This is my tribute to Arsene Wenger, arguably Arsenal’s most successful manager. I started following the club in 2001 because of his influOne Arsene Wengerence on the style of play which even rival fans admired. Always liked his dignified approach, gentlemanly demeanour and the attacking, one-touch, quick-pass style play executed to audience’s delight by a fantastic team featuring greats such as Henry, Pires, Bergkamp, Ljunberg, Vieira, Keown, Lauren among others. The app has a quiz (you think you know everything about AW? Think again.), interesting trivia, quotes from him and a bio. Download here and help spread the word! Click https://shorturl.at/NVW45 to download. Check out what it has here.
I tried Chat GPT when it was launched and was suitably impressed.
But soon came Bard, Bing Chat and recently, Meta's Llama (it seems Claude, touted to be better than GPT and free, is already out but limited to the US for now).
When the dilemma is whether to Chat GPT or not Chat GPT, my answer landed on Bard. The log in process is seamless with a gmail account (unlike GPT which needs email, phone number, discord handle etc). Generally Bard's answers are exhaustive, informative and include tables when you prompt for differences between X and Y and an option to Google embedded right in the chat box. Also you can modify answers, and save them into Google docs. Very handy.
Bing Chat is integrated into the Edge browser, so that's ok too, although it doesn't exactly do what Bard or GPT do (you can ask your favourite AI for the differences).
Meanwhile LlaMa seemed more intent being polite, politically correct and sensitive than being accurate. For example, I asked Lllama which players did Arsenal sign in the transfer window? To which it said, no new players have been signed. Which was not true as the club had signed three new players. When I persisted with a follow up question, 'Isn't Declan Rice already with the club' I got a gentle rap on the typing hand with 'Let's not spread rumours'. When I ventured to ask who won in the friendly with MLS, I was told that they were two different leagues and hence no match had taken place.
So I asked Bard if Llama was behind, it said yes but indicated that Llama could catch up as these models are designed to evolve.
I did manage to sign back into Chat GPT (after deleting my account a while ago), the process was painful. I'll probably stick to Bard for now.
Here are a couple of YouTube channels I find useful for keeping tabs on the AI world:
i Social You:
A world of advice for those trying Llama, be polite.
There's a general rule that states that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. The long word in the title and other such attempts at showing how clever you are fall into that category. I saw the word 'onerous' in a piece of communication recently which triggered this post.
When you are learning a language for the first time, it's natural to want to impress others with your newly-acquired 'mastery'. Reminds me of this little kid who came home from school saying, 'Mom, I learnt a new word today'. Mom says, 'What's that?' Kid says, 'I'll give you three surmises'. It's ok. For a kid. Not for people who get paid to write professionally.
Because communication is about clarity. It's more about how much the other person you are talking to doesn't know or care about than about your own cleverness. That doesn't mean you have to dumb it down, far from it. You just have to keep it simple and effective.
Consider this powerful sentence from Hemingway. In The Sun Also Rises, there's a passage where a few people are talking. One of them says, "And I went bankrupt". Another guy asks, "How did you go bankrupt?" to which the first person says, "Well, gradually, then suddenly." Brilliant, don't you think? And it applies to most situations in life. How did your marriage end? How did you lose your job? How did you become an expert? (Like that saying about overnight success taking at least ten years).
The power of that reply is in its simplicity. It comes from experience and resonates with the reader at a different level. There's a reason proverbs, which are distilled wisdom passed down through generations, are expressed in simple language. Truth or what passes for it, expressed in simple yet powerful words, tends to last longer and have more impact.
Floccinaucinihilipilification, by the way, means 'to regard something as worthless'. As in floccinaucinihilipilification of unnecessarily big words.
It happens to almost all of us.
From the mere cog-in-the-wheel in a faceless organisation to reputed industry leaders.
On the cog side are people like us. (On a personal note, I must admit I've been fired a few times in my 30 years in the business. And each time I went on to do better work with better people in better agencies and at higher remuneration. Every single time. It was liberating. I saw it as Life's way of kicking me out of my comfort zone.)
On the other end of the spectrum are luminaries such as Steve Jobs, who, you'll remember, was fired from the company he started. And went on to write iHistory when he came back.
While not all of us who get the axe are likely to follow in his footsteps, the least we can do is find out how to face it and move on.
You'll probably go through the 7 stages of grief (shock and disbelief, denial, guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, loneliness and reflection, reconstruction and acceptance) after coming out of that awkward Friday evening chat with the boss.
It's not his fault. Usually.
The higher up you go, the more you resemble a dot on a bell curve. And despite what they might tell you, no company is 'like a family'. 'People are an asset' is just a line thrown in for effect. Like 'exclusively for you' products they flog to millions of people just like you. Nothing personal is what I mean.
No matter which stage of grief and shock you are at you need to understand this: it's not the end of the world. Unless of course you really messed up big time and cost the company serious damage, in which case this post may not be of much help.
Being let go is no big deal. It doesn't carry the stigma it used to decades ago. In a way it gives you space to regroup, rethink your strengths and weaknesses and reorder your priorities.
Usually, you get a month's pay in advance, so you won't starve while looking for another job.
Meanwhile try not to be bitter. It doesn't help and can be toxic. I remember reading this somewhere: "Anger, bitterness and resentment are like poison. You can't ingest them and expect someone else to die."
