Little Vedant’s new gifts from my colleagues

It’s been a fortnight since we had Vedant – our second child. Other than the generous (understated word) parental leave, my company gave me another nice surprise. They sent an awesome gift hamper for him. It included Books, a Sofie the Giraffe toy, and few other goodies!

What was most touching was a handwritten note signed by my “Friends at Automattic”, and them knighting my young man as:

“A big welcome to our newest little wrangler”

I thought to myself, “Wow he gets to be this without going through the Trial!” . I hope he grows up to become as brilliant as the awesome people behind this card! .. Amen!

 

Singapore – Once again

I came back from an awesome second-time trip to Singapore. Last time it was a family vacation. This time, a workation with my fabulous team at Automattic. Both trips left me bedazzled and with a question – “What does it take to migrate to this place?”

Singapore brings together the modern and well-maintained urbania, similar to great cities of US and Europe, while having a soul of Asia deep down, which feels like home to me. Especially quite a few Indian origin faces around and Tamil as one of the official languages, which you can spot when you move around.

With our stay, workspace and events venue around Scott’s and Orchard Road, most awesome things were within a short walk. These include:

  • Mobspace WeWork co-working space
  • Tsuta – Michelin star Ramen restaurant (Yummy)
  • Food courts at lower basements of all interconnected malls that serve the best of South East Asian delicacies
  • The Shaw center iMax cinema

I also had a good time with the local WordPress Community in Singapore, and made some good friends there!

I hope to make the most of my multiple entry visa I have and visit Singapore again very soon! Here are some pics from the visit this time:

 

Resurrecting a 2008 Macbook.. with Ubuntu

There couldn’t be a better way of celebrating Easter, than bringing back to life an ageing 2008 Macbook whose WiFi chip blew the second time since I took it second hand from my brother in law. The device would also not get further OS updates since Apple would want to push you to meaner and costlier machines, even as i think the rest of the old hardware of the device is worth using! Perhaps with a more inclusive and an open operating system – Ubuntu!

The cost of Wifi chip replacement would cost about INR 10,000. Whereas a Wifi dongle cost me only about INR 300 :D. (Thank you China). This dongle did not work with MacOS El Capitan. However it was autodetected by Ubuntu.

I am a fan of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). I used Ubuntu for atleast 8 years before moving to a Macbook Pro from my employers as my primary machine. I did clear their coveted trial on a Dell Vostro 1200 ( 7 year old then) running Ubuntu!.

Force-feeding a Mac with anything not Apple is laborious. The laptop did fail with some strange partition errors before i retried and set it up correctly. The learning experience was fun, and to see the violet purple shades of freedom on the Macbook was sheer delight!

Uday – Ahmedabad’s Jailhouse Brand

The enterprising Gujarat state and Ahmedabad sets a great example of how Jail inmates could be involved and rehabilitated by manufacturing high-quality products and by bringing it under a good brand name. The name Uday translates as – To rise.

My friend and I, during our recent visit to Ahmedabad city, discovered a nondescript shop at the RTO circle selling hot and awesome Bhajiyas (fried fritter goodies). While chatting with the person selling, we realized that the man behind the counter was a Head Constable of Police, and all the serene looking folks cooking and serving us were inmates of the Sabarmati Central Jail.  This was a great opportunity for me to look into their eyes, shake hands with them and sense the human side of what we perceive in the society as criminals or convicts.

The Shop also sells bakery, snack items, and soaps under the brand name Uday, and I found the quality of these products really good. I plan to do a larger purchase.

I visited the place multiple times and we received warm welcome and acknowledgement of how we loved the concept and the place. Due to government restrictions, I could not click any photographs of the place, however I clicked the products once i was back home at my desk.

We came to know some interesting facts about the place from the hotel we were put-up nearby, and locals. We were wondering how is the place not having high walls and if they are not wary of the inmates escaping. We were told some interesting facts:

1. There have been hardly any attempts by the inmates to flee. Maybe because they have dignified work given to them, which would be difficult to get if they escape.

2. They are known to go walking between the workplace and Jail without too much security. I did not verify this, however it was quite something to think and imagine!

3. One of the inmates, post release, started a restaurant in the vicinity and is doing great business. We visited the place too and found great hope and positive influence of the initiative.

4. There was a story told where an inmate Polevaulted over the 20ft wall of the jail and went straight home. His mother took him and brought him back to the police 🙂

Among the many wonderful experiences we had in Ahmedabad. This was something very different and heartening.

‘Fan’ boy lessons

A few days back i received 4 ceiling fans over a special 50% discount from my utilities provider as a part of their “Save Electricity” initiative. Although this looks like an ordinary ceiling fan, the Atomberg Gorilla is a BLDC principle based energy saving fan that runs on almost 1/3rd the power of ordinary fans.  Ahh.. before i make this a tech review. Let me review what i learned from the fun exercise of installing the fan all by myself.

