Let technology help to write your rama naama’s

I was cleaning out my code repository the other day and found this ‘raama naama generator’ that I created a few years ago.

I have open-sourced the program out of concern for the society – so download it today (or) go through the complicated code – if you are into such a thing.

tldr;

Accumulate just enough punya – quickly and without boring sadhana using the generator. You can do all this in the comfort of your own home.

What’s a rama naama generator?

Easily generate a million raama naama’s at the click of a button. Yes, you heard that right.

It is equivalent to writing all those mantras in tens of books. I have taken great care to automate that and make it easy.

  • No more worries if you have been busy and could not complete the allocated number of mantras in a day, week or month
  • No spending time on writing
  • No pains in the wrist
  • No impact to environment – no papers wasted, no ink spilled and no plastics used

What is the objective of such a generator?

There are three key objectives –

  • Save your time
  • Save your energy
  • Help save our environment

Is enlightenment guaranteed after using this program?

Assured. Never guaranteed. YMMV.

Religious practices are serious business. Is this all joke to you?

No, and no.

Enlighten me more about this program and why use it?

Yes, this is sarcasm – dummy. But sarcasm of the serious kind. I am a great arm-chair philosopher and will take nothing less.

My mother and I discuss a lot many things. Among them was a topic about how we think about things and utilise time in our lives.

One of those things that we find around us is to write many many Rama naama’s. When I say “around us” – I mean the narrow world that my family and I have carved around us in a South Indian state, at a time that probably has no meaning even if I say it loud (well, 21st century – just for the records).

There is this custom of writing many (I mean many) naama’s (a prayer that you write in the book) and submitting those books to a temple. The prayer goes something like –

“Shri Rama, Jaya Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama”

Translation: Glory be to God – this is referring to one of our revered Gods – Rama.

After the writers write their many lines and books, they submit it to a near by temple. The temple performs a big ceremony at the very end, distributes ‘prasad’ and everyone goes out happy.

  • Devotees get the satisfaction of a few weeks well spent
  • Template trustees feel elated on making devotees out of mere mortals
  • Priests get to recite the holy mantras
  • Singers get to sing some classical, devotional songs
  • Speakers at the occasion get an opportunity to reaffirm their beliefs and seek a few followers

I did not quite understand what happens to the books thereon, but the fate of the books is immaterial to the conversation. But, I do know that there are banks (like this) that keep track of the naama’s written and punya accumulated.

So, it was that we debated about how we choose to spend our time, and to what benefit.

  • Is it because we try to discipline our mind to think the same thing (much like mantras, but with writing + mantra both)
  • Is it to slow our thinking and calm our minds?
  • Is it because we want to enforce the belief that we stand for something greater than ourselves (as in humans)
  • Is it because we want to take up something that we see as “big” and prove a point?

This generator was just a prankish way of saying times have moved on but has our life progressed well in line with those “times”.

What if we had a program that generated a 100, 1000, or a million naama’s in couple of seconds. Does it say anything about the journey vs. destination debate?

Happy to say – we never found the answer and the debate continues. But, there was no way I would miss that opportunity to share something invaluable with y’all.

Planning for the good life in comment section

So, it so happens on one day that I develop an itch to know more about why the government bans Haj subsidy. And, what other kinds of pilgrimages can be banned.

You see – although I am quite distant to Godly matters, I tend to develop all kinds of interests.

This quest of mine led me to Google News, and then onwards to an old article by The Logical Indian. This news site evokes extreme reactions from people who care and I could not just resist the urge to gobble up their thoughts about all the burning issues plaguing this world.

The only take away from the article was –

The relationship between man and God is an individual choice. The state is forbidden to have allegiance to such an activity … Mixing state with religion is not constitutionally permissible.

This is where most of the intelligent and smart people stop, and go about their business. Of course, that does not include me.

I wanted to find out what other super intelligent beings on the planet think about the whole noise around subsidy. These are the guys who give away smart thoughts & ideas for free and get society to think about its own existence – all in the comment section.

I have to say I was quite disappointed with the comments in this particular article. I did what any other lazy person will do – furiously work on my mouse wheel and get to the next article in the constantly scrolling nirvana.

