01 June 2020

Life during lockdown in photos : Part 1

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, over next 5 articles of so, 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

Macbook Pro 13" and Screen flickering problem

I bought a new MacBook Pro in early 2019 (May 4th to be precise).

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

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 made at for few days, for fun before I moved to VariDesk at office

I have written a post earlier on my experiences of moving to a standing desk. I have consistently used it since then 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 to over the weekends for that period.

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 from home for extended periods of time.

This paid dividends especially during the COVID19 lockdown announced in the United States and once we began completely working from home.

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.

30 April 2020

5 tips to begin your journey towards building your brand on linkedin

I have been writing articles on LinkedIn for a few years now. The service is excellent. The editor they offer works like a charm and LinkedIn has its own ecosystem of users to which you are able to address effectively. Linkedin also has a marketing tool in its ecosystem that liked "Trending" by categories that continues to curate and recommend posts.

However, after writing on LinkedIn for these years, I can clearly see some of the pros and cons of writing on LinkedIn vs writing on your personal blog or website or other suitable mediums.
These days people have started to use LinkedIn more like Facebook where you even see people posting personal photos, their certificates, etc to capture attention. Its become like a personal networking site for professional circuit and a lot of people don't like it and are turned off by it, including me.

better ways to inside sales effort on linkedin

Even though I run sales for an IT services company, I get approached on LinkedIn by dozens of companies every week. The same continues on my professional emails.
Some are selling me their sales improvement programs (very few), some of them are trying to hire me for a software engineering position in Australia, some are inviting me to their HR podcast and some of them are trying to see if I will be interested in taking a PHP training course which can quickly teach me some intricate details of the language.

As you can tell, the majority of these outreaches are irrelevant to me.

Magical holiday lights of Naperville, Illinois

As we all deal with the Covid lockdown, I sift through some of my archive photos on my computer. This is when I bump across the winter of 2018, and where we had an amazing time going through the neighborhood of Naperville during the winter times. 
This was one of the best times as a family, where we would pack up in the car every night, and go around covering at least 5-6 six houses lit with Christmas decorations in the area. 
It was astonishing to see the elaborate decorations which are put in place by the residents. 

04 January 2020

7 steps to Get your life back amidst constant disturbances

Last year, I still very clearly remember one of the days where I was totally on the edge. 

I was working at the office and this was one of those super busy days. 
I was constantly in meetings, juggling between conversations, emails, constant messages and just responding to everything coming my way.
Now, that I think back, I was in hyper-reactive mode. 
It's like standing in the wrong lane on an expressway where everything is coming towards you.

Imagine this for a moment:
  1. There is an onslaught of emails. A small notification appears every few seconds on the top right-hand side of MacBook. my outlook has 20 unread emails & counting.
  2. We use Microsoft teams for communicating internally. Every few seconds, among the 6 channels I am actively using, there is one or the other message getting posted. The team's icon at the bottom of my screen continues to be lit.
  3. I have a video call going on using Microsoft teams where we are discussing few really important things which I have to listen to and drive.
  4. Meanwhile, on my mobile, things are in action as well. My parent company workgroup just created a WhatsApp group to track a hot opportunity and there is a constant trickle of conversation there. Folks are making mention and tagging me in the conversation and I have a sinking feeling since 200 messages have been posted in the past 1 hr.
  5. My wife has called and I have not returned her call for past 1 hr. unfortunately, sometimes personal life takes a backseat, which is not something I recommend to anyone.
  6. A couple of colleagues have walked in asking for a few things. I have grinningly but politely told them to come back later.
  7. There is a phone number which now I have saved on my phone from the local agency which keeps selling me a new offer. they have called twice and I have not picked up that call. 
  8. and above all, I am sitting in an open office environment where our leadership group gets a lot of visitors and there is always a lot of conversation going on.
  9. and now take into account a few other factors which could be involved:
    1. Facebook or other social sites and notifications from those
    2. I don't use skype, slack or other tools however I have seen people juggle with many such tools
That particular hour I came quite close to throwing something on someone!!!

