Running with Hoka

I have been running regularly for almost 2 years now. Below is my experience running with different Hoka shoes.

Hoka Arahi 6

Hoka Arahi 6
Hoka Arahi 6

These were my first “proper” running shoes, recommended by Ashish. Before this, I was running with very cheap shoes and suffering from constant ankle pain. Running with Hoka Arahi 6 completely solved the ankle pain problem.

However, I forgot to replace them in time, ran almost 800 km in them and the ankle pain came back. So I decided to replace them with another Hoka.

Hoka Bondi X

Hoka Bondi X
Hoka Bondi X

My first choice was to buy the same shoe yet again, but then I saw a huge discount on Hoka carbon plated shoes and decided to “upgrade” my shoes.

The first impression of carbon plated shoes is that they are completely stiff and it is impossible to bend them with your hands.

Running with the Hoka Bondi X is an experience in contradiction. Running in carbon plated shoes feels like running downhill; the boost provided by the carbon plate is noticeable instantly.

6K Run Hoka Arahi 66K Run Hoka Bondi X
Hoka Arahi 6 vs Bondi X 6 km stats
Splits with Hoka Arahi 6Splits with Hoka Bondi X
Hoka Arahi 6 vs Bondi X 6 km splits

As you can see, the Bondi X shaved off full 2 minutes from my 6K run, which is nothing to sneeze at.

The other side of the contradiction is that the Bondi X are so soft, it feels like running through molasses. Even 1km into my run, my calves and thighs felt like they were on fire.

Surely, when I do a heart rate comparison between my last Arahi 6 6K run and my first Bondi X 6K run, I see that I spent significantly more time in the upper zones.

Heart Rate 6K Hoka Arahi 6Heart Rate 6K Hoka Bondi X
Hoka Arahi 6 vs Bondi X 6 km heart rate

After a few runs, the shoes became noticeably less soft, but they still remained difficult to run in. Soon, I also started getting soreness in my knees, so just after 100km, I decided to replace them again.

Hoka Clifton 9

Hoka Clifton 9
Hoka Clifton 9

These were my third Hokas. Unlike the Bondi, these immediately felt more responsive while running, but not as much as the Arahi. I did miss the boost provided by the carbon plate, but the burning in my calves caused by the Bondi was gone. And the good part is, they have been holding up and not degrading over the past few months.

6K Run Hoka Clifton 9
6K Run Hoka Clifton 9
Splits with Hoka Clifton 9
Splits with Hoka Clifton 9

It couldn’t match the lap times of the Bondi-X but at least I didn’t feel like I should stop running, anymore.

Cities

I think at this point in my life, I can safely call myself well travelled. Although I have never been to the quintessential western cities (Like New York, London or Paris), I have been to some pretty off-beat places.

raised building frame
Photo by Peng LIU on Pexels.com

I have a job where it is quite easy to shift my base to different places. I had a few offers to move again recently, and I was conflicted about it. So recently I started making a list of ratings for various cities I have been to, based on different parameters. These parameters are only based on things that are important to me.

Below are the cities, I have been to, rated on various parameters between 1 to 10.

Some things to remember

  1. I am only including major or metropolitan cities
  2. These ratings are purely based on my preferences and observations. Does not take into account other metrics I don’ deem important to me
  3. I do not take into account finances like income or cost of living. I assume proportional income everywhere
CityInfraFoodWeatherWalkabilityHistoryFriendlyDogTotal
Istanbul81069107555
São Paulo879958955
Bangkok6910679653
Melbourne10681042950
Budapest855896950
Vienna865894949
San Francisco757857948
Prague855894948
Helsinki9521043942
Kuala Lumpur655665336
Shanghai752852231
Bengaluru178364231
New Delhi281277027
Kolkata183165226
City Ratings

Infrastructure

This is probably the first thing one notices about a city, when you enter the airport and then when you leave it.

No doubt, Melbourne is the best city in this regard I have been to. Everything is clean and perfect. The roads, buildings etc. are all as should be in a utopian society.

