June 11, 2020

Longing for the early days of the web

When people long for the days of the early web, the glorious idiosyncrasies of personal sites and forums, they are really longing for a time and a space where people were free to communicate their own values. Now that space is owned and rented to the highest bidder. A site like LinkedIn wraps you up into a tiny, uniform package, sets you in an enormous data warehouse next to millions of other tiny people just like you, and sells the lot of you.

Link: Ruminations on outsourcing our values

My feelings are same too. I miss the chaotic days of personal homepages.

Links
June 9, 2020

Forced Social Isolation Causes Neural Craving Similar to Hunger - Scientific American Blog Network

The need for connection– to form and maintain at least a minimal number of positive, stable, intimate relationships– is a fundamental need that affects our whole being, permeating our entire suite of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. While voluntary solitude can be great fodder for creativity, and being alone doesn’t necessarily indicate loneliness, what happens when people are forced into isolation and are severely deprived of this fundamental human need?

Link: Forced Social Isolation Causes Neural Craving Similar to Hunger - Scientific American Blog Network

Links
June 2, 2020

Layers of a city

I stumbled upon a podcast episode discussion the making of the movie Saint Jack in late 1970s Singapore. Skip to around 9 minutes.

The Plot Thickens: Bogdanovich, The Misunderstood

Travel Singapore
May 3, 2020

The canary in the black ink

What book is this (I have not blocked the title, this is the way it appears in the bookshop)? Usually, this time of the year, I am in Rangoon. This book cover brings back memories of the 1990s Burma; sometimes, we would see magazines or newspapers with such blocked out articles or pages thanks to last minute visits by the censors. Either the editor could not find a harmless replacement article, or it was some brave editor who let the blocked section go. It was akin to the Canary In The Coal Mine” that sent a signal that some controversial incident had taken place.

1984

Still, looking for the book? Clue: The author worked as a police chief in colonial Burma.

Burma
March 4, 2020

An iOS Shortcut for your library’s Overdrive search

Some public libraries now offer digital books via a service called Overdrive. Often when I am reading an article, I want to search for the name of the book or author to see if there is anything in the Overdrive collection related to the text. I made an iOS shortcut that lets me search for a book from a highlighted text on a web page.

Select the text that you want to search Search Overdrive

Select Share to open the Share menu. Select the shortcut to run. Search Overdrive

The Shortcut searches for the selected text on Overdrive search engine. Search Overdrive If the book is available, then you can borrow it.

The shortcut does not store any data from the resulting website. It just runs a search using the public search URL from your library. I have a mailed Overdrive to see if they can enable call to their app, so that search and borrowing can be more fluid.

On the topic of Overdrive, I got a new Kobo.

I like e-Ink readers. I have used a couple of Kindles over the years. Kindle is economical for me as I buy e-books from the Indian Kindle store, which has perhaps the cheapest ebooks anywhere. But Kindle does not work with Overdrive based library digital book systems (outside of the US). Hence, Kobo. Another positive is the integration with Pocket, a read-later app.

Trying Kobo reader with Overdrive

tech
March 2, 2020

The Insight: Genetics and (pre)history of Southeast Asia

Razib and Spencer talk all things genetic and prehistorical Southeast Asia!

Link: The Insight: Genetics and (pre)history of Southeast Asia

Links