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Uncategorized

Kindle Or Kobo in Canada?

Why is Kindle Paperwhite the perfect Kindle?

Price! It was on sale on Black Friday and is again on sale now for $115CAD. The new version has a modern flash design. It does not have physical page turn buttons but the touchscreen is perfectly capable of easy navigation. It also has a dark mode for reading at night. I personally would not have bought one if it did not have a dark mode. It also has a warm light and brightness adjuster so it is pleasant to read in various light settings.

The other feature that I really like is Kindle’s integration with gooreads, and that is to be expected because both companies are own by Amazon. I also like the X-ray feature which is a boom for someone like me who reads multiple books at the same time. Integration with a dictionary and wikipedia is also great.

The only thing I wish Kindle had was flexibility in the format of the ebooks. I do not like getting tied to one company for anything. The greater a company’s openness, the higher is my personal rating. This is the very reason, I use open source software like firefox, linux, nextcloud, libre office etc..

Disadvantage of Kindle

The other disadvantage of owning a Kindle ereader is the lack of integration with public libraries. Currently, Kindle does not support local libraries in Canada( or is is that local libraries do not support Kindle ereaders. Either way, it is a no-go).

Kobo – The more open Kindle Alternative

Kobo on the other hand does work well with local libraries. Most public libraries in Canada support Overdrive which has tight integration with Kobo. You can browse and borrow books from public libraries that support Overdrive directly from Kobo ereaders. Again, this is to be expected because Kobo and Overdrive are owned by Rakuten.

Another advantage of Kobo is that it is more open and can read ebooks from multiple sources because it uses the ePub format. This way you are not locked into one store like what Amazon does with Kindle.

My Choice?

Kindle

My choice a is a bit complicated. I subscribe to Amazon Prime, which no doubt is a great service. It includes free shipping for most orders on Amazon, Prime Video and Prime Reading, which provides you with free books that you can read without waiting for holds or having an time limits. Also, I really do love the Goodreads integration and X-ray integration.

Amazon locks you into the Kindle bookstore. Kindle also does not support overdrive in Canada, which normally would be a big knock against Kindle, however,

Kobo

I live in Brampton, and 2 years ago Brampton Library decided to remove Overdrive support. So buying a Kobo, just does not make sense for me. I am very disappointed that Brampton Library no longer supports Overdrive.

But there are other good things about Kobo, like the fact that it is more open than Kindle, and Brampton Library still does support Kobo with CloudLibrary, but there are extra steps involved, which for someone like me, reading itself is an extra step IN LIFE, is a big no no.

Kobo also supports Mozilla’s Pocket, and even though I have an account and have the plugin enabled, I never really use it, but just like reading books included with my prime membership was not read by me until I got a Kindle, who knows, I might start using Pocket more if I got a Kobo.

One more thing that pulls me towards Kobo is its Canadian roots. And because it supports overdrive, I am even thinking of paying $120/year to get non-resident access to Toronto Library – oh how I miss living in Toronto.

Final Decision?

If I am honest, I am leaning more towards Kindle. What it has going for itself is:

  • Goodreads Integration
  • Amazon Audibles integration
  • X-ray feature
  • Prime Reading
  • You can sort of, kind of, may be if you are willing to go through some hoops and charter into territory of using a software like Calibre to convert books borrowed from public libraries to read them on a Kindle ereader.

If Amazon decided to open up its doors to Overdrive, then Kindle will be a nobrainer, but until then, I still need to consider Kobo as an alternative.

I am thinking of purchasing the Kobo Libra 2 to see if I like it better than the Kindle Paperwhite.

Categories
Uncategorized

Never Too Late to Start Reading

It may be unfathomable to most that anyone who loves to write, not share the same sentiment towards reading. I am such a person, or rather, and might I delightedly correct myself – I was such a person. In retrospect perhaps this was a sign on my unwillingness to listening before I spoke. Being a natural introvert, I never thought that that was a problem I had. But speaking less does not equate to listening more.

Listening before you wanting to be heard is something that I have learned from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Normally, I would not be reading this or any other such book. Any book that I have read in my life was because I had to for school or for a work project. However, most of my work project reading fell under technical documentation or wikis.

The only reason, I started reading the book was because, it was free for Amazon Prime members, and since I had in the past from multiple sources, heard good things about the book. I had started reading it in May of this year. A week ago, I was not even half way through the book. Reading to me was an idea imagined to be worth pursuing, but lacking the same allure of…um.. anything but reading.

This Black Firday, I made an impulse purchase of a Kindle Paperwhite. It was heavily discounted, and I thought, “oh what the heck.” and the next think I knew was it was in my cart. A week later, I had it in my hands. I still waited 2 days before I opened it. My skepticism of my sudden urge to start reading was warranted. This was not my first kindle. I think I still have my first kindle in the deep recesses of my box, or boxes of neglected momentary passions.

This time, however, it feels different. For one, the first generation kindle has nothing on the newer kindles or any book modern ereaders for that matter. For the most part, ereaders have remained the same, but their speed and touch capabilities have increase hundredfold. Of course, they are not as snappy as smartphones or tablets, but no one needs those speeds when reading anyway. At least not until some company decides to ‘do it anyway’.

