Excursions by Amit Gawande

I am done binge-watching all the seasons of Brooklyn 99 - it was a refreshing time-out at the end of a work day. I am back sifting through the list of the shows recommended here earlier. I started Sherlock and How to get away with murder again. I may stick with later.

Mon, Apr 22, 2019 thoughts

Publishing to the open web

I read this note from Dave Winer on state of publishing on the open web. The first part reads like a fact.

It’s too hard to publish something to the open web. It has to be available as simple content. Not rendered inside a commercial template.

Sure, I agree with this. Publishing on web is a need of time, every person with some access to the internet wishes to post his thoughts and pictures online. More often in closed groups — like Whatsapp, iMessage, Messenger etc. But then also on easily accessible and free services - like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Highlighted aspects are important.

Technically it’s a very simple problem, actually. And the raw serving capability is dirt cheap. But it needs a corporate entity to run it.

It is those highlighted aspects that makes this a tricky problem. From the demand’s perspective, those aspects are of a lot of importance. Majority of the people are neither ready to spend their energies nor their money for the ability to post online. Open web currently fails to address both at the same time. Accessible solutions aren’t free. Free solutions aren’t accessible.

So the supply, mostly from the corporate entities, then caters to just those demands, bringing along the price for serving it.

Mon, Apr 22, 2019 open web opinion reply

Missed a great innings from MSD yesterday — boy, the man can do anything. He has his own style of working a game of cricket. Sure, it fails to click every now and then. But he has got a signature method for handling the pressure. Calmness personified. #IPL2019

Mon, Apr 22, 2019 cricket opinion

I believe Indian selectors went with the safe options, calm heads over fireworks, while selecting the cricket World Cup squad. Most of the team picked itself - selection of the couple was going to be tricky, whichever way the decision tilted. Overall squad looks fine though.

Mon, Apr 15, 2019 thoughts

Do people use Anti-virus software, especially on Windows? I never used one on Mac, but since moving to Windows, that is one aspect I am pretty split on. I have been primarily using Windows defender, but every one around suggests that might not be enough.

Sun, Apr 14, 2019 thoughts

I realise I have a very different taste in music than majority of the people out there (or so I am made to believe). I enjoy none of the global trending/top songs, most of them are hip-hop/rap. I am surprised that’s the genre people groove to the most.

Fri, Apr 12, 2019 thoughts

This week’s episode of Reply All (#140) was pretty interesting. Of course, the issue being discussed itself was intriguing - Ben’s car stereo completely breaks” when he listens to one particular podcast. And, of course as usual, it was produced so well - fun and exciting.

Fri, Apr 12, 2019 thoughts

IPL matches are running too late into the night — I just can’t stay up late on the weekday. I’m sure am not alone and the broadcaster must be seeing the effect. What that also means is I miss some gem of matches, like yesterday’s one between MI and KXIP. This needs correction.

Thu, Apr 11, 2019 cricket opinion

Samsung’s Galaxy A80 is an automated notchless slider with rotating triple camera.” This is getting totally crazy now - that’s too many moving parts, 2 years out of this hardware would be a stretch. We’re going back to the times of absurd designs of pre-iPhone days.

Wed, Apr 10, 2019 thoughts

Castro welcomed me today with this screen. Of course, they were expecting an Aww thanks” from me. But that wasn’t the feeling I had. All I could think was why”. Stop paying attention” you guys.

Wed, Apr 10, 2019 thoughts

If there’s a one feature on iOS that has remained in my wishlist for too long now is setting defaults. It was browser earlier, it’s tiring to use anything other than Safari. Plus since I started using Spotify more, I again feel a need for this. Am sure Apple won’t like that.

Tue, Apr 9, 2019 thoughts

The Golden Age of Half-Truths

I would argue that we are living in the golden age of half-truths, thanks in part to the evolution of media as a tool for inducing dopamine.

Om Malik says it well, half-truth allows media houses to keep their story engaging without lying.

