Platinum blonde

I’m getting my hair bleached again right now. This is the 2nd sitting of the bleaching process to get to the full platinum blonde look I was going for. Also, this happens to be my first time blogging from the new Jetpack mobile application. The options available are not intuitive at all. I had to google how to add a link in the draft. I wanted to do a Constrained series post, but I wasn’t comfortable with the Jetpack mobile app.

Anyway, the last time I was here, I spent almost 3 hours for the bleach to bleach my hair from black to blonde. That was my first time getting my hair fully bleached and didn’t expect the process to take that long. Naturally, I got to the hair salon unprepared and spent 3 hours browsing random websites and consuming information.

This time, I wanted to come prepared and better utilize my time while I wait for the hair bleach to do its thing. Unfortunately, I forgot about it. So, here I am again, unprepared.

I wanted to do something different and so I decided to blog during the waiting time. This reminds me of that one time I blogged on a flight. Basically, I’m shifting my stance from being a consumer of information to being a producer of information. It’s not that this particular post is going to be any interesting, but I just wanted to be on the other side of the spectrum where I am not the consumer.

This particular thought of not consuming too much information came to my mind after I checked my Screen Time on my phone and noticed that I was spending way too much time on my phone being a consumer. I don’t mean to swap that time being a producer instead, but, I’d rather lower my consumption down.

One of the main reasons I want to limit my consumption is to improve the quality of content I consume. The more I consume, the quicker I run out of good content and end up consuming random mindless content on the internet.

I want to be able to retain higher qualify information and cultivate it to use it in ways that benefit me. For this to happen, I need to consumer less, but high quality information.

Before I end this post, here’s a little hair salon trivia: There’re different types of licenses for hair stylists. Someone with a barber license isn’t allowed to do any chemical treatment on their customers’ hair. For them to be able to do that, they need to have a cosmetology license. Someone with just a cosmetology license, can’t do a beard shave that involves a single blade.

This trivia is brought to you by my hair stylist – Erika!

Note: This post was written a few hours ago at the hair salon. I’m posting it now ’cause I forgot to publish the post then.

World Cup 2026 logo

26

Yesterday, Fifa unveiled the logo for World Cup 2026. It reminds me of the PS5 logo debacle.

World Cup 2026 Official Logo

The effort it took for this:

  1. Select a font
  2. Type 2
  3. Hit Enter
  4. Type 6

That’s what the designer(s) did here. Just so people don’t get confused with it, they put the World Cup trophy in front of the 26. Look at the ones from the past.

They have character. They have something about the host nation. The 2026 logo has nothing. It’s just something created by some pretentious designer thinking it would look dope. In reality, the logo is just so bad and bland.

I hope Fifa comes up with another logo that takes more than 2 seconds to “design” it.

We are the Champions of Spain

Champions of Spain

Madrid, cabron, saluda el campeon!

Samuel Eto’o

First off, props to Xavi for making us champions again. I didn’t have faith in him initially, when he was appointed the manager of Barca midway last season. But, that quickly changed as the previous season progressed. He was given a very bad team and he made the most out of it with the youngsters from La Masia. This hasn’t been an easy season, especially in Europe. We will get there. I’m sure we will be better next season. I think Xavi will also improve as a manager.

It has been a while since Barca won La Liga. The last time we won it, it was the 2018/19 season. The team has changed completely ever since. I’m so happy that we’ve won the Spanish League title again. I want us to win the treble next season. There are rumors of the GOAT returning back to Barca, but I think it’s too good to be real. Barca don’t have the funds to comply with the Financial Fair Play and La Liga restrictions. I have faith in the current team though. We finally have a good defense line and a very good mid. Our attack line is the weakest and we need a very good attacking player. Lewandowski has been fine in the league, but not in the Champions League (CL).

To be successful and win silverware, teams need a solid defense. That’s what gets you titles.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (MAtS), our goalie, has had a phenomenal season. 24 clean sheets.

Christensen: The best signing of the season.

Kounde: He’s been great so far, except for a few dumb mistakes that costed us.

Araujo: Beast.

Balde: Fantastic in attack and decent in defense. He will get better. He needs to improve his crossing.

Lewandowski: He was great until the World Cup and lost his form right after. He’s picked it back up in the last few games.

Gavi: Our Golden Boy has been great, pissing off our rivals the most. He is going to set the pitch on fire.

Pedri: He’s been injured for the most part of the season, but he’s been great when he played.

Frenkie: Fantastic player.

Raphina: He’s been frustratingly good. I hope he improves his decision making.

Dembele: He’s been very very good. Got injured and lost a few weeks, but he’s so much better than his past.

Ansu, Ferran: Both have been bad.

Also, this happens to be the last season for our club legend, Busi. So grateful for Busi for all his years at Barca. With him gone, it’ll be the end of an era, the one that had Xavi-Busi-Ini – the trio that produced pure magic every game they played. The beautiful football they played. *chef’s kiss*

I’m very excited to see our new generation of players, Gavi – Frenkie – Pedri, dominate the midfield.

