22 December 2020

Lessons from the book 'Atomic Habits'

I read James clear's "atomic habits' earlier this year. Sharing some notes which re-reading today.

On Motivation

  • We don't lack motivation. We lack clarity.
  • Instead of looking for motivation, create intent. Focus on 'what', 'when' and 'how'. let them propel you forward.

Do the work

  • Reps matter. there are no other shortcuts. Every rep moves you closer to your goal. Don't get stuck on perfecting something.
  • Focus on creating more and more and then focus on improving them.

Power of habits

  • True change comes when you change your identity. Identity emerges from the habits you have.
  • Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.
  • Every action we take is a vote for the kind of person we want to become.
  • The way to becoming something is by doing something.
  • Use habits to optimize for the starting line, not for the finish line.
  • For habits with long-term implications, create practices to gain short term positive momentum. [checking off the boxes, striking off to-dos, etc]
  • To maintain your momentum, James suggests following the 'never miss twice' rule.
  • Jerry Seinfield referreded to it as 'don't break the chain'.

02 December 2020

Photo a day: Evening sun

This evening, during my evening run I went to one of the playgrounds which I frequent. It belongs to a school in the village of Thuhi near my home. The school's hockey team practices here while I run or walk.  The sky has been beautiful and the sun rays made for a pleasing view.
what do you think?

evening sun


05 July 2020

Lessons from the book : Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

I got 'meditations' by Marcus Aurelis as a Father's day gift(2020). I actually chose the book. The family happily gifted it. The book has been on my reading list for a while, especially after I read the 'The daily stoic'. The Daily Stoic by Ryan holiday does an excellent job of articulating principles of stoicism, but I have always wanted to read the sourcebook. This is it.

Below are some of my notes or learnings which i took while reading the book. I took the help of my daughter to type up some notes, so I can share the lessons from the book 'Meditations' with others and hopefully help spread the word of Stoicism and writings of Marcus Aurelius to others.

Marcus Aurelius Wrote this diary "To Himself" as the original title, during the intervals of the battle.

Before I jump into sharing my learnings and specific quotes from The legend here are some observations on the book itself:
  1. It's a short book but may not be a short read.  
  2. English writing can be very cryptic at times
  3. Some pages are loaded with wisdom and points. So, take the time to read and absorb.
  4. Reflection is part of reading this book. I found myself reflecting on some thoughts post reading through it.
  5. It goes to show that even in 100 AD and before, men have always faced the biggest challenges in front of them. Most of them begin within the heads. hence, "tame your own mind" continues to be the age-old wisdom.
Now, let me share some of the quotes from his book, which I thought are extremely valuable. Some of these, you have to read a couple of times to let them sink in. It is amazing still that thousands of years ago, someone was thinking and answering what we constantly battle with, even today.

19 June 2020

What certifications and validations wont give you?

I wrote this to tell you, dont expect to be rewarded for the work you are doing. Do it for yourself.
After I finished my certifications and posted in the public domain, there has been a significant inflow of comments, lots of love, lots of inquiry about how I went about it, and what led me to take a technical certification.

As I shared my experiences with a blog post, the comments and appreciation inflow continued.

However, there was something that was bothering me.

10 June 2020

Passing the AWS Certified Solutions Architect-Associate

How to pass the AWS Certified solutions architect

I took the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Test on 8th June and "passed" it. While the journey has been long and grueling learning and understanding the AWS ecosystem and its 150+ services, its also been highly satisfying.  I scored 860/1000.  Before taking this exam, I had finished my AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner back in February of 2020. 
As I hit this big milestone, I am filled with emotions of gratitude towards my family and friends. This post is being put together with the hope that this will help inspire someone else too, hopefully. I am sharing my test prep method, time mgmt, etc which have been some valuable lessons learned along the way.
If this can help even one person either get inspired to take action or make any other mode of investment in their career and life, my purpose will be met. Read on.

08 June 2020

A night before the big test

A night before Solutions Architect associate certification

I am finally taking the AWS Test Tomorrow. Its the SAAC-01, Certification for Solutions Architect- Associate. 
It's a big test for me.
I have been preparing for the test now for 4 weeks. I can confidently say that the level of dedication that has gone into preparing for this Certification has even surprised me. It reminds me of the time of studies during the time of graduation.
Late-night studies, Logging hours and hours of studies, Researching, Digging deep into concepts, using multiple analogies to drive home the concept, and using examples of code, debugging to understand things inside out.

The Journey for SAAC-01 has been also highly rewarding, even though a bit exhausting.

Tonight, as I plan to go to bed early so I get a good night's sleep here are few thoughts which run through my mind, and I want to capture them as-is so they can be even more relevant tomorrow when there is also an outcome.