Although I didn’t spend too much time in Helsinki, I found its infrastructure to be top-notch, too. The heated pavements were something I had never seen or imagined.

Budapest/Vienna/Prague all rank pretty high in this regard, too and São Paulo feels just like a quintessential European city.

San Francisco is beautiful, too, but I couldn’t un-see the mounds of human feces on every street corner and the sheer amount of homeless people.

Indian cities rank lowest. Although Delhi has a pretty good metro system, that is it. Everything is filthy and unkempt. Kolkata is even worse. Bengaluru, which has a huge potential has horrible roads and no water.

Food

Food is subjective, so the ratings are purely based on my own personal preferences.

Truly, I have never had food as good as Istanbul, ever.

Bangkok comes second, because of the sheer variety of the food available here. You have cheap (but hygienic) street food vendors as well as many Michelin starred restaurants within a block of each other.

Delhi and Kolkata come next, followed by São Paulo & Bengaluru.

view of a beyti kebab dish on a white plate
Photo by Mustafa Erdağ on Pexels.com

Weather and Air Quality

Weather is subjective and since I prefer warmer weather, I have rated Bangkok the highest.

Delhi and Kolkata are lowest because of the filthy air quality year round. Delhi is even lower than Kolkata because of the extreme heat during summers and unbearable (because there’s no heating anywhere) winters.

Walkability

I love walking (and street running), so walkability is important to me in a city. Perhaps it is not too surprising that these ratings mirror the ones for infrastructure as both these things are closely related.

Most cities in my list are extremely walkable, except the Indian cities, where walking on the streets is like gambling with your life. Maybe a few important ares in the cities have proper pavements, but certainly not throughout the city. To top it off, most motorcycle drivers feel free to ride on the pavements and cars try to run you down even at zebra crossings.

Historical Artifacts

Istanbul again wins hands down in this regard, being one of the oldest cities in the list and having been shaped by multiple empires.

European cities rank next, I love the thousands of years old architecture.

Most of the monuments in Delhi are a few hundred years old, but it is not difficult to find ones which are thousands of years old.

European colonised cities rank lowest, simply because they are not old enough to have significant historical artefacts, especially with the propensity of these colonisers to erase ethnic history.

brown and black mosque under white and blue cloudy sky
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

Friendliness towards outsiders

These ratings are purely about how the locals treat foreigners and expats.

Bangkok rates pretty high, because Thais, with some exceptions are very friendly and welcoming people. Although, if your appearance is very different from what they’re used to seeing, expect stares. Brazilians in São Paulo are also very friendly and welcoming. Because of their multi-cultural make up, there’s no one in the world who looks “weird” enough not to fit in there.

I have already written about the Chinese here.

I found most Europeans if not outright racist, at least pretty cold towards outsiders.

Australians are the worst. Although I did meet a few friendly Australians, most of them are racist pricks.

Dog Friendliness

I admit, some of the cities in the list above I visited before I had a dog and didn’t really notice how dog friendly they were, so the rating for those cities is from internet research.

Most cities in developed countries and São Paulo are as dog friendly as can be. Dogs are allowed almost everywhere – in malls, restaurants, cafés, bars, public transport, hotels. There are very little restrictions on what the dogs can do and where they can go, because their parents have enough common sense. These cities also have public dog parks.

India is not at all dog friendly. While pets are tolerated in Bengaluru and Kolkata, there are very few places where pets can go, limited to designated pet-specific businesses. Taxis won’t agree to take you if you have a pet. The public transport is not even human friendly, so I won’t even talk about dogs.

Delhi is the worst of all. People there actually hate dogs. There are severe restrictions on having dogs even in your own homes. Dogs need to take a separate lift when going out and they can’t be walked within the society grounds.

Bangkok is somewhere in the middle. Most people love dogs. Dogs are allowed in taxis and Tuktuks , but not in metros and buses. Most restaurants/cafes and malls allow dogs in the outdoor areas on leash and indoors in a pet buggy. Some malls and restaurants allow pets freely.