And, ladies and gentleman – this is where I hit the jackpot. I’m fairly certain that TLI does not mind sharing information by smart people, to smart people and for other smart asses like you and me.

The article, if you care (you should), is about harassers against women. The topic is serious – and, in all honesty, I did expect the intelligentsia to be more generous with their comments.

Boy, was I right and wrong at the same time.

First, we start off with Santosh who was insensitive to the problem in the article but was trying to be immensely helpful at the same time.

smart intelligent comments in news sites

Now, I do not know Mr. Santosh from Appolo Hospital. Or, just why he changed his name to Dr. Mark Fox who is Nephrology in the world famous India Surgical Hospital. But, I am determined to chose this conduit to put my kidney to good use at the right time. I have great ideas to spend USD 290K.

There were few other guys willing to “huge amount of money” for various organs – but my vote is for the above. Please save the WhatsApp numbers for future use.

The reason I say “future use” is because there are better options. What if you could get a super loan from a super friendly guy?

idiotic comments

I am now a true believer. Chris O David, the kind lender is not saying this himself. He got Jessica, a widow of three kids, to login with his account and start posting random comments full of praise of the “man of God”. The act will be deemed plain stupid, if not for the miracles here.

I half stopped here – what was the point in proceeding elsewhere when I could get money with low interest rates?

This was not to be.

No sooner I learnt of easy money without getting my kidneys involved, I was enlightened to “programmed blank credit cards”. Why take loans at 3% when I could just have a modern “akshay patra”. I could just say I was getting smarter by the minute.

internet comments spam hilarious

The most difficult decision was now to choose from a list of cards that offered a whole range of spends with corresponding costs per day (a few of them from untraceable, unknown banks).

Fortunately, I was not stupid. I could clearly see that there was a catch. The people with likeness for serious detective stories and crime mysteries will instantly see the major flaw in the process.

How can we get away with withdrawing all this money from the credit card with the damn CCTV looking at us? Even if the bank is not interested, will the CCTV monitor monitor (yes – that is the monitor of the CCTV monitor) also get the same idea?

There is only so much money in this world. “Fear not” – I assured myself as I scrolled to the next comment. Presenting the card that can trick the stupid CCTVs.

internet spam comments funny

The honest offer of a non-free, giver of money card was taken to the next level by a company that combines the best of both worlds – interest rates and blank credit card.

funny comments

Kidneys may join the offer later.

I felt so blessed to have all these people around, and to have the most powerful medium to get their messages across to me. And then, I had my ‘Inception’ moment.

inception moment

Damn you, internet.

 

(Sorry guys, could not resist the temptation to break the “no blogging” streak with an idiotic post).

Learn to type like a pro

I have been associated with computers for more than two decades now.

During this time, I have typed programs, typed posts, typed emails and then typed some more. As you may have guessed by now – it is safe to assume that I have typed a lot during this time.

All this typing would have consumed time – ** a lot of ** time. If I had a paisa for each time I saved money while typing content of 100 words, I would have retired by now to Goa or Kerala as a billionaire.

Before proceeding further, let us delve into a bit of history.

When computers came to be, it would have been an ideal if computers would have understood lesser humans like me with some magic and a bit of science. But that was not to be.

The problem extended on the other side as well. The people who were frontlining our conversations with computers formed their own secret societies and started talking to computers faster than ever before. Normal people would have done all that through a brain-computer interface – but we are talking about the cream-of-the-cream technologists here. So, they went ahead copying the humble typewriter.

And, thus started our (and eventually my) hate-hate relationships with keyboards.

— end of history lesson —

Keyboards enable me to talk to computers, but I never really called that a proper conversation. With all the mistakes I make in my typing, my computer would have launched itself into space & exploring Andromeda rather than be a party to the conversation.

Suffice to say that my typing –

  • is not fast – nowhere near it
  • is not accurate – backspace key on my keyboard often gets worn out. So much so that I have a bunch of cheap keyboards I bought only to extract the backspace key

The natural question now would be – why the heck would I not learn “touch typing”?

Believe me, it was not for the lack of will. Each time I see someone typing like this, I would drown in pity for my computer.

fast typing

I wanted to be like the hacker who can complete a 100-line Perl script while using his left hand to drink coffee.

