Updated: 2020-02-19 by Pradeep Gowda.

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January

Wed, Jan 1, 2020

Got off twitter on Dec 30? of last year. Let’s see how long I can keep off it.

Thu, Jan 2, 2020

Started the reading page.

Sat, Jan 4, 2020

Digvijoy reminded our small “study group” about the publications of Jagannatha Vallabha Matha of Puri. My favourite so far is “Prashnottara ratna malika” by Shankara Bhavatpada (Adi Shankara). Ordered a copy of the “Bhagavad gita” by Mata Parama Karuna Devi, of the Math.

ಸಿ. ಅಶ್ವತ್ಥರ ಒಂದು C.D ಯಲ್ಲಿ “ಯಾತಕ್ಕೆ ಮಳೆ ಹೋದವೋ ಶಿವ ಶಿವ” ಕೇಳಿದೆ. ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿದೆ.. ಯೌಟ್ಯೂಬಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಪಿಚ್ಚಳ್ಳಿ ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಅವರ ದನಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇಳಿ. ಜನಪದ ಹಾಡುಗಳು ಯಾವಾಗ್ಲೂ ನಾವೂ ಹಾಡಬಹುದು ಅನ್ನಿಸುತ್ತೆ..

Watched NFL Playoff game between Buffalo@Texans. First drive TD by Josh Allen with a Catch! “Buffalo Special”. Buffalo Lost. Bummer. On the other hand, Patriots lost too. The reddit thread was over 65300 comments. I remember the days when a 10,000 comment thread would overeload reddit and they had to lock it and create new threads. Best of all, TB12 threw a pick-6 on what could be his last game for NE.

Waxy.org/links This is the original link blog as far as I remember. I came arcoss this way back in early 2000s via [Roshan](https://twitter.com/roshweb)

Sun, Jan 5, 2020

Read about 120 pages of Louis L’amour’s Education of a wandering man: A memoir. LL was one of the first fiction authors I came across in Vijaya High School library. It is going to be one of those books I’m going to read again and again. Ordered three books based on his recommendations in that book. In 1930, LL read 115 books. That’s a good goal to pursue. He also kept a log of all the books he read starting that year. Feels good that I’m doing the same.

Watched most of the Vikings@Saints WC game. Feel bad for Brees for they were a good team(13-3) this season but could not hold on. Feels a bit like Manning years at Indy. Also watched a bit of the Seahawks@Eagles game. The home team had won the last 10 of the “bird vs bird” games. Not this time. Eagles had no chance with so many injuries and losing their starting QB(Wentz) in the first half.

Aside: This is a really clever logo design, by Indy Podiatry. Indiana does look like that. Hah!

Thu, Jan 9, 2020

patat -- terminal based presentation using Pandoc This is by jaspervdj who is also famous for his Hakyll static site generator using Pandoc library. patat itself looks very interesting, considering it also supports image rendering. Update: the only thing holding me back from using it now is that I have to compile it from source using haskell stack/cabal, which is a pain.

broot -- new way to see and navigate directory trees As user `fraktl` summerised eloquently, there are tons of really nifty features that can make some console based file operations really easy with broot

  • short name (br in terminal, I'll remember that instantly)
  • easy installation
  • web page is awesome and shows you instantly how to best use this program
  • help page in the program itself is awesome, clear and easy to navigate
  • defaults are sensible and totally easy to get used to
  • broot just WORKS! and it works well, I finally got rid of all the aliases around ls that I used in order to get info I want

A few other file navigation tools were also mentioned, some of which are intriguing

Cakebrew Mac App (GUI) for Homebrew

My favourite feature is that you can see outdated packages among the installed, so that you can update them if you feel like it. Another handy feature is (perhaps exists as a command, but not immediately obviously) the ability to export the current Homebrew installation as a file. This makes it easy to replicate the same installations across machines.

Fri, Jan 10, 2020

It may be a cool idea to go back and make a list of all the books I remember having read in the past like this one by writer Jamie Todd Rubin. It might just trigger memories, a reminder to go back and read the ones I remember enjoying.

Recently someone on lobste.rs asked people to show your personal websites. I wrote an one-liner to extract all the domains on that list and print it out in markdown format list:

curl -s https://lobste.rs/s/b7lt29/ | pup "a attr{href}" | grep ^http \
| grep -v ^https://lobste.rs | awk -F/ 'BEGIN { OFS="//";} {print $1,$3}' \
| sort | uniq | xargs -I{} echo "- <{}>"

Update: I made this into a website. See the README to see how I built it.

