Excursions by Amit Gawande

I recently ordered a new t-shirt and, of course, it was delivered with a pair of extra red buttons. I have never used these - most often, I simply throw them away. Who finds these useful?

I couldn’t help but remember this act from Seinfeld.

Sun, Feb 9, 2020 thoughts

I recently finished reading Suspect by Robert Crais. I enjoyed this book, almost most of it. However it is, by no means, a great book.

The story is too formulaic. The mystery is predictable. Most of the characters are not built well. Every plot twist” can be seen chapters ahead. Even the narration is too simplistic. It is linear with the problems introduced in a chapter and solved right in the next one. There is simply no tension.

However, the overall book is a breezy read. No part gets boring. I especially liked the parts where it was just about Scott and Maggie, the German Shepherd. I usually do not enjoy the subplots involving pets. They are overdone most often, made too dramatic. That’s not the case here. The bonding between them is developed really well. You care for both. And that’s where lies the strength of the novel. I just wish it was backed by a nice crime mystery.

Tue, Feb 4, 2020 review thoughts

I do not fathom the recent craze for folding devices. Basically, we were tired earlier of the thick phones - so we all rushed behind thinness. And the devices became larger. Now we want smaller ones, the thickness is fine again? I can never fully understand us.

Sun, Feb 2, 2020 thoughts

I was part of a technical forum today where a question was casually floated - what is the difference between AI and ML? And I was surprised to see so many varied reactions.

This left me wondering what’s the simplest and not-too-technical way to summarize the distinction?

Fri, Jan 17, 2020 thoughts

My 6-year old daughter casually said, the roads are so bumpy now-a-days”. And left me wondering how old this girl thinks she is to confidently claim she remembers roads from any other age. Kids these days 🤷🏽‍♂️

Tue, Jan 14, 2020 thoughts

The decade gone by - 2010-2019 - was the most important decade of my life.

This was the first full decade that I lived an independent life away from my parents - shaping my own life in a way. My personal life. And my professional life. I spent the decade before this one completing my education, setting things up for my life to come. But it was in this decade when I started recognizing myself. Defining myself.

I got settled into my first job. I fell in love and then married her. We moved in into a house and made it our home. We learned to live together. We purchased our first car. We decided to settle in and shifted to a new town to do just that. We found a house where we felt we could start our independent life together and purchased it.

We decided the time was right to welcome another member to our family. We were blessed with a baby girl, our little angel, and I fell in love again. She became our life. For the next years to come, every decision we took, I took was to make sure our daughter has the best life.

I grew professionally. I proved my worth and gained respect amongst colleagues. And when that started dwindling towards the end of the decade, I decided it was time to move on to a new job. By this time, I was pretty clear what I wanted out of my carrier and thankfully I found a place and a role that could provide me with that.

I identified my interests outside of work. And they have managed to provide me with the stability, the sanity in my lone times.

As I look back at the years gone by, I can’t help but think this was indeed the most important decade of my life.

If there was one common theme that defined this decade for me was the decisions, the life-altering decisions I had to make throughout the past 10 years. The decisions that would make or break my life.

And I think I have managed to come out unscathed. Bruised, scraped now and then, sure. But not marred. I feel satisfied with that.

Here’s me looking inwards at the start of the year on how the past 10 years have affected me.

the fidgety teen from 10 years back has given way to the calmer, saner, thoughtful self of today. I feel content within and that is the most important thing.

No doubt, today’s is a changed, improved me over 10-years-younger myself. But if the decade gone by was defined by the decisions, I believe it would be the balance that defines the next decade - a balance between change and stability. Exciting times!

Fri, Jan 3, 2020 thoughts retrospection

Make YouTube Less Addictive

Login to your Google account and access the activity controls.

Find the YouTube History” section and switch off the setting. Also, make sure both the checkboxes in the section are unchecked — the first one is about the videos you watch and the second one is about the searches you make on YouTube. You do not want recommendations from either. And apparently switching the whole setting off does not disable both by default.

YouTube Activity Controls

Click on the Manage Activity setting and clear all the activity. You can also consider setting it to automatically delete after every 3 months.

(And while you are at it, you should also consider pausing the location history tracking. This does not break any of the Google services.)

You can also make the Cinema Mode as default on your video controls. This should leave less space for related/similar videos recommendations from YouTube.

