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

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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.

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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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Two Years on Chrome Webstore

Exactly 2 years ago (Mar 22nd, 2015), on a Sunday afternoon, I wrote and open sourced Rearrange Tabs. I use it every single day. I find it pretty useful.

The extension got featured on LifeHacker & Changelog 🎉

Here are a few interesting stats about the project:

  • Active Users: 1000+
  • No. of Reviews on Chrome Webstore: 28
  • Rating on Chrome Wesbtore: 5 stars
  • Stars on GitHub: 39
  • Forks on GitHub: 10
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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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Happy New Year 2017

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Last year, I, royally screwed up the timing of my year in review post by posting it in July.

I know, July is not really the best time to wish someone a Happy New Year, but, unfortunately, that was when I snapped out of my laziness to write a blog post. I didn’t want to miss my year in review blog and so I did it anyway…in July.

This year, I don’t want to be lazy and so, here it is, on the 2nd of January (I had friends come over on the 1st and so, I couldn’t find time to blog).

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Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano

My wife and I chose to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in Costa Rica. I’ve refined and organized my notes from the trip and turned it into a blog post.

✈️ We flew from Los Angeles, USA to San José, Costa Rica

🚕We took a taxi from Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) to La Fortuna, a small town in Costa Rica, northwest of the capital, San José

🛌 We took an Airbnb in La Fortuna, since it is close to the Arenal volcano.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the downtown in La Fortuna.

After checking out the places in downtown, we found out that there are a lot of adventurous activities that we could do. My wife and I are both adventure lovers and naturally, we opted for the ones we found interesting.

Activities

We lined up a bunch of activities for the next 3 days around La Fortuna.

🤪 Zip lining

I’ve gone Zip Lining before, but, this was just next level. The views are amazing. We did it with Ecoglide. It includes Zip lining and the epic Tarzan swing.

🦸‍♂️Tarzan Swing

Tarzan Swing

🧗‍♂️ Waterfall Rappelling

The next day, we went Waterfall Rappelling. This was crazy. Rappelling down the waterfalls was intense, challenging, and extremely fun.

🌉 Hanging Bridges

The third day, we picked activities that were not as intense. This included checking out the hanging bridges and hiking the Arenal Volcano.

🌋 Hiking Arenal Volcano

This was an interesting experience. It was raining heavily and it was getting dark too. We got drenched during the hike. It was really fun.

Arenal Volcano

After the hike, we went back to our Airbnb, packed our stuff and set out to Baldi Hot Springs. We got a room at the Hotel Resort and stayed for the next day. I cannot recommend this enough. It is fantastic. After all the adventurous activities, we needed to calm down and relax. Baldi was perfect. We got lucky while we were at Baldi. It was raining. Now, imagine this – it’s raining and you’re in the hot springs. Yep, it was just perfect. 10/10 would recommend this place.

After spending the entire day and night at Baldi Hot Springs, the next day, we took a taxi back to San José. We reached our Airbnb in San Jose and just checked out the mall. I even got a haircut at the mall.

The next day, we checked out the city of San José. We visited the famous Market in city. We had fun walking around. At this point, we got tired and had dinner at a restaurant and left to our Airbnb.

The next morning, we left to the airport and flew back to the United States.

The whole trip was really fun and we enjoyed a lot. I would definitely recommend it. Pura Vida!

Rearrange Tabs

OCD is weird. It makes a person do weird things. For instance, I find it annoying to have tabs not grouped by their purpose. When I’m working, I usually have the documentation opened in one tab (which usually is the left tab) and the tab to its right, absolutely, has to be the tab that’s running my local copy of the app that I’m currently working on.

I’m used to using the mouse to rearrange my tabs all the time. Sometimes, I have multiple windows open (if I’m at work, since I have a dual-monitor setup) at the same time. I’ve always wanted to have keyboard shortcuts that did all this. That’s the reason I wrote a new Google Chrome Extension called Rearrange Tabs.

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Money

A year ago, I was trying to organize my bank accounts and found that it was really hard for me to understand where I was spending most of my money. So I started doing some research in order to find a good tool/application which would do this for me.

Mint, of course, was my first tool of choice. Mint is a pretty good application, but not the right one for me. I’ve been a Mint user since a long time and never found it to be really helpful for me in organizing and understanding my expenditures. Every single time I logged in to Mint, it complained about Bank Account Authentication Failures™. I’ve tried re-connecting my bank accounts over a 100 times and it still never works. Moreover, I’m not really comfortable letting a 3rd party access my bank details anymore. Also, it’s not that great at auto-categorizing my bills/expenses anyway and it still lacks some of the features that I thought would be cool and helpful for me.

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