Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Image from the iconic Game of Thrones title sequence

I just finished watching the series finale of Game of Thrones (GoT) and it feels like the end of an era.

I grew up watching the show these past 8 years. I still remember the day my ex-roommate, Gopi, suggested it to me for the very first time. I had just graduated and was actively looking for jobs at the time and wanted to start watching something to take my mind off of my job hunt.

I watched the very first episode of the show and immediately got hooked. It was extremely captivating. It wasn’t like anything I had seen before on TV. The quality of the show was unprecedented.

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Gutenberg

The UX around composing a blog post has changed significantly over the years. It has moved from pure text based posts to having image embeds, galleries, videos and cards from various websites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. The text editors are responsible for good UX and it’s great that they are evolving. This evolution lets users focus on the content and makes it really easy for them to express their ideas.

Medium’s Text Editor

Over the past few years, one of the biggest innovations around text editing has been Medium’s Text Editor. It’s a wonderful editor that looks great. Here’s a couple of screenshots of the editor while editing a story on Medium.com:

Medium’s Text Editor showing text styling options
Medium’s Text Editor showing media embedding options

As you can see, the UI looks clean, minimalistic, beautiful and lets the user focus on what’s truly important – Content.

Now, all of this is great, but, there’s one key thing missing here – Extensibility. Being able to extend the functionality of this editor using plugins makes it so much more powerful.

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The Reverse Switch

After 7 years, I’m back on WordPress. Lot of things have changed in 7 years. For starters, the prices have significantly gone down for hosting your server. Also, the UX of the WP mobile app is now so much better. The new blocks based text editor is very interesting.

One of the primary reasons for me to switch back to WP from Jekyll is to be able to compose blog posts even from my phone.

Lately, my workflow for blogging has been something like the following:

  1. Compose an initial draft in the Notes.app
  2. Once the draft is 80-90% done, convert it to Markdown and iterate over the draft until I find the content satisfactory
  3. Push to GitHub to publish the post
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10 years

Being busy with travel, work and some other personal things, I totally forgot that on March 20th 2019, my blog completed its 10 years of existence. Personally, that’s a huge milestone for me.

It feels good to have had my blog for 10 years. A lot has changed in the past 10 years and my blog helps me see and understand how I’ve evolved over the past decade. I started my blog as a personal project. It started off as an outlet for my interest in writing about things happening in my life. As I grew older, my interests changed and so did the things I was blogging about. Right now, most of my blog posts I write are technical at some level, which seems obvious given my love for technology.

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Happy New Year 2019

Happy New Year! 🎉

2018 has been a great year for me. Both, professionally and personally. I’ve managed to be very productive in 2018 and it has been a very humbling experience.

2017 was a particularly tough year for me. I was really sad, went through a lot and I wanted to pull myself back together. It was a tough phase of my life. I realized that and I wanted to get a hold of myself. I knew that I needed a ton of discipline in order to do that.

I wanted to set some resolutions for myself. Unlike previous years, this time I was serious. I wanted to make sure I stuck to them and so, I came up with a few challenges for myself for 2018. Some are personal to me and I can’t share them. However, the others that I can share publicly are below.

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Geotagging Blog Posts

I was checking out some photos on my iPhone the other day and I really liked how the Photos app organized my photos by location. It really adds a lot of context to my photos. In the past, I’ve used the map view to see where a particular photo was taken a ton of times, but, I never really appreciated the value of Geotagging the photos.

Context is quite important when you’re trying to express an opinion or trying to state something. I think location adds a little bit of context, if not a lot, to a blog post. I don’t see it being done on any of the personal blogs I follow. I think it’s an interesting piece of information to add to the metadata of a blog post.

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Wearable Tech

I love Wearable Tech™.

My love for wearable tech started off in May 2012 with the launch of Nike+ Fuel Band. It was an amazing product. I absolutely loved everything about it. The design, the display, the battery, the style and of course, the UX.

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#GOAL #nike #nikeplus #fuelband

A post shared by Mohnish Thallavajhula (@thallavajhula) on

The next year, Fitbit came up with a competing product – Fitbit Flex. So, obviously, I bought that too. I really liked it.

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It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work

I like David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) and Jason Fried’s style of writing. It’s very casual and often times funny. I’ve enjoyed reading Getting Real and Rework. I never felt motivated enough to read their other book, Remote.

Getting Real changed the way I think about projects and even my side projects. It didn’t have a similar impact on me as Getting Real had, but, it’s still a good book. All of these books tend to follow a similar narrative, busting the myths of common work practices.

