Sid Verma Unnecessary tautology is unnecessary

Hi. I’m Sid. Some people also know me as Siddhartha.

I currently live in Gurgaon, India – where I work as a Software Engineer at Tower Research Capital.

I like to take photographs, write code, climb hills, and watch movies.

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What games have I ever played?

For reasons unknown, I’m compiling a list of all the games I’ve ever played. This list also includes outdoor games.

Nintendo

  • Pacman
  • Tetris
  • Super Mario
  • Super Contra
  • Super Contra II
  • Donkey Kong
  • Duck Hunt
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters

Arcades

  • Tekken 2
  • Tekken 3

PC

  • Minesweeper
  • Spider Solitare
  • Hangman
  • Dave
  • Zork
  • Zork II
  • VirtuaCop 2
  • Delta Force
  • Delta Force 2
  • Project IGI
  • Jardinains
  • Spider-Man: The Movie
  • Spider-Man 2
  • Spider-Man 3
  • Spider-Man: Friend or Foe
  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • GTA: Vice City
  • GTA: San Andreas
  • NFS: Most wanted
  • NFS: Hot Persuit
  • NFS: Most wanted 2
  • Machinarium
  • Limbo
  • Half Life 2
  • Counter Strike 1.6
  • COD: MW
  • COD: MW3
  • Portal
  • Portal 2
  • Halo
  • Halo 2
  • Skyrim
  • Dishonored
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Goat Simulator

Xbox

  • Dance Central 3

Mobile

  • Snake
  • Space Impact
  • Bounce
  • Bounce Tales
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Angry Birds
  • Angry Birds Space
  • Angry Birds Bad piggies
  • Temple Run
  • Subway Surfer
  • Cut the rope
  • Super Hexagon
  • Doodle Jump
  • Hill Climb racing
  • Daddy was a thief
  • Asphalt 8
  • Asphalt Nitro
  • Rush VR
  • 2048
  • Voxel Rush
  • Doodle Army 2
  • Alto’s Adventure
  • Ultraflow 2
  • Flow free
  • Brain Dots
  • Pokemon Go
  • Logical Cell
  • The Battle of Polytopia
  • Flappy Bird

Facebook :|

  • CityVille

Cards and Boards

  • Ludo
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Spider-man playing cards
  • Some local Spider-man board games
  • Bluff
  • Carrom
  • Chess
  • Go
  • Mao
  • Carda Against Humanity
  • Powerhouse
  • Photosynthesis
  • Jaipur
  • Clank! In! Space!


The internet kind of sucks now.

This is mostly a rant, over my increasing frustration with how the internet works nowadays. Maybe it’s just nostalgia with rose-colored glasses. I still want to shout this here in this void.

I wasn’t there during the early days of internet. The first time I went online, way probably in 2005. That’s only a little over a decade, but I remember it way too differently from what it is now. Now, it’s way too… homogenized is probably the right word.

Chat sucks the most. Probably the worst victim of the walled-garden approach. Things I have installed right now - Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, Signal, Threema, Hangouts, Slack, AndroIRC, Riot.

At some point last year, I got fed up and turned off notifications for all of these except Telegram on my phone. I still keep them installed, but everything is pull-based now, when someone asks me to look at something.

I am not new to being on loads of platforms. A decade ago, I used to have accounts on MSN and Yahoo messenger, Google talk, (even facebook too), IRC networks, and probably a dozen I can’t remember. But at some point, I found out about XMPP and pidgin, and how open protocols are such great things. mIRC used to be the hangout app, and pidgin the IM app. Any platform, ultimately boiled down to one of these. Then, one by one, almost everyone started killing off their XMPP gateways. They cited low volume, and lack of support for their exciting and new features. It’s always animated emojis or fucking stickers. Even slack shut down their IRC gateway earlier this year.

It’s on my To-do list to configure bitlbee and libpurple and put everything on libpurple.

Communities suck too. Everything is a facebook group and a subreddit now. Forums are ghost towns in comparison. Basic to extremely detailed information, queries, all sorted and tagged, categorized. The forums dedicated to Lost and Doctor Who were way more fun than the show itself. You go to /r/startrek now, and you’re bombarded with memes, cosplay, news about the upcoming Discovery season, theories, past episode-appreciation posts, and general rants. Feel free to try to use the broken filter-by-flair. When you visited the phpBB forum for the same, there were so many subcategories, and years old active threads with lots of archived information. There’s one for artwork, one for theories, one for episode discussions, another for character discussion, another for fan-fiction. Karma fishing and reposts wasn’t even a problem.

