New quote that I liked

Added a new quote to my Quotes page on this blog.

I can think. I can wait. I can fast. – Siddhartha

Found this quote in Matt’s Twitter profile via the following Derek’s tweet.

Tim Ferriss’ explanation I found here elaborates this quote well.

Ferriss said that this deceptively simple response is the foundation for all high performers. He explains in “Tools of Titans”:

I can think: Having good rules for decision-making, and having good questions you can ask yourself and others.

“I can wait: Being able to plan long-term, play the long game, and not mis-allocate your resources.

“I can fast: Being able to withstand difficulties and disaster. Training yourself to be uncommonly resilient and have a high pain tolerance.”

“Those are three very, very powerful tools and they’re very flexible,” Ferriss told us.

The important thing we forget in the rush to achieve

I should remember the following gems in the article I found in the following tweet.

But if I could offer one piece of advice to incoming freshman, it would be to learn to take care of themselves—because they are about to be surrounded by people who often have the misconception that racking up achievements and accolades is more important than leading a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

the real lesson of grit is the importance of working hard at a sustainable pace, without any expectation of immediate payoff.

Should we encourage our children to work hard? Absolutely. But young people need to learn that grit is only effective when coupled with restorative activities like sufficient sleep, exercise, a well-balanced diet, meditation, walks in nature, and time off. Research shows that these basic yet essential self-care habits result in greater focus and productivity, not to mention increased creativity, better decision-making, and stronger emotional intelligence.

Example of a nagging app

Only yesterday I blogged about apps and their tricks to grab our precious attention by making us  install them on our phones in the pretense of helping us.

This morning I wanted to check the menu of a local cafe. I googled and clicked on one of the search results. It’s a Zomato link that looked like what I wanted:

I click on it and get this:

When I click on SEE MENU link, I get this:

If I think a bit about this…

What I wanted to do: check the cafe menu.

What Zomato wanted me to: install their app.

If Zomato’s aim is to help me, it will get out of my way and provide the info I need as soon as possible without any friction. But it seems Zomato’s aim is to make me install their app and advance its interests.

These are exactly the kind of apps and services I should avoid.

Apps and attention

I started reading Raptitude from last year and it quickly became one of my favorite blogs.

The recent post, How Billionaires Stole My Mind, opened up my mind to how social media companies compete for our attention first thing in the morning and succeed in distracting us.

After reading this post, I also deleted Tweetbot app from my iPhone. Twitter now joins the ranks of Facebook, Instagram and other social apps that have no place on my iPhone.

And despite Outlook’s frequent nagging, its notifications remain turned off. The only three apps I allow notifications are: WordPress, Slack and WhatsApp. These three apps are important to me.

I urge you to reconsider and be deliberate about which apps and notifications you allow on your phone. Just because your phone has a lot of space (mine has 128 GB) doesn’t mean you need to install lot of apps and worse still, scroll through their feeds unconsciously.

Ownership and control

I read a great post today that explains why we should take the ownership and control of our content we put on the internet.

Discovered in this tweet, Redesigning Waxy, 2016 edition is a great read.

If you don’t have time to read the full post, just read these two paragraphs:

Last week, Twitter announced they’re shutting down Vine. Twitter, itself, may be acquired and changed in some terrible way. It’s not hard to imagine a post-Verizon Yahoo selling off Tumblr. Medium keeps pivoting, trying to find a successful revenue model. There’s no guarantee any of these platforms will be around in their current state in a year, let alone ten years from now.

Here, I control my words. Nobody can shut this site down, run annoying ads on it, or sell it to a phone company. Nobody can tell me what I can or can’t say, and I have complete control over the way it’s displayed. Nobody except me can change the URL structure, breaking 14 years of links to content on the web.

It is still hard for me to publish to my blog first and everywhere else next. I shared the original post first in a tweet, and now writing this post. I’m trying hard to get over this habit.

I archive my photos to OneDrive, Flickr and Google Photos. All these services upload my camera roll without me having to do anything. It is convenient. But there is a risk that any of these services can shut the door on my previous memories with little or no notice. I really have no solution to this. I will keep thinking.

Learning to write well

Since I started reading English language style guides few years ago, I became critical of the text I see everywhere. 

There’s heaps of imperfect writing everywhere; billboards, public toilets, public transport, and oh yeah, this blog. These are all great learning opportunities to practice the rules I read in the books. 

I’m in the airport shuttle bus now. Luckily the bus is full and I have no seat to sit. I’m standing few seats behind the driver. This notice caught my attention. 

I told myself that if I get a chance to rewrite this notice, I’d rephrase it like this:

For others comfort, please don’t smoke, eat, or drink in this bus. Thank you. 

Fewer and direct words. 

My writing is far from perfect. I write a lot of loose text. But I believe that if I never stop learning from these everyday opportunities, be open to feedback, and don’t become a snob, I can only get better eventually.

Waiting for the next iPhone

I’m excited about the upcoming iPhone. That’s because I am going to buy it. 

It’s been six years since I looked forward this much for an iPhone. Luckily, I didn’t have to buy a phone all these years. I bought my first iPhone in the October of 2010. Saying I was excited to lay my hands on it is needless. It’s the fourth version of the iconic phone sporting few firsts like retina display and 1 GHz processor. I started typing this post in the same phone, and published it later from the iPad. 

I used the iPhone 4 until the April of 2013. Then I gave it to my wife who used it until she got a brand new iPhone SE this April for her birthday. Meanwhile, for the three years, I used the iPhone 5 I was given by my previous employer to fulfil my job responsibilities. I was pretty happy with iPhone 5. It’s sleek, light, fast and has a decent camera. This is why I never bothered to check the later versions of the phone. I returned the iPhone 5 when I quit my job at the end of May.

June is a bad time to buy an iPhone. The new iPhone is only four months away from June. I felt it’s worth waiting until September before blowing up at least a grand on a new phone. So I popped the SIM card into my unused iPhone 4.

In 2016, the iPhone 4 felt terrible. It’s sluggish despite keeping very few apps. It’s stuck with iOS 7.1.2. Most apps require iOS 8 and either wouldn’t install or install the previous versions. Camera is slow and blurry that I lost interest in clicking photos. I was frustrated at one point that I went to a store to buy an iPhone SE. But that store ran out of the stock. It turned out to be a good thing.

On the bright side, using a six year old phone improved my patience levels. Few crucial apps I need like WordPress, Wunderlist, Simplenote, iMessage, Whatsapp and Elevate worked fine. It’s hotspot feature came in handy during my recent India trip when I needed a temporary internet connection. Anyday, I’d rather use a dated iPhone than an Android. So thank you, iPhone4. You have been amazing overall. 

It’s only few weeks before the new iPhone 7 and its variants see the light of the day. I can’t wait to buy it. I am not a fan of gigantic screens on a phone. So I will stick to a smaller screen. I imagine it will be lighter, faster and better than earlier iPhones.

I like to keep things for long. However, I hear talks about Apple saving the best for 2017, for the tenth anniversary version of the iPhone. If these talks turns out to be true, I will trade in iPhone 7 for its next version. Otherwise, I will be happy to live with the iPhone 7 for the next seven years.