If you can, find out what led the company to give the marching orders. There might be some truth in their decision-making process. Ask if there was any area you were lacking in where you could have improved. Was it a wrong fit? Was there a gap in managing expectations? Find out.
If it was mere downsizing so the big guys could buy another private jet, that's fine (at least you won't be contributing to it).
That said, now will be a perfect time for re-skilling yourself. There are a great many learning platforms these days that teach you everything from programming to accountancy to public speaking to entrepreneurship and everything in between.
Take your pick.
If time is not on your side, spread the word through your friends and start applying. Use what you've learned from previous falls and work on them.
On an off chance, maybe it will throw you in a totally different direction and make you a star, as it did in the case of Simu
There's a lovely saying in Illusions by Richard Bach:
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
Remember that, and rock on!
Last year I spent a few months translating T.R.Kanakammal's Aksharamana Malai into English for the benefit of Bhagavan Ramana's devotees who are not familiar with Tamil. Soon after that, the call came to translate the slokas from Ramana Stuthi Panchakam as well. I published all of it here on this site. Later I thought it would be a good idea to publish them as individual PDF's which devotees can read at their own time, on their own devices. So I designed and published them all for 99 cents. There's an option to pay more if you feel like it.
Hope the translation helps you understand the works better.
Click the image below to go to the site to download PDFs, it will take you to the main page with all my ebooks, it's easy to navigate to Ramana Maharshi's section.
Ramana Saranam. Periyava Saranam.
While it may seem tenuous at first, the connection between skin colour and suppression, and the consequent issues such as social injustice, slavery, ill treatment becomes clearer if you think about it.
Which makes you wonder, if black/brown/other Pantone colours matter, how do we explain the obsession by the same group to such an extent that they form a significant part of the rise in the sales of skin whitening products?
According to a Grand View Research report*, the skin lightening product market was valued at over $8.3 billion in 2018.
A recent article in Business Enquirer states that the global market for skin lighteners is driven by the growing desire for light-coloured skin among both men and women primarily from the Asian, African and Middle East regions.”** with the largest and fastest-growing markets are in the Asia-Pacific region.† and is expected to grow
In the not too distant past, a global brand used to encourage consumers with ‘you are beautiful the way you are’, while its other judgy cousin persuaded that you had to be fair to be lovely, otherwise it was farewell (fairwell?) to your dream job, dream husband/boy friend, dream-whatever.
But you can’t blame the marketers. As long as there is demand, there will be supply.
The problem lies with us. Deeply embedded where no cream can reach.
Matrimonial ads in India, for instance, seek fair-complexioned girls while Korea’s love for Snow White is well-documented. It’s the same across Asia it seems from a quick Google search (try ‘Asia’s obsession with skin whitening’).
While beauty may be skin deep, racism apparently goes deeper.
Into the way you are brought up.
Into what you were told by your parents, your friends, your teachers, religious leaders and neighbours.
Into what you read, what you listened to, what you absorbed.
Without thinking, without analysing, without allowing a pause between stimulus and response.
Unless and until we realise that we are all a combination of 46 chromosomes and the four letters of DNA in their infinite permutations, that the climate and melatonin levels decide our skin colour, there will be racism.
With its knee firmly on the throat of the rest of the lives in other colours.
Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya. I've just re-launched my very first app, Ramana Maharshi. I've spent a lot of time and effort revising, refurbishing, re-designing the version 2.0.
What's new in version 2.0?
Just launched my latest app on the App Store, called IAmGrateful. (click to download)
In these trying times with no reasonable end in sight, I felt we needed to be thankful for everything we have.
For being on the wake up list today
For our next breath
For being able to enjoy our meals
For a fully stocked fridge
For the roof over our head
For our children, if we have any
For our family
For our pay cheque, even if it’s now
For being able to walk
To run and swim
To talk and laugh
For another day
Hope it helps whoever downloads it. Stay grateful.
Click on App Store icon to download.
I recently launched my 5th iOS app, this one’s for diabetics. As the tagline says, it’s an app for diabetics by a diabetic.
When I was diagnosed with Type 2 in 2011, I wasn’t told why I got it. The doctor simply said, ‘if you are over 40, have someone in the family with diabetes, then you’re likely to get it’. And I was prescribed Metformin and statin. End of discussion.
I wasn't happy with the explanation. So I started doing a lot of research online and offline to understand why people get diabetes. I found the answers and explanations from various online sources (Personally I found Dr. Berg’s YouTube channel extremely useful) and books (‘The case against sugar’ by Gary Taubes) in understanding the condition. I discovered keto and low carb recipes which have helped me keep my sugar levels in check.
So with all the information I gathered over time, I designed GlucoTrak to help fellow diabetics deal with the condition and make informed decisions. It's a simple, straightforward, no fuss app. It doesn’t require social media log-in, or your personal details. It lets you log in your sugar readings and keep track of sugar levels. It helps you take pictures of your reports or articles and store them for ready reference. It connects you to various low carb and vegetarian recipes, as well as exercises including yoga. It also provides links to a range of informative videos on different types of diabetes.
GlucoTrak is a compilation of all the information I personally found useful, in one app. I hope it helps you the way it helped me keep my sugar levels under control and stay healthy.
If you or anyone you know have this condition, please download here.
To know more about it, go here.
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This is about writing (mine and my favorite authors'), and e-publishing. Hope you find it useful. You can click on the covers below to read excerpts and purchase my ebooks.
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