For us to actually dominate Europe, ideally, I’d hope for the following to happen –

Loan: Ansu – ever since his injury, he’s lost his explosiveness. It could also be the #10 jersey weighing him down

Sell: Ferran – he’s been bad #Alludu

Sell: Alonso – he’s been a surprisingly good signing, but he’s of no use anymore

Sell: Jordi – if this happens, we could buy new players

Sell: Kessie – sadly, he didn’t turn out to be the player we hoped him to be

Buy: Fullbacks – left & right, a defensive mid, and a quality attacker

With these reinforcements, I think we can become a team competing for the CL.

Let’s win the treble next season and let’s enjoy the victory, culers.

FORCA BARCA!

Poor design or versatile design?

Outbox

Recently, GitHub enrolled me into one of their beta features, a new site wide navigation on github.com. I noticed something odd in their navigation sidebar. Their “Upgrade” link uses the “Outbox” icon.

The next day, I noticed that twitter.com uses the same icon for Sharing tweets.

This got interesting and I started looking for web pages where this icon was being used. Google’s Bard uses it to export responses.

Safari uses it to share a web page.

Font awesome suggests that it’s the “upload” icon.

iOS uses it for sharing a screenshot.

Google Chrome uses a variant of it for “upload” functionality.

LinkedIn’s iOS app uses it for post sharing.

So, I’m not sure what the right usage for this icon is. If someone familiar with it could enlighten me, that’d be great.

Experiment

There is no art without constraints. Constraints make the art precious.

I’m trying out an experiment. Basically, I blog about whatever comes to my mind. The only constraint is that I wrap it up in 45 mins.

I’m calling this series – Constrained.

Each post will have the format:

Topic

Start time: —

Post

Stop time: —

My goal is to do this at least once every month for the coming 4 months – May, June, July, August. If I enjoy it, I will keep at it and maybe modify the constraints here and there. If not, well, it’s just an experiment. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m expecting out of it. I would definitely love to be surprised by an interesting outcome from this experiment.

Doodling

Mickey

I draw a lot and throw my drawings away. I’m not particularly good at it, but I enjoy it. I find it very calming. It has an effect similar to meditation on me.

A while ago, I got this idea of using my drawings as the featured images on my blog posts. I’ve been doing that ever since. I started this with my Happy New Year 2022 post. I feel like it makes my blogs more unique.

I’ve created a separate page to display my doodles. Right now, it just includes the ones I’ve used in my previous blog posts. I’ll be adding more of my random doodles / drawings to my upcoming posts. I use my reMarkable for all of my drawings.

Facebook cleanse

Facebook & Instagram

Over the past few years, my usage of Facebook has gone down. Not because I don’t like it, but mostly because it has become my news aggregator. It used to be my friend news aggregator, but it turned into brand news aggregator. I have enough sources that are far more superior at aggregating these news types.

Anyway, this week, I changed how my Facebook looked. I had to unfollow and “unlike” a ton of Pages. This included TV shows, movies, tons of fashion brands, products etc. Now, my News Feed only shows posts from my Facebook friends. The peace is back.

At first, it felt nice and I was happy to see the posts from just my FB friends. A few hours in, I realized that these were posts from very few friends who were using it. Not a lot of my friends use or post on FB anymore. It’s the end of a beautiful era.

FB was hot and I loved it. I still do. Not a fan of the UI but nevertheless, it’s an amazing platform. I thought about what would bring back its glory. I think making a user’s News Feed focus on content from their friends would make it wonderful and personal. If a user Likes or Follows a Page, or even joins a Group, FB should make the user explicitly opt-in to include their updates in the user’s News Feed as opposed to including them by default. This would be a better UX. Even having separate tabs to show all the updates from Pages and Groups would be nice. These are the UX changes that’d make FB feel more personal again.

Right now, Instagram is all the hype. I love Instagram. Not the current one, but the original one without the Stories. It was so cool and felt so personal. Now, all I see is that the people I follow posting random re-posts of posts from accounts I don’t give a shit about. Over the past couple of years, I unfollowed so many of my friends who did this. The most critical feature of Instagram was not having this ability to re-post. Now they have it. It makes my feed terrible. I get why they want that feature, but I’m not a fan of it. It’s just bad UX.

I miss the old Facebook and the old Instagram, the fantastic networks that made more people want to use it. Neither of these platforms are simple anymore. The UX is just way too convoluted.

Went blonde

Prada Symbole

Since 2019, I’ve had this idea to go fully blonde. Somehow I couldn’t find the right time to do it. This year I finally decided to go blonde for the summer. Blonde with a touch of platinum on the top. I love how it turned out to be.

1Password’s “unlock with Apple Watch” feature is a thing of beauty

Unlock 1Password with Apple Watch

I love 1Password. I’ve been a paying customer since 2018. Before that, I used LastPass, Dashlane, and several other similar password managers and never really stuck with any of them for long enough.

