Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Parenthood - Life's powerful change agent

It's wonderful how parenthood can change our perception of life.

I remember myself being very aggressive and angry in my early twenties (interestingly, not so much during my teens). Now when I look at myself, I see a much more mellowed down person who sees people differently - especially when I look at young parents and small kids of my son's age.

It's really a wonderful realization that life brings upon us - that perceptions change based on how you look at people, things and situations.

We lower our defensive gaurd and start emphathizing the same people, things and situations which otherwise would have seemed insignificant or maybe even irritating.
Just extend this concept further more and it can do wonders for you in terms of handling people and situations in a more positive way.

For example, driving used to be a stressful experience for me and I can feel my blood pressure shooting through the roof for the irresponsible, impatient and chaotic driving. But nowadays, for example, when a young biker cuts across my car irresponsibly, I try to visualize him as my family member - as my brother or my grownup son - and boy it completely changes the way you react to this situation. I feel sympathetic and maybe even feel worried for the person instead of my usual self where I grip the steering even harder and imagining revenge on him on ways which may seem psychotic.

This concept of seeing a complete stranger as one of your kith may sound crazy. It's hard.. Very hard.. But not impossible. Once you start seeing the benefits of this and with practice, it becomes second natured behavior. 

Now, you can apply this in an office setting as well to become a more understanding boss and/or colleague. 

Initially, being understanding with colleagues was conflicting for a performance and task oriented person such as me. I thought softening the image of folks reporting to me would affect my ability to get things done. But then it dawned to me that the same perception-change approach cab be useful here too, with a slightly different way of thinking. 

If you imagine that it's your responsibility to make your colleagues better than what they are now and take them to a different level than where they are now, it not just makes you look at them in a more emphathic and understanding way, but also at times be tough with them - just like how you would be with your son when he refuses to take food or study, because you know it's good for them though they don't seem it that way right now.

Well, coming back to the topic of parenthood,  I am thankful to life for having given me this experience and perception.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Reading!

Off late, I have started reading more of eBooks than the physical ones. Especially, reading on Kindle for Android on my LG Optimus Black.

I wasn't able to spend too much time reading either because my kids distracted me or I used to return so late that everyone is sleeping and I can't switch on the lights.

I had been resisting reading on kindle for Android as I was biased about getting the reading experience only on a physical book. 

I couldn't have been more wrong. Form of the read content - physical or electronic - doesn't matter. What matters more is the content itself. 

I think going forward I will be slowly migrating to eBooks! Carry your library in your pocket and less physical clutter :-)

Monday, December 26, 2011

SlideIT keyboard for Android

If I were to ask you how else you would type without really typing on the keyboard, you may think hard and finally say you will voice dictate.. Thats the way Apple is taking us with Siri.

It's going to take some time before we effortlessly speak to our phones. But if you had thought there was no other way, then you need to think hard again in innovative ways again.

Please welcome SlideIT, the fun and in some aspects the easier and faster way to type.

In fact, I have been typing this post using there SlideIT keyboard! I love swiping my finger across the keyboard to type the text you want.

The concept is simple, all you need to do is connect the letters forming the word and SlideIT is smart enough to complete the word for you. The prediction is very impressive. And when you are unable swipe, you can always type like in a regular keyboard.

I am thoroughly enjoying typing in it for some time at least in this new way.

Now, some annoyances are, you'll have to remember where the keys are located in the keyboard. Second is, you can type only in one hand, which is quite obvious, but you'll have to use your index finger to type while holding the phone in there other hand, which makes it inconvenient to type while driving and similar situations!

Watch this video to see the typing in action.

Go ahead and try it yourself!

# tweetit

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blogger app on Android

One of the reasons I found for writing less on my blog is due to the unavailability of my laptop.

I had two laptops and both are broke now..  My 2 year old broke them.  Even when I had them, It was used by my family. I do have an iPad, but again the same case.

I was thinking about the resolutions I had made this year (My resolutions for this year deserve their own post later) and I just realized how miserably I had failed in the one where I had promised to write at least one post a week.

The last I wrote was around 11 months back.

That was when I thought "hey, anyways my online life has moved to my android smartphone.. Why not just use it for blogging as well!" 

But long blog post are not easy on a smartphone. Smartphones are definitely useful for micro-blogging such as twitter and Facebook updates.

I found that there is an app available for Blogger and just installed it to give it a shot.

In fact, I am writing this post using it.

The app is descent enough. Doesn't have a lot of editing options though.

For example, I still haven't figured out a way to enter images between text.

Also, doesn't show my existing labels.. I will have to type them manually :-(

Definitely not easier to type long post on a smartphone. Thanks to the SwiftKey keyboard, some of the typing pain is reduced by prediction and auto-fill.

Still I think PCs are best for regular blogging. 

Now let me post this to see how this shows up in my blog!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Declutter your Harddisk using WinDirStat

With every passing month, you add so much digital clutter in your computer that it becomes an impossible task to clean up your hard disk. Forget cleanup, just trying to find out what really is eating up your storage space itself becomes a huge task.

I ran into a similar situation and that's when i decided to attack the problem no matter what.

Initially I used the most dumbest way of finding out what really was eating up space - right-click->Properties at all top-level folders under c-drive and then further drill down in a similar fashion.

I thought I will quickly identify that one folder that really is eating up space. It took half-hour to realize how scattered all my files (photos, videos, music, installables, pdfs, documents, etc.) were.