DHH and Jason recently published their new book called It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work. I immediately pre-ordered the book. I got really excited once I received the book and started reading it.

"It

Here are my takeaways from the book:

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Weight Loss

Up until mid 2008, I had always been underweight. I used to be extremely lean and my focus back then was to gain weight. I wanted to look decent when I wore shirts and not look like someone hung a shirt on a coat hanger. To get a mental picture, I’m a little over 5’9” and weighed 120 lbs. With the focus to get bigger and look more muscular, I joined a gym. Every single day, besides the weekends, I put in my best effort and exercised sincerely. I knew I had to gain weight and so, I ate a lot of food. I didn’t really care about which foods to eat or if a particular food was healthy or not. My focus was purely on gaining weight and building muscle. Within 6 months, these changes started showing. I gained a decent amount of weight and by August 2009, I weighed 154 lbs. Mission accomplished.

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Personal Blog

A blog is a great place to post interesting, insightful and fun things. Or even boring things. It doesn’t really matter as long as you like doing it. I really enjoy reading my friends’ blogs. It has a different feel to it as opposed to reading a generalized feed on a social network. Typically, I tend to sift through the updates in my feed. I don’t really pay much attention to the items in my feed. That is not really a great experience. This wouldn’t be the case if everyone had their own personal blog.

The biggest thing that social networks fail to capture is the essence of a person. Even if, say, Facebook, allowed its users to customize their profiles completely, it’d still fail to display a person’s uniqueness, since, they all reside on the same domain.

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Domain name purchase obsession

I love buying interesting domain names. I do that with the hope that one day, I end up using the domain name for one of my side projects or at least work on a side project after purchasing the domain name. Sometimes, I just think of an idea and come up with a good name for it and immediately buy a domain name for it (I blame domainr.com for making it so simple to lookup domain names). Due to various reasons, I don’t get to most of those projects. I end up hoarding the domain names. On one hand, I don’t let go of them and on the other, I feel guilty paying for the domain names and not even using them.

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Learning Go

Golang logo
Golang logo

I first learned Go in 2014. I didn’t do anything with it after I learned the basics. After all the years, I even forgot the syntax and the basic concepts. This time, however, I wanted to make sure I properly learned Go and implemented something useful in Go.

I’ve now been programming in Golang since a few weeks and I’m absolutely in love with the language. I enjoy writing code in Go, especially, as someone who has been programming in Ruby for a while now. The language has an amazing design with some really cool features. It’s amazing how simple it is to use Goroutines with Channels. Go removes the apprehension from dealing with concurrent programming.

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Hack

I love building things for fun and lately I’ve been thinking about building a text editor. I’ve used a lot of text editors and IDEs in the past. Here’s the list in a chronological order:

  • vi/vim: my very first code editor. Used it back in my earlier C/C++/Java days
  • Dreamweaver: started using it once I moved to web development for HTML, CSS & JS
  • Eclipse: IDE of choice for Java development later
  • Netbeans: switched to it when Eclipse started becoming a memory hog
  • Visual Studio: used it whenever I wrote C# code
  • Emacs: php/javascript development back in school
  • TextMate: started using it after moving to Ruby
  • Sublime Text: absolutely loved the perf, extensibility (plugins) and liked it better than TextMate. I even bought a license 🙂
  • Atom: liked the idea of an open source text editor built in JS/CS
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Magic Compiler

Innovation in today’s technology is mostly around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its sub topics such as Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). There is a primary focus on NLP and ML among all the tech companies. This is for a good reason. Tech companies are using NLP and ML in various aspects of their offerings and trying to stay ahead of their respective competitors.

A Magic Compiler

With all of this going on, I feel like NLP & ML will greatly impact the future of programming and programming languages. It could be possible to create a programming language out of pure English (or any language for that matter) grammar. Alright, stay with me here for a second; the way it could work is:

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Blog Changes

This year, I’ve decided to make a few changes to my blog and following are the changes –

SSL enabled site-wide

As you might’ve already noticed, my blog is now served over SSL. I’ve enabled SSL site wide here (mt.cx) & on my mohni.sh domain. You can too, if you’re using GitHub to host your blog. The whole setup is very simple, quick and free.

URL

My blog URL has also changed. I’ve decided to use https://mt.cx for my blog and https://mohni.sh for my profile page. I’ve used mt.cx as my custom url shortener for the past couple of years.

Update: I’ve updated my blog URL to use https://iam.mt

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