So after I finally decided to open the new kindle, the first book I decided to read was The Seven Habits…. I completed it in around a week. And not only that, I am currently reading and listening to 7 books. Opening the kindle package, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Amazon had decided to go for a mimal packaging approach which according to Amazon: “95% of this device’s packaging is made of wood fiber-based materials from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources.” Go figure.

One obvious and important reason why I like ebooks is that ebooks are environment friendly. You are not cutting down treas to produce ebooks. Also, ebooks will not get torn, or damaged. Technically ebooks will never die. Of course, there is the possibility that vendors like Amazon or Kobo will decide to not support it in the future or do something dubious like stop supporting older version of ereaders, and this does happen in pretty much every industry now, but that is a topic of discussion for another time.

But the biggest advantage is that you can carry literally hundreds and even thousands of books on one single ereader. Not only that, if you lose your ereader, you can always purchase a new one and download all your books within minutes. Not to mention, the social aspect of reading ebooks. You can share quote and highlights from ereader.

Reading has been somewhat of a stress buster. All my worries and other nagging thoughts just fade away as I melt into a good book. One good book that I am reading is “Sold on A Monday”. Normally, I would read books like these, just the description would turn me away. Also, I do not think I have ever willingly read a fiction book, apart from The Alchemist because it is so revered the world over. But because Sold on A Monday was available for free with Kindle Unlimited and I had a free trial, I decided to download it. I am so captivated by what is happening in the book. I am about half way through the book.

The other book that I am reading is 1984 – a classic, but bares so much resemblance to over time, expect the signs are not so obvious. Big brother lurks in the shadows of the digital world.

I was clueless to the fantastic ability of authors to create characters and worlds in the minds of their readers. Perhaps, I merely forgot what it was like to read stories. I did enjoy books like Treasure Island, The Swiss Family Robinson and Making Good, as a child in Primary school. Those books were the last books I remember reading because I had no choice, but to date they bring back fondest of memories. I remember those vivid worlds more than the movies and TV shows that I have watched.

But at last I have begun my journey in reading. I hope I can continue this same level of excitement for many more books to come. I want to start with classics, the Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne books.

It is never too late to start.

Categories
Philosophy

A Better meaning of Kali Chaudas

While growing up in an Indian Hindu family, my sister and I and other Hindu kids in the neighborhood were frightened into waking up before sun rise, bathing and getting dressed and doing pooja else face some very dark and evil happenings. Kali Chaudas was always portrayed as something bad.

The festival is also called as “Kali Chaudas”, where Kali means dark (eternal) and Chaudas means fourteenth, this is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of [[Aaso month)]. In some regions of India, Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship of Mahakali or Shakti and is believed that on this day Kali killed the asura (demon) Narakasura. Hence also referred to as Naraka-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life. Narak Chaturdashi, celebrated just one day before Diwali, is also known as small Diwali.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naraka_Chaturdashi

Destroy Your Demons

Kali is the destroyer of Demons. Why not be inspired by Kali an destroy your demons? In the west we have the concept of “New Year’s Resolution”; it is when people decide that they are going to make some positive changes in their lives, which usually means exercising and eating healthy for most people. In some regions of India, New Year’s is the day after Diwali, and it is when people start something new to bring good luck to their new ventures.

If the Nutan Varsha (new year) is to start something new and good, then I say make Kali Chaudas to end something old and bad. Get inspired by Kali,the demon slayer to end your own demons, and lets face it, we do have our demons as individuals and as a society.

Say no to fireworks

How about start with deciding that you are not going to light firecrackers, which only pollutes the ground with the air around you. Our environment needs all the help that it can get.

Be Vegan

And speaking of the environment, how about adopting a vegan life style. Did you know:

“It[Animal Agriculture] is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 33% of the fresh water usage in the world”

“…livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the earth’s ice-free land.”

“animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the deforestation in the Amazon region.”

“Cows produce from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet”

“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_husbandry

What are you Demons?

What other vices would you like to destroy? Perhaps it is something personal, like anger and greed, or cruelty towards yourself in the form of self doubt, fear and negative thoughts, or perhaps it is holding onto painful memories.

Maybe there is clutter in your house or at work that you would like to destroy, or those extra pounds that you have gained because of the pandemic ( I know I have). Have you abused yourself with addictions like alcohol, processed sugars or gambling? Maybe it is time to destroy those demons.

I cannot tell you what your demons are. You may not even want to share with others, but you know what they are. It is Kali Chaudas – it is time to destroy your demons.

Categories
Philosophy

Things the World Does not Need(or Needs Less of)

I have a tendency of writing my thoughts and ideas down, and that is why I am a big fan of note taking apps and services. I have used Google Keep, OneNote, Evernote, QOwnNotes, Apple’s Note app, Joplin and others that I may have used in the past but do not remember now. I currently use my own program called mynotes. It uses vim, bash shell script and markdown. You can download mynotes for free from github.