I was wondering how easy it would have been had this been Linux - just run the "du" (disk-usage) command and figure out whats eating up

Ah, thats it.. install cygwin and that will let me run this command.  But it really wasn't worth installing hundreds of MB of cygwin data just to analyse disk usage. So, I started searching for a standalone windows based tool that will give me disk usage stats, which led me to this post in lifehacker which introduced me to WinDirStat.

Its one of the best system tools that I have come across for the windows OS, which lets you visualize your hard disk. And what a nice way of visualizing your hard disk - elegant and brilliant.

Hover your mouse pointer on top of one of these colored blocks and the status bar below will show the filename along with its complete path. And click the block to ready locate the file and do whatever you want, including deleting this file from your hard disk.

Its an amazing tool to start visualizing your hard disk and start attacking all that clutter. Btw, I also found this tool useful for locating some long lost videos, mp3s and jpegs.

There is also a tree-map view and file types view which are visible by default. The file types view is really useful as it tells you what type of  file is occupying how much. In my case, clearly all the videos, mp3s and jpegs were eating up all the space. All I had to do was back them up in an external hard disk.

So, go ahead and clean up that clutter.

PS: I read later that WinDirStat was inspired by KDirStat which is the KDE-Linux version of the same tool. Cool! :)


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Opportunity!

I had a rare opportunity to meet the Verizon Senior Leadership team, on Feb 7th 2011,   which comprised of Lowell McAdam - President and Chief Operating Officer (and a CEO-to-be :)), Roger Gurnani - Chief Information Officer and Bob Toohey - President, Verizon Business. Also, accompanied them was my Verizon Data Services India - Managing Director - Mr. Rahul Saxena.

I think this was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet all the big guys in one place, given the fact that we are 8000 miles away from the headquarters. It was a honour to meet Lowell whom I have been watching closely in our internal quarterly webcast and other videos.

Our present Chairman and CEO - Ivan Seidenberg is a charismatic personality and has been my favorite. In my view, he represents a fatherly figure and a living legend who started his career as a cable splicer's assistant, who grew up the ladder through his hard work and personality.

So with Lowell to take over Ivan's spot in future, I was trying hard to understand and like this man. My initial self-made impression of this man was not that great. But I was dead wrong.

As I am hearing more and more of Lowell, I am beginning to like him. He seems to be a very principled person and very process-oriented too. He rolled out the Verizon Credo and I see the genuineness in his message and in the way he is driving the Credo at every available opportunity. Lowell is charismatic in his own sense and has a good sense of humour. He is a mechanical engineer, so can find him using lot of mechanical analogies (such as.. "there is always a higher gear.."), which is great :).

So, Lowell, I have bought into you. I am glad Verizon is in great hands and poised to boldly go where no one has gone before (remembering Star Trek ;))

Well, my meeting went flawlessly. All the preparation (mostly mental), on what I wanted to talk and how I wanted to take them through the floor, finally proved fruitful.

After my meeting, I rushed to the Townhall, which was organized in our Cafeteria and was expected to overflow, to grab a seat. As expected, it was wonderful speech by Lowell. He has promised to come back again and I hope I am around by that time.

DISCLAIMER: I usually stay away from my office related topics and this is probably the first one and hopeful is the last one. I had to write this because of my excitement and as an evidence to the fact that I met a great leader. All views expressed here are my own and I solely take responsibility for whatever is expressed here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Catching up, forever!

Just as I was opening up some two dozen blogs/articles into separate tabs in my browser (Firefox, but occasionally jump to Chrome), I was beginning to wonder how this has become an endless routine for me. Not that I dread doing this. In fact, i am a tech news junkie and would like to keep myself updated with as much latest technology and its related business news as possible.

Well, I wasn't this way earlier and there is a whole background on why I became such a tech news junkie. In the early years of the last decade, I was young, unmarried and had a new job. As like most youngsters then, I was upto date with the latest technology and gadgets more as a means of keeping in touch with your friends. But as i was aging (lets just call it maturing ;)) and with a marriage and my first kid and with growing responsibilities at my job, I was moving moving away from most friends (except for the very few whom i keep touch on phone) and thus also losing touch with latest happenings in technology.

Another reason, that to some extent that really had kept me away from the web was the social web explosion. It was just too stressful for me to keep up with friends (constantly responding) on a constant basis. At that time, Orkut was the most popular in India. So someday, I had subconsciously decided to unplug myself from the net, of course with some conscious support from the above reasons ;).
Then one fine day, while talking to some of the youngsters, I was realizing how much i was like them and how i had lost track of technology. So during the last half of the previous decade, I decided to come back with a vengeance, with a thirst for knowledge on latest happenings. Once I started, I was really hooked to it till date. Since then, i think i am fairly updated with everything that's hot and buzzing in the blogosphere. With confidence I can say that i belong to the Mavens category (with reference to the book from Malcolm Gladwell)

Staying up to date does eat up lot of your time. But as long as you have a passion for it, you will not notice it.

Over a period of time, i have developed unique ways of catching up with information and organizing it for later use and sharing. That in itself deserves a separate post in itself.

But I was thinking it might be a good idea to share some some news/blogs/articles links that i really liked, every week. Of course i keep sharing them real time through twitter and facebook, but posting them into blog on a weekly basis will help others to come back and take a look at it when time permits. Anway, still considering.

Now that I have satisfied one of the resolution points for this year (keep blogging at least one post per week) :)), I am hitting the bed.