1Password is simple and doesn’t get in your way. Besides some nice features like the Watchtower, Sharable vaults, etc, there’s a fantastic feature that I really love and use every single day. Their “Unlock 1Password with Apple Watch” feature. You can enable this feature from your 1Password settings as shown below.

Enable the feature here

Once enabled, you can unlock your 1Password account on your Mac and your web browser by opening 1Password and double clicking your Apple Watch’s side button at the following prompt.

The prompt on your watch looks something like this

I use this at home and at my office, where my laptop lid is closed and connected to my monitor. This UX makes it easy for me to keep my 1Password locked at all times and only unlock it when I need a password, without typing in my Master Password every time.

Great job, 1Password team 👏

Twitter Blew

Twitter Blew

Twitter’s bot problem

Originally, Twitter verified profiles of people who were prominent in a particular field. Every verified profile would get the coveted Twitter Verified Checkmark. Having a verified checkmark meant that you were considered influential and the other users would trust you and follow you.

As a Twitter user wanting to grow your network (followers), you’d have to produce content that your followers cared about. This could be anything – poetry, random interesting facts, fake news, sport information, tech updates, trolling celebrities, etc – as long as there are users interested in reading your tweets. As you can see, this is a time taking process and you really need some sort of a skill. By doing this, you’d increase your influence and this meant that there would be companies sponsoring your activities and you’d start making real money.

The two key problems here:

  1. Skill required to create good content
  2. The time it takes to build your influence by growing your network

To solve these problems, there have been some bad actors who have figure that they could create thousands of bot accounts and by taking payments, they’d have them follow your account. This solves both of your problems. You pay a certain amount of money, for say, 10,000 followers and expand your network. You didn’t have to post good content or had to wait for a few years. You solved both the problems by throwing money at the problem.

With this expanded network, you apply to Twitter to verify your profile and Twitter obliges and marks your profile as verified and gives you the verified checkmark. Being a verified user, the possibilities are now endless. Produce content, get sponsorship deals, become a billionaire, invest in companies, watch them become unicorns, leprechauns and whatnot and then, write a book. If you don’t write a book, your success just didn’t happen. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit if there ain’t no book!

Learning about the success of this business model, the other bad actors figured that they could replicate it easily. So, they created a ton of these fake bot networks and started selling them. These networks can make you seem really famous over a period of 2-4 days. Imagine having 25,000 followers and a verified checkmark in a matter of 1-2 weeks. More and more people started subscribing to this approach and thus, Twitter ended up having millions of bot accounts.

Twitter’s solution to their bot problem

After Elon took over Twitter, he immediately changed the way Twitter handled showing the verified checkmarks. Instead of forcing users to buy fake bot followers, he forced them to buy the Twitter Blue subscription. You pay $8/month and get the blue verified checkmark. You either pay for it, or lose your special privilege on the network.

This basically discourages these influencers from buying follower bot networks as they get the blue verified checkmark by donating money to Elon. So far, it seems like the bot problem is being handled well.

The under-appreciated beauty of Twitter

Contrary to what most people claim on random Mastodon instances, Twitter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Twitter is a unique and wonderful place for users around the world to share their thoughts. What makes it beautiful is its constraints.

  • the 280 character limit (personally, I prefer the 140 limit)
  • the inability to edit a tweet after it’s posted

These are the constraints that made it popular as they force a user to put more thought into crafting their tweets. If you use the 10,000 character limit, available for Twitter Blue subscribers, it’d be easier and the quality of your content wouldn’t necessarily be as high as your well thought out tweet within the 280 character limit.

But..

As of 04/22/2023

Twitter Blue users won’t have these constraints, the ones that make Twitter what it is.

My prediction

With these constraints removed, Twitter is going to become a dull social network. I’ve always been rooting for Twitter to succeed, but the path that Twitter is heading down, doesn’t seem promising.

My observation

As of 04/20/2023 (Elon is obsessed with 420 and 69), all the original verified profiles lost their checkmarks. With this change, the way I viewed Twitter profiles has also changed. I browsed Twitter yesterday, it felt different. It felt nice. Most of the verified profiles that I had been following, suddenly seemed more approachable. I even tweeted about it yesterday.

People buying the blue checkmark just seem desperate for attention and it just feels fake

Elon has been trying so hard to shove Twitter Blue down Twitter’s users’ throats. He has been seen implying that freedom of speech can be preserved by subscribing to Twitter Blue. At its face value, it might sound silly, but the sheer number of users who’ve subscribed to his ideology and Twitter Blue, seem to love it. Good for them. However, the others are just happy being free unverified users.

