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Kiran Jonnalagadda's LiveJournal

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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Kiran Jonnalagadda's LiveJournal:

Monday, October 19th, 2009
4:31 pm
So long, and thanks for all the fish
I no longer post here. The action is all over there. Goodbye, LiveJournal! I'll never forget you.
Monday, November 10th, 2008
7:58 pm
Measuring swings
What is depression? What causes it? Why am I so worked up? Why can’t I see an obvious way out of this?

In trying to articulate it today, I had an epiphany. If we are social beings, then our sense of identity: of who we are, is shaped by our social interactions: of how others react to us.

You will agree that you expect to have this sense of social standing, of balance, in all your interactions with fellow humans. You will be polite to the senior and at ease with the peer. You will size up every person who appears in your field of vision to decide how to react. You will do this unconsciously. When someone fails the unconscious classification, or if recent events have led you to believe there is more than meets the eye, you will become attentive and careful.

These interactions over an extended period define your social standing. They become you. You may have trouble articulating this definition, perhaps no better than the crude wording in the Objective paragraph of your resumé, but it doesn’t matter because this all works without thinking. You instinctively know who you are, and all is good.

And what greater source of identity could there be than your daily routine? The place where you work everyday, the things you do there, the people you hang out with after? What more common disruption could you have than to change all these at short notice? Common, yet devastating?

I no longer write here. Twitter doesn’t let me say it like it is. The people I work with have changed. The work has changed. The people I hung out with have moved on. There are new people, nice people, but as yet unfamiliar people.

For long months I wondered what worried me so. Now I know.
Friday, July 11th, 2008
2:09 pm
Making sense of soap operas
David Foster Wallace on Television:

TV is not vulgar and prurient and dumb because the people who compose the audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests.

(Via Vinu.)
Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
4:15 pm
Hello from Mcleodganj, Dharamsala!

This is a quick marker post before I return to more mundane surroundings.
Thursday, April 10th, 2008
8:27 am
Moving to Linux
Is there a Linux-based audio player that can browse DAAP shares and redirect audio to an Airport Express? DAAP support seems common enough, but AE integration not.
Monday, March 24th, 2008
1:04 am
Choosing an ultraportable
I’m trying to choose between the ASUS Eee PC and HCL MiLeap Y. Both are compelling choices even if not exactly in the same category. Here is my comparison chart.

What would you recommend and why?

Update: I got an Eee PC.
Thursday, February 28th, 2008
2:47 pm
Wednesday, February 27th, 2008
6:56 pm
Surrounded by computing devices
My MacBook Pro cost me close to a lakh of rupees less than a couple of years ago. I use it all the time. I don’t know if I’ll ever spend that much on a single computer again.

My life is increasingly more dominated by some form of computing interface. My work involves a computer, as does my photography, entertainment, and increasingly so, even my reading. Being able to switch contexts while looking at the same screen, however, is not getting any easier. Flitting from one context to another is increasingly effortless, and staying focused with something dreary increasingly harder.

The answer, it seems, is to surround myself with multiple computers, each dedicated to a specific context.
Monday, December 17th, 2007
3:06 am
Leopard
If you have a Mac and aren’t on Leopard yet, do yourself a huge favour and upgrade. If you don’t have a Mac, do yourself a huge favour and get one.

Man, this has got to be the best OS upgrade ever.
Saturday, November 24th, 2007
1:25 pm
An evening of song and music around the virtual fireplace
Also at Barcamp Bangalore 5 were Nithya and Prateek Dayal of Muziboo, an online music community. This morning after watching Shourya’s vidcast with Prateek, I went to have a look at the site.

There’s something about listening to a homemade amateurish production, reading the comments, and then moving on to another recording wherein the performer improves based on earlier feedback that is strongly reminiscent of sitting around with friends, unwinding at the afterparty, wherein someone strumming a guitar breaks into song and the others chime in, each doing it for the exhilaration of letting it out than with the intent of a musical production.

Muziboo may be on to something if they can build an environment that caters to such emotional release.
Thursday, November 22nd, 2007
12:01 pm
T9 vs QWERTY
My E61i died in the middle of a firmware upgrade. A friend in Nokia confirmed fixing it will only take fifteen minutes given the appropriate adapter (apparently they don’t do it over USB like end users do), but the service centre wanted fifteen days! So I walked into the nearest mobile shop and bought the cheapest phone they had to serve in the interim. A Nokia 1200.

In half a day using it, I’ve confirmed something long suspected: I’m actually faster on T9 than on a QWERTY keypad. The only time T9 slows me down is when typing a word that’s not in the dictionary or a word interlaced with punctuation or numbers.

