Sunday, November 22, 2020

Travel during the Pandemic

Travelling during the pandemic is a tricky proposition.  Airports are said to be transmission hot-spots.  Airplanes are potentially also super spreading sites.  Trains and buses are likely as risky as flying.  Driving your own car is likely safer, except when you stop for food, gas, rest, etc...

A simpler solution is to just not travel physically, but instead travel virtually !  With Youtube and other sites hosting free videos of people travelling all kinds of exotic locations, you can just travel virtually from your own home.

My process for virtual travel is:

  1. Pick a place

  2. Go to youtube and search for “Virtual Travel <place_name>”

  3. Pick up to 5 videos and watch them.

I also have another screen with:

  • Google maps and 

  • Browser

to look at maps and the history of monuments and places featured in the video.

Here is a link to the places I have visited virtually

Let me know if you find other great videos for virtual travel !

Sunday, November 08, 2020

McCarthy TeamWork BootCamp

(Picture from: )

A few years ago, I came across the "23 1/2" rules of software development from Jim McCarthy.  I found the rules to be full of wisdom and started to use them.  I recently came across a later list of 54 rules.

I enrolled in a mailing list related to the rules, and heard about a TeamWork BootCamp that Jim and Michele McCarthy ran.  The purpose of the camp is to create a team that ships great products starting from a group of individuals; in a relatively short time.  The full in-person boot-camp is ~ 5 days.

If you want to create a great product (or service), I highly recommend the BootCamp.

The theoretical basis for the program is described in their book – Software For Your Head.

McCarthy TeamWork BootCamp main site is

Tom DeMarco wrote a review of the BootCamp, and here are some other useful references:

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Dimanche Domino la Rue Desforges

My grand-mother (nani Beda) used to live at 72 Rue Desforges, Port-Louis and every Sunday morning, there used to be a big game of Dominos.  We usually had her sons Ismet, Toto and their friends Salim Toque and his brother Rafiq.  Sometimes Him (Abdool Raheem Seetal), and Doudou (Abdool Currim Seetal) would also join in.

It was a noisy, festive affair.  Nani Beda would fry 'gateaux piments' and someone would get hot freshly baked dipain maison from the bakery across the street (Boulangerie La Cheminée).  We would split the dipain in two, coat it liberally with di beurre plume (Red Feather butter), then stuff it with gateau piment.

Study group chez Gajack

When I was in RCPL (I think in lower six), we had a Sunday study group at our friend's place - Osman Rajack - in Trou Fanfaron.  We would review mostly Maths and Physics, and I think other than Osman, we had A3 (Atifur Ayoob Abdool), Bagal (Anwar Auckburally) and maybe some others, but I don't remember.  We sometimes had Osman's brothers pop in, and also Ti Taras (Mamade don't_ remember_his_last_name).

However, the star of the occasion was the rotis that Osman's mum used to make for us, and the 'café chamarel' his dad made.  Those rotis were out of this world.  Stuffed with giromon touffe and brede songe and all kinds of other good stuff.  One or two of those and you were in food coma nirvana !

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Working From Home and COVID-19

Advice/Quotes for this period

If you are working from home, you need to create time to take care of yourself every day.  It can be a walk around the block, some meditation, sitting in the garden, anything that takes you away from work and home life.  Start small and build on it.

Every hand that we don't shake must become a phone call we place.
Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.
Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.

Keep a schedule, still get dressed and shower, try to eat as you would in the office, and generally remember to act like you are at work. Otherwise you show up with pj's on, no makeup, hair like a whirlwind, and never sleep.
S Chavez

During Video Conferences, go around the 'room' by last name and give everyone an opportunity to speak.
G. Hui

One thing I do (even when at the office) is declaring out loud: "I'm Done Work for the Day!". It flips a switch in your mind to shift form work mode to home mode. This is more important when your work and home is the same place. Some of us have even started posting this in our team slack channels to foster a greater sense of community.
C Onuczko

Take care of your mental health during this time. And a big part of this is taking time to step away from your computer to refocus yourself physically and mentally.  Staring at your screen for 8+ hours a day without moving is not good - so please be sure you walk away for a few moments during the day.
A Hobbs

If you get anxious and depressed because you cannot go out, look for that list of tasks you have been procrastinating, and every time you feel like you need to go out, pick one task and do it ! :-)

Friday, December 06, 2019

I can still taste the candy!

I recently came across this great story:

There was an old man who was admitted to the hospital.
A young man visited him every day, and sat with him for more than one hour.
He helped him eat his food, and take his shower.
Then he took him walking in the garden of the hospital.
After that he brought him back to his room and helped him to lie down.
He then left after making sure the old man was well.

One day the nurse entered his room, to give him medicine and inspect his condition, and said to him:

"May the Lord be always gracious to your kind and caring son. Every day he visits you and shows great care."

He looked at her and closed his eyes and said to her:

"I wish it was one of my children. This is an orphan from the neighborhood where we live. I met him one day, crying at the door of a Masjid, after his father died. I comforted him and bought for him candy. I neither saw him nor talked to him for a very long time.

When he grew up and came to discover where my wife and I were living. He was visiting us every day to inspect our conditions. When I later fell sick, he took my old wife to his home. He then comes to the hospital to see my treatment everyday. One day I asked him: My son why do you have to deal with us and care about us?

He simply smiled and said: I can still taste the candy."

Friday, August 30, 2019

Should you board your windows before the Hurricane ?

Boarding your widows before the arrival of a Hurricane is one question that has eluded definitive answers from "the Google".

The basic idea is that your windows may not survive the hurricane, so it may be prudent to 'board them up' usually using plywood, but if you cannot get those, you can use fencing panels (plywood usually sells out just before hurricanes).

Your windows could be damaged in 2 ways:

  • Flying debris fly through your window 
  • Window cracks and smashes just because of wind strength

You window may also 'let water through' when you have rain and strong winds.

Many newer houses have windows that are storm rated to some extent.  But that does not necessarily mean they won't get damaged.  For some of the "double glazed windows with gas inside", the gas inside of them can leak out, so they lose any kind of pressure.

Boarding with plywood is also no guarantee that your window will survive.  All depends on the force with which the flying debris hits it.  Boarding with metal storm shutters are safer, but usually need to be ordered well in advance.

As I stated above, "The Google" does not know the answer to this question. 

My strategy has been to:
  • Make sure I have enough plywood, tools and supplies to board my windows
  • Keep an eye on what the neighbors are doing
  • If my gut tells me I need to board, then I do
I have been in Florida since 2005 and have not boarded my windows yet, and not had any damage.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hajj 2018


My wife and I went to the Hajj pilgrimage in 2018. It was definitely a once in a lifetime trip. We made the decision to go at fairly short notice, so there was not much in terms of extensive preparations, but it all went well.

There are many articles on how best to prepare for the Hajj, and I referred to them for our preparations.

One item we had difficulty finding was antiperspirant with no fragrance, because for part of the pilgrimage, the wearing of perfume is not permitted. We eventually got some from a pharmacy in Medina. So if you get stuck like us and were not able to get some from your home country, you could get it in Saudi Arabia and a pharmacy may be a good bet.  The one we got was from Louis Widmer :