Sunday, October 17, 2021

The power of 1.5x

 Since I have joined my new company, my day consists of listening to a lot of recorded meetings that have happened overnight in North America (while I am fast asleep). A trick that I learnt when I started listening to podcasts a few months ago is - speed up the recording! Human beings take a lot of pauses, think and speak slow most of the times!

Our brains can comprehend other people speaking at 1.5x their normal speeds without much trouble (Yeah you have to focus better, but anyway, you are expected to focus in meetings!). The advantage is - I can save 20 minutes in a 60 minute recorded meeting (that's 33% saving of time) without any loss in the content or comprehension!

 

Now this trick only works if the speaker speaks at "normal" human talking speeds. It does not work in a multi-party meeting where some people tend to speak real fast. So if you have multiple people speaking at different speeds in a meeting, this may not work for you (unless everyone speaks at the same pace).

Anyway, now I have gotten so addicted to this trick that

  1. I prefer recorded meetings to live meetings cause I don't have to participate, and I can listen to the content at "my pace"
  2. I have gotten used to listening to a lot of people at 1.5x their normal talking speeds, so when I indeed have a live meeting with them, they sound super slow to me!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Voiced post

Hello people! So I decided to type this blog by using my voice.This is the first time I am using the voice typing feature in Google Docs. It's amazing to see how smart Google has become at voice recognition. 

I decided to let the blog be written without me correcting any word that Google has written. And if I have to really correct one, I would let you know that that particular word has been corrected by me manually.

I find that Google has not made a single mistake so far and can recognize my voice flawlessly. I always thought that speech recognition would be an extremely difficult task for computers to do because of all the accents that it has to address and correct for. But it looks like that does not seem to be an issue anymore. Everyday I keep getting amazed by the level of progress that we are doing as a society. It's scary to imagine the future.

I'm still struggling with punctuations. So I had to press the enter key and start new paragraphs. As I'm voicing these two paragraphs above I realized that it's a lot more easier to talk than to write. So maybe in the future the "writer's block" may be a thing of history. I can also imagine that if documents  start writing the way they do right now with my voice we could actually write a lot more as well as a lot faster than we do right now, and entire conversations could be just written down this way without someone having to actually write them down manually. So writers would just have to proofread what was automatically typed by the computer already. That's it from me folks, it's actually a weird feeling to talk to the computer and see it write down as you speak to it.

This section was written:
 
After I voice typed the section above, I realized that Google gets my punctutations incorrectly. So I had to paragarph and put periods and also put quotes for the "writer's block" above. The rest of the speech is as it is - verbatim - perfect. If you want to try it out for yourself, I would recommend you open a Google Doc in Chrome or Edge browser and try this function.



Sunday, September 12, 2021

Acknowledge ephemeral happiness

 In our relentless pursuit of happiness, I realize that most of us have stopped acknowledging the ephemeral happiness we derive from small wordly moments every single day. 21 years into the 21st century we actually experience a lot more happiness on a daily basis than anytime in the history of homo sapiens. Most of us experience unprecedented levels of comfort, access to amazing healthcare and nutrition. Yet we as a society have now become increasingly divided, unhappy, irritable, stressed and unhappy.

While curbing societal pressures and controlling stress is something beyond everyone's reach, acknowledging happiness is definitely something we all can (and should do!). Ideally, throughout the day, we should learn to pause, acknowledge and appreciate the simple pleasures in our life. Complex things like airconditioners, refridgerators, microwaves, telephones, internet, televisions and simple things like hot water, taps, electricity etc. etc. all have enriched our life by leaps and bounds. We have completely stopped acknowledging the level of ease we have gotten used to, and constantly think of the next thing!

As you read this blog, I hope you think about all the little comforts that you have gotten used to, and starting today, pause and appreciate these fleeting moments of happiness as life passes by at breakneck speed!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Mac for the win!

 After having used Windows for all my working life, my new company forced me to switch to a Mac. I was terrified, unhappy and was not sure I would be able to cope with the switch. The first week was a nightmare, cause I had to unlearn all my shortcuts.

For starters, Mac has no backspace, no Windows Key, no Home, no End, no Page-up and no Page-down. Function keys are in the fancy touch bar and there is this key called "Command" which does most of the work. The mouse scrolls in the opposite direction, the concept of Desktops is different and there is no start menu.

Anyway, I have now been using the Mac for almost 3 weeks now, and I think I am surviving. I am confused with a lot of my shortcuts, but slowly and steadily I am getting my speed and efficiency back. The best part of learning to use Mac was to just Google search things like "How to Page Down in Mac" and you would get the right answer to your question almost always.

The interesting part though is - I hardly use any desktop tools anymore. Almost all my work is done in the Google Workspace suite. Though I am very familiar with the Office 365 suite of products, I am lucky to have also used Google Workspace extensively before.

My preliminary impression of Mac is not that extraordinarily different than Windows. Build-qualitywise Macbook pro looks definitely "cooler" than my trusty old Thinkpad X1. But that may have not been a big reason for me to change (ever).

