Some random thoughts (My July rewind)

7 minute read


It is 2.02 am right now and my sleepy has not come yet so I think it is a good chance to have some words. The fact that after the 1st covid vaccine dose in the middle of June, I feel much harder to go to sleep, not sure if the vaccine is the main reason or it comes from my other problem. Anyway, with that purpose, today’s blog is not a technical paper review or some algorithms implementation, this post is about my thoughts atm.

August in Hanoi

Today is July 31st and it means that tmr we will welcome August - the most beautiful month of the year in my opinion. In Hanoi, I feel that all the things will be more elegant this month. I have gone through August in Hanoi 24 times so I can confidently say that it is hard to find that vibe anywhere else. The feeling when you get up and be tired with the idea to join the traffic in the morning to go to work in the extreme heat of Hanoi and suddenly, that morning, you are waked up with the nice sunny sky and of course the autumn breezes. The feeling when you have a very terrible morning with the endless and stressed meeting in your office and when you go out, you are fully refueled with the cool weather, the beautiful sight, and the delicious lunch. The feeling of working in a cosine coffee shop with many people you do not know where I can work all night. Hanoian also likes to talk about the weather more in the autumn (If you do not get what I mean, remember the photos at your newsfeeds in those days), these small talks accumulate with all the things I mention above make people seem closer to each other. Maybe I need to stop this part, but once again, welcome August!

Why did I start blogging?

Actually, I have started writing technical posts monthly since 3 years ago. At that time, I worked for a company that owns a large IT blog platform and I contributed to it in many ways including blogging. After I left, I can not found the motivation to continue. The reason is not my laziness (maybe it is) but when I worked for a bigger organization with many top-notched people in my field, I have not had the confidence in my knowledge anymore, therefore I stopped.

But my thoughts were gradually changed. Recently, there is a brother who tells me that, the most appropriate time to start blogging about something is when you start to learn it, your excitement about that problem will push your sharing motivation up, and also, public sharing your post will force you to find the way to understand more about it. That’s it. The idea is blogging helps you learn more, and the most motivated moment for you to blog it when you are the fresher on that. Another important reason is now I am a learner, really a learner again, so writing monthly means that I have learned something every month to share. It will keep me on track or at least after I graduated I will have evidence to show people that I was learning about it :)

My July rewind

So with that rule for myself (writing a blog post once a month), today I was finding the topic to write about, and sadly I can not which means I feel that I do not learn anything new this month! Same as other people who live in Vietnam, this month I spend (almost) all of my time at home. Seating in front of the screen, going to the kitchen to have lunch/dinner with my family, and coming back to the laptop until I feel tired. (Of course, I also have many other entertainment activities between). I believe I was disciplined enough to keep myself working every single day, but why now I am feeling that I do not learn anything new? A moment to check all the work I have done and I realize that I only coded without any other new idea. All the projects I am working on were somehow similar to what I did in the past, so I just simple re-do all the tasks. I brought my feelings to my supervisor and I think there are 2 things that should be useful for a Ph.D. beginner like me:

  1. The fundamental knowledge increases very slowly. I have worked enough in exactly the same field which I am learning about to know that: “the technology runs very very fast”. Every day, there are a huge number of new projects, new researches are released. In this field, we are competing with each other by speed. Your very intriguing new research idea can be published by another one before you write about it. Your million-dollar application can be rolled out by another company while you are talking about it…All of these experiences give me the mindset that you can not calmdown, slowly read everything to understand deeply about what you are doing, you need to run! And the results that even I can do and “understand in some way” almost the latest works I could not come up with any new idea for myself, and the reason simply is “I do not really understand anything”. But the fact that the heart of those work does not change too much over the course of 10 years until now. Looking carefully, they are only different from others by some high level inherit from that heart. The transformer in NLP is an example. This heard changed all the research in the natural language processing area and until now, almost every new achievement in research comes from it.
  2. You will want to be the knowledge producer, not the consumer. Until now, I am only the consumer who tried to “implement” some other idea. Some minor modifications that cheat me to believe that it is my new idea for community almost start from applying another idea for other problem into my problem. At this time, it is hard for me to explain what is the difference between a knowledge producer and a consumer, but I hope that I felt it. To produce the new idea, you need to fully understand all the fundamentals from the old first. However, my month still not ends (from 9th to 8th next month) and I still have more than a week to improve my monthly progress in July.

What other things I wanted to do right now

Some final words since it is late and luckily that I start to feel sleepy =)) As an all-day-in-home person, I really hope that this quarantine era will come to the end in August. My reason is I have registered for a full marathon (42km run) in the middle of September but I have not finished any run that longer than 20km from 10 months ago :) I must be practice as soon as possible since I really want to finish a full marathon next month. Another thing I want to do is to learn Chinese. The motivation is that I am young and I feel that is wasted if I do not learn any new languages in this period of time. I choose Chinese since I have learned Japanese before and I think maybe I can take some advantage of learning Japanese into Chinese?

I think I should go to bed now. Once again, welcome Autumn and hope that we can meet (outside) soon!