November 29, 2011

A geeky Blogger t-shirt

I’m a big fan of geeky, obscure t-shirts.  I am also a big fan of Blogger.  So I designed a geeky Blogger shirt for myself :)



November 26, 2011

Influence

Is it even possible to read a story without overlaying our own over it?  After what’s lost in the narrator’s observation and the reader’s interpretation, how much is left?  Do falling leaves laugh at our thousand theories explaining the fall?

Pinch of salt

Yesterday I wrote a long, detailed, criticism to a blog post, and in the end I wrote this:
I am no big writer, nor a serious reader... so take this all with a pinch of salt.
I read this again today and I am embarrassed by these words.  Did I honestly believe that my observations can be off the mark?  No, I didn’t.  But I almost always downplay my own views and come across less assertive.  Pretend I don’t know what I am talking about.  What for, I have no idea!  One thing I do know is I do this subconsciously.  Maybe this is the next thing I should start being conscious about.

November 21, 2011

Chrome’s Duplicate Tab feature

Have you used “Duplicate Tab” feature of Chrome?  If you right-click on a tab and select Duplicate, a new tab with the contents and history of the current tab is created.  I use it in the following case:
- I am on Page A.
- I click on a link.  Now I am in Page B.
- I have to do something that requires looking at both Pages A and B.

Now I can duplicate the current tab, which would give me two tabs with Page B.  I can press Back in any of the two tabs to get back to Page A.


I stumbled upon an easier way to use this feature today.  Instead of duplicating the tab first and then clicking Back on the new tab, I can Ctrl+click on the Back button to open a duplicate tab and go back in history one step.  Works with Shift+click as well, but as you may expect it opens the duplicate tab in a new window.

November 17, 2011

Change

We fear change because it crushes some of our unachieved dreams.  And we are seldom sure if the new dreams it’d bring would equal the loss.

November 13, 2011

Real world

We never understand the real world.  Over years we build a model of the world in our mind, which reflects what we have seen of the world.  That tiny model is all we understand.

November 12, 2011

Literature

Written communication sucks because it lacks what’s conveyed nonverbally between words — which makes up a huge chunk of every conversation.  Any text that conveys more than its words is literature.

November 08, 2011

Launch and iterate

“Launch early and iterate” is an execution strategy that is good for discovering unknown positives or negatives about your product, getting feedback about your work, etc.  It’s not, however, a replacement for having a long-term vision for your product.  You cannot rely on your users to tell you what you should be doing a year/5-years from today.

November 07, 2011

Acceptance

Acceptance is, not overriding your feelings with thoughts.

November 06, 2011

Borderless Chrome windows in Linux

Chrome on Linux lets you use Gnome or KDE’s default window borders if you don’t like Chrome’s minimalistic window borders.

I prefer to use KDE’s window borders for two reasons:
  • I have customised my window title bar to add an “Always on top” button to it.  It’s handy once in a while.
  • When using system window border, I can see the full title of the current tab.  This particularly useful when there is a nontrivial number of tabs open—which is like always.
What’s annoying is if you toggle this option from ‘don’t use system borders’ to ‘use system borders’, KDE would render all existing Chrome windows without any border, like this:

Chrome windows that are opened after the change, however, are rendered correctly with border, title, minimise/maximise/close buttons, etc.  If you are stuck with a few ‘naked’ windows like this, you can force KDE to draw borders by closing and recreating those windows.  To avoid losing state in the process, use Chrome’s “undo close tab” feature.

Press Alt+F4 and close a whole window—close all tabs in that window at one go.  (You cannot close that window otherwise because it doesn’t have a close button.)  Now, from a different Chrome window press Ctrl+Shift+T for Undo Close Tab.  This will restore the window you just closed with all tabs that were present in it.  Since it’s a newly created window, KDE would paint all borders correctly.

November 05, 2011

Corner cases

It’s 2am and I hear fire alarm in a nearby building.  Soon followed by the sirens of fire squad.

Whenever fire alarm goes off, people’s reaction is not “oh my god, fire!”... it’s “oh dear not again”.  What’s intended as a life-saver lives on as a nuisance.  I lived vast majority of my life in a developing nation where finding buildings with proper fire protection is hard.  Not because we cannot afford to install fire detectors everywhere, but because we don’t feel the need for it.

Heard of corner cases?  In the software world a corner case is when a user uses a software in a way not many people would normally use.  Using Excel to create UI mocks for a new product is an extreme example.  (No, I am not making this up; a PM I worked with really did this, and we were all like this.)  Fire protection seems like a corner case in physical world.

I mean, how often something burns at home?  Not very often, but once in a while a fire strong enough to trigger the alarm.  Okay, how often are these fire incidents really serious?  Occasionally.  Most of the time you can just put off the fire by yourself before it can cause any trouble.  Yet, first world countries all have this annoying awesome fire protection system installed in every building.

Number of corner cases covered by a software is a metric of how complete (or complex) the software is.  Maybe the number of physical corner cases a country has covered is a measurement of how developed/rich the country is.  (It’s like they are so rich they can afford to spend resources on something that gives very little in return.)

Expectations

I kept thinking why I hate Shankar’s movies when I can enjoy Perarasu’s movies.  It’s weird because Perarasu’s movies can easily make the “Stupidest Tamil Movies Ever” list.  Compared to Perarasu’s movies, Shankar’s movies have at least some quality.

I guess the issue is just that: Shankar’s movies have some quality.  Perarasu’s movies are plain trash from start to end.  Shankar, because he’s better at his craft than Perarasu, makes me subconsciously expect more from his movies.  And I get annoyed when the movie doesn’t really meet the expectation.  Perarasu’s movies are so bad, 30 minutes into the movie I have no expectation whatsoever... so whatever he does gets accepted.

You can think of it this way.  Not having sex can be depressing.  But having to stop in the middle can be even more so.

November 02, 2011

More quotes from Star Wars

I just finished watching Star Wars episodes 2 through 6.  I really liked 3PO and R2-D2 in all episodes.  In Bicentennial Man, the robot Andrew is told that unlike humans he doesn’t have time constraints.  Being a machine, he has infinite time to accomplish whatever he wants to.  I could see that so clearly in Star Wars.  By the time the whole war is over, several Jedis are dead.  But 3PO and R2-D2 keep helping in the war.  It’s pretty much like the droids are the core of the movie: no episode without them.

3PO being funny and lame is quite likeable too.  I have only one quote of 3PO’s in the list, but I liked several of his dialogues.  Not quotable though, since they don’t make much sense without the context.

(Spoiler alert!)  Another nice touch was not forgetting the original prophecy when the movie ends.  Anakin is the one who’s supposed to end the war, but he turns to the dark side.  Obi-Wan is shocked, but Yoda with his wisdom stays calm.  Eventually it’s Anakin who ends the war and brings peace to the galaxy.
  • All mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like.  It’s the only way we grow.
  • Life seems so much simpler when you’re fixing [broken] things.
  • To be angry is to be human.
  • The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.
  • Attachment leads to jealousy.  The shadow of greed that is.
  • Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
  • Good is a point of view, Anakin.
  • [3PO to R2-D2] I don’t know what this trouble is about, but I’m sure it must be your fault.
  • Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them.
  • In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.
  • If money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.
  • “Great warrior!  Wars not make one great.”
  • Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
  • Your thoughts betray you.