Answering Anything & Everything (AMA)

Answering Anything & Everything (AMA)

In the past year, I have been answering absolutely anything people have been curious about. This is the result. It’s a long but good read.

You can ask more questions here. Maybe you even want to create your own AMA.

What is your dev environment?

I use a HP Notebook(15-inch, Late 2016) and Sony headphones.

My most used apps are Chrome, Sublime, Slack, Spotify, and lot.

In Sublime, I use the Darkula theme, with the above font. I use nvm for Node.js version management.

Can you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Task Bar: Task View, File Manager, Terminal, Sublime, Slack for Desktop, Thunderbird mail client.

How do you get so much done?

I think my assumed super-productivity is an illusion of producing many repos. You could rather say I’m an efficient repo and package.json maker. I do work hard however, but by taking something that could be 10 files in a lib/ folder or 10 functions in a util.js file and making them separate modules my productivity seems tenfold.

I think making small focused reusable modules has had the biggest impact on my productivity. Being able to reuse a lot of code easily means I can glue things together faster, hence producing more things. I’ve done a lot of Node.js so my proficiency is pretty high, which results in better efficiency.

Other than that it’s all about discipline. I’m highly passionate about making things on the computer and spend a lot of time doing so. I prioritize coding over other stuff like Games, surfing, reading, etc. Sometimes too much so…

How do you make a living if you don’t have a job and don’t take donations?

I don’t make a living, currently. I’m pursuing my Bachelor Degree in Computer Science. I don’t really care much about money or material things, don’t use much money, and don’t have a lot of monthly expenses.

What does your Phone homescreen look like?

Where are you living now?

I’m in college hostel at the moment. I live in Pollachi as much as I can and travel home to my parents in Cumbum once in awhile.

Do you enjoy being homeless?

Definitely. It’s nice being free to travel anywhere at any time. I don’t really care much about material stuff either, so I have everything I need and care about in a small backpack.

How do you avoid burnout?

I don’t. I embrace it. Burnout is unavoidable when you’re active in open source. Knowing how to handle it is key. Once in a while, I get burned out by all the issues, negativity, demanding user, drama, workload, etc, and I take a couple of weeks break from GitHub. Being away for a little while helps me process it all and refill my batteries.

A day in life

Normal weekday:

  • Wake up around 6 to 7.30 AM and shower.
  • Walk to a breakfast.
  • Walk to college. “Hack” being coding, emails, Twitter, GitHub issues, AMA answering, etc. I usually start by reading some emails, triaging GitHub issues. look through todo-list. After a while, my brain has woken up and I’m ready for some coding.
  • 0 to 2 hours of hacking at evening.

In the weekend there’s usually not much hacking time as we’re usually busy with other activities.

What does the back of your laptop look like?

How do you manage JavaScript snippets?

I don’t use snippets. If something is too hard to write out manually, I just make it a module. npm is my snippet database.

Do you think there is a strong correlation between programming and math?

Being average at math and having a Computer Science degree haven’t really slowed me down. Whether you should improve your math knowledge really depends on what kind of programming you want/need to be doing. The kind of programming I do, Node.js and front-end JavaScript, require very little math knowledge, but if you, for example, want to do scientific programming or work on hard problems at e.g. Google, you obviously need to know your math. That being said, math knowledge never hurts, but there are many more important things to learn to be a great programmer, like how to create performant scalable maintainable systems, code reuse, readable code, usable APIs, debugging & profiling, writing good tests, resolving bugs, writing approachable docs, collaborating with other humans, etc.

Do you have a blog?

You’re reading it.

How to be rich?

You don’t want to be rich — You want to be happy.

What do you think about Bitcoin?

I was super-excited about Bitcoin when I first realized, pretty late, how awesome the tech is. Although, I’ve always been skeptical about its practical merits. My current feelings are pretty well reflected in the following article “The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment” and this tweet.

I’m more excited by Zcash, which manages total payment confidentiality using zero-knowledge proof, but I bet in the long run it will turn out to have some downsides too.

What is your MBTI personality type?


What tool do you use to publish to npm?

I use np.

You are a perfectionist?

“Are you a perfectionist?”, you mean. Ok, I think that answers it.

Are you a native English speaker?

No, my native language is Tamil. I can speak English fine, but my accent is obvious.

Have you ever participated in a programming contest?

I have never participated in a programming contest. Not my thing. Programming is more of a passion than a sport for me.

How did you learn English?

I learned English in school, but not very well, as I had bad teachers. At least I learned the basic grammar. I learned to read and write English more proficiently through computers and the internet — by reading tech news, discussing online, etc. I also got a lot of my English comprehension from watching American TV-series and movies. One thing I quickly discovered when traveling outside of Norway was how subpar my English speaking skills were. You don’t really learn to speak a language without actually speaking it a lot, like every day, and you usually don’t do that if it’s not the native language where you live. So the best way to learn English for real is to live or travel around people that speak it natively, and not be afraid to try no matter the level you’re on.

Are you excited about driverless cars?

Yes, the tech is wonderfully interesting, and in part because I don’t have a driver’s license and hope autonomous cars will be ubiquitous by the time I’ll need one.

What is your GitHub password?

Some years ago I used the same password yogicoco98 for all of those services. Not going to share my current passwords of course (wouldn’t help you anyway as I use 2FA), which are unique, 50 characters.

What is your opinion on the AMP project?

I’m pretty amped up about it! Mostly towards reading on the web. The sad reality is that most news sites today are heavy, slow, badly coded, using intrusive ads, and generally just a frustrating experience. I always use the Safari Reader for those reasons. I just want clean, readable articles, immediately. I truly hope AMP succeeds in making a faster and better reading experience on the web.

What is your favorite tool for remembering things?

My brain, but it fails me a lot… I used to use Pinboard, but it ended up as a personal link wasteland. Now I just use Chrome bookmarks for important stuff I want to keep, and the Google Keep “Add to Keep” feature for things I want to read/do later. I also use Notes on windows.

What is your favorite quote?

It inspires me to work hard, be a rebel, and do what other people say I can’t.

Here’s to the crazy ones.

How fast do you type?

53 WPM. I’m not a fast typist, but that doesn’t matter. What you type is what matters. You should want to type as little as possible. The more you type, the more bugs you introduce. I use most of my time thinking. The typing part is easy and don’t take very long.

Why do you star your own repos?

The star button is like this red button you just have to click. It kinda bothers me if it’s not “starred”. When I create a project I like to snooze them to another day in the future so I can review the code again with fresh eyes. This helps me keep the quality high. I guess it also has the benefit that it shows up in the GitHub news feed again.

What emoji do you wish existed?

All I need is 🦄, but I guess these could be nice to have too:

  • Dinosaur
  • Magical pony
  • Twerking
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson face
  • Sudo sandwich
  • Selfie
  • Yarn bombing
  • Cheeze doodle fingers
  • YOLO
  • Don’t disturb, eating dinner
  • Unicorn emoji magical modifier (Like the skin tone modifier, but ability to add wings, change color and stuff of the unicorn)

How old are you?

I’m 19(98’ model).

How did you make your current profile photo?

Adobe Photoshop, And I Took the Background in Google!