Consciousness

Over the last few years, I have, more and more, been thinking about the hard problem of consciousness. What does consciousness mean? Where does it come from? What happens to it after death? With this post, I have tried to wax philosophical and give structure to my thoughts on this topic.

Overall, I think the possibilities can be summarised into the below three

Scenario 1 – Consciousness is purely a by-product of the physical structure of the brain and the neurons firing inside.

Scenario 2 – Consciousnesses is a combination of the physical structure of the brain and additionally something we cannot “see” or measure today. Some say it may be quantum phenomena. Both physical & quantum are tied to each other and cannot exist without each other.

Scenario 3 – Consciousness resides in the brain, but can free itself from the brain at death or during a Near-Death Experience. Is what most religious people call a “soul”.

Now let’s try comparing all three scenarios during hypothetical situations.

Teleportation & Consciousness

it s in me if you like my work consider supporting me at https www patreon com marekpiwnicki
Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Pexels.com

Teleportation is a (theoretical) mechanism in which a machine reads your atomic structures at the “source” and relays it to another machine at the “destination”. Then the source machine disintegrates your body and the destination machine replicates it at the same time. Using this technique, you are supposed to instantaneously (Or at least at the speed of information transfer) travel from one place to another.

  • If Scenario 1 is true, then teleportation should theoretically work just fine. One simply enters on one side and seamlessly emerges on the other side. But if you think a bit deeper, a few paradoxes arise:

What if you don’t disintegrate the body at the source? Even better, what if you recreate the body at 2 destinations twice? Where does the person’s consciousness reside then?

Does the same consciousness exist at 2 (or more) places at the same time? Imagine the feeling.

As per me, the more likely explanation is that when you teleport, the person at the destination is not you, but a copy of you with your memories. So basically, when you undergo teleportation, your consciousness dies and a clone with your memories is born at the destination with a new consciousness.

  • If Scenario 2 is true, then teleportation will kill you at the source and just create a new body at the destination, which will be a brain-dead body. A working teleportation system will be next to impossible to develop in this scenario.
  • If Scenario 3 is true, then there’s no current theoretical basis of teleportation, but once we crack the mystery, it may turn out to be the easiest method of all. Your consciousness can easily transfer from one body to another. This is shown in many movies and TV shows like Altered Carbon.

Death and Consciousness

grey skulls piled on ground
Photo by Renato Danyi on Pexels.com

The concept of consciousness has a profound impact on death (and finding ways to avoid it).

  • If Scenario 1 is true, it would be easy to cheat death. A common Sci-Fi trope is gaining immortality by transferring yourself to a computer. But the same paradoxes as teleportation arise. What if you transfer yourself to a computer before you die? Or you copy yourself to two different computers? Does your consciousness exist at 2 different places at the same time?

The more likely explanation is that it is impossible for consciousness to exist in a computer. Your digital clone may behave like you, but won’t have consciousness.

In such a case, the only way to cheat death would be to prevent the biological degradation of the body.

  • If Scenario 2 is true, the only way to cheat death would be to prevent the biological degradation of the body.
  • If Scenario 3 is true, we have no way (currently) to cheat death, but once the secret is cracked, it may be easiest of them all. Just transfer your consciousness to another body or a computer. This concept is shown in this specific episode of Black Mirror (One of my favourite TV episodes of all time). Or maybe after you die, your consciousness automatically moves to another body. This would translate to the concept of reincarnation in some religions. Maybe a soul can even exist without a body, which is where afterlife comes in.

Personally, I think Scenario 2 is true and human civilisation will perish long before we figure out the secrets of consciousness.

Personally, I hope Scenario 3 is true and one day we figure out how to do the things mentioned above, once we stop killing each other and the planet.

Microsoft Sucks Balls

At one point, I was a rabid proponent of Microsoft. Deeply entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem and recommending Microsoft products and services to my friends too. But even after switching to Apple, I am being constantly reminded of how Microsoft sucks balls, thanks to my work ecosystem.

