Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I don't want to get used to stupidity

A snippet from a post that addresses the ongoing conflict between functionality and smoooothness of user interfaces

"there's the sentence, you can get used to it. Yes, I can. People can get used to all sorts of things, like labor in Siberia or prison camps in Laos, that does not mean you should be doing that if you don't have to. I don't want to get used to stupidity."

from http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gnome-3-6.html

I echo with this. Just how in communications we've (actually, you've) been losing honest communication in the name of more and more courtesy and manners, so too in this matter, of computing, we're losing useful.. usefullness (!) in the blind pursuit of making everything super-smooth and minimal.

To deal with this, one thing we need to do is take off the unidirectional assumption of time in software. It is possible for an earlier version to be better than the latest version. There should be an acceptance for refusing to stay up-to-date all the damn time.

Especially regarding the new main interface that has come in Ubuntu, after ubuntu 10 :
   _   _

Monday, February 11, 2013

Data visualization help

Wanted : programming help

I'm looking for a software tool, hopefully web-able, that can take data like a budget distribution and visualize it in the way the "Disk Usage Analyzer" works in Ubuntu/Linux.

The important part is the input: Rather than being top-down, it should be able to add things bottom-up the same way the DiskUsageAnalyzer weighs all the individual files and builds up the distribution to give us the final picture.

The trick: Instead of taking a file's SIZE, it can take a number stored inside the file (it could be a simple text file or .ini file)

This software example leaves out the last step of listing/visualizing the actual files. Naturally my software would cover that too.

Why I want this: It's not just budget allocation... it can be any application where we can use bottom-up adding up and infinite, non-linear breakdowns. One sector may have 3 elements and it may stop there; another sector may have 2 of those elements breaking down further. And over time, one black-box-like section may open up to reveal its components. I'd like it to be as flexible as putting a simple file in the folder.

This could also have a feature of "missing departments". Example: Education dept gets 20 crores. Broken down into its various programs, the programs might add up to 15 cores. 5 crores unaccounted : this could be programmed to show up in this interface.

So.. anybody up for the challenge?
Contact me on nikhil [dot] js [at] gmail.com
Phone : +91-966-583-1250

short video on factory Vs democratic education

Video: Make Your Voice Heard: Discover Democratic Education (2:35 mins)

My comment there:
thanks for sharing this!
Factory schooling and the teacher-centric paradigm are based on an underlying assumption that the average person is stupid and cannot be trusted to act in the best interests; that we need "experts" to guide and "educate" everyone.
The trouble, of course, starts when the experts inevitably put their own interests first.
Democratic learning counters that assumption. The most ordinary people, when given the freedom, will make better choices than experts.

Global Service Jam 1-3 March 2013

There's an event called Global Service Jam happening in several cities across the world and in India on March 1 2003.
The tagline: You have 48 hours to change the world.

My friend Rohny attended it in Mumbai last year and had amazing reviews of it.

Here's a description:
On 1 March 2013, people who are interested in service and using a design-based approach to problem solving and creativity will meet all over the globe. In a spirit of experimentation, co-operation and friendly competition, teams will have 48 hours to develop brand new services inspired by a shared theme. On Sunday at 3pm, they publish them to the world.

So it's cutting across sectors, is open to all including kids, and has lots of on-your-feet thinking and brainstorming together, spread across 3 days. The theme will be given when the event begins.

Check out the website http://www.globalservicejam.org

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Imagination over experience

A week back, in a conversation with an amazing person I've recently gotten to know, she remarked about why is she seeing so many dead peoples' quotes in poster-images being shared over facebook - she'd rather know about what the living have to say.

While I myself really enjoy seeing some very wise words being shared, I understood her point : What are we, the currently living generation, saying and believing? Why don't we exchange, as often, our ideas and thoughts? Why do we need great (and dead) people -- the elites, to monopolize wisdom? After all, even their famed wisdom has been inherited from the wisdom of the crowds. Every person is capable of displaying exemplary wisdom, foresight, understanding of any situation.

So I've started off with this:

And it's shared in an album in my facebook profile over here.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Climate reality: Don't mix cause and effect

It's not about debunking conspiracies just for the sake of debunking conspiracies. It's about analysing the chain of facts and events and figuring out what's REALLY going on.

Came across this shared by a Page that I otherwise get quite useful posts from:

"Global Warming: 420,000 years of data proves that contrary to current belief today, the Vostok data shows us that CO2 increases lag behind temperature increases by about 800 years. This means that CO2 is not the cause of the increased temperatures, and global warming is not caused by man."
<Head smack> omg where's your logic gone off to? for 420,000 years CO2 increase happened AFTER temperature rise, and THAT warming of course wasn't caused by humans. Now for the first time in recordable planetary history, CO2 increases are happening BEFORE temperature rise. And then the natural systems will pick up from that and release MORE CO2 from the oceans and permafrost. This is the very core of the runaway global warming explanation.
Oh, and please tell us whether ANY of the CO2 increases of the past 420,000 years have ever reached the heights (390+ ppm latest) or acceleration rate of today's CO2 levels, in the ABSENCE of any major volcanic eruption or similar natural cataclysm?

