about:sleep (or lack thereof)

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this but this is the best time I’ve manage to track so far.

One of the most useful things for me with the Xiaomi Mi Band is the sleep tracker. I check my sleep data pretty much every morning and it helps me decide if I’ve had enough sleep the previous night and what to do if when I haven’t.

Something I always knew for a long time is that I’m usually not having enough sleep at night, and I’m not entirely proud of it either. I find it much easier to concentrate at night because it feels much more peaceful and calm. While some of you “early to bed early to rise” types would struggle to understand this, I’m sure the night owls would totally get this.

But whatever your sleep preferences are, there’s one thing that we should all agree on; there are some serious health concerns when you are not having enough sleep. Seriously, Google it right now! You’d find a ton of research that explains how damaging lack of sleep can be… I was actually going to include links to some of the articles I read regarding this in the past, and googling to find those flooded me with a bunch more. I read a couple of those and it was so scary, that instead of finishing this post last night around 12am, I went straight to bed!

Anyway, I’ve been tracking my sleep for a few weeks now and I now know that I need to improve. Don’t get me wrong, I always knew that I’m not having enough sleep, I just didn’t have the numbers… or I was just lazy to actively measure my sleep durations. This is why the Mi Band is so much helpful. It does everything for me and now I know that I usually sleep between 3 to 5 hours at night. Around 3 if I stay up too late… and just over 5 if I come to bed a little “early”.

Now that I have some clear idea about how much sleep I get and what to do to improve it,  I have one less thing to worry about in life. And honestly, if you see my numbers you’d see that I don’t really have too much to do to fix my sleep habits. Since I work from home pretty much all the time, I have the freedom to sleep anytime I want and get up anytime I want to. Some of you who has to get up at a certain time because you have to commute to work would think that It’s harder for you to improve your sleep, trust me, it isn’t! I can argue that it’s actually harder for me because I lack that push to have a fixed sleep schedule. And I tend to stay up too late and for some strange reason, get up earlier than I should.

My point is that whether you have the freedom to choose when you wake up, or you don’t, you’d almost always have some way to allow yourself to have enough time to sleep (If you don’t, You should change whatever you are doing. Because you are probably better off alive) This is something I’ve personally been neglecting for a long time and something that I am planning to change.

So how do we do this? Simple, just have a way to measure your daily sleep habits and act accordingly, that is to get your daily schedules sorted out until you have a minimum of 6 hours (Maybe 7 depending on how you feel about it) for sleep. I highly recommend you getting some sort of a sleep tracker because it has helped me so much. I’ve tried a few android apps sometime back and it wasn’t very helpful for me. Part of it because I don’t feel too comfortable keeping the phone so close to me on the bed, and I’m also not so certain about their accuracy. So get yourself a proper sleep tracker (after all, $20+ for a chance at good health is a killer deal =) )

Once you know how much sleep you get (or how little, in case you are like me) Decide how much more you need to get in order to have a healthy amount of sleep and prepare a schedule.

And most importantly, try to stick to your sleep schedule as if your life depends on it because it most probably does!


Messenger app only working on WiFi?

I’m a huge fan of the Telegram Messenger. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now and it’s nothing short of amazing. I have it installed in almost every device I use. I kept trying to get Randy and Chanux to switch to using it and even managed to finally get Chanux to set it up on his android but I don’t see him using it much. Randy kept disappointing me as he usually does these days and simply refused to try it (he also refused to watch Star Wars, so yes, my dear Internet, I think we can safely give up on the guy now).


Anyways I didn’t really write this blog post only to talk about Randy and his awful tastes. About a week ago I noticed that Telegram stopped working in the background while on mobile data and only started working while I’m connected to WiFi. This was really annoying because more than a couple of times I missed all my messages while on the road only to realize that Telegram was offline during my travels. When I get back on WiFi Telegram would notify me about all the messages that I didn’t receive during the day.

This obviously looked like a problem with my data settings that would restrict Telegram from using any mobile data and to my surprise it was all set to normal. Then I thought it was a restriction from the Power saving mode in android and that was also not the case.

A quick search on google led me to a bunch of forums that showed this is not just a problem with Telegram but also happens to be a problem common to a lot of apps that uses background data. And none of them seem to have solved the issue.

I kept looking through the threads and found one suggestion that finally worked for me. It was to reset all app preferences in android. This looked crazy at first but after trying everything I gave up and just did it, and guess what! Telegram now works well on mobile broadband.

So if your messenger app is not working and nothing else works you can do the following:

Go to Settings -> Applications -> Applications manager

Select Reset app preferences from the “MORE” menu and you’re done.


Be warned though. This would reset the preferences for all the apps in your android phone. So only do this if nothing else works for you.

This trick should also fix apps like Slack, Snapchat, Viber or any other app not working on mobile data.


Make blogging great again!

So yeah, I’m tired of not having a proper place to post my rants. And I certainly don’t believe I’m accomplishing anything by posting stuff on Facebook (twitter, I’m still in love with, but there’s only so much you could do with 140 characters).

So a few months back I decided to blame on Blogger for my laziness and decided to change my blog platform to something better. I went with Pelican because it was written in Python and also it was really good. But after a few weeks, I realized that having all those moving parts (Static site generators, how ironic!) really gets in the way and you end up managing the site rather than posting anything. And I decided that I needed to get back to the one true blog platform!

