To Stop Worrying on Other’s Opinion

We sometimes feel the need for other’s validation on everything that we do. Moreover, we often fear that other people will judge us negatively in what we do for them. These need for validation and fear of other’s judgement possibly could hinder us in giving our best shots in all things that we do. Imagine speaking in one presentation while fearing what the audiences think about us, the feelings are probably comparable.

Asking for constant feedback from others is the first thing that we could do in that condition. Rather than guessing or fearing the worst-case scenario, sometimes it is better to just ask them for a direct comment. A helpful person will gladly provide us with constructive feedback to help us grow to be better.

Yet in other cases, it is hard if not nearly impossible, to ask for direct feedback from the other parties. In this type of condition, it is then better to ask ourselves whether we already give our best shots and the best intention. Finding fulfilment in realizing the fact that we already offer our best effort and not setting our goal for other’s judgement is often enough.

To Stop Worrying on Other’s Opinion

Wishing Things to Happen as They Actually Will

“Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.” 

Epictetus – The Enchiridion

As I grew older, and hopefully wiser, I’ve come to a realization that it is not the part of praying for too much a thing that disappoints us most when the prayer is not granted. It is actually praying for matters to change outside of our control when we could actually reframe the prayer to affect us instead.

Now, instead of praying to God, the holder of the power to change one’s heart, for other’s changes, I’m praying for a change of mine instead. Acceptance of what life currently have in store, strength to go through the day, and for guidance for what actually destined for me.

Wishing Things to Happen as They Actually Will

On Why to be Actively Grateful

I used to pray for a lot of stuff, and all got fulfilled until it doesn’t.

The funny thing is that we as a human tends to remember the negativity of events rather than the positive side. Try to recall events that occurred in the latest year or two of your life. You are more likely to remember how certain things went wrong rather than how other things made you happy. That is just how our brain works [1].

I am no different. It is hard to forget how things went wrong and saddening throughout my life. It seems so easy for those unwanted events to just pop-up in the thought throughout the days. To recall pleasant memories, however, needs more active work.

Probably that’s why God keeps reminding us in The Book about His favors [2], detailing some of many things around us that we could be grateful of so that we as a human being keep trying our best to have active work in recalling our pleasant memories.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/your-money/why-people-remember-negative-events-more-than-positive-ones.html
[2] QS 55

On Why to be Actively Grateful

TU Delft Personal Application Essay

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“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable”, This quote from The Art of War by Sun Tzu, as written on one of my Cryptography and Network Security text book, is what made me interested in this particular subject, Cryptography. As a computer scientist, we tend to measure a lot of things, and prepare of one consequences, using a worst case scenario approach. For example: how long a particular algorithm will run, what’s the likelihood of a cloud service failing, what happen when someone read my secret messages. Using worst case scenario mindset, that quote from Sun Tzu is just so in place of thinking on how to prepare from enemies’ attack, or in Cryptography term, Adversaries. We shouldn’t assume that our secret information will stay safe wherever they are, we should take precaution measures to protect them. Because of those motivations I am applying to TU Delft, choosing Master of Science in Computer Science, Software and Technology Track. To this very reason also I am choosing Cryptography and Information Security specialization. 

In the last year of my Bachelor’s program, I finished a thesis titled “Gentry’s Fully Homomorphic Encryption Scheme over Integer and Its Implementation Using the Python Programming Language”. Finishing this in a semester of four months with total credit of 6, I received a perfect score of “A” for both the thesis and the defense. This thesis was about an implementation of currently developed encryption scheme based on a 2009 Ph.D. dissertation of Craig Gentry from Stanford University. In his dissertation, Gentry bring up a scheme of a long awaited idea in the world of Cryptography, Fully Homomorphism in Encryption. This idea firstly posed by Rivest, Adleman and Dertouzous in 1978 yet have not find an implementation, allows us to delegate our data processing to a third party without granting them any of information regarding the data being processed, eliminating the need of fully trusting any third party that process our data. In my thesis, I implemented an integer version of Gentry’s scheme using Python programming language. I chose to use Python because of its availability in any platform, its support in multi paradigm of object oriented and functional programming, and also its features and libraries that ease me in code implementation. I also created some test cases to test the scheme’s performance in variable plaintext and key sizes. 

