Friday, September 24, 2010

If you are like me, go and install this to 'StayFocusd'

If you are like me, refreshing or or any of your favorite site atleast every five minutes to see what new has come there so much so that you don't even know where your time has gone, then I have found the ultimate solution.
If you are using Google Chrome (I don't think there is a better browser than that out there. If you haven't tried it yet, go download it here.  And go to the extensions gallery. It is like addons for Firefox and install the StayFocusd extension here.

With this you can set the add the sites which you think you waste most of your time on or on which you can't close the browser on, add those to the blocked sites list in this. And it will do the rest. You can have a ten minutes of time or configurable amount of time where all the sites in the list will be available. After that they will be blocked. You may worry that even in the evening or during the time away from work also these sites will remain blocked. There is a  solution for that also. Here are the options available

You can set various options like active days (to exclude weekends), active hours, daily reset time, allowed sites and even nuclear option - in which you can just specify which sites to allow. It will block everything else. Smart people might think that they can just increase the time when the feel that time is getting completed for the day. But they have factored such things also, the changes don't take effect till the next day. So you are completely blocked. 

Ofcourse you can close the browser and open another browser like IE or firefox but after using chrome, I am not liking to use chrome. 

Other cool extensions:
Other cool extensions which have made my life easier are Awesome Screenshot  which helps you to capture screenshots and annotate them and IE Tab. IE Tab is very useful to open some sites which are still in the dark ages and open properly only in IE. Actually we could boycott them but not using outlook web access if you work in an IT company is not possible. So IE Tab has finally blocked the final reason which I used to open IE. If you use an android phone, and you thought typing something on the url bar of phone browser is a pain, we have LinkPush extension which just pushes the link from your chrome browser to your phone. Amazing I say. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Interview with a half-marathon runner

Marine of the United States Marine Corps runs ...
Image via WikipediaMy current cubicle lifestyle is not giving me enough exercise.  So I tried joining a gym and even went to it a few times ;) But then my friend who used to take to the gym got transferred and I was unable to go the gym due to the car addicted society here. So when I saw that my cousin Shiva (@nitturis )  was running 15 Kms a day and even completed a half marathon, I was interested. I though this would be a perfect anti-dote to my exercise starved body. So I  had an interview with him regarding how he got started up and when kept him going .

A: What was the motivation for getting started? 
Shiva (S) : I was overweight, and even more by brother's son who was just 15 yrs old was even more overweight. So initially my aim was to make him lose some weight and I thought, even I am not fit. So it will help me too. So that was the motivation for it all 

A: So how did you get started. What did you do before getting started? 
S: The main thing is to run. Initially the idea should be to complete a particular distance, say 5 KM. And then start running. Don't worry if you are not able run continuously, just focus on completing the distance. Stop if you have to - for some time but still complete the distance. If you are tired, walk for sometime. Initially, on the first day you may feel very tired and you will feel a lot of pain. But next day, don't ignore, just run. And from the third day, surely you will feel better and it will not be that painful. Also a good advice for a starter is that you should not expect any results for 3 to 4 months

A: Is there anything which we have to do after a run?
S: Yes you can do a few things so that you will be fit for running the next day. Basically to prevent cramps, you can do some stretching exercises. You can do yogasanas for stretching yourself. Well, actually the surya namaskars fit the bill perfectly. It will stretch you and you will become fit also. 

A: What are the dietary suggestions you have?
S: You have to drink more water as you will be dehydrated easily. You have to take more juices. Drink juice without ice and without sugar. If you need to sweeten it, try to use some honey. Also try to avoid rice at night and eat rotis. Also avoid coffee as it will decrease your stamina. Add more proteins into your food. If you are a vegetarian like me, dry fruits are good source of proteins in your diet.

A: Any other general advice for being to run successfully?
S: It all boils down to your motivation level. Aim for a 10K run. Join a running club. Get some company so that you can motivate each other. Buy an iPod, so that you will not feel bored to run. Always try to run. Also maintain good sleep  habits. Actually the sleep will come by itself because you will have been tired.Also have the right attire. Sweat shirt and shorts would be ideal. 

Thanks to Shiva for the interview. It has given me a good feel of what it takes to run.

