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Running + Cycling = Fun + Routine

Today I completed 23 days of consecutive morning workouts. 23 days… my gosh! It was once believed that the magic number of days after which doing something daily became a routine was 21. I am 2 over. However, recent studies have shown that 21 is a little too less. The actual magic number is 66.

At any rate, I think 23 days is sufficient to make one feel great about a regular morning ‘routine’. I wake up between 4-5 am each morning, do work related to whatever side project or experiment I’m working on, and at 7 am I hit the road.

I’ve been running regularly since 4 months now. But until the end of March, it was not more than 3-4 days a week, sometimes even less. I wanted to be more regular in order to fight and reduce my stupid belly fat. Then one day–almost suddenly–I decided to alternate my morning workouts between running and cycling. It was an experiment to see if a day of hard exercise (running) followed by a day of relatively less stressful exercise (cycling) would help me get into a habit. And of course, I wanted to use that cycle of mine lying around unused since long. Guess what, it worked!

I’d been doing 3 kilometer runs before my new routine. Mixing in 10+ kms of cycling helped me very soon amp it up to 5 kms. Now, I consistently do 5 km running and 13+ km cycling sessions. That’s around 35-40 mins of daily workouts. Amazing, isn’t it? Yesterday, I broke my time record for 5 km run and today I broke my total distance record for cycling. Screenshots below.

I use Nike+ Run Club app for tracking my runs and UnderArmor’s MapMyRide app for cycling. And since I have plenty of ‘free’ time while working out, I listen to a podcast or an audiobook. After having finished The Stories of Mahabharata podcast, currently I am listening to the audiobook The Power of Habit. I am 35% through it, but how much I miss the Mahabharata podcast! Sudipta Bhawmik’s storytelling skills are really something. I’ll soon be doing a blog post on briefing all characters of the famous epic tale as have been covered in the ongoing podcast till now.

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Picture of a blackhole

Being a physics enthusiast, I was perhaps as dumbfounded as you were when I saw the first-ever image of a blackhole in today’s newspaper. I’ve always been fascinated by blackholes: their mind-bending complexity and the various sci-fi theories weaved around them over the years. So it’s obvious that capturing the ‘un-see-able’ felt weird. Like really weird. And what a name of the system of telescopes that captured this image–Event Horizon! I think the following video does a pretty good job in explaining how to interpret the image. It’s intriguing to note that the video was released before the image was actually made public.

Featured image credit: Wired

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Presenting My “Brand” New Site

It’s out. Live. My new website is finally ready for prime time.

A couple of months back, I set out to redefine my online identity. Looking at the websites of some of the coolest developers online, I felt low. Kinda left-out. For a software developer, their website is a key ingredient of their ‘brand.’ My brand was an oldish blog with a home page cluttered with unorganized posts. Don’t get me wrong. I am an organizing freak. My WordPress blog was in pretty good shape before. But it did not represent my brand. It just looked like a random collection of blog posts by a guy who does not care too much about keeping it up-to-date. So, I changed all that.

I am happy that I was finally able to find time in my busy schedule to complete all changes I had planned to make. These were:

  • A static home page that briefly talks about me, and acts as a doorway to the rest of the website.
  • Better organized blog posts. I’ve successfully reduced the number of categories to just 8 (from 55!).
  • An about me page that is the frankest and the most open description of myself.
  • Dedicated pages for things I am proud of — books I’ve written (I’m an author, yay) and tweets I’ve blabbered.
  • A new, simple, uncluttered theme.
  • A focus on what I am and love the most — computers & software.

So far I’ve received rave reviews for my new revamped website. Though I should probably disclose that I had only two reviewers: my sister and my wife.

Talk to you in the next one.

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Finding my place online

Back in the days when I had just started blogging, my dream was to learn whatever there is to learn about building websites and one day become a popular person on the internet. It could perhaps be done by disseminating my gained knowledge through hundreds or thousands of blog posts. It was a silly dream, but that was 14 years ago! That was a time when 256 kbps “broadband” was still a luxury in India. I was a teenager and like all other teenagers I wanted to do something “big”.

Freddie Mercury wearing a crown and robe.
I wanted to become the f**ing king of the Internet.

As I grew up, my access to technology increased, and so did my desire. My dream became my passion. Unlike dozens of peers around me, I was clear about the direction I was heading. I wanted to leave a mark in the world of web development.

When the average Indian was still smitten by Orkut, I was already using Facebook. When my fellow Indians discovered Facebook, I had moved onto Twitter. Life was fun and enjoyable.

Twitter made so many average joes famous. I wanted to be one of them.

But somewhere something changed. The need to build a strong online identity somehow got deprioritized. If I look back at the early days of my career: sure I was usually knee-deep busy with office work and what not (CAT/GMAT prep, Granular, etc.), but could there be better tools than Twitter and Facebook to help leave a mark? After all, Twitter was still new and I was sort of a regular. In retrospect, I should have worked seriously on my online identity then. Sure I tried in chunks—organizing and reorganizing my blog, randomly updating Twitter, etc.—but these were infrequent instances.

When I come across a well-written blog, Twitter post or forum thread—as part of my office work or personal learning—I feel both good and bad. I feel good out of appreciation for the work. I feel bad out of the overwhelmingly stinking thought that I do not have a single such outstanding post to my credit. It literally sucks to be me in those moments.

Anyway, still not everything is lost. I have a long career ahead of me, and with some careful planning now I’m confident that I can make up for what’s lost. In the next few days, I’ll be overhauling this blog quite a bit. I still keep learning lots of new (& cool) stuff. I intend to be more regular with my knowledge sharing here. That’s what I do and love, even if no one ends up reading my stuff ;). Well, sometimes they do but mostly they don’t.

YEAH! I am coming soon…

Stay tuned.

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Curse of the champions

Credit - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/sports/world-cup/germany-vs-south-korea.html

It’s done. They are gone! With a heart heavier than a steamroller, I saw Germany bow out of the world cup yesterday. Didn’t we all see that coming? From the start of the tournament, we could all feel something was amiss in this German attack. It was far-far from its past “blitzkrieg” glory. The way they were casually playing yesterday and their sloppy passing clearly showed a lack of intent to win. It was as if they were out there to ensure a 0-0 draw, for some wierdo of a reason. No matter how bad I felt watching the world cup slip away from Germany, by the end I had made up my mind that they didn’t deserve to win. No, they didn’t.

Interestingly, my Airtel Digital TV monthly balance expired yesterday. As if the universe doesn’t want me to watch the WC any further. :p