Gurjot's Stream of Consciousness

Welcome to my scrapbook of thotes. It contains less-filtered thoughts and near real-time notes from things I am reading/doing.

thotes below. In reverse chronological order.


Feb 6, 2024
5:35 pm

“When Gurjot joins a new job, he first decides when he is going to quit. Then he spends his time figuring out why.”

  • P

Jan 5, 2024
7:40 am

In an automated system, two roles are left to humans: monitoring that the automated system is operating correctly, and taking over control if it isn’t. An operator that doesn’t routinely operate the system will have atrophied skills if ever called on to take over.

Not only are the operator’s skills declining, but the situations when the operator will be called upon are by their very nature the most demanding ones where something is deemed to be going wrong. Thus what we really need in such a situation is a more, not a lesser skilled operator!

Ironies of Automation by Adrian Colyer

Nov 29, 2023
1:55 pm

I repeat: I am having so much fun working on this app

  1. I am writing such beautifully organised code. Learning from the code restructuring P had done in the previous codebase.
  2. Typescript gives me such great confidence! I know that if my script has no red squiggly lines, it’s going to just work. I feel powerful.
  3. Having spent so much time thinking and reading about the UI and design, the latest version is coming out exactly how I intended it – “native with a personality”.
Nov 10, 2023
8:43 am

Came across an old note. Thought of logging it here.

Why are workspaces so terrible?

You wake up in the morning, take some crushing public transit system or dodge oncoming traffic to get to work, grab some food, and then sit down at your desk. If you’re like most people, you sit at a cube in the middle of the office, with white noise buzzing around on every side. … I can’t imagine staying sane with someone buzzing in my ear all day, let alone getting any actual work done.

Nobody else seems to get work done here either. Everybody’s always coming into our room to hang out and chat …

I feel wiped after dealing with this non-work for a couple hours, but I can’t get any rest from lying on our couch because it too is surrounded by the white noise.

Finally at 5 the office empties out and I can go home where, to compensate for the dullness of the days, I brighten up the nights. Life-threatening bicycle rides, dinners and movies with friends, museums, running along the beach, navigating the nightmare of public transit to visit the new hot spot. And if I get home early there are the roommates eager to chat about their days. By the time I break away it’s midnight, if not 3am. I had to spend much of the weekend sleeping just to catch up.

And then it’s back to the grind once again. A carousel that never stops to let you get off.

Office Space, Aaron Swartz (November 15, 2006)

Nov 5, 2023
4:11 pm

This year has been about learning the importance of quality of life improvement purchases.

  • The Apple Wallet for my iPhone just works for me now. Two cards: an ID and a credit card. Plus UPI. Spectacular.
  • Sitting on the floor with a floor cushion has improved flexibility.
  • An IoT plug that automatically turns the geyser off.
  • Use Alexa to set a timer whenever I do laundry.
  • Use Alexa to remind me to take Vitamin D every month.
  • A timer switch that automatically turns the water pump off.
  • Air purifier, humidifier and room heater that each serve their purpose properly.
  • A nice big 5L cooking pot from IKEA that’s a joy to cook in.
  • An electric lighter for the gas stove that just works.
  • Group dance and yoga classes have added much needed fitness and routine to life.
  • The didi for cooking lunch and the didi for cleaning and dusting give a 10x improvement to life.
  • A tall fridge means we don’t have to hunch to use it.
  • Shelf liners for the fridge have saved us from cleaning spills.
  • A fully automatic washing machine makes laundry effortless.
  • Rack and drying mats for drying dishes.

And probably so much more. It’s the little things that make life better.

Nov 5, 2023
6:47 am

The one thing about life that I have learned heuristically is that you really don’t know what’s it going to be like in three months.

Plan for the week.

Take things by the day.

Nov 3, 2023
12:50 pm

Americans who have a droning singsong manner of speaking - why?

Oct 31, 2023
5:51 pm

Showed initiative at work. Suggested something I think is important and it was heard patiently and accepted.

Suddenly I don’t mind my job all that much.

Oct 26, 2023
7:12 pm

It seems the only way to learn the intricacies of web technology is to keep struggling with problems.

Today’s problem taught me that ES6 and Common JS are both stupid. And that there are way too many combinations of frameworks possible in web dev.

Alt-Co-Pilot should support devs in planning the project dependencies.