Sat, Jan 11, 2020

Vaidika Vignanam Collection of Spiritual and Devotional Literature in Various Indian Languages

I found this site while searching for Lingashtakam for Siri to practice for the upcoming Tyagaraja aradhane at HTCI. This site appears to be a high quality resource. I also found this Multimedia rendition of Patanjali's Yoga sutras to be aspirational to learn to recite the Yoga sutras.

Sun, Jan 12, 2020

Heard that Roger Scruton died today. I’m yet to read his book Conservatism: An invitation to the great tradition that I purchased back in Jul 2019.

‘Coming close to death you begin to know what life means, and what it means is gratitude’ – Roger Scruton’s “my 2019” column .


Wild AFC first half game between Chiefs and Texans! As a fan of the division rival Colts, I can’t but take joy in Texans ultimate defeat after a jaw-dropping first quarter lead by special teams and defensive plays. And again, I hope they keep their inept HC for some more time. OTOH, Titans seem to be doing great running football with Henry and Tannehill is having a career resurgence. I always liked him, for he was the draft-mate of Andrew Luck, though he had a bad situation at Miami.

asdf, the multi-language version manager has ths funny byline:

“Late but latest” – Rajinikanth

Mon, Jan 13, 2020

Lunch at Taziki’s today with NP. I liked the food & ambiance, except med. food in general tends to be too sour, and lacks heat ;) for my taste. It would really be great if the med places use “real oil”(perhaps Olive oil), because I can’t stand whatever vegetable oil they seem to be using. The Baklava was a disappointment.


Continued to read more about Roger Scruton. Have acquired a soft copy of his book “Beauty”. His ideas about “Beauty” are worth reading. Also,


One of the reasons why I went away from twitter this year is to be away from this tendency to get caught up in the outrage about “he said, she said”. While Twitter has great capacity to point at many new and wonderous things, it is also full of people who routinely deal in hearsay; that is, they are only commenting about things they have heard about from others. This applies to things that one is expected to know and verify before forming opinions on them. No subject appears to be immune to this cheap signaling whether it is science, philosophy, history or people.

In programmig parlance most people are just holding “pointers” to the knowledge they claim to be basing their opinions (outrage) on. Seldom you have people with deep (and first hand) knowledge of the subjects.

There is a tendency in the western world to look down upon memorized knowledge (that is quite common in Indic traditions), but the opposite of this is “knowledge of knowledge in the books”, that is - “I know a book where it is believed to have been proven XYZ” (more truer if the speaker has an advanced degree in an unrelated area), where one can claim to know a lot more than they can really back-up in reality (ie., completeness, nuance, contextual applicationn etc.,).

Is it better to know a small number of ideas deeply or just a peripheral (and often second-hand) knowledge of a ton of subjects? The balance might as well be a “barbell” approach. Know a few things very deeply, but don’t be a nerd who cannot survive in contexts outside of these domains. Develop “smartness” to sniff out bullshit “in general”.


During one of the Wikipedia grazing sessions, read about Constantinople, The fall of Constantinople, Mehmed II, and the Byzantine Empire. I have lot of fasination for many of the old empires like Byzantine (the Byzantine generals problem notwithstanding), The Ottoman empire and the like. I’m also very much interested in learning about Persia, especially given the linguistic and historic association with India, and of course it is a “Great Civilization”.


I have been using Moped, a lightweight text editor as a quick “open/view/edit GUI editor” for a while. There are other editors that are in the same ballpark like Textmate, CotEditor, and of course sublime text. But, none of them open as quickly as Moped for quick view/edit cycles. Any way, Moped wasn’t recognizing Nim files correctly resulting in no syntax highlighting. I filed a bug report which the author of the program – Robert Machorro has fixed! Thank you!

Tue, Jan 14, 2020

Was reading “The Engineering Manager” blog earlier and came across a quote by author and novelist Haruki Murakami:

He believes that running daily has been life affirming and critical to his development as a novelist: it allows him to face pain and manage suffering, and it forces him to confront his thoughts, his ego and his weaknesses. I agree with him. After all, facing reality is what it really means to be alive. I run privately and certainly less adeptly, but it does have parallels to the writing process. It exposes you to yourself. It removes the endless loopback narrative in your brain. It slows down time and lets you focus on the present moment. It often hurts and frustrates. But you get through it. And when you do, the accomplishment is self-evident. The more you practice, the better you get.


