Sid Carter

Things that interest me right now

I’m intrigued by Stripe and Stellar and the things you can do with it. I would like to know more about the regulations around currencies and trading in the US, so I can work on some ideas I have. The ideas themselves are simple, but I want to look at making things cheaper and better for everyone involved.

Amazon AWS is fantastic and so is Azure (but I can’t try it like I can try AWS, so I don’t care much for it right now) and the things you can do with them are astounding.

The technology landscape is vastly different and more energetic than it was two years ago. Everything is being democratized and I like the look and feel of it. Incredible power in the hands of everyone, if you know how to harness it.

The world is a different place and I’m excited by the possibilities.

Carpe diem, baby. Carpe diem!

Scala and SBT

I’m figuring out Scala and in the process learning about SBT to build my code. Leaving this useful page about build file examples here for future reference.

My Scala mechanize code is going pretty well here.

Next little project – write some code to get stock quotes. I should be able to use mechanize without a prob for that.

Scaaaalaaaa!

I’ve created a few scripts for AWS EC2, S3 and and a playbook for creating an instance using Ansible. All the code is available here. In that same repository, there’s a script I found which helps you get all the AWS Usage reports. I might use that to figure out how my usage and billing are correlated.

And while investigating that, I found this repository that’s ported mechanize to Scala. I plan to use that to get the info in my bank, so I can track the changes and perhaps stop using stupid mint, which often complains about connection issues. [update: this repository needs to be fixed. Fixing :D]

Now, I want to get some stuff done with Hadoop or EMR. If I want to do MapReduce stuff, why not use EMR and Scalding?

This time, I get to learn and do it all in Scaaaaaaalaaaaaa!

Repurpose spam

Back to blogging after a while. Trying something new this time, so I thought I should document it as I go.

I’m writing a program that will use all the spam mail I get as input and create art out of it. What art exactly, I’m unsure as of now. I have some ideas and want to see how they blossom.

For the moment, I’m playing with python, and Apache Kafka. I’m using Kafka because I like the idea of passing messages and stuff and then being able to expand on that. I’m just playing with it right now to see what it can and cannot do. If it doesn’t work for what I want to do, I won’t use it all, but at least I’ll get to play with it in the meanwhile.

In my next post, I’ll document all the steps I followed to install Kafka and use it.

Less is more than enough

Almost 2 years ago, in the summer of 2012, I was on my way to a music festival. It was perhaps the most satisfying time ever, including trying to get to the festival and back. In the process, I ended up hitchhiking with a stranger I had met just a week ago. We ended up going from Germany to Portugal within 4 days, not having spent a single penny for any ride. That was pretty fast, by hitchhiking standards. I had to ask random strangers if they would give me a ride, strangers who spoke a language I didn’t speak or understand. I had to learn enough German/French/Spanish/Portuguese to ask people if they would give me a ride and to say thank you in those languages. We had a 1% or lower success rate trying to get strangers to give us rides.

It worked. We eventually reached the music festival in Portugal.

I didn’t have my laptop then, and I had just recently lost my phone in Tokyo, after an unfortunate incident. Less said the better. So, I bought a cheap talk and text phone in Germany. I could use that anywhere in Europe, so long as I spent lots of Euros. I didn’t actually end up using the phone, except when I needed someone to call me, instead of me calling them. A friend of mine in Berlin lent me his tent and sleeping bag, which I ended up using at the music festival and on my way back to Berlin, via Scandinavia.

The music festival itself was a different kind of crazy, in the best way possible. There were no advertisements and it was unlike any music festival I had been to. To be fair, I hadn’t been to any others before this. The composting toilets were the cleanest I had ever used. I could either take communal showers or take a shower in a private area. There was dust all around and it was 35C (95F) or more during the day. It used to get quite chilly at night. I barely ate very much while I was at the music festival, either because I wanted to save the little money I had brought or I didn’t have the appetite or the energy. There were all kinds of people and yet, I never once felt scared, except for that one time when I woke up from sleep, hot, sweaty and scared that I would end up dying alone. Perhaps the scariest moment of my life. I chalked it down to the heat. I went to listen to music at the dance temple, maybe twice or thrice. I thought it was the same kind of music. You’ve listened to one, you’ve listened to all, is what I thought.

All things considered, I loved that festival. Everyone was respectful of one another, friendly, and beautiful. It was like heaven on earth.

I had nothing then. Well, almost nothing. Barely ate and yet, it felt so very satisfying and comforting. After the festival, my friend and I hitchhiked back to Hamburg, and from there up north to Stockholm, where I stayed with my cousin’s family for a couple of weeks and eventually returned to Berlin.

All in all, a very eventful and eye-opening journey. While on the journey, I learnt a lot about myself, my own prejudices and biases. I realised I couldn’t learn unless I gave up what I already knew. And giving up, letting go is not easy. You have so much invested and you think, I can never give this up. I may not be able to live without this knowledge or this phone or maybe this jacket.

I was wrong. Everytime, I left something, let go off an idea, I ended up learning something new or finding something else. I stepped out of a pattern or a way of thinking that was not helping.

And so, the time has come, like many things before this. I thought I couldn’t quit Quora, until I did. I’ve never gone back. I thought I wouldn’t use Facebook. I’ve used it, a bit too much now. And so, it’s time for me to delete my facebook.

I got in touch with people I had forgotten long ago. I made new friends. I added a lot of snark. Over time, it’s usefulness has shrunk. And like Dad sometimes says, it has provided diminishing returns. And so, I have to ensure I focus on things that create positive value.

So, it’s a goodbye to all my facebook friends. I will still be here, living and breathing, in flesh, blood, and bones. If you ever need to get in touch with me, you know where to email me.

Adios! Auf Wiedersehen!