Get out of the trench!

It’s not a surprise that such a thing actually exists, and even more so that the internet has come up with a taxonomy just to classify it. Frankly speaking, the Internet has hit the nail on the head with this one, the reason behind which I shall explain to you shortly. The infamous MMR trench in Dota 2 is the MMR below 1000 and is notoriously difficult to get out of simply because the skill level of the players in that zone is really, really low. Why is it so low? I can speak for myself and say that, I had pretty much no gaming experience other than a few bouts of osu! from time to time which does not help much in the vast and versatile world of gaming. Another reason is that lots of people who are playing Dota 2 for the first time and calibrate once they reach the required level to play ranked matches usually aren’t good enough to get past 1000 MMR. As for myself, I calibrated at around 650 MMR. Which isn’t anything special. But what is special is that, at one point in time, I was down to 1 MMR! I had to climb the entire ranked ladder to get to 1000, which is my MMR now. But the biggest and exuberant achievement of all is that, I made all the MMR playing support!! Take that bitches!

Here’s the story of my Road to 1K

I started out by analyzing the general picks of the lower MMR brackets. They mostly pick carry heroes, that’s really no huge surprise because once they are six-slotted they can get out of control. Everyone likes RAMPAGES. Even supports (but let’s get real now). PA, LC, DK, CK, Riki, Sniper and even a few bouts of Axe and BB are prevalent at the lowest of the low MMR (0 – 400). You really can’t do much other than hope that you get a good team and try your best to win. I spammed Vengeful Spirit in that MMR range, and I even hit 100 games with her! VS can be a really good hero who can transition to carry role depending on how the game goes. We had to win the laning phase, and the game was pretty much ours. This fact is true throughout the low MMR range. Get a medallion, with stun and right click to win the lane. So, spamming heroes is actually a good thing. Don’t think too much, find a hero that you like to play, or a hero that suits your style of playing and start winning games. Don’t feel that you are inferior to others by having a smaller hero pool. I will explain to you later why.

One of the obvious things in the lower MMR brackets is that everyone plays carry role. So, I chose to play support. Well, at least for the first half part of the game. Once I got high around 400 – 450 MMR, I got stuck. Spamming VS no longer worked. My play style did not suit the changing skill of the players. As a tribute to my winning strategy of spamming heroes, I realized that I had to analyze the game and chose a hero (to spam) which better suited this bracket.

Jakiro was it! It was exactly the kind of hero that I had been looking for! THD or Two Headed Dragon is the alias given to him. He is the only hero who has 4/4 AoE active abilities (Underlord is similar but has one passive)! Isn’t that awesome! I knew I had to continue to play support, because the rest of the team would anyway pick cores and there would be farm deprivation. Basically, in every game my job was to make sure my carries had the best game of their lives. But when I started playing Jakiro, I went for the lane winning harass build, maxing out E. My current build isn’t the same, since my play style has changed a whole lot from that time. THD has a AoE stun, AoE attack slow and tower push, an AoE slow with DPS and an AoE DPS ultimate. In addition to that, I always made a Veil of Discord and Euls (which proved incredibly useful to dodge attacks like sniper’s ult). He was simply the perfect hero and won me another 400 – 450 MMR, till my MMR was around 800 – 850.

Then I faced the same problem that I had faced with VS, a saturation where I couldn’t win any more MMR. Once I was watching Artour’s stream when I heard him say the enemy team had the 2 most cancerous heroes in dota. Indeed, one of them was Treant Protector, a strangely good support. He hadn’t been played much (due to the fact that he’s a “shitty hero”, not my words, mind you). I played a couple of Normal games with him, and immediately realized the latent potential. So that was it, I became a hard support in all my games, I played in safe lane healing all the heroes on the other lanes. But towards the end of my pursuit to 1K, I just pulled creeps and gave my safe lane carry a solo lane while healing them up. I maxed out E and W although that’s not the build pro players use (but it certainly paired well with this MMR bracket). I seldom reached level 25, but the talent at that level just takes Treant to the next level. It’s so good that I have seriously considered building Midas on him. He gets an additional 5 stacks of E. All your teammates will instantly become unkillable. I went Arcane to Medallion to Solar Crest to Guardian Greaves, and by then we had won the game already!

Why should you spam heroes?

It’s actually a good question, much debatable among dota players. Some would say, play different heroes so your versatility would eventually pay off when picking a counter for the enemy team. Or simply that playing just one hero every time can become boring. It doesn’t, once you start raking your MMR like a popcorn maker makes popcorn! You want to win! Don’t you? So focus on winning. Versatility comes later, at least in my books. Just master a couple of heroes first. Learn to use items, be versatile with items and leveling up your abilities and learn from those. Win some MMR, practice other heroes at that bracket, then win some more. That’s how you can rise. Playing with people who are better than you will make you better, and dota is no exception to that rule.