I have almost found equivalent alternatives for all software that I used on Windows. The only problem now is that when I go back to my Windows Laptop, I mistype my shortcuts!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sum Totalled Life

 Every once in a while I have this epiphany about what my life is all about because I read a book or read a tweet or a blog. This is one of those tweets by Tim Urban.

Tim Urban - waitbutwhy.com

The way I interpret this tweet is - your life is a sum total of all the things that you have ever done (or to be more poetic - a sum total of all the paths you have taken). Which for me means - the books you have read, the blogs you have followed, the movies you have seen, the random tweets, facebook posts, tik-toks you have consumed as well as the people you have spent time with, the jobs you have worked on and the schools you have gone, the places you have visited and the friends you spend time with.

Now the good part of the diagram is - you still have a million different paths to go on after today. So rather than having a defitist mentality, you can still be an optimist and "optimize" the paths that you take, the things that you do, the time that you spend on going forward. Starting now, you can still choose a better path than you ever did before. And this could then be your lowest point in your life!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Letting it go

 As I grow older I realize one of the most important part of the "being an adult" experience is the ability to just "let it go". In not so positive words - it is literally getting used to the feeling of helplessness.

I had an amazingly protected childhood. I generally got what I wanted and I grew up with this attitude that I can get what I want if I work hard towards it. So, my childhood was all about, setting a goal and working towards it. Then adulthood happened and as I grow older I realize - you can't achieve a lot of things that you think you can. It's not that you are not putting enough effort or you are not focused, but there are a billion things beyond your control.

As I sit and ruminate on my present state, I think the most important lesson that I have learnt over the last decade or so is that - you have to try hard for whatever you want to do or achieve. But if you can't you have to gracefully let it go. The "being adult" part is the letting it go and moving on part. The more you can do it faster, the better your life is going to be.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Technology Uncle

As I sulk with the sadness of losing yet another tool in my technology arsenal, after having already spent many sad nights losing another one, I realize that my association with technology is at least two decades behind the current trend.

So while everyone is tiktok-ing and instagram-ming, I am still blogging. While everyone uses iPads, tablets, wearables and mobile devices, I am still most comfortable with a desktop. While everyone else is spotify-ing, I am still stuck to my rusty old radio.

If there is one lesson to be learnt from all this sadness and feeling of betrayal - I think it is that I need to upgrade things that I rely on; faster. Not only will it not lead to sulking, but also it will make me the cool uncle that I have always aspired to be.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Email Subscriptions and RSS Feeds

Google has done it again. They have killed one more of their properties just like that. It is Feedburner this time and it affects everyone who subscribes to this blog either via email or through RSS feeds.

I have manually migrated my RSS Feeds and my Email subscribers to follow.it. However just like all IT migrations I am sure there are glitches. So if for some reason you stop getting emails or RSS Feeds from my blog, or better yet, you take the effort to re-subscribe now (by clicking here) that would save me a lot of heartache!

Thank you for patiently reading my rants all this while and I hope you continue to do so 😊

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Jumping off

Every once in a while I take crazy-ass decisions in my life. Yesterday happens to be one of them. Without going into the specifics. Here is a gist of what has happened - 

  • I got promoted (sorta) and I quit my current job
  • I will be taking up a new job with:
    • Reduced scope of work
    • Lower title
    • Reduced geographical coverage
    • Different business model
    • New Technology
    • New Industry

So basically, I am sort of restarting my career after 16+ years of doing more or less the same stuff (pre and post MBA). I am excited (the kind of excitement when you are standing on the ledge of a 40 floored building and looking down at the street).

Coming from an eastern religious mindset (Hinduism/ Buddhism), I believe I have several lifetimes to correct the mess. If my life was a Hollywood movie, this is the time when the protagonist does something absolutely crazy. My favorite scene for this would be Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr, doing the "Show me the money bit" in Jerry Maguire (Disclaimer - I no way think that I am Tom Cruise, nor do I think I am taking the kind of risk that Jerry Maguire was taking in the movie at this point).

However, aren't we all the main characters/ protagonists/ heroes of our own life stories? So associating with Tom is fine at this time!

 


 

And why do I want to blog about this? Well, this blog is turning out to be my life story and some milestones are best left documented.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Knowledge-net

 So this is like a follow-up to a blog post I wrote in 2014 about learning online. By now, I hope you have realized that it is practically possible to learn almost anything online. Yeah I know you can't learn to fly (for example) cause you still need an aircraft.

I feel like we are living in a unprecedented time in history where we have access to all the knowledge in the world at literally a "touch" of a button and can spend time to learn and enrich our lives with anything. This ease of access, is seriously going to jeopardize the business of higher education. I believe that in the next 10 years University education will get massively disrupted.

From my own experience, I feel like I learnt more outside of my formal education than the 4 years of Engineering and 1.5 years of MBA. And the rapid pace at which things keep changing around us, anyway continuous education is the way forward. I am not sure students of the next generation (and their parents) would be keen to spend a significant portion of their earnings on a degree that can be easily obtained online and you can choose your teachers and build your own curriculum. Ultimately though, if employers stop insisting on University degrees and recognize your education online, that would spell an end to University education the way we have known it!