Saturday, July 30, 2016

Moving (mostly) to Medium

Slowly but surely this blog is grinding to a halt.

Partly I've been busy, partly I've been out of (creative) oxygen, but partly also because I'm moving elsewhere with my thoughts.

Twitter has altered how we express sudden urges to share short thoughts and so you find me rambling at times on @farid9898

For longer thoughts, I'm slowly shifting to Medium and you can find me at:

Here's a few things I recently wrong on Medium:

When Infinite goes Mainstream

A really really better mousetrap


Saturday, May 07, 2016

Of minds, notifications, and meaning


There is an infinite level of detail in everything. Un-raveling that detail is what the human mind is tuned for. It is what it’s meant to do. 

With all our immense brain power, it would be a great injustice if we don’t harness it for something complex. More than an injustice, it would be ….. hurtful; dangerous even. What would happen to a giant power source if it is not tethered to a suitable load ? it would burn itself out.

Which is why the attention deficit inducing brave new world of notifications is so dangerous. It is highly efficient of course. It gets things done. And most enjoyable too, up to a point.

But the human mind’s innate capabilities are left almost completely un-utilized as we lower ourselves to a pavlovian routine - reacting to set stimuli with set behaviors for immediate gratification.

It would keep us occupied, but it would not soothe us. 

Deep down we know we’re missing something. That giant computational powerhouse that we carry around in our heads needs to be fed. It demands complexity, subtlety, a challenge worthy of its dimensions. When the challenge doesn’t come, the brain will start finding its own problems to solve. It will get attracted to the first interesting stimulus it can latch onto, or it will switch from one thought to the other in search of a true challenge. The first, an unsupervised sub conscious grab for anything challenging, can lead us down several dark alleys, and the world today has a frightening number of those. The second, a desperate hunt for meaning, would lead us to desperation, a nagging restlessness.

The television image of Sherlock getting bored, restless and desperate when a case not challenging enough for him turns up is a fictional exaggeration. But it is not too far from the truth.

At the end of the day we all live inside our heads. And the lack of something intellectually invigorating will drive us all to despair to varying degrees. For a while we might mask it with the constant stimuli from the outside, but we will eventually tire. At some point, even if for a short period, we all need to recede back into our heads, and hope that we have filled it with something worthwhile to dwell on.

Friday, March 04, 2016


Possibly, one reason we enjoy nature is because we have been tuned to enjoy it with millions of years of evolution.

It was all we saw for a long time, and it’s our bedrock.

In another million years will people still enjoy nature ? Or will they be so used to the alternate realities they have created that they will not miss nature ?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Three stages of a career - Take 8

Stage 1: You ask your seniors for career advice - and take it to heart

Stage 2: Others come to you for career advice - and you give them advice with conviction

Stage 3: Others still ask you for career advice - but you have to admit that you have no clue how you got that far!

For previous takes:

Saturday, January 09, 2016

The multiverse of possibilities

What could have been ? Everything.

The iPhone could have been invented a 100 years ago, and today we’re missing things that can happen today but will not for another 100 years.

There are simply too many possibilities - too many alternative futures and outcomes, and chance (or karma?) selects one of them at every moment - paving the way for the next link in the chain, and the next.

It takes a long time to build these chains, which is why destiny seems so forgone, so inevitable. Because the chance event that started one chain rather than the other has long been forgotten by the time its consequences become clear. And when we trace back the links of a chain in an effort to deconstruct it, all we are left with are the links which are so recent and so obviously on a certain path that they look inevitable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

end of year musings.....

The future is always the enemy. We fight it. We provide for it. We fear it. We protect against it. We long for it to be better.

The past is always the friend. We reminisce about it. We romanticize it. We always think it was better.

The present almost doesn’t exist. It’s too fleeting. It exists mostly in our memory and in our anticipation of it.

The young mostly have anticipation and the old mostly have memories. Midlife is a time when you have memories and anticipation in equal measure. Perhaps that’s what mid life crisis is: a desire to make the anticipation better than the memory.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Force Quit: If some apps are misbehaving or frozen you can shut them down from the Force Quit menu. 
    • Command-Option-Escape   
    • This is like Ctrl-Alt-Del for Mac

  • Spotlight: Just start typing to find anything (file, App) as soon as it appears
    • Command-Space

  • Cycle thru all open apps
    • Command-Tab
    • And you can press Command-Q to Quit an open app while you cycle thru them with Command-Tab

  • Quit an App
    • Command-Q

  • Screen Capture
    • Command-Shift-4
    • Then select an area to capture it

  • Undo-Redo
    • Command-Z
    • Command-Shift-Z

  • Hide all other Windows so only current app remains all screen and others are minimized
    • Command-Option-H

  • Toggle Full Screen
    • Command-F

  • Close current window
    • Command-W