Do what you can!

I always used to wonder how would people who lived in history felt when they had to undergo some calamity. Natural disasters, Wars, Revolutions, and whatnot. Well, we got the opportunity to face a pandemic during our lifetime as well. Pretty depressing couple of weeks, aren’t they. I just hope and wish that the crisis ends soon and whoever is becoming part of the stats, becomes part of those 98-99 percentage who survive with mild symptoms.

But as I write this, the city I am in, Bengaluru, is breaking records every day. As I recall, in the first week of March 2021, the number of daily cases was around 200-300. Today, it has crossed 20,000. I don’t know about others and don’t have to wait for the government, I have imposed a lockdown on myself and won’t be venturing out for anything at all till better air prevails. I am privileged to do that, fortunately. But sitting at home makes one feel extremely anxious when notification after notification just piles up the frustration and feeling of helplessness. What can I do with my limited resources and a family to take care of? Mind you I have seen what a family goes through when they fall prey to the virus. The amount of panic and frantic calls one makes to arrange a bed is suffocating figuratively, to say the least. Even right now, I have already had plenty of news after news of friends, colleagues, and relatives testing positive and nobody can help, to be frank.

Last year, people donated money to PM Cares wholeheartedly when hospitals in India could manage and avert the crisis to a certain extent. Since then, from the government’s side, what could or could not be done is all evident. People in power or with influence and governments who could do things didn’t do or delayed in doing, without any shame or remorse is also known. I would wait for the blame game for some other time but here are some resources I found which can help NOW. I am not a huge influencer or anything but can certainly help in my own limited way by sharing some genuine links which can be of some help.

Hospital Data

https://covid-19-hospital-data.el.r.appspot.com/

Meals

https://covidmealsforindia.com/

Donation Links

https://donate.indiacovidresources.in/

If you want to donate from out of India:

For friends who stay outside India: 

Through Cryptocurrency?

Telegram Group for Information:

Telegram group – https://t.me/joinchat/NPW-kgUldiAzMzQ1

Whatsapp https://chat.whatsapp.com/B4fvtqb1K0pLumoXFsdNrN


I can also do this minor thing, although again, I am not a pro artist, and neither this blog has a great reach but SEO works:

If you make a donation of Rs. 1000 or above, please share the receipt with me (http://abhinavbhatt.com/contact/ / http://twitter.com/abhinavbhatt01) and I can send you any one of the high-resolution soft copy minimal movie posters I made a few years ago. (please adjust with this for now)

https://minimalmovieposters.in/tagged/abhinav_bhatt

Social Media ID Portability, a thought

We already have MNP or mobile number portability in India. That is, the ability to keep the same phone number but freely moving across different Service Providers. That helps us to choose the best plan for ourselves and keeps the Service Provider companies’ exorbitant price hikes in-check. We also have multiple Cloud Services providers, Data Storage providers, Banks, and so forth where we can change our service providers to choose what suits us.

apps blur button close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was listening to this podcast by Guy Kawasaki where he was interviewing Dr. Sinan Aral, who is an MIT Professor and has written a book called: The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health–and How We Must Adapt.

Dr. Aral suggested this strange-sounding but still worth paying attention to idea: Why can’t Social Media companies act like Social Service Provider? Each of their users (i.e. us) should be free to change the service and move over to another while taking all of their data and friend lists with them.

For example, say I have 800 friends on Facebook (I had 1000+ but one day I cleaned it up) and say I am not on Twitter (I am but I just tweet about the weather). But I am done with Facebook’s privacy rules and constantly showing up of ads on my Timeline. So, if I want to move on to somewhere else, I have to lose all my data then and there. I would lose all my private messages, photos, comments, and so on. Instead, I should have the ability to either download everything that Facebook has recorded with my account (which is after all a unique ID). Or, I should be able to port it all to another social media website, say Twitter. Of course, each one has its own functionalities but in general, they all have Text, Photos, Replies, and private messages as their primary functionality. Moreover, I should also be able to connect to (via APIs) any user (or block them everywhere) from any other social media website.

