Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sundarbans, West Bengal, India

I visited the Sundarbans for an overnight 24 hours in December, 2015. It is the largest mangrove forest area in the world but, like Bangladeshi people, most of it is in Bangladesh so you only get to see a fraction of it on Indian territory.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Meet the New Boss

I've always felt that the superhero policy of not killing anybody sacrifices pragmatism for nobility. Suspiciously, there is no capital punishment in their world either. If they don’t want to play god then that’s fine but surely they could invite Thor over and let him decide. Character transformation is wistful thinking; Poison Ivy hasn't turned over a new leaf, the idea of a labile Lex Luthor is laughable, and the lip on the Hobgoblin isn’t wobbling. Even basic imprisonment would have kept them in check if they could just stop trying to escape all the time.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fashion Trends in Time Series

Originally appeared on the Ather Blog.
For those who can't be bothered to go through till the end, these visuals are now available in R in the ggTimeSeries package.

Time Series Data

Any data which has some temporal identity can be considered time series data.

Your internet data consumption every month, tracked over multiple months, would comprise time series data. If you record the distance your car has been driven every week over a long duration then you are creating time series data. Flagging every instance that you used the phrase, ‘So what else is up?’ on a phone call would also make time series data. Time series data, actually, is all around.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Kudremukh, Karnataka, India

Kudremukh is one of the highest peaks in the state of Karnataka. It's called so because it resembles a horse's face which seems unfair considering we still call Sarah Jessica Parker Sarah Jessica Parker. K has nothing to feel bad about because the resemblance belongs to the same group as constellations and north Indian street food on south Indian streets. If you didn't already know which part resembles the horse face, assuming you know what a horse face looks like, you might not even recognise it when you see it.

It is an overnight journey away from Bangalore. The trek itself spans a total of 10 hours, reaches an altitude of about 2000 m, and never really becomes hard. If you're lost, you're likely to find a trail, other trekkers, locals, or your now cranky guide who has been looking for you. You won't be so tired by the end of it that you can't leave for Bangalore straightaway and reach by next morning but our organisers decided to keep us overnight, maybe to help the home stay guy make an extra buck and / or to let us play in the streams the next morning. This meant a Saturday evening making forced conversation, the best part of a Sunday cooped up in a Tempo Traveller, but a glorious Saturday night sleeping under the stars.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Us and Them: Wetware

So, 75 days after the trek, I quit my job and joined a start up. Such steps involve deep introspection, meeting some new interesting people, and one or two life changing events. As an insider, I can confidently reveal that a start up can hire you even if you don't have any of those three points on your CV. You should also know that if you let a greater number of life changing events happen to you then you risk overshooting the why-I-quit blog post and heading directly to the one where you describe your ride from one end of the Sahara to the other with just 5000 Indian Rupees, a goat, and a camera worth a few months of salary. By the way, this is not the why-I-quit blog post. This was just a rebuke.

I joined a company which is into hardware. We’re making smart electric scooters. For those who don't remember, hardware are things. They have a physical presence and therefore their existence goes beyond the hard drives of servers, computers or phones. For a guy like me, who types for a living interspersed with the occasional click or two, the new environment was refreshingly different. Over time, however, I got the feeling that somewhere deep down, software and hardware have a lot in common.

In the wisely chosen words of James Franco -