on my new-ish podcast

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Yes, I know this blog could be considered partly “defunct”.

It is conceivable that one would assume this if a blogmaster blogger blog-author appears to have put their blog out to pasture.. by, say, posting only once every 6 months or so (guilty). Or that said author appears to be letting their interest in writing wane away to an inevitable demise (guilty).

Such a thought process would not be incorrect.

But.

It’s about having stuff to put out there.

Usually, the most fun, interesting things I’ve come up with have been in the company of friends. It has often been a discussion point between my friends and I that if only we could somehow publicize our messages to each other, we would have comedy/information gold.

If only it were that simple.

You need the right people. You need the right medium. You need interesting topics. You need to be able to play off each other.

Suffice to say I do have candidates on all those fronts. But the partner-in-crime got self-selected during one of those daily back-and-forths with Raghu:

Raghu: finished this book – http://www.amazon.com/Remember-India-First-World-Vedica/dp/8174369791
Satish: yes i think i heard about this on sidin’s podcast/newsletter
Raghu: i don’t veen get those anymore
Raghu: and never heard his podcast
Raghu: why don’t we do a podcast?
Satish: hahahahahaha
Satish: y’know
Raghu: well – you have a bunch of things happening for sure
Satish: i started listening to this dads podcast and mentioned to G that i should an indian geek dad podcast with raghu
Satish: great minds, man
Satish: but yes, every time i think about how to get that off the ground i remember all the other things in the air
Raghu: yeah
Raghu: well, let’s try anyways
Raghu: desi geek dad squad
Raghu: once every two weeks

And thus The Inconceivable! Desis Podcast was born. And is now 11 episodes old.

Yeah, I know. A bit late on the origin story 1.

Personally, of course, I have been following podcasts for a while (no matter what the so-called podcast renaissance would have you believe). Just like my beloved RSS feeds, they remain integral to my online experience. Based on which, it seems apt to reflect on our own experience so far.

But this is not that post. That will be the next post 2.

This seems a good point as any to touch on some of the more abstruse aspects of our podcast. Such as the subtleties to our logo:

podcast-logo-expln

Raghu and I have known each other for a while (15 years, at this point, I think). This conversation epitomizes what happens when we hang out together… really, it’s 15 years of missed recording sessions 🙂 Geekdom. Pop culture. Movies. Books. Technology. Perspectives. Life. The 11 episodes we’ve released so far have spanned the breadth of these, and we have a list of many many more to come.

How can you get updated? Get notified of new episodes? Actually listen to the damn things?

There is Twitter. There is Facebook.

Also an iTunes link.

And an RSS feed which can be put into any podcast client.

And we’re inviting you to join in. And let us know what you think. And what you might want to hear about. We promise to do our research to talk about anything you might want to hear about.

Enjoy.


  1. Raghu has, of course, been a lot more on point in putting up an introductory post close to when we launched the show. Me, I tried to write it and then decided to simmer on my take for a while. And so, here we are 4 months later, and I’m finally writing about it. Typical. 
  2. Don’t you dare say, ‘fat chance!’. 
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date a girl who is a geek

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Find her with a knowing smile when calzones, Junior Mints, and Yev Kassem make an appearance in conversation. Spend the night talking about how 221B Baker Street formed the doorway for you to discover the world outside Enid Blyton. Find the night has almost sped past and you’ve barely started talking about the common books you’ve read.

When you find a girl who is a geek, try not to let anyone else find her. Enthrall her with talk of  how Marvin epitomizes an attitude we should all strive for. Distract her with stories from the Silmarillion. Talk to her about Kurosawa, and where Sholay parallelizes Shichinin no Samurai. Discuss the finer points of Rahman and Ilaiyaraja. Discover from her a world of movies that you did not know of, but one she can quote from unerringly.

When the time is right, give her the lowdown on Spider-Man – why Part 2 is a pitch perfect rendition of Doc Ock, but try not to go into  the parts with the Clone Saga. Or tell her of the Batman mythos, while side-stepping the Bat-Mite. Try not to continue talking about the trivia of comicbookdom, instead, read a book together. Aloud. You will laugh together, a shared memory will be formed… one that far surpasses discovering a Marvel or DC multiverse. Remember, a girl who is a geek does not treasure clichéd traditions such as “dinner-and-movie” nights.

It is a challenge to date a girl who is a geek. Continue reading

the twitter effect

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Barely three posts in the last month. Mandatory Twitter-joining post has happened in the meanwhile.

218 tweets in 10 days have happened since. Nothing on this blog. Even now, I’m struggling with what to write right now.

Worth thinking about when I’m about to renew my hosting plan.

p.s. I’ve “paused” my twitter account.

twit twit tweeet

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I’ve jumped in headfirst. Tweeting. Left, right and center. Yessirree Bob. Yada yada yada. Srsly.

And now to repeat things I’ve heard before (for eons) but which have dawned on me as actually making a lot of sense.

So yes, this post might be a bit dated for some of you.

At first, I assumed that my approach on Twitter would end up similar to my “stalking” approach on Reader (via Twitter RSS). But Twitter demands interaction in a way that few services do. I now see a hundred limitations in Google Buzz — filtering being the biggest one. My Twitter stream is pretty nicely sorted by default, and clients such as JournoTwit make it even easier to organize what I want to see and how I want to see it. Clients are another big advantage — I access Twitter using 3 different methods, none of which require me to have a tab open for Twitter 24/7. Sharing is a different matter, thanks to bookmarklets sharing to any service is insanely simple. One does feel like syncing shares across services.. but I’m not really sure I want to do it. I think people who see my shares will end up being the same on both. For now, I think I will limit myself to sharing using only Reader while RTing with Twitter. Explicit sharing of the same content on both will be avoided. And finally, the length. Buzz/Reader posts are long, demand a certain amount of attention while reading. Little wonder about the number of unread RSS items in my Reader. By virtue of being insanely short, tweets can be zipped through. I used to wonder how people kept up with more than 50 people on Twitter. Its actually insanely easy.

