Monday, October 31, 2005

Introductory Physics

If you would like to have an introduction to physics with as little formulas as possible, like Mr. Atalay, then get Newtonian Physics by Benjamin Crowell which is located at the Newtonian Physics page

Advanced MS Word

I notice that a lot of people struggle needlessly with Word while it could be their best friend. It is especially tragic for documents > 5 pages. Below is a list of features I think might be useful:

- Styles, headings
- Good picture and table captions
- Overcoming the numbering nightmare by linking numbers to styles
- Creating your own Normal.dot: The perfect Normal.dot
- Document map is your friend
- Outline view is your friend too
- Using the page splitter on top right to view a document in two windows


- Cleaning up the toolbar to gain space
- Page breaks, section breaks
- "Keep with next"
- Cross references
- Format painter
- Using "seq" field
- Pressing F9 to update fields (Ctrl+A and then F9 updates everything)
- Inserting page numbers
- Fine cropping inserted pictured while pressing "alt" key
- Using word for drawing arrows etc.
- Equation Editor/Mathtype tips, shortcuts
- Using Autocomplete for things like turning "-->" into an arrow
- Table insertion button "TableInsertGeneral"





- --> işaretini Autocorrect’te normal copy paste ile koyunca olmuyor, word’e yazıp seçmek ve sonra autocorrect’i çağırmak gerekiyor. Böylece formatted text aktif oluyor.
- Outline view + doc Map ile easy copy-paste
- Compare docs özelliği
- Compare side by side, synchronous scrolling
- Using Seq to have number format like 001, 002, 099. Bullets and numbering only allows 01,02..10,11. However, then you loose automatic bookmarking to use in cross referencing. You have to insert bookmarks manually into Seq.
- Let's say you have two people who write two sections of a document. You can create a master document to host their subdocuments. Choose outline view --> insert subdoc inserts a subdoc and saves it separately so that everyone gets to work only on their section in a separate doc. If you want to embed the subdocs then choose remove subdoc.

If you know of other interesting features, drop me a line so that we can share.
To be continued...

Winter arrives...

The first snowflake has fallen in Ankara (around 16:00). Waiting for the ski season!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Migros sanal market

Migros'un sanal marketinden alışveriş yaptım. Çalışıyor. Yalnız yumurtanın yanındaki adet meğersem paket adediymiş. Ben 4 yumurta beklerken 4 paket geldi! Artık eşe dosta dağıtıciiz :P

Why blog?

Here is my shortlist for blogging reasons:
  • To remember (links, ideas, photos, memories).
  • Develop ideas through systematic, critical thinking. You can come up with solutions while writing down the problem.
  • While writing I do google searches, look the subject up on wikipedia and become more informed about the subject I am writing about.
  • Improve writing skills: Other people should be able to understand what you say. Good writing is very important both socially and professionally.
  • Share ideas.
  • Market yourself.
  • Hone observation skills: Once you start to blog, you look out for things to write.
  • Improve English.
  • "When you get an idea, go and write. Don't waste it in conversation." --Kenneth Koch
  • How to Write Without Writing:
The difference between a tolerable programmer and a great programmer is not how many programming languages they know, and it's not whether they prefer Python or Java. It's whether they can communicate their ideas. - Joel
The important thing to realize here is that you can save work by blogging. Many people have figured out that this is true of Wiki: rather than explaining the same thing over and over, you put your explanation in Wiki once, and you're done. From then on you can just point people to it. Some of the stuff you write as part of your ordinary workday will be interesting and useful to others. All you need to do is keep an eye out for things you've written that might be worth publishing. Then the "I'm too busy" argument just evaporates, because it's almost no effort to dump some document or email rant or whatever into your blog. ...you can't please everyone, and you won't please everyone, so focus on making yourself happy. ...practically nobody will read your blog. Unless it's good. Even then, it'll be a very long time before lots of people have read it. Don't worry, though. If you put in the effort, and you write honestly, people will eventually find their way there.
The people who can write and communicate effectively are, all too often, the only people who get heard. They get to set the terms of the debate.
...writing stuff down is a great way to make information scale… because you don’t
"It also encourages you to capture 'fringe-thoughts': various ideas which may be byproducts of everyday life, snatches of conversation overheard in the street, or, for that matter, dreams. Once noted, these may lead to more systematic thinking, as well as lend intellectual relevance to more directed experience."
Every time I wrote, I got a little better at writing. Every time I wrote, I learned a little more about the topic, how to research topics effectively, where the best sources of information were.
  • ...and the last reason is to know myself:
"We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." -- T. S. Eliot

Blog best practices

One of the main reasons I write this blog is to keep track of my ideas. However, they usually pop up when I am not in front of the computer and later I forget most of them. I decided to jot ideas down in a small notebook. Below you see such a page that I scribbled while waiting for the bus in Istanbul. The bus had a 1 hour delay and for the first time I was happy with that.



