USA! USA! USA!

Give me liberty or give me death? In response, the Pandemic leans forward with a big grin full of rotting teeth. Why not both? Go out! Have some fun. You’ve been cooped up too long. You deserve this.

To all who hear me, you deserve something far better than a fun holiday weekend. You deserve a long and happy life. Tell the Pandemic to get bent. Stay close to home, and cheer our nation’s beginning from your backyard or living room.

I wish more people world around listened to Cheri Baker. I do not stay in the USA. But even when peeking from outside, the attitude of “I live my life on my terms, the world be damn” is pretty clearly evident among Americans.

It’s not cute when you see a child struggling with a magazine because she thinks it’s an iPad; it’s sad. Give the kids books and magazines to play with before you give them a smartphone or an iPad. They will grow more better.

What else could I do?

I am making sure I stay sane, healthy. I am spending time on, for and with myself. I am taking care of myself to the extent that I never did before.

What else could I do?

I am making sure my family stays safe. I am sharing stories, laughing a lot with them. I am playing with my daughter. All her games, without judging them. I go on an unplanned date with my wife right at home every now and then, spend a cosy morning with her in the balcony with a cup of hot tea. I am spending time with my family to the extent that I never did before.

What else could I do?

As I go outside, I always wear a mask. I do not have or present any justification to not wear one. There can’t be one. I try to enlighten others, closed ones and those that aren’t so, the importance of being responsible once outside of homes.

What else could I do?

Well, there is so much more that I could do. I do not openly express my anguish looking at the adverse situation the impoverished lots are going through. I do not stand for the rights of minorities world around as much as I should. Or contribute towards changing the clearly imbalanced societal status quo.

Or speak up openly when I see a gender bias in play. I haven’t yet told that one guy to not keep saying “guys” in a meeting with many of my female colleagues. It is wrong. I cringe every time. But I could also speak up.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa

Change doesn’t always need radical corrections. I could bring the minor shifts in my behaviour and make my surrounding a fair place for all.

So, what else could I do?

Well, I could not ask that question because I know there’s so much that I do not do. Let me make an effort to be a better version of myself because there’s no doubt that I can never be perfect.

I’m not going to write about…

  • Facebook and Zuckerberg. And I think even the big publications all round, the likes of Wired and NYTimes, need to stop writing about the issues inside Facebook. They call their edits “exclusive”, tag them as an inside look at what transpired behind the tall walls. But that hardly matters – nothing ever changes at the crazy place. Because the people who can bring the change, don’t want to. For some reason that is hard to fathom to outsiders, they all are conflicted within.
  • Apple and Google. Too much is said about everything big and small about these companies. It piques interests in readers and so every publication has something to report about them. I can’t add anything more to what has already been said, that too by minds a lot smarter than mine. I don’t want to add to the noise.
  • Politics. Talking about the doesn’t help my morale. It rather makes me a lot angrier than I need to be. And to no avail.
  • Meta rants about Blog. Not my writing workflow. Not the minor tweaks I keep making every now and then. Not the struggles I go through to get things exactly right. Just write and edit what I wrote. Keep the place the way I like to see it. Hear what others have to say about the place, the workflow, tweak it if needed and forget.
  • Things I need to do. Announce them when ready. Instead of writing about it, start doing it. Get started.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Mark Twain

You know, ultimately, we all have to believe things we haven’t seen. As rational as we are, as committed to intellect as we are. Innovation, creativity, development come not from the ideas in our mind alone. They are also fueled by some conviction in our heart. And it’s that mind-heart connection that I believe compels us to not just be attentive to all the bright and dazzly things, but also the dark and difficult things. Vaclav Havel, the great Czech leader, said, ‘When we were in Eastern Europe and dealing with oppression, we wanted all kinds of things, but mostly what we needed was hope, an orientation of the spirit, a willingness to sometimes be in hopeless places and be a witness.’

Bryan Stevenson

Yesterday I managed to get all my subscriptions into a single place to check how much I was spending on services. Boy, I was in for a shock. My subscription for media services has grown two-fold. Lockdown is, of course, a cause. So, I will let it float around till normalcy returns outside.

I always had my media and productivity services balanced, of course, it was never intentional. But I guess the addition of a HEY subscription might bring things again in balance. I still have 5 days to decide.

Speaking of tracking subscriptions, I used an app called Bobby while I was on iOS and I sorely missed it since I shifted to Android. However, I’ve found a brilliant app called (of course) Subscriptions. The app has one job and it does perfectly.

The second issue of Slanting Nib & A Keyboard is out and should be in your inboxes if you’d subscribed. I hope it caught your interest and hopefully brought a smile to your face and some thoughts in your mind.

If you haven’t subscribed, you can read it online. And if you do like it, please subscribe. I have also published a page that spells out why I started the newsletter and what you can expect from each issue.

I am pretty excited with this side project — if nothing else, it has made me discover some gem of essays from minds way smarter than mine. I hope the zeal stays on.

I find it curious that while Apple is rolling out the support for widgets and personalization so late into its existence, Google is doing it late with Airdrop-like functionality in Android. Just highlights the different priorities both the platforms began with. No platform is “late” with a feature.

The second issue of my weekly newsletter Slanting Nib & A Keyboard is ready and scheduled to be delivered in a few hours. I am completely humbled by the feedback and the response that the first issue received. I hope the second issue manages to keep the interest intact for the subscribers.

I am pretty excited with how this latest one has turned out too. Do check out the first issue and subscibe if you missed to do so earlier.

HEY has me conflicted

I paused at that last word in the title. I was so close to writing “hooked”. But then I thought have they really sold the promise yet? No doubt, they are close. But, it’s not a done deal yet.

Why is this service so enticing though? I mean it’s just an email service. I don’t even use the email that much. So why do I keep going back to HEY? It has got something to do with their promise. Of making me care even less for the email.

Every now and then I visit the “Screened Out” section to see all the mails I would have seen had I been using any other email app. And it is a mess in there. These emails never get filtered out with my existed setup. I am tired of setting all the filters in Gmail. It just doesn’t work efficiently. Junk emails always end up reaching my inbox.

This hasn’t been the case with HEY. Because they have decided on a sane default – everything screened out if not allowed earlier.

We ask every software to side with “opt-in” for every marginal aspect — something that would split their users on whether they accept it or not. Why can’t expect the same from our email service too?

And I haven’t even gotten used to all the other features that I think are potential game-changers that many others have well documented.

  • I have merged and renamed the threads — I like the cleaner workflow.
  • I have set aside the emails and marked them to be handled later. I like the idea.
  • I do not like the feed; in its current form, it is almost useless. Is it just there so that I can skim through and ignore?
  • I like the paper trail section. I don’t want to see those emails, but want them handy.
  • I love sticky notes and notes that we can put on emails. Such a simple, but brilliant idea.

However, with all said, I am conflicted. Do I want the clean experience so bad that I am willing to pay the cost? Do the junk email that I have got into the habit of deleting without a second thought bother me so much that I am willing to pay the cost? Can’t I just manually screen-out the emails?

I have about a week to decide.