt vaadatav. Tasulise Player'i eest tahavad aga umbes sama suurt hinda kui kodukasutuse litsensi eest (~4kkr). Õnneks on siiski töölehte võimalik koos väljaarvutatud piltidega HTML-i eksportida ning interaktiivsetest asjadest ekraanivideosid teha.

Aga noh, teisest küljest jällegi, Mathematica on siiski tõesti hea kraam. Kuigi, isiklikult arvan, et suuremahuliseks numbrinärimises ta seoses igal võimalikul hetkel analüütiliste lahenduste ksutamisega ei kõlba. Teistpidi jälle, asjadega katsetamiseks on väga oluline, et kasutatakse just analüütilisi lahendusi, sest see elimineerib ära palju numbriliste ebastabiilsustega seonduvaid probleeme, võimaldades keskenduda numbriliste arvutuste spetsiifiliste küsimuste asemel käsil olevale probleemile. Vähemalt selline on minu senine, 2009. aasta kevadine, kogemus.

Näiteks Octave korral tekkisid mul ühel juhtumil numbriliste arvutustega seonduvad probleemid. Konkreetselt rääkides, kui lineaarvõrrandisüsteeme lahendada kasutades pöördmaatriksi leidmist, siis võib juhtuda, et tavalised ujukoma arvutused ümardavad esialgse, matemaatiliselt mittesingulaarse, maatriksi singulaarseks, muutes sedasi võimatuks pöördmaatriksi leidmise ja seeläbi ka pöördmaatriksi leidmisel põhineva võrrandisüsteemi automatiseeritud lahendamise.

Ise kodeerides on lahenduseks absoluutse täpsusega ratsionaalarvude kasutamine, näiteks kasutades GNU MP teeki, kuid seda teeki ma ei soovita, sest ta on C++ poole pealt väga problemaatiliselt kodeeritud ning teda on ka suht ebameeldiv kompileerida.