What do I have to say that has not been said before, though?

Probably not that much, really. Continue reading

notes: tech this, tech that

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For a change, I decided to jot down the thoughts that were coming to me while I waded through month-old Reader items. Warning: It gets pretty long.

[Yes, I actually have a set of Reader items that I ensure I catch up with daily, and another set that I’m sure I will always be behind the curve on reading. What’s the point? Its the only way that I can ensure that I’m somewhat current with what goes on in the world.]

Some background: the launch of Buzz meant I went about adding a bunch of people on Reader/Buzz that I wouldn’t have known of otherwise. Louis Gray, Tyler Romeo, Jesse Stay and a whole host of other active “technologists” came to my attention as a result of Buzz. Given my aforementioned division of current and ancient news, clearly, I’m always going to be behind the curve on the most happening stuff in the internet-verse — even given how I’ve tried to balance out the “breaking news” feeds and the “info” feeds.

Over the last couple of days I realized that as long as I stay somewhat current with my “friends” shared items… I’m just fine for the latest and greatest in the tech-verse. Twitter’s Chirp conference notes – check. iPad notes – check. Latest Gmail features – check. Expectations for iPhone4, FB F8, Google i/o – check. Of course, when I say “friends” I mean the aforementioned list of people… all of whom are probably wonderful but barely know I exist. In fact most of them probably don’t know I exist at all. But their connection on this Google network is probably the best thing ever. I don’t miss out, and I get to stick to my own reading trends. This use of social networking really appeals to me — really defines what I would like from it.

Continue reading

"my" ada lovelace(s)

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There were many options that struck me when I heard of Ada Lovelace Day (HT: Raghu). At first, I wanted to take the safe options and just write about Blissenobiarella or Dors Venabili. To celebrate fictional characters, who are not really women scientists or engineers either, didn’t seem to ring true with the spirit of the day, though. So here we go.

Off the top of my head, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) comes to mind. Every year, our lab takes part in the annual SWE showcase at Rutgers.. and I’ve watched it grow from a small perfunctory meeting, to an evening where Rutgers research shows off to a significant number of people that show up. My own lab was first represented by 4 guys hanging around a desk with a poster.. we have as many women there now to represent our lab’s work. Whether by accident or design, the SWE is having an effect on publicizing women researchers (And no, I wasn’t just going because I got to.. erm.. look around).

Which brings me to Grace Hopper, who, I’m ashamed to say, I heard of only because of the Grace Hopper celebration of Women in Computing. Rear Admiral Hopper pretty much invented IT as we know it today, by virtually inventing programming, compiling and debugging (you’ve heard the story of the moth in Mark I?) It would behoove us to remember her every now and then.

Talking of the Grace Hopper celebration brings me to the fact that it seemed a little weird that such a thing had to exist; I confess I am naive enough to believe that there are a lot of women in computing. There aren’t, I believe the meeting hosts only 2000-4000(?) women every year, which is a tiny tiny number. That I know women who attend this meeting is in itself against the odds of probability — consider the number of women in science and engineering, the number of women who will attend it, and on top of that the number of women who I know. Which brings me to Gayatree, Pallavi, Shannon, and Rachel — all women in computing-related fields at Rutgers, all deserving of praise for what they have achieved. Especially so when I consider their varied backgrounds, only one of them is an actual computer scientist. That they are on the cutting edge of biomedical computing/pattern recognition research says a lot of what they can do.

The Grace Hopper page is partially funded by the Anita Borg institute, which reminded me of Kriti, a finalist in the eponymous scholarship back in 2008. Oh no, not another woman computer engineer, you might exclaim. Suffice to say that Kriti is by far one of the smartest individuals I have ever met. I still remember her being one of the few people who actually knew what the hell she was studying in college (I certainly had no clue). She’s into her PhD now which appears to be drifting more into computational biology than anything else, having first skipped through general IT and data mining so far.

One other woman comes to mind, my computer science teacher from school: Jayanthi miss. Who was more frank about how good or bad we were than any other teacher I knew. She taught me an invaluable lesson while we discussed a question which I had answered with an unnecessarily complicated solution: “Satish, it may make sense to me now when you’ve explained it… but don’t assume you’ll always get to do that. This could just have been a ___ solution, why complicate matters?” Yes, Occam’s razor indeed. When I was in the 8th grade. Even then, it took me a while to realize that lesson.

And finally, the missus. Why? Because it has been a while since I gave a shout out to her. Because she is a woman who has worked in multiple fields of science, engineering, and technology — all successfully. Because she is geeky enough to have GMail stickers on her laptop. Because she is my personal tech heroine.

And that’s all there is to say about that.

notes: buzzing around

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Google’s latest experiment – Buzz – has been launched to the world recently, with varying degrees of appreciation, hate, irritation and all the reactions that every new social idea is greeted with. Personally, it is a social media outlet/inlet that I can get on board with – seeing as how it integrates nicely into my existing Gmail/Google experience. It has its caveats though.. features/glitches/annoyances that I wish they had ironed out before getting it out the door:

Continue reading