About nine months ago, Ashish and I started a podcast. We started out at it being both very bad at it and very irregular at it. However, things changed since March – being locked down at home, we found lots of spare time to become much better at it; and after months of thinking of everything we recorded as a trial run; I now feel confident enough about it to call it a finished article and not just a trial.
Our podcast is called That Reminds Me. It features Ashish and me talking about what we’ve read, or watched, or even about other podcasts we’ve listened to. There are lots of digressions. Frequently, these digressions are about coffee, or PG Wodehouse, or cities, or about how good the internet was in the 1990s. But they’re also about all the other books or articles or movies we got reminded of while reading or listening to the original subject of discussion. If you want to listen to middle aged men talk excitedly about the things they find cool, we are just the podcast for you. If you’d like that, but with fewer middle aged men, we’re working on getting guests, and if you have cool stuff that you get excited about, please go ahead and… be our guest.
The podcast website lets you listen right there, and to subscribe to the podcast feed. We’re on Apple Podcasts already, so if you have a podcast app, you can search for That Reminds Me and you’ll be able to find us.
If you want to try before you dive right in, here are three recent episodes you can pick from:
Readers who are still sticking around here, I am delighted to have the opportunity to plug something to you that is funnier and more regular than I am: the India Wants to Know quiz-(ish) show.
Friend Hari Shenoy (whose blog, alas, is now an ex-blog) has been working, along with the rest of Team #9 on a small webseries where the quiz questions are real, but the answering is an opportunity to bombard viewers with puns. They’ve put out ten short episodes so far, and will have more to come. Whether your primary problem in lockdown is anxiety or boredom, this spate of punnery is the solution.
You can start here:
and work your way onwards. Please like, subscribe, et cetera, et cetera; and help build support for a second season.
I tweeted earlier this morning about automatically sending interesting links I find on twitter to my Kindle. Since two people (@saffrontrail and @_a_muse) asked me how this was done, and it won’t fit in tweets, here’s a blogpost that explains the process. Hopefully it’ll benefit other people also.
You’ll see an email address which is something like firstname.lastname@example.org. Save this for Step 2.
You’ll have to fill in your Kindle’s email address. At this point, you’ll have to run Step 2 in parallel.
Set up your Kindle to receive email. To do this:
Login to Amazon. Find the link that says Manage Your Kindle and head there.
Click on ‘Personal Document Settings’ in the sidebar.
You’ll now see your Kindle’s email id. Take this back to the instapaper Kindle settings page, and fill it in.
Also, in the ‘Approved Personal Document Email List’, click on ‘Add a new approved e-mail address’. Now, fill in that @instapaper.com email id.
Proceed to Step 3
Now, come back to your instapaper Kindle settings page. Make sure that the ‘Send my Unread articles to my Kindle automatically’ box is checked, and tweak the sending settings to your preferences, depending on how much you read and how often you send new articles to your instapaper queue.
All right! So at the end of Step 3, any new article you add to your instapaper reading list will automatically go to your Kindle. But right now, you’ll still have to open every article before you can send it to instapaper. The next step is the nice part – you can add interesting links you find on twitter to instapaper without opening them. Here’s that process:
Now, go to this link, which is an ifttt recipe which scans your new favourited tweets, and if it finds links in them, sends them to instapaper.
You’ll now have to authorise ifttt to link to both your twitter and instapaper account. This does mean entering your passwords for both these services. Don’t panic – the password is not going to ifttt, only to twitter/ instapaper to allow them to authorise ifttt.
Create the task. Don’t worry about the text box fields that ifttt shows you – you can leave them empty.
All right. The automation is now done. So now, the next time you’re logged into twitter, and you see a tweet with a link that looks interesting, all you have to do is favourite (star) that tweet. The next time you sync your Kindle, you’ll get it in your instapaper delivery.
Note: Maybe you’d rather use Pocket or Readability instead of Instapaper. You can, and the principle is the same, but I’ve never bothered to set it up myself. You’ll have to use an ifftt recipe that links Twitter and Readability or Twitter and Pocket. Linking Readability to Kindle is easy, here’s the page to do it. Pocket, unfortunately, doesn’t send directly to Kindle, and you’ll have to use the third party en2Kindle website, adding yet another step. But if that works for you because you love Pocket, great.
