Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rush no more

It's interesting how a good movie can impact you in many ways. A couple of weeks ago, I watched the movie Rush, and a dialogue by Niki Lauda got me thinking. He repeatedly says:
 I signed up for 20% risk, and I will take no more. 

Admittedly, most of us do not drive Formula-1 cars, but we have our own share of this 20% risk: bad roads, heavy rains or fog, rash or incompetent drivers, or simply bad luck. Problem is, we often are willing to take more risks than is necessary.

In my case, I was OK with leaving a few minutes later for the railway station because I knew I could make up for it on the road. 
I was OK with Aditi sleeping a few minutes more because I could drive just a little bit faster and still make it on time to school.

The movie made me realize this is not acceptable. Leave early for the station. Wake up the kiddo at a proper time. And, in case there are any unforeseen problems, be willing to arrive a bit late.

There's no heroism in taking on 'challenges' that are perfectly avoidable.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Nagpur and Kolhapur

I need to avoid reading books while traveling. 

During the Kolhapur- Belgaum bus journey, I am reading this book, and Karnataka bus conductor comes, saying "ticket, ticket". 
I absentmindedly pass him a couple of 100/- notes, say "Nagpur" and continue reading. 

Confused, he again asks me where. And I repeat, a bit loud and clear, NAGPUR. 

Now the passengers are looking at me, the conductor is looking at me, and am still in the book. So he taps me on the shoulder and says, 
"नाSSगपुरा?? रांSSग बस्स!"
( You going to Nagpur? You're in the wrong bus!)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Of books... Old and new

"So...What's the latest book you're reading?"
Me: "Nothing at the moment.... Planning to read Rise and fall of Adolf Hitler."
"Acha... new book?"
Me: "Ah, no... Published way back in the 1960s."
"Why are you reading such an old book?"
"I don't know... Perhaps because it's good?"

This is not an imaginary conversation; it happens often. How can 'Old' or 'New' be the criteria to choose a book to read? It's like rushing to watch a movie only because it's just released.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Goodbye, Windows Mobile... Hello, Android!

Last Friday, with a heavy heart I powered down my Windows Phone, and fired up a device, that just three months ago I wouldn't have dreamt of... an Android Phone.
And I blame Microsoft for this.
I have been using Windows-based mobiles since 2011... Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1 and then Windows 10. For almost 7 years we shared a peaceful co-existence. The apps were few, but sufficient. 
Last December, the internal memory on Lumia device was depleting rapidly, and it was time for an upgrade. That's when the sad state of Windows Mobile ecosystem became evident to me. Microsoft itself seems to have given up on the mobile platform. There are no devices in sub-20k range. There's no support for UPI. Delayed updates to frequently used apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
Other power users of Windows Mobile such as Rohit Bhargav also suggested me not to continue with it. Thus began a search for an alternative.
Apple iPhone was never an option due to its high price range and the closed ecosystem. I considered BlackBerry for a very short time before settling on Android. Debashish Deshmukh, who happens to be the living encyclopedia of mobile devices in market spent hours coaching me on various models -- Samsung, Honor, and many more. He had recommended RedMi Note 4 as the best value-for-money mobile but I didn't wish to go through the hassle of waiting for the flash sales and opted for Moto G5 Plus.
Experience so far has been good; but it remains to be seen if I would overcome missing the following features of Windows Mobile:
Reliability: For the past 7 years that I have been using Windows Mobile on Lumia devices, not even once did I have to visit the store for any hardware repairs or software glitches. Let's see how Android devices fare in that comparison.
Metro UI: I still believe Metro UI is ideal for phones.
MS-Office tools: These are supposedly equally good on Android if not even better.
To Do Prime: My favourite to-do list app, it's not available on Android and am looking for its alternative.
OneNote: Not sure if it's available for Android. Evernote, perhaps?
I will continue to monitor the Windows Mobile space to see if Microsoft ever gets serious about it. Untill then, Goodbye, Windows Mobile... Hello, Android!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

What if....

There are some folks -- and that definitely includes me -- who keep fretting over a series of "What if -" questions in their minds. "What if the train doesn't reach on time?" What if the machine hangs during my presentation?" What if this, what if that...
This can be frustrating, not only for the person but also those around him/her. 
So, what I do is... Move on from "What if X happens?" to "What will I do if X happens?" This changes the whole perspective. If the train doesn't reach on time? Here are the people I should notify. If the machine hangs? Here are the important points from the presentation that I ought to memorize. and so on.
Rather than being paralyzed by fear and anxiety about what all things might go wrong, you start chalking out contingency plans and alternate approaches. It's fun.