Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stop Dreaming, Start Doing.

Dreaming up stuff is fun, but it does not count for anything, if you only stop at that. Inaction is the surest way to fail. That's kind of obvious; I know, so why then do we still dream about success, and yet not start?

Luck has a big part to play in ideas succeeding, and you're only as lucky as the number of ideas you've tried. So it's not just the "doing stuff", but the "doing LOTS of stuff" that really matters when your looking for those few ideas that will eventually succeed.

Oh, and when your doing lots of stuff, expect a lot of them to fail.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The problem with static websites


Nothing beats the flexibility and control you get with hand-crafted static websites, especially when it comes to SEO. But if you've made and maintained a few static websites, you quickly realize that it has its limitations.

When you hand code HTML on a page by page basis, you end up creating duplication, because a lot of elements on each page (like headers and footers) will be common across the whole website. Duplication is bad because when you want to change one of these elements, you have to do it manually on all pages that contain that element.

Mixing structure and content
Static websites mix the structure of the page, with the content of the page. The structure of the page is the hierarchy of elements that constitute that page, and in most cases, is common across a lot of pages. The content on the other hand, varies on a page by page basis. Most of the duplication on static websites is related to the structure.

Dependency on multiple tools
When you manage a static website, you are dependent on a lot of tools, like ftp clients, ssh clients, etc. The absence of any one of these tools, for example, when you are on the go, makes updating the website very painful.


A CMS can solve these problems with:

Templates are a way to eliminate structure duplication by extracting the common structure of pages in one place. This way, any changes to the structure is limited to the template alone, effectively separating the structure of pages from their content. Templates can also be used to share content across pages to eliminate content duplication.

Browser based editing
Browser based editing allows management of the website on the go. Since all changes are done directly on the live website, it helps to have versioning, to be able to rollback to a previous version in case of errors.

Rewritepad is a simple hosted CMS that solves just these problems while still keeping it as flexible and simple as hand coding static websites.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

What are you waiting for?

When you look back at your life, what would you like to have done that would make you smile and make it all worth while? What would you regret not doing?

Why aren't you doing those things now? If today was the last day of your life, would your answer to that question be the same?

Realize, that life is like a solo game of Russian roulette, and every day you spend not following your dreams, is just increasing the chance that you never might.

Heard today that someone I know got diagnosed with cancer. Trust me, you don't want to wait for something like that to happen to you, before you wake up and realize, you've run out of time.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Overcoming Fear

For most of my early years, I was afraid of the dark and would not move around the house at night. Till this one day I decided to face my fear and venture into the darkness, and realized that there was nothing there in the darkness to be afraid off. On the contrary, when my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw the house from a new perspective.

Over the years, I've overcome a lot of my fears (funny how every one of them seemed unsurmountable at the time) and each time discovered that when I faced my fear, it disappeared and gave way to a world of possibilities. With every fear that I overcame, I also uncovered a new layer of myself.

There are still a lot of things that I'm afraid off, that are keeping me from fulfilling my potential and experiencing all that life has to offer, but I'm going to take them on, one-by-one, because fear is suffocating; it restricts my creativity.

To be creative, I have to live in the moment, and fear will not let me do that, because fear has its roots either in past experiences or future consequences. Only by living in the moment; breaking free from the past and accepting the consequences of my actions, can I create something new.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Procrastination, it turns out, is an essential skill that we need to develop to accomplish things.

Most people that accomplish something, almost always achieve it by procrastinating lots of other things. So it's not procrastination that is bad, it's procrastinating the wrong things that needs to be fixed.

In the past, I've gone through phases where I do not have any goals (drifting) or phases where I have too many goals (distracted).

Without something to accomplish (drifting), I was procrastinating everything, and with too many things to accomplish (distracted), I was doing only the fun or easy things (instant gratification) and procrastinating everything else.

Here are the thumb rules I use now to figure out what to procrastinate:

  1. Choose goals that you want to accomplish. Without goals you won't get anywhere. Duh!
  2. If you came up with a lot of goals, get real and trim it down to 2-3 goals at max. If you think about it, most people that you look up to as achievers, have a single minded focus on only 1 or 2 goals.
  3. Once you've chosen what you want to accomplish, procrastinate everything that does not help you accomplish it.
  4. Life is too short for you not to get distracted by other things that give you instant gratification every now and again, so if you feel like breaking these rules sometimes, go for it - it doesn't mean you have to do it again tomorrow. Break it, enjoy it and move on.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Enough Money

There are two ways to make enough money to do the things that you want to do:
  • Make more money
  • Spend less money

    A lot of people choose to make more money, which is fine if you plan on achieving it by increasing your Passive Income. The problem is, that people choose to make more money by trying to increasing their Active Income. This is a vicious circle.