While browsing to the web pages of Computer Science School in TU Delft, it piqued my curiosity that in TU Delft you have several Special Interest Groups that does research on a lot of interesting subjects, one of the group that make me interested is the one that called Cyber Security Group where one of the research topic there is about Homomorphic Encryption. I got excited because not only it is quite similar with what I studied for my undergraduate thesis, but also this particular group is relatively new group in TU Delft, as new as January 2014, yet it has a lot of promising research topic there, for example: research about Secure Information Sharing, Lightweight Cryptography, and application of Quantum Information Theory. This special interest group focusing on Information Security and especially Cryptography is one of the thing that I hardly find in my previous university or even my country Indonesia, it was uncommon for a student to be interested in Information Security, let alone having special research group that do focused research on that particular subject. I also interested in the fact that in TU Delft you can expand your knowledge by taking a subjects that are not taught as part of our study program by following electives or minors. This is great because I would like to take elective course in Project Management, having worked in a small and new startup company in Jakarta allows me to have a deep knowledge in how a Software projects are done from start until finish, a course in Project Management will help me to re-evaluate my knowledge I gained from work experience and to find out more about other industry related Project Management. 

Information Security, particularly Cryptography, offers broad range of topics that still open for research. Personally, I would choose a topic in Quantum Information Theory. From what I read, Quantum Information Theory differs significantly from classical Information Theory in the term of unit that is used to store the information. In Quantum Information Theory, a qubit, i.e. quantum bit is used as a unit of storing information instead of a bit, this allows the information to be stored as a superposition state and continuous-valued instead of a discrete value of one-state bit. An advancement in Quantum Information Theory and Quantum Computing will also jeopardize most existing used Cryptosystems (for example, an integer factorization problem can be solved in polynomial time using Shor’s algorithm), thus researching a Cryptosystem that can survive beyond Quantum Computer and Quantum Algorithm usage will be interested. Quantum Information Theory also opens a new field in which collaboration with researchers from other discipline, especially Physics as Quantum Mechanic is one of the bleeding edge research topic in that field of expertise. 

I also interested in the topic of Identity Based Encryption and its usage using a biometric data. Usually one uses an email address as the ID in Identity Based Encryption to be used as a public key in the scheme, email is used because it is unique enough in the sense of uniqueness in ownership. This approach however pose a problem because it requires a receiver of a message to have a working email address so that they can derive a public key out of it, in the developing country for example, an access to create and use email address is bounded by internet speed, availability, and also people ability. What if we can use biometric data to uniquely identify each person and thus use it instead as a public key? For example we can use fingerprint scans, retina scans, or even DNA sample from a people and use it as a public key. One of the application of this idea is to be used as a way for a government to store its people data in secret, also enabling them and possibly another person to send a secret information to the people, e.g.: medical histories, tax reports, personal announcement, etc. 

To sum up, a prospect to study in TU Delft will grant me an excellent research opportunity with best of people in the world, allowing me to improve my knowledge and deepen my ability in solving real world problem. It will also give me one chance in a lifetime to bring back knowledge that I attained there to Indonesia, where research in the field of Cryptography and Information Security is still in its early days. Personally, I’m that people who believe in order to change the future we need to take an active part in it, applying to TU Delft is one of my first active parts in changing the future, to be accepted and studying for Master in there are the next steps. 

Prahesa K Setia

TU Delft ’15-’17
LPDP PK-31

TU Delft Personal Application Essay

On a Wandering Mind

“No retreat offers someone more quiet and relaxation than that into his own mind…..So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself” – Marcus Aurelius in Meditations

I used to believe that getting out of my daily routines and visiting new places will help my mind find its peace.

It does indeed open up my eyes to differences that this world has to offer, new people with each of their mindsets, utterly different weather condition, unpleasant yet exiting foods and drinks. But what it does not provide is an escape.