I am now a columnist for Yahoo! India. My brief is to be a humour columnist, so I will try hard to be funny. The column will appear on alternate Saturdays. The first column is here, and the next one will be out tomorrow morning.
Points to note:
So far, I am a failure as a columnist. Almost all the other columnists in the spectacular lineup have been getting hate mail/ hate comments. I have got nothing despite being a humour columnist. I must be doing something wrong.
I am not going to link every column from the blog. The columns have their own RSS feed. Also, Yahoo! apparently is also working on a spiffier website with an easy to remember address for the India columnists.
You can’t comment on the column page itself, but there’s a link between the headline and the main text to the Yahoo Buzz discussion, where you can leave comments. I may respond to comments over there – my Yahoo! display id is double a.
You can send me email about the column to the email@example.com id mentioned in my bioline.
The first few columns will probably be very different stylistically, until I figure out what works best. But I’m hoping to bring back a character I created when I first started writing on the internet.
The Year in Preview posts will stay on this blog. Yahoo doesn’t get those.
I get paid for doing this! I am now officially a little bit hippie.
An important announcement: The NED Open Quiz will be held this Sunday (that is, March 28) in three different cities. Questions have been prepared by me, Kodhi, and Wimpy with inputs from Baada, Aisha, and Gaurav. We’ve prepared this with loads of louw, and it will show in the quality of questions. So please do come.
Times and Venues below.
Chennai: 10.00 a.m., at 30, 1st Cross Street, R A Puram. Teams of three. We will do prelims+finals. Will be conducted by Kodhi and me. Conducted under the auspices of the QFI. You need to be a QFI member to participate, but you can enrol over there.
Mumbai: 2.45 p.m, at the Pinstorm office in Santa Cruz (W) (Directions here). Conducted as a Bombay Quiz Club ranking quiz. You show up, and get assigned to a random team. No prelims here, so we’ll make the prelims a written round. Monkee will conduct.
Bangalore: 4 pm, at the Institute of Agricultural Technology, Queens Road. This will count as a KQA Ranking Open, I believe. Teams of 4 members. Prelims+Finals, to be conducted by Wimpy.
We hope to see you there, and that you’ll enjoy the quiz when you come.
I have an article in this month’s Pragati (PDF, 3.8 MB) about microfinance. I’ve written about how there’s more to microfinance than microlending, how broadening access to savings accounts and small insurance is much more important than lending, and how the most significant impact of microfinance so far is not necessarily the financial bits but the organisational bits.
If, as is likely, you find this incredibly dreary and boring, do read the issue anyway for Harsh Gupta’s excellent article on liberal solutions to protests in Kashmir.
I’ve been looking for a Firefox extension that let’s me bookmark a collection of links into one bundle, which I can then open any time later – like a session manager which saves multiple sessions instead of just the latest one. This is useful for when you’re planning to blog about something which links to lots of pages, but the blogging can’t be done in one go.
Udupendra recommended LinkWad, which was horribly unusable, and added an unwanted toolbar to Firefox.
But last night I discovered Linkbunch (from aalaap’s twitter, which I reached via Volupturo’s twitter). It’s still in beta, so it doesn’t have all the features which would make it truly awesome, but it’s already pretty damn cool. What it does, is create a single web page with a short URL that contains a bunch of links. You can install a Firefox extension which lets you add all your current open tabs to this page. Sweet! Two clicks, and the collection of links you’ve got open is filed away for retrieval on any net-connected PC.
Stuff I’d like to see as features are added:
The extension sitting in the status bar instead of the menu bar, or a keyboard shortcut – it’d make bookmarking easier.
A faster way to find the linkbunches you’ve created – right now I’m saving them in Google Notebook, which makes things cumbersome. How about a meta-linkbunch that links to all your linkbunches?
This is the good news: Evam, the Merry Players of Madras (who also earn merit in this life and the next by being Sista’s juniors) have launched online ticketing for their shows.
The even better news is that they shall be coming to Bangalore in February to put on Love Letters and The Odd Couple at Ranga Shankara.
By the way, the online ticketing is applicable for Bangalore as well as Chennai. It also does not require a credit card. You just block tickets, present the password they send you at the box office, pay in cash and collect your tickets. Personally, I would have liked a credit-card option but you can’t always get what you want, as the Rolling Stones so wisely said.