Initial thoughts on Ello

I have been spending some time on Ello recently and I have generally liked it. Being invite-only and beta at the moment, Ello still needs some sculpting, but so far the developers and designers, Paul Budnitz, Berger & Föhr, and Mode Set, who are, as they describe themselves, seven well-known artists and programmers, have done a great job.

Right from the start, Ello has a somewhat informal yet encouraging feel to it — despite the predominantly, nigh fully, black and white design. In brief, Ello is gunning to be what social networks should have been all this while: an ad-free, content-rich social platform which does not thrive on selling user data.

I joined Ello right at the start of 2015 and have no plans of leaving. Ello is something I had been looking for all this while, both in terms of design ideas/usage and community. But that does not mean Ello is perfect; there are quite a few things that could do with improvement.

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Times New Roman is not as bad as you think it is

I have, of late, grown a fondness towards Times New Roman. Perhaps it is the bibliophile in me — although a lot of imprints these days too are letting go of the Times family for preppier alternatives like Garamond and Palatino.

Contrary to popular belief, Times New Roman is not a classical typeface like, say, the very Swiss, very classic Helvetica — another personal favorite of mine — or even the slightly more modern Helvetica Neue or its grandfather, Akzidenz Grotesk.

But to truly appreciate Times New Roman (TNR henceforth for simplicity) we will have to understand a little bit about its history, and that story begins in the 1930s.

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Making “The Game” — an iPhone 6 Plus short film

It started as an offhand idea, so we began with literally zero preparation. Half a basketball court, a ball and an iPhone in hand, I do not recall just when the idea struck me, but the four of us who were together had soon decided to make a short film.

The story, as I often like it in all of my films, was simple and open to interpretation. Two guys, a basketball: it does not matter whether they had the court or — quite literally — what was blocking their way, they would still play their game.

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Gearing up for 2015: Royal Enfield, a Sheaffer and a Pierre Cardin journal

Today marks almost ten days since my motorbike was involved in a tumble with a car. Yesterday, my bike returned home, all set and fit as a fiddle, waiting to start riding again. And my own wounds, having considerably recovered, I decided to go shopping for gear replacement.

The helmet which had sustained impact had to be replaced, quite naturally. And I decided to add gloves as well, as a much needed safety measure. Royal Enfield introduced some great riding gear recently, so deciding on a brand and style was not hard. Fit, finish and comfort are something I have been more than happy with when it came to RE.

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Apple, Google or Microsoft — whoever wins, you lose

It is entertaining — perhaps even pleasing — to watch such tech giants as Apple, Google and Microsoft battle it out year after year. And it is fun to take sides (we always do that). But it is becoming increasingly clear that no matter who wins in the end, and at whatever rate, us consumers will be little more than sore losers.

I must admit, this was neither clear nor obvious to me a couple of years back — and why should it be? I was immersed in the Android ecosystem; and I can say this much for certain: anybody who has not seen outside Android cannot possibly understand the gravity of this situation.

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Looking forward to 2015

Every year passes like a rigmarole and we look forward to the next. It is almost mechanical, but that was never how it was supposed to be. It starts with gusto and somewhere down the line everyone loses enthusiasm and it all becomes about counting the days to the next new year, yet another start.

I am not saying we should make 2015 different. Maybe we should, you should. But that is another story for another day.

As I pen this, I am reflecting on the how much of our lives we lead thinking about what others think about us. And when everyone does that, the earth just seems like a more considerate place, but it is not.

Your dog, almost certainly, is a better person than you.

This is nothing more than being fashionably selfish. To think, not of others and their needs, but other’s views about ourselves. Since it all comes right back to us, it really is a mere manifestation of selfishness.

There’s a reason why a dog is man’s best friend: there is more your dog can teach you than any person, book or religious scripture on Earth. His undying enthusiasm for you, his love, his affection, and how it never drops and only ever grows in leaps and bounds — humans can never have the same feelings. The fact is simple: your dog, almost certainly, is a better person than you.

In 2015, it is important to prioritise without shunning; to decide what is important without pushing aside the less important. To treat people with respect and go out of your way to help them. Not block, but bind. Which brings to mind something my physics teacher at school had said: “This world does not need smart people; this world needs good people.”

In 2015, try to be a good person with a direction, and practice tolerance and inclusiveness. Treat the world as your family. To be the bigger person and to understand that not everyone has seen the world — forgive me if I sound like I patronizes; the devilry of narrow-mindedness has only recently become clear to me. Everyone makes mistakes; one ought to acknowledge and forgive. Then forget. So acknowledge mankind’s worst mistake: religion.