I have realised foremost that Microsoft has no idea what users want, adding/removing/changing things randomly as they see fit. Secondly, even after possessing vast resources, they are clueless on how to solve the most basic problems.

Below is a list showcasing how Microsoft sucks balls:

Windows

Microsoft x86-64 Integration

Windows has been running on x86-64 hardware for decades. You would think that is enough time to refine things and have them working in a seamless way, but, no. This is what happens when I wake up my work laptop from sleep, while connected to an external display:

13 seconds from sleep to usable
  1. Show signs of life : 1 second
  2. Flicker once : 4 seconds
  3. Flickr second time : 4 seconds
  4. Screen sort of pulsates, zooms in and out : 4 seconds

I have some questions

  1. Who, in Microsoft decided that waking a laptop from sleep to usable state requiring 13 seconds is acceptable in 2024? Macs take less than 1 second for the entire process.
  2. Why does the main display need to blink and be unusable every time I connect or disconnect an extended display?

Security/Group Policies

I understand that organisations need to have tight control on what happens on their machines. But the way Microsoft does it is completely bollocks.

  1. So, in our org, the Microsoft Store app is blocked by policy. Good enough. But then, if I go to the app’s Microsoft Store web page and click on install, the app installs just fine. What is even the point of blocking it then? Just to make things more inconvenient for users?
  2. Our organisation policy forbids one from saving/adding usernames/passwords to Edge. But there’s no policy to prevent importing of passwords via a csv file. So that’s what I do. Again, why block something half-heartedly just to make things more difficult for the user?

Bluetooth

  • Most platforms (Including Windows) can display the battery level of Bluetooth devices based on a standard. Other devices can also show you if the device is charging, which sadly Windows cannot do. What Windows does is, it gets confused and shows the battery level flapping like crazy.
Bluetooth battery level doing the St Vitus’ Dance
  • It’s 2024 and Microsoft still doesn’t allow you to reverse your mouse scroll direction easily. You need to dive into device manager to see the mouse’s HID and then mess around with the registry to toggle a value, reboot the OS to reverse the scroll. The alternative is to use an app the OEM provides and do it from there, but that is buggy too, as every time the computer wakes up from sleep, the scroll goes back to the default for a few seconds before reverting back.

Windows Hello

Ok, this one is more on OEMs than Microsoft, but why does Microsoft certify shoddy level sensors as Windows Hello certified? Approx half the time I try unlocking my laptop using my face, it fails. Even though I have “trained” Windows Hello multiple times under different lighting conditions. 10-20% times, even fingerprint recognition fails.

Even worse, some times, Windows Hello authentication succeeds, but windows still shows an error message “unable to recognise you” while at the same time logging me in. Make up your mind, asshole.

Wireless LAN

Many times, when my Laptop wakes up or boots up, it just doesn’t connect to my home WLAN even though the network is remembered and “Connect Automatically” is selected. Happened on my old Dell work Laptop and even on a newer HP work laptop, so can’t really blame the OEM for a consistent bug across different hardware.

Widgets & Shit

Microsoft introduced the new social area in Windows 11. It has a handful of supposedly helpful widgets but in reality, it is bullshit

  1. The news articles are of such low quality and full of click bait and propaganda pieces. And there are so many of the news widgets that it is impractical to remove them all one by one.
  2. The trafic widget is not configurable. Our company uses ZScaler, so the traffic widget always shows traffic conditions in Malaysia or Singapore.
  3. There’s no widget for Outlook calendar if you use the “new” Outlook.

Thankfully, they do allow you to disable this feature altogether.

Microsoft Windows does indeed suck balls.

Microsoft 365

Sharepoint/OneDrive for business

Some time last year, Microsoft pushed out an update that if you share a link for some Sharepoint file/folder via email, it would automatically give read permissions for that file to everyone in your To/cc list. While, this may sound useful, it makes your Sharepoint site into a horrible/fragmented mess of user permissions, something that a user cannot easily fix/reset via the GUI.

