Today’s busy life

Reading Marcus Aurelius’s book, I ask myself. Is our life really more busy then the life of a Roman Emperor?

In book 2,quote 5, he wrote:

Concentrate every minute like a man on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness… And on freeing yourself from all other distractions.
All the articles, books, and presentations about productivity nowadays are talking about removing the distractions, just like Marcus has wrote about 1900 years ago. More time changes more it stays the same.

In quote 7, he wrote:

Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions.
Reading this book, I sometimes think his talking about our modern life. 1900 years ago, with the same (or almost) ideas on life, the same preoccupations.

I strongly suggest anybody to read Meditations from Marcus Aurelius.

Here’s an affiliate link to buy the book on amazon. This is the actual version that I currently read.

Happy learning.


Self filling water bottle

I found those articles about a self-filling bottle, this is a great idea, and the concept is great. It’s just like magic, it creates water out of thin air.

TechInsider: The Fontus, self-filling water bottle

LiveScience: Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable H2O

Ok, it’s not magic, it’s physics. I love physics! But reading the article I found out the small prints of the prototype.

As written in the LiveScience article:

Fontus can produce 0.5 quarts (0.5 liters) of water in 1 hour in what is considered “really good” conditions, with temperatures between 86 degrees and 104 degrees Fahrenheit (30 to 40 degrees Celsius) and between 80 percent and 90 percent humidity, Retezár said.

So it wouldn’t work in a desert, or a dry place. Where we could need it. But for the occidental people doing sports, it should be enough to keep them hydrated. And it could finance the water harvesting projects to help the driest countries to grow food.

The product is not prefect but it should be available this fall. 

Happy learning.

Allegory of the Cave – Now and Then

I studied the Allegory of the cave when I was in college, something like 20 years ago. And thinking about change management at work, I made an example with the allegory of the cave.

So I looked it up just to see if my allegory was right. If my memory of the cave is still right.

Wikipedia: Allegory of the Cave

After reading it again, I can say that I was mostly true. I did miss some details, but the basic idea was the same. The change management in computer science is very important for the product acceptance. It’s actions the project team needs to do, to helps the prisoner escape from the cave. Managing all the questions about the new environment. With each major innovation or change, development teams should help their users understand what has happened and sometimes why it has happened.

The Agile methodology tells you to have a user on your team. But the questions stays the same, they come when the prisoner goes back into the cave.

When I was studying philosophy 20 years ago, I liked it, but I never would’ve though it would be that present in my day to day life. Especially in computer science, working mostly with machines. But that’s not true, we do not work mostly with machines, we build an interface between the machines and humans. So we do work a lot with humans. And we need to be able to understand their needs, fears, and work (line of business).

The Allegory of the Cave is a small text, what can we expect from a whole book like The Prince from Niccolò Machiavelli (about politics plots).

Happy learning.


Level Up Your Life Book

As I already posted some time ago in a post called Level up your life, I like the way Steve Kamb presents the information.

Now, he just released a book! The book is out since January 12th 2016, and I just finished reading the sample.

Level Up Your Life is Now Available!

There’s a lot of information that you can find on his web site, or in the Nerd Fitness ressources, but a bunch of new stuff too. And he talks about the whole story, and a lot that I didn’t saw on the nerd fitness blog.

A new web ressource is also available to create a character, it’s great and easy. You can have more stuff by registering, but the free version is still nice. So created a character, and I hope it will help keeping me motivated on my projects.

Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story

One thing I would like to know is where to buy book, to help the authors? Where can you buy it so the author gets more money for their work. This book is available at Amazon (9.99CAD$), Barnes & Noble (10.99USD$), and iTune Store (11.99CAD$) (for the numeric version). I will write a post when I will have the answer, but this might be something that can change over time… (and maybe by contract/book).

Happy learning!

Learning Ruby

Ruby is a very popular programming language now a days.

Some time ago, I went to a RailsWorkshop. It was a great experience, and I just wish I could take more time to learn it better.

Anyone could do the Workshop at home, but you don’t have the more experienced programmers to help and teach you.

On the Friday night, it was the Installfest. On site, the RailsBridge volunteers could help you when you have problems, but the Installfest page is very detailed.

Then on Saturday, the RailsWorkshop is on. The RailsBridge volunteer present the projects depending on you Ruby skills. I went to the basic, the Into to Rails.

All the class are detailed on the RailsBridge web site and much more.

Having left that on the side for a while, and starting a new year. I decided I needed a new challenge.

So I just decided to recreate an application I used to study with, when I was in high school. It was a Trivial & Pursuit game on the Commodore 64, written in Basic. Back then, I found the code and identified the place where the questions were stored. So I simply added some questions about what I had to study, and played for hours.

Happy learning.

Level up in life

Some time ago, I stumbled on Steve Kamb and it’s Level up in life.

Here’s his Tedx You tube video, this is a great presentation of the project.

So based on Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest of Awesome of Nerd Fitness, this is my real life character, so I can Level Up in Life.

So this is me: Benoît Provencher’s real life character

Other Web ressources I found for doing smarter choices:
Effortless Gent: How to manage your wardrobe. This is something I have always had problems with. And I usually brought my girlfriend to choose for me. But I would change wardrobe when changing girlfriend.

Brent Ozar has is Level Up in Life page

A mathematical question

I find out a solution to multiply numbers in SQL on And I asked myself: Why does it works?


The task was to multiply the numbers on different rows. So imagine you have the following table, and with 1 simple query you get the product of all the numbers grouped by Id.

Id Number
1 1.5
2 2
3 10
1 5
2 4
1 1.6
1 1.8
2 3
3 7

So basically, you would take all the numbers for an Id, and multiply them:
1: 1.5 X 5 X 1.6 X 1.8 = 21.6
2: 2 X 4 X 3 = 24
3: 10 X 7 = 70

And to get back the following result:

Id Product
1 21.6
2 24
3 70

But in SQL, it’s a row based query. So one row doesn’t know the content of the next. So the solution says do the EXP of the sum of the LOG of each Id.

So it goes like that:
EXP(LOG(10) + LOG(7)) = 10 X 7
EXP(1 + 0.8450980) = 10 X 7
70 = 10 X 7


EXP(LOG(10) + LOG(7)) = 10 X 7
LOG(10) + LOG(7) = LOG(10 X 7)
LOG(10) + LOG(7) = LOG(70)

A more precise writing of this would be:
EXP10(LOG10(10) + LOG10(7)) = 10 X 7

It does works, but why?

I was looking to have a more detailed explication, but it’s a simple rule of the logarithm. The sum of the logarithm is the same as the logarithm of the product.

So basically, Log10(10) + Log10(7) = Log10(10 X 7) = Log10(70).

So after that, since the EXP(LOG(n)) = n. You bring back the number by doing the opposite operation, using EXP.