Ups and Downs – Inner Demons And Home

Life is like the weather. Sometimes is sunny and gives you a warm feeling inside, while some other times it’s cold and stormy. One thing is for sure though, neither state is permanent. No matter how stormy is outside, the true sunshine comes from inside us. The best way to deal with a storm, is not to wait for it to pass, but to learn how to dance in the rain, and keep the light shining inside you.

demotivation-us_if-there-are-no-ups-and-downs-in-your-life-it-means-you-are-dead_14117184278After every storm there’s always sunshine and a rainbow. Nobody is always happy or always miserable. Life’s roller coaster is taking us from one island to the other, from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the sea and back. We just have to breath in and enjoy the ride, no matter how scary it might look. Every ‘down’ is a step forward and every ‘up’ is guided by our own reaction to the problem.  Seeing every low moment as a lesson learned and progress from where you used to be a while ago, will definitely improve the way in which you see the’ups’ in your life. It always gets better, as long as you don’t lose hope.

Home is not a place, but a feeling. Home is located deep inside us, and is created by ourselves, and like a fire, kept alive with a lot of dedication and care. Read more on my article about The Feeling Of Home.

During such ups and downs, we sometimes lose our feeling of home, and feel lost, like we don’t belong to any place anymore. We’re not sure what we’re missing, but the emptiness and sadness needs to be replaced with a warm cozy feeling. What we really need during the storm, is to feel at home, and we desperately search for ways in which to bring that feeling back into our lives.

Even if building walls around us during such moments seems like the natural way to deal with being hurt, what we really need is not to push everyone and everything away, but to find ourselves, and the missing puzzle part which is keeping us away from home.

the_problem_is_not_the_problemThat feeling can be brought back in so many ways, but most of the time we’re the ones keeping it from happening. Our mental state during a low point in our life is very important and determines the amount of time in which we wait to go home. Sometimes, our own feelings and reaction to the current problems push home further away from ourselves.

Even in darkness, there’s always something positive. We just have to put the effort into finding it, and don’t get overwhelmed by the lack of light. Darkness also has its own beauty, and most of the times, darkness and loneliness are the moments in which we get to know who we really are.

Loneliness is scary. Loneliness is like a mirror for our true self. Loneliness strips us down of any clothes, meat and bones, and all we’re left with is who we truly are. You can hide from others, but you can’t run away from yourself. All your thoughts and feelings are boxed in the same room with us, and we have nowhere to hide from our inner demons. Once we face the demons and we realize both ourselves and them are on the same side, we make peace with ourselves, and allow ourselves to go back home.

Such moments, teach us a lot about who we really are. Such moments bring out either the best in us or the worse. Is up to us to control which way we want to go.

What we really need to do is to stop pitying ourselves and channel our attention on something positive. Most of the time helping others the best cure for our own problems. Getting in touch with people or animals who are in situations much worse than we are or caring for the environment, is a good wake up call and a nice reflection on where our lives are heading.

Home always comes from the most unexpected places and experiences. When you feel like you need to hind behind a wall, push down the wall, set yourself free, spend time doing what you love, be active and keep your body and mind healthy. Remember who you truly are, and let that inner person take over. Spend time volunteering, focusing on your hobbies and passions, and on getting to know yourself better.

Every tomorrow is a new beginning and it’s your choice only if tomorrow will be better than today or worse. Look inside you, and you’ll find the power to guide your life towards that perfect feeling of home. It’s inside you, so keep it in your mind as the ultimate destination in life.

Be thankful for every ‘down’, feeling of loneliness and dark time in your life. In the end, those are the moments in which you learn more about yourself than you ever do when you’re happy.

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Teaching Yourself Programming – Behind the Scenes

Last year I’ve decided to learn how to program in order to change my career path, and by this I don’t mean going to school to get a degree, but learning by myself, at home. With only basic programming knowledge, which I’ve learned in high school (close to zero, now that I look back), I’ve started the long and difficult road towards success.

