17 July 2008
Posted by Sai
Have you ever wondered how people catch on to trends and new ideas online a long time before they happen? I honestly have no idea but BetaNews and MoMB certainly do a great job of helping out.
I've had friends that caught on to Wikipedia ages before it really became something. And Google? I'm not sure about that but I'm sure I knew someone, who knew someone that caught on. Either way, I've always wanted to keep a close neck on new betas and other stuff going on around the web and these two websites have become my new way of doing so.
BetaNews is a great site for software and some new technology stuff. It tells you the newest beta software, gives you links, and even tells you what the software is meant to do. It is set up so you can focus on the beta software if you want, or you can simply be up-to-date on the latest software news. I guess that's how the also came up with their title (I is smurt!). So if you really wanna get your hands (and maybe get them dirty) in the newest software for free, this site will lead you in the right direction!
Another fabulous find is MoMB (The Museum of Modern Betas). I've got to say, this is a pretty great site. Sure it's in blog format (but who doesn't loves blogs, right?!), but this has got the coolest new social networking, file sharing, and miscellaneous new websites. This is probably your best bet on finding amazing sites before they get popularized. It looks like it might have predicted things like Twitter, Flickr, Del.icio.us, and bunches of other stuff.
So, for software, better bookmark BetaNews! And for wonderfully new websites, hold on to MoMB!
13 July 2008
Posted by Sai
For the longest time, I've been wanting to do a lot of push-ups and be able to say, "Yup! I can do [insert big number here] push-ups!" But that devious little exercise always has me beat. Now, I think I may have a plan to beat it.
This does seem like the typical post you would find on health and fitness sites but this blog is gonna have it all (but mostly computer-related). But this summer, I had three goals in mind. One of them you already know (Java certification). The other one I had in mind was be able to do 50 push-ups (without breaks). I really didn't know how I was going to achieve this but I really didn't care. I had my mind set even though my current best was a weak 28-ish push-ups.
What Muscles Are Involved?
In fact, most people can only do around that amount. I would say you're doing fine if you can even do 20. So what the hell makes these damn things so hard? First of all, it works several muscles that people usually don't concentrate on(this is just my experience). As far as most people know, it works your upper body. Great! Off to a good start. It works your chest (pectoralis major). Alright. For those that go to the gym (or plan to), some bench presses can help that.
What about your arms? I mean half the motion comes from your arms! Some (maybe a lot) of people think it works your biceps. Having big biceps gives you a big arm right? So big biceps = more push-ups? No! In fact, your triceps have much more mass/volume in your arm than your biceps. So it's actually bigger triceps that can get you counting to 25 and more.
The most interesting thing I found out though was that doing push-ups also works your core (abs in general). Keeping your body straight and keeping balance while doing press-ups (as that call it in the UK) is all thanks to your core muscles. There's some other muscles that push-ups work but if you really want to know more about that, wiki it!
Alright, so how do I do more? Well, when I went to India this summer, I had a whole lot of time to do basically nothing. So what I did was...push-up! Ok, maybe not the whole time, but whenever I was feeling less lethargic than usual. My plan was basically do about 80% of my maximum number. Then shake off the tired feeling in your arms. Then do about 40% of my max. Then do as many as I can before I collapse.
Don't leave just yet. Thanks to my college roommate, I had found out you can do different kinds of push-ups to keep you going. So the everyday, average push-up is keeping your arms about shoulder-width apart. What my roommate calls wide push-ups are about 1.5 times your shoulder-width. Narrow push-up are basically those with your hands about typing-on-a-keyboard-distance apart (around 4 inches apart).
So I did 12 normal and 12 wide without any break. Then took a short 90 second break (you don't really have to be precise on the 90 seconds...I certainly wasn't). Just long enough until you can use your arms again. Then I did 12 narrow. Took a break. Then during my last part, did as many normal/wide push-ups as I could.
Make sure you really give your all out effort on the last part. Do it until you really can't push yourself up anymore. Like you'll fall to the floor (hopefully without smashing your face) and actually roll over onto your back so you can get up.
Thanks to all of that for several weeks, I can finally do 40 push-ups! Not at my goal yet but really close!
Striving for Hundred Push-Ups
It actually wasn't until I got back and did some surfing online did I find an amazing website that sets up a plan for being able to do 100 push-ups. 100?! Crazy! It's really informative and has you testing yourself on a weekly basis. The plan is structured so you're doing more push-ups every week yet still only working 3 days a week. Coincidentally enough, the site is called hundredpushups.com. I'll be starting out on about week 3 of this 6-week plan and hopefully I'll be able to reach my goal before my classes start!