This idea would help regulate not only the companies who just flaunt the monopoly and power they have over people’s lives, but it would also increase accountability on part of the user. Basically, all these companies are just service providers and they should behave in such a manner. Really interesting if this happens!

One downside from user’s perspective is that this would need a user to lose their anonymity to an extent if they show up with their real name on Facebook but you want to say whatever comes to their mind on Twitter as anonymous. But we need to choose what we find more precious, our data or our freedom of expression.

You can listen to the full podcast here where he talks further about other things which make Social Media what a behemoth it is:

Why can’t Dosa be home delivered?

One late afternoon in Office Cafeteria, I and some of my colleagues were discussing trivial matters during snack break (mostly Dosa for me and oily deep-fried things (as if Dosa is not) for others) while sipping on coffee and tea. I got a work-related call and while I was busy talking, the hot freshly prepared Dosa cooled down, turned soft, and lost all its charm.

One thought came into mind: So, Dosa has to be eaten immediately otherwise it just dies like a Soft-Dismissal in Cricket. Why can’t Dosa be home delivered in the 21st century? Someone might have read a Tweet about it as well which might have caused the initiation of all this conundrum.

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Share, if you care

Recently, the Twitter account of India’s PM got hacked by someone who might be a Keanu Reeves fan (who isn’t?!). And, obviously, that’s not the only high profile account which has got compromised in recent history but it keeps happening once in a while. If even the most powerful person in the country is insecure online, think about yourself. Your password would be even easier to break down. It is just Password@123. Right?

Normally, Passwords are somethings we hold very dear. We can share the most personal things with others but not passwords. Some people do share passwords at work for common systems which is highly risky in itself but they will never share passwords of their bank accounts for sure.

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So I recently watched: The Social Dilemma

Most probably you will read this on your phone with numerous notifications lurking around for your attention which will prevent you from reading this completely. If you had clicked a link to reach here, the link would be from Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or some other social media site. There is nothing I can write here which can make you use social media sites less frequently. I have close to zero persuasive power to ask you to keep your phone away and do something better with your life. But, let me give another try.

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A Beautiful Notion

There are more productivity apps than there are people who want to be productive. I spent a considerable amount of time this year to juggle through various such personal productivity apps. From To-Do lists, Kanban boards, calendars, habit trackers, and whatnot. Like most of the people, I wasted (read invested) more time in trying a range of things instead of working on them in a more practical sense. I also delved real deep into GTD and PARA and Zettelkasten processes and which process or combination could achieve the best results. I tried multiple ways to find out which app could do the most justice to it. Some apps can do one thing better, others can do another thing better. And as more the number of applications grows, the more the anxiety which grows with it. My search finally ended on one app: Notion. This is a Notion appreciation post. #NotPaidBlogpost

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“Commenting for better reach”

I am writing from a place of privilege, providence, and a pedestal of good fortune but I just feel sad when I open LinkedIn nowadays. The feed is full of people writing about their untimely exit from their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic. I am not an expert to give any advice to people who were working till March/April but not working anymore. The times are unprecedented and until we get a fully functional vaccine, chances of normalcy are bleak. So, we must keep trying, is all I can say.

However, I do have a word or two for Freshers who had job offers but they haven’t been called to report yet, or even if they hadn’t, they were ready to enter the professional arena this year but things have gone upside down, for no fault of their own. I do have empathy with them as I was in the same boat around 2008. I don’t want to mince words but the reality is simple: this time is worse than that time. I have stated this earlier on this blog too that I had 2 Job Offers when I graduated as a Computer Science Engineer. Thanks to the 2008 recession which did all it could to crush my confidence, I had to wait 21 months to get a proper job I preferred. Again being lucky, I got back the job offer in March 2010 from the same company which had sent me a regret letter before imploding due to a financial crisis of their own in early 2009.

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