Excursions

by Amit Gawande

September 12, 2021

01:39 PM

I am on a video call, setting a Windows laptop for one of my cousins. I am sure she is confident that she can set up her laptop — but family wants me to be there. So, here I am for her moral support, which I am sure she didn’t ask for.

04:42 PM

Some newsletters are just too long for my liking. I can read long ones if they are genuine essays, someone sharing what they are or have gone through. Some life experiences. Or something of interest for them. But when you curate, and still have hoards of links to some external content, I am not in. In short, long texts are fine for me. Not 100s of links.

When you say you curate, you should curate. Not include link to everything that you and your friends read.

04:55 PM

The Atlantic is right, the Internet isn’t dead. It is just crowded with more people who aren’t living — literally and metaphorically. There are still people active on the Internet, they will keep it thriving. Let the non-living bots crowd the space, take over the corners that have been deserted. The folks with life will keep the oasis of the Internet busy, colourful.

September 10, 2021

06:38 AM

I published a few thoughts on busyness. Over the years, I’ve realized that my mind has become a pool of copious ideas from varied fields. It is like an open pond, extremely prone to ripples from externalities, big and small. I allow that no more.

September 9, 2021

11:19 PM

Be natural, flaunt your multiple shades. It is the contrast that makes us interesting. Even royal gold needs a contrasting shade on the side to be an ornament. Otherwise on its own, it is just a brick.

September 8, 2021

06:39 AM

I have decided to stay away from all the timelines for the next two weeks. Micro.blog. YouTube1. Netflix. I am taking time off, in a way, from the discussions & chatters to give myself some space to think. It unfortunately isn’t possible with views and perspectives from others always clouding mine.

I have, of course, subscribed to the RSS feeds of many whose voices I prefer not to miss. This old medium remains the best way I can control what I read.


  1. YouTube’s homepage is a timeline, whatever YouTube calls it. [return]

02:54 PM

My potential is mine to fulfill or to waste.

I completed agree with Kimberly Hirsh. When someone says live upto your potential, I don’t understand what that means. Who decided what my potential was? How did you decide that? And the bigger question is, why?

My potential doesn’t define me - what I do, does.

September 7, 2021

04:46 PM

If you were to take a guess, when do you think the term “microblogging” was first coined? Another term that was gaining popularity the same year was “vodcast”. I am relieved it didn’t catch on — neither the term nor the media format.

05:41 PM

Why’s there a fascination among the devs to reinvent the old tech that isn’t broken? Maybe the reason that the tech has stayed the same isn’t because no one attempted to change it. Can you fathom the possibility that the tech might be fine, as it is, to most common folks? Or perhaps it might not be one of those things that most give a hoot about? Yeah?

The two prime examples I see many developers take a go at are browsers and email. Please, both work fine as they are. Don’t try to reinvent them. They have reached a state in which they are open and standard enough already. Most people know the functionality they can expect while using it.

Stop reinventing it. Improve it, no doubt. Make it faster, simpler. Cleaner. But don’t change the definition of what that tech represents. Don’t mar the traits that make the tech great in the first place, universal accessibility.

Don’t attach a lot of muck around the fundamentals of the accepted tech and call it “2.0”. I will suggest call it “1.0” of whatever the heck you want to name it.

September 6, 2021

09:50 PM

I love this Indian Test cricket team that has the belief that they can bounce back from any situation. They have shown it a few times over the last couple of years. Today’s win against England, after conceding a lead, is special again 🏏

10:01 PM

I spent a few calming hours with my Kindle in the garden today. Away from the hustle bustle. Away from the tings and chimes of the technology. I need to do this often.

September 5, 2021

02:46 PM

Why’s there a sudden rise of alternatives for GoodReads being launched? And curiously, most are open sourced. What is the problem with the existing service — of course, besides the fact that it stays neglected by Amazon?

02:57 PM

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. There’s simply a fear of bad writing. Do enough bad writing and some good writing is bound to show up.

Seth Godin suggests just write something. I agree with him.

03:30 PM

I finished reading: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. In a way, it’s a must read for a lot many people 📚

I am certain it isn’t for dummies neither does it claims to be so anywhere. It is for folks in a hurry, sure. I can’t remember the last non-fiction book that read so easy for me. This feat is even more praiseworthy, given Neil deGrasse Tyson attempts to touch upon some of the most complicated and buzz-wordy topics from the past 13 billion of existence of this universe.