I was doing some reorganizing of my notes when I found a list of “Things the world does not need or needs less of”. I have included some here.

plastic bags

Plastic in general should be avoided almost always, but it still does have its place especially in places and products that are going to be used for a very very long time – think in terms of at least double digit years. However, plastic bags are a menace to the environment and should be BANNED everywhere in the world. They have a very short usage time, but a very long life span and causes havoc in our rivers, lakes, oceans and to aquatic life.

Antivaxers, Flat Earthers, Anti-everythingers, and Conspiracy Culture

The current Covid19 pandemic has shown something quite strange – the existence of a subclass of skeptics called antivaxers.

“Why do I need to take a vaccine for something that I do not have” is what most of them say. That is literally what vaccines are for; for something that you do not have, but in case if you do get it, your immune system is better prepared to fight it off, thereby avoiding hospitalization or worse – death!

Conspiracy culture has been brewing for some time, but the this Covid19 Pandemic has brought to light

The Caste System

Now this is specifically related to the Indian Culture, and I can talk about it because I am Indian. India has given the world yoga, pranayam, meditation, ayurveda. India is the birth place of religions like Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism with all these religions having non-violence and equality for all living things at its core simply by saying that every living thing has a soul, from humans right down the the smallest insects.

India has also been responsible for deep philosophical concepts like Dharma, Karma, Maya and Mokshya. India has given the world great epics like the Mahabharat and the Ramayan.

With everything that India has given the world that Indians should be proud of, there is also this one thing that all Indian should be ashamed of and that is the caste system!

No country and no culture is perfect, and every society has had its share of missteps in history. What bothers me and what frankly is unacceptable is that the caste system still exists in the minds and hearts of many Indians from big cities to small villages. The caste system makes no sense, and the only thing it is good for is prejudice and discrimination.

Petroleum Fuel Based Cars

I think every country should mandate the ban of petroleum fuel based cars by a certain date; the sooner the better. Brands like Tesla have already proven that electric cars are not only a viable alternative, but they are actually cool! Electric cars mean less air pollution, less lining up at gas stations, paying close nothing for a ‘fill up’, having the option of charging your cars at home, and adds to our global efforts of reducing our reliance of fossil fuel.

Poverty

When you have companies that are richer than entire countries, it is a big problem. The 1% of the richest people in the world have the wealth and power to lift people all around the world out of poverty. I am not talking about redistribution of wealth, I am merely talking about empowering people below to the poverty line to be lifted out of it. The only reason that the rich are not helping the poor is because of greed. I do not see any other reason.

Animal Agriculture

Just think about these facts:

“It[Animal Agriculture] is responsible for somewhere between 20 and 33% of the fresh water usage in the world”

“…livestock, and the production of feed for them, occupy about a third of the earth’s ice-free land.”

“animal husbandry is responsible for up to 91% of the deforestation in the Amazon region.”

“Cows produce from 35 to 40% of the overall methane emissions of the planet”

“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of the powerful and long-lived greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_husbandry

Need I say more?

The best thing that you can do for the environment is to stop consuming animals.
You cannot be an environmentalist and not be a vegan.

Influencers, Reaction Videos, Fake Pranks and TicToc

I am honestly sick and tired of people who call themselves “influencers”. How is that a thing? At what point did we as a society decide that that is an actual career choice. A lot of the videos that I have seen on tictoc or Instagram Reels and now youtube shorts is mind numbingly annoying trash. Or maybe, I am just a “boomer” .

How is watching someone react to another person’s video entertaining. These people get millions of views for practically doing nothing. I consider this as stealing, being lazy and is detrimental to general creativity on any platform.

90% of the prank videos that I currently see on any platforms are fake. There was a time when people actually made an effort to prank people, and I mean genuinely prank people. Then there was an era when people faked the pranks but at least put genuine effort to make it convince; they were putting an effort to make their fraudulent and very fake pranks look genuine. I hated that era, but now sadly I kind of appreciate and miss those days when I had to think and figure out if these were fake or genuine. Nowadays, we inflicted with 15 second trash pranks – bad attacking, zero effort garbage.

Which brings me to platforms like tictoc, instagram reels and stories, and youtube shorts that make such things possible. This rapid descent of society started with Tictoc, but the downword spiral began much earlier with Facebook.

Just my Opinion

This is just my opinion and like me, you have opinions of your own. There are many other things that I can think about that we as a global society need less of, but if I write all of them down, I am afraid I will never be able to stop writing.

What are some of the things that you think the world needs less of?

Categories
Software Web

Why do I Recommend using Firefox? (2021)

I like to try different things when it comes to technology, but I do have a sweet spot for certain things. For example I like trying different operating systems and I use them according to my needs, but I will always have a sweet spot of Linux and specifically Ubuntu. Same goes for browsers. I have tried different browsers and over the years my primary browser has changed multiple times.

