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Talking with an Ivy Leaguer on Wall Street

February 15th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
Another memoirs of sorts, this time reflecting the Ivy League alumni I've been meeting in NYC, both in the startup community and on Wall Street.  I've been spending more time in NYC instead of SF for a change of location (and people), but ironically, I'm running into sort of the opposite situation to that I had in my short story, Talking with an Engineer in Silicon Valley.  Whereas many I met in Silicon Valley lacked empathy, considerateness, and other traits but at least wanted them (even if superficially), the circles I'm getting into in NYC seem to simply accept that these traits don't genuinely exist and are always superficial.  Maybe it's just my luck that I'm just somehow always meeting the most 1-dimensional people, but the frustrating part is they always start off seeming normal in the beginning.  As with my other short story, the conversations below are nearly cut-paste from my personal experience, besides obvious name changes and other details to keep individuals anonymous and the story somewhat coherent.  For those easily offended, this obviously doesn't reflect every person from Ivy League or in Wall Street and is just a likely biased, limited subset of the real world from my own experiences.

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Sam: Hi, I'm Sam.  Nice to meet you.
Ivy Leaguer:...[More]
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Firebird

February 14th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Firebird by Deane Ogden
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City Guides

January 24th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
Just my thoughts and notes on where to go in each city, what's worth seeing and doing, what I enjoy in each city anyway.  Not so much a guide as much as a set of bookmarks for myself.  For a more anecdotal sense of what the three major coastal US cities are like, check out NYC vs SF vs LA.

General tip: Amazon.com login works in other countries too (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, etc). You'll be able to order and deliver locally rather than ship internationally if ordered from Amazon.com

United States

Chicago...[More]
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Massive Projector Screen and Adjustable Stands

January 18th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Having some fun creating a new room setup with a massive projector screen (aka the entire long wall of the room) and going a bit crazy with the amount of adjustable stands/standing desks all around.  The screen is so massive (20ft wide) and so close (less than 10 ft away).  The tables/trays literally rotate and unfold in front of you, are adjustable to any position, and disappear when you're done using them.  Makes the whole room feel like a starship of sorts.  Tongue

The projector is the Optoma GT1080 and the stands don't even have a name, some obscure Asian item sold on Amazon here.



[img]...[More]
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What Would God Do

January 14th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Why would you not aspire to be God? Isn't he supposed to be the best? Why wouldn't he be your role model instead of the guy beneath him?
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Toki ni wa Mukashi no Hanashi wo

January 10th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
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Journey's End

November 26th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Journey's End by Kaz Okamoto
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Buried Memories

November 9th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another dream I had that played out like a movie.  Seems to be how all my ideas to come to me now.
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I am living off in the country side for some time.  There, I have a small isolated plot of land that I planted a farm on and regularly tend to for fun, but the house near it is pretty high tech and is where I do a bunch of more serious work for coding and other hobbies.  One day, some guy shows up while I'm out on my farm and tries to tell me I ought to work for his company and get a real job or something.  He starts telling me how it will be good experience to build resume and get real software skills, etc so I don't have to live on a farm anymore.  I ask if he knows what I actually do, and he says he can't tell, which just annoys the heck out of me that he'd dare even tell me what I should do with my life.  I show him that my farm is actually also a grave for past lives I've had and previous bodies I've...[More]
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Helping vs Changing Goals

October 26th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
You don't help someone by telling them to change their goal.  If you're going to help them, help them achieve it.
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Imposing on Others

October 11th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Having a person complain while he imposes his will on others is like watching a dog cry while it devours a child.
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Performance Issues in SQL Server 2014

October 10th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
I just spent the last week trying to figure out why some of my SQL queries were suddenly taking hours to run on a large dataset when they used to take seconds on an older machine.  The queries I have use a lot of subqueries and left-joins across several tables with hundreds of GB of data each.  At first I thought it might be because my dataset has grown to the point my queries were no longer efficient.  Perhaps I had too many joins or subqueries that were not using the indexes on the table.  I actually tried removing every case of "OR" condition in my queries, which seemed to help a little but nowhere near bringing down the hour or so it still took to run.  After messing with indexes and re-arranging queries non-stop, it turns out it's because of an update to cardinality estimation on the back-end in Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

Luckily, you can disable the cardinality estimation update on a query-by-query basis by doing:
Quote
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Wasting Through Time

October 3rd, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
This was another story idea I got as a dream.  I suppose it reflects my mood lately with everyone seeming to get older around me, not just physically but mentally as well.

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Two friends have known each other all their lives.  They are able to time travel but only by skipping forward in time.  They've been doing that for a while and have experienced centuries of history past by, but one day, one of the friends loses this ability. 

The other...[More]
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Breaking People to Their Core - Complete

September 18th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
This is an older piece I started writing a while ago and finally completed:
https://www.pftq.com/blabberbox/?page=Breaking_People_to_Their_Core

It sheds a bit of light into my thought process for understanding people and what drives them.
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Skydome Theater

September 13th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Imagine an open, dome-shaped theater the size of a football stadium, where instead of looking towards screen on the far wall, everyone looked to the sky.  It would be like stargazing, except as the movie is about to start, the stars fade away and another world fills the sky for as far as the eye can see.  People would be lying on their backs instead of sitting hunched forward on their seats.  It'd almost feel like being in a rocket about to take off vertically.  Perhaps there would be chairs that rotate backwards to a lift-off position and actually elevate slightly off the ground as the movie begins.