Because the beginning of anything is very difficult, and you might get mixed feelings about your decision, not knowing what to do and who to turn to, I want to share a few thoughts on this, with examples from my own journey, hoping that I will provide guidance to those of you who find themselves in the same situation.

truestoryAnd I will start with a friendly advice / warning: If you don’t have the passion for this, DON’T DO IT! If you plan to get yourself into programming only for the material benefits, you’re going to have a hard time. After learning intensively for a while now, I can tell you it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, and it takes a lot of dedication, study and self-discipline. It might look easy at a first glance, but in order to become really good at what you do (where the real money come from), you need more than this. You need passion! And if you think the beginning is hard, wait until you pass the beginner’s level. This is only the start, and it will only get worse, before it will get better. If you don’t have the drive to learn, you will simply quit, as you can’t make any more progress. There are enough programmers out there who don’t really understand the concepts, and spend their whole careers copy-pasting code from different resources, bringing entire companies to the ground, when things start picking up, and the websites they built can’t support the traffic anymore. Don’t become one of them!

Beginner – Set. Goal. Wings to fly!

Like any one of you who decide to start walking down this path, I went online looking for sources and advice.With a positive attitude, and a goal in mind, I went through the information provided by a few websites like Codeacademy, W3schools, and a few more, starting with the basics HTML and CSS notions, combining them with a bit of Javascript, and later on, some basic PHP and MYSQL, as my dream was to become a web developer. And it worked beautifully. The knowledge clicked, and I felt like I can get down to business: ‘Wow, now I can build a website!’ And by website, I don’t mean the easy practice ones I did while learning, with: ‘Hello World’, ‘Here’s a picture’, ‘Thank you for visiting’, ‘Goodbye’. I mean a website with a complex menu, a sign-up form, login, database (you can probably see where this is going). Positive attitude? Maybe, or maybe lack of experience and knowledge. Obviously, if you try to run before you walk, you won’t make it! But sure, me being me, I thought I can do it, I have what it takes. Well, sorry to disappoint but, after learning this the hard way, I can tell you for sure, that it just doesn’t work like this. Oops … 🙂

while codingStill, not being aware of those, I wrote the pretty HTML and CSS code and after threatening my PC a few times with flying lessons, it all looked gorgeous, but … yeah, things were missing, others were working without me actually understanding why, and others were working but not doing what I wanted them to do, but what I told them to do (Yes, computers have this annoying habit to do what you tell them to, and not what you actually have in mind 🙂 ). Those links and tabs did nothing! Hmm …No magical leprechaun took on the responsibility to make them work after I wrote the code. Darn! Someone is going to get fired… Someone, anyone?

After realizing I’m the only man on the ship and I can’t fire myself, I went back to the drawing board. How do you code the sign up and log in? And, how does the website know who you are in order to show your profile page? And … how do you show a profile page, when it pops in the menu bar only when the user is logged in? How do I hash the password? How do I connect files? Where do I insert a chunk of code in another programming language? And how do I …? And where … ? Oh wait … Oh no … Oh my … And that’s how getting lost in the programming world starts…

Medium Level Knowledge – What … ? Where from … ? Panic!

The more you look for answers, the more you realize how much you DON’T KNOW, and you start to doubt even the knowledge you have. Random code and notions pop from every website you click on, in your quest for guidance. You want to get it, you think you did, but you have no idea what to do with the information. Where do you even start when there are so many things that don’t work, and you don’t know what to do first?

Well, first of all, don’t panic. I know, too late. Still, don’t do it. It’s normal to not know everything from the beginning. Also, there’s no way you can ever build something of the size an online community, when you have only basic knowledge of programming. We all went through the ‘going up really fast’ faze, feeling like we just got our cool set of wings to fly, when you think you can get to the moon and back with them, and then hit the ‘brick wall of reality’. And, it hurts badly, but it’s a good wake up call, making you realize what your level really is.