So, it would be with the greatest of urgency that I would swear to become a ‘typing emiretus’ fifteen days hence. I would restart searching for a good typing program. I would download at least three and try at least five including the programs I had downloaded in my last great attempt. I tried

I tried gamifying the heck of the system without luck, and did not achieve anything by measuring my speed with specific keys. I even tried following tips by nobel prize winning typists, and for sometime, I tried typing with my wrists tied behind my back.

All of them were disasters. I would simply jump up and down one day, and try to stare down the computer the next.

staring the computer without typing

I would simply get bored of the whole exercise and revert to my old style after unceremoniously dropping everything. I could not accomplish much beyond the up/down arrows and A, W, S and D keys. And, that expertise was because of a game that I couldn’t simply stop playing.

 

To make matters worse, the point and click configuration I was doing at work to be called as an expert was replaced by something that would need me to type long programs.

Surely, the universe was against me.

Or, was it?

It was not long before I realized that I was the universe. So, the act of typing, or the lack of it, was also the self. And, huzzah to self, I tried my luck at the finding out the shiniest new program that could lift me up to the level of the aforesaid hacker (but this time he would be typing Javascript).

You know what – this story does indeed have a good ending. I came across this website called keybr.com.

type faster like a pro using keybr

I suddenly was enlightened about what I had been missing all this while –

  • I get bored of repeated typing of characters like this
    fff bbb ddd kkk ili lll
    This does not make sense people – it belongs to the unfortunate souls who are learning to type on a typewriter.
  • Since I could not really pronounce ‘fff’ and its counterparts, I had a hard time retaining it in my mind.
    I am not that intelligent.
  • I am not a person who has problems locating a key. Remember, I had typed typing with wrists tied behind my back. My big problem was not using all the fingers as God(s) would wish them to be.
    I could not sustain interest if I had to start all the way from using only the index finger to my whatever the other finger is called.
  • I would get real emotional about a program chastising me by holding off on a key just because I did not type it correctly. I was equally unhappy with a program that would accept whatever junk that came to it after ONE MISTAKEN KEY PRESS and score me negative numbers just because it could.

Keybr was the panacea I was looking for.

First things first – I loved that the program did not start from the very basics. I get to see words that I can pronounce and remember them for typing. This would be  the natural way of learning to type since that is what I do all the time.

Next, the program would gently show me the way with animation that I did not take kindly to. More importantly if there is a significant time lapse ( let us say 4 seconds) of me typing in wrong characters, it would treat my decision of refusing to type a character and move on. So the characters I typed after ONE MISTAKE (again in caps), would be ok.

Finally, I would not choose lessons one after the other or put up with a program that dare says I was a failure and could not proceed. Instead, I would be led like a king into deeper and deeper typing knowledge until I was ready to fight the dragon.

Oh, for God’s sake keybr! Why did it take so much time for me to find you? Now is the time I become a typing God before the Cortana, Siri and the like take over the world.

Cable prices go north

We received additional à la carte rates for specific TV channels from our cable operator.

 

 bengaluru cable price revision

While this is quite common for people with DTH services, it is being rolled out to households with cable connections in the last year or so.  You could not miss the advisories on hindi language networks from the people you trust – people who acted in numerous “TV serials” (series) just to confuse you (was Aditi in Serial A, or B? Is she the mother or sister of the good guy in so & so series?).

When all this hoopla was going on,we did what thousands of others around us did. We left it to the best judgement of our cable operator to decide what is good for us. As expected, all that accumulated karma got back to us today.

Our trusted cable operator started demanding money at à la carte prices, when he perfectly knew that families like ours select the “all you can eat”, or the buffet option – families that avoid à la carte like the plague.

“There is no reason for us to select à la carte when you can get everything for reduced prices” – thus goes the reasoning.

We discussed and decided they went a bit too far with the cable prices this time. While we pay Rs. 200, which is cheaper compared to other parts of Bengaluru, we believe that it is because people in those parts do not know the “real” rates. Demanding additional money for specific channels from smart middle-class people did indeed flabbergast us. What’s more – additional money was being asked for the channels that we know only when we using remote like a machine gun – flipping channels like our life depended on it.

