Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 66: Momentum

Momentum. The tendency of a moving object to keep moving.

I had forgotten this word and its implications for the longest time. I had lost momentum in life, being content with what I had, with what was happening and living on reruns on Netflix.

I think I have to regain my momentum, and shed my limitations. I need to regain my hunger and my ambition. I feel like it is lost somewhere in the humdrum of everyday life.

Nothing like a Women in Leadership conference to inspire you and give you that much needed momentum.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 65: 2048 - Overly familiar or overly grinding?

2048 ( is a wildly popular single-player puzzle game available on smartphones as well as the web, consisting of a 4*4 tile board, which is initially partially filled with low numbers such as 2. The objective is to slide numbered tiles on the grid to combine them and create a tile with the number 2048. The game is a variation of the sliding block puzzle where equal numbers merge to form a single tile with their sum. 

Figure 1: Initial setting of the tile grid, partially filled with low numbers.

The filling up of blank tiles on the board reflects building time pressure eliminating the need for a separate timer. There is no alternate end state since the game is over if the board fills up without achieving 2048. Thus, as the player progresses in the game, there is an increase in the dramatic tension of the gameplay.

Figure 2: As the board fills up, the player has to strategize and there is increase in dramatic tension.

The elusive 2048 tile ensures repetitive play of the game, helping interactors gain insights about which strategies can be employed to achieve the goal. 2048 includes a scoreboard and a leaderboard to ensure competition. However, the score mechanics are unclear making the score a distraction. 2048 tries to reach the sweet spot between being overly familiar and over grinding.

Figure 3: The end state achieved when 2048 is reached. The player can ‘keep playing’ after winning.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 64: Gadgets

Yo yo yo!
It is gadget season again. So many new devices just clouding the horizon and making us sing out about how it is raining gadgets. 
Fun times.
Our news feeds flooded with reviews about the latest tablets and smartphones, the features of the latest Operating Systems, their usability and then the ensuing price battles.

Time to stay awake, make a few decisions and prebook these gadgets away!

Day 63: Concerts

Why do we go to concerts?
We spend buckets of money to go listen to some songs that you have on your playlist anyway.

But the energy, the atmosphere, the feeling that nothing can go wrong, the crowd around you and you being a part of the crowd.
The sense of belonging.
The sense of adventure.
The hypnotic trance you fall in.
The elation when your favorite song starts playing.

It is magnificent.

Day 62: Notebook

I have a really tough time filling in notebooks.
Not because I don't like to write.
No because I lose them.
But mostly, because I lack regularity.

My best friend gave me a notebook at the end of the year 2011. 160 pages, 6 inches by 5 inches.

For the longest time , I didn't write in it. I didn't want to ruin the pristine beauty of the book with my less-then-perfect words.

Finally, in the August of 2013, I started writing in it. Nothing significant, just class notes and to-do lists. I carried it around with me everywhere for about a month, then moved on to digital note-taking methods and the book lay forgotten in my room.

10 months later, I picked up the book again and started writing in it. Really writing in it. Making quick observations and taking longer notes.

It has been two months since I started doing that, and I have finally filled more than three quarters of the notebook. There is still hope for me. Maybe this will be the book which will be written in till the last page. Maybe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 61: Gone Girl

I read a very disturbing book. And I loved it. It has been a long time since I have been hooked on to any narrative so much that I couldn't put the book down, sneakily reading bits and pieces everywhere I went because I couldn't keep away. 

With the release of 'Gone Girl' starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and the uber talented Neil Patrick Harris, directed by none other than David Fincher of 'The Social Network' fame, it was small wonder that the book on which the movie is based would make a resurgence.

Unfortunately for me, I had heard about Gone Girl before and about how good it was and how I must read it, and I just didn't have time for it. My loss, entirely.

The book is disturbing, to say the least. It looks at the characters through a microscopic lens. It subtly observes the difference in lifestyle of American people and how much it depends on the place of residence. It dissects relationships and people and circumstances and how people deal with dire situations.

What makes the book disturbing is how uncomfortable closely is looks at these things. It strips away all facades and pretenses and masks. It makes us think about our actions: how much of these actions is 'us', and how much of these actions is what is 'expected'. 

I was amused by the constance references to various television series and movies that one of the characters keeps revisiting.  He is very frank and insightful when he says that he uses words borrowed from a million scripts, because that is what other people expected from him and he himself had no idea how to react in that situation. He wonders whether we are all trying to be 'characters' inspired by the million movies and books and television series that we watch, so much so that we're losing our true self, making the end of the book ironical.

The structure of the book is quite complex, moving back and forth in time. Written from three different perspectives from the point of view of two characters. It is rich in detail, painting vivid pictures of the feeling rather than the environment.

And it is disturbing.
And amazing. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 60: India is innovating

There is a video, about to go viral on this page.

Is this the new wave of young Indians finally believing in themselves and in their capabilities?
Is this the new era of rebels who take matters into their own hands and not wait for things to be handed to them?
Is this the time when we, as Indians, finally stop talking about India's contribution to mathematics and science by quoting multiple-century-old facts about the '0' and Aryabhatta and talk about the innovation taking place right now?
Is this the time we pledge ourselves and our dedication, talent, sheer hard work, creativity, will to the Indian cause and take pride in doing so?
Is this the time that we finally Make In India?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 59: DIY

There's something wonderful about making things on your own!

Dip a sieve in a vat of paper mulch, drain it, vacuum it, iron it and you have your own paper.

Take a scoop of shea butter, add some peppermint essence and some beeswax, stir till you think the consistency is even and you have your own lip balm.

Get a wine glass and some acrylic paint, create your own designs on the wine glass, put the painted glass in the oven for twenty minutes and you have your own customized glassware.

Upend a trashcan and you have your very own taiko.

So, I attended the Maker Faire in Atlanta and did all this and more. There were so many different projects there and so many fascinating people! It was refreshing to see people making things on their own, people actively educating others on how to prevent yourself from being too reliant on others. The Do-It-Yourself culture is amazing and it genuinely encourages creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Day 58: Lazy

I usually abhor the idea of waking up at noon. I don't wake up at noon. I cannot wake up at noon.
I don't like the idea of waking up with the knowledge that half the day is over.

However, have you ever given yourself a chance to be lazy?
Have you ever had a lazy day?

A day when you wake up at noon without feeling like shit?

No guilt.
No frantic scrambling around to get ready and out.
No panic stricken phone calls and emails to answer to.
No reason to check your todo lists.
No place to get to.
No worries.

What a blessing such a day is!
It comes once in a while and takes you by surprise.
It allows you to do all the things you wanted to.
It allows you to not do all the things you wanted to.