Going through online sources you will find information mainly for beginners or advanced programmers. Nothing for you, past beginner’s level knowledge person, but without enough experience to keep at it. Once you pass the beginner’s faze, and you do have some knowledge here and there, you will be clueless about what to do next. And you search desperately for answers, and the more you read, the harder it gets, and the more confused you become.

Ok, I did learn a lot. I did some reading, I know more stuff. But what do I do with the information? Where do I put the PHP / Javascipt code now? How … what do I do with the Database? How should I structure the website? What goes in which folder? What file should have what extension? Very hard to figure out, on your own.

This is the point where you have to keep at it, and don’t quit! Also, this is also the point where most beginners who got themselves into this only for the money, or for the wrong reasons, will quit. It’s a good faze of learning programming, even if it looks like the worse you’ve been through, so far.

The Solution To Your Problems

Sorry, no easy way out, no shortcuts. If there were such an option, I would have found it by now, as I looked for any possible way to learn faster, skip steps as I can clue in by myself as I go, get better with less reading and more practice with the code. If you are looking for the secret of getting there, I can’t give you the recipe, as there is none, but I can give you the method: WORK. Yes, a lot of work. Again, it doesn’t come easy, but when it finally clicks, it’s very much worth it!

From my own experience, here are a few steps I followed, which actually helped though the journey, by keeping me on the right track. They might not work for everyone, as we all learn in a different way and at a different rhythm, but they sure worked for me:

1. Don’t give up! So, it doesn’t work. So, what? No room for ‘Lie down. Try not to cry. Cry a lot‘ type of attitude! If you feel like this is your passion, and you have a call for it, remind yourself daily, as many times as needed, that you made it so far, you know a lot, even if it doesn’t feel like it, so it pays to focus a bit longer. I know you must go though a ‘I can’t do it‘ faze, but, with a lot of work and dedication, you can do it.

2. Get organized (after you get out from the previous panic moment 🙂 ). If you decide on a specific field / programming language, work on finding a structure, a content of the information you should know, and you want to / have to learn. You can find it in a book, or from a ‘learn how to program’ website. Regardless of your source, keep building on top every single point of the list, going from simple notions to the most complex ones.

3. Read from multiple sources. Websites like Codeacademy are great, but once you passed the rookie faze, you can’t rely only on the information you got from one source, as that will never be enough for you to reach your goal. I combined the structure previously created (see point 2) and built on top of it, by reading from beginner’s websites, one book (whichever one works better for you – find it and use it – start with ONE only, then move to a new one) and video tutorials on how to whatever you are currently learning. From everything, what I’ve found most useful were the video tutorials, as they gave me the visual and audio part of learning, which I was missing by focusing only on the reading. This also clarified a few questions I had related to the structure of a website.

4. Go small! Take you goal, break it into as many pieces as possible, and work only with those pieces until they work. When one piece doesn’t work, tackle one issue at a time. When you figure it out, then you can move to the next one. One by one, you will get them done, and you will put the puzzle pieces back together, to form the desired result. Don’t ever bite more than you can chew, or you will end up disappointed and discouraged, which slows down or puts an end to the progress made so far.

5. Practice, practice, practice. Once you read something, make sure you take the knowledge and apply it. This is the only way in which it will stick. You can’t memorize programming, you have to feel it and understand it. No other way. What really worked for me, was using a programming language to solve small programming challenges. Project Euler was probably my best teacher in the past few months, when it came to solidifying and testing my knowledge.

99 bugs6. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! I know it might sound weird but mistakes are good, actually they are great! It took me sooooo long to figure this out, but every time you make a mistake, you learn. I know it must be hard to see, but believe me, you do. Fixing your own mistakes, will make the knowledge stick. Debugging has its advantages! Remember that the only people who make no mistakes are the ones who don’t try to do anything. If you want to learn, make as many mistakes as possible. You will get there!

7. Don’t expect immediate results. Yep, I am one of those persons who study for a while and then wants to move mountains. If I don’t see things happening, I feel down, and doubtful. If this is how you are as well, and you want to see the work pay off NOW, you can forget about it. When it comes to programming, there are only baby steps. If you set your mind on ‘going big or going home’, in the first months of learning, you will go home. You fill fail, repetitively, but it’s all about how you train yourself to keep on moving. Get up, and try again.

