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Showing posts from February, 2014

My Reactions To (American) Articles On Budgeting - II

3. Never pay full price
Indians practically never pay sticker price. Till date I’ve not been able to convince my mom that the sales clerk in the Nike store (in India) is not going to give her a discount. She always asks and what’s more, she gets it most of the time. She would also never buy something without comparing prices. I have memories of visiting a half dozen stores before she came back to the first one to buy what she wanted.

Now that we have the Internet, it seems downright dumb to buy something without prior research.  If I'm going to pay $100 for a new microwave, I'm damn well going to make sure that it is the best microwave that my money can buy. It amazes me that somebody has to write down this advice “know the actual value of your purchase before paying the price”. Not just that but many people have made entire careers based on dispensing such tidbits!

4. Interest should be earned, not paid
Most people realize that there's a difference between saving and inves…

My Reactions To (American) Articles On Budgeting - I

To an outsider like me, the spending habits of Americans appear just a tiny bit odd (politely said). Obviously then, online articles which deal with how to budget and save to pay off debt strike me as quite hilarious. For someone brought up in a culture which values saving over spending and encourages deferred consumption instead of immediate gratification, many of the "tips" tend to elicit similar reactions: "Well duh, isn't that obvious?"

1. Bring your lunch to work This one never fails to crack me up. Throughout going to school, college and work, I've always taken lunch from home. And it's not just me. My family, relatives, friends and practically everybody brown bags their lunch. Of course, in India we don't bring our lunch in brown bags. We use these instead: the famous tiffin dabbas!
To us, the concept of eating out everyday is completely alien. Not only is it a waste of money, it's unhealthy. It has absolutely no benefits other than being…

Diary Of A Banished Gamer

Day 1: Banished vs. Real-Life
The score so far is 1 – 0 in favor of the game. I had initially planned to finish all my work before the launch of the game at 2 PM on February 18. Alas! All my plans were spoiled when I discovered that the game had already launched by the time I woke up in the morning. It was only then that I realized my mistake – the 2 PM launch was just for the steam version, the DRM free installer was available on the developer website from 6 AM.

Down the drain went my vision for a productive day. I just about managed to get a few things done before I gave in to the temptation and bought, installed and started playing the game. The game was so interesting I lost track of time and forgot to eat! Not that I managed to accomplish much. But the beauty of the game is that whether you manage to succeed or fail, it is always fun and you learn something interesting.

In fact, I almost think that failing is even more fun than winning. Almost.

Time To Get Banished!

Today is finally here! The day I've been waiting for ever since I heard of a small indie game called Banished. I had been eagerly waiting for the release of SimCity and was bitterly disappointed when it finally launched (on the other hand, I did save $60 so there's that). I was hoping to find some other game which would scratch my city building itch when I stumbled on a post referencing Banished.

Curious, I went to the developer website and was excited to find that the game being developed was almost exactly what I had always wanted. The screenshots of the game were gorgeous and the more I read, the more I fell in love with it.

All of this has been done by one person. I would say it is impossible if it hasn't been done already!
The game looks beautiful doesn't it? Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was completely developed by just one person. That's right, all the artwork, coding, graphics, pathfinding etc. was done by just one developer. He even built th…

Why I Watch Puppy Videos

Did you know that the number of people living in abject poverty around the world fell by 50% from 1990 to 2010? That means, in absolute numbers, about 700 million people have lifted themselves above the baseline poverty level in just 30 years. It's a remarkable achievement but few people are aware of it, probably because it didn't make headlines over the usual reports of violence, corruption, human rights violations and other scourges of humanity.

It's one of the reasons why I don't bother to read the news anymore, I just skim the headlines and stop to read only those articles which have at least a slightly positive tone. I'm sure I miss a lot of what's happening this way but then again, bad news always has a way of finding you - through a neighbor, friend, online or offline. I'm sure I'll hear about it somehow.

Through all this negativity I miss out on so many things that have the potential to make me happy, if only for a short while. I know that I ha…

For The Love Of Books

Of all the good things that have happened in my life (and there have been quite a few), the most cherished experiences are always the ones that involve books. Whether that meant reading them, buying them, talking about them or dreaming about one day having an entire library all to myself.

Few people understood my love of books. Thankfully though, my family understood it. Which is not surprising considering that I come from a long line of certified bookworms (is there such a word? If not there should be one). My father, both my grandfathers as well as my mom were all avid readers.

In fact my maternal grandfather had an entire library on the first floor of the house, hardly used by anybody but frequented extensively by me. In our own house, I used to prowl about trying to root out books that I could read. I found an entire treasure trove of old Reader’s Digest books from the 70s and 80s and it wasn’t long before I devoured them.

Not that it is always a good thing though and the most co…