I suggest to get a small notebook that you can carry with you at all times and write your ideas when they come up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Live from ulusoy

Finally Ulusoy managed to install a "working" wireless in its Royal Class buses. Right now I am writing from 18:45 İstanbul-Ankara line. Feels good ;)
If this wireless thingy starts to spread, I guess I have to buy a laptop!

The blogosphere is expanding!

New discoveries in blog physics revealed that the blogosphere is expanding at an accelerating rate. Evidence: Umut'un doktorası, Koray blogs here, Umut'un günlüğü.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Being effective

How do you do effective research (or any job) and how do you publicize it? Read on for wisdom:

"People who are masters aren't afraid to speak simply and clearly"
Olin Shivers

" Why shouldn't you do significant things in this one life, however you define significant?
...
Once you get your courage up and believe that you can do important problems, then you can.
...
If what you are doing is not important, and if you don't think it is going to lead to something important, why are you at Bell Labs working on it?
...
You have to learn to write clearly and well so that people will read it, you must learn to give reasonably formal talks, and you also must learn to give informal talks...The technical person wants to give a highly limited technical talk. Most of the time the audience wants a broad general talk and wants much more survey and background than the speaker is willing to give. As a result, many talks are ineffective.
...
You find this happening again and again; good scientists will fight the system rather than learn to work with the system and take advantage of all the system has to offer. It has a lot, if you learn how to use it. It takes patience, but you can learn how to use the system pretty well, and you can learn how to get around it...I didn't say you should conform; I said the appearance of conforming gets you a long way...By realizing you have to use the system and studying how to get the system to do your work, you learn how to adapt the system to your desires. Or you can fight it steadily, as a small undeclared war, for the whole of your life."

Richard Hamming, You and Your Research

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ghost Image

My pc has the fine habit of going completely down every 6 months. Since it has a SATA hard disc, I need its special floppy too. It's a pain in the butt. I guess to have a ghost image might cure my pains (not the SATA problem though). Read Radified Guide to Norton Ghost. It explains the basic idea.

The combination of the small program file (ghost.exe, on a bootable floppy, or on a bootable CD/DVD) .. and the large image file [file_name.gho, stored on a drive/partition other than the one you plan to restore, or on a CD, or on a series of multiple "spanned" CDs if your image is larger than 650MB, or on a DVD] .. gives you the ability to restore your system to an earlier, working configuration .. in minutes! .. no matter how badly you screw things up. Sound rad? It is!

Another interesting link is about slimming down Windows XP. Ever wondered what those millions of files that come with XP do and whether you could safely erase them? Read the slimming guide by bold_fortune.

Folder Icons

I use total commander for file manipulation instead of windows explorer. Total commander is much more versatile. A good feature is the ability to add folder shortcuts to the toolbar. I added shortcuts to My Documents and Desktop folders. However, if you want the original icons on those shortcuts, you have to hunt the files containing the icons. It took me half an hour. So, i spare you lucky folks that time.

Step 1: Add folder shortcuts to toolbar.


Step 2: Find the files with icons and point to them.

Hukuk

Güncel hayatımızı ilgilendiren 657 numaralı devlet memurları kanunu vb. çekici hukuki konular için hukukcu.com sitesine bakalım.

Kiracısınız ve hukuki durumunuzu mu bilmek istiyorsunuz? Kira el kitabını alınız efendim.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Weblog usability guidelines

Jacob Nielsen writes about usability:

Whenever you post anything to the Internet -- whether on a weblog, in a discussion group, or even in an email -- think about how it will look to a hiring manager in ten years. Once stuff's out, it's archived, cached, and indexed in many services that you might never be aware of.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bureaucracy

I am a critical user of formal quality procedures, i.e. I use them but I am their harshest critic too. The wikipedia article about Bureaucracy hits some nerve:

...left uncontrolled, the bureauracy will become increasingly self-serving and corrupt, rather than serving society.

Bureaucracy is ... always a cost to society, but this cost may be accepted insofar as it makes social order possible, and maintains it.

If ... the state owns the means of production itself, the state bureaucracy can become much more powerful, and act as a ruling class or power elite.

Central to the Marxian concept of socialism is the idea of workers' self-management, which assumes the internalisation of a morality and self-discipline among people that would make bureaucratic supervision and control redundant, together with a drastic reorganisation of the division of labour in society. Bureaucracies emerge to mediate conflicts of interest on the basis of laws, but if those conflicts of interest disappear, bureaucracies would also be redundant.

...as bureaucracy creates more and more rules and procedures, their complexity raises and coordination diminishes, facilitating creation of contradictory rules.