8. Trust in yourself, stay motivated! This is the hardest part, once things get hairy, but you are the only one who can decide to stay motivated or quit. Nothing can stop a motivated person with a positive attitude. It’s your choice entirely, which type of person you will be. With every new piece of information, and every new day of study, you can make a choice. Choose right!

Once it gets worse, it will also get better, as long as you hang in there, stick to your goal and don’t give up. No one said it will be easy, but if programming is what you really feel like you want to do in life, for sure you can get there! With the right amount of work and dedication, you can become a very skilled programmer. No overnight success though, but only a lot of dedication, reading, practicing, debugging, all for that moment when your code works perfectly, in one go.

Remember, it pays to be patient. Get busy coding!

Project Euler – Challenge Accepted – Back to the basics

Someone told me we need more real programmers around, who actually understand what’s going on under the hood, and not the type who have no idea what they are building. The IT world doesn’t need more programmers who write a code patched around from different ‘Googleing missions’, only to break down when a website receives more traffic, and to put the business owners in the situation when they have to call a really skilled person to fix the bugs.

I don’t want to be part of the problem. I don’t want to just scratch the surface, I want to know it all. The way I went, so far, about teaching myself to code made me the painter, in the whole process of building a house. Yes, you do get the applause at the end of the job, but you have no idea about how to build the foundation. Actually, your work would be nothing without the guy who does the foundation.

Looking for a way to train my brain to understand how a computer works behinds the scene, I had to go back to the basics. Yes, no more attempts to build fancy website, only boring numbers until I get so good at it, that I can do it with my eyes closed.

That being said, I took the Project Euler Challenge and I’ve decided to share my Knowledge with everyone, while I complete a few problems.

Back to the basics, using Javascript to solve the following:

Problem 1 – Multiples of 3 and 5

If we list all the natural numbers below 10 that are multiples of 3 or 5, we get 3, 5, 6 and 9. The sum of these multiples is 23. Find the sum of all the multiples of 3 or 5 below 1000.

var sum = 0;
for (i=0; i<1000; i++) {
          if (i%3 === 0 || i%5 === 0) {
                             sum += i;

Correct Answer: 233168

Problem 2 – Even Fibonacci numbers

Each new term in the Fibonacci sequence is generated by adding the previous two terms. By starting with 1 and 2, the first 10 terms will be: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, …

By considering the terms in the Fibonacci sequence whose values do not exceed four million, find the sum of the even-valued terms.

var sum = 0;
var x = 0;
var y = 1;

while (y<4000000) {
              if (y%2 === 0) {
                      sum = sum + y;
z = x + y;
x = y;
y = z;

Correct Answer: 4613732

Problem 3 – Largest prime factor

The prime factors of 13195 are 5, 7, 13 and 29. What is the largest prime factor of the number 600851475143 ?

function isaprime(p) {
         var k = p / 2;
         for (i=2; i<k; i++) {
                        if (p % i === 0) {
                                      return false;
          return true;

n = 13195;

for (i=3; i<=n; i++) {
                if (n % i === 0) {
                            if (isaprime(i)) {
                                     console.log(i + ” ” + n);
               if ( n != i ) {
                        n = n / i;
                        i = 3;

Correct Answer: 6857

Problem 4 – Largest palindrome product

A palindromic number reads the same both ways. The largest palindrome made from the product of two 2-digit numbers is 9009 = 91 × 99.

Find the largest palindrome made from the product of two 3-digit numbers.

function reverse (n) {
             var r = ‘ ‘;
             while (n.length>0) {
                           r += n.substring(n.length-1,n.length);
                           n = n.substring(0, n.length-1);
             return r;

function ispalindrome(n) {
                    return reverse(n) == n;

m = 0;

for (i=100; i<=999; i++) {
                   for (j=100; j<=999; j++) {
                                    n = i * j;
                                    if (ispalindrome(n.toString())) {
                                                           if ( n > m ) {
                                                                         m = n;

Correct Answer: 906609

Problem 5 – Smallest multiple

2520 is the smallest number that can be divided by each of the numbers from 1 to 10 without any remainder.

