Why I support Longreads

People, often lament about lack of good journalism and diveristy in their information diet. I see that as a side effect of living inside the filter bubbles, a phenomenon exacerbated by the emergence of the social web. In reality, a lot of good journalism is happening all around us — we just don’t have the ability to find it easily, because of the information utilities — Facebook, Twitter and Google work.

Happy Diwali

After a relaxing week in Tuscany (to celebrate the end of my 50th year around the sun,) I came back refreshed. I was full of verve and vigor to get back to work, writing and connecting with my friends, family and colleague.

Unfortunately, the best laid plans often go wrong, thanks to unplanned events. I got hit by the Flu virus (yes it is that season) and have been at home, literally doing nothing. Flu and cold are my kryptonite and I am destroyed by them. It is day five, the fever has receded and I have finally started to feel like a human. I hope by end of this week I can be at full strength. On the plus side I have been able to watch the playoff baseball games on my iPad.

Before I go, I also wanted to wish all my readers, especially those in India, a very happy Diwali. It is a festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. Now more than ever, we need to remember that message. It is one of the few days in a year when I really miss being in Delhi — all those sweets.

October 19, 2017, San Francisco

Tuscany from the lens of iPhone 8+

I was in Tuscany, Italy recently and had a chance to put the new iPhone 8+ through the paces. While I made a lot of photos with my Leica SL, I wanted to take a moment and share some of the fantastic photos that came out of the iPhone. These photos are a joy — straight JPEGs out of the phone, with my special, presets applied to give them a more uniform feel. The iPhone8+ is a spectacular camera, especially under good light — much less noisy compared to its predecessors. These are handheld shots and you can see the improvement from the early iPhone models in optical stabilization is incredible.

I don’t see any reason why anyone needs a point and shoot, or even a medium priced camera. Most of us don’t print photos. We share and consume photos on digital screens. And if these are good enough to be a desktop background, they are good enough for sharing. For me, smartphone photography is the future. One needs to learn how to make it professional grade by applying skills and not thinking about the camera.

Goodbye Netflix

It was over ten years ago when I started talking to Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix about broadband and streaming. The company was still in the business of DVD rentals, but the I was sold on the idea of “Netflix” being the killer app of broadband. I cut the cord early — just after launching our NewTeeVee website — to eat my own dog food. I got rid of the television screens, and instead focused on watching video exclusively on my laptop.

In January 2007, I became a customer of Netflix streaming. I have been a big fan of the service, the company and its chief executive. I have enjoyed every minute on it. I respect their technical achievements and how they have expanded around the world, embedded themselves into every device and have become a cultural phenomenon.

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As I try to reclaim my time for pursuits that include more reading, writing and creating, time has come to say goodbye to Netflix. I am sure I will miss a lot of great shows, great comedy specials and some amazing award-winning movies. However, the time is such a precious and limited commodity — and I need to spend it wisely. Sadly, that means saying goodbye to Netflix. As an Indian immigrant to America, a big thanks for helping bring Master of None. All I can say, thanks Reed and company — being your customer has been a lot of fun and games.

October 11, 2017, San Francisco

Flummoxed by Summilux SL

I recently visited Tuscany and spent a week with friends, unplugged; spending as much time eating, hiking and photographing the beautiful landscape. It has been a fun week, but I have struggled with photography.