Welcome 2021!

January 03, 2021

New year fireworks

A new year’s resolution won’t be a good example as a starting post for a blog, but since the holiday vibes are still here I figured to put it out anyway. As Daniel Bourke said in his podcast, it’s important to publicly state your goals. It’s not meant for bragging, but as a commitment. We won’t achieve the same consistency doing it anonymously, because our name wouldn’t be at stake. If our work has our names on it, we tend to do our absolute best to deliver quality content.

The problem with perfectionism

Sometimes this hunger for quality can also be a disadvantage. Take example, this blog. I’ve been dreaming since 2018 to write about my experience studying in Europe, along with other categories of knowledge I’d learned from life. But I always had doubt: there’s a ton of blogs already, writing about detailed guides from experienced travelers. Same goes with learning to code or music or basically anything I could do that I can write about. There’s always somebody who does it better. So naturally I thought I need to master these things first (including writing) so I don’t waste somebody’s time reading my silly thoughts. This made my blog idea stayed in the dark.

Another example is in early 2020, when I’m writing my master’s thesis report. That’s when my journey into learning Deep Learning started. Somehow the tutorials were easy to follow, but exploring a different dataset without guidance is on another level. In fear of the deadline, I learned for almost everyday to deliver the highest quality of writing. I submitted the final report a week after the deadline, but in my mind, I knew I could’ve submitted earlier if it wasn’t for my strive to make a perfect scientific report.

When I started my PhD study on October 2020, the thought of writing a blog resurfaced. I want to make use of my knowledge and be a teacher for beginners out there who wants to hop on the Deep Learning train hype. But I questioned my understanding of foundational math and thought, I need to refresh them first so I know what I’m saying. I also wanted a stand-out theme for my blog, think of a catchy yet meaningful name for it, decide on what popular framework to build it, and maybe prepare some contents ready so people can look around when it’s published. This is a perfect recipe for procrastination.

When I realized, it’s already the last week of 2020, I set myself a deadline to publish it before the year rolls. I didn’t publish it yet because I was working on an Analytic Competition in Kaggle. I also set the same deadline to submit that project, yet I’m still working on it now 2 days later, because you guess it, it’s not perfect yet.

New Year’s Resolution

But today, I had enough. I published this blog, along with this post, with standard theme and normal name. I’m tired of being in the dark, learning the theories and planning the perfect blog. I’m sick of being a slave of my own comments. I don’t want to put myself as a person who had mastered most of the skills and write to teach people. Instead, I want to reach out to others as a curious newbie, documenting his passion in learning, and hoping to learn as much as possible from other curious entities opening his writing.

So these are my 2021 resolution:

  1. Post an article every Sunday
  2. Read and review 1 scientific paper every week
  3. Publish 1 journal on deep learning
  4. Doing 3 Project Euler’s task every week
  5. Create 2 full stack AI-based web apps
  6. Survive yet another year

I don’t want to put too much here, we all know what’ll happen. To briefly explain: I want to grow my blog and writing skills, therefore I commit to posting an article every week. As a PhD student, I also need to be updated on scientific progress of my research topic, so I’ll be reviewing 1 paper every week and also post it in here. To thrive in academics, I need to publish papers, so I hope to get my first manuscript rejected as soon as possible to quickly publish it’s revision and get my first publication this year.

I also want to be a better programmer. So far Project Euler challenges had been a fun way to engage problem solving and practice Python. Competitive programming is one of my recent entertainment watch list, inspired by Kamil Debowski also known as Errichto. He streams his algorithm competition matches and also explains his approach to solving it. I never thought of watching streams from people coding as entertaining, but turns out, we can learn a lot from their style and adapt it to boost our own productivity.

If I had interest in other technology, for example something required for my research, I would switch focus to that, but currently I want to advance my web development skills with JavaScript and Python. It is one of the best medium to make my DL models accessible to others. If I could make a useful product even for myself (I wouldn’t dare say society yet), it would be a great motivation boost for me to create another one. My goal this year is to create at least 2 full stack web application that uses the model I trained on my own.

Farewell 2020

This year I decided to quit Dota 2, once and for all. I started playing in late 2013, even participate in 3 LAN competition. But I always knew it would lead me nowhere. To get better, I need to grind and play 5 matches a day, each match takes a minimum of 1 hour. Back then I had a lot of time to practice and learn, but now it seems impossible. I tried the bizarre Mistwoods update on December 2020, where they introduced a new hero and an Aghanim’s Shard, basically giving new skills to all heroes. It was fun but it’s just another distraction. I hold on to this game for so long because I spent a lot of time understanding it’s complex mechanics, practicing, making mistakes and learning a meta each time a patch comes out. Now I hope to thrive the same way in programming.

My Dota2 last play time on Steam

Written by Sandhi Wangiyana , a PhD student in Warsaw University of Technology, Poland Twitter