There was a time when I was primarily a Firefox user, and then Google Chrome, even Edge( the old edge) – most people do not give credit to Microsoft, but I thought it was a very good browser that brought things that other browsers did not have. I had short lived enthusiasm for Opera and Vivaldi and even Safari…LOL just kidding; Safari is the browser that you use to download other browsers. The last time I used Safari was more than 5 years ago, so things may have improved over the years, but the last time I used it, there was nothing likeable about that browser.

I had tried Brave browser before, but then stopped using it because of the company’s business model. Couple of months ago, I decided to give it a try again because Firefox was constantly a memory hog and Brave now includes a synchronization feature which is quite unique. You do not have to open an accounts or provide an email address. The synchronization happens only between Brave browsers or rather different user profiles on Brave browsers on different devices. I thought that was pretty cool and also Brave in my experience has been the most stable and the fastest browser on Windows, Linux and even on Android.

I switched (temporarily) to brave because I was getting frustrated with Firefox’s slow speed and memory usage. But after about two months of using Brave, I am moving back to Firefox because in my view pros clearly outweigh the cons. So here is why I am recommending Firefox in 2021:

Add-ons

There are plenty of add-ons and themes available on Firefox. You want a dark theme, sure. You want a Marvel superhero theme, yup, there is one. You want dark mode, there is an add-on for that. Ad blocker, Multi-account containers, YouTube downloaders, you name it and there is an add-on for it.

Privacy and Security

With Firefox, you can share as much or as little as you want to the developers and with websites that you visit. By default Firefox blocks third party tracking cookies, cryptomining scrips and social trackers. In addition, there are plenty of add-ons available to increase your privacy and security.

You can even set a master password to protect your local Firefox data such as bookmarks, history, password etc. This can be helpful if you share your computer with other people.

Firefox Monitor alerts you in case your email address has been a part of any online data breach.

Trust

I have been using Mozilla products for a very long time. For the majority of my adult life, I have used Thunderbird, even when Mozilla had announced that they were going to stop new development for it. Sure, I did use other email clients from time to time, like Apple Mail or Windows Mail. I am currently using mutt/neomutt – more on that in a later post.

I have used Firefox on and off for a very long time too.The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that I trust. Their products and services are focused on creating a good balance between privacy and functionality and user satisfaction.

I was using Google Chrome as my primary browser for several years until an update automatically logged me in to google services when signing in to the browser to sync my browsing data. That was the last time I used Chrome. Not to mention incognito mode was not really incognito. Now, I am aware of the concept of “I got nothing to hide”. But the point is not about having or not having anything to hide, the point is about trust. This point is something that I recently realized after reading about view points on privacy practices of tech giants when it comes to handling user data.

Brave browser is a very private and secure browser, but its business model essentially takes ad revenue from other ad networks and pushes its own ad network.(Things are a bit more complicated than that but this is the gist). There are some positives to its business model too, mainly that users can support individual content creators and websites. I will get into this in a later post.

Not based on Chromium

Firefox is one of the very few browsers available today that do not use the Chromium code base. There is nothing wrong with Chromium. In fact it is open source and it is a great open source software project that has pushed internet browsers into the ‘future’. However, if you want to use something other than Chromium, for whatever reason that you may have, the only truly viable option is Firefox.

Features for Power Users

Search

If you are a power user, Firefox has some truly powerful features built into its core. The browser has a default search engine just like every other browser, which you can of course change. However, you can also quickly switch between search engines on the fly directly from the address bar by selecting one of the search engines under “This time, search with:”

If that is not enough there are shortcuts for search engines. For example if you want to search with Google, just type @google ‘search phrase’, or @amazon ‘product name’ etc..

If you do not like the default shortcuts, you can even customize it with something like @g ‘search phrase’. If that is still not enough, you can even easily add websites like IMDB to search engine list.

keyboard only browsing

If reaching for your mouse to click on a link is beneath you, you can even do a quick search with ‘/’ and then hit enter when you reach your target link and Firefox will take you do that linked page.

and even more add-ons

Yes, I know that I have already talked about add-ons, but if you are not satisfied with the default features of Firefox, there are plenty of add-ons to increase your productivity.

wait… one more thing about add-ons

So far, I have been all for add-ons, but I in fact use very few add-ons. And a word of warning when it comes to add-ons is that you should be careful about what you install on your browser. Do your due diligence before adding any add-on.

So, this are the reasons why I wold recommend that you use, if not at least give Firefox a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Categories
Uncategorized

Canada Day 2021 – A day Difficult to Celebrate

I did not celebrate Canada Day this year. I did not wish anyone Happy Canada Day, I did not have a BBQ or go out for picnic. I have mixed emotions about this year’s July 1st. I just got a second shot of vaccine and although I do not feeling 100%, I can take comfort in knowing that I am doing my part to protect myself, my family and my community. The restrictions due to the pandemic are starting to easy, so I can be happy about that too. Canada has a great health care system, that is free and accessible to all; I can be thankful for that. Easy access to fast internet meant that everyone who had to work from home was able to for the past one year or so. I can be thankful for all of that and more.

I am trying to look for things to celebrate, and be thankful for to be a citizen of this country. But just like many Canadians who are mourning the tragedy that is in the history of this country, I too feel pain, embarrassment and shame. Unmarked graves of children who were part of the Indigenous residential school systems have been discovered in the hundreds, and it has brought to light the dark history of this nation.