So if any of my readers are also runners and have some tips for me or queries which I can ask my cousin are most welcome.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Updates & Touching Love Stories

Hi friends,
It is some time since I updated my blog. I was busy preparing for my driving test. If you have read my previous posts aka car stories here about US, you know that living without a car in the suburbs is very difficult. So I was eagerly  awaiting my driving test after which I can buy a car. But unfortunately, I failed in the test. I practiced generally without markings and without seeing how a test track looks like for a parallel parking. So when I went in for the test the area was far smaller than what I have imagined, so I couldn't park in the cramped space to be declared 'Failed' . So I have to endure another month of waiting before I can buy my car.

Another interesting thing - We all love stories.. So my friend Sandy has written some beautiful love stories and he has published them. So go read them and have a good time. You can download the pdf here

I liked the geeks love story and the story of Akash and Akshaya.
So go ahead and download the story and let him know your feedback.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A suggestion for Gmail Team - Update

Gmail's logoImage via WikipediaCouple of weeks back, I wrote a post outlining a suggestion to the GMail team to delete the social network notifications. Though the exact feature is not available, I have found another plugin to gmail which first sorts all of those notifications into a label, so that you can select all and delete. This way you don't need to first write filters for orkut, facebook and twitter separately. And the plugin, also neatly labels most of the low priority emails neatly into categories like social networking, groups, news, shopping etc, so that your main inbox is not cluttered.  The plugin is Other Inbox. Go try it out  at Have a less cluttered inbox.
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~Kindness~, originally uploaded by Jt's JuNk.

I discovered one interesting fact about myself. That I am arrogant - not very much but a little - but not very little, not to hurt anyone. It hit me when I read the story told by the founder of, Jeff Bezos. It goes like this

On a long road trip with his beloved grandparents, a 10-year-old Bezos decided to impress his grandmother with his talents for calculations, informing her that her intensive cigarette smoking would take nine years off her life. When instead of praising his mathematical prowess, she wept, his grandfather took him aside and gave him one of the great lessons of his life.
"My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence he gently and calmly said, 'Jeff, one day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever,'" Bezos said. Cleverness is a gift, Bezos told the graduates, and kindness is a choice. 

So how many times have we done that? Are you using your kindness to help people or are you making them feel bad by showing it off in the wrong moment? I think unknowingly, I have done such thing -It feels very natural to do when it seems like commonsense to you. But we should remember to -
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. - Plato.
It is easy to be right or clever, but it is difficult to be kind. But life will be a little more frictionless, if we are kinder. If only we are a little sensitive, the world looks and becomes more loving and tender.

My sins against gender stereotypes!!

This post is a tag from Sandy. It is about whether you have committed any sins against gender stereotypes - like liking some womanly things if you are a man.
The Rules are 

If you are a woman,
Have you ever wanted something that is considered ‘manly’ ? Like a basketball, a cell phone, a dog, a camera or a new laptop? A new car or motor bike? Ever wanted to be a pilot? A doctor or not a nurse? And the manliest want of them all – The remote! As a kid did you enjoy playing with a bat and a ball?
There was a time when books were considered ‘manly’, women authors had to pretend to be men – would you say books are still rather manly – women should want to embroider and crochet?

If you are a man, 
Have you ever wanted something that only women are supposed to want – like bags, shoes, clothes, creams, perfumes, babies, flowers? A peaceful home and a happy family? Have you ever been afraid of the dark or of insects?As a kid did you ever want to play ‘teacher-teacher’, cooking or did you like playing with a doll? Have you ever enjoyed cooking? Bought something in pink? Loved chocolates?

-- the rules are copied from Gaurav's blog.
So here I go
I am not a big fan of shopping except buying what is needed.
I love being in nature and hence I like flowers a lot. You can see my posts on beautiful U.S spring here.
Ofcourse, babies are innocent and I like that innocence and cuteness of babies a lot.
I am amazed that having a peaceful home and a happy family is just a gender stereotype. I think everybody wants it.
Though I can't say I love cooking, I do cook on a need basis :)
So there is no one I can pass the tag to as my friends except Sandy  have stopped blogging.