Tue, Apr 9, 2019 thoughts

I am a quarter into Lethal White. Intriguing as always from Rowling, the story moves as the mystery deepens. Of course, the master at work again, building characters that we care for while weaving mysteries that they care for.

Mon, Apr 8, 2019 thoughts

When I watched the first couple of episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine, I instantly gave up. I thought it was too childish — and I had very different expectation. But it has grown on me now, I have started digging the inherent goofiness of all the characters.

Sat, Apr 6, 2019 thoughts

State of Mobile Imaging

There has been a lot of positive craze around Huawei P30 Pro’s cameras recently. For me it started with this Twitter thread by Vlad Savov of The Verge where he compared images from this latest phone from Huawei against Pixel 3. Especially, the pitch dark, night-sight pictures. Just look at this specific example from the thread.

That’s simply criminal. Here’s Vlad summarizing his observation in the article.

In the following example, featuring an unlit bathroom where my eyes could detect shapes but no colors, the P30 Pro does the unbelievable by actually focusing and producing a very respectable image.

So now these mobile cameras can do better than our eyes? Nice. And this positive view towards the P30 camera is shared by almost all tech reviewers. Here’s what Engadget says about this.

With less light, zooming, focus and detail should be a struggle, but the P30 Pro mostly shrugged it off. The combination of dual OIS on both the primary camera and the telephoto, in addition to the digital image stabilizing trick, gives the phone a better chance to capture images at reduced noise and do it all better.

Of course, this isn’t the perfect smartphone - far from it. It isn’t even the hands-down best camera quality and experience on a mobile phone. Rene Ritchie has a nice comparison video of the phone with the iPhone XS. It is good to be aware of the capabilities and shortcoming of the overall device.

But I am amazed at the speed with which the imaging technology on the smartphones are improving. It was only few months back when we were surprised looking at what the Pixel 3 could achieve with its night-sight feature. And we already have a device that, if not tops, matches that under most conditions.

The tech pundits always made us believe that camera tech will be the next big differentiator for the smartphones — something that will separate the big, serious players from the emerging ones. However, the way things are going, I don’t think that would be the case. The camera modules will again soon be commoditized and everyone would be back to the drawing board in search of that one differentiator.

This does not bode well for Google’s hardware efforts in smartphones. Apple and Samsung, for whom their brand is the primary selling point, would be pleased with this.

Wed, Apr 3, 2019 tech thoughts

Most people have some filler word they fall back to during public speaking/presentation. I have worked hard to reduce my usage of actually”. However, I came to the realization that apparently” has to be one of the worst ones out there. Try it for yourself and you’d agree.

Wed, Apr 3, 2019 thoughts

Imagination and Creation

I read this wonderful quote by Charlie Chaplin today - I am going to use this leniently to keep the creative corner of my mind inspired.

Imagination means nothing without doing.

Such a small bunch of words, but oh-so-meaningful. I also came across this post that I had written exactly a year back on using the time we have at our hands well. Especially on why it is important not to stay focused on the things not done or done but in non-perfect way.

(Time that dawns) with a promise to do so much more than there is time for. Till you realise those 24 hours the day dawned with? They just aren’t enough. Not enough for everything. Barely enough for something.

So you can either spend those fleeting moments on (doing) that something, anything. Or get bogged down with the burden of those others things left untouched. Because there’s just not enough time.

This is a good reminder for myself about something that I had realized some time back, but had forgotten recently. I did face a lull in my reading and writing time recently. When I look back, I believe one of the reasons behind that was the fact that I was waiting for that right space” to work on my thoughts. One that never arrived. I need to stop waiting and spend more time doing stuff than to think whether the moment or the place or the environment or even the words are right. Andy Warhol has put it so perfectly.

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.

Tue, Apr 2, 2019 thoughts

I see iA Writer for Windows finally supports the much needed feature, Library of posts. It’s the one feature that I missed the most from its versions from Apple platforms. I just hope that there would be a way to share the Library across platforms — mainly Windows and iOS.

Tue, Apr 2, 2019 thoughts