What is the smallest positive number that is evenly divisible by all of the numbers from 1 to 20?

var i = 20;
while ( i % 2 !== 0 || i % 3 !== 0 || i % 4 !== 0 || i % 5 !== 0 || i % 6 !== 0 || i % 7 !== 0 || i % 8 !== 0 || i % 9 !== 0 || i % 10 !== 0 || i % 11 !== 0 || i % 12 !== 0 || i % 13 !== 0 || i % 14 !== 0 || i % 15 !== 0 || i % 16 !== 0 || i % 17 !== 0 || i % 18 !== 0 || i % 19 !== 0 || i % 20 !== 0 ) {
       i += 20;

Correct Answer: 232792560

Problem 6 – Sum square difference

The sum of the squares of the first ten natural numbers is, 12 + 22 + … + 102 = 385

The square of the sum of the first ten natural numbers is, (1 + 2 + … + 10)2 = 552 = 3025

Hence the difference between the sum of the squares of the first ten natural numbers and the square of the sum is 3025 − 385 = 2640.

Find the difference between the sum of the squares of the first one hundred natural numbers and the square of the sum.

function sumsq(n){
               sum = 0;
               for (i=1; i<n; i++) {
                            sum += Math.pow(i,2);
                } return sum;

function sqsum(n) {
                sum = 0;
                for (i=1; i<n; i++) {
                           sum += Math.pow(sum,2);

Correct Answer: 25164150

Problem 7 – 10001st prime

By listing the first six prime numbers: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13, we can see that the 6th prime is 13.

What is the 10 001st prime number?

function isaprime(p) {
              if ( n<2 ) {
                     return false;

             var n = Math.sqrt(p);

             for (i=2; i<=n; i++) {
                       if (p % i === 0) {
                              return false;
           return true;

var a = 0;
var primes = 0;

while (primes <= 10001) {
          if (isaprime(a)) {

Correct Answer: 104743

Problem 8 – Largest product in a series

The four adjacent digits in the 1000-digit number that have the greatest product are 9 × 9 × 8 × 9 = 5832.


Find the thirteen adjacent digits in the 1000-digit number that have the greatest product. What is the value of this product?

var n = “7316717653133062491922511967442657474235534919493496983520312774506326239578318016984801869478851843858615607891129494954595017379583319528532088055111254069874715852386305071569329096329522744304355766896648950445244523161731856403098711121722383113622298934233803081353362766142828064444866452387493035890729629049156044077239071381051585930796086670172427121883998797908792274921901699720888093776657273330010533678812202354218097512545405947522435258490771167055601360483958644670632441572215539753697817977846174064955149290862569321978468622482839722413756570560574902614079729686524145351004748216637048440319989000889524345065854122758866688116427171479924442928230863465674813919123162824586178664583591245665294765456828489128831426076900422421902267105562632111110937054421750694165896040807198403850962455444362981230987879927244284909188845801561660979191338754992005240636899125607176060588611646710940507754100225698315520005593572972571636269561882670428252483600823257530420752963450”;

m = 0;

for (j=0; j<=n.length – 13; j++) {
           var p = n[j] * n[j+1] * n[j+2] * n[j+3] * n[j+4] * n[j+5] * n[j+6] * n[j+7] * n[j+8] * n[j+9] * n[j+10] * n[j+11] * n[j+12];

            if ( p>m ) {
                        m = p;

Correct Answer: 23514624000

Problem 9 – Special Pythagorean triplet

A Pythagorean triplet is a set of three natural numbers, a < b < c, for which, a2 + b2 = c2

For example, 32 + 42 = 9 + 16 = 25 = 52.

