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I am Toby Kurien, an electronics engineer who does software development for fun (and hopefully profit). I am a South African citizen of Indian origin.
What do I do? Well, the simple answer is that I engineer solutions at IBM Research lab, create Android and Web applications, blog/tweet about technology, host software development workshops and presentations, and dabble in hardware and software hackery at House4Hack, a makerspace in Centurion. My Resumé has more details.
The long answer regarding what I do is that I am experimenting with an alternate lifestyle. In late 2008 I decided to live a more anti-consumerist lifestyle. So I left the rat race, sold my shares in the company I co-founded, and started working on potentially fulfilling ventures. This is how I started creating web startups, mobile applications, and embedded hardware solutions – technologies that I am really passionate about. These technologies also help me in my quest to use first-world technology to solve third-world problems.
Every blog has to have an arb post elaborating on some personal affliction. Here's mine.
It seems human beings have a lot of self-defeating traits. I often wonder how we became a (mostly) civilised and advanced society with all these counter-productive traits. Like laziness, for example. We are naturally lazy, right? So how did we ever build cities? Or get to the moon?
Social phobia - I heard about this one recently. The third most common psychological problem, apparently. But many of us suffer from this to some degree. Me, for example. I'm shy and overly self-conscious. I may not seem like it now, but leave me alone in a crowd of strangers, and it rears it's ugly head. Like when I walk alone in a mall.
I spent much of my life alone, and those years of solo walking has conditioned me to extend my gait. I often get asked to slow down when walking in a group, and I end up almost tripping over myself at the pedestrian pace. When walking alone, I do not want to appear to be lost or walking around without purpose. Walking fast makes me look busy. So busy, infact, that I often walk right past the very place I am walking to. The realisation then sets in and I find myself needing to make an about-turn, which then completely undermines the "walking with purpose" image I'd put on.
Walking fast also keeps my hands busy. I can swing them from side to side in sync with my stride. Slowing down really throws my hands into a confused state. I then have to pull out my cellphone or hold something in my hands so …