Chaitanya

I am a family man, perpetual learner, coffee drinker, dessert eater and Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I also read, write, move, and meditate.

I voted today!

I voted today! This is my fourth time voting in this country since 2011.

Having voted once in 2009 in a third-world country amidst lot of unwarranted drama and hassle, I decided not to vote in similar situation again. But just after a year, in 2010, I got lucky and extricated myself from that corrupted environment. I have since enjoyed hassle-free voting at every possible opportunity in this wonderful country that I am fortunate to call home.

Looking forward to the results on 6th November.

Lockdown update: back to freedom after 56.5 days

I’m so glad that we as New Zealanders could contain the second wave of Covid-19 in 56.5 days since the last outbreak. Auckland will join the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 1 at 11:59pm today (Wednesday, 7 October).

While that’s great news, this time I am cautiously optimistic. There is still COVID-19 in New Zealand; as of today, there are 37 active cases, albeit in managed isolation and quarantine facilities. That number is much smaller than many other countries, but it only takes a little bit of complacency to push us all into another lockdown. It may sound obvious, but it is called a virus for a reason: it goes viral and we wouldn’t know how!

Meanwhile, I urge everyone, wherever you are in the world, to practice three Ws:

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Watch your distance.

And use whatever COVID Tracing app your government prescribes!

Here is the full NZ lockdown timeline:

  • 11:59pm, 25-March-2020 Wednesday

    New Zealand moves to alert level 4; the entire nation goes into self-isolation.

  • 33 days

  • 11:59 pm, 27-Apr-2020 Monday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 3.

  • 16 days

  • 11:59 pm, 13-May-2020 Wednesday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 2.

  • 26 days

  • 11:59 pm, 08-Jun-2020 Monday

    NZ will move to alert level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

  • 64.5 days

  • 12:00 pm, 12-Aug-2020 Wednesday

    Auckland returns to lockdown alert level 3.

    Rest of NZ returns to lockdown alert level 2.

  • 42.5 days

  • 11:59 pm, 23-September-2020 Wednesday

    Auckland goes down to lockdown alert level 2.

    Rest of NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 1.

  • 14 days

  • 11:59 pm, 07-October-2020 Wednesday

    Auckland joins rest of NZ at alert level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

  • Hoping this is the end of it! Knocks wood.

Definition of Expert


Found and liked this definition of expert in James Clear‘s newsletter.

The physicist Niels Bohr on what it takes to be an expert:

“An expert is a person who has found out by painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.”

The oldest source I could find was “Dr. Edward Teller’s Magnificent Obsession” in LIFE magazine. September 6, 1954.

Lockdown returns

Last night I woke up to this emergency alert:

Auckland returned to lockdown alert level 3 since this noon: 12 noon on Wednesday 12 August. The rest of New Zealand moved to alert level 2.

I was shocked because last night I went to sleep planning to make the most of today, which I took off from work for working last Sunday. I wasn’t following news and had no idea of events leading up to this second lockdown. So having to wake up in the middle of my sleep to the emergency beeper of my phone freaked me out.

We decided in the night that we are not going to send our son to school. We woke up and found that schools are closed for the rest of the week anyway.

I also woke up to see the appaling trollies in this tweet:

 and the nonsensical claims of the leader of the opposition.

It took me a few hours to get over all this and come to terms with the situation. I feel much better compared to when I woke up.

It sucks to have to lose the freedom to move freely, but there is inevitably another wave of virus infections. I told myself to accept the reality and stick to the usual stuff that we have accustomed so far in 2020: stay home as much as possible, maintain physical distance when outside, wash hands regularly.

As always, I feel lucky to be living in Auckland and beautiful New Zealand. I believe in my team of 5 million country people. We are going to do it again. It wasn’t a problem getting food and essentials even during level 4 lockdown, so not worried about toilet paper in level 3 lockdown that we are in now. Supermarket visit can certainly wait.

I chose to keep my positive habits. I ate reasonably well today, did the second of my three weekly workouts (I am yet to miss a week of workouts this year), setup Sharesies to get started with long-term investing, spoke to my mum on an important family matter and spoke to a close friend. Now I am looking forward to tomorrow, and eventually getting over this lockdown. Just like we did a little over a hundred days ago.

This tweet from Giapo is timely and sums up my feelings:

37

Seven days ago I turned thirty-seven.

I took the day off in lieu for working the previous Saturday. My wife took off from her work too.

My wife and son surprised me with a couple of gifts, one of which is my favourite organic dark chocolate from a local co-op. Given the current world events, I did not feel too excited to venture anywhere outside our lovely neighbourhood.

I spent the rest of the day with my wife and son, chatting together, playing video games, and eating out at our favourite places. I also spoke to my parents, brother, sister and an old friend, all from afar overseas.

I had a small and simple celebration.

I feel fortunate and privileged for everything in my life and being able to live how I envisioned. I have several ambitions to pursue, and that is probably a life long endeavour. But at this point in life, I don’t wish my life to be any different. For that, I am very grateful.

HEY, email spy!

I am not surprised by this, but it feels weird to realize actually getting spied! I am sure there will be many more instances of spying and it feels normal over time, but here’s the first one for the record.

I realize in the tweet sent from my previous post I sounded like I sent a pre-populated tweet some services encourage you to share right after signing up for them. 😬

That tweet isn’t something HEY populated or nudged me to send. I should have written a personable custom message to go along with my previous post.

Nevertheless, I am excited about signing up for HEY!

Hey, HEY!

Last night I bought my @hey.com email address subscription after trying it for a few days. I have been following HEY ever since Jason gave a heads up earlier this year. Since this is from Basecamp, I knew it is going to be amazing and it is! I signed up as soon as I got an invite a few days ago and I loved everything about it: the onboarding, speed, features, simplicity and privacy. But most importantly, I subscribed to the HEY Manifesto and the principles of its principals Jason and DHH and their Small Tech company, Basecamp.

I never thought I would pay for an email service, but it is probably the best ninety-nine US dollars I spent lately. Like many people, last time I was this excited about an email service when Gmail was introduced in 2004 (or 2005?). Big Tech is so pervasive, and it is not going to go away anywhere or any soon. But where possible and affordable, I think we should support subscription-based services offered by Small Tech companies; they cost money upfront, but they don’t sell your privacy and data to the highest bidders to display ads.

If you want to check more about HEY, I suggest these links: 

Lockdown update: returning to normalcy

New Zealand is moving to lockdown alert level 1 —and a return to mostly normalcy— from this midnight. Only border restrictions are in place.

I am glad it is over! It won’t be as normal as before all this, and it is still important to follow the hygiene and physical distancing practices, but overall, given how broken the world is right now, I am grateful for where I am. I couldn’t be anywhere better!

Here is the full timeline of New Zealand lockdown.

  • 11:59pm, 25-March-2020 Wednesday

    New Zealand moves to alert level 4; the entire nation goes into self-isolation.

  • 33 days

  • 11:59 pm, 27-Apr-2020 Monday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 3.

  • 16 days

  • 11:59 pm, 13-May-2020 Wednesday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 2.

  • 26 days

  • 11:59 pm, 08-Jun-2020 Monday

    NZ will move to alert level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

God Defend New Zealand.

Here is the summary of Covid-19 virus cases in New Zealand.

NZ Herald Infographic of NZ Covid-19 cases
Infographic from the New Zealand Herald.