If I were the CEO of Twitter…

Every social network, not just Twitter, suffers from this problem. If I were the CEO of Twitter, I’d solve the problem the following way:

  1. Separate out user verification and subscription
  2. Every account that wants to be verified will be charged a 1-time payment. The user would have to submit some sort of a government issued ID to verify that they are who they claim to be. Having a subscription tied to verification is outright stupid and doesn’t make sense at all. Suddenly you’re not verified after you stop paying the subscription price? That’s just silly
  3. The number of verified followers would dictate your reach on Twitter
  4. Every verified user will unlock features such as who can interact with them (just verified or non-verified too), etc
  5. Every non-verified user will have limitations. The number of users they can follow, the number users they can @mention in a tweet, the amount of interaction with other users etc
  6. Only verified users can opt in to a subscription
  7. A subscriber would not have Ads displayed on their accounts, can upload videos longer than the basic 2 min 20 sec limitation, highly likely to be discovered more on Twitter, support for analytics on a per tweet basis
  8. All follower count will be hidden

At a large scale, there’s no right solution to handling this problem. There are only less-wrong solutions at best.

FUT 23

Fifa 23

After a really long time, I have stopped playing FIFA. I bought the latest edition, FIFA 23 and lost interest in the game immediately. I played for maybe a month after its release but that was it.

I’ve been playing FIFA since 2013/14. I started playing it mostly offline. I played FIFA as a kid with my friends. In 2016, I started FIFA Ultimate Team, more commonly referred to as FUT and that changed everything. It was fun back then.

My friends and I organize FIFA tourneys. We take it very seriously. We even built a bot for it and it’s open source :). FIFA’s regular mode is still fun. I wish EA invested in creating a tourney mode to run tourneys among friends, like we do. They don’t seem to do that and they invest heavily in FUT mode, which makes sense for them since it’s their cash cow. Right now, it has become boring because it’s the same cards every year and there’s always one or two OP cards, the same ones, every damn year. I might get back to later towards the end of the season, but I still am not interested in it now. Also, I can’t stand Kylian Mbappe being the best card in the game. Even his gold card is pricier than some dope special cards. It’s April and the card is still half million. It’s ridiculous given that he isn’t even the best player in the world right now.

I’ve switched to mostly playing Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II. This is my third CoD title. First was Black Ops III, which I played like 3 times, followed by Black Ops Cold War (BOCW). BOCW was the first CoD title that I played seriously. I liked the game, but it got boring after maybe 6 months.

I hope EA FC is better than FIFA. I will give it another shot next season. If I don’t like it, I will stop giving EA my money on a yearly basis.

Invitation to WWDC 2023

WWDC 2023

The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is an information technology conference held annually by Apple Inc. Apple randomly (IDK if it truly is or if there’s some selection criteria) picks up applicants and invites them over to the conference. It’s held at Apple Park. It used to be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. I’ve been applying to visit WWDC since 2010, as a student pursuing my Master’s and later as a professional. Every single year. Finally, after 13 years, my application got picked in the lottery this year. I received the following email today:

I immediately accepted the invite and RSVP’d to it and here’s the follow up email that I received:

I’m excited. This was the first time I applied to WWDC thinking – “it’s ok if my application doesn’t get picked” – and voila – it got picked.

It’s on the 06/05/2023 and I’m very much looking forward to it. I will definitely blog about my experience. Apple Park is not too far from my place. I’m expecting it to be a fun event. I’m excited to see what Apple has to announce at the conference. I’m sure there will be enhancements to Swift and new SDKs to build better apps. I am hoping for better and performant SwiftUI.

Also, I’m hoping to pick up some fun swag!

CX.MT

CX.MT

I’ve owned the domain MT.CX for 11 years now and as of today, I’m also the proud owner of CX.MT 🎉

I don’t know what I will do with it. In the past, I’ve used MT.CX for my blog, as a url shortener, for hosting random apps I built, etc. I might use the new one for similar purposes or maybe come up with something nice.

Maybe host an app at mt.cx/foo and write about the app at cx.mt/foo. I don’t know. I’ll come up with something. I’m just excited by the fact that I own both the versions of the domain.

CX.MT
MT.CX | CX.MT as illustrated by the artist MT

As soon as I purchased the domain, I wanted to see how many domains could be reversed this way, the name and the TLDs.

For the uninitiated, TLD is the top level domain. It is typically assigned to a country. But, you can also setup your own gTLDs. Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Mohnish, etc, each have their own.

So, I went through the official listing from ICANN here: https://data.iana.org/TLD/tlds-alpha-by-domain.txt

As of today, the total stands at 1479. Since each TLD would be mapped against the remaining 1478 TLDs, we’d end up generating 2,185,962 such domains. Technically, some of them like blog.google & google.blog, com.microsoft & microsoft.com are already taken – including mt.cx & cx.mt 😁

Maybe I should form a club! 🤔 After all, there’re only about 2 million such combinations. Anyway, before I get carried away by my thoughts, thank you, Malta & Christmas Island for giving me access to this unique club!

Et tu, Gmail?

Et tu, Gmail?

I’ve been getting a lot of spam in my Gmail inbox lately. I know for sure that someone reverse engineered Gmail’s spam detection algorithm as I’ve been getting these spam emails consistently since a while now. Not only they managed to beat their spam detection, they’ve even successfully managed to force Gmail to mark the spammy email as Important.

