List of Series

6 multi-part series, 16 posts

Absurd Customer Service: Experiences

April 30, 2022 to May 1, 2022

Over a few months in the second half of 2021, I faced some strange customer service hurdles. They came all at once and took me by surprise. I knew that customer service was never supposed to be a fun experience; and I was used to some of the normal struggles. But it had been a long time since I had had to experience it at close quarters, and the new customer service landscape of automated voice guidance, chatbots, unreplied emails, and non-existent customer service phone lines left me bewildered. If you have a bad experience with a representative of a modern business, the best case is now that the company will hear your story completely and respond to it. What their response is has taken a backseat, as customers crave for the empathetic act of listening and catharsis through it. This is a 2-part series. In the 1st part, I recount 3 experiences of absurdity with different companies and different industries. In the 2nd part, I list some of the suggestions which I think will make customer service measurably better.

Orientation Program at IIT Kharagpur

May 10, 2021 to May 13, 2021

Hazing at IIT Kharagpur is referred to by the euphemism Orientation Program, or simply, O.P. I recount my experience of O.P. during my time at Nehru Hall in IIT Kharagpur between 2013-2018.

An Unscientific Comparison of News Websites

March 13, 2021 to March 15, 2021

A comparison of the above-the-fold content on the home page of a dozen news websites from around the world. The comparison is based on objective metrics such as number of articles shown and subjective metrics such as scores for ease-of-use and the number of distracting elements on the websites.

Indian Central Bank’s Monetary Interventions

January 11, 2021 to January 11, 2021

For some inexplicable reason, around the beginning of this year, I was on the RBI website and reading the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee’s latest meeting. The minutes were very interesting and seemed to be drawing on data that was not public. It talked about “high-frequency data” and “foreign exchange reserves.” I had very little understanding of these things and so, I went down a rabbithole trying to understand the function of Central Banks, the tools that are at their disposal and how they deploy them at the right time.

Configuring Emacs: 7 months later

November 15, 2020 to December 1, 2020

In mid-2020, after nearly 6 years of being a religious Vim user, I switched to Emacs. This series is my story after using it for 7 months. I tell my story in 3 acts, beginning with the fundamentals such as package management and powerful packages not to install right at the beginning. The second act looks at configuring keybindings and moving around a bit more effortlessly. The final act walks the user through a couple of Elisp functions I wrote to solve some issues which are extremely simple in a Regular expression editor such as Vim but are non-trivial inside Emacs.

Media and Expectations

July 30, 2018 to August 17, 2018

After a couple years of vicious complaining about the Indian media, nightly shouting matches and the absurd topics that were chosen for each debate, I read Rosling’s Factfulness. Rosling points out that the news is “not very useful for understanding the world.” This series is about how the media will serve the interests of the advertiser and why news channels on YouTube will probably be better at delivering news. (This series is from 2018. Looking back in 2021, I realize that I trusted in data too much and believed that getting the right statistic would help me understand and explain the world to others.)