Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thousander Club Update: Week 2

Things haven't really been going as I would like them to this week. Lots of wasted time, unfortunately...

Development Hours:
  • This week: 2/20
  • Total: 17/1000

Reading Hours:
  • This week: 12/20
  • Total: 21/1000

Most of the week was spent on forums and IRC, mainly trying to fix a problem I had with my Linux's graphics drivers. It all started on this topic in the Ogre3D forum, you can read all about it there.

Hopefully the next week will be better. I know it won't be as productive since we have midterm exams and all, but I'm hoping at least I'll get to catch up on my reading hours, even if it was college books.

I've also made the decision to start a series of Ogre3D tutorials. I'll probably start working on those this week but I wouldn't expect anything to get published until the next week.

A bit of a slow couple of weeks around here, aren't they? Well, it must end sometime ;-).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thousander Club Update: Week 1

It has been a very busy week! I didn't even have time to post anything to this blog till now... Anyway, here goes:

Development Hours:
  • This week: 15/20
  • Total: 15/1000

Reading Hours:
  • This week: 9/20
  • Total: 9/1000

Gym Hours: Postponed!

Yeah, that's right, no gym hours this week. Unfortunately, the gym turned out to be going through an elaborate renovation/maintenance process that's been going on for months now! I know cuz I went there during the last semester and got the same result. Of course back then they said it'll only be a couple of weeks. Well, they were obviously mistaken. Bottom line: no Gym! So, I decided to wait for a while till they actually open again. It's just Development and Reading for now...

Hopefully next week I would have more time to write a blog post or two. I'm hoping to finally write that tutorial I've been wanting to do; I just haven't decided on what it'll be about yet. I'm thinking OGRE3D, which I'm starting to learn myself. It might be helpful to document and simplify the process of getting to know OGRE, but I'm still not fully decided yet. Of course any suggestions/comments are welcome and most appreciated ;-).

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thousander Club: 1000, 1000 and 250...

First of all, I would like to thank Scott Hsu-Storaker, the original source of the Thousander Club idea, for dropping in and leaving his bit of encouraging comment. I hadn't even dropped him that comment that I said I would; I was waiting till I submit this post with what I actually plan to do. He must've seen the back-link, and he was kind enough to drop by and leave that comment. Thanks :-).

Secondly, here is what I have decided to do as my Thousander Club challange:
  • 1000 Programming hours a year
  • 1000 Reading hours a year
  • 250 Hours yearly at the Gym!
1000 Programming hours
Figures! I'm a programmer, so that's normally the first thing I wanna excel at. I have noticed that I waste an awful amount of time without doing any actual programming, so this challenge is aimed at making me focus more on enhancing my programming skills. The only current project I have is my Graduation Project, so I'll count the hours I spend working on that. As my profile says, I'm also very passionate about game programming, and I actually wish I can work as a game programmer after graduating; so that will have a big share too. Other than that, I plan to try and make some sort of contribution to the Open Source community, as a form of participation and a way of giving back for all that I have taken and keep taking. So, I hope I can try to make some participations in form of Open Source code, be it my own programs made from scratch or plugins/modifications/etc... on other open source programs.

1000 Reading hours
I love reading. I have also noticed that I don't do as much reading as I wish I did. So, my goal is to do 1000 hours of reading every year. That's counting technical books, college books, novels, anything. It just has to be books; I won't count online browsing as reading. I also wanted to make a goal of a minimum 10 books every year, but then I figured sometimes I only need to read the first half of a book and leave off the second half cuz it's too advanced for my needs on the topic or something, so I didn't think counting the number of books would work.

250 Gym hours
Well, let's just say I'm not exactly the most fit guy on the planet... So, I figured if I can make myself get off of my computer chair and head to the gym to spend an hour there every day, that'd be real nice! I figured I might not be able to do that every day so I said at least it can be 5 days a week. Multiplying by 50 to give myself 10 days when I can slack off and still not lose the challenge; things added up to 250 hours at the gym every year.


