Uncluttered Society

What is a united society?
Is it one where there are no differences? Is it one where only one kind of people (sex/race/religion/language) live? Is it one where there are no small groups or divisions? Or is it to merge all the differences and create a new soup?

I don’t think so…!
I think it’s natural for humans to form into small groups. When there are so many differences between us, the one big united society is too remote from reality.

So how can we create a united society?
A united society starts from its differences. It is based on how all these differences work together and create an ecosystem where each of these can complement and coexist. Unless learn to appreciate the differences we will never make it a united society.

It’s the cluttered one that we need.

Looking Back 2009

Completing my undergraduate degree, full-time job as a software engineer, two international trips, two published conference papers, some photography, more prepress designs – The year 2009 has kept me real busy all-around. This year was very eventful and little too overwhelming to me, such that I ended up physically (and even mentally) unstable towards the end of the year. This was the first year I had plans, to-do lists and deadlines, yet I ended up in a slight mess.

I’m not very much used to the idea of planning for life, especially in long-term. I never had a yearly plan before in my life, and for 2009 I thought why not give it a try. Towards the end of 2008, I had an idea about what I would want to do in 2009. When I put those on writing, it was a list of items spread across of my interests. It was a so long and scattered, I ordered them in three categories, prioritized and created “My To-Do List for 2009“. Now towards the end of 2009, it time for me to look back, and see if having a plan had helped me.

My final year exams were in February, which I did fairly well and ended up getting a first class. Exams at university were not so exciting to me, but when I look back them at now it feels like a good experience. We had a lot of group study time just weeks before the exam at Mayuran’s place. Usually it would be Kathees, Mayuran, Nishandan, Praitheesh, Ramanan, Shayanthan, Tharshan and me. It was studying the fun way, with Mayuran’s mothers tasteful lunch (and sleepy afternoons).

I completed my undergraduate final year project, Project eID, successfully. It was a group project along with my teammates Anuradha, Ramanan and Shayanthan. I got the chance to be the leader of the team, which was more like a project manager role. Most of the complex parts of the project were handled by my teammates, yet I gained a great amount of experience. We became one of the many good project among our peers. I traveled along with my project team to Turkey and Malaysia, and we participated in international project competitions and exhibitions. We also published two conference papers related to our project.

I also started working on a Google Summer of Code project with Creative Commons enthusiastically, but I failed in halfway mainly due to poor time management and couple of foreign tours I had to undertake. It would be one of the main things I would regret in 2009.

Dr. Chandana Gamage would be the one teacher I would say who has guided me the most. He was my final year project supervisor and at first he seemed like the hardest person to work with. But after more than one year closely with him, he now seems totally the opposite to what I was thinking. Even after the completion of the project he helped me enlighten myself and guided me through out my grad school applications.

Just after completing I joined WaveNET International, Colombo as a Software Engineer on April 1st. But even before joining I had decided that I should go for graduate studies preferably in 2010. So I did IELTS, prepared SOPs, and applied to 5 universities and now I’m waiting for their responses.

I wanted to do certain things for a personal satisfaction. Blogging in English and Tamil was something I wanted to do for a long time and I planned to blog more frequently with quality posts. Thought I moved my English blog to my own domain, nothing much was written here lately. I even stopped writing in my Tamil blog.

I had planned for a trip to India in 2008, but that didn’t workout as planned so I wanted to do some traveling in 2009. And indeed I was fortunate enough to travel to two countries in 2009. Turkey was in May, with Shayanthan and Ramanan. I was a great week at Istanbul, with students from 12 countries with diverse cultures and a city that’s a meeting point of Asia and Europe, Modernity and Culture. Then Malaysia was in July, it too was a nice experience and a small shopping trip with Malalasena.

I bought a new camera, a DSLR, a Canon EOS 1000D (yeah… it’s what I could afford) in Malaysia. I started experimenting here and there, tried landscape, street, events, portrait and still figuring out what I could do. Got into Flickr, and an uncompleted photoblog yet to be launched.

Leo Club activities was something I wanted to focus more in 2009, but it didn’t happen as I expected. I became the Secretary of Leo District Council 306 B2, and I was doing is the job of a designer and a photographer. Yet this has given me a window to lookout from my all analytical work style into creative and aesthetic work.

This is just a long summary of what I did in 2009 and how much of my plans I could achieve. I think having a plan helped me in many ways to keep me some what in a direction and focused. Thanks for reading this very long post (if you have upto here)…!

