Saturday, August 16, 2008

My life without caffeine

It's always nice to experiment on theories. Some weeks ago I decided to put to the test the theory that "an action repeated for 21 days becomes a habit".

As my only source for caffeine was diet coke, I decided to be diet coke clean (therefore caffeine clean) for 21 days and then see the results for myself.

One memorable but horrible Sunday was my starting day. Hard not to remember that day ... I felt awful, I was almost self defined as officially depressed, I barely had any energy at all. I dragged myself through that Sunday until it passed by. Next couple days were ok, dealing with the firm decision not to take that first can. Following couple days, horrible again, every now and then finding myself day dreaming about the mouth watering possibility of drinking diet coke.

I survived my first week, trying to be aware and remember how hard this process was being. The only thing I could do was to stick with it for two more weeks. One more Sunday came by, my decision untouchable, I should be able to do this for two weeks, and three weeks as well.

By the middle of the third week I was feeling much better. Sooner than later, third week and "Prueba conseguida!!" (mission accomplished).

Now, it was time to re-evaluate my goal. Given how hard it was to quit diet coke, and how released and freed I was feeling after the three weeks broke the habit and I guess cleaned my system too. Dependency is gone! The next step was clear: never again let that thing trick me into getting just a sip! Diet coke and caffeine are history.
I feel fresh, energetic, nothing to envy from the caffeinated past.

Today I enjoy still water and more yet sparkling water. A friend found this sparkling making device that I ordered from a company in Israel. It even matches my kitchen appliances style! It took some time for the thing to arrive (interestingly enough, the fact that someone blogged about them blew their inventory) but it is great! I love it!!

Back to the beginning of this post, the 21 day break a habit theory was totally confirmed by my little experiment. It seems to be true!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Prophet, distributed database manager

When I was teaching databases back in 1992, I remember while I was preparing my classes, stumbling upon a subject that sounded as interesting as it use was remote and complex at the time: distributed databases. At that time anyone on their sane mind would try to avoid syncing nightmares by all possible means.

After centuries going by without ever hearing about distributed databases again, a few days ago I read about Prophet, a distributed database manager which is defined by its own buzz:

"A grounded, semirelational, peer to peer replicated, disconnected, versioned, property database with self-healing conflict resolution."

One of the reasons I would be interested in something like this, is the need to optimize website accessibility from different parts of the world by adding local servers with syncable databases. Other reason would be more device related.

I guess the one other thing that seduces me about this idea is the holographic nature of a distributed database, although I'm not sure this is the only way to go about getting to imitate our own holographic memory.

Drug brain interactions

This site has interesting animations explaining the effect of the most common drugs in the brain. It made a lot of sense to me when I learned ten years ago or more the effect of alcohol in the brain, letting neuron membranes all confused and allowing substances to travel back and forth without control.

I am very convinced that drugs do not have magically the ability to develop new programs on the brain. Their only possibility is to bring programs down and by doing so, they inhibit controls in place and people can show behaviors that they usually they don't exhibit. They might over a period of time develop new habits which are in a way new programs.

Looking at the biochemistry of the drug-neuron interaction only re-affirms this thought.

Particularly interesting was to see the effects of caffeine and long term use of nicotine.