Let me explain. Take for instance, the following email that I received from Destiny Mastercard®

If you’re into tech and pay close attention to this email, there’re at least 42 things that scream out that this is a spam email.

#1: Jim Destiny is waiting…

Sure, Destiny is my stripper name, but, Jim? Nope, not me.

#40: It’s from a bank and it’s unencrypted. This ain’t 2005. Look at the red broken lock icon.

#41: It’s routed through a domain called storycomparison.com. It seems like it has nothing to do with the brand whatsoever. Sure, you can have domain names specifically meant to be used for routing emails, but this just seems highly unrelated.

#42 Last but not the least, check out the bottom part of the email –

Okay, since I just posted the screenshot, you won’t be able to tell, but the part that says “click here to unsubscribe” is actually an image itself. I extracted the original link to the image and it’s stored on S3. I would’ve shared the original link, but I didn’t want my blog to seem/look spammy. So, here’s another screenshot of the image.

This is the image from the email

Gmail let this spam through to my inbox. This seems like it was sent to a mass mailing list and yet, Gmail missed it. My email was likely included in the BCC. They didn’t include the “unsubscribe” link either. Sure, this was a mass mail and wasn’t technically a marketing email and that’s why Gmail didn’t care. But! It marked it as an important email.

It’s funny how the message here says it’s “Important according to Google magic”

I was having a slow Saturday and the weather has been gloomy. So, naturally, I opened the headers of the email and inspected them along with the source of the email. Of course, the headers all seemed spammy as expected. The email was send out from some random Greece based domain name that wasn’t even real (I ran a WHOIS lookup). But, this was the part that intrigued me from the email source.

IDK why folks who create spam content do this. Is it some sort of a secret signature or are they deliberately trying to be stupid? Now, I’m not saying or suggesting that they should, but what if these idiots used ChatGPT or pretty much any other AI based overlords to generate content that doesn’t look spammy? How would Gmail deal with that? Imagine using AI to beat AI. Hell, if Gmail’s spam detection fails (given that it did for a spammy looking email), would we, average computer geeks, be able to look at an email in the eye and tell that it’s spam? Would you? Could you?! What if they come up with something called SpamGPT™? I’m tellin’ ya, the possibilities are endless.

F’reals though, what is up with these spam emails getting into my inbox. It’s slightly annoying.

Running

Yesterday, I completed my 2nd 5K running race of 2023. It was a road run and it was fun.

Stats from the race yesterday:

Chip time: 41:20
Position: 868 / 1384
Pace: 13:19 / mile
Elevation gain: 15 ft
Avg Power: 124 W

This was my 2nd race of 2023. I ran my first one in January. It was a trail run and it was tough. I was looking at my watch all the time to see how much farther I had to run. Every breath seemed tougher. That’s what I get for not training.

Stats from the Coyote Hills race in January:

Chip time: 53:13
Position: 220 / 289
Pace: 17:10 / mile
Elevation gain: 437 ft
Avg Power: 90 W

The Coyote Hills race was technically my 2nd race. I signed up for another race in Oct 2022, but I couldn’t attend it due to ill health.

I want to see how many miles I can cover this year. So far, I haven’t run much. In fact, I haven’t even trained for any of these races. It’s pretty clear that I need to put in more effort.

How I removed friction when switching between computers – Part 1

Two computers

Alternate titles

  • Using two computers with a single set of computer peripherals
  • Using a single mouse with two computers
  • Using a keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) setup with two computers
  • Logitech MX Master 3S review

TL;DR – I got the Logitech MX Master 3S mouse with multi-device support and use it with the Keychron K3 Pro, which also has multi-device support.

My setup

I use two computers at home. My personal MacBook Air M1, and my work MacBook Pro M1. I use the Keychron K3 Pro with two Magic Mice (v2), one for each computer. I have one monitor as my main display.

The annoyance

Every time I switch between my computers to use the main display, I have to do the following:

  1. Unplug the monitor cable from my first computer
  2. Turn off my Magic Mouse1 connected to my first computer
  3. Plug the monitor cable to my second computer
  4. Turn on the Magic Mouse2 connected to my second computer
  5. Use a key combo on my keyboard to switch from first computer to second (my keyboard has multi-device support)

While this process doesn’t seem too bad, it’s still annoying and that’s something I wanted to fix.

Friction points

  1. Having 2 mice and switching between them whenever I switch computers
  2. Having to plug/unplug my monitor cable to my computers

I love my Magic Mouse 2. I think it’s a fantastic device. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have multi-device support. In order to fix friction point #1, I needed a new mouse. So I first came up with a list of non-negotiable requirements.

My non-negotiable requirements

  1. Multi-device support
  2. Rechargeable battery
  3. Wireless

After googling for a bit, I found the only mouse that checked off all of my requirements. The Logitech MX Master 3S. I went to BestBuy and picked it up.

