Confluence

One of the most magical sights — at least for me — is the confluence of Rivers Indus and Zanskar. The two rivers have very distinct colors, whether you are looking down from the mountain road that hugs the mountain on its side, or right from the beach. And I am not the first one to stop and take photos at this spot. It is a tourist haunt, and perhaps that is why it was a challenge to find new perspectives and give my spin on this spot. Continue reading "Confluence"

Gateway to Heaven: Ladakh

Photography oriented trips are a visual Marathon. You are always on the move; your eyes are still looking, scanning, cataloging and telling your brain what a photo worth making is. I usually drive around with a local and then stop at a location that clicks. Pun intended! And then I would spend either minutes or hours at a location, and work it. But after a while, your eyes start to tire, and you stop looking. It usually happens on the last day and today was no different. Luckily, Arun Bhat, who helped organize this trip and our man-Friday, karma, were there to push me. “Why don’t we drive up to Tanglangla,” and stop along the way and look at some Monasteries,” Arun had suggested. The drive to the second highest motorable pass in the world (maybe) is beautiful, and with early snows coming, the roads are going to be empty and pass through a beautiful landscape, worth looking and not just photographing.  Continue reading "Gateway to Heaven: Ladakh"

An Emotional Road

By the fourth day in Ladakh, without my phone and Internet, my mind and body had finally tuned into the rhythm of the place — slower, simpler and silent. After spending a night at the Hotel MoonLand in Lamayuru. It is called MoonLand because the region around the Lamayuru is supposed to remind you of moonscapes with its bright yellow mountains, high but shaped into curves with time being etched into the rock face. The monastery, which gives Lamayuru its name was built in the 10th century is one of the oldest in Ladakh. I woke up super early and went for a walk. You could smell the early morning fires starting up, cutting like a scythe through crisp morning mountain air. Somewhere the bells around the necks of cows made tinkling noise. I needed coffee; instead I got a chance to reflect on a lot of personal stuff — and no, I don’t mean work. And perhaps that was a sign of the day to come. Continue reading "An Emotional Road"

Carl Sagan on Dystopia, Fake News & Big Tech

Happy birthday, Carl Sagan. Thanks for leaving a legacy and the gift of your writings. In his 1995 book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, noted writer, astronomer and philosopher Sagan noted:
I have a foreboding of an America in my children s or grandchildren s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and Continue reading "Carl Sagan on Dystopia, Fake News & Big Tech"

Oh So Sweet, the iMac Pro

When companies want to send me their products, I mostly say no. I am not a reviewer — never have been. I say yes, only when I can incorporate these products into my daily flow and use them with a refular cadence. And I don’t really form an opinion — up until I have used the product for about six weeks. The new iMac Pro is one of those products that came for review and is going back today. I have not experienced sadness about sending something back, as I have with this iMac Pro. Continue reading "Oh So Sweet, the iMac Pro"

What we can learn from GBBO

As a diabetic, I like to torture myself by watching the episodes of The Great British Bake Off — I do so by turning away the iPad screen and just listening to the soundtrack of words, music and wisecracks of Mel and Sue. My favorite part is the end — the understated celebration of the Star Baker and the goodbyes. The bakers who are eliminated are sent off with so much love, hugs and kind words. The judges aren’t mean. The hosts are effusive in their last words. The family Mel & Sue sandwich. The remaining contestants don’t gloat. In short, the whole idea of losing in the contest is treated in a very classy manner! Continue reading "What we can learn from GBBO"

What we can learn from GBBO

As a diabetic, I like to torture myself by watching the episodes of The Great British Bake Off — I do so by turning away the iPad screen and just listening to the soundtrack of words, music and wisecracks of Mel and Sue. My favorite part is the end — the understated celebration of the Star Baker and the goodbyes. The bakers who are eliminated are sent off with so much love, hugs and kind words. The judges aren’t mean. The hosts are effusive in their last words. The family Mel & Sue sandwich. The remaining contestants don’t gloat. In short, the whole idea of losing in the contest is treated in a very classy manner! Continue reading "What we can learn from GBBO"

(My) NAS Is Dead

It is not fun to wake up and learn that a firmware update killed your network attached storage. Looks like that is what happened to my QNAP. It is in an infinite loop of trying to boot. Of course, that finally has made me ask the question that I should have asked earlier:  Do I really need a NAS? Their interfaces are so archaic and old school. And as devices, they are so nerdy, complicated and unwieldy. I have never been able to come to grips with them. As an amateur photographer, I wonder if I should get a simpler storage system? My primary storage is photos — I copy them on portable SSD drives. I don’t re-use my SD cards. I used to load them on QNAP and then sync to B2. I upload selected photos for editing and finished photos to Adobe Cloud. And if that was not Continue reading "(My) NAS Is Dead"