One other thing that I had forgotten to add before is the fact that timings can play an incredibly important role in you winning ranked matches. By timings, I don’t mean your reaction speed but the time at which you play. If you look at the stats, you will see that the highest population of players exist in the 3K MMR range. Surprising, right? As a 1K player, reaching there seems like some dream! How did they even grind for so many countless number of hours? Well, that’s a question for some other day. As I was saying, the population is highest not in the < 1K range at all! In fact, it is very low in there. Which means that there is a high chance that the matchmaking will result in you having a bad team. At the end of the day, your chances of winning a game also depend on the kind of team that you get.

At least, in the region that I play in (SEA), I have observed that both my team and the enemy team get good players when I play between a certain time range. So now, I only play during that time and not so surprisingly enough, it has won me a hell of a lot games! It’s not the matchmaking fault by all means that you get bad teammates. If there simply aren’t good players around when you match make how can you expect the MM to be so good? You really can’t. This is something that’s out of your control as well as Valve’s control. But you can do something about this, how about converting LoL players into Dota 2 players? Ahahaha…

Code::Blocks: Switching to a previously active tab

This was one of my qualms with Code::Blocks when I started using it. I’m used to working with VSCode and even with Visual Studio which have the feature that allows you to return to the previously active tab with Ctrl + Tab. While it might be a little annoying to get used to at first, it’s a really handy feature.

In Code::Blocks the same key binding does something else, it switches to the next tab in the chronological order that they are placed on the dashboard. For this reason, I began to search if there was any possibility of there being a way around this. What I found was surprisingly simple. The shortcut here is Alt + Arrow_Key. Might take a little getting used to, but I am glad that it exists!

Strong and Weak Minds

What makes a strong mind strong? It might be apparent to you that strong minded people are the ones who become really successful in life. How does one create or develop their minds to become strong?

I found this helpful article on the in a simple Google search. They make some incredibly valid points. Meditation especially does a huge help for your mind. It is as they say in the article,

If you want a stronger mind, you can achieve it with some work and patience, just like you would train your body in a gym.

This fact is absolutely true. Even your mind requires exercise just like your body does, and it is meditation that entails these benefits into your life. Meditation is simple. All you have to do is focus, concentrate on something. One of the ways I do it is by visualizing a burning candle without losing focus. Your concentration needs to be so good such that it feels as though you are staring at a candle in real life without blinking. So, not even once do you divert your attention to other thoughts or sounds. All this with your eyes closed, obviously. It might sound simple at first, but it’s really really difficult to accomplish. It will take a few days to get better at it.

I have discovered while experimenting with myself, that diving into such states of meditation is linked to how much betterment you want to do to yourself, because meditation is naturally linked to your body’s mind.

Another practice of creating a strong mind is again very rightly stated by the earlier blog.

Develop your mental toughness by knowing what you believe, having the conviction to live by your values, and becoming resilient enough to recover from adversity.

This is the part where you have to show the courage to change, once your mind is able to sort out through thoughts and an orderly fashion (thanks to the meditation), it’s time to take the controls in your hands (or in your mind’s hands) and steer the vehicle in what which way that you desire it to go.

I know that sounds abstract, but the gist is that you must have the willingness to become a much better person, only then can that willingness drive you to make the right decisions and choose the right words in your life. A Positive Mental Attitude is something that needs to be forced into your thoughts for a while until your mind subconsciously starts using that approach.

It’s easy, requires a little work, but certainly possible by anybody.

Best Hack in the Office!

We have whiteboards at the office, and like an idiot I found a marker (thought it was a whiteboard marker) and used it on the whiteboard and later realized that it was a permanent marker! I was not sure how to fix it so I went to the obvious place (Google of course!) and searched for this. Turns out I wasn’t the only one, well I wasn’t very surprised by that, but the most astonishing fact was the answer!

Simply put, fight fire with fire. That’s it! Use a whiteboard marker to erase the permanent marker! What an unbelievable solution! Best office hack.

