The one with the Window Shopping

In true American style, I think I’m becoming an online shopping addict.

I already love swiping my card at regular outlets: no hassles with nickels and dimes (btw, after four months of staying in the US, I still can’t tell which is 5c and which is 10c).

But swiping (keying?) online is an altogether different pleasure. It gives you all the more reason to not venture out into the open. It’s an effortless process, plus you’ve got the whole internet at your disposal for product reviews. I’ve bought almost everything I own in the US online. Here are few of the things I have seriously considered buying online, but eventually decided against:

  • Matlab for Linux at 99$. If the good folk at MathWorks could create a piece of software that cannot be matched by open source versions, well, then they deserve my money. And they made it super easy for me: they only ask me for my card number, and then they allow me to download 1.5GB of matlab online immediately—no waiting for a DVD in the mail. Eventually though—after 10 minutes of staring at my card—good sense prevailed: I realized I’m not going to use it once I’m done with Machine Learning. And so, umm.. I.. uh.. resorted to other means. My final ML project finishes on Monday.
  • Condoms. Sure, it’ll end up being unused till the expiry date, but better safe than sorry! Unfortunately, condoms aren’t eligible under Amazon Prime (one month free trial), and so I’d end up spending about 7$ just on shipping. But, I save myself embarrassment at a chemists. I think it was Jigar who talked me out of this one: and anyway, the fact that I am even considering buying condoms online, might explain why I’m never going to be using them.
  • xkcd Store. xkcd has been advertising his store lately, being the Holiday season, and I’ve been window shopping. I’ve been ogling at the “I’m not slacking off, my code’s compiling” t-shirt. At 17$, I have this feeling that I’ll soon be giving in into the temptation, although I know it’ll be far cheaper to just print it out on my own.

And, honestly (please don’t mock me now!), I’ve also considered going legit on the MP3s. But then, simple arithmetic tells me that my grad stipend doesn’t afford me a lifestyle of showing off legit MP3s.

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7 Responses to The one with the Window Shopping

  1. Shreevatsa says:

    Oh god Matlab sucks sucks sucks. It’s awful. [And don’t even mention GNU Octave.]

    Seriously, have you tried Sage? {I haven’t tried the other 3 of the four Ms — Maple Mathematica or Magma — but I’m sure they are much much better than the “everything is a matrix” crap that is Matlab.]

    BTW, the full version of Matlab is a free download for students at MIT, and Mathematica is available for use from the computer clusters. :-)

  2. Arnie says:

    well, dunno.. but we have to use matlab for our ML project. I used octave throughout the sem for assigments but the code they’ve given for the project just doesn’t run on octave. I really can’t argue about how good the language is, I assumed it is good since everybody at penn seems to be using it, and it seems to have libraries that does everything.

  3. Shreevatsa says:

    Yeah, Octave is even worse: the Matlab model is already so bad but at least Matlab implements it well, Octave doesn’t even implement it correctly.
    I guess I’ve just got too irritated trying to do stuff in Matlab… a lot of mismatch between my mental model and Matlab’s. (Also the fact that I was trying to do mathematics, not engineering.)

    Back to topic: I’ve bought my laptop online ($1337 IIRC :p) and VMWare Fusion (best $35 I ever spent), and a bunch of books (too many) from Amazon… apart from that, I’ve mostly resisted all temptations :)

  4. Arnie says:

    Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety and loneliness during the December holiday season. It also can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely and angry. Shopping and spending will not assure more love, bolster self-esteem, or heal the hurts, regrets, stress, and the problems of daily living. It generally makes these feelings worse because of the increased financial debt the person has obtained from compulsive shopping.

    Lol! Yeah, so true. Might explain why I took up the Amazon Prime one-month trial during December. :-)

    But see, shopping is my “patriotic” duty!

  5. techcrazy says:

    Nice post ! we must spend our money carefully.It takes a lot of efforts to earn it.

  6. Dona Whyard says:

    I visit this blog pretty frequently, although I rarely comment, and found this article very interesting. Thanks.

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