Microsoft Teams

  1. Sometime around June last year, I discovered a bug that if you share an HDR display in a teams call, teams crashes within a few minutes. Via my IT team, I raised a bug with MS. Almost a year later, Microsoft still has not been able to fix this bug. Even worse, the “New” Teams, which is supposedly built from the ground up, has the same bug.
  2. If you have a wireless audio headset with a mute button, the mute button does not sync with the Teams mute button. So many times I have been speaking thinking I have unmuted myself, but I forgot to unmute myself in 2 different places. Both hardware and software mute work independently of each other. The kicker? This feature works perfectly with Microsoft Teams on iOS and macOS.
  3. If someone updates their photo on Teams, the new photo appears on the mobile app almost immediately, but takes weeks/months to update on the desktop client, even the “new” client.
  4. Out of Office notifications between Teams and Outlook don’t sync well. If you set OOO on Teams, it ruins the format of the actual message

Microsoft teams sucks balls.

Outlook

Outlook was such a bloated mess, I was kind of relieved when they replaced it completely with a new app which is nothing more than a web wrapper. However, months later, it still has bugs. One annoying one is, if I select an appearance theme, it only loads 1/5 times I launch outlook. All other times, it loads with a plain GUI.

Not to mention that the new Outlook doesn’t even launch without an internet connection (Which is often because of the Wireless bug above).

Office Apps

While office apps have gotten better over the years, I don’t understand why there are 3 ways to open a Word/Excel/Powerpoint file

  1. On the web
  2. Inside Teams
  3. Using the desktop app

Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing Webmaster tools is the only Microsoft product I now use personally, to manage my blogs. While Bing perfectly recognises my vitriolic blog (This one), it refuses to index pages from my other, much nicer photography blog. All it says is that my domain is blocked. Customer service cannot provide a reason and they cannot talk to you more frequently than once in 6 months.

Although Microsoft Bing sucks balls, I cannot migrate to Google as a user (As a WebMaster, I find Google’s Search Console vastly superior).

Just stop with the bullshit studies already!

I read news everyday. At least some of the news articles are about bullshit studies telling you what is good or bad for your health. Over time, I started seeing a pattern. Most of these bullshit studies contradicted each other clearly. Below are some examples I found very recently.

Vitamins

photo medication pills on white plastic container
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

This study says that Vitamins are good for you and can slow cognitive decline.

Then, this article cites several studies that say that Vitamins increase the risk of cancer appreciably and will kill you faster.

This study says the Vitamins are neither good nor bad for you, but completely useless.

Alcohol

three cocktail drinks
Photo by Prem Pal Singh Tanwar on Pexels.com

This article cites multiple studies which say that moderate alcohol consumption is good for you (and me).

This study proves that drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol will shrink your brain.

Egg Yolk

adding of egg on a heap flour
Photo by Klaus Nielsen on Pexels.com

We all know in the last decade there were several studies advising you not to eat egg yolk, because they are high in cholesterol.

Thankfully, it was recently conclusively proven that eating food high in cholesterol doesn’t cause higher levels of blood cholesterol.

Ketamine

This study proves that Ketamine helps with Depression and Anxiety Disorders.

This study proves the exact opposite, Ketamine can cause your Anxiety to become worse.

Psilocybin (Magic mushrooms)

wild mushroom
Photo by Fazlul Kader Chowdhury on Pexels.com

This article cites multiple studies which provide that Psilocybin can alleviate depressive symptoms for up to a year.

This study says that Psilocybin is in fact, bad for mental health.

Marijuana

dark green leafed plant
Photo by Washarapol D BinYo Jundang on Pexels.com

This study cites that cannabis is effective in treating mental disorders. There are many studies claiming cannabis is effective for pain management.

This study (among many others) cites the exact opposite. In fact, I, myself have seen marijuana crazed people in mental distress.

