Missing the Twicca features, dearly!

During pre-smartphone life, I was using twitter to an extent through the mobile web. It was filled with lots of¬†mis-tweets. Some retweets turns out to be favorites, on trying to unfavorite it will become retweet of some other in the timeline. It was a pain Continue reading “Missing the Twicca features, dearly!”

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Self imposed challenges for ’17

Usually the New Year’s resolution will be maximum of one thing and I fail to keep up to it, will be defeated in week or 2. It never worked for me. So, this time I’m changing it into challenges. This is more of a bucket list than challenges. Hope these will be fulfilled at the en of year.

  1. Learning Spanish. Should be able to understand Spanish spoken around me.
  2. One per month, should able to complete 12 in this year. No restrictions on genre, type or author. Magazines don’t count as books.
  3. Having meal for 3 times a day, regularly.
  4. Getting good with driving.
  5. Successfully completing 4 courses through MOOCs.
  6. Should switch employer. Switch criteria should not be salary alone.
  7. Should take part at least 2 social meet up either for language, ethnicity or technology.
  8. Should populate the journal on daily basis.
  9. Should deploy 3 projects this year in Github. Preferrably based on courses that I attend.
  10. Should enroll in a gym and fitter than 2016.
  11. Restricting number of movies to 3 per week. Also, only one new series can be started for the year.
  12. Educating parents on technology and making them comfortable with video calling and messaging.

Very happy new year!

Tracking mself

Quoting Drucker again,

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it

I infer that if I don’t¬†measure my everyday movement, I cannot improve myself. After all, improvement is nothing but doing better than your past.

In the name of simplification, I am about to categorize my entire life into 3 divisions – financial, online and personal life. The division was made such a way that no part of my day-to-day activity I left out. So, it’s very important to define their boundaries.

Financial life – In the past I’d tried quite a few things – simple note book, excel file, mobile app, online services. But for retrieval of older data and easier data, I’m picking the excel file again; synced to Dropbox thereby I can work on it from my home and work machine. The measuring is done through 2 stages – weekly and monthly spending. I tried making it to daily but it just becomes a boring activity. Also, weekly tracking makes me to preserve the bills, which is a new habit for me. Monthly spending ensures that my weekly entries are valid.

Online life – this one’s tricky and it could end up embarrassing me (you know what I mean :P). However, to get rid of not so good habits I need to see when and how often I’m indulging it. Here’s another road block. Should I take my browser history as a log? A big no. As the¬†not-so-good-habit¬†goes through the incognito mode. To mitigate this data loss, I’m going to install key-logger in my system. I know it’s not a wise thing to do and potentially this could be haunting me. Considering the ¬†good thing that I’m going to reap, the risk is worth taken. Also, to get it more effective usage of office machine for personal purpose must be reduced. Again, this could increase productivity in my work place. Win-win!¬†Yet, I am not sure how to track myself when using mobile. Still working on it.

Personal life – this one is most important of all, at lease I see so. Only way to achieve this is through writing down all my daily activity in a dairy. This habit must be followed religiously so as to record myself. In past years I failed miserably. Longest stretch that I ever achieve is 6.5 months, in 2016. But in the upcoming year, it should be pushed forward so as to reach the 12 year mark.

Unless other projects, this one don’t carry any deadlines or rational end point. I need to review after a full month to see how things are going on.

I should have said that

25th May, Circa 2015 AD.  Received few texts.

Hi dheepak

Hw r u ??

Had dinner??

I received it at 11pm.

Who is this?

Do you know me?

Next morning.

Gud morning dheepak..

Of course..u too know me very well

Give me your name

I shall give you a clue.. 

R u in shifts?

Enough playing.

Give me one reason why I shouldn’t block you.

And this is how it all started. Went on. Continued for more than a year. Felt good. Butterflies did flapped their wings. Bliss. She was a friend and mentor. Advised me out of bad times. Wonderful in sharing the pain points. For me she is more than a friend or lover.

Enjoyed the feeling. I was always expecting a text. All other messages are junk in my eyes, even the one from the banks that’s holding my salary. I regularized my dinner timing so it matches her free time, to have a call, to speak about I don’t know what I was speaking. Cubicle. Lobby. Cafeteria. Corridor. Night cab. Local train. Bus. Terrace. Almost everywhere¬†I was in call. It was STD call, bit more pricey, who cares. But never revealed what I felt.¬†Only fear I had in revealing what I felt was the thought that what if she stopped all the contacts once I proposed.