Anyway, here’s a quick start template: https://github.com/gsidhu/electron-sveltekit-typescript

Oct 25, 2023
9:43 am

My favourite bit about working with government departments is their strategy of “confusion as a defense mechanism”. Or rather, confusion as a state of being.

What was our total expenditure last year? Sure. Just add this number from this document, then ask that guy in the other building what his figures are, then add the figure from this screenshot of a PDF of a scanned document, and finally multiply it by 1.1 don’t ask why. That should give you an approximate answer, don’t tell anyone where you got it from.

Oct 23, 2023
7:06 am

“It’s always been a dream of mine to have done a TED Talk in the past.” — Tim Urban, TED Talk

I joke about marriage this way. I did not want to get married. I just wanted to be married.

The wife says this about her PhD. She hated writing her thesis. She just wanted to have written a thesis in the past.

Oct 22, 2023
2:03 pm

Dev sector orgs talk a lot about building capacity in the government. What I find missing in the government* even more is institutional memory.

I wonder what, if anything, can be done to build that memory and to set up systems that actually put it use!

* or really any organisation; we are all quite poor at documenting processes and moving beyond non-human memory

Oct 21, 2023
10:04 am

Bhai GPT itni gajab cheez hai na. Can’t go back. Honestly cannot go back to a time without ChatGPT*. ChatGPT does such a good job. Truly a bicycle for the mind level of invention.

* I mean a large language model with a simple chat-based interaction interface.

Oct 20, 2023
2:01 pm

The stream is live. The warehouse is open.

New beginnings.

Need to simplify the warehouse publishing process though. And write about it too.

Oct 18, 2023
5:24 pm

I swear that too great a lucidity is a disease, a true, full-fledged disease. For everyday needs, the average person’s awareness is more than sufficient, and it is about a half or a quarter of the unhappy nineteenth century intellectual…

But I still say that not only too much lucidity, but any amount of it at all is a disease.

— Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground

Oct 17, 2023
12:57 pm

Given the intensity and frequency of this feeling, I am led to assume that there is going to be a change in my professional life in near future.

This knowledge worker consultant is going to be an independent small business owner.

🔜

Oct 15, 2023
1:48 pm

This guy has a Today I Learned section on his website where he posts snippets of web technologies and related topics that he learns along the way in his everyday work life.

I found him through this article: A Firefox-only Minimap. Which is something I would like to implement on my website as well.

I like this. It’s something I have wanted to do in many different ways over the past years. Perhaps I’ll do it on my website too. Call it something silly like Wherehouse of Small Things.

Oct 15, 2023
1:07 pm

I would like to record this moment.

I am travelling in a 2S bogey in West Bengal. Though I have a reserved seat, I choose to stand in the middle of the cabin in between the two doorways. I am reading Dostoyevsky for the first time and really enjoying it. There is a strong cool breeze blowing through the doors and it’s making my kurta and pants look all puffy.

I have been reflecting on my philosophy of life and feel like I am making a breakthrough in some direction. At the same time, I seem to be getting into sports via the cricket World Cup.

I feel happy and optimistic, in a strangely familiar way. I wish I could describe more clearly but this’ll have to do.

feels_good.jpeg

Oct 15, 2023
9:26 am

I am finally reading Dostoyevsky. I read an otherwise insignificant line that my mind has been stuck on since -

“Now he’s rich in his inner life.”

— White Nights

What is inner life? How does it relate to the search for meaning? Does this apply to one’s individual existence or one’s social/relational existence?

So much to unpack.

Oct 12, 2023
6:50 pm

Latest epiphany: I should focus on the small problems.

Big problems are wicked and complex and not worth it. Think small. Make one person’s life better.

Start with yourself.

Oct 7, 2023
1:24 pm

Advice for someone thinking of getting married -

Your life so far has been mostly about your emotions and your interests. That will change. When you are married you are responsible for not just your own but also your partner’s and so many other people’s feelings. You will find your way through it but it will be new and possibly annoying.

If you are a woman, please be ready to face patriarchy in all its unexpected forms. Your individuality is going to be put into question as you figure out how much, if at all, you are willing to give in to patriarchal expectations. A decent man will support you and fight for you through it all.

Be a decent man / hope to find a decent man.

Oct 4, 2023
6:18 pm

Jesus was, among other things, an unlicensed medical practitioner…

— Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

Oct 4, 2023
5:49 pm

I think being comfortable with a language is mostly about knowing how to play around with prepositions.