Maybe for my next phone I’ll look for something with a better camera, connectivity and responsiveness than a messagepad form factor.
Monday, November 19th, 2007
10:37 pm
Vladstudio desktop wallpapers
Yesterday at Barcamp Bangalore 5, I noticed a cool wallpaper on someone’s desktop and asked for their collection. They happily obliged; said it was a new Mac and this collection was the result of having gone looking for something suitable.

This morning I followed the name tag on a particularly nice wallpaper and arrived at Vladstudio, home of Russia-based Vlad Gerasimov.

Vlad’s gorgeous collection of wallpapers had me sold. I signed up for a lifetime subscription.

Here’s my current wallpaper and the one I will use next:

Where smiles are born Aquarium
Monday, October 8th, 2007
10:27 pm
When I was a print journalist, our lives revolved around the next month's issue. All the dates we dealt with had to do with some or the other deadline for the next month. It used to be so intense that we always got the current month wrong. Today was in November, not October, unless reminded that it was actually still October.

I can imagine it must be the same for print journalists with daily newspapers: they’re forever living in the tomorrow.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2007
3:54 am
Writing on paper
After all these years, I still write on paper. A lot. I just wrote four A4-sized pages of outline for a presentation next week. It took over an hour.

I find that the low speed and physical difficulty of writing helps me focus my thought process. There are no toolbars of formatting buttons demanding they be used too. If I recall something and go off on a tangent, drawing an arrow to the breakoff point for later reconsideration is natural and effortless. Paper also works better than just thinking and memorising because with that I tend to think in circles, constantly re-analysing what I'm already comfortable with. Paper forces closing a line of thought and moving on.

This blog post, oddly enough, was written and posted from a mobile phone, as has been pretty much every post I've made in the past year or so.
Sunday, September 9th, 2007
8:38 pm
One hit wonders
They have the talent and the enthusiasm. It’s tedious work and takes considerable time away from existing preoccupations, but it’s so much fun!

And then comes the time for the second iteration, and with it the memories of the sacrifices made. Long working hours. Weekends consumed. Hobbies neglected. If only there were more hours to a day. Besides, did anyone really care that last time? What difference did it make to the world anyway? The hill looms.

A one hit wonder isn’t always for the lack of ability.
12:23 am
Repeat reading
There is such a thing as reading a book too early. I have much to re-read.

That applies too to the book I'm currently reading, Albert O Hirschman's Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations and States. It is easily the most insightful book I've read this year, perhaps a bit too much given my current sketchy understanding of economics, and certainly too much for my current state of distractedness.

Hirschman makes my world so much saner. I will have to give him the respect of a second read to catch all that I will miss this first pass.
Friday, August 17th, 2007
12:07 pm
Getting a good night's rest
Some days I wake up in the mornings feeling fairly exhausted, like it were the end of a long day. Apart from that I need more physical exercise, I suspect the mattress. It's left me with a dull back ache on previous occasions.

What's a good mattress? What makes it good?
Wednesday, August 8th, 2007
11:56 pm
Does LiveJournal throw a HTTP login box at you when visiting some journals? Twice per page? I’ve been hit by it the last month or so. Cancelling login doesn’t seem to affect the page at all. I’ve seen it on others’ screens too.

What changed?
Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
4:01 pm
Password etiquette
I'm standing in queue at my bank to encash a self cheque, because, for once, the transaction has to be done faster than online transfer between banks affords.

My signature barely matches what the bank insists it is. In about five years of holding this account, I'm yet to finish my first cheque book. I do all my transacting online. My password is my signature.

I use a different password everywhere. I remember all my passwords, or at least all the more frequently used ones, trusting the rest to a password manager.

I never change passwords. My method of remembering tens of unique passwords doesn't work when they have to change.

And so when a site demands a password change every fifteen days as security precaution, my system breaks down entirely. I cycle through the same three passwords across all such sites. My account's security is actually weakened as a result.

Some may say that this will all change with biometrics. I don't buy that. Biometrics will face far more resistance than passwords because it conflates identity with authorisation. It requires changing the fundamental trust patterns of society, which is not an easy sale.

We're going to be a password-based society for some time. How long will it be before a class on password management becomes as elementary as one on letter writing in school?
1:55 am
Wireless
My BSNL broadband connection finally got installed today. For the first time in a year since moving out, I have something better than GPRS with which to get online.

I have Wi-Fi at home again. Yay!

I also have a new phone that does Wi-Fi, from which I download podcasts, do bedside late night e-mail, blogging, feed reading, random browsing, IRC chatting, and Skype and Gizmo calling, without needing to lug around that hunk of a laptop. Life is now good.

Double yay!

Now if only someone would fix the way the phone's WebKit-based browser handled HTML TextAreas so I could edit wiki pages. Just one small wish.
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