The 36th Convocation

The birds created convoluted patterns in the sky, as the students sat on the lawns absorbing into their souls that this magical night was the end of their journey.

Three years.
These three years that came at the right time.
These three years where we grew up.
These three years made us who we are right now.
These three years full of stories and people.
These three years that we needed.

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Third time’s not a charm

Me: this sem review will be fun no? 😛
Rasagy: Sem review? As in your blog post wala?
Me: yes 😀
Rasagy: I wonder what you’ll write in there this time! 😛
Me: exactly.. ditto to you
Rasagy: I’m not posting. You’re the one who posts sem wise. I’ll post next year 😀

Indeed, half this semester was marred by a module that made me wonder what I was doing with my life. I know, I am still a crappy designer but what I felt this semester module left me just feeling plain stupid and so I will not be speaking about it at all. Some part of this failure project has been documented here.

So here are the highlights of this semester.

We started this semester with a new faculty Mr. Venkatesh Rajamanickam, rumoured to take over as the new IID coordinator. At first we were apprehensive about how this would shape IID as a discipline. But our fears were unfounded because within the first few days itself, we realized how awesome he was and still is. I personally had an awesome time, discussing things with him. He showed me Durell Bishop’s Answering Machine which blew my mind. Someone doing such work, when I was in preschool was something I had not imagined. From this I learnt that ‘Why should something digital always mean having a display?’ Sadly, all good things tend to end and with this semester end, Venkat resigned from NID citing personal reasons- a loss, that IID will feel for quite sometime.

Moving on, one of the things that I had decided to follow this semester is try and document my projects. And document I did 😀 You can find the projects over here at the Projects page. This was good because when the time to make a jury presentation came about, I just had to go back to the posts and find the relevant content already prepared by ‘the past’ me.

Being sent to MIT’s DIy workshop was an eye-opening experience. This I feel was the central design project that I did this semester. A week packed to the brim with research, design, prototype and testing; I wish we had atleast one module this intensive at NID, every semester.

As for data visualizations, I’ve begin to realize the balance that I will try to maintain in my work anymore. Not too functional and not too arty. Easier said than done. My semester work is out here.

I became aware of real interaction design thanks to Sudhakar’s interactive classroom assignment. I intend to take this output forward.

So there, another semester goes by and am not any closer to figuring out what I want to do after this. All in all, as I look back this was not really a bad semester. I got to interact with Girish Dalvi a whole lot as part of his Grids and Layouts workshop and APCHI. Arun’s Geo viz workshop gave me a diving board into cartography. Listening to keynotes at APCHI was also wonderful, interacting with Jun Rekimoto or Alan Dix was not something I imagined I would be doing at the beginning of this semester.

What I hope I shall learn some more about the next semester is physical visualizations, tangible user interfaces and anarchistic visual design. A tall order to fulfill but next semester’s going to be a bore otherwise.

Design School : Year One

After last semester, I wrote what I had learned. At the end of this semester I was confused what really happened in that one semester. So I thought I could use this post to talk about other things that I experienced this year.

After last semester, I wrote what I had learned. At the end of this semester I was confused what really happened in that one semester. So I thought I could use this post to talk about other things that I experienced this year.

Being a Quizzer, you end up having an ego because you have all that information in your head, ready to spout out at the slightest notice. I really believe that that knowledge repo originating from a well read childhood is one of my strengths. Still I was humbled in Girish Dalvi’s typography workshop when I couldn’t answer any question that he threw at us. I mentioned last semester that reading is crucial. But this semester was when I realized that the reading stack is hundreds of books high. Actually, its infinite.

Open Elective although a major disappointment (atleast I got to meet some awesome people) had a good theme this year – Old age. Our world is increasingly getting older but most companies out there are busy trying to solve endemic problems. In one year, I might end up in the same industry and that actually made me wonder if I should try to end up someplace else where I can really make a difference.

Good research is important. Last semester made me realize that. I also realized that surveys, interviews mostly masquerade as research methods. I have lost faith in both of them while at the same time learning that custom research methods(like this one) make for better insights. I have begun to believe more in end user testing.

Talking about things make them better. I learned that getting people to critique your idea or talk to them about it is the best way to get out of that creative rut that you find yourself in. When you are working on it all by yourself you will not see be able to see what it is that is not working with your design.

