Categories
Life

Here’s Why I Read

Podcasts and YouTube may quite possibly surpass the act of reading, but books were the technology of an era long residing in the dried up pages of nostalgia. Suffice to say, the consumption of content has moved on from reading words printed on dead trees to blogs, podcasts, YouTube and Netflix. It’s not all bad, though; but reading gives the same pleasure as a croissant bursting with Nutella and strawberries with the assurance of a no insulin response. Here’s why I read is my personal attempt at convincing you to read and explain why I find this a seriously rewarding past time.

Just like a Nutella-filled croissant, reading a book offers a sense of warmth in stringing words together to form feelings. It’s magical and very real at the same time. The following assertion is true — We exist because of stories and are experts in generating tales that have created religions, philosophies and political movements.

But, in my case, reading has been an effort to pack a myriad of experiences into what is expected to be a short life. We live in a world where extroversion is adulated and introversion is despised. Non-readers won’t understand the happiness that lies within when you’re sipping a gin and tonic; all the while inviting your eyes to see those cursive fonts that form those magical words, which thread together a story that leads to rivulets of goosebumps on your back.

Escapism

What is the act of reading but an exercise in distraction? A hobby it may be, but it is certainly one which is enjoyable. Anyone who is Lankan, and who grew up in the 80s and 90s would know of the tumultuous times that this island nation went through. Life under the LTTE and JVP were nothing like how a decent life should be. This was a time where access to a telephone or television was a luxury. A smartphone, laptop or Kindle would’ve been straight out of the pages of a science fiction novella that resided in the book shelves at The British Council.

Stephen King is and always will be an all-time favorite author

Speaking of The British Council, this was the one solace that existed for the denizens of Colombo. You see, there was nothing else to do in Colombo during that period except to dodge bullets and bombs while focusing on your education in the hopes of migrating to greener pastures. Oh, how things have changed. For the record, I still escape; usually to worlds and plots concocted by Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

Curiosity

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Instead it made the cat smarter. Books are education. Consider Rene Descartes during the 17th century who offered the theory that only humans feel, and that animals are mere automatons. This is why doctors used to dissect live dogs while placing no mind to their screams.

What better way to get connected to your culture and history than to read about it?

Humans are curious by nature, and this leads to progress. Descartes was a participant of some inhumane activity, but it was education and a progressive mindset plus a change in beliefs that led to a change in how we view other species today. While curiosity has led to the concept of imagination being stretched, it has also served to offer a sense of progress.

I will offer you another example in the form of Yuval Noah Harrari. He has been central to the change in the global mindset when it came to humanity’s reliance on religion. The latter had done more harm than good, but religion certainly did have its place. But the shift is happening now; people are trusting science more. The best instance of this is when science told all churches and mosques to stop religious activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And the vast majority of the human race believed science.

Entertainment

The entertainment value of books are unparalleled. It’s the cheapest way to travel and the cheapest way to experience brand new feelings. There’s a reason why the written word will always surpass the pixel.

Poetry could be defined as being little heartbeats of words

Netflix may be able to showcase one point of view, but I rather read a book and let my brain expand on the intricacies of plot, tone and character. Books help expand your mind and the universe within yourself. What is life if not for a vibrant and colorful imagination. Today and all the intuitive products we use is an idea that has been dreamt up and created thanks to a creative imagination.

New Skills

Reading the right books can help you expand your perception of the world, and assist you in changing your mindset. What reading does is help you learn the skills that make you relevant. In an era where technology is as pervasive as sugar, it is mandatory to always stay relevant. Consider all the manuals that I used to read on WordPerfect back in the 80s — while it still exists it might as well be redundant.

An important book that helped me expand my skillset

If there’s one book that has helped me stay relevant in 2020, it would be — 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. It is a must read for those of us who are in our 40s and are still trying to be relevant. It is a must read for anyone; and will offer a great lesson for any person to always keep learning. Don’t be a Kodak, be an Apple instead. You see, to stop learning is to die.

Real Life

Reading books is living experiences. The suave lines in poetry and literature hints at how people behave. It’s this familiarity of human nature via books that led me to be rather unsurprised by Colombo; unsurprised by how Colombo society is okay with someone stealing someone else’s husband or wife, but bad table manners is a serious faux pas.

One of the first books I read in my late teens that I ignored then but respect now

Reading helps you develop empathy. We all know this is something that is seriously lacking in the world today. Philosophy and knowledge have the answers that we crave. One huge influence in my life has been the observations made by Arthur Schopenhauer; his quote — compassion is the basis of morality — is a fantastic indication of how man should live hand in hand in peace and harmony.

I Read Classics

Simply because classics offer an exceptional view of human nature. All these tales by Dickens and Elliot gives you an opportunity to understand the nuances and intricacies of the human heart.

Consider the tale of Silas Marner: a man who loves the material world, but reluctantly desires that all-important human connection. It is still very relevant today. Capitalism is the God we serve at the expense of real human relationships. This might give an explanation to the recent rise in loneliness, suicide and depression.

The Biggest Lesson That Reading Affords You…

… is discipline and patience. Reading lends these two skills to your life. Your impatience is stilled as is your mind. How else are you supposed to soak up the words and travel a literary route? I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. Books help us live through the people in them. Social media helps us compare ourselves to others. Interestingly, like in other rewards, both learning and cognitive areas play a significant part in the food reward. Who needs comfort food when there’s an increase in the dopamine response from the human amygdala whenever one indulges in cognitive tasks.