She got marriage proposal. Later married. I was invited. I went on, attended the marriage. All I wanted is that she wanted to be happy. Also, I wanted to speak with her. To stay in contact with her.

However, post marriage, there was no call. No replies. She entered into some cave may be. If I had known this is what going to happen then, I would have said that.

Shouldn’t there be some regulation – road side shops

Waking up at the morning, after finishing morning-activities I noticed there was no water. I should have checked the water can in the night. Duh!! Should have called the water can vendor if I reached home came earlier. He did delivered the cans after a call and waiting for a hour.

Breakfast time. Rushed out to road-side eatery. ¬†While waiting for dishes to be prepared, had conversation with the owner-cum-server, came to know that the continuous rain for 3 days the last week has affected their business. And, things went worse as they couldn’t repay the debt on that week.¬†Still waiting for the dishes to get prepared, hunger made it¬†the longest 10 minutes. Finally, it got ready. Then came another obstacle – traffic cop. He was questioning the owner, on whose permission they are running the stall on¬†the road-side.

Finally, some consensus was met and a plate of idli with vadai. Delicious & Affordable. Alongside, the cop was also having his breakfast. As both the demons Рhunger & thirst got defeated went back home and opened my laptop. Movie time. Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren were so good in the Red and made me watch the 2nd installment. The movie is more comical than action.

I was lost in the back story of an infamous character – the frog. According to the story, the character got it’s name after poisoning the high level military agency¬†by infecting the water inflow with toxic-frogs. What affected me is, what if something similar to us, a common civilian. ¬†I am¬†consuming water and food from people on whom the government departments has no logs. What if some mishap happens?

What could¬†lead them to do something bad…

Both the peoples – water can supplier & eatery owner don’t have luxury to avail bank loans. Instead they get the money from local (unregulated) lenders. These lenders, as the risk involved is high, demand high interest and use (sometimes) uncivilized methods to get their money back. Apart from these lenders, these people are always vulnerable to harassment from local goons and corrupted officials.¬†As the pressure¬†piles up, these people are forced to adulterate the food, use below-par raw materials. Thus, the vicious cycle is¬†started rolling.

Will the regulation work…

Peter Drucker said,¬†If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.¬†¬†The regulation is the only way to measure the activities of the Small Scale Entrepreneurs. Few may put forward an argument that the new regulation could strangulate the free economy, but below are the counter arguments,

  • Safe environment. You are registered with the government, so you can expect them to¬†support in times of natural calamity, theft or¬†robbery. As you have shared the value of¬†your assets to the authority, it’s easy to file complaints.
  • More money into coffers. As the assets are revealed to authority, less black money. Won’t the people pay tax if they are ¬†supported by National banks or¬†protected by the goons.
  • Insurance is next. You earn money, pay tax then the insurers flock¬†to¬†your door step. In the country with no social security for old people, insurance is must-have. For banks/insurers the capital flow will be guaranteed.
  • Less corruption and improved law & order. Being transparent, no one can black mail you. Goons will be jobless as you can afford the protection from the system.

How should the rules be framed?

Firstly, it must be framed by someone who knows the ground reality. Someone brought up from the low ranks of power pyramid should be the right person. We can’t expect MBA holder from Harvard or¬†Doctorate holder from XYZ University abroad¬†to understand the complicated economy of ours.

Secondly, these people can’t afford to pay¬†an Auditor to understand the financial rules. The number of literates are still low in number.¬†Thus, the terms must be layman-friendly. I have seen people asking their school-going child to read out the text from banks or cooking gas agency.

Third, the market we are talking about is dynamic. These traders use raw materials whose price change on daily basis. The framework should support dynamic changes. I am not saying, that you should revise the minimal price of food be modified on daily or weekly basis. But, at the least quarterly basis. An outdated framework is good for nothing.

Meanwhile, I missed the plot of the movie. Have to watch it from the introduction of the frog.

Couple of things that went unnoticed

Last July marks the Quadrennial year working in an MNC. These years had taught me several valuable lessons. Learnt either from first-hand experience or learning from others action. What I learnt is that our fundamentals are flawed as several important things are not taught at young age.

There are  2 important things that must be included in curriculum.

Career¬†vs.¬†Job : In earlier generation, its pride to be working with an employer for long duration (say, in terms years or decades). I have part of several farewells where in people will be treated well for part of the establishment and retiring is like a big event. ¬†That was the day in past. I don’t come across those celebration in recent times. One of my team mate, recently joined states that this is his 5th employer in 8 years.¬†In this 8-year-long career he has been working with several domain and several tools.