It might sound overly optimistic. It sure sounds veeery hard to keep up with, to me at least. I would have to dedicate 6 or 7 hours every day! It's not easy, but it's not impossible either. What can I say, I'm an optimist!

I would be posting my weekly updates on Saturday, starting the one a week from now. Let the record show that I am starting the count on Saturday March 17th, 2007. Let's see where I'd be by the end of 2007, and where I'd be a year from now... Who knows!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Thousander Club

Thanks to Google Reader, I have been following a few blogs from here and there recently, just to try and stay up to date with what's going on all around. A while ago I stumbled upon this article on GBGames.com, which is a blog made by an indie (short for independent) game developer. The article is talking about something called The Thousander Club, which was established about a year ago in this article on Low Poly Cooperative, and the author posted another one lately, called Thousander Club Take 2.

That was just a bit of history to give credit to its rightful owners. Now, assuming you haven't followed any of the links and forgot all about this article, you must be wondering what this Thousander Club is all about. Well, the idea is simple. Practice makes perfect, right? Okay, so let's do a lot of that!

The basic idea is based on the fact that it takes 10,000 hours and 10 years to become a master at something. It's a big number, isn't it? But if you break it down it's not so big... 1,000 hours a year, that's 84 a month, or around 20~21 hours a week. So, the idea is the person will pledge to be committed to one or more things and spend this certain amount of time with each one to establish a certain goal; which is traditionally getting better at this thing. It doesn't even have to be hours, it can be anything; for example the founder of this idea started by making a challenge for himself and everyone else on the Low Poly Coop community to create 1,000 art models by the end of 2006.

I don't think I need to repeat what was said in those articles (and they say it a lot better anyway), so I'm gonna skip this part and you can read the articles for more details about the original idea. Now, the news in all of this is: I'm joining the Thousander Club! In fact, I like to think of it more as founding a local branch; cuz, in the words of the original founder, I dare ya! Yeah, it's an open challenge to everyone who reads this article. As I said, it doesn't just have to be dedicating hours to a certain field, you can dedicate a certain number of something you care about doing.

I haven't decided yet on what I'll do and what can be quantified in my activities, but I've got a few things in mind so far and I'm gonna post again when I come up with the full list. The tradition also goes that members of the Thousander Club post weekly updates on how their stats are going so far, so I've made a new label that I'm gonna put everything Thousander Club-related under, including this article and those weekly updates.

If I managed to interest you in this challenge, please either drop me a comment or simply link to this post. I like to know who else I'm sharing this challenge with, and I'll also drop a comment on the original challenge author's post telling him about this, and he can follow this new "branch" if he's interested :-).


So, you think you're up to the challenge..?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tagged - Five things you might not know about me...

So, I got tagged by Mohammad Nabil... I actually thought of not playing, but then I decided what the heck; it might be fun. Well, here goes...

  1. Sometimes when I'm driving alone and I feel like it or I'm in a hurry, I drive really fast! I don't do this when I have someone with me cuz I don't like scaring people, so very few people have actually seen me doing that. Most people who have been with me in a car would say I'm very calm and cautious, but there's another truth behind the scenes ;-). (Please note that I said fast but not reckless. In no way do I encourage reckless driving or breaking the speed limit; which put people's lives in danger. Fast is a subjective word, which for me means as fast as I can go without breaking the speed limit!)

  2. My first interaction with a computer was with an MSX computer. I started my fascination with programming as early as I could read and write/type. My dad had learned BASIC and was writing statistical programs on the MSX, and I used to read these programs and the examples in the programmers manual and try to understand them or change parts of them and see how the output would change. I still have that MSX machine by the way; I'm hoping one day it would be a rare artifact and I would get to sell it for a nice sum of money :-P.