Once upon a time, there was a Garden City

This article talks a little about the Garden City that Bangalore once was proud to be, but talks mainly about how Bangalore or Bengaluru as people lovingly call it is an incredibly special place. I was born in Mumbai, but I spent my life in Bangalore with primary and secondary education. I must say, I was happy back then as happy I am right now to be back in Bangalore after completing my engineering. We were too naive to realize back then what a blessing Bangalore was, and the huge impact that it had had on our lives. It was only after I went out and witnessed with my own eyes what the rest of India was like, it dawned to me that I had been living in the dark, in a place where our naivety wasn’t challenged. But god forbid! Bangalore wasn’t our ‘dark’ place at all! It was the most bright and cheery place ever, that nobody really cared about what it was like outside. Not that people didn’t want to care. It was just that people were too engrossed in their own lives to notice anything else. That is incidentally the reason why Bangalore is the way it is. People are so happy with their own lives in general that they now live in their own bubble of satisfaction. Don’t get the wrong idea though. It’s not like we turn a blind eye towards the underprivileged just because of our contentedness. We like to share our happiness with others to empower our community.

Since when I was a child, my hobbies were crafted out of the hobbies of my friend group which mainly comprised of computer and video game enthusiasts. We liked to try out different games and different consoles. It was not really a competition on who was best at playing or anything. There wasn’t any competition between us at all. We only cared about was having a great time! How I miss those days. But I realized later on that because I was with these guys, and because I was involved with all the new stuff that they explored on the web, and how we hacked consoles so we could play any game we wanted, I realized that I began to know more about software, games and consoles than other people around me. It wasn’t a sudden realization of course, because I wasn’t even really interested in the intricacies of software installations and the kind at the time anyway, but it paved the way towards my field of interest. Once I was in 11th and 12th grade, I could understand technical talks of people who had also shared a similar background and even make conversation with them. I seemed to get along with the people who knew their way around computers because we had a common interest, and we would take a moment to discuss stuff. That’s pretty common, but think about it in this way. You find out something really cool in your field of interest, that you want to share it with somebody else. So, you would at least want to share it with someone who can appreciate how great your discovery really is! Therefore, it is common to look for people who have similar interests as you. Not to mention, they will announce their discoveries to you too when they find something new! And one thing leads to another, and you guys start working on it. Explore it together. Meet up somewhere, at someone’s house, maybe even stay up for a sleepover. All this… But for what? That’s simple: Passion for life. Something as trivial as interest. Why do we do things that interest us? Simply because they do! Yet it gives rise to a chain of several other questions: If we are all just going to die one day, then why bother doing anything at all? Although that’s pretty common-sensical inquisitiveness, it’s also prey to an equally good counter question: If we are all just going to pass on to another world one day, why not try doing something worthwhile while we are still here? Ha! Think not much. It’s easy, do what makes you happy. Life is big, and life becomes longer than you would like it to be if you are not enjoying yourself. And most important of all, this life is yours! In Bangalore, people understand what it is to have a calm and stable society and people have learned to keep their eyes open to new trends, adapting to those who have not yet adapted and we collectively understand the serenity of such an environment and strive to cherish it and keep it the way it is (although not consciously, it seems to magically happen).

It is known that Bangalore is the Silicon Valley (or “Plateau”) of India. Naturally, based on sound reason. People here have jobs. Many even start their own startups with their friends and colleagues, hoping to “make it”. IT jobs generally pay well, so the general population of Bangalore has no lack of money. Surely, they are trying to make more, but not out of desperation. On the other hand, things have become expensive in the recent years, and Bangalore’s economy has proven to be quite stable. Bangalore is not associated with a particular type of population that speaks a certain language or has originated from certain place. It quite suddenly came into being and people from all over India and all over the world settled here in Bangalore. Another reason for that is that Bangalore has great weather. It’s neither hot nor cold. It does not fluctuate more than 20-25 degrees Celsius throughout the year, it’s usually between (15-35 degrees C). Over the years, a lot more people have poured here to grab hold of the opportunities, so the environment of the place has changed a little bit from how it was before, but it’s still as I remember it, quite the same.

People are friendly in an unconditional way. They don’t help you as a way to grab opportunities from you later, but really because they know you now, and would interact with you in the future, and who knows they might even become your good friend. It’s really about open and free friendships, no bounds to the people you meet. Often times I have seen friends-of-friends-of-friends forming a distant connection on Facebook. It’s just that, there’s nothing else that can come between what you love. And Bangalore is with you on that. The whole framework of Bangalore conspires to bring out the best in you. All you have to do is spread your wings and take flight!