From the 19th century until the 1990s, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded schools in a campaign to forcibly assimilate them into Canadian society. Abuse was rife at the schools where thousands of children died of disease, neglect and other causes.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/30/canada-first-nations-unmarked-graves-indigenous-residential-school-british-columbia

It is not only the death of individuals, but of future generations. The pain was not only caused to those individuals who lost their lives, but also to the families who had to endure their lose,and now after generations, the entire country morns.

No amount of social progress can ever replace or hide nor should it ever the dark history of this country. I was aware of the unjust treatment of the native population in the past, and the present neglect that the indigenous people of this country face, but this just shatters the very foundation of what makes a country great. Today when I look at my country’s flag, I find it difficult to see the beauty in its simplicity of white and red, and the iconic maple leaf. I cannot help but see the blood of innocent children in the red of this flag.

I cannot help but feel that the road that I drive one, the pavement that I walk on, the floor of my home that I stand on was built on the foundation of bones of the innocent.

Categories
Psychology

The Compass

In my previous post I talked about the 3 principles which I believe will change the way you live life, hopefully for the better. The 3 principles are:

  • Be responsible (for your experiences)
  • Be present (in the now)
  • Let go (of expectations and attachment)

But the question that one must ask is, if I responsible for my own experiences than how do I control this responsibility. If I am to focus on the present, what exactly am I to focus on? What do I let go?

Know Thyself

It is my belief that if you are to chose your primary goal in life, it must be only one thing; understanding your true nature, everything else secondary. Two simple words “Know Thyself”, yet truly living by it can do wonders and neglecting it can be lead to a world of pain and suffering.

You can try to make logical choices when it comes to the three principles, but the effort it requires is monumental if you do not fundamentally know who you really are.

Define Yourself

Knowing yourself is as much an endeavour of discovery as it is an effort of creation.

I would prefer to call this concept, “Define Yourself” rather than Know Thyself”, as we are culturally programmed to think that knowing something is a matter of discovering something that already exists, but more dangerously, whatever that thing that exists is immutable, unchangeable.

Knowing your natural characteristics or characteristics that you may have acquired over the course of your life through experiences is a great place to start. And that is it, ‘a start’. If there are things about yourself that you do not like, you can make effort towards changing them.

Conversely, if there are things that you do like about yourself, you can work towards enhancing those specific characteristics.

Knowing yourself is difficult enough, how do you you even go about defining yourself?

Values

Your values define you are you. Knowingly or unknowingly we are making decisions based on your values.

Ask yourself what do you value most in life? Ask yourself about your values in different aspects of you life. What do you think is good, what do you think is bad. What do you want more in life, what do you want less in life? Are there things that you stand for? Are there things that you stand against?

If you do not know your values, you can define them. This is a start to defining who you are as a person. I will give you my own example. About a year ago, I started asking myself these questions and one of the values that I decided that I will stand for is non-violence. This led me to adopting a vegan lifestyle. Another thing that I value in life is environment friendliness and sustainability.

These values help me make decisions in life. Of course it is not always easy, but it does help you steer towards your values more than away from them once you choose to define your values.

I have either sold or recycled old laptops by turning them into routers and servers. I started wet shaving with either straight razors or safety razor and soap, instead of using refillable cartridges.

My values do not make them any better or worse than yours, because that is the whole point of defining your values. They help you define who you are as an individual and help you make decision by acting as your compass.

Blueprint of Your Compass

There are many times that we get stuck on making decisions in life. It could be as simple as what to have for lunch or as pivotal as changing or choose a career path.

Priority

The more you know and define your value the easier it can get when it comes time to making importantly decisions in life. It is simply not enough to decide or discover your values, but you must also prioritise them. You may value a lot of things in life, but how important is each of those values? That is a key question that will help you make decisions in life.

But even after you have spent ample amount of time defining and prioritising your values, you may still feel stuck in making certain decisions in life. Ever wondered why?

The reason is conflicting values. This happens when you have two values that are opposite in nature. What do I mean by that?

Say one of you values is non-violence and because of that you decide to adopt a vegan lifestyle. However, your other value is variety in food. You value different cuisines, and like to try and experiment different dishes, flavours, textures and tastes etc… These two are fundamentally different. Sure you can think of creative ways of making vegan food taste great and believe me it does. However, if you want to try and eat exotic animals, you will suffer much anguish because two of your values are in conflict. What you end up doing will depend on the priority of each individual value.

What is worse when you have clash of the titans. This is when you have two values that are either opposites or simply not compatible and both are of equal priority.

Crafting Your Compass

As you can see it is important to evaluate your values and weed out conflicts prior to facing them in life altering situations. The easiest way to start is to check whether your values are contradicting each other. If they are you must decide on which values will have a higher priority and which ones will have a lower priority.

Of course, you do not need to eliminate your values, it is fair to give them different priorities, and yes, you have the right to choose them as you wish.