I used to think that by physically getting away from your current condition and location everything would always turn out better than what you already have, get out of your comfort zone they said. But what if you don’t feel comfortable or peaceful in the first place? Does challenging yourself into a new condition to find the aforementioned “comfort zone” might work? It does not, I argue.

What I didn’t realize is that we cannot escape from what resides inside our head. Wherever we go, no matter how far, our fear, boredom, anxiety may still haunt us.

To find peace, I discovered, is to let ourselves retreat to our own mind. Let our mind think and answer questions that we ask it. Let it wonder into its own world without keeping too much attention into what’s happening in the outside world. Let it rests. Let it finds its shelter.

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an empty bench, a shelter

 

On a Wandering Mind

A Question Left Unanswered

 

quantum_entanglement

They say that a physical entity does not exist until an observer, a conscious one, make a measurement. Prior to that, we can only guess, yet we never know the exact properties of the physical entity. As if the entity knows, and says hello to us a mere mortal with a conscious mind.

“Hey! getting lost in your own mind again?” said a long-haired lady sitting next to me while looking straight at my face. Her brown eyes appear to stare into my soul as if they knew I was lost in my train of thoughts.

“Oh sorry, Kara. I’m listening to you though. So I guess we still have five stops before we arrive there” I said to her, not fully lying, as I still could answer her previous question on when will we arrive at our destination.

“Glad to hear that! I was so sure that you were not paying attention” said Kara while smiling, her round eyeglasses appear to be slightly moved up along. “Thank you for accompanying me today in Amsterdam by the way”.

“Don’t mention it, my pleasure” I answered.

As the blue colored Tram bustles through the city of Amsterdam, I began to get lost in my own mind again. I’ve known Kara for too long to remember. We bumped into each other in this city after losing contact for three years. I suddenly remember those days a few years back when I could just talk to her about anything, mostly about ideas and dreams that I would not be able to talk with other people. Until three years ago we were separated by seven time-zones apart. We share similar goal and interest though, as we both are scientists.

I want her to be with me. I think I am in love with her.

But, does she feel the same? There are only two possibilities: yes or no.

When I was a boy, I used to think that it is possible to make some kind of device to predict someone’s feeling, or consciousness, or whatever it is you call it. After all, we are just a collection of dancing atoms, aren’t we? Only after a doctorate degree and countless of sleepless research night later do I understand the underlying trick of the universe. The universe will always hold a mystery in its core. Even a simple double-slit experiment held a mystery on how does exactly the universe work, as a particle in that experiment appears to be in both upper and lower slit, how could that be?

If she does feel the same, I could imagine our livelong exchange of ideas together. That overwhelming feeling of having the ability to conquer the world, solving any problem that this world needs to be solved. Our joint research together, that power duo this world needs.

If she does not feel the same, we would not meet again after this. The last tram stop would be the last time I see her. I would only be able to see her name in one of her published paper. We would go our separate ways and get lost in our own world.

It seems to me that she is in a superposition of loving me and not loving me. Asking her the question to be with me would collapse that into either one of two.

“Hey we arrived at our destination I think!” Kara said cheerfully as our tram stops. I was losing count on the number of stops, but it seems that this is the correct destination. “Well then, this is it” She continued saying.

Now it would be the time to either ask her or just let the superposition stays.

—–
I previously submitted this fiction to Quantum Shorts 2017, a competition about writing a story about quantum mechanics, check their Twitter at @quantumshorts

A Question Left Unanswered

First and Last Name: The Most Irritating Fallacy in UX

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Facebook sign-up form, why Facebook? why?

First name and last name field in online sign up form is the most irritating fallacy that User eXperience designers made. Period.

Assuming that every single person in the world have first name and last name part is just so wrong and ignorance. Even assuming that a person has name that consists of two or more words is not good (an example: my father’s name only consists of one word). Even if they indeed have name that consists of two or more words, making assumption that the last part of their name is their “last name” (or “surname”/”family name” in western cultures) is not correct approach either (an example: Japanese names generally in the form of “family name” followed by “given name” thus the last part of their naming system is not the “last name” in the sense of family name).

Continue reading “First and Last Name: The Most Irritating Fallacy in UX”

First and Last Name: The Most Irritating Fallacy in UX