I was inspired by my father and uncle who are aces at DIY – quite a bit of electrical, plumbing and home improvement work all these years. I was eager and at the same time nervous, about replacing the old ceiling fan with this new one, all by myself. I finally got the eagerness to overcome fear this morning.

There were a few thoughts that came to my mind, and lessons i did learn while assembling and installing the fan.

1. Sequence is important

To ensure that the fan is assembled correctly, there is a careful sequence to be followed right from fitting the blades,  to the rod, inserting the wires, to the canopy cups and then bolting the hanging assembly. There are finer details like the locking nuts and pins, which are important for safety, as well as balance of the fan. I did mess up by putting the main wire within the rod before adding the canopy cups. Took my time to undo and then fix it the right way.

2. Use the right tool for the right task

Though the fan assembly looks simple, it required three types / sizes of screwdrivers, Wire strippers, Spanners, pliers and insulation tape. Each of them had a unique role to play to ensure the installation was safe and successful. Any temptation to use a same size screwdriver to do it all is a certain recipe for injury and bad results.

3. Imagine, Visualize, Rehearse, Assemble!

Like i mentioned Sequence is important, and any step going back or forth means waste of time, and the frustration of having to do things all over. While it is evident we would mess up some part. We can avoid it as much as possible by imagining the whole activity in our mind.. the sequence in which each part fits in, and how something gets blocked if we mess it up.

Like Robin Sharma mentions in the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Everthing in this world is created twice – first in the mind and then in the real world.

Do it first in your mind. I was nervous at first about climbing all by myself on the tall stool with the fan, nuts bolts and rubber bushings, Screwdrivers and spanners. I then visualized the assembly sequence and arranged the tools and bits in my pockets as i climbed the stool. Fortunately things went just as i visualized, which made things much easier and safer.

4. Enjoy passing thoughts

When my head and neck arched upwards to the ceiling, i imagined how Michaelangelo felt doing this for the whole day as he painted the very high ceilings of the Vatican! Thoughts like these can take you away from the mundane and give you a bonus of energy. Fanneissance indeed!

5. Enjoy, Flaunt and get others to Enjoy

Yes!! it was done and ready in about an hour’s time. i got my mother to inaugurate it and admire me too :-P.  I got my father to be proud of my lil achievement.

For me it was special, since i would see it over my head (hopefully remains there safely for days to come!), and feel its breeze!

What an exciting day that was! Little things can indeed give great joys!  and Guess what? I have three more Fans to replace at my home, not sure if I would have a sequel to this post though :D.

 

 

Happy! Google Photos Integration on WordPress.com

 

Totally excited with the integration of Google Photos with WordPress.com . Couldn’t find a better photo to celebrate this. I clicked this at my school where i am trying to get an admission for my #dotter .

I have a lifetime of photos on Google Photos. A big thing on my wishlist remains embedding of albums and slideshows, like they had earlier with Picasaweb. I miss that a lot!

Hopefully some day soon 🙂

10th Marriage anniversary – And a Replug of a Home recording :)

The occasion couldn’t be better.

It is my 10th wedding anniversary of bliss with Varsha. Around 10 years back (perhaps more), i recorded a song  – Stand by Me by Ben E. King,  at home using Audacity sound recorder, dedicated it to Varsha. I succeeded in placing its widget on my personal blogger.com site then. I used esnips.com to host the song and used a widget on the blog post.

Inspired by this song and activity,  i went ahead with co-creating RadioIdli.net – a community “radio” for my ethnic community and friends. The project gave me great success and paved way for my career in digital marketing, WordPress site development… all the way to my current work with Automattic Inc. (WordPress.com).

Here is the song – everything in my voice, raw, but true 🙂

https://nagpai.blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/stand-by-me-home-edition.mp3?_=1

Couldn’t be a greater delight that i am speaking about Audio blogging and Podcasting at WordCamp Nagpur 2017, Day after.

 

Easter Favorite – I am born again – BoneyM

BoneyM was notably the first western music band I heard as a child, in a family where it was almost forbidden. The fear of kids turning into ‘Hippies’ –  if you can understand the orthodox fears in that era?

The soothing and melodious sounds of BoneyM continue to remain my favorite. Their songs tell story about cities (Belfast), Underbelly (Ma Baker), World history (Rasputin). As a child I got my first world history and culture lessons from awesome songs like theirs!

Here is a song which i recall every Easter, and at every celebration of revival and rejuvenation. This year has been very special for me as well, a refreshing development in career and life overall 🙂 .. So here’s to all of you!