What went wrong with our education system

How bad can education be? It shouldn’t be bad, or it’s not even supposed to be! But here we are… Quite heartbroken, and restricted because there is no other option out there but educate ourselves in the tiring, coercing manner they teach us. Mugging stuff up on the last day of the exam, not only because it doesn’t make any sense to you but also because the exam is the only time we are going to require it. Mug and vomit. That’s our routine 4 times each semester, for every subject and that’s repeated for 8 semesters in total. What a dumb shit thing we have had to go through. I’ve just cleared engineering, and what can I say, the most pathetic experience of my life was in these 4 years. What the hell did I learn in these 4 years anyway? Well, one thing I did learn, and that was how flawed our education system really is. It’s not flawed in a certain number of places or anything like that. It is a 100% wrong! I am emotionally vested in myself, and the education that I get, and the training that I get which I can use once I start my real job. But honestly, after receiving the kind of dull, lacking creativity, lacking enthusiasm kind of education I (or we all) have had to endure, I can say one thing: a serious change is required in our educational system. Also, our lecturers need to be better equipped with the right knowledge to guide us, pave the way for us to race across the sea of knowledge so we could grasp all we can. All they did was give silly excuses like “Students aren’t interested”, “Need to get approval from Principal”, etc. BULLSHIT! I say. If you really want to get something done, you would go out of your way to get it done, come what may. As a student, I don’t have time to entertain my professor’s excuses about lack of interest. Great teachers can gather a crowd of students out of their own interest. Our teachers forget that not only do they work for us, but also that they need to work for the future of our world and our country. Without passion, teaching is a very useless profession and my request to all teachers who lack it is to go find a different profession rather than expose to the students how boring the subject is. Good people, engineers or any other grad for that matter can be made if the people at the top most level are good. In the case of education systems, the Principal, and of course the teachers. We need teachers who can bring out the creativity in them and show us the joys of the subject. Students will then realize the possibilities that can come from learning the subject. For some, it will act as a way to retain information, for they can remember the creative act better than say, reading a textbook for instance.

As a kid, I was taught that all of us are special. Yes, each and every one of us, whether adult or child. We were born with a purpose in our lives. God simply does not roll dice! As humans, we are the chosen ones. But to learn, and experience the fact, you need a kind of education which nourishes your senses to a world with endless possibilities, where you can become whatever you desire, pursue your interests to the fullest and to give back to the society as much as you can. Someone needs to instill or invoke the untapped fire of creativity in us. Creativity. It’s really such a magical thing. Gives me immense joy creating things, whether the world knows about them is another thing altogether but I enjoy creating things. I believe my early days in school helped me out immensely. I realize this now, after looking at India through the scope of my college. From an early age onwards, I have been encouraged to open my eyes and fling my arms to the world. There’s everything out there. So much happiness. Something that I deeply feel that I need to share with the rest of the world.

Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou vs. Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou

Probably not worth writing a review for, because it was too dull for me. Lost interest in the series, because I guess that I finally realized how repetitive it had become, and it was a complete turn off for me. Not the OP however!! The OP was probably the only reason for me to watch the show.

After 2 brilliant seasons of ‘dandiya’, I was anticipating that the third one might score once again in the creativity department. How wrong I was. There’s practically no reason for anyone (especially if you enjoyed the first 2 seasons) to watch this. Okay, here comes a spoiler: Karasuno wins. Happy now? I am surprised, that although I enjoyed the first 2 seasons so much because of the new combos and strategies that both teams were coming up with to defeat one another at all costs. Season 3 offered nothing new, no new combos or anything, just that the man of the match this time was Tsukishima. Just imagine how boring it must have been it was only 10 epis long but it made me feel way more bored than the previous other seasons. To be honest, the previous 2 seasons were not boring at all!!

And surprise, surprise! It is in the top 10 on MAL. Which just goes to show (in my case) that the popular choice of the public and my choice intersect at around 80%. Meaning, I do not agree with the popular choice of around 20% of anime.

I think that after this, I have lost the Haikyuu!! fever. But I shall come back to listen to the OP since, in all three seasons the OPs have blown my mind and I listen to them even today!!

 

Using doAsyncResult in Anko

I was stuck on this for a little while since it wasn’t updated in the documentation and also since I am still a newbie at Kotlin 😉

Some of the description has been already added in the code, as you can see. Let me explain the premise of this solution in any case. The problem arose because I had to perform a network task in the onCreate method and as you know we can’t normally perform a network task in the uiThread. Luckily, Anko provides an elegant solution to this without having the need to implement an AsyncTask interface. doAsync runs whatever task you give it but does not return anything. However, although doAsyncResult is similar to doAsync it can additionally return an object.

A Merry Christmas to you!