And today I’m rocking the super cool WordPress installation on my blog. I imported all the content from the old blogger site and fixed the URL structure. I’ll be hunting for a good theme in the next few days and hopefully keep this blog up to date again, just like the old days.


Welcome to User Centric!

U-S-E-R(This is the post I wrote introducing UserCentric in the official blog at blog.u-s-e-r.com)

Hey all! Welcome to the first official post on the User Centric blog! So… what exactly is User Centric??? I truly am glad you asked!

You know all those little complaints/ideas we share on social networks such as twitter, facebook etc. about the products/services we use, and get lost in the sands of time? of course you do! User Centric is the one place that you can share all those micro reviews and unlike normal social media sites, your user experience reviews will be organized nicely based on #Tags.
So what is the difference between traditional product review sites and User Centric? Three words, Ease of use! Most of us don’t have the time to write lengthy reviews on things that we use. But something that we all do is post micro reviews on social networks. We complain about the flaws in products, we post our ideas on features that we wish to see in our favorite products, Why not collect all our micro reviews on a product and organize them in one place so others can benefit from the tips we share? That is exactly why I built User Centric.
What we needed was a system that makes product reviewing fun hassle free! That is why I designed User Centric the way it is now. All you have to do is write your reviews starting with the product name as a #tag.
Review anything you use, one point at a time… Becoming a semi-pro product reviewer has never been so easy! 😀

You can check my reviews page on User Centric at http://u-s-e-r.com/seejay to see how organized UX reviews look like.
We are currently on private beta so if any of you want to grab your preferred username early, you can use the beta code KyXnrTz” at the signup page. Just don’t tell anyone else! 😉

Don’t mess with my Internet!

The greatest thing about the internet is the fact that it belongs to all of us! No matter who you are, where you are from, We all have the freedom to choose where we’re headed! But now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could seriously damage the fundamental structure of the Internet.
Tech giants like Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit, Google, and many more who actually care to protect the internet are against this. But obviously, there’s a bunch of money hungry politicians who are working towards this legislation in favour of a few organisations who think they’d rather break of the Internet than fixing their business models. This is downright evil! and should be fought against with all our strength!
This is why all of us who care to protect the internet should spread the word around and educate people to fight against the legislation of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) Because if any of these get passed that would mean the end of the Internet as we know it.
Don’t let anyone mess with your Internet! Join the battle against SOPA/PIPA
(Picture courtesy of reddit)

How Dropbox Won

A couple of days ago, I came across something very interesting Dave Winer shared on twitter. It was a link to the application Drew Houston, the Dropbox founder submitted to YCombinator for their Summer 2007 cycle. I opened it out of curiosity and found it very interesting and thought provoking to read. Here’s is the answer from the application, to the  question: What is your company going to make?”

“Dropbox synchronizes files across your/your team’s computers. It’s much better than uploading or email, because it’s automatic, integrated into Windows, and fits into the way you already work. There’s also a web interface, and the files are securely backed up to Amazon S3. Dropbox is kind of like taking the best elements of subversion, trac and rsync and making them “just work” for the average individual or team. Hackers have access to these tools, but normal people don’t…”

The moment I read this I realized how well Drew saw the future of his product way before even anyone else sees it. He had a very clear vision what the product is and how it’d help to solve what he waned to solve. And looking at the success of Dropbox, it’s obvious that he has executed his plan precisely. This sure is a winning mix. I’d be surprised if a product fails to achieve suceess with the founders having this kind of insight about what they’re going to do. I’m sure Paul Graham had his winning smile when he saw this one… well, here’s exactly what came to his mind when going through the Dropbox application Y Combinator received that summer…

125 points by pg 452 days ago | link

What happens when I read this:

File syncing. Superset of backups, which people will pay for. Good. Single founder. Bad. But at least he’s looking for more people. Went to MIT, 1600 SAT. Probably fairly smart. Wrote a poker bot. Now I’m starting to get interested; has the right attitude. Description of the software sounds plausible but generic. Maybe it’s good, but who can tell. But little sister uses it; that’s impressive. Scroll down to what he understands that competitors don’t get. Wow: very concise and unequivocal. I’m now basically sold. Scroll through the rest. No red flags. Did not make the usual joke single founders make when asked how long the founders have known one another. Good answer to what might go wrong. A-. (Would be an A with a cofounder.)

Very interesting indeed. It seems PG sure knows when he sees a killer idea and a brilliant mind behind it.
The application is full of very interesting questions like What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don’t get?”  and brilliant answers from the Dropbox founder. It’s really worth a read if you are a startup minded person and I strongly suggest that you answer yourself to this application for any products you are building.
Oh and btw, If you haven’t used Dropbox yet, Trust me! you have no idea what you are missing.

The Reader

Wow! it’s been a long while since I typed anything here… 🙂 this is definitely a record duration and no, I’m not gonna start ranting on how twitter killed blogging for me or anything… to be frank, I didn’t even tweet that much, I did a little bit of tweeting, definitely not as much so that anyone would call me an addict of twitter… So a couple of days ago I actually went and changed my twitter bio from “microBlogging addict”, to “Information addict” 🙂 Err… an Information addict? you’d ask, yup! that’s what I am…

I finally realized what I spend most of my time on… I read! :-S I read like freaking all the time… I even get my dinner in front of the laptop reading some ebook or something from HN or reddit or slashdot… or some nerdy site with some awesome stuff you’ve probably never heard of.
So yeah! that’s what I do… I read, and I know things! 😉