I’m honestly surprised that XDA and DeviantArt, some of my oldest communities stuck around for so long.

And then there’re social networks. My friends, at the very least, don’t “share” things online anymore. Everything is a carefully worded, edited, instagram-filtered broadcast to the world. Nothing feels personal. I had better communication with my deviantArt friends than I have with my facebook friends now. If I unblock my facebook news feed right now, this is what I see: Random selfie #9 this week, anti-Trump news, anti-BJP news, anti-BJP posts, rants against patriarchy. Once in a while I find out something interesting about poeple: a new relationship, a new job, a new city. But everything else is just people shouting the same thing in an echo chamber. Or else, it’s a whole lot of self-promotion.

I remember this being way different in 2010: There was a group for post-class hangout. News feed used to be people sharing opinions without fear, and way less fishing for ‘likes’. People planned things using their status. Comments were more conversational than ‘👍🏼’ and ‘nice pic.’. All the things I despise right now did exist then, but in a far lesser amount.

I dread the day when reddit finally turns into a social network.

I also miss RSS. Nowadays, my RSS feed is just news and comics. At some point, people used to have blogspot and wordpress accounts, where they tagged posts. I subscribed to the ‘travel’ feed for someone, ‘personal’ of someone else, ‘essays’ of the other. Now everything is just there, flat on Facebook/Twitter. Even they used to offer RSS feeds, which they phased out. Fucking twitter, where you get just one feed, with people sharing memes, jokes, news, achievements, all floating in the same cesspool of diarrhea, just begging for retweets.



Dumb smartphone is the best smartphone.

Quick recap: I dropped my Oneplus 3 six months ago - didn’t get it repaired for a month. Instead, carried this $10 phone with me for a while.

My interimn phone

Eventually, I did go back to the smartphone - to order cabs, read important emails, and take photographs.

But this really made me miss the bliss of not owning a smartphone. In the previous month, I used to look at the tiny screen for a maxium of 5 total minutes every day. On the smartphone, that returned to a few hours - Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, Kindle, Google Chrome.

Also came with it, a lot of micro-interruptions throughout the day in the form of notifications - IMs, promotions, emails, etc. An average of 15 notifications every day.

I have read accounts of people who don’t use a smartphone, or even a phone anymore. Unfortunately, that is not the way for me, at least right now. I recognize, and enjoy some of the features my Android phone gives me. I have a relatively short memory, and a notes app is essential to my life. I can’t drive, so I usually move around by walking, or through Uber. Also, I like charting the sky with the help of Stellarium.

Solutions

  • Uninstall social networks. Except for Instagram, which I post on once a few weeks - all social networks were uninstalled. Those which were not installed, were removed from the homescreen at the very least.

  • Next, remove the browser from the homescreen itself.

Phone homescreens - then and now

  • Disable notifications for all of the IM apps I use - SMS, Telegram, Whatsapp, Signal, Messenger, Hangouts, Personal E-mail. This changed my consumption of messages from a push-based mechanism to a pull-based. Emails are checked every morning and evening. If any IM is important, people would find an alternate way to reach me, or just call me.

  • Over the next few days, continue to disable notifications for any app which ever sent a promotional notification - Amazon, Google maps, Flipkart, Myntra, Amazon Go, Grofers, Uber, Ola, Bookmyshow…

  • Start wearing a watch - I compulsively check the time whenever I get the chance to. This stops me from taking the phone out when I’m away from the computer.

Status, now.

I’ve been using this setup for the past 6 months now. On an average, I stare at my phone for 15-45 minutes every day. 10 of those minutes would be on the shitter, where I am browsing reddit.com, and the 30 could be in commute, where I’d read some book or comic, or just listen to a podcast.

The only notifications I’ve received in the past 6 months are work emails, meeting reminders, and reminders which I set myself. Every other weekend or so, I’d check one of the IM apps and see if I missed anything important. Luckily, nothing as of yet.

I chat with people over slack and facebook messenger - exclusively on the desktop.

If I do need to check a social post some people are talking about, I open the browser after and check it out there.

My browser habits have changed too - I’ve stopped using tabs on phone. As a heavy tab user, this limit on multitasking really makes me not use the browser anymore than absolutely necessary. My phone had 689 tabs opened at one time