Manga Review: Bleach

Before I begin describing Bleach, I should make it clear that Bleach is quite an underrated production (my guess is because of the anime which forked from the original story) since the Manga on the whole was pretty exciting. I can sense the reason for the hype for Bleach, but trust me… The hype would have been more if maybe the anime reproduction was a little better.

So what comes to mind when someone says Bleach? Detergent, eh? (Just kidding, even if you were thinking of it) Well, to a person like me who analyses anime (and stories as such) it didn’t feel as though the flagship victory of Bleach belonged to either Zanpaktous, or Bankais but instead the main glory of Bleach were its characters! (You probably think that I say this for every review, um yeah, you are sort of right). But it’s true. Really. I do mean what I say, that the most important point going for Bleach is really its characters.

Did you notice how new characters were introduced with the beginning of a sub arc (within an arc. To be quite fair here, Bleach can only be said to have 3 arcs). Hiyori, Risa, Keisei, Shinji and later Nel, Dondochakka, Pesche, etc. you realize that these characters played a huge role in those arcs and even got mixed up in on the action in subsequent arcs. It was quite masterful of Kubo to juggle the personalities of as many characters and choreograph some great conversation between them to build their roles in the story and build the story at the same time. Pretty cool, huh! Every single character who plays some part (even a small one) has been fleshed out pretty well if you ask me. And it is the conversation between them that are so lively and comical that it makes you feel as though Bleach is not just some Shounen-action dance, but a well nurtured baby of Kubo Tite.

Speaking of arcs, there are only 3 as I have mentioned before. First is the best in my opinion. Second is the shortest, but has the least amount of character development (a.k.a my satisfaction level), and the third is neither the longest nor the best out of the three, and it’s not the worst either… Better to be on one side rather than in the middle, anyway that doesn’t even make sense. But the first arc (Aizen arc, even the name of this arc is a spoiler darn it!) captures the true colours of what Bleach can offer you. Sucks right? The first is the best and you just have to read 250~ more chapters after it just to finish the manga. Don’t fret, it’s not bad as I make it sound. On the contrary, it is… wait for it… Boring! The last two arcs really lack what the first arc had in abundance, comic relief. Although, the amount of fighting that takes place in the final two arcs in 250~ chapters is almost about equal to the amount of fighting that takes place in the first 400~ chapters (first arc). Just imagine, you have to go through hours of text about two men provoking and taunting each other and talking about how great they are (and in the end both sides are beaten up pretty badly). So you know now what you are up against.

Well, look here now. On the bright-side I will make a prediction based on the fact that although I haven’t watched the anime and I have no details at all about where it forks away from the Manga that the manga is definitely better than its anime counterpart. Let me explain to you why this fact seems so apparent to me. Because of the ratings of Bleach on MAL. Wait a second. It seems like the manga has got an even worse rank than the anime (x3 times bad). I might be wrong here. But that shouldn’t be a problem, you can both watch and read it if you like and decide for yourself 🙂

The only other problem that I noticed was the way the manga was the drawing of the fights was quite unintelligible. I mean honestly, I gave up trying to decipher what was going on in the picture. Like dude! If you are going to make a manga that’s mostly about fighting, at least make sure that you can draw the fights properly! Pah! That was the most annoying part. But I got used to it after a while. Also, it seemed as though the final arc ended a bit abruptly. I thought it would go on for at least 25 more chapters… Well, whatever, never mind.

As the conclusion, I would say that if you ain’t got time, read the first arc and then jump to the last chapter. If you think about it, the number of character additions keeps on reducing as the number of arcs increases. Members of Xucution in the 2nd arc (that’s around 6 I suppose) and the 5 members of the Zero division in the 3rd. In other words, Bleach loses what it had going for it in the first arc. Just look how many characters were introduced there (well of course it was the first arc, but even then. Characters being the charm of Bleach it would seem that it became a little rusty as the story went forward). Trust me, that might just as well be the best advice of the day given to you.

Switching over from http to https

Hip hip hurray! I recently made the switch using a popular and open source service known as Let’s Encrypt. Its service provides an SSL layer over the connection so that information sent to the server will not be understandable by the attacker even if they listen on the network. Well, to be honest I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, but I did not know about this free service before! It works really well and a couple of tutorials helped me set up my Nginx WordPress installation for https.

So yeah, those lines above did it for me. But before you add them to your Nginx configuration file, follow the steps given on the Let’s Encrypt site. You need to start by installing certbot on your system, then create certificates and keys. Since these certificates expire after 90 days, you also need to renew them periodically. But rest assured, the setup was easier than I had expected, you should certainly give it a try. Not to mention that it’s free 🙂