Once you have spent ample amount of time defining and prioritizing your values, you must visit them often, ideally at regular intervals to evaluate and make changes if and where necessary. Do not fall into the trap of rigidity.

The best way to maintain integrity with yourself and your values is it to write as much of this down as possible. This gives you something concrete to look it. It will almost feel like your values have been giving life.

You can then refer to what you have written to remind yourself about your values and also to give you the opportunity to reevaluate them and make necessary tweaks.

Using your Compass

I want to reiterate, these 3 principles have mentioned here and in my previous post together with the concept of the compass is a tool, a mental tool just like the technology that surround you like your phones, tables and computers, and the Internet, the cars that you drive, or refrigerators for cooling and so on.

We are so dependent on technology, and I do believe that such technology makes our life easier and in many ways helps us making decisions better. But no technology is worth a dime if you do not know how to use it.

Likewise, with your values as a compass you can navigate decision making, become responsible for your experiences, draw yourself into the present and focus on what is important to you, and find balance by detaching from unwarranted expectations.

Categories
Philosophy

These 3 Principles will Change The Way You Live

I am not a religious person. I am also not a spiritual person, and quite frankly, I never really understood what that meant (being spiritual). I admit to being philosophical. I love dwelling into philosophy, and thus, sometimes expression of my ideas encroach into the realm of religion or “spirituality”, because religion is mostly steeped in philosophy.

I do not claim to perfectly live by these principles, and I have had no sudden epiphanies about these. Each principle was revealed so to speak over time and contemplation. Somehow I knew for a very long time and we all do in some form or another. However, it is funny how the mind works; when we see or hear ideas that have always been floating around in our heads, we finally “see” or realize.

What I ask of you is to ponder upon these principles, and try to start applying them slowly and see how they change the way you live.

You are Responsible for Your Experiences

Whatever you have experienced, are experiencing or will ever experience is your responsibility. Your thoughts, your choices, your actions that were made by you, led you to experience each and every event that has happened in your life. The same will be true for anything and everything that you have not experienced.

I know that this becomes tricky when people start giving counter arguments like, “Oh what about that car accident?” Or “What about the hurricane that destroyed my home?” or some other negative or bad thing that they experienced.

Has anyone ever blamed anyone or anything for something good happened to them? When good things happen, it is always, you worked hard, or you are smart, or it is your abilities, or your luck made it happen. If you are not responsible for all the bad that happens to you then you are also not responsible for anything good that happens to you.

This principle is not about blaming the victim, but empowering them. Accepting that all your thoughts, actions, choices and decision led you to that specify point in time and space to experience that event, releases everything and anything that you do not have direct control over. Moreover, accepting and knowing that you are responsible for what you experience, you can choose what to experience next. You become the master of you destiny so to speak. You are in the driver seat; not your mother, father, friend, lover, boss, weather, stock market, or anything.

There is the physical aspect of an event, and then there is the after effect of that event. The event itself you may not have control over, however, how you experience that event is up to you. I will give you an example of what I mean by that.

There are two people at a concert. One person is annoyed that they did not get the seats that they wanted, that people are jumping around and blocking their view and it is too loud or not loud enough. This person will have a completely different experience then the other person who is filled with joy because they are at a concert of their favorite band, they do not care about where they are seated because they just wanted to be at that concert, and enjoying the fact that there are other people who love this band just as much as they do and they are enjoying the experience together.

These two people are in the same event in time and space, but their experiences of that event are drastically different.

So there are two distinctions of this principle. One is that your thoughts, actions and decisions bring you to an event in time and space. The event that occurs is something that may not have control over, because the chain of cause and effect was already set in motion. Second, although you may not have control over the actual event when it happens, what you experience because of that event is because of you.

Be Present

There is a theory that time is such that everything that has happened in the past, is happening now and will happen in the future is happening all at once. I am not going to get into that.

What I mean by being present is to have your focus on the present. Do not live in the past, do not live in the future; just be present.

This is very important in relationships. Every relationship has ups and down, there are arguments and there are differences. What most people tend to do is bring out the past. Because 20 years ago someone said something that offended you, you decided to get back at them by doing something else.

A lot of times, you keep dwelling on your past mistakes and because of fear of making the same mistake again, you fail to move forward in life. Or that feeling of, ‘oh things were so great. I was so good in basketball, or I wish I could go back to being young’ or something of that nature.

By being in the past and dwelling on what could have, should have, or would have been, you forget to live in the present. On the other side of the spectrum are futurist who keep living in the future. “When this happens, I will do that.”

Some might feel that if you do not look at the past, how will you learn the lessons of the past? For this I will remind you of the first principle, which is you are responsible for what your experience, and so it is important if you want to change your experiences in the future, you must learn from your past and then make changes so that you have a different experience in the future.

When watching a TV show, you watch a recap of what happened in the previous episodes and then you continue watching the show. Do you keep watching the previous episodes again and again without moving forward to the next episode?

Learning from your past is vital to have the optimal first principle, which is “You are responsible for your experiences”. But dwelling on the past is disservice to your experience.