So far, I like the mouse. I’m not a fan of using custom software to update hardware (mouse, keyboard etc). But for this one, I did install the Logi Options+ software that helps you configure the mouse. I only did it to customize the ridiculous DPI and set it to 1000. It supports up to 8000. For the monitor I use, 1000 is perfect.

(Left) Keychron K3 Pro, (Right) Logitech MX Master 3S – on the SteelSeries QcK XXL Mouse Pad 67500 (blurred the surface out a little to remove the dust on the pad)

How does the mouse fare against my requirements?

  1. Multi-device support: This is nice. It’s seamless and quick. However, the fact that the device switch button is at the bottom is disappointing. I get why they chose to put that button at the bottom. Device switching is usually the least used on a regular basis compared to other buttons on the mouse. The M720 Triathlon has the device switch keys on the side and I like them that way. I wish the next version of the MX Master brings the button(s) to the side
  2. Rechargeable battery: It has it. Also, you can use the mouse while you charge it. The charging port is on the front side of the mouse, which is obviously a good spot to put it. One of the annoyances with the Magic Mouse is that the charging port is at the bottom of the mouse and you obviously can’t use it while it is charging
  3. Wireless: I’ve noticed that my AirPods connectivity has become horseshit ever since I started using the mouse. My hunch is that there’s bluetooth interference between my AirPods and the mouse. I’m not sure about it, but I’ll definitely look into it further
  4. Bonus: The battery percentage is displayed in the bluetooth device panel on the macOS, which is very nice (wish my K3 Pro showed the battery percentage too)

Cons

  1. I’ve always used the Magic Mouse and it’s quite low on the surface in terms of the form factor. I’m so used to it that I keep knocking my new mouse off, accidentally, every now and then. I’m sure I’ll get used to it though
  2. The Magic Mouse never jitters. The MX Master 3S does sometimes. I don’t know if it is a janky bluetooth connection or something else, but it’s not a good UX. I’ve never had that issue with the Magic Mouse.

Conclusion

If you have a similar use case as mine, the Logitech MX Master 3S is not a bad mouse to pick. Personally, if Apple introduced a mouse that had multi-device support, I’d ditch this one in a heart-beat. Until then, I guess this is not a bad interim solution.

Next up, I want to fix the issue with switching the monitor and power cables. I don’t want to use the standard KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) setup. It just looks fugly. I want something more sleek and minimal. I will write about it when I figure something out, as a part 2 to this post.

PS: I also plan on writing about my desktop setup sometime later 🙂

Rearrange Tabs 3.0.0

3

Antescript: Rearrange Tabs 3.0.0 is now live on the Chrome Web Store!

Earlier today, I submitted the new rewrite of my Chrome extension, Rearrange Tabs, to the Chrome Web Store. It’s pending review at this point. Personally, I’m very excited about this release. It fixes all the known issues around key combination conflicts and performance.

Originally, I wanted to just upgrade the extension to include the changes around migrating the extension from Manifest v2 to Manifest v3. As I started working on it, I took the opportunity to rewrite the extension and roll it out as 3.0.0. It seemed like a no-brainer.

Why the rewrite?

It’s been a while since I made any changes to the extension. The last time I rolled out an update was on April 26, 2020, v2.1.7. The extension has been stable, albeit with a few performance issues and bugs. So, I wanted to address them all in the same release and just bundled all the fixes in this release.

What’s included?

1. Migration from v2 to v3

Google has been pushing extension developers to upgrade to the latest Manifest v3. Google requires all the Featured extensions on Chrome Web Store to comply with the latest Manifest. The changes were minimal for the extension and the migration guide is very well documented. That helped a lot. Good job, Google!

2. Performance

Over the years, as new features got added, the extension accrued a few performance related issues. I’ve addresses them in this release. I will talk about them in-depth in a separate post. The debugging session was fun 🙂

3. Bug fixes

There were reports of bugs in the extension. I’ve addressed the most annoying and common ones. I hope this makes the users happy and enjoy using the extension. I just hope I didn’t introduce new ones.

4. Deprecating wrap around

The extension supported go around feature since v1. When a user moved a tab to the rightmost or the leftmost position of the browser window, any further movement in that direction would push the tab around to the other side. I’ve deprecated this feature. This seemed nice in the beginning when I introduced this, but I saw myself not really using it. Also, it seemed pointless since you can still use the “Move to front” or “Move to back” functions. The push-around-to-the-other-side just felt unnecessary.

5. New Updated Page

I’ve added a new page that shows up when your extension is upgraded from 2.x.x to 3.0.0 with the necessary info around the changes.

Future

I am planning on redesigning the logo for the extension and come up with a better demo to display on the extension page on the Web Store. The current one looks outdated, which it is. It’s from 2015. It has been the same since I created it. It’s time for an update.

<3

I definitely enjoyed working on this version of the update. Hope you all like the updated version of the extension. If you haven’t tried the extension yet, give it a shot here: Rearrange Tabs 3.0.0

As always, feel free to contribute to the extension here: Rearrange Tabs on GitHub

Your contribution could be a suggestion, feature request, a pull request, or filing a bug – your effort is always appreciated.

