General

All the posts that don’t fit into any particular category end up here.


Amazon Prime Video

I signed up for a 30 day trial of Amazon Prime Video. I am still on the trial period but its looking good. I will pay Rs 499 for an annual subscription.

I used to consume quite a bit of movies, thats one of my favourite past times. But these days due to busy work I am only able to watch movies or TV shows while having lunch & dinner, so I watch them in parts. And it gets cumbersome to download torrents of things I want to see, find the right subtitle files for them, keep them organized in folders.

Prime Video solves that problem for me, instant access to a good library of HD videos with subtitles, an affordable plan, no extra device required. Additionally not having to pirate anything is a conscience cleanser.

It seems like worth it. Hopefully the collection of videos will grow over time.


TransferWise

Have started using TransferWise to receive client payments instead of PayPal. Its great!

TransferWise takes around 0.9% in fees while PayPal takes around 4.5%. And the conversation rate is great too.


Going easy on news consumption

Until now I used to watch Twitter accounts of local, national & international news channels, and then throughout the day I would visit other aggregator sites which link me to variety of news articles.

But I notice the most important & actually useful news always have a way to surface and reach me. I don’t have to be constantly tracking various sources for in depth, wide range of news.

So I have decided to reduce the amount of news I consume.

My morning newspaper in local language and our national news channel in the night is enough.


What does focus mean?

It means to ignore or cut down many things, in order to concentrate on a few things.

Sometimes those many things might feel important, but they are not. You already know what is most important to you. You just have to be truthful to yourself.

Rest is just noise.


King’s Office

We all know that the Tiger is the king of the jungle. But he was getting increasingly busy with all the work there is to do by being the king.

So he decided to hire some staff, a rabbit to be his personal secretary, a deer as financial advisor, an elephant to be his minister & so on.

But the first day his staff members came in the tiger ate them all. Do you know why?

Because the first day at the office was called Meat The Staff.

(Yeah I know, I would make a terrible children’s book writer.)


Indian Budget 2017

Best budget I have ever heard in my life time, and I have heard a lot of budgets.

Thanks Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi & Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley!


Hyderabad Airport Lodge

If you wanted to sleep at the Hyderabad airport, there are a couple of options.

There is a Transit Hotel right near the exit of the airport. It should set you back by few thousand rupees.

There is another hotel by Novotel nearby which seems like a 5-star hotel, so prices should be accordingly.

But if you wanted a frugal option, there is a lodge right within the compounds of the airport, less than 1KM from the exit.

Visit the official website of the airport, click on the others tab – you’ll see the prices:

But that page does not have any more info. We found the rest on our own after arriving at the airport which I’ll share here.

This lodge is on the first floor of a building whose ground floor functions as a stop for people to wait for buses to the city, there is a food outlet with limited menu [thali & chicken biryani etc], 2/3 conveyance stores, a gents barber shop, a HDFC ATM etc.

How to reach there:

There is a (truly) 24 hour free shuttle bus service between the airport & this bus stop/lodge. Walk out of the airport, look up to locate a tall pole with India flag on it, walk near it & wait for the free shuttle bus. It drops you directly at the lodge building, no other stops. Go inside the building, go up the staircase on the left & find yourself at the lodge lobby. You’ll need to provide ID & next flight’s details to book accommodation.

We have stayed in both deluxe room & dormitory, both are clean and well maintained, we have arrived/left in both regular times as well as late night/early morning, staff is available 24/7 and they are friendly.

It feels more hassle than it really is, we took a chance & were very happy to get much needed rest during long connecting flights. We’ll definitely stay there again if needed.

You can also call them on +914024008371.


Wow PayPal!

I never thought I will say this but I am loving me some PayPal right now! They deposited some money in my account with the following message:

Dear Merchant, we noticed that there was a small discrepancy in the calculation of your fee for PayPal services for a brief period of time. This difference is being credited to your PayPal ac.

The thing is, few months ago I had noticed on PayPal website about them offering slightly discounted merchant rate [from 4.4% to 3.9%] if your monthly sales volume was above a certain amount. I was eligible so I had applied for it. But I didn’t follow up after that to check what rate of fee I was being charged, because for a freelancer PayPal fee is just one of those things in life that you can not avoid, so best to accept, forget & move on.

Now it seems they might have continued with taking more fees from me for some time, they realized it after a few months, and today refunded me the extra charges taken. I am so glad that PayPal is cleaning up its act & trying to be more friendly towards us small business owners.


Security audit, getting burned by LastPass, moving away from Dropbox

I used to keep all my online account username/password details in a free account with LastPass, it worked pretty well, until last year one fine morning it stopped accepting my master password & I could not recover the account. As a result I had to reset a lot of web accounts over the period of few months & completely lost a few accounts.

And now with the recent news of Dropbox’s security being compromised, I started wondering what good are these online tools if they themselves are not safe, and can even lock me out of accessing my own data without any reason.

I had stopped installing Dropbox on my mobile long ago as I have a long history of losing my phones. For that matter I don’t have any useful data on my mobile except Contacts. My smart phone has always been kept as a dumb phone on purpose.

The only place I have Dropbox installed is on my laptop. And I used to live in it, with all my data inside the Dropbox folder.

But now I am taking matters into my own hands. Today I moved all my important stuff out of Dropbox, leaving only the Screenshots folder & folders shared with other Dropbox users which don’t have anything critical.

Now storing all mission critical data offline on the computer, doing daily backups to a 1TB time machine drive. Simple, very effective, easy to recover.


First post

10 years ago in 2006 I used to have a blog twobytes.blogspot.com, it was mildly popular amongst my friends, I was mostly writing about technology tips, and it was also warming up to occasional organic search engine visitors. You see the name was also clever – instead of saying “my two cents” it was saying “two bytes” which was like my 2-cents worth of digital words. And then one fine day I deleted it on a whim, moved on with my career, time passed by.

Sometimes I wonder if I had continued with that blog, what a massive archive it would have become by now! A decade worth of content.

After that over the years I have tried making several blogs on different domains, but never sticked to any long enough. Always ended up deleting them after a few months.

I also used to be a heavy user of FriendFeed until it was killed. After that I could never trust Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc enough. There is something about publishing & owning your own content that these platforms can not provide.

Well anyways I believe its better late than never. So from now onwards wherever I go, whatever I do, I will continue blogging here. Looking forward to a decade worth of content.