Grain free Dog/Cat Food

photo of person feeding dog outside
Photo by Ricky Esquivel on Pexels.com

There was a fad a couple of years ago where all pet parents started feeding their pets grain free food. The logic was, the ancestors of these animals lived in the jungle and hunted for food, so never had access to grain.

All was well, till grain-free pets started dying from heart failure. Now there’s an FDA alert against grain free food.

Ozempic

This article says that if you use Ozempic to lose weight and then you stop taking it, you gain back more than you had lost.

This study says the exact opposite.

Blue Light

Remember all the studies that told you that blue light in the evenings and at night is bad for you and your sleep? How every OS there is actually baked in a feature to turn your screen warm after sunset? Remember that they even sell lasses that block blue light?

This study linked from this article states all that is bullshit, it is now yellow light which is bad for you and your sleep.

I wonder what is the reason for such contradictory studies. I can think of the following cases

  1. Both studies are in fact correct, people are different and everyone reacts to things differently.
  2. Some of these studies are bullshit/unscientific.
  3. The entire mechanism of studies is inherently wrong.

Books I read in February 2024

Continuing my series, as promised. In this post, I present the books I read in February 2024.

BookAuthorMy Rating
Tintin in the land of SovietsHergé2/10
Tintin in the CongoHergé6/10
Tintin in ThailandBaudouin de Duve3/10
Books I read in February 2024

I read so much science fiction last few months that I started having space themed dreams. So I decided to take a break and read something else.

I had always known off the presence of the Tintin app in the App Store, but never bought anything there. So this time, I decided to buy all the comics, because mine are packed in boxes in Gurgaon. Although I have read each book at least 20 times, I keep coming back to them from time to time.

Tintin in the land of Soviets

I decided to go sequentially and first up was Tintin in the land of Soviets, which is easily one of the worst books I have ever read. Shoddy drawing and pure anti-communist propaganda. Soviets are shown as brutal people. The bad guys keep using absurd phrases like “By Lenin’s goatee”. They are also shown to be spreading propaganda to Britishers, showing them their “great” factories, which are actually fake and empty inside. In one absurd scene, poor Soviet people are shown to queue up for free bread and only those who call communism great are given a loaf. Also, Tintin comes off as a jerk, attacking people for no reason.

Tintin in the Congo

The second book in the series is Tintin in the Congo. There’s no good way to say it, the book is racist as fuck. First of all, all the Africans have been shown resembling apes. Tintin says he needs to hire “a boy”. Many other things which would have gotten Hergé cancelled if he were alive. Tintin kills wild animals for no apparent reason. He kills 15 antelopes “for dinner”. He kills a monkey just to skin him and wear his skin as a coat. Kills an elephant and takes his tusks for ivory. Also kills a buffalo for fun.

When his European car collides with an African train, the train derails. Then he screams at the Africans on board the train and forces them to fix it. Missionaries are shown to be super smart and benevolent. African children are shown as stupid, after spending all day, he cannot teach them what 2+2 is.

The good part is, the drawing is epic and as per normal Tintin standards.

Tintin in Thailand

Tintin in Thailand is an illegal parody of Tintin comics. I decided to give it a fair shot.

The comic starts with Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus sick in Marlinspike Hall, with no money. Then Jolyon Wagg’s wife comes along to tell them that her husband went to Thailand many months ago and hasn’t come back. She asks them to track him down and bring him back. So they go to Bangkok and find out that Jolyon Wagg has run away to Chiang Mai with a Kathoey (Ladyboy). Haddock and Calculus immediately start whoring around while Tintin spends the night with the male toilet attendant.

Tintin and friends flying to Thailand
Tintin and friends flying to Thailand

Tintin, looking for more boys, finds Tchang, who reveals that the Yei in Tintin in Tibet had been raping him and now desensitised to it, he works as a prostitute.

Tintin and friends planning their debauchery in Thailand
Tintin and friends planning their debauchery in Thailand

Meanwhile, Snowy is having his own Siam experience fucking Haddock’s Siamese cat. Also, Jolyon Wagg’s wife starts fucking Nestor. Tchang gets drunk and tries to cut off Tintin’s dick. Tintin reveals that he doesn’t have one to begin with.