 

Dissection of channels that cost extra

Udaya TV group of channels  is quite well-known,  but seldom seen at home. At Rs.87 per month, we can as well settle down to DD. But I quite do not know whether our beloved DD still exists, my search is on.

More over, the entire Sun group of channels has declared war on cable operators (or vice versa) for some strange reason. The combination of Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam channels cost a whooping to Rs. 260. My nephew  helpfully suggested  that  it was the  same cost  for 26 CDs of movies that you *like*. I shut him up for the fear of my neighbours overhearing  about that illegal activity of pirated CDs – they may raid all the neighbouring CD shops to dust with their Rs.260’s.

I was the only one who saw Star Movies, Star World, & NGC. My daughters do not count since they watch any channel that is on. For the life of me, I could not remember when I switched to those specific channels to watch specific shows (except for The Simpsons on Star World). That was indeed horrifying because those are symptoms of a TV zombie. I immediately made note to remember the channels and shows that I watch. I also mentally reassured myself that the additional channels do not add an ounce of entertainment that I cannot get elsewhere.

The best part however was this – I had not even heard about some of channels that are about to have their prices bumped up. Whoever heard of Baby TV, Jalsa Movies, & Nat Geo People? 

As for the rest – it did not evoke any kind of reaction. I knew of their existence because they came in between when I wanted to flip to “the usual channel” (keying in numbers is stressful, and the back/forward buttons have this habit of taking you to a dream world).

 

The war cry

I rallied my entire family to my viewpoint, and we decided enough was enough.

“No more Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, or Bengali channels for you” – we told our 4 year old daughters. We quite cannot gauge their reaction sometimes, but I do think they completely agree. So, a decision was made rather quickly.

We’re not going to spend Rs. 600 plus on ridiculous channels. We’re not going to feed into the corporate ego  and we will not allow these entities to demand additional money  for questionable entertainment. A few of these channels are entertaining only because of the ads – we can get that for free from other channels. Why, we did not even notice that they were off air since for months already.

I was quite pleased with myself to have driven an unanimous decision, which is seldom the case in a family of six.

Once all this was done, I was again thankful to my cable operator. He helped fast forward the process of bringing some evil corporates to their knees – at least until they decide to revert back to prices and become good corporates .

Greatest Productivity Booster – Pain?

There are a million productivity boosters out there, and a gazillion books that tell you the ultimate secret to improve your productive life (including this blog. See, I am sneaky).

The end affect – zero, nada, zilch.

You end up with the same “I know everything that there is about productivity improvement”, “I am a bit more productive than where I was yesterday”, “It takes time..”.

No, it should not work that way.

That gets us to the greatest productivity booster of all times – pain, and beyond administered by your smart watch like device.

Behold – the Pavlok.

pavlok productivity booster

Pavlok is a new device being funded right now on IndiGoGo. The device works on a simple concept – it offers the other end of the stick to get you to do what you plan for yourself. See, there are too many “YOU”s, the product must be good.

Pavlok will pair with the app on iPhone or Android to appeal to your baser instincts (err.. get away from the pain), and make you get back on the track.

Say, you want to hit the gym for 1 hour, and you don’t do it. What will Pavlok do – zap you with static electricity. You did not meditate today for 10 minutes? Again, zap. You texted your ex – ZAP!

There are hundreds of other potential zaps out there including browsing time-wasters (not this website!), sitting near your window day-dreaming, and so forth.

Say, how about leaving the damn device at home – get a message on Facebook about your most recent bad behaviour, or even deduct money from your account.

You can also use it in a variety of other ways..

  • Improve your golf swing
  • Avoid nail biting
  • Avoid stepping into McDonalds
  • .. and so on. Read the IndiGoGo page for more information

Pavlok can also cause other things too – it can post to your Facebook page, beep loudly, or function as an emergency device to rescue you from frozen planets when you say “Beam me up, Scotty”.

(ok I admit, the latter was my feature request to the product owner)

pavlok monitors you to improve productivity

You got that idea. Pavlok is a lethal combination of responsibility and accountability infused in you, with the fear of pain, embarrassment, and financial loss.

Take my money already.

 

But no matter how powerful, Pavlok may not make you popular as the below video did for CEO Maneesh Sethi.