“The power and beauty of physical laws is that they apply everywhere, whether or not you choose to believe in them. In other words, after the laws of physics, everything else is opinion,” says Tyson. I have rarely heard someone be so calm, yet extremely badass at the same time.

05:23 PM

I modified my homepage today to group posts by date and sort in chronological order in the day. Why? I never liked the reverse-chronological order across.

11:43 PM

Kids are free, untouched by the necessities of the life. The concept of “necessary” doesn’t register itself with them.

For a kid, everything is necessary and, at the same time, nothing is. Is it necessary to eat? Sure, if he is hungry. Otherwise, it isn’t.

A kid does nothing because it is necessary to do it. He does it because he wants to do it.

In that sense, a kid always emphasises inwards, focuses on what is important to himself. As we grow, we forgot what matters. We emphasise what’s external.

The societal pressures. The fear of missing out. A kid knows none. I like this is all he cares about.

Listen to the kid in you, he sits closest to your heart. And if you can’t hear him, life’s going to a difficult journey, my friend. Be quick and wake up that kid within you.

September 4, 2021

08:54 PM

If you are not fully vaccinated yet — well, McSweeney’s essay is important for you — you need to search for a genuine reason for that. The only reason that’s genuine is that you physically can’t. Either there aren’t enough vaccines where you live, or you have some physical condition which limits you from getting the shot.

09:02 PM

Why do I need to set the skin tone modifiers for every emoji separately? That does not sound right. Did no one think that I would have the same skin tone irrespective of the emotion I want to convey?

10:36 PM

I am seriously considering Dropbox for everything backup - PCs, Mac, Photos across all services. Because frankly speaking, no other cloud storage provider seems to be interested.

September 3, 2021

09:11 AM

Is a third booster shot proven to be helpful for all? Nope. So I don’t understand the rush to administer it to all the populace just because you can. You know what would be better use of those shots? Making sure each person in the world is fully vaccinated.

11:30 PM

While closing a task in most of the task management systems, including to-do lists, you can set it to any of the available states. So, basically, you could say it is completed or fixed etc. There is one state in there that always tickles my funny bone, “won’t do”. I mean, that’s an official way of giving the middle finger, isn’t it? Learn to mark issues with that state and you have found the best way to say no.

11:43 PM

I always wonder what is the right response to people reaching out for guest posts. Most of the time I feel they are just fishing for attentions. So, ignore and mark them as spam? Or be patient, read and decline humbly? Or maybe inform them politely that you are marking them as spam, and then mark as spam.

I am not the one to do the last option here. But I will get fed up someday and that will be my option.

September 1, 2021

09:29 PM

It’s crazy how one’s mind works. Here are two posts separated by 4 years. I recently published one a couple of weeks back. I had published another in 2017. Both the posts talk about a similar observation, about the constant fight between the coder and a writer in me. It reads in such a similar manner. The choice of words, the structure, the flow. It should be pretty apparent to anyone who reads it that both the posts come from the mind. From the same author.

Surprisingly, when I wrote the recent post, I had no clue that I had written about the same topic earlier some time. In a way, then, the adage that “there’s no original work being written, but just rewrites” is not that far off.

10:51 PM

The tension is simple: If a platform is carefully vetted and well-curated, it meets expectations and creates trust. If it’s too locked down and calcifies, it slows progress and fades away.

Seth Godin talking about how open platforms are always in risk of becoming spammy and losing the trust of the users. I entirely agree — it’s a path that most platforms, open and closed, follow.

They enjoy the carefree attention from the excited early adopters who associate with the core values of the platform creators. But as the platform grows, it attracts users which would neither share the excitement nor the patience of the early adopters. They get noisy — they want to use the platform like their old one they are comfortable with. They need features that they are used to, not what the platform provides.

So, eventually, the tension that Seth refers to above gains prominence.

11:04 PM

I’m cleaning the list of the RSS feeds I am subscribed to. There are a few subscriptions that I have no interest in today. They simply get marked as read every few weeks. Plus the list is missing a few voices I follow that regularly write long form posts. Time to curate again.