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. 


Friday, January 14, 2011

Feeding my blog post into Twitter

Well, this is cool! Now I don't have to worry about manually sharing a link to my detailed thoughts (blog post such as this) into social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

My problem was I hadn't taken effort to figure a way to tweet my blog post, automatically. But once something is tweeted in my account, it naturally propagates to Facebook.

From what I know, Twitterfeed is the only available service for sharing your blog post into social networking sites.

So, this is how it works. You create an account in Twitterfeed (if you have OpenID, you can use that as well to login. For example, I used my blogger id to login into Twitterfeed). Then you specify the RSS link to your blog. Twitterfeed regularly pings this RSS to see if something was published new. If yes, then it will post it to Twitter, Facebook and other services.

I have configured Twitterfeed to post the title of the blog post following by a shortened url to the same (Twitterfeed uses

Also, I have put  a filter in place where in only those blog posts which have the keyword #tweetit will be published to my twitter account. Now that i have specified this keyword, this post will be automatically tweeted into my twitter account. This will ensure that i can have some control over what is pushed to twitter and what should be pushed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Learning Python is worth after all

I started flirting with Python late last year. I have been learning it at a snails pace, slow but steady. To make sure I keep the focus, I have learning Python as one of my resolutions this year.

Was wondering if I was wasting time learning Python while I could be focusing on tons of other stuff.

Man, I am so glad to read that Python won the TIOBE Programming Language Award of 2010. Some consolation that I am not wasting time.

On a different note, some ask me as to why I want to learn a programming language being a Senior Manager. Well, my answer is, being a senior manager doesn't mean that you shouldn't be a techie/geek. And also there is a wrong notion of one moving away from technology or software engineering as you grow up the ladder. I don't believe in that and I don't think one will be successful in the long run that way (again success is perceived differently by each one of us).

Deep inside my heart, I still prefer being a techie/geek.

Drastically reduce email clutter - disable social network notifications

Ever since i started my quest to declutter, especially my obsession to win back my mail box from the digital clutter, I have come a long way.

But in spite of this, I recently realized how much of email clutter you can stop from entering your mail box by just disabling email notifications from your social networks.

For me, disabling email notifications in LinkedIn and Facebook alone stops at least 10-20 mails reaching my mail box.

And I am sure there are other such places like Twitter, Orkut, etc. where you can disable notifications as well.

But assuming you have this weird obsession to receive every notification by mail, then you can probably opt for a week digest assuming that options is available.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Retrospection - Year 2010

With a new year and a new decade starting, its a good time to think over what i want to achieve personally this year.

But first, its time for some retrospection.

I did come up with a list of resolutions for last year 2010. I din't make it public (no special or secret reasons though). But thinking about how well I fared with respect to my resolutions for last year (2010), I feel good because I fared pretty well. I was able to achieve most of what I wanted.

I think I did good in the following areas:
  • Eat regularly and eat healthy
    • Thanks to the cook that my wife hired (my wife works too..)
  • Have a fixed number of beverages per day
    • Far better compared to before. There were times when I used to drink 15 - 20 coffees a day. Its 4 -5 now!
  • Read the best selling books every month
    • I've read lot of best sellers in 2010. You can see the list of books i've read in my LinkedIn profile 
  • Keep myself updated with the latest happenings in the technology industry
    • Well this is the culprit which kept me awake until early morning hours. This led to me failing bad with the first point mentioned in the list of things that i could not keep up with, mentioned below.
  • Make full use of library 
    • Yep, borrowed lot of books from the library.
  • Declutter anything and everything
    • To add to it, i dint just declutter, but i got more organized now, especially got very organized with my mail inboxes. 
  • Stay close to projects, people and meetings/calls
  • Track every penny being spent
    • While i was good at that, not reflecting weekly on it made this just a mundane chore. So I stopped tracking my expenditure in the last 3 months of last year.
  • Enjoy doing household chores and use it as means to relaxation

I think I was off the mark (did bad) in these areas:
  • Sleep early and give sufficient rest to my body
  • Try to meditate and pray
  • Try to start walking early mornings
  • Maintain my assets in good condition by regularly servicing them
  • Weekly reflect on the spending and budget
  • Keep in regular touch with close friends and relatives
As you can see from the list above, most of them are habitual changes that I've been wanting in me and not really an end goal in themselves. So for the things that I've fared well in, I will continue doing them. For things that I missed, I will try to get better at it this year and I will add few more things for this year. 

On a whole, I feel good about what i've achieved. I probably achieved many more things and improved my character on different aspects. For example, I think I have much more emotional and mental discipline and patience. 

Last year, was also a year of lot of learning on the professional front, not just on the managerial and leadership aspects of my work, but also what I always love to do, getting handson on the technical front. Though to a small extent, i did some amount of perl programming and started learning Core Javascript and Python. In fact, this year, I intend to become an expert in Python. 

I know this year (2011) is full of challenges both on the personal and possessional fronts. I believe, every human challenge hardens ones character, if the challenges are taken in a right spirit. I am ready to take up these new challenges and I hope this year value adds to what I am  today. 

I am still working on my list of resolutions for this year. I have a rough draft, but will publish them once I have finalized it to some extent.