Happy New Year 2023

Trajectory 2022
Happy New Year 2023

This blog post’s introduction has been one of the toughest ones I had to write. Over the past 7 days, I think I rewrote it at least 20 times to not make it sound very sad. Finally, I chose to go with this one. Simply put, 2022 has been tough, but I think I made it through just fine.

Having witnessed many lows in 2022, I can’t help but wonder how it would’ve been if things were even worse. I am a firm believer in never giving up. I believe things can and will get worse if you give up or blame your fate instead of working on improving things that are in your control.

Nobody wishes for such a year. You make New Year’s resolutions hoping to better yourself or improve something around you or at the very least, to not make your situation worse. I made resolutions that fit one or more of these categories. What I really experienced was something else. I did end up being resilient. I learned a lot and am grateful to all the individuals that have been there for me during my tough times.

Hence, I’m grateful for the year it was.

Rewind

I don’t have a monthly breakdown of what I did in 2022, like the ones from my previous Happy New Year blog posts, but I have a few stats that I wanted to share on my blog.

Health

I did put on a lot of weight this year and I aim to lose of all of the bulk in a slow, steady, and sustainable way. But, that’s for later. I did try something new this year, Tennis. I enjoy playing tennis.

Travel

I did some light traveling this year. In August, I traveled to Seattle, WA and a few places in Montana. I loved Montana. In October, I went leaf peeping in New Hampshire.

Side projects

I am in the middle of a project at the moment that I’m really excited to share with everyone in Q2 of 2023.

Closing Notes

I read a quote a few days ago that stuck in my mind ever since –

People who say it can’t be done should not interrupt those who are doing it

I always want to be the person doing it and this new year, I don’t plan on changing that. Here’s to hope, faith, optimism, and hard work — Cheers! 🍻

Have a fantastic new year! Happy New Year 2023!

Argentina – World Cup 2022 Champions

Argentina are the Winners of World Cup 2022!

Argentina have won the World Cup 2022!

Leo Messi is the greatest footballer ever to set foot on earth.

Leo Messi is the GOAT

Today has been a very exciting day. I don’t know how the entire day went by. I have been cruising through it and I love it.

Lionel Messi has just sealed his status as the Greatest of All Time. Not that he needed a World Cup to prove it, but it’s more for the rest of the world. The debate just ended this morning. He has had a phenomenal tournament and carried Argentina to victory.

This whole tournament has been fantastic. The upsets, the surprises, the entertainment, the heartbreaks, the thrillers, and the drama – this World Cup had everything. And the finals — *chef’s kiss* — what an entertainer! The perfect result.

I want to write so much about Leo, but that’s for another time. For now…

Edit: I wanted to include the following pic since it’s one of my favorite photos of the Argentina NT celebrating their victory

Telegram channel for IAM.MT

IAM.MT to Telegram Updates

Looks like WordPress has a new Jetpack Bot that posts updates to Telegram. This is convenient for people who use Telegram and follow my blog. You can now subscribe to the channel here: https://t.me/iam_mt_blog

IAM.MT to Telegram Updates
IAM.MT to Telegram Updates

If you want to set one up for your own blog, here’s the official setup tutorial from Jetpack: https://jetpack.com/blog/publish-blog-posts-to-your-telegram-channel-automatically-with-jetpackwp-bot/

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year 2022, everyone!

2021 had a lot of ups and downs for me. The first six months of the year were great. I was killing it in terms of my resolutions and suddenly, everything went south. Everything I started came to a halt. I tried my best again to restart my efforts ever since and so far, it has been okay-ish. I talked briefly about it here. I plan on fixing it. Here’s an overview of my 2021 –

Overview

Health

2021 has been a polarizing year in terms of health and fitness for me. I have been the fittest and also had to deal with health issues. In terms of fitness, I set many PRs in 2021.

I was at the peak of fitness before I fell sick and had to slow down and eventually end up stopping. The good thing that came out of it is that I know when I need to slow down and what needs to be improved in my training.

Side Projects

2021 was a bit different for me in terms of side projects. I started a few and barely found time to finish them. I finished some, but most of them haven’t had any code commits in a while. I got busy with office work and so I had to delay working on them. I should manage my time better in 2022 and finish working on these projects. I’m very excited and looking forward to publish them.

Travel

I consider myself very lucky to have been able to travel a little in 2021. I traveled to Virginia in July to meet my friends from Master’s. It was a fun trip and was very happy to see my friends. I even got a chance to go on a vacation to Hawaii in December. It was a wonderful experience. I visited the Big Island and stayed at the Waikoloa Village. Learned a lot about Hawaiian culture, history, and how to pronounce the word Ukulele.

Hiking

In April, my sister’s family came to visit us and we did the Round Top, Volcanic and Skyline Trail Loop.

In May, for my birthday, my wife and I went on a 14.2 mile hike at the Coastal Trail, Palomarin Beach. It hike was tough but we both enjoyed it. It was beautiful.