  3. I had a very controversial set of grades before college. I used to be top of class up until 5th primary. I went for a sudden dive (mainly because of laziness) starting from prep school, which reached its lowest in 2nd secondary when i got 89%. When I realized I might not make it to computer science with these grades, I got my act together and got a little over 98% in 3rd secondary, totaling my high school grade to 93.5%, which got me to Computer Science, Helwan University.

  4. I used to be a very unsocial person! Many people won't even believe this one, but it's true. Up until right before college I was literally a social outcast in school. I had very few friends back then, and none of them are still keeping in contact today.

  5. I love fiction. For that matter, I love any form of expression. I love to read novels, watch movies, TV series, cartoons, and play games that have a deep, immersive story. I don't just follow the story itself, I like to follow how the story was driven, how the actors embrace their roles, how the gameplay was intertwined with the story, etc... I hope that one day I can participate in the making of such a thing (preferably a game of course).

As the tradition goes, I get to pass the tag :-D. So, I'm tagging Ehab Youssry (who's probably gonna hate me for this :-P). I wanted to tag Magdy Wageeh and Shady Mostafa but Shereef beat me to it (well, he got tagged first so he kinda earned it anyway...) Actually come to think of it, I would've tagged Shereef himself as well! I guess it doesn't matter since the result remains the same; they all got tagged anyway ;-).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Linux Migration: End and Beginning

Today I was shocked to realize that I haven't posted a single line for the past 10 days. Well, I've been extremely busy lately; with having to do lots of reading for the graduation project and all... Frankly, I missed writing! Anyway, I'm back and I have a lot to talk about!!!

First of all, I'm officially celebrating my second full week on Linux! I wouldn't have believed it two weeks ago, but I'm actually here; and no Windows involved :-). The transition has finally taken a smooth curve and I'm pretty relaxed in the environment. I got all my daily activities established, only with very few exceptions that have to do more with the lack of hardware drivers; namely the webcam and the Sony Handycam. Maybe there are Linux drivers for the Sony, I haven't looked yet; but I'm sure my cheap/brandless webcam doesn't have any; I checked. Well, I don't use the webcam that often anyway.

The past week has been largely uneventful regarding Linux; it was mostly normal everyday activities. The one exception that happened about a week ago was that I actually managed to move my installation to the new hard drive, as I was trying to do after my last entry. It was easier than I had anticipated, which appears to be the theme for this new "era" for Linux. I just copied the file system using "cp -a" and did some editing to "/boot/grub/menu.lst" and "/etc/fstab" to reflect the new location for the system, and everything just worked! I even changed the location of my "/home" folder to be mounted on a separate partition, and all it took was a restart.

Well, I believe this concludes my Linux Migration series of posts. As the title indicates, this is just the end of the posts; but it's just the beginning for my Linux experience. I do my best to avoid going to Windows for any reason, and I'm doing just fine as it is. Of course there will still be the occasional post whenever something exciting happens on Linux that I want to share with the rest of the world ;-).

On some final thoughts; I just wanna congratulate the guys at the Students United for their Linux Week in college. Guys, it was great and you did some great efforts there, and I do believe your efforts were not in vain as I heard many younger folks in college talking about how they wanna try and sometimes even convert to Linux. Great Job, really ;-). I really encourage anyone who hasn't tried Linux yet to give it a try. It might be a bit intimidating at first; but sure enough you'll enjoy it later on that you won't even stand going back to Windows for a couple of minutes. That's based on my own personal experience...

Last but definitely not least (and I hope this doesn't sound sleazy cuz I really do mean it), I'd like to send out a big bundle of gratitude. To the people behind the Linux operating system and every distribution of it out there. To everyone writing or helping with open source software out there. To every person standing out for the open source movement and the freedom of thought and expression out there. These people work hard and believe in what they do, and they never get enough gratitude! And I know they're never waiting for any to begin with, cuz that's not why they do what they do; which makes them even greater. So, I would like to express my sheer and utter gratitude to these people for what they do and for who they are. Thank you, really; Thank You!