I learned and built my first grid based presentation which was well received by the Jury. Except for my Cognitive Ergonomics work, the rest of what I presented seemed to have been appreciated. This is a big improvement from last semester where I was mostly clueless about the work I was presenting.

I’ve realized that the design process you follow is really important. I still have a long way to go before I learn to use it well. Working on MSR’s Design Expo this year made me realize the value of a good process. When working on Meteorites, I somehow formed a process unknowingly and it did help me to produce the end result. It’ll help you where your skills wont.

And you can learn anything given that you want to. At the end of last semester, I only knew Photoshop which I had largely picked up while at TCS. Now, I am comfortable with Illustrator and I even made a short film on Adobe Premiere Pro. A desire to create things in crunch time really helps me learn faster. Hence deadlines are good.

Hard deadlines are even better. Work only gets done if they are enforced. Most of last semester’s projects did not turn out so well because I kept procrastinating. Maybe because…

I fear big projects especially due to the lack of experience. We have not done anything big academically and I wonder how equipped I will be to deal with full projects all alone. Hope I can confront that fear this semester. Geronimo!

One of my favourite moments of last year was lying on @nid_b’s roof and looking for shooting stars. The cold, the company and the squeals when you spot a golden trail all made that night magical. Also worth noting are the Paldi campfires. This time next year, I shall be lamenting the end of 2 years and I shall miss ‘this’ life dearly.

You can read Rasagy thoughts on ‘Year One’ here.

F14 >> F16

9 months, our gestation period, we spent at F14. Easily they are some of the best days of my life. Had the best room mates i could ask for. In February i was glad that we moved to a more spacious place than our erstwhile S2. F14 was a big upgrade from our previous place; a fully furnished 2 BHK. It was part of the trio of flats that the 12 of us had bought. Life was good.

Then the transfers started. The first flat was left within a month as the rent was unaffordable for 2 people to handle. The girls left F12.

Fast forward to October 2011. Karthik and Raison left the company for greener pastures and Rathan got transfered to Bangalore. That left me as the last man standing at F14. With Girish gone, Ive now moved to F16; the last flat of the three we had.

 

Four Year Mile

It was 4 years ago, blogs had just captured the attention of newspapers and the offline world. I had joined Engineering. I had started writing about 2 years ago when i decided to test if i had inherited it from my genes. What started off with autobiographical writings and dark poems eventually culminated in this blog Aninosaintlife, which after second opinions resulted in the wp.com version you now see before you. Eventually i broached out to this, largely kept hidden until recently, where i blogged as Insomniac. ‘An Inosaint Life’ gave way to ‘An Innocent Life’ and in somewhere in 3rd year of engineering ‘Life is not all Ha-ha hee-hee’ was replaced by the newer namesake’s name. ‘Mad Hunter Skozaken‘.

The Blog and the online world taught me a lot i should say. In addition to finding some awesome people online, it made me develop my writing style. This has changed from an ‘everyday blog’ to a more My Article Blog.The Old Gang of bloggers is almost all gone. I myself disappeared for long stretches in the past two years when offline life kept me pretty preoccupied. When i did eventually come back, the blogosphere was changed. I really didnt feel the need to ‘publicize’ my blog. I still maintain contact with some of the ‘Old Gang’ but thats pretty much it. Nowadays i just follow some of my friends blogs (who arent very regular when it comes to updating).

In these 4 years, I have started and blogged at more than 7 blogs writing around 350+ posts in all. The Mind Clutter Blogger blog, A Quiz Blog survived Ignitte.in and is now on WP.com, a Posterous and finally, in July Absolutely Filmy! came into being. I also re-wrote my ‘About‘ Page and created a ‘Downloads‘ page. Thats been my journey so far.
I really feel Blogging/Writing is my Chicken Soup for the Soul. I dont care if people dont read what i write. I know this gives me a way to archive my thoughts. Some day when i am old and worn, counting that the interweb survives, i would look back to the decades of history i intend to chronicle here. I write happy thoughts here. There s a lot left unsaid ; why should i reveal my emotions to all and sundry? Humans are fickle minded creatures. But thats another blog post in itself.

For People who visit/read, Thank You.
For Friends who support, Thank You.