Pricing simulation software

If you are assigned to come up with a price for a simulation software product use the following algorithm:

- List major tasks:
1. Coding
2. Requirements and design (these two go hand in hand)
3. Documentation (from requirements to the final test reports)
4. Testing (...at least 4 test cycles of FORMAL testing. I stress FORMAL, meaning tons of bureaucracy)
5. Project management (all tose nasty meetings, travels, coordination, logistic arrangements etc.)
6. Work done by support people (quality assurance, configuration management, project coordination, FORMAL reviews)
7. Debugging (zillion of times)

- Pick the task with which you are familiar and give it a number representing effort under best circumstances. In our case that's coding. Let's give it a 1

- Using your previous experience, assign effort numbers to other tasks:
1. Coding = 1
2. Requirements and design = 2
3. Documentation = 5
4. Testing = 5
5. Project management = 4
6. Work done by support people = 3
7. Debugging = 5

- Sum effort = 1 + 2 + 5 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 5 = 25

- Think how much time coding will take. It depends on a lot of things, mainly on your experience in the problem domain. In our example, let's say it is something easy and coding will take 1 week. So our total effort would be 25 weeks.

- Round it up to the nearest month = 7 months.

Ok, under best conditions, we would need 7 man X month effort.

If you have a good customer (i.e. he is an experienced engineer and has a vague idea about the requirements), chances are that you will end up with 50% more effort. If he is not an engineer, that extra would be 100%. If he is an idiot...well, don't do it!

Now, let's say he is a reasonable man but not an engineer. That would increase our cost to 14 man X month. That's your base cost. Anything less this amount, and you pay the project from your own pocket. Ignore it at your own peril.

On top of this number you add your profit. How do you determine that? Well, it depends on the market pressure, how much the customer wants the product, negotiation skills, bribes you pay etc.

For more in depth coverage read joel and eric.

Note 1: If you are a novice you could easily promise 1 week for a simulation and then end up in a miserable cycle of updates, rewrites etc. I have been there, done that. My current record is 6 years!

Note 2: If you work for a paying customer and adhere to quality and documentation, the easiest simulation project is..ta taa.. >10 man X month! "Let's throw quality and doc. out of the window" you say..."Throw yourself too" I reply. Life is too short to work on a simulation project without quality procedures and documentation.

Away from home...

I am away again...One week in Gebze...Will be back next Tuesday (hopefully)


Tech tip of the week: If you have thousand files in a directory which has thousand subdirectories, trying to delete it can be painfully slow if you use the usual windows way. At these times, our good old friend DOS comes to rescue. Lets say the uppermost directory is "samil". To delete it with all its subdirectories type the following in a command window:

del samil /s /q

You ask about those "/s" and "/q"? Type "help del" in command window. You don't know what the command window is? Get the hell outta here!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Karamürsel

A view from my hotel room...

And, yes, children need some beating now and then:

"The problem is that kids today think their opinions matter. By not beating your kids, they get a skewed perspective of reality where they start thinking that they have it rough and that they can get away with dying their hair and listening to Insane Clown Posse."

Monday, October 10, 2005

What I want to be

While cruising through reddit, I found this article about Feynmann. Feynmann comes pretty close to be the person I would like to be...

"Actually, I doubt that it was "progress" that most interested Richard. He was always searching for patterns, for connections, for a new way of looking at something, but I suspect his motivation was not so much to understand the world as it was to find new ideas to explain. The act of discovery was not complete for him until he had taught it to someone else."

Irrelevant fun site: The best page in the universe (which is Banned in Saudi Arabia)
"I exaggerate everything, except for my manliness which is enviable"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

USA report - 3

Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) is a nice place...


We ate our lunches at the "Top of the Bay"...


By the way, Americans are obsessed with security these days...



There was an ordnance museum inside APG...


...with a giant bomb at the front...



...and lots of tanks on display outdoors...


...plus howitzers...


They had interesting stuff inside too. The antitank rifles were impressive. They look like ordinary rifles, only much bigger...



There was even an ENIAC computer!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Visual illusion

Here is a visiual illusion that amazes me everytime I look at it. Cognitive explanations, anyone? ;)

Sosyal ayrıntılar

Geçmişte "suratsız" olduğuma dair eleştirler almıştım. Bazen "abi neyin var?" sorularına muhattap olup şaşırırdım, çünkü o sırada gayet keyifliyimdir, sadece düşünüyorumdur (bkz. introvert). Epey bir zamandır yüz ifadem ve ses tonum üzerinde çalışıyorum. Artık dürüstçe gülümseyebiliyor, kulağa garip gelmeyen bir şekilde "teşekkür ederim" diyebiliyorum. Özellikle de yurt dışında olduğumda bu özellikler kişiliğimin bir parçası oluyor. Hiçbir efor sarfetmeden herkese selam veriyorum.