    Active Income requires a linear investment of time. If you want to make more money, you need to spend more time, and when you stop spending time towards making money, well, you don't make any. The more time you put in, the more stressed you get. The more stressed you get, the more money you need to spend to deal with it and maintain your new lifestyle, which in turn leaves you with not enough money. Sound familiar?

    The approach of spending less money is chosen by very few people and is an option that almost no one thinks about. It forces you to really think about what you want to do with your life and choose a lifestyle that will allow you to accomplish that.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Passive Income

    Financial independence is not about having more money, it's about having more time. More time to do the things that you want to do.

    You only get a finite amount of time to spend in this life and with each passing moment, your time runs out. When you understand this fact of life, you realize that time is actually more valuable than money.

    So, what do you want to do with your time?

    I for one, want to do many things and travel the world, and one way to achieve this time and location independence would be with Passive Income, an income received on a regular basis, with little or no effort required to maintain it, i.e., money received with a non-linear investment of time.

    Passive Income is the opposite of Active Income, an income that is received with a linear investment of time, e.g., charging by the hour like in consulting, working for a monthly salary or selling stuff (handicraft, food) you create by hand. Since your directly trading time for money, if you stop investing the time, you stop making money.

    From the above, it should be obvious that focusing on Passive Income is a better investment of the finite time you have.

    Here are some examples of Passive Income generators:
    • Information Products (e-books, audio/video tutorials)
    • Software Products
    • Royalties  (Books, Photographs, Music, Patents)
    • Rental property

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    Big Companies

    • Big companies have greater entropy and therefore increased inefficiencies.
    • Increased inefficiencies result in greater viscosity; you need to put in a lot more effort to get something done.
    • Dealing with these inefficiencies (processes) generates a lot of busy work, work that is time consuming but not valuable.
    • Busy work dilutes focus and results in even further inefficiencies and the vicious cycle continuous till you end up with individual goals that are orthogonal to the companies goals.
    • Everyone in the company has a different context and is dealing with a different level of abstraction. Assuming that transparency is the key to keeping people aligned misses the point that the goals need to be communicated differently to different individuals within the company. This is a very hard problem to solve.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    Good ideas are hard; Implementation is easy!

    All closed systems of any significant value will be reverse engineered eventually

    While writing that tweet, I remembered a conversation I had with @rasmus a long time ago at where he said he prefered a BSD license for PHP over GPL, because they could easily replicate any significant proprietary/closed changes that businesses might make.

    That's when it struck me: Any idea that becomes significant, can easily be implemented. It's coming up with a good idea in the first place that's hard.

    Monday, March 01, 2010

    Directing Attention

    Its astonishing, how little control we exercise in directing our attention. We usually let it go where it wants to; attracted, demanded or manipulated by external sources.

    Today, on my way to work, I chose to direct my attention to the shadows cast by the late afternoon sun. I noticed the beautiful silhouettes made by the shadows of trees, flags and the birds flying above. They were always there, but I had never seen them before.

    Its scary the amount of detail our senses leave out.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    The Art of Achieving

    In a cafe mocha (from Barista of course) induced moment of clarity in the middle of the night this Monday (22 Feb, 2010) , I finally understood why, for a while now, I've had this nagging running-in-place-and-not-getting-anywhere feeling. With this new insight, I came up with a simple Personal Accomplishment System for myself. I'll be posting more on this soon, but first I need to check if it works for me.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Setting up an offline dictionary on Ubuntu

    Note: I'm running Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

    There are two ways to do this that I know off:

    Install Artha, an off-line thesaurus based on WordNet
    sudo apt-get install artha

    Or, you can configure Dictionary to use a local dictionary server

    Install a local dictionary server and required dictionaries and thesaurus:
    sudo apt-get install dictd dictzip dict-wn dict-foldoc dict-jargon dict-gcide dict-moby-thesaurus

    Configure Dictionary to use the local dictionary:
    Application > Office > Dictionary
    Edit > Preferences
    Add a new source using as the Hostname and select it as your default source.

    Hope that helps.