Archive for November, 2015

Pristine – ZSH Theme

A while back I posted about Amuse my prompt theme for ZSH targeting oh-my-zsh. Since this was a much appreciated theme, I would like to share another theme, Pristine, that I have created.

However, I recently switched to using Prezto. This is because it felt like a more minimalistic configuration framework for ZSH. I also wanted to get faster load times. I must say my experience has been quite good and I really like it. Obviously there are pros and cons but I digress.

Needless to say Pristine targets Prezto. It is influenced by and has a lot of similarities with Amuse. However, there are subtle changes that I feel make it more cleaner and simpler. These are the highlights of Pristine :

  1. It tells you which branch you are on if the current working directory is a git repository.
  2. It indicates the git status of the repository to highlight whether there are any changes by using a green tick (✔) for no changes or a red cross (✗) for uncommitted changes.
  3. It keeps the prompt where you type on a new line with a preceding $ sign, to make more space for typing commands.
  4. It displays both ruby & node versions in use currently on the right. I find this very useful since I often work with both.
  5. It also modifies the spell correction prompt offered by ZSH to highlight the spelling error more prominently.

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Google open sources it’s machine learning system

I am a huge proponent of open source technologies and having worked predominantly in various web technologies in the course of my career, I mostly work exclusively with open source stacks.

In the recent past I have been very keen to try and wrap my head around Artificial Intelligence and more specifically Machine Learning, although I am still barely even scratching the surface of the nitty-gritty’s of the field, especially the mathematical underpinnings, this is still a huge deal!

Google open sourced it’s second generation machine learning system TensorFlow!

It is a production ready library which has support for running numerical computations using data flow graphs on multiple CPUs, GPUs or mobile devices! Data Flow graphs as explained here represent mathematical computations described using directed graphs where each node corresponds to a certain numerical computation whereas the edges connecting the nodes represent the data communicated between them.

The documentation looks really impressive, with lots of examples. I am really keen on trying something out with this in the near future.

Considering that this is open source, I strongly believe this will give rise to a lot of innovative & creative applications and from the looks of it bring down the entry barrier drastically of solving real-life problems where this can be applied and made use of to make intelligent systems!

The fact that it also provides portability to work on mobile devices sounds like a game changer that should definitely drive a lot of adoption within the machine learning community & we should see a lot of interesting applications leveraging mobile devices which are packed with loads of sensors collecting all kinds of data from our day to day life!

Source: TensorFlow

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Grow your brain!

Learning is key in brain development. Of course what aspects and how much of brain function improve as a result depends on the mode / type / content & method of learning. But I am not here to talk about that. Now, this knowledge isn’t new information, we all know this already, and have seen it in good effect in children and hence we all know and understand the importance of education & sport for children.

However, I have long held a strong belief that this applies also to adults, perhaps in a slightly diminished capacity, but significant nevertheless. I recently came across this brilliant TED talk that talks about neurogenesis, i.e. a process in which the brain literally grows new neurons, which occurs in all of us! The talk goes into details of how this neurogenesis is responsible not only for improved brain function, but also has a connection to our moods, hence how we feel overall. This, obviously also establishes a connection to diseases such as depression and other similar ailments we suffer from in our day to day lives.

Now, the best part about this TED talk isn’t just that, but the fact that there are in fact ways in which we can improve neurogenesis and hence improve both our mood and brain function. And there are several things we can do which have an effect towards this, including our diet, excercise, sleep, etc. Watch the video for more details :

The take away for me from this video is that there is a strong connection between our moods & our overall mental health, i.e. neurogenesis. Hence, I believe, besides what is mentioned in the video, everything that has an impact towards our mood, both positive or negative, should have an equal impact on our overall mental well being.

Happiness literally means a better, healthier & smarter life.

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