Eventually, they all ring in the new millennium together in Thailand.

Of True Detective and Talaash

So what does Season 4 of True Detective have in common with the 2012 Bollywood movie Talaash? Quite a lot actually. In fact True Detective: Night Country borrows most of its core themes from this movie.

Spoilers Alert

True Detective: Night Country
True Detective: Night Country
  1. A woman is brutally murdered by a group of entitled men; this has already happened before the timeline of the show/movie.
  2. No one cares for the death of the woman/police doesn’t investigate seriously because the woman came from a marginalised section of the society (Inuit/Prostitute).
  3. The “ghost” of the woman starts exacting revenge, killing her murderers one by one
  4. Two/A police officer investigating the murder of these men discover the connection to the murdered woman.
  5. The police officer is anguished because of the loss of their son in a (car/boat) accident many years ago. Both have difficulty sleeping at night and spend the night wandering their town/city.
  6. People (Partner/Neighbour) tell them that they have made contact with their dead son, which angers the police officer at first. But eventually, they believe the person and finally find peace knowing their son’s soul is at rest.
  7. The police officer falls in the sea and almost drowns, but is rescued (By partner/ghost).
Talaash: The Answer Lies within
Talaash: The Answer Lies within

Even after all those similarities, True Detective doesn’t feel like an outright copy of Talaash. It has enough to distinguish itself, but clearly the creators have been inspired from the movie.

That being said, I liked both the movie and the show, though I liked the movie just a bit more.

My Best Purchases-Nuphy Air75v2

Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the Nuphy Air75v2 mechanical keyboard which has completely overhauled my typing experience.

The story is that I was looking for a keyboard for my iPad, leaning towards the Magic Keyboard. But it seemed too expensive for what it was offering. Simultaneously, I had some allowance to spend from my office on ergonomic peripherals. One day, both these things clicked together and I decided to buy a wireless mechanical keyboard.

I tried a Keychron keyboard but didn’t like it much because the key travel was too deep and the colours pretty drab. Eventually, Ashish suggested Nuphy via a proxy and I decided to buy the Air75v2.

Nuphy Air75v2 at office
Nuphy Air75v2 at office

It turned out to be one of the best purchases ever. I never knew typing could be such a pleasurable experience, but now it is.

The keys are solid, the travel is not too deep and the feedback is just amazing. I love typing on it so much, I even took up extra documentation at work. I have the wisteria keys which don’t have an audible click but do have a noticeable thump.

iPad with Nuphy Air75v2
iPad with Nuphy Air75v2

It can pair to up to 4 devices and switch between them using a key combo.

The backlight is fancy but I mostly have it turned off. The keyboard runs QMK firmware and supports VIA, but the customisations are quite technical to set up and use and I just don’t bother.

I just wish that instead of a switch to toggle between Windows and Mac modes, it could auto detect like Logitech keyboards do.

Toxic Comics

Recently I started reading the newspaper again, which includes comics. As I read them over the months, I realised how toxic and negative most of these comics are. Below are some examples

Andy Capp

Andy Capp is a job-less alcoholic whose main hobbies are drinking at the pub and getting into fights there. The town counsellor keeps lining up interviews for him, but he keeps sabotaging them. And all of this is played out for laughs.

Andy Capp looking for free booze
Andy Capp looking for free booze
What a loser, Andy Capp!
What a loser, Andy Capp!
Toxic Andy Capp
Toxic Andy Capp
Toxic Andy Capp
Toxic Andy Capp
Andy Capp, the real loser
Andy Capp, the real loser
Andy Capp beating up Buddhists
Andy Capp beating up Buddhists

The Born Loser

As the name says, the protagonist is sort of a loser and this is played out for laughs. His boss, his wife and even his own children insult him all the time.