Sep 20, 2023
3:28 am

Also, what’s with the constant hovering, man? Let me be in peace. Your awkward attempts at pre-mitigating moments of assistance are only making me feel uncomfortable.

Sep 20, 2023
3:25 am

One good thing about spending those few years in Europe is that I can navigate the awkwardness of the breakfast buffet and the coldness of the food.

Sep 20, 2023
3:16 am

5 star hotels are so weird, man. So much pretence. Just talk to me, man. What’s all this “are you comfortable”, “may I clean this”, “hope you have a good day ahead”.

Comfortable? Very. Awkward? Doubly so.

Sep 13, 2023
7:03 pm

Oh bother. What a week.

I want to escape this work life where I have an answerable to another person’s schedule. I want to run things entirely on my schedule. We will find time that fits mutually. I am tired of running by someone else’s clock.

On another note: I think of all the machines that make running a household easier, I am most grateful for the washing machine.

Sep 5, 2023
6:52 pm

Had a tiny moment of philosophical epiphany today.

1

That’s the answer to everything. The moment, the now, the universe - one.

There’s also the “there are no others” hippie side to it. Even Sikhism’s idea is encapsulated in “ਇੱਕ ਓਂਕਾਰ”.

If I were to get a tattoo, it’d probably be the number one.

Sep 5, 2023
8:20 am

Time to do the dishes again Doo da doo da When will this shit ever end Oh dee doo da dee

Sep 4, 2023
7:29 pm

A web app I had made a few years ago has suddenly seen a traffic spike from Australia and Canada this week.

The only direct link to it I have ever published is in the Projects section on my website homepage.

My website’s traffic is a bit out there as well. Views on song lyrics are diminishing but newsletter and about and hire-me pages are rising.

Does this mean it is the right time to go live with buzo.tools? Food for thought.

Sep 4, 2023
4:20 pm

It’s funny how the highest ranked service in Indian civil services is the one where you don’t have to live in India.

Sep 3, 2023
12:13 pm

The number one remedy for feeling mentally drained in contemporary times: go touch some grass.

Aug 31, 2023
9:49 am

My side projects really are a part of my existence at this point in life.

I find it a bit annoying that all of my side projects are related to computer programming.

I don’t know what else to do. I have been trying to figure this out for so long.

Aug 30, 2023
4:12 pm

Footnote knowledge.

Some people tend to have a lot of footnote knowledge. They’ll know factoids about how their office building was leased to the employer’s father by the incumbent government before the election as a favour.

Strange people. They also tend to be smokers.

Aug 30, 2023
10:47 am

Software technologies I love at the moment:

  1. Svelte and SvelteKit for streamlining web development like nothing else
  2. Swift and Xcode for the strangely simple gateway into developing MacOS (and iOS) apps
  3. MacOS for the perfect mix of GUI affordances and CLI power
  4. Ubuntu for seamless Linux server experience
  5. FileZilla for seamless FTP interaction with servers (or even Android phones!)
  6. SQLite for incredibly powerful but noob-friendly databases
  7. Nginx for reverse proxy server
  8. Python for drop of a hat computation and web scraping
  9. R for adding visual accessibility to the CLI experience of data wrangling
  10. Datawrapper for beautiful charts and maps in seconds
  11. Microsoft Excel for crazily powerful GUI-based data analysis
  12. GitHub Copilot and OpenAI ChatGPT for quietly improving developer productivity
  13. GitHub Actions for bridging the gap between the client and IWOMM
  14. GitHub Pages for making web hosting so accessible and free
  15. Firefox for no non-sense web browser experience
  16. Arc for straightforward multiple personality browser experience
  17. Audacity and iMovie for “it just has to work” level of AV editing
Aug 30, 2023
10:30 am

GitHub Actions workflows have unlocked a new part of my developer experience. Look at this site I made for work.

Also, Svelte. Love it. Got a functional static website in a single day.

Aug 28, 2023
4:31 pm

I made a MacOS app over the weekend. I am really happy with how it turned out. Check it out: Scratch

The developer experience is truly incredible. Took a lot of searching and GPT-ing to make it work and I still don’t understand 90% of the things. But the fact that I was able to get a working app going in just two days is remarkable. Reminds me of when I first used Svelte. It just works!

I think I have a basic understanding of the MVC concept now. I am excited to see where this goes!

Also, first official offering under buzo.tools! Yay!

Aug 27, 2023
5:44 am

It’s kinda hard to document things when they are actually happening.

