Hello! I’m Mohnish Thallavajhula. I’m a Software Engineer at Adobe Adobe, who graduated from WKU WKU.

I enjoy working on fun projects and here’s a few of them –

  • Dashboard: A data aggregating web application that provides a way to customize and display the aggregated data
  • Rearrange Tabs: A Google Chrome Extension to rearrange your tabs using keyboard shortcuts. Got featured on Lifehacker and Changelog weekly edition
  • Time for Coffee: A project to remotely monitor the coffee level in a coffee pot using a Raspberry Pi 3B+
  • Pong: The classic game of pong implemented in HTML5 Canvas in the Web Browser
  • Draw: A simple collaborative drawing web app powered by Firebase

For a complete list of my projects, check out my 🔧Projects page. Almost all of my projects are open source and you can check them out on my GitHub GitHub page.

PIT Score

Starting a new project and not finishing it can be quite a discouraging experience. If it ends up becoming something you tend to do often, you lose the motivation to pursue new ideas and that can be bad.

How many times have you started a project and felt like you should’ve picked another one? What if you have a technique to figure out which idea/project to pick next? You should pick the one that you’re more inclined towards. But, how do you get clarity around this inclination?

It’s extremely important to have clarity on why you want to work on a project, how interested you are, and which technology you want to use. I’ve come up with a technique that I use myself for getting this clarity. It’s simple really.

PIT Score

PIT stands for Purpose Interest Technology. I consider these three as the key factors that provide clarity on which idea to pick next. I’ve tried this technique with a few ideas/projects now and I’m pleased to inform you that it has worked really well.

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Safe way to calculate the mid in a range

Given a range, calculating the mid is a straight forward process.

mid = (low + high) / 2;

But, there’s a problem with this line. Adding two large positive numbers can result in an overflow, if the sum is more than the max positive number.

One way to fix it is to use the following:

mid = low + ((high - low) / 2);

This’ll prevent the expression from overflowing to a negative value. I’ve read this line in random code so many times and wondered why anyone would want to write it this way instead of the simpler and more straight forward way I mentioned in the beginning of this blog. It wasn’t until I read this lovely blog post that I understood the reason behind it.

North

I got an email this morning, with the subject “North + Google” from North. According to the email, Google had acquired them. A quick Google search about the company pleasantly surprised me that it was Thalmic Labs. I didn’t realize Thalmic Labs changed their name to North.

I still remember getting excited when I received one of their very first few devices back when they launched and were still small. It was called Myo armband. It seemed really promising.

I played around with it for a few days and wrote a tiny application to track hand gestures and control my OS with the gestures. It was fun. Then, I got busy with other things and completely forgot about the product and the company. I knew they had potential.

I am quite happy for them and believe that Google will use North’s resources wisely. For me, personally, reading the email reminded me of how much I enjoy working on fun side projects. I am glad that hasn’t changed one bit even today!

FUT 20 06/01

I’ve decided to move away from a Ligue 1 team and try out Bundesliga players. This was to help me upgrade my weak defense. Here’s my latest updated team –

Here’s my in-game formation –

As you can see, I have a few newcomers.

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FIFA 20

Leo FIFA

I love Football and I play FIFA 20, especially FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT), a lot. I love the game in spite of the awful patches EA Sports releases to screw up the gameplay often times.

FUT in FIFA is a fun mode where you can build your own club with players from different clubs/nations/leagues. I enjoy curating my team. I tweak around the instructions you can apply to a player and see how the player performs during a match. It’s really fun.

Here’s my current starting XI –

https://www.easports.com/fifa/ultimate-team/web-app/?showoffId=iZTFynS2nTqM1:FFA20PS4

So far, my pack luck has been great this season. I’ve packed Leo (94 rated CL untradable), Cristiano (93 rated CL untradable), Rijkaard (90 tradable Prime Icon) and Kante (89 rated untradable). I’ve managed to pack even Salah (90 rated untradable), Mahrez (89 rated ShapeShifter untradable), Lemar (87 rated FUT Birthday untradable).

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Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020! 🎉

Holy cow! 2019 went by real quick. The theme I chose to go with for 2019 was Consistency. Whatever I did, I just wanted to do it consistently. Leading a disciplined life has always been something that I strived for, but, I never really put in my effort in the right direction. To lead a disciplined life, consistency is the key. Humility also adds a lot of weight to it.

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Whiling away time on an International Flight

Location: 41,000 ft in the air

I’m visiting India after 2 years and my first flight is via Dubai. It’s a 14 hour flight and I’ve decided to try something new this time. I usually like to watch movies during my flight. So, I’ve decided to do just that, except, this time, I’m planning on blogging my reviews of all the movies that I watch during the flight.

Let’s see how this one goes.

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The most critical feature of Instagram

Instagram is a simple and fun application. The simplicity of the application is what led to its success. It is extremely addictive.