It’s understood and accepted that reading and writing can help stave off cognitive decline. As shown in previous paragraphs reading helps keep you relevant and makes you empathetic. As a former literary student and, more recently, a lifestyle journalist, the very act of reading helped me increase my vocabulary and add value to the content I put out. Reading is bliss; and it quite possibly might be the solution to all our problems and worries. Either way maybe less conversation is a better way to get started on the journey of reading the written word.

Categories
Tech

Life With A Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

As per biologist E. O. Wilson: In ancient history and prehistory, tribes gained visceral comfort and pride from familiar fellowship, and a way to defend the group enthusiastically against rival groups. It gave people a name in addition to their own and social meaning in a chaotic world. It made the environment less disorienting and dangerous.

These prehistoric proclivities have migrated onto modern life, and now, it does more harm than good. Let’s discuss lies, and how they are related to the forever argument of whether Android or iOS is better.

Lie Number 1: Apple/iOS is the best.

Lie Number 2: Samsung/Android is the best.

Your purchase depends on the narrative that you choose to believe, you see. Sadly, in society you need to subscribe to one or the other. Like most things that make up society whether it be religion, food or a university/school, you are compelled to choose. Or, your circle of influence (think parents, friends, religious leaders et al.) will embrace you into their fold and hammer their beliefs into you.

But, it is all a lie. Anyone who has read Sapiens will know that we choose the narrative we want to believe based on the stories around it. That sense of community created by brands (because, they all are brands, aren’t they?) is the glue that builds camaraderie.

Android and iOS both fulfill a function, but most audiences prefer to snuggle in a rabbit hole of arguments and dysfunction. Rather see a product for what it is, which is to cater to a requirement, and make whatever inconveniences redundant. The problem with any circle of influence is the set of beliefs they instill in you.

Thus begins my justification of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite — (sometimes) referred to as Lite hereonafter. Whatever you assimilate today make sure you ponder the contents of this article before you make a purchase decision. Full disclaimer: I’m comparing the Lite to an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus running on iOS 14.

Productivity and Word Consumption is Better on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

The stylus on this Lite for some strange reason helps the sinuosity of my sentences. Maybe because it is a novel experience or maybe because the user experience is conducive to creativity. Either way this is a great addition and it makes the Lite a fantastic smartphone.

The stylus on the Note was a game changer and continues to be one

Since I’m a writer by profession, the varying keyboards that you can draw up are helpful. I usually shift between the Samsung Keyboard, Gboard and the Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard. The whole experience of collating, curating and fleshing out data is a joy on this device.

Who needs a laptop?

Although I want to try Stencil as a design tool, I have decided to stick with Canva since I have a Pro Version of it, and working on it via the Lite is an absolute breeze. Collaborating via the Google Workspace and using apps like Ahrefs is convenient.

Ted Chiang is an inspiration

The Kindle app works great on the Lite, and reading is a rewarding journey on this device. Of course, there’s nothing like a book as far as the writer in me is concerned. But this works well and the reading experience is fantastic.

Samsung Health is Better than Apple Health

My weight loss journey is documented on this blog, and I used Apple Health to document the distance of my daily walks. I knew that there is assured to be some disparity with regard to the accuracy of the distance covered. But what I realized is that some measure was better than nothing.

Apple Health was generous with clocking in the distance on the 20th of October

Enter the Lite. I was curious to see what was actually better when comparing Samsung Health vs. Apple Health, and so decided to do my morning walk with both devices.

On the 20th of October, Samsung Health said I’ve walked less compared to Apple Health

The Lite said that I’ve done less when it came to the distance covered. And based on the app reviews present, I think I will believe the data generated by Samsung Health simply because there is proof.

Netflix and Apple Music is Better on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Who would have thought that Apple apps work better on an Android? Without diving into the whole mechanics of what is under the hood, it makes sense to remember that it is the experience that matters. The Note 2 that I had promised a lot in the way of specifications but ANY iPhone would have put it to shame.

This is my jam and Doja Cat is the bomb

And then there’s Netflix on Android, which offers a fantastic viewing experience, too. This is largely thanks to a 6.7 inch screen that is Super AMOLED. Running on Android 10 with One UI 2.5 the user experience on this Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite is far better that iOS 14 and that truly is just my opinion.

Deadly Class is a great watch on Netflix and I really think that Tarantino actually made this

Let’s also consider sound when it comes to the listening experience. The Lite features a 3.5mm audio jack and Dolby Atmos surround sound technology. The sound experience on this device offers one eargasm after the next.

Dolby Atmos on and Dark Mode off

I use JBL earphones when walking and the Samsung earphones when listening to media. Both are great, but, as you would expect, the JBL noisemakers are better.

Battery Life is Seriously Good on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite

Everything works seamlessly in one cohesive team powered with a 4500 mAh battery pack. The Lite has lasted more than 1.5 days on a full charge.

4500 mAh worth of power

This efficiency will reduce as time goes on. But with 4 months on the clock, there’s no visible sign of the battery losing its glimmer. The Lite has a Snapdragon 855 processor, which is a flagship phone processor, and that’s quite a good reason to go for it. The processor is one generation old compared to what is powering the Note 20, but the Lite is great as it is.

What Should You Buy?

It’s a good rule of thumb to skip the first generation of any product since there will be teething issues. This is why I researched thoroughly before deciding on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite.

Additionally the whole concept of marketing is done in such a way that you would always opt for the flashiest and newest iteration of whatever product. And, this is a surefire way to ensure that you end up burning a hole in your pocket.

Rather choose a product based on your requirement; this video shows why a Samsung Note 10 Lite is enough compared to a Samsung Note 20.