Peki neden yurt dışındayken daha başarılıyım? Sanırım etrafımdaki insanların davranışları ile ilgili. Geçenlerde Amerika'da iken insanların birbirilerini tanımadıkları halde gülümseyerek selam vermeleri çok hoşuma gitmişti. İçten miydiler değil miydiler bilmiyorum, ama güzeldi.

Peki ya memleketteki durum? Yurtdışından Türkiye'ye ayak bastığımda ilk dikkatimi çeken hep insanların yüzleridir: Yüzlerinden fiziksel ve ruhsal sağlıkları hakkında fikir edinirim ve İstanbul havaalanında gördüklerim canımı sıkar: Sarı-gri yüzler, çökmüş yanaklar, çatık kaş, ürkek bakışlar...

Birkaç yıl önce bir arkadaşım ile sohbetim aklıma geldi. İşyerinde (eski binada) uzun bir koridor vardır. Bu koridorun iki ucundan hareket eden iki kişi birbirilerini herhalde 30-40 saniye görürler. Bu iki kişi samimi veya "küs" değillerse şöyle bir muhasebe başlar:
- Hmm, karşıdaki kişi X (hafızadan X ile ilgili +,- data yüklenir)
- Aramızda henüz mesafe ver. Şunlardan birini yapiim
a) Birşey düşünüyormuş gibi davraniim
b) Sağa, sola bakiim ama kesinlikle onun yüzüne değil
- Eyvah, artık birbirimizi görmemiş gibi yapamayacağımız kadar yaklaştık.
- Bana bakıyorum mu (göz ucuyla kontrol et)
- Bakıyor ise ben de ona bakiim.
- Gülümsiim (İçten yapan azdır)
- Kısa bir selamlaşma ve...oh be bitti

Gözlemlerime ve kendi deneyimlerime dayanarak yukarıdaki senaryonun fena halde stresli olduğunu söyleyebilirim. Peki ben ne yapıyorum? İlk andan itibaren karşıdakinin yüzüne bakıyor ve gülümsüyorum. Gülümsemem artık suni değil, gerçekten o kişiyi gördüğüme memnunum. Bunda çalıştığım işyerindeki yüksek insan kalitesinin payı büyük. Yanına geldiğimde de artık herkesin benden alışık olduğu bir espiri olan "Sayın X.soyadı" diyorum. Minimum bu. Arada ufak bi sohbet de olabiliyor. Genellikle sıkıntılı bir durum olan kısa süre sonra tekrar karşılaşma durumu da "Sık görüşür olduk" espirisi ve müstehzi bir gülümseme ile küçük bir hoşluğa dönüşür. "Müstehzi" kelimesini kullandığım için gururluyum xP

Enteresan olan dalgınlıkla birini görmeyip selam vermediğimde canlarının ne kadar sıkıldığıdır. Bir dahaki karşılaşmada sizi görmeyerek öçlerini alırlar. Acayip...Varın daha karmaşık sosyal olayları düşünün. Kendimi bazen mayın tarlasında gibi hissediyorum.

Yakın çevremdekilerin de bu tür davranışlarını gördüğümde onlara rahatlamalarını, en ufak mevzuyu kişiliklerine hakaret gibi algılamamalarını öneriyorum. Geçenlerde kaldığımız misafirhaneden iki örnek:

1. Taksi ile MAM ana giriş kapısına geldik, görevlinin bariyeri kaldırmasını bekliyoruz. Acelemiz yok. Görevli telefon ile konuşuyor. Arkadaşım bariyeri açar mısınız diyor. Görevli eliyle bir saniye işareti yapıp konuşmaya devam ediyor. Arkadaş orantısız bir öfke ile sesini yükseltip tartışmaya başlıyor. Herkesin canı sıkılıyor.

2. Misafirhanedeki görevli bir diğer arkadaşa giriş kimliğini soruyor, arkadaş sülalesine sövülmüş gibi davranmaya başlıyor.

Alla alla, abi nedir bu memleketteki artislik? Biraz rahat olun kardeşim... Enerjinizi gerçek kriz durumlarına saklayın. Belki kendine güven eksikliğindendir... Kendime güvenim arttıkça insanlara olan toleransım ve empatim de arttı.

Eh haliyle Türkiye'de gülümsemek biraz daha zor olabiliyor. Ama azimliyim :)

Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?

I am interested in methods of propaganda. One of its masters is Joseph Goebbels. I just downloaded a short section of his famous Sport Palast Speech. You can find the original german text here. A very good example of effective propaganda indeed.

Goebbels: Ich frage euch: Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg? Wollt ihr ihn, wenn nötig, totaler und radikaler, als wir ihn uns heute überhaupt noch vorstellen können?

Antwort: Ja! Sieg Heil!