However, its most important feature or lack thereof, is the regram functionality. Instagram doesn’t allow users to just repost the same image from another user natively. The absence of this functionality is just wonderful. Users can definitely install third party apps that support this functionality, but, Instagram doesn’t support it natively.

As a user, your feed is usually pretty clean. There’re no non-sensical memes or random images showing up in your feed. You definitely can subscribe to them, but, you don’t see them unless you specifically subscribe to them.

Personally, I think this is great. It keeps the app very focused and clean.

Dashboard

A while ago, I wanted to build a data aggregation service that’d allow its users to fetch data from a set of data sources defined by them. I wanted to allow the users to configure the data fetch interval for each source. This led to the birth of the Dashboard project.

Dashboard is a data aggregating web application that provides a way to customize and display the aggregated data. It’s an open source project. The code is hosted on GitHub.

Dashboard UI
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WordPress 5.3

After, what seemed like a long wait, WordPress 5.3 is finally here. Right on time. Congratulations to the WordPress team. I just finished upgrading my blog to the latest version of WordPress. I’ve been waiting to try out the final version of the brand new TwentyTwenty theme that ships with the latest version of WordPress.

My blog is currently running the TwentyTwenty theme. There are a few noticeable UI glitches, but, I’m OK with them. I definitely don’t want to switch back to the old theme because of these bugs. I’m sure these will be fixed soon. I haven’t investigated these bugs yet. These could even be caused by any of the plugins I’m using.

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Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch

Before continuing to read this post, I would like to clarify that this is not an in-depth review of the Series 5 (S5) nor is an actual comparison of Series 5 against a Series 4 (S4). This is more of an observation based on the specs mentioned on Apple Watch’s website.

Most of Apple’s products are amazing. I love my Apple Watch. I watch all of Apple’s product announcements with a great deal of enthusiasm. Naturally, I was really looking forward to yesterday’s Apple event. The introduction video is really impressive.

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Goodbye, Google Analytics

Google Analytics

I decided to switch back to using WordPress as my blogging platform this May. At the same time, I also took the decision of removing Google Analytics (GA) from my blog. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. So, I thought I’d remove GA for a few months and see if I miss its value.

I used GA primarily to identify which posts attracted the most readers and calculate the bounce rates. After a while, I felt like I didn’t really need this information, since, I wasn’t really doing anything with it. I just wrote about things that I thought were interesting. I was never motivated by my blog’s user engagement, to write about topics I wasn’t interested in.

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Raspberry Pi 4

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

A few hours ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the latest version of their awesome single board computer, Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. I am stoked.

Raspberry Pi 4 with dual monitor support at 4K

As shown in the above image, it has dual monitor support at 4K. They switched the power supply to use USB-C and has Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B board

The new version comes with support for 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB of RAM. That makes it a powerful desktop computer that’s smaller than my phone.

I cannot wait to try this out and work on something fun.

Building a Coffee Pot Monitor using Raspberry Pi

Coffee grounds and Coffee

I love coffee and side projects. I wanted to solve a coffee related annoyance that I faced on a regular basis. This post is about how I built a Coffee Pot Monitor, to track the coffee level in a coffee pot, remotely, using a Load Cell, HX711 amplifier, and a Raspberry Pi.

The Annoyance

Imagine yourself being busy with something important. You take a quick break to grab some coffee and walk over to the break room only to find an empty coffee pot.

Oh, the horror

There’s no way for me to know the amount of coffee left in the pot, without walking over to the break room and checking it out. The coffee pots we have at work are opaque. So, it’s not possible to know the amount of coffee left in the pot by looking at it.

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Google Fi Review (2019)

Google Fi

After ten years of using AT&T, I switched to Google Fi and here are my thoughts. Before I start my review, here’re some details you might be interested in. I use Google Fi on an unlocked iPhone XS. I knew very well about the limitations before I signed up for the service. So, here is my review of Google Fi on iPhone.

Application

I’ve been a Google Voice (GV) user since the past ten years. I love the service. I’ve used it for my voicemail and for making international calls to India. I liked the voicemail transcription feature too. This is a pretty common feature now, but, GV pioneered it.

Anyway, I was able to sign up for Google Fi online from this page here https://fi.google.com/signup and apply for the SIM card installation kit.

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Working on Side Projects

Working on Side Projects can be really fun. But, you know what’s not fun and sucks? Not finishing the project and abandoning it (also, Global Warming). This is a very common problem and most of us struggle with it.

It gets trickier. Once you lose interest in the project and abandon it, guilt kicks in, as if we don’t have enough issues to deal with already. At this point it becomes really annoying having to fight with your conscience about the abandoned project. You don’t feel like working on it and at the same time you can’t really leave it. It’s just pure bliss at this point. 😇

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