It is easy to get addicted to YouTube - unknowingly spend hours clicking through the myriad of recommendations that algorithms through at you. The experience sucks. I have been burnt many a time. So much so that I spent a month off YouTube this year. It helped.

But staying off YouTube completely is difficult. The above steps have helped me not stay glued to the app for hours. I either access the video directly (if I know what I want to watch) or browse my Subscriptions page (when I don’t know what to watch). The home page is useless without history turned on. And so are other recommendations. Trust me, you do not want them.

Thu, Dec 26, 2019 youtube help

The season finale of The Morning Show was brilliant. Extremely powerful, and so well performed. Not just the leads, but supporting cast too. And the use of opera was brilliant. Over 10 episodes, the makers have managed to make me connect with and care for all the key characters.

Mon, Dec 23, 2019 thoughts

I Switched From Apple Music to Spotify

Spotify has one job: make a great music player. They execute. Their app has none of these problems. It’s fast and bug-free. Spotify delights.

Even I had recently switched to Spotify. I believed Apple always nails an experience - so they would even for music listening. At least, they would do a better job than other players. But I was wrong. Spotify is far ahead, especially with playlists and recommendations. They rarely get it wrong.

As a side note, I always wonder why companies struggle while designing good music apps. It is such a simple use case, however most fail to get it right.

Fri, Dec 20, 2019 links thoughts

I started watching a couple more shows from Apple TV+, Servant and Dickinson. I have enjoyed whatever I have seen till now from both of them. 3 episodes in and I have no clue who is playing with whom in Servant. It is creepy as hell, but not disgusting. Dickinson is refreshing. A brilliant, unseen tale.

I’m pleased with the variety of shows that Apple has managed to serve in the first outing. The drama from The Morning Show. The fantasy world of See. And the scifi one of For All Mankind. And now a thriller and a comedy-drama too. Nice!

Mon, Dec 2, 2019 thoughts

I loved the position of the lone tree overlooking the valley - seemingly wondering how the life amidst the forest down would be.

Sat, Nov 30, 2019 thoughts

I was feeling a little down in the morning today, so I stayed in the bed for a little longer. As my 6 year old was leaving for her school, I wished her good bye and told her, as I regularly do, to have fun in the school.

Prompt came her reply. I will, but you don’t. You take rest, dad. And take care!”

Sigh! I am always amused at how kids can behave way too grown up for their age at times.

Fri, Nov 29, 2019 thoughts

I did not realise releasing Twitter handles that are not in use for long would actually be an issue. I understand Dave Winer’s point around link rot. But that exactly is the reason why people should own personal spaces and share everything that matters to them only there.

Also, while linking to something external, it preferably be a website. Because Twitter and others just rent us spaces for our thoughts on their platforms. It is too much to expect from theses businesses to not lend them ever to anyone else. Just own your space and let the lights on as long as you want.

I am sure link rot is a problem that’s not really very high on the list of issues that face these guys. Neither is the goal to be a better citizen of the larger web.

Thu, Nov 28, 2019 thoughts

I have slowly started realizing that I still have a use for Twitter. There are some thoughts that are simply too micro or meaningless for them to exists as posts” on my blog. I feel what exists here on my blog somehow has my name associated with it. Lot more so than what exists on my Twitter profile - it does not have that burden.

May be it is just me. May be I am overthiking this. But some posts (like a quick one line blurb) better exists on the fleeting Twitter timeline than on my website.

This feeling of aloofness towards the service might exactly be the cause of all the problems with Twitter.

Wed, Nov 27, 2019 thoughts

The holidays have affected one aspect though - the flash fiction series has been left behind. Not that am complaining, but I intend to catch up and close the story as planned initially. Next chapter tomorrow.

Tue, Nov 26, 2019 thoughts

I’d a wonderful few days of getaway from the routine life — a time far from home, with family and friends. A time when everything that regularly clouds my mind was left behind. A time when the focus was to get rejuvenated. To get recharged. To get ready, again, for the grind.

Mon, Nov 25, 2019 thoughts

Serenity that surrounds you outside will always trump the chaos within. It makes you forget the nitty-gritties of the regular life. And hence questing for it is net positive.

Sun, Nov 24, 2019 thoughts

The best holidays are ones that make you forget about your real home, makes you wonder why you do not make this place your home. When no amount of exertion makes you tired - rather you feel rejuvenated. It is important to be on such holidays every so often - am on one now.

Sat, Nov 23, 2019 thoughts