Likewise, planning for the future, and setting goals is vital for your experience as well. If there is something that you would like to experience in life or also importantly not experience in life, you must plan and set goals for the future accordingly. But once that is done, your entire focus must be on the present.

Truly experiencing the present sets you free from the past and future and in my opinion of the ultimately way of living.

Let go

The third principle may seem like a direct contradiction to the first principle. Before that, what do I mean by “let go”?

Let go is the concept of letting go of expectation, of control, desire, hate, bad feelings and even good ones. It is a form of detached way of living. It should not confused with the idea of letting go of all your possession and relationships and duties and responsibilities so that you can go live in a forest, or high up in the mountains. I am very much against that way of “letting go”.

Let go has more to do with letting go of expectations. You are responsible for your experiences and thus you have a right to want to experience certain things in life and for that you must be present and work on those goals. However, you must not be attached to events that either fulfill those experiences or go contrary to desired experiences.

Letting go also applies to the other two principles. Sometimes, you may not be able to focus on the present. Sometimes an event forces you to focus on the past or the future. You must not become angry with yourself for losing focus on the present. You must not be attached to the outcome, do not expect that you will always be able to focus on the present, doing so will create anger and frustration, and this will then affect what you experience.

Likewise, after accepting that you are responsible for experiences, you must let go. Do not keep holding onto the thought because if you do, every little action, every little thought is going to force you evaluate whether or not it is going to start a chain of cause and effect which will ultimately lead you to have a good experience or a bad one.

Being attached to these principles must also be abandoned. These 3 principles must be kept as a reference, as a guide that you keep to remind yourself about what is important in life.

Letting go of expectation in work, business, sports, and especially relationships will bring a serene kind of balance which will be hard to experience without this principle. You have the right and ability to chose your experiences and work towards them, but you do not have the right or power over the faculties of other people and things, and therefore, the only solutions is to let go.

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Technology

Apple WWDC21 : IOS 15

So, yes, I was wrong, very wrong about my predictions for Apple #WWDC21. But if there is any consolation, I was not as wrong as so many tech youtubers and reviewers and so called insiders. There were rumours about new hardware; new macbook pros, macbook air, mac minis, and new 27 inch iMacs, featuring new Apple’s silicon, dubbed as M1X or M2.

None of that came true. I was was not holding my breathe of new hardware, but I surely expected some news about running MacOS apps on the new M1 iPad Pro. But surprisingly, there was nothing. That is not to say that there was no big news. Of course, there were some very interesting things shows. And in retrospect, I think there was more than enough software news that new hardware announcement would not have worked at this even, after all this is a developer conference. However, majority of the announcements in the keynote was geared towards end users. But of course, since this was a developer focused even, all developer sessions came following the days after the main keynote.

Here are a few things that I am excited about.

IOS 15

Facetime

Spacial Audio

This is basically surround sound for voice chat. You will hear voices from the direction of their chat window of the person that is speaking. So if the person is on the right side of the screen, you will hear their voice coming from right.

Voice Isolation

This one I like in particular. What they showed was impressive, but how well it works in real life is to be seen. When facetiming, your voice will be isolated from all the background noise. This is a feature that supposedly can be turned on and off with a single button tap.

Portrait Mode

This is similar to how there is portrait mode on cameras on most phone. The background will be blurred to give attention to the person in the voice chat. I’m surprised this was missing from Facetime. I think teams and zoom already have a feature to blur the background. But now you have it on Facetime.

Facetime on Android and Windows! – (kind of).

You can now invite friends and family over to your facetime sessions with facetime links. This is obviously in response to zoom. So, although technically not on android or windows as a dedicated app(do not think that it will ever happen), android phone users and windows 10 PC users will be able to join facetime sessions from the browser. The fact that this is even happening is a big deal.

This is again in response to zoom, and I think Apple realizes how crucial video chats have become because of the pandemic.

Share Play

This again is in response to the pandemic. There was a need to have social interactions in the era of social distancing. It fills the void of movie time with friends.

Shareplay allows users to watch movies and listening to music together. Not only that, Apple has an API that developers can use to implement share play in their own apps. Facetime on android is a great update, but I think the tight integration of share play is going to let developers create some very interesting interactions with their apps. I am really looking forward to what developers do with this feature.

There was always the option of screen sharing and video conferencing while watching. But tight integration with apps and the operating system is brilliant.

Messages

Shared with you

Shared with you brings all your photos and links shared with you by friends on Messages to one place, so you can easily catch up or go back to your photos and links and continue the conversation. This again is a another social interaction enhancement. Because sometimes you may be too busy to watch, or read or view what your friends might have sent you, and when you do get the time, the messages that you are looking for are buried deep somewhere making it hard to find and continue the conversation.

Notifications – Focus and Do not Disturb

Focus is basically an enhanced version of ‘do not disturb’. This is not something new, but it has a few Apple-centric enhancements.

You can create profiles for work and home so that different priority is given to different apps accordingly.