On comparing with similar person who stayed with a my employer, he is getting 30-40% more, the number is result of approx. calculation. That’s really good to have higher pay. During the course of job-hoping, he was made to work with many tools/domain. However, exposure to the individual things/domain is relatively low. Simply put he is jack of many trades. We can’t expect him to be a master.

Without specialization, after eight years is not good for his career. Yet, his job is comparatively well ahead. So, what do we need to give importance to Job or Career? We have to decide. To do so, there should be a keen awareness to differentiate and correlate.

Wealth vs Income: We are all educated to solve problems Рmathematical, engineering or digital problems. But almost everyone sucks at solving financial problems.

Financial intelligence is THE most powerful asset. ~ Robert Kiyosaki

The reason is we are not aware of the difference between income and wealth. Am I qualified to say it?¬†Yes. I am qualified, only after reading the Rich dad Poor dad. What I am trying to convey is we are paid a hefty amount and we think ourselves good enough of the fat check.¬†Income is the one that you work for and wealth is the one that works for you. We ignore the wealth, we end-up bankrupt any day. But in reality, many of my colleagues (of my age group) considers investment as an overhead. Their argument is “I am getting paid. Why to think about distant future”. I will say this is an ignorance at its best.

Power comes with responsibility. Power – income; Responsibility – Investment/wealth generation. We miss larger picture by focusing on smaller things. Career & wealth accumulation are major things that needs to be concentrated for long run. But from schooling to graduation our education system keeps us unaware of the both.

Then, how to neutralize the flaws in education system? Simple. Self-learning. But what and how should we be self-taught. How to get a picture of what is missed out? Answer is getting exposure through necessary means Рbooks, Internet and/or listening to elders. Disappointingly, we consider way above the elders and their suggestions on life. Reading books is so uncool. Internet consists of couple of sites РFacebook, YouTube and Gmail.

God save this generation.

Wedding invitation and a wannabe InfoSec guy

On crossing 25 years, there is a regular stream of wedding invitation coming along my way through Whatsapp, Facebook events & messenger and emails as well. These invitataions will be usually from well-known people and a few come in a way from people who I hardly knew. They might known me or simply human error. These latter ones do light up a curiosity within me. And guess what would I be feeling if the sender is Chandrika?

Mail from Chandrika do need specail attention, isn’t it? But who is Chandrika. Even I don’t know. What matters is, the sender a girl! With high curiosity driving me, cursing my ISP for poor coverage I opened my gmail in basic html version (yea, it sucks). Below is the text from the mail.

Sender Name: rama swamy

email : chandrika#########@####,com

Dear friends,
Through marriage we are given the gift of a new beginning, a new family and a new life. The day has come for me to start a new innings in my life.
It gives us, Ram and Dharini , immense pleasure to invite you  to join us at the celebration of our Wedding ceremony on May 22nd and reception on May 24th 2015.
We would be delighted and honored if you could make it and be a part of joyous celebrations. Kindly consider the attached card as a personal invitation.
Please grace the occasion with your presence and blessings.
Looking forward to see you there.
And there is invitation attached as well. On opening, gmail shouts Can’t open this kinda file!! But what happen to gmail, unable to open the picture. On downloading the file noticed that its not jpeg but one with .bin as extension. What the fuck? Is this new way of attack? What will happen on downloading/opening the file? And few more questions clouding inside me. The ISP that I cursed came to rescue this time, took a long time to download 900kb file (Thank you, Docomo!) Cancelled the download.
Rolled¬†back my sleeves. Came across infections in Windows but Ubuntu cannot be compromised. Let’s do it. Went back to gmail tab, downloaded the file and opened Virus total¬†and Metascan¬†thanks to Lifehacker¬†for introducing me to the sites. Meanwhile, the file got downloaded. Quickly uploaded the file to the above mentioned sites. Paranoid inside me went on and checked the privileges of the file. Not executable. Good. Big sigh.
Now, the file got uploaded and scan got completed. The following is the result from Virus total and meta scan. All positive. Surprised. Went back staring into the file. Preview showed some invitation. On changing the extension to jpg from bin, ended up with a scanned copy of invitation.*Bummer*. This is the file I am talking about. So, this evening I had a false alert. And was smiling inside.
Totally different experience. But good one.