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png

You know your soul's been touched when..

Wonderfully put by Bob Marley:

"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can
completely turn your world around.

You tell them things that you've never shared with another soul and they
absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share
hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were
never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When
something wonderful happens, you can't wait to tell them about it,
knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to
cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool
of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you
are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the
things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.

Place humanity above any religion

Shared on facebook by a friend:
A user on CNN (US): All religions have had periods in which they were not perfect. I think its fair to say that currently, the way Islam is practiced, women are repressed and mistreated. Yes, yes America over sexualized women and its not good for women, or society. But, this is Islam's time to fix its own injustices. Good Muslims, of which there are many, need to protest Sharia and tribal practices which are barbaric and not even in the scripture. All religions/societies have flaws. this is Islam's time. (Context: Saudi Arab Child murder case)
I wish to go deeper.

Many womens' rights activists I have met in the past months have categorically told me that all issues of womens' rights are at their very root, issues of human rights -- issues of women not being treated as human beings.

How about asking human beings (there we have a common ground) across the world to give basic human rights and liberties their rightful place : a veto over any philosophy or religion or management system whose this or that component may be in conflict with human rights?

From this position, we can actually tackle both the kinds repressions in the western and arab worlds (and of course, my own country has no reprieve) with the same stroke and prevent the core issue from getting side-tracked by cross-accusations.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

our planet is a delicate flower

"This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It's lonely. It's small. It's isolated, and there is no resupply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly, the highest loyalty we should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our hometown or even to ourselves. It should be to, number two, the family of man, and number one, the planet at large. This is our home, and this is all we've got."

— Scott Carpenter, Mecury 7 astronaut, speech at Millersville University, Pennslyvania. 15 October 1992.


Idealist Champion (ENFP) - Myers Briggs (MBTI) personality type indicators

I tried out a Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality test at a friend's suggestion sometime last year, and this is what I got of it : ENFP.
Disclaimer: I don't want to make any indication that this is any accurate. Just sharing here, and I felt like I could relate with what I got.


Like the other Idealists, Champions are rather rare, say three or four percent of the population, but even more than the others they consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life. Champions have a wide range and variety of emotions, and a great passion for novelty. They see life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil, and they want to experience all the meaningful events and fascinating people in the world. The most outgoing of the Idealists, Champions often can't wait to tell others of their extraordinary experiences. Champions can be tireless in talking with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out. And usually this is not simple storytelling; Champions often speak (or write) in the hope of revealing some truth about human experience, or of motivating others with their powerful convictions. Their strong drive to speak out on issues and events, along with their boundless enthusiasm and natural talent with language, makes them the most vivacious and inspiring of all the types.

How 2012 was for me

2012 : The year when I did and spoke exactly what I wanted to;

the year when I declared war (or rather, peace) on my fears;

the year when I took a stand and changed some things forever;

the year when I took the plunge down the rabbit hole and turned
everything I knew upside down and inside out;

the year when I saw everything coming together and fit in like an
immense jigsaw puzzle;

the year when I rekindledmy human connections and made more new ones
than I had in all my life earlier;

the year when my life transformed from a frightened race up a ladder to
a wide open field where I can go in any direction and get things going.

As a friend put it yesterday, the world, as I knew it earlier, has ended
and will never be the same again. Onward!
(this I'd posted on facebook and emailed to my close ones on 1st Jan)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Warning about civillization by Thomas Paine, 1795

Agrarian Justice
by Thomas Paine

To preserve the benefits of what is called civilized life, and to
remedy at the same time the evil which it has produced, ought to
considered as one of the first objects of reformed legislation.

Whether that state that is proudly, perhaps erroneously, called
civilization, has most promoted or most injured the general happiness
of man is a question that may be strongly contested. On one side, the
spectator is dazzled by splendid appearances; on the other, he is
shocked by extremes of wretchedness; both of which it has erected. The
most affluent and the most miserable of the human race are to be found
in the countries that are called civilized.

To understand what the state of society ought to be, it is necessary
to have some idea of the natural and primitive state of man; such as
it is at this day among the Indians of North America. There is not, in
that state, any of those spectacles of human misery which poverty and
want present to our eyes in all the towns and streets in Europe.

Poverty, therefore, is a thing created by that which is called
civilized life. It exists not in the natural state. On the other hand,
the natural state is without those advantages which flow from
agriculture, arts, science and manufactures.

Gift Economy

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