03 June 2020

Tips and guidance to prepare for AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification

tips to prepare for AWS certified cloud practitioner

I finished my AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification a month back. 
While super stoked, as I shared this news, quite a few folks asked about the resources I went over while preparing for the exam.
Now, that led me to write this post and sharing my experience as I did go through a lot of content for this base level certification.
The good-  In the AWS ecosystem is that they are focusing on democratizing knowledge. 
There is significant documentation, explanations, diagrams, and resources available all over AWS's site and blog. 
Also, since AWS is a hot cake in the market, there are hordes of videos and other 3rd party training available on every subject and all levels.
The bad- some times it can get overwhelming.
So, in this article, I will share with you the materials you can use to prepare yourself for the exam, some of the highly recommended whitepapers, how much time to allocate to prepare, and some other exam tips. Read on!

01 June 2020

Photo story : Life in a lockdown

I started to think about using the powerful medium of photos to illustrate lockdown and how life has been at home. 

Life changed upside down during this period, and a lot of the things which we were so focused on took a backseat, and many new things took a significant portion of our attention, time, and space in our lives. 

I wanted to capture and showcase especially things which have taken precedence, things which are become more important and things which have lost their relevance in these times. So, in this photo essay, I will share some photos which capture that spirit from my point of view on work-life, things which have kept me same, what my daughter does during the day and how we spend our time as a family and then some of the things which have lost their relevancy during this period.

21 May 2020

2018 Macbook Pro 13" and Screen flickering problem

I bought a new MacBook Pro in early 2019 (May 4th to be precise, it was a refurbished 2018 model).

Some background on my experience with Macbooks

I have been working with MacBooks for a while and they have been a significant step up in terms of overall reliability from other devices, with the likes of Dell, HP, and Acers. 
I own another MacBook Pro from 2013 and touch wood, it has been running steady like a workhorse. No problems at all!

So, to supplement with a dedicated device for my official work, I decided to buy another MBP (obvious choice). 
At that time, the biggest debate was around the faulty keyboards but early 2018 devices were less fraught with the issues. 
So I found the right type of device and placed my order.
[I use Apple's refurbished program as I have had excellent success with that program]

Fast forward, Oct 2019, and something from my nightmares came true!

My keyboard started acting weird and after a day or two, it became clear that It has developed a significant issue with mostly its E and I keys. It's amazing when a small thing breaks, it shows you how everything is inter-connected and just one screwed letter on the keyboard is all it takes to bring a device and its usage down.
I could have continued with an external keyboard, but the problem had to be fixed. This was less than 6 months old device and it was a shame that it had developed this issue. Long Story Short, the device spent about 10 days at a service center and when it came out, I had paid 0$ for a brand new keyboard install. More about this experience later.

20 May 2020

Rains and thunderstorms | FREE download wallpaper included

my desktop with new wallpaper
My workspace and wallpaper of the photo

Yesterday we had a lot of rains due to a storm system crossing over the Miami area. As a result of this, it's been pouring for the past couple of days.
However, As the storm-battered down and heavy rains dripped through our glass doors facing the backyards, I just could not resist taking a shot of those water drops and the patterns they formed.

Btw if you are interested I am sharing the link to a full-size wallpaper for your large displays.
Feel free to download and share and enjoy.

Meanwhile, Here is the final resulting Image I posted on Instagram.

17 May 2020

5 Tips on taking really good Sunset shot!

5 tips for stunning sunset shots

A few days back I took a sunset shot near a lake to our house. The evening was clear and filled with colors as the sun was setting. and boy, did the shot come out well!
I had just finished my work and was wondering if I would have just enough time to get out and capture the setting sun.
Rather than thinking too much, I actually picked up my camera and stepped out. 
Continue Reading if you want to know a little bit about my photo-taking story, otherwise, you can scroll down to seeing the shot I am so proud of. I also share with you some important tips for capturing great shots in the evening and how to use your camera to its fullest.

06 May 2020

Tools & Accessories for exponential productivity when working from home

Makeshift standup desk
A Make Shift stand-up desk used at the office before I moved over a Varidesk

I worte a post earlier on my experiences of moving to a standing desk at home. 
I have consistently used the standing desk since mid-2016, except for part of 2019, when my traveling increased significantly, and instead of working 100% from home, I also started working from one of the client's office. 
The standing desk started to see less of me, especially during the weekdays and its usage dropped.

However, In late 2019, I also began ramping up on my knowledge quotient especially technical side and this led me to spend more time over the weekend with my desk and I started to buy a couple of additional accessories which could help make my life easier while working for extended periods of time.

This has paid dividends, especially during the COVID19 lockdown announced in the United States, as we began working remotely.

05 May 2020

here is why ZOOM and Oracle deal is creating all the Buzz

This Morning I penned down my thoughts on the cloud deal which recently took place amidst the Corona crisis. Oracle has for obvious reasons made a lot of fuss around this deal.
Check my article which goes into possible reasons why there was so much fuss around this deal, what are the potential technology requirements for a service like ZOOM and some data points around how much data is being transferred via the Oracle's cloud infrastructure.