Reminder to myself to read “Thinking in Systems: A primer” after reading this thread on “What has your work taught you that other people don’t realize?”.

What has my work taught me?


Interesting business read of the day: Visa, Plaid, Networks, and Jobs – Stratechery by Ben Thompson. I often thought the cut (5-7%?) the credit card take from the merchant(and the cost likely passed on to the customer) as bit too high. But this article gives the historical account of the problem the credit cards solved for small businesses.

A store owner who accepted the credit card was, in effect, handing his back office headaches over to the Bank of America. The bank would guarantee him payment — within days instead of months — and would take over the role of collecting from the customers. As for the bank, in addition to taking its 6 percent cut, the card was a way to get its hooks into businessmen who were not yet Bank of America customers.

This is a good and valid point I had not considered.

Plaid appears to be another software-eats-the-world-by-creating-an-API-for-old-processes success story.


Learnt that Hipmunk is being retired. I used it quite often in early ’10s as it was great UX to figure out multiple factors that go into figuring out the right flight. I got into it because one of the reddit founders started the company, IIRC. Apparently, Matrix is a good alternative to hipmunk “if you can figure out the UI” according to some on that HN thread.

A new UX in place of clumsy airline websites was a win for the customers and good enough for them to get acquired by Concur in 2016, but the margins generated by sending a referral (I hear about $10 per) were not enough to sustain a large operation on their own.


buckket/twtxt: Decentralised, minimalist microblogging service for hackers.. Something that I might actually use instead of twitter, even if its just going be just in “write-only” mode.

A few minutes later ..and here it is: /twtxt.txt.

It’s a pretty simple idea.

  1. you tweet by writing a line like this YYYYmmddTHHMMSSZxx message in a text file make it available on a webserver
  2. the clients are given this url, and told to “follow” it.

Wed, Jan 15, 2020

Someone put out a list of senior engineer attributes. I find the list useful in that the individual attributes themselves are desirable and perhaps worth pursuing to become good at, but:

  1. we shouldn’t assume it is possible for one person to be good in all of them
  2. become good in all of them at the same period in their career
  3. being “good” in many of these is a qualifier for a good “software engineer” (caveat being one may still not know how to produce working code; even accounting for the fact that some may take issue with the fact that one has to write working code to be a software engineer, ;) haha)
  4. all of these skills are uniformly required in an org (ie., an engineer can hardly be a technical writer, project manager, engineer manager, programmer, business analyst all at once).
  5. all (or even most) of these skills are valued by your org at your “seniority” or role in that org. At best this list should be treated as a “union of all the good attributes of successful software engineers across an org”, with individual engineers having a semblence of competency in many and hopefully excelling in a few.

Anyway, let’s think of this list as “dimensions along which one can level up”, without need to use this list as a way to feel inadequate or worse - make others feel inadequate:


Another thread by Bryan Cantrill talks about Engineering performance management, the takeaway being:

Ask engineers to self-review on a semi-annual basis using the following question template:

  1. What are you most proud of in the last six months?
  2. What did you learn?
  3. Where did you struggle?
  4. What are you anxious about in the coming six months?
  5. What are you excited about in the coming six months?

The purpose of this review is to effect Pink’s triad in your team: autonomy, mastery, purpose

Interesting comments by @deadwisdom to mull over:

good engineers want is an environment that maximizes their ability to learn and execute on that knowledge. Learning no longer a hurdle, it’s the race.

So from the research comes emphasis on coaching (mentorship), reflection (review), group critique, scaffolding (sort of onboarding), iteration, scoping, and lots of design process. Where engineering is designed to build code, this is designed to build learners/designers.

maybe performance review and learning review should go hand in hand. You already have reflection, but maybe track how many and what kind of issues were raised in group review over time. That can give hard numbers (formalized).

Also if you have a mentorship network set up, and for learners this is absolutely key, it is much easier for mentors to provide assessment rather than a manager/boss.


