Excursions by Amit Gawande

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

Joining a new place of work is always full of anticipation, hope for what the day, coming months and possibly years hold. That kind of day today.

Mon, Apr 1, 2019 thoughts

A visit to a hair dresser is always a frightful experience. With each question they ask, I can’t help but think things are getting messy. Bloody, you are the experts, you take the call. You won’t like it if a doctor asks you about everything during an operation, would you? 🙄

Sun, Mar 31, 2019 thoughts

Pleasing to be back to reading. Keeping my Kindle always next me has helped and I have started carrying it everywhere. I have realised it is extremely difficult for me to find a specific focused time marked just for reading books. Kindle replaces the distracting smartphone.

Fri, Mar 29, 2019 thoughts

The convenience of Bluetooth headphones has stifled the hatred I had for the inherent lag it brings. Sure, it’s still not good enough for videos. But it is so freeing to not be roaming around with the source of music. Even laptops at times. I am listening to a lot more music.

Thu, Mar 28, 2019 thoughts

I am reversing my judgement on Spotify, I just didn’t like the interface when it launched. I still don’t (though I have started liking the real part). But it is the desktop application that has sold me on the overall experience — plus hand-off to other devices is brilliant.

Wed, Mar 27, 2019 thoughts

It is so easy to screw up one’s YouTube experience. Just watch something you aren’t interested in, but are because you need to just this moment. All it shows for days is things related to that, as if you have no other interests. Terrible recommendations engine.

Wed, Mar 27, 2019 thoughts

Today’s Apple event was the first one where I have no opinion on. They showed many services that can potentially be great one day. But that day is not anytime soon. And I won’t even be able to use some of them. Cynicism, though, will be pretty prevalent in the tech outlets.

Tue, Mar 26, 2019 thoughts

Discussing Social Networks, Again

Another week, another discussion on the state of social networks on TWiT network. This time it took place on the latest episode of This week in Google . The discussion went on and on about how Google Plus was great. And how other social networks have ruined what made them the best in the first place — the posts from the real people and the social aspect around them — in their quest to monetize by jacking up the engagement”.

Such discussions happen very often these days. Eventually, they turn towards the alternatives that exists, but always take a long trodden path.

Facebook is hated by everyone but is ubiquitous, too big. Twitter is loved by no one but stays relevant in discourse. IndieWeb is dull, abstruce. Federated services are great, but no one can get them working. Instagram’s the lone messiah, but Mark’s working hard to ruin it.”

Finally, the original point on the available alternatives is all but left untouched. I am left frustrated every time by this sheer defeatism, this complete lack of attempt to try earnestly to understand and comment on the alternatives. What all alternatives have you tried? Were there none that were good? If so, why? What is missing? How can they be made better? What is it that you are looking for in a social network?

Mike Elgan had this comment on the recent episode of TWiG.

I would love a social network that had basically two rules. One is no algorithmic sorting or filtering, when I follow somebody I want everything they post. Second thing is I don’t want to get any content that isn’t the actual words or photos taken my the person I follow. No sharing, no retweeting.

I thought great, I know of one that meets these two rules. May be they will recommend it. Or comment on why it is lacking. Nah. Nothing. The topic ended there. I am perplexed at why Micro.blog isn’t referenced more often during these discussions on social networks. Sure, it may not be perfect. So go ahead, criticize it. Tell the makers of the service why they can’t use it. But do talk.

And micro.blog isn’t the only one. There’s Mastodon. And then there are the independent blogging solutions and RSS. Generate some buzz for them. You are not helping the situation by cribbing incessantly about the unending missteps of the existing services. Put these same old rants to rest now and crib about the new services. At least, the normal users would know there exist other alternatives and the developers would know what they need to work on.

Mon, Mar 25, 2019 opinion social media