Silent Mode – An Unsocial Experiment

It was in my high school I first encountered the phrase “The Human is a Social Animal”. Personally I would tag myself as unsocial, and anyone who has been around me in the past would definitely agree. Inter-personal communication plays an important role in deciding how much social are we. This includes vocal, visual and textual communication with individuals and groups. Vocal communication with other individuals has been the scale for measuring the social factor for long, and that had always marked me as unsocial.

I grew up in an environment with less friends, and I could not recall a single day from my childhood playing with any friends, but my cousins. It has been the same during my school and I was never a popular boy around. I had few friends, mostly guys with similar interests in hacking a computer or making some music or making a smoke bomb. Beyond that I even my existence was barely known.

It was with the Internet, the unsocial boy with the name Nimal, became the social animal with the avatar TalkOut. It was my chance to redefine who I am socially. I started writing, I started making new friends an I started communicating through emails and IM, and all these thing I rarely or never did before. The major change here was the mode of communication, that shifted from the “voice and me” in the real world to “text and the cropped image” in the online world. It was still the early 2000s, a time when telephones were not my favorite.

Then came all the social networks, and started using many of them in the order of hi5, MySpace, Orkut, and Facebook. They came as the right tools for me, and I became as social animal at the end. I started communicating with my classmates and colleagues more often. Then came mobile phones, SMSs, Twitter and a lot more. Thought I was an early adopter of many of these communication technologies, the only thing that was never exciting for are the vocal communications, telephones or VoIP.

Few days back, I was just thinking about how I use my mobile phone and realized that it would be one of the rarely used phone based on talk time, among my colleagues. Did a small calculation for the last two years, and my daily talk time average is less than 4 minutes. This includes my home phone, my office phone, my two mobile phones, Skype and all VoIP communications. If I ignore all the official calls related to my work, this would be even less.

Am I spending time talking to friends in any other way? Do I hang around with friend? Except to couple of colleagues at office and few friends who are my “free”lance clients, I haven’t talked much to any other friends lately.

Thus the point I want to make here is, I’m still unsocial when it comes to vocal communication, thought I used to think I have changed.

[Now I’m thinking of doing few experiments, may be from early next year, which would mostly like based on abstinence from vocal communication. I am yet to find out how this could be done, with my job and other professional interests. I’ll be posing any updates if I happen to proceed with this.]

Buried Alive – The True Story of Kidnapping, Captivity, and a Dramatic Rescue by Roy Hallums

Buried Alive Cover

“Buried Alive: The True Story of Kidnapping, Captivity, and a Dramatic Rescue” is the story of Roy Hallums, an American civilian (albeit ex-military) contractor who was kidnapped while working in Iraq and spent almost two years in captivity. The very material that is covered means that you will be reading about a unique experience.

This book is well written and with a consistent narrative flow. The narrative is in first person and flows quite easily. Unfortunately, the same conditions that make Roy Hallums’ experience horrific, make its retelling less interesting. It does feel at times that this conversational style of narrating events get in the way by becoming too wordy, but on the whole I felt that it makes the book better.

Overall, I felt the book was educational, but I wouldn’t be likely to recommend it as a must read.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive/negative review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Now Powered by WordPress

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post.

– Not exactly, add another 127 and this would be my 128th.

I have moved, migrated this blog from Blogger to a hosted WordPress. Those who are following me through feeds might not have noticed this yet, so just click on your feed and check out whats new. I have been blogging since 2006, and completed 3 years this July. I enjoyed blogging over at Blogger, yet I always wanted to move to WordPress someday with my own domain. I’ve been actively blogging on my project blog last year, which was on WordPress. After buying this domain couple of months back, I decided I would move my blog here.

Lets see a ‘list’ related to this migration:

  • Domain – nimal.info, bought couple of months back, couldn’t wait more for .com or .net
  • Hosting – DreamHost, hosting with them for almost 2 years and happy with what I’ve been getting
  • WordPress – 🙂
  • Theme – Illacrimo Theme by Design Disease
  • Migration – Migration from Blogger to WordPress is pain, many thanks to Amit Agarwal at Digital Inspiration for this wonderful guide

I also made a decision to change the name of this blog from “The TalkOut Trojans!” to “Nimal’s Weblog”, which I think would be a more suitable name. Its most likely, I’d stick to the “TalkOut” avatar name on all other places, except to this domain.

The migration is so far smooth, and I’ll be tweaking around the theme and plug-ins for sometime. Let me know if you find any glitches on any pages, so I can fix them. I’ll also be WRITING more often than before (that’s the plan for now)…. 🙂

Quoting from my first post,

Now I’ve landed in blogger. We’ll see what happens in the future.

So, Now I’ve landed in WordPress, and the future, it’s yet to be seen…!