Came across The Bullet Journal Method, via. While this looked interesting enough to pursue to see if it can a make a difference to me, I had my doubts about being able to sustain the physical journal method (I’m not very organized with physical writing materials right now, something I’m trying to get better at.). Then I read their followup post, which confirmed my fears. So, I’m going to stick to writing (mostly here). The process of writing, letting your thoughts out is important. As long as that is happening on a medium convinient to you, you can always hope to improve that over time. For now, just write!


Kid’s school is delayed again for 2 more hours for weather reasons. The alert phone call end up waking me up way earlier than usual (before/around 5) and hard to go back to sleep again.


s3imghost

Thu, Jan 16, 2020

One of the books that left a deep impact on me during the regular “emotional” college kid phase was “Thick face, Black Heart”. This book along with Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the art of motorcyclecycle maintainance” calmed me down considerably and gave me the tools to deal with “reality” and more specifically human beings.


Apple Archive Unofficial apple archive of apple things (regarding designs, ads and other historical artefacts.

Apple has had an influence on me since I read about it in late 90s. It would be 2006 before I could get my own Macbook(white clamshell). I was a fan of Apple when it was "dead". Of course now they are a trillion dollar company and "big bag" company in the eyes of some. I continue to be a loyal Apple customer because their stance on customer privacy, and data is so much better comapred to some other players in the space. I can accept the "I pay money, you give me service" relation I have with Apple than "I'm the (data) product" relationship with some other FAANG members.

Fri, Jan 17, 2020

I’ve been curious about janet programming language because it has the nice “UX” of clojure, but can be used without lugging around the big JVM around. I started a new notebook for janet to keep notes.

Sat, Jan 18, 2020

Day spent in fixing issues with the Subaru which meant multiple runs to Autozone, along with Costo and IKEA.

  1. fixed the radiator coolant leak. Idenitified the leak point using a dye and UV light. It was the cracked coolant bypass cap. My hunch is that the PFM trucks did not replace the rubber cap after they put in the new radiator last year.
  2. Fixed one of the heat shield rattling by using a hose clamp. It was the original hose clamp installed by Subaru that was making a racket. A new hose clamp was installed to tighten the old one so that it cannot move.
  3. Looking forward to replace the brake rotors and pads on the Lexus tomorrow.

Purchased IKEA Symfonisk (white) bookshelf speaker. These are SONOS players made for IKEA. Should be a nice addition to the bookshelf in the main study or the loft study. I do enjoy eating occassionally at the IKEA cafetaria.

Sun, Jan 19, 2020

Added a few notes on my favourite youtube channels.

Did an oil change on the Lexus. Having a 24-inch breaker bar helped getting off the previously overtightened(not me) oil filter.

Changed the front two rotors and breaks. This is the first time I did anything of this complexity on my cars. The very first wheel took some time, the second one went much faster. In the excitement, we appear to have left the “power” on for too long. The battery is discharged and I will have to get a tender to charge it back. The Lexus’s rotors have less hardware than some of those shown in youtube videos by ChrisFix. So, I ended up not using the silicone paste, nor did I have to clean calipers with a wire brush. I also used the low floor jack for the first time, and a torque wrench for the very first time. Lots of firsts.

In between all this watched a few minutes of TEN#&64;KC AFCCG. And most of the NFCCG game (GB#&64;SF).

Mon, Jan 20, 2020

Listened to the Manifold Learning podcast with Ted Conover.

Thu, Jan 23, 2020

Using NextDNS as a hosted “PiHole” solution. Found via HN.

Tue, Jan 28, 2020

Created HN web much like lobste.rs web.

Thu, Jan 30, 2020

Funniest thing is hearing L. singing “Zombies” by Cranberries (a favourite song of NP.)

February

Wed, Feb 5, 2020

There is so much shallowness.

Fri, Feb 7, 2020

While reading Rahul Sankrityayan: Our Kind of Seeker by KS1729, I realized how much my so called “modern” life is just caught up in meaningless endeavours, or rather how I have moved away from being even aware of greatness, labour of love, scholarship, doing meaningful things etc.,. There is much to think and act.

Rahul Sankrityayan’s own evolution as a person happened thanks to a series of contestations within himself about who he was. What marked him as special was the willingness and courage to go where those internal dialogues took him—with little concern for orthopraxes or social commitments

Alongside, a life like Sankrityayan also reveals the bland truth that across Indian languages there are perhaps others like him who have walked alone, their footfalls marking out a path for others—but we no longer know how to speak of them, their in-between lives that belonged neither to the metropole nor the periphery. Their shapeshifting journeys into their own interior strike us as strange. For, by now, we have told ourselves that to change one’s mind about our relationship to the world is a sign of opportunism or, worse, cowardice. Sankrityayan’s life tells us that changing one’s mind is a prerequisite to uncovering who we are, to going past illusions we mistake for ourselves.