New York Times & Digital Double Standards

The New York Times has been a pointy edge of the coverage on Facebook, Google and Big Tech domination of our daily lives. They have often presented (relentless) wonderful reporting only to counterbalance it with hyperbolic opinions. As a subscriber, who is (happily and) willingly paying for his digital subscription, I am at liberty to ignore those hysterical opinion writers, ignore the Times biases and instead focus on the reporting — which is the only reason I am delighted to pay for Times. (I am one of the four million digital subscribers.) However, the Times is hypocritical, to put it mildly. While it talks about a surveillance advertising technology ecosystem, the company itself is a willing participant — its web pages and apps are jam-packed with advertising and tracking scripts. It complains about Facebook ads in the news stream, and yet it blasts large ads in your face on Continue reading "New York Times & Digital Double Standards"

Gates, Allen & Yesterday’s Terabyte

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote a heartfelt eulogy for his co-founder, Paul Allen, who passed away (earlier this month.) The eulogy has since been reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic and has been widely covered in other media outlets. He wrote:
Paul foresaw that computers would change the world. Even in high school, before any of us knew what a personal computer was, he was predicting that computer chips would get super-powerful and would eventually give rise to a whole new industry. That insight of his was the cornerstone of everything we did together.
In 2011, Paul Allen released his book, Ideas Man, he noted a particular incident in the book where Steve Ballmer (then Microsoft CEO) and Gates were deep in conversation when Allen walked in on them.
They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft Continue reading "Gates, Allen & Yesterday’s Terabyte"

Traveling to Ladakh

While visiting my parents in India, I decided to take a little break and visit Ladakh for a short photography break. When I was growing up, Ladakh was such a remote location, and the idea of going there was such a romantic notion. Today, however, it takes about 70 minutes in a flight from Delhi — and there are at least three a day.  Continue reading "Traveling to Ladakh"

There is but one king

Last night, the tech-twitter was lit-up by the shocking news that Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have put in their papers and are leaving the company that bought them for a billion dollars — Facebook. They aren’t the first founders to sell their company to Facebook and then eventually leave the company. Whatsapp and Oculus founders too left the company after spending considerable time under the aegis of Mark Zuckerberg. Mike and Kevin, too are leaving under a shroud of disagreement with Zuckerberg, if media reports are to be believed.  Continue reading "There is but one king"

iPhoneXsMax, now that’s a tongue twister

iPhoneXsMax — When I heard the name and saw it up on the stage, I shuddered. Apple’s name for its newest, biggest iPhone made one Microserf quip on Twitter: “And I thought we sucked at naming. #AppleEvent iPhone Xs Max September Refresh CTP1” Microsoft and other technology companies were mocked by Apple veterans for their naming conventions. But now Apple is doing the same — fighting hard to come up with names that are fighting Samsung, Huawei, and many others when it comes to being tongue twisters. It is pretty sad to see that a company that took pride in its ability to communicate clearly and succinctly about its products, the company that was able to name them with such elan and made them memorable, has come. iPhoneX(s)Max. If they spent as much energy in their naming conventions as they put in say, their, A12 Bionic chip, then we Continue reading "iPhoneXsMax, now that’s a tongue twister"

Social networks & the online reality of identity

Like everyone else, I watched the Washington Social Media circus with interest. A lot of words were used. Crocodile tears shed. Promises made. Bouquets of derision thrown. But no one actually said what needs to be done with the social media platforms and their social responsibility. The more I think about it, the more I believe that social platforms should take cues from real life social networks – cities, states, and nations. Just as these geographically defined social networks have amenities such a policing, rules and clear identities, our social platforms, and related online social environments to need to add a layer of humanness to the platform. Continue reading "Social networks & the online reality of identity"

There is something about (Elon) Musk

The last month in the life of Tesla and its mercurial chief executive can best be described as a bungee jump from a plane. No surprise, that we have a bull market in opinions about Elon Musk, his behavior, and his actions. I don’t own Tesla shares. I have no desire to own them. Just as I don’t want to short them. Hell, I don’t even drive. But you know what I dream of? Owning a self-driving electric car before I leave the planet. And the odds of that happening are way more likely if Tesla and Elon are around.  Continue reading "There is something about (Elon) Musk"