Letter#3 - One for the Fallen, Ugly iMacs, and Humanity's Refusal to Accept Robot Overlords

Some words for the disaster our neighboring country is going through.; a few tech articles from the last two weeks with my thoughts; and some recommended readings, movies, and fun facts for you.

Welcome to another issue of Letter. As you can see, I've renamed the newsletter from AIS Newsletter to just Letter. I think it signifies what type of content I'm willing to write here. You know, stuff that people would write in letters, when they wrote them. 

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I thought a lot about what to name my first newsletter, and I struggled to come up with any. I started with AIS Newsletter as that's kind of my thing. But I researched and found many newsletters share one common trait: They use common words and don't follow the same naming pattern as that of a website/blog. 

It makes sense. Unlike blogs, you don't write newsletters for SEO. I think that's a big part of the rising popularity of newsletters. They are just personal and have a lot more value than something pumped out for Google. So, people name their newsletters something their audience will remember. 

For example, Craig Mod calls his newsletter Ridgeline. MIT Technology Review has multiple newsletters I subscribe to, such as The Download (one of my favorites) and The Algorithm. Ali Abdaal calls his email newsletter Friendzone. I could go on, but you see the pattern. 

For me, Letter made the most sense. I couldn't constrain the newsletter to one specific topic because I really wanted to grow a community of friends and followers who share at least a few common interests. I have a broad focus on remote work, writing, tech, and life, but as you can see, almost anything goes here. I sure hope it doesn't annoy people away! (If it annoys you, please let me know. I welcome feedback.)

In this issue, I'll go through a few things. Some words for the disaster our neighboring country is going through.; a few tech articles from the last two weeks with my thoughts; and some recommended readings, movies, and fun facts for you. 


⬛️ One for the Fallen

They say, the longer you're in a disaster, the less you feel its intensity. 

I remember last year when the pandemic first caused countrywide lockdowns. There were skeptics, but people were genuinely afraid for a while. They followed health guidelines, wore masks, avoided crowds, and washed hands. 

As the number of death continued to rise for a while, people's concern and safety practices surprisingly kept declining. Granted, towards the end of last year, it felt as if the nightmare was ending. 

But it didn't. Every day, I read heartbreaking news from just across the border. The healthcare system in many populous Indian cities seems to be breaking. 

A few stories from the nightmare have gone viral — a woman begged the authorities for an oxygen canister. But, before her turn in the queue, she received news that her mother had died. A few days ago, a desperate wife tried to resuscitate her husband inside a three-wheeler, only to witness his death moments later.

People shared these news. People talked politics. People blamed governments. And maybe, people cried, too. 

Many failed to realize that behind every single one of those deaths, reported or unreported; there's a tragedy just like those two. 

On official count, nearly 3,500 people died of Covid in India yesterday (never mind that the actual number might be several times higher than that). 

Even at the count of 3,500, that's 3,500 lifetimes of stories, hopes, dreams, and heartbreaks. 

Gone, in one day.

If just a couple of pictures with stories touch our hearts, why doesn't the thought of over three thousand such stories make us realize the severity of the situation? 

I wake up every day and sincerely hope and pray for such suffering and death to end -- on both sides of the border, on both hemispheres, on the whole planet. 

I also do my part and follow all health guidelines when I go out (which hasn't happened in the last four weeks). 

I hope you’re doing your part too in ending the pandemic.


🖥 Ugly iMacs

Apple announced a bunch of products at its Spring Loaded event. If you're an Apple fan, you already know about them. I was looking forward to a redesigned iMac. 

At first glance, I loved the design and aesthetics of the new iMac. It's colorful, vibrant, and impossibly thin. Granted, it looked like a giant iPad. But there's a giant chin at the bottom just so you don't mistake it for one. 

That chin...that's the dealbreaker. 

To Apple engineers' credit, pretty much the whole computer (logic board, speakers, thermals, etc.) is on that chin. To my distaste, it's ONE THING I didn't want carried over from the old design. 

I was excited and had thought of ordering one as soon as they made it into Bangladesh. But the more I looked at it, the more ugliness of the iMac (albeit subjective) began to pop. 

Chin aside, I don't like how the new iMac looks from the front. The colors are washed out (a design decision, one that I disagree with). I also realized that that 24" display was...too small.. coming from the 27" display I had on my previous iMac (with a higher 5K resolution) and the current 27" LG display.

It also dawned on me that Apple wouldn't stop after replacing just the 21.5" iMac. It must have something better up its sleeves to replace the outdated 27" iMac.

That's what I'm going to wait for. There's a chance that the 27" iMac replacement will come with the next generation of Apple Silicon chip, either M1X or M2, but even if it ships with the M1, I'm still game. All I want is a better, larger display with a non-obnoxious chin. 

With the iMac out of the shopping bag, I'm now waiting to get my hands on AirTags and iPad Pro 12.9". I'll write my justification for upgrading from an 11" iPad Pro to a 12.9" in a future post. But if you have questions, send them my way. 


😲 Fun Fact

A tiny marine animal, often called pistol shrimp, can shoot bubbles at its prey that displaces water at 105 ft/second. 

Even more interestingly, "the collapse of the bubble generates, for a split second, temperatures of 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit." For reference, the surface of the Sun of 9,941°F. Of course, the Netflix film "Project Power" taught me that. ;) I love movies that send me Googling as the show ends!

If interested, read more at Wired


🔗 Recommended Reading

→ 🤖 Humanity is not ready to accept robot overlords. This story made me chuckle a bit. Even though Boston Dynamics' video from not too long ago had an obvious agenda of making robots feel funny and cute, people can, still, sense something's not right about robots policing human beings. Do you attribute this fear to Black Mirror and every sci-fi dystopian/cyberpunk movie out there? I'll leave that up to you. [Wired]

→ 💼 You don't have to want what everyone wants. This article felt very close to heart. While entrepreneurship is glorified and jobs are seen as nothing but slavery with respect and killer of dreams, there's a point to be made about not everyone enjoying whatever apparently everyone else wants. 

Sure, I don't have a successful business as the author does, but I never feel that I have entrepreneurial traits. This article gives me some validity that I'm not the only one, and it's okay not to want what everyone else wants. [HeroPress]

If you haven't read HeroPress before, you should. It's a place that tells the human story of the people of WordPress. 

--

📖 Long Read

🔍 A Mysterious Suicide Cluster

Long articles that focus on American events often require some understanding of the cultural context that comes with it. For example, I know what a fraternity is, but I won't have the same feeling reading about it as someone who has lived it. 

That's why many featured articles from renowned sources don't feel interesting to me. However, this one did. In fact, credits to the author and the editor, reading this article almost felt like watching a psychological/crime thriller movie. The non-chronological order of events as described adds twists to the

I won't give away too much of it, but if you like that kind of thing, and you've got about an hour for it (roughly the same time as an average TV episode), I strongly recommend reading it. 

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👋

Craig Mod, on successful newsletters, loosely said you've got to do this thing for at least a year before you figure it out. 

I'm still in my infancy, so I appreciate your feedback. What did you think of this issue? Do you like the sections? Is there anything you'd like me to add? You can reply to this email with your comment. 

Until next time, stay safe, don't go out unless necessary, and wear a mask.