For the July 4th long weekend, we drove to Redding to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. The hike had amazing views.

Learning

I ventured into new areas of computer science and it turned out to be very interesting. I’ve read a lot of white papers, which I plan on writing about in the future. I have a few drafts around some of the interesting ones that I’ve read. I am planning on sharing my findings and thoughts around those soon.

I also spent time learning Swift and Swift UI while learning iOS development. The projects I mentioned earlier are written in Swift UI for iOS. One of the biggest advantages of Swift UI is that it removes a lot of the boilerplate code that you typically end up writing for common patterns while building UIs for iOS.

New practices

In 2021, I started practicing a few new thing such as mindfulness, daily journaling, etc. These have proved to be very powerful. They’ve had a significant impact on the way I think and behave in general. I feel grateful, thanks to these practices.

I will have a separate post talking about mindfulness and how it has had a positive impact on me.

Resolutions

In 2021, I couldn’t stick with all of my resolutions. I had to abandon a few, but I’m not disappointed by it. I’m happy with the outcome of the effort I put in.

In 2022, I think I might take it easy on my resolutions for a bit. I will wait a little before coming up with new resolutions.

And with that, here’s to a much better year ahead – 2022! Cheers!

Personal Knowledge Management

Personal Knowledge Management

I have a habit of documenting ideas, thoughts, learnings, etc. Naturally, I tend to try out a lot of note-taking applications in an effort to find the perfect app. Over the years, I’ve used a lot of note-taking apps. Every single time, I saw myself coming back to the default Notes.app that ships with macOS/iOS. It’s simple and always fit my requirement perfectly well. Most features offered by other apps are just feature bloat that I never used.

As I documented information, I learned that this process had a name, Personal Knowledge Management. Before the pandemic started, around late 2019, I started researching and learning more about Personal Knowledge Management and was quickly sold on the idea as it was more or less similar to what I had been doing.

Personal knowledge management (PKM) is a process of collecting information that a person uses to gather, classify, store, search, retrieve and share knowledge in their daily activities and the way in which these processes support work activities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_knowledge_management

Personally, for me, PKM has proved to be helpful in capturing ideas and thoughts, organizing, extracting insights and producing better ideas.

After I started practicing PKM, I realized that using the basic Notes.app wasn’t going to cut it. That’s when I discovered the tools for thought, specifically RoamResearch.

Tools for thought

Roam Research Logo

I use RoamResearch for PKM. Roam describes itself as A note-taking tool for networked thought. I love the tool due to its amazing feature set. I initially tried Roam for a month in early 2020 and it blew my mind. I instantly switched my plan from a monthly plan to Believer plan (their version of a long term subscription – 5 years) since I knew I was going to use it on a daily basis. Roam has a feature called “backlinks” and it is an absolute game changer. You can link different pages by using square braces like so [[example]]. Roam also allows you to backlink blocks. You can think of it as a way of linking different bullet points in various sections of the text like so ((example)). Seeing Roam’s success, a lot of other apps copied this functionality and you can now implement your own PKM in one of these alternatives available in the market. There are a few free open source alternatives (clones literally) such as AthensResearch, Logseq, Foam, Obsidian etc.

Zettelkasten

Zettelkasten

There’s an amazing PKM technique called Zettelkasten. It’s a way of managing your thoughts and ideas. I could never completely implement it in the original way, but I do have my own way of doing it. It’s slightly different, yet it yields good results. At a very high level, the idea behind Zettelkasten is that you document your understanding of a concept or a thought and try to create a repository of linked information. Linking these bits of information is the key here. Any new finding or information going into this repository will have to have at least one link with the existing information in some way. More the links, the easier it is to cultivate a brand new idea or thought. If there’s no link, it doesn’t go in. Over time, you’ll see new ideas pop up due to this technique as you discover different pieces of information in your repository linking with other ideas in your repository that you initially didn’t intend to link with. Finding such pattern feels magical. I’ve experienced that a few times and it is mind blowing.

After a while, you’ll see that what you’ve been doing is basically cultivating ideas by gathering information and linking them together.

I’m fascinated by how our brains work and how the tools we use work. It almost seems like humans are prone to building tools that don’t necessarily align with the way our brains work. UX designers have been battling with creating interfaces that make it intuitive to work with. We’ve only been iterating on the existing interfaces.

Typically, human brains take a top-down, depth-first approach to learning. It’s only natural to start thinking about something and when something else related to it pops up, we starting digging into it and the process goes on. In order to really understand a concept, you need to understand the basic concepts that contribute to the parent concept. Learning any related concepts is a bonus. Wikipedia is built on this idea.

When it comes to coming up with ideas, naturally, we take a bottom-up approach. We first come up with individual thoughts and then later link them together to build a cohesive and coherent idea. The tools for thought that I mentioned above facilitate with this sort of thinking by using the backlinks feature. These tools can be used to implement a system to learn, which aligns with the way our brains naturally think.

Let me know if you find any of these tools useful or if you know of any other interesting techniques to document information.