Brutus being insulted at work (Again)
Brutus being insulted at work (Again)
Brutus being insulted at work
Brutus being insulted at work
Gladys insulting Brutus
Gladys insulting Brutus
Gladys insulting Brutus (again)
Gladys insulting Brutus (again)

Blondie

Perhaps the most toxic boss of all time is in Blondie. The boss Julius keeps insulting Bumstead, threatening to fire him, fires him a few times. But he doesn’t even stop at that. Many times, he has physically assaulted Bumstead. I am just surprised he hasn’t asked to have sex with his wife. Despite all this, the Bumstead and Blondie go to his house for barbecues. Absolutely no self respect.

Dagwood kicking bumstead
Dagwood kicking
Julius insulting Dagwood
Julius insulting Dagwood
Dithers insulting Bumstead again
Dithers insulting Bumstead again
Julius insulting Dagwood (again)
Bastard Julius insulting Dagwood (again)
Dithers insulting Bumstead again
Dithers insulting Bumstead again
Julius insulting Dagwood (again)
Julius insulting Dagwood (again)
Julius insulting Dagwood (Agan)
Bastard Julius insulting Dagwood (Agan)
Julius invading Dagwood’s privacy at home
Julius invading Dagwood’s privacy at home

Pickles

Opal and Earl are a retired couple who sometimes take care of their grandson. Opal stops at nothing to insult day and night. I would like to see an alternate universe version where Opal is married to Sherif Roy Tillman, instead.

So now Earl can't even blink?
So now Earl can’t even blink?

Garfield

How can an article like this be complete without Garfield, who physically assaults Odie for no reason other than fun.

Garfield physically abusing Odie
Garfield physically assaulting Odie

Fuck Streaming Services!

I have been blogging regularly about my TV viewing and streaming services over the last few months. In short, I stopped pirating and switched over completely to streaming services. Till last month, I was subscribed to Apple TV+, Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar & Netflix. All combined, I was paying approximately ₹20000 ($250) a year on them. I was subscribed to all English TV streaming services possible in Thailand. Why, then, was I still not able to watch my favourite shows? These:

  • Fargo (FX On Hulu, not available in Thailand)
  • True Detective (HBO, not available in Thailand)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO, not available in Thailand)
  • Young Sheldon (CBS, not available in Thailand. Available on Indian Prime, but not Thai Prime)
  • TVF Aspirants (Available on Indian Prime, but not Thai Prime)
  • Futurama (Hulu, not available in Thailand)
  • The Office (Indian version) (Available on Indian Hotstar (even there, censored), but not Thai Hotstar)

Nor can I hope to watch upcoming series I am looking forward to:

  • Alien (FX, not available in Thailand)
turned on flat screen smart television ahead
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

As yo can see, most of the services are US-only. Also, FX is a separate service, Hulu is a separate service and FX on Hulu is also a thing? What bullshit. Even if I was in the US, I would be paying 10x the cost of basic cable to watch all these shows. On top of this, all of these services have a separate selection depending on the country, a Prime exclusive show like Aspirants is not available on Prime Thailand. A Hotstar exclusive show like The Office (Indian version) is not available in Thailand.

Watching movies on these services is not great either. If I want to watch some specific movie, I have to open each app one by one and search for that movie till I find one which has said movie. More often that not, no service has that movie that I want to see and I have to end up renting or buying anyways.

So I say, fuck these services. If they are actively trying to keep from from buying their services, I would rather pirate. So this is what I switched to

  • ShowRSS : I get the RSS feeds of my shows from here
  • Put.io : I import these RSS feeds (One time) in this boutique cloud storage service. It also provides helpful APIs, ftp and WebDAV access to access the storage using other means.
  • Infuse Pro : I connect this app to my Put.Io account on all my devices to access my Library of TV shows. This is optional, you can use Put.io’s own app to do the same, but I really like the Infuse user experience. It also syncs your shows to Trakt
  • Trakt: To track my TV shows

Now to catch up on all the shows I missed.

Earth bound misfit, I