Do no disturb also reminds people messaging you that you have your status as “Do not Disturb”. I can see this being helpful in professional settings and acquaintances. Most friends and family, probably will not respect this. (LOL)

If you are in the Apple ecosystem, your Focus and Do not Disturb status gets activate on all your devices when you activate on one device. This is what Apple is good at. And this is what Apple customers have come to expect. But, unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple as a complete ecosystem and that is how Apple can easily pull this off.

Live Text

Live Text – or what Android users will call “We already have that on Android – it’s called Google lens”. Live text converts any picture with text into actual text on your phone which you can then copy, change, search, and even perform actions like call a number.

Keys and IDs

How about turning your phone into keys for your phone and car? How about turn your phone into a passport or your ID, by storing you government ID on it?

When I hear about these things, all I can think about is the great iCloud hack the exposed very private photos of celebrities. Three words – No, Thank you!

But, I might sound like a hypocrite to some of my friends. Back when I was working on my first startup, I had a vision. At its core it was a social media platform, but my vision was much deeper. I remember talking about having bank account information on this app so you can buy and sell things, send people money. Not only that, using your social media id to identify yourself and then linking it to your government ID, to provide seamless transaction and access to places, whether it be private or government facilities, or accessing information about you through your university. My friends of course laughed it the whole idea. And yet, here we are 10 years later.

The point is not that I had thought of this before Apple, the point is ideas are a dime a dozen. It is not the idea but the execution that matters. Because I am sure many people have brilliant idea that were later turned into billion dollar companies by someone else.

Of course, my focus and values have changed over the past 10 years and I am more focused on privacy or rather the lack of.

Maps

Maps now has better graphics. I do not know what else to say. Google Maps is still king and I do not think that Apple or …er..Bing is going to dethrone this king.

Globe – google earth
transit ride – google maps has it
live tracking of your transit ride – again google maps has this
night mode – …okay, good, I guess.

But what I do like about the new update is that, Apple maps will alert you when your ride is near, or has arrived. I have not used Google maps in over a year, but I am sure Google will bring this to Android sooner or later.

Air Pods

Air pods may not be the greatest sounding ear buds, but it is hard to argue against the convenience factor that they have. Being an android user, I envy iPhone users and their instant pairing with air pods, the remove one pod to pause and the stylish white sticks on my ears…umm..actually cross that one out.

Air pods now have conversation boost acting as hearing aids in a noisy environment. The technology allows air pods to convert the voice of the person you are talking to into somewhat of a beam so the speakers voices gets enhanced while other noise gets reduced. It sounds cool, but I’ll believe it when i see it in real life.

So these are some of the highlights of IOS15. I do not have an iPhone. The last iPhone I used was iPhone 3G. I have been a long time Android user, but I do like progress in technology in general. In some ways Apple is only catching up with things like widgets, and in other ways, Apple is paving the way with privacy. I have been using a Note 8 for almost 4 years now and it is still going strong without any hiccups. But when it comes time for an upgrade, who knows, maybe I will jump ship to an iPhone.

This has been my take Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference 2021. What’s yours?

Categories
Technology

MacOS apps on iPad OS at WWDC21

For me personally, I love the idea of different operating systems converging into one which can then be used on a laptop, desktop, server, mobile device, watch, toaster, fridge, TV, car…or whatever.

So far, the only operating system that is able to do that is Linux. Linux is the de facto operating system for servers, and enjoys a enthusiast and pro level status on desktops and laptops, and sort of a fringe super enthusiast/tinkerer choice for mobile devices. But you are not here to read about Linux.

Apple to Allow Running MacOS Apps on iPad OS

I think apple is going to be releasing a toolkit that will allow developers to port their MacOS apps to iPad OS.

The biggest clue for that to happen is of course the new iPad Pro running the M1 chip which is the same chip that is on all new macs – the macbook air, macbook pro, mac mini and iMac.

iOS apps can already run on Macs now. And of course, there is nothing stopping Apple from doing things the other way. Will they actually do it? Not directly, but they will make it easier to developers to port their MacOS apps to iPad OS, as long as the iPad have an M chip.

Final Cut Pro on iPad Pro

Not only that, I think Apple will release a version of Final Cut Pro that will run on the new iPad Pro, to show case what can be done to improve the workflow with a combination of the iPad Pro and Mac.

Also, I think there will only be one license for Final Cut, so if you already own Final Cut Pro on your Mac, then you automatically get one for the iPad Pro for free.

Caveat to running MacOS apps in iPadOS

There will only be one caveat to running MacOS apps on iPadOS. It will only run on the iPad Pros that have the M chip. This is not only going to be this generation of iPads. I think this is going to be for all iPads going forward. There will iPads with A chips which will only run iPad OS apps and then iPad Pro with M chips which will allow for some MacOS apps to run on the iPad Pro, but only if the developer chooses to develop for it.

So this will be kind of like how iOS apps now run on Macs. There will difference is that Mac apps will not just suddenly start working on the new iPad Pro. Apple’s new development tool kit will make it easier for developers to port their apps to the iPad Pro.

I usually do not do these kind of things, but I think what Apple is doing is significant and slightly scary at the same time and I am very much looking forward to WWDC21.