Aug 24, 2023
8:33 am

I had to test a WordPress site for some work. Took me a few hours to get it going and I realised that I have a pretty decent understanding of server-side basics. All thanks to my web-dev experiments since Chachi in 2020.

So I documented it on a GitHub Gist. I like making Gists. It’s like my personal tech tutorial blog. I don’t do it for an audience - the audience is future me. I think I’ll do it more often. I am never going to write a detailed tech blog - let it be Gists.

Aug 22, 2023
1:27 pm

My privilege, there’s so much of it.

If I fall sick, I stay at home and don’t work. But several (way too many) people can’t afford to do that. And I am not even talking about the socially marginalised groups - they barely have any autonomy over their life choices. I am talking about regular people who can’t afford to use their sick leaves over a viral flu. Sigh. What a world we live in. UBI, now.

Aug 20, 2023
6:37 pm

Technology has the strangest limitations.

Apparently you can trigger an automation on your iPhone only when it connects to a WiFi network, not when it disconnects.

Why? Because you’d need a service to constantly monitor whether you’re connected to WiFi or not, which would probably be an expensive background service for your battery.

Aug 17, 2023
5:16 pm

Slowly the fog lifts over his brain.

The man feels like his self again.

Aug 14, 2023
8:40 pm

The wheel, agriculture, and religion - the three pillars of humankind.

Aug 14, 2023
2:30 pm

Tea gives me comfort, Coffee gives me joy.

Or

In sickness, tea,
In health, coffee.

Aug 13, 2023
4:49 pm

How do you appreciate your good health when it’s actually good? The appreciation only seems to come in sickness.

Aug 12, 2023
8:21 pm

So much of a person’s character and outlook to life is determined by whether they are a younger sibling or an older sibling.

This could be generalised to end at the nature & nurture conversation but that’s not the point.

I just had a two hour long conversation about how so much of my personality in friend, family and work relationships is that of a “younger sibling”. Strangely this didn’t occur in romantic relationships.

Aug 11, 2023
2:34 pm

The one core skill that a school/university student should build is learning to be industrious. Just have the confidence to be able to get shit done. Learn who to ask for help, how to ask for help, what to do with that help. Know what you know and what you can know.

I know this isn’t “one” skill. But then nothing is, right? You get what I mean.

Aug 11, 2023
2:26 pm

Jobs at Reuters, BBC Monitoring, and all are quite interesting, I feel.

You could do a degree in foreign languages followed by a master’s in journalism. Or study journalism and get certified in a foreign language on the side. Or even do a regular economics, geography, sociology or political science degree, and then do journalism.

Add an in-demand skill like data visualisation, programming or graphic design,and I think you’d be a golden asset.

Aug 10, 2023
8:08 pm
  1. “Nonetheless, character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life—is the source from which self-respect springs.”
  2. “People who respect themselves … are willing to invest something of themselves; they may not play at all, but when they do play, they know the odds.”
  3. “To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.”

— Joan Didion, On Self-Respect

Aug 10, 2023
8:03 pm

My dad used to say: “ਮੱਛੀ ਪੱਥਰ ਚੱਟ ਕੇ ਹੀ ਮੁੜਦੀ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ”

I realise and appreciate the truth of this statement only now as an adult.

Loosely translates to: “a fish returns only after licking the rock”. Meaning, no matter how much you tell the fish that that ain’t food, it’ll only believe it when it goes there and sees that it’s actually a rock.

It’s true for mentorship, of course. But I appreciate it more from the perspective of the fish. You, as the fish, block out everything everyone is telling you as you proceed on this mission to fail. The tunnel vision of human psychology is so strong sometimes.

Aug 10, 2023
6:39 am

Bite from Gurjot’s Life Philosophy Apple

When faced with a decision in life, just do what makes you happy. Later, if that turns out to be a problematic decision, you can always justify it by reminding yourself that you did it because in that moment it made you happy, so it was worth it. And of course, hindsight is always 10/10.

Conditions apply, obviously.

Tie this with the “Be a dark horse” idea mentioned in my last newsletter.

Aug 9, 2023
2:40 pm

“The fruit that guy had looked so good. एक दम फलों का Disha Patani लग रहे थे।” 😂

Aug 9, 2023
2:38 pm

“There’s only one way to find out.”

I have been saying this for several years. Mostly as a response to people saying something like: “but what if…”, “how do we know…”, “what would happen if…” etc.