12 July 2008
Posted by Sai
I can't believe I hadn't started using this earlier. Digg is amazing at keeping you up to date on new and interesting things happening around you. I really wish I registered to their site much earlier, but now that I've found it, I love it!
What's so cool about Digg? Well, it's basically articles from all over the web that people have found interesting. So instead of you having to waste time surfing the web (especially if you don't have much time on your hands), you can just see what others have found interesting (yeah, my vocabulary's limited: cool, interesting...).
Whenever you find an article tending to your tastes, you can "digg" it. Or if you don't like it and you think it's not worth mentioning, you can "bury" it. That's basically the basics. I really like how you can even digg/bury other people's comments. So if someone says something witty like, "I dig Digg", you can digg it!
If you guys are using RSS readers, good for you (more on RSS for those of you who don't). You can easily stay up-to-date on the latest, random junk and crap going around through Digg's RSS feed. And especially since I'm so addicted to fast crack...I mean crap, I really dig Digg!
And by the way, don't be surprised if you see a couple of my posts relating recent things on Digg... I swear, there's no correlation if you find such a trend... (not!).
10 July 2008
Posted by Sai
File-sharing clients have come a long way. The cool clients now are those using the BitTorrent protocol. It wasn't recently that I discovered they existed, but it was recently I discovered a few cool things about them.
So, what's so cool that I discovered? Well, I knew that you had to download .torrent files and what not and then use those to download stuff. But I really didn't know what the trackers were and whole lot of other stuff. As for as I knew, finding torrents meant Googling it (which is always a good way to find anything).
The thing I didn't know was the existence of private trackers. The trackers that make sure their torrents are well seeded (meaning people share after they have downloaded the file). This almost guarantees amazing download speeds. Only problem is, this is kind of a closed society. Not only do you have to register to these, the registrations are usually almost always closed. They keep their members in check making sure their ratio (upload-download ratio) is good and that they don't just leech (download then not share).
Once you're in, it's still not paradise (almost though). You've got a wide selection of stuff and pretty good quality. However, some private trackers are more suited for certain things. A few for example have a good array of everything (Demonoid, BitSoup, Torrent-Damage). Those are basically all the ones I've seen. Although there are some other private trackers such as BitMeTV that focuses on just TV episodes. And from what I've heard the torrents this site offers is super duper fast.
So how do I get in? Well, you could check back periodically and if you're lucky, you might get in! (These sites usually have a cap such as 40,000 users so when people get kicked out, there's an opening for someone else) Or you could just run a program such as Tracker Checker 2 (download) or visit the site here.
One last thing, don't think that once your in, you'll always be in. If you get kicked out, it's pretty hard to get back in (or as far as I've heard). As for me, I don't think I plan on getting kicked out anytime soon.
09 July 2008
Posted by Sai
A lot of people know Java. It's one of the easiest programming languages to learn. But it's really different when Sun says you know Java.
It's been around for a while: I don't mean the exam, but my wanting to become a SCJP (Sun Certified Java Programmer). I've been putting it off for about a year now. But I've set a goal that I won't be able to avoid... I've scheduled my exam. In about 10 days, whether I want to or not, I'll take the exam. But what exactly is this exam? What can it do for you? Can I find out the meaning of life with it? I can hopefully somewhat answer all of these questions (err...maybe not the last one).
The SCJP (I'll be taking the one for Java 5) really tests your skills on Java. Unless you do nothing but explore everything there is to Java, your not likely to know all of the details that the exam questions you about. For most Java programmers, you'll usually have your own niche. Some part of Java that your really good at and maybe you'll know a bit about everything else. The SCJP exam tests good understanding of all the fundamentals. It's like the SAT for a job in Java. In other words, if you know all of this, you should be able to tackle most problems. If you really want the specifics, then feel free to look at the Exam Objectives.
What can it do for you? Honestly, I'm not sure but I think I have a pretty good idea. For one thing, most companies are going to get a whole bunch of people that claim to know Java. I mean, I've been taking Java since 11th grade and I only claim to "know" Java. One of my friends took about year (or a bit more), and he already claims to be "proficient" in Java (you should know who you are...). But in reality, there is no evidence or standard of judgment for this. If you really want to let a company know that you can program in Java, get certified! Hopefully, this should let you stand out (at least a bit) from all those other Java-programmer-wannabees.
If you already have a basic understanding of Java, don't go running of taking the test just yet. You probably want to take a couple practice/mock exams just to see if your ready. I haven't taken any yet, but I've been studying (and from the likes of it, I don't even think I'm ready for a practice exam). I'll see when I do take the exam. Until I do, if any of you guys are interested or need help studying, let me know and I'll try my best to help.