Sun, Feb 9, 2020

Fascinating – Pāṇini: Catching the Ocean in a Cow’s Hoofprint and related

Mon, Feb 10, 2020

I was a reading an article about Bill Kent’s book “Data and Reality” and came across his personal website. This article - Bombay caught my eye. It is interesting to see pre-economic-liberalisation India, through a garden-variety westerner’s eyes.

… Powerless poverty hasn’t enraged or frustrated them, their outlook resting somewhere between peace and resignation. What keeps me out of their crowds is not fear but guilt. Their eyes are not malevolent but reproachful, accusing me (or reflecting my projected guilt) if I snap their picture with a camera whose price would feed their family for a year.

So typical of the firangi.



Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Considering Louis Bachelier, the father of finanancial mathematics went pretty much un noticed and under appreicated during his lifetime and even got blackballed at age 56! by none other than Paul Lévy, one must remember to focus on the work, and not on the outcomes, which we have no control over. It is forever a good time to remember Bhagavadgita’s most famous line – “karmaNye vAdhikAraste…”.

See also - Centenary of Bachelier’s PhD Thesis (PDF).

Currently reading the “Primordial Seeds” chapter of James Weatherall’s “The Physics of Wall Street”.

Wed, Feb 12, 2020

Learnt about The life and works of Manavalli Ramakrishna Kavi – Madras Heritage and Carnatic Music via Padma Prabhrtaka of Shudraka: Lecture in Kannada by Shataavadhani Dr R Ganesh - YouTube. His magnum opus is Bharatakosa A Dictionary to Technical Terms with definitions on Music and Dance Collected from the Works of Bharata and Others.

Wed, Feb 19, 2020

I restarted the habit of keeping a physical notebook with me to write down thoughts. The last thing I wrote down today was … “Ask better questions”, and after that I opened reeder app to find this blog post - Metadata: The art of powerful questions: catalyzing insight, innovation, and action by Dr Murat Demirbas.

The other thing I wrote down today, that seems important is – Guard Your Time.

Thu, Feb 20, 2020

I got one thing out of browing through a couple of Pico Iyer’s books (ordered two off amazon), is that it is quite OK to use the letter I when writing.

Sat, Feb 22, 2020

Being persuasive is the most “skill” one can learn.

Started porting my landline to VOIP.ms provided service.

‘The more you know the less you use.’ – Jean Jacques Machado

Tue, Feb 25, 2020

There is tons of stuff read, know, build, do… today.

How do you decide what is worth your time?

How do you get to the heart of the matter?

Nextjournal is becoming a frequent occurance among tech circles. It is a quite brilliant piece of technology for technical/exploratory writing.

March

Wed, Mar 4, 2020

One of my favourite Carnatic songs is Bhajare Re Manasa - Ragam Abheri - Mysore Vasudevachar Krithi - YouTube render by Smt Ananya Ashok. Just putting this here so that I remember to look up her performances on youtube etc.,

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Fri, Mar 20, 2020

Day 12 of WFH because of COVID-19.

Read a fascinating summary of Kenneth Whyte’s Herbert Hoover’s biography by Scott Alexander.

Sat, Mar 21, 2020

via MS/ediggs

April

Sat, Apr 4, 2020

Staring at screen is not personality.

Tue, Apr 14, 2020

AI Gahaku; result.

Sun, Apr 26, 2020

Looking through Roger vonOech’s Creative Whack Pack I purchased couple of years ago.

NP is considering raising a “wild flower garden” for the butterflies and bees to thrive in the backyard. Looking for local (flowering) plants.

Wed, Apr 29, 2020

The Man Who Thought Too Fast, an article in The New Yorker about Frank Ramsey — a philosopher, economist, and mathematician.

Someone on twitter said “I believe scientists too have beliefs, it’s what they call theories. “.. My take: A belief does not look for falsification unlike a scientific theory. Believers are happy to find evidence of their belief being right, not so much interested in contrary examples. A scientist on the other hand must and should always seek to disprove any theory. Not doing so makes it no different than a belief.