This is something that's been churning in the back of my mind for a while.  From a design standpoint, the theater would obviously be limited in capacity and can only show one movie at a time for the all the space allotted, but I think the experience would be phenomenal, especially for very visual, cinematic films.  Capacity is also used in a very technical...[More]
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iPad Pro - 3 Years After the Surface Pro

September 9th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
     This 2012 comic "Surface Tension" by Joel Watson is pretty hilarious in that it nailed the exact year Apple would release their version of the Surface, complete with the exact name to Apple's version of the keyboard touchcover (comic called it the "Smart Cover Touch").


     For all the hype around Apple finally releasing a direct competitor to the Surface though, there are some things still quite apples vs oranges.  The biggest one would be the fact Apple's iPad Pro still runs on the ARM chipset and iOS, as opposed to a full-fledged computer operating system like the Surface does.  The event today highlighted how much faster the iPad Pro's chipset was than most other computers' on the market, but at the end of the day, it continues to only runs iOS apps and not full programs like on a laptop.  This point somehow seems to get missed in all the hype.  This makes the iPad Pro quite literally just a bigger, faster iPad despite the new "Pro" suffix to its name.

    ...[More]
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Poker Guide

September 6th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
The gist of how I basically play poker:
1. Play like a moron who always bets.
2. Play like a moron who always folds.
3. Only bet when you have something.
4. Bet whenever you think they think you think you might have something.
5. Never bet.  Only call or raise when someone bets into you and you have something.
6. Restart at a random step.

As you can probably guess, my hand usually doesn't matter to my decision.  And when playing in real life, I often don't look at my hand at all.

What matters more is what you think they have and whether they behave consistently.  If they make bets that are consistent with one hand for a while but suddenly make a bet that is inconsistent to that, they are probably lying.
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Back to Tokyo

September 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Back to Tokyo by Seiichi Kyoda
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Bamboo Tapestry

September 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Bamboo Tapestry by Seiichi Kyoda
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Earthbound - Home Sweet Home Orchestra

September 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
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The Power of Fate and Irony

August 26th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
     With the advent of my newest project Autodidactic I, which premises itself on harnessing the power of "fate and irony," I thought it'd be timely to explain just what that means and how it is actually more literal than one might think.  At its core, it's about setting up the least likely situations to always be in your favor, what others perceive to be your worst case scenarios to actually be your best case.  You set yourself up such that the most ironic thing that can happen to you is the best thing that could happen to you, and everything else falls in line behind that.  This is a lot of the thinking that bleeds into most of my endeavors, whether it be in my trading, planning my life, or even just making sure I get from point A to point B on time.

     It sounds a bit like superstitution or voodoo, but it really is more about planning, psychology, and just staying ahead of the game.  When planning any sort of event or organization, for example, the biggest mistake one often makes is leaving open that 0.0001% chance that things go terribly wrong.  Instead take that and flip it on its head.  Make the 0.0001% case the case where everything goes terribly right.  In practice, I often *seem* like the more conservative risk taker on any team (despite my super left-field ideas and approaches to things),  but when the unthinkable happens, it's to my favor.  What better irony than the safest plans thriving in absolute chaos? And there's nothing to say you can't simply be so in control (or so impervious to a lack of control) that it just looks like you're passive when you've actually already set plans in motion to take over the world.  It's about always knowing your edge cases and putting them in alignment with your goals.  It's about eliminating chance from the equation and only leaving open possibilities that help your cause.  When the unthinkable happens, you win, and when it doesn't, life just continues as usual.

     The other aspect is just mental, when you declare the most absurd things with no expectation they happen, when you jinx or counter-jinx things, when people give up at the exact moment they should have doubled down, etc.  This definitely sounds much more like superstition now, but think of all the situations in the past where you or your friends jinxed things and how often these ironic situations actually came true.  Words have meaning, whether they leave a guilt chip in the back of someone's mind or make yourself doubt your best judgement (too good to be true, unwillingness to go against what you just said, etc).  The key again is to let the things you think most absurd always be in your favor but also in a psychological aspect.  If someone else is doubting something (often you), let them be on the losing side of the ironic outcome and not yourself.  If someone is about to give up but thinks something will work out right as they quit, be on the receiving side of that luck.  Sometimes, it's almost like witchcraft, where in order to ensure my success, I purposely make sure there are enough people thinking or making a claim they'll regret, where they unintentionally jinx themselves such that, in the (misleadingly) remote chance they're wrong, it leads an outcome most extremely in my favor.  Think of famous last words; often times I purposely get someone to declare verbally the opposite of what I want just to jinx him.  This extends to all other activities mental and psychological - trading, poker, etc. If someone is about to exit a trade they think they'll regret doing so, take that as a sign that trade will probably work.  If someone thinks they'll fold a good hand, let that be in your favor if it comes true.  Often times, my reputation in poker is that of a blind better with beginner's luck, when in actuality I'm letting my opponents self destruct against themselves.  It's letting people's own irrationality and biases get the better of them... at least, that's the politically correct way of putting it.

    ...[More]
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