There exists exactly one Pythagorean triplet for which a + b + c = 1000.
Find the product abc.

var a = 0;
var b = 0;
var c = 0;
var sum = 1000;

for (a=1; a<1000; a++) {
             for (b=a+1; b<1000; b++) {
                           c = 1000 – a – b;
                           if (a*a + b*b == c*c) {
                                             console.log(a, b , c);

Correct Answer: 31875000

Problem 10 – Summation of primes

The sum of the primes below 10 is 2 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 17.

Find the sum of all the primes below two million.

function isaprime(p) {
               if ( n<2 ) {
                        return false;
              var n = Math.sqrt(p);
              for (i=2; i<=n; i++) {
                             if (p % i === 0) {
                                            return false;
              return true;

var sum = 0;
var x = 2000000;

for (j=2; j<x; j++) {
             if (isaprime(j) == true) {
                            sum = sum + j;

Correct Answer: 142913828922

Problem 11 – Largest product in a grid

In the 20×20 grid below, four numbers along a diagonal line have been marked in red.

08 02 22 97 38 15 00 40 00 75 04 05 07 78 52 12 50 77 91 08
49 49 99 40 17 81 18 57 60 87 17 40 98 43 69 48 04 56 62 00
81 49 31 73 55 79 14 29 93 71 40 67 53 88 30 03 49 13 36 65
52 70 95 23 04 60 11 42 69 24 68 56 01 32 56 71 37 02 36 91
22 31 16 71 51 67 63 89 41 92 36 54 22 40 40 28 66 33 13 80
24 47 32 60 99 03 45 02 44 75 33 53 78 36 84 20 35 17 12 50
32 98 81 28 64 23 67 10 26 38 40 67 59 54 70 66 18 38 64 70
67 26 20 68 02 62 12 20 95 63 94 39 63 08 40 91 66 49 94 21
24 55 58 05 66 73 99 26 97 17 78 78 96 83 14 88 34 89 63 72
21 36 23 09 75 00 76 44 20 45 35 14 00 61 33 97 34 31 33 95
78 17 53 28 22 75 31 67 15 94 03 80 04 62 16 14 09 53 56 92
16 39 05 42 96 35 31 47 55 58 88 24 00 17 54 24 36 29 85 57
86 56 00 48 35 71 89 07 05 44 44 37 44 60 21 58 51 54 17 58
19 80 81 68 05 94 47 69 28 73 92 13 86 52 17 77 04 89 55 40
04 52 08 83 97 35 99 16 07 97 57 32 16 26 26 79 33 27 98 66
88 36 68 87 57 62 20 72 03 46 33 67 46 55 12 32 63 93 53 69
04 42 16 73 38 25 39 11 24 94 72 18 08 46 29 32 40 62 76 36
20 69 36 41 72 30 23 88 34 62 99 69 82 67 59 85 74 04 36 16
20 73 35 29 78 31 90 01 74 31 49 71 48 86 81 16 23 57 05 54
01 70 54 71 83 51 54 69 16 92 33 48 61 43 52 01 89 19 67 48
The product of these numbers is 26 × 63 × 78 × 14 = 1788696.

What is the greatest product of four adjacent numbers in the same direction (up, down, left, right, or diagonally) in the 20×20 grid?

var num = [
var m = 0;

for (i = 0; i < num.length; i++) {
      for (j = 0; j < num[i].length – 3; j++){
              m = Math.max(num[i][j] * num[i][j+1] * num[i][j+2] * num[i][j+3],m);
for (i = 0; i < num.length – 3; i++) {
           for (j = 0; j < num[i].length; j++){
                      m = Math.max(num[i][j] * num[i+1][j] * num[i+2][j] * num[i+3][j],m);
          for (j = 0; j < num[i].length – 3; j++){
                   m = Math.max( num[i][j] * num[i+1][j+1] * num[i+2][j+2] * num[i+3][j+3],m);
          for (j = 3; j < num.length; j++) {
                 m = Math.max(num[i][j] * num[i+1][j-1] * num[i+2][j-2] * num[i+3][j-3],m);

Correct Answer: 70600674


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