At least a few people have adopted this from me. I hope more people do. I hope it makes their life better.

The same way Alex Vonnegut’s “if this isn’t nice, what is?” did for me.

Aug 9, 2023
7:47 am

Life has taken a strange positive turn lately. I have many jobs but not enough time to do them all.

Never would have thought life would take this turn.

Aug 8, 2023
12:59 pm

I was in a not-great mood, I went to the dance class at the gym, I felt great for half an hour, Then I was back to feeling not-great again.

The second not-great is slightly better than the first not-great though.

Aug 8, 2023
10:35 am

If a record was kept for several weeks regarding the nature of tasks that I engage with, I am sure some helpful inferences could surface from it.

Barring household chores because they cannot be ignored.

Things to record:

  • what tools (software/hardware) were used
  • who was being reported to
  • what was the motivation for doing it
  • how long did it take
  • was I working alone or with someone
  • was my role of doing, reporting, or supporting

Etc etc.

Aug 8, 2023
5:57 am

It only took me some 10 hours of work spread over two days of thinking to make it happen. Here we are. I count this a successful operation but I have a few reservations.

The last 10% really takes 90% of the time.

How wrong I was. The last 10% of the last 10% also took 90%. I tried at least a dozen different strategies for making this work. Learned a lot about Linux bash commands and the limitations of file read/write operations.

I am glad though. This “weekend” project spilled over on both ends but the outcome was worth it.

Aug 6, 2023
12:19 pm

I have been living with a great privilege that I only just realised the magnitude of. This privilege did not exist in society until a decade or so ago.

Whenever I am reminded of a song, I can say “Alexa, play…” and then just - listen to it?

Like, I don’t have to hum it to myself or sit with the memory of the song. I can listen to it. Doesn’t matter if it’s Chinese opera, Mongolian throat singing or Punjabi folk. I can listen to it all.

Crazy.

Aug 6, 2023
5:40 am

Waking up early in the morning would be a lot easier if the night wasn’t so interesting.

Yes, I could do all my nighttime pleasure activities (reading, hobby-ing, relaxing) in the morning as well but the impending doom of the day ahead is just too strong a repelling force.

Perhaps I need to reflect on my outlook of the daytime. Why does it cause this repugnant feeling?

Aug 5, 2023
7:49 pm

It only took me some 10 hours of work spread over two days of thinking to make it happen. Here we are. I count this a successful operation but I have a few reservations.

The last 10% really takes 90% of the time.

Aug 5, 2023
4:02 pm

The weekend seems to come and go quite quickly. I don’t know how to feel about it.

Do I need a break? I am not sure. Is life hectic? Not really. Is there something I am longing for? Nope.

Perhaps I need to differentiate my weekdays from my weekends.

Aug 5, 2023
9:24 am

When talking of compatibility, no one mentions that you need to have the same speed and rhythm of looking at files on a computer as your partner. Or else it’s just chaos.

Aug 4, 2023
7:58 pm

Every time I find myself a coding-related mini-project*, I hyper-fixate on it and lose track of time.

Why doesn’t it happen with anything else?

*currently: transporting this stream to my website

Aug 4, 2023
2:39 pm

What does it say about someone if their choice of reading is either nonfiction or children’s literature?

Aug 4, 2023
12:07 pm

The situation in Punjab is so ridiculous that people who can’t clear IELTS, start preparing for the Pearson’s PTE test as if that is going to be easier for whatever reason.

“Why do they dislike Punjab so much?”

What?

“It’s easy to understand why someone would like Canada, Australia or the UK. They are beautiful developed countries with great social benefits. But why do Punjabis dislike Punjab so much that they want to get out of there however they can?”

Aug 4, 2023
10:38 am

In the context of the development sector… Are people afraid of thinking at scale? Or do they lack the experience/confidence to aim at scale?

People often set their aim at one school or all schools in the country - nothing in between. I wonder what their reasons are.

Aug 3, 2023
6:59 pm

My requirement was simple: I wanted a way to publish short, fleeting thoughts on my website.

But I have a low-tech convoluted way of publishing on my website. It’s not possible to handle it from any device that is not my computer.

I spent a few hours today trying to figure out how to set this up. And this is what I have settled on - GitHub Issues.

The name is quite apt. I love it.

I hope to connect it to a page on my blog soon enough but until then this is going to remain my personal adventure.


Last modified: Mar 29, 2024