03 January 2020

An interesting place to stop on the way to key west

During the Christmas week of 2019, I had one of my friends visiting us in Florida. the weather is just excellent at this time. 
it has been about 70 degrees most of the time. some rains but mostly sunny.
So you couldn't ask for anything more.

02 January 2020

Looking at 2019 and zooming into 2020

So a new year has begun. 2020.
First of all wishing everyone a great year ahead.
I wish that whatever you desire for, you are able to achieve it.

As I look back at 2019 during the last few days, I could not help notice that 2019 turned out to be a fairly challenging year for me. 
There is still so much to thank for, but lets just say a lot could have been done better.

Irrespective, A year with lots of learnings and lessons.

Great things for which I am thankful

Here is a list of a few good-great-excellent things which happened last year and I am thankful for :

  1. Got back into the serious gyming habit. I have always been active but this really got me interested in weight lifting and getting stronger. I have kept up with it fairly well in the past few months. 
  2. We moved from Chicago to the Miami area. I wasn't very excited about it and honestly, I am still not. However living in this weather, being able to get outdoors has been a good shift. 
  3. I took a serious break from constant traveling from July onwards. This has been a welcome change. Being able to come home every day is a good thing and often taken for granted. This also brought a lot of predictability in my routine. This gave me a lot of time with my daughter n wife to spend on things that I haven't in the past. 
  4. On the professional front met some excellent people at work. It's also happened after a long time where I am going to an office desk every day. 
  5. On the professional front as well I got engulfed into technology which is absolutely cutting edge and next Gen. Building a complete data lake and data monetization platform using AWS and its stack for infrastructure, data science, and machine learning. A brand new space for me and could pace the way for bigger better things in life ahead. 
  6. My reading continued thru the year and led me to some excellent areas of knowledge and wisdom. Hoping to continue with the same this year.
  7. Spent more time with family than any of the past 4-5 years. Contributed to my daughter's activities much more. 
  8. Took up gardening even more actively due to the tropical climate of Florida.
Among many things which didn't go my way here are few which were in my control and in my analysis could be fixed immediately and in the near future. 
  • Stopped blogging. I got very busy but still no excuse for not writing on topics upon which I have so much to say. 
  • Worrying too much. Led to a lot of unnecessary anxiety and is no good. Hindsight does provide me this perspective now. 
  • Making decisions in desperate situations. Avoid putting myself in situations where the circumstances make decisions for you. 

Things I can Change Immediately

Among things that I can change immediately, blogging is one. So here is committing to better blogging ahead.

My Other focus areas for 2020

Other few things to be done in 2020 are:
  • Stay in the moment but keep a long term view.
  • Focus more on experiences than things.
  • Travel more and see everything we can.
  • Consistently read and write.
  • Build more lean muscles. Get to my 350 lbs on my deadlift.

How has your 2019 been? Any resolutions you have made. Do share your thoughts in the comments below. 

14 December 2018

Setting up our Christmas tree - Marking the beginning of the holidays

We are in full swing moving towards the holidays, as we get into the middle of December.
Christmas had a different meaning growing up in India. It was not a very big deal in the small town of Nabha, except for the shades of it start to show on the chocolate boxes, juice boxes, cutouts of Santa at different stores, and a whole lot of advertising on the tv and the shows.
In a bigger city like Patiala, you could also see small Christmas trees.
however you were to go to tier 1 cities, or major hotels to see them bring the true colors of Christmas to the town.
We also had a church in Patiala which made it look much more special than anywhere else.

however with time, things have changed, and with the advent of malls, India is now a global country. we love to celebrate festivals and Christmas has also become a big thing.
personally, as a family after Umika came along we started celebrating all the festivals which we could so she gets exposure to the culture and the people.
Our move to states opened the floodgates on exposure to different cultures.