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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Why I like to live in Pakistan

Pakistan is a tough country to love. Every time you try to be patriotic and optimistic, some damned politician opens his mouth or some act of violence occurs and you are back to square one.

I have to admit that personally I have done rather well out of this country. I was born, raised, educated, married, and employed here, and now at 46 I can see that whatever I have achieved in life has been right here, in this place.

I remember when I was very young our elders used to say: well, we survived this country, but you guys should watch out - get out if you can, things are getting worse.

And things did get worse, in terms of violence, and inflation, and intolerance, power outages and what not.

But things also got better, in terms of communications, and media, and awareness, and consumer choices.

And yet, here I am, telling the same things to my kids: well we survived this country, but you guys should watch out.

I’ve thought about leaving. Many of my very good friends left and are doing well in lands far away. I even encourage my kids to think globally and go wherever their fortune takes them. I might even leave myself some day, though I’m too old to reboot my life in a foreign land.

But you know what ? There are privileges. And first and foremost is the privilege of complaining like you own the place - because, well we do!

It's my own darn country and my own darn politicians, and my own darn culture so I will say what I feel like about them thank you very much!!!

I suspect this freedom to complain is probably one of the privileges you lose as you move to another country. I don’t know, I’ve never lived abroad. But I suspect that if you choose a new nationality for yourself after a lot of struggle you would feel rather silly complaining about your new found land.

I hate this place sometimes. But I also love the freedom to hate it!!!


PS: This is supposed to be a light-hearted piece, with tongue firmly in cheek - no offense intended.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Of Filters, Love and Relativity

Belief is a wonderful thing.

And doubt is a killer.

The model of the world that we build in our mind is always more important than the world itself.

Quantum mechanics, relativity and the whole multiverse thinking makes it increasingly clear that nothing is absolute - that the world is inherently in several states and what you perceive depends largely on where you are.

So we have filters in place to look at the world in certain ways. And every now and again we change the filter and say: Aha! now I see the truth - except only that we don’t, we can’t. We are simply replacing one set of filters with another.

Life seems to be about going through filters until you finally give up.

A good demonstration is music. Change the tempo of the music around you and your perception of a situation changes. Same with people - talk to a different bunch and you feel different, you see things differently. Change the colours. Change the landscape. Change anything and your filter changes.

That’s why love is so popular. It is perhaps the most powerful filter anywhere. People love being in love because it changes their filters to “rosy”. The same things that despair you before love, start to invigorate after love.

Is that a bad thing ? Who knows. But it happens.

The trick is perhaps to have a small filter and a large sense of curiosity. A micro-kernel as it were, while the APIs change. The smaller the kernel the easier it is to keep straight about it while retaining the ability to adapt and grow.

Friday, September 18, 2015

About powerpoint and artists

We admire artists.

The singer who puts his heart into his singing.
The painter who creates a visual masterpiece.
The actor whose performance moves us to tears.
Even the indie developer who create a game that thrills.

Many of us aspire to be in this exalted group of creative people who have the power to inspire so many at such a personal level.

And yet you never hear anyone saying: “Did you see that Powerpoint Joe put together ? I could look at it all day” !

Clearly Joe works just as hard at his Powerpoint as Jill might have done on her painting. He probably suffered just as much as the artist too - probably more because he will very likely have a hard driving boss and a hostile audience.

So why is poor Joe’s output just another boring Powerpoint and Jill’s output a potential masterpiece ? Why is the artist the hero and the average white collar worker just another cog in the machine ?

Let's turn that on its head. Instead of asking why Joe’s work should be a drag, let’s ask what it would take to make Joe into a hero ?

1. Ownership: The artist works from inspiration, the office Joe works (mostly) because he was told to, or is expected to deliver.

Can we let office workers have a little more say on what they want to work on ?

2. Freedom: The artist has considerable creative freedom. The powerpoint jockey has to stick to the right format and work within predefined expectations

Can we give our knowledge workers some more freedom on how to approach their work ?

3. Inspire vs. Convince: The artist is trying to inspire. The office worker is trying to convince. The artist wins if he generates strong emotions in his audience - even negative ones. The office bloke only wins if his proposals are approved.

Can we measure office output by its ability to inspire in addition to its ability to convince ?

We cannot replace office work with art. Clearly office work requires a certain amount of discipline.

But maybe we should try to make it a little bit more inspirational, a bit more personal. A strong emotional response is sometimes worth a lot more than a hundred-slide powerpoint.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Here'e to the next 46

And so it goes.

One more year, one more landmark.

More excitement, more things that look interesting, scary, momentous, or crazy at the time. Time conquers all and everything becomes a memory - sometimes happy, sometimes not, but eventually just inconsequential.

There will always be more to do, more stuff to buy, more things that break your heart, more people who mend it.

We have brief illusions of control, fleeting moments of euphoria, small windows of despair, little spots of delight - that’s what life adds up to.

It will never be perfect, nothing will ever be totally solved, nothing will ever be completely done. And that’s OK, because that’s life.

It’s for living.

Here’s to the next 46 years !!