All posts filed under: Personal

Accents and Blowhards

Personal / Posts

Each time I get in a cab in San Francisco, I make it a point to talk to the driver, not just because I believe it’s awkward otherwise but I as a somewhat assimilated Turkish person living in the U.S., I enjoy conversations with cab drivers who a lot of the time happen to be foreigners themselves also. As we speak and they ask me where I’m from, a lot of the time, they tell […]

Turkish Protests of May 2013 for the Uninitiated

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AKP, the current ruling party, came into force 2002 following a disastrous market crash in 2001. While they were a newly formed party at the time, its founders have been politically active for years and have their roots in radical Islam; many of the founders of the party have come from previously banned political parties for threatening the secular order and the PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself has spent several months in jail for reciting […]

Facebook and Uncanny Valley

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I grew up with Facebook, in all senses of the word. The first time I was in the US for summer school in 2004, Facebook practically didn’t exist. Just a year after, in 2005, when I was again in the US for a different summer school and actually got a .edu email address from a major college, I remember my friends being really excited that they could join this service called The Facebook. I remember […]

Progress of Happiness

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By most measures, including of course the physical ones, I was fat when I graduated from college and moved to San Francisco. Sure; I wasn’t you-need-to-buy-two-seats fat but I was definitely I-am-not-giving-you-my-number fat. Just like most people, I have confused excuses for the reasons; Pittsburgh was cold all the time and it was easy to order food than to go out, buy groceries, come back, cook. Also, I happened to have a girlfriend who seemed […]

On Being a Builder

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One of the recurring themes in any technical team is the tension between designers and developers. Many designers complain about how their beautifully designed and well-thought out mocks aren’t faithfully implemented but merely considered as guidelines. A lot of the time, the design details takes a back seat to the ease-of-implementation and how detail-oriented the developer is. While there are a lot of developers who don’t mind going the extra mile to get the design […]

Ode to Humility

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  Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably heard that the smart fellows at Jet Propulsion Laboratory managed to land a rover on Mars. Or more accurately, the scientists and engineers managed to program a robot to successfully enter the Mars atmosphere, guide itself towards its landing destination and then lower a 900 kilogram rover from 7.5 meters while it is suspended in the Martian sky by rockets. JPL, headed by Lebanese […]

What was it like to work at Digg during Digg V4?

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Unique. I joined Digg pretty late in the product cycle of Digg V4. Eagle-eyed followers of Digg might have noticed that the version of Digg V4 was somewhat different than the Digg V4 that was shown around in Diggnation in SXSW 2010. When I started at June, right out of college[1], V4 was pretty much finished feature wise and most people were tasked with actually building things up to scale and start thinking about how […]

Learning vs. Doing

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Sometimes I wonder the sheer amount of knowledge that can be found on the internet is creating a culture where some sort of shallow learning is encouraged over anything else. I am definitely guilty of this too but I see more people reading blogs explaining some sort of trivial or only theoretically important stuff about, say, web development than people who are working on creating web applications. It really is another form of procrastination, if […]

On Work

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At the end of the day, it’s the ownership that determines the quality of work produced. You either have this emotional connection to whatever you do, or not. Everyone has seen a video of some craftsman who produces an amazing product after an inordinate amount of effort and is moved by it. It all reminds me of an essay by Ben Pieratt that was making rounds a few weeks about how work is personal for some […]

Visual vs. Interaction Design

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I for one generally hate getting into discussions about titles, especially in the realm of design. However, I’ll mention this one. Before you venture further, I’ll also disclaim that I am not a designer by trade but merely an interested, somewhat educated bystander. As fluffy and pretentious as the name may sound, interaction design is a skill that is very, very different from visual design. The thought process that goes into creating an application that […]